Prologue - Power Plays and Political Ambitions
Louisiana Presidential Palace, Presidential Office – 6:00 PM Central Time, Wednesday, March 25, 2044
"Yuka, I fear that John (Oil Baron John Twoeagles) is up to something since his invitation for both Sayuri and me to visit his Oklahoma ranch is a little too good to be true." President Sanosuke Nonoka had told his trusted Under Secretary of Energy and hatchet woman, Yuka Tsukihime. "This is especially worrying since there are reports of storm surges in Oklahoma in the next two weeks. I smell a well planned trap."
The silver haired president was visibly walking back and forth in his carpeted room with his arms swinging like a pendulum with each taken step.
His head had turned this way and that as he tried to focus on anything that could ease his growing apprehension.
On the other hand, his guest ,as well as a member of his cabinet, was sitting comfortably in the room's single light green leather couch watching her boss impassively.
Yuka was even thinking about telling Presidential Housekeeping that they would need a brand new Olefin woven carpet for the President's office in the next few days.
The light brunette had never even noticed that she was also unconsciously twirling a lock of her off the shoulder sandy hair as she sat there in the couch.
Her boss' crocodile leather foot ware was already making its mark on the poor carpet. The said guest could already see the various creases caused by the never ending march of the silver haired dignitary in only two directions.
"Well sir, we cannot turn his offer down since it would be bad for publicity and all." Yuka said with a prominent frown that was alien to her usually smiling face. "Still, what do you want me to do?"
"I want you to send an encoded e-mail message to Brigadier General Soun Tendou," President Nonoka said as he now checked the whole room for any electronic bugs to further dispel his worry from being overthrown.
After a brief pause, he then added. "Tell him that if both my daughter and I have not come back here by Friday morning, he is to activate the Omega Force immediately and coordinate with the other Oil Barons for a concerted attack on Twoeagle's ancestral estate."
Yuka was taken aback by this sudden order from her boss; her whole body (all five foot three inches of it) was actually frozen with shock.
"Sir, with all due respect, I cannot just ask for the Omega Force to just barge in Twoeagle's palatial home without any proof of wrongdoing."
"I know that, but I already have my misgivings with John's politicking in Oklahoma City." The president said with a bit of anger noticeable in his raspy voice. "I already asked Jack (US 2 President Burke) for some advise should that bastard try anything underhanded against me and he told me that he will get Soun to help me out."
"I understand, Sir." Yuka bowed slightly before heading for the door. "By the way, can I also send it to my old high school classmate –Akane Saotome?"
"You mean Soun's youngest daughter?" The president said as he had twirled his greying handlebar mustache and flipped over the information in his head. "Alright, do it. I've heard that she and her husband are the team's tactical commanders."
"Thank you, sir." Yuka was about to close the door on the way out when the president also told her to take a three week vacation with her family.
She was puzzled at the order given until she realized that both her husband and daughter could be in danger once the political supporters of Twoeagles in Louisiana caught wind of this particular conversation.
Later that night, in the main bedroom of the Tsukihime mansion in the northern suburbs of Baton Rouge, Yuka had told her husband that they and their six year old daughter were all taking a three week vacation starting the very next day.
She had met her young daughter at the door and the young lass had joined her for a late dinner. Hana had listened patiently while her mother was telling her that they would take a weeks vacation starting the next day.
"Mom, is this connected to the bad things that Dad and I see on the news?" Hana had asked while Yuka was escorting her to her room.
'Smart girl,' Yuka had thought before providing her answer. "Yes, dear. Things are not going to well at work and Grandpa Sanosuke has told us to take a week off. Thankfully, your school is on Spring Break."
"I understand, Mom." Hana was already laying down on her bed. "Good night."
"Good night, sweetie." Yuka said in reply as she had tucked in her only child and kissed her on the forehead.
The spent mother then carefully turned off the lights and left the room before heading towards the bathroom.
Yuka had just changed to her silk nightgown upon entering the main bedroom with a bit of apprehension before telling the news to her husband.
Her husband, Daisuke had looked up from the stapled papers that he was reading with his eyebrows raised upon his wife's arrival. In response, he had sat up on his side of the double bed and patted the empty bedside.
Daisuke himself could not afford to take a vacation now since work was piling up on his side of the fence as Chief of Presidential Security especially since the President and First Daughter of Louisiana was scheduled for a visit to nearby Oklahoma in the next few days.
"Honey, if I could just leave the job to my men, I would love to take a vacation with you and Hana." He said with a little whine escaping from his lips. "But I cannot just leave them in charge of a state visit in Oklahoma of all places. I promised the boss that I'll do a good job of guarding him and his successor until I retire."
