Welcome to the world…
Where the right of way belongs to those with the biggest guns
Where killing is ok, as long as it's not pre-meditated
Where the most of the world's food supply is divided into
edible species of algae,
those grown in hydroponics' vats and an experimental breed of grain
made in a small town deep in the US Midwest with
the potential to feed the rest of the world
Where chaos is just a step away from your front door and your own survival depends on
Your wits and weaponry
Welcome to Anime Car Wars…
"Let's get ready to rumble…" – Micheal Buffer, famous American boxing announcer
Chapter 1 – Duels and Missions
The early afternoon sun had shined mercilessly over an auto duel arena in post-blight downtown Albany. Tires had squealed on cracked concrete, the latter's surface was warmed by the sun's rays as the morning star had made its way across the clear early afternoon sky.
The hot and humid atmosphere was filled with the sounds of combat and the putrid smell of newly ignited gunpowder.
In the middle of all this, two duel cars, a gray Viper (Superflash) and a Pontiac Trans Am (Hauberk Custom), were locked in mortal combat. Both of the said vehiciles' drivers had acknowledged his opponent as a stepping stone to claim the 6,000 dollar purse in the ongoing Albany Fall Classic.
Of course, neither one wished to kill the other being good friends outside the arena. They were just there to prove their mettle against each other to the delight of the crowd like gladiators of ancient times.
The crowd, sheltered in the large overhangs above the steel rafters while sitting in their recycled plastic seats, had cheered loudly for each competitor as they had placed their bets on who would win this duel and be a step closer to the upcoming New York Open which was to be held in a weeks time at the Big Apple.
You see, in the year 2036, auto duelling has become the rage in entertainment, every exiting duel brings in the large crowds.
Ranma Saotome, driver of the Hauberk Custom was up against Mu Tzu (Mousse to his friends), driver of the Superflash in fierce combat.
Bullets zing through the air as each car had tried to disable the other with well placed shots. Both cars were severely damaged but still able to fight.
Mousse had fired his now visible front machine guns in the middle of a sliding left turn. He had hoped to disable either the Hauberk's machine guns or its power plant but was not able to do either. This was due to the well-timed evasive maneuvers made by his opponent.
He did manage to do some damage on the Hauberk's left side armor while drilling more holes on the concrete surface in the Hauberk's wake.
Ranma had shrugged off the nicks in his plastic armor with ceramic chips as he had baited his opponent to charge him before making a sudden 270 degree counter-clockwise turn to set up his car's turreted recoilless rifle for a free hit on the Superflash's hood just between the fender and the driver side door.
The Superflash had lurched to a sudden stop, its hood now spewing smoke. Its guns had also gone silent for some reason.
"Shit, you got my power plant." Mousse cursed over the radio.
"Sorry 'bout that." apologized Ranma, grateful for his blue helmet that hid the smile on his face.
"Damn it, I'm out of the running. Shampoo's really gonna be mad at you for defeating me," cursed Mousse dejectedly, but a tiny smirk still found its way to his lips just the same. As with Ranma, he too was glad that his white helmet had hid his facial expressions well.
Ranma had visibly winced at the implication, making a mental note not to get a check up in the local clinic where Xian Pu (Shampoo), Mousse's wife, has worked in the next few weeks.
Mousse had pulled out his helmet and set it down on the gunner seat beside him, shoulder-length raven-black hair cascading down the back of his armor.
"Oh well. Good luck in the final match, Ranma." Mousse said as he had cheered his friend on, but his face still could not help but betray his sadness at losing their match. He had quickly shook his head to clear it as his dueling vehicle was being towed out of the arena.
Thirty minutes later, a modified Rothschild Morningstar had entered the pock marked concrete field of battle.
It is both driven and owned by Ryoga Hibiki, Ranma's best friend and greatest rival in the arena. The Morningstar immediately had scattered a lot of spider mines as it went around the arena floor, making Ranma very nervous.
Ranma's mind was working overtime on how to avoid as many spider mines as possible, while avoiding Ryoga's own attacks and still be able to hit his opponent.
