Mirrors Multiplied

Chapter Nineteen

Silence of the Prereaders

by Jared Ornstead
aka Skysaber

Author's Prequel:
In this section I detail an invention which for the sake of context
I call here a Tesla Battery. It is solely *my* creation. But I see the
chance of it coming to market as somewhat less than nil. The
circumstances of its invention were interesting, but I present the
theory for your amusement value.
Also, I found it less absurd an attempt at breaking the mental
barrier than trying to explain to you how to divide by zero. Which I
can do to my own satisfaction, and *scared* the last mathematician I
explain it to as he said that it challenged his entire vision of math.
Not that I think it's that exciting.

The story, of course, is also for amusement purposes only. I place
it here for the giggles of those who might enjoy it, and may well crawl
back into my hole in fear of those that don't.
For those of you who are curious, it was Jim Robert Bader, in a
series of ceaseless, relentless attacks, who managed to put enough
abuse on my story, my philosophy, writing style, outlook and myself
that this segment of Mirrors had sat complete on my desktop for over a
year before I dared trying my hand at this series again. All because he
thought that a non-corrupt government wasn't possible even in fiction.
The shock was made all the greater by the fact that he was a prereader
at the time.
And it was ultimately Richard Robinson who convinced me to give
this one last try.

Thanks Rick, and to all those others who encouraged me. Your words mean
so much.

*****
Universe D, Eva Dimension

They arrived back at the ruins of the Tendo house only to find
someone waiting for them. The young man with black hair shaved close
and with a pigtail in back smiled and put a hand behind his head in
embarrassment.
"Ehehehe, hi guys."
The crew that had arrived with Yosho powered up.
The youth bowed. "Sorry about this. But mom kinda sent me back in
time. It seems there's some kind of dimensional crossrip and we need
all of you home to stabilize it."
Someone plucked up the nerve to ask the question. "Tenchi?" Achika
stood blinking with a fearful face.
"Yah." The youth bowed again, nervous.
Yosho shot his daughter a look that asked a serious question.
Tenchi apparently didn't notice, still rubbing the back of his
head. "Well, my *real* name is Tendoichi, but even *you* started
calling me Tenchi after everyone else was. For some reason your future
self, my mom I mean, asked that I should say that. I don't know why.
It's true, though."
The crowd around Yosho relaxed considerably, easing the poor boy's
fright. Yosho started rubbing his chin. "Well, we really should be
headed home now. We've got what we came for."
"Excuse me?" Nabiki asked from within the ruins of her family's
house.
"You're going away?" Kasumi echoed.
"It was very kind of you to have us." Ayeka bowed in parting.
"See ya!" Sasami caroled.
Ranma seperated himself partway from the Tenchi crowd and tried to
think of something to say to Achika as she was leaving.
Ryoko and Achika grabbed him from either side and with a flick of
both wrists, Yosho sent the three of them through the time portal. Then
bowed in departure and entire crowd of visitors disappeared in an
instant.
A moment later Ranma reappeared in a cloud of sparkling motes,
looking somewhat more mature, wiser, and of course, dressed in finery
that neither of the Tendo sisters could recognize as the robes of the
Jurai Emperor.
Ranma brushed off his sleeves, then noted the wreck and ruin of the
house around them. With a wry smirk he noted calmly to himself. "Oh
yes, I'd forgotten what a wreck we'd left your place as."
"Forgotten?" Kasumi and Nabiki both echoed in stunned unison.
He shrugged. "Well, it's been two hundred years, you know."
Kasumi fainted.
Nabiki tried but couldn't speak. She kept opening her mouth but
nothing came out. Looking concerned, Ranma crossed over to Kasumi's
side and woke her. She fluttered a bit as she came awake in his arms.
"Kasumi, are you well?"
"I..." she made the mistake of looking up into his blue eyes and
froze. The words came of their own volition. "At first I was worried
that you'd gone. Now you're back and you say that it's been two hundred
years..."
He smiled kindly, and nodded. "Yes. It's been quite a ride, too.
Tenchi, my son, you met him, came and collected us while that universe
straightened out. Yosho started playing games that got me married to
Achika, then Ryoko. Sasami was worried that I didn't appear to be doing
so well, then she did something that gave me the Jurai power to bolster
my immune system and health - which was failing. Sometime later Yosho
pointed out to Ayeka that he had no intention of taking the Jurai
throne, and pointed her in MY direction. So both she and Sasami joined
the crew, while Yosho dropped his guard for one tiny instant and so
woke up the next day married to Washu...."
He shook his head, a smirk in place on his lips. "It's been a wild
ride. And that's not even *mentioning* the successful war of
extermination we waged against the Vogon race or any of the other
things that go on when you're the ruler of an interstellar empire."
Nabiki kept opening and closing her mouth, trying to say something.
Ranma looked down into Kasumi's liquid brown eyes kindly. He
sighed. "I only came back because it's been so long that even with the
Jurai power my health continues to go down. I need to find a part of
myself that's gone missing, and Washu said the best place to get
started was here. Otherwise I'd die and *never* get to see the
grandkids!"
Instead of the amusement he'd expected at this announcement, Kasumi
seemed to wilt inside. "Oh." She muttered softly.
He quickly divined the cause of her concern, and sat her up so that
he could speak to her more on a level. "Kasumi, they are all in another
dimesnion now, and if you want to speak of other realities, there's one
not so far back where I'm married to *you*." He pursed his lips. "I'm
rather fond of that one, actually, even though I did end up
accidentally taking over Japan and China."
Nabiki finally found voice. "You mean... you rule over Japan and
China?"
He shot her a grin. "Strictly by accident, I assure you. I was
fighting with one of my traditional foes, Kuno actually, and displayed
enough firepower doing it that the Emperor chose to surrender the next
day, and China the week after. The US also chose to steal one of my war
machines, and had a well-laid plan that was excellently conceived, well
thought out and excecuted, whose only flaw was that I happened to be in
the cockpit at the time. I didn't stay around for it but gather that
they were added to the fold a day or so later. I get the feeling that
more would have joined once our technology became clear."
Both girls looked at him with VERY mixed feelings.

