Chapter 2.3: The Dancing Panda

The next day at precisely 1030 the complete Crew of “The Neon-jo” boarded the “Dancing Panda” in full combat gear.

As a show of force we took our sweet time, walking from the Advertisement riddled entrance area through the shuttle bays next to them through the Cargo Area, until we finally reached the inner parts of the “Dancing Panda”, which to some of my crew’s surprise, looked almost like “The Neon Dragon” we had just left behind, only less dirty, but in exchange more closed in, the sky being nothing more than a holographic projection, though a magnificent one at that.

I had of course already read about this when I prepared myself for this mission, though even I was stunned by the attention to detail that Yu Jing had put into this Yu Jing Interplanetary Cultural Festival and Exchange Spaceship”, and soon decided that this, for the most part, wasn’t due to special care by the inhabitants of this ship, but rather by their complete ignorance of the fact that this ship was supposed to represent the very best of Yu Jing to the universe, which lead to the usual riffraff of open street food stalls, shady business man hiding in dark corners, red light bouncers and hustlers, and old Bachans carelessly strolling through all of it in their jogging outfits with not a care in the world, that most citizens of Yu Jing where so used to see in their hometowns nowadays.

Obviously during important visits or when the Captain “Madame Zeniba” had a bad day and decided to enforce Ship regulations more harshly, these sights would temporarily vanish and be replaced by festive almost theatre like dressed tourist guides and their likes, but since we where still in Yu Jing territory, there wasn’t any need for such special care yet, and people where just living their everyday lifes.

Of course the sudden appearance of a bunch of Imperial Service Agents in their streets quickly lead to most of the shady figures vanishing into the shadows where they hoped we wouldn’t see them anymore, the ones with especially big piles of dirt on their name rather fleeing the area as a whole instead of tempting their fate, but the Bachans and vendors didn’t seem shocked or surprised at all, most likely considering us little more than another attraction that entered their area. When you where traveling all around the Circulators in a giant spaceship for several years, new sights become somewhat of the norm I guess, and only the most outrageous of sights would really fancy your interest.

Since the interior of the ship was surprisingly big, we didn’t particularily care to continue our way to the ISS Central on the ship from here, and where thus as planned picked up by a set of armoured Security Cars which the local ISS Force had been using to get around since Azure Dragons obviously wouldn’t be too helpful inside of the Spaceship.

As our armoured convoy reached the ISS Central we where greeted by a skeleton crew of ISS Personal, some of which I knew had only recently been assigned to this post as well, and who would actually be staying with us from now on once we returned to “The Neon Dragon” as well.

The most noticable among them was most likely a giant Guija TAG which was standing in front of the building, though I could have sworn that these things normally looked a little different…this one having small horns on its helmet and a giant Kanabo instead of a Sword which I usually associated with the Guija TAGs. But since I hadn’t seen too many of these in action yet, my former JSA Unit rarely getting this kind of high end battle support, I decided to ask questions about this later, and ride with it for now.

The following hours consisted mainly of storing our stuff, making sure that everyone had a quarter assigned to himself, that all controls of the facilities where properly handed over and everyone had their information added to the secret “Dancing Panda”‘s Database to ensure they had special clearance and wouldn’t trigger the ship’s defense mechanismns by accident.

Since during this time most of the already on board staff was busy I didn’t get a lot of chances to talk to the new crew, but I decided that I’d make sure to set some time aside for that once things had calmed down a bit more.

Once all the necessary first day administrative things had been done, and I had a quick run into Captain “Madame Zeniba”, who welcomed me on her ship, but then quickly sent me off again, claiming to be busy with starting preparations to ensure we’d reach our rendezvouz point with the Circulator in time for the time consuming docking procedures, and then decided to visit my quarters to see how Yuki had been doing.

My apartment on board of the ship was a bit smaller than the one I had in “The Neon Dragon”, but I was pleased to see that this time Yuki, who had gone ahead a few hours ago since she had gotten “bored as hell” while I was busy with the administrative stuff in the ISS Central, had this time actually managed to unpack our luggage in a halfway decent way, my clothes actually hanging in the bedroom, and the few other belongings I had brought along lying around at some somewhat random positions in the small living room of the Apartment.

