Chapter 1.13 : The Present

tadaaaIt took me a moment to recover from the surprise revelation that the woman that had just tried to strike me down in the Dojo was actually one of my new subordinates that had just returned from an extensive training session at the imperial palace.

I forced myself to lower my hand to stop pointing at the woman, and as she did the same and everyone else around us got into mustering position, I released a demonstrative cough and struck the best “I’m a mighty General” pose that I could muster under the current circumstances.

A bunch of new agents stood in front of me, the most noteworthy of them appearing to be 2 Crane Agents, one of them the woman that tried to split me skull just minutes ago, a female Pheasant Agent that looked like someone had abducted her straight out of a Aragato band and forced her into her uniform, as well as some more Celestial Guards and someone who appeared to be from the Spec Ops division, which was mostly apparent from his strange shady demeanour….which wasn’t exactly unusual in the Imperial Service, but which this guy somehow seemed to have mastered on a completely different level.

Since I knew that I had a present from the emperor to check out, and that all of those Agents had only returned from the Imperial Palace yesterday evening, and would still need some time to get accustomed to their old environment again, I decided to make it brief and started by saluting them all by putting my right fist on my chest just where my heart would be, which was instantly answered by a similar gesture from all of them.

I am General Yasashii Fuyu, sent here as a replacement for your former commander who heroically died in battle, by the Emperor himself. As you can see I am of Japanese origin, and I sure hope none of you has any problem with that, because if you do, that’s your problem and not mine.”

I expect all of you to give me your best and nothing but your best at all times, just as you can expect the same from me. I won’t tolerate laziness on the job, and even though I don’t care a rats ass about what you do in your free time as long as it doesn’t impede with your work in the Imperial Service, I won’t tolerate any kind of behaviour that insults your position as an Imperial Agent while you are on duty, and will punish such behaviour with the rights given to me by the Emperor himself. I know most of you don’t know me yet, and I will take my time to get to know all of you a little better in the near future, but for now I don’t want to hold you up any longer, get accustomed to this place again as fast as you can, this evening we’ll be starting a operation in the Onyx Tiger, and some of you might well be joining in, the respective briefing to those Agents that will participate will be given out in time. Dismissed!”

With that I snapped my heels together which was instantly answered by the same gesture by everyone present, and moved out of the room to allow the Agents to ease up, ignoring the slightly annoyed sounding muttering of “the best and nothing but the best, yadayadaya…” coming from one of the agents I left behind in the room, most likely the punky looking Pheasant Agent if I had to guess. To be fair, that hadn’t been my best speech, but who cared.

As I stepped inside my command room I was instantly greeted by a giant more than man sized crate standing in the middle of the room, with a control panel and scanner on the front and the seal of the Emperor on the front.

I stepped closed and put my hand on the screen, which resulted in a hand scan, followed by a loud combination of beeps, which lead to another scanner opening at the top of the screen which started a full body scan of me. As the scanning beam reached my toes a mechanical voice proclaimed “Identity confirmed, General, Yasashii, Fuyu, Message starting in 3…2….1.”

With another beeping noise the three dimensional form of one of the Emperors direct servants appeared in front of me, the roach of a man that had given me the short notice of my departure to The Neon Dragon before. Rubbing his hands together and looking at something off screen with glee, the man suddenly turned around as if realizing the recording device for the first time, and then struck a formal pose while brushing his robes straight and coughing a little. “Oh…eh…” checking his wrist holo for the information he needed he quickly continued “General Yasaaaaaiii…eh, oh sorry, Yasashii Fuyu was it? Yes, General Yasashii Fuyu! I forgot to tell you in our last little conversation that as a newly promoted General of Yu Jing, you will receive a custom made General Rank Armour, as well as a set of combat body guards….by the time you get this message the container with the armour should already be standing in front of you. Normally Generals get a choice of what armour they want, but since the Dragon himself deemed to send you to the Imperial Service, he took the liberty of selecting a Hsien Armour for you…it’s the most fitting wouldn’t you agree?.”

Resisting the urge to strangle the holo image of the leech, I continued to listen to the monologue.

The Emperor himself has added a little something to that suite of armour apparently and said….and I quote:”

As he said that the little brown neck straightened up as much as possible, took on the noblest impression he apparently was capable off, in hopes of mirroring the Emperor himself I’d assume, and continued.

Since you are the first General of Japanese Origin that serves in the Imperial Service, I’d like to add this little customisation to your suite of armour as a token of my gratitude for your hard work if you don’t mind…I heard helmet decorations like that where the signs of great Bushi back in ancient times…and I have received reports from your subordinates that claim that you fight like a demon on the battlefield…so I thought it’d be only appropriate. I hope you like it.”

The spittle licker almost choked on the last words, apparently unhappy with the idea that the Emperor himself would care whether I’d like his design or not, but he knew better than to openly mention it.

