Mithril Report: Female Ops Booklet.
Disclaimer: We do not own Ranma or FMP, or EMP, for that matter, or FMA, or AMP, or...
Summary: Rapid physical metamorphosis has caused undue alteration of mission parameters. Will continue mission after re-assessing priorities. Urzu 7 out.
Note: We've gone over the fic, and moved a few plot points around, rewriting others. We hope to have another chapter out soon, and we may have a new co-author joining in.
Prologue: Altered Parameters.
In a small, dark room full of computer monitors, a lone soldier sat, his eyes ranging across the displays, which all showed views of hallways or rooms in what looked like a giant lab complex.
"I hate my job," the man muttered, as he sat casually in his chair, leaning backwards and sipping on a cup of coffee. "You sign up to serve the motherland, and what do you end up with? Feh."
"Yeah, real sorry about that, must really suck," a second voice said behind him, in near perfect Russian with a slight Japanese accent.
"Yeah, and you know what? I haven't been promoted in five years! Five years! I tell you, it's..." He stopped, seemingly realizing something important, and slowly turned to see a Japanese man in a black and grey suit of light body armor leaning against the rear wall, smirking at him.
"What the hell?" he demanded, reaching for his sidearm, before his opponent blurred, first numbing his arm with a lightning fast poke to the wrist, and then knocking him cold with a similar jab to the back of his neck.
"Hikari, Kage, guard subdued," the Japanese man reported, pressing his hand against an earpiece he wore in his right ear.
"Did you do it?" a tinny voice came from the other end, obscured slightly by static and the encoding the headset used.
The man sighed, and pulled a small device from a pocket before sliding it into a port on the guard's security terminal with a click. "Yes, I did it, and I got the remote relay in. Now where's the records room?"
"Level C, Room C-41, but you'd better hurry, TDD-1's planning on blowing this place in forty minutes." the crackling voice responded, quickly.
The man rolled his eyes. "I'll get this done in ten minutes," he smirked, before kneeling to grab a key card off of the guard's unconscious form. For a moment, he felt guilty about the idea that a cruise missile strike would obliterate the base, and this man, shortly, but unfortunately he had no time to evacuate an entire military installation full of angry Russians.
"Maybe they'll promote you posthumously," he offered, actually slightly hopeful, before turning and leaving the room. Making his way quickly down clearly marked halls, the man wondered at how little security was on a target this apparently important. It really wasn't like the Russians to bother with a facility this big without securing it a lot better, and he doubted that the little scuffle that had taken place a few days earlier had really depleted the place's reserves all that much.
Carefully edging himself to the crack of a large, metallic door, the man tried listening to it, despite the fact that he knew that should be impossible. Some things, after all, were eventually beaten in so hard you didn't forget, and the person who'd taught him to sneak around was very good at that.
Just before he slid his stolen key card into a slot on the door's security panel, the man could have sworn that he heard a loud crash from behind it. He froze for a moment, straining to hear, but nothing more came, and he finished going through the sequence that should open the door to the base's main data storage center.
When the door slid open, what he saw inside was not the massive bay full of black computer servers that he had expected, where he would spend a boring ten minutes waiting for information to transfer onto the little retrieval unit he'd brought. No, instead, there was a large, humanoid form crouching in the room, its eyes glowing.
"You've got to be kidding me," the man muttered, and this was apparently the wrong thing to do, as the form abruptly erupted in motion, smooth, silvery limbs uncoiling, revealing a huge battle rifle that belched shots, tearing holes in walls.
"We've been compromised!" the man yelled, holding his right hand to his ear both to activate his headset and stop some of the ringing, the sound of the enemy's shots being bounced and reverberated in the small space.
"What, did you screw up and alert a guard patrol or something?" the person on the other end of the line asked, though the man could barely hear them as a massive shell impacted into the wall next to him.
"No, someone put a fully active A S in the server room," Kage snapped, turning and starting to head down the hall as quickly as he could. As he did so, several soldiers turned down the hall from the other direction, holding rather mean looking rifles. He immediately turned, throwing out one arm and lobbing a massive ball of blue energy down the hallway, in hopes that it would stop some of the gun fire and maybe knock the troops over.
