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A Ranma ½ story
by Dragon Claw

Disclaimer: Ranma ½ and its characters and settings belong to Rumiko Takahashi, Shogakukan, Kitty, and Viz Video.


Chapter 5: Filler, but Necessary Filler!


…Punch, kick, side step, leg sweep, back flip/boot ta th' head.

Returning to starting position, the martial artist looked at his sensei for guidance, hoping for the signal to rest.

"Again, Ranma."

Sighing, the heir to the Saotome Ryu began one of the first forms of his art from the beginning…

Look in the eye, yell, shoulder charge, flip, spin kick…

…for the seventh time.

So far, all Vortex had done was tell each of them to perform one of the most basic, if not the most basic, of their kata or techniques.

Everyone besides Kodachi had done this, not once but several times in a row, over the course of the last three hours. When she had asked why he didn't ask her to do anything, Vortex simply stated coldly, "Remember your place, servant. Why should I evaluate you?"

She had looked on the verge of tears at the time, but seemed to have recovered nicely after watching Ranma's shirt being molded to his frame with sweat during the workout.

"Okay, that's enough."

Smiling in relief, Ranma began to stretch, causing the girls to almost to be magnetically drawn to him.

Still looking a trifle unsteady, Vortex began to pace, as if deep in though. Turning to his new students, his voice cracked, "Pay attention!"

Seeing everyone immediately assume a military formation, some sporting guilty looks, Vortex had to suppress a grin. This was going to be fun.

Looking at the weakest of his official students, he snapped, "Ukyou!"

Squaring her shoulders, the okonomiyaki chief looked him straight in the eye. "Yes, Vortex-Sensei?"

Looking her up and down, he nodded in resignation, "Your strength is well developed, but your speed could be better. Your spiritual energy has been focused upon reinforcement; however, it cannot stand alone without a lens of some sort. Furthermore, your technique is sloppy in terms of balance and precision. Too much of your energy is focused upon keeping your weapon under control and the impacts large. On a scale of one to ten, I'd give you a six at best."

Looking down in shame, Ukyou whispered, "Yes, sir."

Noticing the smirk that threatened to overpower the Amazon's face at her rival's evaluation, Vortex pinned her with a sharp look, "Shampoo!"

Squirming under the evaluation, Shampoo stared him in the eye with all the confidence she could muster, bubbling, "Yes, teacher?"

Narrowing his eyes, Vortex decided the superiority complex would have to go. "While your strength is phenomenal, and your speed is well above average, you over-commit your attacks slightly. This screws your balance. In addition, you have an active aura, but lack proper training to control it. You fight with your all, but your technique is based upon overpowering your opponent. This stance assumes that you have superior reserves to anyone else, and is the fool's path! You get a seven, but just barely."

The smirk was gone, and Shampoo looked pale by the end of the evaluation. "I… understand, teacher."

Looking at Ukyou's constant companion, Vortex sighed. "Konatsu…"

Looking up from his darning, the ninja replied, "Yes, Vortex-sensei?"

Okay, so this was going to take some getting used to.

"You speed is very good for your age and species, but it's overdone. You've neglected the strength of your blows, but their precision does compensate for this. Overall, I have very few complaints about your technique; it just needs some diversification. Your focus could also use some work. All things considered, an even nine, which isn't bad."

Blushing prettily, Konatsu bowed deeply, "Why thank you, Vortex-sensei!"

Sweat dropping, Vortex nodded slightly. "Errr, right."

Turning towards his last student, Vortex smirked.

"Okay, Ranma. Strength is high, speed is high, spirit is high, and adaptability high. What can I say? You've got a perfect ten."

Ranma beamed, feeling his ego swelling with the conviction of Vortex's words.

Looking at the overconfident martial artist, Vortex decided to burst his bubble. "Unfortunately, none of you have the power required to learn my art yet."

"WHAT?!"

The shocked looks were positively delicious. He should have tried this a long time ago. Teaching was so rewarding!

