Disclaimer: I don't own any of this, Vandread is property of Pioneer, Gonzo, and Media Factory; Ranma is property of Rumiko Takahashi, Viz and a lot more companies that I can't remember to list.

---Title---

Half a Vanguard Prologue

Being the second part of the '1/2' series

By Dr. Suekeiichi Kaiton

---Tarak---

"Women are monsters…" Ranma turned away from the blatant propaganda announcement and continued down the corridor towards his quarters aboard the newly refurbished starcruiser, the Ikazuchi. He was dressed in a military officer's uniform, a sign that he had graduated from the Training Corps. The men loitering about in the hallways gave him no mind, not even bothering to greet the familiar face as he brushed past them. If the Minister didn't fly off the handle and announce that it would launch early, the Ikazuchi would leave Tarak in two hours. He had to get packed.

The past ten years had been hell for a man such as Ranma, with such a long span of time since he'd laid eyes on a curvaceous female form he'd begun to feel the drain on his ki. Passing himself off as a first-class citizen was kind of tricky but he supposed it was worth it, after all wasn't he going to go off into space and fight the pirate Women of Mejale? He shook his head as the public service announcement exploded off the viewscreen, replaced by the bald visage of their Minister, supposedly a direct descendant of their progenitor "Grandpa". Ranma scoffed. Out of all of the populace, he was sure only he and "Grandpa" knew that the whole female-innards-eating rouse was just that - even though he had never met the mysterious leader of Tarak. Although giving the outward appearance of someone in his thirties, Ranma was in fact far older and wiser.

From what he had been able to ascertain, the situation concerning the gender wars started because of the cowardly actions of "Grandpa" and the first generation colonists as they dumped the females in the Mejale system and ran away to Tarak. Could it have been that one of them realized the tremendous power that could be derived from the joining of male and female? Was that the reasoning behind the split? Such questions were better left unanswered Ranma believed as he slung his medkit over a shoulder and headed down to the event room.

When he arrived the party was in full swing, the hundred plus Vanguard pilots milling about as the Minister began winding down.

"Good evening, Ranma." A tall man in his mid-twenties with raven black hair cascading over his right eye appeared behind him. He was dressed in an officer's jumpsuit similar in design to Ranma's but was missing the black stripes running down the sleeves to designate a commanding position.

"Evening, McFile, how long has the Minister been talking?"

"About fifteen minutes."

"Ah, good, he should be winding down about now." Ranma turned to the screen just as Baldy's 'stirring' speech about their sacred mission finished with a comment about 'making "Grandpa" proud'. "I think the idiot has something in store for us." With a deafening roar the thrusters engaged and the ship began to rock back and forth as it lifted off the ground. "Hmm, we're leaving two hours ahead of schedule."

"Aren't you going to ask about Shinji?" Duelo McFile handed his commanding officer a glass of retrograde alcohol from a weaving waiter's tray.

"How is he?" Ranma wasn't paying his partner much mind. "In elementary school by now? Third grade?"

"At the Soun Tendo Memorial education station." Why they named a school after such an insignificant crybaby was beyond Ranma's powers of deduction. "You know the one, after all you are paying for his schooling."

"The tall glass building across the canyon from the Genma Saotome Institute for the Criminally Insane?" Ranma laughed his ass off when he'd found out about that, it seemed fitting that such a place be named after his father.

"Bingo."

"I trust you've been well." Ranma crumpled the thin metal cup and tossed it over his shoulder, the heavy ball landing perfectly in a nearby waste basket. "Let me guess, you left your future profile completely blank." The way Duelo looked away told him he'd hit the nail on the head. "I knew it…"

"It had nothing to do with you. Besides, Shinji will grow up a first class citizen like the two of us. I didn't need to look after him anymore, the officer training corps. will take care of his needs." Ranma leaned back against a window as the ship left Tarak's atmosphere , the explosions of exhibition dogfights lighting his eyes. Duelo didn't meet Ranma's gaze.

