• 📅 April 2023 is YE 45.3 in the RP.

RP: YSS Kaiyō Post Mission 25: Ukabu


Head in the Stars
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RP Date
8月1日 YE44
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((OOC Note: Ukabu means afloat, floating, to rise to surface, to come to mind.))

YSS Kaiyō II

The ship's first officer Ketsurui Aiko was in command today. Captain Hoshi had been called away to attend to some classified operation involving the Kaiyo's old friend and leader, Teien Eden. The Imperial princess had, of course, insisted upon helping in whatever way she could but it seemed whatever Eden had found herself involved with was a mission for Hoshi alone. And so now, as the YSS Kaiyo II hung in orbit over the forest world of Tami, Aiko tended to her simple duties as acting captain.

These duties did not turn out to be very different than when Hoshi was aboard and, of course, still included all of the little tasks that a First Officer had to undertake. Aiko had already spent the early morning updating duty rosters and checking the training schedules — after an even earlier workout of strength training and kenjutsu practice — and now found herself striding down a corridor away from the bridge to conduct what was possible the XO's most essential function: communicating with her crew. On larger vessels where department heads corraled legions of junior soldiers, this was a simpler task than aboard a gunship. Everyone expected to be given at least a moment of check in from their boss, even if that boss was a Ketsurui princess.

Luckily for Aiko, there was but a skeleton crew on the ship right now. That would change in the coming days and weeks as Task Force 282 ramped up to go off and slay evildoers. For now, however, the rounds were quick. And soon enough, the princess came upon her first encounter when she popped down a zero-g passageway and gracefully touched down on her toes to see an infantrywoman passing before her.

"Good morning to you, Ittô Hei," Aiko said, catching Lauren Strong's attention from behind and then falling into step next to the purple haired woman. "Leave for you and Halsie has been approved if you had not checked."

"Oh I-," In response to Aiko's approach, Lauren's hands fumbled with her datapad, almost dropping it. She quickly flipped the pad to tuck it into between her arm and duty jacket. "I hadn't seen, yet. Last I saw Halsie she was oversleeping." After she said such with a tone of annoyance, Lauren lifted her dark purple head and looked about ready to smack her own forehead with her raised hand.

"Oh, she's catching up on some sleep with her leave. Now it makes sense. I would have done the same if I had checked," Lauren said with a bit of consternation. "Thank you, Shosa."

Aiko nodded as she listened and the shot the girl beside her a slight smile. "The greatest pastime of them all, no doubt. I will have to ask her of whatever dreams she enjoyed with the free time. Any issues among the infantry?"

Suddenly more sure of herself, Lauren swayed her head as a proud smile shimmied up her cheeks. ""Issues? Pah! We're running smoother than ever! Though Madoka-heisho doesn't seem to understand the seriousness of the work we do. It's getting really worrisome, Shosa, I know I'm not out of line for saying so."

"Tell me then," Aiko offered, not sounding particularly concerned that Lauren was bypassing the Heisho with her troubles. They were just passing the officer's laundry on Deck Four while they walked now, with the aft showers straight ahead. "The Captain and I do not want any misunderstandings between our cornflower blues."

"Well it's just that," Lauren said with a huff and a drop of her smile. "She just, I don't know, has a bit too much fun with training. During combat she's much the same! I guess she really hasn't done anything dangerous or out of line, but I'm always worried she will with the way she acts so nonchalant and just... If I were squad commander I wouldn't let nonsense like hers slide!"

The princess nodded along, listening to the infantry Neko's concern with what looked like an appropriate amount of interest.

"Well, Strong-hei, it is good to enjoy your work," Aiko replied. The crew (and most of the Kikyo sector) knew Aiko's own combat prowess by now, and the former was certainly aware that she enjoyed the martial part of soldiering. "But I will join you all for the squad's next practice session to assess the situation. You can join me in the dojo later this evening if you would like to spar one-on-one again, too. Perhaps it might help remind you of the joys that can be found between two Nekovalkyrja in a grapple."

"Oh, really? Don't go thinking I'm going to be as happy-go-lucky as the heisho if we do!" Lauren's face fell from comfident as a flustered look and a deepening crimson blush spread over her cheeks. "But that would be really nice. You know what, Shosa? I'm going to go rest up in preparation for that!"

Though she had been spouting directionless complaints moments prior, Lauren's demeanor had shifted at the prospect of another tussle with Aiko. Without thinking much beforehand, Lauren spouted, "It's always more than an honor to do so with you, Ketsurui-sama; it's also really fun! Not- not to sound like Madoka. I was specifically avoiding sounding like her, ugh!"

The princess stopped in her place at the end of the hall and smiled again, this time wider and with a waving send-off to let Lauren Strong go on her about her day. "Dream well, Strong-hei!"

