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RP: YSS Kaiyō Post Mission 24: Into the Sunset


Head in the Stars
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Hoshi Ryusei Ranch

Hoshi looked from the where she was in the quaint kitchen of her ranch home to the living room, where many of the Kaiyo's crew, or former crew, were. The two couches and two chairs couldn't contain them all, so some -like Eden near the fireplace- stood and some -like Asuka on the plush carpet- sat on the floor. The captain picked up the shaker and threw it back and forth near her shoulder a few times, making a frosty film that nipped at her pink hand. The idle chatter and general tone of the ranch house wasn't one of the crew's prime. The YSS Kaiyō II's mission profile had been changed with the end of the Kuvexian war. Though the ship had become well known for its exploits on the Kuvexian front, the future of the ship's actions were unknown to even the captain. It was a strange move, one that meant the crew would largely be displaced. Hoshi let her thoughts wander to what that meant as she watched the cocktails strain from each glass. Fittingly, when she brought the tray of drinks to the group assembled under the exposed pale wood beams of the room, Hoshi asked a question surrounding the subject.

"What are your plans, now? Some of you are up for retirement. Conversely, some of you are up for officer promotions," she asked, though her wan smile betrayed a hint of the pain of loss at their departure.
Hoshi Ryusei Ranch
"Hoshi..." said a robotic voice, notably forgetting the "Chusa" this time. Her metal body whirred, the sad Chlorate's hair was blue like Hoshi's, only, a more sorrowful shade. It felt like it was only yesterday that she had boarded the ship, despite what her internal chronometer said. The Kaiyō II was her entire life, she was literally less than a year old when she had her first fateful encounter with it. She could feel the ship still had some sort of hold on her, like a magnet. And just like a magnet, she couldn't let go of it so easily. "...I do not want to go..." she admitted.
Hoshi Ryusei Ranch
Wulf Soban, Sakura Sjet

Wulf was standing with his family, in the ranch. As they had been invited to Hoshi's home and the somber mood, it felt like the end of a book. Like the one's he use to read in his youth of those returning from war. It was additionally bitter since so many of the crew would be torn apart soon to the winds of fate. Some as Hoshi had mentioned for retirement or like Wulf on standby orders at the capital. As he heard both the captain and the crew's robotic crewmate speak the volume of the moment was not lost.

Holding Kiyo's hand while also patting their daughter's head. To see the assembled crew and the tone of the room it even pulled at the normally reserved soldier's heart. The Kaiyo was in a sense a true home to him with so many firsts in his life. The place where he met Kiyo, fell in love, had their daughter. The first time he felt at peace and also the first time he felt like he could open up with those around. The ship was something more permeant then what he experienced before. Not wishing for there to be a long silence "Not sure about career yet but me, Kiyo and Luna are looking for our first house". He paused before adding "You know when ever we settle any one can always stop by, I promise it'll be stocked with the best and freshest coffee"

Sakura was standing a slight distance a way nodded at her friend. Adding a chuckle before speaking "Oh you better Wulf though we still have to watch for our resident coffee addict Kikios, she might fly off with your house if she knows their is coffee in it". The red hair neko was hoping to keep at least a few chuckling and the mood at least abit light. Though she had a hard time answering the captain since she herself didn't know what might happen. She was hoping to stay on the ship and finish up her service before going back to civilian life.
Hoshi Ryusei Ranch

William leaned against the fence that corralled the yaks, his arms crossed as he stared off into the distance.

It was an end of an era... William had grown up on the Kaiyo. He had met so many people, made many friends, and lost some too. But now, it looked like it was all over. Remembering his first days aboard the Kaiyo, he recalled how he and the princess had arrived. Just young children on a warship. Yet now they were celebrated warriors in their own respect.

