Chapter Sixteen

“Misadventures in Space Part 3”


            The next morning Kiyone opened the cockpit doors to find Ranma asleep in the pilot’s seat.  She smirked at how cute he looked snoozing away with a little hint of drool hanging from the side of his mouth.  She slowly walked over to him and went to put her hand on his shoulder.  Before her hand could touch, Ranma leapt up and turned to her in a fighting stance.


            The Galaxy Police detective took a step back.  “Sorry.  I didn’t mean to frighten you.”


            Ranma shook himself and yawned.  “You didn’t frighten me.  It’s just a force of habit from never being left alone to sleep late.  So what brings you in here?”


            “You’re sitting in the pilot’s seat.”  She smirked at him.  “And I’m the pilot.  Kind of logical, don’t you think?”


            The pigtailed boy scratched the back of his head.  “Oh yeah.”


            She giggled at his expression.  “Well, no harm done.  Have you been here all night?”




“I thought you and Tenchi were already sparing from the sounds coming from your room.”  She looked back over her shoulder toward the hallway.


Ranma tilted his head trying to hear the noise.  He shook his head in exasperation.  “You mean they’re STILL at it!”


She eyed him with a lifted eyebrow.  “Do you mean that Ayeka and Ryoko are still fighting from last night?”


He shook his head.  “No, they finished their fight.  They, uh, became of like minds at the end.”


Kiyone got a confused look on her face.  “What are you talking about?  Those two couldn’t agree on the color of snow.  How in the world did they settle their differences last night?”


“They kinda found my backup plan.”  He replied.


            “So what was your backup plan?”


            “Kaioshin’s earrings.”






            “Okay.”  She raised a questioning eyebrow.  “What’s a Kaioshin and what do her earrings have to do with your backup plan?”


            Ranma rubbed some of the sleep out of his eyes.  “It’s a he actually.”


            “Well, given your propensity for attracting cross dressers, I’m not surprised.”


            The pigtailed boy gave her a blank look.


            Kiyone rolled her eyes.  “You have a lot of cross dressers around you.”


            “Yeah, I knew that.”  He quickly tried to hide his confusion.  “Anyway, the Kaioshin are the highest Kami’s in the afterlife.  Their earrings have a property that when they are worn on opposite ears by opposite people, they fuse into a single person.”


            Now it was Kiyone’s turn to look confused.  “Wasn’t that the same thing you’ve been training Tenchi to do?  Why were you going to all that trouble training?”


            “Because the earrings are permanent.”  He smirked.  “I’ve got enough women problems without getting his.”


            The police officer chuckled.  “I can see how you wouldn’t want that.”  She looked back toward the bay as another series of pounding sounds came from the hold.  “So Ryoko and Ayeka are now one person.  Are they fighting in there?”


            “Not exactly…”


            A long clang was heard as the door to the room opened and Tenchi came running inside in only his underwear.  He quickly ran onto the bridge and shut the door.  He stood there with his back against the door panting like he’d run a hundred miles.


            Kiyone looked him over and saw his condition and quickly deduced that those claw marks weren’t from a fight.  “Hmmm.  I see now, Ranma, thanks.”


            Ranma saw the condition of the other boy.  “What’s your problem?”


            Tenchi took a quick look over his shoulder.  “She’s insatiable!”


            The galaxy police officer fell down laughing.  The pigtailed boy just looked at her.  “What’s so funny?”


            She managed to recover enough to get back to her feet.  “I’m sorry Tenchi, but your being the target of at least 1400 years of pent up female sexual repression.  Good luck and Godspeed.”


            “I don’t see what’s funny.”  Ranma turned to her. “We can’t get any training done this way.  He’s too exhausted to do anything.”


            She stifled a chuckle.  “Well, it is funny.  At least someone around here has requited love.”


            The pigtailed martial artist looked at her with a confused face.  “Requited?”


            Kiyone rolled her eyes.  “Never mind.”


            Ranma shook his head and turned his attention back to Tenchi.  “So are we going to get a chance to train or what?  We have to perfect the fusion technique if we’re going to beat this Kagato guy.”


            Tenchi sighed.  “You’ll have to ask Ayoko.”


            “Somebody mention my name?”


            They all turned to see the newly fused woman phase through the door and stand before them looking fresh as a daisy.  No one would know she had been up all night wearing out Tenchi.  She sauntered over to him and planted a kiss on his lips.  “You rested up yet, lover boy?”


            “Rested?!”  He exclaimed.  “I haven’t even got any sleep yet!”


