AN: It has been some time since this story has been updated. Real life and a computer crash didn't help. A somewhat shorter chapter, but it was intended as such to set a foundation for future chapters. Hope you enjoy it.
Chapter 9 – Let sleeping dogs lie
A month had passed after the first visit of Ranma's grandparents. Ranma's parents and grandparents had tentatively discussed a reconciliation in several talks. Some progress was made, but it was slow going.
"At least they're not trying to fight, again." Ayaki commented as Genma and Seto glared at each other.
"True." Nodoka sighed, sipping her tea.
"We still don't approve of your choice." Ayaki reminded Nodoka.
"Exactly, my choice." Nodoka pointed out.
"Lets not start that again. It's not like you gave Ranma much choice." Ayaki returned.
"At least we have the excuse that it would save lives and it has." Genma stated gravely.
"And what excuse did you have again?" Nodoka added with a frown.
"The tough love story is getting a bit cliché." Seto rumbled.
"Doesn't change the fact that it is true." Genma answered firmly.
"This is going to take a long time." Nodoka dryly noted.
Ranma continued the training of his daughter in the Martial Arts, focusing on control to prevent any mishaps with the little trick his daughter discovered. Ranma was teaching Hitomi to recognize her limits and how to experiment safely. Ranma also had several talks with his grandparents about learning their Martial Arts school, but remained adamant about his position as Genma's heir. During all this talk Ranma tried to resolve the confusing claims on his honor, with some help from his grandparents.
"Look it ain't the engagements that haven't shown up yet, that worry me. It's the ones that are present that bother me." Ranma patiently explained.
"I suppose most of the engagements are little more then misplaced charity." Seto agreed.
"Like I been telling you for the last hour." Ranma grumbled.
"This Ukyo remains adamant about the engagement?" Ayaki asked again.
"Yes. Since her dowry was stolen by pops, she got a decent claim." Ranma answered exasperated.
"Just making sure we understand all the details." Ayaki soothed.
"Which means we'll be here for a while." Ranma deadpanned.
"Given the mess Genma created, that is not much of a surprise." Seto replied with a sigh.
"Look, Pops got an idea about Ukyo and it sounds like a good one." Ranma said.
"Anything that man touches end badly." Seto replied with a frown.
"Like me you mean." Ranma replied.
"Shampoo is the one I wanted to talk about. You mentioned knowing about the Chinese Amazons?" Ranma interrupted the denials of his grandparents.
"Ah, yes. Our clan has had dealings with them and are even considered honorary Amazons." Seto replied, clearing his throat.
"Which means the Kisses don't mean squad." Ranma stated, earning nods.
"To an extent." Ayaki confirmed.
"That doesn't inspire a lot of confidence." Ranma sighed.
There were several attempts made to kidnap Hitomi during this period. As Ranma and Akane kept a close watch over Hitomi, this usually resulted in several clients for the hospital. Akane's mallet had to be replaced from wear, due constant use against the stubborn attempts. It must be noted that her golf swing did improve during the period, much to the dismay of the thugs.
When he happened upon a kidnapping attempt during his usual rounds, Happosai seemed to take a perverse pleasure in planting several female articles on the thugs and merrily laughed as the group of women pounded them into the ground. At other times, he just said hello and watch as the firecrackers he had hidden on them exploded.
Nabiki added her special brand of help by ensuring that Hitomi was protected during school hours and that either Ranma or Akane had a pass, allowing them to leave early to pick Hitomi up. Mobile phones were also provided for the group. Which resulted in a nice group bonding experiences as they joined together in pounding the thugs into the ground.
The occasional visits from Ryouga didn't help the efforts of the thugs. Especially as he often found himself in the middle of the group of thugs as they tried to get into position for a new ambush. As they usually grumbled about not being able to collect their pay for failing in grabbing the kid, it didn't take Ryouga long to start expressing his opinion about kidnappers.
The only reason the thugs even kept trying was the lawyer that kept them out of jail and the very large reward for the capture. If they weren't in the hospital that is. The smart ones took a vacation after the first attempt.
At the moment Ranma was sitting agitated in a small restaurant, waiting for Emma to arrive. Emma Swartz had asked for a meeting and reluctantly Ranma had agreed to it, with some urging from Nabiki.
"I don't like it." Ranma grumbled for the twentieth time.
"There's no harm in squeezing some information from a rotten apple." Nabiki soothed with a nasty grin.
"Not my style. Rather be with Akane with her sleepover as a girl." Ranma replied as he settled down.
