Disclaimer: One Piece belongs to Eiichiro Oda. All non-canon Devil's Fruits belong to their respective creators.
Author's note: I don't have a beta reader and I know this fic needs one. PM me if you want to beta a different kind of one piece story.
Lt. Mark Wagner hated his job. For ten years he had been serving as a fighter pilot aboard the Loguetown, an outdated Marine destroyer. Though many civilians wished they could be fighter pilots, Mark was disappointed; the missions he flew were never exciting. When he wasn't flying long, boring patrols, he was fighting small-name pirates, whose ships the marines outnumbered three to one. He knew that no matter what he did, whether he destroyed four enemy fighters or was unceremoniously shot down himself, the Marines would arrest the pirates. He was equally disappointed with his career as a whole; hell, he still hadn't made it past lieutenant and he was in his thirties. That was why his brain went into overdrive the day he learned that the Loguetown's infantry had captured a devil's fruit.
Three days ago, Mark had helped the Loguetown capture a pirate freighter. The freighter had surrendered to the marines without Mark having to fire a shot. The ragtag crew of eleven was thrown in the brig. By the time he landed, word had already spread that the pirate ship had been carrying a devil's fruit, which the Loguetown's Captain, Robert Grist, locked in a safe in the destroyer's cargo hold.
Now Mark had decided to steal the fruit and become a pirate. The last Pirate King had claimed to have a planet's worth of treasure hidden somewhere in the galaxy and Mark wanted to find it. Even if he failed, he would be in the middle of the second age of pirates, as opposed to helping the marines catch stragglers a five-year-old could arrest.
Mark's plan was to open the safe, pocket the fruit, and escape in a Marine fighter. His first task would be to order the hangar crew to prepare a fighter for him. By the time he had finished with the theft the fighter would be ready. Then he would have to get past the marine guarding the cargo hold. The hardest part was the safe. Only the captain, who had standing orders to make sure all devil's fruits reached Marine HQ, knew the code. Fortunately, he was an idiot, so the code to the safe would probably be something predictable. Then he would simply walk out, go get in his fighter, and be halfway to the next star system by the time the captain found out. Still, he felt nervous because he had never broken the law before. Many members of his family were marines and he had been brought up to follow in their footsteps. They would likely disown him if they learned what he planned to do. But when would there be another opportunity like this?
Getting the fighter fueled up wasn't difficult. Captain Grist had always ordered his crew not go above or beyond his orders. The crew, assuming Mark had explicit orders to go flying without the rest of his squadron, began fueling and arming fighter Delta-1549 for him, no questions asked.
Mark reached the entrance to the cargo hold without any interruptions. There was nothing interesting about a man with blond hair cut to regulation length and the same blueish-gray flight suit as all of the other marine pilots. Mark knew firsthand that the marine on guard duty had had too much to drink the night before; he had watched the man down enough beer to knock out a room full of recruits. The guard was probably still hung-over; he looked miserable and gave Mark a rather sloppy salute. Like most of the crew, he was probably too demoralized to suspect another marine anyway.
Mark returned the salute and walked to the safe at the back of the cargo hold. He knew that if he couldn't guess the password, he could always open the safe with a hand grenade. However, he didn't want the noise to attract attention from the crew; he didn't know if this fruit would make him bullet-proof. Much to his relief, however, he was easily able to open the safe. The password was the captain's name! Relieved, he put the fruit in his pocket. He would have time to eat it after he took off. When he reached the hangar, a crew chief wearing sergeant's chevrons saluted him and reported, "Delta-1549 fueled and ready for take off sir!" Mark returned the salute and headed for the fighter. Delta-1549 was a V-30 Cutlass, the most common star-fighter in the Marines. It was a multi-role fighter, designed to be capable of both intercepting enemy fighters and bombing larger ships. It resembled a jet fighter and was painted in the blue and white livery the Marines had used for over 500 years. Mark entered the cockpit and nervously performed the pre-flight check, hoping no one would find out what he had stolen. After his fighter's engines roared to life, It seemed to take hours for them to warm up. As soon as the 5-minute warm-up period specified in the operator's manual had passed, Mark lifted off the hangar floor and radioed for permission to leave the fighter bay. One uneventful takeoff later he was free of his old life and ready to make the jump to hyperspace.
Astronomers used to call the diminutive red star a fancy name that fit their naming conventions, but now everyone called it Haven. That was what the system was-an out-of-the-way haven for criminals. A single brown planet named Last Chance orbited the star. It was an unimportant ball of rock the Marines rarely patrolled. It was also within jumping range of Mark Wagner's stolen ship.
Last Chance appeared to be the size of Mark's fist when he entered the system from hyperspace. The planet didn't have much water; what it did have appeared to cover only a third of the side that he could see. If the data on his ship's computer was any indication, he was looking at the good side of the planet. Last Chance had no moons, rings, or other interesting features, just rocks, craters, and murky water that was probably not safe to drink. The planet did have vegetation here and there, along with a few decent-sized cities. Hopefully Mark could recruit some crew members on Last Chance. Suddenly, the telltale jerk of a tractor beam brought him back to the present. He looked up to see that a dilapidated freighter was trying to capture him. He had found more pirates than he'd bargained for.