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A Wild Endeavor

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Hinocorp Maritime Seaport, 0930hrs Tokyo Time, July 5th, 2015

The "Noble Endeavor"... the secret birthday present Sakurako's parents had been keeping under wraps. A beautiful, motorized Yacht, modernized and loaded with green technology, a brilliant piece of work for the nautically inclined Sakurako. She was at it's christening at the Hinocorp Maritime drydock in Yokohama a few days ago, she even got into the local papers, not minding her usual sailor collared business ensemble. Something that the people of Tokyo have gotten used to, particularly after the posessed Cherry blossom Tree incident not too long ago.

But now Sakurako waits for her classmates and friends. She covered their transit costs for getting to Japan, so she was fretting a bit as she was getting all of her ship in tip-top form, making sure everything was clean, supplies loaded, not to mention all the solar panels for any smart phones or anything that the other late-teenage superhumans wanted to bring along. That and Sakurako's almost painful attention to details on the safety measures on the ship as well.

She straightened out the white sailor collared pair of jumpsuit-like coveralls she was wearing, taking off her white baseball cap with "Noble Endeavor" written across the front, brushing off the red sea survival vest she was wearing. She hoped to see everyone soon... and they like the stuff she got for them for the trip, if at least a momento of the occasion.

Particularly Casey... they've not been having a good half of the year, a lot of stress and strain dealing with crisis after crisis.

"Okay... all the food's on board, the life raft containers are in their berths, looks like all the computer systems are online..."

===6 Hours prior, The Hitomi Maru, Fishing trawler===

The captain looked out on his deck, night fishing for squid, shining lights down into the water. It was cloudy and the forecast was otherwise calm. That was when a mysterious fog surrounded the ship. Followed by the sudden peel of lightning and thunder as a rain started. The crew panicked as he looked outside, only to see the crew running in terror into the interior of the ship, as two gigantic bird-like creatures started eating their catch of the night. The eyed the captain and screeched, just before the air seemed to take on the smell of ozone, and then it lurched and rocked as all the radios and modern navigation systems went dead. The captain hit his head on the console and was knocked unconcious...

===The now... 1000hrs===

Sakurako sat at a table, sipping on some tea at a table in the dining room near where people would embark near the aft section of the white, futuristic looking ship. She watched her smart hone for any important messages. The stern doors were open. "Weather forecast's looking clear... odd a fishing trawler went missing early this morning... hmm..."

"At least the coast guard is searching the area... I'll keep my eye out for any life rafts..." She said, looking over her charts.

Edited by Endeavor
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Vonnie was jetlagged. He yawned as he stepped onto the Noble Endeavour. 10 Am Tokyo time was the middle of the night on the East Coast, and until this trip, Vonnie’d never left it. His powers helped a little. He was significantly less tired than a normal person would be. And, oh man, did he ever stand out around here. His darker skin alone was enough to step him apart in this very homogeneous land. Not speaking the language did not help. The signs didn’t even have letters on them, at least not as Vonnie knew them. He felt like a stranger in a strange land. Which is why he was in a godawful hurry to get on the ship and out of here. He was tired of being gawked at and discreetly muttered about. His eyes and ears might not have always caught these things, but his spatial awareness certainly did. And that had nothing on the…African American culture aficionados. There weren’t many, but oh dear god why would anyone…Vonnie put the thought out of his head. “Rako? Please tell me you’re here. Your country’s nice, especially the temples, but I’d like to go now.”

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Sakurako pulls off her "crew hat" as it were, setting it on the table. "Didn't know I blended in this well, Vonnie." She said with a smile. "Casey and Mr. Steiner will be arriving shortly I'd wager."

She stood up, straightening her clothes. "I'm going to need you on look out for some of the trip once we leave. A Trawler went missing before sunrise this morning, Probably for the first couple of hours. In particular for any life rafts or sailors in the water. The temperatures will be approaching 35 degrees celsius when we get into those waters. Those sailors will be getting very thirsty. Luckily I got tons of bottled water." She said, gesturing to her sailing charts. "Getting to J99 island is gonna be a challenge." She started to point out the new island that popped up some distance from Okinawa. "Can't wait though to moor this at the little dock Mom and Dad set up after they got back to their retirement a couple months ago."

She stuck out her tongue. "Heroing, I don't think you can ever fully retire."

