Seasnake: No aliens or higher technology in this world. Note: the Keronians are now able to swim in saltwater for a short while because if they were native to Earth it is likely they would be able to. Also, characters are now immoral, murdering, pirates.
Four Years Ago
Mutsumi Saburo jolted awake to the sound of cannon fire. On reflex he jerked back and smacked his head against the wall. "Ow," he rubbed the back of his skull as he tried to get his bearings. Another defining volley of cannon fire vibrated through the ship. What was going on? Cannon practice? Unlikely because that would draw unnecessary attention to the vessel. Mutsumi maneuvered to his hands and knees right as he heard a distant boom followed by the unmistakable sound of breaking wood. Shit, the ship was under attack. Mutsumi crawled to the knothole he had noticed earlier and peered out. He couldn't see a thing. Another boom confirmed that the enemy ship was on the other side of the vessel. That was a bit of good news. It meant he was less likely to be hit with a cannon ball.
There wasn't much he could to at the moment except wait, unless he wanted to run onto the deck and offer to help. Which was a terrible idea. His help wouldn't change the tide of the battle. Mutsumi leaned against one of the walls and considered his options. If he was lucky the attackers would be defeated. If they came on board then hopefully they wouldn't know what to look for. He'd have to roll with the punches like he always did. Worst case scenario, the ship sank and he drowned right here.
It wasn't long before the booming and creaking stopped. Mutsumi listened as more pairs of feet appeared on deck.
"This ship is now under control of Privateer Keroro!" A slightly squeaky voice announced. Keroro, huh? Governments were giving out privateer licenses to Keronians now? From what Mutsumi had seen the amphibious race made second-rate sailors. What did you expect from such small creatures that could only swim in salt water for a short time without getting sick?
Mutsumi listened as Keroro and a voice he recognized as being the ship's captain negotiated. Once all the treasure was loaded onto the privateer's ship he heard, "Sorry, but we get a bonus for destroying your ship. Give them some previsions and stick them in the rowboats." Well that didn't leave Mutsumi with much choice. He crawled forward and carefully yanked down one plank of wood enough to create a small space for him to wedge through.
"Actually," he said loud enough for everyone to hear as he climbed on deck. "I'd prefer if you didn't sink the ship with me on still onboard." Their collective expressions were priceless as they watched a strange boy appear from the woodwork.
"Who the hell is that?" A red Keronian pointed a pistol at the ship captain.
"I have no idea." The captain held up his hands.
It looked like a good half of the privateers on board were Keronians. Keroro was obviously the green one in the captain's hat. There was the red one, a blue one with a mask, and a one-eyed yellow one standing not far from where Mutsumi wriggled out of his hiding place. "Sorry for the confusion, I was just getting a free trip." He maneuvered his legs out of the small opening.
"Stowaway, huh?" The red one grumbled.
"Stowaway?" Keroro repeated.
"Yeah," Mutsumi stood up.
"Then what's this?" The yellow frog walked right up to him and grabbed his jacket. Mutsumi didn't resist as he pulled a pouch from his pocket. Everyone watched as the yellow Keronian untied it and removed a jeweled locket on a golden chain. "Kukuku. I thought they were missing some merchandise. He's a stowaway and a thief."
"Heh," Mutsumi scratched the back of his head in a show of awkwardness, "I was hoping you wouldn't find that. Now they're going to kill me." The crew of the trader ship, that had been hired to transport valuable jewelry and gemstones, were all giving him murderous looks. They were trained to kill anyone who tried to steal their cargo and Mutsumi definitely qualified.
"Kukuku. Not a problem, you're coming with us."
"What? You don't get to decide that!" the red frog protested.
"I just figured that you group of bleeding hearts wouldn't want to throw him to the sharks," the yellow one indicated the group of men being loaded onto the rowboats. The red frog grumbled something under his breath.
"And he was able to sneak onboard a heavily guarded ship," the blue one with a mask added.
"Sounds like recruitment material to me," Captain Keroro decided. "Welcome aboard the mighty Star, child stowaway."
Three Years Ago
"So…how'd you loose your eye?" Mutsumi slurred while wobbling back and forth in his chair.
"Why are you asking? That's boring question," Kululu, equally drunk, asked. He was surprisingly stable in his chair for the amount of alcohol he had consumed.
