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TOCCATA AND FUGUE [WIP]

a Ranma ½ fan fiction story
by J. S. Levine (AKA Patch Monkey)

'Mystery Fanfic Reading'
by Adrian D. Moten

Disclaimer: Ranma (Ranma ½) belongs to Rumiko Takahashi. Celine Jules (Star Ocean: The Second Story) belongs to Enix. Tenchi, Mihoshi, and Washu (Tenchi Muyo!) belong to Pioneer.


Ranma looked around the empty halls of where he stood. "Okay, where am I?"

A giant sign dropped from the ceiling, nearly whacking our favorite martial artist in the head had he not rolled out of the way. He stood up and read the inscription embedded in its surface. "Mystery Fanfic Reading?" He squinted his eyes and read the fine print. "Not associated with Mystery Science Theatre 3000."

"Hello, darling," Celine Jules said as she came down one of the hallways.

Ranma eeped. "Don't tell me you're another fiancée?!"

"Er… no, I'm not…"

Ranma breathed a sigh of relief.

"…but, if you like…"

Ranma eeped again.

Celine laughed softly, tossing back her platinum hair. "Relax… I have someone else in mind. I got a letter to show up here like I would imagine you did, darling."

"Um, yeah, I did." He paused for a moment. "Could you stop calling me darling?"

"Of course, darling."

Ranma sighed. "Never mind." He cleared his throat. "So, who're we s'posed to meet, again?"

Celine thought back. "I think we are to meet someone by the name… Washu-chan, I believe."

"Great. We get an invite from a kid." Ranma unconsciously started to look for a door out.

Surprisingly, one appeared right in front of him out of thin air. He blinked dumbly as it slid open, revealing a little girl around the age of twelve with a thick mane of red pulled back in a way to make the bangs stand out similar to that of a crab's body and legs. Behind her stood a young man, around Ranma's age, with short, spiky black hair and a tiny ponytail tied in the back of his head. Beside him was a bubbly blonde with bronze skin and almost vacant blue eyes.

The redhead stepped out, followed by the other two. The door closed back and disappeared into thin air. "Hey there! I see you two made it after all!"

Ranma tilted his head to one side. "You're Washu?"

"That's Washu-chan to you, the greatest scientific genius in the universe!" She cackled madly as two miniature version of Washu sprang up onto her shoulders.

"Yes, Washu-chan!"

"You're the greatest, Washu-chan!

Ranma and Celine both sweatdropped. The young boy behind Washu groaned and covered his eyes.

The blonde only smiled. "So, Washu-chan, why are we here?"

"It's very simple Mihoshi. We have been called in by—" The little redhead girl froze in mid sentence and whipped around to face the taller woman.

"Mihoshi! What are you doing here?!"

"Um, I got lost in your lab, and I thought this was the way out."

Washu's eyes doubled in size. "What were you doing in my lab?!"

"Oh, Sasami sent me to get you and Tenchi for breakfast. She didn't want your meals to get cold."

She blinked. "How did you get into my lab?"

Mihoshi smiled. "Oh, that was easy. I just opened the closet door like everyone else does."

Washu blinked again, then mumbled to herself. "Just how did she disable the anti-Mihoshi lock I put on that doorway? She's a genius, I tell you…"

Then the image of the last time Mihoshi was in her lab came to mind.

"Mihoshi…" she asked with a voice straining to remain calm. "While you were in my lab, did you touch anything?"

Mihoshi put a finger to her lips. " Um… well, I don't think so…"

Washu sighed in relief. "Well, that's great to hear. Now, that's settled, we should really be getting this Mystery Fanfic Reading program started." She lifted her hands and immediately began to zoom her fingers over the keys of a transparent keyboard. "And now… HIT IT!" Washu cried, tapping what may have been the "Enter" key.

Nothing happened.

Washu sweatdropped, then turned to Mihoshi. "Mihoshi, tell me, did something in my lab break by chance."