Just as the last words left the holo images mouth the container in front of me cracked open in a melodramatic way, steam slowly screaming through a crack in the middle, followed by light as the crate slowly opened up, revealing a big suite of Hsien Armour within, surrounded by tiny lights most likely only there for the dramatic effect.

I instantly noticed the customisation the emperor had mentioned, as the suite came with a big pair of red glowing Oni Horns on the helmet, as well as a customized connector point that would allow for my Daisho to connect to the Armour’s belt.

The rest of the armour was obviously hand crafted by some sort of master armour smith as well, little changes and additional parts added on several locations that obviously enhanced the armours systems in subtle yet extremely expensive ways, which was most likely the reason why they hadn’t been added to the normal versions of the suite.

The Armour also came with a custom made Heavy Machine Gun which not only had my name engraved on it, but also the name of Kunitomo Ikkansai, a famous Japanese Gunsmith that had been recreated by Aleph a while ago to help Yu Jing with their weapon development against the new Combined Army Thread.

As I stood there stunned by the generosity of this present, and barely restraining my urge to immediately step into the armour and try it out, the Holo projection of the mud roller suddenly continued on “If everything worked out, you should see the Armour now….you are obviously entitled to make further modifications according to your needs to the armour, as all generals are, but I doubt you’ll need it….the suite was quite…expensive…as it is.”

With that the holo image suddenly disappeared, but just as I was happy to finally get a chance to test the armour and walked closer to it, the image of the nasty little rat reappeared right in front of me, looking slightly confused and annoyed “Oh…yeah of course…there was that as well….ah, the combat body guards I mentioned before, they should be on their way at the moment, they will arrive at your place soon I’d assume. They are specially trained for these kinds of assignment and will be yours to command directly, take good care of them…they are quite….expensive….as well…anyways, that’s all, keep up the…uh…good work?” and with that the ugly mug finally disappeared into thin air, and I was left alone with the magnificent present.

No longer content to watch the suite from the outside, I quickly took my coat and Daisho off and went to the back of the container, which had opened as well. As I came closer to the armour a slight hissing sound could be heard as the back of the armour shifted open to allow for easy access.

With the practice of many other suits of heavy armour, I smoothly stepped inside the suite, instantly comforted by the surprisingly perfect fit of the armour to my body! Even the fingers and boots of the suite where the perfect size for my body, a thing that was usually very rare in the run of the mill sets of armour you’d get in the regular army. The legs and arms they usually got right, since it’d most likely break a few bones of yours if they weren’t, but the rest was usually based on luck or good connections to the Armoury.

The moment the armour closed itself up behind my back, the clamps that had been holding it inside of the Container unlocked and I could move freely.

Taking my first step forward I noticed that some sort of dampening system must be part of the boots, as it barely made any sound even though it was a quite heavy piece of armour, and as I made a short little sprint to the other end of the command room, followed by a little jump forward once I had turned around, I was glad to find that the actuators and artificial muscle bundles in the armour where of the highest grade as well. Wearing the armour almost felt like a second skin, and the weight was completely carried by the armours own support systems.

Feeling slightly naked without it I then quickly placed my Daisho on my belt where they belonged, satisfied with the customized connector point. As I pulled out my Katana for a few practice swings, I instantly felt that something wasn’t quite right though, and a little bit of disappointment sunk in.

Obviously the Hsien Armour Suite was meant for the Emperors personal Guard, all of which are firearms experts of the highest magnitude, and as such the suite was designed with firepower in mind, not close combat capabilities. After a few swings and hand movement practices to figure out what was bugging me, I figured out that the gauntlets and arms of the suite where obviously containing some sort of heavy recoil suppression system, which, once I took a look at the HMG behind me, obviously made sense, but the recoil suppression also made it very hard to properly control the blade during swift movement, and make split second adjustments to it’s course as you’d usually do during a fight, since it tried it’s best to supress just that kind of movement when firing a gun.

Slightly bummed out by the fact that I wouldn’t be able to fight as properly in this armour as I was used to, I was suddenly disturbed by a helmet display message that super imposed itself right into my point of view, showing a green “Identity confirmed, General Yasashii Fuyu. Final Adjustments and configurations completed, you have now access to all functions of this armour. Protect the Emperor, Glory to Yu Jing!”.

And with that my field of vision suddenly changed dramatically as a short additional text box popped up on the top right corner of my field of vision, proclaiming “Multi Spectral Visor now active”, followed by another set of small messages proclaiming “Cube Protection System engaged” “Custom Sashimono System engaged”.

Of course I thought….Hsien armours come with Multi Spectral Visors in their helmets! Ha! I couldn’t wait to try that out in the field, in the JSA we didn’t have access to that kind of high tech equipment, and I always envied other troops that were able to ignore all those damn smoke grenades that the Caledonians and their likes tend to throw all around the battle field.

And I was glad to see that they had incorporated the Cube Protection system that Flamia High Command had managed to implement to protect themselves from Combined Army Voodoo Tech. A crazy expensive system, was too hard to build for mass distribution sadly, but at least it ensured the integrity of High Command wasn’t as easily compromised.