"The Vortex-Ryu requires strength in the ways of mind, body and soul. Some of you need to be stronger physically, some mentally, and some spiritually. And some could use work on all three," he said, looking straight at Ranma and causing the pigtailed boy to gulp.

Suddenly all smiles, Vortex waved his right hand negligently. "Don't worry, though, I have the conditioning that you need all planned out. Now, for the next step in the process…" his smile suddenly acquired a new depth, "…you need to have your medical exams."

Visions of perverted old men grabbing bosoms and butts in equal measure coupled with see-through hospital gowns ran through Shampoo's, Ukyou's, Ranma's and Kodachi's head. Out of reflex, they roared, "PERVERT!"

CLANG

…And smacked into a shield of some sort.

Eyebrow twitching, Vortex struggled to keep the smile plastered on his face.

"I'd ask what that was for, but I have a feeling that Happosai has trained you too well for the question to make sense. It's just instinctive now, isn't it?"

Looking at the rippling shield that surrounded Vortex, the group sweatdropped.


Now the reason Vortex was smiling was not lecherous in nature. He was actually about to uncover a truth that was a central facet of the Bet.

The health problems suffered by the average Neriman.

When he had reviewed the Bet Entries (well, skimmed actually), a good portion of the universes dealt with what would happen if the physical or mental trauma a member of that group suffered had not occurred.

Ten to fifteen percent of the universes had Ranma killing Genma in a gruesome fashion when his brain wasn't beyond repair or the Cat Fist had been treated properly.

There were also the worlds where medical conditions were the reason of a lot of the problems, such as Ukyou's Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder or Shampoo's constant pidgin.

Kodachi… Well enough said. For the moment anyway, heh heh heh .

As for Konatsu… ah, that was pretty much a lifestyle choice.

Now he would know for certain what made this insane group tick!


Pulling out what appeared to be a small silver box; Vortex unfolded it to reveal what appeared to be a tiny T.V.

"Don't worry; you don't have to undress or anything. This scanner will do everything necessary."

Looking at the futuristic device with suspicion, Shampoo kept her guard up. "What little silver thing do?"

"Oh, it sends out a beam of energy similar to ki, which will check over your insides. Then it will tell me if there is anything wrong by the way your body reacts to its presence. Nothing harmful at all."

Seeking the Nabiki-like smile of assurance, Ranma refused to relax. He asked in all seriousness, "Does it take Polaroids?"

Raising an eyebrow at the ferocity of the statement, Vortex shrugged. "No, it just displays information."

Pointing it at Kodachi, he pressed a button while holding up the screen to the eyes of the others.

Species: Human
Gender: Female
Age: Seventeen-Eighteen standard years.

ALERT! Foreign substances detected in bloodstream.
Chemical cocktail composition:
24% narcotic of unknown origin
14% steroid of unknown origin
32% aphrodisiac of unknown origin
22% depressant of unknown origin
8% F.I.I.K.

NOTE: Withdrawal symptoms will be spectacular. They could range from psychotic episodes to the sudden need to bake brownies.

Bio-energy percentile: Twenty-high
Damage noted to the brain at several key logic centers.
Diagnosis: Level-two brain damage and level-eight chemical dependency. Bio-tank flush for two days and intense physical activity to purify and condition muscles to no longer need the substance. Keep heart and lungs under observation.

Folding the device up, Vortex smirked. "See? There's nothing harmful or photogenic about the process at all." Just as he began to relax, Ranma asked suddenly, "F.I.I.K.?"

Vortex shrugged, "Fucked If I Know."

Looking at Ranma-sama and the others facefault, Kodachi raised an eyebrow. "What?"

Shaking his head, Vortex began to scan the others.


"Just stand still, Ukyou This will only take a moment."

Nervously observing the scanner in Vortex's hands, Ukyou stood still as the beam of energy passed over her.

Looking at the screen, Vortex managed to suppress the frown. But just barely.

Species: Human
Gender: Female
Age: Seventeen-Eighteen standard years.

Alert! Damage to internal organs consistent with alcohol abuse is present.
Alert! Initial indicators of cancerous predisposition shown within the bio-system.

