Part 5

jemma's story





The cat stared up at the moon longingly, trying to remember
what it was about that thing in the sky that nagged him.  On
the edge of his mind, visions of royal palaces and sailor
fukus danced in his head.

Surely, these were not normal cat things.

Sitting next to him on the balcony was the girl, Gemma.  She
was also feeling odd, a sort of odd that was hard to
describe.  Gemma felt odd, hollow, as if there was a part of
her that was missing.  The odd dreams she'd been having
lately certainly didn't help.

She affectionately scratched the cat behind the
ears, eliciting a pleasant purr from the cat.

"Couldn't sleep either, Bill?" 

The cat meowed and looked at her briefly, focusing on
Gemma's forehead.  For as moment, it thought it saw a dark
crescent moon sort of symbol there, but then it vanished. 
Dismissing the event as trivial, the cat slinked back into
the house.  It suspected there was a mouse somewhere, and it
was feeling a little bloody-minded at the moment.

"Hm.  Right."

Idly, Gemma wondered what Uncle John was up to. 


- - -


It started out a dream, but it was now a nightmare.
Everything that had been happening so far, all the miserable
business about the Silver Millenium scouts and running about
in a sailor fuku, it all made sense now.

One of John's greatest fears was coming true.

"Oh no... Gemma... not you."

He stared at her still, not believing, not wanting to
believe his niece had fallen victim to the same curse that
claimed a Constantine in every generation.

The curse of magic.

Denial came easy, and fast.

"No... no... you're not Gemma.  Not my Gemma."

"Uncle John-"

"Who are you?  Why are you doing this?"

"I... I am a part of Gemma," said the girl.  "I've always
been a part of her, just behind her waking thoughts and on
the fringes of her dreams.  She and I are one and the same,
though your interference has changed that." 

"Yeah?   Good!  'Coz Gemma doesn't need this shite right
now!"

She winced, stung by his words.  "Uncle John, please..."

John turned his back to her.  "I'm not your bloody uncle. 
You're just a ghost from the past who should've gone to
sleep thousands of years ago." 

"I was the part of her that explored the world around her.
I was the part of her that always felt there was something
more out there in the world than what our little flat had to
offer.  I've always been here."

John, back still turned, said nothing.  An uncomfortable
moment of silence passed between them.

"I remember the times you visited me, John," said the girl
softly. "You saved me from that boring house and that living
statue that called itself my father.  Every time, you'd come
back with fantastic stories and strange little trinkets from
all over the world."

She reached out and held his shoulder.  John didn't respond,
not flinching but not turning her way either.

"I remember all the times I'd have things troubling me that
I didn't want to trouble mum with.  I could always go to
you.  You didn't yell at me, you always set me straight."

John sighed.

"You said you'd always be there for me, Uncle John, and you 
always have been.  Don't break that promise now.  Please?" 

He turned around at last, looking solemn and sad.  "So, I
suppose you'll be wanting me to hand over that magic wand to
you, eh?"

Gemma nodded.

John turned away once more.  "I swore I'd be the last
Constantine tainted by magic, and dammit, I will be.  I'm
sorry, Gemma, but it's for your own good."

"You don't understand, Uncle John," said Gemma.  "There's
something we have to do, unfinished business."

"You have no idea what trouble magic'll bring to you," said
John bitterly.

"I know, all too well."

Gemma glided towards John, who still had his back to her.
She wrapped her arms around him and they began to fade away.

"Hey!  What's this?!" yelled John.

"You don't understand," said Gemma as they faded into
nothing, "but I can make you understand."

The image of deep space disappeared, replaced by a shining
city on the horizon.

"This," said Gemma, "was the Silver City, capital of the
Silver Millenium, more than twenty-five thousand years
ago..." 


- - -


Sailor Venus yelled in surprise, "SHE WHAT?!"

"She destroyed Nemesis," said Pluto.

"That... but... she's that powerful?" asked Venus.

"Until the day she did, I didn't think so."

