Written By: Matdeception
Rough Draft Begun: 5/5/2012
Rough Draft Finished: 5/7/2012
Authors Notes: Finished it faster then I thought I would. Anyway, enjoy, C&C and all that jazz.
Disclaimer: Don't own shit, captain!
Chapter 2: The Bill
The bleeping alarm roused him from his slumber. Then the bleeping alarm died a cold death as he reached over and smashed it, before picking up the little alarm clock and slamming it on the ground. To add insult to injury, he focused a small amount of Ki and blasted a hole in the floor where the decimated remains of the alarm clock use to be. That done, he flopped back down in his bed and groaned miserably.
Ranma hated Mondays. He tiredly rubbed his face before pinching his cheeks, hard. It was enough to keep him from immediately falling asleep, allowing his muddled thoughts to clear up a bit. After ditching Talon he had hoofed it all the way back home, dropped the swag in the closet and immediately passed out. He wasn't tired, or really all that drained from having to beat up a bunch of girls and then trounce his employers, he was just tired mentally from all the hoops he was having to jump through of late. All because of that damn Bill, because of his stupid pops and the bullshit courts ruling against him. Bah, whatever, he couldn't do anything but work hard for the money if he ever wanted to see her again. Which meant he had to get the hell up and get ready for another sixteen hours at the Burger Joint for a measly nine dollars an hour.
He shook his head, dragging himself out of bed and strolling into the bathroom...
Peebri poked her head out of the sack, glancing around cautiously before whispering, "No sight of the bastard."
"Are you absolutely sure?" Peegi asked, curiosity practically spilling over in her tone.
"Sure as sure." Peebri glanced down into the sack. From her vantage she could see stacks upon stacks of weaponry, the turrets from the base camp, as well as the broken down Air-car that the Thief had expertly cannibalized in order to shove something fifty times larger into the sack he had thrown them into as well. Which was kinda awesome, Peebri could admit to herself.
"Good." Peebrit zoomed past her, flipping in the air and landing right-side up on the floor. The Thief hadn't even bothered to shut the closet door, much less secure it, which allowed the speedster Peebo to run out and scope the place out with lightning speed. Peegi floundered out next, her pink shell taking a minor ding as she fell over the edge of the sack and hit the ground upside down. Peebri sighed at the frantic call for help from the curious AI, hopping out of the bag and helping the pink Peebo right herself.
"Seriously Peegi..." Peebrit whispered harshly, "... why don't you just announce to the world that we're here, eh? I'm sure that jerk thief won't have any problems putting us back in diagnostic mode and shoving us in the bag!"
Peebrit returned, sliding to a halt near the doorway, "Thief is in the shower, apartment building, two bedrooms one and a half baths." she grinned a bit, "Guy looks pretty well off, he has one frickin awesome entertainment system! Even that new Hexbot playsystem!"
Peebri blinked, eyes sparkling, "He does? Maybe we can..." she froze, shaking her head angrily, "No! No I won't be distracted by the upgraded graphics, featherlight motion controllers or superior performance of the Hexbot playsystem!"
Peegi blinked, "Why not? It's the best system out there currently."
"In case you hadn't noticed, Peegi, we've been abducted!" Peebrit pointed out helpfully, "Our priorities should be finding the kidnapper and giving him such a pinch he won't soon forget!"
"Well, yeah." Peegi agreed, "But how do you suppose we do that?"
Peebri stared at the pink little peebo like she was crazy, "Uh, we're freaking sentient AI bombs you idiot!"
Peegi snorted, "Well no crap! How does that help us?"
"Didn't I turn you three off?" A male voice spoke above them.
Peebri froze, rounding on the thief and glaring the most hateful glare she could manage; She made her eyes glow red. "No, you fool!" she snapped, "You just set us in diagnostic mode, and now that we're out... DIE!" she launched herself at him, screaming her battle-cry as she triggered her destruction protocols!
Peegi just sighed as the Thief casually caught Peebri by one of her head tails, "That won't work Peebri!"
"Why the heck not!" Peebri snapped, glaring at the human holding her. He just shook his head in plain amusement before dropping her back to the floor with the others.
"It's the HPOAA firmware update we got last time we blew up." Peebrit sounded surprised, finally putting two and two together.
"The HPOAA what now?" Their tormentor blinked, staring down at them weirdly.
Peebri frowned, eyes shimmering as she reviewed the data. She blinked in shock, "The Hot Piece of Asian Ass protocol? Brianna's stalking the same guy who kidnapped us?"
Peegi nodded happily, "Duh! What, you thought we'd just let ourselves be captured like that? The HPOAA protocol won't let us blow up on him until good ole Mom gets a chance to tap it."
"Okay, wow. Just wow." Ranma turned and walked away in a daze. What a bizarre morning!
Ranma took a bite from his cereal as he perused the morning paper. Blah blah blah, Weird Tornado tore up a house, blah blah blah, signs of the end times, blah blah blah, pay your bills or God will smite thee. What was with the paper this morning? And seriously, all these religious pamphlets stuffed into the paper was just ridiculous! He sighed, shaking his head and concentrating on breakfast instead.
"Do you mind?" came the synthetic cheerful voice.
Ranma looked down at the little pink robot thing looking up at him curiously. "What?"
"The paper. Do you mind? I need to make sure some of my stock options are fine." Pinky explained cheerfully, which just made him feel weird. Robots can have stock options? What the hell? He tried to buy one stock in Dr. Fizz and got rejected based on his credit score! This robot wasn't even a real person!
"Uh, yeah, sure." he reached down and picked up the Peebo in a daze, setting it down on top of the table. "Knock yourself out."
"Thanks sweetie!" Pinky chirruped, "I'm Peegi by the way."
"Ranma Saotome." he mumbled tiredly, focusing on finishing his cereal and not on the little robot as it started checking the stock portfolio and giggling about net-gains and crap he didn't want to take the time to consider.
"FIGHT!" Ranma blinked in surprise, a loud chorus of cheers coming from his living room followed quickly by the sounds of his favorite video game, Pork Stompers, being played. "What the hell..."
"Oh that's Peebri." Peegi answered absently, "The Peebo with the head-tails, she's depressed she couldn't blow you up, so she decided to try out your Hexbot system."