"As long as I can take pictures of you in a negligee." Nabiki countered, causing Ranma to sputter.
"I'm glad to have caught you in a pleasant mood." Emma said as she joined them at the table.
"Mood ended when you showed up." Ranma replied with a frown and an elbow from Nabiki in his side.
"That's a nice drawing, Hitomi. Who did you draw?" Nodoka asked cooing.
"This is pappa, this is me and this is mama." Hitomi pointed out.
"Mama?" Nodoka inquired.
"As soon as papa asks her, oba-san." Hitomi answered.
"Or mama decided to trick papa in asking her." Hitomi added after some consideration, pressing a finger against her lips.
"And what is your mama's names?" Nodoka asked with a small smirk.
"100 yen or ice-cream." Hitomi responded, blinking at the facefault of her grandparent.
"Remind me to talk to Nabiki about transferring bad habits." Nodoka mumbled to Genma as she got up.
"At least she's realizing that information is valuable at an early age." Genma countered with a shrug.
"I suppose." Nodoka sighed.
"Dear, Soun and I are going to browse the old bookstores near the marketplace. Do you and Hitomi want to join us?" Genma asked as he moved a piece on the board.
"I believe Kasumi wanted some spices from the marketplace. Yes, I would enjoy a little walk." Nodoka answered, looking at Hitomi.
"Okay, I guess." Hitomi replied with a shrug.
"You're probably wondering why I asked for this meeting." Emma opened the discussion as the waiter left after delivering the drinks.
"Other than attempting to bribe us into giving Hitomi to you? Especially since your attacks have been futile." Ranma softly snarled.
"Personally, I'm still going for the attachment to an old pet." Nabiki added dryly.
"I suppose it would seem like that to those that don't understand the work our group does." Emma calmly stated.
"For the betterment of humanity." Nabiki replied.
"Yes." Emma said with narrowed eyes.
"Say what you want." Ranma interrupted, causing Nabiki to sigh with resignation.
"I discussed 14323 with my superiors." Emma started.
"Her name is Hitomi." Ranma growled, briefly flashing his aura.
"To you perhaps." Emma conceded.
"It was decided to give you some more information about her. Her purpose included." Emma continued.
"She was created from several sources. Athletes, soldiers, martial artists and the like." Emma lectured.
"Several DNA sources spliced and combined, which was implanted in an egg. Making 14323 what most people call a test tube baby. Several dominate attributes surfaced from the primary source, of course, to determine how she looked like as she grew." Emma explained.
"So she got several pops and moms, whom were physically active?" Ranma noted.
"Something like that. Basically she was intended to determine the extent of what a human body could endure." Emma replied, looking at the pair across them.
"Torture." Ranma spat angry.
"Scientific experiments." Emma corrected.
"Why tell us this? You would know that it would only anger us and make us work harder at stopping you." Nabiki asked with a frown as she placed a hand on Ranma's shoulder to restrain him.
"What you fail to realize is that our group is global. Your efforts to stop us are barely noticeable. As for telling you, lets just say I felt you wanted to know this." Emma answered.
"An experiment." Nabiki noted.
"Social behavior to certain situations would be of interest to these monsters." Nabiki explained to Ranma.
"Misunderstood, not monsters." Emma corrected as she finished her drink.
"Torturing children, devaluating life itself and turning the lives of people into your entertainment. Those are actions of monsters." Ranma firmly stated with an icy gaze.
"Our experiments are to improve life." Emma countered.
"Wauw, even now you keep provoking us and observing our responses." Nabiki said in a fake admiring tone.
"How's this for a response. One of the persons involved with Hitomi's experiments is a doctor Miller." Nabiki continued with a smirk.
"Really?" Emma returned.
"Should you find this rogue scientist, do let us know." Emma smiled.
"And do be careful, he seems insistent with getting 14323 in his clutches. What he wants with a old project is beyond me." Emma said as she stood.
"I wonder what you are going to call your children, 123 or perhaps 0. Silly me, only way you would get children is if you drugged a man or stole some sperm. Perhaps from one of your experiments?" Ranma sweetly replied as he stood.
"You might be surprised." Emma returned evenly.
"She means a fellow nutcase." Nabiki translated.
"Give my regards to 14323 should she still be in your care after this day." Emma said and walked away.
"Ranma, I would like for you to go home. Fast." Nabiki said slowly.
Nodding Ranma left the building and made for the rooftops. Narrowing her eyes, Nabiki moved to catch up with Emma.