Unfortunately, his already rather terrible luck ran all the way out when the RK-92 Savage that had been waiting in the server room apparently got tired of waiting, its giant arm smashing through the doorway and coming at him down the hall. "Crap," he muttered, leaping up before the metallic fist could reduce him to a red smear on the ground, and running along the arm, jumping off at the elbow and continuing down the hall.
Removing something from his belt, he threw it backwards, landing it on the elbow joint of the massive robot as it withdrew back into its room, and smirked as he heard a loud detonation. "All right, this mission's a wash," he complained, beginning to make his way out of the building. "No useful data recovered, probably 'cuz they figured out we knew where they were hiding from that last rescue op."
"Au contraire," the voice on the other end of his communications line responded. "Evil Overlord Vow #169. If I am ever required to create a giant computer system, I will at least be sure to equip it with the basic security measures of a small business."
"Huh?" Kage asked, confused.
His controller sighed. "Never mind, let's just say I got some interesting location data off of the security network..." she trailed off as gunshots echoed in the background again, and the infiltrator began to do his best to move erratically in the tight confines of the corridor. "I assume you want extraction now?"
"Would be nice," the black clad man responded, casting another wave of blue energy backwards, as he caught sight of the base's personnel exit from this level, covered by a rather thick steel blast door. "Damn it," the man muttered, skidding to a halt at the end of the hall, before slapping himself on the side of the head.
Rearing back, he smashed one fist into the wall next to the door, and smirked as it gave with the crumbling of stone. "Doors too, too over-rated," he chirped in imitation of a high pitched female voice, before diving out the hole and running into the snowy night.
"Ah, that's good," the man said, as he casually leaned back in the couch on the evacuation chopper, eating a lump of grey stuff that may or may not have been pork with evident enjoyment.
"Only person I've ever met who likes those things," the aircraft's pilot muttered to herself, checking the course and speed as she prepared for the rather complex operation of meeting the Tuatha de Danaan during its very short surfacing window.
"Ah, you're just too used ta eating whatever you want whenever you want," the man objected. "Now if you want bad food..." He trailed off, looking out the window into the blowing snow for a moment, before shaking his head.
"You sure you're only 35, Sgt? You sound like my father when he told me his old 'Nam stories."
The Sgt. in question shrugged, before putting down the grey mass, loosening the back of his battle armor and removing a rather bedraggled looking pigtail. "Everyone's allowed to be nostalgic every once in a while," he objected, causing the pilot to smirk.
"Whatever you say, Sir," she commented, before a beeping from her console drew her attention. Looking down to a small computer screen set in the middle of the console, she winced. "Well, you should enjoy your gourmet meal now, sir. Looks like they're sending you back out into the trenches."
"Huh?" the man asked, sitting up straighter in his seat and looking over inquisitively.
"Apparently there is a 'situation requiring the expertise of Sgt. Ranma' in Chofu, Japan, and I am to land on TDD-1 only to refuel before transporting him there," the pilot read off, quickly.
The man sighed irritably. "Great. What is it this time, a demon they don't wanna admit exists?"
"No idea, sir," the pilot replied, as the helicopter began to bank slowly, coming into sight of a large, shadowy form in the water beneath it. "The refueling will take me about twenty minutes, maybe you can get some answers then."
"Thanks, Hikari," Ranma said, as the chopper touched down on a lift on top of the colossal submarine Tuatha de Danaan, lowering out of sight of the surface on a giant lift before a hatch slid closed above it.
He stood, and he paced. All of his senses were screaming that there was danger everywhere, and that he should be with the target at all times, but an equal sense of foreboding came into play when he thought of opening the door she was currently behind.
He wasn't sure what that sense meant, but it had saved him from having his head blown off several times in the past, and Sgt. Sousuke Sagara was inclined to trust his instincts. Still, he thought as he turned around for another walk past the door labeled "Changing room," his life was nowhere near as important as the target's, and this mission had been labeled top priority.
