Another Nakama II
Disclaimer: I don't own One Piece or any of the characters. I just own Ricky and the other OC's I've written into this alteration of the story.
Off the coast of Sandy Island, Black Cage Hina and the remains of her crew were recovering while the three remaining battleships under Hina's command chased after the Straw Hats. But even Hina knew now that catching the Straw Hats was a moot point. The hard blow dealt to her forces by 'One Eye' Ricky, 'Pirate Hunter' Roronoa Zoro, those monster seals, and the Okama ad his men would take a while for her to recover from. The worst part that she didn't have anything to show for it.
"That's right," Hina confessed over her transponder snail as she smoked a bitter tasting cigarette. "I didn't even manage to catch that Bon Kurei character's ship. Hina's disappointed."
"So you let them escape," the familiar voice of Commodore Smoker came over the snail.
"I had the Swan ship caught," Hina recounted. "But the Straw Hats that my lookout thought he saw were imposters. At first I thought that it was just a simple trick… but then two of the imposters turned out to be One Eye and the Pirate Hunter."
"They're a sneaky pair," Smoker remarked. "Back at Loguetown the two of them snuck right into our Marine Base and snuck back out just as easily."
"Yes, well, those two boarded my ships and laid waste to it and my Marines," Hina continued. "One Eye cut down my main mast and the Pirate Hunter cut up my cannons. One Eye had a group of Kung Fu Dugongs with him, the five of them took out about as many of my men as the two pirates."
"Your trained men lost to a bunch of seals?" Smoker questioned.
"They were well trained," Hina told him. "Their strength and speed was too much for my men to contend with. I tried to capture the two pirates myself but then that Bon Kurei character got involved. He insisted that I fight him but when I had him caught One Eye got involved. Did you know that he's in possession of Sea Stone?"
"He probably got it from Crocodile," Smoker reasoned. "That traitor had an entire cell made out of the stuff. One Eye out maneuvered Crocodile and orchestrated a jail break but then stayed behind while the rest of us escaped… that's probably when he got it."
"And that's not the worst part," Hina added. "One Eye, the Pirate Hunter, and his monster dugongs stuck around so Bon Kurei and his men could escape. Those two rode on the backs of two of the dugongs and sank five of my ships from the water before riding off after the other Straw Hats who had long since gotten away. Hina's failed."
"Running away is what those Straw Hats are best at," Smoker remarked. "And they never look back to see the damage they've left in their way."
"And let me guess..." a new but still familiar voice chimed in. "One Eye did it all with condescending casualness that made you doubt all your years of training and feel like an insignificant pest that had merely gotten in his way."
"That would be correct Lieutenant Commander," Hina replied.
"I hope my new arm comes with a built-in laser cannon or something," Devo stated, "because with the way One Eye and those other Straw Hats are getting stronger with each passing day… it'll take some incredibly advanced weaponry to take them down."
"That still might not be enough," Hina retorted. "Hina's angry."
"Angry at your own incompetence?" Smoker teased her.
"No, that's not it," Hina answered.
"MISS HINA!" an annoying voice called out. "WE'RE BACK!"
"Thank you for stopping for us!" another one gushed.
Hina glanced over at Fullboy and Jango who were staring at her adoringly. She hadn't stopped for those two buffoons. With the exception of three ships, her entire fleet had been destroyed. She disregarded them and turned her attention back to her snail-called.
"I'm mad at you Smoker," Hina explained. "Hina's mad."
"…" Smoker was silent for a moment before finally asking, "Care to elaborate on that?"
"It's just that… you actually seem to be happy," Hina commented, "About the Straw Hats getting away."
"Hm? Me?" Smoker questioned. "Why would I be?"
"Who knows," Hina eventually said.
Back in Alubarna, King Cobra was giving his own speech to the Kingdom, although his speech was a lot more casual than his daughter's. "At which point my dearest Vivi said to me in a very formal manner 'I have something important to talk to you about, daddy – I mean father'. At that moment I remember thinking to myself 'King of no, it makes no difference, no man gives up the title 'daddy'." The people gathered in the square laughed at the royal father's comments.
"Watching children grow is a bittersweet experience," King Cobra continued from up on the balcony overlooking the square. Igaram stood beside him and had taken off the blue wig but was still wearing the formal gown.
"Is this really who we work for?" Jun asked Chaka as they stood further behind the King and the Captain of the Royal Guard, "A father and a cross-dresser?"
"King Nefertari Cobra may seem like just a caring father," Chaka stated, "but he's as wise as they come in matters both personal and political. And Captain Igaram may look foolish dressed like that, but it just shows that he'll do absolutely anything to protect the Princess. With Princess Vivi's natural caring and concern for the citizens thrown in, you couldn't ask for better leaders."
"I see I still have a lot to learn," Jun realized.
