[FFML] [Fanfic][Tenchi]Sketches of Tenchi 14: Secret of the Forbidden Planet!

Bert Miller hkmiller at theeddy.com
Wed Dec 10 08:37:18 PST 2008


Sketches of Tenchi 14:  Secret of the Forbidden Planet!
    A Tenchi Muyo! OAV/MnE fanfic
        by HKMiller
            10 December 2008

Featuring characters created by Hiroki Hayashi and Masaki
Kajishima, also copyright AiC and Pioneer; minor characters
are from other sources.

I would be shocked, SHOCKED!, to learn that the following
sketch contains any political satire whatsoever.
But no lime warning on this one.

Guest characters from:  Aria the Animation, Daphne in the
Brilliant Blue, and The Melancholy of Haruri Suzumiya.
Ideas lifted from Shingu: Secret of the Stellar Wars (so
beware of major spoilers for that series).

- - - - - - - - - -
At an undisclosed location, a shadowy, rotund figure twirled its
moustache.  "Nyah-hah-hah!  Only a few steps left.  Then I'll have
a fait accompli.  A casus belli.  Invasion will be inevitable.
And all those untapped deposits of pure dilithium crystals will be
mine!"

"Sir..." Another shadowy figure hesitantly spoke up.

"What is it, Addbi?"

"Legally, those deposits will belong to the new government.  We'll
have unlimited extraction rights, of course, for which we'll pay
the government a nominal fee."

"Don't bother me with such trivial distinctions!"

"Sorry, sir."

- - - - - - - - - -
"Excuse me, but aren't you the famous singing gondolier, Athena
Glory, one of the 'Three Great Water Fairies'?"

Athena blinked, thought a moment, then slowly nodded agreement.
"And you are?"

"Oh, I'm sorry, I'm nobody, my name is Maia Mizuki, I work for
a temporary help agency, but I'm on vacation right now."  Maia
shook her head abruptly.  "But, could I get your autograph?  I
guess you're going to the festival too?  Are you going to be
performing?"

Athena nodded slowly as she carefully wrote her name.  "They want
me to sing."

"Wonderful!  I can't wait to hear you!  What a coincidence that
we're both going to the same festival!"

Athena pointedly looked around at the hundreds of passengers
crowding this one lounge.

Maia flushed.  "Oh, right.  All the passengers are going to the
festival.  I knew that!"

The first officer chose that moment to make an announcement over
the public address system.  "All passengers are invited to watch
our ship leave orbit around colony planet 0247, 'Acqua', on your
viewscreen's channel 49.  This ship, the first Atlas-class
interstellar passenger liner, Halbi Starlines Ship 'Deucalion',
will be making three more stops before we arrive at Forbidden
Planet 0315, 'Earth', where the 'Primitive Music on the Forbidden
Planet' festival will be held.  Are you all looking forward to
it?"

Throughout the ship, a few tens of thousands of throats yelled
"Yes!".

- - - - - - - - - -
"Great news!"  The door burst open as brigade leader Haruhi
Suzumiya marched in triumphantly.

I looked up from my game with Koizumi and grimaced involuntarily.
"What is it this time?"

"We're going to a music festival down in the Okayama area this
weekend!  And we're not just attending; we're going to perform!"

"But only you and Nagato play any instruments," I protested.

"Kyon!  I told you that the Brigade will be a rock band by the
next school cultural festival OR ELSE!  Do you mean you haven't
been practicing the drums?!"

I gaped.  Drums?  What was this about drums?  Practice?  I thought
Haruhi would have completely forgotten about that incident by now.

"I have it all figured out.  You're on drums, Koizumi on bass
guitar.  Mikuru will hold a tympani and dance.  We just need to
pick out her outfit."

Haruhi grabbed Asahina and dragged her over to the costume rack,
humming studiously.  Koizumi and I examined the papers Haruhi
had dropped on the table.  Except it wasn't paper, it was some
thin plastic-like material, semi-transparent in places.  With a
start I realized that Nagato had put her book down and was
silently examining the documents with us.  I didn't recognize the
language the documents were written in.  Nagato touched a spot
on the first sheet and all the words abruptly changed into
Japanese.

"'Primitive Music on the Forbidden Planet?'  What is this?"

"It's at a shrine in the mountains above Okayama, apparently,
just as Haruhi said," Koizumi noted.  "And we are listed in the
program, for a half-hour slot.  Five days from now.  We follow
something called the 'Zylcanian Rainfall Orchestra' and a singer
named Athena Glory follows us."

"Nagato?  What do you think?" I asked.

"I do not understand how this has happened.  Suzumiya should not
have been able to learn of this music festival, and should not
have been able to enter us in the program even had she learned.
However, she will probably not be bored."

"What's so special about this festival, other than whatever this
material is they're using instead of paper?"

Nagato rapidly scanned the program and Haruhi's copy of our entry
form.  "Almost all other performers are alien to this world.  All
other attendees are from off-world except a few local residents of
partly alien descent."

"..partly alien descent?" I mouthed to myself.

"The festival will be cloaked from observation by Earth
technology.  Nevertheless, the festival is illegal according to
galactic law and treaty.  Should an attempt be made to enforce
this prohibition while we are there, we may experience
difficulties."

I boggled.

Koizumi frowned and asked, "Then how did Suzumiya manage to enroll
us to perform?  How did she even learn of this festival?  Or did
she create it in the first place?"

None of us had any answers.

- - - - - - - - - -
Sitting cross-legged on the veranda of one of the outbuildings of
the Masaki Shrine, Menori Haafusaaku experimented with a samisen,
switching between traditional Japanese music, Juraian pop
melodies, and other types of music as inspiration struck.  Just
now she was trying to produce a gentle Xylcanian rainfall; the
results left her unimpressed.

"Another four cloaked tents just beamed down on the northern
hillside, facing the lake," Pikko noted.  "Eight more lifeforms."

"That makes almost six hundred cloaked offworlders already.  And
I make it about four hundred aliens who don't need the cloaks:
Ents, cloudforms, and the like," Shiria added with a frown, arms
crossed.

