The Beast Within

Disclaimer: Why are you bothering me? Go bother the creators of Ranma 1/2 , Darkstalkers and others. They own this stuff and I’m just writing a story.

< >: Thoughts

{ }: Anime language

Chapter 19

World Tour Part 8

The HEX-Files

Area 51, Nevada…

Matthew and Nabiki silently navigated through extremely deadly territory in their wolf forms. In their four-legged modes, their of senses smell, night vision and hearing were at their peak as they quietly moved across their first obstacle; a minefield.

For Nabiki, it was bit of a strange sensation to move as a four-legged animal rather than a two-legged one. For one thing, it felt perfectly natural, as if she were standing on her human feet. It wasn’t like crawling on her hands and knees. As for her sense of smell, she was almost overwhelmed by the amount of stimuli she was receiving. She then began to realize the meaning behind some strange training that she had undergone a few days ago.


Flashback to Castle Talbain

Ewww! Why are you making me smell this stuff?” Nabiki asked as she and Matthew were in small chemical lab. On a work table were several test tube racks, filled with various liquids.

Matthew picked up a test tube and handed it to her. “You will encounter different kinds of smells and odors, and many of them are dangerous. It would be best for you to recognize them. Smell that.”

“Yuck! That smells terrible! What is it?”

“That’s plastic explosive, C-4 to be exact.”


“Don’t worry; it’s not actual explosive in that tube. It’s just a chemical that simulates the same smell as C-4. You know how law-enforcement groups and the military train dogs to sniff out hidden explosives and stuff? This is the same principle.”

“You guys encounter bombs on a regular basis?”

“You’d be surprised what my dad and I encounter on our travels. What we have here is a general assortment of things that are to be avoided if possible.”


End of flashback…

Nabiki the Wolf now understood why Matthew had her memorize those smells. It was proving to be quite useful in detecting and avoiding mines and other explosive booby-traps. Her night vision was also picking up heat signatures, which were also given a clear berth.

When they were about halfway across the field, the male half of their pair gave her a slight gesture with the side of his head, and then laid himself down on his belly. She followed suit, just as a large searchlight passed its beam over them. When it was all clear, they continued on their way.

On the other side of Area 51, Jon and Felicia were also making their way through the deadly field of underground explosives. Though the catwoman also had an excellent sense of smell, her feline form was too light to set off any pressure mines. She weighed about the same as an average housecat, and the mines were set for at least 150 lbs, the average weight of a man. She was also quite good at avoiding tripwires.

When they passed safely through the minefield, they came to barbed wire, and an electrified fence. Jon sniffed about and found no hidden explosives or sensors. They both ducked behind a rock formation as a searchlight passed by. When it was clear, he motioned to Felicia with a head movement. The transformed star of Felicia’s Follies meowed quietly as she headed out and made her way to a nearby tree. She effortlessly scaled up the trunk and into the branches, where they were over a guard house. She leaped out of the tree and landed lightly on the roof. She then found an open window and an electrical junction box. Without alerting the guard in the front, she transformed back into her hybrid form and opened up the electrical panel. Finding the corresponding circuit, she reached into her hair and removed a hairpin. Being on the road a lot allowed her to learn a few interesting skills. With a little manipulation, she bypassed the circuit, shutting down the power to the section of the fence where Jon was, without causing the alarm to go off. Her task completed, she closed the box, morphed back into her cat form and returned to her wolf companion.

After confirming that the section of fence was no longer a threat, Jon began digging his way into the compound. Ten minutes later, the wolf was on the other side of the fence with his cat friend.

As for Nabiki and Matthew, they found a novel way into the base. After safely navigating through the minefield, they came across one of the two main gates. Knowing that they couldn’t bypass the electrified fence, they were stumped as to how to get inside when a supply truck came to the gate. Motioning for his girlfriend to follow, Matthew headed toward another large rock formation near the road. With a couple of good jumps, they managed to get on top of the rock, and then used it to springboard themselves onto the top of the army truck. Their dark fur blended well with the camouflage paint scheme and they lay on their bellies, so when the searchlight passed over them, they were missed in the shadows.

The Talbains, Nabiki and Felicia had made it into Area 51. Now the hard part of finding the medallion fragment began.


In Tokyo, near noon…

“Ah, it’s good to be home, eh Saotome?” Soun remarked as he and his family approached the front gate of the Tendo residence.

“Yes indeed Tendo.” Genma responded. “Say, why don’t we celebrate by popping open one of those bottles of French wine Nabiki sent to you?”

“Splendid idea! After all that trouble with the smell, the return of the Dreaded Master and that Anti-Hex spell, I could use a good drink.”

After getting rid of the demonic smell, the Tendos and their house guest had made a beeline back to the city. Unlike their trip out of civilization, they had no trouble traveling through populated areas. With no demonic smell, they weren’t chased out by the citizens, nor denied lodgings and food. Everyone had their carry-ons and backpacks. The rest of their gear would be shipped home later.

As they approached the front door, Soun Tendo’s daughters and the Talbain house staff followed. Kasumi was busy pondering over the book given to her by Cologne. One of the bodyguards, a young fellow with short blond hair by the name of Oscar, walked up toward her and peered over the girl’s shoulder.

“Miss Tendo? What is that you are reading?”

The eldest child of Soun looked up and blushed as she hid the front cover from him. “Oh, it’s really nothing.”

“Is that the book Elder Cologne gave to you? May I see it?”

“Oh no! I’m a little embarrassed about reading this sort of thing and…”

“I assure you, that I will not laugh. A gift from a Matriarch of the Joketsuzoku is no joking matter, unless she intended it to be. May I?”

After a long pause, she handed the book to the bodyguard. Oscar looked at the front cover, flipped through the pages and nodded. He then addressed Kasumi with a smile.

“Ah, I recognize this. You are indeed fortunate. This is a training spellbook for apprentice sorcerers. Judging by the spells in it, I’d say this was written by the Grimbard Sisters.”

“The Grimbard Sisters?”

They happen to be among the premiere magic users on Earth. They are currently in the employ of the Talbanes. The fact that Elder Cologne had entrusted one of their books to you, must mean that you have been deemed worthy to receive their instruction in magic. What did Cologne tell you to do with that book?”

“She told me to master everything in this book, and then she would introduce me to three excellent teachers.”

“Very high praise indeed. She must have referred to the Grimbards. Following her advice would be quite beneficial to you. If an Amazon Matriarch believes you have the potential, then you have been given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Do your best.” Oscar then handed the book back to Kasumi.

“Thank you. I will.”

Behind them, Akane growled a bit at the unfairness of it all. Nabiki was getting foreign martial arts training and traveling abroad, while Kasumi was learning actual magic! As for the youngest Tendo girl, she wasn’t given the opportunity to learn either subject! What was she, chopped liver? She was the best martial artist in Nerima! Surely she was worthy of such training! It just wasn’t fair!

At that moment, a pair of horrified screams was heard just after Soun and Genma entered the house. Everyone else rushed into the house to see Soun on his knees blubbering in front of his liquor cabinet. His entire supply of imported alcohol, as well as his many bottles of sake was gone. His friend Genma was in a similar state of mind, though he wasn’t able to do much about it. As soon as he had entered the den, he was immediately paralyzed and was now being used as a seat cushion by the greatest evil in Japan.

“Welcome home.”

“YOU!” Akane screamed as she went into violence-mode and charged at the intruder to her home, and the one who had groped her chest. However, she had forgotten that Happosai was the Grandmaster to the Anything Goes.



Akane was sent into LEO as Happosai easily deflected her rage-fueled attack. He sighed as he addressed Soun, who was still blubbering at his master’s return and the loss of all the fine liquor.

“What an amateur. Tendo, I am very disappointed at how far your branch of my school has sunk. It’s barely even worth mentioning.” Then he looked down at his seat cushion. “And you Saotome. If you happen to represent all that your side of the Anything Goes has to offer, then the future of my Art is pretty bleak.”

The old pervert then made a grand display of taking out his pipe, twirling it, and then lit it before taking a long drag. He puffed out an impressive smoke ring as he continued. “Now, both of you listen up. I didn’t wait for you at this house just for revenge against you two for sealing me away. I can make you pay for that later.” This statement made the two former students wince. “The truth of the matter is that I’m getting on in years, and it’s high time that I train an heir to carry on the Anything Goes School of Martial Arts. And even though it makes my skin crawl, I’m going to have to pick one of you to undergo my special training.”

