By Luna Stop Swearing
Disclaimers: Tohru Fujisawa owns.
Episode 8: Dissonance
It was two hours later (9:30 P.M.), and the few dedicated to the task of leaving their mark on the school by means of vandalism and destruction were gathered in what had been christened Doomsday Conference Room, which was actually the Seirin High audiovisual building.
The audiovisual room-rather, building, was one massive room constructed pretty much like the auditorium: it was exaggeratedly large, probably the size of two and a half football pitches, it was built to seat a little under 2000 people (in short, the entire Seirin population, students plus faculty and staff and a couple hundred visitors), and the walls were white and the floor was marble tile. The only difference was that the AVR had a huge white screen which covered almost the entire wall of the stage. Projected on this screen were educational movies, which were showed almost every week. Movies the seniors had seen during their last year at Seirin included Hero, Citizen Kane, Bayaning Third World (Third World Hero, for the non-Tagalog speaking audience), Sexual Reproduction: Answering the Who, Where, What, Why, When, and HOW?, and The Kama Sutra (Onizuka insisted on this follow-up to Sexual Reproduction after he was flooded with questions from his male students on how to sufficiently satisfy a girl, and vice versa. It was a private screening, as well as an illegal one). There were also several other doors lined along the doors, which led to the various video editing rooms, recording rooms, video library, darkrooms, and the equipment storage rooms. Here was where the notorious audiovisual geeks hung around. Or where some students made amateur porn.
Now, however, only the first two rows of chairs had been occupied by the two dozen and a half (or to put it simply, 30) students who bothered showing up, or whose parents didn't really care where their children were. The Onikumi were up front and center, as they were the next in command. Of all the 100 or so lights that were scattered around the AVR, only 10 of them were on, enough to illuminate the faces of the attendees and the hosts. Everyone was also in their sleeping attire (from boxers and shirts to baby pink pajamas), chatting excitedly at what was about to transpire.
Urumi and Ryu nodded at each other as they ascended the stage from opposite sides. They walked over to the whiteboard strategically placed in the center of the stage, on which two of the ten spotlights were focused. Urumi coughed to get everyone's attention, and naturally, succeeded in doing so.
"Welcome, everyone, to the first phase of Operation SULONG," she said, writing the word in black pentel on the whiteboard. "-Which is the briefing from the two coup leaders, whom you very well know. I am Urumi Kanzaki, he is Ryu Takahashi. I hope we don't need to give any other form of introduction."
"What does SULONG stand for?" A girl in a white tank top and black cycling shorts called out from beside Anko. This was Michiko Miyake, vice president of Class 3-3 (whom Kikuchi had passed the note on to), and class vice president since freshman year. Since she didn't seem to mind, her classmates kept nominating her for the position and she kept winning. She was even vice president of her club, Gestalt.Matrix, or the Maths club. An active member of the student council (of which she was vice president of), she moved in Urumi and Ryu's general circles, but was not exactly 'friends' with either. 'Acquaintances' would be a more appropriate term.
"First of all, I would like to stress that neither of us came up with the name," Ryu explained. If he was displeased with the name, he was definitely showing it now. "The brainchild behind our name is none other than our batchmate Ysa Villongco, who happens to be a lieutenant in our little organization's pyramid of power. Ysa-chan, if you would be so kind as to stand up and write down what SULONG stands for on the whiteboard?"
A girl in a gray knee-length sleeveless cotton nightgown stood up. She was distinguishably not Japanese, for her skin was tanner than the others, she was shorter than most girls her age, her eyes were slightly larger, and she had this exotic, tropical aura about her that screamed, "I'm not frigging Japanese, okay?" Her full name was Victoria Ysabel Mae Villongco (When first introduced at school, her classmates were shocked that she had such a long name, probably the longest they had heard since Jean Claude Van Damm), she was 16 years old (another point that separated her from her Japanese classmates, as she attended school early and didn't go through junior high), and she had transferred to Seirin in the middle of the first semester from the Philippines, which apparently coincided with her summer vacation in Manila. This made her prone to long, trilingual soliloquies about what she would be doing if she were back home, or that it was summer in her country, so she shouldn't have to go to school… In three terms, though, she had established herself as a remarkable writer, both in English as well as Japanese, and was known throughout Seirin High as the iron-fisted editor-in-chief of Seirin's anti-admin underground paper, entitled, Adarna. (Naturally.)
