Disclaimer: I don't own Love Hina, Ken Akamatsu does. I also don't own Azumanga Daioh, Metal Gear Solid, Ranma 1/2, Sailor Moon or any other animes that might show up here. Please don't sue.
"You know this'll be dangerous, right?" "I know…" "Very dangerous… Your gift will be putting you into harm's way, every time." "I know…" "And you signed up because of a mistake? So again, why are you here?" "… I made a promise, once upon a time, to get into Tokyo University… I also made a promise to always do the right thing. And this will let me keep both." "Or kill you. You'll be facing terrorists, demons, monsters, magical girls gone bad, the worst of technology and magic's unholy union, and you still wanna do this job?" "That all? I might as well call it a vacation…"
"Very dangerous… Your gift will be putting you into harm's way, every time."
"And you signed up because of a mistake? So again, why are you here?"
"… I made a promise, once upon a time, to get into Tokyo University… I also made a promise to always do the right thing. And this will let me keep both."
"Or kill you. You'll be facing terrorists, demons, monsters, magical girls gone bad, the worst of technology and magic's unholy union, and you still wanna do this job?"
"That all? I might as well call it a vacation…"
LOVE RONIN SOLID
Tactical Espionage Romantic Comedy
By Andrew J. Talon
Keitaro rose from the foliage, the engines of the plane a distant memory. He set about packing his parachute into his pack, and sealed it up quickly. The flight mask went next, tucked into his pack. He looked about the winter forest, eyes narrowed. Nothing he could hear or sense but animals.
His earpiece beeped twice.
He kneeled down and tapped it.
"You made the drop safely?" Asked Haitani on the other end.
"Okay! Here's the best part," Shirai said, and Keitaro could hear the grin in his voice. "Codenames! For the duration of this mission, you are Ronin. You are not to use your real name, or our reals names either."
"Ronin huh? That your idea?" Keitaro asked dryly.
"It can be taken in either sense of the word," Haitani replied. "Ah, right, the Colonel's on now. Switching channels."
A few moments later, and the voice of his commanding officer came on.
"Colonel, this is Ronin," Keitaro replied.
"Ronin, this is the Colonel. Just refer to me by my rank and nothing else."
"Keep in mind, this mission is covert and solo. You will have no reinforcements. If you are caught, any knowledge of your activities or existence will be disavowed by the United Nations and both the US and Japanese governments. You will not be rescued."
Keitaro gulped, but steeled his resolve.
"Then I won't get caught."
"Good to hear Ronin. Now, here's the rest of your support team. Shotakon and Lennon will be your technical advisors. Ask them any questions on your gear or the technology and equipment of the enemy."
The channel switched, and Keitaro heard Shirai on it.
"Shotakon?! Colonel, come on, really?"
Keitaro chuckled. "It fits you though, Shirai."
"And Lennon? Just because of the flower?" Haitani complained.
"Among other things," Keitaro said. Shirai huffed.
"Yeah yeah, laugh it up... All right Ronin. Anything you want to know about computers, weapons, or vehicles, you ask us."
"Midas will be your cultural and nature expert. He knows everything that's worth anything around, including what you can catch for your own food," the colonel cut in.
"Right Ronin, just ask me and I'll tell you what you need to know. Wouldn't want you choking to death on a mushroom you ate out of stupidity," Kentaro's smirking voice came over the radio. Keitaro rolled his eyes.
"Thanks for the concern..."
"Finally, we have Athena. She will be your advisor on any magitech, demons, or other supernatural things you might encounter," the Colonel said.
"Hello Ronin. How are you?"
Keitaro smiled. That was Tsuruko-She'd helped him train and had always had time for him at the base. Even if she'd knocked him around, she'd always done it with the intention of making him stronger.
"Just fine Athena," he said. He looked around. "All right... What are we calling this mission?"
"Just call this Maidenhead Mission," the Colonel said. "It's the first time for all of us in a way."
Keitaro sweatdropped. "Maidenhead?"
"My, aren't we being daring, Colonel," Tsuruko said with a smile in her voice. "It's fortunate this is a secret mission-Think of the scandal."
"It has to!" Shotakon snickered.
Keitaro sighed, and pulled out his gun. He checked it, nodded, and checked his knife.
"Right... Commencing..." He sighed. "Maidenhead Mission..."
"Take it slow, Ronin. Don't rush into anything!" Lennon laughed. Keitaro glowered and set out into the forest.
Perverts, all of them...
