#Seven Hundred Years Ago#
Setsuna gaped at the two highly advanced magi-tech star-ships that began duking it out in Earth's upper atmosphere. The Silver Millennium's crystal ships had dominated nearly twenty percent of the galaxy in the height of their reign, and even then it was overextended supply lines, inhospitable shattered worlds and species that would rather resist to the last than accept their rule that halted them. They would not commit genocide simply to gain sovereignty.
High technology was, at times, almost able to match them, but those examples were rare and only in categorical flagships and dreadnoughts that couldn't be fielded in significant numbers.
These though, both had the feel of kami creation and blessing. The crystalline one looked almost like a bastardized scout-courier design from before the fall, though its movements were even smoother, it defenses much, much superior and its fire power beyond her ability to understand, given its tiny size.
The wooden one was similarly overpowered and armored for its size, though was also less agile. It felt as though it was alive, an embodiment of a living kami or at least one of their descendants. It was just as impressive as its opponent, radiating power great enough to be felt from across the globe by anyone sensitive to the energy it emitted.
Which was what bothered her most; neither of these ships had been detected by the Gates of Time. Until the very moment they were within her own sensory range they had been invisible to her, having no effect on time. Now the future was fluxing wildly around their actions and the actions their pilots had yet to take.
And that was the most important part, both pilots were humanoid, modified from those still on Earth by magical and technological means, but still almost entirely human in form and behavior. Since nothing like that had ever been encountered within the original territory, she could only assume some of their colonies had survived the loss of communication with the home system.
Thrived even, if these two were examples of what cultures now lurked out there.
The last senshi realized belatedly that all four of them, two pilots and two ships, were protected from her scrying and the ward blocking her was rapidly figuring out how to bypass the Gates of Time at this close proximity, likely how they avoided her attention before now. With whatever few moments were available she performed a rapid scan for any key events that might effect Crystal Tokyo.
She found startling results, ranging from the destruction, prevention and complete fruition of her dreams and goals. Then she seized the path that led to the greatest prosperity, memorized what events were most important and what effects certain things had on the behavior of those concerned. She was halfway into the time line when the wards finally caught up and closed the connection.
For a long time the Senshi of Pluto sat in thought. She knew her princess and her queen and while she was commanded, enslaved to the idea of Crystal Tokyo, the Moon Kingdom rebuilt, for the first time in the nine thousand years since the Fall... She had a decision to make. A true decision, not simply 'which option prevents the most death'.
On one hand, there was the almost ensured realization of Crystal Tokyo after the Doom-bringer had come to pass. On the other, a risky and uncertain vision of an even better version of the first, a fully populated Earth instead of the single surviving city.
But the second vision was not guaranteed, there were numerous possible ways it could go wrong, she couldn't gaze into that future and check to see if there was anything she needed to avoid or interfere with.
...And if she couldn't see either of these individuals or their races because of the kami guarding them, could she even be certain of the future she had set and cultivated? If they could simply pop in at any moment and change things, how would she even know until it had come to pass? Would they ignore the threats that loomed against the senshi?
She could not blind or inconvenience them as she would the other empowered groups, if they wished to interfere then they would. She knew, at least, that neither brought significant military forces to the Sol system, though their very presence seemed to increase the traffic that wandered by centuries from now.
...Yes. It was time to build a better future, instead of scrapping along in hopes of rescuing those infinitesimal survivors that would exist otherwise.
Setsuna could not actively track them or witness their effects upon the timeline any longer, but found if she set the gates to watch a specific point 'now', it would still display them as though there was no problem at all. Likely an effect meant to conceal anything unusual about them, had they not been throwing around so much power when she was checking the timestream it was all but a guarantee she'd have never found or suspected them.
And so the future changed.
#Thirty Years Ago#
"Wake-up." Sailor Pluto whispered to the emaciated form locked within the depths of an enshrined prison.
The thing's eyes gleamed and it wheezed as it tried to move within its bonds.
