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Chapter 49 Main Chapters Chapter 51

No Need for Assassination

"I am Tessei," he introduces himself. Tetta says, "My name is Tetta." Tessei continues, "We are captains of the bodyguard of the King of Jurai, and we have been asked to be your DJs for this chapter." Tetta concludes, "We selected 'Knife in the Dark' from 'The Fellowship of the Ring' movie. These things are not Dragonwiles' property. Excuse us, but we have a mission to complete." The horrifying, menacing music begins to play as they stride out of the room, their cloaks waving behind them.

Tenchi paused and looked at the morning. It was a beautiful dawn, with the clouds still fiery colors, and the air beginning to fill with birdsong. The water on the lake was still and tranquil. He breathed deeply a moment, and continued his labor for the next twenty minutes.

He turned to weed the nearest carrot field before heading back to the house, as he normally did, when he noticed some of Sasami's many alien pets in one of the further carrot fields. Tenchi groaned, then ran forward and tried to chase them off. They were doing it again!

Most of Sasami's pets were either fascinating or cute or didn't directly affect him much. These creatures, however, rooted around for the carrots that he had been planting in ever-increasing numbers for Ryo-ohki. These pets looked like a cross between pigs and anteaters, and they were covered in bright-pink fur and had adorable eyes.

Tenchi had tried to build a fence around the carrot fields, but somehow they had gotten in. He saw as he drove them off that they were surprisingly capable jumpers. He'd have to increase the height of the fence. Tenchi sighed. They were Sasami's pets, and he didn't really blame them for looking for food. It was just troublesome having to build a bigger fence. Also, it was already taxing to imagine the others learning about this incident and seeing Sasami look guilty and Ryo-ohki yowl in rage.

Ryoko stretched and yawned, finally beginning to feel more awake. "Where's Tenchi?" she wondered aloud. "He's usually back by now."

"I don't know," Ayeka answered her, feeling she had to say something. She hadn't seen him around the house. She looked in the kitchen and dining area, but there was no one except Sasami, who was making breakfast. "It'll only be a few more minutes," Sasami told Ayeka. Ayeka told her, "Tenchi doesn't seem to be back yet." Sasami nodded and returned to her work.

Ayeka went towards the door to the deck to see if she could see Tenchi.

There was a faint zap and sparkling in the air, a sound which Ayeka immediately recognized as a Juraian transporter. A moment later, there was a large crowd of Juraians throughout the house. Without a word, they began to attack with their energy blades.

"Go on, shoo, scat!" Tenchi shouted at more of the piglike anteaters that were in the fields. He approached them, waving his arms, and they fled while he was still a good ways away. This led him to wonder if he ought to make some sort of scarecrow instead of a taller fence. It was hard to tell with alien animals. Tenchi trudged back to the other carrot field he hadn't yet weeded. He'd probably have to rush through breakfast at this point.

Sasami screamed as some of the Juraian warriors advanced on her, and Azaka and Kamadaki teleported on either side of her, extending a shield and blasting at the warriors with their laser beams from their single eyelike apertures. The warriors' energy shields held for a few moments before they were slain. "Here we come, here we come," they began to chorus, escorting Sasami out of the kitchen, blasting as needed at further warriors who opposed them.

Ayeka felt as though she were fighting through some sort of bad dream. These warriors were wearing the uniforms of the royal bodyguard, and she recognized some of them - and they recognized her, and were trying to kill her. She could give no quarter, for they were vastly outnumbered. Somewhere nearby, she could hear Ryoko blasting and slashing at the torrent of enemies. Then more bodyguards teleported in, and Ayeka gasped, then growled in recognition. Tessei, one of the captains of the bodyguard, was facing her. He began to fight her personally, along with many other members of the bodyguard. A minute or so later, as the ebb and flow of the fight carried them throughout the house, she saw that Ryoko was facing Tetta. None of this made sense, except for Tessei and Tetta acting together.

