Author Notes: This is tentatively planned as a three chapter mini-fic. I'm sure questions will be raised, the most obvious being the Neko-ken or perhaps the Jusenkyo curse, and all I can say to that is wait for the next chapter. Thanks.
Also, this was written before I even ordered the GDrom, or ever read a single issue of Gold Diggers. That being said, there will be canonical errors, and I frankly don't give a flying fuck. Hardliners need to relax a bit, it's fine to point out said errors but I'll be damned with the inquisitorial demands that I change shit for anyone.
Chapter 1: Payday
"Order up! 297!" The burly man shouted, looking over the throng of consumers bustling in his little mom-and-pop burger joint. A pair of giggling teenage girls excitedly skipped up to the counter, ignoring both the food and the cashier as they rose on their tiptoes to see the solitary cook busily working away in the back.
Brianna Diggers slurped her drink, sucking the last few suds of caffeinated goodness down before rising to her feet and moving for another. She had an advantage the teenage girls didn't have, that being her gigantic height of 6'10. She peered over the metal oven that mostly blocked her target from view, catching sight of the young man busily, and acrobatically, flipping burgers and preparing orders in rapid succession. She bit her lower lip, idly refilling her drink as she watched him work. He was Japanese, with bushy black hair done up in a braid, or maybe a pigtail? Whatever; He had light colored skin, a physique that, thanks to the steam of the grill and his own sweat, shown through his simple red Burger Joint work-shirt. Cute didn't begin to do the guy justice, not with his strong confidant look, or those dreamy Grey-blue eyes...
"Excuse me!" an annoying high pitch voiced sounded from her left. Briana blinked, looking down at the two teenagers who had been trying to ogle the same piece of man-meat she had been.
"Hmm?" She frowned, finally noticing a very wet and sticky sensation over her left hand. Brianna grimaced, seeing she had put her cup up in the drink dispenser to be filled, but had gotten lost in her day dreams and left it running until her cup had overflowed. Given the clear look of the normally dark drink she enjoyed, and the gasping pew of air bellowing from the machine, she probably left it on long enough to drain what was left of the syrup pack. "Nuts!"
The Burly cashier sighed, turning back and shouting, "Oi! Brat! Dr. Fizz ran out!"
"Again?" the cute cook sighed, rounding the oven and casually hopping over the counter. "I swear I just replaced that damn thing an hour ago!"
The two teenage girls next to her sighed, puppy dog eyes filled with visions of hearts and rainbows as the eye-candy that had lured them all into the store to begin with moved towards them. The young man nodded to them as he knelt down next to Brianna, sliding the cabinet open where he began to fiddle around with the syrup bags inside.
Mischievously, Brianna hiked up her skirt ever so slightly. She ignored the glares from the girls next to her who, like the amatuers they were, had pants and couldn't pull this brazen a trick. "Having trouble?" she breathed huskily, leaning a bit too close for modesty sake. The young man fiddled with a hose, attaching it to a fresh syrup pack before sliding the cabinet closed.
"Nope, that should take..." he began, turning to the left where his eyes latched onto her bare mile high legs. Slowly, tantalizingly slow, his Grey eyes raked her flesh from bottom to top, where he seemed to suddenly snap out of his haze and look her directly in the eye. "Eh, sorry about that." he chuckled nervously, pinks tinged pink.
"It's okay." she leaned in closer, much to the aggravation of the two teenagers who began gritting their teeth, "I wanted you to look."
"Did you." The young man chuckled, "Ah, yes, well. That's nice of..." A series of beeps suddenly rang out, the boy tapering off as he reached into his pants and pulled out a cellphone. Brianna didn't feel entirely miffed to be outright ignored in favor of a damn phone call, but she couldn't suppress the pout at it. "You got something for me Goro?" he nodded a few times, whistling at the end, "That much? Hell yeah, sign me up!" he flipped the phone closed and looked back to the Burly Cashier, "Oi! I'm outta here!"
The Cashier balked, looking over the packed store then back to the guy, "You can't be serious! You'd leave me with this packed house?"
"Hey..." the guy shrugged, "... it's not my fault you gave the other wage-slaves the day off. You knew I was on call!"
"Ranma, please!" the man practically fell to his knees, "Please! You can't leave me!"
"Five figures says I can." Ranma shrugged, peeling off his work shirt, much to Brianna's delight, and tossing it at the old codger. "See you later!" he grunted, stepping around her and offering only a kind smile as he took off at a quick pace.
Brianna watched him go, admiring his shirtless back and his taut little ass. 'Well...' she sighed internally, '... at least I know his name now. Ranma...'
Erwin 'Peewee' Talon was a genius, a very spoiled if not emotionally stable genius, but he never let something such as sanity or a normal home life get in the way of his goals. Despite that, he never seemed to succeed in what he most wanted ; Acquiring Were-Cheetah DNA from the only Were-Cheetah left in existence! He had tried several methods, some obtuse, some in your face, and all of it pretty much failed. He wondered if it was his own genius that was some how flawed, or the pawns he paid to do the work for him.
A curious question, and one he had decided on a whim to put to the test. Which is why he was where he was now, standing in front of a group of severe looking men, most of which carried assault rifles or mundane weapons of one form or another. Daishi, his pet ninja, walked up and down the line of soldiers, sharing a word or two with them before finally joining the others of his lackluster lackeys near him on the stage.
"My lord Talon." Daishi whispered, ignoring Zelda, the bald bitch, rolling her eyes at what she no doubt considered supreme sycophantry. "We're ready to begin the briefing."
Erwin shrugged. He had given Daishi permission to plan this little operation, purely as an experiment of course, so why not see where it went? He clicked a button on the miniature podium, the lights dimming as a photograph appeared on screen. "Miscreants and unwashed masses..." Erwin began.
"You've got to be shitting me." One faceless mercenary snorted from the crowd, "A peewee dipshit is giving us our briefing? Is this some kind of joke?"
Zelda pulled out a gun and shot the loudmouth, his head blowing apart into so many bits from the force of the blast. The mercenaries near him shuffled a bit, but otherwise did nothing.
"Yes, as I was saying..." the child paused for effect, practically daring anymore interruptions. When none came he continued, "... meet the Diggers." he pointed to the picture on the whitewall above him. "Gina Diggers, a genius of technology and Chinese finger traps." he switched the picture, showing the buxom blond hard at work over various devices, to one picture showing Daishi weeping openly, his fingers caught in a Chinese finger-trap that looked a few hundred years more advanced then anything had a right to be. "She leads their adhoc team, not a particularly dangerous person on her own but give her some paper clips and a roll of duck tape and chances are you'll see your butts atomized by a bootlegged death ray." Erwin wondered if they were taking him seriously, the stone cold faces of the grunts gave nothing away...
One grunt raised his hand, "So she's Mcguyver?"
Zelda sighed, pulling the trigger and dropping another mercenary.
Daishi stepped up, "Please remember; He's twelve years old, and doesn't watch popular television."
"As I was saying..." Erwin drawled, clicking the projector and bringing up the picture of a feral looking woman seven feet tall, with a cheetah spotted pelt, expressive green eyes, blowing a raspberry at the camera. "... Priority target is Brittany Diggers, a were-cheetah and the last of her kind. You're mission, whether you choose to accept or not, is to acquire a DNA sampling using these specialized hypo-syringes my pet gopher is handing out."
A Nubian man in brown leathers sighed, walking up and down the line carrying a box of hypo-syringes
One of the Mercenaries stared at the medical weapon, saying, "So, uh, I don't suppose we have to worry about the other Thunder-cats, do we?"
Zelda aimed the gun...
"Oh, I get it!" The child geneticist laughed suddenly, slapping his knee.
The bald bruiser put the gun away, much to the collective relief of the mercenaries near the idiot who spoke up.
"I hate cartoons." the child snapped, "Ionis!"
