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  1. #1
    Commander Dexterity's Avatar
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    Frontlines: Memento Mori (Part 1)

    This is just going to be my depository for a story I'm writing based on the events of a Kancolle TRPG I once ran.

    Chapter 0: A Prologue

    A start.



    A girl gasps as her eyes suddenly open at the drop of a dime. Her mind doesn't quite understand, but it's as if she had only just woken up, realizing she should have been awake already. Desperately, she reached for consciousness, and thus was able to bring herself about. Now she stares over an endless plane of roiling waters of a pale shade of blue. 'Is this the right color for the ocean?' she asks herself, shortly before arriving at the more important question, 'Why am I here?'


    Where?


    She doesn't know... at least precisely she doesn't know. There's no name for this place, no distinctive features to call upon. It's just water in every direction as far out as she could see. There didn't even seem to be a horizon in this place, as the ocean surface faded out seamlessly into what was an unnerving atmosphere of fog. No sky with which to tell her direction, or even the time of day. Already, this situation has an air of hopelessness about it, but there is one thing available to her.


    'A-Are you... friends? Or...'


    There are several silhouettes within the fog, not too far away. Even from this position, the girl can determine the appearances of the others around her, with only a little bit of squinting. Not that the fog here isn't thick, but that these people are actually only a few meters apart from her. She looks from left to right, identifying four other females. She stares at them, and they in turn stare at her, and at each other, while the waves wash to and fro between them. She opens her mouth again to ask them the same question: 'Are you friends or f-foes?'


    But, no sounds emerges. Try as she might, even as her mouth moves, her voice refuses to come out. In fact, everything is silent... the wind and the water which may have filled the area with ambiance, simply did not. Confused, the girl reaches out to one of the others, only to experience a dull ache as her body sluggishly lags behind her intentions. She nearly stumbles, and her vision blurs around the edges. Certainly, something is wrong with what is happening here. She finally realizes this.


    It seems like an endless instant in which the group of females remains, unlearned, in this spot. There is the freedom to do as they will, but no prerogative that they might follow. So, one has to be given to them. On some primal level, an understanding finally arrives to the girl that these people are her allies, and that they have been together for a very long time. She comes to understand that she is no ordinary being, but a 'Kanmusu'. A shipgirl warrior! She can walk on water and wield vast arrays of weaponry in order to...


    Yes... her purpose. She becomes cognizant of the fact that she's sailing forward, along with the other shipgirls beside her. It is unknown when they began moving, or where they're going, but it is certainly her purpose. All will become clear soon; the group notices their first change in the monotonous expedition, as a dark form surfaces from the water before them. The shipgirl... she can't make out exactly what it is that she sees, but maybe if she were to move forward...


    But in her hesitation, she loses the initiative. The group that was once uniform in their motion, now broke apart at the sight of this new factor. She watches as one of her friends submerges underwater, while another advances aggressively. She... doesn't know what to do... but maybe this will be resolved easily!


    ...But, it's like a great weight dropped into her stomach, for she gets a rather terrible feeling about what's going to happen to them. She doesn't know what to expect, yet a deep thought is nagging at her to fear this thing ahead of them. Like an old memory, struggling to wrench free of the subconscious. If only you could remember, if something could jog your memory.


    That it is, the moment the leader approaches the object, the fog seems to clear just enough for them all to see, and to remember something terrible. It's unmistakeable; this is the enemy. This is what Kanmusu struggle against, and this is what their mission is for! The hard metal exterior with jagged edges, bearing a vicious pair of sharp teeth. The shipgirl recognizes this as one of the abyssal-kind, a lone destroyer... and it looks unhappy. It doesn't even hesitate in its response, as it opens it mouth to allow its cannon to rise out.


