“There’s four steps in this not three, Tenchi.”
“Hold your right hand up higher.”
“Were you even watching when I showed you this?”
Ranma jumped up from his lotus position on the floor and stood a few feet from Tenchi. They were both dressed in their workout clothes, but Tenchi was the only one who looked tired and sweaty. They were both standing in the main cargo hold of the Yagami, Kiyone’s Galaxy Police Cruiser. Off to the side, Shampoo and Ryoko were sparring (Shampoo was sparing anyway, Ryoko was just popping in and out, dodging the Amazon’s attacks and then hitting her from behind). Ayeka just sat to the side watching the two boys practice.
The pigtail martial artist took up a stance with both his fists pointed to one side. “Watch one more time.” He spoke the next words as he took a few steps and then thrust his fists back the way he came. “Fus-ion HA!” He took up a normal stance. “You have to do it exactly right, or it won’t work.”
Tenchi wiped the sweat from his brow. “You still haven’t told me what this is about. I’ve been practicing this stupid dance everyday after we’ve trained for hours, and I’m getting real tired of it!”
Ranma’s eyes went wide in surprise. “I thought I had told you.”
“Nope.” Tenchi gave him a level stare.
“Well, ha ha…” Ranma chuckled as he scratched the back of his head. “I guess I forgot in the rush to get to Akane.” His expression went back to serious. “This is the fusion dance. If we do this right we will temporarily become one being, our power joined will be much greater than each of us individually. If we encounter anything like what you describe Kagato to be then we’ll need this technique. I already noticed that you have trouble calling your light hawk wings, so I’m hoping that combined we can call your power at will and combine it with all the martial arts knowledge I have from my training and otherworld. Understand?”
Tenchi nodded his head. “So we’ll be something like Siamese twins?”
“More than that.” Ranma deadpanned. “We’ll be one person. Something more than both of us individually.”
“You said it’s only temporary, right?” Tenchi asked in a worried voice.
“Yes it’s only temporary.” Ranma went back to where he was sitting before. “It will only last about a half hour at the most. Less if we use a lot of power. Now, try it again.”
To the side, Shampoo was getting angry. She had been trying for days to try and land a blow on the space pirate, but nothing would ever land. She was getting very tired of this game.
“Stupid pirate girl stay in one place!” She took another swing as Ryoko faded in and out, using her teleportation.
“What, like this?” The space pirate stopped in place with her hands on her hips and a large smirk on her face.
“Kiai!” Shampoo lunged at the pirate with a double swing of her massive bonbarri. The two maces and the Amazon woman passed through the intangible Ryoko who just smiled and backhanded Shampoo into the wall. The Lavender haired girl smacked against the wall with her arms and legs splayed out. The two bonbarri simply fell to the floor with two dull thuds.
Ryoko made a show of wiping her hands. “That was too easy.”
“Ryoko.” An annoyed Ayeka finally turned her attention to the space pirate. “You’re supposed to be helping the girl, not increasing her injuries.”
The cyan-haired woman just shrugged her shoulders. “I am helping. She’s getting a lot faster and tougher every day.”
“Oh.” Ayeka put a hand over her mouth. “So you are helping her. I just thought you were a sadistic psycho-bi-“
“Hey!” Ryoko appeared in front of Ayeka with her fist raised. “That’s enough of that. If you think you’re any better, you can train the girl.”
With a groan, Shampoo finally peeled herself from the wall and got into a fighting stance. “Pirate-girl, I kill!” She lunged forward toward the two aliens. Ayeka called up her logs and erected a force field, while Ryoko simply vanished. The Amazon’s attacked met the field and lost all the force of her blows.
Shampoo had to duck quickly to avoid being cut in half by the pirate’s energy blade. The blade impacted on Ayeka’s shield at her neck level.
Ayeka’s eyes flashed with anger. “You could have hurt me, if my shield hadn’t been up.”