            She traced circles on his chest as she spoke in a sultry voice, “So you’re ready?”


            Ranma’s eyes were about the size of Buick hub caps as he couldn’t believe what was happening.  “Hey!  Do you mind?!”  When he saw that he had their attention, he continued.  “We still have to save Akane!  You have to let Tenchi get rested if he’s going to be worth anything when we get to the planet!”


            Kiyone just chuckled from the side as she nonchalantly slid into the pilot’s seat and began checking telemetry.


            Ayoko turned and faced the pig-tailed martial artist.  “We’ll be perfectly all right.  I’m all the power we’ll need.”  She turned back to Tenchi.  “In the meantime, we have some unfinished business.”  The pony tailed teen turned beet red and tried to back away from her.


            Ranma flared up his aura and stepped between the two.  “Listen!  If anyone is going to save Akane, it’s gonna be me!  I don’t need someone else to fight my fights for me!”


            She smirked at him with an ironic grin.  “So you want to do it all by yourself?  Fine, then you won’t need Tenchi.  I’ll just make sure he’s out of your way.”


            The heir to the Saotome school choked out the hardest words he has had to say in a long time.   “I can’t do this by myself, and neither can you.  I need Tenchi’s power added to mine if what Washu says is true about this guy.  I’m also sure that whoever he has guarding this world is no slouch either.”


            Her expression became hard as she glared at him.  “Get out of my way, little man.  I can toast you without breaking a sweat.”


            At that, Tenchi stepped in between them.  He barred each of them with his arms as he cut in.  “Hey!  We need everyone for this!  We have to work together if we’re going to do this!”  He turned his attention to Ayoko.  “Have you forgotten Sasami?  We’ve got to rescue her too, not to mention we’re on our way to save one of your parents!  You both need to think less about yourselves and more about what we have to do.  None of us can do this alone!”


            Ayoko looked to the floor, ashamed of herself.  “You’re right Tenchi.”  Her voice became more dignified as she spoke.  “I lost track of what we were fighting for.  I don’t know what came over me.”


            Ranma shook his head.  “It’s the fusion process.  It seems that the first things to come out are the strongest emotions that the pair shared.  I was told they tend to run rampant.”


            Kiyone turned her chair around and faced them.  “So lechery and egotism were their greatest shared emotions.  No shock there.  But what’s your excuse Ranma.”  They all started to glare at her.  “Don’t look at me like that.  You guys have been the ones acting like a bunch of little kids.  Tenchi, go back and get some sleep so you and Ranma can keep working on the fusion technique.”  They nodded their heads in unison.  She turned to face the freshly fused woman.  “Since you’ve got so much energy, you can go and SERIOUSLY train Shampoo for what’s ahead.  If she’s going to have a chance of keeping pace, she’s going to need your help.”


            Ayoko nodded her head in shame.  “Of course, I’ll take care of it.”


            Kiyone crossed her arms and glared at them.  “Now get out of my cockpit and let me get back to my job.”  They all scrambled to respond to her orders.  She sighed and slid down in her seat.  “It’s so hard being the captain some times.




            Several days later they arrived at Stron B’Dia.  They were all gathered in the cockpit staring down at the barren planet below.  Kiyone pressed a few keys on the main board and a few markers came up on the screen.  “From our first orbit I couldn’t find anything but a barren wasteland.  I picked up a couple objects that could be clues for where we need to go, but we’ll have to clear the atmosphere to tell.”


            Tenchi turned to Ranma.  “Do you sense anything with your instant transmission?”


            The pigtailed martial artist put two fingers to his temple and concentrated.  After a few seconds he brought them down.  “I can’t get a fix on Azusa.  If he’s down there, I can’t sense him.  It’s like his power is turned off or something.”


            Ayoko stepped up to the monitor and looked it over.  “I can’t sense anything either.  It’s like the planet is just completely dead.”


            “It looks like we’re back to plan B.”  The galaxy police officer.  “We’ll make planetfall and then Ayoko and Ryo-Ohki will disembark and we’ll do a detail search of the area.”


            Ayoko crossed her arms in a huff.  “Why can’t Tenchi come with me?”


            Kiyone rolled her eyes.  “We’ve been over this a million times already.  Ranma needs Tenchi here in case we get ambushed by a big bad.  Besides, we don’t want you paying more attention to him and your libido more than the mission.”


