Author notes: Pure fluff allowing me to relax.
This is from a joke conversation on the internet that I made into a story.
Not my anime, not my characters, just my fanfiction
No real violence per se. This is a simple fun stand alone story I wrote just for giggles.
"It will be a good experience for you, Uiharu. You will have fun, Uiharu. You will meet nice new people, learn new things Uiharu."
It was NOT a good experience, she was NOT having fun, she did NOT meet 'nice' new people, and the only new things she was learning was that she hated the Wilderness.
She looked back a week. She came into the Judgement 177th office. Konori-senpai was waiting for her. "Ah, Uiharu-san, my favorite officer."
Realizing this was not a good start to her shift Uiharu rushed to her desk to see what was wrong. "Did I forget to do something, Konori-senpai?" she asked with her voice wavering.
"No, no, a directive has come down that all offices need to participate in the upcoming training programs, so I selected you to attend the one this weekend. I thought you would like it since it would be out in Nature."
"Hai! What is it, please?"
"It is a beginner's Wilderness Survival Course about a three-hour Shinkansen ride from Academy City. Nothing too hard, you will be staying in a Wilderness lodge with a group of other Judgment officers and learning basic survival techniques. Should be good, clean fun."
"Are they going to abandon us in the woods and we have to kill an animal with our bare hands to get something to eat?"
Konori laughed. "No all meals are included. You will be hiking and learning how to survive in the woods, but nothing like that. It says to bring hiking boots, good thick socks, jeans, shorts, t-shirts and warm shirts as the weather is unpredictable. Also, rainwear. Oh, a multitool or jackknife and a knapsack or backpack to carry everything, no suitcases, no excess luxury items, whatever that means."
So, Friday, she got out of school early, took the Monorail out of Academy City to the Train Station and set off for the training site with a group of Judgement officers, none of whom she knew. They all had apparently gone to other trainings together and all were friends. Nobody really paid attention to her. She pulled out her palmtop computer and reread the study book for the course to pass the time of the trip.
The group got off at a station out side Kyoto and were directed to a bus that took them out into the wilderness near Mt. Atago. When they arrived at the lodge they were divided up and sent to their rooms to change and come to the conference room as quickly as possible. Uiharu found she was paired with an older girl named Utsukushī Yume, from the 4th office. As it was approaching night time and seemed like it would be chilly, Uiharu opted for jeans, a t-shirt with a warm shirt over it and tied a sweater around her waist. She clipped her palm computer and multitool to her belt and left for the conference room.
The room was about half full when Uiharu got there. She liked to sit near the front so she could see and hear better, especially being short. It looked like most people wanted to sit to the back so she had her choice up front, and decided to sit in the second row on the aisle.
No one sat with her.
A tall, muscular American man with a blonde crew cut stepped up to the front of the room, there were several other equally muscular men with him, all looked American. He stared around the room waiting for everyone to quiet down.
"Good evening, my name is Sergeant Frank Rock. I'm a former US Army soldier, now retired and I and my men teach survival skill courses like these because we are bored and we like to help people learn how not to die if they should find themselves in an unfortunate situation."
He paused and looked around. "I've been told that you folks have special talents and are from a city of the future and are not used to a low-tech way of living. My men and I are going to show you wilderness skills that you can apply, even in your city of the future, if your tech should suddenly break down."
He looked around again. "How many of you are familiar with "Murphy's Law"?
Everyone looked puzzled.
"OK, that's an American thing, although it has become more International. The Law states: "Whatever can go wrong will go wrong." The first corollary is, "At the worst possible moment." We are going to teach you how to survive Mr. Murphy. Now, hopefully you have all at least skimmed the material we sent you. We are now going to go out and do a night hike in small groups where we will try to teach you a bit of basic Celestial Navigation. Wildman, call out the groups."
Uiharu found herself in Sgt. Rock's group of seven, where she was easily the smallest member at 153 cm. However, when the Sergeant noticed she was practically running to keep up with the group in the dark, and making no complaint about it, he slowed his pace to make it easier. As the went up the mountain side, he constantly pointed out facts and gave out information that would be helpful for survival, like how to tell wind direction and speed by listening to the leaves, he told them how to look at cloud formations to determine what the weather might be changing to, etc.
Once the group reached a dark enough area away from the lodge, he had them gather around. "Just like the Sun, the moon rises in the East and sets in the West, so that is your first guide. Next is Polaris, the North Star. It is easy to detect by using the Big and Little Dipper or Ursa Major and Minor to find it." He went on to detail the many major Celestial navigation points for both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres and how to use them. He quizzed the group on what he said to reinforce the teachings. He taught them how to use fingers and fists to determine Horizons and angles.
"All right group, there's one other survival tactic I want to go over tonight. When you are in the wilderness there will be times you want to be loud and times you do not. When would you want to be loud? You." And he pointed at a boy.
"When you want to be found?"
"You!" pointing at Uiharu.
"Um, when there are predatory animals around that you do not want to surprise."
"Excellent, very important answer. If there are bears or mountain lions or the like around, the last thing you want to do is surprise them. They react very badly. You want to be walking and singing, whistling, talking loudly, ringing a bell, whatever, so you don't sneak up on them."
"When don't you want to be heard? You!" Pointing at another girl.
"If you are trying to surprise someone?"
"Yes, very good."
"When else? You!" Pointing at another boy.
"Maybe if you are trying to escape someone or something?"
"Exactly. Escape and evasion are tough skills, but we will work on them too, starting now, in the dark. Watch how I walk and try to emulate it all the way back."
Despite his wearing large military boots, Sgt. Rock made not a sound as he walked around the group.
"The trick is to feel with your foot as you place it. Don't just stomp down, gently place the heel and roll the rest of the foot down like there is a raw egg under it. Look ahead of you for twigs and avoid them. Look for pine needles and stay on them. Tonight, will be just for fun so you can see what it's like. Let's head back."
Uiharu found it challenging at first, but then caught on and was having fun after a while. She thought she was doing well and Sgt. Rock confirmed it. "You're a natural at this!" He gave her a couple of pointers and then went back to help the much noisier people in her group.
Uiharu was glad she brought the sweater as she put it on; it had gotten quite cold. Some people in the group had not thought ahead and were quite unhappy. They made it back to the lodge and piled in to the conference room. Once all the groups were there Sgt Rock announced, "OK, that's it for tonight. We will meet in this room tomorrow morning for a working breakfast at 0600."
Groans. He smiled. "Why do they call it 'OH six hundred' its short for 'oh my God it's early.' Go get some dinner and some rest and we will see you tomorrow."
The dining room served a nice dinner of fresh fish caught in the nearby stream, which everyone enjoyed. Uiharu went back to the room and found that her roommate was going to go out to spend some time with her boyfriend, so Uiharu went, took her shower, and went to bed, carefully setting her alarm on her phone and computer for 0515 to be sure to have enough time to washup and dress and be on time. She fell asleep and never heard her roommate come in.
Uiharu was a little disoriented the next morning when she woke up, but remembered about the class after a moment. She silenced the alarms and got up. Her roommate was asleep, so she went to the bathroom, washed up, and got dressed, layering her clothes again, just in case. She didn't know what to do about her roommate, but didn't want to just leave her there, so she tried to wake by gently calling her name, but Utsukushī just said, "I'm going to sleep until the last minute."
So, Uiharu shrugged and made her way downstairs to the conference room. She first went out the front door and took a couple of deep breaths. The mountain air was crisp and cold; it was very invigorating. She could feel her cheeks turning pink from the chill. She went to the conference room and found she was the first student to arrive. The instructor were at the front of the room chatting. Being naturally shy, she came in and sat down in her same chair to wait.