Both disciples cringed at the thought of being instructed by the Master again. If the basic training in the Anything Goes was Hell on Earth, then the special training would either kill them or turn them into pervert gnomes like Happosai. Neither outcome was preferable.

At this point, a certain somebody came back down from LEO.



Everyone (including Genma when the paralysis wore off), in the house went over to the dojo, where Akane made a hard landing. The youngest member of the Tendo household was sprawled on her back and seeing stars. She had made a sizeable Akane-shaped crater in the floor, as well as one in the roof.

Soun immediately jumped on this incident as an excuse. “As much I would have enjoyed to honor of being your disciple again, I do have a responsibility to train my daughter Akane!”

Genma also saw a way out as he added, “Yes, and I do have a son to train as well!”

Happosai’s eyes perked up as he heard this news. “Well now, a son you say? That changes things. I might be able to train him better than the two of you. So where is he?”

“Uh, well he’s not here right now.” Genma admitted as he thought to pawn off his son to his old teacher. That would certainly get him off the hook. “He’s got a bit of a directional problem, but he does come in every week or so.”

The old pervert took on an introspective expression. “Hmmm, is that so? I wonder if that was him?”


“Some idiot intruded on me, while I was enjoying that fine French wine.”

Soun let off another sobbing moan as he thought about the elegant alcohol, in which he never got a taste of.

“He was a bit of a brutish dope, not too much on the brain, and he had a kind of bandanna on his head.”

“That’s him! That’s my boy Ranma!”

“Really? Interesting.”

Happosai may have been the ultimate pervert, and possesses the most questionable of morals, but when it came to martial arts, he was also one of the foremost experts in the subject. As he thought back to meeting ‘Ranma,’ he did recall that the boy had moved with some experience in the Anything Goes. However, he also mentally questioned the boy’s connection to Genma.

<I was drunk at the time, but I wasn’t THAT drunk. That boy didn’t have ANY resemblance to Genma. His aura wasn’t right either. I do believe that Saotome isn’t telling the whole story here, and that fool Tendo doesn’t realize that his friend is pulling a fast one!>

Happosai then noticed the pretty Talbain maids and decided to file away his suspicions for later.


He then leapt at the blonde maid named Helen, intent on groping her chest. However, just as he was about to glomp onto her bosom, his eyes caught a metallic flash and saw that she was wearing a pin with the Talbain Family Crest emblazoned on it. He immediately stopped in midair and landed lightly on his feet in front of her. He had a surprised look with a touch of fear on it.

The maid of Jon Talbain’s household glared down at the little letch and was glad that she was wearing the Talbain Family Crest.

“And what do you want?”

Uhm… I was just wondering about that pin you’re wearing.” The ancient pervert said with more than a bit of courtesy in his tone.

Nearby, Happosai’s two disciples looked on in shock. For Soun and Genma, this was the first time they had ever seen the Dreaded Master act so civil. What was going on?

Helen smiled as she fingered the pin on her apron. “Oh do you like it? It was a gift from my employer.”

“And your employer wouldn’t happen to be…?”

“He happens to be the HEAD of the family that we work for. And he would be VERY upset, if he were to hear that his employees were mistreated in any way.”

“Ah yes, let’s do everything possible to avoid that, shall we?”

Happosai then turned about, saw that Akane was starting to regain her senses, and shrugged his shoulders.




As Akane wrestled to get him off her breasts, (an action that just made the pervert hold even tighter), Soun and Genma stood off to one side, and schemed.

Tendo! Did you see how that woman was able to ward off the Master with that pin?”

“Yes Saotome!” The mustached man nodded. “It’s almost as if the Master FEARS that symbol!”

“So if we were to get a hold of one those pins…”

“We would be able to drive him away, perhaps for good!”

“Then let us begin Genma…”

“… and Soun’s…”

“… Operation Pin the Master to the Wall!” Both said in quiet unison.

Little did both idiots realize; that it was the meaning behind the symbol which kept Happosai at bay. Taking one of the pins would not keep the greatest evil in Japan away from them, as they would soon find out.


Speak of finding things…

After jumping off the roof of the supply truck and onto a second-story roof of an adjoining section of Area 51, the teenage wolves made their way toward what appeared to be a large ventilation outlet. The circumference was about ten feet in diameter and the shaft seemed to go down several stories, indicating that it led to an underground area. At first, it appeared to be the ideal way of gaining entry into the base. The grating would be no problem to break open. However, it was that huge, circular fan down below that was daunting. And as much as he was able to heal from grievous wounds and even damage that was considered fatal by human standards, Matthew wasn’t ready to be chopped up into wolf sashimi.

Nabiki snorted her agreement to her boyfriend’s hesitation. However, there wasn’t any other way into the complex other than trying to hack into the sophisticated keypad locking mechanism on the door to the roof. Good luck with that, especially with wolf paws.

At that moment, Matthew’s keen eyes spotted something near the circulating fan. He let off a quiet grunt and transformed into his hybrid form. He motioned for his companion to keep quiet as he looked about the edge of the grate for sensors or alarms. Detecting none, he then applied his werewolf strength and ripped the grate off its foundations. Using a Hidden Weapons technique he had learned from the Amazons, he made a length of rope appear and tied one end to a nearby relay antenna.

Just as he was about to descend down the shaft, he noticed a faint glow coming from Nabiki’s medallion. The female wolf shifted back into her hybrid form as the power of the artifact was exhausted. She stood up, stretched out her arms and flexed her legs before joining him at the opening.

“I guess there was less energy than we thought.”

Matthew shrugged as he said, “Just as well. Follow me.”

“What about the fan down there?” Nabiki asked.

“I think I know how to get past it without setting off any alarms. Just follow me down.”

The two began ascending down the shaft.


On the other side of the compound, Jon and Felicia made their way past several patrols and toward the center of the base. Using their superior animal vision, they were able to avoid infrared sensor beams and navigated easily in the dark. When they came to a building that looked promising, they started to head toward the rear entrance. They stopped some twenty feet and saw that gaining entry wasn’t going to be easy. The rear was guarded by a sentry and his guard dog. The door had a special keypad lock with a security card reader. In addition to using a key card, the authorized person must also punch in the right code on the pad to unlock the door.

Jon considered his options, and decided that getting rid of the guard dog and the sentry was first on the agenda. Looking down toward his feline companion, he gestured with a toss of his head. Felicia nodded as she knew what needed to be done. She raced out of the shadows and shot past the door, in full view of the guard and his canine.

Apparently, even the harshest and most rigorous of training could not wipe out old animal instincts completely as the dog let off a bark and started to chase after the cat. The movement was so sudden, that the guard was pulled forward and off-balance as he hung onto the dog’s leash.

“What the…?! Where’d that cat come from…?!”


A sudden blow to the base of the guard’s skull knocked him out and caused him to sag down to the ground unconscious. His hand went limp, letting go of the leash and freeing the guard dog to chase after Felicia. Behind the now harmless guard, Jon stood in his hybrid form.

A minute later, Felicia raced back toward him with her canine pursuer hot on her heels. However, the dog suddenly stopped as it came face-to-face with the werewolf. There was a tense moment of silence as the two stared at each other. Finally Jon let off a menacing growl.

{“You didn’t see ANYTHING, did you?”}

The guard dog let off a whimper and backed off with his tail between his legs.

{“Nope! I saw nothing! Bye!”}

The dog then ran off, leaving Jon to pick through the unconscious guard’s belongings while Felicia shifted into her catwoman form. The werewolf found a keycard with a magnetic strip on it, hanging from the guard’s belt. He unhooked the card, and then swiped it through the lock’s card reader. Using his infrared vision, he detected that some of the buttons on the keypad had a greater amount of heat signatures than the others, indicating they had been pressed more frequently. Taking an educated guess, he pressed four buttons in a certain sequence, which caused the light on the lock to turn green.

They were in.


Back at the ventilation shaft…

“Are you sure this is going to work?” Nabiki asked as she and Matthew dangled from a rope some sixty feet above a very nasty-looking giant fan that was spinning moderately fast. It didn’t stir up enough wind to be any problems, but the sharp edges were pretty intimidating.

“We’ll see in a minute.” The teen werewolf commented as he ripped open a nearby panel and smiled at what he saw. In front of him were the auxiliary fan control circuits.

Drawing on his past engineering lessons, (being a member of the rich Talbains afforded him lots of education while growing up), he began tinkering with the wiring. The fan below them began to slow down in speed. Matthew couldn’t risk turning off the machine or the people in the base’s control room would take notice on their monitors. However, he could temporarily cause the fan to decelerate enough for his plan to work. When he had slowed it down enough, he called up to his girlfriend.