The fact was that Kaname Chidori was currently vulnerable, and he was letting his sense of self-preservation get in the way of keeping her safe. Having made that decision, the young sergeant straightened up, squared his shoulders, turned and marched up to the change room door, throwing it open and carefully looking around.
The fact that the room was full of nude women impinged on his awareness only long enough for him to discard it as unimportant data, and he continued to scan for threats, right up until one massive one appeared. Well, actually, it was several hundred small ones. The girls had reacted as any normal human being, and therefor not Sousuke, would be able to predict, and grabbed anything they could lay hands on to drive off the pervert who had barged into the girls locker room.
The Sagara boy wasn't sure how to proceed, as he was being attacked, but most of the projectiles bounced off with nothing but mild bruising, until he noted an unusually bulging sock bouncing back from where it had hit the top of the door frame, and towards Kaname. The boy reacted in an instant, leaping forward to deflect the potentially harmful item, when he was caught in the face by a bottle of spring water, which made a rather painful thwacking noise as it hit his nose, and its top popped off due to the sudden increase in internal pressure caused by being smacked against said body part.
Sousuke stumbled back, tripping on a hair brush that was laying at his feet, and hit the ground with a whumph as water splashed all over the front of his school uniform. As this happened, the military boy was overcome by a tremendous sense of dizziness, and his eyes became blurry for several moments, as he tried to focus again.
Sousuke spent several seconds just laying on the floor, staring up at the ceiling and feeling that something in the tactical situation had shifted greatly, and it would be best if he didn't take any action until he could figure out what that something was. Unfortunately, Kaname wasn't willing to share that view, as she, as well as another girl wearing a set of thin rimmed round glasses, appeared in his vision.
"Um, I think we made a mistake," the teal haired girl said, quietly, as she reached down and patted Sousuke's chest. The sergeant was inclined to jump in surprise from the very unfamiliar sensation this caused, but suppressed that reaction in order to respond.
"I only entered this area to ensure your safety, Miss Chidori," he said, trying to explain himself, before clamping his mouth shut, shocked at the high voice that came from it.
"Ensure my safety?" the girl in question asked, confused. "Look, the other girls and I are sorry about hitting you with all that stuff, but what do you expect when you come in here wearing a boys uniform?
"But I was told that this uniform was appropriate for this school," Sousuke asked, confused. "No one seemed to mind it when I first arrived."
"Um, yeah," the girl with the glasses contributed. "That's the BOYS uniform."
"I... fail to see a problem." Sousuke admitted, blinking up at her.
The girl in the glasses sighed, and looked to Kaname. "How much you want to bet someone hit her in the head with something?" she drawled.
"Kyoko! That's mean!" Kaname objected, and then straightened slightly, offering Sousuke a hand up. He gratefully took it, regaining his feet, though he felt off balance and dizzy for some reason. As he looked around the room again, remembering that he had come in to it to look for threats to Kaname's safety, his eyes caught on a mirror that reflected a very strange image.
Kaname and her friend, now identified as Kyoko, were reflected back at him, but standing between them was a very confused looking red haired girl, wearing an obviously too large male school uniform. Sousuke raised one hand to rub at his eyes, feeling that he must be suffering some form of optical illusion, and noted that the girl in the image was doing the same thing.
"That's... impossible," he muttered, quietly.
"Did you say something?" Kaname asked, turning towards him and still looking worried.
"No, I have to go," Sousuke said quickly, deciding that he currently wasn't combat effective, and he needed to perform a tactical withdrawal to assess what was going on. As he turned and started for the door, his pants slipped down around his ankles, his boxers just barely hanging on to hips that seemed far too wide yet paradoxically too small.
"Oh, you can't go out like that!" Kaname said, shocked. "Where did you even get those oversized clothes, anyways?"
"I..." Sousuke started, before being interrupted by Kaname again.
"Does anyone have clothes that could fit her?"
