A.D.V. American Vacation Chapter 8

All Ranma characters are property of Rumiko Takahashi, first published by Shogakugan in Japan and brought over to North America by Viz Communications. And the Kung Fu characters aren't mine either.

             A Different Viewpoint: American Vacation pt 8

    After about a minute, a black sports car pulled up and into a parking space.  A tall man, a few years older than Johnathon Dwire stepped out of the driver's side.  A medium sized woman got out of the opposite door, and they both took a good look around.

    Skalany shrugged.  "I don't see any sign of them.  You sure about this, partner?"

    Peter Caine shrugged back.  "It's all we have to go on, but I know they said they'd be coming to this restaurant about now.  He blinked, and pointed.  "And there they are now!"

    Skalany looked in the direction Peter was pointing.  "That's them... or is it?  That's the guy in black, but that's not the girl next to him, though he's wearing the same clothes she was."

    Peter's eyes narrowed.  "It's got to be the guy Kermit and the Captain say they spotted.  Come on."

    The two police detectives started heading for their targets at the same time Akane spotted Ranma and Johnathon.  "There they are, Kasumi." She started to wave.  "Ranma, John-san!  Over here!"

    Skalany hissed to Peter as they neared the two martial artists. "About what the Captain says she saw...."

    Peter shook his head.  "She was still in shock.  There's no telling what she saw."  < And what did I see, some sort of monster?  Or was it just a guy in a mask?  Whatever it was, it was wearing all black, like Ranma's student, Johnathon....>  Peter Caine paused, suddenly noticing something different about the tall man in black.  "Hey, Skalany, he's wearing gray tennis shoes now, he wasn't before."

    Skalany nodded but said nothing, as she and Peter had gotten close enough to the two men they were approaching to be overheard.  A few more steps brought them together.

    Johnathon Dwire/Tendo nodded politely.  "Peter, Peter Caine, right? Decided to have dinner at the restaurant with us?  I hope you can get a table...."

    Peter shook his head.  "Actually, I'm here to ask you a couple questions, and it's 'Detective' Peter Caine."  He brought out his badge.  Peter glanced at the pig tailed teenager next to Johnathon. "And
you are?"

    "Ranma!"  A short haired teenage, japanese girl called out as she walked up to them, accompanied by an older, taller young woman, who appeared to be related to her.

    Peter turned to face the new arrivals and looked around.  "Ranma, where?"  Ranma grimaced, waving side to side at Akane over the Detective's shoulder.

    The pig tailed martial artist switched to Japanese, speaking quickly.  "Akane, don't call me that.  This guy knows my girl side as Ranma, we're trying to hide the curses, remember?"

    Peter Caine blinked, not following the conversation at all, except for the words 'Akane' and 'Ranma'  "What are you talking about?"  He demanded.  "Where is Ranma?  I need to speak to her too."

    Johnathon interrupted, gesturing to Peter and speaking to Akane and Kasumi.  "This is Detective Peter Caine.  He wants to ask us a few questions.  Ranma-CHAN and I met him earlier today.  Of course, SHE isn't here right now."

    Akane glared at Ranma and spoke angrily in Japanese.  "What have you done now, Ranma?  Can't you stay out of trouble for even one day?"

    Peter was quickly getting frustrated with their rapid fire Japanese.  He was pretty sure that the girl had asked the pig tailed guy a question, mentioning Ranma's name in the process.

    Peter broke in to Ranma and Akane's argument.  "Excuse me, but I don't speak much Japanese.  Who are you anyway, Mr...?"

    Ranma, not really paying attention to the Detective, began to angrily retort to his fiancee. "Akane...."

    Peter got a hard look in his eye.  "You're Akane, huh?"  Ever since hearing female Ranma's casual description of her fiancee, he had been wanting to meet the man.  He had gotten a picture in his head of a glowering bully, an truly contemptuous member of humanity.  This 'Akane' was reacting with enough anger to this new girl to make Peter begin to believe his initial impression was right.  He tapped Ranma on the shoulder soundly. "So, you're Ranma's fiancee."