“Nabs! When I tell you, I want you to let go of the rope.”


“Trust me. Under the fan, I can see that there’s a bend in the shaft about forty feet below. We should be able to land on that without any problems.”

“That’s a hundred-foot drop!”

“Don’t worry! I’ve slowed down the fan enough so that we’ll be able to drop through the spaces between the blades. You just got to watch your timing. I’ll go first, then I’ll give you the signal to let go of the rope. Here goes!”

Jon’s son waited for a few seconds then released the rope. He dropped down like a stone and easily fell through the gaps between the fan blades, like a bullet passing through a propeller’s arc of an old fighter plane. He landed lightly on his feet where the air duct began bending horizontally. He called up to his girlfriend.

“I made it Nabs! Piece of cake!”

“Easy for you to say!” Nabiki shot back.

“Trust me; it’s nothing to be worried about! Just make sure you drop straight down with your body pointing down and your hands over your head! You’ll be fine!”

“Are you sure?”

“I’ll catch you, I promise! Just let go of the rope, remain straight and keep your hands over your head!”

“Okay, I’m putting my faith in you.”

“On the count of three… one… two… three… let go!”

Nabiki released her grip and plummeted down downward. She felt a gust of air whoosh above her as she passed by the fan blades. A second later, a pair of strong, furry arms caught her and stopped her descent. She opened her eyes and gazed upon Matthew’s smirking face.

“Nice of you to drop in.”

Nabiki pushed herself off him in playful annoyance before the two began making their way through the huge air shaft.


Meanwhile, in Tokyo…

Kasumi nodded as she finished unpacking her things and put them away. She then sat down at her bedroom’s desk and opened the book Cologne had given her. On her bed, arranged in good order and easy reach, was a small supply of mystic ingredients that the Elder had provided to help Kasumi get started. She started to read the first chapter and it almost felt like she was back in high school and studying in the library.

Ye who read this, be mindful thou hath begun upon a wondrous journey of magic and miracles. However, also take care of thy patience and temper, lest ye become sorcery’s slave than master.

The eldest Tendo daughter nodded as she remembered how patient and level-headed she needed to be to learn how to cook from her mother’s recipe book. This was no different as she started on the first chapter.

“Magic at its most basic level consists of the physical world, the spiritual entity and the mental strength of the user. The novice magician often begins his or her studies by first strengthening the mind and preparing it before casting spells.”


Back in Area 51…

“Whoa. So this is the Black Box Warehouse?” Felicia said as she gazed in awe at the vast expanse of crates and storage containers.

After getting into the main control center, Jon and Felicia obtained the location of the huge, underground storage facility of the base. They had also disabled the surveillance cameras, alarms and sensors of the warehouse, so they would not be detected once they entered it. After knocking out a few more sentries and scaring off the guard dogs, (Jon could be extremely persuasive in his hybrid form), they managed to gain entry without detection. However, the more daunting task of finding a small medallion fragment in the multitudes of crates seemed like an impossible task. The so-called Black Box Warehouse was about half the size of the Talbain Family Museum.

“You know,” Jon remarked, “in retrospect, maybe we shouldn’t have given Nabiki the medallion. We could have used it to find the fragment.”

“Well, no sense crying over spilled milk.” Felicia commented, and then got a bit thirsty at the thought of having a nice glass of milk. “We can’t just expect Matthew and Nabiki to just show up out of thin air.”

As if on cue, a loud banging noise was heard from above, causing both to look up toward the ceiling. A portion of air duct broke apart as a panel gave way, spilling the contents of the ventilation shaft. Two furry figures landed hard on the floor of warehouse with a loud thump, some twenty feet from the werewolf and catwoman.

Matthew was sprawled on his back with Nabiki on her stomach beside him. His body ached a bit as his ultrafast healing abilities began working on the bruises he had just gained. Both teens had spent a good half-hour wandering about the huge network of air vents and shafts before getting a bearing on the warehouse. It was a good thing that neither of them was claustrophobic.

Jon smiled down at his offspring while offering a hand to help them up.

“Glad you two could make it. I see you took the scenic route.”


A little later, Matthew and Nabiki were exploring a section o the warehouse, while Felicia and Jon were doing the same. In their hands were the pieces of the medallion they had already collected. The elder werewolf had separated the incomplete artifact, giving a fragment to each member of the group, while keeping the last two. He reasoned that if they split up, the odds of finding the sixth piece would be greater.

As they searched through the areas, they began to find some interesting objects that had ended up in Area 51.

“Matt, what’s this?” Nabiki asked as she lifted the lid off a crate, which had a pair of statue arms in it.

Her beau read the label on the side and nodded. “Ever heard of the Venus de Milo?”

“That statue of the Greek God of Love? The one with no arms? Yeah, I remember studying about her in Art Class.”

“These are her arms.”


In another section…

“What do you suppose this is?” Felicia asked as she opened a crate.

Jon went over and winced at what he saw. The thing was cylindrical, with square fins on one end, and a Nazi swastika imprinted on the front. He read the label.

“It says here, that this was the failed German attempt to make an atomic bomb.” He looked over to the bomb’s side and saw a gaping hole. He nodded as he realized the identity of culprit that had prevented Hitler from winning World War II. “I thought so.”

Imprinted on the side was a name, scrawled by a clawed finger in tiny letters.



A few hours later in Japan…

Kasumi took a deep breath as she prepared to cast her very first spell. After memorizing the beginner phrase and going over the mind-building exercises hundreds of times, she picked up her novice wand, which had been included in the supplies given to her by Cologne. The instrument resembled a baton used by an orchestra conductor, but it had been carved from a branch of a Dryad Tree.

Making a gentle wave with the wand, she spoke the incantation.

Practe Bigi Nar Ardescat!” (1)

As nothing happened, Kasumi paused and tried again.

Practe Bigi Nar Ardescat!”

Again nothing happened, as the brown-haired girl looked back at the book to make certain she was speaking the correct incantation. She noted the images of hand gestures and nodded as she realized she needed to flick her wand a bit.

PracteBigi… Nar… Ardescat!”

She waved the wand in a small circle before flicking it.


She nearly dropped her wand as a tiny spark appeared at the point and became a small flame for a few seconds. She gazed in awe as the tiny lick of fire disappeared. To have created fire from absolutely nothing was her first big step into something far greater than she could have ever imagined.


At Area 51…

“Don’t open that crate!”

“Why?” Nabiki asked as she was about to lift the top off.

Matthew pointed to the label on the side which read; Holy Ark of the Covenant.

The middle daughter of Soun Tendo shook her head in disbelief. “Oh come on! You don’t REALLY believe that this might be the actual Ark do you? That was just a movie!”

“I don’t want to find out. And I REALLY don’t want to risk ticking off him.” He pointed straight up, indicating the Supreme Creator.

The female lycanthrope considered his words and nodded. After all that she had seen on their journey, making deities angry, especially the ultimate one, was something to be avoided. She then noticed a very large, steel door, which lead to another room. There were various temperature and humidity controls, as well as a large array of pipes and tanks.

“What’s that?” She pointed to the door.

The two walked toward the strange chamber as Matthew read the sign.

“Cryogenic storage chamber. Hmmm, I guess this is where they keep some of their secrets on ice.”

“Let’s have a look!”

“I don’t know.” Matthew held up his medallion fragment and indicated that it wasn’t glowing. “There’s no fragment in there.”

“Oh come on! I want to see what Area 51 keeps in its cooler!”

The son of Jon Talbain sighed and nodded. He had to admit, he was curious himself. Looking about the door, he found the access keypad and card reader. Using the keycard that his father had gotten from one of the guards, he swiped it through the card reader and punched in the correct code using his infrared vision to detect the right sequence. The huge door opened up, as a subzero chill was felt.

The two entered the freezing chamber and saw that there were at least a dozen or so large glass cylinders, each about eight feet in length and two feet wide in diameter. They were laid out on their sides, and each was connected to a series of tubes and nitrogen tanks. What was the scariest fact of all was that there a body stored inside each tube.

“Whoa. This is a morgue!” Nabiki said as she began to regret her curiosity. Although her hybrid form’s fur coat kept the chill out, she still felt a cold, clammy feeling race down her spine.

“Hmmm. I do remember that there was some experimentation during the last few decades over cryogenics. Some scientists thought a terminally ill person could be frozen indefinitely while a cure could be found.” He walked over to a tube and wiped away the frost on the front. He peered inside and saw the occupant. “Whoa!”

