Hoshi’s smile pushed her cheeks against her eyes, which had begun to look tense below her blueish side swept bangs. She looked about to speak, then closed her mouth and shook her head, placing a chilly hand on her temple before removing it and looking up at him.
"I sometimes wish life were only moments like this one," Hoshi said, finally, "full of wonder, happiness, and love. That wouldn't be right, though. It wouldn't make sense. I hope every tribulation that comes will strengthen these moments within us." She closed her eyes for a long moment, then sighed out again as she gave Royce a lasting hug, though it was more brief than the one that had come before it.
"Any other last minute surprises?" Hoshi asked, and, as if the question was only rhetorical, she said, "Good, we're to set out, then. It's not too far, come on, now. Ragnar, you are going to want to cover up those arms a bit. It's a cute look, but you're going to get cold." She looked once more at Royce, giving him a wide and tight lipped smile, before nodding tersely and setting about shooing the crew to get up and at 'em.
What seemed like too many long minutes in the cold later, they were further from the base of the wolf mountain and the homes that sat in its shadow. The birch trees around them had long lost their foliage, branches, and limbs. The barely-visible winter morphs of the snowshoe hares in the area were made most apparent by their shallow tracks in the snow. At times, the group seemed as if traveling with the rabbits, following their lead, but they disappeared and Hoshi still led them on until they were again following bounding bunnies into a clearing, void of trees, within the mighty forest they were within. This time, the hares split into two directions, as if running on the boundaries of something. When Hoshi turned and stopped at the edge of the clearing, the Fuji-class came into partial view. It seemed that the snow on the ship had settled after some time of stagnation. The thick layer of white snow that sat atop the ship's many parts began melting and dripping, in all areas besides for the large layer that was over the shuttle bay entrance. A low but audible cracking and splintering sound made Hoshi twist her head to look, before turning back to crew with a large smile.
"Just getting the ice out of her joints!" Hoshi's positive demeanor continued as she ushered the crew in through the shuttle bay. While one of her hands glided against a Mamushi craft, she asked, "Boss, where is Belmont-chui?"
Boss replied, "He is in the onsen."
"Oh," Hoshi said, looking surprised while she let her hand fall. "Then where is the Chusa?"
"The onsen, Chusa," Boss replied.
Hoshi sighed out, seemingly exasperated, "I hope that doesn't get annoying. Where they expecting us?" She was already on her way to the zero gravity passageway, to deck three.
"Yes," replied Boss.
YSS Kaiyō II
Hoshi stood at the threshold between the onsen and the changing room, where she requested everyone change into what they felt "would be most comfortable for a splash." She gave certain smiling looks to each crew member, each sort of an expression of her feelings towards them as she passed. She was the last one in the changing room and the first one in the onsen from this group, but once everyone was in, Hoshi closed the door to preserve warmth.
Eden and Alastair were in the onsen's steamy pool and the golden eyed figure spoke first.
"Some of you have seen me before and know me. I am Teien Eden, a Chusa of the Star Army of Yamatai. You may have looked to me for support, friendship, and love. I have looked to you for those same things, as well. The changes we have undergone, whatever form they take, will never change what we need from one another, what we look for in one another." Eden gave pause, looking from some of the assembled crew to Hoshi, "That is sure." She blinked a few times and her expression drifted, "We have a mission that will take us far from home. Well, we have a string of missions planned, as a crew." Her expression had grown stoic and cold, "Calling our next journey a tour of duty would be closer to the truth."
She looked back to the crew, "We'll be taking some major installations, not as a member of any squadron or larger support group. There are forces behind and in front of us, so to speak, but we will be alone out there for a time. It will take a few months to get out there, I would say three or four, so by the time we have a serious briefing in the wardroom where we're all clothed," Hoshi gave a giggle before she slipped into the water while Eden spoke, "you may have forgotten my exact words that I say now, so know that I love you. Hoshi loves you. The person to your right, left, and all around you loves you. If they're on this ship," Eden nodded tersely as she looked to each of them, "they love you."
She breathed in, "And I do believe that goes both ways. We fight an enemy today and will likely be fighting them tomorrow, but when we're not fighting, when that's happening... I want you to remember you are loved by the people you fought alongside." Eden's mouth began pursing and moving from one side to another and she put her the thumb of a clenched fist up to her mouth as she looked down, then she smiled and dunked herself underwater. She came back up from the water a millisecond later and the hime cut that seemed recently perfected was askew around her happy expression. "That's all, thank you for being here. Happy Holidays, as well! If you don't celebrate Yule Tide, then I both apologize for the gifts in your cabins and recommend you celebrate Klaus' birthday, instead! And if you do celebrate Yule Tide, celebrate Klaus birthday, as well! It's a party!" With that, she splashed a large wave of water that hit Hoshi square in the face and chest and both began laughing, although Eden's expression was a little more carefree while Hoshi was tight lipped and the expression changed to a grimace as a plop of water landed from her bangs to the water below.