Bio-energy percentile: Five-high
Damage noted to musculature from mild malnutrition and constant strain.
Diagnosis: Level-three chemical dependency and potential fatal illness. Flushing the system is high priority. Recommend high level training to purify her system. Balancing of diet is required. Use of level-two healing artifact is necessary, and soon.

Well now, that wasn't very impressive. I was hoping for a family curse at least! Those are always so flashy when cured. Looking at the fidgeting girl in front of him, Vortex stated, "No more saké for you, girl."

Ukyou managed to look sheepish fairly well.


"Is bad!"

"Now, Shampoo, be reasonable. You have healers in the village, right?"

Still glaring at the small box in distrust, the Amazon nodded.

"Well, they might use their abilities in mapping ki to determine the severity of injuries or the general well being of a patient, right? This is a similar method, only more precise. Now just stand still, okay?"

Bringing down her maces to her sides, Shampoo allowed the beam of light to scan her, but retained an angry frown.

Species: Human
Gender: Female
Age: Seventeen-Eighteen standard years.

Alert! There are traces of mild herbal dependence, possibility a medication. Acquire a sample A.S.A.P. for further analysis. Effects are unclear.
Alert! Level two shapeshifting curse present. It results in transmutation into a cat with cold water.

Bio-energy percentile: Five-high
Musculature development is far above normal. Recommend additional training in control.
Diagnosis: Healthy overall, but energy is being blocked by several mental barriers of subject's own devising. Curse can be healed in a number of fashions. Most preferred choice would be conscious control. Train as necessary.

Raising an eyebrow, Vortex looked over at the Amazon. Nothing too unusual but…

"Say, Shampoo? Are you taking any special vitamins? I'm picking up some sort of herbal extract."

Blinking innocently, Shampoo produced a vial of pills.

"You mean Great-grandmother's special healthy mix?"

Nodding, Vortex grabbed the container, much to Shampoo's surprise.

"You give back!"

Ignoring the outburst, Vortex scanned the medication and took a quick look at the screen.

Herbal extract… match with previous scan.

Effects: This mixture seems to improve endurance and control, but acts as a natural blocker of spiritual power pathways. This can result in a lessening of mental and spiritual abilities and an over-aggressive id. Effects can be observed in more primal responses to situations, such as an excited libido or severe mood swings. Mental absorption of details may also be hindered.

Frowning, Vortex turned to Shampoo. "When did Cologne start giving you this supplement?"

Shrugging her shoulders, Shampoo sighed, "A little before we return to Japan. She show Shampoo how make it and tell her to take it in Japan and only in Japan. It supposed to help with the change between mountains and Japan too, too smoggy cities."

Hmmm, now why would Cologne give Shampoo something like this? More importantly, why would she lie like that?

"Well, since we are no longer in Japan, you have no need for this mixture. Lets just get rid of it, shall we?"

So saying, Vortex shattered the vial, much to Shampoo's irritation.

*clang*

Looking at the broken bonbori, and cute frown, Vortex sighed. "Now that was totally uncalled for."


Ranma waved his hand in annoyance. "Ah, I don't know why yer botherin', Vortex. I ain't sick, and I don't get sick, so the scanner won't show nothing wrong."

Thinking about the Cat Fist, the different engagements, the daily problems that Ranma faced, and that, despite all of this, Ranma had yet to kill his father, Ryouga, Mousse, and/or Kuno, Vortex had to raise an eyebrow.

"I'm not so sure about that. Stand still, please."

Grumbling, Ranma did as he was told.

Vortex had to work to keep the smile of anticipation off his face as the beam passed over the subject. Finally, some answers! The basis of this insanity, this chaos, and Toltiir's little game would finally be his to understand!

Hold, please.

Or maybe not.

Seeing the crestfallen expression, Ranma gulped. Maybe his karma was so bad he was coming down with something really bad?

"Hey, Vortex, what's up? Should I start makin' my funeral arrangements or something?"