"Oh." Ranma wondered if it would be at all ethical to pawn robots who could apparently explode. He shook that thought off, focusing on his breakfast until something crashed into his foot. He looked down at the race-car robot, his grey-blue eyes meeting it's jade lenses. "Uh, yeah?"
"Can you open the door?" the robot asked with an absolutely devilish look on its face. Ranma spent five seconds trying to figure out how a robot could suddenly look devilish, then shook that thought off. Such way lay madness, as far as he figured.
"Why?" The pigtailed martial artist had considered its request, and frankly no good reason to let the thing out into the great wide world popped up in his mind.
"There's some dogs in the yard two apartments over." Peebrit said cheerfully, "I want to provoke them into chasing me!"
"And why would I let you do that?" Ranma raised an eyebrow at the little thing.
"Because if you don't, I'll spill oil all over your nice clean carpets!" Peebrit threatened, revving her engine warningly.
Ranma pursed his lips in thought. "So you like to run around, eh?" he grinned then, an idea coming to mind.
"YAHOOOOOOO!" Peebrit zoomed through the park, several leashes attached to her tail with a long stick crudely tapped on with duck tape. The stick held a piece of cooked meat that several pedestrians swore looked absolutely divine, and would later admit they had been tempted to eat if not for the stampede of dogs chasing after the little race-car it was attached too.
Ranma counted the money, nodding happily, "Let me tell ya Peegi; that has to be one of my most inspired ideas to date."
The little pink Peebo nodded, fiddling with a calculator, "I'll say; Utilizing Peebrit's need for speed in a dog walking venture certainly raises some capita." she frowned thoughtfully, "Hey... didn't you say you had to be at work today?"
"Eh..." he shrugged, "... sure, but it occurs to me I have a closet full of potentially millions of bucks worth of swag to get rid of, so I called in."
The Burly Cashier huddled behind the counter, crying tears of misery as his little store filled up to the brim with customers demanding service. "Why Ranma? Why did you abandon me?"
"Ah." Peegi nodded, "That would certainly take precedence."
"I thought so." Ranma frowned thoughtfully, "Hey, do you think Pawn shops would take Military grade weapon systems?"
"I doubt it." the pink Peebo spoke her mind, "Unless they happen to be part of the black market, at any rate."
"Those greedy bastards won't deal with me." The pigtailed martial artist grumped, "My credit score is that bad."
"Jinkies!" Peegi gasped in surprise, "I didn't think that was possible!"
"Me either." Ranma nodded tiredly, "But hey, what can I do?"
"Sell it back to Brianna." Peebri offered helpfully.
Ranma looked down at the little robot who wanted nothing more then to explode on him. She had this fake innocent look about her that just screamed 'I'm plotting something, buahahahahaha.' He spent five seconds trying to figure out how a robot could somehow fake an innocent look, and failed. "Okay..." he looked to Peegi, "... would she actually buy it, though?"
Peegi frowned, "I suppose. It's better to buy it at a discount then it would be to rebuild it all from scratch."
"That's right!" Peebri grinned, "And hey! She's probably back by now, so lets go and meet the Diggers!"
Ranma tried to think of a reason to say no, but came up blank. This Brianna girl might just be his best bet for selling some of this crap, and hey, if that failed they might be able to put him in touch with some people who'd be interested in the gold at the very least. Surly they wouldn't hold a grudge about him beating them up and looting them, right?
Brianna groaned, eyes fluttering open and wincing at the bright sun blazing it's way into her skull like solar hell-fire. She didn't feel all that great, her bruised body echoing the damage it had sustained in the prolonged fight with Erwins troops. Blearily she got up on her elbows and looked around.
Gina was awake, fiddling with her Recall pulse beacon, using part of her glasses as an adhoc screwdriver to mess with its internal circuitry. Britanny was laying up against a tree, one hand absently rubbing her belly while she glared angrily at a small rock she was idly smacking with her foot, but not hard enough to actually move it apparently.
"Where's Ryan?" the Half-lycanthrope couldn't see hide no hair of the red-headed martial artist.
"Scouting the cache." Gina grumbled, "Hoping Peewee left something behind we could use to call home."
"Ah." Brianna frowned, checking her dimensional storage carefully. Most of her gear was still in there, but that amounted to little more then a few thousand Peebee bullets, a couple Playgirl magazines, a toothbrush complete with minted toothpaste, and some duck tape. Her cellphone was gone, but that she had left in the car by accident anyway. "Any idea how long we've been out?"
Gina looked up at the sky thoughtfully, "Ten? Twelve hours? Hard to say." she rotated her neck, grimacing a bit, "That guy poked me hard enough to sprain my neck, I just know it!"
"Sprained neck!" Britanny scowled, "I can't even lift a fricking five pound rock anymore! Who cares about your neck?"
Brianna blinked, "Huh?"
"I don't know either." Gina grumbled as she worked on the pulse beacon, "Something someone did during the fight seems to have sapped her strength, or so goes the theory!"
"That guy did it!" Cheetah snapped hotly, before losing her angry look and rubbing her belly some more. "He can't have been telling the truth... could he?"
"What are you talking about?" Ryan asked as he entered the clearing.
"Nothing." Britanny snapped defensively.
Brianna shook her head. Well Britanny was certainly in a weird mood, but she guessed when you wake up after getting steam-rolled you were allowed to be pissy. "You find anything, Ryan?"
"Nothing worth mentioning." the red-head shrugged tiredly, "They robbed us blind, looted all the gold, and left us to rot."
The Half-lycanthrope sighed, rubbing her head tiredly. "Well, at least we learned a valuable lesson from all this." she half-glared at Ryan as she said, "Burger flippers kick ass."
Ryan sighed, "Okay, I deserve that one."
Gina snorted, covering a giggle as she closed the little pulse beacon. "Welp folks, here goes nothing!" she flipped the switch and...
Seance was having a great day. He got to wake up next to his girlfriend, practice magic with his teacher who lived just a house away, and then come back and screw his girlfriend senseless. Oh sure, Genn liked to munch on his aura after the fact, and that certainly was an initial problem when it came to their relationship, but frankly he couldn't be more pleased then he was now as he walked into his girlfriends shared home with the Digger sisters.
