“Beauty of Deceit” - Kalifa Side Story
A One Piece Fanfiction by Aoikami Sarah
Written October 11th 2006
“The applicants are ready, sir,” a man in a black suit said, saluting. The man he addressed sat behind a desk and pulled on a pair of gloves over scarred hands.
“Excellent,” he said and stood. “Let’s see what these newbies can do!” To his left an elephant trumpeted. “Come, Funk Freed!” he called to his weapon and it jumped. The man in the suit jumped, too, having never seen an elephant leap into the air quite like that before. Just before he would have fainted, the elephant transformed into a sword and landed in its master’s hand. Director Spandam grinned and the leather straps that braced his ruined face creaked. “To the courtyard!” he ordered, pointing the sword toward the door.
Outside, lined up against a wall were a group of prisoners in black-and-white striped outfits who squinted in the bright sunlight. No natural light ever reached the depths of Enies Lobby’s deepest darkest dungeon, Impel Down. Across from these hardened criminals were several people dressed in all black.
“You lucky bastards have been brought out of your cells for a special occasion!” Spandam announced. “You will each fight one of our applicants. If you are defeated you will go back to your cell for the rest of your miserable lives. If you win, you will be given a chance to escape.” There was a general dark muttering from the line of prisoners. “First applicant,” he read from a list his subordinate handed him. “Rob Lucky.”
“It’s pronounced ‘Loochy,’” Lucci muttered as he took his place in the middle of the court yard. The fight was brief. His Zoan-type Akuma no Mi ability impressed just about everyone present. One by one, all of the 20 applicants were called forward. Lastly, Spandam called “Kalifa,” and there was again muttering from the crowd. The only woman in the group stepped forward and pushed her glasses up her nose.
“Yes,” she answered. Her opponent ogled her then transformed, his body doubling in size and two large horns growing out of his forehead. “Ah, Akuma no Mi, Zoan-type, model sheep.”
“I’m a Goat!” he shouted.
“Of course you are,” she purred and sauntered toward him. “Let’s go some place quiet together, shall we?” She held a whip studded with barbs behind her back.
The goat-man raised a brow and licked his lips. “Yeah, come over here sweet thing and I’ll…” He didn’t get to finish the undoubtedly lewd sentence. The whip lashed out faster than he could react to and wrapped around his waist.
“Soru, Rankyaku,” Kalifa said calmly and in the blink of an eye pulled the prisoner toward her and kicked him several times in the chest. “That’s sexual harassment,” she said as he hit the ground and transformed back into a man. He didn’t move. Kalifa looked up to the director who laughed out loud.
“That’s superb! Pass!” he called down from the safety of a third story balcony. The new recruit bowed and took her place next to the others.
When the contests were done and the losing applicants had been escorted out of the courtyard, Spandam addressed the group. “You seven have passed the last test,” he said with an air of superiority. “Your training in Rokushiki is complete. Welcome to Cipher Pol 9.” His well-patched face grinned sickly as he cast his eyes on the three prisoners who had managed to defeat their government opponents. “You three. Go a head and try to escape.”
They exchanged confused looks before turning and running in the opposite direction. Spandam gleefully ordered his new recruits to take them out.
“You said you’d let us free if we defeated them!” one of the doomed inmates cried as Kaku raised one of his swords to him.
“I said I’d give you a chance,” Spandam purred.
A year later, four of the seven newest CP9 members gathered in Spandam’s office. The director was seated at his desk and his companion sword was in its elephant form at his side. “I have called you here to give you all a very important mission,” he began and handed Funk Freed a peanut. “You will be assigned to investigate the whereabouts of something so incredibly top-secret that the power and discretion of CP9 is required to retrieve it.”
Blueno, Kaku, Rob Lucci and Kalifa looked unimpressed. Spandam cleared his throat and brushed peanut shells off of the desk. “For many years now the World Government has been trying to get a hold of something very important, but the vastness of the pirate problem on the Grand Line among other problems has put this project on the back burner. You will be assigned to the ship-building capital of Water Seven. We believe that its new mayor, a man called Iceberg is in possession of a forbidden document that you are to obtain by becoming his trusted friends.”
Blueno raised a brow. “Come again?”
“Such a task must surely take some time to execute,” Kaku pointed out. “Are you certain that we’re best suited for the job?”
“You’re more than capable of this task,” Spandam growled. “And should the need arise you can smash-and-grab better than any other force employed by the government.” He brushed Funk Freed’s wandering trunk away from his shoulders. “I know Iceberg. He won’t give the document to us even if we storm into his house and threaten him with death.” He pushed the trunk away again and gave the elephant a stern look. “Rob, you and Kaku will apply for work at the Galley-La shipbuilding company that Iceberg owns. Blueno, you will discover where Iceberg spends most of his time socially, a tavern or whatever, and find work there. Kalifa,” he said and waved a newspaper at the woman. “You will apply to be his personal secretary.” Sure enough, the paper was folded to reveal the want-ad section and said job listing that had been posted just that day.
She raised a brow. “This salary is less than I’m paid now,” she noted. “This is completely sexist. And I do not think that CP9 is best suited for a spy job.”
“Excellent!” Spandam shouted, ignoring her. “Your mission starts now. Change into civilian clothes and meet at the Sea Train platform in one hour.” Just as they turned to leave, Funk Freed clamped his trunk down onto Spandam’s head.
Kaku and Blueno were already waiting on the platform when Kalifa arrived. Even though she had been working with them for over a year, the only female member of CP9 hadn’t exchanged more than a few words with either of these men. Blueno always had an air of superiority to him, so she decided that he wasn’t worth talking to anyway. Kaku had an odd way of speaking that reminded her of her grandfather and put her right off. The fourth member of their team strolled toward the platform. Rob Lucci was tall and handsome which was all well and good, but men like that usually knew it and his saunter oozed confidence and machismo, even with the well-dressed pigeon on his shoulder. Kalifa frowned gripped her suitcase tighter.
