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Sailor Ranko: The Harder They Fall: Chapter 4, The French Connection.
by
Rebecca Ann Heineman

Ranma 1/2 and the characters therein are the property of Rumiko Takahashi. Based on "Sailor Ranko" by Duncan Zillman and "Twice in a Millennium" by Kevin D. Hammel.

I don't own these characters. Please don't sue me, kill me or make me tell you my life story. It will bore you to death



Philippe Roache loved his country. There was no doubt in his mind that France was the best place to live in the world. The sights, the sounds and aroma of a fresh croissant and French roast coffee in the morning were all reminders of what he fought to preserve.

Mr. Roache was an agent for French Intelligence. He had a black mustache, a receding hairline and a permanent 5 o'clock shadow. He walked with an air of his military training and was a man that could give James Bond a run for his money. He had an intense loyalty to the country of his birth. He was the man they called when things went wrong.

He was called into French Intelligence headquarters in Paris from his current field assignment. He knew this had to be bad news. He was on a deep undercover mission looking into weapons shipments around North Africa and was close to breaking the case. Pulling him out at this time risked the entire operation and months of work would be wasted.

He was escorted to the main conference room and came face to face with the director and several top ranking officials. Philippe was seriously worried. The last time the director got personally involved led to an operation that almost cost the French Government dearly.

Everyone sat down around the table. The director pointed to Jean Marc of special projects who presented the evidence. Jean Marc started his speech complete with images on a projection monitor. "Supplies of fish products in the South China Sea had been depleted in the past few months." He changed to an image of a sonar map. "We've had strange sonar contacts from our submarine detection buoys in the same area." He pointed to a spot on a map of the ocean. "Recently, we've gotten news of a recent report that a Japanese oil tanker spotted a large shadow in the water."

Philippe sank in his chair. One of the babies had survived. "I take it we've confirmed that it is Godzilla?"

Jean Marc pressed a button on his computer. A video clip was shown on the screen. It showed the aftermath of the destruction of a village in Okinawa. The camera panned to the distinctive footprint. It was smaller than the creature that attacked New York City but it still was massive. "This footage was taken yesterday."

Philippe sat up and held his hands together on the table. "Well gentlemen, we have only two options available to us." He took a dramatic pause. "We kill it. Or someone else kills it."

The director wanted to hear any options. "Do you have a plan?"

Philippe was not a man who didn't have a plan. "I'll need a long range high speed boat, six of your top commandos with a full compliment of heavy munitions and..." Philippe didn't like the option. There was no other choice. "Three warheads from an M4A or M4B."

The director stood up. He was shocked at the mere suggestion of deploying a nuclear device. "You can't be serious? Nuclear detonations were what created that damn thing in the first place."

Philippe gave a small laugh. "The last creature was sixty five meters tall and took two American air strikes before it went down. It's not like this one is going to go back to the ocean if I said please."

The director saw no other real option that could be explained away. They could say it was an accidental detonation. "What else do you need?"

"The warheads need to be modified to become depth charges." Philippe fidgeted. "I'll also need Nick on this."

The director was not happy. He didn't want anyone more involved. The risk to the French Government was already too great. "You're talking about Nick Tatopoulos aren't you? We can't involve him. He's an American."

"Yes he's an American, but he knows the creature's life cycle. He was the only person who accurately predicted what the last creature was going to do. We need that knowledge if we even want to hope to succeed."

The director turned to another gentleman at the table. "How soon can we get the boat and weapons?"

Major Girard, the DGSE's chief armorer, pondered the question. He kept track of all the neat spy gadgets that the French possessed. "We have a boat in Vietnam that fits the bill. The warheads will take a few days. I can have some ten-kiloton devices pulled from the stockpile. We'll work around the clock to convert them to depth charges. We'll deliver them as soon as they are ready." He turned to Philippe. "What depth will you need to detonate at?"

