2017-08-29 - Get To The Choppa!

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Get To The Choppa!

Setsuna invites Chibi-Usa and some other small friends to take a twilight Valentine's Eve helicopter ride over Tokyo.


Setsuna Meioh, Chibi-Usa Tsukino, Hotaru Tomoe, Steven Universe, Fate Testarossa, Nanoha Takamachi, Sucy Manbavaran


Tokyo Bay

OOC - IC Date:

08-29-2017 - 02-13-2015

*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+ Tokyo Bay +*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+
  Once known as the "Inner Sea," the shelter Tokyo Bay once provided for
  merchants and fishermen helped Tokyo develop into the powerhouse that it is
  today, nor is it less useful today. Japan's largest shipping ports operate
  out of the Bay, as does its own navy and that of the US Forces. Herculean
  efforts dredge up its silt to create artificial islands, and factories drink
  its water to soothe their smoky throats.

  To most residents, however, the Bay is simply blue water glittering,
  salt-seasoned breezes, and gently drifting sails. The aptly named Rainbow
  Bridge crossing the bay enhances rather than damages its beauty, its white
  towers lit many nights by an artificial rainbow. A provincial visitor might
  consider Tokyo Bay to be trimmed like a garden hedge; it has a number of
  oddly geometric islands with arranged greenery, and any land touching the
  water often makes the best of it with a park, intake valve, or other
  imposition on nature. To a city-dweller, though, it is a miracle of open
  space and calm.
<Pose Tracker> Setsuna Meioh [Infinity Institute (U)] has posed.

Invitations went out by mail to Steven Universe, Chibi-Usa Tsukino, and Sucy Manbavaran, elegant and succinct in silver handwritten script on dark green card stock: Would they like to join Setsuna Meioh for an evening flight? RSVP slips for the afternoon of February 13th near Steven's beachside home are included, with options to send reply by mail, email, or telephone. All contact information belongs to Meioh Tower.

Chibi-Usa's invitation has an extra line written in: "Bring whomever you like, Small Lady. Your friends are mine. -P <3"


It is an immense relief -- and a strange one, Setsuna reflects -- to see a full and present ocean, waves lapping at sand as they always should and almost always have done. She sets down within eyesight of the beach house, a nice walk from it and from the nearby Bayside town, and hops out onto the damp sand. She's dressed to fly, in boots and jeans and a turtleneck, impossibly long hair braided into a thick rope and tucked away beneath her long black coat.

Behind her, the star of the evening absorbs light into pitch-black paint, except where it instead reflects glossy highlights; the blades spin down with a smooth whine, kicking seaspray out in weakening concentric circles. To an untrained eye, it looks an awful lot like the same helicopter Sailor Pluto flew over the exposed ocean bed not so long ago... but all helicopters do kind of look alike, don't they?

She folds hands before her and awaits her guests, with a flutter of nervousness deep in her chest that does not show on her face. Setsuna does refold her hands a few times, though. Overhead the clear skies begin their slow gradation of hues, summoning night with peaches and oranges and deepening reds over the cityscape to the west.

Whether she plays hostess in a Tower or a helicopter, Setsuna Meioh does a gracious job of it, and she'll greet arrivals with a respectful curtsey and a smile, generally speaking. "I am quite glad you could make it. There shall be in flight refreshments," Setsuna promises with a wider smile.

<Pose Tracker> Chibi-Usa Tsukino [Juuban Public School (4)] has posed.

Chibi-Usa Tsukino replied by by phone... Though not before making another call of her own. The handwriting is as elegant as she would expect, and it makes her think...

"Hotaru-chan?" she'd start the call, "Do you want to go flying with me? I got a couple of invitations from one of my favorite people..."

How could she not want Hotaru to meet Puu? Even if she's going to have to think what she's supposed to call her if anything different in a situation like this. Is she? Is it weird? Is it fine?

Either way, Chibi-Usa sounds pretty hopeful.

And now she is here, dressed in a bright pink sweater and a red coat, in her usual pink odango. She's wearing bright boots too, to avoid getting too cold. But even comes on, an Chibi-Usa looks at a helicopter as she looks around for--

hibi-Usa waves before she even gets there to Setsuna, and runs along--perhaps with a certain someone--to try to meet Setsuna all at once. She beams up at Puu, not letting go Hotaru's hand bu dipping her head. "Hello! I wanted to introduce you." She nods to Setsuna first, "This is Setsuna Meioh," she says, "I've known her since I was little." Chibi-Usa you are little.

"And this..." Just as proudly she shows off her lovely friend, "Is Hotaru Tomoe!"

<Pose Tracker> Chibi-Usa Tsukino [Juuban Public School (4)] has posed.

Chibi-Usa Tsukino replied by by phone... Though not before making another call of her own. The handwriting is as elegant as she would expect, and it makes her think...

"Hotaru-chan?" she'd start the call, "Do you want to go flying with me? I got a couple of invitations from one of my favorite people..."

How could she not want Hotaru to meet Puu? Even if she's going to have to think what she's supposed to call her if anything different in a situation like this. Is she? Is it weird? Is it fine?

Either way, Chibi-Usa sounds pretty hopeful.

And now she is here, dressed in a bright pink sweater and a red coat, in her usual pink odango. She's wearing bright boots too, to avoid getting too cold. But even comes on, an Chibi-Usa looks at a helicopter as she looks around for--

hibi-Usa waves before she even gets there to Setsuna, and runs along--perhaps with a certain someone--to try to meet Setsuna all at once. She beams up at Puu, not letting go Hotaru's hand bu dipping her head. "Hello! I wanted to introduce you." She nods to Setsuna first, "This is Setsuna Meioh," she says, "I've known her since I was little." Chibi-Usa you are little.

"And this..." Just as proudly she shows off her lovely friend, "Is my best friend, Hotaru Tomoe!"

<Pose Tracker> Hotaru Tomoe [Infinity Institute (6)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> Never Look Away https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V0KmI0b1oAs

"...flying...? It sounds scary, and wonderful, and there is no one I would rather go flying with than you!"


Hotaru is hardly ever out late. Much bargaining and begging was required to be afforded this privilege -- over the protests of Kaori, of course. But, here she is, a shadow in the shadows, in her usual black shoes, leggings, turtleneck tunic, and an old-lady sort of ruffled lace shawl, dove gray, pinned in front with a white fabric rose. Evidently no one has taught her about fluorescent lights and street safety -- or how to dress for a flight.

Her hand is white-knuckled in Chibi-Usa's, and she clearly has to struggle to keep up across the beach; has she ever run on a beach in her life? She's game, though, and if her gait is wobbly and uneven, well, the sand is damp and heavy. It also helps that her best friend has considerably shorter legs.

She doesn't look up right away, once they get where they're going; the first thing she has to do is put her hands on her knees and gasp in some air. For a few familiarly worrisome seconds to Chibi-Usa, she sounds scarily like a girl about to have a seizure, but it's only a few heartbeats before that passes and her breathing becomes more normal. "...sorry..." she pants, "...just...one...moment..."

The moment's done. She straightens up, slender and lovely and with the vast, vast darkness of the purple heavens contained in her eyes. They rest directly on Setsuna's, with the direct mannerliness of an adult (or a very precocious child).

"Please take care of me," she murmurs gravely, the time-honored polite phrase holding many layers of meaning when spoken by such a frail little thing. "Meioh-san."

And then the spell is broken by the tiny smile that blossoms on her lips, like the first cherry petals of spring, and she seems like a sweet little girl, if never an entirely ordinary one. "I have never been flying," she confesses, shyly, glancing between Setsuna and Chibi-Usa. "Thank you so very much for affording me this opportunity."

<Pose Tracker> Steven Universe [Juuban Public School (5)] has posed.

Ohhhh man, today is the day!

The day that Steven finally gets to ride in a helicopter! A nice lady named Setsuna had sent word that he liked helicopters, and has invited him to take a ride in one! Near his house, no less! He has an idea who the possible folks are, as he has only had one encounter with a helicopter before! There was no way he would turn it down!

Flip flops pad through moist sand down the bank of the beach. A hamburger backpack full of fun items and toys in tow, and a smile as wide as the horizon on his face. "Cooooommmmiiiiinnnng!" the boy yells from afar, closing the distance.

The boy stops nearby and just stares at the machine that will take them into the clouds. It looked so similar! That... that means that this person is...


Is possibly the contact Sailor Pluto uses for helicopter repair and piloting lessons! OH MAAAAN. WHAT AN HONOR.

