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https://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive.html?searchall=beyond+that+blue+horizon

>‘Like I’m being microwaved and freeze-dried at the same time.’

You follow it up with a quick introduction of yourself. Secretary Case nods, appearing to take your dry preliminary response in good humour, even if he didn’t so much as throw a small twitch to indicate his tolerance for your reach in platitudes. Tague, however, appears to take your quip with a sigh of disapproval, shaking his head in response to the words you’d chosen for the Secretary’s query.

‘From what we’ve seen from the reports, I consider us fortunate that you’re in a good enough state to tell me that at all. The last two weeks haven’t been exactly uplifting. You waking up has been the best news we’ve had since the asset checklist came back with a serviceable horizon.’

You tilt your head, slightly overwhelmed. Considering a response to Secretary Case, you find your train of thought interrupted by the heavy stomping of feet against concrete, leaning slightly to your left to get a good bead on the source of the noise. At the end of the hall, you make out a plethora of bodies, shoulder-to-shoulder and wall to wall. Specifically, you manage to eye-ball a group that appeared to be headed by an angularly-faced, grey-haired glasses-sporting woman possessing hawk-like eyes and clad in what could be nothing else but a formal uniform belonging to the Eagle Union’s military, the rank indicators pushing beyond what little knowledge you have of your home nation’s hierarchy … but enough to understand that this was no old lady that could be trifled with. Her strides are hurried, urgent, uncaring for the stumbling of a bald, large-nosed male with fat, flounder-like cheeks and two chins that could at times, communicated the illusion of three as he bounced in his messy tie, pants and lab coat, clumsily trudging along like some overgrown whale, his belt buckled but not strapped and his shoes, you realize, had been the source for most of the stomping.

The tags, however, at least indicated that he was someone important enough to be here … whoever he was. The both of them are flanked in the most obvious of security details: berets, sidearms, straps …

‘Secretary Case,’ the woman starts coolly, squaring her shoulders but otherwise throwing up a textbook salute for the Secretary to receive. Case returns the gesture in kind, right as she steps forward, her gaze moving up and down, adjusting her glasses with every movement of her irises. You find yourself stiffening, wondering if—

You’re alive!

You stagger slightly from the sheer force that hits your torso, wincing in pain as you—

‘Abigail?’

You find yourself looking into Abigail’s blue—

YEOW!

Her fist’s point of contact is slightly below your navel.

‘You idiot! Why didn’t you tell us?!’

Her grip was quite—

HESITANT. JEALOUS.
>>
>>5240896
>Detach from Abigail. Immediately.
>Apologize for making her worry.
>Rationalize that you'd just woken up. You don't really even know where you are.
>'Us?'
>Highlight that this place was hardly a spot to showcase such displays of affection
>Write-In
>>
>>5240899
>>Apologize for making her worry.
>>
>>5240899
>>Apologize for making her worry.
>>
>>5240899
>Apologize for making her worry.
>>
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>Apologize for making her worry

With a small wince of pain and a rub of your sore stomach, you refocus your gaze on Abigail, aware of the spectacle that she had just caused … but ultimately unable to shrug off her outburst regarding your state (never mind the fact that you’d been in an effective coma spanning almost two weeks). Here she was with the tough act again, hands on her hips and tears threatening to leak out, hands on hips and chin wrinkled waiting for a reasonable answer that you’d yet to give. Your eyes closing slightly as you let out a small, sorry chuckle, you rub the back of your neck, feeling as though you were, once again, that child that had spent the evening too late and gotten your new boots wet … and at the brunt of a complete steamrolling from your mother.

‘Sorry for making you worry,’ you apologize, trying to sound as sincere as you possibly could, despite the circumstances. ‘I’m still in working condition though, so …’

‘When the reports came in and you weren’t accounted for, Conner and I—’

‘Now don’t you bring me into this.’