Azaka and Kamadaki, still protecting Sasami in their shield, kept trying to join Ayeka, but the bodyguards were cutting them off. Ayeka saw at one point that there were bodyguards heading into Washu's room under the stairs, and then saw the door slam shut. Ayeka herself was unable to intervene, since she was fighting Tessei in the hallway, and he was between her and that door. Fighting him felt unreal. He'd been a presence in her family's life since before she was born. Her father had appointed him and Tetta to be captains of his bodyguard after they had courageously protected him from a pirate attack, and they had been some of his most loyal servants for years. They'd almost constantly been at Father's side, going with him everywhere. Seeing them at their usual posts had always made her feel safer, more secure. The world was always normal when they were in their customary places, keeping their eyes out for any danger that would threaten the royal family. Now they were trying to end the lives of herself and her sister. Ayeka wanted to demand an explanation from them, to force them to divulge the reasons for their treachery, but there was not a moment to spare, for Tessei was a good duelist, and there were still many enemy warriors about.

The battle next moment had carried them to the living room. Azaka and Kamadaki and Ayeka and Ryoko had nearly managed to join up again, but despite the many still bodies lying on the floor, there were many more live Juraians still standing. Tessei and Tetta were still battling Ayeka and Ryoko respectively. Ryoko saw Tetta and Tessei trade looks of frustration or desperation. They'd meant this to be a fairly quick operation, and they knew that the longer it lasted, the more chance of failure there was. Not only was it a delicate matter to try to kill a princess and a dangerous (former) pirate, these two clearly hated to lose.

One Juraian tried a fairly reckless attack, and Ryoko disposed of him and his companion, and Tetta used that moment to raise the arm that was not bearing a sword. Some sort of energy came out of his hand, two thin and narrow blue projectiles, and they lodged in Azaka and Kamadaki, who shouted and stood motionless a moment. Ryoko was crossing swords with Tetta in the next instant, forcing him back with a grunt, but then a voice came from behind her.

"Surrender yourselves, or I will kill Princess Sasami!" said one of the bodyguards, as he held his energy sword at Sasami's throat. Sasami made a strangled noise and tried to be strong.

Everyone froze. Tessei and Tetta stared with unreadable expressions at their subordinate who was threatening the princess. Ayeka and Ryoko glared at this person. He doubtless had managed to extricate Sasami from Azaka and Kamadaki's shield while the robots were reeling from Tetta's blow. The robotic logs seemed recovered now, but Sasami was out of their reach, as the man now held her, with his back to the door out to the deck, facing everyone in the room. He seemed to be desperate, but not crazy, and totally sure of the rightness of his cause. Ryoko wondered what Ayeka was going to do, what any of them were going to do. Getting anyone out of this situation alive was tricky before, and nearly impossible now. What would Ayeka decide?

The Juraian holding Sasami seemed to be unnerved by the silence and staring, or perhaps simply felt his position was insecure. He reached behind him and slid open the door to the deck, and took a step backwards, dragging Sasami with him.

His sword arm was amputated from behind. He was then decapitated in mid-scream, shortly after his sword hit the ground and rolled perilously close to Sasami's toes.

Tenchi grabbed Sasami from behind and tried to pull her behind him, and she managed after nearly tripping over the corpse. Tenchi's stared ferociously at the enemies in his house, and then in furious surprise at Tessei and Tetta. He remembered them from when the king and queens of Jurai had visited. What were they doing trying to hurt Sasami and the others?

The Light-Hawk Wings flashed into existence in front of him. Faster than ever before, they clothed him in white armor, then armed him with a massive sword. Some of the bodyguards near him rushed forward, but he slew them both in a single, long, horizontal swing. Ryoko and Ayeka turned back to face their opponents.

Tessei said, "Fall back," and the hilt of his sword glowed in his hand. The remaining Juraians teleported away.

"Where's Dad and Grandpa?" Tenchi asked urgently, walking forward into the room. He turned to make sure Sasami was still all right, and she was, following him. Azaka and Kamadaki moved to flank her again, but their motion seemed slowed.

There was a noise from inside the house, and everyone turned, ready, but it was Yosho and Nobuyuki themselves who came forth. "The perimeter is secure for the moment, but we must leave at once, before they regroup."

"What about Washu?" Tenchi asked. He hadn't seen her, didn't know if she even knew about the attack, holed up in her laboratory, and she shouldn't be left behind in such a dangerous situation. He swallowed, trying not to dwell too much on what he'd had to do just now in the dangerous situation. He made sure not to stare at the floor, to prevent himself from being ill, or saddened at seeing the house so violated.

