Somewhere along the coast of the Ibaraki Prefecture, there is a small naval base that has about a hundred shipgirls, who all rely on a single shipgirl to keep their equipment in top condition and stocked up on fuel and ammo. That shipgirl is Akashi, a woman in her early twenties who lives in a hangar that has a role for maintenance and repairs in the naval base.
"Akashi-san! My quiver has a hole in it!"
"I'll make it as good as new in no time!"
The demand for repairs from Akashi is high, as all the other shipgirls living in the naval base are sent to do constant sorties and expeditions while the sun is up. Even though Akashi is an experienced repair ship or, well, has the abilities of the one that has the same name as her, she is still a human being with emotions and free will.
"Akashi-san, I think my turret is clogged up."
"I'll check it out. It's okay….."
Time after time, repair after every repair, Akashi gradually became fatigued from the constant repairs from the moment she wakes up to when she sleeps. Akashi began to feel as if her body was wearing down. She was covered in oil, soot and grease from all the jobs she was given over the years. She felt like she couldn't breathe from all the work piling up on her, but she didn't take a break from her work nor complain about it to the admiral that was once in charge of the naval base.
Even though a new female admiral was stationed at the base to replace the old admiral, Akashi made herself stay the same as she was. It seemed okay for Akashi to not speak up about her problems to the new admiral over the few months, but one day, it all changed.
"Okay Akashi-san," the female admiral ordered, "Can you handle getting all these equipment up and running really fast? I need them to get ready for a sortie before the day ends."
The admiral pointed at a total of six riggings of a whole range of turrets and cannons that were badly damaged from something.
The pink-haired subordinate replied with small smile, "Yes, I can do it."
"That's really good of you." the dark-haired admiral walked away from Akashi while saying, "I'm counting on you!"
Akashi waved goodbye at the admiral and set off to work on getting the six riggings up and running in top condition. While Akashi was working on the riggings for the sortie, a couple of girls came up to Akashi. Akashi stopped working and asked the two, "Yamakaze-san, Akagi-san...what happened?"
Yamakaze was holding a small Zero fighter in her hands while tearing up. The plane happened to have a wing broken off. Yamakaze was scared of telling Akashi what happened, so Akagi put her hand on Yamakaze's shoulder and assured in a calm tone, "It's okay. She'll understand."
Yamakaze stammered while trying to get her words out, "I-I….I broke A-Akagi-san's…..plane…. I'm sorry! Uwwaaa!"
Yamakaze dropped the Zero which caused it to break the other wing just to try and wiper her tears with both hands. Akashi quickly kneeled over to Yamakaze's level and tried to console her. "It's okay Yamakaze. Don't worry, I can fix it."
Yamakaze wasn't fully convinced with Akashi's tired tone, "B-but!"
Akashi brushed off Yamakaze's tears in her eyes and explained, "You don't have to worry. I'm here to fix things. Now just be a strong shipgirl, okay?"
Yamakaze didn't really give a response, so Akagi took Yamakaze out of the repair hangar to let her calm down. "I'm sorry for the trouble," Akagi bowed to Akashi.
"It's fine," Akashi assured, "You can count on me to get it fixed."
Akagi nodded and continued taking the crying Yamakaze out of the repair hangar. Once the two shipgirls were gone, Akashi picked up the pieces of Zero fighter and placed them on a workbench.
Suddenly, Akashi felt most of her energy had been instantly sapped out of her body. An intense headache took over Akashi's head, so Akashi kneeled down from the pain.
"URGH! CUUHFF CHUUUHFF!"" The repair shipgirl gave out a really bad cough, but Akashi tried to keep going with her work. Akashi decided to work on one of the destroyer's riggings first before doing anything else.
"Come on," Akashi tried to fight through the headache with words, "I have to do this! E-everyone's- CHUUHHGH! counting on me!"
"This is Ayanami-san's…." Akashi found a small crack on the rigging's smokestack, so she tried to get her welding equipment ready while fighting off her pain.
Akashi slowly grabbed her welding equipment and mask, and set the welding machine up for power. However, right when Akashi was going to ground the welding machine to prevent her from shocking herself, Akashi's eyelids suddenly felt extremely heavy.
Akashi fought hard to get her job done. She didn't want to lose everything. She didn't want to let her comrades down. However, Akashi had surrendered to her fatigue and sickness that she instantly collapsed on the ground. Akashi couldn't get herself to wake up.
