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Chapter One: Along Came a Spider…

An Avenging side story
By Christopher Horton

Disclaimer: Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon characters and setting Naoko Takeuchi, Koudansha, TV Asahi, Toei Douga. Spider Man characters 2001 Marvel Enterprises, Inc. & Marvel Characters, Inc.

Introduction: This takes place in D.B. Sommer's Avenging universe, after the Raiden incident (or, Chapter Five, to be precise).

Juuban was a typical high school. It had its problems, just as any school in the world does. The building was never quite large enough, there was never enough money to do what everyone wanted or needed, there was always some rowdy students, the teachers believed they were underpaid, etcetera. Normal enough.

However, Juuban had something that made it unique, or rather, someone. Because what this young person was capable of doing gave Juuban the sort of prestige that few schools enjoyed. Within the last couple of years, applications for Juuban had risen dramatically.

Of course, the person who was responsible for it had no idea at all.

At this particular moment, the person in question was currently sitting by herself outside during the lunch break, quietly reading a new book that she had picked up. She nibbled on a rice cake as she read, trying to absorb as much of it as she possibly can. She moved her hand to turn to the next page…

…And a clump of rice landed squarely in the middle of her book.

She stared at it for a second, then brushed it off and continued to read.

Another clump of rice came flying at her, this time hitting her in the face. She turned her head reluctantly; well aware of whom she would see there.

Makoto Kino, one of the most popular kids in school, leaned against a nearby tree, a smug look on her face. In her hand, she was holding a lunch box full of rice. Next to her was Haruka Ten'ou, one of her friends, and the star of the track team, also smirking.

"How are ya today, wimp?" Makoto asked, stirring up the rice with her chopsticks. "Enjoy my rice? I made it special, just for you." Haruka then poured some soy sauce into the rice, while Makoto continued to stir.

She made no reply, save for wiping the rice off her face, and started to read again.

"Oh… I guess that you didn't get enough, huh?" Makoto stood and walked over to where she was sitting. "Well, I don't mind sharin', so here ya go!" And with that, she dumped the contents of the entire box over the girl's head. It landed with a plop and slowly started to slide down her hair and face. Haruka started laughing as Makoto walked away

The girl ignored the laughter and stared at a clump of rice that had started to slide down a strand of her hair. It slid down slowly until it reached the end of the strand, where it then fell off onto her book. She watched as the soy sauce started to soak into the page that she was reading. She quickly brushed the rice away, but it was too late. The soy sauce had left a stain right where she had been reading before Makoto and Haruka showed up.

Said girls watched as the girl closed her book, placed it in her bookbag, and stood up, the rice falling off her head in a comical fashion. She started to walk away, soy sauce dripping off her hair, and the girls started laughing even louder.

The girl turned to glance at them, and started to run. She ran past the gym, past the principal's building, past the soccer field, and past the back gate. Once she felt she was a good distance away from the school did she stop running.

Only then did Ami Mizuno allow herself to cry.

She trudged up the stairs to her apartment, depression weighing down every step. The soy sauce was starting to get sticky, and her school uniform was ruined. Most of the rice had dried into clumps in her hair, and she fully expected to have problems washing them out tonight.

She stopped in front of her apartment door and dug her keys out of her bookbag, locating them among the clutter inside. She opened the door slowly and walked in, closing the door behind her. She leaned against the door and sighed.

She was tired of it.

She was tired of having to watch out for stupid bullies who had nothing better to do than to pick on her every day.

She was tired of getting the best grade on a test, and having everyone else stare at her loathingly, like she meant to show them up like that.

She was tired of actually trying to succeed in life, while everyone else around her just seemed to not care.

She was tired of not having any friends.

Ami slumped to the floor, exhausted both physically and emotionally. She had run the entire distance from the school to her apartment complex, crying the entire time. She knew that she was going to get into trouble for skipping school like that. The school would call her mom and tell her about how Ami didn't show up for the rest of her classes that day. Since she was also skipping her juku that day, she also expected them to call as well. And that was only the beginning.

She would probably not be able to going swimming for a while, due to all the extra workload she would get from her mom. Her allowance would also be docked for a while, so no going out for a bite anytime soon.

Her mother was very strict when it came to punishment.

She leaned her head against the door and sighed. All she wanted to do was to just make it out of high school and get on with life. She thought about all the reports she heard about stressed-out students committing suicide, either because they don't want to burden their families for being a failure in their minds, or they were unable to continue in their environment. She now could sympathize with the latter.

