Sins of the past have ways of soiling the future. Genma Saotome, later in life, was to know this for certain, but in the prime of his life he was young and foolish. He had just bested the dreaded master with his good friend Soun Tendo and begun his only son's training trip, he was on top of the world. With baby Ranma strapped to his back, the fat fool went through the countryside, cheating and stealing whatever he needed from good, hard-working folk. As baby Ranma grew into infant Ranma and later child Ranma, Genma's schemes grew more and more complex — taking into account his son's development.

At the tender age of nine, having survived the mauling of the Neko-ken and the rigors of some of Genma's more brutal training methods, Ranma finally had the wherewithal to run away from his abusive parent. They were in a dense forest with no towns for miles, it was this kind of seclusion that invited the most secret of curses.

Little Ranma wove his way through the trees, running like wildfire from the echoing sound of his father's voice calling from the treetops. He'd be damned before he let the moron try another stupid training manual from his knapsack on him. The crunch of dead leaves and the roll of small stones under his bare feet made the run especially precarious for the young Saotome and so it came as no surprise when he slipped on a patch of sweetgrass and tumbled down a small incline. He was used to the pain and shook it off easily, but what he wasn't expecting was the clean stones of a temple courtyard.

"Ho, young one, you look like wolves are after you!" A shaved monk intoned from the shadow of the porch, the sunlight absorbed by the rough black robe he wore. "Come inside and we can attend to your injuries. Ranma, smelling the aroma of cooking food within, eagerly followed the man inside where a throng of holy men sat stoically before a grand banquet. "We were just preparing to celebrate the end of our great harvest." Ranma nodded in his shock and quickly made a bee-line for the empty seat at one of the back tables. He didn't hear Genma's cries from the front gate.

"Let me in damn you! You have my son inside!" Genma attempted to force his way through the pair of monks but soon found his hunger-weakened body was no match for the robust men guarding the gates. "Do you hear me? You have my son inside and I want him back!" Not to mention grab some free eats the portly man mentally added.

"None shall pass this gate, you are not holy, vile brigand, and cannot partake of our celebration." Both monks rushed Genma and tossed the stinking pile of flesh down the rough earthen stairs winding up the mountain. "Brother Meynard!" A gaijin man stepped out from the main entrance.

"Yes, Brother Mari?"

"Inform the master that we have to increase patrols tonight, a brigand tried to get by us." Brother Meynard picked at the grotesque welt on his cheek before running back into the temple, his screeching falsetto voice causing the guard's teeth to grind. "I wish he'd stop doing that." As the guards resumed their posts, down below Genma Saotome planned his revenge.

---Later that night---

Ranma stretched out on the bedroll the monks were kind enough to lend him and blew out the candle by his side. The full moon streamed it's light through his window so he was not afraid of the dark shadows of the night. His father had never been so considerate, even resorting to beating Ranma unconscious some nights so the boy's fear of darkness wouldn't keep him awake. His stomach gurgled in delight as it hurriedly digested food after so long without. Sighing in contentment, Ranma forgot all about his father as he turned to sleep

"Ranma, wake up it's me." His eyes snapped open. He knew that voice

"Pops?" He almost dreaded the answer. No other monk was in his room to see Genma as he phased back into existence with a bulging sack slung over a shoulder. A hard fist came down over his head.

"Who else would it be, foolish boy? I won't punish you for running away like a _girl_ because you helped me find this temple. Now get your clothes on, we're leaving!"

"No! I don't wanna go!" A rustle was heard from the cell next-door. Genma sweated as the shuffling of feet grew nearer.

"C'mon boy this is no time to argue, get dressed and let's go!"

"I! Don't! Wanna! Go!" The scream was what did it as three brothers burst into the room to investigate the noise in the boy's room. They were aghast at what they beheld.

"Brigand! Brigands!" The brothers lit the candles in the room and spied the contents of Genma's sack of stolen goods. "Thieves trying to steal out harvest! Thieves trying to steal our sacred relics!" The brothers rushed Genma but the fat man was ready for them, fading out of reality with the help of the Umi-sen-ken. That left only Ranma alone in the room.

