A Quantum Destinies Side Story
By D. B. Sommer
This is a story set in Jurai-Knight's 'Quantum Destinies' universe, and
you will have to be familiar with that piece of work to follow this story.
The events within take place after chapter eleven of Quantum Destinies.
Disclaimer: The Quantum Destines universe is Jurai-Knight's. Many of
the characters within are not. Revolutionary Girl Utena is also owned
by someone else.
Author's notes: Ages have been played with in the Utena story to make
it more compatible with the Ranma characters. A 14 year old or so coming
onto Ranma might make for a wee bit of trouble. ^_^
Any and all C+C is appreciated. You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
The sound of Professor Hiro Fuji's footsteps echoed through the vast
halls of the Ministry of Science as he made his way towards whichever
room the monthly meeting with the other scientists of Project Phoenix
was scheduled to take place. As important as the project was, he would
have thought that they might have been permanently assigned a room of
their own. However, since they usually only got together once a month
to review the test subjects, it had been deemed been a waste of space,
never mind that the entire future of the Empire might be decided by the
project. Sometimes he wondered if it was nothing more than a matter of
pride for feeling so strongly about the project. Pride. That was something
he still retained in abundance, though some claimed it was closer to arrogance,
several of his fellow scientists among them.
Fuji ran a hand through close-cropped black hair that showed just a touch
of gray. It was a holdover from his time in the Security Directorate.
The routines that had been ruthlessly hammered into him then had remained
with him his entire life. He still ran four miles every morning, then
performed five sets of sixty push-ups followed by the same number of sit-ups.
Despite being nearly fifty years of age, physically he appeared to be
no more than in his late thirties. The appreciative stares he received
from women told him that. He was still quite the physical specimen, and
hardly the type most would have considered to be one of the premier geneticists
in the world. Of course, with Project Phoenix underway, the next generation
of the Empire might all turn out like that, if not better.
Impatient, Fuji checked his watch; there was still a half hour before
the meeting. News reports had said traffic was heavy today, so he had
left his home early. Of course since he had left early instead of late
it turned out that the reports had been exaggerated and now he would be
forced to wait. He hoped he would have better luck at the meeting.
Fuji was still lamenting his luck when the sounds of children playing
from up the hall caught his attention. Having nothing better to do, he
went to investigate. As he turned the corner and located the source of
the sound, he also spotted two familiar faces also involved with the project.
Doctors Naoko Akagi and Yuji Katsuragi were being accompanied by two young
girls, no more than six years old or so, playing with one another. A close
look at the childrens' faces told Fuji which girl belonged to whom.
"Doctor Akagi. Doctor Katsuragi." He bowed before both, who
bowed to him in return.
"It's nice seeing you again." Akagi gave a warm smile. "I
don't think you've ever met my daughter." She turned to the two girls.
"Ritsuko. Say hello to Professor Fuji."
The blonde girl broke off the tug-of-war she was having with the other
girl and politely said hello. Ritsuko didn't have a chance to do anything
else as the black-haired girl then shoved her aside and took her place
before Fuji. "My name's Misato," she declared with a smile.
"Don't shove me, Misato," Ritsuko complained.
"Why don't you make me?" And with that Misato stuck out her
tongue and shoved Ritsuko again. Ritsuko responded by shoving her back,
then the two began to roughhouse in earnest. Fuji noted that there was
no actual meanness in either girl's features, implying it was more of
a convenient release for the excessive energy such children always had.
Though it was obviously more enjoyable for one than the other.
"Play nice with Ritsuko," Katsuragi warned as Misato continued
to press her advantage, much to Ritsuko's irritation.
"Kids," Akagi said in the tired voice that only people raising
children could use. "My nanny canceled at the last minute, so I had
to bring her here."
Katsuragi said the same thing and complained about the problems of being
a "single parent in this day and age." Fuji was suddenly glad
he had never married and had to deal with any children, or more specifically,
children that young. In truth, his life now almost completely revolved
around a very special set of youths; a life mirrored in the others that
were coming to the meeting. "Since we have a moment to ourselves,
I wanted to ask you something off the record. How do you think the project
has been coming along? And I just want your basic opinions, not some long-winded
speech from the project's mission statement. We'll have more than enough
of those at the meeting."
Akagi and Katsuragi looked at each other, then laughed. Katsuragi spoke
first. "I should say we have complete faith in it."
"After all," Akagi continued. "We've already given Ritsuko
and Misato the treatment. Putting our money where our mouth is, so to
"I guess that does pretty much say it all." Fuji was astonished.
Neither scientist was known for their blind faith. It was surprising that
they would be willing to give their own children the treatment at such
an early stage in the project. Of course, given the age limitations with
the current form of the treatment, if they waited too long neither child
would be eligible for the process. Missing their opportunity for it would
eventually leave them behind when the treatment was made available to
the rest of the public. There was still a safety factor to be considered,
though. Certainly, Fuji was not so overconfident as to believe that the
treatment was one hundred percent reliable, but what in life was? And
it was not as though they were his children. He decided to just stop worrying
about it and moved the discussion onto other topics.
Time passed quickly as they became absorbed in their conversation. A handful
of other early arrivals joined the trio. Eventually, the children became
more of a nuisance as they began to grow bored with all of the "grown-up
talk" and tried harassing their parents into doing something with
them. The doctors sent their daughters to another waiting room where a
secretary could keep an eye on them. It was shortly after their return
the remaining project members showed up, and everyone entered the room.
Upon entering, Fuji saw that the room they were using was more comfortable
than what they had used before. It was at least twice as large and had
a greater feel of importance to it. Director Saito, the head of the project,
must have arranged for the 'upgrade' of their own. The long table, which
could seat as many as twenty, was of a very visually appealing redwood,
undoubtedly imported from the Western North American Prefectures and costing
an exorbitant amount of money. The chairs were also very plush, covered
with a material that reminded Fuji of satin. They were a far cry from
the uncomfortable plastic backed ones they had previously used at all
of the other meetings.
