by D.B. Sommer
Disclaimer: Ranma ½ and its characters and settings belong to Rumiko Takahashi, Shogakukan, Kitty, and Viz Video.
All comments and criticisms appreciated. You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Time to get on the soapbox.
This is not really one of my better efforts, but it was written on the spur of the moment during a spate of discussions about how to write fan fiction.
The sound of typing could be heard throughout the sealed room as the writer at last found the time to force himself to sit down and finish writing the next chapter to his fic. It had been a long time, filled with darkness and light and things in-between that had prevented him from writing. But hey, he had more important things to do, like spend time with that young girl he had met, the nubile young thing with the tight black leather, chains, and whips. But as with all good things, that too had passed… largely because the writer had run out of money to pay for the services. And when he had asked, "Perhaps one freebie for the road?" and was met with a cold stare, he had known their relationship was over.
"S&M is so much cooler than fanfic writing," he mumbled over the computer screen as he finished the chapter. Now that was a plot twist of plot twists, revealing that Zeiram was originally nothing more than a giant stuffed Barney that had been put on a probe that Earth had shot into deep space hundreds of years ago as a messenger to other civilizations to show how peaceful their culture was. It had indeed been found by an alien civilization, who determined the object to be evil incarnate and that the race that created it had to be eradicated. To that end they made the toy into a living creature and mutated it into a less evil form, then sent it to scourge that section of the galaxy of all life.
"It fits the canon so perfectly, it's scary," he murmured under his breath.
It was then the door to the room burst open and a figure looked at the writer and gave an evil cackle.
"You!" D.B. gasped from his place next to the keyboard. "You've found me at last. I always knew this day would co… Hey, wait a minute. I've never seen you before in my life."
"Only because we never met," the figure explained. "But I know you by reputation."
"Lies! All blatant lies!" D.B. insisted. "I never accepted money from the Chinese for my superiors!"
"That's not what I—" the newcomer tried to say.
"And certainly not in lump sums of five million dollars three times a year!"
"Look, I don't care—"
"Say, you don't suppose any of the Chinese hookers they gave me kept their dresses, do you?"
"I don't know anything about any hookers."
"Neither do I, and if I did, it still wouldn't be any of your business."
"I'm not with the government!"
"Neither am I, officially."
"I MEANT I KNOW YOU BY YOUR FANFIC REPUTATION!"
D.B. looked at him in surprise, then visibly relaxed. "Oh, well, why didn't you say so? I hate it when people try screwing around with my head like that."
The figure sighed. "If you gave me a chance to explain, we wouldn't have had to waste all of this time."
"Who are you then?" D.B. asked.
"I'm a fanfic writer," the figure stated with an immense amount of satisfaction.
D.B. considered that. "I think I preferred it when you were from the government."
"My name is Gnu Be," the figure stated. "And I have a fic I'd like you to look over."
D.B. looked at his email. "Actually, I've got a lot of fics backlogged that I promised to do first, and that's in addition to trying to find the time to write my stuff, which is moving along at a snail's pace, and then there's work six days a week, and I do try to function with other people face-to-face every now and then, I think I used to call them friends, but it's been so long since I've spent any real time with them…"
Gnu Be plopped a set of papers in front of D.B.. Deciding it would be quicker to simply give in (and having nowhere to dispose of the body if he killed this intruder), he began leafing through the pages. It was for a good cause; he would be helping a newer author along, just as others helped him when he first started fanfic writing. He could pass on the vast amounts of wisdom that he had gained over the years. Why, a small fraction of it might actually prove useful.
Nah. But it would serve to help twist another potential mind to his cause, once D.B. figured out whatever that cause was.
"It's a Ranma fic," Gnu Be proudly stated.
"That's fine," D.B said. "There's still a solid core of readers out there for that. The greatest number of fics I still read is from Ranma. Some of it quite good; some of it quite horrible. Most of it mediocre, but that's the way writing in any genre goes."
