Rise of the Science-Nin

Chapter I: Son of a Scientist

Miamoto Sakabutai frowned as he examined the left anterior coupling on the half finished set of chakra armor sitting on the workbench in front of him. The supports on the coupling were slightly warped, and though they looked sturdy, he knew that there was a good chance they would fail under too much force.
"Naruto," he said, looking at the seven year old boy standing beside him, "what is wrong with this coupling?" The boy squinted his eyes in concentration, closely examining the offending component. As comprehension dawned in his eyes, a frown formed on his face. "It's not shaped correctly," he said, speaking slowly. "Did I do the heat treatment incorrectly, Father?" he asked.

Sakabutai smiled down at his son. Sometimes the child's perceptive skills and rational mind surprised even him. "That's it exactly," he said. "How long did you let it quench after the final fold?" he asked. He knew that the length of the quench was essential, the metal had to be allowed to cool in a special chakra conducting liquid for at least an hour, or the final product was prone to loose its shape.

Naruto grinned sheepishly. "About half an hour, I think. The simulation I was running on my idea for the new artificial pathways was just finished, I don't think I actually timed it." He looked a little downcast. "I was really excited, and I messed up. I'll have to re-make the coupling."

Sakabutai sighed. "My son, the theoretical physicist," he said, rolling his eyes. "You're always thinking of what might be instead of what is in front of you. You know that you would get better results if you concentrated on the here and now." His tone and mannerisms were those of a parent chiding his son for a mistake often made. There was also more than a touch of humor in his words, a clear indicator that he wasn't actually angry at the boy. Remaking the coupling was punishment enough; the task would take a week at least. In the elemental countries only very large businesses owning multi-billion ryo factories could afford mass produced parts. The tech oriented ninja of Snow Country had to make everything themselves, by hand. It was an extremely time consuming process, difficult to teach and prone to error. These were the only reasons every ninja in the elemental countries didn't use chakra armor. It was a bitch and a half to make, and cost millions of ryo to purchase. Not that just any suit would work for a particular Nin. Chakra armor was created for a particular ninja, tailored to exacting specifications based on everything from the wearer's physical dimensions, chakra capacity, control, elemental chakra type, and most used jutsu. Of course the fruit of this exacting process was an item that could turn a fresh genin of no particular skill into a soldier capable of defeating most chuunin. True, there were some generic chakra armor floating around, mostly cast offs and armors made by failed apprentices. They were typically just breastplates of no particular specification, which could slightly enhance all ninjutsu, and sometimes poorly shield from chakra attacks. There was even a model he'd seen with chakra enhanced glider wings. Sakabutai shook his head at the stupidity of that. The wings would drain chakra like a motherfucker, making the shielding properties of the armor, it's most important point, far less effective. Those shitty generic chakra armors would probably break when hit with any A-class jutsu. Worthless.

Sakabutai snapped out of his musings as he felt Naruto tug at his sleeve. "Father, I promise to do a better job next time." He eyes, normally opened wide and sparkling with mirth, were set in a mask of determination. "I promise not to disappoint you again." Sakabutai could see the child's other hand. It was clenched in determination. He didn't doubt that his son would live up to his almost hastily given promise. It was Naruto's nindo to never go back on his word. He believed it.

"I'm not disappointed in you, boy. I know you're capable of good work, I've seen it and held it. You've only been learning to make chakra armor for a little less than two years now, and you're already almost finished with your third complete armor. If you keep up at this pace, I will have to award you your mastery in only a few years." He smiled down at the young boy, delighted again at his choice to adopt the child. Naruto had turned out to be highly intelligent, possessing an almost genius level intellect. Most importantly, the boy was an extremely hard worker, and was also very creative, traits which Sakabutai himself valued more than raw intelligence. The old man once again promised himself that he would do the best he could for Naruto, despite the almost unreasonable terms that his old friend Sarutobi had made him agree to before the adoption was completed. He would have to let the secrets of his former village, the dead and destroyed Yukigakure no Sato, fall into the hands of Konoha, through Naruto. He had made an agreement to bring Naruto back to Konoha in only 5 years, so that his son could graduate from Konoha's ninja academy with children his own age.