"…well," the blonde began, tears brimming at the rim of her eyes. "…there was that button I sat on by accident…" She sniffed. "I'm sorry…"

Tenchi lightly touched Mihoshi's shoulder. "It's all right. It's probably just a coincidence."

"…that only happens when Mihoshi's around," Washu muttered under her breath. "Well, I'll just go check it out. Be back in a minute." Washu's nimble finger flew over the almost invisible panel. Within a few seconds a door appeared.

Well, half a door. The section with the knob was missing.

Washu blinked, then tried it again. Again, she got the same results. "Oh, no…"

"What is it Washu-chan?" Tenchi asked.

"I can't call up the dimensional doorway. Something must be interfering with its operation. Now to analyze the pattern…"

Celine leaned over to Ranma as the red-haired genius proceeded to tap away on her transparent keyboard. "Did you understand all of that?"

"Not a word."

Washu grabbed her head in frustration. "I don't get it. I can't imagine anything in my lab that would interfere with the dimensional doorway…" She trailed off, looking to Mihoshi again. "Mihoshi, can you tell me exactly where the button was when you sat on it?"

"Oh, sure," she almost cried out in joy. "It was right over in that corner of your lab with the blue swirly lights."

Washu paled.

Tenchi noticed Washu's reaction. "What's wrong, Washu-chan?"

"Oh, nothing is wrong, if you don't consider the fact that since the resident disaster area has just detonated an as yet untested hyper-dimensional fusion spatial warhead within a universe that I just created in a pocket dimension and haven't had a chance to stabilize, the feedback and aftershocks it's giving off is discombobulating all quantum signals. We'll be unable to return to our correct quantum signature for an indeterminate amount of time!"

Everyone else blinked.

"Um, Washu-chan, what exactly does all that mean?" Mihoshi asked.

Washu's left eye twitched. Digging her nails into the palm of her hands, she slowly stated in a controlled, condescending voice, "Mihoshi, until I can figure out how to stabilize the dimensional flux, we cannot go home, and you are going to be missing 'Moldiver' for who knows how long."

Her blue eyes widened in abject horror. "Oh, no! I'm going to miss today's episode!" She wailed at the thought.

Tenchi tried his best to calm down the Galaxy Police Officer.

Ranma only stared at the blonde in wonderment. "Polite like Kasumi, bubbly like Shampoo, klutzy like Akane, and cries like Tendo-san. Go figure…"

Celine adjusted the cone of her hat. "So, Washu-chan darling, what does that mean for Ranma and I?"

Washu swiped a crabby lock out of her face. "You two are stuck here as well, I'm afraid."

"What?!" Ranma grabbed her by her shoulders. "Tell me you got to be kiddin'!"

"I don't kid about these kinds of situations. Now let go before I turn you into a kappa."

Ranma blinked, then snorted. "Yeah, I'll believe when I see it. I don't see Jusenkyou around anywhere."

Noticing that Ranma hadn't let go yet, she tapped a button on her keyboard. "You asked for it."

Ranma shrank down into nothingness. Celine gasped as she was now looking as two little kappa making funny sounds that were more than likely strings of cursing.

Tenchi remembered the first time Washu had turned Ryoko and Ayeka into kappa. He really didn't like the feeling then, and he certainly didn't like it now. "Washu-chan, would you change them back?"

Washu blinked. "Them?" She looked down to the floor, looking at the two little kappa hopping up and down. "Why are there two of them? I only changed Ranma."

Tenchi blinked, then finally saw Celine staring at the sight before her. He saw Mihoshi was untouched, and there was no one else around Ranma at the time. "Then who's the other water sprite?"

Washu frowned, then began to tap away on her keyboard. "We're going to find out in a second…" Shortly after that, the kappa changed onto people again, one male with black hair, and one female with red hair. They uniformly blinked at Washu, then at each other.

"No way…" the two said as one. They began to pat themselves down, then the male started to pat the female down.

She smacked his hand away. "Hey, you pervert! Those are mine, you know!"