*****
Somewhere Between Universes A and B

Skuld was shaking her head. "I can't get a handle on it! The whole
thing's spiraling out of control!"
Another Skuld addressed her from the other side of the room in
Yggdrasil's control bay, where she'd been accessing monitors. "It's
still only a small leak." She said.
The first Skuld shook her head. "But it's GROWING! If this keeps up
soon there will be crossover material between your universe and mine!"
"That would lead to a convergance, wouldn't it?" One Belldandy
asked of another, her twin from the other universe. That other nodded
soberly.
Two Urds sat side by side at terminals. One slammed her fist down
on the seat's arm rest and turned her back to the controls, shaking her
head. The other Urd paused and looked curiously at her. Both shook
their heads.
"Have you isolated it?" Both Skulds asked in chorus.
Both Urds motioned in identical gesturs to the monitors on their
wall. One showed a happy Kasumi doing laundry at the Tendo house in
Universe A, the other revealed an even happier Kasumi who was *also*
doing laundry, this time at the Saotome mansion in Universe B.
"So they're the ones our crossover rip has settled on?" The Skuld
on the right asked.
The Urd on the left gave her an answer. "It would seem so. When
Ranma married both of them it created an interdimensional particle
bridge."
"Oh." All six goddeses sagged.
"How soon before things begin to pass through?" One of the
Belldandies inquired.
"Hours?" On of the Urds asked the other. Her double shook her head.
"Minutes."
Both Skulds glowered and whispered. "Seconds, I'll bet."
"Will our universes collide?" Both Belldandies asked in concern
from their more technical sisters.
All of the Urds and Skulds looked at each other appraisingly. Both
Urds crossed their arms and looked down. "We'll have to decide whose
past is going to be dominent."
Before her sisters' startled eyes, there came a kind of reflection
scattering of the two Urds as if they were merely images cast on
disturbed water. When it cleared there was only one. Looking a bit
startled, she raised her eyes. "Too late."
There was only an instant before both Skulds and Belldandies merged
as well. The three unduplicated sisters who now remained looked at each
other.
Skuld went to the controls. "We'd better hurry this along! I don't
relish getting split apart again." Her two older sisters rushed in to
help her.
The Universes began to collide and combine.

