This is Important!!! You need to read the Author's note to understand what's going on! Please read this first!!
Author's note: I'm warning you now, this is going to be a LONG story! It will cover all of Water 7/CP9 so be prepared for a long story, and if you haven't watched it/read it yet I suggest you do that first. There are spoilers!! I have not extensively changed any part of the story, it's my own take on what happened and what people were thinking so no Lynching mobs please!
This jumps right into the story, starting with the first episode of Water 7, so if I've lost or confused you somehow check up with what happens right before that. (Mainly the Strawhats meeting Aokiji.)
And with that I'll let you go and read to your hearts content. Reviews are appreciated as I haven't written in a long time and it seems okay to ME but I might just be fooling myself. :P
Chapter 1: In which they chase a frog
"T-there's a frog doing the crawl stroke!" Zoro shouted from the lower deck. "What?" Usopp, Chopper, and Luffy turned towards him. "See for yourself when he gets over there!"
"Really?" Luffy asked as he turned to look out over the other side of the ship. Usopp leaned on the rail next to him. "Oi, Luffy. Do you really believe what that stupid Vice Admiral told you?" He turned to look at his captain. "I mean, a frog doing the crawl..." Turning his head to see what they were staring at his eyes nearly popped out of his head. "Is Over There! T-The Frog Is Doing The Crawl!"
As the enormous frog swam in front of the ship Luffy and Chopper rain to the bow. "After him guys!" The impulsive man shouted.
"Aye!" Usopp, Chopper, and Zoro echoed.
They changed the course of the ship, chasing the frog for all they were worth, Sanji reciting recipes that used amphibians in them. Nami was looking through her binoculars...it looked like it was headed toward... "What's a lighthouse doing out here?" She said to herself quietly. "I wonder if anyone is there."
The frog continued forward, gaining speed, as the crew frantically oared their way behind him. He made a sudden leap from the water, high into the air. When he landed it was as though he were sitting on a rock in the middle of the ocean, sinking only a foot and a half. "He jumped!" Luffy whooped pointing. "Yosh, the frog stopped! Cut off his escape!"
The Going Merry surged forward and then suddenly slammed to a stop jarring the crew. "I-it feels like we hit something!" Usopp gasped pulling himself up from the floor. The bow of the ship had risen into the air as if it had been beached. 'What? How the hell...?'
Usopp's thoughts were interrupted by a loud clanging noise, ringing around them. "What? What's that sound?" Nami asked. They looked around for the mysterious bell. "Ah!" Luffy slapped one hand into the other. "It must be an invisible bell!" Nami ignored the sounds of Sanji kicking her captain as she surveyed the area. There...it was kinda far away but it looked like...a cloud of smoke? How could a cloud of smoke be on the water? And how was it coming towards them? "Ah!" Nami's eyes widened. "Reverse! Reverse!" She shouted down at the lower deck. "Turn us around one hundred eighty degrees!"
Luffy looked towards where she was pointing as Sanji ran back to the tiller. "Oi!"
A large metal ship of some kind was bearing down on them. Shaped almost like a bullet it sped towards them faster than any ship he had ever seen. "What the hell is that?" Sanji shouted.
"Stop looking at it and grab the oars! Hurry!" If the tiller was stuck on whatever they had hit the oars were the only way to move them out of the way in time!
Zoro, Chopper, Usopp, and Luffy rushed to man the oars and began pulling with all their might. Merry jerked with the motions. 'We aren't going to make it!' Nami thought almost hysterically. "Gah!"
With a sudden leap Merry was over the obstacle she had been stuck on. The strange vessel rushed through the spot where they had just been.
"What is that thing!?" Luffy shouted as the wind from it's passage blew through his hair. "What is it? A block of iron!?" Usopp stared after the steaming alien ship. It was so fast! "No!" Nami shouted. "There is no way a ship like that could stay afloat!"
Their captain suddenly shouted as he pointed towards the metal ship which was now racing towards the gigantic frog. "Oi, frog!" He shouted at it. "Get out of the way! What're you doing?!"
The enormous amphibian was waiting directly in the ship's path. As it sped towards him he croaked at it in defiance. "Gero, Gero!" The Strawhat pirates stared in horror as the speeding ship connected and the frog went flying. "Ah! It got him!"
The frog turned in midair and dove into the water. The foreign ship continued forward and was soon out of the Going Merry's sight. Luffy and Usopp sat gasping together. "That ship was spewing out smoke!" Chopper stared in the direction it had disappeared after it.
