Tenchi Universe: No Need for a Team-Up!
Disclaimer: I don't own any of these characters except for the original ones. The characters you do recognize are copyrighted by their respective companies. I'm not making any money off this fanfic. ^ ^ indicates thoughts. ~ ~ indicates telepathy.
Chapter 1: A Chance Encounter
Somewhere far, far away on the jungle planet of Nieurt, Nagi, the best bounty hunter in the universe, wearily plodded on. If someone had been able to see her face underneath the shadows her hooded cloak cast they would have seen sorrow etched on her features. Her companion, Ken-ohki the Cabbit, was hopping alongside her and also had a melancholic expression on his cat-like/rabbit-like face. The causes of their depression were relatively easy to figure out if one had any backstory on the pair: Ryoko and Ryo-ohki, both believed to be dead now.
"Ryoko," Nagi growled, "you won't escape me. I won't stop searching for you until you're found! And you better still be alive when I find you because if you're dead I'll never forgive you!" ^And what will I do if you are dead?^ Nagi morosely thought to herself. She honestly didn't know. Ryoko had been the only real challenge she'd ever had. The thought of defeating and capturing her was what inspired Nagi to get better, improve, etc. Without Ryoko to pursue, her life would be a whole lot emptier.
Looking down at her pet cabbit and possibly only real friend she sighed sadly. "Sorry Ken-ohki, but you know just as well as I do that cabbits and their 'owners' can't live without each other once they've bonded. If Ryoko's dead then so is Ryo-ohki."
"Chow," Ken-ohki mournfully moaned. Noticing his distress, Nagi attempted a smile and, with fake cheer, said, "Don't worry though. Ryoko _can't_ be dead. I won't allow her to be dead. I'm sure we'll find her soon. Heck, she might even be at our next stop." She wasn't sure whom she was trying to fool: Ken-ohki or herself.
"Chow!" Ken-ohki cheerfully bounded ahead, eager to get to their intended destination: The Docks, a bar on the fringes of civilized space which was also a common hangout for thieves, pirates, criminals, and lowlife of all kinds. It was Nagi's hope that someone there would have information on Ryoko. She doubted it though. Ever since Ryoko had dropped that Earth-boy, Tenchi, on Jurai she'd disappeared off the face of the universe. Nobody had seen hide or hair of her for months.
~Ken-ohki, wait for me.~ Nagi commanded through their telepathic link. Ken-ohki obligingly stopped and waited. He was just as eager to find Ryoko as Nagi was because where Ryoko was Ryo-ohki, his love, would be also. He prayed to the heavens that she was still alive.
The scream seemed to split the night air, echoing back and forth across the valley. A recently formed column of dark greenish blue ki plummeted from the sky to the ground below causing a massive explosion, forming a huge crater and destroying everything nearby. A cloud of dust slowly rose. Out of this dust appeared Ryouga, glowing with dark ki-energy, depression radiating off him in waves.
"Why?" he asked his surroundings, not expecting an answer but hoping to receive one nonetheless. "Why did they have to get married?!!" he now yelled. He remembered it all so clearly. He'd finally found Nerima again after having gotten lost and was trying to find the Tendo Dojo when he'd bumped into Ukyo who'd looked even more depressed than he usually did. Curious and worried, half-suspecting what the problem was, he'd asked her what was wrong and waited anxiously for her answer. He hadn't had to wait long.
Collecting herself Ukyo informed him of the 'happy' news: Akane and Ranma had finally gotten married. Fearing what would happen if they had a public ceremony, they'd chosen to elope instead and had been gone for more than a week. Ryouga froze upon hearing this news, his heart of glass breaking. With only the smallest amount of interest he listened to what had happened next. Genma and Soun, a bit upset at first because of the elopement, were now overjoyed. Kuno Tatewaki was furious and had been seen practicing kendo with an insane determination. His sister, Kodachi, had locked herself in her greenhouse and hadn't been seen since. Mousse was practically dancing in the streets from happiness while Cologne plotted something. Shampoo was very distressed and had been seen crying lately. He'd tuned her out from there, and, with a muttered "Excuse me," ran into the night. That had been yesterday, and he hadn't stopped running yet.