Washu emerged from the kitchen, bearing Ryo-ohki in her arms. "I'm fine, for the moment," she said quickly. She set down Ryo-ohki, who bounded outside, leapt into the air, and transformed into her spaceship form. Barely had she done so when Ryoko grabbed Tenchi and teleported inside the ship. She left him there and began to bring the others inside. "Has anyone seen Mihoshi and Kiyone?" he tried to ask her as she steadily teleported people inside.

"That's precisely what I'm worried about," Yosho told him.

Once everyone was aboard, Ryo-ohki began to head upwards immediately. Tenchi swallowed hard, looking up at the ceiling. The worst couldn't have happened, he told himself, not to them. He looked around at the others. They looked in poor condition, but without serious injuries. He shivered. He couldn't believe that enemies had actually gotten inside the house and he hadn't even known about it until it was almost too late. Enemies had come around the house, and very close to it, but never actually inside. Somehow that made it feel more threatening.

"Okay, we're coming around to the other side of the planet now," Ryoko said at last. "Ryo-ohki sees two Juraian battleships trying to pin Yagami and Yukinojo down. They're intact but they've already taken a beating. They won't last long."

Kiyone and Mihoshi had stopped their demands for explanation or for the attack to cease several minutes ago and concentrated on surviving. The Juraian warships had somehow managed to pass the early-warning nets strewn about the solar system almost undetected, and had opened fire from nearly point-blank range. Probably the only reason that Mihoshi and Kiyone had survived that first assault was because Mihoshi had, on a whim, suggested this particular day for their mandated ship-to-ship combat drills. They had been in the midst of a simulated battle, complete with real-world evasive maneuvers, when the Juraian barrage lent the situation unexpected verisimilitude.

Galactic Police vessels were no longer subpar, but all known ships were outclassed when it came to Juraian space trees. Kiyone and Mihoshi didn't bother attacking much, for their weapons were only marginally effective, while each Juraian blast was potentially fatal, so instead the dectives had spent most of their time dodging. Unfortunately, there was only so long that such antics could last, and there were no GP ships in the area that they could call upon for assistance.

Ryoko said tersely, "I'll pluck the detectives out of their ships, then Ryo-ohki and I can concentrate on taking out those Juraians." She cast an eye at Ayeka. "No problems, princess?"

Ayeka stared back and said, "Only be sure not to leave any who could hurt my sister again." She wrapped an arm tightly around Sasami, who drew close and hugged her.

Yosho said, "Wait," and the others turned to look at him in surprise. "Let us engage the space trees now, before they can cause serious damage to the detectives' vessels." Noting everyone's stares, he added significantly, "We may need every ship we can get."

Ryoko frowned, but said, "We're practically in weapons range anyways." Ryo-ohki meowed fiercely as she prepared a salvo for the space trees.

The two vessels broke off their attack on the detectives and moved at top speed away from the planet, on a course out of the system. Ryoko murmured to Ryo-ohki, "After them!"

"But what about Mihoshi and Kiyone?" Tenchi protested.

"Hull integrity and life support is fine, they'll be all right," Ryoko assured him.

"But this may be our only opportunity to reconnect with everyone for some time," Yosho pointed out.

Ryoko snapped, "If we don't take out those Juraians now, we may never be able to. Besides, I find it annoying to have my jailer playing a backseat driver."

Tenchi looked at his grandfather, a bit confused. "Yeah, Grandpa, won't they just come back if we let them get away?"

"Even if we destroyed these, Lord Tenchi," Ayeka said, "I fear more would be sent. I do not believe they were acting alone. This is a conspiracy."

"Yeah, but you don't know that," Ryoko growled. "And even if you're right, these might be the only conspirators! We could be letting a perfect opportunity slip away."

Tenchi said decisively, "Ryoko, please turn back. That could be an ambush or something. Besides, we need to find out what went on, and Mihoshi and Kiyone might know more."

Ryoko grumbled, but Ryo-ohki turned back. To Tenchi's surprise, he saw on Ryo-ohki's display (projected purely for the convenience of the other passengers, as Ryoko didn' need it) that Yagami, Kiyone's ship, was leaving the system rapidly. "Where's she going?" he asked aloud. Ryoko replied, "I don't know, but she's not talking."

