I'm a glutton for punishment, I really am.

This is a 'Luffy is a marine' story which will not be very good :( But I damn well intend to have fun with it :D

On that note, there is an excellent Marine!Luffy fic here on the site which I promptly recommend to all and sundry. It's BNW: Dark Horse. A great little piece that everyone who can should see. :)

Obviously AU, not canon compliant but I am striving for a mostly IC cast. Any OOC will have justifiable motives. But I do realistically realise that this will probably get shot to hell.


Idiots.

They were idiots

Complete and utter morons with such levels of idiocy that you would be forgiven for questioning their heritage, parents and history of cranial injuries. (The likelihood of whether they existed or not at any rate.)

Sengoku the Buddha was a genius. He had a brilliant tactical mind and an innate understanding of psychological mindsets and motivations. For him, the Grand Line was like an immense chessboard. Thinking three spaces ahead was not sufficient for him. He calculated for every eventuality and used his forces judiciously.

He was fighting a war and knew that it was inevitable that a few pawns would be sacrificed so he didn't concern himself with them too much. What he did worry about was the few pawns that were poised to reach the other side of the board and become players in their own right.

Sengoku was a man in control so you could understand his frustration when dealing with someone who is too unpredictable, too uncontrollable and too damn irritating for him to plan for.

Monkey D. Luffy was such a man and everyday Sengoku didn't know whether to curse Garp for his grandson or thank god that the glutton didn't become a pirate. That guy had the sort of personality and potential to go far in the world. People like that were better to have on your side of the board rather than playing against you.

At least, that's what he told himself on good days.

-break-

Officially, there were certain things that the Marines did and did not do. These sat outside the regular rules and comprised things that mostly related to information confidentiality and the public face of the naval forces. These rules were actually more restrictive on the upper ranks simply because they had more duties and were better known world wide.

Thankfully they had a powerful and cunning PR machine in place (plus, they owned 70% of the worlds newspapers) that served to smooth over certain events and misdemeanours so that they wouldn't loose face with the public. This was, without a single doubt, the hardest working division in the marine force. They had more work than all of the marines in any of the blues.

To put this in context for you there is a marine with five assistants whose sole job for god-knows-how-long has been Garp. His job is to cover up any disasters, publicise successes, arrange building repairs and smooth things over when diplomacy is required. Needless to say the poor man is one exploded tavern away from a foaming breakdown, the kind with seizures, mumbling and very nice nurses who will speak to him soothingly and take him to a nice quiet home for the bewildered.

Marines ascended in rank by showing their skills and their power. They proved that they could command troops efficiently, manage supply routes, complete missions, maintain order and most importantly enforce Justice.

This all proved to be complete bollocks in the face of the cardinal rule of military might, which was once summed up as "So strong, it's stupid". Essentially, for every competent administrator and tactician there was several who earned their rank through raw power. And by several we mean all of those guys who are captaining the warships.

-break-

Going along with this, was what the ordinary marines called 'The Law of Balance'. This was something spoken of in hushed tones and elaborated on when they were drunk, off-duty and out of earshot. In short, it came down to "The more powerful you are, the more eccentric you become".

It went unspoken (because they valued their health naturally enough) that those who started out obviously odd had a better chance than most for joining the upper ranks. Garp had two grandsons (that had surfaced, who knew what other family members that lunatic had) and while drastically different in temperament and personality they were both extremely weird. It surprised no-one when they quickly rose to become major powers on the world stage.

Portgas D. Ace was friendly, chatty, ate like a crate of half-starved seakings and had a terrible tendency to fall asleep at the most inconvenient times. He was also the youngest Rear Admiral in three hundred years and a complete monster in battle. It had gotten to the stage where opponents ran screaming at the sight of him (much like they did for his very proud grandfather) and while there was a certain kind of irony to see him cheerfully chasing fleeing pirates down the street and shouting that he 'really wanted a good fight' it wasn't really an efficient use of his time.

Admittedly some people called nepotism on his rank but his brutally decisive victory over 'Bohemian Knight' Doma in the New World silenced most dissenters and now rumblings indicated that another promotion was on the horizon for him. His subordinates were deathly loyal but more importantly (according to Sengoku) his direct officers kept him in line. It was probably against regulations to let that woman shoot at him as much as she did but as long as they kept him at his work everyone decided not to notice.

You might care to note that he has a fan club but is totally ignorant of the fact. I wouldn't read too much into it. Sengoku has one too.

-break-

Luffy and Ace were shining stars on the seas. Everyone was aware of their presence and it went unsaid that they were going to outstrip their grandfather in a matter of years. (Garp was seriously thrilled at that.)

The two brothers were closely watched. Everyone knew it, even if the pair in question didn't talk about it but no-one knew why. Aokiji and Kizaru pretty much did what they felt like and no one ever questioned them. It was strange because it wasn't the assessing observation cast upon those due for promotion but a more calculated one.

Whatever reasons Sengoku had, he wasn't sharing them with anyone else but if anyone was likely to know it was Vice-admiral Garp. Sengoku let them go about their business freely but he insisted quite vigorously to be constantly apprised of their whereabouts. Everyone assumed that Sengoku was just being his usual obsessive self and left it at that.

Marines were used to taking orders.

-break-

On the last report from his team they passed along the following information; that Commodore Monkey D. Luffy was currently in the East Blue...