Border of Sol Non Interference Preserve, time date: classified
Somewhere along the Sol border, in sector J0315, at coordinates 145.843 by 181.56 by 250.4, a fleet of ships hovers expectantly. If one looked closely, a contemporary galactic observer would note that the Fleet was composed of Juraian TreeShips , Ships of the Line and GP capital cruisers. An astute observer, though, would recognize that the said ships matched no currently known profile -they certainly would not fit into the conventional Juraian equivalent of Jane's Ships of the Line. At least not for another 700 years or so. Most of the differences were cosmetic in appearance and could pass off as Covert Ops enhancements. An especially astute observer, however would take note of the bulbous appendages that extend out at slanted angles from the Treeships. But this is getting ahead of ourselves. Or rather, behind ourselves.
Translation in T-minus 1 minute 45 seconds. All Flight Crew should now be in Stasis chambers A disembodied voice cut across space.
On the bridge of the flagship Tsunami, the First Empress of Jurai absentmindedly watches the various screens that dot the command bubble. Nominally she is overseeing the final preparations for the Temporal Jump. However the Trees are the real taskmasters here. She knows she should rejoice, for finally the Emperor will achieve resolution to his millennia-age old problem. But, did he really need a quarter of the Fleet, plus the Galaxy Police to do it? Something felt out of place here, though Ayeka can't quite pinpoint what that is. And yet he was the Emperor, and he was doing what was best. And really, it was Wahsu's fault for causing the whole mess to begin with. So thinking, the First Empress Ayeka leaves the bridge for her Stasis Pod.
"No Need for Doubles!"
Chapter Two: Enter the Empress
Translation in T-minus 14 seconds. All Fleet ships adjust Wing harmonics to compensate for field variance.
All was silent on the bridge for the next minute,
Translation commencing the disembodied voice of Tsunami continues to sing. Please stand by
Space warped and curved in on itself. Time Froze. The fleets hung motionless in the space between stars as history undid itself, the weave of Time reversed its course, and events became non-events. Vast amounts of energy were consumed as the Light Hawk Wings contracted and expanded, forming a Time-Space bubble around the Fleets. Suddenly the energy field collapsed, Time began to move forward again. Space straightened out. The Fleets rejoined normal space.
Translation complete the Ship intoned. Successful reintegration to N-space. Disengaging Temporal Flight Controllers [a pause] Initiating All System Check and TreeCore Diagnostic Program [ a pause] Fleet re-flight startup in sequence. Initiating Main Drive Generators [ a pause] Resuscitation commencing [a pause] Begin Crew Resuscitation [a pause] Crew Status Biosweep in progress. [a pause] Crew Status Data List Compiling [a pause] Begin Imperial Party Resuscitation [a pause] Imperial Party Status Biosweep in progress [ a pause] Imperial Party Status Data List Compiling [ a pause] All System Check is normal. TreeCore Diagnostic is positive. We are green for Normal Flight Mode. Time at T plus 5 minutes
Emergency Flight Mode is in recension. Normal Flight Mode is in effect
The Fleet, until now running on automatic through the intervention of Tsnumai, rolled over Flight Operations to its human -or in this case Juraian- complement.
-Bridge of the Tsunmai, Jurai Flagship
250,000km beyond Sol System Oort Cloud
"When are we?" The Emperor demands, upon returning to his Throne.
"According to Doppler Star shift comparisons, Earth Standard Year 1999, comparable to Jurai Star Year 5349," Communications answers.
"More precisely!" snaps the Emperor.
Communications checks her read-out and amends her report: "The second week of the human month of June."
"Excellent, we're in time," The Emperor thought aloud. No one replied
"Prepare the Imperial Launch. Have the Empress meet me there," The Emperor said, as he left the bridge.
"Yes, Majesty," Communications replied.
"Send to Fleet, Mikado Jurai is departing. Imperial Launch is preparing for launch. Begin Phase Two," the watch-commander ordered.
"Aye, sir, sending to Fleet: Mikado Jurai departing, Imperial Launch preparing for launch, Begin Phase Two, Operation Restoration," Communications said, relying the commands as she spoke.
Once all ships had confirmed the orders, the watch-commander issued his next set. "Helm. Set course to Sol 3, least time intercept, normal combat stealth mode."
"Course to Sol 3 plotted and ready, aye sir. Least time intercept estimated at 13.5 hours. Normal Combat Stealth mode engaged."
"Helm, retract Light Hawk Wings."
"Retracting Light Hawk Wings, aye sir."
