I haven't decided if this would qualify as a side story to "Aftermath" since this is destined to be a spamfic. It does use the situations/characters that were set up in Aftermath, so maybe this could count as a "way-off-to-the-side story", or a "have your mind exit the Rational Thought Road and turn onto the first dirt road of insanity you see" story, or maybe something else...
Timeline-wise, this would take place between the end of the battle of Juuban and the end of high school. Ranma has not been to college so hasn't met Tenchi yet.
Special thanks to Josh Temple who suffered through my earlier drafts... twice and survived to tell the tale, J. St.C. Patrick who pointed out what I missed, and everyone wlse who gave me their thoughts and comments.
If I missed anyone or misspelled their name, I apologize.
Warning: This is going to hurt - a lot.
I don't own any of these characters or situations. They belong to someone else. Also this is done purely for fun, not profit. Any resemblance to persons living, dead, yet to be born, or visiting from other dimensions is purely coincidental. I'm doing this for fun.
Boldly going where others had gone before and meekly going where few have been.
"Remnants of Beryl's forces?" Ami asked incredulously. "Is Pluto sure about this?"
"Yes, and if you think about it, it does make sense," Usagi said. "Some of her forces did manage to escape and survive - and now they're planning a strike."
"What I don't understand is why the demons are breaking cover now," Ranma said. "I mean, according to you, its been years since you put Beryl down and they have nothing to gain."
"Because they're running out of power," Usagi said, "and because of our presence, they won't make a move here."
"So they're going to strike elsewhere?" Ami asked.
"Yes. They're desperate," Usagi said firmly. "They figured that if they strike somewhere other than Tokyo - a hit and run - they would likely not be stopped."
"Shoot," Ranma said. "I can go over there, take care of them, and be back-"
"We need a force stationed there just in case more dark forces make more attempts it in the future," Usagi interrupted Ranma, "and Pluto might not be able to predict exactly when they'll try again."
"So... what are we going to do? Ranma asked.
"Since we can't be everywhere," Usagi continued, "Pluto suggested that we reactivate the Alpha Guards."
Ranma and Ami pondered that for a few heartbeats.
"The Alpha Guards?" Ranma questioned as she searched her scattered memories. "I don't remember anything like that."
"I've been reading a great deal of the Moon history," Ami piped in, "and I don't remember reading anything about the Alpha Guards."
"According to Pluto, they were a secret, like Sailor Sun was," Usagi explained. "Their power doesn't come from the planets like ours does, but Luna was unable to tell me any details on that. They were supposedly an elite unit of the Lunar Guards, apparently they were like troubleshooters or something."
"And they're back?" Ami asked.
"Yes. They've all been reincarnated and are near where the remnants of Beryl's forces are planning on attacking," Usagi answered.
Silence fell among the three girls.
"What do you need us to do?" Ranma asked Usagi.
"I need you and Ami to go over there and talk to them and awaken them," Usagi answered. "I need you Ranma, because you can get there and back easily and Ami to help explain things."
"Where are these new Senshi?" Ranma asked of Usagi.
"They're in Los Angeles," Usagi answered as she handed Ami a slip of paper. "Luna has already made arrangements for you to meet them and here," she continued as she dug around and held up a four nondescript stick-like devices. "She has even given me their transformation pens."
Ami nodded as she took the offered devices. "Los Angeles? We know English well enough to speak and understand it, but what about Minako or Rei coming along? They're better versed in English than we are."
"Right now, I don't think it's necessary to have too many people make contact with the Alpha Guards," Usagi answered. "Besides, I think it would be better if it was just you two. Ranma can get there and back quickly and you can deal with and explain things better than Rei or Minako can."
Ranma nodded in agreement as she looked over Ami's shoulder and read the note.
"What's this?" She asked as she pointed to two lines of text at the bottom.
"That's the sign and counter-sign," Usagi explained as both Ami's and Ranma's eyebrows rose as one.
"What are we dealing with? A bunch of spies?" Ranma asked, intrigued by the possibility.
"I'm really not sure," Usagi admitted. "Luna doesn't know either."
Silence fell among the girls that lasted a few heartbeats.
"Should you at least be coming?" Ami asked. "As the leader, you should be there to."
Usagi shook her head slowly. "I can't," she said sadly as her eyes began to tear up. "I flunked that the last test and my mom gonna make me study for the make-up."
"You mean-?" Ami began.
"Yes," Usagi's eyes teared up more and almost wailed. "I've been grounded."
A thin line appeared in mid-air and widened to a point that allowed a girl with red hair to poke her head through. Looking around, she noticed that the coast was clear and widened the slit to allow the rest of her passage. The redheaded girl was dressed in a short, teal colored skirt. Her white top had a red bow across her chest and a larger red bow on the small of her back. The girls legs were covered in thigh-high white stockings that ended with black slipper-like shoes.
Standing aside, she was allowed a dark haired girl, dressed similarly, but with different colors to step into the alley. The dark haired girl rubbed her eyes, looked at her watch, and groaned.
"Yeah, I know," the redhead said as she pulsed with light and her clothing instantly changed into a short, red skirt with black top. "There's... what? Sixteen hour difference or something?"
