Disclaimer – I do not own Ranma One Half or Mass Effect, those are owned by Rumiko Takahashi and Electronic Arts, respectively.
I've recently been on a two month kick playing Mass Effect one and two, and finishing it all off with Mass Effect three. As usual a story idea came to me. Unusually that idea took hold and I felt the need to begin writing some more. For those worried about my other stories, all data was recently lost, and I am currently working at recovering as much as I can and reconstructing what I can't recover.
Chapter 1 – Welcome to the World of Tomorrow!
Cold! That was the first thought that echoed across his perception in what his returning consciousness felt was a long time. Hazy nothingness was beginning to lift as stimuli started to assault his mind. Cold and wet. His mind groused, as his sense of touch was beginning to return. He tried to take a deep breath to center his thoughts, but his throat rebelled at the harshness it felt as air was drawn though the dry cavity. He began to cough.
His head rang as someone's voice began shouting excitedly. He couldn't understand the language off the top of his head. It sure wasn't Japanese. Coming closer to full awareness, he decided to be brave, and began to open his eyes. That proved to be a mistake, as blindingly white light nearly burned his eyes out, the searing pain causing him to black out.
Warm! Was the next thought that broke through the blackness. He was warm and dry, thankfully. He dared to take a deep breath, and was rewarded with the feeling of his lungs filling with air, sans the coughing fit he was subject to earlier. He slowly cracked open just his left eye. The soft glow of several devices might as well have been the light cast off from the midday sun to his eyes. He averted his gaze, grunting in pain as his neck began to tell him that he slept in a very uncomfortable position for who knew how long.
He fully opened his eyes at that point, his head facing away from the source of the light mitigating the brightness inside the room. Logically he knew that the light must not be very bright, given that he had just woken up, but his eyes continued to tell him that they were taking in more light than they could handle right now. He was able to tell that he was in what seemed to be a hospital room, and he was lying on a bed, with an IV hooked into his arm.
He could hear some muffled voices outside the room he was in. He looked around the room and saw a door on the wall opposite him. The door opened admitting someone into the room, make that at least two people as he could hear them talking to each other, unable to make out the language. They approached him, saying something to him as they approached. He could feel one of them place something over his eyes, some sort of eye-wear, he thought, because he could still see.
He heard a click as the room was bathed in light, colors filled his vision, but his eyes did not hurt from the brightness. He looked around in wonder, taking in the details of the room, and eventually, the people before him.
There were three people, a man and two women. The man was older, Caucasian, with short, peppered black hair, a face beginning to wrinkle and kind, brown eyes. He was wearing an odd outfit, he couldn't guess at the material, but the coat was oddly reminiscent of a lab coat or doctor's coat. The two women wore similar clothing.
The first woman seemed to be around the man's age, however she was Asian, she was talking to the second woman in a language he could not recognize, so guessing her country of origin was beyond him. Her black hair was held back in a pony tail, and her face held an expression of excitement as she looked over the various monitoring devices hooked up to him.
The second woman looked to be fairly young, probably a university student judging by how she seemed to be dutifully recording everything the older woman was saying on an odd device that looked very much like an orange, see-through clip board. She tapped away at the screen she was holding, her blue eyes flashing back and forth as she read over her recordings, all while still faithfully recording everything the older woman was saying. She had brown hair tied back in a similar pony tail as the older woman.
The older man started to talk to him, asking him questions, he guessed, but he just couldn't understand the gibberish he heard.
"I'm sorry", he said to the older man, his voice raw with inactivity, "but I can't understand a word that you're saying." The older man nodded in understanding, before producing what appeared to be a small wristwatch like device along with a small bead. The man placed the device around his wrist and the small bead into his left hear. He watched as the man manipulated the small device on his wrist, causing the band to constrict, securing it into place without being painful.
The man gestured to his wristwatch like device and showed him on a similar device on the man's own wrist a small button to push. He pushed the button when suddenly orange light spilled out of the device and wrapped around his hand in a strange gauntlet. The man nodded for a moment, muttering to himself as he grabbed his wrist and began to poke and prod at the orange light.
He could hear a second voice, identical to the man's start to speak over the man's repeated mutterings as he manipulated the orange light. The odd thing was that the second voice would change the way it was talking each time the older man poked at his device. Eventually he heard something that made sense.
"Can you understand me now?" the voice asked over the man's voice. The man smiled at the shocked look on his face. He nodded emphatically.
"Yes, I can!" He said excitedly. The man held his smile and nodded.
