Just won't die 1
"Hiryu Shoten Ha!" Ranma shouted as he released a massive hurricane blast toward the dark blue boomer hovering high above him, "You ain't gonna get away that easily,"
The hurricane formed right in front of Ranma, engulfing him but leaving him unharmed. The blast was so powerful it kept expanding rapidly, some of the surrounding buildings being torn to shreds as they were engulfed in the blast. Ranma was in middle of an abandoned town, the slums. He knew those buildings weren't occupied. This was the battle field he wanted.
He watched as the dark blue boomer hovered backwards at an intense speed, avoiding the blast just in time. The hurricane blast soared high into the air, ripping apart some hapless clouds in its path.
"Damn, this boomer's nothing like the other ones I fought!" Priss said to herself, regarding the attacking boomer. She had to push her hardsuit to the limit just to avoid something that powerful. She looked at her view screen within the helmet and noticed that her scanners were going ballistic. She couldn't get a reading on what class the boomer was. To her, it seemed like this boomer was equipped with some scanner jamming devices. This frustrated Priss even more, making her want to get rid of this new breed of boomer even faster. The hurricane blast dispersed, leaving Ranma standing in the middle of the street, a massive crater surrounding him. "Damn, I'm never gonna be able to hit that boomer at this rate," he swore silently to himself, "It's too fast,"
He stood there patiently, waiting for the boomer to hover lower so he could jump up toward it. He was able to leap high into the sky, but nowhere near as high as the boomer was hovering.
Priss looked down at the boomer, "Why isn't he following me?"
She hovered down and settled on the top roof of one of the taller buildings, gazing down at him, "Hm, it looks like this is going to be easier than I thought. This boomer can't fly. Strange, considering how much energy it could generate. I guess I better pick him off from up here," She pointed her arm toward him and released several laser blasts directly toward the boomer, only to have the boomer skillfully avoid it, "Damn, this's one goddamn agile boomer. And it's able to anticipate my attacks,"
Ranma managed to dodge the blast just in time, leaping out of the way. As he rolled to his feet, he looked back toward where he was standing and saw three tiny craters there. He looked up at the boomer and said to himself, "Damn, that boomer's got a good AI. It's tryin' to pick me off from a distance,"
Ranma dusted the sand off his clothes as he smiled confidently to himself, "If it's gonna play that way"
Priss watched in astonishment "Man, that boomer's even got an AI that makes it brush its clothes when it's dirty. What kinda monsters are Genom creating? And it's even smiling!"
"Mouko Takabisha!" he shouted as a gigantic ki-blast tore from his hands, flying straight toward the boomer at an intense speed. The blast was so strong that even the ground below it melted from the heat. The building even started to melt before the blast hit it. Ranma was far more powerful than he ever was and the intensity of his ki-blasts was a good indication of just how powerful.
Priss lunged forward and off the building roof just in time as the blast ripped the entire building to shreds, continuing onward into the sky behind it. She twisted in mid air as she fell toward the ground and looked up and saw half the building just disappear from the intense heat and power of the blast. Before she hit the ground, she managed to land safely via the use of her boosters. As she stood on the ground, her heart was racing. How on earth can this boomer generate so much energy, she thought to herself. This boomer was absolutely nothing like she had ever fought. Nothing!
As much as she hated to admit it, she knew she had bitten off far more than she could chew by trying to take on this boomer on her own.
Ranma stood there, watching the boomer intently, waiting to see what it would do next. He knew that boomers always had a tendency to charge forward to attack, and that would be its fatal mistake. He would use his Kashuu Tenshin Amaguriken technique on it to finish it off.
Priss stood there, waiting for the boomer's next move. She looked down at her arm and noticed that it was a bit singed from before. She knew her armor would not be able to sustain a direct hit from another one of those deadly blasts. And she had to do everything in her power to avoid it. It scared her to death to realize the damage her armor was take from being within close proximity to this boomer's projectiles, let alone a direct hit.
Why isn't it coming at me, Ranma thought to himself. He was eager to finish this boomer off, but it wasn't moving. He took a step forward, only to have his steps matched by the boomer taking a step back.
Hm, it looks like it's trying to avoid me, he thought. He shrugged his shoulders. That doesn't matter, I'll just pick it off from here. "Horizontal Blast revised, Hiryu Shoten Ha!" he shouted loudly as a huge horizontal hurricane ripped from his hands straight toward the boomer.
Priss wasn't able to react to it in time as the blast engulfed her entirely. She was blown backwards into the building, the wall collapsing in from the impact. If it weren't for her wearing the armor, every bone in her body would have been broken, especially her spine.
She slowly got up to her feet, clutching at her ribs. A few of her ribs must have been bruised or broken.
Man, that boomer even acts like it's in pain, Ranma thought with a bit of awe. I can't believe Genom got this far with its AI. It really looks like it's hurt. For a quick second, he almost felt a bit of remorse.
Priss slowly made her way back out of the building through the hole. She knew she was done for, all the boomer would have to do is finish her off. But for some reason, it wasn't moving. It just stood there, looking at her.
Ranma took a few steps forward and stopped, still a bit cautious about attacking. He knew the boomer was faking an injury so he didn't want to be fooled.
"Priss, are you okay?" Priss heard the communicator in her helmet come to life, "Just keep it busy for a minute. We're on our way,"
"Sylia," Priss spoke back, "Stay away! This thing's a goddamn monster!" It was too late. The communicator went off. Her friends were on their way. They would surely die if they attacked this boomer. This boomer was probably capable of taking on a dozen Knight Sabers. She knew what she had to do. She would have to turn on the suit's auto destruct mode and sacrifice herself and blow the boomer up in the process.
Ranma stood there for a few moments, wondering what the boomer is up to. It wasn't moving. He knew there was no chance it could ambush him since he was too far away. He could just finish it off with his Mouko Takabisha but something prevented him. He felt this bit of compassion toward the boomer. Even though it was faking pain, it almost looked like it was really hurt. Afterall, he wasn't some kind of monster that didn't possess some form of human emotions.
The ground behind him exploded as Ranma instinctively jumped forward out of the way. He rolled to his feet to see a small crater in place of where he was just a second ago, "Damn, that was close!" He looked up into the sky to see two more boomers hovering above him. They all looked like the same boomer he had been fighting all this time yet different in some way. He noticed they all had a slightly different exoskeleton and color. Ranma could feel the adrenaline surging through him as he realized he was outnumbered. "Ah, it did that to distract me so it's backup will arrive in time," Ranma said to himself, realizing the boomer's plan.
This would be a very hard fight for his life. But as he stood there, he knew there was a good chance he could take all of them down before he succumbed. He turned around to look at the boomer. He wanted to finish it off so he wouldn't worry about it later on.
When his eyes rested on that supposedly injured boomer, he was shocked to see another boomer, a small purple and pink one helping it out.
Man, what kinda AI chips do these things have, he thought to himself. He watched as the smaller boomer used its thrusters to fly it to safety, placing the blue boomer down in the middle of the street a dozen meters away from him, definitely out of his immediate reach.
"You guys have to get out of here!" Priss told Nene, "It's a goddamn monster! It's got energy blasts that's far worse than any boomer we ever encountered!"
"What?" Priss heard Sylia's voice from the communicator, "It's got what?"
"Energy blasts!" she talked into the communicator "They're powerful enough to destroy this entire town," She looked up and noticed Linna and Sylia turn their attention toward her after hearing something like that.
They looked back down at that single boomer and hovered backwards a bit defensively.
"It's got a weakness," Priss said through clenched teeth, "It can't fly,"
Ranma's gaze went back and forth between the two hovering boomers and the other two in the middle of the street. It looked like they were trying to communicate with each other. They were probably sending out communication waves that he couldn't hear.
He knew there was one thing he could do if his assumption was correct. He would have to destroy that injured boomer before it would transfer the data of his fighting techniques. "Mouko Takabisha!" he said as he sent a ki blast rocketing toward the two boomers on the street. He smiled at the thought of killing two boomers with one blast but was shocked to see the little purple and pink boomer's boosters blaze to life as it jetted them both away from the huge blast. The blast kept going straight down the street until it struck a building a short ways down the road, incinerating it.
"God, that thing's hot!" Nene commented about the ki-blast as she looked at her suit. Part of her armor was singed like Priss' armor. It was a lot worse than Priss' because she had reacted a bit late.
Sylia and Linna, as they both hovered high in the sky, both shot several laser blasts at the human-looking boomer, shocked to see it jump out of the way skillfully. They watched the boomer roll to its feet and shout something.
"Damn, how's that thing dodging lasers?" Linna commented in shock.
"It's anticipating our attacks somehow," Sylia answered.
"Hiryu Shoten Ha! Hiryu Shoten Ha!" Ranma said twice. He let loose two hurricane blasts, one emerging from each fist, like a double uppercut. The first one was thrown vertically toward the sky as the other was thrown horizontally. The vertical and horizontal blast engulfed each other to form a diagonal blast directly toward the two hovering boomers. Suck on that ya damn boomers, Ranma thought with a smirk.
Both boomer managed to avoid the blast just in time, hovering to safety.
"How the hell is it able to generate so much power?" Nene said as she watched the boomer attacking her friends while they did all in their power to dodge its attacks, "How can it be so dangerous from a distance?"
"Waitaminute!" Priss said into her communicator "Maybe that's the only way it's dangerous, from a distance. If you close the gap between the two of you, you might stand a chance. It wouldn't be able to throw those blasts because it would also get caught in it,"
Priss watched as her two friend nodded toward her to acknowledge her idea.
"Let's get close to it and fight it hand-to-hand!" Sylia said, readying to punch right through the boomer. She had activated her exploding punch and was ready to blow the entire boomer to pieces. Linna did the same. Slowly, both of them hovered closer and closer toward the boomer on the ground.
"That's it," Ranma said to himself with a smile, "Come a little closer,"
He got into his battle stance, a smirk on his lips, as he waited patiently for the two boomers to charge. He knew that this was where it would all end. He was actually grateful. Not that he was near total exhaustion, but he was getting tired from throwing all those ki-blasts. His breathing was heavy. "Why's it smiling?" Linna said when she noticed the boomer's lips.
"I don't know," Sylia said, gazing at her opponent intently, "It's probably got something to do with the AI chip it has,"
Both of them stopped hovering as Linna spoke, "How come I got this funny feeling that that's what the boomer wants, for us to get closer?"
While still in mid-flight, Sylia turned toward Linna, one eye still cautiously on the boomer "You saw what it could do from far away. Our only chance is close combat,"
C'mon, why aren't you charging me, Ranma thought. Why are you two hesitating? Does it have to do with their AI chips? Are they weighing the odds of close combat as opposed to fighting from a distance? I better not give them a chance to react and finish the job now.
Ranma leapt into the sky directly toward one of the boomers. He maneuvered his body in mid-flight so that his legs would wrap around one of the boomer's arms while he would use one of his own arms to grab the boomer's other arm. That would allow him to use his Kashuu Tenshin Amaguriken on it while he held its limbs in place, allowing him to land every single blow on the boomer's chest. The maneuver brought back memories of when he and Ryoga had fought shortly after Ryoga had learned that really annoying Bakusai Tenketsu technique.
"Eek!" Linna shouted as saw the boomer jump straight at her. Everything moved in slow motion as she watched the boomer twist in mid-flight. Before she knew what happened, the boomer was attached to her, holding her arms from moving.
"Help!" she screamed into her communicator as she saw the boomer cock its arm back, ready to smash a hole right through her chest.
Ranma placed one of his feet and kicked as a laser blast almost took his head off. He had used the boomer's chest to do a kickout so he would be propelled backwards to avoid the laser shot. He twisted in the air and landed back on the ground safely. He landed on the sidewalk.
"Damn, how am I gonna be able to get close to them to use my technique?" he said to himself. He jumped out of the way just as two bullets whizzed by his head. When he rolled to his feet and looked toward where it had come from, he realized it was now far from the purple and pink boomer.
"Whoa, that was close," he told himself, "I better be more careful"
He looked up toward the two hovering boomers and noticed they seemed a bit distracted.
"Are you okay?" Sylia said.
"I-I'm fine," Linna said. But she wasn't. Her heart was beating faster than it ever had. She had seen her life flash before her eyes. She thought she was going to die right there, in mid-air.
"Where'd it go?" Sylia said as she realized the boomer was still nearby on the ground somewhere. She placed a hand on Linna's arm as her booster went into full blast, rocketing the two to a higher altitude to avoid the boomer in case it decided to jump again. Now that they were high enough from its jumping distance, they were sitting ducks for that hurricane-like projectile that comes from its fists.
Ranma looked up at the two hovering boomers "Damn, I can't jump up and reach them now,"
He turned toward the two boomers in the middle of the street. The best course of action was take care of those two instead. He started to run toward them.
"Eek!" Nene said as she raised her hand and shot several laser blast in the boomer's general direction, all of them missing, "Stay away from me!" She continued to shoot toward the boomer as it got closer and closer to the two of them.
As Ranma got closer and closer, he wondered why that purple and pink boomer was missing him so badly. Boomers had perfect aim, and this one was missing him completely. Or then again, maybe it was missing him on purpose. Maybe it was a trap. Ranma stopped dead in his tracks, not wanting to fall for a trap.
You ain't gonna get me that easily, he thought to himself. He stood still waiting for something to happen.
"Why'd it stop?" Priss said as she slowly made it to her feet.
She was still clutching her ribs, more like the section of armor protecting her rib, wincing as jolts of pain shot through her. She placed a hand on Nene's shoulder to help keep her footing, "Why is it hesitating? Why isn't it attacking?"
As Ranma stood still, even without having to look, he knew the other two boomers had landed on the ground behind him. He didn't bother to turn around. He knew they were trying to silently sneak up behind him. To let the boomers know that he didn't realize they were behind him, he slowly made his way toward that purple and pink boomer, taking slow, steady steps, pretending he was getting ready for that boomer to shoot another laser blast at him. But he knew it wouldn't because if it did, it might hit the other two boomers behind him.
Priss and Nene watched silently as the boomer slowly made its way toward them. They were holding their breath, not daring to breath. In just a few short seconds, it would all be over. They both knew that boomers had a weak spot that they couldn't see what was coming up from behind them.
Once Ranma could sense that the two boomers were close enough behind him, he squatted low to the ground and made a wide sweep backwards, hitting one of the boomers in the ankle. A loud clank could be heard echoing through the streets of the slums as his foot connected with solid steel. The boomer he swept, fell to the ground clutching its one leg as the other boomer executed a perfect roundhouse toward Ranma's head, intent on cleaving it off his shoulders. He wasn't expecting the boomer to kick him, him expecting it to attempt a punch, so he was caught a bit off guard. All he could do was block the kick.
The boomer's foot connected with Ranma outstretched arms, and when it hit him, tiny boosters located around its ankle blasted, allowing it to follow the kick through. Ranma could do nothing but absorb the impact. He was sent flying into one of the building walls, the wall collapsing down on him.
"Are you all right?" Sylia asked, squatting down next to Linna as she held her ankle.
"I think my ankle's broken," she said. She looked down at the armor around her foot and noticed that part of it had been dented in by the shear impact of that sweep, "I can't believe it did that. How'd it know we were behind it?"
"I don't know, but let's get out of here," Sylia said as she placed Linna's arm around her shoulder and gently helped her to her feet, "We have to retreat. That thing's a monster,"
Slowly, the two made their way toward Priss and Nene.
Ranma sat upright, holding his head, "Man, that really hurts," He rubbed at a sore spot, wincing at pain jolted through his body. He then looked down at his ankle "Damn, that metal's harder than I thought," His ankle was swollen a bit. He tried to get up, but one of his arms wouldn't move. It must have been dislocated from the impact of that kick. He gritted his teeth as he used his good arm to pop it back into place. In all his years of fighting, he had never experienced so much pain as what had just surged through his body.
"Arghh! That hurt!" After a few moments, the pained died down and he was able to move his arm around a bit, "I guess it's better than not being able to use it at all,"
"Damn, that was a nice kick," Ranma commented to himself, "I never knew boomers could kick that high and hard,"
He threw some of the rubble off his body and used his one good arm to stand up. Although he could still use his other arm, it was almost useless. What he would do right now for some cold water?
He brushed some of the debris off his shirt and made his way back out the hole he had created when he slammed against the building. As he stepped onto the sidewalk, he caught sight of four boomers huddle together.
I have to hand it to 'em, Ranma thought. This was one hell of a fight, and he hadn't had this much fun in years. He didn't know if this would be his last fight but he knew that if it was, he was going to go down fighting. These boomers were like nothing he had ever fought before.
He snapped a crick in his neck as he got back into his battle stance, "I guess it's time for round two," he said to himself with a smirk.
"Suck on this, boomers!" Ranma said as he launched another one of his blasts, "Horizontal blast revised, Hiryu Shoten Ha! Horizontal blast revised Hiryu Shoten Ha!" He let rip another massive hurricane blast. Without hesitating, he let rip a second blast, the blast every bit as powerful as the first. He decided to give it everything he got as he let rip two more blasts "Horizontal blast revised Hiryu Shoten Ha! Horizontal blast revised Hiryu Shoten Ha!" All in all, he had thrown four hurricane blasts, each one right after another.
"Protect Priss!" Sylia managed to say just in time as the blasts enveloped them. Nene and Linna had reacted instinctively and had jumped in front of Priss just as all three girls were engulfed. They struggled for a second while within the blast, but it was too much for them. The force of the blast propelled all three girls backwards into Priss as they were all thrown into one of the building walls. Although the three girls were in front of Priss to protect her from the blast, Priss still got hurt as she was slammed up against the wall.
Ranma took a step forward, cautious about charging. One of his arms weren't working, and his foot was aching from when he swept one of the boomers.
Sylia, Linna, and Nene all fell to their knees, terribly shaken from the force of the impact against the building. Their armor started to crack around their chest. Priss wasn't as hurt since they protected her, but she still sustained some damage to her armor. Her armor was still intact.
"We must retreat!" Linna said as she slowly got to her feet, "Our suits can't take much more damage!" She was shocked to look down and see a large chunk of her armor fall to the floor. The armor's exoskeleton had fallen off. All that remained was the thin inner armor that protected her body. She was shocked to see her other two friends' armor fall off.
"Retreat!" Sylia said. She would have to worry about taking care of the boomer later, another day. The only thing she could do was upgrade their battle suits. It probably wouldn't do much help against a boomer this powerful, but they would definitely be better off than they were now.
Sylia reached down and picked up the breast plate to her suit as Nene and Linna did the same. She couldn't allow Genom to get hold of any part of their armor. She then helped Priss to her feet, "Let's get out of here!"
All three girls' booster burst into life, only to die on them. Somehow, their thrusters must have been damaged in that blast. They attempted again, but it wouldn't work anymore. They couldn't retreat even if they wanted to. They would have to fight this boomer to the bitter end.
The three girls got into their battle stance. There was nothing else they could do but fight.
Ranma seized the chance to attack. Now that they couldn't fly away, he would now have a great advantage. They were stuck on the ground with him.
Linna tried to punch the boomer's head off only to see it dodge her attack skillfully. Before she knew it, her extended arm was grabbed and she was being thrown through the air toward Sylia. If her boosters had worked, she would had been able to twist in the air to avoid her, but they didn't. She was slammed bodily into Sylia, the two of them falling down on top of Priss.
Ranma smiled he watched the boomers desperately try to get to their feet. He was distracted for a moment as he wondered why the two boomers looked like they were in pain, which was all that was needed for Nene to execute a kick to his ribs.
Ranma saw the kick coming but wasn't able to dodge it in time. A sharp pain surged through his body as he sent flying through the air. He twisted in the air to land safely on his feet in the middle of the street. His gaze rested on the boomer that had kicked him in the ribs. He clutched at his ribs. "Damn, I can't believe I couldn't dodge that. I could have easily dodged that in my other form," he swore silently to himself, "That boomer's gonna pay for that,"
He watched as the boomer charged into the street straight toward him, ready to punch a hole through his gut.
"Horizontal blast revised, Hiryu Shoten Ha!" he shouted again as he ripped yet another hurricane blast loose. The blast enveloped Nene entirely. Before the blast abated, he launched a massive ki-blast "Mouko Takabisha!" Ranma watched with a smirk as the ki-blast was propelled forward from his hurricane blast. He watched at the boomer stuck its hands out to block it, but it was useless. The blast struck the boomer at such intensity that it was blown backward a dozen yards, sliding on the ground to a halt in the middle of the street.
Nene was shaken terribly from the impact of that blast, but thanks to the inner armor that remained for her suit, she wasn't killed. She knew she would have the biggest headache the next day, provided she survived this fight.
As she laid there on the ground, she wondered how on Earth they were going to defeat this boomer. Her thoughts were interrupted when she felt this burning sensation on her chest. She looked down at her chest and realized that her armor had melted from the intense heat. The armor was glowing bright red. She knew that the heat would eventually engulf the entire suit, and the best course of action was to get out of her suit before the armor melted completely, fusing onto her skin and killing her.
Nene quickly rolled around to her stomach and the back of her suit opened. She quickly and instinctively got out of the suit before it turned into a pile of melted metal. She stood there, in nothing but her skin-tight suit as she stared down at what remained of her battle suit.
Ranma stared at the short, pink-haired girl is disbelief. What was going on here? Why did a boomer just come out of that boomer? And why did that boomer look totally human? Sylia noticed that the boomer was distracted watching her friend break free from her hardsuit. She used that opportunity to land a powerful kick across the boomer's back.
She watched in disbelief as the boomer twisted in the air and landed on the ground safely, unaffected by the attack. She wished that the boosters in her legs were working because it they did work and went on during her kick, she would have kicked that boomer in half at the waist.
Ranma smirked as he rubbed his back a bit. He realized that that boomer's power must be real low because that kick it landed didn't hurt at all. Now that he was sure there was no way he could get hurt, he was about to have some fun.
He lunged forward and shouldered the gray boomer right into its gut, falling down on top of it. He sat on top of the boomer's stomach as his legs hooked around the back of the boomer's knees in a mounted position. He brought his fist backwards and he readied to punch right through the boomer's weak spot, its open chest. Although he could punch through a full armored boomer, he knew this would be easy since the outer armor on the boomer's chest had fallen off.
Ranma's hands glowed blue as he focus all his battle aura into his hand. He would make the boomer die a horrible death. He wanted to make it where there was no way Genom could salvage this prototype boomer. These boomers must have been prototypes. None of the other boomers were remotely as advanced as these.
As the boomer was about to punch a hole right through Sylia's chest, Linna used her one good leg to propelled herself forward onto the boomer.
She had managed to put enough force behind her lunge to knock the boomer off her friend, managing to landing on top of it. The boomer punched her in the face once, but her helmet managed to absorb most of the impact.
Before it had a chance to punch her again, she grabbed the boomer's hand and entwined her fingers with its own and pinned it down to the ground. She then leaned forward and pressed her weight down on the boomers hands so its arms would be pinned to the ground. She knew if it pinned the boomer to the ground long enough, Sylia would be able to finish it off.
Ranma gritted his teeth. The boomer was pinning him down. It wasn't attacking. It was just holding him down. He knew that the boomer was waiting for the other one to come and finish him off. He knew he had to get out of there and fast.
Ranma gritted his teeth as pain from his injured shoulder shot through his body. He flexed his arms, using all his strength to push the boomer's arm back. Despite the fact that the boomer rested most of its weight on his hand, which must have been several hundred pounds, Ranma was able to move it back slowly.
Clenching his teeth, he pushed forward with all his might. If he didn't get this boomer off him, he was a goner.
Linna stared down in astonishment. She couldn't believe such a small boomer could generate so much power to overpower her suit and its weight. Her suit had been recently upgraded yet it was still underpowered. She could hear the motors in her arm straining to stay locked in place. She turned her attention toward Sylia as she was slowly getting to her feet, "Help, it's getting up!"
Ranma arched his hips upward as he brought his hand back down to his sides. Since the boomer was holding his hands, it had no way of stopping itself from falling forward from the forward momentum his hips and its weight had created. The boomer hit its head on the ground with a loud thump as Ranma pushed it off and got back onto its feet.
That was a close call, he thought to himself.
"Damn, that thing's also extremely strong!" Linna said as she quickly scooted to her feet as she made her way to Sylia's side. She then shook the cobwebs from her head from when it hit the ground "Even with our upgraded suits, it's not enough! And damn, how the hell does it know how to get outta moves like that? I've never seen a boomer use my own momentum to its advantage before!"
Ranma smiled at the boomers. These things aren't that hard. Their power supply seemed to have been exhausted. He took a look over his shoulder toward that red-
haired, human-looking boomer. He saw it kneeling down next to that blue boomer clutching its ribs. It looked like it was helping the injured boomer to its feet.
Sylia noticed that the boomer's attention was toward Nene and Priss. It was going to attack them. She stepped forward in front of the boomer, directly between it and her two friends.
Man, what's with these boomers, Ranma thought. Why is it helping each other out? It's as if it's trying to protect the other two. He smiled. It didn't matter though. He would get to them as soon as he finished this one off.
"Look out!" Linna managed to say to Sylia, but she was too late.
Ranma lunged forward as he shouted, "Kashuu Tenshin Amaguriken!" Hundreds and hundreds of punches struck the boomer within mere seconds. Most of his attacks struck the boomer's chest, but he landed several good shots on its head and gut also.
Linna watched in absolute horror. She had no idea this boomer was this dangerous up close. Its physical attacks were far worse than its energy blasts. She watched as her friend was struck hundreds of times in the blink of an eye.
Ranma cocked his arm back to shove his fist right through the boomer's chest, but he hesitated. He saw the boomer in front of him fall down on to its hand and knees. It fell down before his feet, no longer moving.
As his arm still remained back cocked backwards, he couldn't bring himself to finish the boomer off. Before he knew it, a sharp pain surged trough his lower back as he was sent flying through the air. He twisted in the air and landed on his feet a few feet away.
He watched as the boomer that kicked him knelt down before the boomer he had just punched several hundred times. He couldn't explain why, but he felt a brief sign of remorse as he watched the boomer help the damaged one. The boomer was acting human, as if it were helping out a fallen comrade.
"Sylia!" Linna said as she gently cradled her friend in her arms "Speak to me! Wake up!"
"Get away from here," Sylia managed to say before lapsing into unconsciousness.
"No!" Linna said. She looked over at the boomer and then back at Sylia. She had to get her friend to safety. She opened Sylia's suit up and took her into her arms. She then proceeded to limp toward Priss and Nene.
"Get out of here! Priss, use your boosters to take Nene and Sylia to safety! I'll keep it distracted!" Linna shouted.
Linna felt something grab hold of her shoulder. She knew it was the boomer. She and Sylia were done for. She placed Sylia to the ground and turned to face the boomer. She had to go down fighting. She cocked her arm back and punched toward the boomer, only to have the boomer catch her fist. She tried to punch it with her other hand, but the boomer also caught it. It regarded Linna with curious eyes.
"What are you waiting for?" Linna said, "Finish us off!"
Ranma released his hold on the boomer's hands as he placed one of his hands over the boomer's throat but didn't squeeze. He watched as the boomer used both of its hands to free itself from his grasp.
Why isn't it trying to attack me, Ranma thought. What is this, some form of self-preservation Genom incorporated into its AI chips. It should be fighting me until it can fight no more. He placed his other hand on the boomer's shoulder and ripped the outer armor off. He then ripped the outer armor over the boomer's other shoulder. Even though this was a boomer, Ranma wasn't enjoying this at all. Even though this was the same kind of thing that killed his friends and family, his heart was aching. As he held the boomer, Ranma looked down at the unconscious boomer behind it. It looked human, just like that short, pink-haired boomer.
Ranma turned his attention back onto the boomer he was holding, regarding it curiously. Maybe this boomer was like the other ones. He brought the boomer closer to himself as he inspected for some way of getting the inner armor off.
I wonder how I can get this thing off, Ranma thought, still looking at the boomer seriously. He was no longer scared of the boomer hurting him. It had exhausted its energy supply. After a few moments, he saw something that might be able to get that helmet-like skull off. He hooked two fingers under the boomer's chin and yanked upward, ripping the skull off the boomer. Ranma realized he was right. There was another boomer underneath.
This must be some kinda exoskeleton armor or something, he thought. To his surprise, he found himself staring into the eyes of a beautiful female boomer with short black hair. Linna stared up into the boomer's eyes. She didn't know what to do. There was nothing she could do. She was in the mercy of this boomer. Actually, boomers didn't know what mercy was meaning she was as good as dead. But why was it looking at her curiously? The boomer let go of Linna's neck. It stood there, doing nothing.
Linna used the boomer's hesitation to get herself and Sylia to safety. She quickly knelt down and threw one of Sylia's arm around her shoulders, but when she took a step, her ankle throbbed as she fell to the ground clutching her broken ankle in pain.
Ranma stepped forward. He couldn't believe how human these boomers acted. Since it actually looked like it was in pain, it actually made his heart ache. He caught himself almost wanting to kneel down and help the boomer out.
He didn't know why, but he couldn't finish these two boomers off. He couldn't finish any of them off. They were acting way too human, and it bothered him. Even though they were acting, Ranma had a soft spot. He would never kill humans, and his hesitation proved it. Ranma continued to look at the boomer curiously. He didn't really need to kill these boomers. If he met them again, he would be able to defeat them again. During this battle, he had only exerted a small bit of his energy. There was no need to kill these boomers. He didn't have to worry about them returning back to Genom headquarters and give them data on his fighting abilities because all of his energy came from his ki, and there was no way Genom could reproduce that. Ki was something only humans could possess.
Why isn't it attacking, Linna thought. She didn't care though. If it wasn't then that mean she might be able to get Sylia to safety. On one leg, she half-
dragged Sylia toward where Priss and Nene was. Maybe it's best that I finish 'em off, Ranma thought. He didn't want to underestimate them. He didn't want them coming back and perhaps finishing him off. Afterall, since these boomers had fought him, they would be familiar with his way of fighting. Ranma shrugged his shoulders. This was the best thing to do. Even though he would most likely not sleep well tonight, there was no better way. One thing he had learned over the decades of training was not to underestimate his opponents.
He walked up to one of the boomers and grabbed it by the neck. He slowly began to squeeze.
Linna knew the end was near as she tried desperately to make the boomer release its grasp. It was futile though. She was too weak to fight anymore. Whatever feeble attempts she used to make it let go would be useless. She swallowed the lump in her throat as she waited for death to take her. Tears started to form around her eyes as she realized she would never be able to do the things she always wanted to do, that this would be her fate, to die by a boomer's hands.
Ranma released his hold, shocked. He couldn't believe the boomer was crying. What kind of boomer is this, he thought. This seemed to make him feel a huge wave of remorse. He just had to find out.
"Are you scared to die?" he asked. Although he didn't like asking something like that since it made him feel like some kind of monster, but he just wanted to see how the boomer would respond. He was amazed at how well the boomers could imitate humans, but he wanted to know if it had any form of human emotion.
Linna gasped for breath. After a few moments, she looked up at the boomer. Did she hear correctly? Did the boomer just ask if she was afraid to die? What was it doing, toying with her? She wiped the tears from her eyes but said nothing.
"I figured," Ranma said, "You can imitate human emotions, but you can never feel it. For a moment there, I felt compassion toward you. Heh, what a fool I am!" He bent down and picked Linna up by her collar. He cocked an arm back, ready to cave this boomer's face in and end its so-called life. But he stopped when the boomer spoke in a soft and timid voice.
"W-what are you talking about?" Linna said.
"I said you seem to imitate human emotions quite convincingly, but you would never be able to feel it," Ranma repeated, "For a moment there, I felt compassionate not to destroy you,"
"Compassion? How can you feel compassion?" Linna said. She couldn't believe the response her words had made on the boomer. It released its grasp on her.
"You mean you're human?" Ranma asked slowly, cautiously. He looked down at the boomer that was on the ground, supposedly unconscious.
Linna nodded cautiously, "Yes, of course I'm human," She noticed the boomer was looking at Sylia. When her gaze rested on Sylia, she noticed a trickle of blood flowing from her mouth. Tears started to form around her eyes again as she ran toward her friend's side. She didn't care if the boomer was going to kill her, but Linna wouldn't let the boomer hurt her friend unless it killed her first.
Ranma's face displayed sadness, as if on the brink of tears as he watched Linna cradle Sylia in her arms. At that moment, he realized that there was no way she could be a boomer. He saw Linna cry and he realized that she was human. He knew one thing that could never happen, boomers crying He turned around "What have I done? I-I thought you were a boomer!" He looked down at the ground, ashamed. He couldn't believe he had almost killed someone. Her death would have been on his hands for the rest of his life. He had been steadfast to protecting people from boomers, but here he was, about to kill the people he was supposedly protecting.
Linna looked up at Ranma. Boomers were programmed not to attack other boomers, meaning if he thought she was a boomer, then that meant he was human since boomers never deviated from its programming, "Y-you mean you're not a boomer?"
Ranma turned to face Linna, "No, I'm not,"
He bent down next to Sylia and checked for her pulse, "Oh god, what have I done?"
He sighed in relief when he felt a steady yet weak pulse. He gently picked Sylia up in his arms, her head resting against the crook of his neck and shoulder as her arms fell over his back, "We have to get her to a hospital"
"You get away from her!" Ranma heard the pink haired girl yell at him, "You leave her alone!"
Ranma stopped for a moment before replying, "We need to get all of you to a hospital," When he received a confused look from Nene, he continued, "I'm sorry for this. I thought you were boomers. That's why I attacked you. I thought you were boomers,"
He looked down at Linna with soft eyes, "Are you all right? Can you walk?"
Linna looked down at her broken ankle and then back up at Ranma. She nodded her head, "I-I think so," She tried to put a bit of pressure on her foot, but it was too much for her as she feel forward.
Ranma reached forward and grabbed Linna's arm before she hit the ground, "Here," he said, "Lettme help,"
Linna didn't pull her arm away from Ranma's grasp. She couldn't help but notice how warm his hands felt as they were pressed against her. She could feel her heart skip a beat as Ranma knelt down and threw one of her arms around his shoulder "Here, lean against me,"
As Ranma gently carried Sylia, Linna took careful steps as she leaned her weight against it. She was so close to him that she could smell the faint scent of his perspiration. It looked like the battle had taken a bit out of him.
Nene left Priss' side and ran forward and stopped in front of Ranma and Linna, "I said for you stay away from them!" She had no idea what she was going to do, but she had to get her friends to safety. She took a step back as Ranma looked at her with soft eyes.
"Look," Ranma said, "I'm sorry for what happened. I thought you were boomers. Your friend here made me realize that you're human. I'm human also, just like you,"
Nene said nothing. She just stood there and looked up at Ranma in disbelief. He was human? How could that be? Her sensors had never picked it up. But then again, the power that he was able to generate might have keep her sensors from picking it up.
"Are you okay?" Ranma looked over Nene's shoulder toward Priss, who was trying to stand up while clutching her ribs. She had managed to make it to her feet, but she couldn't walk. It was too painful. He stepped up to Priss and extended one of his hands forward. He used his other hand to carry Sylia. Priss just stared at Ranma's outstretched hand. What kind of joke is that, she thought. This boomer was acting human. There was no way a human could generate this much power.
"You're not human. You lie," She gritted her teeth as pain shot throughout her body as she cocked her arm back. She was about to cave this boomer's face in, but the pain was too much for her to bare.
She fell to her knees in pain. Nene rushed to her side and grabbed hold of her "Priss, are you all right?"
"Do you need help?" Ranma asked. Priss shook her head. She didn't need his help. Even though there was no way she could do anything, and her suit and her body had taken too much damage, she didn't want his help. "Well, I don't care. You need my help," Ranma said. He reached forward and took a hold of Priss' arms and was about to help her to her feet, but Priss jerked her arm away. She clutched at her ribs as pain shot through her from when she jerked her arm. She quickly removed her helmet as a small trickle of blood emerged from her mouth. The pain was intense and piercing. She was in trouble. She would pass out from the pain in just a few moments from now.
"Your ribs are broken," Ranma said, "You mustn't do this to yourself or your ribs will puncture one of your lungs. You have to take it easy," He reached out forward again to take her arm but she didn't take it. He waited for her to take his hand this time. Even though he knew she was the prideful type, he knew she needed his help.
He smiled as Priss took his hand and slowly made her way to her feet. Nene rushed to Priss' side and threw one of her arms over her shoulders. Priss smiled a bit as she realized how much the pain had went away now that Ranma and Nene was helping her out.
"Which way to the nearest hospital?" he said. He had no real idea where he was. He knew he was on some deserted, slum-like, man-made island that was usually used as testing grounds for Genom's prototypes. He had found out that this was where most of the advanced boomers were being tested, and he wanted to get rid of them before they had a chance to be put into production.
"The nearest one is five miles west of here," Linna said pointing toward the horizon where the sun was now setting.
"Damn," he swore as he clenched his teeth, "That's gonna take over two hours to walk," He turned to face Priss and then looked over at Nene "What are we gonna do?"
"I'm going to call Mackie," Nene said as she turned her attention toward Priss, "I'll use your communicator to call him,"
She scooted out from under Priss' arm and walked over to where her friend had dropped her helmet. She picked it up.
"Mackie! Mackie!" Nene yelled into the helmet "You there? Mackie!"
A voice came from the helmet "Mackie here. What is it, Nene?"
"We're in trouble," she said, "We need you to come pick us up. I'm sending you our coordinates,"
She opened up a small panel on the side of the helmet to reveal a small number pad. She then punched in a few numbers.
"Now what?" Ranma said. He didn't know how long it would take for this so-
called Mackie to arrive.
"We wait," Linna said.
Ranma entered the tiny room carrying Sylia and Nene's battle suits, each suit slung around each shoulder. Sylia's suit, although the front was dented and the breast plate was gone, was still intact. Nene's suit wasn't so lucky. Most of the metal had melted into a heaping mess.
"Where'd ya like me to put this?" Ranma asked. "In the corner," Linna said, pointing.
Ranma and the four girls were in a tiny room that was in one of the abandoned buildings. They needed to take cover because the Knight Sabers didn't want their identities revealed in case a boomer was running around. The room was only a few meters wide, and there was a bit a debris everywhere, but it was good enough for now.
Linna watched as Ranma placed the suits in the corner she had said. She was dumbfounded and wondered how Ranma was able to carry two suits at once. Each suit weighted several hundred pounds and he was carrying both of them like they were as light as a feather. Both suit must have weight somewhere around a thousand pounds combined.
Ranma walked over to the window and looked out the front window of the building, "When's your backup gonna get here?" They had been in the building for around fifteen minutes already. He was starting to get impatient. For every minute passed, the chance of Sylia not waking up was more probable.
Nene walked up to Ranma and stood next to him, the top of her head barely reaching his chin, "He'll be here in a little while. It takes a little time for him to get the transport ready. That's all,"
Ranma squinted his eyes, "Hey, what's that over there. Is that your friend?" He pointed toward four hovering dots about two miles away from where they were hiding out.
"No," Nene said, "Those look like boomers. Afterall, this is a boomer training ground," She looked more carefully "Those must be the boomers we wanted to intercept,"
"We heard Genom..." Linna said as she got up and slowly made her way to Ranma and Nene, using the walls for support. When Ranma saw her standing next to him, he reached out and gently placed her arm around his shoulder, "We heard Genom was trying out some new prototype boomers around here and we were waiting for them to arrive. That is, until you attacked us,"
Ranma scratched the back of his head, "Oh, you were here to do that also? That's why I was here. I wanted to blow them up before they can go into production. That oughta hit Genom where it hurts,"
"Why are you doing this?" Priss couldn't help but ask. She stayed where she was, in the back of the room, next to the unconscious Sylia.
"You mean about my hatred toward Genom?" Ranma started out slowly. When Priss nodded, he sighed and spoke, "Everyone I cared about was killed by combat boomers that Genom created. The boomers went berserk and killed 'em all. Boomers should have never been created in the first place. And for that, I'm gonna make Genom regret having done so. It's all personal,"
Nene gasped, "Oh no. Look over there, there's Mackie," She pointed toward the ground where a truck was coming down one of the deserted streets toward the building. The truck could be easily spotted by those boomers from high above "He's gonna be spotted!"
Ranma gently let Nene take hold of Linna as he smiled a bit "If those are the prototype boomers we came here to destroy, then I'll take care of it,"
He then quickly ran out of the building "I already got my second wind,"
Curiosity got the better of Priss as she slowly and cautiously made her way to where Nene and Linna was standing. Once there, Nene threw her arm around her should as she held both Linna and Priss stand. Together, the three girls watched as Ranma walked out to the middle of the street and wave toward the incoming truck.
"Over here," Ranma said as he waved his hands. He wanted to get this Mackie person out of harm's way while he did his business. He pointed toward the building as Mackie stopped the truck and look at him cautiously, "They're in that building. Don't worry, it's not some trap. Damn, they're already here!"
A massive explosion exploded on the ground just behind Mackie's truck. The truck was sent flying forward and skidded to a halt a few feet away. Another explosion struck the side of the truck this time as the truck was toppled over onto its side. Ranma quickly hopped on top of the truck and opened the driver's side door and reached in a grabbed Mackie's arm, "Quickly, get into the building. Those damn boomers saw ya!" With one arm, he lifted Mackie out of the truck and placed him down on the ground. When he noticed Mackie just standing there, staring at him, he shouted, "Hurry, get outta here! Here they come!"
Another explosion occurred, this time a few feet away from Ranma. Ranma was blown backwards off the truck, landing on the ground on his back with a loud thump. He quickly flipped back up onto his feet, wiping a bit of blood trickling from his mouth, "That was a lucky shot!"
He quickly jumped out of the way as another blast exploded right where he was. He continued to do this as the four boomers got closer and closer. He watched intently for the boomers' next attacks as they all landed on the street about twenty feet in front of him. Each boomer looked slightly different from each other, and was carrying a heavy arsenal of equipment. Two boomers had rocket launchers attached to their shoulders while carrying a shield while the other two each carried two large caliber tank rifles. All stood close to four meters high each. They all resembled a bigger, heavier version of these big brown heavy duty combat boomers he remember destroying a few days ago. He remembered those boomers had a large cannon for an arm. He couldn't remember what kind of model they were, but he didn't have much trouble destroying those. Hopefully, these boomers would be as easy also.
Ranma ran straight toward the four boomers as they all opened fire on him. His voice echoed through the empty streets of the abandoned town.
Ranma looked at the truck that had been toppled over onto its side. "Will you stand back for a moment?" Ranma said, walking up to the truck. Linna was the first to ask, "What are you going to do?"
Ranma didn't reply back. The girls and Mackie watched as Ranma squatted low to the ground, his back straight, and slipped his fingers under the truck. He then gave out a yelp as he used all his strength to lift the truck up, his muscles straining intensely. After several moments, Ranma managed to lift the truck about a foot of the ground. He then squatted lower to the ground and shoved his shoulder underneath, using that as a lever, gritting his teeth against the effort to lifting.
As the truck was slowly lifted from its side, Ranma got impatient. "Goddamnit! Move ya damn truck!" He got angry at his lack of strength in righting the truck that he gave one final burst of strength, bringing his legs up and pushing his arms out at the same time.
Unfortunately, Ranma seemed to have gotten a bit too angry for he put too much strength behind his final push, the truck landing back on its wheel only to topple over onto its other side.
"Shit!" Ranma swore. He wished he could control his anger more. Sometimes, he didn't know his own strength.
Ranma walked over to the other side of the truck and proceeded to lift it back up, and hopefully, onto its wheels.
Everyone watched, mouths open wide.
When the truck was back on its wheels, Ranma turned toward the staring group, unperturbed by the astonishing glances. "All right, we better get going,"
Ranma was sitting patiently in the corner of the hospital room when Sylia awoke. She quickly sat upright in her bed "What's going on here? Where am I?" She scooted away to the back of her bed when she caught sight of the boomer that had beaten her unconscious. Although that was her first reaction, she managed to look at everything logically.
She noticed that Priss and the others were in the room, along with the boomer. Priss was sitting on her own bed, some bandages wrapped around her ribs. Linna was sitting on Priss' bed, her foot in a cast. Nene was sitting in a chair at the foot of the bed. She realized that this boomer couldn't be a boomer. Otherwise, they wouldn't be here.
"You're never going to believe it," Nene said with a smile.
"Try me," she said with a suspicious eye. She was regarding Ranma as he weakly smiled back at her. "It turns out that..." Nene began. She stopped, realizing that she didn't know this man's name.
"It turns out that Ranma here isn't a boomer," she continued, "I know what you're going to say, 'how come we could pick it up on our scanner?'. I checked out the suits, at least the suit that we have left, and it turns out that they were perfectly functional. It turns out that there seems to be something surrounding Ranma here that prevents it,"
"I think I can explain," Ranma began, "Have you ever heard of battle aura?"
Sylia shook her head. She had have sworn she had heard of it before though.
"Well, I have this weird battle aura always surrounding me that...I guess, messes up those scanner thingies of yours," he continued, "But enough of that now. Are you okay?"
She regarded him with cautious eyes. Ranma looked like he was somewhere in his early or mid twenties, but his eyes showed that he was a lot older. His eyes showed that of life long experiences, something never evident in someone that was as young as he looked. She nodded at Ranma's comment. It was nice that he seemed concern, but it might all be an act. She had to remain cautious. But as she sat there in her bed, she realized something, Ranma was there, meaning he must be aware of their hidden identity.
"So, I assume you now know our identity," she said slowly, watching him. She wanted to see how he reacted. She wanted to know if his words were genuine. She could tell simply by the tone in his voice.
"Your identity?" he asked "Whatcha talking about? You mean those things you wear are supposed to be a secret?" He shrugged his shoulders, "Whatever,"
All four girls said nothing. They all looked at Ranma curiously, Sylia the most. What kind of person was he? He knew of their identity, but it didn't really matter to him? Something must be wrong.
"Well, I don't really care who you really are," Ranma said, turning to face Sylia, "As long as you're not some combat boomer, I'm glad you're okay. I better get going now,"
"Wait," she said, "Can you do us a favor?" It didn't really matter if he didn't want to, she still had to ask. Even though there was no way they could stop him, she had to ask him this question "Can you please not let anyone know who we are?"
Ranma shrugged his shoulders "Even though I don't really know what kinda secret it is, yeah, sure. I'll keep your secret," He left the room.
Sylia was looking at the computer screen when she realized how tired she was. It was around three in the morning. She hadn't slept in two days, and it was taking a toll on her, especially her mind. Everything on the screen was starting to look like gibberish. Even the simplest words seemed indiscernible. Naturally, she would have had Fargo do the extensive research of that person named Ranma, but ever since he got hurt during that boomer rampage a few days ago, he was in the hospital recuperating.
She immediately broke out of her sleepy stupor when her eyes rested on a familiar face.
On the computer screen, she saw Ranma's face. All that extensive background checking had finally paid off. She was looking at a profile on a man named Ranma Saotome. For the past two days, she had been looking through the police logs for the man that she only remembered was called Ranma.
A portrait of a handsome man was on the screen as Sylia stared up at it. It was definitely him. It was definitely the man she fought a few days ago.
She read the profile of him. She was immediately shocked to find out that Ranma was well in his fifties. That wasn't all that surprised her. She found that he used to live in Nerima, the same city that was leveled to the ground by a bunch of berserking boomers that she had read about many years ago.
"Hm, that seems right," she said to herself, "If the family he was talking about was indeed killed, then they must have died during the 'Nerima Massacre' when those boomers went berserk at the same time. That would confirm why he hates boomers so much," She read some more.
Sylia leaned back in her chair as she finished with Ranma's background check. Unless Genom messed around with AD Police's citizen archives, Ranma was definitely human. The research had proved quite useful. She found out that Ranma had been arrested several times for the destruction of Genom buildings. "Buildings?" Sylia gasped.
How can he destroy entire Genom buildings, Sylia thought. All of Genom's companies are heavily fortified. Although they aren't fortified as their main corporate building, Genom's security fortifications could take out small armies before being overwhelmed. That would mean Ranma is more powerful than a small army.
"That's impossible!" Sylia said, "How can one man destroy entire Genom buildings?" She decided to take back those words when she recalled seeing Ranma throwing all those ki-blasts from his hands. And of course, he had managed to break the Knight Sabers' armor, which was much stronger than any of Genom's boomers.
But if he's capable of taking out Genom buildings, she thought, how can the police manage to apprehend him. She scanned his profile again. She remembered coming across something that might explain it.
Hm, she thought, it says here that he currently unemployed. Unless he works as a mercenary like us, he has no source of income. Could he be allowing himself get caught so he could spend time in jail, where he would have food and shelter? Hm, and it says here that he has no place of residence because his house was destroyed during that boomer rampage many years ago.
She thought, how come we never heard of a man like him before? Surely, if he took out Genom buildings, we would know about it. How can we miss something like this? Hm, it says here he took out nineteen Genom buildings that were scattered around Europe and North America. Hm, maybe it's because the building taken out weren't in Japan that we missed it.
But that was highly improbable. If anybody attacked Genom, they would had known.
"Wait a minute?" she said, realizing something "That was HIM doing that, destroying those buildings?" She remembered hearing about Genom destroying nineteen of their own buildings in hopes of rebuilding a better, more advanced version. Perhaps it was him that destroyed those buildings. No. It must be. And since the police hate Genom secretly, some would prefer no to let the public know because they actually viewed Ranma as a savior, not some saboteur,"
Sylia smiled to herself, a great weight lifted off her chest. Although all of those were simple hypotheses, it was much better than what she had before, nothing.
She was glad that this background check had paid off. Sylia yawned. Before she would tell the others, she needed some sleep. She knew she needed it because she caught herself talking to herself several times.
While at work, Nene looked at her dispatch screen in disbelief, not believing what she was seeing. On the screen, five boomers had gone berserk, all of them in the same location. Phones in the background were blazing to life as concerned citizens informed the AD Police of the carnage that was ensuing.
"Oh man, this is bad!" Nene said to herself. She looked around to see if anyone was watching. When she realized that all her fellow co-workers were busy tending to all those incoming phonecalls, Nene quietly relayed the dispatch readings to Sylia's computer terminal.
Sylia woke with a sudden jolt when her computer alarm went on. She swore to herself, wishing the boomers would give her just eight hours of sleep before they go on a rampage. She had had a very rough two days. She needed her sleep.
"I'm here," Sylia said as she turned her computer terminal on. She wiped the sleep from her eyes. She looked at her clock and noticed she had only slept for ten minutes. An audio of Nene's voice echoed into the room.
"We have big trouble," she heard Nene's voice, "There are three heavy duty 'BU-12b' and two 'Doberman' model boomers trashing up district seven,"
Sylia swallowed the lump in her throat.
Priss was racing down the highway at fifty miles per hour over the speed limit when she caught sight of a familiar looking man. It was Ranma. He looked like he was headed toward nowhere in particular. She smiled as she figured she'd give him a good scare. She ended up skidding the bike to a halt just inches from him. She executed a maneuver called a stoppie which resulted from her applying only her front brakes, making her back wheel leave the ground as she skidded to a halt.
"W-what're ya tryin' to do?" Ranma said, "Are you tryin' to give me a heart attack or something? I'm not as young as you think I am," He looked like he had been ready to jump out of his skin.
Priss regarded Ranma for a second. The comment brought a small smile to her face. Ranma did not look old. It had been three days since their battle, and she had all but forgotten about it. She had learned to live with the thought that she had lost that battle miserably. Although she did hold a grudge toward Ranma for what he had done to her and her friends, she knew it was all a case of mistaken identity. She, too, had fallen for that mistake.
"Whatcha doing around here?" he asked. His eyes regarded Priss for a moment before dropping down to the great looking bike. He had no real idea if it was a fast bike or not. He was little behind on the times. He didn't really understand technology that much.
"I'm on my way to district seven," she said, "Five boomers seem to be on the rampage there," She figured it'd be best to at least let him know that boomers were on the rampage. Although she did resent him for the power he could wield so easily, he was, in a way, on their side.
"How're your ribs?" he asked. Priss smiled a bit and said, "Yeah, I'm fine," She then revved the motor to the redline mark and popped the gear into first, the front wheel leaving the ground as she did a wheelie away from Ranma at high speeds.
Ranma stood there amazed "Wow, that does look like a fast bike," He began walking down the street toward the direction Priss was headed. "Now, toward what district did she say she was headed?"
Sylia and Linna were both in their hardsuits when Priss arrived in their hidden headquarters under Raven's Garage. Although their suits were nowhere near as good a condition as before the battle against Ranma, Mackie had managed to fix it up considerably with the spare parts that he had. Nene's suit was unsalvageable, meaning a new one would have to be built. It didn't matter though because Nene was still at work over in the AD Police headquarters.
The fact that their suits were in need of some repair didn't really matter that much though. They needed to upgrade their suits anyway. This just made the reason more appropriate.
"It's about time you got here," Linna said to as Priss got off her bike.
Priss gave Linna a smirk, "Well, I got caught up for a moment on the way here. I saw Ranma,"
"Y-you did?" Linna said with a smile. Although she didn't want to give away her obvious interest toward Ranma, it was too late. Priss and Sylia noticed the change in her mood, and they knew she seemed to have a thing for him.
