Episode 04: Jen

“Nietzschean,” she hissed. “You die now!”

Caught by surprise, he doubled over. “I’m not trying to hurt you, crazy girl,” he said, straightening up.

“Liar!” She aimed a fist at his jaw, which he blocked easily. She sent blow after blow aimed at various parts of his body, also blocked easily.

During her attacks, his mind was reeling. What is wrong with this girl? She takes one look at me and tries to kill me. Her technique isn’t even all that good. She’s fighting like an amateur. I could keep this up all day under normal circumstances, but not after than so-called training session I just got out of. Could this day get any weirder?

Jen finally scored a blow to his jaw, sending him reeling with the impact. Before he had a chance to recover, he was flat on his back with the wind knocked out of him. He turned his head to see her running from the room.

He sat up. “Andromeda,” he wheezed. “Jen’s awake and loose on the ship.”

“Acknowledged.”

Picking himself up off the floor, he located the bottle of ointment and left med deck, hoping that he wouldn’t bump into Jen again until her friends talked some sense into her.

No such luck. On his way to his quarters, he saw Jen curled up into a ball, trying desperately to hide. He froze, not wanting to go near her again so soon. Wolf walked up beside him.

“You look like hell,” she observed.

“Your friend is psychotic,” he commented, not turning his eyes away from Jen.

“Good to see that she’s alright,” she replied.

“You mean this is normal for her?” he asked incredulously, turning to look down at Wolf.

She nodded. “Jen has always been the psychologically unstable one. She’s a great person, but has these odd tendencies to just flip out. I’ve never understood it, or understood what men see in her anyways.”

“Men? What men?”

Wolf shook her head. “Those are all long stories. Maybe if you ask nicely, I’ll tell you about them someday,” she said, heading for Jen.

Jen looked up at Wolf and said something very quietly. Wolf nodded and pulled Jen to her feet. Serenity, Yumeko, and Harper joined them. Dylan and Rommie stood beside Rhade and watched the scene. Jen looked very confused at the three girls, but recognized Harper instantly.

“I don’t get it,” Dylan said, watching. “I thought Serenity said that Jen was their friend.”

“She did,” Rhade agreed, rubbing his jaw.

Rommie saw that. “Are you alright, Rhade?”

“She hit me.”

“Why?”

“Beats me.”

“Literally,” Dylan said, laughing.

“That’s not funny, Dylan,” Rhade scowled.

Harper led Jen over to them. “Say, Rommie, do you think you could lend Jen something to wear? Just for a day or two.”

“I could,” she agreed.

Spotting Rhade, Jen started to growl and ball her hands into fists. Her black eyes glared up at him from under the tangled and matted black hair.

“Down girl!” Harper told her. “It’s just Rhade.”

Wolf stepped in between Jen and Rhade. “No one will hurt you here, Jen. We promise.”

“Let’s get her out of here before she tries to attack Rhade again,” Rommie said. “She needs to get tidied up anyways.”

“Give us a set of clothes and some grooming tools and we’ll take care of the rest,” Serenity told her stiffly. “We have a lot to talk about.”

“But she looks like she didn’t recognize any of you,” Harper protested.

“We’ll explain about that when she’s calmer and cleaner,” she replied.

“There is a room right here that she can use,” Rommie suggested.

“No offense, but I don’t think it’s a good thing to put her so close to Rhade.”

“Put me in between them,” Yumeko suggested. “Put all of us around her so that she feels safe.”

“Dylan?” Rommie asked, looking to her captain for his approval.

“Makes sense. I don’t want anyone to feel uncomfortable. I also don’t want Rhade getting hurt here.”

“We’ll talk to her about that,” Wolf assured him.

Rommie walked over and keyed open the door. “I’ll come back with clothes and other things for her.”

“Thank you, Rommie,” Yumeko said, bowing politely.

Inside, they got Jen’s clothes off her and put her in a tub full of hot water. She hissed as the water came into contact with her skin, telling the others that it had been a while since she’d had a hot bath. Rommie dropped off some soap, a brush, towels, clothes, and a few other things she figured they’d need. First, they attacked Jen’s hair, easing out the tangles. Once it was smooth, they washed it again and then piled it up on top of her head before handing her the soap, letting her wash herself.

The three others left her alone in the bathroom. Jen stared at the door for a few minutes in contemplation. I’m really confused. Who are these people? How do they all know who I am? Did Harper tell them? No. That’s possible, but they seem to know me beyond that. What’s going on here? And why is there a Nietzschean here? She started to scrub. For that matter, where is here? It doesn’t look like the Drago’s camp. I don’t remember ever being anywhere this nice before. She ducked under the water to rinse off. I may as well hear what these people have to say to me, even if hey have a Nietzschean around. Maybe he’s some sort of slave. Now isn’t that an interesting thought? One of those so-called genetically superior beings being forced to serve an inferior race.