    Both Ranma and Akane blinked at that, and turned to face the Detective.  The menace in Peter's voice was not unfamiliar to them, but the reason for it escaped them.

    Ranma jumped to the wrong conclusion.  < Oh!  He's jealous over my girl side!  Damn!  I don't need another Kuno!>

    Akane also leapt to a quick, but inaccurate judgment.  < Oh great! Ranma's gone and done something to this guy!  What's wrong with him?>

    Then together they both caught the meaning of the Detective's words.  "Akane?"

    Akane blinked in confusion.  "What are you talking about I'm...."

    Ranma slipped his hand in front of her mouth.  "Yeah!  I'm Akane."

    Akane elbowed him hard, driving him away.  "Ranma!"

    Ranma grimaced but interrupted again quickly.  "Ranma not here right now.  I go get, yes?"  The pig tailed marital artist grabbed Akane by the wrist and dragged her quickly off toward the restaurant.  She went without a struggle, but the look on Akane's face would set tree's on fire. Peter Caine nearly started after them, frowning intently.

    Johnathon broke in , sensing trouble.  "Excuse me... detective? What exactly did you want to ask us about?  We haven't committed any crimes, have we?"

    Peter hesitated, turning to him.  "We're not here to charge you with anything."  < Yet.>  "But you were identified as being at the scene of a crime.  An officer was shot."

    Johnathon hesitated.  "A terrible thing.  Is the officer alright?"

    Kasumi moved up close to her husband, looking worried.  "Oh my! Johnathon, are you alright?"

    Johnathon patted her on the back reassuringly.  "Nobody shot at me, dear.  Don't worry."

    Kasumi smiled in relief and blushed very slightly, feeling a bit shy.  "I'm glad."  < Johnathon is much so at ease with me now.  It's like we've been married for years.  I hope nothing serious happened.>

    Skalany brought out a notepad.  "Sir, you, and a man fitting 'Akane's' description were reported to be in the area, right before the shooting.  Could you tell us what you saw?"

    Johnathon hesitated again.  "Ah...."  < The police woman, was she following us?>  "I didn't really see anyone get shot...  Although I did hear some gun shots.  Two, I think."  He paused.  "What exactly happened?  I'm not sure I can tell you what was going on."

    Peter blinked.  "What happened?  We're asking you that!  You're the witness!"

    Johnathon hesitated again.  "OK, I'd like to help, but I don't know how much I can tell you."

    Peter's eyes narrowed.  "I'm sure.  This happened only around an hour ago, just outside of Chinatown.  Does that ring any bells?"

    Johnathon nodded.  "Sure, I heard the shots at that time, and I was in the area.  You say an officer was shot, right?  How is she doing?"

    Peter nodded.  "She's going to be fine, just a graze, thankfully."

    Johnathon looked relieved.  "That's good.  Did you arrest the... assailant?"

    Peter hesitated, then nodded again.  "We're pretty sure we got the guy.  But we could use some corroborating evidence to nail him.  If you saw anything that could help...."

    Johnathon looked thoughtful.  "I saw four men in a black car.  I did see they had some guns.  I didn't see them shoot anyone I'm afraid.  I left after that, I honestly was afraid of getting shot myself."  < By one of you.>  Johnathon sighed mentally.  < I dislike skirting the truth so closely, but what choice do I have?  If they discover I turn into a 'monster' who knows what they'll do?>

    Skalany continued to write in her notebook, and spoke up.  "Did you see any of their faces?  Could you identify them?"

    Johnathon hesitated for a long time.  "I'm... not sure...."  < I'm pretty sure I can identify them, but... oh hell.>  "Yeah, probably.  Do you want me to come down and identify them?"  He looked genuinely worried. "They wouldn't have to see me, would they?"  < If they see me, they'll be able to tell the cops I transformed, and maybe even guess how.>

    Peter Caine shook his head, misunderstanding Johnathon's worry. "No, you can identify them through a one way mirror, in a line up. They'll never see you."