Akashi opened her eyes and found herself somewhere in the depths of the ocean. She was surprised to be underwater so suddenly. Akashi looked down and she realized that was falling down closer and closer to the dark abyss of the sea face up. She gazed up at a fading sun.
'What?' Akashi thought, 'Did they throw me out? Is it because I'm not good anymore?'
Akashi contemplated about the meaning of her life, and just looked at the fading sun up at the surface. Initially, Akashi wanted to swim up to the surface, but she didn't have any energy left in her body.
'If only I could move,' Akashi thought, 'but I guess I can't...because I'm useless, right?'
All she could do is reach out for the sun shining down on her, but that didn't help her situation at all. There, Akashi accepted her fate and closed her eyes once more preparing herself for death.
'Sorry everyone. I can't help anymore… Let me stay in this abyss…'
She expected the darkness of the abyss to swallow her up; however, something had grabbed her by the hand. It pulled her away from the depths of the ocean and closer to the light. Akashi opened her eyes again, and looked up. She saw a dark masculine figure wearing a strange helmet pulling her up to the surface. Then, right when Akashi hit the surface, light flooded her vision.
Akashi suddenly woke up from her terrible nightmare. Akashi could smell the scent of septics and sterilization materials in the air. The repair ship tried to sit up, but she had no strength left in her body and felt extraordinarily hot. It took Akashi realized that she was in the naval base's infirmary that can take care of twelve shipgirls.
"Why...am I here…?" Akashi asked to herself.
Then right outside the infirmary doors, Akashi could hear the female admiral and a shipgirl talking to each other. However, Akashi could only hear parts of the conversation as the infirmary doors are closed.
Akashi didn't recognize the shipgirl's voice, but she could hear parts of what she was saying. "...Akashi has been…."
The admiral groaned out loud, "What should I…..?"
"...should find someone….the job. Akashi's…..not good.."
Akashi picked up the shipgirl's response and was shocked at her opinion. Then the shipgirl opened the infirmary door. Akashi immediately shut her eyes and tried to face away from the shipgirl entering the infirmary.
This time Akashi could hear the admiral and the shipgirls completely. "Okay, I'll check on Akashi-san one more time, but she'll get worse if you don't take my advice, Admiral Kitami Hina-san."
The admiral moaned, "Urgh… I'll have to think about it. It's gonna be a lot more paperwork though."
Admiral Kitami left the hallway from the infirmary. The shipgirl who was conversing with the admiral walked up to Akashi's bed. She noticed that Akashi had moved around in bed, so the shipgirl poked Akashi's cheek to get to her attention.
"Oi, I know you're awake."
Akashi looked up at the woman in question. She was wearing a labcoat over her elegant-like black dress. The woman had quite a bit of makeup on with a rather flashy hairstyle that makes Akashi's look bland.
"You're…" Akashi called out at the woman, "The hospital ship Awa Maru-san… why are you here…?"
Awa Maru took a chair and sat down next to the repair ship. "Isn't it obvious?" the elegant woman replied, "Admiral Kitami called me up for you. You fell unconscious in that repair hangar over there and nearly set it on fire with your welding equipment you had running."
Akashi gave a sorrowful face at the hospital shipgirl. She didn't give a single response and laid back down on her bed slowly.
"It's alright," Awa Maru consoled Akashi while giving her a headpat, "It's my job anyway as a hospital ship- well doctor or nurse really to take care of any sick girls like you. Speaking of which…."
Awa Maru took out a brand new disposable thermometer and put it in Akashi's mouth. After a few seconds, the hospital ship pulled the thermometer out to read it. "Tch," Awa Maru called out, "Just as I thought. You're burning up really bad."
Akashi asked Awa Maru, "What's going on with me sensei?"
"I don't know what happened between you and the last admiral here, but you've been holding that fever for awhile now, right?"
"A fever?" Akashi asked.
"You've been feeling strangely warmer than usual. Or like your head feels like it's on fire. That kind of fever." Awa Maru searched for something in the medical cabinets, but all she could find was a bunch of bandage rolls and gauzes. "Where are the painkillers?! Oh there's one-!" Awa Maru groaned, "Ohhh….what this one expired last year, great. I'm going to have to request an update on the medical supplies in this place. It's all outdated!"
Akashi made a really glum face at Awa Maru, but the hospital ship consoled Akashi, "Don't worry, accidents happen sometimes. The admiral here will take care of everything for you."
Akashi was thinking about the conversation between the admiral and Awa Maru, so she tried to ask the doctor. "Umm Awa Maru-san!"
