Martialla hadn’t liked Nā-maka-o-Kahaʻi from day one. Martialla is in favor of protecting the oceans as much as anyone (more than most actually) but she looks dimly on anyone who brags about being an “eco-warrior”. Making things worse though was the fact that Nā-maka-o-Kahaʻi clearly had no idea what she was doing. When they first met, she was bragging about sinking an oil tanker and when Martialla asked how she prevented the oil in the tanker from spilling into the ocean, Nā-maka-o-Kahaʻi just stared at her like she didn’t know what she meant.
So they didn’t get off on a good foot and things just went downhill the more Martialla learned about her – namely that her most frequent acts of “eco-warrioring” were attacking the crews of shipping vessels and drowning them. Not being a fan of casual murder in general this was bad, but given that Martialla had also worked on such a vessel for years herself, you can imagine she didn’t love what Nā-maka-o-Kahaʻi was doing.
Martialla was mostly convinced that Nā-maka-o-Kahaʻi was not just stupid, but also that she didn’t even truly care that much about the cause she professed to be doing it for – that she was just using environmentalism as an excuse for doing what she wanted to do anyway, wreck stuff and hurt people. And if we’re being honest, and I think that we are, Martialla is just a little bit racist against pacific islanders. She would tell you that it’s because of some bad experiences she had, but people always have an excuse for their ugly little prejudices don’t they?
So when Rusalka told Martialla that Nā-maka-o-Kahaʻi was causing some kind of trouble for the Shachi undersea mobile research facility, which was nearby at the time, she went to check it out not because she cares a whit about the Empire of Japan and their aquatic research projects, but because she wanted an excuse to take a strip off Nā-maka-o-Kahaʻi and be in the right doing so.
The Shachi mobile complex looked to Martialla’s eye vaguely like an aircraft carrier underwater, although more symmetrical and sleek than a real surface dwelling one. It was resting on the ocean floor which she was pretty sure it wasn’t supposed to be doing, and the bodies of several Japanese sailors were hanging in the water which was also a tip off that something was not going the way everyone expected. One of them was being nibbled at by a trio of circling whitetip sharks.
Funny story, when she was an able seaman (woman but you know) she wasn’t afraid of sharks. She never really even thought about sharks. Why would she? It’s not something sailors think about. But now that she’s an undersea super person, she hates sharks. And she knows that it’s completely irrational because even if a shark did try and take a bite out of her (which it wouldn’t) she’s not only much faster than any shark in the sea (even the short fin mako!) and could get away, even if it did get close to her, when she’s underwater she’s fast and strong enough to catch it and tear it in half like a sadistic little boy with a minnow from the bait shop.
So she kept an eye on those harmless to her sharks as she approached the Shachi and entered through the submarine bay. Some people call it a wet dock, but Martialla finds that term crass and suggestive. There was no one at the C&C center as she came out of the water and no lights on, which wasn’t a problem for her fish eyeballs. Looking around, she did notice a woman in diving gear laying on the floor in a supply area and trying not to be noticed. After initial language fumbling, they were able to communicate in Russian.
Im Geum-ja started off by begging Martialla not to eat her (offensive) but once they got over that, she explained what she knew. Im Geum-ja had been outside the station doing routine maintenance when she saw several of her fellow navy people swimming around without any sort of gear. That would have been strange enough, but then they planted explosives on a supply sub and blew it up. That really got her attention. She fled back to the Shachi at best speed where she found her comrades beating the shit out of her commanding officer.
She watched in horror as they held her commander up while a “green water devil” came into the bay and ate his head. Literally just bit his head off, crunched it up and swallowed it. They tossed the headless body into the water and sauntered off. She had been laying there ever since paralyzed with fear.
Martialla told her to get a fresh tank and head for the surface and Madripoor. When Im protested that this was a secret facility, Martialla told her if she wanted to live, it was time to leave. When Im asked her if it was safe outside, Martialla, not one to mince words, told her “probably not”.
Martialla made her way through several maintenance bays and the head (where she found a dead sailor with his throat slashed) into the officer’s quarters where she found a man tied to a sink and badly beaten. Im, who had been trailing her unobtrusively, called him Kurokodairu and immediately untied him – even as he seemed to be shouting abuse at her.
Im stood downcast as he shouted at her until Martialla demanded to know what was going on. A three-way translated conversation from Japanese to Russian ensued. The Senior Chief Petty Officer was not happy that Im was there without a mark on her while mutineers ran free. He made a big deal of showing off his wounds and said that the only reason he was still alive is because the “monsters” needed his knowledge of the ship.
Martialla remembered idiots like him from her time in the military and her civilian jobs as well – guys who seem to really want to go down with the ship and take everyone else with them. She had worked with a guy named Fitzroy that was a former close combat instructor and worked as an “anti-piracy specialist”. Ass. Hole. Even though she couldn’t understand what he was saying, she knew this guy was a Fitzroy. In a way it was comforting to know that as different as Canada and the Empire of Japan are, you still find the same kind of people.
Martialla was tempted to tie him back up, especially when he started talking about how Im needed to find a weapon so they could take back the ship, but she didn’t. Instead she locked them both in the room and continued on her way. She passed a few sailors that had undergone some kind of transformation – their skin having the blue pallor of a body that’s been left in the water for weeks or months. They didn’t pay her any attention.
On the bridge she found Nā-maka-o-Kahaʻi, Tiger Shark, the aforementioned “green water devil” who looked more like a lizard guy than a fish guy, and someone else she didn’t know that looked like a whale crossed with a catfish crossed with a guy. Nā-maka-o-Kahaʻi rolled her eyes like you do when you’re trying to impress your friends with your new skates and your little sister runs over with her stupid pogo stick for stupid babies.
Even though he looked like a lizard, the green guy called himself the Great White (are there any water guys that don’t name themselves sharks?) and he seemed to be the brains of the operation. He started blathering on about created a new world where everyone lived under the water. He said that he had released a gas that was turning the loyal crew here into mer-people and they were quashing all opposition.
Over Nā-maka-o-Kahaʻi’s objections, he invited Martialla to join in his grand vision of a better world – a world under the sea. Martialla shot him in the head. Martialla chased after the Tiger Shark and shot him a couple times too, but he escaped into the water and she knows from experience that he’s a fast healer.
When she got back to the bridge, Nā-maka-o-Kahaʻi and the catfish-whale guy were gone. Martialla went back to let Im and Kurokodairu loose and explain to them that it was time to abandon ship. Kurokodairu was a real pill about it at first but eventually was convinced there was no way to get things back on track. Together the three of them gathered up a half dozen other loyalists and headed out to sea. Some of the newly made mer-people tried to stop them, but the only power the gas gave them seemed to be the ability to breathe under water, they couldn’t even swim any faster – they were no match for Martialla.
Martialla coming out of the water onto the beach has become a common enough sight that people don’t flip their lid about it anymore, but doing so with eight Japanese Navy divers raised a few eyebrows. Once they were on land, Im revealed that she was less of a Japanese navy woman and more of a Korean unwilling conscript. Martialla shrugged and told her she was in Madrpoor now, she could be whatever she wanted.
Twenty minutes later, Martialla met up with Ela and Lucien at a seaside café where Ela was doing what she’s always doing – stuffing her face with food she didn’t pay for and giving Martialla judgmental looks.
“Why are you late? What were you doing?!”
Martialla picked up a menu “Nothing.”