The dark haired girl nodded tiredly, as she changed. Her Senshi uniform was soon exchanged for a nice, light blue sun dress. "That's correct Ranma," she replied as she suppressed a yawn and stretched a bit. "Back home it's," she took another glance at her watch, "one thirty six in the morning."
"Well, we're supposed to meet them at ten, Ami," Ranma said. "Er, where are we supposed to meet them again?"
Ami produced a slip of paper from her purse and double checked it.
Soon the two girls found themselves at a small restaurant that was slightly off the beaten path. Ranma and Ami took a quick look around to see if the people they were supposed to met were there, but the place was empty except for an apron-wearing waiter with wild hair that was barely contained within a ball cap. He came dashing up to them with enthusiasm with menus in one hand and a small, stuffed panda in the other.
"Velcome," the waiter greeted the Japanese girls grandly in a weird accent that made it hard for them to understand. "Velcome to Le Greasy Spoon."
Ranma blinked at the man and was glad she knew English, at least the English she was used to in class at high school. Which meant that it took a few moments for her to figure out what the waiter had said. "Er, thank you," she replied, adding a bow to it. "We are waiting for some friends to show up. Can we have a table while we wait, please?"
"Ah! Of course!" The waiter said before turning to the stuffed panda in his hand. "Zat table do you think?" He asked of the toy. "What's zat?" He asked as he held the toy up to his ear. "The table near the back? Excellent!"
Ranma and Ami looked at each other with wide eyes and slightly sweat-dropped.
"This way, if you please," the waiter then said, using the stuffed toy as a pointer.
Ranma and Ami followed the waiter to near the back of the restaurant where they were shown a neat, round table with a checkered tablecloth and four chairs around it. After being seated, the waiter placed the menus before them.
"We shall be right back to take your order," the waiter said with a bow.
"We?" Ami asked.
"Oui, me and mister panda," the waiter clarified.
"We and mister panda?" Ami questioned in confusion.
Ami blink-blinked at the retreating back of the odd man, shook her head to clear it, and skimmed over the menu. "I don't think I can eat anything, are you hungry?" she asked of her redheaded companion.
Ranma was already making a list of things to try and was wondering about the exchange rates before giving her friend a half-lidded gaze.
"Never-mind," Ami said, reminded of Ranma's love of food. She settled in and looked over the menu.
"Here you go, madams," the returning waiter said as he placed glasses of water to the side of the girls. "You are ready to order?"
"Yes please," Ranma began. "I'd like-"
"Actually," Ami said, interrupting Ranma. "We're going to wait for our friends to show up first before ordering. Is that all right?"
Ranma pouted at the fact she wasn't going to get something to eat.
"But of course," the waiter said as he held the stuffed panda up to his ear. "Mister panda doesn't mind either. Please make yourselves at home."
As the waiter moved away the girls relaxed in their seats. "You know, I think there is something not right about our waiter," Ranma commented.
"You think?" Ami asked with a raised eyebrow.
Ranma shrugged her shoulders absently as she took in her surroundings. The restaurant was small, smaller than the one that Ranma lived and worked at back home, but this one sported a long counter along on end of the room. Behind the counter was a long open window that went to the kitchen. The counter was manned by a elderly man with a large, graying mustache that stood out against the dirty brown hair on his head. He noticed Ranma staring at him and gave her a warm smile that showed a gold capped front tooth.
Through the open serving window, Ranma spied a large, black man in the kitchen. His hair was cut in a wide stripe that went to front to back and he seemed to be wearing an impressive amount of jewelry, but that was mostly covered by the apron he was wearing. The waiter was in a corner of the room, dividing his time between watching the front door and talking to his stuffed panda. Another man, almost unnoticed by Ranma was sitting in the far corner, opposite of the girls, sipping a drink and reading a newspaper.
It was a typical quiet, pre-rush moment found in any restaurant in the world.
"What time is it?" Ranma asked Ami.
Ami glanced at her watch. "It's ten. They should be here any moment."
The minutes ticked by unchecked. Ami and Ranma made small talk to pass the time, or tried to. Both were tired and wanting to got to bed, but duty called. After a prolonged silence, Ranma asked, "What time is it now?"
Ami wearily looked at her watch and up at Ranma. "It's ten thirty-one," she sighed. "I don't think they're going to show."
Ranma sighed. "Well let's head home, I gotta school and work tomorrow."
As the two girls began to rise from their seats and were halfway out of their chairs when the man who was reading the newspaper stood and approached them. Ami, who had her back to the man, was made aware of his presence by Ranma motioning to her. Ami turned in time to come face to face with the tall, blond American.
"Can I help you ladies find something?" He asked in a very polite and clear manner.
The now standing girls eyed the much taller man with guarded expressions. "We were just leaving," Ranma said evenly.
"Well I'm sure I can help you," the handsome man said. "After all, it is an ill wind...
"... that blows nobody good," Ami finished.
The girls blink-blinked at the man, then at each other.
"You're who we are supposed to meet?" Ranma asked.
"They're clean?" The old man behind the counter asked. The younger man nodded.
"Yep," he replied. "No one followed them and I didn't find any wireless signals or other signs of electronic eavesdropping."
"Excuse me?" Ami asked bewildered. "Who are you?"
"Well...," the old mustached man said as he came from behind the counter and crossed the room to the girls. The tone of his voice carried a hint of flippancy as he began to peel off his disguise. The mustache came off, the brown wig, the glasses, and gold cap on the front tooth.
