A Ranma 1/2 manga fanfiction
by Gary Kleppe

WARNING: This is intended as grim & gritty urban drama. It deals with so-called mature subject matters. Violence, and the after-effects of violence, are depicted in a manner that attempts to be realistic. There is also language that some might find offensive. To those who stick around, I promise a more or less happy ending; but in the meantime, there will be lots of unpleasantness. Don't say I didn't warn you.

The dialog in this story will bounce around from English to "Japlish" (Japanese dubbed into English), generally without notice. This story is based on the manga rather than the anime. Thus there is no Sasuke, all the regulars are black-haired, etc. An exception to this is that one group of minor characters who were only in the anime do appear in this story.

The characters of Ranma 1/2 are the creation of and rightful property of Rumiko Takahashi. They are used here without permission. This story may be freely redistributed, but it should not be altered substantially or used for profit in any way.


The girl sat quietly in the darkness and waited.

She had been there for days, perhaps weeks, leaving the closet only a couple of times during the trip to scavenge for food and drinking water. In the closet there was no way to tell night from day. The girl did not know how much time had passed. Nor did she care. In her mind there was only one thought.

(get away get as far away as you can so they'll never find you)

It was a voice that spoke from deep within, speaking commands that had to be obeyed, and drowning out all other feeling and purpose. Not quite all; there were still the vestiges of a deep sadness, one that threatened to become overwhelming whenever the girl almost remembered why she had gone and what she had left behind.

She was on a ship; she was conscious of that much. The ship had been headed across the Pacific, and the girl had stowed herself away on board. Not a good way to travel, but any other way they might have been able to track her down. That couldn't be allowed to happen. She really didn't remember or even care to think about why it was so important. She just couldn't let them find her.

The girl sat quietly in the darkness and waited.

Part One: Stranger in Town

It was night in the city of Los Angeles. The forty thousand ton, eleven-story merchant ship known as the Jewel of Poseidon was entering the city's port complex. Huge containers lay on the vessel's deck, sprawled out like a city unto themselves; they contained vehicles and various other products imported from Asia.

Ship's officer Rajan Loudaekabal stood on deck, his duffel bag in hand. After eleven days at sea, he had finally arrived! He watched impatiently as the ship moved steadily through the rain toward its assigned docking bay. Finding its designated place, it drifted to a stop, and the port facility's cranes immediately began unloading the massive cargo boxes from the top of the ship.

Rajan ran down the gangway towards the port office. He noticed that the weather was unusually cold for Los Angeles. He thought of going back for a jacket. No, that would take too long. Not important.

Rajan had a particular reason to be in a hurry. After months on duty as ship's clerk, Captain Otha had given him an extra seven days leave here in Los Angeles. He didn't want to waste one minute of it. His cousin Amal lived in town, and he had a car. They could spend the week going to the local nightclubs, maybe even get to meet some women. Rajan hadn't been on a date since he had left India.

Rajan handed the ship's paperwork to the clerk on duty. He paced anxiously as the clerk began to methodically process the various forms. This man seemed determined to use up all his time!

Captain Otha came in and handed a jacket to Rajan. "What's the matter?" he asked with a friendly grin. "Are you in that much of a hurry to get off my ship?" The Captain was married, and his wife travelled with him on the ship. He understood what it was like for a younger man like Rajan.

"Well, sir," replied Rajan with a laugh, "I don't know if you've noticed it, but last time I looked there weren't any pretty young eligible women on your ship!"


Unnoticed, a young woman emerged from the vessel.

The girl could once have been called pretty. Once. Now her black hair hung down at shoulder length in a bedraggled mess. Her clothes were simple and unflattering, an ill-sized sweatshirt and pants; she had gotten rid of her usual clothes back in Japan. Her face was dirty, and her eyes looked ahead with a glassy stare. Her figure, though still well-toned and athletic, was on its way to becoming emaciated from lack of food.

None of this mattered at the moment. Her only thought was to follow the voice that spoke from inside her.

(keep moving keep moving go somewhere where they won't find you)

She moved, away from the fleet of ships, toward no particular destination, looking as if sleepwalking, which was close to the truth. She moved along steadily but did not hurry. There was no reason to. Nothing, no one, would be here for her.