Struggling to keep his roiling emotions in check, he retreated into his mindware. 'Stop, the crew can't see you this way. No one can see you this way...' He thought, forcibly rubbing his eyes in a futile attempt to keep the emotion away. He didn't want the crew to see him this way. Walking a little further away from the house he took several deep breaths, forced his emotions down into the pit of his stomach. To a place so deep he would never remember he felt them in the first place.

Yet his raw emotion wouldn't allow him peace. Tears found their way to his eyes despite William's desperate attempt to keep them away. The ID-SOL turned his back on this house as tears streamed down his face and into his beard.
Hoshi Ryusei Ranch

Kiyo listened to the group talk and she heard Wulf’s words. “He’s right, though this planet seems nice from what I have seen. I think I might check it out, maybe get a land grant for us,” she said as she smiled as she watched. Luna was head patted before she saw their daughter move off. She watched her before turning her head back. She wanted to give William some space, and she decided she’ll go talk to him later.

She smiled a little at Sakura’s comment. “We expect you to come visit too Sakura, even though you spoiled Luna as she grew up.” She said with a teasing smile before it disappeared.


Luna landed on William’s shoulder, which she gently patted before she moved to give him a hug. She didn’t say anything just hugged him. She knew she wll miss her Uncle but she hoped that will be able to see each other.
Hoshi held one of the cocktails in her hand as she wrapped her other arm around Chlorate.

"I know, Chloey." She sighed heaily, "I've always hated losing crew. I've learned that it's a subject I like to avoid, in all honesty. But this is so much worse. It feels very different, like the end of something great. There's no way to spin it to be something happy when it's not. All we can do is preserve our best memories from the ship. 'When the light of the future narrows, take a moment to look at the rays of sunshine from the past,' is the saying, right?"

"Okay okay, let's see if we can think up our favorite memories, eh? I'll go first but I want to hear all of yours!" Hoshi's deep blue eyes squinted as she leaned into Chlorate a little more, her own hair mingle with the robot's currently similarly colored hair. "As great as it was finding Chlorate on Komorebi and as spectacular as it was destroying that universe that was attacking Ayenee," Hoshi mused, "I think that at the end of YE 40, right before we left for Kuvexian space, Eden and I sort of pranked the crew into thinking we were going to do a mission in the snowy Takekomori prefecture. Eden was waiting for us in the onsen of the ship and told us about the Kuvexian front line expedition. I just... I think it was really a fun time. Maybe that's not my favorite memory, but it's hard to pick one."

Thinking, she added the addendum to her question, "Maybe it doesn't have to be your favorite but just one that stands out to you right now."

Eden piped up from beside the fireplace, "When that scientist accidentally released alien pheromones throughout the ship and half of us professed our love to our crushes. That was the first time I kissed my wife, may she rest in peace."

Hoshi's eyes had gone soft, but she looked from Eden to the others gathered, ready to listen to their memories.
Hoshi Ryusei Ranch

William wiped the tears from his face with the sleeve of his uniform. As Luna landed on his shoulder, he looked over and forced a smile. After wrapping her up in a hug, he stood there for several long moments just holding his little niece. Finally releasing her from his grasp, he turned back to the house. "Come on, we should head back." He said as he wiped the last of the tears from his face.

As he made it back up to the house, he leaned against the door frame. "Stand out memory huh?" He said, searching his mind for a memory that stood out to him. "Remember when we ended up in that alternate universe and had to fight our own doppelgängers? The IYS Kaiyo? That was quite the harrowing adventure we went on." He said looking to Eden, and giving a half smile. "I don't think I would have believed such a tale had I not been there."
Indira had found a quiet place to sit and spent most of the time so far staring into the glass. Joining the Star Army had been a huge risk on her part, but one she undertaken willingly. In the short time she'd been a part of this crew, she'd seen and done so many more things than she could have ever imagined.

Granted, she'd hated most of it, but looking back on it.. well, it was almost enough to make her smile just a little. Would have been, had she been anyone else.