You raise your head to find the slightly apprehensive form of Conner, looking none the worse for wear … neither of them did. You go on the assumption that the both of them had somehow managed to escape with all their facilities intact, as you Conner didn’t even so much as have a scar on him (outside of the one dragging from the forehead to his nose, but that was already a given) and that Abigail seemed to have kept her energy even under all the circumstances that had piled over the last twelve days to allow this reunion in this … whatever this place was. Conner steps forward from the group, offering a tight smile as Abigail steps back; he’s unable to form the words to communicate his own feelings regarding your survival, briefly pursing his lips to say something but ultimately—and awkwardly—satisfying himself with a cross of his arms over his chest and a nod of acknowledgment. You’re not certain whether he was deliberately holding himself back because of the uniform or—

The uniform.

Abigail and Conner are—quite appropriately—outside of their formal dress, but the both of them were now clad in what was most definitely …

‘Commander,’ you let out, recognizing those uniforms belonging to those of active rank … and immediately remember the tail-end of the how you’d been caught in the middle of that mess in the first place.

Abigail and Conner were Commanders now.

Commander,’ you repeat, throwing up a salute and stepping back.

Conner, now apparently more in his element, throws up a salute of his own, returning your acknowledgment.

‘Good to see that you in good health ... Cadet.’

That’s as warm as you should have expected it to be, you suppose.
>>
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‘Commander.’

‘Hm?’

The three of you turn slightly to face Formidable, who had stepped into the exchange.

‘Instructor Formidable?’ Abigail starts, curiously eyeing her.

‘Your designation of rank is mistaken, sir,’ Formidable expands, formally but firmly. ‘The correct mode of address would be Commander.

The both of them now turn to face you, eyes wide in shock.

>Shrug cluelessly
>'What? You really shouldn't be acting that surprised, you know?' (Offended)
>'I made it.' (Half-heartedly throw up a V-sign)
>'I think this is hardly a time to continue the niceties. Secretary Case, I apologise for the hold-up.' (Get back into the thick of things)
>Write-In
>>
>>5240973
>Emergency desperation bridge during the attack. Successfully bridged with the Instructor, Lieutenant ...and one other.
>>
>>5240973
This >>5241049
with a little bit of “we’ll catch up later, sorry for the holdup sir”
>>
>>5241049
going for this
>>
>>5240973
>'I made it.' (Half-heartedly throw up a V-sign)
>>
>>5240973
>>'I made it, under duress and with great stupidity but I did it.' (Half-heartedly throw up a V-sign)
>>
>>5240973
>>'What? You really shouldn't be acting that surprised, you know?' (Offended)
>>
>Emergency desperation bridge during the attack. Successfully bridged with the Instructor, Lieutenant ...and one other.

Both Abigail and Conner spit and sputter like a pair of malfunctioning engines in the wake of your hurried explanation, with Abigail’s finger darting all over the place as she tries to correlate the truth of your words with the facts at present. You feel a headache coming along, looking to your two new … assignments for further assistance, only for Belfast and Formidable to resume their silence, shoulder squared and their hands primly folded on top of one another (Although you suspect some semblance of amusement leaking from the corner of Belfast’s mouth).

‘You actually … pulled it off?’ Conner questions, stepping forward, his blue eyes as wide as you’d ever seen him manage. ‘You actually managed to stabilize and maintain …’

His words trail off as he appears to remember just where he is, promptly stepping back and dropping his hands to his sides. Abigail appears to do the same, whatever commentary she had on the matter dying with a side-step (but not before affording one more incredulous glance towards the conveniently silent twosome of Belfast and Formidable, who you begin to suspect had begun to take some inkling of amusement at your expense (or, perhaps, even benefit) from dropping breadcrumbs and allowing you to make up that ground with your own leg power. Shooting them a cocked eyebrow, you too, remember that you were in the presence of an executive officer and a secretary of the Eagle Union, turning your attention back to Secretary Case and the others present in the now-crowded hallway.

If the pleasantries are over,’ the elderly woman speaks, her voice cracking from age but still thick with authority, ‘I’d like for this wagon wheel to finally to start turnin’. God knows we’ve spent enough time tryin’ to count the toes we got left on a leg we can’t even stand on and I’d rather not have the last seventy-two hours of committee summations come to less than my granddaughter’s cryin’ ‘bout her boyfriends.’

