Neo One Piece

By Nezumimaru

The End of the Beginning, Part 2

"Sir, we have a situation." Inside the large Marine Base in the center of Rouge Town, a small man barely four and a half feet tall, was stopped by one of the Marine recruits. The man was dress quite finely, sporting an embroidered blue shirt adorned with medals, with a coat with the Marine insignia upon the back draped over his shoulders. He turned upon his booted heels to face the recruit, flicking a speck of dirt off his pants.

"And what, pray tell is this 'situation'?" asked the shorter man in a nasally voice, adjusting his bicorn hat upon his head, which also had the Marine insignia. "It would not have anything to do about the pirates that have entered town, would it?"

"Uh, no sir, Captain Bane." The recruit said, standing in attention. "It's about our, uh, guest, Jacob Vein. He's gotten into an altercation with Communications Officer Armstrong."

"I see" Bane said, shaking his head in disappointment. He had not yet had the liberty to meet their new guest, but already he's making trouble. "Were are they?"

"In the courtyard, sir." Nodding, Bane walked briskly out to the courtyard, wrapping up his right sleeve incase his had to get physical.

Outside, a circle of Marines formed just outside the base door, murmurs and talk going around each person there. In the center of the circle stood a man around 20-21 years of age, sporting a lime green Mohawk and a mud brown vest over a tan canvas jacket, which had sliver chains running along the left sleeve. His pants were black with a black belt with spikes around them with a silver buckle shaped like a skull and crossbones, and also wearing dark brown boots. A pair of golden earring dangled from his ears, shaped like card suit Clubs, glinting as his emerald green eyes burned into his opponent.

Said opponent stood across from him. Or rather, clung to a post in the ground a few feet from him, as his 'opponent' seemed to be a red octopus with purple lines over his cranium. Several Marine arm-bands were placed on the octopus' tentacles, and a monocle was worn over his right eye. Leaning on the pole beneath him was a large bag, the content of which was anyone's guess.

"Now see here, Mr. Vein!" spoke the octopus, adjusting his monocle with a tentacle. "Orders were quite clear on the matter that you are not to leave the Marine compound until further notice. That means no smoothie runs!"

"Hey, it's not my fault you guys don't have a decent blender in this joint! Nad stop calling me Mr.! It's Jacob!" Jacob shouted back, crossing his arm over his chest. "I think I have just as much freedom to go into town as I am to walk around your base without an escort. Unless, of course, you guys want to throw me in the dungeon and admit I'm your prisoner."

"First of all, Mr. Vein," interrupted a nasally voice, pushing its way through the crowd, "We do not have dungeons, we have jail cells. Second of all, you are our quest, not our prisoner, you are our guest." Finally making his way past the crowd, Captain Bane stood with his hands behind him, shifting his glance to Jacob. "And trust me when I say that you do not wish to experience what we do to…'uncooperative' prisoners." Jacob, looking at his own eye level, looked down at Bane, confusion in his eyes.

"Who are you, shorty?" Jacob asked. As he did, the entire Marine crowd took several large steps back, barring the octopus, who gripped the post he was one for dear life.

"I, for your information, am Captain Napoleon Bane, commanding officer of the Rouge Town Marine Base." Bane answered, annoyance and anger evident in his voice. "As such, I am your host in your time here. Now I can be a good host, or I can be one hell of a son of a bitch. And if you wish for me to be a good host, I suggest you getting back to your guest room. Otherwise, there's always room in the cells with a very affectionate man named Bubba." Turning to the octopus on the post, he said, "Officer Armstrong, I need you back to the Communications Room. We will be starting a pirate-capture-op with minimal civilian casualty and interference. I need you to keep the squads in contact with each other to avoid any surprises. The rest of you get into your formations! We spring the trap in two hours!" The Marines, though shaken, saluted the Captain and hurried off to their posts.

"Yes Sir!" saluted Armstrong, clapping a pair of tentacles at a Marine. "Recruit, I require your assistance!" The recruit hustled over to Armstrong, allowing the talking octopus to leap onto his back and shoulders.

"Geez, you guys are whipped." Said Jacob, slouching with his hands in his pockets. "I mean, you guys are being bossed around by a stuck up little shrimp no bigger than my—" Suddenly, a fist the size of a grown man collided with Jacob Vein knocking him into the street, but rather than leave him there, the giant hand grabbed Jacob and pulled him back, coming face to face with Bane once again.

"Have we learned our lesson yet, Mr. Vein?" Captain Bane asked, receiving a shocked nod from Jacob in his grip. Bane then dropped Jacob, signaling for two Marines to pick him up, before leaving himself.

