A Ranma ½ - Sailor Moon crossover story
Disclaimer: Ranma ½ and its characters and settings belong to Rumiko Takahashi, Shogakukan, Kitty, and Viz Video. Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon belongs to Takeuchi Naoko, Koudansha, TV Asahi, and Toei Douga, and DIC.
"Sir, I've lost all contact with Lunar Orbiters 3-9," said a tall, well-endowed redhead from behind the console. She looked over to Bill Gates and asked, "What should we do, sir?"
Bill Gates glanced to the young technician. "Have outer sensors registered any unusual energy patterns?" he asked. On his right-hand touch pad, he began keying in the codes for the base's defensive particle cannons. You could never be too prepared.
After a moment, the technician said, "No, sir, nothing out of the ordinary." She paused. "I've just rerouted visual control to my panel." She manipulated a grounded trackball, and the screen in front of her began rapidly skimming through images. When she found the one she desired, she used her other hand, this one encased within a sensor-lined glove, to interact with a hologram projected to her left.
The screen zoomed in from a blurry image to that of the lunar landscape. Several miles above the surface, an enormous asteroid floated, inevitably approaching the moon. "Bring it in closer," Bill ordered. The resolution again sharpened and trees could be seen imbedded within the mountain. Trees?!
Bill took personal control of the satellite drone and maneuvered it in closer. Seen from the right angle, the asteroid looked very much like a mountain that had been torn from the Earth. Floating around the newborn asteroid were several decaying humans, all of who were moving around. The fact that they were obviously dead, yet still flailing around helplessly was more than enough to disturb the genius. There were also a number of… things, things that were big and didn't have much trouble moving through space. They used floating debris to jump around the asteroid. None of the creatures seemed effected by the hazards of space.
"Sensors are indicating wildly fluctuating bio-readings, sir," announced the technician, a slight waver in her voice. To herself, she feared that they were being invaded by aliens.
Bill nodded, seeing the source of those bio-readings. What exactly was going on? This couldn't have come from Earth recently, not with the planet's current problem, but those things couldn't have been exposed to the vacuum of space for long, no matter how ghoulish they were. A secret government space facility? If so, it wasn't American in origin.
"What is the status of the H.V.E. pilots?" Bill asked. The first half-dozen Gundams were complete and all testing of their combat abilities and weaponry had been performed without a hitch. Several pilots were already trained to the peak of human performance. The only obstacle to the reclamation of Earth was the production of the dimensional flux generators that B.A.S.C. had developed to negate the unusual energy that had encompassed Earth.
The flux generators were based on a Japanese design for a costly energy containment system, but when properly modified and attuned to a specific alloy, the flux created electrical energy that could be used within Earth's disruption field. It took three of the satellite-based generators to keep a Gundam fully powered (the generators themselves could not function unless in a total vacuum, and were too bulky to equip the Gundams with them) no matter its location, but currently only seven of the generators were finished.
Once eighteen of the devices were completed, enough to power the first Gundam squad, Bill planned to launch them to Earth to begin setting up receivers that would allow the flux transmission to power Earthbound facilities. For now, though, the Gundams would work fine in space; their fusion reactors were fully operational.
Another pause. "Ready to go, sir. Hyato is suffering a mild concussion and wishes to remain grounded."
Bill nodded and said, "Very well. I want Vulcan Beam modules and Smart Rocket racks equipped on each H.V.E." Using a sub-vocal command, Bill brought up an inventory of weapons stored within his armory. "High-yield atomics also, three apiece. Inform them that B.A.S.C. will give them the coordinates of the detonation areas once the current extraterrestrial threat is eliminated."
Squad leader Mamoru Chiba hurriedly slipped into his G-suit, and then donned his helmet and pressurized it to round out his newest costume. Trapped in America during the Gates Uprising, Mamoru had adapted, going over to the side that would obviously come out victorious in hopes of surviving to one day see his beloved Usagi again. He'd volunteered to take a place on the Lunar Base as a way to get into the Wizard of Gates' good graces, but found himself trapped on the moon after the world went dark.