"Come on, the wards have degraded enough, you just need to reach me." The senshi told the decrepit creature, reaching one hand forward. In the other was a tightly contained energy sphere, holding back the electrified Tenchi-ken as it threatened to destroy her for daring to touch it.
The ancient creature's eyes drifted to the end of the hilt where three gems were embedded before it lurched; one hand slowly drawing closer to the gloved fingers the senshi was extending forward.
"Stop! You don't know what evil you'll unleash. Step away from the demon." An old priest declared, wielding a glowing katana.
A trick, Pluto assumed, he could downplay as a lost martial arts after she backed off. If he simply held out his hand and produced an energy sword, it would be far more difficult to explain. Gauging his approach against the shriveled being's torpid effort to stretch just a little farther, she decided standing by was unacceptable.
"Dead scream." Pluto intoned coldly, raising the hand clutching the uncooperative Tenchi-ken to launch the attack.
The priest nimbly dodged, looking just the slightest bit surprised. He then tossed aside the metal weapon in his hand, forming a new, shining blade within one clenched hand. "Perhaps you know more than I had assumed..." He offered, forming semi-transparent panels between himself and the woman in a seifuku.
The sight sent the withered form writhing and straining to take her apparent rescuer's hand.
Sailor Pluto simply continued to attack. To the priest's shock where ever an orb connected with his shields, a hole appeared. Holes that, at their current pace, would eventually seal themselves within the approaching week. He began evading again, frustrated at his inability to advance, but confident that this unusual being would need to pass him to escape.
And then the bony fingers of the emaciated demon clamped onto the woman's gloved ones and both promptly vanished.
The priest fell to his knees, a thousand panicked thoughts flying through his head.
"Well, thanks, whoever you are. But don't expect me to do you any favors." The revitalized and rejuvenated Ryoko declared loudly, adjusting the third and final red gem on her wrist nervously, fully expecting a fight and slightly unsure of her ability against someone able to cripple light-hawk wings so easily after so long in captivity.
"There is nothing I need from you." Pluto lied easily. She knew this woman was necessary, but the whys were beyond what she had been able to scan when she had a chance. "Except that you avoid that priest. In another ten years he would have found a method to subvert your power and steal your free will." Sort of true, though it was more his grandson who actually did so, adorable little tyke...
Ryoko shivered at the thought. Another Kagato... "That's all they ever want..." She murmured to herself, gazing off into the... endless... misty... abyss. "Where the hell are we?" She demanded loudly.
"We are at my post, at the Gates of Time." Pluto turned to the gates, readily conjuring a vicious battle between one elder true Nosferatu, Alucard, servant of Sir Integra Windgate Hellsing, and one Hellmouth empowered amalgam, Xander, formerly Alexander LaVelle Harris, a man who willingly turned himself into a monster to avenge everyone he ever knew against the forces of darkness. It was a timeline she was about to abort, as a matter of fact.
Playing back through Mr. Harris's life she released three perfectly timed, totally unnoticed dead screams into the timestream. Once it caught back up the man was now a one-eyed trainer and landlord of young women... Not what she had been going for, but better than having two quarreling eldritch abominations sink England while futilely trying to kill each other. Well, at least while Venus was still there, had they done so a year and a half later there wouldn't have been any problems.
"While your powers would be extremely useful, they are unnecessary and I doubt I could force you to do what I wanted anyway." Pluto paused thoughtfully. "Perhaps you'd like to return to Earth, have a chance to organize your thoughts?" She volunteered, soon teleporting both of them to her mansion.
Ryoko whistled. "Pretty nice place, for something on this primitive rock. What'd ya got to do to get this?"
"Oh just steal inventions and fashion a week or two before someone else would legally get the rights to them. And maybe a valuable artifact or two right before an enemy force 'destroys' it when sacking whatever city. Time-piracy, I suppose you'd call it." Pluto said casually before returning to her Setsuna-form. "Oh, and here's your spaceship. You can stay as long as you wish."
