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  1. #11
    Marshal Admiral Observer 39's Avatar
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    Re: Enlistment: A Story from the Observer

    Part Nine: Kindred Spirits

    The shards multiplied, then converged in front of Minato. They pieced themselves together and with a soft flash, the object that was shown on the card was realized...and floating. It was mostly one flat piece of metal, connected to what resembled a fingerless glove with a red circular gem on the back of it. A set of straps along the length of metal completed the piece. The gathered girls in the room are stunned, even more than before, as he slips the gauntlet over his right hand. A small flame flickers to life in the center of the gem.

    Kuroshio is the first to vocally react, the confident seriousness changed to genuine caution. "Who...Na, what are ya? Last time I saw som'n like that was watch'ng tha carrier girls, way back."

    Takanami, who had made her way to where Hayashimo is standing, whispers to her "sister" ship. "N-nee-san, when did you know of this?" The raven-haired destroyer replies in her quiet voice. "Right before the duel with Murakumo-san, he...made one of those cards out of thin air." She smiles. "Only I got to see it..."

    Samidare looks excitedly between Minato's face and the gauntlet he's adjusting, her eyes full of wonder. "You're like some kind of magician! Woooww!"

    Murakumo glares at him, a vicious smile on her face. "...I won't forgive you if anything bad happens to you. You hear me?"

    "Loud and clear." He moves towards the door. "I'll be waiting for you by the harbor."



    The four girls head to the armory to get their gear, the event in the Admiral's office leaving them mostly silent. As they arrive, they see Yura (in her white and grey sailor outfit) talking with a grey-haired cruiser clad in a heavy apron over her sailor uniform. A teal-green bow holds her hair back into a single, short ponytail. She seems to have been working on something earlier...

    "You don't need to tell me he's different, Yura. I knew as soon as he walked past the shop. Boy's not your run-of-the-mill human." She shrugs as she puts away her tools.

    "That is what's worrying me, Yuubari. What do you think of him?"

    "Well, he's already better than the last few, both in demeanor and...Ah, hey there!" Yuubari waves at the four destroyers. "Heard you four are the first to go out, according to Yura here. That right?"

    Murakumo nods once. "Everything is in order, then?"

    "Yep. In the usual spots." She gives a bright smile. "Feels good to be really working again~"

    The destroyer grins as she and the others gear up. "Heh, even if it's for someone as odd as him?"

    "Everyone's at least somewhat odd in this business, Ace." The grey-haired cruiser goes to a worktable with some blueprints spread about it. "But he's even stranger than us, you know?"

    Takanami turns to Murakumo. "...Maybe. But...he kind of feels familiar? I'm beginning to see why Nee-san is so attached to him, maybe."

    "'Sides givin' her the time 'a day?" Kuroshio shrugs. "Chief's a wizard, in more 'ays than one."

    Samidare has her head down. "He believes in us, our potential...Even in someone like me." She then raises her head, a nervous smile on her face. "It feels strange, you know? But in a good way."

    Yura looks at the group of four destroyers and gives a nod. "He has faith in all of us. We must show that said faith is not wasted."



    A few minutes later...Murakumo, Kuroshio, Takanami and Samidare arrive at the harbor, fully geared. They spot Minato, on his feet above the water's surface, and come up to him as a group.

    The blue-haired destroyer gets excited again. "You can do this, too?!? You're amazing!"

    The Admiral slides up to them, a little wobbly. "For the moment, yes...This will take some getting used to, though."

    The green-haired girl gives a little laugh, her nervousness fading. "Maybe we can teach you more later then?" She looks to Murakumo.

    "Yes, yes, later." The veteran destroyer waves her free hand. "I'm sure there will be plenty of volunteers after news of this breaks out..."

    The last one is already drifting out to the open sea, sailing backwards so she can see her companions. "C'mon! We got ta mission ta do, 'ight?" She raises her arm in a salute. "Kuroshio is ready ta go!"



