Author's Note: First I would like to thank Kotoko Minazuki for his work. I very much enjoyed reading both Angel's Partner and Angel's Home. How ever nothing I've read so far gave me the ending I was hoping for so I thought I'd take a crack at it. I needed an ending where Hagino survives and not just inside Mari's head as interesting as that was.
It's sad that there isn't more interest in this series. I would have thought it would have had a bigger following than what the lack of stories in this section would seem to indicate.
WoW, it actually let me change the title. I didn't think it would. It feels kind of rude to change the title so long after the fact but I always hated the original and rather unimaginative title of Hagino Lives. I think Seeds of Hope is much more appropriate.
Blue Drop: Seeds of Hope Chapter 1
Tsubael To The Rescue
"Joan, Even as your pedals slowly fall... you spread seeds of hope.", said Mari standing on the pier certain she had just seen her new found love perish in a fireball in the sky. As the fireball dissipated a tiny dot was left in its place that quickly grew larger as it approached the pier. As Tsubael's escape pod settled in the water next to the pier it gave Mari a view from above that she could recognize as one of the control stations on Blue's bridge. Mari nearly choked on her own heart as it tried to leap out of her chest at the prospect of seeing Hagino emerge safe and sound but as the pod's canopy retracted revealing Tsubael her heart sank back into despair causing her to drop to her knees sobbing uncontrollably.
Tsubael immediately floated up out of the pod and over to Mari and knelt beside her. She placed a hand on Mari's back and said, "I'm so sorry."
Mari's friends all still standing several meters behind, all wanting to support their friend in some way, are completely stumped as to what to do or say at the sight of Tsubael's appearance. Clearly another alien, like Hagino had shown herself to be when leaving the play, but not Hagino. They could only assume this new alien was also a friend based on the way she was apparently consoling Mari.
Tsubael recognized that Mari's friends were all frozen like deer in headlights so she prompted Mari to get up. "Come on.", she said softly, and gently lifted until Mari stood under her own power and then walked her back to her friends for introductions.
"Uhm... I'm... uh...", Tsubael stammered unsure of how to begin an introduction under such horrible circumstances. "I... I don't know how much of the truth you may already know, some more than others I'm sure but the girl you all knew as Hagino? Her real name was Ekaril and she was my commanding officer, the commander of our ship, and I am Tsubael."
Seeing that saying that had done nothing to prompt any signs of sentience from these frozen forimes she continued, "First let me say how sorry I am for every one's loss. While none of you have ever met me I have been keeping a close eye on the Comm... uh... Hagino and her interactions with all of you and I know how close you all were to her, especially you Mari."
Mari, now able to at least stand wraps her arms around Tsubael in a tight hug and the tears start flowing again.
"Furthermore..." Tsubael continued, "I am so so sorry for these desperate and despicable acts on the part of our government. You see, our race is nearing extinction and out of desperation to save ourselves we hastily concluded that because of being less developed technologically that somehow... "
Tsubael shook her head in disbelief at how low her own people were willing to sink then continued, " somehow there was nothing wrong with thinking of your people as livestock to be farmed for our genetic experiments." Tsubael's eyes slowly lowered away from the eyes of Mari's friends as she spoke as she quickly became overcome with shame.
Miss Sugawara was the first to break silence with, "You know, If your people just contacted us peacefully and explained their situation and asked for our help I'm sure we'd have done everything in our power to help save your people."
"I know… that… now." Tsubael struggled to get those words out through the tears she fought desperately to hold back enough to speak clearly. "The Com... Hagino and I realized that far too late I'm afraid. Unfortunately there's little one ship with two crew-members can do to change things. Hagino gave her life in defense of this world and I would have gladly done the same had she not forcibly ejected me before that final charge. Sadly even that was too little too late. I am so so sor... ry." Then it was Tsubael's turn to collapse sobbing uncontrollably.
Then the rest of the girls all crouched down and surrounded Tsubael in a big group hug and said, "Thank you for trying. Thank you so..., Of course we forgive you."
With all their heads all so close together Tsubael couldn't be sure which girls were saying what but it was clear they were all of one mind on this and she replied, "Thank you. Thank you all."
Miss Sugawara, being the only still standing, is the only one who noticed a faint beeping sound coming from the direction of Tsubael's escape pod. Not having any idea what it might mean but fearing the worst, perhaps due to her secret agent background, she asked Tsubael, "Does your escape pod have a self destruct device in it?"
Tsubael's head popped up from the group huddle. "Huh?" She then heard the beeping herself and recognized it and knew exactly what it meant. "Commander!" She shouted as she bolted up out of the huddle and floated… no soared as fast as she could back to the pod.
The rest of the group picked them selves up after having all been knocked over backwards by Tsubael's sudden leap into action and quickly followed with Mari in the lead of course. Mari being the first of the group to catch up asked, "What is it?"