Ryoko held the egg containing her partner, bemused as she rummaged through the antiquated refrigeration device. And then overjoyed to discover it was filled with alcohol. After enough bottles to make her tipsy, the space-pirate decided she really liked it here. Her companion was a bit detached, but seemed completely honest with her; she'd even risked her life to break her free. Better than that damned Yosho. To think he'd been sitting around, trying to figure out how to turn her into a puppet for Jurai all these centuries. It was disgustingly easy to believe too...
While part of her considered staying and lending her power, her more cynical side bickered that this was too good to be true. What possible reason could she trust that this new stranger didn't plan to enslave her just like everyone else she'd ever liked? There was the fact that she was female where all the others who had taken control of her were male...
She'd have to stay until Ryo-Ohki hatched at least anyway... Besides, where else did she have to go?
Unknown to her, various behavioral flags switched themselves off and on from the defaults she'd been created with, partially to help her recover emotionally, partially to defend against Kagato if he should ever appear again and primarily because she finally found someone she felt she could trust. Ordinarily this process would be activated by a guileless little boy many years later, after the wards finally weakened enough to let her astral project into the surrounding environment. As it was...
#Eighteen Years Ago#
"Oh, Set-chan. I have a surprise for you..." Ryoko happily sang as she drifted through a wall to hover over a naked, tanned Setsuna lounging in their mansion's impressive furo.
"Hmm, Ry-cha-...Ryoko, why do you have a...?" The guardian of time made an awkward groping gesture in the air above the apex of her legs, a little in front of her hips.
"W,well..." The space pirate hesitated, her face flushing. "We've been together for a while and... When I reviewed some of my abilities I, um... Thought maybe you'd like something other than plastic toys, so..." The daughter of Washu faltered and fidgeted.
"...I suppose a bit of variety might spice things up..." Setsuna allowed, absently gripping the instrument in question and stroking it experimentally, trying to decipher just how realistic it was. "Should we wrap it first, or...?"
She was cut off as her lover hovered away slightly, all too eagerly spreading the senshi's legs. "Oh come on, the whole point is to actually feel each other instead of having something separating us. Live a little."
After a brief hesitation the Guardian of Time reluctantly accepted that and quickly became as enthusiastic as her partner.
#Seventeen Years Ago#
"GRRAH! I'll kill you if you ever come near me with that thing again! You hear me Ryoko!" Setsuna gasping in agony, her grip trying its best to crush the space-pirate's super-dimensionally tough hand.
"Oh come on Set-chan, you know you loved it." Said space-pirate replied cheerfully, her attention more focused on the myriad, primitive doctors attending her lover. Part of her still couldn't believe this. Was she even capable of normal reproduction, let alone to someone sharing her basic gender of an entirely alien species? ...Well, it was happening, so...
"Uh, excuse me... We, uh, we need some information for the birth certificate..." One of the nurses suddenly drew Ryoko's attention.
"Oh sure. Let me see it." The space-pirate replied, casually swiping the documents.
"Ryoko, don't you dare! GAH!"
"So you're the... the f,father?" The nurse asked dismayed. But it was Tokyo, so such things weren't totally unheard of, typically involving tentacled monsters more often than not.
"Yep." The space-pirate proudly agreed, filling in a name.
"'Chaos demon.'" The nurse read off the form.
"Dammit Ryoko! I told you n,not, ARGH!"
"There we go." One of the doctor's cried as the whole group set into a flurry of rapid activity. "Congratulations. It's a boy."
"A... boy?" Setsuna and Ryoko asked, glancing at each other before staring at the bundled form the Guardian of Time had just been handed. Where had the Y chromosome come from?
#Twelve Years Ago#
Genma mourned, wondering where he'd gone wrong. Probably the fifth time he'd thrown the boy into the pit without a break, if he had to guess. Oh the shame, to have overestimated his student's skills so greatly, simply because the boy was his heir.
Still, this way at least the boy would live. Losing all his memories, a crippling fear of cats and the horrifying multitude of motion reducing scars was a terrible fate for anyone to face, let alone one so young... But as 'Tenma', ward of the Saotome clan, the boy still had a future, a life that, while almost certainly not martial arts, could yet be fulfilling and prosperous. He was sure his son would triumph over this, not as the Anything Goes Heir, but as a man of the new, modern age.
