Author's Note: As always, I own none of the various 'verses this fic wanders through, nor do I make any claim. This story is something I'm doing purely for amusement and entertainment. I am far, far too poor to be worth suing, too.
From orbit, that muddy, mazoku-infested world didn't look half so bad.
Zelgadiss, Gourry, and Amelia stood by the window of the Observation Deck, watching a world turn below them. They would be returning to their own homeworld soon. Assuming that Lina's latest little escapade didn't get them all in trouble.
Coming onto a massive, magically empowered ship designed to cross not seas but stars had distracted them all. Lina had been less distracted than the others; or rather, she hadn't let herself be distracted from the valuable course of trying to... acquire... some of the various magical artifacts present. Things had proceeded as one might expect. She was in a cell at the moment. Fortunately their hosts had been understanding enough not to toss them in after her.
Still, for the moment, Zelgadiss wasn't going to let that bother him. She'd asked for it. And at the moment, he was happy enough to simply observe that was going on and enjoy the wonders of looking at a planet from space itself. It was not, the thought, a sight that he was going to get bored of any time soon.
Eventually, the chimera realized that their group had company. Glancing over, he saw the magess Fate. "Good evening. We appreciate the lift."
She smiled. "Not a problem. If we'd been doing our jobs right, we would have caught Ryoga before he dislocated you in the first place."
"Oh, I don't know," began Gourry, "It's certainly been interesting. I'll be glad to get home, but we've had quite the little adventure."
In a concerned tone, Amelia asked, "What's going to happen with Lina?"
"She'll be fine. We'll be keeping her away from temptation until we're done the trip."
"I'm sorry I didn't warn you," said Zel. "In the year I've known her, she's never shown much in the way of impulse control."
Gourry nodded. "If she thinks it's valuable enough she'll steal anything that's not nailed down and on fire. She's tried to take my sword more than once."
"Then why do you travel with her?"
The blonde swordsman looked away, some colour rising into his cheeks. "I have my reasons."
Zel decided to rescue his companion, amusing though it would be to watch him squirm a bit. "She has her redeeming qualities. And working with her is a decent enough way to keep her pointed at the bad guys."
"Preferably bad guys with treasure," added Amelia with a giggle.
"Well, in any event, we'll be getting you home soon enough. For now, Zelgadiss, if you'd like, some of our specialists would like to examine the spells that altered your body, and perhaps find a way to reverse them."
"I would love that. Shall we?"
Ranma and Ryoga were cheerfully bouncing around the combat ring in the ship's gym, surrounded by cheering marines and ratings. They'd wanted a show, and the two martial artists were giving them a hell of a good one. It wasn't a serious fight; each knew the other and each knew the stakes. They battled to test each other; and this time they were not interrupted. The two bantered as they fought, doing more than a little damage to the bulkheads in the process.
After half an hour of fighting, their pace increasing to the point where they were practically blurs that the watchers could barely follow, they were interrupted by Captain Stevens. The older man bellowed, "What are you two hoodlums doing to my deck?"
The two martial artists broke up the fight almost instantly, looked to the Captain as the crowd of crew parted in front of him. He looked mad. "And what are you lot doing down here? I know for a fact that half of you are supposed to be on duty." The crowd quickly, guiltily shuffled out. Stevens looked over the sparring mats, shook his head, then glanced behind him. "This is why we didn't let you and Fate in here. We're not built for this kind of abuse."
Unnoticed in the wake of the wrathful Captain was Nanoha, who laughed lightly as she stepped forward. "I understand. Still, it all looks fixable. And didn't you just have several crewmen volunteer to help the repair crews?"
The Captain snorted. "Good point. I'll let you get to things, I have a repair party to round up and a course to plot."
As the captain left, Nanoha looked at the battered deck and chuckled again.
Ranma found his voice, "Sorry 'bout this. We just wanted a quick spar, an' a crowd showed up, an' things kinda... got outta hand."
"Don't worry about it. Ryoga, if you'ld follow me to the medical bay, our specialists can get to work on that curse of yours."
Ryoga jumped up from the crouch he'd been in, started to surge forward, then stopped himself. "After you."
She turned to walk from the gym, pausing a moment. "Oh and Ranma? If it wouldn't be too much trouble, can I get you to write up an after action report on that fight? You've listened to a few of mine and Fate's, so you should know the format."