"Well, Fuyuki's not here to ask it anymore," Mutsumi moved his tumbler around and watched the rum make waves. The whole crew was drinking tonight. One of the street kids that Keroro had brought on board had died from a fever that morning. They had given him a sea burial and were now docked at a small port, getting drunk.
"Don't tell me you're all chocked up about that." Fuyuki and his sister had joined the crew right before Mutsumi had. This whole drinking expedition had been started by a grieving Keroro and his mission to get Natsumi drunk enough to stop her crying. It didn't work. She just ended up falling unconscious and needing Giroro to carry her back to the ship.
"Ahh, he was nice. You liked him, too." Some of Mutsumi's rum splashed over the rim.
"He was nice," Kululu admitted and drank another sip. Oh right, that's what this cup was for. Mutsumi took a gulp then glanced around the room. Keroro, Tamama, Dororo, and a dozing Koyuki still sat together laughing loudly in a corner. Koyuki was Dororo's new best friend, some kid he picked up recently from somewhere that Mutsumi couldn't remember at the moment.
"Some dumb kid," Kululu said in a higher pitched voice than usual. "He tried to challenge me. What was his name?" Kululu continued. "Tor-something. Toro. I don't care."
"He actually hurt you? Wow…" Mutsumi wobbled in place.
"Yeah, but there's nothing left of him. Not after years at the bottom of the ocean, fish ate him." Kululu was getting less coherent.
"You're my best friend. You know that." The room was starting to spin so Mutsumi rested his head on the table.
"I know that," Kululu agreed. "You're my best friend. You know that."
"Do you like anyone but me?"
"…I don't think so. No one likes me, do you like me?"
"I like you." Mutsumi knocked over his cup and watched the liquid go everywhere with amusement.
"I like you. Everyone likes you…because they're stupid."
"Not that stupid."
"Why do I like you? I don't know. Don't ask such hard questions." Kululu carried on a conversation with himself. "Are you going to get married to Natsumi? Why do we have girls on board? We shouldn't have girls. But we do because they're stupid."
"The girls or captain?"
"All them, yeah." Mutsumi gave a few heavy blinks. "Ey, Kululu," he adjusted how he sat to be more comfortable. "Let's kill everyone."
"Kukukuk," Kululu started laughing. "Why?"
Mutsumi took a minute to answer because he was trying not to doze off. "I don't know. Sounds like fun. Yeah, let's kill everyone. Then we can live happily ever after. That's what they say, isn't it?"
"Kukukuku, yeah, why not."
"You and me, we kill everyone."
"We kill everyone, me and you."
"Let's do it. I'll be captain 'cause everyone likes me."
"Yes, you be captain."
"And then we'll bring them all back. And then we'll drink. And then other things that I don't care..."
"Go to sleep, Mutsumi."
Two Years Ago
"They're watching the sunset, again." Mutsumi announced as he joined Kululu below deck. "It's adorable."
"So?" Kululu didn't look up from his star charts as the boy sat down nearby.
"She still has a crush on me but it seems less and less likely that she'll choose me over Giroro."
"Giroro will kill you if she does."
"Maybe not, it depends on how stoutly Natsumi turns him down." Mutsumi propped his boots up against the edge of Kululu's desk and leaned his chair back on two legs. He pulled a knife from his boot. "The age and race difference will probably be too much for her to accept him." He skillfully held the blade between his fingers. "Either that or she will learn about his crushing love and find it creepy rather than romantic." He threw the knife towards the far wall where it became imbedded in the bull's-eye of the paper target tacked there. "He's walking a thin line between the two." He retrieved a second knife and started to line up his shot. "Depending on how she sees it, we could be out another crew member."
"Why haven't you seduced her yet?" Kululu moved a compass across a piece of paper while he spoke.
"I can't be any more obvious about it without risking my popularity among the crew." Thunk, another knife stabbed the wall.
"Hm, not worth it."
"I agree. Should we revisit the option of killing Giroro?"
"If he makes good on his threats to come after you, he's dead."
"That's sweet of you."
"But if he survives, then having an ally in the navy would be beneficial," Kululu continued. It was common knowledge that his friendship with Keroro was the only reason Giroro wasn't in the navy with his big brother.
"Yes, but is it worth having him go to the navy and take Natsumi with him? If Natsumi leaves then Koyuki might also want to abandon ship. We could loose her and Dororo."
"We can probably convince them to…" Mutsumi interrupted him by suddenly dropping his chair back down on all four legs. Kululu returned to his maps and Mutsumi fiddled with a third knife as Keroro appeared in the doorway.
