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Gold felt his guts twist as his face went red. "I-I am not! I just thought it would be better to observe from a distance!" he choked. Fists clenched, he was once again tearing up as even the professor was laughing at him.

Silver(ado) making his pick, Gold furrowed his brow at the name Bjork. Moving back into the lab, letting his anger at Silver and Elm fuel him, he got as close to the lax Cyndaquil and modest Totodile as he dared. Gold swallowed as he reached his hand out to the Cyndaquil. "I think-"

Before he could finish, the Cyndaquil yawned, and with it, flame burst from its back as Gold had reached down. Feeling heat, Gold cried out, bouncing back. Luckily, his skin wasn't burned, but emotionally he had been. Gold grumbled, "Fine, I'll take that one." He nodded towards the Totodile before turning off.

"Shouldn't you give him a nickname?" Elm said, nudging Totodile after Gold.

Gold stopped, putting his hands into his hoodie pocket. "Like what?"

Elm tossed Gold and Silver the Pokéballs for their respective Pokémon as Cyndaquil lazily returned to his. "Well, something that captures the mood of the Pokémon, or your feelings towards it."

Totodile hopped up to Gold expectantly, bright eyes looking up at his new trainer.

Gold grimaced. "Antipathy." Totodile's mouth had already been hanging open, but at that, his jaw dropped low before Gold returned him to his ball. "Anti for short."

Elm let out a sigh, scratching his head. "Well, be safe."

Grabbing the case, Gold followed after Silver. "Cherrygrove's to the west." He remembered. "Also it's not Galdino, it's Gold."
Gold clenched his fists, but despite his exterior, Silver's words had cut, Gold once again beating back tears.

Not noticing Gold, Elm responded, "Oh, you wanted one? Well, labs distributing them is a limited, local service, so Gold is the only one eligible. However, for a foreigner like yourself, I might make an exception if you give Gold a hand."

Quelling a sniffle, Gold kept his head turned away, arms crossed. "I don't need help."

"Well, still sounds like you agree to take the errand!" Elm said, walking back to the machine a short ways away. Snapping up the three Pokéballs, he returned. "No takebacks."

Gold pouted, relenting. "What is that anyway?"

"It's an egg! If Mr. Pokémon and I have our suspicions confirmed..." Elm's eyes went dark, gaze distant as though it gazed into the past. "They'll see. They'll all see! No more will I be mocked!"

Clearing his throat, he ignored the slight fear on Gold's face. "Anyway." With a flick of his wrist, the three balls clattered on the ground, bursting open. Cyndaquil, Totodile, and Chikorita appeared, looking around as they took note of their surroundings.

The astute observe might have noticed that where Gold formerly stood, instead a dotted outline took his place, blinking for a few moments before fading away. Close to the entrance now, Gold stood, visibly unfettered despite having crossed half the lab in moments.
Gold glanced between the key pulled from under the mat, and the set of keys in Elm's hand. Gold felt as though it was wiser to say nothing. As Elm moved to go back into the lab to search for his missing keys, Gold explained, "I'm not xenophobic! I didn't know this nerd was from Kanto!"

The door to the lab opening, Gold sighed in relief as he saw that it was empty of other people or Pokémon. Forcing Silver to come along, he kept talking. "Mom told me to take care of an errand, and I saw this guy being suspicious!"

"See, were those extra syllables that difficult?" Elm responded as he took a seat at his desk, setting his briefcase down. There was a slight clatter as his keys came free, but he didn't notice. "Oh, that's right. You were going to take care of that."

Gold raised an eyebrow as Elm cracked open the briefcase. Lodged within the the cut, protective filling was an egg shaped...egg, patterned with red and blue hollow triangles. "I was going to deliver this to Mr. Pokémon for his educated opinion. He lives outside of Cherrygrove. The trip should take more than a few hours."

Gold went cold. Mr. Pokémon sounded like the last person he'd ever want to meet. "Ch-Cherrygrove? You mean, 'not-New Bark Town' Cherrygrove?"