"Man, I wish those boomers weren't rampaging near Sylia's building," Linna changed the subject, "That way, we could let the AD Police take care of them," She sighed. She remembered when it last happened. Sylia's lingerie store had been trashed and it took forever to get it cleaned and fixed.
"I told Ranma where they were rampaging," Priss said as she got out of her clothes and into her skin-tight jumpsuit, "Maybe he could take care of them," She climbed into her hardsuit and activated it, putting the helmet on, "Man, this feels a bit awkward, but I guess it'll have to do for now. When'll Mackie have this fixed completely?"
"Tomorrow," Sylia said.
The three Knight Sabers arrived at the scene of the crime. Priss was in her motoslave suit as she hovered down to the roof of a nearby building. The motoslave suit was basically an addition suit one could put on for more firepower. In a sense, it was kind of like a hardsuit for a hardsuit.
She was carrying a cannon capable of blowing a hole right through an entire building. Linna was also in her motoslave suit as she, too, hovered down next to Priss. Sylia, only in her hardsuit, had landed on the roof carrying a high caliber sniper laser rifle. Her suit was in worse condition than both Linna and Priss' so it was best she stayed a short distance away and pick the boomers off with the rifle.
As Sylia set her rifle up and looked through the high powered scoop, she noticed that the five boomers seemed to be working together like a team. The three brown BU-12b boomers, more powerful versions than standard combat boomers, were firing their heavy duty cannons to destroy nearby police cars and trucks while using their machine guns to kill the hapless police officers. The AD Police didn't stand a chance.
The two 'Doberman' boomers, boomers meant for use in space, not Earth, had their backs to the police, using their miniguns to riddle the stores with thousands of bullets. These boomers definitely didn't go berserk. It looked more like Genom was trying out some new AI chip on their boomers. It looked as if a network had been setup between the five boomers, to see how they would work as a team rather than individually.
"Be careful," Sylia spoke into her communicator, "These boomers seem to be working together, like there's a network set up between them,"
She aimed her rifle toward one of the BU-12b boomers. She waited for the perfect moment to fire. She didn't want to give away her location because if the boomer realized where she was attacking from, she would be in trouble.
Linna hopped off the roof as she used the massive cannon that her motoslave was carrying to blow a hole through the chest of one of the BU-12b while Priss did the same. Unfortunately, Priss' shot was slightly off, and it missed its mark. It only blew off the boomer's left arm.
Priss landed just in time to jump out of the way as the boomer returned fire, missing her by inches. The blast blew one of the hover jets to her motoslave. The boomer strafed toward the right as it continued to fire its cannon at Priss, narrowing missing her with every shot. The boomer exploded as a laser shot pierced through it chest from Sylia's sniper rifle.
"We have to get them to follow us," Sylia said, "They're causing too much damage around here. We have to get them away from the stores," Linna and Priss acknowledged her suggestion. "Follow me, Linna," Priss said as one of the boosters to her motoslave blazed to life. Although the other booster was destroyed, her other booster still allowed her to hover.
Linna quickly followed.
The three remaining boomers followed. Sylia quickly held a tight grip on her rifle as she hovered from rooftop to rooftop, wondering where Priss was headed. "Where are you going?" Linna said as she followed closely behind Priss.
"Remember when I said I saw Ranma a short while ago?" she said, "We could have him take care of them and get them away from Sylia's store at the same time,"
A cannon blasted from behind them, hitting the Priss' motoslave from behind. Priss screamed as she was propelled forward from the impact of the blast, sliding down the street several dozen yards before she came to a stop. She tried to get her feet just as Linna hovered down right next to her.
"You okay?" Linna asked.
"Shit, I can't move," Priss noticed that her motoslave had been damaged badly from that blast. It was having trouble responding to her commands. "Get out of it then," Linna quickly said as she turned toward the three incoming boomers and returned fire, her machine guns and the cannon her motoslave carried firing for all their worth. The last BU-12b was destroyed by the onslaught of firepower, but the two 'Doberman' boomers skillfully dodged. They stopped about a dozen meters in front of Linna and Priss and opened fire, their miniguns firing rapidly.
Linna was able to react in time to protect Priss, jumping in front of her, as the bullets riddled her motoslave with holes. Knowing that it was useless to remain in her motoslave, Linna disengaged to suit and hopped out of it through the back, picking up the massive cannon Priss' motoslave was carrying.
She fired a shot toward one of the 'Doberman', thrown back from the kickback of the cannon. She would had hit the floor very hard as she fell backwards if it weren't for two hands pressing against her back, preventing her.
Linna turned to see who saved her and her gaze rested on Ranma.
"R-Ranma!" she said. She regarded Ranma as he smiled a big grin.
"Look out!" Ranma shouted as he pushed Linna to one side, also jumping out of the way as a laser blast ripped across their path, exploding against a small building a quarter mile down the road. Linna used her boosters to hover to her feet before she hit the ground after being shoved. She caught sight of Ranma as he rushed toward Priss sitting helplessly as bullets riddled her motoslave. Her suit wouldn't respond anymore to her commands. She was a sitting duck.
"Mouko Takabisha!" Linna watched him shout as a ki-blast ripped from his hands. The blast flew through the air an intense speed, hitting one of the 'Doberman' in the chest, destroying it on impact. The impact of the blast was so intense that several windows of nearby stores exploded. The explosion of his energy blast had managed to create a smoke screen between him and the boomer. Without even bothering to think, Ranma quickly ran up to Priss and grabbed one of the motoslave's arms.
"Damn, this thing's heavy," he said as he tried to drag it, much to no avail. He noticed that trying to drag it was worthless since the suit was embedded slightly into the ground from the sliding. The only thing he could do was pick the damn thing up.
Ranma gritted his teeth as the muscles in his forearms strained. He lifted the suit up and pushed it onto its side "C'mon, get out already,"
"I can't!" He heard Priss said through her helmet. She was struggling to free herself from the suit, much to no avail.
Ranma punched a hole through the chest of the motoslave suit and grabbed hold of the breastplate of Priss' suit. He pulled for all his worth, but it was still useless. He couldn't get her out. He'd have to break the entire front part of the motoslave to get her out. He gripped the chest piece to the suit and ripped it off completely. He then reached in and grabbed Priss and pulled her out, pushing her to safety.
By now, the smoke had cleared out, allowing the 'Doberman' to set its sights on the target again. It shot at the damaged motoslave.
Ranma managed to jump out of the way just in time as the suit exploded. He rolled to his feet quickly and lunged toward the boomer and grabbed one of its arms and threw it over his shoulder, the weight of the boomer as it struck the ground causing it to create a small crater. He then smashed his fist right through the boomer's head, the boomer ceasing function immediately.
Ranma smashed an open palm into the boomer's chest, causing it to collapse inward, just to make sure it was no longer functioning. He then hopped off the boomer and picked it up, all two thousand pounds of it, and slammed it on the ground again further embedding it in to the ground.
"Man, if that doesn't stop it, nothin' will," he said with a chuckle. The boomer had stopped functioning when he had smashed a hole right through its head, but he wanted to have his fun. He knew it didn't matter how much more he destroyed it. Once the AI chip was destroyed, the boomer was harmless.
He sat down on the boomer's chest, "Are you two all right?" Linna pulled up the visor of her helmet.
Sylia finally caught sight of her two companions. She had seen them take off toward the outskirts of the city but she couldn't keep up since she was only in her regular hardsuit. Linna and Priss' motoslaves were far more powerful than her suit, allowing them to surpass her rate of follow.
She landed in on a nearby roof when she noticed her two friends standing in the middle of a quiet, battle ridden street, both of them sans their motoslave suits. She noticed that there was also another person standing by them. She quickly brought the scoop of her rifle to her eye level as she looked through it for a clearer view. It was Ranma. She was surprised when she caught herself sighing in relief as she noticed it was him.
As she looked through the scoop, she knew she had a clear shot to blow his head right off of his shoulders. There was no telling who this man was, or why he was here. Sure, he was destroying boomers, but there might have been some hidden agenda she didn't know about. Who knew, maybe he wanted to get rid of Genom so he could take over the corporation.
Thoughts raced through Sylia's head as she contemplated on whether or not she should pull the trigger. He already knew of their secret identity, and that could spell big trouble for them if word got out. Only a few people outside of the group knew of their identities. Having another person know about it just made the chances high that they would soon be discovered.
But for some reason, she couldn't bring herself to pull the trigger. As of right now, he proved no threat. Their little battle the other day was over mistaken identity, something she couldn't hold a grudge over him because she, too, had mistaken him for a boomer as he did them. She dropped the rifle to her side, having this weird feeling that she might come to regret it. But she couldn't help but remember seeing the caring and concern in his eyes when she had awoken in that hospital bed. She remember how warm those beautiful blue eyes of his looked when their gazes met, and she knew that was something she would never forget. Sylia sighed a bit as a small smile crossed her lips. "What was that thing you were in?" Ranma said as he still sat on the boomer's chest, jerking a thumb over his back at the remnants of Priss' motoslave suit. He noticed that this big red suit seemed to be some extra outer that Priss wore that seemed to cover over Priss' hardsuit.
"That's a motoslave," Linna said as she looked down at her own motoslave. The suit was badly damaged but was definitely salvageable. Mackie would go ballistic when he saw the damage, but he would still be able to fix it after a few days.
"A moto-what?" Ranma asked confused. He was scratching the back of his head as he felt a bit embarrassed that he wasn't up-to-date with current technology. He had been training in the mountains of China most of his life. The only technology he knew was boomer technology, and that they were something he tried his hardest to get rid of, "Well, whatever it is, I'm glad you two are all right. So I guess I better get going now," He causally hopped off the boomer's chest and proceeded down the street.
Priss was about to ask where he was headed, but it was none of her business. She had already thanked him. There was nothing else she needed to do. But for some odd reason, she didn't want him to leave. She found herself watching Ranma as his figure grew smaller and smaller as the distance between them got larger and larger.
"Priss, I'm glad you spotted him on your way to the garage," Linna said as she stood next to Priss, also watching Ranma intently, "We would have been in a lot of trouble if it weren't for him,"
Once Ranma was out of sight, Priss did something that caught Linna by surprised. She kicked the boomer as she swore to herself.
"Shit. I can't believe how I screwed up like that!" she said, "We should have taken care of them easily, even without the help of Sylia or Nene. We had our motoslaves!"
"But Ranma managed to save us," Linna said softly, a bit worried over her friend. Priss looked seriously ticked off.
Priss shot Linna a cold glance, "That's what I'm pissed about! How come we're screwing up all of a sudden? We fought Dobermans before, and without out motoslaves, and we managed to beat them. And here we are, with the motoslaves, and we get trashed! I don't get it. Why?"
Sylia's boosters flared as she gently landed on her feet a few years away from the two girls "I know why,"
Priss turned her attention toward Sylia "Why?"
"It seems Ranma has something to do with it"
"Madigan-sama. It seems your plan worked," her assistant, Carper, said as she entered his office. Carper was a young man with short brown hair and a square face. He was more like Madigan's right hand man than her assistant.
Madigan smoothed a lock of her purple hair from her face as she peered out of his window that overlooked the entire city of MegaTokyo. The view gave her a great shot of the a huge fault that was a result of the Kanto Earthquake that separated the entire west and east side of the advanced city, "We managed to collect enough data on the superboomer that seems to be accompanying the Knight Sabers. After a few more encounters with it, we should know more about it,"
"Good," she said with a smile, her reflection seen as it reflected off the glass window that separated her from Carper's office and the polluted air that was outside Genom Tower, "What have you got so far? Exactly how powerful is this superboomer? And where did it come from?"
"Well, since you're familiar with the boomer association classes," Carper said, "is it all right if I use it as an analogy?"
Carper walked over to a screen that was on one of the walls of his office and clicked on a button. It showed a profile of a household boomer, the first kind of boomer Genom had created, "Well, there's the simple boomers, the ones used for everyday human chores, which is a class 1-A boomer. The number '1' states its powerlevel output, while the 'A' states its revision type"
"I know that," Madigan spat, "Now get on with it,"
"Sorry," he said. He took a breath and continued, "Well, as you know, the C-55 combat boomer is a class 3-C Boomer model. The BU-12b is a class 4-B model while the Dobermans are a class 4-E model. And as you know, the higher the revision number, the deadlier the boomer. That means a C-55 boomer which has been upgraded to class, say, 3-E or even class 3-F, would be able to destroy a class 4-A or even a 4-B boomer"
"Yeah," Madigan said, leaning up against Caper's chair. She felt a bit angry for the little lecture, but she knew he was trying to getting to the point, "get on with it,"
"Well, our most advanced boomers, the four prototype one that were wiped out on the artificial island not too long ago, were class 5-A models. So that means, as of right now, the strongest boomer Genom can create is a 5-A model boomer. Now, based on the boomer association class scale that we have and use, this superboomer that the Knight Sabers seemed to have created seem more along the lines of, get this, a class 23-A model boomer,"
"Yes," Carper said "As of right now," He emphasized his words as he slapped his open hand on his table, "he would be considered a 23-A model superboomer," "What do you mean 'right now'?" Madigan asked. She swallowed the lump that had formed in her throat. This was almost too much for her. Something of that class must be out of Genom's technological grasp by over fifty years.
"This is the class it is associated with because of what we know about it," Carper continued, "Its projectiles are that of a class 23-A model boomer, but we have no idea what kind of class it is in hand-to-hand combat. Also, we have no idea what else it is capable of. Even though it seemed to have destroyed all four of our prototype 5-A boomers, we have the funny feeling it was not only holding back, but had only used a fraction of its energy,"
Madigan sat down in one of the office chairs. This was too much for her. How can the Knight Sabers have created a superboomer this powerful? It was impossible.
"Well, what do you think about the Knight Sabers," Madigan asked, looking up at the screen. It showed a green, wire-framed outline of Ranma, all the way down to his pig-tail, "What class would you consider them in?"
"Well, this is just a hypothesis," Carper began "I think it's somewhere around the 6-A to 6-B class,"
"You mean they created a boomer that is nearly four times more powerful?" she asked shocked.
"Yes," he said in a calm and rational voice, "This superboomer seems capable of taking out the entire Knight Sabers at once,"
"Shit!" she cursed. She knew how powerful the Knight Sabers were, and the thought of something that was as powerful as all four of them at once made the hairs on the back of her neck stand on end. She was here to take over Mason's job after his death, which also meant the disposal of the Knight Sabers. And now that they had this superboomer working along side them, things had taken a turn for the worse.
"I wonder why they would create a monster so powerful?" she said to herself thoughtfully, "I can't imagine what might happen if it goes berserk?"
"As much as I want it to go berserk while in the presence of the Knight Sabers," he took a deep breath, wondering if it was all right to speak even when he wasn't being spoken to, "I would rather not find out,"
"Well, what about this boomer's intelligence level?" she asked. Maybe the boomer lacked intelligence because something might had been sacrificed for the extreme power output, and intelligence was most likely. Heck, if there was something that could generate that much power, it wouldn't even need an AI chip. All it needed was a program that discerned the Knight Sabers from boomers.
"Well, if we use the same boomer association class, it would still be leaps and bounds over out own boomer AI chips. It seems to have the same intelligence as the Knight Sabers, except it also has the ability to adapt. It seemed like it is capable of incorporating strategy into its fights,"
"Please elaborate," she said.
"Let's say that superboomer is engaged in combat with, say, ten of our prototype boomers," Carper said, "And it's fighting them under an overpass or major highway. It is probably capable of realizing that blowing up the highway above the boomers would easily wipe out all ten boomers at once instead of fighting them all one at a time,"
"Goddamn! How is it capable of doing such things? This is absolutely ludicrous!" Madigan felt a bit dizzy. This wasn't a superboomer. It was more like a walking army.
"It's so intelligent that it wanders the streets as we speak. It seems capable of interacting with society as if it were totally human. Also, there's more," Carper continued, "This superboomer is extremely agile, so agile that it is capable of dodging bullets,"
Madigan has heard enough of the bad news. She needed some good ones "Okay, enough already on its capabilities. What do you have on its weakness?"
Carper smiled "You're going like this. This superboomer can't fly. It's most probable that the ability to fly was sacrificed for the power output. Also, it has virtually no armor whatsoever, meaning a single cannon blast would destroy it. This boomer also seem to be programmed to protect human life if possible. That's all I have on it so far, but this definitely helps balance the scales a bit,"
Madigan sighed. Although she now knew of its weakness, it wouldn't help much at all.
"But don't worry," Carper said, "I have a plan. We found someone, a human, that is capable of generating powers akin to this superboomer we're up against,"
"Human?" Madigan said in shock "This has got to be some mistake. How can some human generate power like that? Where is it all coming from?"
"I can't explain it," Carper said, "We found him living in the mountains around China a few weeks ago while we were up there looking for another location to set up another boomer manufactory. We tried to scan him, but we couldn't, so we assumed he was some new superboomer our competitors created, so we sent one of our scouting boomers in for a closer inspection. The person, somehow, was able to feel the boomer's presence, but he showed no hostile intentions. He actually started communicating with our boomer, and it turns out that the person was not only human, but was fooled that our scout wasn't a boomer. From what I gather, although he's Japanese, I believe he's been living in China for most his life, and has no idea about boomers, how much technology had advanced since China isn't as developed as Japan,"
"Where is he now?" she asked, "I want him to help us out,"
"I'm sorry," Carper said weakly, "But that's not possible. We have no idea where he is,"
Ranma rubbed his stomach as it rumbled for the second time this late morning. He was starving. He needed something to eat and fast. His eyes caught sight of a familiar looking girl through a large glass window. It was that same black haired girl he had almost killed during that mistaken identity incident, and then later came to save a just few short days ago.
Ranma stepped into studio as several of the women eyed him fondly. He didn't seem to realize this. Luckily for him, he had spotted Linna just as she was finishing teaching her aerobics class. She, too, had spotted him.
"Hiya," Ranma said. He would have greeted her by name if he knew it "Um... " He wondered how he was going to ask her for her name.
Several of the girls in the classes gave Linna a mischievous grin behind Ranma's back. It was perfectly like Linna to have all the fun. Most of the guys seemed attracted to her.
"My name's Linna. Linna Yamazaki," she said with a polite bow. She pretended like she had never really met Ranma before, just to give the other girls a show.
"Oh, okay," Ranma said with a warm smile. He noticed that Linna looked very beautiful and the skin tight shorts that she was wearing accentuated her curves quite nicely. She had a very beautiful build, and Ranma seemed a bit embarrassed when he caught himself staring at her for a little longer than he was supposed to.
"Um, how's the ankle?" was the first thing that came to his mind.
"It's fine. It was broken, but thanks to technology, it was repaired without a hitch," she replied.
"Wow, they can do that? I figure they'd put a cast on and let it heal for a few months," he said, a bit surprised.
Linna gave a slight giggle, "Yeah, if broke any of your bones thirty years ago, that's how it would've been done. But nowadays, it's different,"
Ranma gave a slight smile, "I never knew that. Well, I guess I have been a bit behind on the times," He shrugged, "Well, I'm glad to see that you're all right. I best be going now," He turned to leave.
"Wait a minute," she called out for him, causing him to stop. She wasn't expecting him to leave so soon. She was expecting him to be just like every other guy she had met, that he would ask her out to dinner or something. She was caught by surprise when she saw him about to leave. She also had to do all in her power to hide her blush when she had noticed Ranma's gaze on her. His warm eyes made her nervous, as it they could see al the way into her soul, all the way into her darkest secret.
"What is it?" he asked. He felt his stomach grumble again. He really needed to eat. Unfortunately, he had no idea where he was going to find food at a time like this.
"How about lunch?" she asked casually. Although it looked casual, she was definitely nervous asking a question like that. She had never asked that to a man in her life before. It was usually them asking her to go to lunch or dinner with them.
Ranma felt his stomach grumble again. He really wanted to, but there was no way he would be able to pay for the meal "I-I'm sorry, I don't have any money," He turned to leave again.
Ranma was finished with his meal within seconds. He hadn't eaten in days. Linna watched him eat with a smile as she ordered him a second portion, and then pretty soon a third portion. She was only nibbling on a small salad as she watched him. He wasn't paying all too much attention but noticed her regarding him when he bothered to look up.
"What?" he said, "Do I have somethin' on my face?"
Linna giggled, "No. Don't worry about it," she said as she began eating some more of her salad. She didn't know why, but she noticed that her day was looking better than it had ever been in weeks. Actually, she knew what the reason was. No. Actually, she knew who the reason was.
Ranma placed the bowl on the table, "Man, that was good," He was about to burp, but realized he was in the presence of a lady, more like a very beautiful lady, "I'll pay you back for this. I promise,"
"Don't worry about it," Linna said, "Think of it as a form of thanks for helping us out,"
Ranma looked at her for a second before speaking softly, "Helpin' ya out? I thought I was supposed to keep that a secret,"
Linna giggled again. At the most inconvenient time, her watch went off. Sylia was trying to contact her. It must be another berserking boomer. Two days had passed since the last incident, but she wished she had more time to herself than just two days.
"I'll be back in a sec," she said as she got out of her seat and headed toward where the phones were located in the back of the restaurant.
"Man, this places looks like the Nekohanten," Ranma commented as he brought the soup bowl back up to his mouth and began drinking the delicious broth.
"Boy, do I miss those days," He sighed as he placed the empty bowl down on the table again. Although he remembered having many fiancees vying for his affections, life still wasn't as complicated as it had become since he came back to Japan after his training trip to China.
He had come back to a country that he couldn't recognize. Everything was all high-tech. The technology was beyond him. Half the stuff nowadays he had no idea how they worked. Heck, he had no real idea how to work a car back when he was young, and now he would have to drive something much more complicated? Life was harsh.
"I gotta go," Linna said as she handed him several thousand yen, "This should be enough for the bill. I'm sorry to leave like this, but it's important. I hope I'll see ya around. Bye,"
Ranma watched Linna leave the store. After she left, he looked down at the amount of money she had left behind. She had left behind way too much money. But then again, it might be fortunate for him. That meant he would be able to eat decently for the next few days. But still, he would pay her back. Now, the hard part was how.
Ryoga was walking down a street, glad that he was finally back in his birthcountry. He had been trying to get back here for several years, but his lack of direction always prevented him. He looked up at all the huge buildings towering over him, making him seem like an insignificant speck in this world. He had no idea how things had changed. He recognized nothing. Everything was so different. He might as well be in another country and it wouldn't matter because so much had changed.
Ranma was walking down one of the busy streets MegaTokyo late into the afternoon when he caught sight of a familiar looking face from his youth. It was a young looking man sporting a yellow sleeveless shirt and black pants wearing a yellow and black headband.
"Hey, Ryoga, is that you?" he said, waving toward his friend from across the street, "Damn, it is you! How's everythin' going?"
Ranma didn't even bother to wait for the light to turn red. He just casually leapt into the air and over the entire length of the street, landing right next to Ryoga.
"R-Ranma?" Ryoga looked at him curiously, "Is that really you?"
Ranma nodded, smiling, "Long time no see, Ryoga"
"YOU!" Ryoga said, aura glowing bright red "DIE! Shi Shi Hakodan!" A massive ki-blast shot from Ryoga's hands, just as Ranma skillfully jumped out of its path. The blast struck the building behind him, blowing a hole the size of the blast right through it, the walls melting from the extreme heat.
"Hold on there, Ryo-" Ranma managed to say just as he lunged out of the way as another ki-blast jetted right by him, striking yet another building causing it to exploded. It had just missed hitting him in the head. He was lucky he had been able to dodge it in time. As he rolled to his feet, he couldn't help but notice how skillful Ryoga had gotten over the years. Ryoga was now a definite force to be reckoned with.
"How dare you let her get killed!" Ryoga said "How dare you let Akane get killed like that!"
Ryoga attacked with several punches, all of them narrowly missing, all except for the last attack. He managed to land his last attack, an open palm strike, on Ranma's chest. Ranma was propelled backwards into one of the walls of the buildings, the wall collapsing in on itself from the impact.
"This Ryoga Hibiki person," Madigan asked impatiently toward the now nervous Carper, "I want his help. He might be capable of defeating this superboomer running loose. Where could he be?"
"I don't know," he said, "I don't know. I remember he mentioned to our boomer scout that he wanted to come back to Japan, but there seems to be no sign of him anywhere. I think he got lost on the way here. That's the only thing I can think of. He does, afterall, have a very bad sense of direction"
"That's a bunch of bull!" Madigan spat, "How can you lose track of someone like that?"
Carper's screen went on. It showed a facial shot of a man, or boomer, wearing headgear, "Carper-sama, we have located the person," The screen shot switched to a bird's eye view of the two people, one superboomer and one human, battling each other. The shot was being taken from a helicopter hovering nearby, "We've located Ryoga Hibiki. It seems he's already in battle with the superboomer, and he's winning,"
"W-why's he fighting the superboomer in the first place?" Madigan asked "What caused them to fight?"
"I don't know," he said, "Perhaps it's just some freak coincidence,"
Madigan looked at Carper curiously. She never really believed in coincidence. There was always a logical explanation for everything, and this situation wasn't any different.
"I surmise that since that superboomer seems to be programmed to fight other combat boomers," Carper started, "it might've had troubled scanning this Ryoga Hibiki we had trouble with and thinks he's another prototype superboomer we created, and thus, is attacking it. That's the best I can come up with"
"I have to watch this," Madigan said, her eyes intent on the screen. She had never seen what the superboomer was capable of but had only heard of it. Now she had a chance to see his capabilities and she wasn't going to give up the chance.
Nene stared at the dispatch screen and sighed. It was probably another boomer incident. But her eyes widened when she noticed something. It showed that there were two boomers fighting each other in the heart of MegaTokyo, right near where she saw Ranma earlier on her way to work this morning. She had seen him walking on the sidewalk as she drove her little scooter down the street, but she never bothered to stop. She noticed that Ranma didn't recognize her with her bike helmet on. "Hmm, could that be Ranma?" Nene said to herself. In an incident like this, she would had only dispatched the AD Police to deal with this, but the thought that it might be Ranma made her think otherwise. She wouldn't mind seeing him again and she knew the others didn't also, "I guess I better tell Sylia and the others,"
"That hurt!" Ranma yelled as he stepped out of the building "What'd you do that for?"
"Bakusai Tenketsu!" Ryoga yelled as he struck his finger down on the sidewalk. A massive explosion occurred as the sidewalk shattered to pieces, the shrapnel flying everywhere. Even though most of the pieces were hitting him, Ryoga was totally unaffected by the explosion for he had grown accustomed to it completely. He had gotten a lot stronger over the years and he wanted to show Ranma what he was capable of.
Ranma's arms flew at lightning speeds as he caught every rock that was intended to hit him. He remembered Ryoga using that technique on his man many years ago, and it was the same now as it was before. But this time, Ranma wasn't going to get tired for a long long time. He had, too, had gotten stronger over the years.
"Bakusai Tenketsu!" Ryoga shouted as his finger jabbed into the wall of the building Ranma was standing next to. The entire building exploded as all the debris fell down on Ranma. Ranma couldn't react in time as he was buried alive under the debris.
Ryoga stood there for several moments, wondering if it was all over, that he had finally avenged Akane's death. He had swore to kill Ranma because Ranma hadn't been able to protect her from death when those machines lay waste to the entire town of Nerima. He had gone out on a training trip to develop his skills so he would someday come back and make Ranma suffer miserably.
But as he stood there, not moving, he was hoping his revenge would had lasted longer. At that moment, the rubble exploded upward as a huge hurricane sent in hurling to the heavens. All the rubble was gone as Ranma stood where the building had fallen on him, a massive blue aura forming around him. "You're gonna pay for that!"
"Goddamnit!" Madigan swore, "What the hell's going on?"
She was trying to see the battle on the screen but a cloud of dust had formed after the building was destroyed as if fell down over the superboomer. The visibility was next to none as she saw nothing but dust.
The dust finally began to settle as she caught sight of Ryoga standing in front of a pile of rubble.
That's it, she thought. That superboomer was defeated in a matter of seconds. But she wished she didn't think that way when she saw the rubble explode upward in a hurricane as she caught sight of a massive blue aura through the dust cloud as it settled again, preventing her from seeing anything again.
"Good, I was hoping you didn't die from something like that," Ryoga said with a grin, "I want you to suffer,"
"You got lucky with that attack," Ranma said, his aura glowing brightly, "I wasn't expectin' you to use strategy in your fight," He cracked his knuckles, "I guess that's enough for our warm up. Let's fight!" He got into his battle stance as Ryoga got into his. They were both regarding each other carefully, waiting for the other to make the next move. Ranma slowly started strafing out toward the middle of the street. He didn't want anymore buildings to be destroyed. The streets were now empty, all the cars having stopped about a hundred yards back in both direction, mostly because of the accidents that was caused from the distractions and destruction of seeing such power being produced.
"Horizontal Wave Bakusai Tenketsu!" Ryoga shouted as he slammed an open palm down on the ground. What happened next caught Ranma by totally surprise. He was expecting to see the shrapnel of the explosion coming toward him, but that didn't happen. The ground Ryoga was standing on didn't explode. Instead, the ground below Ranma exploded.
"What the-" Ranma managed to say right before he was consumed in the explosion. When the explosion abated, Ranma fell to one of his knees, a few cuts and bruises covering his arms from when he used them to protect himself. He began laughing as he slowly got to his feet, "I-Is that all you've got?"
Ryoga's aura flared brightly as Ranma continued to mock him.
"I thought I was in trouble there for a second," he said, wiping the dust from his clothes. He smiled wryly at Ryoga, "But you have gotten stronger over the years, much stronger. I must give you that. You actually had me worried for a second. Now its my turn!"
Ranma held one hand in front of him, palm toward the sky "Mouko Takabisha!" he said as a huge ball of energy formed, hovering just inches above his hand. While still holding the ball in one hand, Ranma placed his hand in front of him in the same fashion "Mouko Takabisha!" Ryoga took a step back cautiously as he noticed Ranma smile.
"Here's where it gets interesting," Ranma said with a smile as he threw both of his ki-blasts at once. Ryoga was caught watching in disbelief as both spheres of pure energy rocketed toward him at lightning speeds. Both of the blasts struck Ryoga in the chest, sending him flying into backwards a hundred yards, smashing into the abandoned cars down at one end of the street.
Ryoga didn't move as Ranma walked up to him, stopping a dozen yards away. Ryoga began laughing as he slowly got to his feet, "Man, that felt like a baby's kick! It didn't hurt one bit!"
Before he had a chance to react, Ranma lunged forward, "Kashuu Tenshin Amaguriken!" He punched Ryoga well over a thousand times in the stomach. The impact of the punches sent him flying backwards another hundred feet, smashing into several cars in the process.
Ryoga managed to recover in time to roll to his feet just as Ranma was about to land another thousand punches on him. He wiped a very tiny trickle of blood from his mouth.
"So, Ranma, you think you can defeat me like you did over forty years ago?" Ryoga said with a smile, "I don't think so. I've learned a lot over the years, and that trick won't work on my again. That I promise you,"
"Who says I'm trying? I'm not even using a fraction of my energy," Ranma replied with a smirk.
Sylia and Priss and Linna hovered down on to a nearby roof as they saw how much destruction had taken place already. The streets and most of the buildings were destroyed.
"God," Linna said, "This is horrible. Who would do something like that?"
"That's who," Priss said pointing toward Ranma and Ryoga as they both stood in front of one another, slowly circling one another. None of them were attacking, both of them sizing each other up.
"Who's he fighting?" Linna asked. Sylia brought the scope of her rifle up to eye level and peered through it. Her gaze rested on a young looking man sporting a yellow and black headband. As she looked at him, she wondered if this was another prototype boomer or another human with powers akin to Ranma's. He looked human, but there was no telling for sure. As of right now, she considered him a boomer, "I can't really tell, but I think it's best we pick him off before he causes anymore damage,"
She aimed her rifle toward the boomer's head.
"Hey, what are you doin'?" Linna asked, placing her hand on Sylia's shoulder, "How do you know if he's a boomer? We can't just going around killing boomers unless we know for sure,"
"I know, but look at all the damage he and Ranma are creating," she replied "It's best that we get rid of him before something really bad happens, like their battle spanning all the way down to the coliseum where many could get hurt or killed.
She aimed her rifle.
Ranma stopped for a second and said, "Hey, Ryoga, exactly why are we fighting?"
"What do you think?" he said viciously, his fangs showing, "Akane died because you couldn't protect her. You should have been the one that died, not her. I'm here to avenge her death!"
He charged forward toward Ranma, his arm cocked back, ready to punch a hole through his face, "Now, prepare yourself!"
"Wait a minute!" Ranma said, holding his hand in front on him, causing Ryoga to stop dead in his tracks.
"What about you?" Ranma said, "How come YOU couldn't protect her? YOU were there also. How come YOU couldn't stop her from gettin' killed, huh?"
"I was a pig at that time!" Ryoga said, his obvious resentment now beginning to show, "I couldn't do anything. It was your fault! You're the one who splashed me with cold water!" Tears were now starting to flow from his eyes. He resented the fact that he couldn't do anything to save his beloved Akane, all because he was a pig at the time, all because of Ranma, "I would have saved her if I was in my human form!"
"Are you sure about that?" "Yes, I would have laid down my life for her!" Ryoga said.
"And then what?" Ranma said "You AND Akane would have been killed. Dontcha get it? It wasn't any of our faults. We were caught unprepared. We never saw those missiles coming. Even though the two of us HAD to run away, there was nothing we could do. We, too, would have been killed if we stayed behind,"
Ryoga was silent for several long moments. As much as he hated to believe it, Ranma was right. Both of them would had been killed. He wiped the tears from his eyes.
"I'm glad we survived," Ranma said, "That way, we can avenge their deaths. None of them should have died, not Kasumi, not Nabiki, heck not even my father should have died, but they did. And they won't rest easy until we stop the killers that killed them,"
"We're cowards!" Ryoga shouted, "We should have died along side them! It would have been the honorable thing to do, to die fighting rather than run away like cowards!" Ryoga's aura started growing as his sense of depression started to delve deeper than it ever had.
"It's not our fault!" Ranma replied, "It's Genom's. They were the one that created those boomers, and they were the one that didn't do a thing to stop those boomers when they went berserk all over Nerima. They're the cause of all of this,"
"Genom?" Ryoga said.
"Yeah, Genom is the company that created those boomers that supposedly went berserk in Nerima," Ranma replied, "Even though they denied they had any involvement in them going berserk, I know, for a fact that they sent those boomers to Nerima, using it as a testing ground,"
Ryoga said nothing. He remembered catching sight of several boomers right before one of the missiles struck the Tendo's home. He had been knocked unconscious and had trouble remembering anything else after that. All that he knew was Akane was dead, and someone was going to pay. And if it was going to be Genom, then so be it.
"That's Genom tower," Ranma said, pointing up toward the thousand meter high tower that loomed high above the clouds several miles away from where they were. Even from the coastline of Japan, Genom tower could be seen easily.
"If that's the tower, then way aren't you attacking it?" Ryoga sneered, "Why dontcha just walk up to the front door and destroy the entire blasted thing?"
"I can't!" he replied. He really wanted to but he knew that if he did, the entire world would plunge into financial chaos. And not only that. Hundreds of innocent people that lived near the site of the blast would be killed. And for what, some lousy revenge, "I can't do that,"
"Then I will," Ryoga said, turning toward the looming tower. He brought both hands in front of his body, angled toward the center of Genom Tower. He intended to collapse the building in a single blast. His aura grew bright red as he gathered all the depression he had from the years of living without his beloved Akane. "No!" Ranma yelled. But it was too late.
"Shi Shi Hakodan!"
Ranma, knowing that the blast would kill hundreds, jumped in front of Ryoga as the ki-blast was shot from his extended hands. The blast that hit Ranma was so powerful that a huge ring of fire extended from the impact, like a ripple in a pond, causing both him and Ryoga to be consumed. The fire consumed everything in its path.
The impact of the blast had been so powerful that every glass window within a city block away shatter from the vibrations. The buildings that stood nearby where the explosion was crumbling to the ground from the violent shaking, as if an earthquake was taking place. Sylia, Priss, and Linna were all knocked off their feet as they watched the ripple of flames expanded away from him. Sylia was forced to drop her sniper rifle in order to avoid the destructive blast. She and Linna and Priss used their boosters to hover backwards to a safe distance. But it was too late as the blast struck the building they were on, causing it to collapse. The three girls were buried under the pile of rubble.
Both Ranma and Ryoga stood at the center of the explosion, both of them practically charcoalled black from the flames the ki-blast had produced. The ground surrounding them was also scorched, all except for the ground directly behind both Ranma and Ryoga.
Ranma and Ryoga were both looking at each other, both of them deathly silent. Long moments passed, neither of them saying a word.
Ranma then keeled forward and fell to his knees in front of Ryoga, blood flowing from his lips, creating a small puddle of red by his knees. He fell forward onto his hands, "T-that h-hurt y'know," he managed to say, blood still trickling from his mouth. He clenched his teeth as surges of pain consumed every inch of his body. He noticed the hands on the ground becoming blurry as his vision started to fail him. He was just moments from unconsciousness.
Ryoga looked down at Ranma, noticing the puddle of blood forming around his feet. He clenched teeth from the pain surging through him. He shuddered, wondering how much worse it could had been if he had actually used one of his more powerful ki-attack. If he had used that, they would had wiped out more than half of MegaTokyo.
Ryoga was looking at Ranma in absolute disbelief. But soon, the sight of Ranma started to blur for Ryoga. He, too, keeled over, blood gushing from his lips. The blast had been too much for the both of them. The pain was excruciating, too much for any human to endure. His brain was trying to avoid the pain as his body tried to shut itself down by going into the deep slumber of unconsciousness.
Ranma and Ryoga lay in a pool of their own blood, both of them unmoving.
"Y-you're right, R-Ranma. T-that did hurt," Ryoga said weakly, right before passing out
Madigan and Carper were staring at them in disbelief.
"W-what the hell was that?" the woman said. She had seen the explosion clearly from the safety of Carper's office, but what scared the hell out of here was that she felt the entire building shake from it. The building had been several miles away from the explosion, yet she felt it. And it disturbed her terribly. She wondered how powerful that blast must had been if it was capable of shaking a building from that distance. Carper glanced out the window of his office. He looked down at the horizon, noticing the ripple of fire spreading outward away from the site of the explosion. The ripple of flames seemed to be the size of an entire city block before it abated. Even from several miles away, he could see the destruction it had caused quite easily.
The smoke on the screen cleared up, revealing a good view of two individuals facing one another. From an explosion like that, she was expecting to see the remains of what was left of the superboomer and that human. That was why she was shocked to see both that human and superboomer still standing, the only visible sign of damage among them being some darkly scorched clothes.
"What the fuck?" she cursed unlady-like. There were no words to describe her shock. She had never seen something like this before "They're both standing!"
Carper walked away from the window and looked at the screen again. He didn't know what to say. He felt a sense of fear that humans were capable of evoking such power, but he also felt awe from the thought that the same human could survive a blast like that. And not only that, but the superboomer survived that also.
"Hey, look at that," Carper said, pointing toward the screen. He noticed the superboomer falling to its knees, its limbs seemingly no longer functioning. Madigan and Carper both noticed the superboomer cough up some blood before it ceased its functioning. The two of them both gasped in relief as they realized that they no longer had to worry about it anymore, that it can no longer interfere with Genom's affairs. Madigan felt this sense of accomplishment at a job well done, even though she and Carper had nothing to do with getting that Ryoga Hibiki person to fight that superboomer. Even though the sense of accomplishment did feel good, she felt a bit disappointed. Someone like Ryoga Hibiki working for Genom would do the company proud. It was too bad he was consumed in the blast. But then again, if his death meant the destruction of that superboomer, it was worth it.
Madigan laughed, glad that the situation with that superboomer had finally been resolved.
"Well, judging from the fingerprints, it turns out that he is human, just like Ranma," Nene told the other three girls and Mackie over her communicator. She was at AD Police Headquarters, having stayed late after finding out that AD Police had responded to that explosion and found two people unconscious in the middle of the street. Her department thought that they had been an innocent bystander to that explosion and had taken them to the closest hospital for some medical treatment. It was now several hours since that battle between Ranma and Ryoga.
"The person's identified as a Ryoga Hibiki. Place of residence is unknown. From what I could dig up on his background in such a short notice, I found out that he and Ranma used to go to school together. I assume they were fighting each other because of some rivalry between the two of them or perhaps they were enemies,"
"What have you found on the person named Akane, Kasumi, and Nabiki?" Sylia spoke into the computer. She and Priss and Linna and Mackie were all sitting in front of the computer screen in Sylia's penthouse. Sylia and the others had been lucky that Mackie managed to find them before anyone else could. They had gotten back shortly after having been buried alive under all that rubble. Sylia remembered hearing the conversation between Ryoga and Ranma. She remembered hearing those names, and it might prove to be useful in finding out who Ryoga really was.
Nene smiled. It had taken her quite a lot of effort to search through all those lists of people either named Kasumi, Nabiki, or Akane, but she hit the jackpot when she found three people that shared the same familyname ,"I found three of people of that same name, and the same family name. Their familyname was Tendo, and they resided in Nerima. I think they were the family Ranma was talking about that died during the 'Nerima Massacre',"
"What about Ryoga Hibiki?" Linna said, now speaking toward the computer screen "What else have you found out about him?"
"Not much," Nene's voice echoed into the livingroom, "Most of the data based on him is unknown. Aside from some minor identifications like his name and date of birth, there's not much else I can find on him. He's a mystery as of right now. The only thing I can think of is that Ranma and Ryoga are enemies. It's either that or Genom somehow found a way to hire or manipulate him into fighting Ranma. I think it's the former. I think Ryoga liked this Akane person, and seems to have some great resentment toward Ranma because Ranma couldn't protect her"
"I think that sounds romantic, avenging the death of a person you love," Linna said, sighing. Why couldn't she meet someone like that?
"Now's not the time to be thinking about something like that, Linna," Sylia said, "We have to find out more about Ryoga. We can't just second guess this situation," She turned her attention away from Linna and then back onto the computer screen, "Nene, where were they taken, what hospital?"
"Both were taken to Mizunkan Hospital," Nene said "Why?"
"Well, I think we should pay them both a visit, so we could find out what's going on here," she replied "What rooms are they in?"
"Hold on one second," Nene said. The sound of her typing quickly on her keyboard could be heard.
"I don't understand," Linna said to Sylia "Why are we going through all this trouble to find out who this person is?"
"Yeah," Priss added "It's really none of our business,"
"I know that battle between Ranma and this Ryoga person is really none of our business," Sylia replied, "but imagine what might happen if their battle happened to make its way down to the coliseum. Many could be killed,"
That seemed to make Priss keep quiet. Sylia was right. Nene's shocked voice echoed into the room "Oh my god! They're sharing the same room!"
Ranma opened his eyes slowly, not really knowing where he was. He quickly realized that he was lying in a bed as he sat upright and surveyed his surroundings. The room was in was filled with advanced medical equipment, most of the wires from them attached to his body, as if they were there to observe his condition. He noticed Ryoga lying in a bed on the other side of the tiny room. "Yo, Ryoga," Ranma said, wincing a bit from the pain that shot through him, "You all right?"
Ryoga slowly open his eyes, facing the direction the voice came from. When his eyes rested on Ranma, he quickly sat uptight, only to be seized by a spasm of pain. Ryoga sat still, waiting for the pain to subside, allowing Ryoga to survey the tiny room.
"W-where are we?" he said, looking down at himself and noticing that there were bandages wrapped around his chest. He took a deep breath and felt a bit of pain, realizing that he must have a few bruised ribs. "I don't know," Ranma said, looking around. He slowly flipped his legs around the edge of the bed, the wires attached to his body being pulled taut, as he hopped off. A bolt of pain shot through him "Man, that hurts...,"
Ranma quickly sat back down on the bed and laid back down, not wanting to really move. He needed some rest, that was all. His body would heal in no time. But then again, if he wanted to heal even quicker, he could do something else...
Ryoga chuckled a bit but the spasm of pain caused him to think otherwise.
"Man, what happened?" he said. He looked at his hands and arms and noticed that they seemed a bit red, like he had suffered from an extreme sunburn. Upon seeing that, he remembered what had happened. He remembered seeing Ranma jump in front of his hands as one of his ki-
blasts shot from his hands.
Ryoga opened his mouth to give Ranma a piece of his mind for doing something like that, but he stopped when he realized there must had been a good reason. The both of them could had been killed. Surely, Ranma wouldn't do something that stupid. Not unless there was a good reason, "I hope you have a good reason for what you did,"
"Yeah, I did," Ranma said, looking up at the ceiling.
"Well, I'm waiting for an explanation,"
"Man, I figured over the years, you would at least've learned to think before you do something that stupid," Ranma started.
"What did you say?" Ryoga spat, sitting upright, ready to pummel Ranma for a comment like that. Even though they were sharing the same room, it didn't mean he needed to put up with stuff like this. He was about to get up out of bed but stopped when the fit of pain jolted through him. He realized it was best to just take a rest. He'd pummel Ranma later, after he healed.
"Do you once think about what would had happened if that blast hit the building?" Ranma said.
"Yeah, it would've caused some major damage to it," Ryoga said, "What's your point?"
"It would have also killed the hundreds of people that lived around that building from the falling debris," Ranma answered, "I'm pretty sure you don't want to do something like that,"
Ryoga was silent for a moment. Ranma was definitely right. Many would had died if that blast had struck the building. And that was something he didn't want to live with. He wasn't a murderer. Well, perhaps he would kill Ranma for letting Akane die, but he would never take the lives of innocent people.
When Ranma realized that Ryoga was silent, he shook his head "Ah what's the use of explaining it. You're too pig-headed to understand something like that. Right, P-chan?"
"Stop calling me P-chan!"
Nene's heart was racing as she sped down the highway on her scooter. She had never pushed her scooter to go this fast before. Sure, Priss went this fast on a regular basis, but Nene wasn't used to this. The engine of her scooter sounded like it was going to explode from being constantly redlined.
She swore to herself, wishing AD Police Headquarters wasn't so close to the hospital both Ranma and Ryoga were staying. Since it was so close, she had to be the one to get over there and have the two of them separated so there were no chance of them fighting each other again. Yeah right. Like she would be of any use.
Nene saw the giant hospital off in the distance as she got closer and closer. She was only a mile away from it now. She'd be there in less than a minute at the speed she was going.
Nene almost fell off her bike going at such a high speed when a huge blast exploded on the east side of the hospital, the side Ranma and Ryoga's room were. Her heart dropped as she realized that Ranma and Ryoga must had already awaken.
She quickly slowed down to a stop, wondering if she should continue on. Would she be of any use to stopping the fighting between the both of them? Most likely not. What could she do?
Nene decided it was best she avoid the situation. She jerk the handle bars toward one direction as the back wheel of her scooter spun. She was going to get out of there as fast as possible.
A huge explosion occurred some distance away from her, but the impact was so great she was thrown off her scooter. Nene frightfully looked back in the direction of the hospital and noticed that the explosions were getting closer. The first explosion had occurred at the hospital. The second one had occurred a about a few hundred feet away, in her direction.
"I told you to stop calling me P-chan!" Ryoga said as he ran down the street, closely behind Ranma's trail. He sent a massive ki-blast toward Ranma, intent on hitting him directing in his back, but Ranma skillfully dodged it.
Ranma began taking great leaps backwards as he stuck out his tongue "What's up, P-chan, can't take a joke? Look at you. Your aim's lousy. I betcha you couldn't even hit the ground!" He took those words back when a ki-blast missed hitting him directly in the face by inches. His hair was singed from the extreme heat as it whizzed by his head.
"How dare you say something like that?" Ryoga said, his aura glowing. He leaped high into the air and landed on the roof of one of the buildings. From his vantage point, he would have an easier shot. Ranma also lest up onto a roof.
When Ranma noticed Ryoga's growing aura, he realized that there might still be people around, even if it was late, "Hey, Ryoga, lighten up. I was only kidding. You're going to get someone killed if you keep this up,"
Anger had prevented Ryoga from hearing as he let loose another ki-
blast, intent on toppling the entire building Ranma stood upon.
"Shi Shi Hakodan!" Ryoga shouted.
Ranma lest into the air, landing safely several hundred feet away, as the building he once stood on crumpled to the ground in a fiery mess "Hey, Ryoga, stop it already. Enough's enough. You're going to hurt someone!" He lest away another several hundred feet as that building was destroyed.
Nene's heart almost stopped when she caught sight of two shadowy figures leaping from rooftop to rooftop, the few buildings being destroyed in the process as they were coming directly toward her. She tried to get on her scooter again, but the shockwaves of the explosions kept knocking her off.
Ranma caught sight of Nene out of the corner of his eye just as the building behind him exploded. While he was soaring through the air from one of his bounds, he realized that the falling debris would bury Nene.
"Eek!" Ranma heard Nene say, just as he landed against one of the walls of another building and kicked away from it, using it to recoil down toward Nene. He landed quickly and let loose one of his own ki-
"Hiryu Shoten Ha!" he said as he sent a hurricane spiraling from his fist, up toward the heavens. The falling debris was absorbed into the blast and sent flying in different directions, all of them away from Nene. Unfortunately, Ranma had forgotten that Nene would also be brought up in his blast.
Ryoga had caught sight of Nene just as Ranma landed on the ground right near her. He quickly realized what Ranma was trying to save her with his hurricane blast but noticed Nene was taken up along with the falling debris. Already having forgotten his anger toward Ranma, Ryoga lest through the air and caught Nene in mid-flight, twisting in mid-air so his back would absorb the impact of the debris. Once the ki-blast subsided, Ryoga found himself falling down toward the terra firma. He reacted easily by twisting once again in mid-air and landing softly on his feet, Nene safely in his arms.
Ranma gave Ryoga a quick look. It was about time they finally stopped their bickering. Their fighting could have gotten Nene killed. And it would had been over something so petty as teasing. They had to stop going on like this. They had to stop fighting.
"Truce?" Ranma asked "No more fighting?"
"No more fighting,"
Nene awoke shortly after having passed out from such a terrifying experience. She was shocked when she realized she was flying through the air. She immediately looked down and noticed that she must had been several hundred feet above the ground, the ground traveling passed below her at intense speeds. Her first reaction was to scream, but something stopped her. She felt someone's arms wrapped around her, holding her gently.
She looked up and noticed that she was in Ranma's arms as he continued to jump from building rooftop to rooftop, jumping from one building to the next in a single bound. Immediately, her heart lest into her throat. And it wasn't the fact that she was flying through the air hundreds of feet above the ground that was causing it.
"You're awake," Ranma said softly, taking a second to regard the now conscious Nene. Before Nene could say anything, Ranma's soft voice whispered into her ears, "Hold on tight,"
His arms embraced her tightly, so tightly she could feel his bodyheat radiating into her own body.
She looked down and saw the ground coming up toward her at extremely high speeds as she realized Ranma had lest off the building and toward the ground. Before she could scream, Ranma twisted in mid-air and landed safely and quietly on the ground.
"You okay?" Ranma said as he released his embrace of Nene.
"W-what happened?" she asked. She remembered seeing debris falling down on her, and then Ranma landing on the ground in front of her, and then the next minute, she remembered being sent flying through the air in Ranma's arms.
"He's what happened," Ryoga's voice could be heard from behind them.
Ranma and Nene turned around and caught sight of Ryoga as he gently landed behind them, Nene's scooter casually held over one of his shoulders. It looked like that scooter was as light as a feather to him. In reality, considering how strong Ryoga had gotten, it did feel as light as a feather.
Nene looked at Ryoga for a moment, a bit cautious. She knew this was that Ryoga Hibiki that had been found along with Ranma in the middle of street after that massive explosion. When she looked at him, aside from a few bruises, like Ranma, he didn't look like he had been hurt at all.
"It's your fault," Ranma spat toward Ryoga, "You're the one who blew up the building above her,"
"Well, you're the one who was calling me names," Ryoga retorted, "And also-"
"Let's not start this again," Ranma said, shaking his head. He and Ryoga knew they were both at fault. None of this would had happened if Ranma had kept his mouth shut, and Ryoga had managed to keep his temper under control.
Ranma decided it was best to change the subject. He looked down at Nene "Are you all right?"
"I'm okay," she replied. Her eyes were on Ryoga as he casually walked up to them, the scooter still slung over his shoulder "Um, isn't that heavy?"
Ryoga looked at the scooter he was holding and then gave a weak smile as Ranma shook his head, "Um, well, it probably is" Even though he had grown a lot older, he still wasn't that good with females. He gave a weak and forced laugh. He threw the scooter off his back and placed it on the ground.
Nene surveyed her surroundings and realized that they were now standing directly in front of the hospital Ranma and Ryoga were supposed to be staying in together. "I thought you might need some medical help, that's why I brought ya here," Ranma said, "But since it seems that you're all right, I guess we don't really have anything to worry about...except for that hole," He jerked a thumb over his shoulder toward the hospital.
Nene looked up and noticed a massive hole on one side of the huge building.
"That was Ryoga's fault I might add," Ranma seemed quick to say. Indeed it was. If Ryoga hadn't lost his temper and thrown one of his ki-blasts, there wouldn't be a hole there right now.