The two girls just stared. Ranma unconsciously slid into an unobtrusive defensive stance.
"... this is Murdock," the man continued as he motioned to the waiter. The waiter - and panda in hand - gave a bow.
"It is a pleasure to serve such lovely ladies as you," Murdock said as he rose from his bow.
"Over there is BA Baracus," the counterman said, continuing his introductions. The cook was now standing by the doorway of the kitchen and nodded to the now seated girls. BA Baracus was larger than Ranma figured, mean as hell looking, and had a very intimidating air about him. He gave Ami and Ranma a nod and a grunt.
"I'm Peck, but everyone calls me Face," the handsome man that had approach them said with a winning smile.
"And I'm Hannibal Smith. And you've just found: The A-Team," he added as he placed a cigar in his mouth.
Ranma and Ami looked at the four men, then at each other, and then back at the men. Ranma smirked, struck a proud pose with her fist over her heart, and proclaimed, "Well, you've just found the Pretty Soldiers of Love and Justice!"
The four men stared at the two girls with guarded, confused looks. Ranma suddenly became very self-conscious when she realized how lame at what she said sounded.
"Ah... what's that supposed to mean?" Hannibal asked while waving his cigar around.
"It's... well, a long story," Ranma answered tiredly. "Wanna hear it?"
"What do you think?" Murdock suddenly asked the stuffed panda bear he was carrying. "What's that?" he asked while holding the toy up to his ear. "We should listen to them?"
"Shut up you crazy fool," BA said sharply. "I don't know why we bother with you, give me that!" He finished as he made a grab for the stuffed panda.
Murdock held the stuffed toy tightly to his chest and glared at his teammate. "You can't touch him, he'll rip your arms off."
"You crazy fool," BA repeated loudly as he made another grab for the stuffed animal. "I said give me that!"
"Ahem, gentlemen," Ami said, drawing attention away from the little drama that was unfolding and back to the matter at hand. "Would you mind hearing us out first?"
"So let me get this straight," Hannibal said with doubt lacing his voice. "You represent the 'Sailor Scouts', you're reincarnated from something called the 'Silver Millennium', you fight for love and justice, and you want us to join you?"
"Well that about sums it up nicely," Ami said without batting an eye. "All of you are reincarnated from the Silver Millennium too, so what we're really just doing is reintroducing ourselves."
Silence fell in the small, closed restaurant as each men sized up the girls.
"It's not like we don't believe you, but...," Faceman started before his words trailed off as he looked at the girls with doubt clearly in his eyes. "Okay, we don't believe you."
"We can prove it," Ranma said firmly.
The men in the room looked at one another as the grey haired one nodded. "Okay," he said while folding his arms across his chest. "Prove it."
Normally Ranma didn't need a transformation stick to transform for hers was a quick and efficient transformation compared to the other Senshi. But for demonstration purposes, she elected to use a stick and slow the changing sequence down so that the others could get a clear view of the process. Holding it high for the others to see, she called out, "Solar Crystal Activation, make up!"
The redhead was immediately engulfed in a sparkly light show, where she spun around, gave everyone a free show, and alighted back to earth decked out in her Senshi costume.
Now dressed in her Senshi uniform, Ranma cocked an eye as she looked at the men. "Do you believe us now?"
"Damn," BA said.
"You said it," Faceman said. "I didn't think that there were any naturally redheaded Japanese girls."
Ranma's, now Sailor Sun's, face glowed red with embarrassment. She had become so used to her normal and efficient mode of transformation that she had forgotten about the nude, and near pornographic, part that was clearly reveled when slowing the process down.
"Um, well... I... normally... I don't transform where other people can see me," she stammered out while blushing all the more furiously. She tried to collect herself and sputtered out, "and it normally happens more quickly, but that's not the point-"
"Here," Ami said quickly, saving her friend from further embarrassment, as she held out the small, pen-like sticks. "All you have to do is hold these and say the first thing that comes to your mind."
The men looked at the devices and up at the slight Japanese girls.
"It ain't gonna bite you or anything," the Sailor Sun said after recovering some of her dignity.
Each men instinctively took their transformation pen from Ami and examined them, all except one.
"Count me out," BA said with a wave of his hand. "I don't need some fool stick to help me fight some demons."
"Please," Ami said tiredly. Though it was approaching the middle of the day, for Ami it felt like the middle of the night. Traveling with Sailor Sun took no time at all, but "jet lag" was taking its toll.
The large, black man looked at the pen held out to him and at the tired eyes of the girl that was holding it. His stern expression softened and he let out a soft sigh. "All right," he conceded. "I'll take the... whatever, but I'm not going to need it to fight some fool demons."
"You don't understand," Ami said half-imploringly. "You cannot battle this enemy with conventional weapons. Guns and bombs can't touch them. Magic is the only way to defeat them." She then yawned widely. "Excuse me," she said wearily. "I'll be right back."
Ami left the room and returned almost instantaneously, refreshed, and in her Senshi form.
"Are you Ami?" Hannibal asked cautiously of the perceived new comer.
Sailor Mercury nodded. "Yes, a disguise field keeps anyone from recognizing me. The only way that anyone would know if it was me is if I transformed in front of them or if I tell them."