            “Hrumph.  Okay, Okay.  It’s doesn’t hurt to try.”  The fused alien pouted for a second and then pointed to one of the markers on the screen.  “I’ll check out this marker first and continue radially from there.  You can start on this other marker on the other side of the planet.  If we don’t find anything we’ll meet at this third marker.  Sound good?”


            Kiyone nodded.  “Sounds good.  Just remember not to engage until we join you.”  She sat down in the pilot’s seat and laid in her course.  “We’ll be breaking atmo on the far side of the planet from the third marker.  Everyone ready?” 


With nods around the room, she pressed forward on the stick and plunged her ship toward the planet.  The ship rumbled a bit and then settled down as they cleared the outer reaches of the atmosphere.


“Azaka!  Kamidake!  Time to go!” Ayoko yelled over her shoulder.


The two guardians appeared.  “Yes, princess.”


Ayoko turned to her furry companion who had appeared on her shoulder.  “Ready to go, Ryo-Ohki?”


“Meow!  Meow!”  The cabbit meowed confidently.


With that, the four faded from sight and appeared outside ship well forward of the police cruiser.  With a yowl that made Ranma nervous, the cabbit twisted in air, grew in size, and transformed into her crystalline spaceship form.  Ayoko and the guardians teleported from sight and appeared on the bridge of Ryo-Ohki.


Her voice came over the intercom on the police cruiser.  “Meet you in the middle.”  With another yowl, they shot toward the horizon.


Kiyone nodded and banked her ship to the opposite direction that Ayoko had taken.  “Engaging planetary scanners.”  She toggle a few switches on the control board.  “All right people get comfortable, but don’t get too comfortable.  You never know what will happen when you make planet fall on a new world.”


Ranma grunted.  “Especially when you could be walking into a trap.”


Tenchi turned to him.  “You think it’s a trap?”


“Could be.”


“Shampoo protect you.”  The Amazon announced as she glomped onto him, much to Kiyone’s chagrin.


“I don’t need protectin’!”  Ranma protested as he tried to pry her body off of his.


After the pigtailed martial artist had managed to rid himself of his Amazonian growth, Tenchi finally asked a question that had been bothering him since Ayoko had left.  “What will we do if we do run into trouble?  You know we haven’t really tried the fusion technique.  How do we know it’s going to work?”


Ranma took a deep breath.  “We’re just going to have to hope for the best.  We’ll just try it for real and hope to Kami it works.”


“Very reassuring.”  Kiyone muttered as she watched the planet pass below.  “We’re coming up on the first marker.  Still no readings from the scanners.”


“That was quick,” remarked Tenchi.  “I’d expect it to take longer to go half way around a planet.”


“It’s really more of a moon.”  She replied.  “It was mostly arrogance of the man who registered this rock that it is called a planet.  He called it his, ‘great and awesome country’, or some such.  But why anyone would want such a barren ball of dirt, I’ll never know.”


After a few minutes they arrived to the first marker.  Kiyone punched in the magnified view.  ‘What is that?”


Tenchi looked over her shoulder.  “Looks like an American stop sign leaning against a cinder block.  What’s that sprayed over the stop?”


“Strongbadia.  Population:  Tire.”  Tenchi read.  “What in the world?”


“I think we should check it out.”  Ranma suggested.  “It could be some sort of illusion or something.”


Kiyone nodded in agreement.  “It might be a clever disguise for a sensor array or solar power generator.”  She eased the stick forward and closed in for a landing near the objects.


Thirty minutes later they were once more boarding the ship.


“I can’t believe that was really just a stop sign and cinder block!”  Kiyone fumed.  “Who in the ‘verse just leaves those atop a barren world?!”


“Shampoo can’t believe Ranma want keep block.”  The Amazon chimed in.


Ranma just looked at them both with a shrug.  “Akane might want to break something when we spring her.”


“Let’s just finish the scan and meet back up with Ayoko.”  Tenchi commented as he walked up the gang plank.


They boarded the ship, lifted off, and resumed their detailed scan of the planet.  It wasn’t until they met up with Ayoko that they saw anything else on the desolate planet.


Both ships landed several yards from the last marker.  The crews disembarked and met up on the ground in front of the police cruiser.  When Ryo-Ohki transformed back into her cabbit form, Ranma and crew noticed that the two guardians had a tire suspended in their containment field between them.


After they landed, Tenchi couldn’t help but ask, “What is the tire for?”


Ayoko shrugged.  “I thought you guys might like to take a look at the first marker.  It’s rubber with steel inlaid in it.”


“It’s a tire, Ayoko.  We use it on our cars.”  Tenchi deadpanned.  “Haven’t you seen them before?”