She drank in the quiet of her apartment. It was so unlike the high school in that aspect. It was always so noisy there. Noise seemed to permeate everywhere— the halls, the classrooms, even throughout the school library.

It was the first library that Ami actually hated.

Not here: her apartment was quiet. Not deathly quiet, but just quiet enough that Ami felt really comfortable. She enjoyed getting home after school and having the apartment to herself. She would just sit and read a book, curled up in her favorite chair, until her mother got home from the hospital. She just sat and passed the time reading, only being interrupted occasionally by…

…the phone ringing. She had been so lost in thought that she hadn't even noticed the loud noise sounding throughout the room. She quickly ran over to the phone and grabbed the receiver before the person could hang up. "Hello, Mizuno residence!"

"Ami-chan! I thought you'd be home right now!"

Ami's eyes widened. "K-Kaiou-sempai! H-How did you know I was here?"

Ami could have sworn that she heard her smile on the other line. "Word got around quickly. The great super-nerd, Ami Mizuno, skipping school for the first time ever!" The sarcasm was extremely evident in her tone. "And I also heard about what Makoto and Haruka did to you. I figured you would head on home, first thing." She paused, thinking about what to say next. "Ami-chan, I—"

"It's not your fault, Kaiou-sempai!" Ami shouted forcibly, knowing exactly what she was going to say. Kaiou-sempai had appointed herself Ami's personal protector at school, and took it badly whenever something like this happened. "You can't be there all the time to watch out for me! I truly appreciate what you've doing, because it's far more than what anyone else at that school has done for me. Ever," she added with a note of conviction. "You're really my only friend there, Kaiou-sempai, and I don't want my only friend having to worry about me all the time. I can take care of myself." That last statement was a lie, but reassuring Kaiou-sempai was more important at the moment.

There was silence on the other line. Ami waited nervously for a response. Perhaps she overstepped a line she was unaware of…

Finally, a voice crackled on the other line. "Ami-chan, I've asked you not to call me 'Kaiou-sempai.' You're far more intelligent than I am. Just call me Michiru-chan, please."

Ami smiled. Things were okay. "Alright, Kao— uh… Michiru-san."

There was an audible sigh. "Well, I think that's better, at any rate. Keep it up."

Ami nodded before speaking again. "At any rate, I thank you for your consideration. I do appreciate it."

"You're welcome. But I also have another reason for calling you as well."

Ami nodded again, knowing full well that Michiru wouldn't be able to see it. "Is it another science question?"

Michiru laughed. "Well, it IS science-related, but not what you think. Remember that field trip that your class was supposed to go on today?"

Ami's eyes widened. "Oh, NO!" She glanced at her watch with horror. "Oh, no! I missed it!" She sunk down to the floor in shock. "I forgot all about it!" Her eyes threatened to tear up again. "And I really wanted to go on that tour of your father's laboratory, too!"

Michiru Kaiou came from a rich and powerful family who owned several companies, most of them in the scientific field. KaiouTech was the most significant, and was considered a world leader in chemical biology. Michiru's father was considered to be one of the foremost experts in bioengineering in the world, and was one of Ami's living idols. His work was primarily geared toward growing food crops worldwide, and most third world countries were already able to feed most of their once-starving populations.

"Well, that's what I wanted to talk to you about. I knew that you had forgotten about it after that… incident, and I wanted to make it up to you for not being there."

Ami cut in. "But Michiru-san, you don't have to—"

"Ami-chan, please… let me finish," Michiru stated firmly. "As I said, I really want to make it up for you, so I want to take you on a personal tour of the lab with me." Once again, Ami could practically hear her smile. "You can probably explain to me what's going on."

Ami blushed. "Michiru-san, I'm not really all that—"

"Yes, you are, Ami-chan. You don't give yourself enough credit. You're as smart as my father, and you're years younger than him. Once you get out of high school, the entire world is going to be at your feet. You're special, Ami-chan. Please, Please don't ever put yourself down like that."

Ami had problems responding. No one had ever said anything like that to her before. Not even her family.

Fortunately, Michiru continued talking. "So, I'm going to come on over right now, Ami-chan, and I just wanted to warn you ahead of time. It'll be about ten minutes, which should give you time to get ready."

Ami smiled again. "Alright, then." She paused hesitantly. "Thank you, Michiru-san."