"Good," the voice said, again over the older man's own words. "Japanese, then, but a rather archaic dialect." The man said to the younger woman. She nodded and poked at the screen some more. "Well then, I guess we can get this little interview under way." The older man looked back to him, and smiled. "Now, young lady, my name is doctor Allan Hart, and with me are doctor Xian Wei and our young intern Rebecca O'Corrigan. And your name is?" Dr. Hart's words caught him off guard.
Young lady? He thought in confusion, and looked down only just now noticing the swell of her breasts and the thinness of her arms. Oh, I guess I am right now. She had to think for a moment as her mind continued to clear. Her name, what was it? Slowly the words came back to her, and she was able to answer. "My name is Ranma, Ranma Saotome." Dr. Hart smiled at her words, and then proceeded with his next question.
"Very good, Miss Saotome, and can you tell me what year it is?"
Ranma found herself sitting in the hospital bed alone, again. The goggles around her head had long since been removed as her eyes once more became acclimated to the light for the first time in nearly two hundred years.
Two hundred years. It was unbelievable, but it seemed to be the truth. The year was now 2171 almost exactly two hundred years to the day after her birth. The doctors had asked her some questions about the Gekkaja that they had found in her possession as well as the nature of the ice they had found her in.
After she explained the properties of the Jusendo waters and the Gekkaja as far as she knew, they began to talk excitedly with one another, seeming to forget she was in the room. That suited her just fine, she needed some time to think through what had happened.
The waters of the dragon tap had exploded when the fight between her and Saffron had moved back to the interior of the mountain. She remembered watching as Akane's doll form began to reconstitute as it was flung away from her in the deluge.
She had started to feel unnaturally cold and recalled trying to abandon the Gekkaja as it froze the waters of Jusendo around her, but to no avail. She was rewarded in her last fading moments when a perfect Shishi Hokodan was launched from Ryouga, annihilating Saffron's now frozen body, while Mousse pulled Akane's healed body away from the blast.
She relaxed in the knowledge that at least they had been successful. Akane had been rescued, even if it had been at the cost of her life. She knew from her conversation with Dr. Hart, that had gone over her head, that the ice she was trapped in was nearly indestructible, becoming more and more invulnerable to heat and damage the closer the ice was to the Gekkaja.
Even if Ryouga had tried, she had serious doubts that he would have been able to break her free of the frozen Jusendo water without destroying her as well. The only thing wrong now was the fact that she no longer had a life as she knew it. No family, friends, or enemies. All were long since gone to the pages of history. She was brought out of her musings by Dr. Hart.
"Well, Ranma, I'm sure this must all be very troubling for you, having lost so much time." Dr. Hart began, "While I would enjoy nothing more than to discuss history with you, we really must continue our excavation of the Mt. Phoenix area. I will leave you to the expert care of Dr. Wei here, while I contact the Japanese government and arrange transport out of the Chinese People's Federation."
Dr. Wei approached Ranma as Dr. Hart and Rebecca left the room. Ranma sighed as Dr. Wei began her medical exam. The depression she felt at the loss of her friends and family was something she knew would be difficult to overcome.
Five years later found Ranma sitting in the corner booth of a small Cafe in one of the many impossibly tall skyscrapers that had begun to spring up all over Tokyo. Apparently the combined wealth and resources of several new interstellar colonies did wonders for global economics. That, and intergalactic trade with various alien species using a recently discovered Mass Relay Network.
Once again in male form, Ranma was sipping at a small cup of tea as he was reviewing for an upcoming test in one of his university classes. He stopped for a moment as a notion had swept over him. He had certainly come a long way after he had been unfrozen.
Upon returning to Japan he had spent nearly two months in a rehabilitation clinic that helped him come to terms with his loss. The clinic also helped him apply for the government aid necessary to support himself as he was still a minor, biologically speaking.
Having a fresh lease on life, Ranma once again began to attend high school, as well as continuing to hone and practice his art, luckily keeping his curse under wraps. Following graduation he immediately signed up for university, having found a desire in life to go beyond just martial arts.
That desire had started out as a novelty. Not having a dojo to inherit any more, Ranma found himself at a loss for what to do with his prowess in the martial arts. It did not take long to remember one of the few martial artists he knew that did not actively use his art in battle or teach it. It was Dr. Tōfū. The idea of helping people beyond just physical protection appealed to Ranma, and he determined to become a chiropractor, just like the manic doctor.
