Dragon Lady of Macross
Written By Calamity Cordite
Developed by Calamity Cordite and James R. Axelrad
Ranma stood in the lobby of her barracks building looking at photos of the SDF-1 taken at various times since its crash on Macross Island. She was thinking about a certain dark skinned self-appointed social director. She couldn't help but smile as she thought of Claudia Grant, the third and last person to know her secret and one of two people still alive that she considered a true friend. She would never forget the night she confessed herself to Claudia...
9 months ago...
"Hey Ranma," Claudia grinned. "You ready to go?"
"Yeah, I guess," Ranma said coming out of the barracks in her ground-side casual uniform. This consisted of a black jacket with a gray striped collar and pale purple piping over a black skirt that fell to just below her mid thigh. On her feet were black flats and her crimson hair was in a French braid, tied with a black velvet ribbon. "I still don't see why you insist on dragging me out."
"Like you have anything better to do," Claudia smirked. "You need to decompress, girlfriend. You have no social life." Claudia straightened her own uniform which was like Ranma's except hers was khaki with black stripes on the collar and had white piping.
"Maybe I don't want a social life," Ranma griped. Claudia rolled her eyes.
"I guess that's really too bad then, because I'm dragging you out and we are going to have fun tonight," Claudia laughed.
"If you weren't my friend..." Ranma said darkly.
"Lucky thing for you, I am your friend, Miss Jet Jockey," Claudia said as they drove to the club. Ranma snorted.
Several minutes later they pulled into the parking lot of 'The Vortex', a popular club frequented by UNEDF personnel. Claudia shut the car off and looked over at Ranma.
"Well, we're here," Claudia observed. "Now just take that scowl of your pretty face and let's go inside." Ranma glared at the dark-skinned woman. "Oh come on, Ranma, let's see that smile that melts hearts all over the base...pleeeeease? For me?" Ranma held out for almost 20 seconds of Claudia's pleading before finally giving in and giving a slight smile. "Good girl. Now lets party!" Ranma snorted again as they got out of the vehicle and made their way inside the club.
It was early yet so they didn't have a hard time finding a table to sit at. Ranma insisted that they take one in a dark corner in spite of Claudia's protests that they should sit where they could be better seen. Claudia eventually backed down and the two women sat at the table Ranma wanted. Soon the waitress came over and took their orders.
Ranma sighed in delight as she polished off her third cheese burger. She daintily wiped her hands on the napkin and then drained her third beer. Claudia just shook her head at the spectacle.
"Bitch," Claudia said playfully. "You must have a tape worm or something to eat that much and still stay so slender."
"Or something," Ranma agreed with a smirk.
Things had really started to pick up as the club filled up. The music played loudly as Ranma and Claudia shouted over it, swapping stories and laughing as the alcohol loosened them up, well, loosened Ranma up anyway since Claudia was not very uptight to begin with.
"You dated THE Roy Fokker?" Ranma said with wide eyes.
"Yup," Claudia nodded. "He was a bit of a playboy, but he was a riot to hang out with. That's one man that knew how to have fun, unlike some other pilots I know." Ranma stuck her tongue out at Claudia and they both started laughing.
"Hello there," Ranma looked up from her laughter to see a young UNEDF Marine lieutenant with an Australian accent standing next to her. He stuck out his hand to the redhead. "I'm Russ Newton." Ranma grimaced.
"Nice to meet you," Ranma said in a flat tone. "I'm sorry but I'm not interested in getting picked up so please shove off, Lieutenant," Ranma said with a hint of frost. Claudia eyed the hunk that Ranma was in the process of shooting down.
"Don't be rude, Ranma," Claudia grinned. She stuck out her hand. "Hi, I'm Claudia Grant, and my brusque friend here is Ranma Saotome." The man's eyes widened.
"You mean Ranma 'the Dragon Lady' Saotome?" the young officer said in surprise.
"That's the one," Claudia confirmed.