Apparently Yuki had decided that, just like at home, the couch in the living room would serve as her “default waiting position” , and so it was there that I found her when I entered the apartment. “Yo O-san! Finally home I see? Got everything settled?”

Slumping down on the couch next to her I released a exhausted sigh and nodded. “Yep….at least for today…Kuang Fu Bao helped me out a lot, but it was still a crazy amount of digital paperwork that had to be done….as expected when a unit as big as ours is being shifted to a temporary post like this one, but I still could have done without all that to be honest….I just hope the rest of this trip won’t be like this first day…”

In her usual motivating manner she instantly replied with a sassy “Don’t worry O-san….if the news are anything to go by the next few weeks will be waaaay worse than today…enjoy the calm while it lasts!”.

Not too sure what she meant I just looked at her in confusion, raising one eyepoint to emphazise my unspoken question after Yuki didn’t react for a few seconds.

In answer Yuki just pointed at the Holo Screen which had been broadcasting some news channel ever since I had entered the room, and focusing on it the first thing I heard was a stern Yu Jing Moderator announcing that “Relationships between the participants of the Wotan Blockade have strained further as Nomad ships refuse to let themselves be boarded by inspection teams after the recently revealed Shasvastii Infiltration on one of their Space stations in the area.”. Apparently the Emperor had indeed predicted the situation correctly as tensions in the area was building up day by day as accusations where thrown around by the factions in the area, one side claiming to just want to ensure the savety of humanity, while the other claimed to be the victim of despotism and discrimination by the Hyperpowers. Others claimed to want to reestablish trust between the factions, but in reality where just trying to get a better deal for themselves in the process, and as I sent my military clearance code and accessed more information on the topic, I found that recent intelligence reports of the area indicated heavy troop and weapons movement.

Cursing my bad luck with a loud “Chikusho!” it finally dawned on me why I and my crew had REALLY been sent to this area….it wasn’t because we had won the lottery of lucky assignments and where blessed with good fortune…..it was because the silent sirens of the secret war between humanities factions where about to sing again…and apparently someone had decided that the chaos I had caused on Flamia Island hadn’t been enough….

Frustrated by what I had seen just now, I decided to go to bed early to be ready for the next day…..this time I promised myself, things would end differently….this time we wouldn’t fail the Jade Emperor!

Chapter 2.2: Battle Report 7: Oh Captain my Captain

The next day I was on my way to The Pearl Turtle to meet up with “Madame Zeniba”, the Captain of the “Dancing Panda”.

As is custom for formal first meetings like that, I was accompanied by a small entourage of “guards”, in this case 3 Celestial Guards and Kanren Umibozu. When Father Anderson got wind of me visiting The Pearl Turtle before our departure he asked if he could tag along, apparently wanting to restock on some rarer liquors before being off in Space for a longer period of time. Impressed by his foresight I asked him to bring some Sake for me as well, and thus allowed him to accompany us to the Pearl Turtle in our Azure Dragon.

As the Azure Dragon rose over The Neon Dragon I took a look out of the small armoured window at the city steeped in morning light, reminiscing about my time here, and thinking about what new events might occur during our time on the Dancing Panda. I could only hope that our temporary replacement crew in The Neon-jo was up for the task, The Neon Dragon sure hadn’t been an easy assignment.

The moment I convinced myself that things would end up alright as all ISS Members where more than fit for their duty, and the Dancing Panda wasn’t exactly a battle cruiser, so fighting would be at a minimum, my view was obstructed by one of the shining white building walls that most of The Pearl Turtle area seemed to be made off, and as soon as the doors of the Azure Dragon folded upwards, I was greeted by a loud voice shouting “Help us! These Guys have stolen our luggage!!”.