She looked up, eyes seeking out the captain. "I wasn't with you all for very long," Indira began, fingers holding the glass tighter than she thought was necessary. "But I... I will treasure our time together. I've spent my entire life with my nose buried in a book or research, but each of you have reminded me that there is more to life than the next scientific breakthrough. I... forget that, sometimes."

Her eyes found the contents of her glass again. She was sad, she realized. It was obvious, but she tuned her emotions out so thoroughly that it was surprising to see one had slipped through. The Iroma started to give the mental nudge to 'correct' her brain chemistry to squash the feeling, then decided to leave it be. Being sad was appropriate.

"I enjoyed all of our missions together, but I think I'll miss Yule the most. I only got to do that with all of you once, but.. it was special. My family was never really the sort to celebrate, so in a way it was my first holiday." She looked back up, feeling a wetness on her cheek. "Thank you, for letting me participate."
Hoshi Ryusei Ranch

"That was certainly an adventure for the ages, Wil-kun," Aiko agreed, recalling the mission vividly in her mind. The way those IYS universe versions of the crew behaved and presumed to take their Kaiyō astounded her to this day. "I still remember the look on that alternate Matsuvo's face when his head was parted from his body. Were it not for the unabashed evil within that place's souls, the memory would almost make me remorseful for ending him."

The Ketsurui Princess was a Nekovalkyrja in the traditional mold — being Taisho Yui's daughter — thus most of her favorite memories were similar to that one and involved combat in one way or another. But, like Chlorate and William to a lesser extent, she'd literally grown up on Kaiyō and its Fuji-class replacement. So essentially her entire life's experience was invested on the ship. Of course, Aiko had no intention of leaving the comfort of the Kaiyō II's VIP suite that'd been her home since the ship was launched. Continuing forward on missions without so many of the crew that made the ship what it was would nonetheless be a difficult prospect.

She wore her favorite cyan kimono today, the one printed with cherry branches blossoming in pink, and paired it with a lighter pink pleated skirt plus calf-high tabi socks to contrast against some bright pink sandals. The twin kikyo flowers that always adorned her hair were there with a few more pinned to a periwinkle bow secured atop her kimono's rosy obi sash to match. A uniform had seemed too severe for the occasion in Aiko's calculation despite military attire being far more agreeable to her than such pretty fashion. At least she looked good in Hoshi's house, and comfortable enough, as she stood by Eden near the fireplace.

"Indira-san is right about Yule celebrations, too," Aiko said, again concurring with her crewmates' recollections. "It is times like those that stand out to me now as providing the Kaiyō with its charm. I hope beyond words that such character does not depart the ship as its roster changes even though I know that such expectations are but fleeting daydreams," she continued. While a stranger wouldn't know it from Aiko's placid face and composed manner, her smoky voice definitely carried some notes of sorrow behind her happy reminiscences.

"Though this might seem dull, I was very fond of all the calm, regular times aboard the ship," the Princess added. "Many of my days and nights were spent alone in study while learning to be an officer. And yet more were spent in the dojo or the onsen or the wardroom alongside you all. These little moments are not all worth recounting in great detail, but I will perhaps remember them the most after the echoes of our battles fade from my mind. Each of you have my gratitude for this."

Aiko smiled wide after she spoke. But it was with a clenched jaw to keep from displaying emotion unbecoming her station.

"There will be plenty of calm on the Kaiyō in the coming days now that the war is over," she added, having quickly stifled the urge to weep in public or begin some kind of entitled diatribe about asking Yui to intercede and stop her crewmates from being scattered around the Star Army. "But I am sure it will fail to make as lasting an impression as has been created up to now."
Hoshi Ryusei Ranch

William nodded to Indira. "I agree. Our yuletide festivities were always enjoyable. I always looked forward to it. I am glad you were able to be there." He said looking back over to Hoshi. "When we first met Ma'am, we didn't start off on the best of terms. Only know do I understand why you made the choice, even though we twisted your arm." He said, with a slight smirk. "Just know that I appreciate what you did for us. You were an amazing CO."