"But mine will be better," Gnu Be insisted. "It's a fusion that hasn't been done before."
That caused the hackles to stand up on the back of D. B.’s neck. "Well, that might not necessarily be a good thing…"
Gnu Be continued, now quite lost in the fantasy. "They say some things can't be fused to Ranma, but I say they can."
"Well, technically anything can be fused together with anything. But just because they can be mashed together doesn't necessarily mean they SHOULD be…"
Gnu Be's eyes took on a sinister gleam. "It was easy. Read."
Suddenly deciding there were few things worse than an author with a sinister gleam in his eyes, D.B. opened to the first page. "Oh, man," he moaned. "Do we have to go through this scene again?"
"Hey, the change becomes obvious real early," Gnu Be insisted.
Kasumi turned from the banana quiche she was making to look towards the living room. What did her father want now?
Nabiki turned away from the mirror and looked towards the downstairs. She turned back to the mirror, examining herself more closely. There could be no doubt about it; she was getting a bad case of dandruff. Given her hair color it wouldn't show up as badly as it would with Kasumi or Akane, but it would still be noticeable. She was going to have to start using a stronger shampoo. That decision made, she sighed, got up, and left her bedroom to head downstairs.
Akane looked away from the thick pile of boards before her. She considered them, looked towards the house, than back to the boards.
"Oh, well," she shrugged; with no time left for finesse, Akane unleashed a head butt that shattered the boards into kindling.
Akane looked with pride upon her handiwork (or perhaps the 'headway' she made against the boards would be a better term). Nabiki always claimed Akane possessed all the brute strength of a gorilla, and Akane conceded her sister was probably right about that, especially when compared to the smartest Tendou daughter (but given the characteristics of their ancestors that Nabiki had inherited, it was only natural), but at least she knew how to use it.
Soun was still looking over the postcard with the panda on it in his hands when his daughters attended him. Kasumi looked radiant in her dress, Nabiki far more informal in her T-shirt and shorts, and Akane looked every inch the martial artist in her white gi. Oh, how moved his daughters would be by his declaration.
"What is it, Father?" Kasumi finally asked.
Soun said, "A friend of mine is coming from China. He's bringing his son along as well. It's our intention that one of you marry him and join our two schools."
Three looks of shock appeared upon his daughters' features.
"Is this really a good idea, Father?"
"Is he cute?"
"No way am I marrying some guy I never even met!"
"Actually, I've never met the boy," Soun admitted.
"You've got to be kidding," Nabiki said dryly.
Soun gave a dismissive wave of his hand. "It doesn't matter. Saotome would have raised his boy right. He'll make a perfectly fine husband."
There was the sound of someone knocking at the door. Kasumi sat up and hurried around the corner to answer it, only to rush back a moment later, obviously perturbed.
Soun and Akane both tensed up slightly at Kasumi's distress. They looked intently from where Kasumi had run. They all heard a high-pitched voice proclaim, "Put me down, Pop. Can't you see you're terrifying them?"
From around the corner a moment later emerged a huge gorilla, carrying what looked like a short, red-haired girl struggling over its shoulder. It walked into the living room and sat the girl down, then looked expectedly at Soun.
Fists balled up, Soun moved forward, drew back, and struck the gorilla in the chest hard enough to cause the gorilla to take a step back. Laughing, Soun said, "Saotome, my old friend, good to see you."
The gorilla repeated the violent, yet friendly gesture, proud to notice he had moved Soun back three steps compared to his one. "Tendou, old boy, it's good to see you too."
Soun went from looking his old friend over to the girl standing awkwardly beside him. "But what is the meaning of this, Saotome?"
Genma began shifting uncomfortably. "Well, you see, it's kind of hard to explain. It involves cold water and a cursed spring…"
Curious about the newcomer, Nabiki moved closer to the girl with the piercing blue eyes and began sniffing her. She crinkled her nose back in surprise. "Hey, 'Bright Eyes' here smells sort of like a stinky gorilla."
