Ride of the Valkyries
Robotech/Ranma crossover/fusion

Jets slowed to a muted whine as the mid-sized passenger jet
taxied up to a ramp. Runway technicians blocked the wheels
and opened the door, letting the passengers onto the hot
tarmac. Akane held onto her sun hat with one hand, her small
suitcase with the other. Ranma was carrying the rest of
their luggage. Akane called out cheerfully in barely stilted
English, "Uncle Hyaki! Over here!"

The older Japanese man nodded in greetings as he walked up,
maneuvering sprightly through the crowd.. He sighed deeply
in regret. He hardly even knew his departed sister's
daughters. "Hey ya, kiddies!" He was a shorter man with a
graying crew cut. He had the bearing of a retired military
man, even if he did have a bit of a paunch.

Ranma huffed and puffed a bit, lugging the three large
suitcases and a small duffel bag that was thrown over his
shoulder. Akane glanced over at him. Turning away to hide
her smile, she said with fake anger, "Hurry up Ranma! That
isn't too heavy for a martial artist like you, is it?"

"Heck no!" Ranma tried to stick out his chest and balance
all of the luggage at the same time. He came perilously
close to tipping over.

Hyaki grinned in spite of himself. Obviously Akane was
goading Ranma into carrying the luggage through his ego. It
brought to mind his sister, 'coercing' some luckless boy
friend to carry her books home from school. "This way. All
we have to do is get you through security and then we'll be
off to my house."

"Security?" Akane asked. She waited a moment and then
relieved Ranma of one of the suit cases just as it was about
to topple him over.

"Just to protect some high mucky mucks. And the SDF-1 is a
military base."

"The TV just doesn't do justice to the size of that thing,
ya know?" Ranma said absently, staring at the huge mound of
metal off in the distance. It loomed over the skyline,
blotting out the sun. Armor gleamed underneath the white and
blue of the spaceship's just finished paintjob.

Akane nodded appreciatively. It was so huge! And to think
that they had managed to repair it. Akane was just glad to
get out of that mad house known as Nerima for a while. She
was lucky that Uncle Hyaki had won the Macross City
celebration tickets for the launch of the SDF-1. Most
civilians weren't able to get friends or family on the
island for the launching ceremony. He had said that he was
pretty lucky. Someone else had actually won the tickets, but
had not claimed them at the time. He was actually the runner


Ryoga wasn't happy. Then again, he usually wasn't. He was
cold and miserable. He wasn't sure where he was, but he was
pretty sure it wasn't Japan. The little piglet (as Ryoga was
in his cursed form right then) glared at the other passenger
on this impromptu adventure. The lavender haired cat just
sniffed and looked away.

Shampoo wasn't certain how she had ended up in this sort of
situation. She had been walking home when she had heard
Ryoga yelling about `how could he be lost again' just on the
other side of a wall. She remembered turning away for just a
second. In that second Ryoga demolished the wall.

Normally, that wouldn't upset Shampoo. After all, she was
familiar with making her own entrance. But this wall was a
bit different than most. It had had a water fountain in it.
She and Ryoga had both been sprayed with the cold water.

Now, this wouldn't have upset Shampoo that much, but she had
been having a really bad day. She had just gotten a letter
from Joketzu about her extension for more time to get Ranma
to marry her was probably going to be turned down. On top of
that, Mousse had been obnoxious again. He had backslid into
his over-affectionate self. Cologne had finally ordered her
to go take a walk to get away from Mousse.

Shampoo really didn't remember much of the chase, just the
fact that it had been long and very convoluted. She had
finally cornered him in this place. Except it wasn't a
place. It was an airplane of all places. After finally
finished the fight, which she had naturally won, she
realized that they were airborne and on they're way out of

Bright light flooded the luggage compartment suddenly. Ryoga
let out a squeal of joy and took off for the door. Shampoo
sighed theatrically and followed suit. They both leaped the
twenty feet to the ground easily enough. Soon they were
running across the tarmac to what looked to be an airport.

"Oh, look! How cute!" That was all the warning that Ryoga
had before he was grabbed by his bandana. A cute, blond,
nine year old girl stared down at him with the cutest smile.
She made shushing noises as she put Ryoga into a back pack.

Shampoo meowed plaintively, hoping that she would get picked
up, too. Ryoga might be a jerk and an idiot, but at least he
was a known quantity.

The girl looked at Shampoo for just a second. "I really
shouldn't, you know." She sneaked glance to see if anyone
was looking. "Here you go." Mary scooped up Shampoo and
snuck her in too. Wouldn't mom be surprised!


They breezed on through the security check point. Hyaki then
led them to a nice mid-size sedan. In moments they were
driving off down the road. Akane piped up, "So, Uncle Hyaki?
I'm still not terribly sure what you do here at Macross
City. Kasumi didn't say."

"That's easy enough, Akane. I work as a floor supervisor at
the Tanglin foundry. That where the armor and most of the
really big metal work was done. Pretty dull work most of the
time, if you ask me."

"So you helped rebuild the SDF-1, huh?" Ranma had his nose
pressed up against the window, trying to get a better view
of the amazing ship that had ended the global war a decade

"As much as any other civilian. Being a retired military
engineer helped get me the job."

"So you were part of the JSDF?"

Hyaki locked gazes with Ranma. "A long time ago," he said

Akane blinked in surprise. Obviously, a touchy point for the
older man. Hyaki slammed on the brakes suddenly. "Damn it. I
forgot about the parade. We'll have to go around." In front
of him was a policeman, directing him off to a side road.
Behind him you could see a crowd, waving and cheering a
motorcade as it passed slowly on the crossing street.

Hyaki maneuvered the car for a while in silence. "So, why'd
they send you two love birds out here?"

"Nabiki wanted to come, actually. I really... needed some
time away from Nerima." Akane's voice carried a hint of
longing that surprised her uncle. "So I talked my dad into
letting me go instead." Akane sighed. "But Daddy wouldn't
let me go without him or Ranma."

Ranma blinked in surprise. He hadn't known that Akane had
the choice of him or her father. What else hadn't Akane told

"Sounds like you've got some problems at home."

"Um, not really home... just life in general." Akane sneaked
a glance at Ranma, hoping he wouldn't notice.

Ranma did notice, but was bemused by the strange expression
on her face. Not anger. That much he was certain.
Uncertainty? Worry? And something else he had started to
notice for the last six months. Ever since the wedding,
actually. Things had settled down and into a pattern since
then. Akane's temper had cooled a lot, while Ukyo and
Shampoo had backed off just a touch.

The number of challengers had dropped off too. He'd only had
the occasional challenger in that same time. He hadn't even
seen Ryoga. It had been almost peaceful. Probably the least
stressful time in his short life. Ranma was dragged out of
his ruminations as the car pulled into a small parking lot.