Naturally as I stepped out of the Azure Dragon Landing Craft, flanked by Celestial Guards, all eyes of the citizens walking along the street that heard the man scream where suddenly staring at us with surprise and expectation. Obviously no one expected a ISS Landing Craft to promptly appear in responce of a mere theft, but now that we where here, everybody expected swift and violent justice…leaving me little choice but to deliver just that.

The man that had been shouting was standing in front of a small entourage himself, consisting of two hired muscle looking men lying on the floor bleeding, a woman sitting elegantly yet annoyed on a nearby cargo crate, shades covering most of her face, and the man himself, a Secretary looking guy in his prime, obviously no fighter, who now was waving at us and pointing in the direction that his attackers had apparently run. “Wow! That was quick! They ran in this direction! A bunch of Nomad Scumbags I reckon, wearing all red!”

Wanting to get this distraction over with as quickly as possible me and my little crew dashed in the described direction Kanren Umibozu leading the way as he was not only more used to this type of chases than most of us, but also knew The Pearl Turtle like no one else in The Neon Dragon, having been undercover in it for quite a good part of his life in one way or the other.

After about a minute of chasing, lead by Umibozu who seemed to have no problem whatsoever following their trail through the high society area we where stopped by Umibozu, leaning against a building a few meter in front of us, signing us to stop, pointing out a few targets in the distance and giving us the “Silence” sign along with it.

Quickly zooming in on the figures I noticed one of them, who apparently hadn’t considered “being sober” as a requirement for their little plunderparty, vomting his innermost onto the shining white streets, surrounded by what looked like a Reverend Healer and another Alguacil. Apparently they thought they had avoided all who could possible follow them, and felt compfortable with waiting for their comrad to get better.

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Dividing my squad up with short handsign commands, as those Nomad fuckers where known to be sneaky hackers, so one could never be too cautious with com channels around them, I then quickly ascended through the stairway system of a nearby building to its roof, where I had clear sight on the thieves.

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Not wanting to shy them away at the sight of a Hsien Warrior in an advantageous position right from the get go, I and the Celestial Guard next to me crouched down to avoid detection as the others slowly advanced.


“Oh come on Chesus! Get a grip! We are on the run you know…”

“Shut up *Bluuuuuurgh* you know how it is with me, I’m a Spacer born and raised, standing on actual land is hard enough for me, all this running and jumping just now,, my body is just not made for thi…*Bluaaargh*”

“Yeah yeah, that’s what you get for skipping ground combat training all the time…come over here, I’ve got something for ya..”

“Guys! Seriously, this is not the time! I think that was an Azure Dragon Landing Craft there just now….if it was we are in deep shit you know!”

“Deep shit my a*Bluaaargh*”

“Oh come on Rodriguez, you know how the Police in these Yu Jing Dumpster Towns is, they probably tripped over their own shoelaces trying to follow us…if they even showed up at all!”

*another female voice chimes in by vox*

“Yeah Rodriquez, don’t you remember last time in Shen Tang? I heard one of them even got a heart attack while chasing us after this little liquor raid stunt we did……damn come to think about it, any of that stuff left on board, or do we need to make a quick detour on our way?”

“Nope we finished that one off a long ti”

*Rodriquez chimes in, cutting everyone off*

“No guys, I’m serious! If this was an Azure Dragon we’re not talking fat coppa here, we’re talking ISS! They don’t fuck ar”

*A loud bang interrupts the talk, followed by the female voice screaming over the vox in agony*

“Shit!!”

“Shit!!”

“Shit!!”


 

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The battle started as Father Anderson saw an enemy Alguacil standing among some crates, apparently busy chatting with her comrades over vox channel.

 

With an ease that only a seasoned veteran (with the help of an X Visor) could emit, Father Anderson put a burst of Viral rounds into the Alguacil, her screams as the terrible toxin ate away at her body waking her comrades out of their casual stupor.

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Instantly a Grenzer Sniper that been hiding in a nearby building tried to take aim at Father Anderson, but at the same time the Celestial Guard that was on the rooftop with me shot a smoke grenade at my feet, allowing me to savely proceed to the corner of the building, shredding the clueless Grenzer with a salvo of my HMG.