"Little devil! You allowed this to happen, you're his accomplice aren't you! And to think we fed you!" The brothers jumped to the logical conclusion with what little knowledge they had of the situation. It's a funny thing about anger, as soon as it appears it flies out of control, you can't stop it and very rarely direct the flow of its attack. Anger goes part-and-parcel with confusion and ignorance, the destructive emotions leading to the only possible conclusionviolence.

"Little bastard!" One of the brothers lifted Ranma from the bedroll and kicked his knapsack away, crushing some of the contents underfoot. "You were just waiting for this weren't you, little thief!" The monk twisted his arm painfully. "You and that fat fool were in collusion, weren't you!?" Ranma was spared the agony of more accusations as Genma knocked all three of them out quickly and leapt out the window. Ranma gave the fallen monks a final glance before he too followed his farther out into the wilderness. His father rejected him, even these seemingly kind people rejected him all because of his father's taint. Anger grew to be a cold lump of coal deep in Ranma's stomach, the dull fire inflaming his soul to tears.

Miles later with the monks leagues behind, Genma set his back down in the mouth of a cave and prepared a fire for them. Not exactly for his son's health per se, but rather to heat up his dinner. As his son dragged his ragged-looking gi into camp, Genma triumphantly held up a sealed box of unknown metal and placed it in Ranma's hands.

"Son, those monks had all kinds of martial arts scrolls hidden in their library, maybe we'll go back there later and take some more but first look at this." He gestured to the light metal cube about the size of a television set. "It was hidden in a secret room near the main altar, it must contain something very valuable for the monks to hide it so well, we'll take a look at it tomorrow, but first: dinner!" Ranma studied the cube as his father ate, idly poking it with a splintered stick. After inhaling most of the food in his sack, Genma belched loudly and walked off into the bushes to relieve himself.

Ranma looked at the dark forest and the cube, then back to the spot where his father was standing. Maybe if he ran back with this box, perhaps the monks might forgive him? His brief idea of reconciliation was destroyed as his father returned and unrolled the one bedroll, it seemed Ranma was going to have to find a flat rock somewhere. The least the fat thug could have done was give him a blanket, but Ranma didn't even have that. Taking the cube with him into the cave, he sat back along the mossy wall and tried to sleep.

Sleep was his one great escape, the place where he could eat all he wanted and be free from the loathsome presence of his father. However, that night sleep didn't come for the young man, instead he found his gaze coming back to the odd box held in his hands. Was it just his imagination or was the box warmer than before? No, it was just the heat of his hands absorbed by the metal. Lost in boredom, Ranma made a game of kicking the square against the far wall and catching it when it returned, he'd always been good at soccer. In his insomnia, the boy kicked the cube in a very particular way, a way that caused the box to make a sound he hadn't heard before, almost as if something were inside. Experimentally he kicked it again and a rattling thump greeted his ears.

Taking his newfound discovery outside to a heavy boulder, Ranma tried to smash it open at the corners, all to no avail. Noticing that his father would notice he'd been playing with it because of the mud stains marring the gray surface, Ranma walked down to the stream he'd seen before to wash off the cube. As he submerged the object, air bubbles began to rise from one of the sides, delighting the young boy and challenging him to discover where the opening lay.

For what seemed like hours he shifted the box and tapped it's sides, noticing that one side seemed to sound more solid than the others. Shoving the box underwater again, he noticed that it was that side that had the opening, a circular disk with a repressed centre, almost like a button hidden in the grain of metal. Boldly moving forward, Ranma pressed the curious switch and fell away as a blaze of red energy shattered the cube and forced him back against a tree. For a moment there he could hear a strange hum of machinery, just as the thing blew up in his face.

In the darkest hours of night, Ranma thought he saw a dark shadow, even darker than anything in the woods, materialize from the black and gray object lying on the banks of the stream. Then it was gone, the afterimage of something ancient and dark leaving only a chilling breeze that ran shivers up his spine. All around the trees began to sway in an invisible breeze and every living thing in a mile radius fled swiftly through the night. Ranma rose from his cringing and composed himself, martial artist weren't afraid of anything!

