Daimakaicho Ranma, chapter 9.
Ah! Do dreams dream, the Dreamer?
- - - - - -
It was slowly approaching dusk over the Nekomi Temple, as the blue skies of the day were being replaced by the streaking of golden orange hues painting the skies in the perpetual preparation for the onset of evening.
Lizasa sat off the back porch dangling his legs over the edge as he held a mostly melted ice-pack to his swelled and bruised face.
Earlier in the day the two groups of goddess' and demoness' mostly separated and kept to themselves as they busied themselves as best they could.
'Although, I'm surprised there's not been a fatality yet…' Lizasa thought to himself with some wry humor, at a particular incident where Urd had asked Skuld why the TV picture was all-of-a-sudden so bright and crisp. Skuld herself was immediately curious, so she set off to find out how a 30 year old radiation-box like Keiichi's TV could get HD crystal-clarity. She found the reason being Banpei, the toy-like robot, had been lashed to the TV roof-antenna like a giant, brightly colored roof ornament.
Needless to say that she was –less- than pleased and immediately accused first Ranma, then Mara, then Hild, then called them all co-conspirators as she spieled into a rant-fit…
Needless to say that they emphatically denied it but the small smiles weren't really convincing of their innocence. Banpei not willing to come within 4 meters of Hild though was a clincher.
Needless to say that Skuld went into a screaming tantrum at the three demoness's for their abuse of Banpei-kun… that is until Mara had just bent herself down to Skuld's level, grinned like an idiot and whispered something into the pint-sized goddess's ear. Skuld on her part just became –real- quiet, turned –blue-, backed away slowly from the blond devil and then ran for the bathroom.
'And here I thought this kind of insanity only happened in Nerima…' Lizasa thought to himself at the memory.
Suddenly, a frosty brown bottle of beer came into Lizasa's field of vision, looking up he saw the Morisato boy holding said beer out for him with a nervous smile. Nodding to the boy, he gratefully took the proffered bottle, first put it to his chin with a relieved groan then took a long relieved swig.
Keiichi sat down next to the kami-spirit and sipped at his own cold bottle as he too watched the sky. After several silent moments Keiichi asked, "So… what do think about all this with Hild-san coming here with that new redhead demon chick?"
Lizasa chuckled, then groaned in pain from moving his mouth, and said, "First boy, don't let Ranma hear you call her… him… her… whatever a 'chick'. She'd probably pull you're spine out through your nipples."
Seeing Keiichi's eyes expand and his chin drop, Lizasa couldn't help but to laugh through his pain, and then said, "Settle boy, it was a joke…"
"A bad one…" Keiichi mumbled recalling how literal some super-natural beings could be.
"… and honestly anything that involves Hild, I'm not sure what to think." Lizasa seeing Keiichi's question continued. "See, today was the first day I've ever met The Daimakaicho, praise God for small miracles that that's the case, so I'm at a loss just going by memory at some of the reports and second hand stories about Hild I've heard as I've been working in the Spirit Relief Office over these last few centuries."
Swallowing a knot in his throat, Keiichi asked, "How bad could this all be then?"
The gray haired spirit held up his bottle to look at the setting sun through the amber glass, with a sigh he said, "Hild is the TOP demon for a reason… did you know other, lesser demons even pray to and worship her? Call her their Demon-Goddess?"
Keiichi shook his head 'no'.
"Yeah… well… if even a fraction of a fraction of what I've read and heard is true, and I'd be inclined to believe it was far more than that… well let's just say that her being here, with the notorious Mara and a fighting genius like Ranma, who are both exceedingly dangerous in their own, while she's scheming something, all the while there's the Three Norns here…" he paused to comb his fingers through his long and wild grayish hair. "… let's say that I'm piss scared and leave it to that."