"You don't smell so great yourself, liceball," the girl retorted.
A simultaneous gasp escaped all of the Tendous at once. "The human talked," Kasumi said in open-mouthed disbelief.
"Get back!" Akane ordered as she inserted herself between the bizarre talking creature and her sisters. It would fall to her to protect them from the dangerous animal. After all, Kasumi was like their mother, a chimpanzee by birth and basically passive, while Nabiki had inherited the genes of both her maternal and paternal grandmothers and was an orangutan, and as everyone knew, orangutans were even bigger wimps in a fight than a chimpanzee. It would fall to Akane, who like her father, was a gorilla, to defend her family.
Soun seemed torn between outrage and bewilderment. "Saotome, what is the meaning of this?! How dare you bring this dangerous animal into my home! And how can it speak?"
"Wait just a minute and I'll explain everything," Genma insisted as grabbed a nearby teakettle and dumped the hot water over the red-haired girl. A moment later, a soggy black-furred male gorilla was standing before the Tendous.
"I don't believe I just saw that," Nabiki said. What was going on here? Every ape knew humans couldn't talk. It simply wasn't possible. Apes were the only ones that could speak by divine right. The Lawgiver had said so in the ancient texts.
The gorilla in the red and black Chinese style outfit shrugged. "I'm Ranma Saotome. Sorry about this."
"You see?" Gnu Be shouted triumphantly to his open-mouthed reader. "It's a Ranma/Planet of the Apes fusion. I told you that one hasn't been done before!"
"Wow. Something so foul, I won't even stick it in a 'Fusions That Should Never Be,' D.B. said, using a blatant self-plug. "And where do you go from here?"
"Eh?" Gnu Be said, the aura of self-satisfaction suddenly wavering.
"I mean what do you do next? All the cast are apes, and Ranma isn't, at least part of the time. Fine. What comes after that?"
"What? You mean I should actually plan things out instead of just doing the idea?"
D.B. began trembling. "Of course you do. Otherwise what point is there in putting the two series together? It's easy to come up with an intro that says, "Oh dear, look at Ranma. He fell into the Spring of Drowned Gomer Pyle, instead of Young Girl in the beginning, but unless you have a story behind it, it's pointless."
"I can have a story behind it," Gnu Be insisted. "I can just, err, well. We'll have Akane engaged to Ranma, and she'll be annoyed with it because he's human as well as rude."
"Instead of being annoyed that she's been engaged to a boy that turns into a girl that's rude," D.B continued in a flat voice.
"Right," Gnu Be said, completely missing the sarcasm. "And Kunou will attack Ranma the first day, and accuse him of…"
"Wait, let me guess. He'll accuse of being a human instead of a sorcerer."
"Yeah," Gnu Be agreed. "And uh, well, I think Shampoo will be a gorilla and Ukyou a chimpanzee."
"An Amazon gorilla and an okonomiyaki-making chimp?"
"Yeah," Gnu Be said enthusiastically. "And the, um, then, well."
"You make the people of Mount Phoenix into mutants instead of bird people and Saffron into a giant atomic bomb that can destroy the world instead of a god?"
"That's a great idea!" Gnu Be shouted triumphantly.
"No! It's a bad idea!" D.B. insisted as he shook Gnu Be back and forth by the neck like a rag doll.
"I've got other ideas," Gnu Be said in a choked voice.
Against his better judgment, D.B. released his hold. Actually he let go because he was out of shape and his arms were getting tired, and the inconsiderate wretch wasn't going unconscious. "Let's hear them."
"Robocop and Tenchi. Mihoshi, critically wounded in a fight between Ryoko and Aeka, is rebuilt by the Galaxy Police as a mechanical instrument of vengeance that goes around gunning every criminal down."
"Don't think so."
"Fine! How about mixing Sailor Moon and King Arthur. Queen Usagi must recover the Holy Grail to create Crystal Camelot, only it's downfall is brought about when Minako Lancelot has an affair with Mamoru."