Sighing, Vortex rubbed his eyes, "Well, Ranma, you apparently have some sort of affliction that is so obscure that it's taking the computer a while to discern what the issue is. But that shouldn't be possible, as this scanner has every single possible affliction that can occur in any species! What could be so unique that…?"

Partial match found. Syndrome 10394-A-J74

Looking at the scanner, and the various comparisons between Ranma and the condition, Vortex could only think of one thing to say.

"OH BLOODY HELL!"

Seeing Vortex hit the palm of his hand into his forehead several times, Ranma gulped. This wasn't going to be good.

Seeing the outburst, the others ran over as quickly as possible.

Noting his sudden audience, Vortex mock-bowed the Ranma, who began to wonder how long he had to wait before cremation. "Congratulations, Ranma. You are one of the two creatures ever, in any dimension, period of history, and level of existence, to have contracted this condition. And, compared to the one-hundred-year-old-plus to have it previously, you've got it twenty times worse."

Everyone winced at that. This had to be something really, really bad.

Sighing dramatically, Vortex covered his face with one hand, "I do wish the name was more dignified for the severity of the condition, but I didn't discover it, so there is no help for that."

Leaning in to catch every word, Ranma held his breath, as Shampoo, Ukyou and Kodachi leaned in to support their hero in his time of woe.

"It is called 'three-stooges-syndrome'."

The facefault ruined the dramatic moment.

Rubbing his forehead in irritation. "What the heck? Who are the 'three stooges', and what do they have to do with me being sick?!"

Noticing their relaxation, Vortex frowned. This was a lot more serious then they could realize.

"They were a slapstick comedy group that used silly violence against each other as a trademark of their act. One of their best bits was trying to get through a doorway all at the same time. Therein lies the definition of the syndrome: dozens of different injuries, conditions, diseases and the like are attempting to attack you at once. However, they are so perfectly balanced that you show none of the associated symptoms. But if even one of them is cured, then the others will dogpile you. This is going to take some serious work."

Ranma frowned at this. Sounded like the Perfect Shi Shi Hokodan of diseases. One emotion other than depression, and you're crushed by your own attack. "How bad could it be?"

Looking at the numerous lines of fine print, Vortex sighed. "Well, it looks like a lot of your mental ability is diverted to control and conform yourself to adapt to a near state of sanity. The Cat Fist is your major problem in the mental area, but it looks like some bad conditioning combined with brain damage in certain areas is causing further complications." Starting to pace, he looked more closely at the readings. "In terms of physical ailments, you have a rather nasty case of malnutrition combined with muscle strain, scar tissue, and ligament strain in all the wrong places… none of which seem to have had any proper time to heal."

Rubbing the back of his head, Ranma asked, "But I always heal real quick…?"

Staring at the boy, Vortex shook his head. "Yes, but never completely. It looks like each battle and each conflict has been leaving a number of injuries that haven't really been dealt with. Oh, the limbs can be moved, and you are still able to add two plus two, but how healthy you should be, and how healthy you are, is worlds apart."

Biting her lip, Ukyou asked, "But you can cure this, right? I mean, you've been around, and have all these nifty spells, techniques, and stuff. So you can take care of him, no problem!"

Rubbing his forehead in irritation, Vortex sighed. "It's not that simple. The previous person to have this condition was never cured. He just continued to live in a limbo of his diseases for the remainder of his natural life, which was not all that much longer after the diagnosis. This is going to be tricky."

Holding a shaking fist up in determination, Ranma blazed his battle aura. "Well, don't worry about nothing! Sick or not, RANMA SAOTOME WILL NEVER LOSE!"

Sighing in irritation, Vortex glanced wryly at his pupil and stated, "I'm not so sure about that, young one. Still, I'll see what I can do."

 

To be continued.


Author's notes: I'm back! Can't keep this Dragon down! College was fun (Tip to the entering freshmen: Investing in a camera is always a good idea, especially for Saturday nights), and I actually took a class that will influence the future of this story! Try to guess what subject. I know it's been awhile, but fear not! I have ideas for book one, your current entertainment, and book three, the conclusion, firmly in place! It's book two I'm having issues with…

Chapter 6
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