Author's Note; Prologue:
Hello there! It's not very often I'm passionate about an already existing story or universe that I write a fanfic about it, but the world of Arpeggio of Blue Steel definitely did just that. So, this story (and most importantly and especially the characters) sort of just effortlessly came to me and I figured, hey, why not write that story? Any excuse to practice writing is a good one, so here I am.
As far as the story itself goes, it will focus on my two leads, who are indeed original characters, but existing characters like the I-401 crew and Yamato will also be factoring in eventually. In that regard, I'll be sticking to the story of the manga and not the anime, because that story appeals to me far more than the vastly edited, abridged and altered one of the anime.
I plan this on being a slow burning character drama, for the first part at least. The two leads have a lot of character establishing and building that I want do, so if you're the sort of person who likes to see a drama unfold between two very different people, that's exactly what's going to happen here. There will be action, of course (it's a story in a world of warships, after all!) but my leads come first.
So, with all of that out of the way, please enjoy! And of course, any and all feedback is absolutely appreciated. I'm trying to actually become a novelist, so that holds especially true for me.
The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea
She felt herself hit the pavement. Hard. She felt the impact perfectly; what she didn't feel was pain, something she had yet to develop a personal concept of. Even after a decade among humans and countless hours spent interacting with them, studying them, mimicking them, there was only so much she had really learned how to interpret and project and physical pain was not one of those traits.
Moving slowly enough to not provoke a more angered reaction, she looked up at her attacker, trying to enact a look of fear to hide her true state of curiosity. She'd never truly been attacked by a human before; she'd been threatened a few times, but something or someone had always intervened first. Not this time, it would seem.
Lurking over her was the human male who had just tossed her to the paved road like a rag doll. He was a large man, as far as Caucasian males of the species went, easily a foot and half taller than she was and over twice her weight and he had a gleam in his eyes that she had witnessed and studied dozens of times before, only this one was more intense, perhaps because it wasn't restrained by any societal restrictions. It was just the two of them here and, in his view, he had all of the power in the world.
This is was quickly turning into a fascinating chance at observation.
Calculating what a small human female would say in such a defenseless situation, she modulated her voice accordingly, trying to inject as much fear as she could into her tone.
"Please... Don't hurt me..."
The man smiled viciously. She was aware enough to know she wasn't the best actress in the world (acting, that human concept she found most fascinating of all, given her current long term assignment) but he seemed to be buying that she was afraid.
"Oh, don't worry, little girl. If you behave, I won't hurt you one bit." His eyes gleamed down at her predatorily and even in the fading light (though, of course, she could see perfectly in even the most pitch black of conditions) she was sure that even a human girl would have figured out what that look meant. "You might even have a little fun. Maybe, if you're really fucking nice to me, I'll let you go when I'm done."
It was exactly as she had thought. She had yet to have any sexual interactions with a human, consensual or otherwise, despite the fact that her thorough research of human anatomy had allowed her to shape and modify her mental model to replicate a human female down to the most finite detail. In fact, she was convinced that even a Doctor wouldn't be able to tell the difference, provided she put enough computational power into keeping troublesome things like blood looking as realistic as possible.
Instantaneously calculating further, she decided that she wouldn't defend herself just yet. She had also decided that the experiment of intercourse would probably be best initially conducted consensually, whenever she ultimately got around to it. Not right this second, at any rate. This man wouldn't get what he was after, but she definitely wanted to study this behavior further before rendering him unconscious and proceeding on her merry way. And to think, she had only been on this island for forty-seven minutes and this was the very first human she had encountered here! She would get to study firsthand, to some extent, some of the very darkest human behavior imaginable.
At least, for a few moments, she thought she would.
Swiveling her head left at the noise of footsteps on the pavement, she became aware of another man's presence only a second and a half before he announced himself.
"Okay, here's how this is going to play, motherfucker," the second man seethed, his voice like cold iron, gripping in both hands what she identified as a small, silver pistol with level determination at the first man. "You're going to get face down on the ground, extend your arms fully out with your palms facing the sky, or I will fucking drop you."
Turning back to face the first man, not even bothering to mask her excitement at this opportunity to study some truly wonderful human drama play out before her, she examined the look on the first man's face. If he was afraid at this new player with the gun, he certainly wasn't showing it.
"Hey, man," the first man said with a disarming smile, extending his arms out to the side in what she knew to mean a shrug. "We were just having a little bit of fun. She's with me. You've totally got this all wrong."
"Yeah, I'm pretty stupid, but I'm not that goddamn stupid," the man with the gun responded with a snort. "I repeat, if you want to remain devoid of additional holes, you will get on the ground. Now."
Despite the fact that she could easily detect the anger in the man with the gun's tone, he was refraining from shouting or even raising his voice. She observed him intently, as he walked slowly and methodically towards them and she was a little taken aback at the man's gait. He was limping and it was obvious (to her, at least) that he was in some sort of pain. But, one wouldn't have thought that much judging by his face alone (which was an orderly mix of calm determination with just a hint of rage) most humans, she would imagine, wouldn't be able to detect the pain. Observe the limp of course, but perhaps not detect the amount of pain that it was plainly clear to her that he was in.
