Disclaimer: I don't own Ranma! Rumiko Takahashi owns Ranma

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Gemna Goofs.

Genma popped in to the livingroom, grinning and rubbing his hands.

"Ah, Ranma! There you are! All ready? I'm taking you to a new school of Martial Arts. It's called Chain Masters. They're really good. They even pay me an earnest for if you get hurt!" Genma chuckled. " I think you'll really like this school. They offer the best conditioning. I over heard one of their directors talking while I was a panda. They take you to some kind of special camp. You'd like to go to a camp, kids your own age to train with and beds and everything."

Genma couldn't believe his luck. These people would pay him to train his son. He was just not in the mood to train this spring break. He wanted to sit under a tree and sleep for once. Besides which Happosai was nagging him about how he was slowing down and Ranma was getting faster.

"Uh, Pop I really wish you wouldn't do this. I've got a really bad feeling." Ranma rubbed the back of his head, his Pop wasn't the most reliable of people and had gotten him into more than one fix. Three or Four fiancees sprang to mind. He also knew that pop wasn't going to pay these people back and probably had some ridiculous scheme of get out of paying, one that relied on skipping out in the middle of the night.

Ranma followed his pop out the door mumbling in disgust. Looking back over his shoulder he waved to Soun, Nabiki, Akane, and Ksumi. "Good-by! See you in a few days!" Little did Ranma know how wrong he was.

Chain Child Agency

The fat man sized Ranma up. "Well, he certainly looks healthy. Strong too. Good! Good! Just sign here. We'll process the paperwork and get it to you in two days. You can leave him here. We'll start training immediately!"

"Pop! I don't like this! I don't wanna' stay!" Ranma felt panic for the first time in a long time. He was used to his fathers' wild training schemes, but this was a bit much. He didn't like the feel of the metal collar the man had slipped around his neck.

"Now! Now! Ranma, that collar is just for identification. See, here is the number on the contract for your classes. I'll be back to see you in a few days" Genma could see all that lovely money slipping through his fingers. "Don't be unmanly!"

Ranma gave up. When his Pop started talking that way he knew there was no hope of changing his mind. He watched his father hurry out the door, papers clutched in his hands.

A heavy set, ugly man walked up to Ranma and took his arm none to gently and began to pull him towards a door.

"Well, boy we don't get many humans of your quality. I really feel sorry for you. Your own father!"

Ranma jerked his arm, guy had a grip. The back of his neck crawled. "Wha' My own father what?"

Ugly smirked at him and jerked back hauling Ranma nearer the door. "Boy, he really put one over on you!! He just sold you into slavery in the Shadows. Kid like you. You might live two or even three years. If you're tough enough"

Ranma grabbed the collar and pulled, hard. "Tough enough! I'll show you tough!" At first he thought he could endure the pain; after 10 minutes he fainted.

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Materia-Blade I hope this is better. I also think I may be headed in a different direction that you think. (At least I hope so.)

Chapter 2

Two days later

The big man frowned at his companion and sighed. "I hate this. I just hate it. How many this time." His companion pressed his earpiece into his ear. "Only four. two girls, two boys. Girls are OK. They don't abuse the merchandise. One boy the same, just scared. The other boy is not in good shape. They really punished the hell out of him. Wait!! He's still fighting? You'll have to dart him."

Danny reported to the unit head "Steven, I've never felt Chi power like that young man has. He nearly blew Doris's socks off. He could be a really good martial artist or a total wacko. But if he's a fighter, he doesn't have much control of his power. He could be really dangerous, he's not trained properly or he wouldn't have gotten into this mess. He would have sensed something wrong."

Steven pulled at his lip. This was an unpleasant development. The control collars were easy to get off most of the rescues, but anyone with a lot of chi could be in real trouble. Sometimes the collar would bond to the chi and it took a heavy spell to get it off if it was possible at all. He just hoped they hadn't cursed the kid.

"Well, we'll just have to keep him until we find out how powerful he is and if he has the kind of control he needs. I'm not letting him out of the Compound until I'm sure he isn't going to go off like a loose cannon. That's all we would need. Another incident of chi over load like the last one and the public will panic. We don't need a bunch of panicked politicians trying to legislate chi.. Heaven help us all then!"