*****
Universe B

Kasumi hummed softly to herself as she was hanging wash. There was
something about sun-dried sheets that no machine could ever match. And
all of the mecha on patrol today were women pilots, so she felt right
about putting her unmentionables out to dry.
Suddenly she heard another humming, and lowered the towel she'd
been raising to dry on the line, seeing beyond it on the other side of
the clothesline a reflection of herself, as in a mirror, who was also
holding a lowered towel in curiosity. They blinked in perfect unison.
Each Kasumi reached out a hand, as if to test the reflection. When
their fingers met and touched she blurred and rippled, then only one
Kasumi was standing there. She could recall perfectly *two* quiet
weddings to Ranma, a fierce blush at the memory of two very distinct
and *active*, though brief wedding nights, and two quiet lives leading
up to a more than similar husband.
The insanity differed somewhat, and was more extreme in one case
than the other. And she had to remember not to let Ranma marry her
youngest sister, seeing as how the two of them hadn't gotten along so
well the lifetime they'd tried being engaged.
With that thought, she began humming as she resumed hanging laundry
again. With plots burrowing at the back of her mind about how to get
him alone for a week or so and pick up that honeymoon where they'd left
off.

*****
Universe D

Ranma grinned wryly.
Somehow, someway, no matter that he'd just saved their lives, owned
more high degrees than he could count (some universes didn't give
doctorates, or any of the more comprehensible titles, so he'd stopped
long ago trying to keep track of being a Fifth order duke of the rank
of Tea Green on the subject of Astronomy - as one of the more mundane
of the wigged out educational certificates he'd gained), had endless
honors (though some he'd consciously avoided; like back when the
English King, Happosai the Eighth, instituted the Knights of the
Garter. Seeing King Happy with a pair of panties on his head spouting
the order's motto "Shame on him who thinks evil of it" had permanently
put Ranma off on that particular institution), nevertheless, in spite
of it all, he still had to go to school.
There was no mercy in public institutions, only obedience.
Glad beyond measure that his first period was a history class,
Ranma eagerly turned on his desk computer and rigged it for its fastest
display speed.
"Wow!" He commented after a moment of reading. A *really* different
world!
As the text scrolled past he made his assumption that the United
States kept its act together without getting all of the usual
corruption. Prohibition had stuck, which meant that organized crime was
left running booze instead of drugs, an order of magnitude less bad any
way you measured it. An early religious leader had gotten elected
president, violently opposed to financial shenanigans, and that had
left its mark. They'd never instituted income tax, or a property tax,
and ran things other ways. Lack of funds kept the federal government
small, which made it easy to monitor instead of having near-infinite
layers of fat in which to hide corruption.
And when a senator got out of control the state legislatures called
him back and sent a new one, which kept them representing the populace
instead of running amok. In fact most things still worked just fine
over there.
There was a TON of material and Ranma was just skimming by it. None
of the usual world wars had broken out, which meant that Germany had
never destabilized Russia, and then there'd been no communist
revolution, which meant no communism worldwide as the Russians had
almost always been the seedbed behind it.
No communism, no global spy agencies of the sophistication he was
used to, which meant no satellites or some other technologies. The list
went on and on. Though somehow someone had still summoned together
enough excuse to form the UN...
...oh, to "contain the threat of the United States." Of course, how
could it be anything else? Those guys are happy and making money, how
dare they? So the World vs the US was it? Interesting. And something
analogous to world war two had happened with Japan making a large land
and resource grab in the early forties, but none of the European powers
had gotten involved as they'd lost their colonies and protectorates
long before in a regional war led by Tibet.
Japan had shelled the western coast of the United States, burning
San Francisco to the ground as warning to stay out of their waters, and
had been conquered by the US later that same year, who'd also ended up
making them a territory for good measure. Statehood had been granted
over twenty years later and was now a staunchly defended right by most
of the formerly Japanese populace.
A *contested* right, because the world had developed nukes just
over a year ago and the UN and US were butting horns. The UN claiming
that all separate nations held no right of their own sovereignty, and
the US citizens refusing to acknowledge any power they hadn't elected
or agreed to.
Both sides angry for different reasons as the US had never joined
the UN.
And as a deliberate provocation, the UN had used their nuclear
power to strongarm a base here in Japan, then added insult to injury by
putting a huge secret military project in a vast sprawling,
nuclear-hardened complex here - Evangelion units. America now had nukes
and both sides were a little wary, especially as the US claimed the UN
was responsible for the alien attacks in the first place. It got worse
as UN military units - the Evangelions, had been stomping around on US
property - Japan, and causing enormous damage. Top UN officials were
lording themselves around like they owned the state, and even setting
off their new generation of arsenal, the N2 mines, on inhabited
regions.
Frankly, to Ranma, it looked like war.