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Stunned as most of the normal Nomad Soldiers where by the ambush, the combat experience of their Mercenary where razor sharp, and she instantly tried to take out the biggest threat to their flank, Father Anderson.

The grizzled Veteran wasn’t having any of it though, and the Mercenary quickly followed the Alguacil to a screaming painful death of viral ammunition to the face.

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The groups Reverend Healer, enraged by the horrible deaths of her comrades tried to be clever, circumventing the building in front of her, trying to get within optimal range of myself, who now that the smoke grenade was gone, made for a sweet target on that rooftop.

Apparently she hadn’t considered the height difference though, and her aim was thus a bit off as she opened fire at me, paying for her mistake by getting riddles with countless slugs from my HMG. Apparently Mother Mary of the Knife…or whoever those fools prayed too, wasn’t too fond of firefights as she hadn’t blessed this one for sure.

cof

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As I zoomed in on the building, searching for remaining troopers of the enemy squad, I could barely make out the shape of yet another Alguacil, who had apparently dared to advance, trusting in the Revenant Healers ability to take care of me.

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A few short bursts from my HMG tought the fool never to underestimate the ISS again, ripping through 2 windows right into his chest.

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Since nothing dared to move on the other side of the battlefield anymore, and I couldn’t get anything in sight either, both Kanren Umibozu and Father Anderson advanced along the left flank, and after a few steps Kanren Umibozu noticed the sound of Servo Motors comming from the corner in front of him. Stealthy as a ghost the undercover specialist and Martial Arts practitioner sneaked up on the corner of the building, and then sweept around it, striking downwards at the Mobile Brigada that had been hiding behind it with his Monofilament sword in one swift motion, cutting the cowardly fool in half with ease.

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Apparently the guy had been the thieves commander, as his death suddenly sent the last remaining Alguacil into a sprint to get off the battlefield. To his own demise though the guy slipped on some sort of liquid spread on the floor next to him, which we later found out was vomit, and as he slowed down to avoid falling, Father Anderson took him out through the window behind him, his X Visor once again giving him an easy shot.

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With no more movement I waited for Kanren Umibozu to give the all clear sign, and then gave the order to secure the area and collect the stolen goods.

Leaving Kanren Umibozu behind with Father Anderson to wait for the cleanup crew, I returned to the Azure Dragon’s Landing position to return the goods to the man.

As I stretched my hand out to hand over the bag to the man, he simply stepped back behind the woman now standing, an apologetic expression on his face, and the woman snikkered to herself, slightly flicking her sunglasses lower to allow eyecontact between us

“Keep it General Fuyu,it’s not important to me anymore now. I see they’ve sent me a halfway decent replacement for that incompetent fool that used to be in charge of security on my ship. I guess spreading the news that I’d be carrying some precious cargo to a dealer in The Pearl Turtle at the local Bars wasn’t a waste afterall. A Pleasant surprise, I expect you and your crew onboard tomorrow at 1030, whoever is late will be left behind, I’m not joking.”

And with that, the woman, who now that I managed to see her eyes and took a closer look appeared to be in her very well preserved fifties, turned around together with her entourage, and quickly left the scene. In the meantime the quick databank scan my suit of armour had made blinked it’s result on my field of view, and just as I opened the bag, revealing a bunch of Dancing Panda Plushies inside, it identified the woman as “Madame Zeniba” Captain of the Dancing Panda.

cof

Chapter 2.1: The Castle in….Space?

As I stepped inside the big meeting room inside of the Neon-jo I was greeted by every single member of my staff besides those that where currently out on patrol simultaneously snapping to attention. Some of them obviously did so way quicker and smarter than others, but I was pleased to see that over the last few months my promotion to Imperial State Service Commander of this Installation had apparently been accepted by every one of my subordinates, or they were at least smart enough not to show open hostility towards this fact anymore.

