Not far behind the Merry Go, sailed a Marine ship whose captain went by the name "Scavenger". The reason for his nickname was that he was known to scavenge for rare items that others had found who didn't know how special they were. Then he would buy it from them with what seemed to be a high price, only to sell it for far more later. Of course, though he did this mostly with items, it wasn't unusual for him to do it with wanted criminals. If someone had killed or captured a wanted individual, he would present to them a false wanted poster and pay them so they wouldn't have to trouble themselves with going to the authorities. It was his way of "helping out". Of course, once he came to the authorities, he would take the credit for the capture, along with the true bounty.

His ship was huge and his crew was incredibly numerous since he had done such an admirable job on his previous achievements. On the front of the ship hung a beautiful wooden mermaid; she seemed to be plunging from her imprisonment on the ship out towards all who viewed her with a gaze of hope. This gave the whole crew an image of justice just by looking at their ship's façade.

On the same day as the death of Mugiwara, they had been sailing in the same direction as the pirate crew, back into the East Blue, but not with the intention to attack. Scavenger was far too cowardly to assail this incredibly powerful crew, and upon hearing his orders to hunt them down, he had been in terrible disarray. So his plan was to do just what he was ordered, to pursue the Mugiwara pirates. He would just not intercept them.

His plans would change on that fateful day when they picked up a man stranded on a scrap of wood. When he had been revived and was able to speak he told them of what had happened the night before. How him and his crew of bounty hunters had attacked the Straw Hat crew but had failed miserable. However, they had managed to kill off the captain Luffy himself.

Scavenger was shocked by this information, and it was at this time that he fashioned a plan to actually get something out of this assignment.

Luffy

Luffy's mind had drifted into a daze. It seemed there was nothing left in the world for him. Maybe he really was dead and his fate was to float in this nothingness. For some reason this terrified him and he tried to push the thought out of his mind. There had to be hope… somewhere.

Straw Hat Crew

It was the day after, but no one had slept that night. Zoro had returned to his post in the crows nest, not because he had to, just because he didn't want pity from his crew mates. He could get through this on his own. He closed his eyes; he was so mortified from the night before. He was never the one to tear up in any situation. Heck, he never even showed emotions

The swordsman heard a noise below him and to his surprise; the ship's cook was climbing up to him. "Great, the last person I wanted to see" he thought to himself.

Sanji pulled himself up into the crows nest and plopped down beside Zoro, who ignored him. Then it was quiet again. There was a gust of wind that made the sails of the Merry Go heave the ship forward. It was a beautiful day on the East Blue. There were three or four visible clouds but none covered the sun. Above them flew their pirate flag. That flag with the most unthreatening symbol resting upon it. The skull with a goofy grin and a straw concentrated all the emotions of the crew into it… at least what the crews emotions used to be.

For about thirty minutes the cook and the swordsman just sat there, looking over the never ending sea. Then Zoro spoke; "I still have a promise to keep him, and once I achieve my goal to be the greatest swordsman in the world, I hope he knows. I just wish he could be there… but I guess he won't." Sanji remembered the day that Zoro had promised Luffy to never loose another duel. Inside he pitied the swordsman, but knew that was the last thing Zoro needed; so he remained silent. That was until he heard Zoro murmur "oh, and I see a ship coming at 5 o'clock."

"What?!" shouted the Cook, who jumped up and looked in the direction that Zoro had said… There was nothing there. He sighed then turned in the opposite direction to see a very large ship approaching them.

"Of course; I should have remembered his tragic since of direction hasn't changed." Sanji thought to himself. "Oi, guys! Seems there's a ship heading our way, and its huge!"

Everyone was up-deck in an instant; staring out towards the approaching ship. Nami yanked the telescope from Usopp's hands and peered at the vessel.

"They're waving a white flag… but they're a navy ship. Can't they see our pirate flag?" the navigator spoke aloud. Everyone cocked their heads.

"It could be a trick" Zoro muttered.