The boy closes in and it seems like most folks are around his age! And height. "Hiiii everyone! I'm Steven!" he says in an energetic tone. The boy is about to lose it. He doesn't quite recognize anyone else here at the mom-- wait. It was that girl from the library. Well then! A chance to make a better impression this time around!

"I brought a headset too for helicopter talk!" The boy pulls out a headset that is clearly meant for a laptop or a desktop. But A for effort, right? It isn't connected to anything. Obviously. "So where are we going?!" The boy has stars in his eyes; it is difficult to tell just how much force of will he is exerting to keep from vibrating due to excitement. It is a lot, at the very least.

<Pose Tracker> Fate Testarossa [Infinity Institute (4)] has posed.

There's another girl in blonde twintails and white hair ribbons here today. She's wearing a dark black jacket that's zipped up over a hint of a yellow and white striped blouse. A white skirt. Leggings. Right now she has a smile on her expression.

She's also unmistakably someone familiar to Setsuna Meioh.

After Hotaru is introduced, and finishes speaking, she steps forward, "I'm Fate Testarossa. And this is my best friend, Nanoha Takamachi." She says as she points out the other girl, then cups her hands and bows as she's practiced, "Thank you very much for allowing us to come too."

It was Chibi-Usa that had invited her, but nevertheless, she'll thank their hostess too, before she smiles at the other girl, "And thank you very much for inviting us, Chibi-Usa."

She wouldn't presume to announce herself as Hotaru's friend, until Hotaru called her name, so she doesn't announce herself as that, "It's very nice to meet you."

The hum of the helicopter is fascinating, even to a girl who can already fly.

She seems to be really looking forward to this trip.

As she returns to upright from her bow, Setsuna Meioh might see the gleam of a familiar, metallic gold triangle in her pocket. The pocket is buttoned, but it's still reflective enough...

"It's very fun. Flying." Fate says to Hotaru, as if to reassure her. "It's just about my favorite thing." She rethinks that for a moment then says more softly, "Maybe... my second favorite. But I think you'll enjoy it."

She then blinks a few times at Steven's enthusiasm, "Helicopter... talk? What's that?"

<Pose Tracker> Nanoha Takamachi [Infinity Institute (4)] has posed.

Nanoha had been invited to... a helicopter ride?! It seemed like a once in a lifetime chance and the best thing about it was that Fate was coming as well! As exciting as it was though, her parents were unsure about going with people she didn't know well and it took a bit of convincing for them to agree to allow her to come.

She is dressed in a long sleeve blue shirt with an image of a rainbow and clouds on it. (It seemed fitting?) Over that is an open white sweater. Despite the cool air she is still wearing a black skirt with leggings to match.

As they approach, Nanoha grins a Fate. "This is going to be sooooo fun!" She bounces with excitement as they board the helicopter and she looks towards Setsuna. "Thank you so much for the invitation!"

Looking around, she realizes she recognizes more people and in true Nanoha fashion she walks over and greets Steven with a high five. "Steven-kun! You're here too?" She notices the headset though and smiles. "I am not sure that will work up here?" But then again what did she know?

Hotaru also gets a wave and a small nod before Nanoha looks towards the front. She knows nothing about helicopters but seems curious about everything. "So how high up are we going to go?" Nanoha asks before looking back at Fate. "Wait, you have done this before?!" There are soooo many questions she has but for now she doesn't add anything else, choosing instead to continue investigating the helicopter.

<Pose Tracker> Fate Testarossa [Infinity Institute (4)] has posed.

Fate Testarossa has a sweatdrop on the side of her head, she has that awkward, nervous look for a moment, and laughs lightly, "Not... in a helicopter, Nanoha."

To those who don't know she's an aerial mage. Maybe she means a plane. She's obviously foreign...

<Pose Tracker> Nanoha Takamachi [Infinity Institute (4)] has posed.

There is a sudden look of realization in Nanoha's expression and she laughs. "Ohhh... right!" She smiles knowingly at Fate even winking before intently focusing on something else outside of the window.

A bird perhaps? Or maybe a bug?

<Pose Tracker> Setsuna Meioh [Infinity Institute (U)] has posed.

As ever, as always, as she shall until the end of Time, Small Lady first receives the full of Puu's warm regard. The statuesque young woman only has eyes for Chibi-Usa. Setsuna drops to one knee, as she ever and always does, and shall until the day that her Small Lady becomes a Tall Lady. It's too public an occasion for bearhugs, so with some regret she limits herself to a broad smile full of quiet love. "I am especially glad you could make it, .. Chibi-Usa. I like your boots." There's just enough of a pause there that her dearest friend can hear 'Small Lady' in it.

She's noted, of course, with somewhat more distraction than usual, that others have accompanied Small Lady. The dark and winded figure, bent at first, receives Setsuna Meioh's attention in turn as she straightens. "Ah, you did bring company! Are you alright?" Setsuna sounds, and is, concerned for the fragile girl. Chibi-Usa continues, introducing her best friend.

Fathomless night meets bottomless garnet, and for a brief eternity Setsuna Meioh loses herself in the deeping dark between stars. She feels the frozen nothing right down to her bones, alien and familiar all at once. Her hands clench around air, nails scoring palms in the absence of the cool reassurance of sacred titanium.

It's impossible. It cannot be, and more importantly, MUST not be. But it is.

Setsuna doesn't know where she finds the voice, or the words; later she won't remember thinking them or saying them, only that they were spoken, somehow. "It is nice to meet you, Tomoe-san. I will.. I will see you to a safe landing tonight." There's a bowling ball in her stomach. She looks away, and not back to Chibi-Usa, and the smile slides right off of her face.

Steven Universe helps! He comes running in, all bubbling enthusiasm, and relief fuels the return of half a smile for his sake. "Welcome, Steven. I am Setsuna Meioh, and I'll be your pilot. You, ah.. you're very prepared, but I do not think that will work well with the flight helmets. They have microphones too, though, if that is all right."

After greeting the coming end of the world, Fate Testerossa manages to be a mild shock -- that it registers at all is impressive, really, but this blonde girl has made a series of impressions on Setsuna. At this point, though, Setsuna feels more like sighing than cringing. "Welcome, Testarossa-san. I'm... glad I can give you this opportunity." She tries to keep the wryness from her voice, there. It would not become a hostess.

To Fate's friend, she summons a warmer greeting -- this girl has thus far neither threatened the end of the world or any personal violence, and at this point, that is a huge help. "You're very welcome, Takamachi-san." The enthusiastic charm of the girl doesn't hurt.

She addresses the group: "A friend of a friend got word to me that some of you might appreciate an, ah, educational flight over Tokyo Bay." Setsuna's smile takes on a conspiratorial lopsidedness as she goes on; her composure is mostly recovered, and the accumulated cuteness of the assembled smols has an undeniable effect on her, despite its... composition. "You'll find helmets on the seats, and there should be enough for everyone. Chibi-Usa, would you like to be my co-pilot?" It's an offer -- if she'd rather sit with her best friend, someone else can have a crack at it.

"We'll see the Bay from above, and also get a view of Mt Fuji across the city. When the stars come out I can point out some constellations -- an astronomy and geography lesson. All aboard!"

She pulls a stepstool from the helicopter and sets it to give all of the kids a way in, and offers a hand to whomever might need it. After, she hops in and starts flipping dials and prepping for flight. They're not budging till everyone has helmets and seatbelts on, though!

<Pose Tracker> Chibi-Usa Tsukino [Juuban Public School (4)] has posed.

"Oh sorry," Chibi-Usa says to Hotaru, looking her over. "Did I go too fast?" But Hotaru only asks for a moment, and when it passes and Hotaru is fine, Chibi-Usa smiles at her. "Great," she says, happy that her friend is all right. And then, as far as she knows, Puu and Hotaru meet for the first time.

"I did," Chibi-Usa says, "And I brought Fate-chan too." Chibi-Usa smiles at her other friend too, but for the most part she focuses on this first meeting, and something... Is something...?

"She can be quiet," Chibi-Usa explains. "And you can really trust her! I know I do."

But those words are just or Hotaru for the moment, and now Chibi-Usa has a chance to look at the others here, wave at them. "I'm Chibi-Usa Tsukino," she greets, and considers helmets... It is a nice offer, but...

"Ah..." Looking a little embarrassed, the pink-haired girl scoots back Hotaru's way. "That sounds fun, but I'd like to stay with Hotaru-chan..."

In short order though she'll lead her up into the helicopter as if she's done this before, caaarefully carefully, with a beam Nanoha's way. Smile beam, not Nanoha beam. "It's going to be so pretty..." The stars. Chibi-Usa is glad she brought others.