Sgt. Rock nodded a hello to her. Uiharu pulled out her palmtop and started making notes about what she had learned the night before. She sent a quick email to Saten telling her about the class as well. It was not yet 0600, but the Instructors had already grabbed plates and started to eat. Sgt Rock said, "Miss Uiharu, no need to wait, go ahead and grab a plate and chow down."
"Thank you, sir, I will," she replied, and she got up and went to the buffet. It appeared the lodge loved to use local ingredients as there was smoked fish from the local lake, a locally sourced mushroom miso, and other nice things for breakfast. The smell alone made Uiharu hungry and she filled her plate. She sat back down and enjoyed while continuing with her notes.
She looked up and realized the instructors were watching her. She blushed. "Am I doing something wrong?" she asked.
"No, we were wondering what you were doing, that's all," responded the one called "Wildman".
Uiharu blushed some more. "Um, I'm just making notes on everything I learned last night, before I forget, so I can review it and also share it with my teammates when I get back. I also pulled up the star charts to mark the stars Sgt. Rock pointed out so that I can memorize them later to make it easier to find them."
They all stared at her for a moment. "Dang, Rock, you're gonna be out of a job!" Wildman laughed.
"Oh! Am I not supposed to do this?" asked Uiharu.
"No, Miss Uiharu, that's what we want people to do, it's just you're the first we've ever seen do it," answered Sg. Rock.
The rest of the class straggled in, right at 0600, and grabbed plates and food and sat down. Uiharu waited until everyone had served themselves and then got a little more of the smoked fish, that was so good, and some tea and settled back down again.
"OK, folks, today will be a busy day. We will be dumping a lot of information on you in a short period of time this morning. We will go outside after lunch break to do some practical work, come back in here for a while and then, after dinner, another night walk. Got it?"
The morning was intense learning about how to identify edible plants, bugs, mosses, and other things. How to make leaves into cups and pots so you could boil water that you could then drink. How to make fish hooks out of twigs. Even how to make a rudimentary compass. How to make a simple knife out of stones, how to mark a trail for rescuers to find you with stones or branches. Uiharu found it fascinating.
Lunch was set up. People had the choice of Udon or Soba noodles that they could customize with beef, chicken, or fish and other toppings. The room filled with happy slurping noises as people enjoyed their bowls. Uiharu ate while she struggled to complete her notes at the same time.
After lunch they went outside to learn how to start a fire using a flint and their knives or multitools, or sticks. They tried making fishhooks with twigs and hair, while unraveling a piece of cloth to make the fishing line. They practiced flashing shiny objects to reflect light to attract attention or send old fashioned Morse Code.
Uiharu was not very good with the flint and steel, she couldn't get the knack. But using a bow-wood Firestarter seemed to work fine for her.
They also got a demo of how to build a crude shelter from branches that would provide cover from the wind. "It's not the animals that will kill you. It's cold, wind, and rain. Never sleep directly on the ground. No matter how uncomfortable it is, put some branches under you as insulation."
"Why, Sgt. Rock?" asked one of the students.
"Son, what do you think is warmer, your body or one square kilometer of ground that you are laying on?"
"Ah so desu ne!"
The group went back inside for more classroom instruction and a working dinner. They went over how to read terrain and identify the easiest way to get around obstacles. How to self-rescue if they fell in a river or rapids. Why down was generally better than up if lost.
The last was a little counter-intuitive until Four-Eyes explained. "Climbing up a tree to get away from an animal or to get a view of the area around you is generally good. Climbing up a mountain is bad because the resources are scarcer, it is tiring when you need to conserve energy, and it is much cooler and more exposed to the elements. The last can speed up hypothermia which is, as we have told you time and again, is your biggest enemy in the wild."
Uiharu made her notes and realized just how true this was once she thought about it.
Sgt Rock said, "Ideally, find a spring or river and follow it downstream because invariably it will lead to people and civilization. People and towns build next to water supplies; it is a natural resource and they want proximity. Don't forget to look up for Jet contrails; you can see the direction they are flying and that will show you the general direction of a city, but not necessarily the closest one. Look for power lines too and follow them."
"Also, sometimes just staying put is an option, if it's safe. If you have adequate resources close to hand. Maybe make a smokey fire, especially in a place like this where they fear forest fires and would come investigate," added Wildman. "Most importantly: Don't Panic! Use your head. Make a plan, but don't be afraid to change the plan if your circumstances change."
They had a nice dinner, this time of the local duck, roasted crispy over charcoal, which made a nice change from the fish. The meal's lecture was about tonight's activity which was going to be a five-kilometre hike over different terrain. The moon was close to Full, so no flashlights would be needed. The objective was to learn how to navigate over different types of terrain at night, how to read terrain without a map, and also they would occasionally stop to try Celestial navigation.
For fun, they were each given the challenge of try to find five different types of edible items to be brought back to the Lodge as kind of a scavenger hunt. They were each assigned a "buddy" and an item and everyone had a different item. Uiharu's was "Fungi" and her partner was her roommate, who got "Roots".
Everyone was given ten minutes to go get ready to leave and meet up out in front of the lodge. Uiharu looked outside and it looked damp and the clouds, per her training, looked like possible showers, so she went to the room to add her rain jacket to what she was wearing. She stopped at the snack bar and bought a package of trail mix, because she was having a little sweet tooth and then went out front.
While she was waiting for the others, she pulled out her Palmtop and updated her notes some more, just to be sure she hadn't forgotten anything from the evening session.
"You are really taking this seriously, aren't you?" a voice said from behind her.
"Eep!" she said and jumped.
"Sorry," said Wildman, "I didn't mean to scare you, but it's been a long while since we had someone take this so seriously. Most people think of it like a vacation in the woods."
"Nnnnno, if my Senpai sent me here for training, then I want to learn!" said Uiharu. "Technology is fine, but you never know when this could be useful."
"Keep on keepin' on." He nodded to her and went back to the instructors and was speaking with them as the rest of the students came out.
The mist was getting heavier, so Uiharu pulled out a couple of plastic zip top bags and put her cellphone and palmtop computer in them and sealed them shut. She pulled on her rain jacket and zipped the phone and palmtop into the jacket's pockets.
"OK, listen up, this will be a slow pace so that you have time to fill your lists. We will make several stops along the way to practice Celestial navigation. Stay with your partners using the buddy system."
Uiharu and her partner were in Four Eyes group, unfortunately her partner's boyfriend was in Wildman's group and Utsukushī was having trouble focusing on staying with her "buddy". Uiharu, having an affinity for plants, tried to help Utsukushī by pointing out roots for her finally gave up after the second time she spotted her smooching instead of digging.
At this point the mist had evolved into a light rain, which was getting colder the further up the mountain side they climbed. Uiharu was glad her boots had a pretty good tread on them, because the footing was getting slippery.
On her own, Uiharu managed to get a Tree Ear pretty quickly as they were rather common. She also found some Shiitake ones fairly quickly. Each time she found something, she would bag it, find her buddy and get her back with the group before they moved off too far. At about the halfway point, they were stopped to work a Celestial navigation problem which Uiharu found fascinating and enjoyed.
As the group went to move off, she told Utsukushī that she saw some mushrooms just off the trail and was going to go collect them. Uiharu asked Utsukushī to wait, which Utsukushī, who was lip-locked, seemed to agree to do. The rain had picked up some, but it was still bright enough from the moon to see. She looked and sure enough, around the base of some rocks, were some Maitake mushrooms.
Moving slowly and checking her footing carefully, Uiharu advanced towards the mushrooms. She put one hand on the rock and leaned forward to collect the mushrooms. Unfortunately, the rock's base had loosened due to the damp and rain and even Uiharu's slight weight was enough to send it off, down the slope. Unfortunately, Uiharu was completely off balance and went head over heels down the slope behind it!