Tsubael, with an odd mix of great joy and fear replied, "The Commander! She got out! But she's in trouble. I've got to go after her!"
Mari jumped in the pod with Tsubael and said, "I'm coming with you."
Tsubael sternly replied, "No! You can't it's far to dangerous! The Commander would never forgive me for putting you in harms way."
Mari replied just as sternly, "There's no time to argue. Just get this thing moving!"
"You have a point but you have no idea what you've just gotten yourself into.", said Tsubael before hitting a button closing the canopy around them.
Only having one seat Mari crouched kind of next to and behind the right back corner of the seat holding onto the seat's back tightly with both hands.
Tsubael started heading in the direction of Hagino's escape pod which is showing up as a little green blip on what a forime would assume is a radar screen.
"How could she have gotten out? Wouldn't she have had to stay onboard to aim her ship at that other one?", asked a puzzled but not complaining Mari.
Tsubael replied, "Blue's designers were very smart. Not only are the control stations escape pods so that the bridge crew doesn't have to waste time running to escape pods in some random corridor somewhere but they also eject backwards out the rear of the ship so that even in a head on collision there is a chance the bridge crew can get out safely. But if her escape pod is at the bottom of the ocean she must have waited too long and hit some debris on the way out that caused some damage."
"Can't this thing go any faster?", said Mari.
"I'm afraid not. This is just an escape pod after all. It's not very fast, has no shields or weapons and limited sensors so if either side spots us we're sitting ducks.", replied Tsubael.
A while later as Tsubael's pod approached Hagino's and Tsubael slowed to a stop and said, "Well, I'm picking up a heat signature inside which is a good sign. She didn't answer our hails so either her comm system is part of the damage her pod suffered or she's unconscious."
"Why are we stopping? How do we get to her?", asked Mari.
"Well, We can't get to her. These are just escape pods remember? We're not exactly equipped for a rescue mission.", replied Tsubael.
"But we have to do something!", shouted Mari .
"I know! I know. Just give a minute to think will you."
After a short but tense moment that seemed like hours to Mari, Tsubael said excitedly, "I've got it! I think. I have an idea anyway. The jets produced by the thrusters are to hot to be contained by any physical matter so they are contained by magnetic fields. A thrust nozzle made out of even the toughest material would melt almost instantly. So if I disable one of the thrusters I think I can reconfigure the magnetic field to act as a magnetic grapple of sorts to latch on to the Commander's escape pod and tow her back to safety."
Watching Tsubael rapidly hitting a gazzillion keys with all ten fingers just as she had become accustomed to trying to single-handedly operate a ship that was designed to be manned by a crew of hundreds Mari said, "I can see why Hagino thinks so highly of you. You are kind of amazing."
Tsubael blushed for a moment and said, "Thank you. But we're not out of the woods yet. The problem is we'll be trying to tow another pod with one less thruster. I can only hope that the combined buoyancy of both pods will be enough help to offset the lack of a thruster."
With that Tsubael began maneuvering her pod to latch on to Hagino's. "This is going to be tricky. I've got to orient our pod perpendicularly to hers so that the middle thruster, the one I converted to a magnetic grappler, can grab without her pod blocking the other two thrusters."
After some careful maneuvering against what is fortunately only a mild current in the water Tsubael finally latched on and began towing Hagino's escape pod back to the pier.
Mari keeping her eye's fixed on the pod behind them whispered to herself, "Oh god, please be okay Hagino. I need you to be okay."
Whether she intended Tsubael to hear that or not there was no avoiding it being crammed into such a tiny space together and Tsubael said, "Believe it or not I know exactly how you feel."
While this was meant to comfort Mari it seemed to have the opposite effect and offend her because she angrily replied, "You couldn't possibly know how I feel! I'm so in love with her."
Tsubael, now the one offended yelled back, "How dare you! You think you're the only one who has those feelings! I'll have you know I've had my feelings for her far longer than you! But being my commanding officer there could never be anything between us. I could never be the one to make her smile the way you could but those feelings are still there nonetheless."
A stunned Mari replied, "I'm sorry I had no idea. You must hate me."
"Actually I did… at first. But when you love someone that persons happiness becomes all that is important and seeing how happy you made her made me happy even if I wasn't the cause of it so you better take very good care of Ekaril Mari, Or you'll have to answer to me." Tsubael said with a smile and a wink.
Grateful that Tsubael had decided to entrust her commander's heart to her Mari said, "I will. I promise. And thank you Tsubael."
Back on the pier the rest of the group, now quite worried since their friend had disappeared with an alien and had been gone for quite some time, began to wonder if they would ever see Mari again. It's been hours but no one could bring themselves to be the first to give up hope and leave so they waited and waited.
