"…I think… he's surpassed… his own body weight by this point." Someone said with absolute certainty, staring wide eyed at Genma, who let out a belch like a thunderclap.
Everyone reeled back from the disgusting sounds force as it rattled the long table, shaking its contents, a wide variety of delicacies from all across the galaxy. Both dextro and levo based foods lay strewed across the table, being hastily placed there by Asari waitresses, dressed in skimpy clothing as they raced to and fro from the bustling kitchen and table. And they watched, as did the tables occupants as Genma devoured the new dishes within his endless maw. The food literally vanished before their eyes, and the only one who could see it for what it was, was busy staring off into tavern's grey metal walls.
Ranma Saotome sighed, resting his cheek on a hand and idly sipped his fizzy drink through a straw. Ignoring all the food related chaos around him as he thought, and thought, and thought some more. Anything to distract him from his growing boredom as it loomed over his mind, enclosing in on it with every passing seconds.
He scowled at it as he caught a leg of roasted varren and chucked at Genma, who devoured it, bone and all a second later. Ranma didn't see it. He only sighed once more and glanced around the long table again, wishing for something different as loud music assaulted his ears.
Miranda was busy staring slack jawed at Genma, forgetting everything else as she took sight of him, food, and mouth. Not necessarily in that order. Xen was busy playing around with her omni-tool, fingers dancing across its holographic keyboard. Blasto conversed with a pair of asari twins, their cheeks burning indigo as they giggled and smiled at the hanar as it waved its tentacles in strange gestures and shape. One the twins sent a wink Ranma's way as she caught his eyes.
He blinked, staring at her for a few seconds and shrugged, waving back before looking somewhere else. Whatever Blasto was up to wasn't any of his business and the Old man wasn't do anything other than stuffing his mouth. So, his gaze settled on the elcor standing about a meter away, to his left, watching everything with the same expression Ranma was.
Or that's what he guessed. Elcor expressions were a bitch to figure out.
"Yo, Buben," Ranma called, leaning back against his chair and folded his hands across his chest.
"Yes, Ranma?" Buben answered, slowly turning around to face the younger Saotome.
"Wanna get out of here and get some fresh air?" Ranma asked, jerking a thumb over a shoulder. "This place is…" He sniffed, wrinkling his nose as a mixture of aromas from fresh, hot food as it entered in the room, the strange pheromones and scents of galaxies alien races, and the smell of alcohol as it was served to thirsty customers. "A bit stuffy in here," he finished, frowning.
Buben sniffed the air, and after a few seconds of digesting its information stared at Ranma. "Confirming Question: You have questions for me, don't you?"
Ranma scratched his head and shrugged. "Ya, guess I do, now that I think about it."
"Curious Question: Do you think your father will be alright, considering the last time you left him alone?" Buben asked, shooting a slow glance at Genma as his teeth tore into an exotic looking fish the size of a shark.
The elder Saotome ate it with gusto, finding it delicious as he did all things that greeted his mouth. He downed the meat with loaves of bread and long swigs from his glass mug, covered in foam and filled with root beer. A waitress stood to his side, holding a pitcher filled with root beer and shot nervous, frightened glances at Genma as he continued to feast.
Ranma shrugged. "As long as he remembers not go drink himself stupid, or… eats someone." He finished, giving Genma's personal server a small look of pity.
"Amused Question: Do you think he might?" Buben asked, looking at the scene in question.
"Maybe," Ranma answered, scratching his chin with a finger, and chuckled. "So, think Blasto can pay for all this?" He asked back, sweeping an arm across the table.
"Depressing Sigh: No, but Blasto doesn't need to anyways. The spectre always pays using some poor bastard's credit account." Buben answered, shaking his form ever so slightly.
Ranma winced. "And who is it this time?"
"No clue." The elcor paused, shooting a long glance around the large, circular room as Ranma felt a sudden unease.
