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Section 1: Once upon a time, on a boat out at sea...

The howling wind, pouring rain and violent churning of the sea kept most people onboard the ICS Nouma huddled around fake fires below deck. It was Mornday[1] and Midwinter; a raucous combination of cold and unpredictable weather that sailors dreaded. Unfortunately for its crew, the ICS Nourma was also headed due north- directly into the Arctic Circle. The only warmth they'd feel for the next few days would be from their bedpans, woolen blankets and fur parkas.

Indeed, this was a particularly miserable day- for even the ship's Captain couldn't bring himself to force anyone above deck, even for the most meagre of jobs. Had a bird had flown overhead, it might've thought the ship abandoned. It would be a fair guess, but beside a tarp covering stern's main battery was a lone young man, pouring over a tiny book and seemingly not affected by the rain.

Literally.

His hand twirling casually overhead, the droplets that should have been drenching him seemed to fall around him, as if he were holding an invisible umbrella over his head. He had dark, neatly kept short hair hidden behind a navy kepi and dark brown eyes. His skin was a pale cream, and he had a rather handsome face. He looked very fit, and wore an impeccably clean prussian blue military tunic, complete with a navy beret tucked to the right, black tie, white undershirt, dark trousers and black combat boots.

He turned a page.

The ground he was sitting on wasn't wet either. All around him, the metal deck was soaked dark by the rain- but for about a foot around him the ground was as light as if sun had been shining all day. This would be wholly shocking, were it not for the fact that this young man was a waterbender- and an exceptionally talented one at that.

It turns out that it's hard to read below deck when every one of the ship's 150 person crew are locked up inside, restless and bored. Major Takatsu Osori didn't need telling twice to step outside and read his pulp book in peace.

"Will you come back?" "..." "say it, Sashi, tell me you will!" "It's my duty, Mako, you know that." Putting her hand to her forehead in grief, he wrapped her tight in his big, muscly arms...

It is odd that for all his apparent sophistication, Takatsu got a great deal of pleasure reading out of these books. Maybe it was because he'd never had much experience with girls that he was so interested in them, or maybe he simply didn't have enough in his life to entertain him with his own drama.

"Oh Sashi" she said, collapsing into his brawny chest. He looked outwards, unfeeling and determined. Tears swelled in her eyes as she marvelled at his perfectly chizzled chin, his sexy stubble, his wide, olive eyes... "Oh Sashi..."

His father would be disgusted with him now, he knew- were he here. He hated romantic pulp. Takatsu agreed it was never written very well, but when that was the case- well, that's when it was most fun. "If you can't enjoy something because it's good, you'd best enjoy it because it's just so bad", he'd always thought to himself. He was getting bored of this section though, having read it almost ten times before (he had little else to do when off-duty) and skipped ahead a few dozen pages to his favourite part.

  1. There is no concept of "days" as we know it on Samsara. This is because the planet rotates much slower than Earth does. Because it rotates so much slower, what we know simply as the time of day- like morning, evening, etc. on Earth, is the functional equivalent for a day on Samsara! There are in fact, six days in a Samsaran week. They are Mornday (Morning), Midday (Afternoon), Evenday (Evening), Duskfall (Dusk), Midnight (Midnight/Latenight), and Dawnbreak (Dawn).