He then walked over next to Eden and Aiko. Placing a hand on Eden's shoulder, he smiled. "And you, boss..." taking a second, he thought of how to best express how he felt. Eden was his original captain. The one who allowed him allowed the Kaiyo when he was just a civilian in the Princess's retinue. Yet she never treated him any differently than any other member of the crew. "I have already told you how I think of you as family. You are a fierce warrior and brilliant commander. I'd still follow you into hell, because I'd know that if I followed you we'd tear down the very gates of hell itself."

He turned to Aiko as she spoke. Her words pulled at his heart, knowing everything she said was absolutely true. After she finished, William snuck an arm behind her and rested it on the small of her back. Standing shoulder to shoulder with her, he remembered the Colosseum. They fought shoulder to shoulder, back to back through it all, never leaving each other's side. William thought to himself that this was no different than back then. It was a different conflict than the physical, but even still he would stand shoulder to shoulder with her once more. Together they would get through this as well.

Looking out to the rest of the assembled crew, he cleared his throat and addressed them all. "Listen everyone, I know that we may all go our separate ways but it does not have to be goodbye." He said, looking each of them in the eyes. "If you ever need anything from me, you know how to get ahold of me. Keep in touch, okay?" He added, forcing his own smile to his face.
"Awww! Will!" Cooed Gravity, wrapping her arms around the ISDOL's neck. She had on a pair of jeans, a metal t-shirt, boots, and her signature bomber jacket.

"Best memory? Yule, YE 41. Wish I could remember it though." said the blue tigress. "I think I slapped William and gave him a jug of whiskey, or a kiss on the cheek... or both? Ah, details..."

Gravity was taking all of this rather well. And why not? She'd survived the entire war, as had most of her friends and family. It's not like they didn't have Spacebook. Now was her opportunity to figure out just who "Gravity" was, after years of being told who she was. Follow her own path, blaze her own trail!

"Me? Oh, I think I'm going to mozey on over to Kuvexian space and pick up a crew of Rixxikor. I will become the most feared, the most revered Pirate Queen of the known Kagami Galaxy!" she cackled manically, raising her fist to the sky triumphantly. "Let all ye lubbers tread the spaceways with trepidation, let ye tremble with horror and awe at the mere whisper of the name Gravity, the Great Blue Dragon of the East!"

Then, her demeanor changed back instantly to her cool, relaxed state.

"Or, you know, Sacre and I went in on a quadplex in Kyoto. She's becoming a bigshot doctor know. I think I'll get while the getting's good and transfer to an instructor role. Have a permanent place of residence, a hot, talented, breadwinning girlfriend, maybe get married, maybe have a rugrat. Travel the galaxy, maybe wind up in a daring pulp adventure. Who knows? If you ever need a place to stay in Kyoto, feel free to hit me up on SYNC."
Hoshi Ryusei Ranch

Luna smiled as she was hugged and snuggled in his arms, she nodded in agreement they should head back, but she had been willing to wait out there with him. Luna’s eyes widened in shock, as she listened to William talk about a memory when they went to an alternate universe and fought a doppelganger. She knew that the universe was vast and how apparently there were other universes too. She imagined what her doppelganger will be like.
“What’s a memory of the ship, whether mission or fun that was funny later on/’ she asked them from William’s arms. “Yeah! Yuletide is fun!” She said as she heard that her aunt Gravity was known as a pirate queen. She gasped on hearing Gravity destroyed a universe.


Kiyo was silent as she listened to them, her eyes widened on hearing about an alternate universe and how their doppelgangers were supposedly evil. “Was that the universe, I hear you destroyed, sis?’ She asked her. Before she heard about her and Sacre, and how they went in on a Quadplex. She smiled and moved to stand beside Gravity. “Well, it’s my turn to being an aunt so I hope you two get a little one. ‘ She said as she started to second guess her thought of moving to the planet they were on.
She felt she wanted to be close to Gravity.
Chlorate robotically scrolled through her memory banks, her eyes moved around as if watching something unseen. Sorting through them, she found herself at an impasse. "I cannot classify any single memory as the best," the Chlobot said. Still sad, she had to ask Hoshi "When will I see you again?" while proceeding to metallically embrace her.