His skin prickled as he too did the same as Buben, sensing hostile looks from the tarven's other patrons and tried identifying the source. Everyone within the room was staring at them, and had been ever since Genma loudly ordered everything on the menu when they took their seats. Many of them were still taking bets on how much Genma could eat before he kneeled over and Ranma could hear their wagers if he focused hard enough.
He heard other conversations as well as he focused his hearing away from the table and to the room at large. There, he heard chatter about politics and events alongside the usual barroom chatter. Much of what they were talking about was the big show Ranma and Genma made over at Presidum and pointed fingers at said people as they identified them.
"I think, we might have made a mistake coming here." Ranma muttered, pinching the bridge of his nose. Buben looked back at him.
"Smug Guess: Too much attention?"
"The wrong kind of attention," Ranma countered, sighing and stuffed his hands in his pockets and rose silently as he glared at a table of batarians, who seeing his look got up and ducked for the door.
Ranma snorted as a massive plate, filled with a literal mountain of food burst through the kitchen doors, carried by three teams of asari waitresses. They slowly advanced to their table, steading the heavy plate with herculean effort as their faces strained with concentration. And seeing this Ranma moved towards them as the tip of Food Mountain swayed back and forth.
He caught the plate, just before the waitresses collapsed, stretching his arms to their limits. Ranma grunted, feeling the load of what he guessed to be a ton of food and rolled his eyes at his Old man's gluttony. He sighed and hefted the plate over his head, smiling as he heard the thankful mummers of the waitresses as they sat on the floor, utterly exhausted. Ranma walked back, holding the large plate over him with a single hand and set it infront of Genma, who licked his lips.
Ranma gave him a blank stare as the long table began to creak and strain from all the weight it suffered. Genma stared back, grasping a piece of the long table with one hand and channeled Ki into. A purple glow enveloped the table and its struggles ceased.
"Old man, really?" Ranma said, leaning in and whispered a few, quick words in Genma's ear. The burly man didn't say anything, only grunted as he dug into Food Mountain. Ranma slapped him on the back and returned to his seat. He took note as a group of batarians, mixed in with a few turians entered in, one at a time, spreading themselves out as they took up empty tables.
As he passed by Buben, Ranma whispered, "I'll check and see what's up outside. You can handle these people here, right?" Buben didn't say anything, only nodded faintly.
Ranma smirked as his eyes darted over to the other members of his group, and found that they were all ready for a fire fight one way or the other. He yawned; stretching out his arms as he strode for the door out, thanking the waitresses for their services as he went by.
Ranma went out, turning left and followed by a group of armed mercenaries a few seconds later running past the door. And as they vanished from view Ryoga Hibiki came through the kitchen doors, scratching his head in confusion amidst the sudden yells and shrieks of chiefs and waitresses to get out.
Ryoga, ignoring them strode for the long table and tapped Genma's shoulder. The Saotome elder blinked, and turned around. He looked at Ryoga with food stained red cheeks and a brow covered in sweat.
"Yes?" Genma asked, after gulping down the steak in his mouth. A strange sense of familiarity overcame him as he stared at the muscular teenager infront of him. Genma silently approved of the way Ryoga dressed and the large camping pack he carried. It was practical and sensible, the way all travelers should be like.
"Umm… do you know where I am?" Ryoga asked, rummaging through his pockets and pulled out a folded, used map and pen.
"The Citadel, Zakera wards." Genma answered, blinking.
Ryoga smiled, nearly grinning and hastily stuffing his map and pen back into his pants. "Do you know where Ranma Saotome is?" Genma pointed out the door. Ryoga nodded, now grinning and rushed out, pumping his fist in the air in triumph.
"Ranma, just you wait! Here I come!"
Genma stared as Ryoga turned right as he exited out the tavern, and shrugged. Ranma can deal with his own problems.
Right now, he needed to eat!
"Blasto, do you know why your friend, Ranma has been ignoring me?" One of the Asari twins said, pouting as they stood beside the spectre.