"You're worried that all of this is technically illegal," Teruzi
commented.  "True, but not for us.  And it's not our
responsibility to enforce the Prime Directive, unless specifically
instructed."

"Hikaru, Fuu, and Umi might act, if they were here, instead of
off on patrol," Pikko pointed out.  "Licensed Soldiers can act as
they please to enforce the law."

"We do bear some responsibility," Shiria pointed out.  "It was
Menori's presence here that gave the promoters, Halbi Music,
the idea in the first place.  'One of Jurai's brightest musical
stars, living on and drawing inspiration from a primitive,
restricted planet.'"

"It's the lure of the forbidden," Teruzi pointed out.  "The Prime
Directive is so seldom enforced, it's practically a joke.  So
music fans get to enjoy the frisson of breaking the law with
little fear of punishment."

"Check the histories," Shiria replied.  "Enforcement of the Prime
Directive on THIS planet is NOT a joke, for some reason.  During
much of Kagato's rampage, Jurai interdicted this system with
second-generation treeships whenever he was in this arm of the
galaxy."

"You're kidding," Pikko blinked.  "They wasted treeships on a
duty like that?  Why?"

"That's what I'd like to know.  There's some secret about this
planet that's still hidden."

"ANOTHER secret?  On top of exactly who lives in the house by the
lake?  And how much power they command?" Teruzi asked.

"There are tiers upon tiers of secrets here," Shiria rejoined.
"Some know the names and positions of the royals down below.
Fewer know that Ryouko and Ryou-oh-ki, who fought evenly with
third-generation treeships seven hundred years ago, also live here.
Fewer still know the power and rank of Sasami's and Noike's
treeships.  And very few indeed know the full extent of Washuu's
or Tenchi's powers."

"What, you think we do?" Pikko snorted.  "I don't."

"We know more than almost anyone in the galaxy, but we don't know
everything," Shiria replied.  "Tenchi supposedly has not bonded a
tree, and nobody adds the 'Jurai' honorific to his name, but we
watched him use the Wings of the Light Hawk to stop the accidental
firing of the Kuramitsu ship Chobimaru at the Earth."

"True, not to mention his apparent teleport to deep space without
a pressure suit, the lack of which didn't bother him." Pikko
nodded thoughtfully.  "That teleport didn't use any of the
standard technologies, either."

"The Prime Directive has been vigorously enforced for this world,
and only a very few others, as far back as we have records.  It
can't be because of Tenchi; he isn't old enough.  There's
something else about this planet which someone is concerned
about."

"The people who would know are right down the hill," Menori
commented with a giggle.

"Teruzi, I know you can't read Washuu, Sasami, or Alielle.  Have
you tried the newcomers?  Eclair or Lumiere?  We know they predate
our oldest historical records, and they seem close to Sasami.
They may know."

Teruzi nodded.  "I can get in, although I think Lumiere noticed
me.  Eclair didn't.  But they both have an awful lot of memories,
too many to search."

"Can you just eavesdrop on Eclair?  Even their reaction to this
music festival might tell us something."

"You could always just ask," Menori added with a hint of reproach.

Pikko smiled back at her.  "Where's the fun in that?"

- - - - - - - - - -
Kei and Yuri were lounging in the floating bath, chugging beer and
complaining about their lives, when a yellow meter-wide sphere,
complete with a black silk top-hat, a handlebar moustache, tiny
feet, and pipe-cleaner arms, suddenly appeared into mid-air
directly above them and promptly fell into the water with a splash.

The two ladies were still coughing up the water they'd
involuntarily inhaled when the sphere paddled its way to the edge
of the pool and climbed out.  Facing the girls, it cheerfully
requested, "Take me to your leader!"

"What leader?"  Kei managed to spit out enough water to ask.

"Prince Tenchi, of course.  The most honorable, brave, courageous,
intelligent, and virtuous leader of the most powerful nation in
the galaxy!"

"Uhh, right.  Sure, we'll take you to him," Kei replied.

"Kei," Yuri hissed in a whisper, "don't you recognize him?
He's that exiled blorble troublemaker!"

"Of course I recognize him," Kei shot back.  "But if he's set his
hopes on Tenchi now, he's going to see Tenchi sooner or later.
And if Tenchi has to get used to him, he might as well start now
as later, right?"

Yuri grumbled.  "We _could_ brief Tenchi first, you know..."

Kei waved a hand airily.  "More amusing this way."

- - - - - - - - - -
Out in the carrot fields, Tenchi leaned on the handle of his hoe
and wiped the sweat from his brow, wearily contemplating today's
interruption.

"Tenchi, this is Chalbi.  Chalbi, Prince Tenchi," Kei waved
introductions off-handedly.  "Chalbi's a blorble."

"Blorbles live spinward about one third of the way around the
galaxy, and slightly farther out," Yuri added.

"Most noble and puissant Prince of the Jurai," enunciated Chalbi,
spreading his arms and managing to bend his three knees slightly,
dipping his body, "I come to seek your protection.  I am but a
poor, homeless exile, but Sadbi, the ruthless dictator who rules
my race's homeworld, constantly sends agents to assassinate me."

Tenchi blinked.  "I was just about to break for lunch.  Would
you care to join us?  And maybe explain a bit more?"

Chalbi smiled.  "I would be HAPPY to explain to you just how EVIL
this Sadbi is!"

- - - - - - - - - -
"It's his secret weapons programs," Chalbi proclaimed knowingly,
pausing to shovel some of Sasami's excellent lunch into his mouth.
"Great, HIDEOUS weapons!  Sadbi is very, very evil, you know!  He
is plotting to take over the entire galaxy!  TERRIBLE plots!"

"He's not very good at it, though," Washuu commented sotto voce,
helping herself to a bit of salad.

"He's building a HIDEOUS device!  A big black cloud which can
destroy whole planets!"

"Indeed.  Isn't he supposed to be very uneducated?" asked Noike,
chopsticks poised over her rice.

