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  1. #171
    Marshal Admiral Observer 39's Avatar
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    @Emerald Acid I originally had clear indication that Samidare's cannon fire missed her target before she landed on the Abyssal, but I figured it would potentially ruin her glory moment a bit. As for Eldridge's bit, the 'make sparks, can't teleport' lines are literally part of her self-introduction in AL, so it just fit with what I was going for in a poking question (for the usual prober of information for the base).

    Yamashiro was already hit at the start of the engagement as well, but I didn't make it seem too fatal at the time (other than the tipping perhaps). Still pretty blink-and-you'll-miss-it.

    Hmm, one wonders if said bet is true or not~



    "Look around you and ask yourself: Has the battle been won, or lost?"
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  2. #172
    Marshal Admiral Observer 39's Avatar
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    Part Thirty-one: Fate's Call

    "How many these buggers 'r there!?" Kuroshio kicks a small imp squarely in its chittering mouth, a torpedo launched from the same leg catching it in the chest as it flies away. A small shell flies right into her backside, part of her jacket burning away. "Tch!"

    Graf flicks a metal card out of one of the pouches on her belt and inserts it into part of her rigging, bringing up her secondary gun as she does so. "Zerstörer! We cannot stay here! Fall back to the Admiral!"

    "Gettin' there, Hat Lady! Gatta make sure ya come along too, ya know?" A skirt to the side as a column of water shoots up in the place she was before. "'Though looks like he's a bit occupied himself~"

    A trio of small planes launches out of one of Graf's decks as she also fires with her secondary towards a metallic frog-like Abyssal. The small-arms fire distracts the creature long enough for the incoming strafe to blast it clean open, a guttural roar its last retort. She looks towards where she saw Minato last...and is dumbfounded to see a group of Abyssals surrounding an opaque shimmering bubble. A screech to her side and a yell from Kuroshio pulls her attention back to an imp leaping towards her, which she dispatches by stuffing her gun into its mouth and pulling the trigger. Wiping some ichor off her face, she turns back to the destroyer.

    "Where is the other one? Elder-rige, was it?"

    "Eldie? Shortly afta the shells started flyin', we got split." She drifts closer, rubbing her head. "Couldn'ta gone far..."

    As if on cue, Eldridge comes from somewhere behind Graf, making Kuroshio jump. "Here."

    "That's kinda spooky there, Eldie...Ya sure ya can't teleport?"

    "I can't." She shakes her head, then points to the bubble. "Commander can, though."

    The foreign carrier frowns. "What's the situation in there, Zerstörer?"

    The blonde destroyer shakes her head again. "Don't know. Pretty Nee-san got hurt, and Commander sent me...away...Then bubble."

    "I see. Seems these fiends have ceased shooting as well...Perplexing."

    Kuroshio looks around, and a bright smile escapes her as she sees Shiranui coming towards her. She waves energetically as the other girl closes the distance, skidding to a stop and giving a salute.

    "Status report: Haguro, medium damage. Fusou, medium damage. Yamashiro, heavy damage. Zuikaku, light damage...Where's the Commander?" She raises an eyebrow at Kuroshio's beaming face.

    "So cute~"

    "Quit fooling around. Where is he?"

    Graf notices the friendly planes circling overhead with a nod. "For them too, huh..." Putting a hand on her hip, she moves closer to Shiranui. "He's sealed himself off over there." A motion towards the half-sphere in the distance. "Along with those you don't see here. Eldoridge said Shoukaku was hit before coming here."

    "No communications? Attempts to break through?"

    "Negative on both. Admiral's last message was to wait for him...Then silence."

    The destroyer grits her teeth. "Waiting on the battlefield has never been to my liking, carrier. But it is his order, and I will follow."

    Graf smiles, putting a hand on Shiranui's shoulder. "Have faith, Zerstörer Shiranui. For he has that in us all." She turns back to the bubble. "Even if the times look bleak."