    Johnathon nodded absently, thinking hard.  < It's only right I do this, but I really don't want my folks involved.  They're likely to figure out my curse if I give them too many clues.>

    Peter was thinking hard as well.  < He's hiding something.  But what?  He's connected to that... whatever it was I saw... but what was it I really saw?>

    Ranma, now female, came walking back, Akane following right behind. Akane looked grim, but calm, while Ranma tried not to look too apprehensive.

    Peter noticed them approaching and smiled faintly.  "Oh good. Ranma, can we talk?  I'd really appreciate it if you'd help me by answering a few questions."

    Ranma hid her anger.  < Damn it.  Why does every guy I meet fall for me?>  "What you want to know?"

    Johnathon broke in.  "Ranma, Peter would like us to come down and identify the men that shot that police woman.  He says we can do that without them seeing us."

    Ranma blinked, then looked at Johnathon, wondering what he was thinking.  "Um...."

    Peter nodded.  "We'd just like you to come in for a short time, identify the men, and give us a brief statement, if that's alright."  < Why am I backing off?  Besides the fact that Ranma could break me in
two....  OK, that, and she's cute as hell.>

    Skalany rolled her eyes but said nothing.  < Peter Caine, you idiot, she's engaged.>  She sighed to herself.  < At least if she and this Johnathon come down to the station we'll be able to get some more
answers.>

    Johnathon nodded slightly and Ranma turned back to Peter with a sigh.  "Yes, I will come with you."

    Johnathon interrupted quickly.  "This is my honeymoon, and we do have reservations.  Is it necessary to come down right now?  I'd appreciate some time to talk to my folks, let them know everything is alright."  < And I need the time to come up with a cover story for my folks, so they don't find out about any 'cat monsters'>

    Peter Caine hesitated, then nodded.  "Sure, you can come in tomorrow and identify them.  We'll give you a call at home in the morning.  Is that alright?"  < It's not quite procedure, but I think this could work to our advantage.>

    Skalany nearly protested, but stopped herself.  < What is Peter up to?  He had better know what he's doing.>

    Johnathon nodded.   "That is fine.  I'll be waiting for you call. Let me write down my phone number for you."  He borrowed a piece of paper from Skalany's notebook and her pen.  "Is after ten tomorrow morning alright?'

    Peter nodded easily, feeling more confident.  "Sure, that's fine." < That will give Kermit plenty of time.>  He turned to Skalany.  "We'll let you get back to your dinner.  Thank you for your cooperation." Peter led Skalany back to his car.

    When they were out of earshot, Skalany turned on Peter.  "What are you thinking?  Why let them go until tomorrow?  Don't tell me you are thinking about that little red head...."

    Peter Caine shook his head quickly.  "No way!  I just thought I'd give Kermit the time to do some background checks on our witnesses.  We can't hold them without a charge, so it's a lot better if we have something before they show up, then after they leave.  I figure since they just got in from Japan, it might take Kermit a few hours to do the job."

    Skalany nodded in understanding.  "I get it.  We'll be able to find out if there's any connection between them and that creature first, so if there is...."

    Peter finished for her.  "We know what buttons to press to get the truth."  He paused.  "I figure if we spook them too much, they'll just get back on a plane to Japan, and we really can't stop them... yet."

    Skalany nodded.  "OK, I buy it.  I hope you're right."

    Peter sniffed confidently.  "Aren't I always?"  He chuckled.  "Don't answer that."

    Back at the restaurant's front entrance, Akane was angrily confronting Ranma and Johnathon.  "Didn't I ask you not to cause any trouble, Ranma?"

    Ranma sighed.  "Akane, like I tried to explain before, I didn't start anything!  Those guys came after us on their own!"

    Johnathon spoke up.  "They apparently wanted revenge for us winning the martial arts tournament.  Ranma didn't do anything to provoke them."

    Akane sighed.  "Alright, I believe you.  It's just, I was hoping for a nice quiet vacation."

    Kasumi spoke up.  "What did happen, Johnathon?  These men attacked you and Ranma?"

    Johnathon explained recent events to Kasumi and Akane, ending with his fleeing the scene in half cat form.  "After that, Ranma stalled the cops for awhile, then joined up with me.  I had to stop and get some new shoes, though."