With wide eyes Keiichi asked in a panicked voice, "It can't be –THAT- bad… can it? I mean, you work for the gods' right? And Hild seems just like some eccentric…"
Lizasa shook his head sadly and said, "Boy, I'm going to say this very clearly. Hild is the opposite of Kami-Sama. While HE'S The Creator, SHE is Destruction. She could probably vaporize the entire Solar System with an absent thought –IF- she wasn't wearing all of those limiters on her body, clothes and hair. Mara… well her own peculiar mark of influence can be seen in some of the worst horrors and atrocities in human history, and then there's Ranma… when Ranma was alive and just a mortal he could form energy blasts, make tornadoes to swallow his opponent, split mountains in twain… he even slayed a demi-god named Saffron. And by comparison, I don't think I could've fared so well against Saffron, he was just a beast of a fighter in terms of raw, unmitigated power. So yeah, with all of them in one place like this on Midgard, I think I'm justified in being scared spitless."
Lizasa took one last swig of his bottle to empty it and said quietly, "And I shudder to think what'll happen when Ranma comes into whatever powers Hild has given her."
"What do you mean; don't gods and demons just sort of use their powers when they get them?" Keiichi asked quietly, still digesting the bleak picture Lizasa had painted.
"No boy, gods and demons, when they are young only have the most basic rudimentary powers of their race; they have to go through a sort of…" Lizasa paused to think of a word, "… 'puberty' I guess you could call it so they can grow into their powers without accidentally blowing something up. Namely themselves. Like Skuld, she's just begun entering this type of 'puberty' in earnest. But with Ranma… only Hild knows what'll happen there I'm afraid."
With that said the two men just sat quietly, only the sounds of Keiichi sipping at his bottle and the chirps of birds breaking the odd silence. And truth be told, it was the silence that was most nerve wracking to Keiichi after hearing Lizasa speak.
Suddenly a feminine cry split the air, coming from within the house.
"That was Ranma's voice…" Lizasa said quietly with narrowed eyes.
Keiichi nervously looked to the spirit and asked, "Should we… ah… go and see if there's a problem?"
At first Lizasa wanted to say 'are you nuts?!' but instead said haltingly, "No… I don't think so… we'd probably just be in the way if there's a problem…"
"Good point…" agreed Morisato.
"Up for a game of Shogi?"
"Sounds good. I'll set the tiles…"
- - - - - -
Earlier inside the house, after Belldandy went outside to do laundry with a song on her lips, Urd gave a sharp glance to her mother, before excusing herself in a polite and proper goddess-like way from the dining table to go to her lab/bedroom, to this Hild looked thoughtful at her retreating daughter.
Skuld for her part had reached into her blouse, and in an action defying all known laws of physics, removed the large blue and green sphere… thing… from earlier and wandered-out of the room muttering things about 'tachyons' and 'field displacement' under her breath.
THIS SCENE WILL EITHER BE REVISED, OR ADDED TO THE NEXT CHAPTER.
just keep obsessing over this one scene, otherwise this chapter has been good to go for weeks...
- - - - - -
Meanwhile on the other side of the planet, a street urchin dressed in the remains of rags and tatters by the name of Jacob huddled himself in tighter into his makeshift home of wood-pallets and cardboard in a small back alley as the morning sun moving across the sky disturbed the man and his rest after the long cold night.
The more than ten years on the street had not been kind to Jacob; his withered and emaciated body was riddled with disease, his yellow skin and eyes being testament to that. And beside his 'home' in this anonymous back alley was his bank of all his worldly possessions; a shopping cart he purloined and filled with what most people would call trash, but not Jacob, like so many other street-wanders, everything in that cart was a treasure that would help keep him alive.
He of course, hadn't always been like this, he realized. Once he was a moderately successful grocery supplier, selling ice to all the greens and meat markets. But he knew his downturn came when his lusts for gambling overrode his sense and he started going to the 'wrong people' in ever higher stakes gambling that eventually pulled him into the path of drugs… then his wife, unable to take his abuse anymore divorced him, taking their 7 year old son with her… Then came the 'borrowers' he'd lent from seeking back their payments, then he lost his house… it was all a fast moving downward spiral in which Jacobs small stress-relief hobby had cost him everything.
Jacob stirred again under his cardboard blanket as an electric prickling seemed to spread over his body, briefly he wondered if this was it, if he was finally having a heart attack that would end him and his wretched life. He prayed it was so.
It didn't; instead the electric feeling seemed to fill the air, so slowly he opened his blurry eyes and sat-up against the brickwall of the building he was next to, and took stock of what was happening, as the electric air began to become oppressive in it's pressure, and small gusts of wind started to blow trash around in the confined space of the alley.