Where once green grass grew from the fertile marsh of the banks, now underneath the object grew a gray circle of decomposition. For many feet underneath the surface living things feared to touch the tainted ground, Ranma however didn't have such animal senses and stepped blindly into the cleared area of destruction to observe what came out of his box.

It was black and metallic gray, the black almost like plastic and the gray brushed with steel wool to give it a grained quality. Jutting from one end were a few trailing wires of gray seemingly melted from the main body of the thing, from the other a gleaming black shaft with a grooved end sprouted impossibly from the artifact. Ranma knew instinctually that the thing was very old, possibly older than the planet and powerful with energy. Suddenly it came to him what the melted mass resembleda human hand. A human hand gripping something

The boy picked up the amalgamation and tried to pry the cylindrical object from the metal grip, unsurprisingly it didn't budge. Dejected and angry, Ranma picked it up and walked back to camp, kicking stones as he went. Genma was still asleep in the bedroll, snoring loudly as his son resumed his spot within the warmth of the cave.

Ranma opened his eyes from his dozing by a steady sound echoing in the massive space of the cave. It seemed far off yet the echoes were screwing with his ears, making the sound far away and right next to him at the same time. A lizard crawled down the vegetation at his side and chased after an enormous spider with wings. Where the hell was he?

He stood from where his spine clung to the cave wall, noticing for the first time that his dirty gi had changed to black slacks and long-sleeve shirt with a leather vest tucked into his belt with the tails tapping against his thighs. He knew he didn't own any of this kind of clothing and also knew Genma couldn't afford it nor steal it, so where had it come from? The harsh grating sound echoed again, followed soon after by a drawn-out gasp. The sound had a harsh metallic quality to it, grating and artificial. Reflexively Ranma took a defensive stance.

"You have much potential young one." The voice arose from everywhere in the cavern, deep and commanding yet somehow hollow as if it had no substance. "Yet you are untrained and vulnerable but your power is strong, strong enough to carry on my legacy."

Ranma looked around only to see he was no longer in the cave, natural rock walls had given way to polished durasteel and expansive glass windows giving him a breathtaking view of a glowing planet. Wait a minute, planet? "Who the hell're you?" A tight grip caught at his throat, squeezing his windpipe enough to stop an even flow of air but not enough to crush it completely. Again the sound echoed in the hollow corridors of the room.

"I am your new master, Ranma Saotome, you will address me as Master' and nothing else, is that understood?" Ranma struggled in the grip as he was lifted from the deck and shook in midair by invisible hands. "Is that understood?"

"" Ranma managed to croak out and abruptly the hands released him, leaving him to hit the deck hard.

"I sense great anger within you, anger and fear, the seeds of your future are planted within, never forget that." A dull thud of a booted foot echoed off the metal behind him but as soon as he turned the figure was gone. "You are angry at your father for ruining your existence, separating you from your mother, destroying your normal' life! Save your hatred, temper it with patience, and release it with vengeance." The repetitive noise continued as the voice spoke, altogether it was beginning to unnerve him.

"What do you want?"

"I was taken before my work was finished, I never carried on my legacy, you will serve instead of my son, you who are a mirror image of myself, you who are worthy. I will teach you the way of the Force, the lattice of life that threads the universe."

"What is this Force'? Is it like ki or chi?" Ranma wouldn't be too impressed if it was, after all didn't Pops know a few tricks? "How long will this training take?"

"You are very proud of this body you have trained for yourself and it's ability to harness ki but it is insignificant next to the power of the Force! By correctly manipulating the Force, anything is possible!" The sound seemed right behind him now, but he wasn't going to turn around just yet. "I will train you in the Force as you sleep, as I am incapable of interacting with you in the physical realm, latent afterimage that I am." The grating wheeze was blowing on the back of his head now, hesitantly Ranma turned around.

