This is an alternate history (both the world in general and the Senshi in particular) continuation for both Sailor Moon and Ranma 1/2, set in a world with no space exploration, personal computers, cell phones, or anything else requiring a transistor.
This is a sequel to "A New Future – Things Changes," if you haven't read that yet you're likely to be lost.
This was originally published by me under the name Anduril at Anime Addventures, with the only changes being a few corrections in spelling and punctuation and occasional word choice. If you like the beginning of my story but think I've gone off the rails, or have your own ideas for a great branch-off, or think I'm taking too long to update and want to continue the story yourself, come to Anime Addventures and join in the fun!
I claim no ownership rights to any of the works of Rumiko Takahashi or Naoko Takeuchi, or anything in the GURPS Ogre and GURPS Tales of the Solar Patrol settings published by Steve Jackson Games. Everything else is mine.
1943: The U.S. Department of the Navy decides against funding the Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer (ENIAC) project.
1945: Budget issues and a management crisis at Bell Labs derail work into improved telecommunication switches. The transistor is never invented.
1956-1964: Humanity struggles to reach the stars, but both Soviet and American efforts to launch and sustain artificial satellites fail. No rocket design proves capable of carrying itself to orbit. The first primitive general-purpose computers appear to help solve rocketry problems, but they cannot fulfill the requirements of the space program.
1995: Final ratification of the full North American Free Trade Act, the first real step toward a continent-wide government.
1998: The "euro" becomes the official currency of the European Union, except in the U.K.
2005: Claiming economic and security concerns, the European Union annexes the Czech Republic, Hungary, Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbia, Slovakia, and Vojvodina, creating a protectorate. Russian protests are ineffectual.
2009: European Union annexes Balkan nations. Ranma is frozen in girl-form, gains protection from magical influence, and remembers past life as Princess Usagi's little sister while resisting Happosai's final attack; she leaves the dojo with Akane when the fathers insist she marry Soun.
Ranma sat on a floor mat meditating beside a large block of wood, the sounds of traffic coming through the apartment window not so much deliberately ignored as accepted as white noise while the ripples across the surface of her mind from her eagerness and frustration were also accepted as inner white noise to be acknowledged and allowed to wash through without disturbing her calm.
Finally, as her surface mind stilled and the noise from outside momentarily died down, Ranma reached out a hand, palm up, fingers lightly curled. After a few moments, balls of clear, glowing light coalesced around each finger tip, and Ranma felt a wave of satisfaction and anticipation wash through her. Carefully not resisting the wave, she waited a moment until her mind stilled again and focused on her fingertips and willed — and the balls of light deformed, squeezing and lengthening out, forming edged spikes. Struggling to maintain her calm, Ranma reached out her hand and ran her fingers horizontally across the wooden block, then reached out and tapped it with her other hand. The block collapsed into six separate pieces and the claws of light vanished back into her fingers as the pigtailed redhead sprang to her feet with a shout of exultation.
"Yes, finally!" she screamed, fist pumping the air, then took a deep breath. "Okay, Ranma, calm down," she muttered to herself. "Ya got the claws, but they aren't gonna do you much good if you can't control them or they vanish when ya get even a little excited. So, let's try this again."
Sitting back down, she again stilled her mind, allowing the excitement to wash through her and die away as she refused to hold onto it, then again reached out her hand and unconsciously smiled slightly as the claws of light formed, more easily this time. This time, rather than scratch at the shredded block, Ranma carefully closed her fingers until the clear shining claws barely touched the ball of her hand, then closed her fingers just a bit more, and nodded slightly in satisfaction as the claws sank into her hand without leaving a scratch. Opening her fingers and reabsorbing the Ki claws, she carefully examined her hand — not a hint of blood. Good, I don't need to worry about cutting myself in a fight, she thought as she bounced to her feet.
Now, let's see how far I can get with some basic katas with the claws formed. The petite redhead assumed a practice stance, only with one hand shaped into claws instead of balled into a fist or straightened into a knife-hand. After a long moment, the ki claws reformed, and Ranma grinned. Okay, that was a lot easier. Now.... she flowed into the first steps of the basic kata, only to have the claws flicker and disappear. Damn, that didn't last very long. Well, let's try again, practice makes perfect....