"WOOOOO!" Mana cheered as she and Ayako rode and Pell's back as he soared over the Kingdom in his falcon form.
"By flying this fast, this high we'll be there in no time," Pell assured them.
"We're going too fast…" Ayako whimpered as she held onto the blonde from behind as if her life depended on it. "I'm gonna be sick…"
"Better not do that from all the way up here," Mana chided her. "You never know what we're flying over from this high up. Pretend you're somewhere else."
"I'm at home in bed… I'm at home in bed…" Ayako whimpered as she buried her face in Mana's back.
BOOOM! BOOOM! BOOOM! The three battleships fired their cannons from behind the Going Merry.
"Mine!" Sanji called out. He leapt off of the rear railing that he been standing on with Ricky and Zoro and kicked one of the approaching cannonballs in midair. THWAK! The cannonball flew backwards and smashed into one of the others. KA-BOOOOM! "Ha! That's nine Mosshead!"
"Just wait 'til they fire the next round, eyebrow!" Zoro vowed as he gripped his swords. "You're only one ball ahead!" Zoro looked over at Ricky and grinned, "And you still only got that first one! You're falling way behind."
"Yeah," Ricky agreed. "Looks like I'm no match for you guys." He stood casually between his competitive Nakama with his hands in his pockets and sly grin on his face.
"HEY!" Luffy exclaimed as he ran over. "I WANNA PLAY TOO!"
"DAMN IT!" the lead marine shouted. "THEY'RE NOT EVEN TAKING US SERIOUSLY! FIRE AGAIN!" KA-BOOOM-BOOOM-BOOOM!
Back on the shore, Vivi and Carue watched silently as their friends and the ships chasing them disappeared over the horizon.
"HAHAHAHAHAHA!" Toto's laughter rang out over the crowded streets of Yuba.
"What's so funny, Toto?" someone asked. "You've been laughing ever since the speech."
"Yeah, let us in on the joke old man," Koza requested. "Cause right now we're in the dark."
"Haha! It's a secret!" Toto chuckled in reply. "But trust me guys, it's a good one!"
"Uggh… you're not making any sense," Koza commented.
Toto smiled and looked up at the sky. "NOW HAVE A GOOD JOURNEY, LUFFY! YOU'RE WELCOME TO DRINK YUBA'S WATER ANY TIME!"
"Huh?" the confused civilians said to themselves as Toto started laughing again.
Koza smiled and watched his cheerful father from a nearby window.
"Alright, that's enough jawing!" Toto announced, "There's work to be done! Dig the well! Dig!"
"Waaaaahh!" a young girl cried outside of Edo.
"YOU STUPID BIRD!" a boy shouted as three Warusagi flew off. One of them was holding the pink bag they'd stolen.
Camu and his men came running up to the children ready to do their duty and protect the citizens of Edo. The third child in the group turn to them, "They took the satchel!"
SKUUUSSSHHH! The Barbar Sand Pirates' ship sped across the sand while Zaba and Rasa raced alongside it on a sand sled.
"HEEEEYYYY!" Barbarossa shouted when he came out of his cabin and found the same three Warusagi drinking barrels of rum on the deck of his ship. The Captain jumped the railing and ran at the birds.
"CAW! CAW!" the three heron took to the sky with one of them still clutching the pink bag.
Barbarossa grabbed one of the now empty rum barrels and threw it after the thieving birds. "RAAAAAH!" WHING!
"CAAAAW!" one heron squawked and dropped the bag so it could dodge the barrel.
SKIIIISSSHH! The sand sled skidded to a stop and Rasa got off and picked up the dropped bag. She glanced over the sand dunes and spotted the desert city of Edo off in a distance.
"JUU!" a Kung Fu Dugong cried out as it threw a punch.
"JUUU!" chorused Luffy's army of Dugong as they mimicked it.
SPLIISH! "JUU!" Doug called out as he and the rest of the D Squad got out of the water and onto the shore. All five of them were wearing huge turtle shells that were as big as they were.
"Juhh…" Daniel the Dugong mumbled around the sword he was still holding in his mouth.
"Does anyone have a clue who Princess Vivi was talking to?" a civilian in Nanohana wondered.
"Nah, but who really cares anyway?" another civilian replied. "What she said makes us happy."
"And it's our duty to respond to it," a woman stated.
Out in the Sandora Desert, Scissors the Crab found himself facing a big purple Sandora Dragon.
SKUUUSSSHH! A second Sandora Dragon came out of the sand behind the now terrified crab.
SKISH! Scissors sank back into the sand and tunneled away from the pair of predators. SHOOOM!
"As expected, Alubarna seems to be in bad shape," a man commented in Rain Base outside the Rain Dinners casino.
"Perfect," another man replied. "We should go there."
The men were part of a large group that had numerous wagons and carts loaded up with supplies.
"We also have to restore Yuba as quickly as possible," the first man added. "It's an important crossroad in the west."