Ranma groaned, and Ryoga snickered.
Captain Sisko looked up as Captain Janeway walked into his office. "Good morning, Captain. Thank you for coming."
Janeway smiled. "Thank you for taking the time to see me before you leave for for the battle at Chin'toka. I know you must be pressed for time."
"Oh, its not so bad as all that. Thanks to you, I have my tactical officer back. Having Worf back on the Defiant for this is going to help with our morale."
"I'm glad to be here to deliver him." She took a seat on the far side of Sisko's desk.
"In any event, I wanted you to know that I've gone over your report, the summary, at least. It sounds like you've had a hell of a trip." He paused, saw her rueful nod. "And as someone else who'se had to deal with Temporal Investigations, you have my sympathies."
Janeway shrugged. "Even without this last snag, we'd be due one. Their've been a few incidents with time travel on our trip. As per protocol, I've done a partial purge of our database. Everything we got from Starfleet since this date, from our perspective. Hopefully, that should minimize the roasting we get from Temporal Investigations." A rueful smile. "Lord knows, there's a few groups going to be raking me over the coals."
Sisko nodded. "I wouldn't worry too much about that. In the end, you got your people back and brought an amazing windfall of information with you. Not only a decent set of charts on the Delta Quadrant, but several other polities and some dimensional information." He quirked a smile of his own. "The Science Council will probably force Starfleet Command to let you off light, just so you can explain it all to them." They shared a chuckle. After a moment, Sisko looked to the window and scratched at his ear. "All that being said... I don't suppose you know much about the war?"
Janeway shook her head. "I'm afraid not. Starfleet Command didn't distribute much in the way of information about the battles; 'need to know,' and all that. We didn't need to know, out there."
Janeway smiled. "Captain, I'm in enough trouble with Temporal Investigations without getting into that, and I don't have any information that would be useful for you anyway. We really didn't get any updates, out there."
Sisko nodded. "Fair enough." He smiled. "I don't particularly want to run afoul of Temporal Investigations again myself." He glanced at his console. "The engineering reports I have show that your Impulse Engines are back up to full strength. I hope you won't mind me asking you to pitch in with station defense if anything happens while we're away."
"We'll be happy to mind the store." A pause, then a grin. "I'll have to get down to Quark's quickly though, before too many of my alpha shift officers get too... festive." Then, more seriously, "Who will I be coordinating with on the station?"
"I'll be leaving Lieutenant Dax in command while the fleet is in action."
"All right. Thank you, and good luck."
"I appreciate it."
Zelgadiss smiled as he went over the data the TSAB mage was showing him.
These people were fascinating. They were unquestionably masters of magic, having elevated it from art to science. He felt a bit overwhelmed by the amount of raw information they were showing him in this, a scrying of his chimerism. It was more complex and integrated than he'd first thought. A grudging respect for Rezo: the man had known his spellcraft.
They would likely not be able to find a way to undo the chimerism in the time they had, but that was of little consequence. They had agreed to provide him with a 'database' of knowledge about chimeras. The tome they had shown him - brilliantly encoded within a crystal able to project the words through a spell - contained an amazing amount of knowledge, enough to rival a Clair Bible. It might not bring him to a cure, but it would come close. One they got home, there would be the hopefully simple matter of dealing with Gaav, and then he would head for his altelier and start some serious research.
At the other end of the sick bay was Ryoga, talking to Fate and Nanoha about how he'd gotten onto this little adventure. Zel had not been paying too close of attention; for all his world was different from the fanged boy's, adventure and lore called to the young. Some things, he supposed, had to be universal. The youth was, Zel would bet, at least half trying to distract himself from the various items circling and scanning him. Even for himself, well versed in the ways of magic, the version that had been sicced on him had been unnerving.
"...so I grabbed for it, and there was a flash of light, and then the whole place started shaking. I started to run, an' then I was in someone's office. And that, I guess, is where everything started."
"You were walking around a ruined temple and you just grabbed at a shiny object without thinking?"
The youth shrugged. "It was an emerald the size of my fist. Of course I grabbed for it."
"And the office? Was that the Starfleet station?"
Nanoha checked something on a display beside her, punched in some numbers. "Well, assuming Chrono's report is accurate, it looks like whatever you touched pushed a large charge of magical energy into you and empowered your curse. The timing looks about right." Fate checked the display as well, nodded agreement.
