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Monday, 10:12 a.m.
Calamari County

Death was coming. It had been coming since the day he was born, of course, but now it was upon him. Death had its bony fingers wrapped around his frail, gaunt body and had no intentions of letting go. But that didn't bother him. This was the natural progression of things. He had lived a long, fulfilling life—much longer than most. He had seen things and learned things that few others had. He had made sacrifices in the service of his people. He had no regrets. Almost.

Admiral of the Fleet Craig Cuttlefish was an accomplished man, if a mostly forgotten one. He had chosen to die at home, surrounded by his granddaughter and great-grandchildren. His new, honorary rank of Admiral, bestowed upon him just days before, was a nice nod to the bygone days of his naval career, even if Admiral Cuttlefish didn't quite have the same ring as Captain Cuttlefish. But such was life. The doctors had tried to talk him into surgery and radiation therapy, but Cuttlefish had declined. He was simply too old, and he would never recover from the operation. He also did not want Marie to put her life on hold just to watch him wither away. He wanted to die in privacy, with his mind and dignity intact.

A hospital bed had been moved into the study on the first floor of his home. The dovetail cabin sat on two wooded acres of Calamari County, overlooking the Amida River as it fed into the ocean. Cuttlefish had spent the latter half of his career in the mountains, but at heart, he was a man of the sea. He loved the waters. In the spring, the river would be overflowing, rushing over the rocks, but now, in the fall, it was but a trickle. Cuttlefish sat in his favorite leather armchair, looking admiringly out the window at the beautiful fall colors. Vibrant reds, yellows, and greens topped rhythmically ebbing blues, forming a painterly scene out of the falling leaves. How appropriate it was to die at this time of the year, he thought.

Marie, one of his two granddaughters, was taking care of him and planned to stay until the end. Her own children had been out three weekends before to spend time with Great-Grandpa before he was too far gone to enjoy it. The oldest was only nine. The weekend was painful but necessary, and there had been a lot of tears.

Today, Marie was helping him get the paperwork in order. Cuttlefish wanted to sort everything out before he passed. The great-grandkids were taken care of, with money set aside for college and graduate school if they chose, but nothing else. There would be no sports cars or fancy boats, no unnecessary, hedonistic luxuries. The house itself would easily fetch a cool million—not bad considering that he had purchased the land for just spare change eighty years ago. And there were other investments, too, of course. Marie would get the bulk of the estate, and he knew she would use the money wisely. He didn't have to worry about her.

What did worry Craig Cuttlefish was the NSS. Things were not in order, and they were beginning to show signs of being worse than he had thought. No one outside of Cuttlefish's family had been allowed to look behind the curtain he had pulled across his life. There was one exception, however, and that was Agent 3. Cuttlefish thought of her as his third granddaughter. She was, he believed, the most talented and crucially important person working for the New Squidbeak Splatoon, and Cuttlefish had left her in charge. That made Agent 3 a big target for a lot of people, and Cuttlefish was worried that when he was gone, his enemies would do their best to destroy her.

And at the top of his list of enemies was his other granddaughter, Callie Cuttlefish.

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Author's Note:

Back again, doing what I always do! I realized that my other fic doesn't give me enough latitude to try everything that I want to try, so here's something different.

Although the single-player mode of Splatoon 2 now ends with Callie coming to Tentakeel Outpost, the game wasn't always like that. Before a certain patch, Callie seemingly disappeared. She wouldn't show up post-game next to the shack. You'd free her from Octavio, you'd hear the Squid Sisters sing together, and then she'd be gone. You could fight the final boss again to see her, and Marie would get an extra quip about how Callie is "difficult to keep track of" after you beat the game once, but beyond that Callie was essentially just a piece of decoration who showed up for one boss fight.

My other stories have already explored a possible (if highly unlikely) explanation for this. What if Callie wasn't brainwashed? What if Callie had willingly joined the Octarians? What if she even stayed behind in Octo Canyon (after Agent 4's adventure) to help the Octarians overcome their societal problems? The very idea intrigued me, so I started writing. Pretty soon, I had several stories that took place in this same alternate universe where Callie was a turncoat.

This particular story is part of that canon, and it takes place a decade after Octo Expansion. That being said, Insurmountable is intended to be read as a standalone work. I will make only minimal references to my other stories and otherwise pretend as if they do not exist. You will not need to read anything else to enjoy the story, though I will reference dialogue and events from the two Splatoon games and the DLC.