It wasn't exactly unexpected that the ship Moem would prepare had Alya as the captain. The no-coed thing and the fact that he seemed to trust her a lot made things easy to explain. But it was likely that the real reason was how easier it would be to let her keep an eye on Anna's group.
Even if the captain made sense, though, why he choose this particular ship, a certain ADF Beehive, was a mystery.
From what Annabeth could see, it was a frigate, that was what her limited knowledge was saying, but it was a weird one. Different from all other ships, this one had a very short profile and barely any weapons. Only a single turreted gun, and a small one at that, on the bow and a couple of autocannons on strong points by the sides. It also lacked any torpedoes or depth charges, making its role hard to guess.
Other than that, the bridge was weirdly low in height and was somewhat set too much towards the stern of the ship. And so, for a ship with so few weapons, it still had little deck space even if most of it was empty and plain.
In summary, Annabeth was sure that this ship wasn't a common one, but she couldn't pinpoint what it was meant to do.
“What’s this ship, fairy? It ain’t what I was expectin’ fer sure…”
“Is that what, w-what you wanted to t-talk about?” The navy girl asked from behind the redhead observing the flat vessel. She was still looking down and her words were hard to hear, but Anna didn’t care much about it either way.
“Nay. It only somethin’ I got curious now… I’ll be puttin’ mah’ life in this ship, y’know? So, I kinda wanna know what the hells this’ meant to do.” Anna continued while also avoiding staring at her follower, even when she walked inside the ship without asking anything. “We’re scoutin’, and maybe, assaultin’ a place. Even if we try to sneak ‘round, we may end up fightin’ due to that, so I’d like to’ve a better punch.”
“I see…” A small voice agreed as it kept on following behind. “I-it’s not a problem then… This ship is… It’s… Well… This ship is better fighting alone and hidden. B-but I can’t explain… Yet…”
“Oho? Interestin’, ay? I’ll drop it fer now then.” The inquisitor, for once, stared at the shy girl with a hint of interest before turning around again. “So I’ll ask what I wanted before and we can talk ‘bout the ship later, ‘kay?”
She could see Alya nodding in agreement at the corner of her eyes, so it was good enough for now. It would be better to hear this explanation when the whole group was around either way.
Also, from what she could see from the base by their backs, a group of sailors was currently approaching the Beehive. And every single one of them seemed to be a female fairy. Likely the ones from that certain living quarter she saw even.
“A ship crewed by fairies, ay? I’m even more interested now, but well… That’s fer later.” The redhead then waved to the approaching sailors, many of which only answered with confusion. And then, she climbed the cannon turret as if it was natural to do so. “But now, do ya wanna join mah’ group?”
Alya was forced to stare upward only to see the inquisitor, which was, in turn, giving Anna a first decent glance at the fairy's face. Fulfilling this whim of hers was only half the reason the redhead had for choosing this seat though.
Either way, as the eccentric girl drew attention from the people preparing the ship to depart, Alya kept staring at her in silence. If it was due to the increasing number of eyes on her or only because it was too weird of a situation, Anna couldn't be sure.
Still, the white-haired girl eventually came to herself and opened her mouth again.
“W-what do you mean?” She finally spoke, drawing even more attention from the crew passing by. This wasn’t helping her talk, but it was sure to force her to speak clearly as a means of leaving faster. “I don’t get it…”
“It’s simple, mate… Havin’ you follow me ‘round the place’s a pain and if ya wanna keep an eye on me, it’d be easier fer you too.”
The fairy’s eyes grew in surprise after this explanation. From what Anna could tell, the little captain hadn’t noticed that her cover was blown out long ago.
It even brought a smile to the redhead, even if these shenanigans were a problem for her.
She wasn’t trustful enough to stay neutral while knowing that someone was, almost all the time, following her from the shadows no matter who this was. Her mind would keep urging her to 'deal with the spy' and this mentality could bring trouble. Also, having Alya in the group would make it easier to keep an eye on her too.
Once more, two birds with one shot.
“Y-y-you knew I was there? B-but how…?”
“Demon eye, special skill, yada yada… Y’all need to share information more, y’know? I explained this to the boss lady already.”
“I… I still, I still don’t get it...” The navy girl continued trying to understand the idea while the girl on the cannon refused to explain things she already explained once. But since it seemed to be a necessity, no matter how boring it was, she ended up conceding.
“Fine… Just think that, as long as yer close to me, I’ll be able to see ya, ‘kay? I also can hide much better than ya, so that’s that.” She explained in the fastest way she could while also being wary of the sailors moving around. “It ain’t a thing I can speak ‘ere too, so you’ll’ve to deal with it like this. At least fer now.”
For once, and only for a moment, Alya stared directly at Annabeth after hearing her explanation. She, of course, broke eye contact right away, but still, the situation seemed to have her attention.
“You… Well... W-what, what you gain from that? It sounds… sounds like a trick.”
It was a surprising question. And not only a surprising one, a very interesting too. One that made Annabeth smile as she started to think about what she heard.
“I get to watch ya. That’s what I gain ‘ere.” She explained while close to the point of starting to laugh. “And if you end up friendly, I can use ya too. And you’ll be usin’ me too in the meanwhile, by the way, just like the witch and the fox... A perfect symbiotic relation, ay?”
“I see…” The white captain looked away for a moment, seemingly acting as if she wasn’t up to the deal, until she spoke again, now to the crew of the ship. “A-attention, everyone! We… We’re going radio silent about this. I’ll… Well… I will handle all reports, understood?”
The sailor's reaction was very fast and very disciplined, although they didn't seem to do much eye contact too. In fact, Anna was starting to think that these girls were all of the same breed personality-wise. And how they would flee her gaze while working only helped this conclusion.
Also, seeing this shy girl stutter her way through commanding a group of sailors was weird, though. It was similar to how seeing Minako commanding her priests at the temple felt even.
Maybe it would be fair to consider that every member of the Bureau had a core following of loyal underlings. Or at least a core of similar-minded ones.
This move from Alya had ended her plan of using this meeting as a way to fish from moles though. Having their boss call radio silence was the same as raising the difficulty of leaking anything, and it wasn't as if anything she said here had enough worth to take the risk.
At least, there was a chance that the trade-off would be good.
“So… We've gotta deal?”
"Well...” Alya cut her words mid-phrase and, pulling all her strength on it, glared at Annabeth without using her bangs as cover. “As long as I can help the admiral… Then yes, it’s a deal.”
“Helpin’ the admiral, eh? Then I’ll be focusin’ on it fer now. All’s left’s presentin’ ya to the other girls…”
“I-I’ll do my best!”
Her excited words only furthered the amusement on Anna’s face. Simple-minded allies were the best kind, and as long as she wasn't lying here, this one girl seemed easy to deal. And this much was enough to raise the inquisitor's mood a little.“Well then, welcome to the party, whitey!"
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