"This one thinks that Ranma is just bored." Blasto answered, watching said person stalk out the door, yawning as he did and flashed the hanar a cocky smirk as he passed.
"Well, I think we can do something to alleviate his boredom." The twins said impishly at once, with sly smiles. They clasped their hands and pressedtheir bodies together as their eyes bore into Ranma, demanding for attention.
The ponytailed teen ignored it, not even shooting the twins a glance. The twins signed sadly as Ranma went out the tavern and turned back to Blasto, who stared at them with much appreciation.
"This one suggests you try harder. It is not certain why Ranma ignores fine asari such as yourselves, though it may have some guesses as to why." Blasto answered and paused, glowing dimly as it considering what it just said and gave it some thought. It continued after a few long seconds, humming as it did, "But in any case it is best to keep on trying. Being blunt and direct is the best way to get through to humans such as Ranma."
The asari twins nodded, drinking in the hanar's advice like fine wine.
"And once you have him pressed in-between your heavenly bodies, where he can't escape then…"
The twins leaned forward, straining their ears to hear Blasto's next words, blushing and giggling with hands pressed close to their lips.
"Enkindle him." Blasto finished and looked back and forth between them. It nodded, satisfied with its advice and glowed brightly as an idea popped up. "Might I have your number? This one has a fine idea, though it will need your help in doing so."
They did, before Blasto finished and the hanar quickly tapped it into its omnitool and exchanged a number of details as a plan laid itself infront of it. It thanked the twins for their time as they left, and exchanged goodbyes. Blasto looked back to his omnitool to check its messages and found one from the Council.
The spectre shut off his omnitool. It'll check it later, when it's in a more private, secure area.
Still humming to itself, Blasto shot a glance at Genma as a muscular human teen, a male dressed in strange clothing dashed straight out the door, screaming out Ranma's name. If the hanar had eyes, it would have blinked.
Blasto floated over to Genma, glowing curiously as the burly man started to eat one more. The hanar briefly paused to watch the insane sight as the mountain of food infront of Genma visibly shrunk with every passing second. And as the elder Saotome ate, Blasto for the life of it couldn't figure out where all the food went inside the human's body. It just vanished, as if Genma's stomach was black hole.
"Hello Genma, may this one ask you a few questions?" Blasto asked. Genma grunted as he swallowed his latest meal and watched as his eyes darted around the room. A quick, quiet, subtle glance.
"I know." Blasto answered.
Genma nodded and drained the rest of his root beer, slamming the mug on the table and wiping his foam and food covered mouth with his free hand. He stared at Blasto and crossed his arms.
"Well? What do you want to know?"
"How is it you managed to intake all that food, without getting fat? At all!?" Miranda loudly interrupted, before Blasto voice the same question as she stomped over to them.
"You're Australian are you not?" Genma asked, leaning forward as he stared off at nowhere in particular.
Miranda blinked. "…What does that have to do anything?"
"Just answered the question," Genma said, ignoring her question entirely as his brow furrowed with concentration.
"Fine, yes, yes I am one, technically." Miranda answered as Genma leaned back, smiling and evidently satisfied with her answer. She wondered what the heck was going through his mind and-
"It's nothing you needn't concern yourself with, girl." Genma answered, as if he knew what was going through Miranda's mind. She scowled and he chuckled and smirked.
"Girl, to answer your question I have a Natural Body. My body shape won't change. No matter how much I eat… unless I will it." He finished, digging out a piece of meat stuck his teeth with a toothpick that appeared out of nowhere into his hand.
"…That makes absolutely no sense. I want an explanation. Now!?" Miranda demanded with a glare. Genma only tilted his head side to side, thinking.
"Hmph." He shrugged, raising his palms up as they glowed brilliantly with purple Ki, shooting sparks into the air. "It's Ki; I don't need to need to explain shit!"
"This one thinks you might have broken her. Just look at how her eyebrow's twitching." Blasto commented, glowing brightly, amused by all this.