"Daisuke!" Yuka had tried to keep her voice down so as not to wake up her only daughter who was sleeping in the next room. "It was President Nonoka who told us to take that vacation."
"Alright, alright. If the boss man himself wants us to take a vacation, I'll take the damn vacation!" Daisuke then lowered his voice upon realizing that his daughter would hear him and simply beckoned his wife of eight years to sit down on her side of the bed with his left hand. "I'm just worried that he and Sayuri would be waist deep in trouble if I'm not there with them."
"Me too, dear." Yuka said as she had hugged her half naked husband and placed her head on his bare right shoulder. "Me too."
The next day, the Tsukimori family took the 10:30 AM flight to Austin, Texas. Sayuri had ordered the tickets on line the night before thorough a good friend of hers in the ticketing office of the national airline as soon as she got home.
She did have to tell her friend the real reason though as soon as the crisis is over as promised in return for the given tickets.
As soon as the Tsukihime family had arrived at their vacation home in Barton Hills around 1:00 PM, Yuka had pulled her husband into their master bedroom while leaving their six year old daughter- Hana to their butler for a few minutes.
While Yuka was making the coded e-mail to the Pentagon in the room's personal computer, she told Daisuke the true reason for their sudden vacation.
She then had to calm him down when he had a brief fit about joining the Presidential entourage bound for Oklahoma and kicking some Sooner butt, political scandal or no.
"Daisuke honey, you do realize that he can't afford to lose you. Hell, Hanna and I can't afford to lose you just so you could prove to everyone that you're indispensable as Chief of Security." Yuka was saying barely above a whisper as she held the taller man in a tight hug, her pale face leaning on his white polo shirt.
The black haired man had relented when he saw the droplets of clear liquid coming from his wife's eyes as they stained his favourite polo shirt.
"I-I'm sorry dear. It's just really frustrating that I could actually do something for the good of Louisiana and then be told to let some other guys do it for me." He said with genuine contrite in his tone.
"Don't worry, dear. The Omega Force will take care of this problem." Yuka had briefly looked up at her husband's face and again buried her face in his chest area. Her fingers made small circles in the brunet's chest as she spoke.
"The Omega Force, huh?" The brunet's chapped lips broke into a smile upon hearing the famous group's name as well as his wife's burning touch. "Good thing, my old duelling buddy- Ranma Saotome is in that team along with his wife-Akane. I'll bet my ol' cowboy boots that John Twoeagles will simmer beautifully like a freshly barbequed char-broiled steak when that team tears his well laid plans apart."
Meanwhile, in Washington D.C., a forty something Asian man in full dress uniform with cropped black hair was just arriving at his destination – The White House.
The man then told the enlisted man who drove the black Hummer had ridden in to take a break for an hour or so before he was frisked by the Secret Service personnel who were standing guard with the US Park Police in the front of the famous building.
The man- Brigadier General Soun Tendou had already received the e-mail from Yuka the night before and had immediately rounded up the Omega Force before telling them to meet him at Edward's Air Base later that afternoon.
For now, he was to talk with President John Burke and the Oil Barons on how to stop John Twoeagles' plans to take over Louisiana and covertly use his new found position to threaten both the other Oil Barons and the United States 2.
After he entered the Diplomatic Reception Room, Soun was escorted by two Secret Service agents to the stairway leading to the basement where the Situation Room is located.
The one star general was frisked for the second time by some CIA agents before he had entered the room itself.
From what he remembered, there were six flat panel display televisions, four of them were placed on the longer sides while two on the shorter sides, surrounding the room itself.
This had made it possible for them to continue the meeting even if one of them were to be stuck in another part of the country.
The US 2 President – Jack Burke had once used this technology to talk with Soun on the progress of the first mission of the Omega Force years ago.
At the time, the Omega Force commander was in an Army base nearest to the said group's objective that he had used to coordinate his team's actions through the base's microwave communication system.
As soon as he had entered the Situation Room, Soun was immediately approached by a few of the Oil Barons who were also called by the President Burke for a secret meeting.
An Oil Baron named Jason McGregor met him first followed by Satoshi Yamamoto. The latter was delighted to see yet another American with Japanese blood running through his thin veins.
The rest of the Oil Barons were waiting for them at the table in the center of the main room. The President himself had asked the Omega Force commander to sit by his right side before starting the introductions.
After exchanging pleasantries, the assembled bigwigs had discussed that it is best that if the worst case scenario should happen, then they would use a covert military team (possibly the Omega Force itself) to assassinate the bastard.
