Ghost Stories: A BtS side story

By Tasogare no Hime

Summary: Strange incidents occur after an enemy death on board the ship.

Warnings: none

Disclaimer: I do not own Last Exile, no money is being made off this use.

Pre-notes: Kinda Halloweeny fic, Takes place a few months after Shifting Tides.

Ghost Stories

"Look out!" Several crew members including Alex dove for cover as the winch cable snapped and flew back toward them. Moments later as the rain became too heavy to continue and everyone was back on their feet, the captain was relived to find no one had been injured in the mishap. He ordered everyone back inside as the oncoming storm worsened, lightning flashing in the distance. Pausing at the door after everyone else had gone in, he looked back at the pirate's plane that was thoroughly stuck on lower aft deck. It had taken a tail hit from the Silvana in the last pirate attack, and had lost control crashing into the deck. The craft was based on some of the oldest plane models they had looking, according to many of the books he had acquired like a 'World War I' era plane. The pilots had survived the crash, and been rescued from the wreckage by the crew as soon as they were able. However one of them, a girl who looked far too young for an Earth kid involved with pirates had died of her injuries in the infirmary only hours afterward, and the young man was still comatose. Sybil said his outcome looked very grim, even if he did survive to get to a proper hospital.

The winch cord snapping was just one more in a series of odd incidents that had been going on since the crash. The crew, mostly thanks to Dio, was now convinced they were being haunted by the ghost of the pilot now residing in the Silvana's morgue. Alex was convinced that what wasn't purely accidental were either overactive imaginations, or tactless pranks. Being soaked, and cold did nothing to improve his already foul mood, so the crew was careful not to mention any of what had just occurred until they were sure he was out of hearing range.

"Man the kid really doesn't want that thing moved does she?" Kostavi said wringing out his shirt.

Gale nodded frowning, as he reached for one of the towels another crewman brought them.

Claus, who had been visiting with Lavie, Alvis, Alister, and Tatiana, had been trying to help loosen the wreckage, so they could begin repairs. They had expected to head home that morning, but the sudden storm had delayed them. It looked as if they would be spending the night. "So it's been like this since the crash?" He asked rubbing his towel over his head. Outside the thunder grew closer.

"Not just stuff like that, but the worst does happen when we try to remove the plane." Godwin said sitting on a bench frowning. "Things have gotten moved when no one was there to move them, people swear they've seen the kid standing out there, and we've even heard a voice we know doesn't belong to anyone on the crew. The captain doesn't believe any of it though." He grumbled.

"Yeah, it's best if you don't even mention it around him." Ethan said glumly. Alex had overheard him telling Alister about what had been going on, and while the captain hadn't said anything the glare he'd given the young mechanic had been enough.

The other mechanics nodded in agreement sighing gloomily. It looked like it was going to be another long night.

Still sopping, leaving small puddles on the floor of his quarters Alex grumbled to himself as he searched through files, and papers unable to find what he was looking for. Growling in frustration, he slammed the last drawer to his desk shut, and left his room heading to Sophia's quarters.

Just as he opened the door lightning flashed right outside the ship. The following peal thunder so close that it caused the ship to vibrate, joined by the startled screams of the women, and girls gathered in Sophia's room did nothing for his growing head ache or mood. He glared at them. "Telling ghost stories, I'd take it?"

Sophia frowned at him. "Captain you are soaked."

He ignored the comment. "One of the winch cords snapped. No one is hurt, but I need the receipt so I know who to kill the next time we go to Walker's. I can't find it, do you have it?"

Sighing Sophia continued to frown at him. "You couldn't put something dry on before you did this?" She asked getting up, she went to her desk looking through her papers. Alex remained in the door way, apparently knowing better than to come in and drip on her floor. The rest of the girls sheepishly avoided looking at him. "Here it is." Sophia said smiling a bit as she pulled a slip of paper out of one of the drawers. When he reached for it, she pulled it out of reach. "Why don't I hold on to this till you change into some dry clothes? You'll just smudge the ink like that. And you'll get sick if you keep walking around in those clothes anyway." Alex glared at her but she was unmoved by it. Sighing he turned and left. After he was gone, she set the receipt on her desk and returned to her seat. "He's been like that since the crash." She said frowning. "We sent pictures of the pirates ahead to the closest dock station. We don't know who the boy is yet but the girl was a runaway... Her parents are going to be waiting there, they'd been looking for her for over a year."