    She rushes forward to protect her allies from the impending attack, even if she must use her body as a shield... but it's unnecessary. The moment it shows hostility is the moment it erupts into a bright light, the fire from an allied attack taking it out quickly. There is no booming explosion to be heard, and the enemy's sinking is unceremonious. Still, the shipgirl is thankful to her reliable allies for eliminating the threat so quickly. It seemed like it was taken out by a combined assault from above and below, with torpedoes and artillery. They claimed victory!


    And yet she couldn't help but feel like they didn't really accomplish much.


    There is a lull as the combat dies down, as quickly as it began. A tension settles over the group and puts a few of them on edge. One can tell by the back-and-forth glances, looking out for other enemies. Perhaps it was only a scout, but that would be incredibly doubtful. Maybe they could try to communicate with each other somehow, if only they could break through this barrier of utter silence...


    Though, fate has other ideas in mind for the fleet, interrupting any interactions with abyssal reinforcements. In the place of the former enemy, two more destroyers appear, rising from the surface in the same manner the first did. They are already initializing their weaponry, forcing the Kanmusu to respond in likeness. Quick-thinking, solid firepower; it's almost too easy as the shipgirls suppress the opposition and eventually plunge them underwater again. Yet in the midst of this short battle, a feeling of dread washes over them.


    One shipgirl turns around on intuition, and meets face-to-face with an unanswerable question. There is no way for her to respond. She blacks out for what should have been only an instant, but when she opens her eyes again she finds herself already a great distance underneath the water's surface, and falling. She tries to move but is only met with a dull pain, while her body refuses to listen to her commands. What she had seen, somehow, was the enemy forces already in position behind them. With one shot it was over, and she was sunk, hopeless to recover, and hopeless to be saved. Just like that, the Kanmusu's numbers were down to 4.


    No time to think, the enemies still there and now behind them. Due to their abilities, the group was able to quickly adjust to the new situation and fend off the second set of Abyssals that had appeared and taken out one of their friends. It was foul luck that they had managed to defeat a shipgirl, for in a direct confrontation they were easily annihilated.


    They turned around to meet their enemy, but also turned their backs to new enemies emerging from the mist. The shipgirls thought themselves safe from that direction, for after all, they'd just cleared it out! Yet, the moment that became a blind spot of the fleet guaranteed that that is where they'd be attacked from next. Once again, the Kanmusu focused their fire on one flank of the battle, only to suffer a critical blow from the opposite. In an instant, another of their numbers was drove underwater by a devastating sneak attack. The shipgirl vanished instantly, hopeless to recover, and hopeless to be saved. Three remained.


    If panic hadn't already settled in, it would do so now. The situation had so rapidly fallen out of their grasp, as the darkness that represented their foes closed in from every side. From one, there now appeared to be dozens. They were vastly outnumbered, but the shipgirls had to do something!


    Clear a path, escape. The shipgirls open up fire into the line of enemies, creating a hole through which they can try to retreat from this losing position. Abyssals blasted to smithereens and the fleet leaps through the flames of their own attacks to attempt this. The shipgirl at the rear shoots at anything that comes too close while they make their getaway, taking out a few more enemies even, but...


    In the grand scheme of it all, this effort hardly puts a dent in the whole of the Abyssal's forces present. As this realization begins to dawn on her, just as it does... that is when she is blinded by return fire and put deep into the depths. The machines are faster, stronger, and more numerous. She dies, not understanding. Hopeless... Hopeless. Two remain.


    The path is cut off by more and more abyssals simply appearing from the mist in front of them. There are countless of them, and on that instinctual level, they understand that defeat is inevitable. Back-to-back they press against each other, each facing their own half of a naval force. They were shipgirls. They could come up with all manner of different strategies and maneuvers to defeat these abyssal enemies, but this power... It all felt so pointless. It felt like nothing they could do... really mattered. Perhaps they should just give in, and allow the abyssals to finish them off without resistance...?


    But they were shipgirls.