The emperor of course was kept abreast of developments on the bridge, and even as he fumes at the additional time it will take to reach 'Earth', an unpleasant grin paints itself across his face. "At last, I'm coming for you, 'Little' Wahsu," the Emperor says to no one in particular, and his hands gripped the Tenchi-ken even harder. The remaining gem glowed deep red for a minute, then faded back to a dull garnet.
-Masaki Residence and Shrine
Okayama Prefecture, Japan, Earth (-2 hours before Arrival)
At the Masaki residence, things were normal -at least as normal as normal can be when your house is host to 5 captivating alien women, all vying for your affections.
"Ahh another beautiful morning," the Guardian Azaka remarked to his colleague, Guardian Kamidake.
"Yes, another fine day," indeed the other Guardian answered. "Such a peaceful way to spend our days in service to Jurai."
"I wonder if this will be the day Princess Ayeka and Ryoko stop their fighting. It would be the perfect cap to a millennium of service." Sweat drops formed on both logs for a minute.
"R-R-Y-Y-O-K-O-O-O!"A high-pitched feminine voice screamed in the near distance. A loud CRASSSH resounded through the early morning sunlight moments later, scaring off nesting cranes. Silence reigned again after a few moments. Then Kamidake spoke again. "Then again, there's always tomorrow."
"Indeed," Azaka nodded sagely. They went back to observing the outside world. Curiously, neither of the Guardians registered the entrance of the Juraian Fleet into the system, though their observation packages where programmed for just that.
(In her lab, Washu notices the translation, but doesn't give it a second thought, minute spatial-temporal field fluctuations in the vicinity of the Martian Asteroid Belts being a common enough occurrence. She might have given it more than passing thought, though if she had known that this particular flux involved Juraian TreeShips. That is, if her monitors had been able to see them. The fact that the ships did not register on her scanners, reflected the care that had gone into stealth-cloaking technology in the intervening centuries, as did the masking program utilized to hide the true origin of the temporal fluctuation, all based on Wahsu's own research. Still, the computer did pick up some familiar Juraian bio- patterns coming out of the fluctuation, and electronically flagged them for Washu's attention. Not having instructions to the contrary, though, the monitoring devices went on with their sweep. Washu leaves her lab a few minutes later to grab a bite to eat, right before the Proximity Alert detects the arrival of a non-Terrestial object in near-Earth orbit.)
Katsuhito looks up as the sound of wind-chimes ringing in a (non-existant) breeze comes to his ear. He stands, staring off into the distance as the glow from Funaho resonates briefly with...something. The moment passes though, with no further communication from the Tree, and Katsuhito-dono goes back to sweeping the shrine grounds.
Tenchi comes outside the house surveying the devastation to the yard. 'What are they arguing about this time?' He thought angrily to himself, 'who gets to sit next to me at dinner?'
As if in answer to his question, little Princess Sasami steps outside, still wearing her cooking apron with the big carrot on it, with a fidgeting Ryo-ohki perched on her forehead. "They're fighting over who gets to sit next to you at breakfast, again," she says with a knowing sigh. An imaginary sweat drop appears over Tenchi's head, echoed by Sasami as another tree comes flying by the rush of it's passing swirling grass and hair. The two stand in the doorway and watch the escalating argument.
"Really though, I think they just do it to keep themselves occupied, all that pent up energy from a forced sedentary existence can't be good for them," a voice that was not quite Sasami's says after a minute. "Ah, but you don't have to tell them I said that. It might make them upset"
"Hmmm" Tenchi nodds, wincing as yet another gouge was torn into the yard, barely missing a stone outcropping that leads up to the Masaki Shrine.
It is at that minute that Mihoshi sticks her head out the second story window.. "Oy! Could you two keep it down, over there. I'm trying to sleep and I have a splitting headache."
"Um, maybe you shouldn't drink so much, Mihoshi" Sasami offered helpfully. "then you might not have those bad headaches." "Or choose a softer color palete for your room."
"Oh, I never thought of that. Thanks Sasami, I'll try that next time," Mihoshi says a little too brightly, offering an overly effusive apology. Both Sasami and Tenchi renew their sweat drops.
Wahsu chooses this moment to come outside -her stomach telling her the best way to obtain the necessary nutrition was to humor the resident cook, her GPS sensors telling her where that cook was, and her excellent audio-enhancers filling her in on the situation outside..
"Oh my, a shooting star," Mihoshi, who has not, as was expected, withdrawn back to her futon, says suddenly, leaning further out of the window and pointing up to the sky. Ayeka and Ryoko look in the general direction where Mihoshi is pointing, temporarily breaking off their argument .
"Um, Mishoshi, its broad daylight. Even the brightest star is too dim to be seen now," Ayeka pointed out. "I'm sorry, but I just don't see it."