"And more!  He has a hidden program, VERY secret, to build a
bigger pink cloud to devour whole suns!"

"True," Yuri nodded, "and they say he's never even left his home
system.  He's shockingly naive about galactic civilization."

"And he has another hidden program, even more secret, to build
a lethal flower!  A death flower!  Dropping just one seed on a
planet could kill the entire population!"

"Well, those sound bad," Tenchi conceded.

Washuu, Sasami, and chibi-Tokimi (who was hovering over the
table, but not eating) guffawed.  "Actually, Tenchi, none of
those even begin to match the damage you did to the galaxy when
you manifested your full powers."

"Oh, right," Tenchi muttered sheepishly, scratching the back of
his head.  "But you guys fixed that, rolled back the entire
timeline."

- - - - - - - - - -
Up the hill, Teruzi's eyes widened.  She rapidly repeated what
she'd just heard to her friends.

- - - - - - - - - -
"Witnesses?  Certainly I have witnesses!" Chalbi insisted.  "I can
produce many exiled blorbles who have seen these weapons with
their own eyes!"

A column of blue light appeared right next to the group.  When it
faded, a younger blorble stood in its place, also wearing a black
top hat, but with only the beginnings of a moustache.

"This is my neph-; I mean, this is a blorble totally unrelated to
me, named Mehbi.  Give Prince Tenchi a proper greeting, Mehbi."

"Certainly, Uncle Chalbi.  I greet you, Prince Tenchi."  Mehmi
spread his arms and gave as deep as bow as an organism without a
neck could manage.

"Mehbi is using 'Uncle' as a term of respect for a blorble of my
age and prominence," Chalbi confided to Tenchi.  "It is purely a
remarkable coincidence that Mehbi and I look so much alike!"

Turning to Mehbi, Chalbi continued, "Now tell Prince Tenchi all
about how you saw the horrible weapons with your own eyes!"

"Oh, this ought to be good," Washuu murmured.

Mehbi wet his lips and began hesitantly, darting frequent glances
at Chalbi's face.

"Before I escaped our home planet, I was working on Sadbi's
secret programs!  I saw them with my own eyes!  He is very far
along with these programs, and he will use these weapons the
moment he has them working!  Which could be any day now!"

"Let me make sure I have this straight," Tenchi said slowly.
"Which program were you working on?"

"The Death Flower program."

"And is that the only program you have first-hand knowledge of?"

"I heard many, many times about the details of all of Sadbi's
programs!"

Tenchi wrinkled his brow.  "Doesn't Sadbi have security in his
secret programs?  He lets all the researchers talk to each other?"

- - - - - - - - - -
"So most of this conversation is just Chalbi's standard rap, the
same one he gives to everybody of importance he can finagle a
meeting with?" Shiria asked Teruzi.

"Except for that one comment, yes."

- - - - - - - - - -
"Sir!  Sir, are you all right?"  The stewardess responsible for
the Deucalion's bridge crew's needs shook the captain gently.

The communications officer, over by the pilot, shook her head.
"The pilot's out too, and I can't rouse him."

"Same with the navigator," added the purser.  "What happened?"

"It must have been something in the tea," pointed the stewardess.
"I didn't prepare this, and it smells funny to me."

"Regulations require a pilot-rated officer on the bridge," the
purser noted.  "Rouse out the third-shift pilot and get him here
ASAP."

"Look at this!" The comm officer pointed at a business card
carelessly left taped to a cup of drugged tea.  "That blorble
dictator Sadbi's Secret Terrorism Service did this!"

- - - - - - - - - -
At an undisclosed location, a shadowy, rotund figure twirled its
moustache.  "You're up, Libbi," he said to a blorble face
displayed on a holoscreen in front of him, one of many.

The blorble on the screen promptly made a voice-only call.

"JNN, Talking Heads Division, Dureeju speaking," was heard coming
from the speaker.

"Ah, Maazyu," Libbi spoke smoothly.  "I have a tip for you.  You
didn't hear this from me, understand, but there's just been a
terrorist attack on the new interstellar liner 'Deucalion', and
preliminary indications are that the blorble dictator Sadbi is
responsible."

"Ah, thanks, Libbi!  I owe you one!"

- - - - - - - - - -
"You want proof of how evil this Sadbi is?" Chalbi demanded.
"I'll give you proof!  What is the most horrible catastrophe to
affect Jurai in the last millenium?"

Tenchi scratched his head and looked about him helplessly.

"That would undoubtedly be the vicious, unprovoked attack on Jurai
by the notorious space pirate Ryouko seven hundred years ago,"
Aeka offered, with a quick smirk at the person sitting next to her.
"That event did more damage to Jurai than any attack in many
millenia."

"What if I told you that Sadbi was the one really behind that
attack?" Chalbi asked cunningly, rubbing his hands together.

Aeka blinked.  Tenchi blinked.  Ryouko blinked and asked "What?"

"But wasn't Kagato behind that?  He was controlling Ryouko, wasn't
he?" asked Sasami curiously.

"That's what Sadbi wanted everyone to think," Chalbi confided.
"But, really, I have a cousin who knows a blorble whose parent's
stepchild says that Ryouko was on the planet Arioch V meeting with
Sadbi's agents just two days before her attack on Jurai!"

"Really?" asked Washuu.  "That's very interesting indeed.  Two
days wouldn't give Ryouko enough time to get from Arioch V to
Jurai, given that the two planets are half the width of the galaxy
apart."

"Did I say days?" Chalbi asked.  "I meant weeks, err...I mean
months!  Two months before the attack on Jurai!"

"Wait a minute.  Didn't Kagato cite Sadbi's regime as an example
of all that's wrong with the galaxy?" Yuri asked.  "The prime
example of why he had to take matters into his own hands?  Why
would Ryouko, Kagato's pawn, cooperate with Sadbi?  For that
matter, why would Sadbi, who sees himself as the standard-bearer
for blorble racial chauvinism, cooperate with Kagato, who wasn't
even a blorble?"