"No it wasn't," Ryoga said, his brows creased, "If you had taken that ki-
blast like a man, then that hold wouldn't be there,"
"That's gotta be the single worst excuse I can think of," Ranma chuckled. He shrugged his shoulders and proceeded toward the front entrance, "Well, whatever. I'm goin' back to my room, at least what's left of it. I don't like stayin' in hospitals. I'm gonna go get my stuff so I can leave. I'll see you later, Nene,"
Nene was grateful Ranma's back was turned to her when he had mentioned her. She had no idea Ranma would remember her, let alone her name. After they had met after having fought each other and finding out they were all human, Ranma gave a quick introduction of himself as they did. That had been quite a while ago.
Ryoga looked at Nene curiously "Do you know Ranma?"
Nene managed to get her blushing under control to look at Ryoga. She turned her attention toward him and nodded her head, "Yeah. Oh, I never introduced myself. I-I'm Nene Romanova,"
Ryoga bowed politely, a bit nervous though, "I-I'm Ryoga Hibiki" When she noticed Ryoga looking at her curiously, she assumed he was wondering how she and Ranma knew each other, "Ranma and I met a short while ago. It's a long story,"
"Oh did he?" Ryoga said, now looking over Nene's shoulder toward the front doors Ranma entered the hospital through "Well, it was nice meeting you, Nene. I better get going,"
Nene watched as Ryoga ran passed her and entered the hospital. But before the front doors managed to close behind Ryoga after he had passed them, she managed to hear him say something.
"Ranma, how dare you meet some other girl behind Akane's back!"
Sylia and the others arrived at the hospital several minutes after Ranma and Ryoga had gone back in. Nene had been silent as she gazed at the front entrance. It wasn't until Sylia rested a hand on her shoulder that caused Nene to snap her back to reality.
"Are you all right?" Sylia asked. She and Priss and Linna were in their hardsuits, even if the suits were slightly damaged from the earlier incident where they had been buried under that building. When Sylia looked at Nene, she noticed her fiery haired friend had this shocked look in her eyes, like she had seen something that was impossible.
"They're monsters!" Nene commented. That was the best word she could come up with to describe both Ranma and Ryoga. There was no doubt about it.
Sylia kept quiet. She knew exactly what Nene meant. She, too, believed they were monsters, but just not in a bad sense. At least Ranma had no real evil intentions, intentions no different from hers or Priss'. She was about to speak up for a moment and ask about all that damage they had come across on their way to the hospital. She didn't even want to think about how that huge hole on the side of the hospital came about.
Nene pointed over toward her scooter, "Y-you see that scooter over there? T-
that Ryoga guy was carrying it on his shoulder like it weighed absolutely nothing. A-and that wasn't it! Ranma was carrying me as he jumped from rooftop to rooftop,"
"He was?" Linna asked, her voice showing a bit of eagerness, "And why was he doing that?"
"She probably fainted or something and he thought she was hurt so he figured it was best to bring her to the hospital," Priss said wryly. Even though the visor was down over Priss' visage, Nene knew Priss must be smiling wryly also.
Nene looked down at the ground, blushing a bit. Priss' words were absolutely true. There was no way she could deny it. She could had made something up, but it was best she not dwell on the subject much longer.
"Where're Ranma and this Ryoga guy now?" Sylia asked, raising her visor a bit for Nene to see her clearly, but not enough for anyone else to identify who one of the Knight Sabers were if they happened to be walking by.
Nene pointed toward the front entrance and replied, "They went back into the hospital. R-Ranma said he went in to get some stuff so he could leave, and Ryoga followed him inside,"
"They what?" Sylia said, shock in her voice.
At that moment, the front door opened and out emerged a young red-haired girl, clad in a slightly damp red shit and black pants, a dark backpack slung over one of her shoulders. In one of her hands, there was a little black piglet that had a black and yellow bandanna.
Sylia quickly flipped her visor down, grateful that Nene was standing in front of her, blocking the red-haired girl's view of her. Sylia peered over Nene's shoulder toward the young girl. The girl looked like she was in her teens.
Ranma-chan looked at Sylia for a moment, totally silent, but remembering that Sylia and the rest had never seen her in her girl form. She gave Sylia a innocent smile and a friendly wave, "Hiya,"
Sylia kept quiet. Her hardsuit scanned the young girl, her little display screen coming up with gibberish. The young girl must be a sexaroid, Sylia thought. It was either that, or the fact that her hardsuit had been damaged and her scanners might be on the fritz. But she wasn't going to act on those sensors. Even though sexaroids were illegal, she had no idea if, indeed, this girl was one. It was most likely, since this girl was very pretty.
Ranma-chan realized what Sylia was trying to do. She knew Sylia was trying to find out if she was a boomer. She wished she had hidden her aura, but it was too late now. Actually, there was no way she could hide her battle aura. She used to be able to back then, but her aura had grown so strong there was no real way she could keep it concealed.
Ranma-chan held her breath as she walked by Sylia and the others. She kept her gaze away from the girls, not wanting to make them think she recognized any of them. Afterall, they had told her to keep it a secret. He gave Ryoga a quick glance and muttered softly, "Don't do a thing. Jus' keep quiet,"
"What a cute looking piglet," Linna said as she noticed the tiny pet the young girl was holding. She walked up to Ranma-chan, "Is he your pet?"
Ranma-chan looked down at the piglet she was holding before she muttered, "I guess so,"
Sylia watched Ranma-chan carefully as Linna continued to give her the first-degree.
"How old is he?" Linna asked, reaching forward to pet the unconscious pig. She wondered how nice it would feel if she could touch the piglet with her own fingers, not the fingers of her hardsuit. She looked down at the bandanna the piglet had over its neck and noticed it looked familiar. Where had she seen that bandanna before?
"This pig? I dunno," Ranma-chan said, "I think a few months,"
"What's his name?"
Ranma-chan wondered if it was all right to give away the pig's name. He figured it was all right, "P-chan"
Afterall, Nene had never heard her mention that name before. It was safe. She gave the piglet a forced stroke to show her supposed affection for her pet. She needed to get out of her and fast because if she stayed longer, her identity would be soon revealed. And that wasn't the worst of it either.
"Well, I better get goin' now. It was nice talkin' to ya,"
Sylia's eyes narrowed suspiciously. That girl sure had a strange speech pattern. She watched as Ranma-chan continued to walk away from them. Since there was nothing she could really do, Sylia figured it was best to leave the young girl alone.
She might be human, afterall.
Ranma sighed as he ate what would be considered a midnight snack, a pork bun. He and Ryoga were now in their original form, both of them huddled over a tiny makeshift campfire they had created in the middle of an empty stone room. The building they were in was abandoned, and since it was made of nothing but stone, they didn't have to worry about that campfire they made spreading. It just so happens that it was the same building Sylia and the girls stayed in while Ranma was fighting those four prototype boomers, after Ranma had found out they were human. He never bothered to let Ryoga know about this. Actually, there was no need for him to tell.
"So how are we gonna get the money to pay for all those damages we caused to that hospital?" Ryoga said, taking a large bite into his own pork bun. He sighed, wishing there was more. But there wasn't. They had no money and coming across food was very hard. This was a cold world and the people didn't seem to be all that eager to give away food to even cute a little red-haired girl.
"I have a somewhat decent idea," Ranma started, finishing off his bun already, "We can try and steal the money from Genom Tower,"
"We're not thieves," Ryoga replied, shock in his voice, "Why would you even consider something like that?"
"I know it's not much of a plan, but just hear me out for a moment," Ranma said, "First off, I'm dyin' to know what's in that damn building, but I never really tried because it's heavily guarded. But if we work together, that would make it much easier. And of course, since that's the main headquarters for Genom Corporations, they're bound to have some money stashed around in there. Besides, think of this as a little payback for all they'd done to us. After that, we could leave and use all that loot we stole to pay for the damages. We could be like that guy who always wore 'em green tights. Forgot his name. It was Robin somethin'"
"That idea doesn't sound too bad," Ryoga said, nodding, "And while we're at it, we could blow up the whole place,"
Ranma shook his head, "Jeez, how many times do I hafta say this. We can't. Thousands would be killed if the buildin' collapses,"
Ryoga kept silent.
"It's best that we go in there, get the money, and perhaps find out their dirty secrets so we could expose 'em to the world along the way," Ranma said, getting up and walking over to a broken, but opened, window. He peered out toward the towering building many miles away that jutted up into the horizon, so large that it even blocked the view of the mountains behind it, "So, what do ya say?"
Ryoga was silent for several moments, "Okay, I'll do it,"
"But first, I think it's best we teach each other some techniques,"
Ranma and Ryoga were standing in the middle of the abandoned streets. Rows of buildings dotted the street, extending in both directions toward the distant horizon. The sky was glowing red from the dawning sun. There was a slight fog that settled over the abandoned streets.
"I still don't see why we should teach each other, I think the techniques I know are good enough," Ryoga said, a bit cautious. "Jus' watch, I'm pretty sure you'll wanna learn this," Ranma said with a smile, pointing toward a lone building several hundred feet down the street "Ya see that building over there, I'm gonna disintegrate it. I mean absolutely, and utterly destroy it. You won't even notice the remains. Heck, there won't be any remains for several hundred yards surrounding it. But here's the thing, after I use this, the explosion is gonna be so powerful, we HAVE to run away before the rings of fire gets to us. You'll see,"
"Hmm, that sounds like quite a technique you have there," Ryoga said, rather unimpressed.
"Anyway, don't go freakin' out when ya see that blast comin' toward ya. Run away. If it hits ya, you WILL die. Remember that Shi Shi Hakodan ya threw that hit me at point blank range? We both survived. This one, even from several hundred feet away, we will die,"
"How would you know we wouldn't survive?" Ryoga said, "I mean, we've been through a lot and came out fine,"
"Well, I used this move once," Ranma said, "When I was, like you, on a training trip, I used to travel all over the place. I used it on one of those Genom buildings that's branched off from Genom Tower. Anyway, I used this from around twice distance away from that building I jus' pointed toward. I used it just to test it out. I thought the ripples wouldn't reach me, but boy, was I wrong. The blast reached me in a few seconds. Let's just say that it took me several months to heal after I was caught in the blast,"
Ryoga looked bored, "Okay, fine. Okay, now show me this super ki-blast ya mentioned,"
Ranma smiled, "Get ready for a real show,"
He faced toward the building and extended one hand toward the building, "I'm only gonna use one hand because we won't be able to avoid it if I use two hands," He started to glow bright blue as he went into deep concentration. Ryoga watched, his eyes fixed on Ranma as the blue aura grew larger and larger. He had never seen someone with an aura quite like Ranma's. He couldn't help but admit to himself that Ranma had grown quiet formidable over the years.
"Seppuku Mouko Hakodan!"
Carper entered Madigan's office carrying a small folder.
"You called, Madigan-sama?" he said, getting seated upon his superior's gesture, the folder resting comfortably on his lap. He already knew what she wanted him for. She wanted to know more about that incident that had occurred earlier.
Madigan was looking out the window, her gaze toward the distant horizon. It was now somewhere around noon, a few hours after that massive explosion she had felt rumbling throughout the technologically advanced city. She had gone up to nearly the top of the tower so she would have a better view of the city from her vantage point. She had been shocked to see a huge crater roughly a quarter the size of the artificial island Genom had created, building an entire town, just to leave it abandoned in order to use as a battle ground for their prototype boomers.
"What have you got?" she said, looking down toward the city landscape and towering buildings.
Carper was a bit nervous in replying, but he had to, "It seems my assumption was correct, it was that superboomer that caused that explosion. The superboomer did, indeed, survive that explosion Ryoga Hibiki made,"
He opened up the folder and took out three pictures. He leaned forward and placed the first picture on her desk. Madigan walked up to her desk and picked up the picture. It was a blurry picture of the superboomer and Ryoga. They were both next to each other, seen from a far off distance. It seemed those cameras Carper had instructed to have placed throughout the slums had come in handy. He had them put up shortly after the four prototype boomers had been destroyed, before they finally found out what had caused their destruction.
"Isn't that Ryoga?" she asked. She remembered that black and yellow bandanna he was wearing, "How come he and that superboomer look like they're talking to each other? What were they saying?"
"It's because they are," he replied. He reached into one of his pockets and produced a tiny tape deck, "Luckily, I had asked that there be taps placed throughout the area, and one of 'em managed to record a bit of what they were saying. Unfortunately, the tap was too far away to pick up any discernible conversation. He pressed the play button and muffled voices echoed through Madigan's spacious office.
"If we don't know what they're saying, then that recording's useless," she replied, her arms crossed over her chest.
Carper smiled, hoping this would please her, "I know it's useless. But I sent it down to the AudioTech Department to have them try and filter out all the background noise. Perhaps we'll they might be able to get something,"
Madigan smiled. She had to acknowledge that her assistant seemed to be worth his weight in gold, "That's good,"
She noticed two other pictures in the open folder, "What about those pictures?"
He handed one of the pictures to her. It was a picture of the a young Ryoga Hibiki standing in front of a dojo. He looked like he was somewhere in his teens in that picture, "This, here, is a picture of that Ryoga Hibiki,"
"Uh huh," Madigan said patiently, "What have you found out about him?"
"Very little," Carper said with a sigh, "All the info I found about him is over thirty years old. The only records of him that were ever taken down was when he was young. It seems like this Ryoga disappeared off the face of the Earth over thirty years, and then appears all of a sudden. Most of the information I got about him is pretty trivial, like his eye color, bloodtype, height, and weight,"
"So why are you telling me all of this," Madigan said, her brow creasing, "If it's just trivial information? We need to know more about him, like his past,"
"This is the good part," Carper said with a smile. He knew this was going to make Madigan happy. He saved this good news for last, "In that last picture I showed you, did you notice him standing in front of a dojo?"
Madigan picked up the picture and looked at it again. She had missed it a first, but it did, indeed, show Ryoga standing in front of a dojo. Actually, he was more like standing in front of the outerwall that surrounded the school "Yeah, I see it. Why?"
Carper pointed, "You see that sign he's standing below? It says 'School of Anything-Goes Martial Arts'. I did a check on that school and found out that it belonged in Nerima, the city that was destroyed by our rampant boomers. Anyway, I checked into that and found out that Ryoga used to visit that dojo quite often. And of course, I did a background check on who lived in that house the school was attached to,"
"Go on," Madigan said patiently.
"Well, it turns out that he visits that place for one reason, one good reason," he replied, placing forward his last picture, "He's there for a girl,"
Madigan looked down at the picture.
It was a picture Akane Tendo.
Ranma moaned a bit as he walked down the streets of what used to be an abandoned town. He hadn't anticipated his ki-blast to be that powerful. He had been holding back. But then again, he had grown much stronger than the last time he used that, which was several years ago.
"Man, that sucks!" Ranma said, "I can't believe I destroyed half the damn town,"
Ryoga was walking along side Ranma "Well, look on the bright side, at least it was abandoned,"
Ranma laughed. He couldn't believe Ryoga was saying that. He was the last person to look on the bright side. How ironic. Ryoga had always had a pessimistic personality, always finding the bad in out of a good situation, and here he was, finding the silver lining in Ranma's dark cloud.
"Well, I do have to admit. That's one hell of a ki-blast," Ryoga couldn't help but comment. He had no idea Ranma knew something that powerful. But it was nice that it was Ranma that knew something like that, not some monster that would abuse it, "How and where'd you learn it?"
"I don't really wanna talk about it," Ranma started, "It bothers me to think of the reason why and how I developed that,"
Ryoga looked at Ranma, his eyes somber, "Don't worry, I know. Lettme see, you developed that blast to kill yourself. You were hoping to use that at ground zero and let the blast consume you, leaving nothing behind,"
"H-how'd you know?" Ranma said in shocked. "Cause I learned a very similar technique,"
"I can't believe I listened to you!" Ranma said in exasperation, about to pull out his hair after he caught sight of a familiar looking store. He had just found out that he and Ryoga and been walking around in circles. They had passed that store several hours ago, heading toward Genom Tower, and now they were back where they started.
Ranma gazed at Ryoga menacingly. He wished he had never bothered to allow Ryoga to lead. He should had known that Ryoga would had never gotten over his bad sense of direction. But it was his fault for giving him the benefit of the doubt, Ranma believing Ryoga might had changed over the many years.
"I know where I'm going," Ryoga lied. He had no idea where he was. Everything looked the same, the street, the stores, everything, "We'll be there in a little while,"
Ranma shook his head "Man, you're hopeless,"
"You take that back!" Ryoga spat, his brow creasing. He wasn't going to let Ranma talk to him like that, even if they had agreed to work together.
Ranma sat down on the curb, not bothering to answer, "Man, this sucks. At this rate we'll never get there on time. It's already ten-thirty at night. They had planned to attack at midnight, and he knew they were never going to make it, "Let's just find a place to stay and we'll go there tomorrow. I'll lead of course," "Hm, where are we anyway?" Ryoga looked around.
"That's strange," Ranma said wryly, "I thought you knew where you were going. Man, you're so full of it. Why don't you just admit that your sense of direction still haven't gotten better over the years. Who're ya tryin' to kid?" Ranma looked around for a moment. He and Ryoga were somewhere in the slums area of MegaTokyo. As to where, he didn't know. He remembered walking these streets once, and had come across a garage where Priss was hanging out somewhere around here. She hadn't noticed him. He was about to stop by and say hi, but she looked like she was busy working on her motorcycle. What was the name of the garage? It was a Raven's something. Ranma rubbed his neck as he sat on the curb. He wished he could take a nice warm shower. His body was aching and throbbing from walking for so long. "Happousei," Ranma said out of nowhere.
Ryoga looked at Ranma curiously "Huh?"
Ranma pointed toward that lingerie store named 'Silky Doll' across the Street, "Look at that lingerie store over there. Happousei would be havin' a ball if he came across that store. Good thing he ain't around nowadays to see it. I betcha if he were still alive, he'd had gone into that store the first time we passed it, and he would probably still be in there when we arrive a second time, now,"
Ryoga chuckled, "I wonder how the store owners would try and get rid of the little letch,"
Together, Ranma and Ryoga burst into laughter.
Sylia was about to close up her store when she heard someone laughing outside her store. Wondering who it was, she walked up to the window and peered out of it, shocked to see Ranma and that Ryoga Hibiki person she had heard about.
What are they doing here, Sylia thought. She couldn't help but smile when she caught sight of Ranma. He looked like a little kid, laughing to his heart's content. And Ryoga also, he looked like kid, not a care in the world. She wondered how someone like them could manage to find something so funny after having been through so much, like that part where they almost killed each other.
And speaking of that, why are they laughing together? Shouldn't they be fighting each other? Sylia shuddered for a moment. She seriously hoped not. If they started fighting each other now, her store would be destroyed, and so would all the surrounding ones, even Raven's Garage, which would leave the entrance to the Knight Sabers' headquarters exposed for everyone to see, even Genom.
Ranma caught sight of the young woman in the window.
Hey, that looks like Sylia, Ranma thought.
He got up to his feet and proceeded toward the store. Since he was tired and needed a place to stay, perhaps she might be able to tell them a good place to stay.
"Hey, where're you goin'?" Ryoga asked, noticing Ranma heading toward the lingerie store, "Hey, why're we going in there? Oh no, don't tell me you're still the pervert you were back then. I figured you would have learned to break that habit"
"Shut up!" Ranma said, turning around to face Ryoga, "I'm not a pervert. That person looked familiar. I wanna see if its the same person. I wanna see if she'll let us spend the night at her place, so we can get some rest. It'll sure beat sleeping on the streets,"
Ryoga shrugged his shoulders and followed closely behind Ranma. He didn't really care where he slept. He was used to sleeping under the stars, "Who's this person you're talkin' about?"
Ranma ignored him and opened the front door and entered. Inside, he caught sight of Sylia, "Ha, I was right! I thought I recognized you, Sylia," Sylia's heart was beating rapidly. What was going on here? Wasn't Ryoga and Ranma enemies? Why aren't they fighting each other? She took a cautious step backwards, not really knowing what to do. Although she had done a major background check on Ranma and he came out okay, Sylia had no idea about that person behind him. Nene had said he was virtually unknown. "W-what are you doing here?" she said, calming herself a bit. It worked. Although her voice was now steady, her heart wasn't. Ranma would never notice "And who's that behind you?" She had to act like she knew nothing about that guy, so he wouldn't become suspicious. There might be a chance he doesn't know who she really is, provided Ranma kept his promise and didn't disclose her secret identity.
Ryoga gave a rather meek smile and bowed respectfully, "Um, I'm Ryoga Hibiki. It's nice to meet you,"
"I'm Sylia Stingray,"
Ranma seemed a bit too casual for Sylia's comfort. Didn't he almost die fighting that man behind him?
"He and I go back a while," Ranma said, jerking a thumb over his shoulder. He then proceeded to look around the store, "Say, this a nice store you have here,"
"How would you know? Not unless you been in one of these store, you pervert!" Ryoga muttered, giving Ranma a suspicious look.
Ranma shook his head. Ryoga's attempts at humor was pathetic. He ignored the comment and continued to talk to Sylia, "Hey, can I ask you for a favor?"
Sylia regarding Ryoga for a moment before turning her attention to Ranma. She noticed that Ryoga seemed very nervous being around women's clothing. She could see the shade of red flooding to his cheeks. He tired to conceal it by turning his back toward her.
"Um, well, it depends what kinda favor you want," Sylia said, "Keep in mind I still don't know who you are," She added that last sentence to hide the fact that she had done an extensive background check on Ranma. "Oh, nevermind," Ranma said. He turned around to leave the store. He was about to ask Sylia if he could spend the night at her place, and hopefully take a nice long shower, but since she barely knew him, there was no way she would accept. "C'mon, Ryoga, let's go,"
Sylia, for some reason, didn't let them just leave, "Um, what was the favor you wanted to ask?" Besides, she was pretty serious. Ranma was definitely a person who could take care of himself, and she had noticed he was swallowing his pride to ask her for a favor. She should at least find out. Who knew, maybe she could help him out. Afterall, he had saved Priss' and Linna's life by defeating those two 'Doberman' boomers after they managed to damage Linna and Priss' motoslaves, "Perhaps I could help you out a bit,"
Ranma and Ryoga were already out the door, causing Sylia to follow after them into the street to repeat what she said.
"Hey, you ask her," Ranma said, nudging toward Ryoga.
"Me? I don't know her," came the reply, "Besides, I have no problem with sleeping in the streets again,"
At that moment, Sylia realized what Ranma was about to ask her.
Ranma sighed "Fine," He turned toward Sylia "Um, is there a way we could stay at your place for the night? I mean, if you're not comfortable with me and Ryoga bein' in your place, we understand. Afterall, I'm pretty sure you wouldn't be all that fond of me after what I did to ya when we first met,"
Ranma was shocked when Sylia answered.
"I have no problem with that. Sure,"
"Yes, they're both in my penthouse," Sylia said to Priss and the others, speaking into the tiny portable computer that was resting on the sink in her bathroom. She was in the bathroom, soaking in the bathtub, wondering what Ranma and Ryoga were up to.
"Why'd you let them come home with you?" Nene said "That's not like you Sylia,"
"I wanted to find out more about that Ryoga Hibiki character," Sylia said, "And the best way to find out about him is to talk to him personally,"
"But you're puttin' yourself in danger," Nene said, "Even though you say they look like they're friends, I remember seein' them fight. You're gonna get hurt if they do,"
"Let's hope they don't,"
"Wattsa matter, Ryoga?" Ranma said, "I thought you said you wouldn't mind sleeping in the streets," He had his back pressed again a door. He was in Sylia's penthouse. Ryoga, on the other hand, was outside, in the hallway. Ranma had shoved him outside and closed the door behind him.
Sylia emerged from the bathroom, finished with her bath. She noticed someone was missing, "Um, where's Ryoga?"
Ranma opened the door to reveal a fuming Ryoga. He jerked a thumb toward him and smiled, "Oh, you mean him?" He chuckled a bit.
"Why you!" Ryoga said, his aura glowing, "You'll pay for that!"
Sylia's heart skipped a beat. Ryoga looked like he was about to kill Ranma. She hadn't anticipated this to happen. She could had sworn they wouldn't fight. And she had a good judge of character. How could she be wrong? This mistake was going to cost her dearly. If Ryoga used one of those ki-blasts similar to Ranma's, her entire penthouse would be destroyed.
Ranma held a hand out, causing Ryoga to stop his charge, "Hey, didn't you forget? No more fighting. And besides, I don't think you're stupid enough to throw one of your Shi Shi Hakodans. You'll hurt Sylia. And Mackie also,"
Ryoga was silent for a moment. He looked over toward Sylia and realized that if he did use his technique, Sylia would be killed in the blast. And he knew he wasn't some killer. He would never be able to live with blood on his hands.
Sylia watched, astonished. Ryoga looked like he was about to kill Ranma one second, and now he didn't at all look angry. It was as if his mood had changed from angry to yielding.
Ryoga entered the penthouse and sat down in one of the lush couches "Hrmph,"
Ranma shrugged his shoulders, "Whatever,"
He then looked at Sylia, "Well, I guess I'll go take that shower now. Where do you keep your towels?"
"Um, there's a few on the shelf in the bathroom. You can use those," she replied.
"Thanks," was all she heard before the she saw the bathroom door close behind Ranma.
Sylia looked over toward Ryoga, who was still pouting over what had happened. Now was the chance to find out some things about him, like who he was, or why he was here.
"Um, Ryoga, can I ask you a few questions?" she started.
At that moment, the bathroom door opened and Ranma emerged "Uh, how do you turn on the water?"
Sylia continued to twist and turn in her bed, sleep eluding her. The thought that Ranma and Ryoga slept outside her bedroom door seemed to make her uneasy. She had never met people, heck, not even boomers, that were remotely as powerful at them. And the thought of sleeping under the same roof with two people as powerful as Ranma and Ryoga kept making her twist and turn in bed. She couldn't shake that feeling on how everything might be if they used their powers and fighting abilities for selfish reasons. But that wasn't what had really kept her up. It was what Ranma had mentioned they planned on doing last night.
And what was worse, why did they have to be so handsome?
She had no real love life, and for some reason, she couldn't help be feel a bit nervous around their presence, especially Ranma. Of course, she never showed it. But then again, maybe that nervous feeling came from the fact that she had never met someone like Ranma before.
A loud crash emerged from the livingroom, as Sylia's heart skipped a beat. She quickly got to her feet and rushed toward the livingroom. When she entered the room and turned on the light, she was shocked to see what she saw.
Ranma was sitting in the middle of the livingroom, clutching his foot. "Man, I'd rather get hit by one of Ryoga's ki-blasts than stub my toe," he said, wincing in pain. He wanted to get a drink of water when he had accidentally bumped into the coffee table.
Sylia smirked before she started to giggle a bit. Ranma was probably capable of brushing off deathblows that would easily kill a man, and here he was, unable to brush off something as simple as a stubbed toe. It made Sylia look at Ranma in a different light, that he was, albeit very strong, still human. She had also noticed this when he needed to ask how to turn on the water for the bathtub. It showed that he wasn't used to MegaTokyo, that he had lived a very different life before coming back to Japan.
"You do know that's not funny," Ranma said, "They really hurt,"
"So what's the scoop?" Linna asked as she took a sip of her coffee. She and the others were in the living room of Sylia's penthouse. It was now sometime in the afternoon. Ranma and Ryoga had left several hours ago. They were all sitting around the coffee table.
"Man, you don't look so good, sis," Mackie said, noticing the slight rings under his sister's eyes, "Maybe you should go back to bed for some more sleep,"
"There's no time for it now," Sylia said, shrugging off Mackie's comment. She leaned forward and took a sip of her own coffee before beginning, "I found out quite a bit about this Ryoga Hibiki last night. Unfortunately, all of this was said by him, so we're not too sure if he's telling the truth, or just lying. It turns out that Ryoga also hates Genom,"
"Y-you mean he's like one of us?" Nene said, "Just like Ranma? Then why were they both fighting like what I saw by the hospital a few nights ago?"
"Well," Sylia replied, "it turns out that that Ryoga and Ranma aren't all that great of friends. Actually they're enemies. It seems that they've put their differences aside for a similar goal, to fight against Genom. It also turns out that they intend to attack, yes, attack Genom Tower sometime today. They said they needed money. We must find them before it's too late,"
"Money?" Priss asked, "Why the hell do they need money? Heck, if they need it so bad, why not just rob a bank? Surely they'll easily get away since the AD Police are pretty useless,"
"Hey," Nene said.
"There's a reason for that," Sylia continued, "They said they needed the money to pay for all the damages the did to that hospital, and not only that, they're hoping to find out some dirty secret to the organization that would expose them for what they really are. And lastly, they wanted to pay Genom back for destroying their lives,"
"What do you mean by 'destroying their lives'? You mean Ryoga's family died in the 'Nerima Massacre' just like Ranma's?" Linna asked. "Well, kind of," Sylia got up off the couch and proceeded toward the window, "It turns out that Nene's assumption was correct. He and Ranma did care about that Akane Tendo girl, and after she died, Ryoga was very resentful toward Ranma for her death. That explains the hatred for him. As for his family, he has none. He hasn't seen his parents ever since he left the house at age 14. He's a loner. Anyway, it seems this Akane was the only family he had or cared about,"
"And of course, since she was killed by those boomers, that should explain his hatred toward Genom," Linna finished off for Sylia. She smiled, feeling a bit good that she realized that. Sylia was about to continue explaining what else Ryoga had told her, when there was a knock on her door.
"Who could that be?" Mackie said, getting up off the couch and proceeding toward the door. He opened it to reveal both Ranma and Ryoga. They both looked like they had been badly hurt. There were cuts and bruises everywhere. Even though they were bleeding from several places, like their lips and arms and shoulders, they looked unbothered, like nothing had happened.
"Sorry to bother you again," Ranma began, but soon noticing that Sylia wasn't alone, "Oh, you have company,"
"What are you doing back here?" Sylia asked.
Ranma gave a weak smile, "Well, we just came from Genom Tower and we need a place to put all this money. This stuff weighs over a ton, at least. And it doesn't help that we're carryin' two crates each," He jerked a thumb over toward several large crates behind them. They weren't really crates, rather, more like a massive block of yen wrapped in an air-tight clear seal.
All the girls and Mackie stepped outside to see what they had brought before they realized exactly how much money they had stolen from Genom. They all said in unison "Oh my god!"
Linna's eyes were almost popping out of her socket, "Oh my god! There must be billions here!" She'd never seen this much money in her life. She would be able to buy all the dresses she ever wanted, and boy, she wanted a lot of dresses.
"Man, that place is huge!" Ranma said. He looked like a little kid bragging to his friends on how great a day he had, "It took us over an hour just to make it to the floor, where we finally found the money vault, which was nowhere near the top floor. Jeez, and you shoulda seen all 'em boomers they had running around. There must had been hundreds of 'em!"
The girls and Mackie listened carefully and intently. None of them had actually been inside of Genom Tower to know what kind of place it was, or how it was fortified.
"Man, they had all sorta weird things," Ranma said He had seen some really fascinating things while in Genom Building. He and Ryoga had came across a room labeled 'Largo Resurrection' and had come across this weird 'OMS' thingie that they forgot what it stood for.
"Like what did you see?" Sylia asked curiously. She and the rest of the other girls had never really seen the inside Genom Tower. The most the had seen were Quincy's supposed office, which Largo had trashed, and the roof while they were in their hardsuits. Not even in their private identities had been beyond the front reception desk.
Ranma stepped back out into the hallway and took hold of one of the crates and hoisted it to the air, Ryoga, who had been silent all this time, doing the same. They both tried to enter the penthouse, but immediately realized the door was too small.
"Man, that sucks," Ranma commented, placing the crate back down. He hopped onto the crate, "Man, considering all the trouble we went through to carry these things all the way over here, it's quite ironic that something like a door would stop us. Well, back to your question, it's kinda hard to say. We were too busy trying to avoid all those big red boomers,"
"Big red boomers?" Sylia said, thinking for a moment. All of a sudden, her visage went somber, "You mean those prototype C-99 combat boomers?" She seriously hoped they weren't the boomers she thought they were. Those boomers were dangerous. Even though they weren't as heavily armed as the C-55s combat boomers, they were capable of being uplinked with attack satellites orbiting over Japan.
Ranma shrugged his shoulders, "I dunno. But we managed to blow most of 'em up though,"
Ryoga sat down on his own crate as he said sarcastically, "Boy, aren't we a bit modest today?"
That seemed to shut Ranma up for a moment. Ranma wasn't really the type to really brag, but he guessed he got carried away. His veins were still coursing with adrenaline. He hadn't had that much fun in many many years.
"Well, all I could say is that we didn't really see much," Ranma said, "We only made it to about a quarter of the way up the tower before we found a safe where they kept the money. After we busted it open, we didn't bother to stay around," He looked at the crate, changing the subject, "Man, how are we gonna get passed this little obstacle?"
At that moment, Sylia's penthouse shook horribly, causing everyone but Ryoga and Ranma to fall off their feet. Ranma and Ryoga had too much sense of balance to be knocked off their feet by something like that. Ranma walked up to the window and looked out, just as a little black box smashed through it, landing in the middle of the livingroom.
Priss realized what the little black box was before anyone else did "Oh shit! That's a bomb! Get the hell outta here!"
Ranma quickly ran to where he picked it up with his bare hands, and then threw the bomb back out the window, exploding in mid-air right in front of the penthouse window. Unfortunately, the bomb had been more powerful than he expected that a wall of flamed entered into the livingroom through the broken window.
Luckily, Ryoga had managed to react in time to shove the girls out the front door. Ranma and Ryoga were consumed in the blast, but aside from some singed clothes, were left unscathed. They quickly rushed out into the hallway where the four girls were getting to their feet.
"I'm sorry, Sylia. I didn't think they were following me," Ranma said, terribly sorry. He wanted to kick himself for putting the four girls in danger "They're after their money. I thought I lost them, and it seems I led them right to your penthouse,"
The penthouse shook violently again, Ranma and Ryoga managing to keep all four girls on their feet.
"Oh shit, here they come!" Priss swore, pointing toward the three blue C-55 boomers that had just rounded the corner of the hallway and were standing just a short ways down the hallway. They noticed them, their thrusters blazed to life as they came rocketing toward Ranma and the group.
Ranma and Ryoga, as if on instinct, rushed forward to meet all three boomers in combat. Both of them shoulder rammed the front two boomer to stop their forward momentum as the boomers where sent flying backwards back down the hallway.
"We gotta get outta here," Ranma said. He realized that if they fought those boomers in the hallway, the four girls would surely get hurt in the melee. He wasn't going to risk their safety over something as stupid as money. He and Ryoga could go back to Genom to steal it again.
"Let's get out through the window," Ryoga said, gesturing toward the window that bomb had came through, "That's the only way out,"
"Well, how 'bout it?" Ranma said.
Everyone nodded. All four girls knew that they wouldn't stand a chance against a boomer. Even though Ranma and Ryoga were capable of fighting against them bare-handed, they weren't.
"Where to?" Ryoga said, looking out the window. He noticed over a dozen boomers in the street. This was definitely going to be a hard getaway.
"The Raven's Garage is just east of here," Sylia said. Even though Ryoga had no idea of their secret identities, now was not that time to be thinking of something like that. Boomers were after them, and they needed to protect themselves.
"Lettme just grab some of that money before we leave," Linna said, running toward the crates. All she wanted was at least one stack of bills. She didn't want to leave this place empty handed.
"Sheesh," Ranma muttered, shaking his head. He looked back down the hallway and noticed all three boomers had gotten back up, "Shit, here they come again! Horizontal Blast Revised, Hiryu Shoten Ha!"
A huge column of wind was sent flying toward the boomers, slamming them into the wall as such force that the wall collapsed under the impact. Unfortunately, the girls where caught up in the blast and were about to be sent bodily through the new opening in the wall, but Ranma and Ryoga grabbed a hold of them just in time. Ranma grabbed Sylia and Nene while Ryoga grabbed Priss and Nene.
"Let's get the hell outta here!" Ranma said as he carried both girls, one arm over each of their waists as they held on to him tightly. "Wait," Ryoga said.
Ranma didn't hear it in time as he leapt up onto the windowsill and noticed dozens of boomers in the street. They, too, noticed him. And almost immediately, lasers started flying toward him. Ranma gave a smirk as he extended one arm forward, "Mouko Takabisha!"
Sylia and Nene got a up close and personal look as a ki-blast shot forward from Ranma's extended hand, exploding in the middle of the crowd of boomers. They had been so close they could feel the intense heat as the blast rocketed from his hand. The entire building shook from the impact of the attack as a small mushroom-like explosion enveloped the crowd.
"Hm, that was easier than I thought," Ranma said, noticing that the boomers in the street had all been destroyed. All those that survived had been severely damaged.
"We gotta get outta here!" Ryoga shouted, "There're more on the way!" He was holding Linna and Priss securely in his arms. Almost a dozen boomers were now on their way down the tiny hallway. He would had used his Shi Shi Hakodan, but at such a confined space, the girls would get hurt.
"Let's go!" Ranma said. He leapt from the window down to the street below, Ryoga following closely behind. Upon landing in the middle of the street, a barrage of lasers started raining down on them. Boomers had been hidden in building adjacent to Sylia's, boomers that Ranma hadn't seen.
Nene was about to break out in a panic and start scream, but all of a sudden, she saw the ground fall down from below them. Ranma had leapt up into the air again. All Nene could do was yell at the top of her lungs as she held on tightly to Ranma around his neck, nearly cutting off his air supply.
Luckily, Sylia had noticed and managed to loosen Nene's grip with one hand while the other hand held onto Ranma tightly also. Like Nene, she was terrified. Her heart was racing as she saw the ground and buildings passing them at intense speeds.
She took a quick glance backwards and noticed Ryoga closely behind in huge leaps, Priss and Linna also holding onto him tightly. When she turned her attention forward, she caught sight of a building rushing right toward them.
"Lookout!" Sylia shouted, her heart in her throat. They were going to crash into that building.
"Relax," she heard Ranma's calm voice, "I got it under control,"
He was right. Ranma was using that building to triangle jump higher into the air. He had twisted in mid-air so his feet would hit the building first, and as soon as they did, he kicked back out, repelling himself upward in another direction. After propelling off, he did the same thing again with another building, then that same building he first propelled off of, and onto a roof of one of the towering buildings. Sylia felt herself falling as she clutched at Ranma tightly. But soon, she realized Ranma had landed on a roof top and was releasing his hold of her. He also released Nene, who had fallen to the ground, her buckling knees giving out under her weight.
Ryoga landed on the rooftop seconds later, releasing Priss and Linna. They too looked like they were horribly shaken from that intense flight from Sylia's penthouse.
"Now what?" Priss asked, "Where are we going to go? Those boomer back there will be here any minute,"
"We'll fight them," Ranma said. He turned toward the girls as he stepped besides Ryoga.
Ryoga said to the girls, "You should be safe up here. Ranma and I'll leap down to the streets and finish them off down there,"
"What?" Priss said, "You can't do that! There're apartment buildings around here. If you start fighting them, and those boomers start firing, many innocent people are gonna die,"
"No," Ranma said, "we're not going to do that," Sylia looked at Ranma curious. What was he planning? Surely he wasn't the type to run away from boomers he could easily defeat "Then what?"
"Ryoga, you stay here and protect them in case any of those boomers arrive here," Ranma said, "I'm goin' back to Genom. I'm going to let them capture me,"
"What?" Sylia said. She found her throat getting dry. She had only seen Ranma every here and there over the course of the weeks since he showed up, but she seemed to have some feeling toward him. Deep down inside, even though she's capable of taking care of herself, she felt safe around Ranma. She liked having Ranma in her life. And she was sure the other girls felt the same also, "Don't do that! They're going to kill you!"
Ranma turned around and gave them a weak smile. "Does it really matter?" Ranma said, "This isn't your fight. This is between me and Ryoga and Genom. I'm sorry about what happened to your place. I truly am. I didn't think we were followed. If it helps you any, we managed to stash some of the money away before we went on to your place. It's in the same abandoned building we were in after we first met. I'm going back into Genom. I know there's some dirty secret in there we could expose that'll bring Genom to its knees. And the only way to find it is if I go in. Let's just hope I'll survive their blast,"
"Shit, here they come!" Priss said, pointing toward four incoming boomers. And this time, they weren't combat boomers. They were those prototype boomers Ranma had taken care of after his accidental battle with the Knight Sabers.
Ranma gave a sad smile before turning around "Goodbye,"
He then leapt up into the air and proceeded toward the four incoming boomers.
"Ranma!" Sylia was about to try and stop him but Ryoga grabbed her arm, preventing her from following them, "Let me go!"
Priss and Nene and Linna all watched Sylia in disbelief. They had never really seen Sylia look so stricken with grief in their life. She was actually shedding tears.
"We have to get outta here," Ryoga said, "Ranma'll be all right. He can take care of himself,"
He quickly gestured for the girls to make their way into the building via the rooftop entrance. The girls gave on last look before entering the building. Ryoga gave a quick glance backwards as he saw Ranma being consumed in a massive explosion. He knew Ranma had let himself get hit. That was the only way they would take him alive...provided he survived that blast.
"He can take care of himself...I hope,"
Madigan was looking down at the unconscious form of Ranma from the safety of her office She had just found out that he was just like that Ryoga Hibiki person she heard about, that he was human. When the boomers had told him that the superboomer seemed to cease functioning, she had ordered them to bring it in, so she could examine how something so magnificent was created. But when they brought him in, she realized he was human simply by the steady rise and fall of his chest.
When she placed her hand on his neck and found a pulse, that confirmed her suspicions. He was indeed human, and a rather handsome looking on at that.
Ranma now lay in a bed in the middle of the tiny room. Madigan had had that room built especially for him from a short while ago. She had assumed that sooner or later, she would be able to capture that superboomer. The room was heavily reinforced with solid steel, the door to the room further reinforced. There was no way he would be able to get out. He didn't have enough room to use his projectiles, and if he did, he would be so close to the blast that he would surely get hurt. There was a camera about twenty feet high on the ceiling, allowing Madigan a perfect view of Ranma.
There was a knock at her door, which gave her a quick start. She immediately composed herself and allowed Carper to enter. She knew it was him. She had told him to give her a report on the human's condition and his assessment of him within the half hour.
"You're not goin' to believe this," Carper said nervously as he sat down in one of the chairs. He brought in several sheets of paper full of data on Ranma's condition and their evaluation of him.
"He's human," Madigan said, "I'm pretty sure nothing will surprise me any more that that," She continued to gaze at the screen, at Ranma's motionless form "What've you got?"
"That's true," he said as he began to shuffle through his reports, "Well, here's what I got so far. I did a check on his fingerprints and it turns out that his name is Ranma Saotome. It seems my assumption that the Knight Sabers created him was totally off. Anyway, he used to live in the city of Nerima," "That should explain his hatred toward Genom," Madigan said, "His family or loved ones probably died in the 'Nerima Massacre', right?"
"Yes," "What else did you learn?" she asked.
"Okay," Carper started, taking a deep breath, "Here's what I got. You're not really gonna like this. Remember I had him as a 23-A model boomer on the boomer association scale? Well, you could forget about that. Right now, he's somewhere in the high 20's, like a 28-C or a 29-B. Somewhere around there. I don't want to be the cloud on your parade, but I doubt there's anyway to stop him. Conventional means is futile because he could dodge the bullets, and he could fight in hand-to-hand better than a dozen of our prototype boomers at once. He, by himself, is strong enough level this entire city if he really wanted to. He doesn't because of the people that could die, which is perfectly reasonable since he is, afterall, human, and thus, has some form of conscience. Your assumption is correct. It turns out that it was him who pretty much destroyed half the entire slums. If it weren't for the fact that he CAN get hurt, I'd consider him almost a deity. He's either a demi-god...or, from my point of view, a semi-
devil. I mean, we're dealing with power levels that are off the scale. If he wanted to, he could do whatever he wants, and pretty much no one can do a thing,"
"Damn," she said. She was wishing it was something else that had caused it, "What have you got on the audio recording of them,"
"It's useless," Carper replied, "Their conversation was on when they were going to attack Genom Tower. But since they already attacked, it's useless. If we could have listened to it earlier, we wouldn't had lost so many boomers when he and Ryoga attacked since we were caught by surprise. Luckily, we managed to get back most of the money, but there was still a very large sum missing, and we have no idea where it is,"
"And how goes the project?" Madigan said. All her options were exhausted except for this one project, a project so secretive that not even Quincy knew about it.
"You're in for some good news," Carper said.
"Good, I could sure use some at around now,"
Carper smiled as he continued, "I can't believe how much the project had progressed so much. I guess since the arrival of Ranma, and now Ryoga, we were forced to become more advanced. Our technology had improved almost fifty percent over the past month since Ranma arrived. I guess it's from us always trying to stop him. Anyway, the 'Akane Project 001' is running smoothly. Even though it's extremely experimental, I'm very convinced it would work. The DNA we extracted from the bones of Akane's skeletal system had remained intact over all these years. Right now, we're in the process of decoding all that DNA into downloaded data to have put into the sexaroid,"
Madigan nodded. She was pretty surprised also. She was expecting to be still on the experimental stages of DNA extraction.
"Can I ask you a question, Madigan-sama?" Carper said softly.
"Why this Akane Tendo person?" he asked, "Why not extract the DNA from someone like Ghengis Kahn or Aldof Hitler?"
"We DO plan on doing that as soon as this project is no longer considered experimental," she said matter-of-factly, "But as of right now, we need to try and recreate this Akane Tendo person, to have her stop Ranma. It's just perfect timing. Even though we had originally came up with this experimental process in order to manipulate Ryoga into helping us, having found out that Ranma is, in some way, connected to her makes it all the better,"
"But she's going to be a sexaroid," Carper commented, "Aren't you worried about her trying to break away from Genom, kinda like those five sexaroid that stole that D.D Battlemover a short while ago. If I recall correctly one of those sexaroids was named Sylvie,"
"Yes, she will be a sexaroid," she replied, "This is where it's the gamble. I believe if we make her human enough, it would have enough of an effect on Ranma. If we made her a combat boomer, albeit more powerful, I'm pretty sure she would get destroyed as soon as she converted to her battle mode. This is just a gamble we're going to have to take,"
"Let's hope this gamble works it's the only one we've got,"
Ranma's eyes opened slowly. He sat upright and winced in pain as bolts of pain surged through his body. But he was glad it didn't hurt as much as when Ryoga had hit him with that ki-blast. He surveyed his surroundings and realized that he must be somewhere in Genom Tower, which gave him a smile. He rubbed his chest where that projectile had struck him.
I hope that damn missile didn't leave a mark, Ranma thought.
He rubbed his shoulder and neck to get the kinks out before he hopped off the bed. He walked out to the door and regarded it. He gave a quick chuckle as he realized he was being watched. He noticed the tiny camera mounted to the ceiling. "I know you're watching me," Ranma said.
"So you're finally awake," Madigan's voice echoed into the room. It was coming from an unknown source. It sounded like it was coming from everywhere.
"Are you goin' to let me out?" Ranma said, leaning back against the door, folding his arms across his chest. Although there was no chance, he figured he'd at least give asking to be let out a try. It would make it a whole lot easier than to bust out of there.
"We can't do that," Madigan said.
"Oh well," Ranma said. He turned back around and faced the door, "I asked,"
He struck the door with an open palm as the impact echoed through the room. When he pulled his hand way, there was an indentation against the door the size of his palm. The sound reverberated throughout the tiny room. He gave it several more strikes before door started to shudder under the intense impact of his hand hitting against it.
He continued to hit it over and over again, a bit impressed that the door managed to withstand several of his blows.
"You're not going to break that down," Madigan's voice entered the room.
Ranma smirked, "Ya wanna make a bet?"
He cocked his arm back, palm open, and brought it forward, striking the door. The door exploded outward, knocked of his hinges. He looked down at the hinges the door had hung on, these huge three inches solid steel pipes. He smirked as he casually stepped out of his confinement and into the corridors stretching in front of him.
Madigan and Carper were staring at the screen in disbelief. They had just witness a human breaking through a solid steel door that was built to withstand enormous impact. It had been tested to withstand projectiles as strong as hellfires from attack choppers.
"What the fuck?" Madigan swore, "This is absolutely impossible!"
Carper quickly ran over to Madigan's deskphone and picked up the receiver. He punched in a few numbers and waited for a short moment before speaking, "This is Carper. Get every boomer we have available to section four. We have a prisoner on the loose. He is extremely dangerous. Do whatever you can to kill him!" He hung up the phone and looked at Madigan. She looked like she had seen a ghost.
"Madigan-sama, are you okay?"
"No!" she said, "I'm not! Goddamnit, why didn't we kill him while we had the chance? Why did we have to be so goddamn curious that we kept him alive so we would know more about him!" At that moment, the door flew open.
Madigan and Carper stood where they were in disbelief as they saw they person that they had tried their hardest to kill enter the room. It had only been about ten minutes since they saw Ranma's escape, but since Madigan's office was located only two stories above the confinement area, it was most likely that he would pay her a visit.
The two of them took in a deep breath. This was going to be the end of them. They were going to die. Waitaminute, Madigan realized. Ranma has no idea who they are. He also has a conscious. At least, she prayed. For the first time in her life, she was truly afraid.
"Get down!" Carper said, pulling a gun from his mandatory shoulder holster. He figured if he was going to die, he might as well die fighting. He jumped in front of Madigan, his gun aimed perfectly toward Ranma's head. One shot would end it all. Just one shot. But will he be able to make it?
Ranma regarded Carper rather casually, as if not worried that his head could be blown cleanly off his shoulders if that man pulled the trigger "I don't suppose you'll tell me Genom's deepest darkest secret would you? I remember coming across it with Ryoga, but I don't really know where," Ranma said rather innocently.
"Don't move," Carper said deathly serious. He was fighting for not only his life, but for Madigan's, "or I'll blow your head off,"
"Your safety's on," Ranma said.
Carper went to check, but realized it was all a simple ruse. And he had fallen for it. Before he could bring his gun back up, Ranma had taken two quick bounds forward and had swatted it out of his hand. He skillfully ducked out of Carper's attempted punch and got into a rather loose battle stance.
"Look, I don't want to fight, but if I must..," Ranma said, not bothering to finish his sentence. He wanted Carper to figure it out.
Carper looked like he was ready to pass out from shear fright, but he managed to keep himself from receding into the depths of unconsciousness. Madigan needed him to protect her, "You may be a lot stronger than me, but I'll still fight you if I have to,"
Ranma took a quick glance over his shoulder and then turned back toward Carper and Madigan. Without saying a word, he lunged toward Madigan and grabbed hold of her. Before Caper realized what Ranma just did, he found himself being picked up by Ranma also.
A missile came rocketing into the room via the open office door. Carper and Madigan gasped as they realized that being within such close proximity to the blast would kill them. But before the missile exploded in Madigan's office, Ranma leapt out the window. Madigan screamed in absolute horror as she realized she was now falling down twenty stories toward the ground. She was going to die. "Relax," she heard Ranma's soft voice say, "You'll be all right,"
Ranma twisted in mid-air and skillfully landed. He then placed Carper and Madigan on the ground, "You do know Genom is bad, right? Whoever you are, you shouldn't really work for them. Didn't you see those boomers, they would had killed you back there, and it wouldn't had mattered at all to Genom,"
He turned around to head back into Genom. He looked up at the towering building, "Man, getting back up to whatever floor I was on's gonna take forever,"
"W-what are yo- where are you going?" Madigan said. Although her heart was racing, she had just realized Ranma had saved her and Carper's life. But it didn't really matter much though because Ranma being in there was why those boomers fired missiles into her office, not because they didn't care. Besides, those boomers most likely didn't see them...right?
Ranma turned around, "Not that it really matters to you, but I remember seeing somethin' called 'OMS' earlier today. I'm gonna go find out what it is. Perhaps I don't hafta blow this whole buildin' up.
"Oh no!" Madigan said. Ranma knew about Genom's dirtiest darkest secret, their 'Overmind Control System' Only a select few knew about that project, and they were rarely ever allowed to leave the premises. Ranma raised both hands toward the sky "Mouko Takabisha! Mouko Takabisha!" He fired two massive ki-blasts up into the sky, disappearing as it passed through the clouds, "Ryoga oughta be able to see that. Not unless he got himself really lost, he shouldn't miss that,"
Madigan and Carper both stared in disbelief, unable to comprehend how Ranma was able to bring forth such enormous energy. Even from where they stood, which were several yards away, they could feel the heat of the ki-blasts.
At that moment, several boomers hovered down from the window they had jumped out of. They all surrounded Ranma, their targets all locked on him. "Man, don't I wish those ki-blasts hit them on the way up," Ranma said as he noticed them descending. He shrugged his shoulders, "Oh well, can't win 'em all the time,"
"Get him!" Madigan told the boomers. That man had to be stopped before he got his hands on the 'OMS' project. If he got a hold of it, Genom would be no more. The government would have a ball if they found out they were trying to invent a system that would be able to override any boomer's AI and put in new commands. It would mean Genom could literally control any and every boomer created.
Ranma shook his head, "So you're one of 'em bad guys, huh?"
Just as the boomers began firing a barrage of lasers and bullets, Ranma turned tail and ran back into the building through the front entrance. The front entrance was ripped apart by the firepower, glass panels shattering Madigan looked at all the damage being created. "Shit! Stop!"
