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  • 📅 April 2024 is YE 46.3 in the RP.

RP Cold Candidate in a Hot Place


Well-Known Member
RP Date
RP Location
Tokyo University

Ieyasu College of Political Science, Tokyo University, District 65, Himawari Tokyo, Jiyuu III

Kinoshita Fusako, a small woman with shoulder-length straight black hair, meandered slowly through the campus that sat on the south-eastern corner of Himawari Tokyo's shoreline. She carried a parasol that was white on top with a reflective layer that had a pattern of tiled snowflake designs, each of which was distinct from the others, but was practically impossible to see except when it caught the light at just the right angle. The underside of the parasol also contained a hidden design, but it was completely invisible while Fusako held it upright. Fusako's clothing was much more eye-catching. Though it was basically a plain white kimono whose thin fabric clung to her surprisingly muscular figure, the material caught the bright light of Jiyuu's sun and powered passive projectors that cast sparkling white three-dimensional volumetrics of snowflakes cascading through the air around her. The effect made it look like there was a light blizzard localized entirely under her parasol.

Behind Fusako, Eldon, a tall Nepleslian man, followed her. He wore a plain shirt and black trousers under a grey jacket. Dark sunglasses concealed his eyes, which was useful to hide the object of his attention as he scanned the area around them. In his left hand, he held the handle of a white case with a hard shell that hovered silently behind him as he pulled it along. "I don't like how open this place is, Toji," he grumbled to her.

"I have nothing to fear, Eldon," Fusako replied as she continued to walk. "Why would a humble sake maker have anything to fear in Tokyo?"

"Respectfully, Toji," he murmured. "Yer a candidate fer Imperial Premier."

"While true, that is no reason to suspect I will be the target of some attack," Fusako refused to indulge the man's paranoia. "Until there is evidence of a credible threat, I will continue to act as any other citizen in this great Empire and enjoy my freedom to its fullest. Furthermore, you are not my bodyguard, just my assistant. If there were a credible threat, I would retain a security specialist, though you would be welcome to give your input on any candidates for that position."

Eldon grumbled again, but didn't say anything else.

It appeared things with the Colonization Initiative had slowed, the last thing Taro expected was that he was going to get a chance to see Fusako in person. Taro approached his son Tetsuya a few steps behind. They both wore matching black suits and had the regional twist of the mandarin-style collar and jeweled Motoyoshi mon harlequin in lieu of a tie. He couldn't help but chuckle at the sight of the tank-like man who was with her, she, after all, had turned down keibi protection - he wouldn't rile her up too much about it. He had already sent her a bottle of wine, but he had something special for her today; a bottle of the rare Keomi wine the clan had produced just for Takeda House, there wasn't enough of it yet as cultivation was just getting popular on Jiyuu. Taro approached Fusako and gave a generous bow, then held out the bottle, "It warms my heart that I get to see you before I'm off," he said, "Now this, lovely young man beside me is my son, Tetsuya. He is the one I told you about and is also the new Governor of Jiyuu, and Chairman of the party and the regional government," he introduced Tetsuya.

Male Nekovalkyrja was rare, very rare to the point that Tetsuya was rather glad it was hard to tell him apart from a Minkan. He gave a respectful bow when introduced, more so than his father for this woman was his elder, "It is an honor to meet you Fusako-sama, and please accept my official welcome of you to Jiyuu," the dark-blue-haired Governor said graciously, "Are you here long? I'd hope you would take some time to visit the sights, Tokyo has really blossomed over the last four years, it is a wonderful city which serves as a second heart for the Empire," he said. Students passed, and Tetsuya was prudent to call out to them, a trio of Minkan girls just getting out of a political science class, "Come meet your hopeful future Premier, " he offered them, "Give her your ear and your vote," he said.
"That this one's icy temperament warms your heart is grounds in itself for celebration and perhaps deeper study." Fusako smiled and bowed to Taro, careful to do so more deeply than he did to her. "It goes without saying that I am overjoyed to see you in person one more time. Each time I fear it is our last chance to do so, and each time I am happy to be proven wrong."