Ysa-chan (as most of her batchmates took to calling her; most kohai simply addressed her as 'Ysa-sama') strode over to the whiteboard and picked up the marker. Under SULONG she wrote Students Unified in Leadership Against the Oppression of the New School Government.
"That's so frigging long!"
"I've got a suggestion, Ryu! Why don't we call it Operation Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious instead? I think that's shorter, and easier to memorize!"
Anko sighed, rubbing her temples. We haven't even started the briefing and already they're complaining… about the name! Kami-sama help us!
"You're all just pissed because you can't pronounce it properly," Ysa muttered under her breath.
"What was that, Ysa-chan?" Ryu inquired sweetly from her side.
Ysa glared at him and would have liked to spit in his face, but she lacked the knack for spitting dramatically into someone's face, like they did on those TV soaps back at home. Things like that needed practice.
Since her arrival at Seirin, he'd openly mocked her for being different than the rest of them. For not being tall, for not having the same skin tone. Well, Ysa thought, He may be painfully gorgeous, but all that beauty doesn't go to my head. A slap should knock all the pretty boy out of him, she thought. She raised her hand for it (the audience held its collective breath and reminisced about Hana Yori Dango and wondered if there would be a side-story just like it), swung it back a good 90 degrees, and slammed it full-force against the side of Ryu's pretty face.
"You're gonna die!" Someone yelled from the audience. He was immediately shushed.
The blow was so strong that it knocked Ryu back a bit. Needless to say, Urumi didn't catch him, as he had hoped. She stood on her side of the stage, smirking as if to say, Well done. Stunned, Ryu touched his cheek, stood at his full height (185 cm), and glared at her. It was the Heero Yuy Death Glare (TM) and Maika's Magnum Bitch (from chapter 7) combined, pretty and powerful.
Before he left the stage, he said icily, "Wait for your red card tomorrow."
Ysa blinked. She was still onstage, two spotlights shining down on her. With both Urumi and Ryu. His cheek wasn't red at all. Same condescending demeanor, but he didn't look like he was going to slap her (that's bad...) with a lawsuit and have her deported. She put down the marker she was holding and raised her hand until it was level to her shoulder.
The audience gripped their knees and leaned forward.
The small girl blushed adorably and scratched her head. "You were saying something, Takahashi?"
Ah, yes. Ysa had a tendency to daydream and wander off into her own little world (and forget what she was thinking of prior to spacing out). Pay attention to this; it'll play a big part later on.
Ryu Takahashi sighed. "Weren't you saying something, Ysa-chan?"
"Now where were we?" Ryu asked no one in particular.
"Can't we have thought up a shorter name for this operation?"
"Ah, yes. Please, Ysa-chan, answer."
"That's why we've abbreviated it," Ysa-chan said calmly. "This name is significant because in Tagalog, the dialect I speak in the Philippines, it means 'to charge.' I thought it would be an appropriate title for the operation, and I ran it by Urumi and she liked it. If you guys don't, then too bad. I also believe this is too trivial a matter to want further dissection, don't you think so?"
"Yes," Urumi said, nodding gratefully to her associate, who, as she returned to her seat, passed by Urumi and whispered, "Thanks. I feel so honored, like an honor student." The coup general looked a little taken aback at the choice of words as she watched Ysa go back to her seat, but regained her composure with amazing speed. "Now we will be discussing the rules of Operation SULONG, as it is officially known. I assure you, there are only five golden rules, and if you all follow them, our little prank will flow smoothly. Ryu, if you please."
After several minutes of scribbling on the whiteboard, Ryu stepped away from it and eyed his work proudly. The assembly, however, eyed the whiteboard with confusion.
"I can't read a thing!"
"What's that say?"
And one distinguishably Filipino comment, "Sulat doktor!"(1) (You write like a doctor!)
"Hold me back, Urumi," Ryu said through gritted teeth. "I feel like bashing some heads in with Monobloc chairs."
Urumi's initial reaction was to roll her eyes. He was only looking for an excuse for her to touch him. Ryu, although he was a leader, had a short temper, one of his (many, many) flaws. Especially when it came to batch meetings and the like. Urumi recalled a time, a batch meeting during their sophomore year, when a student had dared question his authority, and Ryu had nearly tossed the poor guy out the window if it weren't for the other members of the student council. It didn't help much that the guy was Mayu Wakai and that he got a big kick out of challenging Ryu's intelligence and capabilities. Looking back, Urumi made it a point to call his house later and ask around for him.