I was a bit confused by the Sashimono System that was mentioned though, and as I turned around to take a look at myself in the command rooms little mirror, placed there to allow for a little style adjustment before public speeches I assumed, I instantly took a step back in surprise and shock.

Right behind my back, just above the antennas of the armour, a giant animated Holo Projection of my Family Crest was hovering in the air! It had everything, the stylized Mount Fuji, covered in snow, and it had even an animated version of the snowflakes falling down at Mount Fuji that my Mon usually contained, only these where beautifully animated, and constantly snowing down on Mount Fuji, looking almost like real snowflakes.

They sure don’t mess around…” was all that I could utter as I tried to think of all the implications that came with a system like that. Stealth was out of the bloody window when I was running around the battle field looking like a glowing advertisement campaign, and the enemy wouldn’t need to guess twice as to who the commander of my forces is, when seeing me wandering around like that! I mean showing your status and striking fear into the hearts of your enemies was a good thing, but this seemed a bit too excessive even for Yu Jing.

Grasping for straws I instantly tried out “No Sashimono. Sashimono stop. Shut that thing down!”, before finally remembering a similar command for the X Visor on my Crane Armour and saying “Sashimono System Off”, which was instantly rewarded by the brightness of the room tuning down by a few notches, and my corresponding check in the mirror confirmed that I had managed to turn the system off….phew, so I was going to have a chance of surviving my next few battles after all! Fancy little system though, might activate it during my next speech, just to have a laugh about everyone’s reactions…

One thing was for sure though, with a suite of armour like this, and should I ever be mad enough, the Sashimono System on, a General of Yu Jing was definitely an obvious high priority target, which reminded me of the second part of the message…..personal Battlefield Bodyguards? That sounded like quite the hassle, I didn’t even want to imagine how my life on the battlefield would look like with two strangers constantly hanging out around me, watching my every move. And who would they send for a mission like that? Complete strangers?

As I mused about that I continued to check the systems armour, shaking my legs, twisting my arms around, moving every single digit of my fingers to see how good they responded. It was then that a smirk suddenly appeared on my face as I put my right hand into the position I’d use to hold a pistol, and instantly noticed a completely out of place picture of a little anime like racoon head on the side of the digit of my middle finger closest to my palm. It was cleverly hidden so it would most likely pass most inspections, but still not hidden enough so I wouldn’t notice it.

Kabuki Queen….hah…” I guess I now knew who at least one of my future protectors would be. No clue how she had managed to get that position, but at least I knew I was going to be in good hands. If only I knew who else there would be…

But that answer wouldn’t be answered right now I figured, so I grabbed the HMG that came with the armour, instantly satisfied with the perfect fit of the grip to my hand, and started walking out of my command room, it was time to talk to Fu Bao about the team I’d be sending into the Onyx Tiger that night….and for some targeting practice with that lovely little piece of Justice in my hand.

As I left the room I scarcely noticed the slight delay in the door closing behind me, but then I remembered that this piece of Armour had a boatload of antennas at the back, as well as a long fancy coat flowing behind it, so naturally it’d take longer…..or so I thought…


Chapter 1.12 Sleep?

316f608045a779724f0dc82ab564f534.pngSome nights, even though you know you should sleep some more and let your body rest and recover, you just can’t calm your mind enough to actually do it.

It wasn’t so much that I wasn’t tired, in fact I was very tired indeed, the past days having been little more than a constant series of battles and new impressions. I guess all that new information just finally decided it needed some processing time, and apparently a long relaxing sleep wasn’t part of that task.

It hadn’t exactly helped that once I had finally fallen asleep for a while, I awoke to an eerie feeling soon afterwards, only to realize that Yuki, my new Automaton, had been standing right next to my bed, staring at me intently without any obvious reason.

As I rose up in confusion, my enhanced eyes quickly getting rid of the sleep daze in my eyes, Yuki just kept mustering me, not even bothering to flinch or move a step back, as most humans would have in a situation like that.

Wha..ah…eh….what do you want Yuki? Why are you standing next to my bed? How long have you been standing there anyways?” was all that I could muster in my confused state, and it was then that Yuki apparently switched from some sort of standby mode back to full operation mode, which resulted in her stiff surveillance posture instantly changing into a more arrogant position, with one of her hands on her hip and the other one clenched into a fist as she stared at me both in surprise and what appeared to be anger.

With a voice that somehow incorporated both embarrassment and anger she almost shouted at me “You’ve got any problem with it? I’m guarding you obviously! G.U.A.R.D.I.N.G. it’s kind of my job you know, and it’s not like you’ve given me any place to stand guard or idle in, so I just went for the best observation position there was.”

Baffled by the flawless logic of her statement, my still sleepy mind tried to figure out a solution for that dilemma as fast as possible in hopes of not waking up fully during the process so I could fall asleep afterwards again.