Taking the offered bottle, she inspected it with obvious excitement. "Keomi? I haven't yet had the pleasure. I will save this for the evening I learn the results of my campaign. One way or another, I will drink it and think of you." Without turning away, she handed the bottle to Eldon, who quickly opened the hovering case and tucked it neatly inside before pulling out a different bottle and handing it to her. This bottle almost looked like it had been buried and only recently retrieved, without being properly cleaned. "I am embarrassed to offer you something of tremendously little value in return. This is a bottle of the first sake I ever made at my sakagura, the year after the great plague."

Looking down at the bottle, a great sadness washed over her features for a moment, before she put her smile back on and held it out for him to take.

"I never released this batch because there was a pronounced bitterness from unhappy yeast, whom I was able to cheer up years later. I am happy to say that time has softened its harsh edges and it is now fit to accompany a small meal along with thoughts of old friends long gone."

Once Taro took the bottle, Fusako turned and bowed again to Tetsuya, careful this time to bow only slightly less deeply than he did. She had great respect for him, but didn't want to challenge his respect for her. "The honour belongs to this old toji. I would ask that you simply call me Fusako, if you would forgive me for calling you Tetsuya. I am old and have little time for formalities among those with whom I intend to converse at length. I will be here until I am called away to meet with any of the senators whom I have contacted, which I am afraid is likely to happen shortly. But I am yours until that time."

When Tetsuya called out to the Minkan girls, Fusako turned and gave them each a smile and slight bow. "This one is too kind for indulging the fantasies of an old woman, but I am indeed running for Premier. It is my singular goal to work with the Empress and the Senate to strengthen the foundation on which was built our glorious Empire."
Taro accepted the exchange with a pleasant smile, "Of little value?" he questioned, a huff left his lips as examined the antiquated container, then continued, " This is of great value Fusako, and I shall treasure it like gold. The years certainly pass quickly." He watched his son's interaction with her. He was happy he could leave them in each other's care, he had no idea how long they would be gone.

"As you wish Fusako," Tetsuya said, "When you're done we can go inside," he said as she interacted with the Minkan girls.

Taro and Tetsuya waited while Fusako talked to the girls, it was not long before they moved on having met their hopeful Imperial Premier. Tetsuya led the way, and Taro politely offered Fusako his arm, "So you've made it official, and now you're not on the trail toward victory," he said to her. "I'm sure you and my son will have plenty to talk about, I have a feeling a new age in Yamataian politics is upon us," he said in thought, "I just hope it goes better for you than it did Katsuko, I honestly can say it has left a lasting mark on her but at least she is back to doing what she is good at."

Tetsuya held the door to the main building of Ieyasu College of Political Science, it was an expected interior - plenty of full-length windows which faced the water of the Motoyoshi Channel a distance away. The main lobby had a rather unmistakable statue of Taro himself, something he had protested in length, even with the college being named after him. Once they were all inside he led them down the main east corridor towards the small conference room that had been set up for the meeting.
Fusako took Taro's arm and walked with them, with Eldon hanging back and looking suspiciously at everyone they passed. "The Evening Orchid's service to the Empire is beyond question and something I could never compare myself against. If you will forgive this old woman's foolish opinions, her time with the Star Army is more valuable than any time spent herding politicians in the Senate. It is for the best that she leave such things to those whose time is not better spent."

Once they were inside, Fusako paused to look up at the statue before they continued to the conference room. "It fails to capture your grandeur, Taro," Fusako commented, trying and mostly succeeding to keep her expression from revealing her amusement. "Perhaps if it were bigger?"
Taro just shook his head and laughed, "I thought a statue of Ketsurui Hanako would have been a better choice, but no one listens to me." Once they were in the conference room, he stepped ahead and pulled a comfortable leather chair out for Fusako at the head of the table. The room was rather spartan, an oil painting of the Eight Statues leaned up against the wall yet to be hung. There were still things the university had to do, the table was circular with six seats with a volumetric projector inset in the center in the logo of Tokyo University. Each spot at the table had its own access panel, tied into a KAIMON system with pathways to SYNC and civilian PANTHEON. "Feel free to join us," he said to Eldon.

