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…

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