Laughter was heard on the other end. "That's alright. See you in a little bit." And with that she hung up.

Ami hung the phone and sighed. She was fortunate to have a friend like Michiru Kaiou. She ran her fingers through her hair as she thought about she should wear to the—


In her rush to get back home, and Michiru's touching phone call, she had totally forgotten about the mess that was currently her hair. She removed her soy sauce-covered hand from her hair and stared at it worriedly. It needed to be cleaned, and cleaned NOW, before it got any worse. And she definitely needed to take a shower, while she thought of it. Sweat and soy sauce definitely did not mix.

She sighed. She HATED days like this.

Michiru stopped in front in Ami's apartment door and checked her clothes to make sure she was presentable. Her outfit was very simple, a light yellow turtleneck sweater, a pair of navy blue slacks, and a comfortable pair of black walking shoes. It was simple, but sophisticated. At least, on her.

She knocked on the door twice, ready to get going. Ami was really looking forward to this, and she couldn't wait to show her the laboratory herself. Michiru was sure that Ami would appreciate the lab her father built more than anyone else possibly could.

She was about to knock again when the door swung open. Ami stood there, purse in hand and a smile on her face. Michiru smiled as well and bowed. "How are you today, Ami-chan?"

Ami bowed right back. "I'm feeling better now. How about yourself, Michiru-san?"

Michiru laughed. "Oh, I'm fine now, Ami-chan. Shall we get going?"

Ami nodded. "Please." She stepped out of the doorway and shut the door behind her.

As they began walking to the elevator, Michiru took a look at what Ami was wearing. "Ami, what a lovely outfit you have on today!"

Ami blushed. She was wearing a light blue dress shirt, with a blue jewel brooch inserted in the collar button, a navy blue skirt that went down to her knees, and a pair of black walking boots that came up past her ankles. "T-Thank you, Michiru-san," she mumbled, staring down at the floor.

Michiru smiled. Ami was never very good at taking compliments. She was a very humble person, and that was one of the things that Michiru liked about Ami. "Blue looks good on you, Ami. Really good." She glanced at Ami, then glanced again.

There was something on her head, and it didn't really belong there, especially when compared with the rest of her outfit. "Ami-chan… what ARE you wearing on your head?"

Ami nervously touched the offending object. "Oh… this? It's nothing, really…"

"Nothing? It's hideous! Why are you even wearing that, anyway? It doesn't go at all with the rest of your outfit!"

Ami nervously fingered the beret that she had on her head. She was able to get most of the soy sauce and all of the rice out of her hair, except for one little patch up on top of her head, which she was afraid she was going to have to cut off later. The worn neon yellow beret was the only thing she could find that she could use to cover it up in the meantime. "It's not that bad… is it?"

Michiru nodded. "It looks pretty ugly, actually. Why are you even wearing a hat in the first place?"

"Uh… it's my lucky hat. I like to wear it when I… uh… go to special places. It makes me feel… better." Ami mentally cringed. That was, without a doubt, the lamest and oldest excuse she had ever used in her life. Michiru was going to see right through it.

"Oh. Okay. Yeah, a lot of people have things like that. Even my dad does, but he hardly uses it anymore."

Ami laughed nervously. "Ah… of course." She wasn't going to forget how stupid this was any time soon.

The elevator door slowly opened, with a high-pitched noise as the gears moved into action, and both of them stepped onto it. "Uh… yeah, I've noticed that as well. A lot of people do have something that they consider important to them, like a luck charm." Ami continued to mentally cringe. She actually felt like she was losing brain cells by continuing to sound absolutely moronic.

"It's not a big deal, so don't worry about it." Michiru hit the button for the first floor and the doors began to slowly creak shut in response. "They need to get this fixed."

Ami nodded. "Yes, it has really become annoying of late. Hopefully it'll be fixed soon." The doors finally allowed themselves to close shut. The elevator then lurched for a second, then began to slowly descend to their destination.

The daytime security guards of the KaiouTech Building were never very busy. In fact, they would say that they had one of the most boring jobs on the planet. Which is a good thing, if you're a security guard. Boring means you're safe, and safe means you're not dead. The guards could all agree on liking that end of the bargain.

So when the red car came flying out of nowhere and came straight at the two guards currently working the front door, they were understandably scared out of their minds and dove out of the way to take cover. It's what any normal person would do.

Fortunately, their panic was not necessary. The car screeched to a halt as it performed a power slide that stopped it mere inches from the curb and right into the empty parking spot.

