MCFFUltra part 7: The Horribly Delayed Episode!

     Sometimes, before a monumental event,  before the clash of
powers that mortals were  never meant to control, before the
locking in  combat of mighty titans in battles whose 
ramifications could decide the fate of universes or  at least
major advertising campaigns, there was a  silence.  The calm
before the storm, when the  participants brooded, plotted,
carefully gathered  energy.  When they drew apart, being with
their  thoughts alone, mentally preparing themselves for  the
struggles to come.  A silence somehow more  deafening than the
loudest din, for everyone was  watching, waiting for the
inevitable first strike that  would shatter it irrevocably.

     And sometimes there wasn't.

     Ranma Saotome emerged from the dressing  room with a sour
look on his face.  Even down  here, protected by massive slabs of
reinforced  concrete, insulated walls, and his own best efforts 
at ignoring it, the noise penetrated.  The din of  thousand upon
thousands of screaming fans,  metres above him, climbing into
their seats,  holding up their signs, and doing...well, whatever 
it was they did.

     Ranma sure as hell didn't know what they were  doing.  Sure,
he could see screaming during the  matches, even during the
entrances...after all,  giving support to your fav fighter or
booing the  one fighting him was what audiences were for,  right? 
He hadn't come here to be popular, but  he'd be the last to say
he didn't enjoy being  cheered on by thousands of people who had
paid  to see him.  

     But at this time, the screaming-so loud he  wondered it
didn't bring the whole Ultradome  down, noting the shuddering
floors-served no  rational purpose whatsoever.  There were no 
matches...the damn show hadn't even STARTED  yet!  All those
people were up there, yelling their  lungs out, and he couldn't
tell one damn, solitary  reason for it.  

     Aside from giving him a headache.  Because he  had a
headache now, a real whopper of one,  comparable to when those
two new Lambda  weirdos had landed on him last week.  Maybe 
worse, because he had thankfully been  unconscious for most of
that headache.  This one,  however, was making up for lost time,
insidiously  gnawing at him.  He didn't quite know why he  had
it, except he had this funny feeling that  SOMETHING was going to
go wrong today.   He didn't know why, except that apparently 
something happened last week that nobody was  telling him
about...not Nabiki, not Hiroshi and  Daisuke, not anybody he'd
ask.  And since he  already knew about Iori and Ken winning their 
matches, it must be something bad indeed.

     He'd even tried asking Kasumi, although  to be honest, being
around Kasumi kind of  weirded him out these days.  Geez, you
hung  around someone for a year or so, you get used to  them
cooking and cleaning and being thoroughly  nice and sweet and
maybe a little dense, and then  suddenly they were the Almighty. 
And the really  scary part was, she still ACTED EXACTLY  THE
SAME.  Most times, you'd think she was  still the same Kasumi, so
when she'd smiled at  him and said "Oh my, I don't know what you 
mean, Ranma" it seemed both completely familiar  and horribly
wrong, somehow.  After all,  theoretically she was supposed to be
omniscient  or something, so she'd know -everything-, right?   So
he'd stood there, stammering, with her smiling  that familiar
smile at him, until finally he'd thanked  her and nearly ran out
of the control centre.  His  head had hurt.

     It still did.  That kind of throbbing in the back of  his
head which Ranma had learned to rely on as  an indicator of
advancing trouble.  He'd felt it  many times, and usually ignored
it in favour of  handling the situation as it came when 
that Kumon guy had saved his mother, or when  Shampoo had shown
him that newspaper article  about their 'marriage', or when the
Jyusenkyou  guide's kid had shown up with those bird demons 
after her...and generally lived to regret it.  So  now, he was
trying to figure out what fate had in  for him.  He was scheduled
to fight that Iori  weirdo today, and he seemed pretty tough. 
Did  he have something up his sleeve?  Or maybe that  Orochi guy
would decide to take an interest in  him.  Just what he needed. 
Ranma had had quite  enough to do with gods already, thank you
very  much.  Or maybe...

     "Well, well.  Think you'll actually make it to your  match
today, fem-boy?"

     Or maybe the truth was something far more  insidious and
awful than anything he could have  imagined.  "Whu-wah-where..."

     "Ooh, very good.  And if you can say 'banana',  uncle Tarou
will buy you a pretty new dress."

     Ranma clenched his fists, gritted his teeth, and  wished to
hell that headache would go away,  since it had obviously done
its work.  "What  exactly are YOU doing here, Pantyhose?"

     Pantyhose Tarou's eye twitched, but he  continued on in that
same smarmy, self-assured,  thoroughly obnoxious voice Ranma knew
all too  well.  "Ah-ah-ah, fem-boy.  You don't want to  show up
for your match in a wheelchair, or your  already minuscule
chances of winning will  become pretty much moot."

     "And what's it to you, Pantyhose?" Ranma  asked,
deliberately stressing the name.  "You  trying to join the
tournament to get a crack at  me?  Geez, I didn't know they were
so  desperate."

     Tarou rolled his eyes.  "Please, fem-boy, don't  overwhelm
me so with your rapier wit.  As a  matter of fact, much as I
suppose it would be  amusing to crush all you second-raters
in...what  was it, "Gamma"?...I have never had any  intention of
wasting my time fighting in this idiotic  league."

      "Ah," Ranma guessed, "you're just here to  watch, huh?" 
Probably heard that the old freak  was in Lambda.  With a shrug,
he walked past  Tarou.  "Well then, Pantyhose, hope you've got a 
good seat.  Pay attention and you might learn  something when I
beat up Iori."

     "Ah," came Tarou's voice from behind, "I'll  certainly have
a good seat, fem-boy, although  since I'm not really interested
in learning new and  exciting ways to lose, I doubt your
performance  will have much to teach me.  But I think you 
mistake my reasons for being here.  For one, I  don't have to buy
a ticket."

     Ranma looked back reluctantly.  "So if you're not  fighting,
and you're not watching, what the heck  -are- you doing?"

     "At the personal invitation of no less than God  Herself,
I'm helping those two loser friends of  yours do colour
commentary."  He allowed a  moment for this to sink in, then
smirked and  continued down the hall.  "See you at your  match,
fem-boy.  I'll be paying VERY close  attention, I assure you."

     The headache was gone, now.  Of course, the  aftermath was
worse.  Ranma stalked down the  hall, obliquely disappointed that
nobody like, say,  Dan was around for him to safely let out some 
frustration on.  "You go ahead and pay close  attention,
Pantyhose," he growled, clenching his  fists and smashing a small
crater in a concrete  wall unlucky enough to be close by, "and
we'll  see who's laughing when the match is over."


                       FROM THE ULTRADOME!
                      THE BIGGEST SPECTACLE
                     IN ANIME AND VIDEO GAME
                      SPORTS ENTERTAINMENT
                        AND IMPROFANFIC!
                         IT'S TIME FOR...

            {    M A G I C A L  C R O S S O V E R    }
            {  F I G H T I N G  F E D E R A T I O N  }
            {             .-----------.              }
            {             | U-L-T-R-A |              }
            {             `-----------'              }
            { }

             Episode 6 : The Horribly Delayed Episode!
                  Story and Ideas By: Chris McNeil
               Text By: Chris McNeil and Aaron Peori

                  Impro created by: Stefan Gagne

     {We won't be denied... We know that time is on our side

     We've got the passion and the pride; We won't be denied...} 

     The throbbing tones of Spectre General's  "Nothing's Gonna
Stand In Our Way" slowly  died out, and the stadium lights
dimmed.  A hush  fell over the crowd for a long moment...and then 
the 'Lost In Space' theme suddenly exploded out  of the
approximately 3,823 loudspeakers  scattered around the Ultradome, 
prompting...well, at least a respectable amount of  cheering. 
Then a loud, somewhat squeaky, and  decidedly overenthusiastic
voice drowned both  song and cheers out completely.


     "Well", commented Tarou, "-that- was certainly  boring. 
Unoriginal too."

     Hiroshi rubbed the back of his head sheepishly.   "Couldn't
think of a new one this week."

     "I didn't say it wasn't an improvement."

     In the ring, Touga cleared his throat and then  cried,
"Introducing first, making his way to the  ring, the apprentice
student of the Saotome  School of Anything Goes Martial Arts,

     The spotlight shifted to the entrance ramp, where  a figure
ran quickly down, form shielded in a  cloak.  Reaching the ring,
he vaulted in, whipping  the cloak away and posing dramatically. 

     He wasn't -totally- unrecognizable.  Anybody  who'd known
him well would probably still  recognize him, unless it was in a
dim light or from  far away, and in any case the mistake would be 

     For Shingo Yabuki had changed.   Literally, as his uniform
had been replaced by a  fairly familiar set of red and black
Chinese togs.   His scruffy brown hair had been tied back, with 
debatable success, into a ponytail, although  thankfully he had
at least decided against or not  thought of dying it black.

     As Touga blinked in surprise, the transformed  Shingo
snatched the microphone, made a flourish  in the direction of the
locker room, and cried,  "SENSEI!  In honour of your title match
tonight,  I vow to win this match to follow in your  footsteps,
and prove my worthiness as your  student!"

     "Wow," Hiroshi said, blinking.
     "He certainly seems to be taking his  apprenticeship
seriously," noted Daisuke.

     Tarou shook his head.  "In all my life, I don't  think I've
ever seen anything quite so sad.   Maybe his parents dropped him
on his head a  few too many times."

     Shingo grinned at the cameras, allowing Touga to  take back
his microphone with a sniff.  "And his  opponent, hailing from
Japan..." he paused  dramatically, while the guitar riffs of Al 
Yankovic's 'Young, Dumb and Ugly' swelled,  "SHIN DAN HI~IBIKI!"

     Tarou smirked.  "Oh yeah."

     The lights went out.  And then they came on  again.  And
went out again.   And came on again.  This continued for a few 
moments until everybody was blinking in  confusion-or possibly
because of the spots in  their eyes-and then they went out one
last time,  finally staying out.  For a moment, there was 
nothing.  No light, no sound, marred the  darkness.  And
then...high above the audience,  there was the sound of an
explosion, and all eyes  turned upwards, to see the figure
outlined in  flame that had suddenly appeared above.  

     The pink fire dancing around him outlined his  muscles,
reflecting off the pink leather outfit,  reflected from the
extremely bronzed skin,  glittered from the glowing mauve eyes. 
The  figure spoke, and his words echoed throughout  the stadium,
reaching the ears of all.

     "I...AM...SHIN DAN!" the figure roared, for the  benefit of
those who had missed last week.  He  then threw his head back to
laugh  megalomaniacally...which had the presumably  unexpected
side effect of bouncing it off a metal  rafter.  The figure
plummeted in a halo of pink  flame to smack face-first into the
canvas and lie  still.  Belatedly, the lights came back on.

     "Shin Dan, folks, making his usual...uh...unusual 
entrance!" cried Hiroshi ecstatically.

