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Chapter 53 Main Chapters Chapter 55

No Need For Questioning

Washu says to the audience, "Hi, everyone! I'm Little Washu, the best inventor ever! I wasn't getting enough of a part, so I made Dragonwiles give me this D.J. part and an interesting scene at the beginning of this chapter."

"No, you didn't!" Dragonwiles protests.

"Of course not," she agrees patronizingly. "Anyway, is week, our song is 'Last Kiss' from Orphen. Dragonwiles doesn't own it, OK?"

"You're the greatest DJ, Washu!" her A robot exclaims as it climbs onto her shoulder.

"You're the greatest actress, Washu!" her B robot exclaims as it climbs onto her other shoulder.

"You're the greatest, Washu!" they exclaim in unison as they take out remote controls and aim them at the sound system. The melancholy but active song begins to play.

Washu found Tenchi, which really wasn't too difficult since they were both on the same spaceship. There weren't really too many places to go, since the ship didn't have more than ten or fifteen rooms, depending on how one counted them.

"Come on, Tenchi, I think it's time for more data!" Washu said encouragingly to him. "I think we need to examine you, and those Light-Hawk Wings!"

"I don't think that's really necessary," Tenchi said quickly. "In fact I probably ought to, er..." He trailed off.

"Ha, you're not at home, so you haven't got chores or homework to scamper off to!" Washu chortled. "There's no evading the clutches of modern science!" She summoned her phantasmal keyboard into existence and began typing rapidly. Tenchi briefly considered at least making an effort to flee, but it was ridiculous to consider fleeing one or two compartments and hitting a dead end or an intersection where he could be easily caught. There were times he really missed the house. Well, he missed the house most of the time, really.

Washu abruptly made her phantasmal keyboard disappear. "Just like the data I got from Ryo-Ohki," she said with satisfaction.

"What?" Tenchi squawked.

"Well, she's a high-speed battleship in one of her forms," Washu explained. "It seemed only reasonable to make her able to see where she's going, where her target's at, and all sorts of other interesting little sensor gizmos."

"No, I mean, you had the data already?" Tenchi clarified his irritation.

"Yeah," Washu said. Seeing Tenchi's look, she defended herself, "It's always best to do things yourself. Besides, an unrepeatable measurement is worthless! Okay, okay, I got a few new measurements just now, too. Fine, I guess you'll be wanting to know what they are?"

"Not really," Tenchi said with certainty. "But since I'm an involuntary lab rat, I figure I ought to at least get answers to the questions I want to ask."

"I'll probably regret giving interpretations before mulling over the data, along with some food," Washu sighed, "but if it'll get you to stop squirming next time, I guess I'll agree. What do you want to know?"

Tenchi said immediately, "Dad wanted me to be sure to ask you whether the Light-Hawk Wings could go out of control, or if they're draining my life, or if there's some limit to how many times I can use them."

Washu grumbled, "What is this, a visit to the doctor? And did he get those out of his sci-fi manga?"

"They are kinda important questions!" Tenchi insisted.

"It's not as though I really know the answer to that, because you are the first being of any sort in galactic history besides a Juraian space tree to make Light-Hawk Wings," Washu warned him, waggling a finger. "Still, the data I've gathered indicates that it is no threat to you. It rests quietly, nearly undetectably, when not in use, and it's quite stable when in use. It isn't drawing power from you, so there's no threat or limit that I can detect."

"But, then, where's the power coming from? How did I get it, anyways?" Tenchi asked.

"If you really want to know, you wouldn't get antsy when I want some data!" Washu chided.

Tenchi groaned. "I know the answer anyways, Lady Tsunami gave it to me," he decided.

Washu debated, "You don't know that! That's a possibility, not something we know. The Wings seem to be so in tune with you, so compatible, that you may well have been born with them. Maybe Lady Tsunami unlocked them, and that was all."

"Well, did she?" Tenchi asked, slightly impatient.

"I don't know from this data," Washu shook her hands, "and you don't either. I wasn't around when you got this power, so maybe I'll never be able to know." She paused a moment, then added, "The logical thing to do would be to ask her yourself."

"I guess so," said Tenchi. He had never thought of this before, but considering it now, he wasn't sure how he'd talk to her. Apparently that answer would have to wait until such communication was possible.

"Why the concern, Tenchi?" Washu asked seriously. "They're not giving you any problems, are they, those cool Wings?"