Elm's eyes went empty. "Galdino..."

Don't pull out the first name on me! Gold anguished. "B-but there's wild Pokémon! I can't do anything about that."

"I'll give you one of mine!"

"But I've never been outside of town before."

Elm's neck turned at an odd pace as he looked to Silver. "He can go with you."

"Wat," Gold grunted.

Elm smiled at Silver, but it was not a gentle one. It was full of cunning and a knowledge forbidden to this world. "If he helps you, I'll overlook his prior indiscretions. Sounds good to me!"
"I-I have strong fingers! So what!" Gold retorted, getting pink in the face. "And I'm not making trouble! You're making trouble! I'm supposed to be here! My mom..." Gold's words died on his throat, as he realized how profoundly embarrassing they were, turning from pink to red.

Doubling down, he admitted, "My mom asked me to run an errand, okay!?" Jabbing a finger right back he was clearly losing his compsure. "It's none of your business anyway!"

"Why are you yelling in front of my lab!?"

Gold gawked as he turned to see Professor Elm, briefcase and set of keys in one hand. Gaping like a fish, Gold aimed his finger at Silver. "He was being sus!"

"...Use full words please." Gold was too busy beating back the tears in his eyes to respond.
Gold stared. It was a blank stare, accompanied by an upturned lip of disgust. Does he think he's smooth?

Against his better judgement, Gold slipped his hands into the center pocket of his hoodie. "No, I don't listen to them. Or much of any music really. Actually I really don't do much of anything..." The light faded from his eyes, a wave of raw, pathetic energy dripping off of him like sap from a tree. Shaking his head, he stomped forward, Silver's overly loud music finally meeting his ears.

"...Why does that sound like it belongs on a Saturday morning kids show?" slapping his forehead, he growled, "Don't answer that, it doesn't matter." Grabbing Silver by the scruff of his shirt, the normally awkward boy was similarly gripped by an ill fitting sense of justice. "We're going to see the Professor, I don't trust you."

Dragging him back to the front of the lab, Gold grabbed the handle of the door, only to find it rather locked. Knocking with the butt of his fist, he called, "Hello!?" Silence. Letting go of Silver he said, "Fine then. You're still not leaving my sight though. You're sus."
Sneakers thumping down the dirt roads that made up so much of the quiet New Bark Town, the sweaty owner felt fresh air as his black and gold cap slipped from his head. Skidding to a stop, Gold glanced around, only to find the nearby area quiet and peaceful. Chest heaving under his red and white hoodie, he went back to scoop up his head wear, brushing it off before slipping it back onto his black hair.

Putting his back to rest against a nearby tree, he collapsed against it, catching his breath. "Why don't people keep their pets leashed?" he groaned, so very tired of the morning routine of avoiding the notice of his neighbor's Poochyena. Pulling out a fairly new Pokéapp Gear, the protective shutter opening with the input of a security code, his glance at the current time was interrupted by a ray of the rising sun, poking through the branches and poking him in the eyes. Shifting away, he kept to the shade, playing a quick app game to calm himself. Partway through, he stood back up, glancing around to check his surroundings, spotting a Caterpie in the tree above him. Grimacing, he skittered away, starting his walk back to the center of town, head buried low in a desire to shut himself off from that world around him. His walk through the woods was familiar, but it wasn't as though he truly had much direction.

As the woods started to thin, buildings becoming a bit more common, Gold gawked as his Gear vibrated with a new text messages, distracting him and leading to yet another loss. Glaring, he closed the game in frustration before giving the message a read.

I wanted to talk to you this morning before you left.
Before you come home can you see Professor Elm?
It would help a lot sweetie:)


Gold cringed at the smiley face, a little to close to the prior text for his liking. And dated at that. But it wasn't as though he had room to complain. She was more comfortable with talking in person, while Gold didn't feel like talking to her if he didn't need to.