It's your turn to find yourself mired in surprise. From her initial address of Secretary Case, you hadn’t so much as caught a lick of what you now know to be a mite more than the mere twang of a farm field-affected hick … to use the term sparingly. The woman glares at the large man in the lab coat, who grumbles as he appears to catch the message her eyes send; he walks towards the door on your right, turning the knob and stepping inside, the security detail following right behind him. Case gives you one last nod as he joins the departing party, Tague gesturing for him to enter first before shuffling inside, leaving you, Abigail, Conner and the Shipgirls that were allegedly yours with—

‘You waitin’ for lemonade or should I get the biscuits out for ya?’
>>
>>5242157
>'Grandma's biscuits, mmm ...' (Fantasize about food)
>'Ladies first, ma'am.' (Gentleman)
>'You're ... from The Gold Flats.' (Exposit)
>'What about the Lieutenant and the Instructor?' (Inquire)
>Write-In
>>
>>5242160
>'Ladies first, ma'am'
>>
>>>'Ladies first, ma'am.' (Gentleman)
>>
>>5242160
>'You're ... from The Gold Flats.' (Exposit)
>>
>>5242160
>'Ladies first, ma'am.' (Gentleman)
>>
>>5242160
>'Ladies first, ma'am.' (Gentleman)
Probably better not to cause more holdups.
>>
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>'Ladies first, ma'am.' (Gentleman)

Your kind gesture is met with a raised eyebrow and a half-smile, but not much else. You glance back at Belfast and Formidable, slightly raising your arm to indicate that the courtesy that you’d afforded the old woman—the decorated officer—extended to them, as well. The old woman is given a small set of curtsies from Belfast and Formidable, meeting them with the tightest of nods before moving past the doorway. The two of them follow without fuss and you bring up the rear, shutting the door behind you and turning back around to find yourself in a half-bare excuse of a conference room. It was a lot larger than the last one you were in, with an oval table with what seemed to be a half-working display mechanism fixed right in the center, the whole damn thing an abomination of wood, metal and plastic akin to what you usually saw when you marched downward into administrative affairs and parked yourself for Long Island’s filing demands, only this time the near-ellipse excuse of a thing was wide and thick enough to seat a dozen people. The floor, however, was at the very least carpeted and the ventilation and air conditioning operated well enough that you didn’t feel stuffy. Along the walls you spy empty frames, signboards and stretched barricade tape, all of which indicated that this section wasn’t quite ready for use.

Nonetheless, you make a move to seat yourself as quickly as possible, pulling up a chair next to Commander Tague. Belfast and Formidable, much to your surprise, take up your flanks, each of them remaining on their feet. Before you can get a word of insistence that they sit themselves down, however, the loud shuffling and banging of several set of folders from across your table catch your attention, and the snap to concern from the other attendees of … whatever this was, has you quickly locking your jaw, lest you make that unnecessary step towards embarrassment. You already feel quite out of place just being in the company of the Secretary and Commander Tague; you didn’t want to give them a reason to think any less of you, especially after having showed up like you’d just fallen out of bed.

Which, technically—

‘Under current stipulations, the operations of Azur Lane cannot be allowed to be wholly independent of the presiding council,’ the woman begins, her accent masked behind a prim mode of address; she glares across the table, locking on to Commander Tague as though she was reading his report card allowed. ‘So I hope that you at least have the courtesy to write me a damn thank you note for managing to flick that little needle out of your haystack.

‘Yes, ma’am,’ Tague returns, nodding.

‘You’re damned lucky the IRD decided that this place was worth a damn at all.’

‘It’s not like we had a choice in the matter, either way,’ Secretary Case grunts, placing his elbows on the table.
>>
>>5242384
>'The IRD? Isn't that the Eagle Union's ...' (Spill)
>'Sorry, I'm completely lost.' (Speak up)
>Ask/Whisper for Belfast or Formidable to help jog things for you (Specify which)
>Keep your trap up and listen
>Write-In
>>
>>5242388
>Keep your trap up and listen
>>
>>5242388
>>Keep your trap up and listen
>>
>>5242388
>'The IRD? Isn't that the Eagle Union's ...' (Spill)
>>
>>5242388
>>Keep your trap up and listen
>>
>>5242388
>>Keep your trap up and listen
>>
>>5242388
>>Keep your trap up and listen
>>
Notice that a lot of you lads are around during dinner time, so I'll be running later, okay?