Here's something to tide you over while I work on the next chapter of Scorpion's Disciple. Don't expect much – this is just harmless fun that served to take my mind off things and help me reignite my creativity. It's dumb as hell, but I had much fun writing it. I'm not sure if I'll continue it.
Mary Sues and Gary Stues, I present you… The Most Awesomest People Alive (a.k.a. Mary Sue Alliance)!
- break -
It was a beautiful day. The sun was shining, the birds were signing, happy couples were milling about in the nearby park, and Goku was fighting Ichigo in the sky above the city, both of them in their final final final final final super-ultimate-final-for-real-this-time-no-really transformation, the energy of their battle washing over the inhabitants of the city below like a thick miasma of tangible violence and aggression. And nobody even looked twice on them, simply going on about their lives like it happens every other day.
The reason was simple: it did happen every other day.
"Welcome to Suetopia," Naruto sighed dramatically. God he hated this place. "I need a goddamn drink."
It didn't take him long to find his favorite bar, an elven-run establishment that miraculously wasn't all fancy and shit like the most of elven creation. Naruto hated elves as a general rule, since they were way too full of themselves, but the ones working at the Evergreen Leaf were good people. He ordered his usual from a cute red-headed waitress that came to get his order and studied the patrons for a moment. The place was popular and saw a great deal of different costumers over the course of a day, so Naruto wasn't really surprised he didn't recognize anyone. Most Sues came from out of the way dimension stacks that were poorly monitored or policed, and Naruto mostly traveled to well-known ones. Wait. That orange cat over there… Naruto narrowed his eyes. Was that… Garfield? How in the Nine Hells of Baator did an incarnation of Garfield ascend to Suedom!
Naruto shook his head. He didn't really want to know.
Besides, he had a visitor. He watched impassively as another Naruto hesitantly came over to his table and sat down facing him. Naruto wasn't really surprised to see another incarnation of Naruto since many versions of his ended up in this place – there was just something about him that was susceptible to becoming insanely overpowered. Having an insanely powerful Demon Lord sealed inside of you probably had a lot to do with it.
"Hello," he greeted the newcomer. "New to Suetopia?"
"Huh? Oh…" the boy seemed lost. Must have been here for less than a year. "How did you know?"
"You seem weirded out that you're talking with a version of yourself," Naruto shrugged. "Considering how many Naruto's there are in this place, you should get used to the experience pretty quickly."
"Yeah, about that…" the other Naruto began. "I don't think I want to get used to it. This… this isn't working out for me…"
"Sorry," The other Naruto lowered his head meekly. "I didn't mean-"
"None of that," Naruto quickly waved him off. Huh. One of Naruto's apologizing – must be really desperate to get back home. "I don't like the place myself, much. I take it you want back to your world line?"
"Yeah," he agreed, more confidently. " I was told you can… fix me. Lower my power rating," he elaborated quickly.
"What's your haxxor?" Naruto asked him.
"2800," the other Naruto said.
Naruto clacked his tongue in annoyance. That was low. This kid should have never been taken from his home just for this. It seems that one of the operatives got lazy. He would have to speak with Aizen about double-checking his operatives a little more closely.
"I was told I have to bring it down to less than 800 before they'll even consider letting me go back," the other Naruto said. "Preferably below 500 if I want to be sure my request can be granted. Can you do that?"
"Kid, who do you take me for?" Naruto asked. "Of course I can do it! Hell, I'll bring your haxxor below 300, but you'll still end up stronger than you were before we begun. There are some loopholes in the grading process that most people don't know about and we're going to exploit them to the hilt!"
"Really?" the other Naruto asked. "You can bring down my rating and make me stronger at the same time?"
"Sure," agreed Naruto. "Most Sues are actually horribly under-optimized and have extremely powerful powers they aren't even using to their full potential. Case in point, I see you have the sharingan."
"What? How?" the other Naruto blurted out. "I didn't even have it active at the moment!"