"Trust me," Chalbi smiled winningly, spreading his arms wide in
an embracing gesture.  "Kagato was evil, right?"

"Right," Tenchi nodded.  "I got that part."

"And Sadbi is evil, right?  Case closed!  Naturally they would
team up the moment they got a chance!"

Tenchi scratched his chin.  There seemed to be a hole in that
logic somewhere.  "So you just want protection, right?  Against
Sadbi's assassins?"

"Sadbi's rule must be ended!  Some brave hero must be found to
lead an invasion to overthrow this ruthless dictator!" Chalbi
noted thoughtfully.  "Do you happen to know where I could find a
fearless, brave, prince of a leading, powerful galactic state?
Someone, perhaps, whose ancestors were famous warriors, and
is eager to match their legend?  Someone far-sighted enough to
see the danger on the horizon and act to forestall it?  Someone
who will go down in history?"

"Only one prince at this table," Ryouko noted absently as she
snatched at the remaining rice on Aeka's plate.

"I cannot imagine whom he might have in mind," Aeka replied,
rolling her eyes briefly while deflecting Ryouko's attempted
snatch.

"Assuming you did manage to overthrow this Sadbi," Tenchi asked,
"what kind of government would emerge to succeed him?  Would it
be any better?"

"The blorble homeworld would need a new leader," Chalbi conceded.
"And it's very important to pick right the blorble!  Tell you
what; I will chair a selection committee.  We'll screen all
prominent blorble candidates, and find the best blorble for the
job."

Tenchi scratched his head.  "Couldn't you just have an election or
something?"

"Blorbles are too fractious; we need a strong leader.  But don't
worry; I'll find the right leader for you!"

"I wouldn't want you to go to any trouble..."

"A good leader for blorbles must have a thick moustache, to
garner respect.  Like mine,"  Chalbi twirled his moustache with
his right hand to demonstrate.

"A good leader for blorbles must also be cosmopolitan, and
acquainted with many of the galaxy's most important people, like
me," Chalbi added thoughtfully.

Floating up above, Edward smirked and nodded to herself.  "Same
plan used by current chairblorble of expatriate Halbi Conglomerate
to get current job."

"In fact, a good leader for blorbles will be very, very similar to
me!  He, she, or xe will resemble me VERY closely, and have a very
similar life experience.  But I will find such a blorble for you!
I will interview as many blorbles as it takes to locate one who
meets all the same criteria as the blorble in front of you right
now!"

"So if we cared to save a little time..." Aeka commented to no
one in particular, then sipped her tea.

- - - - - - - - - -
Haruhi led us up the steep hill and through the trees at a stiff
pace, finally coming to a more-or-less level spot.  I staggered
to a stop and set my pack down, bending over and gasping for
breath.  Damn those musical instruments were heavy.  Looking up, I
blinked my eyes; there seemed to be heat haze regularly
alternating with large boulders or unusually wide trees in this
particular area.  The evenness of the spacing was uncanny.

"Here we are!" Haruhi announced triumphantly.  "The boys' tent
goes right here," she said, outlining a particular spot with one
foot, "and the girls' tent goes exactly two feet over.  Kyon,
get to work setting up the tents.  Mikuru and I are going down
to the lake."

As Koizumi, Nagato, and I set up the tents, a few small, green
clouds drifted over our proposed campsite, just ten or twenty
feet above us.  Nagato looked up and observed, "Many Zitherians
are fond of music."

Koizumi asked, "Is it just me or are a few of the trees and shrubs
moving?"

"They are moving, but they are not trees or shrubs," Nagato
replied.

I blinked my eyes and shook my head.  What did I just see move
between that heat haze and that boulder?  An orange, wheeled
shape?  Oh, never mind; I have a bigger problem.

"I still can't believe she hasn't rehearsed us.  What is she
thinking?"  I grumbled.

Koizumi smiled.  "She's thinking that the last time, she and
Nagato scanned the sheet music, practiced for an hour, and rocked
the whole school."

"And she thinks you and I can match that?" I asked, my voice
rising in my agitation.

"Fortunately one of my colleagues is a very good bass guitar
player, and I was able to arrange to meet him and copy his skills
on short notice.  I should be fine," Koizumi replied, tapping the
temple of his head with a finger.  "And Asahina needs only a sense
of rhythm, which she has.  We need only you to be adequate on the
drums."

"So I'm going to be the only embarrassment on stage, or whereever
it is we're playing?"

"Suzumiya is counting on you, and will be very disappointed if
you do not perform well," Nagato noted.  "This is to be avoided."

- - - - - - - - - -
"You may perhaps meet more blorbles, exiles like myself, at the
music festival here tomorrow.  I am quite sure they will concur
with what I have told you.  And if they turn out to know me, it is
simply because I am such a prominent blorble exile," Chalbi
concluded.

"Wait.  Hold it."  Washuu held up one hand.  "What was that about
a music festival?  Tomorrow?  Here?"

Kei and Yuri glanced at each other, perplexed, and then at Washuu.
"What, you haven't heard about it?"  Kei asked.

"The 'Primitive Music on the Forbidden Planet' festival is being
held here starting tomorrow," Yuri said slowly.  "How could you
not have heard about it?"

Washuu frowned as she brought up her holographic keyboard.  "A
few of us have work to do."

Noike turned her head to look at the heads around the table.
"Okay, who here has heard about this festival?"

Ryouko, Alielle, Kei, Yuri, and chibi-Tokimi raised their hands.
Tenchi, Aeka, Sasami, Washuu, Noike, Edward, Eclair, and Lumiere
left theirs down.

"You might have mentioned this before," Aeka said coldly to Ryouko.

Ryouko shrugged.  "Not my kind of music."

Edward, floating on her back in the air above the table, twitched
a toe.  "Looks like two thousand entities already camped out on
the hills here.  All on the slopes facing the lake."

Lumiere chimed in.  "Those are only the attendees with private
transport.  There's a charted liner coming into orbit later today
with tens of thousands of music fans from all over this arm of the
galaxy."