Robin nodded, then rubbed her head saying "yes, it could be. However, there's no way the Merry Go could out sail such a ship, especially when they're so close. Seems we have no choice but to let them join us for now. If the worst should happen, we can just fight them off. It's better than the Merry Go getting ruined."

The rest of the crew nodded in consent as Usopp ran to retrieve their own white flag.

"Luffy would never have intended to use such a thing" he thought to himself as he pulled the banner from an old dusty box.

The flag was raised and the ship came upon them slowly, then stopping once a rope was thrown down to the Merry Go. A ladder was lowered and the pirate crew prepared themselves for an attack, but none came. I big man with a mustache stepped down the ladder. He had broad shoulders and a narrow head. His eyes were hidden behind a large pair of sunglasses that hardly fit on his face. Draped over his shoulders was a long green cape covered with golden embroideries.

"Greetings don't be alarmed. Though we may frighten you by the fact that we are marines, please don't be" he began.

"Who's frightened?" the crew said together in a bored tone.

"Hoho, I guess you would have no reason to be considering you bounties. Oh, I'm sorry, my name is Captain Scaventon; I'm in charge of this ship."

"Makes since if you're the captain" Sanji mumbled to himself but Scavenger either didn't hear him or ignored him.

"I know you probably don't want us marines hanging around your pirate ship, so I'll make this simple. I came to express my sympathies for your captain. I know about what happened, and I want you to know that you have my greatest empathy and that I came hear to pay my respects."

The crew just stood in shock. How had this man known of their captains death and why the heck would he care?

"May I see him?" the captain asked.

Zoro suddenly shouted out in rage "Who do you think you are?! Why should we show you him! What is he some kind of exhibit?!...You're sick."

There was a pause. Scavenger's eyes widened; then returned to their calm complexion. "You obviously don't understand. I heard from the man we saved that he died of unnatural causes. Are you certain he's dead?"

Chopper nodded, but his face remained cold towards the intruder. However, inside he felt a tremendous thrill that there might be hope for Luffy. "I'll take you to him" the little reindeer said aloud and no one argued. Any chance of getting their captain back they were willing to risk anything for.

So on they went, into dining hall. No one had been in there since Chopper had left the room. No one wanted to see him.

The room was silent when they entered, but despite the awkward essence of it, Scavenger went ahead and stooped over the young captain. He didn't know what to think. Were they faking it to not be caught? He knew how pirates were; deceptive and cruel. Why else would his crew care so much that I he saw him? A real pirate crew would probably be glad to loose their captain. It just meant that one of them would be given control over the group. This had to be a fake, however he couldn't be sure. He needed proof.

Scavenger had planned on buying the Straw Hat's captain from them then turning him in for a fancy bounty, however, this crew didn't seem too thrilled to be giving their captain over to him. So the best he could come up with would be to take advantage of the crew's mental weakness, and their lack of a captain. Since he had previously thought of this beforehand, and had discussed it with his crew to act upon his signal. Before he would call for them he had to be sure that their captain was dead; but how? He couldn't touch their captain; they were already edgy at his presence. He would just have to go straight to the point.

"I know this is a hard time for you, but I'm afraid I cannot help your captain. However, though he has deceased, I can still be of assistance to you. I know that is odd of me since I am a marine, but I have followed your journey through and tales told by those dwelling in the islands and lands you have saved from certain turmoil. Your captain's decisions were definitely admirable, and though you might find it hard to believe, most of us marines think highly of this crew."

At this point, the general was speaking truthfully of other generals, but not himself. He was lying through his teeth, and the crew was catching on.

"Though I cannot change what has happened, I wish to be of aid to what Luffy left behind. To his closest friends who are just as much to thank for what he did. So as my tribute to him, am will give him the honor he always deserved. I am willing to pay you the amount of his bounty, then return him to headquarters where he will get the respect he deserves. Not only will this give him an honorable end, but it will also assist his crew he cared so much about."

