Hello Everyone, I'm still alive, sort of. Anyway it's been probably about a year since the last update, and I'm sorry it's taken so long. I've been dealing with stress in life and starting a new job, along with some other personal matters. I greatly appreciate people taking an intrest in this story despite the not being update for a while. I'm going to try my best to honor Japanese honorifics, I'm new to writing this way but I believe I've gotten it down. Of course any tips and pointers are also appreciated.
Without further ado, on with the story.
I don't own Haifuri, only my OC's
Beta read by Sabrina06
As night fell on the second day of the students' voyage. Emily made her way to the mess hall to check up on Sara. The gruff voice of the chef was loud as she peered inside the kitchen, most particular at Sara, who was running around frantically with pots and utensils.
"Move faster girl, need to work off the food you ate out of my storage room." The chef yelled.
"Yes, Sir." Sara said frantically.
"Working her hard?" Emily asked as she walked up beside him.
"Aye, Ma'am. Your brother said work her like a cadet so that's what'll happen." He replied.
"With a little interest, I see."
"Well, that's for stealing from my kitchen. Though I am surprised at her work ethic, I thought she would try to avoid the work but she actually keeps busy, she's a good worker, catches on quickly." He noted.
Emily chuckled, "Sara always has a strong work ethic when she puts her mind to it, then again, my brother did threaten to send her back home in a paddle boat."
He laughed out loud, before speaking, "She's getting off easy, back in my day, we'd just toss them off the ship to swim back."
Sara came up to them, exhausted "Everything's been put away, Chef." She looked towards Emily, her eyes pleading for Emily to help her.
Emily took pity on her, "Do you mind if I borrow her for a little bit?"
He pondered for a minute, "I suppose, but don't take her too far, there's still plenty of work to be done."
Sara sighed in relief, and exited the kitchen with Emily. The two made their way to a table and sat down. The dining hall was mostly deserted as nearly all the cadets were either going to bed or settling in for the night watch at their stations.
Sara rested her head on the table and groaned, "What did I do to deserve this?"
"Would you like your answer in chronological or alphabetical order?" Emily asked with a smile.
Sara lifted her head and glared at her friend, "You're almost as bad as your brother."
"Well, you can either work and have some freedom, or stay locked up in the brig for the rest of the voyage." Emily reminded her.
Sara sighed again, "I suppose you're right."
"You know, if you would just stop and think about some of your actions, you wouldn't be in the situations that you get yourself into." Emily suggested.
"Even if I did, what good would it do? Mom was to focused on being a sailor more than a mother." Sara replied, tired of the issue that Emily was about to bring up.
"You know your mom cares about you, why else would she scold you for doing some of the stupid things that you do?"
"Because she cares more for her reputation as the principal of the school, why else would she send her daughter back to the mainland to live with relatives?"
"Sara," Emily began, but her friend got up in a hurry.
"I need to get back to work, before I cause any more trouble."
Emily quietly watched as her friend disappeared back into the kitchen. She stood up and exited the mess hall. Sara just needed some space, she did this to avoid topics concerning her family. Emily knew that pressing the matter would just make her mad, though she did often wonder about Sara and her relationship with her mother. She was brought out of her thoughts when she heard voices.
Ivy and two fourth year male cadets were talking, though Ivy was visibly uncomfortable around the two boys. As she got closer, she overheard part of their conversation.
"Come on beautiful, what's wrong with hanging out a little tonight?" One of the boys asked.
"Yeah, we're not going to hurt you or anything. We just want to get to know you better." The other said.
"I appreciate the offer, but I'm late for my duty shift. I need to get going." She replied quickly as she attempted to leave. One of the boys grabbed her arm, she tried to break free but he tightened his hold.
"Oh come on, it won't hurt to play a little hookie for the night."
"What's going on here?" Emily called out as she approached them.
He quickly let her go as the other quickly replied, "Nothing ma'am, we're not doing anything."
Ivy hid behind Emily, noticeably shaken.
Emily glared at the two cadets as she spoke, "What you're doing is impeding this cadet's duties, and harassing her, now unless you two want to be answering to the Captain tomorrow morning, I suggest you stop harassing her and continue on your way."
The two cadets glared at her before turning around and walking away, "Must be nice to be related to the Captain and abuse the power."
Emily ignored their comments and turned towards Ivy, "Are you okay?"
She nodded, "Yes."
"Must be nice to be the Captain's sister, and drop his name to get people in line." Jerred said as he came from behind Emily and Ivy,
"Being related to the Captain has nothing to do with the matter at hand, nor does this involve you cadet Jerred." Emily replied with a glare.
Jerred raised his eyebrows and acted surprised, "Wow, all high and mighty Emily Cauldron knows my name.