I somehow completely forgot that Yuki didn’t exactly need sleep. The Karakuri in the JSA were usually switched off during periods of inactivity, partially to save energy and reduce wear and tear on the expensive tech, but also because they kind of creep out the other soldiers when stumbling through the base aimlessly. Something about those Automaton eyes just makes you feel as if those things where looking straight into your soul…

As I thought so I noticed that my eyes had naturally drifted to the cold aggressive stare of Yuki, who was still clenching her fist in wait for my response. Somehow Yuki’s eyes didn’t seem as creepy as the Automatons…the creator of her must have taken special care to make her look more natural than the normal Karakuri frame it seems.

Damn it! Now I had done it, my brain had left its “sleepy mode” and was awakening my body fully…ruining any hope for additional sleep that night I’ve had.

Frustrated by my own stupidity I turned to the side and slid out of the bed, suddenly standing right in front of Yuki, staring down at her. “You are right of course, how careless of me, I am sorry.” Without really thinking about it I placed my hand on her head and slightly padded it as an apology before walking into the bathroom and turning on the tap to splash my face with some water.

As I looked into the bathroom mirror which showed parts of my bedroom behind me through the open door, I could have sworn I saw Yuki look at me almost in a shocked manner, one of her eyebrows raised in utter disbelieve, but the moment I tried to look closer she seemed to have noticed my stare and her face suddenly turned into an emotionless mask, which in and off itself was odd as Yuki usually made some sort of angry looking face whenever she felt I was looking at her.

What a strange type the programmer of that thing must have been.

As I took a sip of the tooth cleaning liquid, mint flavoured for those of you who care, into my mouth and splashed it around in my mouth I wondered what I should tell Yuki to do during the night periods, and through the times I was at work as well come to think of it.

Stepping into the shower, a surprisingly old style thing for an apartment like this, and started to cover myself in soap I finally shouted to Yuki “Why don’t you read some books while I’m asleep? Or maybe play some games on the Holoscreen?”

Since no immediate answer came I just continued showering, rubbing some shampoo into my long hair and some on my beard as well. “Or maybe surf the Net? There’s tons of interesting stuff out there, I’m sure even you could find something interesting there!”

Finished with wringing the shampoo out of my hair I turned off the shower and turned around to open the door and grab a towel, only to be startled by Yuki standing right in front of the glass shower door, holding a towel in her hand while staring intently at me once again.

Twitching into a defensive position, my palm ready to strike, I loudly cursed at the Automaton “Damn you Yuki! Did you have to sneak up on me like that?”. Come to think about it, how did she sneak up on me like that? I had a lot of training in detecting this sort of things, and my hearing was way above normal levels as well, for her to sneak up on me like that would require an extremely high degree of stea…”Because I’m a Automaton you Idiot, what good is reading books to me? I can just download the information into my memory right away if I wanted to.” Came the disrupting answer of Yuki to my first question, completely ignoring my surprised question, while handing me the towel through the shower door that I had slightly opened for just that.

And playing games or surfing the Net is for weirdos who have no life. Why would I want to do stuff like that? Give me something interesting to do, or I’ll keep staring at you!”.

After she said so she stomped out of the shower and tossed herself on the couch, apparently satisfied with her own answer.

Once I finished drying myself with my towel, a habit I had picked up during my JSA field time where sonic dryers or other modern things like that simply weren’t present, I stepped back into my bedroom and put on a set of normal black street clothes with a dark green coat over it. I also picked up my trainings bag out of the corner where I had put it straight from the move boxes the previous day.

As I stepped into the living room, fastening my Daisho to the side of my belt, I just nodded down to Yuki, who was still lying on the couch, pretending to stare at the ceiling for some reason. “Fine then, off we go, I’m going to show you something that might interest you more.”

Raising an eyebrow yet again Yuki just looked at me confused for a second, but then she stood up from the couch in one surprisingly fluid motion and just stammered a slightly shy, yet angry at the same time “S…Sure let’s go! I can totally go outside and stuff, no problem with that right? But it better be good!”

And with that we were on our way, in the middle of the night, a tall Japanese man with a set of swords on his hips and a bag in his hand, followed by a 16 year old Schoolgirl/Geisha look alike Automaton, which meant that basically, no one gave a damn about us, as the people of this City where obviously used to these kinds of strange sights.

At first Yuki was staring at her surroundings in what seemed to be awe, her mouth slightly opened, her eyes reflecting the neon signs all around her, but as she noticed me looking at her with a smirk, she instantly put on her angry expression again and pouted at me “When are we finally there O-san? This is like tooootally boring you know…”

Amused by how at odds her words and her previous expression had been, I just snickered to myself for a second and then responded while pointing towards a nearby building “We’re almost there, it’s this building there.”

The building I was pointing to looked like it had been ripped straight out of some ancient painting of old earth, it’s walls looking like they were made from some form of stone of clay, it’s entrance an old style Japanese wooden looking Shoji door with a tiny roof above it.

As I turned towards it I could already hear a disgusted “Tzzzz…” coming from behind me. “You’ve got to be kidding me O-san, that thing looks like it will rot into the ground before we even reach it, why are we going there?”