    Inside the dome, Minato and Hayashimo are side-by-side, shielding a downed, unconscious Shoukaku (being attended to by Murakumo) from a pair of female humanoid Abyssals. One is tall and lean in a jet black sailor outfit, a horned mask covering her eyes and a monstrous mouth where one arm should be. She is in a low stance, as if ready to leap forward. The other is much shorter, wearing a shortened dark grey kimono with black stripes along the bottom portion. Her hair (also black) is tied off into a spiraling sidetail, and she appears to have no armaments about her. With a sly smile and a hand by her mouth, she speaks in echoing, heavily accented Japanese.

    "To actually sail among these girls and bleed as they do. Thy defiance is amusing, human...and thine power is intriguing to us."

    A smile from the young man as he wipes at a cut on his face. "It's not often that an enemy even wishes to talk to me, and to praise me no less. Seems I was right in thinking you are more than just a mindless horde."

    "We are indeed more than that. But that is a different matter to the one before us." She sweeps her hand outward. "Will thee not relinquish the fallen one back to us? If so, we shall fully relent this assault and leave these waters for a time."

    Both Hayashimo and Murakumo give a look of shock as they gaze towards Minato. He puts a hand on his chin. "Back to you...She was once Abyssal?"

    The small Abyssal's smile deepens as the taller one shifts slightly. "Yes, but she was broken, shattered by others such as thou. We can sense that she still holds fragments of that 'life' within her." A small chuckle. "Perhaps thine also felt the signs?"

    He glances back to the carrier and her attendant, the latter going back to checking the former's vitals. "She's stable for now. We need to get her out of here soon, though. Commander?"

    "Minato..." Hayashimo's grip on his sleeve grows tighter.

    "Hmm..." The hand on his chin goes to the case on his waist. "What if I give you something else instead? Maybe not as equal as a life, but..."

    "Ho, so thou still wish to keep that one. Even knowing she was once like us." The Abyssal taps her chin, a playful glint in her eyes. "What is thy name, human? So we may commit it to memory."

    He takes a breath, steadying himself as he taps the case. "I have many names, but my current one is 'Observer'...Despite taking this hands-on approach you see here. And you are?"

    An elegant bow from the kimono-clad Abyssal. "We have heard us be called 'Ancient Destroyer Oni' by others such as thou. And she is 'Light Cruiser Hime'." As the tall Abyssal gives a nod and stands to her full height, Ancient Oni turns around as she continues. "For entertaining us so thoroughly today, we shall leave thee with only the wounds thus inflicted...And the knowledge of our passing. We shall eagerly await the next dance, 'Observer'." She brings her hand up as water churns around her...that quickly erupts upward in a grand torrent that also shatters the dome. When the spray clears, there is no trace of the two, nor of any other Abyssals.

    Minato gives a sigh as he pats the head of the girl at his side, who has an almost death-grip on the young man's sleeve. "Negotiation successful, I suppose." He looks back towards Murakumo and Shoukaku, spotting the others coming up as well. "Hime and Oni, huh...Seeing them in-person was certainly an experience. In any case, we need to get Shoukaku out of here."

    "What about that plane, Minato?"

    He scans the girls around him, assessing the situation. "Murakumo, Samidare. Escort the wounded back to base and inform Yuubari of what's transpired. Anyone else who wishes to go with them may do so as well. The rest of you will come with me to press forward into the island chain." He puts his palm out, the blue plane appearing in a small poof of smoke upon it. "Whoever this belongs to is still around there, I'm certain."


    The ideas keep flowing, I keep writing. I seem to favor more talking and subtle motions than action sequences, huh...I'll work more on the latter in later installments

    The thought of (relatively) non-violent interactions with Abyssals has always intrigued me, so do expect more of such things in the future. Ancient Destroyer Oni and Light Cruiser Hime are two of my favorites, alongside Aircraft Carrier Water Oni (Abyssal Shoukaku), which makes their inclusion here pretty obvious. Why I have the former two together came from another series I'm familiar with: Fate/stay Night, particularly the 'Master-Servant' pair of Illya and Berserker therein. Though I suppose she fits more of Rider's profile than Berserker's...Sort of a blending of concepts there. The old-timey speech was to reinforce Ancient Hime's refined yet pompous attitude that her look suggests, at least to me. As for the US plane's owner, well...you'll see who it is next time~



    "Look around you and ask yourself: Has the battle been won, or lost?"
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  3. #173
    Marshal Admiral Emerald Acid's Avatar
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    @Observer 39 Seems I'm the only one who hasn't had a peaceful Abyssal encounter among the main three 'active' admirals in our universe here (me, yourself, and Zalf). One of these days I need to write a play date with Hoppo since I've mentioned in universe building that my base is up North.