     Tarou chuckled evilly.  "You've got that right."   He leaned
back, then blinked as he noticed  Hiroshi, Daisuke, and a fair
portion of the nearby  audience staring at him.  "What's your

     "Uh..." said Daisuke hesitantly, "your shirt..."

     "What about my shirt?" Tarou snapped irritably.   "Besides,
moron, it's a vest, and..." then he  looked down.  And continued
to look, his eyes  bulging slightly.

     Where before his chest had indeed been encased  in a vest
made of metallic scales, his current  apparel was...somewhat less
exotic.  In fact, it  was a t-shirt.  A pink t-shirt.  A pink
t-shirt with  the words "I'm A Dan Fan!" cheerily inscribed 
across the front, along with a cute picture of Dan  himself
posing, from the days before he had  become an entity of
extremely nasty horrible  unpleasantness.

     "How..." he said, and then suddenly the shirt was  ripped
off, revealing the familiar vest underneath.   Tarou continued to
stare at the pink cloth he now  held in his hand, and then
slowly, very slowly,  turned his gaze to his fellow commentators.

     "It wasn't me!" cried Hiroshi hastily.

     "Not me either!" added Daisuke nervously.   "Besides, how
could we do that without you  noticing?"

     "You couldn't," Tarou growled, flexing his fingers.   He
looked around at the audience, and then  added slowly, "and
neither could anyone else  here.  So how the hell..."

     Back in the ring, Shingo had walked over, and  was
hesitantly poking his opponent with a stick.   "Uh...hey, are you
going to fight?"

     "Well," cut in Hiroshi, avoiding Tarou's gaze, "it  seems
this match might be over before it even  starts!"

     "Aw man, this sucks," complained Shingo as he  began to walk
away from his fallen opponent.  "I  mean, sure it's a win, but
ANYBODY could  have gotten it.  I wanted to impress Sensei..."


     Shingo turned, to see the fallen form of Shin Dan  glowing
with an unearthly pink light.  Slowly his  body rose from the
canvas, then suddenly flipped  upright, wobbling slightly.  The
glowing pits of  mauve eyed Shingo coldly.  "THIS," he 
pronounced, "IS ONLY THE BEGINNING."

     "Alright!" Shingo cried, gladly hopping over to  the other
side of the ring.  "Let's go for it!"

     "Alright!" Hiroshi echoed ecstatically.  "It looks  like
we've got a match after all!"



      With a roar, Shin Dan leaped across the ring,  foot arcing
out in a mighty kick that could have  been easily blocked by a
kid in his second karate  class.  Shingo wasn't such a kid, so he
dodged  aside instead.  Landing, Dan spun to face his  opponent,
bronzed face cracking in a smile.   Literally...his skin still
looked like he had been  sunbathing under an ozone hole for the
last week.

     "Ha!" he cried.  "You are skilled, but you are no  match for
my Unpleasant Power!"  To illustrate  his point, he raised his
fist and shook it, his pink  aura flaring.  "RONSOU!"

     "Oh yeah?" replied Shingo in arrogant imitation of  his
teacher.  "Well then, bring it on!  I'm ready for  anything
you've got!"  With that, he fell into a  creditable Jujitsu
stance, legs spread and arms up  and ready.

     "Seems Ranma has indeed been teaching him  some of his
style," noted Daisuke.

     Tarou snorted bad-naturedly, having given up on  his
scrutiny of the audience.  "As if that's  something to be
grateful for.  Besides, it would  have helped if he'd taught
Bookworm anything  about how to USE it."

     "How do you mean?"



     Shin Dan rushed forward, arms and legs flailing  wildly. 
Shingo smirked as he easily blocked the  seemingly aimless blows,
then took a step  backward...and staggered.  As he waved his 
arms to regain his balance, his guard dropped,  allowing one of
Dan's kicks to crash into his  chest and send him reeling into
the ropes.   "Damn..." he growled.

     Shin Dan laughed.  "How pathetic you look  before the
whelming might of my Nasty strength!"

     "I get it," said Daisuke.  "That was an offensive  stance,
and moving backwards while using it  threw him off-balance."

     "Maybe you do have a brain," Tarou grunted.

     "You are unworthy as opposition," declared Shin  Dan.  "I
shall finish you here and now!"  He  raised a hand, glowing with
an unearthly pink  light.  "SHINKUU..."

     "He's using that technique again," cried Hiroshi  excitedly,
"the same one which almost cost him  the match last week!  What
could he be  planning?"

     "Maybe he improved it?" speculated Daisuke.

     "More likely he forgot that it didn't work,"  drawled Tarou. 
"After all, he did get that knock  on the head."

     Shingo eyed the slowly growing ball of pink light  with
trepidition.  He had also wondered if Dan  had somehow fixed the
little problem with the  move.  As the powerful-looking attack
began to  move towards its climax, he threw caution to the  winds
and dashed forward, fists rising to make a  preemptive attack.

     "GADOKEN!" finished Shin Dan, thrusting his  hand forward
with a roar, the giant ball of pink  flame clinging precariously
to it.

     But Shingo was there, and he ducked low to  avoid the
attack.  "AMAGURIKEN NO  HISOU GISEI!" he cried, his fists
flashing  forward with not the greatest speed, but at least 
enough power to sink into Dan's gut.  The Manly  Master of
Methodical Macho....uhhh...Nastiness  doubled over, the breath
wooshing from his  lungs...and the huge ball of pink flame fell
from  his hand to land squarely on Shingo's head.

     There was a titanic concussion, and when the  smoke cleared,
the audience was treated to the  sight of a blackened and
smouldering Shin Dan  staggering backwards, while an even more 
blackened and smouldering Shingo appeared to  be taking a short
nap, his head buried in the  canvas.

     "What an amazing gambit, folks, from the 
always-unpredicitable SHIN DAN!" raved  Hiroshi.

     "Actually," noted Daisuke, "it looked more like a  fluke."

     Shin Dan manfully coughed up smoke in an  Unpleasant
fashion, and then held up his fist in  triumph.  "RONSOU!  My
unwholesome might  claims another victim!"

     "Now wait...mmph...just  one...urgh...minute..."

     All heads turned at the somewhat muffled voice,  to see
Shingo yank his head out of the hole in a  canvas with an effort. 
He looked quite the worse  for wear, but clambered unsteadily to
his feet and  struck another fighting pose.  "This fight isn't
over  yet!"

     "What tenacity!" cried Hiroshi.  "What  endurance!  What

     "What stupidity," yawned Tarou, "will he try  next?"

     "Pah!" cried Dan in a manner in which one might  'pah' the
efforts of a foolish and incapable fool to  defeat one who was
formerly a foolish and  incapable fool but had now become a
Nasty,  Non-Educational entity of Non-Niceness.  "Your  feeble
efforts have ceased to amuse the great and  mightful SHIN DAN! 
Beware, for now I unleash  the full Annoyance of my Power against
you, and  it shall be MEAN!"

     "Oh, shut up!" yelled Shingo, launching himself  into the

     "FUKAI DANKUUKYAKU!"  Shin Dan's  flaring pink aura
coalesced and darkened into a  purple flame around his legs as he
flew forward,  his feet lashing out in multiple deadly 
kicks...which, unfortunately, came nowhere near  Shingo.  The two
fighters flew past each other,  Shingo tumbling heavily across
the mat, while  Dan crashed into the ropes and promptly got 

     "That's what stupidity, apparently," Daisuke  noted dryly.

     Tarou shook his head. "I'm sorry I asked."

     "And Shingo is getting up!" Hiroshi cried.  "But  he looks
tired, folks!"

     "I'm sure all the blind people in the audience are  thanking
you for revealing that fascinating tidbit,  fanboy."

     Shingo was tired.  Also bruised.  Kinda woozy,  too.  And he
thought he might have sprained his  ankle.  Worse yet, as he
looked up it was to  meet the triumphant mauve gaze of Shin Dan 
staring down at him.  The effect was slightly  lessened by the
fact he was still trying to yank his  foot free of the ropes, but
it was disheartening  nonetheless.

     Dan, with an Unpleasant snarl, finally yanked his  foot free
of the ropes and turned his full attention  on his fallen
opponent.  "You still refuse to give  up?  Very well.  I warn
you, this forces me to  unleash my full Unrighteous Fury upon
you!"  His  aura flared to almost blinding levels, and Shingo 
shakily climbed to his feet, arms crossed  protectively in front
of him.

     "Prepare yourself!" Shin Dan cried, and  then shook his
fist, letting out a mighty "Ikuzora".  Then  he rolled forward,
stopping periodically.  "Doshita!"  "Yaiyuchi!"   "Namen ja ne
do!"  At the last, he leaped upwards, "Yahoi!" flying  nastily
from his lips.  He landed in front of the  stunned Shingo, thrust
his arm out, and with a  great flourish, twisted it to give him a
thumbs  down.  "RONSOU!"

     "Wow," said Hiroshi, for once too awed to yell.  

     "That almost reminded me of Shotokan-boy's  performance last
week," noted Tarou.  "Except,  of course, that Pinky couldn't
have hurt anybody  with that even if they had been stupid enough
to  walk straight into it."

     "Ah," commented Daisuke, "but the intimidation  factor alone
seems to have had an effect..."
     Shingo fell to his knees, overwhelmed, the hot  sting of
tears behind his eyes.  He had never been  so ashamed.  So
contemptuous was Dan of him  that he was wasting energy just in
TAUNTING  him.  And he had right to be.  Shingo had  accomplished
nothing in the fight so far.  All his  carefully-studied moves
had fallen apart.  How  ashamed his sensei must be, for his
student to  lose so pathetically...and against the man he had 
beaten for the title, no less.  Ranma would never  fared so
poorly, failed so spectacularly.

     Shin Dan laughed, raising his fist.  "And now, the  second
victim falls to Shin Dan's Unpleasant  Might!"

     And yet...and yet Ranma would never give up  either.  As
Dan's fist fell, Shingo somehow found  the strength within to
roll aside, coming up to his  feet a few feet away.  His opponent
swung  around, charged after him again, pink aura flaring.  
Shingo backpeddled, thinking frantically.  All of  his moves
learned from Ranma had failed; he was  not skilled enough in them
yet.  But if so, what  did he have left to fall back on?  Only
one thing,  one chance, and yet...

     Shingo's eyes closed.  "Forgive me, sensei," he  whispered.

     And then his palm snapped up and forward.   "GADOKEN GYAKU!" 
Power built,  coalesced...and then suddenly shot out, a huge 
fireball that engulfed Shin Dan and then flew out  to crash with
a spectacularly messy explosion  against the far wall of the

     Hiroshi's eyes bugged out.  

     Even Tarou looked a little shaken.  "What the hell  was

     Daisuke cleared his throat.  "It seems," he said 
hesitantly, licking his lips, "that Shingo has tried to  copy
Dan's manouvres as a last-minute gamble.   But normally his
copies are inferior..."