    "Look around you and ask yourself: Has the battle been won, or lost?"
    Enlistment: A Story from the Observer (Part Thirty-four Complete!)
    Twitch | Status: Offline

  2. #12
    Marshal Admiral Observer 39's Avatar
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    Part Ten: Contact

    The four shipgirls and their Admiral proceed from the harbor towards their destination in a loose cross-shape formation. Kuroshio and Murakumo take the lead and the rear, respectively, leaving Takanami and Samidare to flank Minato. They are mostly quiet as they sail, the hum of their equipment and the slooshing of water the only sounds around.

    The green-haired destroyer is the first to break this silence. "Uh...Umm...Commander?"

    "Hmm? What is it?"

    "Y-you've fought before, right? In r-real combat?"

    He nods. "Often had to get my own hands dirty before."

    She gulps. "Did someone train you, maybe?"

    "Nothing formal. Mostly self-taught. I was mostly apart from others, as you'd suspect." He looks to the sky. "Though I did eventually find people like me, or at least ones who accepted me for who I am."

    Kuroshio comes closer. "And ya found s'more, far as I'm concerned, Chief. Na, accordin' to the radar..."

    "...We have company ahead." Murakumo looks over her shoulder towards Minato. "Your orders, Commander?"

    He frowns, flexing his gauntleted hand. "Move to engage. Full firepower."

    "...Line Ahead then. Form up!" Murakumo sweeps her hand to the side, the cannon glinting in the midday sun. A smile curls up on her face. "Time to show how we really fight."

    Sure enough, a collection of black shapes emerge from the water directly ahead of the group: Abyssals, four in total. One looks to be vaguely human, or at least half of one. A featureless mask covers where the face would be, its legs replaced by a maw of teeth surrounding a hole. One hand is replaced by a piece with a similar hole, a cannon atop it. The other three shapes resemble grotesque, metallic fish, each with a row of vicious teeth and one glowing eye. They roar in unison, a sound like gears grinding through sand.

    Takanami is visibly shaking all over while being slightly behind Minato, while Samidare takes a deep breath and tries to steady herself. Murakumo looks to Kuroshio and nods, the latter copying the former's smile. The two shout in unison as they charge forward, cannons raised: "Commencing combat operations!" The blue-haired girl quickly follows behind them.

    The young man puts a hand on the shaking destroyer's shoulder, his eyes not leaving the enemy in front of him. "I know you're scared. I was too, a long time ago." He smiles, glancing back. "Turn that fear into resolve, that terror into focus. And besides..."

    "Commander...?"

    He does a swift turn towards her, his arm going over Takanami's head. As she also turns, a light ting is heard as something whizzes past, mere inches from the destroyer's face: a shell intended for her. She barely holds back a squeak.

    "...Someone's got to watch the rear."

    Two more of the metallic fish had appeared behind the group, one with its mouth-cannon open wide and smoking. The other enemy charges forward. Takanami brings her gun up and fires, her body acting on instinct alone. The shells fly past the speeding fish-like thing, blowing up its twin behind it.

    "Flame Javelin!"

    A lance of pure fire erupts from Minato's outstretched hand, skewering the other Abyssal through the eye. It lets out a roar as it too explodes. He smirks as the friendly destroyer blinks, her eyes wide.

    "You all right?" His voice is sharp, but concerned.

    She snaps back to attention. "Y-yes!"

    They turn in unison back to their friends, just as the half-human Abyssal is blown apart by a combination of cannon fire and torpedoes from Kuroshio and Murakumo. The smoldering remains of the other three fish-things surround it. Kuroshio shows signs of minor damage, mostly in her jacket. Samidare is even worse off, with her uniform nearly in tatters and being supported by Murakumo. The latter is gritting her teeth, but is otherwise unharmed. As the black-haired destroyer goes to scout ahead, the others gather together.

    "Tch, that was close...And where were you two!?" Her eyes narrow as she looks past Gidemo and Takanami. "...Wait, there were more of them?"

    "Y-yes. If the Commander wasn't here..." The green-haired destroyer looks at him. "We might have been worse off, maybe."

    "They're crafty sometimes, I'll give them that." The veteran destroyer scoffs a little, while the blue-haired one looks down, both in shame and embarrassment.