Naru sighed as she sat at her table. She couldn't focus on studying, not now.
"Stupid idiot," she mumbled, looking over at the empty spot across the table.
Why, why, why did he have to do this? Stupid, stupid, stupid stubborn idiot! He made a promise to her-to her!
To go to Toudai with her... So what if she didn't make it with him when they were kids, she wanted him to be hers. But now... Now he was somewhere he couldn't tell her. Not that she'd accepted any of his emails... Read any of his letters.
She wouldn't... If he was dead, then she'd...
She sighed, and shoved her textbooks away. She couldn't focus. She couldn't go talk to Kitsune either.
"You're so stubborn! He's out there, maybe getting himself killed, and what are you doing? Not writing back! You always do this Naru, you cut yourself off when you're angry and hurt... Why can't you just admit it?"
She rubbed her eyes, and looked out her window. She sighed heavily.
Stupid... Stupid Keitaro...
She wouldn't say it... Not until he was back, at least... And only after beating him up for worrying her so much...
You'd better not die...
Keitaro moved silently through the underbrush, his special boots making nearly no sound as he passed over the snow. A little ki technique let him keep from breaking it, increasing his speed.
This all took a lot of concentration, on top of paying attention to his surroundings. Training had been hell-Every time he had made a sound, he was hit by Hikan Zankusen from Tsuruko or gunfire from the Colonel.
Though fortunately for him, the training included ways to get better at sneaking around.
He came to a clearing, and he stayed in the shadows of the trees. His eyes narrowed as he heard a truck backfire nearby, and he headed in the direction of the sound.
He crossed through the trees, and kneeled down behind a tree as he spotted a road. A few trucks passed by, wearing the insignia of the Russian Army.
Keitaro tapped his earpiece.
"Ronin, the road you're at should lead into the base. Satellite imagery suggests it's getting frequent shipments from the local railroad, and the electronic records show that a lot of trains have been delayed along the line," Shotakon stated.
"But, every shipment that arrives is supposed to be full," Midas cut in. "But I did some checking of my own-Turns out the towns up ahead have been having a lot more visits to their local doctors. It's pitifully easy to see that the supplies are being dropped off here."
"Okay, so we know that... What does it mean?" Keitaro asked.
"It's simple Ronin. A Russian General by the name of Vitaly Ivanovich Gamov was placed in command of this base in 2001. Shortly thereafter, the base was decommissioned and a year later, Gamov was murdered by poachers in his own home," Kentaro said.
"But he wasn't," Keitaro guessed.
"Correct. You see, what wasn't known until recently was that Gamov had connections to Japan-In particular, to companies that produced the first examples of magitech for the military. Through these connections, he was able to obtain enough examples for the Russians to begin reverse engineering the technology," the Colonel supplied.
"So, Gamov's been working with magitech since before the mass releases onto the Net? I'm guessing this base is where he's continued to do research," Keitaro further surmised.
"Huh, the one time you don't live up to your name, Ronin," Midas said. Keitaro rolled his eyes. The Colonel took over.
"The important thing here is that Gamov's work has stopped being released into the Russian military. It has, however, been popping up in the hands of terrorists, rogue countries and mercenary armies. He's been using the black market to further his own ambitions. But that's ended too," the Colonel said.
"So what does that mean?" Keitaro asked.
"It suggests that he's found something better than just living the life of a dead man and selling weapons on the black market," Athena said. "Something big. The magical energies from this area are deadly, and strong enough to block even my abilities."
"So, I'm going in to look?" Keitaro asked.
"And stop what's going on." The Colonel said. "The Russian government is either unaware or unwilling to stop it."
"So I'm stopping it for them," Keitaro said. He nodded. "How soon until more trucks show up?"
"Only a few minutes, they run regularly. That's why you were dropped at this time and place. You can hitch a ride under a truck and go on in. But be careful-They'll probably search the truck when you get to the base." The Colonel added.
"Gotcha. I'm on it," Keitaro said.
"By the way Ronin, why is your voice so gravelly? You sound like you gargled sand," Lennon said. Keitaro snorted.
"Don't know... Just do... Ronin out."
He snuck forward, staying low on the ground, distributing his weight through the snow. He crawled ahead, and laid down along the road. A few minutes later, the truck came up. Keitaro stayed as still as possible-Unless the driver was looking intently, his white camo outfit would hide him.