"Borg scanners. But nevermind how I know, what's important is that it's an excellent example of what I'm talking about. Any sort of ability that lets you copy other people's powers is worth at least 200 haxxor, which is severely overpriced since most people just don't know how to use those kind of powers properly. And sharingan has a lot of other abilities too, most of which you don't even use. It has a potential to be upgraded to mangekyo sharingan, which is there, inflating your haxxor, even though you don't even have it unlocked. It enhances genjutsu, which you don't really use. And on top of everything, it's inheritable too, which doubles the haxxor worth. Replacing the sharingan with a few non-inheritable powers with a tighter focus should shave off at least 1000 haxxor without significantly impairing your combat ability. What do you think it would happen if I replaced your sharingan with a 'sharingan lite' doujutsu that duplicates the tracking objects effect of the sharingan and does nothing more besides that?"
"It, um… yeah I can see your point," the other Naruto admitted. "That's pretty much what I use the sharingan 99% of the time. And most of the jutsu I copied I can't really use very well so I don't. I mostly use wind jutsu, which I got from raiding Konoha's archives, not from sharingan's copying effect."
"Right," nodded Naruto. "You are also a hanyou, which has so many different effects it would take an hour or so just to list them, 90% of which you don't even know exist, much less use. I could just revert you to human and give you a combination of regeneration, enhanced senses, and fire affinity and you'd be functionally the same for 1/10 the price. As since you don't really use fire jutsu all that often we can throw fire affinity away as pointless cost. Anyway, the point is that once I throw away or replace characteristics that inflate your haxxor, there will be enough buffer o throw in a few brand new goodies in there."
"That's awesome," the other Naruto exclaimed. "I bet you already did with yourself, huh? So what's your power level?"
"Haxxor," corrected Naruto. "And my rating is 126.000."
The other Naruto opened his mouth in shock. He sat there closing and opening his mouth like a fish out of the water, trying to formulate a response. Naruto didn't understand what the big deal is, since it wasn't even that big in the grand scheme of Suetopia. The upper echelons here has haxxor that climbed to several million.
"W-what the hell! Why haven't you optimized yourself!" the other Naruto yelled, pointing his finger at Naruto accusingly.
"I did," Naruto said with a grin. "Took me quite a long time till I brought it down so low. Now do you want my help or not?"
The other Naruto sighed and nodded. Truth be told, Naruto had no idea why anyone would want to live in Elemental Nations, since even the nicer world lines were violent hellholes, but maybe that's just him being cynical after seeing what else the multiverse has to offer.
Thank God he never has to set foot in that place again.
- break -
"No," Naruto shouted, slamming his hands on the desk. Normally such an action would turn the unfortunate piece of furniture into sawdust, but this particular desk was made out of sturdier stuff. It had to be. The junior overseer of Outbound Mission Office regularly dealt with unhappy, insanely powerful operatives, so the entire building and everything in it was custom built to take absurd amount of abuse. Naruto whirred away from the desk and started pacing around the room like a caged tiger. "No freaking way I'm going back there. Send someone else. I'm done with elemental nations and ninja villages, okay?"
Aizen permitted himself a small sigh. This was not what he imagined he would be doing when he set out to become a god. And the worst thing was that he wasn't even the supreme power in this place. He still had superiors to report to and absurd orders to obey. If he knew this is what was waiting for him beyond the King's Key, he would have let Ichigo finish him off in that final showdown of theirs.
"Aren't you feeling even a little bit nostalgic towards your own home dimension?" Aizen tried. "It's been a while since you visited them."
"I speak with plenty of other Naruto's to know that nothing's really changed. There is nothing for me to do there," Naruto huffed. "I explored absolutely everything of interest, combing through all of elemental nations looking for anything notable dozens of times. Literally – I once summoned a legion of shadow clones and methodically sifted through the top soil…"
Aizen blinked at that before shaking his head. Only Naruto…
"Nonetheless," Aizen said, "it is that very familiarity with that dimension stack that led me to ask this of you, Naruto 111205439. Our usual representatives there have thinned out considerably in recent times. Our two best operatives – Naruto 4590221 and Naruto 788321110 – have both underwent total mental breakdown from the stress of the job."