"That one... mission... was probably my favorite memory," Kikios said with a blush. "The one where we uh... needed to get Zesuaium..." It was hard to forget that time she donned an almost superhero-esque getup. "Oh! Oh! Or that one time! With the coffee!" she interrupted herself, rapidly scrambling through her memories.
"I was thinking of retiring, but the way you talk about our adventures, William, makes me want to tear down the fence I was on about it," Eden laughed. She smiled at Gravity's words, "I have an apartment in Kyoto, too. Maybe you can come over for dinner sometime. That is, if you're not crewing the most feared pirate ship this side of former Kuvexia. Say, Hoshi, didn't you want to become a pirate, once? Captain of a ship with a bounty and then you'd put out a counter bounty on whatever Kuvexian was calling for your blue head?"

Hoshi grumbled and looked away while in Chlorate's embrace, murmuring loudly, "Gravity can have all the fun. I'll just discover the mysteries of the Kikyō Sector or whatever. "She chuckled, looking to the touch between William and Aiko. "I thought you were some great matchmaker, Eden. What happened to that?"

Eden's tight lips betrayed more than a little, but she looked to Kiyo, "No, that's the universe whose dictator tried jumping into my Nekovalkryja operating system and who I now control the every action of. To those wondering, slavery was abolished two years ago and the universe as a whole seems to be on the up and up. Though I am still trying to locate Yui to have her take over for me- er, for IYS Eve. It's confusing," she said, leaning in to Kiyo.

Hoshi, hugging Chlorate back, now, smiled to Kikios, then looked to Chlorate. "I'll be on a mission here and there but the ranch is open to anyone who wants to drop in. I trust y'all to come even when I'm away. You can meet up here or in Kyoto. As far as everyone all together," her deep blue eyes narrowed. "I think this is it. A lot of us will be making choices that take us away from being on missions together again. Maybe some of us will be reachable but I think some of you are done fighting, understandably. The Kuvexian war felt like a long string of battles with no end in sight. But they were fun to fight. Whatever this is, this ending, it's an uphill battle I don't think I can fight."

Eden took a moment to push the tear from the corner of her eye, looking down and sniffing as she batted at those on her cheek with her sleeve.

With a raspiness to her voice, Eden asked, "Hoshi said the yaks were saddled. Anyone up for a ride?"

Hoshi smiled as she preemptively got up, following Asuka to the glass paneled doors that led to a small trail to the hitching posts. There were three posts with about as many yaks on each. They were about ten feet tall, though some were bigger. The largest seemed fit for William with broad horns to match its long draping bubblegum pink hair. Most of them were Hoshi colored, though a few were a more standard flaxen color. Hoshi unlatched the clip from the post and led the bridled yak towards a series of two steps on the ground.

"Those without ST, wear a helmet," Hoshi said as she donned a large-brimmed infinity gallon hat. "Some of you can't fly so use the steps to get up. Like so," she said simply as she stepped o the top step of one of the portable step-ups. She then aced her foot into the stirrup iron nearest her. In one quick motion she jumped from the step and swung her leg behind her, over the yak's back and onto the other side of the saddle. She looped her foot into the other stirrup and leaned down to pat the yak's silky smooth blue and white hair.
Wulf listened to the gathered crew, so many stories and so many just before he joined. The ship had a legend and a roll of honor few could match. As he listened he was glad he could be part of the legacy. Though for him though it was hard to pick one moment, one from some of the best of his life. Smiling at the fondness as they walked out side. As Hoshi explained the best way to climb on the yak for him it was familiar though he was abit rusty. Climbing using the steps it felt abit different then what he was use to but yet utterly familiar. Like a era from the past in a universe with the future it felt like a link to the past. "Captain I have to admit though its a first on a yak, not my first time being on a creature of burden". Chuckling as he went on "In ranger training they had us ride giant 4 legged lizard gekko's, was a surreal sight to be honest". Though remembering one incident "Though thinking back these yak's won't attempt to eat us right?". The ranger smiled as he hoped the joke might get through.