    Kasumi looked alarmed.  "Oh my!  You transformed in public?  Do you think that police woman saw you?"

    Johnathon shook his head.  "No, she seemed surprised to see me, and that was several seconds after I transformed.  I think the men in the car may have missed it as well.  They all, however, did get a pretty good look at me.  It doesn't help that there was no place for me to have gone.  I wouldn't be half surprised if some of them have figured out that me and the creature they saw are the same."

    Ranma shrugged.  "Well at least all four of those goons were caught by the police.  Who's going to believe them?"

    Kasumi looked over at the restaurant blinking.  "The Dwire's are probably starting to wonder what's happened to us, don't you think?"

    Johnathon nodded.  "Yeah, let's go in.  We'll talk about this later tonight, after dinner.  I don't want my folks worrying, alright?"

    Akane and Ranma nodded, and they all went in to the restaurant together.

        ************************

    At the precinct, Peter and Skalany checked in with Kermit to see if he had found anything.

    "Nothing yet."  The ex mercenary replied tersely, hunched over his keyboard.  "Just a few minor... inconsistencies...."  He smiled ferally.  "I love 'minor inconsistencies'"  He turned to Peter.  "Oh, I
sent those shoes up to the lab boys.  They said they'll have a report on my desk in the morning."  He grinned.  "I'll have something to go with it by then as well, I think."

    Peter nodded.  "Good, keep on it.  Those shoe's are something.  Our man in black?  He was wearing gray shoes when we caught up to him.  New gray shoes."

    Kermit grinned further.  "We tie that up, it places him not ten feet from where the captain got shot."  He turned to face Peter, frowning. "The four guys we busted weren't talking much, and when their lawyer showed up they shut up, but there was one thing they kept repeating over and over."

    Peter blinked.  "What?"

    Kermit's eyes would have glinted, if you could've seen them through his ever present sunglasses.  "Henoyoki.  I looked it up, it means shapeshifter.  Shapeshifter demon."

    Peter grimaced.  "Shapeshifter huh?  Great."

    Kermit nodded emphatically.  "Interesting, isn't it?"  He turned back to his computer.

    Peter motioned to Skalany with his head.  "Come on, we need to talk to my father."

    In a chinese herbalist shop in downtown Chinatown, Kwai Chang Caine sat in meditation.  He felt the presence of his son, and his... friend, Mary Margaret Skalany, even before they were greeted by the Ancient, Lo Si.

    "Peter...."  Began the venerable master.  "Your father is... deep in meditation... he should not... be disturbed."

    Caine rose easily, his mind calm and called out to the outer room. "It is all right, old friend.  I have finished."

    Lo Si entered the meditation chamber, followed by Peter and Mary Margaret, his son's sometime partner and his... lover?  Girlfriend?

    Kwai Chang dismissed those as inappropriate, and greeted Skalany as he always did.  "Mary Margaret, it is always good to see you."   He turned to his son.  "Peter, you have... questions?"

    Lo Si looked interested.  "You have... clarified the vision? Discovered the truth behind what you witnessed?"

    Caine nodded.  "I have."

    Peter looked questioningly at his father.  "How did you know I would have questions?  What vision did you have to clarify."

    Caine raised a hand.  "Peter... you always... have questions.  And as for what I saw, I sought to discover if I had been deceived, if my sight had been clouded by illusion."  He shook his head.  "It was not."

    Lo Si nodded knowingly.  "Ah."

    Peter circled his hand encouragingly.  "OK, I'll bite, What is it you saw?"

    Caine shrugged.  "I do not know."

    Peter nearly fell over.  "Pop... come on, you have to have seen something!"

    Kwai Chang Caine nodded.  "I did."

    Peter nodded tiredly.  "What did you see?"

    Caine shrugged again.  "I..."

    Peter groaned loudly.  "You do not know, I got it.  Did you see anything I could use?  Did you see the guy who shot Captain Simms?"

    Kwai Chang nodded easily.  "I did."

    Peter continued.  "You'd be able to identify him, right?"

    Caine nodded again.  "I would."