Okay... Wait... Wait... Wait... He rolled the instant he heard the tires crunching the snow and he latched on. He was dragged along the road, and grunted as he clambered for purchase. He pulled himself up close against the axel of the truck, and grit his teeth as his head hit what seemed like every bump and rock in the road.
It seems so much easier in the movies, doesn't it? He thought sarcastically, as the truck continued to drive.
The truck reached the perimeter, and stopped. Keitaro closed his eyes, extending his ki senses. Everything appeared as a "shape" in his head, with varying degrees of temperature, density, and what could only be described as "texture".
Okay... driver and guard in the truck... And four guards at the checkpoint... All heavily armed.
Keitaro quickly crawled to the back of the truck. Silently, he flipped up onto the back of the truck, and jumped up into the truck itself. He quickly stripped out of his camo, stuffing it into his bag. He looked around at all the boxes, before shaking his head-He'd never conceal himself in one of those.
He instead jumped up and clung to the roof of the truck, the dark colored uniform he'd worn underneath concealing him perfectly. For added protection, he pulled on a hood and cowl, further obscuring his form. The guards checked inside, looking around the boxes of food and other supplies. One of them nodded, and yelled out to the driver.
"Go ahead!" He shouted, in Russian of course. The driver assented, and the truck drove through the gate.
This is much better than hanging on the underside of the truck, Keitaro thought. Why didn't I do this first?
Outside the truck he was able to see that they were still passing through forest. Obviously, a secret base wouldn't give up such prime cover. Eventually, they came to another checkpoint. Once again, guards checked over the truck. One actually hopped into it, and poked all the boxes with a stick. His buddies scanned the interior with thermal imaging goggles.
This part was a little nerve wracking to Keitaro, but he was confident that the stealth suit he wore kept him from being detected. All the same, he remained perfectly still, not moving so much as an inch.
"Hmmm... Hey, look! Mangos!" One guard said.
"Excellent... Snag a few," another said. The guard helped himself, gathering them up and a few other items. "About time we got some more..."
"Ha. Looks like they didn't take anything this time," the other said. The first guard hopped out. "Okay! Go!"
The truck trundled off, and Keitaro mentally sighed. How many checkpoints are there?
Another one went by. Another couple of guards made off with some of the goods. Another long drive, and Keitaro used his ki senses again.
Okay... Big wall... Hopefully this is the main facility...
Once again, the guards checked the truck, and once again, they took some things.
"Oh yes! Toilet paper!" Cheered one guard. "Finally! The good American stuff!"
"I'm using it first," the head guard ordered.
"But-But sir You used it first last time!"
The truck moved in, and Keitaro lowered himself just enough to see out the back. Yep, they were now within a large fortress-The walls were very thick and very strong, and lined with automated turret guns as well as soldiers keeping watch.
That'll be fun to get out of, Keitaro thought. The truck came to a stop, and Keitaro dropped down, silent as a cat. He slipped down out of the truck, but at the sound of footsteps he scrambled back underneath it. His ki senses gave him a picture of six workers, a couple of guards...
Keitaro frowned. Strange... That's a strong ki signature.
The workers unpacked the supplies from the truck, and Keitaro, thinking quickly, reached out and quickly shoved the foot of one of them.
"AH!" He tripped.
"What is it?" One of the guards called. Keitaro slipped away in the guard's manipulated focus, crawling out from beneath the truck, onto a loading dock, and getting behind one of the large crates sitting in it.
"Just tripped... Lost my footing," he called.
Every eye turned towards the source of the voice. Keitaro peeked out himself, and blinked.
Eh? A high school girl?
She was young, maybe Naru's age if not a little younger. She Japanese, and tall too, and beautiful, with long black hair and a soulful face. She was dressed in a long black coat, underneath which Keitaro caught glimpses of a tight black outfit.
Probably the weirdest thing though was that she was wearing cute little cat ears. Wait, scratch that-Weirdest thing was the brown striped cat that rested on her shoulder.
"Did it come?" The girl asked. As one, the guards and workers seemed to rush the truck, barreling into it and searching frantically.
"No, I've got it!"
"Give it here! Mine!"
"HA! GOT IT!"
A furious brawl ensued, as the various men fought over the right to hand the girl whatever they'd tried to obtain. The girl cleared her throat, looking embarassed.
"Ah... Excuse me...? You-You don't have to..."
"RARGH! I'M GIVING IT TO HER!" Shouted one man. He was the biggest of them, and the tallest. He shoved the other guards away, and kicked one of the supply men away. He was about to punch another, when his fist was stopped.