Ryoga, on the other hand, was thinking on how to maximize his Vulcan machine gun's ammo since it only had nine rounds left. He had regretted his decision to rely on long range shooting to wear down his earlier opponents when he could have just used his usual tactic of ramming them to the spider mines that he had left earlier.
The fanged autoduelist knew that Ranma is not called the "Wild Stallion" for nothing.
His best course of action was to use his car's ram plate, forcing the Hauberk to hit the mines. This strategy had given him many victories in the arena before. Unfortunately, it would only work if his opponent was directly in front of him. It was this weakness that Ranma would certainly exploit as his pony tailed opponent could easily out maneuver him.
Both drivers knew what was at stake in this match- the winning purse of the Albany Fall Classic and a shiny golden trophy.
After a few minutes checking their instruments and what not, they had charged into each other with the intent of knocking the other out of contention.
Both drivers had gone at it tooth and nail, each using good tactics and efficient use of weaponry to gain the edge over his rival.
The Hauberk had sustained a lot of damage, no thanks to the numerous spider mines that magnetically attached to its body before exploding, as it had twisted and turned to avoid the Morningstar's intermittent shots and its signature "out of the blue" ramming attacks.
The mines, that either exploded as they had clamped to the Hauberk's body or accidentally shot at by Ryoga's Vulcan, had detonated the others nearby with their airborne remains.
This had resulted in complete fratricide among the remaining spider mines that enveloped the two duel cars in white smoke and flying shrapnel.
The arena itself began to look like a war zone with all that white smoke covering the arena proper. Within the dense fog, telltale flashes and sounds of even more explosions were both seen and heard by the surprised then disappointed spectators eager to see what is happening.
Two specific spectators were also watching worriedly from their respective seats nearest the arena itself. Each one was wondering if either of their husbands would get out of this duel alive. As such, both women had held the other one's hand as a means of comforting each other.
Thankfully, only a few people were hurt by a few stray pieces of flying debris that were accidentally ejected outside the white cloud.
Still inside the dense smog and having his car pelted by airborne debris, Ranma briefly thought he would have to forfeit the match just to save his car from being turned to scrap metal. He immediately shook those negative thoughts out of his head and fired his heavy rockets blindly as a final attack.
The reason being that the white smog severely limited his vision along with Ryoga's. Thus the ground hugging cloud actually became a mini fog of war.
Fortunately for him, the Hauberk's 50mm heavy rockets had saved the day as they both crippled the Morningstar's power plant and mine dropper almost simultaneously with near hits.
The white smoke was eventually blown away by a passing gust of wind, revealing the winner of the duel and the Albany Fall Classic - Ranma Saotome and his car, the Hauberk Custom
The crowd went wild as they had witnessed one of the most intense autoduels this side of the Mississippi.
As the Morningstar was being towed away for repairs, Ranma and Ryoga had shared a good ribbing over the radio. Both drivers had taken off their helmets and waved at each other. This had proved how much good friends they have become through the years of being rival auto duellists.
Afterwards, Ranma had wheeled his beloved dueling machine to its designated repair bay to lick its own wounds and reload its ammunition belts.
The clean up crew quickly entered the arena proper to clear it of littered shrapnel and stray pieces of concrete that were loosened in the earlier fight.
As soon as Ranma had exited his car and closed the door, he was glomped by none other than his excited wife, shoulder-length blackish-blue hair flying behind her.
"Uh, Akane." He croaked desperately, waving his arms around.
"Yes, dear." Akane had answered joyously, obviously still on cloud nine.
"I-I...n-need t-ta...breathe," he choked out, well-chiseled face turning blue. She had let him go but not without hitting him upside the head first.
"What was that for?" Ranma exclaimed, as angrily as he could get while gasping for air.
"That was for making me worry, you jerk." she said while wagging her forefinger at his face.
Having just recovered his breathing, Ranma said with a smirk. "I still won, didn't I?"
"Yeah, but thanks to you, the Hauberk almost got totaled!" the blue haired woman retorted sharply, indicating the heavily damaged duel car with her right hand.
"She still got through, didn't she?" he commented with pride, patting his damaged machine's roof with his free hand.