Hannibal, Faceman, Murdock, and BA nodded slightly as they studied Ami's Senshi form. Each member of the A-Team looked at one another as if sizing each other up. For Sailors Sun and Mercury it was like watching an unspoken conversation as each man looked at the other. After a few heartbeats, Hannibal nodded and spoke for the group. "Okay," he said. "We'll do it. How do these things work again?"
"Just hold them up and say the first thing that come to your mind," Sailor Mercury answered.
Hannibal looked at the short-haired Senshi and back at his men. He held the pen-like object high and called out, "All that jazz power, make up!"
Hannibal was surrounded by bands of energy as they stripped him of his clothing and redressed him in a stylized tuxedo. The tuxedo was all white with a red rose sticking out of the lapel. In one of his gloved hands, Hannibal held a long, white cane, a mask covered his eyes, and in his mouth - clenched between his teeth...
... was his ever present cigar.
"Welcome, Tuxedo Jazzman," Sailor Mercury said, reading his Senshi name from the computer. "How do you feel?"
Removing his cigar, Tuxedo Jazzman looked at the Senshi of Mercury and smiled. "I feel great. It's like being high on the jazz," he responded. He straightened the lapels on his uniform and took a sniff of the rose there. "I feel as if I could take on all the evils of the world with both hands tied behind my back."
Murdock looked at the transformed Hannibal and started bouncing on the balls of his feet like a small child. "Can I be next? Can I be next?" He asked excitedly.
"Settle down, fool," BA said gruffly. "A crazy fool like you wouldn't know what to do."
"But Mr. Panda would," Murdock said. He held his transformation pen high and held the stuffed panda to his ear. "What was that? You think? Okay."
"Crazy fool, listening to a toy," BA said while shaking his head.
"Yeah, but you gotta admit that it's a interesting way of getting a second opinion," Face commented offhandedly as he placed a cigar in his mouth.
"Do you mind? The words of the wise and mighty Mr. Panda must be heeded," Murdock said seriously as he closed his eyes and muttered to himself as if he were praying.
"AROOOOO power, make up!" Murdock suddenly howled making BA jump.
Murdock's transformation was similar to Hannibal's and when it was over, he was dressed in a solid black tuxedo that was covered in silver glitter and trimmed in rhinestones. He had a short cape that was blue with red lining and had an stylized 'S' on it. His mask looked as if it were painted with grease paint and on his lapel, where a rose would go, was a yellow, smily face button with pilot wings. The stuffed panda, that was in his hand, now sported its own, identical, tuxedo.
"Welcome Tuxedo... HighFlyer?" Ami said with uncertainness in her voice as she entered something into her computer. Sailor Sun nodded approvingly - hesitantly - but approvingly.
Tuxedo HighFlyer bowed deeply at the girls, straightened and place his stuffed companion on his shoulder where it stayed. He then held his arms straight down his sides with his hands posed outward. Tuxedo HighFlyer then started walking around the room in a waddling fashion. "Look!' he cried in an cartoon voice. "I'm Tennessee Tuxedo!"
"Stop that!" BA barked. "We have no time for your craziness! More like Tuxedo Crazy Fool is what you are."
"Well," Faceman said in a half-flippant manner as he removed his cigar and shifted his eyes at the others in the room, "here goes." Holding his own transformation pen up, he announced, "Show me the money power, make up!"
Once again the room was bathed in light and when it was over with, Face was wearing an ivory colored tuxedo with matching cane. Ranma, Sailor Sun, couldn't help but noticed how sharp Face looked in his Senshi form.
"Well, that wasn't bad," the newest Senshi commented as he looked down upon himself.
"Welcome, Tuxedo Fleece," Mercury said with a smile. She evidently noticed how good Tuxedo Fleece looked as well.
BA looked at the tuxedo-clad men around him and back at the stick in his hand and again at his transformed friends. "Well, I guess it's my turn," he said with a shrug. "Kick ass power, make up!"
Sailor Sun's approving smile faded as BA's transformation sequence ended - there was something unexpected about it. She blink-blinked repeatedly as the others around her stood speechless at the sight of BA's Senshi form. He was still big, black, and mean as hell looking, but the results were... interesting. After witnessing the results of the other members of the A-Team's transformation, Sailor Sun didn't bat an eye at the fact that BA still had his heavy, gold chains around his neck - it was just the rest of the changes gave her, and everybody else in the room, reason to pause.
After the light show had faded BA stood in all his glory. Unlike the others, who were dressed in tuxedos, BA was wearing a white body-suit with a wide, red bordered collar. The large, purple sailor-type kerchief was tied in the front in a large bow with his trademark gold chains draped over it. He was also wearing elbow length gloves that matched the body-suit, with matching combat boots, and around his waist he wore a deep purple, velvet fuku.
The others around him now looked on with bugged eyes.
"What?" BA asked irritably, noticing the looks everyone was giving him.
"Your wearing...," Face, Tuxedo Fleece, began before stopping. He was unsure of to how to word what he was trying to say next, so he settled for gesturing at the transformed BA.
BA looked down and examined himself. "So what? I don't see anything wrong," he said more than a little gruffly, which made him look silly considering how he was dressed. "Do you?"
Silence fell among the group. Sailor Sun leaned over to Mercury who was frantically typing away on her computer. "Is he supposed to be dressed like that?" Sun whispered out the side of her mouth to Mercury.