"Here we go. Home sweet home for the next few days." He
stepped out of his car, gesturing to the small apartment

Hyaki was suddenly interrupted by a loud rumbling and the
sound of creaking metal. It seemed to be reverberating from
all around them, growing louder by the second. The ground
started to shake slightly, almost as if it was a small
earthquake. They spotted what was making the noise,
something was happening to the space fortress!

A yellow glow was starting to pervade the front third of the
SDF-1, as the massive booms rumbled opened. Crackles of
lightening scattered across the surface, growing together to
form a lattice of flickering red-yellow energy. It crackled
across the open space in between the two `arms'.

The three people stared in surprise as it continued to
build. With a howling whine/roar, a beam of solid light,
bright as the sun was unleashed. They watched in shock for
the few moments it existed. It suddenly vanished out of
existence, a thundering boom echoing to them.

Ranma stared at the rearranged landscape. The small mountain
ridge had a large divot cut out of it, just as if some huge
giant had scooped it out. "What was that?"

Hyaki stammered in surprise, "I'm not sure. It must have
been some weapon system of the SDF-1. But why fire it now?
Was it part of the demonstration?" A thought struck him
suddenly as he looked off in the direction of the
destruction. Would he be all right?

"Hey, you kids go ahead. Take my house key and just make
yourselves comfortable. I'll be back in a few minutes.
Apartment 2-B." He unloaded the two teenagers as soon as
possible and then hopped in his car, driving off down the
road. A look of anxiety covered his face.

Ranma just shrugged unconsciously. Oh, well. It seemed like
everyone that he ran into was weird in some way.

Akane led the way, opening up the apartment. It was fairly
spacious, having a large living room and kitchen as far as
they could tell. "Kind of nice." It was, being clean and
fairly modern. Just the right touches of wood paneling and
screens kept it from being too `sterile'.

Ranma nodded. "Yup. Not too bad." He unloaded their luggage,
putting it next to the couch. He shrugged his shoulders to
relieve the built up tension. Sighing, he sat on the couch.

Akane disappeared into the kitchen. "Do you want something
to drink?"

"Sure!" Ranma tried to figure out the TV, but it seemed to
have no controls or buttons at all. "How the hell do you
turn the TV on?" Ranma muttered to himself. All of a sudden
the TV sprang to life, showing the opening ceremony. People
were moving to and fro, in a panic.

A mournful wail, loud and familiar, broke the relative
quiet. Ranma winced at the volume. Air raid sirens!

Akane had a far more drastic reaction. The glass she had
been filling with juice crashed to the ground, spilling
reddish-purple fruit juice all across the floor. "No!" Akane
rasped out. "No!" She covered her ears with her hands,
shaking uncontrollably. "No!" She then curled up into a
ball, trying to keep out the hated/feared sound. "No!" It
droned on and on, causing unremitting feelings to well up.

Ranma called out when he heard the crash. "Akane?" He stood
up and walked into the kitchen. He looked on in surprise as
Akane tried to push herself further back into a corner,
curled up as tightly as she could.

Ranma licked his lips. This was definitely not something
that he was well versed in. Tentatively, he reached out his
hand, placing it on her shoulder. "Akane? Come on, you're
all right!"

Akane attached herself to that voice a desperation that was
surprising to Ranma. She reached out and grabbed Ranma in a
rib breaking hug, muttering, "Don't leave, please don't
leave me, don'tleavemedon'tleaveme!"

"Uh, sure Akane. Don't worry, I'm right here." Ranma
awkwardly hugged her back, patting her on the back.

Akane seemed to relax a bit and quit trying to break his
ribs. She just wouldn't let him go, though. At least until
the sirens finished sounding, which they did a few minutes
later. The silence was almost deafening. She continued to
slowly relax her grip, feeling herself to be warm and safe.
A blush crept over her face, as she realized just how
closely she had been holding Ranma.

She let him go finally, ducking her gaze away from Ranma.
She didn't know what to say now.

"Ah, are you all right? What happened?"

"I r-really don't want to talk about it right n-now. Maybe

"We should get to a shelter, you know. It might be some sort
of terrorist attack or something."

"Yeah. Grab your luggage." Akane followed her own advice,
picking up one of her suitcases. "I'll leave a message for
my uncle."

Ranma picked up his suitcase, but stopped himself from
asking Akane why she only grabbed the one. Soon they were
outside and heading towards the nearest official looking

"Are you sure you saw the City Municipal building this way?"

"Yup. Besides, you know that's the best place to find a bomb
shelter." Ranma wouldn't realize how wrong he was, as the
bomb shelters that existed on Macross Island were buried far
beneath the ring of mountain. The only public access to them
was in the foothills. A precaution against a foe that they
could barely comprehend and their overwhelming weapons that
could destroy a normal city in moments. And the standard
shelters below it.

They had passed quite a few people. They were soon in front
of the building Ranma had spotted. Akane looked around,
trying to spot the sign that told people where the shelter
was. "Ranma, I don't see a shelter here."

"I don't know why not. Pop always told me to keep an eye out
for those sort of things. He always said that it might save
my life someday."

"So what are we supposed to do now?" Akane shaded her gaze,
trying to catch a glimpse of something she had spotted in
the air. Little flashes of light pierced the clouds every
once in a while. She gasped as she saw streaks of light
flash from the sky.

Explosions started to pepper the city, destroying everything
in a wide swath around the SDF-1. Danger seemed to scream at
them suddenly, dragging their gaze to the south. Ranma noted
with alarm the oncoming path of destruction. Instincts and
skills honed by countless fights kicked in.

He let go of his luggage and scooped up Akane as he started
to race away from the destruction as fast as he could go.
And Ranma was very fast. He had managed to cover a thousand
feet by the time the missiles hit the ground where they had
been. His speed helped buoy him along as he was overtaken by
the edge of the explosion.

Both of them were flung into a small garden, skinning
themselves as they were flung through a few bushes. Ranma
looked back, horror overcoming his as he saw the Municipal
was a blasted wreck, a shell of its former self. "T-that
could have been us."

Akane nodded slowly. Something occurred to her. "Ranma? I
don't think this is a terrorist attack. It's too big."

Ranma nodded slowly. So this was war. What good were martial
arts when compared to things like that? "We need to get some
place safe. If we get out of the city, I'll bet we'll be

"Sounds good to me." Akane continued to hug her one suitcase
as she staggered to her feet. This trip had turned into a

With that the two made their cautious way across the city.
It was a nerve wracking and tense time. Distant explosions
could be heard from all across the city. The city kept being
bombarded by missiles from the blue sky. They were almost
to the edge of the city when a building down the street was
destroyed by... something. It wasn't an explosion, it just
kind of collapsed on itself. Around the corner a strange
white bulbous shaped robot with two long spindly legs
stepped out.

Ranma's danger sense started to scream out. This did not
look good. It was easily over a hundred feet tall and those
things sticking out of it looked like the barrel of guns.
"Akane. Run!"

Akane didn't need to be told twice. She took off down the
street as fast as she could go. Ranma split off from her,
waving his arms. It seemed to work, as the `headless
ostrich' seemed to follow him.

