Title: Spades On-Screen
Summary: Ace plays a prank on the Navy and the world gets to watch. The Whitebeard Pirates are most impressed.
Warnings: Crack. Sheer crack. And this just seems like something Ace would do. Also you will see some familiar faces if you've read 'Ten Years Difference.' :)
Marco had been summoned to the navigation room.
It was not the first time that the division one commander had been summoned to the room that doubled as both their navigation room and communications network. Said room and functions were under the control and care of division twelve, which in turn, was under the control and care of the division twelve commander Haruta, and normally it was she who was first called into the room.
However, when Marco arrived, he had to push past Thatch, Vista, Jirou and a handful of other commanders in order to reach Oyaji who was ensconced comfortably in one of the many chairs made to hold him and other crew members of his size and girth.
"What's going on, Oyaji?" Marco stood by his father's large knee, glancing upward while continuing to face the Den Den screens that were the apparent focus of division twelve.
"Haruta said there was about to be a broadcast we should see." His father raised his ever-present jug of sake.
Marco waited, but apparently his father didn't know much more than he did. "Haruta?"
Haruta looked up from where she was standing over one of her division members. "A few minutes ago there was a really strange interference signal. Then a man with a cowboy hat appeared on one of the Navy's more secure channels – in one of their actual broadcast booths and claimed there was going to be a special broadcast in five minutes by the Spade Pirates. Then this signal -" she pointed to the screen where a Jolly Roger was being shown, "-appeared with the countdown."
There was less than twenty seconds left.
"Let's watch and see what this is all about." Whitebeard took another hefty swallow of sake, and the commanders shrugged, moving closer in order to be able to see clearly.
Suddenly the Jolly Roger disappeared. It went black for a moment, and then switched to a view of a news anchor room with a young man – shirtless and wearing an orange cowboy hat that looked very much like the Jolly Roger that had just been on – sitting behind the news desk.
It was one of the new super rookies. Marco recognized him as Fire Fist Ace – the one Pops had mentioned reading about just the other day. How on earth – or rather, why on earth – was he broadcasting from a Marine stronghold? Even more perplexing – how? Surely the Marines would immediately block any strange signal being broadcast without their permission?
"Greetings everyone! Welcome to the first ever broadcast of the Spade pirates," came a chipper, cheery voice. The shirtless, tattooed and muscled young man had what were quite clearly blank papers in front of them, and he picked them up, tapping them into a pile as though he were an actual anchor on the news feed. "We've learned recently that there has been a shocking volume of misinformation being provided to the public regarding both pirates and Marines and we have taken it upon ourselves to rectify these errors. Isn't that right, Jim-Bob?"
The camera panned back enough to show a tied and gagged Marine news anchorman struggling the chair next to him. The Marine shook his head frantically, eyes wide with fright, and Ace casually slapped him on the back.
"What the hell is this?" Vista muttered, stroking the ends of his mustache.
"Glad to see you're in agreement, Jim-Bob." The young man tipped his cowboy hat back and beamed a brilliantly white smile at the camera. Marco was slightly dazzled. "Let's start first with sports with Biggie!"
"Sports?" someone shouted off-screen. "We're pirates! What the hell do we know about sports?"
Ace picked up a pen from the desk and hurled it at the speaker. "No comments from the peanut gallery! Shut up and switch cameras before I make you walk the plank!"
"We don't have a plank," said a different voice.
"I can make one!" shouted a third.
Ace crossed his arms and nodded firmly. "There, you see? Plank-walking. We have the power. We can build it."
"Ah, yes. Sports it is!" said the first voice.
Thatch snickered. Marco exchanged an amused look with Jirou. This certainly seemed like it was going to be interesting, at the very least.
The screen changed to see a large man in a room decorated with sports paraphernalia. He was holding a Marine in each massive hand. "In the world of sports, we doctors see a lot of common injuries," the big man said, smiling widely. He dropped one of the Marines and held up the other. "I would like to show you Tennis Elbow, but our good friend, um-"
"Mortie!" came another voice from off-screen.
"Ah, yes. Mortie. Our dear friend Mortie doesn't appear to be suffering from Tennis Elbow, so we'll move on to another common injury – dislocated shoulders."
"My shoulder's not dislocated!" whimpered the sailor.
