A Ranma 1/2 fanfiction

by Black Dragon

Standard disclaimer applies. I do not own, nor have ever claimed to own, the discovery, function, or product of tea, coffee, or ice. With that muddled batch of nonsense, I leave you to enjoy the latest chapter in my series of alternate nightmares.


Chapter 5

Time for Tea

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"Oh my God, somebody help me!" Sakura cried desperately as she ran down the alleyway, the bolter beating lightly against her thigh as it rocked in its holster.

She turned corners, knocked down garbage bins, and further increased her running pace as the huge buildings loomed up on all sides, trapping her. She ran down another alleyway blindly, anything to further herself from what she knew lurked behind her.

She didn't notice the gate until she had run into it.

Gasping, she grabbed at the bars, trying to open it, tear it, anything to get it out of the way. She considered climbing it, but couldn't find a good foothold. Eventually she collapsed in front of it, heaving dry sobs as she tried to get her mind into some semblance of control so that she could figure out a new escape plan.

That control was shattered as soon as the hoarse moan reached her ears.

Slowly, terrified almost to the point of paralysis, she turned and saw them, two, three, four carriers, their almost skeletal bodies oozing the black slime that was their lifeblood.

Vamps, the black, infectious slugs started crawling around the walls of the buildings, hardly seemed interested in her and only served to make the entire scene look more horrifying.

She whimpered and backed herself into the farthest corner, hugging herself and hoping beyond hope that the freakish mutants would miss or ignore her.

They didn't, of course. Their empty sockets tracked her slightest movements, and their tentacles writhed restlessly as they were dragged along on the ground.

Suddenly, she remembered her gun. Drawing it from her holster, she didn't even bother to aim before she depressed the trigger as quickly as she could, raining stunner bolts into her attackers.

Despite her somewhat shell-shocked state, she allowed herself a slight feeling of satisfaction as a majority of the projectiles hit, sending their victims staggering slightly.

To her grave disappointment, and ultimate doom, this didn't stop them from advancing at all.

As her weapon was swatted away from her grasp, the small part of her mind that wasn't locked up in absolute terror berated her for taking a stun gun rather than a real weapon.

The carriers began advancing once again, and several of the slimy black tentacles shot out to grab her.

*Thoom* *Thoom*

Her mental faculties seemed to return to her as one of the carriers was pierced by two rails shot at incredibly high velocity, and then exploded in a spectacularly gory fashion. The same part of her mind that had wanted a more lethal defense was now muttering about how it shouldn't have exploded like that.

Nevertheless, she didn't complain as two more went down the same way. The last one made some head movements that could have been mistaken for looking around, and was then incinerated by a ball of blue energy. Her eyes widened. There was only one person she knew that could do that.

"Hey Sakura, are you all right?" Ranma hopped easily over the gate, and was instantly forced to brace himself for a flying tackle. Nevertheless, he managed to stay upright, and gently held the blond policewoman as she collapsed sobbing into his chest.

Sakura just cried her heart out as Ranma stroked her back soothingly.

He held her away from him slightly and lifted her chin up for her to look him in the eyes.

"It's all right. I'll protect you. I promise." Time seemed to freeze for that moment as she lost herself in his eyes, yet her heart seemed to be pounding in her chest harder than ever.

She wasn't sure exactly when her lips had crossed the distance to his, though if you had asked her at the time, she'd be absolutely sure that she didn't care. Ranma tightened his hold on her slightly as the kiss deepened.

After what seemed like an eternity, though Sakura wished it had been longer, he broke the kiss, and stared lovingly into her eyes.


"Yes?" a light blush complimented the light haze in her mind.



*Thud* *Bam* *Crash*

"Owwwww............" Sakura rubbed her throbbing head where it had struck her nightstand after she had fallen out of bed.

Blinking, she looked about and discerned that she was in her room, it was roughly 6:30 am, and the ringing noise that had startled her out of her sleep had originated from the small alarm clock that had been knocked off of her nightstand after her unfortunate descent.

A young man jogging just outside the Tekai home was unfortunately subjected to an aerial assault by a single small clock with little bells.

___________________________________________________________________________ _______

"Shoot! I'm late!" Ranma jumped into a nearby alleyway, then deflected off the wall of one of the buildings to land on the roof of the other. Giving another quick glance at his watch, he decided that he could still get away with it as long as Asuka didn't see him come in.

He had gotten up a little later than usual, and after he had bathed, Kyle had informed him on his own way out the door that Sakura had seemed a bit bitter this morning and had forgotten to make any breakfast. The lieutenant himself had just grabbed some toast and rushed to his car.

So Ranma had stopped off at a little cafe on his way to the station. It had taken him longer than he had expected, mostly because the waitress seemed incredibly reluctant to actually take his order instead of explaining about how her last boyfriend was such a jerk and how she hadn't had a date in weeks.

Ranma shook his head and jumped onto the last rooftop before the DAPC building. Hopping to the ground behind it, he dusted himself off as he walked in through the parking lot.