"This isn't good," Washuu muttered.  "This many off-worlders, and
a huge passenger liner?"

"What, the Prime Directive?  C'mon, that's the biggest joke in
the galaxy," Ryouko stated.

"Not where this planet is concerned," Aeka corrected.  "I know it
has been Grandmother's policy, and Father's as well, to enforce it
fully for Earth."

"Whatever for?" Ryouko wondered.

Aeka shrugged.  "I was never told."

"How can this be happening?!"  Washuu demanded.  "This planet is
off-limits!  Where's the Jurai fleet?  Where's the GP?"

"Jurai no longer posts any ships here," Aeka pointed out.  "Since
we at this table are a match for the whole fleet anyway.  In
effect, enforcement of the Prime Directive has been delegated
to us."

"What exactly is the problem here?" Tenchi asked.  "It's just a
music festival, right?  If all the offworlders stay cloaked, and
Earth doesn't learn of their presence (at least, officially), I
don't see that we have an issue."

Washuu, Sasami, Lumiere, and Eclair glanced at each other.
Lumiere gestured to Washuu to take the lead.  Washuu glanced up
at Tokimi's floating avatar momentarily, who shrugged.

Washuu sighed.  "Well, Tenchi, you remember what my sisters and I
told you about what we've been searching for, evidence of higher
orders of being, and some of the means we've adopted, right?"

"Right."  Tenchi nodded.

"And I'm sure you remember Z," Tokimi chimed in.  "Z was, I
thought at the time, the closest to success we'd ever come:  an
individual humaniform who could independently generate five Light
Hawk Wings."

"Yes, I remember," Tenchi agreed with a frown, not sure he liked
the direction this conversation was going.

"But since we reset that timeline, Z never gained that power now.
So almost the whole galaxy, actually most of the universe, doesn't
know that individual people can have that much power," Sasami
added.

"At least, that is the present situation," Washuu noted.  "This
was not always so."

"My sisters and I have had lesser successes in the past," Tokimi
stated.  "None quite as powerful as Z, let alone you, but by the
current standards in this galaxy, unprecedented and frightening."

"But these 'successes' were before the current era of galactic
civilization, which is why almost nobody knows about them.  The
Galactic Library Institute's records only go back about one
hundred thousand years or so," Lumiere explained.  "Since the
recovery from the last great catastrophe."

Eclair frowned darkly.  "That was all the fault of that idiot
Heloo'ji!frax, letting her own power get away from her like that.
The galaxy took tens of millions of years to recover from that
disaster."

- - - - - - - - - -
Up the hill, Teruzi blanched.  "By Tsunami's Leaves... the
devastation she's picturing.  Waves of reality alteration sweeping
through entire galactic arms, erasing whole civilizations, whole
species, as if they had never been.  How could one individual DO
all that?  And they're saying Tenchi is MORE powerful?"

- - - - - - - - - -
Tenchi blinked.  "But what does all this have to do with Earth's
being off-limits to outworlders?"

Washuu, Sasami, Tokimi, and Lumiere looked at each other
nervously.  "Well..."

At some unspoken signal, Sasami spoke up, smiling at Tenchi and
fluttering her eyelids.  "Well, once a person acquires that much
power, it doesn't always go away if the person dies.  Sometimes
the power can live on and even be assumed by another person.
So we kind of made a practice, in the past..." here Sasami began
pushing the tips of her index fingers back and forth nervously.
"...of burying the remains of such Powers here on Earth."

"WHAT?!" Tenchi, Aeka, and Noike shouted simultaneously.  Ryouko
just shook her head and chuckled.

Kei and Yuri looked at each other blankly.  "This was millions of
years ago, right?  There wasn't any intelligent life here then,"
Yuri noted.

"Sounds like what I'd do," Kei offered, wrapping her arms across
the back of her head.

Tenchi groaned.  "So let me guess.  The probability of this left-
over power being assumed by one of the off-worlders is high?"

"No, that's not really the problem here.  That risk is
insignificant; they won't be here long enough," Washuu replied.
"The problem is that three such ancient remains of Power, buried
on this planet, already HAVE been partially or, in one case,
wholly, assumed by one or more of the natives.  But as things
stand, this too poses little danger; the natives who bear these
Powers have little or no idea of what they bear and its true
extent, as nothing on this planet can ever push them enough to
find out.  Which is good, since they have equally little idea of
how to control such power."

"This is not providing me with any particular sense of comfort,"
Aeka noted.  "Are you saying that there are three more monsters
like Ryouko running around on this planet?"

"Oh, nothing like Ryouko," Washuu said.  "These three vary upwards
from perhaps a hundred times Ryouko's power to a little less than
Z's."

"Oh," said Aeka, eyes wide.  Beside her, Ryouko also seemed
slightly shell-shocked.

"Oh-kay," Tenchi said slowly.  "I'm still not seeing the problem,
though.  This is a cloaked music festival, right?  How could these
three find out about it, and why is it a problem if they did?
It's no threat to them."

"Well, they probably won't find out about the festival," Washuu
admitted.  "And we probably don't have a problem.  But the reason
why the Prime Directive is enforced for Earth is that, if any
bearers of such Power were to become aware of any obvious aliens,
matters might change significantly.

"People who assume these buried Powers also assume certain dormant
reflexes and instincts which the original possessor of the power
had; think of it like the martial arts muscle memory with which
you're familiar.  These reflexes, if triggered, say by the
perception of a sudden, imminent, overwhelming threat (such as
might be posed by the perception of an alien invasion), might
overwhelm the Bearer's normal personality.  A fragment of the
original Bearer's personality takes over, you might say.  One
which knows exactly how to wield the full scope of their Power."

Eclair and Lumiere turned and glared at Washuu.  "I HOPE you're
not going to say that Heloo'ji!frax's power is the one which has
been wholly assumed by an Earthling," Lumiere said with wintry
politeness.

"I have an android watching her constantly!" Washuu said hastily.

"And where is this individual now?" Eclair asked dangerously.