The pilot of the Zentraedi pod was itching to strike back at
these puny micronians. They had caused quite a few of his
fellow pilots to be killed and dared to stand up to the
Zentraedi. For that, they should all die for the greater
glory of the Zentraedi. He manipulated the controls, lining
up both fleeing targets.

Ranma noticed the cannon being aimed at him. Trusting his
instincts, he suddenly leaped to the top of a short
building. That leap easily dodged the surprised battle pod's
shot. He pivoted to keep it in sight, when he saw its other
cannon also fire on something down on the street.

"NO!" Ranma screamed, pushing his body to move even faster
than before.

He dodged another couple of blasts easily, coming to rest
near a small, still form laying on the ground. Ranma knelt
down next to her. There was so much blood. And she wasn't
moving. Tears welled up in Ranma as all of his negative
feelings of fear, anger, of being a failure arose. He
started to flicker and glow with a sickly green hue.

The pilot of the Zentraedi mecha snickered to himself. The
stupid micronian had quit fleeing. It seemed to be trying to
help the other one. He held off for just one second to savor
the power he had over this pathetic creatures existence. He
would just crush it under his battle pods feet.

Suddenly, his energy sensors started to go wild. He looked
over in surprise at the read out, noting that it was close.
It was almost on top of him. How had that happened? He
swiveled his gaze back, gaping in astonishment at the
weirdly glowing figure in front of him.

"SHI SHI HOKODAN!" Ranma screamed out, lancing out with a
beam of destructive force that could punch holes in
mountains. Instinctively he aimed for what he hoped was its
weak spot was, the mechanical eye.

The pilot only had a nanosecond to realize that the
micronian was about to attack him, when the beam sliced
right through the mechanical eye and then into the mecha
itself. The battle pod exploded with stunning force. Ranma
threw himself on top of Akane's body to protect her as best
as he could.

He was going to die before letting her get hurt again he
swore silently.


"Roger that, control. Moving to engage the enemy in sector
242. You heard the lady. Let's move `em out, Yellow
Squadron." Lieutenant Foster said over the com. The snappy
replies and the wingovers that his squad was all he needed
to know that they were ready.

Foster was a minute into the battle, when he happened to see
something happen a few streets over. It was an enemy battle
pod standing still. He was lining up the shot to kill it,
when some sort of energy beam came from out of sight down
the side street and exploded the pod. "Son of a gun." What
was that? It almost looked like the enemy's laser fire, but
different. "Miner, I'm going to go check something out.
Cover me."

He listened to the affirmative as he trotted his veritech in
battloid form towards the exploded mecha. He moved like some
sort of oversized SWAT trooper, keeping his back to walls,
cannon up in the air like a rifle. He spun around the mecha
around the corner, expecting to see, well, something else.
Not two kids, lying on the street. One of them stirred,
looking around. More casualties. He'd seen enough already

He flicked the toggle for the outside speakers. "You all

Ranma nodded, surprised at this new humanoid looking robot
that was speaking to him in English. He spotted another
battle pod, leaping over a building, coming this way. "Look
out! Behind you!"

Foster spun his veritech around on one leg while dropping
the gun down to let off a burst. He managed to hit a weak
spot, as it exploded just before it landed. "Ha." He spun
the mecha back around. Damn. He had to get the kid out of
here. And there was no way he could make it with normal
transportation. "Hey, Victor. You're in that trainer today
for the demonstration, right?"


"I've got a civilian that needs evacuating. Get your butt
over here pronto. Sector 242, mark 701."

"Got it. I'm on my way."

Lieutenant Foster switched his veritech into its half human,
half jet mode and blasted off. He didn't have time to deal
with civilians.

Ranma turned back to the still form. He carefully turned her
over, his expression turning even bleaker as he saw the
wounds on her left side of her face. He just about succumbed
to despair, when he noticed that she was breathing raggedly.
Hope leaped into his heart for a moment. She was still
alive. There was just so much blood.

Ranma stripped off his shirt and tried to use it staunch the
flow of blood. He seemed to be making some sort of progress
when he heard the sound of a jet coming this way.

Victor sighed as he zeroed in on the location that. No way
was he going to be able to land without V-TOL. He snapped
the switch labeled `G' and mechamorphed his veritech into
its `guardian' mode. He landed about a hundred feet away and
started walking towards the civilian. "Hey. You all right

"I'm fine. Akane needs medical help now! She's bleeding
really bad!" Ranma looked up at the pilot in the strange

Victor cursed under his breath. This is not what he needed.
He ran over the possible solutions. Getting her into a
bunker that actually had a surgeon ready to operate was
going to be nigh impossible. He flicked on his com.
"Commander Hayes, this is Yellow Seven. I've got a wounded
civilian. Requesting authorization to evacuate them to the

"What is it with civilians getting in the way today? Can't
they go to the shelters?" the long, brown haired women said
in vexation.

"Negative. One is down and losing blood." Victor fiddled
with his sensors, keeping an eye out for the enemy. "I'm not
even sure which shelter has a surgeon ready to operate."

There was a pause. "You making the right call. You're
cleared to return to the SDF-1. I'll have a medic team on
their way to landing bay four. Out."

Victor popped the canopy. He then yelled out to Ranma, "Can
you get her in the back seat?"

He was surprised when the kid just picked her up and took
two steps, then leaped ten feet straight into the air. Ranma
balanced on one foot at the edge of the cockpit. He swore a
bit. There really wasn't room for two in there very easily.
He slid himself carefully in, cradling Akane just so.

Victor blinked and then shrugged. It wasn't his worry. He
closed the canopy and rocketed the veritech into the air,
morphing it into a jet as soon as he cleared the roof tops.
He managed to avoid any engagements as he flew towards the
SDF-1 that was rising slowly on pillars of fire.

The turbulence that the SDF-1 was kicking up was immense. He
switched back to guardian for the landing. Jets blaring, he
skidded into the landing bay of the SDF-1. He walked the
last hundred feet, when he saw trauma team vehicle with its
flashing lights. It was quicker than waiting for them to get
to him.

Ranma was out and over to the medics in record time, barely
waiting for the canopy to open as he dashed Akane to them.
He laid her carefully on the gurney. One of the medics
grabbed his arm, trying to lead him away and check on him at
the same time. "You look a bit banged up, kid."

"I'm fine. I want to stay and watch."

"Look, kid, you don't want to watch. Don't worry, she's in
good hands. Now, where did you get those burns?"

Ranma stared at the man stupidly for just a second. He
checked himself out visually. "Ah, it must have been when
the thing, robot or whatever it was, exploded." He touched
it gingerly. It didn't hurt too bad. "Nothing to worry

"Those burns look pretty serious. Can you take the tank top
off?" Ranma nodded mutely, letting himself be distracted. He
didn't notice what was happening, until the ambulance took
off with a screech of burning rubber.

"Hey! What are they doing with Akane?"