    It's always poor Shoukaku exploding. And I wonder if Eldridge there did one of her reality phase shifts and that's how they lost track of her.

    Interesting to see Graf fight up close, what with her having guns and all. And even in a firefight, Kuroshio's just as fun of a goof as always~

    Seems Ancient Oni is just toying around at the moment, seeing as she could have broken the shield at any given time.


    I always pull my weight. I just happen to be made of helium.
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    Ryuujou & Iku Anniversary 9/28/15 | Uranami Anniversary 3/1/17 | Fubuki Anniversary 4/24/17 | Akebono Anniversary 7/1/17 | Shimakaze Anniversary 5/4/16~
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  4. #174
    Marshal Admiral Observer 39's Avatar
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    @Emerald Acid Yeah, it's similar to how Samidare is always falling over...And Eldridge 'phasing out' earlier is certainly a possibility.

    A good amount of art I've seen with Graf involves her firing her guns more than launching her planes, funny enough. The mid to close-range style fits the archetype of 'German blitzing' as well, so the idea kinda stuck. Kuroshio will be Kuroshio~

    She's certainly holding back, with the parting display just a fraction of what could be. After all, her statline in-game is essentially a BB in firepower backed by horrendously powerful torpedoes...And I haven't even shown what Meantsuu can do.



    "Look around you and ask yourself: Has the battle been won, or lost?"
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  5. #175
    Marshal Admiral Observer 39's Avatar
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    Part Thirty-two: Those Left Behind

    Under Murakumo's calm guidance, half of the gathered girls prepare to head back towards Buin. Minato personally goes to each one in turn, offering a word of encouragement or solace to varying reactions. Fusou's small bow accented with a smirk from the battered Yamashiro. Zuikaku's sullen nod as she personally carries her sister-ship Shoukaku, still unconsious. Samidare and Kuroshio's own high spirits as the two bounce off each other like some kind of comedy duo. And the silver-haired destroyer herself, who merely smiles in her playful way. Haguro, however, stays almost perfectly still among the small crowd, head down with her sleeved arm holding the exposed one. The young man finally approaches the heavy cruiser as the other girls form up as best they can.

    "Something on your mind, Haguro?"

    "...I don't want to go back. Not yet."

    Minato raises an eyebrow. "Is that right...May I ask why?"

    "I just..." She fidgets. "Want to stay near you right now. Is that...all right?"

    He glances to Hayashimo, who turns away with a sad look. Focusing his attention back to Haguro, he gives a weary smile and extends his hand.

    "I'm sure there's more to it than that, but...if it puts you more at ease."

    She goes past the hand to put her head gently into his shoulder, taking him and Hayashimo by surprise. There is a moment or two of relative silence before the extended hand moves to Haguro's head, stroking it.

    "Commander-san...?"

    "Hmm?"

    "Have you...ever lost someone...dear to you?"

    The destroyer by Minato's side jolts straight up, her eyes wide as she looks to his face. His smile fades slightly as he nods. "A few in fact. Both from adventuring and other causes." He looks towards the battered members of his fleet. "And not even magic can save everyone."

    "...Do you think of them often?"

    "Certainly. But only when I feel it necessary." He glances down. "Feeling better now?"

    Haguro pulls away, her face etched with tears yet holding a small smile. "Yes...Sorry for the trouble, Commander-san."

    "It's fine, Haguro. This is also what a family does." One more pat on the head as he looks to Murakumo, giving a shake of his head. She nods, turns around and drifts away, the other damaged girls following her lead.

