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I don't own any of the characters herein

Tail Kinker Presents

Genesis

Chapter Eight

"Well, look at him now." Ryouga's face was locked in a sneer. "Hair all white, face all lined...you've aged. And gotten maudlin in your old age." He spat at Ranma's feet. "The great Doctor. Bawled your eyes out like a little girl, didn't you?"

It had been a very long time since Ranma had felt the urge to kill. It sang in his blood now. The cuffs, hanging at his belt, helped remind him that he was there to capture Ryouga, not kill him. Justice would be served at the Panopticon, not on the field of battle. And he had to move quickly; the Metropolitan Police Force patrolled this city street regularly, and if a citizen called for a police officer, they'd be here even faster.

"What happened to you, Ryouga?" He shook his head. "I can't believe that you'd stoop so low as to actually kill someone. Certainly not just to hurt me. And to kill Akane--"

"You know the hell you've put me through!" Ryouga waved a hand. "The Jushenkyou curse--"

"The Time Lords cured you of that."

"And you stole Akane from me!"

"She was never yours in the first place!" Ranma balled his fists.

"And the final insult...I was kicked out of the Time Lord Academy!"

"How do you figure that that was my fault?"

"Just a few months after we met at the Untempered Schism!" Ryouga scowled. "I told you what I saw there. You know the power, the promise, offered by Rassilon and Omega. And you took this from me!" He leveled a finger at Ranma. "You wanted it all for yourself, and you took it, you took the capsule - my capsule, designed by my father! You took it, and her, and you ran."

"You learned the wrong lesson from the Schism, Ryouga."

"No!" Ryouga shook his head. "I refuse to believe that. All that power, just waiting for the right hand to seize it..." He grinned maniacally. "I shall take the power, use it to become Master of all matter. Crimson flags shall fly, black troops shall march, and the drums...The drums of war shall sound."

"No, Ryouga." Ranma took a step towards him. "I can't let you do this. I will take you back to Gallifrey--"

Ryouga raised a hand. Ranma paused, seeing the small device in his grasp.

"Do not call me that again." Ryouga sneered. "No longer shall I answer to that human name."

"Your name. Given to you by your father."

"No!" He shook his head. "Humans...pathetic, weak things. Why do you think that you and I were so much superior to them? Who else among our old compatriots could offer you a challenge to match me? None of those mere humans. Only I. Inherently superior, by birth."

"You've snapped, Ryouga."

"Do not call me that!" Ryouga took a step forward, the device held up like a weapon. Still Ranma hesitated; he did not know what the device was, but he would not risk its effects. "Never call me that again! I am not a Hibiki; that was my weakling mother's name."

"What shall I call you, then?" His choice of name may give a hint to his mental state.

"I am destined to be the master of this universe. The Master of all matter. You shall call me the Master."

Okay, he is definitely off the deep end. "Fine. Master. Now, will you please put down the gun, or whatever the hell that thing is?"

"This?" Ryouga's lips quirked. "Tissue compression eliminator. Removes all the water from the target. Universally fatal."

"Well, how about you put it down?"

Ryouga grinned, his fangs glinting in the moonlight. "How many times did I try to kill you, Doctor Saotome? Several hundred, at least. And every time, you defeated me handily."

"But--"

"This device gives me the edge." Ryouga waved the device. "With this, I can finally defeat you. You'll pay for all your crimes against me."

"There's no need to do this, Ryouga--"

"Do not call me that! I am the Master!"

Ranma moved. He leaped forwards and down, moving under the arc of the device. His hand swept up, knocking the device into the air. His fist caught Ryouga in the solar plexus, knocking the wind from him and driving him backward.

"You've gotten soft, Ryouga."

Ryouga staggered upright, gasping for breath. "Do not--"

"You've not proved to me that you are in any way superior to the humans that you despise." Ranma stepped forward, grasped Ryouga's wrists, and quickly cuffed them. "I ought to beat you within an inch of your life for what you did to my family."

"Why don't you?" The sneer did not waver from Ryouga's lips. "You're weak."

"You are not as strong as you think." He dragged Ryouga towards the capsule.

"No?"