"All things in good time," said the large man soothingly, and he pushed on his captive's arm. The sailor cried out in pain. "There, you see? Look how easily that slid out. Very painful. Now I shall show you the most common way to fix it." He turned the man's arm and shoved. There was a loud CLICK and the Marine shrieked. The doctor smiled. "Now all Mortie needs is ice and rest." WHAM – the doctor whacked the Marine's head face-first against the table, knocking him out cold. "This concludes my segment on Tennis Elbow."
A rare low bark of laughter burst free from the normally stoic and solemn Jozu.
The camera went back to the main room where Ace was laughing like a loon, head tossed back and arms clutched to his chest, before straightening up and pretending to shuffle some papers together, study them carefully, and then toss them over his shoulder. "These aren't the files I want. Where are the goodies?"
Marco and the other commanders watched with amusement as the pirate on-screen suddenly blanched and brought his arms up in a block, only for a heavy-looking filing case to flash right through him with a hint of fire. It hit the back wall with a loud crash and fell to the floor. Ace uncurled himself and stuck his tongue out in the direction it had come from. "That's it, everyone's grounded! No beating up of Marines for two weeks!" A chorus of sad groans was the response. The young man let out a put-upon sigh and rolled his eyes. "Fine, two days. It'll take at least that long for the bulk of you to get over your hangovers anyway." Cheers went up at that. "Oh, shut up, all of you." He leaned over, out of sight of the camera for a minute and then came back up with the filing cabinet, setting it on the anchor desk with a thunk. "Here we go."
Thatch watched the young man attack the lock with a lock pick. "This kid is nuts. Completely bonkers. I like him. Marco? I want him. We must have him."
Marco was biting back his own laughter as someone off-screen asked Ace if he needed hands-on lessons on how to properly use his tool, and Ace replied with a low-level hiken that made someone – likely the innuendo-thrower – screech in pain. "How is he getting away with this?"
"That's what I'd like to know," Haruta replied, shaking her head and grinning wildly. "This is awesome!"
The lock popped and Ace began rummaging through the cabinets files with a gleeful expression. "Oooh, yeah, gotta share this one, and this one... You know what? While I'm deciding on the best lineup of Admirals to humiliate, let's have a moment with our drunken pirate chorus line singing 'Friends in Low Places!"
The scene switched again to a room with six completely plastered pirates clutching half-empty quart bottles of rum, sitting on top of a pile of unconscious Marines, all of them warbling at different pitches and different speeds about beer taking their blues away. On the line 'I got friends' (which due to different singing speeds, they kept reaching at different times), each pirate made an attempt to grab someone nearby for a one-armed choke hold that was probably supposed to be a hug. Thankfully, they all grabbed Marines. "- in low-ow-ow places!" they howled directly into the ears of their captives.
Fossa and Blenheim erupted into laughter when they sang the chorus again, every last one of them completely off key, and half the pirates fell over trying to do what appeared to be the can-can. One particularly enthusiastic young pirate in a bandanna with a cartoon chicken on it, kicked with such a flourish that he lost his boot which flew across the stage and struck the camera-Den Den, giving the audience at home an abrupt and clear look at the ceiling.
Jozu noted aloud that it seemed to be in need of a thorough spring cleaning and this observation was agreed with by all the other laughing commanders.
Then the view swung around, back to Ace who was still rummaging through the files.
"Aokiji, Dalmation, Strawberry, Akainu, Momonga, Lowery– and they said it was alphabetical, this explains so much about the Marines," groused the young man. He looked back up at the camera. "We have proof! Naval Intelligence truly is an oxymoron." The Whitebeard Pirates guffawed loudly. "Okay, we found some of the good stuff. In breaking news, we have some important information about - " he checked the file name. "Admiral Dalmation!" He waved the folder and then opened it. "Boring, boring, boring – oh, here we go. Admiral Dalmation was once court-martialed for appearing drunk during an inspection – and then appeared at his hearing in the exact same condition! Tsk, tsk, someone has a drinking problem." Ace waggled his finger at the camera. "Admiral Woof-Woof, what kind of example are you setting for all the young puppies out there that wanna become drunken louts like – well, never mind then, I guess you're on the right hydrant—err, track. I mean track. I salute you!" Ace saluted the camera with the folder and then tossed it over his shoulder, already digging through the next one.