<Pose Tracker> Hotaru Tomoe [Infinity Institute (6)] has posed.

What secrets does Hotaru read in Setsuna's eyes? Does she recognize something eternal there, is that why, for a moment, her unsteady breath catches in her throat, why a strange pins-and-needles feeling passes over her, why her brow spasms with a sharp, bright pain -- at the same time that her stomach, thankfully inaudibly, churns with a fierce hunger that her Papa only dreams would apply to her appetite at dinner? Certainly she seems spellbound, a fly in the web of Setsuna's gaze, for a little longer than she ought.

But when their staring contest ends, she does return to Chibi-Usa's face, and meets a second pair of red eyes, these more like cherries than gemstones. The comparison warms her, and Chibi-Usa's decision to stay with her instead of ditching out warms her too. "Your old friend seems very nice," she bends to whisper, behind one hand, into her little pink counterpart's ear, before giving Setsuna a second, purely happy little smile. This one isn't smug, honest, but it is easy to project smugness onto it.

It takes her a minute to process the existence of other people, but they assert themselves very strongly. Steven's enthusiasm does not seem to bother her, and she encompasses the entire rest of the group in a single friendly, polite bow.

"It is lovely to see you all again," she says primly, and seems to really mean it. "And... how lucky you are, Testarossa-san, to be able to fly so often." She sounds wistful, not suspicious; an innocent remark, though her gaze lingers on the pair of fourth-graders when they seem to share a tiny secret of their own.

Boarding their steed, Hotaru lets Chibi-Usa take the lead (this is typical), and is immediately, if quietly, fascinated by the helicopter itself. She trails her fingertips delicately across various surfaces as she passes them, and many thoughts lurk behind her eyes, all at once. "How marvelous," she agrees, but perhaps does not mean the stars.

It takes Chibi-Usa's expertise to get her buckled and helmeted correctly -- she really doesn't have practical experience with vehicles at all, it seems, much less aerial ones.

Haruka Tenoh walks over from Shitamachi Low City.

<Pose Tracker> Steven Universe [Juuban Public School (5)] has posed.

Hey, that pink haired girl he has seen at school before! Wait, was this a school event? She seems to know the pilot lady, Setsuna, well. Maybe she is a repeat flyer! "Hiiii Nanoha!" he says kindly toward the girl. "Of course! I live right over there, after all!" In the distance, the giant woman statue with multiple arms does indeed cradle a multi-level beach house. "I am hoping!" the boy says, looking at the audio input and output end. "Seems to work on everything else!"

"Helicopter talk, Fate!" he turns, tucking the cord away. "Sorta like trucker slang! Except less gibberish. I think." Is there even Helicopter slang? Anyone who uses long range radio usually has slang. It is intrinsic. Maybe?

"Oh." A momentary pang of disappointment can be seen on his face. That is, until she mentions microphones. "That works just fine!" Oh man, and there are helmets?! BEST DAY EVER. "Oh wow! I wonder what the tem-- uh, house will look like from down here!" Probably glorious. He always wondered if it was really the three he lives with that made it, or if it was others way back when. He should ask sometime!

he boy does the proper thing, and waits for everyone else to seat themselves first. Ladies first, after all! "Nice to meet ya!" he says toward Chibi-Usa. "I think I saw you at school! Good to finally meet!" Always good to have names to faces. Eyes drift to Hotaru. She is very... it is hard to put words to it. Quiet and proper? No, that's not quite it. Hm. Something similar.

The boy begins to climb his way in only after everyone is in. "Oh wait!" The boy rustles through his backpack and pulls out a reddish tinted helmet, then strapping it on. "Pearl gave me my own!" It is so Pearl to make sure he had all safety precautions covered. Such a good egg! Or rather, Good Gem.

"Wait, no one is being a co-pilot?" he asks.

<Pose Tracker> Fate Testarossa [Infinity Institute (4)] has posed.

Fate Testarossa of course does not realize there's anything at all amiss with how Setsuna Meioh greets Hotaru Tomoe. Despite knowing there is something amiss with Hotaru Tomoe. All she thinks is that she's quite beautiful, and gracious, and polite.

Similarily when she's greeted, she does not notice the unspoken sigh. There's simply that smile. That polite smile. Today she's a ten year old completely normal Earth girl, she has no expectation for her to need to be a mage. Nanoha's enthusiasm for this excursion had been infectious. Totally so.

She doesn't so much as bat an eye with Chibi-Usa says that someone can trust Hotaru Tomoe. Even if she's thinking about whether one can trust whatever is inside her.

It'll be fine though.

"I feel very lucky." She replies to Hotaru, though the rest is confided to everyone. "Suzuka from my class told me that flying over the bay sounded very romantic for a day like today." It was the day before Valentine's day after all.

It was going to be her first Valentine's Day when she actually knew what the day was, even if she's at that age where she she's lived away from knowing anything about romance, "Do you think that's so?"

Fate sort of tilts a head, when Steven mentions that Helicopter Talk is like Trucker Slang. She looks a little bewildered, "Trucker slang?"

Once the purpose of the trip is laid out, she turns to Nanoha and says, "That'll be wonderful. I used to live in the mountains so I miss the stars sometimes."

Tokyo's light pollution sometimes steals away that small wonder even if she has so many fond memories of Hokkaido for that reason- while chasing the turtle in particular, or recently in Library Island even if that was different.

And besides, she'd rather sit beside Nanoha. She hoists herself up into the helicopter, taking Setsuna's hand as she's the expert but clambering up without actually making use of that aid, and mostly works out what to do, putting on her helmets and fastening her safety belts. "You came very prepared." She says to Steven, without irony. It's a true compliment.

<Pose Tracker> Nanoha Takamachi [Infinity Institute (4)] has posed.

Introductions are made and Nanoha greets Chibi slightly after the others. "Thank you again Tsukino-san for inviting us." She seems oblivious to whatever unspoken reactions people are having and gets ready to enjoy the tour.

Eductional flight huh? Nanoha smiles at that and practically jumps into the seat by Fate as her pigtails bounce. A second later, as per instructions, she pulls on a headset before securing her seatbelt, almost like she has done this before. (She hasn't) "So do you think we'll be able to see the whole city from up here?!" Her eyes sparkle in the light and the question is posed to no one in particular.

With a glance back to Sestuna, "Oh wow! The mountain?" There is a look of awe in her face and it lights up with a childlike wonder. It would probably be hard to believe just what this tiny girl was capable of. For now, at least to her, it seems like a distant memory. There were too many other good things to think about right now like being here with old friends...and new friends!

Nanoha looks over to Fate, "This is better than being in an airplane!" Of course, they haven't even taken off yet but her enthusiasm seems to be boundless.

Then Steven chimes in and Nanoha looks in amazement at the house. "Wow, you live there?" It seems like an interesting place to live. "I should come visit sometime!" Of course, her other motivation for that miiiight just be to see Lion again and maybe even see if Garnet is really like his mom or something? She's still not clear on that after their meeting.

<Pose Tracker> Sucy Manbavaran [Infinity Institute (7)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Imp5fU-DhwE

"Quiet please. Some of us are trying to relax."

The words creak out from a darkness behind Steven, and a single glowing red eye opens.

A slithering in the dark.

A shape leans forward and reveals itself as a pale girl in a pitch black, long-sleeved victorian style dress, once elaborately ruffled and fine, but faded, thinned, and ragged at the trim with the ravages of many years. Over this she wears a black riding cloak and hood, under which she had hidden her stark white face for a nap.

Sucy's letter specified clothes suitable for flight, and this is what the girl seems to think that meant?

Those who've met her acquaintance will know her as Sucy Manbavaran, but those who haven't, yet attend Infinity might know of her by her appearance and rumors of a student fitting that description who they may or may not exist. She seems to be here now, and irate.

"Oh... it's Shield Kid..." she narrows her eye at him in slight annoyance. "...And the rest."

She doesn't know many of those here, save, curiously Hotaru Tomoe, to whom she affords a small smile.

"Hello, again. Thank you for giving me those books at the library." Pluto and Sucy had chat earlier, but Sucy is not the most gregarious or prone to introductions, so she doesn't yet have words for the others, though she nods to each of them in turn, watching them, sometimes for uncomfortably long periods.

Then she turns back to Steven.

"Take the front, please."

It's blunt, and without further elaboration, but maybe she just wants his excited cries as far from her ears as is possible in the helicopter.

She leans back into her seat and buckles herself in again, and nods to Setsuna that she's ready for takeoff.