"That's 'cause, princess, you don't have the eyes for it. *I* on the other hand, can see our visitor quite clearly, and whatever it is, it's no shooting star."
Ayeka's mouth opens and closes, fists clench tightly at her side as she fights to restrain her temper since Tenchi is now outside.
"It's coming closer...and it's headed straight for us!" Mihoshi gasps. "What do we do?"
'Nonsense, Mihoshi, there's no way that a shooting star could be headed our direction," Ayeka chides the GP Officer.
"Unless its on an impact trajectory," Ryoko added, "and even then Washu would have let us know. Hey Tenchi, what do you think? Should we be worried?" She asks sweetly, looking over in his direction. "I think it's a ship of Jurai, come to finally take Princess Peagreen home, where she belongs." "As opposed to the GP finally deciding that you're not worth overlooking any longer?" Ayeka replies in a false tone of sweetness.
Tenchi looks up, following the gaze of the girls, ignoring their byplay. A star pulsates in the sky glowing bright in the sunlight? As he watches it seems to speed up. Everyone stares transfixed, as the light appears to change direction, and speed, just like Mihoshi said. As the pulsating star comes closer it becomes apparent that indeed it is a ship -and an Imperial Juraian TreeShip at that. Unlike most air-born visitors to his home, this ship was not spinning wildly out of control. It was in fact coming down quite deliberately, quite fast. And aiming for his house. 'Oh no' he groans to himself, 'not _another_ one'.
Tenchi was surprised to see that the ship was of Juraian origin. He was even more surprised when the green sphere deposited what looked like the Juraian emperor -though he knew that Azusa was nowhere near the Earth- two feet from the surface. When the emperor summoned his logs and began firing on Washu, though, Tenchi really flipped out.
From out of nowhere, Azaka and Kamidake appeared. Which was strange considering that Tenchi could look past the commotion and see them resting quietly at their posts. But this point of information quickly made way for more important things, like survival, and protection, as a battle had commenced, and for the Home Team, was going badly.
"Now you die, Washu!" The Emperor roared, "Azaka, Kamidakeཀ Hold her!" he commands.
"Hai, Mikado!" the two Guardians responded a little too eagerly -excited to be about the business of their master, even if he was a few centuries late about the business. Appearing on either side of the diminutive scientist, they instantly capture her inside a transparent energy bubble, lifting her off the ground.. The helpless scientist tumbles around the confines of her cell, red hair flying out in as waves of static electricity pulsate throughout the sphere.
"Crush the life out of her!" The Emperor snarled, a curled fist raised high. If nothing else, his logs have grown bigger. The Guardians draw in more energy, as they prepare to compact the energy sphere. The hum of Juraian power can be heard quite plainly by all present, its intensity picking up with each passing second.
"No! Azaka, Kimadake, I command you to desist!" A voice, a different, yet familiar voice calls.
"Ayeka,"The Emperor snaps, "Back off. This is not your concern"
Ayeka? Tenchi blinks, and looks over Ayeka who suddenly appears much paler than usual. Ryoko is just as troubled.
"Not this time, Tenchi, And yes. It is. My concern. I will not let you do this. Not here. Not now. Not using my Guardians! Besides, crush her now, and we'll never find the Device. So drop the shields" The woman identified as Ayeka says sternly, refusing to back down. To buttress her argument, minature logs surround the space around the guardians, and around the man.
Tenchi? Now Tenchi is looking at the emperor, and glancing nervously about him. Sasami backs away from the commotion, while Ryo-ohki hisses, but as nothing is being directed toward her or Sasami, is content to remain where she is.
The Emperor glares at the Empress Ayeka for a minute, before dampening the fields and releasing Washu in an obvious gesture of disgust. The sphere pops out of existence and Washu tumbles to the ground, her hair even more in disarray than usual. His eyes, locking with the Empress gives off a palpably murderous message. The Empress Ayeka returns the look with a calm, haughty demeanor. Energy crackling at eye level almost seems to pass between them. Finally the Emperor backs down.
Satisfied that the Emperor is not going to attack again, or do anything foolish for once, the Empress Ayeka walks over to the badly shaken scientist, and helps her up from the heap where the Guardians had deposited her.
"I apologize for the Emperor's treatment of you Washu, he let his emotions run wild for a moment," she says wiping the dust and grass off Washu's blouse. "You understand how men can be sometimes, acting on sheer emotion without a lick of reason." The red head bobs up and down. "Again, we apologize for the manner of our entrance, but you see, we have a problem that only you can solve for us, and we're in a bit of a hurry. We need to know the location of one of your inventions, the..."
"Nope, won't tell you," Washu said, a smirk crossing her face, cutting the Empress off.