"…She is turning a bright shade of red…" Genma trailed off, and tilted his head over to Blasto. "Think she'll hiss steam out of her ears?"
"Is that a bet, Genma?"
"Yes, are you man enough to take it?"
Blasto stared at Miranda as she clenched and unclenched her hands. It felt a murderous rage boiled beneath her skin, and the hanar spectre ignored it entirely. It'd seen far better during killing intent its years of service as a spectre.
Genma slapped his hands together, and rubbed them as he grinned. "Excelle-"
Miranda Lawson leapt him, teeth bared, arms stretched out before her their hands forming claws to rend Genma limb from limb. She growled and the sound of it caused Genma to flinch as his hand blurred.
Oh god, she sounds just like an enraged Honey Koala! He thought, and stopped Miranda mid-leap as he pressed a finger against her forehead. She hung in the air, reaching for Genma futility as she clawed and bit at nothing but air. Her motions slowed as Miranda started blinking and snapped out of her anger. Her eyes darted between Genma and the floor in rapid motions, again and again for a number of seconds.
Miranda mouthed out a single word.
Genma shrugged, raising a palm up as it glowed brilliantly with purple Ki, shooting sparks into the air. "Again, it's Ki; I don't need to need to explain-"
And then the tavern erupted into violence as heavy gunfire opened up outside.
"Sheesh, do you idiots even know how to aim?" Ranma Saotome said, in-between dodging fusillade of bullets that streaked towards him. "You people couldn't even hit the broadside of a barn!"
He smirked, chuckling to himself as he slowly walked towards the group of mercenaries from the dimly lit sidewalk. There were about six in all, all spread out across the middle of an intersection, nearly twenty meters away. A mixture of screams, curses, and gunfire were his answer as they adjusted their aim and fired again. Ranma dodged once more, seemingly teleporting five meters closer on the other side of the street, whistling a tune with a hand in his pocket, the other, loosely holding a short metal pole, glowing blue with Ki.
Ranma's speed was too fast for the group of mercenaries to track with mere mortal eyes. Every time they fired, they hit nothing but air and metal. The few that managed to find their target were blocked by Ranma's pole, much to the mercenaries' surprise. Nothing they did could stop their target from advancing and it flayed on their nerves as fear and nervousness crept in, further ruining their already bad aim.
As he advanced, Ranma's sharp ears overheard their frightened whispers as he tuned out the gunfire and curses. They called him monster, an inhuman beast, something that shouldn't exist! Ranma threw his head back, laughing as he appeared right in the center of their formation and attacked, tossing his pole behind him and spearing through a shotgun just as it was about to fire.
"Me… a monster, really?" Ranma sighed, shaking his head as he dashed from foe to foe. Arms blurring continuously as fists struck at shields, shattering them beneath his awesome strength and then at the right tip of their jaws. This time, he used a much weaker blow.
The light impact sends their brains slamming into the left brain wall as their helmet clad heads reeled back from the blow. The brain bounces back and just like a pinball game, their brains keep bumping side by side, giving them a heavy concussion. They fell, dropping to their knees, eyes spinning every which way with stars and lights flashing in and out and then darkness as unconsciousness takes them.
And as the last one dropped Ranma glanced around. "I'm no monster… it's just your all so weak." He muttered, sighing again. He walked around, collecting the mercenaries' guns and destroying them as he went.
"You know, I don't even compare big shots that live on Earth…" Ranma said as if there were people listening and not a bunch of unconscious bodies. "Not yet, of course but I'll get there. It's my goal." He added, snorting as he dragged all the bodies into one big pile. "And you people aren't helping one bit."
Ranma ran a hand through his hair as he tossed the last body into the pile and sighed once more. He turned his head as C-Sec response car's sirens blared off in the distance, rapidly closing in.