"And don't forget," the second man commented, "we still need to repair all the canals along the Sandora River."
"What about the casino?" the first man wondered as he eyed the now unowned casino with the bananawani on top.
"It'll be closed," the second man decided. "Come on, let's get going."
"There it is," Pell announced then he dove. SHOOOO! He landed lightly in the badlands outside the Spider's Café.
Ayako immediately rolled off his back and threw up in the sand. "Uugghhh…" she groaned.
Mana climbed off of Pell's back then knelt beside the girl and pulled her hair back so she didn't get anything on it. "Are you gonna be okay?"
"I should be alright… now that we've stopped moving…" Ayako wheezed. "Ever since I was little… I'd get really bad motion sickness when I moved too fast… so I sat down and started painting… by the time I discovered my hypnotic abilities… staying in one place and not moving had become a bad habit…"
"Well thanks for toughing it out and coming here with me," Mana replied. Ayako nodded.
"So this is the place," Pell commented as he surveyed the small café.
"Obviously, it still needs some work," Mana admitted. "I'll need to renovate the kitchen so I have the proper facilities then I'll send out for the necessary equipment so I can start production. I don't expect too many people to come this far just to get some chocolate so I'll start by running the business as a delivery service. I'll start promoting the place by selling in the major cities."
"I can help you with advertising and decorating…" Ayako offered as she shakily stood up. "This place looks kind of run down. It could use a good paint job. And I could help you create a soon-to-be famous logo and advertisements… And I'm pretty good at crunching numbers so I could take care of your finances…"
"You'd do all that for me?" Mana asked.
"Well… I wanna earn my keep," Ayako told her. "I know I'd get annoying if all I did was sit around and paint."
"Speaking of painting," Mana said, "Do you think Usopp will like your present?"
"I hope so," Ayako replied with a faint blush.
"I know the men leading the reconstruction effort," Pell informed them. "Once you have a plan for your new kitchen I could contact some of them for you."
"Go inside and I'll make you something to eat," Mana ordered him.
"I wouldn't want to impose," Pell protested.
"You flew us all the way out here," Mana argued. "It's the least I can do."
"If you insist," Pell conceded.
Ayako smiled at Mana as they followed Pell into the café, "Just think… today's the first day of the rest of our lives…"
BOOOM! BOOOM! BOOOM! The three battleships fired off another volley of cannonballs as they began closing in on the Going Merry.
"It looks like they're gaining on us!" Ricky warned the others as the stood by the railing on the rear deck.
"Whoa, those Marine are fast!" Luffy exclaimed down on the main deck.
"Or rather we're beginning to slow down!" Sanji realized.
"We're not gonna make it much further like this," Nami pointed out. "Water's flooding in from the holes!"
TONK! TONK! Down in the men's quarters, Usopp was attempting to nail a board over one of the holes that had been left in the side of the Going Merry by one of the iron spears from earlier.
"Hey Chopper, I need more panels!" Usopp requested. "We'll be in big trouble if we have to…" The marksman trailed off when he saw Chopper float by. The reindeer was in his Heavy Point form but was unconscious due to making contact with the rising water. "CHOPPER!"
The distance between the Going Merry and the three battleships had been cut in half. The Marines were right on top of them.
"Here they come," Zoro noted as he grabbed the hilts of his three swords.
"We've gotta fight," Sanji decided.
"Then let's go!" Luffy called out. The Monster Trio prepared to leap into battle… WHOMP! …but promptly tripped over the spears that had been piled up on the deck.
"WHAT THE HELL IS THIS?" all three of them demanded.
"Oh those?" Nami questioned. "Usopp said to hold onto them in case we needed them for something. Who knows?"
"COME ON!" Zoro snapped.
"THEY'RE IN OUR WAY!" Sanji complained.
"I'll get rid of 'em," Luffy offered.
The lead marine turned and barked orders to the other Marines. "TAKE YOUR POSITIONS! ONCE WE PULL UP! EVERYONE ATTACKS!"
"WAAAAAH!" one of the other Marines suddenly screamed in terror.
The lead Marine turned around and saw that their spears were coming flying back to them.
SHA-SHA-SHUNK! SHUNK! SHUNK!
Ricky, Zoro, and Sanji all gaped at the three battleships.
"Ahh," Luffy sighed, "Okay, now we're ready!" Luffy spun around and saw he'd inadvertently turned the battleships into smoking pincushions.
"Now's our chance!" Zoro realized. "Full speed ahead! Shake 'em off!"
"Sanji, fish Chopper out of the water in the men's quarters!" Ricky ordered before running for the anchor room. "I'll get the oars!"
The Going Merry put on a burst of speed. With Luffy and Zoro paddling on one side, Sanji and Chopper paddling on the other, Nami giving the orders to make them paddle in sync, and Ricky and Usopp working to repair the damage below deck the Going Merry raced away from the totaled battleships.