He had only one more year of undergraduate studies before he could begin his professional studies. Almost one step closer to his goal. That wasn't to say that his love of adventure and excitement had died down. No, Ranma had a plan. Thanks to the recent Systems Alliance Cultural Outreach Program, Ranma was going to try and open a practice on the Citadel: a giant space station that was the center of the galactic community.
Music caught his attention and broke him out of his musings. He looked up at the vid screen nearby and was presented with the sight of hundreds in attendance for an award ceremony. Quickly reading the caption that scrolled across the bottom of the screen, Ranma was informed the recipient was one Jane Shepard. He pushed his book away and settled back to watch the ceremony. If he remembered correctly, she was supposed to be receiving the Star of Terra, for her actions during what was now being termed the Skyllian Blitz.
The Camera zoomed in on a pretty young woman, somewhere around his age if he guessed, wearing an Alliance Navy uniform, her head held proudly high. Medium length red hair framed her pale face, and a splash of freckles across her nose underscored green eyes that sparkled as they swept across the crowd. An admiral droned on about her accomplishment before pinning the medal to her uniform. The camera panned across the crowd one more time before cutting away to a newscaster repeating the story of Shepard's heroics during the Blitz.
Ranma continued to watch as several scenes taken from security cameras around Elysium showed the battle before focusing on Jane's exploits. One scene caught his attention more than any other, however. He watched as the young woman, wearing nothing more than civilian clothing ran just ahead of gunfire at a breach in the hastily erected defenses, armed with only a pistol.
She glowed with a blue light as she gestured with an outstretched hand before diving behind some landscaping, moving flush against a low stone barrier. Three pirates were flung away by a wave of transparent blue force as Jane activated her omni-tool. Working furiously as bullets rained about her, she manipulated the omni-tool, the planes of orange light spinning rapidly at her prodding. Not even ten seconds later, a vehicle rose into the air without a driver and sped toward the breach. The car collided into several more pirates who were unable to back away as more and more of their cohorts tried to pile in behind them.
The footage ended at that point with a statement from the anchor that any other footage available was too graphic for public television. Ranma found himself impressed by the woman. Sure her physical ability might not be anywhere near his, but she fought with skill and determination that few had when faced with such odds.
The program soon faded to advertisement, and Ranma once again took a sip of his cooling tea before picking his book back up and continuing to read. Though intent on continuing his studies, Ranma couldn't help but mull over the broadcast and Jane, the person at the center of the events depicted. She was out in the galaxy, experiencing all that the frontier had to offer. He fully intended to get there too, in his own way.
Ranma was standing in the aisle next to his seat aboard the transport. He couldn't believe it, from what he had heard back in his youth a flight from Japan to the United States took nearly twelve hours. He was standing at the airlock door, ready to disembark onto the Citadel after only six hours. He really tried not to think about it too much, though, but the difference in technology still astounded him.
The ride had been rather pleasant, he mused. He was on a high-class transport, being a beneficiary of SACOP. Breaking free from Earth's gravity had been incredibly boring, with almost no feeling of acceleration, and jumping to faster-than-light speeds had been equally gentle. It was the sights that had been the real pleasure, though.
He had been given a seat near one of the observation decks, a seat which he spent nearly no time in at all. As soon as they had left Earth's gravity, an announcement informed them that they could move about freely, but to be in a secure location when they arrived at the mass relay. Ranma quickly made his way to the nearest observation deck and strapped himself into one of the available seats there. He was not going to miss a single sight.
He looked out the rather large window at the Earth. His home planet seemed to drift with a lazy spin through space. Its backdrop was breathtaking; it was a sea of stars he had never seen with such clarity, even given his time traveling the most wild areas of China.
He could still spot familiar constellations, but he knew they would not remain for long. He felt a light jerk as the interstellar vessel he was on turned sharply. The view changed as the ship swung about, gifting him a brief view of the sun before quickly speeding off away from the celestial body. What came next was something he would never have guessed at.
As the ship accelerated he saw the stars begin to stretch slightly, nothing like the long stretching from the movies he watched back in his time. The stars began to separate into a rainbow of colors before finally fading entirely. What replaced the view was astonishing. Other bodies appeared, pulsing with strange lights, odd disks spun in the blackness, and bursts like small disco lights appeared here and there.
That sight eventually faded once more, as the space vessel slowed, allowing the stars to be visible once more. Ranma was treated to the sight of a large two-pronged fork like device. As the prongs came closer together they flared out suddenly creating a circular shape. In the middle of the circle were two rapidly spinning rings surrounding an enormous cloud of nebulous energy. This was a mass relay. His heart rate quickened at the spectacle.