"Ah... yes," Mercury said louder than she wanted.
Sailor Sun blinked at her fellow Senshi and leaned away slightly. "You're kidding."
Sailor Mercury then leaned toward Sailor Sun and continued in a lower tone. "No I'm not. According to the Mercury Computer, it has something to do with a bet that he lost with Queen Serenity back in the Silver Millennium."
Sailor Sun let out a soft "Ah" and nodded to Mercury as if that explained everything, even if it didn't. "So, what's... his Senshi name?"
Mercury scanned the small screen and blinked. "It's... um... it's... um..."
Sailor Sun looked at Mercury and at the fukued man. "What?" She asked with concerned.
Mercury swallowed audibly and looked at her screen, at BA's Senshi form, and back at the screen. "It's... Sailor Bad Ass."
"Now I know you've got to be kidding me," Sailor Sun said firmly, hands on hips.
"No I'm not," Mercury said defensively as she shook her head. "It says so right here," she finished by pointing to a line on her computer screen.
The newest Senshi chose that moment to speak up. "She's not lying, I'm Sailor Bad Ass" he said. "I'm the one that's gonna be puttin' the hurt on all those demons if they try and show their ugly faces around here."
The rest of the group just stared at Sailor Bad Ass' proclamation. Sweat drops abounded on the back of everyone's heads, except for Tuxedo HighFlyer, who was still busy waddling around the room with his stuffed Tuxedo Panda on his shoulder.
"Colonel Decker better watch out too," Sailor Bad Ass continued. "I'm liable to open a can of Whoop-ass, Sailor-style, on him."
Tuxedo Fleece exhaled slowly and shook his head. "Nice tutu," he said offhandedly with a raised eyebrow as he waved his cigar around.
Sailor Bad Ass narrowed his eyes and glared at his teammate. He raised a thick finger and pointed at Tuxedo Fleece. "I pity the fool who makes fun of my fuku."
Tuxedo Fleece backed up and made warding gestures with his hands. "Whoa. Nothing personal, but it's... not something I think I would look good in."
Sailor Bad Ass grunted with a nod and idly fingered the bow on his chest. With his other hand, he produced a short butt of a cigar from somewhere and stuck in the corner of his mouth. Sailor Sun wondered in the back of her mind if any of the men have heard about the dangers of smoking. Silence revisited the group as each got used to the appearance of the others.
"Ah... right," Ami said carefully, hoping to get back on track. "So... lets find out about your talismans..."
"No need," Tuxedo Jazzman said with his long cigar sticking out of his mouth. "We make those ourselves."
Sailor Sun blink-blinked. "You make them?"
The two female Senshi looked at on as Tuxedo Jazz nodded. "Yes," he reaffirmed as he lit his cigar. "You'll be surprised at how many types of weapons you can make from duct tape, lead pipes, and parts from a '57 Chevy."
Sailor Sun was stupefied and Sailor Mercury blink-blinked. "O-kay," Mercury finally drawled out. "We'll trust you on that."
"Okay," Tuxedo Jazzman said, pausing to take a puff of his cigar, "so where are the bad guys?"
Soon, everyone was sitting around one of the larger tables in the closed restaurant. The six de-transformed fighters for love and justice started making battle plans.
"According to your sources," Hannibal summarized, "some of the demons from what is left of Beryl's force is going to strike a theater full of people, take their life energy, and leave."
"A theater," Murdock exclaimed. "Ahh, the stage beckons me," he continued dramatically. He then help up his stuffed toy. "Alas, poor panda. I knew him well."
"Shut up fool," BA snapped. "We got no time for your craziness."
"You're just jealous because it is I who gets to play the part of Hamlet," Murdock said in a tone that reminded Ranma of a crazy kendoist back in Nerima. BA said something that the others tuned out.
Ami leaned toward Hannibal as the slightly off-kilter man argued with his mohawked friend. "Are they always like this?" She asked.
"You get used to it," Hannibal answered. He turned his attention to the still arguing teammates. "Guys," he said loudly, causing them to quiet up."If you don't mind, we have to save hundreds of people from the forces of darkness."
"And besides Murdock," Face added in, "it's not that kind of a theater."
"Tis sad the arts should suffer so," Murdock said with grim seriousness.
"Ah... right," Ami stated as she quickly gathered her thoughts. "It's the Plaza Theater located in Valley Park. The theater is supposed to have a special showing of all six Star Wars movies."
"Hmmm..., that's bad. It means a big crowd," Hannibal thought aloud. "The best way to avoid any risk to innocent bystanders would be to make sure that we can get them out of the theater as quickly as possible. We only have..." he glanced at his watch, "... less than an hour before the screen time - too late to stop people from going in... and an hour and a half before the demons show. Any ideas?"
"Leave that to me," Face said as he lit his cigar. "I'll get everyone out."
"How will you do that?" asked Ranma. "I mean, every geek in a hundred kilometers will probably be there."
"Trust me," Face said with a smile that made Ranma's and Ami's heart skip a beat. "And if I have less than an hour, I better get started."
"Good," Hannibal said. "You need any help?"
Face stood up and shook his head. "I think I can handle it. I'll meet you there."
After Face had left, Hannibal looked over at the two girls sitting across from him. "Do you ladies want to stay around and help?"