Ryoko gave her a mock look of surprise. “Really? I didn’t notice. I’m so sorry.”
“I’ll show you sorry!” Ayeka’s shield started to spark with electrical arcs. At that moment a bonbarri crashed though Ryoko’s head and impacted on the shield, frying one Amazon.
Ryoko smiled as she calmly phased through the ‘shocked’ Amazon. She hovered back until she was a few feet away. “Thanks for the help princess. You’ve been a great asset in the girl’s training.”
Ayeka quickly dropped her field and help a shaken Shampoo back to her feet. “I’m so sorry! That awful Ryoko played a dirty trick on you.”
Shampoo shakily stood back up, and gently pushed Ayeka away when she had regained her balance. She directed a glare at Ryoko. “You cheated!”
“Pirate.” Ryoko smirked back at the girl.
“I kill!” With that, Shampoo renewed her assault, and with the new assault, came the same outcome as before, more dodging and cheap shots.
At that moment the door opened and Kiyone walked into the room in her casual Galaxy Police uniform, a skintight bodysuit with a loose skirt around her waist. Her pistol was tucked under her arm in a shoulder holster that was molded into the suit. She surveyed the proceedings and didn’t bat an eyelash. “In case anyone is interested, we should make it to Stron B’Dia on schedule. We still have a few more days of travel ahead.” She looked around and saw no one was paying attention. “So don’t change anything you’re doing.”
Ayeka turned to her. “I heard you. I’m sure the others will be pleased to hear you announcement when they are finished practicing.”
“Well I’m through.” Everyone turned to Ryoko who was floating in mid-air a few feet from them. “I’m getting bored.”
“Don’t turn back on me!” Shampoo shouted as she went to bash Ryoko’s brain in.
The space pirate casually threw her fist back behind her and knocked the Amazon out, without even turning to look. “She’s done too.”
“What a shame.” Kiyone smirked at the Amazon. “Looks like its another trip to the regenerating tank for her. She’ll have to be in there for hours.”
Shampoo dazedly came to and stood up. “Shampoo not done.”
Kiyone, seeing how unsteady Shampoo was on her feet, confidently strode over and tapped the Amazon in the middle of her forehead with her index finger. Shampoo fell backward, unconscious. “Looks like you’re done to me.” She turned toward the boys. “We’re all going to get ready for dinner. How much longer until you guys are ready?”
“A few more years.” Ranma mumbled under his breath. Louder, he spoke, “We’ll be a few more minutes. Go ahead without us.”
When the girls had all left, Ranma went along for another half-hour or so, trying to get Tenchi to learn the move. At last he called an end for today’s training. Exhausted, Tenchi slumped down to the floor. “Thank Kami we’re done.”
Ranma chuckled a bit before going over and rifling through his gym bag off to the side. He retrieved a small box and carried them over to where Tenchi was. “Tenchi, I was serious about this fusion technique and the power we’ll need to defeat this Kagato guy. My experience tells me that when we face him again, he will be at least ten times as powerful as before. We’ll need to master this technique if you don’t master your power.”
Tenchi nodded his head. “I know, and I believe you. It’s just that this has got to be the most embarrassing thing I’ve ever done in my life, and you expect me to do this in front of the enemy?”
“We sometimes have to do things that are against our dignity to win.” Ranma briefly flashed to on of his fights with Mousse where he ended up using an enchanted pacifier at one point. He would much rather have left that battle behind. “The point is we have to be ready for anything if we want to get Akane, Sasami, or anyone else back.”
Tenchi nodded in understanding. “So what’s in the box?”
Ranma looked off toward a porthole in the side of the hold. “The fusion dance only works with people of similar size, sex, build, and power. These,” He opened the box to reveal two small pearl earrings, “are earrings that will fuse any two people. They only have to wear one and the two will fuse.”
The Juraian prince gave the other boy a confused look. “So why are we bothering with the embarrassing dance if you had these all along? We could have saved days of practice.”
