The Saotome Gambit was the first fanfiction I ever read and till today remains the only fanfiction I’ve finished. An unrelated conversation with someone today reminded me of this amazing story I read 15 years ago, and I Googled it to read it again. Unfortunately it seems that the original website Fission Park Press has been taken down, and the author has disappeared altogether from the internet.
If you’ve never heard about The Saotome Gambit, it’s a crossover fanfiction between Ranma 1/2, a manga in the early 1990’s about a teenage boy named Ranma Saotome who turns into a girl when splashed with cold water and back with hot water (very funny manga, seriously!), and Mechwarrior, a series of video games set in the fictional universe of BattleTech that was very popular, also in the 1990’s. Although they’re both from the 1990’s, The Saotome Gambit is set far into the future and should be well readable even now in 2020 and beyond. I highly recommend a read even if you have not heard of the original stories.
Someone by the name of Shinji Ikari was gracious enough to upload the full version (yes, all 576,479 words, or 1600+ pages!) on to fanfiction.net, and thanks to that I am able to read this again. However it is 2020, and it’s just so much more convenient to read a book in an actual ebook format – which is what I’ve done, as a contribution back to the community for providing me with such an amazing read.
Please download The Saotome Gambit from the GDrive link below, and upload it to your favourite ebook reader to read ( I recommend Google Play Books). No ads, no links, no upsells – it’s a clean upload, promise.
I hope this book gives you as much enjoyment as it gave me.
Download the EPUB ebook here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1SeFabAsZTKJ3_5gAoqBGVNGCAqauX8n2/view?usp=sharing
For centuries the Inner Sphere has been aflame with war.
Struggling from the ashes of the Star League are five Great Houses: House Kuno of the Furinkan Combine, House Gosunkugi of the League of Five Nails, House Joketsuzoku of the Jusenkyo Commonwealth, House Shiratori of the Federated Shiratori, and House Tendo of the Nerima Confederation. Each House has a claim to the Star League throne, and each has an army of mighty Battlemechs with which to conquer – but only one House can rule the Inner Sphere, and none will allow that rule to come without price.
Planet Lightoller, Epsilon Indi System.
12 January 3025
“Step on it, Pop!” Ranma Saotome screamed to her father as crackling balls of charged particles blazed around them with violent thunderclaps. The communications antenna on their stolen Swiftwind scout ATV wouldn’t retract, which left a big hole in the top of the ATV’s armor, and Ranma was trying without success to fix it.
The giant panda, growling in abject terror the entire time, already had his furry foot on the floor.
The six-wheeled ATV swerved past a pile of boulders as another volley of lightning death lashed into the muddy ground. Clods of dirt and geysers of steam erupted at the impact point, bathing the open top hatch of the vehicle’s antenna mount in scalding water droplets.
Ranma, suddenly male, turned back to face their pursuer as the now human Genma Saotome fumbled with the map function display. A Panther battlemech lumbered behind them, slowly dropping back as the ATV outran it. The particle projection cannon on its arm smoldered at its glowing hot muzzle tip from constant use.
“Doesn’t she ever give up?” Ranma groaned. The Panther’s PPC shivered with another thunderbolt, and a blindingly bright blue ball of lightning screamed overhead to explode a dozen meters in front of the ATV.
Genma swerved again to avoid the sudden five meter wide crater in front of him, nearly rolling over as the ATV tipped up on three wheels. Ranma was pitched out of the vehicle to land hard in a muddy puddle of water. She bounced out of the puddle with the force of the impact and crumpled into a dazed ball. The ATV continued on, with Genma either ignorant of his son’s fate or unwilling to turn around and face the Panther to retrieve him.
Ranma, covered in mud and dripping wet, tried to pull herself upright as the Panther’s footfalls shook the ground. Doing her best to ignore the pain and the pounding in her head, she managed to crawl out of the way of the battlemech as it continued on in pursuit of the ATV.
Shampoo grit her teeth as her ‘mech’s computer informed her in a saccharine voice that her PPC was overheating. Whichever of the two interlopers was driving that infernal ATV was either a panicked fool or else the galaxy’s greatest stunt driver. She had never had such trouble eliminating a wheeled vehicle before. She was so intent on keeping her particle cannon online that she did not notice Ranma’s accidental ejection from the ATV.