She was rolling and tumbling uncontrollably, hitting rocks and trees along the way until finally her head hit something hard and Uiharu was down and out for the count.
When the group got back to the Lodge and did a head count, they came up one short. Sgt Rock immediately called out, "Everybody buddy up again!"
When Utsukushī couldn't produce Uiharu, all hell broke loose. "Miss Utsukushī, were you not told to maintain contact with your buddy at all times?" asked Sgt Rock coldly.
Frightened, she could only nod.
"And why did you not notice that your buddy is missing until now, when I asked everyone to buddy up again?" he asked in a voice that was less than zero degrees Kelvin.
"Is this considered normal behavior for a Judgement Officer, to lose or leave behind a comrade in jeopardy?" he continued in the same cold voice.
Utsukushī started to cry.
"When is the last time anyone can clearly remember seeing Miss Uiharu?" Sgt. Rock asked the group.
"When we worked that last Celestial navigation problem, for sure," answered Four Eyes.
"Damnit, that was ninety minutes ago," growled Sgt. Rock. "All right, you kids go to your rooms and stay there. I don't want to lose any more of you. Four Eyes, you alert the Park Service and Search and Rescue and get them wound up and up to speed, then notify her office. Wildman, let's get more gear and backtrack."
Sgt Rock and Wildman ran off and returned a few minutes later with full back packs, climbing rope, wearing helmets and reflective vests, carrying flashlights. "Four Eyes, we're going to assume it happened at or near that last Celestial stop and work our way back from there. We have our radios."
"We should make it there at our pace in twenty-five minutes, thirty tops," added Wildman.
"Good luck, Park Rangers and SAR are spooling up now, but the weather sucks. No choppers until the rain eases. Too dangerous with the mountains."
Konori was working her homework with the TV on in the background before she went to bed. Her roommate was relaxing on the sofa reading a magazine.
"Breaking news from Mt Atago National Forest. It is reported that Search and Rescue forces have been alerted for a missing student who has apparently become lost during a training exercise being held during the evening on the mountain. No further details at this time."
Konori's head whipped around towards the TV, which was showing a map of the mountain park. Then, her cell phone started to ring and she stared at it in horror, while her roommate slowly got up and walked over to her.
"You have to answer it…"
"Hello? Yes. Yes, This is Konori Mii…"
Uiharu's first impression was that she was hanging upside down from something. Her second thought was that she was having the worst headache of her life. She opened her eyes and found she was lying on her back on the slope of a hill, head down. She reached up and touched the right side of her head and looked at her hand and found blood. Her legs were wet and cold, apparently from the rain that was still falling. She took a minute to orientate herself and then slowly rolled onto her side. The movement made her violently ill.
From her Judgement training she knew this was the sign that she probably had a concussion. But she had no time to feel sorry for herself, she needed to get moving. Fighting dizziness and nausea, she managed to get to her feet and look around. She was at the base of a rather steep cliff. Tall trees surrounded her and she could hear a small stream nearby. Her right ankle was tender, but probably not broken; her entire body ached, but she was lucky to have no broken bones, just the likely concussion.
Rule one, don't panic. OK, got it. Deep breaths. OK, my ribs hurt bad, but don't feel broken, probably bruised or maybe loose.
Rule two, make a plan. OK, let's see. Cell phone. Still here, not broken, no signal. To be expected. Shut it off to save the battery. Look around. No immediate shelter. Climb the cliff? Not with a concussion or in this rain. Pants are wet, I'm shivering. Need shelter first, then fire or some way to dry off. Mark my trail along the way.
"Why is it my head always gets hurt?" Uiharu thought rubbing the large lump forming on the left side of her skull. No stars visibly through the clouds, but she could tell where the water sounds were coming from. She found some rocks and laid a pattern, per her training indicating the direction she was traveling. She marked a landmark she would aim for and started walking; after ten paces she turn around and marked a landmark behind her to make sure she would travel straight. She counted her steps and every ten paces she would turn and make sure she was traveling straight between where she left and where she was going.
She made it to her tree that she was aiming for and stopped, spent for the moment, her ankle ached, and she was totally dizzy. She leaned against the tree and caught her breath. The water sound was much louder. When she looked around the tree, she saw the stream, but, more importantly, there was a deadfall nearby that could be her shelter for the night. She also saw something shiny near the creek. First things first, she made another arrow pointing to the deadfall. She looked around her and found a big, long stick, and grabbed it.
Walking up to the deadfall, it looked like the branch was solidly lodged. She looked inside and it was dry, no sign of animal pawprints or droppings nearby, no smell. She took her branch and swished it around inside the deadfall, but no snakes or insects showed, so it was probably safe. It was under a dense tree canopy, so the rain was muted here. She looked around for stones and found enough to make a small firepit. She gathered up tinder and twigs, small branches and larger ones, the driest she could find and piled them next to the firepit. She then worked on building her survival fire.
Cheating a bit by using her warming powers to dry everything as much as she could, she was soon able to get a small fire going. She took off her pants and then used her warming touch to dry her jeans, socks, and boots before putting them back on.
"This would be nice if I wasn't lost, concussed, and hungry," she thought. She remembered her snack ad pulled it out. She looked at the bag. "150 gms, I'll have to ration this." Uiharu ate just a small nibble and put it away. Feeling a bit better, she remembered the shiny object she had seen near the creek. Feeding the fire a little to make sure it kept going, she got up again and hobbled over to the creek, hoping it would be something useful.
She got to the creek and noticed it was very clear, probably safe to drink, but you should always boil the water to be safe. She saw there was a big depression in the side of the creek, like something had hit there, hard. In the center of the depression was this weird looking…hammer, for lack of a better term. It had a leather-wrapped handle with a leather strap at the end and a double face. It was silvery and kind of glowing in the moonlight. It looked really big and heavy.
Uiharu sighed and said, "Why couldn't you be something useful?"
Still, maybe she could use it to chip a stone into an axe head or something to help with the wood for the fire. She walked over to the big hammer and noticed there was foreign words written on it in a language she didn't recognize. After a moment, she rubbed her eyes, because the letters rearranged themselves into Kanji and spelled out: "Whosoever holds this hammer, if they be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor"
"What the heck does that mean and who is Thor?"
She looked it over and the letters were back in the weird writing she had originally seen. She shrugged her shoulders and grabbed hold of it with both hands anticipating it to be super heavy. In her head she heard, "Oh yes, you are acceptable." And the hammer came off the ground, feeling light as a feather to her. As she held it in her hand it seemed to shrink to fit her size and stature.
"That was odd." Uiharu put her hand through the loop on the hammer and limped her way back to the deadfall. Along the way she gather some edible nuts she knew she could eat. She put them next to her fire to warm them up and roast them a little while she went inside her deadfall to lay down some pine boughs for the night. That job done, she came out, set one of the nuts on a flat rock and tapped it with her new hammer. It made paste out of the nut and shattered the rock.
"Wow! Don't know my own strength. OK, hammer, I just want to open the nut, not make paste."
She tried tapping it again, but her fine control wasn't really there. The nut went mush, but at least the stone stayed intact. Uiharu resigned herself to using two stones to open the rest of the nuts. She then banked her fire for the night, climbed into her "bed", covered herself with some pine boughs and fell asleep.
"Damnit Wildman, she's too smart a kid to have just wandered off on her own, something had to have happened," Sgt Rock said after they had scoured the area around the Celestial stopping point and half the trail back to the Lodge.
"This freaking rain wiped out all the tracks. I agree, she didn't go off on her own, she fell or something carried her off trail. Most likely she couldn't make it back to the trail," Wildman replied. "She paid attention; if she's able, she'll hole up for the night someplace safe and wait out the rain."