Keitaro's eyes widened, as did the guard's. The girl was standing there, holding the guard's wrist without any apparent effort whatsoever. Keitaro, thinking quickly, hit one of the gizmos attached to his headband. He thought it was a camera-Haitani and Shirai hadn't gone through everything he'd been given thoroughly yet.
"Do not fight," she said. Her cat nyahed. The other guards and the workers immediately looked remorseful.
"W-We are sorry, Miss Cat!" They cried.
"So am I!" The guard said. "Ah... H-Here you go!" He said, handing her a box. Miss Cat took it and nodded, smiling softly.
"Thank you..." She turned and walked slowly out of the docking bay, bangs concealing her eyes. Keitaro blinked and shook his head.
"Wow, Miss Cat sure is amazing," one of the workers enthused. "I'd heard she was fast but... Wow!"
"And strong too," the tallest guard grimaced, rubbing his wrist.
"Hey, take it like a man!" One of the workers shouted.
"Grrr...! Get back to work!" He ordered.
The unloading resumed, and Keitaro frowned.
"Colonel, this is Ronin," he said. "I'm in the facility. Already looks like we've got magic girls involved. Saw one known as Miss Cat."
"Did you get a picture?" Asked the Colonel.
"Yeah... I'm uploading it now, I think," Keitaro murmured. He tapped the control he thought handled that, and Shotakon and Lennon on the other end whooped.
"Woah! What a babe!" Shotakon enthused.
"Damn, she's hot!" Lennon added.
"Kindly find out who she is?" Keitaro growled.
"All right, all right... Look, find a computer terminal will you?"
"Okay, how do I do that? The room is crawling with guards," Keitaro said.
"Just press yourself against a surface, or otherwise touch it, and think 'hide'," Shotakon said. "The camo of your suit will do the rest."
Keitaro did so, and the suit shifted. He looked at himself-He was blending in almost perfectly with the floor!
"Wow... That's impressive," Keitaro murmured.
"Just remember, it's not true invisibility," Athena interjected. "You must move slowly and stay pressed against the floor or surface you're moving across. But if they're right on top of you, someone will see you."
"Guess you guys couldn't spring for an invisibility cloak, huh?" Keitaro asked.
"The problem with those is that they're too easily detected," Athena said. "They offer stealth from eyes but not from magic, or ki senses. This suit, however, does offer a signficiant amount of protection against both."
"Besides, you're enough of a loser already without looking like Harry Potter," Midas added.
Keitaro again rolled his eyes, and reached out to touch the wall. His camo changed accordingly, and he slowly stood up, pressing himself against the wall. Slowly and carefully, he moved along it, until he reached the door. He ducked down down a barrel and shifted his camo accordingly as it opened, and waited for two guards to exit. He touched the wall and slipped inside the hallway. Quickly, he climbed up onto the ceiling, again his camo shifting.
"Good thing I had you master the wall walking technique, isn't it Ronin?" Tsuruko teased.
"You wouldn't let me off the ceiling for a month," Keitaro reminded her flatly, as he climbed down the ceiling ala Spider-Man.
"All to ensure you got it, Ronin," Athena smiled through the commlink.
Keitaro managed not to grumble as he headed in deeper.
Midas: Hey, Ronin, have you watched the Predator movies?
Ronin: What? You mean those about those hunters from outer space who hunt other species for sport as long as they are a challenge?
Midas: Precisely. In case you haven't forgotten you're equipped with an optical stealth like camoflague, even if it isn't as advanced as those in the movies.
Ronin: And your point?
Midas: Please don't go waltzing around taking people's skulls as trophies or hang their flayed corpses upside-down, will'ya. I think even Athena would get sick if you do that.
Ronin: You've got a twisted imagination, you know that?!
Midas: I do my best. Over and out.
"Jerk!" Keitaro muttered and continued with his mission.
Athena: All right Ronin, we have a match for this Miss Cat.
Athena: Her name is Sakaki Yu, she's a recent graduate of Azuma high school. However, instead of going on to college, she took an opportunity to join an overseas study program sponsored by her teacher.
Ronin: Study? At a secret Russian military base? Not exactly the kind of thing you try first year of college.
Athena: Apparently her teacher mistook the request for an overseas study opportunity. From what Midas has been able to determine, she's known as Silent Cat. She's very strong, and very fast and very skilled in hand to hand combat.
Ronin: I could tell. I couldn't even see her move!
Athena: However, she seems to be very quiet and non-confrontational. I'd almost say she's shy.