Tetsuya took a seat beside his father at the opposite end of the table from Fusako, one of the student workers entered the room with a tray of tea, cups and a few small pastries then set them down at the table before she left, "Well, you wanted to meet Fusako and we're both excited to hear what you have to say," Tetsuya said. He held back a private comment, something he would surely poke his father about later - all that bowing, chair pulling all that was missing was the blushing and letters passed under the table.
Fusako nodded as she sat down in the offered chair. "I probably would have agreed with you. Hanako has done much to serve the Empire and Empress Yui in particular. But you are now aware of my stance on politics, so I am sure that it will come as no surprise to learn that I believe Hanako's political career is the least of what she has done."

Eldon gave Taro a nod, but silently declined the offer to sit with them. Instead, he stood behind and to one side of Fusako, which was convenient for when she raised her hand, which Eldon took as a cue to reach into the hovering case and remove yet another bottle. This one much cleaner and more presentable, he placed it into Fusako's waiting hand and she held it out as she spoke.

"First, let me give you this as a token of my appreciation for what I hope to be the beginning of a strong friendship. This is the first bottle of this year's batch of hiyaoroshi. It is best enjoyed in autumn, but if you prefer you can leave it to develop further in the bottle."

Eldon took the bottle and walked it over to hand to Tetsuya as Fusako continued.

"Now let's talk. I honestly know nothing of politics. I have read the constitution, of course, and I'm aware that the Premier is elected by the Senate. With that in mind, I have begun contacting Senators and inviting them to meet with me on their own terms. Thus far, only senators Airwin Caeyara and Anslen Volontany have replied, the latter of which is running against me and has agreed to a debate. It is my intention to give each of them a chance to tell me the issues that are dearest to them. I honestly intend to help them achieve their goals so long as they aren't outright antithetical to the Empire. Beyond meeting with the Senators and participating in debate, I have no further strategy. Only guiding principles that largely line up with the views of the Bellflower party. Supporting the Empress, Nekovalkyrja, and veterans. Preservation of culture and traditions. The foundations of our Empire.

"It is my hope that you can provide me with the wisdom of your experience and help me develop a strategy to win the election."
Taro could have answered everything Fusako asked of them, he however reclined slightly in his chair and deferred to his son, Tetsuya who was the chairman of the party and obviously the best person to answer. He accepted the bottle with a grateful smile and the bow of his head, "More gifts? Thank you, my dear," Taro said sincerely.

Tetsuya nodded, "In terms of the Bellflower party, keeping the Empress elevated beyond the reach of grievous changes to the constitution is probably what I would call a foundational priority, while we feel from bills the Discourse party has submitted that they seek to change that. Keeping the Empire an Empire should always be our first priority., everything beyond that is really driven by constituencies and their desires," he explained as he was a rare but existent male Nekovalkyria, "As for Nekovalkyria, our opposing party has made references to make it sound like Nekovalkyria dominate the entire Empire and are in some manner keeping other species beneath them. We find this rather ridiculous because Nekovalkyria were not even recognized as a species until after the Imperial Decree in YE 35, before that we were considered bodies and property of the military - we got rights after everyone else. My goal was to reinforce the fact that all species who are part of the Empire are given rights under the constitution and this division that is being highlighted is not as big as is suggested. Most of our members maintain though that Nekovalkyria is the best species for the Star Army, not that we have any say over the military." Tetsuya actually brought his notes up on the volumetric system in the center of the table after transferring them from his office KAIMON. "Rather than focusing on the differences, presenting us all as Yamataian with rights under the current constitution should be maintained - division just causes animosity," he further explained.

"In terms of the Star Army veterans that re-enter civilian life, while the Star Army provides many services for them post-service it is good for us to keep an ear to this community, they make up a large portion of the population and it should be important to us to hear their issues and represent them, " he stated. He paused before he would move to any further points to make sure Fusako could give questions or comments on anything he had said.
Fusako largely kept her pleasant-but-neutral expression as Tetsuya spoke, but she narrowed her eyes slightly when he said "we got rights after everyone else." That Tetsuya was a Nekovalkyrja surprised her, but she did what she could to keep her reaction hidden lest she offend him with her surprise.