"Other than respect, that is one reason why we obey our orders." Said Armstrong from his place on the recruit's back, "Captain Bane is the user of a Devil Fruit called the Chita Chita No Mi, and as such is a Titant Man. He can alter the size and proportion of his body with a mere thought. He is indeed a very powerful individual, even took out a crew of giants by himself." Tapping the recruit's shoulder, Armstrong left to the comm room, shouting 'Tally Ho!' as he went. Jacob just was stunned, offering no resistance as he was dragged back to his room. He certainly wasn't expecting that, of all things.

Walking back to his office to get ready for the final preparations, Bane scanned the base, finding something off. Someone was missing. Walking down a hall, Bane spied a young blue haired Marine sleeping beneath a window. Though he wore the standard Marine uniform, he lacked the cap or neck tie; instead he wore a set of large headphones, connected to a portable music player at his hip. His left eye, which was covered with a tattoo of Celtic design, opened slightly, gazed lazily at Bane and went back to sleep. Bane swiftly kicked the young man in the ribs, earning a yelp from the Marine as he jump a foot off the ground.

"Ensign Landon Duran, you were to report to your squad after you were done cleaning the halls. Why are you still here?" Bane barked, an angry tick mark forming on his head. Landon shrugged sleepily, slowly getting up to his feet.

"I got tired, Cap'in." he said lazily, dusting himself off. "B'sides, the squad can't do much without our L.T. to boss us."

"Explain." Bane demanded. As of this moment, his patience was wearing thin, and he had little time for games.

"Lieutenant Hanabi ain't come back from her break yet." Landon spoke bluntly, looked back at Bane with half-closed eyes. "You want me ta go get her for ya?"

"Yes. And do so quickly, we do not have much time to waste." Bane walked past Landon, who shrugged and headed out of the base to the town in search of Lieutenant Hanabi.

Over in the shopping district, Jin and Gonzo had finished with their selection of fish for their voyage into the Grandline, and at Gonzo's insistence, found their way to a map and navigations shop.

"Why are we here again?" Jin asked, browsing through shelves of freshly printed maps of the four Blues. "I mean, I know you said we need some special equipment, but I'm not entirely sure what it is we need. What exactly makes the Grandline any different than the East Blue?"

"Well, there are several theories," Gonzo said, shifting through a selection of items, "but the one my old navigator told was this: The way a compass works is that it aligns itself with the earth natural magnetic force, causing the needle in the compass to always point North."

"Basic navigations. You don't need to be specialized in the field to know that." Jin said. As he did, another customer bump into Gonzo accidentally, causing a book to fall out of his coat.

"Hey, Mister!" Gonzo called out to him, picking up the book. "You dropped…" Looking back up, Gonzo saw that the stranger was nowhere to be found. He stared at the door out of the shop, then at the book in his hands. "Dr. A. Fox's Theory of Alternate Realities. Huh, sounds like a good read." Gonzo muttered, pocketing the book and continuing on his explanation to Jin. "Hey that's right, but there's the kicker: The islands in the Grandline, according to Ol' Noku, are so rich with minerals with their own magnetic fields that normal compasses get confused, causing them to start spinning around and around. However, there is a way to navigate the Grandline…AHA! I've found it!" Grinning with joy Gonzo picked up the device he had been searching for: a clear glass ball attached to a wrist band, with a small compass needle dangling from the top.

"What's that?" Jin asked, wide eyed at the strange compass. "I've never seen anything like that before."

"It's because they only work in the Grandline." Gonzo chuckled, turning the round compass in his hand. "It's called a Log Pose. Basically, it locks on to an island's unique magnetic signature and points to that island until the user goes there. Once on the island, the Log Pose re-aligns itself to another island further down the Grandline. While there are Eternal Poses that will forever lock to a certain island, there is little to no way to know which way the Log Pose will point next, only that it will lead the ship deeper and deeper into the Grandline, right up until the very end, at the one island that to this day only two crews have been to."

"Raftel." Jin said. "The island where One Piece lies." A large grin crept over Jin's face, his giddiness too much to contain. "Eeii, I can't what to see this in action!" Jin eagerly grabbed the Log Pose out of Gonzo's hands, his amphibious friend chuckling at his antics. Paying for the Log Pose and other cartography supplies, the two left the shop, not know just what was awaiting them in a few hours, or even in a few moments…...

Within the inner district of Rogue Town, there was a nice little café that was a place of quiet contemplation and gathering of friends and family. At one table, however, sat a single man whose sole presence caused a feeling of unease in the atmosphere. As this man sipped his coffee, he browsed through a pile of papers on the table, the latest bounties of the East Blue. As he sorted through the bounties, one in particular caught his attention.

"Huh, this one looks promising." He muttered, taking another sip of coffee. "30 million, not many pirates in this Blue with that high a bounty." Picking up the bounty poster he got a better look at the face and name of the pirate. "'Battle Master' Blitz, is it? Seems like just the sort of prey to end my hunt in the East, and launch my success into the Grandline."