"Taking her to surgery, I'd guess. Come one, I'll take you
to the medical center. It's not too far away. We'll get you
looked at too."


Ranma paced back and forth nervously. The doctors had been
working on Akane for what seemed forever. Finally, a doctor
walked over to talk to him. "Your Ranma? You'll be please to
know that we're done." He flipped his chart to the next
page. "She lost a lot of blood, but I think she'll be fine.
She may need some... cosmetic surgery later. And some
therapy to help out with her disability."

"Disability? What's wrong?" Ranma almost shouted, getting in
the doctors face. A couple of big orderlies started to move
towards the young man.

"She has quite a bit of laceration from shrapnel. I'm afraid
that we couldn't save her eye."

"What?" Ranma reached up and grabbed the doctor with one
hand and lifted him off the floor. The two orderlies started
to move a bit faster. The kid was stronger than he looked.

"Look, please calm down. We managed to save her, that's what
is important." The doctor started to sweat. Dealing with
relatives was one of the unpleasant parts of this job.

Indecision warred on Ranma's face. He let the doctor go.
"Can I see her? Please?"

"No, it's against... sure. Just for a little while." He was
breaking regulations just allowing that.


And with that he led Ranma to a small white room and
admonished him to not touch anything. He then trotted out to
his next patient. Ranma stood there for a second. It was a
sterile white room with a single bed. A row of machines that
appeared to be part of the wall monitored her every vital
sign. Half of Akane's head was shrouded in bandages. She was
lying still, with a breathing mask affixed to her. The only
sound was her breathing through the machines. He looked
around for a second and then scooted a chair closer to
Akane. He reached out and carefully grasped her hand.

"Akane. Damn. Why'd you have to go out and get yourself
hurt, ya stupid tomboy? This was supposed to be a vacation.
And... and I screwed it up big time. You weren't supposed to
get hurt. I don't know what to do. I'm supposed to be the
best there is. I just wasn't fast enough to save you this
time. What sort of enemy just shoots a defenseless tomboy
like you?" Ranma muttered low and softly. "Now you're gonna
hate me for failing to protect you. And your dad is likely
to kill me when he finds out." Ranma paused, thinking hard.
"He'll at least break the engagement. And I don't want that.
Not really. Not anymore."

The lights flickered for a second and the PA blared out
something about `folding' or something. Ranma tuned it out.
It couldn't be important. Not now, anyways. "I don't know
what to do. Just be all right, you dummy. I'll never forgive
you," myself, "if you don't." Ranma sat there for a second.
He punched himself in the head. "I'm such a dope. Your
laying there and what do I do?" He paused, trying to get his
thoughts in order. "Just, be all right, ok? That's what's

Ranma sixth sense started to scream at him as every light
went out. Time seemed to stretch impossibly and Ranma could
feel his physical form change from the simple state he was
in, to a higher energy state that only exists in esoteric
mathematics normally. He couldn't move, couldn't see. It was
as if he had been struck blind, deaf and become paralyzed in
one instant.

High above Macross Island, a sphere of energy expanded
alarmingly. In a moments time it encompassed the entire
island and the aircraft carriers near it. Once it reached
it's maximum size the sphere seemed to implode.

Seagulls that had been whirling above the waves were shaken
in the air from all the displaced air. Of Macross Island,
not a bit of it was left above the waves.


Ranma blinked in the sudden darkness, lit only by the gauges
and readouts of the medical equipment. The rasp of the
breathing apparatus was suddenly, shockingly loud. It was
deathly quiet as panic started to rise up in Ranma. What was
going on?

The silence was shaken by a sudden alarm. Blaring over the
speakers, a woman's voice could be clearly heard warning
everyone to brace for impact. The sudden jarring crash
reverberated through out the entire ship. Ranma watched
Akane where she lay in the bed. She seemed to be all right.

But maybe he should just go get a nurse for sure. He was
almost at the door when a harried looking woman entered the
room at a trot. He managed to sidestep her at the last
moment. He opened his mouth ask her a question, but snapped
it shut as she checked Akane's wounds to see if they had
started bleeding again.

The doctor looked over at the young man near the door.
"She'll be ok. Look, you're not supposed to be in here right
now. You'll have to go to the lobby."


"I'm really sorry, but what she really needs is
uninterrupted rest. When she's out of ICU, you can visit."

Ranma sighed and trotted back to the waiting room. He sat
back down.


The next few days had passed in a whirlwind. The Macross
refuges were transported to the SDF-1. Housing was quickly
made to support the thousands of now homeless people. But
the impossible now seemed doable. Shelter and homes were
being made. Everyone pitched in to help. Including a certain
pig-tailed martial artist. He was told that today was the
day that Akane would be moved from intensive care. He put in
his work to help out with the refugees with impatience.
After that he took off as fast as he could go to visit her.
He walked rapidly to the front desk. Ranma waited
impatiently for the man in front of him to finish his

"Akane Tendo? She's in room 241."

Ranma's ears perked up.

"That's good to hear. I'll feel a lot better knowing that
she's going to be all right," the man in the RDF uniform
said. The voice sounded familiar, somehow.

Ranma finally remembered where he had heard that voice.
"Say, your that pilot that rescued us, aren't you?"

Adam Victor looked over in surprise. Yup, that was one of
the kids that he had rescued. "Guilty as charged. Your
Ranma, aren't you?"

"Uh, yeah."

"My names Adam Victor. Call me Adam." He was a short man
(just shorter than Ranma) with the wild and unruly hair so
uncommon in pilots these days. Under his brown bang, dark
eyes seemed to barely contain his humor.

"Um, sure. You're here to visit Akane, Adam?"

"Well, I'm a morbid sort of person that enjoys seeing people
in pain. The hospital is a normal place too see me when I'm
off duty. This is a pretty good excuse to be here," Adam
said with a perfectly straight face.

Ranma blinked. "W-what?"

Adam started laughing suddenly. He clapped his hand on
Ranma's shoulder and directed them to the elevator. "I see
you going to be fun to be around, Ranma. Lighten up. It was
a joke."

"Ah. I knew that!"

"Oh, sure. I'm sure you weren't thinking of four ways to
beat me up."

Ranma started to stammer out, "I, I wasn't doing that!
Really!" He managed to calm himself down for a second. "It
was ten ways," Ranma muttered quietly, but not quietly

They both entered the elevator. In just a moment they both
stepped out and were searching the halls for Akane's room.
"You know, I don't know if I should be worried or not? You
need to relax kid."

Ranma started to laugh weakly. "Uh, yeah." He looked over at
room number. A look of sadness crept over his face.

"Hey, why such a long face?"

"I, uh, just feel so helpless. I'm used to protecting her
from danger. But how do I protect her from a war?"

"It's not easy. You have to be willing to sacrifice a lot.
Willing to put your life in danger for others and be willing
to take orders."

Ranma snapped his head around. "What are you talking about?"

"What do you think my job is, Ranma?"

