"Let's Treasure Navigate~!"
Navi squealed her usual fanfare before flying up into the air, in precisely four and three-quarters circles, then smashing spectacularly into one of the porthole windows that decorated the side of the galleon. "The danger that comes, the doctor knows best..." she trailed off as she slid down the glass and into the window's cradle.
"Hakase...?" Ahim mused to herself as she stood and retrieved the not-bird from her resting place. There were a few different words that meant doctor, but Navi had specifically used hakase in her fortune, which turned every set of eyes in the room to the surprised-looking blond sitting on the sofa.
There was a beat, then a cry of shock as Gai leaped to his feet and pointed blatantly at Doc. Attention shifted from Doc, to Gai, then back to Doc again as the noisier boy failed to have anything relevant to add.
Ahim took another step back towards the couch. "Doc-san, would you happen to know anything about this clue?"
Doc raised his hands in denial and shook his head, blond curls bouncing about in the process. "No, not a thing!" He looked at each of the crew's curious faces in turn, then jumped from the couch and pulled Navi from Ahim's arms. "What kind of danger is coming? What kind of doctor are we looking for? Navi, tell them it isn't me!"
Before Doc could shake the not-bird too violently, she was plucked from his hands by a somewhat annoyed Captain Marvelous. "Oi, don't beat the bird up too badly," he half-commanded in his usual drawl. Navi began to stutter thanks before the smirk spread across Marvelous' face and he continued, "Wait until after it's given a better fortune to beat it up, yeah?"
Navi pulled herself out of the captain's hands and began flitting about the cabin nervously, shocking Gai out of his stupor by smacking him in the head in the process. "That's all for today! Try again tomorrow, maybe?" she squealed, then before any of the crew could stop her, flitted through a door and off towards the inner depths of the galleon. With a leap, Luka started to follow her, but gave up before she even made it down the stairs.
"Well, that was less useful than usual," Luka muttered as she walked back towards the lounging area. Marvelous was back to sitting in his chair, foot tapping anxiously against the wooden floor, while Joe was back to doing sit-ups on the nearby bench. Rubbing his head sullenly, Gai nodded in agreement and sat back down in a chair.
Ahim, however, was seated on the couch next to a distraught Doc, one gentle hand clasping both of his as she tried to reassure him. "Navi tends to give us rather vague hints, Doc-san," she said kindly, smiling lightly all the while. "I am sure she was referring to some other doctor, or professor, down on the surface, and not commenting on your own personal knowledge."
"But what if Navi did mean me?" Doc pressed, worry evident as much in his voice as it was in his slightly trembling body. "What if I know something that can help us but I don't know that I know it? How am I supposed to help us then?"
"Eh, whatever," Luka said dismissively as she sat on the corner of the table. "It's probably some former warrior down on Earth anyway. No use getting worked up over it."
Joe finished a sit-up and turned to sit normally on the bench, reaching for a nearby towel to wipe the sweat away from his brow. "And we won't find them sitting here talking about it, either."
"Right," Marvelous said, drawing the crew's attention back to him and the serious grin spreading on his face. "So let's get going!"
The hospital was normally a flurry of hustle and bustle to begin with, but people were moving even more quickly as the two pirates more-or-less calmly strolled through the hallway. On one hand, Doc thought to himself, walking so boldly through a place of healing while being openly known as wanted pirates might not have been the most considerate of ideas.
On the other hand, he mused as he followed Ahim, who was lost in her own quietly determined concentration, at least it was the two of them and not Marvelous or Luka. Or Marvelous and Luka. He gulped, then let go of Ahim's elbow as they made their way around yet another corner and nearly ran into a bespectacled man in a white coat with a stethoscope slung around his neck.
"Oh, please excuse us," Ahim said quickly and politely with a perfect little curtsey. "Would you happen to be a doctor?" When the man nodded, she smiled and continued, "Could you please tell us everything you know?"
Doc groaned inwardly and slumped against the wall. It was going to be a long day...
It was still during a class period, so the hallways were generally quiet, but a growing buzz of whispers and gossip gathered behind Luka and Joe anyway as they walked through the university building. Luka peeked back at one point to see groups of heads poking out of each doorway, watching the pirates with anxious eyes.