Honestly it had been a rough time, but dealing with my subordinates has proven to actually be the easier part of the job, as stories of my battles on Flamia had at one point apparently reached the ears of some of my crew, and had then spread like wildfire, my feats getting more and more exaggerated with every iteration of the stories I overheard. At one point I supposedly even singlehandedly destroyed two Gorgos with nothing but my bare hands and Level 5 Martial Arts skills….Ha…Level 5…as if I’d ever be able to reach that level of insane sword proficiency without secluding myself to swordsmanship for the rest of my life. I couldn’t even keep up to Yojimbo back when we had our sparring match while he served in my unit, and he’s supposedly Level 4….I did beat him during the racing part of our competition though, the old man can ride that’s for sure, but his skills are nothing compared to some of the stunts me and my crew had to pull back in the day…..damn those where good days back then…anyways.

Nodding towards my collected crew, which was their sign to stand at ease again, I positioned myself at the center in front of the giant holo projector which filled most of the back of the room and was capable of producing giant 3d holo images in real time. Folding my hands behind my back I allowed a small smirk to show on my face before I straightened myself up a little more, coughed slightly and then looked at the crowd with a more serious expression.

Good Evening Everyone! I’m sure some of you have already heard the news and reason why I have called all of you here…” the little break in my sentence was used by one of my female subordinates hidden further back in the dimly lit room to shout a cheerful “Whooohoo!”, which was instantly answered by a bunch of chuckled “Ssssssh…” from everyone in close surroundings to her. “I see you did…well for those of you who haven’t heard about it yet….every single member of the Neon-jo has been temporarily reassigned to a new position…” this was answered by a few confused “Eeeeeeh!?”s and “Whaaaa?” by some of the members who apparently hadn’t heard the full story yet. “…on board of the “Dancing Panda”, a… “Yu Jing Interplanetary Cultural Festival and Exchange Spaceship” “.

At this point more of my assembled subordinates openly dared to cheer, with only a few of them still looking disgruntled or confused, and I too couldn’t resist a little smile. “Most of you have apparently already heard about the Dancing Panda, but for those of you who haven’t, let me introduce to you our new “little” home for the coming weeks and months.

Sweeping my hand over the control area of the holo projector in an over dramatic commanding gesture I turned slightly sideways to allow better sight on the projector, as well as allowing me to actually see it. The Projector flickered to life, and quickly began showing a giant Space Ship that almost looked like a giant Yu Jing style castle floating on top of a bank of clouds. Flicking my hand a little upwards the holo projector then proceeded to show a holo projection of a giant dancing Panda right above the castle.

As you can see…this little thing…” I pointed my finger at the projection, and a human shape suddenly appeared next to the projection of the castle, instantly making it obvious how gigantic this castle like structure actually was. “Is more than just a simple space ship….it’s a giant space faring representation of what our proud nation Yu Jing stands for, a cultural ambassador who’s single purpose is to spread our culture to other worlds, space stations or whoever else it comes across….in a peaceful way. Designed in a traditional style to spark the imagination of everyone witnessing its current position, and equipped with an eye catching advertisement system.” pointing at the giant Dancing Panda Holograph above the structure I earned myself some laughs for the sentence.

Its interior contains a representation of a Yu Jing City, actually not too different from The Neon Dragon, but maybe a bit less “rough”, and is filled to the brim with Restaurants, Bars, Shopping Areas, Spaces for traditional festivals or other everyday life events, as well as theatres and even an Arena for Martial Arts Contests or military demonstrations and the like. It’s designed to land on planets or link into the giant circulator Starships, or simply dock onto space stations or other space ships when the opportunity arises. It even has its own ISS Detachment on board to ensure it’s safety, and as you can all imagine, that’s where our part comes in.”

More cheers followed this statement. “Don’t worry, we won’t be assigned to the Dancing Panda forever, but its current ISS Detachment is in dire need of some shore leave and R&R, and we have thus been selected to switch places with them for the duration of their extended shore leave. We will be stationed in the ISS Bunker in the middle of the Space Ship, a replica of the more basic ISS Outpost that you’d find in other areas of the Yu Jing Empire, and each of you will have his own apartment onboard of the ship.”

