Afa was upset that Nick had gone after the mirror instead of a ship that he warned was carrying something dangerous and heading to the Hawaiian shore: the Hibiki Maru. Nick Dumont had sent his girlfriend Kuwiko and her weresharks to check it out while he explored Rita’s beachfront mansion. Unfortunately for Nick, he now faced troubles of his own!
In a desperate escape from Rita’s mansion, Nick had torn a hole into the never-never (beyond far enough) to get away from certain death at the hands of Rita’s goons. There he encountered a somewhat unwelcome friend of Kane: the Ghost of a gangster named Lucky. Lucky was willing to help Nick return to Hawaii in exchange for the mirror Nick had just claimed from Rita’s vault. Without much in the way of options, Nick accepted, only to discover that Lucky was not nearly so trustworthy as both he and Kane had thought. The mirror allowed the owner to manipulate the very powers of life, in violation of a law of magic, and Rita (as the Lady of Pride) had used it to keep herself perpetually young. Lucky claimed to want to destroy it to help himself and the spirits who followed him finally have peace, but in reality he wanted the mirror (as Afa later speculated) to return to life himself!
Once the mirror was in Lucky’s hands, Nick was chased down and forced to make another desperate leap back to the mortal world, fortunately able to reconnect with Kane, run into Afa, and eventually join Alex as well.
After an angry lecture from Afa, Nick and his friends decided to check out the Hibiki Maru, using a magical link with Kuwiko’s ring to transport to her location. They discovered that she and most of the Sisterhood of the Wave had been taken captive in a fight aboard the ship. They had encountered a ninja being of almost godlike powers, who looked a little like Raiden.
Defeated and thrown in a tight storage hold, the ladies were now joined by the intrepid heroes, who devised a plan to escape the hold, with a little of Nick’s magic, and explore the ship some more. Unfortunately, a truck had been parked over the trapdoor into the hold, and so they melted a hole into an adjacent, much larger open shipping hold that was being actively patrolled by guards. After a fierce firefight with snipers above deck and gangsters below, Kane cutting down netting and Alex taking impressive one shot kills of criminals blocking the metal staircase up to the main deck, they felt they had the advantage. Tragically, many of the Sisters of the Waves were gunned down as they raced to the upper deck and tried to leap into the water.
Alex, Kane, Nick, and Kuwiko headed to the ship’s engine room, still below deck, only to encounter two of the raiden-like ninja sentinels, who clearly had the upperhand in their battle. Facing gunfire from behind and unstoppable, apparently inhuman, ninja masters ahead, Kane fell to the floor of the ship with a herbal drug induced vision or dream, witnessing a bleak mountainside, a massive clocktower being struck by a tsunami, and various time pieces melting into the scenery. His companions took his vision to suggest that water might be a “catch” against the formidable foes they faced, and that time itself would be an issue in their futures.
Alex found a firehose in the engine room, and with gunfire puncturing the outer hull of the ship allowing water to begin flooding the vessel, and concentrated streams of high pressure water from the hose, they confirmed that water was, in fact, one of the only weapons that seemed effective against their adversaries. Combining magic and technology, they quickly dispatched their previously insurmountable opposition.
They returned to the earlier hold where they intended to question the yakuza thugs they had incapacitated, asking Kuwiko to translate. The prisoners mocked the group’s efforts, and were insistent that no matter what they did, they would never defeat Keilana, the captain of the vessel. Just as the interrogation was getting ugly, though, the party had a wrenching sensation and deja vu experience, and found themselves “back in time,” still in the dark, cramp hold they first entered when arriving on the ship! Fortunately, their friends in the Sisterhood of the Waves were alive again, but they knew that all their stress from the prior battles remained but all their progress had been undone.
Kuwiko finally realized the subtle meaning in the Japanese name of the ship: Maru is the word for ship, but it also means “circle” (as in a loop or repeating pattern). And Hibiki translates to “mountain echo”: another image of repetition.
The group knew they were in trouble, and that another direct assault would probably kill them, and not prove successful anyway. And knowing that their enemies were closing in on them, they decided to escape through the bottom of the ship, employing magic and the assistance of the weresharks to ride out through the water, springing some leaks that would hopefully sink the vessel.
Their plan seemed to be a success, until they watched, from outside the bubble of her temporal manipulations, the Hibiki Maru rise again from the water! Their efforts truly did feel futile, and just as they contemplated having Alex call in an air strike to sink the ship before her crew or captain would have time to react again, an airstrike called in by someone else pummeled the cruiser! Delivering a massive payload, it did seem to work, and the adventurers rode the shockwaves of water back to the Hawaiian shore.
Later Afa told Nick he was surprised and glad he “got the message” to get off the ship before it was hit with an airstrike that Afa had ordered through other channels. Of course, Nick never got such a message, and still cannot shake the feeling that Afa probably views him and his friends as completely disposable, perhaps even decoys for the air assault . . .