The pigtailed martial artist shook his head. “They permanently fuse two beings into one. Does that answer your question?”
Tenchi gulped and nodded his head. “So why are you giving them to me?”
“I’m going for worst case.” Ranma looked off toward space again. “I may have to sacrifice myself again. You’ll have to fuse with someone who is incompatible for the dance to succeed if I don’t. You have to keep them safe and ready for when we need them.”
Tenchi nodded and put the box away in his pocket. “Let’s get some food. I’m starving.”
Ranma nodded his head and the two boys headed off for dinner.
That night, when most everyone else was asleep, Ryoko quietly made her way to Tenchi’s room. She slid through the wall like a ghost and made her way over to where Tenchi and Ranma slept. She stopped short. It seemed that she was expected this night. At least some nocturnal visitor was, because Ayeka’s guardians were to either side of the boys with their defensive shields surrounding the two young men. She became fully solid and landed on the floor. She stood arms akimbo as she pouted at the two guardians. “So why are you two here?”
“Lord Tenchi desired a good night’s rest.” Azaka, the guardian with his name written in blue on the face of his barrel, answered. “Ranma came up with the solution and convinced Princess Ayeka to allow him the use of us for the night.”
Ryoko tapped her foot. “Is that right? Are you sure this wasn’t a directive from the princess herself?”
“Not at all.” Kamidake, the blue one, replied. “She just told us to follow Tenchi’s orders. We were under no other orders from the Princess Ayeka.”
At that moment the door slid open and the princess strode in. Ryoko turned to see who it was and muttered under her breath, “Speak of the devil.”
Ayeka saw the situation and smiled. “I see that I made the right choice in giving Lord Tenchi the use of my guardians for the night. Now he won’t be awakened by your villainous attempts on his virtue.”
“Now that’s not nice.” The space pirate turned toward the sleeping boys. “ISN’T THAT RIGHT TENCHI?!” When nothing happened she got a confused look on her face. She walked over and tried to phase through the field. She got an electric shock for an answer. “Come on! WAKE UP!”
“Oh, ho, ho, ho…” Ayeka laughed. “You see that my guardians are quite effective at giving Lord Tenchi a good night’s sleep. Their field can be both sound and space pirate proof.” She smiled an evil grin. “You’re finally foiled this time.”
Ryoko turned to the Juraian Princess and smiled her evil grin. “Oh, I’m not done yet, Princess. There is one way to get the barrels to drop their field.”
“What are you talking about?” Ayeka gave him a confused look.
The space pirate slowly stalked toward the Princess. “If their master is in danger, they have to call off whatever sub commands have been made.” Her energy sword flashed to life. She held it in front of her, intently pointed at Ayeka’s face. “So, just one scream from you and they’ll come a running.”
Ayeka took a tentative step backwards. “N-now Ryoko! You wouldn’t want to wake up Tenchi would you? This isn’t a proper way for a woman to act!”
Ryoko smiled. “You know you’ve been a thorn in my side for as long as I’ve known you. I had first claim on Tenchi and you had to come and try to take him away. He and I would have been together a long time ago if it hadn’t been for you.”
The Juraian Princess’ frace turned grave. “Really. Well, you almost destroyed my planet. You took my brother, my fiancé from me for years to where when I find him he’s old and has already been married once.” She brought up her hand and formed a ball of energy. “You took everything away from me, and now that I’ve found someone special again, you want to take him away too. I’m not going to allow any of this to continue.” She formed another ball with her other hand, simultaneously her mini-logs appeared around her body and formed her personal force field. “I will stop you here and now, once and for all.” She directed her voice aside toward her guardians. “Command override. Protect Lord Tenchi at all costs. Do not drop your field for anything.”
Ryoko smirked at the princess. “So this is it. You want to have it out here and now.” Her clothes shifted from her usual casual outfit into her red and black battlesuit. “Just don’t expect me to stop when you cry mercy, little girl.”