     "Ah, but..." Tarou said, recovering, "after all,  Pinky is
no ordinary fighter."

     "So it seems."

     Shingo sank to one knee, the effort of the  move obviously
having taken a lot out of him.   But as the smoke cleared, his
eyes  widened-along with virtually everyone else's-as  he saw
that Shin Dan was still standing, albeit  with the aid of the

     "I...fight...ON!" gasped the recently-immolated  icon of
unpleasantness.  Letting go of the ropes,  he staggered at
Shingo, seemingly moving more  by momentum and instinct than any
conscious  plan of attack.

     Shingo's eyes narrowed, and as Dan drew close  and made a
clumsy lunge at him, he dropped to  one knee and then suddenly
launched himself  upward, fist-first.  "Shitagaki-ryuken"

     He connected, and then there was suddenly a  flash  Pure black, surrounding both  fighters and rising
quickly from the mat before  suddenly parting and dispersing as
Shingo landed  lightly on the mat.  Shin Dan, on the other hand, 
sailed upwards, smashing through a light fixture  and a steel
rafter before crashing into the  roof...and then THROUGH the
roof, vanishing  from sight.  There was an awed silence for a 
moment...and then another crash as Dan's body  made -another-
hole on the way down.  Shingo  quickly backpeddled as his
opponent fell to the  mat in a hail of pieces of the Ultradome

     For possibly the first time in his life, Hiroshi was  struck
totally speechless.  His mouth moved, as if  he were trying to
make a comment or at least  some strangled noises, but no sound

     Tarou, of course, was not so afflicted.  He  opened his
mouth to speak...

     And then Dan arose.  A nearly-blinding pink aura  exploded
from him, flinging all the stray pieces of  roof away from the
ring, to be caught by some  lucky souvenir-seeking spectators. 
The power  flowed and arced around him like a living thing as  he
took a step forward, his face like the face of  Death, if Death
had gotten a tan and decided to  eschew the usual 'dark and
shadowy' look in  favour of 'pink and unpleasant'.  With a cry
like a  million chiuahuas yapping in unison, he rushed 

     "I'm impressed," admitted Tarou.  "Even I would  have been
hurt by that.  Not that Bookworm  would ever have hit me, of

     And Shingo, grim-faced was there.  As Shin Dan  lunged at
him, fingers grasping, he drew back,  and then pulled back his
own fist.  "Shousan Tsukuruadabito Ken!" he cried.

     Hiroshi, Daisuke, Tarou and the crowd watched  with varying
degrees of disgust and awe at the  resulting carnage.  "That,"
noted Daisuke, "was  definitely unpleasant-looking."

     "Also nasty," added Hiroshi.

     "Kind of educational, though," commented  Tarou.  "I'm sure
he'll do better with more  practice."

     Shingo finally stopped and stepped back, and all  eyes
turned to the huge vidscreens overhead,  which displayed a replay
of the move, and then  huge words appeared:

     [2,348 HITS!]

     And, after a moment, a subtitle:

     [We don't have a suitable adjective for this!]

      And then everyone looked down again,  to see that Shin Dan
was STILL up, though his  menacing pink aura had apparently been 
frightened off and he was definitely wobbling.   Shingo observed
him for a moment, then swiftly  raised a hand...and poked him
lightly in the chest.   Dan crumpled to the mat like a rag doll.

     "THE WINNER!" cried Touga, climbing in the  ring and raising
the victor's arm, "SHINGO  YA~ABUKI!"

     A roar from the crowd greeted this  announcement, but Shingo
did not hear it.   Wrenching his arm free from Touga's grasp, he 
climbed out of the ring and stumbled back to the  dressing room,
head bowed low in shame.  

     "Despite his amazing victory, folks, something  seems to be
weighing heavily on Shingo's mind!"  cried Hiroshi.

     "Maybe it's the fact that his performance was so  pathetic
that beating Pinky is considered  'amazing'?" Tarou suggested.

     "In any case," added Daisuke, "we'll soon be  moving onto
our first Omega match of the  evening, between the
self-proclaimed Universe's  Greatest Scientific Genius and a
mystery  challenger!  Like all Omega matches, this one will  not
be in the Ultradome, but cameras will be on  hand to broadcast
the proceedings to the  vidscreens above and to you folks at

     "Self-proclaimed?" noted Tarou with a raised  eyebrow.  "You
like to live dangerously, don't  you, kid?"

     "Well," he replied hesitantly, glancing around, "no  more
than you."

     Tarou smirked.  "But I was specifically -invited-  here to
insult people, kid.  I've got protection if  anybody doesn't have
a sense of humour."

     "Oh.  Uh...well, I'm sure she won't take it  seriously."

     "Your future, I guess."  He stretched.  "So, what  looney
place are they carting us off to this time?"

     "None, actually.  No commentators for the next  match."
     "We're not invited?" Tarou exclaimed with mock  sorrow. 
"I'm crushed."  Getting up, he stared  hard at the pink t-shirt
still clutched in his hands.   "Almost as crushed as the owner of
this...item  will be when I find him.  In fact, I think I'll take 
this time off to go attend to that.  Later."  Taking  off his
headset, he drifted into the locker room.

     "Wow!" cried Hiroshi.  "A matchup so secret, so  exciting,
so...SPLENDIFEROUS that even we  cannot be there!  Who could this
mysterious  challenger be?  And what tricks does Washuu,  unseen
since her loss to Omega champion  Eva-01, have up her sleeve? 
And what..." he  was interrupted as Daisuke tapped his shoulder.  
"Hey, I was just getting into it!"   Wordlessly,  Daisuke pointed
at the formerly lit "on-air" light  on his headset.  "Oh."


     -Commercial Break-

     (We see a small island in the middle of the Pacific  ocean.)

     Voiceover: Akuma...

     (The view pans in, and we see the original dark 
Shotokaner-albeit an upgraded cybernetic  version-sitting
crosslegged on the beach, beneath  the shade of several palm

     Voiceover: His resiliance is legendary.

     (A coconut falls from a tree above, bouncing off 
Cyber-Akuma's head.  He doesn't even blink.)

     Vooiceover: His powers are unbelievable.

     (The scene pans to the left, and we see a tacky  motel and
souvenir stand being constructed about  half a mile up the beach. 
Cyber-Akuma's eyes  narrow as he notices this, and then he fires
a blast  which reduces it to a pile of charred kindling.)

     Voiceover: The challenges he has overcome are  uncountable.

     (We see Cyber-Akuma in a fighting pose, teeth  bared, eyes
glowing with unholy menace.  With a  loud grunt of challenge he
lunges forward, his fist  flying out with unerring accuracy and
blinding connect with a medium-sized wave,  which
promptly explodes.  Akuma roars in  triumph as the spray whips
around him, and the  sea at his feet visibly shrinks back.)

     Voiceover: But this time...has he met his match?

     (Akuma looks out towards the horizon as if  searching for
some unseen enemy, then with  another grunt leaps into the air. 
Unfortunately,  his jets are apparently clogged with sand and
fail  to ignite, resulting in him promptly crashing into  the
water.  Undaunted, he begins swimming.)

     Voiceover: Cyber-Akuma faces his greatest  challenge yet in
the Steel Hypercube, in a battle  to end all battles!

     (Akuma grunts again, looks over, and then fires a  blast
which destroys the camera.)

     Voiceover: And it's only available on  pay-per-view!  Make
sure to order early and  reserve YOUR piece of the action at
UltraRage: Alpha!   Coming sooner than you think, from the BEST
federation in ALL creation!

     -Commercial Break-


     Picture a bleak, blasted plain, the only features of  note
being scattered medium-sized rocks.  The  wasteland extends off
as far as the eye can see,  yet something seems strange as the
landscape  stretches off to the horizon...then the view draws 
back, and we see the oddity: the wasteland is not  truly a plain,
but a crater.  A huge crater, with a  diameter of dozens of miles
at least.

     Got that image in your mind?  Absolutely,  picture-perfect
clear?  Good, because we'll be  coming back here in a few
moments.  Where we  are at -this- moment, however, is a hallway 
underneath the Ultradome, which everybody's  favourite
poorly-named occasional  villain-cum-antihero-cum-commentator is
stalking  through, apparently still looking for the prankster 
who had planted the Dan shirt on him.  He turns  around a corner,
and then suddenly stops dead  just short of ramming into

     Tarou's eyes narrowed, and he took a step back,  eyeing the
new arrival suspiciously.  He  -seemed- unassuming enough,
slenderly built with  no real musculature, but Tarou hadn't
noticed  him, and there weren't many 'normal' people who  could
disguise their presence so well.  "Who are  you?"

     "Are names really important?" 

     Clenching his fists, Tarou took a menacing step  forward. 
"Was that supposed to be funny, little  man?"

     The figure simply shook his head, crimson  strands from
his...unusual hairdo seeming to  move almost independently from
the rest of his  head.  Then he chuckled.

     Pantyhose Tarou had been through a lot in his  life,
overcome many challenges, faced foes  ranging from the supreme
master of  Anything-Goes Martial Arts to a six-armed, 
three-armed, fire-spitted lightning-throwing  goddess.  Never
once had he shown fear in front  of another person.  This skinny,
red-haired  wretch was nothing compared to what Tarou had  seen,
and obviously there was no way that he  could scare Tarou,
certainly not with a simple  chuckle.  So Tarou was NOT scared,
and the  fact that every single one of his instincts was 
virtually shrieking at him to flee was obviously  some weird
delusion brought on by stress.  So he  spoke in what he
considered a fairly calm, even  voice.  "I asked you what your
name was."

     The figure waved a hand absently.  "Never mind  that.  It's
not me we're here to talk about, it's  you.  In fact, I've got a
proposition for you."  The  figure chuckled again.  "Care to hear

     Tarou simply nodded.  After all, he had nothing  better to
do, so he might as well listen to this  lunatic's 'proposition'
as long as it continued to  be amusing.  Certainly it wasn't
because he felt  that if he moved an inch he'd turn and run until 
he'd put several thousand miles between him and  this person. 
After all, he wasn't scared.  Not a  bit.  

     The figure grinned, which was almost as bad as  the
chuckle...not that Tarou minded the chuckle,  of course.  "I
thought you might.  Alright, here's  what I want..."


     Remember the crater?  I hope so, because we're  back and I
don't feel like describing it again.  I  tell you, people have
the shortest attention spans  these days...too much TV, probably.

     Anyway, where was I...?  Oh, right, the crater.   Well, it
hasn't changed a whole lot.  It continues  to not change for a
few moments, and then  suddenly a portal appears near the center
and  emits a...mech.  This mech is roughly humanoid in  shape,
and has fairly clean lines for unrestricted  movement, or
possibly just to show off the  incredibly garish paint job, a
mishmash of  clashing colours that somehow manages to  combine
into an effect that can only be called  'cute'.