<Pose Tracker> Setsuna Meioh [Infinity Institute (U)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ejFBLxJGjZA

Today, Fate Testerossa is a ten year old girl, and Setsuna Meioh offers her a steadying hand to see her up and into the helicopter. Despite herself, she hears the conversation, and gives Fate a long look. "We should have a good view of the stars tonight, once we get above the haze. As for seeing the whole city..." Setsuna gives Nanoha's question some thought. "Probably not. There is a great deal of Tokyo in every direction from here. But we'll see quite a bit, and from a new point of view. And we'll definitely see the mountain."

A pleasant smile hides Setsuna's disappointment and chagrin, when Chibi-Usa declines the copilot seat. There's the personal sadness, that she'd lose even this sneaky way to be a bit closer to her beloved Small Lady; but she also just wants to get Chibi-Usa AWAY from Hotaru, even if it is only the difference of a few meters at a time.

Her best friend.

Sucy snakes out of nowhere and Setsuna waves a greeting -- she, of course, knew the witch was there the whole time. She and Steven come to her rescue, and Setsuna waves the younger Universe over to sit in the bucket seat to her right. "I need a co-pilot. Steven-san, would you lend me a hand, please?" The personal helmet gets a curious look. "Well... as long as it works with the intercom." There's an audio jack for that purpose that she points to.

Setsuna settles her flight helmet over close-braided hair once everyone else is geared up and zips through a preflight checklist, checking dials and flipping switches. The mighty engine thrums back to life, rotors spinning back up so that everything particulate scatters away. Normal speech will be drowned out, but their helmets have mics and headphones built in, so everyone can still converse, if tinnily.

It's nothing like being in a car, or an airplane, the motion is completely different; the whole chopper vibrates and shakes until the rotors blur into a single dark disc overhead. They shudder upward -- and slide into the air and smooth flying, the vibrations still there but no longer brain-numbing in intensity.

Her voice is still low, and still communicates smooth calm, even through the strangling digitization of the headsets: "And we are up, ladies and gentleman. Co-pilot Universe, could you give us a report on the conditions tonight?" Setsuna reaches with one long arm to tap a few dials in front of Steven: pressure, temperature, and so forth. He's welcome to report whatever he thinks is most critical!

They climb the sky, straight up, as if drawn by a piece of string from on high. Sea and sand recede below, losing detail progressively as they gain their new point of view. The lines of a coast look very different from above, and Steven gets a spectacular view of his home atop its statue.

"Beneath your seats, you will find some, ah, rations for our field trip." Setsuna manages a nod to their purported purpose for posterity. "First we'll cruise around Tokyo Bay, so you'll get new views of the Skytree -- from above! Not a common view at all." She eases the controls forward and the shiny black bird follows suit, slicing through the darkening sky blades-first.

She can't keep from glancing back at Hotaru Tomoe, repeatedly, like tonguing a sore tooth. She's too close to Chibi-Usa, too close to Sucy Manbavaran. Hotaru Tomoe is too close to Tokyo. Too close to the world. It would be an easy thing to nose the bird forward too far as they crest this seacliff, to trip the delicate balance into fiery oblivion against unforgiving rock, and save everyone else in the doing.

Setsuna gives Hotaru another long look, then noses the bird up and over the cliff. They're on their way to the tallest tower in the world (by some specific claims!). And there are handmade chocolate lollipops under their seats! Sure, they're... really messy. And they might taste a bit chalky, if one must be entirely honest about it. But Setsuna spent hours getting them kinda-sorta-right, the previous night.

<Pose Tracker> Chibi-Usa Tsukino [Juuban Public School (4)] has posed.

"Oh, you go to Juuban?" Chibi-Usa asks, not entirely familiar with the older Steven. "It's nice to meet you!" He has a resemblence, but she doesn't really know him. The helmet though... It is a good-colored helmet.

Chibi-Usa settles in to help Hotaru, and smiles at the whisper in her ear, nodding along twice in obvious enthusiasm and agreement. The adoration in Chibi-Usa's eyes for Setsuna is clear when she looks up at her seat, though unfortunately for Setsuna, she can see Chibi-Usa looking at Hotaru that way as she looks back. Diferent looks, but...

"Mm-hm!" Chibi-Usa agrees, about seeing the others again. Belts, and helmet, and straps.. Only after Hotaru's are handled does she move to get her own. Fate mentions... romantic, and Chibi-Usa looks thoughtful. "Hmmm, is it?" Thoughtfully...

"Oh, the mountains... That sounds really nice," Chibi-Usa says. Another look at Nanoha to finally add, "And you're welcome, Takamachi-san! Though you can just call me Chibi-Usa, I don't mind."

Sucy meanwhile is... Well Sucy is a little creepy, but she knows Hotru, so Chibi-Usa waves brightly at the older girl. "Hi!" she says to her, "It's nice to meet you!" Chibi-Usa... hopes it's nice. She gets a little nervous at that long look. "Ha ha... ha..."

She would feel guilty if she knew of Setsuna's disappointment, but she does not. Instead she innocently watches Pluto a little longer. "Ah!" she says as they start moving upward, shaking a little and keeping Hotaru's hand with all the movement. ...It's not like she's nervous, or anything. Certainly she looks amazed to look outside the window. "Aaah!"

Not a common view at all. The statues are beautiful, the water is beautiful... but Setsuna keeps looking back at Hotaru, and Chibi-Usa is very close to her. She smiles brightly whenever she sees Setsuna looking back, unaware of any of those awful thoughts. But as she leans forward she sees--"Oh!"

Chibi-Usa reaches under her seat and pulls chocolate. "Aaah!" This is a noise of delight. "Look!"

<Pose Tracker> Hotaru Tomoe [Infinity Institute (6)] has posed.

Chibi-Usa's thoughtfulness at Fate's comment about romance brings a tiny bit of pinkness to Hotaru's cheeks, which is easy to spot since her face is normally a barrenly white winter wonderland. She herself doesn't seem to notice her own reaction.

But she DOES notice Steven looking her over and looks back with a frank expression that is both formal and possibly very slightly amused. Just a hint. She has a soft spot for small, excited pink people; at any rate, it seems she's let bygones be bygones over events at the library. There was, after all, no lasting harm done.

That's the last she'll see of him for a while, since she's seated behind the co-pilot, but Sucy, out of the dark, would have drawn her attention regardless. She returns the smile with one of her own, small and soft, and -- recognizing the introductory gap -- introduces her to the group. "It was my pleasure," she replies, re: the books.

"Everyone, this is Sucy Manbavaran-san. Manbavaran-san, please meet Nanoha Takamachi-san, Fate Testarossa-san, and Usagi Tsukino-san, known to her friends as Chibi-Usa. Chibi-Usa is my best friend," she adds, easily and happily (and maybe just a little bit possessively), her hand slipping into Chibi-Usa's like a glove.

There it stays when they lift off, and in no time at all she's holding on for dear life. Chibi-Usa may be brave but Hotaru is unquestionably frightened in the first seconds of the flight; quick as lightning she pulls against her straps, freeing her more distant arm and hand and slicing them across her own body, so that Chibi-Usa can hold both of her hands. Everything is loud and shaking. She is quiet and shaking at a subtly different frequency from the helicopter itself.

Five out of six times she has no idea Setsuna is looking at her -- and little enough idea of the beautiful view, too. The only thing she can look at right now is Chibi-Usa, the only truly familiar thing in this scary and unfamiliar experience. But once she does happen to look up at just the right moment, and meets the pilot's eyes with a blank emptiness that is impossible to read.

That happens to be when Chibi-Usa hits pay dirt. "Aah," Hotaru can scarsely be heard on the mic, she's too quiet, but if any emotion can be had of her it is a sort of limpness, "You can have mine too, Chibi-Usa-chan..." The very sight of the sweet, in this moment of enormous vertigo, is making her feel a little green.

<Pose Tracker> Steven Universe [Juuban Public School (5)] has posed.

As Steven looks around for where to sit, Fate mentions something pretty interesting! "Y'know, it is tomorrow! I heard that it works differently in Tokyo than in Beach City! Which is pretty cool." Apparently on Valentine's Day, only girls give out chocolate. But exactly one month later on White day, boys do the gift-giving! Thats a cool way to do it! "Uh, it is hard to explain, Fate!" the boy replies. "To everyone else, it sounds like gibberish, but to the truckers, they know exactly what each other means. It sounds so funny!"

"Well, you know where I live now! Just stop by anytime," he says towards Nanoha. The Crystal Gems used to be very reclusive before he was born supposely. But since then, they have really opened up to having visitors, which is nice! "Plenty of board games and videos to watch and stuff!"