If it got his only child out of the pledge of that madwoman he'd been forced to wed, it was worth the sacrifice. Their marriage had been one farce after another ever since it was arranged and when she'd made their child, her own son, sign a suicide oath... Genma was not a great man, he knew this. He accepted that he was a cowardly, gluttonous thief. He was aware that many of the things he did were wrong. But for all that he was, he had never seriously harmed an innocent or acted with the full and complete intention of killing someone, let alone planning it out in advance. The master didn't count, of course. A martial artist's duty was to protect the weak and sometimes protecting something wasn't so simple as standing between a victim and their attacker.
Sometimes... the way you protected something was by hiding it away...
He wondered, though, if it would be enough. To have simply given his son a new name and placed him among the clan house as a ward and retainer... Nodoka may be mad, but outside of her bizarre idiosyncrasies she was clever. Very clever.
He still had nine and a half years before they were scheduled to meet again, but if he met her without someone to present as 'Ranma', chances were she could unravel the truth between uncovering his lies and checking the clan records. He needed someone he could pass off as Ranma, a decoy for when he finally met his wife once more... Hopefully she'll have calmed down after ten years and ease off away from her instant, poorly thought out reactions. And if he had to kill himself and condemn another to death with him, at least that would mean the facade worked and his true son was safe.
Could he accept that, though? He would prepare them as much as he would his own son, push them to their limits and engage them left and right to set up a defensive screen of mistresses when the woman's attention finally fell back upon them... He would do everything in his power to keep them alive, short of admitting what had happened to his real son. The man wandered on, not knowing that answer just yet.
"Come on Ranma-chan. You'll never be a space pirate if you can't keep up." A cyan-haired woman teased, drawing the martial artist's attention.
She was talking to a young child with dark green, almost black, hair who struggled to keep up, visibly straining as he waved his arms and legs. Oh, and both were hovering, floating about a foot off the ground. It was clear from the ease at which the woman evaded the boy that she could move far faster through the air, yet was intentionally slowing herself down so the boy could keep up.
It was surely a sign from the heavens themselves that he, Genma, vanquisher of Happosai, was meant to take the course of action he was about to. Here was a child, an admittedly odd child who could float through the air, that shared both the same approximate age, gender and name as his own son. With no further prompting he acted.
#A Quarter Of A Year Ago#
"Creature, though you are not some mere mortal, know this. I am the Phoenix King, the immortal light of an entire race. Even one such as you cannot hope to overcome my flame. Give up and depart from this place, it is only the humans I seek revenge upon." Saffron declared, surging out a column of flames that drove the other back.
"Don' misunderstand this or nothin'. I ain't too happy with 'em either, most of the time. But there's plenty a people who didn't have nothin' to do with what happened to ya, and I ain't gonna let you hurt 'em just 'cuz ya got too worked up going after the rest. An' if that means I gotta fight ya til ya can't move, that's what I'm gonna do." His opponent replied, standing his ground as veins of ice shafted out from his feet across the mud and water he floated over. Snow began to fall like a curtain between them as the steam his foe created came into contact with his freezing aura.
Ranma stood tall, red eyes narrowed and a pigtail of dark green hair fluttering against the high winds the two clashing auras created. He smirked at his enemy's cautious regard of him. The phoenix tightened his grip on his weapon and flew forward, meeting his enemy head on.
Their fight took on the form of a great storm, a fiery tempest one moment, and icy gale the next. Both the amazon elder and the disciple of Happosai looked on in awe, marveling at what they had helped create as the mountain slowly started to tear itself apart and bolts of lightning sprang to life from the clashing temperatures. Water shifted from snowflakes to droplets to steam, drifting, rising and falling as it changed forms. The mountain cracked, tumultuous air lifting and flinging pebbles and stones as easily as it did dust.
Recognizing the signs, or simply the danger present, both the amazon crone and overweight martial arts master turned and fled, hauling the others behind and between themselves.
