You see, her old, bachelor uncle was a genius—you know, the 'absent-minded professor' type? Since he worked as both a professor and a consultant, he was always busy solving some kind of complex physics or engineering problem at work. So, she was pretty used to being ignored and disappointed since he never seemed to have any time for her, but she was really depending on him to be there for her, just this once. Unfortunately, her worst nightmare seemed to be coming true, because she couldn't find him anywhere. There's no way she was missing this tournament—It was the championship rounds! She decided it was time to venture down into the basement. Normally, she was forbidden from entering it without his permission, but desperate times called for desperate measures.
When she reached the basement door, April saw that a sticky note had been stuck to it. It said: 'April—Just got the transporter working! Off to tell colleagues. Do NOT touch it.' April face-palmed. He had forgotten! As usual, he was so caught up in his own little world that he had forgotten all about her! She understood that he was probably super excited because he had been trying to get that stupid thing to work ever since she was a toddler, but couldn't he have waited to disappear until after he had dropped her off at the tournament!?
"Freakin' Trekkie!" April muttered darkly under her breath. She took a deep, calming breath, and then smirked with a mischievous gleam in her eye. If he thought that sticky note was going to keep her out, then he really didn't know her at all. She was definitely touching it now! That would teach him not to forget about her again. And if the transporter really worked, then maybe she could use it to get to the tournament. She yanked the basement door open and marched straight inside, making a beeline for the machine. Rather than a futuristic looking platform from Star Trek, it looked more like a mechanized port-a-potty. Actually, that's exactly what it was. Her uncle had apparently used a freakin' plastic port-a-potty for the outer shell of his one-man transporter. Well, whatever. At the moment April didn't really care what it looked like as long as it worked, because her uncle owed her a ride to that tournament, and one way or another, she was getting it. The inside of the port-a-potty/transporter was much more impressive. It was lined with lead, and there was a flat-screen computer monitor and lots of control panels and fiber-optic cables and wires crammed inside. It was very cyberpunk-ish for something that had been made with such ghetto parts. April took a seat in the pilot's chair (which was an old car seat that smelled like wet dog and garbage). She hit the big button on the wall next to her, thinking it was the power button, to start it up. It wasn't. The transporter was already on. The monitor was just sleeping. She had hit the 'go' button.
"!?" April gasped in surprise, startled, when she was suddenly hit by a very strange sensation in the pit of her stomach as she was yanked back into her seat by an invisible force. A message flashed across the monitor as it woke up.
ERROR: NO DESTINATION ENTERED
Alarmed and confused, April tried to move to do something, but there were too many g's pulling on her. Even though all she could see was the inside of the box, she knew she was moving. She could feel it. And then, it got even worse. Since April hadn't bothered to dry herself off earlier she was still soaking wet. A drop of water rolled off of her finger and hit an exposed wire.
Several sparks flew out as something short-circuited in the machine, and she felt something like an electrical charge shoot up through her spine.
"AAAAAAHHHH!" April screamed in agony as immense pain wracked her entire body. Her vision began to fade to black, but just as she was about to pass out, the force of the transporter jerking to a sudden stop threw her headfirst from the chair to the door, and the resulting collision pushed it open and sent her tumbling out of the transporter. "Ow—Whoa!" Fortunately, her quick reflexes saved her, and she managed to tuck and roll in time to avoid hitting her head on the floor, too. "Safe!" She declared as she rolled into an upright sitting position, throwing her hands in the air to form a 'V' like an Olympic medalist who had just stuck their landing.
"… What are you doing?" An elderly male voice asked her from behind, causing April to whip her head around. As she was turning, several men wearing army-green flack jackets over navy clothes and toeless sandals suddenly appeared, and April found herself surrounded. Across the room, standing just in front of a large desk, was an old man dressed in a red and white conical hat with the kanji for 'fire' and red and white robes.
"Using my uncle's transporter to get to a martial arts tournament." She answered calmly, staying where she was. "What are you doing?" 'Aren't these guys a bit old to be a cosplaying?' April thought, sweat-dropping, as she furrowed her brow slightly in confusion. And what was with this intense atmosphere? It was like they were seriously ready to kill her… "This isn't the San Gabriel Valley Mixed Martial Arts Tournament, is it?"
