" " are talking
' ' are quotes
{ } are thoughts
---
Gaia's Awakening
---

"I have realized, for a while now, that my human memories are fading
and are becoming more and more confused with time. Before it reaches
a critical state, I have decided to secure my past so that it will
never be forgotten. It is not that I can die, but I travel so much
that I tend to forget coming back to some places for decades. So
here is the story of me and my friends."

"It all started a little before the year 2000, 50 years
after the coup d'etat of Ma Yuan, who governs since then as the
self proclaimed 'World Master'. We were then called 'mutants', and
hunted down by his soldiers, officially named 'agents of the new
peace', but better known by their nickname of 'beetles', coming
from their first armor's design."

"What's a 'mutant' I already hear you asking? Let me begin by
describing the 'Gaia Amber'. It's pure condensed energy, which
takes the form of a faintly luminescent, white crystal. It's formed
by what we called 'Chtonergy', the planet's vital energy, that
sometimes escapes up past the surface by rare sources. While rather
similar in its effects, it is not the chi that powered being like us
wakens can use."

"If a human touches the 'Amber', it will dissolve as the person absorb
its energy. He or she then becomes a 'Waken', a name that fits
perfectly to the situation, as the person is awaked to the fantastic
potential that exists in all human beings. From that time forward, you
have no limits, provided that you work hard to constantly push them
back."

"My friend and I had become Wakens in this period. The exact time
has vanished from my memories long ago. So where did the 'mutant'
name come from? From the single weak point of the Wakens : the
Amber that made us what we are."

"Touching the Amber a second time results in a manifold increase
in the Waken's power, but it also turns him into a bloody-minded
beast, craving destruction. This resulted in all of us Wakens being
labeled with the epithet, 'Mutant'."

"The human population was easily the majority with the low number of
wakens at this time. This due the fact that the Amber was very rare.
The humans feared greatly these insane wakens. The response of their
fear was to enlist all the Wakens as 'mutants' and a danger to their
society."

"Being a waken of great power, Ma Yuan had no problems to make the
governments to submit to his will. And when he came to power, he
created his beetle army, who are nothing more than lobotomized wakens.
Of course, to be able to affirm his power, he never revealed that he
and his army were indeed wakens."

"To gain the people trust, he launched his beetles in a large Waken
hunt, claiming that they were captured and destroyed, but secretly
converting them to extend his army troops more and more."

"We Wakens hid ourselves hoping to be able to live relatively
normally, and to be able to escape all capture attempts by the
beetles. Because the same fate they suffered was awaiting us."

"As interesting as are some details, I will begin my tale to the
point where all has really started for me : these terrible
events occurred towards the end of a ten years training journey.
My father took me in this journey when we only little boy, so that
I could someday inherit his martial arts school."

"My father had told me that I was engaged at birth, a pact of honor
with his best friend to unit their twin schools of the Anything
Goes martial arts, the Tendo and the Saotome branches. I might as
well say that the information wasn't well received."

"As if my family honor meant anything in that times when events were
rushing us and the world. So it was nonetheless decided later that I
would go visit this family to clear the situation, while the others
would stay there, ."

"That day's details aren't very clear in my mind because I wasn't
there myself. The journey itself wasn't all that hard for us, not
to be detected was more of a challenge, but we managed."

"When we arrived to destination, it was raining. Trivial? Sure, but
for some of us, it means cold water, and cold water means change. We
had then what was called a curse that changed our shape to the simple
touch of cold water, a little hot water was enough to change back
to our real selves."

"It is that way that we landed at our destination, the Tendo dojo,
as a fiery red haired young girl and a little black pig. Not even a
second after coming in, we immediately felt a power, for we had
developed the ability to feel the others wakens and measure their
power. How this person had escaped the detectors, we never found
out."

"This is how our meeting went..."

---

"Ranma! It's him!" said Nabiki while running toward the home
entrance, her father close behind her.

"Saotome! How long did I wait for you!"

When they reached the entrance, they found only a young girl with
bright red hair tied in a pigtail, dressed with a sleeveless chinese
shirt colored the same red as her hair, black pants and black
combat bracers. She had a little black pig with a black and yellow
bandana in her arms.