"Let's get back and coordinate with the SAR group," Rock replied, "If I was to put money on someone, it's her."
"Kuroko! Why is your phone ringing at one AM?"
"Hello? Konori-senpai? WHAT?! When? I can go in fifteen minutes! But I want to! OK, I'll wait."
Kuroko disconnected her phone, turned on her light, got up and started packing a knapsack with clothes.
"Kuroko! What's going on?" asked Misaka with concern.
Kuroko looked Misaka with an angry look and a tear leaking from her eye. "Uiharu went to a training this weekend for Judgement in the Mountains near Kyoto. The "Partner" they gave her lost her in the mountains on a night hike and they are mounting a search and rescue operation to try to find MY partner. It's cold and raining there and the dumb…twit didn't notice she had lost her partner for NINETY MINUTES!"
Misaka got up and pulled out a bag of her own.
"What are you doing, Sissy?"
"Coming to help, of course."
"You…you can't. I don't even know if they will let me go and I'm Judgement. I think the only reason they might let me is because I can teleport and help bring her back from wherever she might be. But I'm going no matter what."
Misaka looked at Kuroko with wet eyes, "She's my friend too; you're my best friend in the world. Try to stop me from coming to help you, Imouto! You think I don't know how you are hurting?"
"Not as much as her lame ass partner will be when I'm done with her," Kuroko muttered.
"That's my Kuroko I know and love," said Misaka as she kept packing her knapsack.
"Love?" trilled Kuroko.
Uiharu woke up stiff and sore the next morning at what was apparently dawn. She went immediately to her fire and coaxed it back to life and basked in its warmth. She ate a couple of bits of her trail mix to calm her empty stomach. She knew her next job was to find some way to get water. She looked up and was devasted to find dense fog. She knew this meant there was no chance of helicopters being used to search for her. The side of her head was sore and the headache was still bad. She was not as dizzy, but it was a concussion for sure.
She left the hammer at her base and walked for a little bit, trying to find the right sized leaves to make a container she could boil water in. She walked a ways, looking, never losing sight of her camp, when she spotted a tree with just the right leaves on a branch…ten meters up. "DRAT!"
"I wish I had brought the hammer with me; I could maybe throw it up there and knock those down," she thought.
She heard a whistling noise and looked to see the hammer flying towards her from the camp! She put her right hand up to protect her head and the hammer slowed down and fitted itself into her hand.
"I really hit my head hard! I'm hallucinating," she thought. "Well, if I'm dreaming, dream big." She pulled her arm back and threw the hammer at the branch with the leaves she needed. It flew like a missile, severed the branch at the trunk, with the branch fluttering down, and then the hammer returned neatly to her hand. Uiharu flopped down to the ground, staring at the hammer.
"What are you?"
She stuck the hammer through the back belt of her pants and went back to her base. She built up the fire again, noting she needed to more wood soon, she went back under her shelter, pulled out her Multitool and took off her bra. Using the tool, she fashioned a needle out of one of the bra hooks. She pulled the thread out of the bottom seam of her t-shirt and used that with the needle to fashion a pot out of the leaves.
She hobbled to the stream, soaked it with water so the leaves were supersaturated and then filled the "pot" with water. She put it near the fire so it would heat indirectly. She jump started the water with her power, and then just kept an eye on it to keep the leaves from burning by turning it occasionally. Once the water had boiled for two minutes, she pulled it away from the fire and let it cool. She then drank deeply the warm water to rehydrate herself and help fight the hypothermia.
Uiharu celebrated by picking out a chocolate piece from her dwindling trail mix and eating it. The water also helped her feel a little less dizzy. She got up and walked around gathering up more wood. She also gather pine needles to have on hand to make a smudge, in case she heard a helicopter. She knew she needed to conserve her energy as much as possible, but she also needed to find sources of food. She did have her mushrooms, that she could cook in her "pot". She took them out and set them aside.
She got back to her feet and noticed she was aching and dizzy still. She started off in a direction she had not yet explored. She had the hammer looped over her wrist. She twirled it for fun and noticed a breeze sprang up. She stopped twirling and the breeze stopped. Uiharu stopped dead and looked at the hammer. She held it up by the strap. She grabbed the strap in her right hand, held it to her side and started spinning it around, faster and faster.
At first just a little breeze sprang up, like you would get from something spinning next to you. Then it got stronger. And stronger. And STRONGER. Until the leaves and branches on the ground were blowing away from Uiharu like in a storm.
"Whoa." And she slowed down the spinning. And the wind stopped.
She looked at the hammer again. "You are full of surprises. What else can you do, I wonder?"
She started walking again. It was her lucky day! She found brambles full of late season blackberries. She filled the pockets of her rain jacket with as many as it would hold, putting her palmtop and cell into her pants pocket for now. As she made her way down the row of brambles, she failed her 'Situational Awareness' test. Uiharu suddenly heard a "Whuff" and when she looked, ten feet away was a bear. Who looked displeased to see her.
"Nice bear! Good bear! I'm done here! You can have the rest of the berries!"
Very displeased to see her. It charged!
Uiharu shrieked and did the only thing she could think of, she hurled the hammer at the bear.
Sgt. Rock and his men had only gotten a couple of hours of sleep before dawn broke and they were back at the SAR base camp set up outside the lodge. He met with the leader of the SAR teams to go over again everything that had been done. The students were being sent home so he and his men were volunteering with the search. He told the team leader that he thought that Uiharu was a brilliant student and would know what to do and not lose her head. Rock knew, just by looking at the heavy fog, that choppers were not going out again.
"Dog teams, including cadaver dogs, will be here by this afternoon," the SAR leader said.
"That girl won't need a cadaver dog. I'll bet good money on that," said Sgt. Rock.
The meeting broke up and he and his men geared up to go back up the mountain again. Just before he left his room, his cell rang. "Hello?"
"Is this Sgt. Rock?"
"This is Konori Mii from Judgement 177th, Uiharu's Chief, we spoke last night."
"Ah yes, I'm afraid I have no more news for you. I'm about to head out with my men to resume the search. We can't launch any choppers because the fog is too heavy."
"I was afraid of that. I'm calling to alert you that one of my officers and an adjunct officer are missing from their school and I think they are on their way to join your search. Whether you want them to or not. They are very close friends with Uiharu."
"Are you FREAKING kidding me?"
"I wish I was. They are very, um, strong-willed and dedicated to Uiharu's safety. She's like their little Sister, even though they are all the same age."
Sgt Rock face palmed.
"Please tell me they aren't idiots like the one that misplaced Uiharu."
"Sgt. Rock, do you know much about Espers?"
"Kuroko Shirai is Uiharu's partner in my office. She is a Level 4 Teleporter, that is the second highest level you can be. She actually is ideally suited for SAR being able to teleport herself, others, and objects for short distances from places you might not be able to normally reach."
"And the other one?"
"Misaka Mikoto is a Level 5 Electromaster, aka RailGun. She controls the electromagnetic spectrum and can form a railgun capable of liquifying a tank. Level 5 is our highest level of control. The two of them together are a potent team. They have done Urban SAR before. Misaka can lift several tons with her powers."
"When do you think they will arrive?"
"I'm not sure when they left, but anytime in the next three hours, if I had to guess."
"If you hear from them, tell them to report to me, please. And thanks for the heads up."
"Dorm Mother is going to rearrange my neck. I know it."
"I think we will be scrubbing the pool again. For a month."
"How long until we arrive, Sissy?"
"We arrive at the train station in another thirty-five minutes, then we have to figure out how to get to the hotel."
"Sissy, where did you get that Judgment Armband?"