    "Oi, Chief! Kumo-senpai!" Kuroshio attempts to wave them towards her. "Got som'n over here! Er rather, som'one!"



    "Look around you and ask yourself: Has the battle been won, or lost?"
    Enlistment: A Story from the Observer (Part Thirty-four Complete!)
    Twitch | Status: Offline

  3. #13
    Marshal Admiral Emerald Acid's Avatar
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    Since yu took the time to read my cluster of head canon so far, I was finally able to do the same and return the favor. I like what I've seen so far. Curious to learn about where the supernatural element for your character came from.

    Also nice to see some less represented girls get attention. It's the first time I've felt endeared towards Hayashimo, and I hope this hinted at relationship she seems to be interested in comes to a head at some point.


    Last edited by Emerald Acid; 05-21-2016 at 02:18 AM.
    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~
    Admiral Anniversary: 5/25 | I wrote a thing. Updated! (5/5)


  4. #14
    Vice-Admiral HaganeNoKaze's Avatar
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    @Observer 39 Thank for the new chapter, Nice development so far !, As Emerald Acid, I would be curious where this power for your main protagonist came from ?

    Please continue, allways a pleasure to read !


    http://i35.servimg.com/u/f35/11/63/99/79/wi3nav11.png
    Thanks to @Neskape for this signature !
    Many thanks to @Fuda ! Regulars GCT are wonderful !

  5. #15
    Captain Sixten's Avatar
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    From the story so far, I'm guessing Admiral Minato is some kind of Magic the Gathering "planeswalker", who can cast spells using a collection of cards and the mystical energy of terrain features such as islands and mountains.




  6. #16
    Marshal Admiral Observer 39's Avatar
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    @Sixten You've nailed it, pretty much. Most of his power-set is derived from Magic's various cards (the gauntlet he's now wearing is Pyromancer's Gauntlet, for instance). There's more to him than just that, though...


    Part Eleven: Lost, Now Found

    The four others move towards Kuroshio, who is checking over a body of a young girl. Splayed out across a shallow sandbar, the damage on her is plain to see. Her brown hair is dirty, one side still tied into a small tail. Her red coat and the white shirt beneath it is shredded, barely covering her petite frame. There are scraps of what appears to be paper all around her, along with a singed and torn roll of paper-like material above her head, covered in an intricate pattern.

    The grey-vested destroyer rises from her crouch as Gidemo and Takanami get closer. "Still 'live, Chief, though certin'y seen better days. Wer'nt for this bar..."

    "Any indication of who she is, Kuroshio?"

    "Judgin' from the clothes 'n all tha' paper..." She scratches her head.

    "A Light Aircraft Carrier." The young man and two destroyers look to Murakumo, still with Samidare. "And not one of the Hiyou-class, either. They're the only other ones to use paper, at any rate."

    "...Do you have a name?"

    "Ryuujou, Commander. The one and only of her class."

    He nods. "With Samidare as she is, along with this, I think this calls for a return to base." He motions to the body. "I will carry Ryuujou back with Kuroshio's assistance. Takanami will assist Murakumo with Samidare."

    "Sure thang, Chief." She gives a salute.

    "Y-yes, Commander!" Sailing closer to the pair, she puts a hand on Samidare's shoulder. "Not at all what we expected, maybe..."



    Back at the base, two girls stand ready along the harbor-line, having received a call from Murakumo that the sortie was due to return. Yuubari is looking through a notepad while Hayashimo sits beside her, hugging her legs to her chest and staring out to the open water.

    "Hey, Shizuka." The light cruiser gives a sideways glance.

    The destroyer shifts slightly upon being acknowledged. "Hmm?"

    "What do you think of the new Admiral?"

    She gives a small smile. "He's...amazing."

    "Mmmn. It was already something when he did that duel with Ace, along with his running around the base the last few days, but to think he'd be sortieing alongside us as well..." A flip of the notepad. "Amazing is putting it mildly. He's got power that rivals our own equipment...and the Abyssals."

    "And yet he's kinder than the last few Commanders stationed here." She looks up at Yuubari. "He says we are like family to him. 'Kindred spirits'."

    "But you see him as something more, right?" The cruiser gives a smirk.

