Chapter 2.5: Battle Report 9: Routine Inspection?


If you are participating in Strikezone Wotan, please consider also visiting the version of this battle report that I have posted there, and leaving a rating/recommendation, it’d help me out a lot and bring some extra motivation for me 😉



The rest of the Circulator Trip to the Wotan Gate went by surprisingly fast, especially considering that I had to spend a good chunk of it at the ship’s med bay getting threated by Sophotect Akaseni alongside some of the other Agents that where with me on R&R. Due to that circumstance I had to get most of my information about the ongoing preparations for system arrival via my holo wristband and the daily meetings with Pheasant Agent Kuang Fu Bao where he tried to summarize what occurred throughout the day and how my subordinates where doing.

Luckily despite all the potential conflict ahead, there was actually very little that could be done for now, everyone knew the ship good enough by now to fight in it without meeting too many nasty surprises, and we even made sure to save some time for Zero G Training just in case some saboteurs managed to mess with the ships internal systems…though I really didn’t want to think about the damage that prolonged Zero G environment would wreak among the civilian population of the “Dancing Panda”, floating into the sky of what is basically a town within a space ship wouldn’t be very pleasant once the gravitation was restored after all….but Madame Zeniba assured me that her crew was well trained for situations like that, and after the Zero G trainings sessions, so was my crew.

As the ship decoupled itself from the Circulator and eventually arrived at the Wotan Gate blockade, the first thing that astounded me as I viewed it through one of the holo screens was the sheer size of the operation. This was indeed a full on military blockade, including several small space stations, a few battleships and countless little support ships, as well as a full on Pan Oceanian Defense Platform System. I did however also instantly see signs of the building up tension everywhere, the amount of ships undocking from the Circulator alongside the “Dancing Panda” and moving towards the Blockade was unnaturally high, and some of them where clearly military in nature, some even obviously transports for Spec Ops Crack teams or their likings in disguise. This area was getting ready for struggle, and it wasn’t fully clear against who because there wasn’t any sign of Alien Presence to be seen yet, except maybe the odd little Tohaa Ship thrown in between, most likely claiming to be on some sort of diplomatic mission or whatnot.

The moment we came into encrypted communication range with the Yu Jing Elements of the Blockade I received a message which had also been sent to the Captain, commanding us to set course and dock with the Yu Jing Light Frigate “Shanqiang” to receive further instructions.

As expected, the “games” where about to begin.

Before we could make it to the “Shanqiang” however we were hailed by the nearby Security Orbital and informed that a boarding party was on its way to proceed with the regular security inspection.

Knowing full well that such a security inspection was far from the norm at the current times as several of the factions now refused to allow boarding parties on their vessels, the Nomads being the most prominent of those ever since the Shasvastii where discovered on their vessel, I quickly sent a message to Madame Zeniba with a request to not acknowledge the message sent by the Ariadnan Orbital, and went to the shuttle bay alongside a security detachment of my best agents.

The moment the crude looking Ariadnan Shuttle landed on board I knew that something was fishy, not only did the inspection detail consist entirely of Caledonians, which while capable of sniffing out some Shasvastii with their Cameronians and Wulvers, sure weren’t the best choice for doing so, but they also brought an unusual amount of heavy weapons and specialized personal with them.

Now of course all of that could have easily been argued for as special security measures in face of the recent discoveries, but it was the behavior of their commanders that made me especially unease, they didn’t seem to come for a routine mission, but rather where on edge as if in the middle of a combat zone, constantly checking us and their surroundings out for signs of weaknesses or aggression, making sure to mask most of their conversations.

Since they didn’t outright attack us though, and had apparently brought all the right digital paperwork with them to warrant a security inspection, I choose to let them proceed for now, sending a special operative with each of their teams while the rest of the forces proceeded with their duty as usual, after all we had nothing to hide right?


The first signs of trouble arose when one of the special operatives reported that amongst the Caledonians there where some sort of low tech Hackers present. Knowing full well that hacking capabilities where extremely rare among the Atek Ariadnans this instantly seemed suspicious, and when I then got a report no 10 minutes later that one of them had apparently tried to hack into our information grid but failed to do so due to our tightened security measures I decided to ready my strike force.

Another 10 minutes later I received a message claiming that one of the Caledonian Teams had apparently confiscated a bunch of crates filled with high tech Zero G Equipment, claiming it to be “infected by Shasvastii” and where now on their way to “inspect” an Antenna grid with direct access to our security system. The agent even sent a recording of a conversation between one of the Caledonian Volunteers and someone who apparently went by the name of “Mac Seamus” stating that “This is great, it’s going to be a great haul, them Chingchongs don’t suspect a thing!” followed by the Mac Seamus guy replying “Don’t be too sure of that, have you seen their commander? He seemed quite nervous about our arrival…”

Having had enough of this charade I decided it was about time we showed them Ariadnans that a Yu Jing vessel was indeed a dangerous place full of potential accidents if you weren’t proceeding with caution or where just an Atek fool not knowing what to do…and which button not to press..

So as they proceeded towards the Antenna grid, I quickly deployed alongside my Strike Team, ready to teach them a lesson.






Father Anderson and a Crane and Celestial Guard Team alongside some Kuang Shi built the left flank, with myself and “Lotus Justice” as well as “Bonbori” building the center, another Kuang Shi and a Lu Duan Drone covering the right flank. Kanren Umibozu who had been monitoring the group had advanced ahead of them, and now lay in ambush at the center of the battlefield.




The enemy team consisted of one of their commanders flanked by two Wulver Bodyguards, 2 Cameronians, a walking tin can of sorts, a team of Volunteers including the ominous hacker, led by a more fancily dressed woman, and some support riff raff, all spread out on both the left and right flank, apparently intending to directly head for the Antenna network.


As expected not long afterwards a security warning appeared on my armours internal systems, warning me that someone has tried to access the security network through one of the Antennas, and as the alarm sirens began to sound the Caledonians instantly let go of their peaceful pretense, and suddenly opened fire on one of the Celestial Guards on the left flank, wounding him.


Apparently they thought that this show of aggression would be enough to intimidate us into submission, but they apparently didn’t have to deal with Imperial Service Agents like us before, for such aggression only leads to an even more brutal counter reaction from us.


I instantly ordered the troops to advance, the Kuang Shi stumbling forward to trigger any potential enemy ambushes, and indeed, a hidden Cateran Sniper instantly took the bait and shoot at them, taking one of them instantly out, but revealing his position on a nearby rooftop while doing so.



Intent on teaching them a lesson in humility I quickly shifted into position to aim at the Cateran, and took him out with one swift burst of HMG Fire, his primitive camouflage no match for my Multi Spectral Visor.


On the left flank the Spec Ops that had recently joined my command in The Neon Dragon revealed himself from his disguise as just a normal Celestial Guard, proclaiming in a soft and relaxing, yet somewhat eerie voice to the wounded Celestial Guard “Daijoubu Buddy, I’ve got you covered” as he administered some sort of regenerative drug to him, which lead to the Celestial Guard instantly rising in a gasp of adrenalin infused energy, back in action at least for now. I could have sworn I remembered the voice from the Spec Ops somehow, but I just couldn’t remember from where, and his face hadn’t ringed a bell the view times I had seen him in The Neon Dragon.