Some short time later, having walked Deck Four's passageway loop at a leisurely pace, Aiko found herself in the medical bay chatting with Peio Muyomi. The Kaiyo had missed out on the massive humanitarian Operation Fireplace, so made a point to go and see how the ship's only remaining medic was doing in the absence of saving the helpless and mending the wounded.

"Oh?" Aiko asked with keen interest on her tongue. The medic had already given her check-in report and was now telling the Ketsurui shosa about some kind of new equipment that SAINT had sent over with Saiga's team. "How does that sort of thing work?"

"Well there are two stream types available, but the femtomachines that conduct hemosynthetic repairs are my main area of interest. I believe the other mode is more for combat engineers." Muyomi said, placing her hands on the scepter that was laying on one of the medical beds. "If someone is wounded in the field, their medic will have one of these available to them to funnel hemosynthesis directly onto the wound or injury. Whereas a hemosynythetic insert can only heal minor cuts and abrasions, the energy to mass conversion on this means that a larger amount of hemosynthesis can be dumped onto the injury."

The teal haired medic picked up the scepter and yanked on the grey blue cylinder. When she did its telescoping parts snapped out and a bluish glow emanated from the top of it, where a spiral of metal opened up like wings on either side of the faint glow.

"See, switching to hemo healing now," Madoka said and the orb became orange as she quickly placed it on her forearm before switching it back to blue and removing it from her skin quickly. "It was a bit warm! I'm not injured, so I shouldn't put it on myself like that. I'm just really excited to use this once we deploy if it's out of prototype by then!"

Aiko regarded the new contraption for a few long moments, examining its details in an attempt to understand what was going on inside of it. By the end of her silence, the princess was clearly impressed with the demonstration, especially knowing that it come from SAINT's Hera Group.

"The black panel simply walked in and entrusted this to your custody?" the XO pondered more than questioned. "Such are the perks of working alongside Director Shida's finest.

"May I?" Aiko asked extending out her right hand while taking a step forward.

"I don't know if you want to," Muyomi said meekly, though she had seen Aiko in all sorts of states and knew the princess could endure more than the slightest of discomforts.

Aiko's eyes widened as she stared at Muyomi with a smile and cocked head.

"A Ketsurui's request is never a question, Peio-heisho," she said happily, reacing out and placing her fingers around the staff.

While Peio Muyomi responded with shaky, tinkling giggles she kept her wisteria purple eyes on Aiko's movements with keen interest. "Right here," Muyomi said, stopping her nervous laighter to raise her hand and point out the inner mechanism to put pressure on in order to control the healing staff.

The princess stepped back with the prototype medical staff in her hands. It was hefty for sure, clearly meant to be used in power armor but absolutely nothing a Nekovalkyrja couldn't handle. She nodded at Muyomi's suggestion but generally ignored the switch. Having now taken a dozen seconds to study the device with her hands, Aiko peered up at the medic and then back down to the staff before contorting her body into a rigid yari spear fighting stance.

Aiko swung the healer's stave around like a samurai, thrusting it high, middle, and low, and ended the demonstration to herself with the staff pointing out and toward the ground with it braced securely by her right forearm.

In quick order, the princess regained her composure and more normal posture before stepping back over to Muyomi. "It is well balanced, I look forward to seeing how it helps you save our lives, Heisho," Aiko said, placing the new tool down on the table where it'd been when she walked in.

"Oh, wow! What a display!" Muyomi said with a cheerful clap of her hands. She tucked her hands together, clasped in front of her chest while she went on, almost verbatim parroting Aiko's words earlier, "Such are the perks of working alongside Taisho Yui's finest!"

"You flatter us all aboard the Kaiyo, Muyomi-san," Aiko replied, bowing to the medic. "Thank you for the explanation. Until next time."

After leaving the medbay Aiko's tour of the ship continued, and over the course of the next two hours passed by every deck and department. The new engineer Ashen had a word, as did the armorer Kobayashi Maja who'd been assigned to the Kaiyo at the same time. Hokkai-shoi, the new Neko at Kaiyo's helm, had already departed for scheduled leave planetside. The other infantry girls Madoka and Nighni received their check-ins all the same (though the latter had been snoozing as expected, which only left Deio Asuka on the bridge from where Aiko had begun the day's journey.

"This is a much better C-I-C than expected, Asuka-san," Aiko said with the flat water of Kaiyo's onsen just below her lips. Upon arrival back to the bridge a few minutes before, the princess suggested that they have a quick soak here. The MEGAMI, Boss, had provided them both with volumetric displays that floated above the pool, which allowed the pair to continue their regular duties in less monotony.

"Anything to report?" Aiko asked before sliding an inch down so that her mouth was submerged.

"For once, nothing." Tilting her head back, Asuka's brassy hair dipped lower in the warm water as she made the type of groan one would expect from a hard worker finally relaxing. "We're floating in the middle of the most secure sector, sensors read normal. Heh, floating," Asuka said, peeking a bright blue eye to her Shosa across the pool. "Get it?"