Rapidly Jacobs eyes widened to witness small arcs of electricity begin to form and lash out from the rainspouts and trash dumpsters, even as the wind intensified to the point where he had to bring his arm up to shied his face from the torrent of highly charged air.
Suddenly it all stopped, leaving a calm quite as the litter began to settle back to the ground, Jacob feeling as though what-ever that was had passed began the arduous process of standing up, when without warning the electrical arcs returned, magnified a hundred-fold in intensity lashing out against any conductive surface, and then there was the bang, almost as powerful and a summertime thunderclap it rang out through the alley as it was accompanied by a momentary blinding flash of pink light.
Jacob began to blink the stars out of his eyes as the ringing in his head slowly lessened. When he finally was able to see scant moments later, the sight before him took his breath away, as there standing in the midst of falling debris was a woman, a tall blond beauty the likes of which Jacob had never seen before. She was dressed in a simple midriff revealing violet mini-jacket and navy blue skirt that bordered on indecent… and she completely ignored him as she stared at her right hand as she flexed it open and closed, as if testing it.
After almost a minute she finally noticed where she was and then grimaced, shook her head in disappointment and said in a perfect sultry voice, "An alley, a stupid dank alley, how cliché can I be? Jeez… "
Her gaze then noticed Jacob, and she stared at her witness with her cold violet eyes with an intensity that made Jacob tremor with fear. Not the kind of fear he'd felt when staring down the hard and murderous gazes of the local drug dealers who might've killed him on a whim; no the fear this woman inspired came right from the depths of his soul. The fear that every animal has when faced with a large predator. The fear of evil.
"Hello Jacob." She said pleasantly as she began to walk sensually towards him, as he tried to press himself harder against the unyielding brickwall.
When she was within arms reach, she smiled at him showing her perfect white teeth and reached into her violet mini-jacket and pulled out a single shiny brass coin.
She then spoke again in a playful tone, "Jacob, you were a naughty boy, watching me materialize on Midgard like that, but I have a solution! So, care to make a little wager?"
He tentatively opened his mouth, and after several seconds of shaking managed to whisper out through his cracking and horse voice, "w-what k-kind of wager?"
Her eyes lit up with glee as she said playfully, "A very simple one!" she held up the face of the large brass coin showing a bearded man's face in profile, "Heads's I win, and you die, or…" she flipped the coin around showing the reverse of an Elephant, "… Tails and you live. Do you agree?"
Without even thinking that these terms could very well end his life, he nodded slightly, and she exclaimed, "Excellent!" as she flicked the coin with a audible 'ting' into the air where it flashed and tumbled randomly, her hands then moved fast grabbing the spinning coin from the air and slapping it to the back of her hand, covered. She then held out her left hand that had her right clasped tightly over it, to Jacob for his inspection. She then drew he right hand away revealing the side of the coin the determined Jacobs fate.
She looked annoyed at the result and said, "It's Tails, you win… looks like this is your lucky day Jacob…"
"H-how do you k-know my name?" he managed to stutter-out in his relief and fear.
She took several steps back, nearing the main street-side entrance to the alley and said whimsically with a broad smile, "Silly little human, I'm Empusa, the Grand Demoness of Lust. And I know –you- Jacob Smalley, age 53, son of Margaretta and Edward Smalley of South Sussex, father to little Philip Smalley, –very- well." she winked at him after rattling off the these details of his life.
There and then the light shifted a small measure for Jacob and he saw the perfect visage of the so-named 'Empusa', but moreover he saw her shadow cast along the wall of the alley, a huge hideously grotesque horned shadow that loomed over the all-too perfect woman, her shadow showing her true horror.
Tears began to drip from Jacobs eyes and into his scraggly beard as he also soiled his already filthy pants, he began to realize something… something dangerous… he mumbled, "oh… oh no… oh God…"
Empusa tilted her head and looked to Jacob queerly and said, "God?" she then smiled broadly and said, "No… not Yet…" and with that she casually walked out of the alley and into the throng of people moving on the sidewalks as they do in any bustling city. And after Empusa had left the alley Jacob fell to his hand and knees and threw-up as the emotional toll of the encounter and realization caught-up to him, as he mumbled to himself, "repent… demons walk among us..."