"Hey, look!" Ryoga said, pointing, "That looks like Ranma's ki-blasts,"
The four girls looked up into the sky and caught a glimpse of the spheres of energy, just as it disappeared beyond the clouds. They were all standing outside the Silky Doll when Ryoga had spotted the blast. The girls were just about to enter the store to change into their hardsuits.
"What does that mean?" Priss asked, "Is it some signal or something?"
"Well, there's Ranma's signal," he said with a smile, even though it was a total lie, "I hafta go. I'll see you around,"
"Not without us," Priss said, "We're gonna get Genom back for trashin' Sylia's penthouse,"
"Even though it was actually our fault that we lead them there?" Ryoga said. He still felt guilty, despite the fact that Sylia said she could easily spring back onto her feet since she had a substantial amount of money hidden, "Look, we're really sorry for what happened, and we'll make it up to you. We stashed quite a bit of money in a building Ranma says you know about, so that should easily cover the damages. I just hope there wasn't anything in there of sentimental value,"
Sylia gave Ryoga a calm look, "As long as no one was hurt, it's okay. I'll manage,"
"Well, I'm gonna get goin' now," he said, turning around to leave, only to be stopped when Priss placed a hand on his shoulder.
"Oh no you don't," Priss said sternly, "We're in this together. Also, what do you mean by there's the signal. What does those blasts mean?"
Ryoga wasn't really good with words, but he tried his best to explain It, "Well, while on our way out of Genom with the money earlier, he mentioned if we ever find something to stop Genom, we would give each other a signal. It seems he found something. That's all. Can I please leave now?"
"No," Priss said, "You wait right here while we go get into our suits,"
"Suits?" Ryoga asked "What suits?"
Sylia gave a short smile. Back then, she would had strangled Priss for foreclosing their identities, but now, it seemed all right. Ryoga could be trusted, just like Ranma "Don't worry about it. We'll be ready in a minute. Just follow us,"
Ryoga looked up at the Silky Doll sign, remember how nervous he had felt when he first entered the store, "Um, I'll wait out here,"
"Fine, but don't leave,"
"Akane?" Ranma said, looking down at the sexaroid supposedly sleeping soundly on a table, wires and tubes attached all over her. His heart skipped a beat as he realized it was her. At least it looked exactly like her on the day she died, even down to the light green dress she had been wearing.
Ranma felt tears forming around his eyes. He had missed her so terribly. Even though he knew, without a doubt, that this wasn't the real Akane, that the real Akane had died over thirty years ago, he still wanted to believe this was her, "Akane, wake up. It's me, Ranma,"
He pressed a hand on her cheek, noticing how cold the flesh felt against his touch. It felt like ice. He turned to look at the screen, and saw a whole bunch of numbers and computer jargon he couldn't understand. But there were some things he could discern. He read the screen, "Akane Project 001,"
He looked back toward Akane and then back at the screen, "What the hell is this? What he hell are they doing?"
He did his best to understand what everything on the screen meant. The core temperature read somewhere around 5 degrees Celsius and was slowly rising. Her internal systems indicated that they were functional and there were intermittent waves running across a small screen indicating her wave patterns.
As Ranma stood there, he realized exactly what Genom was up to. They were trying to bring her to life, but as a boomer. He didn't know what to do, destroy the entire building in one massive ki-blast for them disturbing Akane's rest to bring her back to the cold realities of life, or to love them from bringing back someone he wished had never left this world. But soon, rage started to take control of him as he clenched his hands into tight fists, his knuckles turning white, realizing they had to have done something to this Akane. Why else would they bring her to life? There were two choices, to either let her live, but find a way to remove whatever junk they programmed into her, or to destroy her right then and there, so she would never be brought to life, so she would remain in her eternal sleep.
He heard a noise from the corner of the room. Ranma turned to face where the noise had come from and caught the smallest sign of movement. Not really caring who or what it was, Ranma proceeded toward the source of the noise.
A young female dressed in a white lab coat stood up from behind the tiny desk she had been hiding behind as she heard Ranma's footsteps get closer. It was useless to hide.
"Please, don't hurt me" she had never been so scared in her life. She wished she had left like all the other scientists after hearing a low rumbling noise echo through the building, but she had been too engorged with this 'Akane Project' to leave.
Ranma regarded the young scientist, "I'm not goin' to hurt you. What are you doin' here? Shouldn't you have evacuated the building like everyone else?"
The scientist regarded Ranma for a second, "Aren't you that superboomer I heard about?"
"My name's Ranma," he said. He chuckled, "So that's what Genom calls me? A superboomer? So what's you're name?"
The young girl nodded, her fear practically vanishing for some reason.
"I'm Lisa," she replied. She eyed him carefully. How in the world can such an potent weapon like this superboomer be created in such a small chassis? It was as if this superboomer radiated power, and she could feel it, "Man, it's amazing how technologically advanced you are. Who ever created this machine standing in front of me must be some supergenius,"
"Well, I'm not a machine. I'm human," he said. He walked over toward the computer screen "Y-you're human?"
"Yes," he replied. He paused a moment to let all that soak in before asking, "You're a scientist, right?
"Lettme guess, the white lab coat gave it away," she said. When she saw Ranma turn back around to face her, she wanted to kick herself. She should had just said yes. She was in the mercy of this man and here she was making cracks, "I'm sorry,"
"Can you tell me what this thing is?" he said, jerking a thumb over his shoulder, "What's this 'Akane Project 001'?" He needed to know the truth.
"I can't tell you," she said, "It's against regulations. I could get in deep trouble for this,"
Ranma had to play the role. As much as he hated to, he needed to know why Akane was being created. He had to. And if that meant pretending to be something he was not, then so be it. He walked up to the scared young girl and gazed into her eyes, "I don't think you should be worrying about that right now. You're in more trouble then you can imagine,"
All the blood seemed to drain from her face. She could feel her knees beginning to feel weak, "W-what a-are you going to do to me?"
Ranma inwardly prayed she would not faint, "I'll kill you,"
He found those words a lot harder to say than he had thought. It pained him so much to be scaring this young girl. He had to bite his lips shut to keep from apologizing. He had to turn around, unable to continue looking at her with a straight face, "Please, tell me what this is about. Why are you bringing this Akane to life? How are you going about doing this?"
The young girl took a deep breath. There was nothing she could do, "I really don't know anything about the 'why' part, but I do know about the 'how' part. We were given the project to extracted the DNA from the bones this person who died many years ago named Akane Tendo and extract the information from it into downloadable information so we could download all of it into this sexaroid replica of her. That way, she would be almost exactly like the real Akane except for the programs we were asked to also add into her subconscious,"
"Well, judging by the name you just gave me," she said, "She was programmed to kill you and a Ryoga Hibiki,"
Ranma looked down at Akane. The program would make her a murderer. He would never allow that to happen, "How much of her personality have you downloaded all of it into her?"
She looked at the screen for a moment, "It's a little more that eighty percent done. It'll take about half and hour before the rest is downloaded,"
Ranma smiled "Well, there's gonna be a change in plans. All you're gonna do is download the personality, and that's it. Nothing else. No program,"
At that moment, the door to the room opened and in entered two 'Doberman' boomers. They didn't even have a chance to catch sight of their target they registered a blow of immense magnitude striking up against their chest, right before ceasing their function.
Ranma turned to face Lisa, "I'm gonna go. I don't want Akane or you getting hurt because of all these boomers running around. One stray bullet and that's it. Remember, just download her personality. I'll be back in twenty minutes,"
"What did you say?" she asked, wondering if she heard correctly.
"That I don't want Akane or you gettin' hurt," he repeated.
"You don't want me to get hurt?" she asked. No one had really cared about her. And because of that, she only focused on her work. But for that brief moment, she wanted to believe someone actually cared for her.
Ranma looked at her for a moment before nodding, then he left the room "Man, and I'm supposed to be a bad guy,"
Ryoga looked up at the front entrance and couldn't help but chuckle. The glass front doors were shattered and the glass was everywhere. There were also hundreds of bullet holes sprayed along the concrete and steel walls. There was definitely some excessive damage. "Ya think Ranma did this?" Linna's said, the exterior speakers allowing Ryoga to hear what she was saying. Otherwise, she would had just spoke into her communicator, "Do you think he threw off those blasts of his?"
Ryoga shook his head, "No. He'd do much more damage. Also, there'd be one big hole, not hundreds of little ones" He looked up toward the top of the looming tower, his neck almost hurting from being bent back at such an angle, "Man, it's going to take quite a long time to get to the top, are you sure all of you are up to it. I mean, this isn't really your fight," "Let's just say we've been waiting a long long time for this," Sylia's voice could be heard, "We've been meaning to find something about Genom that is dirty enough to put it under once it's revealed. Let's hope Ranma found something worthwhile,"
Ryoga nodded "Okay, let's go,"
"'Bout time you showed up, Ryoga!" Ranma's voice echoed from high above. He was looking out one of the windows, half his entire body practically out. He also noticed Ryoga's backup and couldn't help but add a snide comment, "What's up, Ryoga? You needed their help to find your way here,"
"You take that back!" Ryoga spat, running backward so he wouldn't have to look up at such an extreme angle. He shook his fist toward Ranma, who was many stories above "You may be twenty or so stories above, but I can still jump that high. And you'll be sorry!"
"Whatever you say. I know you can't jump this high," Ranma said, "Anyway, Ryoga, try and get up here as soon as possible, there's somethin' here that's really going to surprise you. You won't believe what you're going to see. Just take the elevator to the nineteenth floor. I'll meetcha there,"
"What's there that's so important?" Sylia spoke.
"Hey, waitaminute!" Ranma said, realizing something, "Can't you girls just use your boosters to get him up here?"
"I guess we could," Sylia said. She turned toward Ryoga, "Well, you want us to use our boosters to carry up there?"
"Shit!" Ranma's voice could be heard as his head disappeared back into the window. Moments later, hundreds of bullets shot forth from the window, spraying the adjacent building. Ryoga and the girls realized that the boomers must had located him in the room and had opened fire on him, shelling him with everything they got.
Ryoga and the girls ran through the front entrance, out from under the falling debris. They gazed backwards as the debris continued to rain down on the front entrance for several long moments before it finally stopped.
"Well, I guess it's best we head up the long way," Linna said, heading toward the elevator. She immediately realized the elevator was down since the doors opened yet there were no elevator. The steel rope holding the elevator must had broken and the elevator must be smashed up several sub levels below.
"Oh no, does that mean we have to take the stairs?" Nene said. She didn't like the thought of running up twenty flights of stairs in a hardsuit, "There's gotta be an easier way,"
"Nope," Linna said, heading toward the stairway, "Quit bein' so lazy, Nene. You need the workout anyway,"
She was too busy laughing at Nene to see the boomer standing behind the door she opened. When she turned to head back up, she managed to catch a quick glimpse of the boomer's red metallic hand as it closed down on her helmet. Soon, the other hand came down on her helmet, squeezing.
Linna didn't even need to shout before she was saved. Ryoga made it to Linna's side before any of the other girls had reacted. He reacted up and took hold of the boomer's arms by the wrists and squeezed, the hands falling off like it had just been severed from the forearms. Once Linna was out of harms' way, Ryoga headbutted the boomer, caving its metallic head all the way in.
The boomer twitched a few times before falling to the ground.
"Let's go," he said, beginning his ascent.
Linna couldn't help but comment on how much that looked like it would had hurt Ryoga.
"Man, that's gotta hurt"
"That's because he's got a hard head," Ranma said with a chuckle after hearing Linna mention what Ryoga had done to a boomer several minutes ago downstairs. He and the others were somewhere on the fifteenth floor. Ranma had came down the stairs to meet them halfway, but after they met each other and proceeded toward the twentieth floor, bullets started raining down on them, causing them to jump out of the stairwell to safety. They had waited several minutes for the boomers to come after them, but they seemed to be playing it smart and waiting instead.
"Shut up, Ranma!" Ryoga said.
"Are you friends or enemies?" Linna couldn't help but ask. She had to know. They seemed to help each other out yet they wanted to kill each other.
"Enemies," Ranma and Ryoga said in unison. Ryoga was about to add a few more words when he noticed the confused looks, "It's kind of a long story, we're more like arch rivals. We just don't like each other that much. We're only working together because we have a similar goal, to topple Genom. But after that, we'll become enemies again,"
"Jeez, when do these things stop coming!" Ryoga added, "We must've blown up hundreds of these boomers yet they keep coming,"
Several boomers had emerged around a corner to block the path straight ahead of them in the hallway, "And what's worse is that we can't use our special techniques because it'll be too strong and it'll cause debris to fall down on the city below,"
Ranma shook his head, casually stepping into one of the rooms as bullets zipped by. He spoke to Ryoga, who had stepped through the adjacent door. "Hey, what're ya complainin' about. That's the fun part,"
Akane opened her eyes and slowly took in her surroundings, recognizing nothing familiar about the plain looking ceiling. She sat upright. This doesn't look like my house, she thought. The last thing she remembered was sitting in the livingroom watching television with the Ranma, her family, and P-chan before she saw some bright light. Where was she now? She noticed she was wearing the same clothes from before.
She looked down and noticed many wires attached to her body.
"What the-" she said, looking down at her wire linked arms. She then looked around the room again and noticed she was surrounded by these large computers, the screens seemingly monitoring her vital signs. But that didn't matter. Her eyes rested on a young woman in a white labcoat and a nametag that said 'Lisa Kurinagi'.
"How're you feeling," the young woman said, her eyes almost glimmering with happiness.
"Fine," Akane replied, "Where am I?"
The woman looked a bit nervous but answered, "You're not really going to believe this, but this is the future. You died over thirty years ago. You've been brought to life,"
Akane looked at the woman like she was crazy and said, "I don't believe you. I must had been kidnapped or something. That always happens,"
Lisa hugged Akane, "This is great! I can't believe the project is a success!"
"What are you talking about?" Akane said, "And why are you hugging me? What's this 'project'? What's goin' on here?"
At that moment, Ranma and Ryoga and the others entered the room.
"Oh my god!" Ryoga's voice echoed in the room, "Akane? I-Is that really you?"
"Yeah," Akane said, "It's me. What's going on here?" She looked at him more carefully, "How come you look...older? You too, Ranma," She then peered over their shoulders toward the four female looking robots, "And what are those behind you?"
Ranma walked up to Akane, about to cry, "Look, you're never gonna believe this. I just hope you're not going to be angry. This is gonna be one long story. We'll explain all of this later,"
"Explain later?" Akane said, hopping of the table. Upon her feet touching the floor, she noticed her joints feel a bit tight. Nothing a little stretching won't fix. She looked at Ranma and then Ryoga, her arms across her chest, "I want an explanation now,"
Ranma turned toward Lisa, "Hm, maybe this is a little TOO Akane. Maybe you shoulda left out all downloading those uncute tomboy habits she had,"
"Baka!" Akane said, slamming her fist into Ranma's face. She was absolutely shocked to see Ranma getting thrown back with such force that when he slammed against the wall, the wall collapsed. She didn't care how old Ranma looked her elder. She would still hit him.
Ranma got up from the debris, unscathed and laughing.
"Yep, that's Akane all right,"
Ranma and the rest of the group were all assembled around Linna's apartment. They had all left Genom Tower shortly after Akane awoke. Ranma and Ryoga had decided to abandon the plan to find one of Genom's dirty secrets for later. And since they left, the Knight Sabers had to go along, since they would become overwhelmed within moments without Ranma and Ryoga's assistance. Besides, they were interested in who or what this Akane Tendo was.
"You're not gonna really believe any of this, but I'll try and do my best to explain," Ranma began, "First off, this isn't the 1990s, it's the 2020s. That's why Ryoga and I look a bit older, even though not much. You see, you died over thirty years ago,"
"What?" Akane said "I'm dead?"
"Lettme explain," Ranma said, "Over thirty years ago, we were all in the livingroom enjoying a quiet day when all of a sudden you saw a white light. Do you remember that?" When Akane nodded he continued, "Well, that bright light you saw, was everyone getting killed. You see, there's these things called boomers. They're like robots, but for conventional purposes. Well, the company that makes them, Genom, also made combat boomers for military use and they just so happened to let one of their boomer supposedly go rouge in the middle of Nerima, killing almost everyone. They went rouge so Genom could test them out. It just so happens you and everyone else were caught in their massacre. Ryoga and I were the only ones that survived from the 'Nerima Massacre',"
"What about everyone else?" Akane had to ask. She was starting to grasp what Ranma was getting at, but there were still some things she didn't believe, still didn't want to believe, "What about Nabiki, Kasumi, Dad, your Dad? And what about everyone else?"
Ranma didn't have the heart to look at her, "I'm sorry. They all died,"
Akane started crying, "That can't be. They were fine just several hours ago," The four girls couldn't help but feel very sympathetic, especially Priss and Sylia.
"Akane," Ranma said, "It's been over thirty years since that had happened. You still think it happed a few hours ago because you never experienced the passing of thirty years because you had died. You were brought back to life. It seems Genom, the same people who got everyone killed, also brought you back to life, to kill me. Thankfully, I managed to stop it in time,"
"Kill you?" Akane said, "W-what kinda world is this? How'd they bring me back?"
"Lisa, she told me she extracted your DNA from your remaining bones and decoded all that info into a computer and downloaded it. That's why it feels like everything happened just hours ago," Ranma said in one breath, taking another to continue, "But for this to have happened, they needed a body, and what they used was a boomer's body"
"Yes, you're a boomer. You're part machine," Nene butted in. This was her area of expertise, machines and computer, "You may have a human conscious, but you're actually a machine with human conscious. There are some good sides to being a machine. First of all, all your senses have been heightened and even your physical powers,"
Sylia found her way into the conversation, "I'm pretty sure you're going to start asking question on if you're human, and believe me, you are. As long as your conscious is human, you're human. And don't forget that,"
Akane found those words soothing. As soon as she heard that she was a machine, she started wondering about her humanity "T-thanks. I won't," She turned back toward Ranma and then Ryoga, "Now what are your stories?"
"Well, nothing much happened," Ranma said, "Almost immediately after you died, Ryoga and I each went on separate training trips, to train and clear our minds. And now, thirty years later, we've come back. Nothing else had happened on my behalf. As for Ryoga, I don't know. He probably been out partyin' and hanging out with girls,"
"Ranma!" Ryoga said, "I did not do any of those things. All I did was train,"
"What happened to Nerima?" Akane asked "Do we still have a home?"
Ranma's voice was calm, "Nerima burned to the ground. As of right now, all three of us have nowhere to really go,"
"Well, if it'll make you happy, you're welcome to stay at my place," Linna offered. Her heart went out to poor Akane. Such a sweet girl shouldn't have to stay out on a cold night like this. Linna already knew that Sylia and Nene and Priss would be staying the night if Akane said yes. They were probably as curious about her as Linna.
"T-thank you," Akane said, "B-but I'll go with Ranma and Ryoga. I mean, I don't even know you,"
"You two can stay here tonight also," Linna said.
Ranma and Ryoga looked at each other for a moment. They both swallowed their pride and accepted and said in unison.
It was around dawn when Ryoga caught sight of Ranma about to leave Linna's apartment. Ranma and Ryoga both had little sleep, the girls having stayed up most of the night chatting with Akane and about how it felt to be in that body and such. Their chatter constantly kept them up since they had to sleep in the livingroom and there was no place to talk except there. But now, they were all soundly asleep. Priss had stayed behind, Sylia and Nene having gone home. Sylia most likely had something to do, most like doing a background check on Akane, while Nene had to work tomorrow.
"Where're you goin'?" Ryoga said.
Ranma shrugged his shoulders, "Dunno. Anywhere. I can't sleep. I'm goin' to the roof,"
Ryoga also shrugged his shoulder before attempting to try and get what little sleep he could.
Ranma opened on of the windows and hopped out onto the fire escape. He then took a leap into the air, landing on the apartment building's roof. There, he was able to be alone to have some time alone.
He laid down on his back and brought one of his hands toward the sky, and then whispered, "Mouko Takabisha,"
A ki-blast shot from his hands, disappearing beyond the clouds.
Ranma shook his head, "What have I become?" When he was young, he needed to concentrate all his energy to create such a huge blast. But now, even his weakest ki-blast was stronger than his strongest ki-blast from when he was young. The thought of how much power disturbed him. Why couldn't he be just a normal person? Perhaps if he had, he might had died alone with Akane.
"No, I can't think like that," he said softly, "If I died, I wouldn't be able to avenge her death," But now that she was no longer dead, what was Ranma to do? Should he still go after Genom? He knew he had to, to get some money to pay off all that damage he had done, but that would be it. Right?
He held his hand up again and whispered, "Mouko Takabisha,"
But this time, the ki-blast didn't fire off into the sky. It formed around his fingertips, hovering in the air. He had willed it to remain where it was. As he gazed at the ball of energy, he couldn't help but wonder how he had managed to control something like this.
The door to the rooftop opened, startling Ranma, causing him to lose his concentration, the ki-blast firing off into the sky. Ranma sat upright and looked over his shoulder to see who it was. It was Akane.
"Is it all right if I sit with you?" she asked.
Ranma shrugged his shoulders, "I guess so,"
Akane sat down and several silent moments passed before someone spoke.
"Akane, I've missed you a lot," he said out of nowhere, taking Akane by surprise, "Don't act so surprised. When I was young, I wouldn't had said that if my life depended on it, but I guess people change over the years,"
He looked at Akane for a moment, "Well, not everyone. You've remained the same after all these years, but then again, there's a good reason to it,"
"Um, I'm pretty sure I would have missed you, too, Ranma,"
Ranma waited a moment before answering, "You and I don't belong here. I mean, this isn't the world I grew up in, even though it's the same one. I missed those first few years together. I just wish I can go far away from here, but there's nowhere to go,"
In the far off distance, thunder could be heard.
Akane looked toward Ranma and noticed he didn't even bother to move.
"Yes, I found the nanichuan," Ranma said, reading Akane's mind, "But I never jumped in. I didn't want to,"
"It's hard to explain," he began slowly, "You know how it is. Imagine day in an day out you spar with you father, but you always lose. But then, one day, you finally win. Fair and square. You get this empty feeling, even though you finally accomplished something. Well, I don't want that feeling. My life's been empty enough...without you,"
Akane was silent. Ranma had indeed changed. But for the better. Even though he still acted like a teasing jerk sometimes, at least he was more honest with himself and also Akane.
Ranma got up and proceeded toward the rooftop entrance door, "I don't wanna really get wet, none of the others know about my curse, and I don't want any complications," He held the door open for Akane. As she passed, he smiled a bit. He always missed that dress she wore.
Ranma and Akane walked down the streets together. Akane had asked Ranma to show her around the new town so she could get used to it since she was going to be living here from now on. Everyone else were probably still asleep back at Linna, allowing Ranma to relax a bit easier. Ryoga would probably challenge him to a fight if he saw him with Akane.
"Excuse me," came a voice from behind them, a female voice, "Can you please help me?"
Ranma and Akane both turned around. They both regarded the middle aged woman. "What seems to be the problem?" Akane said.
The woman pointed toward her car across the street. The car was parallel parked, boxed in on both sides. She only had about a foot both ways to work her way out of that spot, "Can one of you dears please help me get out of my parking space. I need someone to help tell me how much room I've got,"
Ranma gazed at the car, "I've got a better idea. I'll get it out for you,"
The woman looked at Ranma cautiously. MegaTokyo wasn't that great a neighborhood. She wasn't going to give him her car keys so he could pull it out for her. He might take off with her car.
Akane said, "And just how will you do that? You don't even know how to drive,"
"And how will you know that?" he said, "It's been over thirty years, and people do learn new things over that long a period of time,"
Akane felt a bit embarrassed. She had already forgot Ranma was somewhere in his forties. He still looked like the same Ranma she knew, perhaps just a little bit older, "Well, do you?"
Ranma scratched the back of his head, "Well, no. I mean, I've never got 'round to gettin' a driver's license and all. I was trainin' in the mountains all these years," He turned toward the lady, "Don't worry, you don't have to give me your keys. I'm pretty sure you think I'm gonna take off once I get this car outta this parking space. This way's a lot easier,"
Akane and the middle-aged woman watched in disbelief at Ranma's capabilities. They stared, mouth gaped, as Ranma casually squeezed in between the space in front of the car. He then leaned forward and gripped the bumper and lifted, the entire front of the car leaving the ground by a foot. While holding it, Ranma sidestepped toward the street. Within moments, he placed the front of the car back down, and then did the same thing for the back end.
"There ya go," Ranma said rather triumphantly. He always liked the feeling he got after a job well done.
The lady looked at him for a moment, "T-thank you," She quickly got into her car and sped off.
Ranma shook his head, "I betcha she thinks I'm some kinda superboomer. I seem to get mistaken for that a lot," He turned around, only to see Akane was no longer there.
Ryoga woke up when he received a kick to the ribs. He slowly opened his eyes, allowing his vision to clear. When it did, to his disappointment, it was Ranma "What do you what?" "Yo, P-chan, wake up. There's trouble," Ranma said, turning back around to leave apartment. He had come all the way back to Linna's apartment to tell someone he felt a bit dubious of telling, "Akane's been kidnapped,"
That seemed to wake Ryoga up, "What?" So it wasn't a dream. He had dreamt that Akane had been brought back to life, and that she was alive and well. But now, she might not be anymore, "How the hell did she get kidnapped? What happened?"
"I dunno," Ranma said, "But I'm pretty sure she was taken back to Genom Tower. Let's go,"
Ryoga quickly got to his feet and followed after Ranma. But at that moment, Priss stepped out of the guestroom and caught sight of the two just as they were leaving.
"Where're you two goin'?" she asked, rubbing the sleep from her eyes. She didn't even bother to conceal the fact that she was wearing only a large sweat shirt and panties.
"We're goin' back to Genom Tower again," Ranma said, "One minute, Akane was with me, and the next, she wasn't. It think she's been kidnapped,"
Ryoga, overhearing what Ranma had just said, glowed red "What? You were with Akane and you let her get kidnapped? Why I oughta..,"
He didn't bother to finish it. He'd take care of Ranma later. Right now, Akane was the one he was worried about.
"What?" Priss said, immediately waking up, "Kidnapped?"
She felt like she wanted to slap Ranma because he had let he get kidnapped. Priss had already considered Akane a friend, like how she considered Sylvie a friend. But this time, she didn't want anything to happen to Akane like it did to Sylvie.
Without saying a word, she quickly ran to Linna's bedroom and banged on the door, "Linna, get your ass up. Akane's been kidnapped,"
Within moments, the door opened and out emerged Linna, dressed in a rather skimpy nightgown. Ranma and Ryoga, who stayed to see what was going to happened, both turned around, wishing both Priss and Linna had a better sense of modesty.
"Well, let's go after her," Linna said, turning around to head back into her bedroom, "I'll go call Sylia,"
Ranma turned around and shook his head, "What? You're coming along?"
"Of course," Priss answered, "What'd ya think we were going to do, sit here and wait?"
Ranma took in a deep breath, "Well, no. But this has nothing to do with you. This is our fight, not yours,"
Ryoga nodded, albeit a bit nervously.
Priss stepped in front of the apartment entrance, "Don't you go thinkin' of leavin' us behind. And don't you dare say it's too dangerous," She regarded Ranma and noticed the muscles in his jaw tighten.
"Look, we want to help," Priss said, "I...we care about Akane, and want to help, that's all," She didn't bother to tell them how much Akane reminded her of Sylvie. It still pained her to think of her friend, and on how her death could had been avoided.
The muscles around Ranma's clenched jaw seemed to relax as he nodded "Okay, fine,"
Akane slowly opened her eyes, taking in her surroundings bit by bit. It only took a few moments before she realized she was in some kind of laboratory, lying flat on some weird looking table. And it only took another moment before she realized she was in the same laboratory she had first awoken in. The room was empty, void of everything except for several large computer terminals and screens.
She sat upright, only to find out that she could not. Almost every part of her body were in restraints.
"What's going on here?" she yelled to no one in particular. She struggled against the restraints, trying to break them through brute strength. Her boomer body was screaming from the over exertion she was putting it through as it began to shudder from such intense power output.
Akane stopped for some reason. Something flashed in her subconscious that her body was well beyond its limit, and that it would soon malfunction. At that moment, she remembered that she was no longer in a human body.
"Ranma!" she called out, frightened. She wanted him to rescue her, like he always did. But she knew she was all alone, where ever she was. She had to get out.
She struggled to free herself again, the motors and pistons in her arms going taut against the restraints.
She stopped when she heard someone enter the room from behind her, out of her view, and said, "Who's there?"
Madigan smiled as she came into Akane's view. She regarded the sexaroid for several moments. It had came to her as a shock when she found out Ranma had stolen her right out from under Genom's nose. When she had come back into Genom Tower after that little incident where those damn boomers tore up the front entrance, she immediately headed for the room that held the OMS uplink, praying that Ranma hadn't gotten his hands on it yet. But when she did arrive, she found no one, and she realized he must had tricked her, told her that to distract her. When she realized that, it had been too late. Ranma was gone, along with this sexaroid. But to be on the safe side, she had taken the OMS uplink to the summit of the tower.
"Who are you?" Akane said.
"Who I am doesn't matter to you. What matters is what you're going to do for me," Madigan said, smiling, "Because you carry a special homing device, we finally discovered where Ranma had been hiding out all this time. At first, I didn't really know why he took you instead of what he mentioned earlier, but soon I realized that you must be connected to Ranma in some way. And when I did a thorough background check on you and him, I found out that you two used to live under the same roof,"
There couldn't had been a better timing than now. She had intended to create Akane to get rid of Ryoga, but now, she could use her to get rid of the both of them.
"W-what are you goin' to do to me?"
"You'll never know," Madigan said wryly, "I'm not going to disclose that secret to you. All you will know is that you'll be the one who kills both Ranma and Ryoga,"
She turned around and walked over to a nearby intercom and pressed the button, "Lisa, get in here,"
The door opened and in entered a young girl dressed in a lab coat. Akane immediately realized it was the same girl she saw when she first woke up. This girl had was the one who seemed to have made this all possible for her to see Ranma again. Lisa looked at Akane meekly, scared that Akane's visage would show some form of recognition. But luckily, Akane didn't. She turned to her superior, "What is it Madigan-sama?"
"I want you to input the program," came the reply, "And do it now. Who knows how much time we've got before he comes back here after her,"
Lisa looked around nervously "O-okay,"
"What are you going to do with me?" Akane said, starting to struggle again, trying her best to free herself, much to no avail.
"She's going to do nothing, Akane," Ranma said, anger in his eyes.
Ranma had made his way to Genom Tower in record time. And the actual process of making his way through the corridors were a lot easier since he had wiped out most of the boomers. He overheard the conversation from outside the door. It had taken him everything he got to stand still and listen. He and Priss, who was in her hardsuit, had been eavesdropping. Sylia and Linna and Ryoga where nowhere around, the three of them having gone up higher to find this so called OMS uplink Ranma kept talking about. It was about time they stopped Genom once and for all. But Ranma had finally heard enough.
He walked up to Madigan, who took several steps backwards "You again!" he snapped. He didn't care if she was a woman, he wanted to slap her. But he managed to hold back. He stared at her for several moments before turning away and heading toward the computer. With on fluid kick, he destroyed the computer, "I can't believe you're still trying to kill me. The more boomers you send after me, the more of 'em you'll lose. How can you live with yourself, knowing that many innocent people are being killed just so you could test out those stupid boomers?"
Madigan's throat was dry. What could she say? Ranma walked over to Lisa, "Who are you?"
He remembered Lisa mentioning to him that she would get in deep trouble if anyone found out she had helped him. With his back turn toward Madigan, Ranma was able to give Lisa a quick smile, letting her know he was doing what she had asked him to.
Lisa said nothing. Naturally, she had to act scared. Actually, she was trying to keep herself from laughing. She always wanted someone to put Madigan in her place.
Ranma turned around and faced Madigan again and noticed she was trying to slip silently out of the room, "Where do you think you're going? You're staying here,"
Madigan made a run for it, but she never made it. Ranma grabbed her by the back of her shirt "Why are you doing this?" Madigan said, realizing that she could feel tears starting to form around her eyes. She quickly banished them.
"Why?" Ranma said, still holding her, "I guess revenge is the best way to describe it. Genom killed my family first so now I'm gonna return the favor. Nothing more, nothing less. If my family and I had been left alone over thirty years ago, I wouldn't be here. Genom messed with the wrong person, that's all. It's about time somebody exposed Genom of all their dirty little secrets,"
The door opened and in walked Carper. One of Ranma's hands moved in a blur an Carper was knocked out before he managed to even catch sight of what had hit him.
Ranma release Madigan as she ran forward and got down next to Carper, "You asshole!" She never really admitted it, but she actually cared for Carper. He didn't deserve this. All he was trying to do was make her life easier and make her happier.
"Now you know how it feels," Priss said coldly, silent until now.
Ranma nodded. He didn't want to beat around the bush anymore. The best way to get the message through to someone like her was to show her, "But he'll live, I just hit one of his pressure points. He'll be out for a few hours. By then, we'll be long gone,"
"Can someone please release me?" Akane said, exasperated.
Priss walked up to Akane and released the restraints.
Ranma smiled at Akane, "You okay?"
When she nodded, he turned to face Madigan again, "Now, where's that OMS thing? It wasn't in the room I first saw it in. Where'd you put it?"
"I'll never tell you?" Madigan spat, anger in her voice.
Ranma shrugged his shoulders, which seemed to anger her more, "Sure. You do know you're in no position to say no. If I were some bad guy, like you are, I could just do this," He walked over to where Carper was lying and picked him up.
"W-what are you doing?" Madigan said, "Let him go!"
Ranma walked over to the window, Carper in his arms, "Think of it, I could throw him out the window right now if I wanted to, and he would most definitely die. I mean, we're over twenty stories up," He had no intentions of throwing him out but wanted to make sure he got his point across. To his surprise, Madigan yielded, "It's on the top floor. It's in the room labeled 'Research Development',"
Priss stepped forward, "Why should we believe you?"
"Look at her," Ranma said gazing at Priss with soft eyes, "She's scared to death I'll kill him. Besides, if she's lying, I'll come back for him," He turned around and left, Priss and Akane following closely behind him.
"You wouldn't really kill him, would you?" Priss whispered.
"Or course not. I'm not that kinda person,"
"Where are you going? That goes back down," Linna voice filtered from her hardsuit, an exasperated voice. How can someone have such a bad sense of direction? "We go this way" she pointed the other direction.
Sylia shook her head once, a smile crossing her lips. It was strange how someone like Ryoga could have such a flaw like this. She wondered if Ranma had a flaw like him. And what could it be?
"Hey, guys, where are you?" Sylia heard Piss' voice through her communicator, "We got Akane and we're on our way up,"
Ranma voice also entered into Sylia's helmet, "Hey, how's this thing work? Cool, I jus' speak into it? Okay, hey Sylia, Linna, you there? Well, we found out that OMS thingie is on the top floor, we'll meetcha there. Let's hope Ryoga don't get ya lost on the way," The last comment made Sylia laugh. Ranma didn't seem to have much trouble bringing a smile to her face.
Ranma and Akane and Priss were all waiting patiently at the top floor and greeted the rest when they emerged from the stairway.
When Sylia entered the tiny room that had 'Research development' written on it, she had this foreboding feeling that something wasn't right. It couldn't be this easy to get the OMS chip, which would signify the downfall of Genom. This had to be a trap.
"Hey, wouldn't it be funny if this were a trap?" Ranma said, casually kicking the massive iron door down with an easy front kick. When he kicked that door, Sylia wondered how much damage her suit would be in if Ranma had kicked her like that. She shuddered at the thought.
"Is he always like this?" Linna asked Akane softly, the two at the rear of the group.
"What do you mean?" Akane asked, looking at the armored girl curiously.
"I mean, even though this could be a trap, he just walks in like he doesn't have a care in the world," came the reply.
Akane gave Ranma's back a meaningful glance before she said, "No, he's never been like this before. He's changed. I guess whatever he's been through could do that to you. He used to be very different"
"Well, um, he used to be a real jerk,"
Linna was silent.
At that moment, a huge ball of fire exploded from the door Ranma had entered. Ryoga, who had been behind Ranma right before Ranma had entered the room, was blown backwards from the blast, slamming into Sylia and the rest of the crew.
"Ranma!" Akane called out.
When the smoke cleared up, Ranma, slightly scorched, got to his feet "Damn, that's rather rude of her, sending us right into a trap. But it doesn't matter, I got the OMS thingie. I guess it was a safety device. If the chip was removed from the box, the box would explode in an attempt to destroy the chip before it leaves the building," "God, why didn't you use caution, you idiot?" Akane spat. She had been worried that Ranma could had gotten hurt.
Ranma was brushing the debris from his shirt when he said sarcastically, "I'm glad you were worried about me," He rubbed the back of his head from when he hit Ryoga. He looked behind him and crouched low where the Sylia, Priss, Linna, and Nene were strewn about. They were all on the ground, "Are you all right?"
Sylia winced from below her helmet, pain shooting through her. It wasn't the actual blast that had caused her pain, but from the pain of being slammed into the wall bodily when Ryoga and Ranma slammed into her "Y-yeah, I-I'm okay," she lied. She felt incredibly disoriented, and she knew her other friends were feeling the same.
"Aw, my ribs," Priss said through clenched ribs. Her ribs still hurt from when she first encountered Ranma, and having him and Ryoga slam into her didn't help one bit in its healing.
Ranma helped the girls up, "Um, perhaps you should stay out here. We have no idea what's behind these doors,"
"God, my thrusters are damaged," Nene said, getting to her feet, surveying the damage her suit had taken. Part of her armor now cracked.
Linna looked at the tiny damage display screen within her helmet, "Mine too," She and Nene had slammed into wall with their backs, where their boosters were located. "Ryoga and I'll go inside, jus' wait out here for a short while. We'll be back in a minute," Ranma said.
He knelt down near were Priss lay keeled over, clutching her ribs, and he placed a hand on her shoulder, "Are you okay?"
Priss said nothing. Her ribs were killing her. It was extremely painful.
"You must have broken a rib," he commented, "Here, take off your suit, I'll stop the pain,"
"How?" Sylia asked. From where she stood, she noticed that Ranma wasn't holding a first aid kit.
Ranma turned toward Sylia and said, "Don't worry about it. Just do as I tell you,"
Priss turned toward Sylia, wondering if she should comply. If she took off her suit, then her identity would be exposed. Sylia, on the other hand, didn't care. Her friend was hurt and needed healing and fast.
"Do it," Sylia said "C'mon, help get Priss' suit off,"
"But-" Linna began.
"Just do it," Sylia interrupted.
Linna nodded and walked over to Priss, Nene and Sylia following. The three girls began to gently remove Priss' suit. When Priss was half out of her suit, Ranma intervened, "Priss, what I'm going to do will hurt at first, but it'll stop the pain completely, but only for a while,"
Priss, through clenched teeth, nodded.
Ranma took a deep breath and closed his eyes. He then placed one of his hands on her chest, almost looking like he was trying to grope the hapless female. Priss yelped in pain as Ranma administered some pressure on the broken rib, causing the girls and Ryoga to look alarmed.
Ranma started to glow as he let his ki enter Priss' body. Priss' eyes widened as she felt this. It was a feeling she had never felt, like she was being surrounded in warm water, or something akin to that. As she breathed, she could feel the pain in her chest slowly starting to dissipate.
"God," Priss said, realizing she could breath easier, the pain gone, "What did you just do?"
What she got back was a warm smile and a curt reply, "I used my ki to heal you. I set your rib back in place, but you're still going to have to get it treated,"
"Ki?" Nene asked, curious. She had never seen something like this before. Priss had been hurt just a second ago, and now she wasn't. What was going on?
"Don't worry, I'll explain later," came the reply.
Ryoga said, "Um, don't look now, but we got company once again," He pointed toward the dozen or so boomers a short ways off down the corridor. Ranma sighed, as he sat down on the ground, "This sucks. Where are all these things coming from. C'mon, we must have blown up a hundred of those. Y'know what, where do they make these things? I think it'll be better to destroy the factory. That way, Genom can't make anymore, ne?"
"Now's not the time to be talking about that, Ranma!" Akane said.
Linna and Sylia caught sight of the oncoming boomers and immediately started opening fire, spraying them with their rail guns, their bullets having little or no effect.
Ryoga said, "Oh great, there're more coming down the other way,"
He pointed in the opposite direction where another dozen or so boomers where coming down the corridor. In no time, he and the rest of the group would be caught in a crossfire. When he caught sight of several missiles flying straight toward the group, he reacted on instinct and said, "Bakusai Tenketsu!" as he struck his index finger into the ground.
The entire group fell down one level, covered in debris.
Ranma, who was holding Priss in his arms since she was out of her suit, said, "Jeez, a little warning would have helped, Ryoga,"
He looked upward through the hold Ryoga had created and saw several missiles fly by "Ooh, those woulda hurt if they hit us" He looked toward Priss, who was clinging to him, "You okay?"
"C'mon, everybody, let's get outta here, we got what we came for," Ranma said, placing Priss on her feet and proceeding toward a nearby window. The best way to get out of the Genom Tower was out through the window and straight down to the ground below. Everyone started running down the corridor.
"The suit! Where's my suit? Oh no, it's still on the level above," Priss said.
"We have to destroy it before anyone finds it," Sylia said, panic in her voice. She didn't want Genom to find out the technology the Knight Sabers possessed.
"Destroy it?" Ryoga said, "Are you sure you want us to destroy it?"
"Yes!" Sylia said.
"Okay," Ryoga said. He raised an arm toward where the suit would most likely be the level above, "Shi Shi Hakodan!"
He sent a ki-blast rocketing from his fingertips and toward the hole in the ceiling.
"No!" Ranma said, "The corridor's too small!"
Ryoga's ki-blast struck the ceiling. Ryoga's eyes widened as he realized what Ranma meant. His ki-blast exploded within the corridor, and since there was no where for the explosion to go, it started expanding down the corridor in every direction, even toward the group.
"Oh shit!" Priss shouted, her heart racing, her life flashing before her eyes as a huge wall of flames came flooding through the corridor toward them like a deluge of water through a large pipe, melting the walls and doors in its path.
Ranma turned toward Ryoga and started arguing, "You idiot! How stupid can you be? Throwing a ki-blast like that! What's wrong with you, pig boy!"
"You shut up!" Ryoga shouted, turning toward Ranma, his back toward the wall of fire coming toward him, "How dare you say that to me?"
"Quit arguing!" Priss shouted, "What the fuck are we going to do? We have to get outta here!"
Priss' voice seemed to snap Ryoga and Ranma back to reality. Ryoga turned around and saw the flames eating everything in tits path, heading straight down the corridor and toward the group.
"C'mon, Ryoga, we'll settle this later. Let's get outta here," Ranma said.
"Get outta here? How?" Linna said. The group was trapped at the end of the corridor. "The only way out was through the window...oh no!"
Ranma smirked, "Yep, you guess it!"
He lunged forward and pushed everyone out the window, just as wall of fire enveloped the area where the group had been a split second ago. The entire floor they had been on exploded, shrapnel flying everywhere. Ranma looked upward and caught sight of the flames shooting out from the window the had jumped. And it didn't even cross his mind that they had just jumped out of the one of the highest floor of Genom Tower.
The girls shrieked in absolute horror as they rushed toward the ground at intense speeds. Ryoga seemed to be too busy to worry about the fact that they would hit the ground at well over a hundred miles per hour in less than a minute.
"You idiot! Now what?" Ryoga said, gripping Ranma's shirt collar as everyone fell. The wind that rushed passed them from the descent was causing everyone's eyes to pop from the pressure.
"Relax, I got everything under control," Ranma said, almost enjoying the descent. He we even smiling, "I'll just use my Hiryu Shoten Ha to cushion the landing,"
As everyone fell, Ranma twisted in mid-air so that his head was closer toward the upcoming ground. He then closed his eyes in concentration.
"Oh my god!" Linna managed to say, despite the fact that her heart was in her throat. She pointed upwards where several boomers seemed to be also on their descent. It seemed several boomers had jumped out the window to follow pursuit.
The boomers were angled in a way that would prevent the least wind resistance, and they were using their built-in boosters to thrust them down at a faster velocity. They would catch up to Ranma and the group in a matter of seconds, where they would have a good shot at killing them off one by one.
The boomers opened fire toward the group as everyone fell, missing them by inches. It seems the boomers were having trouble getting a lock on them due to the motion of falling.
"I'll handle them!" Ryoga said, twisting in air so that his entire front was exposed toward the incoming boomers. He extended his hands forward and said, "Shi Shi Hakodan!"
A massive ki-blast flew from his, hitting one of the boomers. Luckily, the blast had been so powerful that the explosion consumed the other following boomers.
Unfortunately, Ryoga hadn't anticipated the thrust one of his ki-
blasts produced. The kickback from the power of his ki-blast sent him rocketing toward the ground, spinning out of control.
He hit into Ranma just as he was about to release his Hiryu Shoten Ha.
"You idiot!" Ranma shouted, "Now look at whatcha did!"
"Now is not the time to argue!" Sylia shouted, her life practically passing before her. The buildings down below were getting larger and larger as they continued to fall.
"Do something!" Nene shrieked, almost bursting into tears. She was too young to die.
"Hiryu Shoten Ha!" he shouted as a huge column of wind ripped from his fist and toward the ground below.
When the column of wind finally hit the ground, it had only two other places to go, up and outward. As the blast expanded outward and upward, the upward blast from the whirlwind managed to slow the group's descent considerably.
Unfortunately, they still hit the ground at a pretty high speed. Even though no bones were broken, Sylia, Linna, Nene, and Priss had the wind knocked out of them. Priss got hurt more since she no longer had a hardsuit to protect her.
Ranma had landed on his feet, Ryoga too. They were the first to notice the dozen or so boomers already on the descent. It seems those boomer Ryoga had destroyed weren't the only ones that followed.
"Don't look now, but we have some more incoming boomers," Ranma said, pointing upward. He would have executed another Hiryu Shoten Ha, but the wind would have carried everyone back up into the air where they would be slammed into the falling boomers.
"We gotta get outta here!" Ryoga said. He was about to use another Shi Shi Hakodan, but the falling debris would most likely get someone hurt.
"Grab 'em," Ranma said, pointing toward the winded girls as he grabbed Linna and Priss, holding them around their waists. The fact that Linna was still in her hardsuit, which probably weight close to half a ton, didn't seem to faze him.
Ryoga did as he was told.
"What do you want me to do?" Akane asked.
"Try and keep up!" Ranma said with a smirk. He turned toward Ryoga and said, "Let's go!"
Ranma, carrying a winded Priss and Linna, raced down the street. Ryoga, who was carrying Sylia and Nene, both clad in their hardsuits, did the same, Akane following suit. Bullets were sent flying everywhere as boomer after boomer landed, shooting everything they got toward their targets' general direction.
"You two all right?" Ranma asked, casually jumping high into the air as bullets rained down at where he had been just a split second before. "Yeah," Linna managed to say, even though she wasn't. She, like the rest, had taken the landing too hard. Even though she was still winded, she held onto Ranma for dear life.
"Goddamnit, how many bullets do they have?" Ranma said, doing somersaults to avoid the bullets. "A lot!" Ryoga commented, following closely behind, also doing his share of dodging projectiles.
"I'm gonna buy us some time," Ranma said, jumping up onto a wall and propelling off it for added height. Before Linna or Priss had a chance to ask what he was doing, Ranma twisted in mid-air so that he would be facing the incoming boomers, letting go of Linna for a split second to free his hand and yelled, "Mouko Takabisha!"
A single ki-blast shot from his hand and landed in front of the following boomers. The explosion had caused the boomers to go into a defensive mode and take cover.
Ranma chuckled, "This is too easy!"
"Fuck!" Madigan shouted, "How on earth could they let them get away, and with the chip!" She felt like she could rip all of her hair out from the shear frustration of Genom's boomers constantly failing.
She looked over toward where Carper lay still on a couch in the office. She wished he were awake. He would probably have something good to tell her to keep her from going over the edge with frustrations.
As she looked toward him, her features relaxed a bit, but not by much. She was glad he was all right at least. She walked over to where he lay and wondered how long he would be unconscious. His breathing was normal, and she remembered Ranma telling her that he would be all right.
As if on cue, Carper stirred, "Ugh,"
"Carper," Madigan said, "Are you all right?"
It took a moment for Carper to realize where he was or who he was talking to, "I think so. What happened?"
For once, Madigan's countenance didn't get hard like it used to. Her visage remained calm.
"You were knocked out," she said softly, "But thank goodness you're all right," She even managed to smile. That was probably going to be the only smile she would see for a long time. She had lost the OMS. Her life was down the tubes.
Carper was grateful he could hide the heat that was flooding to his cheeks. Did she really mean that about him being all right?
"All I remember was when I entered the room was seeing that superboomer, and then all went black," he said, sitting upright. He looked around and noticed the chaos surrounding him, "What had happened?"
"You mean Ranma, not superboomer,"
Carper nodded a bit, "Yeah, I meant Ranma. Jeez, I totally forgot he's human," He brought a hand to his head to shake the cobwebs out.
"They got the chip," Madigan said, "Genom is gone. Once the chip is brought to public attention, Genom is going to go down the tubes,"
"The chip?" Carper asked, "What chip?"
"The OMS chip,"
"Oh that? No they don't," he said, his voice calm. There was even a small smile on his lips.
"And what makes you say that?"
"I hope you don't mind, but I took the liberty of moving the actual chip to another location and replacing it with a fake one," he said. He just hoped that while he was unconscious, no one had found out the location to the real chip.
"You did what?" she said, shock in his voice, "Where did you put it?"
Carper reached into one of his pockets and produced a little black chip, "In my pocket"
Madigan, in a fit of happiness, bent down and kissed Carper. He had just saved her career, and perhaps her life. What would she do without him? But, within moments, she realized what she had done. She didn't become the woman she was because of her lack of controlling emotions. She steeled herself and sat upright, pretending the kiss was considered a thank you kiss, nothing more, nothing less, "Thank you," Unfortunately, there was no way she could hide that embarrassing blush that was flooding to her cheeks.
Carper didn't say a word. He just sat there, he eyes wide. But, when he noticed the blush, he knew he had to do something. So, naturally, he did what he had wanted to do since he first started working for her.
He got up off the couch and wrapped his arms around her, and then kissed her back passionately.
"It'll take a little while to find out what's in the chip," Nene said. She and the others were no longer in their hardsuits. She was now sitting in front of the computer in the Knight Saber's Headquarters, "So I guess you're going to have to keep yourselves busy for a short time,"
"The suit, did you destroy the suit?" Sylia finally asked Ryoga.
Ranma chuckled, "I think he did more than destroy the suit. It's probably nothing more than a pile of melted metal by now. There's no way Genom would be able to know that it was Priss' suit,"
Sylia smiled, "Good,"
"Um, so what should we do?" Ranma asked, scratching the back of his head.
"Hey, I have an idea, why not have Ranma go through those tests?" Linna suggested. She was very curious as to how Ranma would do in the same tests that the girls had taken a while back, "That is, if Sylia lets us,"
"Yeah, that's like a good idea," Priss agreed. She turned toward Sylia and said, "Well, how about it?"
"I ain't doing no tests, I hate tests," Ranma said.
"It's a different kind of test," Linna turned toward Ranma and said, "These tests are used to find out your skills, like in your reflexes, strength, and speed. It'd be nice to actually know to what extent you and Ryoga have when it comes to these aspects,"
Ranma shrugged his shoulders, "Oh, okay,"
He was lead in a windowless room by Linna that had a glass window where everyone was allowed to watch how he progressed. When she closed the door behind her, Ranma turned toward the glass and spoke, "Well, now what?"
"This is a reflex test, you're going to be fighting a hologram as it attacks you. At random times, a spot will appear and you only have a fraction of a second to hit it," Sylia's voice filtered into the room through a speaker.
Ranma shrugged his shoulders and waited patiently.
After a short while, a weird looking blob with tentacles appeared in front of Ranma and began attacking.
"What should I do?" he asked, casually dodging each attack.
"Nothing, just continue to dodge until you see a dot and then hit it," Sylia said.
Ranma continued to dodge until he saw the dot. With lightning speed, he touched it and the blob disappeared.
"Is that it?" he said.
"What level did he just pass?" Linna was curious.
"He just beat the level you've been stuck on for weeks," Sylia said with a smirk.
Linna's face faulted. She considered herself to have great reflexes and Ranma just beat her without breaking a sweat, "Okay, crank the level up all the way to the highest level. Let's see how he does," Sure, Linna would never be able to achieve reflexes fast enough to beat the hardest level, but Ranma would probably have trouble also, or perhaps lose.
Sylia set the test to the hardest level and pressed a button. A blob appeared in front of Ranma again and began to attack him. Its attacks were incredibly fast, of almost lightning speeds.
After a short while of dodging, the blob disappeared.
"What happened?" Priss asked, "Why did it stop attacking him? What gives?"
Sylia looked at the screen in disbelief, her eyes wide open. The screen said he had hit the dot. But she had never seen the dot, let alone Ranma hitting it.