The Nubian man sighed, putting a hand on the joking Mercenary, "Sorry about this, bills to pay and all." The mercenary had time to blink before he erupted into a conflagration of hot death, the surrounding mercenaries suddenly very aware how close Ionis had come to touching them when he was handing out the Hypo-guns.
"Last, barring various potential additions listed in your mission briefing, is Brianna Diggers." Erwin almost sounded bored as he brought up the last of the Digger sisters on the projector, a leggy blond decked out in advanced armor of some kind with a bumper sticker pasted to the front proclaiming, "NRA for life!" and 'Hippies suck!' "Gina's technologically savvy, Brittany is physically aggressive, and Brianna is technologically aggressive. Ladies and..." the child paused, frowning, "Lady..." Zelda smiled, "... and gentlemen if Brianna levels anything that looks like a pipe, firecracker, or Mexican food at you I suggest you bend over and kiss your ass goodbye."
Another merc raised his hand, this one not nearly so faceless with his bushy black hair and fierce Grey-blue eyes, "Question."
"Yes?" Daishi stepped up, either intentionally or ignorantly cutting off Erwin just before he could activate the mini-guns hidden in the ceiling.
"What the hell am I suppose to be doing here?" Ranma frowned, "The job description said 'Mundane chores in a highly volatile environment' not, 'assault a group of girls.'"
"Name?" Daishi made a show of looking over some papers
"Ranma Saotome." the young man crossed his arms expectantly.
"Saotome..." Daishi nodded, "...You're the help sent over by Life-sucks Workforce solutions, correct?"
"Yep." the boy nodded in confirmation.
"I have you listed as our sole 'Looter." the ninja hmmed, "You're job will be to loot the bodies of our enemies, or allies, plus any surrounding items of value or potential value for my lord Talon."
Zelda chuckled darkly, "Wait, you mean you actually hired a glorified baggage bitch?"
Erwin frowned at that. Daishi knew he hated waste, and hiring a baggage handler when Zelda, Ionis, or even the ninja himself could carry all the crap just screamed waste. He bit his tongue though, wondering if the ninja had a plan or was just being lazy.
"Right." the pigtailed young man frowned, "I take it these girls are what you meant by 'volatile environment'?"
"Have you ever heard of the Evil League of Nations?" Daishi asked suddenly.
"Can't say that I have." Ranma shrugged.
Ionis chuckled, "Yeah, there's a reason for that."
Gina Diggers hummed a tune, idly skimming over the readouts with her curious green eyes. Jinkies, she couldn't quite grasp how she had missed such a potentially lucrative hot spot with her initial scans! Granted, Africa was a large continent, but given the subtle Beta-tech vibrations emanating from the location it seemed entirely unfeasible for her to have missed it. Subsequent scans confirmed there was something there, however, so against all logic she simply had to have overlooked it!
"Hey babe." Ryan Tabot, her on again off again boyfriend peeked over her shoulder. The red-haired martial artist looked sexy in his skin tight blue shirt and matching pants, along with the dragon-hide bracers he had painstakingly saved up over a years worth of cash to acquire, and perhaps the most important piece to his wardrobe - the golden locket she had given him for their one year anniversary. It was touching to see him wear it, and not for the first time the Digger girl was willing to bet they would actually make it a full two years with out breaking up this time. "Is that what I think it is?"
"Yep yep!" Gina chirruped, swiveling in her chair and running her slender fingers over another computer. "I've already deployed an advance scout team to set up a secondary base camp."
"Who all's coming?" Ryan frowned thoughtfully. Gina couldn't help but notice the slight tinge of greed in his voice, and frankly she couldn't quite blame him. Archeological sites didn't exactly grow on trees, they had already gone three months with out a pay day and were really feeling the tightening purse strings. The more people she brought on the expedition, the more she'd have to share, and thus the less everyone would get from their cuts.
"Brianna's already gathering her stuff." Gina shrugged. She didn't need to mention Brittany was coming, she had been on damn near every expedition since the first. "I thought about inviting Penny, but..."
Ryan shrugged, "Hey, just more loot for us, right?" he put his hands on her shoulders, gently kneading the muscles beneath her flesh. "How much time do we have?"
Gina grinned lecherously, "Oh, I think we can spare a few minutes..."
Erwin watched the small throngs of mercenaries step through the portal, vanishing to who knew where. He debated about asking, but honestly he didn't really care. Chances are this plan would flop, they'd all be killed or at the very least smashed into a pulp by the Diggers and their allies. Though, he had to admit he was rather impressed with the quality of employee the local Workforce had sent them. Maybe he'd outsource more often?
"Alrighty." Ranma grinned, checking the crates on the small truck. "That's a ton of food stuffs, water, ammo, and enough... uh... adult magazines to entertain an army of sailors. Anything else, boss?"
Erwin nodded, raising his arms. "Carry me, I tire of walking."
The young man frowned, then sighed. "Life sucks."
Daishi watched the throngs of faceless mercenaries dispassionately, not quite able to drudge up the needed empathy to care that these idiots were merely pawns in his overall plan to snare the Diggers and finally get Brittany's DNA. They walked in squads through the stable portal Ionis had set up on this end, huffing it through the breech with the kind of emotionless adherence to protocol he expected from ex-military fools.
"You don't honestly think this bullshit plan is going to work." Zelda, the genetically enhanced bruiser snorted from his side. She was fairly pretty, her bald head giving her a type of exotic allure Daishi himself would have been hard pressed to resist back before Lord Talon had enhanced his own physique. Yet, where Zelda saw only power in her augments, Daishi saw a new path to life. It was a fundamental difference, and one he doubted the headstrong woman would ever see in her rage filled tantrums.
"Of course it won't work." Daishi shrugged. "The Mercenaries are merely meant to delay. Little more then sacrifices for the greater goal."
Zelda nodded, cracking her knuckles, "Figured that. We use em to weaken those bitches, then jump in and finish them off?"
"That has about as much chance of success as Ionis does actually paying off his debts." Daishi shrugged, seemingly unconcerned with the fact he just stated the lot of them getting their butts kicked was a foregone conclusion. "It's not us I intend to complete the task at hand."
"Eh?" Zelda frowned dangerously, "Who the hell are you talking about?"
"Hey, red shirt!" Erwin snapped from his perch on Ranma's shoulders, "I'm not paying you to stand around gawking at something so simplistic as a Magical Portal! Move it!" Said Red-shirt grunted, running through the portal like the good lemming he was.
Daishi just smiled.
The air-car zoomed through the skies, passing through cloud banks as effortlessly as a bird took flight. Brianna paid the, admittedly beautiful, scenery little of her attention as she thumbed through several pictures on her cellphone. Each displaying a certain young man in various states of undress, with little notes jotted in captions noting potential 'hot spots' she intended to test the first chance she got.
"Like I said." she only half heard Cheetah talking, "Strype said there wasn't anything in that particular section he knew about, but that it was a fair bit away from his old stomping grounds in El Dorado."
Gina, in the front next to Ryan, who drove the vehicle, nodded as she fiddled with a few displays on her makeshift computer table. "I see. We'll just have to see what's there. Peegi and Peebri reported in, our second camp location is set up in case we run into trouble."
Brittany frowned, "Where's Peebrit?"
"She's scouting the outer edge of the dig site." Gina idly pushed some free hair out of her face and behind her ear, "So far all she's reported, and I quote "Never any tuna when I need some.'"
Brianna laughed lightly, "Sometimes I think I made those peebo's a little too much like the real deal!"
Brittany rolled her eyes, "Yeah, yeah." she leaned over, curious jade eyes catching sight of the pictures the Half-Lycanthrope was looking through. "Wow, he's cute!"
Gina hmmed, idly glancing back, "Who's cute?"
"Just a guy I've been stalking." Brianna shrugged, not particularly one to hide the fact she was gunning for a new piece of ass. "He works... or worked, anyway, at the Burger Joint."
"Really?" Brittany blinked, honestly surprised, "I never would have pegged him for a nine to five guy."