    It was ingrained within them, to fight against these Abyssals to the end. Even when all seemed hopeless, something inexplicable continued to drive them on and on until they managed to break through. Even though nothing they did here would matter, the two remaining Kanmusu raised their cannons and started firing, taking out as many enemies as they possibly could before they, too... were ended.


    For a time, everything was dark for her. An all-encapsulating void without change. It was nothing, and yet it was infinite, and thus something had to occur eventually. There was a small light, a light filled with sound, and scent, and... indescribably so, life. Like the light at the end of a tunnel. Even if she didn't want to go toward the light, it seems like it would have a mind of its own, instead moving toward her!


    Like a nearly drowned person coming up for that breath of life.


    She awakens, on a metal table, in a small metal room, with one lone fluorescent light shining down on her. There's nothing around her. She's awake, she can speak, and she can move. Whatever came before, it all seems hazy and faint now. It was all just a bad dream.


    "F-fwah!?"


    Last edited by Dexterity; 08-27-2017 at 01:59 PM.
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  2. #2
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    Chapter 1: The New Slate



    The shipgirl rose with a gasp, a jump that rattled the "bed" she had been unconscious on top of. The bright light was disorienting, blinding. She squinted her eyes as multiple different images of her surroundings cycled around each other. It was some sort of starch white room, slowly coming into focus. She brought her fists to her eyes and rubbed at them, before reopening them once more. The two images collided into one, providing the first clear picture of where this was. A small empty space, like an office, enclosed with sterile white walls without windows, and few distinctive features to work with.


    She looked around, to find what she might, but only a small counter with a sink and some drawers as well as a chair, were there to see. She wondered briefly if she had fallen asleep or something along those lines, but after taking a look around this room, she could obviously tell this was less like a bedroom and more like an... operating room?

    She wondered how she knew such a fact. She couldn't remember anything before this point, not a single thing in her memory banks. It was like a blank slate, a void, a darkness. Ahh... she didn't really want to look too deeply into the darkness. Back to the light. Away from the night. The night was filled with nightmares and monsters... too scary! If she could have it her way, there would never be a night time!

    Back on track, she slid her legs over the side of the table and explored the room with her eyes a bit more. Lo and behold, there was a door! 'It's a way out...!' or so she jumped to such a conclusion before really studying it. It was certainly some kind of entryway, but it seemed to be constructed of even denser metals than the surrounding walls! A bomb could go off and it wouldn't even phase this thing... And above it there was a peculiar unlit light that made her believe there was some greater significance to it.

    "Am I supposed to wait here...? Or...?"

    It seemed like she was supplied with a lot of information she didn't recall ever learning, enough to tell what kind of situation she was in. Yet that still would not reveal the greater mystery behind these circumstances. Perhaps it was best to just wait until someone came to tell her what was going on... Maybe... wait. Was that some food on the table? An entire tray with all-japanese style breakfast, alongside a cup of juice... That was incredibly suspicious, and yet... she was a bit hungry, she supposed...

    "Mmm... thanks to anyone who made this..." the girl quietly muttered, to no one in particular. Hopefully, this would tide her over until something happened...



    "Is there anything I'm supposed to find, or is this just a lab and I'm a lab rat?"

    A voice belonging to a more matured woman rang out in subtle aggravation, as another shipgirl found herself in a similar predicament to another yet unknown character. Her loose green robes flapped around as her arms moved about, hands touching freely things that obviously didn't belong to her. She was rifling through the drawers, pulling out various tools and trinkets that she could identify... but not necessarily use for herself. Certainly, nothing that would help her get through that stuck door. She lifted one out with a look of befuddlement on her face.

    "What on earth is in these drawers..."

    She too noticed the food soon after, her nose rising and sniffing at the air as the scent wafted to her. Without even the second thought of doubt, she took to wolfing down the delicious-looking meal and being rewarded quite well with the taste of a professional's work. What a way to wake up, all right! But still... this situation was indeed weird. Why was she locked up in a room alone? What had happened before this point? She had a rough guess about what it might be but...