"No." The old man replied firmly. "Do you have any idea where you are?"
"Not really." She replied frankly. "So, would you mind telling me where I am?"
"First, tell me who you are." He said. "List your name, age, and rank."
"April Starr. Thirteen years old. Level 4 Associate Instructor of Jeet Kune Do." She stated seriously, deciding to play along since they seemed to have her outnumbered and outclassed. Unfortunately, they didn't seem very impressed. Probably because they didn't know what she was talking about. But they assumed she must be referring to some form of fighting style she had mentioned a martial arts tournament.
"What village are you from?" The old man asked.
"Huh? Village?" She asked with a frown. "I'm from Pasadena. Where exactly am I? Who are you people?"
"I've never heard of this 'Pasadena' place you speak of." The old man said, furrowing his brow slightly. "What country is it located in?"
"Uh, the United States of America." April answered as if it should have been obvious, raising an eyebrow.
"If you're going to lie, at least try to come up with something more believable!" One of the men in the flack jackets said, shooting her a glare of disapproval. "There is no such place."
"No, it's true!" April said defensively, a bit annoyed they didn't know about her hometown. What kind of rock did they live under? Pasadena was home to the freakin' Rose Bowl! "It's in the state of California, you've at least heard of that, right?"
"No, because none of the three places you just named exist!" The man retorted sternly. April stared at him, shocked.
"No way! You expect me to believe you've never heard of the most powerful country in the world!?" She snapped incredulously.
"You are in the most powerful country in the world right now." The old man stated calmly, watching all of her reactions with an eagle eye. They appeared to be genuine, even though what she was saying made no sense at all. "This is Konoha, the Village Hidden in the Leaves, in the Land of Fire."
April's expression deadpanned.
"Ha. Ha. Very funny." She said flatly, looking extremely unimpressed. Now who was making things up? Were they trying to knock off Avatar: The Last Airbender? Next thing you know, they'd be claiming they could breathe fire. "No, seriously, where am I? Is this Canada?"
"Canada?" The old man asked, frowning slightly. That was another place name that he had never heard of before.
"Hokage-sama, what should we do with this girl?" Another one of the men in flack jackets asked. "She's obviously very suspicious. She could be an enemy spy."
'If I was a spy, then I'd be a pretty bad one if I just burst into here like this, wouldn't I?' April thought, a little chagrined. These guys were taking their roleplaying very seriously… "Well, if you won't take my word for it…" She said, reaching into her bag. "!" April quickly dodged and managed to sidestep all of the kunai that they had suddenly thrown at her.
'Hmm… Her speed isn't bad.' The Hokage thought. It would seem this girl wasn't completely clueless after all. She was trembling now. Was she scared now that she realized the severity of the situation she had landed herself in by intruding into their village without permission?
"Whoa! That was… so cool~!" She gushed as she raised her head, revealing that she was far more excited and impressed than she was afraid. They were so fast, she barely even had time to react! "Just like real ninja!" She exclaimed with sparkling eyes. Ninjas were awesome!
'… Eh?' The Hokage and his body guards thought, sweat-dropping. She really had no clue where she was, did she? What did she mean, 'like real ninja'? They were in a ninja village!
"But why did you suddenly try to attack me?" She asked, furrowing her brow slightly as she frowned. "I was just getting my ID card from when I got registered as a JKD instructor. See, it has my name, age, and everything on here." She said, holding it out for them to see.
"I see…" The Hokage said as one of his subordinates took the card and handed it over to him after inspecting it to make sure there wasn't any suspicious (like an explosive tag) attached to it. "What language is this supposed to be?" He asked curiously. He didn't recognize any of the strange characters that had been printed on the card.
"Huh? What language?" April asked, tilting her head to the side in confusion. Was he serious? "It's the one you're speaking right now, English."
"English?" He asked, furrowing his brow slightly. "I don't know what you're talking about. We're simply speaking the common tongue."
"…" April sweat-dropped. Something definitely wasn't right here. "Um… I've noticed you have a lot of stuff written in Japanese in this room… could it be, that's what your written language looks like?" She asked on a hunch.
"I don't know what you mean by 'Japanese'," The old man said as he handed it back to her, "but yes, that is the common tongue's written form."