Ronin: Shy huh?
Athena: Don't underestimate her though, Ronin.
Ronin: Trust me, I know enough by now not to take women lightly.
Athena: What's that supposed to mean, mm?
Ronin: *quickly* I've found that the more beautiful the woman, usually the more dangerous she is.
Athena: Aren't you the charmer? And me a married woman, too.
Ronin: Er, I didn't mean it like that...
Athena: I know. I just like teasing you. You are very cute. I can see why my sister likes you.
Ronin: Wait, what?
Athena: Better continue the mission, Ronin. You've got a lot of work ahead of you.
Keitaro crept along the ceiling for a bit, before he managed to locate an office. The dock supervisor's, if the sign on the door was telling the truth. Keitaro was tempted to wait until the supervisor came out, but one look told him he was busy typing.
Always the direct approach, he thought, as he jumped down and landed on the floor. His landing had made some noise, and he heard a guard walking towards him from around the corner. Keitaro quickly moved to press up against the wall, and engaged his camo again, blending in with it.
The guard walked by him, looking around. With lightning speed, Keitaro grabbed the guard in the sleeper hold.
"Hhh!" The guard tried, but Keitaro held tight. The guard's struggles slowed, and he finally slumped, unconscious. Keitaro suppressed a grunt, and walked the guard over to the door. He knocked on it twice, and the supervisor rose from his chair.
"Hm? What is-ACK!" Keitaro shoved the unconscious guard into the supervisor, sending them slamming into the office. Keitaro quickly shut the door behind him, and knocked the supervisor out by slamming his head against the floor.
"Well... That was relatively simple," Keitaro said. He glanced out the window the super's office had on the docks-Nobody had noticed. Good.
He went over to the supervisor's computer, and tapped his earpiece.
"Shotakon, I'm in the supervisor's office. What do I do?"
"Just pull out the flashdrive in the pouch on your right shoulder. Then, insert it into the computer."
Keitaro did so, and slipped it into the computer harddrive. After a few moments, Shotakon called back.
"Ronin, I'm not getting anything off it."
"You aren't? Why not?" Keitaro asked.
"Well, what do you see on the screen?" Lennon asked.
Keitaro blinked. The screen was black. "It's black."
There was a pause.
"... Ronin, you did turn on the computer, right?"
Keitaro grimaced, and turned the computer back on.
"All right, that's better..." Shotakon began. "Ha, looks like they keep everything on a single network which they themselves monitor. It's all right for a closed off system, but when we've got access... There we go! Ronin, lower your headband over your eyes.
Keitaro did so. "You never told me what this thing is, exactly..."
"I thought we did?" Lennon said.
"We briefed you didn't we?"
"Not really, just on my basic stuff," Keitaro replied.
"Well, this is the Highly Advanced Integrated Tactical Interface And Technical Enhancement tool," Lennon recited.
"H... A... I... T... I... A... T... E... T?" Keitaro sounded out.
"Prounounced Hai Tie Ah Tey," Shotakon added. "The T is silent."
Keitaro blinked. He took the device off, and examined it. It did look just like a...
"Forehead protector?" He asked flatly.
"Well, you are going in like a ninja, and it does look like it, doesn't it?" Lennon said.
"The 'ninja' who wear those things barely qualify as ninja," Keitaro said.
"Ha, you just can't appreciate a good manga and-!"
"The name is rather clumsy though," Athena interjected. Keitaro sighed.
"Okay, so... What does it do? Aside from take pictures?" He tied it back on and then pulled it down over his eyes. Keitaro was a bit surprised to be greeted by the sight of the room in nightvision, with what appeared to be a map in the upper right hand corner. Shotakon's face appeared in a window in the left.
"It lets you see in night vision and infrared, has telescoping view, and displays tactical information such as a map of the facility. We can also tap you into the cameras so you can see when anyone's coming."
"Good... But what if I need to see something in regular vision?" Keitaro asked. "I mean, I'd have to keep pulling it up and sliding it down..."
"It does have a regular vision option too... Just think it and it'll return to normal," Shotakon said.
"Or you can just wear it over one eye," Lennon added.
"That'll just disorient me," Keitaro replied.
"But you'll look so cool!" Shotakon enthused.
"Let me get this straight-You're willing to make my mission more likely to fail so long as I look 'cool'?" Keitaro asked.
Silence. An embarassed cough. Keitaro nodded with a smile and examined the map.