     Within the mech sat Washuu Hakubi,  occasionally benevolent
genius of universal  reknown.  She looked around with eminent 
satisfaction at the mind-numbing number of  buttons, dials,
displays, switches crammed into  the cockpit, and then smiled, a
smile whose effect  could only be called 'evil'.  But also cute.

     Apparently not satisfied with the cutely evil smile,  she
proceeded to indulge in a bit of cutely evil  (and slightly
megalomaniacal) giggling.  "At last,"  she declared once that was
past, "at last my  masterpiece is complete!"

     Well, it wasn't -really- her masterpiece.  That  was
probably Ryoko, or maybe Ryo-ohki, or  possibly something else,
depending on her mood  when she was asked.  In fact, she had
gotten  distracted with some other very interesting  projects,
and sort of cobbled this together during  a few spare hours last
night, after Kasumi had  very kindly called and asked if she
wanted to  have another match.  But it was still a thing of 
beauty, as all things Washuu-made must be, and  besides, she
loved saying things like that.

     Besides, once she had remembered what Kasumi  was talking
about-which reminded her, she really  had to invite Kasumi over
for tea and some  genetic tests one of these days, as there were
a  few theories she was interested in testing out-she  had been
eager to get back into the action.  She  still hadn't forgotten
the nerve of that...err...Ikari,  right, that Ikari boy and his
utterly unappealing  looking mecha, who had had the nerve to
destroy  one of her beautiful creations.

     But not this one.  No, this beautiful weapon of  mass
destruction was more than a match for  anything that gangly,
freakish, pseudo-mechanical  ugly thing might throw at her.  She
almost giggled  cutely again in anticipation of her rematch, but 
just at that moment a portal chose to open up  about half a
kilometer away and deposit a...small  black lump, which fell with
a shriek and bounced  several times before coming to a rest.

     After a moment, the lump straightened, revealing  itself to
be...a man.  Or what looked like a man.   A freakishly short man,
if that was what he was,  dressed in a loose black trenchcoat,
slacks and  shoes, which matched well with his long, curly  black
hair.  He looked around in seeming  bemusement.

     Washuu was almost beside herself with  upset.  THIS was her
super-secret mystery  opponent?  Why, this person wasn't any
bigger  than Sasami!  Granted, Washuu herself wasn't  any bigger
than Sasami-usually-but Washuu was  the Greatest Scientific
Genius in the Universe,  and that, of course, made all the
difference.  Plus  Washuu was in one of her own flawless
brilliantly  designed technological masterpieces, and this guy 
was in, well, a trenchcoat.

     With a sigh, Washuu pulled her trusty keyboard  out of
subspace and began inputting commands,  oblivious to the
multitude of dials, buttons and  switches surrounding her (there
were certain  expectations of giant mecha, but conforming to 
them didn't mean you had to hamper yourself).   With a smooth,
harmonoius whir of machinery  working in perfect order, the giant
mecha started  towards its diminuitive foe, who appeared to be 
shouting something.  Washuu, noting this,  activated the two-way
speakers.  Perhaps the  little creature was surrendering already.

     "...nobody around here!" came a high-pitched  shriek over
her receivers.  "This is almost as bad  as that stupid plant!  If
I see that woman again, or  my saviour, I'll make them feel
months, maybe  even YEARS of..." he broke off, noting the 
brightly colored mechanical monstrosity coming  towards him.  He
looked it up and down for a  moment, a strangely eager gleam in
his beady  black eyes.  "It's moving," he said, not loudly but 
still clearly audible over Washuu's loudspeakers  (of course). 
Washuu brought her creation to a  halt, and the two locked gazes
for a long  moment.  Finally, the little creature asked, "Are 
you a living thing?"

     Washuu blinked.  What an odd question.  Had  Kasumi been
letting unliving things into this  federation?  "Well...of course
I am!" she replied.

     The creature looked dubious.  "Made of metal?"

     Washuu's checked the urge to sigh again.  Not  only a skinny
little dwarf in a trenchcoat, but a  complete technological
primitive as well.  Why  hadn't they just awarded the match to
her and  gotten it over with?  "No, not that, uhh...what  was
your name?"

     The creature was again regarding the mech with  interest,
and drawing his slender hands from his  trenchcoat pockets, began
to rub one over the  other eagerly.  "Toguro," he said.  "The
elder  brother Toguro, that is."

     "Toguro, how nice," she responded politely, and  then
decided to reply in kind.  Not really fair to  smash the little
creature without even letting him  know WHO he had the honour of
being smashed  by, after all.  "I am Washuu Hakubi, whom I'm 
sure you've heard of, and this beauty here is my  latest,
greatest masterpiece, the unstoppable,  unbeatable,
unsurpassable-until I build a better  one-NUENZEHN!"  Nuenzehn
obediantly pulled  two mecha-sized fans and posed dramatically.

     The creature noted this, and then...giggled.  It  was not a
giggle of amusement, or even an evil  giggle such as Washuu
more-than-occasionally  enjoyed, but rather a high-pitched,
sadistic,  bordering-on-a-cackle giggle so utterly devoid of  any
humanity or goodness whatsoever that  Washuu immediately began
mentally planning out  a device that could capture and bottle it
just in  case she ever needed to disperse, say, the Jurai  fleet
in a hurry.  After a short span of this, the  creature called
Toguro looked up at its huge  opponent and smiled brightly.

     "I'm so glad you're really alive!" he cried in  enthusiastic
joy.  "I'd have so hated to waste the  effort if it was just a
big hunk of moving metal!"   He held up a hand, and the slender
fingers  seemed to...melt, thinning and lengthening until  they
resembled stilletos.  "Let me show you my  gratitude!"

     Washuu shook her head, preparing to guide  Nuenzehn into
action.  The poor little creature  was obviously insane.  It was
sad, really...


      Toguro Ani let a full-fledged megalomanical laugh  that was
nearly as insane as the giggle had been,  held up his hand, and
the fingers suddenly flew  out in long, wriggling arcs, to slash
with ferocity  at Nuenzehn's leg.  

     Unfortunately for him, Washuu had activated  shields as a
precautionary measure, and the  strange elastic talons harmlessly
dashed against it.   Ani had time to stare at this in shock for a 
moment before Nuenzehn stepped on him.

     There was silence for a long moment.  Then  Washuu sighed
again, shaking her head in  disappointment.  That had been even
easier than  she had expected; Toguro hadn't even attempted  to
dodge.  Turning, she prepared to make  another portal back,
reconciling herself that at  least now, with a victory, she had
the go-ahead  to challenge that Ikari boy and...

     ...and then she heard the giggle.  Swinging  around, she
saw, crawling out of the ground a  few metres away, the apparent
identical twin to  the creature she had just crushed into a
grease  spot.  She lifted Nuenzehn's leg, and noted that, 
indeed, the grease spot was there...but it  appeared to be
connected to the ground by some  sort of thin thread.  Before she
could ponder the  implications of this, the squashed Toguro was 
yanked off the mech's foot with a wet sucking  sound, slithering
back across the ground until  finally it reached the source of
the fleshy thread:  the 'new' Toguro, who giggled again as he,
for  lack of a better term, seemed to retract it back  into his
arm.  Within moments the distortion had  vanished, and he looked
exactly as he had before  the fight began.

     Washuu was not called the universe's greatest  genius for
nothing, and by the time Ani had  finished reconnecting himself,
she had figured out  how it worked.  "Shapeshifting through 
completely body control, hmmm," she muttered,  and then grinned. 
This might be a good test run  after all.


     Tarou raised an eyebrow.  "That would be easy  enough, I
suppose.  Sounds rather amusing,  actually."

     The figure grinned, but thankfully refrained from  cackling
again.  "So, we've got a deal?"

     "Not so fast."

     The figure blinked.  "What now?"

     Tarou folded his arms and leaned against the  wall.  He felt
better now, knowing he had the  advantage of the situation.  Not
that he hadn't felt  fine before.  "It may be  easy and amusing,
but  it's still a favour, and I don't make a habit of  doing
favours for free."

     "Oh, you want money!"  The figure began rooting  around in
his pockets.  "Let's see, I'm sure I've  got at least..."

     Tarou's lip curled.  "Not money.  If I ever need  money, I
can take it.  You want me to do you a  favour.  In that case, you
do me a  favour...assuming you have anything to offer."

     "A favour, huh?" said the figure.  He paused for a  moment,
and then smirked again.  "I know!  I can  do something easy and
amusing for you, too, and  then we'll be even."

     "Easy and amusing for you doesn't necessarily  mean I will

     The figure chuckled, which oddly coincided with  a sudden
lapse of concentration that made Tarou  accidentally smash
through the wall he was  leaning against.  He really had to be
much too  stressed.  

     "Oh," the figure chortled, "but I think you'll like  this

     Picking himself up, Tarou scowled.  "Talk."

     "Well, as I'm sure you know, Ranma's match is  up next..."


     Nabiki grimaced as she watched that Ani freak  launch
another series of vicious attacks at  Washuu's mecha, which
resulted in him yet again  being swatted aside like a rag doll. 
The little  nutcase was resiliant, she'd give him that, but 
apparently that was all he had going for him.  She  could almost
feel the ratings dropping at this  obvious mismatch.  "Hey, sis,
are you sure this  was a good idea?"

     God blinked.  "Oh my, Nabiki, what do you  mean?"

     "This Toguro guy.  I'm not sure he's quite cut out  for
Ultra.  Maybe Gamma...or given that trick he  did before, maybe
you could've put him as a  Lambda team by himself.  That's be a
neat  gimmick..."

     Kasumi shook her head.  "I'm sorry, Nabiki, but  that just
wouldn't do."

     "Why not?"

     "Well, I couldn't put him in either of the other  divisions,
you see."

     "And...why not?"

     If it were not inconceivable, Nabiki would have  thought the
Almighty looked slightly embaressed. "Well...there was a slight
problem with the  audience."

     "He's distracted by people watching him fight?"


     "Then what?"

     "Well, he'd kill the audience."

     Nabiki blinked.  Then she said, slowly, "You  mean, his
attacks are so wild they'd strike the  audience?"

     Kasumi shook her head.  "No..."

     "Umm...he's so sneaky he'd attack audience  members to get
an advantage?"

     "Not quite..."

     "Then what do you mean, he'd kill the audience?"

     "I mean, he'd attack the audience first.  He might  not even
notice his opponent."

     Nabiki stared at her slightly embaressed 
older-sister-turned-supreme-deity in shock.   "Sis..." she began.

     Kasumi smiled beatifically.  "Yes?"

     "...why did you let this guy into the federation?"

     "Well, he asked so nicely, I didn't have the heart  to turn
him down!"

     "He did?"

     "Why, yes!  He just showed up and attempted to  convince me
how strong he was so he could get  in."

     "I'm sure."  Nabiki felt the beginnings of a  headache
coming on.  Maybe this wasn't such a  cushy job after all.  