He stepped back in fright at the image standing behind him, a massive figure in black armor and helmet. A black cape cascaded down his back in obsidian waves and an undercloak was clashed at his waist by a heavy metal belt. Not a single inch of his body wasn't covered by clothes or armor, even his head covered by a gleaming metal skullcap that curved around the back of his neck and a jagged faceplate. Two smoked glass empty eyes gazed to the very centre of Ranma's soul. The man's arms were crossed across his chest, arms resting under a square circuit box with blinking lights and switches, and the cloak rustled as he breathed in and out. The martial artist suddenly realized in fright that the regular artificial sound was the figure breathing!

"You anger is strong. You have tempered it well for one so young but you still need to focus it, channel it to your control of the Force. You have the power to challenge everyone who has destroyed your life and rule the galaxy, to become the most powerful being in the cosmos." The figure stepped forward towards the boy and stretched out his right hand in an offering gesture, not realizing that the forearm was melted and corroded, covered with metal and burned plastic. "Join with me and I will complete your training; the force is strong with you, Saotome, but you are not a Jedi yet."

Ranma looked up at the wheezing black specter and fought back his fear. "Wh-what is a Jedi?" The figure chuckled.

"You will know soon enough, you will soon come to despise the title and long to hunt their kind down to extinction just as I did. Or are you afraid?"

"I ain't afraid of you!"

"You lie, I can feel your fear bubbling up from the spring of anger in your heart, I can read your emotions easily, my young apprentice." The masked man stepped back and looked appraisingly at his new student. "We have much to dofirst you must confront your fear, harness the powers of anger and hatred, then we can begin in earnest. You do want to be the best, do you not?"

Ranma scowled at the apparition. "Hey! I'll do whatever it takes to be the best! Whatever happens, Ranma Saotome never loses!" He took the figure's left hand and felt a powerful feeling of anger shoot through his body, making the world clearer to his eyes.

[Hmmall too easy]

"Who are you anyway?"

"I am Darth Vader - Dark Lord of the Sith, my young apprentice, you will now call meMaster."


Spirit of the Sith

A Ranma 1/2 — Star Wars fusion with elements of "The Glove of Darth Vader" RPG

By Dr. Suekeiichi Kaiton

With inspiration by

CarrotGlace's Ranma Lord of The Sith'

---Seven years later, Jusenkyo---

Genma looked with puzzlement at his son turned daughter. He had expected a lot more screaming and even an attempted beating, certainly not the easy acceptance of such a gender-bending curse. His eyes followed Ranma as she brushed water droplets from her black slacks and tunic and stoically stood waiting for the water to boil. Behind her the Jusenkyo Guide dragged their packs over to his hut.

[I should just kill him now and be done with it! No one here except the Guide, eliminate him and no one would find out.] Ranma quietly remembered her master's last lesson before his residual energies were expended.

"This world you live in now still has people sensitive to the Force, there might be a chance that a Jedi escaped the Purge on this planet, do not compromise your position before you are sure you have the upper hand."

Her master had taught her well, showing her things that expanded her mind past the barrier of Terran thought and into a galaxy mindset. She was now the most powerful Sith in existence, apprentice to the most feared Sith lord in history, Ranma promised she would not fail. [I will wait, there are still things that Genma can accomplish for me, until his duties are fulfilled I will let him live.] The lightsaber was soon hidden back up her sleeve, the cold metal against her warm skin.

"I tell Mister Customers no use springs for training and now look what happen!" The portly man lifted the steaming kettle from his wood stove and poured it over Genma. "Is no more, I very sorry." The elder Saotome patted himself to make sure the change wasn't permanent while his son simply adjusted his clothes. "I say that young mister Customer taking curse well."

"Well, it's nothing of any importance. Come along Genma, we have to get a move on." The busty redhead tightened her black belt and pulled the plastic-looking vest down through it, leaving the vest open for her chest and pelvis.

"Oh mister Customers there may be secret cure in village of Chinese Amazons, why not look there?" The fat man held his green cap in his hands, wringing the material as his niece changed the wood in his stove. There was something in the young man's glare as he looked back that caused an involuntary shiver to pass up his spine.

"Very well." Ranma and Genma followed the guide as he took them through the grove of trees next to his hut and down the path to the Amazon village. Genma knew not to cross his son, especially when he became this eerie calm.

Ranma herself was boiling in rage at his father but pushed it all down into her reserves, keeping the destructive emotion bottled for future use.