The first man certainly detected the limp, and, dropping all facade of a friendly demeanor, re-adorned the malicious grin from before.
"Okay, cripple. I don't believe for a fucking second you have the balls to shoot me. So, why don't you just stumble on back to where you came from. Me and her? This don't fucking concern you."
The man with the gun stopped, about twenty feet from the first man, who was now turned to face him, and her, who was sitting on the ground, her knees pulled close to her chest utterly transfixed on what was unfolding before her.
"Besides," the first man continued. "That's a tiny fucking gun. Even if you did shoot me, that pussy thing wouldn't do shit to me except piss me off."
Now it was the man with the gun's turn to smile. "Oh, this certainly concerns me. Plus, I can piss you off eight times before I even have to reload. So, you have two options: One, you do as I've instructed and get your ass on the ground, or we'll see just how many times I have to piss you off before you hit the ground, anyway. Your call, sweetheart."
There was a brief pause, that must've, for humans, felt like an eternity. She had heard more than one human remark on the perceived phenomenon of time slowing down during certain situations, likely due to adrenaline and other factors and she briefly wondered if she would ever experience such a thing herself. Granted, at the speed at which she computed information, she was positive that her perspective was drastically slowed compared to that of a human's, but she was used to that perspective. It was the only one she had ever had. So, she waited in her own personal, calm and collected eternity for whatever would happen next, trying to crunch the odds on how things would play out. Would the first man do as the man with the gun had instructed? Would this get violent? What would happen next? She was just beginning to determine numerical odds, based on her experiences (and perhaps was even getting a little more excited) when the first man swiftly pulled a large knife from his pocket, flipped the blade open and began sprinting at the man with the gun.
He got only a single step before the first shot rang out. She watched, frozen, as the first bullet caught the man square in the chest and she heard the man exhale, obviously winded. The second bullet impacted his right shoulder, spinning him slightly. The third and fourth bullets also hit him in the chest and the man, carried by his forward momentum, staggered another eight feet before hitting the pavement face first a full ten feet from the man with the gun, who's facial expression hadn't changed in the slightest.
She didn't make a sound and even nearly forgot to continue simulating breathing, she was so enraptured by what she was seeing. She had never, not once, witnessed such violence before. She had researched it and studied it, but had never seen it herself. She'd seen police make arrests and had even witnessed three bar fights and a dozen other scuffles, but this was the first time she had even seen a gun employed for it's designed purpose.
It was utterly fascinating.
The man wielding the gun didn't skip a beat. With a measured pace, he limped to the downed man, who was still breathing and gurgling on the ground, unwilling or unable to move.
Stopping out of arm's reach, the man leveled the pistol at the back of the downed man's head.
"I told you," he whispered, seething. "I fucking told you, you dumb fuck. And just look at you now."
And with that he fired a final shot and the downed man stopped breathing.
She almost did, too, but remembered to continue. She definitely had to keep blending in; she wanted so very much to study whatever would happen next and being human was the most important aspect of that.
Studying the man he had just shot for another few seconds, seemingly to make sure he was dead, the man with the gun suddenly looked up, catching her eyes with his own. She was amazed at the disparity between the look in this man's face before and the look he had now. It was full of concern, of genuine concern. This surprised her a little.
"Ma'am?" He started quietly, his voice also reflecting his concern. "Are you all right?"
She decided to continue playing the quiet girl card, one that had worked exceedingly well on countless occasions before. She simply returned his stare for another few moments before nodding slowly.
"Are you sure? I saw him throw you. Looked kind of rough." The man smiled a little, no doubt trying to make her feel more at ease. If only he knew that she was quite calm. That she, in fact, was never in any danger at all in the first place.
His voice was a little gruff and it had a slight purr to it. Though, she could tell from before that he could speak quite loudly, even without shouting, he was trying to keep his voice somewhat soft while he spoke to her.
Letting his last remark remain floating around in the air without responding to it, she opted to instead continue meeting his gaze and hugging her legs closer to her chest for the added effect of looking helpless.
He frowned slightly, hopefully dissatisfied with her affirmation that she was unharmed. He was Caucasian and tall (though not as tall as her attacker) and weighed around two hundred pounds (she hated utilizing the measurement system used in this country, but given her assignment, she forced herself to do so) and he had short, cropped brown hair. He was young, perhaps twenty-four or twenty-five (she had never gotten overly entirely accurate in her age estimations of humans) and wore simple clothing that contrasted somewhat with the nature of the weapon he still held in his right hand.
"What's your name?" he asked, finally.
She looked away for a moment, closing her eyes, before returning his gaze and finally replying to him.
"Rosie. My name is Rosie."
The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, by Brendan Perry