You know what's great for reviving a love of an old fandom? New blood that's actually decent. Space Pirate Captain Harlock (2013) continuity, references to original Harlock anime/manga. I kept it down to a minimum because if given the chance, I can and will refer to ALL the Harlock continuities and throw in Galaxy Express 999 and Queen Emeraldas for the fun of it. This is meant only to be a short one-shot. Thanks to my girlfriend for the encouragement.
They say that the Arcadia is cursed. Cursed to roam without safe harbor, cursed with immortality, cursed with terribly kitschy pirate-themed decor, and occasionally cursed with ghosts. Yama never thought he'd believe in ghosts until he came across them.
The ghosts appeared when the dark matter energy system was fully activated, lingered for a while, and disappeared. There was the cat that haunted Miss Masu's kitchen and followed Dr. Zero at times, though neither had ever owned a cat. A tall, red-haired beauty sometimes roamed the corridors with a Cosmo Dragoon at her hip, and sometimes her hair was gold. Once there was an alien girl.
The most frequent, and the most distressing, was a little dark-haired girl in a red skirt and white shirt. She played around the core of the ship's computer most times, and the computer seemed almost human in its response to her. Its chamber brightened, its tasks finished faster, and at times Yama could almost swear that he heard a man's voice whispering to the girl. Sometimes she haunted the captain's steps with a skip and giggles. Worst was when there was ocarina music late at night and he had to investigate. When he did, he found the girl playing as if her life depended on it. When she did acknowledge him, she said that her guardian wouldn't be able to find her if she slept, so she must keep playing until he came to rescue her. Eventually she'd disappear.
Yama brought up the subject of the little girl to Harlock once and was ignored. The second time, Harlock told him that it was none of his business. The third, when the good captain was nursing his brandy and brooding, Miime said that maybe it was a bleed-over effect of the dark energy. Perhaps it gave them glimpses of other Arcadias, other times. It made as much sense as anything else on the ship.
The ocarina keeps Yama up again, tonight of all nights, just before his flight test with Kei in the morning. Grumbling, he gets up, exits his quarters, and walks towards the empty room the girl haunts. This time is different, and he only barely manages to duck behind the wall when he finds the door already open. The ocarina music stops and he glances within. There, seated on a barren bed, is the captain with the girl's head on his lap. "It's fine, Mayu," Harlock whispers, as if the girl is his daughter and not a ghost. "You're safe."
The ghost's ocarina falls from her grasp as she drifts off to sleep, and she disappears a few moments afterwards. It's only then that Yama notices the real, physical ocarina in Harlock's hand.
It leaves more questions than answers, but Yama departs for his own room. The ship is cursed, but at least the ghosts are harmless.