    "Destroyer Hagikaze of the Kagerou-class, Destroyer Oboro of the Ayanami-class, Junsen Type B Submarine I-19, Carrier Katsuragi of the Unryuu-class, and Carrier Souryuu of the Souryuu-class—" Souryuu's chewing stops as she hears a voice other than her own inside the room. She glances up, where she thought it was coming from, not seeing anything, and yet it continued. "...Good morning. Or should I say afternoon. Now don't panic, or do anything you might regret. Just stay calm."

    Somebody she couldn't see was talking to her? Ah! "Hey! Thanks for the food!" she exclaimed in a cheery voice, before swallowing what was still in her mouth and putting the bowl down. Staring straight at the source of the voice, she saw what seemed like a speaker. "Now tell us who you are!"

    Of course, no answer immediately came, for it was a one-way communications system. Whoever was talking to them could not hear them. Souryuu... wait, Souryuu? Was that my name? The moment she dared ask herself that question her own mind seemed to confirm it. She was a powerful carrier shipgirl of her own class, one of a kind! Yet... why did she say 'us' just now? There was no one around, and she didn't really... know anyone. Utterly confused at her own words, she came to the conclusion that it was because the voice on the loudspeaker spoke of multiple shipgirls. That's all.

    "Right now you're probably confused, and there is certainly justifiable cause for that... but I'm going to need you to just hold that in right now and go along with me. You five have just been commissioned, and reactivated for the Auroran fleet." Whoever was on the other side of this talking to them seemed to be a woman, but with an even deeper voice than Souryuu. Sounded totally business-like, too.

    "Auroran? What's that? Can I eat it?" came the confused words of the carrier girl, unironically considering this as a possibility. Maybe she shouldn't have put the food down just yet...

    "I'm sure you have questions, but save them. You'll be able to meet with me soon enough. Very soon, in fact. For now, there's a meal prepared for you nearby. I recommend partaking of it before I call you in."

    Yes, the bodiless voice seemed to agree with her thoughts, hence, Souryuu picked the bowl of rice back up and began eating again right away.



    It was an annoying sound. The slurping noise of juice being sucked up through a straw, those last few remnants of the box being carried up interspaced with gaps of air, as the container scrunched up like a prune being dried. Not one drop managed to survive, the juice box had been slain, and its conqueror tossed the poor thing into a nearby trash can. She did it without a second thought, the action only subordinate to her main line of thought. Cold-blooded.

    "...Well, had juice, good enough."

    She hadn't even touched the food, allowing her pet crab to indulge itself with that instead. The little critter seemed more than happy to have a generous owner, as she rubs her fingers along the back of its outer shell. He, rather, the intimate companion to the destroyer, Oboro. While he was polishing off the food at an alarming rate, she was somewhat reeling from the new information she'd just received from that lady over the speaker.

    Her lips mouthed words, but she did not voice anything. A silent "there are others...?" as she closed her eyes. She focused really hard on listening, hoping to hear the signs that there were other people nearby. Zone out the chewing of Ebi and...

    BANG. BANG. BANG. "IS ANYONE OUTSIDE?!"

    Oh.

    So there were other people around. If that loud noise was of indication, Oboro figured it might be because they were just as trapped as she was in their own room. But there was more. It seemed that noise was enough to break the dams, as everyone else started making noise as well. In one direction she could hear a gentle tapping on the wall that might get annoying if it went on too long. In another, she heard someone's voice, though they were too muffled and distant to make out. She could hear one girl's voice, though:

    "You're too loud... whoever you are... I was trying to come out with a plan to trip someone!"

    Who were these people? Other shipgirls? Not that it was particularly bothersome, but they seemed like quite the disturbing type of people. Oboro looked back down to Ebi to find that the entire platter had somehow already been devoured by the small crab. She was certain that the amount of food consumed by the crustacean was larger than he was, and briefly wondered how he managed to go through all of that so fast. But then she stopped caring, knowing better than to question such things.