In the meantime Kanren Umibozu advanced to the central antenna and tried to take some pot shots at the Cameronian advancing on the right flank, but the creature was too fast and avoided the shots with ease.


The Mercenary Sniper “Bonbori” tried to take care of the Cameronian sneaking up on the central Antenna next to Kanren Umibozu, but this one too seemed unnaturally swift and managed to avoid the bullets.


The Lu Duan Drone hat sent a warning signal about some sort of high threat target advancing on the left flank, and since a double check revealed that it wasn’t talking about the Cameronian, I decided to leave my high vantage position and check it out myself.

The target turned out to be the heavily armoured tin can of the Caledonians, some sort of nobility supposedly, with enough prestige and money to clad itself in whole armour of Teseum, the only way those backward hillbillies could ever hope to achieve any sort of meaningful protection I reckoned.

With a bit of pity on my mind for the poor woman inside thinking herself save behind those slaps of metal, I took aim with my HMG, targeting the joints of her armour with my advanced targeting display, and pressed the trigger. The master crafted weapon guided by the high tech targeting array hit the weak joints of her armour with ease, sending the woman to an early grave in an instant of ripping metal plates and meat. She didn’t even have time to gasp in surprise before her heavy body hit the floor with a metallic CLANK.


With the main threat on this side taken care off I proceeded to take a defensive position near the antenna on the right flank of our half of the battlefield, ready to suppress the area should any enemy show itself.


The moment I left my position on the right flank, the Cameronian that had been hiding behind the building to my right sprang into action, leaping on top of the building to advance towards my position, it had however apparently forgotten about “Bonbori” who instantly fired at him with her Sniper Rifle, missing him, but forcing him to take cover on the building’s roof instead of proceeding.


The Cameronian in the middle couldn’t resist the urge to attack any longer, the scent of Kanren Umibozu who was standing right around the corner too thick in its nostrils, and bellowing a challenge it dashed around the corner, opening fire on Umibozu with both of its chain rifle, ignoring the fact that it opened itself up to fire from several of my troopers.


Kanren Umibozu dashed for cover as the creature was riddled with countless bullets from all sides, but the hailstorm of shrapnel from the duo Chainrifles was too much and he got knocked out as one of them grazed his head as he dived out of the way.

The Cameronian wasn’t as lucky though, and his body slowly turned to sludge as it was eaten away by one of Father Anderson’s Viral bullets, it’s hulking body slowly disintegrating upon itself.


With the Cameronian’s advance halted the Caledonian Commander decided to join the action himself as he sneakily advanced along the right flank, thinking himself outside of any serious threat range. But with his primitive knowledge of the technology available to the proud Imperial Service and it’s contractors, he hadn’t expected Father Anderson’s X Visor, which allowed the grizzly old veteran to easily pick his target, and take out the enemy commander with a precise bodyshot with his viral rifle, even while he was being guarded by his two Wulvers next to him.


In the meantime the Caledonian Team on the left flank tried to secure the Antenna from a potential counter attack, there was a little problem waiting for them however which they needed to deal with first……



Logged Communication near Security Antenna G-21H:

Wait! Wait! Don’t move any further! Did you hear that? What the hell was that noise?”

Sounded like a goat to me…”

Yeah right Mac Pea, everything sounds like a bloody Goat to you, stupid goat fu..”

Oi! Don’t go there buddy..”

But it’s true isn’t it? Them Mac Pea’s are all goat herders right? And you know how lonely them guys get when alone on the field aaaaall day right?”

Oh shut up morron, I’m sure he was just joking anyways, right Mac Pea? You tell him!”

But…eh…no, I was being serious, it actually sounded like a goat to me…”



Tzch….come on guys, listen to the lad, I’ve heard them Yu Jing guys have recently started using some sort of automated attack robots, they supposedly look like cute animals too, coalas, pandas, who knows….maybe they’ve got goats now?”

Yeah right, as if a Goat would be a cute animal…only a Mac Pea would eve..”

Enough! I’ve had it! You know what? I’ll just go take a look a’right? But if I’m right and it’s a goddamn goat you’ll never badmouth my family again….”

Fiiiine, but Feargus….if it is a goat….and you start shagging it, I’m out!”…



Yeah right…very funny you…”

Conversation interrupted by the sound of triggered Mad Traps jumping into action, followed by the characteristic Baaaaaalaaargh sound of them detonating in a blob of instant hardening sludge



Apparently the guy they sent out to trigger the Mad Traps was a natural talent in dodging their lightning fast attack pattern, nimbly avoiding both of them by hoping over them as they approached.


With this threat to their movement taken care of the team fell back a little into a saver position, their hacker starting another attempt at logging into the security grid.


In the meantime on the right flank of the battlefield “Bonbori” tried to take out the Cameronian still hiding on the rooftop, but even with her years of experience she just couldn’t land a hit on the nimble creature, muttering an annoyed “That’s not right…those things shouldn’t be that fast…couldn’t be….” under her breath


Back on the left flank, unflinching and uncaring for the shots ricocheting off the asphalt next to them, the Kuang Shi continued their zombie like walk towards the Caledonian battle line, homing in on the Volunteer Team that had just dispatched the Mad Traps. Uncaring for its own security one of the Kuang Shi stumbled around the corner, opening up with its chain rifle on the unsuspecting Caledonian Hacker sitting next to the Antenna with her primitive computer in front of her. Too surprised to effectively defend herself she was instantly taken out by the storm of shrapnel, her hardware shredded alongside herself as the emotionless Kuang Shi continued on towards her colleagues, repeating a monotone “Death is the currency in which we pay for our crimes…” over and over again…


Unable to shift to a better position the remaining members of the Volunteer Team tried to shoot the Kuang Shi the moment he stumbled around the corner, but no matter how many shots they poured into the brainwashed human creature, it just kept pressing the trigger of his chainrifle, the unending rain of Shrapnel reaping one life after the other.


By the time the Kuang Shi finally fell to the ground, uttering a last “Death…the our crime….” The only ones left standing where the heavily wounded Highlander Grey, as well as the man that the others had refered to as Mac Seamus before, wielding his shotgun with surgeon like precision, somehow still unharmed among all the dead.


He was just leaning against the nearby wall, a sigh of relieve rasping through his lungs as his body fought with the after effects of the adrenalin rush, when he suddenly heard another voice coming from the other side of the building he was leaning against…. “There is no innocence, only degrees of guilt…”..and then the world was darkness and pain for Mac Seamus.


Not too far behind the Kuang Shi the Crane Agent leading the Celestial Guard Team managed to aquire a better firing position on the Wulvers that had tried to cross the street with their commander before, and thanks to his X Visor he too managed to easily make out the Wulver standing in the middle of the road, ripping him apart with a long burst from his Spitfire.