"Pervert? Who're you calling a pervert?! That's my body you're in, you know!"

"So you want to be a girl, eh?"

"No! It's just… what are you doing over there?"

"Standing, baka…"

No, no, no! You're me, but I'm over here…"

As one, they turned on Washu. "What did you do to me?!"

Her fingers were already flying over the transparent keys. "Aside from the various details that separate the males from the female species, you two are exactly the same person. How…?"

They blinked again as realization came to them in a blinding flash. "Hot and cold water!"

Celine glanced at them. "What?"

"We need some hot and cold water now!"

Mihoshi, who had already recovered from her tearful episode earlier, spoke, "I don't think now is the time for a bath."

"Um, I don't think they mean to take one, Mihoshi," Tenchi said to her before addressing the two kappa-turned-back-humans. "What's going on… Ranma?"

"Long story," the black haired youth said.

"I believe we will have more than enough time to hear it, darlings," Celine replied, rubbing the triangle in the middle of her forehead as though a headache was coming on.

Washu handed the two steaming kettles, then sat down two buckets filled with water a second later. Kettles were upended on their heads. "Hot, not boilin'!" they cried out. Then after patting themselves down, a barely suppressed grin broke out on both of their faces. After dumping the buckets of cold water over their heads and coming up with no change, they gleefully danced around the hallways. "No more curse! No more curse! Washu's the greatest genius in the universe! Ha ha!!"

The group sweatdropped. Washu, laughed a little nervously. "Thanks… I think…"


After the minor celebration was done and the story of Jusenkyou was explained (Celine noted it was remarkably similar to the Sorcery Globe's power). Washu explained why they were all brought together.

"So, we're here to review fanfics?" Celine asked.

"That's about the size of it," Tenchi answered.

"Huh, doesn't explain why I'm here…" Ranma mumbled, tapping a finger on his knee in boredom.

"This story's about you, nii-chan," the pigtailed girl that insisted on calling herself Yasuko said in a teasing manner.

"Really?" Ranma perked up. "Well, sounds like someone's got taste, ne? And don't call me nii-chan!"

Yasuko pouted, then got the idea of snuggling with Ranma. "All right then, koibito…"

Ranma blinked. "Ah…maybe we should just stick with Ranma, okay? Not brother, not lover, just Ranma, all right?"

Mihoshi smiled. "How cute you two are!"

Ranma stared blankly at the blonde. "Huh?"

Yasuko tweaked his nose. "I'll tell you when you get older."

"So, Washu-chan, what do we do now?" Tenchi asked, turning to the greatest scientific genius in the universe, who was madly typing away.

"Mmm… just do the fanfic thing, all right. Meanwhile, I'm going to try isolate each flux pattern, then stabilize the origin. After that, if I can relocate our specific quantum frequencies, we'll be on our way home in no time."

"In time to catch 'Moldiver' tonight?" Mihoshi asked in a hopeful voice.

"Perhaps… but it won't be easy. I'm going to need a lot of uninterrupted time to begin separating the patterns, as this isn't my lab." She paused. "Tenchi?"

"Yes, Washu-chan?"

She urged the young Masaki to kneel beside her. "Keep Mihoshi as far away from me as you can," she whispered into his ear. "I don't want her to screw up our chances of getting home again."

"All right Washu." He stood up, then took Mihoshi by her arm. "Stick with me, Mihoshi. Let's go view some fanfics."

"Okay, Tenchi. I hope we'll come across some 'Moldiver" fanfics!"

"Maybe… just maybe…"


> In a message dated 5/16/00 2:47:20 PM EST, maddhatter@earthlink.net writes:

> Started 4/2/00 First few sections sent to FFML 5/13/00

Tenchi: However, due to the dimension incident, the FFML was down for a few days.

> Hey… wow, this is my first post to the FFML… I'm sorta wondering what you sorta folks think about this… I mean, I'd really like some C 'n C, if you know what I mean.

Mihoshi: Oh, don't worry about that. We'll be sure to help you out as much as we can. As an officer of the Galaxy Police Force, I swear it to you!