As the ship approached a stream of energy, like a slow motion lighting bolt reached out from the relay and embraced the ship.
"Prepare for mass relay jump," a voice announced. Ranma leaned forward in his seat. There was a sudden jerk and flash of light, and the star field was suddenly very different than it had been before. He could briefly see another relay before another flash and jerk. It happened several times, before another announcement was sent through the ship.
"Relay jump successful," the voice said. The flight from there had proceeded much as it had as the trip from Earth to the Charon Relay. The only difference was the sight as the ship slowed once more.
"Approaching the Citadel," was announced, and Ranma was gifted with a stunning view of an impossible space station.
The Citadel was massive, five long arms reaching out from a central circle, spinning in space. A grid of lights was visible on the inside of each arm, like sprawling cities. This was different from what he had imagined. He knew the Citadel was big, he had even seen pictures of it when he was applying for his grant from SACOP, but nothing he had seen before had prepared him for the first person experience.
Ranma's reminiscing ended at the hissing sound of the air lock beginning to open, and light spilled into the ship. The noise of the dock filtered back to him as the line of people began to move. He was part of a group of nine beneficiaries of SACOP, only one other of who was Japanese. The other Japanese man was quite the smooth talker, convincing SACOP that the Citadel was in dire need of a ramen restaurant.
He hefted his pack onto his shoulder, and began to follow as the line moved. Stepping off the transport and onto the Citadel for the first time, Ranma quickly looked around, the group he was with was supposed to find a representative waiting for them. The crowd outside appeared to be relatively light, and all human so far.
The murmur of the crowd around him became a low, but constant buzz in his ears as he looked about, gawking at the interior of the station. Screens along the smooth metallic walls depicted advertisements, nearly all of them in English, the Systems Alliance standard language. A few of them, here and there, depicted beautiful blue skinned women, with intense eyes and tentacle like fringe in place of hair.
"Sacop! Sacop participants over here!" a voice called out across the crowd, drawing Ranma's attention. The person yelling across the crowd was a rather young man, not much older than Ranma, wearing a modern tan suit, with short red hair in a rather smart style and wearing glasses. He was waving one arm enthusiastically in the air and holding up a long datapad with SACOP scrolling across the screen.
Ranma tapped the shoulders of the group he was with, getting their attention and gesturing toward the somewhat frantic man.
"That's our guy, I guess," he said to them as he began to move toward their representative. Expertly weaving through the crowd, Ranma quickly made his way to the man.
"Hey, you're the sacop guy, right?" Ranma asked as he walked up.
"That's me," the man said with a smile, silently counting each person as they approached. "Aaron Aaronson, pleased to meet you." He reached out a hand as he finished accounting for every sacop participant. Ranma grasped the hand firmly and gave it a shake, a gesture he learned was more common in this age than it had been when he grew up in Japan.
"Ranma Saotome, likewise." Ranma said, to which the man smiled and collapsed the datapad to a more traditional size before calling up a list with their names on it.
"Saotome, right, here you are," Aaron said as he marked off Ranma's name on the list. "Let's get everyone accounted for and we'll get on our way through customs, and then to Ambassador Udina's office for your welcoming ceremony and orientation." Ranma smiled, glad that things were finally picking up pace, the flight was short and fairly exciting, but he still wanted to settle in and experience the galactic community.
He stepped back and wondered at how light he felt right now. If he remembered correctly, the gravity here at the Presidium was about a third of the Earth's gravity. He would have to see if there was a way to correct that, as he knew from his chiropractic classes that long term exposure to low gravity could be rather harmful.
"Right, that's everyone," Aaron's voice called, "let's get going then, shall we?" Aaron led them quickly to customs helping everyone fill out the necessary forms.
Ranma paused when after filling out his date of birth, the Virtual Intelligence on the datapad he was using locked up. He hated it when that happened.
"Hey, Aaron," Ranma got the young representative's attention, "got a small problem." Aaron made his way over to Ranma at the announcement.
"Yes? What seems to be the problem?" Aaron asked. Ranma held out his datapad for the representative, and pointed at the date of birth field.
"Junk VI." Ranma explained, "that's what. Happens all the time, the thing won't take my date of birth." Confused, Aaron took the datapad from Ranma.
"1971? That can't be right." Aaron mused aloud. Ranma sighed, he didn't really like having to talk about himself that much.