"No, in fact they're better than ever," Tenchi reassured her. "Almost as soon as they appeared, I got the armor, and then the sword. It's just that I still can't control when they appear, and if they hadn't, we would've been in serious trouble. I'd like to know how reliable they are, and if there's anything I can do to control them or use them better."

"I'm afraid those are answers that I just don't have, Tenchi," Washu said. She turned and almost left the room, then half turned and said, without quite looking at him, "Thank you for doing what you did, Tenchi."

He responded, "Thanks, but, I was only doing what I had to do." He wasn't quite sure how he meant that, or what she took it to mean. It was his understanding that Washu had made Ryo-Ohki and Ken-Ohki, and he guessed that she loved them both. Tenchi said to her, "Ken-Ohki, something's changed about him, hasn't it? He wasn't like that before."

Washu laughed sadly. "No, he wasn't, was he?" She managed to look more in his general direction. "Please, excuse my sentimentality. I should be more clear about the things you need to know."

Tenchi was afraid he knew what she meant, but he couldn't allow it. He couldn't let her tell him how to kill something she loved so much. "No, Washu, you don't have to. If this is none of my business-"

She cut him off, "Don't be too sweet, Tenchi." She looked at him gratefully nonetheless before adding, "It's not as though I know everything about him, anyways. What I do know that is new, I was going to tell to everyone anyways. You can help me confirm my interpretation. Somehow, since the last time we met him, he's grown the ability to have a humanoid form, and wield energy sabers in that form. It suggests that, like Ryo-Ohki, he's assimilated an additional power source. She assimilated the experimental Mass that got loose while we babysat your cousin Taro, and as a result she can morph into a humanoid form. Now, what sort of energy is it which Ken-Ohki has assimilated?"

Tenchi thought for a bit, then suddenly remembered. When he and the others were helping Lady Asahi Takebe free her father, the Juraian space tree carver, they had ended up on that world that mined Hielzen S. Yatsuka, that's what its name was. Tenchi had fought the local lord, who had a staff of that mineral, and when Tenchi had sliced that staff, there had been an explosion just like the one that had occurred when he cut off Ken-Ohki's arm.

"Hielzen S," Tenchi realized. "Somehow Ken-Ohki's taken that in!"

Washu nodded. "Ryo-Ohki's energy readings of his body and the blast, and your knowledge of both blasts, make it nearly certain. I'm not quite sure what it means, especially since there are a few ways it could've been integrated into his body, but the benefits and unintended consequences you've seen first-hand. There may, of course, be more effects we haven't seen yet. So, be careful out there, OK?"

"I will," Tenchi agreed, and Washu left. Tenchi decided it would be much more comforting to know that his strikes could blow up his enemy's body if Ken-Ohki were not so proficient and fast - there was no guarantee that Tenchi could score a hit before Ken-Ohki did.

Tenchi paced into the common area of the ship. There was a similar compartment on the other GP vessel. He sat down and was briefly alone in the room until Sasami entered.

"Tenchi, I was looking for you," she said. "I thought I'd throw a special celebratory dinner. What do you want to eat?"

"Thanks, but, it's really not necessary," Tenchi demurred.

Sasami shook her head merrily, "Of course it is! What do you want to eat, Tenchi?"

Tenchi tried to think through the options available to them from Yagami and Yukinojo's stores, and suddenly had a thought on another subject. Sasami had assimilated with Tsunami. Tenchi wasn't exactly sure what that meant, but it might mean that Sasami could ask Tsunami something, such as how he got his Light-Hawk Wings.

Tenchi said, "I'll think about it, Sasami. Before I give you an answer, may I ask you a question?" She blinked at him, and he continued, "I don't want to make you uncomfortable, but, if you wouldn't mind, would you please ask Lady Tsunami something for me?"

Sasami stared at him a moment, then put a finger to her chin and said, "Tenchi, I'm afraid I'm not much help. I haven't been able to talk to Lady Tsunami for some time now."

"No, Sasami, don't worry - wait, you talk to Lady Tsunami regularly?" Tenchi said, surprised.

Sasami explained, "It only started recently, our talks together. But ever since we had to flee your house, she hasn't said anything to me, and I haven't been able to speak to her."

"Why do you think that is?" Tenchi asked. Then he put his hand over his mouth. Of course! Tsunami liked the royal family. So of course there would be any number of things that Oda might've done to her. "I'm sorry, Sasami," he offered.

"No, Tenchi, don't worry," she smiled at him. It took Tenchi a moment to realize she'd repeated his words from a few moments ago, and he laughed, at which she smiled more.

"Have you decided what you want for dinner?" Sasami asked.