"At home, of course, hundreds of kilometers-" Washuu was typing
into her holographic laptop as she spoke, and stopped abruptly,
her eyes widening.  With a sheepish grin, she resumed, "I mean,
about four hundred meters from here.  Apparently she's here for
the festival."

- - - - - - - - - -
"By the First Tree!" Teruzi shook her head.  "This news just keeps
on getting better and better," she said bitterly.

Shiria tapped her lower lip thoughtfully.  "We ought to be able to
find this person ourselves.  How many Earth natives are here?  We
ought to be able to devise a scan which excludes any of the
local Masaki relatives."

Pikko nodded as she adjusted various jewels on her bracelet, then
checked the results. "Sort of, although there's more of a margin
of error than you'd think.  Although if Earth-human evolution has
been affected by the presence of these buried Powers they're
talking about, maybe we know why.  Still, it almost has to be one
of the nine individuals I've just located."

"And what do we do when we find her?" Teruzi asked.

"That part I haven't figured out yet," Shiria replied.

- - - - - - - - - -
"Did you get that?" Chalbi subvocalized.  "Should I pursue this
lead?"

At an undisclosed location, a shadowy, rotund figure answered,
"Don't worry about it.  The plan already in execution will do the
job."

Back at Tenchi's house, Edward, smirking, flicked a toe.
Lumiere's eyes glowed momentarily.  Washuu nodded fractionally.

- - - - - - - - - -
"Sir!  Sir!  Wake up!"  On board the Deucalion, the purser shook
the current pilot, to no effect.  "It's no good; he's just like
all the other pilots.  He was our last qualified pilot!"

Underneath a nearby bank of controls, two other men crouched over
the wires exposed behind a removed panel.  "The autopilot controls
are fried, too; I can't possibly repair these in the time we
have."

"What can we do?  We're about to enter the forbidden solar system,
without a pilot!"  One of the stewardesses squealed.

The purser grimaced.  "Can we rig the autopilot AI for a spoken
interface?  Advice only?  With that, an underqualified pilot could
maybe do the job."

"I think so."  One of the technicians nodded.

"Check the passengers' qualifications," the purser directed the
stewardesses.  "Find the most qualified pilot on board and bring
him or her here.  They'll have to take us into orbit."

"Oh, dear," said one of the stewardesses, staring at a
holographic display.  "The best hit is a Maia Mizuki.  Licensed to
pilot surface hovercraft and submersibles; one brief stint as an
emergency commercial airship pilot; ten hours simulator training
for orbital shuttlecraft."

"That's all?!" The purser exclaimed.  "With thirty thousand
passengers to choose from?"

"All that shows up, at least."

The purser growled.  "Well, find her and bring her here."

- - - - - - - - - -
"I still don't know how I managed to land the airship in one
piece," Maia finished narrating her story to Athena, "but I've
never been so nervous in my life!  I certainly never want to do
anything like that again!"

"Pardon me, but are you Maia Mizuki?" The stewardess aske Maia,
interrupting her conversation with Athena Glory.

Maia blinked.  "Yes; how many I help you?"

"Miss, the purser would like a word with you, if you don't mind.
It's a bit of an emergency, I'm afraid."

Maia's entire being abruptly radiated dread and anxiety.  A single,
tiny, hopeful smile emerged from her tremblingly sad face.  "This
wouldn't be about the pilot of this ship, I hope?"

"Well, I'm not really supposed to say," the stewardess replied
nervously.  "You really need to speak with the purser."

Maia's shoulders slumped.  "And I'm the most qualified replacement
available.  Yes, I know how this goes."  She took a deep breath,
slapped both cheeks, and stood up, nodding with determination.
"I'll do my best!"

"Would you like me to come too?" Athena asked Maia curiously.  "If
I can be of any help, I'd like to."

Maia smiled beamingly and took Athena's hand, nodding, then
followed the stewardess, marching stiffly.

- - - - - - - - - -
After we got the tents set up, we walked down to where Haruhi was
molesting Asahina by the edge of the lake.  Oh, the sight of
Asahina in that wet t-shirt!  But with Haruhi frowning at me every
time I tried to let my gaze linger on Asahina's curvaceous form, I
couldn't appreciate the view as much as I would have liked.

"I heard some music coming from over that way," Haruhi announced,
leading us clockwise around the edge of the lake.  "Let's check
out the competition."

Somehow Haruhi managed to pay no attention to a small grove of
blue-grey trees creaking in harmony as we passed.  Asahina, I
noticed, waved cheerily at one of the trees; one branch dipped
a bit in confused reply.

"Oh, right; as far as it's concerned, we haven't met yet," I heard
her murmur to herself.

A hundred meters on and a bit uphill, we stumbled into a small
clearing holding a baby grand piano.  A dark-skinned girl and a
blue-haired boy were playing a four-handed duet; another girl,
with bright pink hair and wearing a male school uniform jacket,
just stood there leaning on the piano, listening.  We lingered a
bit, then Haruhi hurried us onward.

Later, up on the grounds of the shrine itself, we found a small
audience listening intently to a brown-haired girl playing a
samisen.  Three other girls glanced at us as we entered the
grounds, then shifted position to let us in closer to the
musician.  Haruhi seemed quite taken by the music, but it wasn't
really to my taste, which is probably why I noticed one of the
girls pointing her bracelet at each of us in turn.  When she got
to Haruhi, her eyebrows shot up and she nodded at the other two,
who began to study Haruhi intently.

I wondered whether I should be worried.

- - - - - - - - - -
On the bridge of the Deucalion, Maia nervously shepherded the
enormous space liner into Earth orbit, trying to do exactly what
the AI told her to do.  It didn't help that she was familiar with
less than half of the instruments in front of her.  Behind her,
Athena stood, hands on Maia's shoulders, trying to keep her new
friend calm.

"Check the 'storming level'," advised the AI.  "That means the
cloaking unit."

After thirty nervous seconds of searching, Maia reported, "Level
two."

"The recommended setting is four," the AI replied in a pleasant
synthesized voice.  "At level two a ship this size can be detected
by several methods available on this planet."