"That's terrible.." Lavie said frowning into her drink. "...So.." She looked to make sure Alex was really gone. "You think she's the ghost?"

Wina and Sophia looked at each other. Wina was the first to speak. "I've been hearing a girl's voice I know doesn't belong to any of the crew. But it always sounds like it's coming from outside next to the plane, and even on clear nights it's hard to understand."

"A few nights ago, Alex and I were leaving the deck after he was examining the wreck to try and see why we couldn't break it loose. Just as we were going inside I thought I saw her standing right where we had been glaring at us. When I stopped the door from shutting to try and get a clear look she was gone." Finishing her story Sophia sighed, straightening her glasses. "Alex of course never saw a thing."

Lavie shuddered, now glad Alvis had already gone to sleep in the room they had used while living on the Silvana. "...You know.. I never said anything to Claus about it, but after his mom died before we moved... On windy nights I thought I could hear her crying all night long, like she used to before she died." She finished quietly not looking at anyone. Alister placed a comforting hand on her back.

"The academy campus was haunted." Tatiana said frowning, the other girls who had gone to the academy nodded in agreement.

"One of the instructors had an affair with a student." Sophia said when Lavie looked up. "But the girl was from a noble family, and already betrothed to another family's son. They made plans to run away together, but the girl's fiancé discovered the plan and murdered her on the academy grounds. The instructor hanged himself in one of the boy's dormitories when he found out."

Alister nodded. "I think I saw the girl once. Wandering the grounds where she died." She shuddered her self. She even now she didn't like thinking about it. She'd had trouble sleeping for a while after that. "The girl who was with me at the time swore the ghost started following her around after we saw her."

"That was Carol Endell wasn't it?" Tatiana asked. "I remember that, she ended up leaving for home. She said it was because of the ghost, everyone else said her parents put too much stress on her. " She glared at nothing in particular, remembering. "None of the staff would listen to us about it and we all got a long useless lecture on teasing, and playing pranks."

"Sounds like the captain." Wina grumbled.

Sophia smiled a bit. "He's always been like that. Even when I was small. I would try and tell him and Euris about things that happened at the palace, he never believed any of it."

"So nothing ever happens to him?" Lavie asked looking annoyed.

"Nothing." Sophia said. "Vincent on the other hand believes in everything. They used to get into fights about Vincent scaring me when I would stay at the academy with Euris." She smiled at the memories, she'd ended up spending a lot of time at the academy before Euris had died. Her father never seemed to have time for her. She sighed looking at the clock. "I don't think he's coming back..." She grumbled getting annoyed.

"It's getting late." Lavie said following her gaze. "I should probably go check on Al. I hope she can sleep. I don't think I'm going to tonight." As she stood up thunder crashed shaking the ship again. The girls jumped, screaming again.

After they had all left for their own rooms, Sophia sat waiting for Alex to return. When he didn't show up after an hour she angrily got up, and taking the receipt headed to his room. She found him with his head down on the desk. "Do I need to go get Sybil?" She asked sounding irritated though she was more worried about him now.

Alex sat back in the chair frowning at her. He was in civilian clothes. "I just have a headache." He said as she handed him the slip of paper.

"That's probably because you've been walking around in wet clothes." She said walking over and pulling out his bed.

"I am not getting sick." He said glaring at her. She ignored him as she straightened the sheets, and blankets. "I would like to know why laundry apparently hasn't been done. I only have one clean uniform left."

"I haven't really gotten an explanation for that myself." Sophia said frowning as she picked up the discarded soaked uniform he'd just dropped on the floor. "Alex..really. If you keep this up it will start to look like Vincent's side of your dorm at the academy in here."