"So... is this curable?"
The kid was trying to seem cool and collected, but Zel caught the undercurrent of concern in his tone. While the two mages looked over the displays, he said, "Don't worry, Ryoga. These people put my knowedge of lore to shame. They'll be able to cure you, it just might take a little while."
Ryoga nodded slightly, seemed to calm down a bit. "Yeah... okay." He glanced at the latice of spells swirling around him. "At least their scanning thing doesn't hurt when you touch it."
"Pfft. Of course it doesn't, it's not for use in the field. The one I used was for containment as much as anything else."
"Didn't you trust him?" Fate's tone was amused.
Zel shrugged. "Wasn't sure what we were going to find. Hell, you're in the business. You should understand these things."
Sir Integra Wingates Hellsing listened to the blond young Japanese girl carefully.
Partially, that was because Sailor Venus – the only one of the Senshi who admitted the ability to speak English – while technically fluent in the language, hadn't used the English language extensively in some years, and was having some trouble shaking the rust off her linguistic skills. Combined with a fairly thick accent, it took some attention just to understand her. Mostly it was because, though she did not intend to tell them, Sir Integra understood spoken Japanese perfectly.
Thus far, Sailor Venus had been more-or-less faithfully relating her sister Senshi's words. They were an interesting bunch. She'd already read the official report, forwarded to her by both Admiral Harlaown and Gil Graham, and was willing, for the moment, to trust their judgement that this group was not overtly dangerous.
The black haired girl in the group – Sailor Mars, if she remembered correctly – glanced at Seras Victoria again, her expression a mix of fear and caution. The others kept admonishing her to remain calm, as they were guests. To her credit, the vampiress was enduring the unkind attention well.
Nothing they had said contradicted the information she had. Weather that was because they were being totally honest with her, or if they knew that she'd been forwarded a copy of the report, she was not entirely sure. Her read on them was the first; they seemed quite straightforward. For the most part, they were discussing generalities. The subject of their motivations had been covered and at the moment they were covering the possibility of working together should circumstances dictate the need. They were not terribly thrilled with admitting a need for help, but they were willing to put that aside. She could work with that, and the black-haired one's knowing what she had at her disposal should they give her a reason to take them down.
Speaking of... she caught a familiar wiff of corruption. She hid her smile as Alucard walked into the room through a wall.
Sailor Mars' eyes widened the second he entered, and she turned. The others did as well. "Ah, Alucard. Welcome."
"You didn't tell me we'd have guests, Master." His gaze swept the girls, wearing an expression that could only be described as predatory.
"It slipped my mind. Sailor Venus, I introduce Alucard, one of my top field agents."
She nodded to the vampire, managed a quiet greeting. At the widening of his already broad and toothy grin, she shuddered, then turned back to Sir Integra. "Would mister Alucard be the agent you would send should we request aid?"
"That would depend greatly upon the situation, and how much aid was required." She allowed herself to smile. "But it is likely, yes."
"I... See. If we may, I think we should be going now. Thank you for the tea."
"Of course. I do so look forward to hearing from you." She smiled at Alucard. He was ever so useful in convincing people to play things straight with her.
As they rode back to the airport in their rental car, the Senshi were mostly silent. After a time, Usagi said, "Rei, I'm really sorry we doubted you earlier."
There was a chorus of agreement. When it cleared, the shrine maiden said, "I guess it's okay. We're out of there, at least. Let's not talk to them again if we can help it. We still have to call that American group, hopefully they'll be better." She shuddered again. "They can't possibly have anything worse than that vampire."
Usagi yawned. "Later though. We're gonna be so jetlagged tomorrow, we'll sleep through class."
"Not like that's unusual for you, meatball head."
As the squabble intensified, Ami tried to tune it out and sighed. She'd done some research on the BPRD. She suspected Rei was going to be disappointed. Still, allies would certainly be a help, as would the training they would be getting on Mid-Childa over summer break. She reminded herself that these were good, useful things, because damned if they weren't going to play hell with her scholastic endeavors.