Back on the shore, Vivi got on Carue's back. The Going Merry and the Marine battleships had long since disappeared.
"Now Carue," Vivi addressed her duck as she tied her hair back in a ponytail. "Let's go… to Alubarna!"
"QUUUAAA!" Carue crowed before he took off and started running back home.
"Although my adventure is over a new challenge awaits:" Vivi thought to herself as she rode off across the sand, "…restoring Alabasta. I'll need more courage than I've ever found if I'm to succeed in bringing my homeland to its former glory. This once proud nation is like a battered ship wandering aimlessly at sea. But… I believe no cause is hopeless. Not as long as you give it your all and don't give up! Alabasta may be adrift right now but I know my people… they will face the oncoming waves of fear and uncertainty with bravery! We will never be discouraged. The path ahead, though long and rough, is clear. We will push forward, straight ahead, with confidence and vigor… just like the Going Merry and her crew!"
"The Straw Hats…" Vivi said to Carue. "We'll see them again someday, won't we?"
"Qua-QUUAAAACK!" Carue heartily agreed. ZZZZOOOOOOM! The duck put on another burst of speed that showed why in Alabasta he was known as the Captain of the Supersonic Duck Squadron.
Out at sea, Commodore Smoker sat shirtless in a reclined chair on the front deck of his ship.
Lieutenant Commander Devo sat nearby attempting to clean one of his guns with only one arm. "I'm injured, not helpless," he snapped at the marine that had offered to do it for him.
The cabin door opened and Ensign Tashigi walked out onto the deck.
"Tashigi," Smoker greeted her. "So how are your legs?"
"Oh, they're doing fine," Tashigi replied then whispered, "Change the subject." Devo sat back against the railing scowled down the barrel of the gun he was cleaning.
To both Devo and Tashigi their injuries were signs of their weakness. And while they were healing perfectly well they obviously didn't like talking about them.
Tashigi made her way over to Smoker, who reached out to the table next to him and poured her a cup of coffee.
"Thank you," Tashigi said as she sat down in the empty chair next to her commanding officer. The first thing she noticed were the three wanted posters on the table underneath the coffee pot and cups. "I saw the new bounties on their heads."
"The amount's no surprise considering the catch," Smoker reasoned. "Have you heard what his swordsman buddy did?"
"You mean Roronoa?" Tashigi asked.
"He cut down one hundred bounty hunters in Whisky Peak," Smoker informed her. "And then, in Alubarna, he defeated Daz Bones."
"The assassin?" Tashigi questioned. "No way!"
"He used to be a bounty hunter and was known throughout the West Blue," Smoker explained. "In Baroque Works he went by the alias of 'Mr. 1'."
"I also heard that he ate the Dice Dice Fruit," Devo added, "A Paramecia-type that allows the user to turn any part of his body into a blade. If the Pirate Hunter defeated him, then that means he cut steel to do it. Captain Hina's distressed report confirmed it."
"Considering Crocodile had so many famous warriors at his command you'd think they'd be unstoppable against any opposition," Smoker commented. "However, fate was not kind. One day we'll have a rematch. Damn Straw Hats."
"Yes," Tashigi agreed. "And whether you can cut steel or not, I will defeat you Roronoa Zoro."
"Looks like the Marines have stopped following us," Zoro observed as he stared off the side of the Going Merry. They'd gotten away and had left the Kingdom of Alabasta behind.
"Uuugghh…" a pitiful groan was his response.
"That's good news!" Zoro tried to cheer up his saddened Nakama. "We shook 'em off."
"Uuugghhh…" they groaned again.
"Stop it!" Zoro complained.
Chopper in his hybrid form, Nami, Sanji, Luffy, and Usopp were lying on the rear deck in front of the galley with their heads stuck through the railing and a depressed expression marring their face.
"What's with the pathetic groans?" Zoro asked.
"WE MISS VIVI!" the five pirates chorused.
"That's enough whining!" Zoro scolded them. He folded his arms across his chest. "If you wanted her to join that bad then you shouldn't have let her leave."
"AH! YOU SAVAGE!" Chopper shrieked.
"BLOCKHEAD!" Nami snapped.
"Mossball…" Sanji mumbled.
"Three-sword-style…" Luffy growled.
"Hey, three-sword-style isn't an insult, Luffy," Usopp reprimanded him.
"Four-sword-style!" Luffy corrected himself.
"It's not the number that's the problem!" Usopp exclaimed. "An effective insult must involve a personal detail about the recipient that's rude or disparaging."
Ricky walked out of the galley with a bottle of rum and took a moment to survey the formerly depressed – now annoyed – pirates.
"Hey Zoro, would you mind checking if our stowaway is alright?" he requested.
"Oh, sure," Zoro agreed. "WAIT! WHAT?"
Krek! The storage room door opened. "I'm alright, thank you Mr. One Eye."