"Would... you...be...?" asked Sound Tendo, pointing her with his
finger.

"Ranma Saotome!" she answered.

"Finally! You are here!" he said, taking the girl in his arms... or
rather trying to, because she had backed off to escape the hug.

"Excuse me, but before the presentations, can we have some hot water
please?"

"Sure. I'll go get some." Kasumi happily responded before vanishing
in the direction of the kitchen.

"I have something to show you first. It'll make the rest easier."
she explained, staying in constant distance between her and her host.

"Where is Genma?" asked the Tendo father.

"He is not with us, but I will explain all at the same time." she
answered him, a sad smile on her lips.

"There!" said Kasumi while giving a warm kettle to Ranma.

"Thanks." She said, taking the kettle. "Okay, I have something to
show you all before I explain. Don't be too surprised." and then she
poured a little hot water on her head. Immediately, her hair darkened,
she grew a little, lost her curves and gained more corpulence. When
she spoke, her voice was deeper. "You seemed to miss it, but I was a
girl until now. I have a curse, and like you just saw, hot water
cancels its effects." she, now a he, explained while entering the
house.

She put down her bag, the kettle and the pig in another room and then
closed it. "My friend here, name's Ryoga Hibiki, has the same
problem... let's give him a few moments to get dressed and then I will
start the explanation."

Effectively, a short moment later another young boy did exit the room,
dressed in a yellow sleeveless shirt, dark green pants and the same
bandana as the pig.

"We came to settle the honor pact between our two families... but
there is now a more pressing problem I'm afraid." announced Ranma
while pointing to Akane.

"You're right. How did she escape the detectors?" asked Ryoga,
looking the youngest sister up and down.

"What are you talking about?" asked Akane, backing off from the boys
slightly.

"Ranma? What do you mean?" questioned Soun.

"M. Tendo, I got a sad new for you. You daughter is in danger.
Her presence here alone is putting your WHOLE family in danger."

"What are you talking about?" asked Nabiki, her anger at the two
boys increasing. How dare they come here to say such insanities?!

"Don't tell me that you never saw how much stronger she got
recently..." said Ryoga unbelieving.

"If the beetles find her..." added Ranma.

"The beetles?!" exploded Nabiki. "What do you want the beetles to
have to do with my sister?"

"What do you think? What's their jobs?" Ryoga asked her with a cold
glare.

"To hunt the... mutants?" she ended her sentence in a whisper,
understanding what the boys are trying to tell. "You want to tell
that... she..."

"...muted? yup." Ranma answered.

"No! NO!" Akane started to cry, trembling with fear and rage.

"KEEP YOUR CALM!" howled Ranma suddenly. "It's not that catastrophic.
ALL mutants are not dangerous. Only a few of us lose their mind during
their awakening." The wanted effect, to calm everybody, was easily
done by his confession. But the realization that the Tendos were
chatting 'calmly' with what were supposed to be blood craving beasts
shocked them greatly.

"What do you know about the mutants, anyway?" asked Nabiki, noting
the 'us' that used Ranma.

"First, we don't call ourselves 'mutants', but 'wakens'. We are not
monsters to be hunted, but what the whole humanity would have been
if it was in harmony with the Earth." start to explain Ryoga.

"It's the life energy of the planet itself, the Chtonergy that causes
what we call the 'awakening'. It breaks the human limits and raises
us to a higher level of existence. Your daughter is not a monster.
She just has to avoid touching the Amber again." Ranma continued
the explanation.

"The... Amber?" ask Akane.

"Yeah. I suppose that you found recently a white luminescent stone,
and that it dissolved when you took it. This stone is a highly
condensed mass of the planet's life energy, and it's that that makes
us wakens. On the other hand, if we were to touch it a second time,
your power would grow so much that you would snap and become the
feared 'mutants'."

"Sadly, our friend the World Master has enlisted all of us alike.
But what do you think are the beetles? They are like us, but they
are under mind control to insure their loyalty... And the destruction
of mutants by the beetles is just a cover, those arrested are
converted." added Ryoga.

"And all the civilians that could identify the newly converted
beetles are mercilessly slaughtered. So I repeat : your daughter
is putting your whole family in danger. We came for the engagement,
but you understand that if your family was to be massacred by the
'agents of the new peace', the union between our families wouldn't
mean anything."