Yasuko: [to Ranma] She's an officer? How did she make it?

Ranma: Don't ask me.

Tenchi: Me, either.

> Please… I'm sorta stuck.

Mihoshi: Well, depending on where you're stuck at, you can use either peanut butter, or cooking oil to—

Celine: I don't believe he means that kind of stuck.

Mihoshi: Oh…

> Check out the end of the post for a little more info…. I'm planning for the final version of this to be a one-shot, vaguely in the continuity I'm working on.

Yasuko: A one-shot wonder is all you'll equal up to, Ranma? [giggle]

Ranma: [annoyed] Feh…

< > Thoughts


TOCATTA AND FUGUE

Ranma: Toccata and Fugue?

Yasuko: It's an intellectual thing you can't understand?

Ranma: Yeah, that's probably it.

Washu: [from afar] Well "fugue" can mean a musical composition in which one or two themes are repeated or imitated by successively entering voices and contrapuntally developed in a continuous interweaving of the voice parts. It can also describe a disturbed state of consciousness in which the one affected seems to perform acts in full awareness but upon recovery cannot recollect the deeds. Now, the Toccata…

[collective blink]

Washu: [sighs] Never mind… [goes back to work]

> By J. S. Levine AKA Patch Monkey

> Continuity: Presume that the activities documented in canon did occur according to canon. However, some time before the series begins, an alteration has been made.

Ranma: [blink] A change in my life? How nice it would be if I wasn't made to learn the neko-ken, or had to go to Jusenkyou…

Yasuko: Hey!

> Time: Several weeks, at least, after Manga Vol. 38

Ranma and Yasuko: [sweatdrop] Hoo boy…


> "One can pursue one's creative urges. spiritual urges. and physical urges. All have a place in the wll lived life." Lord Byron

Celine: I think that should be "…well-lived life."

> "TO GIVE oneself up to indulgence in sensual pleasure, the base, common, vulgar, unholy, unprofitable; and also to give oneself up to self-mortification, the painful, unholy, unprofitable: both these two extremes the Perfect One has avoided, and found out the Middle Path, which makes one both to see and to know, which leads to peace, to discernment, to enlightenment, to Nirvana." - Buddha

Ranma: Well, we all know where Happousai's not going.

Tenchi: Happousai? Who's he?

Ranma: Only the biggest pervert to ever walk the earth. He's a 150-300 year old troll who steals panties and clings onto girls' chests.

[Yasuko shivers in remembrance. Celine unconsciously crosses her arms over her chest.]


> Ranma looked all around before setting down his bento. He felt out with his aura to make sure that none of the more rabid martial artists in Nerima were around,

Ranma: Hey! They ain't that bad, you know…

> and pulled a small wood-carved flute out of an inner pocket in his red Chinese shirt.

Ranma: [blink] A flute? Where'd that come from?

Celine: Ranma, darling, the author did mention that something was changed in your past a long time ago, correct?

Ranma: …so, I do band now?

Yasuko: Ranma…

Ranma: Yeah?

Yasuko: Don't speak…

Ranma: "…"

> , he thought. <Few of these things I have are so precious. I know the arts of war…I know the works of Shakespeare, I can defeat the greatest of the Chinese Amazons, yet I can't reveal who I am to the girl I love.

Yasuko: Wow, this Ranma really is different from our Ranma! I wonder what change the author made for him to be this intelligent.

Ranma: Hey!

> I've got a mother who doesn't quite grasp modern reality, even though I love her, and a father who is, for all intents and purposes, a complete an utter moron.

Ranma: Well, yeah, but he got some good points.

Yasuko: Such as…?

Ranma: [thinking] …um, can I get back to you on that?

> The Art is all, he says. The Art is nothing without all other Arts. Music in motion. Acting on the stage. The stroke of a brush. Anything Goes is a fusion of all, a representation of all of human history and human ingenuity.

Celine: I think I like how this Ranma thinks.

