Hanalei, the small town I found myself in, was a bit touristy; however, it was positively gorgeous between the taro fields and the deep verdant mountains off in the distance. It also didn't seem to lack for restaurants or other places to eat, which gave me pause. Although it was almost lunchtime, I wasn't particularly hungry. The oddity that I hadn't had water or food in nearly three days wasn't entirely lost on me.

Being a ship girl obviously had its advantages, but eventually, I would need supplies. Could I even eat regular food? I mean, how does that work? Well, another thing to worry about later as I didn't have any money, and I wasn't going to break into anyone's place of business.

Good thing too. Turning a corner, I spied a military convoy slowly moving down the street, which included a dozen US Marines checking doors and calling out. Those shouts were what alerted me to find their source, dragging me away from the temptation of the delicious-looking items I found in a bakery store window.

Ignoring that for a split second, I almost summoned my rigging; I waved at the group and called out. "Konnichi wa watashi wa sukoshi mayotsu te iru you desu watashi wa tasukeru koto ga deki masu ka."

"Sorry, ma'am, can you repeat that in English?" One of the Marines, a Corporal, I believe, requested as she approached.

"I apologize." I found myself bowing. "Force of habit. I can speak English. Can you tell me what's going on?"

"Do you really not know?" A second marine asked incredulously, then stammered as I smiled at him. "I mean, the governor called for a total evacuation of the island a few days ago."

"Is it because of the storm?"

"Yes, ma'am," the Corporal replied, almost rolling her eyes at her companion before the two began to two escort me toward one of the vehicles. "And the attacks."

"What attacks?"

However, someone interrupted us before I could get an answer. "Who do we have there, Corporal?"

"I'm sorry, I didn't get your name."

I turned and bowed toward the officer. "My name is Takijirō Akagi, Lieutenant. Sorry, I should say Akagi Takijirō. The nice Corporal here was telling me there was an attack."

The officer nodded, ran his finger over a tablet, then frowned. "I don't have you as a resident Miss Takijirō."

"I don't live here."

"Strange time to be a tourist," One of the other Marines commented.

"The island is quite beautiful," I countered with a smile, then turned back to the officer. "I lost my purse, phone, keys, pretty much everything, so I came to town looking for help. I thought I could borrow a phone to call my parents."

"Well, walk with us, Miss Takijirō; I'm sure Corporal Anders can fill you in on what's happening. Currently, communications are a problem, so your parents will have to wait."

He typed a few things into the pad in dismissal before slipping back into the vehicle. With a shrug, I followed the Marines as they returned to hammering on the doors and calling out to anyone who hadn't left.

Satisfied that her troops were all doing their jobs, the Corporal turned to me and said, "Well, it seems you must have been here a while since tourists haven't been allowed on the island since the attacks in Europe. The governor called for a voluntary evacuation then, but you can imagine a lot of people stayed."

"I see, and what do you mean by attacks?"

"It's going to sound like I'm making it up, but about a month ago, monsters crawled out of the sea and shelled almost every major European port. At the same time, fishing boats, cruise ships even warships were attacked and sunk by demons who looked like women."

"Until they ran into Belfast," one of the Marines near us chimed in.

"Belfast, the city?"

"Jacobson," the Corporal warned.

"She can look it up on the web; it's not much of a secret anymore," he replied, pulling out his phone and showing a picture of another eerily beautiful girl firing her six-inch guns. "Not the city but the ship, well, a girl too."

"She's in a maid's outfit," I commented, getting a better look. Remembering Kongou, I knew English ships were weird, but at least the photo confirmed I wasn't alone.

"Where did you get the picture?"

"Reddit, Corporal," he said with a laugh.

"Well, I heard most of those demon girls who took on the NATO fleet off Dogger Bank were also some sort of warships," one of the other Marines added.

The Corporal gave her other men a look, who took the hint and immediately scurried back to their jobs before she continued. "Three days ago, Manila, Singapore, Port Arthur, and several places in Japan were attacked. Everyone expected Hawaii to be next."

"Japan?" I asked worriedly.

The Corporal nodded sympathetically.

"I did hear that a warship girl appeared in Tokyo Bay?" Johnson, who walked near us, added.

"Do you know who?"

He shook his head. "Connecting to the web's been a bit wiggy."

"So, this strange weather has been interfering with communications? Even cell phone?"