As everyone began seating themselves in the same order they usually did
at the meetings, Fuji looked all of the other project heads over. All
twelve were present, including his old friend, Professor Kouzou Fuyutsuki.
Almost directly across from him was Doctor Yoshiki Matsuda. That was the
one Fuji wanted to see the most. This was the meeting where he got his
overbearing ego deflated a bit. The others were all prominent members
in the scientific community, and all vital to the project, but those two
along with the Director, were the only ones that truly mattered on this
Small discussions broke out among the various members. It was not until
the head of the Project, Director Saito, entered that the others quieted
down. He gave a simple greeting and took his seat at the head of the table.
Once comfortable, the meeting officially began. "Are there any urgent
messages or problems that demand some sort of immediate response or attention?"
Silence was all that met his deep baritone voice. The Director nodded
his head in approval. "Good. Then I don't see any reason why we can't
begin the meeting. I want Professor Fuji to open the review today. His
preliminary reports seem to give us some unique insights as to how the
project is progressing."
A wide grin spread across Fuji's features; this was exactly what he wanted.
He opened up his briefcase and passed copies of his monthly report around
the table. Once everyone had a copy and had a chance to open to the first
page, he began. "Allow me to review a few things before I begin.
As most of you are aware, we arranged for several of the children to be
placed together in Ohtori Academy. Unlike most of the other children,
who we were going to allow to awaken first, then bring together, we wanted
to see what would happen if they were in close proximity to one another
beforehand. Now that they have had time to assimilate with one another,
I'm proud to announce that the study has garnered some very interesting
"Each of the seven members of the test group have shown excellent
scores in both intelligence and physical activities, all of them high
above the norm for children of that age, and slightly above the average
of most of the other groups. Interestingly, on their own and without any
outside encouragement, they have taken over the entire membership of the
student council and demonstrated an aptitude for leadership, though in
somewhat unique ways. They have even managed to spread their influence
to some of the teaching staff. Combined, they represent the primary driving
force at the Ohtori itself. It is their voice that is heard above all
others. There is no non-project child even close to them in influence
and power there."
Fuji watched as all of the project members listened intently to his speech
with satisfied looks. He had known that placing the children in the school
was an environment that would produce conclusive results. Again, he had
to suppress the satisfied smirk he wanted to give, since most of the others
had originally met his idea with skepticism.
"Exemplary leadership qualities are only one facet of this experiment
that has met with our project goals. The children have also organized
a formal way of producing a hierarchy to choose who the alphas of the
group will be. They have formed something of a duelists club, whereby
they engage in a number of duels per week. The results of these fights
serve to enforce the rule of the alphas of the group. I have the informal
ranks on the sheets before you."
Eyes poured over the individual test numbers in comparison to the alpha
rankings among the Adams and Eves. With only the exception of Saionji
Kyouichi, who was ranked fourth among his peers when he was the third
highest in the test scores, the rankings followed the numbers pattern
from highest to lowest, just as Fuji had thought they would.
Fuji continued, "As you will note, Utena Tenjou has the highest scores
of all of the test subjects at Ohtori. In fact, I believe only Nabiki
Tendou is currently rated higher than her, and Tendou is a year older.
In less than two months after her awakening, she has become the alpha
of her group, defeating even Touga Kiryuu, whose score is only slightly
lower than hers." He resisted rubbing his hands in satisfaction as
he looked towards Matsuda. This was where he poked the buffoon's bubble
of arrogance. "Since every other member of the group comes from a
noble family, and she comes from nothing more than common stock, I believe
it is safe to assume that the theory about the noble bloodlines containing
superior genes and automatically becoming the alphas of the group is blatantly
incorrect. Or as Miss Tenjou is apt to say, 'Nobility is carried in the
heart, not in the blood'."
Doctor Matsuda gave a restrained evil glare. He and Fuji had argued from
the beginning about the superior genes that the nobility possessed. That
Matsuda was from a prominent family, and Fuji had come from a lower class
background, only served to widen the rift between their viewpoints. "You've
been spending a lot of time with that particular test subject, haven't
"Not so much more than the others," Fuji said, noting the venom
that had dripped from Matsuda's voice. It was true that he had spent more
time with Utena, convinced that she would blossom into an alpha that would
show up the rest of the noble-blooded children. However, he had done nothing
to tamper either with her or with the project itself. He already knew
that the theory of the superiority of noble blood was nonsense. Trying
to cheat by altering any part of the program for his benefit would have
done nothing but show doubts about his own theories. It was true that
Utena was a personal favorite of his, especially since her scores were
so high, but he would never have allowed that to bias the project. It
showed how little Matsuda understood Fuji to believe that he would stoop
to such tactics.
"She has received extensive training in both armed and unarmed combat,
but that was only an attempt to gauge her abilities. The others underwent
the same training upon their awakening. The only difference is that she
has continued to rise at a phenomenal rate, much more quickly than any
of the others. You can see that on the weekly measurement charts in comparison
to the other children. It's all in the file I gave you."
Matsuda ground his teeth quietly enough so that the others did not hear.
Apparently, Fuji was telling the truth, much to his irritation.
"Don't feel so bad," Director Saito told Matsuda. "I thought
there was a good chance the noble bloodlines would prove superior to others.
However, as time goes on, it appears the process is more random than we
With the head of the project all but ordering him to calm down, Matsuda
forced himself to relax. With great reluctance he admitted to himself
that it might be the truth. There were also indications from the other
children that the purity of the noble bloodlines made no difference in
test scores or becoming an alpha of a group. There was possibly still
a chance that, in a larger test group the nobility would prove superior,
but it was becoming less likely as the time continued and more results
Fuji took silent note of his victory. Now he had something to cut down
Matsuda with the next time he became too pompous. However, it would have
to wait, Director Saito made his order to continue all too clear with
a single look of 'keep the meeting impersonal'.