Brianna wasn't surprised when a little icon of Gina popped up on her phone, the chibi sticking her tongue at her before the pictures of Ranma fluttered into existence on the holoscreen in the front seat. "What makes you say that?"
"Just look at him." the Were-cheetah grinned, "It's just a picture, but he has the kind of confidence Strype has when he's doing something serious."
Ryan snorted, "Strype is an Alien prince loaded with enough magi-tech to flatten a continent, it's kinda hard not to be confident with that kind of power."
"Jinkies, he is cute!" Gina grinned, ignoring Ryan's half glare, "Details sis!"
Brianna blushed, cutely scratching her cheek, "Uh... his name is Ranma? He, uh, looks like he works out and..."
The red-headed martial artist blinked, "How long have you been stalking him?"
"A couple of months." she admitted hesitantly.
Gina and Brittany both blinked, the genius of the two recovering first, "Wait, what? Two months and all you know is his name, where he works, and that he exercises?"
"He's just a tough nut to crack, is all!" The half-lycanthrope defended hotly, "It's not like I'm the only girl after him, the Burger Joint is constantly packed with women trying to catch his attention!"
Ryan snorted, "Yeah right. Like a guy flipping burgers for a living is the kind of guy women want to date."
"Better then a loud mouth know-nothing-know-it-all hack of a martial artist." Brianna snapped back.
"Okay, I think that's enough of that." Gina interrupted, glaring at the both of them in turn. "Ryan, you really need to keep that foot out of your mouth, it isn't cute at all. And Bri, seriously, letting Ryan bait you like that?"
Brianna just grumbled, glaring out the window.
"Question!" Brittany jumped in, "If you know his name, and have his picture, why haven't you just used Gina's tech to find out about him? I mean, given the digital age we're living in, there has to be something you can find!"
"Eer..." Brianna sweated, "... yeah, well, I kinda only learned his name today. By sheer happenstance."
Gina boggled, "What the... are you sweet on this guy? I mean seriously, two months and you only know his name and have a few risque pictures?"
"Mah, shut up, alright?" the Half-lycanthrope sighed in embarrassment, "Look, after this little expedition I'll buy the sexiest drop-dead gorgeous dress I can find and have my way with him, alright?"
"That's my sister." Gina said with a grin.
Peebri scanned the defenses, relayed the lines of fire from the turrets to the surroundings and making sure every possible approach was covered with the defenses. It never hurt to be prepared, Bits only knew how many 'expeditions' tended to involve laying a withering salvo of hot death before everything was said and down. The little peebo manipulated the console with her long 'head' tails, tapping a few buttons before ignoring the auto-mated turret as it began to build and position itself.
Peegi, the entirely too curious Peebo based on Gina, busied herself setting up a series of metallic pillars in a triangle in the center of the camp. "Jinkies!" she suddenly stopped, eyes lightning up as she spotted a gigantic (to a Peebo) ant crawling near one of the pillars. Slowly stalking the thing and utterly forgetting the task she had been given, Peegi wandered after the little insect as it made it's way into the jungle.
Peebri just rolled her robotic eyes. Just as well, at least that little goodie two-shoes wouldn't be around to stop her test firing. "Turrets, flamers, constructs of beautiful destruction!" she shouted through her built-in speakers, "Test firing pattern echo-blazing-boom-boom is go!"
The mini-guns began to spin, flamers letting out small gout s of flames as nearby boxes rose up on thick metal legs, the outer casing popping off and revealing missiles nestled with.
Erwin was rather enjoying this outing. The tightly packed trees and thick canopy of green above did much to block the suns light, but created a natural sauna that made all but the hardiest of brutes sweat miserably.
Ranma looked up at the kid on his shoulders, frowning, "Do you carry a personal air-conditioning bubble wherever you go?"
"Who doesn't?" The evil-hearted child shrugged in response, looking as cool as a cucumber in the air bubble surrounding his upper-torso. He was a genius, but that genius tended to lean more towards genetics rather then technological toys. Still didn't mean he hadn't dabbled in the odd contraption that would make his life easier to endure. God damn it, if mommy and daddy wouldn't even so much as hug him then the least he deserved is such trite comforts!
"My lord Talon." Daishi bowed low, "The mercenaries are in place waiting for the targets to commit. Surveys of the area we expect them to explore has reported a small metal creature, zooming around and complaining about the lack of shopping malls in the area."
Erwin frowned, "Peebrit, if I had to guess." he rested on elbow on Ranma's head, "That begs the question of 'how' you knew the Diggers would be coming to the middle of Africa at this exact point in time."
"Ah, yes." The ninja smiled, not that anyone would see it with his face-mask on, "Recall the time Ionis infected Gina's computer with a multitude of viruses?"
"I remember a hefty bit of capitol going into building that virus suite, only to fail spectacularly at retrieving any data on Brittany's DNA, or pretty much anything worth the effort." the evil-hearted child frowned.
"Yes, well..." Daishi coughed, nervously pulling the collar of his suit, "... while it's true we received nothing immediate for our efforts, Gina didn't scrub all the viruses completely. We had some tertiary fail-safes that laid dormant until well after the events in question passed. With these I was able to... trick the computer into thinking there just wasn't any dig site worth investigating."
Ranma raised an eyebrow, "What? You mean these girls wait till a computer tells them to go treasure hunting? Isn't that stupid?"
Erwin bopped his mount on the head, "I don't remember asking you to speak!"
The pigtailed mount just grumbled.
"Yes, well." Daishi ahemed, "Given the amount of expenditures the Diggers habitually sustain with their lifestyles, vacations, weddings, experiments and the like I determined three months of 'no hits' would deplete the majority of their financial holdings."
"I see." Erwin nodded, "Then you let the virus reveal specific information about a dig-site at our coordinates, and since the money grubbers are broke they likely jumped at the chance to score a 'pay-day', as they call it."
"Exactly, my lord Talon." Daishi bowed low again. "And given that they're broke, I'm hedging my bets on greed swaying the sisters into bringing as few cohorts as possible.
"Mind if I ask something?" Ranma broke in.
Erwin frowned, but refrained from bopping the young man for his insolence. "Go ahead."
"All you really want is a DNA sample from this Brittany girl, right?" Ranma stressed, continuing as Daishi nodded, "Have you tried offering her a crap load of cash for it?"
Daishi blinked, looking absolutely dumbstruck.
"Meh." Erwin sniffed, "Why pay for something when I can just take it?"
"But..." the pigtail boy sighed, "... aren't you already paying for it? Mercs aren't cheap, never mind gearing them or the hazard pay if this turns out far worse then you figure, y'know? I get the feeling this isn't your first try, so if instead of coming up with all those dumb convoluted plots just bank the cash and offer it to her when she's broke." he eyed Daishi thoughtfully, "Like now, since you made damn sure she wouldn't have a chance to make any cash."
Ranma grimaced as he was bopped on the head, hard.
Peebri sighed in contentment, enjoying the smoking remains of what use to be a fifty meter stretch of healthy African forestry now reduced to burnt and shredded corpses. She idly tapped the control console for the turrets, putting them in stand-by. "That'll do gunnies, that'll do."
"YOU MONSTER!" Peegi peeked her head over the shredded remains of a stump, "You nearly killed me!"
"Had to test the defenses." Peebri defended with little remorse.
"What part of 'Secondary, secret, safe' base camp didn't you understand!" Peegi looked at the devastation in awe, "People in orbit could probably see this spot if they tried!"
"Whatever." The destructive AI would have shrugged if it could.
Peegi just sighed, "Mistress is going to be angry when she gets here."
'I am so angry!' Brianna glared at the two Peebos, eyebrow twitching in time to the vein pulsing on her forehead. "You two are in soooo much trouble!"
Peegi nudged Peebri, "It was her fault Mistress!"
"Who was suppose to be making sure I stayed out of trouble?" Peebri shot back, cackling a little as Peegi stuttered incoherently at that.