"That won't be necessary," Sousuke objected quickly, but he apparently wasn't being listened to, as Kaname grabbed him by the arm and guided him towards a bench in the middle of the room. As someone held up a school uniform and the accompanying undergarments before him, the Sagara youth felt a sense of impending doom much stronger than that he'd felt before entering the bathroom, and began automatically scanning the area for exits before he caught Kaname, smiling reassuringly at him.
"Must be a new student, huh?" she asked, grabbing one arm of his school uniform top and starting to pull it off. He didn't resist, far too confused, only flinching when she pulled his sidearm from his shirt pocket and looked down on it. "Toy gun, huh? You know that Sousuke guy?"
"Actually, I..." Sousuke started, before the sense of impending doom got much, much worse and he clamped his mouth shut, beginning to dress in the clothes he'd been given. After all, he had done similar things during his youth to camouflage himself during raids into small towns for food, and, for some reason, the girls uniform fit disturbingly well.
Five minutes later, Sousuke stood in the school yard, looking back at the girls change room as her skirt tickled disconcertingly around her legs. She had discovered that she was definitely female, as the human anatomy books she had read had described the difference, and was now obviously rather concerned about it. Still, the target needed to be protected.
Reaching over her shoulder, she extracted a small radio from her backpack and keyed in a frequency before speaking. "Urzu 2, this is Urzu 7, I've run into unforeseen difficulties while carrying out the mission."
"Urzu 7? Sousuke? What happened to your voice?" Sgt. Major Melissa Mao asked from the radio, startled.
"That isn't important right now," Sousuke stated. "I'm afraid my ability to monitor the target has been compromised, I'd like to return to base while Urzu 6 continues."
"Sousuke, what is going on out there?" Mao asked, genuinely worried at the fact that one of her most dedicated subordinates was requesting relief.
Sousuke sighed, knowing that this sort of report usually required some form of physical proof to believe, but went on anyways. "I am currently standing in the schoolyard, without my pistol, in a girls school uniform, and physically female."
The line went dead silent for a moment before Mao exploded, "You've got to be ki..." she trailed off, realizing who she was supposedly talking to, and then demanded, "Name, rank and serial number."
"Sergeant Sousuke Sagara, Bravo Tree One Two Eight," said soldier responded instantly.
"Holy... You're serious," Mao muttered, before apparently calling up her other teammate without switching Sousuke's radio off. "Urzu 6, get over to the school. I think Urzu 7's finally flipped!"
"Sgt. Major, I could be hallucinating, but I don't know why I would suddenly believe I was female due to stress," Sousuke contributed.
"Hey, who's that? She sounds cute," Urzu 6 cut in, before Mao could respond.
"Never mind. Urzu 6, get to the school. Urzu 7, get back to base now!" the woman commanded, frustrated.
"Yes, Ma'am," two voices chorused, before Sousuke's radio went dead and she started for home.
"I can't believe you almost shot me!" Kyoko proclaimed, as she and Kaname walked out of the change room, the latter holding a small black pistol at arms length as though it were a dead fish.
"I didn't know the thing was REAL!" the teal haired girl defended herself, visibly shaken. "I mean, she was another student, like us, how was I supposed to know she was carrying a loaded gun?"
"I dunno Kaname, she was pretty weird," Kyoko objected. "I could have sworn that when she opened the door she didn't have that bright red hair, and she was a lot taller, too."
"Yeah, well, that was probably an optical illusion from her being silhouetted against the sun," Kaname insisted. "Now can you help me find a way to get rid of this thing before I accidentally kill someone with it?"
"I don't know, give it to Mrs. Kagurazaka," Kyoko suggested.
"Yeah, and she'll think it's a toy and shoot herself with it," Kaname disagreed. "Aren't these things supposed to have safeties?"
"They're supposed to be next to the barrel... I think," Kyoko offered tentatively.
"Yeah, but I'm not going to pull any of the levers to find out what they do again," Kaname proclaimed, and then sauntered over to a garbage can next to the school's main entrance, dropping the offending item into it. "There, hopefully it'll get compacted in the dump or something."