"It is," Ranma corrected, "there was a small accident when I was younger. All said and done I was frozen for a little while." Aaron boggled at the simplistic explanation.
"A small accident, huh?" Aaron deadpanned as he reset the datapad. "I won't ask too much about what kind of accident it could be, hand me your ID and I'll go ahead and make the adjustments necessary." Ranma pulled out his ID from his pocket and handed it to the other man. Aaron looked at it for a moment moving it about in the light to note the security features were correct. Nodding in satisfaction, he changed some settings to the VI programming and handed the datapad and ID back to Ranma.
"Okay, I set the date of birth field for you, there are no other surprises, I hope?" He asked.
"Nothing comes to mind," Ranma deflected before continuing to fill out the form. Aaron shook his head and returned to the other participants, helping them where they needed it. After putting the finishing touches on the form he walked over and handed the datapad to one of the clerks at the customs desk.
The clerk looked over the datapad then hooked it up to the terminal she was working at. After a moment a small ping alerted the clerk and she pulled out a small card and handed it to Ranma.
"Here you go, sir," she said as Ranma took the card, "Please proceed through to the next room and wait for your group." Ranma nodded and walked past the desk to the next room. He found four of the other SACOP participants and moved over to wait with them. He was here at last, moments away from starting his new life on the Citadel.
Ranma turned the artificial gravity down to one third Earth's gravity as he entered the small room in his practice. He made sure the ties on his uwagi were secure and then turned to his patient, the third one today. He approached the blue woman, rolling his wrists to help limber up the joints.
"Okay, Sha'ira," Ranma said to the beautiful Asari consort, "back for another weekly realignment?" Sha'ira looked up from the table she was sitting on and smiled at the doctor as he approached.
"Indeed, Ranma," she said, before laying down on the table. "I thank the Goddess every week for the gift of your skilled hands." Ranma chuckled lightly at the praise. He began feeling around her spine, searching for any misaligned vertebrae.
"You should have met my mentor," Ranma offered, "I took a ball to the face once, and he was able to tell who did it just by looking at the bruise." Ranma smiled at the memory, not mentioning that Tōfū had been making a wild guess. He quickly began to massage the muscles around her spine to help reduce tension.
"Ah, yes," Sha'ira sighed in contentment, "the mysterious Dr. Tōfū. Named for a food product made from a mythic Earth bean, correct?" Ranma laughed.
"Sorry, not quite," Ranma explained, "you're thinking of Tōfu. His name was Tōfū, it means east wind." Using the knuckles of his index and middle finger he began to push her spine back into proper alignment.
"Mmm," Sha'ira moaned as he began to massage tension away once more. "Such an interesting language, is it common on Earth?"
"Depends where you're from," Ranma offered, "Earth still has many different countries, and there are several different major languages." Sha'ira accepted the explanation, content to let Ranma work in silence for a while. Ranma marveled at the texture of the Asari's skin not for the first time. The light played off the micro sized scales of her skin, but the feel was so smooth, indistinguishable from a human's.
Ranma finished the rubdown with a few quick presses at key points on along the Asari's back. He had long since approximated pressure points on Asari, Turians, and Salarians. He was still working on the Elcor, though, those big guys were tough to handle, and no Krogan had ever come through his door yet. Sha'ira sighed in contentment, stretching languidly.
"Ranma," she said, "your hands are simply divine. I can't think of anything more relaxing." She cast a smokey gaze at the young man. He chuckled nervously at her advance, which had become common place after her first few visits two years prior. It was thanks to her patronage that he had been so successful. Apparently a suggestion from her to her clients was worth a fortune.
"You should try the acupuncture, then," Ranma said, keeping the nerves from his voice, "much more effective." Sha'ira crinkled her nose cutely at the suggestion.
"And miss having those wonderful hands on my back?" She playfully asked, "I'd sooner never make an appointment again. Speaking of which, when will you make an appointment for my services? I'd be more than willing to rearrange my schedule for you." Ranma sweated lightly as she continued to push the issue.
"You know its bad form for a doctor to become involved with a patient," Ranma explained, hoping to put the issue to rest without hurting the beautiful girl's feelings. Sha'ira pouted at his words.
"Of course," she said, "I wouldn't want to ruin your reputation. However, Ranma, despite recent rumors, I am very discreet. No one's secrets have ever left my lips." She dragged one of her fingers across her bottom lip, causing Ranma to shiver in response to the stimulating sight. Sha'ira was definitely being more aggressive today.
Thankfully a terminal in a different room began to chirp enthusiastically, saving Ranma from the blue woman's attack.