Ryouga flexed his arms, and the cuffs snapped. Ranma cursed; the cuffs were military police cuffs, that he'd purchased from an army surplus store, but they'd shattered like cheap plastic under Ryouga's strength. Ryouga dove for the tissue compression eliminator, but Ranma kicked it before he reached it, scattering its fragments across the street.

Ryouga took a step back, and raised his hands. Ranma concentrated his ki, and Ryouga's Shi Shi Houkodan splashed off a hastily erected mental barrier. By reflex, Ranma swung his own hand, and a Mouko Takabisha flashed back, slamming into Ryouga.

Ranma stopped, and shuddered; so much rage had filled him that he'd dare not employ such an attack, but he'd done it unconsciously, and Ryouga had not been in any shape to resist or avoid it. The blast had knocked him back ten feet, and carved a bloody furrow across his chest.

He hurried forward; there may still be time to save him--

And was knocked backwards by a torrent of energy. He stood up, and stared, as Ryouga's body was wreathed in a corona of temporal energy.

And changed. The Japanese features, a legacy of his mother, melted away, reforming into a strong Germanic face. The hair darkened even further, and lengthened. His body grew, almost a full foot, and became cadaverously thin. He struggled to his feet, then collapsed as the regeneration completed.

The noise had been overpowering, especially for one who was attuned to temporal energy. Now that it had faded, Ranma heard the sounds of approaching sirens, and cursed.

"I'm sorry, Ryouga." He shook his head. "Maybe...they tell me that many personality changes occur during regeneration. I hope that you can forgive me for all that I've done to you...real and imagined."

"No." Ryouga's voice was a whisper. "You've taken from me my very identity now." Slowly he sat up. "Ryouga is truly dead now. Only the Master remains. And I shall hound you until the end of your lives."

Ranma sighed. "I hope someday, we will find common ground. But I fear that this is not the day."

He stepped back into the capsule, closed the door, anxious to be gone before the police arrived.


Susan turned as the grinding, wheezing sounds of the capsule's engines announced its return. Her face fell, however, as her grandfather opened the door.

"You didn't get him?"

"No." He shook his head. "He's escaped, the cops were coming, I had to get out of there."

"Then what shall we do?"

"We need to run," he said. "I cannot protect you twenty-four hours a day. It would not be fair to you. But if he has the chance, he will come after you. We have to run, get ourselves lost in space and time. Pack your things."

"But what about my schooling?"

"Just pack. Until we're in the Time Vortex, we can be spied on. I will tell you where we're going once we've dematerialized."

"Everything I need is already inside the TARDIS." She shrugged. "Nothing left here for me."

"Not even your photos?" he asked gently. "Don't you want something to remember your parents by?"

"I have that up here." She tapped her temple. "I can see them any time I need to." She stepped past him, into the capsule. "So we can go."

"Very well." He closed the door behind her, and started the dematerialization circuit. "I shall be leaving the name Saotome behind me for the last time."

"I thought you did that when you found out about your father?"

"I cannot use it again, ever. Word would get back to Ryouga. No." He shook his head. "Ryouga is dead now. Just as he said. The Master will be coming for me. He will be looking for Doctor Saotome. I need a new name." His lips quirked into a smile. "My father once used the alias John Smith. Maybe I'll use that."

"Where shall we go?"

"Go? Nowhere." His smile widened. "Just a temporal shift. It's the last thing he'd expect. We'll move back to fifteen years before I was born. You can still attend Coal Hill Secondary."

"Brilliant, Grandfather!"

"Safe, as well. The directional system on the TARDIS is still disfunctional; a temporal shift is safe, but a location shift would leave us lost in space." He set the destination. "London, 1963, back when your great-grandfather still owned the scrap yard. Still within reach of the school. But you'll have to live aboard the TARDIS; your home belongs to another family in 1963."

"The TARDIS has room for a hundred families. I don't think we'll use up all its space."

"Then as long as you keep your head down and don't attract attention, we should be safe." He smiled wistfully. "Safe from the Master, and from the Time Lords; as long as we don't stick out, they won't look for us." He leaned back against the console. "I've had nothing but chaos in my life for nearly two hundred years. Finally, we'll get a chance to settle down, and have a peaceful life..."

His voice trailed off, as one inescapable fact hit home.

He didn't go looking for chaos. Not ever.

But it always came looking for him.

THE BEGINNING