Author's Note: This is my first Martian Successor Nadesico fan fiction. It's going to be a somewhat limited series, as I intend for Jun to come back. He's one of my favorite characters. Having a father who actually was an officer in the US Navy, I've come to know and learn a lot of the functions of the crew and officers aboard a warship, and it's because of this I appreciate all the work that Jun does as the executive officer (ESPECIALLY with a captain like Yurika).
You can consider this an AU if you like (as I detest the Yurika/Akito pairing, and Yurika in general, though I've tried to be fair to her), as I'm going to have some decidedly non-canon happenings occur. If you don't like the idea of Akito with anyone but Yurika, an American (who, BTW, is NOT supposed to be me) being on the crew, or the Jun/Megumi pairing, just hit the back-button.
If not, enjoy!
Trials and Transitions
Andrew Joshua Talon
DISCLAIMER: Martian Successor Nadesico is not my property. I am not making any profit on this endeavor in any way.
Jun Aoi wash adrift, his mind a loose and undeterred buoy, in a vast, turbulent sea. He couldn't seem to focus, his thoughts went here and there. A snippet of an emotion here, a feeling there, a faint image or a full one that flashed before his eyes.
His mother had featured prominently. A small, shapely woman, with a gentle smile and warm eyes, eyes that had never shown anger towards him. He could recall her smile shining down on him, her arms holding his small form upon her lap. The warmth of her dress, the smell of her body wash... It was all clear to him, as clear as the day he'd first experienced it, and then gone again, only a few telltale memories lingering.
Yurika, too, appeared a great deal. Her smile, the one she rarely bestowed upon him during their stay aboard the Nadesico, but one that had always made Jun's heart light and warm, and reassured him with peace and confidence. A few memories with Yurika's image that had anger imprinted onto them, bitterness, jealousy, also emerged. Jun would have shuddered if he could still feel his body - As it was, he was simply happy to have those memories pass him by.
What he'd hoped to see was memories of Megumi, his semi-girlfriend. They'd been together for coffee, tea, even shared a few experiences in the VR room off duty...
Ah. There she was.
She had been sitting at the bar in the Officer's Lounge, dressed to kill, sipping her drink, glancing at her watch from time to time. He'd been sitting nearby, hoping to drown his sorrows in some hard liquor, as Yurika had been... especially trying, that day. He could remember the volume of her violet hair, the light scent of her perfume, how her dress hugged the compact curves of her body perfectly. How she'd sighed, and how he'd been moved to anger at Tenkawa, that bastard... How could he stand up such a woman? Was he insane? he'd pondered...
And then, the memory was gone. And Jun was left alone again, unable to do anything about it...
"Your shift starts in six minutes."
"I know..." Megumi Reinard sighed deeply, the small sickbay chair she was settled in hard and uncomfortable. She looked over at the pale, sickly form lying in the
bed next to her, only the sounds of the heart monitor, and the respirator strapped to his face breaking the still silence of the medical bay. She gripped Jun's hand a bit tighter, her green eyes peering ever more into the face of the comatose first officer.
Inez Fressange crossed her arms, looking at the communications officer and the patient. She shook her head and sighed.
"You know, out of everyone aboard this ship, he's probably been in here the most," the blonde noted, walking forward and stopping next to Megumi. The comms officer nodded, her eyes still locked on Jun's face.
"I suppose that comes from having to do two jobs at once," Megumi murmured, a hint of bitterness in her tone. Inez raised an eyebrow at her.
"I know it's hard... To let go of a grudge. But it was Jun who ran down into the hanger bay, all by himself. Yur... The captain didn't order him to."
"If she hadn't sent us into that fire fight, he wouldn't have had to," Megumi growled, her free hand clenching against her side. Inez sighed deeply, knowing where the communications officer was coming from, but having more experience and patience to deal with the stirring of emotions that accompanied that transition.
"The Cosmos and six other battleships were already in the battle... We were told to escort those transports... We weren't SUPPOSED to go in there..." Megumi
muttered angrily. Visions of the Fifth Battle for the moon danced in her mind's eye: The Nadesico charging into battle, that heavily-damaged Jovian cruiser that had, for some reason or another, decided to ram them head-on. The resulting overload of the Nergal battleship's systems, the fires that had broken out in the hanger bay.