"Assume a maximum of one kilometer deep. I'll confer with Nick if we have other needs." Philippe got up. "I need all the information we have collected so far on CD. I can leave immediately."

The director tilted his head toward Jean Marc. Jean pulled out a CD from his briefcase and tossed it to Philippe. The director smiled. "I knew I could count on you."

"When I get back, I expect a long paid vacation in the French Alps." He put on his sunglasses and left to take a French Air Force jet to Okinawa. He had to get in contact with Nick and put him on a flight to Okinawa as well.


========================================


It was a fine morning at the Tendo residence. The birds were singing, the sky was clear and the outer wall was shattered. "Nihao!" Shampoo hopped off her bike and walked through the rubble to the back door of the house.

Kasumi was cooking some eggs making an American style omelet with shrimp. "Hello Shampoo. It's been a while since you paid us a visit."

Shampoo was about to smash a wall with her bonbori to enter the house. She stopped and slid open the back door instead. "Hello big sister Kasumi." She made a deep bow in respect of her sister-in-law. "Where is Ranma?"

"Ranma doesn't live here anymore."

"Shampoo know. Where Ranma live now?" Shampoo awaited an answer. She stood smiling with her purple hair reflecting the morning sun giving her a beautiful glow.

"Shampoo, I don't know where they live exactly, somewhere in the Juuban area I think."

"Kasumi bad liar. You know where Airen live." She gave a stern look at Kasumi and held out her bonbori. "Please tell Shampoo." Shampoo softened her stance and put her bonbori down. She had momentarily forgotten that Kasumi could not and would not fight her. Weapons were not needed in any way with the eldest Tendo sister.

"I'll tell you." Both girls turned to Nabiki who was standing by the stairs. "For fifty thousand yen."

"You tell me for free mercenary girl." Shampoo knew that Nabiki was a different matter, she responded to violent threats. Shampoo held out her bonbori preparing for a strike.

Nabiki shrugged. She was immune to Shampoo's threats. "Then I guess you aren't going to find out."

Shampoo was frustrated. She knew Nabiki would have to be beaten senseless before she talked and Ranma would be furious if she laid a finger on Akane's sisters. She turned to Kasumi and begged. "Please tell where Airen lives."

Kasumi flipped her omelet over. "Shampoo, you are just going to grab Ranma again. He wants some privacy for a bit."

"Shampoo follow Ranma to Juuban High School. Shampoo follow Ranma home. Ranma vanish. Ranma good at hiding." She was dejected. "Ranma make good Amazon husband." She focused her attention to Nabiki and spoke in terms the middle sister understood. "Twenty thousand yen."

Nabiki smiled since Shampoo was listening to reason. "For you. Ok." Nabiki produced a piece of paper. Shampoo dropped her bonbori and clapped her hands with glee. "Oh thank you sister!"

Kasumi jumped and snatched the paper from Nabiki's hands. She threw it on the stove and set the map on fire. "How DARE you Nabiki!"

"AIYA!" Shampoo jumped over to Kasumi and moved her aside and turned off the stove. "No no no!" She blew on the paper to put out the fire. The paper disintegrated. She ignored Kasumi and ran back to Nabiki. "You have another yes?"

Nabiki pulled out another one. "Of course."

Shampoo grabbed it. She ran out of the house holding her prize up high. "Airen!"

Nabiki yelled at Shampoo as she ran away. "I expect my money by tonight!"

"I send Mousse!" She leapt on her bike and disappeared out of the hole in the back wall.

Kasumi stood in the kitchen dumbfounded. "Why in the world did you do that for?"

Nabiki produced her sunglasses and glanced at her sister before putting them on. "Simple big sis, if she left here without the address. She would stalk Ranma for the next few days until she tracked him down to his apartment. Akane and Ranma would be hounded for days or weeks until she finds them. Now they get to deal with the problem quickly and I get twenty thousand yen." Her logic was impeccable. "Both of us win. Now, do you want to call Akane or shall I? We need to tell her that Shampoo will be showing up."