Alex made an annoyed sound at the back of his throat, and ended up coughing a bit. He glared at Sophia when she looked at him. "It was a dry spot. I am not getting sick."

She hummed bit sounding somewhat smug returning back to her task. After hanging Alex's cape to dry she let out a squeak when Alex suddenly grabbed her and after pulling over to the bed pushed her down and tried to kiss her. She laughed turning her head to avoid him. "Oh no you don't! Who's going to take care of you if I get whatever you are coming down with?"

"I am not getting sick." He said as he began leaving a trail of kisses down her neck, slowly pulling down the zipper of her uniform. "And I am going to prove it."

Nightfall hadn't calmed the storm any. The mechanics sat together in the hanger complaining about the recent incidents when Dio trotted in with the net usually used to catch birds that had gotten inside the halls of the ship, followed by Lucciola, who was carrying a box of items, Claus, and Lavie. Lavie was giving Dio a skeptical look. "You don't really expect to catch a ghost with that do you?"

"Of course not." Dio answered cheerfully. "But if the captain's right and it is someone playing pranks we will be able to catch them! If not then we have proof it really is a ghost."

Lucciola sighed. "I don't think you've thought this through all the way. The captain won't be happy about you holding a seance on his ship no matter what happens."

"Don't be silly. This might solve everything! If it's a prankster, they probably won't be able to resist trying to scare us. If it's a ghost we can try to find out what they want, and get them to stop!" He started taking things out of the box before Lucciola had even set it down. The mechanics gathered around to watch. There was a board with the English, and Prester alphabets written on them, a clear glass, a small guild made recording device, a note book, a pencil, and some candles.

Tatiana and Alister walked in with a slightly burned, and bloodstained glove. Neither of them looked happy about having it. "Are you sure this is a good idea? Sybil was really unhappy when she found out what you wanted this for." Alis said standing beside Ethan.

"But if it is her, having something that belonged to her might help. It would probably be better to do this out by the plane, but no chance of that in this weather. " Dio replied setting up his supplies.

Moments latter Dio had finished and everyone sat in a circle as he placed a hand lightly over the glass sitting on the board. Alis, and Lavie joined him while the others just continued to watch. "Well." Dio began enthusiastically, as he used his free hand to turn on the recorder. "Lets get started! Is anyone there?"

They waited some holding their breath. It had been several minutes and everyone was thinking nothing was going to happen when the board suddenly shot out from under the glass as if it had been kicked. The glass falling to the ground shattered, as thunder crashed out side. Everyone screamed.

"What the hell are they doing down there?" Alex growled being disturbed from his near sleep.

"Probably ghost hunting." Sophia said smiling as she toyed with his hair. Alex turned his head to looked at her, even in the darkness she could just make out his annoyed expression. "Why does it bother you so much?" She asked smiling as she turned on her side to snuggle against him.

Sighing he curled up against her. "After my father died in the mine collapse everyone started talking about how if you got close enough the entrance on a clear night, or went at the anniversary of the accident; you could hear the miners calling for help, or trying to dig themselves out. I hated that. Even though I knew he was dead, if what they said was true he was trapped in there, and would never get out." He wrapped his arms around her pulling her close. "I hated going into the Grand Stream, because I could never stop myself from listening for her... I can't stand the thought of someone being trapped like that."

Sophia shifted so that his nose was presses against space between her neck, and collarbone and held him tightly. She understood all to well how he felt, she'd had too many dreams of her father wandering alone through the halls of the crumbling palace, the withered landscape visible through the windows, calling for her mother, calling for her. Now matter how loudly she cried out to him in those dreams he never heard her. She had been woken by a very concerned Alex several times to find she had been crying in her sleep. "Maybe they aren't trapped. Maybe they're just waiting."

"What if they have to wait forever?" Alex asked his voice barely more than a whisper.

Sophia just ran her hand through his hair again. She didn't have an answer for that.