"Damn, wouldja look at that," Ranma said dramatically, "I would love to keep going down that path, but duty calls. I'll see you in the lobby." He made a hasty retreat, ignoring a muttered curse from Sha'ira and moving quickly down the hallway. He climbed the stairs to the second floor, where his apartment was and made his way to a the noisy terminal where it hung on his wall. He slipped on a thimble like device to allow him to manipulate the holographic display and answered the call.
"Ranma here," he said to the terminal as it began to bring up the image of a red haired woman in a lab coat. It was Dr. Chloe Michel, a friend and colleague. She appeared somewhat distraught.
"Ranma, thank goodness you're there." Chloe's accent came strong across his translation device. "I know you must be busy, but I need a favor." Ranma silently thanked whatever god might be listening. This was just what he needed to get away from Sha'ira, as alluring as the woman was, she was a little forward for his tastes.
"Anything, doc," Ranma said, "what do you need?" Chloe rolled her eyes when Ranma called her doc.
"A situation has come up," the doctor explained, "I didn't think it was too big of a problem at first, but some people got involved that makes me think the situation is far more dangerous than expected. I know the people involved are capable, but after your help with Fist's goons two years ago, I think she may need your help."
"Who needs my help, Chloe?" Ranma asked, "what's happened?"
"Earlier today a young Quarian named Tali came to my clinic," Dr. Michel said, pausing for a brief moment, "she had been shot. I treated her quickly and relieved some of the infection. She had some important information, and she was looking for protection. She wanted to be put in contact with the Shadow Broker."
"Fist..." Ranma hazarded a guess.
"You're right," Chloe acknowledged, "I put her in contact with Fist. I despise the man, but when it comes to overhead, even Fist wouldn't go against the Shadow Broker, or so I thought. Some men came a little later and began to threaten me, to keep me quiet. I was rescued by Garrus and Commander Shepard. They went to find Fist, and from there the Quarian."
"But if they don't make it to Fist in time," Ranma pressed Chloe for more information.
"If Fist no longer works for the Shadow Broker, then he will probably get rid of the Quarian." Ranma nodded at the explanation. Fist was ruthless, but luckily he was predictable.
"Gotcha," Ranma said, "he'll probably send her to the killing alley. I'm out the door right now." Chloe smiled at Ranma as he killed the connection. He practically jumped down the stairs, and ran to the front door of his clinic.
"Sorry, Sha'ira," Ranma apologized as he ran by, "something really big came up, today's on the house. Could you lock up for me? The code's 1971." He was already sprinting along the Presidium pathways before the captivating Asari could respond.
Ranma ducked and weaved around other pedestrians, skillfully evading any potential accidents and pointedly ignoring shouts in his direction. The killing alley, it was one of the alleys near Chora's Den that Fist was infamous for using to take care of people who were in his way. Unfortunately, there was never enough evidence to implicate him, and he continued to use the alley with impunity.
Ranma bounced on the balls of his feet as he waited on an elevator. The things were fast, probably the fastest elevators he had ever been on. The problem was that the Citadel was so huge, it took forever just to get anywhere on the speedy contraptions.
Finally the doors of the elevator opened, allowing Ranma to begin his sprint once more. Following the translucent signs he made his way quickly through the streets and corridors leading to Chora's Den, adrenalin increasing in his system. He hoped he made it it time.
Turning one last corner, he found the door that would permit him access to the killing alley. He could hear muffled voices on the other side. One of the voices sounded Turian and the other was the mechanical din of a Quarian, a female judging by the high pitch.
He rushed through the doors as they opened with a loud hiss. There he saw an unmistakably female Quarian brushing the clawed hand of a Turian thug away. Several Salarians in armor began to raise their guns in a threatening manner. That was all Ranma needed to see, he sprang into action, literally. He jumped into the air with a shout.
"Oh, no you don't," Ranma called out as he sailed through the air, catching everyone's attention immediately. He landed between two Salarians, and before they could react he grabbed each by the helmet and brought them together with a sickening thud, letting them fall senselessly to the ground. The others reacted more quickly than their two unfortunate companions.
Gunfire began to ring out through the alley, every bullet pierced the air, intent on pulping the unarmed interloper. None found their mark, as Ranma began to move as only he could. His body ducked, swayed and rolled, allowing each projectile to pass within millimeters of his person.