Naruto beamed at the praise from his only parent. He made no secret of the fact that he lived for moments like this, as they were somewhat scarce. His father gave him all the affection he could hope for, but was miserly with his praise, handing it out only rarely. "I've included an enhancement in this set. The artificial chakra pathways I was telling you about before, I've tested them and they're ready to use. I still need to learn more about kanji sealing arrays, but once I've translated more hand-seal based jutsu into kanji arrays, I'll be one step closer to performing one-handed and seal-less jutsu." He smiled brightly, thinking about the possibilities. He would be able to use jutsu that his body wouldn't normally be capable of, due to his lack of chakra control. His enormous reserves, while an enormous benefit in terms of stamina and power, were also a liability in terms of control. Even if he spent all day, every day practicing high level chakra control exercises, he would never be able to have fine control of his chakra. Naruto conceived the concept of artificial chakra pathways from his father's lectures of the physics of chakra, and the components of the chakra armor that enhanced jutsu. Sakabutai's chakra armor acted like insulation for the wearer's chakra, storing it and preventing it from dissipating while the seals engraved between layers focused the chakra slightly, making the jutsu a little more precise, and up to 60 percent more powerful. Naturo's new invention did almost the opposite. He had discovered that hand-seals were originally created based upon the kanji seals that seal masters used, and had developed a process to "translate" kanji seals to hand seals, and vice versa. He found that kanji seals required no chakra control to speak of, the array itself would shape and convert the chakra into the necessary form and element. Hand-seals, were almost complete dissimilar; They shaped the chakra in a vague and much more general way, requiring the user to force their chakra into the correct pattern through their own willpower, and the "clenching" of their chakra pathways. This was commonly called "chakra control". Those with little chakra usually had excellent control, as they were able to clench their chakra pathways easily, as there was little chakra pressurizing them. People with large chakra reserves usually got them through training, after mastering chakra control when they were younger. This allowed them to slowly build up their reserves and control at the same time, improving the "muscles" which clenched their chakra pathways. Naruto, however, had a Demon implanted in his chakra system, which caused his own chakra to grow at both a young age and an incredible rate. His pathways became thick and almost immobile, causing his to hardly be able to clench them at all. His pathways were also almost always incredibly full, pressurized like a fire hose, making them unable to bend. He could train his chakra control intelligently by empting his reserves with several powerful jutsu, then learning control while his pathways were depressurized, and he did this, but it wasn't enough. He craved the ability to use precision jutsu like genjutsu and medical jutsu, and thus had developed an aid for himself. For his prototype version of the artificial pathways, Naruto had deconstructed the first steps of hundreds of common hand-seal jutsu, and translated them into kanji sealing arrays, which he then engraved into his armor. This first version of this invention allowed him to perform hundreds of jutsu perfectly every time he used them, as long as he did the hand-seals correctly, and had enough chakra to power them. The second version, which he just completed, would theoretically allow him to perform many jutsu with either one-handed seals or no seals at all, though he could still use the seals if he wanted to.

Sakabutai smiled at his son once more, the boy was staring down at the nearly finished armor, obviously himself lost in thought. 'Like Father, like Son," he thought. With a pat on the back, he left his child to his work. The boy would need another month or two to finish his third armor.

Author's Note:

And thus completes the first chapter of "Rise of the Science-Nin". I have pretty much the whole story planned out in my head, but I'm open to suggestions. I don't know if there will be any pairings yet, but if there are they will be a side note to the main story. I've always been annoyed with the explanations for chakra that the manga gives. How can it have different elemental nature? How can it combust, and yet cut, just by using different hand motions? Through this story, I will be trying to create an explanation of how chakra can do all of these things, using basic scientific principals. I see chakra as nothing more than a form of energy, and ninjas as people who have cobbled together a makeshift system of manipulating this energy, taught through trite explanations and copied motions. I am attempting to cast the ninja of Snow Country as pioneers of a new way of dealing with chakra—treating it as a natural phenomenon and applying the scientific method to it, in order to understand it.

P.S.: Any and all feedback is encouraged and appreciated.