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Author Topic: (Golden Lion AU) Hachiman, Hard Boiled (Complete, Comments welcome)  (Read 15724 times)

AlphaMirage

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Re: (Golden Lion AU) Hachiman, Hard Boiled Ch14 p2
« Reply #90 on: 12 August 2022, 08:40:07 »
Miya woke with a start at the smell of ammonia salts pulling her head back so violently that if the pillow wasn’t there, she would have cracked her head on the chair. She found herself in an unfamiliar place, panicked, and hyperventilating. An assertive man’s voice and hand on her shoulder was reassuring even as the world was still spinning beneath her.
“Apologies Miss Kibo. I didn’t expect you to pass out otherwise I would have better prepared you.”

She looked intently at the printout, her account had One Million, Thirty Thousand Ryu and 47 Yen in available funds. It was right there in black and white no matter how many times she read it or turned the paper around. “There must be some mistake.”
The manager pointed toward an embossed glyph that appeared as a graceful crane. “As you can see Keeper Constance’s seal is on the paperwork. There is no error.”
“I can’t accept this.”
“You would refuse a boon from the Kuritas. That is unwise young lady, they may be insulted.”
“It was only supposed to be ten thousand. For reimbursement of my dress.

I didn’t do anything to warrant this. I... I… I only did my job.”
“Constance Kurita seems to disagree.”


Adrenaline surged through her as survival instinct kicked in, “Do I need to reserve some for taxes?”
“Clan Boons are tax free. Ultimately the Imperial Treasury and Mint are at the Coordinator’s disposal.”
“Then I suppose I must accept then.”
“A Clan Boon comes with certain conditions, but I am confident that an upstanding public servant like yourself meets all of them. Failure to meet them however will result in harsh punishment up to a death of your choosing.”


He moved the initial account statements off to the side and opened a fresh stamp pad of bright crimson.
“First Condition, by sealing this you verify that you are in fact the recipient, Miya Kibo, of Masamori presently employed by the MMK, and have not lived under any other name or as a fugitive of the law.”

Bright Crimson leaves on the hills of the Hanamachi, iron pot, bloodstains on tatami mats and another girl's white makeup.

Stamp

“Second condition, that you have not engaged in, provided support for, or conspired with seditious or treasonous elements opposed to the Draconis Combine, its vassals, or allies The Azami Caliphate and Capellan Colonies.”

Bright Crimson, Arson, murder, sabotage, one man's freedom fighter is another's rebel terrorist.

Stamp

“Third condition.
That this boon will not be willingly used to forward criminal enterprise or any other dishonorable or illegal activity within the borders of the Draconis Combine. Nor that it will be invested in foreign securities and thus directly or indirectly fund the enemies of the Draconis Combine.”


Stamp

The final stamp crashed into the wood like a gavel on the courtroom bench. She looked at it seeing with relief that it was still intact before cleaning off the remaining ink. Ink that might as well have been her own blood. Blood freely given in kindness that now flowed over the page. Binding her to another devil's contract accepted under duress.

“I will confirm that I witnessed these with the branch stamp and have them filed away. The funds will be released by the time you exit the building.”

Miya started toward the door, “Oh, and Miss Kibo if you need any investment advice or financial services do feel free to utilize our bank’s options.”

“I will take it under consideration.”
She curtly bowed to him maintaining as much poise as she could manage, “Thank you.”

Coins poured into a phone booth outside as she dialed it in. A modulated voice answered her, “You are behind on your payments, Miya.”
“I have your money. It was a bank problem.”
“That doesn’t matter. We expected you to honor our contract.”
“I will pay the penalty.”
“You will, one way or another.
Tonight, same place, bring it all.”
“Understood.”


As the adrenaline faded her cold, cruel, hard world seemed to close around her like a tomb. She sighed as the phone was hung up before being overcome with shivering. Fear or cold she couldn’t tell. There was only one way to find out and finally she could see a way forward.

AlphaMirage

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Re: (Golden Lion AU) Hachiman, Hard Boiled
« Reply #91 on: 12 August 2022, 22:40:23 »
Ferries shuttled between Headwaters and Murasaki on the other side of a foggy river. A woman watched them pass through glass in a warm café. Even bundled up from knee-high boots to the hood of her waist length coat she was unable to combat the chill, although fresh brewed tea helped. Her plain canvas backpack occupied the inside of the noodle shop bench within the terminal.
“Nice outfit Miya-chan. Are those new?”
“You know they are Reika. I missed the fall specials…and well the fall. Masamori is freezing now, and I hate it.”
“No need to be so dramatic. It’s just a little nippy out there.”
“For you maybe. I got used to the sweltering heat of the jungle. Your letters helped me get through the rainy season. To know I have friends back…home that support me. It meant a lot.”
“Well, we were all rooting for you. Our little rookie, the MechWarrior cadet.”


Both exchanged smiles as lunch arrived and Corporal Reika Ya’an sat across from her as Miya took in the woman’s appearance after their brief absence. “The new uniforms look good. Well cut, blue with black striping. Very professional I can’t wait to pick up mine.”
“They are already waiting. We didn’t know when you were going to come back.
You are not looking so bad yourself. I don’t think I’ve seen you with a tan before and you’re looking lean and mean. Like a MechWarrior should.”


Miya choked on her broth and noodles so much that Reika leaned in to assist her but was pushed away, “I didn’t complete the training…”
“But you were so excited. What happened?”
“It wasn’t my thing. I guess.
So, I quit.”

“Power abuse?”

“Idiot Officers…and I wanted something different, real.”


Reika leaned forward with her card in hand for the bill, “Well let me be the first to welcome you back.”
Her partner grabbed her wrist before she could, “This one is on me senpai.”
“You insist?”

Miya nodded, paid the tab, and waited a bit before pulling a stuffed envelope out of her backpack and placed it on her side of the table. “This is what I owe you. You have been very kind but I want to make us square.”

“Are you sure? You’re not getting that raise from MechWarrior status and you only got the base rate for your backpay. No overtime, special assignments, or bonuses.
You never missed a loose shift and always volunteered.”

“Please take it.”


Strangers gave them side glances and Reika hesitated to put the envelope into her bag, “You know Miya. If people didn’t know us. Well, they might think you are paying off a uniformed police officer in public.”

She chuckled and gave an awkward embarrassed smile, looking toward one of the strangers, “I am a cop too. We’re friends, having lunch together.”

Have you been drinking?
You are acting strange..er.”

“I wish! Maybe when I get back to my place.”
“You know if anything is wrong. We’ll do what we can right?”
“Thank you, Reika, but I’m fine. Just tired.
The discharge and flight back took most of two days.

I’ll be back on duty sometime next week.”


Despite the bizarre exchange Reika placed a hand on her shoulder as she almost departed, “See you around then kiddo.”
“It’s Kibo!”

“I know, but you need to ease up. You look tense.
Get a massage,
or a boyfriend.

Or a boyfriend, that is a masseur.”

“Why are you always trying to hook me up with people?”
“It’s how I show my friendship. I expect reciprocity if you happen to know anybody.”
“I’ll keep my eyes open.”
“Promise.”
“I promise.”


Within a Love Hotel on the other side of the river bank Miya sat next to stacks of Ryu on the bed. A glass of amber whiskey, top shelf or what passed for it here, gently caressed her hand. The door opened to a black man in a white suit with a purple tie over his lavender shirt.
"Where's the normal guy?"
His accent was artificially cultured, Davion, and falsetto. "Am I not good enough for you Miss Kibo, or whatever your name actually is."
He sat down next to her and poured himself a shot from the same bottle. "Yet I am the one Watanabe-sama sent, and don't try any of those fancy Geisha charms Miya. I quite enthusiastically bat for the other team."
"The Jirigawa's money is there. Count it if you like."
"I trust that your pretty head can count. I do wonder though.
How can an innocent young policewoman come up with sixty thousand Ryu on such short notice, in cash?
Is she involved in some criminal activity? The public must know."
"They won't."
"That remains to be seen. This is your second strike. Your first one was quite grand, very clever escaping from our snakeheads and joining the police thinking it makes you untouchable.
There are only two types of people in Masamori Miya, Sharks and Bait."


The Yakuza collector leaned forward to her, hooking two of his fingers into her cheek and pulling sharply upward.
"The real thrill of fishing is the fight. If you wanted to eat fish, you use a net, but that is not how Watanabe sees it.
He likes to watch his bait wriggle on the hook. Right now your struggles entertain him.
However, if you falter even the slightest. The Sharks will strike.
So don't get to comfortable Miya, your freedom and friends depend on it."

AlphaMirage

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Re: (Golden Lion AU) Hachiman, Hard Boiled
« Reply #92 on: 13 August 2022, 23:47:46 »
12/03/3046
The past few days Miya had gotten used to Masamori’s chill but that didn’t mean some extra warmth wasn’t appreciated. She stood in a collection of gossiping young women wearing long coats and little else beneath in a pool of light under a propane heating tower. Rumbling heavy truck traffic and loud, honking motorcycles on the other side of a sheet metal wall.

“Frankie, no he doesn’t come in here much. Too local for him. Most his crew are just underage peepers and known to the bouncer. Except for Esper, she is cute and growing up nice. Sometimes she stops by for a chat or advice dealing with too many teen boys.
Sakamoto likes the exotic imports out in Srinagar. Even though we’re right here. Who does he think he is. A Prince or something?
His crew hasn’t been in since the shootout either.
Another week and I am sure Tuyen will be back and greasing our palms…and other places.
Well, hopefully everything will be less unsettled Hana, so I don’t know.
Those Tikonovians were creeps anyway. I hear they preferred host clubs and those bath clubs.
What do you care about all this stuff anyway? Miya, right?”


Miya had peered too far, too long, too quickly. It was sloppy detective work. She needed to make an exit and fast. “I saw his name in the news. About the shootout.”
 “They didn’t print that in the Metro. I heard it from one of my girlfriends.
Are you a cop? If so, you’ve got no jurisdiction here!”

The other women turned toward her pointing ferociously, “This is all DCPA! and rough. Frankie is one of the better guys around here. With him around we only need one form of protection.”
“I’m not a cop.”
“Then scram!”