He'd nearly broke down, then, when he thought of his love, his precious Usagi fighting for survival in the chaotic mess that existed far below him. Chosen by B.A.S.C. to become a pilot for the robotic armor developed by the Wizard, Tuxedo Mask poured himself into the effort of learning to pilot the remarkable machines. If he became good enough, he would be able to save Usagi, eventually. She would survive… she had to. They were destined to be together.
"Yo, Chiba, you ready, man?" asked his second in command.
From behind the silvered safety shield of his helmet, Mamoru nodded. They proceeded to the H.V.E. bay and waited while the automated systems armed and outfitted their vehicles. As the robotic drones floated around the bay, their gravity not augmented by the complex graviton emitters, they attached some of the more potent weapons to the H.V.E.s. Mamoru noticed the black and yellow cylinders indicating nuclear payloads on some of the items. What could they possibly be doing with something so dangerous, that he and his men had barely been trained to handle?
Meanwhile, on Earth.
Genma had enjoyed himself greatly over the last month. Sure, Nodoka had been practically insatiable, but even she had her limits. With the Tendo sisters, he had to worry more about his limits. With their constant hunger for sex, he got very little sleep and had lost nearly fifty pounds. For a giant, fat panda, his figure was starting to look amazingly trim. Little-Genma had seen better days, but that new lubricant Kasumi had started making from those crushed herbs was working wonders for all the heat rash and friction burns.
Right now, though, Genma wasn't all that happy. Where the girls had gotten heavy gauge chain from, he didn't know, and he didn't really think that iron shackles were all that common nowadays either, but they had, and now he was bound on his back, spread-eagled against a tree. He looked imploringly to Kasumi, his eyes shining with unshed tears.
Kasumi smiled at her panda and said, "P-chan, you'll feel much better when we get all this fur off of you. You won't be so hot all the time, and the girls and I are getting a little annoyed with all the panda hair that keeps getting stuck in our teeth." Kasumi didn't want to upset her plaything any further by telling him that Akane had complained that her whips and other assorted implements went unfelt by P-chan because of his fur. Sigh… the things she did for family.
With a last whimper, Genma shut his eyes as Kasumi began to trim away his luscious fur coat. His last glimpse for several hours was Akane, standing behind her sister with a mug of soap and a straight razor. Three different whips rested, coiled, within her hip holder.
"What are you doing?" I asked Ryu. I'd had to change course mid-flight to catch up with the cyborg as he had deviated from his path. I'd found him near the crashed remains of a helicopter. This must have been his ride that'd gone down when Saffron used the tech dampener.
Ryu ripped a twisted armor plate from the chopper's frame and breathed a sigh of satisfaction. "It's still here," he said. Like there was much chance of whatever 'it' was just up and disappearing if it was held behind an inch thick piece of steel.
I waited patiently, perusing the wreckage of Ryu's chopper. It'd been small and completely black, coated with some kind of non-reflective material. "So?" I finally asked.
Ryu'd just finished strapping an advanced-looking metallic case/box to his back. It looked like it was designed to rest there and was probably something else more advanced than your modern everyday supercomputer.
"Weapons upgrade and armor modules," replied my student, the cybernetic martial artist and sorcerer. Damn, what a mouthful.
I was beginning to be reminded of a cartoon I'd once seen down in hell that was being used to torture some child rapist or something. I believe it was called Inspector Gadget. Ugh, almost as bad as Barney. "Well, if you've gotten all your toys, do you mind if we get a move on?" I asked exasperatedly. It was getting about time to bring out Demon for a few hours. Ryu always got quite and respectful for a few days after getting sight of my monstrous pokémon. Nah, I should save that up for later. He could build up immunity to the effect, after all.
Our leisurely pace brought us back within the embattled territories already claimed by the Alliance, and we soon met the first Alliance force I'd seen since the one where I'd killed that Elder. This one was much smaller, numbering barely over fifty, but none of the warriors were anything less than battletested veterans, and they had the skill to prove it. Unfortunately, for them, Ryu and I aren't your run-of-the-mill ass-kickers.
I contented myself with blasting the Amazons around the muddy meadow, never empowering my spells to the level that they would become fatal. The rest I left for Ryu. I hadn't seen him in actual combat with his full abilities active, and now was as good a time to learn as any.