In a last desperate attempt for vengeance the remaining Cameronian threw a smoke Grenade and advanced towards the Lu Duan Remote that had just skimmed closer to his position, but the Remote was ready for him, and a blazing hot stream of Fire from the Remotes Heavy Flamethrower ended the creatures existence just as his Chainrifles ripped the remote apart.


Suddenly there was only a single Wulver and a 112 that had been hiding behind a nearby building left for the Caledonians, and with their commander gone they decided that retreat towards their shuttle was a better option than trying to prevail here….naturally they didn’t make it far, a closed airlock ending their attempt, quickly followed by a burst of destructive Nano particles from my inbuilt Nano Pulsar, removing all evidence that they had ever been present on this ship.

The same procedure awaited all other members of the Caledonian team, though by the time the cleanup crew made it to the Volunteer Team’s remains, the Caledonian known as Mac Seamus was no longer there…..

Comment: Holy cow…..I wished I could have created the battle report on the Strikezone Wotan Campaign Website as easily as on this Blog…there it took me over two hours, here only like 10 minutes (of course I did a lot of preparations there, but still..)

Gotta say, this battle was a lot of fun, my wife is getting motivated for the Campaign as well, and I’m sure we’ll be having a lot of fun battle reports in the next few weeks.

I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed playing it!

Chapter 2.4: Battle Report 8: Judas’s Kiss

The next 48 hours on board of the “Dancing Panda” became way more stressfull than I had originally hoped for.

The day after I realized what our true purpose at the Wotan Gate most likely would be, I had to break the news to my subordinates, who obviously weren’t pleased about this “change of plans” either.

Shifts that shold have been easy going “Getting to know the area”, instantly turned into precise battle preparation work, checking every area of the “Dancing Panda” Spaceship for potential areas of infiltration, defensive positions, ambush points, targets of interest for possible attackers, and other things like it. Obviously we couldn’t go as far as to barricade ourselves in and openly prepare our defenses, the mission of the “Dancing Panda” was after all still presenting Yu Jing Culture to the other nations at the Wotan Gate, and hostile activities, even if they should take place, would most likely be under cover, forcing us to keep the image of the friendly tourist attraction, no matter what might occure.

By the time the “Dancing Panda” reached the Circulator Ship and linked itself into the train like structure like it was designed to, most of the basic preparations to counter enemy infiltrators was done for, and since my crew had done plenty of overtime to do so, I decided it was time for a bit of relaxation, after all that was what everyone had originally hoped for, and one had to enjoy the little things when the opportunity presented itself….or so my father used to say when he had one too many sake and mother wasn’t around to scold him.

So it was when my shift ended on the third day that I left the “Dancing Panda” and entered the Circulator’s amusement area, a clean white painted part of the ship that resembled a small town full of high class bars and other establishments designed to keep the weary traveler happy during his stay.

I went there because Father Anderson swore that it contained the best bar on the whole Circulator, and they sold one of the meanest whiskeys in the whole galaxy….not that I knew much about whiskey, but one could always learn right?

The promise of high quality alcohol lead to our little party growing in size, now containing a few Celestial Guards as well as 2 of the Crane Agents, and of course Kanren Umibozu, who always seemed to magically appear next to whomever mentioned good liquer. Obviously a large group of military looking Yu Jing would raise some suspision, so we decided to leave the armour at the base, but kee the guns with us, hidden under our Japanese styled traveling cloaks…or old trenchcoat in case of Father Anderson, who’s coat even had a special connector point on the inside for just such situations.

The bar itself looked like most other bars from the outside, but the blasphemous nature of the bar’s name “Judas’s Kiss” was quickly enchanced the moment you stepped into the joint, as it was hung with upside down crosses and anti PanO Propaganda at almost every free space of wall or furniture. There was even a messageboard which stated “PanO guests, please take a seat here, your god shall be with you soon!” with an arrow pointing towards a waste disposal chute that probably lead to a waste burning facility in the lower areas of the Circulator.

Now I wasn’t too keen on religion myself, always considered it “opium for the foolish masses” of other less educated nations than Yu Jing, but I reckoned this joint wouldn’t get many PanO customers, and a fair bit of trouble should one show up after all.

The barman seemed more than capable to handle any such situation however, his arms thick as tree trunks and scarred like a grizzly bear wrestler, and a boarding shotgun laying on top of his counter…not below it like most other establishments would most likely prefer.

I wasn’t the only one giving Father Anderson a confused look after this sight, but Father Anderson just turned towards us and said “Everything’s alright lads, trust me, I know the guy, hard shell but the inside’s as fluffy as cotton candy…..what do you call them types in Yu Jing? Tsun…Tsun…Tsuntsun…” which was harshly interrupted by an empty bottle crashlanding next to Father Anderson’s feet, followed by a shouted “Next one will Tsuntsun your bloody head you old fool! Now come over here, I haven’t seen you in ages, and you still haven’t cleared your tab from last time!”. Father Anderson seemed embarassed by the both friendly and demanding tone of the barkeepers request, and just tilted his head to the side in excuse and then turned around and wandered towards the barkeep, scratching the back of his head as if trying to rub a good excuse out of it. “Well you see…”

The next few hours went by in a blur of “alternative” christian music, an odd experience I can assure you, choking cigar smoke, and the best non Yu Jing Liquor I’ve ever had in my life, which made the whole ordeal actually enjoyable despite everything.

The Barkeep turned out to be just as Father Anderson had described him, rough shell, but once he got to know you, he opened up a bit, and we had quite an enjoyable talk about the merits of close combat weapons in modern military engagements at one point, the Barkeep turning out to be one of Father Anderson’s old Mercenary colleagues who had quit because of some sort of knee injury which he didn’t want to talk about….most likely because it happened during an encounter with some Yu Jing “Ninjas”…

The mood broke when a few PanO Soldiers on R&R suddenly entered the bar, reeling back in shock at the sight and instantly starting to curse the Barkeep, claiming that a heretic like him deserved to be nailed to the cross. One of them even tried to pull a gun, but Father Anderson was quicker and at the sight of his nasty Viral Rifle, the PanO soldier decided that today maybe wasn’t his lucky day after all, and he’d rather not die in such an unholy place. One of the other soldiers whispered something into the ear of the groups would be commander, and afterwards the group quickly left the establishment, the soldier that wanted to pull his gun swearing his vengeance as he left.

After this little encounter, one of the Celestial Guards checked his watch, and a row of “Tzzzzzzk ooooooh” followed as we realized that we only had 5 more hours until our next shift, and thus better got going before it was too late for detox pills.

Promising the Barkeep to return should we get the chance we said our goodbyes and went “homewards” towards the “Dancing Panda”‘s link on the Circulator.






We didn’t get far however, before the terribly drunk Umibozu suddenly stopped us with a hand sign and stared into the streets before us. At first I couldn’t make out why he stopped us, but a faster growing ringing sound, followed by a quick burst of bullets from a Sierra Dronbot on a nearby balcony instantly cleared up the confusion. Shouting a slightly drunk “Aaaaambuuuush!” we quickly spread apart into the best battle formation we could muster, Father Anderson dashing to the right flank, myself crawling up to a nearby roof, while the Crane Agents and Celestial Guard went into formation in the middle of what would become our battlefield.