“Who is it? I mean, who was it?”

“Someone that Caesar’s Palace would book for life. It’s the King.”

Nabiki walked over to the cryo-tube and peered inside. Her eyes widened as she saw the face. She couldn’t believe she was actually looking at him!

On the bottom of the tube was a label with the name; Elvis Presley. In Nabiki’s head, she kept on hearing the same, ironic lyrics.

You ain’t nuthin’ but a hound dog…


“Found anything yet?” Jon asked.

Felicia shook her head as she looked through several more crates. She was surprised at the amount of long-lost items and strange relics that were stored in Area 51. She had already come across Abraham Lincoln’s Stovepipe Hat, Adolf Hitler’s pajamas, the Golden Girdle belonging to Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons, (the Greek ones, not the ones in China), Franklin D Roosevelt’s wheelchair, and an actual coonskin cap that was said to have belonged to Davy Crockett. She hadn’t seen this many artifacts since her last visit to the Talbain Family Museum.

She then looked up and saw an armored door with a name on it. She gestured to her werewolf companion.

“Hey Jon! Look at that!”

Jon looked to where she was indicating and his eyes widened in shock as he read the nameplate. He and the catwoman cautiously approached the door and began to wonder.

“Jon? You don’t suppose he’s in there, do you?”

“It can’t be! Last I saw him, he and his tribe were knee-deep in snow at forty below zero.” The Talbain werewolf paused as his sensitive nose caught a familiar scent. Felicia also caught the smell and wrinkled her nose.

“Ugh! No doubt about it! That’s him all right! He’s the only guy I know who smells like that!”

Her lycanthrope friend nodded as he didn’t bother to use the keycard to gain access to the chamber. He grabbed hold of the door and used his superhuman strength to rip the massive slab of reinforced steel clear off its hinges. Tossing it aside, he ran inside and gasped as he beheld who was within the chamber.

“I don’t believe it! It really is you! How the HELL did you end up here?!”

The figure inside let off a tired sigh as he responded.

“Hey Jon, it’s been a while.”


Nabiki shivered a bit as she and Matthew exited the cryogenics storage chamber and closed the door.

“Wow. Who would have guessed that we would find Jimmy Hoffa in there?” Matthew remarked. “I always thought he had been buried under the Giants’ Stadium.”

“Yeah.” His girlfriend agreed. “And I didn’t expect to find Walt Disney, Amelia Earhart, the crew of Flight 19, J. Edgar Hoover, and John Dillinger all in one place. The U.S. Government sure likes to keep a LOT of secrets.”

At that point, they heard Jon’s voice as he called out to them.


“Coming Dad!” Matthew replied as he and Nabiki ran to where his father and Felicia were. In a few moments, the entire group was united again.

“Did you find the fragment, Mr. Talbain?” Nabiki asked.

Jon shook his head and pointed toward a large pile of crates. “We didn’t find the fragment, but we did find an old friend.”

From behind the crates, a huge, white and furry figure stepped out of the shadows. He was about five and a half feet in height and was rotund with huge hands and feet. On his ankles were iron rings. On his chest, just below his huge mouth, were two brown patches. He smiled at the two, baring an impressive set of teeth, accented by a pair of upper canines that pointed down like fangs. He had beady red eyes and a goofy expression as he gave Jon’s son and Soun’s daughter a wave.

“Hey! How’s it going?” The monster said in a gruff voice.

“BIGFOOT?!” Matthew exclaimed. “What are you doing here?!”

“BIGFOOT?! BIGFOOT?! THAT BIGFOOT?!” Nabiki cried out in shock.

Jon chuckled as he formally introduced his old friend. “Nabiki Tendo, may introduce Bigfoot of the Sasquatch Tribe?”


In Japan…

“Ah, delicious!” Soun commented as he finished off his dinner.

At the dining table Genma literally inhaled his food, as Akane growled as she sat across from Happosai. Eating in the kitchen was the Talbain house staff, along with Kasumi. As they dined, Kasumi decided to show the beginner’s spell she had recently mastered.

Practe Bigi Nar Ardescat!”


This time, the flame that appeared on the tip of her wand burned brightly like a cigarette lighter set on high. Kasumi was rewarded by a round of applause from Jon Talbain’s employees.

“Excellent!” Oscar praised. “To think that in a day, you have mastered a spell that normally would have taken a novice three weeks to accomplish.”

“Really?” Akane’s sister asked in surprise as she put out the flame with a flick of her wand. “How do you know that?”

The bodyguard gave her a knowing smile. “Let’s just say that we of the Talbane House Staff are most familiar with things pertaining to magic and of myth and legend. You are most gifted to have understood the basic foundation of spellcasting in one day.”

Kasumi shrugged her shoulders while smiling. She hadn’t thought it had been that hard. Certainly the mind-building exercises were very taxing on one’s mental endurance, but it wasn’t something she hadn’t experienced before.

Taking care of the Tendo family for over a decade could tax anyone’s mind to its breaking point. Between Akane’s temper tantrums and Soun’s crybaby outbursts and lack of maturity, Kasumi had to mentally withstand the hardships; especially after the duties of keeping the house running smoothly was forced onto her. She had to keep her will strong after her father lost his will to teach students or raise his children. Akane was unfortunately left alone as she didn’t have the time or ability to take on the added responsibility. It took nearly all of her being just to hold the house together, finish school and make certain everyone was fed, which was nearly impossible when Kasumi was nine. The only person who didn’t add to the strain was Nabiki, as she was occupied with keeping the family from ending up on the street, though her older sister was unaware of how.

Over the last ten years, as Kasumi mastered the skills needed to keep house and cook for several people, her mind also became more accepting toward her fate. When the Saotomes came to her home with their Jusenkyo curses, there was initial resistance to the idea that curses existed, but like all other things, the brown-haired girl came to acknowledge them and continued on, just as she always had.

Ironically, it was her general acceptance of things that made her especially receptive toward cooking and now, learning magic. Unlike Akane, who needed to always be in charge and not accept mistakes; Kasumi simply took each lesson as it was, gauged her performance, and then adjusted to achieve the desired result. Mistakes and errors were catalogued as things to be avoided and successes were built upon, from what had come before. Kasumi didn’t try to force her way through the magic training, but rather flowed with it. To achieve her new goal of becoming a sorceress, Kasumi had decided to apply what she had done when learning to cook from her mother’s recipe book. Becoming a magic-user would be obtained through hard work, dedication, and above all, patience.


At Area 51…

“So you were captured and brought here?” Matthew asked.

Bigfoot nodded as he explained. “Yeah. I accidently crossed the border between the Yukon Territory and Alaska, when I got lost in a blizzard.”

“YOU got lost in a blizzard?” Jon said jokingly.

“Hey, it happens to the best of us!” The Sasquatch shot back. “Anyways, I wandered around a bit, and then I came across this huge metal pipe thing.”

“That must have been the Alaskan Pipeline.” Mathew commented.

“Yeah, well I guess I must have done something, because before I knew it, I had several platoons of soldiers after me! I must have run the entire state of Alaska before they finally caught up with me. I was captured and shipped here for study. They’ve been keeping me under with gas and drugs. I’m still not up to full strength.” He turned to Jon. “I’m really glad you’re here! I started hearing some men talking about doing an autopsy!”

“So how long have you been here?”

“About a couple of weeks or so. By the way Jon, though I’m grateful for freeing me, why are you here?”

The Talbain werewolf gestured to Nabiki. “She was imbued with Secondary Lycanthropy, and we’re trying to find all the pieces to this medallion to turn her into a true werewolf.” He brought out his pieces of the artifact. “We believe that one fragment is in this warehouse. We had been searching for it when I found you.”

Bigfoot looked down at what was in Jon’s hands and smirked. “Hey! I got one of those!”

“Really?” Matthew’s father said in surprise.

“Yeah! My tribe found it in some underground ice caverns near Hudson Bay. We didn’t think much of it and my people would rather have some bananas than an old piece of metal.”

Jon Talbain smiled as he gave the Sasquatch a friendly thump on the back. “My friend; not only will I help you get back to Canada and your tribe, but I will give your people all the bananas they can eat for a YEAR in exchange for that medallion piece!”

“DEAL!” The Canadian version of the Abominable Snowman said.

“Great.” Matthew commented with a bit of sarcasm. “Now all we have to do is find the medallion piece we’re looking for and somehow smuggle Bigfoot out of a heavily armed, secret military base. Piece of cake.”