"I think it's broken and won't go that high," Maia replied in a
pleading tone.  "Two of the lights are out."

"Detection of this ship by the local natives would result in a
violation of six hundred treaties, three major galactic concords,
and five thousand Juraian laws and regulations," the AI continued
pleasantly.  "The pilot, if convicted, is subject to ten thousand
years hard labor."

Maia cringed, but kept doing her best.

Suddenly the whole ship shuddered.  Alarm klaxons rang out.
Through her viewport, Maia could see a flash of light being
reflected from clouds in the planet's atmosphere.

"What was that?" she asked the AI nervously.

"The ship's sublight engines have exploded," the AI replied.  "Now
connecting the pilot to the engine room."

"I canna hold it together, Captain," a older male voice came
through clearly.  "The whole bloody thing just blew at once!  Only
thing left is a business card for the Blorble regime's Secret
Terrorism Service!  We canna make a safe orbit; we're gonna enter
the atmosphere!"

Maia cringed.  "Okay, what do I do now?" Maia asked the AI
hopefully.

The AI ruminated.  "Pray."

- - - - - - - - - -
Meanwhile, in Tenchi's living room, Sasami, Aeka, Ryouko, Noike,
Kei, Yuri, and Mihoshi all beamed up to their respective ships.
The remaining inhabitants watched the Deucalion fall from several
simultaneous angles on giant holographic screens.

"Clearly this disaster can only be attributed to Sadbi's evil
regime," Chalbi pontificated.  "He cannot be left in power to
threaten galactic civilization in this way again!"

"And why do you think it was him again?" Allielle asked, mostly
out of boredom.

"I feel instinctively that evidence will be found, possibly even
in the remains of the Deucalion, pointing directly to Sadbi,"
Chalbi proclaimed with assurance.

"Okay," Washuu spoke as she typed rapidly.  "Sasami, Aeka, Ryouko,
Noike: prepare your ships' tractor beams for simultaneous
operation on my mark.  Mihoshi, Kei: your pressors.  Tenchi, it
looks like we'll get through this without needing you."

"Fine with me."  Tenchi smiled.

"Uh oh," Washuu noted abruptly, as a light began blinking.

"Three Powers, intensity climbing rapidly," Edward announced.

"Heloo'ji!frax and D.I.O.S. power signatures confirmed nearby,"
Lumiere added.  "Mugen signature just south of... No, now in near
planetary orbit."

- - - - - - - - - -
"Kyon!  Not good enough!  You call that 'drumming'?"

It was freaky; one moment Haruhi was normal (for her), ignoring
the moving trees, unusual hair colors, and weird cloudlets while
berating me for my 'pathetic excuse for drum playing'.

And the next instant she suddenly snapped her head up and stared
intently at a specific spot high in the sky, slightly to the south
of us.

"Haruhi?" I asked tentatively.  Nagato shook her head at me,
indicating I shouldn't try to intervene.

I looked around.  Mostly of the bystanders seemed to be looking
at their wrists, murmuring into their jewelry, or listening to
something I couldn't hear.  The pink-haired girl in the school
uniform jacket was staring at the same spot in the sky as Haruhi,
but also holding her hands together as if pointing a two-handed
sword in the same direction.

Nagato calmly announced, "Reality alteration event imminent."

Several of the spectators began producing what I assumed to be
measuring devices out of nowhere; rapidly scrolling holographic
screens appeared out of thin air in front of two girls, three
trees, one excessively large squirrel, and a shrubbery.  That
large wheeled orange thing stepped out from behind a patch of
heat haze and tilted its torso skyward.

"Could someone please tell me what's going on?" I asked Nagato,
Koizumi, and Asahina.

"Something very large is entering the upper atmosphere," Koizumi
said.  "And radiation levels are rising rapidly."

"An accident has occurred to an interstellar passenger liner with
thirty thousand music fans aboard," Nagato explained further.

"I'm not allowed to talk about it," Asahina cheerfully added.

- - - - - - - - - -
"Oh, Ptantchyuu!" Washuu exclaimed.  "Tenchi, you need to be
right in front of that ship NOW!"

Tenchi vanished.

Sasami, on one of the overhead screens, frowned and waved a
finger at Washuu's profanity.  Eclair snickered.  Lumiere shook
her head sadly.  "Young girls should speak elegantly," she
reminded Washuu.

- - - - - - - - - -
Some sort of... flickering wave, or distortion, suddenly flew up
from Haruhi towards what was now a pinpoint of light in the sky.

Simultaneously, a line of searingly bright light emerged from the
pink-haired girl's hands, headed in the same direction.

"Umm... should we take cover or something?" I asked.

"No idea," Koizumi replied.  "I wouldn't want to be one of the
passengers on that ship, though."

- - - - - - - - - -
"AAAAAAAGGGGHHH!" Maia screamed.  In her panic, she accidentally
activated the ship-wide public address system.  "The controls are
dead, the engines destroyed, shields down, we're being fired upon,
and we're in free fall towards the planet!  I don't want to pilot
any more!"

Athena squeezed both Maia's shoulders, then opened her mouth and
began to sing.  An aria of uncanny sweetness and clarity emerged
from her lips and spread through the entire ship through the open
public address system.  The crew and passengers, on the verge of
panic moments before, simply stopped whatever they had been doing
or feeling, and listened.

Maia calmed down and focused on figuring out what she could still
do.

- - - - - - - - - -
As I watched the sky, the pinpoint of light seemed to grow five
thin, bright spider legs for a moment.  Then the pinpoint
exploded.  The entire sky went completely white.  I closed my
eyes and flinched.

- - - - - - - - - -
"Three... two..." Washuu said to Tenchi, now on-screen.
Another screen showed the reality distortion wave and annihilation
beams rapidly approaching from the planet's surface; a third
showed a large rock statue in near Earth orbit, firing what was
labeled as a focused gravity beam from its fists at the Deucalion.

"One..."  The first and third screens went completely white.

"I-is Tenchi all right?" Eclair asked quietly.