Idly, he took a glance at the 'DAPC parking only. All others will be torched.' sign, complete with a little stick figure roasting an automobile with a flamethrower. Snake had signed his name at the bottom in felt pen. Ranma nodded and moved on.

He noticed something was wrong as soon as he entered the station. This wasn't terribly difficult to deduce, as most of the furniture in the main office, and a lot of furniture that wasn't usually in the main office had been moved around and were lying on their sides, forming sort of an obstacle course/maze.

Ranma blinked. Then he sweatdropped. Then he caught a flash of movement from behind an upturned sofa in front of him, and looked over it.

Tycho looked up at him. He was wearing his full body armor, plus goggles, and was holding what appeared to be two sub-machine guns.

"Wattai? Aren't you suspended?" Ranma asked, ignoring the way the other man was making sushing gestures with his finger.

Ranma's head shot up as he heard a wordless battle cry, then saw Kyle stand up from behind a table that had been turned on its side and aim a combat shotgun at Tycho. He stopped to grin, then pulled the trigger.

There were many things wrong with this situation.

#1: Tycho hadn't done anything bad enough to warrant being shot.

#2: Kyle, while certainly being one of the dimmer bulbs he had ever met, didn't seem stupid enough to blow away a fellow teammate, especially while inside the police station.

#3: These guns didn't seem to be of the type of quality that Snake usually had. Compared the normally top-of-the-line weaponry that he usually had lying around, these things were antiques. And if he didn't know better, he could swear that they were actually made of plastic.

#4: There is no #4.

#5: The pellets that immediately struck Tycho didn't have nearly enough force to cause any real harm. Upon further observation, it was revealed that they were BB's.

#6: Tycho had returned fire with his submachine guns, which spit out a steady stream of small metal pellets, driving Kyle back behind the table.

#7: Snake had jumped up onto a chair on the other side of the room, holding what appeared to be a BB gatling gun. Which proved to be correct, as he opened fire on Tycho, driving him back into the furniture maze.

#8: He had apparently entered the Twilight Zone.

#9: See #4.

Ranma continued watching and sweatdropping as the small battle played itself out, with the occasional plea for mercy and cry of "Not in the face, not in the face!".

Eventually Ranma decided that the scene wasn't worth the headache of figuring out, and moved on. He didn't see anyone else until he reached the Captain's office. Hearing a light humming on the other side of the door, he knocked hesitantly.

"Come on in."

Ranma opened the door and peeked inside. Asuka was calmly doing some writing while next to her stood a stack of papers.

"Eh, Captain Takami?"

She looked up at him. "Hello. Something wrong Saotome?"

Ranma glanced back into the hallway, unsure of himself. "Well... I was just wondering...... what's going on back there?"

Asuka blinked. "You mean the BB guns?"

Ranma nodded. "Yeah. That and Tycho's here."

Asuka shrugged. "It's Wednesday. Stuff like suspensions are no longer in effect."

Ranma blinked, then recalled what Snake had said on his first day here. "So then, he was serious? What's going on, anyway?"

Asuka sighed, then put her pen down and leaned back. "Well, you see, when this department was sent all the slackers and party animals, we couldn't get any work done, because none of them could really find a reason to work, though they also couldn't quite just tear loose and do whatever they wanted. So we made a compromise. On Wednesdays and Fridays the officers essentially get paid vacation. They can leave, stay here, bust up the place, go out drinking, or whatever they want, so long as they don't break too many laws and clean up after themselves. In return, they agreed not to give the supervisors like me a hard time when they had to do some actual work. It's worked out surprisingly well."

Ranma sweatdropped. "Are you serious?"

She nodded and returned to the contract on her desk. "I tend to use these days to do paperwork. Feel free to go do a kata or whatever."

"Uh... do you know where Tiro is?"

Asuka lifted her head slightly, and her voice held a definitely annoyed tone. "Sakura and Junko are sunbathing on the roof. Odds are he's there."

Seeing that he was now being ignored, and that he really didn't have anything else to ask anyway, Ranma thanked her for her time and left.

Asuka stopped writing for a moment, then looked up into the hallway where he had left. Shaking her head slightly, she went back to her paperwork.

___________________________________________________________________________ _______

"Weird. It's just plain weird." Ranma muttered to himself as he passed through the hallway to another staircase.

DAPC headquarters was a five-story building. The first floor held the armory, changing rooms, and offices. The second floor was a state-of-the- art jail, though it looked so high-tech, one couldn't help but call it a 'containment center'. It had only been used three times in the DA's history, and as of now the only organism on the entire floor was a tiny vamp hanging onto an electrode.

The third floor, the one he was on now, was the laboratory area, where Seras and his assistant, Yamma Gordan spent the days dissecting things and playing Scrabble.

Ranma idly noticed that one of the smaller testing areas had been converted into a wine cellar. Figures.