"Mr. President, I do hope that this situation would not warrant such rash actions since the public could be thrown into a panic and it would also distort our public relations image to world in general," The youngest Oil Baron at only twenty seven - Miss Eva Suarez had said quietly.
"Miss Suarez, considerin' what Johnny's been sayin' in public is already tarnishin' our general image." Mr. Andrew King said as he had risen to his full height of six foot three inches, his large scarred black hands hitting the desk with a slam.
Seeing that his audience was puzzled with his spoke words, King continued. "He's been callin' me a nigger and other derogatory terms to my face. Granted that it is not justification for a kill, it iz still a good enough reason ta remain a good distance away from him. I 'ave also been told that he is very interested in mine and Steve's oil refineries and rigs fer some time now."
The aforementioned Oil Baron who is part Cuban and part American had also stood up to address his concerns against Twoeagles. "What Andrew said is true; John is trying to monopolize the oil industry by buying us out- one by one. With him as the big banana in Louisiana, he can actually do it with little trouble if there is any at all."
After a pause of breath, he continued. "We 'ave to stop him before his plans would even bear fruit or it would be too late."
"Gentlemen, Eva is only askin' that we don't act too rashly." Jason McGregor had also stood up in defense of his fellow Texan and Aggie (alumni of Texas A&M University).
"Alright, that is enough out of the four of you. Now sit down or I'll throw you out of this office right now," President Burke said with a firm and commanding tone as he too had stood up from his end of the technologically advanced situation table and slammed his tanned hands on the said table's glass top.
"What we are discussing here is the plan of action for Soun here to be done by his team," Jack Burke added as he had waited for the quarreling Barons to sit down before he himself did. "For the moment, assassination is out of the question unless the situation warrants for it. Of course, none of us wanted a civil war to break out in your respective countries so we have to at least contain whatever action Twoeagles is willing to take before it gets out of hand. Am I clear in this, people?"
"Yes," Everybody else said meekly in unison.
"Alright, now let us continue with the meeting. What would you suggest we do when Twoeagles does announce his plans – militaristic or not – to the public in his wedding reception." The president said in a calmer voice, relieved that the heated situation earlier was easily defused.
"My suggestion, Mr. President is to place a majority of our forces in the forests and highlands near his palatial ranch and have them on standby for any movement of his forces." Satoshi Yamamoto had said in an evenly toned voice since he too was holding back his anger at his fellow Oklahoman Oil Baron. "The Omega Force will rescue the kidnapped President and First Daughter with us providing the needed cover in their escape."
"I second the proposal," Steve said as he had raised his right hand almost immediately.
"I'll third it since it would keep Ol' Man Johnny on his toes if and when he would use his private army haphazardly," Jason said while he and the other men across the table had smiled at each other.
"Anyone here who would disagree, raise your hands." Burke said as he looked at the assembled group of influential people impassively. Not one hand was raised in the spoken request.
"Well then, this meeting is adjourned. Thank you for your time, Gentlemen… and Lady." President Burke said as he stood up and shook the visitors' hands as the latter group were leaving the room.
After the Oil Barons had left, the president had called the mulling Soun over to follow him into the Oval Office, two floors above.
Along the way, Burke had told him of his last meeting with President Nonoka in the said office and how the older man was adamant about using a covert military force to contain whatever political turmoil would be stirred up in Baton Rouge.
After the duo had entered the office and the guards had closed the door, Burke had immediately headed for his desk and motioned the taller man to follow him.
"Soun, the success of this operation depends on you and your team, so be very careful out there." The president began as he had put his hand on the other man's frail left shoulder. "I personally cannot bring the Delta Force or any military unit there for obvious reasons so I'll leave this one to you."
"I won't disappoint you, sir." Soun said as he had given his commander in chief a quick salute before turning around smartly and heading for the door.
Edwards Air Force Base Meeting Room – 4:00 PM Eastern Time, March 26, 2043
Soun was now walking back and forth on the wooden podium as he had waited for the remaining members of the Omega Force to show up in this meeting.
Both Ranma and Akane had shown up early along with the members "borrowed" from Mithril and Texas Intelligence. All of them were already sitting down in the aluminium chairs placed between the podium and the door.
On the other hand, his favourite grandson- Ryu Saotome was currently playing hide and seek with his other men as well as the other enlisted personnel in the hanger.
Only the newly recruited civilians have not arrived yet but Soun could understand why since they have their own businesses to take care of.
After only fifteen minutes did the rest of the team arrive and the briefing could actually begin in earnest.