She was pushed out onto the Yoshitune’s sodden nighttime streets under the glowing neon lights of the ‘Bunny Bar.’ The doorman (armed as far as she could tell by the lay of his jacket) looked at her then back to future customers queuing behind pole barriers. “Getting kicked out of a strip club is new. Normally they just think I’m competition or looking for companionship. I must be losing my touch.”

A constant stream of traffic accompanied her, “How am I going to get him to trust me then?”
In panic she disappeared into a side alley dominated by decaying pallets and the smell of machine oil from the nearby workshops. Once more she opened her tablet consulting Franklin Sakamoto’s (long) MMK file, looking for anything relevant. He seemed to have a weakness towards girls in trouble, a fast trigger finger, dislike for the Jirigawas, and a criminal history that read like a resume for the perfect man to help her unique…situation. Preferably without ending dead, in jail, trapped in Ukiyo, or on a prison brig back home to a worse fate.
“His role in the shootout in Neon Arcade is not even in the damn report!
What the hell! A cover up? Who has that kind of access? What else is missing?”


Most of the pallets had the Isesaki Shipping logo emblazoned on them. “******! I’ll just ask him myself.”

AlphaMirage

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Re: (Golden Lion AU) Hachiman, Hard Boiled, TnD1
« Reply #93 on: 19 August 2022, 17:21:43 »
Interlude - Tiger Mom
05/28/3023

The richly decorated Pagoda (for Luthien Officers) emerged like a black and red pillar from the green hills within the Imperial City. Its apparent height equal only by Unity Palace ensuring it was regularly used as a landmark by those giving directions as the Complex’s mazelike roads were built for aesthetic rather than practical reasons. Three men sat down at a stone Go table, each polished piece sparkled under the clear sky like gemstones.

“Your move, Isoroku-san.” 

He paused for a moment taking three short breaths before going for the jugular. His companions stared at the board before realizing they were only two moves from defeat. “Well played.”
“Tai-Sho Conti and I played every day while I was in the Fifth
(Sword of Light).”
“Palmer Conti, the prodigal Pagoda Officer.”
“We have a reputation. How we manage it is our choice.”


Isoroku felt his hair tingle and his subconscious heard the armed men approaching him, every Kurita in the palace developed a sixth sense if they wanted to stay ahead of the pack. He watched his companion’s faces blanch as two armed Otomo in black and gold, not just because of one’s skin and the other’s hair approached him from behind. “Magnus, Yasuke, is it two already?”
“No Isoroku, still slightly past eleven. We have been asked to escort you to the Palace.”
“On what business?”
“Private, I suppose. We didn’t get briefed.”
“I see. Very well.
Thank you for the game, Shinju.
Nolan. Enjoy the rest of your day.”


With a slight bow his opponents took up positions opposite each other as they reset the board and continued practicing. Isoroku positioned himself slightly ahead of his sparring partners as they sped through the Imperial City’s gardens and orchards toward the Imperial Palace.

Coordinator Takashi Kurita looked ghostly pale but managed to dominate the presence of the four men from atop the Chrysanthemum Throne with every gesture and move of his brow. The throne room was blanketed in a smothering silence without the cavalcade of Kuri, courtiers, and Otomo that normally filled its serpentine chambers. Magnus and Yasuke kept a comfortable distance from Isoroku who stood exposed to his uncle’s silent evaluation beneath a ruby skylight. They grew visibly more uncomfortable as Takashi refused to address them for agonizing minutes.

“Isoroku-san, do you know why I have summoned you?”
“I do not Coordinator. Please enlighten me.”


Takashi stood up from his throne, descended the dais and the Otomo backed away from the pair.
“Last night someone living in this palace poisoned me, almost killing me.”
 
A gasp erupted from the three men, but Takashi silenced them with a wave of his hand.
“The assailant was captured before they could commit suicide and has confessed to their crimes.
What shall I do with them?”

“Who was it Coordinator?”
“Does that matter Isoroku? Are they not a traitor for trying to kill me?”


Dumbfounded, Isoroku paused before giving his response, “You are correct Coordinator. The crime of treason should be met with summary execution regardless of whomever committed it.”

“Normally, I would have summarily executed them myself however their poison has temporarily robbed me of my strength.”
Takashi Kurita unsteadily offered Isoroku his sword. “So, you must do it nephew.”

“You want me to kill this traitor with your sword?”
“Yes. Are you even listening?”

“Apologies Coordinator, I was not expecting to execute someone today.”
“If you are to be even considered as my heir rather than my vagabond son you must be ready for anything at all times.”


Isoroku accepted the ceremonial but still deadly sword and drew it. For the first time he saw the whorls of acid etched Damascus steel which had been reforged multiple times over seven centuries up close in his twenty-seven years. He tucked the sheathed blade to his belt and took a moment to tie his sleeves back. “Are you ready Isoroku?”

“I am.”

“Good.”
Takashi looked toward the wings of the Throne Room, “Hideyoshi, bring forth the traitor that dared to poison her Coordinator and not save any for herself.”

Another Otomo soldier stood behind a woman in black who even hobbled by shackles carried herself with same regal grace and poise that attracted Miyamoto Kurita to her. Her beauty was faded, skin alabaster white where not bruised, contrasting sharply with her tangled black hair.

All three were equally stunned as Kareena Kurita stepped atop the dais before being forced to her knees before Takashi and Isoroku.

“Mother?"

PsihoKekec

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Re: (Golden Lion AU) Hachiman, Hard Boiled
« Reply #94 on: 20 August 2022, 05:20:03 »
Talk about lose-lose situation on downward horrific scale.
Shoot first, laugh later.

AlphaMirage

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Re: (Golden Lion AU) Hachiman, Hard Boiled, Tiger Mom ptII
« Reply #95 on: 21 August 2022, 17:18:47 »
“Why would you do this mother?”

Kareena attempted to rise but was held firm by Oda Hideyoshi. “You are the proper heir to the Draconis Combine Isoroku. Theodore is a weak brat, spoiled by his mother. I raised you to be a Samurai like your father.” She looked over toward Magnus and Yasuke who nervously put their hands around the Nambu’s jutting from their cavalry holsters like Isoroku’s Katana.
“Hurry son!
Those men are your friends.

Draw your sword.
 
Strike Takashi down without hesitation!
Become the new Coordinator before they can even react and they will follow you.

Even Theodore wouldn’t oppose you.
Fates know he yearns to do the same for suffering under his own father’s cruelty.
He would have you even execute your own mother for him.”

“Did you poison Takashi?”

“My only regret is underestimating the dose required.”

“Takashi took us in after my father died and raised me as his own son.
This isn’t what he would have wanted.”

“What he may have felt matters not.
Your father is dead!
You live for now but do you think even if you do kill me that Takashi won’t do the same to you?”


He drew the ancient katana whose mirrored finish caught the ruby light from above. An audible gasp rose from the assembled Otomo as Isoroku held it outward like a sword aflame. “Only one way to find out.”

Kareena Kurita’s head dropped to the dais with a squelch as Isoroku let out a mighty kiai overcoming for moment the crushing silence of the throne room. He cleaned off the blood with a handkerchief careful to look away from his handiwork. Isoroku took a knee, presented the sheathed blade to Coordinator Takashi Kurita accepted the sword and handed it off to Hideyoshi, before pulling Isoroku out from the pooling blood.

Takashi looked at Kareena and Hideyoshi who stood ready to strike down Isoroku if it was asked of him.

“I am sorry to have put you through that son.

You may think me cruel to have put you through it and I have been difficult with both of you. However, the burden of being Coordinator is not for the faint hearted or squeamish. The only joy I take in this is that only one life needed to be sacrificed for the Draconis Combine. Not that it wasn’t mine.
 
It was your choice, Isoroku. Kareena wasn’t wrong. You had the option and I would have understood.

If Jasmine had done the same to me and I asked Theodore to do the same. I am certain he would have struck me down before killing himself in grief.

You have done your duty at the cost of your comfort. That makes you a true Samurai Isoroku.
When we grieve her loss and bury her ashes tomorrow.

Remember her as she was before, not as she is before us.”

AlphaMirage

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Re: (Golden Lion AU) Hachiman, Hard Boiled, Ch15 - BST
« Reply #96 on: 23 August 2022, 21:25:05 »
Chapter 15 – BST
12/04/3046

Yoshitune Starport Complex was a giant’s playground. Great gantry cranes loomed over the quays and squat industrial buildings placed anywhere they could fit. Yards burst with stacked, colorful multimodal containers from across the Inner Sphere leaning worryingly above LoaderMechs, Trucks of every configuration, Straddle and Stacking Cranes, Teleloaders, and Exoskeletons. All carefully organized from the complex’s Tanadi Smart Control System, a blueprint for increasing automation of the Draconis Combine’s laborious industry.

Outside of the TSCS’ order entropy took over, squatters lived in condemned warehouses abandoned as the launch complex moved further away from the growing Masamori Metropolitan Area. As the stock yards shrank slums took over, the DCPA didn’t mind so long as the trains and trucks ran uninterrupted, and goods remained with their rightful owners with any loss being easily explained as ‘damaged during shipping’ or ‘lost in transit’ and thus covered by insurance. Dropships dotted the horizon waiting for cargo or their launch window. When ready they streaked across the sky toward the great beyond of the Draconis Combine and perhaps even further.

Miya Kibo leaned against a quayside railing slurping down noodles she had acquired, along with gossip, from a nearby food truck. She looked at her watch again, “Thirty minutes, Franklin. Way to keep a lady waiting.” To her surprise they had her bottled pomegranate smoothie to clear the salt and grease, “You could have at least brought me a drink.”

She could almost feel the barge tug’s rumbling through the canal terminal when her comm-pad beeped. ‘You have fifteen minutes.’

A razor wire topped fence surrounded the Isesaki Office its posts were sturdy and numerous. The main gate had a smaller one built into the steel doors and every inch of the yard and office area were watched by cameras. Miya walked beside the great hydraulic wall that protected it from errant access, or intentional ramming. Few DCMS Forts had such protections, because who would be foolish enough to attack the mighty DCMS.