As he passed through the hall, he noticed that there was a bright, almost rhythmic light coming from behind a partially open door. Curiosity getting the better of him, he opened it slightly to see Seras and the tall, thin form of Yamma clipping electrodes onto something big under a sheet.

Seras chuckled to himself, then emptied a shot of whiskey into his mouth before setting the shot glass down on a table, missing, and sending it to the floor. He didn't notice.

"Now we will at last bridge the gap between science and miracle! Through technology, we will conquer death itself! MWAH HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!! Yamma, pull the lever!"

The assistant undertaker grinned, then put his weight onto a huge metal bar right behind him, forcing it down into the 'on' position. Electricity flowed like a river through the cables into the electrodes, and around the entire building the lights dimmed slightly.

Ranma witnessed all of this, using a towel to wipe off the many sweatdrops that threatened to weigh down his head.

Seras cackled gleefully. "IT'S ALIVE!!! IT'S ALIVE!!! IT'S... it's...... it.............. hey, it's not moving."

He lifted the cover of the sheet slightly. "Dang! Yamma! You forgot the brain!"

"No I didn't! It's right there!" Yamma protested.

Seras growled and groped with his free hand for something alcoholic. "This is a LIVER!! Not a brain! Dammit, you've seen more dead bodies than Dr. Kevorkian and you still can't identify major organs!"

Ranma stared for a few more moments more before deciding to leave for the sake of his mental health.

The next two floors were the technology/storage and combat centers. Ranma didn't meet anyone else along the way, because they were deserted as usual.

Ranma braced himself as he opened the door to the roof. To his relief, all he saw was a semi-normal sight of Junko and Sakura lying down on towels in unnecessarily revealing swimsuits, soaking up the rays. Tiro was in his swim trunks, rubbing lotion onto Junko's back and enjoying it far more than he had any right to.

He was about to step out onto the roof when Junko suddenly sat up and grinned at him.

"Uh uh uh! Nobody's allowed up here with all their clothes on!" Junko grinned and wagged a finger at him. Sakura and Tiro turned around to look at him.

"You have got to be kidding." Ranma said dryly. Junko shook her head no.

Sakura blushed slightly and smiled at him. "Did you want to join us?"

Ranma sighed. "Naw, I just wanted to see if you and Tiro were ready for a little combat training."

Tiro blinked. "Combat training? What?" He was supposed to leave Junko's curvaceous, unprotected body and bottle of suntan lotion for a bit of exercise?

Sakura smiled and nodded. "Okay! C'mon Tiro, let's go!" She got up to leave, then noticed that Tiro had gone back to rubbing Junko's shoulders.

"Eh, if it's all the same to you, I think I'll stay here," Tiro replied offhandedly.

Ranma frowned a bit before shrugging it off. "Oh well, I guess we should hurry up and change so we can start stretching.

Tiro stopped. Stretching exercises?

Junko grinned and sat up some more. "It's okay. You go ahead, I'll be fine."

Tiro was torn between watching Sakura stretch and watching Junko sunbathe. "Well........."

Ranma started to walk back into the building. "It's too bad. I was gonna make you Sakura's sparring partner."

That did it. He didn't even hear the 'sparring' part, but knowing that he was going to be a pretty girl's partner at all was enough to motivate him.

"Well, I guess I could go for a little bit of martial arts! Gotta stay in shape, ya know?" He laughed to himself as he walked up to Ranma.

Ranma smiled slightly, then noticed something to his side and blinked. Then he looked around. On opposite sides of the roof were stationed two large anti-air missile turrets that he had somehow missed before.

"Snake?" He asked, without taking his eyes off the large defense stations.

The others all nodded. Ranma nodded himself, then entered the building, followed by Sakura and Tiro.

___________________________________________________________________________ _______

"Now we'll start with the basics. Martial arts is more than just beating people up, getting stronger, or learning to break stuff," Ranma had to admit that coming from him the lecture sounded really odd, "it's about discipline, coordination, focus, and self-confidence." With no small amount of exasperation, he realized that he held Sakura's complete attention, but Tiro wasn't even listening.

Tiro had decided to wear some shorts and a tank top for the lesson, and Sakura had thought that it sounded practical, so she had worn the same thing. Of course, her shorts were skin-tight spandex, and the tank top she wore was fairly loose, as to allow a peek at the dark blue sports bra she was wearing without any trouble.

Ranma had learned long ago to ignore such things (and how not ignoring them could get him hurt). Tiro, unfortunately had not benefited from such wisdom, and was now quite openly ogling her.

Ranma had to smack him over the head before the fool would even look at him.

"Hey! What'dya hit me for?" Tiro rubbed his sore forehead irritably.

"Pay attention. I didn't drag you down here just so I could talk to Sakura the whole time."

Ranma backed off slightly. "I'm going to gauge your strength. Hit me with your best punch right here." Ranma pounded his chest lightly.

Tiro blinked, then nodded and grinned. "All right, ready or not, here I come!"

