Macross is owned by or licensed to lots of people - Tatsunoko Studios, Harmony Gold, Studio Nue, Streamline Video...note that none of them are me.

The same can be said of Ranma 1/2 - Rumiko Takahashi, Kitty, Shonen Sunday Comics, Viz Video. Not me.

I didn't create any of them, and I certainly do not own them. Any use of them in this story is meant as nothing more than tribute. Please don't sue me.

Wednesday's Child

Prologue: A Shattering Of Shop Windows

21 June, 1996

"I thought you were the apolitical type, Ranma." Akane was walking backwards, the better to talk to her husband.

Ranma snorted. "Apolitical. Generally speakin', Akane, I'd say you're just about right there. Politics don't mean squat to me, really."

"But you really tore a strip out of Daddy."

"You mean about those anti-unification guys?" Ranma shrugged. "We live in a democracy, right? So everyone's got a right to say what they please. But the government has decided that Japan is joinin' the United Earth Government, and the people elected that government. So they had their say."

"That's what Daddy said." Akane grinned.

"No, he said that the people who oppose the UEG should all be rounded up as traitors. I don't agree. There's other countries that are not joinin'. They can always move there."

"Just kick them out?"

"Look, Akane." He sighed. "I'm a firm believer in live an' let live, all right? These guys don't agree with joinin' a world government. Fine. That's their choice, and I don't think we should be pressurin' them into it. But the government of Japan is responsible for the islands, and they've chosen to join. That's just the way it is, and I don't think that they should kick against it. Ya can't fight city hall, right?"

"Do you agree with Japan joining?"

"Not really." He shrugged. "I don't think that a planet-wide government will be better. But I grew up around small villages that were largely self-governing. Most times, they were technically under the control of a larger government, but me and Pops found many villages that weren't bothered by the Japanese government, or the Chinese government."

"You're not making a whole lot of sense here."

Ranma sighed, and sat down on a nearby bench. "Look, I'm just sayin' that people should be free to do what they want. If they don't want to be under this umbrella government, then they should not be. Fine. No problems. But the anti-unification groups in Japan are tryin' to force those people who want unification to not have it, and the pro-unification groups - includin' the government - are tryin' to force unification on those who don't. There's gotta be some kinda compromise."

"Compromises never make anyone happy." She sat down next to her husband. "Would you have accepted a compromise involving me, Shampoo and Ukyo?"

He shook his head. "No. Maybe not a compromise, but...Damn. Politics is all confusin'."

Akane giggled. "Maybe you should stick to martial arts."

"Guess so."

"And on that note..." Akane jumped up from her seat. "I'd better get the groceries. Kasumi won't be happy if we're late with them." She paused, and glanced over her shoulder. "And actually, I've gotta get some stuff from the shop over here."

Ranma looked up. "Which shop? Oh, the lingerie shop. Okay, I'll be right here when you get back."

She giggled. "Not coming in with me? I'm sure you could use an item or two as well, for when you're in girl form. I'll find you some cold water."

"Forget it!" He scowled. "Nabiki will just wanna take pictures of me in it."

"Spoilsport." She turned and walked across the street. Ranma leaned back in the bench and sighed.

Bein' married is just about as hard as not bein' married. He snorted. But at least I don't have every girl in Nerima chasin' me anymore. Instead, I got occupational hazards like tryin' to teach the Tomboy to cook, and her tryin' to get me into girls' underwear.

He glanced up as his danger sense pinged. No loony martial artists, no crazed Amazons, just a guy in a trenchcoat goin' into the store-- He frowned. Why's a guy going into that store? In a trenchcoat? Is he a flasher?

Suddenly, his danger sense went into overdrive, and he jumped to his feet. "Akane--"

The pressure wave hit him first. By definition, the pressure wave of an explosion exceeds the speed of sound. From a large enough explosion, it can be seen, a wall of white sound, billowing out from the target. This explosion was not very large, but Ranma's senses had long been superhuman, and he saw it rippling towards him, slamming him into the chain-link fence alongside the canal.

Next came the shrapnel. Supersonic at first, the fragments had lost speed rapidly due to air resistance. He was pelted with shards of broken glass and splintered wood. His martial arts training had toughened him to casual damage, and neither the pressure wave nor the fragments caused any lasting damage, but he was left crumpled at the base of the fence, bleeding from hundreds of small cuts.

He staggered to his feet, and stared in horror at the burning building.

The building his wife had just entered.

"Responsibility for the blast was claimed by the Free Japan Alliance, a group previously known for civil disobedience. Police have been unable to find the leaders of the FJA, but have brought in several members for questioning. Again, six people were killed in a suicide bombing in downtown Nerima--

Ranma undid the tie, dropped it on their bed, then shrugged out of the jacket. Less than a month since I last wore this suit...to our weddin'. She's gone.

He sat down on the bed, dropped his face into his hands.

All we've been through. I can't believe that something like this could take her from me.

There was a knock at the door. He ignored it, but the door opened anyway.


"Yeah, Nabiki?"

She crossed the room, sat down next to him. "How are you doing?"

"How the hell do you think I'm doin'?" He calmed himself. "Sorry, Nabiki. I just--"

"I know." She sighed. "God, it just seemed so...random. I mean, you protected her from princes intent on kidnapping her, random crazy people, even Safuron..."

"I shoulda been able to protect her from this."

"There was no way you could have known."

"But I did. Almost." He looked up. "I saw the guy, and I got the idea that there was somethin' wrong with him. But I figured he was just a pervert, and Akane's good at dealin' with perverts."

"But you--"

"I failed her!" He stood up angrily. "I let her die!"

"You couldn't have known!" Nabiki was yelling at him now. "Dammit, Ranma, you're not a superman. You can't be everywhere. You protected her as best you could, and if you'd tried more, she would have hated it. You know that! Why are you being so hard on yourself?"

"Because protectin' her was my job. Remember?"

"You're angry at yourself because you failed to protect her? Don't be stupid!" Nabiki scowled at him. "Even Daddy doesn't blame you, and you know he'd normally be the first to do so. Be angry at the terrorists, not at yourself."

He calmed himself, and looked at her. "The terrorists?"

"Don't you watch the news? It was the anti-unification terrorists who killed her. They claimed that they sent the suicide bomber."


Nabiki took a step back, a look of fear on her face. "Ranma--"

"They killed her."

He turned suddenly, grabbed his pack, and started filling it.

"What are you thinking, Ranma."

"I'm going to get them. I'll make them pay."

"Ranma, no." She put a hand on his arm. "You can't go after them yourself. We have police, and soldiers, to do that."

"Good idea." He turned, and hefted the pack. "Nabiki, I'm leavin'. Tell Mom I'll miss her, but I gotta do this before I change my mind."

"Do what?"

"Get revenge. No." He shook his head. "Not revenge. Justice. I can't be a cop. So I'll have to be a soldier."