Ken-Ohki sat in a chair in the inn, trying to relax his body and mind. At the moment he was only managing to relax his body. With mental support from Nagi, he'd managed to overcome the pain in his wrist and the perturbed Hielzen S energy flowing through his body, so he could finally regenerate his hand with his Mass powers. After some time, the Hielzen S had finally restabilized, but Ken-Ohki's mind hadn't. Somehow that boy's sword had destabilized the Hielzen S, meaning that could happen the next time they faced each other. Not only that, but such destabilization seemed to require a prolonged recovery period - or so Nagi insisted. He could not conceal from her the physical or mental effects of the ordeal because of their mindlink, so he trusted her judgment, but it was aggravating and humiliating.

Nagi returned from her errand, obtaining some packaged food for the both of them. "Here," she said, pushing his package towards him before opening her own. "So, not much change?" she asked to make conversation. Their mindlink told her that, and told him she was going to say that, but he liked practicing conversations, since for 700 years he had been unable to participate in anything except thoughts between himself and Nagi.

"No, not really. I'm mostly fine," he insisted. He ate a few bites, then sighed and said, "Nagi, we're back to the beginning."

"We're not licked yet," Nagi insisted. She took another bite.

"We've revealed our ace!" Ken-ohki disagreed. "The Hielzen S was our best shot at stopping Ryoko. Now there's someone who not only can stop me despite it, but somehow can turn it into a weakness! With that boy countering me-" - it still wrankled to admit that, but no progress towards justice would be made with unclear vision - "-our only advantage against Ryoko is gone. Without a space tree, Ayeka is countered by you, but since I'm countered by Tenchi, we'll be overwhelmed by him and the others."

"The situation has fundamentally changed," Nagi admitted. "But some of it is still the same. Ryo-ohki is powerful as a spaceship, but she's still weak on the ground - we were able to confirm that much. And she and the princesses are still too recognizable, as are Ryoko and the detectives. We now know their strategy of disguising the Earthlings to conduct planetary business, and that's unsustainable. So all we need to do is take those parameters and turn them into a strategy that will prevent Tenchi from being able to reach and counter you. If we have to take them one by one, we'll do it that way. One way or another, we'll make sure they'll all face justice. There are few others who can do it."

Ken-Ohki nodded. "It is our duty." He paused, then asked, "How could he, that boy, Tenchi, have grown that much?"

Nagi shrugged. "I honestly have no idea. But I think you and I are proof enough that people can grow quite a bit when they see the need to."

Ken-Ohki decided he had to accept that, having no better ideas. Besides which, it wasn't entirely impossible. Their own careers, and each painful step towards earning their reputations, might've seemed unbelievable to someone who had known them long ago. Then he frowned. He didn't like the directions Nagi's thoughts were taking, on a new topic.

Nagi frowned back and thought at him more directly, "Honestly, Ken-Ohki, I'm only curious. Anyone would be. Oda was one of the best pirate fighters around. He was doing his job well, and was honored for it, even if he didn't have much name recognition. He was only supposed to be returning to Jurai for a routine report and inspection of the new recruits he'd be integrating into his fleet. Then, the kings and queens disappear conveniently, and suddenly Oda gets to be king?"

Ken-Ohki irritably thought back at her, "For your sake I'll go back to thinking at you instead of speaking, but even these thoughts are dangerous! The Juraian Council decided who would be the next king, and Tenchi and those princesses are criminals for trying to go against it!"

Nagi pressed him mentally, "And why didn't the Council make either of the princesses the next monarch? They're the missing king's daughters, and they get totally skipped over for Oda?"

"We aren't Juraians," he mentally snapped back. "We don't know what they're looking for in a king, and it's none of our business, either. We follow the law, and we enforce it, too."

"That goes without saying," Nagi attempted to placate him. "But you have to admit that if Oda's flimsy excuse about the princesses allegedly betraying their father is false, then skipping entirely over the princesses is itself a breach in the law that has not been answered for."

"Are you sure that the princesses are not the traitors?" Ken-Ohki challenged her. "We do not truly know them. Treason often comes from unexpected places."

"I don't know if that's true about treason in general," Nagi disagreed. "But it's true, we do not know them. By the same token, we only met Oda a few times, after collecting some bounties on the frontier. It didn't seem like he would turn out to be a traitor. Yet either he is a traitor, or the princesses are traitors. And no one has yet produced any proof, or even specific charges, against the princesses. It reeks of conspiracy, of injustice."