Getting closer I deliberately positioned myself in a way that would block Yuki’s sight on the tiny shield at the side of the building which proclaimed what it contained, and finally stopped right in front of it, turning around to hide it behind my back, and pointed towards the door. “Step inside to find out. There should be a changing room for females, just wait inside there until I give you a call from outside, no need for you to change I guess…”

Inside it still looked like an ancient Japanese building; everything was made out of wood or tatami, and old looking masks and of all origins where hanging on the walls, next to motivational scrolls that contained wise words written in Yu Jingyu, so that everyone could read them no matter their origin.

On the left side was a curtain showing the sign for “Female” and on the right side one that showed the “Male” symbol, indicating the respective changing rooms, and as I stepped into the male changing room I could hear a frustrated sounding “Fiiiine…if I really have to….” From behind me as Yuki was stepping into the female section.

After I undressed and put my belongings into one of several storage capsules present in the changing room, I carefully put on my Hakama and Kendogi, hoping that what would come next would help me shake off the “too little sleep” feeling that still somehow clung to my body even after the shower.

Stepping through the entrance door to the training room, I was instantly greeted by a loud “CLANG” “CLANG” noise coming from the other side of the huge almost empty room. It was a martial arts trainings dojo, designed to accommodate for most forms of modern martial arts. It came equipped with trainings puppets and holo technology to enhance the experience, and the walls where covered in all sorts of practicing weapons and even more motivational scrolls.

Apparently I was not alone at even this early hour of the day, as the constant noise came from a tall Chinese looking woman that was currently fighting against two Holo Echo covered trainings puppets in the form of angry Onis wielding giant metal Kanabos. The woman had short black hair, was wearing a traditional Chinese Kung Fu outfit, and wielded a high tech Chinese style sword with an elegant grace that instantly spoke of great martial arts skill.

Not wanting to stare too much, and too far away for a formal greeting, I simply moved over to the exit of the female changing room and called inside “Yuki, you can come out, I’m ready.” As quietly as possible, yet loud enough to ensure that she’d hear me over the noise of the fighting in the background.

Ripping the door to the trainings room open and bursting into the room like an angry explosion Yuki immediately shouted at me “About damn time O-san, the noise is extremely annoying and it smells like old hag in there, I’m sure I would have suffocated if I weren’t an Automaton…what the heck is this?”

Just as I was about to explain, a loud screeching noise could be heard from the other end of the room followed by slamming footsteps, and as I turned around to check it I saw that it had been the Chinese woman who had apparently ripped right through one of the trainings puppets neck and was now stomping right towards me and Yuki, anger almost steaming out of her nose. As she came closer she started to shout as well, in a more mature sounding voice than Yuki though. “Did that girl just call me an old Hag? Did she for real? I’m going to beat the shit out of her! I’m not even 30 yet you little brat!”

Surprised to no end about the short fuse of the woman I quickly stepped in front of Yuki, holding both my hands in front of me in an imploring matter “Please calm down, please, she’s just an Automaton who doesn’t know any better yet…” as I said so an idea crossed my mind and I couldn’t supress a little smirk “…if you want to beat the shit out of someone please try me instead, she belongs to me after a…”

I couldn’t even finish before the woman had apparently taken my offer and had swung her sword right for my head in an upward slash with lightning speed. If I hadn’t been a well-trained martial arts practitioner that swing would have split my skull then and there. As it was however I managed to dodge back and strike at her with a quick Battojutsu strike, which forced her to jump back a bit, allowing for some distance in between us.

Ohooo, so the man really DOES know how to fight, and that sword isn’t just for show eh? Fine then, I’ll be enjoying this!” came the insulting response from the woman, as she instantly came whirling at me again with her blade flinging around her. I managed to take a defensive stance just in time to deflect her powerful blow with a slightly angled upwards strike of my own, which forced her blade above me, opening her up for a counter attack…or so I thought until the woman suddenly firmly planted her foot in between my legs and body checked me away from her with an aggressive grunt.

Reeling backwards from the blow I quickly transformed the backwards movement into a spin that ended in a diagonal upward slash, just in time to catch the blade of the woman that had been coming right after me with her blade ready to strike forward. Apparently not fully prepared for my quick recovery the strike caught the woman off guard and unbalanced her for a moment, which I quickly used to swipe my left foot into the side of her knee, which in combination with the strike toppled her over sideways.

I tried to take advantage of this by spinning around again and striking diagonally down at her on my way back, but since I wasn’t in a good position to strike after the kick, that took too much time which resulted in the woman already having rolled to the side by the time my strike came around.

This time it was my turn to attack I decided, and so as she nimbly jumped back to her feet, I already came rushing towards her, one hand stretched out towards her, the other one held one handed alongside the stretched out arm, ready for a precise powerful thrusting attack.

As I trusted my blade towards her head, she instantly dodged to the side in an attempt to sidestep me, obviously aware of the weakness of a trusting attack like that, but this wasn’t my first time using this technique, and I was aware of it as well, which was why I quickly turned the blade ninety degrees and turned the thrust into a sideward swing aimed at the woman’s neck.