Cologne and the other Matriarchs watched with interest as the trio walked into the village, the young girl gaining quite a few admiring views from the teenage males. The Elder sat back by the sidelines as the older man sat at the banquet table and began to devour the plates of food reserved for her granddaughter. The brooding girl in black stood near the back of the crowd and watched, Cologne knew the vestments she wore from somewheresomething in the past. The ancient crone scanned the girl for ki readings and found her to be lacking greatly, such low levels were an indication of one of two things: either the girl had not practiced martial arts in earnest or she was masking her ki levels. If it were the latter, the girl would have to be dragged, kicking and screaming into the tribe, such an accomplishment at such a young age!

It seemed her granddaughter realized the fat man was eating her prize and brought both her bon-bori down over the bastard's head, leaving two welts jutting from the white kerchief on his head. The girl he'd come in with made no move to stop the beating, she simply stood where she was an observed.

Shampoo! Shampoo, that girl in black came in with the man, challenge her now! The old hag perched on her staff and watched as the enraged girl fell upon the black warrior and began a quick flurry of kicks - all of which were swiftly deflected or blocked outright. The girl was indeed a master of her craft. Shampoo found herself seriously outmatched and fell to a knee before the red-haired girl, blood dripping from a shallow cut on her cheek. She had lost the challenge. There was nothing more to do than give the girl the kiss of death and kill her quickly, hopefully after she had rested and recuperated.

Cologne watched as her granddaughter gave the girl the Kiss of Death and cursed Shampoo's stupidity. Clearly the girl hadn't yet learned the prime tenets of the Amazon culture and as such would be unable to take the mantle of Matriarch when the time came. The oiled wood of her staff gave a warning creak as her grip threatened to shatter it, her blunder might cost them one of the most promising blood in the past hundred years! She allowed the girl and man to retreat into the hills, taking the time to berate her great-granddaughter as she helped her to the healer's hut.


Ranma looked around at the trees around them for a moment, her hand tightening around the smooth hilt of her lightsaber. The incident with the Amazon girl had been unforeseen, clearly she had been lax in the time after she was cursed for such an important event to not appear in her scryings. Her master had always emphasized the importance of looking into the future to determine the actions in the present, partly because a lack of foresight had been the cause of his own demise and also for exercise in political and social manipulation. Night had begun to fall as she set camp, ignoring the sound of her father's footsteps receding into the distance. The old fool had decided to run away from the Amazon's kiss of death, probably for the best if she intended to use her lightsaber, last thing she needed was the fat fool trying to swipe it and pawn it off in Hong Kong.

A crackle of brittle dried twig caught the attention of her sensitive ears and she withdrew the energy weapon from her sleeve. The black plastic at the end was still melted from the explosion and bits of leather were permanently stuck into the goo but the metal chrome of the shaft was intact. It was a gift from her master, a weapon of supreme power and honor, one that would become her trademark. Running her hands over it she could almost feel the power humming under the surfaceready to ignite.

Shampoo tightened her grip on the spear she held as she caught fight of the fiery bush of red hair behind the trees. She would kill the girl rather than adopt her as a sister, regardless of what her great-grandmother said, she would deliver the girl's head on a spike.

A few trees behind, Mousse watched as Shampoo prepared to attack. He had been chosen to follow his beloved and make sure she did not kill the outsider but bring her back to the village. Personally he couldn't care less what happened to the red-head that hurt his Shampoo, but he was promised terrible pain and punishment by Cologne if he failed in his duty and so he would perform to the best of his (meager) ability.

A few trees behind the myopic idiot, Silk and Tiger watched the scene with interest. They had been hunting out on the outskirts of Musk land and were on their way back when they saw two of their fellow Amazons on the hunt. They had carried back a few pelts and herbs but nothing that might go bad if left unattended for too long, so they decided to wait and watch the spectacle play itself out. Shampoo was the best fighter of her generation and Mousse her loyal follower, they were interested to see why both would be out so late after curfew.