Fires that the automated systems couldn't put out due to the power blackouts.
The Captain ordering the hanger bays evacuated and sealed off, internal sensor reports that the fires were beginning to spread, Ruri's announcement a few minutes later that the bays were being manually decompressed, the Captain asking by whom, and Megumi looking away from her console, up at the command platform, and noticing that the first officer's station was empty...
"No... I suppose not," Inez responded quietly, putting her hand on Megumi's shoulder. "But it happened... And there's no way to change that. And being angry at the captain isn't going to help."
"..." Megumi sighed deeply, standing up. She bent over and kissed Jun's cheek, before turning and heading out the double doors. Inez watched her go, before looking over at the prone form of their first officer.
"Well... former first officer," Inez muttered, shaking her head and walking back to her office. She still didn't like the idea of replacing Aoi while he was in his comatose state, while on ship. However, she, Nergal, and everyone aboard this ship knew that it was Jun, and ONLY Jun, who had kept the paperwork going, the crew equipped and motivated, and had allowed Yurika to keep her mind (such as it was, she couldn't help but jab) on the strategic situation. He was the perfect first officer, doing everything that was required of the position and more.
And no-one else on this ship could do it as well as he had.
She just hoped the new guy could make up the slack.
Megumi entered the bridge, walking determinedly for her station, like she'd been doing for the past year. Yurika turned away from talking with Mr. Hory, and had locked eyes with her. Megumi glared resolutely back, as the captain cleared her throat.
"Um... So... How is Jun?"
"Check for yourself," Megumi spat, stalking down the steps from the command platform and sitting down at her station without another word. Yurika opened her mouth, closed it, then shook her head and looked out of the forward windows, to the blue ocean below. The Nadesico had been assigned to patrol the Atlantic ocean, with the Second Allied Fleet. This also allowed the ship to make some badly needed repairs and transfers. "Ruri... Has our new first officer arrived yet?"
"His shuttle will be docking in ten minutes, Captain," the operations officer reported, her eyes moving with unseen data. "Aft bay."
"Very well, then... Shall we, Captain?" Mr. Prospector, ship's accountant, asked. Yurika nodded, her usually bubbly personality absent as she turned and left the bridge, following the accountant. Yurika sighed deeply, her thoughts on her absent best friend.
He didn't have to do it... So why did he? I don't understand...
Jun had always been there for her, she realized. Always, always, always. When they'd played as children, he'd been her "knight in shining armor" At the academy, her greatest advocate and friend. And he'd been there for her once again. Yurika shook her head. He'd ALWAYS been there, why hadn't she figured it out sooner?
She supposed it was because of the reactions of some of the crew to this turn of events. Megumi's hostility, and Akito's relative quietness towards her. All right, fine: So she'd visited sick bay to check on Akito. He'd been in the hanger bays, she'd just wanted to know he was all right, what with shipboard communications offline.
She'd arrived just in time to see Jun being wheeled in on a gurney, grim-faced medics surrounding him. Following him had been Uribatake, Megumi, and Akito, who were stopped at the entrance to the medical bay by Fressange.
"Akito! Oh, thank goodness you're allright! How's-" Megumi had fixed her with a murderous glare at that point, which brought the captain up short. The former voice actress strode forward, even as Akito and Uribatake moved to stop her-
Smack. Yurika put her gloved hand on her cheek, still slightly red from the impact of Megumi's small hand. The communications officer had been breathing heavily, eyes alight with fury, as she screamed,"Is that all you care about?! Jun's lying in there, nearly dead, and all you can think about is Akito?!"
Yurika had stepped back, shocked, while Akito and Uribatake had struggled to keep Megumi at bay, holding onto her arms and waist with all their strength. But they could not stop her mouth.
"You bitch! The entire crew could die and you wouldn't give a damn! Jun's the only reason any of us are still alive, and yet you're still on with your obsession?! I hate you!I hope you burn in hell, you idiotic whore! I HATE YOU!"