     Suddenly, a flurry of movement on one of the  cameras caught
her eye, and she turned.  Ani  was staring at it in disgust,
having apparently  bounced off it in the aftermath of his latest
attack.   "What is this?" he shrieked, "Some kind of  TELEVISION
SHOW?"  He cackled, extending  his fingers into claws.  "Nobody
gets to watch me  have fun but ME!  ME ME ME!!!"  With a  shriek
of insane laughter, he swung his clawed  hands out, and the
signal from that camera cut  out abruptly.

     Nabiki stared at the dark screen for a moment,  and then
turned slowly to face God.  "Sis," she  said, "you DID at least
tell this guy he was in a  federation, didn't you?"

     Kasumi smiled again.  "But why spoil his fun?"

     "Right."  Nabiki put her face in her palm, and  debated the
virtues of going out to get an aspirin.   "Of course."


     Washuu was starting to get bored.  Actually, she  had
started to get bored about ten minutes back,  and was drifting
with increasing rapidity towards  'annoyed'.  Test run had gone
great, would have  worked out all the kinks if Nuenzehn had had 
any, which of course it didn't.  She'd even been  impressed by
her pint-sized foe's ability to  bounce back and escape being
completely  annihilated.

     Now, however, he was really taking it  overboard.  A token
show of resistance was all  well and good, but this was getting
ridiculous.  Of  course, he hadn't yet managed to so much as 
scratch her creation's magnificent coat of paint,  but he didn't
seem to be getting tired either, and  she was having very little
luck pinning him down  and blasting him past his ability to
slither away  from.

     Clearly, this called for extreme measures.   Luckily, Washuu
hadn't existed for millennia for  nothing.  Even this short
glimpse had given her  insight into her foe's character, insight
she could  use against him.

     As her diminuitive demonic foe leaped forward  once more,
Neunzehn suddenly affected a  posture of extreme surprise,
pointing one shaking  finger off into the distance, and Washuu's
voice  boomed through the speakers.  "OH NO,  WHAT COULD A POOR

     Ani's clawed arms suddenly expanded into wings  which caused
him to screech to a halt, pivot and  drop to the ground.  He
looked from side to side  eagerly, practically drooling in
anticipation.   "Where?  WHERE!?"  Seeing nothing, he spun 
around.  "Where did you see a..." it was at about  this point
that he noticed the barrel of the  extremely large, nasty looking
cannon that was  pointing straight towards him.  He had time to 
sweatdrop before being quite suddenly blown  into atomic

     Washuu giggled an an evilly cute sort of way.  A  brilliant,
diabolical plan, executed with her usual  brilliant, diabolical
perfection.  Nuenzehn spun  around in triumph, waving its fans at
the cameras.   Visions of the defeat of Ikari and his tasteless 
pseudo-mech danced in her head as she  prepared to take a portal
out of this wasteland...


     Tarou smirked.  "I like it.  You've got a deal."

     "I thought you would."  The figure opened his  mouth to
laugh again, but was cut off by a loud  clearing of throat from
Tarou.  "What?"

     "Something just came to mind..." Reaching  behind his back,
Tarou pulled something out out  and tossed it.  The figure caught
it see  a pink t-shirt.  "Yours?"

     "Why, yes!" the figure cried.  "I thought it was  lost!  How
kind of you to return it!"

     Tarou's smile broadened.  "Lost, indeed..."

     Suddenly he was moving forward, so quickly that  his form
blurred.  A fist shot out...and met only  empty air.  Startled,
Tarou looked around,  striking a defensive stance, but the figure
was  nowhere to be seen.

     "What the hell..."


     "Well," Nabiki sighed, "I guess that's a wrap."


     Nabiki looked over at the moniter, to see a 
confused-looking mech (which was a rather  strange sight, now
that she thought about it) still  standing in the crater. 
Another problem with this  fight.  Psychically blown-up Tokyo
might be a  neat idea, but was just boring in practice.  Of 
course, given what Kasumi had said about the  late, unlamented
Toguro, it had probably been  necessary.  "What's the holdup,

     "I'm afraid I can't really let her go quite yet..."


     Washuu was now fully into annoyance, and  working her way up
to a full-fledged snit.  The  portal hadn't opened, and since her
flawless  equipment was obviously not at fault, that meant  that
somebody else was keeping her here.  And  there was only one
person she could think of that  would do that...but that was
impossible.  Kasumi  didn't seem like the type to play pranks at
all, and  there could be no doubt that Washuu had easily  won
the...won the...won the...

     For the first time in more years than she cared to 
remember, Washuu's jaw dropped open, as she  looked out her
viewport and saw the mass of  black seeping out of the blasted
earth.  It couldn't  be...she increased her magnification, and
saw that  it indeed could be, all logic and reason to the 

     For despite having been blasted into nearly  innumerable
bits just a few minutes ago, Toguro  Ani looked decidedly
alright.  More than alright,  actually, because apparently, every
single one of   those nearly innumerable bits had grown and 
formed itself into a perfect, if even tinier, replica  of the
original.  And they were apparently  advancing on her, laughing
as they did.  She was  suddenly quite glad she'd switched off the 
speakers.  That laugh was certainly very  interesting, but one
could have too much of a  good thing, and it had more than
reached that  point.

     Also, one could have too much of a bad thing, as  the source
of the laughter was proving.  With a  crescendo of cackling, the
thousands of  mini-Anis leaped for Nuenzehn.  Washuu quickly 
turned the shields up to full and backpeddled,  seeking to get
some room, but she was being  swarmed on all sides.

     The Ani's flung themselves heedlessly against the  shields,
the first waves going up in puffs of  smoke, but this didn't
apparently discourage the  rest.  Washuu stomped hundreds of them
into  mini-grease spots, and blew thousands more  away with her
Nuenzehn X-97 Supreme Blast  Erupter Cannon, but the stream
seemed to be  endless.  Which, she realised, it effectively the time she managed to make it through  several waves
of mini-Toguros, the ones  previously disintegrated had returned
to the fray.   Fascinating example of bodily control, not to 
mention raw determination to get at her, quite an  interesting
character study, but as she noted the  steadily decreasing power
level of her shields,  she appreciated anew the benefits of
having  guinea pigs to test these sort of phenomena out.

     For instance, were Ryouko somehow in this  situation, she
would no doubt try to tough it out,  trusting in Nuenzehn and
fighting to the bitter end,  hoping against hope to find the
secret weakness  of the attacker.  That was, of course, the sort
of  thing that led to Washuu speculating that maybe  Ryo-ohki was
her greatest masterpiece after all.

     For the Universe's Greatest Scientific  Genius had not
earned her title by clinging to lost  causes, at least if there
was any choice in the  matter.  Tapping a few keys on the
keyboard,  she quickly sent it back into subspace and sat 
back...and a moment later, found herself nearly  half a kilometer
away from the beseiged  Neunzehn and the Ani Army, courtesy of
her  handy built-in teleporter.  She sighed as she  watched the
seething black mass, which was  apparently trying to swallow up
Nuenzehn  entirely.  Exactly according to plan of course, 
but...she would somewhat miss that wonderful  colour scheme.  It
had been truly inspired.

     And then Nuenzehn imploded in a titanic flash,  and there
were innumerable shrieks as its sudden  artificial gravity field
dragged the into its  collapsing form.  A long, despairing wail
from a  million throats, one final flash...and it was over.  

     Also silent, Washuu Hakubi turned and walked  away from the
war-torn battlefield...and then  stopped abruptly, as the
skewering fingers which  rose up behind her were halted by her
personal  force field.  "I knew," she said slowly, "that I 
should have finished the gravity well production  system before I

     She turned, and observed a slightly ragged Ani  rise out of
the ground, an eager grin nearly  splitting his face in two. 
"So, the little crab is  coaxed out her shell!"  He giggled.

     Washuu felt that giggle was definitely starting to  lose its
charm.  Oh well.  Definite mental note to  improve that device. 
If it had collapsed  completely into a miniature black hole, she
was at  least fairly certain she would have been rid of the 
little pest.

     Ani, on the other hand, was apparently  playing this out for
all it was worth.  He held up  his left hand, which morphed and
changed until  it...well, was a miniature copy of himself.  His 
right hand, meanwhile, twisted, molded and  suddenly emerged as a
perfect, if tiny, copy of  Washuu herself.  "You've been fun," he
giggled,  "so I'll let you decide how you want to go. 
Perhaps...evisceration!"  He promptly had his  two puppets
demonstrate; Washuu had to admit  it looked accurate, although
her death throes  were a trifle overdone.  "Or..." he continued, 
reforming the Washuu-puppet, "we could go for  quartering!  Or

     At this point, Washuu decided she'd about had  enough, so
she waved her hand and sent his head  spinning several feet to
the left.  She would have  been less casual about this sort of
thing, she  supposed, if she hadn't know that the only real 
effect would be to buy her a little time.

     The head looked rather indignant.  "How rude!" it  cried. 
"Attacking without warning!  Body, you  pick me up right now so
we can teach her a  lesson!"  The body stared at its head for a 
moment-or at least adopted a posture that could  be construed as
staring-and then suddenly  another head sporuted from it,
sneering down at  the severed one.
     "Hah!" the second head laughed.  "Good for  nothing head,
not paying attention to what was  happening!  I'm better off
without you!"

     "Oh really?" shrieked the first head, promptly  sprouting
itself a body.  "Well, it was YOUR  worthless reflexes that were
the problem!  I'm far  superior on my own!"

     "Ha!  You probably couldn't even kill an innocent  bystander
without me!"

     "Bah!  Without my guidence, you'd be lucky to  catch and
torture small animals!"

     The two Anis rushed at each other with twin  roars of
outrage, crashed into each  other...melded with each other, and
came out  facing Washuu, claws already extending.  They  were
again blocked by Washuu's force shield,  but Ani leaped forward
in pursuit, slashing wildly  to prevent her from attacking in
return.  She  attempted to backpeddle, but he leaped into the 
air, drew up, and then suddenly expanded, his  body taking on the
shape of...well, a pancake,  more or less.  Thus transformed, he
crashed  down on top of Washuu, completely enveloping  her.

     Washuu grimaced as a multitude of Ani faces  formed in the
black mass surrounding her and  began to cackle in unison.  This
was definitely not  the most advantageous of situations.  She
could  teleport out, but she had a suspicion he might be 
expecting that...and worse yet, the power drain  would put down
her shield temporarily, which  could be decidedly unhealthy. 
However, she  couldn't just linger here either, as pancake-Ani 
was dripping towards the ground, and she didn't  hold out much
hope he'd miss the fact he could  seep through there to get at

     And worse yet, she couldn't properly get into  subspace
without downing her shield either.  A  seperate power source was
DEFINITELY in  order.  Carefully, she slipped a hand into the 
pouch at her waist, fumbling around.  Gravitronic  pulse
detector, no, perpetual motion top, not that  either, and then
there was...Washuu's eyes lit up.