Sakura fellowed the crew and while everyone was talking about she was memorized by the giant yaks. In her long life as a neko she always wanted to try this but never got around to it. As she followed the directions she was excited to get on the yak. Floating up gently she felt like a young kitten again. Giving out a quick "Yipppee!!!!" the excitement clearly evidently on her face. She had crossed one more off her bucket list.
He was surprised by Gravity's hug, but quickly returned. "It was definitely both." He chuckled, rubbing his cheek with his free hand. "I can still feel the hand print." He added. Looking to Luna, who still sat on his shoulder, he nodded. "It was quite the story. Remind me to tell you all about it." He said setting the neko down next to Kiyo as Eden suggested that they go for a ride.

"I'm in." He said simply, following Hoshi out of the house. He moved to the largest of the yaks and patted its flank. Grabbing hold of the saddle horn, he put his foot in the stirrup and followed the captain's lead. He slid himself up and onto the yak's back quickly fitting his other foot into the stirrup. The Yak snorted and shifted as William sat back in the saddle. "Easy boy..." The ID-SOL said as pat the beast's neck and took hold of the reins. Giving a small tap of his heels, the yak began to walk forward. Keeping a light hold of the reins, William led his mount over to Hoshi before pulling back slightly and bringing the yak to a stop next to the captain. "This is already really fun. I'm gonna have to come back and ride this big guy some more." He said petting the yak's neck.
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Hoshi Ryusei Ranch - Indoors

"Memories huh...?" Staring at the nice looking wooden ceiling, Abart absentmindedly thinks about all the many experiences aboard the Kaiyo vessels, the good ones, the bad ones, and the ugly ones. Lost in thought, he casually swirled his cocktail glass around, not noticing Nerai gently snatching it from his fingers so sip it up herself.

"Hmmh wondereful! You sure know how to whip up a good drink, Hoshi~!" It feld quite odd, adressing the former chusa by her name so casually, but right now, calling her by her rank would be just as weird, so she didn't think much of it. While still feeling down with the disbandment of the Kaiyo crew, this wasn't her first time going through something like this, so she took it a bit better than the others.

Still, what Hoshi said was true. As Nerai was steadily approaching her fifties, she really was getting too old for this military business. The fact that she had difficulty remembering a kaiyo moment in particular was a good indicator too, as all those memories blended in with many others from earlier ships and stations before Kaiyo. All those years ago she set out on a space adventure, and boy howdy did she get one. Now it was time to settle down again. After all, she still had a whacky super-soldier clone fellow to marry.

After a solid minute of pondering, the snakeman finally spoke up again, albeit with a slightly akward face. "Well, i wouldn' call it my favourite by any means, but i'll forever remember that time we got boarded in the evenin' and i had to fight off them' kuvvies with just an NSP and a towel. Didn't mind too much at the time from all the adrenaline, but man, that was heckin' weird..." He tried to take a sip of his drink, only now noticing the dissapeared glass. "That being said... Maybe i will continue fighting in the star army... After all those whacky times we've been through, i'd probably just get bored back home. Though a few months of vaycay probably won't hurt..."


Following the rest of the gang outside, the snakes could stretch their tail again, as the crowded indoor area didnt leave much room for 20+ feet of separa tail. Their scaly tails slid smoothly acruss the dusty ground, slightly reminiscent of their home planet.