"Ah, is that so…?" April said with a wry smile, sounding a little nervous. That was definitely Japanese! She knew for sure because she could read most of it without any problem, thanks to Casey talking her into learning how to help translate raw manga scans for their favorite series a while back. Either these people were totally nuts, or she had somehow been sucked into a world where everyone talked like they were in a dubbed anime… Either way, she definitely wasn't were she was supposed to be. "Well, if you'll excuse me…" She said, slowly turning back to face the transporter again. I'll just hop back into my little machine here and—!?" April's eyes widened in shock when she finally got a good look at the state it was in. The inside of the transporter had been totally fried when it short-circuited! "Oh, no! My uncle is so gonna kill me!!" She cried in alarm. He was really scary on the rare occasions when he actually got mad! Was it even usable anymore!? "Aghh! This sucks!" She groaned as she mussed up her hair, giving the smoking transporter a swift kick.
"Eh?" April said, freezing, when she heard the sound of something falling back into place, and the whir of the operating system rebooting. "Ah! W-Wait a minute!" She said, moving to jump back inside of the transporter. "What did she just do? Why was it starting up all on its own like that? Was it trying to go back!?
"Hold it!" One of the Hokage's guards said sternly as they moved to intercept her. "You're not going anywhere!" He told her as they held her down. The transporter began to crackle with energy. "Not until we have some answer—!?" They all gasped in astonishment when they felt the same strange energy they had sensed before, and the transporter seemingly winked out of existence right before their eyes, leaving its original passenger behind. They all stared at the empty space, stunned. April was pale with shock. A bead of nervous sweat rolled down the side of her face.
'No way…' She thought, a bit shell-shocked as what just happened began to sank in. 'Don't tell me… I'm stranded here?' She didn't even known where 'here' was! "Y-You—You jerks!!" April snapped with a vein throbbing on her forehead. "That was my only way home! What am I supposed to do now!?" She demanded tartly, shooting them all a fierce glare of annoyance.
"You were the one who kicked it." The Hokage reminded her calmly with a wry expression on his face. At the moment, she really reminded him of Naruto. Another troublesome child had appeared…
"I would've made it if your men hadn't stopped me!" She retorted with a huff, though her face was flushed slightly with embarrassment as she realized he had a point. She really shouldn't have done that…. "Whatever, I'm stuck here now. How are you going to take responsibility for that?"
"Responsibility, huh?" The Hokage mused, taking a puff on his pipe. "That'll be determined once we know a little more about you. First, there's someone I want you to have a chat with…"
April looked around the sparsely furnished and poorly lit room that she had been escorted to. The atmosphere reminded her of the scene in a crime drama where the cops tried to get the suspect to confess. Seriously, she was only thirteen. What was with the third degree? What kind of adult treats a girl in pigtails like a hardened criminal?
"Am I being interrogated?" She asked the stony-faced man with the scarred face, who was seated across from her, even though she had a feeling she already knew the answer.
"Yes." He stated coolly.
"So what do you want to know?"
"Okay." April agreed without hesitation.
"Oh, so you're going to cooperate?" He asked, raising an eyebrow. "I had expected a little more resistance than that. It's no fun if you give in so easily."
"I'm not here to entertain you." She replied bluntly, sweat-dropping. Was this guy some kind of sadist? He seemed like the type who liked toying with people. "Look, I know the way I suddenly appeared in your boss's office must seem really suspicious, but I'm not whatever you guys seem to think I am. I'm just a lost little girl who made a bad decision to go for a joyride in her uncle's faulty transporter, okay? I just want to go home. It's not like I'm a spy or anything, so there's no reason not to tell the truth… Well, the truth may actually be stranger than fiction in this case…" From the little she had seen of this place, she could tell it was very low-tech and unlike any place she had ever been to or seen on TV before. Even something about the air felt different. "But you get what I'm trying to say, right? I'm still not entirely sure how I ended up in this place, so I want to figure out what happened just as much as you guys." She explained patiently.
"I see." The man said. This girl seemed naïve, but she was very pragmatic. "In that case, shall we begin?" He asked with the hint of a smirk. "Just remember, the answers you give will decide your future; whether or not you have one."
"Oh, great." April deadpanned. "No pressure then."