"I thought it would go without saying and thus it burdens my heart that I need to do so, but of course our Empress and her Empire must be upheld," Fusako responded with a frown.

"As for Nekovalkyrja, the distinction between my NH-1 body and the original NH-2 bodies was never enough to make me feel comfortable with the law designating the former as people and the latter as property." Shifting uncomfortably, she paused before continuing. "I was appalled when I heard about the Species Restriction Orders of YEs 29 and 35. I'm sure I don't need to explain that the Geshrin before you doesn't support the notion that people are equipment, nor that bodies could ever be considered obsolete." Though she conveniently ignored the fact that she had transferred into a Geshrin body almost as soon as it was available.

"Finally, to build on what I said earlier, I believe that no one has been of more service to the Empire than our Emperors and Empresses. But next after them are the members of the Star Army. Their service shall not be forgotten when they reach the end of their contracts or commissions. Not as long as I have anything to say on the matter."
Tetsuya understood that not everything he said was the easiest thing for anyone to swallow. He took a sip of the tea the student had brought them, "I never assumed you would have such thinking. You're an honorable woman, in touch with the pulse of this nation. A traditional Yamatai, that evolves in a traditional and respectful strength to its unified culture," he said in summary before he moved on to the next topic.

"We also wanted to see a push to issues surrounding the recovery of worlds affected by the war, the Star Army is great a liberating world but the next step falls on the civilian governments to rebuild. I'm hoping to address Jiyuu's Senator in the near future about a series of bills geared toward stimulating that. We recently provided a grant for use, it was a way for my mother to continue her agenda now that she is off the political stage. The Motoyoshi are passionate about this recovery, the former worlds of the UOC now within the Motoyoshi Colonial Sector suffered years of neglect before we pushed them from recovery to prosperity that you see around you now," he explained the other major platform point, "We need civilian systems in place that stimulate recovery in not just this war but all future wars as well." Tetsuya presented his points with conviction, in hopes of having both of his parents appreciate his support of their issues. "I just wish this could be seen as the nonpartisan issue that it is, if anything I think, or I would hope this would be something all parties in the Senate could agree upon," he added to ensure his point.
"We are beginning to venture into topics with which I am, unfortunately, poorly acquainted. One rarely hears much of worlds that are struggling. I suppose such things make less interesting news stories than new cities opening, the formation of a new political party, the release of an edgy album by a pop starlet, or a Senator stepping down," Fusako said, tilting her head to one side in an apologetic motion. "But merely on first principles, I can't imagine arguing against the support of worlds affected by war. The UOC was a dark time in our Empire's history and the Motoyoshi did more than anyone else to heal the divide, which my brother benefited from directly.

"Civilian systems to stimulate recovery..."
Fusako repeated as she leaned back in her chair and drew her hands together, interlocking her fingers. She dropped her usual expression and seemed almost dour as she paused to think. "One might walk away from a tour of my sakagura thinking that everything is working perfectly. But in reality, most things are working just well enough to get by. In the quiet season, we spend our time maintaining and making improvements to our equipment. This effort pays dividends, saving us time and preventing breakdowns that would halt production during the busy season.

"I must reiterate that I am still working simply from first principles, but investments in infrastructure during times of peace seem like the planetary equivalent to the investments in equipment at my sakagura."
Tetsuya smiled at Fusako's reference to the trending news feed, "Oftentimes, it is the suffering of the everyday people that is the least interesting thing to read in the news. We see SANDRA updates where expeditionary fleets provide liberation and then things go silent. Unless the system has a proactive Senator or a local government that is alive and well we rarely see anything about recovery. As I see it the Motoyoshi Colonial Sector is an exception to the rule, the clan stepped in here when the promises of the core just dried up, and people seemed happy to see this frontier as some kind of antiquated Nepleslian western film, " he said with full eye contact, "...I digress, I could point out the flaws in past civilian governments until the nice bottle you brought ran dry. Recovery is good, and being leaders in that recovery is also good for us. The Motoyoshi helped turn this region around and the people are prosperous and wealthy now, and so are we. We just need to repeat that in systems liberated from the war. More important use bills and actions in the senate to stimulate growth in the economy in those systems, attract business, and get people out of refugee camps and back in their homes. Rebuilt twice as grand as what they had before," he said with conviction, "The senate needs to be focused on growth, not stunting existing parties to give a pile of bodies for others to climb to the top on. Rather than seeing your Sakagura as an illusion of perfection, use it as an example of what perfection can be - efficiency, quality of goods, and services bring happiness to citizens." He knew he had made quite the speech, and hoped it had been received well.