Even those that had been confused or grumpy before now started to ease up a little “Some of you have heard that this assignment is considered a “Jackpot” among the ISS Stations, and indeed it most likely won’t be nearly as challenging as some of our other recent actions have been, and of course we’ll all get to visit some new and exciting locations, but don’t let this fool you everybody, there will be challenges during our journey, more so than the Dancing Panda would normally face because the current destination of the Dancing Panda isn’t some cozy planet, but rather the Wotan Gate Blockade near Paradiso.”

At this revelation everyone inside of the room looked at the holo projector which changed its image to a depiction of the Wotan Gate and the Blockade around it and uttered a surprised “oooooooh..”

The Emperor himself has deemed that recent events there have strained the relation between Yu Jing and some of the other factions present in the blockade to a point that might cause problems in the future, and has thus decided to send the Dancing Panda there to lighten up the mood and promote Yu Jings good will to everyone. We even got official O12 sanction for our “diplomatic mission” there, granting us docking rights to some of the facilities that otherwise maybe would be a bit reluctant to let a Yu Jing ship connect to them…which some of them might not like very much, so as I said….prepare for more action than this assignment would normally bring.”

More “ooooh”s and some disappointed “aaaaaw”s where all that followed this news, but overall people seemed to be quite excited for the opportunity to travel around in space for a while, maybe enjoying themselves a little on what is basically one giant amusement park for grownups in space…in their free time that would be of course.

Anyways….departure is tomorrow at 1800 sharp, I know it’s sudden, but the recent events at the gate are forcing our hand a little, and the earlier we are there the better. Family is actually allowed to accompany you on this assignment if the circumstances allow for it, and your accommodations and food will obviously be paid for. I heard food is actually extraordinarily delicious on the Dancing Panda, most likely because they hired some pretty fancy chefs….I even heard that the Iron Chef Musashi is going to be on board as part of a JSA Detachment that will accompany us to meet up with local forces on our arrival. “

As the screen flickered to show off the regiment name of the JSA Regiment that would accompany us I had to fight hard not to let my jaw drop to the floor in surprise and excitement. Apparently it was my old JSA Regiment that I had served with on Flamia that would accompany us, most likely having returned from R&R themselves after the hard operations on Flamia.

Anyways, Personal Information regarding where you’ll stay on the ship and other things like that will be assigned to you by Kuan Fu Bao in a minute. Bring your gear along, make sure you have everything you need to be combat ready…..and let’s enjoy ourselves while we’re at it right? If someone needs me…I’m packing!”

Followed by the cheers of my subordinates I nodded once and left the room, Kuan Fu Bao replacing my position right away and continuing with the more in detail and personal part of the instructions to make sure everybody knew where they’d stay. Unlike the others I would have to pack on this very day already, as I would have to talk to the Dancing Pandas Captain on the next day before our departure to make sure everything ran smoothly and everyone knew what’s what.

As I arrived at what had by now truly become my new home, I almost couldn’t open the door, having to forcefully push it open with a considerable amount of strength. Once I made it through I instantly notice why, realizing my mistake when telling my stay-at-home Bodyguard Automaton Yuki to “Pack your stuff, tomorrow we’ll be leaving for a mission for several weeks..”.

Apparently the Automaton had seen this as an instruction to pack ALL stuff, and the thing blocking the door had been a few cardboard boxes stacked on top of each other, filled to the brim with the real book collection I normally had in the living room.

For a second there I thought about asking Yuki why she’d placed the boxes in front of the door, but if I had learned anything over the course of the last few weeks, it was that her answer would either be “For defensive purposes”, “None of your business O-san!” or “Where else would I stack them?”…none of which I felt in the mood to reply to at the moment.

Slipping past the stack of Boxes and barely avoiding to fall over a pair of my shoes lying in the middle of the floor, I was relieved to notice that Yuki hadn’t fully dismantled our whole apartment yet.