"Getting spooked are we?" Nabiki asked as she stopped Emma.
"About what?" Emma asked innocently.
"That someone could expose you activities, before you can take precautions." Nabiki pointed out.
"We've been doing this for some time now. I think we have little to worry about possible damages from supposed bad publicity." Emma returned with a smug smile.
"Your little group, the Friends of Humanity, was found shortly after the second world war by several scientist that escaped from Germany, Italy and some other European country. For the betterment of humanity is the motto of your group. What a delusion of grandeur." Nabiki lectured.
"Without us, several diseases would still be lethal." Emma pointed out.
"And the people of a small village in America would still be alive." Nabiki countered.
"Using them for a viral weapons test. That shows you really wish to improve humanity. I am impressed by the way, how you shoved the blame onto a terrorist group." Nabiki continued.
""Some sacrifices must be made for the greater good." Emma stated.
"And who made you Kami-sama? Did he speak to you in a dream?" Nabiki mocked.
"Science doesn't deal with superstition. Only facts." Emma answered.
"And the fact is that your little group is little more than a social club for heartless and immoral creatures interested only in satisfying their sadistic interests." Nabiki responded, crossing her arms.
"Our work is for the good of all." Emma restated.
"All member of your group." Nabiki replied.
"I see you have a closed mind and are unwilling to see the truth about our group." Emma said, sadly shaking her head.
"Me? Or you?" Nabiki asked.
"Give my regards to director DuGaulle and do try to give me a better challenge to find your secrets." Nabiki said in a parting shot, before leaving Emma standing in the street.
"I do wish Miller was more professional. Leaving outdated information about the group laying around is sloppy." Emma murmured as she looked at the retreating back of Nabiki.
"You go on to the market, dear. Soun and I will catch up with you in a short while. Two minutes tops." Genma assured Nodoka.
"Do hurry." Nodoka requested, before leading Hitomi out the store.
"Look at this, Genma. The old technique of Water Hand Palm Blow. This might be a good edition to the school, if we find the rest of this scroll." Soun enthusiasts as he displays a torn old scroll.
"Already have that one, my friend. Ranma learned it at a monastery at the age of nine. This is a better purchase." Genma answered, showing his find.
"The Two Snap, Slight Of Hand technique for cheating at shogi. A worthy find indeed." Soun grinned as he counted his money for the purchase.
Chuckling at the fond memory Genma mentioned, Soun was slow in realizing that his old friend had stopped. Looking back he noticed his friend had paled slightly as he looked at something. Turning around to follow his gaze, Soun was treated to the sight of Nodoka falling to the ground with a gash on her forehead. Gulping, Soun chanced a glanse at his friend. Noting the furious expression, he wisely took a few steps back out of the path of his friend.
"Kasumi!!" Ranma shouted as he jumped the wall.
"Yes, Ranma?" Kasumi asked slightly startled.
"Where's Hitomi?" Ranma asked in a rush.
"She went with auntie to the market." Kasumi answered.
Soun stoically batted an unconscious, flying thug away as he stood guard over Nodoka and Hitomi.
"Is something the matter?" Kasumi asked as Ranma turned away.
"They might try again today." Ranma shouted as he jumped over the wall again.
A merchant desperately tried to pack his goods in the shortest time possible. Yelping, the man dove to the side as a thug came flying into his stand. Seeing what remained of his store, he started crying. Distracted as he was, the man didn't notice the next thug hurtling towards his position.
Focusing all his effort in going faster, Ranma started looking for ways to shortening the distance as he ran. A chi powered rocket like trust perhaps.
A lightly smarter thug tried to crawl away. Whimpering, he desperately tried to reach safety. Feeling something grab his leg, he started hollering for help as he struggled for a handhold and kicking at the hand holding his ankle. His fingers scrapped against the ground as he was forcefully pulled back.
Growling, Ranma gave pushed for a little more speed as the marketplace came into sight. Poised for battle, Ranma enter the silent marketplace to stop in his tracks.
Blinking, Ranma looked at his father as he walked by, gently carrying his mothers unconscious form. Soothing a distressed Hitomi as she latched onto his leg, Ranma accepted his family honor blade from Soun in shock. Gazing into the marketplace, Ranma took note of the devastation. Unconscious thugs lay scattered across the marketplace, often with limbs bend in a way nature never intended. Returning his gaze back to Soun, Ranma indicated the mess with a motion of his head and a question in his eyes.
"When your father chooses to fight, he Fights." Soun simply stated and gestured Ranma to follow his parents.