Understanding dawned on Ranma. "I'm just a kid. They'll
never let me in."

"I was a year younger than you when I went through basic. It
was rough, but my country really needed pilots during the
Global War. They were willing to ignore my age and give me a
chance." Adam looked Ranma directly, eye to eye. "I've never
once regretted it."

A lie, but they had more mecha than pilots right now. Adam
had done a generic background check on the two kids he'd
rescued. Ranma Saotome was listed as being a phenomenal
martial artist. If he could get the basics of flying down
pat, he could make a fine fighter pilot. His CO had asked
him to sound Ranma out if he had the chance.

"I'm... I'll think about it, ok?"

"You've got the time. The SDF-1 isn't going to be able to
fold back to Earth. It's going to be pretty close to a year
for us to go back the hard way. And that fleet of alien
spacecrafts is still out there."

Ranma ducked his head and opened the door. He took in a deep
breath and girded himself mentally. Quietly, he glided
across the floor, as quiet as outer space.

She looked so peaceful. The only thing that clashed against
the peacefulness of the setting was the bandage covering the
left side of her face.

Ranma might have been quiet, but Adam wasn't. Akane opened
her eyes, expecting to see another nurse. She blinked in
surprise. Her mouth curved into a small smile. "Ranma?" Her
eye flickered momentarily to the other man, the one in a

"Uh, hey Akane. How ya doing?" Ranma worked hard to keep the
worry he felt out of his voice. He couldn't keep his gaze on
her for very long. It hurt too much.

"I'm in a hospital. What do you think," she snapped at him.
She softened when she saw the hurt look on his face. "Sorry.
It's the drugs... and I don't like hospitals."

"Ah, don't worry. You'll be up and about in no time. You're
healthier than an ox, you know. Oh, this is Adam Victor.
He's the pilot that rescued us from that fire fight."

Akane stared at Ranma for a second. Ranma admitting that
someone had to rescue him? She turned a little bit and said,
"Thank you."

"It's all in a days work for the RDF."

Akane smiled, causing herself to wince. A nurse walked in,
rolling a cart. "It looks like you have visitors.
Boyfriends?" Jennifer asked, smiling at the young girl.

"I'm not her boyfriend!" Ranma blurted out. "It was our
dad's idea, not ours!" Old reflexive habit kicked in.

Akane just stared at Ranma. That small smile crept on her
face again. Ranma missed it as he was focused on the other
two people in the room. The smile fell, when she noticed
that Ranma was avoiding looking at her. Everywhere, everyone
but her. Her quiet fears started to make themselves known
again. Her fears that had filled the long hazy times while
she convalesced. Ugly, unwanted, abandoned. She tried to
push them back, but it seemed far harder than it had before.

"Your dad's? What, are you two engaged?" Adam asked.

Ranma swallowed and then answered, "Yeah." Ranma tittered
nervously, scratching at his pig-tail.

"My, what a handsome young man you've bagged there, Akane."
The nurse helped Akane swallow some pills and then a swig of
some water. Akane focused on that, not on Ranma being there
but looking away from her. The nurse turned back to the two
men. "Now, I don't want you two wearing her out. Stay just
for a minute or so longer and then off you go."

"Um, get better, ok? I'll try to stop by tomorrow." Ranma
couldn't meet her gaze. She must hate him for ruining her.
Why couldn't he have been faster? Now he'd lost the only
important thing to him.

"Goodbye, Ranma." Tears welled up and started falling down
her cheeks as Ranma walked out with the pilot. It really was
goodbye, wasn't it?


Ranma sagged up against the wall outside of the hospital.
Akane deserved someone who could protect her. A guy who
wouldn't argue and yell at her like he did. Somebody who
wasn't a creep. Ranma stopped and went over that point
again. That's all he really was, wasn't it? Just a no good
freeloading jerk, who strung along three girls. He really
was the womanizer that Ryoga and Kuno said he was.

He wondered why he hadn't seen that in the past. Probably
because he was too busy being a jerk. He had to have his
eyes opened by this sort of thing happening because of him.

"Hey, snap out of it, kid. This isn't doing you any good. It
isn't doing her any good, too." Adam just wanted to slap
some sense into the kid. Moping about wasn't going to help.
"Do you want to make sure she's safe? That she won't be hurt

The pilot's words brought Ranma out of his thoughts. For one
of the first times, Ranma tried to seriously consider what
he was saying. Join the RDF and keep Akane safe from the
aliens that had done this to her. Maybe he couldn't have
helped her in the past, because he was a jerk. But that
didn't mean he couldn't change. "That's all I have to do,
say the word and I'm in?" Fiery determination welled up
within him.

"That's it. Just say the word and we'll go and fill out the
paperwork and get you processed." Adam met Ranma's gaze, eye
to eye.

"I'll do it. For Akane, I..." I'd do anything, Ranma thought


Ranma sat at a dented metal table, filling out paperwork. He
had already filled out the parts where it had asked him what
his job skills were (almost none except for martial arts)
and what he wanted to do. From what Adam had said, it was
the pilots who would be doing the larger part of keeping the
SDF-1 safe. Flying out to handle patrols and engaging the
enemy before they could get near the SDF-1.

Ranma was pretty sure he'd get stuck in some support role,
probably helping out someone haul stuff around. He was no

He paused, looking over one of the questions in the medical
questionnaire. `Do you have any medical problems which could
impede your ability to do a vigorous physical detail?' Ranma
looked at it for a moment. He still had his curse. Would
that qualify? It was still so embarrassing. He didn't want
to tell them about it. But how was he going to hide it?

There he was going again. Being the jerk, caring more about
himself than... Akane. Ranma angrily filled out the
question, putting the relevant information about the curse
in. As an afterthought, he put in his ailurophobia. He
signed it and then stood up, picking the papers up at the
same time. He walked over to Adam and the recruiter. "Here
you go. Now what?"

"We get you a physical and take you over to the training
center. Welcome to the RDF, Mr. Saotome."


The next couple of weeks blurred by for the two teenagers.
Akane's condition improved daily. With a bit of professional
help, she started to adjust being handicapped. The loss of
depth vision was quite disconcerting. What had once been a
simple thing, became a nightmare of guesswork. She had to
adjust to bumping into things. And knocking things over.
There were times that she just wanted to cry. Her counselor
was working over time to repair her fragile ego.

One of her highlights was Adam's visits. He'd drop by every
few days to try and cheer her up. And she had really needed
it, after the first week. One week without Ranma even
showing up to say 'hi'. Adam had given her a smile and asked
her to trust Ranma.

Ranma had been bored. They had been pushing everyone as hard
as they could during training. But for Ranma, this was
relaxing. He started his own training regime. When he got
the chance, he would run three times as far and do at least
twice as much lifting or weight training as anyone else.
When it came time for self defense training, he would use
only one hand or foot to attack or defend, in an effort to
push himself a little. He still felt that his keen edge was
starting to slide a bit.