"Yeah, some of the local world-lines are pretty messed up," agreed Naruto. "Don't see what that's got to do with me, though."
"You're my subordinate, which means that my problems are your problems," Aizen said patiently. "And since I currently have a backlog of 1431 corrective missions in the Elemental Nations dimension stack, I definitely have a problem. There will be a review period in 4 years, and I want the backlog to be squeaky clean by then. You're the only operative I have that can work that fast."
"Bah," Naruto spat. "I'm pretty sure that isn't the only dimension stack with a backlog. Why can't you send me to the pokegirl world again?"
Aizen snorted. "You know damn well why I can't do that."
"Oh come on! It was an accident!"
"Operatives are supposed to remain inconspicuous," Aizen sighed. "Instead, you conquered a whole continent, swamped it with your clones, and reshaped it with magic so spectacular it attracted the attention of several neighboring realities. Some of your clones are still running around that place, resisting any attempt to root them out. Do you know how much paperwork you've given me over that?"
"It's your fault for misleading me! You said it was just a quirky pornworld! You never mentioned how fucked up that world really was until I already took the mission and was there on the field! I couldn't just let things remain as they were."
"Yes, well, most pokegirl worlds in the alternity are pretty fucked up," Aizen remarked. "Seriously, what do you expect of people who actually give things names like 'boobiesaur' and 'whoreizard'? Besides, you should have known we wouldn't have sent you if it was your run-of-the-mill pornworld. You're not exactly our choice operative for those kind of assignments. Don't you have enough girls in your harem anyway?"
"They left me," Naruto ground out, looking to the side. "Honestly, you leave your harem for a measly little year and suddenly they steal your ship and elope with the clones you left to keep them company. I really need to find a way to make the clones less independent one of these days. I'm sure they're the ones who instigated this betrayal."
"Yes, well, back to the matter at hand," Aizen said, throwing a data cube at the blond. "You'll find all relevant information there. Be careful, though – some of the info may be a little outdated. With such a large backlog, the data collectors can't keep up."
Naruto marched out of the room and slammed the door behind him. The nerve of that man! He so wanted to beat the smarmy pretty boy up, but Aizen was always prepared for everything. Somehow. He shook his head to clear his thoughts and then went for the exit, only to nearly collide with a familiar face.
"Hello, Harry," Naruto sneered. "It's been a long time. How many Dark Lords have you vanquished since the last time we saw each other? It must surely suck to keep dealing with the Voldemort fellow over and over again…"
"I don't know, Naruto," Harry spat back, "I'm guessing it doesn't suck as much as having to deal with Akatsuki over and over again."
Naruto sniffed disdainfully. "You looked better with glasses."
"And you looked better in orange," Harry threw back.
There was a short silence between them, but neither moved to leave.
"I guess they gave you a backlog too, huh?" Naruto asked finally.
"God, you have no idea how sick I am of the wizarding world," Harry growled.
"Well then," Naruto said with a feral grin. "I have an idea to make our boring tasks a little more interesting."
Harry gave him a penetrating gaze and Naruto knew he was attempting legilimency on him. He lowered his mental shields just a little, allowing the wizard to catch a glimpse of his plan. Harry's eyes widened in surprise for a moment before his expression shifted into a mirror image of Naruto's grinning visage.
"Your ideas intrigue me and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter," Harry Potter told him.
Naruto began talking.
- break -
"Nice ride," Harry whistled appreciatively as they stared out of the star port window to the docks. A giant black cube dotted with eerie orange light blotted out most of the starry horizon. "That's a Borg cube right?"
"Yeah," Naruto confirmed. "I captured it during one of my assignments and replaced the crew with my clones. Well, mostly. The damn thing is huge and the Borg are always holding out in some forgotten corner, plotting to wrest back the control of their ship. I'd do a full sweep but their attacks can get pretty amusing. Breaks the monotony, you know? Anyway, I usually can't use it because it would be too inconspicuous and all, but Elemental Nations doesn't have the sensor equipment to notice orbital objects."
"Why does it glow orange?" Harry asked. "I thought Borg technology shone green."
"Green isn't my color," Naruto said.
