Chapter 1: What is Truly Justice?
A Ranma ½ story
by Dragon Claw
Disclaimer: Ranma ½ and its characters and settings belong to Rumiko Takahashi, Shogakukan, Kitty, and Viz Video.
When a Vortex feels rage, you should run/crawl/teleport out of there as fast as you can.
Space trash is not known for its intelligence, however, so the chunk of stone and iron became so many molecules.
When Anoth had accessed the memories, details and information associated with the Ranma mainline; he had teleported away to a deserted asteroid belt as to not destroy Yggdrasil by accident. For you see, he had gotten the full story, a story that no one really knew. No one, that is, except Kami-sama.
He had felt incredible anger and pity for Ranma. The child physically tortured, mentally raped, and spiritually crippled by the work of his ‘friends’ and family.
A trophy to be won, a meal ticket, a scapegoat, the decade of martial arts training left him totally unprepared for life.
But that wasn’t the worst of it, oh no.
His personal computer systems had stumbled across the memo attached to the seal of the main line, preventing any further interference from celestial powers. The Bet had been limited to spin-off timelines, usually with minor changes in the destiny flow separating them. The reason for this was an ending of sorts.
Ranma Saotome’s Celestial Elimination Form.
Because he had managed to piss off destiny, take immortal life, and exceed human limits, Ranma had been classified as a threat to the Yggdrasil of that particular universe. Ranked up there with bugs, an assassination team of six Class One Deities had been dispatched after Saffron’s accelerated rebirth two months after the failed wedding.
Ranma had actually managed to hold his own for a day or so, before Hild decided to get involved. She had used her control over darkness and the related magic of curses to prevent him from changing back into a boy. With the loss of strength, Ranma had fled for nearly an hour with increased but flagging speed. However, Loki, god of chaos, knew how to manipulate the mortal in an environment based upon his powers.
So they had chased him into the bathroom of the Tendo Dojo. With Akane soaking after a late night of practice and worrying about Ranma. When Akane had seen him, in her rage she had lashed out blindly, stopping him the three critical seconds that Thor had needed for the deathblow.
Then, their job finished, the deities left for Asgard, with Saffron stopping off in China to assume his leadership of Phoenix Mountain once more.
After the murderers had escaped, Akane was found with Ranma dead in her lap, suffering from a hammer-based wound. The police, aware of Akane’s particular style of fiancé abuse, had arrested her on manslaughter charges. While awaiting her trial, Shampoo and Cologne had broken into her cell and disappeared. Her remains were found, tortured and brutalized, two days later.
Team China left after that.
Soun Tendo and Genma Saotome committed seppuku to reclaim the honor their pride and forceful attempts of matchmaking had lost. Nodoka became a Shinto nun, seeking to forgive and be forgiven for her foolish involvement in this atrocious relationship.
Kasumi managed to find Dr. Tofu, who offered consolation. But his mother had married him off two months before in her insistence for grandchildren. She became his nurse until the glares of Mrs. Ono and the Ono matriarch caused her just to leave. She became a domestic servant in Tokyo, killed in a car accident four weeks later.
Nabiki sealed herself up in work, eventually tagging onto the Kuno family to hide and cry in the relative isolation of the Kuno mansion. Her loveless relationship developed into something meaningful after her first child with the dim-witted upperclassman, but she simply locked herself away from all else in the outside world that had brought such pain.
Kodachi, seeing that just restitution had been gained for the murder of ‘Ranma-sama’, left for China, to seek out those that had done this deed. Whether she wanted retribution for being excluded, or to pay homage to their act of justice was unclear. However, the last she was heard of was a postcard that she was staying, finding friendship in Shampoo and love in Mousse’s embrace.
With his school dead, Happosai took Pantyhose Tarou as his heir with the promise of a new name. They were later incarcerated and shot for their training-based crimes in China.
Ukyo and Konatsu found comfort in each other, but were driven to desperation when fast food joints took over the area. They were forced to move back to Osaka, where their romance wilted under the gaze of the Kuonji patriarch. Defiantly, they married after his death and managed to survive off of the Kuonji legacy and their skills as restaurateurs and martial artists.
Ryoga got lost, but met up with Akari. They ended up with a comfortable existence with the sumo pigs and each other. For being the former poster boy of depression, he had one of the better lives out of the crew.
It was a wonderfully dark ending, perfect for such a chaos-based environment. Except that it had resulted in the death of Earth.
Without the abilities of three of its strongest fighters, and the diffusion and degradation of the other’s skills from sorrow or regret, the Earth was unable to defend against a band of interplanetary mercenaries, who wiped the world clean of all life forms, and scrapped the resources and base proteins of the corpses for the open intergalactic market.