Thanks to Kanren Umibozu we managed to avoid the ambush and I instantly ordered one of the Celestial Guards to cover my position with a Smoke screen. The Celestial Guard apparently had a bit too much whiskey at the “Judas’s Kiss” though, and several of his smoke grenades went completely wild, covering some of the nearby neighbourhood instead.

Cursing my bad luck I ordered the Crane and Celestial Guard team to advance instead, taking out the Sierra Dronbot through the building in the middle of the battlefield. However with the team’s coordination ruined as it was by the heavy liquer consumption all they managed to do was getting one of the Crane Agents wounded by the Dronebot in the fire exchange instead.


At this point an enemy Nisse Sniper popped up on a nearby rooftop, trying to take out Father Anderson, however the seasoned Veteran of many battles and expert drinker seemed to be in way better shape than most of my other subordinates and instead disposed of the Nisse with his Viral Rifle! I reminded myself to give Father Anderson a little bonus payment the next time his hire was due…the guy truly was worth every penny every single time!



A Crock Man tried to make up for the Nisse Snipers failute in the center of the battlefield, but one of the new Celestial Guards had apparently brought his Mad Traps along…must have been some sort of special operative at some point I reckoned, and the surprised Crock Man was glued to the ground before he could do any serious damage.


At this point the bit of luck we still had left began running out though as my wrist holo suddenly warned me of a big target appearing on our left flank and rapidly moving towards us.


The target revealed itself to be a bloody Cutter TAG…and instantly proceeded to take out the already wounded Spitfire Crane Agent. One of the Celestial Guards guarding it’s flank actually managed to wound the giant invisible TAG in return, but that only seemed to make the pilot more angry, who instantly proceeded to take out the Celestial Guard.




As the Cutter continued to take out Kanren Umibozu the remaining Crane Agent managed to damage the giant death machine once more, but now she had pulled the things attention to herself and was wounded herself before she managed to hide behind a corner, the giant now heavily damaged death machine doing the same on it’s side.




With the adrenaline clearing some of the alcohol from their body one of the Celestial Guards finally managed to throw a Smoke Grenade in front of me,which I instantly used to take out the heavily damaged Cutter TAG, finally ridding our flank from the PanO Abomination.



I also managed to take out the Sierra Dronbot, but took a wound in return myself.


In the meantime Father Anderson reactivated his Holo Echoes and proceeded to cover my position at ground level.


We quickly found out how much those damn PanO’s wanted to take revenge when one of them, an Akal Commando if my knowledge of PanO troopers was anything to go by, suddenly dropped from the ceiling with his Drop Harness and started opening at the Crane and Celestial Guard team with his Boarding Shotgun!


Taken completely by surprise the initial salvo instantly took our the Celestial Guard Specialist from before, as well as the remaining Crane Agent, leaving only the last Celestial Guard to dash for cover and return fire. Luckily for him the enemy Akal was still a bit unbalanced by his drop, and thus the Celestial Guard managed to take him out even in his drunk state.




In the distance I could hear an agonized scream by one of the PanO soldiers, followed by a sudden explosion from the room in the center of the battle field. Having no clue what was going on I ordered Father Anderson to take look and the remaining Celestial Guard to cover his flank.






All that Father Anderson managed to see where the signs of an Explosion inside of the room, but we didn’t have time to investigate further as the PanO troopers suddenly did a coordinated push on all fronts, taking me and Father Anderson out in the process….



The next thing I remembered was one of the Circulator’s Security Guards slapping me in the face shouting “ARE YOU AWAKE NOW!?” followed by accusations of weapon usage inside of the Circulator which took another 2 hours to clear once the Security Guards finally understood that it wasn’t us starting this fight, but rather the PanO Soldiers that we had met in the Bar before, but by that time there was already no trace of them left in the area, and we where sent back to our ship and put under “house arrest” for the remainder of the flight….for our own security as they proclaimed.

When I meet Father Anderson on the way back he told me that someone had apparently carved the word “TRAITOR” on his back, most likely wanting to finish the job afterwards, but getting interrupted by the Security Guards arrival….for most people such a branding would have been a horrible thing, forcing them to search for skin recovery threatment or other ways of getting rid of the mark, Father Anderson however just shrugged with a smirk and pulled down his shirt a bit further, revealing a series of “HERETIC!” “SCUMBAG!” “CHEATER” and other nasty scar “messages”  on his back, while adding “Just another one for the collection…”


Boy oh boy did I get a beating in this battle report. It was my first battle report against PanO after a loooong time, and I wasn’t very familiar with what PanO can bring to the table, a fact that I paid for heavily throughout the game as I hadn’t taken proper care of my lines of sight, allowing my opponents drop trooper and Cutter to run rampage in my flank and back…

It didn’t help that I couldn’t make a single armor role throughout the whole game, so all I could really do was trying to scratch some points during the mission, and maaaybe grab a draw in the end, but the Coordinated Auxilia Offensive and the Mine in the Control room (I assumed it was a Camo Trooper cause I didn’t know it was possible to lay a mine with minelayer if you are in hidden deployment state) brought an end to that hope quickly…

It was still a very fun battle though and my opponent was a good sports all throughout the game, which made the streak of bad luck only half as bad as it’d normally be. I hope he can forgive me the “my troops where drunk” narrative, but when we talked about his troops finding Father Anderson in a Bar and him hunting him down as a Traitor to PanO, the story just began writing itself, and it fit my terrible rolls so well ;-P

Anyways, this was the last battle Report before Strikezone Wotan starts! Look forward to my next Reports in the Campaign!!

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… 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.



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.



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*






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.



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.


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.



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.



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.


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


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.



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.



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.


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 😉

Chapter 1.15 Lucky Days


I’m not saying a damn thing to you damn ChingChongs!” *Sound of Spit being sucked in and then hitting the ground* 

What the…what did he just say? I’m gonna…” *Sound of swift movement, followed by heavy grunting and panting* “Let me go damn you! I’m gonna gift that bugger a new face before we turn him into a…

Enough! He will give us information first, if you “gift” him with a new face now, I doubt he’ll be able to do so any longer..” *sound of more strained grunting* “But Fu Bao, that idiot knows nothing anyways, we might as well get it over with now!

I said enough Sheng Jing! You will get your opportunity when it’s your time…but for now leave the room please.” *More sounds of strain, then a longer grunt, followed by footsteps slowly moving away, followed by a door sliding open and closed*

Phew…..well, now that that’s taken care off….Mr…Mac Dougal…you claim you won’t tell us “a damn thing”….are you really sure about that? You DO understand that you are in the hands of the Yu Jing Imperial State Service right? Our reputation should preceed us even in areas as remote as Caledonia, we have made sure of that..

H…ha….ha…Imperial Sta…State Service…yeah right…who gives a crap about that? I have heard of you, but that’s all just ChingChong Propaganda! All Talk and no bite! And I know bite when I see it, I have fought alongside Cameronians! You don’t…scare me!