"Do you need something?" Awa corrected Akashi's honorifics, "It's Awa Maru-sensei, not -san. Just call me that from now on okay?"
"Oh…" Akashi thought for a few moments about asking the doctor about her concerns, but she got too afraid of the consequences of asking her. "It's okay it's nothing."
"I see," Awa Maru placed a copy of some old shounen manga on the nightstand next to Akashi for her to pass the time. "Here, if you feel like you can sit up, you can read this."
Akashi didn't give a response to Awa Maru. She gazed at the cover of the manga which was very striking to her. It was a boy standing in front of an old white car.
"As soon as you get better, you take good care of your health." The hospital ship left the infirmary to take care of some paperwork and get medication for Akashi. As soon as Awa Maru left, Akashi tried to make herself comfortable, but she coughed a few times out loud.
Akashi closed her eyes to try to get some rest, but there was something in her mind bugging her. 'Are they...going to replace me?'
Then tears ran from Akashi's eyes as Akashi was scared of being taken out of the naval base. It was the only place she could call home, and she doesn't know what would happen to her.
'Please….don't let it be true….'
Meanwhile, the admiral sulked about in her office about the incident. She blamed herself for not paying much attention to Akashi.
"What do I do? I've only been here for three months and now this happens!" The admiral asked to herself, "I should have known something like this would happen, damnit!"
As the admiral put her face down on her desk, a black-haired girl wearing glasses came up to her with a phone in hand. The girl reported, "Admiral Kitami, someone on the phone is calling for you."
"E-ehhh? Oh thanks… Ooyodo-san" The admiral took the phone and asked, "Hello?"
"Hey nee-chan, are you busy? I need to ask you something?"
"Kenta?" The admiral looked over at Ooyodo for a signal of any matters needed to be taken care of. Ooyodo shook her head in response, so the admiral asked her little brother on the line, "No, what happened? Are you in trouble with the police?!"
"Wha-? No! It's not that!" Kenta explained, "It's something else. You see I have a friend that needs a job badly. I remember that you said you get paid a lot on yours, so is there a position for him to fill in? I really feel bad for the guy."
"Oi, what kind of person do you take me for Kenta?! I can't help any of your friends! I've got a lot of stuff to do in my jo-!"
The admiral glanced back at the report regarding Akashi sitting in front of her. There was a note on the report from Awa Maru saing: Cannot handle current work on her own. Will need additional help.
"Look nee-chan," while the admiral looked into the report, Kenta tried to explain himself, "I can't leave him alone. He just lost his job and he's not looking well. I really want to help because he's saved my ass before. I jus-"
"Kenta, " the admiral asked in a calm manner, "What did your friend do before?"
"He was a mechanic, a great one too. Why?"
"You said he needed a job, right? I'll think about it."
Some time later after the incident with Akashi, the higher-ups of the organization responded with setting up job interviews for mechanics.
"Thank you for your time. We will contact you as soon as possible."
After the day of interviewing people were finished, an old admiral and training cruiser Katori were filing up resumes and other documents in order.
The old admiral slowly sat up from his seat as soon as the interviewee was gone. "Well Katori-kun, would you like a drink from the vending machine?"
"I'm good, Head Admiral Yamamoto-san, " Katori replied, "We still need to decide the contenders for all of the bases."
"Oh right…." the head admiral stood next to Katori in order to look over the documents and asked, "So who do you think is the best one? I think it might be that last one that came in."
"I can't say…." Katori explained while flipping through the organized documents, "However, there is one that I think stands out from the rest. Here."
The head admiral perused through the document Katori handed and gave a rather amused face. "Ohhh….I see. How interesting. So number sixty-three catches your eye, huh?
"Well," Katori explained, "He has all the qualifications we need for Akashi-san from the Ibaraki Naval Base."
"Ibaraki, huh?" The head admiral looked over the application with a comment, "I see that he has a really good score on the theory test. A little bit behind on a few others though."
"But I do believe that he is best qualified for that place. It's just that there was something interesting about him." Katori spoke.
The head admiral chuckled, "You're right about that with his past experiences, but why did he quit his last job? Doesn't seem right to step down like that so suddenly."
"I apologize for not asking him about that earlier."
"Ah no, it's not necessary, " the head admiral smiled a bit, "But if you feel like he's a good one for that mess of a naval base, then we'll take him, this young boy. Your intuition hasn't failed me for years now, so I'll trust you on that, Katori."