When I entered the living room I saw her sitting on the half disassembled couch, watching a “How to disassemble furniture” video on the Holo projector, quickly switching to the default screen as she noticed me staring at her in confusion, and then attempting to hide a piece of broken hybrid material behind her back “Oh eh..HEY O-SAN! Where have you been all day?! I have been packing all this time while you were slacking!”.

Realizing that she couldn’t hide the broken piece she instead held it in front of her angrily and waved it at me “Look! This piece of crap couch even broke when I tried to disassemble it! What kind of junk have you bought?”

Grabbing the piece and putting it against the wall after sighing frustrated I answered in a slightly grumpy yet resigned tone “That’s cause it’s not supposed to be disassembled there…the couch came in 3 parts, not 50…” . Hearing that Yuki’s cheeks started to puff up in anger, a strange sight for an Automaton, and she was about to begin another angry rant, but I quickly interrupted her by adding “Anyways….you got it all wrong, we are not leaving here with ALL our stuff, I asked you to pack YOUR stuff….so your uniforms, things you want to take along for the trip…” realizing the potential error of that sentence I quickly added “And that you can fit in a small bag…Don’t worry about the Couch and the other stuff, just quickly collect the things you need, I will be packing as well, we will be leaving tomorrow morning, so there’s little time left.”

Before Yuki could realize that all her hard work of the last few hours had been for nothing, and could begin to vent her anger on me, I quickly left the room, grabbing my shoes from the floor as I walked past them, and entered my Bedroom to begin stuffing a large bag with clothing, a book or two from the boxes next to the door, and some other nicknacks, as well as my training Equipment for the Dojo. I didn’t know if there would be a Dojo on board of the “Dancing Panda”, but I’m sure I’d find a place to keep myself on edge, even if the mission should proof to be less interesting than I thought.

In the Living room I could hear Yuki cursing for a while, but also heard her open the little cupboard that I had assigned to her, which by now contained some alternative outfits for her, including a Hex Patterned Black and Orange Cheongsam that somehow managed to make her look at least a little elegant. I gifted it to her in case she’d ever have to accompany me to any official event, and even though she claimed to not give a damn about it, she seems to treasure it quite a bit, having stored it in Silk Paper wrapping and always making sure not to rough it up when she searched through the small cupboard for some of her other clothing.

She had also put some small trinkets inside of the cupboard, one of which I could hear being unpacked as it chimed audible as she pulled it out. It was a tiny little traditional Karakuri doll, dressed like a Shinto Priest which when wrung up would walk along the floor a few steps, and then chime a little crotal bell tree it held in his hand, turning sideways and chiming the bell tree again, until it eventually did a full circle and then bow and stop in its movement. I don’t know why Yuki had grown so fond of this trinket, maybe because it reminded her of her own origin, but I found it kind of cute of her and in surprising opposition to her usual rough behavior, so I bought it for her and she even went as far as to thank me for doing so.

Of course not all of her trinkets where as cute as that, one of them being a little Tanuki Statue, which, typical for its kind, had a giant ball sack, in this case flung over its shoulder. For some reason this one had a bell inside of its ball sack, which rung whenever you shook it…so maybe I had put too much thought into her decision to get the trinkets…maybe she just liked to hear bells ringing…

Once I finished packing my things it was already close to midnight, so I visited Yuki in the Living room, satisfied to see that she hadn’t ruined any more furniture, and had indeed finished packing her own stuff, including a training Shinai which I got her for her Dojo training, wished her a good night, and then went to bed myself. Tomorrow things would get quite stressful, and if my gut feeling was to be trusted, it would be more than just the quaint little space cruise that some people thought an assignment on the Dancing Panda was going to be…

 

 

Comment: To those who frequently read my blog and have closely read Chapter 1.15….you might have noticed that I had to red-con the Ending of Chapter 1 a little bit to fit the changed entry point into the comming Campaign Strikezone Wotan. I hope you won’t mind too much and will enjoy this different approach of reaching the sector as well 😉