Ranma flowed through the last steps of the kata and grinned as she wiped the sweat from her face with one hand — the claws on her other hand were still firmly in place. Good, now to move on to both ... and the claws flickered out as the front door to the apartment opened and voices reverberated through the rooms.
"Who cares if the United States has left the UN and told it to pack up and move out?" the voice of Ranma's lover of the past two months said. "Between the permanent members' veto power and the way it was militarily useless unless the US got behind it, all it was, was a massive and very expensive debating society, anyway!"
"Perhaps," came the soft voice of Hotaru, Senshi of Silence and Akane's new friend and schoolmate, "but that debating society was important — it gave the US international cover for its actions, and don't ignore the usefulness of that debating society for defusing tensions and giving states an international forum for airing their grievances, we're going to miss that badly in years to come. Chibi-Usa, what do you think?"
"Don't look at me, I was raised in an absolute monarchy — the chaos pretty much every democracy on Earth seems to thrive on just leaves me baffled," said the third member of what their schoolmates had started calling the Three Musketeers thanks to that cheesy (but fun) American movie.
"Republics, really, not democracies," Hotaru corrected pedantically as Ranma stepped into the family room, and Akane rolled her eyes.
"Yes, Hotaru, we know we really have republics instead of democracies, but —" She chopped herself off short and her eyes lit up as she noticed Ranma standing at the other end of the room, then her school bag was on the floor and she was across the room, sweeping the redhead up into a hug as the pair melted into a deep kiss.
Hotaru just shook her head as Chibi-Usa made gagging noises. "You two are as bad as Haruka-papa and Michiru-mama," the slight, dark-haired girl asserted with a slight smile.
"Worse!" Chibi-Usa stated firmly. "At least those two have had years to settle down some, we're going to have to put up with this for months!"
The two ex-Nerimans broke off their kiss and pulled apart so that they were both grinning at their friends, though their arms had naturally snaked around each other's waist. "You're just jealous," Akane asserted haughtily, and Ranma laughed at the faces and warding gestures Hotaru and Chibi-Usa made in response.
"Hey, guys, I've got something to show you!" she exulted, and the eyes of the rest of the girls widened at the excitement in her voice.
"You did it — the Cat Fist?" Akane eagerly asked, breaking away and staring hopefully at her lover.
"A' course," Ranma said with a hint of her old cocky manner, lifted one hand, sought the calm pool at her center, and willed, and the clear, glowing claws popped into view at her fingers' ends, accompanied by the gasps of Akane's two friends and a slight frown from Akane.
"Ranma, the last time you 'went cat', the claws weren't visible," the former Tendo commented, and Ranma shrugged.
"True, I guess, ya know I can't remember what happens when I do that," she replied. "But this ain't the Cat Fist, just the same thing done a different way — I think. But the important thing is that I'm not focusing my ki through an emotion ta do this, so it shouldn't be dangerous like my ranged attacks or yer hammer — not to us, at least," she finished with a feral grin.
"Great!" Chibi-Usa enthused. "This calls for a celebration!"
"Sure," Ranma agreed, just before her smile turned knowing, adding, "after our workout."
"Aw, just once?" Chibi-Usa implored, batting her eyes at the redhead and ignoring Akane's mock-growl as Hotaru chuckled.
Ranma shook her head. "Nope, not once, except fer real emergencies," she said sternly. "Yer coming along nicely, Hotaru's gettin' pretty good with pig-stickers, and Akane's gettin' good at usin' meditation ta control her anger — but if ya start makin' excuses ta avoid workin' out, the next thing ya know yer not workin' out at all, and then everything you've gained drains away. So get changed inta yer workout clothes, an' after we're done we'll head down ta the Crown Arcade fer ice cream, my treat! Well, actually Nabiki's treat, but my allowance."
Akane laughed at Chibi-Usa's woebegone look. "Sorry, Usa, Ranma's used the puppy dog eyes so much herself she's built up an immunity. Of course, that means we'll get plenty of ice cream after practice, so let's get it done." She disappeared down the hallway toward the bedroom she shared with Ranma, and the other two dropped their schoolbags and followed.