I instantly regretted ignoring the advice of my former instructor to shout “AKU SOKU ZAN!” together with the attack as some sort of good luck charm to ensure the attack would strike true, as the woman once again proved her martial skill by somehow bowing below my sideward strike, only losing a few strands of hair in the process, and instantly rising up again to strike her sword towards my now exposed throat.

Our battle was abruptly ended as Yuki’s loud and angry “STOP RIGHT THERE OR I’LL BLOW YOUR HEAD OFF!” echoed through the trainings hall.

Both of us stopped in mid motion, the woman’s Chinese sword’s blade right at my throat, and turned our heads slightly around to take a look at Yuki. The Schoolgirl/Geisha look alike Automaton was pointing her arm at the woman, her hand oddly tilted to the back of her forearm, revealing a tube coming out of her arm where her hand should have been. Having fought alongside Karakuri I instantly knew that this was a D.E.P and that Yuki was hopefully bluffing, as this thing would blow the both of us up should she actually decide to shoot it.

Surprise showed on the face of the woman, who apparently hadn’t expected Yuki to be so heavily armed, and with a deep sigh the woman eased her tension a little bit, and looked back at me, straight into my eyes. “Fine…I have won anyways…guess you’re not that strong after all…”

The smug smirk that had appeared on her face as she said so suddenly turned into surprise again as I pressed the tip of my Wakizashi slightly into her belly, just below where her liver would be. Like I said, this wasn’t my first battle, and I knew that a backup plan for your backup plan was always better than lying dead on the ground, which was why I had unsheathed my Wakizashi during my thrusting attack with my left hand, and had gone for a second thrust towards her belly as I saw her dodging below my initial attack.

This appears to be a stalemate,…” I answered in just as smug a voice as she had before, but just as I was about to rub it in some more, my holo wrist band suddenly sounded an important incoming call, and the red coloured glow of the band indicated it was from work.

Slightly disappointed I took a step away from the woman and sheathed my sword “Sorry, gotta take this….”

I walked away to the other side of the Dojo and turned the holo band to silent transmission so the woman wouldn’t hear what we were saying, thanks to some advanced dampening technology which came with those military grade wrist bands.

Fuyu here…I hope it’s important, I was just about to….oh never mind, what is it?”

The familiar face of Fu Bao appeared on the holo screen, and in apologetic voice he responded “Sorry Sir, apparently the group of us that had been on extended trainings session at the Imperial Palace have just returned, and they seem to have brought a present from the Emperor himself for you with them…it’s huge and apparently you are supposed to open it as soon as it gets here….also I thought you’d like to get to know our returning members, they should start their shift in a few minutes…”

Completely surprised by the arrival of more members of the team, as no one had bothered to inform me that some of them where away, and I hadn’t had time to check the full unit roster out yet, I tried to cover up my missing knowledge by replying “…..fine, I was wondering when they’d return, I’ll be there in 15 minutes…”, and with that I switched the communication off and turned around.

The woman was gone, and Yuki had reverted her arm back to normal, staring at me in annoyance and rolling her eyes slightly to the side while pointing at the woman’s changing room “She left the moment you picked up that call….crazy bitch…sooooooo…what are we going to do now?”

Sad and glad at once that the woman had left without further conflict I released a sigh and looked at Yuki “Sorry Yuki, I have to get to the Neon-jo, something came up at work…..why don’t you try your luck against the trainings puppets in here for a while before returning home? I wanted to do a little more, but the emperor requested my presence…”

I expected to see Yuki start another raging insult wave at me for letting her alone, but to my surprise she seemed more sad than angry, and just replied “Pffffft….fine then…I’ll beat up some trainings puppets while you go to your emperor…”

Not sure how to respond to such a strange reaction, I just nodded and added an apologetic “Thank you, see you later!”, and dashed through the door into the changing room.

About 10 minutes later thanks to the help of a nearby secret elevator I entered the Neon-jo, just in time as it seemed to see the returning member’s line up for my arrival.

As I got closer and took a look at the returning agents, I had to fight really hard to prevent my jaw from dropping to the floor, as I locked eyes with a female that was standing there in full crane uniform, her hair appearing to have been strangely cut at some top parts, and the both of us pointed at each other in shock shouting

It’s You!!”

.this would become yet another interesting day for sure!

Chapter 1.11 : Battle Report 5: Recon and Rampage

IMG_20160819_172703.jpgIMG_20160819_190125.jpgReconISS.jpgIMG_20160819_185941.jpgReconCaled.jpgGetting a Recon team ready in the Imperial Service is obviously way easier than in most other parts of the Yu Jing Service as 80% of its agents are specialists in one or several areas of expertise required for that sort of operation.