Damn this is worse than fighting Kuno, Ranma thought as he moved through the gunfire toward the last remaining Salarians. There were three of them further up the alley, and the Turian was already engaged with the Quarian girl. He had to move quickly, with lethal weapons in the mix, every moment was a waste of precious time. He couldn't fail the girl. Letting his life energy spread to his limbs, Ranma sped up his movements, surprising his opponents.
Before one of the Salarians could blink, Ranma was upon him. Grabbing his gun hand, Ranma twisted the hapless alien's body, swinging him through the air like a giant club.
"Get lost!" Ranma shouted, throwing the Salarian hard into one of his allies. The Salarian's shoulder struck his teammate in the head, cracking the visor and knocking his friend out. The thrown Salarian continued through the air, striking the wall headfirst and falling to the ground in a boneless heap.
With one last Salarian left, Ranma moved once more into action. The alien had jumped back when his teammate was thrown, but didn't have time to raise his weapon again when Ranma lashed out with an Earth shattering kick. His kinetic barrier proved useless as Ranma's foot annihilated it as though it were nothing more than a thin piece of wood, continuing through the air to connect with his chest plate. A crack rang out as a gunshot and the Salarian flew through the air to join his comrades in unconsciousness.
Ranma looked up at the final assailant, hoping he had time to save the damsel in distress. The Turian stood over the Quarian girl, his gun an abandoned sparking mess on the ground. He was raising his hand up, brandishing a knife with obvious intent. Too bad for him he was facing the wrong direction. Ranma gathered his energy into his right hand and threw it out, palm forward, wordlessly launching a ball of super dense air.
"Its a shame such a pretty girl had t-urk!" The Turian's statement ended in a strangled exclamation as he was struck by the ball of dense air Ranma had thrown. The blast had thrown him over the Quarian and into the wall, his unprotected head cracking against the surface and ending his wicked life. Ranma grimaced as he watched the result, but didn't allow himself to brood.
Quickly moving up to the prone girl, Ranma smiled, and held out his hands in a nonthreatening manner. He took in the girl's appearance.
She had a slim build, with wide hips. She was wearing an environmental suit. The suit was wrapped in various shades of purple cloth, including a hood over her helmet. He couldn't see her face through the clouded glass of her visor, but he could see two eyes shining through the cloudy material. They were almond shaped, and wide with awe. Gently Ranma reached out a hand to help the girl up.
Jane Shepard's legs burned as she ran as fast as she could, leading her teammates in a race against time. She gulped air into her abused lungs, keeping vital oxygen pouring through her system. She silently prayed as she turned corner after corner that she would make it to the Quarian in time, humanity depended on it.
Just moments earlier Fist had told them that the Quarian was meeting some of Saren's agents, where they would silence her forever and taking what evidence she might have with her. She couldn't let that happen, Saren had to be stopped, and whatever information the Quarian had was sure to be the key she needed to do so.
She spared a glance over her shoulder at her two new found squad members. Garrus, the Turian Citadel Security officer moved with the same alacrity she did, his almost unreadable alien face set in determination. He shared her belief that Saren needed to be dealt with quickly, and though he was somewhat reckless in his judgment, he was very skilled.
Trailing the two, but possessing a surprising speed, Wrex thundered along in chase. He was strange, Jane thought, respecting strong enemies while at the same time ruthless in his execution. He had slain Fist in cold-blood, but was following her direction unquestioningly. His biotic ability was strong, and his endurance was mythic. He was proving to be a stalwart ally, but an almost unbearable headache at the same time.
She finished climbing some stairs that led to the alley where the Quarian was supposed to meet Saren's agents. She approached a descending set of stairs and paused just long enough to assess the situation.
Several bodies were strewn about the alley below, several Salarians and a Turian, none of them were moving. She spotted a young Quarian female prone on the ground, with a man standing over her. She had thought Saren considered himself above using humans as agents, but she had been proven wrong with Fist, who had been in Saren's pocket.
The man was an interesting site, if she had allowed herself enough time to consider it. He was athletic in his build, obviously Asian in his features. His clothing was Japanese of positively ancient design, and his raven hair was tied back in a low ponytail. He began to reach for the Quarian; Shepard wouldn't allow it.
"Go," the simple command urged Garrus and Wrex into action, as she gestured with her left hand, biotic energy refracting the light around her. A high gravity field shot from her hand, gathering the air into a dense ball as it sped toward her target.
The Quarian lifted a hesitant hand toward Ranma, still unsure of his intentions. Ranma smiled softly, hoping to quell her fear. Just before their hands met, however, Ranma was launched away from the girl as a wave of force slammed into him. A heavy gunshot cracked through the air as a bullet buried itself in the wall behind where his head had been.