The boy turns as he motions his way in. A sudden voice catches him off guard! He didn't see Sucy in here. "H-Hi!" he says in reply. Her name was Sucy, right? He thinks it was. Last time he saw her was in a library delve. Probably still none too pleased at how that worked out, though no one was seriously hurt. Except Kasagami.

HOLY CRAP KASAGAMI IS SHE OKAY. The boy turns pale for a second. HE COMPLETELY FORGOT ABOUT HER. "Doing... okay?" he responds to the girl. She looks like she got in a fight with a seamstress! Or maybe its like her super favorite outfit and its been worn away by being lovingly used so much.

"Uh." he looks toward the empty front seat. Oh man. CO PILOT. Chibi-Usa wanted to stay with her buddy, and that would leave Miss Setsuna alone! "Okay! Can do!" he gives Sucy a thumbs up.

The boy clamors to the front co-pilot seat, of course avoiding hitting anyone as best he can, and buckles in. The boy bounces up and down in his seat as if he had a tune in his head. "According ot these measurements, morale is high, captain!" he says. "Err. Commander? What is a right title?"

The boy's eyes are about the size of saucers at the takeoff. "Yeah, giant woman statue!" They were so high up that even if it could stand and reach it couldn't pluck them from the sky. Which is a shame cause if it could do that it'd be REALLY COOL.

But it can't.

"Totally!" he says toward Chibi-Usa. "Fifth year!" The boy watches the fellow Juuban reach udner her seat for a treat, and checks under his for the same. "Oooo!" For the moment, he saves his. He will enjoy it in just a moment. For now, he stares at the Skytree, a most wondrous sight.

<Pose Tracker> Fate Testarossa [Infinity Institute (4)] has posed.

Fate bobs her head when Sucy shows up, ready to introduce herself. Though it looks like Sucy isn't much one for introductions. She remembers her from the library but was occupied at the time, so instead it turns into, "Ah. Hello." Sucy might enjoy that she's quiet at least. Thankfully Hotaru does it for her. "It's very nice to meet you."

Whereas for Nanoha, she smiles and nods in agreement, "I think it might be." Looking past her at Steven's home. She gives the Temple a curious look. Before smiling at Chibi-Usa. "They were. I have a lot of happy memories there." Why does her smile look a little sad though when she says that?

Once inside the helicopter though, when it starts to vibrate, shaking terribly. Part of her just wonders if she's nervous, before she remembers the only other time she's ridden in a helicopter. Those were not fond memories...

And yet, today she isn't going to war against Dark Fall. Today she's just a ten year old girl. And she can enjoy once again the simple wonder, and pleasure of flight.

As the mechanized bird climbs into the sky, she finds herself looking out the window, down at the sea. Up at the sky. She's quieter than many when it comes to her awe and enjoyment of these few moments. In seeing the faint ghostly reflection of her face in her glass.

She may not feel the wind in her face, or in her hair- cold and pure. But today she can sit here and enjoy what she is seeing. It's been a long time since she could just... do that. And today she gets to share that with her friends, but in particular a special someone.

The faint outline of Hotaru clutching both of Chibi-Usa's hands can be seen in the window... too.

She may be looking out the window, but it's not long before her hand slides over to the girl beside her, fingertips lightly touching the back of Nanoha's hand, then curling over the edge of it to rest into her palm.

She'll check underneath her seat for the 'rations' later. Right now she just wants to steal a glance at the girl beside her and smile at her, before returning to looking at the city skyline.

<Pose Tracker> Nanoha Takamachi [Infinity Institute (4)] has posed.

Nanoha seems slightly disappointed in Setsuna's explanation. "Oh... I see. I guess that makes sense though. Tokyo is huge." The smile returns as Nanoha waits patiently for the takeoff. Wondering just how similar it would be to a plane ascending with the awesome build up or more like other takeoff which wasn't quite as exhilirating but fun nonetheless.

Sucy's sudden appearance takes Nanoha by surprise. She recognizes her but doesn't know much about her fellow student aside from the fact that they go to the same school and she has seen her other places. A small wave is given to Sucy, "It's good to see you again."Not remembering a name though, Nanoha pauses and reddens a little.

It appears that Steven is going to be the one to get his junior pilot wings tonight though and as he gets settled, Nanoha reaches under her seat and pulls out...candy! Specifically, chocolate! There is a happy grin given to Setsuna whether she's looking or not and Nanoha opens the package and takes one, munching on it as they take off. No comment is given on whether it's good or bad as the girl is too busy watching outside as they ascend into the sky.

"Wow, this is way different than being in an airplane." Nanoha beams as she speaks into her headset. " When Chibi-Usa mentions the name to her, there is a small nod. "Thank you Chibi-Usa. Please call me Nanoha!" As long as they were being informal anyway and she really preferred it that way.

She is grateful that Hotaru introduces Sucy officially so the next time she wouldn't forget, even if the moment has passed for now. Nanoha smiles at the further introductions and especially to the comment about them being best friends. Nanoha doesn't say anything to Fate but she does look at her right before giving the junior pilot Steven a thumbsup. "That would be fun!" The giant woman statue does look kind of cool from up here too, she thinks to herself.

Fate's action is not missed and Nanoha smiles at the gesture. It seems unreal to her to have a friend so close, especially with all that happened. Then again maybe it's precisely that reason she wants Fate to be able to depend on her and know that she will be there no matter where there are.

<Pose Tracker> Sucy Manbavaran [Infinity Institute (7)] has posed.

Sucy Manbavaran jolts up with a bit of surprise at Hotaru introducing her, but then the witchling remembers when she introduced herself to Marinette, everyone was actually within earshot, everyone including Hotaru.

Sucy makes note of Hotaru's excellent observational skills.

To each person that introduces themselves, Sucy gives another blank stare to most of them, but then a small polite bow at the end, and perhaps a long awaited: "It's nice to meet you all too." at last.

After this Herculean effort of self-sacrifice and social grace, Sucy seems to recede back again like a poisoned flower, and looks out the windows apprehensively at the sky below.

As opposed to others here whose hearts might fill with wonder as they take to the air, Sucy at once seems uniquely unenthused and somewhat... distressed?

"It's so different... ugh... too different."

Her expression sours, as the helicopter moves about in swoops and motions and that special psychological mechanism kicks in that give the inhabitants the projection of being the helicopter itself.

Sucy almost starts to look a little ill, but with her complexion, it's very hard to tell.

<Pose Tracker> Setsuna Meioh [Infinity Institute (U)] has posed.

Setsuna catches that look Chibi-Usa gives Hotaru, sees the hand holding, the hand clutching. It is a testament to her willpower and self control that the chopper's flight does not even shiver -- she keeps her own hands steady at the controls.

The Skytree gleams below them, impressive in its prominence from the surrounding city but still small in the grand scheme of things. It is one thing to be among Tokyo's teeming buildings, walking or driving the streets, like ants amongst blades of grass. From above, its true scale cannot be escaped. The land is city; the city is the land. Metal and glass catch the colors of the sunset in a fiery mosaic.

The promised mountain dominates the southwest with its holy symmetry. Its cloak of snow wears the sunset rather than bouncing it like a mirror, so that Fuji is a peak painted in gentle watercolor hues of peach and rose and palest violet presiding over a city on fire with light.

"Check, Copilot Universe. I trust you'll keep an eye on morale for me." A solemn nod. Morale is important. Setsuna could use some, herself. She inhales and announces the sights, though some may not need it. "To the west horizon we have our great guardian, Mt Fuji." She sounds fond of it. "And we're just pulling into view of -- there, to the north, a clear look at Rainbow Bridge."

She adjusts some dials, then puts the setting sun at their backs. "We'll follow the Bay out to sea. By the time dark falls, we'll be clear of the worst of the light pollution." They emerge from the growing nightglow of Tokyo and sail out over the shining black sea, through brine-heavy air that chops like the waves below. Setsuna is an excellent pilot, and her charges may not even notice the slight disturbance to the steadiness of their flight.

This helicopter is well-suited to a sightseeing trip, with tall clean windows at every seat that extend nearly overhead. The generous viewing angles combined with the vehicle's own (lack of) color scheme soon surround all the occupants with black, save for the dimming glow of fast-fading day far behind.

High above, the first brave glimmers of distant suns emerge into the void left by Sol's departure. It's a friendlier void than the gravitic singularity of nothingness she sees in Hotaru Tomoe's eyes. "So..." She can't help it. "Chibi-Usa, how did you meet your best friend?" Setsuna suppresses so many emotions that her voice just sounds flat, but the headset's distortion masks that somewhat. She manages to not ask how they made friends so quickly, an unkind question that rises from a dark corner of her heart that has nothing to do with the metaphysical threat Hotaru represents.