     And suddenly she vanished, appearing  several metres away. 
Ani had reformed himself  before he hit the ground and with a
cackle of  triumph sent his fingers snaking out for the 
kill...and straight into the small, round object  Washuu had
pulled from her belt.  His eyes  widened for a moment, and then
he started  thrashing around, but it was too late.  With an evil 
grin, she turned a dial on the device, and in a  flash the Toguro
brother had vanished within it,  leaving only a long, despairing

     The shriek died away, and there was silence for a  moment. 
Finally, Washuu wiped her brow and  tossed the small object back
in the pouch.  Then  she reached into...nothing for a moment,
before  yanking out a large, heavy-looking bag made out  of a
strange, shiny material.  It thrashed viciously,  and muffled
cries could be heard from inside.

     "Heh..." Washuu turned to face the nearest  camera, and then
flashed a v-sign.   "Washuu-chan's patented Phantom Cyclone with 
Dual Wormhole Action!"  Then, with a final evil  yet cute laugh,
she tore a rip in the fabric of  space and time, walked into the
portal just  created, and vanished.

     "Hey," an indignant voice said from within the confines of
the shiny bag, "There's nothing to kill in here..." It paused,
"Well, accept for myself..." Another pause, followed by a manic
cackle of joy and several sounds best left undescribed in the
presence of children.


     Yotsuya smiled and adjusted his suit as he looked into the
camera. Beside him his victi... er, guest for this weeks
interview was muttering something unintelligable under his

     "Greetings," Yotsuya says with a smile as the camera comes
on. "I'm here with the superstar of Gamma League, the current
Champion Ranma Saotome."

     "Hi," Ranma grunted as he continued to try and work things
out in his head.

     "Young Saotome," Yotsuya thrust the microphone into Ranma's
face, causing Ranma to snap his head back in surprise. "Is there
any truth to the rumors concerning the sexual harrasment suit
several local school girls are charging you with?"

     "What rumors!" Ranma cried indignantly.

     "The ones I just made up," Yotsuya informed him.



     Yotsuya smiled as he turned away from Ranma. They both
watched as the fuku-adorned figure of the so-called "Sexiest
Woman in Gamma" charged into the room. She stopped in front of
Ranma, or that was the plan at least. Instead she sort of skidded
past him a bit and nearly collided with the wall.

     "You can't avoid me forever Ranma!" Sakura roared at him.


     "I have the best record in Gamma and I have  -yet- to get a
title shot!" she told him flatly, "And I dserve one!"

     "Listen," Ranma tells her flatly, "I understand but I didn't

     "Shut up!"

     Everyone turned as two more figures walked into the room. It
was the vest clad Yashiro and the tightly clothed Shermie, two of
the Heavenly Kings of Orochi that walked into the room. Yotsuya's
grin magnified as Yashiro walked up to Ranma and stuck a finger
in his face.

     "Yagami is OURS Saotome," Yashiro growled at him, "So don't
get any ideas."


     "BE QUEIT!" Yashiro roared as Ranma tried to get a word in
edgewise. He turned to the camera and smiled at the audience. "As
for you," he smirked, "You'll be seeing us -real- soon."

     Shermie giggled, "Oh yes, you won't be able to miss us in
the next Lambda match!"

     "Listen pal..." Ranma began.

     "Sakura!" there was a snapping sound and everyone turned to
see the lithe form of the buxom blonde Sofia in the doorway. "I
hope you didn't plan on escaping me so easily." She smirked and
raised her fingers to her mouth before giving the patented 'evil
female' laugh.

     "Great," Sakura muttered, "Not you again..."

     "I won't rest until my humilation is revenged little girl,"
Sofia smirked and struck the kind of pose that belonged in
magazines that were kept at the top of the rack. "You can be
assured of that!"

     "Anytime you want," Sakura crossed her arms and smirked
herself. "I can defeat you easily..." she grinned. "Middle-aged

     "Middle-aged!" Sofia shrieked, "I'll show you, you little

     "Ladies please," Yotsuya came between them, "Save that
precious hatred for the ring."

     "This is ridic..."

     "Yes chere," a voice said as most eyes turned to see Gambit
walking into the interview area. "You should not fight. All is
beautiful in the world and beautiful girls should not fight like

     "Well," Sofia calmed down slightly as Gambit laid on the
charm at industrial strength. "I guess I can let her live a
little longer."

     "Now that that's over can I speak?"


     Ranma sighed and turned to look, with the usual camera pan
to follow his gaze, and saw Tatewaki Kunou step into their

     "I have finally come to lay down the gauntlet Saotome,"
Kunou informed him coolly. "Prepare to be smited at the mighty
hands of the Blue Thunder!"

     "I get a title shot first!" Sakura roared at him.

     "I don't..." Ranma began.

     "Sakura!" David cried as he ran into the room. "I was
searching everywhere for you..." he stops as he spots Gambit, who
is eyeing Sakura with a confident smirk. "YOU!" David yells and
pulls his chainsaw out of nowhere. "Get away from her!"

     "She don't appear too displeased to see me," Gambit drawled,
"Maybe you should let her decide boy?"

     "I'll let her decide what I WANT to let her decide!"

     "WHAT did you say?" Sakura turned to him with murder in her

     "AH!" David yelled and dropped his chainsaw on the floor.

     "I'll not in the face you!" she growled and launched herself
at him. He ran screaming from the room and Sofia laughed. 

     "Pathetic girl," Sofia smiled, "She needs to discipline that
man." She turned back to Gambit and smiled at him, "Unlike some I
could mention."

     "Right chere," Gambit started slightly at the look in her
eyes. "I think I best be elsewhere... I have, how you say,
appointments yes?" Gambit gulps and runs from the room. Sofia
does her laugh and trots after him.

     "Don't forget," Yashiro said as he grabbed the camera,
"You'll be seeing us before you know it!" He smirks, "Come on
Shermie, we're finished here."

     With that the two of them exit the room, leaving only Ranma
and Yotsuya alone.

     "I'm glad all those freaks are gone," Ranma grumbles. 

     "Well," Yotsuya says into the camera, "That was certainly
exciting. Now we return to the rest of Ultra..."

     "Hey!" Ranma cried and Yotsuya turned to him. "I didn't get
a chance to defend myself..."

     "I'm sorry Saotome-san," Yotsuya said with obviously false
guilt, "But we're out of time."

     "But... but..."

     "I'm truly sorry, maybe next week."


      "Welcome back to Ultra folks!" Hiroshi roared into his
microphone loud enough to cause several people with poor hearing
to start filing for law suits. "Tonight we have our first of two
Magnificent Title Defenses!"

     "Our Gamma champion Ranma Saotome," Daisuke explained, "Will
be taking on the recently crowned 'Biggest BAD@$$ in Ultra' Iori

     "This should be amusing," Tarou sat back and smirked.

     "You seem even more pleased with yourself than normal,"
Daisuke said suspiciously.

     "Not at all," Tarou said with an evil chuckle, "Can't I just
be happy for no reason whatsoever? Fanboy there does it often

     "I resent that remark," Hiroshi grumbled.

     Touga cleared his throat, drawing attention to himself where
he stood in the center of the ring. "Ladies and gentlemen," he
called out, "Introducing our challenger, representing the Yagami
clan of Japan, the Biggest Bad@$$ in Ultra, Iori Yagami!"

     "Freak on a Leash" by Korn exploded over the speakers as the
bad boy of Gamma League walked down the ramp to the ring. He
paused along the way to demonstrate his ability to summon purple
flames to the fans who jeered him a bit too much. He leapt into
the ring with practiced ease and glared at everyone as he awaited
his opponent for the evening.

     "And his opponent," Touga called out, "Hailing from Nerima
ward in Tokyo, Japan the Gamma Champion, ladies and gentleman...
Ranma Saotome!"

     Ranma stepped out of the backstage area just as the music
started. He stopped however as this was NOT his regular theme
song. In fact, the more he listened to it, the more he knew it
was wrong. This was mainly because it was "Dude Looks Like a
Lady" by Aerosmith that was playing. Tarou chose the moment that
Ranma just began to realize this to start laughing. Ranma growled
and ran down the ring to stand in front of his nemisis.

     "You did this didn't you!" Ranma accused as he slammed his
fist down on the announcers table.

     "Why no Ranma," Tarou smirked, "Whyever would I do that. I
swear I never touched the sound system."


     "You have a match to fight femboy," Tarou informed him,
"Unless you want to concede it already? I could see why seeing as
you have no chance even against this second-rater..."

     "Shut up!" Ranma told him, "I'll show you who the best
fighter in this whole damn federation is!"

     "It looks like Ranma's really pysched now!" Hiroshi declared
as Ranma leapt easily into the ring and glared at Iori. Iori
looked over his shoulder smirked and turned around to face Ranma
with studied calm. "This time Ranma is fighting not just for the
title, but for his pride!"

     "It should be a close fight," Daisuke told everyone easily,
"and from the looks of it the battle is about to begin."



     "This match is scheduled for one fall," Touga informed
everyone, "With a thirty minute time limit. Begin!" He leapt out,
wanting to be nowhere near the blast radius of this match.

     Ranma started in, a fierce attack in which he slid in on his
heels and delivered a hundred blow in a heartbeat. Iori responded
by going on the defensive and blocking most of the hits. Ranma
got through with a few and managed to send the Orochi powered
martial artist reeling. Ranma didn't let up, coming on strong
with a leaping axe kick.

     Iori responded by rolling with his momentu and coming up
with a flare of purple flame that nearly charbroiled Ranma as it
knocked him back. Ranma landed easily however and shook the soot
off his legs and came in again. Iori took the offensive this time
and Ranma was forced to dodge at hyperfast speeds as Iori
released blast after blast of purple fire. Ranma found himself
pushed back because despite his superior speed he couldn't do
much to get around the large explosions Iori's Orochi blood
allowed him to unleash.

     The battle continued for several minutes. Hiroshi oohed and
ahhed over ever move that Ranma and Iori exchanged while Daisuke
calmly explained how the more esoteric maneuvers worked. Tarou
was strangely silent as the violent ballet in the ring played
itself out. Both fighters seemed evenly matched, mixing both
normal and super maneuvers as easily as most people breathed.
Ranma finally began to get the upper hand as he started in with
his Mokotakabisha to push through the flaming strikes of the
Yagami clan fighter. 

     "It seems like femboy..." Tarou began as Ranma finished a
particularly inspiring ki-sphere into slashing sweep kick combo.
Ranma snapped his head back as Tarou's voice reached him... and
Iori looked up from where he was on the ground.

     "An opening!" Iori roared and leapt up with a slashing hand
that drew a line of purple flame up Ranma's back.

     "...was doing so well," Tarou finished as Ranma flew under
the force of the attack.

     "You stay out of this," Ranma growled at Tarou.

     "Fem-boy can't win if..."

     "Shut up!" Ranma yelled at Tarou again... and Iori came in
behind him and struck three times in rapid succession with his
flaming fists. Ranma found himself thrown into the ropes and
barely cognizant.