"I think it would be best if we just observe and act as standby just in case," Ami answered for the pair. "Not that we think you and your men are not capable of handling the situation, but Moon would want to be reassured."
Hannibal nodded. "Fair enough. Can you bring up the plans to the Plaza Theater on your laptop?" He asked.
Ami nodded and produced her computer from 'stuff space'. After typing away for a moment, the plans for the theater were on the small screen. Ami turned the computer around, allowing Hannibal an unrestricted view. Minutes ticked by as Hannibal hunched over the computer and studied the images. He almost scowled as he did so. Taking a puff of his cigar, whose smoke Ranma had to fan away from her face while suppressing the urge to cough, Hannibal leaned back in his chair and smiled.
"I have a plan," he announced as he removed the cigar from his mouth.
"Well, I have to admit, I'm impressed," Ranma said as she strode beside Ami into the empty theater behind the four men.
The theater, or what was left of it, had rows of seats blown and flung across the room. The seats were piled one atop another and the walls were battled scared. Smoking hot spots dotted here and there, add the stench of burnt plastic in the air. However, the damage to the theater wasn't the work of any demons, but the result of six hundred or so rabid Star Wars fans finding out that the films they were expecting to see were somehow replaced with Warren Beatty films. When the title screen of "Ishtar" showed on the big screen, all hell broke loose. The cops were called in, the fires were put out, and the theater evacuated and closed after the riot.
Face's plan to rid the theater of people was pure genius.
"How did you manage to switch the films?" an equally impressed Ami asked Face.
"Well that was simple," Face answered. "All I had to do was swipe a delivery uniform and go to where the films are warehoused and distributed."
"Did anyone get suspicious?" Ranma asked.
"Nah," Face said and he stuck a cigar in his mouth. "If you act like you know what you're doing, no one bothers you."
"No one checked your I.D.?" Ami asked incredulously.
"Hey - it happens," Face replied flippantly.
The girls nodded.
"All I did was take the Beatty films and went to the theater and made the switch," Face continued. "And the rest," he looked around the remains of what once was a theater, "is history."
"Good job," Hannibal said. "Now when Beryl's demons show up, it'll be just us and them."
"Right," BA said while bringing hand to fist in front of him, "and when they do, we'll be there to put the hurt on them."
Murdock was off roasting a marshmallow over one of the still smoldering patches and having some type of discussion with his panda.
Hannibal looked around his gathered men and then glance at his watch. "We got twenty-six minutes before the demons show up, let's get to work."
On the command, the Alpha Guard sprang into action. Ranma was stunned by what the Alpha Guard, or A-Team as it were, managed to do with duct tap, lead pipes, and since '57 Chevy's were hard to find, parts of a '74 Ford Torino were substituted. What was once a pile of junk that the four men had heaped in the middle of what was a theater, stood a twelve foot tall mechanized humanoid.
"All right, try the arm again," BA called to Murdock who was piloting the armored mecha.
"Roger that Houston," Murdock said, using his stuffed panda as a microphone.
"I said try the arm, not act like a fool, fool," BA snap impatiently.
Said arm was moving around. Murdock paused the arm and noticed something. "Hey! Look!" he exclaimed.
Using the shadows that was cast by the work light BA was using, Murdock started to make shadow puppets onto the remains of the screen with the mechanical hands. BA shook his head in disgust as he adjusted something. Ranma thought the whole thing was fascinating.
"Ladies, if you don't mind covering the exits, we'll handle the rest from here," Hannibal said breaking Ranma from her thoughts. Hannibal motioned for the Japanese girls over to the theater entranceways. "And watch out for the traps we set," he added. He looked as his watch and clenched his teeth tighter to his cigar. "Everyone transform," he called out. "Show-time is about to begin any minute now."
Minutes ticked by.
Soon a vortex that looked liked dish water going down a drain silently formed on the wall opposite the screen. It wasn't emitting any light and the dark whirlpool almost blended in with the ugly, rust-colored drapery that lined the wall. If nobody was paying ay particular attention to it, many would dismiss it as a trick of the light or something easily explained.
The darkness at the center of the vortex expanded and about twenty or so demons poured out.
The lead demon held up his hand and waved for the others to fan out and set up a perimeter. He looked about the burnt our remains of the interior with his deep red eyes and sniffed haughtily. He was definitely the head demon and he had a reputation of being cruel to those under his command because of his name. He was big and muscular, had a thin, pale white face with a mouth that sported very sharp, serrated teeth. The other demons came from the same mold as the leader did, but were nowhere as powerfully built.
"This isn't right," he declared as he pulled a map out of a pouch on his baggy pants. "The theater is supposed to be packed with humans."
He scanned the paper with furrowed brows for a few more heartbeats. "Boris!" he roared. "Did we take a wrong turn at Albuquerque?"
Another demon, powerfully but not as large as the leader, approached and looked over the paper. "No. This is the right place, Commander... Sue" he answered carefully as he took another look around. "But what happened?"
"We happened," a voice called out from the darkness.
The demons immediately sprang into a defensive circle, weapons at the ready. The leader scanned the vast room looking for the source of the voice when it made itself known. A tuxedo clad man stepped into a circle of light before the demons and smirked.
"I knew you guys would be ugly, but this," the man said in a sarcastic tone while waving at the surrounding demons. He then paused to place a cigar in his mouth. He smirked at the confused demons. "Well, what's it going to be? The easy way or the hard way?"