Zoro spun around and gaped when he saw Nico Robin standing in the opened doorway.
"I see that we finally escaped the firing squad," she noted, "Excellent work."
KONK! With the exception of Ricky, other Straw Hats were so shocked to see their former enemy there that they slammed their heads on the railing they were leaning under.
"Here to avenge you friends?" Zoro challenged her as he grabbed the hilt of his sword.
"WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING HERE?" Nami demanded.
"IT'S AN ENEMY ATTACK!" Usopp shouted into a megaphone. "WARNING! WARNING!"
The Straw Hats sprang into action. Zoro drew Wado Ichimonji, Nami put together the three pieces of her Clima-Tact, Chopper 'hid' behind Ricky, Usopp dove behind the main mast, Sanji leaned against the railing next to Ricky and gazed the woman with hearts in his eyes. And Luffy just stood there.
"She's… she's that woman from Rain Base," Chopper recalled.
"Eh-hem," Ms. All Sunday cleared her throat as she stood behind the small reindeer after he'd just successfully blown up the bridge in Rain Base.
GULP! Chopper slowly looked over his shoulder and saw the tall woman staring down at him with a curious look on her face. "WAAAAAAHHHHHHH!" Chopper screamed and dashed off. He quickly transformed into his Walk Point reindeer form and ran away as fast as his four legs could carry him.
"What a beauty!" Sanji swooned.
Suddenly, arms appeared out of nowhere. KLAK! KLAK! Zoro's sword and Nami's Clima-Tact clattered to the ground and they were effectively disarmed.
"Didn't I warn you before?" Nico Robin questioned, reminding them of the last time she'd been on their ship. "Don't point such dangerous objects at me. Are you always so slow?"
"How long have you been on our ship?" Nami demanded.
"The whole time," Ricky answered, surprising the others.
"Indeed," Nico Robin agreed.
"YOU KNEW?" Nami snapped at Ricky.
"Yeah, remember when you sent me below deck to fix the holes in your room?" Ricky asked. "Before Zoro and I went off with Bon Kurei?"
-Ricky's Repair Flashback-
Ricky descended the steps into the women's quarters with his arms laden with boards and tools intent on repairing any of the damage caused by the spears. But he was surprised to find that someone had beaten him to it.
Nico Robin sat cross-legged on Nami's bed while numerous arms had sprouted out of the walls and were hammering boards into place over the holes that had been made when the spears pierced the bottom of the ship. The inch deep layer of water on the floor told him that the woman was on top of the matter.
"I see you decided to come along after all," Ricky noted drawing Nico Robin's attention away from her book.
"Does your offer still stand?" she inquired. "If not, I'll request that you let me off the next time you make land."
"It does," Ricky assured her.
"In that case I decided to make myself useful," Nico Robin explained. She glanced at the emergency hatch in the wall that connected the women's quarters to the men's quarters. "I took some repair supplies while your… brother… in the other room wasn't looking."
"Oh, good work then," Ricky replied. "I see you've got matters well in hand here so I'll just leave these boards here with you and tend to other matters."
"Aye-aye, sir," Nico Robin agreed, she casually turned the page in her book while her other arms kept working on repairing the holes. She clearly took multi-tasking to the next level.
"WHAT'RE YOU DOING ON MY SHIP?" Luffy demanded.
"ALL STOWAWAYS MUST LEAVE THE SHIP IMMEDIATELY!" Usopp called out through his megaphone as he peeked out from behind the main mast.
"Why don't you ask your First Mate?" Nico Robin advised Luffy as she pulled a lounge chair out from the closet under the stairs and casually set it up on the deck.
Ricky once again found everyone staring at him. He leaned against the railing and eyed his Nakama. "I suppose there's no harm in telling you now that the threat's been dealt with and we've left the island. It turns out Crocodile's plan wasn't limited to taking over Alabasta. He wanted to rule the entire world. His real goal was to find this legendary weapon with the power destroy entire islands. The World Government went to great lengths to erase it's existence from history. You remember that little trip I went on with Mana? Robin and I found where the weapon was buried and with the help of Mana and Jun ensured that no one would ever be able to find it. After it was over, I offered her a position on our crew."
"YOU DID WHAT?" Zoro, Nami, Usopp, Sanji, and Chopper all shouted in sync.
"There's no place for me to go or return to," Nico Robin stated, "So I've decided to take him up on his offer and join you."
"Ricky! I take back every bad thing I've ever said about you!" Sanji gushed as he stared at the beautiful new recruit with hearts in his eyes. "You're the best First Mate a guy could ask for!"
Luffy looked over at Nico Robin. He remembered the two times she'd saved his life following his battles with Crocodile. And he remembered how she'd saved his brother's life when he'd been fatally injured by Crocodile.
"Oh, that's okay then," Luffy agreed. "Welcome aboard!"