Nabiki's logic was impeccable. She would have made an excellent Vulcan. Kasumi sighed. "Nabiki, you scare me sometimes."

Nabiki put on her sunglasses and smirked. "Gotta make a living. Anyways, I'll be late coming home tonight so I'll be missing dinner."

Kasumi went back to cooking the omelet. She turned the stove back on. "Where are you going tonight?"

The mercenary collected her school things and her bento. "I've got to go to Juuban."

Kasumi froze. "Are you visiting Akane?"

"No, I've got some people I need to talk to. Kuno wants to know about the Senshi."

Kasumi turned off the stove and held her sisters shoulders. "Don't get involved with the Senshi!"

Nabiki made a smug look and slung her book bag over her shoulder. She knew Kasumi had the information she desired. "Well then sis. Tell me what you know about Sailor Sun and Io."

Kasumi shivered. Did Nabiki know?

Nabiki saw Kasumi's face go flush. "You know don't you. Spill it."

Kasumi released Nabiki. "N-N-No."

"Tell me!"

"I can't."

"What's Ranma's involvement with the Senshi? Is he helping them?"

Kasumi's mind spun. Nabiki didn't know but she was on the right track. "Nabiki, please drop this. I'm begging you. It's not worth it!"

"What in the world is going on here? Oh no! You can't mean..." Nabiki dropped her book bag and put her hand on her face. "It can't be!"

Kasumi wanted to weep. She wanted to figure out how to throw Nabiki off the scent. She couldn't allow Nabiki to figure out about whom Sailor Sun and Io really were.

Nabiki started to giggle. She broke out into full-scale laughter. She bent over and was having difficulty breathing from her amusement. "Oh that's rich! Ok, which one is it?"

Kasumi closed her eyes. She went rigid.

Nabiki lifted her head from her bent over position to look at Kasumi. "Which Senshi is after Ranma?"

Kasumi popped open her eye. "Whatever do you mean?"

"Which Senshi is Ranma engaged to? Is it Sailor Moon or is it Sailor Venus?" She laughed again. "I know! It's Sailor Sun! Yeah that would really make Kuno freak out."

Kasumi giggled. "Yeah, that's it."

"How did that happen? Did he beat up one in combat and there is some wacky Senshi law that says they're married."

Kasumi relaxed. She put the omelet on a plate. "I don't know how it happened." She handed the plate to Nabiki. "Here's your breakfast."

Nabiki took the plate and went to the dining room.

Kasumi spoke again. "Please Nabiki, don't pursue the Senshi anymore. Ranma's got enough problems."

"Ok sis." She burst out laughing. "How does Ranma get himself into these messes."

Kasumi thought the answer. She kept the answer to herself. "It was his birthright."


========================================


Nick Tatopoulos, also known as the 'Worm Guy', was lecturing at Columbia University about the life cycle of the creature known as Godzilla. He was a scientist who looked much younger than he really was. His childlike face made his peers not take him seriously. He had light skin from lack of sunlight and short black hair worn in the fashion of a typical geek. He was the textbook definition of a nerd.

Nick stood before a large crowd and spoke about his adventures with Godzilla. He was showing photos of the damage to New York City and wheeled out a complete baby Godzilla skeleton to show the size of the creature when it was an infant.

He concluded the lecture with the obligatory footage of the creature's death. He had a small autograph signing session and retreated to his tiny office. He had been working with the University since the attack collecting samples and documenting everything he could about the creature. On his desk sat a single giant tooth extracted from the mother after it was killed on the Brooklyn Bridge. It straddled the desk and resembled an elephant's tusk.

He saw he had a telephone message. It was from an old friend. He dialed the phone number written on the scrap of paper. "I was afraid you were going to call me someday."

Philippe Roache spoke only one word. "Dragonfly."

Nick knew the code. "When did the policy expire?"