Fuji switched topics. "There have been several other discoveries
as well. Extensive psychological profiles and observations suggest that
Juri Arisugawa demonstrated lesbian tendencies in her pre-awakening days.
However, shortly after her Phoenix qualities began to surface, she has
been interacting with the Adams of her group in what is almost surely
sexually interested ways, though in my estimation she is unaware of her
"You're certain she wasn't bi-sexual all along?" Katsuragi asked
with a hint of eagerness in his voice.
"Psychology isn't a perfect science, of course," Fuji said.
"But all the evidence indicated she had no interest in men. We focused
on her very early when it appeared we would be able to this difficult
to produce situation and are confident of our theories."
"So it appears that the biological attraction factors we built into
the children are capable of overriding deviant sexual tendencies,"
Katsuragi said with a measure of satisfaction drifting into his voice.
"Must you be so crude?" Professor Anno asked.
Katsuragi held his hands up defensively. "I only mean deviant in
the sense that it interferes with the procreation with the species, which
is the one of the ultimate goals of the project. Perhaps 'sexual preferences'
would be a better term?"
Anno nodded reluctantly in agreement.
Fuji cleared his throat. "I wouldn't go so far as to declare that
a statement of fact. This is only one test subject, and there is no guarantee
that her interest in Adams will hold, or that she will give up seeking
same-sex partners either among the Eves or outside Project Phoenix altogether.
We are certain that, to date, she has had no sexual contact with any of
the other children; that is the most important data we'll need to draw
any conclusions. We'll need more test cases to see if the pheromonal cues
of the Adams and Eves is capable of overriding inherent sexual preferences,
or if it's some kind of psychological change that the Phoenix Children
"Still, if she has suddenly expressed interest in the Adams, and
none of the Eves, then it's not unreasonable to assume that the pheromonal
cues are playing a role in this," Director Saito broke in, obviously
intrigued. "I want a very close eye kept on her. Double the amount
of people assigned to observe her, while still being surreptitious about
it. This is exactly the sort of thing we've been looking for in the Mark
II process. Please continue."
Doctor Akagi listened to the conversation while continuing to leaf through
the information on several of Fuji's test results. She had heard the old
argument before and had her own ideas on the matter. Unlike the others,
she chose to keep them to herself until she had more data. As she continued
reading and listening at the same time, something on one of the later
pages caught her eye. She interrupted Fuji before he could continue. "I'm
concerned about this unusual attraction Nanami Kiryuu seems to have for
her brother, Touga. Is it as bad as it appears?"
Fuji nodded. "She has been showing a very intense interest in her
older brother. There might have been signs of it before her awakening,
but now they're conclusive. She has definitely shown extreme signs of
possessiveness and, of more concern, possible sexual interest."
"Do you think it's a breakdown in the genetic 'circuit breakers'
we put in the children to keep siblings from becoming interested in one
another?" Saito asked. It had long been a worry of both himself and
the others that the attraction factor would carry over to siblings. It
had always been the opinion of the Council that having an Adam and Eve
living under the same roof, without any other Adams or Eves available,
would result in a coupling over seventy percent of the time. If they could
not develop a way for family members to resist being interested in one
another, the whole project would have to be scrapped. Inbreeding was still
a problem, even with the genetic restructuring that Project Phoenix children
had undergone. To combat that possibility, they had put genetically placed
responses in each of the children that if a pheromonal lure was similar
to theirs, they would not feel any attraction towards one another. Simulations
indicated it would be effective up to a first cousin level. Any relation
beyond that and the buffer was apparently ineffective. They also had no
accurate data on how effective it would hold up among half-sisters and
brothers, a situation which none of the test subjects was in.
Doubt was apparent on Fuji's features. "Unknown. But even if that
is the case, I don't think it's cause for alarm. None of the other project
children that are siblings have demonstrated similar behavior."
"Indeed," Fuyutsuki agreed. "Two of my test cases, Tatewaki
and Kodachi Kunou, have never expressed that sort of interest in one another.
And I believe Professor Fuji's own test subjects, the twins Miki and Kozue
Kauru, have not either."
"Possessiveness, but not sexual attraction," Fuji clarified,
though close observations made him wonder at times concerning Kozue. But
now was not the time to mention them. Likewise there was another factor
that indicated there was no problem. "Aside from that, we are fairly
certain she had had intercourse with Touga."
"Good," Fuyutsuki said. "And Touga has expressed no interest
in Nanami, correct?"
"True," Fuji said. "There's never been any indication that
he has any desire for her. On the contrary, he's rebuffed all of what
we think are her advances. Never a sign of anything beyond filial love
"It could be a genetic flaw," Matsuda admitted. His previous
anger was now forgotten as he delved once again into the project's results.
"We always knew there would be as much as a three percent error ratio
built into the process. Admittedly, that's a lot better than the initial
ten percent we were suffering in the Mark I children, but it's still room
for error. It sounds to me like this might be an instance of it."
One of the other members that had remained silent up to that point, Doctor
Kunikida, leafed through several sheets until he came upon a curious detail.
"What's this about an esper that hangs around the alpha of the group?"
"Oh, that." Fuji was surprised Kunikida had gotten that far
through the report. "Her name is Anthy Himemiya. From what the Moebius
Institute tells me, she's a telekinetic of enormous power. She'd be a
valuable member of the Institute except for one tiny detail: her personality
is complete passive. She wouldn't harm a fly on her own. She was transferred
to Ohtori to see what her reactions would be in a school environment in
the hopes that she would become more aggressive, but there have been no
noticeable changes in her personality.
"Curiously, shortly upon the formation of the duelists club, Anthy
began spending time with them, or, more specifically, remaining close
to whoever the current alpha of the group is. It's more than a general
attraction. Her initial interest was in Saionji, but the moment he fell
to Touga, she switched her attentions to him. I had assumed it was some
sort of sexual attraction, until now. Utena has become the alpha of the
group, and Anthy is now… well, almost completely subservient to her,
as near as we can tell."