Which was right between two other large vehicles.

The guards stared in shock as the driver calmly pulled off her sunglasses, revealing a gorgeous pair of eyes, and placed them in her purse. She stepped out of the car and closed the door behind her. She then walked over to the passenger side of the car and opened the door. "Well, aren't you going to get out, Ami-chan?"

Said girl looked extremely pale and shaken as she slowly turned to look at the other girl. "M-Michiru-san… please… please…" She seemed to be having trouble speaking.

Michiru leaned closer to her. "Yes, Ami-chan?"

Ami leaned back against her seat and closed her eyes. "Never, EVER drive like that with me again."

Michiru straightened up, an indignant look on her face. "Are you implying that my driving is bad? My driving is as good as it gets!"

Ami opened her eyes and narrowed them at her. "Driving on the other side of the road through heavy traffic and going sixty is not good driving," she stated matter-of-factly.

"We didn't get hit, now did we? And besides, you know nothing about driving anyway. When you get your license, then we'll talk." Michiru swept some hair behind her shoulder and began walking to the building.

*Maybe I'm don't have a license, but I know a bad driver when I see one,* Ami thought. She watched Michiru walk up to the entrance of the building and stood next to it, obviously waiting on her. *Maybe I can convince her to let me drive home when we leave tonight. It wouldn't be legal, but at least I know which side of the road to drive on.* With that thought in mind, she unbuckled her seatbelt and joined Michiru at the entrance.

Michiru handed Ami a security badge, which she clipped onto her left breast pocket. "Now Ami-chan, I've already taken care of security, so you'll be able to go wherever I'm able to." She then motioned to the door. "Now, I know you've been looking forward to this for a while now, so… shall we?"

Ami nodded and smiled as they walked into the KaiouTech building.

Time rippled for a moment.

She felt it.

She had felt it. Which meant that it was time.

She slowly could feel herself emerge out of the dark reaches she had been in during her slumber. She was becoming more and more aware of herself. She could begin to feel her body again, though she still could not move. She felt weak… weaker than she thought she would have been… but no matter. Soon, she would fully awaken, and plans made in times long past would finally come to light at last.

All she had to do was wait.

Ami was happy. Deliriously happy.

Here she was, in the center of one of the world's leaders in biochemistry, and the absolute leader in Japan. All around her, new innovations in science were being made almost on a weekly basis. Some of the top scientists in the world practically lived here as they performed experiments that could possibly benefit mankind in ways unimagined.

Ami felt like she would just burst with joy.

Michiru smiled as she watched Ami move from lab area to lab area, taking in as much information as she could possibly could from the scientists there, then moving on to the next. And Michiru had no doubt that she could retain it all, too.

There was one man here that she wanted Ami to meet. He had been brought in from America from one of her father's rival companies, Osborn Industries. Apparently, he had been unsatisfied with the type of work he had to do. As he put it, Norman Osborn was "far too small-minded for his own good. He won't get much farther than where he is now." He was one of the smartest men that she had ever met, possibly smarter than Ami or her father. Which was saying a lot.

He saw the man in question, working with one of his self-made devices on an important project. "Ami-chan, could you come with me for a second?"

Ami looked at her from her vantage point of observing a chemical reaction along with several other scientists. "Yes, Michiru-san?" she asked as she walked to where Michiru was standing.

"There's someone I want you to meet. He's a scientist who has just transferred here only recently, and he's had an illustrious career so far. His name is—"

"Dr. Otto Octavius!" Ami finished for her, spotting the man as he was unbuckling the harness of his device. Michiru stared at her in shock.

"You know him, Ami-chan?"

Ami smiled and looked at her. "Dr. Octavius is very well-known in the science field, Michiru-san. He is probably one of the most well-rounded scientists around, and he has won some prestigious awards. I'm a big fan of his."

Michiru smiled. "So I take it you want to meet him then?" Ami nodded. "Well, okay then! Just let me talk to him first, and then you'll get to meet him!"

Ami could hardly wait.

Time rippled again.

She mentally frowned; she was much more sensitive to the waves of time now and this ripple was… different. Much different. Too different.

She now could move her fingers, albeit only a little bit at a time. Something was wrong. She was much weaker than she should have been, she knew this now. It was like she had been asleep much longer than she was supposed to be in the first place. Something had gone wrong.

At any rate, she was still helpless until the powers that were hers to control were restored in full.