"Enough!" The half-lycanthrope grabbed the AI bombs and tossed them into the trunk of a massacred tree. "You two are in time out! You'll stay in there, or so help me I'll flash your bios!"
"You don't have the balls!" Peebri snapped back, only to freeze at the business end of a plasma pistol shoved into her face. "Okay..." the AI backed up an inch or so, "... Maybe you do."
Peebrit zoomed around the burned down remains of the immediate area, enjoying the freedom to actually get above sixty miles an hour for a freaking change. The little AI-bot of Brittany loved to run, loved to move, and given the amount of foliage and trees she had been forced to trek through since coming here she was feeling positively giddy now that she had some room to move.
"If you're done playing with those toys..." Ryan droned, hefting a back pack from the trunk of the air-car. "... can we get on with it?"
Brianna bristled. More and more she was realizing how much that twerp annoyed the hell out of her; She couldn't understand how the hell Gina could stand him, and that's taking into account she possessed the girls memories! "They aren't toys!" She defended hotly, "Their fully realized AI's of the three of us! They're smarter then you, bucko, and don't you forget it."
"Once the witch leaves we'll be busting out." Peebri's voice was just loud enough to hear from the tree trunk.
"Right." Ryan rolled his eyes.
Brittany frowned, hand on her hip. "Gotta admit Bri, the little peebo's screwed the kitty this time."
"Forget it." Gina interrupted, pushing her glasses up the bridge of her nose. "We'll just do with out a secondary camp this time. Besides, messed up or not, they did create a hell of a LZ for the air-car."
"See!" Brianna blew the martial artist the raspberry, "More useful then you!"
Peebrit zoomed in, braking and sliding to a halt near Ryan, her little wheels kicking up enough dirt to smack the red-head in the face. "We're cool." she declared proudly.
Gina frowned, shaking her head. "Enough." she leaned down and half-glared at the speed-addicted Peebrit, "Stay here, keep an eye on the camp site. Let us know if anything comes up, okay?"
"You got it, sis!" Peebrit chirruped.
"And make sure your sisters don't get out of timeout." Brianna glared down at the two Peebos in the tree trunk, "I really will flash your bios if you push me on this."
Peebri and Peegi shivered, hugging each other and looking downright scared.
Brittany sighed, idly wondering what her loveable husband was doing that minute.
Zelda kept watch on the 'entrance' to this treasure they were using to lure the Digger bitches in. The area was dense with foliage, and unless you took the time to really, really look you'd never see the slight depression hidden behind overgrown trees and vine. She had to admit they created a natural camouflage that really, really did wonders with hiding the way to the treasure. She eyed the men around her, all straight face and hardened men of war, looking ready to bring up the rear once the Diggers had committed to the path.
"Contact." a voice sub-vocalized over the comm-net. Zelda tapped her ear bud, raising the volume ever so slightly. "Four targets from the Northeast, the three primaries and secondary Tabot present."
"Hold position." Zelda ordered, switching the frequency to command, "Diggers coming in, looks like Daishi called it. They only brought that hack of a fighter Tabot with em. No sight of the bitches husband."
"Understood." Erwin's voice answered.
"Understood." Erwin answered the augmented woman.
Daishi frowned, "My lord, I have need of our 'looter'."
Ranma perked up. Frankly he was ready to do anything if it meant he didn't have to carry this pain in the ass brat around on his shoulders anymore.
"What for?" Erwin rather liked his pigtailed mount.
"The Diggers always set up a base camp, and then always build devices they can call on to let them escape if things turn against them." the ninja explained, "Thanks to the flamethrowers and missile blasts, we know generally where it is. We need to shut this base down before we spring the trap, that's why I hired a professional looter in the first place."
'Professional looter?' Ranma mouthed in confusion.
"Very well." The boy sighed tiredly as he was lifted and set on the ground.
Ranma sighed as he took off to the Northeast.
"Remember! Take everything you can, and break the rest!" Daishi called out as he ran.
Erwin waited until the temporary employee was gone before frowning at the ninja, "You do realize he's likely walking into a base camp complete with enough automated defenses to conquer most third world countries, right?"
"That I do." Daishi nodded seriously.
"Good." the evil-hearted boy said as he pulled out a blow pop, "I don't know how much you were paying him, but I'm glad that's at least one bill I won't have to foot." he frowned, "Pity, he was really useful."
Daishi just smirked.
Peebrit was rather impressed with herself; managing to attentively watch the perimeter for a whole five minutes before succumbing to the urge to run around as fast as she could. The holes in the ground from the missiles, as well as the cut down vegetation created a kind of obstacle course she was having just enough trouble navigating to make it truly enjoyable. She had just rounded a bend when one of her wheels hit a bump, just enough of a minor annoyance to cause her slim body to flip over several times before crashing at the most terrible of angles into a small crater near the camp.
"Damn it." The Peebo growled, extending miniature arms from her sleek body to try and right herself. After five minutes she sighed, "Peebri! Peegi! I need a hand here!"
"What's the matter?" Peegi curiously asked, not daring to lift her head out of the trunk enough to see what the problem is.
"I'm stuck, can you give me a push?" Peebrit explained.
"Go oil-change yourself!" Peebri snapped, "Don't do it Peegi, it's a trick! I always knew that Peebrit was out to get us!"
"But what if she's really in trouble?" Peegi cried in dismay.
"Better she gets flashed then us." the destructive AI scowled.
Peebrit would have gritted her teeth if she had any. She had just about decided to sit there until the mistress came back when she heard the tell tale sound of turrets coming online, followed quickly by the computers synthesized voice warning them. "Potential hostile approaching base camp; Permission to activate Extreme prejudice protocols?"
"Yes! Activate the guns!" the little Peebrit snapped.
"Contact at sixty meters and closing. Permission to activate defensive protocols?" the computer returned soon after.
"I said yes, damn it!" the speed obsessed Peebo growled, "Why the hell won't it work?"
"I didn't have time to install voice activation software!" Peegi whined from inside the trunk.
"Oh that figures. You really are worthless, Peegi!" Peebri snapped.
"You're mean!" came the whiny reply.
"Contact at twenty meters, permission to engage?"
"YES DAMN IT! ENGAGE! ENGAGE! ENGAGE!" Peebrit cried, only to groan as the turrets made the tell tale sound of shutting down only a few seconds before a humanoid shadow settled over her. She felt a hand grab her tail, lifting her up out of the crater and left to dangle in front of their intruder. A human male stared at her with curious blue-grey eyes.
"What the hell are you?" Ranma frowned thoughtfully.
"You're worst nightmare!" Peebrit snapped, opening a small panel on her face and spewing a thin stream of oil at the guy. For himself the boy merely tilted out of the way, before casually reaching up and flipping a not-so-well-hidden switch on the back of her tail-fin. Peebrit froze before shutting down.
Ranma shook his head, tossing the little thing into a rather large nap-sack. He glanced around curiously, trying to find more of those little robots. He could a swore he had heard at least two other distinct voices, but try as he might he just couldn't see them. Whatever, he had a camp to loot.
Peebri listened intently as their invader did who knows what to the base camp. She knew she should do something, anything really, to stop whatever was happening out there but nine hells she wasn't about to risk getting her bios flashed for anyone, not Peebri, not Mistress, not anybody! Peegi shivered, a look of horror on her tiny robotic face at what was happening, or maybe it was the fact Peebri had one of her head tentacles hovering over her with a little electric wire dangling menacing and just daring the little whiny Peebo to give away their position.
"How the hell am I suppose to loot a car?" They heard their tormentor grumbled, before the sound of tearing cloth reached their ears. A full ten minutes went by before the invader let out a tired sigh, "That should do it."
"Bri!" Peegi whispered ever so softly, "We have to do something! He's robbing us blind!"
"Shut up, Peegi!" Peebri snapped, "You'll give away our position!"
"There you are." a shadow loomed over them. Peebri looked up into the handsome humans face, then scowled before physically launching herself at Peegi.