They never wised up even when someone did.

Two teens buzzed her through the small gate, a teenage girl and boy armed with a shotgun. “Alright Miya who apparently knows Franklin enough that he let you in even though he told us no visitors. Esper here is going to pat you down and check your purse. For security reasons.”

“Is there a problem?”
“Nothing we can’t handle.”


Finding nothing Esper returned the purse and motioned toward her companion before they escorted her past the hunched forms of Kyudo and Komodo Battlemechs. The lights dimmed noticeably as plasma torches created showers of sparks as teens in MMS jumpsuits serviced them and the two LoaderMechs in the facilities’ Mechbay. A highly polished red roadster, pair of dually trucks, a Kei and panel Van, moped, garishly painted bosozoko cycles with their ‘tombstone’ passenger seats, and a turbocharged trike roadster stood opposite them.

“Interesting collection of autos you have.”
“You think so. What’s your favorite?”
“I like the purple moped. Although duallies bring up fond memories.”
Esper giggled next to her.
She enjoyed her own curt laugh, “She understands.”
The boy took a moment to understand some of the potential implications as they ascended the catwalk toward the foreman’s office. “Oh, I see.

I like the Mach Five, but I only got to drive it once. To the body shop.

Franklin picked up two Canopian chicks, at the same time! that morning and had them over for dinner later.

The luck of that jerk. Anywhere here’s his office.
He’ll escort you out when you are finished whatever you are doing here.”


He and Esper departed, and Miya caught a brief exchange about whether he could pick up a Canopian with his video game trophies. “Hey that’s not funny Ess, quit teasing me.”

Miya shook her head, “What a bunch of weirdos,” she reapplied her lipstick in a nearby window’s reflection. “Not like my friends.” Pausing for a moment she recalled who was left of Genzo’s own eccentric band with its Maiko assassin looking back at her. “Right?”

Behind her the door opened to reveal Franklin Sakamoto in a blue, partially open Judo Gi. She couldn’t help but stare a little at his muscles. “Hey, I don’t want to tell you how to use your fifteen minutes but dolling yourself up isn’t going to charm the clock.”

As she entered, she was overwhelmed by the certificates and pictures attached to the walls certifying Franklin to operate at the highest level of stellar engineering in the Draconis Combine. Everything was mercifully neat and orderly on his desk so unlike her own which was probably stacked high with paperwork. She took the seat offered and admired the scale model of an Invader Jumpship and Mule dropship atop it and blueprints for some piece of astral engineering far beyond her understanding.

“Can I get you something to drink?”
“Shochu, straight.”

Franklin picked a bottle of a nearby shelf pouring the off-white beverage into a pair of clear glasses. “That kind of day, huh. You aren’t driving right?”
“No, and I can handle my liquor. Thank you very much.”

“I believe you. Did you ever try that plum wine?”
“I did.”
Miya sipped on her shochu which cut through the sickly sweet and umami of her lunch. “Chilled was the right call.”
“That makes me happy. So, what do you want from me?
I doubt this is a social call, we didn’t exactly start or leave on the right foot.
What was your interest in Mrs. Uchida anyhow?”
“Her husband hired me. He suspected something was up.”
“He wasn’t wrong.”
Franklin gave her a roguish smile, “Guilty as charged for charming a beautiful woman. If Isamu put as much effort into watching his woman as you did. She wouldn’t have sought me out. So why do you?”

Miya hated compromising her pride, so she paused and took another sip, “I need your help.”
“With?”

“I owe money to the Jirigawas. You don’t like them; they don’t seem to like you either.”

“All the more reason for me to be cautious with them. They own an interest in almost every business on Hachiman. Do you have the money? Can you get it? Or know something to trade?”

“I have the money.”
“Then pay them off. That’s all Watanabe cares about.”
“It’s a little more complicated with me. The Jirigawas smuggled me out of a bad situation to Hachiman with a job to pay them off.”


His eyes looked her over, again, and again “Ukiyo?”

“Yes, but I escaped, so I already started on their bad side but made my payments as agreed.
I was told a few days ago that the only reason they don’t just abduct me or expose my friends is that Watanabe finds my predicament amusing. ‘Live bait’ or so he says, they enjoy watching me flounder and want me to come back begging.”

“How did you get the money?”

“That’s not important. What is…is that I need it to not be linked to me or my benefactor.”
“Did you trade one master for another?”
“In a way yes.”

“I am willing to help you, I will cut you a discount on my normal rate due to our shared enmity.
It’s still not cheap.”


Franklin reached into his desk and pulled out a manila envelope, “Once you fill out these financial documents you will start a limited business account within Isesaki Shipping, leave the number blank right now. The money must remain within it for at least thirty days but will come out clean minus a processing fee from Isesaki and my personal fee, all of which will be properly invoiced.”

She shook the folder at him, “You are offering me a credit card?”

“A temporary line of credit properly, more of a bonded security. Are you questioning my methods?
It works, you will have to trust me. I am Isesaki Shipping’s chief shipping agent on world, no one else on Hachiman can give you such a clean deal.”


Her eyes rolled, “This is ridiculous. You’re conning me. There must be something more to hiding almost a quarter million Ryu.”

“There is but it’s mostly for my fee. I would not be a very good businessman if I conned my customers. Centuries of fine print hide a great deal and a quarter million is a pittance compared to what I’ve moved before.”
“What’s the catch then?”

“I am planning an excursion to an Indian casino in Jingu to watch the races next weekend. If you come with me, I can use Isesaki Shipping’s suite without paying, for entertaining a potential client.”


Miya crossed her arms and looked out toward the bay and away from the handsome outlaw in front of her. “I am not going to sleep with you Mister Sakamoto.”
“You won’t have to. If you don’t want to that is.
My fee with be compensate professional companionship. You can do whatever you want in the casino. The only condition is that you must sleep in one of the suites. Chips are included, it’s very nice. Great view of the countryside. Has an exclusive Onsen.”

“You want me, who was recruited for the pleasure quarter by gangsters to pay for your hooker for a hedonistic vacation weekend?”

“That is a discount compared to my normal rate. Besides I need a vacation, you look like you need one too.”
He looked toward a damaged suit jacket still in plastic marked ‘repair,’ “these past few weeks have been very stressful.”
“You’re telling me.
Before I agree I want an estimate for your ‘professional companionship’?”

“With pleasure.”


He reached for the archaic handset and stopped the creaking fan above him, “Srinagar, Dawn Pleasure Circus, Operator connect me with Caskata Rio. Yes, I am in her book already.
Apologies Miya, would you like it on speaker?”
“No, I’d rather not.”
“Suit yourself.”


She listened in on one side of the conversation and cursed herself for not asking he do it in Standard, she couldn’t understand most of the words.
“Ciao Caskata, Você recebeu meu presente?
‘Hello Caskata, did you get my present?’
Bom, bom, você está livre no próximo fim de semana?
‘Good, good, are you free next weekend?’
Excelente, é meu aniversário, mas tenho um cliente para entreter”
‘Excellent, it is my birthday, but I have a client to entertain.’

“But aren't you a Pisces?”

Franklin gave her a dark and worrying look, “Desculpas, eu tenho outra ligação esperando. Vai ligar de volta mais tarde.”
‘Apologies, I have another call waiting. Will call you back later.’

His hand was wrapped around her throat, and she was slammed into the desk scattering the models, knocking the glasses away, and ruffling the blueprints. Before she could squeak out an “Oh no,” Franklin had her pinned down. “Now how would you know that Miya?”

AlphaMirage

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Re: (Golden Lion AU) Hachiman, Hard Boiled
« Reply #97 on: 25 August 2022, 12:01:31 »
“Who sent you!
Was it Khadan?
Ninyu?
Answer me!”


Miya struggled instinctively to get free from the unexpected attack as Franklin held her in place, eyes fixed darkly on her contorted face. “I don’t know those names I swear!”

“Then how do you know? My real birthday isn’t written down anywhere.”

“One of the girls down the street told me one of your people, Two Yen she called him, delivered a cash donation marked ‘a birthday gift from Sara’ early last March, shortly after I arrived on world.
I don’t know who that is, but I thought it might be you.”


Franklin released his grip on her throat but kept his hands on her shoulders. Miya coughed several times, as he paid more attention, he felt something hard poking his chest. “A hush puppy,
but you were checked.”

“Don’t be mad at Esper. She was through.”


She slipped the derringer pistol into her blouse pocket. “If I was an assassin sent by whoever those people are would I hesitate to pull the trigger? A pair of six mil, subsonic, hollow points are lethal at this range.

I’d give you five minutes, plenty of time for me to undo some buttons to help explain everything away. Easy story, you made an indecent offer, I refused you, we got in an argument, and I was so worried for my own safety.”


Faux tears came on command and her voice broke, “Even your own people would have doubts.”

“You’ve done this before?”


Tears were wiped away on her sleeve as she raised herself to a seated position still on the desk. “It’s not my preferred method.”

A battered metal lighter emerged from her purse before she sparked it. “Normally I get close, pretend my lighter doesn’t work, and then.”

Her fingers formed hook and drew across her own neck, “A slash across the throat, deep enough that they can’t scream a warning.”

“Savage.

What if they don’t smoke?”

“I don’t smoke either, but enough DCMS do that I manage.”


In response he pushed her legs aside to access his lighter and pack of smoke, “It helps with the boredom, fatigue, and poor rations. I tried to quit but have bad dreams.
Sometimes I have bad dreams anyway, so maybe it’s not entirely the cigs.”

Miya circled her legs around and carefully stepped off the desk avoiding the suddenly and violently displaced models and other accoutrement. She turned and kept her hands very visible on the opposite side of the desk.

“Franklin, I am an outlaw like you, so I did what I needed to in order to survive. My people are on the wrong side of the law in a different way.”

“Terrorists?”

“We prefer freedom fighters or at least rebels. Please.”

“Is this money you need ‘changed,’ blood money?”

“Not as you think of it. I don’t kill for money.
I selflessly saved a life, and it was given to me in gratitude.
That’s why I can’t just use it to pay off the Jirigawas. It would taint that generosity.

