Prescript from the Author:

Don't bother flaming me, I'll ignore you; if you hate my stories anyway, it's pointless trying to get you to change your mind, so I automatically stop caring about your opinion. Hopefully less people will assume I don't know the canon characters after seeing this new version of the prologue. They're not 'acting out of character', I've intentionally changed the characters. Like it or lump it.

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This ain't no self-insert fic.

This ain't no slash fic neither.

This is Top Dog.

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People react to stress in all manner of ways. The death of a parent can have all sorts of effects on a child's personality; likewise, there are any number of ways to which someone might respond to the death of a spouse.

Take the Tendo family as a case in point. The mother died some years ago. The father, Soun Tendo, never recovered from the loss; he is a broken shell of a man. The eldest daughter withdrew into herself, becoming a barely-aware shadow of a girl. The middle daughter tries to drive the world away by being the most heinous bitch she can, when all she actually wants is for her mother to come back. The youngest treats life as an unending contest; she must be best in everything or her self-esteem crashes.

Now imagine they had responded differently to that loss, in part because the loss itself came about in a different way. Imagine that, instead of the creeping end of cancer, it was violence that had brought an end to Kimiko Tendo's life. Rather than a lump in a breast spreading and reaching the doomed woman's heart, imagine a half-inch chunk of brass-jacketed plastic explosives almost reaching that heart; the dreadful momentary pause as the fuse burns, then the sharp crack of the warhead detonating, followed by the wet dripping of splattered blood and body parts.

Thus died Kimiko Tendo, gunned down for the crime of being wed to the wrong man, using her body to shield her youngest child as her last living act. She soaked up fifteen shells before she expired; that gave her husband time enough to grab the family sword and split the attacker from shoulder to groin. Sirens wailed through the night. Kimiko was pronounced dead at the scene; the monster sub-machine gun that had killed her was whisked away to forensics, but nothing conclusive was ever found out.

The funeral was not an open-casket one. Someone who's been hit by fifteen 50-calibre soft-tipped delayed-fuse high explosive bullets is not a pretty sight.

The father swiftly became a burned-out shell of a man; an embittered, desolate man, concerned only with the safety of his children, almost emotionless, a coldly calculating political manipulator; barely the faintest shadow of the buffoonish-but-caring father of old remained.

The eldest daughter withdrew into herself, becoming a barely-aware shadow of a girl, only able to function with chemical assistance, thanks in no small part to her inability to control the gift her genes had granted her.

The middle daughter tried to drive the world away by becoming the most heinous bitch she could, when all she actually wanted was for her mother to come back… but the youngest wouldn't let her.

The youngest daughter's innocence was crushed in that moment of bloody violence; she became a cynical, twisted outsider, with an absolute lack of respect for the fake authority figures who'd let that happen. She only wanted to be left alone, but the world wouldn't do that; so she responded with her usual passionate intensity, drawing a small group of remarkable people to herself and establishing her own private laws around herself and her friends.

And thus, rather than Soun Tendo the weeping wreck, the result was Soun Tendo the ice-cold mercenary bastard. Rather than Kasumi the motherly home-maker, the result was Kasumi the motherly home-maker who's stoked out her brain on dope most of the time. Rather than Nabiki the Ice Queen, the result was Nabiki the Ice Queen who has a close and caring relationship with her little sister.

And rather than Akane the violent tomboy, the result was Akane the somewhat introverted gun-toting weirdo Sisters of Mercy fan, and her gang of antiestablishment heavy rock misfits.

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Disclaimer: They say the pen is mightier than the sword, even though it takes a lot more accuracy to kill someone with a single blow using a biro.

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Why did all that happen? It all began fifteen years before, in a hot stuffy smoke-filled room crowded with some of the most powerful men and women in the universe, with a voice saying, "The only tradition I care for is the one you old men ignore."

"Speak, then. Or still your tongue." Someone at the back of the room shouted.

When the young man spoke, it was in the ancient language; words older than their species, but they rolled off his tongue with fluid ease.