"LUFFY!" Zoro, Nami, Usopp, and Chopper shouted… while Sanji cheered.
"There's nothing to worry about," Luffy reassured his Nakama. "She isn't a bad person."
The other Straw Hats – minus Ricky and Sanji – didn't look convinced.
"C'mon guys," Ricky addressed the others, "Think about it, every Baroque Works Agent that's gotten on this ship has wound up our friend. I'd say that's a pretty good track record. At the very least I'd think you'd trust my judgment on this."
"If Ricky and Luffy say it's okay…" Chopper spoke up, "Then I think we can trust her."
"My, aren't you the loyal little guy," Nico Robin remarked as she eyed Chopper with interest.
"SHUT UP!" the reindeer snapped… while doing a happy jig. "SAYING STUFF LIKE THAT WON'T MAKE ME HAPPY!"
"It's not your track record with Baroque Works Agents that I'm questioning," Zoro stated. "It's your habit of recruiting deceitful women." He glanced over at Nami who glared back at him.
"I thought I proved that I had that matter well in hand," Ricky pointed out.
"Oh, and do you have me well in hand too?" Nico Robin inquired as she eyed him curiously.
"Of course," Ricky replied with his signature sly grin. Nico Robin raised an eyebrow.
Tmp… tmp… tmp… Usopp tapped his finger on table as he sat in a chair on one side of it while 'interrogating' Robin who was casually sitting on the other side. Ricky casually leaned back against the door to the storage room so he could watch the 'show'.
Luffy and Chopper stared stupefied at the arm that was growing out of the deck and tapped its finger like Usopp was. Tmp… tmp… tmp… The hand pushed off of the deck and bent to the side so its knuckles were lightly touching the deck on the other side. Luffy and Chopper leaned to the side to follow the arm's progress but lost their balance and fell to the side. FWUMP!
"SHISHISHISHISHI!" Luffy and Chopper laughed. "TEEHEEHEEHEE!"
As he laid on his side, Chopper stared passed the arm, passed Usopp, and across the table and noticed that the woman… was looking at him.
"EEEP!" Chopper squeaked and ran behind Luffy. He 'peeked' out from around him which as usual only left one ear and antler actually hidden from view.
Whap! Usopp slammed his fist on the table. "PAY ATTENTION!" The arm disappeared and Robin turned her attention to him. "I'll ask you one more time: what's your name?" Remembering his manners, Usopp quickly added, "My name's Usopp. Hello." It was only proper to introduce yourself before asking something of someone.
"Nico Robin," she answered.
"Okay, Nico Robin," Usopp replied. "So what's your occupation?"
"Archeologist," Robin replied.
"No way!" Usopp gasped.
"Good grief…" Zoro groaned as he listened in to the failed interrogation.
"Archaeology runs in my blood," Robin added. "I come from a long line of them."
"So your family comes from a scientific background…" Usopp nodded and took notes.
"Tell him about your dream," Ricky advised. "We Straw Hats love a good story."
"I'm searching for the True History," the archeologist explained. "You see, there's a one-hundred year period called the Void Century that the World Government has completely wiped from the history books. The weapon Mr. One Eye mentioned before, appeared and disappeared within that century. All that's left are the Poneglyphs: blocks with characters carved into them that only archeologists can understand. There were two in Alabasta, one pointed to the other and the other explained the weapon's deadly power and warned anyone reading unleashing it."
"Whoooaaaa…" Luffy, Usopp, Chopper gasped.
"I sure know how to pick the interesting ones, don't I?" Ricky remarked.
"It was when I was eight years old that I decided to pursue archeology as a career," Robin continued. "Shortly thereafter, I found myself wanted by the World Government. Since then I've spent the past twenty years hiding from the world."
"You've been alone?" Usopp questioned looking horrified, "Ever since you were eight?"
"Then one day, I heard the calling of the sea," Robin told him. "But there's no way for a child to survive alone on the water. The only option that I found that ensured my protection and the ability to achieve my goal was… I chose to work for various rogues. Not an ideal solution but it brought me this far." She leaned forward on the table. "And here we are."
"And I'm guessing you incorporated Crocodile into your gallery of rogues," Usopp realized.
"Of course," Robin confirmed. "I used him to get to the Poneglyph in Alabasta." Usopp quickly wrote down some more notes. "I'm good at maneuvering though obstacles to achieve a goal. I'd be a great asset to you and your friends."
"Ah, you're full of confidence," Usopp noted. "What's your specialty?"
Robin rested her chin in her hand and while a playful grin tilted her head to the side. "Assassination."
Usopp lurched back in terror. "LUFFY!" he shrieked. "MY INVESTIGATION HAS PROVEN THAT SHE IS FAR TOO DANGEROUS!"
Usopp looked over at the Captain and found that he and Chopper were at the mercy of four of Robin's arms. "SHISHISHISHISHI!" "TEEHEEHEEHEEHEE!" They were being tickled.