"What... will happen to me?" Akane ask them. "I don't want..."

"None of us want it. That's why we are fighting against this tyrant."
Ranma said while taking off his bracers, showing two large burns on
the inside of his wrists : a dragon on the right arm and a tiger on
the left one.

Only Nabiki gasped at this sight. "We have joined a resistance
group, but it was destroyed. We then discovered a pontificated Amazon
village. We joined them in their battle for freedom. In China, ten
percent of the total population is awakened. But this village is a
special training camp composed only of wakens." said Ranma as he put
his bracers back on.

"M. Tendo... You must entrust us with your daughter. She will be well
formed there and she will be able to defend herself against the
beetles, should they get to her." Ryoga told him sadly.

"But... but... the engagement, the union of the schools..." sobbed
the mustached man.

"Enough! What do you believe is the most vital? Think of all the
people, wakens or not, that died at the hand of this tyrant of World
Master. Comparatively to the freedom of millions of persons, what
importance can have the unification of two martial schools?" asked
Ranma furiously.

"He is right." whisper Akane. "I don't have a choice. If I stay here,
they'll find me and then they'll kill all of you... I... I could not
live knowing I was the cause of your deaths."

"Perfect! You did the good choice." declared Ryoga. "He, he, he... I
just got an idea. The engagement is still possible. Since Akane is
coming with us..."

"What!? You're supposed to be on my side Ryoga!" shouted Ranma,
letting a part of his power escape under the shock. "Argh! Am I
stupid or what. Here I am nearly shouting my position.... stupid..."
Ranma started to lament.

"Damn! Quick! Our time is short now..." Ryoga turned toward Akane.
"Go get some clothing, we are leaving immediately!"

"But..."

"NOW!" Ryoga shouted at the girl.

"Stupid... That was just plain stupid..." Ranma was still lamenting.

"What's the big deal?" asked Nabiki, not understanding the sudden
change in mood.

"I let my power escape my control for a short moment. If a beetle
patrol detects the outburst, they will be here in a matter of minutes.
We need to..." he stopped himself as if he heard a sound. "That's it,
they are coming... Three, it will be easy. Ryoga, you take her with
you and leave first while I give you some time." He walked in the
garden, and waited near the koi pond there.

"Be careful, Ranma!" Ryoga said to his friend.

"Pff, this is just three little beetles. Hide your power as much as
you can, so I will be the only one detected. I'll relieve myself of
this patrol, then I do a little trouble on this district to help mix
up the tracks." He said, grinning.

"See ya at the village then. And don't forget, next time, they're
mine."

Ranma was soon glowing an ethereal blue. Akane was back from her room,
a full sport bag under her arm. Without losing a second, Ryoga took
her is his arms and left the house running at unbelievable speed. He
disappeared from sight just as three blue armored men come flying
down the sky in the garden, facing Ranma.

"Hum... aura 90?" said one of them.

"Impressive, boy, but you will need more to beat us." added another
one.

Ranma took a combat stance and began to focus.

"Come on, I don't have time to spare." He said before launching a
straight attack against one of his opponent. Surprised by the speed
of the 'boy', the beetle was not able to dodge the punch and was hit
in the face, the blow crushing his skull and his cervical with an
horrible sound. Ranma took his bloody hand off the now dead beetle,
and turned to face the other two.

"Grr! You scum! You were hiding your power... aura : 150 ? No...
you must be-gargl." finished the second one when Ranma used the
distraction to crush his larynx with the same bloody hand. His other
hand hit the last one like the thunder and pierced his heart, quickly
ending the short carnage.

"I must make it quick, more will arrive soon!" Ranma said to himself.
"M. Tendo, I'm going now. When they arrive, tell them the truth : two
mutants came, kidnapped your daughter and then fled back. We will
return to visit when the situation has calmed itself. I promise on my
honor that I will take care of Akane as best as I can. Farewell!"

Ranma gently raised into the air. He then flew up the sky and vanished
quickly in the clouds, leaving a father crying his family's separation
with one of their members. But he was comforted in the knowledge that
she was in the good hands of her fiancee and that as long as she would
be with him, nothing could possibly happen to her.

---
Prologue end
---