"Two weeks ago."

Nick closed his eyes and felt overwhelming gloom. He had a duty to perform. "I'll be at the airport. Where is it?"

"You're going to Okinawa." Philippe gave him the terminal number at JFK airport. He needed to be packed and ready in three hours. A French operative would be waiting with his pass to get past security.

Nick hung up the phone. He stared at the tooth on his desk. "Shit."


========================================


Ukyou was practicing with a newly purchased katana against Konatsu. She had gone out and purchased a complete set of used ninja weapons and a new ninja outfit for Konatsu. Ukyou had gotten tired of him having to stop sparring sessions to repair his low quality weapons. She didn't like the sword that a Kunoichi used and instead she chose a katana as her alternate weapon of choice to add to her combat spatula. Konatsu was all too happy to train with Ukyou in the arts of the ninja. Ukyou took her training seriously and learned the ninja techniques very quickly. She mastered deflecting throwing stars after only a few days and one more day was needed to train her on how to avoid them without using her spatula as a shield.

Konatsu's skill was increasing as well. He mastered avoiding and parrying Ukyou's spatula blows and their sword fights were fast and furious.

They concluded their sparring match and Ukyou got ready for school. She bid Konatsu farewell and ran off.

Konatsu practiced in the backyard for another half hour before his friend showed up. "Hello Konatsu." Came a familiar voice.

Konatsu held his pose with his koshigatana. "Hello Sasuke. You're in the second trash can and have been there for five minutes."

Sasuke popped out of the trashcan. "You're getting better. But I've been here for seven minutes."

Konatsu nodded. "The wind rustled differently then. It was you?"

"Yes my friend."

"I will be more diligent. My turn." Konatsu slid into the shadows. Sasuke stood in the alley and practiced a kata with his bokken. He waited for Konatsu to spy on him.

Sasuke practiced for ten minutes and stuck a wooden crate. "Gotcha!"

The crate next to it popped open. "You're slipping Sasuke."

"You've improved a great deal."

"I've been practicing with Ukyou. She is very perceptive. She challenges my skills."

Sasuke sat down on a crate. "I wish my master had the power of perception."

Konatsu sat down next to Sasuke. "I know what you mean. My mistress can be so single minded sometimes."

"I think my master is more single minded."

"No, my mistress is more single minded. She is obsessed with improving her martial arts skills." He gave a girlish giggle. "I must say she is making great improvements."

"At least your mistress is doing something constructive. My master wants to date Sailor Scouts now."

Konatsu put his head down and buried his face in his hands. "Let me guess. Sailor Sun or Io."

Sasuke was amazed that Konatsu guessed correctly about Kuno's newest obsession. "How did you know? He wishes to date both of them."

Konatsu laughed. "Figures."

"What do you mean?"

"Those two Senshi are already a couple."

Sasuke was very curious in how Konatsu had forbidden information on the Senshi. "How did you know those two Senshi are a couple?"

"Don't ask. Just trust me that those two would have nothing to do with Tatewaki and leave it at that."

Sasuke sighed at the hopelessness of his master's situation. "Oh, you mean like the master's previous loves, Akane and the pig tailed girl? Or shall I say Ranma?"

Konatsu burst out a laugh. "Yeah. I'd say it's like that."

Sasuke groaned. "My poor master. He has such bad luck with women. I hope his plan doesn't backfire."

Konatsu spun to face Sasuke. "What plan?"


========================================


The phone rang in Ranma's classroom. The teacher answered it. "Ranma, you're needed at the principal's office." He handed him a hall pass.

Ranma took the pass and started walking toward the stairs to the lower floor where the principal was. He turned a corner and a bomb exploded releasing a cloud of noxious gas. Ranma fell over sound asleep.

Kodachi emerged from the top of the stairs. She was wearing her high school uniform and a purple bow in her hair. "Oh Ranma darling. It's so nice of you to drop in on me like this!" She waited for the cloud to disperse and she picked up Ranma and ran off leaving a trail of rose petals. "Ha ha ha!"