He did miss his pony tail. Non-regulation, they said.

Ranma whistled tunelessly as his group trotted back to the
barracks. The rest of the guys groaned as they bounced off
of their beds. Ranma just snickered. They had only run ten
miles today. You'd think they were dying by the way they
were acting. With a snort, he stripped off his clothes as
the drill sergeant yelled at everyone to get cleaned up for
inspection in ten minutes. Even with his head start, he was
only a moment in front of the next guy into the shower.
Ranma turned on the hot water tap full. He'd adjust the
temperature down in just a moment.

A very feminine shriek of consternation split the air. Ranma
fiddled with the shower controls, desperately trying to get
the hot water to turn on. The three guys in the shower with
her just stared, mouths open in shock.

"What's the racket in here? What, you little girly boys
can't handle a bit of cold water?" roared out Sergeant
Thomas. The hot water heater breaks down, inconveniently,
and the men become pansies. It wasn't like that when he was
in the U.S. Marine Corp. He stopped when he saw the fact
that it really was a young women who had made the noise.
"Who the %#@& are you, and what the %#@& are you doing in
here?" This was an all men's barracks!

Ranma snapped to attention with the rest of the men. She
opened her mouth to reply, then shut it. Finally she
answered, "Private Ranma Saotome. Just taking my shower,

"That's pretty damn humorous. Except for the fact that
Saotome is a guy and you got teats bigger than a battleship.
Saotome, front and center right now!" he yelled back into
the bunk room.

Ranma considered that for just a second. Well, she was
already `front and center' so it shouldn't make a
difference. She stood her ground and kept herself at
attention. She was acutely aware that being at attention
like this forced her feminine assets to jut out even more so
than normal.

"Dawson, Leisu. Go get Mr. Saotome." The sergeant's face was
starting to turn an interesting shade of red. This little
snit wasn't going to make a fool of him.

Leisu took off looking for Ranma. Dawson didn't, as he'd
been one of the three men who had been in the showers from
before. "Excuse me, Sir! She was Ranma, Sir!" he piped up.
He didn't know how it had happened, but he knew what he had

Thomas got in the recruits face. "Repeat that, Dawson."

"Yes, Sir! The girl was Ranma, Sir! He got wet and then he
turned into a girl, Sir!"

"Satome." Sergeant Thomas gave Ranma a look that promised
some sort of dire repercussions. "Explain. Now!"

Ranma blinked. Oh, boy. "I have a Chinese curse, Sir! It
turns me into a girl when I get wet with cold water, Sir!
Hot water turns me back, Sir!" Her voice contrasted horribly
with the deeper voices around her.

"Dawson. Go get my cup of coffee, on the double." Thomas
waited for the hot cup. Private Dawson came back with the
cup, mostly unspilled. Sergeant Thomas then splashed the
coffee into the red-head's face. Once she got scalded and
didn't turn into a guy, he'd start to get to the bottom of

He blinked once in surprise when Ranma shifted back to his
birth gender.

Sonofabitch, they were telling the truth. He hadn't seen
magic since he had been to Lao ten years ago. Damn gaki.
"Very well. Continue on." He turned on his heel and walked
out of the showers. He glanced at his watch. "Inspection is
in five minutes! Don't be late!"

Five minutes later, they were all standing at the ends of
their beds. Ranma was back in girl form after cleaning up.
None of her clothes fit and it looked horrible. Most of the
rest of the unit was barely presentable, due to their
limited time getting ready. They shot angry glances at
Ranma's back when she and the sergeant weren't looking.

Sergeant Thomas walked up and down the line, berating every
single little fault. Only two men in the entire room weren't
found to be below par. Thomas snapped around, yelling out,
"Attention!" He let his gaze drift down the row. "There is
no excuse for not looking proper. Everyone drop and give me

He walked up and down the lines, yelling at anyone who
didn't do them properly. He watched for a second as Ranma
did her pushups with one hand, on her finger tips. Finding
nothing wrong, he said nothing in turn. If his `men' wanted
to do them by harder means, that was fine with him.

"Fall out. Go get some mess and don't let me catch you in
any sort of trouble until morning."


Ranma snored lightly as she laid out on the top bunk. Ranma
had won the right for the top bunk when he had been
challenged for it in an arm wrestling contest. Not that he
had cared at the time. But the other guy had said it was the
way these things were handled.

Dark shadows crept around her. Two figures grabbed the
blanket and attempted to pull the blanket over her head,
trying to trap her. Adroitly, her elbow came up and snagged
the blanket, holding it next to her body. They tried again,
but were again blocked.

Ranma snorted and turned on her side, still asleep. They
tried once more, but were blocked for a third time. The rest
of the soldiers gave up what little patience and swung
wrapped fists at her.

Ranma awoke with start as one bludgeon managed to strike her
as she dodged unconsciously. A quick glance noted the
figures surrounding her, just before the blanket was pulled
over her head. The figures continued to pound away, only
stopping when they realized that their target wasn't under
the blanket.

"What the hell? Where'd he go?" one of the shadows said

A flashlight flicked on, illuminating her bed. The blanket
was draped over a hole in the bed. "How'd he do that?" one
of the guys spoke up, just before the light was put out. The
tinkling of broken glass was heard quite distinctly.

A sudden symphony of grunts and thuds was the only answer
Ranma deemed necessary.

Sergeant Thomas grunted in annoyance. He had a suspicion
that something like this was going to happen. The military
didn't like nails that stuck up and screamed to be hammered
down. He'd thought they were going to be quieter about it,
though. Time to break it up before Saotome got hurt. "All
right! Knock it off," he roared out loudly as he snapped on
the lights. "Attention!"

Ranma yawned and stretched out. She looked around at the
scattered figures on the ground and nearby beds. She then
snapped to attention.

Sergeant Thomas walked up to the scene. He looked around at
the dozen or so young men that were lying strewn around the
barracks and beds, the single young women who was standing
in the middle of it. It was quite obvious who was the winner
of this fight. He looked her right in the eye. "They jumped
you, I take it?"

Ranma nodded slowly. "I guess so. I'm not sure. I wasn't
really awake." She yawned. "Can I go back to bed?"

"Don't you want to press charges?"

"Huh? Why? It was pretty good training. I've actually got a
bruise or two."

"Never mind. I'll ask you again in the morning." The sad
thing is, Saotome probably meant it, he thought to himself
as he walked off.


Morning arrived and Ranma hadn't changed his opinion. He
actually thought it was moderately funny. He was billed for
destroying his bed, though. A military lawyer was called up
to see if there was any reason to expel Ranma from the
military. After going through the records and pertaining
laws, he finally decided there really wasn't any reason or
precedence. Magical curses weren't really covered under any
regulation on the books. And since Ranma had put it on his
application in triplicate, it was deemed that he hadn't been
trying to hide it.

It wasn't his fault if they hadn't taken him seriously about
what he had put on his application. Unfortunately, they were
now. Now he had to go and see a military psychologist.