Ranma shrugged and stuffed his hands in his pockets as he stalked off back to the tavern, feeling a little hungry. And as he disappeared around the corner Ryoga Hibiki's head poked out the door of medical store the ponytailed teen just passed by. He searched rapidly in every direction as the rest of him strode out the door.
The lost boy scratched his head, frowning. "I just heard Ranma's voice right now! I know it! I'd recognize his cocky voice anywhere!" Ryoga paused as he saw the pile of unconscious bodies on the intersections corner to his left and walked over.
Reaching them, he knelt down and considered whether or not to wake them. He glanced over a shoulder, staring at the air and narrowed his eyes, focusing in on the sirens source. A number of sleek air-cars of blue and black raced in, straight at him. Biting his lip Ryoga went back to the pile of bodies, and sighed.
He rose. "I'd like to ask you guys questions about Ranma… but I don't want to deal with the law. Too much trouble," he shook his head and took off in a brisk run, heading north and followed his gut.
This is the direction, right where he needed to go. He was close, he knew it. Soon, he'll have his fight with Ranma. He was ready; no matter how strong the arrogant bastard was now he'd be no match for the sort of training Ryoga put himself through every day! Fighting planet Earth herself as she constantly tried to kill him.
And mastering a technique Chippers and the Geth thought up themselves while he was on their ship. They couldn't use it of course, but he could and Ryoga knew if he got off a single shot against Ranma, with his level of strength. Well…
The lost boy grinned as he turned a corner, chuckling darkly. He closed his eyes, vividly imagining his foot planted atop Ranma's chest as he laid on the battle scarred ground humbled and broken before Ryoga Hibiki as he stood proudly with a sun rising behind his back. And then, he'll-
"Who are you, human!? And what are… you… doing…" A voice shouted, rapidly dying down as Ryoga's eyes snapped open and he found himself in a clean, high-class office. A hooded alien stood in the center of the room, staring at him in open disbelief, and raised a shaky finger, pointing it at him.
Ryoga blinked, nervously scratching his head and gave Dorden, the salarian councilor an equally nervous smile.
"Ryoga Hibiki, sorry about this."
"So, did I miss anything?" Ranma Saotome asked casually as he strode into the tavern, hands stuffed within his pockets.
Ranma's head snapped over to the sounds source and found Genma on his knees, hands partially raised in the air with tears constantly running down his cheeks. He wept softly as he stared at the overturned long table; its bountiful contents were spilled all over the grey metal floor in a fine mess.
Ranma frowned, eyebrow twitching as his stomach grumbled. The moment he was hungry, was the moment all the food was ruined. Closing his eyes, Ranma breathed in deeply through his nose and let out a long sigh. He opened his eyes and looked around, ignoring his stomach as it voiced its complaints.
In the far corner of the circular room, Xen and Miranda both waved at him as they cautiously rose out of an overturned circular table they were using as their impromptu cover. Both had pistols in hand. Ranma nodded briefly and looked at the other end of the room to see Blasto and Buben interrogating an unarmored batarian. Said batarian was groaning in pain, clutching his right hand as it bleed from a bullet wound that bore straight into its palm. Ranma shivered, he could fit two fingers in there.
"At least he's alive, unlike a few other poor bastards." Ranma commented as he saw the batarian's other companions laid strewed over the tavern. He counted about eight corpses, either shot in the head, heart or mangled through biotic powers. A few had a mixture of both.
Including the batarian there were three more survivors, a trio of unconscious turians piled atop one another near Blasto and Buben. Their weapons, a mixture of pistols and sub-machine guns laid in another pile, on top a table placed in another corner of the room. Of the tavern staff or other occupants there were no sign, but Ranma guess they fled or hid.
"Oh, shut it, Old man!" Ranma interrupted as he took off his black slipper and threw at Genma. It smacked right into his cheek, and sent him tumbling into the floor.
"My food!" Genma continued as if Ranma had never attacked him.
"Ugh, why do I even bother?" The ponytailed boy asked himself as he shoved his hands in his pockets again and stalked off towards Blasto and Buben, skipping over the growing piles of blood.