“Afternoon, Lucci,” Kaku greeted him. “You aimin’ to take the bird with ya, are ya?”
Rather than the man, the bird answered. “Of course he’s taking the bird! Dumbass!”
Kaku was stunned speechless. Blueno raised a brow. Kalifa covered her mouth to suppress a giggle. The bird stared at her. “What’s your problem, eh?” it squawked.
She pushed her glasses up a little. “I don’t have a problem with you at all. I was simply surprised. I think it’s a good idea to disguise yourself in such a manner.”
“Ah! That what it is, then? A disguise?” Kaku asked.
“Correct! Dumbass! The best way to blend in is to stand out!”
“You can lose the ‘dumbass’,” he suggested.
“Lucci,” Blueno ignored the oddness of the situation. “What do you think of this mission?”
The bird puffed out his chest as if thinking about the question. Lucci’s face was expressionless. “My name is Hattori! That’s Lucci!” The bird pointed to himself and to the human he sat on. “And I don’t know what you’re talking about!”
The others were stunned. “Amazing,” Kalifa said quietly. ‘Is he a genius or a retard?’ she thought.
Blueno rolled his eyes. “Ok, what about you, Kaku?”
He pouted and contemplated the answer himself. “I don’t know. I think we are capable of spy work but that this seems a long mission by the way the Director puts it. I’m still tendin’ to think that this really isn’t suited for our talents.”
“It is an order,” Kalifa noted. “Regardless of what we think of it. Hopefully we can complete our mission quickly and this will all be nothing but an irritating memory.
It wasn’t hard for Blueno to secure a job at the bar Iceberg most frequented because of his large stature and ability to work as a bouncer. Rob Lucci and Kaku were hired at the Dock One Galley-La shipbuilding company as there was always a need for strong workers. Kalifa, however, had a bit of a challenge before her. Applicants for the position of Iceberg’s secretary were lined up around the building. Most of the girls were younger than she was and their clothes were, in her opinion, downright risqué. She wished the disguise she had chosen was somewhat less conservative but there was no time to change now. As the line advanced, she clutched her portfolio with fake resumé inside and began to worry. Around her, the young women gossiped and kibitzed.
“You hear? He’s a shoe-in for Mayor this year!” a red-head bowed a little to talk to a brunette in front of Kalifa.
“Oh yeah, for sure. Who wouldn’t vote for the man who united the docks!”
“What I wouldn’t give to be his assistant!”
“Yeah, well, I get to go in before you!”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“If I get the job don’t take it out on me!”
“You little so-and-so!”
Her friend laughed as she was smacked lightly for the teasing. Behind Kalifa, more women harped on about Iceberg.
“…after hours, if you know what I mean!”
“Ooh! I’m so excited! I hope I get the job!”
“He’s the most eligible bachelor in Water Seven!”
Kalifa sighed heavily. “This is unbelievable,” she muttered to herself. She glanced out at the shipyard and spied Kaku and Lucci being shown the ropes. “Everyone’s secure but me.” She noted the youth and appearance of her competition again and frowned deeper. “I better hope he’s a leg-man…” She gasped. “What am I thinking!” she hissed. A woman behind her cleared her throat and pointed ahead. The line had advanced another couple of feet. “S-sorry!” Kalifa cried and moved ahead. ‘Relax, this is nothing. You have the credentials and regardless of their being totally false, you have the skills to organize anyone’s business,’ she reassured herself. ‘And by what the other applicants are saying, he sounds like a dream-employer.’
She now knew why the line was taking so long. In his office at last, Kalifa stood a few feet away from the large oaken desk and tried her best to act like a professional assistant. ‘It’s close to assassin, ‘assistant’,’ she thought briefly, her patience wearing thin. ‘I could just kill him and run. I could!’ She had been standing for at least a solid minute and the man called Iceberg was still sitting bolt upright in his large, leather chair, head back, mouth open and snoring louder than a freight train.
He wasn’t unattractive but not really her type, even if he didn’t snore like that. His arms were folded across his chest, almost as if he was just waiting for someone to wake him up. ‘Aha,’ she thought. ‘This is a test.’ She remembered the woman who had gone before her leaving the office shaking her head and muttering to herself. ‘He must be pretending to sleep to test his applicants!’ It only took a moment to figure out what to say.
“Sir!” she said sharply. “Do you have a moment?”
“Ah?” he said, one eye opening. “Who’s there?”
“My name is Kalifa. I’d like to apply for the job of your personal secretary.” She stepped forward and handed her resume out to him.
He looked from the paper to woman before him. “Personal secretary, eh? Do I need one of those?”
‘Another test!’ she thought. “I believe you do, sir. I can organize your schedule and be the intermediary between you and the public. You shall surely need one when you become Mayor.”
“Mmmna, I think you’re right,” he said glancing at the falsified credentials she held out for his inspection. “You’re hired.”
Kalifa blinked a few time but remained cool. “Thank you, Iceberg-san. Shall I start next week?”
“Oh, yeah. Sure. Whatever,” he said and put his finger up his nose.
‘That…’ she thought slowly. ‘Cannot be a test. Is he stupid? Or is he like Lucci where it’s hard to tell if he’s a genius or if he’s just retarded?’
“Guess I can take the article out of the paper, now,” he said sleepily and made to lean his head back again for another nap.
She couldn’t help but smile. “Allow me to handle that for you,” she said, bowing. “I shall see you Monday.”
“Later…” Iceberg said and began to snore again.
Kalifa wiped the grin from her face as she emerged from the office. “Thank you, ladies. That will be all. Iceberg-san has found his secretary.”