I’m trying to leave it behind and start fresh her in Masamori but my friends and I; We’re losing, and I can’t help them while the Jirigawas own me.

They never abandoned me even when they should have. So, I can’t either.

You seem to be the only person I think I know that might be able to understand. You are not the only one living under false papers.”

“I’ll help you, but I don’t want you coming back. When we’re through that’s it.
I don’t need any more heat on me or my crew.”


Franklin shuffled through the material on the floor and handed Miya the envelope again, along with a phone he pulled from his desk. “The number we are going to use is already programmed.

Fill out this paperwork, I will check it and submit it after we get back from Jingu.
If everything goes well, you can eat leftover Toshikoshi Soba as a free woman.”

“Arigato Franklin Sakamoto”

As she opened the door, “It was my mother’s name Miya.”

She turned slightly to see Franklin seated and ashing the cigarette on a chipped handmade ashtray retrieved from the floor. “What was?”
“Sara, probably not her real name, but it’s the only one I know.”

“Kanoka, I think, but I never knew her.”

“I’m sorry.”


Miya closed the door behind her before Franklin could see real tears.

PsihoKekec

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Re: (Golden Lion AU) Hachiman, Hard Boiled
« Reply #98 on: 26 August 2022, 00:41:55 »
I reckon it would be really hard to live such life, while being still capable of human emotions.
Shoot first, laugh later.

Wrangler

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Re: (Golden Lion AU) Hachiman, Hard Boiled
« Reply #99 on: 26 August 2022, 06:19:41 »
This story so complicated, its a continuous Origami unfolding without running out of folds to straighten out.  Its interesting.
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AlphaMirage

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Re: (Golden Lion AU) Hachiman, Hard Boiled
« Reply #100 on: 26 August 2022, 13:56:29 »
I appreciate the comments guys. Glad to keep you all entertained


12/09/3046

Snow flurries gently fell into the river coating the riverside park Genryu’s Koban was situated above. Children made snow angels outside while Constable Miya Kibo furiously stamped reams of paperwork into neat piles carefully filed in one of the associated bins.

“Why is there always so much? Every time I look away or leave, it somehow grows larger.”

Miya looked over to Saburo and Shogi enjoying empty desks and cups of steaming chai while talking about whatever happened to be guy stuff at the time. “You aren’t sneaking your stuff into my drawers, right guys?”

“We wouldn’t dream of sneaking anything into a lady’s drawers.”


Sharp pneumatic pops caused both to suddenly shoot up, “Ouch!”

Reika appeared behind them with a bright yellow ‘Lil Bugger’ salt shooter in her hands, “You better not.”

They looked behind their back to see her smugly smiling toward them. Shogi reached back and massaged the back of his neck. “That thing stings.”

“I thought I saw a fly.

Shouldn’t you be on patrol? In the snowy freezing darkness outside.”


Once more she brandished the ‘Lil Bigger’ toward them, “Miya laid it up for us. We couldn’t leave it hanging.”

“Drive carefully boys.”


Both men stood, walked toward the coat rack, and recovered their mugs before departing. “Right away Corporal. It was getting icy in here anyhow.”

Corporal Yara’an occupied her orderly desk occupied by a small ikebana made from flowers from her latest boyfriend, the fourth that Miya knew of. “You don’t have to do that Reika.”

“Tease the boys?”


Miya nodded as Reika breathed in the Bodhisattva violet’s fragrance that occupied its center and put down the salt shooter. “I enjoy it.
I hear they call me Corporal Punishment.
In their dreams.

Take a break from the paperwork, it will still be there when you return. Inspector Genju would like you to meet him in his office.”

“For what?”
“I don’t know.”


She stood up, donned her cap, and checked her reflection. The new black and blue uniforms looked very sharp, especially after two months of intense exercise and diet in the jungle. “It better not be for this weekend. I have plans, and it would crush my friend if I had to cancel.”

“Going out of town?”

“Yeah.”
“That’s nice. You seem kind of off since you came back from Nashik and good trip might be what you need. I hope you have a good time.”

“Me too.”
She turned sharply and pointed aggressively toward the piles, “Stay right there!
and the same size!
I will be right back.”

“You really need that trip.”
Although she muttered it out Miya could hear Reika as she passed her desk.


Inspector Genju’s eyes caught the reflection of the desk’s computer monitor in the darkened room as Miya stood opposite him. “Constable Kibo. Just the lady I was looking for.”

“What would you like to discuss with me sir?”
“You are on the shortlist for a special assignment.
Protection detail for a teenage boy enrolled in college. The MMK have been tasked with his safety.
He’s in our district so I would like it if you accepted the assignment if it is offered.
There will be a meeting next week with the subject at headquarters for final selection.”

“Is a teenage boy an appropriate assignment for someone like myself?”
“Do you not like teenage boys?”

“I think they might like me too much.”
“He has an older sister so is already comfortable with a female presence and you have the appropriate skills, knowledge, and temperament.

Just consider it Constable.
The tender is right from Commissioner Marangoz’s office.”

“I will attend the meeting Inspector.”

“Fine work Miya. Glad to have you back in uniform.”

“It is my pleasure but thank you sir.”


Miya adjusted the salute back to the MMK standard rather than the DCMS but it was sharp and snappy just as she trained at the start of last year.

Gorgon

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Re: (Golden Lion AU) Hachiman, Hard Boiled
« Reply #101 on: 26 August 2022, 14:21:28 »
So I spend the last slow days at work reading the first Golden Lion story and catching up with this one.
What a ride! Thank you so much, AlphaMirage, this is amazing stuff!
I love how your give life and depths to your characters and make the setting feel lived in. And your ability to shift in tone is inspiring. I love how Golden Lion can start out as Ian's whacky Grand Tour and end with one of the most brutal war scenes I've ever read in BT.

PsihoKekec

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Re: (Golden Lion AU) Hachiman, Hard Boiled
« Reply #102 on: 26 August 2022, 15:39:08 »
So Miya is now supposed to intercept honey traps for Minoru and his might interest some people.
Shoot first, laugh later.

AlphaMirage

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Re: (Golden Lion AU) Hachiman, Hard Boiled
« Reply #103 on: 26 August 2022, 22:34:58 »
12/10/3046
Snow crunched underfoot as Miya passed under many Torii gates and pine boughs within a park blanked with white silence. Only partially visible between the pines in lantern light were the ominous armored Zujin guardian statues armed with real weapons and wearing actual armor. The top of an ancient kneeling Gladiator Battlemech peered over a nearby bamboo grove. Its helmetlike head locked in a respectful bow toward the crimson and black shrine as if it would rise like a great Samurai hero of yore to its defense if asked all by itself.

O-mikuji fortune papers tied to fences and pine trees creaked softly in the wind as Miya settled in the solitude of the shrine that she couldn’t help but see every day but at the same time she couldn’t bear to enter it either, until today. She tried to relax, breathing out clouds into the freezing night before approaching the Saisen box. Siriwan Kurita’s face appeared to her on the pair of 50 Ryu notes she placed in the box. The white and red suzu rope rang the bell whose cool tinny noise barely carried beyond her before being absorbed by the suffocating silence of winter’s night.

Two bows, two muffled claps, a silent prayer for those she lost, found, and never knew, then another deep bow.

Miya sought out an O-mikuji fortune paper for herself despite there being no Miko to choose. She found them stacked atop one another with a rock to hold them firm in the bin, and an honor box beside it. Another 20 Ryu filled the bin, and she opened it up to read her fortune (‘Sue-Kichi’ Future Blessing) and short poem inside on the resilience of willows (inspired by this ). Overcome with emotion and tears she faced the honden and bowed with hands outstretched in prayer.

“Thank You, Benten."

AlphaMirage

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Re: (Golden Lion AU) Hachiman, Hard Boiled, Ch16
« Reply #104 on: 29 August 2022, 09:58:00 »
Chapter 16 - Weekend at the Mandovi
12/11/3046
Masamori’s lights disappeared behind the curving hills and highway laden with traffic. Franklin drove the red Mach V roadster into the rising sun toward Srinagar. Through his sunglasses Franklin looked over to Miya bundled up and wearing a borrowed ballcap. “Your bag weighed nearly twenty-five kilos…yet somehow you forgot a hat and sunglasses.”

She looked aside and tilted the visor to block the offending glare. “I had more important things to worry about. We are going to be inside most of the time, so I didn’t think I needed them. You have no idea how much I left behind.”

He rolled down the window to spit out a wad of his gum. “We are just going to Nugoa for the weekend.”
“Have you never traveled with a woman before?”


An uncomfortable silence was filled with the thrumming engine. “Really?”

“I have traveled with women before, but not in a car for a weekend. When I was a young man, I moved plenty of trunks for passengers aboard the Kwaidon, but it was always for longer cruises, so it made sense.”
“Shoes are heavy, and even though its summer there the high is eighteen so it’s not like I can wear a bikini. You and Cas might not need night clothes, but I do.
Twenty-five was the minimum I could manage.”
“I just thought…”


Miya stretched out her newly manicured and painted fingers, so much better than when she was in the jungle. “That I wasn’t like other girls?
Just because I spent a quarter of my life living in the woods with a group of outlaws doesn’t mean I don’t like cute things.”
“Your kind are impossible to fully understand, and I know how Kearny-Fuchida engines work.”
“Every K-F engine is the same. We’re all a little different.
I thought you were supposed to be a smooth lady-killer?”
“Well Killer Lady, if you knew my friends you would know that I manage despite my character. I think it’s the abs.”
“Certainly doesn’t hurt.”


An hour later they were clear of the suburbs while the highway undulated through hills and fields of hardy winter rye. Franklin adjusted and looked sourly at the rear-view mirror tapping a hunched over Miya on her shoulder.
“We are being followed.”

She shifted to look behind her. “I noticed them in the side view. No Jiris were following me this morning.
Two cars. One of yours?”

“I was clean getting out of Yoshitune.”
“Maybe they were waiting for us. You had to file a flight-plan from Srinagar to Nugoa with the Port Authority, right?”
“I did but it was through Isesaki. Unless there is someone inside or they hacked me they shouldn’t have been able to figure it out.
Unless it was the authorities, you didn’t do anything lately did you?”