Bing bing!

Gold jumped a the sound of a bicycle bell came up from his side. "Don't stand in the middle of the road," the police officer said, casually scolding him as he drove by.

"Yes sir," Gold replied, not even trying to concealing his bitterness. Stomach growling, he took a quick stop at the Mart to get a bite to eat, munching on some banana bread as he looked down the side road that he knew would take him to Elm's lab. Another groan escaping his lips, he started down that path, knowing he couldn't simply ignore his mom. He never had, he'd always been obedient, if obstinate otherwise. As he worked himself through the problem, he recalled that the lab, one full of valuable equipment, couldn't be full of Pokémon, right? It would be fine inside...most likely...probably...hopefully...

Kicking a nearby stone, he walked on, horfing down his banana bread with anger flaring in his yellow eyes. Crumpling the wrapper in his hands, he stopped in front of the lab the large door looming in front of him.

...

...

Gold slipped his hands into his pockets, meandering for a moment. Nervously, he crept up to the door, placing his ear against it, but was unable to hear anything inside. Realizing there might be windows he could peek into, he crept around the side of a building, before coming to a dead stop as he spotted someone else, about his age, already engaged with the lab's windows.

"Oi! What are you skulking around for?" called the would be skulker to the red haired one.
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. Wednesday, 10:27
Amegakure

Team 3’s return to Shigeki had them re-seated in a fresh room, the normally slow restaurant quite accommodating. Of course, serving reheated stew would be reprehensible for any establishment, so a fresh round of orders had been taken, the team now waiting for both their leader and the long awaited meal.

After a brief wait, food yet to arrive at the table, the door to the restaurant slid open once again. But rather than be joined by their leader, instead, a brown haired shinobi girl in red and yellow, Amegakure headband on her forehead under her swept, short hair. Spotting team 3, a brief look of surprise crossed her face, but she didn’t hesitate for long, approaching the table as the second ninja to intrude in the past hour. Refreshingly, she wasn’t in a hurry, no particular urgency in her movements, but they were rather stiff and formal. Though the casual air of the quiet restaurant, bubbling and clattering from the kitchen clearly audible as work was being done, the shinobi introduced herself, stooping on to one knee, fist planted on the ground as she relayed her orders.

“My apologies for the interruption. My name is Tenjin Suzuko. I’ve been ordered to support team 3 on their next mission, and…”

Drifting from proper procedure, Suzuko had only just now noticed that she was only referring to part of team 3. One of the cell was missing, and Suzu didn’t think the commander was here at the moment given that the team was squashed into one side of the table. Looking over the bunch, she didn’t recognize them by face and name at once. She recognized some of her fellow Ame shinobi she’d seen around, naturally, and she had been briefed on the name of her teammates, but putting name and appearance together on her own was a minefield of awkwardness she’d rather not have to traverse. She hadn’t heard bad things about team 3, per se, but the individuals were of enough renown to go by various intimidating epithets despite not being much older than Suzuko herself. At most: one of the present trio was certainly younger than her. Suzu knew she’d asked to be put on new work sooner rather than later, but faced with what she'd asked for, she was feeling more like an outsider than she had in a while.

“...and, I’m about as privy to your next mission as you are, so I’ll stand by for the time being. Excuse me.” Standing in full, she took a step back from the table as the waitress came by, handing out everyone’s orders. Waving away an offer for her own order to be taken, Suzu merely kept at attention, evoking a sort of bodyguard as team 3 was left with their meals at last. Aroma reaching her nose, Suzu felt her mouth water, but maintained her will. Her stomach acted on its own accord however, rumbling ever so slightly.

Location: New York City, New York
United States v. Banner – 2.02

Interaction(s): None
Previously: 2.01

“First degree murder?” Bruce paled. It was the strongest reaction Jeremy had seen out of the man.