    Softly, Oboro pet the crab once more as if to check if he was doing all right. In response, he rose his claws up to her and clapped them affectionately, letting her know all was well. How cute.



    "T...They seem pretty upset... W...What sort of horrible torture are they going through? Am...Am I next?"

    The lithe-formed carrier girl known as Katsuragi could only imagine what sort of things were taking place just beyond these walls, these doors! And she did imagine them with a look of terror coming across her face! Sights of poor shipgirls strapped to tables, unable to do anything but watch as they were take to pieces! Other things too grotesque for her to see, so that her mind even automatically censored them with some cheap blur effect! Dirty acts that made the shipgirls go 'Kyaaaa~!'

    It was too much for Katsuragi to bear. It was tearing her up being stuck in here, forced to listen to their cries of anguish. She had to do something! Look around the room, find a weapon, or a tool, anything that she could use to escape and save the day. And as she was in the middle of her search, the noise suddenly stopped.

    Katsuragi froze, eyes widening. W-W-What? The tortured victims had gone quiet... They must have finished with her... she must have been next... oh no!

    More than she wanted to save the day, she didn't want to go through that torture herself! She had to get out immediately or it wouldn't be long before it was too late! She swiveled on her foot, facing the door once more. Her eyes narrowed in determination, her stance lowering. With the strength of the shipgirl, she would bust straight through this door, right now! With no time to waste she took a running charge straight at the obstruction and put all her force into breaking through. "Take this!!!"

    At precisely the same moment, that strange light above the door flashed green and the barrier opened up almost instantly with a woosh. Katsuragi had a single moment of realization and muttered the syllable: "...ah." just before her body slammed into the opposite wall of the hallway outside her room with all that built up force. There was a loud metallic thud and an unceremonious collapse, just as everyone else stepped out of their rooms to bear witness to the shipgirl's defeat.

    Another chirp came from the voice in the ceiling, with the same woman speaking through it. "All right, girls, you're free to leave your rooms now. Your first mission is to come meet me in my office. It's a little ways away from where you are now, but you should be able to get to me by following the green-dotted line through the base. Just follow it and you'll end up right at my door. Do hurry."

    That was it, and on cue, the aforementioned line switched on on the floor of the hallway. It was a series of LED lights embedded just under the surface, shining light through small panes. The lights lit up in sequence before fading in sequence, producing the effect of progression in a certain direction. It would lead somewhere down the hall before turning right, and from there on who knew. At the end of that line must have been where that woman was.

    Things were really confusing, but when Katsuragi looked at everyone else in the hallway with her from her sideways on-the-floor perspective, she suddenly recalled it! She didn't know why it didn't come to mind way sooner, but after seeing them now she knew these were the same people from that... terrifying... that nightmarish place with the mist.

    It was not just her though. Everyone present recognized one another. These people were allies, friends, people that they would fight together with. There was no other evidence to really back that presumption up besides the nightmare, but it still felt like something of a certainty.

    They could probably guess each others names from those listed by the loudspeaker lady, but proper introductions were probably necessary here, and one carrier girl in particular was the first to recognize that. With a grin on her face she looked to the rest, genuine excitement in her voice. "Whoa! It's you guys! Yahallo! I'm Souryuu! Nice to meetcha all!" She waved her hand, long sleeves swinging back and forth in the process. She was recognizable by that green robe of hers and black hair with pigtails. Easily, the tallest person present.

    "Ah, hello!" came a soft-voiced destroyer with purple hair and a black vest. She was more than eager to meet kindness with kindness, a smile for a smile. "I'm Kagerou-class Hagikaze!"

    Like dominos, the introductions were dropped. "Iku here!" said the smallest one present, a small girl in a one-piece bathing suit who was at least well-matured in one area. She had hair of pink and violet, tied up into several pigtails with flamboyant ribbons. The way she had her hands behind her back like she was hiding something seemed awfully suspicious.