"THIS IS YOUR FAULT!" she screamed before feeling a thick finger fiddle with her back, then everything went dark as she shut down.
Peegi chuckled weakly, "Thanks." she offered the guy, "She's really mean when things don't go her way."
"I know the type." Ranma said in a tone of long suffering as he stuffed Peebri into a sack. "Anyway, sorry about this, but I'm suppose to loot everything and, uh, you count."
Peegi pouted, "Mercy?"
Ranma raised an eyebrow at the crocodile tears forming on the little robot. Huh, that was a lot easier to ignore on a machine. He quickly found the pink Peebo's off switch and flipped it, before stuffing her into the pack. He spared the Diggers camp one last look over, nodding to himself. Aside from a pulsing small ball he had managed to loot everything and store it away in his adhoced bag of holding. He would have taken the ball too, but honestly anything that might just be an active grenade wasn't something he wanted to be anywhere near. Shouldering the bag, he began hopping past the clearing and through the forest.
Time to meet up with his boss and see if they managed to 'beat' the girls so he could loot them. He sighed mentally as he went, Ranma Saotome, martial arts bad-ass reduced to the position of a glorified baggage bitch. Damn you pops...
Gina hmmed, brushing the stone door a bit to see the engravings beneath the caked dirt. If she had to guess this particular dig site hadn't been touched in a least a thousand years, the markings were certainly Kyrn in origin, though far more archaic then the symbolism present in El Dorado before it up and returned to the stars.
Brianna kept watch on the path, decked out in only a Mark 1 survival power armor complete with a face mask with an alternating HUD that constantly shifted from Low-light, to Thermographics, Umbral, and finally Ultra-violet. The Archeologist knew for a fact her technologically aggressive sister kept the Mark 2 and Mark 3 attachments in a dimensional pocket for quick deployment. She didn't think it would be needed, if anything was out to get them they'd probably have attacked by now, especially with the Peebo's frying a significant portion of the African forest. If anyone had been watching they sure as hell would have seen that.
"Path continues on for another hundred feet or so." Ryan said as he rounded the bend from the south, "Dead ends in a cliff face."
"I hate this setup." Brittany scowled, looking up at the high cliffs that lined the path they had been forced to walk. The trail leading here had dipped down into a kind of crevice, which Gina was sure you'd never find if you weren't on the look out for it. Whoever set up this little treasure trove used natural geometry and plant life to all but turn the path invisible.
Brianna suddenly raised her rifle, aiming at the western cliff face. "Contact."
Brittany and Ryan tensed, fanning out and preparing for the worst. Gina ignored them, focusing instead on the doorway.
"False alarm." the half-lycnathrope relaxed as a monkey swung over the edge, hanging on to a vine and blinking at them curiously.
"How much longer, Gina?" Ryan whispered.
Gina shrugged, idly pressing several of the runes. A grin spread across her face as those same rooms glowed briefly, followed by the circular door rolling to the right. "Easy as pie." she said as she turned on a flashlight and inspected the interior. The doorway opened up until a long hallway that extended a ways before it seemed to widen into some kind of circular chamber, but she couldn't make out much else besides that.
Brittany ducked in first, her infra-vision giving her a natural advantage in the darkness. She was followed shortly by Ryan, Gina herself, with Brianna taking the rear. The passage-way did indeed open up into a rather large spherical chamber, a table that rounded the entire far-side of the wall all the way to the opening laden with golden bricks, bags of what looked like rubies, even a scepter of gold here and there. Gina's eyes were immediately drawn to a bluish hewed box resting in the dead center of the table, wrapped in a containment field that shimmered visibly.
Ryan whistled, "Well, this is going to be one of the easiest, and best pay days ever!"
Brianna nodded dumbly, "A little too easy, if you ask me."
"This isn't a tomb." Gina informed as she eyed the box thoughtfully, "I think it's an emergency cache."
Britanny hmmed, looking up and noticing a veranda of sorts built into the wall. "An emergency cache for who, though?"
"The Kryn." The nerdy sister stated matter of factly, "Given the time they arrived, many of the native people dealt in raw currency such as gold and rubies. Mostly decorative to the Krynn, so they'd have little need of it aside as a means to barter if a situation ever called for it."
"Ah." Britanny replied dumbly.
"Bet Strype would have liked to see this place." Brianna mused loudly.
"Eh, we'll take pictures." Ryan said sharply, "Let's get a light-gate set up and start porting the loot back to Atlanta."
The girls shrugged, Brianna doing just that as Britanny busied herself with stacking the loot into the center of the room.
Gina ignored them, quite content to let Brianna and Britanny do all the heavy lifting while she claimed the real prize here. Why oh why the Kryn kept something like this box here she'd never know, but the Beta-tech emanations coming off the box were enough to make her salivate. The shield would prove to be a problem, but like all machines, whether magical or technological, all you had to do was cut the power.
Daishi watched the Diggers go about looting the room, his mercenaries were setting up a kill zone at the entrance while he and two squads set up on the veranda overlooking the treasure room. Britanny had looked up at them once, but the disguise field held up under her scrutiny, allowing them all to get in position with nary a problem. He tapped his com bead, "We're in position. Zelda, Ionis, are you ready?"
"Charging the primary entrance on go." The bald bruiser sounded strangely excited.
"Triple checked; If they brought a mage with them he's smart enough not to leave a trail behind. I don't think we'll have a better opportunity then now." Ionis returned boredly.
Daishi grinned, switching frequencies to Ranma. "Looter, what's your status?"
"All done." the young man spoke, "On my way back now."
"Excellent." Daishi returned to the command channel.
Erwin raised an eyebrow at the ninja. The little kid had managed to find a perch on a statue just on the outer-edge of the veranda, and had already set up enough shielding to stave off a nuclear winter. The evil-hearted child clearly wanted to see how well Daishi handled himself now that he had finally been given command over an operation. "That guy lived?"
"Yes, my lord." the ninja nodded, "I should inform you, I didn't hire him lightly. Ranma is quite skilled."
"Really." the boy frowned, then shrugged. "Well, on with it Daishi. I'm in the mood for a nap."
If everything went to plan Daishi knew napping would be the least of Erwin's concerns. He could already imagine the child genius cackling madly as he began exploiting the Were-cheetah DNA to his own ends.
Gina stared at the conduit, frowning ever so slightly. Finding an access panel for the shield had proven easy, in fact it was patently obvious this particular security measure wasn't meant to be high end given the low energy level of the security field. The problem is, the computer tied into the shield was very basic, but had enough programming to keep a timer on just how long the field had been activated. According to it, the field activated thirty three hours ago when it detected an unauthorized breech on it's upper level; Which really didn't set well with her at all. If some one else had already found this place, why hadn't it been looted yet? If it hadn't been looted, what were they...
"It's a trap!" she shouted suddenly, but too late as a distortion in the upper veranda briefly took form. Like shattered glass, the image of an empty veranda broke for only a moment as a small cylinder was tossed into the room, landing unerringly next to Brianna, and perhaps more importantly, the portable light-gate she was nearly finished setting up.
Brianna blinked dumbly at the grenade a half second before it went off, a gout of superheated flame bellowing out and blasting the half-lycanthrope clear across the room where she crashed into the wall before sliding onto the stone table and rolling off to the floor with a painful grunt. The light-gate generator was nothing more then a twisted wreckage of metal now.
Gina activated her dimensional pocket, fingers flying in rapid succession over her bracer as several shield generators popped into existence and activated immediately, and not a moment too soon as the disguise field on the veranda shattered rapidly as the harsh buck of automatic gunfire filled the room, followed inevitably by the bullets. The Blond Archeologist winced as the bullets impacted her shield, creating a rain drop effect all over the space in front of her.
Brittany and Ryan lunged for the exit, it's location providing total cover to the gun nest above them.