"...And at that point the bad guys mooks mostly ran. We finished off the ones that did not and grouped up to get out of there. Guts did not come with us, saying he had people he wanted to catch up with and stuff to do and thanked us for helping him. I think he has mostly been a loner so that was not a huge surprise to hear. Then we all came back to the Pauline." Ranma sat back from the console he'd borrowed to type up a report, and nodded. It probably wasn't as polished as they wanted, but what the hell? He wasn't one of their people. Idly he twiddled the pendant they'd given him for translation and such. They'd probably want it back. Ah well, it was a neat little toy, but not much use to him.
He took a moment to make sure he was reading the console's controls right, then fired off a copy of his report to Nanoha; he'd let her deal with making sure it got filed properly and such. He stood and stretched, headed down to the mess. He didn't think he would be welcome down in the gym, not when there were people still cleaning up the damage he'd done their earlier.
Down in the mess he spotted Nanoha. After loading up a tray – it was rather amusing, seeing the reaction he got from the mess staff with his normal meals. He guessed they'd never run into someone used to fighting for his food before. "I sent in my report thingy. How's Ryoga?"
"He should be fine. His teleportation curse should be quite curable, though the secondary curse is as embedded as yours."
Ranma blinked. "Uh, I, uh, don't know what you're talking about."
"Ranma, I recall some questions of yours from earlier. It doesn't take a genius to read between the lines."
"Fair enough." Ranma deflated slightly, started in on his food. "Guess I don't do 'subtle' very well, huh?"
"It's all right, you were concerned for your friend's privacy as well as his safety."
"Something like that. It's kind of a long story." For a moment they ate in silence. "So, what happens now?"
"Now? We deliver our other guests back to their homeworld, then to Mid-Childa to remove the teleportation curse. If you can tolerate being poked and prodded by another set of mages, we can get some of our specialists to take a second look at the transformation curse as well, see if we missed anything out here. After that, we get you two back to Earth."
Ranma considered that for a long moment. "Probably not worth the aggravation. The doc seemed to know what he was talking about before." A shrug. "Besides, it'll be the only chance I'll have this whole trip to check out a planet where I know nobody's gonna try and kill me. I can't even count on that back home, so I figure, what, a day or two?" he paused, Nanoha nodded, "And then its back to Nerima for the usual insanity that is my life. Figure I'll sightsee a bit." He grabbed the pendant around his neck. "By the way, when are you gonna want this thing back?"
"Keep it, it's no problem."
Something in her tone raised a warning flag in Ranma's mind; he shot her a look, eyes narrowing. "What, in case you need to get in touch with me again?"
Her smile grew. "Don't tell me you haven't enjoyed this little adventure."
Ranma sighed and rubbed at his forehead. "Did I get drafted while I wasn't paying attention or something?"
"Drafted is such an ugly word."
"I'm betting it's real accurate, though." Nanoha nodded, smiling impishly. Ranma tried not to groan. At least he was getting to go home, they weren't completely dragooning him into this. And honestly, he'd enjoyed a decent chunk of this little adventure, so he wasn't totally opposed to the idea. He just wished they'd asked first.
It was a quiet evening at the Tendo dojo. The family, and guest, were growing used to quiet meals; without Ranma around, the energy level around the house was just plain low. They were used to him and his antics. Even Genma was calm, eating slowly. He and father had been spending more time around the Dojo playing Go than usual, and had begun to moan about Ranma's absence, sure, somehow, that this doomed their goal of uniting the schools. Nabiki was vaguely amused by their antics, though if it continued she was probably going to find it annoying. For herself, she was starting to miss Ranma, or rather her pocketbook was. Without fresh photos, her weekly income was dropping noticeably.
As they began the second course, there was a knock at the door. Quietly excusing herself, Kasumi stood and strode quickly to the door. She opened it and said, "Welcome to the- Oh! Ranma!"
The gathered diners all turned to the door as Ranma Saotome, pack over his shoulder walked through the door. Close behind him was Ryoga. "Hi, gang. Sorry it took so long, he's a hard man to find."
For a moment, silence. Then pandemonium reigned. Father burst into tears of joy, crying out that the schools should be joined at once. Genma smiled widely, then started in on how they needed to make plans. Akane looked like she wanted to speak but set her jaw, refusing to do so. Her sister could be so amusing when she decided to get stubborn.
Kasumi asked, "Were they successful in curing you, boys?"
Silence fell. Ranma and Ryoga exchanged glances, then Ranma said, "Well, they fixed the teleporting curse on Ryoga."