Damn Cat Fist training.


Akane shifted her carry bag of items in her lap nervously.
Her doctor had decided that she needed to get out of the
hospital to continue her recovery. So here she was, sitting
in a wheel chair, while waiting for her uncle in the lobby
of the hospital. She'd been pleasantly surprised that he had
contacted her, the day after Ranma had dropped by with Adam.
It had been nice to learn that he was fine.

Her hand drifted up to her bandages, touching them lightly.
Over two weeks and still Ranma hadn't shown up to see her.
She was beginning to lose hope. She was sure that he didn't
want to be held back by an ugly girl that couldn't even
avoid being hurt.

"Akane! How is my little niece?" Hyaki asked the moody girl
in her native tongue.

Akane jerked back to reality. A smile broke her lips. It had
been a long time since she'd heard someone speaking in
Japanese. "Uncle Hyaki! You came!"

"Of course! Are you ready?"

Akane nodded. The nurse started to gently push her out to
the curb. A car sat quietly, waiting for them to board.
Hyaki opened the door and was about to help her into the car
when Akane saw a figure dashing down the road. That red hair
was very distinctive.

"Ranma?" Akane called out in a quavering voice.

Ranma slowed to a halt, looking at Akane standing up from a
wheel chair. "Uh, hey Akane!" Ranma finally noted Akane's
uncle. "Hello, Mr. Tendo! It's been a while." It sounded odd
to be referring to him that way, but that was his name. The
nurse rolled the wheel chair away.

Hyaki looked over the young women carefully. She did look
quite a bit like Ranma, he would have said she was his
sister. Confusion covered his face as he tried to determine
what was going on.

"Ah, Akane. I heard you were getting out today. So I managed
to get out to come see you."

"Get out? What do you..." It suddenly dawned on Akane that
Ranma was wearing a military uniform. Her eyes narrowed in
sudden thought. What was going on here?

"I, uh, kind of joined up with the RDF."

Akane just stared, her smile slipping. Ranma wasn't going to
be coming with her. "Why?!" she blurted out angrily. Was he
leaving her? But he showed up. That had to mean he still
cared, right?

Ranma snapped back a step, then her face got an angrily
determined look on it as she stepped back up. "I got
reasons, dummy!"

"What? Why you jerk! Fine! See if I care. Leave for all I

"Huh? Why, you dumb ass, uncute tomboy! I had to get special
permission to get off base to came all this way to see you,"
Ranma yelled right back. "Fine, I'll leave!" She turned and
started to stomp away.

Akane only heard everything before 'uncute tomboy,' all else
was lost in a haze of red. Her pupil dilated as her breath
came to her in short gasps. "RANMA!" she cried out, charging
forward at the smaller girl.

Ranma had just a moments warning, as a huge battle aura
illuminated the area from behind her. Ranma froze when she
saw the expression of righteous anger on Akane's face.

Hyaki Tendo watched in amazement as Akane literally kicked
the red haired girl hundreds of feet up and over the
surrounding buildings, all the while glowing a vivid red
color. He took a step back as she kneeled down and smashed
her right hand into the pavement, shattering it into gravel
sized chunks.

Slowly, she curled up and started to cry. Hyaki waited a few
seconds and then put his hand on her shoulder. Akane turned
toward him and grabbed him in a bone crushing hug.

"Come on, let's get you home. You can tell me all about it
later." He got her moving and into the electric car that he
had borrowed to get her home.

Akane smiled wanly and replied, "Sure. Thank you , Uncle
Hyaki." The smiled didn't touch her eyes.


Ranma picked herself up out of the crater she had made.
"Ite. She still kicks like a mule. Hope she feels better.
Looked like she was really angry, though. It's not like I
did anything different." She was interrupted from her
ruminations by the screech of tires coming to an abrupt

Two MP's hopped out of the military transport and looked
around. After checking to see that nothing else in this area
was unusual, one walked up to her. "Say, miss. You didn't
happen to see what caused his damage did you?" he asked,
pointing at the broken concrete. They had gotten alerted to
the sound of some sort of crash or explosion in the area.
Obviously, something had happened.

Ranma looked down. A nervous smile appeared magically on her
face. "Uh, tee hee. Um, me?"

The other MP tipped his helmet back. "What do you mean,
you?" What was she doing, playing with explosives? She
looked pretty beat up.

"Um, Akane kicked me really hard. Kind of broke up the
ground when I landed here."

"So this Akane kicked you so hard that you made a crater
when you landed here." The two guys looked at each other
with expressions of incredulity.

"That's about it. Huh, back on base? Wow, she hits harder
than I remember." Ranma started to pop and crack joints back
into position. With a shrug, she stretched and then leaped
to the roof of the nearest building. She still had a few
minutes to get over to Dr. Jenkins office for her next


"So, Exedore. What have you discovered?" Breetai asked in
his booming voice. Light glittered across his metallic eye

"Some very intriguing things, Commander Breetai." He
manipulated the hand controls on his seat, bringing to
existence the mid air view screen. Pictures of battlepods in
combat while flying and on land appeared against unknown
mecha, images cycling periodically. Suddenly the view
stopped, an obvious freeze frame.

"Micronians!" Breetai exclaimed.

"Correct. I have been going into the research of our oldest
histories, trying to ascertain who this is going to impact
our mission. I have managed to find nothing concrete, but
warning to have no contact with micronians, stated in the
strictest words by the oldest records."

"What!? Are you actually thinking that these micronians
managed to capture Zor's ship? Impossible!"

Exedore blinked his large eyes. "I, too, find this hard to
swallow. Zor's fortress was one of the most powerful ships
ever designed. With the radically altered outer shell of his
fortress, I would say that something unusual has happened to
it. Perhaps it crashed here and these people fixed it."

Breetai growled. "Intriguing, but not likely. What do you

"Extreme caution. Obviously we are not dealing a normal
situation. I went over the records of the battle quite
thoroughly. I managed to find one thing that may have given
rise to these warnings." Exedore manipulated the controls
for a moment. The image shifted to another view of the
archaiclly designed city. Squares highlighted an area of the
screen, zooming in to a view of a battlepod towering over
two micronians, one kneeling and the other lying on the
ground, obviously hurt.

"Hmm? What is this, Exedore?" This didn't look any different
than any of the other scenes showing the micronians being
crushed under Zentraedi mecha.

Exedore answered by depressing a small switch, setting the
scene in motion. The battlepod slowly swung its lower guns
into position. The kneeling figure that was holding the
downed micronian suddenly started to glow, tendrils of
energy floating off of him. The battlepod took an
involuntary half step backwards, showing the shock of the
pilot through the reflex technology interface.

Breetai could see the micronian raise its hands, palms open.
A beam of energy erupted from its outstretched hands,
striking the battlepod squarely. It exploded, covering the
area in smoke and debris. The view jerked suddenly,
unzooming back to the normal size that it started at, as the
pilot of the recon battle pod took evasive maneuvers to
avoid being destroyed from another quarter. Exedore
deactivated the screen.