Smiling she gestured to a couch with three piles of wrapped up clothes. Each topped with a baseball cap like Sakurako's. "I took the liberty of making up some hats to go with the outfits I got made from Hinocorp's Maritime Products division. The outfits are optional, but you can keep them as a memento."

She gestured to the outfit. "The white jumpsuit has a pretty nifty cooling system so the time on deck won't feel too bad, although with our crew I'd wager the warm summer sun won't be much of an issue. The red vest obviously has a life preserver built in you activate by pulling the yellow toggle here, and it also has a sailor overboard system so if anyone does get in the drink, I know." She says pulling out her tablet computer. "This'll show your location, and the little beacon in the vest will put off a regular beep. That, and pockets. All the pockets."

She smiled, spinning around showing off everything. "I know I was over-thinking a bit, but I don't think any adults would sign off on us heading off without some safety considerations."

"Now the third pack is a rain suit, I color coded it to our preferences. I based them off the costumes we normally wear. I'm not going to steer us into any storms, but the weather at J99 can be dynamic."

"Once we're underway, in a couple hours I'll arrange up some breakfast for us. Scrambled Eggs, Sausages, and some toast with hash browns."

She sits back down, leaning her head into her hands with her elbows on the table. "I've also taken into account what will be available on the water in terms of fishing and in terms of what mom and dad last told me in terms of any edible plants on J99, so I can enhance our food stores."

===Meanwhile, Elsewhere===
The captain wakes up, wiping some blood from his brow he looks out on to the sea. It was warmer... quite tropical, the rains proved that out. But what was sticking out like a sore thumb was where were they... There was a massive land mass in front of them, about a mile out, and it didn't look like Japan. In fact the only non-technological navigation tool, the compass was saying they were heading east, into the Pacific... and this wasn't on the charts.

===Back on the Noble Endeavor===
"I'm intending on having this trip last a couple weeks. Enjoy the beach, get some sun, explore a bit, and I even brought SCUBA gear and some pool stuff. That and once on the island I got some decent tents and solar panels."

"No survival class, it's all fun and creature comforts for us!" She said with a smile.

To be honest it sounded like taking a pot-shot at fate, but with Sakurako's freckled smile and confident face, he knew they could end up in any situation and be alright. In the year book she did have the "Miss Always Prepared" under her picture.

"You have any dietary needs, preferences, or allergies I should know about?"

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Japan was definitely something new for Ralf. 

He was sure his father would have been firmly against the idea of him even leaving the city, let alone the country, but here he was, half-way around the world. His most pressing concern was not being able to speak or read Japanese--yet. All he needed was time. Either way, he thought it best to stick around someone he could at least communicate with. Ralf didn't seem to mind looking 'tourist-y', either, and took plenty of pictures of classmates, buildings, and people. Looking the part made getting directions pretty easily, and there were enough citizens well-versed in the English language that getting directions wasn't difficult. 

"...this is yours? ALL of it?"

Ralf was mostly glad he wasn't late. He wasn't the first to arrive, either, and waved to both Vonnie and Sakurako on approach. The sea air did make him a little nervous. Water wasn't HARMFUL, exactly, just a bit of a pain to deal with... but he was certain that at least his classmates seeing him in all his undisguised glory wasn't going to be too much of an issue. The whole point of this trip was to let his guard down, for once, and relax. And he was determined to do just that.

"I only have one dietary request. I hope there's a lot of candy."

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Sakurako grinned. "I did bring all sorts of junk food. Like I said I'm not skimping on creature comforts too."

She smiled moving her "gifts" aside so everyone could sit down as everyone arrived. "That leaves Casey to show up, she should be soon, I know she's been looking forward to this for a few months now. We talked about it for a bit, and to be honest I wasn't going to disembark for a little while yet... you guys are actually early! And yes, this Yacht is mine. Happens when you start having a budget. Sort of hate it... Already gave a portion of my allowance as a donation to help with any reconstruction efforts after the incursion at the end of last year."

She smiled, heading over to a small cooler and looking over the soft drinks. "Okay, I got the 6 major popular soft drinks for our age group... anyone want a drink?"

She looked over her shoulder. "There is a 75% chance that either of you will say Mountain Dew, 20% Doctor Pepper, 4% chance Pepsi..."

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45,000 feet above Japan

The rear ramp of the USAF C-17 lowered as Casey Blankenship eagerly trotted over to it, wearing her Miracle Girl flight suit and easily totting a large waterproof pack stuffed full of vacation essentials. The very nervous-looking payload specialist could only shake his head at the young woman's mixture of fearlessness and excitement. He had to shout to be heard over the roar of the massive plane.