As the overheat warning became more urgent, she bit down on her lip and thumbed her weapon selector over to her missile launcher. One good volley would do the job, even if it wasn’t as satisfying as frying them with a lightning bolt from her particle cannon. The gratifying tone of target acquisition sounded in her ears, and she sent her missiles flying with a curse for the damned girl who had destroyed her life.
Ranma watched as four Short Range Missiles streaked from the Panther’s launch tubes and corkscrewed into the air. The stubby ballistically-guided weapons arced over the fleeing ATV, then dropped suddenly to the ground. Tremendous explosions threw clods of mud and bits of shrapnel high into the air. From the midst of the fireballs flew the ragged and burning hulk of the ATV.
“Pop!” she screamed in horror.
The ATV rolled end over end a dozen times before coming to a stop upside down a good forty meters from the blast zone. The Panther turned its sensor head to survey the destruction for a few moments, judged it good, then turned for home as if nothing had happened.
“Pop!” Ranma cried again hoarsely.
Dragging herself to her feet, she staggered across the muddy plain to the smoldering ruin of the ATV. Ragged bits of armor plate continued to rain down from the still air. Sharp pieces of scorched metal lay scattered about the wreck. Deep within the hulk came the tell-tale hiss of emergency venting from the scout’s fusion reactor.
A tear spilled down her mud streaked face.
A sob wracked her body as she sunk to her knees and wept.
“That’s very touching, boy,” a weak voice grunted from within the wreck.
Ranma’s head bobbed up in disbelief.
Genma Saotome’s head appeared from the smoking ruin of the wreck. His face was smeared with mud, blood, and charcoal. The pungent tang of cyclo-trimethilene trinitramine, better known as the military high explosive RDX, filled Ranma’s nostrils.
“Pop, how are you even alive?” Ranma asked, tears still in her eyes. “I saw what happened.”
Genma gave him a grave look.
“Thank the gods for seatbelts, airbags, and armor plating,” he replied slowly, and released his straps to fall in the mud at her feet.
Ranma helped her father up. “That Shampoo’s gonna pay for this,” she growled.
“We can still make the spaceport,” Genma declared wearily. He had no intention of going back to face any Joketsuzoku. “If they think we’re dead, they won’t be watching for us.”
“We might as well be dead,” Ranma grunted, her elation at finding her father alive fading fast before the reality of their situation. “Look at what’s happened to us! We’ve gotta go back and get a cure!”
Genma waved a hand in dismissal. “Are you out of your mind, boy?! We don’t even know exactly how this happened to us! You think we can just sneak back in there and find a cure? That’s assuming there even is one!
Ranma’s face fell. She knew the reality of their situation as well as her father, but to just run away without a fight…! “Well I’m fresh outta ideas, Pop.”
Genma lowered his bloodied head in thought.
“I have a plan,” he said at length.
Ranma gave him a dubious look.
“Where have I heard THAT before?” she groused. Genma offered her a weak smile, which made her cringe with dread. Finally she could bear the suspense no longer. “So what is it, Old Man?”
“We’re going to the Nerima Confederation,” he announced.
“What?” Ranma cried. “You gotta be kidding me. The Confederation is about to get crushed by both the League and the Combine. They’re broke, their ‘mech forces are holding on by their fingernails, and they’re halfway across the Inner Sphere from here. What could possibly be there that could help us?”
Genma eyed his son, now a buxom scarlet haired girl. “I have an old friend there. If anyone could help, it’s him.”
“Whatever,” Ranma replied, nonplussed. She gathered up what little they had that was salvageable from the wreck of their Swiftwind and started walking. “It’s a long march back to the starport, Pop. We better get going and hope you’re right about them not looking for us.”
Download EPUB ebook here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1SeFabAsZTKJ3_5gAoqBGVNGCAqauX8n2/view?usp=sharing
Disclaimer: The Saotome Gambit is written by Jamie Austin Wilde; I own nothing. Ranma 1/2 and Mechwarrior are copyrights of their respective companies. If anyone knows of a way to reach the original author, please let me know.
Image credit: https://jusenkyo.fandom.com/wiki/The_Saotome_Gambit
Article source: https://www.fanfiction.net/s/3209934/1/The-Saotome-Gambit