"Hey fellas! You gotta come over here!" Newton yelled and waved to the group of men at the table Russ Newton had come from.
Ranma rolled her eyes and glared at Claudia. Claudia smirked back. Soon the table was surrounded by jarheads.
"Hey fellas," Newton said, "I'd like you to meet THE 'Dragon Lady'." All the men looked surprised and then cheered. Ranma suddenly found her back slapped and her hand pumped by all the jarheads as they introduced themselves.
"Hey Ranma," Claudia grinned, "you never told me you were famous."
"You bet she is, Ma'am," a sergeant spoke up. "Our battalion was moving in on a large rebel force in hills of Greece. Our company got cut off and pinned down by a couple of Hinds. The gunships took out our LAVs and Humvees and we had a lot of wounded. We couldn't get a medivac in because of the gunships and we could see a rebel tank company and about two companies of infantry moving into the valley.
"We thought we were finished when suddenly one of the Hinds blew apart. Then this Super Hornet rockets into the valley and strafes the shit out of the other Hind. Even as its flaming wreckage is falling, the Hornet flies down the valley and launches a spread of Mavericks at the rebel armor. On the second pass, the third tank is taken out. The Hornet comes around for a third time and shacks the last tank with a GBU before making a fourth run dropping a cluster bomb.
"The enemy infantry pulled back in disarray while the Hornet orbited the area while we waited for the medivacs came in. We found out from the helo pilots that we owed our asses to the Dragon Lady who had requested permission to break away from her flight to assist us. We'd have been dead meat if it hadn't been for her."
"Yup," Lieutenant Newton agreed. "What do you say fella's, are we lettin' the Dragon Lady here pay for anything tonight?"
"Hell NO!" the marines barked in unison.
"Thanks, Guys," Ranma said blushing, "but really, I was just doing my job. It was nothing anybody else would have done."
"But you were the one that did, love," Newton grinned.
"Now don't you feel bad for being rude earlier, Lieutenant?" Claudia teased.
"S'okay," Newton smiled. "As lovely as Dragon Lady here is, I'm sure she gets tired of beatin' the fellas off with a stick."
"You right about that," Ranma said. "That's why I don't go out much. I'm not interested in having a relationship but I can't go out and relax without every jackass in the place coming on to me."
"Tell you what, Lieutenant," the older non-com that had told the story said. "You don't have to worry about that tonight. You heard the Dragon Lady, you jarheads! She wants a nice relaxing evening out and doesn't want to be bothered." Ranma grinned as the Marines effectively set up a perimeter around her and Claudia.
Ranma was surprised to find herself having a great time partying with Claudia and the 5-42nd Marines. All the guys respected her boundaries and none of them came on to her. She'd even seen them turn away more than a few guys headed in her direction. Her drink was never dry and the stories were interesting. Ranma was almost able to forget her guilt over what she felt to be the basic deception of her life.
It was in the small hours of the morning when a pasted Ranma and a less pasted Claudia sat in the car in front of Ranma's barracks.
"Ranma?" Claudia asked. "How come you weren't interested in Lt. Newton? He was very cute and seemed to be a very nice guy."
"Doan like guys like tha," Ranma slurred.
"So you like girls?" Claudia asked. "You're a lesbian?" Ranma fixed her with a bleary look for a minute as if thinking of something. She seemed to come to a decision.
"'S'not whatcha think," Ranma said.
"What is it then?" Claudia asked. "I don't mind if you like girls. I consider you my friend and your sexual preference won't change that."
"Ya really wanna know my dirty little secret?" Ranma asked still fixing Claudia with that intent, slightly weaving stare that only someone who is very drunk is capable of. "You gotta promise never to tell a soul."
"Sure," Claudia said. "I promise it stays between you and me." Ranma gave an exaggerated drunken nod.
"'M a guy," Ranma said. Claudia blinked at her for a second then they both burst into laughter.