Finally the two pods broke the surface of the water a short distance from the pier with Hagino's standing on its side and slowly inched there way back along side the pier. Miss Sugawara and the girls all breathed a huge sigh of relief.
No longer needing the two remaining thrusters for propulsion Tsubael disabled them as well and converted them into magnetic grapplers and once energized had the effect of twisting Hagino's escape pod so that it sat flat on the water so that it could be opened without instantly flooding and sinking.
Tsubael then remotely open the canopy on Hagino's escape pod from the console in hers.
Mari quickly stepped across from one pod to the other as soon as the canopy opened. She rushed in to find Hagino unconscious in her seat with a bit of dried white blood that had ran down her face from her forehead after presumably having struck the canopy in some collision with debris.
"Hagino! Hagino!", Mari yelled while slapping her face trying to wake her. "Hagino! Please wake up!" Mari yelled again.
Tsubael picked up Hagino and carried her up to the pier. "Is there some place comfortable we can let her rest while we wait for her to wake up?", asked Tsubael.
"Yes, of course. We can take her to her room in the dorm. It's this way.", said Sugawara.
"Miss Sugawara, Could you carry her please? I have to help Mari up out of the escape pod.", said Tsubael.
"Oh yes, of course." Miss Sugawara said while taking Hagino from Tsubael's arms. "Come on girls. Let's go make her as comfortable as we can."
"Is she all right?", "is she okay?" All the girls were asking essentially the same question.
"Yes, she's breathing normally. At least... what I think is normally. She's just unconscious. Akane why don't you and Hiroko stop in the kitchen and fix her something to eat in case she's hungry when she wakes up.", said Miss Sugawara.
Back in Mari and Hagino's room Hagino is still out cold resting peacefully in her bed with Mari sitting by her side and Sugawara, Tsubael, Michiko standing by ready to offer what ever assistance might be needed.
"Mich, could you get me a bowl of water and a cloth please?", asked Mari.
"Of course. Coming right up.", replied Michiko eagerly.
"She's been out for a while I sure hope she wakes up soon.", said Miss Sugawara.
Michiko returned with the water and cloth and handed it to Mari who proceeded to wipe the dried blood from her face and forehead after wetting the cloth in the water.
Just then Hiroko entered with a bowl of rice for Hagino and said, "Akane is still in the kitchen preparing a proper meal for every one as it's already past dinner time but I rushed this bowl of rice up for Hagino so she wouldn't have to wait with the rest of us."
Miss Sugawara took the bowl and said, "Thank you." Placing it on the night stand next to her bed. "Maybe the smell of food well help bring her around"
Mari then said, "You guys can all go eat if you want. I'm sure she'll come around soon."
Tsubael agreeing said, "Yes by all means. Go eat. Mari and I will stay with Hagino until she wakes."
Just then with her eyes still closed Hagino whispered a single word, "Mari."
Mari jumped and turned her head to face Hagino again and said, "Yes, Hagino! It's me. I'm here."
Sugawara said, "I'll go tell Akane she's awake." And bolted out the door heading toward the Kitchen.
Hagino's eyes slowly opened and looked towards Mari. "Mari? Is that really you?"
"Yes. It's really me Hagino." Mari said now with tears running down her face. Mari pulled Hagino up and wrapped her arms around Hagino in the tightest hug possible and said, "Oh Hagino…"
Hagino Hugged back just as tightly and said, "Oh Mari..."
"Okay well, let's give these two some space and head to the kitchen. Dinners probably just about ready. You're welcome to come too Tsubael if you can stomach human food.", said Hiroko.
"Oh thank you." Tsubael replied. "I would like to try some. Comma... uhm... Hagino has spoken very highly of Miss Akane's cooking."
Now that Hagino is awake and well, Mari's worry turned to anger and she started yelling at Hagino, as she so often did, "You idiot! What were you thinking! Running off to get yourself killed and leaving me... all... alone!" Mari burst back into tears again barely getting out those last few words.
"I'm so sorry Mari. Please forgive me. I didn't know what else to do. I couldn't think of any other way. I couldn't let them hurt you. I love you so much.", said Hagino.
"I love you too Hagino. But don't ever do that again.", said Mari.
"I promise I'll never leave you again.", said Hagino.
Mari then proceeded to tell her the whole story of Tsubael's heroic and ingenious rescue operation and how Miss Sugawara carried her all the way back to the dorm and put her in bed.
"That's just like Tsubael. Saving my butt again. I really couldn't have asked for a better gunner, or any bridge officer for that matter. I'll have to remember to thank her and Miss Sugawara for carrying me.", said Hagino.
Then Mari said, "Well, they're both down in the dining room eating dinner with everyone else. You feel up to it?"
"Yeah, Yeah, I think I do.", replied Hagino.
"Good, let's go eat.", said Mari and with that the two of them headed down the hall hand in hand.