Miya dropped the passenger side shade to reapply her creamy red lipstick. “Does this face look like trouble?”

“It does actually.”
“You think they plan to run us off the road? Or maybe a drive-by? Because I have my compact with me.”
Miya pulled a small snub-nosed revolver from her purse holding it close in her lap.

“It’s not the first thing I think of when I hear a woman talking about her compact.”
“Well I'm not like other girls.”

“Why don’t you use an automatic?”
“I have tiny lady hands and they don’t make guns in my size within the Combine.”
She looked over to Franklin and back toward the side view, “I also don’t need an automatic or a twelve gauge to get the job done.”

“I always have a twelve gauge that I can whip out in an emergency.”

Miya chuckled, “Whatever make you feel comfortable Mister Sakamoto.”
Franklin let out a long sigh, “I really walked right into that one, didn’t I?”
“I’m sure it is appreciated by others.”
“Well, they don’t seem to be acting aggressively yet, but keep it close. There is a service road coming up shortly behind a sharp corner. I might be able to ditch them.”
“They probably already know we are headed to Srinagar.”

“True but that doesn’t mean they know who will be joining us.”
“Did you have somebody special in mind?”
“As a matter of fact, I do. Miya there is a contact card in the center console for Stormhaven Entertainment, a number is written on it. Would you mind punching it into the console while I drive?”


Something seemed familiar about the number as she keyed it in. The handsfree phone rang several times until Percival Filington’s voice was on the other side loud and clear.
“Mister Sakamoto, how are you?”

“Just Franklin please Lord Filington.”
“I will extend you the same courtesy. Have you called to reschedule?”
“Actually Percival, I was wondering if you might be headed to the Mandovi for the races this weekend?
I understand you are quite the equestrian fan.”
“I am. What draws you there?”
“I’m feeling lucky and looking for relief from the cold and snow.”
“A capital idea, one I was already considering for similar reasons. I will see you tonight then?”
“If you wish.”
“Bonne journée”


The phone line cleared, and the radio returned. Miya looked out toward the landscape to disguise her confusion, embarrassment, and terror. “Franklin, how do you know Percival Filington?”

“He thinks I saved his life.”
Franklin shrugged his shoulders, “Maybe I did, we are still not sure who the vory were after, but with him around I am sure everything will go, swimmingly as he would say.”

Miya did everything she could to not pull herself together into as tight a ball as she could manage to protect herself from this cruel joke of a world.

mikecj

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Re: (Golden Lion AU) Hachiman, Hard Boiled
« Reply #105 on: 30 August 2022, 09:37:36 »
Love the plotting and characters!
There are no fish in my pond.
"First, one brief announcement. I just want to mention, for those who have asked, that absolutely nothing what so ever happened today in sector 83x9x12. I repeat, nothing happened. Please remain calm." Susan Ivanova
"Solve a man's problems with violence, help him for a day. Teach a man to solve his problems with violence, help him for a lifetime." - Belkar Bitterleaf
Romo Lampkin could have gotten Stefan Amaris off with a warning.

AlphaMirage

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Re: (Golden Lion AU) Hachiman, Hard Boiled
« Reply #106 on: 30 August 2022, 13:57:46 »
The sharp delta wing of a KR-61 in Isesaki Shipping livery rested on the ferrocrete at Srinagar’s small starport terminal. Beyond it were the brightly colored banners of the Dawn Pleasure Circus which had made the small city its home for the past five months. Connected to but separate from Masamori to avoid antagonizing the local talent (particularly their gangster bosses) and occupying valuable pad space at Yoshitune.

Miya heard Franklin’s shoes on the ferrocrete and smelled him as he approached. “You ever sample their wares?”

“Once…it was a beautiful weekend.”
“Good for you. Caskata will be joining us shortly. I already put your luggage away, but I’m going to need your compact. DCPA and Hachiman Aeronautical Board regulations state it must be in a safe.”


She reached into her purse, rummaging around for a long moment while he seemed distracted by the intricate dance of trucks supporting the shuttle-port. Miya firmly placed a metal object into his hand.

Without looking he gestured toward her again, “The other compact Miya.”

Reluctantly she placed the revolver into his hand. “I’d hate to break safety regulations and firearms law at the same time.”
“Glad you find this amusing. I will be right back.”


He departed for the jetway and shortly afterward as a wavy black-haired woman in a fur coat arrived with a towering bald man in dark sunglasses and suit dragging a luggage cart behind him.
“Ola!
You must be Mia.”


Miya whispered to herself as she assessed the ‘companion,’ “You just had to pick a perky one.”
Recognizing that a moment had passed without response Miya returned the greeting. “I love your tan, and your hair, and your nails.
Hey, where’s Franklin?”

“He had to check on something before we depart.”
She looked at her slender watch, “I haven’t seen a pilot yet though. Wonder what’s keeping them.”

Caskata looked at her confused, a common expression Miya figured. “We already have a pilot.”

Now it was Miya’s turn to look confused, “Sakamoto?”
“He can fly almost every type of shuttle in the Inner Sphere.”

“Seems I find out something new each time his name comes up. What depths.”
“Right, he’s just so interesting. Those abs…tattoos…and the hint of something deeper. Handsome, broody, brilliant, living a vagabond life with his adorable misfits.”


Franklin miraculous reappeared on the jetway saving Miya further mildly troubling yet intriguing discussion. Caskata confirmed the client to the security man, papers were digitally signed, and she received a stylish emergency bracelet before he departed. Miya sneaked a look at the luggage scale as the Canopian’s bags went over it.

 A sense of great validation struck throughout and even though she wanted to shout out, “Thirty-Two Kilos! I knew it! You don’t complain about her bags,” but she didn’t.

Franklin noticed her idling on the jetway, Caskata whispering something into his ear as she handed him her coat. “Miya, Caskata has offered you the co-pilot’s seat if you’d like.”

“Obrigada Caskata, but I am afraid of heights. I will sit in the back.”
“Let’s move it ladies we will depart shortly.”


Despite expectations the KR-61 was surprisingly cozy on the inside as befitted its purpose of being a surface to orbit or suborbital personnel transport. Two sets of bunk beds were built into the near side away from the engineering compartment. Snacks and drinks of all kinds were neatly bagged inside the transparent pantry.

The thrum of engines spinning up overcame the refrigerator softly humming behind her. Cabin lights dimmed to a comfortable twilight except for the flight deck door. Caskata sauntered through the open door from the flight deck. “Excuse me, I need to reach the fridge.” She moved to the opposite side of the table and watched her although she found it incredibly difficult to take the woman seriously with those cat-ear headphones she had on. “Would you like something?”

“I’ll be fine.”


She bumped the fridge closed with her hip, pirouetting toward the front of the shuttle. “We are going to have such a great time together.
I can feel it!”


As soon as she cleared the door it closed and kept everything dim and comfortable except for the engine noise. Franklin’s voice came in over the intercom, “Miya, we are taxiing now. Five hours till Nugoa. Get some rest if you’d like.”


Atop the nearby Regent Hotel two men watched a KR-61 in Isesaki Livery lurch forward on the tarmac before leaping into the mid-morning sky. A third held a noteputer against his chest while touching an earpiece, “Samir, DCPA Manifest confirms Franklin Sakamoto is on that shuttle, destined for Nugoa, with two female passengers.”

“He won’t get away this time.”

Gorgon

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Re: (Golden Lion AU) Hachiman, Hard Boiled
« Reply #107 on: 30 August 2022, 17:24:06 »
That's gonna be a very interesting weekend for poor Miya

AlphaMirage

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Re: (Golden Lion AU) Hachiman, Hard Boiled
« Reply #108 on: 30 August 2022, 23:59:28 »
Miya and Caskata followed behind Franklin Sakamoto through the doubl doors. Each one let out an impressed sigh. The entrance parlor alone contained all the essentials for entertaining small groups each piece artistically crafted and chosen for the purpose. Gilded pillars emerged from the walls while recessed doors with intricate carvings lead to the other rooms.

“Welcome to the Raja suite ladies.”

Caskata rushed over to the piano, took a seat on the velvet seat, and played a few keys. The rich sound was trapped by the high conservatory style ceiling. “I’ve never seen a piano with real ivory before.”

Franklin leaned beside her, fingering the keys to Hayabusa Deron's 16th Symphony’s pensive piano solo. “Ivory holds an esteemed place in the Dictum Honorium. The Von Rohrs may have been bastards, but their conservation efforts were legendary for saving several species from extinction.
If only to hunt them. I suppose more good than ill came of it.”


Miya reclined on the leather couch listening to Caskata play and thinking about turning on the Tri-Vid cube in the corner. Franklin disappeared behind one of the padded doors before emerging in a Capellan ‘Qingwa (Frog)’ style suit. A recent import from the colonies with claspy buttons that imparted flair on an otherwise plain garment. “I am off to play billiards, talk business, bet on some horses, and probably eat dinner with Percival.”

He checked his watch and kissed Caskata. “I will return around ten this evening.”
“That’s almost five hours of my seventy-two, by myself.”
“You have Miya.”


She looked over to Miya who bolted up at the sound of her name only to see Caskata wink at her. “She does not!”

“You have an all-inclusive casino resort at your disposal ladies. I am certain you will find something to entertain you.”


The double doors closed whisper quiet despite their mass leaving the two of them in the parlor. Caskata bounced over and settled uncomfortably close to Miya on the couch, enough that she could smell her faint perfume. “You seem tense Miya, particularly when Franklin mentions Percival. Something you’d like to mention?”

Now she basically would have pushed her down if Miya hadn’t leaned back, “Trust me, I can keep a secret.”

“Can you give me some space first?”


They settled on Miya laying down with Caskata on the carpet below. “Percival and I have a history that Franklin can’t know about.
Both here is…literally a worst-case scenario for me.

If they found out…it would be complicated.”

“Then it’s just a pity,”
the top two buttons on her blouse ‘just popped off’ exposing what was underneath, “you don’t know, someone that could help make sure that doesn’t happen.
You’re paying me not Sakamoto so that makes you the client blue eyes.”