A STRATEGY MEETING, SEVERAL DAYS BEFORE THE TRIAL

“Damage of public, private, and federal property, over 40 counts of assault leading to injury, all across both primary incidents, and yes, the first degree murder of Brian Banner.”

Listing off the charges, Jeremy swiveled his chair a bit, watching Bruce out of the corner of his eye as he processed what they were dealing with. The two were joined by Betty Ross and Rick Jones, leaving all the legal expertise in Jeremy’s hands. That said, Bruce was a lucky man to have people willing to stand with him even now, when so much of the country was fully against them.

“Well, I don’t think we can do much about the destruction of property or assault charges, but maybe we can lower the murder charge,” Rick suggested. Bruce winced.

“I mean...do you even remember what happened?” Bruce bobbed his head back and forth, not committing to either a nod or a shake of his head.

“Well, the body wasn’t found. It’s only witness testimony and evidence from his apartment and security cameras. Brian and Bruce went in, Hulk came out.”

“Well, Brian came out too, supposedly,” Rick noted, grimacing as Bruce shifted uncomfortably. Jeremy swallowed: Hulk had left the apartment from the roof, but a window was shattered, the blood on the glass belonging to Brian. They hadn’t been able to find where he’d landed, just more blood, thus he had technically been declared missing up until some time after Bruce had been apprehended. What was once a cold case had been accelerated, another great sign that everything was fine.

Jeremy observed, “I mean it might be in our best interests to shoot for a kind of Jekyll/Hyde defense. Plead automatism through disassociation. It’s not like you’re you when you’re…”

“I am hungry actually.” Jeremy’s mouth narrowed. Bruce gave a slight smile, having gotten the reaction he was looking for.

“It’s not impossible, but...there’s a can of worms there when metahuman powers are taken into account.”

“The Hulk isn’t the same as some teen erupting into flame for the first time and burning down their classroom. I don’t want to try and run from anything I’ve done as the Hulk. This trial is bigger than him...me. I’m going to make it very clear to the jury...”

THE TRIAL

“I am Bruce Banner, and I am the Hulk.”

Raymond, the plaintiff attorney, shot a bemused look to Bruce, sitting in the stand. Jeremy figured that they had called up Bruce first to steal the momentum out from under the defense, starting them on the back foot, but given his tone of voice, it was a move on the cusp of backfiring.

Really? Fascinating. You were...conscious, of everything you did as the Hulk?”

“No, I can’t say that I was. I usually remember bits and pieces after the fact, but at no point during either of the two attacks was I aware of or in control of my actions as the Hulk.”

Raymond was at once, getting what he wanted served to him on a silver platter: Bruce’s accountability, but it remained wrapped up in that enigma that was the Hulk. “So, he is you, but he’s not you?”

“I believe so.” Bruce said, answering without an answer.

“Can you provide any evidence either way?”

Bruce admitted, “I think there’s plenty of footage online that displaces a clear difference in basically all speech and mannerisms. A few physiologists have given opinions (we have their statements prepared), but if the casual testimony of several experts isn’t good enough, then our only option for further study is face to face sessions. Unsurprisingly, no one has been willing to go that far, first of all being myself. Beyond that, no, I can’t prove that I don’t remember something I’ve only heard of after the fact. Unless you have any ideas.”

Raymond stared with one eye, before rolling his fingers with one hand. “Alright then. So, in your words, what is the Hulk?”

Bruce took a deep breath, before delving into his breakdown. “I’ve yet to put him under the figurative microscope myself, but I can speak to my experiences. The Hulk only emerges when I’m feeling a particularly strong emotion, or when I’m in a life threatening circumstance. Typically, it’s anger. Before the attack on El Diablo, I was led to believe my girlfriend was in danger.”

“And in New York? Did Brian Banner threaten Miss Ross? She was in the city at the time. Or was it you who was in danger? Was the man who could become the Hulk, in truth, threatened by a middle aged man?” Bruce swallowed, bringing a thumb to his mouth, lightly gnawing on the knuckle, handcuff chain clinking lightly.