"That was a good one, Ranma," Claudia gasped as she regained control of herself.
"I'm serious," Ranma said through her diminishing bouts of laughter.
"Oh please," Claudia grinned. "There's no way that body of yours is male."
"S'magic, Claudia," Ranma said seriously. "S'ancient Chinese curse. I's born a guy. Lived the first shixteen years of my life a guy 'til my idiot pop dragged me ta China." She saw Claudia looking at her like she has lost it. "I can prove it."
"Okay, Ranma," Claudia smirked. "This I gotta see."
"Not here," Ranma said. "Need really hot water. Come up to my quarters and I'll show you."
"Why, Lieutenant, this isn't just a big scheme to get me into your room is it?" Claudia grinned. Ranma rolled her eyes.
"D'ya want shee or not?" Ranma asked.
"Okay, okay, I was just teasing," Claudia laughed.
The two women went up to Ranma's room where the redhead filled a tea kettle with water and placed in on a hot plate. She then disappeared into her bathroom and returned several minutes later wearing a large fluffy bathrobe and apparently nothing else. As the kettle heated up, Ranma spoke.
"Now you gotta watch closhly the firsht time cause this s'gonna hurt like hell s'I don't want to do it more than onsh," the redhead said.
She opened the top of her robe, exposing her breasts and picked up the kettle that had just started to whistle. Claudia gasped as the girl dumped the scalding hot water over her head, gritting her teeth to keep from crying out.
"What the hell?" Claudia breathed as now where the petite young woman had stood, there was a gorgeous black haired hunk. His sculpted chest rippled with muscle as did everywhere she could see that wasn't covered by the now tight fitting robe. "How is that possible?" she asked in wonder.
The sun had been up for quite some time when Ranma finished her tale. She had returned to being female so that they didn't get into trouble for having a guy in the female BOQ. In the end, Claudia felt sympathy for her friend. She agreed to back off on pushing Ranma to date but she didn't relent on getting the redhead out more. She did assure Ranma that she remained her friend, much to Ranma's relief.
And so it was that Ranma added a third name to her list of true friends.
Ranma was brought back to the present by someone snatching her up in a tight hug and twirling her around like a rag doll.
"Ranma! It's so good to see you again!" Claudia Grant exclaimed excitedly. "It's been a long time!"
"It's good to see you too, Claudia," Ranma laughed as she hugged her friend back. "Look at you! You look good and you're a Lieutenant Commander now!"
"Yup," Claudia said proudly. "I'm the Second Officer on the SDF-1. You look good to, GIRLfriend! Hey, did Roy mention I had a surprise for you? Guess who the XO is on the SDF-1?" She turned Ranma around to face the person who had been standing quietly watching the reunion.
"Lisa?" Ranma said softly, taking a few steps forward. "Oh my god, it's been so long. Oh Lisa..." Ranma gathered the brunette in a hug. "I was so sorry to hear about Karl."
"Oh Ranma," Lisa said, suddenly clinging to Ranma as she dissolved into tears. "I miss him so much. It's so good to see you." Ranma hugged the crying woman comfortingly, stroking her back.
"I know, I know, Sugar," Ranma said soothingly, as her own tears fell. "I do to. He was one of the three people I consider to be my closest friends."
Claudia watched as her two friends comforted each other. She couldn't help but smile. To her knowledge, this was the first time that Lisa had let her grief for Karl Riber show since they had heard what happened to Mars Base Sara. She was getting a glimpse of the rarely seen emotional side to Lisa Hayes. Claudia thanked the powers above that there was at least someone her cool professional colleague felt comfortable letting her walls down in front of.
"God it's good to see you again, Lisa," Ranma said as they separated. "I missed you. How have you been?"
"I missed you too, Ranma," Lisa replied. "I've been okay. Just taking things one day at a time, losing myself in my work. How about you?"