"The power to destroy a planet in the hands of that man," 
murmured Venus.  "Pluto, I still think it was a bad idea to
leave behind that Constantine guy.  If he's got the power
to-" 

"Constantine doesn't have the full power of Sailor Nemesis,
nor should he," said Pluto.  "He is not the true Sailor
Nemesis."

"Then who is?" asked Venus.

The two leaped down from the rooftops they'd been jumping
across, landing in the dark shadows of a grove of trees. 
Pluto transformed into her civilian guise as Setsuna Meiou,
and Venus followed suit, transforming into Minako Aino. 

"She is," said Setsuna, pointing to a small, two story loft. 
On the second floor, leaning out from the window, a
short-haird girl was gazing out at the stars longingly. 

"Who's she?"

"Gemma Constantine Masters.." 

"Constantine?"

"She is also John Constantine's niece."

The two observed the girl for a time, Setsuna as serene as
usual and Minako... not quite so.

"So... why are we back here?" asked Minako.

"I have a feeling it's the right thing to do."

"You have a FEELING?"

"This entire scenario is hardly logical," said Setsuna.  "It
stands to reason we might as well go with the flow." 

This, thought Minako, was not the usual Setsuna.  Something
about this entire situation, therefore, must be skewed.

"So, who is this Sailor Nemesis and why don't I remember
her?"

"Sailor Nemesis was... before your time," replied Setsuna.
"Early in the history of the Silver Millenium, as worlds
were beginning to be colonized, the planet Nemesis was
claimed by the kingdom.  Unlike the other planets, Nemesis
was not used for colonization, but to hold rebels,
criminals, and others that had caused much turmoil in our
society. "

"Sounds like Australia," said Minako. 

Setsuna paused, thinking it over.  "I suppose so.  With
time, everything changes, and after several hundred years
Nemesis had changed as well.  It had made itself into a
self-sustaining colony, with its own ruling family and
government.  It still held alliegence to our queen, though,
and many of its people hoped to strengthen the government
and economy of Nemesis enough so that it would be able to
stand proud with its sister planets. 

"However, there was one thing it lacked.  From all the other
planets a child was born which was destined to serve as
guardian of her planet and hold a position at the court of
the queen.  This child would be selected by divine powers,
and one would know the child was chosen when a mark upon
their forehead would mysteriously appear and disappear. 

"Nemesis had no such representative.  It was felt that this
was a sign from God that their world was not yet worthy.  A
generation before the fall of the Silver Millenium, that
would change.  The only daugher of the ruling house of
Nemesis, Jemma Konstyntin, was discovered to have the mark. 

"We of the queen's court were uneasy with this development,"
said Setsuna.  "For the house of Konstyntin practiced in
dark magics, not forbidden but not smiled upon either.  To
have one of their kind serve close to the queen was a tricky
political situation."

"Dark magic?  What was so bad about it?" asked Minako.

"It is the same magic that, years later, Queen Beryl would
use to bring the Silver Millenium to an end." 

Minako, eyes wide in surprise, nodded.  "Oh.  Okay.  That
sounds bad, yeah." 

"I still don't understand why she was chosen," said Setsuna. 
"Jemma was a very fragile personality, with low self esteem,
bouts of depression, and an acute case of paranoia.  It was
hoped that her time as a guardian would strengthen her. 
Unfortunately, it had the opposite effect..." 


- - -


The assembled guardians of the queen and planets looked at
the figure standing before them, unsure what to make of her.
Some looked at her neutrally, like Sailor Pluto had, while
others including Sailor Venus, the leader of the Sailor
Senshi, clearly were uncomfortable with her.

After being greeted by the queen, Pluto was instructed to be
her guide and show her the whos, whats, wheres, and whys of
the capital city.

Nemesis wasn't quite what Pluto had expected.  With the
reputation that the planet of Nemesis had, she thought
Sailor Nemesis would be quite a strong personality.  Instead,
Nemesis was entirely the opposite, a soft-spoken, timid girl
that barely seemed certain of herself at times. 

The two strode down the endless corridors of the palace
silently, with Nemesis too nervous to say anything and Pluto
not having anything in particular to say.