Washu said, "No, I think it makes sense. They keep track of practically everything on a GP cruiser."

"Huh?" Tenchi asked.

She didn't have a chance to answer, because Mihoshi contacted them, and said excitedly, "Hey, everyone! Are you all right?"

Nobuyuki said for them, "We all made it somehow, but where'd Kiyone run off to?"

"Oh, she's fine too," Mihoshi said. "She told me to stay with all of you while she went to report to Galactic Police Headquarters."

Washu finally had her chance to explain. "Exactly -and she realized everything would go much smoother for her if there were no records that she was chatting amiably with a former pirate, the universe's preeminent mad scientist, and royal family members who've just had an attempt made on their lives. Now she'll look like an ordinary detective making a report about weird things going on in her beat."

"Um, but she's kinda talked to all of us a lot before this," Nobuyuki pointed out. "Don't they know that already?"

"That is kinda the hitch in the plan," Washu admitted.

Tenchi turned to Washu slowly and asked, "Wait, Washu, are you suggesting someone officially authorized killing us, and that's why Kiyone's safer without any ties to us?"

Washu frowned. "I don't like saying it, but that is one of the more likely scenarios."

Yosho said, "That's why I'm afraid none of us will be going home for some time."

Nobuyuki and Tenchi exclaimed, "You're kidding!" They both, however, could see the terrible logic. "I know this doesn't matter as much," Nobuyuki still said, "but what about work? What about Tenchi's schooling? What about the people at my office, do you think they'll be all right?"

Yosho adjusted his glasses. "I can't make any guarantees," he sighed, "but it's more likely that the more we stay away from them and from Tenchi's school and our home, the safer we'll be. In fact, the further we stay away from Earth, the safer everyone should be."

Tenchi looked out at the display, which was showing Earth. He hoped he'd see it again soon.

Tessei stood on the bridge of the Juraian space tree that had partnered with him and opened a communications channel to Tetta's tree. When Tetta's face appeared on the viewscreen, neither spoke a moment, until Tessei snarled, "We failed."

Tetta disagreed, "We made the best plans we could, we all fought valiantly. Now we must simply deal with the situation."

Tessei gesticulated angrily. "You know what I mean! It's all lost now! We had to achieve all our objectives in this one stroke. Now all will be lost."

"Not necessarily," Tetta asserted. "There are many ways to accomplish what must be done. Historically, there are many who have survived one desperate battle only to fall in another fight."

"Yes, yes," Tessei allowed. Tetta closed the channel as Tessei turned and summoned his officers. When they were assembled, he said, "For the moment, we are still operating according to the plan: we withdraw until the planet's night, at which time we will return. Whether our targets have returned or not, we'll reclaim our fallen, then proceed to the chase. Dismissed."

Next Chapter

Kiyone is breathing heavily on the bridge of Yagami. "I never thought I'd be attack by the government," she says in wonderment. "But I'm sure there has to be an explanation!" she adds almost desperately. She sighs and assures herself, "I'll find out for sure in the next chapter, 'No Need for Darkness'. If I'm not arrested first." She swallows hard, not quite able to enjoy her own attempt at rueful humor.

Continuity with Dragonwiles

Dragonwiles reposes in state in the library of his lair. Looking up from his book, he greets, "Welcome to this special segment, in which I give a few brief continuity notes."

"This chapter, as you may have recognized, is my version of the beginning of the main arc of the Tenchi Universe series. I can't quite recall how serious or formidable were the reasons that Tenchi and everyone were forced to leave Earth, but I'm fairly sure I've toned it up some.

"There are other changes of my own from the Tenchi Universe beginning. As you may recall, Tetta and Tessei appear only briefly at the end of the arc. This was unsatisfying to me, so since the first chapter of this fanfiction, I've included them and attempted some manner of study as to why they might betray their king, or at least side with a traitor. I can't remember whether in Tenchi Universe they actually did betray the previous king, or simply sided with the new king whom they knew was evil.

"Also, although Kiyone ends up at GP HQ in the Tenchi Universe series, I don't believe that she goes there right away. I can't quite recall how she ends up there."

"Finally, as you may recall, I've made up Sasami's pets in this chapter, as I have in nearly all of the chapters, except for her alien ferret."

Chapter 49 Main Chapters Chapter 51