"Do you think she can sense their pheremonal scents?" Fuyutsuki
asked. There had been little study done on a possible link between espers
and Phoenix Children. Too little was understood about the genetics involved
with psychics, and considering the last horribly doomed attempt at genetically
creating espers, all such projects were shelved until more studies could
be done to understand them better.
"The Institute has theorized that she has somehow subconsciously
tapped into their hierarchy, perhaps through a low level of telepathy,
and that she's following the alpha of the pack. Given the number of times
she has switched to the alpha, I think it's a distinct possibility."
"I haven't seen any indication of this at the Imperial Academy. We
have a couple of espers registered there," Fuyutsuki said, then admitted,
"Although I haven't exactly been looking for it either."
"It could be just this particular girl. If she's that passive, she
might be looking for someone like an alpha to follow," Saito said,
having more familiarity with espers and the Institute than the others.
"We still know next to nothing about the creation or mechanics of
psychic abilities. It's not a priority, but I think it would be
advisable to keep an eye out on interaction between the children and any
espers they meet to see if similar reactions occur."
The others nodded their heads in agreement, their minds staring to race
with the new possibilities.
"It's been an eventful session today, and it's just beginning,"
Katsuragi said to the group.
"Heh. Small surprise," Matsuda said in better spirits. A great
deal of the information that he had learned today was going to be applied
to the children under his observation. "This project represents perhaps
the greatest single achievement in the history of mankind, and it is entirely
the Empire's. No one can even come close to what we have achieved here,
and it is largely thanks to us."
Fuji took note of the number of heads that nodded in satisfaction around
the table. It really was amazing what people could intentionally forget
when they chose to. He took it upon himself to burst the pleasant little
bubble they had wrapped themselves in.
"Lorenze Keele," Fuji said softly, and found himself rewarded
with the room falling into a deathly silence.
Matsuda recovered first, then shot Fuji an evil stare. "Look, the
Germans' Human Instrumentality Project was an abysmal failure. Over ninety
percent of the children became complete psychopaths. The Germans themselves
were planning on redoing the project from scratch before we took care
of the matter."
"And what of the remaining children that were not failures?"
"They were liquidated. The Germans were afraid that any children
they produced would turn out like the other test subjects. We got that
from Keele's own personal files when we captured them."
"Yes. Very convenient, that. We were never able to get our hands
on anything else of his over the years, except that one time," Fuji
said as he watched Matsuda light up a cigarette. Talking about Keele always
aggravated Fuji's older rival to no end. Starting to smoke was always
a sign of that aggravation. Fuji took delight in the time he had gotten
Matsuda to go through an entire pack in one meeting.
Director Saito entered the conversation. "We back checked it through
the Directorate. Files and the bodies of all the test subjects were accounted
for through alternate German resources."
"Besides, it doesn't matter," Matsuda reassured him. "Black
Ops teams killed Professor Oppenheimer. He was the mastermind behind the
genetics portion of the Human Instrumentality Project. Once he was dead
and all of his notes and experiments were destroyed, the whole thing was
completely scrapped. They couldn't have recreated the project, even if
they wanted to."
"And Keele's dead," Akagi provided. "He died when his Antarctic
base was destroyed six years ago."
"Did they ever find the body?" Fuji asked, fully knowing the
"Of course not!" Matsuda snapped. "The whole base was completely
vaporized, along with over four hundred members of the Empire's best special
forces units! I should know! My son was among them!"
"We all feel for your loss," Director Saito said, then turned
to Fuji. "Your personal obsession about Keele is showing again, doctor.
He's long since dead, and everything about the Human Instrumentality Project
has ceased to exist."
Fuji had to shake his head at that. His fellow project members were becoming
more desperate to reassure themselves that there was nothing to fear.
"Keele's been declared dead by our own much-vaunted intelligence
service four other times in the past thirty years, once while I was still
a member of it, and he always had a nasty tendency to turn up alive anyway.
Forgive me if I am a bit incredulous."
"Paranoid, you mean," Matsuda murmured just loudly enough for
everyone to hear.
Fuji shrugged, his respect for Matsuda deteriorating further. "I
just find it terribly convenient that everything and everyone related
to whatever it was he was working on in Antarctica was completely destroyed.
We still have no idea of what he was up to. The whole thing reeks of a
"That is irrelevant to this discussion," Director Saito informed
him, his patience at losing the direction of the meeting at an end. "We
are here to discuss Project Phoenix, not if a terrorist like Lorenze Keele
is still alive. Let's continue with the discussion."
That declaration ended any further talk of the matter. Fuji completed
his presentation. Others followed, though none were as full of the number
of new discoveries that Fuji's had been.
It was as the group broke up (and Fuji shot Matsuda a smile, causing the
older man to leave in a huff) that Fuji took the opportunity to talk to
Fuyutsuki. He was met pleasantly, and the two began a private discussion
about the session's events.
"I hope to have a great deal more to share with the others the next
time we get together," Fuyutsuki said.
"Hoping to one up me?" Fuji knew Fuyutsuki would not take that
statement seriously. The two had been friends for too long.
Fuyutsuki gave a light-hearted grin. "Top you? Never. But I think
things in my group of children are about to happen. My gut instincts tell
me it's going to be something big."
Fuji took note of how eager Fuyutsuki was. That would make what he had
to say even easier. "Speaking of big, I was thinking…"
"A dangerous pastime."
"I know," Fuji chuckled. "Seriously, I have an idea. I
know that Utena is the alpha in my group and likely to remain that way.
Touga is close to her, but I want her tested against someone new. Someone
that might be tough enough to give her a run for her money."
"I suspect this is where I come in," Fuyutsuki said.
"Yes." Fuji took the plunge. "I'd like to test her against
one of your children. Either Nabiki Tendou or Ranma Saotome. Utena's scores
are right in-between the two. And we know that a differentiation of less
then thirty points is insignificant."