Of course, that sends her attention next to Fate and her friend Nanoha. They look... content, unthreatening, both of them. Setsuna rolls her shoulders against stress-driven tightness and returns her eyes to the dark sky ahead. She hears Sucy's mutter in the headset, though. "Is something the matter, Sucy-chan? It's a bit bumpy -- we can climb, see if things are smoother up high."

<Pose Tracker> Chibi-Usa Tsukino [Juuban Public School (4)] has posed.

It makes it easy for Chibi-Usa to see Setsuna, being seated beside Hotaru, around the area behind the copilot. ...But not always easy to jus look; she sees all of these new introuctions, and she smiles over at Sucy. "Nice to meet you, Manbavaran-san!" Chibi-Usa beams at being called Hotaru's best friend, obviously aglow. If she noices anything untowardly possessive, she doesn't say as much; instead she's happy to keep Hotaru's hand...

Well, both of her hands in short order, and she keeps hold of both. "Hey, it's okay," she says, worried. "It won't keep rattling like this," she assures, though she doesn't know at all. Bt... She does notice the chocolate and--

"Oh," she says, "We can wait, Hotaru-chan. I don't mind. We're going to be up here for a bit!" She assumes, anyway. For now Chibi-Usa sets the sweet back down, and chimes to Puu, "Thank you! They look really good...!"

Chibi-Usa is willing to put off food for Hotaru. That says something.

She misses the talk about truckers for now, but she does see the co-pilot up there. "It's a great statue!" she chimes in to Steven, and then tilts her head at Steven, "Fifth year! Nice to meet you!"

A look at Fate then... she does look sad, doesn't she? Chibi-Usa looks at her... But then, she doesn't have to woner why someone would look sad at happy memories. "I haven't been home in a while either," Chibi-Usa says, trying to be reassuring but mostly just being quiet. "...Not tat I'm sure that's what it is..." But Nanoha and Fate together keeps he attention. "Tokyo's prettybig..." A beat, "Nanoha-chan." She smiles back. She likes that anyway. "But... different...?" Chibi-Usa worries a little bit about Sucy. ...Or maybe around Sucy.

But the mountain is so beautiful. "Oh, Hotaru-chan...!" Chibi-Usa keeps both hands now, and stares out the window. "You see?" She leans a little her way, closer to the window, though she has to tilt forward given that she's so much shorter. "Oh! It's all..."

But she gets a question, and Chibi-Usa speaks up through her microphone, "We met in the snow!" She explains, "I was running, because I lost my hat... It was a special hat that Ikuko-mama gave me. But when I ran by Hotaru-chan got up to start chasing it with me, and she caught it for me..."

"She's really kind."

<Pose Tracker> Hotaru Tomoe [Infinity Institute (6)] has posed.

Hotaru and Sucy seem to have a lot in common. They're both dark and strange and easily misunderstood, and apparently neither of them has much stomach for flying. Hotaru happens to catch Sucy's expression in the window's reflection, and meets her eyes there with a weak smile that is much less sympathetic and much more 'I know, right?' empathy.

Then she closes her eyes and makes a careful study of exactly what she's experiencing right now, the way Papa taught her to handle scary situations. She feels the noise boring into her brain, and the vibrations... the sway. She feels fear -- fear of falling, fear of the total lack of control she has over her own safety right now, though that second one is an ordinary and familiar fear, the likelihood of her early and uncontrollable death an old companion.

Each breath feels shrill and short. Each heartbeat feels sharp, like a knife.

But she also feels the warmth of Chibi-Usa's hand, and the scent of her strawberry shampoo. That's worth focusing on.

Her eyes flutter back open, her expression less pained and more peaceful. She's missed the discussion of cities and of her own origins in Chibi-Usa's life. But she doesn't miss the view -- she is finally able to look out the window, following Chibi-Usa's instructions, and a smile breaks across her face like sunrise.

"It's all beautiful," she whispers, and feels another emotion, something she didn't expect, which brings a little bit of wetness to the corners of her eyes.

This isn't the kind of thing she ever expected to be able to do, before the end.

She relaxes her death grip on Chibi-Usa's hand, something else she never expected to have, and lets it become a gentler hold instead. Her fingers flex a little, then thread into her best friend's, neatly, like church and steeple.

<Pose Tracker> Steven Universe [Juuban Public School (5)] has posed.

Having more company over to the Gem Temple is always a delight. Always good to share some happiness! And Nanoha seems like good people, too.

Lights and reticles flicker and move in front of Steven, like some sort of serious pinball game. The boy dares not touch any of the switches or buttons. No telling what they do! If one is astute enough, they can notice Stavan somewhat presses back into his seat, as if distancing himself from them. Just in case something happens.

Probably just nervous for his first time. Or perhaps he has had inciedents with control panels and/or dashboards before?

Steven stiffens when called the Copilot. As if suddenly important things were at stake. "Y-Yes ma'am!" he says, saluting with a hand. "Morale is--" The boy looks back to the rest. Some people didn't seem too happy. Especially Sucy. The boy looks back, cheeck tucked inward. "Good! Morale is good."

Okay that was a bit of a lie. But perhaps they just needed a minute to get adjusted to the altitude!

The boy's attention is fixed on the Rainbow Bridge for sure! It was so much smaller up here! Even as it gets darker and darker, it lights up in its standard array, and makes the boy think of the effort it took to make it. When Setsuna asks Chibi-Usa about Hotaru, the boy actually shuts up. He can't help be a little curious, himself! Mysteries draw Steven like a little pink moth to a flame. This included people, too.

"Thanks!" he replies to Chibi-Usa. "Some of the pieces have broken off over the years, but it is otherwise holdin' together good!" Strangest thing too, when the temple teleported, so did the pieces that have broken off, almost in the exact same places where they were in Beach City. A hand. An arm. A section of shoulder. Guess the... well, whatever happened, brought those too. As if it knew it all belong together.

Could it ever be restored? That'd be pretty cool.

<Pose Tracker> Fate Testarossa [Infinity Institute (4)] has posed.

Fate's looks at Mount Fuji first, in all of its majesty. "It's so big, even from here."

As Setsuna points out the Rainbow Bridge, Fate looks in it's direction and says quietly in her mic, "That bridge is a very special place for Nanoha and me."

She smiles while still holding her friends, "Something happened there that let us become friends." She's looking forward to when dark falls and she can truly see the stars, but the sights right now are still majestic.

Morale is high. Fate takes it for granted that a helicopter gauge can know their morale. Though she starts to wonder given how ill Hotaru and Sucy are looking. She smiles at Chibi-Usa and nods, "I've flown over a lot of Tokyo. It's very big."

For a while though the sights don't actually capture her attention so much as the conversation between how Hotaru and Chibi-Usa met. After it's over she says, without irony, or angst, or despair of any sort, "That was very kind of her." She agrees with Chibi-Usa.

And when Hotaru says so quietly how beautiful it is. "I'm glad you were able to see it for the first time with us Hotaru..."

And she means that just as sincerely. After seeing how the girl is ostracized at school, on the playground. ... she could use such happiness in her life.

Steven speaks about the gem temple, and Fate bobs her head, "I agree Steven. It's like... an ancient statue in an art museum... except not in a museum." To her the broken pieces just seem to give it character.


<Pose Tracker> Nanoha Takamachi [Infinity Institute (4)] has posed.

For moments, as they ascend Nanoha feels at peace and content. There is something that is so calming about being up this high and away from everything. The world below changes and grows smaller beneath them. The air feels cleaner, cooler and Nanoha takes a deep breath while staring out the windows in silence for what feels like forever. It was relaxing and yet seemed only fleeting in those moments.

The mountain comes into view and Nanoha marvels at how it looks from up here. Taking mental note of the places she normally couldn't see from down on the ground she lets out a breath and quietly speaks for the first time since they rose, "Wow..." The colors shift and seem to breathe new life into the mountain. "...it's so pretty from here." Somehow, it was like she was seeing things for the first time and it was amazing.

Setsuna's voice seems to snap her back to reality and Nanoha listens for the co-pilot's comments before the question is raised to Chibi-Usa. For only having just met, Nanoha seems very interested in the answer. Albeit, her reasons are probably very different than Setsuna's.

The answer Chibi-Usa gives makes Nanoha smile as well as her using the informal name. They could all be friends here after all, right? "That's great that she was there for you!" Nanoha remarks, thinking that it was a nice story.