To prevent this world where a mistake had been made directly because of Yggdrasil, not a bug but Yggdrasil, from being discovered, a seal had been placed.
This was all a cover-up on a deliberate murder that escalated into the destruction of the Earth Mortal plane.
This was injustice in its purest form! What was worse is, that after Ranma had died, his soul had been sealed and incarcerated in the lowest level of Niflheim as a favor to Saffron, tortured to prevent ascension into a hell lord or an angel, thus preventing another threat to Yggdrasil in the unique Chaos that was Ranma Saotome.
And Kami-sama didn’t do anything because he was guilty of a mistake and wouldn’t take responsibility!
Well then, he wasn’t about to let this stand! After all, the seal did say ‘celestial powers’, didn’t it? Heh. Time for some hacking.
“Oh boy, he wants to play indirectly, huh?”
Turning, Vortex was treated to the sight of three forms. Each was female and physically beautiful, with three distinct marks upon their faces. Their beauty was marred however by frowns, and overshadowed by their aura and weapons power.
Wait a second, this power…
Looking at them more closely, he noticed a slight discrepancy and nearly gasped.
The marks on their faces were different. Shit, all of their seals had been broken! This was too much!
Slightly nervous, he drew up to his full height, and glared as icily as he dared. He was many things, but stupid was never on the list. Actor, on the other hand, was item number four. Urd, Belldandy, Skuld. What do you three want?
After a slight hesitation, the eldest stepped forward. Looking directly in her eyes, he saw grief but also determination. Crud, this was going to be unpleasant.
“Vortex! You have been hacking sealed and confidential material of sensitive nature. For your crime, you are to be taken to Kami-sama to face direct judgment.”
Her voice betrayed none of her misgivings. Damn, she did always have a good poker face. But, I don’t wish to be her enemy! Urd, I am outside that… that thing’s influence and jurisdiction as a free agent! You know that! And believe me, if you knew what I do now, you would probably fall in your fight against him without a second thought! She WAS one of the most impulsive creatures he knew.
His chances for convincing the Norns to revolt plummeted however, as a beam of raw power suddenly destroyed the asteroid next to him.
“Can it, Jerk! We’ve got our orders, so come along quietly with your hands up!” Skuld was feeling great with her power unsealed. This much power, easily accessible and compliant. Ah, what bliss!
Eyes filled with unshed tears; the peace-tinged sorrow of the middle seemed to clench at his heart, even as her war hammer was aimed at his head. “Please Vortex-san. Don’t make us stop you.”
Poor, foolish Belldandy. You just wouldn’t understand.
Slowly raising his palms, he began one of his favorite tactics: blather strike. Sorry girls, but some injustices I cannot ignore. For crimes against humanity in its— SOLAR FLARE! While luring their attention into his speech, Vortex had framed his face with his palms turned outward, unleashing the blinding technique.
One quick teleport and he was gone. He had neglected to mention to Toltiir a brief training trip in DB.zgt.13123 on his way to Mimir’s well.
Covering her eyes, Urd yelled “Skuld, track him!”
Pulling out a small, handheld device and a pair of sunglasses, the young goddess pushed, pulled and flipped various controls. “I can’t! He’s crossed dimensions… Wait, I’ve got a faint residual lock. Oh crud.”
“What is it Skuld-chan?”
“He’s crossed into universe RS.hb.1.5.”
“The sealed Ranma Line?! The original?! What the heck does he think he can do? That world just ended in a wedding of Akane and Ranma, nothing fun or unusual. I don’t know, this doesn’t feel like Vortex’s style.” Urd was practically shouting her disbelief.
Turning to her distraught sibling, Belldandy scrutinized the lying-prone sister. “Are you sure, Urd? Just how well do you know Vortex?” Skuld nodded, seconding the question.
Seeing the hidden message, ‘could you be involved?’, written on the faces of the other Norns, Urd felt a pang of pain at their attitude. However she met their gaze steadily. “You guys, he and I are… er, were drinking partners. For a mortal soul, he has an exquisite sense of cosmic balance. He wouldn’t cause a problem without solving one as well. But hacking Yggdrasil, that’s something he would not do without reason. He also doesn’t take half steps. If there is one thing in that world that he thinks needs his personal attention, he WILL find a way to go there.”
A sudden crack sounded, with the appearance of the ‘White Thunder of Asgard’, a term used on the sly for the lighting bolts often used by the Almighty to give instructions, breaking up the speculation momentarily.
Awed by the length and content of the message, the smaller bolt made slightly less impact upon the shell-shocked goddesses.