"Let's make this quicker," she muttered towards Joe, who nodded mutely. A sign at the end of the hall caught her attention and she pointed towards it. "The faculty room's that way. You go talk to those guys, and I'll take care of this end." She grinned and gave another wave behind Joe at another classroom that was gaping at her through the doorway.
"Got it." Joe nodded and walked in the indicated direction as Luka darted into the classroom, effectively cutting off the lecture in process. She leaned up against the doorframe and waited semi-patiently for the professor to notice her existence.
It didn't take long, as the students were whispering among themselves and pointing at the yellow pirate. The teacher, an older man with graying hair and the stereotypical patched tweed coat, turned to face her with annoyance. "Excuse me, young lady, but I'm-" He cut off halfway through his planned rebuke before realizing exactly who was interrupting his class in the first place.
"Hey there, doc." Luka grinned and kicked off from the doorframe. "Let's cut to the chase – tell me what you know that's dangerous, okay?"
Hunting down Liveman Yellow had been unfruitful, and the former Gao Red hadn't been able to fill them in on anything they didn't already know regarding the Zangyack empire or any other assorted dangers. Gai was wracking his brain for some other former sentai professor while Marvelous followed him with more than a little bit of frustration starting to show on his brow.
This sort of hunt-and-peck, trial-and-error searching was starting to drive him a bit batty, and doing it all with the overzealous Gokai Silver was taking its toll on his patience. He knew Gai meant well, and was just trying to help in his own way, but the pirate captain would have been much happier with a seat-of-the-pants interrogation rampage through the nearest marketplace. Preferably one with lots and lots of food.
Appropriately, Marvelous' stomach growled its desire for food and Gai stopped neatly, midsentence, in his tracks. "Ah, we've been walking all day, haven't we?" he asked without expecting a reply. He looked around and noticed a pair of vending machines a block back and across the street. "I'll grab us something to snack on, be right back!" He darted across the street and left Marvelous to wait against a nearby telephone pole.
The sun had just recently set, and darkness was still settling on that particular area, so Marvelous was – although he wouldn't ever admit to it – taken a bit by surprise when a silken voice started talking in his ear. "Looking for something to do tonight?" it asked, and the pirate took a completely and totally planned step away as he spun to look at the speaker. It was a woman, wearing a rather short blue sequined dress and pulling a little white feathered wrap tightly around her arms. "Can I help?"
Marvelous regained his composure and folded his arms casually across his chest. "That depends. Are you a doctor?"
The woman smiled and leaned in close, her lips just millimeters from Marvelous' own. "For you, honey, I can be your doctor all night long."
There were words on the tip of Marvelous' tongue, something about making her tell him everything she knew, and then Gai was grabbing him by the elbow and pulling him down the sidewalk. "No, no thank you," the younger boy called back to the stunned woman. "We're good, have a good night!" He continue to pull his somewhat resisting captain along until they'd rounded a corner and were neatly out of sight.
"What'd you do that for?" Marvelous growled, yanking his arm back to its proper place at his side. "She said she was a doctor!"
Gai stared at him a moment, then leaned in close so that nobody else around could possibly hear their discussion. "She was a, a..." Words failed Gai for a moment, and he blushed as he found ones that would work. "She was a prostitute! She would have said anything if that meant you'd, you know...purchase her, um, services."
A frown creased Marvelous' face, and he leaned back to glimpse around the corner for just a second before Gai pulled him back to safety. "So she lied?"
"Of course she lied!" Gai cried out incredulously, before slapping his hands across his mouth. When he lifted them away he had lowered his voice back down to nearly a whisper. "All she had to do is give you a little...you know...and she would've told you anything you wanted. Except it wouldn't have been anything we needed."
The frown turned into a look of bemused puzzlement, and Marvelous tilted his head. "A little...you know, huh?"
Gai threw his hands up in the air and started to stalk down the sidewalk, picking up pace after confirming his captain was following behind. "Really, Marvelous...how are you a pirate and you don't know something like this?" Darkness finished falling as the street lamps all lit up, and the two crewmates headed back up towards the galleon together, one far more pensive than the other.
Dinner that night was a bit on the muted side, with the crew generally discouraged from what was essentially a fruitless day. Luka and Joe hadn't found anything of note at the university they'd stalked, and Ahim and Doc had been just as unlucky at the hospital. There was a general agreement of trying different places the next day, but overall the crewmates were happiest just to get some food into their rumbling bellies.