There is an uncomfortable silence a moment later though as they pass the Ranbow Bridge and even as it fades into the distance. The silence only broken by Fate's remarks which makes Nanoha breathe a little easier. However, for the moment, she doesn't make additional comments but instead looks up as the light is fading and the darkness begins to bring out the faintest hints of stars in the evening sky.

<Pose Tracker> Sucy Manbavaran [Infinity Institute (7)] has posed.

Sucy Manbavaran returns Hotaru's eye contact with a knowing nod, and after that, like Hotaru, Sucy just tries to keep to herself.

The sickness of flight isn't so much a turbulence issue, it's that Sucy is used to being small while flying, being in the helicopter, the kinesthetic projection of "being" the helicopter in a tactile sense is disorienting. Sucy breathes a sigh of relief that as much as magic relies on visualization and projection like this, it also requires words and casting components, so the chances she spontaneously turns into a helicopter are non-existant, she hopes.

So when Pluto says if taking them higher would help, Sucy shrugs. She doesn't think it will, but she imagines the others might enjoy the view... They seem to be enjoying it so much already, and each other's company.

Then something happens. Steven stops talking!

Like someone in a mine-shaft who hears their canary plop to the bottom of its cage, Sucy focuses immediately, but Steven is still alive, merely quiet of his own choice, to hear Chibi-Usa's story, and Sucy hears it too, and sighs with indiscernable emotion on the inside. False alarm..

In reaction to the tale of the small and pink, which Sucy misses her school assigned coven for a brief moment, before she remembers that Akko would be as loud or louder than Steven. and maybe the two of them would be even more trouble together than each alone, as they fought over who got to sit in the co-pilot's chair. That might be fun to watch though...

And Lotte would be here, and Lotte is... always nice... to have around, there's something about her gentle support even when they don't speak...

Sucy shakes her head.

No, it's just everyone paired off with their friends. She's letting all the companionship and emotion in this cabin get to her.

Sucy pulls out a small magical focus and fiddles with it to lead her thoughts elsewhere. It looks like a little black diamond, but when you focus your mana you can move it and shape it into other things like a block puzzle, creating and destroying and moving its mass. She knows ideally you're supposed to do it without touching it, but Sucy is aware enough of her surroundings even now to know that she can't do that here.

Still, she needs something to get her mind off of... well... everything.

Maybe the view will get better. Maybe she'll gradually learn to accept being the helicopter.

<Pose Tracker> Setsuna Meioh [Infinity Institute (U)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jSAE1qMh4jw&feature=youtu.be&t=66

Sucy shakes her head, and Setsuna nods in acceptance. But she keeps an eye on the witchling for the rest of the flight, when she's not either looking right at Hotaru or pointedly not looking at Hotaru. Oh, and watching where she's flying -- Setsuna is still doing that from time to time.

Chibi-Usa comforts Hotaru, and the senshi's knuckles whiten at the controls; every small gesture and cheerful smile drives breathless fear into Setsuna. She's regretting having asked, has purely emotional premonition that the answer is unsafe.

'She's really kind.'

That's when it dawns on Puu just how much Small Lady cares for this frail girl she must kill. For a long long while, she says nothing at all. She cannot.

Day recedes altogether, but the horizon behind them still glows. Tokyo burns a cold white smudge into the night, drowning out any hope of stargazing to the west with the conquering radiance of civilization. Setsuna smolders at it in the helicopter's rearview. For those who know her, irritation makes an odd note in the university student's voice. "Much better, to be free of that. We shall actually see the stars, tonight."

The seabound winds eddy, closer to the waves, and so up the shiny black bird goes again. Setsuna seeks a point of calm, and after a minute or two of exploring the air currents with a combination of skill and feel, she finds it and adjusts for stable hovering. "Now: I shall hold us very still. If you lean up against the windows with your helmets off, you will get a sample of what the night sky should be."

In a word: brilliant. Setsuna Meioh's oldest friends stud the overhead black, so bright that they can be seen to visibly twinkle. It's nothing like the dull rare gleam of the occasional planet through city glare. True to her word, the pilot holds her bird steady as a stone, giving all her concentration to the task. Only once everyone has their fill of the stars -- impossible, perhaps, but all good things must come to an end -- does she ask for helmets-on again. Before they turn around, Setsuna steals a moment to lean forward herself, over the controls. Her oldest frends greet her, warm her, but do nothing to ease her mind. Not this time.

Their last stop, upon return to the Tokyo environs, is the iconic Tokyo Tower: a neon crimson and thoroughly Japanese version of the Eiffel Tower, teeming with tourists who seek their own elevated view of the city at night. "We can only fly so close without bothering the authorities, but I'll bring us as near as I can."

After this it will be back to the beach to conclude their oh-so-educational and certainly-not-recreational-in-the-least field trip. Possibly after every single smol's school night bedtime.

<Pose Tracker> Chibi-Usa Tsukino [Juuban Public School (4)] has posed.

Chibi-Usa waits through Hotaru's quiet, not opening her mouth to say anything to distract her from... She's not sure she'd be distracting her, exactly, but Hotaru is Hotaru and she does things, sometimes.

Chibi-Usa is there to smile at this new peaceful expression though, and the way Hotaru whispers makes invitingher completely worth it if it wasn't already. ...Her hand gets a little easier as Hotaru lowers the intensity of her grip. Their fingers thread neatly together, and Chibi-Usa sets her free hand on her own arm for a moment, shy.

"Oh! I hope it doesn't break too much," Chibi-Usa says. But morale seems good to her, too. She does however....

"She's great," Chibi-Usa says with close eyes to Fate. This is her first time at this sight too though, and she keeps looking, very close. She looks away only to look at the Rainbow Bridge in particular, "Special..." She nods to Fate and Nanoha both.

"It's really pretty," Chibi-Usa agrees, and them beams at Nanoha. "It was! It was really nice... I didn't even mind that it was so cold."

Sucy doesn't say a lot in the meantime, and Chibi-Usa's attention so easily goes to the window, to Hotaru, to the talking girls and boy here, or even to Setsuna... But she spots her sitting quietly, and she lingers on her for a moment, waving once with her free hand before she looks back to te window almost surreptitiously.

Chibi-Usa doesn't know what troubles Setsuna; she can't. There's an innocence to her despite all the things she's seen that precludes even imaginig anything like that. Instead, she listens to her talk about the stars.

She tries to catch Setsuna's eyes, looking gratefuly and lovingly a her for a moment, before she reaches up to take off her helmet, close to Hotaru. They are all her friends here, and these old friends are her old friends as well, old and new both. After all, stars are time travellers in their way, too.

"Oh wow..." She stares, looking out at them all for some time. The stars...

Chibi-Usa Tsukino, Small Lady, finally shifts back again after a while to put back on her helmet. She'll strap right back in, help Hotaru with the same, and look to the Tower.


But when they go back to the beach, there is a tight, sleepy hug with Puu's name on it.

<Pose Tracker> Hotaru Tomoe [Infinity Institute (6)] has posed.

Invited to take off their helmets, Hotaru fills herself with the stars and a silence she remembers but does not know how or why. She feels no urge to fill it; the chopper's roar is irrelevant to it. She just stares and stares, and the stars stare back, shining in her eyes.

Afterwards, without really noticing herself that she's doing so, a whispered snatch of Shakespeare flows out of her as naturally as starlight:

"Not from the stars do I my judgment pluck,

And yet methinks I have astronomy,

But not to tell of good or evil luck,

Of plagues, of dearths, or seasons' quality..."

She doesn't continue out loud, settling back into the silence she found out there, wrapping it around her like a blanket, like an old friend. She regains Chibi-Usa's hand and just sits there for much of the rest of the journey.

But not all of it. At some point Setsuna's mood filters into her awareness and she shivers, begins to fidget uncomfortably. Her hand goes to her throat and something tucked into her neckline, something she gently pulls out and twists, back and forth and back again, like a good luck charm. Like a worry stone. It is both, and it is silver and garnet.

It seems like an appropriate time to talk to someone about something, and, nervously, she leans over a seat towards Fate.

"Um, thank you for the book, Testarossa-san, it was a lovely story," she says, the tin of the radio failing to dampen the enthusiasm in her voice, which rises as she continues: "I liked Mariel the Mousemaid very much. She was so small, but so brave..."

For those following along at home, Fate gave her this novel yesterday.

<Pose Tracker> Steven Universe [Juuban Public School (5)] has posed.