"I don't know if that's such a good idea," Kyoko disagreed, but Kaname apparently refused to entertain anymore strangeness for the day, and was heading in for class. The light brown haired girl took a few seconds to photograph the gun sitting in the garbage with her digital camera, before following her friend inside.
"And our captain's name is?" Melissa Mao asked, as she lay on a couch, staring across at a short, red haired girl who was standing at attention in front of her.
"Teletha Testarossa," the girl replied.
"And her age?"
"She just turned seventeen two months ago," the girl answered quickly, drawing a long, annoyed sigh from her commanding officer.
"You're Sousuke all right," Mao muttered. "Well, I've proven your identity, and that you're definitely female, now all we have to know is how."
Sousuke nodded. "It's very unnerving," she admitted, before moving to a kitchen chair nearby and sitting in it. "Should we report this to headquarters?"
"I already have," Mao responded. "I'm pretty sure I heard snickering from the radio operator, but he says he'll pass it on."
"Then I suppose all we can do now is wait," Sousuke replied, as the front door to the apartment opened.
"Honey, I'm home!" Kurz Weber called loudly, before entering the main room with his arms behind his head. "Angel's back at her apartment, safe and sou... wow, who's the kid?" he trailed off, as he turned to Sousuke, crouching to look into her face.
"That would be Sergeant Sagara," Mao replied, exasperated.
"Oh," Weber said, suddenly rather nervous and confused. "I didn't know you were into that sort of thing."
Sousuke wanted to ask what sort of thing the group's sniper meant, but the man was walking off into the kitchen too quickly for her to open her mouth.
"He's not, you asshole," Mao snapped at the blond man's back.
"Well, you know," Weber said, turning around and waving his hands rapidly, "there's nothing wrong with it, I just thought..." Noting Mao's glare, and Sousuke's confused look, he deflated. "I'm missing something big, aren't I?"
Mao nodded, and was about to reply, when the communications unit in the corner of the room chimed and she got up, walking over to it and picking up the headset. Hitting the message received button, she listened for a moment and blinked. "Yes, I confirm," she said, sounding confused, before setting the headset down and tapping the button that would shut down the radio.
Looking back at Sousuke and Kurz, she shrugged. "They say they think they know what's going on, and that there's a specialist flying out to help Sousuke out. Also, they..." She shook her head. "They ordered the Sergeant to take a hot bath."
"Okay, so don't keep me in suspense, why are we flying out to Tokyo?" Ranma grimaced as those were the first words he heard, as he climbed into the helicopter that was still waiting on the pad, its engine running.
"Sorry, SRT stuff," he replied, holding up a manilla folder with a bright red "Eyes Only" stamped across the seal.
"What, so they tell the field agent and not the operator?" she asked, indignantly, starting to flick switches on the console.
Ranma smirked. "Something tells me I'm not gunna need support on this one," he muttered, opening the folder with a small knife he kept on his armor's harness, and removing a white slip of paper.
"What, did they decide to assign you to the X-files full time?" the pilot asked, snorting and turning back to her work.
"Nah, this is more like the stuff I dealt with when I was a kid," Ranma countered, eliciting a wince.
"That bad, huh?" Hikari asked, as the lift began to raise the chopper to launch position and the Tuatha de Danaan surfaced for a moment, its ECS making it look as though they were floating on top of a massive crater in the water.
As they flew into the sky, Ranma casually let his eyes track down the paper, ignoring the blacked out mission goal and target sections to see the situation report. "Jusenkyo?" he yelped, startled, only to receive an inquisitive raised eyebrow from the front seat. He quickly snapped his mouth shut after that, focusing on taking off his armor to reveal something passably civilian.
"Morning Sousuke," Mao yawned, sitting at the kitchen table with a bowl of what may have been cereal in front of her. "See you're back to normal."
The boy nodded. "Yes, the hot bath helped," he agreed.
"Oh yeah, having your gender changed, about as easy to get over as the flu, huh?" Kurz mumbled, from where he was sitting at the surveillance station, an earphone against his ear. "Hey, the Angel's up."
"How long do we have until she heads to school?" Mao asked, looking over.
