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Random bit of Sailor Senshi character development/plotting since mentions step on my favored interpretations of them - this builds on Judge Mental's fragment; feel free to disregard, or tell me if I've got things horribly stuffed up.

Hiwaka Shrine, sometime after three AM.

"You're back." Makoto greeted Usagi warmly. "No luck yet. Although Rei-chan has been scribbling notes every half hour."

The shrine maiden had camped out in front of the sacred fire within two minutes of Ami burying herself in the Mercury computer and neither one had done anything but try since.

"I put Chibausa to bed. Mamochan and Hotaru are guarding her, so.....where's Mina?"

Makoto turned a brief worried look on Usagi, communicating several dozen things and said, "She went out."

"Alone, Kino?" Usagi's ride asked archly from behind her.

Haruka ferried a box of food -from Michiru - into the shrine; Being on guard duty for the searchers, Makoto hadn't had time to cook - and continued. "And you let her?"

"Mina-chan is only a little upset, 'Ruka." Usagi said reasonably. "I'm sure - " She trailed off after another glance from Makoto.

"I haven't seen V-chan look like that since D-point." Makoto said bluntly. "'Upset' is not the right word. I wasn't about to get in her way. Anyway, she wasn't alone, she took Artemis with her."

"Artemis keeping someone out of trouble is far to much to ask for. Together the two of them seem to get into even more trouble than separately anyway. ..but what are you not saying, Jupiter?" The third arrival asked from ankle height as Usagi looked gently over Ami's shoulder and then put a plate of sandwiches in front of the keyboard.

"She left as Sailor V." Makto said. "I didn't know she could still transform that way, Luna."

The black cat regarded Jupiter's human form levelly for a moment before saying something liquid and vicious sounding in Lunarian. "Do you have any idea where they've -gone-?" Luna asked patiently.

"Tokyo Police Headquarters." Ami interjected. "She's been showing up on my scans like a beacon since she left - she's not trying to hide at all."

"Oh, then she's just gone to talk to Natsuna-san." Usagi sighed releivedly. "That's good. She needed to talk to someone."

"...objections withdrawn, I don't want to be involved." Haruka said mock-seriously. "If she's talking to that cop -"

"Someone's still sore about the ticket she couldn't get dismissed from a couple of years ago." Rei observed wearily slipping in from the shrine room for a break. "And someone ought to, since 'that cop' is director-general of Tokyo police. This is - not going to stay small."

"That to." Usagi agreed.

"To?" Haruka asked briefly and got a worried look from their future queen.

"Mina fought alone for one year - most of. She was loads better by the time she met you." Usagi said. "Akiko-chan was alone for -seven-. And we missed it. How do you think that must make Mina feel?"

Haruka winced. "Oh. ...she never seemed - "

"If Minako were on fire and I asked if she were okay she'd probably say 'peachy!'. I note how she doesn't look upset until after I leave." Usagi retorted. "Sort of like certain race car drivers I know."

"Guilty, Koneko." Haruka allowed, and knelt down to wait herself. It promised to be a long night already, with more to come.