*Pow* Tiro's fist impacted Ranma's chest.

Ranma didn't budge an inch. Instead he seemed to be musing over something.

Tiro hastily removed his fist and shook his hand to relieve the sting in his knuckles. What was he made of, rock?

Ranma shook his head. "I see I don't have much to work with here. You're going to have to spend some time with the weights if we're going to get anywhere with this."

Tiro grumbled a bit at the appraisal of his strength, and swiftly began to regret getting into this.

Ranma turned toward Sakura and gestured for her to try. Tiro was a bit stronger than what he figured was the average for his size, probably due to the combat training at the academy. He figured that Sakura would be weaker, she was a girl after all, but still in a reasonable range due to whatever exercises she did to keep her figure.

Sakura bigsweated and looked unsteady. "What? Me?"

Ranma looked at her, annoyed. "Yeah, c'mon. I don't have all day."

She blinked, then nodded and steeled herself. Taking a deep breath, she closed her eyes and launched herself forward.


She was quite surprised when her fist didn't hit any kind of solid object along its flight path, but instead kept sailing through the air far after she had extended it. Her momentum, combined with her lack of any substantial martial arts training and the fact that she had overextended trying to put more force into the strike, carried her farther than her legs did, and she ended up falling flat on her face.

"Owwwwww............." She whined to nobody in particular.

Ranma and Tiro sweatdropped.

Sakura turned around and pointed to Ranma accusingly. "No fair! You dodged!"

Ranma's sweatdrop grew bigger. "No, I didn't."

Sakura blinked, then laughed nervously with her hand over her head to hide her own sweatdrop. "I, uh, guess I missed then!"

Tiro looked back and forth between Ranma and Sakura. "Can I leave now?"

Ranma was about to answer when he noticed Kyle run into the training room.

Looking around, the lieutenant smiled. "Hey, who wants to gun down a group of terrorists?"

The others blinked. "Huh?"

___________________________________________________________________________ _______

The Rhino Transport was a rather large vehicle. It had to be, to fit a maximum of 8 people inside plus armor them from most forms of conventional weaponry. It was about as tall as a big van, though a bit wider and longer. From the outside all that could be seen were the armor plates that covered the entire vehicle, with the thick, bullet-proof glass panels covering the front and sides of the front. The armor on the sides were at an angle to the ground so as to cover the eight wheels completely.

Moving through the streets of Tokyo in rush hour, it was quite an intimidating sight.

Across the side of the vehicle was painted the DAPC's own insignia, consisting of a small, unidentifiable creature (presumably some sort of alien) curled up in a fetal position inside a circle, with three stars lined up vertically next to it. It had been Kyle's idea. One of his better ones, actually.

"Hey, get out of the way you! Police moving here!" Tycho yelled out the window as he sped up to reach an intersection before the light went red. He didn't quite make it, but he was already going so fast that he sped through without a problem.

Kyle had to admit, though Tycho's interpretation of the traffic laws were a tad...... liberal, he was making very good time, and it had been a very smooth ride. He fully attributed the fact that they hadn't hit anything yet to luck on Wattai's part.

"So what's the deal? What's going on?" Ranma still wasn't sure how he had been talked into this so easily.

Snake turned toward him and grinned. "Well, we were listening in on encrypted radio frequencies, when we heard a police report that a large group of heavily armed Freedom's Angels assaulted a transport truck and hijacked it. For some reason though, they stopped right outside of Tokyo, and destroyed a large section of the highway they were traveling on to discourage pursuit. They set up a sort of outpost there, and SWAT teams have already engaged. The FA's apparently have some pretty heavy-duty hardware over at the battlefield, so we have to hurry if we're gonna get any action before the military arrives."

Ranma blinked, then looked around. Everybody was here save the scientists, Junko, and Asuka.

"Look alive people! Were coming up on the mission area!" Tycho grinned and sped up a bit, which was an impressive feat considering how fast he was already going.

Ranma sighed and sat back, then frowned. "Hey, what's the fastest route to the area?"

Kyle looked over at him. "The highway."

Ranma seemed to think deeply about something. "And we're taking what route?"

Kyle stared at Ranma. "Well, the highway of course."

Ranma blinked. "The same highway that was blown up?"

Tiro, Kyle, and Snake all looked at each other. "Oops."

Tycho looked back at them. "Hey, what'd you guys say about the highway?"

Sakura screamed and pointed to the front. "There's the edge! Look out!"

Tycho turned around, but far too late. The Rhino sailed off the edge.

Gravity looked up at the sophisticated hunk of metal, estimated how much it weighed, and then yelled 'hey, get over here'.


As they plummeted to the ground, Ranma had a sudden epiphany and deduced that Ryoga was in Italy. He spent the remainder of the fall wishing that he could have thought of something more relevant.

___________________________________________________________________________ _______

An awful long way away from Italy, but not at all that far from a plummeting armored transport, an older man with a certain tattoo depicting himself as a terrorist was busy barking orders to the numerous men taking cover behind huge chunks of shattered concrete that had once made up part of the highway.