Ranma stood from his crouch and laid her thumb on the trigger of her lightsaber. A large tree was directly in the path of Shampoo's assault meaning she would have to dodge either right or left to attackah! She favored her left side. Ranma swiftly strafed to the left and ignited her weapon, the crimson blade exploding outward in a haze of ozone and light. According to her master's instructions when surprising an opponent it is necessary to continue the attack until you are the victor. Taking the lesson to heart, Ranma swung the blade with her right hand and grasped onto a low hanging branch with her left, slicing the tree in two and propelling her upwards into the canopy. It also had the unfortunate effect of separating Shampoo's hand and arm from her torso.

She hadn't known what was happening, all of a sudden there was a searing pain in her arm and the next nothingnothing but the bloody sleeve of her tunic on the earth of the forest. It all happened so fast, she intended on surprising the girl but apparently her prey had known beforehand, leaving her with no hand. She reached her left arm over to feel and confirm that her right arm was indeed the dissected limb lying at her feet and only felt the cauterized clean wound of her open joint. Suddenly screaming seemed the appropriate thing to do. As she screamed out in pain and shock, Shampoo heard Mousse's voice scream from behind a nearby bush.

Ranma watched as the long-haired boy leapt from the brush and ran to the fallen girl's side, he had actually been aiming for her neck but she shifted her stance, oh wellyou can't have everything

She watched as Mousse rushed to her aid and was horrified by the frozen limb lying at her feet, the stench of burnt flesh drifting on the breeze. She gratefully accepted his help as he lifted her off her feet and started back to the village.

This won't do, she thought, it seems the foolish one has to die. Ranma dropped from the high bough of the tree above the couple and ignited her weapon once more, accidentally alerting her prey to death approaching on swift wings. Of course it didn't help the duo as she sliced the boy in two and kicked the still living corpse down a gully and into the stream where both halves finally separated and the body washed downhill. As for the girl

Shampoo watched in horror as Mousse's body split in two at the waist and tumbled end over end into the river, sure he had been a nuisance but she hadn't wished that kind of death of him. The black-robed girl twisted the base of her lightning sword and the blade shrank to the size of a scalpel razor. She watched in terror as the girl sank the hot weapon into her legs and cut the nerve endings to her feet, there would be no escape for her on this night.

Ranma, satisfied with the work, shut down her weapon and hefted the fallen warrior. Silk and Tiger knew that neither of them would have a chance against the black-clad outsider and so they ran back to the village, forgetting their equipment on the hillock. Dragging the purple burden to her gutted fire Ranma ignited the dry wood and gathered her pot and canteen from her backpack. The night was silent, nothing living wanted to tempt fate and alert the Sith Lord to their presence.

You are awakedo not try to fool me. Ranma dumped the hot water over her head and changed back to her true sex, tucking the lightsaber back into her tunic.

Wh-what do you want from me? I'm already crippled! Shampoo's eyes overflowed with tears. The outsider was heartless, no doubt he would have his way with her before slicing her up as he did Mousse.

You are not crippled. You still have one weaponfeel the anger inside yourself. It is rushing in your veins, you hate me for what I have done. Ranma summoned the Force and waved his hand before the lavender-haired girl's face. Hate mefear metell your matriarch that I have no intention of becoming part of her tribe, rather she should consider becoming part of my fellowship. He smiled evilly as the sounds of a massed group coming through the woods drifted into the clearing. Your hatred makes you strong, Shampoo, keep that anger within you. Only then will you be able to destroy Me. He stood from his kneel and gathered his things quickly, the Amazons had already found Mousse's body in the river, he didn't feel in the mood for mass exterminations that day. In a display of Force-enhanced dexterity, Ranma flipped up to the boughs of the trees and bounded away.

Cologne found Shampoo in the clearing. The aged matriarch bent over the comatose girl and made sure she was alive but was certain her granddaughter would never walk again, let alone the loss of her right arm. Below the smell of cauterized flesh and blood was a warning, this was not just an attack on a single amazon but a threat to the entire tribe. If Silk and Tiger were to be believed then the figure used a ki blade, however, the cauterized wound would not have occurred if it was simple life-force used to cut and she was certain he had not burned her wound with the campfire. Something about thatSwords of LightCologne placed Shampoo in the care of a litter, asking two warriors to trail the assailant and sped ahead back to the village. That reminded her of somethingsomething from her nightmares.