Commander Sue, the leader of this motley band from what was left of Beryl's forces blink-blinked. Here was an overdressed human, out numbered over twenty to one, and taunting them. His first instinct was to just outright and kill the human, but something made him pause. The pause allowed Commander Sue to think, which lead to the slight aching between his ears.
"A moment," Commander Sue said in a clear and surprisingly cultured voice that echoed throughout the room. The tuxedo-clad man nodded in consent as Commander Sue dug through another pocket and produced a small, leather, dog-eared book that was sealed by a wide ribbon and bow. Opening it Commander Sue flipped through the fragile pages until he found the section that he was looking for.
"Ah! Here it is," Commander Sue announced loudly. "According to the 'Good Demons Almanac', any human that shows up alone, overdressed or dressed in an unusual manner from other humans around him, and making taunts or threats is usually making bluffs - hoping to scare us away, or is more dangerous than we can handle."
Commander Sue carefully closed the 'Good Demons Almanac' and placed it back into his pocket. Commander Sue carefully eyed and studied the human in the tuxedo before him with a new outlook as the man had lit the cigar in his mouth and held it between his teeth. The tuxedoed-clad man then began blowing smoke rings as Commander Sue determined what to do.
Moments went by unchecked.
"Well?" The tuxedoed man said. "Which one do you think I am? I don't have all day."
Commander Sue raised an eyebrow and made the obvious choice. "I think you're buffing," he said coldly. "Attack him!"
Five demons immediately obeyed the command and aimed their weapons at the grinning man. Each demon fired a volley of shots that lit the room, creating phantasmagoric shadows to dance along the walls. The tuxedoed man dodged the multiple strikes with incredible speed and ease as he produced a cigar box that had to be way too large to fit inside of his jacket.
"Theaters are places for people to enjoy themselves and while away their youth!" The man proclaimed through his cigar in his mouth, while he dodged more pot-shots from the advancing demons. "For destroying this theater and in the name of the Moon, I Tuxedo Jazzman will punish you!"
Off to the side, near an exit and out of sight, two Sailor Scouts cringed at the bad speech.
"Moon Tyco cigar action!" Tuxedo Jazzman called out as he reached into the box and threw several cigars at the closest of the attacking demons. Each cigar embedded itself into the chests of the attacking demons like knives and each demon went down, falling into ash.
The fifth demon looked at Tuxedo Jazzman with wide eyes. "B-but we had nothing to do with destroying the theater," he said defensively.
"Details," Tuxedo Jazzman muttered offhandedly as he threw and embedded another cigar into the fifth demon's chest.
"Just my luck, I guessed wrong," Commander Sue muttered angrily to himself as he rubbed his temples. "Take cover and counter attack!" He ordered loudly to his remaining demons.
The demons responded by trying to make barricades to hide behind with the rows of uprooted seats. As some gave covering fire, other demons were working on dislodging several seats from a large pile to use when Tuxedo Jazzman yelled, "Tuxedo HighFlyer, now!"
The pile of seats that the demons were working on seemed to move on its own as a robotic body rose from its mass. Rows of seats and demons were flung everywhere as the human shaped robot lumbered outward. The demons on that side of the room were caught flat-footed as the mecha, piloted by Tuxedo HighFlyer, waded into them.
"Moon Highflying kick!" Tuxedo Highflyer yelled from his cockpit as he piloted the mecha into a standing kick that booted three demons and a few seats into the opposite wall where they crumbled into dust.
One demon managed to climb aboard the wildly lumbering mecha and hung on for dear life as he pulled out a ridiculously long sword from somewhere. Rearing back, the demon tried to stab the strapped in Tuxedo HighFlyer. HighFlyer dodged the blow, but unfortunately Mr. Panda on his shoulder wasn't so lucky as the blade severed the arm of the stuffed toy.
"Mr. Panda!" Tuxedo HighFlyer cried out in concern. Tuxedo HighFlyer saw his wounded friend with stuffing trailing out and turned a cold eye to his attacker. "You hurt Mr. Panda!"
The last thing the demon saw was the crazed look in Tuxedo HighFlyer's eyes, the last thing he heard was Tuxedo HighFlyer yelling something about a "On Top of Old Smoky action", and the last thing he thought just as the fireball blew him into oblivion was "Oh shit."
Tuxedo Fleece was busy concentrating suppressing fire on the flank of the demon horde, which by that time was reduced to a hordette. Using magically enhance conventional weapons, Tuxedo Fleece mowed three of the demons down before they realized that he was there. After that, it got interesting as he dodged the return fire. He answered by lobbing a few magically enhanced grenades.
Tuxedo Fleece peeked over the row of seats he was taking cover behind to check on the damage and had to immediately duck. The body of a demon flew overhead, missing him by inches, at high speed only to crumple into dust as soon as it hit the wall.
"Hey Sailor Bad Ass," Tuxedo Fleece called out. "Watch where you're throwing the trash!"
Sailor Bad Ass replied with a grunt and went on to take care of the next demon.