"The screen says he hit the mark," she said.
"Hit it?" Linna said, "How the hell did he hit it? I didn't even see the dot. When did he have the chance to attack? I didn't even see his hands move once," Sylia walked over to a screen. The screen monitored Ranma's moves. She would play it in slow motion to see when he had hit it, "Let's see,"
As Ranma waited in the room, everyone watched the video. It took a few minutes before they caught sight of Ranma attacking the blob. The attack lasted only one frame. One frame had his arms by his side, the next frame showed him touching the dot, and the next frame with his arm back by his side.
"One frame?" Sylia gasped "His punch lasted one frame!"
"So what's wrong with that?" Akane asked. "The camera moves at a hundred and twenty frames per second," Sylia said, unable to comprehend Ranma's speed.
Akane shrugged her shoulders, "Well, that's not all that impressive, the last time I remember, he can punch somewhere around 400 times per second,"
"I have to sit down," Sylia said. This guy CAN'T be human. Ranma stepped into the room, "What's up? I didn't know what was going on, so I figured the test was finished,"
Akane turned toward Ranma and asked, "Ranma, how fast is your Kashuu Tenshin Amaguriken?"
Ranma seemed to think for a moment before he responded, "I dunno, I think at around nine thousand times per second, over ten thousand if I really tried,"
"Nine thousand times?" Priss muttered.
"I'll prove it to ya," Ranma said, "You have any rice around?"
"Yeah, upstairs, why?" Linna said.
"Can you get, say, a three cups worth of uncooked rice and a pair of chopstick for me please?" Ranma said, "What I'll do is throw the rice into the air and catch every kernel with the chopsticks before it lands on the floor. That isn't too hard,"
"We believe you," Sylia said, "No need to prove it. But wow, that's fast. There aren't even guns that can fire as many bullets per second as you do punches,"
"Well, how did I do?" Ranma asked, curious. "I mean reflex-wise,"
Sylia took a breath. His speed was incredible. She said, "Well, you know when your hand touches something really hot by accident and you immediately pull away? Without even reacting? Well, picture yourself having reflexes akin to that but on a faster scale,"
"That's fast, right?" Ranma asked, a bit confused.
"Um, yeah," Akane said, almost exasperated.
"Let's see how well you do on the strength test," Priss said, changing the subject.
"Hey, Ryoga, that's your department," Ranma smirked, "Ryoga's the stronger of the two,"
Ryoga blushed a bit, "Thanks, Ranma,"
"It's just too bad he's as dumb as he is strong," Ranma couldn't help but add.
"You take that back!" Ryoga said, starting to glow.
Akane elbowed Ranma in the gut and said, "You leave Ryoga alone," The elbow didn't even faze Ranma, "He is not dumb"
"Thank you, Akane" Ryoga said, his heart thumping. How nice it was to have Akane consider him not dumb.
Ranma shrugged his shoulders and pushed Ryoga into one of the rooms, "Go show 'em how strong you are, pig boy," He emphasized that with a big toothy grin right before he closed the door behind him.
Ryoga was about to punch the door down when he realized it would most likely break it down. He took a deep breath and turned toward the glass window, "What would you like me to do?"
Sylia pointed toward a barbell in the corner of the room and said into the microphone, "That barbell over there, lift it up over your head,"
Ryoga did as he was told.
Sylia then turned the magnetic field generators located below the floor, and then said, "I just turned on some magnets below the ground. The iron barbell would be attracted toward the ground due to magnetism, thus, the barbell will feel heavier. Just continue to lift until you can't life anymore,"
Ryoga nodded, "Okay,"
He lifted the barbell over head with ease.
Sylia shook her head. This was more than she expected. Already, the weight Ryoga was lifting was well over several hundred pounds. Luckily, the generators would be able to produce several thousand pounds worth of attraction.
Ryoga didn't even break a sweat lifting the weight when the generators were producing three fourths its maximum power.
"This is crazy," Linna said, looking at the strength scale, "He's lifting more weight than we could in our hardsuits,"
Sylia turned the generators all the way to its maximum output and rerouted some more energy into them from several other generator for more power.
She then spoke into the microphone, "Okay, Ryoga, now it's time for the next test. But first, I'd like you to pick that barbell up and move it to the other corner of the room so you would have extra space,"
"If the test is over, then why did you put the generators on full power and then some?" Priss couldn't help but ask.
"Because he won't be expecting it, that's why," Sylia replied, "I want to see how strong he is even when he isn't trying,"
"I think you have your answer there," Linna said, pointing toward Ryoga. Ryoga had picked the barbell off the floor with one hand and walked over to one of the corner. Everyone in the control room except for Akane and Ranma stared in disbelief.
"You want it here, right?" Ryoga said pointing.
"O-of course," Sylia said after the shock wore off, "As you can tell, the other corners are occupied,"
Ryoga laughed weakly as he scratched his head. But he didn't use his free arm to scratch his head. He was scratching his head with the same arm holding the barbell.
"Shit, he has that thing over his head and with one arm," Priss said. She looked over toward the panel and read the weight being produced by the generators, "Holy shit, that can't be right. He's holding several tons with one arm?"
Ryoga placed the barbell down and said, "Okay, what would you like me to do now?"
Sylia took a moment to absorb everything in before she said, "Nevermind. You don't need to do the other test. What we have for use will be useless in assessing your strength level. You can come on out now,"
Ryoga did as he was told. "It's all really a matter of ki that determines one's strength," Ranma stated matter-of-factly.
"Ki?" Sylia asked, "I heard of it. Everyone's got it. It's some form of inner power that the body generates, right? But what is it really?"
Ranma took a moment to think before replying, "Well, you're right when you said that everyone has it. Actually, everything has ki. It's just the ability to use it that differs,"
"What do you mean?" Priss asked, thoroughly interested.
"People have the ability generate quite a bit of power," he replied, "Unfortunately, the hard part is harnessing it. Ryoga and I, we've been learning to harness this power since we were very young, and over the years, we both learned how to control and produce more of it,"
"That's bullshit," Priss said, skeptic, "Humans can't generate energy, like a generator or a power plant. That's impossible,"
"Actually, it's different," Ranma said, "the energy created by power plants and generators are...what's the word...external, while ki is generated internally. Also, internal energy is far stronger than external. Back then, our ki-blast were all emotional based meaning we would be unable to simply conjure it outta nowhere unless we felt, in my case, confident, or in Ryoga's case, depressed. Over time, we both understood ki more and more and eventually, we learned how to control it and not have to rely on emotions anymore,"
The three girls stared at Ranma, unable to comprehend what he was saying.
"Now, in order to control and summon ki, you have to learn how to breath and concentrate," Ranma continued, "The more you concentrate, the stronger your ki. But the thing is, ki is very hard to control. When you're summoning ki, you feel like your going to explode, so naturally, your instincts tell you to get rid of it. But instead, ki actually helps you, not hurt you...if used correctly,"
"Huh?" Linna muttered.
"I'll show you," he said. He turned toward Ryoga and spoke, "Yo, Ryoga, you up to doing a little demonstration?"
"I'll throw a ki blast toward you, and you block it," Ranma said, but when he saw Ryoga about to refuse, he added, "I won't really be the one throwing it. I'll let one of the girls throw it,"
Ryoga thought about it for a moment, and then he nodded, "Okay, I'll do it,"
"Do what?" Linna asked, "What are you going to do? What are you going to show us?"
Ranma smiled, "I'll show one of you how to use and manipulate ki. Will one of you follow me please?"
Sylia said, "I'll do it,"
She followed Ranma into the room, closing the door behind her. Ryoga was already setting himself up to block the ki blast, "Don't you go crazy, Ranma! I swear, if you hurt me, I'll get you back, ten fold,"
"Yeah, yeah, whatever, just get ready," Ranma said to Ryoga. He then turned toward Sylia and smiled, "You ready?"
"Ready? Ready for what? What do I do?"
"Just do this. Cup your hands together like your holding a tiny invisible ball. Hold the cupped hands at waistlevel just by your right hip," he said. When she did as she was told, he continued, "Okay, what I'm going to do is place two hands on your shoulder and let my own ki flow into you. All that power will immediately flow to your cupped hands. It'll feel weird, trust me. After a couple of seconds, you'll have this incredible feeling of energy flowing through you. When you feel like you can't hold it in anymore, quickly bring your hands to the front of you, your palms open and facing Ryoga. Don't worry about Ryoga, he'll know what to do. You understand?"
Sylia nodded. She had no real idea what she was going to do, but she had heard his instruction clearly and had every intention of following precisely.
Ranma closed his eyes in concentration as he stood behind Sylia, placing both his hands on Sylia's shoulders. After a short while, he started to glow blue.
"What the hell is that?" Priss said from behind the glass, "God, he's glowing!"
Sylia's heart raced as she anticipated a the energy to flow into her. She had no idea of the power Ranma sent surging into her body. Every nerve of her body flowed with energy, ready to explode. She looked down at her hands and noticed a small ball of pure energy forming between her fingers.
Sylia started to glow the same color as Ranma. As she stood there, her hands cupped together, she felt this unbelievable power surging through her. It felt like she was nothing but pure energy. She felt like she could take on the world.
She looked down at her hands and noticed that the space between them were beginning to expand as the energy ball grew larger and larger. Pretty soon, it looked like she was holding a glowing basket ball. As tried desperately to hold her hands together, she felt herself unable to control the energy surging through her. She had to release it somehow.
"Sylia, bring your hands forward and picture a ball of energy shooting from your hands, and it will," Ranma said.
Sylia did as she was told. When she did, a massive ki blast shot from her fingertips, rocketing toward Ryoga who was across the room. The amount of power she sent through her fingertips was nothing like she had experienced. It felt like she was shooting something akin to a small sun, equal in power, through the air toward...
"Ryoga!" she shouted as she realized the blast would hit him.
Ryoga didn't even flinch as the blast came rocketing toward him. All he did was stick his index finger forward, striking the energy ball right before it hit him, causing the ball to shatter into tiny specks of light and energy, like sparks.
Sylia stood there, unable to move, unable to comprehend what had just happened.
"Well, that's what you would consider a ki-based projectile," Ranma said.
"God, the amount of energy I felt when I released that felt like it could destroy this entire room and everything in it," she said.
Ranma nodded, "Yes, it could. And also, that happens to be the weakest ki blast. The power of your ki expands...what's that word...exponentially...the longer you hold your position before releasing it,"
"That's the weakest?" Linna said, entering the room. She was looking at Sylia, wondering if she was all right. She was expecting something to be wrong with her because Sylia had been glowing blue with some weird aura a second ago.
"You've gotta be kidding," Priss said, also entering the room, "That's the weakest? God, then how strong is the strongest?"
"You mean our seppukku blasts?" Ranma asked, "You don't wanna know. Waaaay too strong,"
"How strong?" Linna asked.
Ryoga stepped forward, totally unscathed, "Waaaay strong,"
"Well, I never really made my absolute strongest, but I know my weakest seppukku blast can probably take out half of this entire city," Ranma said matter-of-factly, "Besides, I wouldn't even attempt to throw something remotely close to my strongest,"
"Why not?" Priss asked.
"Well, first, I'll die in the process of generating such a blast. And if I survive, I'll die because I'll be in the center of the blast. And second, you can probably kiss the entire city, and anything surrounding it for a mile or so, goodbye. I don't wanna brag, but I'm pretty sure if I really really really tried, I can create explosions equal to a nuclear one, minus the radiation..,"
Priss and Linna and Sylia stood there, gaping at Ranma.
Finally, the silence was broken when Linna turned toward her two female companions and said, "They're goddamn monsters,"
"I'm not a monster," Ryoga said, taking a step forward.
"Yes, we are," Ranma said to Ryoga.
"What makes you say that?" Akane asked, concern in her voice.
Ranma's visage changed, "Well, think about it, the both of us could probably wipe out this entire city without sweating if we wanted to,"
"Ah, I see you managed to keep your sense of modesty over the years Ranma," Akane said wryly.
"Just hear me out, Akane," he replied, causing her to regret having said that, "I don't know about Ryoga, but I'm starting to believe I'm getting way too strong for my own good. And it also doesn't help that we're cursed and can't die naturally,"
"What? What did you say?" Sylia said. She could have sworn she heard Ranma say that he and Ryoga were immortal. "You're cursed?" Linna said, "What does that mean? What kind of curse is it?"
Ranma shook his head, "I'm not gonna tell you, only Ryoga and Akane and I know about it. Everyone else who did, died many years ago. I want to keep it a secret. Besides, we...um...I don't want the curse anymore and would prefer to avoid it as best as possible,"
Akane was silent. She knew exactly what curse he was talking about. But she knew she had heard something else Ranma had said and had to ask him what he meant by it, "Ranma, can I speak to you for a moment?"
"Sure, what is it?"
Ranma and Akane walked off into the corner of the room where they could speak in privately. When the girls were out of earshot, she said, "I heard you said you can't die naturally, what does that mean?"
"That's because I can't,"
"Has it ever occurred to you that I'm now around Pops age when he died, yet I still look like I'm very young?" he said. When Akane nodded, he took a deep breath and continued on, "Well, the curse, it's real curse is immortality. I can't die naturally. Actually, I can, but it'll be nearly impossible for me. Every time I go into my cursed form, my true form ages backwards toward the age when I first got cursed. I mean, if I'm in my cursed form for, say, one minute, my true form ages back a couple of years meaning when I revert back, I'm a few years younger,"
"Oh my god!"
"We...um...I've found the cure once, but I can't I can't find it again for some reason. The spring is only about several acres large and China is huge. I've asked around, but no one's heard of it. Ryoga had come across it once by accident a short while ago, but when he was looking for the cure, he got lost. That baka,"
"Ryoga, why was he looking for it?"
"Um, er, h-he was...trying to help me out," Ranma quickly lied.
"Well, that's nice of him," she said, turning her shoulder toward Ryoga and smiling. He always was a kind person. When Ryoga saw Akane smile at him, he blushed and turned his attention toward the ground, scratching the back of his head.
"Anyway, I think that's the true meaning of our...my curse," Ranma said.
"Um, can I come in now?" Ryoga's voice filtered into the room.
"Sure," Priss said.
"We better keep quiet about this. Only you and Ryoga know," Ranma said. When Akane nodded, she and Ranma walked back over to the group to greet Ryoga as he entered back into the control room. But when he stepped into the control room, Nene also enter, but from a different door.
"We're in trouble," Nene said, "Like in deep shit!"
"What, what do you mean by that?" Priss asked, a bit worried. She had never seen Nene seem this worried.
"The chip was a tracking device!"
"A tracking device? Are you serious?" Madigan asked. She realized that if there was a tracking device in that fake chip, then there was a chance she would know of the Knight Sabers' hideout.
Carper nodded, "Uh huh,"
Madigan kissed him again. He was a genius. Perhaps now, with the knowledge of the Knight Sabers' headquarters, the tides have turned. The thought of that made her want to kiss him again. She seemed to like kissing him. How come she never tried doing this before? Sure, Carper was very intelligent man, a man girls would find very attractive, but there was something to him that made her feel this attraction for him that she had never known, or acknowledged, until now.
It was because he actually cared for her.
A rocket flew in through one of the doors that lead to the ground level. The rocket hit Ranma in the front, propelling him backwards into a nearby wall. The impact of the rocket hitting his chest sent him reeling in pain as he curled himself up in a little ball, wincing in pain.
"Ite!" Ranma gritted his teeth, rolling around on the floor, rubbing his chest like it was on fire.
"Shit, they already found us!" Priss said, her eyes stinging from the smoke from the rocket. She and the others were already heading toward their weapons supply. Ryoga walked over to Ranma and gave him a good kick in his ribs, "I suggest you get up. Otherwise, you're gonna be in even more pain when more rockets come through that door,"
Ranma sat upright and kicked his leg out, sweeping Ryoga's legs out from under him, "I'm hurt, you moron. Have some sympathy. Jeez!"
Akane walked over to Ranma and slapped him in the back of his head, "Get a grip on yourself, you'll live. You're such a baby,"
"What? I just got hit in the chest with a rocket! And you're telling me I'm a baby?" Ranma got to his feet as if now unscathed, the pain already gone, "I risked my neck rescuing you from Genom. If it weren't for me, you'd still be there. I can't believe you called me a baby. Jeez, you're so uncute!"
"Baka!" Akane shot out, slapping Ranma in the face. The force caused Ranma to go flying into a nearby wall violently. She couldn't believe how fast Ranma had changed from serious and somber to his usual obnoxious self.
"Man, you're even more uncute now than you were over thirty years ago," Ranma said, "I should take your batteries out so you could never hit me again,"
"Don't you dare, you cad!" Ryoga said, taking a menacing step forward, glowing red.
Ranma shot Ryoga a vicious glance, "You stay out of this, pig boy!"
"What the hell are they doing?" Linna asked, donning the tiny gas mask over her mouth. The smoke had been beginning to sting her lungs. She could have sworn she heard Ranma and Ryoga and Akane arguing near the front entrance to the headquarters after she and her friends had ran to the back to retrieve several high caliber rifles and machine guns.
Linna managed to gasp in shock as she saw Ranma flying bodily by her, slamming into a nearby locker. She stared in disbelief as Ranma got back up and ran back toward the front of the headquarters, Ryoga flying bodily into the same locker Ranma had been slammed into seconds ago.
Are they fighting each other?
"What's going on here?" Linna shouted toward Ryoga as he was about to rush by her.
"How dare Ranma hit me like that! I'll kill him!" Ryoga said to himself, not even realizing Linna was listening.
"What's going on?" Priss asked, strapping a large rifle across her shoulder. She had seen Ryoga run right by in a mad rush.
It took a moment before Linna could respond, "T-they're...Ranma and Ryoga...they're fighting each other!"
"What?" Sylia and Nene said as they stepped forward, their gas masks on.
"They're trying to kill each other!"
The girls watched in disbelief as Ranma and Ryoga went at each other with a vengeance, making their way out the door where that missile had come through, destroying almost everything in their path...even the dozen or so hapless boomers waiting outside.
Madigan and Carper were walking down the street together. It was now nighttime, several hours after they had lost a small army of boomers that they had sent to the location of that tracking device. As they walked, they were both pondering on what they were to do now that they discovered the Knight Sabers' headquarters. Even though they lost well over a dozen boomers in that preemptive attack, the boomers failed to accomplish their objectives. "What do you think we should do?" Madigan asked. She would run her idea by him after he had offered his idea.
"Well, now that we know about the Knight Sabers' headquarters, we should get rid of them first, that way, we would be able to concentrate on getting rid of that superboomer, oh, I mean Ranma. And also get rid of Ryoga while we're at it," Carper said, a bit hesitant. He was sure Madigan had some idea what made his seem rather childish.
Madigan's brows raised a bit as she nodded. It was similar to what she had intended. Unfortunately, he had never mentioned exactly how they would go about eliminating the Knight Sabers, "And how do you assume we do so? It's easier said than done, you know,"
Carper took a moment to think before he replied, "Well, how about we have someone stake out the place. Sooner or later, we might be able to find out the Knight Sabers' secret identity. That way, if we could strike them where they're most vulnerable, when they are without their hardsuits,"
"That's a very good plan," Madigan said with a smirk. She had thought the same thing also, "And with them gone, we will be able to concentrate on getting rid of Ranma,"
"Which is most likely easier said than done," Carper added, "He's like a boomer that just won't die. I mean, from one of the reports, he took a goddamn missile right in the chest. That blast should have obliterated him, but instead, he got, in a sense, angry, and went berserk, like a boomer,"
"Speaking of Ranma going berserk, in what I've been able to see from our heli-
viewcams, that guy went berserk and started attacking everything even Ryoga," Madigan commented, thinking aloud, "I mean, he went almost insane and started trying to kill Ryoga. Actually, if I really think about it, it seemed like Ryoga and Ryoga were trying to kill each other,"
Carper looked at Madigan a bit confused and said, "But how could that be. I mean, they were working together when attacking Genom Tower. What makes them turn on each other?"
Madigan sighed. She really wished she knew. It would really help them out. That way, she could have it where Ryoga and Ranma would kill each other off. It would be akin to killing two birds with one stone.
"God, that Ranma gives me the creeps," Carper commented.
"Oh? How so?" Madigan asked. She also got the creeps thinking about it also, but was curious as to what spooked Carper.
"Everything," he replied, looking up toward the sky, unaware that Madigan was looking at him rather intently, "It's scary. Where did he come from? I mean, sure, he's from Nerima if I remember correctly, but that's not what I was insinuating. Think about it, the energy he creates is enormous, he incorporates strategy, and is lethal at close and far ranges. If he were a superboomer like we first surmised, he would be a perfect military machine. Heck, I'm pretty sure having one or two superboomers like him sent into battlefields could end wars,"
"Or start them," Madigan couldn't help but add. She was starting to have doubts as to how they were going to stop Ranma.
"Or start them, true," Carper continued, unperturbed, "It's just very scary if you think about it. Here we are, in MegaTokyo, where that...human...is running loose, and no one has a clue as to what it is or is capable of except for a few people," Madigan said nothing. She was too busy thinking about exactly how she would go about stopping Ranma. Wanting to keep the conversation light, she said, "Don't you think you're praising that guy a bit too much? Don't forget, he's also go weaknesses,"
"He seems to be prone to risking his own life saving others," Carper realized. He couldn't believe he had missed something like that. Of course, Madigan was keen enough to remember that, unlike him.
"Unfortunately, it isn't much," Madigan continued, "Man, just imagine him as a superboomer. All you have to do is place one of those superboomer down in the middle of a war and program it to destroy anything near it. Missiles won't be able to get close because it would just intercept them before they explode,"
She tried to chuckle, hoping to keep the situation light. But as she continued to realize this man's capabilities, she started getting more and more doubtful of stopping it, "Do you have any suggestions, Carper?"
"Me? Well, the best way to stop something that strong is to fight fire with fire," Carper replied, rather anxious. He was hoping his suggestion would impress her, "I suggest eliminating Akane first and make it look like Ranma killed her. Afterall, Ryoga knew Akane from the past. Now, if Ryoga finds this out, he would probably go into a rage and try and kill Ranma. It's not all that far fetched because we already know that Ryoga and Ranma seem to have problems with each other. They already fought each other a few times. I'm pretty sure if we push the right buttons, they'll try and kill each other. And if we're lucky, they'll succeed in doing so,"
Madigan smiled as she absorbed all that Carper had said. It was a really good plan. She wondered how he managed to come up with a plan like that. He was still confident that he could stop Ryoga and Ranma, and she had to admire that about him. It was one of his redeeming qualities. That and many others one might add.
At that moment, Madigan's stomach rumbled, for she hadn't eaten since morning.
Madigan blushed a bit, embarrassed at her lack of control. Sure, she was hungry, but she couldn't believe her body couldn't wait a bit longer until she was back at her penthouse, where food was readily available.
Carper knew she was hungry, so he dared to ask, "Um, would you like to grab a bite to eat? W-we could talk about what we're going to do while we eat,"
Madigan took a moment, wondering if she should accept. She had never considered going out to eat with a fellow employee, let alone a subordinate.
Carper realized her hesitation and decided not to press the issue, "Well, perhaps you could wait until you get home. Um, I also have a lot of work to do, like explaining to higher ups about my switching the OMS chip. I'm still pretty sure they thought I was trying to steal it, even though you made the effort to explain to them that I was not, which I must thank you,"
Madigan blushed a bit, grateful that it was dark out. At that moment, Ranma rounded the corner and bumped into them. He had been out taking a stroll, wanting to do something other than sit around.
"I know you," Ranma said, not even caring all that much that he was now standing in front of the two people who wanted him more dead than alive. It was perfectly reasonable considering what he had done to Genom, but he had a perfectly good reason for hating Genom. Heck, he should hate them because they worked for Genom.
Madigan and Carper caught sight of Ranma and their lives seemed to flash before their eyes. "What the? W-where'd you come from?" Madigan said, taking a step backwards in fright, tripping over her feet and flailing her arms outward to keep her balance.
Ranma casually reached forward and grabbed Madigan's hand to keep her from falling on her backside. When he grabbed hold of her hand, Carper's eyes widened.
"Stay away from her!" he spat, cocking his arm back to punch Ranma, knowing that it would do absolute nothing. But what else could he do to get Ranma's attention so he wouldn't harm Madigan?
Ranma didn't even think twice as he used his free hand to catch Carper's incoming punch.
"Jeez, I was only helping out," Ranma said, releasing Madigan's hand once her feet were steady. She stared up at him, fright and curiosity in her eyes. She couldn't move, scared to run, yet even if she could, she probably wouldn't, "Man, I helped you out the other time. Remember? When all those boomers were trying to kill us by shooting into that room we were in? Or did you forget that?"
Carper stepped in front of Madigan, shielding her with his body, as he faced Ranma, scared out of his wits. He knew there was nothing he could really do. He and Madigan were at this man's mercy.
Ranma chuckled a bit and said, "Anyway, that wasn't nice with what you did, switching that chip. Now you know of the girls' location," "Which'll put you and your 'girls' at a serious disadvantage now," Carper added with unseen courage.
"I means nothing if you think about it," Ranma said, "If I find that OMS thingie and expose Genom, then the corporation would go under. Now, if I don't find it...I'll simply put Genom under the hard way," Carper and Madigan stood there, still, listening to Ranma's words intently.
"But it doesn't really matter all that much with me," he said, "I may seem selfish, but Genom's gonna pay for what they did to me, and I intend on getting my revenge,"
"Revenge?" Madigan asked, "What revenge? What are you talking about?" Ranma didn't really care who he told. All he knew was that Genom was the cause of his family and loved ones' death, and that was all that mattered as he said, "Well, the corporation you two are workin' for killed my family. And I have every intention of exposing the corporation as my form of revenge. But now that Genom knows of the Knight Sabers' location, I'm gonna hafta do something even more extreme,"
He left his threat hanging, so Carper and Madigan could surmise what he would do.
Ranma started circling the two, when he noticed them giving him an odd look, "What? Do I have something on my face?"
Madigan almost laughed but didn't. Calmly, she asked, "What do you mean killed your family?"
"Well," Ranma said, "many years ago, I was with my family, enjoying a quite day when, out of nowhere, missiles flew in through the window and killed my entire family," His voice was soft. It always hurt to think of what had happened on that fateful day, that day that changed his life forever.
He sighed, his gaze seemingly towards a far off place.
Madigan and Carper seized the moment and made a break for it, running for their lives. They got no where before Ranma was already at their side.
"Hold up, where do ya think you're going," Ranma said, "I still have some more stuff I wanna tell you,"
"Why us?" Madigan said, tears almost forming around her eyes. She couldn't believe she couldn't control her emotions, but she was truly afraid, afraid that Ranma was going to do something horrible to them.
Ranma took a moment to think of the words, "Why? Well, you think about it. Genom killed my family. Genom tried to kill me and my friends. Genom makes their boomers go on a rampage, saying the boomers went berserk, leaving them not responsible. And it's because of rampaging boomers, my family was killed. How's that for an explanation?"
Ranma found himself getting a bit angry at the thought of talking to two people who could be responsible for his family's death, "Perhaps you're might have something to do with my family getting killed. Afterall, you work for Genom," He made his words clear, showing his contempt toward Genom.
Madigan took a timid step backwards. Carper, although very scared, remained where he was, standing in front of Madigan.
"I don't know how you people at Genom view me and Ryoga," Ranma said, "but I'm pretty sure it's as a threat because I have every intention of toppling Genom with that OMS chip I was looking for. But, now, I guess I'm gonna hafta take that building apart one brick at a time if I hafta,"
Madigan gasped. Carper instinctively reached a hand backwards and took hold of hers. She never pulled her hand away, almost grateful of the warmth of his hands.
"S-so what are you going to do?" Carper asked.
"Nothing right now," Ranma said, "I'm going to go get some food cause I'm hungry,"
"No, I mean..," Carper was about to rephrase.
"I'm going to hang around," Ranma replied, "When I feel like it, I'm gonna attack Genom and hopefully get that OMS thingie. I'd rather get rid of Genom peacefully rather hafta use force. You won't happen to give that thing to me, would you? I guessed not. Anyway, because Genom knows of the Knight Sabers' location, I am threatened to have to protect them, and that means the destruction of Genom,"
"What if we promise not to attack them?" Madigan said. She had to do whatever she could to keep Genom from being attacked. Sure, they would be able to repel the attack now that they are aware of this, they would sustain heavy damages like the last time.
"Ha!" Ranma said with a wave of his hand, "I don't trust you. I'm never gonna trust Genom anymore. I betcha just before you bumped into me, you were trying to come up with a plan to get rid of me and the girls, ne?"
"No, we were going to go out to dinner," Madigan quickly said what first came into her head. She blushed as she realized that she had declined dinner with Carper. Heck, she blushed because she realized what she had just said.
Ranma smirk, "Huh? You mean you two are couples?"
Carper also blushed.
"Are you two...fiancees?" he said, almost shuddering at the word. He was actually glad he didn't have to really worry about fiancees anymore but he would rather fiancees to worry about because that would mean they would be alive today...
"F-fiancees? No!" Madigan said, loosing her cool, "It's none of your business anyway!"
Ranma shrugged his shoulders, "Well, it doesn't really matter to me anyway,"
He turned around to stroll off in a random direction, "Well, before I leave, I'm just going to tell you a few things. You don't need to follow them if you don't want. Sooner or later, Ryoga and I will attack Genom to get that OMS chip. When we find it, I suggest you two start looking for new jobs. If we don't find it, well, let's just say that Ryoga and I will have some fun developing our ki-
blasts. And one last thing, I seriously suggest you not attack my friends. Ryoga gets very protective of his friends and if you hurt them, he will go into a rage,"
"Like that rage you went into earlier?" Madigan asked, recalling the scene she had seen from the heli-viewcam.
"Rage? Me?" Ranma said, a bit surprised, "No way. Ryoga and I always hate each other. We always fight. We're enemies. But anyway, Ryoga's not as forgiving as me. He'll most likely hunt you two down and kill you...and I won't be able to stop him,"
Madigan and Carper stood very still, too scared to move.
Ranma changed the subject and said,
"I'm starving, is there a fast food store around here?"
"Ranma!" Ryoga seemed to pop up out of nowhere.
"Hey, pig boy, what's up?" came the reply.
Ryoga started to glow as he said, "You take that back!"
Ranma smirked, almost enjoying the teasing. It was so easy to get Ryoga all ruffled up "Jus' relax. You're gonna pop an artery from all that high blood pressure. Anyway, I'd like you to meet someone,"
"Who?" "You see these two people here," Ranma began, pointing toward Madigan and Carper, "They're the one who've been trying to kill us. Ain't this a small world,"
Madigan and Carper took a step back, very frightened. The tension was so think they could cut it with a knife. This was probably the most awkward situation they were in ever since either of them started working at Genom.
Ryoga's eyes narrowed toward the couple, "Um, hello,"
Madigan and Carper froze in terror, as if they weren't already scared enough.
Ranma, pretty much ignoring Madigan and Carper, turned toward Ryoga and said, "But that doesn't matter. Anyway, ya know of any good food places around here? I'm starving,"
"Um, well, yeah, I passed a restaurant a short while ago," Ryoga answered, pointed toward a random direction.
Ranma chuckled, "Yeah, you probably passed it somewhere in China, what with your sense of direction," He then shrugged his shoulders as if uncaring and proceeded down the street, "Well, I'm gonna go eat. See ya later,"
Ryoga watched as Ranma walked down the street disappearing around a corner.
After a few moments, Ryoga realized the crack Ranma had made about him, "Hey, how dare you make fun of my like that? Get back here so I can kill you!"
Ryoga ran off down the street as Madigan and Carper remained very still. After several moments, they both seemed to relax, albeit a little.
"Do you think it's all right to move now?" Carper managed to joke.
If Madigan hadn't been so scared in her life, she would have laughed.
Ranma entered the headquarters, a bag of food under his arms. With one arm carrying the bag, the other one was being used to shove an entire burger into his mouth, Ranma swallowing it after one bite. As he entered the main room, he caught sight of all the girls, all of them sitting around a round table, now staring at him.
"Man, these things are great!" Ranma commented, shoving yet another burger into his mouth. He didn't bother to mention the stares he got when he order them, knowing that a massive fight almost broke out between him and Ryoga when Ryoga had actually managed to find him and catch up to him at the restaurant.
Ryoga actually followed Ranma back into the room, bumping into him since he stopped since Ryoga was so close behind.
Ranma turned toward Ryoga, a burger hanging from him mouth, his arms around the bag of food, and kicked Ryoga right in the chest, "Will you quite staying so damn close? You've been bumping into me all day since the restaurant!"
"How dare you kick me!"
Akane looked up at Ranma and sighed, "Ranma, will you quit picking on Ryoga? When will you ever grow up?"
Ranma turned his attention toward Akane, ignoring the aura that started to glow behind him as Ryoga got back up onto his feet, filled with rage, "I am grown up! I'm actually the second oldest person in this room!" He turned around and kicked Ryoga out of the room and then turned toward Akane, the other girls staring in disbelief. He chuckled, "Technically, I'm the oldest person in this room since Ryoga ain't in here,"
Ryoga rushed back into the room once again, "I'm gonna kill you, Ranma!"
Ranma turned toward Ryoga and quickly reached into his bag of food, pulling out a container of soda and smiled, "Okay, but if you hit me, this soda will go flying everywhere and some of it might hit you...staining your lovely, yet dull, shirt,"
Ryoga knew what Ranma was implying. If he attacked, Ranma would splash him with the drink, thus, changing him into his cursed form, and in front of Akane.
Ranma smiled, "Yeah, I thought not," He walked up to the desk and sat down, placing his food on the table, laying it all about. He managed to pull out over a dozen burgers from that bag.
"Y-you're gonna eat all of that?" Linna asked. She looked at the burgers, assessing them and how much fat content if contained. Sure, the burgers looked delicious, but if she ate just one of those, it would all go to her thighs.
Ranma shoved the third burger into his mouth, "Uh huh. What, ya want one?"
Linna shook her head, "No way. I was just curious. That's all,"
He finished the third burger and was already shoving the forth one in his mouth, "You should try one, they're delicious,"
"God, Ranma," Akane said, rather angry "Will you show some manners and not talk with your mouth full? Jeez, that's so rude!"
"You're only jealous cuz I didn't offer you one!" Ranma replied, "Well, I didn't offer ya one because you could stand to lose a few pounds,"
Sylia's eyed Ranma intently, "Ranma, for your information, Akane doesn't need to eat,"
"All the more better for her to lose all that excess weight," Ranma replied, leaning backwards in his iron chair.
With almost blinding speed, Akane got up off her chair and picked it up, bringing it down hard on Ranma's face. Since he was leaning backwards, he ended up falling backwards onto his back.
Ranma, lying on the ground, turns onto his side, propped one of his elbows on the ground, his head resting on his hand, "What a lame attack..,"
"I'll give you a lame attack!" Ryoga's voice emanated from behind Ranma, "How dare you say something like that to Akane!"
Ryoga picked his foot up and sent it crashing down on Ranma's head. His foot came down with such speed that Ranma didn't have time to react, or was perhaps to distracted to react, hitting Ranma's head with such force that the momentum caused his head to go smashing into the floor, getting embedded.
"Ha! Take that!" Ryoga said with a triumphant smile, very satisfied. It felt good to hurt Ranma.
As Nene, Sylia, Linna, and Priss stared in disbelief at what had just transpired, Ranma sat upright, unscathed, his shirt only a bit rumpled. He brushed some of the debris out of his hair as he turned toward Ryoga, "You're right, Ryoga, that was a lame attack,"
Ryoga's fuming, tried to kick Ranma right in his face, but had his foot skillfully caught.
Ranma smiled as he held Ryoga's foot in his hands slowly starting to twist it so that the motion would cause Ryoga to turn and eventually fall down.
"Leave him alone!" Akane said, raining the chair down on Ranma's head again.
"Arghh!" Ranma shouted, giving Ryoga's foot a quick jerk, sending Ryoga falling backwards onto his back, "Why are you always hitting me, Akane?"
"I hit you because you're such and insensitive jerk!" came a quick reply.
"Well, you're nothing but an uncute tomboy!" Ranma quickly replied, "Man, I should have your batteries removed so you can't be so violent,"
Akane smashed him in the head yet again with the chair, this time, so hard that the iron chair broke.
The other girls winced at the thought of how painful that would be.
"I guess he had that coming," they all said.
"Man, I don't understand why you're so interested in this ki thing. Didn't I already show you how it works already?" Ranma said to Linna, almost exasperated. Nothing had remained of what Akane had done to him earlier with that iron chair, not even a bruise.
"Well, I'm very curious," Linna said innocently.
"Same here," Priss added. "Besides, Nene never got the chance to see it since she was busy finding out that that chip had been nothing but a tracking device," "Show me what?" Nene asked. She and the rest of the group were in the same room where Ranma had showed Sylia how to throw an energy projectile. The only difference was that the room was slightly damaged from the boomer attacks not too long ago. Although the walls were singed and some cracked, the headquarters still remained in decent and usable condition.
"All right, I'll show you another example of it," Ranma said as he sat down on the floor, his backside resting on his feet. He then rested his hands on his lap and closed his eyes, saying "Ki surrounds us. It's everywhere. What you could do is actually absorb some of my own ki if I allowed it. Priss, why don't you sit next to me and I'll show you,"
Priss shook her head, "I don't really know if I could do it,"
"It's very easy. Anyone could do it. Just sit right next to me and I'll explain to you how you gather ki,"
Priss shrugged her shoulders once and then walked up to Ranma and sat next to him in the same fashion as he was sitting. As she sat close to him, she could see a faint glow to him that made her almost stare in awe.
"I'm gonna make it where you can see my ki," Ranma said, concentrating. Within moments, the faint aura surrounding him started to grow bigger and brighter. The girls stared at Ranma in disbelief, Ryoga not so impressed.
"Bah, is that the best you could do?" he commented wryly.
Ranma opened his eyes, his aura nearly fading to nothing, "Why don't you jus' shut up? If you think you're so good at this stuff then why don't you try 'n explain it to 'em?"
Ryoga remained silent. He never really liked trying to explain things to people all that much.
"Okay then, let's get back to work," Ranma said, closing his eyes once again, his aura flaring up again, "Priss jus' close your eyes and relax. Make your breathing steady and slow, inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth,"
Priss did as she was told, "I don't feel anything," she said after a few moments. All she was aware of was her breathing and her sitting right next to Ranma.
"Okay, now, jus' think of something peaceful, like a waterfall or a gentle stream,"
"Which ever one ya want. I usually think about a waterfall," Ranma replied in a calm voice, his eyes still closed. Ryoga smirked inwardly to himself. Wouldn't it be really funny if he walked up to Ranma and decked him? But then again, with Ranma's ki surrounding him, Ryoga wouldn't be able to get near him without him noticing.
Priss closed her eyes, breathing gently, concentrating on a waterfall. As she did so, and a minute or so passed, she was about to open her eyes to tell Ranma she felt nothing, but then she slowly started feeling his tingling feeling, as if adrenaline was surging through her veins. She continued to concentrate harder, feeling this intense power building within her.
"Oh shit!" Linna's voice echoed in the room, "Priss is absorbing Ranma's ki!"
"What was that?" Nene said, shock in her voice.
"What?" Priss said, opening her eyes, breaking her concentration. She looked toward Ranma, who had now opened his eyes and was shaking his head, a bit annoyed that she didn't follow the little example to its conclusion.
"Y-you were starting to glow also, Priss," Linna said excitedly, "It was unbelievable. The aura or whatever surrounding Ranma was slowly starting to flow toward you, like diffusion, except we could see the energy!"
"D-did that really happen?" she asked.
Sylia and Ryoga nodded, Ryoga saying, "Yep, it sure did. Your eyes were closed so you didn't see it,"
"If you remained concentrating," Ranma began, "you would slowly start feeling the ki flow toward your fingertips, wanting to be let out. And after a short while, you'll be able to through a ki blast, even though it's very weak, but a ki-blast regardless,"
"K-ki-blast?" Priss said, her eyes widening, "y-you mean those things you were throwing at me when we were fighting a while back?"
Ranma nodded, and then said, "Yep, ki-blasts like this!"
He extended a hand toward Ryoga and a ki-blast shot from his hand, rocketing toward Ryoga. Ryoga took the brunt of the blast full force in the chest, sent flying bodily through the air and into the wall with a deafening thud. He fell to his knees, a bit singed.
Ryoga's aura started to glow menacingly, "Why the hell did you do that you moron! You'll pay for that!"
Ranma smirked, almost laughing, "What's wrong with you, Ryoga? Why're you gettin' so angry? Did it actually hurt?"
"What the hell are you talking about? That blast could've killed me!"
"Yeah, but you survived, so don't get all bent outta shape. Quit whining!" Ranma replied, "I had to give an example anyway..,"
The girls stared at Ranma and Ryoga in disbelief. Were they going to fight each other? They looked intent on killing each other! Actually, Ryoga looked intent on killing Ranma while Ranma seemed to be egging Ryoga on into doing so.
"Me? Whining? I'm not gonna be the one whinin' after I'm done with you!" Ryoga spat, his brows creasing, a growing ball of energy forming in his right hand as he got to his feet and taking as step toward Ranma's direction.
Akane stepped forward as Ryoga took a step forward, placing a hand on his chest, "Ryoga, now calm down. There's no need for you two fight,"
Ryoga froze in place, his chest flooding with this warm feeling from Akane's fingertips. He seemed to have forgotten completely about Ranma as he looked down into Akane's eyes, "All right, but only because you said so," "I know what Ranma did was wrong, but you're all right, right?" Akane said, "You know how he is. He's an idiot,"
"What did you call me?" Ranma said, knowing full well was Akane had said. He took a step toward Akane and Ryoga.
"Baka!" Akane said, spinning on her heels, landing a devastating punch right on Ranma's jaw, "That's for hitting Ryoga like that!"
Ranma stood frozen in place, in mid stride, almost in a state of unconsciousness.
Akane looked at her hand and noticed that she couldn't move it anymore. Did she hit him so hard that she broke all the tiny motors of her hand and wrist?
Ryoga followed Akane's gaze toward her hand and noticed that her hand was damaged, her fingers locked in a fist, unmoving. He looked at Ranma, "How dare you do this to Akane?" He ran forward and punched Ranma, hard, sending him flying bodily toward the other side of the room. He walked over to where Ranma was and picked him up by one of his legs, hoisting him up, his head a few inches off the floor, slamming him into the wall like the way a person would swing a bat with one arm.
"Ryoga! Stop that!" Sylia and Linna and Priss shouted in unison, noticing that Ryoga looked intent on killing Ranma. Akane was busying looking down at her damaged hand.
Ryoga slammed Ranma on the floor countless times, each one harder than the other. And to finish the job, Ryoga held Ranma upright, only to headbutt him right on his forehead, the back of Ranma's head slamming into the wall behind him with such impact that it nearly caved inward.
"You asshole, why did you go and do that?" Priss sat, about to punch Ryoga's lights out if it weren't for the fact that it wouldn't affect him.
"What?" Ryoga said, acting innocent, "You mean something like this?" He brought his leg up and forward, slamming it right into Ranma's chest, causing him get pushed so hard into the wall that he remained embedded bodily in it, his head hanging low.
"Get away from him!" Linna said, jumping in between Ryoga and Ranma, not wanting him to hurt Ranma anymore. Sylia and Priss were now trying to gently pull Ranma out from his concrete confines.
Priss said in a scared voice, "Ranma, are you okay? Speak to us! Open your eyes!"
Ranma opened his eyes and casually brushed the debris off himself, "Is that all you've got Ryoga? That was nothin'," He said with a wry smirk. All he had to do was get rid of that crick in his neck that Ryoga had caused.
That seemed to make Ryoga even more angry for he started calling forth a wicked ki-blast to finish Ranma off once and for all. But before he could release one of his more powerful blasts, Ranma lunged forward and executed an open hand punch to Ryoga's chest, sending him flying backwards and onto his back.
"Moron! Are ya trying to get all of us killed?" Ranma said, almost furious "Why dontcha use your head for a change. There are people in this room. If you threw a blast that big, not only will hurt the both of us, but also kill everyone else in this room! God, you must even have the mind of a pig!"
"Die!" Ryoga shouted, getting off the floor, unscathed from Ranma's open palm attack, and charging Ranma.
"Akane, do something!" Linna shouted toward the sexaroid, whom was still intent of seeing to the extent of her damaged hand.
Akane, hearing her name, turned toward Linna and said, "Leave them alone. They do this all the time,"
"Why?" Priss asked, wondering if she should run out of the room in a panic or stay and watch two battle it out.
"I dunno. They seem to hate each other for some reason," Akane said casually "And to this day, I still have no idea why. I guess it had something to do with their past when they went to school together or something like that,"
Ranma, who was holding onto Ryoga's shirt collar as he did his, turned his attention away from his opponent and toward Akane, "Actually, that's not true. Ryoga hates me because I was the one who got him cur-"
Ranma's statement was cut off by a perfectly planted fist right in his mouth.
Ryoga said menacingly "Shut up, Ranma!"
Ranma punched Ryoga hard, sending him flying across the room once again, slamming into the wall. Ranma then started laughing, "This is great, I haven't had this much fun in such a long time!"
"This isn't supposed to be fun you idiot! I'm gonna kill you!" Ryoga said in a cold angry voice. Ranma's laughter stopped as he took on a solemn countenance and said, "Get real Ryoga, you know I can't die!"
The girls' attention immediately turned toward Ranma. What did he say?
Ranma noticed that the girls had heard what he had said and quickly changed the subject "Um, it's gettin' stuffy in here. I'm gonna go out and get some fresh air,"
And with that said, Ranma left the room.
"What was he talking about? Not dying? What did he mean by that?" Priss asked no one in particular.
No one could answer her questions. Ryoga, on the other hand, refused to answer. "Man, this is confusing!" Linna said, a bit frustrated, turning toward Ryoga, "What the hell are you guys constantly fighting for? What the hell is Ranma? What did he mean by he can't die?"
Ryoga looked toward the ground, now shy.
"Don't give us the shy and innocent act, Ryoga!" Priss joined in, her hands on her hips.
He continued to look toward the ground. In his mind, he was thinking something along the lines of 'Ranma, get back here and save me! I can't handle this!'. But he remained quiet.
Nene looked at her watch and gasped, "Oh god, I'm gonna be late for work!" She was about to head for the door when Priss said, "Aren't you going to stay and find out what's going on?"
"I would love to, but I can't be late for work! I've been late three times as it is!" she replied. She then turned her attention toward Ryoga and said, "If you see Ranma, tell him thanks for the demonstrations!"
As she ran down the corridor toward her little scooter located in the garage, Nene said to herself.
"All it did was make us realize how little we know about the two of you,"
Nene looked at the line up, wide eyed. What the hell was Ranma doing in that line up?
"Are you sure they can't see through the window?" a short stocky man said nervously.
Daley nodded, "Uh huh,"
Nene had walked into the room when she saw everyone on the other side of the one way mirror enter that room. Ranma was one of the few people among the line up, "What's he doing there?"
"Who?" Daley asked, turning toward Nene, a bit curious.
Nene quickly swallowed. She shouldn't have said that aloud.
Ranma's eyes widened as he caught sight of Nene through the mirror, "Hi, Nene,"
"H-how does he know you're in here?" Daley said, shocked. Nene swallowed again.
"Hey, how come I'm in here, Nene? I didn't do nothin'," Ranma said, "All I was doing was walking down the street when I got picked up,"
Daley spoke into the microphone, "Well, it's because you fit the description the victim has described,"
Ranma jerked a thumb toward this tall burly fellow right next to him. He was so tall that Ranma would have to crank his neck back in order to see the man eye to eye, "Um, exactly how do I fit in the same description as this dude here?"
"Can you recognize who your assailant is?" Daley asked the short man, ignoring Ranma. He was going to talk to Nene about him later, and on who he was. The short man was very nervous, fidgeting. "I'm not too sure," the man said.
Daley leaned forward. God, he couldn't believe he was reduced to line ups while his partner was on an undercover assignment, "Everyone, please turn toward your right...okay, now to your left,"
Ranma's stomach grumbled. God, he was hungry.
"Man, I'm hungry," Ranma said to himself.
"Sir, will you please do us a favor and...shut up!" Daley said, a bit annoyed. He didn't really care if Ranma knew Nene. Ranma had fit the victim's description and could be the assailant. There were pretty much no one that could be trusted nowadays...except Leon.
Ranma took offense. Not only had he been wrongly arrested, but now someone was telling him what to do. He took a step forward, toward the glass, "Hey, I don't need to shut up if I don't want to. I could go on talkin' if I wanna," He wasn't violent, but rather, he didn't like being told what to do.
The short man got even more nervous, "C-can he b-break through the g-glass?"
Daley shook his head, "No. It isn't humanly possible,"
"Don't bet on it," Nene commented to herself.
Daley had heard and gave Nene a curious look. "Is there something to this guy we don't know about?"
Nene wondered what she should say. She shrugged her shoulders.
"That's him," the victim said, pointing toward a man at the end of the line up, not Ranma, "I recognize that tattoo,"
Daley nodded, "Are you sure?" The man nodded.
About a half hour had passed since the round up and Ranma's release. Ranma was on his way out of the police station when Nene walked up behind him.
"Eh?" he turned around and saw Nene, "Oh, hiya, Nene. What's up?" "How did you see through that one way mirror?"
Ranma shrugged his shoulders, "Huh? That was a one way mirror?"
"Nevermind," Nene knew that there was so much to Ranma, and Ryoga, that she had yet to understand or comprehend.
Ranma's stomach grumbled.
"You're hungry," she said. It was a statement, not a question.
Ranma nodded "Starvin',"
"Um, I'm on break now," Nene dared to say, "You want to go grab a bite to eat?"
Ranma's eyes lit up. "I take that as a yes," Nene said, almost courageously. She smiled and said, "All right, I know this nice restaurant around the corner. We could eat there,"
Together, they left the station.
Nene nearly crashed into Ryoga with her little scooter if it weren't for Ryoga reacting in time and grabbing the scooter before it hit him. She hadn't been paying too much attention to where she was headed since her mind had been on Ranma. She was also thinking about all her female co-workers coming up to her and asking her who that cute man she was with during her break. A short time had passed since Nene and Ranma's meal together. Nene had gone back to work afterwards and was on her way back home once her shift was done.
Ryoga casually held a hand and grabbed the handle bars with one hand, and Nene in the crook of his elbow since she had gone flying due to the forward momentum.
Ryoga blushed as he put Nene down on her feet, "I'm sorry. I should have been watching where I was going,"
Nene gave Ryoga a curious look. Of course he should had been watching where he was going. He was standing in the middle of the street. Was he crossing? Or was he unaware that it was a street to begin with?
"Um, where were you headed?" she asked curiously. It never failed for her to meet either Ranma or Ryoga sometime through the day, yet she could never really understand where they go when they're not bumping into each other.
"Nowhere in particular, I was looking for a good place to camp out," he said, "You wouldn't happen to know of any good parks around here" He didn't bother to tell her that getting there for him was a whole different story. "Camp out?" Nene said, "You mean you need a place to sleep?"
Nene contemplated if she should allow Ryoga to crash at her place. He was a nice guy and her friends trusted them, even though they knew little about them. But then again, because they were there, their apartments and penthouse got trashed, even though it was Genom's fault.
But that wasn't what really worried her. Ryoga, afterall, was a man, and she, a woman. The thought of what could happen made her heart skip a beat.
Ryoga, a bit nervous, tried to break the silence, "So, um, have you seen Ranma around?" He had been looking for Ranma all day since he had left when he accidentally revealed a part of their...of his curse.
Nene shook her head. She took a deep breath and figured she might as well help Ryoga out. Sure, he could take care of himself, but it would probably do him some good to sleep with a roof over his head, like when he stayed over Sylia's penthouse with Ranma and everyone else.
"Um, you're welcome to crash at my place if you'd like," she offered, a bit nervous.
Ryoga started to panic, "Y-you want me to w-what?" Thoughts raced through his mind. He had seen movies where women offered to let the man crash at their place, and the man did something else other than sleep there. Nene noticed his nervousness and realized he, like her, was a bit inexperienced with this kind of thing, "Or perhaps not. I mean, it is a nice night to sleep under the stars afterall,"
Ryoga, forgetting his nervousness, "Yeah, it is. Hey, would you like to sleep with me then?"
"Yeah, since you said it's a nice night out. Instead of going home and sleeping, why not sleep under the stars. But then again...I don't have two sleeping bags..," He began to think of how he would go about getting another sleeping bag, totally clueless of the ambiguity of his words.
Ryoga walked off absent-mindedly, leaving behind a bewildered Nene.
Although Nene was bewildered, she couldn't help but admit that she had been glad she went to work.
Madigan was looking at the screen in her office. There had to be a way to stop Ranma and Ryoga. There had to be. She shuddered at the thought of how they could survive all the firepower Genom had thrown toward them. There was a knock on her door.