The crew was silent, then Usopp shouted out "HECK NO! The only people who knew Luffy and his honorable character were our friends, Shanks and ourselves. There is no way any stupid marines could respect him the way we do! Besides, if there were marines who admired him, they did nothing to show their respect. So no, I don't think anyone here is willing to give him up for your crappy money."

Nami let out a small cough then popped back to face the marine; "yea! So buzz off!"

Scavenger sighed, "I'm sorry to hear that."

Then something most unexpected happened. The marine drew his sword and stabbed it into the side of Monkey D. Luffy, who of course, did not react.

"That clears that up" he said cruelly then shouted "Let's get em' boys!"

That was the last thing Scavenger said, for at that moment his eyes widened in horror and blood gushed from his mouth. With that, his head rolled off of his shoulders to the ground, his body following. The marines gasped in shock, then thrust their guns at the crew.

As for the crew, they were all staring at Zoro in shock.

Had he really just done that? Now they were all in deep trouble.

They all reacted differently. Chopper grabbed Luffy, Nami pulled out her clima tact, Usopp jumped behind the table, Sanji leapt at the men, and Zoro remained in the position he had been in after he had severed Scavenger's head.

The other marines were driven away in fear after what they had seen. They had just drawn their guns out of fear; for Scavenger's crew knew nothing about real bravery since their captain never gave them reason to use courage. One of them grabbed is body, and with that, they all darted out of the door in panic.

The pirate crew was a bit confused about what had just happened, but once the marines had sailed away they snapped back into reality. Nami stormed over to Zoro and smacked him across the head.

"WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU!?" she shouted "Since when do you just up and kill someone without warning?"

Zoro looked away then Chopper shouted out "Guys, get over here!" So the crew rushed over to the little reindeer who was holding Luffy. Nami looked away as blood spilled over the floor from his wound.

"What is it? Sanji asked

"It's his blood, it's still red, and he seems to still have quite a bit of it, at least for now. Quickly, get me some bandages!"

Everyone stood there in a silent state of shock, then jumped into action. In moments they were all back by the doctor's side.

"Zoro, go clean up that mess you made on the floor" Sanji ordered. Zoro let out a growl at the cook, but did as he was told. Grabbing some towels he started to scrub up the crimson blood he had spilled. Now he felt even more shame. Luffy would never have approved of his cruelty and rash actions. He would never have done that in the first place if Luffy had been there. But Luffy wasn't there, and he had gone back to his demon like ways, the same conduct that had caused his captain's death.

"Oi, Zoro! What do you think you're doing? I said clean up, not drill the floor through!"

Zoro looked down to see the floor had chunks of splinter all over it where he had been rubbing. He drew his hand back and let out a groan.

"Stupid wood" he mumbled then finished up his work.

"It's impossible" Chopper said aloud "His heart isn't beating, and he is unquestionably dead, but he seems unchanged. Like his surroundings aren't affecting him at all. He's not stiff; his body seems to be in a sleep, except its not living. I just don't understand. This is completely illogical, and I definitely need to spend much time into documenting and studying these symptoms. More importantly, I will strive to help Luffy as best I can."

"Us as well" everyone said together.

Zoro got up and his eyes widened. Was there hope? Was Scavenger's coming just what they needed to get Luffy back?

Zoro smiled for the first time since Luffy's death. In fact, everyone smiled, and the coldness of the room seemed to fade into warmth. As if Luffy had returned to them already.

The next morning

"So where are we going from here Nami?' asked Usopp.

"The same place we were headed before; Gunkan Island." Nami replied.

To be continued…

Ok, done with another chapter, sorry if it's stupid. Please try to enjoy these. Oh, and if there's anything unscientific in here, feel free to ignore it. I do not care. You'll hear more from Luffy in the next chapter, and maybe this whole think will make since once I finish it. Oh, and for all of you people who aren't obsessive One Piece fans, Gunkan Island is an island from one of the Japanese fillers. You can find it on youtube and its around episode 55. Thank You. Enjoy