"That's Third Officer Cauldron to you, Cadet." Emily clarified.
"But of course your highness," He replied as he waved his arms out and bowed a little. He gave a sly smile as he straightened up, "You know, I've always thought about what I would do when I would become Third Officer."
"I wouldn't be giving those hopes much attention, with your record, you'll be lucky to even make it to the head of a ship department, let alone an officer." Emily replied.
"Seems you'll have to wait a little longer for that." Ivy spoke, partially hiding behind Emily.
Jerred shot her a glare, "Wouldn't have needed to wait any longer if it wasn't for the, "Friends in high places girl," to waltz her way into the position. Tell me Third Officer Cauldron, what did you have to do to get your position?"
"What I didn't do was cause trouble to be demoted. I've seen your file, you're not even close to a candidate to run a ship." Emily spoke.
Jerred shook his head a little, "Naughty, naughty, do I interest you that much Third Officer? If you wanted to get to know me better, all you had to do was come to my room and have a chat with me."
"I'd rather be shot out of a cannon than spend a day talking to you." Emily replied.
"Well I've been doing my own research, and I think I have a theory on how you managed to get your position." Jerred said with a sly grin.
"I have no interest in your theories Jerred, I don't have to defend myself or my position to you. I earned my position and my place aboard this ship. Now unless you have anything intelligent to say, this conversation is over." Emily ended as she turned to Ivy, "Lets go."
As the two walked away, Jerred began, "DDG-53, U.S.S. John Paul Jones."
Emily eyes widened as she stopped upon hearing the name of her mother's ship. Her breath becoming slightly ragged.
"Lost with half of her crew, the other half barely being rescued thanks to the Blue Mermaid Response Fleet." He recalled as he walked towards Emily.
"Your mother was the Captain if I recall correctly, the Jones was responding to a phony call for help when pirates ambushed the ship."
Emily started to visibly shake as Jarred continued, "I know a lot more than you think Emily, and here's my theory. I think you use your mother's reputation and heart breaking story to sway people to give you what you want. He then leaned forward, and whispered into her ear, "I'm also sure that you kept some of those crusty teachers company through some of your exam nights."
The sound echoed through the hallway, Emily's hand slowly returned to her side. Jerred recoiled from the hit, holding his cheek as he turned his head back towards Emily, both of her hands balled into fists as she shook. A dark shadow cast over her eyes, her teeth gritted in anger. Without saying a word, she turned and continued down the corridor.
"Huh," he began as he rubbed his cheek, "Guess I hit a nerve."
Ivy looked towards him, "Why don't you do the ship a favor and toss yourself overboard, the sharks might be able to tolerate a sour meal." She quickly jogged to catch up to Emily.
Jerred smirked as he watched the two disappear down the corridor, the two cadets from earlier approached him.
He looked towards them, "Did you get that?"
"Oh yeah, a picture worth a thousand words." One of them replied as he showed Jerred the photo on his cellphone, the picture capturing the perfect moment of Emily's slap.
"Think this will be enough?" The other cadet asked.
"No, we'll need more than this." Jerred began, "We need more than one picture, and we're also going to need to make her lose her temper. Once that happens, she'll have to be removed for being emotionally compromised.
Emily stomped through the ship's corridors, her heavy breathing and shaking body being visibly noticeable as her feelings boiled over.
"Emily, please stop!" Ivy called out, catching up to her. Emily stopped; allowing Ivy to slowly approach her.
"Third Officer Cauldron, are you okay?"
Emily didn't reply, instead her right hand balled into a fist and slammed against the metal bulkhead. She recoiled from the pain, and cupped her hand. Ivy grabbed her hand to keep her from injuring it further, she saw the tears running down Emily's cheeks.
"I'm sorry you have to see me like this," Emily began, her left hand trying to wipe the tears from her eyes. "Look at me, Third Officer of the Missouri, proudest ship in the fleet, reduced to a mess because of one cadet."
Ivy shook her head, "He was way out of line." She examined her injured friend's hand, delicately checking each of her fingers. Ivy looked up at her, "He had no right to disclose your personal life, especially on a subject that caused you so much sadness."
Emily scowled, "He didn't just cross a line, he got a reaction out of me."
"That wasn't your fault, he knew what buttons to push. It's sick, the amount of enjoyment that he gets out of making someone miserable, he deserved a good smack to the face." Ivy replied.
"I didn't just smack him in the face, I crossed a line." Emily clarified.
"You may have crossed a line in some manual on how to act when your aboard ship, but you were well within your right to act like a human. To berate you like that over the loss of your mother it's sickening." Ivy replied.