*****
Star Wars Alternate

Ranko followed after as Leia pressed the pad that would open this
new cell she'd stopped by. Ranko watched her closely, yet still hadn't
found the princess do anything she hadn't, and yet it opened.
Princess Leia stepped into the open door. "Princess Rune Venus of
Roshtaria? I am Princess Leia Organa of Alderaan. What do you say we
put aside our differences until we get out of this station?"
"That's far enough!" Came a male voice back from the control area.
A tall, thin man in black armor had just exited the lifts, followed by
dozens and dozens of buglike aliens. "Did you think that when a request
came for more troops from the one cell block to contain *all* our royal
prisoners that I wouldn't know about it? AHAHAHAHAHA!!!! I, Darth
Jinnai, am not so *easily* fooled as my cyborged friend the *other*
Dark Lord of the Sith, who, I must add, is FAR inferior to *ME*, of
course!"
"We're dead." Leia whispered, clutching the blaster to her.
Ranko smirked, stepping up to her side. "Don't worry, while *we're*
here distracting him, Makoto is off thwarting Jinnai's evil plan and
making a wreck out of his entire life."
The dark lord's face went purple, then he screamed. "Damn you
Mizuhara! I'll get you yet!" And Darth Jinnai ran off into the lift,
followed by most of his bug aliens. One remained behind, pointed at the
princesses and mumbled, but Ranko's foot removed its head from it's
shoulders.
"How did you *do* that?" Both princesses muttered.
"What? The kick?" Ranko stood puzzled.
"No, Darth Jinnai...."
"...how do you know him so well?" Rune asked.
"...did you just sacrifice your support team to him?" Leia pressed.
Ranko looked uncomfortable under the questions and shrugged. "All I
know is that that guy hates Makoto with a passion that is unholy." She
tapped another door button and frowned when it didn't work. To top it
off she was getting this itching all over that was driving her MAD. As
her chi was so low, almost nonviable, she diverted a portion of the
Silver Moon energy that was powering her into disease control. "I don't
even know if Makoto Mizuhara is on station..."
"But..." Rune stammered. "Lately he goes by Ben Mizuhara..."

*****
Universe A

Nodoka was toweling her hair dry as she emegrged from the tub,
another towel wrapped around herself. With wet hair hanging down into
her eyes, she reached for the sliding door into the antechamber of the
bathroom and her hand encountered nothing. She lowered the towel and
brushed her hair aside to stare in awe at the magnificent tiled
bathroom all around her, with statuary standing beside fountains and
steaming baths the size of swimming pools.
Through an archway another Nodoka entered. They stared at each
other. The one accustomed to more humble surroundings bowed in apology.
"I am sorry, I don't mean to intrude. But I'm afraid I have no idea how
I got here."
The other eyed her curiously. "You even sound like me. Tell me, are
you by any chance from another universe?"
The poor one blinked. "I'm afraid I don't know what you mean."
The area rippled. There was only one Nodoka. "Oh." She said softly
to herself. "Now I do."
Memories of bright happiness with one husband clashed with dark
agonies suffered by the negligence and neglect of the other. It was
though an effort of will that she lifted all of the memories of the
brutal, uncaring one aside and let them vanish in the still shimmering
midst of her change, letting only the observation that he was
repugnantly evil remain.
That done, Nodoka fainted.

*****
Universe D

Misato swung her hair out over the back of her seat bench. Getting
out of hours of cram duty going over their records only now to shuttle
their pilots about.
She sighed heavily.
That battle had rattled everybody's nerves down at headquarters. So
*now* she got stuck tracking the trace down!
Eyewitnesses had spotted a blond boy flying around blasting the
angels (the one that remained being monitored as it slowly yet steadily
recovered) and now Misato was stuck finding out who or what that boy
was!
She groaned. The UN was overworked, underfunded, and tight on
manpower. It didn't help that these ignorant yokels kept getting in
their way! But at least they'd adopted a standard school system of
late, even though they'd had to RAM IT DOWN THEIR IDIOT, LOCAL THROATS!
So what if education levels were dropping? School wasn't about
education, it was about training the youth to obey authority so they
wouldn't talk back or question orders! Get a grip! Education was a side
effect.
"Excuse me major, I believe this is our station stop." Rei informed
the NERV officer.
Misato shook herself out of her trance, looking at Rei and thinking
~Case in Point~ before disembarking the train. She'd been stationed
here she tended to forget how long and the speed of the trains still
surprised her. Back in the Geofront they used the European rail model,
and these were quite different. She got out of her plush, lounge-style
seat and ushered the three pilots out before her.
"Okay, c'mon kids. We've got another school to check to see if you
can recognize this guy." ~THEN we've got to get him to NERV to be
examined.~ Misato thought wryly. She rolled her eyes.
Getting these stubborn American types to recognize their control
was alot harder than fighting angels! Just recruiting the guy was
liable to be a nightmare. She sighed. Too bad they couldn't have
imported European teachers, only insist on training for selectively
chosen locals. This would be alot easier with the appropriately trained
help.