"What are you proposing that we do about it?" Ken-Ohki wanted to be simply querulous when asking that question, but he couldn't quite be. Much as he didn't want to admit it, Nagi had asked the questions they both knew that they had both been thinking about. They both knew they had a hope that the other would, as usual, be able to come up with a practical plan that satisfied their senses of justice.

"For now, there's nothing we can do," Nagi would've said that with a sigh if she were speaking aloud. "But let's not forget justice, just as it never forgets us. Ryo-Ohki, Ryoko, those others, they need to pay for their crimes. This conspiracy, though, bears investigation, and if the Juraians will not do it, we must. Whoever the traitors are, they must pay for they crimes as well."

"At this time, though," Ken-Ohki thought for both of them, "we can finally bring to justice Ryoko, and that Ryo-ohki."

Kiyone finished straightening up the captain's quarters on Yagami - it felt good to have that sort of name on her room, even though it wasn't all that grand a place. She was going to straighten up more around the ship - what with people coming and going and needing to rest, there was more work to do in that regard than usual.

She stopped short a moment. There were voices coming from the guest bunkroom. Sasami had been staying in the primary guest quarters, and this didn't sound like her. One of the voices sounded like Ryoko, and the other was totally unfamiliar. Kiyone considered just opening the door - she was responsible for this ship, after all - but decided it would be more polite to signal first. Ryoko's voice said louder, "Come in."

Kiyone did so and found Ryoko and Ryo-ohki, the latter in humanoid child form. "I was concerned, because I heard voices," Kiyone said. "Who was that, just now?"

Ryoko shrugged, "It was just me and Ryo-ohki, practicing."

"Oh," Kiyone said, nonplussed. "Practicing what?"

"It's a surprise," Ryoko said mischievously.

"All right," Kiyone said, and left. She seriously considered watching security recordings to find out what had been going on, but it would probably be a choice between that or getting the common room clean, and she really wanted the common room clean.

Later that day, Washu gathered the others into Yagami's lounge, explaining, "I think we should all see this; it's the speech Oda gave at his coronation. We were understandably distracted, so it didn't seem best to show you guys it again that day, but it might be important to know as we go on." She didn't add that they weren't using Yukinojo's lounge because Mihoshi, and Tenchi in an attempt at being helpful, had managed during routine maintenance to cut off all nonessential energy to that vessel's lounge.

Oda gestured towards the crowd and said, "I can assure you all that a quest important to the Empire is to try to locate the previous monarch. Even if we no longer hold hope that he is alive, we owe it to him to give him a proper burial. However, I am sure he would not want us to be solely concerned by the dead when the living are at risk, which is why Ryoko and Princess Ayeka and all their co-conspirators, even Princess Sasami, must be caught and brought to justice as soon as possible. Our fleets are scouring known space and the GP has been alerted, and we are in addition offering bounties for information, capture, and termination."

Oda spread his hands and continued harshly, "Current events show that we simply can no longer overlook the deterioration of the Juraian nobility, or the threats of the organized criminal elements who can provide support for this uprising. Granted, many of our nobles have not betrayed us, and we will honor loyalty. However, all of us have long been aware that many nobles have lapses of honor and competence, and I will consequently be reviewing all records and removing many unsuited persons from their posts. Our nobility must live up to their mighty ancestry."

The recording ended, and Washu dismissed her phantasmal keyboard.

Nobuyuki shook his head. "He even wants Sasami arrested for conspiracy? This Oda will do anything to stay Emperor."

Ryoko said darkly, "There's nothing we can do to make his lies stop but get him, I bet."

"Hopefully before his poisoning of minds takes full effect," Ayeka agreed.

Lord Takebe, his daughter Lady Asahi, and her fiance Gohgei watched yet another Galactic TV news report about the new king of Jurai and the hunt for the renegade princesses intently. When the news left recent events, Asahi was not surprised to see her father crying, similar to how he had when he first heard the news.

"These are dark days for all the galaxy," Gohgei said somberly.

Asahi repeated the question that had been on her mind most since they saw the coronation on the Galactic TV, "How can they just accept Oda as their ruler, Father?"

Her father answered, with anger directed towards Oda, "Between his speeches, his other lies and threats and neutralizing all who stand against him, he has, he has-" He took a calming breath. "He is darkening all our minds."

Asahi took some steadying breaths, and Gohgei placed a comforting hand on her shoulder. She worked up the courage to squeeze it and asked both him and her father, "I am relieved to see Sasami and the others are safe, since the bounties are still active, but they are unlikely to be on Earth any longer, are they? Where shall we go now?"