     "... he doesn't pay attention to match," Tarou smirked as he
completed the totally innocuous comment.

     "It's over!" Iori cried as Ranma turned to face him and the
Biggest Bad@$$ in Ultra unleashed a furious chain of flmaing
strikes at him. Ranma grunted and charged into the middle of
them. Iori blinked as Ranma flew through the strikes, taking a
massive beating but still coming. Then Ranma's shoulder caught
his chest and he was being flung across the ring. Ranma coughed
as he stood ready to fight, barely.

     "A desperate tactic from Ranma!" Hiroshi commented happily.

     "But it gave him breathing space which is what he needed,"
Daisuke though to point out.

     "It won't do him much good..." Tarou trailed off as Ranma
turned to glare at him, and was caught from behind by Iori's
flaming projectile, "...if femboy doesn't conecentrate on the

     Ranma collapsed to his knees. He wasn't feeling too good.
Those purple flames didn't just burn, they hurt like hell. It
must have been that Orochi crap that he had doing something to
Ranma. Ranma tried to raise himself to his feet but Iori was
already on him, a series of flaming strikes and Ranma found
himself tied up in the ropes with nowhere to move.

     "Die," Iori told him as he raised his hands, "Right where
you stand."

     "Alright," Tarou smirked, "He's going to use the appropriate
attack on Ranma now."

     "Which one is that?" Daisuke asked as Iori charged up.

     "The Yao Tome of course," Tarou smirked as he saw Ranma's
eye widen, "Or the all so right Maiden Masher..."

     Iori ran forward... and Ranma exploded. Ranma's arms bunched
and the steel cables that ran from post to post on the ring
snapped and he flung them out like whips. Iori was stopped dead
as he was hit upside the head by both ends of the cable from
opposite directions. "Is that good enough for you Tarou!" Ranma
raoared as he snapped on the cables once again and twined them
around Iori's body, pinning the others arms to his side. Iori
hissed in pain as Ranma wrenched back on the cord and pulled him
off his feet while screaming, "Or how about this Panythose!"
Tarou's eyes narrowed as Ranma began to spin Iori over his head
like a helicopter. Iori yelled out in pain and slashed out with
his hands. He latched onto the cable and began to burn his way
free. "And if that isn't good enough..." Ranma hissed as he saw
this and grinned, "Then maybe this is!"

     "What's Ranma up too!" Hiroshi exclaimed in his excited
voice #63 ("I have no idea what's going on!").

     "It looks like he's setting up for the Hiryushoten Ha..."
Daisuke says calmly, "But as we learned last week doesn't he have
to be calm to do that?"

     "I think I may have underestimated him," Tarou comments and
sounds like he means it.

     Then the tornado appeared. Iori screamed in anger as the
cyclone of force blew out from the center of the ring. Everyone
watched breathlessly as it completed it's course and calmed into
only a swirling wind. Iori sat near the cente rof the ring, his
bonds burnt free. He didn't, however, appear to be harmed that
much. Ranma was nowhere to be seen.

     "What happened to Ranma!" Hiroshi exclaimed.

     "Did he blast himself out of the match like Shinjo did last

     "Hmpf," Tarou grunted, "Maybe Bookworm is a better student
than he lets on?"


     Everyone looked up as they heard Ranma scream the words from
up near the rafters. They watched as he began to descend, purple
energy swirling all about him and beginning to coalesce along his
fists. He thrust his fists downward and Iori looked up in shock.
"Take this," Ranma cried, "Hiryushotenha revised; HIRYU KORIN

     The blast was huge, easily as large as the ring itself, a
giant ball of purple flame that was all the energy Iori had
released in his fight with Ranma so far. Iori could only watch in
awe as it landed like the wrath of what would have once been God
but she had done a lot to disprove that myth so let's call it the
wrath of an ex-god...

     The concussion nearly blew several people out of their
seats, thankfully the announcers had been provided with seatbelts
just for such a situation. When the smoke cleared Ranma stood,
the afterglow of the blast casting a purple shadow along his
body. Iori was buried five feet into the concrete floor and
nobody saw him moving.

     "The winner," Touga called as he raised Ranma's hand. Ranma
didn't seem to notice, he was only glaring at Tarou while Tarou
smirked back. "And still champion, Ranma Saotome!"

     "Wow," Hiroshi said and that just about summed it up.


     -Commercial Break-

     (A modest suburban home. Mainly the couch and TV are
visible. A man walks in and looks down at the couch he frowns.)

     Man: Looks like Johnathan left on of his stupid toys here...

     (He reaches down to grab it... and the screen goes pink,
there is a sound like someone getting the ^&%# kicked out of them
and when the screen returns the man is nowhere to be seen.)

     Woman: (entering) Honey? (she looks aroudn and doesn't see
him) Where did you go... (she spots something on the couch and
frowns) Jonathan! What did we tell you about leaving your toys
around the house?
     (She reaches down to grab it... and the screen goes pink,
there is a sound like someone getting the ^&%# kicked out of them
and when the screen returns the woman is nowhere to be seen.)

     (Finally a boy enters, preteen. He looks around in

     Boy: Hey, what's going on...

     (Then the Television turns on and he looks over. Various
scenes of grevious bodily harm from Ultra are shown.)

     Boy: Hey cool! (he sits down, next to him we see a tiny
plastic "Shin Dan" figure, it looks at the Camera and winks)

     MTCFF: Ultra, the BEST federation in ALL creation.

     -Commercial break-


     "Welcome back folks," Hiroshi greeted everyone in his
usually manner, which is to say he tried to both deafen them and
cause them to vomit due to his excessive cheerfulness. "And boy
do we have a special treat for you." He grinned.

     "Before our next match," Daisuke says, "We're going to give
you a sneak peak at UltraRage Alpha."

     "May I contain my bliss," Tarou yawns.

     "Allow us to introduce folks," Hiroshi cries out, "Straight
from Midgar, one of the competitors in what is bound to be the
most intriguing fight in UltraRage except for all the other ones,
Miss Tifa Lockheart!"

     The crowd gave out a healthy cheer as Tifa stepped out of
the locker room and started down the aisle. She wore her usual
tight tank top and mini-skirt combo and her long hair waved
behind her back. As she walked down to the announcers booth many
a males eye fixed on her most popular... attributes.

     "Hey folks!" Tifa called as she reached the booth.

     "Hey Tifa!" Hiroshi sighed dreamily as she sat down next to

     "Get your mind out of the gutter fanboy," Tarou told him.

     "So Tifa," Daisuke broke in quickly, "You'll be competing at
the newly announced Newcomer Invitational at UltraRage coming up
in just four weeks (more or less) ne?"

     "Yep," she winked, "You can look forward to me getting in on
the ground floor for this one."

     "Wait a minute," Tarou asks slowly, "What is this Newcomer

     "It's only the greatest thing since sliced bread!" Hiroshi
cliched happily. "Four newcomers, each competeting in a two round
elimination tournament with the winner getting into the Gamma

     "So let me get this straight," Tarou deapanned, "These
people are going to fight for the right to do what a bunch of
other people have done by apparently just -asking-?"

     Tifa, Hiroshi and Diasuke began to sweat as Tarou looked at
them all expectantly.

     "Well," Hiroshi finally broke in, "We all look forward to
seeing you there. And If I hear correctly you're going to stay
and help us comment on the next match in our Lambda division?"

     "Yes," she grinned at him and he practically melted, "That
I'll be doing."

     "Then without further ado," Daisuke said, "Let's get this
match between The Fatal Fury Team and our newest competitors

     Touga stepped into the newly replaced ring. He looked out
over the crowd and soaked in the excitement. "Ladies and
gentleman!" he called out, "Intorducing, defending the honour of
the Shiranui dojo, Mai and Andy the Fatal Fruy Team!"

     "Breathe" by Prodigy started up as Mai and Andy began down
the ring. He tried to cover his face as she bounced about in what
was a wholly exciting way, mainly do to the skimpiness of her
"costume" and the fact that it didn't do anything to lessen her
"bounciness". Tifa snorted as they passed and Mai stuck out her
tongue at the other woman before they entered the ring.

     The camera panned over the crowd, revealing many new signs
to the public eye. One read "Shin Dan: The Nastiness Awaits!"
another read "MTCFFU, you know it's better than the other two
federations! It has twice as many letters in the acronym!" and
finally a "Look down here followed by an arrow." The camera pans
down the arrow and we see Yashiro and Shermie sitting under the
arrow. Shermie holds up another sign which says "Told you you'd
see us again."

     "And their cahllengers," Touga called out, "Hailing from
Aveh and Kislev in the world of Xenogears, Bart Fatima and Rico

     "Hey," Hiroshi said vaguely disappointed, "I thought you
said the NEWEST team."

     "Well," Daisuke responded, "Technically 

     There was a long pause. 

     "What happened to Bart and Rico?" Hiroshi said slowly.

     "I have no idea," Tifa blinked and shrugged, much to the
delight of the male audience.

     "Maybe we can catch some clue in this," Diasuke said, "It
was a prefight interview we were supposed to play during the

     The screen shifted suddenly to show the backstage area. Bart
and Rico stand side by side as Yotsuya holds out a microphone
towards them.

     "Greetings gentleman," Yotsuya said to them, "In response to
the new trend in team names, such as Clan Aensland and X-Team are
you planning on giving your own team a name of its own?"

     "Why of course!" Bart smiled. His blonde hair and eyepatch
gleamed as the light caught him in just the right way to show
that he was the kind of man woman considered manly. Rico looked
over in surprise at this. His massive green skinned and orange
haired form hulked beside his younger companion. Rico's brow
furrowed dangerously.

     "I never heard of this," He told Bart coldly.

     "What do you plan on calling yourselves then?" Yotsuya asked
them pleasantly.

     "Beauty and the Beast!" Bart declared as he raised a finger
into the air and struck a dramatic pose. Veins bulged in Rico's
forehead for a second, and then he grabbed Bart and started to
beat the living %^&@ out of him. The camera cut away.

     "Well," Daisuke said, "I've just been informed that Rico
seems to have put his partner in the hospital for the day. So
there team will be unable to particpate this evening."

     "That stinks!" Hiroshi declares as he crosses his arms.

     "Does this mean that Mai and Andy get the win?" Tifa asked

     "No," Daisuke shook his head, "Because Bart and Rico
challenged they did not actually fail to defend against a
challenge so they don't win or lose..."

     "Meaning the two Gear-heads don't go anywhere again," Tarou
yawned. "Fabulous."

     "Right," Daisuke nodded and turned to the disappointed
audience, "Don't go away folks, we'll be right back with our
final match of the evening, the Omega League title defense and

     "It can't be any worse than this match..." Hiroshi whined.