"If you can't handle it, I can take over," she said smugly, reaching for the whiteboard eraser and running it over the chicken-scratch handwriting. Ryu liked Urumi too much to disagree; she was probably the only person he ever let puncture his ego. And even then, just a little. He stalked over to one side of the whiteboard, scowling at the attendees, making sure that none of them thought of him differently just because he had poor penmanship. In a matter of minutes, Urumi's neat, feminine handwriting flooded the blackboard. Clapping her hands with satisfaction, she once again faced her audience with the poker face she was famous for.
"Okay, #1," Ryu said, regaining his second wind and hogging the spotlight again just as Urumi opened her mouth. "Obey your superiors. No one questions my authority, nor Urumi's. Any chucklehead who steps one toe out of line and I'll bust a cap in his ass. Or her ass, if need be."
"I highly doubt that we'll be wanting to encourage a new generation of wife beating," Urumi commented. "No corporal punishment. It's a simple series of pranks, not a frat initiation."
"Fine, fine, whatever Urumi said. Rule #2… Oh shit." His cellphone went off (ringtone: Chemistry's You Go Your Way, which was surprising, considering his war-freakish attitude), and he ran backstage to answer it.
"Okay, people, the first rule is, no talking to any member of the administration. Rika will be passing the attendance sheet, which you are all required to sign. We're doing this so that in case there's an information breach, the rat will be easier to hunt down. If anyone's even contemplating the thought of snitching, now's the time to get out of my sight, the door's still open."
Crickets. Her batchmates blinked back at her, well, all except Kikuchi, who Urumi swore was grinning. That, or he was amusedly formulating some trivial thought.
"Glad to know my platoon aren't all platyhelminths."
Crickets. This, ladies and gentlemen, was an example of Urumi Kanzaki cracking a joke. Let it not be said that Urumi was a humorless bitch. Bitch, yes, humorless, no.
Was that actually… a joke? Kikuchi asked himself, half in disbelief, half in amusement.
"Platyhelminths. Invertebrates? Organisms without spines?" She feebly attempted to explain, but realized that only Kikuchi and the Gundam Otaku would probably understand anyway. And, given the Gundam Otaku's… unusual (to put it kindly) sense of humor, they'd probably the types to collapse on the floor, having asthma attacks from laughing too much.
Rika attempted a laugh, but it was too obviously forced. "Ha… haha…" Seeing the look on Urumi's face, she stopped and made an expression that clearly said, "Yikes."
Everyone turned around to look at the girl who had raised her hand. The girl was sporting a red and black Pucca nightie, her long brown hair braided at the back like it had been since she was in junior high. When she noticed that everyone had turned his or her attention to her, she smiled. And people got scared and inched away from her. Like they always did when she was in junior high.
"I was wondering… Onizuka-sensei… can we talk to him? I mean, I know he's a teacher, but he's… you know, better than the rest of them."
"Of course. He's in charge of our… headquarters."
And that certain headquarters, was, you betcha by golly wow, Eikichi Onizuka's bachelor pad. He'd known what they were planning, but had not been notified that his penthouse suite was going to be invaded by thirty seniors, with every intention of setting camp in his room, until Urumi informed him several hours ago. He was a little reluctant at first, but after she told him that he could join in the pranks, he gladly gave his permission for them to use the 'facilities.' "Anything for a good cause," he had said.
"The second rule," Urumi continued, is that all members of this operation will all cooperate with one another, whether you like each other or not. Now's the perfect time to bury the hatchet, have you any past conflicts with each other, or if you just, plain and simple, don't like each other's guts. If you feel the burning desire to strangle someone, just go out of the room and count to ten. Then stay there until the urge has dissipated. Or if you're more straightforward, tell the person to get out of your face before you punch his in. Let's make it clear that if any of you bodily harms anyone, then I swear to Kami-sama that I will personally see to it that when I'm through with you, the only thing you'll be able to eat is miso soup. Through a tube."
If this was Urumi's idea of 'humor,' no one knew. So the audience didn't know whether it was acceptable to laugh in her presence. They deemed it wise to just shut up for the time being, lest she go all O-Ren Ishii on them and… lop off someone's head with a samurai sword. Yep.
"Okay, if no one has any questions for the second rule, then let's start the first prank, shall we? I hope you brought all your assigned materials, the gelatin powder, the ten fish…"
"Anou, Kanzaki-san, you said that there were five rules," Yoshikawa said from the front row.