"Gran! Gran, pirates!" A voice startled them. The pirate crew turned back to the lighthouse station next to them. "Go get the Den den Mushi!" An older woman tripped out of the open station door. "Right!" A girl, a blonde child with two braids that stood up straight in the air, around the age of eight, agreed.
"This could get ugly." Zoro muttered. "Two people came out of that building. They're going to call for help!"
The child set the Den den Mushi down. "Here gran." She handed the woman the receiver. "Hello there?" The old woman's voice sounded a little off. "Um...What was I gonna say? I forgot!" And she hung up again.
"You're drunk!?" Usopp shouted at her in disbelief. So much for the station's backup.
Minutes later Luffy, Nami, and Usopp had disembarked to talk to the older woman. She also had blonde hair, extremely curly, set into two pony tails. She wore a maroon coat and hat, a bottle of alcohol in one hand. Her face seemed to have a perpetual smile (made slightly creepy by the fact that her face was lined with age, her mouth was too wide, and her face too flat, with very little neck) and she laughed often. "Gyah ha ha ha!"
"Oh my! This would go well with beer." She noisily chewed on the small, round, flat bread Sanji had made earlier. "Wow! This tastes good!" The child exclaimed, the small animal with her made a noise of assent. "Nyah! Nyah!"
"I'm Chimney!" The little girl had the same smiling face as the old woman. "This is our cat Gombe..." The cat, which was obviously a rabbit, agreed again. "Nyah!" "...and my Gran, Kokoro."
The old woman held a wine bottle. "You guys aren't here to rob the sea-train, I'll wager." She laughed her drunken laugh.
"I'm Luffy, the man who will be the Pirate King." He introduced himself.
"Really?" Chimney tilted her head at she stared up at him. "Yeah!" He nodded. Kokoro laughed again. "You're an interesting man!"
"Hey Chimney." Nami interjected. "That looked like some kind of steam ship. But how can a ship sail with a body like that?" She put one hand on her hip. Chimney continued to snack on the flat bread. "I bet you've never seen anything like it!" She giggled. "It's the only one like it in the world! That's the sea-train, Puffing Tom!"
"Puffing Tom?" The navigator repeated in confusion.
"It uses a steam engine to turn it's paddles and move along the sea tracks."
Nami pictured the train rolling by again, remember the turning wheels and thick black smoke rising from the front. "Tracks?" Usopp asked. "That's right." Chimney pointed to the water next to the station. "They run just below the water's surface and let the train go on it's route every day carrying passengers from one island to another! It can carry mail and even ships!" She told them proudly.
Luffy and Usopp went to look at the water where she had pointed. "She's right! There really are tracks down there!" Luffy exclaimed excitedly. "That's awesome!"
"So that's what we hit." Sanji muttered, his suspicions confirmed.
"Yeah!" Chimney continued with her child like enthusiasm. "We have floating markers and a cross signal set up! Crossing the tracks is dangerous!" Usopp pointed to the crossing signal with a frown. "Hold on! Your crossing signal should be facing the other way! We didn't know what it was!"
Luffy closed his eyes in thought. "Dangerous, eh? Try telling that to the frog. It was pretty mean to run him down like that. We were trying to get him."
Chimney peered up at him. "You mean Yokozuna?"
"Yeah, the front crawl frog."
"It'll take more than that to kill him." Chimney sounded annoyed. "He's a big trouble maker around Shift Station. He loves to test his strength. He's always trying to beat the sea-train. He'll be back soon enough." She sounded unconcerned. Kokoro looked out to where the frog had disappeared. This was the closest to a frown she had shown so far. 'Maybe she doesn't like that frog either.' Luffy wondered. Not important though...
"Test his strength?" He looked back at Chimney. "Oh, so that's why he didn't move! He's a brave frog!"
Chimney stomped her foot and began waving her arms in the air. "Are you kidding!? He's caused all kinds of problems for us! Do you know how many cowcatchers he's broken?" She pointed to a warped and twisted pile of metal. It vaguely resembled the grate on the front of the sea-train.
"Every time he pops up he scares the living daylights out of our passengers!"
"I see." Luffy said seriously. Then he turned to Nami. "Yosh, I'm not going to eat him. I'd never eat something so brave!"
Usopp looked at his captain in exasperation. "You shouldn't eat frogs in the first place!" Nami said disapprovingly. Kokoro laughed again. She was smiling again and Luffy wondered if he had just imagined the look on her face earlier.