Late evening same day

Ranma woke up with a groan. White ceiling, bed? Where was he. He cautiously opened his eyes. This was good. No one here. Maybe he could....clank. "Damn. I knew it was too good to be true. Were am I?"

You're in the infirmary at home base, young man. I bet you really feel like crap. Quite the fighter. too bad you didn't realize that we were there to rescue you. If you hadn't put up such a fight we wouldn't have darted you. But we weren't about to let you hurt us or yourself. You'll feel better in a few minutes. "

The big man smiled, his eyes narrowing into slits in the laugh lines around them. "I'm Steven, if you need anything or want anything, just ask. If it's possible we'll get it for you."

Ranma raised up on one elbow, "How bout we start with these restraints. I'd like them off." Steven eyed him for a moment. "OK but you have to give me your word of honor that you won't start a fight. Some one else hits you first all bets ore off." Ranma nodded slightly. "No. Not a nod, you have to say it and mean it. I'll know if you're lying." Ranma thought for a minute" OK, word of honor. If no one starts anything I won't finish it."

Steven unbuckled the restraints and tossed them on a chair. "You've got a big problem....." Ranma interrupted, About this collar, I'd like it off too" "That's the problem. We can't figure out how to get it off. That's why you'll have to stay here for a while. We can't let you wander around with that cursed thing around your neck. Any one with the right knowledge and power could use it against you."

Ranma sighed, pop this is the absolute last mess you ever get me into. I mean it! "Well, now what. I guess I'll have to trust you. I'm a pretty good judge of character and you look OK. I'd really hate to be disappointed" Ranma gave Steven a sharp look. It would probably kill me and you if I can manage it." Steven smiled again. Kid wasn't fooling. he really would try to kill him if things went sour. "I don't have any intention of making that necessary. But I'll warn you. I'm not easy to kill. Better, meaner men than you have tried it and failed. But enough of this pissing contest. Go to sleep. You're safe here and we'll see what is what tomorrow. There will be some tests to see about getting that collar off and you'll have to go to school while you are here. So placement tests will also be necessary. " Ranma snored softly. "Poor kid. I wonder how much of that he heard."

Ranma slept surprisingly well that night. In fact he woke up so late that the first meal he got was lunch. A nurse stuck her head in the door waking him with a cheerful, "Time for lunch sleepyhead. A growing boy like you needs food as well as sleep. Now I know you had a really hard couple of days but we really won't hurt you. So tell me what you'd like. You don't have any restrictions so you can have anything on the menu" Ranma looked over the menu and peeked at the smiling woman from under his bangs {How kawaii is he!!} " Can I have all of it? I mean one of everything here?" The nurse nodded, "Sure, if you think you can eat it all. Why don't I bring you the first complete meal on the menu. Then if you eat that we'll see." Ranma nodded, "Great, I'd like that, but I think you'll be serprized at how much I can eat. They didn't feed me at all. So I haven't eaten in like three days."

After he had eaten,{every thing on the menu just like he had asked for} Ranma was taken to see the Headmaster. Steven looked at Ranma and scowled at the "Labcoat" who had guided him. "Wheelchair? He shouldn't be walking yet." The man blinked then shook his head. "Boss, you really want to start a fight over a chair. The only way we were gong to get him into a chair was with a wrestling match and we didn't think he would make it two feet so we let him try. His powers of recovery are incredible."

Ranma snorted. "My pop works me over worse than that daily. The only reason I was so bad off was because they kept at me with out letup. I never hurt worse in my life, and for so long at a time. Even I need some time to recover. With no sleep and no food. I just wore out. I'm fine now. Really good nights sleep, good food, clean clothes. Did wonders for me." Ranma smiled, his natural good nature wouldn't let him be really angry for long. " I'm inclined to trust you. Please don't let me down." Ranma watched Steven as he talked and saw anger, then relief flit over his face. Maybe he really could trust these people.

Steven motioned to a chair. After Ranma seated himself and finished squirming around to get comfortable he picked up a manila folder, opened it and read. "Asian male. age: 16 Hight 5"9" Weight 160lb seller Genma Saotome Contract; indefinite. We need more information than that. Can you tell me your name? Where you are originally form? Anything else you can think of? Are you trained in martial arts at all and what style you use? Any information will be helpful. We'd like to find your family and at least tell them where you are. I told you before that we can't let you leave just yet, but we'll get word to you folks for you."