"Hey, what are you doing?" the captain asked cheerfully.
"Working, go away," Kululu dismissed him.
"Keep it up," Keroro skipped away. Mutsumi smirked. The stupid idiot had no idea what was coming.
One Year Ago:
Mutsumi stood in front of his new mirror. He wore a satisfied smirk and a large plumed hat, the latter of which he adjusted on his head.
"You and your hats," a familiar voice remarked from the doorway.
"Congratulate me, Kululu. Voted to Captain by such a large margin is a feat you could never pull off," he grinned at the Keronian. Kululu just shut the door to the captain's quarters behind him.
"Kuku, I'm more surprised by my promotion," the new quartermaster snickered.
"Kululu, people may not like you but they all recognize your skill."
"Are you trying to comfort me?"
"Of course not, success is all the comfort we require." Mutsumi turned back to his mirror and grinned at his reflection. He'd never worn such nice clothes before. "I could get used to this."
"If stage two goes to plan then you can, kukuku." Kululu walked around the captain's quarters, eyeing the shelves filled with Keroro's possessions. "This is all junk."
"Just like the ship. I'll keep most of his collection, the rest will be worth a few shillings."
"We need a good show tomorrow or both Tamama and Mois might commit suicide." Kululu made himself comfortable in one of the chairs.
"Loyalty," Mutsumi smirked at the concept. "Tomorrow will decide which one of them we keep." Without Keroro around, they really couldn't keep both Tamama and Mois in line so one of them had to go. In tomorrow's fight they'd see who was better at following orders in Keroro's absence and keep that one. They also needed to make good impressions on their new crew.
Dororo wasn't stupid, he might realize they were killing anyone who got in their way. Keroro's disposal was a work of art that could rival any trained assassin. However, Giroro's had been a tad sloppy and with either Mois or Tamama's impending death he might put the pieces together.
Giroro's unfortunate passing was the result of bad judgment and bad luck. The red frog had the misfortune of overhearing Mutsumi laugh to himself about something cute Natsumi did. He then made the poor decision to pull out his pistol, possibly to kill, possibly to threaten. Either way, Kululu happened to be nearby when this transpired and chose not to take the chance that the gun enthusiast would kill his only chance at power. They managed to frame one of the newer crewmembers for Giroro's death. But anyone who examined their story too closely would be able to find a few holes. No one had though. Which was fortunate considering Natsumi's, Dororo's, and Koyuki's loyalty would all shrivel to nothing if they knew the truth. Natsumi was still infatuated with Saburo but that wouldn't last if she knew everything.
Tomorrow a brand new ship would make its way from port and they already had a plan to capture it. They would have a new vessel and an excellent crew. The only thing left to do was decide what to name the ship.
"Not bad for a single year, hm?" Mutsumi played with a gold coin between his fingers.
"Not bad," Kululu agreed. A mound of gold and other stolen goods took up a corner of the room.
"Once this whole room is full we'll retire. How's that sound?" Mutsumi tossed the coin back onto the pile.
"Why not? We do everything else together," he grinned at the Keronian.
"Fine. But this place is dull. It's a good hideout but let's find someplace more exciting." Mutsumi smirked and walked over to join Kululu at the table.
"No place too exciting. We're already becoming infamous. Sooner or later we're going to miss a witness and people will learn what we look like." He sat down across from the Keronian. "Hey, want to do that cliché trick where we turn one of us in for the money then escape?"
"Kukuku, that won't work. Your bounty's for dead or alive."
"Maybe just one of the crew, then we don't have to bother saving them."
"That would give us a bad reputation."
They were sitting in comfortable silence when a boy seemed to fall from the ceiling and landed on the pile of gold.
"Eh?" They both turned to look at the stranger.
"Where did you come from?" Mutsumi all but pounced on the intruder. Intimidation was a technique that always served him well. "You're pretty bold for coming to my hideout without permission." The boy cringed away immediately.
"I'm sorry!" he wailed and squirmed away. This was obviously some clueless kid from the town that wasn't too far away. He looked scared enough not to mention this to his friends so Mutsumi let him run screaming out of the hut.
"Humph," Kululu gave an amused snort.
"Something you want to say?" Mutsumi raised an eyebrow.
"You'll kill your shipmates but not some random kid? Four years later and I still don't get you."