“What did happen there, Bruce?” Rick had asked back at the strategy meeting. And just like now, Bruce had shut down, only a few moments later managing to state that he’d be able to talk about it at the trial, Jeremy recalled. Exchanging looks with Betty, the woman showing concern, Jeremy shifted in his seat to stand while Raymond continued, “Bruce? Are you with us?”

Clearing his throat, Jeremy stood. “Your honor, if I may: recollecting the events of that particular night is clearly putting undue stress on my client. I might ask that we postpone Bruce Banner’s testimony regarding that incident until he is mentally prepared to give his account, and address other witnesses, if the plaintiff is done questioning him?”

Judge Haywood let his eyes linger on Bruce, before stating, “I will leave it to your discretion, Mr. Royton.”

Ray nodded. “I’ll abstain from that particular incident for the time being.” With a cocksure smile, he added, “Wouldn’t want to meet the green guy.” There was a murmur of amusement from the crowd. Betty gripped her pen hard, Jeremy himself feeling a bubble of anger as Bruce’s circumstance was made into the butt of a joke.

“So, just to make sure I have everything straight: you aren’t aware of what happens while you’re the Hulk, but you become him because of your emotional state.”

“Thus, I consider myself accountable for his actions.

“I see. Well, your subjective account is just that. We’re here to determine if under the law of the land, you are accountable for the Hulk. It would smooth things over if you tried to speak more objectively, when possible. As a scientist, I would think you understand?” Bruce shrugged. “Out loud, for the court reporter, if you would,” Ray said with a smile.

“I do.” Bruce sighed.

With a nod, Raymond summarized, “While self-defense, sorry, defense of your girlfriend, may have been applicable: tearing up a military base, and stomping down over a dozen soldiers and SHIELD operatives, including getting into a tussle with the Captain America, would go outside those bounds.”

“I feel as though you’re simplifying the argument. I’m simply trying to state that the Hulk should be treated like a being, one that is an extension of myself. My comments were intended to be general. I would prefer if you avoided applying what I say generally to specific instances.”

Raymond admitted, “I’m simply following the logic you yourself have put out.”

“You’re taking advantage of the fact that I don’t know the whole truth of the incident from memory, even though I was there in body.”

“I was doing no such thing!” Raymond retorted, looking to the judge, who gave him a motion to keep things going.

Bruce did so. “My approach to the base was because I believed Betty to be in danger, yes, but who started the actual conflict?” Bruce let that hang in the air, Raymond caught off guard. “Did the Hulk bust through the gates, roaring, as he ought to do? Or did the guards panic and fire at him at first sight, prompting self defense?”

Jeremy hid a wide grin under his hand. He didn’t know what exactly was going on behind the scenes, but the rushed nature of the trial had opened all kinds of holes in the plaintiff's case. They appeared to have been trying to trap Bruce by using what he didn’t know against him, but that had been flipped back on them pretty easily.

That smile fell, however, when Jeremy noticed Raymond was unfettered. “I think a soldier is well within his rights to defend his base from any apparent threat, but rather than from my mouth, I can gladly bring out the next witness.” turning to address the court, he stated, “Given the rather exceptional nature of these incidents, I felt as though a baseline of accountability should be established right from the beginning. As Mr. Bruce Banner states, the Hulk transformation is triggered from his personal emotional reactions, while as the Hulk, he’s unsure, requiring further analysis based on accounts of people who do know what happens when the defendant has become the Hulk. Any further comments at this time?” Bruce shook his head. “Nope.” Raymond looked to the judge.

Judge Haywood asked, “Would the defense like the take the opportunity to question the current witness before he takes his leave of the stand?”

Mind rushing, Jeremy was on the back foot now. “No, your honor.” He’d thought they had the upper hand, but now it was him who was tripping up, trying to find the right course of action.