Ayeka’s clothes transformed into her Juraian battlesuit. “This will be our final battle. One of us is not leaving this room alive. I hope you’ve said your goodbyes.”
The space pirate smiled. “Oh, I don’t think I have anything to fear from you little girl.” With that she charged forward full tilt.
Ayeka released her two balls of energy at Ryoko at once. The space pirate sliced one in half, but the other struck her in the side. That bought enough time for the princess’ logs to surround Ryoko and catch her in a containment field. Ayeka force her power into the field to turn inward on the space pirate.
Ryoko screamed as the pain lanced through her being. She tried to teleport out, but realized that Ayeka’s field held her fast. The gems on her wrists began to glow as she desperately brought her power forth. She released her power in a massive explosion, sending herself and Ayeka flying. They both quickly regain their equilibrium and charged in for round two.
The blast shook the entire ship, awakening the other two girls on board. Kiyone woke to find Ayeka missing from their room, while at the same time Shampoo found that Ryoko was missing from her usual place in the rafters of their room. When the ship was rocked by the second blast, they grabbed their weapons and ran for the hold where Tenchi and Ranma slept.
They both stopped when came to the door to the hold. Kiyone had her pistol cocked and ready while Shampoo had both of her maces ready. Realizing that this wasn’t a time to squabble, the policewoman nodded toward the Amazon and looked to the door. Shampoo swung with considerable force and the door crashed open.
The scene inside was utter chaos. Ryoko and Ayeka were flying all over the hold, trying to destroy each other while Tenchi and Ranma slept soundly in the embrace of the guardian’s force field. On the other side of the hull, Ryo-Ohki had transformed herself into an amorphous mass to try and keep the outer hull in one piece while the two women threw around powerful ball of energy.
Kiyone looked to Shampoo. “What’s say we just go back to bed?”
The Amazon nodded her head. “Shampoo agree. Is too too dangerous we try to stop this fight.”
They both turned and ran toward their rooms, closing any bulkhead doors on the way to their goal to keep from getting sucked out if decompression should occur.
Back in the hold, the two combatants were back on the floor glaring at each other as they both tried to catch their breaths. Ryoko summoned her sword again with her right hand and another power ball in her left. Her tail switched back and forth with murderous intent.
Ayeka answered the space pirate in kind by summoning two more spheres of her own. She threw one forward before taking off straight up into the air. Ryoko tossed her blast to intercept Ayeka’s and then teleported behind where the Princess was. Ayeka threw her second ball where she came from and struck the pirate as she teleported in, sending her back towards the wall where Ryo-Ohki was protecting them from the outside environment.
Ryoko growled and then unleashed a barrage of power blasts at the princess. She then teleported behind Ayeka and swung her sword down to cut the Juraian princess in half.
Ayeka was too busy blocking all the blasts with her shield that she didn’t see the blade coming down behind her head. It was only blind luck that she was not killed when one of her rotating logs came into the path of the cut and was severed in half. Ayeka immediately put all her field to her back and shot straight forward through the remaining power blasts coming her way.
Ryoko growled at losing her prey, but recouped by rerouting the power blasts that Ayeka had just dodged and propelled them back toward their intended target. “You won’t get away that easy princess!” She shouted in fury.
The princess turned and dove away as the floor was ripped apart from all the blasts. She gasped when she saw that Tenchi’s things were about to fall through one of the holes. She dove across and caught them before tossing them a safe distance away. Both combatants stopped when they saw a small box fall out onto the floor. Ayeka dove over and picked it up and opened it. She gasped when she saw what was inside.
Her curiosity piqued, Ryoko decided to call a temporary truce until the contents of the box were known. She teleported to where she was looking over Ayeka’s shoulder. “What is it, princess?”
Ayeka pulled the box out of the pirate’s eyesight and scowled at her. “Nothing for you. It’s obviously a gift that Lord Tenchi intended to give to me.”
“Not likely.” Ryoko phased through Ayeka’s body to grab the box.