"Come in," Madigan said, her voice exasperated. When Carper entered the room, she wished she hadn't sounded so annoyed. It wasn't his fault, afterall. "Would you like me to come back at another time?" he asked, a bit daunted when Madigan's beautiful yet cold eyes rested on him. When she shook her head and indicated for him to have seat, he did as he was told and then said, "I've sent out several boomers to track Ranma and Ryoga down like you've said. So far, there are no words as to their whereabouts but our scouts should find them very soon. They couldn't've gone far,"
Madigan nodded. That was good. She needed to hear some good news.
There was an awkward silence. "Um, well, I guess I better get going now," Carper finally said, getting up out of his seat. He didn't know if he should wait for Madigan to excuse him or not. He assumed the former and waited for her to say something. When she didn't, he said, "Well, I'll talk to you later,"
Carper stopped halfway to the door.
"I wonder if we'll ever stop them?" she said, more to herself than Carper. It was as if she was thinking aloud. Her eyes were on the screen as it replayed Ranma and Ryoga's initial battle, when they had first met. It scared her that those two people had gotten much stronger since that recording.
Carper turned around to face Madigan's back and said, "Don't worry, we'll stop 'em. They're not unstoppable. Perhaps close to it, but not unstoppable," He wondered why he had said that last comment aloud.
"They scare me," she said, her cool facade almost breaking down, "It's hard enough dealing with Ranma, but we also have to deal with Ryoga also, and now Akane..,"
Carper sympathized with Madigan and he said, "I understand by what you mean. They scare me also. But sooner or later, we'll find their weakness, and we can exploit it,"
Madigan almost laughed, but in a fit of hysteria, "Yeah, we've found a weakness. Ryoga has a bad sense of direction, but how can we use that to our advantage? Sure, if we drop him off in the middle of, say, China, we probably won't have to worry about him making his way back to Japan for a long long time, but I'll be damned if he'll stand idle while we grab him and whisk him off to China. Heck, even if we do grab him, have you seen how strong he is? All our boomers combined together won't be strong enough or capable of holding him down,"
There was a beep.
"What's that?" Madigan asked.
Carper looked down at his pager, "Yes, the scouts have found them,"
Carper walked over to the screen and pushed a button on the terminal. "Yes, they have,"
Ranma was walking down the street, Akane by his side. After he had left AD Police station several hours ago, he ran into Akane. She had been with Linna at the time, but Linna left when she was expected at work shortly after.
Akane said, "What are we going to do?"
"Eh?" Ranma was a bit puzzled, "What do you mean by that?"
"Have you wondered what we would be doing, say, a month from now?" she asked, "It's not like we're going to mooch of the girls' kindness. It doesn't help that we have no jobs, no home, no money...,"
Ranma smiled, "We have money, plenty of it. I got a whole bunch of 'em from one of my, ahem, visits at Genom Tower,"
Akane gave Ranma's side a nudge, "That may be true, but dontcha think it would be better if we, say, earn our money. We're not animals, y'know,"
Ranma chuckled, "So I guess we should return the money?"
"Nah. If I could do anything about it, I would rob 'em blind, considering what they've done," Akane said, her anger almost rising. She and Ranma continued down the street, enjoying themselves, enjoying each other's company when all of a sudden, Ranma stopped.
He turned toward a towering building and looked up toward the roof. "What are you doing?" Akane asked, her eyes narrowing on him, "Why'd you stop?"
Ranma looked up toward the roof. He could have sworn he felt something lurking in the darkness, watching over him, "I dunno, but I have this funny feeling something's following us," He pointed toward the roof, "Up there,"
"Shit, he knows he's being followed!" Madigan said. She almost ducked behind Carper, almost scared that Ranma could see right through the camera mounted boomer and right at her. She didn't know whether to scream in hysteria and shock or be extremely scared that Ranma had realized he was being followed and wasn't even worried about it.
"How does he know he's being followed? The boomer is no bigger than small dog," he said, shocked. It was a surveillance boomer, not some combat one, meaning the size was very small, "The boomer must be, what, at least sixty feet away from him, up on the roof, where it was pitch black, yet he could still see it!"
"Well, now that we know of his location, perhaps it would be prudent to send a squad of boomers to attack them, ne?" Carper asked, awaiting orders. He had anticipated the scouting boomer finding Ranma, but not so soon. It would take a short while for him to compile all those boomers for the offensive attack.
"Fine," Madigan said.
"Do you think we should accompany them?" Carper suggested, "I mean, it would probably be better off with us giving instructions from there instead of from this office. It'll be easier for us to incorporate some strategy instead of sending all those boomers in blindly,"
"You're right. Let's go,"
"You're being paranoid," Akane said.
Ranma turned toward Akane and followed her down the street. It didn't really matter if he was being followed or not. He was capable of handling anything and everything. Except for cats that is.
Ranma's stomach grumbled, "Yo, Akane, you hungry? Let's go get some grub,"
It was odd considering he had eaten only a short while ago with Nene.
"Me? I'm not hungry,"
"Oh yeah, I forgot you don't get hungry," Ranma said, realizing something, "Well, how about we go get some food anyway? I'm starving. I could eat a horse,"
"I don't doubt it," she said teasingly. For some reason, she didn't feel all that uncomfortable being alone with Ranma now. Although he had remained almost the same over those many years, he seemed easier to get along with, like nothing really bothered him.
Ranma chuckled, "Well? How 'bout it?"
Akane shrugged her shoulders. Even though she didn't need to eat, she would give it a try regardless. Lisa had mentioned that she was very very close to human, even capable of experiencing feelings, so it wasn't all that far-fetched that she could taste food. "I guess so,"
Together, Ranma and Akane went to the first restaurant they came across. It was a rather expensive looking restaurant but that didn't bother Ranma. He had plenty of money on his person, all of it stolen from Genom.
Akane felt this slight flush envelope her when she noticed that almost all of the females in the dining area had turned their attention onto the both of them, especially Ranma.
Ranma was totally oblivious to the stares. Having girls look and stare at him never bothered him. He had girls that did everything they could to get him to marry them. Now that was something to worry about. He and Akane both sat down and ordered their meal. When they patiently awaited their meal, a silent awkwardness ensued between the two. It was broken when Akane said, "Do you miss everyone?"
Ranma nodded, "Yeah, even Happousei, in a way. It's weird. I miss those hectic days where something new happens every morning. I miss the morning sparring, the perverted little letch trying to splash me with water, fights with Kuno and Ms. Hinako, and, well, everything from before Nerima got destroyed,"
"Of course I have," he answered, "Wouldn't you after seeing everyone you cared for die in one fell swoop of violence?"
Akane nodded, "I guess you're right. It's a bit hard getting used to it though. It's as if you've grown more...mature. But it's strange. Nothing seems to bother you anymore...,"
Ranma sighed, "I guess you're right about that. But I guess over the years, doing nothing but training in the mountains do that can do that to a person. It gives you a lot of time to contemplate about life, and how we shouldn't squander it. That's all. I'm going to enjoy life for as long as I can,"
"That's good to hear," Akane said with a warm smile. When she saw the waiter coming back to the table with their food, she said, "All right. Let's eat,"
They eat their food, indulging in some light conversation, mostly about how Ranma missed the good old days. With Akane, it felt like talking about a week ago. When they were finished, Ranma paid the bill, leaving behind a huge tip. Ranma and Akane both enjoyed the evening out, but it was ruined by yet another encounter with boomers.
The two crossed the street, about to head back to the Knight Sabers' headquarters. It didn't bother them at all that Genom knew of their whereabouts. The Knight Sabers could take on anything Genom threw at them, provided Ranma and Ryoga were there to lend a helping hand. They didn't quite make it across the street when Ranma stopped abruptly. He reached out and grabbed Akane's arm, also stopping her.
Akane said, "Why'd you stop?"
A missile struck the ground right in front of them. It would have easily destroyed Akane and seriously hurt Ranma had it hit its intended targets.
Ranma pointed toward the huge gaping hole in the ground, "That's why," He and Akane both turned and looked down the street, only to see dozens upon dozens of boomers swarming in from the distance, some hovering, some walking, all of them carrying heavy artillery. Most of them looked like anti-tank boomers, like some kind of upgraded 'BU-12b' and 'Doberman'. A boomer near the front of the line crouched and fired a projectile from its missile launcher. Ranma ducked under the projectile, the missile exploding against a building about a hundred yards away. The explosion caused many people to come out of the restaurants and look. When they caught sight of the boomers, they started to panic and run down the street.
"C'mon, let's get outta here!" Ranma quickly said, his hold on Akane's arm tightening, "I may be able to take them on, but you'll definitely get hurt in the process. We better get them to follow up back to the headquarters. Ryoga's there and could help out,"
Another boomer fired a missile. "There are people around!" Ranma's eyes widened. He realized there were innocent people around and that any strafing missile would injure dozens. Ranma, realizing that he had to stopped the missile, ran straight toward it to intercept it. Knowing that he had to take the hit so no one else would, he crossed his hand over his front to protect his face and chest and ran straight into the missile. He absorbed the blow...barely.
Ranma, singed and a bit bruised, shouted, "What the hell's wrong with you? There are innocent people around!"
Another missile. Another explosion absorbed.
"You goddamn assholes! You're gonna kill someone!" he shouted, furious. He didn't care that he was being targeted, but what bothered him was that the boomer paid no attention to the damage and death a single missile would cause.
Carper and Madigan looked at each other. They were both in the far rear of the group of boomers but had heard Ranma's shouts. They hadn't seen what was going on in the front lines, but could easily hear the damage being caused.
"What are we going to do?" Madigan asked Carper. She, nor Carper, wanted innocent people to die. Carper shouted, "Hold fire!"
The boomers did as they were told. Ranma, noticing them stop for a moment, knew this was the best time to get away from the crowd of panicking people. He quickly ran toward the sidewalk, knowing a strafing missile would hit a building, not a group of people hustling into the streets. He then proceeded toward the group of boomers ahead of him. He had to get as close to the boomers and as far away from the people as possible.
"Oh shit! He's coming this way!" Madigan shrieked. She had made it to the front lines just in time to see a Ranma charging from a hundred or so yards away. Panic-filled, she immediately shouted, "Fire!"
The boomers opened fire, letting loose hot bullets, raging missiles, energy intense lasers, all with the intent to kill, not one of them conscious about the death and destruction they would create. Ranma, reacting on instinct, jumped high into the air and fired a single ki-blast at the front row of boomers, destroying one instantly. Madigan, realizing Ranma was counter attacking, quickly took cover near the back of the group, where Carper was. She almost hid behind him as she heard the carnage ensuing, buildings going up in flames or toppling over.
"No!" Although they couldn't see anything, Madigan and Carper both heard Ranma cry aloud.
Ryoga looked up at the sky and noticed this odd shade of red, like there was a fire somewhere off in the distance. Nene was by his side. Even though he had absentmindedly walked off, Nene had ran after him. She knew of Ryoga's lack of direction and wanted to walk with him to the park so he wouldn't get lost. Besides, she didn't mind being around him and she didn't need to check in with her friends for a little bit longer. She didn't doubt that her friends would be worried by now and might actually be looking for her.
"Hey, look at that," Ryoga said, pointing upward at the column of smoke in the distance. It was probably about a mile or so away from where they were.
Nene's eyes widened, "Looks like a column of fire or something,"
Ryoga's eyes narrowed, "Or perhaps Ranma,"
Out of nowhere, a missile hit Ryoga in the back, sending him sprawling forward. Nene was knocked away from him due to the shear proximity she had been when the projectile hit its target. She rolled to her feet and caught sight of Ryoga getting back up, looking seriously peeved.
"Okay, who the hell did that?" he spat, turning around toward where the projectile had come from. His eyes rested on several boomers emerging from a dark alley. He didn't even bother asking questions. All he did was send a single ki-blast right at the lead boomer. The explosion created this superheated dome of energy, engulfing every boomer. When the smoke cleared up, all that remained were the melted remains of what had been boomers.
"Where did they come from?" Ryoga asked, looking over his shoulder at his singed shirt. He started brushing off the soot that the explosion left behind.
"Perhaps they followed us," Nene commented. She slowly walked toward the pile of rubble, glad and feeling protected when Ryoga followed behind her. It was as if she had her own personal superboomer following behind her.
Ryoga looked down at the debris, "We were followed?"
Nene nodded, "Perhaps. I wouldn't blame Genom for taking the extra precaution. If I were Genom, I wouldn't letcha outta my sight," She wondered if she have done that even if she weren't Genom. Most likely since Ryoga was easy on the eyes.
"You don't think Genom had Akane followed? Do you?"
"Perhaps, and Ranma also," Nene said, starting to realize what Ryoga was implying.
Ryoga turned around and looked at the sky and noticed this huge column of light shooting high into the sky, like some beam of light being cast down from the heavens, shooting through the clouds above.
Ryoga's eyes sombered, "Oh no,"
Nene's heart skipped a beat. Seeing Ryoga worried seemed to terrify her.
"That's Ranma's," Ryoga said. There was nothing else it could be. Nothing could generate energy like that, even at such a distance. He remembered having seen Ranma's aura flaring, but not as bright as now, when he and Ranma had seen what had remained of their home and Akane's limp body among the rubble. He realized that if he and Nene had been followed and attacked, Ranma and Akane could have been followed and attacked also.
"I have to get there, and fast...Akane could be hurt," Ryoga said. He assumed the only thing that could cause Ranma's ki to flare like that was if something bad had happened to Akane. And if that were true, he would kill Ranma for letting something bad happen to her once Ranma calmed down.
"She could be hurt?" Nene asked. She followed behind Ryoga as he ran down the street, knowing that she wouldn't be able to keep up. Ryoga was in perfect shape and could probably run forever. It didn't help any he could run faster than the normal person.
Ryoga stopped and turned around, "That's the only thing I could think of that could cause Ranma's ki to flare like that. If she's hurt or dead, I'll kill him," "It shouldn't be that bad," Nene said, catching up, panting, "Akane's a sexaroid. Even if she gets hurt, she'll slowly heal herself up, given the time to do so," She remember hearing about a new breed of sexaroid that could do that, and it was most likely that Akane had the same function.
"S-she could self-heal?"
Nene nodded, "Well, I'm pretty sure she could. Even if she took massive damages, she's still a machine. Her body will shut down. She'll still be alive, but her conscious will be in some for of stasis,"
That seemed to make Ryoga relax for a moment. It didn't last long because his eyes widened.
"Oh shit!" he said, voice filled with concern, "Ranma doesn't know that! He'll probably go insane and end up killing a lot of people if he thinks Akane is dead!"
A large lump formed in Nene's throat. She didn't like the thought of a rampaging Ranma. It scared her more than an army of rampaging boomers. She said, "What the hell are you waiting for? Get the hell over there and tell him before he does something stupid," Ryoga nodded before he turned around and raced down the street, in the right direction for a change.
Nene stood there, looking at the sky. The aura she could see was unbelievable, and very scary.
Even the sound of Priss' screeching tires as she pulled up next to her didn't seem to startle her. "Where have you been?" Priss asked, exasperation in her voice. She noticed Nene was looking at something. When she followed Nene's gaze, her eyes bulged out at the sight of the column-like beam of light, "Holy shit, what the hell is that?"
"T-that's Ranma's aura!" Nene replied, still staring. When she realized that Priss was there, she turned toward her and quickly said, "Priss, Ryoga went there to stop Ranma. He said that for something like that to happen, Ranma must have gone berserk. Ranma might end up killing people if we don't stop him,"
"What?" Priss said through her helmet, "R-Ranma went berserk? What the hell are you talking about? He isn't some boomer!" "No, he's worse. He's a person that doesn't know Akane can self-heal if she gets hurt...or that she'll shut down for a while when badly damaged," Nene replied matter-of-factly. Priss didn't like the thought of that, not one single bit, "I-I better go after Ryoga!" She jerked back on the throttle and peeled out for a second before she went racing down the street toward the flaring aura in the distance.
Nene, realizing that she wouldn't be able to make it there on foot, decided to get to the nearest phone to tell her friends of what was happening.
Ranma went totally berserk at the sight of seeing Akane die for the second time. As he held her limp body in his arms, he lost totally control of when kept him sane all these years. Everything came rushing in a deluge of emotions as he had to experience the pain of losing the love of his life a second time.
His ki flared magnificently, so magnificent that a massive column of ki shot up toward the sky, splitting even the clouds looming above.
If the boomers surrounding were able to experience fear, they would all cower as they saw their target start glowing a terrific shade of red, his aura surrounding him, enveloping, rising high into the air, the light blinding.
Ranma slowly got up, no longer in control of his body, no longer caring. He had let his emotions take control of him, his ki growing exponentially.
"Akane!" he screamed, raising his hands toward the heaven, almost cursing God for taking her away from him for the second time. He turned toward the group of high tech-boomers, "You're all going to die! You're going to wish you were never created!"
He ran toward the nearest boomer at lightning speeds, his arms glowing as a massive ki-blast expanded in his hands. Before any for the boomers could react, Ranma struck a boomer's chest with an open palm, releasing his ki-blast upon contact. The blast exploded outward, taking everything in its path, even Ranma. But Ranma had remained unscathed. Buildings crumbled from the shear shockwave, windows shattering, the ground shaking.
The rest of the boomers immediately opened fire on Ranma, spraying the proximity with everything they've got, missiles, bullets, lasers, bombs, grenades...everything. Ranma stood still, every projectile hitting him, yet causing him no harm.
"My face is the last thing you'll see before you cease to exist!" Ranma said, as everything exploded in front of him, nothing touching him, his aura impenetrable, melting every single projectile before it touched him.
He ran forward toward the closest boomer and grabbed its arms, ripping them off its torso as it continued to fire at him. As bullets continued to spray toward him, Ranma took the boomer's arms and hit the armless boomer with them, knocking the head off with an easy swing.
Even though the boomer would no longer function, Ranma would utterly destroy it. As the boomer fell backward, Ranma threw the arms away and planted both hands on the boomer's chest, sending two ki-blasts into it. The dead boomer disintegrated into nothing from the extreme heat, melting into nothing but a pile of goo.
"Stop him!" Madigan said, taking many steps backwards as she saw Ranma ravage the third and then the forth boomer with massive ki-blasts. Her heart beat rapidly, knowing that within moments, she was going to die. As she saw Ranma rip another boomer's arms off, then its legs, and then the head, and then finally destroying the torso with a flurry of punches, she froze, terrified beyond belief.
Carper grabbed Madigan's hands, "We have to get outta here, and fast! He'll kill us! He'll kill us! He's gone berserk!" He tried to tug Madigan away but she was frozen from fear, fear of death.
None of the projectiles were hitting him, all of them melting before they could touch him due to his aura. He was literally, unstoppable, like a god, "You're all gonna die! Every one of ya!" he said as he grabbed another boomer's rifle, shoving the weapon into its mouth and opening fire, blowing the boomer's mainframe through the back of its titanium skull, and then immediately grabbing the boomer by its arms so it wouldn't fall, only to send a ki-blast right into its chest, incinerating it. He then proceeded toward the next boomer, destroying it with ease, then moving on to the next. He didn't bother to even destroy the boomers, but rather, utterly incinerate them, turning them into melted metal or something that of nuts and bolts, not even stopping when the boomer was not functioning, venting his frustration and hatred and emotions into its totally destruction.
"The bullets aren't hitting him!" Carper said, giving Madigan's arms another tug, "We have to get out of here!" When she stood completely still, Carper gritted his teeth, knowing that he was going to have to carry her to safety...if there was such thing as safety from something like that monster destroying all those boomers.
Ranma continued to ravage every single boomer in his path, destroying each and every one one by one, taking his time, making sure nothing would become of what remained of the destroyed boomers, not bothering to destroy several at once due to the chance that one of them could survive.
The massacre lasted no more than a minute, and Carper couldn't get far, what with carrying Madigan and his legs trembling from fear. Pretty soon, nothing but silence.
Carper didn't dare to look back, knowing that all the boomers were destroyed, not Ranma having fallen. He knew, without a doubt, that Ranma was still standing. As Carper tried to run away, he regretted ever having attempted to stop Ranma. He and Madigan should have left him alone. He should have given up and resigned from Genom, knowing that it was useless to attempt to stop Ranma...but he had been arrogant...and he was going to die because of this.
Carper was stopped as he fell forward, tripping over his jello-like legs. He and Madigan tumbled forward onto the ground. Madigan quickly sat up, realizing what had happened, but soon sated scooting backwards as she caught sight of Ranma.
"S-stay away from me!" she shouted through terrified lips, tears flowing from her eyes.
Carper quickly crawled to her side, only the look up and catch sight of his destruction.
Ranma stood before the two terrified people, his aura blazing, "It's useless running! You two are going to die! Accept it! No matter how hard you run, or for how long, you will never escape my blast!"
He closed his eyes, concentrating all his ki into one final blast, knowing that this blast would destroy him and everything in his path. He didn't care anymore. He had nothing to live for.
"Sep-" he slowly started, bringing his hands forward, his palms facing the Madigan and Carper, "puk-"
Ryoga caught sight of Ranma as he rounded the corner, grateful that his lack of direction didn't lead him somewhere he didn't want to be. As he saw Ranma standing before two individuals, he knew, that Ranma was going to summon his strongest ki-blast, the same kind of blast Ryoga had witnessed while he and Ranma were in the slums.
"ku" Ranma slowly said, his aura slowly starting to turn bright red, far more brilliant than the red already enveloping him, electricity shooting back and forth between his fingertips.
"No!" Ryoga said, his tears flowing from his eyes as he saw Akane's limp body in the middle of the street, surrounded by what remained of the boomers. But he didn't bother to stop by Akane's side. He had to stop Ranma, and fast. If Ranma pulled off his blast in a city this densely populated, millions would die.
"Stop!" he shouted again.
"Mo-" Ranma slowly said, his aura starting to turn gold "kou Takabi-"
"Shi Shi Hakodan!" Ryoga shouted, knowing he was too far to stop Ranma. The only way he could stop him was to hit him with one of his own ki-blasts. A massive ball of energy erupted from Ryoga's hands, heading straight toward Ranma's back at deafening speeds, the ground melting below it.
The blast struck Ranma's back directly right before Ranma released his strongest ki-blast ever. The blast Ryoga had send from his hands should have killed Ranma instantly, but Ranma only staggered forward from the impact, losing his concentration. But he quickly recovered, wanting to kill these two terrified individuals for taking Akane's life from him. He didn't care that he had just been struck in the back with something meant to kill him. He didn't even feel it, having gone over the edge to care anymore.
Madigan and Carper's eardrums popped burst from the deafening sound of Ryoga's ki-blast hitting Ranma's back. The winded created from the impact caused them to almost be blown backwards, but Ranma's body protected them.
Ryoga, while still running toward Ranma, saw him as he was beginning to attempt another blast "No! Stop! Shi Shi Hakodan! Shi Shi Hakodan! Shi Shi Hakodan!"
He threw three consecutive ki-blast one right after another, each one hitting Ranma squarely on his back, every single one enough to kill him. But Ranma still remained standing, only staggering forward from the impact. But by the time the third blast was supposed to hit him, Ranma turned around and swatted the ki-blast out of the way, sending it into a nearby building, destroying it completely.
Ryoga almost skidded to a halt as he caught sight of Ranma in his rage. He saw Ranma peering at him through piercing eyes, revenge and death evident in his pupils. For the first time in his life, Ryoga was scared, even taking a step back. But he had to stand his ground.
Ranma walked forward, ignoring Madigan and Carper. He would take care of them later. It didn't matter if they ran. They won't escape his blast.
"You stay out of this, Ryoga!" Ranma shouted, his voice not his own.
Ryoga's visage hardened, "No! I can't let you-" His sentence was cut short as Ranma lunged forward, running toward him at an intense speed and grabbing Ryoga by his throat with one arm and lifting him up. Ryoga, even with his intense strength and attempts to prevent Ranma from squeezing, found Ranma's grip almost overpowering. He could feel himself slowly starting to go into unconsciousness as the circulation of blood to his brain was being stopped.
Ryoga closed his eyes and raised a hand pointed it toward Ranma chest, releasing yet another ki-blast. The blast hit Ranma chest with such impact that Ranma was blown backwards. Unfortunately, he didn't let go. All he did was stagger backwards.
"Kashuu Tenshin Amaguriken!" Ranma shouted as he released his grip, punching Ryoga hundreds of times before gravity took its course and let Ryoga fall to the ground. When he did touch the ground, Ryoga keeled over, blood flowing from his mouth.
"I-I won't let you do it," Ryoga said, his vision blurring. Everything went white as Ranma slammed his elbow right into the back Ryoga's skull, the force of the impact sending Ryoga's body right into the asphalt. Ryoga should have lost consciousness but he could allow himself to black out. Slowly, he rose to his feet, catching sight of Ranma's back as he started walking toward where Madigan and Carper were, the two of them still cowering.
Ryoga staggered forward and tapped Ranma on his shoulder. When Ranma turned around, Ryoga struck Ranma in the face with all his might, enough power behind his punch to destroy an entire mountain. The impact of Ryoga fist hitting Ranma face sent such a shockwave that windows of building from miles around shattered from the vibrations, people probably getting heart attacks because the vibrations would cause their hearts to skip a beat, the ground rippling like a ripple in a pond.
Ranma staggered backwards, but immediately regained his balance. He immediately went into a crouching position and swept one of Ryoga's legs out, causing Ryoga to tilt backwards, balancing on one leg, only to have Ranma follow the sweep up with a wicked ax kick right into Ryoga's chest, him slamming bodily into the ground once again.
Ryoga knew he had lost. He could feel himself losing consciousness and fast. Everything had already gone black and he knew that several ribs were broken. It hurt to breath, and he wouldn't be able to fight anymore in this condition.
But before everything went black, he said, "Ranma, Akane's still alive...,"
He closed his eyes as darkness descended on him.
What Ryoga had said seemed to snap Ranma back to reality, "S-she's alive?" His aura died down to a bluish hue as he ran toward where Akane's limp body way, running in the opposite direction for Madigan and Carper, but not before he turned toward them and said, "You better pray she alive!"
Ranma ran over to where Akane was, kneeling down next to her. He felt for a pulse, but there was none. There hadn't been a pulse before when he checked for it. He pressed his head up against her chest, listening for something, like a heartbeat, hearing nothing.
"They're dead," Ranma said, his sense of rage starting to come back. Akane was dead and he would have his avenge. It wasn't even him who was speaking but rather another part of Ranma, the part that he kept buried deep within him.
Just as Ranma got up to proceed toward Madigan and Carper, his aura flaring up, Priss rounded the corner on her motorcycle. She was forced to skid to a halt, almost slamming into Ranma. She lifted the visor of her helmet and said, "Ranma, thank god we've found you. There's some important things I want to tell you,"
Ranma just looked at Priss, almost not recognizing her, "What do you want?"
He looked over Ranma's shoulder and saw Akane lying motionless in the middle of the street, in a small puddle of oil, which resembled quite like blood "A-Akane..," she said, hopping over her bike and proceeding toward Akane, taking off and dropping her helmet on the ground.
Ranma stepped in front of her protectively, wanting no one near her, "Stay away from her!"
"Ranma, I'm here to help," Priss said, looking up into his eyes. As she gazed at him, there was something to him she couldn't recognize like this man was someone she had never seen before. His eyes were cold, merciless, not like the warm and soft eyes that Ranma had. Ranma's head tilted toward one side as he looked at her, "How?"
She looked down toward Akane, her eyes sympathetic as she said, "Akane isn't dead. She has redundancy backup systems. She, like every advanced form of boomer, when damaged to a great extent, will shut itself down so its internal systems could start regenerating its broken circuitry...to an extent. She'll live, but were going to have to fix her,"
"S-she'll live?" Ranma said, his eyes widening.
"Yes, but she won't be able to function like she quite could," Priss continued, "Some of her motor skills will probably be problematic. It'll be akin to learning to walk once again. But, if we replace all the damaged internal motors, the things her internal system won't be able to regenerate, she'll be as good as new, even better if you replace them with better parts,"
Ranma smiled, almost back to his normal self, "She's going to live! She's going to live!" Priss caught sight of Ryoga lying motionless in the middle of the street and said, "W-what happened to Ryoga?" She ran passed Ranma, whom was now kneeling over Akane's still form, and up to Ryoga, sitting him upright, his head leaning against her shoulder, "Ryoga, are you all right?"
Ryoga said nothing. Blood gently trickled down his mouth, some of it on to Priss' motorcycle outfit. His breathing was unsteady, forced, "What happened to Ryoga?"
"I don't remember. I think I was too angry to know what I did," Ranma said, trying to remember, "Don't worry, he'll live. He heals quickly. The only way to kill him, aside from dropping a nuke on his head is to kill him while unconscious, otherwise, he'll be back to his normal annoying self,"
She could see blood soaking into Ryoga's shirt up by his chest. One of his ribs must have broken past his skin.
"Some of his ribs must be broken," she said, concern in her voice.
Ranma walked over to where Ryoga and Priss were and kicked Ryoga in the leg, "Yo, Ryoga, wake up. Get up. Enough of the melodrama, man,"
"He can't because he's unconscious and hurt!" Priss said, her fists tightening at the thought of how cruel Ranma could be toward Ryoga, even if they hated each other.
Ranma smirked, "It's better he remain that way, but I'll cure him. Here, give him to me," Ranma picked Ryoga's still form and threw him over his shoulder, casually heading toward a restaurant that lined the streets, now deserted after its customers witnessed the carnage right outside.
"I'll be back in a moment," Ranma said over his shoulder, "Please, look over Akane for me" Priss watched as Ranma entered a restaurant, Ryoga slung bodily over his shoulder, only to see Ranma sent flying bodily from the restaurant and slamming into the adjacent building moments later, Ryoga no where in sight.
"What the?" she said.
Ryoga emerged from the restaurant, perfectly all right except for the blood stain on his shirt and a bit damp, glowing red, "How dare you break one of my ribs! I'll kill you!"
Inside the restaurant, Ranma had entered the kitchen and splashed Ryoga with cold water, turning him into his cursed form, only to splash him with warm water a second later, turning Ryoga back to his original form, but this time, totally healed of his wounds.
Ranma casually hopped onto his feet and said, "You moron, I was the one who just saved you! If it weren't for me knowing the extent of your curse, you would still be unconscious. I was the one who cured you, and this is the thanks I get?" He ran toward Ryoga and punched him in the face, sending Ryoga flying bodily right back into the restaurant.
"Curse?" Priss said to herself for she had heard Ranma and Ryoga's conversation. She remembered hearing about Ranma being cursed in some way, but didn't exactly know how or why or what it is.
"What curse? And how did Ryoga get healed like that? And why is he wet?" she asked to no one in particular, still hoping for an answer.
Ranma was standing at in front of the restaurant, instigating Ryoga, "You're a moron! You're so damn slow! How can you not avoid my punch? I was running at you from across the street!"
Ranma even went as far as to hook both his index fingers in his mouth and stick out his tongue "Beeee!"
But as he did so, a ki-blast erupted from the restaurant, hitting Ranma in the chest. Ranma clutched his chest in pain, falling to his feet.
"Ha, if I had put a fraction of what I could have into that blast, you would be dead right now!" Ryoga said, stepping out into the street, a smirk on his face.
"What the hell are you guys doing?" Priss shouted toward them, unable to understand exactly how they could continue fighting like they always, as if nothing had happened, "Akane needs our help!" Ranma and Ryoga stopped their fighting at the sound of Akane's name, both of them focusing their gaze toward her, their eyes piercing.
Ryoga nodded as he said, "You're right, Priss. She needs our help," "And how are we going to do that?" Ranma asked.
Ryoga had a defeated look on his face, for he had no idea how to go about helping her. It was beyond his knowledge, "I dunno..,"
"Do you have any ideas?" Ranma asked Priss, only to have her shake her head in defeat. When Ranma asked if Nene or Sylia could perhaps help, Priss couldn't answer for them. Even though they did know quite a bit about boomers and how they worked, the technology used for Akane might be beyond they experience.
Ranma snapped his fingers as an idea came into his mind, "I know! We'll take her back to Genom Tower. If they built her, then they'll be able to fix her,"
Without even waiting for a reply, Ranma walked over to Akane's still body and, ever so gently, picked her up, her head. While carrying her, he headed toward the looming Genom Tower in the distant horizon.
"I'm coming with you," Ryoga said, immediately following in step right next to Ranma. Ranma didn't refuse, nor did he want to. He walked by Madigan and Carper, who had remained where they were, watching everything, hearing everything. He didn't even bother to glance in their direction, his purpose to get Akane back to Genom Tower. He even knew exactly who he was going to ask to help, that young scientist that had brought Akane back to life in the first place, Lisa.
The two of them proceeded toward Genom Tower, leaving behind Priss to watch them as they got smaller and smaller as the distance between them increased. As she stood there, watching, she knew there was really nothing she could do. She couldn't stop Ranma or Ryoga, and they could pretty much whatever they wanted. But one thing truly confused her.
"Weren't they just trying to kill each other?" she muttered to herself, staring. Not too long after they rounded a corner, Priss turned her attention toward Madigan and Carper. Her eyes creased, her visage cold, "You're coming with me. I dunno what we're going to do with you two, but you're gonna pay for all the trouble you've caused,"
Madigan and Carper both turned their attention toward her. It took a short while for the two of them to realize that they were the only ones remaining and Priss was all alone. They both stood up to face her as Priss made her way toward them.
Priss, without even thinking twice, punched Carper in the face, hard. He had been caught totally off guard, falling backwards onto his back, his mouth all bloody.
"You son of a bitch!" she spat.
"C-carper!" Madigan shouted, taking a step forward, only to see Priss blocking her path.
Priss smirked and said, "I've been wanting to do this for a long long time!" She then punched her, "Take that, you bitch!" She was about to punch her again if it weren't for the fact that Madigan fell to the ground unconscious. She contemplated giving her a few good swift kicks in the ribs for good measure but chose against that.
Carper got back to his feet, furious, his fists clenched tightly, his knuckles whitening.
Priss' brow creased menacingly as she rolled her sleeves up. She was going to enjoy knocking some sense into this man if it was the last thing she did. Sure, he would put up a fight, perhaps even get a good shots in, but she was way too angry to care. She would show him a world of pain.
She taunted him, "C'mon, asshole, take your best shot," Her fists were clenched, cracking her knuckles. She was mentally assessing her opponent. Although Carper was heavier, stronger, and taller, she was more experienced at hand-to-hand combat, and she had been in fights before. Carper took a step forward, not caring about the fact that Priss was a female. He took a wild swing at her, his punch faster than Priss had expected, grazing by her face by inches. Luckily, she had reacted in time to sidestep at the last moment and then counter attack.
He didn't even get a chance to react to Priss' counterattack when Priss brought her front leg up right into his groin, sending him keeling over in pain and gasping for breath. While he was on his hands and knees, that was when a elbow rained down on the back of his head, knocking him unconscious.
"You stay down!"
Lisa was startled by the sudden appearance of Ranma. She was in the laboratory alone collecting data on the heat resistance of a boomer's exoskeleton and on how to improve it. She didn't really want to help further the destructiveness of the boomers being created, but she needed the money. Ranma entered the lab, Akane in his arms, Ryoga following behind.
Lisa's heart lest into her throat as she caught sight of Ranma, "R-Ranma. W-
what are you doing here?"
Ranma gently laid Akane down on the same stainless steel table where Akane had first came to life, "You've gotta help her! Please!"
He walked around the table to stand before Lisa, his presence almost overwhelming. There was this strange aura surrounding him that she couldn't see, yet she could feel.
Lisa gazed down at Akane, shock showing on her face at the sight of how damaged Akane was. She could even see the mechanical insides that kept her alive, her inner circuitry melted or cut, and her exoskeletal armor riddled with bullet holes. It wasn't a pretty sight. And knowing that Akane was considered her greatest achievement, made Lisa want to cry.
"Please, help her. I don't know what to do or who to go to but you," Ranma said pleadingly.
"She's taken quite a bit of damage. A majority of all her motors and gears and circuitry would have to be replaced," Lisa said sullenly. Even though everything looked bleak for Akane, Lisa wouldn't let Akane cease functioning...not without a fight.
"Can you help her?" Ryoga asked.
Lisa nodded, almost glad that her experience gave her the knowledge to do such a complicated procedure, and to also see Ranma's face turn from pleading to that of shear relief. She smiled back, glad to be able to tell him she was competent enough to save Akane.
"How much time will you need?" Ranma asked, "I mean, we broke into here by force, and pretty soon, they'll be swarming this entire floor,"
"I dunno, about five hours," Lisa said. She didn't really care that she was doing this for the enemy of the company she worked for. It didn't really matter to her. She cared too much about her work to care about Genom. Actually, she didn't really care all that much for Genom. It was the money that kept her from leaving, that and her love for working on complicated machinery and bringing life into them. It was just that Genom provided both that made it seem worthwhile for her, "I can probably do it in four if I tried,"
Just as Ranma was about to say his thanks, an alarm sounded.
Ranma smiled, and then said, "Well, it seems that Genom finally realized that we're already in the building. We'll keep all those boomers distracted while you do your job. Take your time,"
"B-but how will you be able to stop them for a few hours?" she had to ask.
Ranma smirked, back to his carefree self, and said, "Don't worry. I can keep them distracted for much more than the necessary time...since I won't be doin' this alone, right Ryoga?"
Ryoga nodded. Ranma didn't even need to ask for his help. He would do anything to help Akane out. And if that meant fighting boomers for an extended period of time, then so be it.
"We'll keep them more than distracted,"
Lisa watched as Ranma and Ryoga proceeded out of the laboratory, leaving her alone to do her work. But as they were leaving, Lisa heard the two of them arguing.
"This time, don't throw your damn Shi Shi Hakodan's like last time. Y'hear, pig boy?"
"Don't call me that!"
Ranma and Ryoga entered the laboratory just as Lisa was finishing her final repairs.
"I can't believe it. You actually headbutted a boomer to death," Ranma said, his voice showing that of bewilderment, "But then again, you have a hard head so that's probably understandable,"
"You take that back!" Ryoga spat vehemently. Ranma ignored Ryoga and turned toward Lisa, "Is everything okay? We figured we should check up to see how you were doing,"
Lisa wiped the sweat from her brow with the sleeve of her lab coat, her face a bit dirty from some grease and oil she had to dig through to remove and install some parts. She had heard what Ranma had said upon entering and wondered if what he said was true, that his friend had headbutted a boomer to death. It only took her a moment to realize that it was quite possible.
"I'm not going to ask what that you were talking about before," she said "But anyway, Akane is almost all repaired. There's just a few more things I have to do and she'll be as good as new, perhaps even better. It'll probably take her a while to get used to the new body because I pretty much reconstructed an entirely new exoskeleton for her,"
Lisa walked around to the computer and typed in a few numbers to recalibrate the stimulus sensitivity now that the sensory input devices were more precise. After that, she fiddling with several other parameters that would help Akane function better. Lisa had done things to Akane that she had only dreamed of, too scared to actually suggest those idea to Genom, scared that they might abuse the ideas.
"Akane's going to be fine," Lisa added, smiling, satisfied with herself. The bliss that she was experiencing even made her more relaxed. She even bothered to ask Ranma a question she had been meaning to ask since she first met him. She had been very curious as to how Ranma became the way he was.
"Ranma," she started.
"Yeah?" Ranma turned his attention from Akane and onto Lisa.
"There's something I've been meaning to ask you," she said, a bit nervous, "Um, this had been bugging me for quite some time, but I guess now is better than never,"
"Sure, what is it?"
Lisa took a deep breath and then said, "It's just some questions I've been meaning to ask. That's all,"
"Sure, go right ahead and ask," his voice was soft.
"Where do you live?"
"I used to live in Nerima District, before those boomers destroyed my life. After that, I went to China and trained in the mountains. I came back to Japan only recently," came the reply.
"Did you have a family there?"
Ranma replied, his voice almost stoic, "I was betrothed to Akane. I lived with Akane's house with her father and two sister and my pop. They all died during that massacre,"
"Oh, I'm sorry to hear that," Lisa apologized, "Maybe I should stop asking questions,"
"No. Don't worry about it. Go right ahead and ask. It's not like I'm got anywhere to go after this,"
"Did you and your father get along?"
Ranma thought about that for a moment, turning toward Ryoga, "Did my pop and I get along?" When Ryoga shrugged his shoulders, Ranma turned toward Lisa, "I don't really know. I mean, there were more times than not that I wanted to kill him. Because of him, I ended up getting betroth to several fiancees,"
Lisa smiled, knowing that all her questioning had finally gave her the Answer, "That must mean you're Ranma Saotome, ne?"
"Yes, how did you know?"
"When we first met, you said your name was Ranma, and that was it. Even though I only had your name, I recognized your face. I've seen you before, and it turns out, that I've met you before," Lisa said, wondering how Ranma was going to react. When he was about to ask how, she continued on, "I lived in the same town as you but I moved shortly before the massacre. I once helped you out. If I remember correctly, two sisters had come to claim the...what were you heir to...oh yeah, the School of Anything Goes Martial Arts. Anyway, I remember, when I was very young, helping you out with your practicing. You were training yourself to be faster. Well, I was one of the little kids who threw bricks at you, while you were in your cursed form, yes, I know that you're cursed, and I was the one who managed to hit you in the face with the brick,"
Ranma's eyes lit up, "That was you? I remember that day. That was, wow, a long long time ago. Yeah, these two illegitimate daughters of Akane's father showed up at the school and claimed themselves heir to the dojo. What were their names...oh yeah, Natsumi and Kurimi. Well, when Akane and I fought, we lost. So, I figured I must train my female side to be faster, and one of the tasks was to have it where a bunch of little kids threw bricks at me and I had to smash them with my fists so they won't hit me. Of course, one hit me in the face, and the next thing I remember, I was being pummeled by dozens of school kids. And you were the one that hit me in the face with that brick?"
Lisa looked down at the ground, "I-I'm sorry. I didn't mean to,"
Ranma laughed aloud, "That's so cool. What a small world!"
"Well, it was kinda hard not noticing you," Lisa added. "How come you bring this up now?" Ranma asked.
Lisa replied nervously, "Well, I didn't really know if it was you. I mean, the name sounded familiar, and so did the face, but it was so long ago. I assumed it might be you, but I wasn't too sure. That's why I asked you those questions. It helped confirm that my assumption was correct,"
"Well, I guess we finally meet again then. That brick that hit me really helped humble me," Ranma said.
"By the way, how did the match go? I mean, I remember you were doing this all so you can have a rematch," she asked, speaking to him as if she had known him all his life. It was unbelievable, knowing someone like Ranma. And the thought that Ranma remembered her made this day the happiest day of her life. Not only did she get to work on and fix her pet project and add things to it that she only dreamed of, but she and Ranma actually knew each other, albeit slightly.
Ranma smirked, "We won. We got the dojo back,"
Lisa, for some reason, knew that Ranma would have won. Now that she knew that Ranma was from her past, she could let go of that nagging feeling she had ever since she met him. That allowed her to get back to repairing Akane. All she had left was activating Akane, which she did, pressing a button, "Well, Akane's been repaired. She's as good as new, if not better,"
Ranma smirked and said jokingly, "Hey, maybe you could reprogram her not to act so much like an uncute tomboy"
Akane's eyes opened as she sat upright. She looked around the room to survey her surroundings. When her gaze rested on Ranma, her brows creased as she got onto her feet and punched Ranma in the face, hard.
"I heard that!"
"Let go of me!" Madigan shouted, straining against the iron bars. She and Carper had been placed a small cell in what remained of the Knight Sabers' headquarters. Priss had realized that Madigan and Carper would be useful to them, thus, she brought them back with her, but not without a fight. Madigan had been easy to knock out, Carper a bit harder.
Priss shook her head, "Not until you tell us where that chip is," Whatever the chip was that Ranma had been talking about, it was definitely worth pursuing if Ranma seemed hell bent on getting it.
"No!" Madigan shouted, "I'll never tell you!"
Priss' eyes creased, her anger rising, "Do you know idea what kinda predicament you're in right now? No one knows that either of you two are in here. Genom may know of our hideout, but there's no one there to send the boomers after us,"
Madigan seemed to become very silent. It was true, she and Carper were in charge of all the boomers' operations and seeing to them that they did their job correctly. But she had to lie, "You're wrong about that. We're not the only ones! Genom will realize that we never came back and will send boomers out to find us!"
"Yeah, right, like Genom cares about you," Ranma's voice entered the corridor where Madigan and Carper's cell was. Priss turned toward Ranma, a bit startled by his sudden appearance. How had he managed to get in here without a sound. Even though the headquarters were damaged, some of the systems still worked, security being one of them.
"Genom doesn't care about you," Ranma said, walking forward to stand in front of the cell, "If I recall correctly, when we first met, I ended up saving your life. Don't you remember? You two were in the same room as me and all those boomers opened fire at me, not even caring about the fact that you two were standing in front of me," Madigan's lips pursed. She remembered that clearly. That incident had given her some doubts as to her importance to Genom. If she weren't expendable, then the boomers would have never fired, not wanting to hit her or Carper. But they had...
Ranma turned toward Priss, a smile on his lips, "Guess what, Akane's all right,"
"What?" Madigan said, shock in her voice, "We sprayed enough bullets into her to destroy her!"
Ranma turned toward Madigan, almost glowing, his anger growing, "Yes, you did! And I should have killed you for that!" He reached an arm forward and gripped Madigan's shirt collar. With a woman like her, it was best to scare her straight.
"Let go of her!" Carper shouted, running forward and trying to break Ranma grip from Madigan's shirt collar. He gripped the wrist of Ranma's outstretched arm and pulled it backwards, using the steel bars as a fulcrum on Ranma's elbow, hoping to hyperextend his arm. Ranma's arms remained still, also like steel bars. As Carper continued to struggle, Ranma pulled Madigan close to him, leaning forward, their face almost inches apart, "Give me a reason why I shouldn't kill you!"
Priss gasped. Was Ranma really going to kill her. He wouldn't! Would he? Whatever the case, she had to stop him, "Let her go, Ranma!"
Ranma held onto her for one last second before releasing his grip, Madigan falling backwards on to the ground.
"You asshole!" she spat, "You'll pay for this!"
Ranma turned toward Madigan again, "How? Genom is gonna crumble. You won't have your precious boomers to protect ya. And exactly why are you like this anyway? Why do you work for that corporation? They're bad!"
Madigan became silent.
"I mean, are you, like, blind to what they're doing? You know what that OMS thingie does," Ranma said, "It's being created to control any and every boomer ever created through some kinda uplink. Meaning, if Genom wanted to, it could have every boomer on the face of this planet go berserk at the same time...or worse, have them all coming together to form some huge army made of everything from military superboomers to house maintenance drones,"
Priss' lips straightened. She had hated Genom, and now she hated it even more.
"H-how did you find that out?" Madigan dared to ask. What Ranma had said was correct, every word of it.
Ranma flashed a toothy grin, and pulled a tiny chip out of one of his pockets, "Cause I got the chip when I brought Akane back to Genom tower to be taken care of. And while I was there, I did a little searching. Well, I found it, and I'm positive this is the real one I saw. I also stole a lotta money while I was at it and hid it,"
Madigan lunged forward through the bars and grabbed the chip from Ranma's hand. She then quickly scurried to the corner, protecting it.
Ranma shook his head, "What's your name?"
"You don't need to know her name," Carper said defensively.
Ranma said, "No, I don't. But just think, you are in a cell. The only thing you could do is destroy that chip, and I don't really care if you do. If you do, then that means I'll have to destroy the Tower, and I'm positive I would have a lot more fun doing so. But either way, Genom is going down. If you want to try and protect your precious Genom, go right ahead, but it'll do no good,"
Madigan could feel tears starting to form. She had to protect Genom...Genom was her life. All she did was hug the chip closer to her bosom, wanting to protect Genom, her life.
Ranma placed his hands on the bars, "I don't understand why you're protecting Genom. How would you feel if your family was killed because of Genom, something that could have been easily prevented?"
"I don't have family," she replied, "They all died in the Second Kanto Earthquake!"
"And how will you feel if you found out that Genom was the cause of that earthquake?" Ranma's voice remained steady, pounding its point across, "Thousands of people died in that Nerima Massacre! Don't you get it! It could have been prevented, but Genom wanted to tests its new breed of boomers!" Ranma found himself almost getting angry, having to bring back old memories, memories her preferred to forget.
"You know Genom made those boomers go berserk on purpose!" Ranma continued, his eyes intensely on Madigan, "Yet you still work for them! Why? Do you actually enjoy seeing people die?" Ranma turned toward Priss, "Can you please open the cell, for me?"
Priss looked at Ranma for a moment and then nodded. She pressed a key code on the panel next to the cell and the locks released. Ranma said his thanks and then entered the cell. He walked up to Carper and grabbed him by his neck, "How would you feel if I killed him?"
"Ranma," Priss said, "Let go of him!" She ran into the cell to stop Ranma. "Let go of him!" Madigan said, tears streaming from her eyes, trying to wrench Ranma's steel grip off of Carper, much to no avail as his grip remained taut, "Please! Let go of him!"
"Well, how will you feel if I killed him, someone you cared for?" Ranma said, "Then you'll probably have no one left in your life. You'll be all alone..,"
Priss reached into the holster she kept in her boots and pulled it out, pointing toward Ranma, "Let go of him, Ranma. I'll shoot. I can't stand here idle while you kill him, even if he is scum!"
"He's not scum!" Madigan spat defensively, almost sobbing uncontrollably.
Ranma moved too fast that Priss didn't even realize he had taken her gun away until she saw him holding it. It happened faster than a blink of an eye.
"Well? How will you feel?" Ranma said, his emphasis on the last word.
"I-I'll hate you!" Madigan said, crying, "I-I'll track you down to the ends of this earth and kill you!"
Ranma nodded as he released his hold of Carper, Carper falling to the ground, gasping for air. He turned around and handed the gun back to Priss, who was still amazed at Ranma's speed, before he turned back toward Madigan, "Well, now you know how I feel..," he said.
At that moment, a missile flew into the corridor and just missed taking Ranma out with him. It struck the wall at the other end of the corridor, causing the walls to cave in.
"What the?" was all he managed to say, right before he was struck in the chest with another missile. He was propelled backwards from the force and into the wall, and then falling to the floor Priss quickly rushed to Ranma's side, "Ranma, are you okay?"
"Ite! That's twice I got hit in the chest! What's this world comin' to? Who's shooting those missiles?"
Ranma's question was answered when the sight of a large and very menacing boomer rounded the corner of the corridor, coming face to face with Ranma, a large rocket launcher in its hands, a boomer sent by Genom alone with many others to retrieve the OMS chip that Ranma had stolen earlier. Priss, seeing the boomer, reacted instinctively and pointed her gun toward the boomer, opening fire.
"That's not gonna do anythin' to it!" Ranma said, getting to his feet. It didn't even bother him that the sounds of carnage was heard all about. It must mean the headquarters was under attack once again. He rubbed his chest a bit, as if he were having some kind of heartburn from eating something spicy, and then charged to boomer, narrowly dodging a missile, "If you wanna get rid of 'em, it's best to hit them with something very very strong...like this!"
Ranma slammed and open palm into the boomer's chest, exploding its artificial spine right out through the back of its exoskeleton. He turned toward Priss and gave her a smirk.
"What the hell's going on here?" Priss said, gingerly walking down the corridor toward the corner, a bit reluctant about peeking around, scared a missile would take her head out. When she finally did look and saw nothing, and then turned toward Ranma, she saw him opening the door to Madigan and Carper's cell.
"You better follow us if you wanna get outta here alive," Ranma said.
"W-what are you doing?" Priss asked.
Ranma gave her a rather innocent look as he replied, "I'm lettin' them out. What does it look like I'm doing?" When he noticed she was about to ask why, he continued on to say, "If a missile comes flying down this corridor again, and god forbid it explodes near that cell, they're gonna die,"
Priss shook her head. What was she going to do with him? Didn't he realize that those two people he just let out were the ones who were trying to kill him just a short while ago? Ranma, with total disregard for his safety, poked his head around the corner and shouted, "Yo, Ryoga, you still alive?"
Sounds of mortal combat could be heard echoing through the corridor, down around a corner at the other end. Ranma and the others could hear gunfire and explosions.
"Hello? Ryoga? You alive? Anybody? I hear gunfire, but I don't hear anybody replying!" Ranma shouted down the corridor.
"Shut up, can't you see I'm busy!" came a harsh reply, emphasized with a ki-blast narrowly missing Ranma's head. The blast stuck a nearby wall, causing it to partially collapse on Ranma.
Madigan and Carper and Priss watched wide-mouthed as Ranma got up out of the rubble and brushed the debris out of his hair and clothes. He then poked his entire upper torso around the corner and extended and arm forward, sending his own ki-blast back down the corridor as a reply.
"Ha, gotcha!" Ranma said, raising an arm in triumph.
"What? You managed to hit a boomer?" Priss asked.
Ranma turned his attention onto Priss.
"Huh? No, of course not. I managed to hit Ryoga..," he replied with a chuckle.
Ryoga's head popped around the corner, looming just above Ranma's head. "How dare you hit me in the back with that!" Ryoga shouted, causing Ranma to start since his back had been toward him, "That hurt you know!"
Ranma turned toward Ryoga, just in time to see a missile hit Ryoga from the side. The explosion caused him to go flying bodily into a wall, slumping to the ground, hurt. Ranma, unfortunately, was caught in the explosion and engulfed in the flames since he was within such close proximity to Ryoga during the explosion. Luckily, Ranma was in front of Priss and Carper and Madigan, leaving them unharmed.