"All right... Looks like I'm in the logistics building for the facility," Keitaro said. The map shifted, indicating a larger building north of the logistics hub separated by a frozen lake and some trees.
"Looks like there are three ways to it from where you are," Shotakon said. "Via this road, through a tunnel underneath the road, or over the lake and through the woods."
"The lake has the least probability of being spotted, Ronin-Lots of open empty space and you excel at moving through wilderness," Athena said. "However, going by road or tunnel would be faster, and would be less of a strain on your stamina."
"Guess you'll have to get out there and see for yourself which is best, Ronin," the Colonel said. "Try getting to the roof-There are a few ladders heading up there."
"Got it," Keitaro replied, retrieving the flashdrive and turning off the computer. He heard voices, and climbed up onto the roof as they approached. He blended in with the ceiling as the supervisor and the guard groaned, coming to.
"Oh my head..."
They stared at eachother, and the moment could not have been any more perfect as another guard opened the door.
"Dolohov, what are you...? YOU TWO!" He cried.
"It-It's not what you think!" The supervisor cried. "He-He attacked me!"
"No I didn't! I-I don't know what happened!" The guard shouted.
Keitaro slipped out the room as the three men continued to argue, and made his way towards a door into the main warehouse facility. He opened the door, camo shifting to match that of the floor as he crawled inside.
Nobody noticed the door opening, and it shut silently behind him. Keitaro crawled through the stacks of boxes and crates, adjusting his camouflage as he passed from light into shadow. Finally, he reached one of the ladders, and he blended in with the wall before he began to slowly climb up.
So long as nobody stood directly underneath him, he shouldn't be spotted. He got onto a catwalk, and laid down and blended with it just as a guard came within sight.
"Colonel, this is Ronin. What weapons do I have for this mission?" Keitaro asked.
"We gave you a tranq gun with a silencer and a knife," the Colonel replied. Keitaro nodded, and froze as the guard began to approach him.
"Where's the gun?" He sub-vocalized.
"Large pocket of your pack, of course," the Colonel said. Keitaro reached back, slowly, and just as slowly pulled out the gun. The guard blinked.
"Eh?" As though a question mark was over his head, he walked towards Keitaro. "What's that?"
Okay, just put him down fast... Go to sleep! Keitaro thought, as he brought the gun to bear and fired. The guard fell back in shock.
"Wh-What... What... WhaaaaaAAAAAAAAHHHHHH!!!" He fell off the catwalk and plummeted down to the warehouse floor. Keitaro gaped in horror behind his mask, and almost hesitated to look down.
"Ah! The toilet paper!"
"You asshole, you nearly destroyed it!"
"M-Medic... Doctor... Please..."
Keitaro sighed silently in relief, before he resumed his journey, heading for the external access door. Once he got to it, he opened the door and slipped outside, seamlessly switching his camo to match the snow on the roof. He crawled across it, getting up to the edge before engaging his nightvision to scout out the three routes.
The tunnel he could access by going back into the warehouse and down through some ramps. The road and over the lake, just down from the roof.
Hmm... So... Which one is it going to be? He thought.
Keitaro climbed over the side of the roof and, adapting his camo accordingly, wall-crawled down the face of the building. He froze when he spotted a guard below him, and waited.
He was taking a cigarette break. Great. Oh, and now his buddy was joining him.
"Hey, Div! Great to see you! All's quiet, right?"
Screw this, Keitaro decided. He crawled down, just above them, before he reached down.
"So, see anything weird?"
"No, nothing... Gotta say, I'll be gald when I'm shipped out. Think that one guy, Firin, is looking at me weird."
"Well, when all the pussy on base is off-limits, you've gotta-"
THUNK! Keitaro let the two men drop to the ground, knocked out cold. He flipped down onto the ground himself, and switched his camo again.
"Remember, smoking's bad for you," he said. He rummaged a bit, and produced some flashbangs. "These will come in handy... Hmmm..." He took one of their rifles and examined it. He tapped his earpiece.
"Shotakon, this is Ronin. I found a weapon. What is it?"
"Oh, that's a PP-2000. It's a Russian submachine gun, kind of their answer to the P90. Might be useful, especially with that silencer."
Keitaro frowned. He didn't really want to kill anyone, but... Well, better to be safe than sorry. "All right..." He snagged two spare clips, slid them into his pouches, and added the PP-2000 to his backpack. "I'm taking the lake route."
"Mind your surroundings at all times, Ronin. Miss Cat's senses are supposed to be very good, to say nothing of the other magic girls employed by this base," Athena advised.