“One problem at a time, Matthew.” Jon chided as he looked over to a section of the warehouse they hadn’t checked. He then directed the medallion pieces toward that area and nodded as they began to glow in response.

“Follow me.”


In Japan…

“I have an announcement to make.” Kasumi said as she stood before her family in the den. Standing behind her was the Talbain house staff.

“What is it Kasumi? Shouldn’t you start cleaning the dishes and doing the laundry now?” Soun asked.

“No Father.” His eldest child said. “I do believe that tonight is your night to do the dishes, while Mr. Saotome does the laundry. Akane, you’ll be taking out the trash.”

“WHAT?!” Soun, Genma and Akane said in total shock.

The eldest sister kept on smiling as she began to lay down the new house rules. “As a wise person told me, I will NOT be the family caretaker for the rest of my life and I believe that the time for everyone else to pull their own weight around here, is long overdue. Therefore, I have decided to assign each of you a portion of the daily household chores.”

“B-But Kasumi! I’m your father!” Soun stuttered.

“A-And I’m your guest!” Genma protested.

“You can’t make us do this stuff!” Akane stated. “That’s… that’s your job!”

“Not entirely mine anymore.” Her older sister corrected. “I will still do my fair share of the chores and the cooking, but I see no reason why all of you should not pitch in and help with the daily upkeep of this house. Therefore, I will also be using a form of reward system as an incentive. For those who do the chores properly and diligently, I promise to cook very delicious and nutritious meals for them. For those who do their chores poorly or sloppily,” Kasumi gave her sister a slight glance. “I will only cook simple meals or reduced portions. And for those who neglect or refuse to do their chores, I will not cook for them at all.” Her gaze then rested on Genma.

“Kasumi!” Soun stood straight up and addressed his defiant daughter. “I demand that you stop this foolishness and go do the dishes as you always have!”

Amazingly, the gentle girl stood her ground. “No Father, I will not. It’s time for you to start standing on your own two feet again, instead of using me as a crutch. Ever since Mother died, you have been neglecting your responsibility to your Art and your family. If you were still teaching students, then I would understand you not having the time to help out around the house. However, you haven’t had any students for the past ten years and you seem to have ample free time to play shogi with Mr. Saotome. If you want to avoid washing dishes, then I suggest you start teaching again. Maybe then we’ll be able to survive on our own income instead of depending on handouts from a rich family.” She then turned to the Talbain House Staff. “No offense to you or your employer.”

“None taken.” Oscar said as he nodded in agreement. “And I believe that this arrangement would benefit your family and guests in the long run, in terms of responsibility and self-reliance. I shall inform my employer of this.”

Kasumi then directed her attention toward Genma and Happosai. “And although you are guests in our home, I will have to expect you to do your fair share of the chores, if you wish to continue eating well. There’s only so much a host can allow guests to do in her house, before the guests wears out their welcome. If you wish to remain in our home, you must earn your keep.”

Happosai was about to disregard her demands, but then thought better of it as he remembered the fine dinner he had just eaten. He couldn’t remember when he had such a wonderful home-cooked meal, especially after escaping from that cave. A few simple household chores would be child’s play for the Grandmaster of the Anything Goes. He knew quite a few techniques that could easily handle those tasks. Simply keep her happy and he would continue eating well. It was a fair enough arrangement.

Besides, he could tell by the look in her eyes that she was serious about it and no amount of force or coercion would change her mind. Furthermore, she seemed to have befriended the Talbane House Staff, which put her in good standing with their employer. And if that person was who the old pervert suspected, then it would be prudent to stay on her good side.

 “Very well, Miss Tendo.” Happosai said as he stood up. “You drive a hard bargain, but I shall accede to your requests.”

“MASTER?!” Both Soun and Genma said in total shock. Since when did the greatest evil in all of Japan yield to anyone?

The old lecher first turned to Genma. “Well, you heard her Saotome. Get busy with that laundry!”

“But Master! I can’t….!”

Happosai immediately grabbed Genma by the front of his gi and began spinning him about in the air several times before tossing him down the hall and toward the laundry room.



“Here! You can wash these while you’re at it! And go easy on the starch!” The diminutive martial arts master said as he made a huge bag of women’s unmentionables appear and tossed it after his student. He then turned to Soun. “You heard your daughter, Tendo. Get those dishes washed!”


“No buts! You know, she raised a good point! What the HELL have you been doing for the last ten years, if you haven’t been teaching any students?! Now you better start shaping up and start teaching again or you’re going to have a lot more to worry about from me, than dish-pan hands! Now into the kitchen with you!”

After bodily tossing his other disciple toward the kitchen sink, he gave Kasumi a bow. “Please allow me to earn my breakfast by supervising my lazy disciples and make sure they get the job done right.”

“Thank you Happosai. Your assistance is most appreciated.”

Akane could only shake her head in disgust as she went to toss out the trash. At this point, there was no arguing, but she wondered just what had caused Kasumi to change so much. Then she growled as she assumed that it was the Amazons who put those stupid notions into her sister’s innocent head. Well, she was going to make them pay for disrupting her formally happy home!


Back at Area 51…

“So the medallion fragment is in there?” Matthew asked as he and the others stood before a massively-armored chamber that was pumping in huge amounts of cryogenic gas. Unlike the other freezing chamber, this one only contained a single occupant.

Jon didn’t like the fact that this chamber was littered with various warning signs and labels, indicating that the contents were considered exceedingly dangerous. He didn’t see any radioactive or biohazard symbols, so he couldn’t tell what that it was inside, except for the fact needed to be kept in constant hibernation. According to the label, whatever was inside had been frozen since the late 1990’s. He also noted that there were several artifacts in display cases nearby that could be weapons of alien origin, considering that he had never seen such devices before.

“So do we open it up?” Jon’s son asked.

“It’s not like we have a choice.” The elder Talbain pointed out. “The medallion fragment is definitely in there. Everyone, be ready. I’m going to unlock it.”

Matthew and Nabiki nodded as they took out their own personal weapons and got into ready stances. Jon’s son was armed with his nunchakus while Soun’s daughter had her tonfa. Bigfoot was still a bit groggy from all the drugs and knockout gas so he simply stepped back. Felicia got into a crouching stance. Jon took a deep breath and used one of the keycards to unlock the chamber. After punching in the correct access code, he also stepped back and waited with his nunchakus held out.

The giant door hissed as seals were depressurized and the hinges creaked. After a long moment, the door swung open, exposing the contents of the chamber. The large cloud of freezing mist was expelled, blocking all sight. Then suddenly, a form leapt out from within and some sounds were heard. Broken shards of glass suddenly scattered about as display cases were raided of their contents.

“What’s going on? I can’t see what came out of that box!”

“We can! It’s up there!” Jon declared as he pointed up to the top of a large stack of crates, some fifty feet above them.

The Sasquatch looked up at the spot but still couldn’t see anything. He shook his head. “Are you sure? I still don’t see anything!”

“Wait a minute! I can see it too!” Felicia said as she adjusted her night vision. Like the Talbains and Nabiki, the catwoman was able to see into the infrared wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum. What she saw was unnerving to say the least. The thing was humanoid in shape, but was wearing some kind of strange armor with a faceless headmask with what appeared to be dreadlocks on the back of the head. It was approximately seven feet in height and was attaching the artifacts to the armor on its arms, chest and shoulder. She couldn’t tell what it was other than the fact that it wasn’t human, judging by its breathing and scent. She could also feel the dark, killing intent from the alien they had just released.

High above the group, the alien used the sophisticated scanners within its helmet to probe each of the potential prey. In its thoughts, he assessed the situation.

< Sleep time… long… five non-human life-forms detected… three different species… accessing catalogue of known Earth species… found. Subject Sasquatch… considerable strength and durability… detecting residual amounts of sedatives… subject cannot fight at full potential for worthy hunt… subject Catwoman… agility and speed high… possible prey potential… subject Werewolf… two deemed as juveniles… prey potential not yet worthy… one adult… high strength potential… high speed potential… high energy potential… high recovery potential… conclusion… primary prey located.>

The alien also detected that Jon was able to see him, which meant that the cloaking device he was wearing was irrelevant. He disengaged the device and allowed the group to see him as he was.

Nabiki gulped as the extraterrestrial came into view. The thing looked humanoid, but at the same time, terrifying with its armor, which now sported various weapons, including what looked like wrist blades, shoulder-mounted cannon and several other devices mounted on his belt and a bandolier. On its chest was a necklace of past trophies, which included finger bones and a shiny piece of metal.

<It’s the medallion fragment!>

The device on his shoulder pointed toward Jon and emitted a red beam which made a triangular pattern of three dots appear on his torso.