She came around a huge building, to the other side of the port complex. The cacaphony of boat horns and lifting crane noises gave way to a steady symphony of humming truck engines. A fleet of enormous trucks, some larger than any the girl had ever seen, were there. Workers were busy loading several of the trucks, moving multitudes of boxes around with forklifts.

She wondered what was in the boxes, where they came from, who had made them, where they would be going, who the things inside would belong to. If she opened one of them, would she have something that could solve all her troubles? Right now she had nothing, nothing except the clothes she wore. And hunger. She had hunger. Even in her semi-conscious state, she was aware of her need to eat soon.

For a moment she imagined that she could stuff herself into a box and be sent somewhere, that someone would open the box and take her into their lives, that it would be like before. Hi, I'm being delivered to you to be your friend, to be part of your family...

The voice interrupted, bringing her back to reality, as if she had been doused with icy cold water.

(keep moving keep moving)

The voice. She had nothing now except the voice.


Moustafa Alhumaizi heard a voice come over his headset. "HEY!!!"

"Welcome to El Taco," Moustafa recited as he adjusted the headset to dampen the screaming customer's voice. Yet another customer who didn't understand that you don't need to shout into the drive-through speaker. "May I take your order, please?"


"Yes sir, that'll be two dollars and sixty-two cents. Please pull up to the window, and thank you for choosing El Taco." Moustafa wasn't really particularly grateful that this customer had decided to patronize this restaurant. He was just reciting the words he was paid to say. His own feelings mattered little, he was just there to do as he was told. It was a terrible job, with very low pay. Nevertheless, his family needed the income from both of his jobs, as well as his wife's, to pay for their rent and food. Not only that, but his daughter was going to need that operation soon...

Moustafa quickly gathered the food the customer had ordered, and slid open the drive-through window. "Two sixty-two, please," he said as he handed out the bag of food. The customer, who was wearing a ski mask, responded by pulling out a gun and pointing it towards Moustafa.

"Now hand over all the money in the register," the customer said. The robber held onto the gun, its barrel mere inches from Moustafa's face. He started to empty the cash register as he was told to. "But gimme your own wallet first," the robber added.

"Please, sir... my daughter's operation," Moustafa said feebly. He was afraid that the robber might kill him then and there, but he just couldn't lose even the little money he had with him.

"Would it help her if I made her an orphan?" the gunman said sharply. Moustafa knew he had no choice, he started to get out his wallet. He only hoped that the robber wouldn't shoot him anyway.

Suddenly, there was a thump on top of the robber's car. Something, someone, had jumped out of the shadows without warning, and landed on the car's roof. Moustafa caught a glimpse of the person. It was a girl, a dark haired Asian. With lightning speed her hand chopped at the robber's left arm, forcing him to let go of the bag of food. She grabbed the bag and quickly jumped back out of sight.

Moustafa saw his chance in the confusion. He slammed the window on the robber's other arm. The robber cried out in pain, dropped his gun and pulled his arm free. Tires squealed as he slammed on his gas pedal to get away. His car escaped onto the main road and collided with an oncoming car.

Moustafa put his headset back on to hear the voice of another customer. "Hey! Anybody in there, or what?" No time to catch his breath. He took down this next person's order, at the same time dialing nine one one on the phone. At least he hadn't had his money taken. And he had saved the company's money as well. Maybe they'd give him a reward. He could certainly use it.


"The tow truck is on its way."

Rajan Loudaekabal looked at the mess that had been his cousin Amal's car. The front frame was now a crumpled mess. Fluids dark and clear trickled down from the engine into puddles on the ground below.

At least no one had been hurt. No one except the one who deserved it. The maniac in the ski mask had suddenly pulled out of the El Taco driveway and smashed right into his cousin's car. That maniac had been thrown through his windshield. The ambulance was taking him away.

"It's okay, I've got insurance. They ought to be able to fix my car in a couple of weeks," Amal said. Rajan knew that he would have to be back on duty on the Jewel of Poseidon in less time than that. He hoped that he could get leave again sometime soon. There had to be a girl out there for him somewhere...