Ranma shook his head, expression annoyed. "It was too embedded. The price woulda been too high."
Silence fell, and a thoughtful expression crossed Genma's face as he tried to parse just what kind of price would be too high for his son to pay for manliness. Nabiki was more than a little curious herself.
Kasumi broke the silence. "Well, why don't you both join us for dinner? I can make up some extra rice."
Ryoga bowed slightly. "Thank you, I appreciate the invitation."
Ranma smiled widely. "That's awesome, Kasumi, thanks." The two youths removed their shoes, Ranma set down his duffel, and they walked to the table. "Anyone miss me?"
"No, baka!" said Akane, turning away from him as her face heated. Ranma's smile quirked a moment, then he turned to the bowl of food Kasumi provided. Nodding in polite gratitude, he dug in.
His expression seemed to say, It's good to be home.
"Get up boy! Your time away's made you soft."
The sound of Ranma being kicked out of bed and tossed into the back yard woke Nabiki. Oh, she hadn't missed this, not one bit. Especially after how long last night had run. Ranma and Ryoga had gone through the story of their adventures. Despite her attempt to seem unconcerned about Ranma and his return, Akane had been paying full attention to the whole thing. Once they'd finished – arguing a while about who'd done best in their fights, naturally – Ryoga had taken his leave and headed home. He hadn't been gone long, returning shortly in his cursed form. Much to Akane's delight. Ranma had gritted his teeth but didn't say a thing. Nabiki pondered, not for the first time, a way to create a betting pool on what Akane would do to Ryoga when she eventually figured it out without actually tipping her off.
She rolled over, tried to tune things out. Genma was shouting something about the need to keep in training, then stopped abruptly.
Wait. That wasn't the way it was supposed to go.
Come to think of it, she hadn't heard the usual splash of Ranma hitting the Koi pond. She rolled out of bed, walked to the window as a definitely male Ranma said, "What's the matter, Pops? Scared?"
When she reached the window, Nabiki's jaw dropped. Ranma was floating -floating!- about a foot over the Koi pond, shrouded in a faint blue aura. As she watched, he rocketed forward – flying!- and she heard the loud smack of fist against flesh and a yelp from Genma. Oh, this was going to be interesting.
The end, for now.
I first conceived of this story idea back in late November, early December of 2008. At the time I worked the late shift at a call center, with a great bunch of guys. The four of us were huge geeks, as was our team lead at night, and we killed many a slow evening shooting the bull about our favourite science fiction, fantasy, comics, or anime. We also talked about fanfiction. One of the members of the group read more or less nothing but fanfics, most of them crossovers. He steered me towards several excellent ones, and I enjoyed the hell out of them.
The idea to write my own was partially due to these bull sessions, and partially because I needed to do something to pull myself out of a deep, nasty emotional slough that I'd been stuck in since early November due to family stuff. So I started hashing out some plot ideas, with a central concept of 'what is the weirdest cracky story I could do?' An multidimensional romp centred around Ryoga's curse of always being lost(as it is portrayed in fannon, at least) seemed like a decent base, then came the need to flesh it out. Obviously, Ranma would have to be involved at some point, but who else could I inflict Ryoga on?
A conversation about Star Trek and other science fiction, of the 'who could beat who' variety, lead to the next idea. Picking a Trek series to use was tricky: I absolutely love DS9, but grabbing most of that cast to throw them into a mix where they are constantly travelling didn't feel right. The station itself was, to my thinking, too central to the series to really let me take the characters away from it entirely. So I considered the other series. The original series, awesome as it is, didn't really work for me; between the series itself, the movies, and the novels, most everything you could do with that cast has been done. Next Gen was considered as well, but that crew's stories had also been largely told. Enterprise is, in my opinion, a wholly dreadful series, and I really only liked one character of the whole bunch(Trip, if you're curious) so it was definitely out for my fic. So I settled on Voyager, hedged with taking some characters from DS9. Voyager had awesome potential, but that potential was horribly, horribly squandered with some of the most consistently bad writing ever to mar a trek show. So I decided to work with that.
Including Red Dwarf was something I more or less felt I had to do the moment I concieved of having some science fiction in this crossover. If for no other reason than Rimmer's surrender speach, though I got some use out of them after.