"Saffron-sama." Watching from the far side, the phoenix king's attendant similarly ran, having stood by to observe longer than even the bravest of her people's warriors.
"You are mighty, creature. Mighty beyond any bonds they could hope to form or hold over you. There is no need for us to do battle, let us cease this foolishness now, before this conflict reaches a level we cannot control." The blazing humanoid punctuated his sentences by lobbing great fireballs.
"Feh, not happenin'. Just cause they make a point a' pissing guys like us off ain't no reason to go around killin' everyone." The Washu descendant replied, cleaving the first two attacks apart with ice trailed vacuum blades before firing twinned, freezing energy blasts through the last.
Clutching his newly frozen left arm as it rapidly thawed and hissed from re-ignition, the older immortal's eyes narrowed. "I had always thought that technique an annoyance when mere humans wielded it." He noted softly, realizing this might be more serious than he had originally assumed.
"Sometimes you're better off fakin' bein' weak than ya are shoutin' how tough ya are at everyone. Pops taught me that pretty well, for being an idiot. And man, fakin' pressure points is a pain, ya know?"
Saffron snorted at the familiarity there. "You are young yet, before too long those that you have allowed so close will perish or else overstep their bounds. That is the way of mortals."
Using the brief respite as his opponent spoke, Ranma gathered power in his hands, crafting blades of pure energy from both. "Maybe, but they ain't done it yet… And I'm gettin' real sick of listenin' to you."
They clashed again, their mutual force unleashing shock-waves that blew apart the rock and earth beneath them. The phoenix was stronger and healed instantly but those were the only advantages he held, his enemy was faster, more skilled and resisted damaged as only a dozen things on Earth could, suffering only minor cuts from even the most powerful blows, fire having no effect at all.
The fact that he never struck out for a killing blow was the sole thing that allowed the fight to drag on.
"Do you think to mock me, creature? I am not a foe to take so lightly!" Pulling his heat in on itself, the winged being hurled its flames away from their battle, towards the valley below.
"Fine!" Ranma roared, plunging his energy blades into Saffron's unprotected front.
The phoenix gasped as the icy beam weapons impaled his heart and brain simultaneously, freezing his two most important organs solid and spreading their frost deep into his core, snuffing the spark meant to ignite and revive him.
"Are you… a kami?" The defeated king asked in awe as what was almost certainly true death encroached upon him, leeching away both light and warmth, leaving a dark void in which existed only himself, this creature and the gleaming aura around it.
The column of flame dissipated without its master's will to guide and power it, vanishing in a wave of sparks and smoke that mimicked the night sky.
"Don' know." The green haired youth replied simply, vanishing his weapons as he turned and walked away, the frozen torso of his foe collapsing forward, color and chi draining rapidly away as repeated attempts failed to thaw through enough to set the sovereign's body alight.
Eventually the chi ran out altogether and the phoenix king's body laid there as the steam its flames had created rained back down upon it, a corpse, nothing more.
"Don' know." Ryoko's son murmured to himself again, staring at one of his own hands before floating seamlessly upwards and fading away in a teleport.
Inspired by a story I read somewhere on here about Pluto being Ranma's real mother, 'True Heritage' or something like that, by someone I can't remember the name of. It was/is somewhat less serious than I intend this to be.
Oddly, while I despise it when 'after the fact' (i.e., training/Saffron/ect.) Ranma has all of his abilities and growth marginalized not as pushing past human limits but because of demonic heritage/angelic heritage/genetic manipulation/magical alterations/ect. I adore god-like pure human Ranma and god-like modified Ranma equally, provided the modifications aren't used to explain away everything he does prior to them being exposed.
I feel it trivializes the character when everything's said and done and then poof all of canon's powers are explained away as his every ability being because of his nature (and therefore not because of the training) or that he only survived the training because he was different. When that happens I'm always tempted to take a long hard look at Ryouga because he's either not human or the absolute paragon of humanity's physical abilities that Ranma is normally thought of as.
And yet I'm writing this...
Anyways, since Ranma apparently inherits his looks almost solely from his mother, he looks very much like a male version of Setsuna.