“Thank you Mr. Banner, I expect we’ll be seeing you up here again. Call your next witness, plaintiff.” As the judge spoke, Jeremy realized his error, and where Raymond was taking this.

Raymond glanced at the defense table as Bruce took a seat, a slight smile at the edge of his lips. “I would like to call Emil Blonsky to the stand.”
SEVEN NAUTICAL MILES OUTSIDE OF PALETTE ISLAND, THE SEASHARK SHADOW-ROCK FORMATION.

The Hinnon Breeze was riding along swiftly on the waves. It was a good day for sailing. The skies were clear, the sun was shining and the wind was at their back. Their sails full and their spirits were well. That was, until the cowboy in the nest on top of the mast spotted something in the far distance with his eaglelike vision. Something coming closer to him.

“Oi! Everyone! We got incoming! Starboard side!” He yelled, as the others would pay attention to the galley on their side. The marine vessel belonging to the 41st unit. An auxiliary force of the marines patrolling the entrance into the Grand Line. In pirate-language, it’s what they call a ‘big fucking problem’. Lina poked her head out of the kitchen window, Macario from the door of his own vessel still leashed to the Breeze. “I guess there are still Marines in these parts, huh?”

“Ehhhh,” Lina mused, noting the size of the vessel, notably larger than the one they’d encountered a few weeks ago. However, she didn’t move from her spot, thinking little of it all and going back to work, while Macario, more cautious, hopped up onto the deck proper, keeping an eye out.

On the marine ship, the spotters had already gotten a bead on the Hinnon Breeze. The black flag on top of their mast alerted them that this was a hostile ship. And a pirate ship, nonetheless. Those didn’t come around here very often. The bored marines were all iching for a fight. That is, till one of the men in the secondary lookout nest noticed that there were no more than three or four people on the ship. That wasn’t much of a fight. The Marines let out a painfully bored sigh as they all reverted back to their non-combat positions.

All but one. The Captain of the ship, perched up in the highest lookout point of the vessel, her long gun positioned on the railing. She was kneeling to get onto the right height. Her scope seeing each of the three people on the ground, focusing on the blonde man. The new batch of bounty-orders had come in for the North Blue earlier that day, and the woman smirked as he could clearly see that the man she had in her scope was the 50 million-upstarting pirate and former Marine. Gemma Matrix hated deserters.

As the bullet would rip for Chester’s throat, Kuhn had spotted the glint from the scope, and leapt down onto the main deck, shouting for Chester to get down. The Captain ignored what the gunner told him, as the latter pushed him out of the way, the bullet ripping past him, grazing his shoulder as they both fell to the floor.

Kuhn rolled on the ground, to the side where his long rifle was propped. Grabbing it and very quickly taking a position on the mast. Loading in one of his special bullets, he fired at the sniper in the marine ship. The bullet exploded with a charge of TNT, blowing up the nest, the Marine Captain having gotten out of it right before impact, but lost her position.

“We've gotta fight on our hands!” Chester howled, excitedly. Not even caring that he had just narrowly escaped death. The Marines were all gearing up for battle as the ship turned around towards the Breeze, aiming to get into cannon range.

Rolling his shoulder, Macario muttered, “Guess Marines are Marines. Shoulda thought twice about shacking up with pirates but here we are.” From below there was some stomping, Lina’s light blue sundress rustling as she shouted, “What was that!? What did Chester do this time!?”

“No time to point blame” Kuhn shouted, as he moved his hand to indicate to Lina that she needed to get over here. Kuhn pulled off the Tarp covering the new cannon they had bought, as he glanced at the old one.

“It should still shoot with a little bit of fixing. Captain, Scholar, please fire this one. I’ll fix the other one. Lina, help me.” Kuhn told them. Lina went to help while Chester nodded in agreement… And confusion. He looked at the cannon, and then at Macario, then at the cannon, and then at the stack of cannonballs.