"Owwie!" Brianna moaned, climbing to her knees. Gina saw the small flicker of her personal shield generator guttering out, the little bit of technology likely the only reason she still had a sister. The half-lycanthrope snarled, running her fingers along her own computer-bracer. The soft swish of displaced air was followed rapidly by hovering armor attachments appearing and linking itself to Brianna's Mark I power-armor, which rapidly upgraded to Mark II as combat sub-machine guns shimmered into existence in her hands.
The half-lycanthrope took to the air as her jet vents opened up, raising her off the ground and keeping her level with the veranda. The concentrated fire shifted to her, but with her upgraded armor her personal shield generator handled it with absolute no problem. "Eat blazing death!" she screamed as she unloaded her guns into the veranda. If she hit anything Gina didn't have a clue, the disguise field broke briefly with each bullet fired, but never enough to get a clear picture of what was going on behind it.
"They're coming up the tunnel!" Ryan shouted as he ducked back into the room, taking cover to the left as Brittany moved to the right.
"Jinkies!" Gina grumbled; Someone really went out of their way to try and kill them. She didn't know if she should be depressed or flattered by that. "Can you hold the entrance?"
Ryan grinned, giving her a thumbs up, "I didn't buy these dragon-hide bracers for nothing, babe!"
"Less talking more fighting!" Brittany snapped!
"Yeah, yeah." The redhead grumbled as his bracers began to glow, a white aura surrounding his form as he stepped into the hallway. The aura buckled slightly under the extreme amount of fire coming through the tunnel, but held firm. Ryan extended his arms out and focused his Chi, the bracers reacting to his will and launching fiery blooms of hot death in long arcs down the tunnel.
Gina used her dimensional pocket to retrieve two guns, one pistol and one sub-machine gun. Grabbing the pistol she risked dropping her shield long enough to fire a single shot through the disguise field. No sooner had she gotten her shield up then Brianna was forced to retreat, flying down and under the veranda, cursing all the way about lack of ammo. Checking her bracer, the blond genius brought up an image from the bullet-mounted camera now buried in the roof on the opposite side of the disguise field. Even though Brianna had been firing blind, it looked like she had dropped a good half dozen of their attackers. She scowled when she caught sight of Peewee watching the firefight from behind his shields. "It's Peewee!"
Ryan blinked, glancing back, "Really?" his momentary distraction nearly cost him his life as his white aura dissipated.
"Ryan!" Brittany shouted, jumping out and grabbing the guy, interposing herself between him and the tunnel entrance just as a hail of bullets came roaring out of the tunnel. Cheetah shudder, her body jolting as she screamed in pain from the repeated shots that peppered the length of her back. Ryan yanked the girl with him as he leapt to the side.
"Cheetah!" he grimaced, turning her on her stomach as he inspected the wounds. Whoever was shooting at them wasn't packing silver bullets, thank god. Cheetah's wounds were already healing rapidly, pushing out the metal slugs and sealing the bloody wounds in rapid succession. She'd still need a few moments before she could get up and fight, but at least she'd be alright.
Gina grabbed her sub-machine gun, locking targets through the camera before she raised her gun up and blindly fired. The bullets streaked up before suddenly curving, following their smart target programming to hit the mercenaries currently raining hot death from above. She was satisfied to see them all jerk back, brief spats of electricity leaping from their bodies as her super-charged taser-rounds incapacitated them.
Brianna threw down her sub-machine guns and stepped out into the tunnel, a panel on up armor breaking apart as a shoulder mounted canon extended. Bullets rained death on her, stopped only by her personal shield generator. Grinning, the half-lycanthrope snarled "Boom-boom is go!" and fired the weapon! A blazing beam of super-heated plasma half her size shot down the tunnel, burning everything in its way to atoms. She scanned the tunnel with her visor, letting her vision cycle through their settings before giving the nearby Ryan and Cheetah a thumbs up, "Tunnel secured!"
Daishi glared, idly tossing a dagger at the bullet-mounted camera in the roof. Bloody Diggers and her technological tricks. "Veranda squads are down, what's your status Zelda?"
"Ha! Tunnel squads are burnt to a crisp, I'm pinned down outside. No way would I make it down that tunnel before that gun-bitch wasted me." Zelda barked harshly in return.
The ninja nodded to himself, "Ionis, we need a distraction."
"Fine." the Nubian mage sighed tiredly. Daishi counted to three before the air above the Diggers rent itself apart as magical energy poured free, followed quickly by the mage as he entered the fight.
"Ionis, twelve o'clock!" he heard Gina scream before he vaulted over the veranda, landing lightly near Brianna. The half-lycanthorpe turned to fire her canon once more, but he was ready for that. Leaping into a round house, he slammed his foot into her chest piece, the sturdy metal denting from the force of the blow as she went flying back and into the surprised Ryan, the two getting locked in a tangle of limbs from their sudden collision.
"MOVE ZELDA!" Daishi snapped into the comm-bead.
"Ah that just figures." Ionis suddenly crashed to the floor as Gina brought out anti-magic generators, rolling from long practice rather then slamming face first into the ground. Daishi knew Ionis wouldn't be terribly useful in these tight quarters, but he had done enough just distracting them long enough to clear the way for Zelda to clear the tunnel and join the fight.
Ranma stepped over the unconscious mercenaries with a tired sigh, "Guess things aren't going so well, eh, boss?"
Erwin tore his eyes away from the melee below, completely missing Ionis falling, a triumphant Gina Diggers twirling a stun baton expertly in one hand. "What gave it away?" the evil-hearted child bit out sarcastically.
The pigtail boy shrugged, sitting down cross-legged. Daishi was getting stomped hard, tag teamed by that Brittany girl and the red-headed martial arts in rapid succession. He had to admit, watching the fight, that cheetah girl had extreme speed on her side. Her attacks were fairly straight forward, relying on her speed and raw power more then any formalized martial arts. The red-head wasn't bad either, but something just seemed wrong about the way he fought. To be fair, he moved and attacked with skill, but he would do things, minor movements and such that really had no place in the ass beating taking place below. It was almost as if the guy just never figured out how to adapt his style to compensate for changing circumstance.
The girl in the armor, Brianna he thought her name was, was going toe to toe with the bald gun-happy chick from the briefing, with... Gina, yeah that was her name, taking the occasional pot shot. It almost looked like Zelda would get the upper-hand until the half-lycanthrope opened several vents along her armor and blasted pressurized steam into her enemy, using it to blind her and blast back and away just as Gina launched some electro-net from what looked like a miniature mortar with legs. He didn't need to see her to know Zelda was down, the smell of slightly burnt flesh from the electrical burns more then enough to fill him in.
Ranma had a bad feeling about this, "If they lose, do I still get paid?"
"No chance in heck." Erwin droned boredly.
Damn it. If he wanted to make any headway in The Bill he'd need to get his hands dirty after all. "You want that were-cheetah's DNA, right?" he pointed to Brittany just as she suplexed Daishi into the ground.
"Gee, you think?" the evil-hearted child bit out sarcastically.
"How about I go get it for you." Ranma returned with deadly seriousness, "But! I expect a million dollars for the DNA, plus twenty percent of the take from all the loot."
Erwin blinked, looking at him curiously. The child shrugged after a moment, "Whatever. Go knock yourself out!"
"Nice!" Ranma grinned, hopping to his feet. Ah, the things he'd do for money. He stepped past the disguise field, fists clinched in preparation for battle.
Brianna winced as she leaned down and picked up one of her discarded guns. Despite the Mark II power-armor she wore, she could still feel the devastating hits from Zelda during their impromptu fist fight. Really, she wasn't an upfront melee fighter, being forced into that position she knew she was lucky to be walking away at all. "That the last of em?"
"Three stooges are all down." Ryan huffed tiredly, hands on his knees as he struggled to catch his breath. "That just leaves Peewee."
Brittany glared up at the veranda, "You hear that you little creep! We're coming for you next!"
The disguise field once again broke, like glass cracking as someone else stepped through it before it quickly reformed.