"I think I see where that's going. No."
"How about something lemony? Sailor Moon and LA Blue Girl. The Sailor Scouts can only change by masturbating."
"Been done. It's called 'Sadie Masochism'."
"Oh," Gnu Be said. He'd have to read that one. "Card Captor Sakura and Mad Bull-"
"Don't go there," D.B. warned.
Gnu Be thought again. "How about Riding Bean and Knight Rider?"
"That's the most stupid one ye…" D.B. paused. "Hey, wait a second. That one could work. I mean the ultimate driver in the futuristic car thing does makes se…Argh! Don't do that. If you come up with a good idea you'll screwup the message I'm trying to say."
"Which is?" Gnu Be asked.
After regaining some measure of composure, D.B. began. "Look, in principle, doing a Planet of the Apes/Ranma fusion, yes, could be done. It might even be able to be done well, though it's beyond my personal imagination unless done as a farce. But if you are going to do fusions, they have to be created in the same way as any other story. Certainly you can just write out a little promo of such a fic, but don't count on getting a lot of C+C for it if you're just writing something to say 'Look what I can do.' I've got news for you, anyone can write something like that out. A good mantra would be 'Just because it can be done, doesn't mean it should be done.' However, if you think you can make the idea interesting, then you should go for it. It takes effort, but you might turn out a surprisingly worthwhile product.
"Decide on the plot of the story. If you turn Ranma into a skunk, make sure there's a reason for it and you're going to do something with the idea. Figure out what differences this might have on the other characters and what their reactions will be. What effect does this really have from the original? How much different will it be? What tone to the story will you use: original flavor, something dark, or something else? There's plenty to think about and choose.
"How different are the characters in the fusion from the original? There will almost certainly be some change, especially if the two series are sharply contrasted in feeling, but making it too unrecognizable might alienate people at the same time. This can partially be blunted if the plot is gripping, but that's even harder, and you'll still lose some people. Try to take this into account as well.
"These are just some observations that I've made over time. There aren't really any right or wrong answers to this sort of thing, just recommendations on what seems to work more often than not. Opinions one and all, but ones I've developed over a period time. You can share them, but you can't have them, because, after all, they're mine. Muhahahaha!"
D.B. stopped the cheesy laughter and patted Gnu Be on the shoulder like a teacher would a student. "Listen to these ideas and learn well, Grasshopper."
"I'm not an insect," Gnu Be protested.
"Work with me, here." D.B. released his hold on Gnu Be and headed for the door to the room, pausing in the doorway. "My work here is done. Now I go back out amongst the world to help others with my amazingly vast reservoir of knowledge. Farewell." D.B. gave a dramatic flare of his cape, which he always wore when making dramatic exits, and ran off into the night. His insane laughter was heard fading away into the distance as the door closed on its own.
"I wonder if he forgot this was his room," Gnu Be said. Having nothing better to do, he looked at the computer and began reading some of the files. "What's this?" he murmured as he opened a file marked, 'D.B.'s Next Great Fic (Or, If People Think 'The Saotome Gambit' Was All That, Wait Till They See This And Then Watch Jamie Wilde Turn Green With Envy :p).'
Oh, what a stroke of luck. What great and epic tale had D.B. managed to weave this time? Truly this sneak preview from such a great and legendary writer could only help improve Gnu Be's own minuscule talents. He double-clicked on the icon and opened the file.
The title said it all:
"Love and Rockets: A Magical Girl Pretty Sammy/ Battletech Fusion."
"NOOOOO!" Gnu Be cried and tried to sear the image from his mind. But like all truly terrifying things, it remained in perfect focus, and the cries of soul searing pain drifted off into the night.
Author's notes: Now it's time to get off the soapbox.
Oh, and don’t just sit there, go read a chapter or two of 'Should Old Acquaintance Be Forgot'.
And no, Zeiram is not really Barney :P
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