The hammer hit the bear mid-body with a lightning flash and sent it flying for about twenty meters. The hammer snapped back to Uiharu's stunned hand. After a minute the bear got up, shook its head, and decided it was no longer interested in her and wandered off.
Uiharu looked at the hammer, the hammer looked back, impassively. She looked around, and, in the distance, saw a dead tree. She spun the hammer a few time around with her right and then let it fly at the tree.
The dead tree blew apart into small pieces, which was what Uiharu had been visualizing in her head. And the hammer gently flew back to her hand. "So, when I throw you at something, what I am thinking is what happens?"
The hammer declined to answer her question.
"Am I now one of those cartoon Super Heroes? I will look really stupid in a body suit and cape! I'm not built enough!"
Uiharu saw a big rock nearby. "OK, I want to only crack that rock in half vertically." She spun the hammer and threw it. It hit the big rock and cracked it exactly in half. Vertically. And flew back to her right hand, gently.
"I wonder what happens if I don't throw you at anything? OK, I'm going to throw you straight up one Km and then come back to me." She spun it around and let it fly up. Uiharu watched it disappear up through the fog and then waited. After a few minutes she heard a whistling noise and put out her hand. This time it was not quite as gentle, smacking into her hand.
"OK, what happens without a destination?" She started twirling it again and sent it back up, but her hand got caught in the strap and it dragged her along! Straight up into the sky!
"OK, Kuroko, we're at the station, now what."
"Adapt. Improvise. Overcome."
"I should have never watched that program with you."
"There! That truck with the boxes is heading towards the lodge."
Kuroko grabbed Misaka's hand. POP
"This is cold and uncomfortable" Misaka whispered.
"But we are headed the right way."
"Any word from Konori-senpai on Uiharu?"
Kuroko checked her texts. "Several threats as to what she will do to me when I return; lesser threats to you. Ah, report to someone named Sergeant Rock when we arrive."
The truck slowed down and turned into a parking lot. Kuroko grabbed Misaka's arm again.
They were in front of the SAR CP. Kuroko just walked in boldly and went to the assignments desk.
"177th Office Judgement Officers Kuroko and Misaka arriving, we were told to report immediately to Sergeant Rock."
They both saluted the desk officer.
"I have nothing here about you. All Judgement officers were sent home."
"The missing officer is from our Branch and we have special talents that will be useful for the search, so we were sent. Please contact Sgt. Rock as he is expecting us."
"Stand by one."
"SAR Base to Rock, over."
"Rock, go base, over."
"Rock, you expecting two Judgement Officers for an assist, over?"
"Yes, send them to grid 19, over."
"Officers, come to the map here, here is a Topo for you to carry. We are at grid 0, for simplicity's sake. Sgt Rock is here with his team. Drop your personal gear over there with everyone else's. Draw what you need from the Quartermaster. Here is your auth chit. Here are two radios, your call signs will be Judgment One and Two. Got it? You are on Tac 3 with Rock. Tac 5 is Emergency."
The two went to the Quartermaster and got luminescent vests, climbing helmets and headlights, flashlights, full canteens, iodine and salt tabs, protein bars, climbing belts and belt first aid kits. Kuroko looked at the map, grabbed Misaka's arm yet again.
Rock, Wildman, and Four Eyes were slowly going along the edge of the drop off of the Celestial viewing area again, trying to find any sign of where Uiharu might have gone off. Suddenly they heard voices of two young girls.
"This is the grid coordinates we were given; he must be around here."
"Sgt. Rock? We were told to report to you?" called Misaka.
"Over here," he responded gruffly.
The two girls carefully made their way over to the three men. They noticed that the three men were not exactly looking at them with respect. They both bowed. "I am Kuroko Shirai, Officer from Judgement 177th. I am Uiharu's regular partner. This is Misaka Mikoto, she is an adjunct officer who helps us on difficult cases. We put ourselves in your care."
"I'm Sgt. Rock, this is Wildman, that's Four Eyes. I'm not really happy to have you two amateurs here to "help". Especially after the wonderful job her partner did last night. Tell me, is it Judgement's policy to leave their comrades behind like that?"
Kuroko's face was turning a fantastic shade of red. Through gritted teeth she spat out, "Not at my branch, not with my team."
"What can you two do to help?" asked Wildman.
Kuroko answered by touching Sgt Rock and teleporting the two of them several hundred yards down the path and then back. She then touched Wildman and teleported him, by himself several hundred yards up into the air, then teleported herself up to catch him and then land both of them safely back on the ground.
"Useful," said Sgt. Rock. "You?" looking at Misaka.
She started sparking, then channeled all her energy and grabbed Four Eyes by all the metal he was wearing and easily lifted him in the air and moved him around and set him down again. She then gathered all the iron particles around and formed a sword and used it to lop the branches off a near by tree. Finally, she drew enough electricity around herself to generate a lightning bolt and threw it at a nearby dead tree and blew it apart.
"There's more, but I figured it's time better spent searching."
"You'll do," said Rock, "You have Urban SAR experience?"
"Yes, although it won't be much help here," said Kuroko.
"You'll be surprised. Right now, we are trying to find traces of where she went last night. The last anyone remembers seeing her was in this immediate area. She was our best student, so something must have caused her to disappear. Spread out and look for any signs, but don't get too close to the edge."
"DON'T DROP MEEEEEEEEEE!"
Uiharu managed to get her other hand on the grip of the hammer and then it leveled off. She was flying! This was fun!
But where was she going? Below was all fog, she couldn't see any landmarks. She will the hammer to take her gently back to the ground, so it took her back down through the trees and landed her gently on the ground.
Somewhere. Just not where she had been. Uiharu face palmed and thought seriously about crying. Now she was really lost. There was a big rock, so she sat down and allowed herself one minute to feel really sorry for herself and have a pity-party. Then she pulled out her cell phone, just to see if there was a signal. That was a big, fat no.
OK, time to come up with a new plan.
"Misaka! Can you hold me here for a minute with your power?" called Kuroko.
"Yes, what have you got?"
"Not sure, just hold me and lower me as I tell you," Kuroko said.
Sgt Rock and his men came over to watch.
Misaka concentrated and lifted Kuroko and slowly lowered her over the edge until Kuroko's head was just below the top.
"Left 30 centimeters, please. Down 20 centimeters please. Down five meters please."
They could hear Kuroko taking pictures with her phone.
"Misaka, out two meters please. Down three meters please. I have blood and hair!"
"Ai! Misaka concentrate!"
"Bring me up please!"
Kuroko floated back up and over the edge and Misaka set her down gently.
Holding up her hand, Kuroko showed an evidence envelope that contained what looked like a piece of scalp with some hair, blood…and part of flower.
Misaka turned pale.
"Is this something you two practice a lot?" asked Sgt. Rock.
"Yes sir," answered Misaka, "Among other things. The three of us are a fairly unstoppable team."
"What twigged you to this spot?" asked Wildman.
"See how there is a rock there, there, and there, but it looks like something is missing here? I was looking for evidence like this was a crime scene."
"Old dog. New tricks."
"I knew if I went over with a rope it would obliterate any trace evidence, so I had Misaka lower me using the metal I'm wearing. I could see where something large and roundish like a rock went over, I saw something else went over too, on the underlip; like a toe drag. Then it was just looking for something like clothing threads or other traces like at a crime scene. This looks like an accidental fall."
"How far down is it?"
"One hundred or so meters. I can teleport everyone, one at a time, very quickly, if you don't mind."
"Don't mind?! Are you kidding? Let's go!"
"That was…interesting," said Sgt Rock.
"Marker," said Four Eyes.
"Good Girl," breathed Rock.