"Relieved: Welcome back Ranma, did you take care of the group that followed you?" Buben said without turning around, over the chocking sobs of the batarian as Blasto cocked both his pistols.
"Ya, C-Sec should be taking them into custody." Ranma tilted his head as he stared at the batarian with a small amount of pity and glanced at Blasto. "Has he talked?"
"This One is pleased to say yes. Though it did not get much, It has a feeling that the criminal scum is keeping some information from us." Blasto answered as the batarian prisoner stared at the spectre's two pistols as they drew a bit closer with all four eyes and swallowed, freezing in place.
"Huh, what'd you get out of him?" Ranma asked, frowning.
"Evidently, there's been a bounty placed on you and your father to be captured, alive. It was posted up yesterday. By who, it doesn't know but it will certainly find out." Blasto answered.
Ranma blinked for a few seconds as his tongue rolled in his mouth as he considered what to say next. He rubbed his chin. "Hmph… is it high?"
Blasto told him.
Ranma whistled. "Damn, that's high." He looked back at the batarian and jerked a thumb towards him. "I don't think he knows anything more."
"Supportive: I concur, Blasto cuff him and let C-Sec do the rest. You shot him once, isn't that enough? Besides we have better things to do." Buben said as C-Sec sirens made themselves.
"…" Blasto glowed darkly as it lowered its pistols.
"Disappointed Sigh: Damn it. Blasto, you forgot the cuffs again, didn't you?"
"Ranma, may you please knock the batarian scum ou-"
"Already done," Ranma said as his fist flashed and slammed into the batarian's face, shattering his nose as it sent him into a painful unconsciousness. The ponytailed boy's face wrinkled as he looked at his blooded fist and searched around for a napkin or something. As he did, Ranma asked, "What shall we do now?"
"Badassfully: We get to the bottom of this."
"But before that, This One has a meeting with the Council," Blasto said, glowing brightly as it checked its omnitool. "And Ranma, you and your father are invited to join…" The hanar paused.
"Curious: What for?" Buben asked as he moved closer towards Blasto as did Ranma, who wiped his hands with a white piece of cloth. Xen and Miranda came up from behind and stood close to Ranma.
Genma was still moaning about his food and thus ignored by all.
And Blasto shut off his omnitool before anyone could look at it and turned everyone as they gathered around the spectre. "Change of plans, Ranma, It requests you come with me with all due haste."
"Worried: What's the matter, Blasto?" Buben asked, stepping forward as C-Sec officers screamed out warnings and orders to stand down outside. Blasto quickly reactivated his omnitool and tapped a number of keys. A few seconds later the commotion outside died down.
Blasto stared back at them, glowing dimly. "This One will tell you later, Buben."
"Sigh: Damn it, just remember though. You promised."
Blasto nodded. "Ranma, let's depart from this place." The hanar finished, motioning the ponytailed teen to follow him as it floated towards the door as C-Sec officers carefully advanced in, muttering quiet curses as they took in the scene.
"…Will they be fine? Cause, you know high bounty and all." Ranma said as he followed the spectre out the door, looking back with a hint of worry.
"Buben will take them back over to C-Sec for now. They'll be safe there and your father is with them in any case, he won't let them come to harm." Blasto answered as it floated into an open C-Sec response air-car and started it up.
"I'll take your word for it." Ranma muttered, sliding into the passenger seat from the other side. The doors immediately shut in and the car took off into the air with a burst of speed, streaking into the sky as its sirens came on. Ranma gripped a handle above the door, not bothering to put on his seatbelt. "So, since we're alone, mind telling me whats up?"
A tentacle floated into his view and an orange, holographic interface encased it as Blasto's omnitool turned on. Another tentacle snaked in and started tapping keys. A picture appeared and Ranma felt a strange wave of deja vu as he stared at it.
"Ranma, This One asks, what do you know of the individual known as Ryoga Hibiki?"