He recovered just in time to right himself before he hit a wall. It was in vain, though as a charging Krogan crashed into him with enough force to dent the wall behind him as he was crushed between the Krogan and the wall.
Ranma grunted as the air was forced from his lungs. Gritting his teeth, he grasped both sides of the Krogan's head and raised his feet from the ground to the wall for purchase.
"Nice try," Ranma yelled as he pushed forward off the wall, forcing the Krogan back. With a hard twist, Ranma threw the massive figure to the side, and tumbled over the falling alien. As he landed Ranma rolled to the side quickly, avoiding more gunfire and threw a foot out catching the Krogan in its unprotected back and sent it headfirst into the wall. The Krogan's shotgun was thrown from its grasp, skidding across the alleyway far from its owner.
Bullets rained about him as he once again flipped and tumbled around, narrowly avoiding being struck. He gathered his energy once more and threw another blast where he guessed the unknown assailant was positioned. He heard a grunt as the ball impacted its target. The voice was unmistakably Turian. However, the gunfire did not cease. He glanced toward the remaining source of gunfire.
There, moving steadily down the stairs as she rained fire down upon him was a woman whose face tugged at his memory. Her pretty face was set in determination, one arm raised a pistol in his direction, holding the firearm steady as she pulled the trigger in rapid succession. Her left arm was pulled back, and she seemed to glow with a blue light as she gathered energy to her hand. Remembering Dr. Michel's earlier words, Ranma found himself face to face with Jane Shepard.
He began to laugh as he ducked out of the way of biotic energy that joined the gunfire. He had somehow found himself facing down the Quarian's would-be rescuers. It was the story of his life, if he thought about it. One big misunderstanding after another.
Dodging a lunging tackle by the Krogan he had earlier put down, Ranma dove through the air, bouncing from wall to wall in an unpredictable pattern, and before long was before Shepard. With less than an arm's length between the two Ranma shot his hand out and seized her weapon. Throwing it to the side, he jumped back as she threw a fist at him and raised his hands in surrender.
"Hold on," Ranma begged as he saw the Turian accompanying her aiming down his rifle at him. He continued to evade the strikes Shepard was throwing at him, her form near perfect, but lacking the raw physical ability necessary to strike Ranma. "Hey! Cool it, we're here for the same reason."
She was showing no signs of slowing her offense, however, and Ranma had to grab her fist to stop her assault, and jumped out of the way of the Krogan who once again charged him from behind. As he landed, he pinned both of Jane's arms, and held her in an iron grip. She stood there in his grasp, eyes blazing in determination.
"Shes safe," Ranma said, keeping Jane between him and her allies, his words were finally heard as the loud gunfire was finally ceased. "You guys made it in time, the Quarian is okay." He slowly released Jane from his grasp, and stepped back, hands held before him in a display of peace.
Jane was less than pleased, she didn't like an unknown third party, especially with something as vitally important as retrieving the Quarian safely, and the information she held. She looked the man over for a moment, running over the fight in her memory quickly.
Whoever he was, he had biotic ability. What was more, he had enough control of said ability, to protect himself from a direct hit from a charging Krogan, and to summon enough force to physically throw Wrex. Beyond that, he was able to move with such speed as to dodge bullets.
However, he had thrown away his advantage without a care, releasing her and stepping back into the line of fire of her companions. She relaxed, allowing some of the adrenaline to fade from her system.
"I'm only going to ask you once," she said after a time, "and if I even think that the Quarian is in any danger from you, Garrus will drop you where you stand." The man nodded and smiled disarmingly.
"Who are you, and why are you here?" Shepard asked. The man smiled and dropped his arms.
"My name's Ranma Saotome," He answered, "Dr. Michel asked me to help out the Quarian after you left her office."
Chapter 1 End
Author's Note Post Script
Couldn't resist the nod to Hot Fuzz with Aaron. Why do I depict Shepard's biotic ability at such a level even though she is fairly young during the Skyllian Blitz? Simple, if you talk to Kaidan in the game as a biotic he mentions that he sticks with his L2 implants because, possible brain damaging surgery aside, they spike higher than most L3s, excepting Shepard in the same statement. Reading through the wiki, there is mention that Kaidan's abilities are comparable to an Asari's, rendering Shepard even more powerful regardless of biotic class. It should also be mentioned that the wiki is often edited by people who actually worked on the game, not necessarily ensuring accuracy, but its good enough for me.