* * * * *
Sailor Uranus stumbled backwards, the gore-encrusted Space Sword held in front of her in one hand and the other hand pressed against her side, trying to staunch the blood pulsing from a slowly healing wound, as the winged, scaled, clawed, tentacled horse-sized thing crashed to the street in front of her. Managing to avoid falling on her ass, the blond short-haired Senshi took something vaguely resembling a defensive stance and waited, but the monster stayed down and finally she lost patience and approached it. Preparing to throw herself backward, she poked it with her sword, then when it didn't move thrust the blade in halfway to the hilt — nothing, it was finally dead.
Uranus dropped to her knees, gasping for air, then looked frantically around. Where's Michiru? The last I saw she'd been knocked to the right ... There was a hole in the shoe store's wall, maybe — She used the Space Sword like a cane to lever herself to her feet and hobbled over toward the hole, then sagged in relief as the dust-covered, disheveled green-haired Senshi of the Deeps appeared in the hole, hands raised for an attack as she scanned the street. She lowered her arms at the sight of the dead creature, slowly clambered through the hole she'd created, and hastily hobbled over to her lover.
"Uranus, are you all right?" she asked concernedly, and Uranus shrugged.
"Any fight you can walk away from — I'll be fine once this wound heals. Just remind me to apologize to Ranma for blowing her off when she insisted I learn something of how to use my sword — how did she put it? — 'like a sword, not a table leg ya grabbed in a barroom brawl'."
Neptune just shook her head with a laugh, then pulled the arm with the sword over her shoulders and helped Uranus over to sit on what used to be a car. Sitting down next to her, Neptune looked back at the battlefield and frowned. "Something isn't right," she mused, and Uranus looked around at the torn up street, shattered storefront windows, holed walls, damaged cars and pieces of what used to be cars, torn-up street signs and knocked over poles.
"Looks normal to me," she said with a shrug.
"Except for one thing — the youma, it isn't disintegrating, it's just lying there."
"Hmm, you're right," Uranus mused, staring at the corpse that was obviously not going anywhere anytime soon — at least, not without some help. "Well, if it isn't disintegrating it isn't a youma, which means it must be the first of the new wave Pluto told us about. If this was just the first and weakest, we're going to be in for a real fight this time." With a groan, she levered herself back to her feet. "Come on, let's get out of here before the authorities show up and let the others know."
* * * * *
Chibi-Usa and Hotaru stared in awe at the heaped-up dishes of ice cream Ranma was carrying over to the table while Akane just shook her head with a fond smile. "Ranma, it's been years and I still can't believe how much you can scam from servers," she said, and Ranma laughed.
"It's the Cute Girl Style, don't ya know?" the redhead said, giving the three a look that made their hearts melt, then adding an impish grin.
"Well, I'm not going to complain about the results," Hotaru murmured, grabbing a spoon as Ranma placed one of the dishes in front of her and Chibi-Usa before sliding in next to Akane and putting the other dish between them.
A few minutes and half a bowl of ice cream later, Chibi-Usa leaned back and sighed with pleasure, then looked over at Ranma. "Hey Ranma, you have that disappear-into-thin-air thing, you've figured out how to use ki to sense all living things around you, and now you have the Cat Claws, are you going to join the Senshi's fights?" she asked, and Ranma perked up.
"Of course!" she said firmly, missing the look of concern that flashed across Akane's face. "It's a little early yet, I have to make sure I can stay in control well enough ta keep the claws up in a fight, but once I'm sure I won't just be a target, there's no way I'm lettin' you guys and big sis go inta a fight without me!"
"Well, in that case you're going to need a costume!" Chibi-Usa stated firmly, and Ranma blanched while Hotaru perked up.
"Right!" the normally soft-spoken girl agreed with unusual vehemence.
Akane sighed and shrugged. If it's going to be, I might as well join the fun! "Well, I suppose the first question is how long the skirt should be," she said, giving Ranma a glance out of the corner of her eyes and grinning as Ranma's face went even whiter.
"Skirt?" the redhead choked out, and Chibi-Usa nodded agreement.
"Absolutely! There's no way we're going to get you into a fuku — and what was Grandmother thinking when she signed off on those things, anyway? — but if you're going to be affiliated with the Senshi you should look at least a little like them. Now, I'm thinking a knee-length black skirt with bicycle shorts underneath...."