Urumi ran the eraser over the whiteboard and smiled sweetly at Yoshikawa. "Oh? Well, Yoshikawa-kun, I've other things to take care of, more important that rules. Those two are the only ones you need to remember anyway."
Urumi had already briefed the Onikumi on what was happening and what was going to happen, since delegating assignments and getting things done would be a whole lot easier if your staff was aware of the situation at hand, and could in turn instruct other people to get stuff done. All of these equaled productivity, which was the end result Urumi wanted. So the lineup (which the Gundam Trio quickly posted on their collective For Seniors Only blog, minus the witty descriptions and with more cute emoticons) looked something like this:
Job Description: They, uh, pretty much oversaw the progress of their compatriots. All sectors reported to them every hour, on the hour. They dealt with everything from papercuts to sudden power shortages to breaks from the 'workers' to go sneak out and seize the opportunity to smoke (illegally)(2) or make out in the dark.
Job Description: In charge of collecting rumors, keeping an eye on surveillance cameras, watching out for nosy admin members and rebellious students, and of course, informing the generals (Ryu and Urumi) of sightings, reports, and events, by the hour. They were a smart choice for Intelligence officers, because of Kikuchi's smarts and Yoshikawa's knack for blending into a crowd (he just looked too normal).
Job Description: They were to cover up any mistakes made by the conspirators. And to take the fall, if (absolutely) necessary. Urumi hadn't mentioned this in their agreement.
Ysa/Tomoko—Communication and Refreshment
Job Description: They reported solely to Kikuchi and Yoshikawa, carrying orders and responses back and forth. It would have been more practical to invest in walkie talkies, but the mall they checked out only had 10 of them, which was just perfect for the 10 central characters. (But they didn't have the money to buy them, and certainly didn't want to use their money to buy walkie-talkies for other people… besides, what else were cellphones good for?) And since they were the most motherly of all the commanding officers, they were also in charge of refreshment, or, simply put, feeding everyone else and making gallons upon gallons of iced tea in large vats meant for mixing soup.
Note: This was supposed to be Fujiyoshi's post. But as he was incapacitated for the meantime, Ysa was temporarily assuming his position as well.
Job Description: Slave drivers. AKA Cheerleaders in S&M outfits. Or S&M enthusiasts in cheerleader outfits. Whatever's more fun for you.
Ysa/Gunji Mishima/Haruo Tokida/Mokubo Shirai—Information
Job Description: Ysa, with her underground paper Adarna, would write little messages and reminders on the insides of the paper (which had quite the fanbase). They were seemingly indecipherable to the common outsider/unfamiliar teacher, since it was written especially by the Gundam Trio in a special code (some new programming code Ysa had never heard of, but both Kikuchi and Kanzaki had something to say about it. They eventually argued over it while Ysa sweatdropped in the corner quietly). Solution: the seniors would go the Gundam Trio's collective For Seniors Only blog (the address was h t t p / w w w. g u n d a m g u n d a m g u n d a m. c o. j. p) and type in the password Kanzaki had somehow issued all the seniors in the time that it took Kikuchi to prepare for the initiation and briefing. (The password was 5458244) They would be able to access a part of the blog where a code key was posted. All the seniors had to do was to decipher the code and follow instructions.
Ruruka Hikita/Madoka Shimatani/Miko Saotome—First Aid
Job Description: They were on hand to attend to massive nosebleeds caused by their skimpy nurse uniforms, to suck batchmates' papercuts caused by tearing open packets of gelatin powder with their hands, and to cure people who'd fainted from exhaustion by chanting around their bodies. After a while, no one dared faint anymore, even if it meant getting to unconsciously feel up Ruruka.
--End of Investigative Report--
As soon as the volunteers had signed away their freedom and good names (in some cases, slightly tarnished names) and finished the post-briefing preparations, the SULONG Collective marched over to the school's gym, where the swimming pool was located. A trickle of smoke snaked up from the dark corner of the gym and several of the faint-hearted girls screamed.
Where did Ryu end up? Does he have a girlfriend we don't know about, but who will make a dramatic appearance later on in the story and challenge Urumi to a series of Jell-O wrestling matches for Ryu's love? What is the significance of the number 5458244? What is the first prank? Where is Onizuka? What happened to the prom? Are the questions irritating? Will you figure out the answers to all the questions before I post the next chapter? All this and more in the next installment of Moonlight Sonata!