Ranma leaned back as class began, not really expecting to learn
anything. He was surprised that, when class started, almost all of the
students began doing their own thing, reading books, using equipment...
It looked like the most organized self-study he'd ever seen.
He wandered over to Nabiki's group, where she was in the midst of
explaining to her cronies. "...All run from a standard size one
powercell."
"Huh? What kind of powercell?" He interrupted to ask. ~Fusion
block, perhaps? They don't look that advanced.~
"You know, like a Tesla battery?" Nabiki glanced back at him.
"Ah. Well I hope you've got a fresh one." He temporized.
Nabiki rolled her eyes. "Get a grip, Saotome. I said a TESLA
battery, a powercell, not that European garbage they call batteries."
The teacher rose from behind his desk. "Yes. You know Nikolai
Tesla, emigrated to the United States to work under Edison, grew
dissatisfied and relocated to the west coast and California. There he
established a workshop that has remained the centerpiece of our
electronic industry ever since. His theory behind the device was,
simply put, that electron flow from one point to the next ought to be a
closed loop, like so." The teacher drew a tight circle on the board.
"You see, in early versions when scientists were experimenting they
found that electricity had to have a loop in which to function, but
they never explored further. Tesla found that, while Edison had several
ways to draw elect..."
"What he's trying to say." Nabiki interrupted. "Is that to create
electricity you have to pull the electrons off of something, move them
down a conductor, and then what happens? It is the moving of the
electrons that we call electricity, not the electrons themselves. When
you're done with them what happens? They find somewhere to call home,
gravitating off to a place they can settle, essentially getting lost.
So you have to keep drawing off more and more electrons with a
generator."
"What Tesla did," Sayuri said when Nabiki broke off. "Was to create
something different from the earlier European battery, first created by
the *American* Benjamen Franklin, which was essentially a bag that you
stuffed full of electrons until you needed them. It was a poor design
in many aspects because if you compare it to water, a European battery
is a balloon which you've filled, relying on pressure alone to get the
water out later. But the balloon leaks, the sides get slack, and the
pressure fades even if you're not using it. Even reusing it is like
reinflating a rubber balloon, the same stretch just couldn't be there
the second time."
Hiroshi broke in, eager to add his bit. "So instead of inventing an
electron balloon that would stay tighter longer, or that would leak
less, Tesla invented the powercell."
Nabiki resumed her dialog. "So Ranma, like water flowing over a
fall, it's the motion, not the water, that you use to run your
waterwheel. That's why our ancestors built their mills on rivers, and
not on lakes. All the water in the world doesn't give you any power if
it's sitting stagnant in one place. Even the atoms that make the
insulators for our wires have electrons themselves. The reason they
work and we use them and call them insulators is they don't let
electrons *flow* through them so well. While a conductor is merely
something that allows them to flow more easily than most others. It's
all about motion."
"Because electricity is predictable, just like water." Yuka gave
her sempai a smile. "If free electrons have somewhere to go, they'll go
there, unless they have someplace better. As with water, it takes the
shortest route down to the lowest level."
"The Tesla battery, or powercell as we've come to call them, is a
very simple design in concept - once someone had actually thought of
it, that is." The teacher resumed with a smile. He added detail to his
drawing on the board. "Electrons are drawn off of a cell like so, they
are run through a conductor, past whatever it is you are powering.
Their motion is what provides you with electricity, then they are again
collected in the battery."
Nabiki grinned. "What our esteemed teacher is *trying* to say...
again, is that Tesla made a different sort of battery that was
polarized, like a magnet. It draws its own supply of natural electrons
to one end. Because of the makeup of the battery itself, like a series
of one way gates, one end always has too many electrons and the other
end always has too few. This made cheap power easy, all you do is
create a path that connects the end spilling its electrons to the side
that's starving for them and you've got flow for as long as the circuit
is complete. This works because, like water, the electrons run off to
what is the lowest level, and nothing in the area is as dry a sponge as
the hungry side of the battery, which siphons them right on back to the
other end, so they end up being used over and over in a closed loop and
endlessly recycled."
"That sounds like perpetual motion." Ranma frowned.