"ARE YOU GUYS LISTENING TO ME!" Usopp shouted while Ricky shook his head.
WHOMP! Nami slammed her foot into the ship's railing. Drawing everyone's attention to the top of the steps to the rear deck where she'd been sitting listening to the whole time.
"Seriously, I'm disappointed," she commented. "You two are pathetic. Until recently she was the Vice President of crime syndicate. And do you really think such a woman should join us?" Nami then addressed Robin directly. "You may have fooled these idiots and you may have managed to fool Ricky but I'm not convinced. You pull anything… I'll personally kick you out."
"Alright, I'll keep that in mind," Robin agreed before she pulled out a small sack. "Oh, I just remembered… I brought along some of Crocodile's jewelry with me."
KA-CHING! "WELCOME SISTER!" Nami exclaimed, she was instantly standing next to the woman with berri signs in her eyes. "YOU'RE THE BEST!"
"Oh boy, here we go," Zoro and Usopp groaned.
"Nami's been had," Usopp whispered to Zoro.
"This chick's bad news," Zoro stated.
Sanji slid down the railing carrying two plates and started swooning. "Oh love! The likes of which I've never seen, I'm captured by your spell! Held prisoner in your eyes! I was driftwood floating at sea before you struck me like a thunderbolt igniting my soul!" Sanji placed a tart and a cup of tea on the table in front of Robin. "A snack…"
"Oh, thank you," Robin replied.
"Look at him, falling all over himself," Zoro muttered as he watched the cook's pathetic display.
"Yeah but he was a lost cause from the start," Usopp pointed out.
"Ugh…" Zoro sighed, "Looks like you and I are the only hold outs in this ship of insanity."
"We shouldn't blame the others," Usopp said. "Their simple minds can't resist her charms."
"Hey Usopp!" Luffy called out from behind him. Usopp turned around and found the Captain standing there with wide eyes and two hands coming out of the top of his head like a pair of antlers. Luffy took on a familiar high pitched voice, "Chopper impression!"
"TEEHEEHEEHEE!" the real Chopper was laughing hysterically at Luffy's feet.
The sight of Luffy looking like Chopper broke Usopp's resolve and he burst out laughing. "AHAHAHAHAHA!"
Luffy, Usopp, and Chopper rolled on the ground laughing and flailed their arms over their heads. The three didn't notice the fact that another pair of arms was flailing around along with theirs.
"Ugghhh…" Zoro grunted in annoyance. Now he was the only one left.
Ricky stared at him, "She's not that bad," he assured him. "She's proved herself trustworthy. She saved my life and Luffy's too. And when Crocodile asked her to tell him about the devastating weapon… she didn't. That proves that she doesn't really want to kill anyone. She just wants to learn the True History."
Zoro glanced over at Robin who was still being doted on my Sanji, "Can I call you Miss. Robin?" the cook requested. "Or perhaps something more daring that expresses my love?"
Zoro scowled and made his way up the steps to the front deck. Robin glanced over at Ricky.
"Don't worry about him," he reassured her. "He's not trusting of new people. He'll be suspicious for a while but once you've proven that you're not out to kill us all, he'll come around."
Robin stood up. "Oh, leaving?" Sanji asked. Robin smiled at him before she followed Zoro up to the front deck. "Aaaah! She's great! With an adult charm! She's far different than Nami!"
Zoro frowned as Robin walked passed him and casually leaned back against a nearby railing.
"This ship has charm," Robin remarked. "Is it always this lively?"
"Yeah, it usually is," Zoro answered, deciding to at least be civil. Robin smiled prompted Zoro to scowl again. "This woman's up to something. But what?"
And just like that, Nico Robin had joined the Straw Hat Pirates.
"What's the forecast Ms. Navigator?" Robin inquired. "Is it smooth sailing ahead?"
"The wind's calm and the weather's beautiful!" Nami chimed, "No problems on my end, sis!"
"How would you know?" Zoro sniped. "You haven't stopped gawking at that jewelry."
"Saaanjiii!" Luffy moaned. "Is our snack ready?"
"Be patient!" Sanji scolded him.
"But I'm hungry!" Luffy protested.
"Yeah!" Chopper added. "Me too! Me too!"
"Fine, fine, I'll go make something," Sanji conceded as he headed for the galley.
"Hey Usopp, are you gonna open that present Ayako gave you?" Ricky questioned.
"OH!" Usopp gasped. "I almost forgot!" The sniper ran into the storage room and came back out with the wrapped package that Ayako had given him before they'd left.
Usopp tore off the paper it was wrapped in and was greeted by a dark canvas with neat yellow letters scrolled across it reading: The Adventures of Captain Usopp – Brave Warrior of the Sea
Usopp slid the canvas off and revealed another. This one was a picture. A man with a long nose, blue cape and a big staff-sized slingshot stood at the top of a pass. At the bottom of the pass was a crew of nasty-looking pirates that had come off of a pirate ship with stern post shaped like a mast. And though the man was alone against the crew of pirates he wasn't backing down.