Thatch was crying with laughter, pounding his fists on a nearby work desk. Marco was close to following him. Haruta had lost her grip on her chair and was currently rolling across the floor of the intelligence room. Izou pushed past Marco and Thatch and started frantically pawing at the controls. "Are we recording this? Tell me we're recording this!"
"We're recording this," confirmed a member of the Twelfth Division. "Commander Haruta made us hit 'record' as soon as the broadcast started, thinking it was an emergency Marine broadcast. Snails are all working perfectly too. We're getting all of it."
"Oh, thank the gods," Izou gasped, clutching his kimono and staring at the screen with a wide grin. "This is absolutely priceless!"
On screen, Ace was perusing another folder. "Wow, okay. Here we have a letter from Admiral Strawberry's psychologist, reminding him about his mandatory monthly session to deal with his severe phobia of... you're kidding me. Seriously?" Ace looked up and grinned at the camera like it was Christmas time and someone had handed him the best present ever. "You're pathologically afraid of stuffed animals, Strawberry?" Ace tossed the report. "Y'know, last time I was at Sabaody Park, I won a prize that I just feel I have to introduce you to. Dusty, where's Mr Legs?" A purple stuffed octopus was tossed on-screen. Ace caught it and began manipulating two of its tentacles at the screen. "Mr Legs wants to meet you, Strawberry. He wants to get up close and personal with you." Wiggle, wiggle. "We'll schedule some playtime together, how's that sound?" Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle.
"Kinda creepy, Captain," shouted 'Dusty' from off-screen.
"Well, duh, that's the whole point." Ace turned to his captive co-anchor and set the octopus precariously on the top of Jim-Bob's head. "Don't move, Jim-Bob. If Mr Legs falls, I will be very disappointed in you."
A teary-eyed and sweating Jim-Bob didn't move. Neither did Mr Legs.
"Good work, Jim-Bob." Ace spun back around in his chair. "Time for a look at the weather with Spooky and Tyger!"
The camera switched again to a large map of the islands surrounding Impel Down, Marineford and Enies Lobby. A small man with a turban was holding up what looked to be quickly drawn scribbles of various weather phenomena. He held up a tornado. "We are hoping that a tornado, of F-5 class or higher, comes to Enies Lobby, picks it up and drops it in the middle of the Floridian Triangle." A dart suddenly shot past him, snatching the tornado from his hand and pinning it exactly in the middle of the Enies Lobby Island on the map. "Watch it, Spooky, you almost took my hand off, damn it!"
The camera panned to the side where it picked up a tall man wearing a black vest, armed with a rifle, a telescope – and about two dozen more darts. Three white-eyed and gibbering Marines were pinned to the wall behind him, each dart holding a section of clothing. "Sorry, Tyger."
The camera panned back to Tyger who held up a picture of blue... something. "Next, we are hoping that a Tsunami will wash out all of Impel Down. God knows that place hasn't been cleaned in years." A second dart flew out and pinned the blue...thing, to the wall right over the square marked Impel Down. Tyger held up his last picture, which was a bunch of grey scribbles. "What the hell is this supposed to be?"
"Rocks falling after an earthquake."
Tyger squinted at the paper. "Seriously? Who the hell told you you could draw?"
The camera panned back to Spooky who straightened his back, looked down his nose and said in a very dignified tone, "My mother always said I was talented."
Tyger snorted as the camera rolled back to him. "Your mother is a lying liar who lies." This time the dart hit the paper and pinned the 'earthquake' to Marineford, and two more pinned Tyger's pants to the desk. "Asshole! How many pairs'a pants you think I got?"
Izou clung to Namur, gasping with laughter. The fishman was clutching back just as hard, trying to keep his feet while trying to keep control of the manic laughter that kept welling up and out of himself.
Switch back to Ace's desk. Ace was laughing at something he was reading. "Okay, this is just awesome. Dusty, we gotta build a special cannon, I'm telling you. Admiral Momonga is severely allergic to all types of seafood." He looked up at the camera. "Are you kidding me? And you're a Marine stationed on the bloody sea? This is hilarious. I am so building a shrimp launcher."
A man wearing a cowboy hat came into view. "Let me see that."