It thus only took mere minutes to get a small assortment of suited agents ready and within the area of operation, and as I stepped inside my Crane Agent armour I let my eyes glance over the agents that had so quickly answered my call for backup. Kanren Umibozu, a guy that basically seemed to never sleep and two Celestial Guards, including Shen Jing, were forming the Imperial Service core of the unit, together with a couple of Kuang Shi for the more dangerous areas of the Recon zone, and two Bounty Hunters for some plausible deniability when it came down to smashing things and possibly causing civilian casualties in the process.

As was his way Kanren Umibozu instantly advanced towards the centre of the Recon Area, securing possible advance routes for the rest of the team.


I took position on the left flank, forming a small team with the two Celestial Guards, and left the centre and right flank to the Bounty Hunters “Lotus Justice”, “Sucker Punch” and the Kuang Shis.





It wasn’t exactly the strongest attack formation, but this was just a Recon Mission to find the possible Caledonian hideout in the area. That damned Cameronian couldn’t have vanished into thin air after all.


First scans of the area had shown two suspicious consoles in the area that might lead to something, so our first priority would be to secure those if possible.

Just as we were about to start our sweep of the area, frantic shooting could be heard from the centre of the recon area.

Apparently Kanren Umibozu’s forward advance had lead him straight into an ambush laid by an enemy S.A.S, but as his laughing “Got you fucker!” proclaimed Umibozu had managed to take care of the S.A.S on his own by the time my own team had managed to advance to his position.


In the meantime the Kuang Shi stumbled forward all over the recon area in their Zombie like fashion, and both “Sucker Punch” and “Lotus Justice” took position to cover the right flanks from any possible flanking manoeuvres.


The scent of blood from the S.A.S in the air apparently triggered a fit of rage in the Cameronian that I had been hunting before, as the barely patched together creature suddenly came crashing out of a building on the right flank, running right towards the Bounty Hunters on that side.


As bullets slammed in all around him the Cameronian came on, throwing a smoke grenade in between himself and the Bounty Hunters, but apparently his mad advance had been too overconfident as he was hit by one of “Lotus Justice”’s Sniper Bullets on his run, which forced the man-beast into cover behind a nearby building.


Before I could respond to the attack on the right flank, I was hit by my own set of trouble as a Highlander Grey suddenly came dashing out behind a building on the other side of the recon area, letting lose on my position with an armour piercing heavy machine gun! I responded as quickly as possible by peppering the area in the Highlander Grey’s general direction with Spitfire bullets, but the amount of armour piercing slugs coming my way was just too much, and as the first few bullets luckily bounced off my armour and cover, I decided to retreat back behind the building I was standing beside and wait for a better opportunity to counter attack.


Apparently a 45 Highlander had been waiting for just that to happen, as he suddenly came dashing around the containers in front of my team, and opened up fire on the Kanren Umibozus that where standing around there.

With a flickering smirk on their faces the Holo Echoes of the real Kanren Umibozu simply vanished into thin air under the onslaught of Chainrifle ammunition, and the heroic shout on the Highlanders face instantly was replaced by a painful one as Celestial Guard Shen Jing placed a bullet firmly into the exposed Caledonian’s chest.


Knowing that his wound was fatal, but unwilling to let go, the wild Highlander raised his Chain rifle in defiance and came dashing at Shen Jing, revenge in his eyes as he pulled the trigger.

Luckily Shen Jing’s armour held true as she placed yet another bullet into the Highlander, this time ending the madman’s onrush.


Kanren Umibozu in the meantime seemed to have run out of luck as the Caledonian Volunteer Team lead by the Highlander Grey suddenly came running around the other side of the Containers, and shoot him down before he could properly react.


Luckily his vital signs were still being transmitted, so if we acted quick we most likely would have been able to save him, but apparently the enemy wasn’t going to make that job easy for us as a Caledonian Moramaer suddenly came around a building on the right flank of the Recon Area, blocking our lines of advance with her imposing presence.


But it seemed that the Moramaer hadn’t considered “Sucker Punch”’s confidence, because as soon as the smoke from the Cameronian’s Smoke Grenade cleared, the Bounty Hunter opened fire on the Moramaer, dealing a mortal blow to her. Just as the Highlander though the Moramaer remained standing, refusing to die so easily.


As the firefight between the Moramaer and the despite her looks also heavily armoured Bounty Hunter raged on, I took the opportunity to make the Volunteer Team that had just taken out Kanren Umibozu pay for their carelessness, by shooting down a Volunteer that had advanced slightly too much, exposing itself to my Spitfire.


With a loud and cheerful “Take that you Atek Tincan!!” “Sucker Punch” had apparently taken out the Caledonian Moramaer for good, and as the prolonged firefight came to an end, with the flank finally clear of danger, I decided to make my move.


Dashing forward right towards the containers and around it, I was suddenly standing in front of the Volunteer and Highlander Grey that had been taking cover there, and as their wild shoots where flying in all around me and bouncing off my armour, I opened up on them with my two Nano Pulsers, ending them in a series of painful screams that soon fell silent.