Fuyutsuki considered that. Testing either one of them against Fuji's 'pride
and joy' would be a valuable experiment. It would give one of his children
experience against another highly ranked Eve from outside the test group.
Certainly, it was an opportunity he was reluctant to pass up. Also, if
either Ranma or Nabiki defeated Utena, it would give Fuyutsuki bragging
rights to the top alpha in all of the test groups. All he had to do was
choose which one.
"Saotome," Fuyutsuki decided. That way he would still have his
number one child in reserve, just in case Tenjou somehow defeated Ranma,
not that Fuyutsuki thought that was likely. He had seen Ranma fighting
with Nabiki. Tenjou might have been good, but the skill with which Saotome,
as well as Nabiki, fought would be difficult to match. No, Fuyutsuki thought,
there was little doubt that when it came time for the next session, he
would be able to proclaim that his test subjects were the best of the
"When should we have them meet?" Fuyutsuki asked.
"I think a couple of days should be enough,' Fuji said. "Why
don't we surprise them? We'll inform them on the same day the match is
to take place."
"I would like it at Imperial Academy," Fuyutsuki said. Home
field advantage never hurt.
"I was thinking the same thing." Fuji did not want the possible
loss of status to occur on the Ohtori Academy grounds. On the offhand
chance Utena lost, one of the others might try to press an advantage and
take her position as alpha. It would be best that the fight occur at the
"I'll call you with more precise details."
"Good," Fuji said. "I want to go over some of the new information
we received today. Then in two days we'll meet."
Both men decided to break up the discussion and departed. Fuji got into
his car and drove off, wondering exactly how to tell Utena that she had
a duel of a different kind coming up.
Sweat poured as the elegant clash continued, wood striking wood, yielding
an oddly alluring symphony broken intermittently by the sound of a strike
on flesh. Blows rained in, each wooden blade seeking its target so as
to gain victory for its wielder. In an ever-widening circle, the two duelists
met, thrusting, parrying, swinging a blow in an overhead arc only to meet
with air, then being forced to back off lest the other connect with a
sword stroke of their own. And so the dance continued.
Everything about the dueling pair was a demonstration in opposites. One
was a tall, powerfully-built man with a greenish tint to long hair that
curled at the ends. His opponent was a girl, shorter by a head and slender,
though tightly muscled, with pink tresses that flowed straight down past
her neck. The man was using a technique that relied upon his superior
power, whereas the girl's relied more on speed. Even their school outfits
were different despite a similarity in styling: stark white for the man,
jet black for the girl.
The heated duel was just entering its third minute when the man, Saionji
saw the opening he needed. His opponent had at last made the mistake he
knew would eventually come. He brought his bokken over in a wide swing,
knowing that he would strike with a resounding blow into Utena's skull.
A wide smile broke out across his features as the satisfaction of his
long-awaited revenge upon the girl overwhelmed him.
That damned Utena Tenjou! In an instant, his mind flashed back to the
day he had first set eyes upon the odd girl with the pink tresses and
who wore the elegant black styling of a boy's uniform to school. The one
that had the audacity to publicly challenge him to a duel on only her
fourth day at the Academy. Even then, he knew it would be a day to remember.
The instant she had issued her challenge, the hushed whispers of the crowd
that had gathered to admire him (and he had many admirers, though not
as many as Touga) gave him the information he needed to know.
"It's the new girl."
"Her name's Utena Tenjou. I heard she's a second year cadet."
"No. She's only in her first year. Why does she wear a boy's uniform
"Who knows? She might be a little strange, but there's something
about her that's just so…sensual. It makes her handsome, yet still feminine."
"Ha! It sounds like you're in love, Wakaba. You're giving up on Saionji
pretty quick. Though there is a presence about her…"
Saionji ignored the rest of the comments and scoffed at the insolence
of the bizarre upstart. He approached her, intent on delivering a reprimand
that would remind the others to remain in their proper place as well.
As he got closer, he could have sworn he detected the odd scent of something
in the air, and suddenly felt himself drawn to her. The effect was even
more powerful than the one he had when his fellow Student Council members,
Juri Arisugawa or Kozue Karou, were around him. Looking at the new girl's
face, a face full of confidence yet lacking in arrogance, he found himself
in agreement with the others. There was a sort of sensuality around her
that made the cross-dressing seem somehow appropriate. He silently decided
that, after delivering his reprimand, he would make her his before Ohtori's
most infamous playboy, Touga, had the chance to.
The crowd, which had already parted when Utena had delivered her bold
challenge, gave an even wider berth as he approached her. Saionji stood
towering above her, looking down into eyes that held no fear of him, just
righteous determination. The girl was far too impertinent for her own
good. He brought his hand back so quickly that only a few in the crowd
were able to follow the movement. With one blow he would put her in her
proper place. The hand descended and the girl…
…ducked almost too quickly for Saionji to follow. In missing the slap,
he found himself off-balance, giving her the opening she needed to deliver
a kick into his stomach, driving the air from his lungs.
She stood over him, a smirk on her face that would have enraged Saionji
if he had still been able to breathe. "If that's all the speed you
have, it's not going to be much of a fight."
She turned without giving him another glance and made her way to the gymnasium.
The crowd followed her, not giving Saionji a backward glance. His anger
swelled as he vowed to hurt the soon-to-be-not-so-pretty-girl. No one
humiliated Saionji Kyouichi like that. No one.
He then moved to the gym, shoving the people aside that moved too slowly
to make way for him. He saw that the girl had already drawn a bokken from
a nearby rack and was going through a basic kata with it, loosening up.
Only later would he remember that she had moved with an exquisite grace
that even the best swordsman among them, Touga, paled in comparison to.
However, his rage blinded him as he tore a bokken out of the rack, nearly
destroying it in the process. No time was taken to warm up as he brought
his weapon up in a guard position, giving only a moment for Utena to prepare,
then attacked. Adrenaline pumped through his system, exciting him even
further as he lashed out with vicious strikes, trying to break through
Utena's defenses to deliver unto her the beating she so richly deserved.