Akane heard the laughter. She ran to the window and saw Kodachi running with Ranma over her shoulder in a fireman's carry. "Why that crazed woman!"

The teacher slammed a ruler on the desk. "Mrs. Saotome, please get back to your desk."

"Sorry, I've got to rescue my husband." She opened the window.

"What are you doing? This is the third floor."

Akane turned to the teacher. "Yeah so? I'm from Nerima." She jumped. She bolted down the walkway to the front gate.

The teacher opened the drawer and pulled out a flask and took a swig. He thought, "School only has six weeks left. Only six weeks to go."

Usa and Usagi gave worried looks at each other. They knew they were going to hear about this at lunch.


========================================


Akane stood out the front gate of the school. It wasn't hard to follow Kodachi. The trail of rose petals was a dead giveaway. She followed the trail right into the waiting arms of Tatewaki Kuno. "Ah my love! I've finally freed you from Ranma's horrible grasp."

Akane broke free and stood back. "What are you talking about?"

"Why my sister has dealt with Saotome. He is no longer in control of your feelings." Tatewaki made a valiant pose. "I am here for you to finally express your deepest emotions of love."

KICK! Kuno went flying.

"Honestly!" Akane started to follow the trail but saw that it ended where she was standing. It was a trap for her. She fumed. She relaxed and let her Senshi senses kick in. She felt Ranma's presence off to the right. She ran to the rooftops and followed her heart.

Kodachi was running at top speed with her prize. She jumped off of a rooftop into a business office. The secretary was surprised that someone entered through the window instead of the door. Kodachi put down a piece of paper on the desk. "I'm here to get my darling's marriage annulled and for us to be wed."

The secretary nodded, "You're Kodachi right?"

"That's correct."

The secretary punched the intercom. "Miss Kuno is here to see you." She spoke to Kodachi. "He'll be right out."

Kodachi waited expectantly. The judge was well connected. He could easily prepare the paperwork to erase Akane from the picture and have her and Ranma be husband and wife in the legal sense of the word.

The judge came out. He was not happy to be participating in this miscarriage of justice. "You have the paperwork ready?"

Kodachi pulled some sheets of paper from her blouse. "Here you go!"

The judge took the papers. He examined the marriage form. He pointed to the bottom of one of the entries. "Is this Ranma's signature?" He knew Kodachi would lie.

"Of course your honor." She sat upright and beamed in delight.

The judge sighed as he saw that Ranma was asleep. He had to go through the motions. "Mr. Saotome, do you wish for your previous marriage to be annulled?"

Kodachi grabbed Ranma's head and nodded it for him. "He says yes."

The judge shook his head in disgust. He was only doing this because Kodachi was able to obtain pictures of him with a prostitute and threatened to publish the photos if he didn't go through with this. "Very well." He reached into his briefcase and pulled out the blank annulment decree. He started to fill it out.

Kodachi got worried. She felt that Akane was coming. "Could you please hurry it up?"

The judge shot a glance of disdain at Kodachi. He continued to fill out the decree.

Akane jumped into the window. She saw Kodachi sitting on a chair and Ranma fell over to put his face on her lap. "Kodachi! What are you doing with my husband?"

Kodachi got up and dropped Ranma onto the floor. She jumped in-between the judge and Akane. She told the judge, "Finish it!" She focused on Akane. "Ranma Darling is mine! You can't have him!"

"Like hell he's yours!" She shot a punch at Kodachi. She blocked it with a gymnastic pin that appeared in her hand.

The judge didn't want his office destroyed. "Hey you two! Take it outside!"

Kodachi smiled. "Gladly." She grabbed Ranma and jumped out the window. Akane followed.

The judge completed the paperwork and left it on the table. "That dirty witch." He went into his office and slammed the door.