The next canvas depicted the same man bravely standing up to a terrifying man that a long sword-like claw on each of his ten fingers. But the brave man was standing firm and determined and had his staff-like slingshot drawn back and trained on the scary claw-wielding man.
Another canvas showed a battle. A big blue monster with puckered lips was firing blasts of water that had redused a forest to a field of stumps. The brave man from before was peeking out over the top of one of the broken stumps and despite the water blasts whizzing passed him he'd bravely fired a fire ball back at the monster.
The following painting showed the brave man, still armed with only his big slingshot, facing off against a man wearing a black and red cowboy hat while wielding a pistol in each hand with twenty-eight other pistols holstered somewhere on his body. But despite his opponent having more weapons, the brave man wasn't backing down from the duel.
The adventures continued with the brave man was flying out of the mouth of a giant frog, standing on the head of a huge blue tyrannosaurus, bowing to a huge ax-wielding giant who was bowing back, and then sailing a familiar-looking sheep themed caravel into the mouth of a giant goldfish.
In another battle scene, the brave man was leaping out of an explosion and was firing a shot from his huge slingshot at a dark skinned gunman wearing sunglasses and a brown trench coat.
Next came the pictures he'd already seen, the brave man lassoing the neck of a huge condor and then standing in between two huge purple lizard-like monsters.
The last pictures were battle scenes. First the brave man was jumping over the swiping claws of a mole monster while bringing down a giant hammer. Then the brave man avoided an explosion and fired a huge hammer at a large man swinging an equally large baseball bat.
There was one more canvas but this one was like the first. It was painted dark with neat yellow words printed on it that said: Go make more of your tales come true – Ayako
Usopp stared at the collection of paintings with tears streaming from his eyes and a smile on his face. She'd chronicled all his adventures and portrayed him as the brave warrior he'd always dreamed of being.
"Hey! I was there for those last two too!" Chopper complained.
"And I beat that butt-guy with the sword-claws!" Luffy added.
"Maybe she would've painted something for you if you didn't try to eat her!" Usopp snapped. Then he suddenly realized that Luffy, Chopper, Ricky, and Nami were crowded behind him staring at the paintings along with him.
"She really is quite talented," Nami remarked. "She could make a lot of money if she decided to sell her work."
"Looking back you've certainly been on a lot of adventures," Ricky observed, "Looks like she picked you as the subJAAAH!" The other four looked at Ricky who had just discovered a blue eye on his shoulder. Ricky turned to Robin who was still leaning against the railing of the front deck. "Would it kill you to warn a guy before you put body parts on him?"
"Sorry," Robin apologized with an amused smile that meant she mostly meant it.
"These paintings may tell the story of my adventures," Usopp commented, "but her message was for me to go on new ones. One day I'll see her again, and then I'll have even more incredible adventure to tell her about! LET'S GO CREW!"
"I DON'T CARE WHAT THE PAINTING SAYS!" Luffy argued. "I'M THE CAPTAIN!"
"Oi, your snack's ready!" Sanji announced from the door to the galley.
"FOOOD!" Luffy, Usopp, and Chopper cheered as they raced for the galley.
Ricky shook his head then looked over at Nami and was surprised to see her wearing a jeweled ring on each finger and while the necklace he'd given her was prominently displayed on her neck. In truth it look a bit gaudy. "Hehehehehe!" she giggled a she showed off the ten rings she was wearing, "Just when you thought we hadn't taken enough from that guy… now I've got all his jewelry." They took his money, reduced his company to nothing, ruined his plans, destroyed his dreams, lost him his position of Warlord, and finally he was now imprisoned so they were directly responsible for taking his freedom. Just to add insult to injury, now they had his jewelry too.
"That's what happens when people go against the Straw Hats," Ricky resolved, "They lose."
"Hehehehe," Nami chuckled as she admired all her new rings, "I'm surprised he has so many rings... the guy only has five fingers."
"Fufufufu," Robin laughed as she watched the lively crew's antics. She'd certainly picked an interesting group of pirates to join. Although the suspicious look that the swordsman was giving her was a bit disheartening.
And so with their new Nakama Nico Robin along for the ride, the Straw Hat Pirates and the Going Merry continued their voyage along the Grand Line.
And that's the end. I'll post the first chapter of Another Nakama III next year. In the meantime, I'm going to be posting Another Nakama Omakes which will be a short collection of deleted scenes that never made it into the actual story including but no limited to, Ricky and Zoro's first meeting, Ricky deciding to take the Agents off of Little Garden, the Ricky-Nami betting pool, and Ollie's embarrassing story about Ricky.
'Till Next Time…