"Cell phones, radios, only the landlines connecting us with the mainland appear unaffected," the Corporal confirmed. "And these storms have appeared right before every attack."

"So that's why the governor is evacuating the island."

"Most people have already left but were still finding a few stragglers such as yourself."

"Can't believe you haven't heard about any other this." One of the Marines who's been listening called out.

I waved towards the northwest. "Not a lot of people to talk to out there."

"Oh, you've been camping." The Corporal looked at me and shook her head, "Sorry, but you don't seem to be someone who enjoys the great outdoors."

That caused me to laugh, "Well, I can say I actually prefer the ocean."

We didn't walk far, traveling through the rest of the main street before stopping at a restaurant parking lot overlooking a river. Another group of Marines were waiting for us, along with a handful of civilian stragglers sitting in the back of a large truck.

"All right, Akagi, we have about a two-hour drive to Nāwiliwili Harbor."

"Thanks for the escort, Corporal."

"My pleasure, don't worry, we'll stop at least once for a break, but we really need to get you civvies out of here," she said, laughing as I looked at the truck apprehensively. Of course, she had no idea I was more concerned about popping the tires than the trip as I climbed in.

Three hours later, we reached Papaloa just north of our destination. During the trip, we had picked up five stranded people whose cars had broken down, two more trucks full of stragglers, and six more, what I was told were Humvees, for our little convoy. Although not totally her fault for the delays, though this was our fourth break, one of the other truck passengers was a pregnant woman who seemed about as excited to be in one of these vehicles as I did.

What I did manage to pick up during my travel, however, was a limpet by the name of Chloe.

"Miss Akagi, I got a water bottle for you," she cheerfully ran up to me.

"Arigatou gozai mashi ta," I said, giving a slight bow, which caused her to squeal.

According to her mother, Cloe had been taking Japanese language lessons since one of her friends gave her some anime shows for her birthday. Not even a subbed version, so they had no clue what the cute little pocket monster characters were saying. She was adorable, like one of my fairies, and had decided that I would be the perfect person to practice with. And spent every moment doing just that.

"Don't encourage her, Miss Takijirō." Her mother, Katheryn, chuckled, walking up beside us. "Did you use the bathroom, Chloe?"

"Hi," the young girl announced.

Opening the water bottle, I emptied about half of it in one go. Although I wasn't really thirsty, the human side of me was happy with the cool liquid running down my throat. By then, most of the other civilians had come by to commiserate about the trip and our mutual dislike of the trucks. Much like my companions, I discovered that this mode of transportation was not particularly comfortable. Although my reason, I was a ship, so it felt a little unnatural.

As we drank water and, moments later, partook in some fruit, other members of our group began wondering what we would be doing for dinner. All the restaurants were closed, and MREs were mentioned, but most likely, we would get something to eat on the boat.

"I know I'm a bit of a worrier, but I asked Private Bentley again about the ships, and he said they were holding one for us," one of the women announced while splitting a banana with their husband.

There were happy smiles around at the news. Phone coverage was spotty, and the military hadn't been particularly forthcoming. With the airport officially closed, no one knew if ships were still waiting for us. However, there wasn't anything to worry about. The Navy had kicked the evacuation into high gear.

Although the thought of spending the next few hours on a truck didn't seem ideal, turning my head, I looked past the greenery and to the ocean beyond. If I continued to walk across the parking lot, I could be in Honolulu in about three hours. But do I just go with the flow, allowing the US government to evacuate me and others trapped on the island?

Dark clouds covered the sky, making it look like evening, and the wind kept blowing everything around. Far to the north, the horizon had an unnatural green and red hue. And there was also the fact that I could feel the storm clawing its way toward the island. It felt like I was running away, and that was unacceptable.

Something else was bothering me. As soon as we unloaded, the Marines went on alert. They weren't panicking, being the professionals they were, but something serious must be happening. Most of the civilians were oblivious to it, right up to the point where they all jumped when a convoy of heavy military vehicles raced past us. But only after a couple of flights of helicopters flying over did everyone begin to worry.

"Are we almost there, Mommy?" Cloe asked suddenly, which caused several adults in our group to chuckle.

It was funny, something I used to ask my parents in the car, but I was no longer paying attention to the conversations around me.

"Akagi, do you know? I'm not as familiar with this part of the island."

I then realized that I was being spoken to. "Oh, sorry, we're pretty close, but with all this traffic, not sure how long it's going to take."