Bringing in Nanoha and company was a no-brainer. I absolutely love all three seasons of Nanoha and am looking forward to a possible forth, and the schitck of the TSAB meant that they would be reasonably easy to work into the plot. At this point, I more or less wrote out a list of all the various places and series I wanted to drop them through and roughed out a plot. I tormented Voyager, and made those torments and their attendant damage stick because I was annoyed at the constant spamming of the reset button on the trek series where it made the least sense. I tormented Worf because he's such a good character for dealing with pathos. I aimed for a bit of an 'only sane man' feel for Ranma, since he was going to be a viewpoint character for long segments of plot where everyone else took the various insanities more or less in stride.
And from late December until I about two weeks before I started posting back in February, that was the plot. Two arcs, joined back together at the end with a shitty deus ex machina ending that I discarded in favour of the less joined, but still open for possibilities ending that there is now. Initially, the plot didn't include the Senshi, until the co-worker who turned me on to good crossover fics pointed out that most Ranma crossovers involved the Senshi at some point, so why not?
So I shoehorned in another plot arc, armed with a very fannon-heavy remembrance of Sailor Moon, as it had been several years since I'd last watched the show, and I found it too... toothache inducingly sweet and sappy to watch now. It let me work in more Ranma characters(initially, Ukyo and Shampoo were probably not going to show up) and use Subaru and Teana. It also gave me a reason to get a bit deeper into Chrono's character, which probably helped my portrayal of him here. He was, in my opinion, criminally underused in StrikerS, so I was going to give him a few fight scenes and try and give him some cool scenes in general. I think I managed.
It quickly became clear that my hazy memories of the Senshi were horribly inaccurate. Some research helped, as did the two noble souls who agreed to beta read for me, ScourgeOfTheGalaxy and Claymade, who endured the slings and arrows of my shitty, shitty drafts and helped me make the fic as a whole better. If you like what you've read in this story, give 'em a quick hand, as they helped a lot. If you didn't like what you've read, boo me, since I processed the ideas and wrote 'em.
And before I forget again(since they know where I live) a thanks to the guys at work for some early beta reading and help hammering the plot more or less into shape.
Anyway. I shoehorned in the Senshi plot with minimal planning and thought more or less at the last minute. Initially it was going to be a series of misunderstandings between them and Subaru and Teana, eventually leading to a fight. But it became clear fairly quickly that actually making that work would require much more character derailment than I'd initially guessed. So I set them up working together, and basically shortened that sequence by about two scenes, one of which would have been little more than a big fight. The ending; the TSAB deciding to help, was going to be more or less the same, though the details, of course, were rather different(I remembered none of the moon kingdom backstory initially, beyond Beryl being a rebel who made a deal with a dark being for power, and rather than research at the start, said 'fuck it' and made up my own thing. Bad, BAAAAD thing, in this case.)
So with a little help from my friends, I managed to put a semi-coherent plot together and get it moving. It still used a fair bit of fannon, and a bunch of meta-jokes(especially early on – I realized most of them weren't funny in time to excise them from the narrative, however.) The surviving metajokes were ones that I felt worked decently. First, when you look at the average DBZ arc, all characters who aren't Goku or one of his sons seem to be contractually obligated to lose, so that Goku looks better when he wins.
Second, and I ran this one somewhat heavily into the ground, was the 'best friends' bit. See, the creative team behind Nanoha are very, very coy about answering any questions regarding romance and the heroine. When asked if Nanoha and Fate are in 'LOVE love' they tend to dodge the question. 'Best friends' is an answer I saw come up several times, and looking at StrikerS especially(though there are shades of it in season 1 and A's if you look) that answer requires a very, very unusual definition of 'best friends' to work. My opinion on the subject is laid out in the story, perhaps less delicately than I should have put it, but still. So I decided to use 'best friends' as a euphemism, then kept making the joke. I probably shouldn't have. But again, too late now.