"You're sick," Harry sniffed. "But whatever, at least with the onboard replicators I'll be able to have some proper food instead of having to eat that Japanese shit that dimension stack is obsessed with. Let's go."
With a mental command, the clone operator in the cube teleported them to the bridge. Originally the cube didn't have a bridge (collective consciousness and all), but Naruto redesigned vast swaths of the interior to his liking.
"Naruto 111205439, this is jump control, you are clear to leave, I repeat you are clear to leave."
"Understood, Jump Control," Naruto said. "World jump at 3, 2, 1…"
There was a wrenching sensation and suddenly the star port winked out of existence. Naruto glanced at the sensor reading on the data panel next to his chair and nodded to himself. They are in the right place.
"So," Harry began. "This is just a standard fixer run, right? We tweak the local Sue until he or she no longer threatens the continuity of the world line and then port away to the next item in queue?"
"Basically, yeah," agreed Naruto. "But the devil is, as they say, in the details. Our main time sink here is determining the situation on the ground before acting, so I'm going to load all 15 shuttles this cube has full of clones and sent them all to gathering info on out target world lines while we deal with this one."
Harry arched an eyebrow. "And what's special about this world line? Is the instability someone other than your local incarnation?"
"Oh no, the local incarnation of me is definitely a Sue," Naruto said. "He's a genin that hadn't even had a C-rank yet, but he already has four bloodlines and the Kyuubi wrapped around his little finger. The first and original bloodline is a doujutsu that allows him to copy other people's bloodlines – and since he already copied the sharingan and the byakugan, it also incorporates their powers as well. The second bloodline is the mokuton, which, besides allowing him to use wood jutsu, also lets him control the Kyuubi however he wishes… which makes him functionally immortal due to unbelievable regeneration, poison and disease resistance, and lack of aging, and a plethora of demonic techniques that could each vaporize a small town. Of course, this is not even mentioning his sword – the Ajvin – which has 10 different forms, each one with its own special power that I don't feel like explaining right now."
"Wow," Harry said. "That's over 9000 haxxor."
"Yeah. He also has a dragon summoning contract. The funny thing is, he doesn't really do much – he just keeps acquiring new powers like a stamp collector, hardly ever utilizing what he already has to any appreciable extent. Pretty standard Sue, all things considered."
"So what's the hold up then?"
"The problem is that he isn't the only one's who's broken," Naruto sighed. "His enemies are utterly ridiculous. If I depower him carelessly, I'm basically sentencing him to death, and by extension causing the entire world-line to go down the drain real fast. Aizen is going to have my hide if I turn another world into radioactive wasteland."
"Yeah I know what you mean," Harry said. "Ever since I rose Atlantis from the ocean for all to see in that one world line, everyone is constantly on by back about every little thing. Still, are you sure these guys are more broken than the usual Pein/Madara duo?"
"Sadly," Naruto confirmed. "It's some kind of primal evil with full forces of the local Hell behind it. Plus a group of 10 of his elite servants. And the Akatsuki and Orochimaru, both of which have been appropriately powered-up to keep up."
"Crap. Can they be taken out by orbital bombardment?"
"You know we're not supposed to be so blatant about our involvement, don't you? We're supposed to deescalate conflicts, not up the ante. No, we'll just have to bite the bullet and spend a month or two here. It will take a while for the shuttles to scout the other world-lines anyway."
"Bloody hell," Harry cursed, running his hand through his hair. "Tell you what, why don't you go do your thing to your counterpart while I see if I can thin out the ranks of his enemies a bit and throw a few wrenches into their plans. You have the data blocks about them, right?"
