The Thuban Initiative
Act 02 –

Athens, Greece

“I’m so glad you came to visit, Ikkakujuu,” Clover said as the tour bus drove through a scenic part of Athens.

Ikkakujuu looked up at Clover. “I needed to get away. My parents are pressuring me to go to college and want me to stay in Japan. I’d rather go abroad if I go at all.”

“I can understand that. Mine are starting to make the college push as well.”

“Why don’t we pick the same college? At least then we’ll have a friend there.” Clover smiled. “We could even be roommates!”

“That would be fun!”

“Where would you like to go?” Ikkakujuu thought about it. “Riley says that Canadian universities are fairly decent. She promised to send me some stuff on her local ones.”

“That would be even better!” Clover squealed. “It’s been so long since I left Japan. Everyone else has fellow senshi in their country. I don’t.”

“Didn’t Mizuumi visit a few months after you got back here?”

“She did, but it wasn’t long. Besides, she was really antsy.”

“She still doesn’t know what to do with her life?”

“At the time she was debating between skater and meteorologist.”

“The last time I saw her it was between ballerina and zoologist.”

“She’s kind of all over the place,” Clover giggled. “What about Ginme?”

Ginme—a fellow senshi who was also a former enemy like Mizuumi was—had also been having difficulties deciding what to do with his life. “He’s doing fine now,” Ikkakujuu told her. “Akimi convinced him to try selling his carvings. They fetch quite a high price.”

“Ryuusenshi probably feels fortunate to have the one he made for her.”

Ikkakujuu nodded. “I still have the unicorn he made for me. When my parents made the connection they flipped. I wound up telling them that not only do I know Ginme, but Insei, Kinrei, Hakkinki, and Ryuusenshi as well.” “Most of us are famous either directly or by association.”

“Weird isn’t it?”

The bus stopped suddenly, sending its passengers flying into the aisles and the backs of the seats in front of them. The driver’s panicky voice came over the loud speaker.

“He says that there’s a monster on the road in front of us and that it’s attacking people,” Clover translated.

“Monster?” Ikkakujuu squeaked. “We need to do something Clover!”

“I agree but we can’t transform in front of all these people.”

“What about those ruins?” Ikkakujuu pointed. “We could go there. I doubt anyone would see us.”

“Good call; come on, let’s hurry!” Clover run up to the driver and started jabbering away in Greek. The driver opened the door and let the two girls off, muttering under his breath.

They ran for the ruins down the street and, confident that they weren’t being watched, called out their henshin phrases, something that neither had done since defeating Sailorhera.

What the pair saw when they returned to the scene was a Gryphon pacing madly back and forth while a winged woman wearing a round eye patch picked up an oval crystalline object with four teardrop shapes floating around it. She held it up to the sunlight, watching it gleam.

“What do you think you’re doing?” Sailorlyra demanded.

“Retrieving a Soul Crystal,” she replied flatly. “What do you think you’re doing?”

Sailormonoceros stepped forward. “Stopping you.”

“I wasn’t speaking to you!” the winged woman snapped, flinging a bolt of energy at the lavender haired senshi, knocking her down.

“That was rude,” Lyra pointed out.

“Yes, she was quite rude, wasn’t she? Interrupting, answering a question asked to another person…incredibly rude.”

“I was referring to you, bitch. That’s my friend.”

“You have poor taste in friends,” the woman commented. “Who would want a friend with no manners?”

“There’s more to friendship than manners.” Lyra brought out her Golden Lyre. Out of the corner of her eye, she could see Monoceros pick up her Ribbon and stand up.

“That’s what you think.” The woman shot a blast of dark energy at her, throwing her backwards, past Monoceros.

Monoceros looked at the woman. “Tossing around someone who disagrees with you; such poor manners. Pure Breeze Disruption!”

The wind generated by the attack didn’t seem to affect the woman at all. She just stared at the small senshi, her single eye void of expression.

Lyra got back onto her feet. “Lyra Earth Serenade!”

“Celestial Ribbon Entwine!”

The green haired girl in the maroon, brown, and gold outfit watched the battle. Lyra’s attack had missed the woman whom she knew as Pegasus. Lucky for Lyra, the attack hit the Gryphon, vaporizing it.

She raised an eyebrow. She knew the senshi from this time were strong, but hadn’t given them much credit, especially since the short one’s powers were having no effect on Pegasus.

She continued to watch the battle, nearly cheering when Monoceros managed to dislodge the Soul Crystal from Pegasus had stashed it in her right glove. Her face fell as Pegasus quickly retrieved it and vanished before the senshi could try again.

Apparently, the Initiative isn’t willing to take risks. Good for them, bad for us. They must be stopped, but how? I don’t even know where the others are, or even where to start looking. She sighed and walked away. This is going to be harder than I thought.

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