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Kurage Crisis: Road to War

Discussion in 'FanFic' started by wayton, Jun 24, 2018.

  1. wayton

    wayton Active Member

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    Decided to try my hand at writing in preparation for the upcoming campaign....fair warning I am not the best of writers nor particularly an expert on Japan. With that out of the way:

    Kagoshima, Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan, Sol System

    The room was austere, the most striking element was a set of antique samurai armor and a matching set of swords placed before the mannequin. Indeed to the observer the room was practically barren, and to the trained eye that was perhaps the point. For this room was also larger than such furnishing would require. In many ways that was a statement, or had been back when the building and its compatriots were built. This was a subtle display of wealth, in a place where land had once been a premium this made a clear statement: I can afford to waste space. With the advent of off-world colonization its meaning had been lost, as even the still insular Japanese found themselves swept up in the scramble for the bounty of the stars. There simply had been more room for those who remained, but recent events had begun to reverse that fortune. Now the Japanese were streaming back home, fleeing to what enclaves their rebellion against Yu Jing had claimed.

    The ramifications of refugees returning to the old homeland didn’t weigh all too heavily on the room’s sole occupant. A picture of serenity, the young woman sat kneeling behind a minimalist styled writing desk. She was in many ways the picture of the old ideal of a warrior-scholar, intensely focused on the task before her. Tanaka Itsuko was the mistress of this portion of the family estate, containing her personal quarters and the martial training grounds along with the writing room she currently sat in. Her family had occupied these estates for generations, the buildings had changed and in many ways so had those inside. Her family first claiming descent from a cadet branch of the venerable Shimazu, surviving as trusted retainers under the same during the Tokugawa, rising to hold position and European styled-title in the Meji Restoration, serving a new Imperial Army through colonial ventures of same, seeing their old estates burn under the Allied wrath in the Second World War, rising again to command power and wealth in the post-war economy, surviving the collapse and subservience to the rise of Yu Jing, and now finally taking a place with the new power brokers of a reborn Japan. In this Itsuko was unique among her family, her siblings and parents and grandparents and great-grandparents had all forsaken the sword for merchant’s scales. She was the first to grasp their ancient heritage as warriors, servant to warriors. Which was why Itsuko had this section of the estate, apart from the main quarters.

    Her mind, of course was not on such things, Itsuko’s primary focus was on paper and brush. While the words were important, it was the strokes that held the greatest import for the young woman. Having not so long ago finished her morning martial practice, a strenuous mixture exercise and weapons training, Itsuko had been taken with a mood. She often found the precise nature of practice calligraphy a soothing way to reorder her thoughts. At present those thoughts were on the events that had brought her to this point. A childhood forgoing the business schools of her siblings, the fevered work to recreate her family’s long forgotten swordsmanship style, her days as a soldier in the armies of Yu Jing. She lingered on those in particular. Family connection had ensured she would enter the Japanese contingent as an officer, a member of the Domaru butai. Itsuko remembered vividly thinking of herself as a blade that only needed it’s final tempering when she received her first posting: Paradiso. Combat on that accursed jungle planet had shown her she was as unworked metal. Fighting the combine had folded her, again and again. When Itsuko had been rotated off the planet, she left a far wiser warrior...one whose initial brashness had been crushed and mixed until it no longer presented breaking points. Still it wasn’t until the rebellion Itsuko was truly tempered.

    Itsuko’s family had, unsurprisingly, played a part in the growing tension that finally broke into a full on revolt. They had kept their warrior daughter uninformed, both trusting her ultimate loyalty to join their side and reasoning that one less link was one less weakness in the chain. When the battles began, Itsuko had found herself a staff officer to the famed General Aoi Tanemura. The younger warrior had already found her superior intriguing as an example to be followed. When the General turned to the rebellion, Itsuko followed without hesitation. The battles on the home islands had been long and grueling, with Itsuko often sent to the front lines as one of General Aoi’s eyes. During the final liberation of Kagoshima, Itsuko requested and led a key attack on the Yu Jing defenses. Though successful, the warrior was wounded and spent the rest of the uprising recovering from her injuries. A further blow was struck when General Aoi was killed off-world, an incident which left Itsuko feeling irrationally culpable for her former superior’s death. It had been a long road to recovery.

    A small scratching came at entrance door. Itsuko calmly set down her brush and looked up from her practice. “Enter.” She replied to the sound. In response the door slid open to reveal the smiling form of Itsuko’s chief maid, Ichihara Tamika. “My lady Tanaka, an officer of the Kempeitai has arrived and wishes to speak to you.” Itsuko’s face was a mask of impassive stoicism, or so she thought until Tamika’s own smile waivered slightly. It was a minor annoyance forgivable only in that Tamika had been her servant and friend for some time, and both had long grown accustomed to picking up on each others little tells in body language. Itsuko began to clean and stow her calligraphy kit, responding cooly, “See him in Tamika.” With a bow the other woman disappeared. The Kempeitai...Itsuko had little regard for them, mutts whose fangs and hunting instinct made them useful but arrogant. For a warrior of noble lineage they were little more than swaggering thugs drunk on their own meager scraps of power. Tolerated only because she must.