    Graf Zeppelin gives a salute as she approaches, Shiranui and Eldridge alongside her. "Admiral, my planes have scouted ahead towards the islands you designated. Only signs of past combat: shell impacts, some downed machines."

    Minato opens and closes his hand. "No enemies...or potential allies?"

    "Nothing, sir. The coming dark will not help in finding anything more...At least with my eyes."

    "Mmmn. Doesn't mean there still isn't something there." He raises his hand, a small ball of light winking into existence. "Stay close, there's no telling what might spring from the dark."

    The group of six move as one towards the island chain as the sunlight continues to fade, the low hum of their equipment the only sound. Shiranui, Hayashimo and Haguro turn on small searchlights, while Eldridge's eyes literally light up, all casting their own rays over and along the water's surface. The first island soon comes into view...

    The island is comprised of a large mountain, littered with indentations and gashes both natural and otherwise. Bits of metal embedded within the stone catches the lights swept by the girls, twinkling like stars. Coming around the side of it reveals an opening leading further inside: a natural harbor mostly shielded from the elements. The water soon gives way to solid ground, random stalagmites jutting up like razor teeth. Minato stops, the ball of light shifting to float above his right shoulder.

    "...Something's here. Or rather, someone."

    Shiranui jolts before going into a crouch, her gun raised and eyes (with light) sweeping the area. "Who? Where from?"

    An cheery female voice answers from within, echoing slightly from the shape of the cave. "There's no one here~ Just a pair of ghosts~"

    Graf raises an eyebrow as another voice whispers out, this time older and more mature. "Long Island, a ghost doesn't announce her presence like that..."

    "Ehh? Did I mess up again? Oh no~"

    Hayashimo and Haguro exchange curious looks, while Minato scratches his head for a moment before a smirk appears on his face. Reaching one hand out, he beseeches the darkness in a joking manner.

    "But I wish to see these ghosts who are not here. Will they grace this officer with their presence, so that he can perhaps return what was theirs?"

    The mature voice returns as some of the shadows appear to shift. "Officer...? Could you be...an Admiral?"

    The young man's voice remains jovial, but more serious than before. "Correct, with the others here part of my fleet. Minato Gidemo, at your service." He puts his hands behind his back. "I was informed of a foreign message being broadcast from around here and ordered to investigate."

    A young woman comes from around a particularly large stalagtite. Her platinum-blond hair frames her face and she wears a black collared jacket over a short white dress, black stockings that cover both legs fully and blue laced slippers. A blue rose is pinned under the collar of the jacket, which she adjusts slightly before she looks towards Minato.

    "And I thought I would not see any more lights amid the darkness...Especially one so bright." She gives a sad smile. "If only the one who left me here were such..." A shake of the head. "Where are my manners? You may call this one Yorktown, Captain-sama, name ship of the Eagle Union Yorktown-class aircraft carriers. And my partner..." She motions to where she appeared from, where another girl is leaning out. She's wearing a pair of radio headphones, her long brown hair nearly touching the ground. Her hands are over her face, themselves covered by extremely long jacket sleeves. She then jumps out, standing tall and spreading her arms out as wide as they can.

    "Raawwrr! Ehehe~ Did Long Island surprise you?"

    Her voice resounds all around the cave, amplified by the cooler night air, followed by a moment of awkward silence...Which is broken by Eldridge moving forward and mimicking the action (with Minato stainding in for the object being hidden behind).

    "Rawr...Eldridge, surprise?"

    Shiranui immediately brings her head downward as if struck, her shoulders shaking slightly. Haguro lets out a sigh of relief, and even Hayashimo is smiling. Graf merely tilts her head in mild confusion as Minato pats the blonde-haired destroyer on her head with a low chuckle.

    "Quite the pair you make, Yorktown, but you'll fit right into our base. You can tell us the circumstances of your...abandonment when we return there. Can you still sail?"

    The jacket-wearing woman bows slightly. "Our equipment is still serviceable, yes..."

    Long Island glides right up to Minato, her hands once more by her face. She looks up into his face with an curious stare and tilt of the head (as she's about a head shorter). He returns the stare with a raised eyebrow as everyone else also focuses on the two.