Clean now, she got out of the tub and dried off. This is a change. I’m actually clean with a high chance I’ll be able to stay that way for a while. Now, some clothes would be nice. She wrapped the towel around herself and peeked out the door.

Serenity spotted her. “Ah Jen. Finished? There are some clothes over here for you. Rommie said she didn’t mind if we altered them to suit your style a little better.”

“How do you know what my style is like?”

“It’s a bit of a lengthy story. Get dressed and then we’ll tell you.”

“Sounds better than standing around listening to you talking while wearing only a towel.” She took the offered garments and retreated back into the bathroom to dress. They consisted of a red crop top with thick gold straps and a gold hem, red shorts with a similar gold hem, and thigh high black socks. Putting it on, she went back out.

“Tell me how you know me,” she said simply.

Yumeko handed her a pair of dark red boots, the same ones she’d been wearing when Wolf and Rhade had rescued her earlier. “It all starts more than a thousand years ago on a world called Nomaie.”

Rommie looked up at the sound of approaching footsteps. “Dylan, they’re done with Jen and are heading back this way.”

“Good. Let’s see who this person really is.”

“I’m telling you, she’s my friend,” Harper protested. “Card carrying man-hater, but she’s still my friend.”

“You’re going to have to explain that one,” Beka told him.

“There’s very little to explain,” Jen said, walking into the room. All eyes turned her way. “ “You’re looking better,” Harper commented. “I don’t remember ever seeing you in anything like that shirt before, though.”

Jen shrugged. “It’s what happens when you borrow clothes.”

“Rommie’s never worn anything like that.”

“I gave them permission to alter them,” Rommie explained. “They didn’t want her being mistaken for me.”

“I can’t see how anyone would ever make that mistake,” Rhade said quietly, staring.

Cleaned up, Jen was much more pleasant to look at. Her injuries were still faintly visible and she had a slight limp, but those were easy enough to see past. Her black hair was clean and tidy, pulled back into a glossy black braid tied with a strip of red leather.

In contrast to her three friends, she still looked odd. They had all discarded their Earth-style clothing for things that they were more comfortable in. Serenity was wearing a long white floor-length dress with a silver belt, long sleeves, and a wide collar that showed part of her shoulders, but not much of her cleavage. Her hair was pulled up into a bun on top of her head with a bit of braid trailing down to the center of her back. Something about her face had changed, making her look inhuman, but still lovely.

Yumeko still looked human, but there was a change in the slant of her eyes, making her previous Asian look even stronger. On her forehead was a round blue dot with two smaller white dots on either side of the top of the blue dot. Her blond hair now hung loose from its previous ponytail. Like Serenity, she also wore a dress, but it was light blue with a v-cut collar, double spaghetti straps, and no belt. It was cut specifically to fit her slight form. Miocci was perched on her shoulder.

The change in Wolf’s appearance was the most drastic. Her eyes slanted and her ears now had long pointed tips. The tip of her left ear was pierced with a small hoop earring made of copper. When she smiled, fangs became visible. She wore tight sandy colored leggings that appeared to be made of animal skins, as was the lace up forest green shirt she wore. It’s sleeveless cut emphasized her muscles. On her feet she had a simple pair of sandals. Her grey hair was tidier than it had been earlier and was pulled into a long tail wrapped in a piece of brown leather down its entire length. Snaking out behind her was a thin, tufted tail. The tuft was the same grey color as her hair, but the tip was a light green, clearly dyed.

“Don’t you make an odd bunch,” Beka commented.

“How did you do that?” Dylan asked. “You all looked human before.”

“With our appearances it’s very hard to blend in on Earth,” Wolf explained.

“We’d been hiding behind illusions,” Serenity added. “One of the abilities we’ve developed is that of disguise.”

“So how come it didn’t vanish when Wolf transformed?” Rhade asked.

“We can hold it even in our senshi forms,” she told him. “It’s not as easy though and it drains our energy faster than it would otherwise.”

“That’s why I told you to take Jen back to the others instead of staying to help fight,” Wolf added.

“Makes sense.”

“So now that you’ve assumed what I’m guessing are your real appearances, what would you have us call you?” Dylan asked, eyeing Serenity carefully.

Serenity and Wolf exchanged a look. “Our real names would be our preference. Mine is Tenshi and hers is Okami.”

“What about Yumeko?”

The blond laughed. “Yumeko is my real name.”

“So why didn’t you didn’t change your name?” Trance asked. “Anyone knowing about you people would hear your name and turn you into a very large target.”

“Changing my name would be pointless, as I tend to not recognize it as referring to me,” she explained sheepishly. “I only respond to the name I’m born with and my senshi name. In the cases where my birth name and real name are different, I will respond to that as well, but that doesn’t happen often.”

“Wait. What?” Harper looked confused.

“I think Yumeko’s translator is on the fritz again,” Jen said casually.

“Now that you’re looking better, I think we’re owed an explanation as to who you really are,” Dylan said. “Please. Have a seat at the table.”