"So, where exactly are you headed? The sea-train can take you almost anywhere." She paused to drink more wine. "The city of Vernal Queen, Saint Poplar. The city of exquisite cuisine, Pucchi. The city of carnivals, Sand Fardo! They're all great places to visit." She thought for a moment. "Oh, there's also a train reserved for government personnel."
Usopp blinked. He hadn't even heard of half those places, but wasn't that one..? "The city of exquisite cuisine, Pucchi? Oh, those guys on the deserted island were talking about it." He remembered the group of desertee's they had helped...before that stupid Vice Admiral had shown up. He frowned. He didn't want to think about him.
"Oh, that's right!" Nami's agreement pulled him out of his thoughts. Which had been her intention. No one wanted to think about the insanely strong Marine they had met not so long ago. Someone who could beat Luffy and scared Robin so much...Now she was thinking about it. The navigator shook her head and refocused on the conversation in time to hear her captain.
"Okay, we'll go for exquisite cuisine-" Nami slapped him upside the head. "No, we won't!" She turned back to Kokoro and Chimney. "We have our own ship so we don't need the train. We'll just follow our log."
"Ah?" Chimney blinked. "Where's it pointing now?" She asked.
Nami raised her wrist to eye level. "To the east."
"I see." Kokoro nodded at them. "So you're headed to Water 7. That last train just departed from Water 7's Blue station. It's called the City of Water, and it's quite a place!" Nami crossed her arms over her chest from a sudden chill. What was this ominous feeling she was having..?
Kokoro nodded again. "The city is unique because it's renowned shipyards are what make it prosperous. The ships they build are so good that even the Government buys them! Pretty cool, eh?"
Luffy leaned forward excitedly. "Hey, that means they must have some really good shipwrights!" "Heh, they don't have just any good ones!" Kokoro disagreed. "That city is home to the finest shipwrights in the world!"
Luffy turned to his sniper in excitement. "Usopp!"
"Yeah!" Usopp agreed, feeling excited as well. "Yosh, I've decided! We're gonna go there and get a shipwright to be our nakama!" Luffy nodded while Usopp raised his arms and cheered.
"Oh I see. Gya ha ha ha!" Kokoro laughed, "Hold on a second. Up we go!" She heaved her bulk up and stumbled back inside the station.
"What's up?" Luffy asked. "Dunno." Usopp answered.
They both watched her drunken weaving as she came back. "Here you go. This is a simple map of the island with a message to introduce yourselves with." She held a paper out to Nami. "Give it to a guy named Iceburg and ask him to repair your ship. Water 7 is a big city so try not to get lost."
"Yahoo!" Luffy shouted.
"You have a big heart Kokoro-san! That's really nice of you!" Usopp praised as Nami took the folded piece of paper from her. They boarded the ship again, everyone eager to depart.
"We'll be going to Water 7 ourselves soon." Chimney told them. "Yes, indeed." Kokoro confirmed. "If our paths cross again I'll treat you to a pint in my favorite pub!" She laughed.
"Okay. Then I hope we meet again!" Luffy hopped onto his traditional seat at the bow of the ship. "It'll take about a week for the log to adapt at Water 7." The old woman told them. "Take it easy and enjoy yourselves!"
"Yeah! Thanks!" Luffy grinned. "Yosh, guys! Prepare to cast off!" "Aye!" Sanji, Usopp, and Chopper cheered. "We'll be going now!" Nami raised her hand in farewell. "Thanks for all your help, Chimney, Kokoro-san!" With a 'Boom!' they let out their sail, the wind catching it immediately and pulling them away from Shift Station.
"Have a safe trip!" Chimney called as she waved. "Nyah! Nyah!" Gombe agreed. "Steer clear of the Government officials!" Kokoro warned.
"Yahoo!" Luffy cheered from his seat on Merry's head. "We're off! The City of Meat!"
Usopp shook his head at his captain. "Where did you hear that?"
Author's note: So that's the end of the first chapter, please review and let me know what you think, even if it's a "hey u, u suck!" that at least gives me something to go off of. (Not that I'm encouraging you to send me flames. :P)
Go ahead and tell me if you want the chapters longer or shorter, and I'm totally willing to listen to any and all suggestions. Like I said I haven't written, well published, anything in ages so I'd like to know what others think.
Depending on the response I get I'll see how fast it will take me to put up another chapter. Thank you!!