Ranma frowned. "What to do? What to do." Ranma muttered to himself for a few moments. " Well I guess the best to do is tell you my name. It's Ranma Saotome." Steven turned alarmingly red in the face, his eyes squinted up till they nearly disappeared, the look on his face made Ranma cringe slightly. {Deep, cleansing breath!} " I'm not trying to yell at you, but are you telling me that your own father sold you to a Chain Child Agency?! Let them put that filth around your neck and...." Ranma held up his hand, waggling it back and forth. "Easy1 Easy!. Don't have an aneurysm or something. Pop is an idiot, greedy for money and he doesn't listen very well. Especially if he's eavesdropping in his panda form. I really don't think he knew what he was doing. He really loves me in his own lazy way. He thought it was a martial arts school, ......I think . So let's get back to business. What...Oh yeah! I'm from Nerema, Japan. Capitol City of Weirdness. I practice Anything Goes Style. And I think that I don't want you to get in touch with Pop until we find out more about this collar and getting it off. If you don't mind, that is."

Steven tapped the dossier on his hand, he had written every thing down as Ranma spoke. Now was the hard part.

Well, young...er....Ranma. We need to have a ...Well that is I need to. Damn!! I really hate this part of my job. There is no easy way to say this. You can't go home. Not now. And maybe not ever. " Ranma clenched his fists, but stayed put. He'd given his word and as no one had hit him he wouldn't start anything. Clenching his teeth and forcing each word past them Ranma snarled. "What kind of shit is this. Why can't I go home when you get this collar off. You said I wasn't a slave anymore. At least that's what....."

It was Steven's turn to make calming motions. "Sorry, Sorry. I know this is upsetting. Please get your chi under control. We don't need an explosion or spirit blast. Not in this small a room. Cool off or I'll have to cool you off.

You have a very high chi. If you don't control it you can hurt innocent people very badly. And Anything Goes Style hasn't taught you any control at all. As far as I'm, concerned it's not a true style at all. Just a bunch of fancy moves borrowed from all over. All flash and no substance, fancy moves to amaze the girls and scare your opponent into making a mistake. And you can frown all you want, glare too. But you know I'm right. Probably the only reason you win at all is that you're strong as a horse and fast as lightning." Steven flickered, Ranma put his hand to his cheek. Steven had put a sticker on it. But I have control of my chi and I posses my power. It doesn't posses me.

The offer is this. Stay, train, learn. We'll try to teach you to harness that powerful chi of yours. The collar we get off, somehow, maybe. If it has bonded to your chi it could be a problem, I wont lie about that. But you won't be mistreated here. We don't beat our students, nor do we make them fight. Training is hard, but the Sensai make sure that you don't hurt yourself.

Son, Ranma Flinched {don't call him son} Ranma, what do you want to do with yourself in the future. You need to be thinking about what you want to be. I know it's early in life to be thinking of that, but you and other kids like you have to decide early. Training for one job and winding up not qualified is a bitch. You'll need to make some choices now. If you don't learn to control your powers you can't leave here. We could damp you but most subjects of that particular nastiness go through life half alive, crippled psychically. Not good. Learn control and there are lots of jobs you could do. Assassin, Body guard, Psychic detective a few others I don't feel you would like. I know this is a lot dumped on you all at once. No decision is truly binding until you have been tested. And you have to go to school so testing will include educational levels as well."

Ranma felt as if he had been hit in the head, several times. Chi power was dangerous that he knew. but deadly. Ow! He wasn't very happy with the things Steven had said about Anything Goes Style, but he had a suspicion that he was right. The guy was old, at least 30 but he had just blinked out and there was that sticker. Ranma didn't want to hurt anyone. Especially through bad training or lack of skill. (Never turn down a challenge). " I need some time to think. When you are finished with your tests and we know more about what is going on can we talk more about things then?"

Steven led Ranma to the door. " I know that you have some inportant decisions to make and at your age it isn't fair. But, as my old Sensai used to say; life's a bitch, then you die. Just take one day at a time until we get some more information. Then we can make some decisions together." He smiled gently. "Didn't think I'd let you hang, did you. I'll help you Ranma We all will. We'll do the best we can, just cooperate. Every thing will come out all right {I hope}."