"What?!" Ayeka screams, all sense of equanimity leaving the purple-haired Empress as she picks the scientist by the scruff of her collar and begins shaking her like a rag doll. "-ot ...-nlss ...-ou ...-all ...-e ... ittle... -ashu-u-u-u!" is all that comes out of the scientist's voice, or at least all that the Empress heard.
From his corner, the Emperor Tenchi smiles, darkly.
"Put her down, Ayeka," Emperor Tenchi commands. The empress looks over at the Emperor, who by now has calmed down and is sitting in a chair provided by attendants.
"But Tench...". Ayeka tries to interject.
"Down, Ayeka" he replies in a voice that brokered no room for noncompliance, and this time it is the Empress who backs down..
Ayeka complies meekly, and Emperor Tenchi returns his attention to the scientist.
"All right then, we'll play it your way, "Little" Washu," Emperor Tenchi says. "Now. Where is the Device?"
"Wha...what device?" she asks genuinely perplexed at the Emperor's question, and more than a little wary at the intensity of the emperor's gaze.
"That diabolical Device you used on me. The Split-Infinity Drive Generation Compensator," The Emperor says flatly. "That thing you claim is the mythical Perpetual Motion Device which proves your colleagues wrong."
"Ohh, THAT device. I don't have it Come back in a few months". She says with a completely straight face, while blowing them off.
"What?" The imperials cry out in tandem.
"I don't have it because I haven't built it yet. Sillies. Tee-hee," Washu repeats herself. "But I will! Don't you worry about that! Now I have a question for _you_ though. How did you even know about it? True it is simply my greatest invention ever! But its not completed yet. Heck, its not even off the drawing-board yet. And its supposed to be a secret," she asks, turning a frown in the emperor's direction.
"Uhm, excuse me, but who are you, exactly?" Tenchi asks, coming up to the trio, but taking a step back when the cold brown eyes swung to look him over with disapproval, yet still taking the momentary lapse in hostilities to seek something approaching understanding of what has just befallen his relatively peaceful morning.
The emperor rests his gaze on Tenchi for a long moment, before replying. "I'm you, of course."
"Okay, but what does that have to do with me?" Tenchi asks, more confused than ever. Three sighs are his only answer.
Meanwhile, the rest of the Masaki clan has become increasingly dumfounded by this turn of events, and were increasingly becoming nonplussed about the whole thing. There had to be a reasonable explanation for this, and most of those present assumed it had something to do with Washu, as she was the center of attention for the visitors. No one had a clue what to do, not Mihoshi who had fallen backwards when the logs came out, and was still scrambling around for her control cube and gun. Not Ayeka who stood her ground trembling. Not Sasami, who had a nervous look on her face. But there's always Ryoko. You can always count on Ryoko What she lacks in graces and strategy sometimes is more than made up for in action. Whether or not said action is warranted, appreciated, or really necessary, you could count on her to make a stir.
"Heyyy!" she snarls, teleporting between Washu and the imperial Tenchi-Ayeka duo, holding her energy sword erect.
"What business do you have impersonating my friends and bothering my mo..." were all she got out of her mouth.
The emperor causally raised his hand, and Ryoko was surrounded by a Juraian energy field cutting her energy sword in two. Pushing out with his hand, he flung Ryoko the equivalent of 2 city blocks, all without touching her. She landed against a tree, which snapped under the force.
This action stunned the rest of the household into an unbelieving silence.
"Now that We have your attention, it is time for you to talk Washu," the Emperor Tenchi says meaningfully, after a glance in Ryoko's direction to see whether he needed a more powerful follow-up. As Sasami and Ryo-ohki were hurrying over to the prone space-pirate, the answer was no.
"It'll take a while to properly set up to receive your Majestys as they are accustomed to being received," a contrite Washu said, for the moment abashed.
The emperor, though was having none of it. "We have all the time we need, 'Little' Washu. Make whatever preparations you want. We'll wait"
"Ahhh" Washu replies, beginnig to fiddle nervously with a small red crab.
"Might I suggest Conference room Alpha -3, as a suitable environ for the continuation of our meeting?" the Emperor asks, after a pause.
Washu blanched at the preciseness of the location.
"We'd better go before the native observation platforms notice us," The Emperor comments, and waves his hand, and the launch closes up and heads for the disguised hanger in the lake.
"After you" the Emperor gestures, taking in the entire group, including the woozy Ryoko who had rejoined them. Seeing little choice in the matter, Washu leads the way into house.
TO BE CONTINUED...
Coming up in Chapter Three: Enter the Scientist
"Sasami is dead," a bleak Washu said. "It was Ryoko"
"Now there are two of you, Tenchi"