Ranma: "…"

Celine: No slight to you, darling. Just the artist in me understanding what he is thinking.

> And a brilliant man who needs women's underwear to survive invented it, and its heirs are a man who hides his own soul and a woman blinded by fury. How ironic.>

Ranma: Huh?

Yasuko: Don't try to figure it out; you'll only pull something.

> And with that, he began to play. And with that, a tune began, and carried over the hills of the field our Artist sat upon, and conveyed his soul to the world, if only the world would listen. It would begin much like this, a rolling cresendo of both despair and happiness.

Tenchi: Hmm…it could be cleaned up a little right here. Instead of "It would begin like this, a rolling…" maybe starting off with "It began as a rolling crescendo…"

Mihoshi: It sounds better that way, too. Not too many words in the way, and the sentence gets to keep its meaning.

Washu: [from afar] Did Mihoshi just say that?

Tenchi: Yes, she did.

Washu: …I'm impressed.

Mihoshi: [beams] So that means I'm pretty smart, huh?

Washu: Um, well… ack! I lost it the signal! Gotta find it now!

Tenchi: Er… well, we all are pretty smart at something, Mihoshi. Back to the fanfic.

> And someone heard his song as she rode on her bicycle, and paid it no heed, save the fact that she felt someone's despair and that same person's salvation on that tune. But who it was, she would never know. But she knew the feeling of one whose despair and salvation were the same, as she often felt that way about the young man she loved, a young man who often wore a red shirt of her country.

Mihoshi: [sniff] How sweet, just like a shojo movie… the girl's one love and the mysterious man with the beautiful music being one and the same…

Celine: True, it is a beautiful thought, darling, but I think there is more going on than what meets the eye.

Ranma: Feh…

> The music of the flute picked up, a winding melody of compassion lost and sometimes found, twisting though the office buildings and homes, a man who was sometimes a pig picked up on the sound, and understood for a brief moment that while he was lost on the outside, whomever played the tune was equally as lost, but in a way that made even the bandanna-clad boy begin to cry where he stood, even though he though

Yasuko: Needs a 't' on the end of the second "though." We get "thought" which is what I think you meant to say.

> crying is for the weak, and something that Ranma would do,

Ranma: What?! [starts to get up to beat this Ryouga senseless]

Yasuko: [restraining him] Down, Ranma, down! It's just a fanfic.

Celine: [setting a restraining hand on his shoulder] Please do, darling. It's unsettling to get upset over mere words.

Ranma: Humph… [sits back down]

> he knew that this was not a cry of weakness.

> Jumping, twisting, the melody rippled, and swept past Mousse, who looked up in confusion at the melody's tune, and went to find Cologne.

Mihoshi: I'll say he's confused. I mean, shouldn't he look for the source of the music, instead of trying to get ready for a date?

Yasuko: [to Ranma] You want to tell her, or should I?

Ranma: Later…

> An okonomiyaki began to burn as a chef stopped cooking at the noise that conveyed emotion beyond emotion.

Ranma: Wow…that must be some music if Ucchan's burning up an okonomiyaki to listen, huh?

> And then two people at last heard, and one felt her heart surge at the knowledge that even though it couldn't possibly be the boy she loved who saved her many a time and even brought her back to life, she felt that maybe, no, absolutely he loved her and that even though it couldn't possibly be him playing, because he couldn't play a flute or anything anyway, and even if he was a jerk and all that, that she loved him too and that soon she would tell him.

Ranma: Okay, that was wa-a-ay too long for one sentence.

Mihoshi: I agree. I think he's trying to compete with that Longfellow person for the longest written one sentence. I think he got it by twelve words, but it's way too messy to read as one. Try breaking it up into three or four sentences; that way, you won't end up losing half your audience after such a long-winded one sentence paragraph.

[Celine, Ranma, and Yasuko look at Mihoshi in puzzlement. Tenchi blinks in surprise. Washu stops working and walks to Mihoshi.]