But somehow her defenses held. He tried harder to power past the blocks,
and in so doing, made a mistake. She brought the bokken up into his stomach,
then lashed across his face with a power that he had not thought possible
for her lithe form. The blow sent him reeling across the gym. He recovered
long enough to try to defend himself from her increasingly powerful attacks,
but it was to no avail. A third and fourth blow found their marks. A fifth
one caught him across the temple, driving him into unconsciousness.
Later, he woke up, head bandaged and ringing as though he had a concussion,
though he was able to think clearly. He saw Touga sitting in a chair at
the foot of his bed, which he quickly realized was in the school infirmary.
The first thing that went through Saionji's mind was surprise that his
old friend had cared enough to see how he was. However, that illusion
was quickly shattered when, after asking a few cursory questions about
Saionji's condition, Touga began interrogating him about the "fascinating
new girl" that he had heard about. Saionji informed him that it had
been a lucky blow, and that the girl would lose when next they met.
But that had not happened, and Saionji had met defeat a second time, even
more quickly than he had the first. Shortly after that he dropped a match
to Juri, one in which he had challenged her in an effort to improve his
morale. Fearing he had lost his touch, he had gone into intensive training
to improve both his conditioning and skills. Dean Fuji had even helped
him by having several special trainers run him through an intense physical
regimen that was far more difficult than anything the school's normal
curriculum carried. After completing it, he was certain that it would
make the difference.
And it had. He was now poised to take his long awaited vengeance. All
he had to do was connect with Utena's undefended head. He brought his
bokken across, committing the scene to memory as the wood was only a split
second away from impacting with her skull. The thought turned sour as,
at the last second, Utena ducked under the blow; the bokken striking nothing
but her trailing hair. As what happened all too often when he fought Utena,
Saionji found himself off-balance for a moment. It was a moment Utena
took full advantage of. Her right hand, the one holding the bokken, came
up and caught Saionji full in the nose, breaking it. Pain overwhelmed
him as blood poured from the broken proboscis.
She quickly followed up with another blow even as the first cry of pain
escaped Saionji's lips, bringing a knee up into his stomach and doubling
him over in pain, driving him to the ground. The bokken slipped from his
grasp and clattered to the floor. It was as he was trying to regain his
footing that he heard the words that cut in over his agony.
"Hey, Saionji. Remember how you hit Anthy the other day?"
An image of Anthy came to him. The exotic, dark-skinned girl had once
been his. But the instant he lost a duel to Touga, she had changed suitors
and gone to the victor. When she was with Touga, there was nothing that
could be done; even Saionji would not cross him like that. But once Utena
had defeated Touga, Anthy had ignored the playboy altogether and began
following Utena. In Saionji's mind that meant she was available. So, on
the previous night he approached her, demanding they begin their relationship
again. Anthy politely rejected his advances, claiming she belonged at
Utena's side. In anger, both for her rebuff and for the implication a
mere girl was more desirable then him, he backhanded her across the face.
It had not been the first time he had slapped a girl for forgetting her
place, or even the first time he had struck Anthy. He left her holding
her face, warning her that if it was only winners she desired, then she
would have one come tomorrow.
And now tomorrow had come. Apparently Anthy had told Utena what had happened
or she had seen it for herself. Utena did not sound particularly pleased
"Answer the question!" she spat.
"Yes. I remember."
A bokken crashed into his skull, hard, driving him into unconsciousness.
"Big mistake," Utena said, nudging Saionji's prone body with
her foot to make sure he would not be getting up any time soon.
A finger hit the button on a stopwatch. "Three minutes, forty-five
seconds, Miss Utena. An impressive time considering Saionji's increased
"Thanks, Miki." Utena turned from Saionji's fallen body to the
others, whose forms were partially hidden of the shadows of the room.
The room itself was very strange, located in the highest tower on the
campus, and prohibited from everyone but the Dean and the Student Council,
and whomever they chose to bring with them.
The circular design of the room itself was odd. It was large, about forty
feet long and fifty feet wide, and an ideal size for dueling. As with
nearly everything else with the academy, intricate roses of wood had been
sculpted and adorned the top of the room where the walls and ceiling met.
The large windows that dominated an entire side of the room allowed the
morning light to bathe the chamber in a soothing yellow glow. During noon
the whole thing was brightly lit, and Utena would occasionally go there
to enjoy the day. But as the sun set, it would produce shadows that hid
everything on the opposite side of the room, giving the whole area a very
sinister feel. Perhaps that was why most of the duels tended to take place
during those early evening hours.
The other six occupants that had witnessed the fight emerged from the
shadows, varying degrees of emotion on their faces. Touga Kiryuu turned
the smile that so many of the school's girls swooned at, upon Utena and
appeared truly impressed, while his sister, Nanami, hid nothing of her
jealousy as she scowled in Utena's direction. Miki Kauru had a friendly
smile for Utena, mirroring their own easy friendship, while his twin sister,
Kozue, had nothing but disdain directed at the girl with the pink tresses.
Juri Arisugawa had her usual imperceptible look, while Anthy Himehiya
rushed over and practically gushed over Utena.
"That was a wonderful victory, Miss Utena." The fading sunlight
glinted off of Anthy's glasses as she plucked the pink rose, that she
had given Utena for luck, from the lapel of her left breast. After that,
Anthy offered the sweating girl a white towel.
Utena took it, mopping the sweat from her brow as she accepted Touga,
Miki, and Juri's congratulations. Occasionally, she still felt as though
she were the odd girl out, especially since she was the only one that
wore the standard black uniform of the school while the others, save Anthy,
wore the white version of the same outfit, identifying them as the representatives
of the Student Council. The one reassuring thing was that even the girls
wore the same uniform as the boys. With the style of clothing Utena usually
chose, she didn't seem out of place among the female Student Council's
uniforms, that were much more masculine in style than what most women
at the Academy wore. The only one in the room others would have been easily
able to identify as a woman, from a distance, would have been Anthy, who
was dressed in the standard white shirt and blue skirt of a female student
of Ohtori Academy.
