Points of Light
A Sailor Moon Fanfic
By Aaron Nowack
Disclaimer: Sailor Moon is not mine, as I am not Naoko Takeuchi. This fic brought to you by the "number" i and the secret letter after z whose name may not be spoken, lest its fearsome attention be attracted. Ia! Ia! *CENSORED* ftaghn!
A thousand points of light.
More than that, to be honest. But, counting would take quite some time, and one thousand was a pleasing number. All those zeros.
A zero meant nothing. Not as in no meaning, but as in the absence of something. It was amazing how simple, yet complicated that concept was.
And one was the opposite of zero. One meant a singular existence, a lone figure standing against the void. Out of nothing, something.
And she was one. At her back was darkness, a massive silent abyss. All consuming, implacable. It did not know she existed. It could not know anything. For, to know, one had to be. And it was not. Unformed and void.
Before her were the lights. Each was a soul, a living being. A life's worth of joys, of sorrows, of loves, of hatreds. A window into that which made each person unique. They were all ones, but they were not alone.
For two ones make a two. Add another, and you have three. Every other number could be made by adding ones. The blue-green Earth was made out of an uncountable number of ones.
But a zero could not be made by adding ones. It could only be created by removing them. By destroying them, feeding them into the raw abyss from which they had come.
Her job was to make zeros.
It took five words for her to don the uniform of her profession, the uniform that brought terror into those who knew what it meant. Her tool quivered under her touch, expectant. A grim smile appeared on her face as she raised it, let it hang threateningly over the unknowing points of light.
"Death," she whispered, and her tool began to glow with a harsh light...
The celebration had been just going into high gear. She did not know why she had agreed to attend. This was not a happy day, not for her. At least, not for the past few years.
It was an hour and a half till midnight. Someone, she wasn't sure who, had gotten their hands on a bottle of some alcoholic beverage, and someone else had prematurely discovered it and introduced it to the party.
She did not drink. It would not have been appropriate. She glanced around the room, wondering whether any of them would be gathered in a year's time. Even without... it, there were far too many chances for one to not survive.
The past year had not been an easy one. The world had teetered on the edge of destruction more than once this past year. Some had lost their lives in halting it. There had been dark events, forbodings of the great evil to come. The inevitable evil that would finally lay claim to this insignificant, magnificent world.
It would come, she knew. She knew it in her bones, in her heart, her mind, her soul. It would come, and all those gathered here would fail. It would come, and all would fail.
The other knew this, but they did not know it the way she knew it. They had been warned, more than the billions that would never know what had occurred when it came. But they squandered that warning. They could not truly believe. They had seen it, but they could not believe.
It was perhaps the tragedy of the whole thing. Because they could not believe, they could not prepare. They could not spend this night with their families, they could not guard them against the onslaught to come.
Instead, they could party. Party on the night before the end of the world.
She rose, and walked to the two who knew better than the rest. "Mama, Papa," she said quietly. "It's time."
A sad look passed between the two, and they quickly made their excuses to the others. Silently, she followed them out of the party.
The time drew near.
She looked over her shoulder. There it lay. Void. Destruction. And she would feed it. It was her destiny.
She turned her attention back to her tool. It was warm to the touch, even to her gloved hands. It quivered, excited that it would finally fulfill its purpose, the goal for which it had allowed itself to be contained and forged so long ago.
For it was alive, in its own way. It did not truly have a mind, but it had a certain awareness. And it had power. Great power, unmatched by anything in the universe. It had been for that power that its ancient makers had allowed themselves to be drawn into its devil's bargain.
She had hoped that there was another that matched it. A light to its darkness, a creator to its unmaker. But that which she had rested her hopes on was not enough. It could not defeat that which came, that which she would bring.
And it too would be returned to the void. The most powerful artifact of creation, unmade as though it had never existed, along with all else. And it would be her fault.
She nearly sighed. But that would have taken emotion, emotion that was being drained out of her by the harsh, unfeeling light she had created. Her mind was empty, as it had to be.
Her tool swung down, seeming of its own volition. At the last moment its descent halted, replaced by a sideways movement. As it reached the opposite side of her body, it swung upward, the cold light trailing it like an unholy ribbon.
She moved it in an impossible pattern, seemingly random. It took the tool's blade all around her, never quite reaching the ground. The movements came instinctively, out of a part of her she had never known existed.
And then she stopped, as the tool returned to its original position. The light surrounded her, chilling her to the bone. She was ready. Her mouth opened, and with her throat dry she uttered the next word.
The car ride had been appropriately silent. The digital clock in front had remorselessly plodded forward on its one-way trek to the appointed hour. Neither her mama nor papa had been willing to break the silence, and it was not her place to do so.
Her papa had not gone for the usual antics, instead driving the car at a slow speed, as though by missing the time what was coming could be stopped. Sadly, it was futile. The place they traveled to was not required, merely convenient. It could be done here, as well as there.
But she preferred to be alone when it came. She would not have to see those she would destroy. It would be her that did it. It was inevitable. The ancient pact required it.
That fate had been avoided before, however narrowly. There was no one to stop it this time. It would be just her, her and it. A foretold dance that would usher in the end, just as the end of the ride now came.
She left the two who had taken her there behind, walking up the path alone for the moment. But she was soon joined by another.
The other was already attired for her duty, her tool in hand. She had greeted her with a nod, and the two had set off, climbing up into the night.
As they reached the place where they were to part, she had asked the other a question. "Will..." That was all that had been required to allow her meaning to be understood.
The other's response was as she had thought. "You know I cannot say."
And with that the two had parted ways, and she had gone up alone into the high place, and looked out over that which she would destroy.
A thousand points of light.
She paused for a moment, gazing out on the sea of points, now hard to see in the glare she cast. Some were vanishing under her harsh light, destroyed as the others would soon be as well.
Her tool hovered, quiet for the moment, hanging like the shadow of death over the world. It was almost finished. When the blade finished its descent, the end would come.
She too would be destroyed. The void knew not its servants, and would not spare them. It would leave neither saints nor sinners behind. It would be as nothing had never been.
The first time she tried, she was unable to say the final word. Her tool leapt to life, angry at her failure. The light strengthened, consuming her vision.
Blind, unwilling, but unable to stop it, she completed the pact.
Her tool hummed, energy flowing through it. She wanted to stop, wanted someone to tell her it was alright. But, it was no alright. It would never be alright again.
Her tool squirmed under her hands, eager to be set free. Finally, concentrating on the task at hand to the exclusion of all else, she finally brought it down.
The sound of the blade passing through air, to the accompaniment of bells below tolling out the midnight hour, was the dirge for the universe, heralding its death. It was to be the last sound she ever heard.
The thud of her tool hitting the ground caused her to involuntarily open her eyes. She nervously glanced downward, relieved as she saw the non-bladed end of her tool firmly buried in the earth.
With an unholy scream, the cold light died away, the power she had summoned wasted, unable to finish its job. Wordlessly, her uniform and tool vanished, returned to whence she had called them.
And she smiled. The bells finished their toll as they rang in the new day. Below her, somewhere, new points of light were born.
The past year had been a bad one. There had been war, famine, pestilence, and death.
But... perhaps this year would be better. Now, it had a chance to try.
"Happy New Year," whispered Tomoe Hotaru.