"I don't think I've ever seen you mad like this Ivy."
Ivy paused her examination, "Forgive me, but it makes me angry when people disrespect the memory of a loved one. I know what it's like for someone you love to be ill spoken about after they have passed from this world. How people can easily say bad things about them after they part but never when they were still alive." Ivy quickly shook her head and resumed her examination, "I'm sorry about ranting."
Emily shook her head, "No, it's alright." She then winced from Ivy examining her ring finger on her hand.
Ivy chuckled a little, "You know there are softer objects to punch than a bulkhead."
Emily gave a small laugh in reply, "Yeah, I wasn't quite in the right mind though. When I'm angry like that, I don't think very clearly about the consequences."
"Well, you've certainly done some damage to your hand ma'am. Nothing's broken from what I can tell, but you dislocated your ring finger. Let's go to the infirmary and get a splint put together."
"It'll be fine, I've had worse injuries." Emily replied as she tried to walk away.
Ivy stepped in her way, "Third Officer Cauldron, as Ship's Nurse I cannot allow you to go untreated. So I'm ordering you to come with me to treat your hand."
"I outrank you." Emily Clarified.
"Actually ma'am when it comes to the well being of the crew… I outrank everyone." Ivy replied with a smug smile, only to quickly duck her head down and become nervous.
Emily sighed, "I guess I can't argue, though, I'll do it on one condition," Emily replied.
"What's that?" Ivy timidly asked, not knowing what she wanted.
"Drop the ma'am and call me Emily and just to clarify, that's also an order." Emily replied with a smile.
The Harekaze sat moored to the dock as a skipper was set down into the water, Akeno climbed down from the deck of the ship and stepped onto the smaller craft. She turned on the engines and checked the rudder controls as Minami took a seat behind her.
"Are we ready to depart Captain?" Minami asked.
"Precheck complete, take a seat and enjoy the ride." She replied.
"I'm surprised the Deputy-Captain let you help me, I was certain she would make you stay on the Harekaze."
Akeno chuckled nervously, "Oh, um, Shiro-chan didn't really need much convincing."
Minami looked up at the nervous captain, "She does know that we are departing correct?"
"Of course." Akeno quickly replied as she gave power to the engines and slowly moved away from the ship.
"CAPTAIN, WHERE ARE YOU GOING!?" The voice of the Deputy-Captain called out as she ran up to the safety rail on the deck.
Minami gave Akeno a disappointed look, as Akeno responded, "Sorry Shiro-chan, I'm going to take Kaburagi-san to meet a friend of hers."
"CAPTAIN! We have inspection in an hour,-" Her voice was drowned out from the roar of the skipper's engine. Akeno motioned to her ear, "Sorry, Shiro-chan, I can't hear you over the engines we'll be back soon." The skipper sped away, leaving a very angry Deputy-Captain behind.
Minami sighed, "Honestly Captain, neglecting your duties is starting to become a bad habit for you."
"I'm only putting off paperwork for a few more minutes, a little break isn't going to do any harm." Akeno responded keeping her attention on the waterway ahead. "Besides," She began, "now that I think about it, we've never had a conversation where I wasn't relying on you for guidance."
"I suppose you are right, what would you like to know?"
"Tell me about your friend that you're meeting, it sounds like you know him really well." Akeno asked.
Minami couldn't help but smile, "His name is Doctor Daichi Yukki, he's a close friend and mentor. He was one of my professors during my studies at the Marine Medical University, he always treated me equally among my peers."
"What do you mean?" Akeno asked as she turned the skipper into a side canal.
"He never treated me any differently because of my age or because I'd advanced quicker than my colleagues. I disliked being treated any different from anyone else at the University, I always found comfort with Dr. Yukki because he was never nervous to have a conversation with me or scold me about my studies. It was a great comfort to work with him again to study the RATt virus in the Research Center Labs."
"Is that why you enjoy being on the Harekaze also?"
"Yes, I enjoy being with people who didn't stand out from a crowd unlike students on-board the Hiei and the Musashi. Though that was balanced with everyone's personalities, especially a certain Captain's." Minami emphasized.
"What can I say, I like doing things differently." Akeno responded.
"How about you Captain, is there anyone that you're especially close to?" Minami asked.
She nodded, "Yeah, the Captain of the Musashi, Moeka China, she's been my best friend for as long as I can remember. She's been there for me ever since I lost my parents."
"Did her family take you in after your parents passed?" Minami asked.
Akeno shook her head, "No, I was taken in by relatives, we kept in touch through mail or phone calls. We occasionally saw each other during holiday breaks and summer vacation. You could say she's the sister I've never had."
"You don't need to have the same name or blood to be considered family. I remember you stating that a ship's crew is just like a family, even if that family is highly dysfunctional at times."