---A coastal village, the next day---

We are here at this remote village which lies on the banks of a river joining into the Korean Sea - we are sorry but due to restrictions placed by the government we are unable to give specific place names - where a catastrophe has occurred. The TV reporter spoke into the camera's lens, not wanting his eyes to stray from the gleaming smoked eye of the lens to the mangled bodies lining the streets.

Yesterday this town was full of life but sometime during the night a plague struck this sleepy village, wiping out every man, woman, and child in a two mile radius from the town. Both cameraman and reporter were wearing HazMat suits with lead alloy just in case it was radioactivity and not a virus or germ. The town's population of three thousand was all found dead this morning as travelers entered, there are no signs of physical murder so the authorities can only ascertain that a biological or radioactive agent is the cause. Could this be another attempt by the United States to inflict damage upon China? An act of a rival power? Could India be at the centre of this mystery? We will keep you updated with new information as it becomes available.

The cameraman shut off the heavy device and picked up the wires running to the outside the quarantine zone. What do you think caused this?

Scientists say they can't find anything wrong, no germ or nothing. The reporter was sweating from the weight of their suits. C'mon, let's get out of these things.

Twenty miles offshore on a sturdy little boat laden with food and water, Ranma Saotome smirked.

Genma had told him the location they would meet at upon arrival in Japan. Not that he had any intention of following the fat fool's orders but the old man was still useful as a ruse to mask his true motives. One of the lead alloy HazMat suits draped heavily over the seat next to him, oh yes Ranma had plans for the suit. Especially the air filtration system built into the helmet

The annihilation of the town had been necessary, he reasoned as the harsh waters lapped at the paint of his boat, everyone had seen his lightsaber when those two Amazon bitches tried to ambush him in the two square. As a precaution he had to be rid of all witnesses, no agent of the Jedi - however unlikely that was - could be allowed to know he existed. That was if the Jedi still existed because his master had made it quite clear that his death had taken place centuries ago. It was very possible no one remained of the Rebellion against the Empire, no one of the New Republic surviving long enough to spread the word of The Sith. Hehall the better for him.

Strong Force signatures were coming from Japan, perhaps the Jedi still existed? More likely it was just a group of people with no proper instruction in Force manipulation, people easily bent to his will. Ranma Saotome was soon all but engrossed in his modifications to the HazMat suit, glad that his master had passed down to him all his knowledge of electronics and technology from his time. He seemed to have inherited his master's skill with gadgets. What he was making was no gadget, however. What he was making was something essential to a Sith Lord, as imperative as a lightsaber or the dark emotions. He knew he should construct a lightsaber for himself, especially attuned to his own Force-signature, but he had more pressing concerns.

He could feel the Force gliding over the oily waves, palpable waves of energy and emotion rolling off the Island of Japan. Whether Sith or Jedi he could not tellyet.

Sometime during the night, a tuna processing barge passed a little boat. The crewmen reported that they had seen a figure on the craft, a demon in black whose breath rattled and echoed off the crashing waves. No member of the crew ever served on the barge again.

---Nerima, several months later---

"Oh ho ho ho ho ho ho!!!!!!!!" Kodachi Kuno leapt from roof to roof in her mad dash away from the Tendo Dojo, having just completed her mission of sabotaging the Furinkan team's new alternate. That Akane Tendo had turned out to be a pushover, now nothing stood in her way to the blessed National Championship! The leotard stretched tight over her body as the taunt muscles underneath rippled with each push of her legs as she crested another shingled covering. The familiar warm glow of ki boosted her already exemplary physical skills to lunatic heights.

"Come to me, young one." A hollow echo reverberated off the concrete apartment buildings and rustled through the trees surrounding the Kuno estate. Kodachi was on the vanguard of safety

Thunder clashed in the distance. A storm was coming.

The brunette looked around her, at the lip of the roof, the ranma of her brother's dojo, the koi pond, nothing had a sense of presence she normally felt when a stranger spied on her. Her head whirled around as a harsh echoing breath wheezed from the encrouching darkness, followed by a sharp intake of air through purification systems.