"The same, I guess," Ranma smiled. "I guess it's paying off for you. You made Commander and you're the XO of the SDF-1? Congratulations. Wow, how lucky is that? I get to serve with my two closest friends!" Lisa giggled in spite of herself.
After a quick detour to Ranma's suite to repair the running mascara and damaged makeup, Ranma found herself in the company of her two friends plus one Roy Fokker at a Chinese restaurant called the White Dragon. Over dinner, Lisa and Ranma caught each other up on their lives since the Academy. Ranma and Roy swapped a few flying stories while Claudia told Lisa and Roy about her time with Ranma trying to pry her out of her shell.
After dinner, Roy took them to a nightclub for a few drinks. The blond man smirked at the jealous looks he was getting from the other guys.
"What are you smirking about, Roy?" Claudia asked cheerfully.
"Oh not much, just that I'm the envy of the room, accompanying three such beautiful women as you three," Roy said smoothly. Claudia laughed merrily while Lisa blushed shyly. Ranma just rolled her eyes.
It was at that point the waitress arrived and placed a drink in front of Ranma beside her half finished one. Ranma looked at her in question.
"It's from the gentlemen at that table over there," the waitress pointed out. "They also said they would be paying your tab for the night."
Ranma looked annoyed as she sought out the table in question, but the look soon cleared as she recognized some of the marines from the Vortex and later outings with Claudia. She smiled and waved to them. They waved back.
"Give the gentlemen my thanks," Ranma smiled to the waitress.
"What was that all about?" Lisa asked.
"Our little Ranma here has a fan club," Claudia giggled. "Seems there's a few marines out there that have adopted her as their guardian angel after she saved them from being overrun. She's not allowed to pay for anything when there are marines around."
Lisa and Roy laughed while Ranma just smiled and shrugged.
"I gotta use the head," Ranma said a while later.
"I'll go with," Claudia agreed.
The two women got up and headed toward the ladies room. After using the facilities they stood before the mirror freshening up their makeup.
"So does Lisa know?" Claudia asked causally. Ranma could tell be her emphasis what Claudia meant.
"Yeah, so did Karl," Ranma said.
"I think we should tell Roy," Claudia suggested. "He can handle it and you can trust him."
"I don't know, Claudia," Ranma replied. "The more people that know, the more likely it will be to get out."
"I know, but Roy can keep his mouth shut," Claudia assured her. "Think of it as expanding your circle of close friends. He might just be able to help you out if it ever does come out. But he has to know beforehand."
"I'll think about it, okay?" Ranma conceded.
"Good girl," Claudia smiled. "If you decide not to tell him, I'll respect that, but I think it's a good idea." With that they left the ladies room.
Ranma was weaving through the crowd behind Claudia when she felt a hand on her arm stop her.
"Now why is a pretty little thing like you running around pretending to be a soldier," a large man asked. His buddies all laughed. "A girl like you should be at home, safe and protected with a man to provide for her every whim." Ranma looked down at the hand still on her arm as if it were dog feces.
"Remove your hand from my arm," Ranma said through gritted teeth, "before you find out just how much pretending I'm doing."
"OOO, a sassy one," the man said in mock fear. His cronies chuckled. "I don't think so little one. Not until you tell me your name and agree to dance with me." Ranma closed her eyes and took a breath, thinking about how much pain she wanted to cause this idiot versus how much trouble she was willing to get into because of it.
"Wrong answer, Scumbag," another male voice said from behind Ranma. She looked over her shoulder and saw about five large marines standing there looking very menacing.
"Sergeant, I can handle this jackass," Ranma said.
"I'm well aware of that, Ma'am," the sergeant grinned nastily. "I've sparred with you before. We just don't want you to have to get your hands dirty taking out this trash." Ranma thought for a second and nodded. The noncom's grin broadened and became more threatening as he continued "As for you, knucklehead, you had best take your meat hooks off the Lieutenant if you know what's good for you."