    A blond-haired destroyer could hardly give more than a lazy wave as she gave up her name. "Yo, Oboro, Ayanami-class... You guys have juice on you by any chance?" Short brown hair, brown eyes, a sailor's uniform. Perhaps the most distinct thing about her was the bandage attached to her right cheek, or maybe it was the crab idling on her shoulder.

    And then there was Katsuragi, another carrier like Souryuu but of a considerably... oblate disposition. She pulled herself off the ground while brushing off her exotic green and white outfit, not even noticing the disheveled state her long black hair was in. And her introduction... "Wait, are you prisoners too?"

    An interesting start to be sure, but the group of five managed to work out the confusion eventually. In the end, it came down to that green-dotted line, the path they were ordered to follow.

    "Ah... right. Better get going then?" Oboro poked her thumb in the direction that the line was signifying, acting nonchalant about the entire ordeal, but secretly curious about what might lie at the end.

    "We should look around for an exit! Or a phone? Maybe we can call the police?"

    "We should explore!"

    "Here we go girls..."

    Characters introduced this chapter:


    Destroyer Hagikaze - played by HzVee


    Carrier Souryuu - played by YourAveragePlayer


    Destroyer Oboro - played by Zalfier


    Carrier Katsuragi - played by Harpy


    Submarine I-19 - played by KzbUlti



    Last edited by Dexterity; 09-03-2017 at 09:11 AM.
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  3. #3
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    Chapter 2: Left In The Dark


    This was all so very strange. What was this incredibly sterile environment? There was nothing but the indentations of the seperate metal plates to break up the monotony of these walls. The corridors themselves were narrow, branching off every few dozen meters to perpindicular angles of the same aesthetic. The occasional set of doors could be found along their pathway, but they had no handles nor did they open when approached. The glowing green line on the floor didn't lead to them after all...

    It was cold. The sound of air conditioning units could be heard, creating a ceaseless breeze throughout every passage. It had a bit of a dampness to it too, the smell of salt was there.

    Lighting was scarce. The weak LED lights of their guideline was rather dim, giving the corridors their own eerie green atmosphere. Only barely enough to let the group see where they were going, and each other. It wasn't so bothersome to the girls, though, who seemed to be enjoying themselves well enough with their dialogue. Mostly just outward thoughts and speculations about the situation they found themselves in.

    They got along well for the most part, although the carrier known as Katsuragi was playing the odd ball out. Her statements gave the impression that she'd gotten the wrong idea about their predicament. Although the voice beckoned the shipgirls to follow the path set out for them, she alone didn't quite trust it.

    "W-Wait... if you go that way, there's no telling what they'll do to you!" Katsuragi clamored, resisting the mob mentality. The group was already pulling ahead of her, seeming to have made up their mind despite the protests. Only in reluctance of being left alone did she chase after them...

    Another turn, perhaps the third one so far? How far had they travelled? Wherever this place was, it must have been fairly large, or otherwise this level was labyrinthian to disguise its true size. Nothing but closed doors and empty halls... really, it was their small talk that served as their only respite from the discomfort.

    "Isn't that a crab?" I-19's curious voice was the one to break the silence; the one who'd introduced herself as Iku earlier. Naturally, she was referring to the eight-legged crustacean enjoying a ride on Oboro's shoulder.

    "Ebi isn't just a crab. He is a friend. A life-long friend." Oboro glanced halfway toward Iku, before refocusing on what was ahead of her. A dull seriousness colored her tone, something ingrained within her speaking patterns. She seemed like the no-nonsense type.

    "Oh? Did you bring your own food? That's smart..." Katsuragi had finally caught up with the rest, just in time to add to the conversation in her own eccentric way. The way she was looking at the crab as she said that was certainly... unsettling. Ebi himself seemed to have understood her intent, though, as he snapped his claw at Katsuragi's cheek. The carrier retreated with a yelp.