Jon Talbain looked down on his chest and wondered what the three dots meant, then widened in shock as he remembered back to Providence’s warning.

Beware the sign of three.

He barely managed to swerve out of the way as the alien fired off his plasma caster, causing the spot he was in to explode into a deep crater. This cause everyone else to scatter as the creature known as a Predator, let off a howl as the hunt began.


If the base had not been on alert before, it was now when the Predator was released and started firing its weaponry. Jon had effectively turned off the sensors and cameras to the warehouse, but not against the fire alarms as they detected the sudden explosion and activated the sprinklers. This caused the security forces to gear up and head down the main corridor to the Black Box Warehouse. Each man was armed to the teeth with M-16 rifles, grenades and other weapons as they raced toward the area. Every one of them had been trained with the best weapons the U.S. military had to offer. However, in comparison to the alien hunter that had just awakened, they were nothing but lambs to the slaughter.

The confusion began as several squads burst into the warehouse, and began to spread out, looking for any sign of intruders. The Predator immediately activated his cloaking device and faded from view. The Talbains, Nabiki, Felicia and Bigfoot ducked behind a very large pile of crates as the soldiers searched around.

“Matthew! I want you and everyone to get Bigfoot out of here!” Jon instructed.

“But what about you, Dad?”

“I’m going after that medallion piece!”

“I’ll go with you!”

“No!” Jon shook his head as he held the shoulders of his only offspring. “You’re not ready for something like that!”

“Just what was that thing?” Nabiki inquired.

“I think I know.” The head of the Talbain clan explained. “Zed once told me of alien hunters called Predators that illegally visit the Earth every now and then to hunt the various species here. They’ve been known to kill even the most powerful of Darkstalkers!”

“What?!” Felicia exclaimed, and then she realized something else. “Then that light he shone on you was…?”

Jon nodded. “I think I’ve been chosen to be his prey. I have to lead him away, before those soldiers get caught in the crossfire and…”

Just then, there was a series of screams and the sounds of burning flesh as several bright flashes of light burst out of nowhere. Soldiers were dropping with gaping wounds and quartered limbs. Guns began to go off as they fired their weapons in vain.

Wasting no more time, Jon leapt out from their hiding place and into the view of the flashlights of the soldiers, drawing their attention and that of the invisible Predator. In his hybrid form, he was immediately seen as either an alien or monster, as the surviving soldiers opened fire. However, he was not concerned about a hail of bullets as he nimbly dodged the barrage.

<Come on, you alien hunter bastard! I’m the trophy that you want! Come on!>

The diversion worked as the Predator shifted his focus from the soldiers to the lycanthrope and began to pursue him through a side corridor. Jon sensed that he was being chased and poured on the speed. This gave the Area 51 forces time to regroup and tend to the wounded. Some had been crippled, but fortunately, there were no fatalities. This also gave Matthew and the others the chance o sneak out of the warehouse through another door. Hopefully, they would all make it out alive this night.


The entire base was put on alert as soon as reports of the attacks at the warehouse came in. All outside exits were sealed off as the entire compound went into full lockdown. Searchlights began to scan the premises as sentries and guard dogs, (those that hadn’t been knocked out or scared off by Jon respectively), scattered all over base, looking for the intruders. Even helicopters were being scrambled to patrol the sectors around Area 51.

The increased security would make it very hard for a certain group of werewolves and catwoman to get a certain Sasquatch out of the place.

Matthew looked around a building as a group of soldiers passed by. He let off a relieved sigh as he turned back toward his companions.

“Looks like they’re not searching for us, but we still have a problem here.”

“Yeah.” Nabiki agreed. “How do we get the Abominable Snowman out of Area 51?”

“Actually, I’m a Sasquatch.” Bigfoot pointed out. “If you’re talking about my cousins, the Yeti Tribe, then you can find them in Nepal.”

“Never mind that now, Big Guy.” Felicia said. “The real problem is how we’re going to get you out of here, as well as ourselves. We’re going to need some really BIG transportation.”

Jon’s son looked over to what looked like a garage and glimpsed beyond the doors, he smiled as he saw a way out.

“I think I may have found our ride. Come on!”

As they made their way toward their means of freedom, Nabiki quickly asked her boyfriend, “Do you think your father is all right?”

“I hope so.” Matthew replied as he had wanted to go with his father, but Jon was adamant to get Bigfoot out first. He could only rely on his faith of his father’s skills against a deadly opponent.


The south side of Area 51 rumbled as a huge explosion shook the compound. Jon Talbain leapt high in order to dodge the Predator’s plasma caster. He had been leading his pursuer toward the outer perimeter of the base in order to avoid innocent bystanders and casualties. He could tell that the alien wasn’t a novice as he was shooting with controlled, selective shots. A beginner would have fired wildly in order to hit his target. However, Jon had to keep the Predator on the alert and not let him kill any of the personnel. If he kept too far away, the hunter might get bored or frustrated enough to randomly start slaughtering the humans. He remembered Zed telling him that Predators don’t hunt for food, but rather for the thrill of the chase and the danger of being killed by the prey.

With that in mind, he raced around the corner and doubled back, reversing their roles as the alien became the hunted. As the Predator came around the bend, he lost sight of his quarry for a moment, which was all Jon Talbain needed as he blindsided the extraterrestrial and slammed him hard against a concrete bunker with a Beast Cannon. The structure shuddered with the impact as Jon pressed the attack, slashing away with his claws, actually ripping through a section of shoulder armor, and digging into flesh, causing fluorescent green blood to spill.

The Predator retaliated as he extended the wrist blades on his right arm and slashed at Jon’s midsection. The werewolf bit down on the pain, then sensed that he was about to be fired on. Jumping out of the way, he barely managed to avoid the attack as some soldiers opened fire on the both of them. The Predator also rolled to the side and came up with plasma caster firing. Several blasts of explosive energy caused the army men to scatter, with some screaming and tossed about like rag dolls as they weren’t able to avoid the flying debris and shrapnel completely. Just as he was about to deliver a killing barrage, Jon intervened again as he slammed into the Predator with another Beast Cannon, driving them both upward. The pair crashed through a two-story window of a large supply depot. Both separated during the fall and landed in different areas. Both got to their feet and hid themselves away in secluded sites to tend to their wounds and plan for the next phase in the hunt.

For Jon Talbain, as he hid inside a large closet, it wasn’t too much to recover from a grievous wound to the abdomen. Already, his lycanthrope powers were working hard, as the blood stopped flowing and the gash was sealing itself up. However, he had been pushed hard to keep his enemy from killing Area 51’s soldiers, and also for Jon to keep his own head on his shoulders. He was pretty certain that the alien had something in his arsenal that could seriously harm or even kill him. That wrist blade hurt like blazes. It was top priority to get him OUT of the base, before someone got killed. And if Matthew’s father wasn’t careful, that someone could be him.

For the Predator as he hid in a restroom, he too was considering his next move against the werewolf. Of all the prey he had hunted on Earth before he got frozen, Jon Talbain was one of the most cunning and vicious. As he removed the left epaulet and checked on his wound, he considered the kind of power the lycanthrope had to tear through Hunter Armor and his thick hide. As a stab of intense pain shot through his shoulder, he reached down toward his utility bandolier and took out his Medicomp. Opening up the emergency kit, he started to clean and sterilize the wound. Soon, the hunt would resume.


In one of the garages, Matthew and the others had finished knocking out the guards and were busy trying to decide which of the vehicles to use to make their escape.

“How about this one?” Nabiki asked as she pointed to an M2 Bradley Fighting Vehicle.

Matthew shook his head. “No, it needs to be bigger. There’s no way we can all fit in there with a Sasquatch. Besides, I don’t know how to drive one of those and we’d be pretty conspicuous riding that thing down the highway.”

“How about this then?” Felicia pointed to a large vehicle. It was the modern version of the deuce-and-a-half; the M35 utility truck. With a large cargo bed, a canvas top and a powerful diesel engine, it would suffice to carry them all out of Nevada.

“It’ll do, as long we don’t have to do any parallel parking.”


Back at the supply depot, several dozens of soldiers were surrounding the building and setting up barricades. However, no one, not even the commanding officers, were willing to risk going into the structure. After two unknown beings had trashed the Black Box Warehouse and put several platoons into critical care, they were satisfied to just wait them out.

There were a few minutes of silence as each soldier held his weapon tightly and at the ready. Nothing was spoken as searchlights scanned the area back and forth. Then suddenly a huge crashing noise was heard, along with several more loud bangs and flashes.