Washu: Okay, who are you, and what have you done to Mihoshi?

Mihoshi: [smiles] Why, what do you mean, Washu-chan?

[Washu given her a critical once over. After a minute, she sighs, then returns to her workstation.]

Washu: [mutters under her breath] She's a genius, I tell you… an idiot-savant…

> Perched upon a staff of wood and standing outside the Nekohanten, a woman whose wisdom and knowledge was almost all-knowing, sat, frowned, and realized that the young man playing the flute could never become a part of the Amazons by marriage, and that he loved another, and even if he didn't love her, he would never ever love her great-granddaughter other than as a friend, and that she had to go talk to him and learn his story.

[All look at Mihoshi. Her cheeks glow pink as she is suddenly to center of attention.]

Mihoshi: [looks at everyone nervously] Wh-what?

Celine: Well, darling, what is your opinion here?

Mihoshi: Um… oh… ah… I… I don't know… [ducks her head in embarrassment]

Tenchi: [sigh] Well, anyway, it's another long sentence that can be at least two or three individual sentences. Try something like this, for example: "Perched upon a wooden staff outside of the Nekohanten was a woman whose wisdom and knowledge was almost all-knowing. She frowned, realizing that the young man playing the flute could never become…"

Ranma: Well, if you ask me, I don't think Cologne thinks that way. I mean, she hadn't tried any real plots to get me married to Shampoo since the reversal jewel thing, and that was just a fluke.

Mihoshi: You mean Cologne is also a person's name?

Ranma: Er… yeah, it is…

Mihoshi: Mmm… okay, then! [smile] Now that whole mousse thing makes sense to me!

> It did not hurt that she as well knew the song that the young man played. And with that, Cologne went inside, found a wood-carved flute as old as she, and went to find Ranma.


> Ranma's song continued, for he never knew when to stop playing, until he felt no need to play any more.

> Cologne's melody began as she reached the field, and intertwined with Ranma's, and the two melodies continued to mix and harmonize for several more minutes, until Ranma stopped, and heard the flute continue playing, and froze with a look of horror on his face. He was discovered.

Tenchi: So, this is where the fugue comes into play…

Celine: Hmm… maybe the use of fugue is twofold.

Ranma: Twofold? Whaddaya mean by that?

Celine: Well, darling, from the definition that Washu-chan provided us with earlier, and from comparing both you here and the Ranma up there, I would say that the author is fulfilling both meanings of the word "fugue," whether by accident, or purposely.

Ranma: [nodding] Oh… I get you… I think…

> "Old ghoul, what do ya think you're doin'? I wanted to be all alone."

> "I highly doubt that, child. In fact, I am most surprised at how well you can act. I had my suspicions, but the song you just played confirmed them." spoke Cologne.

> "Old ghoul, I don't know what you're talkin' about. Go away, leave me alone."

> "Very well, Child. Know this, former-son-in-law, that Shampoo will not be happy when I tell her that she may not marry you, Ranma Saotome."

Ranma: [blink] What…? The ghoul actually pulled it completely? Boy, this really is a fanfic, ain't it?

> "What… what do you mean, Hono… I mean, Old Ghoul?"

> "Ranma, you speak the truth. It appears that you are much different than the previous facts allowed for. I often wondered how someone like you was able to master such techniques with such speed."

> "Very well. Please allow me introduce myself."

Yasuko: See? With a little grooming, even Ranma can become James Bond.

Tenchi: Have you ever heard of an Japanese man speaking with a British accent?

Yasuko: No… not to my knowledge…

Ranma: Let's leave it at that, then.

> "Child, you are not a man of wealth and taste."

> "Elder?"

> "Never mind, child."

Ranma: I don't get it.

Tenchi: Neither did anyone else, I think.


> Meanwhile, Akane had neared the field in which Cologne and Ranma sat, beginning to speak. <Damn him. Here I was, already to tell him what I really felt, and he's hear with that great-grandmother of Shampoo's. I bet she's trying to give him another cure in exchange for Shampoo marrying him. I'm gonna hurt him. Badly.>

Ranma: [blink] And aren't we being really uncute today?