Ranma and Akane lay spooned together in the extra-large bed they shared, Akane pressed up against Ranma's back, listening as the front door to the apartment opened. There was a thump Akane assumed was a book bag hitting the floor, then the occasional creak of a floorboard along with the footsteps approaching their room. She closed her eyes as their bedroom door opened slightly and a thin bar of light fell across the bed, and opening her eyes a crack she could see a partial silhouette of her older sister in the door for a moment before the door closed again and she heard Nabiki try to quietly walk back to the kitchen for a late supper. Chuckling softly, Akane whispered, "Isn't it sweet, how Nabiki checks on us every time she gets home late from the infomat? And that seems to be more often than not, lately — maybe we should look into buying one for her personal use."
"I guess, if ya got a small fortune tucked away somewhere," came Ranma's gruff reply, and Akane sighed.
"Ranma, you aren't really still upset about the costume we're designing for you, are you? You know you don't have to wear it unless you want to."
Ranma laughed sharply, then cut herself off to avoid attracting Nabiki's attention. "Yeah, right," she said, "like I'm gonna refuse to wear it after Usa and Hotaru go through the effort of making it. I just hope it doesn't look too ridiculous."
"Well, I think it'll look pretty good. And even if it doesn't, at least you'll be able to fight, even if you do look ridiculous. I wish ... Ranma, how long do you think it'll be before I'm safe to teach the Cat Claw to?"
Ranma stiffened, then turned in the bed to face Akane and whispered, "Yer safe ta teach it to right now, any time ya lose yer temper the claws'll disappear. What's not safe is fer ya to go inta a fight depending on them."
"So how long until I can depend on them?"
"I don't know," Ranma admitted. "It's up ta you. If ya keep it up at as ya are I'd say in a couple a' months, but I can't promise anything. And if ya start tryin' ta hurry things up yer just gonna make it take longer."
"I know, but this isn't going to be like most of the fights we had in Nerima, the thought of you going into a life or death fight without me ..." Akane's voice choked up, and Ranma pulled her into a one-armed hug.
"Yeah, I know — the thought a' you goin' inta a fight without me scares me, too. We'll just have to see what happens. Now, ya got school in the morning, ya need ta get ta sleep. Love ya, Tomboy."
Akane yawned, then returned Ranma's hug. "Love you, Baka, good night."
So, on to the next story arc! Jerry Unipeg, dglsprincess105, thanks for the good word on the previous arc's last chapter, and no, sorry but this isn't going to be an OMH! crossover. I included Belldandy to provide some more background and depth for Setsuna, though Belldandy may show up from time to time when Setsuna feels the need to unburden herself (not something that's likely to happen often).
SFBKludge, I hope you don't think the two-month jump is a cop-out on the character development, with the plot I came up with, the story of the immediate aftermath would be all drama and no action, and that would have taken too long to get to the story I want to tell. But all is not quite well for Ranma however she looks here, and that'll be showing up a bit in future chapters. If anyone wants to pick up that story, the last episode of "A New Future – Things Change" was posted August 31, 2009, at Anime Addventures. The available options are:
1) So, on to the next day.
2) Does anyone want to tell the tragedy of Lady Nimue of Camelot?
3) Or how about the happier story of "Amaterasu's" first meeting with Yosho?
4) How are the authorities reacting to the day's events?
5) The possibilities are boundless!
One thing I forgot to mention earlier on dglsprincess105's comment on chapter 12, Nodoka was a happy accident – like Nabiki, I wrote her the way I did because the plot I came up with called for it without worrying about how well it worked canonically. However, looking over when she first showed up especially, I think that the canon Nodoka would react pretty much as she did here – she would have enforced the contract if she felt it justified, but really didn't like the idea and would accept reasonable excuse for voiding the contract given the opportunity, or even approximately reasonable.
I've found that I enjoy a level of discussion and debate for my stories that isn't practical for reviews and PMs, so I set up a forum for anyone that wants to discuss them. I don't really expect much activity there, but for anyone that wants to ask more detailed questions or get into a give-and-take as to what's wrong with what I come up with, that's the place to do it.