The men currently trading fire with police forces were doing it in the midst of a thick cloud of tear gas. The terrorists all had forms of breathing equipment on though, so the billowing smoke cloud only served to obscure the vision of both sides. The SWAT teams, after seeing the lack of effect from gas, had decided the hell with it and was now pouring automatic gunfire into the area.

The biggest deciding factor were the mechs. The officers didn't know what to think of them, other than to make sure to stay out of their way. The Freedom's Angels seemed to have poured heavy resources into this operation, which was just plain confusing, considering the nature of the cargo they stole. The mechs were rather slipshod pieces of construction, being made from discarded scrap metal (and it showed), but they still had armor, and they still had guns. A chaingun and rocket launcher to be exact.

The SWAT cars had been reduced to fiery heaps, providing just enough cover for the armored munitions vans in the back to remain intact. The police had only been able to destroy two of the six enemy mechs, and were now falling back both to reload their heavy weapons and keep from being cut up by the opposing behemoths.

Right now, one of the four remaining battle machines was receiving a reload and quick check-up behind the front lines.

A subordinate was trying to pass on the orders of the older man, but having significant trouble due to his own gas mask and all the noise generally associated with heavy gunfire.

He slipped it off slightly and gave a solemn look to his commander. "Sir, there's no way we can hold this area. We've lost, and this operation was lost from the start. We should retreat now."

The commander frowned. How this man had become part of a terrorist organization was beyond him. The man was incredibly meek and seemed to prefer logic and common sense over senseless violence. While those were qualities that most dangerous criminals looked down upon, they also made him indispensably competent in tactical situations.

"What would you suggest, exactly?" He grunted out.

The smaller man nodded. "For maximum efficiency, we should load those crates of explosives that we lugged around with us for no apparent reason onto the truck we captured, then arm them and drive it into the SWAT units. But we'll have to hurry before the military gets here."

The commander nodded, then pointed to four other men to side. "You heard him! Move that thing into the truck!"

They moved to respond to the command, but were effectively stopped by a large armored transport falling from the sky and landing right in their path.

This got the attention of everyone around who wasn't being shot at. The four terrorists elected for moving heavy objects that no one else wanted to bother with simply stood there looking at it, puzzled.

The commander blink-blinked, then read what it said on the side. "Property of the Department of Abnormal Phenomena Containment. We brake for nobody!" And below that, on a small bumper sticker, "Tokyo 3 or bust! Second Impact is coming!"

The assembled terrorists all blinked. Then the hatch on top opened, and a sandy-haired man in light blue body armor popped up.

"Excuse me! Are you part of that nasty group of terrorists known as the Freedom's Angels?"

The men all nodded.

Snake smiled. "Ah! Excellent! Just a moment please!" He ducked back into the vehicle.

The men all looked at each other, then stepped a little closer to the transport.

After a moment, a long metal apparatus poked out of the hatch, followed by the rest of the 80 mm. vulcan cannon and Snake, who smiled happily and lowered it, taking aim.

The multi-barreled muzzle started to spin, and after a moment, it spit out a steady stream of armor-piercing bullets. The terrorists started ducking for cover, being taken completely by surprise.

"Ha ha ha ha ha!! This is the police! Eat hot lead punks! HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!"

From below, Tiro sweatdropped as he watched the ammo belt stream upwards like a gleaming, gravity-defying, metal waterfall. "I don't think it should be legal to enjoy your job this much. Even on Wednesday."

Outside, the disorganized and panicking criminals had all managed to find pieces of cover, and were ducking behind them. Many of the terrorists fighting on the front had stood up in confusion from hearing gunfire coming from behind them, and in an utterly senseless waste of human life, were cut to pieces from bullets coming from both sides.

The pilot in the mech that had been reloading had gotten over his shock and primed his chaingun, which had just been fed a reload. Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, his rocket launcher likely wouldn't be reloaded any time soon, as the man who had been loading the ammo had ducked for cover behind the crate of spare rockets, which had been subjected to a brief burst of vulcan fire.

Luckily for the pilot, Snake had been avoiding hitting the mech on purpose, hoping that he could hijack it later and put it on display in his living room. Thus he was quite surprised when heavy chaingun fire started striking the side of the Rhino, and he quickly ducked back inside.

The mecha pilot slowly advanced, and the assembled armed criminals started coming to their senses and realizing that they still held the advantage of numbers.

Inside the transport, a quick conference was being held.

"You're trying to get us all killed, aren't you?" The way Tycho said it made it clear it wasn't a question.

Snake rolled his eyes. "Oh, stop being such a crybaby. All we need is to utilize the element of surprise. It always works!"

"Of course!" Kyle was sold.

"Uh, so how do we do that?" Tiro was worried. He could still hear the ricochet of bullets on the outer armor.