"Of course," Washuu said absently as she studied the various
scrolling screens in front of her.  "As intense as that was, it
was still almost completely a three-dimensional event; it wouldn't
have seriously injured even Alielle, let alone Tenchi."

"It did look like it might have hurt a bit, though," Alielle
murmured, uncharacteristically subdued.

"The question is whether he managed to saved the ship and
passengers," Washuu went on.  "And also, I suppose, whether the
backblast sent him somewhere else.  Sasami," Washuu called,
"there's some residue from the reality alteration wave headed
onward."

"I've got it," Sasami's voice came in.  On screen, Tsunami's
ship form moved quickly to a higher orbit and spread its wings.

"Geez, what a mess," Washuu shook her head.  "Guys, pull that ship
up out of the atmosphere and get it cloaked.  Noike, Kei, Yuri:
beam on board and find out what happened.  Mihoshi, you can start
preparing to tow it to the nearest GP starbase.  Lumiere, Edward:
put your heads together and find out who was REALLY behind this."

"It was Sadbi!  I'm telling yoU!"  Chalbi insisted.

"And somebody remove this guy for a bit.  I've got to check on
the Powers, and on Tenchi."

"Sure!" Eclair replied cheerily as she grabbed Chalbi and hauled
him out of the house.  "Why don't we go check out the music
scene for a bit, Chalbi?"

"Let's see," Washuu muttered to herself.  "The fractional Mugen
bearer is still in orbit, just watching, and may have been trying
to help anyway.  The fractional D.I.O.S. power and awareness seems
to have subsided back to normal within its bearer.  As for
Heloo'ji!frax..." Washuu continued muttering darkly to herself for
another minute, frowning.  "Well, that's why I placed that android
with her in the first place," she finally concluded.

- - - - - - - - - -
When I opened my eyes again, the sky was normal, and everyone else
had gone back to their previous occupations.  Haruhi was in my
face, smirking at me.  There was something in her look I didn't
like one bit.

"Kyon, you WILL get better!  I mean it!  Now!"

I don't know if it was sheer fright; I don't much like the other
possibility.  But I immediately banged out a creditable solo on
the drumset, ending with a flourish on the cymbals.  Asahina
applauded.  Haruhi grudgingly nodded.  Nagato and Koizumi
exchanged meaningful glances.

- - - - - - - - - -
"Ah, Tenchi, you're back," Washuu smiled at the comm screen where
Tenchi had just reappeared (from whereever or whenever), at his
former position in orbit.  "Good.  There's an awful lot of
radioactive fallout...  Wait a moment.  Sorry, there SHOULD have
been radioactive fallout.  It's completely gone now; probably
Heloo'ji!frax' work.  You can just come back, then."

Tenchi nodded and blinked out, simultaneously reappearing in the
living room.

"Okay, now what do we have on the perpetrators?" Washuu asked
Edward and Lumiere.

"Tip-off to JNN came from office of festival promoter," Edward
said.  "Halbi Music."

"The liner itself is owned by Halbi Cruise Lines," Lumiere added,
"and was insured for twice what it cost to build.  Apparently they
cut a number of corners during construction.  I suspect the liner
couldn't actually pass a safety inspection."

"Both Halbi companies wholly owned by expatriate Halbi
conglomerate, which also owns secret base with which Chalbi spoke
this morning."

"The business cards left on the 'Deucalion' at each sabotage site
bear faint traces of a chemical manufactured by Halbi Chemicals,"
Lumiere continued.

"Is this secret base within Jurai's boundaries?" Aeka asked
angrily from her open comm screen.  "These people have endangered
thirty thousand-"

"-illegal trespassers," Ryouko interrupted.  "What's the matter,
Princess?  Gonna instruct one of your goon squads again?" Ryouko
taunted.  "Or sic Hikaru's team on 'em?  Now, me, I'd just blast
these scumbags to bits personally."

"The secret base of Halbi Co./its place not meant for us to know/
is not within Jurai, I own/but lies inside disputed zone," Edward
chanted, dog-paddling in a circle through the air.

Several pairs of eyes turned to Lumiere, pleading for further
illumination.

Lumiere shrugged.  "We both traced Chalbi's communication to the
F'f!lockenglurt Nebula, which currently has... six, I believe,
races jealously vying for possession."

Aeka sighed.  "Grandmother would frown on any action there which
might possibly be traced back to Jurai."

Noike smiled.  "Mihoshi is towing thirty thousand irate music fans
out of the system right now.  They'll all miss the festival, but
can't complain to us; the festival is clearly illegal.  Let's
check the ticket cancellation legal wording and make sure what
WE say we're doing is NOT covered as a reason they can deny a
refund."

"I like it," Ryouko grinned.

Aeka smiled.  "If, in addition, someone were to tip off JNN, drop
a few choice words with the Galactic Passenger Safety
Administration, and make sure certain facts come to the attention
of the company with which the Deucalion was insured..."

Edward cackled and somersaulted.  Lumiere's eyes glowed
momentarily; she then smiled.  "That should cause the entire
conglomerate to swing to a loss for each of the next fifty-seven
years," Lumiere reported.  "Which is more than enough to cancel
the bonus clause in the current chairblorble's contract."

Aeka smiled slightly.  "I suppose that's a start."

- - - - - - - - - -
"Curses!  Foiled again!"

At an undisclosed location, a shadowy, rotund figure gnashed his
teeth in fury.  "But I will yet have those crystals!"

THE END (for now).


This and other fanfics (including parts 1-13) stored at:
    http://www.geocities.com/Tokyo/Dojo/5058


Radical Edward is from "Cowboy Bebop",
Alielle from "El Hazard",
Kei and Yuri are the "Dirty Pair",
Eclair and Lumiere are from "Kiddy Grade",
Maia Mizuki is from "Daphne in the Brilliant Blue",
Athena Glory is from "Aria the Animation",
and the SOS Brigade is from "The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya".
Plot elements (and the 'rock statue') adapted from "Shingu: Secret
of the Stellar Wars."




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