"Hey, hey! You two look like you'd appreciate this…look at this beauty!" The blond haired boy with the foppish haircut burst into their area, breaking the tension as he held aloft a container of pellets. "It's a brand new recipe, made with only the finest quality ingredients, I guarantee you won't have another opportunity to taste something like this again!" Bart Garsus, grandson of the President of Garsus foods - supplier of food pellets to the military, didn't even bat an eyelash as he interrupted an obviously personal conversation.

"Bart Garsus." Ranma grit his teeth as the annoying youth flitted around his head like a deranged hummingbird. "I should've known your father'd put a member of the family aboard."

"You know my dad?" Bart dropped the red striped white pellet back into its case and looked from Ranma to Duelo.

"We've met before. Now go away, there are some hungry people over there." He pointed at the closed doors leading into the kitchen. Bart ran away as was his wont to do, Duelo giving the entire situation a sarcastic smirk. Ranma turned back to the windows as the Van-Type promo film began playing. "Aren't you scared, Duelo? About going into space to fight women?"

"I find the idea fascinating, there is so much I'd like to study about their physiology and culture."

"So you did become a doctor."

"Indeed, I'm here as an assistant to the ship's Medical commander."

"You just signed up because you knew I'd be here, didn't you?" Those explosions were getting closer, if Ranma wasn't mistaken it almost seemed as though the elegant weaving ships were female Dreads…

"That was part of it, yes, but the overwhelming urge was-"

"It's a third class citizen!" Someone was shouting at the short boy clinging to the cod-piece of a Vanguard.

"What are you doing? Get him off of that!" The Minister's bald head began to sweat in frustration as Hibiki Tokai sprang from the robot and onto the bust of "Grandpa".

"Get down!" Ranma leapt from the window and tackled McFile to the floor as guards came forward and dragged the pathetic man away down the storage cells. A craft whizzed by the window and shook the ship as a thin scratch from the object's wing appeared on the reinforced glass. "What the hell do those idiots think they're doing!?" He helped the long-haired man up off the floor. Suddenly a scratchy command issued forth from the speakers.

"All pilots suit up and get to your Vanguards! This is a pirate assault by the Women of Mejale!" The crowd began to scatter to the locker rooms as explosions rained down on the Ikazuchi's shields. Ranma and Duelo ran towards the medical wing, knowing that with inexperienced pilots they were going to have a lot of injuries, that is if they survived the first assault.

As the klaxons wailed and the emergency red lights spun to life, Ranma looked back at the window and the thin line etched into it's surface by a razor-sharp silver wing. He seemed to sense something in the air. "I feel women…heh, it's been too long."

---One short one-sided fight later---

The attack had been swift and carefully planned. The women's advanced Dreads had penetrated the hull of the old Ikazuchi and disgorged an invasion party which quickly took control of the ship's functions. Now Ranma, Duelo, and the rest of the men gathered in the medical wing were standing in line as they waited for their fate. Ranma himself entertained no ideas that the women would eat his innards or do any number of horrible things to him, he was smarter but the same could not be said for the pirates other prisoners.

"Move along quietly now and you won't be harmed." An extremely flat- chested girl in a skin-tight blue and white tunic waved her ring-laser at them threateningly. Ranma took the time to walk closer to her and sniff her hair, it had been a long time since he'd seen a woman, let alone slept with one, he wondered if he'd be rusty…

"Listen here, Men of Tarak, if you follow our instructions you will make it back to Tarak alive but if you attempt to resist we will kill you. Is this understood?" Buzam Calessa strutted out from the battle bridge and spoke to the male group. Ranma's eyes trailed over her soft curves and the generous view of her washboard stomach. It seemed like every inch of her bare skin was oiled and toned, to a man who hadn't the experience of a woman in nearly a decade, she seemed like the proverbial life-saving 'burning bush'. He licked his lips. "Take them to the escape pods."