But until then… she was unable to affect things in the mortal realm. She hoped she was just overreacting.

"It is an honor to meet you, Octavius-sensei." Ami gave a deep bow as she spoke.

Dr. Otto Octavius returned the bow in kind. "The pleasure is mine, Mizuno-san." His Japanese was heavily accented, which sounded German, if Ami were asked. She began to look him over in order to cement him into her mind, just in case this was the only time she ever met him.

Dr. Octavius was a tall man, at least six foot three, if Ami had to hazard a guess, and he appeared to be well built for a man in his early forties. He was wearing the standard lab coat that everyone else seemed to wear around here, along with black slacks and a blue turtleneck sweater. He also wore his brownish-black hair slicked back against his head, along with of a pair of dark green-tinted glasses.

All in all, the exact opposite of what Ami expected him to look like.

Sure, she had seen a couple of photos of him, but they were both profile shots from the neck up taken about ten years ago, when he had first established himself as a serious scientist. The only reason she had recognized him in the first place was that he had aged rather well.

Michiru spoke up as Ami was going through her thoughts. "Ami-chan just happens to a big fan of your work, Doctor. I'm sure she'd love to watch you continue the experiment that you were working on."

The doctor raised an eyebrow. "Well, I was just taking a break at the moment. As you can tell," he motioned towards the strange device sitting on the floor beside him, "it can become extremely tiresome to wear at times."

Ami looked down at where the doctor was pointing. She looked at it.

And blinked.

She tried looking at it again.

And she blinked again.

Michiru was confused as well. "It looks like a metal vest with four rods sticking out of it."

Ami tried to mentally guess as to what it was, but failed. "Um… Doctor… what is it?"

"Oh, sorry. It's hard to tell what it is when it's in rest mode. Hold on." He picked it up and opened the lock on the harness, allowing him to him to put it on around his stomach. After securing it in place, he then locked it back into place and smiled. "Now watch." He then pressed a button on the side and held his arms up above his head.

Ami was about to comment when she heard a soft whirling sound coming from the harness. She noticed that the rods on the side of the harness were beginning to become longer and were beginning to move about as they emerged from the harness.

Within a minute, the arms, for lack of a better term, had fully emerged and were slowly moving about, ready to do whatever they were told to do.

Ami and Michiru watched, mesmerized by the hypnotic movement of the arms as they moved about in front of Dr. Octavius' face.

"And now, we begin," the doctor said with a smile.

She opened her eyes.

Finally. It had taken far too long for her to get to this point. She was now convinced that there had been some equipment malfunction. Turning her attention to a small keypad that sat next to her right hand, she entered the security code as it slowly returned to her memory. The hatchway groaned at first, and reluctantly began to open, hissing as the protective seal was broken. As soon as it had fully opened, she sat up and groaned: she felt sore all over. And she imagined that she would feel this way for some time.

She grabbed both sides of the glass pod and attempted to climb out of it. Her arms, however, decided they wouldn't cooperate, and she fell back into the pod on her rump.

"Dammit," she mumbled softly. Far weaker than she thought. She attempted to climb out again, but she just couldn't get up the strength to do that. She wiped some sweat off of her brow: the effort was wearing her out already. She frowned in frustration. She, of all people, was not used to being so… helpless.

Then it hit her. Another ripple.

Even in this state, she could feel how Time moved due to the subtle tingling that went up and down her spine. It was a talent that was both inherited and refined that only she could feel into it this much, and it allowed her to tell what was going on in the mortal realm at this moment.

And what she felt was not good, to say the least.

The time stream had not been altered only slightly; it was extremely damaged. Instead of the small changes she had expected to occur, there was a total aberration from the scheduled course of history.

This… was not good.

Ami stared at the arms floating in front of her. "Doctor… this is… absolutely incredible! I've never seen anything like this!"

Michiru was also in awe. "Octavius-sensei… I had no idea you had something like this! When did you build it?"

Octavius smiled again. Ami noticed he liked to smile whenever he talked about himself. "At Osborn Industries. Its creation was necessary for an experiment I was performing at the time."

"Amazing. Doctor, I had no idea that you were capable of building something like this." Ami had never known that Octavius knew enough about robotics to build such a device. Well, she mused, you learn something new every day.

"Well, with all the advances being made by companies like Kunou Industries and Mishima Heavy Industries, robotics is becoming rather easy to get into these days. I have had some experience in robotics myself, so I was able to take advantage of that fact." He then patted the harness. "And this is the result."