    Peter sighed.  "Well, that's one problem solved anyway.  Did you see Johnathon and his pig tailed companion?"

    Caine nodded.  "I did.  I also saw Ranma, and... something else."

    Peter blinked.  "Something else?  Like a monster maybe?  A Demon? A... Henoyoki?"

    Caine looked curiously at his son.  "Is that what you saw?"

    Peter shrugged helplessly.  "Pop, I don't know what I saw.  It was black, it was fast, and it had a tail... I'm pretty sure it had a tail. Pop, it left behind black running shoes, like Johnathon wore at the
tournament.  I caught up with him later and he was wearing gray shoes, new ones.  He and, what I saw, are the same, aren't they?"

    Caine shrugged.  "It appears so, does it not?"

    Peter frowned deeply.  "Pop, what was that?  A mask?  A costume? What?"

    Caine shook his head.  "I...."

    Peter interrupted again, impatiently.  "Do not know, right.  Was it some sort of demon?  A... Henoyoki?"

    Caine's right eyebrow lifted.  "A demon shapeshifter?  No.  That it was not."

    Peter stepped back, rolled his eyes, and turned to go.  "Great. Great, pop.  When you figure out what it was you saw, tell me.  Until then, I've got work to do."  He paused.  "Coming Skalany?"

    Mary Margaret shrugged.  "I'll be along in a few minutes, Peter."

    Peter shrugged back.  "Whatever."  He stormed off unhappily.

    Skalany eyed Caine with amusement.  "Come on, Kwai Chang, give. It wasn't a costume, was it?"

    Caine grinned slightly at her enthusiasm.  "It was not."

    Skalany's eyes twinkled.  "Did it have claws, and black fur, like the Captain said?"

    Caine's smile broadened.  "It did."

    Lo Si looked interested.  "Did it have a long snout, like a wolf?"

    Caine shook his head.  "No, shorter, like a cat."  He looked thoughtful.  "It's tail was half it's height, and it's feet were cat's paws.  It's legs were like a cat's leg, partially, having a backward joint at the knee.  It's ears were on the sides of it's head, like this."  Caine moved his hands to the sides of his head.  "And they twitched..."  Caine moved his hands, imitating his words.  "to follow every sound."  Skalany and Lo Si were spellbound, imagining the creature Caine described.  "It had claws, which came out on command, and retracted, like a cat, and it pounced, like a cat."  Caine's smile faded
a bit.  "It was very quick, and graceful, and unique."  He shook his head.  "It was afraid to be seen, and fled."

    Lo Si nodded.  "A fascinating creature."

    Skalany laughed.  "Sounds like you met a monster alright!"

    Caine shook his head.  "It was not."

    Skalany blinked.  "Kwai Chang... were you serious?  What did you see?"

    Caine paused.  "A man... and yet not a man."  He shrugged, and remained silent.

    Skalany looked into Kwai Chang's face for a long moment, then turned to the Ancient.  "Lo Si, do you have any ideas?"

    Lo Si shrugged.  "No."  He answered gruffly.  "This is like nothing I have heard about before."

    Skalany sighed.  "Oh well, guess I'll just break out the silver bullets and hope for the best."

    Caine looked at her questioningly.  "I don't believe that will be necessary, Mary Margaret."

    Skalany shrugged.  "Just kidding.  Silver bullets, werewolves, you know."

    Caine tilted his head.  "Horror movies, ghost stories, this is not. This is a living creature, and not, I think, one you need to shoot."

    Skalany tilted her head in response.  "You don't think it's dangerous?"

    Caine shrugged.  "Dangerous, yes, as am I, as are you.  Peter is dangerous, Lo Si is dangerous, Kermit is dangerous."

    Skalany nodded wryly.  "I get the message."  She shrugged.  "I'll try to keep that in mind."  Skalany turned to go.  "I'd better catch up to Peter.  Good night, Kwai Chang."

    Caine nodded.  "Good night, Mary Margaret."

    She left, and when she had closed the door behind her, Lo Si spoke. "There was something else, was there not?"

    Kwai Chang nodded slowly.  "You know me well, old friend."