(1) Cultural note for non-Filipino readers: When Ysa says that Ryu writes like a doctor, it's because doctors (in the Philippines, anyway) are notorious for having bad, illegible penmanship. Yes, that is an insult.
(2) The legal smoking age in Japan is 20.
(3) Ero-joji- slang for a dirty old man.
A/N: Whew. Two year hiatus huh? Sorry about that. And apologies to all if you found the last chapter to be too angsty. I hope this one makes up for it. Oh, and when I type in the particulars for the website of the Gundam Trio, they don't show up when published. Hence the spacing. So, replies to comments, as usual:
Czee, Ms. Culkin, yEoc, A Noble Romancer, eichi, Clyde Baron, Bubbzy, m4rk : Thanks for reviewing! I hope you guys keep on reading.
Allence of the Weed: Thanks for being a longtime supporter of my work! You were with me from the start, and I hope, 'til I finally finish Moonlight Sonata (and God knows when that'll be) and long after that, you'll still stick around.
Millie-chan: (1) Oh, finally, something that's not a one-two-liner. AI? Sorry, dear, that's not Ai. Ai isn't even in the picture… yet. I still have to decide what to do with her when. Yep, Ai's not my favorite character, either. And thank you for finding something positive in my work. Of course, there's simply no alternative to a Kikuchi/Kanzaki pairing. And indeed, writers should be careful when it comes to writing K/K romances. sweatdrop Thanks for the con-crit, and I hope my future endeavors live up to your expectations. (2) Mm. Good point. Will keep that in mind next time. And what's wrong with angst? Angsty bishies are always good for you. They make you want to pity them and cuddle them and take away all their angst. Cheers.
jmj102: Of course it is. I lurved that movie to bits. Better than that Hilary Duff crap, I say. Thanks for reading!
Miriae: Um, you did? Well, good luck with that. If you are still trying to learn how to play Moonlight Sonata on the piano, that is. It really is such a pretty piece. Well, I studied at a Chinese school for 8 years, so I picked up some Fookien and Mandarin here and there. I know how to say you that you're bastos, and ask where the bathroom is. At that writing, William Hung was still popular.
Verseau: Eww, I know. OCs in GTO, it's like, WTF? The original storyline didn't call for OCs, but somebody had to start a trend. Yep, Maika and Yuki are OC. I don't know what other more important roles they'll have in future plots, or whether they were just an hour's writing fancy, but… we'll all see. Actually, Miyabi and Koji-kun actually sort of got together in the manga. I know, the anime deprived us of a lot. Who isn't a Gackt fan? That sexy body, voice that could melt chocolate in Antarctica… stopping now.
DarkFusion: It did, actually. Thanks for the William Hung thumbs-up. Expect more insanity in the future.
sara: Good to know that you're… patriotic. Yes, it is nice to find other Pinoy writers on I thought of petitioning the admin to have Tagalog in their languages, but later I thought it was silly since we Pinoy writers write in English anyway. With slight Tagalog tendencies.
Kairi21: Needless to say, I didn't get into UP, but I certainly hope you did! Yes, it was incredibly hard. The term mindfuck comes to mind. Oh well, I have the white and blue to look forward to, so no use crying over spilt milk. Me? A good proofreader? Haha, maybe to you, but since my dad's an editor, no one's better than him at spotting errors. I'm pretty sure he could spot at least five mistakes on one page of my story, off the bat. Wow! A pronunciation tape. Gotta get me one of those. OR I could look for a Japanese class.
heavenly-maiden: Maybe I'll throw in O/F moments, but not too much, as this fic is K/K-centric. As for the number of chapters, I'm not so sure. It could be 20, or it could end right now if I don't feel like updating anymore. Inspiration is a filthy bitch.
BluErReD, cathrun: Yup.
Jologs Inc.: Of course I don't mind.
Elle30: Darling (sorry, I just watched Breakfast at Tiffany's), when I get writer's block, I get writer's block. It's just there for months and months (or in this case, years and years until inspiration decides to honor me with its presence. Yeah, it's too bad that GTO is kind of neglected nowadays. Allence and I (and other people who're still sticking with this fandom) will change that (hopefully) with our current projects.
aphro, togetogeshii hihyou, Lyz#03, AnkoUehara: Forced writing do not good stories make. Well, NOW it's updated. XDD
Supahsushi: Say hello to our medicated friend.
Stay tuned for the next episode!