No sooner had this man left and his table cleared off, Chris Hopkins was pulled to this table by Alia. While trying to maintain a polite and calm exterior, on the inside Chris was anything but. Fear and embarrassment of the situation roared inside her, as did a barely contained anger of the two that put her here.

'Damn Jin, and Gonzo too! When I find them!' Chris hid her thoughts of murder and bloodshed well, though it could be seen by a keen observer that she was extremely uncomfortable with this little 'date'. And a keen observer Alia was not.

"Isn't this such a cute little café, Chris?" Alia asked cheerfully, taking a seat opposite that of her 'date'. "I came here all the time, the food here is to die for!" Chris nodded her head nervously as a waiter came to bring them their menus, shooting a sympathetic glance towards Chris. That in of itself was enough to make Chris even more nervous.

"So you come here often, then?" Chris asked, trying to calm herself with a casual conversation.

"Yeah, all the time." Alia said, casually glancing over the menu. Not that she needed to, Alia knew everything that was served here and always ordered the same thing. "I think I'll get the Veggie Lasagna, what do you think, Chris?" Humming nervously, Chris picked up her menu, trying to find something cheap and quick to eat.

'Let's see, Belgium waffles, spaghetti and meatballs, cheeseburger, chicken salad…I think I'll get the cheeseburger.' Chris glanced over the top of her menu at Alia, who was smiling oh so cutely back at her. It was actually creeping Chris out.

"Are you two ready to order?" their waiter asked, seemingly popping out of nowhere and causing Chris to jump a foot out of her seat. After taking their orders, the waiter took their menus and thanked them for waiting. The moment he left, Alia was back to smiling at Chris, as if waiting for her to say something. An awkward silence fell between the two, with Alia still smiling at Chris and Chris doing her best to avoid eye contact. After a full minute, Alia's smile fade, replaced by a look of annoyance.

"Well?" she asked, catching Chris off guard.

"Well what?" Chris asked back, confused.

"You should be saying things right now," Alia said, leaning back on her chair, "like what a nice day it is, how wonderful this date is going, how pretty I look. Those kinds of things." Suddenly leaning forward onto her elbows and close to Chris's face across the small table, Alia asked, "You haven't been one many dates, have you, Chris?"

"Er…" Chris gulped, leaning back to create some distance between her and Alia, "Actually, this kinda is my first date, if you want to call it that…" Alia's eyes widened, he mouth opened slightly in surprise.

"Y-your first?" Alia said. Chris nodded, and Alia pushed herself backwards, giggling. "Oh, that's so cute!" She said, her hand to her mouth as she continued to giggle. "Well, I'm honored to be your first date, Chris. I hope I can make it…memorable." Alia winked at the last part, sending shivers down Chris's spine.

"But still," she continued, as their waiter soon came back and set down their orders, "I surprised you haven't dated before. I mean, you look like a guy that would have girls begging you to date them all the time!"

'Maybe because I AM a girl.' Chris thought, taking a bite out of her burger. Alia paused in her speaking to take a bite from her Veggie Lasagna, only for her fork to stick in the dish. Trying to get it unstuck, Alia pulled at the fork, until suddenly it came to, flinging a portion of lasagna up and at her, causing a big red spot on her shirt.

"Oh crud!" Alia cried, standing straight out of her chair. "Can you excuse me, I need to wash this out quick before it stains!" Before Chris could even say "OK", Alia had rushed off toward the ladies room, leaving Chris alone at her table. Seeing that she was alone, Chris slumped in her chair and sighed a heavy sigh. This is getting ridiculous!

"So, got dragged into a date with the infamous Alia, huh kid?" Chris jumped nearly out of her seat, as the waiter once again appeared out of nowhere beside her.

"Stop doing that!" Chris hissed. "What are you, a freaking ninja or something?" The waiter chuckled, pulling a chair from nearby table and sitting next to Chris. "And what do you mean, 'infamous'?"

"Oh, you're not the only guy that Alia brought here for a 'date'." The waiter said, waving a hand in front of his face. "Alia brings a different guy here every so often, starts to date them, and then dumps them the moment she spots a hotter guy." Leaning back on his elbows, he said, "You know the pirate Black Leg Sanji and his penchant for the ladies? Well, it's the same thing for Alia and men. Heck, if you're lucky, she'll spot another guy on the way back from the bathrooms and leave ya!" Chuckling once more, the waiter set the chair back at the other table and left to continue his work, leaving Chris to ponder her situation.

'Well, here's hoping.' Chris thought, chewing on her burger as she waited. 'Maybe I will get lucky and she'll forget about me. Then I can be free to seek my revenge on Gonzo and Jin!' Chris grinned evilly, planning what torturous means of retribution she would inflict on her traitorous comrades.