“And what exactly does my Diamond package include anyway. It’s a large bill.”
“I assure you I am worth it. Most importantly no more than three half-hour ‘intimate’ blocks per twenty-four. Other than that, the only restriction is that I consent, am not injured in process, or an accomplice to any illegal activity.

You aren’t a bad girl, are you?”


Miya paused for a moment, “No, everything we are doing this weekend is completely legal.”

Cas dangled the bracelet charm in front of her, “Good, it would be a shame to summon the cyborg ninja catgirls from space after I spent the last week thoroughly studying this venue, collecting interesting topics of discussion, and know that you should order the scallops or albacore. Although all the seafood is apparently exceptional so good for pescatarians like me.”

“Only three?”
“Two more for today.”


A mischievous twinkle passed through Cas’ brown eyes, “On the shuttle? While I was sleeping!”
“We put a curtain up. Three works for most clients. The max we are allowed to do is five, Guild rules. If you want more, find a different provider than Dawn Circus.”


Caskata’s fingers journeyed up Miya arm, tingles raced upward in their wake. Her whispers seemed oddly caressing. “There is one exception; the Sapphire package is unlimited. We girls can keep going as long as we’d like. I bet we could last till Franklin comes back.

If I wasn’t already contracted that is. I’ll give you my card though assuming everything goes well.”


She rose from her knees with a graceful display of dance athleticism. “The Borealis club is apparently the hot place to be. So, I recommend we go dancing.”

Hesitation grew within Miya as Caskata stood above her, “Do you know how to dance?”
Miya stood up to the challenge. “Of course, I do! I’ve just never danced in a club before.
“Show me what you’ve got then.”
She read additional hesitation throughout Miya’s posture, "don’t be shy it’s just us girls.”

“You are going to think its dumb.”
“You don’t know that. Even if I did, I’ll help.”


Additional encouragement was required before Miya picked up a fan, precisely executed one of the dances she learned at the Okiya. Graceful slow and steady movements of the everything but the hips which were constrained by a Maiko’s obi and considered vulgar in the art.
“Your technique is good but you’re too tense.”

Caskata walked over to the bar, retrieved a bottle of vodka and two glasses.
“You need Vodka,” she placed them on the table before locking and rolling her hips in a circle, “and some Va’voom!”

PsihoKekec

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Re: (Golden Lion AU) Hachiman, Hard Boiled
« Reply #109 on: 31 August 2022, 00:57:18 »
Did Miya get her guns back after they landed?
Shoot first, laugh later.

AlphaMirage

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Re: (Golden Lion AU) Hachiman, Hard Boiled
« Reply #110 on: 31 August 2022, 14:39:03 »
Live feeds from the racetrack played through cigar smoke, triumphant and agonizing cries mixed with the click clack of balls on billiards tables covered with worn green felt. Franklin leaned against a narrow table that also served as a cue stand and score board, drink in hand as Percival watched the race conclude. The picture in picture insert expanded as the racetrack shrunk to show the nighttime cricket match across the river in Nugoa.

“I thought For Sure was certain for the win. Well, that’s why it’s called gambling.”
“Now, you know nothing is For Sure.”


Percival chuckled and played his next frame. “Just death and taxes.”
Now it was Franklin’s turn to chuckle, “At least death. Taxes are negotiable.”

“What is this business you’d like to speak to me about? You’ve been dodging it all day.”


Franklin stepped up to the table and leaned in for the shot, “Only the Port Authority is making money these days. Everyone has put off service for now, I’ve had to reduce hours and stretch my balance sheet. We make do but the burn is real.”

“Let me stop you right there.”
Percival took a long gulp of his scotch and soda, “I’ve spent much of the past year trying to figure a way out of it. It’s a Draconis Combine wide problem and I don’t have a solution. I suggested some, but only Chandreskar listens to me, and he’s on the outs with leadership. Coordinator Takashi has appointed Mitchell Kurita to find solutions. Maybe his committee can turn it around by third quarter next year.”

“A long time to wait when my business is faster than light.”

“Best we can hope for unless COMSTAR steps up orders. Even then it will take time to restart the lines. Unfortunately, the Export Expo wasn’t as successful as we hoped. No one trusts the Draconis Combine as a business partner.”

“Theodore did conquer enough of the Confederation to make everyone nervous. I am not saying it was wrong.”
Franklin scratched the cue ball, swore softly, stepped back and took another sip, “I was deployed with the Seventh Ghost, it was us or anarchy in the Capellan theater.”

“What else did you want to talk about?”
“I am trying to place my apprentices into HTI, they scored high on placement but were told there was no space left. I can get creative to withstand a few lean years. I’d like for them to have better options.”

“I will ask Chandreskar, I know enough about your team to know they will fit in. I expect he will ask for tuition upfront and that they live off-campus. You aren’t the only one looking for safe harbor.”

“Neither of those conditions should be a problem. Keeping them out of Neon Arcade and on their studies will be, but that’s The Powder’s
(Hachiman Taro Security) problem.

Franklin’s watch sounded with a shrill alarm, he silenced it “Quarter after Nine. Apologies Percival but I must ask your leave. I have a sure thing waiting for me.”

Percival stretched out and looked at the scoreboard with a frown, “Masamori isn’t known as the City of Sharks without reason. You smoked me this evening Mister Sakamoto.”

“Living in space gives you a sixth sense for bouncing things of one another. Try it in three dee.”
“That sounds like a worthy challenge. Your leave is granted.
I intend to explore the nightlife on the island. I hear the Borealis club is the place to be.”

“Hopefully you are luckier with women than horses.”
“Its harder to play the field but I think I’ll manage.”



The next morning Caskata and Franklin awoke to a cool morning breeze coming through the balcony window facing the mountain that formed Mondavi’s foundation. “What a great day for vacation! Cas can you check on Miya?”

Caskata knocked on the door and spoke but received no response either time. She started with peeking through it, then opened it completely to see Miya’s bags unpacked, and her bed empty still made from the previous day. “She must have gone back out while I was busy.” The memorized number was punched into the bedside phone, Dial-tone was good, “You better be okay.”

AlphaMirage

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Re: (Golden Lion AU) Hachiman, Hard Boiled
« Reply #111 on: 02 September 2022, 21:46:31 »
Miya woke to the persistent and irritating buzz passing through warm bedsheets. She blindly fumbled around until the burner phone carrying Caskata’s concerned voice came to her ear, “I’m fine.

What do you mean where am I?

I am in my room.”


She emerged from the sheets only to brace herself on the headboard in order to keep a dizzy spell at bay. Waves crashing, the smell of salt breeze, and call of seabirds came through the window looking out toward the ocean, at ground level, “I’m definitely not,” suddenly she felt cold and looked down at herself, “wearing clothes!
or in my room.
I am not sure where I am.”
The clothes she wore at the club were neatly folded on a chair beside luggage richly monogrammed in gold with a ‘P’ and ‘F.’

“But I’ll call you back,” a surge of panic rose throughout her body followed by the chill on bare skin. A thick blue robe hung from the chair and a bottle of water was on the nightstand. She quickly donned the luxurious robe tying the belt tightly around her, she quaffed down the water, and sat on the bedside slapping herself on the forehead with the other hand, “Stupid Miya! This was a bad idea,”

Some of last night came back to her, flashes of bright lights, booming sound, flowing skirts, tossed hair, and not a care. “Despite feeling like the right one at the time.”

Her fists clenched around the nightstand, “Caskata and Franklin, both got me in trouble.
Nope, I did this to myself. I can’t blame them. They were trying to help me.”


A knock on the door caused a momentary panic attack as Percival very kindly inquired, “Miya, are you decent? May I enter?”

Three deep breaths were needed before she could manage a smile, “Yes to both Percy.”
Percival Filington strode into the room dressed in shiny silk pajamas that Miya guessed cost a month’s salary and a tea service, more than a year. “Thank you for the warm robe.”

“My pleasure,”
He poured out two fragrant cups of green tea, “It gets cold as a brass monkey here in Jingu, or rather it never truly gets warm, even in summer.”
 
He walked over to the double paned windows opening the brightly colored drapes to reveal a tranquil black beach beyond rocky dunes through the steam emanating from his cup. “The ocean is still nice to look at. Although in winter less so. Mondavi operates a cruise ship from Deolali during that time. Hachiman is a beautiful world, one should get out of the city often, to truly experience it.”

She daintily held her cup feeling its warmth, admiring its amber color and smoky taste, “This Hojicha is sublime. Did you brew it?”

It was impossible to not be charmed by the smile he gave at the compliment, accentuated with a bounce of his curly blonde hair, “I did. You’ve a highly refined palette, lovely. Few might recognize it, but I appreciate it.
This leaf is directly sourced from the BSA
(‘Many Blessed’) plantation on Nashik. Managed by the same Mahratta family for centuries. Trade secrets they say, I say hidden treasures.”

Broad hand gestures accentuated the next comment, “In a righteous twist it was I that recommended it to Chandrasekar…rather than the other way about. It’s a big deal, he is a master of one-upmanship. ”

Percival stood beside the nearby chair with her clothes on it. “I was surprised to see you at the Borealis last night. I thought you were still in Nashik.”

“I quit, a few weeks ago.”
“I won’t pry as to your reasons.”
“Arigato”

“The past is the past, and all that. I for one am quite glad of it.
You see I got a ring out of the blue from a mate in Masamori yesterday. Put me over the edge on whether I should attend the Mondavi Keiba this weekend and by luck you happen to be here.
Are you here on official business?”

“No, a girlfriend of mine invited me. From the MMK Mounted Patrol.
She waved demurely away from him, “The people you meet at work.”

“I’d say you’re batting aces so far.
Have you an appetite? Or would you like me to return you to your room to change first?”

“Breakfast sounds…,”
Miya paused for a moment, “smashing.”
“Brilliant!”
“Let me text my friend first. I am sure she’s worried.”


Percival left her with the tea service, “Take your time Miya.
Feel free to help yourself to the rest of the pot. I’ll put on another.”