"Ow! Paiway that hurts!" Barnette Orangello winced as the bubbly nurse applied alcohol to her laser burn. The skin was burned and blistered, she knew that it would take weeks for the scars to fade, the thought of having a single blemish on her impeccable body nearly brought her to tears. "You know I have sensitive skin."

Ranma and Duelo stopped short at the scream, both feeling stirrings of that good old physician's bedside manner bubbling to the surface.

"Hey you two! Get moving!" Another bodysuited attacker waved her ring in their faces menacingly.

Meanwhile Hibiki Tokai awoke to a plush, squishy part of the female anatomy in his face. He had no idea what to do with it, the poor bastard.

---The pirate ship---

"BC report your status." Magno Vivian, captain of the pirates leaned back in her command chair as the newer sections of Ikazuchi interlocked again in Tarak orbit, obviously sans the old section which they had invaded.

"This is Buzam. We have everything under control, the ship is ours, Parfet is just trying to reroute controls to the secondary bridge we discovered so we can dock."

"Excellent. Is there anything of interest on the ships that I should be aware of?"

"There is a contingent of Vanguards aboard, a Paksis Pragma power core larger than any I've ever seen, and a fully stocked medical wing." Magno shifted her walking stick as she deliberated.

"We'll maneuver the ship to your location, we need those medical supplies. Gascogne will board as well to investigate the Paksis core."

"I strongly oppose moving closer to the ship, The Ikazuchi is readying to fire." Buzam's voice seemed to waver over the bad radio communication.

"It doesn't matter, we need those supplies. Where else are we supposed to find them? We are pirates after all."

"Understood."

Magno sighed as the line was cut. "She really needs to loosen up."

---Vanguard entry dock, escape pod bay---

"Keep moving!" Ranma and Duelo looked out upon an expanse of moaning or marginally injured women laid out in the makeshift sickbay. The sight of all the burns and cuts was all they needed to break out of the line and stride to the lockers, pulling out a long labcoat each. Two female guards noticed their mutiny and leapt to attack, their gold rings pulsing angry red as their fingers inched closer to the triggers. "You can't just do what you like, get back in line." The shorter of the two sneered.

Ranma smirked and brought his head down, laughing at their ignorance. "Don't worry ladies, I'm a doctor." He looked straight into the short brown-haired girl's eyes and flashed his patented lady-killer grin. Both sentry's hearts fluttered at the handsome man, particularly the short one who seemed to bear the brunt of his affections.

Paiway watched the exchange from the shadows and jotted a quick note to herself, completely ignoring the flood of injured women around her.

"Duelo, grab all the medkits from the lockers, I'll look over the injured so we know who to treat first." Ranma brushed past the brown- haired girl, pinching her bottom as he passed and winked. "You need to loosen up, I mean you no harm." The playful grin disappeared as another group of injured stumbled into the docking bay. "Hurry up Duelo, we have work to do." Just then an urgent message spurted out from the intercom.

"Weapons system detected on the Ikazuchi, all personnel retreat back to the umbilical cord for evacuation! I repeat, weapons system detected, all hands abandon ship!" The women had just finished flushing the other men out into space when the message crackled over their heads, causing mass panic and hysteria.

Buzam looked down at the injured through a window on her way back to the bridge and cursed the men for doing this. "Captain? We have injured here that we cannot transport."

"We've detected missiles heading towards you now, BC get off that ship!"

"I'm sorry Captain but I can't do that, we can't leave half our crew to die here." Parfet ran by Buzam carrying a jumble of wires.

"Whatever happens is destiny." Magno watched as the missiles arched separately towards both of their ships.

---To be continued---

Should I or should I not? And for those of you muttering about how many one shots I have out there, this is actually a sequel to a fic I haven't completed yet, I've just been watching too much Vandread.

Remember to leave me a review or email me, your response determines which fics I work on, right now I'm working on more "1/2 Moon", "WAWN?", and "Sailor?"