"I warned Saionji he wasn't ready for this." Touga Kiryuu, the
tall, strikingly handsome third year cadet and president of the student
council, gave a disappointed shake of his head as he looked at the fallen
form before them.
"He had it coming," Juri, the second year cadet with the curly
red hair and lean, yet supple frame spoke with the air of authority. Miki
ran a hand through his own short cut black hair before nodding his head
"So the 'Prince of Ohtori' wins again," Nanami snorted in disgust,
refusing to hide her contempt.
Utena ignored the sarcasm-laden use of her nickname and turned to Anthy.
"Could you do me a favor and take him down to the infirmary? I think
I broke his nose, and he's going to need it reset."
"Certainly, Miss Utena." Anthy gave her usual pleasant smile.
Of course, Utena had now been with Anthy long enough to know that if she
told her to dance naked while reciting haikus to the student population,
Anthy would have smiled in the exact same way and gone off to do it just
Anthy made no move towards Saionji. Instead, he levitated off the ground,
as though a set of invisible hands had lifted him, and began to trail
behind the psychic girl. She went to the stairs that led back down to
the main part of the school, Saionji's unconscious form following.
Utena noticed Nanami and Miki shudder slightly; they were still not used
to open displays of Anthy's telekinetic abilities. In spite of the girl's
power, unless Utena ordered her to, Anthy never used them. It was not
as though the dark-skinned girl was afraid of her abilities or saw anything
wrong with it; she simply never felt like using them. That was only one
of the many odd personality quirks of the girl who had all but become
as much Utena's personal servant as friend. She had tried to tell Anthy
not to act so servile and just be herself, but it was to no avail. She
did anything and everything Utena asked of her.
Utena was still pondering what to do about Anthy when the sound of clapping
alerted her and the rest of the students to a newcomer's presence.
"I saw your handiwork pass me on the stairs. I'm sorry to have missed
"Dean Fuji!" Utena's heart raced as she stood before the man
who had all but taken her under his wing since she had transferred to
Ohtori. He was the one who had persuaded her to take the advanced physical
training and hand-to-hand combat courses. Now she was in far better shape
then she had ever been in her entire life and was nearly unbeatable in
a fight, as any of the people in the room could attest to. Only Juri and
Touga could press her anymore, and even then the outcome was never really
in doubt to her. The fights simply lasted longer.
Utena calmed down a bit as the dean of the school, Professor Hiro Fuji
approached her. "I might have been a little rough on him, but I'm
sure he's okay. I wouldn't really hurt him." No matter how much he
deserved it, she added mentally.
"Of course not. You're always in control and would never go out of
your way to hurt anyone." He patted her on the shoulder. "You
know, I couldn't help but noticing that you seem to be very popular in
Utena blushed. "I don't know what you mean."
"Come now, you're being too modest." Touga interrupted. "I
hear the name 'Utena' on everyone's lips."
"Indeed," Fuji said, pleased at Touga's interjection. The boy
was doing it to impress Utena, of that much Fuji was certain, but it still
assisted him and his own intentions. "Ohtori Academy finished first
in the fencing, kendo, volleyball, and basketball tournaments thanks in
no small part to you."
"You're making too much out of it," Utena said, turning an even
deeper shade of red.
"Not at all," Fuji assured her. "I was just wondering if
you were going to run in the student elections that are coming up in a
couple of months. With the school expanding as much as it has, I was considering
opening up another position on the Student Council. You'd be the perfect
"I don't know," Utena said, suddenly unsure of the direction
the conversation had taken. "I don't think I'm cut out for politics."
"Neither is Kozue, but she's on the Student Council,"
Miki said, blissfully unaware of the insult. "I think you'd be a
Kozue shot him an evil glare.
"You have all of the abilities to be an outstanding leader. Besides,
all of your friends are already members" Fuji insisted.
Utena wondered where he had come up with the idea they were friends. Miki
and Anthy, who were first year cadets like herself, were the only ones
in the group she would call friends. The others fell into a variety of
It was very odd how she had seemed to just fall in with the group, just
as they had more or less accepted her shortly after she had first appeared.
It was almost as though they had all felt an inexplicable urge to be around
one another. But they weren't really friends. Juri was more like an acquaintance,
though there was something of a polite rivalry between them. She liked,
but didn't trust, the silver-tongued Touga or the much more quiet Kozue.
And she knew both Saionji and Nanami hated her with a passion. Despite
the level of distrust she felt for many of the members, she still felt
herself inexorably drawn to the group, compelled to prove herself to be
the best among them. And she had proven that. Perhaps it was simply that
they could provide her with the challenges she sought to improve herself.
And then there was that odd, almost palpable sensation when she spent
time among them. It was only recently that she could admit that she found
herself attracted to most of the men in the group, especially when they
engaged in their regular duels, but it was not as though she actually
wanted to go out with any of them. Saionji was a conceited jerk. Touga
was admittedly handsome, but also a playboy that seemingly had over three
quarters of the female population swooning over him (including Kozue,
much to Miki's irritation). Miki was nice enough. Utena had almost asked
him out early on, but then quickly reconsidered. She felt it would be
best if they remain friends, especially since he was the only one on the
council she felt she could trust. No. Although she was tempted occasionally,
she was much more satisfied with the platonic relationships she had developed
with the men in the group.
As to actually becoming a real member of the council, well, she did tend
to hang around them most of her time. And she did have problems with some
of the things they tended to do when acting as the Student Council. Perhaps
it wouldn't be so objectionable to at least consider running for one of
Fuji saw the seeds of the idea beginning to take root. It was time to
back off. Pushing too hard would only make her resent the idea. "It's
just a thought. There is another reason I am here. I wanted to ask a favor
Utena was relieved at the change of topic. "I'd be happy to help
out however I can."