Seeing as their comrades had been taken out the remaining 112 Emergency Unit and the wounded Cameronian decided to take this chance and retreat back to where they came from, once again apparently disappearing into thin air.

As our backup squad finally arrived, taking care of the wounded Kanren Umibozu, we finally managed to get access to the Control Consoles, and eventually found the little secret hidden inside them. Apparently among their many functions, these consoles also allowed to open a set of hidden maintenance access hatches to the area known as “The Onxy Tiger”, which lay right beneath the ground of some areas of “The Neon Dragon”.

With a loud hissing sound the access hatches nearby opened up, revealing some dark corridors leading into the unknown, and as I sent in the backup squads to check the path ahead, I decided to head home for today…..the sun was already slowly rising, and I’d need at least a little bit of sleep before my official shift started…..after all this would become quite the interesting day for sure!

Hearing the comforting voice of Kuang Fu Bao in my helmet’s com, claiming a hearty “Leave it all to me sir, by the time you’re awake, we’ll know where those rats are hiding and we’ll be ready to strike!”, I just nodded in his direction and entered the troop transporter that would get me home. So much for Street Performance….tomorrow it would be time for some Underground Art!



Sorry for the very long delay in between updates this time. I have been quite busy with my birthday and stuff, and afterwards both my wife and son got sick, instantly followed by myself once they where ok again, so the last 3 weeks weren’t exactly productive:-(

But soon many more updates will rush in as I’ll slowly conquer all the awesome stuff I got for my birthday! my table is now almost complete, and I can’t wait to play a proper game on it once that’s done!

Hope you enjoyed this battle report, we tried out the Recon Mission set as I wanted to bring my wife closer to the idea of mission gameplay, but in the end she got murdered so badly, that the consoles didn’t even matter ;-P


The Neon Dragon


The Neon Dragon

A Yu Jing city ripe with corruption and opportunity. A neon glowing boiling pot of Asian culture, sprinkled with foreign influences like herbs in a good soup. A metropolis with so many facets that turning around a street corner can make one feel as if he’s just entered a different city all together.

From the main parts of The Neon Dragon , the “real” Neon Dragon, where the only light in the night comes from the countless neon signs advertising countless bars, restaurants and red light establishments, where the high technology of the Yu Jing Empire is hidden behind so much neglect and dust that one can barely recognize it, and where the Triads and foreign influences fight an endless fight against the State Police and the Imperial Service below the towering structure of the Neon-jo, the Neon Castle…

To areas like:

The Pearl Turtle, an almost shimmering white high society noble district rich with commerce and Mega Corporation sky scrapers, laboratories, and even an Aleph A.I. Node, where covert ops of espionage and sabotage are as much part of the business as exchanging business cards. Where the rich and well educated world traveling “galactic citizens” tend to mingle with the local population and their trends and influences directly affect the citizens of The Neon Dragon, for good or for worse.

The Vermilion Phoenix, an area so full of production halls and industry that even the night sky is glowing in a burning red from the endless rows factory exhausts working 24/7, where the Mega Corporations produce most of their local goods and the standstill of a fabrication lane can mean the end of whole corporation sub branches, and thus decide the fate of countless inhabitants of The Neon Dragon with it.

The Jade Panda, a dense forest like area close to The Vermilion Phoenix, artificially created by the Yu Jing State Empire to counter the otherwise unbearable pollution created by The Vermilion Phoenix, positioned in the main wind direction of The Neon Dragon. The area is built upon the ruins of the former “old city” that used to be in its place, mercilessly torn down by the government to prevent the rest of the city from suffocating and to keep the commerce going. Some of the old inhabitants still life in the midst of this forest, in the broken down ruins of their former houses or in self-made shanties, and some even claim that foreign forces are using the dense almost jungle like terrain to hide themselves from the Yu Jing State for whatever devious purpose.

The Onyx Tiger, a large underground complex that is hidden below most of The Neon Dragon’s area stretching over countless kilometres, but is mostly hidden from the public eye, just like the crouching Tiger that from Asian mythology that has given it its name. In some places it consists of large underground shopping halls, centres of commerce where one can fulfil his every desire, and in some places it is barely more than a maintenance corridor or just an access tunnel to the even further down lying sewer system of The Neon Dragon. Secret Facilities, Laboratories and military complexes are rumoured to be as much part of this area, as hidden slaver rings and smuggler dens are.

The Gulping Toad, the local Space port and the area around it. The district where the percentage of foreigners is at least 4 times higher than everywhere else in The Neon Dragon and where trade dominates everything. Only in this area has the Yu Jing Empire granted special permission for foreign groups to build more esoteric structures like a Pan Oceanian church or a covenant of the “Holy Mary of the Knife” to cater for the needs of foreign traders. Because of this the area is under heavy surveillance from the Yu Jing Government to the point where even a military base has been constructed to quickly counter any insurgency or invasion that could be stages from such an important area.

These are just a few of the many colourful scales of The Neon Dragon, but it should allow you to catch a glimpse at the nature of the City that the following events of this story are taking place in.