Miya worked her way through the burner phone’s tiny primitive number pad to message Caskata. The narrow device didn’t even have a touch screen, although it fit her small hands better than a normal comm-pad. A touch screen was much faster though, less crampy, or damaging to her manicure.
‘Please clear the room by 10.’

Both enjoyed a warm hearty breakfast of Sali Par Eedu, crispy potato, tomato, and eggs, washed down with additional cups of tea. “Miya, are you up for a horseback tour of the country?”
“Percy, didn’t you come here to watch the Mondavi Keiba?”
“Well, that was before I had a better option. What do you say, is it a do?”


She was torn between competing plans and stretched out the moment by extending the sipping of her tea. “You know…I forgot a hat and sunglasses.” Miya blushed, gave a mild smile, and subtle nod, “how silly of me.”

“Not at all, you’re bright as a button. We both didn’t plan on a ride in the hinterlands.
You can find yourself something smart at High Street before we leave the island.”


‘Leave the island you say? And Franklin behind. Preventing the two of you from exchanging notes and either embarrassing me or ruining my life.’

“Percy, I think it is a splendid plan!
I heartily accept!”

“That’s the spirit I saw in you last night and before.”
Percival stood up and deposited their empty plates into the dish washer. “I’ll change and bring the car around.”

Miya stood on the outside of the bungalow in Percy’s robe and the espadrille wedges she wore yesterday. Her clubbing clothes were safely folded in a bag carried in front of her. She heard the thrumming roar of the iridescent chroma blue sports car coming around the side. Percival exited the driver’s side, engine running, as he passed in front of the car in order to open the door for her.
“Is that an Aston Martin?”
“Posh innit?”
“How did you get it? There’s no trade between the Federated Suns and Draconis Combine.”
“I brought it from the Canopians. It cost a bomb, but the Mach Five is just not my cup of tea. No offense to Matabushi.”
“The seats were a little tight.”
Miya realized her error immediately, but Percival was either to polite or ignorant to acknowledge it before they sped off toward the Casino proper.

DOC_Agren

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Re: (Golden Lion AU) Hachiman, Hard Boiled
« Reply #112 on: 02 September 2022, 22:26:33 »
Mrya having an interesting few days
"For the Angel of Death spread his wings on the blast, And breathed in the face of the foe as he passed:And the eyes of the sleepers waxed deadly and chill, And their hearts but once heaved, and for ever grew still!"

AlphaMirage

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Re: (Golden Lion AU) Hachiman, Hard Boiled
« Reply #113 on: 03 September 2022, 21:34:12 »
“Lovely innit?”

The noon sun perched above solemn pines looking out as Nugoa sprawled out like moss around a bay as dark as the rocks that formed this ridge. The Mondavi River passed languidly between a picturesque canyon carved over millennia. From the same volcanic rock that formed the foundation of its casino’s artificial island. Miya looked over to see Percival fitted out with brightly polished boots, smart tweed jacket, lustrous smile, and tight pants astride a chestnut mare.

“Hachiman is a beautiful world. Perhaps the finest in the Combine.”
“Yet Kirei na Niwa and Kagoshima give it a run for its money.”

“I’ve spent a lot of time in the fens, hills, and dales of Kirei na Niwa. I prefer Hachiman.”
“You ride well Miya.”


Miya patted her horse’s neck pulling her hand through its mane, “I spent a lot of time with horses where I come from.”

“Care for a steeplechase?”


She blushed at the mention and pulled in her reins riding at a T to his horse. “Percival, we’ve only spent a few days together. Are you already chasing me to church?”

Her stirrups drove to horse’s flanks causing it to gallop into the forest, “You’ll have to try harder to make an honest woman out of me.”

Percival rested his palms on the fine grained leather saddle, tsking slightly as he let her weave through the pines and gain a lead on him. “Cheeky bird.
‘Tis a fox hunt then.”


He tapped and nick-knackered at the horse which bolted onto the forest paths in hot pursuit. “What fun!”


The sun was significantly lower as Miya and Percival approached a group of men standing outside a secluded villa enjoying their evening meal. Another leaned on the large, lifted 4x4 truck parked just outside the barn. "Pardon me sirs. We've become a bit turned around in our revelries. Whose house is this?"

They exchanged glances but remained silent for a moment, "This house belongs to Erik Nekatagu." The leader pointed toward a road leading to the West, "Stay on that lane and you will get back on the main road."

"Many thanks Sirs."

Percival tipped his hat to them, Miya did the same, both wheeled toward the indicated road and trod off into the woods. The group shuffled nervously until they were out of sight.

"We should have killed them Samir."
"And given away our position? Did you see that dandy fellow?
He would be missed, his people would hunt us down like dogs and the op would be DOA.
No sending them away was the wiser choice. We strike tomorrow."

PsihoKekec

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Re: (Golden Lion AU) Hachiman, Hard Boiled
« Reply #114 on: 04 September 2022, 02:52:44 »
So someone here is doing something that is not connected to our POV characters, but is sure to complicate matters?
Shoot first, laugh later.

Wrangler

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Re: (Golden Lion AU) Hachiman, Hard Boiled
« Reply #115 on: 05 September 2022, 15:47:01 »
Looks like the game maybe afoot.
"Men, fetch the Urbanmechs.  We have an interrogation to attend to." - jklantern
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AlphaMirage

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Re: (Golden Lion AU) Hachiman, Hard Boiled
« Reply #116 on: 05 September 2022, 21:18:36 »
12/13/3046
Ribbons of steam rose to the high ceiling within the Mondavi Raja suite’s onsen. One that like the hotel clung precariously on the edge of a mountain. The city of Nugoa spread out beyond the slats behind Miya. Warm water soothed muscles sore from horseback riding and still recovering from her time in the DCMS. “Finally, some relaxation.”

“Still on for a nine ‘o’clock departure tonight, Miya?”


She snapped awake to see Caskata with a towel covering her hair and water everything else. “What time is it?”

“Almost three. Franklin is still sleeping, long night of shuttle piloting tonight.”
She lifted her arms up to stretch which also pulled her bare chest above the water, “I wanted a chance to enjoy this onsen.”

Miya blushed with embarrassment, “Warn me before you do that!”
“What? You have a pair too. Mine are just a different color, but if you insist…”

“I do and yes, I have dinner reservations at six.
My bag will be packed and ready for the porters before then.
Has Franklin asked about me?”


Caskata poured water from the wooden ladle over her shoulders, “I’ve kept him occupied. He says long as you remain on the room reservation it counts. It is a vacation after all.

He and I have reservations at five-thirty at the new sushisho.”


A moment of silence was interrupted by a gulp by Miya. “The new sushisho?
Percival and I are going too.”

“It is a big enough restaurant…and it will be dark. Maybe it will be fine.”
Caskata leveled a finger toward her, “You didn’t answer your phone at all yesterday. Franklin pulled strings to get in with so many other VIPs.”

“So did Percival. There is no way I can dissuade him, and I can’t ask Franklin to do the same without revealing everything.”
She slammed her fist on the stone edge of the pool and harshly exhaled. “Hopefully you’re right.
It will be dark. They might not notice each other.
Sorry, I must get ready.”


The room was silent beside the soft trickling of water into the pool. Miya wrapped her hands around her chest hummed slightly to break the tension. “Can you turn around?”

17:49
Near Umi no Megumi’s (‘Ocean’s Bounty’) the hotel decor was more conservative and understated compared to much of the resort’s neon bright and gilded, gaudy stylings. Decorative fish swam languidly in aquariums built into the wall facing the tables outside. Miya was dressed similarly conservative in a winter kimono and darker formal obi beside Percival’s dark yet brightly embroidered Jodhpuri suit.

Her eyes searched nervously for any sign of Franklin as they approached but only saw other VIPs she only recognized from newspapers and broadcasts. Athletes, actors, models, military officers, and businesspeople from all over the planet concentrated into one place. Hotel security was omnipresent, lurking in shadowed corners, or undercover visible to those who knew what to look for. Recent events had increased the vigilance of everyone on world against malefactors.

She became increasingly nervous as they approached the hostess stand. “Good evening, Madam. Reservation for Percival Filington please.”

The hostess shuffled through the menus and escorted them to their table, one right next to Caskata who sat there without Franklin. She tried to disguise her familiarity with Miya and buried herself in the menu. Percival pulled the chair out for her, pushed it forward again, and excused himself. “Pardon me Miya. Be back in a jiffy.”

Miya breathed in as deep as she could manage not realizing she was holding her breath. “Where is Franklin?”

“I don’t know. He should be down here by now. He told me to go ahead while he finished. I’m kind of nervous. Should I check in on him?”

“Let’s try calling him first.”
Caskata opened her purse and dialed the number into her sparkling cell phone, “Straight to voice mail.”

“Damn. We are going upstairs together to look.”
“What about Percival?”

“I will leave him a note.”
Miya scribbled something on the heavyweight paper menu with the pen in her own purse leaving it face down on the table. “If its nothing it will be fine until Franklin returns and then I must explain how I know them and maybe why I lied. If its something though, I need Franklin, and we need to figure it out. Percival will probably understand.”

Both women hustled toward the elevator which opened with a group of men pushing a linen cart toward the parking garage and them. Miya put herself in the shadows facing away from them, she whispers, “Kiss me!” into Cas’ ear.

Without hesitation the two of them locked lips as the men passed by. One of them slapped another on the back of the head when he lingered. “Get a move on Ichi!”

The door closed behind them, and Miya gently pushed Caskata off her. They silently entered the elevator and pressed the appropriate floor. “Will Percival understand that?”

“I couldn’t let them identify me. I recognize those men. Yesterday, Percival and I encountered them outside a villa in the woods. They are not laundry workers. Something is up. I need to know for sure.”


Caskata and Miya rammed through the doors to see the Raja suite in immaculate condition. There were no signs of struggle, violence, or of Franklin Sakamoto either despite Miya’s skilled eye. “I so hate it when criminals are professionals.

They took Franklin and I think I know where they took him too, but it is going to be tough getting him out.”

“Should we inform security?”
“It will take to long to gather the authorities. There are too many VIPs on site already. They probably can’t spare the manpower without definitive evidence.
 