"Gentlemen…and Ladies, I have called you up since we have a very hot mission in our hands." Soun said as he had began his prepared speech. "We have reason to believe that both the President and First Daughter of Louisiana would be held against their own will by a certain Oklahoman Oil Baron named John Twoeagles."
"Sir, unless there is proof that they are actually being held hostage, we cannot move a single muscle against Twoeagles and his henchmen without getting arrested ourselves." Koji Karakuchi said from his seat at the front row.
Judging from everyone else's expressions, the owner of Karakuchi Industries had said their own thoughts out loud.
"I know that, Koji. For now, we will just prepare our assault and coordinate it with our allies, the other Oil Barons. I have already prepared the mission parameters for all of you and my men will give them to you as soon as you board your respective Hercules transport planes. Just read it thoroughly on your way to your respective destinations."
"Wait, Dad. Please explain what you mean by respective destinations." Akane had said in reply since she was puzzled by the last statement.
"Akane, I want you to talk with your friend- Yuka Tsukihime in Austin at noon next Monday about your upcoming role in this mission. She will also take care of Ryu for the time being as her vacation house is one of the safest places for him at the moment," Soun then told his youngest daughter as he had placed a hand on her armoured shoulder.
Ranma had already left to pick up his only child on his father in law's request.
"I will also send some of the other team members with you so that Twoeagles' intelligence would be confused as to our real intentions," The one star general had added as soon as he had seen his son in law and grandson return to the room.
Turning to rest of the team, Soun continued. "As for those of you who are not included in my daughter's entourage, your plane will land in the small airport near our target where the Oil Barons' forces are similarly converged. The other Hercules will follow shortly after dropping off its passengers and a required recharge."
After a brief pause to catch his breath, Soun then added. "Koji, you and your wife will be joining me and Kimiko along with the little ones in a third Hercules with a brief stopover in Atlanta and Palestine. After we are dropped off in Texas, it will join its sister ships' in the small airport that I have mentioned earlier."
After glancing at his watch, he said. "Are there any other questions?"
When no one answered, he smiled widely. "Good, now let's move out."
In the air routes over the nation of Texas – 9:30 PM Central Time, same day
Onboard one of the three modified C-130J-30 Super Hercules planes that was bound for the Texas Naval Guard Airfield, Akane had thought about the reason why she was separated from her husband and about half of the team.
At the very least, she had company in the form of the red hot couple for four years straight – Takuya and Izumi Kanbarra, their mutual chubby friend - Junpei Shibayama, Ikki Tenryou and his wife of six years – Arika Tenryou, and finally, the newest recruits of the team – Special Agents Luke and Tear fon Fabre.
Her six year old son, Ryu was asleep on her lap for the whole trip, his normally light blue eyes hidden by its thin brown curtains.
It was Luke and Tear who approached her from their own steel seats in the rear of the plane.
"Ma'am, is anything the matter?" The red headed agent said in low tones as he had sat on Akane's left, careful not to let his worry be passed on to the other members of the team sleeping behind them as well as not to awaken the young lad that was dozing on his superior's armoured lap.
Akane could barely hear him above the right wing propeller's droning sound just outside. Tear had sat on the older woman's right, her angular face also filled with worry for her new commander.
"No, Luke. I'm just puzzled as to why we had been sent on different planes," The blue haired woman said to the younger couple in hushed tones.
"Well, Ma'am. It is probable that we can easily deflect any suspicion on our activities than if we had all gone in one location," Tear had also made her point while talking in the same manner as her commander. "Also, it would be very dangerous for Ryou here to join us in the coming rescue attempt."
"True, but for most of us, it would only mean a longer trip by car just to join in the fireworks."
"I'm alright with that, Ma'am since we can visit Mom and our two lovable tots before heading over to Twoeagle's place. We could just say that we were visiting family there," Luke answered plainly, although there was a sense of pride when he spoke about his and Tear's two kids.
"Ok, but I still worry for Ranma and the others though." Akane had trouble masking her anxiety. "They're practically in enemy territory right now."
"At least, they're with our allies. As for us, we'd be pretty much alone for the most part." Luke had tried once again to reassure his commander that everything would be alright.
"Thanks for your concern, Luke…you too, Tear. I think I know what you guys mean. For now, let's take a brief nap since we have a long week ahead of us." Akane said as she had absently brushed her son's dark brown hair from his forehead with her left hand as she playfully shooed her subordinates with her other hand.
She had shared a single thought with Yuka who was standing in the balcony leading from the bedroom she shared with her husband and staring at the clear night sky.
'John Twoeagles, you've just met your match.'