    Hayashimo's face turns bright red as she looks away. "...Yes."

    A chuckle and shrug. "Well, I wish you luck in your pursuits. Speaking of which..." She flicks the notepad closed and raises one hand over her eyes, gazing back to the ocean. "Here they come...with something they didn't have before."

    The destroyer quickly stands up, her embarrassment forgotten. Sure enough, the shapes of the sortie group could be made out in the midday glare, approaching fast. "What...?"

    Takanami is the first to the harbor-line, nearly out of breath. "Nee-san...Yuubari-senpai...We found a shipgirl while we were out...She's hurt real bad, maybe..."

    Murakumo and Samidare come up next, the latter giving a pained smile to the others as they pass, heading towards the docks. Minato and Kuroshio are behind them, the former cradling the ruined Ryuujou in his arms. Yuubari's eyes go wide upon seeing her, then narrow as she flips the notepad open again. Hayashimo takes a step back.

    "No kidding. You found her like this?"

    The young man nods. "Shortly after a skirmish, washed up on a sandbar."

    "Hmm...All we can do right now is put her in the docks." She sighs, but has a satisfied smile. "When she recovers, we'll see if she remembers anything from before."



    "Look around you and ask yourself: Has the battle been won, or lost?"
    Enlistment: A Story from the Observer (Part Thirty-four Complete!)
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  7. #17
    Marshal Admiral Emerald Acid's Avatar
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    Save her! D=


    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! (5/5)


  8. #18
    Captain Sixten's Avatar
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    The MTG comic strip "Lotus Cobra is Evil" would like to comment:




  9. #19
    Marshal Admiral Observer 39's Avatar
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    @Sixten What a stinger. Still made me giggle, though.



    "Look around you and ask yourself: Has the battle been won, or lost?"
    Enlistment: A Story from the Observer (Part Thirty-four Complete!)
    Twitch | Status: Offline

  10. #20
    Marshal Admiral Observer 39's Avatar
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    Part Twelve: Determined Seeker

    Word had spread about that first sortie across the base while they were gone, along with how the Admiral was an active part of it. As Ryuujou and Samidare slowly recovered in the dock, the remaining members were now left to field the incessant questions of the others. It was late evening before most of the discussion and buzz died down. Minato is now in his office, exhausted but happy to not hide who he was around the base. Hayashimo, quiet as always, shadows him from a distance. She looks away for a moment, as if in thought...then goes to stand beside the desk where he is writing, head down.

    He puts his pencil down and looks up at her. Well, this is a first. "Something you need, Hayashimo?"

    The destroyer gulps, fidgeting a bit. "C-commander...No, Gidemo-san...Will you..." She looks up and throws her arms open, her face a bright red. "Accept me...?" She's visibly shaking at this point, whether from fear or embarrassment (or both), but her eyes show a seriousness not seen before.

    Minato sighs as she gets out of the chair, a weary smile on his face. Kneeling in front of her, he puts one hand on her head and touches his forehead to hers.

    "Why wouldn't I, after the kindness you all have shown me?" He pulls back so they can see eye-to-eye. "You most of all, Hayashimo."

    It takes a few seconds for Hayashimo to respond. Still frozen with arms outstreched, tears begin to form in her eyes. "You...mean..."

    "Yura found me and sparked my curiosity about all of you. Haguro and Natori helped guide me during my first days here. Murakumo and Yuubari have shown me how you girls are in combat. But you..." He pulls her into a full embrace. "You are special to me."

    She closes her eyes and lunges forward, her arms now wrapped around her Admiral. The chair clatters backward as both of them hit the floor. The next moments pass quietly, the only sound being the destroyer's low sobbing as she slowly stops shaking.

    When she finally stops, Minato pats her back. "Better now?"

    "Mmm." A squeeze. "Much better..."

    "You're not letting me go tonight, are you?"

    Hayashimo turns her head to plant a kiss on his cheek. "Do I...have to?"

    He chuckles as he sits up. "No, of course not. But how about a drink before we retire for the night? To our friends...and to us, going forward."