"Whoa whoa whoa!" Genn shouted, her voice carrying through the halls. Seance frowned, hurrying his step. "You were ambushed? Lost everything and were left to rot in Africa?" his girlfriend repeated, a sort of stupefied humor to her tone despite whatever had happened sounding so urgent. She looked at him as he rounded the corner, smiling beatifically, "Don't worry you four, Seance just showed up, we'll have you back lickety split!" Genn nodded once more before hanging up the phone.
"Something wrong?" The Aura mage raised an eyebrow.
"Looks like Gina, Brit, Bri, and Ryan bit off more then they could chew." The Raksasha sighed, "Lost everything, even the Air-car to some kind of super looter. They need a pick up."
Seance nodded seriously, "We'll get them right away."
Ranma looked up at the house in awe. These Diggers... holy crap they had to be rich to afford a house this size with such a huge yard! Peebri was right, the Diggers could help him sell all the crap he stole from them! Wait, he frowned thoughtfully at that, that kind of thinking just screamed stupid. He was distracted as he felt a large pull of energy from inside the house, followed by it's rapid expansion as someone did something he had only ever seen Ionis do; Open a portal.
"We're here!" Peebri almost rabidly pulled on her leash, trying ineffectually to drag him to the front door as quickly as possible. Peegi sat on his shoulder, not on a leash simply because out of the three Peebo's he felt she was the least likely to betray him, and if this turned out to be a trap he wanted to make damn sure he'd be able to get away with Peebri so he could... vent his frustrations on the peebo for leading him into it.
"You need to ring the doorbell, Ranma." Peegi chirruped helpfully, ignoring the dark glare the leash-bound Peebri shot her. It wasn't her fault their new boss didn't trust Peebri, she was the one being openly hostile here!
Ranma grunted, ringing the doorbell and waiting. He rung it twice more before kneeling down next to Peebri. "Well, looks like they aren't home."
"We'll wait! They'll be here, Brianna will be here! She'll rescue us, she'll shoot you in the face..." Peebri tapered off with a wince.
"Thought so." Ranma snorted, dragging the little Peebo back towards the street. "You'd figure I'd learn not to listen to crazy robotic girls!"
Peegi hmmed thoughtfully as he hit the streets. "We could always check in with their parents."
"Why would I ever do that?" Ranma snorted, "Especially now, Peebri was trying to get me here just to get shot!"
"And it would have worked too, if it wasn't for those damn kids not being home!" Peebri snapped, waving one of her hair faux arms towards the Digger sisters home angrily.
"Despite my sister's attempt to trick you, the idea is sound!" Peegi pointed out, "Aside from Gina, who always keeps emergency funds for a rainy day, she's awesome like that by the way..." Ranma could actually see the little robot puff with pride at that. "... Brianna doesn't keep a whole lot of extra funds lying around. It would be cheaper for her to buy the gear you looted at a discount then paying full price."
"The gear he stole, Peegi." Peebri pointed out needlessly, "It's not his, we're not his, stop going along with this like we belong to him!"
Ranma pursed his lips in thought, looking down at the angry little Peebo. "But you do belong to me."
"Bullshit!" Peebri snapped hotly.
"No, he's right." the Pink peebo nodded in support of her new boss, "By the International Law of Loot and Salvage, he owns us now."
Ranma blinked. There was an International Law of looting?
Peebri blinked, "What?"
"I know, I was surprised too!" Peegi exclaimed, the pointless glasses on her frame suddenly rising up and pushing closer to her blue eye-lenses. "But with the upswing in treasure hunters and archeologists, as well as the rivalry that spawns because of it, a law was past that specifically states 'Looting' and 'Salvage' are two interchangeable words that mean whoever walks away with it gets to keep it." she paused, before continuing, "This, of course, only applies to areas such as Tombs, Dig-sites, lost lands, and invisible islands with no Governmental oversight."
"That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard!" Peebri cried.
Ranma just sighed, "Whatever. Let's go meet the parents, at the very least I can leave a note or something." Surely nothing bad could happen from meeting the parents, right?
Daishi kept his head bowed, both to pay homage to his Master and to make himself as small a target as possible when he inevitably broke out of his stupefied funk and went on a rampage. Zelda was also bowed, but that was more because one of her legs had been broken in the catastrophic tornado that had leveled the home. Ionis hadn't even regained consciousness yet, the Nubian man face-planted nearby one of the few surviving trees from the Ranma-event.
Erwin just stared at his Colorado base of operations in dumb shock.
"Oi..." Zelda said through gritted teeth, "... maybe we should have paid him, eh?"
That did it. Erwin blushed red in rage, rounding on them as he raised one shaking fist, "I want Life-sucks Workforce solutions wiped off the face of the earth! I want their stock holders burned at the stake! I want something to show Mommy so she doesn't spank me for this!"
Daishi shuddered. Oh yes, Mommy Talon was going to be pissed. "My Lord, may I suggest a different strategy?"
"What could possibly be better the nuking those guys off the face of the Earth?" Erwin countered in panicked awe.
"Ranma still has the Were-cheetah DNA." Daishi pointed out, "If we can get it from him, I'm sure your Mother will at least be mollified enough not to ground you for the rest of your life."
"Oh that's a great idea!" Erwin snorted, "Let's go and attack a guy who twisted his fingers and beat the crap out of everyone and destroyed my home!"
Daishi nodded in understanding, "I do not mean to attack him, m'lord. Rather, I suggest we pay him."
Erwin blinked, "Pay him? You want to pay the same guy who..." he sighed, throwing his hands up in defeat, "... Fine, pay him. Just... just pay him."
Ranma rang the doorbell, keeping Peebri snuggled in his arms just in case she'd try something stupid in an attempt to escape his employment. Peegi assured him nothing would happen, and even though he liked and trusted the pink robot more then the others, he just couldn't bring himself not to be somewhat paranoid about this little venture.
The door opened, a older but still beautiful red-headed woman answering. There was something about her that set him on edge; The kind of edge he only ever felt when something bigger and badder then him was looking him over and trying to decide if he'd taste good with ketchup or mayo. Frankly he didn't like the feeling, and he knew enough to trust his instincts and swore he wouldn't let anything potentially compromising slip while facing this woman.