Yasuko: She isn't usually this violent.

Ranma: Well, not in the manga. The anime, however…

Tenchi: And the author needs to be careful about spelling and homonyms.

Celine: 'Already' is really two words—all ready.

Mihoshi: And I think that "hear" he has up there is supposed to be "here".

> "Honored Elder, would you mind playing with me again for another moment? I don't wish to speak quite yet," asked Ranma.

> "Very well, former-son-in-law," answered Cologne.

> <Wait a sec. Son-in-law? I bet he agreed to get married to that Chinese bimbo. I'm not just gonna hurt him. I'm gonna kill him.>

Yasuko: Like Ranma usually has foot-in-mouth syndrome, this Akane has selectively-hearing-bad-things-and-believing-it syndrome.

> "RAAAAAAAAANNNNMAAAAAAA!"

> "Honored Elder, I believe we have a guest. I hope that someday she'll be able think things through before acting."

Tenchi: Uber-Proper Ranma, meet Uber-Violent Akane.

> Mallet at the ready, Akane charged towards Ranma, swung down, and realized three things. One, she missed. Two, she no longer had the aforementioned mallet. And three, Ranma was smiling at her. This, of course, was a sign that things were about to get infinitely worse.

> <That jerk had never been able to stop her mallet before. If he could, why didn't he? Was he toying with her? She'd kill him. Playing with her like that.>

Mihoshi: Um, excuse me, but when you think to yourself, you don't usually use third person pronouns, right?

Ranma: Not unless you're the Shampoo from anime thinking in Japanese.

> "What are you doing here with her?" queried Akane, as another mallet began to manifest.

> Cologne batted the second mallet away and leveled her gnarled walking-hopping-beating stick at Akane. "Sit, child."

Yasuko: Now roll over… play dead… [catches a glare from Ranma] Sorry, couldn't resist. [smile]

> "I was simply talking to the Honored Elder of the Chinese Amazons. As she just said, I have been released from the laws regarding Outsiders and rules of marriage into the tribe.

> "Marriage! Ranma, I'm gonna kill you! Marrying that Chinese Hussy!"

Ranma: Well, at least she can cook, and ain't as likely to kill me over it.

Celine: So, you would rather want to marry Shampoo?

Ranma: No! I ain't gettin' married to anyone 'till I'm good 'n ready to get married!

Yasuko: So, when you do get "good 'n ready" will you marry me?

Ranma: Huh?!

Yasuko: Well, technically, I am a Tendo, and you do have to marry a Tendo. Plus, I know you… [trails a finger over his chest] …so intimately…

[Ranma's pigtail stands up on end, and he looks like he's ready to bolt at the first sudden movement.]

Yasuko: [laughing softly] Boy, you're easy to tease…

Ranma: [blushes furiously] Am not…

> "Hold on, I said that in proper language. Of course no one here but Cologne and Dr. Tofu would understand that. Let me try that again in Ranmaese. Akane, I ain't never marrying Shampoo! I'd much rather be married to a beautiful tomboy like you!"

Yasuko: Um, "Ranmaese" usually ends up with him saying "kawaiikune otemba!" then getting a massive boot to the heavens above.

Tenchi: Shouldn't that be "kawaiikunai"?

Ranma: Different pronunciation, same meaning.

> "RANMA YOU what?!!?" Akane never had a chance. She fainted.


> (Where I'm at now)

Ranma: We have no idea.

Celine: I believe that was a statement.

Ranma: Oh.


> So anyway, please, please, please give me some ideas.

Celine: Well, it depends largely on what your focus is to be. Why you are writing this story to begin with? What is your main idea?

Ranma: I hope it ain't another "all problems get solved and everyone gets someone." Just the other day, Ucchan was just talking about how many people just slap her and Ryouga together without really giving it much thought.

> Do you like it?

Ranma: Well, the characters could use more work.