Jen looked at the chairs. “I would much rather stand for now. I was stuck on that bed in the camp for the last five days.”

“Fair enough,” he replied as everyone else sat down. Jen moved to lean against the wall near to Tenshi. “Please start at the beginning. What are you anyways?”

“First of all, our star system is in a different galaxy, one you wouldn’t have heard of. Being who they are, the Lambent Kith do, but they do not come to it without good reason. They may have dominion here, but they have little power in our home,” Tenshi began. “My home world is called Aiella and my people are the Kal’tresh’nal. Okami is called a Laisheen from the planet Ha’ven. Yumeko’s people, the Tora, are from Kinshei.” The three looked at Jen expectantly.

She gave them a look. “I am from Nomaie and we are simply called Nomaien by others not of our world.”

“And by those of your world?” Rhade asked.

“We are not to speak that word to outsiders,” she said stiffly.

“We don’t even know what they call themselves, and we’ve known her for a very, very long time,” Okami said, pouting.

“Before anyone asks, Jen is the reborn fourth member of our group. She isn’t human, she just looks it.”

“Hey!” Jen protested.

“Sorry, but I’m trying to explain things here,” Tenshi apologized. “Anyways, she was sent to Earth to check up on some rumors we’d heard about it having been taken over. Her memories were blanked as a means of protection and she took up a name she’d had the last time she was on Earth, over a thousand years ago. We figured that, because she responded to it once before, she would have an easier time with it than giving her a new one. She was instructed to make friends in order to learn.”

“That explains the amnesia,” Harper said.

“Yes. Her back story was thought out for years before the mission went forward.”

“But something went wrong,” Okami continued. Because of what she is, she came to the attention of the Drago-Kazov. If we had known about Nietzscheans before the mission, we would have sent someone else. You see, Nomaien women are well known in our corner of the universe for being strong and fast. In short, and don’t hurt me Jen because you know it’s true, to the uneducated, they seem like Nietzschean women.”

“I’m definitely going to have to hurt you later,” Jen snarled angrily.

“Bring it on.”

“Calm down, you two,” Tenshi warned them. “We don’t have time for you two to be engaging in business as usual.”

“They fight a lot,” Yumeko explained to the crew.

“As a result of her behavior and her seemingly above-average physical skills, they got really curious and decided to see what her genes were like.” Tenshi shrugged. “What happened to her after her capture is unclear to us.”

Dylan looked at Jen. “You would know.”

“You’d think that, wouldn’t you? It’ll come back, but I do remember a lot of the tests they did. According to Tenshi, I was in there for six months. I don’t have enough memories to account for that length of time.”

“In the process of returning her identity, we may have accidentally buried a lot of her memories of that time,” Tenshi admitted. “Though it doesn’t seem to have wiped her memories of Harper.”

“Which is a good thing, yes?” Harper asked.

“Yes,” Jen replied. “It means I’m more likely to help with this insane quest of yours.”

“All we want to do is destroy the Spirit of the Abyss,” Trance told her. “What’s so insane about that?”

Jen snorted in disgust. “Someone please explain to them what happened when Sailor Galaxia tried to destroy Chaos. I don’t have the patience for that right now.”

“Lessons learned that long ago are often forgotten,” Tenshi reminded her.

“Be that as it may, doing what you suggest will only give you a short respite from this Spirit.” Jen walked up and slammed her fists down on the table, glaring at each person around the table in turn. “And which of you will be next? Who will trade their soul to destroy Chaos for a time? Who will invite within them that same spirit they sought to destroy?” She spun on her heel and stalked out of the room.

The Andromeda crew turned to watch her go and then back to Tenshi. “What was that all about?” Rommie asked.

“I don’t know exactly when this happened, but there was a very powerful senshi, Sailor Galaxia. She was, in fact, the most powerful. During the Sailor Wars, she got it in her head to take on Chaos in order to end the war. She couldn’t do it. In the end, she brought Chaos into herself. It was the stupidest thing she could have done. Instead of destroying Chaos, she became Chaos. She started taking over the universe. Luckily, she hadn’t gotten to ours, but we know people who had their homes destroyed by the Shadow Galactica and the Animamates.” Tenshi paused to look in the direction Jen had gone. “Jen, in fact, was very close to someone who had their home destroyed, which is why she reacted like this. Galaxia was stopped when she reached Earth. The senshi of the Sol system were able to free Galaxia of Chaos, returning it to its proper place in the cosmos.”

“How could we have forgotten?” Trance moaned.

“You of the Lambent Kith are fortunate. Galaxia never came this far out, so you were untouched,” Okami told her.

“If we’re going to do this, we’ll need Jen’s help,” Yumeko said. “Because of Seiya, she knows things that will help us fight.”

“If she’s even willing,” Rhade pointed out. “She didn’t seem to happy about this.”

“Of the four of us, she hates being a senshi the most. Her only reason for doing it is that it’s better than the alternative.”

“And that would be what?”

“Being herself,” Okami replied cryptically.