"They kin ye guard em, let no thing harm em; although ye rule em, also ye serve em." He said. "The Fifty-Seventh Litany; The Lord's Way, Verse Twenty-Eight. Those people are your children, yet you treat them like disposable tools. They are men and women, able to suffer and scream and bleed and die, and it doesn't matter whether you call it 'Clanwar' or your 'right' or even 'honour'; its madness. I ask you, Lords and Ladies; who watches the watcher? Who gives us our authority? Who has oversight on our actions? Who has the power to tell us, 'Enough'? Nobody. We are nothing but a corrupt relic of the ancient past."

"How dare you, you insolent whelp!" the someone shouted.

"Silence, Daarak." A voice roared, and a huge, powerfully-built figure rose to his feet, his wild mane of dirty brown hair brushing the ceiling as he reached his full height.

"The kid is right." The giant said. "Let me remind you, Lord Daarak, of the time when we were insolent whelps, a time when we were young upstarts. We have become complacent and indolent. We have forgotten that we were once the rebel scum who emerged victorious, bearing the bloodied heads of them that made us. We had such big words and such plans – yet we have become worse than the Hardaks. I say this to you; no more. Clan Areotha shall take up arms only in self-defence and the defence of those who call us friend from this day forth; I, Lord T-Jam Areotha, swear so on my life. No more shall the Tasmanian Werewolves spill innocent blood over some stupid argument or imagined slight. We outwitted ourselves all those thousands of years ago; we gave ourselves no way to relinquish the trappings of power, and we gave our kin no recourse if we became drunk upon it. The kid is right; the time has come that we changed our ways."

"Perhaps we should speak, Lord Asinara." A tall, handsome man dressed in the trappings of a samurai said; he smilled drolly. "I believe much of your little speech was addressed to me, neh?"

"Only in part." Soun Tendo said. "I am aware that it was my father's over-reaction that began the current war."

"And perhaps your calm, rational action might end it. I am aware you came here with my linebearer; perhaps the nucleus of an end to the bloodshed might exist within that simple fact."

Soun inclined his head.

"Perhaps it might, Lord Saotome." He said. "What do you propose?"

"As you are aware, my linebearer was recently wed to a rather impressive young Earther woman; I believe you've had the fortune of meeting her?"

"Impressive indeed." Soun said with a nod.

Lord Akira Saotome chuckled.

"I believe you have, shall we say, acquired yourself a lovely lady to call your own?"

"Indeed. Where is all this leading?"

"Well, as it so happens I have been advised by a very, uh, reliable… seer, shall we say, that it might be provident to Name the first son of Genma Saotome and Nodoka Moroboshi as my Heir. What I propose is this; a linking of sorts between our Clans. If one of your children were to become my future heir's first wife, and their children became the linebearers of both of us, perhaps there might be a lasting peace between our peoples. Perhaps we might be able to pool our resources, so to speak."

Soun frowned thoughtfully.

"I will think about it." he said, resolving to ask Kimiko's opinion.

He did.

She was very enthusiastic about the idea.

Sadly, someone who had overheard that conversation had a bone to pick both with Clan Saotome and with Clan Asinara. That somebody located a suitably violent thug, and dispatched said thug a few years later to track down and exterminate Soun Tendo's family.

The wheel turns, and the galaxy with it.

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Top Dog: Biker Half 2.0

Book 1: Birth of a Modern Legend.

A Doghead13 / United Galaxies fanfic

Written & produced by Calum J 'Doghead13' Wallace

Brought to you by Hairy Scottish Git Productions, GMBH

This is not a drill.

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There is of course another side to the story; the Saotome family.

Let's look at Genma Saotome. The overweight patriarch of the family, Mr G Saotome has a tendency to be greedy, dense, short on the planning skills, and very prone to making extremely stupid mistakes.