    In the middle of their mischief, a high-pitched tone would suddenly ring in each of the girl's ears, causing most of them to simultaneously react in surprise. It was just three beeps, coming from each of their waists, from an item they hadn't even realized they'd had on them. A simple short-wave radio, intended for communication between allied Kanmusu locally. At least, that was coming from the information that had been implanted into their minds.

    The voice that followed was different from the first, however, not what was to be expected. Rather than the serious, authoritative speech from before, this one had a rather lax drawl to it. Whoever was suddenly speaking to them sounded deprived of much-needed sleep.

    "Hey, anybody there...?" she began, though hardly giving a pause for response. "Well, actually, I know you're there. Nevermind, don't bother answering that. Just'd like to welcome you to the realm is the living is all."

    Naturally, confusion rounded the group initially. Iku only vocalized what was on everyone's mind: "Realm of living...? Were we actually dead?"

    Souryuu, tentatively, pulled the radio up from its place on her hip and held the device to her mouth. Squeezing the trigger down, she spoke back to the woman. "Uh, yes we are here, Miss Unknown Two. Why? Can you hear us now?"
    Katsuragi managed to add her terrible suspicions to the mix before Souryuu could release her thumb from the transmit button. "Maybe we aren't prisoners! Maybe we're zombies?!"
    "I can hear you loud and clear, Souryuu. And no you're not friggin' zombies. Your Kanmusu. Ship girls. You're machines of war." An audible sigh could be heard on the other side, seemed disappointed about something, not telling the whole story about something. "What to even say now. Well, I'd suppose the big boss lady in the sky would be able to answer most of the questions buggin' ya. Huh. So what am I even talking for, haha..."

    Iku picked up her own radio, interrupting the woman's dreary tirade for her own curiosity's sake. "May I ask who you are?"

    "Me? Well I suppose I don't mind saying. Heyo, my name's Akashi."

    Oboro opened up her own channel next, "Are you like...in charge around here?"

    The woman took it in stride, though, whoever she was. "Nah, not really in charge. Just do all the grunt work around here is all... The one you're looking for would be the boss lady, you'll see her in a bit. To be honest..."

    A pause, before she continued, taking on a completely different tone. "All right, all right. Honestly just kicking around the bucket here. I'll stop wasting your time. Look, if I do nothing else here, at the least I wanna say good luck. 'Good luck', cuz you'll need it for what you're going to be doing."

    "Good luck for... what?" Oboro would press skeptically.

    "That doesn't sound very good..." came Iku's equally anxious whisper.

    But Akashi seemed determined to not really give the girls much of anything to go off of, making them wonder really what the point of this conversation was. Was it really just a way for her to say good luck?

    "Don't worry about it, kay? I'm sure you'll figure it out soon enough. I'll be rooting for you on the sidelines. Ciaos now." Click. The channel was closed from the other side, leaving the three active radios humming with static, until all three hesitantly shut their own devices off. Everyone but Katsuragi shares a confused glance as if to say 'What was that?'

    ...

    Just as the conversation ends, the group rounds yet another corner only to almost collide headlong with... somebody else? It's the first sign of life besides them in the entire compound, the lithe figure of a girl skidding to a stop inches away from Hagikaze. Certain death was just barely avoided.

    "Oh!" An exclamation of shock to match the wide amber eyes that scanned the lot of them. This was certainly a young shipgirl on the level of a destroyer, one dressed in an outfit probably unsuitable for someone of her age. Her most notable features were her blond hair and black bunny-eared hairband, alongside her red-and-white striped kneesocks.

    "Oh!" was Hagikaze's only response in return, as the one who almost got charged over by this girl. Seriously, she did appear out of nowhere, and at the worst timing too.