Brianna blinked, "Ranma?"
Gina gasped, "Jinkies! He really is cute!"
"He flips burgers at the Burger Joint, damn it!" Ryan angrily reminded everyone.
"Damn it." Ranma sighed, pinching the bridge of his nose tiredly, "There goes my customer loyalty." he shook his head before saying, "Look, sorry about this and all, but a job is a job. Why don't you just put down your weapons, let me loot the room and your gear, and get some of her..." he thumbed toward Brittany, "... DNA. That way no one else has to get beaten down, and we get to leave with all our teeth intact!"
A few moments of awkward silence past, broken by a howl of laughter from Ryan, "Oh that's rich!" he slapped his knees, "This guy doesn't just flip burgers, he's a retard!"
"I'll take that as a no." Ranma drawled, "Fine, we'll do this the hard way."
Brianna tensed, bringing her guns to bare but hesitating to fire. She couldn't for a second imagine what Ranma was doing here, or whether or not he could take Peebee ammunition to the face and survive.
"Saotome Secret Technique!" Ranma shouted, "Run away!" he turned and jumped through the disguise field.
Ryan stared for a moment, before rounding on Brittany, "Oh yeah, all kinds of confidence there!"
"Shut up!" Brittany snapped.
"Revised: Surprise!" Brianna whipped around as soon as she heard his voice, catching sight of Ranma as he appeared from thin air, jabbing Gina in the neck with two fingers before rocketing towards an unprepared Ryan. He was moving so fast she only barely saw the red-head get a glowing fist to the gut with enough force to life him several feet off the ground, only to crash face first into the unforgiving floor as Ranma vanished once more.
"Gina!" Brittany shouted as her sister teetered over and flopped to the floor, unmoving.
Brianna cycled through visual spectrum s, getting nothing to so much as hint at Ranma's location or a possible target lock to bring her guns to bear. "I can't see him Brit!"
Brittany grimaced, fists clenched as she slowly backed up, eyes shooting back and forth in expectation of an attack.
The half-lycnathrope saw a brief flare on her thermographics just as Ranma appeared above Brittany in a sideways spin. "Cheets abo..." she didn't get to finish as Ranma slammed his fist on top of Brittany's head, the force of the blow knocking the were-cheetah flat on her face, before he once again vanished.
"Owwie." Brittany moaned, slowing getting back to her feet. "That really, really hurt!"
Brianna had an idea. Whatever Ranma was using to become invisible wasn't magic, he'd show up as pretty as you please on her umbral scanner if he was. Aside from a brief spike in heat when he appeared there just wasn't anything to trace him on. Tapping her armband, several vents all over her armor popped open, gushing super-heated air from her suits power-core that raised the temperature and created a blinding fog in the room.
"Bri! I can't see anything!" Brittany cried from somewhere in the steam filled room.
"Neither can he!" the half-lycanthrope shot back, using her thermographics to scan the room. She couldn't see anything either, the sudden heat build up blinding her HUD, but that wasn't the point. She grinned as her gamble paid off; a slightly cooler humanoid form materialized in her display. Whatever technique or technology Ranma was using adapted to the sudden rise in heat, but not enough to completely hide his presence. "There!" she screamed, firing her guns on full auto. She half noticed him bend down, but the heat trails left by her bullets blinded her fully.
After the bullets stopped, Brittany risked asking, "Did you get him?"
Brianna pulled a small rectangular device from dimensional space, tossing it on the ground. Like a water drain the tiny device began to suck in all the steam, clearing the room and letting them see the results of her inspired handiwork.
Ryan groaned, looking like some one had taken a meat tenderizer to his face, the very weak white force field generated by his bracers guttering out. "I hate my life." the red-head whined.
Behind Ryan, Ranma peered around the abused martial artist turned human shield. "Better you then me, buddy." he half joked as he dropped the red-head back to the floor. Brianna frantically started to reload as the pigtailed martial artist flew towards her rapidly. As quick as she was, as practiced as the motions were for her, the half-lycnathrope didn't have a prayer of beating the young man's sheer speed. He stepped into her guard, fore and middle fingers extended and glowing a pale blue light as he jabbed at her weapons, her shoulder canon, and finally her visor. She vaguely heard 'Bakusai Tenketsu; Revised! Minor note.' before her visor just wasn't there anymore. Neither were her guns, now that she noticed, just small piles of broken metal falling from her hands.
Ranma reared back and slammed the power-armor wearing girl in the chest, launching her clear across the room to slam painfully against the wall. Brianna slumped after finally coming to a stop, unmoving. "Three down, one to go!"
Brittany zoomed towards the boy, gritting teeth as she poured her speed and strength into one massive punch. The guy caught her fist, a resounding meaty whack echoing over the chamber from the blow. "Crap!" she cried as he stepped into her guard, fist glowing and rocketing towards her midsection.
Ranma froze before hitting her, eyes widening, "What the? That isn't fair!"
Cheetah didn't know nor care what the hell he was talking about, she knew an opportunity when she saw it. With her free hand she grabbed his shirt and yanked him closer, meeting his face with her forehead and a nasty headbutt. He let her fist go, staggering back from the blow, but she wasn't about to let him get away with such a small love tap. She rushed in through his broken guard, slamming punch after punch into his torso before bodily lifting him up and slamming him into the ground.
Ranma grunted, blocking her follow up ground stomp and rolling onto his feet, into a back flip, before leaping back up to the veranda. He glared at the girl, "Seriously, just give up! Girls in your condition shouldn't be fighting like this!"
"Oh I'm so going to crush your head like a grape!" Brittany scowled.
"Are all pregnant chicks this crazy?" the pigtailed man wondered loudly.
Cheetah blinked, eyebrow raised as she echoed curiously, "Pregnant?"
"What, you didn't know?" Ranma blinked, before nodding seriously. "Okay, maybe you aren't crazy then. Still, after I put you down gently you should really think about taking a hiatus or something." He finished before vanishing in a blur.
Whether by instinct or sheer luck, Brittany punched her fist forward and caught the invisible Ranma in the face, his form shimmering into existence from the blow, but if it did more then break his invisibility the were-cheetah couldn't tell as he grabbed her wrist, stepped in and jabbed her elbow with his free hand. Brittany winced, her arm falling useless from the simple strike, but her tormenter wasn't done as he pulled her forward, kicking out her feet from under her and forcing her to land painfully on her knees. She was struggling to get up when she felt a searing pain in the middle of her back, followed quickly by an extreme sense of weakness as she flopped to the floor. "Owwie." she moaned miserably.
Ranma sighed, idly pulling out the medical weapon Ionis had handed out earlier, "Yeah, sorry about this, but bills and all." he offered in apology before jabbing her in the butt. Brittany gritted her teeth as the hypo-syringe did it's work, sucking out blood and her DNA with it. Cheetah tried to struggle, but found herself unable to do much of anything besides breath. She didn't have to worry about that much longer, as her tormenter calmly jabbed her on the side of her neck with his fingers and darkness claimed her.
Erwin did something he couldn't quite ever remember doing; he smiled. A real, honest to goodness smile that made his evil-little heart flutter with something he could only identify as happiness. To think after all this time, after so many failures and catastrophes, all it took to secure victory was to out-source to an independent Agency! "Bravo!" he child cheered, golf clapping as his new favorite employee went around robbing the Diggers, and that Tabot idiot, of their belongings. He jumped off the veranda, his anti-gravity field kicking and and setting him down gently. He moved towards the unconscious ninja, idly splashing him in the face with wake up juice(his own special blend).
Daishi grunted as consciousness was restored to him. He peered around curiously, eying Ranma who was bodily shaking Gina over an open bag, all kinds of gadgets and gizmos falling into the bag from the unconscious blond. "Ah, I see my plan worked!"
"Right." the evil-hearted child drawled, "If your plan was for me to re-negotiate a contract after you utterly failed, then yes, your plan worked."