- - - - - -
"Sir… Excuse me Sir! There's an urgent message for you…"
USAF General Seebert Mösser of the Joint Chiefs of Staff looked up from his stack of readiness reports to the sharply dressed Lt.Col. standing with a half-salute in the door way of his Pentagon based office. He then sat up straight closing his open folders and asked, "Yes Lieutenant, what's the message?"
"Sir! The Australians have reported that they lost all contact with one of their nuclear platform submarines at an estimated bearing of 250 nautical miles north of Auckland New Zealand. Furthermore they're requesting us to perform a satellite fly-over to aide in pinging the ships location, sir."
General Mösser for several moments just stared at the Lt.Col, knowing… just knowing, that the last thing he needed to hear about was a –lost- of all things, nuclear submarine. One undoubtedly loaded with a full compliment of six nuclear missiles.
He then gave a resigned sigh and leaned back into his chair, pinching the bridge of his nose where his glasses sat he addressed the still waiting Lt.Col., "Alright, go out and phone up SkyWatch, appraise them of the situation and have them report back to me when they find the Aussie boat. That's all, dismissed."
"Aye sir!" the Lt.Col said and was about to leave the General's office to carry out this duty when the General called back, "Oh, and Lieutenant, for this royal FOP-up have the Aussie Ambassador shot, will you?"
The Lt.Col smirked over his shoulder and said with good humor, matching the General's grin, and said, "Sorry sir, that's not in the REG's."
General Mösser looked up at the ceiling in exasperation and said, "that figures... remind me to change the REG's some time…" which caused the Lieutenant Colonel to laugh lightly at the joke as he left the office closing the door behind him.
After the Lt.Col. had left his office, Mösser let his humor fade off, leaving him with a good bit of worry. 'A lost nuclear submarine? How many ways can you spell 'Holy Crap!' he thought. Russians… he'd almost expect this sort of thing to happen with Russians, but not with an Australian boat.
That then raised a chilling thought in his mind. Terrorism.
Seebert had read many reports lately about Australia's growing problems with Muslim terrorists, usually consisting of random street stabbings and harassment to anything not islamic. Small stuff. But now with this missing submarine… well it wasn't likely, but he always had to think of the "worst case scenario" of what-if islamo-fascist terrorists had some how managed to take control of such a dangerous ship?
"That's it; I'm taking an early lunch." Seebert said to himself in an attempt to get away from such thoughts.
"Oh, you poor boy, you not having a good day?" cooed a feminine voice from behind Mösser.
Startled he rapidly swiveled his chair around to face his window, and then confronted with the sight before him, he had to fight the urge to go 'hubba hubba…'
There, sitting demurely on his window side credenza was a spectacularly gorgeous woman wearing a mock of the US Navy women's dress uniform of a skin tight white micro-mini skirt, too-tight white blouse that was partially open showing impressive cleavage and unbuttoned jacket. White sensibly heeled shoes and a small white cap that didn't quite cover the bun her blond hair had been put into. What made the effect otherworldly though was the late morning sun glowing around her from the window and the two small red marks on her cheeks and the four small curving vertical lines on her forehead that if you were to squint your eyes a little would look suspiciously like a woman's... ahem…
Regaining his composure, Mösser coughed into his hand and said gruffly, "Maddam, this is a restricted wing, I'm afraid I'll have to ask you to leave immediately, or I'll call the guards and have them escort you out."
"Oh, I don't think that will be necessary..." the blond beauty cooed, and unknown to Mösser the three MP officers that were responding to his silent 'emergency call' all dropped dead from heart attacks.
"Now good General, I understand that you're a busy man, so I'll be concise, I would like you to hand me the Icarus Chip." the woman said as she held out her open hand.
"Maddam, I haven't a clue what you're talking about, needless to say you should surrender now to spare yourself in whatever charges you'll be brought up on!" Mösser dissembled.
"So... you don't know what Icarus is then, is that it?" she said looking less amused.
The Gerneral nodded, "that's correct Maddam..."