Wildman took out a compass and shot the marker and the cliff and the group started out. They went 100 paces when Wildman shot a compass reading again, while Four Eyes looked around.
They started out again.
"Look! A deadfall!" called out Wildman.
They approached Uiharu's camp.
"Where is she?" Misaka asked.
"Fire's still hot, she can't be far. Look, she made a water pot!"
"Uiharu!" Kuroko called.
"She definitely slept in there last night, she made a bed on the boughs and there's blood maybe where her head was," said Wildman.
"If she has a head injury, but she's still doing all the right things, she can't be out of it," said Sgt Rock. "All right, everyone go one hundred paces, no more, in a different direction, and see if you find her. Call out if you find anything important."
Everyone picked a direction and started counting off steps while looking around. They could see her footprints from where Uiharu explored the area. But no Uiharu.
"HEY! OVER HERE!" called Misaka.
The group came over to her. "What kind of animal made those?" she asked, pointing at the tracks charging at Uiharu's tracks by the berry bush.
The men looked at each other.
"Bear," said Four Eyes, "Mid-sized one."
"But the tracks stop short of reaching her," Sgt Rock said. "Did she have a special power too like yours?"
"Um, she can heat things up, nothing that would stop a bear," said Kuroko.
"There's a tree over here that been blasted to pieces too!" said Wildman.
"Her footprints end here. They don't go on, they don't go back," said Four Eyes.
"What the hell is going on here?" demanded Sgt. Rock.
OK, she still had all of her items. She was on a fairly level area, much heavier tree canopy. It was drier. She couldn't hear any water, which was bad. Her phone had said it was early afternoon, so she looked at the area and estimated which way was downhill. She blazed a tree and set a marker showing her trail. She wanted to try to find water and/or shelter before dark. She set off at a brisk pace.
Every 100 paces she blazed a tree and set a marker. After an estimated three hours of walking, she thought she heard some water. Uiharu stopped and slowly turned left and right, trying to determine the direction. She blazed a tree and set another marker and headed towards the water sound. It took four rounds of one hundred paces with markers and blazes to get to the sound.
It was a little waterfall! Maybe five meters high, going into a small pool and then a stream meandered off from the falls. There were a couple of small caves near the falls, which weren't very deep and might be good place to sleep. Uiharu carefully approached the caves, wary for bears, but they were too small and shallow for bears, but perfect for Uiharus!
It was starting to get dark, so she quickly gather everything she needed for a fire and built it in the entrance of the cave she chose. She got the fire going and the cave started to warm up nicely. She checked the pool and found that there were fish trapped in it. Also, the water was not icy cold, but somewhat tolerable. She went and looked for the leaves she needed and actually found hat she wanted quickly.
She sacrificed her bra and its last hook to make another needle and she sacrificed another t-shirt thread to make another pot. She soaked it, filled it and boiled the water so she could drink her fill. She found a really long stick, attached her bra to it, like a banner and stuck in the ground near the pool to mark her location while she was asleep. She laughed, "Not like I need it to keep me warm."
She stood at the bottom of the water fall, took the hammer and told it, "Look, I just want to fly to the top of the falls here, OK?" She put her hand through the strap and swung it, aiming for the top of the cliff. It took her up there and landed her gently. There wasn't really anything to see, but she looked in all directions, trying to spot any sign of civilization, but there was nothing but woods in all directions. She could see the Mountain, off in the distance, where she started from, but she wasn't sure she wanted to chance "flying" there just yet.
"OK, hammer, softly back down there, please." She threw it towards the ground and it landed her nicely next to her cave.
"I'm so hungry, I wonder if I can catch those fish by hand, like on that TV show? A quick dip won't hurt."
Uiharu took off her clothes and hung them to air out. She dipped a toe in the pool which suddenly felt colder than it had earlier. Oh well, she jumped in and shrieked.
The fish seemed to be laughing at her. She picked one mid-sized one and managed to corner it and flip it out of the water and onto land. She jumped back out and grabbed her multitool and took care of gutting the fish. She put it on a thick stick over the fire to slow smoke and grill. She then jumped back into the pool and scrubbed herself with the sand she found on the bottom. She kept her hair out of the water because she had no good way to dry it.
She got out and made her way to the fire to warm up and dry off. She used her powers to help warm herself and dry off. Once she was dry, she quickly got dressed to stay warm. Her fish was done and, after thanking the gods for her feast, she enjoyed her first "real" food in a day and a half. It tasted so good! The only thing left when she was done was scales and bones. She put the remains in the fast-flowing stream beyond the pool.
After boiling and drinking more water, she gathered more wood and also pine needles and wet wood to smudge and went to bed down. She had lined the cave floor again with pine boughs, and made a pine bough "blanket". She banked her fire and went to sleep.
Waking again with the sun, her body was aching a little less, but her head was still in pain. She was now worried that maybe she might have a skull fracture. She looked outside and it was raining yet again. In frustration she grabbed the hammer and pounded the handle on the ground. There was a crack of thunder and the hammer was sizzling with lightening, like Misaka!
She held it up, "All I want it the rain to go away!"
Overhead the clouds started boiling and moving. The wind picked up and the clouds started moving away.
"Are you kidding me?! I can control the weather?"
"All right, everyone freeze in place, don't move," ordered Sgt. Rock. "Misaka, that trick you did with Kuroko, can you do that with Four Eyes, even though he's bigger?"
"I could do it with Four Eyes riding on a tank."
"Could you please pick him up and hold him horizontal to the ground and maneuver him around so he can look for tracks?"
"Yes sir. Just tell me where you want to go and how fast."
Misaka started sparking and picked up Four Eyes and started moving him around. After thirty-five minutes, she put him back down.
"Sarge, it's like she was just lifted off the ground and taken away like that Star Trek thing."
"Transporter," said Misaka.
"Yeah. And no sign of a fight, although it looks like something threw that bear 30 meters or so away from her."
Kuroko took lots of pictures.
"There are teleporters who can teleport without touching, but why would they be here and why now?" asked Kuroko.
"Kuroko," asked Misaka with a catch in her throat, "you are Senior, is this now a crime scene?"
"Sgt. Rock, in yours and your men's expert opinion, based on what we have found in the last thirty-five minutes, is this still a normal missing person case? The footprints, destroyed tree, the bear, all evidence of powers we know Uiharu does not have."
"Ms. Kuroko, at this point, I am forced to say 'no' although I would insist on continuing the search in case she is still out here."
"In that case, I concur Sgt, I'm glad we are both seeing the same thing. The problem is, I am way out of my Jurisdiction here and cannot declare this a crime scene on my own, I can only recommend. How do we proceed?"
"Stay off the radio. My team and Misaka stay here to guard the scene and you and I go back to the CP and deal with this."
"OK, I'll pop everyone back to her camp so we don't trample this anymore, I already got a lot of pictures, and then I will transport us back to CP."
After going over everything multiple times, including how she and Misaka happened to show up at the Park, Kuroko's recommendation was taken and the area was declared a crime scene. She was pressed into service ferrying experts into the area while Misaka assisted with her flying skills. Eventually Sgt Rock put his foot down when he noticed the girls were becoming exhausted. Kuroko actually had a teleport land two feet too high. He and Wildman roped the girls to their backs and rappelled the two exhausted girls back up the cliff to where an Amphicat waited to drive them to the Lodge.
Wildman went and got their knapsacks and the Americans led the girls to the dining room and got them seated.
"When's the last time you two ate anything?" Sgt Rock demanded.
"We had dinner last night and I had a bar out there today," Misaka answered.
"Same," Kuroko answered.
"Doesn't using your powers like that drain you?" asked Wildman.
"Yup," answered Misaka, sounding a little drunk, "But it was for Uiharu."