Kodachi was beside herself with glee. In moments Ranma would be free from Akane and Kodachi was just a simple document away from marital bliss. Kodachi didn't bother to fight Akane. She simply needed to buy time. Ranma started to wake up. The breeze from the roof hopping cleared all the sleeping gas from his system. "Where am I?"

Kodachi started to panic. "I'm taking you back to school." She changed direction to Juuban High.

Ranma started to struggle. "Hey! Put me down!"

Kodachi stopped roof hopping. "As you wish my darling husband! Ha ha ha!" She ran off trailing rose petals.

Ranma sat up. "What was that all about?"

Akane jumped next to Ranma. "Are you ok?"

"I think so. Why was Kodachi carrying me?"

"I don't know. It's not like her to leave you like this."

Ranma remembered something. "What did she mean by 'my darling husband'?"

Akane bugged her eyes out. "What was she doing in that office? C'mon we've got to go back!" Akane pointed back to where they came from.

Ranma took a minute to shake off the effects of the paralysis gas. The two roof hopped back to the office and jumped in. Tatewaki and Kodachi were standing there. Kodachi wore a wedding veil on her head. "Oh my husband has come for his bride."

Ranma was totally confused. "What's with you? I'm married to Akane."

Tatewaki approached Akane and took her hand. Kodachi took Ranma's hand. Kodachi happily cried, "I've had your marriage annulled my love! You're free to marry me, oh my darling!"

Both Ranma and Akane pulled their hands away from the Kuno's. "You can't annul our marriage."

Kodachi had a look of victory. She was finally going to win. "Yes I can. Ranma gave his consent."

"I did not!"

"You were before a judge and you nodded yes. That is consent!" She produced a copy of a decree. "Here is your annulment order."

Akane grabbed the paper and read it. "Wait, you can't just annul a marriage. We'd have to divorce!"

"Oh but you can annul. After all, you've never slept together. I know the two of you can't stand each other."

Ranma and Akane smiled. They both gave grins that a Cheshire cat would be envious of. "Oh yeah?"

Ranma grabbed Akane and bent her backwards and gave her a passionate kiss. Tatewaki and Kodachi reeled in shock. Tatewaki raised his bokken. "How dare you do that to the fair Akane Tendo!"

Akane purred. "Oh Ranma, that was just as good as last night."

Kodachi screamed out, "You didn't actually SLEEP WITH HER DID YOU?" She fainted.

The judge heard that and came out of his chambers. He saw Ranma kissing Akane and tapped him on the shoulder. Ranma lifted Akane into an upright position. The judge whispered a question into Ranma's ear. Ranma whispered an answer. The judge smiled and looked at Tatewaki. "Sorry, the decree is invalid. They have consummated their marriage. They need to file a proper divorce." He gestured for the four to leave. "Have a nice day."

Tatewaki was shaking in total anger and fury. He waved his bokken at Ranma. "This is still not over Saotome! I will break your spell!"

"Get lost Kuno." Ranma turned to Akane and faced the window. "Shall we?"

Akane growled. "Let's go darling." They kissed each other and jumped out the window and ran back to school.

Tatewaki snapped his bokken in half. His sister's plan was so close to succeeding. He picked up his sister and left out the office door.

The Saotomes hopped over several buildings until curiosity got the better of Akane. She landed in front of Ranma stopping him. "What did the judge ask you?"

Ranma blushed. "You really want to know?"

Akane looked into her husband's eyes. "Yes."

"He asked. Was it good?"

Akane gave a look that Ranma's life was in jeopardy if he gave the wrong response. "Your answer?"

Ranma held her close. "You'd better believe it."

Akane turned a shade of red that rivaled Ranko's hair.



Author's Notes: Please review my story. It makes me feel oh so happy and prevents me sending 10,000 invitations to everyone in your neighborhood for the grand party you are hosting at your expense.

Last edited on January 25th, 2007



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