I see….well I’m sorry to hear that, I always prefer for things to go smoothly and without too much hassle…but if this is how you think, I guess we’ll go straight to business….please let me introduce you to your new best friend for the next few hours….Penyou…if you’d be so nice?” *sound of two people walking inside the room*

Sure thing Fu Bao, you can leave this one to me….” *Sound of footsteps, slowly moving away, followed by a door sliding open and closed* “Sooo…hello there little fellow…I’m Tomo Penyou…you can call me Tomo if you want to….when you do howe...”

Bwahahaha Tooooomo……Tooooomo….are you kidding me? What kind of stupid ChingChong Name is that? Aren’t you supposed to be intimidate..PFWUAH!“*sound of heavy impact followed by sound of two small objects bouncing off the floor*

DID I ALLOW YOU TO SPEAK YET YOU FOUL PIECE OF CRAP? AND YOU EVEN DARE TO INTERRUPT ME!???” *Sound of more impacts, followed by sound of a few more small objects bouncing of the floor, as well as liquid dropping on the floor*

*Sound of coughing* “Ehem….where was I? Oh right…You can call me Tomo-chan, but when you do, I expect it to be in answer to my Question…anything else, and I’ll explain you how this works…AGAIN…..understood? Sooo…..why are you Caledonians here in the Neon Dragon….?

Pfwuck chou shlitpfle pitch!” *sound of more liquid dropping on the floor* “Chi wonkt te…” *sound of more heavy impacts*


With an amused smirk on my face I paused the Audio Recording of our Caledonian Prisoner’s Interrogation. Looking down at the written report that had accompanied the Audio file it seemed like the remaining 7 hours and 32 minutes of the Recording had yielded quite a bit of Information.

It seemed like the punky looking Pheasant Agent that I had met the other day had quite the talent for interrogations like this, and unlike the Spec Ops that I had also offered the job to, she was eager to have a talk with the Caledonian the moment she heard about the opportunity.

As I skimmed the report I had to shake my head in disbelieve. Apparently most of the Caledonian Operations in the area had been part of some oddball plan to secure a vast amount of Caledonian Whiskey that had recently been Confiscated by the local Magistrate of Trade. The Caledonians had apparently tried to ship it off to some sort of Caledonian Arsenal Ship near the Wotan Gate, most likely to raise troop morale or something. Problem was, the Atek Caledonians had forgotten to properly fill out the correct shipping documents, and clearing the “mistake” would have taken at least a few weeks of paperwork

Apparently a guy nicknamed “Mac Doc” had been very pissed about the delay though, and had ordered the local Caledonian group we had been dealing with recently to “Deal with it”. Why they choose to do so in such an odd way was beyond me, I’m sure it was supposed to somehow lead to them retrieving the Whiskey in the end, but apparently our interference with their plan had lead them astray quite a bit.

Anyways, flicking the report off my holo screen I leaned back in my chair and stared at the ceiling of the command room for a few seconds. With the Caledonian Secret Base in the area flushed out and quite a few of their brutes taken care off, things would surely calm down in the next few weeks, and maybe I’d finally get some time to get used to this whole new situation.

Just as I was about to reminiscence about my time in The Neon Dragon so far, my wrist Holo Band suddenly started blinking blue. I couldn’t remember assigning blue as a colour for a caller yet, so it was with some confusion that I accepted the incoming call.

As I pressed the blue blinking light a holo image of a quite angry looking Yuki appeared in front of me, remnants of ruined trainings bots and scorched Tatami flooring in the background “Where the heck are you O-san??? I’ve been waiting for you for a whole day!!!

Confused I bent a little forward to be closer to the Holo Image and replied “But…didn’t I tell you to return home after training a bit more??

One of Yuki’s Eyebrows started twitching uncontrollably apparently in rage, a strange sight on an Automatas face for sure. “I did! But you didn’t give me access rights for the door you stupid old man! What was I to do? Blow the door open, compromising the safety of the one place I’m actually supposed to guard in your absence? So….I returned to that Dojo thing to kill some time until you’d return…but you didn’t! And now all the Trainings Dummies are broken and I have nothing more to do!

Realizing what time it was, and that I had actually spent over 24 hours at the Neon-jo without going home, I just bowed in apology to Yuki’s Holo Image and quickly added, one hand held sideways in front of me “Gomen Gomen…I’m on my way now, wait for me outside of the apartment, I should be there in about 15 minutes…” and quickly pressed the button to end the conversation, before Yuki had time for another fit of rage.

Grabbing my Coat from the hanger next to the Command rooms door, I quickly dashed home, ending another day of work in The Neon Dragon….


In the weeks to come things did indeed calm down a little. Crimes remained on the level of drunken Nomads Crews or unsatisfied Haqqislam Traders unhappy with the services of their hired escort ladies, nothing that required any real operation. I finally got around to talking to some of my agents as well, which I shall elaborate on at some other time, and it turned out that I had inherited quite a good collection of subordinates indeed.

I even ended up establishing a sparring plan with the Crane Agent woman that had almost tried to kill me the other day, her name being Wei Rui by the way, and also found a solution for the problem of Yuki’s “free time”.

She obviously received the entrance code to my apartment so that she’d not end up trashing the Dojo again, and I allowed her to leave the apartment during my absence and explore the surrounding areas, claiming that “reconnaissance” and secretly establishing a psychological profile of the people around us would be an important part of her protection job….which apparently resulted in some local ghost stories about a freaky snow ghost woman wandering through the town in the middle of the night, asking people if they where evil, and apparently beating them to a pulp should they be foolish enough to answer “yes” or be rude to her…

So things seemed to be running quite well, and as I sat down on the bench opposite to the little bakery I had started to visit regularly once again one day, I actually started fearing that I had ended up in a boring position with nothing to do besides minor infractions and the odd crackdown on some drug smugglers…..not exactly the things I had had in mind when the Emperor sent me to The Neon Dragon to improve myself….maybe it had been punishment after all…I had heard that the Zhurong Powerplant on Flamia island had somehow, despite our efforts, ended up in Nomad hands, and that we had to pay extraordinary prices to keep operational control over it….

Just as I was about to ponder on that terrible possibility some more though, I could hear a familiar voice that I hadn’t heard for all those weeks from right behind me. “Gratulations General! You are a lucky man indeed!

Confused I turned around to see the Dragon Lady Miyu Onigokko sitting on the bench on the opposite side of the tree, smirking at me with some hidden meaning that I couldn’t figure out at all “What do you mean? I didn’t…” PLINK came a sound from my holo wristband that indicated an important message of sorts and interrupted me.

Quickly I tapped the button and was stunned to see the message seal of the Jade Palace in the form of a coiling moving Jade Dragon pop up from my Holo Display. Knowing that I couldn’t open such an important message in public I shut down the holo display and rose my head up towards the Dragon Lady and uttered a stunned “What did you?“…but she was no longer there.

The Neon Dragon Story Segment 1 END


Chapter 1.14: Battle Report 6: Best Prices Paid

Best Price Paid.png

As the Neon Lights of the City turned on one after the other, turning the surrounding streets into a nimbus of colours and schemes, my strike team and I were just about to reach the outer areas of the Onxy Tiger subterranean shopping centre known as “Wong’s Best Prices”.