Macario frowned. “What is that look?” With the old cannon a bit further away on the deck, the two were out of earshot, especially as the ringing of cannons sounded out, Marines firing their test shots, still going wide, but each one alluding to the coming barrage as the Marine battleship began to approach, heading to cut off their path and preparing to sail side to side with the Breeze once it was closer.

Chester looked at the cannon, fiddling with it. Unable to figure out how to open it up to load the cannon into it. In fact, he couldn’t even figure out how to prep it to get the fuse lit. Not to mention such things as calibrating the aim. He glared at Macario. “Do… Do you know how?” He asked, sheepishly.

“Uhhhhhhh…” Macario murmured. “I’m gonna be honest, I know how to throw a punch but aside from that I’m definitely in the ‘make research papers, not war’ kind of camp.” The whistling of a cannonball coming particularly close, Macario raised a fist, but it merely impacted the water, the force shaking the boat. Flexing a hand, Macario said, “We might have to improvise.”

Chester grinned at the idea. “You’re not all bad, Mac.” Chester told him, as he grabbed a fistful of cannonball. “Watch this!” He growled as he threw the cannonball at an incoming one, the two exploding in the air.

Macario gawked. “Are you crazy!?” Tensing, he raised his fist, but while he did indeed have a ranged attack, it was no gun, not by a long shot. Mid range would be a more accurate descriptor: he could punch someone on the other side of a room, but now with this alternative in front of him, using it to block cannonballs was…

“Scoot over,” Macario said as he stepped forwards, snatching up a cannonball and holding at the ready. Eyes narrowing at a black spot growing as it got closer, he fired it off. Unfamiliar with throwing them and not possessing the same dumb luck as Chester, it went wide, so Macario reared back his fist. “Xun!” It was pretty close for comfort, but the cannonball exploded from Macario’s ranged punch, the explosion rocking the boat. He didn’t like having to use it, but even so, he had it in the wings if needed. Reaching over, he grabbed another cannonball. “Alright, it’s not that stupid…”

Chester grinned. “See, I told you! Genius! Watch this!” Chester joked, grabbing a ball, and pointing towards another one the marines had just fired, he twirled around and threw it with a motion starting from his back, hitting it mid-air. “Ka-boom!” He shouted as the two iron balls collided, exploding. “Let’ em have it, Macario!” The captain shouted, grabbing another two balls and chucking them at the marine ship, not quite making enough distance, as the larger vessel grew ever closer.

The two continued their cannon-less assault, but it could only go on for so long before they expended their store of ammo. Macario had been a bit more conservative with his use, meaning that reaching to find no cannonballs left him with a grumpy look on his face. Switching to the backup, a ranged fist knocked another cannonball out of the air, but with the ship encroaching, they were about to have to deal with way more. The sails were unfurled but Macario realized no one was manning the helm. “Oh shit!” He cried, scampering over to the wheel. Their course had been a bit erratic, guided by the waves, but only now did someone take hold of it. Eyes scanning the horizon he hadn’t spotted their destination quite yet, but it wasn’t a good time for that anyway so he merely kept the course evasive.

While Macario darted for the wheel, Chester picked up the slack, throwing cannonballs twice as fast, but half as accurately, with careless abandon that for his entire journey had been his signum. With his accelerated chucking of the iron balls, the carts that were loaded were quickly empty, and Chester realized he was out of ammo. And soon after he had, the marines began advancing, now that the hail of balls was over and the pirate vessel’s defenses were rendered inert they could safely sail towards the Breeze. Chester grabbed a bottle and took a swig, deciding to look for more cannonballs. He shouted at Macario.

“We’re out of ammo, I’m gonna look for more! Use your fist-stuff to knock out any incoming fire!” He yelled, disappearing under the deck as the marine cannon-fire once more ensued, now from closer range.