Akane was about to continue dressing him down but found herself mollified by the fact that the Hauberk Custom was still drivable amidst the heavy damage it had taken from the round robin arena battles and its latest battle in the arena.
As an afterthought, Ranma had also given his wife a quick kiss on her left cheek. Although the said act was more like a conciliatory move before he had locked the car's driver side door.
Taking her husband's gloved hand; Akane led him to his dressing room three doors down the now deserted and dimly lit hallway.
"Almost, dear." Her voice was almost a whisper. "Almost."
"Don't worry, honey." Ranma answered as he tried reassuring his wife. She had given him a perplexed look in response.
"I'll be more careful next time," he promised huskily while quickly pulling her closer to him by her slim waist.
"Be sure that you do," she replied in her bedroom voice, amber orbs sparkling with anticipation. Her armored arms were already encircling his similarly armored waist.
They had just stopped in front of Ranma's dressing room, and were just about to kiss each other senseless when…
A third voice had suddenly echoed from the shadows.
A well-built and tall older man with spiky salt-and-pepper hair, wearing gray military fatigues and shiny black leather shoes, had stepped out of the darkness and into the rays of the waning sun coming through the AION windows. The briefcase in his large right hand had jiggled at the sudden movement.
He then greeted the red-faced couple, who had disengaged from their hug and turned away from each other in an instant.
"Uh h-hi, Colonel Goku." They stuttered, eyes in every direction except at each other.
"Heh. Didn't see you there, sir." uttered Ranma after a beat, completely baffled and disappointed by the sudden turn of events.
"You know, there's a nice hotel jus' a few blocks down the street." Goku smirked, ebony eyes twinkling with mischief.
"That's not funny," went the peeved reply in stereo.
"Whoa, hold on you two." appeased Goku, large and wrinkled hands held up in a placating gesture.
"I already get a lotta of the same flak from Gohan and Videl back home," He added, mumbling some incoherent words that suspiciously sounded like no sense of humor or something.
"How're they doing, sir?" inquired Akane in the hopes of changing the subject.
"For starters, Chi-Chi's still worried that I might get killed in battle even though I am always in front of a desk, Gohan's already finishing college; same with Videl. Both of them are dreaming of being one of the top ranked tag-team auto duelists in the country like you guys." said Goku, pride evident in his face and tone of voice.
"Don't we –oof." Ranma's sarcastic retort was interrupted by his wife's elbow burying itself in his stomach.
"Last but not least, Goten and Trunks were more than anxious to get their student driver's license." Goku continued, joyously.
"I still wonder why though?" he mused, scratching his head with his left hand. Ranma and Akane sweat dropped at the Colonel's sudden bout of clueless-ness.
"Oh well, back to business. I 'ave a job for you," Goku said simply, all traces of earlier humor gone.
"What's the mission, sir?" said Ranma, his curiosity piqued by the sudden change of attitude of his former commander.
"I want you two ta deliver a courier package for me," said the dark haired colonel.
"For whom will the package be delivered, sir?" Ranma asked again.
"Colonel Soun Tendou of the 101st armored brigade of the Massachusetts Militia, of course," answered Goku in a matter of fact way.
"What's Dad got to do with this?" Akane said incredulously.
"You'll find out when you meet him in your friend's truck stop near Boston."
"Hmm, it must be somethin' really serious with both you and dad involved." Akane had voiced her thoughts since she was getting a bad feeling about this.
"More than you'll ever know, Akane-chan. More than you'll ever know," said Goku mostly to himself, his whole countenance showing a weird mixture of short lived happiness followed by resigned disgust all within a brief moment.
"So will you guys take the job?" he asked, hope flashing in his eyes.
"Of course, I will." exclaimed Akane, eager to see some action and still see both her father and her old mentor and friend at the same time.
"How 'bout you, Ranma?" Akane said as she had turned to ask her husband who for some reason seems to be in deep thought.
"Ranma?" She tried again, a little louder this time.
"Ranma?" she tried a third time much louder, this time her well known temper was slowly getting the better of her.
"RANMA?" she yelled furiously, eyes igniting in auburn flames.
"Huh? What? What?" uttered Ranma, caught completely unaware. His mind had wandered to how he would win in the New York Open which would start in a week's time while his former commander was rambling.