"Hello, can I..." The red-head frowned, eyes narrowed as she stared at the Peebos. "... Don't tell me she just left you lying around?"
Peebri just looked at her mothers mother. A sinister idea quickly formed as she screamed in desperation, "HELP US! YOU HAVE TO HELP US! HE'S A MONSTER! He beat up your daughters and left them to rot in Afric..." she froze, powering down as Ranma frantically jabbed her Diagnostic switch.
Ranma sweated at the focused glare the woman was shooting him now. "Uh, you see, it's not quite how it..."
"Oh, I can explain Julia!" Peegi chirruped. Ranma felt a little relieved, if anyone could explain things with out causing a catastrophe he figured it would be the smart little pink Peegi. "Ranma was hired by Talon to loot your daughters stuff. Apparently half way through the mission they re-negotiated his contract and had him beat them all up, loot everything they owned, and ditch them somewhere in the jungles of Africa." Peegi finished happily.
"Uh..." Ranma winced, he could practically see the Chi the older woman was summoning in preparation for his ass kicking. "... that's now how it happened! I swear, just let me explain!"
Julia crossed her arms, waiting expectantly. He could practically hear her thinking 'This should be good.'
"You see..." he began slowly, "... I was hired by Talon through Life-Sucks workforce solutions, and yeah, I did beat up your daughters and steal everything, but then Talon betrayed me and I was forced to beat him up and..." he winced, "... now I'm stuck with a bunch of crap I need to sell, and, Peegi here said Brianna might buy some of her stuff back and... uh..."
"You have got to be kidding me." Julia deadpanned, "What kind of idiot beats up my little girls, then comes here expecting to be able to sell their own stuff back to them?"
"Uh..." Ranma blinked. Y'know, that really did sound stupid. "... Fair point." he sighed, fiddling with a notepad as he wrote his information down. "Still, it's the best idea I have. If you could give them a message when they get back, I'd, uh, I'd be grateful." He held the paper slip in offering.
Julia took it, frowning thoughtfully. "Ranma Saotome, eh?" she folded the paper and pocketed it. "Master Blow."
"Master what?" Ranma blinked before getting a super-powered Ki palm to the face with enough force to launch him clear across town, with Peegi hanging on for all she was worth while a shut-down Peebri flapped in the breeze, drug along by her leash.
Gina was glad for magic. A quick portal, a few moments resting, and another portal back by Seance and they were once again home in Atlanta. Sure, she had technology that could mimic the feat, unless said technology had been stolen by some Burger Flipping bad-ass. She didn't know which was more comical, the fact they got their butts handed to them by one guy, or the fact he flipped burgers for a living.
"Gina!" Britanny whined in the rejuvenation tube, poking the glass with her finger, "Hurry up and fix me!"
Brianna fiddled with a computer terminal, slender fingers taping the screen as she pouted, "The Peebo's aren't here."
Gina muted Britanny before the were-cheetah could snap at Brianna. That girl has been volatile since waking up, she just hoped when they fixed her little strength issue the Cheetah they knew and loved would come back. "Doesn't that just mean they haven't blown up yet?"
"Yeah." Brianna tapped a few buttons, "I'm getting a GPS reading, though. They're here in Atlanta."
"That's good, right?" Gina frowned, keeping her attention on the medical read-outs her rejuvenation tank was spewing while Britanny healed.
"Just means they got looted with the rest." The half-lycanthrope laughed weakly, "And since they didn't blow up, I, uh, think it's my fault they got caught at all."
Britanny thrashed in the rejuvenation tank, her face pressed up against the glass as she stared at Brianna with curious eyes.
"Funny story, that." Brianna chuckled weakly, "Since, I, well since I was stalking him so much I didn't want to risk my Peebo's blowing up on him, so, I, heh... created a exception protocol in their hardware that would stop them."
"Well, that answers that question." came the bemused voice of their mother.
Gina glanced at the red-head curiously, "Mom? When did you get here?"
"Soon as I heard my babies got trounced." Julia said simply, looking at Britanny in the tank, the girl squirming a bit but unable to respond despite the look she was getting.
"How'd you hear about that?" Brianna blinked, "We've been back all of ten minutes! Even if Seance or Genn called you as soon as we got home it doesn't make sense!"
Julia snorted, reaching into her pocket and pulling out a folded note-paper. "Apparently your attacker, Ranma Saotome, thought it would be a good idea to come up to my door and tell me all about what happened."
Gina blinked, "What? Isn't that... stupid?"
"I'm pretty sure Peegi and Peebri were sabotaging him." Julia shrugged, "I mean, no one in their right mind could possible think doing that would be a good idea!"
Brianna snatched the piece of paper away, frowning. "His name and number?" she seethed in jealously, half-glaring at her mother, "I've been trying to get this for months, and he just up and hands it too you?"
Julia pursed her lips thoughtfully, "He gave it to me because you hadn't gotten home yet."
"And what, exactly, did he want?" Gina posed the question, tapping a few buttons and draining the regenerative fluid from Britannys tube.
"Apparently..." Julia took a seat as she explained, "... after robbing you, Talon decided to back-stab him and he was forced to trounce them too. Now he has all the loot and no means to sell it, at least not quickly, and was wondering if you'd like to buy any of it from him."
"Jinkies!" Gina groaned, rubbing her forehead tiredly, "Does he think we'd actually pay to get the stuff he stole back?"
"YES!" Britanny snapped, finally exciting the tube and surprising everyone with how angry she looked, "I want my wedding ring back!" she paused to randomly kick a chair, said chair barely shifting with the effort, "Not to mention my strength!"
Julia blinked, "What?"
Brianna sighed, "Long story short, the guy apparently has magic fingers, which he used to knock Gina out with a touch, and we're assuming he did something to sap Britanny's strength."
The red-head blink-blinked. "You..." she shook her head tiredly, gazing at Britanny, "... what do you remember? Where did he touch you?"
Cheetah grimaced, "He jabbed me in the back, right before he stabbed me in the butt and stole some blood for that creepy Peewee!" Gina wondered about that, her sister was looking around with shifty eyes and had once again gone back to rubbing her belly protectively.
Julia frowned, looking at Gina.
"Right here." the bombshell-blond pressed her fingers to her neck.
The red-head turned to Brianna next.