"My lord, it is apparent that these micronians have
developed some sort of power, possibly related to
protoculture. This makes them extremely dangerous, showing
some of the wisdom for the ancient decrees against
interacting with micronians."

"We have to recover the fortress!"

"Yes, my lord. But perhaps we should treat this situation
with extreme caution. Any creature that can destroy a
battlepod with out weapons is a threat to be wary of. What
other unknown abilities does this race possess?"

"Hmm. True. Very well. We shall adopt a wait and see
posture. Find the fortress for me, Exedore."


"Class, I'd like to welcome a new student. Her name is..."
the teacher was abruptly cut off by a startled exclamation.

"Akane Tendo? What are you doing here, you harridan?" a
cultured feminine voice screeched out.

Akane snapped her view towards the back of the room, towards
the outcry. "Kodachi Kuno!"

"Ah hem!" The teacher pinned the two with a curt glare. "You
may reacquaint yourselves later. Miss Tendo, if you'll take
your place, we can start class." She flipped open her
textbook to a page, standing to get the students attention.

Akane looked around for a moment, trying to spot an open
seat far away from Kodachi. For some reason, there were
none. She sighed lightly and headed towards the open seat
farthest from Kodachi.

Kodachi on the other hand was watching her new classmate
with interest. Akane was not walking with what little grace
that god had given her, each step stiff and uncertain. The
bandages covering her left eye and most of the left side of
her face. A small frown creased her brow and mouth. It looks
like she had been injured. Something she was sure of that
Ranma would never allow.

Akane fidgeted in her seat, aware of the scrutiny. She
opened her book and tried to ignore the blatant stare that
she was receiving. She was so focused on listening to the
teacher, that she almost jumped out of her chair in surprise
when a small ball of paper landed on her book. Akane snapped
a look over at Kodachi. With quick curt movements, she
opened the piece of paper, reading the message inside.

`Where is my most beauteous and marvelous Ranma?"

A pang of fear and worry crossed her face. She wasn't sure
what to do. She avoided looking at or responding to Kodachi
for the rest of the morning.

Finally, the bell tolled for lunch. The students strolled
out, chatting amiably. Akane was almost to the door, when a
arm was thrust in her way, surprising her.

"Akane Tendo. I do not appreciate being ignored. Trifle not
with the Black Rose of... Tell me where my darling Ranma is
and I will not be forced to hurt you." Kodachi smirked at
the girl's discomfort.

"I don't know where Ranma is," technically true, "so why
don't you go bother someone else?" Akane held herself
stiffly, meeting Kodachi's gaze levelly. A thought occurred
to her. "How did you come to be here?"

Kodachi flipped her long, lustrous black hair over her
shoulder. She looked startling different, for this school
didn't require a dress code. The eccentric girl had added
her distinctive flair to her outfit, putting herself in an
almost immodestly tight indigo dress. The only reason that
the outfit was quite so scandalous was the black body
stocking that she wore under it. "I see that you have still
not learned to speak to your betters properly. I should see
about retraining to hold the proper respect for my station.
As for your question, I was representing Kuno Conglomerated
limited at the festivities." She neglected to tell her that
she had been sent here with her boorish brother.

She took a dramatic pose, legs spread wider than her
shoulder, her body angled sideways in relation to Akane. She
stabbed an accusatory finger at her enemy. "Enough of that!
Where is my Ranma?"

Akane simmered, trying vainly not to lose her temper. "He's
not your Ranma! And I already told you! I DON'T KNOW," Akane
yelled out. She fell into an easy defensive stance.

In the background, several girls and one boy looked on in
interest. The talked among each other, commenting on the

"Huh, who's this Ranma guy that Kodachi is so worried

"I don't know. But that girl is looking for a world of hurt.
Kodachi is looking to hurt her pretty quick."

"Yeah, I feel sorry for her. She's kind of cute, in a butch
sort of way."

"Lisa! I swear you get worse and worse!"

Their attention was dragged back to the duo, as Kodachi
snapped a ribbon at Akane, causing her to sidestep and swing
at the slightly taller girl. Kodachi flipped into the air,
trying to gain more distance. She twisted desperately as she
landed, barely avoiding a reverse crescent kick that caved
in the desk she was planning on landing on.

"So, I see that you have improved, Akane Tendo! But so have
I!" Kodachi snapped her ribbon furiously. The ribbon turned
into a blur, striking out faster and faster. "This is
something that I adapter from my poor deranged brother!
Multi ribbon attack!"

Akane's eyes narrowed in concentration. She had seen Kuno,
Tatewaki Kuno that is, do this often enough. Unbidden to her
minds eye, an image of Ranma weaving and ducking, even
avoiding strikes that were not going to strike him directly.

"Oh ho ho ho ho ho ho ho ho! Hummm?" What? She's avoiding
the attack as if was nothing! How?

The small crowd blinked in surprise at the same time. Nobody
had ever given Kodachi this sort of problem in the past.
Heck, they'd never seen her work this hard before! They
`oohed' in surprise when two desks behind Akane started to
fall into small pieces. "She's not even striking the desk!
How's she cutting it with a ribbon that isn't even hitting?"

Akane suddenly dashed forward, getting within Kodachi's
weapon's reach. "Get lost, you psycho!" Akane yelled, as she
struck out in a classic kempo punch kata. On the last blow,
Akane added just a little bit of oomph. Kodachi flew across
the room and landed in a heap.

"Hmph. Serves her right." Akane turned and limped out of the

The remaining students gaped in wonderment. Kodachi had been
the terror of the school ever since she had been forced to
come to Macross High School as a senior. She had seemed to
take personal offense at the school and the students and
tormented them mercilessly.


Shampoo walked down the road. She had finally managed to
change back into a human and procure some clothes. Her
status was of questionable legality, as she wasn't supposed
to have been on Macross Island. She and Ryoga had both
survived, by being the `pets' of a young girl who had
evacuated into one of the shelters. She had finally escaped
that fate, which led her to where she was now.

She sighed deeply. She missed her great grandmother. She
missed Ranma. She even missed Mousse. She'd never admit it,
but it had been very nice to have him around, boosting her
ego, when Ranma was ignoring her. Now she was as far away as
she could be from everything important to her. Her gaze was
dragged to pretty girl in a Chinese dress, waving an
advertisement and trying to attract attention.

Shampoo blinked in surprise. Should she? Perhaps she could
ask to work for room and board? "Nia ho! Shampoo wonder if
you looking for help to work?" Her English was even worse
than her Japanese. She hated it.

"Why hello! I don't know. I'd have to ask my aunt. Do you
have any experience working in a restaurant?" Minmei asked.

"Shampoo work in Cat Caf‚! Very good at attracting business!
Boys like to watch too too pretty girl serve food in pretty

Minmei smiled and laughed. "Why, I'm sure that we can find
some work. My name is Minmei! Welcome to the White Dragon!"