Not exactly a glamorous name, and not exactly the best area of the City either, but considering that we were expecting the Caledonian base to be something along the line of a secret underground base hidden somewhere behind some narrow maintenance corridor, realizing that their hideout was actually in a brightly lit shopping centre which even was accessible by cars, was kind of a nice surprise.

Apparently the access hatches we had uncovered eventually lead here, serving as some sort of emergency rescue corridors for the underground facilities, and the Caledonian Scoundrel had just been using them to secretly sneak around the areas above.

The Caledonian “Base of operation” also turned out to be little more than a block of buildings taken over by the thugs, but our infiltrator suggested that they were actually packing some heavy firepower in there, so careful approach was required.

As we came closer a short data burst arrived over the battle network and the image of an animated racoon wearing a scarf and a huge sake gourd on its back suddenly flashed up on my helmet display. Striking a dramatic pose with one hand stretched out and one behind the head the Racoon started to shake his head sideways and stomp down with one of his feet in front of him, while proclaiming “Yooooooo Taichoooooo!!! …” the part was followed by a “Dudunkun” drum sound “Beware there are some S.A.S Infiltrators lying in ambush, apparently they know we’re coming…”. Once this short message was delivered the Racoon stood upright, made a ninja hand gesture in front of him, and disappeared into a cloud of smoke with a nod, finally leaving me with a clear helmet display again.

I’d most likely never fully understand how Kabuki Queen’s mind worked, but at least she was good at her job, and it was fun to be around her, even if it was sometimes hard to know whether you actually where around her or not.

IMG_20161005_191207.jpgISS Army.jpgIMG_20161005_191240.jpgIMG_20161005_191430.jpgCaledonian ArmyIMG_20161005_191342.jpgIMG_20161005_191352.jpg Warned about the ambush I quickly sent Kanren Umibozu ahead to pinpoint the location of the ambush, and then took position on a nearby building that allowed for a good view of the surrounding area, including parts of the Caledonian base. “Lotus Justice” took position right next to me, and Father Anderson was covering the approach to my right with his deadly Viral Rifle.

The main body of my strike team, a formation of the two newly arrived Crane Agents and 3 Celestial Guards, where positioned behind the building I was covering to allow for quick deployment where needed.

As the first Caledonian soldiers came into view, I gave the sign to start the operation, and on my mark a smoke grenade from one of the celestial guards popped open right in front of me, covering my whole rooftop in a smoke screen.

Instantly my field of view changed a little as the Multi Spectral Visor of my Hsien Armour took over and compensated for the smoke, allowing me a clear view right through the smoke and at the enemies behind it.

The moment my smoke screen rose up some sort of automated alarm arose from the Caledonian base, and a archaic looking rocket platform that had previously been hidden behind a cardboard box sprung to live, shedding its cardboard skin and scanning the surrounding area for targets for its deadly payload.

Not too keen of the idea of fighting a mobile rocket launcher platform I still decided that I was in the best position to take care of it, and thus I aimed my hand crafted heavy machine gun at the thing and opened up fire through the smoke.

Apparently the sensors of the rocket platform where too weak to penetrate my smoke screen even though I fired right through it, and so a measly attempt of the thing to move back a little in hopes of avoiding some of the slugs coming its way was all it could do before it got shredded to pieces by the storm of my bullets.


Opening up the internal communication channels I messaged a quick “Beware, enemy automated weapon platforms spotted…..”


I swear it ladies, that’s exactly how it happened! There I was, standing on this god forsaken rooftop in the middle of some run down shopping mall called “Wangs wobbly Wiener” or something like that. And just as I was down on my knees, praying together with my Holo Echoes for the Lord to cleanse this filthy place…..what? Why with the Holo Echoes you ask? Obviously the more pray the better right? Don’t be stupid, of course that matters! But let me continue on damn it, and bring me another glass of Champaign, my throat is getting sore…”

Aaah…that’s better, now where was I? Oh right, praying to the Lord to cleanse the filthy bunghole that was that place. So right after I prayed and stood back up, making the sign of the cross on my chest, I notice some strange movement right on the other side of the street where the communication array and the boxes of orange juice had been standing…..only the boxes of Orange Juice where gone! And instead of them there was this big metallic Atek looking thing now, scanning the surroundings with a red laser beam. And what did it have on its back? A bunch of bloody rockets!!”

So as I instantly duck down into cover and aimed my trusty little rifle “Judgement” at the thing, my com suddenly bursts into action and the Commander warns us of some sort of automated weapon platform…..a little too fucking late I think to myself as I aim down my sight at the thing. But then, just as I was about to squeeze the trigger and pepper the thing with sweet sweet Justice, everything suddenly turns red! The damned thing had pointed its laser scanner at my sight and had blinded me!! “

Now you know, every other fucker out there with less experience than me would have cowered down in panic right then and there, but not me you know, I’ve fought blinded more often than most of those Caledonian dogs that day had ever fought in their entire life! So I just shut my eye and looked through the sight with my other eye, but I was too late!! The last thing I saw that day was a large puff of smoke as the thing shoot a salvo of rockets my way, and I shit you not, one of that damn things exploded right in my damn face, knocking me unconscious!”

WHAT DO YOU MEAN I’M FULL OF SHIT? I’m telling you that’s how I got this scar right there; I took a bloody rocket to the face! And I live to tell the tale, the Lord’s my witness! What? Yeah sure you can touch it, but only if I can touch yours as well! Mwahaha!”

Excerpt from Chapter 2.5 “Father Anderson, Legend or Liar” of “Drunk and Delirious, Bar Stories from The Neon Dragon”, recorded by Chu Bu Ju for Maya Net.

A moment after I sent my warning I could see the rooftop next to me turn into a giant fireball, as one of the automated rocket platforms apparently found Father Anderson and peppered his position with rockets.


Pretty sure that even that tough son of a gun wouldn’t be able to stay operational after a salvo like that I quickly opened Coms again “Strike Team, Anderson has been taken out, please proceed to flank the weapon platform with utmost care and then advance for the left flank.”

A short “Roger that” confirmed my order, and a moment later I could see the squad advance from behind the building, and the Crane Agent with the Spitfire open up fire at the Rocket pod across the street.

A series of metallic screeches sounded the apparent success of the Crane Agent in taking down the thing, and with a nod towards my position, the Strike team advanced forward towards the left flank.


As they came around a huge planter the strike team suddenly stood right in front of a 5 man team of Caledonian Volunteers, led by a Highlander Grey and accompanied by some sort of redheaded girl with what looked like a primitive hacking device below her feet.


Without hesitation the Crane Agent let his Spitfire do the talking once more, and during a prolonged fire fight, he mowed down all 5 of them, as well as a S.A.S agent that had revealed himself at some point during the fire right in an attempt to ambush the Crane Agent.


At this point the Caledonians finally managed to assemble something that resembled a counter attack, and driven by the thirst for vengeance for their fallen comrades, and the smell of blood in the air, two Cameronians and a 45 Highlander suddenly popped in the open right across the street.