    It was not long before the scratching returned and after a pause the door opened, Tamika bowed off to the side as a the officer entered. Kase Yasutoki, she had known it would be him, bowed shortly after striding into the room. The movement was calculated, perfectly executed with the exact amount of proper deference to their respective positions. Everything Yasutoki did was like that, perfectly exact in all forms of politeness. Not in the sort of weird nuance between self-depreciation and rude disregard, but the near exact middle. It was a sort of taunt the man played on his betters or at least those he thought he could apply leverage to if push came to shove. The whole thing really, really angered Itsuko...which she supposed was the real point. Keep the enemy off balance...if most of the Kempeitai Itsuko had met came off as thugs, braying mutts eager to show their fangs and barks, Yasutoki was in many ways the opposite. A quiet dog who lingered hidden among brays of his comrades, silent and menacing, eager to only bare fangs to rend flesh. It made him far more dangerous in her mind.

    “My lady Tanaka Itsuko, I hope I have not disturbed your calligraphy.” He smiled, the most meaningless of gestures, “But I’m afraid I am here on Imperial business.” Itsuko raised a hand, offering the spot opposite her own at the desk. When he took it, she looked past him to Tamika, “Tea and rice cakes for our guest.” The maid bowed and responded, “As you wish My lady Tanaka.” Then departed.

    “I haven’t had much chance for hobbies myself, my lady Tanaka,” The Kempeitai continued while they waited for their tea, “Though I would like to pick up one or three. Of course I do manage some time for bonsai.” Itsuko nodded slowly and added her own part to the conversation, “On occasion, Officer Kase, I too have indulged in gardening. Though only in the abstract planning of such. My groundskeeper and Tamika largely handle the specifics of pruning.” She placed both hands palm down on the table, in most cases such was a sign of openness...a show of not hiding anything...but for Itsuko it carried an implied threat….I don’t need to hide if I wished you dead. The Kempeitai’s lips twitched in what she assumed was amusement then he spoke again. “My lady, may I suggest you try your hand at the...specifics you call it...while there is much joy in the planning, one truly gains appreciation through the direct shaping. Pruning the disorder into beauty.”

    Before Itsuko could respond, Tamika reappeared with the requested refreshments. She waited until Yasutoki took a drink before taking a sip of her own, a bit disappointed that he showed no real hesitation before drinking. His own little transmission of I don’t fear you to her. Sitting the cup down he changed tack, “Forgive me, but perhaps it best to move onward to why I am here.” He gave a pointed look to the maid, an unspoken order for her to be dismissed. Itsuko looked over to the smiling maid, “I believe some music for our guest Tamika, perhaps a bit of play and song while we speak?” Tamika’s smile grew slightly as she responded, “As you wish my Lady Tanaka.” Itsuko’s eyes caught a flash of annoyance on the Kempeitai’s face. The room soon filled with a the low melody of a shimasen and song, Tamika having taken position on the opposite side of the room looking away from the two at the desk. Her playing and song was loud enough that the maid would probably not overhear anything.

    “Please continue, Officer Kase.” Itsuko held her impassive expression, tamping down the joy at the man’s earlier annoyance. He took another sip of tea then placed a hand on her writing desk, right over the hidden pressure point that would open to the display underneath. It was now Itsuko’s turn to be annoyed. While such desks weren’t uncommon, her’s had been personally made and the hidden latch was well away from the usual spot. It was the Kempeitai officer’s little hint that he knew at least some of her private secrets. “Of course My Lady Tanaka.” The smile was back and the unerring politeness. “If I may?” Itsuko nodded in return and watched him press down on the desktop clicking the latch and opening the table. He pulled out his datapad and made a flicking motion. Her desk registered the data transfer request and soon both were looking down first at the planet Dawn, then zoomed down to an island on the world. “Kurage Station.” She remarked, “Novvy Cimmeria.”

    Kase nodded, “Correct. Not long after we beat off the hated oppressors, survey teams at Kurage found evidence of new seams of tessum...previously unknown...on the island. Those seams are ours by right and necessary for the construction of a defense fleet.” He tapped the screen and some red streaks appeared on the island. Itsuko frowned and leaned forward, adding her own comments, “It is doubtful the StateEmpire or Ariadna will see it as our right.” The Kempeitai nodded slowly, “Correct, My Lady Tanaka, and the other vultures are circling as well.”

    “Vultures Officer Kase?” Itsuko looked up, “PanOceania were but allies of convenience, a means to an end...we get our nation back and they get to weaken their old foe. Or do you mean the Nomads? I find it dubious to expect anarchists, opportunists, and hedonists to be stalwart allies.” She took a sip of tea, “Or perhaps you mean Haqqislam? Humanists and philosophers...and devious merchants, while the former may only wish to protect the miners...the later are not so friendly when the jangle of coin is loud enough.”

    Kase shrugged, “Just so…still it is ours and the Emperor wills it be protected.” He finishes his own cup of tea, “I believe you have already received orders and a new command?” Itsuko was briefly shocked, an emotion she kept from her face, then angry. The man had known she hadn’t received them yet, another one of his games. She pressed her lips into a thin line, “I will be prepared to serve his Celestial Majesty’s command.”

    The Kempeitai nodded then rose, “Good. I look forward to working with you, Captain Tanaka Itsuko.” He bowed again then held up a hand to forestall the maid, “No, no...please continue your playing. It was quite lovely and I know the way out.” With that he departed.

    Soon after Tamika rose and knelt again at Itsuko’s side. The warrior ran her finger along the edges of the map still on her display. “Tamika, go prepare a logistics plan….assume we have a reinforced company. Keisotu with support elements. I will see if I can request some of my old comrades among the Domaru.” The maid smiled and then responded, “Shall I prepare your suit and uniforms for travel as well?” Itsuko’s expression finally broke into a smirk, “Such goes without saying my dear Tamika, fetch your own uniform as well Corporal. I’ll need an aide.”
     
    #1 wayton, Jun 24, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2018
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