"Whyyyyyy-yyyy?" his anquished voice asked one more time, his ki growing even larger as his depression swelled, lighting up the entire area with a dark green light. If he fought Ranma now Ryouga knew he'd finally defeat him but what would be the point? Ranma had won the important battle, Akane's heart. This bitter knowledge only served to make Ryouga's depression and rage greater.
"Ranma," he muttered weakly, brokenly. "This is...all...your...fault."
Nagi cursed and jumped, narrowly avoiding the laser beam. Her whip and sword were drawn, and she was on her guard. Beside her lay an unconscious Ken-ohki. Usually when she walked into a bar no one noticed her until she decided to make her presence known. That was usually. Tonight was turning out rather unusually.
"Hehehe, they're 50 of us and 1 of you. If you surrender I promise a painless death. Continue fighting, and, well, I'm sure we all can think of ways to have fun with you," the de facto leader of the angry mob said with a leer, admiring Nagi's body with undisguised lust.
Nagi felt disgust rise up within her. Fighting back the first retort that came to mind she put on a mask of confidence. "On the contrary, I'd say the odds are even. I am the best bounty hunter in the universe, after all."
A few of the more cowardly lowlifes looked nervous for a moment but soon took courage in their numbers. The leader, a renegade Jurain, grinned viciously. "Oh, I think I know what the _real_ odds are here. _This_ is for all of us that you've sent to jail!" He raised his arm that ended in a laser cannon and took aim. Nagi took a breath and gripped her whip tighter. This was going to require a lot of speed.
"Excuse me, but could someone tell me where I -- WHAT THE H*LL IS GOING ON HERE?!!" A silence overtook the room as everyone slowly turned their heads and stared at the newcomer. He was a little over 5 1/2 feet tall, with dark hair and green eyes, dressed in a loosely fitting yellow and brown outfit, carrying a huge pack on his back and wielding a red umbrella. Overall, not the most intimidating appearance. What was intimidating about him was the green aura surrounding him for about 4 feet in every direction. It writhed and almost seemed to howl in despair. Those closest to him fearfully and carefully moved back.
The stranger's eyes scanned the room, taking in everything and everyone before focusing in on the leader. The leader, appearing a bit shaky at first, gathered his courage and sneered at the newcomer. "I don't know who you are, but if you value your life you'll walk away from this."
"I don't think so. I don't know why all of you seem intent on murdering that woman-" the stranger pointed at Nagi who was looking at him curiously. "-but it's obvious to anyone that she's not the villian in this little drama I've walked in on. As a man of honor, my duty is clear."
"Too bad for you then." The Jurain cocked an eyebrow and re-aimed his laser cannon prosthesis, this time targeting the stranger. "Any last words before you die?"
The stranger grinned mirthlessly, revealing fangs. "A few." He nimbly tossed his backpack into a corner and held his umbrella threateningly. "I'm Hibiki Ryouga. Prepare to die."
The Jurain shrugged and fired his weapon. Two things happened simultaneously: Nagi's whip wrapped itself around the cannon and pulled it up, causing the discharge to blow a hole through the ceiling, and Ryouga lunged to the side, swinging his umbrella. Within minutes the entire bar was engulfed in a free-for-all.
Jump. Kick. Punch. Roundhouse. Block. Duck. Swing. Toss.
Ryouga's fighting instincts had completely taken over as he made his way through the mass of criminals, defending himself while trying to take out as many of them as possible. For the moment he was ignoring the fact that many of them didn't seem human. Heck, some of them even had tentacles.
~Figures,~ he thought to himself. ~I go into a bar to find out where I am and end up trying to rescue a girl I don't even know. Speaking of which, where is she?~ Risking a quick glance out of his left eye he spotted her weaving through the mob, taking out people left and right with her fists, legs, whip, sword, and anything else she could use. Ryouga paid for this when he felt a painful electrical discharge strike him in his back. Turning he saw what he could only describe as a walking giant eel. He didn't have time for more thoughts as the eel shot bolt after bolt of electricity at him. With a painful cry Ryouga fell to the ground, his skin scorched. He wasn't out of it though. While falling he extended his index finger and shouted, "BAKUSAI TENKETSU!" Those around him were utterly unprepared for what happened next.