    Lo Si nodded.  "I do."

    Caine hesitated.  "I did not only see a man become a... cat man.  I also saw a young man, become a young woman."

    Lo Si blinked.  "Oh?  Could you not... be mistaken, Kwai Chang Caine?"

    Caine shrugged.  "I could be... but I am not."  He grinned.  "I believe that I know the difference, old friend."

    Lo Si nodded.  "I see.  I will have to check my books.  A memory surfaces... an ancient tale, of a place of curses.  What was the name? Ah yes, now I, can recall it... Jusenkyo."

    Caine looked interested.  "Can you show me this legend?"

    Lo Si nodded.  "I believe I can."

        ********************************

    The next morning, at the 101st precinct, Peter and Skalany gathered in Kermit's office, over his computer.

    Kermit was pulling up some files for them to see.  "I checked the incoming flights from Tokyo, and cross-referenced the names, Ranma, Johnathon, and Akane.  There was one match for all three.  Three days ago, Johnathon Dwire, Akane Tendo, and Ranma Saotome flew from Tokyo to SFO.  That is, that's who was supposed to be on that flight.  Ranma Saotome, however, did not debark.  A 'Ranko' Saotome did instead." Kermit called up a passport photo.  "This is, supposedly, Ranko
Saotome."

    Peter Caine frowned.  "That's Ranma, at least, that's what she said."

    Kermit brought up a second passport photo.  "No, according to their passports, that's Ranma."

    Peter looked at the pigtailed young man he had been suspicious of the day before.  "That's Akane, isn't it?"

    Kermit shrugged.  "Well, according to their passports... that's Akane."  A picture of a the short haired girl from the day before came up.  "There was a second Tendo on that flight, a Kasumi Tendo, in the seat next to Johnathon Dwire."  Kermit brought up another picture, this one of Kasumi.

    Peter nodded.  "Well, at least that fits.  She's supposed to be married to Johnathon Dwire."

    Kermit nodded.  "That's what I discovered as well.  He's registered as Johnathon Tendo in the Tendo family register.  I found records on all of them as well, except Ranko, who seems to have just appeared recently.  She's supposed to be Ranma's adopted sister."

    Peter shook his head in confusion.  "They're brother and sister? Not engaged?  His name is actually Ranma?"

    Kermit nodded.  "That's what the records say, why?"

    Peter shook his head.  "Never mind.  Someone is pulling a fast one."

    The door opened and everyone turned to look.

    "Captain!"  Skalany said in surprise.  "You should be in the hospital!"

    Captain Simms shook her head, and tried not to wince.  "I'm fine, it was just a scratch."  There was a medium sized bandage on the left side of her forehead, but otherwise she looked healthy enough.  "Now what have you got?"  She looked at the images on the screen.  "I'm not going to ask how you got these."

    Kermit grinned.  "Good.  We've got Lon Phat's guys pretty well red handed.  Ballistics check out, and you and Caine make two great witnesses.  Illegal weapons, fingerprints, the works.  Those four won't be getting out for a long while.  I was just following up on a few loose ends."

    Captain Simms frowned.  "My... whatever it was, you mean?"

    Kermit nodded.  "And a few other details.  I was checking the backgrounds of the man you were following and his companions.  I also may have found some details on your... whatever it was."  He started pulling up more data on screen.

    Detective Blake, an older, slightly balding man wearing glasses walked in, carrying a file.  "I've got that lab report, Kermit."  He nodded to Captain Simms.  "Good to see you up and about, Captain."

    Captain Simms took the file.  "Lab report?"

    Kermit nodded absently.  "On the running shoes.  Peter, explain."

    Peter Caine nodded.  "We found a pair of black running shoes on the scene, torn socks inside.  They were the same kind that Mr. Johnathon Dwire wore."

    The Captain nodded.  "I do recall that he wore all black."

    Peter shrugged.  "Not later that day.  When we caught up to him later, he was wearing gray tennis shoes, new ones."

    Captain Simms opened the file.  "Alright, I'll bite, what does all this lead you to conclude?"