"They... don't like me," said Sailor Nemesis quietly, out of
the blue.

This was true, though Pluto wished it were not.  Despite her
advice, some of the other Sailor Senshi had shown their
disapproval of the girl, looking at her disdainfully as she
stood before the queen.

"They... are concerned about your family's use of dark
magics," said Pluto.  "A great many of those who use it go
mad, violently so, or become criminally insane."

Jemma scowled, though only slightly.  "I see.  I was told
they'd have this prejudice."

"Dark magic is a dangerous thing," said Pluto.  "It is said
that the dead are best left alone, and the beings from other
worlds are not to be trusted, yet dark magic does both."

Nemesis stopped walking, the scowl on her face increasing.

"I did not mean to offend you," said Pluto.  "I only wished
to explain our concern."

"Dark magic is like any other weapon," said Nemesis with
conviction.  "It's not good, it's not evil, it's a tool to
be used wisely." 


- - -


"You see, they were all against me," said Gemma bitterly as
she and John watched her former self walk down the hallway
with Sailor Pluto. 

"Certainly wasn't the best of welcomes, no," admitted John.

"People are stupid that way," said Gemma.  "What they can't
understand, manipulate, or control, they hate.  Oh, they
tried and pretended that all was well in the kingdom, but
-I- heard their snickers and sneers, -I- saw how they were
looking at me like I was some bloody roach, everyone but the
Queen." 

This, thought John, was not good.  Gemma, in her past life,
was clearly paranoid.

"What was I to do in these circumstances?" asked Gemma.
"What could I do?  I had little friends before, and now I
was stuck on another world where everyone hated me.  All I
had left was my duty and my magic.  I atttended to my duties
far better than anyone had expected, and my aptitude in
magic grew in leaps and bouds as well.

"Of course, there were those that hated me enough to do
something drastic, something foolish.  And of course," she
said bitterly, "they blamed this on me." 


- - -


The city streets of Silver City were abnormally empty, noted
Jemma, as she took her daily walk.  Something was wrong,
very wrong.  As she entered an alley between two tall
buildings, her suspicions were confirmed.

"You! Jemma Konstyntin!"

She turned around nervously, nearly dropping the books she
was carrying.  Behind her, the street was filled with an
angry mob wielding pick-axes and other weapons.  She turned
to run away, only to find the other end blocked by a mob as
well. 

"Leave me alone," she said quietly.

"Dark magic's got no place in the moon kingdom!  We'll put
an end to you poisoning the Queen's ear with your advice!"

So.

This was how it was going to be.

"NEMESIS POWER!"

The crowd was momentarily startled as her transformation
sequence took place, with dark shadows swirling around her,
civilian clothing replaced by the all-ebony uniform of
Sailor Nemesis.

The mobs charged her, swords raised high and with battle
yells.

"All I ever wanted was to be left alone," whispered Sailor
Nemesis.  "NEMESIS SHADOW FLIGHT!"

Two dark wings formed, made of dark shadows and demonic in
form.  They unfolded, stretching out surpisingly wide, then
flapped once.  The gust of wind sent the crowd stumbling
back, a few even running in fear.  As Sailor Nemesis
ascended above them, dark blasts of energy shot forth and
struck the building's sides.  The debris that fell blocked
any route of escape the mob had.

"I hate you!  I HATE YOU ALL!  NEMESIS ARMY OF DARKNESS!"

Two more spheres of darkness shot forth from her hands, this
time striking the street.  Two large pools of darkness
formed, engulfing the entire alleyway.  The crowd was in a
panic now, screaming and clawing at the debris that blocked
their escape.

>From the darkness, _things_ emerged.  Their shape and size
varried greatly, but they were all alien and grotesque in
shape, and they were all as dark as the night sky.

As the monstrosities began to attack the citizens, Sailor
Nemesis turned away from them.  She covered her hands with
her ears, not wanting to hear the screams when it began. 

They had it coming.  They deserved it.

"That's enough," said a voice nearby.

Nemesis whirled around to see Sailor Pluto standing atop one
of the alleyway buildings, only a short jump away from her.