"Excellent. There is something of a challenge match we have with
the Imperial Academy. I met the Dean from there recently, and he was going
on continuously about a student he has that is supposed to be an excellent
fighter. The Dean's claim was that he is the best there is. Since, like
you, I have such pride in our school, I could hardly let such a statement
go unchallenged. I thought you might be willing to help out since you're
the best fighter Ohtori has to offer. The only catch is, the match would
be held at the Imperial Academy."
Pride swelled in Utena's chest. "I accept. It's time we showed everyone
who the best school really is." Ohtori Academy had a tendency to
be considered somewhat less prestigious than Blackhall or Whitehall, and
less academic than the Imperial Academy, almost like a little sister to
the other three. This would be a chance to show the Imperial Academy,
at least, who had the better students. Besides, it would give Utena a
chance to match her skills against someone new. She was surprised to find
herself already wanting to meet whoever this 'best there is' person was.
Touga made his way to Utena's side. "I would consider it an honor
to go with you."
Utena made a deft move to avoid the hand that was about to end up on her
shoulder. Touga seemed to look for opportunities to come into contact
with her (he was a touchy-feely person, Miki once said in private when
describing Touga), and every time he managed to brush against or place
his hand upon her, a not altogether unpleasant tingling sensation made
its presence known. Undoubtedly, that was how he had picked up other girls,
and Utena could almost understand the appeal. However, unlike those other
girls, she was able to resist his charms.
"Ah, I'm flattered by the offer," she told him. "But I
think I'll pass."
"Oh, come now. Going into enemy territory alone would be foolhardy.
Please allow me to accompany you. I am one of the best fighters here."
Touga backed away from her, subtly moving in what he considered a graceful,
yet alluring manner. At least that was what the other girls claimed when
they composed poetry to him. He had the grace of a lion during the hunt,
the girls would say. The guys tended to say 'Bishonen Jerk-off,' but never
to Touga's face.
Off to the side, Nanami ground her teeth in irritation. Why was her brother
being so insistent on accompanying that rude and impertinent cross-dresser?
And how dare Utena refuse his wishes, not that Nanami wanted the two of
them alone together for even a second. It had to have been Utena's doing.
Somehow the wicked little low-born, weirdo had hooked her claws into her
brother and enchanted him. Nanami had never seen Touga so fixated on any
one girl like this. True, he spent time with many different girls, but
he just used them to feed his ego and brushed them aside when he no longer
desired their attentions. Touga didn't care about them the way he did
Nanami. She knew she was special to him, just like he was special to her.
None of those other girls were a threat, so as much as Nanami did not
like them, so she ultimately ignored them.
However, Utena was proving herself different from the others. Not only
did she appear resistant to Touga's charms, but now her brother was starting
to demean himself. It was not just in his choice of romantic partner,
but in his behavior as well. They were Kiryuus, one of the oldest, richest,
and most prominent families in the entire empire. They had made a fortune
in various business ventures and headed one of the most powerful zaibatsus
in the Empire. Their grandfather had even been a close advisor to the
Emperor, at least he was until he died at the age of ninety-five in the
bed of two of his many mistresses.
Many of her grandfather's traits had been passed on to Touga, including
a propensity towards decadence and women. That was one of the reasons
Nanami kept such a close eye on him. She had to make sure no undeserving
woman came too close to her brother, which was actually all of them. She
was the only one that was worthy of his attentions. She knew it in her
heart, which, lately, would beat faster when he was close to her, or when
she trained with him. Surely that irresistible attraction, that burning
desire that preyed upon her thoughts all day long, was felt by him. Sooner
or later he would come to realize that. It would just take a while. Sometimes
her brother was awful thick-headed about the obvious.
In the meantime, Nanami would have to take steps to ensure that Utena
would be… unable to return her brother's affections. Obviously the trollop
was playing hard to get, all but demanding her brother pursue her. Well,
her teasing was going to cost her. Nanami would see to that. Already a
plan was forming in her mind. Utena was going to be away from the school,
and away from any assistance some of the others might give her should
she be threatened. It would be the perfect opportunity for something bad
to happen to her. And Nanami knew just who could take care of it.
Utena, unaware of Nanami's thoughts, decided to end Touga's insistence.
"You raise a good point. It would be kind of stupid for me to go
Touga smiled. At least he had her.
Utena looked at Touga, smiled, then said, "Hey Miki, want to
Miki was surprised at the unexpected offer. "Uh…okay. I would consider
it an honor too."
"I'll take Anthy along as well." Utena smiled sweetly at Touga.
"I don't think it would be a good idea for you to be there. It really
is beneath the president of the student council to attend such a small
and insignificant fight. Why, the Imperial Academy people might think
you have nothing more important to do here at the school."
Touga knew he had lost, but was too proud to hide even the slightest indication
that he had. There would be other times, and Utena's sharp wit was one
of the things he liked about her. "You are correct. It was merely
concern for you that I was showing. But if there is any one person in
this school that can take care of themselves, it would the 'Prince of
Ohtori Academy'." A little flattery about self-reliance never hurt.
He bowed and headed downstairs. Nanami followed closely in his wake, shooting
a glare at Utena before starting a casual conversation with her brother.
Fuji smiled. Utena's mind was as sharp as a sword. "Then it's settled.
I'll have a car pick the three of you up outside the west gate after school
in a couple of days. Be sure to bring your best bokken and not a sword.
After all, this isn't going to be a death duel."
"I will," Utena said as the others began to filter out of the
chamber. "Oh, Dean! I almost forgot. What's my opponent's name?"
"Ranma Saotome," he told her.
Utena smiled in appreciation and thanked Dean Fuji for choosing her to
represent the school. Things certainly were happening quickly all of a
sudden. Excitement began to build as she wondered what sort of boy this
Ranma Saotome would be like.
To be continued.