    Blake indicated the report.  "There wasn't much to go on, except the torn socks and some black hairs."

    Peter blinked.  "Hairy feet?"

    Blake snorted.  "Not unless the guy's a cat.  The hair wasn't human.  It took some checking, but it's cat hair, common black cat hair."

    Skalany's eyes were wide.  "And what if he is a cat?"

    Blake looked at Skalany over his glasses dubiously.  "Beasties and Bogeymen?  Come on now."

    Captain Simms shivered.  "What I saw, wasn't human."

    Blake protested.  "Now Captain...."

    Peter shook his head.  "It was fast, and didn't want us to get a good look at it."

    Kermit spoke up.  "If the Captain says it wasn't human, then it wasn't human.  Take a look at this."  On the screen was the image of a photograph.  Obviously taken in low light, it was still a high quality
shot.  It clearly showed a black furred, black clothed half cat, half man, jumping past a lighted window.  The girl in the window, half undressed, her shirt over her head, was apparently obvious to the creature going by just outside.

    Captain Simms moved forward for a better look.  "That's it!  That's what I saw!"

    Skalany whistled.  "It's just like Kwai Chang described.  Like a cat, and a human at the same time."

    Blake snorted.  "It's obviously a fake!  Where did this shot supposedly come from?"

    Kermit tapped some keys.  "Tokyo, specifically, Nerima, Japan."

    Peter broke in.  "Where Johnathon Dwire/Tendo was supposed to be staying, training at the Tendo Dojo."

    Captain Simms turned to him.  "A connection?"

    Kermit grinned.  "Not the only one.  There was a report, two days ago, from two officers in Rohnert Park, up north."  He turned to face the group.  "They supposedly spotted a man in a cat suit who was reported to be exceedingly quick.  He disappeared after only a few minutes, but one officer claimed he ran like some sort of Olympic sprinter."  Kermit tapped his screen.  "This happened only blocks away from the address of Paul and Clara Dwire, Johnathon's parents."

    Captain Simms nodded.  "A second connection.  Anything else?"

    Kermit nodded, bringing up the original picture, surrounded by several blocks of text.  "Actually, yes.  This is an amateur web page based on our furry friend.  It even has an English text version."  He
started to read out loud.  "Sightings in Juuban and Nerima have confirmed the existence of this monster, one that preys on the young women of Tokyo."  Kermit shrugged.  "A bunch of sensationalized stuff. Besides the photo, there are a number of eyewitness accounts.  The 'Cat
Demon' attacking two women and a man in Nerima, then a number of sightings in Juuban, where is was supposed to have been driven off by a crowd.  It's suggested that it has some connection to the mysterious "Sailor Warriors"  a group of female vigilantes... who's existence is also only rumor."

    Blake blinked.  "The Sailor Senshi?  Now they're real, I've got tons of material on...."  He paused.  "I mean, there's plenty of verification for their existence."

    Skalany laughed.  "A Sailor Senshi groupie, Blake?  I bet you even have a copy of the Sailor V movie."

    Blake looked indignant.  "It's for my niece."  Peter, Skalany and Captain Simms all hid their smiles, trying not to laugh.

    The Captain controlled herself and glanced around.  "So, what is this all leading too?  A were... cat?  Have we got anything more concrete than a few sightings?  Any police reports?  What sort of
incidents can we prove?"

    Kermit shook his head.  "Nothing concrete.  Nothing official at all."

    Peter spoke up.  "Johnathon Dwire was definitely hiding something. Ranma Saotome as well."  He explained about the name switching.  "Why all the misdirection?"

    Skalany tilted her head.  "They have something to hide.  The fact that Johnathon Dwire turns into a werecat, perhaps?"

    Blake protested again.  "This is ridiculous.  There are no such things."

    Captain Simms frowned.  "What I saw was real enough.  I didn't imagine it."

    Kermit nodded.  "I've seen stranger things."

    Peter spoke up.  "I think we have enough to call them in to the station now.  We need statements from Mr. Dwire, and Ranma Saotome, whoever he, or she is."

    Captain Simms nodded.  "OK, do it."