    From down the corridor that this mysterious girl came, another one calls out, giving a name to the first. "Shimakaze! What are you doing?!" This one, panting as she runs towards them like she'd been struggling to keep up... It was another destroyer, same-colored eyes but brown hair. While her top was a lot more modest, she didn't seem to be wearing any pants... Shipgirl fashion was certainly strange.

    Shimakaze managed to recover from the surprise of nearly crashing, enough to finally speak. "Wha... Oh, new faces, I don't know you! Who are you?"

    "Sh-Shimakaze! We don't have time to get distracted again! We have to get out of here, remember?"

    Now this was news. It was jarring enough to have all this inexplicable stuff dropped on them one after another, but each new piece seemed to be more worrying than the last. They looked amongst one another, expressing their worry through glances. "Running...?"

    "Yeah yeah! Me and Yukikaze are?guh!" So an answer was about to be given, up until the shipgirl referred to as Yukikaze finally reached them and plunged her elbow into Shimakaze's side. Why wasn't anybody willing to give them answers?

    "Shima... kaze? Yuki... kaze?" Hagikaze was interested in the similarities between their names, wanting to know if maybe they were related somehow. It was a cold comfort in the dusk for her.

    "And what's going on?" Straight to the point, Oboro was getting frustrated at the lack of answers. Whoever they were going to be talking to soon had better be telling them what the hell was going on.

    Yukikaze looked at them in the darkness, but it was clear that she didn't recognize any of them either. She didn't keep up her gaze long either, nervously looking away as if she couldn't handle it. The companion she arrived with was the only one she cared about. "Come on, Shimakaze. She's going to be right behind us. You want to race, right?"

    Her attention grabbed, the blond shipgirl nodded furiously. And just in time too, since more footsteps could be heard coming their way. "Girls? Girls?! Have you stopped again? How many times have I told you to stop taking breaks in such a harrowing situation?"

    Iku crossed her arms and furrowed her brow. "The third person appears..."

    This one breaks the mold, appearing far more womanly than the two before her. Her silvery hair is tied up into twin pig-tails, and her white uniform seems considerably more impressive for a shipgirl. It gives away the impression of possessing a high rank in whatever hierarchy they were using. Was she in charge?

    "This is beginning to get on my nerves. If I figure out it's because..." Her voice trails off, as her eyes spot the obstruction at the intersection. "Oh. Well then."

    "Okay, go go go! Let's race Shimakaze!" Yukikaze's panicked voice, as she takes off without warning. Shimakaze is only confused for a moment before she chases after, leaving them in the dust. Apparently they weren't up for waiting on their third wheel. Everyone simply stands there and watches as the cruiser woman jogs her way past, waiting until she's gone in the darkness.

    "I really hope we get some answers from that lady..."

    "Yeah, it sounds like we have a serious mission going on or something..."

    "Everyone...?" Souryuu brings everyone's attention to her, as she points down the way that those shipgirls had come. While it's hard to tell with the dim lighting, there is an end to the hallway that they can see. "The green line is going in the same direction they came from."

    Iku seems both relieved and antsy, wanting to know what they're going to find. "Oh,we're finally here. End of the line."

    They make their way down the last passageway, exactly what is at the end making itself clearer the closer they get. It's a set of cylindrical metal doors which the line is leading right up to. All signs point to it being an elevator, though where it might lead... Approaching it automatically causes the double doors to part and open up into the interior of a tube-like space with absolutely no light. Neither are there any buttons or anything that you can see. It just looks like a big round... tube.

    This brings pause to the group, but not for long. With a display of quiet bravery, Oboro enters and looks back to everyone else. "We came this far, may as well..."

    Characters introduced this chapter:


    ??? Akashi - played by NPC


    Destroyer Shimakaze - played by NPC




    Destroyer Yukikaze - played by NPC



    Training Cruiser Kashima - played by NPC


    Last edited by Dexterity; 09-09-2017 at 11:39 AM.
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