"They attacked me first!"

"They're only people," said Sailor Pluto.

"No!  I'm sick of it, do you hear me!  I'm sick of everyone
looking down on me!"

"It's your duty as a guardian of the Silver Millenium to
protect her people, no matter what."

Sailor Nemesis looked down at the screaming crowds below.
None of them were being killed by her creatures, she had
enough control to make sure that didn't happen.  But some
of them would be getting maimed in a moment or two.

"Jemma," said Pluto softly.  "Please."

"Fine," spat Nemesis.  "FINE!  Take THEIR side!"  With a
sweep of her arm, the ebony monstrosities disintegrated into
ashes and disappeared with the passing breeze.  Before Pluto
could say anything else, Nemesis flew off into the night.


- - -


"There was no way for Jemma to avoid a reprimand after that
incident," said Setsuna.  "It was a bad situation for all.
If Jemma was punished, this would push her further into her
paranoia.  It would also alienate her from the Queen, who
seemed to be the only person she wasn't hostile to yet.  But
if she was not punished, many across the kingdom would see
that as a sure sign the Queen was being corrupted."

"Wow, talk about being caught on a fork between hard roads,"
said Minako. 

"Anyway," continued Setsuna, trying as best she could not to
get sidetracked by Minako's mangling of old sayings, "Jemma
was sent back to Nemesis for a time.  Officially, she was
reprimanded and banned from the Moon.  Privately, the Queen
tried to assure Jemma that this was not a personal slight,
that the people needed time to accept her and she needed to
be out of sight for a while. 

"Of course," said Pluto, shaking her head sadly, "Jemma
didn't see it that way.  She promised she'd uphold her
duties as guardian of Nemesis and the Silver Millenium, but 
it was also clear that she would do them without our help."

"For months, she stayed in seclusion, out in the vast
undeveloped and barren plains of planet Nemesis."


- - -


"It was clear they didn't want me," said Gemma.  "That was
fine by me.  I didn't need them either.  But when I came
home, everyone was mad at me.  Mother, father, it seemed
like the whole bloody planet was blaming me..."

Jemma closed her eyes and clenched her fists.

"I couldn't take it anymore," she said bitterly.  "So I went
off to the barren plains of Nemesis.  I needed time to clear
my mind, to get away from the pressure, and I used that time
to improve the skills I had as well.  I guess I used the
craft as a diversion.  I didn't want to think about anything
else.

"Months passed in which I worked hard to master the dark
magics.  Eventually, I began to look into the use of
spirits to foretell the future.  At first I was able to get
simple things predicted, like the draw of a card.  But after
a week, I could accurately get the week's weather, and after
a month the spirits whispered to me the events of three
thousand years down the line.

"They showed me visions of Crystal Tokyo, and the new
kingdom which would be born of the long dead ashes of the
Silver Millenium.  One thing was missing, however.  There
was no Nemesis.

"And then the spirits told me why.  Sort of."


- - -


"Spirits, come forth."

Alone, in a dimly lit cave, Jemma warily watched as the
spirits swirled within the circle of binding she had drawn
on the floor, listening as they whispered to her the things
that only they could see.

Jemma's attempts at seeing into the future were growing
stronger every day.  Today, she hoped to be able to see the
future of Nemesis and all the glory it may achieve.

However, there was something... something different about
the spirits today.

   Who summons me?

Jemma frowned.  Only one spirit.  She must've drawn in a
fairly powerful one, then, if it took up the entire circle
and allowed no other in.

"I am called Sailor Nemesis.  I am the guardian of Nemesis,
servant of Queen Serenity.  What manner of spirit are you?"

   You may call me... Wiseman.

"Show me Nemesis, her future, what will become of her
people," she said, waving a hand across the border of the
circle.  The spirits swirled and swayed, then formed an
image... 

Rocks.  Many rocks.

"What is this?"

   The future, mistress.

"I need the future of NEMESIS!  What is this?"

   This is Nemesis.

"I don't understand..."

   Nemesis will be no more, merely bits of rocks floating
   endlessly in space.