    Skalany hesitated.  "Captain, what are we going to do, if Johnathon Dwire turns out to be... the thing you saw?"

    Captain Simms hesitated in response.  "Actually, I have no idea." She frowned.  "Legally, they've done nothing wrong.  Mr. Dwire has no police record, nor do any of his companions.  We get their statements, and let them go."

    Peter glanced at her.  "What about Lon Phat?  He's still out there, and I'd bet he's not going to be willing to just let things go."

    Captain Simms nodded.  "So we inform Mr. Dwire and his red haired sensei, whatever her name happens to be, of the danger.  We offer them protection and work out a deal."  She clapped her hands.  "Alright, doesn't everyone have something to do?"  Everyone filed out of the office save Kermit and Captain Simms.  She paused at the door and turned to the ex mercenary.  "Am I crazy?  Can I believe I saw some sort of cat... man... werecat... I don't really know what to call it."

    Kermit nodded.  "If you say you saw it, then you saw it.  Don't start doubting yourself now."

    Karen Simms sighed.  "Thanks, Kermit."

    He grinned.  "That's what friends are for."

        ****************************

    Later that day, an hour or so after lunch, Johnathon Dwire/Tendo, Ranma Saotome and Akane Tendo entered the 101st precinct.

    Akane had insisted on coming along, and Kasumi had stayed behind, promising to be careful and deciding not to worry her husband by telling him of the incident at the aquarium.  Johnathon had agreed that it would be safe enough for her to stay behind, as long as she left the Dwire's two dogs outside and stayed indoors.  He hadn't wanted Kasumi to come along to the police station anyway, as there was too much of a chance of something going wrong as it was with two cursed people going.

    The three from Nerima went up to the front desk and the desk sergeant got their names, called back to Captain Simms's office, and pointed to a conference room for them to go to.

    Peter spotted them coming in from his desk and stood.  "There they are now."

    He started in their direction and was stopped by Blake.  "That's your werewolf?"

    Peter shrugged.  "Looked more like a cat to me."

    Blake rolled his eyes.  "Whatever.  He's hanging out with some very attractive young ladies, however."  He shook his head.  "That red head... now she has to be a model or something."

    Peter snorted.  "That red head beat my father in the tournament yesterday."  He walked away, leaving Blake looking stunned.

    Blake blinked incredulously.  "That little girl... beat, Kwai Chang Caine?"

    Peter signaled Skalany and they headed for the conference room. Captain Simms met them there and they went in together.  The three from Nerima were waiting for them expectantly.

    Captain Simms immediately walked over to the red haired girl and held out her hand.  "I'm Captain Karen Simms.  We met, briefly, yesterday?  I believe you may have saved my life?"

    The red head took the Captain's hand willingly.  "My name is Ranma, Ranma Saotome."

    Captain Simms's eyes narrowed for a moment, then she nodded. "Alright.  Why don't we get started with taking your statement.  I assume this is your student, Johnathon Dwire?"  Ranma nodded.  Captain Simms turned to the short haired girl.  "And this is?"

    Akane spoke.  "I am Akane Tendo."  < I am not making up a fake name for myself!>

    "My wife's younger sister."  Johnathon supplied helpfully.

    Peter Caine raised an eyebrow at this, but didn't say anything immediately.

    Skalany spoke up instead.  "And the man we met before, Ranma's fiancee?  She looked at Akane.  Wasn't his name Akane too?"

    Ranma, Akane and Johnathon exchanged looks.

    Johnathon spoke.  "That's complicated...  he can't be here right now."

    Peter coughed.  "Is that so.  Would you like to tell us why he is supposed to be Ranma, and you...."  He pointed at Ranma.  "Are known as Ranko Saotome?"  According to our records, you are supposed to be brother and sister.  Why are you trying to hide your real names?  We just want to get to the bottom of what happened yesterday."

    Akane took all this in as Ranma and Johnathon tried to think of something to say.  < They have our records, there is only one thing to tell them.  The truth, or at least most of it.>  "Ran... ko here is
engaged to an Akane...."  The youngest Tendo blushed.  "Me."
 

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