Snake frowned. "We'll need a distraction......" Suddenly he looked up. "Who here can dodge automatic machine gun fire?"

The others stared at him in disbelief. Well, except for Ranma, who sighed the sigh of the damned and raised his hand.

Snake grinned. "Excellent! You jump out the back and get their attention! All we need is a few moments to lay siege to the entire area!" He tossed aside the vulcan cannon and picked up a grenade launcher that looked way too big to be a grenade launcher.

Ranma nodded and was about to jump out, when Sakura suddenly grabbed onto his leg.

"You can't make him go! He could be killed!" Ranma protested immediately, saying that he could handle himself, and was promptly ignored.

The others were about to support his argument, except that they all knew that he could, and most likely would, be shot into little pieces.

*Boom!* The transport rocked slightly as the rocket struck the side. Luckily, the FA's couldn't afford armor-piercing ammunition, so the explosive simply detonated on the side with little real damage.

The shock of the explosion was enough to make the guys inside scramble for the guns, and cause Sakura to fall on her face, letting go of Ranma.

Back outside, two of the terrorists were trying to open the back door to the transport. The mech waited behind them, its chaingun ready to tear apart whatever was inside when it was opened.

Back near the front lines, the bedraggled and battle-worn men had all fallen back and were trying to figure out what was going on. Though the SWAT teams now had no opposing fire save the other two retreating mechs (another one had been cut down by a lucky shot into the fuselage), they had their orders to hold their position until the military arrived.

The men struggled with the latch, kicking it and occasionally stepping back and shooting at it.

They were suddenly thrown aside roughly by an explosion as one terrorist found a rocket launcher and tried his luck against the side armor.

He was quickly reprimanded by the commander for not warning them so that his comrades could get out of the way, never mind that he didn't fire at a more vulnerable spot, like the windows.

The mecha pilot had gotten distracted by all the ruckus, and was therefore unprepared when somebody suddenly jumped out of the transport, landing right in front of it.

For a moment the person just looked at it, as if judging something. The mecha pilot didn't quite know what to make of it. Then he remembered that he was supposed to kill everything that came out of the transport, and started revving up his chaingun.

Ranma was still regarding the battle machine before him when he noticed that the barrel on its gun-arm was moving. He had only seen mecha before in some of Snake's weapon schematics in the garage and anime like Gundam Wing, so he had wanted to get a good look at it before he was forced to dodge bullets.

Analyzing the situation, he realized that the gun's current position would lead a stream of bullets straight into the Rhino. Well, he couldn't let that happen, could he?

Launching himself at the battle machine, he jumped up at an angle to it, then did a full force kick upward into its cockpit, which jutted out over its torso, before tucking himself into a full backflip and sailing over the mech.

The unfortunate battle armor, which had much of its weight centered high upon it bipedal chassis, toppled backward from the blow. It fired its chaingun in vain as it fell, spitting bullets into the air, then hit the ground with a dull *thud*.

Ranma landed behind it. The various terrorists filed the impossible feat of strength and dexterity in the back of their minds, and instead focused on their aim. They were about to open fire when the other male DA officers piled out of the transport.

Tiro and Tycho, who were armed with pulse rifles, crouched onto the ground and immediately opened fire, not even bothering to aim first. A rhythmic, almost musical hum came from the deadly weapons as they sent bullets sailing across the battlefield. Kyle jumped past them and aimed a bulky weapon with three barrels set in a triangle at the mech, which was using its non-gun-arm to push itself back up. Pulling the trigger, three small rockets shot out and twisted around each other before converging with grim accuracy and lethal efficiency onto the battle armor. It exploded outward as its fuselage lit, spraying scrapmetal and slag outward in Ranma's direction, who had to jump out of the way. The nozzle at the end of the tri-rocket launcher barrel made a clockwise 120 degree turn for absolutely no reason.

Snake took advantage of his companion's cover and aimed the too-big-to-be- a-grenade-launcher grenade launcher at an angle towards the area where some of their enemies were seeking protection behind huge chunks of concrete. With a grin and slight pull, a fairly large metal sphere popped out and arced into the middle of a small group of them.

Tiro, Tycho, and Kyle all had to admit they were very impressed my the large inferno that engulfed that area.

Snake laughed. "HA!!! Eat hot napalm death, scumbags! HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!" the others sweatdropped as he fired off three more. While distracted, however, they didn't give any cover fire, and a few stray bullets that struck the side of the transport reminded them that they weren't the only ones with guns. The officers beat a hasty retreat behind the Rhino for some cover, then started trading fire with the terrorists.

___________________________________________________________________________ _______

Sakura had stepped out behind the others and went to make sure Ranma was okay after toppling a 3-ton battle machine by himself. He seemed all right, and was acting very nonchalant about the whole occurrence, so she decided to leave the subject alone.

She and Ranma had no interest in gunning down the remaining criminals, so they had wandered off toward the back of the area under the highway. This was where most of the highway had collapsed, so that it formed a barrier on the other side. Not that it would stop the military if they decided to come from this angle, but then Ranma had to think they were smart enough to plan on being gone by then.