"Other magic girls?" Ronin asked.
"Midas is looking through the records-It seems this same teacher's been putting a lot of her former students into this program. We're trying to find her but she's unusually difficult to locate," Athena said. "Just be careful."
Ronin nodded. "Roger." He set out over the snow, avoiding a spotlight cast from a tower on the wall ahead. Blending in with it, he climbed over it, and checked with his... HAITI-ATE for guards. Two were on top of the wall, walking and keeping an eye on things. Keitaro waited for them to pass, before he vaulted over the wall and jumped over the battlement.
"Huh?" One of the guards called.
"Did you hear something?" The first guard asked. Keitaro crawled down, slowly, blended with the wall.
The first guard sighed in disgust. "Take those earbuds out right now!"
"Sorry sir... No, I didn't hear anything..."
"You keep this up and I'll take that damn iPod away," he threatened.
"Oh come on sir!"
Leaving the two guards to argue, Keitaro blended with the snow, and set out across it. He zig-zagged, not following a regular course, all across the snow to minimize the chance of anyone watching to think his movements were those of a person.
Finally, he hit the treeline, and adjusted his camo to be darker as he headed into the shadows.
Okay... The lake is frozen, good... I'll just see where it's thickest and scoot across, Ronin thought. He engaged the HAITI-ATE, and caught sight of something... A bit unusual some distance from the lake. A strong heat source.
"Yes Ronin?" Midas asked snootily.
"Midas, are there any hot springs around here?" Keitaro asked.
"Of course not, why?"
"Because I think I'm looking at one right now... Stand by," Keitaro replied. He got down and crawled, rather quickly, over the snow towards the heat source. He crawled underneath some bushes, and adjusted the HAITI-ATE to night vision.
No way... It was a hot spring... Surrounded by rocks, with hot, steaming water...
"Haaa!" A girl emerged from the water, and threw her head back with a laugh.
Keitaro's face went bright red. Oh boy... It figures...
She was Japanese, and like Sakaki, she was stacked and tall. Unlike Sakaki, she had short, spiky hair, tanned skin, and... Wolf ears?
"This is so great!" She enthused. She sniffed the air, and smirked.
"Mmmm... Do I have a peeper?" She asked.
"Yes, you do."
"GAH!" Keitaro shouted, as he was kicked out from under the bushes and sent into the hot spring. "CRAP!"
Keitaro managed to keep his cool under the water, and shot up to the surface, gasping for breath. Just in time for the hot girl with wolf ears to get behind him and put him in an arm and head lock. "URK!"
"Awww... Now really Cat, did you have to mess with my prey?" The girl pouted as she tightened her grip. Normally Keitaro would enjoy feeling a girl's breasts pressed against his back, but definitely not while getting choked. He wasn't into that kind of play.
Sakaki emerged from the shadows of the forest, eyes slightly narrowed.
"You're all so determined to keep me from getting laid," Wolf pouted.
"Gurk!" Keitaro struggled, but Wolf kept the pressure on.
"Get his mask," Wolf said. Cat complied, and Keitaro grimaced even more as his face was exposed. Wolf looked over his shoulder and grinned.
"Awww... He's cute! Can't you let me have him, please?"
"We should report him to the General," Cat replied. Keitaro's eyes rolled back, and he slumped forward. Cat sighed.
"You made him pass out."
"Well you wouldn't let me just seduce him!" Wolf growled, letting her arm up off of Keitaro's neck. She turned him around and smirked, caressing his face. "You can go get the troops... I'll take care of-"
Keitaro's head fell back, and snapped forward. His HAITI-ATE had stayed on even without his mask, and he slammed his protected foreheard into Wolf's.
"AGH!" She cried.
"Thanks for the invitation, I'm really flattered, but I need to go!" Keitaro said, shoving Kagura away and jumping up onto the nearest rock. He turned his head and saw Cat leaping forward, jump-kicking, and barely managed to jump out of the way.
"Oooh... Oh no you don't," Wolf growled, rubbing her forehead. "You're not getting away from me that easily!"
Ronin kicked off another rock and landed on the far side of the spring. He took off at a run, and felt rather than heard Cat right on his heels. He sped up, and broke through onto the lake.
"W-Woah!" Keitaro cried, slipping and landing on his stomach. "OOF!" He slid fast, but he managed to get enough traction to get to his feet-Just in time to be knocked down again by Cat's kick. "ERK!"