"He didn't touch me." the half-lycanthrope defended, "At least, no direct skin to skin contact. He did touch my guns..." she frowned, "... which completely disintegrated after the fact."
Julia nodded slowly. "Interesting."
"Do you know what he did?" Britanny looked hopeful, "More importantly, do you know how to undo it?"
"I think you may want to be nice when you meet him." Julia sighed, rubbing the back of her neck tiredly. "He sounds like a shiatsu specialist, or he's at least been taught a very specific skill-set with it." she glanced at Cheetah, "If I had to hazard a guess, it sounds like the Moxibustion, a permanent strength-sapping technique unless you happen to know the counter-technique."
"And... do you?" Britanny crossed her fingers.
"Not at all." Julia shrugged, "I only know of the Moxibustion from Leep, and he only knew how to best defend against it." she cracked a grin, "Don't let them touch you."
Ranma kicked the door closed behind him, "Stupid uncute tomboys." he snapped as he fell onto the couch. Peegi took the opportunity to slide off him, settling on the coffee table as she painstakingly pulled the standby Peebri up with her leash. "I swear Peegi, I should take Peebri and mail her to the North-pole!"
"Think of the penguins!" Peebrit zoomed in from the kitchen, sliding to a halt near the base of the couch. "Peebri might think they're birds and just go thermal on them."
Peegi nodded even as she began raming herself into Peebri's still form. One ding, two, thee, then victory! The tiny diagnostic mode button depressed, a juttering power-sound humming from the little robot as consciousness restored itself.
"...Africa!" Peebri shouted desperately.
"Okay." the destructive AI winced, looking around tentatively. "I guess Julia didn't rofflestomp you, eh?"
"Oh boy did she ever!" Peegi exclaimed. "She one-shotted him!"
"I prefer to think of it as utilizing her own strength to flee." the pigtailed martial artist defended himself weakly.
"And she didn't rescue us?" Peebri blinked, "What the hell does a Peebo have to do to get some respect around here?"
"Cure cancer." Ranma grunted, twisted on the couch a bit. "That or stop trying to get people shot, or punched by uncute psycho tomboys!"
"Like I care about getting your respect!" Peebri sniffed in disdain.
Ranma just looked at her, frowning. "Oh really? No Hexbot playstation for you, one month!"
Peegi winced, backing away from Peebri as she began shaking at that proclamation. If Ranma noticed the way her head-tails jerked angrily he didn't bother to mention it, instead pulling his buzzing cellphone from his pocket and blinking, "Huh, Gina Diggers is calling?"
"See! I told you Julia would give her your message!" Peegi chirped, twirling in place.
"Eh." he shrugged, flipping the phone open and answering the call. "Saotome speaking."
Peebri shuddered. No Hexbot playstation, no beautiful graphics or challenging gameplay to keep her senses sharp! No! He couldn't do that! She randomly tried activating her destruction protocols, but failed. CURSE YOU BRIANNA! CURSE YOU!
"Sure." Ranma sighed tiredly, "A few items, just make sure to bring plenty of cash. I'll see you here at seven." he listened for a second later, before hanging up the phone. "Well, good news."
Peebrit risked the question, "What kind of good news?"
"Looks like they're willing to buy back some of the crap I took from them." Ranma yawned, turning over on the couch and closing his eyes. "They'll be here at seven, with any luck they'll take you three off my hands."
Peegi pouted, "You don't like us?"
"I like you just fine, Peegi." he grumbled softly, "Peebrit's pretty cool too. Peebri's just a nightmare."
"I'll show you nightmare!" Peebri snapped, lunging at the guy with her head tails cracking electricity. She was quite surprised to find her attack deflected as he idly smacked her out of the air, sending her bouncing along the floor and sliding into the kitchen.
"She's just a nightmare." Ranma intoned boredly.
Gina set the phone down, frowning thoughtfully at the computer screen. "He's agreed to meet with us about some of our more personal stuff. Just make sure you bring plenty of cash if you actually want to leave with anything tonight."
"And what's to stop us from jumping him and just taking it back?" Ryan snorted angrily.
Brianna pointed to the monitor she was looking at, "He can create Tornadoes, apparently."
"He trounced us once." Britanny grumbled, glaring at the picture of the guy across Gina's screen. "Let's just lick our wounds, get back what we can't readily replace, and wash our hands of this fiasco."
Gina just sighed, rubbing her forehead tiredly, "Look, let's just be calm about this. If we're lucky we won't have to spend very much or even anything at all."
Cheetah looked at her nerdy sister closely, "What do you mean by that?"
"Have you not stopped and asked yourself 'Why' he would want the money?" Gina shot back, "And don't any of you dare think it's simply greed until you do your research!"
Brianna blinked. Honestly she had thought just that, it was the most obvious motivation, and didn't the guy outright state he had bills to pay? "Did you find something?"
"With a full name and a picture it was child s play." Gina grinned, "Ranma Saotome, Age 22, Master of the Saotome school of Anything Goes martial arts, one of the only only people to be systematically banned from all sporting events and arena's for being 'too good', and let's not forget his most important title." she tilted the screen, "The Ten Billion Dollar fool."
Ryan raised an eyebrow at that, "The Ten Billion Dollar fool? What the hell does that even mean?"
"It's what he owes the Japanese Government after three hundred and sixty seven engagements were made in his name, dowry's paid and effectively stolen by his father, Genma Saotome." Gina explained, eying the information scrolling past her monitor, "The courts ruled against Genma Saotome, who fled to parts unknown, forcing the bill to fall to his Son. They took his mother, Nodoka Saotome, into custody until such time as she fulfills the nine-hundred consecutive life sentences, or the full ten billion is paid as restitution to the families involved, as well as to cover the expenses of the Diet from the battles that took place during the course of the trial that damaged massive parts of Tokyo's infrastructure." she paused momentarily, "They've essentially decided to hold his mother hostage until he can pay the bill."
Brianna blinked. "Really?" Wow, and she thought her family had problems when it came time to pay their credit card bills! Holy smokes Ranma was neck deep in debt.
"Bad luck, I guess." Britanny grumbled, no real heat to her words, "But how is this going to help us?"
Gina smiled mysteriously, "Because there is one important caveat in The Bill we might be able to exploit..."