"Oh and I guess you think you can make me, huh?" the man retorted and his cronies stood preparing to fight.
"Damn right," the noncom said reaching out and grabbing the wrist of the hand that was on Ranma. The man holding her howled in pain as the Sergeant's grip became crushing, grinding the bones of the man's wrist together. Ranma's arm was released and the sergeant said to her, "You go on and enjoy your evening, Ma'am. We'll take care of this filth for you."
"I appreciate that, Sergeant," Ranma said. "I really didn't want to get thrown in the brig for putting a civilian in the hospital on my first day on the island."
"Our pleasure, Ma'am," the marine grinned, still grinding the ruffian's wrist in his grip. "Any time." Ranma walked away as the brawl broke out.
"Ranma, what are you doing?" Lisa demanded. "We've got to stop this fight!"
"Ah, let'em have their fun, Lisa," Ranma said. "They're defending my honor against some jackass and his crew that tried to force themselves on me. Besides, they'll go easier on the prick than I would have."
"She's right, Lisa," Roy said. "It's best just to let them get it out of their system. At least it's for a good cause rather than them just picking a fight with the sailors like normal."
"So why do you all want to go over to my place?" Roy asked again as he pulled into the parking garage of his apartment building.
"Because you are the only one with an apartment," Claudia explained patiently...again. "And you aren't allowed passed the lobby where we live."
"I know that, but why do I need to be there?" Roy asked, exasperated with how mysterious these women were acting.
"You'll find out soon enough," Claudia grinned as Roy parked the vehicle.
Nothing more was said as the three women followed Roy up to his apartment. He was perplexed when Claudia instructed him to put a pot of water on the stove and bring it to a boil. While Roy was doing that, Claudia showed Ranma to the bathroom and snagged one of Roy's bathrobes for the redhead while she undressed. When Roy returned to the living room with a pot of water, he was surprised to find Ranma, naked except for one of his robes sitting on the couch between Claudia and Lisa.
"Set the pot on the table and sit," Claudia said to him. Roy complied, getting more confused by the minute. "Now, Roy, do you believe in magic?"
"Huh?" he asked.
"It's a simple question, Roy," Claudia teased. "Yes or no, do you believe in magic?"
"I think there are things in the universe we can't explain yet, but I'd have to say, no, I don't believe in magic," Roy answered.
"Well, prepare to have your paradigm shifted," Lisa grinned.
"You see, sir, I'm cursed," Ranma began. "This isn't the body I was born in. I'm really a guy." Roy looked at her like she was nuts, but Ranma continued to explain about Jusenkyo and her decision to live in cursed form. She finished up and said to Claudia and Lisa, "You guys got to see the whole change, but I ain't showin' him my breasts or nothin'."
"Of course not," Claudia agreed. Ranma nodded.
"Now watch close, Sir, because I'm only doin' this once. The water burns like hell," Ranma said.
Roy nodded, sitting forward with interest. He would normally think this was all a big joke, but Claudia and Lisa seemed to believe it, so he wasn't ready to discount it. Ranma took the pot of nearly boiling water and dumped it on her head, a small whimper escaping her as she was scalded.
Roy's jaw fell open as Ranma's form seemed to flow and expand. Before him where the redhead was sitting was a very well built black haired man. Roy was shocked speechless for several minutes.
"I never thought I'd see the day when Roy Fokker didn't have anything to say," Claudia laughed cheerfully.
"You think we broke him?" Ranma said in his male baritone.
"I don't know, maybe," Lisa said, waving her hand in front of Roy's face then snapping her fingers. That brought him out of it...sort of.
"I...what...who..." the blond man stammered.
"It's magic, Roy," Claudia smirked.
"That's incredible," Roy said, finally putting together a coherent sentence. "And you say you were born a male?"
"Yes, Sir, I was, and I was one for the first sixteen years of my life," Ranma confirmed.
"How can you live like that?" Roy asked. "I mean doesn't it feel totally wrong?"