It wasn't long before Doc and Ahim were clearing away the dishes, and then everyone retreated to their own space to relax in their own way – Joe to do his restless exercises, Luka keeping watch in the crows nest, Ahim and Gai picking through some random Earth magazine at the table, and Doc working on tweaking some parts of the ship's computer. Marvelous busied himself with tossing darts at the board while thinking through his own thoughts on the day.
Rarely had one of Navi's fortunes ever been this difficult to pin down. Sure, there was the black clothes hint, that had led them somewhat astray the first try. And tiger's child hint, which they'd given up on until Ahim and Doc had stumbled upon it themselves. He threw another dart, which was only a hair off its mark, and eyed up the ship's doctor as he puttered around the computer's dash. It didn't feel right to Marvelous to think that this clue could lead to any other person than Doc himself. Who else could it be?
Time had passed more swiftly than Marvelous had realized, as Gai and Ahim were no longer in the room, and even Doc was stretching and yawning. The blond turned around midstretch and caught Marvelous' gaze, then nearly fell backwards from surprise. "Marvelous!" he cried quietly, gripping each side of the dash for support. "I didn't even notice you were still down here."
Something clicked in the pirate captain's head, and he could feel a plan forming as he spoke. "Everyone else go to bed already, huh?" he asked without asking, putting his dart and bracelet down on the table as he meandered over towards Doc.
"Aha, yeah," Doc chuckled, just a bit nervously, and took another step back towards the computer's interface. "But I think I've managed to tweak the ship's computer just enough that it might help us out tomorrow in searching for this doctor we're looking for."
Marvelous paused midstep and snorted lightly. "Why bother with the ship computer? Why not just build us a better treasure-hunting parrot?" He looked over towards Navi's usual resting place, which was suspiciously empty for this time of night. "Then we wouldn't have to waste time chasing these stupid hints."
A look of abhorrent shock spread over Doc's face and he pushed himself forward from the console. "Build another Navi? I couldn't do that!"
"Why not?" Marvelous asked with an idle shrug.
The shock turned to blustering indignation as the blond spun into a rapid tirade. "Because Navi is naturally tied in to the inherent energy matrix of this planet! That's why she's able to give us those clues towards finding the ranger keys and ultimate powers. To build a different receptacle that would harness that same energy wavelength and translate it to something understandable and usable would be not just beyond me, but beyond anyone I know!" He gave Marvelous a very solid, meaningful look and simplified. "It would be like building another Mobirates and brand new ranger key from scratch."
It had taken all of the captain's willpower to keep his eyes from glazing over during the technobabble, but it paid off as he took another step forward, leaving only inches between himself and the frustrated engineer. "Are you sure there isn't anything else we can do?" he said in a low voice, remembering the woman as she spoke in his ear on the sidewalk, and he watched as Doc's eyes grew large. "Anyone else we could ask?"
To drive the point home, Marvelous leaned in further, meeting him eye to eye and keeping his face a breath's width away from Don's. This, he mused to himself as he watched panic spread across his crewmate's face, is when Doc ought to crumble under his masterful manipulation, and if there was anything of import he was hiding from before, this would be the time that he would dutifully tell his captain all of it.
Instead, Marvelous just barely noted as it happened, the blond took a deep breath, closed his eyes, and pressed his lips against the captain's. They were soft, he realized – not quite as soft as a woman's, but soft enough to catch him off guard and he felt his balance waver, if just for a moment. His own eyes grew wide and he leaned forward further, grabbing Doc by the shoulders to catch his balance and crushing their lips further together in the process.
It was then that the engineer pulled back, face beaming bright red – the same color as the time the entire crew had relaxed with a bit too much rum, the captain suddenly remembered. The bright green eyes were trembling, half-filled with tears for just a moment, and then he tore himself from Marvelous' grasp entirely and pushed him away before bolting for the lower cabins.
The captain shifted his weight back, spinning slowly on one foot to lean against the ship's console as Doc's footsteps faded into the depths of the galleon. The feel of the engineer's lips still lingered against Marvelous', and he idly raised two fingers to touch his mouth as his mind drifted back to just a moment before, not once noticing the small light that blinked out from the interface behind him.
He was fairly certain that wasn't how interrogations were supposed to go.