"...aptain? Captain Mizamura? Are you all right?" Yurika blinked, bringing herself abruptly to the present. Prospector was looking on at her in the lift, concerned.
"Huh? Oh, yes, I'm fine... No need to worry..." Yurika smiled at him, as the accountant nodded warily. Yurika turned to the lift doors, just as they opened out onto the Nadesico's hanger deck. She stepped forward, Prospector silently following.
Repair crews were still at work, replacing burnt-out bulkheads, repainting the deck plates, all under Cheif Uribatake's watchful eyes.
"HEY YOU, JUNPEI! WHAT'S WITH THE PUSSY-FOOTING?! PUT YOUR BACK INTO IT, DAMNIT! THE HATCH WON'T PAINT ITSELF!"
And megaphone. Yurika winced slightly at the additional rants the chief put forth, and she resolutely wealked past him, to the aft hanger platform. The shuttlecraft had
already landed, it's landing struts still settling in a cacophony of squeaks and mettallic groans. She stopped a few meters away from the shuttle's outer hatch, Mr. Prospector waiting beside her.
The hatch opened with a hiss, slowly lowering down and revealing steps. As it settled upon the deck with a click, a tall, black-haired young man appeared at the hatch, dressed in a blue utility jumpsuit, combat boots, and carrying a duffle bag over his right shoulder. He nodded and smiled at the captain, and raised his hand in a salute.
"Lieutenant Jonathan Lee, requesting permission to come aboard, ma'am." Yurika smiles slightly, and returns the salute.
"Permission granted, Mr. Lee." Lee walked down the steps, meeting Yurika's outstretched hand in a business-like handshake.
"I'm pleased to meet you, Captain, and pleased to be serving under you," Lee continues, after withdrawing his hand to his side. "We've been hearing a lot about you and the Nadesico in the States."
"Oh? You're from America?" Prospector and Lee promptly sweatdropped, but the lieutenant continued on as though he hadn't noticed.
"Er... Yes ma'am. I was in the United States Navy before we were integrated with the UEF." Lee shrugged, smiling in a slightly nervous sort of way. "Captain?"
"Permission to speak freely?"
"Of course! And you may breathe freely, as well," Yurika added, smiling broadly. Lee returned the expression, feeling a bit less tense with the captain's joke, no matter how bad it was.
"To be entirely honest, I don't know why I was assigned to this vessel. It's not that I didn't want to be assigned to a front-line combat starship. However... Given my credentials, I was actually expecting to be assigned planetside."
"I've mainly functioned as a training officer, Captain. My last two assignments were both as an instructor." Yurika blinked, and looked over at Prospector, who shrugged.
"You came highly recommended by the UEF brass, Mr. Lee. And, this was on rather short-notice."
"Do you have a problem with your duties aboard the Nadesico, Lieutenant?" Yurika asked, a concerned wrinkle upon her brow. Lee shook his head, his face professional.
"No ma'am. I have been trained for it. It's just... I don't have any experience aboard a battleship."
"Well, you'll pick it up soon enough! Everyone else has! Now, I'm afraid you have to go and find your quarters. Your shift begins in an hour. Off you go!" Yurika said with a smile and nod, which Lee returned, and with a final salute, he headed off for the turbolift. Prospector looked over at the captain, blinking curiously.
"Didn't you read his file?"
"Of course I did."
"So, why did you act as though you didn't know his history?" Yurika smiled at the accountant.
"Simple. His psyche profile reads him as a man who likes to talk. He's comfortable getting everything out into the open. So, I decided to oblige him. And after all, I like to talk too! So everyone wins!" Yurika turned and headed for the lift, pausing when she noticed that Prospector wasn't with her. She turned back and glared.
"Well? What are you waiting for?"
"... I'll never understand her," the accountant sighed deeply under his breath, before walking along after his shapely captain to the lift.
Sorry if I got some of the characters OOC, and that I didn't get to Akito. He'll be featuring prominently in the next chapter.
I also apologize if I made Megumi too adversarial. Then again, she has shown herself able to express great anger, and in the heat of the moment, who knows what she might say? Or anyone.
Constructive criticism is always welcome. R&R, please!