The leader of the band of demons saw clearly that the battle was lost and made for a strategic withdrawal. Turning to the wall from where they'd entered from, he almost literally ran into the largest Senshi he had ever seen. Commander Sue had to do a double take because the Senshi was definitely a male, but he was dressed in woman's clothing and that was enough to make him pause. In that moment of hesitation, Commander Sue was lost as the cross-dressing fukued fighter for love and justice grabbed him by the collar and hauled him up face-to-face.
"I ain't gonna use no fancy moves on you," the cross dressing Senshi announced. "I'm Sailor Bad Ass and I'm gonna give you a good, old fashion Sailor beat down."
The last thing that crossed Commander Sue's mind before the eternal darkness took him as he was being smacked around by the man in drag was: "What an undignified way to die."
The dust soon settled as the last of the demons were dispatched. Sailors Sun and Mercury emerged from their places by the exit and surveyed the damage.
"Well I have to say, I'm really, really impressed," Sailor Sun said as she addressed the Alpha Guards. The three tuxedoed dressed men and one dressed in a fuku were grinning broadly as Sailor Sun glided up to them. "I mean, all that magically enhanced ammo and explosions going off and your robot... or whatever, throwing demons everywhere and you didn't damaged the building anymore than it already was," she commented.
"It's a gift," Tuxedo Jazzman said with a puff of his cigar. "I remember one time we shot like, oh, five hundred rounds at the bad guys and no one got hit."
"Er, how did you beat them then?" Sailor Sun asked.
"After we got through toying with them," Sailor Bad Ass answered. "We got down to town and put the hurt on them - up close and personal like."
Ranma nodded as she recalled how up close and personal Sailor Bad Ass dealt with the demons. They'll be scraping their remains off the walls for a week. Luckily what was left looked more like piles of ash than anything demonic.
"I love it when a plan comes together," Tuxedo Jazzman said while holding his cigar and grinning broadly.
Silence fell over the little group for a few heartbeats.
"What happened to your friend?" Tuxedo Fleece asked suddenly. "Wasn't she with you?"
"Mercury?" sailor Sun asked as she looked around. She didn't see Mercury where she last saw her. "Mercury!" Sailor Sun called out, panic leaking into her voice.
"Can someone get me down from here?" Came a plaintive call from above.
Five sets of eyes looked up to see Sailor Mercury hanging from the ceiling with a rope around one foot. She apparently got caught in one of Hannibal's 'demon snares' and found herself dangling thirty feet above the floor. She hung there, gently swaying back and forth with her arms crossed and a cute pout on her face.
Sailor Sun looked up at her dangling friend and suppressed a giggle. "Get'cha you down in just a sec."
"Well, it's good to see that everything is in good hands," Ami said merrily. They were back at the closed restaurant where they had first met. Everyone was back in their civilian clothes and gathered around a table.
"No problem," Hannibal said while lighting yet another cigar. "Now that we know what to look for, we'll be on guard."
"Sailor Moon will be glad to hear that," Ami said while smiling. Ranma was too busy waving the smoke from Hannibal's cigar away from her face as it wafted over to respond.
"Yeah," Face said with a tone and a smile that warmed Ami's cheeks. "If the princess needs us, let us know and we'll come."
"Or if the Queen," Hannibal added.
"The Queen's dead," Ami explained sadly.
Hannibal cocked his head. "Really? I figured that if we all were reincarnated, she would be too."
Ranma and Ami blink-blinked at the possibility that never occurred to them before. However, before the two girls could delve deeper into that thought, they were distracted by smoke filling their nostrils and Hannibal speaking again. "Well in any case, we'll be ready," he said.
"Right (cough, cough) no problem," Ranma gasped out as she fanned the smoke away at a faster pace. "Time to get going. If we're lucky, we might be able to catch an hour of sleep. Damn... I don't know how I'm gonna make it through the rest of the day."
Quickly the two girls stepped out and stepped back into the room, transformed into their Senshi forms.
"We'll be going now," Ami, now Sailor Mercury, announced to the others in the room. "If you're ever in Japan, look us up."
"Or if you need any help over here, let us know," Sailor Sun added.
"We'll be sure to," Hannibal said as he lit yet another cigar.
Murdock chose that moment to interrupt. "Colonel," he said hurriedly and lucently, but with a wild look in his eyes. He was carrying his stuffed toy that was now sporting a bandage on one arm. "Mr. Panda said that Colonel Decker is on his way."
Hannibal nodded. "Everyone get to the van," he ordered.
"You need any help?" Mercury asked in concern.
"Nah. It's just Decker. We can handle him," Hannibal said off-handedly. "You two better get going, you don't want to be here when he shows up."
Sailor Sun nodded and summoned her sword and slashed at the air creating an opening in space/time back to Japan. Within moments the two girls were gone leaving behind the now empty restaurant.
This story was inspired by a conversation on Fukuchat on Fukufics-dot-com. Interesting discussions abounded that night. When things get interesting, one thought leads to another, and then those thoughts form ideas that combine with other ideas, and so on, and so on...
Anyway, I blame this idea on another writer (he knows who he is) because I ain't gonna take the fall alone! So put those mallets down! Down I say! It was he that twisted and perverted my mind, making it go where no mind should go.
I only hope I corrupted him in return.
Hee, hee, hee...
Anyway, the discussion made me think of a bad challenge: Take one part Ranma, one part Sailor Moon, a heaping of spam, and one part of your choice of an eighties television show. Blend until semi-consistent. Served chilled.