In many worlds, Genma Saotome is a stupid greedy scumbag. In this world, Genma was just a large dense meat-head with an appetite big enough to feed ten men and a tendency to live in the moment. He had a rather valid reason for all that; after all, he was a bear. That's not a euphemism; Genma was a werebear born as a bear, lived as a bear for several years, then eventually learned to shapeshift and began to find things about the being-a-human game he enjoyed, such as drink, drugs, loud music, and fast motorbikes.

He was a perfectly intelligent and rational bear, and therefore not very good at all at being a human.

As for his wife, Nodoka, she is a honour-obsessed oddity with a katana and a series of truly bizarre sexual deviancies.

How the two met is a long and complex tale involving necromancy, illegal drugs, motorbikes, gun running, slave dealing, a very confused poodle, terrorism, and hotrod minibuses. This tale ended with the two in a bizarre sort of love-hate relationship, and Nodoka becoming a truck driver, which is in itself a strange and violent tale. A couple of years later, Genma's father located Nodoka's grandfather (one Master Happosai Moroboshi with whom you may be acquainted) and managed to persuade the lecherous old ninjitsu master to arrange a marriage between the bone-headed werebear and Happy's favourite granddaughter, which both the newly betrothed had distinctly mixed feelings about. Not long after that, Akira and Genma's mate Soun arrived proposing a certain wedding contract; to which Genma and Nodoka responded with a shrug and a 'Why not?'.

Before long, one thing having led to another and yes there was much booze involved, Nodoka bore twins; a son and a daughter. The son they named Ranma, while the daughter they named Micheru.

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Four years later. A motorbike shop on a backstreet somewhere in Tokyo. Not too far away, Ranma was discovering that he enjoyed being nearly a foot taller than his peers.

"I'm tired, Genma."

The speaker was a certain tall, slender and very handsome man dressed in a formal Japanese kimono, his chiselled jaw clean-shaven, his hair in a Samurai's topknot and a katana at his hip.

The man sat on the far side of the low table was almost but not quite his exact opposite; a heavyset, broad-shouldered, beetle-browed man with a sizeable beergut, a bushy beard and long ragged grey hair, dressed in full motorbike leathers and a T-shirt bearing a Triumph logo.

"My Lord?" he asked, bowing his head in complete contrast to his ferocious outlaw-biker appearance.

The samurai sighed.

"Genma, you of all men have earned the right to use my name… Have you any idea how old I am?"

"I'm not sure, Lord Akira." Genma said.

"You wouldn't be, would you? Once a bear, always a bear. But that's why I'm trusting you with this. You'd no more betray my trust than my sword would turn back the morning tide… Genma, I'm seventy-nine thousand years old and change. I was not born; I was made. I'm from the original batch. A custom-designed, carefully-configured superhuman product built to fulfil certain needs… I'm old, Genma. Old and tired. For seventy-nine thousand years I have led our people… I doubt you can imagine it. You're sixty-two years old… how is your younger son?"

"Ranma grows stronger every day." Genma said, loosing the tense aspect and swelling with a father's pride. "He takes to the Art like a fish to water, and he soaks up my tales of morality like a sponge."

"And his brother?"

Genma sighed.

"I'm afraid Ryoga has inherited his mother's curse, Lord Akira. I teach him everything I can, but as he grows I see less and less of him."

"I see. How do the two brothers regard one another?"

Genma chuckled.

"Ryoga doesn't know how to cope with Ranma. Ranma is adamant that Ryoga is his favourite big brother and best friend, and Ryoga has an isolationist nature; he's a loner, and he doesn't really know how to deal with people, let alone a younger brother who thinks the world of him. They're both good boys; they'll make a strong team."

"And your daughter?"

"Micheru is… Micheru. She keeps her own counsel."

"Understood. Genma… I will trust you to keep this private until you are certain I am dead. Once Ranma is grown, I will let you know each year of my status, and once I have passed away you may tell your family. I trust you, Genma. Of all my descendants, you do not judge me for my history. I am a tired old man, Genma. I am old beyond age, tired beyond sleep. I have ruled our people for seventy-nine thousand years; such a weight is too much for one man's back. Once you judge Ranma to be ready, you and I shall fake my death, and Ranma shall inherit leadership of Clan Saotome… I must do this, for the weight of the galaxy rests heavily upon my back, and I fear that I shall go insane and be the destruction of our ancient Clan."