He was cut off as she said with a grin, "I think you're lying, Icarus was a boy, whose father Daedalus made for him wings of wax for their escape, but so enraptured by flight was Icarus that he flew to close to the sun, where the wings melted and he fell from the skies back unto the earth and thus to his death. Quite an interesting story really, but what I want is the Project Icarus control chip you have hanging around your neck!"
Eyes wide with shock as only a select few people on the planet knew about the project, much less where the master control chip was kept, General Mösser clutched the large piece of plastic and circuitry that was under the collar of his shirt at all times.
"Ah ha!" she shouted, "I knew you were lying! Didn't you know that that's a sin to lie?! Now will you -please- give me that control chip? Sith really wants it."
"Lady, I don't know who or what you think you are, but the only way you're going to get this chip is over my dead body!"
The blond reared back and glared at the man as she said slowly while shaking her head, "You humans, your penchant for stubbornness is sometimes endearing, but more often its vastly irritating... but very well, I'm Empusa, the Demon Prince of Lusts, and you have something we need..."
She was interrupted by Mösser who now knew that this chick was Grade 'A' certifiable as he said with anger creeping into his voice, "Empusa or Elvis reincarnated, I don't give a fuck, the only way you're getting this chip is over my cold dead body, is that understood!?"
Empusa chuckled in her mind, 'Elvis reincarnated? He's not even dead...' to The General she said, "Is that you're wish, that I not have the chip unless your dead?"
Mösser was moments away from opening his desk drawer and pulling out his service pistol to arrest this loony bitch, as he said heatedly, "Yes it's my wish you stupid dyke, now are you..."
Whatever else he was going to say was stopped as Empusa ducked her head down with her eyes closed, suddenly the red indecent tattoo's on her face began to glow as she floated upwards slightly and as random objects not bolted down began to lift up and swirl in the confines of the office. Slowly in the chaos of the room, and to the stupification of the General, Empusa ever so slowly raised her head and languidly opened her her eyes witch were glowing with an internal violet hued power, and also as slowly an oddly a reverberating bass tone but femininely lilted voice drifted from her lips saying, "Wish granted!"
And with that, everything stopped, Empusa stood on the floor, and the object that had been floating around the room fell with a crash as gravity reasserted itself. Empusa them stalked up to The General with a manic smile, she crouched slightly and brought her finely manicured index finger of her right hand up to his face for his inspection, with a wink and a smirk she placed her finger on the seat of his chair right in between his legs. Mösser was beginning to sweat and was worrying slightly if he was about to break his marriage vows. Gently Empusa placed her finger on his crotch and he felt a sudden jolt of an unusual tingling, and slowly Empusa dragged her finger upwards, over his fly, up his belt, hooking around the buttons of his blue uniform shirt, up to the knot of his tie, over his lips her finger lingered, she poked his nose and finally she ended the trail her finger took at the top of his head. She then pulled away with a smile, and showed to General Mösser that hooked on the same finger she used on him was a largish green circuit board dangling by a bead-chain.
General Seebert Mösser was about to voice a protest at this sight until he felt a drip of blood form at the tip of his nose, just as he was about to wipe the offending drip of crimson away he noticed a line of red was appearing vertically along his body, and then to his horror, something seemed to slip and his left and right sides were no longer joined or paralleled evenly. Strangely he felt no pain, just a sense of detachment as he heard Empusa say again with amusement tinging her voice, "Wish granted... but what a poorly worded wish it was..." and with that the two side of the general fell away from each other with a spray of blood painting the office, the chair, the desk, but not Empusa, in a fine coating of red.
Empusa just shook her head and brought the chip dangling from her finger up to her face for her inspection, as she regarded it she said, "Such a fuss over such a little thing too." she then stepped over the cooling chuncks of the generals corpse to make his wish final... as after all she wasn't supposed to have the chip until she was over his cold dead body... and then she lifted the cover off a plate on his desk and smiled, "oatmeal raisin, one of my favorite things to come about this last century." she said just before swiping some of the cookies the generals wife had baked, and without fanfare as she munched on a cookie and played with a circuit board that she'd killed to get, she casually walked through the wall...
"Seebert Mösser is not the USAF General of the Joint Chiefs. No. That's a name I just made-up for this fiction.