"Ryoga, you moron, look what happened!" Ranma said to Ryoga as Ryoga was slowly getting back onto his feet. Ranma pointed to himself and his now totally scorched shirt, "If you're gonna get blown up, don't get blown up near me. You got my shirt ruined,"
Ryoga was glowing brightly, "Your shirt? Your shirt? I just got hit with a goddamn missile and you're worried about your shirt!" Ranma got up on his feet, "So what? I got hit in the chest twice! Quit your complainin', will ya?"
A missile flew by Ryoga's head. Ryoga turned toward where the missile had come from and shouted, "Damn boomer, can't you see I'm busy?" And then shot a massive ki-blast from his hands and down the corridor, totally ravaging the boomer that happened to be in its path.
He turned toward Ranma, "Now, you! It's all your fault I got hit in the first place!"
Ranma peeked his head around the corner toward the dozen or so boomers coming down the corridor toward him and Ryoga, "Um, Ryoga, perhaps now is not the time to argue..,"
He reached forward and grabbed the arm of the still arguing Ryoga and pulled him around the corner, just in time as a dozen or so missiles flew right by where Ryoga had once been. Ranma and Ryoga quickly grabbed Priss and Carper and Madigan, running further down the corridor, away from the ensuing explosions.
They continued to run down the corridor until they had no where to go, a dead end that only branched off to a cell. The wall was the same one Ranma had been slammed into when that missile had hit him in the chest.
"Doesn't that suck..," Ranma commented, "We've got no place to go,"
He pointed toward the slightly caved in wall and said, "You see that, that was from me when I got hit in the chest...a second time!"
"Will you quite digressing?" Priss said, "We're trapped!"
Ranma turned toward the cell door at his right and reached forward, gripping one of the bars to open it.
"We're sitting ducks out here," Ranma said, "let's get back in the cell so well have some cover," When he tried to open it, it wouldn't move. The cell was automated, and thus, locked every time it was closed unless opened via typing it in on a key pad right next to it.
"Huh? How come this ain't openin'?" Ranma said.
The boomers rounded the corner, their weapons pointed toward Ranma and the group.
Madigan, realizing now was her chance to get away since the boomers won't open fire one their superiors, quickly took the initiative and grabbed Carper's hand and ran forward. The boomers won't open fire until the two of them were out of their line of fire.
The muscles in Ranma's arm flexed as he slide the cell door open, breaking the lock in the process. As the door slid open, he caught sight of Madigan and Carper making a run for it. He quickly turned toward Priss and pushed her into the cell. He didn't bother to push Ryoga because he could stand out in the middle of the corridor for all Ranma cared.
Ranma quickly ran after the fleeing Madigan and Carper and grabbed the two of them, one under each arm. As the boomers raised their weapons to open fire, Ranma had no where to go except straight ahead, right in the path boomers incoming fire.
Desperate, Ranma did the next best thing. The turned toward the wall "God, I hope this wall ain't totally concrete!" He then kicked the wall with all his might, sending it crashing inward. Luckily for him, the wall wasn't complete concrete and that there was another room on the other side.
Ranma jumped through the hole he had created just as dozens of missiles flew right by him. As he still held Madigan and Carper, he ran for the door on the other end of the room. He knew that in a second or so, a massive wall of flame was going to rip right through the room from that hole because Ryoga wouldn't stand there idle as the missiles destroyed the area by where he and Priss were.
As Ranma reached the halfway point to the door, an explosion ten times louder than the missiles ripped through the room as a massive ball of flame shot through the hole, beginning to engulf the entire room. Seeing that the door was closed, Ranma didn't have the time to stop and kick it down so he ran right through it, using his shoulder to break it down. The door flew open to reveal a pair of stairs that lead down to someplace very dark.
"I ain't goin' down there, it's dark!" Ranma said.
Madigan managed to glance backwards just in time to see the wall of flame heading straight toward them and shrieked in horror.
Without giving it much thought, Ranma lunged forward down the stairs and into the darkness, bringing Madigan and Carper down with him.
Everything was quiet for Ranma and Madigan and Carper. And also pitch dark.
"Hey, you two all right?" Ranma's voice echoed in the room. "I-I think so," came Madigan's reply.
"Ugh," Carper moaned. He was hurt.
"Damn, I can't see a thing, it's very dark!" Ranma said, "We need some light. Hold up,"
While in the dark, Ranma raised a hand toward the ceiling and slowly calling forth his ki, generating a tiny ball of energy. The room became illuminated by a faint glow, the shadows dancing as the tiny ball pulsated with energy.
Ranma had to concentrate on keeping the ki-blast at a minimum. It was quite ironic that Ranma had to concentrate to make his ki-blasts weaker instead of stronger. As he stood there, in the faint glow, it looked like he was some kind of arch angel shedding light down on the world below. Madigan quickly scuttled backward as she saw Ranma and what he was doing. He was generating light from his goddamn hand!
"Cool," Ranma said, "That's much better"
He looked around to survey his surroundings and quickly realized he was in some kind of storage facility. There were mechanical parts strewn about, a motorcycle engine here, a swingarm there, several repair tools in the far off corner. He saw Carper laying on his back, a small trickle of blood flowing down his forehead.
"C-Carper!" Madigan gasped as she rushed to Carper's side, "A-are you all right?"
"He's hurt," Ranma commented.
"No shit, asshole!" Madigan spat back, "And it's all your fault,"
Ranma said in a serious voice, "No, I actually saved him, and you for that matter. You shouldn't have run,"
"And why not?" Madigan spat back, "We had to get away somehow, and that was our only chance!"
"Eh? I dunno about you, but I think you were trying to get herself killed. Why on earth were you running toward those boomers in the first place?" Ranma said in a rather exasperated voice.
"We were trying to get away!"
"What? Didn't you see those boomers open fire as you ran toward 'em?" Ranma replied, almost feeling sorry for Madigan that she still believed Genom cared for her, "They don't care about you, they were gonna mow you down because you were in their path!"
Madigan was silent. She had noticed those boomers opening fire. But there must have been a reason...
"Will you quite bein' so naive?" Ranma said, "Genom doesn't care about you! God, what do you want, a boomer to put a bullet through you before you realize it?"
Ranma, one hand still producing the light, walked over to where Carper lay and kneeled down below him. He reached his free hand forward and placed it on Carper's chest.
"Get away from him!" Madigan shouted, pushing Ranma away.
The ball of energy shot from his fingertips and toward the ceiling because he momentarily lost his control over it when Madigan pushed him. The blast, albeit small, hit the ceiling and was strong enough to cause it to collapse. Ranma was about to punch the falling debris away but couldn't because there was no light, thus, he was forced to pull Madigan forward on top of Carper and he used his own body to shield them from the falling debris.
It took several moments before the debris stopped falling, burying them alive. When it did stop, Ranma slowly got back onto his feet, pushing the rubble off his back.
He raised his hand and produced yet another ball of light, "You done yet?"
Madigan was silent. She was a bit shaken but all right and so was Carper.
Ranma reached his free hand forward and placed it on Carper's chest and closed his eyes.
"W-what are you doing?" Madigan said protectively, stopping herself from pushing Ranma away.
Ranma glowed for several moments and then took his hand away. When he did, Carper seemed to be breathing a bit easier. "I was using my ki to heal him. He has several cracked ribs but will be all right," Ranma said, "Gee, a lotta people's been breakin' their ribs left and right nowadays,"
Madigan looked at Ranma oddly, and then at Carper and noticed Carper looked better off than before, "H-how did you just heal him?"
"I used my ki," Ranma said matter-of-factly "He'll be all right, but he'll need some rest..,"
Madigan was silent.
"Well, it looks like we're probably gonna be down here for a while because I can't blow my way out cause this room cause it's so small and I can't go about trying to remove the rubble cause it'll cause way too much dust," Ranma said after a short moment, walking around, his hand still raised for light, looking for a candle or something to produce some light. Luckily, he found one and put the energy ball near it and lit it.
Ranma sat down and sighed.
A very awkward moment ensued, neither Madigan nor Ranma saying anything. Finally, after a while, Ranma couldn't stand the silence and decided to break it, "How long have you and Carper going out?"
"G-going out?" Madigan said, rather surprised at the sudden question, "W-we're n-not going out,"
"Yeah, okay, whatever you say," Ranma said, shrugging his shoulders.
Madigan blushed, grateful that the light being produced by the candle was rather dim.
"Why are you trying to kill me and Ryoga?"
"What?" Madigan was shocked against by such a sudden question.
"Why are you trying to kill us?" Ranma repeated, "We're here trying to stop Genom yet you're trying to stop us every step of the way. Why? Why are you still helping Genom out? From what had just happened earlier, you should realize that Genom could care less about you, yet you still protect it...why?"
Madigan was very silent. What could she say? What should she say?
Ranma laid down on his back, closing his eyes, "Also, you still have the OMS chip thingie. I'd like that back sooner or later. But until then, there's nothing much to do but wait. I'm gonna go to sleep, I could sure use the rest," He turned on his side and rested his head on a small box that was used for gears.
Madigan looked at Ranma. If he was going to try and go to sleep, perhaps she could kill him while in his sleep. All she would need to do was find something that she could use as a weapon. She would attempt to kill him when possible.
"I'm not the bad guy you know..,"
For some reason, Madigan never attempted to execute her plan.
"Lemme alone, I'm tired," Ranma said sleepily. He went back to sleep.
The four girls and Akane looked at each other. The situation was quite odd. Ranma was on his side in the middle of the room, Madigan and Carper quietly sitting in the corner. It had taken several hours to remove all the rubble that had collapsed in front of the doorway that lead down to the storage area. It would had been quicker with Ryoga's help, but Ryoga couldn't help because he had gotten hurt protecting Priss from that explosion he had caused, using his body to protect her. He had slept for most of the digging, waking up only near the end. It also didn't make it easier that the girl's hardsuits had been damaged during their mortal combat with the boomers on the level above while Ryoga had gone downstairs for Ranma and Priss, thus, they had to use their bare hands and whatever tools they had. Akane had made the job easier but she was only one person, afterall.
"C'mon, get up, Ranma. We can't stay here anymore," Sylia said, wondering if she should give him a gentle kick but deciding against it.
Ranma slowly sat upright, rubbing his eyes, "What do ya mean? Oh, I guess after getting attacked for the second time here is a good enough reason to leave," He hopped on to his feet, awake, and stretched his well-defined arms out, "I guess it's about time we stop this Genom once and for all,"
"And how do you suppose we do that?" Priss asked, an arm resting on her hip.
Ranma didn't even need to think. He had planned on doing this earlier, "Let's attack their factories. If they can't make boomers, then they can't send 'em out to attack us, ne?" He turned toward Madigan, "Where's the factory? No, don't tell me. It's probably located someplace that's very inconvenient...like in some sub level below Genom Tower, ne?"
Madigan bit her lip. How the fuck does he know? Wait, he's only guessing...
Ranma pointed toward Madigan, a smile on his lips, "Ha! It is under the tower! And I got it on my first try! Damn, I'm good!"
"And modest, too," Akane added wryly.
"Thanks," Ranma said with a smile.
"You idiot, it was a form of sarcasm!" Akane spat.
Ranma gave a weak smile, "Oh, well, then you're an uncute tomboy for saying something like that," "Ranma!" Akane said, anger rising.
Ranma cleared his throat, immediately changing the subject, "Ahem, now that we know where the factory is, let's go attack it,"
Ryoga took a step forward, eyeing Ranma cautiously, "Ranma, exactly how many times have we been to Genom Tower? I mean, why not destroy the whole tower and get it over with. I mean, it's much easier, right? Why not do that?"
"Well, Ryoga, if we did destroy the tower, think of all those buildings that surround the tower. All the falling debris will destroy 'em, and many people will be left without businesses..," Ranma said.
"Like you gave a damn about the people when you went into that fit of rage," Ryoga said dryly, his brows creasing, remembering how close Ranma had come to killing millions if he had released that Seppukku ki-blast.
Sylia looked at Priss. "I missed it," Priss said, putting her hands up, "I have no idea what Ranma could have done. When I got there, Ryoga was lying in the middle of the street unconscious..,"
Ryoga was silent, almost embarrassed that Ranma had managed to knock him out with that devastating ax kick to his chest. But he didn't blame Ranma, at least not much. If Ryoga had gone berserk with rage, Ranma's attempts to stop him would most likely be futile.
Ranma pointed toward Ryoga as he looked at the girls, "All you missed was my whooping Ryoga's butt in a battle, that's all..,"
"Shut up, Ranma!" Ryoga said coldly, "You got lucky during that battle!"
Linna jumped between Ranma and Ryoga, "Boys, boys, no fighting please. You two fought enough times that we don't need to add yet another fight to the tally,"
Ranma crossed his arms across his chest and jerked a thumb toward Ryoga, "Perhaps Linna's right. Besides, I have other things to worry than fightin' with some pig boy,"
"You shut up, Ranma!" Ranma ignored Ryoga's statement, "Anyway, let's go attack the Genom Tower, actually, the sublevels,"
"Okay," Ryoga replied.
Ranma and Ryoga both headed for the door. But before doing so, Ranma walked over to where Madigan, "May I have the chip please?" he said politely.
Ranma chuckled, opening his hands to reveal the chip for Madigan and Carper to see, "Too late..,"
"W-what? H-how did you get it? I was just holding on to it!"
"I'm pretty fast," Ranma said with a smirk. "What can I say...you shouldn't've blinked," He turned toward Ryoga and said, "Well, let's get going. We'll go attack the factory and then reveal the chip to expose Genom for what it truly is,"
"Let's get going,"
Ranma and Ryoga headed for the door that would inevitably lead to the elevator that lead to the surface, but not before Ranma made a comment, "All right, porky, let's get going,"
"I'll kill you!" could be heard of Ryoga as he and Ranma closed the door behind them.
"Um, don't they, like, hate each other or something?" Nene asked Akane, "I mean, what's up with those two? They hate each other, yet they could work together as a perfect team. Do they hate each other or is it all for show, for our benefit?"
Akane shook her head and answered after a short while, "They hate each other. That's for sure. As to why they hate each other, I don't know, and they don't seem to say anything about it. I remember it being over something like Ranma stealing Ryoga's bread when they were young,"
The four girls looked at Akane dubiously.
"I know, it's weird," Akane said, shrugging her shoulders, "But then again, the people I've met back then are equally as weird,"
"So they hate each other, right?" Priss wanted to confirm.
"Yes," Akane replied curtly, nodding, "I betcha if you put them in a room together for a long time, they'll most likely kill each other...not that I would want to find out though since I care for both Ranma and Ryoga,"
"Which one do you care for more?" Linna asked curiously.
Akane was silent. She cared for the both of them.
"Well, I don't wanna put you on the spot, so let's change the subject," Linna said after she notice Akane's reluctance to answer. She looked over her shoulder toward Madigan and Carper, who had been quiet this whole time. "What should we do with 'em?" Priss asked, almost scowling toward Madigan as their eyes locked for a brief moment. Boy, would she like to knock Madigan's lights out for all the trouble she and Carper had put Priss and her friends through, "If I had my way, I'd throw them back in the cell and leave them there to die of starvation...or something along the lines,"
"Now now, Priss. Calm down," Nene muttered, "No need to go to extremes,"
As Madigan and Carper remained in the corner of the room, wondering what their fate would be, Madigan couldn't help but feel this resentment toward Genom. If they didn't work for Genom...they wouldn't be in this mess...right?
"So what do we do with 'em?" Priss asked, eyeing Madigan critically. When their eyes met, Priss added, "You're not so tough without all those damn boomers there to protect you, now, are you?" "Priss," Sylia called out in a dominating voice, "Enough,"
Priss took a deep breath, her eyes resting menacingly on Madigan for several long moments before she turned toward the door where Ranma and Ryoga had left.
"Where're you going?" Linna asked.
"With Ranma and Ryoga," she replied, not bothering to stop, "I don't wanna be in the same room with people like them. And besides, I've been meaning to exact a form of revenge on Genom for what they've done. And I want to take it out on all those newly made boomers just waiting to be destroyed,"
"You have no hardsuit," Sylia commented. She knew she couldn't stop Priss from going, but it wouldn't hurt to try.
Priss actually stopped for a moment to answer Sylia, "I have a grenade launcher stashed on my bike. I'll use that. And besides, with Ranma and Ryoga around, I don't think I'll need it much anyway..,"
"Priss, has it ever occurred to you that we really don't know who Ranma and Ryoga really are?" Sylia asked softly, more toward all the girls in general instead of Priss.
"What do you mean by that?"
Sylia took a short while, thinking of a good way to bring this subject up with Akane around, "Well, we've seen Ranma and Ryoga fight before, like the time when they almost killed each other and ended up in the hospital. Well, they still fight, and those fights are even more intensive...yet they're not getting hurt as much. Why?"
Akane spoke up, "Well, they do have a tendency to adapting to new Things,"
"I understand what you mean, Akane," Sylia faced Akane, her eyes regarding, "But what I was wondering how on Earth did they get so...strong, if that's the word. It came to me as a shock that Ranma actually grabbed the chip without my or anyone seeing it. How can someone move that fast? Doesn't it scare anyone?"
"I dunno," Akane replied, wishing she really did know, "But even if they are strong, as you put it, there's no need to be scared. Ranma and Ryoga are good people. They may be strong, but they're not the type to take advantage of it. They may take advantage of it on each other, but not on regular people. But one thing does bother me, though..,"
"What's that?" Linna asked.
"I'm probably right when I say that they could end up killing each other..,"
The door opened and in entered Ryoga.
"R-Ryoga, what are you doing back here? I thought you left," Priss said, a bit shocked at his sudden appearance, "I was about to follow along,"
Ryoga smiled weakly, "Um, well, I kinda got lost..,"
Priss opened the door and peered out. The corridor led straight to the elevator. And that elevator lead straight outside. How in the world can he get lost that easily?
The elevator door opened and Ranma was standing in it, leaning against the back wall, "Ryoga, you moron, your sense of direction is probably worse than when we were young,"
"Shut up, Ranma!"
Priss quickly jumped between the two of them, grabbing Ryoga's hand, "Is it all right if I come along?"
Ranma shrugged his shoulders, "I guess not. But it is gonna get rather dangerous, ain't it? You sure?"
Priss, still holding Ryoga's hand, dragged him with her and into the elevator. As the door was closing, Priss turned toward Ranma and said, "What's with you constantly instigating?"
"Eh? What's that mean?"
Priss shook his head, "Nevermind,"
When the three left, Sylia wanted to ask Akane some more questions, questions she hadn't thought of asking until she witnessed this incident "How come Ryoga has a lousy sense of direction?"
Akane sat down on one of the steps that lead down to the room and said, "I really don't know. He's always had a bad sense of direction, even when he was young," It felt strange for her to say that last sentence. To her, Ryoga looked virtually the same, not somewhere in his forties. And Ranma looked the same also. Of course, she knew it was because of the curse. But what was also strange was that everything, the fighting, the fiancees, and even the old letch, felt like it happened just a few days ago for her.
"I guess that's one of his weaknesses," Linna commented. "Well, you should see Ranma's," Akane almost chuckled, "He's terrified of cats,"
"C-Cats?" the girls said. Madigan caught her breath, realizing she almost spoke out in disbelief.
Akane nodded, "Well, at least he could still be scared of cats. But then again, maybe over the years, he's gotten over his phobia. But then again, exactly how he would go about getting over it, I have no idea,"
"Perhaps through a process called overflooding the system," Nene commented, stepping into the conversation.
"Actually, that's the last thing you want happening to Ranma," came a quick reply.
Akane's gaze went toward Madigan and Carper, knowing that they were taking a mental note of this conversation, "Well, you've seen how strong Ranma is. If he's still scared of cats, and he reaches a point where he his terror overloads, he'll be much much powerful than what you've witnessed so far. It was all his father's fault. He wanted to teach Ranma the ultimate techniques, but in doing so, Ranma suffers from serious psychological problems because of it. That's why he's scared of cats,"
"Ultimate technique?" Sylia said, her voice betraying her fascination. "It's some kind of ultimate fighting technique," Akane replied.
Madigan shuddered. She had seen Ranma in a fit of rage, and it scared the hell out of her. And to think that Ranma didn't even use his full potential when ravaging all those boomers to simply nothing. She and Carper were the only ones who had witnessed it, making Ranma seem even more scary now that she realized that Ranma it even stronger than that...which seemed impossible at first to begin with.
Akane turned toward Madigan, not really caring about the fact that she was taught to respect her elders. But then again, she never really respected Genma that much, and these people were pretty much like him in her book. She said, "If you think you can exploit that weakness, think again. Even though I should let you try this on him and find out the hard way, you don't deserve to die...like all those people in Nerima like Ranma had told me...like my friends...like my family.
Akane could feel this intense sense of resentment toward Madigan, but managed to keep it under control. Madigan and Carper had nothing to do with it. All they did was work for the corporation that did this to her. They were just pawns.
Ranma and Ryoga and Priss were walking down the street when Ranma spotted someone he recognized. It was Lisa. She was walking home, carrying a bag of groceries, grateful that her work was finally over, that she could finally kick back and relax for a change. She had a very bad day.
"Hey, look, it's Lisa!"
He ran across the street to meet up with the young looking girl. Ryoga and Priss followed suit. Ryoga greeted her warmly while Priss gave a curt but rather cold salutation, not knowing who this girl really was.
"She helped fix Akane after she got hurt," Ryoga said to Priss.
"How's Akane?" Lisa asked curiously, already knowing the answer. It wasn't because she was arrogant, but rather she knew she had done a good job.
Ranma smirked, "She's fine. She could use a reprogramming cause she's still a tomboy-"
"I won't stand here and let you say that about Akane!" Ryoga spat.
"Anyway," Ranma continued, ignoring Ryoga, "Thanks a lot for all that you've done. You brought back the one person I really cared for, not once but twice, and I can't thank you enough. You're really great,"
Lisa blushed. She could get used to all this positive criticism, "Um, where are you three headed?"
"Back to Genom Tower," Ranma replied. When Lisa gave him a curious looked he knew she wanted to know why, "We plan on destroying the factory that makes all those boomers that attack us. We figured it would be best to destroy all the annoyances at the source,"
Lisa wondered if she should tell them. Afterall, they were going to attack her place of work. But then again, she never really liked working for Genom and could get a job in no time, what with her skills, "Well, if you wanna destroy the factory easily, there's a main computer on the bottom floor that oversees the security of the factory. If you destroy it, the factory is defenseless. You'll be free to do whatever you want without having to worry about a laser or such hitting you from behind,"
"Really?" Ranma said, eyes widening, "Cool! That'll make it much much easier for us. Thanks again,"
"What are you going to do after that?" Lisa asked. She knew Ranma wanted to take Genom down. If she knew of a time, then she would start looking for another job. But first, she would embezzle the money that Genom owed her for all that overtime she put in but didn't get paid for.
"I got this OMS chip thingie that I plan on letting the world know of Genom's plans. That way, Genom'll go down the tubes when the media gets wind of it. I don't wanna blow the tower up because the debris will most likely get someone killed," Ranma said in one breath. He reached into his pocket and handed Lisa the chip, "See, there's the chip,"
Lisa looked at the chip for a moment. It was small but rather heavy for its size. It looked like a regular nanochip, except it looked like it was made to withstand extreme cold.
"This looks like a chip that would be used on a satellite," Lisa commented, eyeing it carefully.
Ranma snapped his fingers, "So that's how they're gonna control all 'em boomers. They're gonna send it via satellite. All you would need is two, one for the western part of the world, the...western hemisphere and another chip for the eastern hemisphere,"
Priss' heart skipped a beat. God, how can Genom be so damn diabolical to think of something like that? They're monsters! They deserve to die! "You wanna hold it?" Ranma asked, "I don't want that chip breaking because it's useless if it doesn't work..,"
"What are you saying, Ranma?" Priss asked loudly, "W-why are you giving it to her? That chip is very important!"
"That's why I wanna give it to Lisa here. She can take care of it," came the innocent reply.
Lisa hugged the chip close to her bosom, "I'll take real care of it. You can trust me,"
Ranma smiled. Priss' face faulted. Who was this girl? How can Ranma trust someone so blindly? And a person from Genom at that? What is he, out of his mind? She'll just take the chip and return it back to its rightful place, Genom's hands!
"Um, when do you plan on exposing Genom?" Lisa asked after a short moment.
Ranma smirked, "Why? Ya wanna steal from them before it all goes down the tubes?"
"Huh? Y-you mean I was right?" Ranma asked, "Wow, I must be real good. But about the money, ya don't really have to worry about it. Ryoga and I stole a lot from there and stashed it away. You can take that. We plan on stealing some more anyway. The money is in an abandoned factory in the southern most part of that artificial island. There should be enough money in there to buy an island..,"
"I only want the money Genom owes me, that's all," Lisa said.
"Well, think of it as a bonus...for helping us out, ne?" Ranma was almost having fun being so nice, "Anyway, we're gonna get going now. Don't worry about getting the chip to us. When you see us, just give it to us. It's not like Ryoga or I are goin' anywhere anyway, right?"
Ranma smiled warmly, "Well, take care, Lisa. See ya,"
Lisa watched as Ranma and Ryoga and a reluctant Priss walked off toward that looming tower jutting up into the sky in the distant horizon. When they were almost too far away for her to see, Ranma stopped and to wave goodbye to her before he and his friends continued on with their journey. "I trust her," Ranma answered Priss' question.
"How do you know her?"
"From my childhood,"
Priss was still curious, "How?"
"She hit me in the face with a brick," Ranma said, turning toward Lisa to wave goodbye.
Lisa waved back before she carefully put the chip in her coat pocket and headed toward her apartment. After having seen Ranma again, her day seemed to be on the up and up. It seemed she was having a better day than she thought. It seems seeing Ranma again had made her day.
Ranma looked up at the huge supercomputer, Ryoga and Priss at his side. It had taken the three of them well over an hour to reach this point. "Man, that's one huge computer," Ranma commented, his neck almost hurting from being bent back at such an angle. Ranma took it one step further as to getting down on his back and looking straight up, "That's better. Now my neck won't hurt when I try to look up at the top of this computer. Jeez, I can't even see the ceiling. It's so damn high..,"
"Get up, Ranma," Priss said, "We get your point,"
Ranma got up and said, "Y'know, it's ironic that of all the places that needs security, the computer that oversees it doesn't have any..,"
"Perhaps it was because no one expected us to get this far," Ryoga commented, looking around at the vast room.
The underground factory wasn't really even a factory. It was more along the lines of a city located practically two miles underground and with a mile high roof. The place was huge, at least a mile in any direction from where they were. Throughout the factory, were other, smaller factories, each of them specializing in producing certain parts for certain boomers. The whole place looked like something out of a science fiction movie, this technologically advanced looking underground city.
"You have a point," Ranma agreed, "It was a rather risky task getting here,"
Ranma and Ryoga had had the fight of their life, dodging and destroying everything that stood in their way. They shouldn't have underestimated Genom. The supercomputer, having realized three intruders that didn't work for Genom, began creating boomer after boomer, sending them all after the three as soon as they were created.
As Priss was running through the 'city', she realized that she really shouldn't have come. She was slowing Ryoga and Ranma down. What was she thinking? And it didn't help matters any bit that she was without her hardsuit, Ryoga having destroyed it when they were in Genom Tower. One direct hit from a laser would be fatal for her, while a direct hit on Ranma and Ryoga would be nearly impossible, both of them capable of dodging them.
But now, they have reached their destination, the main computer.
"We're under attack again?" Sylia asked, shocked.
Linna nodded, "We have to get the hell outta this truck. We're sitting ducks!"
Everyone was in the Knight Sabers' transport truck, on their way to Nene's apartment so they could think of a plan, when bullets started raining down on them from everywhere.
Nene shrieked in terror as an arm busted through the ceiling of the convoy they were in and slowly started ripping it apart.
"Guys, there's a boomer on the top of the truck and I can't shake him loose!" Mackie's voice filtered through the speaker. He was driving, swerving the truck back and forth, hoping to cause the boomer to lose its balance, much to no avail. The girls were all having trouble trying to keep their balance within the truck.
Madigan and Carper, whom were both handcuffed to the back of the truck, realized that they were going to be rescued.
"Hurry up!" Madigan shouted toward the boomer.
As she said that, the arm pulled back out through the opening, and after a moment, a boomer came crashing down into the truck from the opening.
"Shit!" Linna shouted, scurrying for her hardsuit, "It's inside!"
Akane looked around and noticed that none of the girls were in their hardsuits, all of them vulnerable. She had to do something. Knowing that she was the only one capable of taking on a boomer in hand to hand combat, she got into her battle stance, "Hey, you, over here!"
The boomer's back was toward Akane. It was facing Madigan and Carper.
"Kill them!" Madigan told the boomer. The boomer was holding a mini, a high powered rapid fire weapon generally used for helicopters. There was no way the girls would be able to dodge those bullets, even if they were in their hardsuit, which they were not.
The boomer didn't respond to Madigan's command.
"Kill them now!" Madigan gave another order to the boomer, using her free hand to point toward Akane and the rest standing right behind it.
The boomer raised its mini gun toward Madigan and Carper.
"Oh shit!" Carper shouted, realizing the boomer was going to kill them. They were its target, not the others. He tried to scurry away but the handcuffs where holding him fast. He couldn't go anywhere.
Madigan was trying the same, shrieking for dear life as she realized her life would end at any moment.
Akane, realizing the boomer was going to kill Madigan and Carper, lunged forward and grabbed the boomer's gun arm, pushing it toward the ceiling as it opened fire. Unfortunately, it was a little too late and several bullets struck Carper.
Carper fell to his side, motionless, blood falling from his mouth.
"Carper!" Madigan shouted as she desperately tried to get to his side, the handcuffs holding her back.
"No!" She tugged at the handcuffs so hard that her wrists started to bleed from the strain and pulling.
The boomer continued to open fire, the bullets of the mini gun riddling the ceiling with holes, as Akane tried desperately to keep it from aiming at anyone. Unfortunately, its strength was far superior to that of a sexaroid as its gun arm slowly started to lower back down.
Akane, knowing that it was useless to fight against this thing in brute strength, resorted to her training. She needed to apply physics into play. Without thinking, Akane gripped the boomer's arm and pressed her hip against the boomer's hip, sending it over her shoulder and crashing onto the truck floor. Knowing that it would be up on its feet in moments, Akane sent a elbow crashing down on the boomer's skull, caving it in. The boomer twitched for several moments before it stopped functioning.
The truck continued to swerve.
"There's more on the roof!" Mackie's voice came from the speaker.
"They're after Madigan and Carper!" Linna shouted, "Get rid of them!" It was the only strategically thing to do. It didn't bother her to sacrifice Madigan and Carper's lives for their own. "No!" Akane shouted, "We can't abandon them!" "I'm getting rid of 'em," Linna said in a cold cold voice, quite odd coming from her. They had been through enough. They didn't need this. This wasn't their fight.
Madigan's throat constricted as she saw Linna walking toward her, stepping over the non-functioning boomer. She knew what was going to happen. Linna was going to throw them out of the truck and be rid of them once an for all. "I-I d-don't want to die!" Madigan pleaded, tears forming in her eyes. She looked over toward where Carper lay motionless, his body only moving because of the swerving truck.
Linna shook her head, "And neither do we. Those boomers are after you, not us..,"
Another boomer came through the opening. Akane did the exact same thing to it, but this time, slamming it down on top of the other boomer and caving its skull in.
The truck was hit hard from its side, so hard that it flipped over onto its side, sliding to a halt.
"Shit, now we're in trouble!" Linna commented, getting up, shaking the cobwebs from her head.
Akane climbed out of the truck through the opening the boomer had created and quickly checked her surroundings. There were two boomers standing on top of the side of the truck. They both carried large cannons and were aiming their guns toward the truck under their feet.
"Hey, over here!" Akane said, waving her hands, hoping to get the boomers' attention.
They paid her no mind.
Mackie smashed through the front windshield and ran away from the truck quickly, not bothering to look back until his was a good distance away.
The boomers started opening fire on the front of the truck. The rest were in the back. All of a sudden, one of the boomers exploded,
"What the?" Akane managed to say, right before the blast from the impact sent her backwards.
Leon's car skidded to a halt right in front of the truck. The remaining boomer, realizing that Leon posed an immediate threat, aimed its cannon toward the car.
Leon, wearing a pair of shades, a large missile launcher resting on his shoulders, said, "Eat this!"
He pulled the trigger and a missile shot from his launcher, sizzling through the air and hitting the boomer square in the chest, causing it to explode into nothing, destroying it.
He dropped his missile launched to the ground and walked toward Akane, "You okay, miss?"
"Um, yeah, I think so," she said, slowly getting to her feet.
At that moment, Sylia, with Madigan slumped unconscious over her shoulder, emerged from the opening, followed by Nene and Linna, both of them half-dragging a bleeding Carper.
"Nene? Is that you? What are you doing here?" Leon said, recognizing one of his fellow co-workers.
Nene's eyes widened, "L-Leon!"
She recalled that Leon wasn't supposed to be back from his undercover work overseas until tomorrow. Why was he back so early?
"No time for talking, we hafta get rid of the suits," Linna said into Nene's ear.
Nene nodded, "Yeah,"
She spotted the rocket launcher on the ground by Leon's car, "Over there,"
Linna, knowing what she had to do, handed Carper over to Nene and quickly ran for the rocket launcher. She ran right past Leon and picked up the rocket launcher and aimed it toward the truck.
"W-what are you doing?" Leon said as he noticed Linna picking up his weapon. Civilians weren't supposed to be handling AD Police weaponry.
"This," Linna said right before she pulled the trigger. A rocket shot from the launcher and hit the gas tank of the truck, sending it up in flames. The explosion was so intense that everyone was blown backwards from the blast.
Linna looked at Sylia and noticed her nod in acknowledgement at a task well done, eliminating the hardsuits if there was a chance their identity was going to be discovered. Even though Madigan and Carper knew, she threatened them with death if they ever revealed their secret identities.
"I seriously hope there was a good reason why you did that," Leon said, taking off his shades.
"Um, there were boomer's in there. I didn't want them coming out. That's all," Linna replied glibly.
Leon smirked, "I guess that's a good enough reason as any," He looked over toward where Carper was and noticed he was badly hurt, "We better get him to a hospital before he bleeds to death,"
He walked over to his car and popped the trunk, taking out a first-aid kit. He walked back to where Carper was, Madigan close to his side, and began to administer pressure on his right shoulder, where he took it the hardest. He wrapped several bandages around the area and said, "That'll do for a little while," He looked at Madigan, and his eyes creased as he commented, "You look familiar,"
Madigan said nothing. They had met once when Leon had stormed into Genom Tower looking for someone to arrest for the death of someone close to him because a boomer had gone berserk.
"Don't you work for Genom?" Leon asked, his eyes piercing.
Madigan bit her lip. After what had happened, she realized exact what Ranma had meant that Genom didn't care. Why else would they have sent boomers out to eliminate her and Carper, because they had failed them? It was too bad, she didn't learn until a gun was put to her head to make her realize just how bad Genom was. "No, I don't," she replied, hiding her sadness, her resentment toward herself for being so naive about Genom. "Oh, nevermind," Leon said, turning his attention away from her and walking toward his car to call the local firehouse to put out the fire from the burning truck.
Madigan look down toward the ground vindictively, knowing exactly the hatred everyone shared toward Genom.
"Not anymore," Ranma raised his hand toward the computer and let a volley of ki-
blasts shoot from his fingertips, every ball of energy hitting the computer.
Ryoga did the same.
Priss just stood there, not really knowing what to do. Then she realized that she had her grenade launcher with her. She reached into the pockets of her bike outfit and pulled several parts to the launcher and put them together in a matter of seconds. Once appropriately put together, Priss began shooting her launcher toward the computer.
"Hold up!" Ranma said, stopping what he was doing. He turned toward Priss and said, "You remember what I taught you and what I taught Sylia? Ya wanna take a crack at throwin' a ki-blast?"
"W-what?" Priss said, shocked.
Ranma placed his hand on her shoulder, "C'mon, jus' try it. It's fun. Yo, Ryoga, quit blowin' that thing up and let her do it,"
"W-what do I d-do?" Priss asked dubiously, "I have no idea what I'm supposed to do..,"
"Hold your hand out," Ranma said softly. When she did so, Ranma closed his eyes and let his ki flow into Priss' body. As energy flooded into her body, Priss couldn't believe this unbelievable feeling. It was something she had never felt before. She could feel this tingling sensation forming in her fingertips, this energy all building up and wanting to go somewhere.
"Jus' picture shooting somethin' from your hand," Ranma then said.
A massive ki-blast shot from her hands and hit the computer, damaging it. The kickback from sending that ball of energy caused Priss to fall backwards and onto Ranma.
Ranma chuckled as he got to his feet, "There ya go. You jus' threw a ki-blast. See, it wasn't that hard,"
"Hold shit!" was all Priss could say to comment on what had just happened. She couldn't believe what she just did. The damage she caused from that single ki-blast was ten time more powerful than all the shells she had when she used her grenade launcher.
Ryoga smirked, "Anyone can learn it. It just take a bit of concentration, that's all,"
"Dunno," Ranma said, thinking for a moment, "a few days. But gettin' it that powerful will probably take longer,"
"It'll take much longer than a few days," Ryoga said, "You're looking at several decades to learn it,"
"Then how did you learn it in a few days?"
"We had to..," Ranma replied. He didn't bother to tell her that he learned it because Ryoga had learned it before him. He needed to learn it because Ryoga would have been able to beat him. Priss said nothing. There was probably something more to it than Ranma was letting on. It must have had something to do with Ryoga. Ranma looked up at the badly damaged computer, "You think that's enough or should we do some more damage?"
A phalanx of newly made boomers entered the room, guns hoisted. Ryoga shot a single ki blast at the group, destroying them all.
"Y-you guys are getting stronger," Priss commented.
Ranma nodded, "Uh huh. With ki, it's like working out at a gym. The more you use it, the stronger you get,"
He walked over to one of the boomers. It was no longer functioning, but was still somewhat intact.
"Hey, Priss, you know how much one of them boomers weigh?" he asked curious.
"I dunno, 'bout two tons. Why?" came a rather curious reply on Priss' part.
Ranma bent over and picked it up with one arm, his fingers digging into the boomer's metallic chest. He looked at it for a short time before he turned around and threw it at the computer.
"Nothing much. It's just that I remember a not too long ago, this lady asked me to move her car because she thought I was some boomer...and I had trouble moving it. But now, it's easy," Ranma replied, "I never even realized I was getting stronger as time passed. That's all,"
Priss was silent. She was still comprehending the strength it must had taken to throw a boomer of that weight across the room. Sure, Ryoga had lifted a barbell equal in weight, but he never threw it. "Man, that's one tough computer," Ranma said, looking up at the slightly damaged computer. Of course, he could destroy it easily with a simple seppukku blast, but he couldn't help but admire how long the computer had lasted under such intense attacks like Ryoga's ki-blasts and Priss' grenade launcher.
"Jus' use a seppukku blast," Ryoga muttered.
"Are you kidding me? That's overkill! It'll be like opening a piggy bank with an atomic bomb!" Ranma quickly shot back, his glance jumpy. He was scared that Ryoga was about to attempt throwing one of those blasts.
"Seppukku?" Priss asked, "What do you mean by that? What's a seppukku blast?"
Ranma looked at Ryoga first, "Don't you dare throw one of those," He then turned toward Priss, "Um, well, it's kinda hard to explain. A seppukku blast is the strongest ki-blast we know,"
"How strong?" she asked. She felt this shudder surging through her body as she realized that Ranma and Ryoga were even stronger than she had already witnessed. Even though Akane had mentioned about Ranma being far stronger than he really was, she had never really seen Ranma so disturbed at the thought of something so powerful.
Ranma said, "Well, if I'm stronger than I was before, and if only I threw that blast, it would probably destroy this whole place. And yes, we would all die. If Ryoga and I both threw it...I don't want to even imagine how much damage it would cause. Our seppukku blasts are those blast I mentioned earlier, y'know, about how it's like a nuclear blast minus the radiation,"
Priss stood there, staring, wide mouthed.
Ranma turned around and started throwing regular ki-blasts toward the computer, "There's no need to use those anyway. C'mon, Ryoga, what're you standing there for? Help out..,"
Ryoga shrugged his shoulders before he did as he was told. He, too, started throwing ki-blasts at the computer.
A rocket flew into the vast room and hit Ranma in the back, hard...real hard! The explosion from the missile sent Ranma flying forward onto his stomach, sliding on the cold steel floor to a halt where he lay motionless.
Ryoga turned around and caught sight of yet another new batch of boomers. But this batch was different. They were unlike anything Priss had ever seen. The computer, which had a very advanced AI system, realized that its existence was in grave jeopardy and created a heavily armed group of boomers, instead of those regular batch of military boomers. There were three of them.
"Oh shit," Ryoga swore. Those boomers looked scary, much worse than any he had ever seen. He looked at Ranma, who was on the floor motionless, and then back at the group. All three were slowly spreading apart, making their way around Ryoga, attempting to surround him.
Priss turned her grenade launcher toward the nearest boomer and pulled the trigger. The projectile sailed through the air and hit one of the boomers in the chest. It did nothing.
"What the hell?" she said, shocked. The boomer took a slug right in the chest and was still standing. That slug should have blown its entire upper torso off. As she stood there, she realized what had just happened. The computer, attempting self preservation, was forced to create a new breed of boomers. Like an animal trapped in a corner, it got desperate, if that was possible, and was forced to take drastic measures.
The closest boomer turned toward Priss and raised its cannon.
Ryoga, realizing what was going to happen if he didn't do something, ran toward Priss and grabbed her, leaping up into the air. Unfortunately, he wasn't quick enough as a missile struck Ryoga right in the back. Gritting his teeth, Ryoga twisted in mid-air, still holding Priss, and fired a massive ki-blast down on one of the boomers.
"Shi Shi Hakodan!" he shouted, the ki-blast shooting forward and destroying the boomer.
But now, the other two boomers opened fire, firing everything they've got at their target, some actually hitting, but most missing.
Ryoga gritted his teeth and he was struck constantly, cursing his lack of speed. He was unable to dodge quick enough. His lack of speed was only compensated by his brute strength. "That's it!" Ryoga said to himself.
"What? What's it?"
Ryoga ignored Priss, having more important things to worry about than answering questions. He landed on his feet, dropping Priss to the floor and charged toward one of the boomers. He crossed his arms and held them up in front of him, protecting his face and chest as the boomer shot missile after missile toward him, each one hitting him. When Ryoga was close enough, he kicked the boomer in the chest, his foot leaving an imprint, sending it slamming into the wall...hard, denting the metallic wall behind it. He ran forward and kicked the boomer again, sending it right through it. Ryoga was struck in the back with yet another missile, the pain excruciating. He fell forward onto his knees and hands, feeling this unbelievable rage flooding through his body, this rage that he was receiving such punishment from a boomer. He got to his feet and turned toward the boomer, his fangs showing as his gritted his teeth in rage, only to receive a devastating blow to his face as the boomer used its jumpjets to propel forward and hit him with the butt of the cannon. "You motherfucker!" Ryoga shouted, exploding with uncontrolled rage "That fucking hurt!"
Ryoga stood there, receiving yet another skull crushing blow to the head by the boomer, but remained unfazed. When the boomer went to land yet another blow, Ryoga screamed, "Die!" as he reached a hand forward and grabbed the boomer's face, lifting it off the ground with ease. The boomer raised its cannon and fired a missile right into Ryoga's chest. All that did was make Ryoga more angry.
A missile flew in through the opening in the wall that boomer had been kicked through and struck Ryoga in the back. Ryoga, still holding a boomer in one hand, turned around to face the other boomer as it entered the room through the opening, a shoeprint embedded on its think armored chest. The foot-imprinted boomer shot a missile at Ryoga, not even caring if the missile hit its brethren, only to have Ryoga punch the missile head on.
"Good, you're still alive, you'll pay for that!" Ryoga spat. He turned toward the boomer he was holding and raised his free hand toward its chest and said, "Shi Shi Hakodan! Shi Shi Hakodan! Shi Shi Hakodan! Shi Shi Hakodan!" He shot four consecutive ki-blasts into the boomers chest. The blast sent to boomer flying into the machine, destroyed beyond recognition. But Ryoga wasn't satisfied. Not yet.
As the other boomer continued to open fire, none of the missiles harming him, Ryoga walked over toward the computer and pulled the ravaged boomer up. He lifted its lifeless exoskeleton and slammed it back into the computer, continuing to push forward, pushing so hard that he literally walked into the computer before he was satisfied that the boomer would no longer function...ever.
He turned toward the foot-imprinted boomer and sneered, "Now it's your turn!"
If that boomer could feel emotions, it would fear its life as it continued to fire its cannon at its target.
Priss watched in awe and almost terror as she saw Ryoga ravage the hapless boomer. She watched as Ryoga walked slowly up to the boomer, withstanding everything it threw, and grabbed one of its arms.
Ryoga jerked backward and yanked the boomer's arm right out. He then grabbed the other arm and yanked that one out also, picking up the gun it dropped as slamming the butt of it into the boomer's face, caving it in. The boomer, no longer functioning, froze and started to fall backwards, only to have Ryoga reach forward and dig his fingers into its chest, preventing it.
"Oh no you don't!" Ryoga said, fangs showing menacingly.
He picked the boomer up and proceeded to slam it up against the wall, slamming it over and over and over again until it fell completely apart. Once it was in pieces, Ryoga wanted to make sure it was dead so he shot a ki-blast at the thousands of parts that littered the floor.
"Ryoga, that's enough, it's dead!" Priss said, scared. She had never witness something so horrifying in her life. She couldn't believe what she had seen. Ryoga took blast after blast in the chest and back yet remained unfazed, controlled by pure rage. But now, now that he had destroyed to boomers utterly, he had to calm down. It looked like he was about to explode as his ki flared brilliantly.
Ryoga turned toward Priss.
"Ryoga, it's me, Priss!" she said. She noticed this unfamiliar look in his eyes.
For one terrifying moment, Ryoga didn't recognize her, but when he did, his rage filled face disappeared. "A-are you all right?" he asked, noticing that she wasn't bleeding anywhere. He had totally forgotten that she was there when he went into that rage. His ki-
blasts, if strong enough, could have gotten her killed.
"I-I'm fine," Priss said, her voice a bit shaky.
Ryoga said, "I'm glad to hear that," As he started to calm down, the pain from before was finally starting to register. He winced in pain as he felt this excruciating sensation traveling throughout his back, as if it were on fire. He ignored it as he looked over toward where Ranma was.
Ranma remained motionless, a small puddle of blood forming.
"Hey, Ranma, you alive?" Ryoga said, walking over to him. He felt his heart almost drop as he realized Ranma wasn't responding. He just lay there, totally motionless. Ryoga kneeled down next to him, "Yo, Ranma, wake up. You okay?" Ryoga didn't want to imagine just how bad a condition Ranma was in. Ranma had taken a missile in the back, full force, caught totally off-guard. Ranma would have easily survived that if he had been aware of that missile. His ki would have protected him somewhat. But that had never happened.
Ryoga was more susceptible to getting hurt when being hit from behind than being hit in front but his Bakusai Tenketsu training had made him less likely to get knocked out by something like that. Ranma, on the other hand, had received a blow that would had easily disoriented Ryoga for several minutes.
Priss quickly ran up to where Ranma lay and kneeled down next to him, ever so gently turning him over onto his back. She was relieved to see the steady rise and fall of Ranma's chest.
"Where can I find some water?" Ryoga said, coldly. "What?"
"Where can I find some water? Ranma needs water..," Ryoga repeated. He knew Ranma, like himself, didn't really want anyone to know of the curse, but he knew Ranma would make an exception, "It'll heal him. Water will heal him...just like it did for me,"
"W-water?" Priss asked, not knowing whether to be shocked at the thought of water being able to heal Ranma or Ryoga actually helping out. Didn't they hate each other? "Splash him with cold water..," Ryoga said.
A missile flew in through the door and hit Ryoga yet again. Luckily, he caught sight of it out of the corner of his eye and managed to shield his whole upper body from the explosion. He was sent flying into the side of the computer.
"Goddamn, when will these guys stop coming?" Ryoga said with a sneer. He raised a hand and shot several ki-blast through the pair of doors, destroying whatever was standing on the other side. He looked at Ranma and said, "Don't worry, Ranma, I'll find you some water, but first, I'm gonna get rid of this damn computer,"
Ryoga closed his eyes and started concentrating. "Ryoga, look out!" Priss shouted, pointing.
Ryoga opened his eyes, just in time to see a missile flying back in through the door and hit him. He quickly got to his feet and shook his head and sighed.
"Man, this has gotta stop!"
"Waitaminute, two guys just went to Genom to destroy it?" Leon asked, dubiously.
Nene nodded, "But it's actually the factory that makes the boomers that they wanna destroy,"
"God, is that possible?" Leon said, more to himself than anyone, "Man, I've been away for two weeks and all this happens? What else have I missed? And where's the lovely Priss? I betcha she missed me,"
"Anyway," Sylia said, a bit annoyed, "We better go and stop them,"
She turned toward Madigan, "Are you sure it'll self destruct?" Madigan, bent on revenge toward Genom for their uncaring ways, had explained everything to the girls when Leon had gone back to his car to rant and rave to the firestation about what was taking so long.
"What? What self-destruct?" Leon asked curiously, "What are you talking about?"
Linna turned toward Leon, "Nothin', darling. Just go over to your car and stand there looking pretty. This doesn't concern you," She turned toward Madigan, "How do we know you're not lying?"
Madigan was silent. After what she had done, she wouldn't be surprised if no one trusted her.
"That's easy," Sylia said, "We bring her with us,"
The sounds of sirens could be heard getting louder and louder now.
"What are you talking about?" Leon shouted, very annoyed. He didn't like being left out of the conversation, even though it had nothing to do with him.
Nene turned toward her co-worker and said, "Leon, basically, something bad is going to happen under Genom Tower if we don't do something...and in order to stop it, we have to get there and stop it from happening,"
"You?" Leon said, almost shocked, "How are you girls going to be able to stop this whatever from happening. I mean, this is Genom we're talking about. How are you going to be able to get in there, where ever it is? I'll call for back up. If what you're talking about is true, I don't think AD Police are gonna sit around and wait for it to happen before they take action,"
"Don't worry, we can take care of ourselves," Akane said.
"You're coming with us!" Sylia said, grabbing Madigan by the arm, "You better not be lying. I don't care how much you hate Genom now, I still don't trust you,"
"I want to be with Carper!" Madigan said, trying to pull her arm away.
Sylia's grip tightened, "No, you're not! You're coming with us whether you like it or not!"
"I should never have told you!"
"You bitch!" Sylia slapped Madigan. It felt good, almost too good. "People are going to die if we don't do something! How can you be so goddamn heartless? Maybe we should have let you die in that truck!"
Sylia gave Madigan's arm a hard yank, letting her know that she wasn't going to take more protests from her, and that she meant business. Madigan glanced back around her shoulder to look at Carper.
Sylia, Linna, Akane, and Madigan rushed down the street toward Genom, but not before Sylia turned toward Nene and said, "Nene, you hafta evacuate everyone in and around the Tower, in case, god forbid, we don't make it!"
Nene nodded, "Okay!"
She walked over to Leon's car and reached underneath the driver side seat and took out a magnum. She threw it at Sylia where she caught it gracefully, "Good luck!" she said as she threw her a box of ammo Leon also kept under his seat.
"M-my gun!" Leon said, "Why did you give her my gun? Does she know how to use that thing?"
Nene turned toward Leon and said, "Leon, just trust me when I say she Does," She picked up the radio, "Now, we've got a city we hafta evacuate,"
Leon shrugged his shoulders, "All right, but boy, am I gonna enjoy hearing your report after this,"
Nene smirked. She would write the report up, telling him everything about what she knew of Ranma and Ryoga and what they had been doing. However, she was going to leave out some rather revealing details, like Genom finding out where the Knight Sabers' headquarters were...
"Oh boy, you definitely will,"
Ryoga, badly beaten, bleeding from several wounds, half-dragged Ranma down the corridor, toward a restroom if this place had one, blood trailing behind. Ryoga had had the fight of his life, several times, as he was forced to fight a dozen or so of the same boomers that had hurt Ranma badly.
Ryoga was limping on a bad leg, one shoulder dislocated, his good arm being used to drag Ranma. Priss, who was by his side, also hurt. She had been caught too close to too many explosions that had hit Ryoga. She wasn't as hurt as Ryoga, but she was a lot less useful fully healed than a very hurt Ryoga.
"Ranma, you moron, why the hell didja have to go and get yourself hurt?" Ryoga muttered, "I should just leave you here to bleed to death. It's your fault you got caught by surprise like that, not mine. But noooo, you had to get knocked out, you wimp!"
Ranma stirred a bit, moaning in pain, "Ugh..,"
"R-Ranma?" Priss said, "A-are you all right?"