Aiko had been blowing little bubbles under her nose as Asuka spoke, and did for a few seconds longer than was polite after the bridge bunny finished her question.

"Yes, of course," Aiko nodded. "Only for you, though. I am over here squatting. They really should have designed this bath to better accommodate Neko of my stature. There are more 33As every year." There was a long pause then, and Aiko put her mouth underwater again to percolate some more, but did not.

"Do you think Hoshi is well?"

"I was just imagining her in a pool big enough for you," Asuka laughed out the next words. "She'd look like a mini neko in a hemo tank! I'm sure she's better than that currently!"

"She looks like a mini neko in a hemo tank when she is in the hemo tank," Aiko said with a straight face, though Asuka would recognize it as a joke in return. "I trust in her safety, too. Perhaps it is only my nerves about playing captain now."

At first Asuka responded with a hearty burst of laughter that made her kick her foot up out of the water as she struggled to regain composure. Then at Aiko's last statement she calmed and her face grew stony.

"You're not playing at all, Ketsurui-shosa. You are captain. It's something I've always wanted for myself, to captain. Now as I get higher and higher in rank, it makes me uneasy to imagine the day that may come when I have my own ship," she said as a Chui. "Do you ever consider having your own command? Your own ship?"

"Do not forget that we have the privilege of effective immortality, Asuka-san," Aiko said back with a smile, more to share in the sensor girl's infectious laugh than because of her statement. "We will both have a ship to command in due time. I think there is no use in thinking so far ahead, though. Now we live in our young moments and wait to see what the infinite moments ahead will bring."

With a wide smile sliding up on her face, Asuka seemed to understand as she sunk low into the pool so that her mouth was under the water. With a youthful shine in her eyes, she started pushing air through her pressed lips, blowing bubbles in the water as Aiko had just been doing. Her response was obvious, she was willing to live out these young moments with the same happy abandon that the Ketsurui princess had taken up.

Seeing Asuka copy her thing, Aiko blushed in her place across the pool and dipped down so that the waterline sat just below her eyes.

"Are there any qualities you request in new comrades on the bridge?" she asked telepathically, remaining submerged until she felt her rosy cheeks cool back down before speaking aloud again. "We will probably take on a few new starship operators soon and you will be the most senior behind me and Hoshi."

Hearing the question left Asuka in a quandary before her eyes slid to Aiko and her head fell back to allow her to speak above the water.

"I liked Gravity. She had spunk and didn't take no for an answer. I thought I really liked that, but it feels like there's more space now, just to be." She looked hurt at her own words, "I miss her, but I also feel like someone a little less reckless on the bridge makes sense. Or at least someone that doesn't have a stash of liquor under the helm."

"Hokkai-shoi does not seem to be much of a drinker," Aiko said, referring to their new helmsman. "Though I do not know if she can match Gravity's raw skill, at least not yet. Your preferences are welcome knowledge nonetheless. You would do well to maintain them in anticipation of your own command someday," she added with a half-serious grin.

"We're still in our 'young moments' though, Ketsurui-shosa," Asuka said, drawing out her name and rank with a whine. "I haven't dated anyone in so long, I'd put some cuties next to me. Have you seen our new engineer?"

"Every day," Aiko admitted, wrinkling her nose reflexively. "He keeps asking me about my junior yojimbo. Even earlier today. 'Oh, Mao isn't with you today? Say hello to her for me,'" the princess repeated in an ever deeper voice than she normally had in a laughable attempt at imitating his voice. "She will never have him, of course. Please! Distract the man if he tickles your fancy."

With a scoff and a plainly annoyed look on Asuka's freckled face, she heard that Ashen had other interests in Mao, but when Aiko gave her to go-ahead her expression livened again.

"Maybe," the sensors operator said as she idly floated her hand on the water, then flipped it over. "Or maybe we'll get an ever cuter grey panel that doesn't have a thing for yojimbos," When she finished she giggled and her dusting of freckles gained a rosy backdrop. Despite her words, she was preparing for either option as an eventuality.

"What if I start asking you if you have any crushes, Shosa? Will you say we should get back to our stations or do you have any secret inklings?" Asuka's words were laced with humor and she had specifically tried to word the question to give Aiko an out, but she still wondered if this was worth it to get the topic off of her mild embarrassment that he who tickled her fancy didn't feel the same, yet.

"No," Aiko said quickly but unflustered. "Training and practice give me the discipline to avoid getting lost in such whimsical bouts. My sword cuts through any ueless infatuation with great success."

Aiko was blushing some again, lost in thought as she spoke, but did not seem to realize it enough to sink into the water this time.

"What if their sword is longer?" Asuka asked quickly with brows raised over her pursed lips, barely containing her rambunctious smile.

"Hah!" Aiko guffawed, laughing heartily toward the ceiling while her submerged thighs squirmed, hidden under the water. Asuka had her answer now, and soon joined the princess in hee-hawing until something else could grab their attention.