12. Zero Ryoko

Despite Dr. Clay’s direct orders, Zero could not bring herself to kill Tenchi- the feelings she copied from Ryoko were just too strong. Having been unable to strike him with the energy sword, she leaves the room with tears streaming down her face.

Waiting outside, Washu is amused by the whole scene- how sweet of Zero to spare Tenchi. Her mind quickly shifting gears, Zero realises that this is the perfect opportunity to complete her mission, and if she captures Washu, killing her beloved Tenchi will no longer be necessary.

As Washu runs away, Zero follows, and grabs the scientist from behind, only to discover that what she has in her arms isn’t even the real Washu- it is just a doll. Thanks to the gem Zero took from the real Ryoko, Washu is already aware of her plans, and right now she is ready to defend herself.

Arriving on the scene, Ayeka and her two guardians try to put a stop to any potential fighting, but Zero is unwilling to listen. Smashing the guardians into the wall, she threatens to kill Ayeka if the princess interferes. As it turns out, however, all of the commotion has awoken Tenchi, and when he gets up, Ayeka runs to him, warning him to stay away. Seeing Ayeka so close to Tenchi breaks Zero’s heart, and she teleports away.

Retrieving Ryo-Ohki, Washu decides that it is time to go after her and track down the real Ryoko. Tenchi and Ayeka go with her, and on the way, Washu explains to Tenchi about Zero’s replacement of Ryoko. Meanwhile, Ryo-Ohki gets to work on tracking the real Ryoko, and finally locates her on Clay’s ship- which just happens to be in the middle of a space battle.

Clay’s opponent is none other than Mihoshi, who, thanks to her incredible luck, is once again in the right place at the right time. Tenchi is eager to help Mihoshi, but Washu asks him to wait- first she needs to locate Clay himself. By the time Washu finds him, however, Mihoshi has crashed her shuttle on the surface of Clay’s ship, and Tenchi and Ayeka have gone down in a control crystal to find her.

Safe on his bridge, Clay watches with amusement as Tenchi, Ayeka and Mihoshi battle his robotic defence systems. Confident that they will never reach the bridge, Clay relaxes, at least until Washu appears on the bridge behind him. As Washu greets him, Clay attempts to draw a gun- but the ever-aware Washu easily uses her powers to make it fall out of his hand.

Changing tactics, Clay threatens to destroy his ship if Washu makes any sudden moves- destroying both Tenchi and Ryoko, who he reveals he has trapped in an aquatic tank. Unconcerned, Washu easily fends off Clay’s questions about the origin of the gems and her interest in Tenchi, and to Clay’s annoyance, she doesn’t seem too impressed by his grandiose speeches about his future plans. Even when he tells Washu there is someone who wants to see her, she just assumes that he is trying to come onto her.

Finally, Clay manages to reveal that he personally isn’t interested in Washu- the one who wants to see her is Lady Tokimi. This means nothing to Washu, who doesn’t even remember ever hearing that name before.

Meanwhile, Ayeka, Tenchi and Mihoshi try to find their way through Clay’s ship, but as Mihoshi soon discovers, the layout of the ship is different from the Galaxy Police standard- and within minutes, all three are trapped in the ship’s corridors by a series of blast doors.

Back on the bridge, Washu is eager to show off how she found Clay in the first place, and Clay suggests that they sit down to chat. As they both take a seat, Clay wonders how Washu could have located him- in the past, no sensor was ever able to detect him. For Washu, however, it was a simple matter- just like he did with Zero, Clay puts his logo on all of his favourite things, including the location of the bridge, and a favourite jug of his that Washu ‘just happened’ to get hold of.

When Washu refuses to return the jug, Clay takes his hand away from the destruct controls and decides to retrieve it himself. By turning her chair into green goo, he manages to trap Washu, but as he goes to take the jug, he is stopped by an orange energy sword. It seems that Washu wasn’t trapped after all- the one in the goo is her doll!

Having finally gotten Clay away from his ships’s self-destruct controls, Washu has the upper hand- and she tries to use her advantage to get Clay to let her and the others leave. Before Clay can comply, however, the sword is blasted out of Washu’s hand- by none other than Zero.

With the return of Zero, Clay believes himself to be in control once more, and takes the opportunity to restrain the real Washu in green goo. But Zero has not returned to help Clay- the duplication of Ryoko has overwritten her obedience to him. Now all she wants to do is live as Ryoko and protect her beloved Tenchi.

Seeing that his creation has turned against him Clay electrifies Zero, hoping to shut the ‘defective unit’ down. Turning back to Washu, Clay tries to use the green goo to make a copy of Washu’s memory, hoping to find some answers about her past and the origin of the gems. Even as he speculates, however, an energy blast crystallises the goo and frees Washu’s head. Despite Clay’s efforts, Zero is still alive.

Breaking free, Washu begins to attack Clay, but the sneaky scientist has one more trick up his sleeve. Pressing down on a control statue, he initiates a procedure that will make the ship split into two pieces, not to mention cause the main reactor to collapse and explode!

With little time left, Washu has no choice but to attempt to avert the disaster by fiddling with the control statue that Clay claims will stop the explosion. Whilst Clay takes the opportunity to grab his jug and head for a shuttle, Washu discovers that the statue is a dummy- now there is now way to avoid the explosion.

As the reactor begins collapsing to form a black hole, Washu tries to find a way to control her side of the ship so that she can move to safety. Meanwhile, Mihoshi, Tenchi and Ayeka are trapped on the other part of the ship, and despite Ayeka’s best efforts, she is unable to protect them for long. As the blast rips her shield away, all three are blown into space. All three seem doomed, but the hidden power inside Tenchi reacts to the danger, shielding them with a set of Light Hawk wings.

Observing the creation of the Light Hawk wings from his shuttle, Clay decides that this is the kind of information that Tokimi would like to hear about. Even as he heads off to see her, however, Ryo-Ohki intercepts him. Unable to evade, the nefarious scientist is finally captured.

After encasing him in a block of crystal, Mihoshi announces that is time for her to escort Clay back to GP Headquarters. As one last amusement, Washu gives Mihoshi a gift, correctly predicting that, within moments, the clumsy GP officer will have tripped over and broken it. Well, at least Mihoshi will be able to spend her journey gluing it back together- and Washu can amuse herself by thinking about the look on Clay’s face when he realises his favourite jug was the item that got smashed.

Now, all that remains for Washu is to deal with Zero, and she decides that this copy should be fused with the real Ryoko. Ryoko is a little reluctant to absorb such an embarrassingly open personality into herself, but as Washu knows, deep down Ryoko realises that Zero is only a reflection of her true feelings. Annoying as it is to admit that mother knows best, Ryoko decides to agree to the fusion.

Out in the depths of space, Tokimi and D3 analyse the data they have gathered on Tenchi and the Light Hawk Wings. It seems that this dimension will be ideal for Tokimi’s purpose, for not only is Washu here, but it seems that Tsunami is present as well. And as for how to deal with Clay, well, Tokimi is willing to leave that to D3.

Back on Earth, and Ryoko is having a hard time adjusting to the fusion with Zero’s open and honest personality. Every time Tenchi’s name is mentioned she becomes openly nervous and excited. Her new behaviour provides endless amusement for Washu and Ayeka, but all Ryoko wants is to get back to normal as soon as possible.