The two struggled with the box until it opened and the contents went spilling out on the deck. The two pearl earrings clattered out and came to rest about ten feet from the other. The two girls leapt at both and each picked up one.
“Give me the other one!” They both demanded. “No!” They both answered. “FINE!” They both put an earring on, Ryoko on the left and Ayeka on the right.
Time seemed to slow as they felt themselves pulled toward one another. They tried to dig in their heels and lean back, but they were relentlessly pulled toward one another. They tried to put their hands out to push one another away, but their limbs seemed to melt together. At last their two bodies joined in a beacon of bright light.
Ranma started awake when he felt the massive power a short distance away. The guardian’s shield had made him unaware of the battle that had been raging around the hold, but the power building up outside the field now could not be denied.
Tenchi also awoke at the power gathering outside their field. He had hoped for at least one night where Ryoko hadn’t awoken him with her ill attempts at seduction, but he knew it was too good to be true. He squinted at the beacon of light and quickly brought himself up in a fighting stance.
He strode up beside Ranma who was also in a guarded stance. He went to get closer to one of the guardians so he could tell them to lower the field, but Ranma held him back. “What’s going on?”
The pigtailed boy just continued to watch the flare with a grim expression on his face. “Someone used the Dan-Kaioshin earrings. They’re fusing right now. If you dropped that field now, we would likely get toasted from the power being released right now.”
Tenchi nodded and then looked around the room where the exposed metal was being peeled up from the power being generated. He noticed Ryo-Ohki struggling valiantly to keep the hull intact.
All at once the all-encompassing brightness in the room dimmed to a single flare of a powerful aura. The figure was a woman who was looking down and to the side in a demure fashion. She stood about the same height as Ayeka with what looked like her robe top, but the sleeves were gone and the bodice was cut low to reveal the top of her bosom. The bottom of her outfit looked like part of a robe over her left leg, but a pants leg on the other. Under the robe half the pants were cut short a few inches above the knee. The whole outfit was done in pastel blue and red. Her hair was styled like Ayeka’s, but was fluffier and was green-blue like Sasami’s. The pigtail ends turned from that color and faded into cyan as it reached the upturned tips. She finally looked up at the two boys. Her ears were pointed like Ryoko’s, but they were flat against her head. Her face was Ayeka’s, but her eyes were the catlike gaze of Ryoko. The overall effect was quite stunning. Take Tenchi for example, he couldn’t move a muscle.
Ranma waved his hand in front of the other boy’s face. “Yo, Tenchi! You in there?” He turned to the newly combined woman. She was smiling a lazy grin with a hint of mischievousness to it.
She strode up the force field protecting the boys and waved her hand. The field faded out with a slight shimmer of light. She turned and regarded the two boys with a tilted head and a hand on her hip.
“Where’s Ryoko and Ayeka?” Tenchi had finally recovered the use of his mouth.
The woman smiled at him, making Ranma very nervous in the process. “Ayoko.”
“What?” Tenchi asked with a confused look on his face.
“Ayoko. That’s my name.” Her voice was like two women speaking, but it managed to form into a pleasant sound. She glided over to the pony-tailed boy, put her hand under his chin, and brought his eyes to hers. His eyes glazed over as he lost himself in her eyes.
“Uh, could you tell me what’s going on?” Ranma asked, hoping to get Tenchi out of any possible trouble that this new girl presented.
Ayoko turned to him and scowled. “Are you still here?” She turned to the two guardians. “Azaka, Kamidake, escort Ranma outside. Tenchi and I would like to be alone.”
“Yes, ma’am!” They both said as they corralled Ranma out the door with their force shields. The last look he got of the inside of the room was Ayoko leaning into Tenchi for a kiss.
The doors shut with a resounding clang. After a couple moments Ranma shook off the shock of what had just happened.
“HEY! WHERE THE HELL AM I SUPPOSED TO SLEEP?!”