Ace handed over the paper. "Would I lie about this?"
The man scanned the paper and then burst out laughing. "Holy shit, boss, shrimp launcher. Hells, yes. Or cannonballs filled with fish. Something."
Ace slapped Dusty on the back, who 'oof'ed and went scurrying off stage, still clutching the paper and shouting at someone to get their ass over there to brainstorm more seafood-based weaponry. Then Ace grinned at the camera again. "Momo-kins, thank you. Thank you for such a gift and it ain't even my birthday! That's just as good as Strawberry's plushie fear."
Marco snickered loudly as 'Ace' bowed reverently at the camera.
"I need time to find some more good stuff, so Dusty, share your ideas in our newly discovered Research and Development segment." Ace grinned. "That was just developed, like, ten seconds ago."
The camera swerved around to see Dusty and a handful of drunk pirates messily sketching over top one another as they came up with weirder and weirder ideas to take advantage of poor Admiral Momonga's fishy affliction. After a minute of muffled curses and a brief argument over which type of wood would be best, Dusty – the one wearing the cowboy hat – pushed two pirates off the table and held up a hastily sketched out weapon that looked like a crossbow. "This was Gerkin's idea. A specially modified crossbow that fires trout!"
"Just trout?" asked one of the pirates who had been shoved to the floor.
"Why trout?" asked the other pirate who had been shoved to the floor.
"In the words of our great leader Ace," Dusty said solemnly, holding the sketch of the 'troutbow' to his chest as though he were making a great pledge. "Don't ask why. Ask why the hell not?"
Thatch wheezed at Haruta who wheezed right back and they giggled helplessly. Marco rolled his eyes - they had just found their new motto, apparently.
"Now, from the great state of Louis's brain – and yes, for the last time, Biggie has confirmed that he does in fact have one – we have the spring-loaded seafood surfer." Grabbing a marker, Dusty whirled around to the nearest wall and began scribbling a roughly elongated banana-shaped object upon its surface. The shape soon less resembled a banana and more resembled a certain portion of the male anatomy which quickly drew catcalls and jeers and more than one suggestion to add a few 'cannonballs while you're at it.'
Dusty finished his drawing and then calmly turned around, picked up the table, and then slammed it down on the heads of two of the loudest hooligans who quickly went to sleep as a result. "If I may continue?" There was a great many nodding of drunken heads. "The surfboard is loaded with fish, shrimp, anything that lives in the sea really, and is sent sailing across the water. When it impacts something, the springs are released, and the contents are flung in such a manner that they land in a line rather than all in a bunch, resulting in a much longer impact radius." Dusty nodded smartly. "I'm sure with the right twist and application of explosives, we can get a much wider impact as well. Good idea Louis!"
Louis – a giant muscle-head of a man whose only body hair was a beard that stretched down to his knees and which had been accused of being its own life-form – smiled blearily at the praise for the only worthwhile suggestion he'd ever come up with to date (he would need to rest his brain for a month afterwards for putting it through such strain) and raised the quart bottle of rum in Dusty's direction before draining the last of it. As he did so, his knees buckled and he began to fall backwards.
Dusty whooped. "Timberrrrrrrrrrr!" he shouted as the giant collapsed in a snoring heap on top of his compatriots, many of whom were calling for help as they were slowly being crushed under the weight of his muscles. "Back to you Ace, while I try and save as many people as I can."
"Take your time," Ace snorted as the camera came back on him. He was standing at his anchor table, peering over at Dusty's rescue operation before sitting back down, shaking his head. "Morons. How many times do I have to tell them never to stand behind the drinking giant? It's their own damn faults!"
Marco chuckled loudly at that, firing a cheeky smirk at his father who had been pretty much gur-ra-ra-ra-ing since the broadcast had begun. "Smart man." His father nodded and smirked back with an additional raised eyebrow that made Marco pause and blink at him. Then a small smile spread across his own face. Sometimes his father really did have good ideas.
On screen, Ace was now looking off in another direction. "I think our drunken chorus line just woke up but I can't tell what they're singing." Dusty wandered over to the anchor desk, looking in the same direction. A rumble could be heard but individual words were hard to pick out. Suddenly Ace snorted. "I got it. Okay, back to the boys and their rendition of 'The Night that Patty Murphy Died'!"