Genma nodded.

"I understand, My Lord." He said. "I will do your will."

Akira shook his head.

"No, Genma. Don't do 'my will', do what is best for our family. That said, my plan is this…"

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Three months later, someone put a Molotov cocktail through the window of the bike shop, which had the house built on top of it. Fortunately (or unfortunately) the family were away at a biker rally; unfortunately (and there's no two ways of looking at it) young Ryoga's mother was home; she did not escape from the burning building in time.

The family scattered to the winds. Ryoga wandered away, permanently lost. Nodoka began living out her truck's sleeper cab. Genma took the twins on a truly epic gallivant across half the planet in search of martial arts and motorbikes.

Things would have become quite unfortunate for the two children if it wasn't for the intervention of Master Happosai's monastic brother Cherry, and Lord Akira; the dirty old monk wanted a new generation of powerful martial arts perverts to influence, and the Clanlord wanted a competent new leader. This curbed the truly idiotic ideas Genma came up with in the way of training, and instead of being a decade of hardships, the training journey became an extended road trip lined with intoxicants, scantily-clad young ladies, overpowered obnoxiously loud motorcycles, loud music and, of course, martial arts mayhem.

The result was a Ranma who, at the point the Saotomes reached Jusenkyo, was a fairly well-rounded young man with a lot of esoteric skills. He wasn't half the martial artist he could have been, but he had a good chance of talking his way out of fights, and he had a pretty good idea of what the deal was with girls.

Even still, he got cursed – one of the few samples of Genma's lack of foresight that managed to slip past Cherry and Akira.

Thus it was that a pissed-off pint-size readheaded girl, a giant panda with mirrorshades, and a rather resigned violinist and future Senshei of Neptune, all on overengined motorbikess, gatecrashed the yearly Youth Tournament of Arms at the nearby guerrilla village known as Joketsuzo, causing a distinct mess and ushering in the third branch to the coming drama.

They left with a fourth member to their little 'road trip'; a half-Irish Amazon warrior by the name of Xian Pu O'Conner, whose Japanese truly stank. After a chain of events involving grass-track moped drag racing, large quantities of beer, a tramp freighter called the Flying Welshman and a tremendous accident in a spork factory, they returned to Japan, with the next destination being quite simple and obvious:

The Tendo dojo.

Look out, Nerima people. Here's Ranma. He's riding a large unsightly dirty motorcycle with more power than is good for it. He's got a Jusenkyo curse, a Napalm Death T-shirt, a sister who'd look elegant if she was wearing something a little more decorous than biker leathers, a father who thinks beer is for pussies (real men drink vodka and coke, as in cocaine) and a sort-of-girlfriend (who claims to be a wife) with purple hair, chalky skin, the thickest accent on Earth and a somewhat Irish sort of sarcasm.

And he's got trouble in his trail of dust…

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Here is a star. It's a G-type star, somewhat yellow, and a dwarf. On the Galactic Council charts, it's listed as Tars Sahal'dat; the locals call it Sol…

Focus.

Here is a planet, orbiting the star mentioned above. It's an oceanic Atlantis-type planet with useable levels of land, balanced perfectly in the Class 1 life zone, making it ideal for mammalian occupation…

Focus.

Here is an island chain, poised between continent and ocean. Its inhabitants call it Nihon, or the Home Islands…

Focus.

A city, pulsing with life, streaked with a million cars, music blasting from the pores…

Focus.

A dojo compound on a quiet street…

Focus.

Focus.

Click.

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Welcome Aboard.

General revision 18/April/07, improvements to formatting.

Further general revision 25/April/07, more improvements to formatting.

Revised 11/6/07, nearly tripled length of this prologue because I'm stuck on the rest of the story. Blargh!