The floor cracked and blew up, sending heavy chunks of rock and wood in all directions and generating a small cloud of rock fragments and wood chips, obscuring visibility. Taking advantage of this Ryouga quickly jumped back onto his feet and swung his umbrella around, putting his full strength behind it. Exclamations of pain and the sound of rough contact being made soon followed. It was then that what remained of the ceiling dissolved in a golden orange light.
Squinting his eyes against the fading brightness, Ryouga looked up and straight into the laser cannon of a Class X-M2 Orjikat Spaceship. Of course, Ryouga didn't know what a Class X-M2 Orjikat Spaceship was but when one sees a lethal-looking black flying object shaped like a battle ax about 400 feet in length only 50 feet above with a giant tube glowing orange pointed right at you one generally knows that it's trouble.
"Nagi! You sssent my brother to jail where he ressseived a life sssentence! You're going to pay for that! Eat my lasssersss!" an angry and half-crazed similian voice shouted out of a loudspeaker. Nagi looked up from where she was knocking one of the last members of the mob unconscious and cursed. Tonight was definitely not one of her better nights.
Ryouga looked straight at his approaching death and saw his life flash before his eyes: all the pain, all the anger, all the humiliating defeats, his curses, his despair, his lost love, his entire tragic existence in painful clarity. Before he'd always had the faint hope that maybe, just maybe he could win Akane's heart. Now he no longer did. It dawned on him that he no longer had any good reason to go on so why not go out in one last hurrah? His dark green ki flared around him and swelled as he cupped his hands together and concentrated. A small sphere of ki appeared between his hands and began to grow. Energy crackled dangerously in the air and small objects were tossed all around as Ryouga dredged up all of his anger and despair and used them to set his ki ablaze, much like feeding wood to a fire. Ryouga poured more and more ki into the sphere, putting everything he had into it. Now it was all or nothing, and Ryouga was determined to win even if it killed him. Behind the haze of despair, anger, and resolution his mind had become an inner voice began sending off alarms, warning him that this was going to be the biggest ki attack he'd ever released so far and that he'd be completely drained afterwards. Ryouga ignored this voice and continued. The ship fired. So did Ryouga.
The sheer force of the ki attack blew down what remained of the Docks as it sped towards the orange laser beam. The two collided. A mammoth struggle ensued as each one tried to overpower the other. After what seemed like a short eternity but which was really only a few seconds, it became obvious that the laser beam was no match for Ryouga's unending depression and anger. The ShiShiHoukoudan seemed to swallow its opponent as it continued on its way, striking the enemy spaceship.
Dust, ash, and metal rained down from heaven, the remains of the Class X-M2 Orjikat Spaceship. A tired smile graced Ryouga's face before he collapsed to the ground, exhausted. Nagi gracefully rolled out from behind the cover she'd taken and surveyed her surroundings, taking it all in. The Docks was in ruins, and she was the only one left standing.
"Chow?" Ken-ohki groggily asked as he slowly came to.
Nagi raised an eyebrow. "'Bout time," she scolded him. "What have I told you about separating from me while in a bar?"
"Look, I don't care if you thought you saw a carrot! Next time stay on my shoulder, okay?"
"Good. We should probably get going now."
"What about him?" Nagi asked, indicating Ryouga's unconscious body.
"Yeah, he did help me in there, I'll admit that. But that doesn't warrant-"
Nagi snorted. "Fine, fine. I'll give him a lift. Since when did you become my conscience?"
"Chow," Ken-ohki 'chowed' smugly.
"Cabbits," Nagi said sarcastically. "Can't live with them, can't get around the galaxy without them. Well c'mon! Let's go! Obviously Ryoko and Ryo-ohki aren't here."
Ken-ohki leapt, more like soared, into the air and morphed into a giant crystalline white spaceship with a yellow jewel in the center. He emitted a red beam that picked up both Nagi and the still unconscious lost boy. Both quickly rose into the air and disappeared inside Ken-ohki as the Cabbit headed off into outer space.
End Chapter 1.