Yuka stared at him. "There *are* ways to get something for nothing,
you know. Just look at the Gravity Pump."
They had him there, Ranma had to admit. He'd even built those when
he'd had need. It was a system without power or moving parts that
brought water uphill. It worked, worked very well, ran until something
physically broke it, and was essentially free. It used the weight of
water going down (through smaller pipes) to drive some water up. So
long as you had water and it flowed downhill the pump would continue to
function.
Which opened up the possibility of other things being free, as
well.
"So how come Europe doesn't have it?" He cocked his head to the
side.
Nabiki shrugged. "At first we weren't inclined to share it, and
kept it as this big secret. The second is they'd later developed big
electrical companies that didn't *want* it. I mean, how can you get
more profitable than to sell someone something they need every single
day? If you sell a man an electric device with a powercell you only
sell him one thing, they grow more efficient over time and are
self-contained. But if you sell him power through a wall socket or
batteries, you can continue to sell those to him forever."
Hiroshi tapped the end of his nose. "Just like disease. If you
*cure* someone, then you've only sold him one thing."
Sayuri glanced at her fellow student approvingly. "But if you just
treat his symptoms, then he still has the main problem and you can
continue to sell him *treatments* for as long as he stays alive."
Nabiki crossed her arms. "The best example of that is what they
call diabetes. You can *cure* it really easily with two trace minerals:
Chromium and Vanadium. But how much money does it make a drug company
to sell someone a little dirt? Especially when the alternative is to
sell him insulin, something he needs every day if he wants to stay
alive, and there is no way he can process and create any in his
basement or backyard - so he relies on you to get it to him. You
literally have a client who will die without what you choose to give
him, at whatever price you want to charge."
Yuka shook her head slowly. "Making money on human suffering,
giving half steps and false treatments so you can make a patient feel
better without ever making him well."
The entire class sighed loudly.
Daisuke was looking sad. He proclaimed. "You couldn't ever find
*me* going to their kind of so-called 'medicine'. Man, they don't even
cure *ulcers* of all things!"
Sayuri nodded and sighed. "They *could* learn these things from us.
But they have idustries making obscene fortunes by not doing so. So
their advertisers spend some of that money making outright lies against
us so we don't infect their system by accident."
Ranma whistled low and soft, leaning back and deciding that he
still *could* learn things in school. He looked around. "Wow! So you're
schools are that good, huh?"
"No." The entire class plus teacher answered him.
He boggled in surprise.
Nabiki shook her hair out.
"It's based on the Prussian school system, which was developed not
to teach, but to train obedient servants to the State. Actual education
was discouraged by means such as breaking the learning day up into
periods, dividing knowledge up into arbitrary subjects, and so forth."
Ranma shot her a startled stare.
Nabiki shrugged in reply. "Look it up. If you take everything
you're told unexamined, that's not learning, only memorizing." She gave
him that cocky smirk. "Lucky you if what you're memorizing happens to
be true."
The teacher sat down behind his desk, nodding vigorously and
reaching for notes. "Yes. NEVER assume that anyone is right just
because he or she happens to be standing in front of a classroom,
wearing a uniform, talking legalese, appearing in the media or carrying
a government ID card. Here, let me read you some things... Aha!" He
picked up a paper. "Wherever is found a paternal (read: intrusive and
oppressive) government, there is found state education. It has been
discovered that the best way to ensure implicit obedience is to
commence tyranny in the nursery." The teacher straightened his glasses.
"That quote was from Benjamin Disraeli. Now here's one from another
gentleman working on the other side of that same issue. 'Let our pupil
be taught that he does not belong to himself, but that he is public
property. He must be taught to amass wealth, but it must be only to
increase his power of contributing to the wants and demands of the
state. This can be done only with the interference and aid of
legislature.' That was a quote from Benjamin Rush in 1786." The teacher
once again straightened his glasses and went for another note. "Here's
another by a man on that same side. 'The result desired by the state is
a wholly different one than that desired by parents, guardians and
pupils.' Said by Lester Frank Ward in 1897. And more on that same side,
it's amazing how *much* of this there is to be found, actually. Ah,
yes, a bit from Edward Ross around 1900 or so, said this. 'The role of