"I dunno, but I hope the shower's soon," Kurz grinned lecherously, turning back to the screens and moving the other earphone to his ear.
"You.." Mao growled, her eyebrow twitching, before she bolted up. "Now I remember why I said I'd be the one to do this in the mornings, give me that!" What she didn't notice, as she went over to slap her squad mate up side the head, was that she'd nudged the table slightly with her foot, sending her glass of orange juice tumbling.
Sousuke immediately reached out to grab the glass before it could hit the ground, and ended up with an arm covered in it for his trouble. "C'mon Sergeant Major, I'm just gunna listen to her wonderful singing voice in the shower!" Kurz objected, loudly, before the two of them were interrupted by Sousuke.
The short redhead considered screaming in horrified annoyance for about half a second, before discarding that thought and simply saying "I believe I will have a problem during school this morning."
"Um... I thought we fixed this," Mao noted, worried.
Sousuke nodded. "Maybe the hot water will work again?" she questioned, adjusting her clothing so that they wouldn't hinder her much.
"Maybe," Mao said doubtfully. "This place heats up pretty slowly in the mornings," she shivered, remembering the shower she'd tried to take only an hour earlier, "but you should go run a bath while I try and see if there are any clothes that'll fit you."
"I dunno, she looked pretty cute in the school uniform yesterday," Kurz quipped, before he heard the sound of a click, and turned to see the end of a gun barrel. "Okay, it was a joke! Humor, you know?"
As the woman wielding the weapon lowered it and turned to leave the room, quickly followed by the other, he sighed in relief. "Dodged that one," he muttered, leaning back to listen to Kaname's humming and scrubbing. Ah yes, his life was currently rather go... He trailed off in that thought, as he heard a clicking sound, and began cycling through the cameras mounted outside of the target's house.
Getting one that was angled correctly, he zoomed it in to see a tall figure opening the door, and entering the apartment. "Sergeant Major?" he called down the hall, and Mao poked her head into the room.
"Yeah?" she asked, holding a sports bra in one hand.
"We've got an unknown in the Angel's apartment," Kurz noted.
"Great, can you get an ID?" Mao asked, walking over next to him and squinting into the monitor.
"Not sure," he admitted, right before they both heard the front door slam.
"What was that?" Mao asked, before her eyes widened. "Sousuke?"
Ranma hummed to himself, checking the note he'd been given as he walked down the street. He'd thought that he recognized the address before, but hadn't been able to figure out why. Now, though, he was able to recognize the apartments. "Hmm, maybe I should go visit her," he thought. "Bet she'd like someone to come around and see her every once in a while. Too bad I don't have any souvenirs this time."
Shrugging, he checked his watch, noting that he had three hours before he really had to meet with the team in the area. Turning into the lobby of one of the buildings, he pulled out a key ring with five keys on it, an used one of them to unlock the front entrance door.
As he made his way up to her apartment, he could feel his skin crawling, as though he was being watched. Shaking his head, he tried to ignore the feeling. He'd gotten to be really paranoid over the years, but tried not to show it while doing civilian activities. This, of course, was likely a mistake, but he'd worry about that after he'd been shot. Again.
Opening the apartment door and stepping in, he noted that the place was creepily clean, as always. "Am I sure she's not Kasumi's kid?" he muttered to himself before calling out, "Kaname, it's Uncle Ranma!" Making his way to the kitchen, he heard the sound of the shower running in the bathroom. Noting the bento box that had been left out, he began to prepare food to put in it.
As he was slipping in a couple of cookies from a bag on top of the refrigerator, he heard the distinct sound of a pistol's safety being released. "Aw, crap," he complained, turning around to see a startlingly familiar set of cold blue eyes staring into his.
Noting the red hair, short stature and ill-fitting boys school uniform, Ranma took a guess. "You aren't Sousuke Sagara, are ya?"
"Sousuke?" a female voice asked, from the bathroom door across the room, as Kaname Chidori stood there with a bath towel wrapped around her body.
"I repeat, aw crap," Ranma muttered.