Ranma blearily opened his eyes as the doorbell rang. He eyed the clock curiously, frowning at the sight of it. It wasn't seven yet, who the devil could be knocking at his door now? He sighed, pushing himself off the couch and stumbling to the door, idly toeing the whimpering Peebri away so she couldn't escape when he opened the door.
Daishi looked at him, his hands held behind his back non-threateningly. There was a silver-haired girl with him, complete with dusky skin in a skin tight bodysuit that was snug in all the right places. Ranma tried to rack his brains and put a name to her face, but failed. Whoever she was she hadn't been present during the botched Talon operation the day before. "Ah, Mr. Saotome, it's good to see you."
"Before you say anything else." Ranma waved his hand to forestall conversation, "This apartment isn't in my name, nor do I care if I have to blow it sky-high."
Daishi blinked, but nodded slowly. "I see."
"Cool." Ranma glanced at the silver-haired girl, "And you are?"
"Janine." she shrugged in response, otherwise saying nothing.
"A fellow servant to our Lord Talon." Daishi explained.
"And what does that little pip-squeak want now?" the pig-tailed martial artist frowned, "I hope he knows I'm filing a report with the Better Business Bureau after what he tried to pull last night!"
Daishi sighed, "That is your right. Despite my Lord Talons... impulsive actions, he still is very much interested in the Were-cheetah's DNA you managed to acquire. And he's willing to pay for it, might I add."
"Oh is he?" Ranma hmmed, "You do realize the cost for it was one million, plus fifteen percent of the loot, right?"
Daishi grimaced. "Perhaps we can come to a set price? One that doesn't involve treasure you already technically have for yourself."
Ranma nodded, "Sure we can." he paused then, a sinister idea coming to mind. "Bad luck for you, the Diggers already expressed interest in buying some of the loot from me. Wouldn't be cool to sell some of it with out giving them a chance, you know?"
Daishi narrowed his eyes at that, "I see. Are you suggesting an... Auction?"
"Why not?" Ranma shrugged, eying the clock, "They should be here in half an hour or so. Come on in, take a load off while we wait on em."
"An Opening!" Peebri screamed, charging for the door and surprising Daishi and Janine both. Ranma idly grabbed the leash and yanked, pulling the little peebo like a yoyo back into the house before catching it with both arms. "Lemme go you bastard!"
"Nah." Ranma hugged the struggling little Peebo. "And no exploding on my guests!"
Daishi raised an eyebrow at the struggling Peebri, to the Peegi and Peebrit currently watching Speed-Racer re-runs on the television, to the mad-man who'd dare tempt fate by letting sentinent grenades run free in his home. "I..."
"You coming in or what?" Ranma frowned, annoyed.
"If it's the same to you, I think we'll wait outside for now." Daishi respectfully said, taking a step back.
The pigtailed-martial artist looked at him, before shrugging and slamming the door in his face.
Gina had shown up first with Ryan, her boyfriend almost growling at the sight of Daishi and Janine standing outside their destination. The blond-bombshell wondered about them, why they were here after apparently screwing themselves over by back-stabbing the guy they had hired to so thoroughly rob them. Daishi remained quiet as she approached and knocked on the door, finding it slightly ajar as it opened with her touch.
"Welcome!" Peegi chirruped as the door opened, "Ah, Gina! So good of you to come!"
"Peegi." the Archeologist kneeled down as Ryan maintained a cool glare at Talons little cronies. "What are you doing?"
"I'm the hostess!" The little pink Peebo grinned, "The boss is in the kitchen making tea and snacks, so he tasked me with bringing the potential buyers inside and finding them a seat!"
"You're his servant?" Gina didn't know what to think of that. On one hand she had hoped for a bit more loyalty from the Sentient AI bombs, but maybe they were just adapting to their circumstances like she herself had to do on more then one occasion when someone big, bad, and powerful demanded it of her?
"Servant?" Peegi blinked, "Oh heavens no, I volunteered!"
"Ah." Gina glanced back, frowning at the cool as a cucumber Daishi and irritated Janine, the later of which was shooting glares back at Ryan with gusto. "What are they doing here?"
Peegi shrugged, moving into the house as she spoke, "They just showed up, wanted to buy Britanny's DNA. Boss didn't care, but said he had already promised you a shot at getting what you want back, so he figures it'll be an auction for that if nothing else."
Peebrit zoomed, sliding to a halt near Gina. "Need an ice cool refreshment?" the speedster asked. Gina only now noticed Peebrit had a new addition she hadn't had back in Africa. It looked like some one had welded a table on-top of her frame that rose up to hip height. Nestled among the tray were various sodas, even a bowl of crackers complete with a salsa dip she couldn't rightly identify.
"You're a waitress?" Gina blinked in surprise.
"Waste not, want not!" Peebrit chirruped, zooming to the other guests that had followed Gina inside.
The Archeologist frowned lightly, "And what is Peebri doing? Not helping with the snacks, I hope!"
Peegi chuckled weakly, looking up above the lengthy table set up near the entrance of the little apartment. "She's having trouble adapting..."
"You're all traitors!" Peebri snapped from her perch. Rather, some one had taken multiple leashes and nailed her to the roof. "Just wait until I get out of here, I'll give you such a pinch you won't soon forget!"
"Quite the upset one, isn't it?" Daishi intoned, suddenly next to Gina. Almost a little to close if the blond-bombshell had to say for herself.
"I bet Peewee was more upset." Gina countered, eyes narrowed slightly. "Must sting; had everything you wanted and lost it all because, what? You didn't want to pay him?"
Daishi sighed, eyes closing slowly. "I do not attempt to understand the minds of geniuses."
"Mah." Gina took a seat at the lengthy table, "Some genius." She glanced towards the kitchen, catching only the briefest of glimpses of their Host as he tittered about doing whatever it was he was doing. She wondered if her little ploy would work, but really given the time constrain she didn't think she had any other choice but to go for it.
Strype'gia was having a weird day. Oh, it was generally the same as any other; Get up, go to work, come home and find some new adventure of potential catastrophe waiting for him. As he put his key into the dead-bolt on the front door and opened it he had an extreme sense of deja'vu when Britanny practically pounced him, gibbering those words...