Needlessly— for these opponents didn't really require such force— Ryu activated that upgrade pack he always wore. The result was an anime-ish looking knight with floating orbs full of power orbiting him. He didn't play around with his foes, and with little more than an oversized chi/plasma bolt, he incinerated the Musk and Phoenix People who were trying to kill him. So much for seeing any full abilities.
"We're starting to wander," I announced after the 'fight'. "I need to get to Russia to meet that guy the Alliance contracted. The sooner the better." Right now the best I could hope for was a roundabout cure for Ami involving a century without her, but the sooner I got that poison de-souled, the sooner I got my Ami back.
"Hey, I'm just following you around," Ryu pointed out. As his grasp of magic and control over his chi improved, Ryu was becoming ever more formidable and I also saw him as a more reliable companion, someone to watch my back if the need ever arose. With all his gadgets, we made up the most powerful force of destruction on this or any other planet that I knew of.
I nodded, wordlessly levitating a few hundred feet into the sky, joined shortly by a Ryu who no longer needed his body's enhancements to fly.
Hmmm, provided that Ryu had the equipment for the job, he and Makoto would make a good couple. Yes, their powers would combine nicely with a very high probability of producing a Talented offspring. What am I thinking? Well, it involves the future, the very, very distant future.
Anyway, on to more important matters. My vision enhanced both by naturally sharpened senses and a couple quick cantrips, I scouted out the abandoned military base deep within the Siberian Steppes. That there was a military base here wasn't much of a surprise; that this was the place the Alliance party had been heading to pick up a large shipment of enchanted items was. I could feel the misty haze that was the omnipresent force of magic throughout the world thickening in the air above the collection of buildings and the unused airstrip.
I keyed my senses to strictly mystical and almost took an involuntary step back. Talk about tight! This place had so many layered wards weaved around and through it that for me to enter without permission, I'd practically have to tear it into little pieces. The outer fence served as a template for a series of interlocking force shields, very much like those I kept in place reflexively. Those alone would keep out anything short of an Elder, a Phoenix Sorcerer, or a Musk noble.
From that point on back, the protections became increasingly powerful and complex, right up till the end where a demon summoning was held in stasis, to be activated by a powerful intruder. Oooo, it was a nasty one, too. Now would be the time to say 'Screw it' and pack up, if I didn't also feel that the sorcerer who cast the enchantments was, in the way of strength, little above middling. That wasn't really too obvious unless one knew to look for steadily stepped up power levels indicative of slow buildups in energy.
Still, this sorcerer was more than Talented in the traditional sense. He had to be sub-Talented too, an Artificer definitely. I have many sub-Talents, mainly my ability to learn new magic and my unusual strength itself being a sub-Talent. I'm even something of an Artificer myself, if a poor one. If I were lucky, I would soon be meeting a true master Artificer, someone who I could truly treat as an absolute equal.
Ryu had to be left behind. I wasn't sure what effects the almost unreal level of enchantments would have on his makeshift power source. It was just as well, really. The last thing I needed was for the guy to let his technology fetish run away with him and try to take something that belonged to someone who could, with a mental snap of his fingers, turn loose a potential Demon Lord on the poor fool (it takes the death of a Demon Lord and about ten thousand years of fighting for a new Demon Lord to come to power).
The fence didn't even attempt to stop me, so heavily programmed that it knew its efforts would be futile. I passed through, over, or under about thirty more varying wards before they began putting up resistance. Instead of bulling my way through, which would have been impolite and explosive, I opened gaps in the wards where I could and teleported past the ones that would have raised undue alarm. Finally, within four meters of the disguised summoning ring, I stopped, waiting for the arrival of my host. By now, he'd almost certainly felt my presence.
"Welcome," said an illusion as it appeared before me. It was about an inch shorter than me, wearing wire-rimmed glasses with small lenses, and the face presented by the illusion was weathered, yet not old.
"Hey," I answered, not one for formal bullshit. The illusion was good, better than I could pull off, better, I suspected, than any human I'd ever met before could pull off. It felt solid, partially anyway. Damn, it is solid!