"Come to me." Kodachi looked at the percieved location of the speaker and frowned as she beheld nothing but a tanuki by the entrance gate, whoever her attacker was he could hide well from her ki-enhanced senses. Another grating exhale rustled through the trees and caused the dust under her feet to swirl and bob in the breeze. She looked paniced at the groves surrounding the entry-point into the Kuno family catacombs - she would be safe in there!

In the distance, miles away from the roof atop a commercial high-rise in downtown Nerima, a previously unseen figure stepped out from the shadow of an unlit neon sign. Far away as it was, Kodachi saw the blurry image step out - thick cloak tossed wildly about his shoulders in the wind. She broke out into a cold sweat. The door was right there

"My patience is growing thin, young one, you will come here now or I will come there." The voice seemed to ring inside her mind, forcing it's way into her skull and beatiing her simple logic to paste as his voice overrode everything else. The voice was old it seemed, older than humanity, a technological sizzle running undercurrent to the cavernous breaths the wraith took. Across the expanse of miles she could see him beckon to her. Reluctantly she went towards the evil creature, the voice was just too seductive for her feeble mind to resist.

The cloaked figure allowed itself to smile, showing pointed white teeth through the black grating of it's mask.

"Who are you? What do you want with the noble House of Kuno?" Kodachi decided the best way to deal with such an upstart would be to show him the air of superiority that denoted those of samurai birth.

"I am aand it has been brought to my attention you possess almost inhuman powers in the arena." The figure was still a mile off, but she could hear his voice as if he were right next to her. The vacuous breathing resumed as she nearly slipped from a ceramic tile and landed hard on her ankle.

"How do you know?" She rubbed the ache away from her wound and continued on her way.

"How would you like to possess power great enough to best all your enemies, make them bow down before your worthiness?" The voice seemed to take on a deeper mettle, as if enticing her to make a decision. She could almost see the smirk on the stranger's face, although his offer did sound tempting. She was almost at the rooftop he stood upon, the trees rustling with the slight breeze although his cloak showed no signs of feeling the effects of nature. He simply stood with his arms crossed over a black tunic as she raced to his position.

Kodachi set down mere feet from the wraith and was breathing heavily from the strain. The figure didn't move, forcing her to walk towards his position. In the pale moonlight she could make out a device jutting from his face, covering his mouth and nose, a triangular block of plastic or metal that glinted maliciously in the night. He wore a jet black skullcap that reached around his entire head and smoked glass lenses stared aimlessly into her eyes.

As she looked into his face, the black-haired gymnist felt a surge of power aroudn her, trapping her. Struggling in the vise-like grip of the man she whimpered as her efforts proved useless and he stepped towards her. Sudden pain jolted through her body as shards of glass were driven into her skull, the back lash from his mental violations. She screamed and tore at the invisible restraints as he viewed her innermost secrets and memories, at the same time forcing her to relive her life in the span of only a few moments.

"Pathetic. I believed you to be among the elite of this planet, instead I find a physically and sexually abused child." He stressed the word 'Child'. "You have no ki abilities now but the seed is there, deep down in the barren waste you call a mind." The pupil of Vader released her from the Force and let her limp body tumble down to the rooftop. "When you have a grasp of true power seek me out, girl." The black-suited man turned away and disappeared, leaving her panting and alone.


Ranma, or rather Darth Sytrax as the spirit of Vader had dubbed him, appeared in his hotel room and pulled the restraining hard durasteel mask from his head, the respirator borrowed from the HazMat pulling away via the hydraulics system he'd created and folding down to below his chin. He'd say the field test went well for his new armor. Free of the heavy armor, Ranma lay down on the cheap bed and wrestled with the idea of looking for a prostitute but decided against it, besides it would probably wake Genma from his Force induced sleep.

The old bastard had caught up to him when he'd first arrived back on Japanese shores, leading him into Nerima on 'matters of honor'. Ranma would continue to play along until he had gained enough power to reveal himself as Sith and kill his miserable excuse for a sire.