The hunter and the hunted were on the move.


Jon nimbly dodged another volley of plasma bolts as the Predator was bound and determined to have his head as a trophy. As the werewolf ducked behind several racks of body armor, the alien hunter decided to kick things up a notch as he reached down toward his belt and took out a circular object that had several wicked blades attached. Activating the center switch, the high-tech throwing projectile was primed and ready for the kill. Like an Olympic discus-thrower, the extraterrestrial killer launched a Frisbee that NOBODY wanted to catch.

Vests made to withstand high-caliber rifle ammunition and shrapnel proved to be no protection as the Predator’s chakram sliced through the body armor like tissue paper. The smart disc just barely missed the top of Jon’s head before returning back to its wielder. The werewolf however, wasn’t limited to close-quarters combat as he came up and instantly launched several projectiles of his own. The Predator ducked as he barely avoided several shurikens that Jon had hidden in his belt. The alien looked over to where they had landed and noted that the sharp throwing stars had pierced through the wall behind him and into the concrete. The strength needed to throw them that hard would be inconceivable by human standards. They certainly would have penetrated the Predator’s armor if they had hit.

However, Jon wasn’t about to let up on his opponent as he quickly crossed the distance between them with a jump kick. The foot plowed into the chest of the Predator, knocking him back. However, as the alien dropped his throwing weapon, he reached behind his back and pulled out a cylindrical object. In an instant, the combi stick telescoped to its full length, becoming a spear, increasing the Predator’s reach. The pointed end of the weapon managed to graze into Jon’s side as the outer space hunter began using a variation of Bōjutsu. Talbain came back with his nunchakus, whipping them about at near-supersonic speeds.


The sudden barrage of high-speed impacts caught the alien off-guard as he was forced back. Then Jon let off a howl and blasted into him with the Beast Cannon. Both combatants smashed through a wall, then another and then another, before actually finding themselves out of the supply depot, and into the open.

That’s when the soldiers opened fire.

The werewolf and the Predator found themselves in the middle of a murderous barrage as the military men let loose with thousands of rounds. Both scrambled for cover as several bullets managed to hit home. Fortunately for Jon, they weren’t silver, but they still stung. As for the Predator, his kind was able to shrug off gunfire without stopping. He activated his cloaking device just as a large vehicle burst out of a nearby garage and came barreling toward the gate.

Jon jumped out of the way as the truck roared past, then managed to catch a glimpse of Felicia in the back of the vehicle, waving at him.


The werewolf bounded up toward a second-story roof, and was barely able to jump into the back of the M35 as it headed toward one of the main gates. Nabiki was tense as she sat in the passenger seat. In the driver’s seat, Matthew stomped on the accelerator as he called back toward the cargo bed.


The Sasquatch ripped a hole in the canvas top and managed to stick his head out. Taking in a deep breath, he focused his Darkstalker power and let loose a massive beam of freezing energy from his mouth at the main gate, causing the metal and concrete to become brittle. The surrounding air became cold as well, temporarily freezing all the nearby soldiers. The truck plowed through the gate with relative ease and headed out of Area 51. Just as they were about a hundred feet down the road, the catwoman made certain that no one would be able to follow them for a while. Hefting a weapon known as an AT-4 rocket launcher, she roughly aimed for a spot just ahead of the destroyed gate and fired.

The explosive warhead streaked out and detonated when it landed on the ground, causing a huge crater to be formed, and preventing any other vehicle from crossing the gate. This caused the soldiers of Area 51 to scatter in confusion.

Tossing the now useless tube aside, Felicia went to check on her wolf companion, who was lying on his back and in considerable pain.

“Are you okay, Jon?”

The elder Talbain nodded. “I’ll be all right. I just got shot with a dozen M-16 rounds, but it’s nothing really.”

“What about the Predator?”

Jon shook his head. “I lost track of him back at the gate. I didn’t get the medallion piece either and…”

His words were cut off as a large hole was torn into the canvas just above him. The intruder turned off his cloaking device and leapt inside with a curved, scimitar-like sword.

The hunt was not over yet.

 Jon only had a microsecond to react as the deadly edge came down on him. Bringing his hands up, he caught the blade between his palms in a bare-handed catch, then lashed out with a kick to the Predator’s midsection, forcing him to let go of the sword’s hilt. Quickly getting to his feet, he bodily shoved the alien off the truck. Unfortunately, the Predator grabbed hold of Jon’s right wrist and pulled him off the vehicle as well. Both went tumbling on the ground at nearly 35 mph.

“STOP THE TRUCK! WE LOST JON!” Felicia cried out.

Matthew stomped on the brake, bringing the truck to a halt. As he and the others exited the vehicle, they could see that both the werewolf and the Predator were going at it with everything they had.

The Predator had managed to get his sword back and was slashing away. Jon parried most of the attacks with his nunchakus, but a few managed to cut into his flesh. As the alien saw the others approaching, he let off a growl as he didn’t want anyone else to interfere with his hunt. Raising his left hand, he aimed a gun-like device at the approaching Darkstalkers and fired off several shots. The projectiles exploded into expanding wire nets, which delivered a charge of electrical energy. Matthew and the others screamed as they found themselves tangled and shocked. They all fell to the ground, writhing in pain and distracting Jon for a split-second.

That momentary lapse was all that the Predator needed, as he took advantage of the werewolf’s inattention and delivered a brutal slash toward Jon’s left shoulder. The ultra-sharp blade of alien alloys cut through flesh and bone. To everyone’s horror, the lycanthrope’s arm was severed and dropped to the ground. The extraterrestrial then plunged the point of his sword into Jon’s midsection, skewering the werewolf as the length of the weapon ripped through him and burst out of his back. Matthew’s father cried out in pain as he slumped forward. He just barely managed bring up his remaining arm to block the Predator as he swung his wrist blades toward the werewolf’s head. Catching the alien’s wrist, he used his waning strength to keep the weapon away from him. However, the hunter let go of his sword hilt and reached for a smaller knife on his belt, intending to use it to gouge Jon’s eyes out.

“DAD!” Matthew screamed as he tried to untangle himself from the nets.

Jon was starting to lose consciousness from the massive loss of blood. He could feel his body starting to go into shock from losing an arm and two large wounds in the gut. He guessed that the Predator’s blades must have some traces of silver in them to have caused this much damage. Seeing a flash of light near the Predator’s waist, he knew that his enemy was going to try to finish him off. He was going to die if he didn’t do something now.

<Damn it! I have no choice! Time to let out the BEAST WITHIN!>

 Just as the Predator swung his knife about to deliver the finishing blow, Jon let off a howl that would have curdled alien blood. Throwing off his tormentor as if he were a rag doll, the gravely injured werewolf became surrounded by an eerie aura as a huge amount of supernatural energy was released all at once. He savagely pulled out the sword that had been embedded in his abdomen and the holes in his body sealed themselves up in seconds. What was most astounding was that his missing left arm immediately regenerated itself. What would have taken Jon three days to re-grow, took only an instant to restore with the enormous increase in Darkstalker power. The entire area became flooded with mystical energy, making the night seem as bright as morning. Nearby Ley Lines began to flicker with power as Jon’s energy raced down their lengths. The power he radiated was transmitted all over the supernatural wavelengths, and those who had an acute sense of the mystical could detect it, even on the other side of the planet!


Castle Talbain

The Grimbard Sisters shuddered as the potion they had been mixing suddenly exploded, sending shards of the glass beaker flying all over their laboratory.

In the Oracle Chamber, Providence, Chance and Kismet could only look in awe as the Great Crystal Shard of Destiny suddenly flared with light.

The Old Races who resided at the Talbain Ancestral Home all stopped what they were doing as they felt the surge of Darkstalker energy. They all knew who was giving off such waves.



Cologne suddenly became tense as she felt the tingle down her spine. This wasn’t her old enemy Happosai that caused it this time.

<Jon Talbain has used the Legendary Dark Force! What kind of foe would make him resort to using it?>

In the Tendo Home, Happosai also shivered as he felt the sudden influx of supernatural energy. He nodded as he recognized the ki signature.

<No doubt about it! That was Jon Talbain! Oh boy, am I glad he’s not mad at me!>


The Nevada desert…

Jon’s expression took on a feral look as he let off a menacing growl. His body radiated Darkstalker power like a small sun. Then he attacked the Predator with a ferocity that was beyond comprehension.