I considered and rejected more than a few ideas. I'd intended to drop the chase arc through Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya but the end result of more or less everything I could think if would be more pain for Kyon(or, given that Haruhi'd probably watch Ranma get shifted, Kyonko) and that poor bastard just doesn't deserve to suffer more. I considered popping through a few webcomics, specifically Errant Story, Girl Genius, and Order of the Stick, but couldn't really think of good moments in the plots of those comics to plunk them. I toyed with, and even drafted out, a chapter plunking Ryoga into the city of TunFaire in the Garret Files, but I'd used another Glen Cook series already, and the chapter wasn't gelling well. Likewise, dropping Ryoga into the world of BattleTech, which resulted in a scene I enjoyed writing, but very strongly required knowledge and metaknowledge of BattleTech to work. Voyager almost dropped through Doctor Who, and I briefly considered getting them stuck in the Blake's Seven universe, though that had to change when I realized my initial ending idea, frankly, sucked. I'd planned to do more with Garak, who is probably my favorite character in all of Star Trek, certianly my favorite non-starfleet character, but I found that I wasn't really doing the character justice, and decided to stop writing an inferior version of him. I also thought about doing a very meta scene dropping our heroes through the 1632 series, having one of the Four Musketeers recognize Ranma or Ryoga, and wonder what the fuck had been put in their drinks, since they were seeing fictional characters. In the end, all these various ideas were scrapped, and the story is probably stronger for it.
I caught flak for a lot of stuff I expected to, and a little I didn't. I was flat out amazed that nobody tried to rip a strip off me for having the Borg punk'd by not one but two different 'verses. Especially since one of those 'verses was Star Wars, and Trek VRS Wars is one of the Internet's longest and most bitter holy wars.
The Mirror Universe characters in the Trek arc were an interesting mental exercise. When you watch the DS9 mirror universe episodes, most of the 'mirror' characters really only differ from their mainline counterparts in one or two respects. Mirror Kira is Kira with all the stops pulled out, indulging every whim and not giving a damn about the consequences. Mirror Odo is Odo dedicated to Law rather than Justice. Mirror Garak is utterly lacking in subtleness. So I tried to do the same with my mirror characters. Mirror Seska became a somewhat straightforward soldier rather than a tricky spy. Mirror Dukat is dedicated to the glory of Cardassia, rather than the glory of Dukat. Mirror Madred lacks mainline Madred's sadism. Mirror K'Ehleyr rejected her human half, rather than embrace it. The only mirror character that did not follow this pattern was Mirror Picard. The idea of Jean Luc Picard at the helm of a modified and upgunned Stargazer with Jack Crusher by his side was just too strong for me to mess with. I don't think I could have done a damned thing with him that would have improved him.
I worked to make the story enjoyable, for the most part, and really, really wanted to push through to finish it. I have had considerable trouble in the past following through on stories, tending to burn out on them long before they're done, so finishing this one is a slightly big deal for me. I've proven to myself that I can finish a story if I try hard enough. Now all I need to do is do it again. Preferably multiple times.
Anyway, I'm not done with all the little snippets shown here, I do intend to resolve some of the floating plot threads in the future. But this story – a story about Ryoga having wild adventures around the cosmos, and coming to terms with himself in the process – is done. I'll be taking a break for a while before I start another project like this again, I need some time to figure stuff out, but I certainly will keep writing.
I can't not. The voices won't let me.
Thanks for reading, all. I wish you all the best.
TL;DR: this was fun, but writing is hard, so not doing more for a while
Crossover Master List: In order of appearance, and noting where in the series' plot:
Ranma ½ (shortly after the end of the manga)
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (late season 6)
Star Trek: Voyager (end of season 6)
Star Wars (Heir to the Empire trilogy – just before the beginning of Heir to the Empire)
Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha (~6 months post end of StrikerS)
Red Dwarf (end of series 5)
Star Control 2 (before the Captain meets the Slylandro. And yes, they asked about the glowy bits.)
Babylon 5 (early season 3)
Sailor Moon (unsure, but before the Starlights showed up)
Megatokyo (late chapter zero)
Slayers OVAs (after last OVA, before season 1 of the series)
Discworld (mentioned only, point in timeline difficult to judge due to the history monks redoing the rock garden)
The Black Company (just prior to the beginning of The White Rose)
Hellsing (after OVA 1, before OVA 2)
Negima (mention only, shortly pre Festival arc)
Due South (mid season 1)
Gunsmith Cats (shortly before the Kidnapped! Arc)
Dragonball Z (just prior to Great Saijiman arc)
The Dirty Pair (Unsure)
Avatar: The Last Airbender (Between Bitter Work and The Desert)
Slayers (mid Slayers Next)
Malazan Book of the Fallen (beginning of Memories of Ice)
Berserk (just after the Eclipse arc, just before the faeries)