Nerai'tha lightly brushed the fur on one of the big fuzzy Yaks, enjoying the floofy texture. "I don't suppose these fellas are used to carrying snakes around, are they? Been a while since i've ridden anything other than a shuttle or ship." Abart nodded in agreement. The act of riding in or on things wasn't something snakefolk were built for... and said things often weren't built for snakefolk either.
Aiko followed along after Eden, Hoshi, and the others toward the ranch's hitched yaks. Yet she trailed the others at the back of their group, walking slowly and deliberately as to appreciate everything the little paradise that Hoshi and Asuka crafted here on Tami had to offer. It was truly a place fit for her Imperial presence, even if Hoshi hadn't built any of it with Aiko or the Ketsurui Clan in mind, and the Princess already intended to take her captain up on the offer to visit again sometime. The ranch house's expansive rooms were filled with cozy seats and artfully selected curios placed perfectly upon locally sourced Tamiwood shelves. Its high ceilings with exposed beam work kept the atmosphere uncramped. And on the walls where its big windows didn't give way to the beautiful forests and green hills encrusted in a rainbow tide of wildflowers, pictures and paintings — some of which Aiko was sure must be Hoshi's own work — lined what would otherwise be blank spaces.

For Aiko, this ranch appeared to be the perfect example of what relaxation should entail.

Now, with the beginning of her Star Army career wrapping up as the war did, Aiko savored these last moments of being able to keep attention away from herself. Contrary to how the great hero Ketsurui Aiko had been presented to Yamataian citizens back home during the war, fighting alongside her crew against the Kuvexians for the glory of the Empire, she'd always enjoyed the less demanding reality of her life. Aboard the Kaiyō, the Princess had simply been Aiko-shoi or chui or taii and had the benefit of standing unbothered in slience behind her friends and comrades.

The peacetime that now reigned throughout the Kikyo Sector would take much of that privacy away from Aiko even despite her continued assignment to the YSS Kaiyō II. The people she'd grown up alongside would be replaced with fresher faces who'd been inspired by the Kaiyō's Kuvexian War exploits and would look up at her in the wardroom instead of across to her. That expectation didn't even account for Aiko being recognized everywhere she went in public; enemy spies and intelligence operatives already proved less intrusive than the multitude of fans who asked Aiko for a quick photo or signature whenever they caught sight of her long, bellflower-crowed drape of raven black hair. She would have to constantly carry herself as a leader within the Yamatai Star Empire, now, instead of only when military necessity demanded it.

All of Aiko's reverie and ponderings and immersion in the moment made her trip over to Hoshi's waiting yaks pass in the blink of an eye. It'd seemed like a long journey walking from the ranch house to the animals while it was happening but — like all of the adventures she'd been on with the Kaiyō — the present overtook memories and left any fond nostalgia in the past. The fact that the yaks were Hoshi-colored brought a broad smile to the demure Princess' lips, and she soon picked one that she thought looked quite noble (though any yak master could tell that it was of completely average size and stature).

"You could wrap yourselves around its belly," Aiko said to the Separa'shan duo as she mounted her own blue-and-white yak after unhitching it. She used the steps to get up and expertly flung a leg over the majestic beast's saddle rather than hovering to get on; doing so was far more dignified, of course. "They seem like well-mannered animals," she added, pushing her fingers deep into the soft, thick fur on her yak's neck to try and give it a nice scratch. "Color me jealous that you two may have the opportunity to feel their wool with so much of your bodies."

Both Nerai and Abart had served on the Kaiyō since the beginning, or near enough to it. Hearing their future plans earlier in the house had stung Aiko a bit more than the others even though she wasn't particularly close to either of the Essian snake-people. She hadn't said anything back then, as she wasn't one to give unsolicited career advice or persuade, but she hoped to see both continue their assignments to the Kaiyō despite Aiko knowing it was unlikely.

"Where will you lead us today, Taiyou-chusa?" Aiko asked Hoshi with a touch of mock formality to her voice. "Surely this mission will be one unlike any other, just as all of the others were," she grinned, happy to go along with Hoshi to wherever the fierce captain would take them.