"As Premier you don't get a lot of say on the floor itself, there is no rule though about not having the ear of Senators who do. Giving them ideas for bills that stimulate growth, that help their constituencies can only make things better," he said, "My mother is a highly opinionated woman, she's better in a command chair or maybe even at the ear of the Empress herself. As Premier though, you can conduct that orchestra, and behind it use the party to get Senators to appeal to things like recovery. The Sector has changed, there are prospects beyond it - it's just a shame that some of those going as colonists are doing so because they were displaced, living in refugee camps waiting to see when their homes will be rebuilt," he reached for his tea, then continued, "Recovery first, then prevention and protection for the future and not the military kind. I'm talking about things like solid 'What IF' plans, bills about emergency management, food security, and installing more elaborate bunker systems on worlds with high populations. If the Kuvexians and Mishhu have taught us anything, it is that we have a lot of strong worlds just once they crack it's a mess." He figured he had said too much, and not wanting to step on her toes he went quiet ready to hear her out.
If Fusako were bothered by him speaking, she gave no indication. Her expression was one of contented calm as she patiently awaited her turn to speak. Each time Tetsuya finished a thought, she gave a slow nod, almost a bow, to indicate she heard and understood him.

"I am not surprised to hear that Motoyoshi Colonial Sector is a model for others to follow, since it is one of very few sectors outside of Yamatai whose prosperity is that of which I am intimately aware. I have Eldon to thank for shuttling me around on a tour of the Empire over the last year, so I have some knowledge of how neglected most systems are," Fusako's attention wavered from Tetsuya for the first time since they'd started talking, just long enough to steal a glance at Eldon, who was behind and to one side of her again. Eldon clenched his jaw to keep from saying anything. It was generally his nature to speak at great length about nothing at all, but he knew to keep silent when Fusako was around others. Instead, he simply bowed his head in recognition that she had mentioned him.

"But it is surprising to hear that the Star Army doesn't take a more active role in emergency planning," Fusako continued as she turned back to Tetsuya. As she did so, her kimono's volumetric projection of water flowing under ice rippled slightly. "Given that when emergencies happen, it is the Star Army towards which we invariably turn. If that is within the purview of the civilian government, then by all means let's plan for the emergencies we can foresee, that we may be ready for them, and at least we would then have a place to start when something unexpected inevitably occurs."
Tetsuya gave a slight presenting gesture with his right hand and said, "Does it have to be the Star Army though? As you know our clan is in full support of the military. Should it not be the departments of our great nation and the Senate? Things like food security, the preparation of civilian bunkers, and plans for partial or full evacuations. I don't really see those as military matters, while the Star Army will obviously have its own emergency procedures their worry needs to be the defense and operational side of such emergencies. It is a great opportunity to let soldiers be soldiers and civilians to be civilians," the male Nekovalkyria noted. "At some point, the entire destiny of the Empire needs to be partially in the hands of its people, its government showing unity through non-partisan politics this discussion we are having now is something Yamatai needs," he said with conviction.

"Situations within our control, need to be situations within our control - if anything, the preparation of emergency infrastructure at the civilian level provides jobs for people and contracts for corporations. It is a stimulus while addressing a serious matter," he said in a final thought.

Taro chimed in briefly, "Even the great Star Army can get overwhelmed, to both fight and have to provide civilians with need and care when not necessary is inefficient. Even through my years of service, if the civilian populations we were sent to assist had some kind of emergency management plan, it would have been helpful. This is all wishful thinking though, as Premier you don't get to make the rules, however, you surely can give some influence to these Senators at least in our own party." The Elder Motoyoshi leaned back in his chair and took a minute to look around the room. The University of Tokyo was a good choice for the meeting, a perfect example of something the people needed.