a schoolmaster is to collect little plastic lumps of human dough from
private households and shape them on the social kneeding board.' And
considering the views of that man's friends and associates, nothing
they would have teachers produce would be acceptible to those 'lumps of
plastic dough', their parents, *or* their teachers if they knew what
the results would be beforehand. All but the first one of those quotes
were by men who'd tried the *first* time to get compulsory public
schooling in America. And from what they said their intentions were
very clear about what they wanted, which *I* find scary."
The schoolteacher straightened his glasses and stared at Ranma. "In
case you hadn't found out before this: I hate my job. I sit here in the
capacity of a tool for my worst enemies, in the business of destroying
the minds of the children of my friends, and paid a pittance to do it.
Naturally you should not expect me to be eager."
Sayuri shook her head. "No, we learn at our homes, where our
parents learned under a better system, before all this was imposed on
us."
Hiroshi shrugged, then plucked at the front of his school uniform.
"No, we're only here because of the law that says we have to be. A law
which was forced down our throats under threat of nuclear holocaust."
"An open act of war." Yuka said to Sayuri, who nodded.
Daisuke looked up from his experiments, wiping his hand on a cloth.
"Yeah, if you want the references, try reading Dumbing Us Down: The
Hidden Curriculum in Compulsory Schooling, by John Taylor Gatto, New
Society Pulishers, 1992. I think that has most of the relevant facts
and sources in it, but again." He said with a grin. "Get yourself in
possession of the facts *before* you make up your opinions about
issues."
"Or you could look at the school system in Europe." A tussel-haired
boy with large glasses glanced up from his book. "You can discover for
yourself that their shocking rates of illiteracy, lack of historic
knowledge, and sheeplike belief that people exist to serve the state
didn't exist *before* public schooling, and aren't the result of a
system that has *failed.* They are the result of a system that has
succeeded beyond its founders' wildest dreams. That this sad state of
affairs was, in fact, the *purpose* of government schools."
Sayuri folded her arms below her breasts and said in a very quiet
tone. "The system cannot be fixed. It already *works.*"
Yuka gulped very heavily. "It just doesn't exist to teach us
anything. Only mold us and shape us to what *they* want us to be. Any
'teaching' that goes on is a cover story, an excuse to get us to
behave. An illusion built to be nicer and more acceptible than the
reality. All of the rest is just noise, propaganda, or outright lies."
A redhead moaned. "At least we're old enough to know that. Think of
the kids in the lowest grades. They're all young enough to trust what
they're said is best for them to do."
The teacher groaned behind his desk. "They would have me discourage
everything but a 'well-ordered' classroom of 'guided study' in which
everyone must learn at the same pace." A harried eye shot a gaze from
under a haggared brow. "You don't all grow to the same height. Why must
it be assumed that you all learn at the same rate? Or have equal
interests in all the same things? Or even that the things they choose
to be the fare doled out to all of you daily will be the ones of
greatest use to you personally? How do you know if you've got great
ability in other fields if you never have the opportunity to TRY?!?"
Nabiki rolled her eyes and sat down at her desk. "The only reason
we're not fighting right now is that they've got all the troops in the
world and we're only the US. We don't even have a standing army."
"Remember Mother Batherwick and the battle of Concord and
Lexington, April 19, 1775. If one old woman, so impoverished that she
was pulling weeds from an empty lot to have something to eat, could
capture six of King George's grenadiers, the biggest and toughest of
his soldiers, how many men would it require to conquer America?"
Hiroshi drew a pistol and spun it casually around his finger. "But
what use is the right to bear arms when the enemy's got nukes and
Evangelions?"
"'It is just as difficult and dangerous to try to free a people
that wants to remain servile as it is to enslave a people that wants to
be free' - Niccolo Machiavelli." The tussel-haired boy quoted. "That
ought to give us some hope, we want to be free."
A girl gloomily replied. "Machiavelli didn't live in an age where
it was possible to incinerate whole cities and millions of people just
to get them to shut up."
"They already have millions of unthinking slaves with virtual
zombilike obedience. They just don't want anyone to wake them up."
A quiet voice entered the ensuing silence.
"That's him, miss Misato."
Ranma turned his head toward the door to see several figures, just
as a woman with the party tossed a gas grenade inside the door and
slammed it shut. Without chi, he joined the rest of the class in
passing out.