"Can I help you?" the more-than-illusory illusion asked. It sounded pretty casual, even though I'd just about barged on through the front door.
Might as well get to the point. "Sure. I ran into an Alliance force, I assume you know what that means, and then I killed them all. I got some info from one of the Elders about their mission. I decided to come see what was so special about a sorcerer out in the middle of nowhere that I'd never heard of."
The illusion nodded and replied, "The Jusendo Alliance placed a rather sizable order several months ago, just before the collapse of technology. And now that you've seen me, or at least this portion of me?" Portion? Where was it that I'd heard that reference before? Ah, yes, astral projection. That was a psychic skill, not something at all suited to magic, yet here it was, an astral projection combined with magic. Cool.
I shrugged. "I still have some of the stuff they were going to pay you with, along with a collection of items you may be interested in that I've picked up over the last few months. Maybe you have something that I'm interested in." This was a golden opportunity. I'd be a fool and a true Saotome to turn it down. "And I'd like to ask you a few questions about Talent."
Nodding, the illusion waved its arm and directly in my path a small circle appeared. Carved into the concrete, I recognized it as a teleportation gate. I readied my own version of the spell and a few quick spells encase this was a trap. Stepping into the circle, I felt momentarily disoriented, then the world went dark.
The sensation passed and light returned moments later. I was standing in a large subterranean cavern that had been carved from the bedrock. Electric lights, lights that still worked, hung from the ceiling by the dozen, creating a star-like effect.
Standing where the illusion had been, was the real thing. He didn't feel any different aurally, and his emotions were now accessible. He didn't harbor any ill will towards me for disrupting his arrangement with the Alliance. That's good.
He extended his hand and introduced himself, "Hong Zhoung."
I took his hand and replied, "Ranma Saotome." My name caused a quick rising of Hong's eyebrows. Hmm, he'd heard of me. I wonder if that is a good or bad thing.
I followed the older man over to comfortable sofa where drinks and snacks had been set on a dark wooded coffee table. "Before we do business, what would you like to ask me of Talent? I can see that you don't need instruction, and your own Talent is fully developed."
I spent the next few minutes filling Hong in on what had happened in the Amazon village and Ami's injury. I finished by telling him of Xochial's advice. "And since you're the only other sorcerer I've run across with more than passing knowledge in the Art, I thought you may be able to help."
"To strip the Talent from a soul with no corporeal form, that would be quite an undertaking." I must have looked ready to burst into song and dance, because the sorcerer said, "An undertaking, yes, but not one that I would even know how to begin. As you may have already noticed, my actual power is nothing special. I've spent most of my life honing my material skills, and therefore know less than I would like in the other areas of magic."
"Oh," I responded, dejectedly. "Well, on to business I guess." I helped myself to some cookies and a coke before following Hong.
"My archives are quite extensive, though, and may hold the answers you seek," Hong commented as we passed into a large vault. The foot thick steel door swung open easily and I could feel the lowering of immense protective wards.
"Archives?" That word always makes me jumpy. Whenever I ran across it I tended to learn something new. I don't think anyone other than my demon friends had ever actually invited me into their archives before.
"I've spent nearly a century collecting arcane knowledge. I can't really use most of it, so I just don't bother to learn it," the man shrugged. Hong placed his hand on a metal plate embedded within the wall and I felt a brief surge of energy. All the walls in the room disappeared and I got the distinct feeling that I was in heaven.
To be continued.
Author's Notes: Yes, another chapter! MWAHAHAHAHA!!! Sleep is overrated, if you didn't already know it. This chapter is the first to introduce a character not of my own creation. Hong Zhoung is the brainchild of Ginnezmusha (email@example.com) and will probably be around for the next few chapters. Ginne, if you read this, I'm gonna give Hong a few psi-abilities, if you don't mind. Next chapter, Ranma's goes shopping. Oh yeah, if anyone hasn't read it yet, go check out the lemon version of CIGAW CH 6. The lemon was written by Cory D. Rose, another contributor to my works, and is definitely worth reading. As always, I can be found at firstname.lastname@example.org
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