"Doctor, if you don't mind now, could you go on with the experiment? I'm anxious to see it, as is Ami-chan, I'm sure." Michiru smiled as she glanced at her friend again. She was glad to see that Ami was enjoying herself, especially after what had happened today. Her thoughts briefly flashed to Makoto Kino and Haruka Ten'ou, and she felt her temper flare. *Just wait until tomorrow, you two bitches,* she thought. *You're both going to pay for making her cry. No one messes with any of Michiru Kaiou's friends like that and gets away with it.* She glanced briefly at Ami. *Especially her.*

"Very well, but first, let me set things up for it." He motioned towards a lightly tinted glass box, where two gun-like emitters hung from the ceiling. The emitters were silvery circular metal boxes, with a single turret jutting out from each of them. Wires extended from the emitters, running up metal rods to the ceiling, supplying them with electricity. Four evenly spaced round holes were visible on the side of the glass box closest to the computer. Dr. Octavius began typing on the computer console, and soon the faint hum of high-voltage electrical power could be heard coming from behind the glass.

"You may be wondering what this experiment is all about," Dr. Octavius began in a formal tone of voice, as if he were conducting this experiment in front of a large crowd of investors and scientists. Which, in fact, he was planning on. "I have always felt that certain kinds of radiation could be used in ways to enhance certain biological systems in humans and animals to make them much more… effective in certain situations." He pressed a button on the console, and a small Petri dish emerged from the side, which he quickly picked up and handed it to Ami.

"Inside the Petri dish is a sample of bone marrow from an ordinary lab mouse. Usually, any abnormal amounts of radiation will irreparably damage the marrow, or any other area of the body quite easily. It's a well known fact." He grinned slightly. "However, I believe that certain kinds of radiation, with proper exposure, will actually enhance the bone marrow and its ability to produce blood cells, particularly white blood cells. This machine," he motioned towards to the emitters in front of him, "will expose the bone marrow with the proper amount of radiation necessary to enhance their performance abilities. Once the samples are re-injected back into the mouse's body, they should begin to produce white blood cells as normal, which, in turn, will then divide at a rapid pace and fill the body with nothing but the enhanced cells."

"Excuse me, Doctor, but what will that accomplish? What exactly will the enhanced blood cells do once they have replaced the normal ones in the body?" Ami asked, handing the Petri dish back to Octavius after letting Michiru take a quick glance at it.

"Ah, excellent question, Mizuno-san. Ideally, if the body doesn't reject the marrow transplant, then the white blood cells would be able to fight off any number of diseases. AIDS, cancer… even influenza and the common cold. Quite possibly, we could prevent almost anything with this process. Furthermore—"

"Excuse me, Dr. Octavius, but could you please get on with the experiment? I would like to actually SEE this process, not hear about it," Michiru said, interrupting Octavius' speech. "That is what my father pays you for, is it not?"

From the way Octavius' eyebrows were pointing down, Ami could imagine that his eyes were thin slits right now. She pulled Michiru down by the shoulder and whispered into her ear. "What are you doing, Michiru-san? Are you trying to make him mad?"

Michiru smiled and whispered back to her. "Don't worry, Ami-chan. I know what I'm doing. I just want him to show you what he's doing so we can get back to letting you look around."

Ami blinked. "Well," she whispered back, "I don't mind staying around him for a while, really."

"Trust me, Ami-chan. There's much more interesting stuff than what he's working on right now. You'll like that better, believe me."

Ami seemed hesitant. "Well…"

"Trust me." Michiru winked at her. "Have I ever been wrong before?" Ami began to open her mouth, but thought better of it. She simply shook her head. "Good. Now," she said, addressing the Doctor, "Please get on with the experiment."

"Very well. Here." Two of his mechanical arms held a pair of tinted lab goggles in front of the two girls as he began punching in commands into the computer. "Put these on, just to be safe. Looking directly at this experiment unprotected hasn't had any serious effects on anyone, but we would rather err on the side of caution."

As they pulled the goggles on, Octavius' arms began to insert themselves through the openings in the glass container, one carefully holding the Petri dish with the white blood cells in it. Once the hands were inside, the two hands closest to the turrets began to type in commands on the keypad on the side of each of them. Soon, the barrels began to glow pink with energy as the other two arms held the Petri dish into place right between them, preparing for the blast of energy that would soon mutate the cells into something better.