"No..."

The scenery changed, to show the Moon Palace in ruins, empty
and abandoned.

   The Silver Millenium will be no more.

"This cannot be... there must be a way to avoid this fate!"

   There is.


- - -


"And so Sailor Nemesis was out of the public eye for a
while, and all became peaceful once more in the Silver
Millenium," said Pluto.  "However, that was not to last.
Sailor Nemesis would return one last time to the Moon
Palace.

"It would not be a pleasant visit."


- - -


Despite her current status as banned from the Moon, Jemma
returned to the Moon Palace.  Sightings of her walking
through the corridors were already causing a stir among
the staff and servants.

It was what was about to happen next that would cause the
most controversy, as Nemesis entered Pluto's quarters, not
even bothering to knock.

That was fine, though.  Pluto knew she was coming, though
she didn't know why.

"I need a Time Key," asked Nemesis.

Pluto's eyes narrowed.  A time key was a device which
allowed one to travel through time.  It was a
tremendously powerful device, one that required great
responsibility to have.

"May I ask why?" queried Pluto cooly.  Nemesis' behaviour as
of late had not inspired confidence, and this last request
was not helping.

"I've seen it in visions, Pluto.  The spirits have shown me
the future, and it is a dark vision."

"Spirits are not to be trusted," said Pluto.  "They may
distort the visions to their ends."

"The Silver Millenium will come to a close.  You know this
to be true, mistress of time," accused Nemesis.

"There is a saying amongst the few who guard time," said
Pluto.  "The future happens as it must, the past is as it
always will be."

"What of your duty to the Silver Millenium and her people?"

"Kingdoms rise and fall," said Pluto.  "I help as best I
can, but there is no avoiding fate."

"The Silver Millenium will fall, and my people will be the
first to die!  I will NOT stand by and allow that to
happen!" yelled Nemesis.  She held her right hand out, and
shadows swirled around it, until an ebony whip formed.

"What are you doing, Nemesis?" asked Pluto calmly.

"Give me a time key.  Please."

The chamber door swung open, revealing Sailor Venus and the
rest of the Senshi.

"Back away from her, witch," said Venus menacingly.

Nemesis narrowed her eyes, looking as if she was about to
take them all on.  Then, suddenly and quietly, it left her.

"Very well," she whispered.  "Let your kingdoms fall around
you.  I will not let Nemesis share the same fate."

A black circle appeared under her feet.  With a slight
'woosh', Nemesis sank into it and disappeared.


- - -


Deep within the caves of Nemesis, Jemma materialized.  She
strode to the glowing red circle and sat down next to it
with a sigh.

   They refused your request.

"Yes," she grumbled.

   There is time yet.

   You must grow in power.

   There are secrets you have yet to learn.

   There is time.

"Yes," she said quietly, her own eyes glowing a slight red.
"There is time."


- - -


"And so I listened to this spirit and enacted the rituals
which he described," said Gemma, facing away from John as
the cave around them dissolved into nothing.  "Stupid,
stupid me."

"Let me guess," said John.  "The spirit wasn't all that he
seemed."

Gemma nodded.  "The rituals involved going to unexplored
regions of Nemesis, places where ordinary people would not
survive, but Sailor Nemesis would.  There, in deep
underground chasms and barren wastelands, I placed sigils on
the earth.  I could _feel_ the power that those sigils set
loose, and thought that power was soon to be mine."

Gemma took a deep breath, paused, then turned to face John. 
"There are things in the universe far older than us, races
that have come and gone, secrets that we'll never know. What
I didn't know was that those sigils weren't for drawing in
power, but setting it loose." 

"Setting it loose?"

"Those sigils weren't for tapping into power.  They were for
setting it free.  As it turned out, the Silver Millenium
wasn't the first civilization to use Nemesis as a prison.

"But I didn't realize it."


- - -


"The final sigil is in place!" yelled Sailor Nemesis.  "What
now?!"

The howling wind was the only reply.

"Wiseman!  Answer me!"

   Fool.

Beneath her feet, the earth shuddered.  Something deep
within the planet moved, something large, something
powerful.