Gohgei thought to himself that their destination would not be determined by their own needs or safety; in wisdom handed down from ancient times, food-bearing plants, and earth, water and air to sustain them, were upon both Mimasaka and Lord Takebe's space tree. With their own practical needs met, they needed to think about how to help others.

Gohgei mused aloud, "I think that boy Tenchi would head straight for Jurai."

"Or as straight as possible," Lord Takebe mused aloud. "Yes, such would be his aim. How we may follow, with only two vessels, I am not sure."

Asahi pointed out, "They wouldn't have more than two or three either, father."

He nodded, and said, "But I would rather take an entire fleet to him, since Jurai must be retaken."

Asahi squeezed Gohgei's hand harder and swallowed down the exclamation of horror she wanted to give. She could see the situation clearly, and she knew there were few, if any, other options.

Gohgei asked Lord Takebe, "You've determined our destination, then?"

He nodded. "Yes. We must go to my friend, and trust that he is still my friend."

Mihoshi, on the bridge of Yukinojo, exclaimed in fear. "Oh, no, oh no! Hey, everybody!" She opened up the comm and shouted, "They're coming!"

"Who's coming, Mihoshi?" Tenchi asked as he scrambled onto the bridge.

"There's Juraian ships right in front of us!" she exclaimed.

"Can we outrun them or dodge them?" Nobuyuki asked.

Kiyone's answer came from Yagami's bridge, "Not in our GP cruisers. And there's worse news - we've just been cut off. The Juraian from Nagi's posse is coming up behind us - he probably alerted the ones in front of us."

Mihoshi jabbed several times at a button on one of the control panels in front of her. Yukinojo's AI announced nervously, "The Juraian vessels aren't responding to our hails, Officer Mihoshi."

Ayeka looked at Yosho and said sorrowfully, "Then, we have no choice, do we brother?" Yosho bowed his head and cupped his chin in his hand a moment, but eventually he shook his head and glanced at Ryoko.

Ryoko said tersely, "Let's make this quick." She turned towards the wall. Tenchi turned towards her and said, "We'll make sure their deaths mean something. We have to." She looked back and nodded, then walked through the hull and out to Ryo-ohki, who had just expanded into spaceship form.

They in subdued silence watched the carnage through the viewscreens and instruments. Tenchi noticed that Mihoshi's hands were tightly clenched in her lap, and Ayeka's quiet sniffles were interspersed with soft singing of some sort. It was a very melancholy song.

The battle was mercifully brief. Ryoko and Ryo-ohki, the latter now in cabbit form, returned to the bridge. Ryoko told Ayeka, "They fought well."

"Indeed, they did. Thank you for honoring their last battle," Ayeka replied.

Next Chapter

"Things are never going to be safe for us for very long, are they?" Tenchi asks, troubled.

Lord Takebe responds, "I fear things will not be safe for us, either. But since there is danger in every course, we must do something. I trust my friend, so I'm going to him for help."

"I agree," Tenchi nodded. "Especially since according to the script, in the next chapter, Oda will be sending a new enemy against us. Of course, usually our enemies have been people we already know. So who do we know who isn't already out to get us?" Tenchi thinks a moment, then says, "Well, a few people, anyways. But who would Oda pick?"

Lord Takebe announces, "We'll find out in the next chapter, 'No Need For Honor Wandering in the Murk'."

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."

"Again, most of this chapter did not occur in any Tenchi canon.

"Tenchi canon may or may not have an official interpretation of just where the Light-Hawk Wings that Tenchi has in the OVA come from.

"I don't remember Sasami ever regularly talking to Tsunami, especially since the latter only existed in the OVA.

"Some of the latter half of Nagi and Ken-Ohki's conversation was based on something that always bugged me about Tenchi Universe - why on earth would two princesses be skipped over by the Council for a more distant relative? Of course, I had already seen the OVA, in which they are the king's only heirs, since Yosho is presumed dead. The Universe series seemed to be implying that somehow Ayeka and Sasami weren't very close in line or family to the throne - but then, why are they princesses? Naturally there may be something about Japanese nobility and titles which I'm unaware of here. In any event, I decided to answer my own questions while I was assimilating the OVA and Universe stories. I decided to make Ayeka and Sasami the children of the king, but the usurper would use strong-arm tactics and blame Ayeka for the disappearance of the previous king, to make it seem like he had a better claim to the throne."

Chapter 53 Main Chapters Chapter 55