Naruto nodded absent-mindedly, still studying the readings. He punched in a few commands, transferring the information about the local Big Bad and his followers to Harry's terminal, then frowned some more. Ironically, the primal evil was the easiest problem to solve, as he kept himself and his underlings well hidden and was obviously demonic – no one will even know they're gone if Naruto and Harry off them without much fanfare, and if the battles become a little intense they can always portray themselves as divine agents fighting forces of hell and no one will find it terribly strange. No, the problem was Akatsuki, who were even more broken than they were in his birth world-line. While shadowy, they were involved enough into ninja politics that Naruto couldn't just off them one day and pretend nothing is wrong. Destiny, that cruel bitch, would be displeased. He had to let his local incarnation do them in, all the while making sure he doesn't revert back to Suedom. A rather tricky task considering that defeating his version of the Akatsuki led him to become so broken that Suetopia removed him from the universe entirely for everyone's safety, and this Akatsuki was 10 times worse.
As an operative of Suetopia, Naruto wasn't supposed to get directly involved into the Destiny of whatever world he finds himself in, or cause a major disturbance. Of course, just what constitutes 'major' was entirely up to him, unless we went spectacularly overboard and the higher-ups have to get involved (like the time he caused a tribble infestation in Middle Earth, or when he permanently brought down the entire stargate network). Really, it was amazing what an operative can do and still not be considered to have caused a major disturbance.
Sadly, Naruto had abused this fact so often back when he prowled his home dimension stack regularly that High Command made a list specifically for him, outlying what he's not supposed to do under any circumstances. Since Naruto had been away from Elemental Nations for so long mostly forgot what those are, so he pulled out a data panel to remind himself.
The Forbidden List
Operative Naruto ISN'T allowed to:
1. have more than 10.000 clones present on the planetary surface at any particular time.
2. give sharingan to the entire village of Konoha
3. turn Akatsuki into infants
4. give a magical artifacts exceeding 15.000 haxxor to an otherwise ordinary civilians
5. install wish machines in any ninja village
6. form harems exceeding 200 members
7. gender-switch anyone!
8. turn Hyuuga Hinata into a magical girl
Naruto shut down the data panel without reading the rest of the items on the list, chuckling to himself. Good times, good times… he will always cherish the image of Hinata dressed in Frills of Justice, beating Neji over the head with a heart-shaped scepter while shouting about the Power of Love. If he remembers correctly Gai made her a honorary member of the team after that, and Neji refused to leave his room for a week. But all in all, he was disappointed in the naiveté of High Command – did they really think a list like that is going to slow him down? He doesn't recycle his plots anyway – he'll just find something new to amuse himself.
Actually, the list gave him an idea. Who said he had to limit himself to only Naruto in his fixing? There was nothing in the rules about powering other involved parties a bit to even the playing field, so that's exactly what Naruto intended to do. After all, the enemy had a whole army of overpowered characters, so why shouldn't give the rest of the genins a fighting chance? The less enemies Naruto has to tackle all by himself, the more he can safely depower him to a reasonable level. Or at least, that was Naruto's excuse, and he was sticking to it. Aizen shouldn't have dumped this job in his lap, anyway, so screw him.
"I'm going down," Naruto said, and Harry simply waved at him.
Naruto vanished in a swirl of light as the cube teleported him to the surface.
- break -
As much as Naruto liked antagonizing the higher-ups, he still wanted to remain safely within the realm of deniable plausibility, since he didn't want to get his operator license revoked. Again. The challenge, then, was choosing the right people to enhance, and doing it in a way that will make them effective but not unbeatable.
A challenging problem, but one well within Naruto's capabilities. Naruto was quite good at modifying living beings, thanks to switching bodies with a Daelkyr back in Eberron and spending a few years learning the deeper mysteries of life editation from Sarukh in various world lines of Faerun. The medical technology he, err, liberated from the Borg only rounded off his already impressive powers.
He was like Santa Claus that gave people superpowers. Few things had the raw chaos potential like randomly handing out awesome powers to otherwise normal people (regardless of what normal means in any particular world).
First he had the crew back in the cube compiled several technique scrolls from his extensive jutsu library in the ship's databanks to be handed out to select people of his choice. Naruto himself didn't use jutsu anymore, aside from shadow clones and a few classics like substitution, since they were mostly obsolete in his hands. He had much better things at his disposal. He still held on to his jutsu collection, though, since it would be a shame to throw it all away after spending so much time collecting it. Tomorrow morning some 400 different ninja were going to find a mysterious scroll beside their bed, full of jutsu uniquely suited for them. Considering that each scroll was a compilation of jutsu invented by incarnations of that person in various other world lines, they should find every technique in the scroll extremely useful and uniquely suited to them. Hinata's scroll was the thickest, since almost as many Hinatas ascended to Suedom and did Narutos, but the others should find plenty to amuse themselves with too.