Fate talking about the Gem Temple makes him daydream a little mroe as he looks otu the window at the encroaching twilight. What... inspired that temple? It looks kinda like a Gem, but there is no way one could possibly be that big... could there be?


The helicopter goes farther and farther out from the city, and the sky grows more and more ominous. Infinitely expanding, yet never getting any closer. As the city lights fade, the boy is reminded of Beach City. The night skies there were gorgeous. As they are here. It is the same night sky of course, just a different location.

A look over to Setsuna shows that she has grown quiet as well. At first he thought that she was taking it in just as much as everyone else. But no. The way she is holding the controls. The way she focuses forward. Perhaps she is remembering something from a voyage aboard long past. Or a sad thought has surfaced. He moves to say something, but nothing comes out.

Perhaps it is best to just let things be. Maybe he can ask another time. The helmet is re-attached as the chopper begins to turn and move swiftly back towards town. The boy itches his head as he puts it on. It felt kinda funny. Next time, he should probably get a haircut or something before wearing it. His hair is probably just too fluffy.

"Oh. Neat!" The boy finally adds aloud, becoming his usual boundless self, on the approach of Tokyo Tower. Looks super important! "I went there!" is added. Everyone here probably has been as well, but the view from up here just puts everything into perspective.

What a wonderful ride this has been.

<Pose Tracker> Fate Testarossa [Infinity Institute (4)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> Solidarity - FFXV - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_SYl97fm0qs

Fate smiles at Chibi-Usa, and her closeness to her friend. She feels she understands.

The last squint worthy rays of sunlight fade, and Fate's breath is held in anticipation now that they are far away from that smothering blanket of light. Slowly she takes her helmet off at Setsuna's instructions, shaking loose her twintails. And then she presses her face up next to the window.

And sees an ocean of obsidian, tangled up in light.

It was what she woke up to every morning on the ceiling of her room. Stars.

It is what she could see in the mountains of Midchilda every night.

Despite the solidarity of experience here in the wonder of seeing them here with her. Despite how many people love her now, and how far she's come. Within those stars, there's a simple, nostalgic yearning.

For home.

She wonders if it's raining in the blur of glass. She doesn't realize it when the first silent tears fall.

A hand drifts up to her face, and rubs under her eyes. She doesn't have a tissue with her right now, so her sleeve suffices.

It's that state in which Hotaru finds her when she leans over to thank her. Though at this angle she might not notice at first. She'll almost certainly notice her tear-stained sleeve. It takes her a few seconds longer to compose herself. And then she leans her way and says it at a conversational volume to overcome the sounds of the rotors, since her helmet is off, "You read it so quickly." She says, obviously impressed. "I'm so glad you liked it. She's my favorite character."

And given that Fate wasn't allowed to read fiction before she came to the Harlaown Household... she may be her first favorite.

Fate looks a little shy for a few moments, quiet, as if working up the courage to say something. "Um. Can we talk- sometime soon Hotaru? There's something I'd like to ask you but... it doesn't feel right to ask here."

It's only after she puts her helmet back on. Once she does, she's just let's herself breathe for a while. And then there's a whisper thin statement in the mic, "Thank you very much." To their hostess with the Evergreen hair. For the opportunity to see the stars tonight... here... with all of them.

<Pose Tracker> Nanoha Takamachi [Infinity Institute (4)] has posed.

Their ride takes them just far enough beyond the city that Nanoha can see the stars above. As Setsuna so expertly navigates, the young girl takes her headset off and looks out the window, practically pressing her face against the glass. It's such a breathtaking and rare sight to see the stars so bright. Away from the noise and distractions, her thoughts go from awe to happiness that she can share this time with Fate.

For a moment, time seems to stop but it is short-lived as the helicopter begins to move again and heads towards the Tokyo tower. It's almost surreal to see it from the outside and be this high up. She can see a few people through the glass and wonders what they're all doing and thinking at this moment.

Nanoha looks back to Fate, "I am glad you're here Faito-chan~" On the surface it's a simple remark to a friend but if one looks deeper it means a lot more. It's when she looks closer and even as Hotaru approaches that Nanoha sees the glimmer in Fate's eyes. It's enough to make her reach out to her again and offer a hug. Whatever other comments are made don't seem to matter to Nanoha in that moment.

As they begin their descent Nanoha moves a little to give Fate space. She feels grateful for this chance to take time away from everything and to not have to think about problems or school or anything but just being in the moment.

Back on the ground, the young student yawns before standing up and stretching. It was getting late for her after all. She waves to Setsuna and if she can, she will offer her a hug too. "Thank you for letting me come with you! This was so fun!" There is a quiet giggle as she steps back onto the beach. "...and thank you for the treat!" She quickly adds.

<Pose Tracker> Sucy Manbavaran [Infinity Institute (7)] has posed.

Sucy Manbavaran idly looks out the windows of the helicopter as they make their final views and... Sucy has to admit, even from a helicopter the sky out here still looks very nice, and the tower too. She feels a little bitter looking at the world outside the helicopter.

When she pulls her focus back into the helicopter, Sucy watches Hotaru with curiousity, feeling a faint, but growing, sort of empathy with her that is an unusual feeling for the pale witch.

It's during this observation she starts to notice the oddness of Pluto's interactions with Hotaru You don't get to be a successful poisoner and potionmaker without a good honed sense of when things are boiling over or feigning stability, and she gets that feeling now.

Setsuna seems to... not like her? But why? Even Sucy has to admit that Hotaru seems pleasant enough, Setsuna seemed to like children... she's been warmer to everyone else here, especially Chibi-Usagi Tsukino.

Is that it? The hand holding... is she jealous?! But she already has Kasagami.. But Kasagami has Rinji... and no, that can't be it...

Is it the rumors? The rumors about Hotaru sound bad, but rumors happen whether or not you want them to, they happen without you, they... definitely happen...

Surely Pluto doesn't believe them? Which ones would she even follow? They all contradict each other...

Is that girl Fate going to ask her about it later? Fate seems so sad..?

Shield Kid is really dropping the ball on this whole Morale thing right now, Sucy decides.

Akko would know what to do. Of course that might be exploding the helicopter while trying to put on a dazzling show for everyone.

So maybe it's for the best she's not here after all..

<Pose Tracker> Setsuna Meioh [Infinity Institute (U)] has posed.

There are few things in this world Setsuna is more attuned to than Chibi-Usa trying to get her attention; Small Lady has it immediately, and in return Puu receives a gaze full of love. For her part, the senshi does her level best to reflect back the same and only that, but complicated things fill her head and cannot quite be kept from her eyes.

One of those few things intrudes.

One of her sacred Keys, gleaming around Hotaru Tomoe's fragile neck.

Sick horror steals all the strength in her limbs. The helicopter continues its forward path without any guidance otherwise, cutting into restricted airspace on its newly unchecked course, and it takes Setsuna a few moments to realize and right their flight path. She does so with uncustomary roughness, overcorrecting at first and swaying the occupants. It's far from dangerous, except in that it reveals how thoroughly affected Setsuna is.

Stunned, she watches Hotaru lean forward and talk to a Fate who seems deeply moved by the same stars Setsuna loves.

The back of her helmet thuds into her headrest. Setsuna forces herself to focus on anything but Hotaru Tomoe. "Thank you for flying with me, Copilot Universe. I'd be honored to have you again any time." That, at least, she can feel good about. Her gaze wanders back to Fate and Nanoha...

"You are..." A deep breath. This feels a small thing, now, as does the war. "You are very welcome, Testarossa-san." It's a solemn reply to a solemn thanks. She just has to get them back to the beach, thinks Setsuna. Then she can... what? Attack Hotaru in front of Fate and Steven and- Garnet eyes cut back to Chibi-Usa, then wince away.

In the end, Setsuna Meioh just sets her jaw and flies them back in silence. She lets the passengers fill the silence with chatter. To Sucy Manbavaran, studying Setsuna unnoticed, the tension is impossible to miss in the set of her shoulders and the lines between evergreen brows. She's seen the senshi bothered before.

For Small Lady, she packs it all away and down as tightly as possible to make way for a tight, tight hug. Chibi-Usa might not expect so hard a squeeze, absolutely possessive in its fierceness. Into the pink-haired girl's ear, she whispers, "I love you, Small Lady." Then Setsuna lets go and stands in one smooth motion that carries her up and away.

After a moment she accepts Nanoha's hug as well, with a lean down. "Thank you for coming, Takamachi-san." A more general "Thank you all" follows that, the closest Setsuna can manage to addressing Hotaru again.

Drained, she clambers back up into the sleek black helicopter and just... sits there as the blades spin down to stillness.