Apparently the creatures hadn’t seen me taking out their rocket platform as both of them instantly started throwing smoke grenades in their path. I let them both pay for their stupidity by ripping one apart with my HMG, and heavily wounding the other one, my Multi Spectral Visor once again allowing me to see right through their smoke grenades.


Since “Lotus Justice” didn’t have a Multi Spectral Visor she wasn’t as lucky and her shoots didn’t manage to connect to any of them, but her suppression fire still managed to severely restrict the movements of the wounded Cameronian.

The 45th Highlander that had also popped up in my field of view was smarter than his Cameronian counterparts, which isn’t hard when compared to half human half dog creatures, and managed to dodge behind a nearby building, apparently searching for an entrance to reach Kabuki Queen, who was hiding inside of said building.


Apparently the Caledonian commander had had enough of me mowing down his troops, and a Cateran revealed himself on a roof of the Caledonian hideout, opening up fire on me with his T2 Sniper rifle from just outside of my Suppression fire range. Knowing of the deadly potential of these weapons I quickly went prone behind my cover as a bullet luckily bounced off my armour…the Emperors present already showing it’s priceless worth!

With me out of the picture for now, the Caledonians grew bolder again, and the wounded Cameronian circled the little fast food stall that Kabuki Queen was hiding in, in an attempt to crawl through the window to get to her, but he apparently hadn’t thought about “Lotus Justice”, who now took the opportunity of a smoke free shot to finish off the wounded Cameronian!


Giving up on Kabuki Queen the Highlander then proceeded to throw a smoke Grenade on the street, and the enemy commander, a female Moramaer, used this to advance towards a favourable firing position, ignoring the bullets of “Lotus Justice” that where bouncing uselessly off her heavy armour plates.


While his commander advanced, a Caledonian Engineer took the opportunity to advance towards the Rocket Platform that had previously taken out Father Anderson, and with a few routine movements and a lot of luck, he managed to repair the bullet riddled thing back into operation, the search laser glowing back into action and instantly scanning its surroundings.


With the initiative back in our hands I instantly took the opportunity to shoot at the enemy commander, fully aware that his weapon was more than capable of wounding me, but unwilling to let go of this opportunity to put a quick end to this battle.

The ensuing fire fight was a rough one as countless bullets came flying in both directions, my superior position giving me the advantage in the offense, but the Moramaers heavy armour making her almost impervious to my bullets. After a while however the superior amount of firepower and the better position won the fire fight in my favour as the enemy commander first took a wound in the arm, and as she stumbled yet another one straight to the neck, right in between her helmet and chest plate.


Slowly getting surrounded on all sides and with their commander taken out, the Caledonians decided that it was time to fight another day, and as one of the S.A.S whisked away the body of her Commander, they retreated from the battlefield, leaving their base behind, my agents hot on their heels.


Most of them got away, their superior knowledge of the area allowing them to vanish, but not all of them where so lucky….


Damn my commander for forcing me out here into the open with nothing but a Traktor Mul to protect me… ;-( “

It’s your duty Jeoffrey, don’t be an arse.”

What do you mean it’s my duty? I’m an Engineer, I fix things, not shoot them, if I had wanted to shoot stuff I would have become a Moramaer…”

You’re a Combat Engineer, Combat, you know, the thing where you shoot others?”

Oh screw you Bourne, you know full well that there are no normal Engineering positions to be had around here, who would want a Caledonian Engineer in The Neon Dragon? They’d just laugh at me and walk away with their Holo shit and Cyber Yadayada..”

Tough life man, now shut the fuck up and do your job, shouldn’t you be guarding the area instead of writing here? You know them Asians, all Ninjas and shit…”

Yeah right…Ninjas…as if. Wait a sec, something is not right with the Traktor Mul…”

Everything alright there?”

Yeah don’t worry man, the power supply just seems to have gone out again, guess it got hit harder than I thought…just wait a sec…”


Haaa haaa, very funny Bourne, would you stop the crap? I’m kind of busy here you know!”

What are you even talking about you fool?”

That dancing Racoon that just appeared on my system diagnostics screen, very funny, now cut the crap and let me work, if that thing isn’t working I’m fucked when one of them Asians come around…”


Bourne? Come on now, stop it! I’m serious!”





Bourne is not here anymore…”

What the….who are you?”


Saved internal Chat protocol of Caledonian Prisoner Jeoffrey Mc Dougal before his apprehension by Agent Codename “Kabuki Queen”.


Sorry Everyone for the extremely long break between my last story and this Battle Report. During the last month of my wive’s pregnancy and in the months afterwards I simply wasn’t in the mood to calmly sit down and prepare the pictures for the story I had already written…and I didn’t want to force myself either, so this one was sitting on the bench for like half a year! (Crazy how quickly time flies by when you have two small children!)

Now that I am starting to get some hobby time again, and am finally back in the mood to actually use it to play games, I decided that it was time to reactivate my Blog and get things rolling again, so hopefully you will see more happening here soon, even though it’ll most likely be at a slower pace than before….unless my Operation Wotan Hype gets too big and I start going crazy with games again ;-P

Sorry if some of the texts can’t be read properly, I still need to relearn some of the things I did before my half year break…I hope my quality will rise soon!

A little sidenote from way back when I wrote this report:

Out battle got cut short a bit by my son parking a bunch of cars on the table and having to go to bed, so it ended a little bit earlier than it could have, but the winner was pretty clear at this point anyways, my wife having heavily underestimated the brutal firepower of both my Hsien Agent and my Crane Link Team.

I hope you liked the new style of battle report with the short extra stories from the perspective of other participants of the battle, I had a lot of fun writing them for sure 😉

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 1.10 : Street Performance


The clean-up after the attack on the Aleph A.I. Node took the rest of the day, and by the time I finally finished my report the Neon lights where already the only light to be seen on the outside as I left Neon-jo through the actual exit instead of the elevator directly home I’d usually use.

I had decided that, if my day off had been cut short so harshly, I’d at least spend my evening in a more relaxing way. Of course exiting through what was basically a castle gate and being greeted by the slightly panicked stares of people nearby who then quickly turned away to not look even more suspicious to the most likely Imperial Service guy leaving the Neon-jo, wasn’t exactly relaxing, but two blocks and a street crossing later I had already blended into the crowd and turned into just another random guy walking along the street.

It was at this time that I think The Neon Dragon shows it’s most interesting and beautiful side. The streets are filled with all sorts of night life, be it business men and women who after their long hours of work finally get to buy their groceries, or spend the evening with their colleagues or friends in one of the countless Izakayas that litter the side streets, or the countless prostitutes and street performers vying for the attention of the passing by crowd.

As I walked along the street, staring at the moving crowd and the countless neon lights above it, I almost crashed into a young woman dressed in a Maid outfit which appears to have had some sort of body modification that actually gave her real cat ears and a tail. As I bowed in apology and hastily accepted the advertisement card for her Maid Café to make up for my carelessness to her, I wondered for a while about the double standards of the Yu Jing society when it came to stuff like that. Body modifications like blue skin, extra arms or glowing eyes, stuff that you’d see in every bar of “The Gulping Toad” when a Nomad trade ship has recently landed, where usually frowned upon, and where actually forbidden in most areas of Yu Jing. But when it comes to old Asian fetishes like unnaturally big eyes, cat modifications or stuff like that, even the law seemed to simply ignore it.