"Hey Ranma, look! That's the truck they hijacked!" Sakura ran up to the cab, and Ranma jogged up next to her.

Indeed, there was the truck. Ranma didn't see what was so special about it. It was a normal 18-wheeler, with the standard large rectangular trailer with 'Lipton' printed on it in big red letters. On either side were several army trucks and large cars that had been converted into armored vehicles, as well as a few crates of explosives obviously set to blow up the huge piece of road creating a wall behind them.

Sakura looked it over and Ranma came up behind her, staring at the side of the vehicle.

"Wow! It must be transporting some sort of secret weapon to be disguised like this! Or maybe a secret weapons cache!"

Ranma shrugged. Hell if he knew.

They were still looking it over and thinking of what might be inside when a voice rang out behind them.

"All right you government dogs! Put your hands in the air and drop your weapons!" The thug aiming a handgun stopped for a moment in thought. "Not necessarily in that order!"

Sakura paled considerably and froze. Ranma turned around and sighed.

"All right buddy. Gimme the gun." Ranma held out his hand.

The terrorist blinked. Then he looked down at his handgun. Then he looked back up at Ranma. "Huh?"

Ranma rolled his eyes. "You heard me. Gimme the gun."

The man once again looked down at his weapon to make sure it was still a powerful handgun quite capable of killing someone at a fair distance. It seemed that way to him, so he looked back up at Ranma. "Why?"

Ranma sighed. "So that I don't have to hurt you." He was seriously losing his patience with this moron.

The man went through another few rounds of looking at his gun, then Ranma. "So, let me get this straight; if I don't hand over my gun, you're going to hurt me?"

Ranma had reached the end of his line. "Look, I'll tell you one more time: hand over the friggin' gun, or I'm gonna hurt you, all right?" He actually managed to sound casual about it.

Sakura had remained silent through all of this, and was only remaining silent due to the fact that the deer-in-headlights act had kept her pretty much unnoticed so far. Subconsciously, however, she was quite sternly asking herself what the hell Ranma thought he was doing.

The thug considered Ranma's threat for a moment before simply shaking his head in confusion.

"Look, I don't really understand all this, so I'm just gonna shoot you, okay?" he raised the gun to point at Ranma's head, and squeezed the trigger.

Sakura had meant to say, 'No, it's not okay,' but with all the adrenaline and panic and all, it came out more like "EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEK!!!!"

For the lone terrorist, the next few seconds were mostly a series of blurs. First Ranma's arm blurred, then his body blurred. It would have been okay if it was blurring backwards, like a dead man would blur, but he was blurring in more of a forward direction, towards him. There was a long blur, and suddenly his right hand was spared the weight of the gray blur that was his weapon, though it stung a little. Then there were several more blurs in front of his face, and before long he was on his back, and EVERYTHING was blurry.

This really wasn't very fair to Sakura, who was already screaming and crying tears of sorrow for the brave, handsome police officer that had gotten shot standing up to a common terrorist, only to have to stop because that same officer had survived a shot to the head and had beaten the common terrorist into the ground before anybody could figure out he was still alive. Not that this was any great problem, but she was rather curious as to how it had happened.

Ranma had yanked the guy up roughly and was proceeding to drag him around to the back of the truck when Sakura walked in front of him and started staring at him. After a little bit it started to bother him, especially at a time like this.

"What? Is there something on my face?"

Sakura blinked. "B-bullet... where......?"

Ranma blinked himself, then pointed to the ground off to the side where he had tossed the bullet after grabbing it out of the air. The explanation accomplished, Ranma started dragging the man around to the back of the truck, as he had planned, a rather muddled Sakura trailing him.

It wasn't long before his new prisoner started protesting the harsh treatment. "Hey, could ya be a little easy on the shoulder? I hurt it last week and it's been bothering me ever since."

Sakura stopped in astonishment. This man had tried to kill them only seconds before and now he was asking favors?

Ranma simply smiled amiably. "You know what I do whenever my shoulder's bothering me that helps a lot?"

The terrorist blinked. "What?"

*WHAM* The man's bad shoulder was slammed very solidly against the wall of the truck, denting it in slightly. Even Sakura felt a little sympathy. Just a little though.

Ranma smirked. "Better?"

He smiled weakly. "Much. Thanks." In truth, it did help. Now the rest of his body felt just as bad as his shoulder.

Ranma yanked him over around the back, then swung open the lever and opened up the truck.

"Now let's see what all this fuss is about!" Ranma helped Sakura up first, then followed, pulling the thug behind him.

Sakura blinked, then inspected one of the numerous cardboard boxes stacked inside the truck. Opening it up, she took out a small, thin, paper envelope.

"Well? What is all this?" Ranma leaned over her shoulder to get a good look.

There was no sound for a few moments until Sakura responded. "Tea. Lipton brand tea."