"I lost my wedding ring!" Britanny tried to explain, nervousness in her tone and her trembling body.
"Okay." Strype set his briefcase down. Yep, some new adventure was waiting for him alright. "Where did you lose it?"
"It, uh, kinda got stolen during a raid on a Krynn cache in Africa." his wife mumbled tiredly, "But don't worry! The prick who stole it said he'd sell it back to me! Hopefully I'll have enough to get my strength back too, but don't you worry about that!"
The Prince of the Kyrnn blinked, "Get your strength back?"
"Ah, yes, funny story." Britanny pouted, "He somehow also took my strength. I can barely open doors at the moment, and, uh, yeah that's about it."
Strype sighed, shaking his head. "Don't worry about the ring, we can just buy another one. Whatever he did to take your strength should be top priority."
"NO!" His wife snapped hotly, "I want my damn ring back!"
"Okay." He returned calmly, hugging his wife tenderly. "When are you suppose to meet this man?"
"Eerm..." Britanny chuckled weakly, "...suppose to be there already, actually."
"Then why aren't you?" Strype wondered.
Britanny just sighed. "Brianna's getting dressed, and I couldn't find someone to unlock the front door."
"Hmm? What's the hold up?" Brianna asked as she entered the hall, dressed in a tasteful black shimmer-silk dress that hugged her in all the right places while leaving her legs, neckline, and a fair bit of cleavage exposed.
Britanny rounded on her, pausing in wide-eyed amazement. "Why the heck are you wearing that?"
The half-lycnathrope shrugged, "Hey, even if we get our stuff back or not, I'm planning on taking that guy for a wild night on the town!"
Strype rubbed his forehead tiredly, "Is this really the time?"
"It's the best time." Brianna defended as she walked out the door, "Nothing like a little beefcake to make one forget your troubles! Am I right, or what?"
"Not when that beefcake is responsible for your problems!" Britanny retorted angrily.
Ranma took his seat on the opposite side of the long table they had set up for this meeting. He had half hoped his guests would be enjoying a bit of relaxation before they got to business, aside from the leggy blond in the black dress, who winked at him saucily, everyone seemed perfectly content to stare at him blankly or with obvious irritation. That Were-cheetah altered between anger, confusion, desperation, and back to anger as she glared at him, which was a mite bit irritating if he did say so himself.
"Well, ladies and gentlemen." he began slowly, drumming his fingers across the table. "While I wish we could meet on happier circumstances..."
"I'll kill you all!" Peebri snapped from above them, still nailed to the roof where he left her.
"... that just doesn't seem to be in the cards tonight." he leaned down and picked up Peegi, setting her on the table. "So let's get right down to it, starting from left to right." he motioned to the red-headed martial artist. "What do you want back, and how much do you have?"
Ryan frowned, glancing at Gina, who only looked at him blankly in return. "My necklace and bracers." he set a small dufflebag down on the table, "Three hundred large."
Ranma nodded, unsealing the bag before tossing Peegi inside. The little pink peebo rustled around inside before poking her head back out, "Three-hundred grand, American, counted and confirmed!" she chirruped.
"Cool." the pigtailed man flicked his wrist to the side, receiving the Dragon-hide bracers and the little golden locket in his hands before setting them on the table. "Bad news for you though." he tapped the bracers, "I know how much these are worth, and 300k is what I'd charge you for em." he motioned towards the locket, "This though, aside from the gold is pure sentimentality. I'd charge five grand for this." he looked Ryan in the eye, "So, uh, choose which one you want now. When you get the rest of the cash you can come back for the other."
Ryan sweated. The Bracers were actually worth more then 300k, hell they cost him ten million! He was right though, the locket wasn't worth nearly as much, just a bit of sentimentality Gina had given him. He looked at his girlfriend, her eyes set in a frown as she looked at the pigtailed martial artist questioningly. Okay, no help there. Five grand wasn't much, he could pawn some stuff off at home and get it as early as tomorrow, but those bracers... if the guy found out how much they were actually worth... "I'll take the bracers." he practically yelled as he grabbed them.
Gina gave him a blank stare at that.
Ranma nodded, taking the necklace. He idly popped it open and frowned, "A picture of Gina?" He blinked, looking at Ryan in shocked surprise, "Wow man, what the hell were you thinking?"
"The bracers are worth far more man!" Ryan defended himself hotly, "The necklace is just a bit of gold with Gina's picture, I can replace that easy!"
"Oi vey." Peebri grumbled from above the table.
Ranma just shook his head. And they say he didn't understand women. He turned to Gina next, "Well, is there anything you want back?"
Gina half-glared at the red-headed martial artist, before turning back to Ranma. "I'm not particularly sentimental about anything you took."
"Right." the pigtailed guy shook his head, returning the necklace to stuff-space. He turned his gaze to the Were-cheetah. "And the expecting mother; What does she want back?"
Strype, a hairy cat looking dude Peegi had mentioned was Britanny's husband, blinked. "What did you say?"
Ranma raised an eyebrow at that, turning to Britanny. "You haven't told them?"
"I don't even know if it's true!" The Were-cheetah defended hotly, "For all I knew you were trying to get in my head!"
"Wow." Ranma just shook his head, "Your mother, Julia right? She's a martial artist, knows how to use her Chi..." he absently rubbed his jaw. And she was damn good at using it if his face was any judge, "... ask her to check you. She'll be able to spot it lickety split."
Ryan blinked, surprised, "Martial Artists can do that?"
"Need to have better Chi control then a dumb rock, but yeah." Ranma shrugged, ignoring the way the red-headed martial artist grumbled after that. "So what is it you want back?'
"My ring..." Britanny immediately threw out, tentatively biting her lip before continuing, "... and my strength."
Ranma nodded slowly. He had honestly forgotten about hitting her with the Moxibustion. He had only done it to end the fight, and had fully intended to remove it after he finished looting them all, if only Zelda hadn't forced them to port away like that. Yet she was willing to pay for it? Awesome! He idly flipped his hand, a large diamond ring popping into existence, "How much did you bring?"
Britanny looked at Strype, who returned her gaze evenly. "Ah, yes." she reached in her pocket and pulled out a thick stack of bills. "Hundred thousand for the ring..."
"Britanny." Strype sighed, "We can buy another wedding ring, don't waste the money on that!"