   I thank you for setting me free.

"What are you... no!  Stop it!"

   Foolish little girl, so easy to manipulate.
   You will do nicely as an avatar.

She suddenly felt her soul being pushed back into the
darkest corners of her mind as something ancient beyond
words invaded her mind.  The earth shook violently and the
wind screamed as the planet.

"NO!  GET OUT OF MY MIND!"

Years of training suddenly kicked in.  She recited spells of
binding and banishment, of power and protection, and she
felt the alien entity's grip on her mind falter to
nothingness.

Somewhere in space and time, the being known as Wiseman
hurled uncontrollably through time, space, and dimensions,
far into the future where it would meet its final fate.


- - -


"I... I managed to defeat Wiseman.  Where he went, I don't
know, but he wouldn't be able to return to the solar system
for a long time.  It was a small victory."  Gemma shuddered,
tears forming in her eyes.  "When I finally came to my
senses... I... I..."

She tried to hold it back, but the tears began streaming
from her eyes.

"It... whatever it was... it was a _part_ of the planet. 
And when... and when I set it loose..." 

The vision of Nemesis that was all around them began to
shudder, then shake, and finally shattered with a blinding
light.  Everything around them was exploding, shooting out
into space, and a million lives screamed as one as their
world came to a sudden end.

"I'm sorry... so sorry..."

John took her into his arms and held her as she sobbed
uncontrollably.   Just like he'd done so many times in the
past, thought John.

"Shh, s'okay Gemma.  S'alright."

The grand scale of the disaster was stunning to John.
Through history, Constantines had always left a bloody trail
of wasted lives and great disasters.  John himself had
dozens of deaths on his conscience.

But all that was nothing compared to the destruction of a
planet.  How many lives were on that colony, he wondered.
How many thousands?  Or even millions?


- - -


"One night, the astronomers of the other planets reported a
flash in the sky somewhere in the vicintity of the Nemesis
colony," said Pluto.  "No gateway to the planet was working
either, all of them either cracking or shattering suddenly
all at once.  I knew something was wrong, deeply wrong. 
When the queen asked for someone to investigate, I had to go
see it myself." 

"Whoa," said Minako breathlessly, the sort of 'whoa' that
said this was indeed an important and deep matter at hand.

"They'd managed to get one gateway repaired and working,
though none dared step through.  It was feared that the dark
mages of Nemesis had finally brought unspeakable evils from
the other worlds.  This was believed to be true, as for some
reason our mages could not summon forth a vision of Nemesis
either.  It was with these expectations that I stepped
through the gate to Nemesis..."


- - -


"Impossible..."

Sailor Pluto stared around her at the clustered void of
space, with only asteroids and debris filling the air around
her.

She floated through the asteroid field, searching for
any clues of what had happened here.  There were legends
that foretold of a time when Nemesis would fall, but for it
to truly be destroyed was something that she hadn't
considered.

And then she saw the palace.

The majestic Nemesis Palace, or what was left of it, spun
slowly in the abyss, her servants and masters floating dead
around it.

What could have done this?  There was no force in the
universe she knew of that was powerful enough to destroy a
planet.

Except for Sailor Saturn, but Pluto would have known if it was 
her...

A slight shimmer caught her eye atop one of the spires of
Nemesis Palace.  Flying in closer, she could see a figure
curled up in a fetal atop the spire's tip, large ebony wings
folded around her.

Sailor Nemesis.

Pluto slowly, cautiously floated towards her, and gently
touched her shoulder.  Nemesis was mumbling something over
and over and trembling.

"Jemma, it's me.  Setsuna."

And finally, Pluto heard what Nemesis was saying, over and
over...

   "I'm sorry I'm sorry I'm sorry I'm sorry I'm sorry..."


- - -


"Those would be Jemma's last words," said Setsuna.  "As I
returned to the moon with her, Jemma fell into a coma that
she would not recover from."

Minako frowned, and said in all seriousness, "Worse than
Mamoru after Usagi cooks for him, huh?"