Kami-sama was pissed.
Normally, that would mean the individual who had earned his/her displeasure would be made to see the error of his or her ways, but the person that Kami was angry with was, in actuality, him/herself.
He/she had just screwed up.
Vortex WAS out of his/her ability to influence. Vortex WAS within his rights as a force of Chaos and Order to bring justice to this situation. Vortex… was in the right.
Proving that Good and Evil were different from Light and Dark.
Now, to cover his/her own heavenly backside, he/she was condoning another soul to the dark fate of eternal death and insanity in the reaches of hell.
Then, with a sharp crack of teleportation, he/she realized it was time to face the music… Or rather, the kitty.
Now then, how do I play this game?
Vortex had sealed himself within a ‘sphere of focus’, a globe of pure, untainted chi that aligned the occupant with the leylines of the universe. A simple magical revision, and it also served as a rather effective cloaking shield. While this might have been overkill in the open space around Neptune’s orbit, he didn’t want to show Yggdrasil his hand yet.
Some of the deities out there would simply take Ranma away from all this, making him untouchable as an avatar, or granting him personal protection, while training him to be the world’s best martial artist under their tutelage. Aries, Bast, and Hephaestus had attempted such manipulations within the Bet entries.
However, that was simply too… basic.
It would cause the boy to be better, all right, but it would be limiting him in other ways. His powers would cause the upcoming confrontation to escalate, obliterating the planet just as surely as World War Three or the offworld mercenaries. It would be a simple match between avatars, with Ryoga being used by the rival of Ranma’s mentor, a demon slipping Kuno or Mousse or both a magic sword/weapon to muddle things, and the fiancées being used as pawns to test his true feelings.
Not only that, but if there were people on this world who were HALF as zealous as the religious fanatics that had started and sustained the crusades on your average world history template, cannon fodder a la innocent would be a constant dish.
No, he needed to amplify Ranma’s powers, but minimize the damage. Heck, if they were to survive in a few years against the original threat, they would need to accelerate past the projected advancement WITHOUT Ranma’s death.
He could pull a Trunks, but with the romantic… uh, hexagon?… that made up Ranma’s life, not to mention Nabiki’s (and Happosai’s and Soun’s, and Genma’s and the fiancées) attempts to pump for information, would get to be a real pain. Also, the temptation to mess with their heads would be too present and available.
He could cure everyone’s curses and demand a truce for his trouble, as well as an open exchange of techniques and compliant sparring with his methods but that would never happen. Genma, Happosai, and Cologne would most definitely throw their two cents in, creating pure chaos as opposed to productive chaos.
No he wasn’t here to solve all the problems; adversity was necessary for growth. And this group would really need to grow up to survive.
Wait a SECOND!
It’s madness, lunacy, and by the seven bloody hells and seven HOLY HEAVENS, IT COULD WORK!
He could teach Ranma HIS martial art!
The floating form smirked. The Vortex-Ryu was actually a hobby of his. With the circles he traveled and the form he held, demonstrations of power were sometimes necessary. And since he was a bringer of Death and a defender of Life, among other things, martial arts made great sense. Of course, since his path to immortality lay within controlled reincarnation, his experience was very wide-ranging. On a world with Martial Arts Tea Ceremony, Martial Arts Gymnastics and Martial Arts Gambling, his raw experience would give him a fairly decent edge. And since he often needed that power in a hurry after becoming aware in a new body, his training was among the most intense and fast acting, taking the best from several worlds to mold his form to hold all the needed skill.
Of course, the doctrine of the school would also be of help: a balance of mind, body and soul. The way this was interpreted was that you had to be equally strong in mind as in body as in soul. No idiot able to bench press a car or a guy with an IQ of 153 who couldn’t lift his arms above his head could learn it.
The fact that magic was recognized as a legitimate technique could also be useful in an environment that held such a multitude of insane and chaotic magical focuses and devices. The fact that no one besides Vortex had ever learned it on the other hand could be problematic.
How the heck do you get a student, anyway? With Ranma, probably a smattering of the truth, dashed with some melodrama and a bit of silliness. The rest would learn just to stay on equal footing. Sheesh, the obsessed were SO easy to read.
Smirking, Vortex straightened from his sitting position. Let’s see what this punk has got.
Indulging a sudden stretch of evil laughter, he vanished.
To be continued.
Author's notes: This might be thought of as a mere self-insertion by the untrained masses. It's not; it’s a BIG self-insertion. I will try to stay away from the traditional pitfalls of this genre, but I can't make any promises.
Now then, in the next chapter, lets actually SEE some people in Ranma, and what they think of this new element of chaos.
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