"At first, it was hard to deal with because consciously my mind was telling me that I was a guy, not a girl and it was wrong," Ranma explained. "However, the scary part was that it didn't FEEL wrong. It didn't feel any different from my male body when I was female. I learned that the curse comes with a sort of buffer to keep the victim from going nuts. It provides all the instincts needed to use the body and help the person adjust.
"It doesn't mess with the mind, but it helps not to have to fight the feeling of being in a strange body while your mind tries to make the adjustment. That was the hardest part. I had to fight all the ultra macho chauvinistic conditioning that my pop had beaten into me. If the body didn't feel so natural to me, I probably would have killed myself. Instead, I chose to not let this beat me.
"It wasn't easy, mind you, but I adjusted to being female. Hell, I've lived as a female so long now, I'm a little uncomfortable in my male form. I don't think I'd take a cure if one existed. The only down side is I feel a little like I'm lying to people. That's why I don't have many friends. I feel a sense of guilt for hiding something from them. That's also why I could never be in a relationship. I'm not into guys, even as a girl, and even if a girl was interested, I feel like she'd be interested in something that's not totally the truth."
"That must suck," Roy said.
"Yeah, but I've accepted it as my fate," Ranma sighed sadly. "As the song goes, My prison is walking through this world all alone. At least I have my career. That gives me enough of a purpose to go on. I do still have my career, don't I, Sir?"
"Um, well, yeah, sure, why wouldn't you?" Roy asked.
"Because you know they would kick her out of the service if they knew about this," Lisa said. "That or they'd try to turn her into some sort of lab rat. Roy, you have to promise never to tell anyone about this. We talked her into telling you because we thought you needed to know in case it ever does come out. As her CO, you should be prepared for that."
"And we thought she could use another friend she doesn't have to feel guilty around," Claudia added.
"Alright," Roy said decisively. "Your secret is safe with me, Ranma. But please, change back. You're giving me the willies." Roy grinned to take the sting out of his words.
"Yeah, no kidding," Ranma laughed. "Sitting around in a bathrobe between two beautiful women isn't doing much for my composure either." He got up and headed for the bathroom, not noticing both women staring at his body, in particular his butt.
"Ahem," Roy cleared his throat. Lisa, blushing already from Ranma's compliment, turned an even darker shade of crimson while Claudia just smirked.
"What, Roy? You're the only one allowed to look?" Claudia teased. "I saw you checking her out a few times tonight. Besides, hunk or hottie, Ranma is totally gorgeous. Don't you agree, Lisa?"
"Uh huh," Lisa nodded distractedly, licking her lips, then realized what she just said. She wiped a little moisture off the corner of her mouth and began to stammer. "I mean, I...uh..." She stopped and blushed in embarrassment while Claudia and Roy laughed.
Dictionary of Acronyms and other Jargon
(As requested by Lerris)
2IC-Second In Command
AMRAAM-Advanced Medium Range Air to Air Missile
APU-Auxiliary Power Unit
ATC-Air Traffic Control
AWACS-Airborne Warning And Control System
BDU-Battle Dress Uniform (fatigues)
BOQ-Bachelor Officer's Quarters
CAG-Commander, Air Group
CAP-Combat Air Patrol
CAS-Close Air Support
CBU-Cluster Bomb Unit
ETA-Estimated Time of Arrival
GBU-Guided Bomb Unit
HARM-High speed Anti-Radiation Missile
JSDF- Japanese Self Defense Force
LAV-Light Armored Vehicle
SAM-Surface to Air Missile
SDF-Super Dimensional Fortress
UNEDF-United Nations of Earth Defense Force
UNEDC-Untied Nations of Earth Defense Command
RDF-Robotech Defense Force
XO-Executive Officer (second in command)
Angels in reference to altitude is a navy thing, and is a way of saying flight level, which basically means adding three zeros on the number for the altitude reference. (JRA)