Tenchi: Possibly taking in more of the manga and less of the anime.

> Do you hate it?

Mihoshi: Well, not really.

> Should I shoot my computer to prevent something like this in the future?

Washu: [emerging from her workstation] A little too hasty there, I think.

> Write me, please! I have no life! I haven't hate a date for months!

Celine: Darling, I think you meant "have", and anyway, I don't think that kind of information is was you want to give out. It may mislead people's opinion on how they perceive you.

> Wait! Just criticize my writing!

Mihoshi: Wasn't that what we were just doing?


"So, Washu-chan," Tenchi began. "How is your work coming along?"

Washu was quiet for a moment. "It's not good. Someone's preventing me from following the waves back to the origin."

"Wait a sec," Ranma broke in. "Whaddaya mean someONE?"

The redheaded genius waved everyone to look at the display on her ethereal monitor. A picture of a man was sitting behind a desk, his hands clasped together and his index fingers steepling up to his forehead. He wore a dark pair of shades that seemed to glint light at certain angles. He was clean-shaven, but had an air about him, one that spoke "bastard" through and through. Softly, he spoke, but his words carried force with every syllable.

"Hello. I bet you are all wondering why I am jamming all of your attempts at getting home."

Tenchi unconsciously slipped the Tenchi-ken into hand. Ranma and Yasuko fell into a defensive stance. Mihoshi slipped a GP issued yo-yo into hand, as she left her blaster on the Yagami. Celine readied one of the numerous Heraldic spells at her disposal.

"Relax, you all. I'm the one who summoned you all here."

Washu blinked in disbelief. "You are the Rainman?"

The being on the other side of the monitor sat quietly, letting the silence hammer away at the anxious members. "No, I am his muse…"

"Whaddaya want from us, huh?"

"Oh, Ranma, so eloquent with words, ne? What I 'want' is for you all to continue reviewing fanfics."

"What?" they said in unison.

"You heard me. Continue reviewing fanfics."

"Um," Mihoshi asked. "When can we go home?"

The muse regarded Mihoshi, then turned to Washu. "How did she get here?"

"Idiot-savant…"

"Oh, that explains everything… I think…"

"So, Muse-san, can we go home now? I don't want to miss out on 'Moldiver" this afternoon."

The muse's face remained impassive as always, but the air changed from "bastard" to "I don't believe she's that dumb." "When I feel your services are rendered well enough, you may go. Until then, this is your home."

"What?!" they all shouted.

"Don't worry, you will be well taken care of." Then the monitor went pitch black.

Tenchi groaned. "Great. Ryoko and Ayeka are going to go nuts trying to find me."

"Think that's bad? Try two fiancées, a crazy amazon, and another psycho chick when you don't show up for dinner."

"You know, this isn't the time for worrying about whose problems are greater," Celine spoke from behind Ranma and Yasuko. Then she leaned over to the pigtailed martial artist. "Is that true?"

He whispered back, "I wish it wasn't."

"So, what do we do now?" Yasuko asked Washu.

"Well, the muse said we would be taken care of, so I took the liberty of examining where we are. It seems that there are living arrangements and a food supply just below our feet, plus—"

Mihoshi began to wail from a window. "Washu…"

"What is it Mihoshi?"

"I don't think we're on earth anymore…"

"What are you talking about?"

"Look out the window…"

Tenchi walked over to where Mihoshi was shivering trying to keep herself from breaking out into a panic. "Mihoshi, what…" Tenchi's words trailed off as he, too, was entranced with the view outside.

"Um, darlings, what is the matter?"

"We're floating in outer space…"

"What?!" Washu furiously typed away on her keyboard. Seconds passed before the little girl stopped.

"Washu-chan…" Yasuko began.

"We're no longer on any earth."

"What?" Ranma chimed in.

Washu turned to look at everyone in the vicinity. "We're trapped within a dimensional pocket…"

 

To be continued.


Author's notes: Definitely the muse's fault. It spoke, and I had to obey…

MST #2
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