The three Americans looked at each other. "Stay here, we will get you some food."
"Oh-Kay!" drawled Kuroko.
Four Eyes came back quickly with bowls of Miso and spoons. "Come on ladies, let's start with this. It's light and will get some protein in you."
"Itadakimasu!" said the girls, still sounding drunk, before picking up spoons and starting to try to eat the soup. Kuroko gave up quickly and just picked up the bowl and started carefully drinking from it. Misaka was able to manage the spoon a little better.
By the time they managed the soup, Rock and Wildman were back with bowls of rice and plates of smoked and grilled fish with pickled vegetables. The girls' color was a lot better and they were no longer slurring their words so badly. They dug into the dinner with gusto. Meanwhile the men took turns getting food without leaving the girls alone.
Once they were acting more normal, Sgt Rock leaned forward, "I owe you an apology. I'm damned sorry I let them overwork you like that; I had no idea you had not eaten. I'm also sorry I lumped you in with those sad sacks I sent home this morning; you put them to shame."
Misaka laughed ironically, "Well, we will get our butts chewed when we go back for sneaking off like this, both by Judgement and our Dorm Mother. But we don't care. Uiharu is more important; we know she would do the same for us. This one [pointing at Kuroko] tried to sneak off without me, but we're a team."
"Out of curiosity, what will happen to you when you get back?"
"Well, Judgement may give a suspension, they might not, but our Scary Dorm Mother will probably have us scrub the Olympic size pool by hand. Again." Misaka laughed.
"Besides being on lockdown for however long she feels like, "muttered Kuroko.
"If you don't mind my asking, but exactly how old are you two?" asked Wildman.
"She's thirteen, I'm fourteen," answered Misaka.
"What? And you have all this power and maturity?"
"And you still haven't seen Sissy's RailGun."
"OK, Sgt Rock, I guess we will go out to the CP and find a quiet corner to go curl up for a while," said Misaka.
"Are you kidding? We got you a room here at the lodge!"
"That wasn't needed we've roughed it before, but thanks. What time do you need us tomorrow?"
Sgt. Rock hesitated.
"Dawn?" Kuroko asked.
"If you can."
"We will meet you here for breakfast. Thank you for taking care of us."
"Here is your key. Good night."
The girls took turns having a nice hot shower and getting ready for bed. They set an early alarm and were out within seconds. Dawn came way to early, they got up and dressed quickly and warmly, putting on all the assigned gear. They made their way to restaurant and grabbed breakfast. They sat down and were about to eat when Sgt Rock and his men came in with their food.
"Any word?" Kuroko asked.
"The dogs had no hits, not even the…cadaver dogs."
The girls' faces showed what they thought about that.
"What's our assignment today, Sir? Misaka asked.
"We don't have one, yet. I think they don't know what to do with us."
"Uiharu is so small. I keep wondering if there was something big enough to carry her off," Misaka said.
"Rodan," joked Four Eyes.
The girls rolled their eyes.
"Wait a minute!" said Misaka, "That gives me an idea."
"What is it Misaka?" said Sgt Rock.
"Can we go back to the top of the cliff where she fell again? I want to see something. Also, do any of you have binoculars?"
"Yes, and yes."
"I'll tell you when we get there, if I'm right; if I'm wrong, we will just waste some time."
"And get wet, it's freaking raining again."
"Damnit! No choppers again!"
The Amphicat dropped them at the clifftop again.
"May I borrow the binoculars, please? Thank you."
"Can you point about where her footprints ended? OK, great. Give me a second."
Misaka slowly scanned the forest top carefully around the area where Uiharu disappeared. She really took her time, just when she was about to give up, she saw it. She looked and put landmarks in her brain.
"I got it!" she said.
"What is it, Misaka?"
"OK, remember Four Eyes comment about Transporter and we all said it was like she was just lifted off the ground, but she didn't have that power?"
"Well, if someone did launch Uiharu out of there, they would have had to break through the leaf canopy, which would show her direction. So, I started scanning where she was, when her tracks disappeared. Look in that area at about our seven o'clock, you will see a red topped tree, near it is a hole in the canopy and, based on the way the leaves are bent, it shows the direction something was moving. I'm hoping we can plot it."
"I'll. Be. Damned. Brilliant! Compass!" Sgt Rock took the compass and started plotting the direction that the hole indicated for direction of travel.
While the weather was clearing, Uiharu stripped down and went fishing for her breakfast again. First, she built the fire up higher. She decided since it was so darned cold in the water, she would try to get two fish and have the second one cold later. She managed to snag another two medium sized ones onto the shore and get them gutted and on her sticks. She rinsed off and then started her drying off process. Once warm and dry, she dressed quickly and filled her water pot and put it next to the fire as well.
She noticed the rain still hadn't dispersed all the way, so she thumped the hammer twice more and said, "Rain clouds, SCAT!"
She was gratified to see them start moving out more smartly. She adjusted her one fish to be in the smoke to smoke cure it and pulled the other to eat. She pulled the water off to cool so she could drink. She leaned back against the cave. She started thinking. She wondered what would happen if she thumped the hammer head against the ground. She tried it and the hammer changed into a walking stick. She thumped the walking stick and it became a hammer again.
"Excellent! It has a disguise!"
She thumped it again and used the walking stick to get around which was very handy. She disposed of the bones again in the creek and settled down again, turning her smoking fish. She decided to stay put as possibly if the rain stayed dispersed, she might see a helicopter and be able to signal with smoke or using the knife blade of he multitool. She gathered up more wood for the fire and added more to it to keep warm.
"It has to be in that direction," Misaka and Rock agreed looking over the map. "But where?"
"Hey look, that's weird," said Wildman, "the weather is breaking over in that direction."
Sure enough, off in the distance, in the indicated direction, the weather was rapidly, and somewhat unnaturally, breaking up.
"How far away would you say that is, Sgt Rock?" asked Misaka.
"A good twenty clicks."
"I want to try something else. If it works, do you think we might be able to get a helicopter?" Misaka asked.
"Can you warn everyone I'm about to make a very loud noise and a lot of light, please? Fire in the hole might be good." Misaka laughed.
"Misaka!" Kuroko warned.
"All units this is Rock, stand by for a SAR test involving loud pyrotechnics in five, four"
Misaka flips her token up in the air while the Americans stare at her.
"three, two, one. Fire in the hole!"
Misaka fired a full-strength RailGun bolt at a slight upward angle in the direction of the travel and atmospheric disturbance.
"CP to Rock, what the hell was that? Over."
"Rock to CP, Signal flare, over."
Uiharu was watching the clouds disperse, when she saw it and heard it. A huge colored bolt streaking horizontally from the mountain towards her followed by a shaka-boom
Uiharu built her fire up a little more and immediately started smudging it. Slowly, but surely, she built up a blackish pillar of smoke from her fire.
The group stared off in the direction of Misaka's "Flare". Sgt Rock was scanning his binoculars while everyone else had shaded their eyes and were staring so hard, it was amazing their eyes didn't pop out of their heads. Four Eyes saw it first, "SMOKE!"
"Four Eyes, try the mirror!"
Four Eyes broke out his signal mirror: "CQ CQ CQ, UIHARU UIHARU UIHARU"
Uiharu stared hard at where the RailGun had come from, suddenly she saw signaling. She was still learning Morse, but it was slow enough for her, she got "CQ CQ CQ UIHARU UIHARU UIHARU"
She pulled out her big knife blade on her multitool and tried to send back: "SOS SOS SOS UIHARU UIHARU UIHARU"
"I see flashes!" cried Misaka, "What is she saying?"
"SOS SOS SOS UIHARU UIHARU UIHARU" said Four Eyes. "It's her!"