Ryoga stopped and looked down at Ranma, "Yeah, wake up now, why dontcha? After I got rid of all those boomers,"
Ranma slowly opened his eyes, "Ugh, w-what...hit...me..,"
"Can you get up?" Priss asked, slowly trying to pull Ranma onto his feet.
He slowly got to his feet, his legs very weak, more supported by Ryoga and Priss than his own two feet. It took his several tries before he could stand, somewhat supported. He was seriously disoriented because of that missile. "Oh god...m-my...back...it feels like its...on fire," Ranma managed to say. He was too weak to really care about doing something to help alleviate the pain. His legs and arms felt like jelly. His head felt like it was too heavy for his neck to support. He managed to lift his head just long enough to see something down the corridor.
"Hey...look...it's a...boomer..," he managed to say.
"What?" Priss said. She looked up, just in time to see a missile flying straight down the corridor. "Look out!" Ranma said, pushing Priss out of the way with weak arms right when the missile struck him in the chest. He was send flying backwards through the air where he tumbled on the floor, blood splattering onto the walls everywhere.
Ryoga, having been holding him when the missile struck Ranma, was blown toward the side, slamming into a wall. He coughed several times, the wind having been knocked out of him. He slowly got to his feet, very weak, wiping the blood from his mouth.
"What the hell? I thought I destroyed that computer already..," he said, holding his rib, which was most likely cracked. He shot a ki-blast down the corridor and destroyed the boomers. After having done so, he fell to his knees, very very weak, too tired from expending to much energy and taking such a beating.
"I can't go on," Ryoga said weakly, falling forward onto his stomach, unconscious.
Priss was now all alone, Ranma and Ryoga both out cold.
Linna and Akane and Sylia and a reluctant Madigan ran down the street, running as fast as their legs could take them.
"Which way is the best way to getting down there?" Linna asked.
Madigan quickly answered, "Through elevator nineteen. That will lead you down to the main corridor which is around two hundred yards away from the main computer,"
There were several hidden booths located throughout MegaTokyo that acted as if they were abandoned business booths when they were really elevators that lead to Genom's underground factory.
"Two hundred yards?" Sylia said, "Isn't there one closer?"
Madigan shook her head, "No,"
Sylia sighed, "Boy, this is going to be one hard task..,"
Akane smirked, "You could say that again,"
Priss, her heart in her throat, dragged Ranma as fast as she could, not caring that Ranma was very cold beneath her fingers or that his breathing was rather unsteady. If what Ryoga had said was right, then none of that would matter as soon as she splashed him with water. She would then go back for Ryoga.
She continued to drag him down to the corridor and around the corner, realizing there was no where to go but down for she found herself standing on a metallic platform suspended a hundred or so feet up the wall. She looked down into the pit below her and saw a massive pool of coolant.
"Where the hell am I?" she said, looking over the safety rail. She wondered if coolant was a good enough substitute for water.
She didn't have much to wonder for a missile flew right by her head, missing her by inches, exploding when it hit the wall on the other side of the vast room. She didn't even need to look behind her to realize there were boomers behind her. She looked around and realized there was no place to go but up or down. She could go up, but she didn't have a jet pack or thrusters or a hardsuit for that matter so the only other way to go was straight down, into the pool of coolant.
Taking a deep breath, she hoisted Ranma up over the railing and pushed him over, jumping over a second later, the landing exploding the moment she and Ranma crashed into the pool of liquid.
Priss quickly swam through the slimy liquid to the surface and gasped for air as soon as she reached the top. All she did was managed to gasp just enough air to scream as she saw several boomers descending downward, their cannons aimed right at her.
Ranma-chan burst through the surface, gasping for air, screaming, "Hot water! Where's the hot water?"
Priss looked at Ranma, who was now in his cursed form, "Ranma? Is that you?"
Ranma-chan looked at Priss, "Where's the hot water?"
A missile shot into the pool of liquid, narrowly missing Ranma-chan.
Ranma-chan looked up and say the descending boomers. Without even thinking, Ranma-chan lifted her hand toward the ceiling and shouted, "Hiryu Shoten Ha!"
A massive whirlwind generated from Ranma-chan's hand, surrounding her, spiraling up at the descending boomers. The coolant in the pool got sucked up with the wind, creating this massive reverse whirlpool, everything funneling upward. Priss, standing in the middle of the pool, looked around and saw the surrounding liquid twisting around her, shooting up into the air. It felt as if she was in the middle of a whirlpool where she could reach out and touch the coolant in every direction.
Ranma-chan stood right next to her, and turned her attention toward Priss and said, "Priss, where's the hot water?"
Priss looked at Ranma, or at what Ranma had become. She couldn't believe she was looking at a girl now. Ranma had been a guy one moment, and now he was a girl.
"Yes, this is my curse!" Ranma-chan said exasperated, "I turn into a girl when hit with water...or anything water based. I don't wanna stay in this form! I hafta change back! I need some hot water!" She ignored the upward spinning column of coolant surrounding her and looked up. The boomers where no longer there, having been swept up all the way to the ceiling and most likely destroyed from the impact.
Ranma-chan grabbed Priss' hand and ran in a random direction, sending a ki-blast right through the wall of twisting coolant and running right through it, emerging out on the other side.
Ranma-chan looked around and saw a door and quickly ran for it. She needed to find some hot water and fast. She ran right through the door, not bothering to waste precious seconds knocking it down, as he half carried Priss with him.
Ranma-chan looked down the corridor and caught sight of another pool of coolant. Where the hell was she? She released Priss and ran up to the pool and stuck her hand into it. It was freezing, just like the other pool he had just been in.
She closed her eyes and began sending all her ki into it, heating it up at an intense rate.
After a minute or so, the pool began to boil. As soon as it did, Ranma jumped in.
Priss ran forward to the pool but couldn't get to close because the pool had been percolating rather violently. If any of the coolant splashed on her, she would get seriously scolded.
Ranma emerged from the pool, now in his original form, looking a full ten years younger than before.
"All right! I'm back in my real form!" he said with a smile. He looked at Priss, who was totally speechless.
"Where are we?" Ranma said. He waved a hand in front of Priss' face "Priss, my curse, I'll explain it to you some other time. Where's Ryoga?"
"H-he was in the corridor, a hundred or so feet above us..," she finally said. He was still staring at Ranma, unable to comprehend this...curse. In the other room, the coolant came crashing down on the floor and pool, Ranma's whirlwind punch finally having subsided. Ranma turned toward the other room, "That's the room that leads back up?"
Priss nodded, "The opening is about a hundred or so feet up,"
Ranma reached a hand forward "C'mon, let's go back up. Hang on tight,"
When Priss unconsciously reached forward and took hold of his hand, Ranma jerked her toward him and threw her over his shoulder. He ran into the room and jump as high as he could, propelling off the wall and continuing to triangle jump until he reached the door that lead onto the landing that the boomer's destroyed.
"Is that the opening?" Ranma asked, still holding onto Priss, the fingers of his other arm digging into the wall, holding him up. He was gesturing toward the opening on the other side of the room. Priss nodded. She looked at Ranma's fingers and couldn't believe that he had just dug his fingering into solid concrete and they were holding him and her both up on a totally vertical wall. She was about to ask how he could do that but shrieked as Ranma kicked out and jumped right toward the opening, landing in the corridor.
Ranma let Priss go and started running down the corridor, Priss following closely behind.
As yet a new batch of boomers emerged in front of the two, Ranma didn't bother to take cover, sending ki-blast after ki-blast down the corridor, destroying them easily.
"Where is he?" Ranma asked, still running, not even winded from using so much energy.
Priss pointed, "Just around that corner,"
Ranma rounded the corner and easily caught sight of the unconscious Ryoga. Ranma kneeled down next to Ryoga and gently tapped his cheek, "Yo, Ryoga, you still alive?"
Ryoga opened his eyes weakly, "Yeah...,"
Ranma chuckled, "Don't worry, buddy. You'll be okay, I've gotcha,"
He picked Ryoga up and threw him over his shoulder and turned around proceeding back down the corridor and toward the pool of coolant he had been thrown in just before. Priss, not really knowing what she should do, followed closely behind, but not before she heard Ryoga mutter something weakly.
Madigan looked out the glass elevator at the underground 'city' expanding before her as the elevator descended. She could see the route Ranma and Ryoga had taken simply by the carnage left behind. She looked toward the where the main computer was located and the many corridors surrounding it. They would have to traverse through the corridors, which would still be infested with boomers so they could make it to the main computer. Of course it would be infested with boomers, if they weren't then that meant Ranma and Ryoga had disabled the main computer...which meant the self destruct would be in admist a countdown. Luckily, she didn't hear the countdown on the speakers.
"T-those corridors," Madigan said, pointing, "They lead to the main computer,"
"What are those?" Akane asked, pointing toward these large cylindrical chambers just on the outside of those corridors.
"They're the coolant ducts that are used to keep everything from overheating. There's an underground network that circulate the coolant to every machine throughout the factory," Madigan replied. She pointed toward the large and looming structure located near the heart of the 'city' and said, "That's where the supercomputer is. We have to make our way there..,"
The girls witnessed an explosion erupted from one of the maze of corridors down below.
"That's most likely Ranma or Ryoga," Sylia commented. Linna nodded in agreement.
From down below, bullets flew upward and struck the glass of the elevator, shattering it. Madigan and Linna quickly fell to the floor, taking cover, shielding themselves from the glass. Akane backed away from the glass, crouching low.
Sylia, on the other hand, pulled out the magnum and carefully aimed it toward to location the bullets where coming from.
"Sylia, what are you doing? Get down!" Linna shouted to Sylia, worried that her fried was going to get herself killed.
Sylia pulled the trigger twice. The firing immediately stopped.
"What happened?" Madigan asked. "Why did it stop firing?"
"I shot out its eyes. It can't hit what it can't see..," Ranma stopped his fighting, "Did you hear something? I could have sworn I just hear gunfire from somewhere else..,"
Ryoga, now totally healed and younger looking, turned toward Ranma, "I think so, I heard it also. How about you, Priss?"
The little time it took for Ryoga to move from the pool of coolant to the pool with the heated coolant Ranma had made had made him aged backwards quite a bit.
Priss said nothing. She was still transfixed on what she had seen when Ryoga took his cursed form.
"Yeah, yeah, I know. I turned into a piglet," Ryoga muttered, a bit annoyed. He preferred people not to know of his curse since the more people knew, the better the chance Akane would eventually find out, "But will you please quit staring at me like I'm some kinda ghost and pay more attention..,"
Priss blinked a few times, "I can't believe it, you turn into a goddamn piglet..,"
The muscles in Ryoga's jaw tensed, "I know! You don't hafta remind me..,"
Ranma snapped a finger in front of Priss' face, causing her to start and become more concerned with other things than Ryoga's curse.
"W-what is it?" she asked.
He said, "Did you hear something? Like gunfire? I could have sworn I heard it,"
"It's probably your imagination," Priss commented. It was probably the sounds of more boomers on the way that he heard.
Ryoga shook his head, "I don't think so. I heard it also. What should we do? Should we go back to the computer or go check it out..,"
Priss took a moment to think, "I dunno. Okay, how about this. Ranma'll go ahead and blow the computer up. Ryoga and I will go check out the noise, whatever it is,"
Even though she had no idea what she was walking into, she didn't feel nearly as worried with a totally healed Ryoga around, or a totally healed Ranma just a short ways away.
Ranma nodded, "Okay. I'll come looking for you as soon as I blow it Up,"
He turned around and ran down the corridor, dodging the lasers from a single boomer that stood in his way and punching its skull in as he ran right past it, disappearing around a corner.
"C'mon, let's go," Ryoga said, turning around and heading down the corridor in the opposite direction.
Sylia jumped out of the way just in time as some massive ball of energy surged through the opening that lead in to the maze of corridors. The blast shot forward and struck the wall on the opposite side of the vast storage room, demolishing it.
"What the hell was that?" Linna said, taking cover by ducking behind a large metallic box. Madigan was frightfully by her side, scared out of her wits. Akane was at Linna's other side.
Sylia peeked around the corner into the dark corridor and shot several rounds into it, taking cover just in time as another ball of energy shot out from the darkness.
"Waitaminute!" Akane said, realizing something, "That's Ryoga's!"
"H-how do you know?" Linna asked, not daring to peek her head up over the box, worried that it would be blown right off if she did do that.
Akane cupped her hands around her mouth and stood up and shouted, "Ryoga! Hold your fire! It's me, Akane!"
"Akane?" Ryoga emerged into the light of the room. If it weren't for Sylia having such quick reactions in recognizing him, she would have blown Ryoga's head off as she caught sight of him running out into the middle of the room.
Sylia slumped down, her fingers twitching, her knees weak, "Damn, that was close," She could have almost been killed, and could have almost killed Ryoga, if that was possible.
Priss emerged out into the light also, giving Sylia a quick start. Sylia had almost pointed the magnum and pulled the trigger again, almost mistaking Priss for a boomer. Having come close to being vaporized by that ball of energy, having been close enough to feel its searing heat as it whizzed by, was enough to make anyone jumpy.
"Where's Ranma?" Akane said, hopping over the box to meet Ryoga halfway.
Ryoga jerked a thumb over his back, "He went to destroy the computer,"
"Shit!" Linna shouted, "We hafta stop him! The whole place will self destruct if the computer gets destroyed!"
"What?" Ryoga found himself losing his voice. His throat was starting to feel dry. If the whole place self destructed, then Akane would surely die in the blast. He couldn't have that happen...not again.
Ryoga spun around on his heels and quickly ran back into the dark corridors, praying that his lack of direction doesn't fail him now. He just prayed that he wouldn't be too late when he got to his destination.
Ryoga was too late. As he emerged out into the main room, he caught sight of Ranma letting loose a massive ki-blast twice as large as any he had ever thrown, right at the computer, the one shot needed to finally destroy it.
"No!" Ryoga said, almost falling to his knees as he realized how bad this situation had just become.
"What? What's wrong?" Ranma asked, looking down at Ryoga.
'Attention, the auto-destruct has been activated. Please evacuate the premises immediately. You have twenty minutes' could be heard echoing throughout the room.
"That's what's gonna happen," Ryoga said, "The whole place is gonna blow up with us in it..,"
"Oh man, that's really really bad!" Ranma said.
The girls rushed into the room.
"W-we're too late," Priss said, resting her hand on her knees as she gasped for air.
'Attention, the auto-destruct has been activated. Please evacuate the premises immediately. You have nineteen minutes and thirty seconds'
Ranma turned toward everyone, 'Get the hell outta here!"
"How? How the hell are we going to get out of here in under twenty minutes?" Madigan said, tears starting to form as she realized the uselessness of running, "It'll take us thirty minutes get out of this place because the closest elevator was destroyed. The nearest elevator is over a mile and a half away!"
"If we run hard enough, we can make it!" Ranma said, turning around. He could run a mile and a half in no problem. He would carry them.
He grabbed the nearest people, Priss and Madigan, "Let's get the hell outta of here!"
"We have to stop it!" Sylia shouted, pulling her arm away from Ranma's hand, "If this place blows up, the whole tower above us will collapse and kill thousands, if not tens of thousands..,"
"But there is no way to stop it!" Madigan said, numbly. She could picture herself, dying underneath a mile of terra firma, no longer able to see Carper again. The thought brought tears to her eyes. She turned toward Sylia, "It's all your fault! Why did you have to bring me? Why?"
"Because we don't trust you, that's why!" Sylia retorted coldly. "God, what the hell are we gonna do?" Linna said, panic in her voice. She didn't want to die. She was too young and pretty to die.
Ranma looked up toward the computer, "Is there a way to stop the self destruct?"
"No!" Madigan replied, wishing to god that it wasn't true, "There's no way to stop the countdown once it's started!"
"Boy, we're really up the creek without a paddle, now aren't we?" Ranma commented. He looked at Ryoga, "What do you think we should do?"
"Why the hell are you asking me?" Ryoga replied vehemently, "You're the one that cause this!"
Ranma was silent. He turned his attention back onto the computer, his gaze intent, his visage somber "Yes, it is my fault..,"
'Attention, the auto-destruct has been activated. Please evacuate the premises immediately. You have nineteen minutes'
"We have to leave!" Linna shouted, "Now!"
Sylia turned toward Linna, "How? It'll take us over thirty minutes to get out of this place! The only way out has been destroyed. We're stuck in here..,"
"I'll stop it..," Ranma said in a low voice, "I'll stop the countdown..,"
"H-how?" Madigan asked in a shaky voice.
"I'll...I'll kill myself...," Ranma said, dead serious.
"What?" the girls said in unison.
Ranma turned his attention away from everyone, "I'll use my seppukku blast to destroy this entire room and melt this computer into absolute nothing...but...but I'll die in the process..,"
"No!" Akane spoke in a pleading voice, "You're not going to do that! There's gotta be another way!"
"There's gotta be another way..," Linna said. She turned toward Madigan, "C'mon, tell me there's some other way!"
Madigan was silent.
"No one here's going to sacrifice themselves," Sylia said, the calm port within a storm, "Although we came in her separately, we leave here together,"
Ranma shook his head, "No, I'm staying. I caused this, so I'll take Responsibility,"
"You moron!" Akane said, the tear ducts of her eyes forming tears around her eyes, or were they real tears, "Don't you get it? You're going to die!"
"I don't want you to die!" Akane shouted.
Ranma turned toward Akane, "And if I don't do anything, we're all going to die and the people above us will die also. I-I can't have that happen. If I can stop this, I will, even if I have to die doing so..,"
"You bastard!" Akane said, slamming both fists into Ranma's chest, sobbing openly. She looked right into Ranma's eyes and said, "Fine, if you stay, I'm staying!"
"No, you're not!" Ranma said, "I'm not gonna lettcha die again. Y-
You...you mean too much to me..,"
"Well, you're not going to get rid of me," Akane said stubbornly, "I'm staying, and that's that,"
'Attention, the auto-destruct has been activated. Please evacuate the premises immediately. You have eighteen minutes and thirty seconds'
Ranma turned everyone, "Please, leave. You all have nothing to do with this. You can save yourselves. Just leave and never look back..,"
There was a short moment of silence as the entire group contemplated Ranma's words. 'Attention, the auto-destruct has been activated. Please evacuate the premises immediately. You have eighteen minutes,' "C'mon, get outta here. Go!" Ranma shouted, "Just get as far away from here as possible!"
"Why are you doing this?" Linna asked in a pleading voice. Even though she didn't really know him all that well, but over the time she had spent with them, she had gotten rather fond of Ranma and Ryoga and Akane.
"Because if I don't, you'll die and so will many others," Ranma gave a soft reply. He turned toward Ryoga, "Ryoga, please, take care of Akane,"
"I'm not going anywhere!" Akane said. But before she knew it, Ranma punched her in the stomach, causing her system to go into shock and temporarily shut down. It pained Ranma incredibly to having to do something like that to someone he cared for so much.
Ryoga was very silent. At first, he would have attempted to kill Ranma for doing something like that to his precious Akane, but he knew Ranma had done it for her own good. She didn't deserve to die.
"I'm sorry, Akane," Ranma said softly, remorseful for having done that, but there was no other way. He turned his attention from Akane and onto the rest of the group, "Go on, get as far away from here as possible.
'Attention, the auto-destruct has been activated. Please evacuate the premises immediately. You have seventeen minutes and thirty seconds'
"God, that damn voice is annoying," Ranma muttered. He composed himself and then said, "Well guys, I guess this is where we say goodbye..,"
Everyone was deathly quiet. No one wanted to say goodbye, not even Ryoga.
"It's best that you get at least a mile away from here, the farther the better," Ranma finally said, breaking the silence, "The blast I plan on using will take up at least a mile in every direction. You'll die if you're even close to it jus' from the heat,"
Ryoga held Akane close to him, her head rest on his shoulder, her arms falling over his back. He had this sad look on his face, as if he was about to say something but chose against it.
"C'mon," Linna said, teary eyed, "There's gotta be another way! Why does he have to die?"
Ranma replied in a soft voice, "It's the only way. It's either me or Ryoga, and we need Ryoga to watch over Akane,"
"But still," Linna looked up at Ranma with pleading eyes.
Ranma shook his head, "Look, it was fun getting to know all of you, but there's a time where we must all say goodbye. And I guess this is the time,"
'Attention, the auto-destruct has been activated. Please evacuate the premises immediately. You have seventeen minutes'
Ranma sighed, "Man, that's really annoying. Where're the speakers? I'm gonna blow them up before I can hear that voice again,"
"Ranma, you have more things to worry about!" Priss said, fighting back this overwhelming urge to cry, "You're going to die!"
Ranma nodded, "I know,"
"A-aren't you scared?" Priss asked, "You're going to fucking die!"
Ranma placed his hands on Priss' shoulders to calm her down, his voice calmer than she, "Yes, I know I'm going to die. As to me dying? No, I'm not scared. I mean, I've lived a good life. As much as I'd like to continue on living, I'd much rather die saving everyone's lives than to have them die along side me,"
"But there's gotta be a way!" Priss said, tears now starting to flow.
Ranma smiled, "C'mon, don't worry about me, I-I'll be fine,"
"No you won't!" Priss shouted angrily, "You're going to be dead in a little over sixteen minutes!"
Ryoga grabbed Priss' arm, "Priss, w-we hafta go,"
Sylia and Linna and Madigan were silent. They knew that they had to leave and fast if they wanted to get far enough away from this place. Priss clenched her teeth for she knew Ryoga was right. She turned away from Ranma, almost angry at him, "Y-you better survive this!"
Ranma was silent. How was he going to make a promise he could never keep? There was no way he was going to survive this... Sylia looked at Ranma, steeling herself of her emotions, concealing this ache in her heart "Ranma, I'm glad I got to know you,"
"I'll miss you," she said,
Ranma nodded, and half joked, "I'll miss you, too, or at least until I get vaporized,"
Sylia gave a small chuckle. She stepped forward and gently embraced Ranma, her head pressing into his shoulder as she took a deep breath..
Ranma returned the embrace, "C'mon, don't worry about me,"
Sylia broke her embrace and turned her back toward him, "Ranma...I-
I'll never forget you,"
With that said, she walked away. She stepped into the corridor where she broke down and started crying. Linna took her turn and stepped forward, "Ranma, I'm never going to forget you. Ever since you entered my life, it was one surprise after another," She embraced Ranma and was even bold enough to kiss him on the lips, wishing she had gotten to known him better. A girl like her could lose herself being in a place like Ranma's arms.
Ranma was a bit nervous after being kissed by Linna, "Um, er, I-I'm g-
glad I met you,"
"Relax, Ranma," Linna said was a sultry smile, "It was just a kiss goodbye. I know you and Akane belong together,"
Ranma was about to say something, but stopped himself. If someone had said that about him and Akane any other time, he would have denied it. Why? He did not know. But now was different. He realized that in a just a short while from now, he would never be.
"You're right," Ranma nodded, "I-I do care about her. And I do believe we belong together," He chuckled a bit and joked, "Perhaps if you're lucky, I can be resurrected just like she was,"
'Attention, the auto-destruct has been activated. Please evacuate the premises immediately. You have sixteen minutes and thirty seconds'
"I'll never forget you," Linna said, wiping a tear from her eye, as she turned around and headed for the corridors.
Ranma turned toward Priss, "Go on, Priss, you better get going. You don't have much time to get as far away from here as possible," He placed his hands on her shoulders, "You take care now, y'hear?"
Priss nodded. She reached forward and embraced Ranma tightly, reluctant to let go. When she did, she gave him one last look before she turned around and ran for the corridor.
All that remained were Madigan and Ryoga and Akane.
Ranma looked at Madigan, "I hope you finally realized that Genom isn't what it was all cracked up to be,"
Madigan nodded, "Yes. But...I ended up learning the hard way,"
"And what about your boyfriend?"
Madigan blushed. There was no real use denying it. And why should she. After this, she would go to the hospital to see Carper, to accept that dinner invitation she had declined not too long ago, "Carper's all right. He got hurt, but he'll be fine,"
Ranma smirked, "Well, have a nice life,"
Madigan was silent for a short while. Ranma was nothing like the person she thought he was. He seemed like the kind of person she would be glad to know, not attempt to hunt down like she did before. As she stood there, she regretted having done all that she had done.
"C'mon, you better get going," Ryoga told Madigan. Madigan looked up at Ryoga and nodded, turning around and heading for the corridor.
All who remained were Ryoga and Akane, Akane out cold.
"You know, I should hit you because you hit Akane like that," Ryoga said, "But I'll forgive you," Ranma smirked, "You take care Ryoga, now get outta here, and take care of Akane, y'hear?"
Ryoga nodded, "Do you think there's any chance you'll survive this?"
A tear fell from his eyes, "No, I won't"
Ryoga's face was sad, also on the brink of crying.
"Can't you believe it, Ryoga? All these years we've known each other and all we ever did was fight," Ranma began, "I dunno about you, but I always thought that you and I will end up being the ones to kill each other. It's almost ironic if you think about it. Us being enemies, and one of us dying to save the other one's life,"
Ryoga was silent for several long moments before he finally spoke, "Does it bother you?"
Ranma shook his head, "No, not really. All these years after everyone died, I always wondered why I go on living, training. And for what? It was to avenge everyone's death, to destroy the company that destroyed my life. But now...now that I got the chip and the chip would inevitably bring Genom down, I finally got my revenge. So no, it doesn't bother me that I'm gonna die. Why? Cause I did fulfilling my goal. Sure, I would rather live, but I would much rather die saving people than to die along side 'em,"
Ryoga reached a hand out and placed it on Ranma's shoulders, "Ranma, I'll miss you,"
Ranma smirked, "No you won't. You have Akane," He reached out and gently ran his fingers through Akane's hair. "You take care of her. Maybe if I feel like it, I'll come back to life and haunt you...,"
"Do you promise?"
Ranma almost started to cry. He turned his back toward Ryoga and Akane, "Go. Get outta here. You don't have much time,"
Ryoga was silent for several moments before he finally spoke, "Ranma, don't worry, I'll take care of her,"
With that said, Ryoga, carrying Akane, left the room.
All that remained was Ranma to contemplate his final moments of life.
'Attention, the auto-destruct has been activated. Please evacuate the premises immediately. You have seventeen minutes'
Akane finally awoke, "Where am I?"
"You're about two miles away from the main room," Sylia said.
Akane looked around and noticed two people were missing, "W-where's Ranma?"
"Ranma stayed behind," came the reply.
Akane quickly got to her feet, this dreadful feeling in the pit of her stomach. Perhaps it was her still being unaccustomed to the new body, or her really feeling sick at the though of what was going to happen.
"No! I have to be with him!" Akane shouted, tears falling from her eyes as she broke into a sprint for the main room. She didn't want Ranma to die. At least not alone. "I'm also going!" Ryoga said.
"What?" Priss said, shock in he voice. She and the others were located as far away from the main room, over two miles away. It had taken them twelve minutes to run that far, everyone running as fast as they could, Ryoga carrying Akane and then Madigan after the first half mile.
"Don't be stupid!" Priss shouted, "You're going to die!"
'Attention, the auto-destruct has been activated. Please evacuate the premises immediately. You have seven minutes'
Ryoga looked at Priss, everything coming to him clearly. He knew that he would gladly follow after Akane, even to his death. He quickly and skillfully came up with the words to describe how he felt, about having to live in a world like this, "I-I...we don't belong here. Ranma and Akane and I. W-we should have all died many years. It would have been better that way,"
"What the hell are you talking about?" Linna shot out.
Ryoga, slowly heading for the door, turned around to say his final words, "Don't you understand? We don't really belong here,"
"You're a coward!" Priss shouted.
"You're a coward, for running away! For not wanting to go on living! You may not really fit in, but you're a coward for running away!" she answered acidly, tears streaming.
Ryoga nodded, "If you think I'm a coward, then so be it. It won't really matter because I'll be dead not too long from now,"
"W-why?" Linna said, "Why would you go back to die with Ranma! And Akane! You can still save yourself!"
"Ranma and I are supposed to be enemies," Ryoga replied, "What Ranma had said to me earlier really got me thinking. Ranma and I are supposed to kill each other. If I live, and Ranma dies, then I'll never be able to live with myself. It didn't occur to me until now, but I don't want to go on living if...my friend dies. Yes, Ranma's my friend. He's not gonna die alone,"
"But he won't, Akane's going to be with him!" Priss said.
"Yes, and I plan on dying with them. Just remember, we should have all died many years ago. It was just unfortunately that Ranma and I survived. Now that we will finally get our revenge, we can rest in peace," Ryoga turned around and ran out of the room. He would have no problem traversing two miles in under three minutes, now no longer encumbered with carrying Madigan. It was finding his way there that he was worried about.
The girls remained silent after that, knowing they will never see him, nor Ranma, nor Akane again. They had all met three people, and had gotten close to them, close enough to consider them dear friends, only to lose all three of them in the very end.
Life wasn't fair.
Life will never be fair.
Ranma was shocked to see Akane enter the main room. "What the hell are you doing back here?"
'Attention, the auto-destruct has been activated. Please evacuate the premises immediately. You have two minutes' Sirens erupted into the room and throughout the corridor, 'Warning, you have two minutes to evacuate,' The white lights went off as several different ones came on, illuminating the room in blood red.
Akane stood defiant, gazing at Ranma intently, tears falling from her eyes "Ranma, you're not going to die alone,"
"That the hell are you talking about?" Ranma shouted, "Get the hell outta here! I can't go back on this! I have to do it even with you here! You're going to die!"
"I have made my decision. I want to die with you,"
Ranma was very very silent. He walked over to the computer and leaned against it, his face in his hands, his index and thumb pinching the ridge of his nose, as if he had a migraine. He finally spoke, "You're a fool. You shouldn't've come back. Even if you ran your fastest, you'll never get far away from here in time. Why did you come back? Why? You could have lived. You didn't need to die..,"
Akane nodded, "Yes, I could have lived, but why should I? I don't wouldn't want to go on living knowing that you died,"
"Goddamnit!" Ranma said, tears falling, "You could have lived, Akane. You could have lived..,"
"But I wouldn't want to because I would be without you...,"
Akane started to sob uncontrollably, running forward and falling into Ranma's embracing arms.
Ranma held Akane tightly.
"I want to be with you, even in death," Akane said, looking up at Ranma, no regret in her eyes.
Ranma tried to joke, "Well, it looks like you have no choice,"
Ranma and Akane broke their caring embrace just as Ryoga entered the room, skidding to a halt. He caught sight of Ranma and Akane.
Ranma turned toward Ryoga, "Ryoga...you didn't need to do this,"
'Attention, the auto-destruct has been activated. Please evacuate the premises immediately. You have one minute and thirty seconds'
Ryoga smirked, "You know I had to do this,"
"I'm not gonna even bother arguing with you on this," Ranma said with a sigh. For some reason, he knew Ryoga would had come back here, even if Akane didn't come here. He and Ryoga were alike. Their personalities kept each other in check and balance. The other would never enjoy life if the other wasn't there. It was just that way.
Ranma said, "Well, what should we do?"
Ryoga had the most serious face on that Ranma had ever seen.
"We kill each other,"
'Attention, the auto-destruct has been activated. Please evacuate the premises immediately. You have one minute'
Ranma nodded, "I know. Let's do it,"
He looked at Akane, "Akane, let's hang out when we meet each other on the other side,"
Ryoga smirked, "Not unless I'm there. If I am, I will do everything in my power to kill you...again,"
"I'm lookin' forward to it," Ranma chuckled, "I'm looking forward to it,"
Ranma smiled one last time, tears falling, and raised his hands toward Ryoga, his palms facing him. "Are you ready?"
Ryoga did the same, "Yeah"
Akane closed her eyes as she watched the two slowly start glowing. She didn't need to see them. She could feel their presence, surrounding her. As soon as she heard the impact of Ranma and Ryoga's blasts hitting each other, she knew she would become enveloped in the blast, going with them to a better place.
"Seppukku Mouko Takabisha!"
"Seppukku Shi Shi Hakodan!"
Ranma and Ryoga released their most powerful and deadly ki-blast at each other.
"No!" Linna shouted, falling to her knees, crying for the people she had just lost.
She and the rest were at the top floor of a tower-like build they had found that overlooked the entire 'city'. They all watched as a perfect sphere of pure energy and destructive power expanded from the center of the city, enveloping everything in its path. Several massive walls of fire ripped through the city, destroying everything in its path, consuming everything. The walls of fire continued to expand, like ripples in a pond but in every and any direction.
It continued to expand for several moment before it finally stopped, and then turned dark and began shrinking in on itself, sucking everything in, tearing buildings from the ground and sucking it into this black void.
The girls watched in awe at the shear destruction created. It was like watching an atomic bomb explode.
The ground shuttered in what seemed like an earthquake, causing everyone to fall to the ground, unable to keep afoot. Everyone realized that it wasn't the ground shaking, but the sound of the explosion finally reaching their area. Windows shattered, spraying everywhere, and buildings rocked on its foundations. It was probably worse than several jets traveling several feet over the building at mach 4.
When the noise and thunder-like shaking finally subsided, the girls got to their feet and looked out the glassless window and at the center of the 'city'.
They saw nothing. Nothing remained except for a large mile deep crater. It looked like a spherical chunk of the 'city' one mile in radius had disappeared. Priss and Linna started sobbing, taking comfort in each other's arms.
"They're gone..," Madigan said, staring in awe and disbelief. Nothing remained of what had just been. It was just a big empty space in the center of the 'city'.
Sylia, hiding her emotions, almost failing, nodded.
"Yes, they're gone...,"
It was gently raining when Lisa looked out her apartment window. Several years had passed since the fall of Genom. When Ranma and Ryoga hadn't gotten back to her for the chip, she went ahead and made the chip public knowledge, becoming a national hero for stopping something terrible from happening. Many people hated her for exposing what seemed like a respectable company, but as soon as they realized what Genom had inevitably planned to do, they soon grew to love her. Although Genom had tried to kill her to get rid of the evidence, the AD Police and Knight Sabers kept good care of her, keeping her out of harm's way.
Genom fell within a month after the chip was exposed those many years ago. The entire world went into economic chaos when boomers were taken off the market, but soon, people managed to go on with their lives, albeit without the help of boomers anymore. Although it was harder on everyone, they soon learned how to live without boomers. It was odd, having to revert back to their old ways, doing work with their own hands, but people soon adjusted.
"Ranma," she said wistfully, wishing she could see him again. Even though Ranma had been in her life for a very short time several years ago, she knew she would never forget him. Her world came crashing down upon her when she heard that Ranma, along with his friend, Ryoga, had died saving everyone's life.
She had been hoping she could see Ranma again, despite the fact that he had Akane. He and Ryoga were very similar to herself, having survived many hardships.
She placed her hands in her face and started to cry, "Ranma,"
In the distant horizon, as the rain continued to come down, perched on what seemed like a cliff a good mile above sea level, a few individuals gazed down on the city.
Ranma sneezed, "Hm, someone must be talking about me,"
Akane shook her head, exasperated at Ranma's arrogance, "Perhaps you have a cold,"
Ranma shrugged his shoulders. Perhaps it was the rain. Together, the three of them looked down the cliff from where they were perched and down toward the vast city below them.
"God, I can't believe it, after all these years, we...um, I'm finally cured," Ranma finally said, giving Ryoga a smirk, "It took long enough finding that damn Jusenkyo. How long has it been since we've been back in Japan? Eight years? Nine? Ten? Who knows? But anyway, I'm glad I'm back,"
"Everyone's gonna be surprised when you show up y'know, especially that Lisa girl," Akane commented. She missed home. She wanted to settle down. She was even beginning to feel old. Even though she was considered a machine, sometimes, she wished she could feel like a machine. That way, she wouldn't experience the sensation of feeling old and tired.
Ranma chuckled, "Perhaps," He looked toward the center of MegaTokyo where Genom Tower would be looming. But now, there was no tower. The entire tower had been taken down, along with the rest of the megacorporation. Another building had been erected in its place, but it wasn't a building meant to make boomers. "I betcha not," Ryoga muttered, "It was bad enough, what with how strong we were, but now, what, ten years later, we're at least twice as strong as what we were back then,"
Ranma turned toward Ryoga, "Well, I guess it goes with the territory of studying martial arts,"
"What kinda lame excuse is that?" Ryoga asked, looking at Ranma oddly.
"C'mon, let's go pay everyone a visit," Ranma said with a smirk, "God, are they gonna be surprised that we actually lived,"
"I still don't understand it, why we lived that is," Akane stated, "I mean, considering how strong those blasts were, we should have been incinerated,"
"Don't worry your pretty little head over it," Ranma said with a smile, "I guess we were meant to survive,"
His personality had changed quite a bit over the years. He had become much more easy-going, never worrying over something for very long, or dwelling on something that would give him a headache if he tried to understand it.
Ranma took a deep breath, "Man, I can't believe we're finally back in Japan. I missed this place. I can't wait to get settled down, like what we've been talking about all that time in China. I can't wait to open up my own school and start teaching people what I've learned over the years,"
"Man, look at the city," Ryoga said.
"What do you mean?" Akane asked curiously.
"Even though ten years have passed, the whole city looks less technologically advanced," he commented.
Ranma said, "Well, it's because everything made by Genom was taken away from everyone. All the technological wonders we saw were all from Genom. Now that Genom fell, it's as if the entire city have been set back many years,"
"Yeah," Akane said, "You're right. The entire city looks like our old neighborhood,"
"And you know what we call that, right?" Ranma asked, eyeing Akane carefully.
Here's a few extra scenes I wanted to add but I figured it was pretty useless since I made the story obviously conclude:
"Yeah," Akane said, "You're right. The entire city looks like our old neighborhood,"
"And you know what we call that, right?" Ranma asked, eyeing Akane carefully.
"Home," A short time passed as everyone acknowledged.
"Well, let's get go pay everyone a visit," Ranma said, "I don't wanna catch some kinda cold and die of pneumonia,"
The other two chuckled. After what Ranma had survived, nothing short of a nuke would stop him.
"Let's go," Ranma said as he leapt high into the air, reaching the pinnacle of his jump and then beginning his freefall descent down the cliff as the other two followed. As the three continued to freefall, Ranma twisted his body around to face the other two, his hands behind his back.
"Remember all those years ago? When I had to push all of us out the window in Genom Tower? Doesn't this bring back memories?" he said, forced to shout over the roaring winds.
"Will you shut up and pay attention?" Akane spat.
Ranma shrugged his shoulders and turned back around, angling his body almost perpendicular to the ground below, his arms closely to his sides, as he raced down toward the ground with blinding speed. When he was several feet from hitting the ground headfirst, he did a front somersault and gracefully landed on his feet, the speed from which he was falling doing no damage on his joints or the ground.
The other two landed closely behind him, their landings almost undetected. It was odd that someone could hit the ground at close to terminal velocity yet make no noise. Perhaps it was the training. They had trained for so many years that Ranma didn't even need to rely on his whirlwind punch to slow his descent.
Sylia and the other had remained friends over the years. Although they didn't share the same closeknit friendship as they did several years ago, they constantly stayed in contact with each other. It was because their goal had been reached, the destruction of Genom, that lead them to slowly drift apart. They no longer wore hardsuits, having retired the Knight Sabers several years back when they realized there were no more threat. The rampant boomers that ran through the city weren't of military design but of regular household use since not everyone wanted to get rid of their boomers, even though they were considered illegal nowadays.
Sylia was walking down the street, her dinner in the bag she was carrying, her other hand holding the umbrella, heading toward her penthouse. She stopped for a short moment when she a crowd of people gathered around an intersection. She didn't even bother to inspect what it was, knowing that it was probably another household boomer someone had refused to dismantle that went berserk. The AD Police could handle it. For once, they would be useful.
Of course, they would never be as effective fighting any kind of boomer like Ryoga and Ranma had once.
"Ranma..," she said, softly to herself. She missed him. Although she knew him for a very short time, she had grown really fond of him. When she realized that he had died in that explosion, along with Ryoga and Akane, she was heartbroken. It lead her to realize that she really cared for him, perhaps not love him, but akin to it. When she had realized Ranma and the others had died, she had hid her emotions, but in the end, when she was alone in her penthouse, she found herself crying to sleep for well over a week.
As Sylia continued to walk away from the crowd, saddened at the memory of lost friends, she heard someone call her name.
Her heart skipped a beat because she could have sworn she heard Ranma's voice. Perhaps she missed him that much that her mind was playing tricks on her and making her think that Ranma was still alive. She sighed and continued her trek back home, to an empty penthouse. She stopped when she felt a hand on her shoulder.
Ranma walked around Sylia to see her face to face.
Sylia recognized Ranma immediately but didn't believe it at first. He looked like he was the same age as he was several years ago. It looked like he remained ageless. He looked like he was somewhere in his twenties when she knew he was somewhere around fifty or so.
Ranma smiled, "How're ya doing?"
Sylia continued to stare at him. She knew that at any moment, she would wake up. So, since this was a dream, she might as well live out a quick fantasy. Before she would wake up, Sylia took the initiative and dropped her bag of food and umbrella and took a step forward, embracing Ranma, kissing him.
Ranma's eye bulged as he realized what was happening. Sylia opened her eyes and gazed up at the shocked Ranma, and at that moment, she realized that he was real, so real that she could feel his bodyheat even as it rained. "R-Ranma? I've missed you," Sylia said, embracing him, resting her head up against the crook of his shoulder and neck. She held him for several long moments before she broke away from him, a million questions springing into her mind, "I-I thought you were dead"
"Um, I-I missed you too," Ranma said, blushing a bit, "Um, well, I...we all survived," He gestured toward Akane and Ryoga.
Sylia was surprised she hadn't noticed them before. Perhaps it was because Ranma was the only person she had been focusing on all this time. "R-Ryoga. A-Akane," As she looked at them, memories of the times they've shared together flooded her mind, "Y-you're all alive,"
Akane seemed to glare at Sylia for what she had just done.
Ryoga nodded, "Yep. We've been alive all this time," "W-why didn't you let us know?" she asked, very confused. She thought they were friends. "Well, we didn't want to show back up here until our...um, my curse was cured," Ranma said softly, "That's all,"
Sylia was silent. That was a pretty stupid reason. She had lived for quite a while with this ache in her heart, believing Ranma was dead, and Ranma was too selfish to let her or anyone else that he had lived. But still, it didn't really matter. He was back in her life again.
"Well, welcome back," she said, smiling a bit. She almost felt like crying, but she didn't let her emotions overwhelm her. She looked at Akane and Ryoga, "You, too. Everyone will be very happy to see you again,"
Nene sat in front of her console. Another boring day at work. Nothing fun ever happened anymore now that Genom went under. There were no longer any calls on some advanced military boomer having gone berserk in the middle of MegaTokyo. All she ever did was sit in front of her console and monitor trivial occurrences, like car accidents and robberies. Although over the years, she could had easily gone up several ranks, she had declined her promotions, wishing to remain a dispatcher because of she didn't want any added responsibilities which would lead to added stress.
She sighed, "Another dull day,"
Her co-worker, Janiko, came up to her, a smirk on her lips, "Hey, Nene, there's someone here to see you. He's waiting out front for you,"
"I dunno, but all I have to say is way to go. He's really really cute," came the reply, emphasized with a smirk, "A bit shy for me, but having someone like that could definitely get a girl jealous,"
Nene looked at her co-worker, her eyes creasing. Was this some kind of joke? No one came to visit her a work, let alone a man, "Why's he here for me?"
Janiko shrugged her slender shoulders, "I dunno. Why dontcha go ask him yourself. I'll take over for you while you're gone. Jus' don't take too long, if you know what I mean," she said with a wink.
Nene blushed a bit as she got up off her seat and proceeded toward the front entrance. When she reached there, she saw someone that looked familiar, but his back was turned toward her. The yellow and black bandanna give him away, "R-Ryoga?"
Ryoga turned around, a bit nervous, "H-hello," He was a quite a sight. It looked like he hadn't changed one bit over the years, staying young and very handsome.
Ryoga nodded, "Yes, we've been alive all this time. We finally came back to Japan today,"
Nene, in a fit of joy, ran forward and embraced Ryoga. She had changed over the years, and she didn't really care who was watching. She didn't even care that Ryoga was wet from the rain outside. She had missed him and wanted to hold him again after so long. She would ask questions later.
Steeling herself, Nene cupped her hands on Ryoga's cheeks and stood on the tips of her toes as she brought her lips up to Ryoga's mouth and gently kissed him. Oh, how she wanted to do that for so long. He had no idea what he had done to her. She had even had fantasies about him, especially after what he had said several years ago, when he asked her if she wanted to go camping with him in that innocent tone of his. She had wondered all this time what could have happened if she had offered, or what she would have wanted to happen.
Ryoga's eyes went glassy, his body limp. It was as if he fainted while still standing. Nene couldn't help but smirk at the irony here. Here, standing before her, was a man probably capable of leveling an entire city, able to throw nuclear-type projectiles from his hands, yet he couldn't withstand a single kiss.
"Um, Ryoga, you okay?"
Ryoga weakly nodded. He was okay...barely.
Priss was onstage singing her newest song when she caught sight of a familiar face among the crowd.
The man in the crowd raised his hand and waved at her. Only his face and arm could be seen over the ocean of people, "Hello,"
Priss turned around toward her band and gestured for them to stop playing. She couldn't hear anything over the roaring background music. When they stopped, she gazed right at the man and said into the microphone, "Is that really you?"
Ranma shouted, "Yeah," He continued to wave his hands as he slowly made his way toward the stage, squeezing between the ocean of people. When he made his way to the front, the climbed over the fence and tumbled to the floor, rolling onto his feet where he was met with two towering bouncers. Their biceps were probably the size of Ranma's head. "Excuse me," Ranma said to the two bouncers.
The bouncers didn't move. One of them said, "Get away from Priss. You're not allowed to go onstage. If you don't go back to where you came from, you're in for a world of hurt,"
Ranma was ignoring them as he walked between them and proceeded to climb onto the stage.
"Y-you're alive! H-how can that be?" she said, staring at Ranma with wide eyes. One of the bouncers grabbed Ranma's arm, "Oh no you don't," When he tried to pull Ranma away from Priss, he found himself unable to budge the young looking man. Even his arm wouldn't move slightly.
"Are you busy?" he asked, "I'll explain everything to you later,"
Priss smirked, "Well, kinda. I was in the middle of a concert," she gestured to the crowd of people all behind Ranma. Ranma turned around to face the crowd, "Whoa, that's a lotta people. I can't believe I managed to make my way all the way from back there to here," One of the bouncers punched Ranma in the back of his head. Afterall, it would be better to take out the trash when the trash was unconscious and not fighting back. The bouncer found himself yelping in pain when his fist collided with something akin to solid steel.
"H-he's a boomer!"
Ranma, having felt the man punch him, turned around to face one of the bouncers, "Um, do you mind? I'm trying to talk here but it's kinda annoying with you punching me. Also, I'm not a boomer,"
The other bouncer bumrushed him, shouldering Ranma in his stomach. Ranma stood where he was, not even winded. The bouncer got hurt more than Ranma did, for it felt like he rammed his shoulder right into an iron pole.
"W-what the h-hell are you?" Priss asked, shocked. She remember several years ago when she witnessed Ranma's power but it was nowhere near as shocking as this.
Ranma sighed, "I'm the same person as you know from before. Anyway, can ya ditch for a short while? Everyone's gonna get together. I already talked to Sylia and Ryoga, provided he doesn't get lost, is going to talk to Nene. Akane went to get Linna. It's kinda like a get together party. What do ya say?" He even smiled.
Priss, almost in shock, nodded.
Ranma's face lit up, "All right. Let's get going" He turned toward the crowd of people, "Hm, I don't think we'll be able to get out this way," He looked up at a tautly pulled wire that lead to a tiny balcony on the other side of the huge room, about twenty feet above. There was a window right near it, "Ah, we'll go out through the window," Without even asking, Ranma grabbed Priss and picked her up, leaping high into the air, landing gracefully on the wire. Priss didn't even have a chance to shriek before she realized what had happened. Strangely, considering how protectively Ranma was holding her, Priss probably wouldn't have shrieked anyway.
Priss looked down and realized that Ranma was standing on a wire. "Hey, the guy's kidnappin' Priss!" someone in the crowd shouted, pointing toward Ranma.
Ranma, still standing on the wire, still holding Priss, looked down at the guy, "No, I ain't kidnappin' no one," He didn't even need to concentrate on remaining on the wire, his balancing becoming second nature to him. He ran the length of the wire, which was about thirty feet, not missing a beat.
Ranma stepped onto the balcony where he kicked the window open and leapt out, gracefully landing on the ground below. He looked up at the sky and commented, "Hm, it stopped raining. Oh well. Hold on tight,"
Priss didn't argue as she did what she was told and held on tightly, her arms wrapping around his neck.
"N-not that tight," Ranma choked. When Priss loosened her grip, Ranma lest high into the air, landing on the roof of a build that was probably fifty or so feet high. From there, he proceeded to run off toward the horizon, Priss in his arms.
Akane and Linna were walking down the street together, chatting like crazy when Ranma and Priss bumped into them.
When Akane caught sight of Ranma holding Priss in his arms, her eyes creased. She could feel her blood almost boil. Ranma didn't have to be that friendly. Sure, he hadn't seen them in years, but they didn't know each other that well...did they?
Ranma, upon gracefully landing, placed Priss on her own two feet. When he saw Akane glaring at the two of them, he scratched the back of his head, "Um, w-we weren't expecting to see you two until Sylia's,"
Akane humphed. She knew he was trying to weasel his way out of this.
"Hold up, hold up," Ranma said, realizing something. "I'm, what, fifty, sixty, whatever, why do I hafta justify everything I do? So what if you saw me holdin' Priss? What, are you jealous?"
"M-me? J-jealous?" Akane was almost blushing, "I am not jealous!" Without saying another word, she threw a punch at Ranma's face, which Ranma didn't even bother to move out of the way. However, he was totally unaffected.
Ranma pretended like his nose was broken, "Y-you broke my nose!"
Akane pulled away, horrified, "W-what?"
He laughed aloud, "Jus' kidding. Ha, I got ya there didn't I-"
Akane kicked Ranma in the face, hard. He fell backwards onto his back. He was actually enjoying this as he placed his hands behind his head and looked up at the sky.
Ryoga happen to have chosen that time to show up.
"What's going on here?" he asked, placing Nene down on the ground. Nene was blushing, and she blushed even more when she saw Linna and Priss' eyes raise when they both looked at her.
When no one said anything, Ryoga looked at Ranma, "I betcha it had something to do with you, Ranma! Die!" He ran up to where was lying and shot several ki-blasts right into his chest. The explosion sent everyone reeling backwards, covering their faces from the extreme light. When the light cleared up, and the girls' eyes got adjusted again, they caught sight of Ranma sitting Indian style in the middle of a crater several meters in diameter, Ryoga standing before him.
Ranma sighed, "Man, Ryoga, why do you always go and jump to conclusions. I was only kidding around. And I can't believe you took those cheap shots, shooting those ki-blasts at me like that," He got up and brushed the dust off, ignoring Ryoga, and walked over to the group, "Well, now that we're all here, we're supposed to meet up at Sylia's,"
"Don't ignore me, Ranma!" Ryoga said, aura flaring. His aura was over twice as large and bright than what Priss or Nene or Linna had ever seen.
Akane turned toward the shocked girls and smiled.
"Don't worry, like always, they fight all the time,"
Lisa looked out her window.
Ranma waved back at her.
"R-Ranma?" she said. She could have sworn she had just seen Ranma. Her mind must be playing tricks. She looked more carefully.
"Nah. That can't be him" she said to herself. Even though she had told herself that it wasn't him, she couldn't bring her eyes off that man standing in the middle of the street.
Ranma waved again. He could clearly see Lisa through the window. He immediately suspected that she couldn't see him through the rain since it had started raining once again, even harder.
"Lisa, it's me! Ranma!" he shouted, cupping his hands to his mouth. He took a step toward Lisa's apartment complex and slipped on the wet sidewalk, landing flat on his back. Lisa, seeing someone slip and fall in front of her building, gasped. The man could've gotten hurt and she needed to help him out. She quickly grabbed her jacket from her closet and ran out of her apartment, immediately closing the door behind her, forgetting that she hadn't brought her keys with her.
Ranma was laughing as the rain poured down on him. It was absolutely hilarious that he would slip and fall over something like a wet sidewalk. He had enough balance to run on a thin piece of wire while carrying Priss in his arms yet he couldn't keep from falling flat on his back from a wet sidewalk.
He stopped laughing when he saw a pretty face looking down on him. It was Lisa.
He quickly got to his feet.
"Ranma? Is that you?"
Ranma smiled warmly, "Yep. Ya busy?"
Lisa just stared at him. She couldn't believe who she was looking at, "B-but I t-thought you were dead,"
He shook his head, "Well, as you can see, I'm not. Everyone's fine. As a matter of fact, I came here to see if you're busy. We, as in the girls and Ryoga and I, are having a get together party, and I came to see if you'd like to come. I'd really appreciate it if you do,"
Lisa, almost lightheaded, turned toward her door, "Well, I guess I'll have to, now that I locked myself out,"
Ranma looked at the door. He could easily break it down but figured she wouldn't appreciate it.
"Well, I guess that solves it. You're coming with me to Sylia's"
Lisa gave a yelp of surprise as she found herself being whisked off her feet.
"C'mon, let's go,"