She thought for a second.  “You’re right!  Of course.”


Ranma turned to Kiyone.  “Well, at least we found the counted population.”  She slapped her palm to her forehead.


They all turned and started walking toward the final marker.  The guardians still had the tire suspended between them.  When asked why, she just shrugged and said she thought she should have some souvenir for this trip.  They arrived at the third marker and were met with more disappointment.


“It’s a garden fence.”  Tenchi said with a twitch in his eye.


“Okay, where’s the frikkin’ royals?”  Ranma swore.




They all turned to see Ayoko standing there with one fist still smoking.  “OKAY, WHOEVER YOU ARE!”  She yelled at the top of her lungs.  “WHERE’S MY DADDY?!?!?”


They all looked at her with a surprised expression.  They all suddenly recalled that was indeed still a daughter of Jurai, even though she was half space pirate now.


Shampoo smirked to the side.  “Crazy girl actually think that work?”


At that moment they all dematerialized and were transported.  When their sight returned they found themselves inside a large cavern.  A large shadow appeared on the far wall.




They all took a step back as the voice resounded within the chamber.




“Saotome Ranma bows for no one.”  Ranma leapt up to where he thought the shadow had come from.  He disappeared from sight and, a moment later, a little green man with an inordinately large head was thrown back over the wall and landed with faint squish sound.  “Is that the best you got?”  The martial artist asked rhetorically.


The little green man rubbed his face as he stood up.  “You have offended me human.”  He thrust out his hand with the index finger firmly pointed at Ranma.  “You will PAY!!!”


Ranma crossed his arms and scoffed at the little man.  “Are you going to make me?”


“Gir!”  The man shouted.  “Prepare the machine!”


“Right on!”  a shrieky voice came from behind the boulders.


The walls began to vibrate with power buildup.  Tenchi lit his Tenchi-Ken, Kiyone pulled her gun, and the other simply readied ki blasts.  All at once, the field holding the tire between the two guardians went out as they themselves fell to the ground.  Tenchi’s sword extinqiushed.  He tried beating it on his hand, but the power was gone.  Ayoko felt herself lose half her power. 


The little man smirked as he walked between them and over to where the guardian lay.  “You imperial fools can forget about using you insignificant powers on me.  Inside this cave I AM INVINCIBLE!!!”  He strode over to the tire, ignoring the fact that Ranma and Shampoo who still held orbs of energy ready for immediate use.


 “YOU WRETCHED TIRE!!!  YOU ARE ONCE MORE MY PRISONER!!!  Did you think you could elude my superior intellect forever?”  He guffawed in a maniacal laugh.  “At last, the remaining inhabitant of Strongbadia, leader of the resistance is once more in my mighty grasp!”


Tenchi sweatdropped.  “Uh, it’s just a tire.”


“SILENCE!  Do not think that by returning my prisoner you have bought yourself real-estate in my good graces you slimy fleshling!  Prepare to meet your horrible DOOM!”  The little green man once more stalked up to the top of the rock.


A little silver robot poked his head out from around the bottom of the rock.  “Ooooh!   We can make a swing!”


“Shut UP GIR!”  The man seethed.  “Now the rest of you will face your DOOM!”


Ranma stepped forward.  “And how is a little man like you going to give us any fight?”


The little man with big red eyes simply smiled.  “Like this.”  He pulled a black box from his pants and pressed a big red button.  A small beam went out of the box and struck Ranma before he could react.  In an instant he crouched down and began mewling like a cat.  Neko-Ranma immediately began to cut the cave surroundings into shreds.


The small green man with big red eyes, boggled at what was happening.  “Gir!  Transport that one to the surface!” In an instant, Neko-Ranma was gone.  The man turned to his cybernetic assistant.  “Make a note.  Don’t use the fear ray on that flesh bag.  It would be very dangerous.”


“I LIKE KITTIES!” was the only response he got from his vacant robotic assistant.


The green man turned back to the others.  “Now, for the rest of you.  MEET YOUR DOOOOOM!!!”  He turned a small knob on the box and pressed the button once more.


Most of the ones remaining in the cave began to have various reactions to the device.  Kiyone stood in place with her gun poised in front of herself as she was trapped in a nightmare of the most wanted murderer in the universe using her father as a shield.  Tenchi cried on the floor as he saw all of the girls from the shrine dead at his feet and he unable to do anything.  Ryo-Ohki yowled in remorse as she saw Ryoko/Ayoko being killed by Kagato.  Shampoo swung fought shadows as she tried to cut a path through the musk to save her long dead mother.  They were all in no state to do anything except for Ayoko who simply stood there with a smile on her face.