The alien found himself being forced back as Jon continually slashed and pummeled with a speed that was absolutely mind-blowing. His weapons were cut to pieces. His armor proved to be no protection any longer. Flesh was shredded. Bones were shattered. To those who were observing him, it appeared that two ghostly images of the werewolf were mimicking every attack. However, these were no mere illusions, but actual solid forms that struck as hard as the original, as was able to do all of Jon’s techniques, one after the other.

The Predator couldn’t understand how his prey had cloned himself, but what he did know was that he was being hit by three enemies, successively. Blocking against one incredibly fast opponent was hard, but three? What was going on?


“What’s happening to your Dad?!” Nabiki asked as she and the others finally managed to free themselves from the nets. However, they prevented her from going to help Jon after he had released his ultimate technique. As of now, they were just spectators as Jon continued to savagely attack his opponent.

Matthew took a deep breath as he replied. “Dad released his Dark Force ability.”

“Dark Force?”

Bigfoot nodded. “Every Darkstalker builds up and stores a massive amount of supernatural energy than can be used for an emergency boost of energy. It’s sort of like the Makai version of a MEGA-DOSE of adrenaline. That’s why Jon’s arm regenerated immediately and his wounds healed so fast. His strength, senses and speed are off the charts right now.”

“And the after-images?”

“Those aren’t after-images, Nabs.” Matthew corrected. “That’s my Dad’s Mirage Body technique. He can only use it after he releases his Dark Force power. Each mirage is able to hit with the same power and speed as my father. It’s like being attacked by three opponents, one after the after.”


“Yeah, but Dad pays a very hefty price for his Dark Force ability. Right now, he can’t tell the difference between friend and foe. He’s too much into his beast personality now. He’ll slash and attack ANYONE in front of him. That’s why we can’t help until he gets out of that state. It’s just the way I was when Dad found me.”

“Also, if he uses it for too long, Jon runs the risk of permanently being locked into a feral state.” Felicia added as she hoped Matthew’s father would snap out of it soon.

Then she winced as Jon and his after-images started swinging their nunchakus. The Predator was almost hammered into oblivion. Finally, with a monstrous roar, there was a final, deadly flash of light as something was sliced in half.

That something was the Predator’s body as his lower body was separated from his upper. The now legless torso fell to one side and was gushing out blood and fluids. As Jon fought to bring his beast persona back under control, his eyes caught a glint of yellow light. With one quick motion, he grabbed at the object and tore it from the now half-Predator. When he finally asserted his humanity again, he looked down at his hand and saw the medallion fragment.

The alien made no move to stop him. Jon was the victor and he had the right to take what he wanted for a trophy. The Predator would have done the same. He couldn’t do anything anyway as he knew was going to perish soon. As such, he had one final task to perform. Holding up his arms in front of him, he opened a narrow panel on a device on his right wrist. He then punched in certain sequence of buttons. The LED display began to show pattern of lights and an ominous beeping noise.


Jon stared at the device for a few moments in confusion, and then as the sound began to beep even faster, he realized what it must be.

“RUN! LET’S GET OUT OF HERE!” He cried out as he scrambled back toward his group. The others decided not to question him as they rushed into the truck. Matthew and Nabiki piled into the cab while the others leaped into the back. The son of Jon Talbain put the truck into gear and floored the accelerator.

The utility truck pulled away and sped off as fast it could as the countdown timer was about to complete its detonation cycle. The Predator calmly removed his mask and laughed a bit as the end drew near. The alien’s true appearance was a horrifying one as it was broad and bulky with insect-like mandibles attached to his lower jaw, beady eyes set deep in their sockets, and hair-like appendages attached to the back of his skull. He looked over to his side and saw the severed arm of Jon Talbain before he regenerated it. He smiled and decided that it would be a fitting trophy to take with him to the afterlife. Just as he picked it up and held it close to his chest, the Predicomp on his arm went off.

Jon and his group were more than 150 city blocks away when the Predicomp went off like a miniature nuclear bomb. The entire area rumbled as a huge shockwave spread all over the desert area, demolishing everything in its path, including the fleeing truck. Matthew could do nothing as the heavy utility vehicle was caught in the blast and sent flying into the air. Everyone inside braced themselves as the truck flipped over twice before landing on its side and skidded for several dozens of yards before coming to a stop. Thankfully, the armored fuel tank was not punctured during the crash, and did not explode. The aftershock also rattled the area, being felt even at Area 51, causing everyone to duck for cover.

Then, after a long period of utter silence, someone spoke up.

“Is everyone all right?” Jon asked.

There was another long period of silence before a feline voice answered. “All werewolves, catwomen and sasquatches present and accounted for.”


An hour later…

“How much longer Dad?” Matthew asked as their group walked through the desert on their way back to Las Vegas.

“Shouldn’t be that much longer until we reach a place where my cell phone can get reception.” Jon replied as he, his son and Nabiki were in human form. “We certainly can’t bring Bigfoot into Ceasar’s Palace. Once I call the MIB, we should be able to get a pickup and…”

He suddenly stopped as his wolf senses put him on immediate alert. Though his Dark Force energy had been spent and would not be useable for a while, he still intended to protect those who were with him. His son and Nabiki also went into defensive stances, as did Felicia and Bigfoot. The sedatives had finally worn off and the Sasquatch was ready to fight.

Then suddenly, a huge light shone on top of them from above as something massive hovered above them. An unearthly sound was heard as a blast of wind cause the sand to scatter about. Then the noise stopped abruptly as it was replaced by a quiet hum. The group stayed on alert and waited. And with no warning at all, they came.

A dozen figures appeared around them, dropping their cloaking devices and raising their weapons. Laser-range finders shone their red dot patterns on the Darkstalkers, ready to fire off their plasma casters. Jon and the other werewolves shifted to their hybrid forms, preparing to attack.

However, there was no need as the Predators backed off and an individual in more ornate armor approached the head of the group. He stood at nearly eight feet in height as he faced off with Matthew’s father. With slow, easy motions, he removed his facemask and gazed upon the werewolf with his true visage. He looked down and noted on Jon’s belt, the medallion fragment hanging from a necklace made from finger bones and other grisly trophies. He nodded to his group and waved to them with a simple hand gesture. The other Predators understood their Elder’s command and disappeared from view. Then the Elder took something from his own belt and casually tossed it to the head of the Talbain clan. Jon deftly caught it with a bit of confusion. He looked down and saw that it was Colt Single-Action Army pistol from the late 1870’s.

“Take it!” The Elder Predator said in a guttural tone, before turning around and disappearing from view.

The Predators had been on a hunting expedition and had received a signal from a lost comrade. They had come down to Earth to investigate. After seeing the Predicomp explosion, the Elder had decided that their comrade had fought and died honorably, and that Jon Talbain was considered worthy of their respect.

The starship then rose into the upper atmosphere, leaving the bewildered Darkstalkers some 15 miles from Las Vegas.

“Dad? What was that all about?” The younger Talbain asked.

Matthew’s sire remained quiet for a long time while considering the pistol in his hand. Finally he replied. “I think that Predator leader gave me a token of life. Zed told me that if you defeat a Predator honorably in combat, then his comrades will spare you and give you a sign of respect. I guess we were lucky. Come on, we’ve got to get Bigfoot home to Canada and get that next fragment.”


Back in Japan…

Akane breathed out a sigh of relief as she was once again walking home from Furinken. After ridding herself of that demonic smell, she was once again allowed to attend school. After an uneventful day, she was now heading back to her house with the intent on returning to normal life. However, things wouldn’t go well for her as a nearby pigeon flew above her and suddenly dropped a small package onto her head.

“Ugh! Gross!” Akane said as wiped off the bird dropping.

Then the straps on her bookbag snapped.

“Huh?” She wondered as looked at the broken strap.

Then as she walked by an apartment building, when something metal came down.


The short-tempered girl found herself on her knees in a daze after an empty washtub fell from a second-story balcony. The owner wondered how the tub suddenly slipped out of her hands.

By the time, Akane came home, she was bit disheveled and sported some stains on her dress after a series of minor accidents occurred along the way. Shrugging off the incidents as just coincidence, she headed to the bathroom to wash up. Then she promptly tripped on the bathroom mat and fell flat on her face.

Little did Akane know that her string of bad luck was about to get worse.

To be continued…

Author’s Notes

And that brings to this chapter to a close with Matthew and the gang heading to Canada and Kasumi getting her feet wet in the world of magic. As for what is happening to Akane now, this is just the start of her troubles. See you then!


1)    Yes this is practice phrase used in Negima. In Latin, it means, Fire Ignite!