Amused I dropped the thought and continued onwards, leaving the cat maid behind as I made my way to a small plaza where the crowd had formed little rings around street performers. The ring I eventually ended up in surrounded a pair of artists that where drawing paintings in the air with some sort of semi liquid floating substance that shimmered in different colours, and somehow stayed in exactly the places where the artist put them with over emphasised elegant hand gestures , eventually forming what looked like a traditional Japanese ink drawing of an ocean with a Torii in it.

Stunned by the beauty of the floating picture and considering whether to buy it for home or not, I almost didn’t feel the hand of the pickpocket, slowly sliding over my wrist holo in attempt to transfer some credits with some sort of low level hacking program.

Quickly grabbing the wrist of the wannabe thief I forcefully twisted it around which resulted in a painful yelp from my soon to be prisoner, followed with a panicked “Let me go! I didn’t do anything wrong!”. Raising an eyebrow I looked down at the thieve that was easily a head shorter than me and asked in a disappointed voice “Really? That’s what you are going with?”

Just as a rueful smirk appeared on the thieves face and I grabbed for a restraint band from my belt, the crowd suddenly started screaming in surprise as a human came flying in right through them and the beautiful picture, to land right on one of the artists that smashed into the ground with him.

The crowd quickly parted along the flying corridor of the person, revealing a huge half wolf half man creature that I quickly identified as a Cameronian of sorts. Apparently in the spectator ring next to ours, a pair of Scottish foreigners had been holding a wrestling contest, and something must have gone terribly wrong.

The Cameronian howled a rage filled challenge to the man that had just ruined the lovely picture, and in response to it the thrown man picked himself up from the ground, and started panting like a mad man, his muscles twitching and moving like crazy. With a howl even more rage filled than his challengers, the man suddenly started a painful looking transformation into what would eventually become a Cameronian as well. His muscles started deforming, his joints and bones making snapping noises all over his body and as his face started to grow into a long snout, he also grew in height and muscle mass right before our eyes.

Eventually most of his clothes ripped apart, except for his Quilt which seemed to have been made specifically with a transformation like that in mind, and we could see fur growing all over the Beast man’s body.

Before the Cameronian could finish his transformation, the other one was already rushing towards him through the quickly building corridor. The beast was obviously so furious or ignorant about other people’s lives that he simply stomped over one of the fleeing viewers that didn’t make it out of the way fast enough, the person’s leg breaking with a loud crunching noise followed by a pain riddled squeal from the balding fat business man.

Realizing that if the fight between those two would continue, even more innocent bystanders would get hurt, most of all the artist that still lay at the feet of the second Cameronian, frozen in fear from the transformation happening right in front of him, I sighed in frustration and unsheathed my Tanto that I always had at my side.

Shouting with as much authority as I could I jumped in the path of the onrushing beast “IMPERIAL SERVICE! STOP RIGHT THERE OR I’LL DROP YOU!!”.

Oh how I had wished for my heavy suite of armour right then and there. Obviously the enraged giant Cameronian wasn’t very impressed by my threat, most likely because the blade of my Tanto was barely longer than the claws on his hands, and so it continued to rush on towards his adversary, almost ignoring me if it wasn’t for the fact that he was preparing his right arm to flick me aside.

Now to be honest, what I was about to do was a very VERY bad idea, and almost everyone else would have wasted his live meaninglessly in a situation like that right then and there, and there was a good chance that I would be one of those persons anyways. But to my defence, I have to add that I have been fighting against Caledonians of all sorts for the majority of my recent campaigns, and have faced my fair share of Cameronians as well, giving me experience in fighting them that most others would not have.

So as the giant beast came crashing at me, swinging at me with his trunk like arm and claws, I rolled forward right towards and under the arm that he was swinging at me, avoiding the razor sharp claws by only a hairs width, which I noticed by the fact that I was missing quite a bit of them after the battle was over, and slashed at his ankle with my Tanto.

The masterfully forged blade, a family heirloom for several generations, cut through the creatures skin and muscles like paper, resulting in a pained howl from the creature as it stumbled and fell right next to the other Cameronian.

I was hoping for a moment that the other Cameronian would spare me the trouble and finish off the wounded other one, but no dice, it seemed like the fact that I wounded one of them, somehow remembered the two fools that they were actually on the same side, at least when compared to my side, and so, once the wounded Cameronian made it back to his feet, both of them decided to dash at me.

By this point most of the crowd had left the area, with only the thrill seekers and mad ones remaining within viewing distance, and so I had enough room to push my arm forward and pressing the activation switch on my holo wristband.

At first nothing seemed to happen, and the Cameronians just came crashing onwards towards me, one even smirking at the moronic gesture I was making towards them as if that’d stop them, but then the smirk turned into pain riddled surprised howl as his fur suddenly evaporated, quickly followed by chunks of skin and muscle, and eventually even bone.

The other Cameronian jumped to the side while his comrade quickly disintegrated into bio sludge, quick enough to avoid any major damage, but not fast enough to avoid it completely. Realizing that I had some sort of unseen weapon, a Nanopulser to be precise, the Cameronian snarled at me in anger, and quickly turned around to flee.

He was limping as the Nanites had already begun eating away at one of his legs before he managed to jump away, which, knowing the normal speed of Cameronians, was the only reason I decided to dash after him. Even limping the Cameronian was very fast, his tall stature allowing for extremely long strides, forcing me to run at full speed behind him to keep up.

Seeing me chasing him the half man half creature’s wobbling run took on a frantic nature, which wasn’t exactly typical for Cameronian warriors, but after seeing what had happened to his comrade, was only understandable.

I followed the Cameronian for several minutes, jumping over various obstacles that the beast man threw in my way while doing so. If it wasn’t for my artificially enhanced muscles and lungs I would have had to drop the chase long ago, as a normal human’s constitution simply didn’t stand up to a Cameronian one, but even with those enhancements I was beginning to lose ground on him, even though his wounds where slowing him down as well as he lost more and more blood over time.

Just as I thought I’d have to drop my chase before dying of asphyxiation, the Cameronian turned around a corner into a dark alley way, and as I dashed into the alley way behind him, he was gone.

Instinctively dropping down on the ground to maybe avoid a possible ambush I scanned the alley way, but no matter how I looked at it, the Cameronian wasn’t there anymore. The surrounding buildings where too tall for the creature to jump on, even given their extremely powerful legs, and there was no other obvious way to leave the alley way either.

Out of breath and not happy with the idea of searching through the area almost unarmed and on my own, I did what I should have done long ago before even charging after the Cameronian, I clicked on my holo wristband, and contacted Neon-jo for backup. Maybe the Caledonians had a hideout in the area with some hidden access pointsthat the beast man had used, which ment….it was time for a little recon!