Misaka and Kuroko screamed with happiness and hugged each other. Then they grabbed the Americans, hugged and kissed them! Sgt Rock blushed.
"How far away do you think she is?" asked Kuroko.
"At least twenty klicks," estimated Four Eyes.
"Too far to teleport, then."
"How soon can we get a chopper?" asked Kuroko anxiously.
"Rock to CP, we have eyes on our lost lamb, need a chopper ASAP, over."
"CP to Rock, are you sure? Over."
"Rock to CP, Signal flare was a success. Over."
"Chopper ETA to your location ten minutes."
Uiharu read the signal. "STAY PUT CHOPPER ON WAY ETA 20 MINUTES"
She set about cleaning up her camp. She scattered her fire and doused it with water, then turned the ashes with her "walking stick" and doused it again to be sure. She then sat down with her back to the cliff wall and tried to figure out what she was going to do when she got back home with that hammer.
A big black helicopter hovered near the mountain top and Kuroko popped the whole team onboard, allowing the chopper to quickly head off towards Uiharu's location. Everyone was wearing headphones so they could talk to each other and hear what was going on.
"Copilot has flashes at two o'clock."
"Pilot copies, we will circle the area."
"Copilot has one female on the ground waving. No joy for landing."
"Pilot concurs, no safe landing zone"
"This is Kuroko, I got her."
"Copilot now has two females on the ground. Now no females."
"This is Kuroko, I have the missing person on board. She is complaining of severe headache and dizziness post fall from cliff, possible concussion. Patient has large hematoma on the right side of her head. Can we expedite to nearest hospital?"
Misaka and Kuroko took off their jackets and piled them on Uiharu. Misaka made a knee pillow for her.
"I knew you would come for me," Uiharu said.
Kuroko touched her face tenderly. "You're my partner, I will never leave you behind! I'll always come for you."
"Air Rescue 101 requesting priority approach to Kyoto General, my code is Buster."
"Priority is granted, all traffic is cleared. Your code is Buster."
"What's this stick, Uiharu?" asked Misaka.
"My good luck charm."
"Konori-senpai, I have a complaint."
"What's wrong, Kuroko-chan? Are you making too many easy arrests?"
"Yes! Every time I catch up to the miscreants, someone has cut in on my arrests. Either some Electromaster or Windmaster. By the time I catch up to them, they are already incapacitated like Kongou or Misaka used their abilities on them. Occasionally they are drenched in water. It's like they want to embarrass me by making it look like I can't do it myself!"
"What do the criminals say happened?"
"They don't know! Only one of them ever saw anything and he said it was a little Judgement Girl and thought it was me! The only thing they all agree on was there was a 'whooshing' noise first!"
"Well, you are making arrests, so that's all that matters."
"But it hurts my pride!" cried Kuroko as she went to her desk.
Konori slid her chair over to Uiharu's desk. "That's a big smile, Uiharu."
"I'm just having a good day and I'm happy to be here."
"Are you fully recovered?"
"I still have a little ringing in my ears and the crack in my skull is still healing, but otherwise good."
"I want you to know that Sgt. Rock wants you to attend the Intermediate course in six months."
"He's also offering you a job helping teach the beginner course."
"How's your neck, Kuroko?"
"A little stiff, but ok. Ready to go?"
"Yes, I'm wearing my swimsuit this time."
"The one I bought you?" Kuroko asked all excited.
"That one is hidden where archaeologists will never find it. I'm wearing standard school suit with my shorts."
"Sissy! How will you ever attract a mate dressed like that?"
"You mean have you drool over me all day."
The two girls got to the pool with their buckets, brooms, brushes, hoses and cleaning supplies and climbed down in. They sighed in unison and got to work.
"For Uiharu, I would do it again."
"Yes, me too."
In the distance they heard…not quite singing, by a group of men. But men weren't allowed here!
"Over hill, over dale
As we hit the dusty trail,
And the Caissons go rolling along.
In and out, hear them shout,
Counter march and right about,
And the Caissons go rolling along.
Then it's hi! hi! hee!
In the field artillery,
Shout out your numbers loud and strong,
For where'er you go,
You will always know
That the Caissons go rolling along."
And pounding up came Sgt Rock, Four Eyes, and Wildman. The two girls just stared.
"Ladies! There's no way we are letting the two of you be punished by yourselves for saving your best friend's life! We would have never found her so quickly, if at all, if it weren't for your timely and expert help. Units share praise, and punishment. All right men, let's get to it!"
The three big guys jumped in the pool, grabbed brushes and buckets and joined in the cleaning. They taught the girls Army songs that they would have sung when they were recruits and had to do barracks cleaning duties or marching or whatever. It made the time pass quickly and everyone had fun singing at the top of their voices while scrubbing out the pool. They told jokes and stories. Kuroko explained that the pool was where Misaka's powers were tested as it was the only place, they could measure it accurately by the amount of water she displaced.
"How much does she displace?" asked Wildman.
"Um, last time it was 85% of the pool," admitted Misaka.
All three men stopped, looked at the pool and tried to imagine that.
"How high is the water spout?" asked Sgt Rock.
"Um, about eight stories," said Misaka.
"How do you generate it?"
"Promise you won't laugh?"
"Um, Video game tokens," Misaka whispered.
"Video. Game. Tokens. And you empty out 85% of the water in this pool."
"I hate to think what would happen if you got your hands on depleted Uranium rounds."
"Don't give her ideas!" said Kuroko.
The pool was cleaned in record time. The girls thanked the men profusely, but they insisted they were just returning the favor as they left. Misaka and Kuroko went to their room to change and enjoy their Saturday.
Konori and Uiharu were at 177th office doing paperwork when there was a knock on the door. When it opened, three familiar faces came in. "Where's our star pupil?"
"Sgt Rock! Four Eyes! Wildman! So nice to see you all again! This is my Senpai, Konori Mii."
"An honor to meet you all"
"We just wanted to stop by and see how you are doing. Are you recovered? No more headaches?" asked Sgt Rock.
"I am a lot better, thank you. I should be fully recovered in a little while longer."
"We came to bring you to things. First, we went back to your campsites and took pictures to use in our text book of how to self-rescue as they were excellent. Two completely different sites, but executed perfectly. We are going to give you co-author credits, which should help you in future endeavors."
"Thank you, you are too kind!"
"Now, the first thing we brought you is from your second campsite, which is your rescue flag that you left behind. It was still flying from your flagpole."
The three men were smiling kindly, but Uiharu was blushing furiously as she accepted the bag.
"Also, we have this plaque with a patch and Certificate naming you as an Honorary Member of Easy Company." Sgt Rock handed her the plaque as the men applauded her.
"Thank you so much, but I don't know what I did for such an honor."
"You attended our class and put it to use and won."
Uiharu got up and gave all the men a hug and thanked them while Konori bowed and shook their hands.
"Oh, out of idle curiosity, what happened to that girl that was your partner and left you behind?" Sgt Rock asked.
"She resigned on her own from Judgement," Konori answered.
"Nothing happened to her?"
"Not…officially. Rumor has it she woke up one morning, left alone, on top of one of the city's wind turbines."
"And no one knows how it happened?"
"Apparently not," Konori shrugged, with a sly smile.
Final author notes:
Some of you may remember Marvel Comics, back in the day, used to do a comic called, "What If?", this is my version. "What If Uiharu found Thor's Hammer?"
Yeah, I stomped all over the Canon here. Oh well, gotta have some fun with things!
This was based on a joke conversation on FB of who could lift Thor's Hammer and I nominated Uiharu. Then I just had to write the story. It tormented me. This is what happens when Fanfiction authors get punchy LOL
Plus, Uiharu gets her own story where she is the hero!