"Are you absolutely sure you can fly, ma'am?! I would hate to lose Col. Blankenship's daughter on my watch!"

Casey grinned and gave him a big thumbs up. "It's all good, airman! Five by five!" She leaned over to give him a quick peck on the cheek. "I'll put in a good word for you!" Then she turned to face the back of the plane and took a deep breath. "Japan, here I come!"

Then with a whoop, she ran pell-mell and leaped out of the plane, leaving the specialist to stare after her incredulously as she banked and rolled out of sight. Reaching up to toggle his headset, he numbly said, "Package is away."

- - -

The ride down was thrilling, with a truly amazing view; the whole of Japan was spread out before her! She was careful to monitor air chatter; she had memorized a few key aviation terms in Japanese, and hoped to be fluent in good time. Before she could meet up with the others, she had instructions to check in a Yokota AB to keep everything legal.

A short time later, Casey came strolling up the dock, now dressed in proper nautical attire: a navy blue stripped long-sleeved T-shirt, white Capri pants and deck shoes. She hefted her massive duffel over one shoulder as she called out, "Hello, the ship!"

Edited by Heritage
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"Hello Casey." Sakurako said, stepping out of the back doors on to the stern area for lounging and getting set up for diving or swimming. "Welcome to the Noble Endeavor!" She said, gesturing to the gangplank leading up to where she was. "You sent a text a while ago saying you were literally dropping in... I wager the plane trip wasn't a real problem... or your unique method of skydiving. Make use of that oxygen mask I whipped up for you that can hook up to that small pony-bottle of yours? Would be more comfortable as you head down to a more... comfortable altitude."

She guided her close friend in where everyone else is seated, she sat the three packages on the table. "Now I got four bunks over this way." She said, gesturing towards the bow. "tight quarters but comfy, There is a bathroom, a little closer to us after the kitchen, There is a computer room, there's the sunning deck behind us, and above us is the flying bridge. The inside bridge is below it. On the flying bridge and the outside lounge behind me I got cabinets with spare life vests and the white cannisters on the sides of the bridge are the containers for the life rafts. I also got a Zodiac style inflatable boat in the storage area in the floor of the lounge, It's a rower though."

She smiled. "I'll start getting us underway in a little bit. If you guys want to suit up, or just set aside your kit before joining me on the upper bridge, go for it! I do want to quickly get out on to the water and get us to a spot I can anchor at so I can leave the bridge to make us a proper breakfast!"

"Since I'll have Vonnie keeping watch on the bow while we're parked on the ocean for those sailors who went missing early this morning, We'll eat on the bow, set some air mattresses down and we can sit and enjoy breakfast in the sun."

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"I think I'm okay for now," Ralf replied. He really did consider a soda, but he also didn't really feel up to putting forth the effort of maintaining his outward appearance just because of it. There'd be plenty of time for that later, and he was almost certain his classmates wouldn't freak out when they saw it. Claremont was already a weird place comparatively; it took him months to realize that his unusual physiology wasn't anywhere near as strange as all that. "I might as well 'suit up', too."

He really didn't want to. It looked so much different from clothes he was used to wearing. Still, he was trying to get out of the habit of using his morphic abilities to create clothing and just wear the real thing. It was far less work in the long run, just because there was less to think about. That and if Sakurako had been gracious enough to invite him, the very least he could do was this.  He disappeared for all of two minutes and came back wearing the clothes Sakurako had given them before heading back up to meet her.

"So what's the deal with these missing sailors? I mean... was there some kinda bad weather or something?"

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"No one is sure, Ralf. There was a sudden blip on maritime radar out where the last known whereabouts of the trawler was. We'll be close to the site... I heard some chatter on the radar there maybe was a distress beacon from a life raft. They're doing a search pattern but nothing yet."

"Least we can do while we're sitting out there we can do while having breakfast is to keep a look out for a little while."

She adjusted herself. "And not looking bad with the outfit. I see I got your size just right."

She turned to the others. "I'm heading up to the bridge. I'm going to see us out. Come on... I'll show you the controls!"