The girl moved silently through the night carrying the bag of food. The words on the bag were unfamiliar: "El Taco." The girl knew some English from her schoolwork, but did not know these words. She had recognized the words on the sign by the window: "Drive Thru," (this last word she thought was misspelled), "Fast In, Fast Out." Fast in, fast out. That was what she had done: Come in fast, grabbed the food, and gone out fast.

She was not happy to have had to steal, but she needed to eat somehow or die of starvation. It didn't matter how much had been lost, how much of what she once had would never be hers again. She was not going to give up. Life, that was what she had left. She was not going to give up on life.

There was a loud screech from the place where the girl had just been, followed by a dull crash. This would attract attention. She had to keep out of sight. She quickly ran down an alley with her bag of food, coming out onto a narrower road as sirens approached the place where she recently was.

She moved down the dimly lit road. One particular yard was full of weeds. In it stood a house with holes in the walls. A nearby street lamp allowed the girl to see in through a window; the house appeared to be empty and abandoned.

The girl slipped inside the house. It was as empty as it had appeared to be from outside. She sat on the floor and opened her bag of food. In it were several objects, hard shells folded over with some sort of other food inside. Touching them made her hands feel greasy.

She took a bite. The sensation was not pleasant. Lukewarm meat and soggy vegetables covered by a shell that seemed to be mostly grease. Overall, it tasted almost as bad as...

(no don't go there don't remember that don't)

Trying to ignore the taste, she forced herself to consume all of the tacos. She swallowed them quickly, so as not to have to taste them for too long.

From outside, a car approached. The girl could hear the sound of its engine grow loud as it came near, see its headlights approaching. Then both sound and light abruptly cut off as car doors opened. Someone was coming in. She quickly located a nearby closet. Grabbing the bag that had held her food, she slipped into the closet and closed the door from inside.

From inside the closet she heard the voices of two men. The language they spoke was English. She had had enough of it in school to remember some words, but the men spoke too fast for her to tell what they were saying.

The girl hiccuped. Trying to stifle the sound, she continued listening to the men from inside the dark closet, attempting to make out some of the words. Once again she was hiding inside a dark closet. She wondered if the voice inside her would be forcing her to hide in closets for the rest of her life.

Another hiccup came, this one more forceful than the first. No, not a hiccup. Her stomach was refusing the food she had sent it, was sending it back the way it had come. She needed to hold it in, at least until the two men were gone.

No. No good, the tacos were coming up, and they were coming up now. Fast in, fast out...

The closet door swung open. A flashlight shone on the girl, illuminating her as she was kneeling on the floor, vomiting.

"She's tossing chunks," the first man said. "Must've ate El Taco." The girl strained to understand but could not.

"You stupid shit," the other man said, "Check her. She's on some bad stuff. Check her eyes man, she's wasted! Homegirl knew we deal here and came to get more." She still did not understand.

"Sorry ass bitch gonna have to take it before she gets nothin' from us." The first man laughed as he put a hand on the girl's chest. This she did understand.

The girl stood, bringing an elbow into the first man's jaw. Her fighting instinct had taken over. At that moment it didn't matter how very little food and sleep she had had in the past two weeks. She was a fighter and she could fight until death if need be.

The second man drew a gun from under his jacket. He was far too slow. The girl's foot caught him in the gut, knocking the wind out of him and sending him crashing through the wall of the house. The first man started to recover, but before he could react, the girl was outside the house, and was gone.

Down the darkened street went the girl. She covered great distances, many miles, with long gravity-defying leaps. Her adrenalin was flowing now. She was invincible, nothing mattered, she had won the fight.

She came to a stop at a street corner. No one was around. Finally, this was the place where no one would ever find her...

The voice inside her faded away. She had accomplished what she had been commanded to do. She collapsed to the ground, crashed, an airplane that had run out of fuel. The voice. Would she be lonely without the voice? It was what kept her going, kept her standing up. No longer. The world was spinning, fading...

A face. With her last vestige of consciousness, she saw that voice had a face. As reality slipped away from her, she uttered a single word.