"Oh, looks like it's time for another history lesson," one of the others announced as a Navy officer approached.

Commander Carlyle had joined our little convoy right after our first break. Somehow, we had gotten into a history discussion. No one actually complained; it was interesting and broke up the trip's monotony.

Lucy, the pregnant woman I mentioned, leaned over and whispered loudly, "I think he's sweet on you."

"Naww, he's just happy to find someone interested in the same thing." Her husband disagreed. "Kinda like talking about sports but with history nerds."

That caused me and others to laugh.

"Konnichi wa futatabi senchou," Cloe called out.

When he didn't reply, I stepped forward. "Are we ready to leave, Tom?"

"Can I speak to your privately, ma'am?"

Oh, that's not good; gone was the good-natured smile; he's going all positively formal Navy on me.

"Of course," I knelt down and said to Cloe, "Keep an eye on others for me, OK."

"Hi," she beamed.

Waiting until we were standing in the middle of the car park and well away from the others, he announced, "Ma'am, right before coming under fire from unknown assailants, two Coast Guard cutters reported that the towns of Princeville and Kalihiwai appeared to be in flames."

Nodding, I clenched and unclenched my right fist. I looked in that direction, then back. We passed through both towns on our way down here.

"Is this something you really should be telling me, Commander?"

I had my bridge crew send an alert to the hangar, and my pilots began to get themselves ready, but I needed more information before acting. Obviously, he had some idea of my actual identity. I knew it wouldn't remain secret long, especially if these demonic creatures appeared. I just didn't believe it would be revealed on the way to the harbor.

"Ma'am, you might have remembered that I plan on teaching history after I leave the Navy."

"I do; we spoke on several topics during our stops, and as I mentioned before, I was impressed with your knowledge. I think you will be a fine teacher."

During the last break, we had gotten into an in-depth discussion about the Washington Naval Treaty. Ahh, I see; my insights and information on it had been rather detailed but one-sided. You could even say personal. Well, I was a Japanese ship, but it couldn't have been that, could it?

"Thank you, ma'am; military history is one of my passions, especially the Pacific War. I'm sure you know that Taijiro Aoki was the Captain of the carrier Akagi during Midway."

OK, I am not totally obtuse. It was odd that he just showed up. However, part of me thought that maybe the Commander might have just been flirting. They were pleasant conversations, and all the civilians who listened mentioned they learned something too. Instead, it appeared he was trying to figure out my identity. My fault, really. I could have called myself anything else, but that felt wrong. I wasn't going to sail under a false flag, but my little obfuscation of using my Commander's surname didn't make a difference.

"He was," I replied with a warm smile. "Can I ask do you know what happened to him?"

"Only that he survived the war, ma'am."

"Thank you, that's good to know. Obviously, you believe that I might be something more. Maybe like Miss Belfast?"

The Commander looked back momentarily as more Marines arrived at the park, including a couple of officers who started to approach.

"We hoped, that is, although it hasn't happened every time, warship girls have appeared during the attacks by these sea demons. And it's not just what you know, ma'am. You have a presence, an aura around you, that all warship girls seem to have, and you're quite beautiful."

That caused me to laugh; nice to see he noticed, but still. "Thank you for the compliment, and I will say you're very perceptive."

"I imagine it also didn't help that I just showed up on a beach with no ID and no record of a Takijirō Akagi entering the country either," I slipped into my native tongue. Well, native for Akagi, anyway.

"Yes, ma'am, although your modern knowledge kept us guessing. We have been ordered to assist any warship girl that appears in any way we can. Obviously, you wanted to keep your identity secret, but someone would have approached you in Honolulu anyway," he replied in perfect Japanese.

Switching back to English, I expressed my concerns. "Mainly because of my history, Commander, my presence on the Hawaiian islands might not be entirely welcomed."

"I don't believe that will be the case, ma'am; that war has been over for eighty years. And, from our discussions, you seemed to be aware that our two countries are now allies."

"That we are," I said, then turned towards the two new officers. "Gentlemen."

The older of the two looked at the Commander, who nodded. Satisfied, he greeted me with a salute. "Major Alan Hittle, 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines."

Stepping back, I returned the salute and proudly proclaimed, "IJN Akagi, Flagship, First Carrier Division, how may the Japanese Navy help the US Marine Corps today."