"I do not wish to harm you," Cat said. "But you should surrender."
Keitaro got back to his feet, and shook his head. He took a deep breath, and produced his knife and his tranq gun.
"I don't surrender," he said flatly, assuming the fighting position that had been trained and practically beaten into him. Cat nodded, and assumed her own fighting position.
"I see... My name is Silent Cat. What is yours?"
"Ronin," Keitaro replied. Sakaki nodded.
"Very well..." She began walking to the right, and Keitaro walked to the left. They sized eachother up even as they got a feel for the "ground" under their feet.
"The ice is unstable," Cat said at last. Keitaro nodded.
"Yep... Want to fight somewhere else?"
"If you were so inclined-"
"HEEEYAAAAHHH!" Both turned to see Wolf jump up high, wielding a rocket launcher. "TAKE THIS!"
"Oh no!" Cat cried, as the rocket launcher went off. Keitaro shoved her out of the way as the rocket impacted, and exploded. KABOOM!
"AAAAHHHH!" Wolf cried, crashing one of the shattered pieces of ice. The entire lake's surface began to break apart, leaving Keitaro and Cat on different blocks of ice.
"Damnit," he muttered. Wolf surfaced, coughing loudly.
"Wolf..." Cat could only glare at Wolf, who looked bashful as she clung desperately to the block of ice.
"Sorry... HEY! HE'S GETTING AWAY!"
Keitaro leaped from one block of ice to another, using his ki grip to stay on them. "Hurph!" He landed hard on another block of ice, and looked over his shoulder as Wolf and Cat began to pursue him in a similar manner. "Grr...!"
Cat reached him first, lashing out with lightning speed as she punched him. Keitaro managed to deflect it, jumping away to another ice piece. Wolf jumped up, landing on top of him.
"GAH!" Keitaro spun around, sending them both into the icy water. SPLASH!
"MMRGLE!" Wolf cried, flailing about. He realized the shock of the cold water was making it hard for her to swim. He grabbed onto her and swam hard and fast, dragging her up to the surface.
"PWAH!" Wolf cried. Keitaro shoved her onto the nearest block of ice, before he pulled himself up too. He thanked the fact his suit was waterproof, to say nothing of it apparently keeping him warm. Cat landed nearby, unsure. Keitaro shook his head, and picked Wolf up in his arms.
"Here... She's freezing," he said, handing her over. Cat took her into her arms.
"So are you," she said. Wolf coughed and shivered.
"I'm fine," he said.
"What is your intention here, Ronin?" She asked.
"I'm just looking around for the UN," he said. "You do realize your boss is involved in some... Illegal things, right?"
"Such as?" Sakaki asked. Keitaro explained what he knew, Wolf and Cat listening.
"How do you expect us to believe you?" Cat asked at last.
Keitaro took a deep breath. "Because... The only way you'll stop me is by killing me," he said, looking right into her eyes. "And... You're not the kind of person to do that."
They stared at eachother for a few moments, before Cat nodded slowly.
"... You will not harm anyone inside?" She asked. Ronin shook his head.
"Not if I can help it."
"You will not harm anyone inside," she said. Ronin nodded.
"All right..." He turned and jumped over the last few pieces of ice, until he hit the shore. He adjusted his camo, and set off towards the fortress. Wolf shivered, and Cat turned to head for the hot springs.
"G-G-Geez, you're r-r-really going to l-let him in?" Wolf asked, teeth chattering. Cat nodded.
"He did save you..."
"I-I-I would've b-been f-f-fine..." Wolf licked her lips. "B-B-But I d-do like h-him..."
Sakaki's cheeks turned red. "I must admit... I like him too..."
Well… I seem to have gotten into The_EroSennin's habit of starting off with the action first, and then filling in the gaps later. Which I will do.
This idea came to mind first when I thought about what special forces would be like in a typical modern-day anime world. One filled with magic, catgirls, giant robots, cyborgs, and martial artists who can crush tanks with their bare hands. And then I thought about what the governments of that world would do in response. And so, here we are.
I think I've established that Keitaro's in a special forces outfit, he's deep in Russia and he's looking for something big. The rest of the world will be introduced next chapter. It's kind of like "The Bet".
I know, I'm going to get a billion demands to continue one of my other fics. But my muse, bitch that she is, won't let this go. She's like a hyperactive puppy, leaping from one idea to the next.
Still, hopefully this is at least mildly entertaining. More to come.
RUSSIANS RUSSIANS RUSSIANS...