The it was time to give his chosen champions a more personal touch. Fortunately it was night time in elemental nations, so virtually everyone was sleeping. Not that it would matter much to Naruto if they weren't since he could just teleport them into the cube's holding cells and flood them with sleeping gas or whatever.
His first target was Naruto's team. The local Naruto didn't get along with them, but there was no denying that, more often then not, they'll be close by whenever anything significant happens around Naruto. If anyone can take some load off local Naruto's back, it was those 3.
To Hatake Kakashi, Naruto gave his patented (really, he did patent it back in Suetopia) 'sharingan lite' package, replacing the eye he had implanted into himself. Naruto knew Kakashi was emotionally attached to the eye, but frankly it would do the man some good not to have a constant reminder of his dead friend stuck in his head. Ability-wise, the implanted sharingan his old teacher had was as much of a crippling flaw as it was an ace in the hole – it was too useful to ignore, but horribly draining to the point where it severely limited Kakashi's choices in battle. Now he could actually use all those thousands of techniques he copied in the course of his life, especially since Naruto doubled his chakra capacity and infused his soul with minute amounts of elemental essences of the local 5 elements, amplifying all of his elemental ninjutsu by a factor of 3 or so.
To Sakura he gave what he believed would help her the most: a +5 Ring of Wisdom and an ability to sense other people's emotions. The local incarnation of Sakura was a screaming banshee whose delusions were truly frightening to behold, essentially a warped flanderization of Destiny Sakura, and these two gifts should do wonders to make her more reasonable. Just so she isn't completely useless on the battlefield and to give her something to feel confident about, he gave her a plethora of cybernetic augmentation to make her stronger and faster than she was naturally.
Sasuke was the trickiest. Naruto knew his local incarnation doesn't get along with local incarnation of Sasuke at all. Despite being on the same team, the two butted heads constantly, though more often than not Sasuke ended up in the dirt because of Naruto's Sueness. If he wasn't careful, one of the two might end up dead due to his actions. Then again, considering Sasuke's daily antagonization of the local Suefied Naruto, he just might end up dead in the near future without help. With that in mind, Naruto wove powerful protective magics into Sasuke's body, allowing him to survive blows that would have killed normal people. After agonizing for several minutes about what else to give the boy (the scroll of techniques he gave him should make Sasuke plenty strong in time), Naruto suddenly had the perfect idea: what Sasuke needed the most was for someone to be there for him. Someone who loved him, but also respected him as a person, and was capable enough to hold their own – not just another useless fangirl. Someone who would never betray him. A companion.
So naturally Naruto took Daimyo's wife's cat, Tora, and turned her into a catgirl, molding her mind and body into a perfect companion for Sasuke. It was only the most logical course of action.
What? Catgirls made everything better!
Naruto's team wouldn't be enough, of course, not for a world line like this. The rest of the rookie nine would be perfect, since Naruto knew them well enough from his past experiences and the local Naruto was familiar with them as well. Team Gai was also convenient, because Gai and Kakashi already had a connection, and it would take only a slight push for Gai to get himself and his team involved into Team 7's business. Anko would probably sell ramen naked right in front of the Hokage tower if she thought it would help her kill Orochimaru, and team 7 did have a habit of attracting the creep so she was in too. Tsunade and her assistant were bound to get involved sooner or later, if for no reason then because the baddies will seek them out eventually. And the ANBU corps as a whole will need any advantage they can get, they're pretty much cannon fodder to enemies that Konoha is bound to face.
Yes, tomorrow will be interesting…
- break -
Next Chapter: Sasuke meets Tora the catgirl and Sarutobi tries to unravel the mystery of how the stone heads of previous Hokages suddenly gained sentience (and futilely tries to shut them up so he can get some sleep).