"It was, actually." Daishi said simply. At Erwin's raised eyebrow he elaborated, "If we had hired Ranma to actually attack the Diggers from the get go, he would have declined. It was only after we had him invested in this venture..." he motioned towards the stacks of gold rapidly disappearing as Ranma got his hands on it, "... that we could manipulate him into action."
Erwin frowned, "Are you saying Mr. Temp. has problems taking what he wants, regardless of who he has to step over to get it?"
"Yes." the Ninja shrugged, "But as you can see, it's not impossible to manipulate him." he grinned happily, "And since everything went to plan, we now, after so much effort, have Brittany's DNA!"
The evil-hearted child giggled, "Oh yes, yes we do!" he idly kicked Ionis in the head, "Up you fool!"
Ranma set Brittany down next to the others, looking them over one last time before nodding happily. "I got everything worth taking, or at least that I could figure out how to take." he idly glanced at Brianna, her messed up power-armor still protecting her form. Try as he might he couldn't quite figure out how to remove the blasted thing, and frankly with how damaged it had taken he didn't think it mattered.
Ionis grunted, thumbing towards the portal, "Ride home is up. Let's get out of here, I really could use a shower."
Zelda snorted, idly motioning a gun towards the downed Diggers, "What about them? Kill them or what?"
"I don't care." Erwin shrugged, stepping through the portal and vanishing.
"Kill them it is." Zelda grinned, leveling the gun at Gina.
Ranma frowned, stepping between the bald bruiser and unconscious genius, "I don't think so..."
Brianna winced, the pain echoing over her abused body doing much to remind her how badly she had gotten beaten up today. She blearily opened her eyes, catching sight of Ranma standing between Zelda and them with a gun pointed at his head.
"Back off!" Zelda snapped, "These bitches deserve to be shot!"
"The contract was for beating them and looting them." Ranma snarled angrily, "Not cold blooded murder! I won't let you hurt them anymore then we already have!"
Ionis sighed, "Does it matter Zelda? I mean, really, chances are we'll never be bothered by them again, not since wonder-boy here managed to get Cheetah's DNA."
Daishi frowned, staring intently at the bald woman. "Put the gun down, there isn't anything to be gained by gunning them down now."
"I dunno, I'd gain a sense of satis-mother-fucking-faction!" Zelda snapped angrily.
Brianna had heard enough. She carefully reached for her compu-bracer, armored fingers tapping the keys gently as she initiated the emergency recall function. She only hoped the beacon hadn't been destroyed...
Zelda grimaced, turning away and shielding her eyes as the Diggers and Tabot vanished in a flash of light. She hissed, glaring at the empty space her enemies had occupied only seconds before. "Damn it!" she glowered at the pigtailed bastard, "They got away! If you hadn't gotten all righteous on me they'd be dead!"
"My heart bleeds for you." Ranma bit out sarcastically, "Doesn't matter now, they're gone, let's just get out of here and be done with it.
Brianna hissed as the light-field faded, crashing down on the cold ground unceremoniously. The clearing they appeared it was deserted, no security turrets, no sign of her Peebos, nothing aside from the pulsing recall beacon was left of their base camp. Why the hell Peewee had left this behind she'd never understand, but was intensely grateful they had, otherwise they all may have ended up with a bullet in the head for all their troubles.
Gina, Brittany, and Ryan were still unconscious, laying haphazardly against each other. Tentatively Brianna reached out and grabbed the pulsing recall beacon. She fiddled with several of the settings before setting it back down. A low hum reach her ears as it's secondary function activated, creating a disguise dome of the area to hide their presence. That done, she fell back on her back and drifted off to an exhaustive slumber.
With a dull hum the lights came to life, dormant machines beeping as power once more feed their insatiable needs. A throne of hard metal turned on a podium, the evil-hearted child genius known to the world as Erwin Talon gazed upon his laboratory with the same steely gaze popular culture had long since attributed to Gendo Ikari. Holographic displays erupted into life, forming a semi-circle directly in front of the command throne. Behind him a wall shifted out of place, a bulky machine pushing out. The machine was fairly non-descript, it's only function seemed to be a small hole with the words 'Insert Brittany's DNA here' etched along it's outer edge.
"Finally." Erwin grinned, "After so long her DNA is mine. I will study it, I will tease it, abuse it, strip it of everything that made it hers! Then, then I will mold it, shape it, toss the garbage and keep the gems!" he cackled madly, "THE DAY IS HERE! TIME TO PLAY GOD ONCE MORE! HAHAHAHAHA!" he pointed to the little machine behind him, "INSERT THE DNA!"
"Yeah, how about we settle up first." Ranma drawled.
Zelda moved to pull out her gun, but blinked when she realized it wasn't in its holster anymore.
Ranma twirled the hypo-syringe gun in his hand, "A million dollars, plus twenty percent from the loot." he eyed the three knapsacks he had adhocced into bags of Holding with Mouse's hidden weapon style. "The loot can wait, obviously, but I want the million now."
"A million you say..." Erwin drummed his fingers, "... yes, I suppose I should pay you." he sighed tiredly, "But honestly, I'd much rather not have to explain to mommy and daddy just what I spent my lunch money on." he turned his steely gaze to his servants. "Take it from him."
"Gladly." Zelda cracked her knuckles, smiling nastily at the pigtailed martial artist.
"You're double crossing me?" Ranma blinked, clearly surprised.
Lightning dancing over his form as he prepared his chosen spell of indiscriminate destruction, Ionis sighed. "Sorry guy, but bills to pay and all, y'know?"
Daishi sweated, rushing up to the throne and kneeling before the evil-hearted child. "My lord Talon, I beg you to reconsider."
Erwin hmmmed, "Okay." a second later, "Nope, I'd still rather take it then pay for it."
Ranma just sighed, "Okay, I guess we'll do this the hard way." he raised one hand, forefinger and middle finger pressed together, their tips glowing icy blue as he twisted them in the air. "Hiryu Shoten Ha."
"You heard right Stan." a news reporter spoke into the camera, "The devastation is unlike anything we've ever seen. Experts are still baffled how a tornado this size could have formed with out the necessary mix of hot and cold air! Or why it's remaining stationary over the Talon residence!"
Genn raised an eyebrow at the TV. "That is weird!"
Seance, her Aura-mage boyfriend nodded with wide eyes. "Whatever could of happened, I wonder?"
"Stan!" the reporter shouted, holding a finger to his ear as he made a show of listening to something. "Stan, we have a survivor coming out of the neighborhood!" the camera rotated slightly, stopping as a pigtailed Asian man stepped around the corner carrying three rather large bags slung over his shoulder. The reporter and camera man raced towards him.
"Sir!" the reporter screamed, "Sir are you alright? Can you tell me what happened?"
The pigtailed survivor blinked, "Uh, what happened with what?"
"The twister!" the reporter pointed at the raging twister in the distance.
"Oh that." the pigtailed man pursed his lips before looking at the camera directly. "Pay your bills."
"What?" The reported blinked.
"It's good advice." the young man defended, "Pay your bills."
The reporter was silent for a moment, "Sir, are you suggesting this event is because some one failed to pay a bill? That God was punishing the Talon's for a late payment?"
"What? No no! I'm not god, I mean..." the boy frowned, "... No, this whole thing was some punk kid's reach exceeding his grasp, alright? I'm just saying it's a good idea to pay your bills."
"I see." the reporter shook his head tiredly.
"Hey, I don't suppose you know anyone willing to buy military grade weapon systems, do ya?" The young man asked curiously, "Or maybe a good gold exchanger."
"No, I, uh, afraid I don't." The reporter dumbly responded.
"Figures." the young man shifted his bags, "I'm outta here." he half snapped as he continued on his way.
"Well, there you have it Stan." The reporter turned to the camera, "In the midst of all this destruction, a bit of advice from the grounded men and women of the Colorado workforce." he leaned towards the camera, "Pay your bills."
To be continued...