Cue screen switching. One of the men was randomly banging his hand against the strings of a rather beat up guitar (where they'd found it, one could only wonder) and the rest were singing the chorus on repeat. "Thassh how'dey showed'er 'shpect-fer Paddy Murphy! Thassh how'dey showed-er honor-anner pride! 'Ey shaiddit wash'a shin-an-shame ann-ey wink dat one-anudder! An'erry glassh inna plashe wash full da night Pat Murphy died!"
One of the men was howling at the top of his lungs, tears streaming down his face in a full-out waterfall as though Patty Murphy were his actual blood relative and had actually expired moments before in the studio. Another one of the men was crooning the chorus while patting the forlorn pirate on the back and trying to reach for the forgotten rum bottle in his friends hand.
As soon as he reached it, the pirate with the waterworks suddenly switched them off, stopped singing, and shouted, 'Show shum reshpect for Pasty Murkey!" before adroitly switching the rum bottle to his other hand and abruptly smashing it over the would-be thief's head. The poor man fell to the floor, eyes spiralling, and without further ado, the winner of the one-hit fight calmly turned the water works back on and joined in on a third round of the chorus - which was apparently the only part of the song that everyone knew.
The camera went back to Ace – who was holding his head in his hands, Dusty patting his back sympathetically. "I can't believe I claim you idiots as my crew. What in God's name was I thinking?" he moaned. Then he raised his head. "BIGGIE! Check and make sure Twix is still alive, please?"
A low rumble came back. "On it, Captain."
"I'll go help." Dusty rolled his eyes and disappeared off-screen, but not before whacking Jim-Bob on the shoulder in a rather comradely fashion. Mr Legs wobbled from his precarious perch, but to the relief of the sweating Marine beneath him, he didn't fall. The Marine sighed behind his gag.
Ace shook his head and laughed. "Okay, let's take a look at Aokiji, who is actually a Marine that is somewhat tolerable in small doses and doesn't tend to use his own Marines as cannon fodder. Ice-man, as a show of respect – and as an apology for the fire-wedgie I gave you during our last encounter – I won't spill any of your secrets. Mainly because someone I know actually likes you and he'll try and kill me himself if I say anything too damaging about you." Ace tossed the file folder over his shoulder.
Marco raised an eyebrow. A pirate respecting a Marine? Not unheard of. But this was still unusual. Haruta naturally focused on the most important part. "A fire-wedgie?" She hissed and winced. "Ouch." Marco had to agree.
"Okay, here's a folder on the..." Ace flipped the paper over, blinked at it, turned it upside down, leaned in close, and then squinted hard. "Okay, this is supposed to be either the logo of the Bellamy Pirates, or someone mistakenly put the calling card for a brothel in these files. I mean, really -" he held up a picture of the tongue sticking out from between pursed female lips that was the Jolly Roger of the aforementioned pirate crew. "I don't get a feeling of fear from this, so much as I get a feeling of suggestiveness and an urge to tell Mr Bellamy to put that tongue to good use if he's gonna flash it around like that."
There was a whoop of laughter from both the drunk pirates in the studio, and the hysterical pirates in the Moby Dick's navigation room.
"C'mon, you're telling me people run in terror from this flag?" Ace shook his head. "You'd think he'd be overrun with pirates chasing him down for chrissakes, wanting to get up close and personal with whoever modeled for it. Anyway, yay, Bellamy Pirates, you're in a folder marked 'Not a Threat', and when the Navy, with all their 'Naval intelligence' says that, well, you might as well turn your little tugboat around and puff puff on back to the docks." Ace dropped the Bellamy Pirate logo back in the folder. "Who else is in here?" He looked up and gave a V-sign to the camera. "Happy to report that if this actually is in alphabetical order, the Spade Pirates are not in here."
"That doesn't necessarily mean they think we're dangerous," a voice easily recognized by now as Dusty shouted. "Also, Twix is alive!"
"Good to know. And you're right. It could mean it's not in alphabetical order."Ace shrugged. "Either that or they can't figure us the hell out, and well, I like to think I'm pretty good at spreading confusion." He spread his arms out wide. "After all, we're still on the air and I'm willing to bet they have no idea how." He winked at the camera and then poked his nose back into the folder. "We have time for one more – what the hell is this supposed to be?" He held up a picture of an ugly frog with teeth. "Frogs don't have teeth!"