"You idiot!" she screeched, appalled at her husband's bumbling reaction.
"Sorry, everyone. I must 'ave been daydreaming or somethin'." He said guiltily, eying the cracks on the cement floor near his scuffed leather shoes.
"Alright, you're forgiven. For now, anyway." Akane said with a huff, still unconvinced. She knew that Ranma wanted to win the New York Open for reasons she still could not imagine.
"So?" she inquired, eagerly.
"So what?" he repeated, teasingly.
"So are ya going or not in this mission?" she quizzed him, having enough of his mind games.
"It sounds too easy to me. No challenge at all," He said smirking. Again she hit him upside the head, only harder.
"Now what was that for?" Ranma yelled, pain evident in his tone.
"Get in the program, why don't you?" Akane roared, face turning crimson in anger.
"Excuse me, you randy lovebirds. I'm still here y'know," interrupted Goku as he smirked at them with his arms crossed.
The humorous scene before him had reminded the grizzled warrior of the time when he and Chi-Chi were just newlyweds. 'Ah, young love.' he thought with a chuckle.
"Sorry, Colonel." the pair apologized and blushed madly at his accurate description of them.
"Good, let's get back on track." Goku said eager to finish the conversation.
"Ranma, what do ya think?" he then asked the raven-haired pony tailed duelist.
"Well, Colonel. If she's in, so am I." replied Ranma, his blue eyes with specks of gray showing a mixture of resigned disgust at losing a chance to compete in the New York Open, anxiety at meeting his old friend and mentor along with his father-in-law, and wonder at why they were assigned to a simple courier mission in the first place.
"Good," said Goku, grateful that the two duelists had agreed to his request. He did not have enough time to find a replacement if they refused the mission, not that they could find a better one anyway.
"I knew you'd both understand," He added, visibly relieved.
Spotting a wooden table left leaning against the wall nearby, the spiky haired commander had walked towards it and placed his briefcase there. He then opened the briefcase before motioning the couple to come closer.
Goku had drawn from it two plastic cards, similar in size and shape to a credit card of today.
"Here are your passes," He said while giving both plastic cards to the couple who were now standing in front of him.
"You're to report at the New York Militia office at Fort Coswell to receive the package and a voucher for 50,000 dollars this evening. Tommorow morning, head straight to Thunder Tofu's Truck Stop. Be there by noon since it's only 150 miles from here, most of it in the freeway. I'll inform both Fort Caswell and Soun of your imminent arrival, " Goku added as he closed the briefcase shut .
The couple whistled at the large amount involved then gasped at the rush to deliver the package.
"Quite a hefty sum, don't ya think?" asked Ranma, puzzled at the high pay for a simple courier mission.
"And in a real hurry too." added Akane.
"Well, it's really important to us so money's no object and we have also a very strict timetable." Goku said simply. However, the serious expression in his ebony eyes told them that this is not the time or place for such discussions.
"I see," both youths said quickly, understanding the importance of the mission.
A quick salute later, Colonel Goku left for his New York militia office in New York City with his briefcase.
Thirty minutes after Goku left, Akane had deposited the day's winnings ( 6,000 dollars) and an additional 20,000 dollars to their joint Autobank account, in a designated Autobank teller machine a block away from the arena before heading back.
Ranma was waiting for her just outside the arena repair bay's front door, after he kept the shiny trophy in the trunk of the Hauberk. She quickly noticed that he was pacing like a caged tiger, a sure sign that he was stressed about something. He looked absolutely livid as she came closer to him.
"Hi, hon." She greeted him sweetly with a kiss on the cheek as she stood on tiptoes. As she earlier predicted, Ranma's whole body shook with rage.
"Why did ya sell the Hussar Custom, Akane?" he screamed at her face, fists clenching in unbridled anger.
"You don't have to shout, Ranma." She replied huffily, as she had shaken the ringing of her ears.
"Besides, I had to sell it since the cost to repair the Hauberk is too much for our meager winnings thus far." she added, trying not to match his anger with her fiery own.
"Oh, really? Well I remember a certain tomboy usin' much of our savings fer some frilly dresses ta wear at her friend's stupid wedding."