    Early the next morning, Yuubari is striding through the hall towards the Admiral's office. The girl retrieved during the sortie, Ryuujou, had recovered with little trouble, though she was still unconscious. The cruiser had recognized her on sight, from the time she helped make those special boots for an Admiral who went by the name "Emerald". But that man's base was clear across the country. How did one of his ships, let alone the one he married (provisionally), get all the way over here?

    "Practically joined at the hip, those two. Like a few others I know of..." She sighs as she knocks on the door marked "Headquarters". "Admiral? I've got an update on that light carrier you brought in."

    "It's open. I trust its good news?" As Yuubari comes in, she sees the Admiral looking out the window, with a futon spread out on the floor. Hayashimo is still dozing within the folds, a small smile on her face.

    "Not as good as what I'm seeing here~" The cruiser gives a smirk, then clears her throat. "Ryuujou has stabilized, though she hasn't come to yet. Dojikko's fine as well, Ace made sure of that." She scratches her head. "I'll be frank. There can be only one of us around at any one time. Don't ask how or why. That's just how it is."

    Minato turns around, frowning. "Meaning...?"

    "I told you how I tend to travel a lot, being the gearhead for Fleet Command, right?"

    He nods. "You did say something about that once...You do have an amazing knack for engineering and mechanical workings."

    "One such time, I had a bit of an odd request. You know how we can 'sail' because of our equipment? Well, an Admiral wanted to be able to as well, much like you. Problem being, he's a full-blood human, so our stuff won't work with him. No real wizardly-type shenanigans like what you have, either."

    "Get to the point, Yuubari."

    She sighs. "The Ryuujou you found...is the same one I saw back then. And I can confirm that without a doubt for you. Come with me."

    He goes to his desk, writes a quick note on a piece of paper and leaves it where it can be easily seen. "Alright."



    The two head to the docks, the base slowly coming to light as the sun rises higher. No one else is around, the only sounds their own footfalls. Upon arriving, they see Murakumo sitting next to Ryuujou, who had been moved from the bath to a nearby bench with a fresh set of clothes. The veteran destroyer stands and crosses her arms, a weary and knowing smile on her face.

    "She finally got the courage to do it, huh? And judging from her not returning last night, it was a success."

    The Admiral smiles back with a shrug. "In a sense." He looks down to the lying carrier. "Hayashimo's been through quite a lot, it seems...She would mutter in her sleep. Memories, good and bad. Nightmares, terrors of the past. Was she always like this?"

    Yuubari nods. "Girl's already a loner, even among her fellow destroyers, let alone the rest of the base. And you know how the last few Admirals were...You could say you are a searchlight to her. Lighting her world." She waves her hand. "But we can discuss the fine details a little later."

    "Right." Murakumo gives the cruiser a quizzical look. "You said Ryuujou here is another Admiral's?"

    "And I have proof. Right here." She pulls out a ring of gold with a small emerald inlaid within from her pocket. "This was in her clothes when I was cleaning her up last night. If I'm not mistaken, this is a ring of marriage, the same one I saw her wear when I went to do that job."

    Minato jumps forward slightly. "Marriage ring?"

    "A symbol of the two's strong bond." Yuubari puts the ring down on the table next to Ryuujou. "Two halves of the same whole."

    A quiet moan makes all eyes turn to the carrier as she slowly raises her hand to her head and opens her eyes. "Mmmn...Eh...I'm..." She then suddenly lurches forward, frantically looking around her. "Where? What? Who..." She stops when she sees Yuubari. "Wait." A narrowing of the eyes. "Ain't ya that experiment'l cruiser?"

    She straightens, puffing out her chest. "Yep! Experimental Light Cruiser, Yuubari, at your service! And I guess welcome to my home away from home." She chuckles, motioning to the young man next to her. "This is the resident Admiral, Gidemo. He just was assigned here a little over a week ago."

    He nods, a small smile on his face. "Welcome to Buin Base, Ryuujou. You're certainly far from home, aren't you?"



    "Look around you and ask yourself: Has the battle been won, or lost?"
    Enlistment: A Story from the Observer (Part Thirty-four Complete!)
    Twitch | Status: Offline

 

 

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