There was some more silence.

"All of it? All of this is tea?"

Sakura checked a few other boxes to make sure, but only found varying flavors of tea bags. "Uh huh."

Ranma stood silent for a few seconds, then pulled the terrorist up to look him in the eyes.

"You hijacked a truck full of tea?" he asked calmly.

The man laughed nervously. "Well, ya see, there's this one guy that helped plan this, and he's new, so he kinda sent us after the wrong truck. We were supposed to hijack a weapons transport over on the east edge of Tokyo."

Ranma chewed that thought over in his mind. "So when you found out you had just stolen a load of tea, you destroyed a large section of the highway and holed yourself up to defend it against the police?"

The man blinked, then shrugged. "Wasn't my idea. A lotta the guys really wanted to shoot at something, and our commanding officer really isn't too bright, so we decided to make a stand here. We were expecting a heavy military escort for the weapons, see?"

Ranma tossed him out of the truck.

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From Snake's perspective, the battle was going very well. They were still boxed in behind the transport and outnumbered, but their vastly superior weaponry (which Snake had always prided himself on) saw to their success.

The entire ground around the transport was swathed with flame or dying embers. The wreckage of one of the other mechs adorned the space where it had tried to walk around the transport only to meet a trio of missiles head on. Snake had recently run out of ammunition for his napalm cannon, so he had exchanged it for Tiro's pulse rifle, as its previous owner was on the ground muttering prayer for salvation.

Tiro wasn't Christian, but now seemed as good a time as any to start.

One of the two remaining mechas fired off two rockets at the transport, causing the armored vehicle to shake heavily from the force of the detonation, and then immediately sprayed chaingun fire toward the front of the transport where they usually returned fire, while his companion battle vehicle covered the back.

Kyle, in an uncharacteristic display of competence, stepped up onto Tiro's shoulders (to which he protested loudly; stating that he was trying to discover religion here) and fired a trio of rockets at the battle machine. As he stepped back down the nozzle at the end of his weapon made 1/3 of a clockwise turn for no real reason.

The one real advantage that mechas held against conventional tanks, other than the fact that they looked much, much cooler, was mobility. As it was, with the three missiles twisting around each other in the air, the pilot really couldn't make out the point of convergence, and hence, detonation, until the dang things had already blown his legs off. He tumbled to the ground.

His companion was now wondering what his actual chances were in this situation. All the heavy armor but his was disabled, most of the men were either dead or crawling away in agony, and he was swiftly running out of ammo.

He was so deep in thought as to his strategic situation that he almost didn't see the trio of rockets streaming through the air towards him. He did, though, and managed to step back quickly enough to watch them detonate right in front of him. He returned fire with his chaingun, but it simply impacted the heavy transport's seemingly impregnable armor.

He didn't see the missile behind him at all.

Snake gave a whistle as he watched the mech explode, and gave a wave to the military helicopter that had fired the weapon.

___________________________________________________________________________ _______

The military units advanced past the confused SWAT teams, with tanks flanking the groups of soldiers on each side.

Commander John Remerick, an American that had come over to work in Japan, raised the megaphone to his mouth from his position behind one of the tanks.


There was no response, as was pretty much expected, so he prepared his men to move in.

Then there was some commotion, and all the lights and guns were pinpointed on a lone figure that was crawling over the hill of rubble.

The terrorist commander looked up at the many people with guns weakly. "I'm sorry! Take me! I give up! Just get me away from those lunatics! Please!"

There was general confusion from that statement. Lunatics? Had his own men turned on him?

John suddenly had an uneasy feeling, and started climbing the hill alone, much to the disdain of his men, who quickly followed. Reaching the top, him and his soldier viewed the destruction with a kind of revered awe.

That is, until the commander spotted the only thing around that wasn't completely trashed, and found the logo on it.

"JESUS NO!!! Not you guys again!!"

Snake peeked around the transport. "Hey guys, it's that American army guy!"

Kyle stepped out an waved. "Hi John!"

Remerick collapsed to his knees and started crying as his forces looked about with total confusion.

___________________________________________________________________________ _______

Ranma stirred his tea and took a sip. "Hmm. Not bad."

Kyle nodded and gulped down the rest of his cup. Behind him, Snake was running through what would have been the debriefing notes, were they actually supposed to be at the battlefield. Things like ammunition used, enemy casualties, and damage to the Rhino.

Ranma looked up. "So remind me again how come we got to keep the truck?" Tycho was even at that moment trying to park the 18-wheeler.

Kyle shrugged. "Evidence." It had really been more of a spoils of war thing, but the military wouldn't accept that.

"Ah." Ranma nodded and reached into the box for another tea bag. Sakura poured a little bit of sugar into her cup, then started gulping it down.

"Hey Kyle, where did you put the........" Asuka trailed off as she looked at the various people in the room drinking tea, and Lipton boxes stacked around the office.

"All right, what now?" the others could only look sheepish.

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End Chapter 5