"RANMA, YOU IDIOT !"
An earsplitting scream of pain was heard through out Albany, a second later.
It had scared the pants off of a group of pigeons, suddenly taking flight from their perches at the Empire State Plaza, a full kilometer away from the arena.
Ten meters away from "ground zero" and just outside a souvenir store, Ryoga Hibiki had wiggled a finger in his right ear, along with everyone else there, before chuckling quietly. This did not escape the notice of his brown haired female companion who was completely taken aback at the sudden yell. He had simply explained that it was probably Ranma who had shouted just now.
"What makes ya think that it's even him, Ryoga-Honey?" she asked curiously.
"Elementary, my dear Ukyo Hibiki." He answered, still snickering.
"It's because I recognize his voice and evidently, Akane still has that mallet of hers." Ukyo shrugged her shoulders, not getting the joke.
"Why do men act like jerks anyway?" she asked partly to herself.
"Maybe to get the girls' attention?" Ryoga joked lamely than rolled on the ground laughing at its corniness.
In doing so, he did not notice his brown haired wife pull out her super sized stainless steel spatula from seemingly out of nowhere.
"RYOGA, YOU IDIOT !"
A second and louder scream of pain was heard in the city, two seconds later. Windows in nearby buildings had shattered as if they were hit by a ground hugging sonic boom.
After she had shaken the ringing off her ears and kept her spatula with a deformed blade to god knows where, Ukyo had dragged her still unconscious husband (a huge lump evident on his black haired noggin') towards their newly fixed duel car.
Everyone within five meters of them had either left quickly, ignored the two, or just gave knowing smiles as they shook the ringing of their own ears.
Back at the repair bay, ten minutes after Ryoga's own scream of pain:
"Wake up, you idiot." yelled Akane while roughly shaking her husband by his broad shoulders.
"Ok, Ok, I'm up already." said Ranma as he slowly rose from his spot on the ground and yawned loudly.
"I jus' talked to the mechanics and they fixed the Hauberk as best as they could." said Akane, her face glowing in excitement.
"Really, that's great." said Ranma, his own face brightening. He headed toward his parked duel car at a run, his slightly shorter wife trailing him every step of the way.
A quick inspection revealed that although the car was still not fully repaired, it was road ready. The couple had boarded the Hauberk and Ranma turned the key in the ignition.
Akane, meanwhile, had inspected all the weapon gauges. She was satisfied to see that all weapons are fully repaired and armed.
After a few minutes warming up, they had departed for Fort Coswell, ten miles south from the city limits.
Fortune Hunter here, back with the re-edited Fuel's Gold. I made a few changes here and there to make this fic more reader-friendly (I hope.)
By the way, Anime Car Wars is actually a fusion crossover between various anime and the Car Wars game book series with some elements borrowed from the four part comic mini-series Car Warriors of Epic Comics. All of which I do NOT own.
I also do not own Empire State Plaza. That place belongs to the City of Albany, New York.
Anime Car Wars can also be viewed as an Alternate Universe for some animes (like Dueltrack will be for Medabots, Badlands Run will be for Digimon, etc.).
This would make the characters featured in these stories - a bit out of character. That, and almost every anime character featured here is American with Japanese descent.
Of course, some will either be of Chinese descent like Xian Pu and Mu Tsu in this chapter, French descent like Trowa Barton and Catherine Bloom of Chapter 4, and German descent like Thomas Schubaltz of Chapter 5, among others.
If I made a few mistakes on their ancestry, let me know. I just got the idea from their names and some online (and off line) sources.
Pairings are: Ra x Ak, Ry x Uk, M x S, and implied G x CC & G x V.
And now a quick peek at the next chapter (Saturday Night Fights):
Ranma had promptly slammed the goon against the lightly composite wall in anger when he wasn't answered.
"Talk, damn you." he roared fiercely, blue eyes overflowing with fury.
The goon had shakily reached in his back pocket, drawing a jackknife just out of Ranma's sight.
Ok, that's just a glimpse of the next chapter scheduled for next week.
As with In Memoriam, reviews and constructive criticism are appreciated but still not necessary.