"That's the logo of the Fanged Toad Pirates, boss!" shouted Tyger as he flew past the camera's view, clothes riddled with darts. Several more darts followed in his wake. One passed through Ace's head with a small flicker of flame.
"Sorry Captain!" said Spook as he chased after his partner. Darts were pointing out between the knuckles of each hand as he raced past the camera in front of the anchor desk.
Ace turned his head to watch them go. "You mean that wasn't an attempt to kill me or mutiny?"
"No, sir!" came the fading shout. "I don't wanna take control of this funny farm."
"Damn." Ace snapped his fingers. "Anyway, back to this. Why toads? How are they scary? Who looks at a toad and thinks 'with some sharp teeth, this would make a scary Jolly Roger for a pirate crew?" He shoved the logo in Jim-Bob's face. "Does this fill you with fear?"
Jim-Bob shut his eyes and whimpered.
"Apparently it does." Ace rolled his eyes. "If you're gonna be called the 'Fanged anything', I'd start with creatures that actually have fangs, you know?"
Dusty ambled back on screen and shoved Jim-Bob out of his chair so he could sit down, catching Mr Legs and setting the octopus plushie on the anchor desk. "Well, most pirates are not known for their intelligence. You of all people should know this."
"This is true – hey. What are you implying?" Ace glared at his first mate and stood up, looming over him threateningly. "Are you saying I'm not that intelligent?"
His first mate didn't seem too concerned, idly tugging the brim of his cowboy hat into a better position that allowed the cameras to see the gleam in his eye and the smirk on his face. "Not at all, Cap. I let the people you recruited into your own pirate crew speak for itself."
Ace opened his mouth to argue – and then shut it, sitting down with a thump. "Well, damn."
Dusty grinned. "Just got the word, boss. Time to bring this broadcast to an end."
"What a shame." Ace straightened his back, and the two of them sat at the anchor desk, hands folded neatly in front of them. "Well, this concludes the first-
"-and most likely, last-" interrupted Dusty.
"-broadcast of the Spade Pirates, also known as that group of drunken idiots following the guy that routinely lights himself on fire," Ace continued. "We hope you have enjoyed yourselves – I know we certainly have – and remember kids, talk back to your parents, get into fights, and become pirates. It's much more fun then becoming a Marine, trust me."
"A certain member of your family is going to kill you, you know."
"If he didn't succeed when I was a kid, he ain't gonna succeed now that I'm older, stronger and smarter."
Dusty rolled his eyes and the two of them waved at the camera. Three seconds later, the screen went black.
The laughter in the navigation room however, continued - long, loud and uproarious.
The division twelve member in charge of communications waited a moment and then hit a button to stop recording the broadcast. He immediately put a cartridge into the machine next to the recorder, connected a wire and then began transferring the media. Marco, who had finally managed to get his laughter under control, poked the guy in the shoulder. "What are you doing?"
"Making a copy, sir. Sometimes we get interference from the storms here and it can mess up our recording devices. I'm pretty sure no one wants to lose this."
Marco grinned. "Absolutely not. In fact, I think we should put the Den Den Players in the galley tonight and show this broadcast over dinner to the men who couldn't see it the first time 'round."
The Whitebeard Pirates in the booth cheered. Thatch and Haruta were still laughing, tears streaming down their faces, and Izo had given up trying to preserve his makeup, pressing his hands to his face in an attempt to stop his giggles. Thatch stumbled back over to Marco and clawed at Marco's shirt sleeve. "That kid... that kid is incredible. We must find him! He must be assimilated!"
Haruta whooped. "Definitely!"
Marco chuckled and shot his Pops another amused look. It seemed everyone was thinking along the same lines. He certainly wouldn't mind making Ace of Spades a member of the Whitebeard family.
He hoped they'd get the chance to meet on the Grand Line.
I got the idea of Strawberry being terrified of plushies from ScarletteSorceress and her marvellous fic 'The Greatest Treasure', which all of you should read.
Did it make you laugh? At least get a giggle? Let me know please! My endings are crap but I enjoy writing humor and I'd love to know if I made a few people smile. :)