    "Something the matter?"

    A wide smile from the girl as she turns to the side. "Nope~ Just scouting my new Captain~ Ehehe~"

    Hayashimo glowers at the comment as the young man scratches his head. "I see. Shiranui, Eldridge. You will escort our guests directly. Graf, stay with Haguro. Haya, to me." He turns back to the open water, his left eye giving a dim glow in the darkness. "We're going home."

    Slow but not steady...I had hoped to get this out sooner, but distractions and work piled on

    The cast continues to grow, one of which is another AL favorite of mine: Long Island. While not one of the reasons I came to playing that game initially, I quickly became attached to her playfulness and generally goofy demeanor, in itself a stark contrast to Hayashimo's usual brooding and Graf's stoic realism. On that note, Yorktown was a later addition to this scene, serving as a foil to the other American's enthusiasm along with being pivotal to the next storyline I'm formulating...And yes, that does mean even more AL characters are coming, cameo or otherwise. I'll say outright now that at least two more will join Minato's ranks eventually. As to who, you'll have to wait and see~

    For reference, here are the in-game pictures of Yorktown and Long Island.



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  6. #176
    Marshal Admiral Emerald Acid's Avatar
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    Emotional memories resurfacing there for Hagugu, I assume. I like the "comforting Dad/Older Brother" moment, indeed.

    No fair. Eldridge gets two flashlight eyes against my Furutaka's one. Although must be a bit awkward for both of them if they have to look someone else in the eyes when its dark out. What kind of kuso just abandons them there though like an unwanted pet?

    I knew LI was coming, but I didn't expect Yorktown. The ghost talk and the bit with Eldridge mimicking LI was adorable to imagine though.


    I always pull my weight. I just happen to be made of helium.
    ~
    Ryuujou & Iku Anniversary 9/28/15 | Uranami Anniversary 3/1/17 | Fubuki Anniversary 4/24/17 | Akebono Anniversary 7/1/17 | Shimakaze Anniversary 5/4/16~
    Admiral Anniversary: 5/25 | I wrote a thing. Updated! (2/16)


  7. #177
    Marshal Admiral Observer 39's Avatar
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    @Emerald Acid You may remember that Haguro lost Nachi during that operation long ago. While Hayashimo was of course attached to the drinking heavy cruiser due to shared interests, to Haguro she was both sister and role model: the standard for what being a shipgirl was, both in combat and out. The loss still stings her, but she's probably the best at hiding it among the base inhabitants.

    I did originally have Eldridge with more standard lights on her rigs (considering her official art had some ports that could work for such a purpose), but the eye-lights make her more exotic and alien compared to most of the KC girls. I even entertained the idea of having her entire body light up, but decided that was a bit much for now.

    The next part should give insights as to why Yorktown and LI are where they are. The only hint I'll give is that the song used as the message partially reflects the circumstances of their abandonment.



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  8. #178
    Marshal Admiral Emerald Acid's Avatar
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    @Observer 39 Ah, I guess this search operation is a second attempt run of the operation where the thing calling himself an Admiral before Minato arrived sank an entire fleet out of uncaring incompetence, including one I'm quite close with?


    I always pull my weight. I just happen to be made of helium.
    ~
    Ryuujou & Iku Anniversary 9/28/15 | Uranami Anniversary 3/1/17 | Fubuki Anniversary 4/24/17 | Akebono Anniversary 7/1/17 | Shimakaze Anniversary 5/4/16~
    Admiral Anniversary: 5/25 | I wrote a thing. Updated! (2/16)


  9. #179
    Marshal Admiral Observer 39's Avatar
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    @Emerald Acid In a small sense, but it's more like the ambush dredged up her memories of the incident, along with the realization that there is someone to confide in outside of said past. Haguro (along with Murakumo and Yuubari) was instrumental in keeping the base stable and running in the absence of an Admiral, with Hayashimo's reactions showing how that weight is still there.



    "Look around you and ask yourself: Has the battle been won, or lost?"
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