"What are you smiling about?" Chris once again nearly jumped out of her seat, startled by Alia's sudden return. Alia came back relatively the same, the spot on her shirt gone and nary a stain on it. Sitting back down across from Chris, Alia gave an evil grin of her own.

"You weren't thinking about me in the bathroom were you? Of me getting my shirt all wet trying to get the lasagna off…" Alia purred suggestively, causing Chris's face to turn beet red and almost choke on her cheeseburger.

"WHAT!" Chris shouted indignantly. Just what kind of person does Alia think she is?

"Oh ho ho ho ho! I merely just, Chrissy-poo!" Alia laughed, "You should see your face, priceless!" Chris crossed her arms in a huff, still a bit miffed at the, though playful, accusation.

"Look, Alia," Chris said, rubbing the bridge of her nose, "I don't mean to be rude, but I need to get going. I have to get back to my ship soon, I mean I don't want to risked getting left behind." Standing up from her seat, Chris fished out some money to cover the bill and left it on the table.

"Aw, don't be like that, Chrissy-poo!" Alia begged, getting up and following Chris down the street. "I'm sorry about teasing you like that, most guys I dated usually aren't bothered that that kind of thing." Alia reached out to grab Chris lightly by the wrist, slowing down her retreat.

"You shouldn't assume all guys are the same." Chris said, trying to escape her grasp without it seeming to harsh.

"I know, I just…" Alia paused, her eyes drifting down to her feet. "All I want is a hot guy who likes me, is just as sweet and caring as he is good looking, and puts up with who I am, is that too much?" Looking back up at Chris, a strange look appeared in Alia's eyes as they met Chris's. While trying to keep a calm exterior, in Chris's mind she was screaming.

'You better not be doing what I think you're doing!' Chris's mind cried, heard by no one but herself. 'Don't you dare do it, don't you dare…' Unfortunately, Chris's fears came true, as Alia all of a sudden flung her arms around Chris's neck and locked her into a full out kiss.

'NNNOOOOOO!' Chris shouted in her mind, her eyes wide in shock. Chris immediately pushed Alia off the moment she could feel tongue, resisting the urge to wipe the taste from her mouth.

"What was that?" Chris shouted, back away half a step from Alia.

"An incentive," Alia replied, pressing her forefinger to Chris's lips, "in coming back one day. Hope to see you in the future, sailor!" Alia then ran off, giggling like a mad woman. Chris just stood there, shocked and feeling dirty. Suddenly a great sensation arose from the very depths of her inner being, causing Chris to vomit up her recently eaten burger into a nearby trash can.

"GOD DAMMIT!" Chris cursed, wiping the remaining bile from her chin. "Never again. NEVER will I EVER experience anything like that again! EVER!" Righting herself up, Chris scanned the street, just in case there was anyone who saw that little scene. Luckily, there were few people and nobody noticed or seemed to care. There were, however, two people who had yet to notice Chris that she would need to have a 'chat' with.

"JIN! GONZO!" Chris yelled, taking out her two daggers and charging at her crew-mates. Upon hearing their names, Gonzo and Jin turned around in time to see Chris speeding towards them.

"Hey Gonzo." Jin whispered to his companion, gripping his bags tightly.

"Yeah?" Gonzo replied, taking a few steps away from the still charging Chris.

"I have a great idea." Jin also took a few steps back.


"RUN!" The two then raced down the street, running as fast as their legs could carry them while still carrying their supplies, with Chris biting angrily at their heels.

"Get back here you two! I'm going to murder both of ya!"

Alia skipped merrily down the street, humming gleefully. She was not watching where she was going until...


Alia crashed into someone and landing smack down on her rear, yelping in pain.

"OW!" Watch where you're going!" She muttered, picking herself back up.

"Oh, it's you." the person she ran into replied, who turned out to be none other than Marine Ensign Landon Duran. "I've been looking for you, Lieutenant Hanabi."

AN- I am so SORRY! This took forever to write, not due to difficulty of thinking of content, but with the holidays, getting back to college and my recent addiction to Warcraft, I've been putting this off. Hopefully I can get into a system where I can fit everything in.

Jacob Vein is the character of Mr. Panda, I do believe.

And yes, I went there with the Chris and Alia encounter. If you have any problems with this, I shall direct you to the Department of Shut The Hell Up This Is My Story. Also I thought it'd make a good sub-plot in the story. What do I mean by that? You'll just have to wait and see! Oh ho ho ho ho! I'm evil!

Also, I would like to say that after this arc, I will have a special chapter, a Questions and Answers chapter, where I will take the questions of you, the readers, and have the crew of the Battle Master Pirates answer them. I would like to say this right away, I will not answer questions of events/people that the characters have not met or experience, or if I feel I cannot answer without revealing too much of the plot, nor will I answer if I am going to use any characters readers have submitted. Other than those parameters, feel free to ask me, or the crew, anything!