Cas, I need you to find Franklin’s keys and anything else that might be useful.”


She looked down at the outfit she spent an hour making look perfect. “I have to change.”

18:18
Miya and Caskata returned to the restaurant to find Percival waiting patiently for her with a bottle of Kakubin whiskey beside him. He took a moment to take in the fact that Miya was wearing jeans, boots, and a coat instead of the nice dress from before. “Miya, you’ve changed your clothes. Is something wrong?”

“Yes, Percy I need to borrow your car.
Please.
Franklin Sakamoto is in trouble.”

“I see.”
Percival stood up before handing his keys over to her with a clink. “Is there anything I can do?”

“You can take care of his date. Caskata Rio, this is Lord Filington,”
she whispered, “my date,” into Cas’ ear with a threatening inflection. “Until I return. Which will hopefully be very soon.”

She poured out two shots, threw them back, and ran off into Percival’s Aston Martin Velocity which roared out of the parking garage toward Nugoa’s starport.

18:40
A Monarch dropship and many private or chartered shuttles sat on the tarmac of Nugoa’s Starport. Isesaki Shipping’s KR-61 SGHY-7891 was fueled and waiting for its departure at 21:00 tonight, one it was almost certain to now miss. Starport staff stopped her along the way, but she was on the manifest and so was a sports car, so they let her through. Within the dimly lit shuttle interior Miya found the safe that Franklin must have put her and his guns in.

“Great plan Miya! Right up until you forget; IT’S A CODE-LOCKED SAFE! and you don’t know the damn code.”

Miya breathed deep and slammed her palm on the code pad, “You may not know the code, but you know Franklin.
Time to use that intuition that always gets us in trouble.”


She turned a flashlight on the number pad. “Every safe in the Combine must have at least five characters. This is like a hotel safe. It’s not meant for top secret documents or anything important and is easily reconfigured.

So, what would Franklin’s general access password be?

What would be a general thing that only he would know and has five characters?”


Her phone came to her hands as she thought to call Caskata. She realized that the retro interface of the burner phone had numbers and letters on it. “No, it can’t be that easy. Can it?
Well better than random.”


72724
“Sarah”

The bolts of the safe opened with a clank to reveal not only the documents she gave to Franklin earlier but her compact pistol and an over-under shotgun with ammo for each.
“Franklin Sakamoto
Renaissance man
Walking menace to polite society
Still loves his mother.

Unbelievable”

PsihoKekec

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Re: (Golden Lion AU) Hachiman, Hard Boiled
« Reply #117 on: 06 September 2022, 00:23:47 »
What is so surprising about it? Oh, right Miya was abandoned, twice.
Shoot first, laugh later.

AlphaMirage

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Re: (Golden Lion AU) Hachiman, Hard Boiled
« Reply #118 on: 06 September 2022, 16:53:50 »
3041 Winter, Kirei na Niwa
Ito Genzo crouched motionless within the Needle Mountains, hoarfrost settled on his ghille suit and rifle. “Kanoka-chan, if you lay on the ground much longer, you’ll freeze.”
The bush beside him rustled as a shivering teenage girl wearing a frosted deerskin tunic, handknit wool balaclava, and polarized goggles came to a knee. Binoculars around her neck and a scavenged gun was slung behind her. “I’m sorry sir.”
“You apologize to much. Say thank you and move on.
One can never be too thankful, but they can be too sorry.”
“I’m…
Thank you, sir.”
“Better.
Do you see anything girl?”

She looked at the distant cabin nestled in a pine glade. “No movement or tracks visible. Yet smoke comes from the chimney.”
“That is why I think it is a trap. Souta knows we operate in this area and winter is always hard for us. He’s trying to lure us out. We’ll have to hunt elsewhere.”

He stood up and stalked through the pinelands, “Do as I do.”

3046 Summer Jingu,Hachiman
20:08
Miya stalked through Jingu’s pine forest approaching the house of Erik Nekatagu, CEO of Mangon Aeronautical Shipping. Her breath was still but came out in gouts of steam as the temperature dropped and three moons of Hachiman rose into a starry sky the two others dwarfed by Yoshitsune which graced her just enough light to see by.

Despite being stronger than before Franklin’s double shotgun seemed heavy yet remained nimble in her hands. Birds stirred in the canopy above her, unseen creatures scurrying beneath her, all were drawn into one composite. She was a Tiger, a solitary and proud hunter, with nothing to fear in the woods where everything respected her. Even if in the city few did, but they would learn.

She saw the truck dancing in the lights of the brazier where two armed men clustered around warming their hands and legs above the coals. “No night vision, little vigilance. So not DEST or ISF. Good.”

Through Yoshitsune’s light she saw there were no other vehicles. Their truck could only carry four men and maybe a women or youth. Caskata and she had seen four men at the Casino. That seemed like comfortable odds to take down a trained fighter like Franklin without killing him. You only needed one for that so that meant he was likely still alive. She guessed he was in the barn based on the position of the truck which was backed up to the door.

A short stone wall marked the edge of the property and gave her enough cover to close within 25 meters without being detected. Whispers of conversation drifted toward her, but she couldn’t make out distinct words through the sounds of the forest shielding her movements. She opened the breach just enough to check the chambers and snapped it shut. Her feet found purchase on the cool damp ground as she solidified her position.

Two bright flashes took down the sentries who knocked the brazier over in their fall, stray coals set loose hay ablaze outside. Their carbines fired wildly flattening the truck tires in the frenzy. Another man peeked out of the barn door gun ready to fire upon any intruders.

Miya raced toward the near wall throwing the still smoking shotgun up into the hay loft before clambering up a rope. She looked down to see Franklin and two other armed men. Franklin was immobile, unconscious, restrained by rope attached to chain from one of the barn’s structural beams.

Ichi, the one that had looked at Caskata and her was the one looking out the door with his carbine in hand. “What are we going to do Samir?”

Samir unsheathed an Aruval machete holding it to Franklin’s vulnerable form while his pistol pointed elsewhere. “Find the intruder and murder them of course,” He cut down on the ropes restraining Franklin although Miya almost cried out fearing he would decapitate her objective, “before that fire spreads.”

“They are too close to Franklin,”
Miya drew her compact revolver from her belt and slung the shotgun over her shoulders, “I can’t risk it.”

Wood creaked under her as she switched position in the loft. Ichi turned and fired randomly into the hay loft. Miya winced as splinters cut into her and made the hay red with her blood.
“Find them Ichi!”

Ichi slowly walked up the stairs his eyes moving rapidly between growing shadows dancing in the firelight from the open barn door. “Come here little mouse.”

A kama strike from shadows below a window caused him to lose his balance, consciousness, and life in one fell strike.

Samir drew the back edge of his Aruval to Franklin’s throat. Shouting at shadows while the fire grew behind him. “You want Sakamoto for yourself, is that it?”

Three shots rang out from the side, each one found their target. Miya stepped out and over the fallen man whose bloody shirt had come unbuttoned to reveal a metal medallion beneath with a stylized Combine crest on it and ‘Filli Draco’ emblazoned on the edge.

“Not really, I just don’t know why you want him. I also don’t really care.”

The fire spread dangerously close to the truck, Miya pocketed the medallion, attempting to move Franklin’s body out of the danger zone. “Come on Franklin! Move your ass!” She couldn’t budge his deadweight, concern/panic, the smell of smoke, and heat of fire hastened her senses until she found the perfect solution.

A creaking wheelbarrow protested the sudden weight and hasty exit away, the truck exploded, and fire began to consume the barn and crime scene while Miya pushed Franklin down the path toward the main road. “You better appreciate this, Franklin. My great sushi dinner and special dessert were ruined because of you.”

21:15
Miya stood before Imar Singh, the President of Mondavi Casino, resplendently adorned with gilded accessories while she only had bandages and clothes with hay still sticking out. “Miss Kibo, I understand that you returned Franklin Sakamoto to us after he was drugged and abducted by an unknown party.”

“Correct.”
“I also understand that you are currently employed by the Masamori Metro Police and a friend of Lord Percival Filington.”
“Both also correct.”

“I don’t know if you understand but our casino prides itself as a secure entertainment venue. If word of this abduction during our highest profile event were to appear in an official report.
It would be very damaging to our reputation.”


She stood up straighter as the objective of this interview became more apparent.
“That would certainly be tragic Mister Singh.”
“It would, so I am prepared to offer you something to ensure that this incident remains…”
he tapped his fingers nervously on the desk, “between us.”

“I have three wishes.”
“Ask them.”
“One, I need to be on a shuttle ASAP. I have duty tomorrow and my pilot is incapacitated. If I were late that would require an explanation.”
“Done.”
“Second,”
Miya deposited a detailed invoice within a manila envelope on his desk, “Mister Sakamoto has been through a harrowing event. He will need special care from a trained professional.
Say five times a day for the next two days and it would be only suitable that you should compensate him for prior services.”


Imar opened the envelope to find the invoice printed on Dawn Circus stationary. “I will contact Srinagar immediately.

I fear your third request will be even more demanding.”

“It is your reputation on the line. I only ask for a quarter million Ryu in gold within a briefcase.”

Imar snapped his fingers to summon one of his directors, “Open the vault. Get her what she wants and out of here.”

The director returned opened the briefcase the reveal 14kg of gold and shut it immediately after. “We have a car ready to take you and your bags to the Starport. You will leave within the hour.”

Miya nodded at the men, “Thank you President Singh. I had a wonderful time at your establishment.
I will tell all my friends.”


12/14 03:35

An exhausted Miya arrived back to her apartment, immediately falling into bed and asleep without bothering to even close the door behind her.

03:55

‘Buzz’ ‘Buzz’ ‘Buzz’

Miya silenced her phone alarm, “Ten more minutes.”

04:05

‘Buzz’ ‘ Buzz’ ‘Buzz’

Miya grudgingly rose to the alarm, “I hate Mondays.”

PsihoKekec

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Re: (Golden Lion AU) Hachiman, Hard Boiled
« Reply #119 on: 07 September 2022, 00:52:26 »
I agree, Mondays are just terrible and I usually don't have weekends this eventful.
Shoot first, laugh later.

 

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