Setsuna resolutely tried to ignore Minako's comment,
continuing her tale.  "Her final words hinted that the
disaster was her fault.  The massive amount of dark magic
tainting the remains of Nemesis was, in the eyes of many,
the final proof that it was she who caused it.  From that
time onward, Queen Serenity made the use of dark magic
absolutely forbidden." 

"Sounds to me like closing the barn door after someone steals
your stereo," Minako said, again intending to be serious.

Setsuna took a moment to take a deep breath. 

"As for Jemma Konstyntin, she was placed in stasis, awaiting
the day healers would be able to place together her
shattered mind."

Minako frowned.  "Wait.  Why didn't they use the Silver Crystal
to heal Jemma?"

"Without killing the person who would be using the crystal?"

Minako slapped her head.  "Oh, right."


- - -


"So, that's your story," said John.  Gemma, still crying in
John's arms, though not as much as before, nodded. 

"Well then, how'd we go from there to here?"

"I'm... I'm not sure.  The others might know," said Gemma.
"It seems as if the royal families of the Silver Millenium
have been reborn.  Perhaps it's our second coming."

"So you think you're here to help restore the kingdom?"

Gemma shook her head.  "I don't think so.  Even if I was, I
care little for it now.  Let them have their kingdoms, I've
had enough of that."

"Know how you feel," said John.  "Now... how the hell did
you end up in my head?"

"It's probably because you took the transformation wand," 
said Gemma.  "It was supposed to unlock all the memories
that I had, as well as the power.  Somehow, though, it
transferred it all to you.  Funny, that.  It shouldn't work
that way at all.  I'm guessing the power I had is adapting
itself to your own, which is why you had those funny demons
dragged up from hell for a moment." 

"Hell's Blazing Attacks and such, eh?"

Gemma nodded.

"Ah, lucky me," said John dryly.  

"Your attacks are an extention of your true nature.  Just
visualize what you wish to do, and say the phrase that comes
to mind.  It will come to you naturally."  Gemma smiled.  A
small smile, but an improvement over her raging angst.  "I
suppose a title fitting for you would be... hmm... Sailor
Hellblazer."

"Well, yes, and it rhymes too," deadpanned John.  "So,
what's so important that you need to take back the wand?" 

"I must return to Nemesis... or what's left of it," said
Jemma.  "There's one last thing to do before I can rest..."

"I'll help, but on one condition," said John.

"Anything you ask, Uncle."

"One, I'm doing it, not you.  And two, after we're done,
you'll go back to being how you were before this mess.  You
live a _normal_ life." 

"Actually, Uncle, there's a problem with not returning me to
my other half," said Jemma cautiously.  It was that tone of
voice that said 'you aren't going to like what I'm going to
say', and John noticed.

"Problem?" askeed John.

"We're... stuck."

"Stuck?  What d'you mean stuck?"

"The magic, my magic, it was never meant to be with you to
begin with, and now it's stuck."

"And?" asked John, not quite comprehending the problem.

"And... well... the only way to get it unstuck is to give
the power to my other half."

"No," said John firmly.  "Absolutely not."

"And if you don't," continued Jemma, "well, you'll be a
woman for the rest of your life."

John blinked.

He opened his mouth, then closed it, and then opened it
again.  "Stuck," he managed to say.

Jemma nodded, looking very apologetic.


- - -


"Oi!  John!  Wake up!"

With a groan and sigh, John sat up from the back seat.  Much
to his irritation, he was still a she.  "Wha... what's up,
Chas?"

"We're here."

"Here?  What here?"  She rubbed her eyes as she sat up,
twisting her back to work out some of the kinks.

"You asked me t'drive you home, right?  Here's your flat."

"Oh, good.  I was starting t'get that not-so-fresh feeling." 

Chas stared at her, horrified.  John broke out with a burst
of laughter.

"Just kiddin', mate."

"Jesus, John, don't kid about that shite.  I get enough of
that crap from me missus."

"Heh, right.  C'mon, let's go."

"What're you gonna do?"

"Get us a hostage."


-  e n d  p a r t  5  -