"I guess you're right." Akeno replied as she maneuvered the skipper into a boat dock.
Akeno hopped off and quickly secured the boat to the dock, she held out her hand to Minami as she stood up and stepped onto the dock. The two walked up a flight of stairs to street level, they stood on the edge of the industrial zone of the city.
"Does your professor live out here?" Akeno asked.
"I believe so, housing isn't as expensive here as in other parts of the city, there are also several ferry stops nearby. Though it's unusual for him to invite colleges to his home, he's a private individual. He usually wants to meet at the University or a nearby restaurant." Minami explained as they began walking.
Three men watch the duo from a van parked on the side of the road.
"Is that her?" The driver asked.
"The one in the white lab coat is our mark, not sure who that other one is." The one in the passenger seat replied.
"That's going to complicate things, we need to grab her and get out of here before those Blue Mermaid Marines come searching for her. It's one thing to take her, but if we take her friend it'll add to our list of problems." The one in the back clarified.
"Let's just knock her out and leave her behind." The driver suggested.
"Can't risk it, she might give important clues about us if we leave her here." The front passenger responded.
"So, what do we do?" The driver asked.
"We'll take both of them and have the Captain sort it out. Come on, we need to get back to the ship soon, let's make this fast."
The driver put the van in drive and carefully approached the two girls from behind. The van quickly accelerated and stopped just next to the girls. The passengers from the van quickly opened the doors and made a grab for them. The girls screamed as the men struggled to force the girls in their vehicle. Minami and Akeno both raised their feet and smashed their heels into the men's shins. Both of the men flinched from the pain, releasing their grip for a moment, allowing the girls to escape.
Both men recovered and managed to grab Akeno and restrained her. Minami turned around to see her troubled friend struggling to free herself from their grasp.
"Minami-chan, RUN!" Akeno screamed before one of the men hit her with an object, knocking her out.
Minami's body reacted to her Captain's orders, running away from the scene. She could hear one of the men, "I'll handle this brat, go after her, we'll regroup at the Nona."
The dock wasn't far, especially with Minami running on adrenaline and instinct. She practically leapt down the stairs and ran straight to their skipper. She untied the mourning line and quickly started up the skipper's engines. She looked up to see one of the men rushing down the stairs, she opened up the throttle and barely missed another boat as she escaped from the dock. The man reached into his jacket and pulled out a pistol, he lined up the sights and fired several rounds.
Minami ducked her head down to avoid the bullets cracking by her. Two rounds went through the windshield, one hit the port engine, another two went into the skipper's body. She raised her head to avoid colliding with another boat, she looked back towards the docks, the man nowhere to be seen. She maintained her speed and made her way back to the Harekaze.
Mashiro paced back and forth on the deck of the Harekaze, a noticeable look of anger in her eyes.
Rin and Kouko watched the Deputy-Captain from afar, "I think the Captain might've really made her angry this time." Rin spoke.
"When the Captain gets back it'll probably go like this," She imitated Mashiro and Akeno talking,
"Why did you leave the ship without permission again!?"
"Sorry, I don't like doing paperwork so I wanted some freedom before being locked away in an office for the rest of my life."
"You have a duty and responsibility to this ship. You can't just leave on a whim whenever you feel like it."
"You know I can hear you, right?" Mashiro called out as she approached them.
Both girls flinched at the sound of the Deputy-Captain's voice, she sighed as she crossed her arms, "If you have time to act out your crazy imagination, you can make sure we're ready for our inspection."
Deputy-Captain, please don't be mad at Misaki-san. I know she drives you crazy sometimes but that's just her personality." Rin commented.
Mashiro sighed again, "I just wish she would think things through sometimes before acting, she's gotten us out of some dangerous situations, but that doesn't mean she can slack in her duties."
"The Captain's always put everyone well-being and interests before her own. She'll help anyone if they ask for it, and she always comes through for us. As a matter of fact, I think that's their skipper coming back now." Kouko chimed in.
Everyone looked towards the small craft as it approached the ship.
"Is it just me, or is she breaking the speed limit?" Rin asked.
"I swear that girl." Mashiro commented as the three descended to the dock.
The skipper began to slow, but the forward momentum kept it going forward. Minami jerked the wheel, making the skipper turn violently. It slammed into the side of the dock, she struggled to control her heavy breathing from the experiences she had just minutes ago. She quickly got out of the small craft, her legs struggling to support her as she walked towards her crewmates.
"Minami-san, what wrong?!" Mashiro asked as she and the other rushed towards her.
"Deputy-Captain," She gasped, "Misaki-san has been abducted."
Let me know what you all think.