For a genius like Mizuno Ami, everything was scary. She wasn't a coward. Fear never stopped her from action. Still... when she could unconsciously work out all the angles that led to hell in a hand basket 5 seconds after she walked into any situation…everything was pretty damn scary.
The first time she saw Viluy's Mosaic Buster was no exception. She'd used Shine Aqua Illusion to protect Haruka and Michiru. When the nano-bots broke free of the ice and hit her instead, it wasn't a surprise – just a logical conclusion in a series of events.
The pain was exactly as she imagined it would be. Millions of nano-bots consuming her molecule by molecule until there was nothing left of her. Not for the first time, she cursed her intelligence for giving her the ability to fully understand the horror of the situation. She wondered if it would hurt all the way to the end, or if the nano-bots would overwhelm the pain receptors in her brain first. She wondered what her body would look like as the machines progressed. Pile of dust? Or a puddle of blood maybe? Random left over bits of the denser parts of her body? Would she still be conscious? When would it end? She wished she could just turn off her brain sometimes. She didn't need to imagine her last moments as she was experiencing them.
Then she heard footsteps and the familiar voice of Sailor Moon and her friends. She smiled. Now there was a variable that she'd hoped for, but didn't dare to consider.
In the days that followed, Ami could never remember exact details of what happened. Just white hot pain, fear, and the desperate hope that came when she felt the pain started to fade. She wasn't sure if the pain was fading because she was dying, or if it was due to Viluy herself having lost control of the nano-bots. In the moment though, she didn't actually care, just as long as it was over soon.
It turns out that she was alive when it was over, but there was no time to digest that fact. Hotaru was gone, the Messiah of Silence was coming. Everything else was irrelevant until the world was safe again, Ami pushed her fear back into the corner of her mind. Still, she never forgot the pain, and that last panicked fluttering of hope.
It would be days before she had the opportunity to analyze the situation properly. Days of uncertainty – were the nano-bots replicating? Could they infect anyone else? Would they power up again? Ami was afraid. Whenever Ami was afraid, she went into research mode. Research leads to understanding, and understanding led to relief, even if the truth was unnerving.
The nano-bots were still in her body, just powered down. She tested Haruka and Michiru as well but found no trace of the nano-bots in them. Ami theorized that because they were in human form when they were hit, their Senshi powers were able to burn out the foreign objects when they transformed. Mercury had taken a full blast and now, the nano-bots were integrated with her body. There was no way to remove them. They weren't contagious, they weren't replicating. Simply lying dormant inside her. Creepy, but better than 80% of the scenarios Ami had already considered. Ami could deal with that.
The first time the nano-bots flared up was so innocent that Ami didn't make the connection. She was petting Luna when suddenly she felt a flash of pain rip through her body. She gasped and stumbled. Luna was concerned, but it was over before she could understand what happened. Easily dismissed as a twisted nerve, or a cramp and forgotten.
The second time was much more memorable. Ami remembered being uncomfortable all day, a vague, ill-defined pain that gradually grew worse until she was shaking uncontrollably on her bedroom floor.
She remembered the summer storm outside, the rain, the flashing lighting, and wondering if this was the day she was going to die.
She remembered Mako coming to check on her for missing a study session. She remembered Mako picking her up, carrying her to her bed, and just holding her until the pain was gone. She also remembered that was the day they first kissed. Somewhat confused and desperate at first, but then warm and comforting as the storm died down.
All in all, she isn't sure if that was the best day of her life, or the worst, but it was certainly the most memorable.
The third time was in battle. Jupiter had an open shot on whatever it was they were fighting that day. Some kind of wierd microwave oven daimon? The last thing she remembered of that battle was a familiar sound:
"Sparkling Wide Pressure!"
When she came to, the pieces all clicked into place. Electricity! Of course!
On some level, Ami knew her joy at her theory regarding electricity being proven correct was ridiculous. It wasn't a good thing, but with knowledge, she could fight back.
Apparently, the nano-bots could power up on the ambient electrical charges in the environment. Frightening, but somewhat scientific and understandable. Not being able to fight anymore and letting her friends down? Less understandable. Ami knew which issue she was better at dealing with.
Ami stopped counting individual occurrences after that. She accepted this new aspect of her life. She would occasionally get eaten alive from the inside, and her body would just repair the damage and move on. Cause and effect understood; a strangely real-world example of the Ship of Theseus thought experiment. Putting uncomfortable philosophy aside, Ami moved onto practical research. Further experimentation taught her to dull the nano-bot reactions in her body. There was still pain, but it was no longer incapacitating.
Makoto learned to focus her powers better and even learned how to draw excess electricity into herself. Sailor Merucry could stand without fear at Jupiter's side again. That was a huge relief, and Ami loved her for it.
Mako was always there for her. On stormy days, Ami would show up at Mako's place, a slight tremor in her voice betraying her fear and pain. Mako would let her in. She would then hold her and power down the nano-bots. Mako had learned to defy the laws of physics just to protect her. It seemed completely illogical, romantic even, and Ami loved her all the more. Eventually, Ami found the courage to express that love fully and miracle of miracles, Makoto felt the same.. They made love together one stormy night. Ami smiled at the memory. From being eaten alive, to a miracle romance. Even Ami the genius didn't see that coming. She liked pleasant surprises.
The communicator beeps interrupted her reminiscing. Dark power sensed near the hospital. Ami scribbled out a quick note to her mother to excuse her absence, and then ran out to battle once again. Whatever came next, she'd fight it her way. With understanding.