Sakurako headed out of the inner dining room out to a staircase that led to the flying bridge above all of the other "decks", if you could call them that, of the ship. She sat in the Captain's chair, booting up the navigation system, radio, and getting the ship's wheel all ready to go. She was sure everyone would be heading up, so while mindful of the security cameras to make sure no one falls overboard... as if that was a problem with her classmates,.. she picks up her radio's mic.

<"This is the Noble Endeavor to Hinocorp Marina Traffic Control, Heading out.">
<"Understood, Captain Hino. Enjoy your vacation. Once clear of the outer markers change heading to 90 degrees, and follow the navigation bouys to open water and the common traffic. Traffic is currently clear.">

The ship came to life, running lights and navigation lights turned on as the ship headed out to open water for the first time. Sakurako kept at a slow pace, so everyone could see the bustling Yokohama harbor as they passed along, as she tracked the navigation beacons set up by Hinocorp's bouys. Soon they were in the common traffic. It was a straight-shot to the edges of Tokyo Bay and eventually the open ocean. Sakurako happily hummed, expecting a visitor or two... It would be another hour...

Edited by Endeavor
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Casey adjusted her glasses and whistled appreciatively as she came aboard. "Whoa she's a really beauty; your parents must love you lots and lots! Hi Vonnie, hi Ralf!" She tossed her own pack to the deck with an audible thud you felt in your feet; clearly she'd packed very well. When she caught sight of the suits Saku had thoughtfully provided, she got a big grin on her face. "For me? Back in two seconds!" There was a quick rush of wind as the blonde teen, her pack and her new outfit disappeared below decks, and then she was back, a vision in white. "This is amazing! Thanks, roomie!" She gave the young Asian girl a quick friendly hug, when then her sunny face darkened as the conversation turned to the missing sailors.

"Wow; I never knew just how dangerous the sea was until I met you, Saku; kinda makes me feel guilty for not monitoring marine radio before." As she followed the group to the top deck, she reflexively turned her gaze out to the open sea, her lovely green eyes scanning the horizon like a pair of high-powered binoculars.

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"Not dangerous, Casey, to be honest what all of my preparations are, is mischief managed."

She got a impish grin. "How you think I got permission for bringing everyone together without having an adult chaperone? Careful negotiation, careful planning, knowing my crew and having the bases covered so we can relax." Sakurako said, leaning back in the captain's seat. "Trust me, seafaring is only dangerous when you start getting cocky and think you're completely out of it's reach. I'm an engineer so I prepare for the worst, while enjoy the best. That and my Parents want to see how well I plan in case I decide to head into space... I might be getting my range limits expanded to Low Earth Orbit or better soon by the 'rents."

"And besides, we're a member of the cape and tights crowd now... well for me sailor collar but that's besides the point... the point is strange and dangerous things find us. best to be prepared and if worse comes to worse we got spare pool toys. And yea, I'm always listening for distress calls. Sea rescues are the most remote thing, and a good form of excersise. That and I do some Good Samaritan engineer stuff helping ships with ailing engines and what-not. don't have to punch bad guys in the jaw to keep your stripes as a hero."

"I'm just glad Vonnie is here." Sakurako said with a whisper. "If there's survivors out here, we can find them with his senses. He seems to see things before others do. That wild goose chase in the Atlantic a few months ago showed that."

"And ya... that outfit rocks. Thought you'd have misgivings with it resembling a navy uniform and all." Sakurako said with a grin. Playfully poking Casey. "Then again, we're just a bunch of bored teenage sailors, not a military operation. Start calling me Sir, BTW, and I'll leave you towed behind the ship in the dinghy." Sakurako said with a joking grin. "I might be the captain, but only legally. We're friends. All of us. formalities be bluescreened!"

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"All of this looks so complicated. And shiny." There were buttons everywhere and Ralf was reasonably sure that touching anything would result in some level of disaster. 

"I'm surprised they let me even leave the city, much less the country," Ralf admitted, stuffing his hands into his pockets. "And I don't really do water... but thanks for inviting me. Definitely beats studying all summer! Even if there's something serious going on out there." Ralf wondered if it was just weather. Knowing what his father went through to keep him safe and a relatively well kept secret made him a little paranoid about what was possible. Still, he tried not to overthink the situation too much. It really wasn't going to help, at least not at that particular moment.

He looked out on the horizon along with Sakurako; without binoculars, there really wasn't a whole lot that he could see, not that he was looking for anything in particular. Ralf wasn't even fidgeting; instead, he was quietly nibbling at a candy bar, considering what to say next.

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