“Eh- Wha- buh- Muh-,” Macario stammered helplessly as Chester ducked out of sight. One arm on the wheel, as he spotted a cannonball headed their way, he jumped off, firing another Xun off before jumping back to the wheel. The ship’s movement was a bit erratic as a result, which assisted in evasion, somewhat, but as a result, their escape was staggered, the Breeze failing to make any headway in escaping the marine pursuit. Another cannonball sailing through the air, Macario’s jaw slowly dropped, matching its descent, when he noticed it was heading towards his ship. Sprinting away from the steering wheel, he was too late, an explosion splintering the wood of his cabin. Macario smelled smoke. “No no no no no no no no no n-” he shouted, hopping down, ripping his shirt off and soaking it in seawater to deal with the flames.

Emerging from below the deck, Chester came out yelling, carrying four, embroidered and engraved cannon balls under his arms, On each of them sat a note “DO NOT TOUCH - KUHN”, Chester, of course, touched. Loading it into the cannon up on the deck, he fired, missing the mark, horribly. The ball exploded into a pool of raw rum on the sea where it hit, several meters in front of where the Marine ship was.

Chester loaded the other into the cannon, but it was taking too long, so he decided to simply just throw the three of them, all at once. One hit the marines, taking out the very top of their mast, making screws and bolts fall onto them, the other contained some kind of sleeping gas and silver-misted gunpowder.

They were out of firepower and the marines were about to sink them. Up from the docks emerged Kuhn and Lina. The gunner was angry. Really angry. The other cannon didn’t work, he couldn’t fix it and he saw how close the marines were getting. Kuhn realized what Chester had done and his look went dark, walking up to the captain, his coat blowing in the wind as a cannonball whizzed past him, his fist clenched as it was pulled, like a trigger and with all of the ferocity of his firearm, his fist was planted into Chester’s jaw, making the captain stagger backwards.

“YOU STUPID SON OF A BITCH!” Kuhn yelled, Chester grinned, headbutting Kuhn in the nose and then hitting him in the chest, sending him back into the door down below the deck.
“You wanna fight, NOW?!” The captain asked, a little excited at the prospect to fight the gunslinger himself.

A smack resounding throughout the deck, it was as though the cannonfire was drowned out. A red mark on Chester’s face, Lina’s expression one of frustration, she lowered her hand, eyes rimmed with tears. “What are you doing!? We’re in danger right now!”

As if to punctuate matters, a cannonball exploded, rocking the deck of the Breeze. The three stumbled from the force, catching themselves to various degrees, Lina hopping on one foot as the deck rocked back to catch her other leg, Chester was still rubbing his red cheek, and Kuhn was too angry to come up from under the deck. Not before he could figure out a way to beat Chester to death with his revolver.. As the sound faded out, damage done, cries came from within the ship. “It hurts it HURTS!”

Hands gripping her sun hat, Lina grimaced, spouting, “We have to get out of here!”
Kuhn stayed under the deck, investigating the old cannon once more, as if he hoped he was wrong before. Looking it over, he realized a thing. It was loaded. Completely unfireable and it would, like he and Lina figured out before, take far too long to repair. But it was loaded. One cannonball.

He walked up the deck, iron-ball under his arm, Chester smiled upon seeing him “Aaay!” He yelled, Kuhn shrugged him off, his other hand resting on his revolver. “Let me save our assess. Man the helm, please. And after we’re safe, and da lady Lina is no longer in danger, you and me, Cap’n, are going to have a serious fucking discussion.” Kuhn warned, loading the cannon, the marine ship was now so close they could make out the faces of the people onboard, Kuhn being broken out of his anger for a second, upon seeing the strawberry-blonde hair of the woman from his past, standing on the mast of the ship. Jenna Matrix.

“Forgive me, mon ami.” He said, as he fired the cannon, straight into armory, where the gunpowder was kept on the marine ship, a series of explosions erupting, incapacitating the ship and making it block the path for the ships behind it. The Hinnon Breeze could sneak around the bend, and into safe harbor.

But another storm was brewing for the crew onboard. One born from within the ranks of the Breeze, and Chester was gonna feel the winds.
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