     Tarou sneered as he took up shop outside of the dressing
rooms. If he was going to live up to his part of the bargain he
had to do this. But that didn't mean he couldn't have fun with it
as well. He set up the fake camera and waited. It didn't take
long. His target stepped out of the room, took one look at him
and stopped.

     "Uh..." the frail looking Omega champion coughed, "Hello?"

     "I've come to interview you," Tarou smirked.

     "Uh... but I thought," Shinji waffled.

     "This is a new segment, special commentator interview."
Tarou smirked, "It's... it's..." his smirk faltered as he
realized he didn't have a catchy name to call his interview
segment. "It's Tarou's Interview Segment." Tarou finished lamely.

     "Oh," Shinji nodded, "Okay."

     Tarou almost feel over. He couldn't believe this kid was
that gullible. Check that, he had read the file on this kid, he
was even more gullible. "Well first off," Taoru began, "Why did
you join Ultra?"

     "Uh..." Shinji waffled again, "Because they asked me too?"

     "That isn't a very good reason," Tarou informed him.

     "Well I know," Shinji sighed, "But they need somebody to
help fight the angels..."

     "But there ARE no more angels," Tarou told him, "You've meet
the new management, do you really think that they want to wipe
out humanity?"

     "No..." Shinji waffled yet again, "I guess not."

     "And isn't it true you're only doing more harm here?"


     "Well, you effectively leveled Tokyo-3 in your very first
fight here," Tarou told him coolly. "Don't you feel in the least
bit guilty over that. Especially since you didn't even have to be
in that fight?"

     "I..." Shinji gasped, "I..."

     "If one didn't know better," Tarou sneered, "One would think
you WANTED to fight in the EVA, that you enjoyed it."

     "But I don't!" Shinji pleaded, "I never want to fight..."

     "Then why are you doing it?"


     "Because other people told you too," Tarou snorted, "Get a
backbone kid. Live for yourself for once."

     With that Tarou grabbed his camera and turned and walked
away. Oh that was entirely too much fun.


     "Welcome back folks," Hiroshi welcomed everyone back. "Let's
get this shwo on the road and take you straight to our last match
of the evening!"

     "Quite a match too," Daisuke nodded, "The title rematch
between Shinji in EVA-1 and the self-proclaimed angel of death,

     "Without further ado," Shinji said easily, "We take you
straight to our second sub-dimension of the evening!"


     The forest moon of Endor had seen its share of battles of
cosmic importance. Okay, so it had seen ONE battle of cosmic
importance. But it was a doozy of a battle, really. Now it was to
play host to a battle which on the scale of  importance was
slightly less cosmic and was bound to be seen by less people as
well. Which is really not very inspiring, so I'll shut up about
this now.

     The music began, the orchestral "One Winged Angel" began as
Sephiroth appeared floating above the giant trees. He looked out
over the moon and it's small furry inhabitants. Soon enough all
of it would burn, burn under his mighty hand. For he would become
the new god. Only two more steps stood in his way.

     The other portal opened and disgorged the ferocious
abomination that was the EVA unit 01 to the tunes of "Cruel Angel
Thesis". The huge purple robot stood like a some bizarre parody
of a man as Sephiroth watched it. There was no indication of when
to begin in this fight, so it could start at anytime but
Sephiroth took his time to examine his opponent. He had made sure
to learn from his previous mistake and now he knew nothing on
this miserable planet could stop him from winning.

     "Angel made by the hands of man," Sephiroth told it and
pointed his sword towards his adversary, "I am the dark son, the
leader of the forces of armaggedon. You will not stand before
that." EVA-1 didn't react to the open challenge. Sephiroth
wondered what was running through the child pilots head as he
smiled. He would cast the first die then.

     "Flare," Sephiroth said easily as he unleashed his magic.
The EVA made a token effort to dodge but no one could avoid the
nuclear fire which Sephiroth could call at his very whim. The air
grew red as it began to superheat, focusing like a ripple of
water in reverse the power blasted into the EVA. IT was unharmed,
the occilating AT field which was it's salvation protecting it.
Sephiroth only smiled, he knew how to deal with magical
protection, and all he needed was to have the EVA summon its
protective shell.


     The EVA stopped dead as it's AT field simply collapsed.
Shattered like fragments of glass that blew away on the wind.
Sephiroth raised his sword and the EVA began to back up.

     "Now the fun begins." Sephiroth informed Shinji evenly.

     It didn't last five minutes, the EVA tried to avoid it but
soon it was forced down by the repeated blows of magic that were
Sephiroth's to command. Once he had knocked it to the ground the
One-winger Angel went in and struck the death blow. His sword
sunk into the head of the EVA unit, piercing into the entry plug
and stopping mere inches from its pilots paniced form.

     "Surrender boy," Sephiroth informed him coldly, "It is

     And it was.


     "And we finally have the FIRST title change in Ultra folks!"
Hiroshi exclaimed excitedly into the camera as his co-hosts
chatted between themselves. "Don't forget to tune in next week
where we are SURE to have more excitement for you here on Ultra!"

     "And tune into UltraRage too," Tarou says sardonically,
"Like nice mindless zombies."

     "I wonder what happened to Orochi," Daisuke comments as the
camera pans away. "We didn't hear from him all episode..."

     The hospital smelled of disinfectant and blood. It was a
strange combination that had to be experienced to be truly
understood. The occupant of one of the rooms was very familiar
with the blood part, though the disinfectant he had to admit was
new. He looked over, his glowing eyes piercing his roommate and
underling like arrows. Fortunately that was a metaphor, as her
condition would have not been helped at all by being pierced by

     "What do you hate my child?" Orochi asked her.

     "I [HATE] this food!" Naga the Black Serpent said from her
hospital bed, "I [HATE] being beaten! I [HATE] humiliation! I
[HATE] you Lina Inverse!"

     As Naga continued to rant Orochi pulled a pillow over his
face and said softly, "I [HATE] my life..."



     Shinji sat in his dressing room and was miserable. He'd
gotten plenty of practice over his life so he was very good at
it. In fact, if he had challenged Sephiroth to a contest on being
miserable then he suspected he might have actually stood a chance
in that match. This train of thought reminded him why he was
being miserable, which only made him more miserable.

     It all came down to how pathetic he was. He hadn't just
lost, he had been massacred, he hadn't stood a chance. He had let
everyone down. Everyone that had cheered for him, all his fans
and friends had been let down. Everyone that had worked so hard
to make sure that EVA-1 was ready to fight had also been let
down. All the people at NERV and his fellow pilots. Even his
father had been let down by him, stupid pathetic Shinji.

     It was all because he had been too caught up in being
miserable to fight. That guy in the hall before the fight had hit
a nerve. Shinji really didn't know why he was fighting here. And
so he had been unable to give it his all in the match, and when
Sephiroth had come at him he'd panicked and ran. He truly was
utterly pathetic.

     "I can make you not so pathetic," a voice said and Shinji
looked up. What he saw was a sight he did not expect. A man, with
spiky red hair grinned down at him in a way Shinji could best
describe as frightening.

     "What?" Shinji asked stupidly.

     "You son," the man said, "Need a Backbone." He chuckled in a
way that Shinji did not find pleasant in the least. "And if there
is ONE thing I am good at making people do, it's standing up for

     "Stand up... for myself..." Shinji blinked. That was what
that guy in the hallwya had told him to do as well.

     "Yes," the red haired man cackled this time, "Come with me
son. And I will show you what it's like to live up to your


     "Don't back out now! This is going to be the most
CONTROVERSIAL thing I have ever done!"

     "I... guess..." Shinji waffled.

     "Heh. MY left hand is the hand of annoyance..."


     "C'mon Rei," Asuka said as they turned the corner and came
up to the door that lead into Shinji's room. "Shinji's bound to
be down after losing that fight," she smiled, "And it's up to us
to do something about it."

     "Since when do you," Rei said calmly, "Care about cheering
him up?"

     "Cheer him up?" Asuka said in genuine surprise, "I plan on
rubbing his face in it!"

     "..." Rei failed to comment as Asuka raised her hand to

     Then the door burst open and Shinji was standing there. He
spotted them and did something with his face that Rei had never
seen before. It resembled a smile but didn't seem to be exactly
the same. There was something about him, something was different.
Maybe it was the way his eyes shone in the light, or how he
moved, or the fact that he had grabbed her bent her backward and
planted his lips on her for about five minutes. Rei wasn't sure
how to respond to that so she didn't. It was her default reaction
after all. 

     Then Shinji pulled back and smiled at her. Rei felt strange
and didn't move from the position Shinji had bent her into as she
processed this new sensation. 

     "What the hell do you think you're doing!" Asuka cried as
Shinji began to walk past. He turned and smiled that
not-quite-a-smile again.

     "Hey babe," he patted her on the shoulder, "Don't be
jealous, if you had as hot a bod as Rei I would have done you
first." He winked slowly and walked past her, whistling something
upbeat as he struted down the hall. Asuka was so shocked with
rage that Rei realized the other girl was forgetting to breath.

     Yes there was something different about Shinji today.


     Up in heaven Kaworu looked up from his tasks. His eyes
widened and he stared into space for a long time before saying.

     "Something, has gone horribly wrong."


][ GAMMA MATCH 1: SHINGO defeats SHIN DAN, now 2W/2L
][ New OMEGA MEMBER introduced, Toguro Ani or Yuu Yuu Hakusho
][ OMEGA MATCH 1: WASHU defeats TOGURU ANI, now 1W/1L
][ LAMBDA MATCH 1: Called due to Injury, no stat change
][ OMEGA MATCH 2: SEPHIROTH defeats EVA-1, now 3W/1L

          Next scheduled author : Sean Gaffeny

     Handy dandy translation guide:

     Gadoken Gyaku (Opposite of Self Taught Motion, ie, Blatant
Copy Motion)

     Fumeiryuken (Obscure Dragon Punch)

     Shousan Tsukuruadabito Ken (Possibility of Victory Relying
on a Move Somebody Else Created)

     Editors notes: We apologize for the delay on this part and
hope that you will forgive the extremely poor spelling and
grammar as there is (literally) no chance to edit and of that

     All of the above is Chris McNeil's ideas and concepts and a
lot of his dialogue and text but I (Aaron Peori) had to pad out
and complete a lot of this stuff to his specifications.

     Thanks to Dan Mastriani, Stefan Gagne and the creators of
all the series mentioned above must be made here, so we'll make
them. We would especially like to thank Twoflower (Gagne) for his
patience and forgiveness. ^^;;;

     As I said earlier, we apologize for the lackluster spelling
and grammar and formating of this chapter.

[2f's Editor's Note : Epsilon and Blade did a commendably
hazardous job getting this puppy to market, despite illness and
delays. I've gone through and formatted it up nice in return. ^_^
I'll see you guys next chapter when Gaffney and I tag team!]

All content unless stated otherwise is ©2021 Chris McNeil. He can be contacted here. The banner picture is courtesy of Jason Heavensrun. You can find more of his stuff at Checkmate Studios.