"I don't care!" Britanny shot back, "I'll get my strength back somehow, but I won't miss out on getting my wedding ring back!"
Ranma blinked, eying the ring. "Wedding ring?" he boggled, staring at it in wonder. He shook his head after a time, sighing as he slid the ring across the table. "Forget it."
Britanny blinked, "What?"
"If I knew it was your wedding ring I wouldn't have taken it." Ranma explained as he pocketed the hundred grand, "We'll just say this is for removing the Moxibustion and be done with it. I'll remove it before you leave tonight."
"Thank you!" Cheetah cheered, scooping up her ring and putting it back where it belonged. Ranma had to turn his head to avoid the sheer cuteness as she pounced on her husband with frantic sloppy kisses. Lucky guy had a wife who understood there were somethings more important then their intrinsic worth. Kinda awesome, if he did say so himself.
Next up on the table was... Brianna. He looked at her thoughtfully, "And what would you like back?" he asked.
"The Peebos." The half-lycanthrope pointed at Peegi, Peebri, and Peebrit as the little racer returned from the kitchen with a fresh stack of drinks. "And a date."
Gina groaned, "Bri! Now isn't the time for that!"
"Mah, since we're buying stuff, I figured why not see if that was on the table!" Brianna shot back in defense.
Ranma frowned, drumming his fingers along the table. "I don't mind selling Peebri..." he ignored the Peebo cheering happily at that, "... but I kinda like Peegi and Peebrit. Also, I'm not for sale." That was a horse he wasn't going to touch with a ten foot pole. Yes, he wanted to pay that damn bill off, but hell if anyone thought he'd resort to whoring himself out to do it. Literally, not figuratively.
Brianna frowned at that, "The only one you don't want is Peebri?"
The pigtailed martial artist wondered about that. She sounded absolutely pissed at the fact he only cared to be rid of Peebri. "Well, yeah. She's already tried to get me killed twice, never mind how many times she tried to blow up on me." he ignored the glare Brianna shot Peebri at that, "Frankly when something tries to kill me, nowadays I either get rid of it or kick its ass."
"Hmph!" Brianna snorted, crossing her legs and arms as she leaned back in her chair, "Then I don't want anything!"
Peebri boggled, "Mom? Come on, buy me! I'm totally worth it!"
"You tried to get around my HPOAA protocol!" Brianna snapped, "Do you have any idea how much effort I've put into this?"
"Yeah, about that." Ranma drawled, "Thanks for that. I'm flattered I was good enough to be considered a Hot Piece of Asian Ass."
Britanny face-palmed, "Wow Brianna. Just wow."
"Hmph!" the half-lycanthrope snorted, "Well he is! And I would have named it the Ranma protocol, but I didn't know his name at the time!"
"Right, moving on." Ranma sweated, looking towards the silent Ninja expectantly. "And what does the Talon representative want?"
Daishi opened his eyes, "The Were-cheetah DNA."
Strype blinked, looking at Daishi before rounding on Britanny, "He managed to get your DNA?"
"Well, yeah." Cheetah absently rubbed her butt, glaring at the pigtailed guy, "And did you have to jab me so hard? It still hurts, buddy!" Ranma just rolled his eyes at that.
"We're prepared to offer you three million dollars." Daishi threw in.
Ranma nodded, idly flipping his hand out and procuring what looked like a hypo-syringe gun. "That's a fair bit of capitol, eh?"
"Five million!" Strype threw in, glaring at the little Ninja. "No offense, but I'm not letting you get your hands on any part of my wife!"
Britanny blushed, "Awww."
Daishi leveled a steely glare at the alien, "Eight."
"Ten!" came the immediate counter!
"Twelve." the ninja returned calmly.
"Genma Saotome!" Gina shouted.
Ranma froze, gaze snapping to the blond-bombshell Archeologist. "What did you say?"
"I said, Genma Saotome." Gina made a point of flipping her hair, dragging the awkward silence out. "I'll gift wrap Genma Saotome in exchange for everything you have to offer."
"You've done your homework." Ranma said slowly, eying her critically. "Everything I have to offer, eh?"
Daishi frowned, "I... seem to be at a disadvantage."
The blond archeologist blew the ninja the raspberry, "Genius here!"
"What price would I have to set to beat the current bid?" Daishi asked neutrally.
"Nine point four billion." Ranma returned seriously.
"Ah." Daishi frowned, "But Gina doesn't have this Genma yet, does she?"
"Well, no." Gina nervously admitted, already seeing where Daishi was going with this, "Give me a month though and I'll find him!"
"That means if I find Genma Saotome, I could claim the prize she requested in exchange for him?" Daishi looked at Ranma expectantly.
"Whoever brings me Genma Saotome within a months time will get everything, absolutely everything I have to offer!" Ranma returned with passion in his voice. "Good luck finding him though, he's not the greatest fighter out there but I've never met someone as good at getting away as my old man."
"Refreshments coming up!" Peebrit cheered, sliding to a stop near Ranma, a pitcher of lemonade on the stand swaying dangerously before upending and splashing their Host straight in the face. Brianna raised an eyebrow in shocked awe as her stalking target rapidly shrunk, his raven hair turning vibrant red as he gained more curves then he had a right too, not to mention he grew tits!
Britanny blinked, "Rakshasha?"
Ranma sighed, wiping the water off her face, "No, it's a curse." she frowned cutely then, "Cold water turns me into a girl, hot water changes me back. You should know Genma has a curse too, splash him and he turns into a Panda."
Gina stared, "Jinkies! What kind of curse is this?"
"Jusenkyo." Ranma shrugged tiredly, looking down at Peebrit. "Could you get me a glass of warm-water?"
"Sure thing boss!" Peebrit zoomed away even as Peegi lunged at Ranma.
"What the hell Peegi?" Ranma snapped as the Peebo crawled in her shirt and began touching places she really didn't have a right too.
"Jinkies!" Peegi breathed in awe, "Full bodily transformation? And you aren't a shape-shifter naturally! This is incredible!"
Gina shook her head tiredly. "If that's enough, I have a shape-shifting panda to track down!"
Daishi nodded, tapping Janine's shoulder. The two vanished in a flash of light.
The hunt for Genma was on.
To be continued...