She was now able to stand up. Walking was still out of the question, but she was able to make it out of the stasis pod that had been her resting place for countless years. She sat on the rim, clutching her forehead tiredly.

"It's like I'm an infant again," she muttered, sweat pouring down her body.

She could feel the stirrings of another ripple, and she braced herself mentally for it. Every time she was hit by one, she felt like crying out in despair: Never in her experience had she seen time so off course. In this timeline, most of the major American superheroes didn't exist, and they were now in Japan, with people who had their own parts to play doing both, which resulted in a major rewriting of history for the twentieth century.

Then it hit her.

She felt the blood drain from her face.

"No…" she whispered.

As everyone watched the experiment, they were so enraptured with the glow of the radiation that they did not notice a tiny little speck slowly descend down into the glowing light.

As it descended through the light, it suddenly felt… different. And not in a good way. It quickly crawled back up the line it had made and began to make its way back to the small hole that it had discovered while crawling along the ceiling. But as it continued, it slowly began to feel weaker and weaker. It finally felt like it could not crawl anymore, so it simply decided to lower itself down on its line and hope that it would find a more suitable spot where it could rest.

Ami failed to notice the tiny spider lower itself on her hand.

It tried to crawl again, but it was too weak to move much further. Its vision began to blur, and it knew it was dying. Instinctively, it lashed out at the nearest living thing that it sensed, which happened to be the hand that it was standing on. The spider lowered its head and sank its fangs deep into the flesh before blacking out.

"Ow!" Ami slapped her hand where she had felt a slight stab of pain.

Michiru turned around and pulled up her goggles. "What happened, Ami-chan?"

"Something bit me," Ami responded, also pulling up her goggles and placing them on her crown. She lifted her hand to see the crushed body of a tiny spider, a leg still twitching in the air. She brought her hand up to take a closer look at the spider. "That's odd. Spiders don't usually bite for any reason like this…"

"How can you be sure, Ami-chan?" Michiru asked, trying to take a closer look at where the spider bit Ami.

"BecaaaAAAAHHHH!!!!" Ami suddenly felt a bolt of pain shoot throughout her entire body and she fell to the floor, clutching herself in agony. She dimly heard Michiru cry out as she felt her body go into violent spasms, causing her body to thrash about on the floor. She felt herself start to black out and as her body began to go limp, she could barely see Michiru yelling for someone to call for help, tears pouring down her face, and Dr. Octavius, trying to calm her down. The last thought that went through her mind was that at least she shouldn't have to go to school tomorrow.

Then her vision went black.

She could now walk in her own power now, but that did not concern her at the moment.

What did was the image that she could now see with the help of the staff that she had called hers for quite some time now. One of the many things it allowed her to do was to view time in the mortal world at that moment, via a magic window.

And the image that she saw utterly scared her. A blue-haired girl lying on the floor, quite possibly dying. A girl that was extremely important to the future of the world, and beside her was another girl that was just as important, who could do nothing but cry for the help that she could not provide for her friend.

And Sailor Pluto, one of the powerful beings in the universe, couldn't do a damn thing to help them at all.


To be continued.

Author's notes: First off, I do not even remotely claim to have any knowledge of scientific method or fact, save for what little I learned in high school and TV, so that should tell you something. If you see something that is factually wrong, please tell me so I can try to fix it (unless, of course, it totally messes up the story. Can't have that, y'know).

I can only imagine how easy it was for anyone to figure out who the "mystery" woman was the entire time, so if I bored you with it, well, sorry.

As so far as the ages of the characters are concerned, they're a bit different from the anime/manga. Ami and Makoto are sixteen and are in their second year of high school, while Haruka and Michiru are seventeen and in their third year.

And, as for some of the Sailor Senshi being slightly OOC, remember, they haven't become Sailor Senshi yet. Makoto has not met Usagi yet, and thus did not gain the friendship she desperately needed. So I think that she would have continued on with her thuggish ways, eventually becoming a bully. And without Michiru's calming influence, I think Haruka would have followed a similar route. However, I do think that Haruka and Makoto would still become friends, even if they weren't the good-natured people that we're used to. But are they lovers? Hmm…

As for Michiru's driving, well, in the anime, I have never seen Michiru drive. Usually it's Haruka who's doing the driving, so maybe there's a reason for that…

And the reasons for why Pluto was so weak will be explained in the next part. Stay tuned.

—Christopher Horton

Chapter 2
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