*****
Star Wars Crossover-Verse

"Cosmic Moon Power!"
Both princesses stared in rapt amazement as a ball of energy formed
around the tip of Ranko's staff and sped forth, destroying an
ever-widening cone of structure, supports, and perhaps more
importantly, one of the multiple miles-long lasing chambers that made
up the Death Star's main planet-destroying weapon.
Sailor Earth dismissed her staff, stepping back as sympathetic
explosions began in the miles of tortured machinery. "Come on, as much
as I hate to say it, this is one case where I'm not all that good about
dipping into another's bag of tricks. At least not without blowing
myself up while I do it."
Their small party 'Eeped' and began to scramble back along the
corridor where piles upon piles of bugrom, stormtroopers, and battle
droids (used in base assaults and never expected to get used in
corridor fighting, but you're that desperate you use what you've got),
that had, despite Moff Tarkin's wishes, not sufficiently slowed the
party of Rebels much at all.
Recapture had been put on hold as a priority until the Imperials
could first think up some way to stop them from doing whatever it was
they pleased.
"I still think we should split up and escape aboard seperate
ships." Leia countered Ranko's bold plan of going about blowing things
up at random.
Ranko still shook her head. "No, they've got five thousand TIE
fighters aboard this thing and multiple hyperspace interceptors. That
and their anti-warship weapons and we'd get blown to pieces no matter
what we tried. I can't do much if we're locked aboard a ship." She
hopped up into one of the yuzzum's arms and allowed herself to be
carried wherever the fuzzy creature liked.
Partly this was to conserve energy, as she normally had her Silver
Moon abilities magnified by the power of the her chi and not the other
way around. Since the fighting hadn't let up noticably since her
departure from her prison cell, it was either conserve what she could
or go dry when she needed it.
It was also because she hadn't been able to use a single, flipping,
thing in all of her attempts to use blasters, activate lifts, open
doors or *anything* that involved using a type of control beyond mere
muscle movement.
Learning techniques was not a problem for her. She'd seen the
others do things and had copied their movements precisely, even
extemporised and experimented when that hadn't worked, played around
and generally did her best to figure this out. So far all she'd learned
was that her touching a device control was the same as it not being
touched at all, even if she stabbed a button in the middle of a
sequence that someone else was typing in.
As far as she could tell the computers and touch pads and triggers
couldn't even sense her. It was as if she wasn't alive... No, scratch
that. Droids were able to do those things and she couldn't. Droids were
not alive. Ranko scoweled, guessing that made her less than not alive.
"But if we split up and stowed away..." Leia pressed.
Ranko yawned. "If Grand Moff Tarkin hasn't stopped all legitimate
traffic out then I've sorely overestimated him. They've got troops and
scanning teams, and we haven't got the information on where really to
hide or even get a decent spot to make a stand. If I can't sleep then
sooner or later they're going to recapture or possibly kill us."
Also, if she couldn't do something about this itching, she was
going to go NUTS and that wasn't saying a thing about her ability to
contain disease costing her so much of her ongoing energy supply.
A figure appeared in the corridor before them, wearing the robes of
a Jedi.

*****
Universe D, Eva Universe

Ranma came to staring at the single most familiar ceiling he had
ever seen in his entire life... err, lives.
He rolled over on his bed in the NERV infirmary. "Man, I hate this
place."

To Be Continued... (is my fervent hope)

*****
Author's Notes.

If someone doesn't kill me for having written this, I will be
vaguely and honestly yet happily surprised. It might even let the
series go on once again.
BTW, the references and quotes (and the book mentioned) are all
real. Those ARE the phrases made by the founders and philosophers of US
government education. And if you don't like those quotes, here's
another.

"People - pardon me, journalists and politicians - have often accused
me of believing that I'm above the law. And yet, who isn't? Everywhere
you prod it, even with the shortest stick, the established system isn't
simply corrupt, it's unequivocally putrescent. The law is created by
demonstrable criminals, enforced by demonstrable criminals, interpreted
by demonstrable criminals, all for demonstrably criminal purposes. Of
course I'm above the law. And so are you." - L. Neil Smith, Pallas

Or if you prefer something short and pluckier:

"When only cops have guns, it's called a police state." - Unknown (to
me at least)