“Hmmm.”  Their antagonist had a thoughtful look on his face.  “So this one is not affected at this level of fear.  Maybe I should increase the power?”


“I think she’s scary!”  His mechanical assistant replied.


Ayoko smiled a feral grin at that.  “You should listen to your friend.”


“You have no power Jurian witch.  I took this planet from that insolent fool with the large red head and boxing gloves, and you shall not give me more of a challenge.”  He scratched his chin.  “Although I am curious of how you can resist the effects of the fear ray.”


She smirked as she put a hand on her hip and started walking through her shell-shocked party.  “I may have changed a little bit, but I am still one of things that go bump in the night.”


His red eyes narrowed as he looked at her.   “What do you mean?”


Her smiled turned arrogant and evil.  “I know what you are.  You’re one of those idiotic Invaders.  I on the other hand am the next evolution of masu.  I was once the scourge of the spaceways, Ryoko the space pirate.  Now I’m Ayoko.  Whatever you show will only scare half of me.  The other half will only laugh.


“You?”  He said incredulously.  “YOU’RE Ryoko?  That’s ridiculous.”


If possible, her smile became more evil.  “I am.  I am the one your Tallest warned you about.  I am the pirate who looted your home world and destroyed a good portion of the invader technology.  That’ s why the best assistant you can get is those idiotic Ghastly Irritating Robots.”


The alien turned to his robotic companion.  “So that’s what the ‘G’ stands for.”


The robot looked at him with its constant look of vacancy.  “I had no idea.”


Ayoko teleported and reappeared beside the Invader.  In one smooth motion she had the fear ray in one hand and the invader’s neck in the other.  “I don’t think you’ll be needing this anymore.”  She closed her hand and crushed the fear ray.  Immediately the others began to come around.  “Now.  Where is Azusa?”  She applied a little pressure to the neck of the invader.


“Over there!”  The little robot pointed down behind the rock where the Jurian king was hog tied and gagged.  Beside him was a machine that definitely looked like something way beyond the means of the invaders.


“GIR YOU FOOL!  You gave away my advantage!”  The green man raged.  “Now she’ll kill us both!”


She turned back to the invader.  “I won’t kill you if you tell me what that machine is for and where you got it.”


“It’s an anti-Jurai energy field generator.”  He began.  “It stays on low to keep the emperor from accessing his powers.  We were just told by the dark man who gave it to us to turn it up for company.”


“Well that explains why Ranma couldn’t find his power signature.”  She thought aloud.  She then turned her attention back to the invader.  “Now who was this ‘dark man’?”  The question was accompanied by another squeeze on his neck.


“GIR!” He shouted.  “The briefing!”  GASP!  “Quickly!”


The robots eyes brightened as they became a hollow projector.  An image of a younger Yosho in black and grey robes appeared and began to speak.  “All right, you simpleton, I’ll make these order simple enough that even an idiot like yourself can understand them.  Just keep that black box going until company arrives and then turn it to maximum power.  You can use whatever devices you like, but do NOT kill them.  Detain them, or delay them until I arrive.  Now I gave you this easily conquered world and saved you from that horde of idiots on Earth for a reason.  Don’t make me regret it!  And for Kami’s sake, KEEP THAT STUPID ROBOT OF YOURS IN LINE!!!”


With that the hologram ended.  “Who do you think he was talking about?”  Gir asked.


Ayoko smirked.  “A deal’s a deal.”  She threw the invader across the room where he hit the wall with a big squish and little crunch.


“The pain!”  He exclaimed.


Ayoko just smiled and kicked Gir aside, dropped down on top of the machine (destroying it), and untied the king.  “Hello, daddy.  Good to see you are unhurt.”


Azusa took a look at her.  “Ayeka?  Is that you?”


She smiled at him.  “There’s been some changes.  Right now we need to get out of here before Kagato arrives.  We also need to knock out a feral martial artist upstairs.”


Everyone gathered around and Ayoko teleported them one by one to the surface until at last she was left alone with the invader.  His robot had managed to find its way to his side.  He looked at her with fear in his eyes.  “What will you do with me?”


“This!”  She smiled and threw the tire at him.  It ringed him and Gir like a horseshoe post.  She laughed as she watched them try to free themselves from such a simple binding.  Without further ado, she teleported away to the voice of the invader.


“DAMN YOU TIRE!  You got your steel belted revenge for your stupid master!”