The next morning Alex was standing angrily in front of the group of 'ghost hunters.' much of his anger wasn't directed at them but the worsening headache, and developing sore throat, he still refused to go see Sybil. Sophia had talked him into letting Dio finish with his plan. After last nights fiasco where hardly anyone had gotten any sleep and the hanger was left a mess, Dio insisted this was because of poltergeist activity, Alex wasn't buying it. He was however ready to do anything to get the crew to calm down before something drastic happened.

Wina was carefully listening to Dio's recorder. "It's really hard to make out, it does sound like her. It says something... There's some thing on the plane she wants!"

Dio hopped out the door into the clear, but rather chilly morning. He dashed towards the plane and started examining it.

"Dio! Get down from there! It's not safe." Sophia shouted horrified as he started climbing towards the cockpit.

"Don't be silly, we haven't been able to make it budge for days. OH! I found something!" He grabbed a small object hanging inside and hopped down. Practically bouncing he returned and handed it to Sophia. It was an antique gold locket. The chain had snapped and become tangled in the wreckage. "See! I was perfectly sa.."

He stopped as there was aloud creaking groan behind them. As they turned to look the plane shifted a wing snapping from the body the wreckage slipped from the deck and plummeted towards the ocean. The wing slipping away as well fell more slowly spinning as it followed the rest of the craft. For a while no one spoke. When Alex mostly wanting to get in out of the cold tried to speak he only ended up coughing raggedly. It was enough to break whatever spell everyone had been under, and Sophia shakily ordered everyone inside before dragging Alex to see Sybil.

Later after making sure Dio was alright after his shock, and that Alex was indeed going to stay in bed this time, Sophia took the locket to the mortuary. She opened the cold chamber the girl was in and pulled her out. She was greeted by a ghostly pale, but still freckled face, surrounded by wavy dark blond hair. Sybil hadn't yet removed all the bandages from the attempt to save her. She carefully placed the locket in the girls hand. "This what you wanted right?... I am sorry." She paused sighing. "More though, I think for your family than you to be honest. We get a lot of children like you showing up here, but things here aren't like they were on Prester. Unprepared boys and girls looking for some kind of adventure..." She smiled a bit bitterly. The average life span during the war had been fifty at best. Children became soldiers because whether they were or not they were highly likely to die anyway. She didn't ever want that to happen again. "We've gotten very good at chasing them back to their families... And now we have to give you back to yours like this. They were looking for you, you know. What in the world made you run away?" She sighed again blinking back tears. She decided it was probably best to leave. There would be no answers here. She pushed the girl back in and shut the door.

As she reached the door the mortuary she paused at the sudden feeling of not being alone. 'Thank you.' Jumping she turned looking around but no one was there, and no place for anyone to hide in the morgue. Trying to calm herself she left, not mentioning what had happened to anyone.

Claus and the others were able to head for home later that day. The days traveling to the dock station were quiet, and the sudden return to the ordinary after the past few days was strange in itself. While most of the crew was relieved, Dio was rather disappointed that the haunting seemed to be over.

"She was probably to scared of the captain to stick around." Kostavi joked trying to cheer Dio up.

Dio sighed. "Maybe next time we get a ghost they'll stay. It was exciting having one around."

"Fighting pirates isn't exciting enough for you?" Godwin asked raising an eyebrow.

"But we do that all the time, it's normal for us." Dio complained, frowning. He brightened up suddenly. "I bet we do have a whole bunch of ghost here who just don't do anything!" Grinning he grabbed Lucciola's hand. "Come on Lucciola lets go try and talk to them!"

The mechanics gave each other wary looks as they watched Dio drag Lucciola off.

"You don't really think there are any more ghost here do you?" Ethan asked looking a bit pale.

"Are you kidding I bet were loaded with them." Kostavi said frowning.

"Do you think we need to stop them?" Gale asked quietly. "I mean, what if they do make something happen?"

They looked at one another thinking of everything that had happened the past few days. Then they thought about the captain's reaction to hearing about another ghost. Moments later they ran after the boys as fast as they could.

AN: Happy Halloween to everyone who celebrates it!