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SACN Desperate Whispers


Inactive Member
- Begin Encryption -

FROM: Taisho Henry Chen
TO: Senator Maximillian Alphonse

Senator Alphonse,

You must have already seen this:


1. Members of the following species are eligible to serve in the Star Army of Yamatai:

* Nekovalkyrja NH-27 (recommended for combat arms)
* Nekovalkyrja NH-29 (recommended for all positions)
* Nepleslians (Non-combat, ship-based jobs) until YE 30
* Yamataian NH-22 (recommended for admin and technical jobs)

2. Members of all other species should seek immediate upgrades to one of the above species. Most Star Army ships, bases, and Star Fortresses should have the capability to provide upgrade services. Failure to obey these orders will result in disciplinary action. Exception: Nepleslians have until YE 30 to upgrade.

3. Nepleslians and members of species not included in section one who wish to join the Star Army of Yamatai may apply for a free upgrade. Nepleslians, for instance, would have to upgrade to Yamataians during the recruiting process.


Ketsurui Yui
Mistress of the Star Army.

As much as I love and respect Mistress Yui, her orders are in direct violation of Imperial law:

Star Army Military Laws
(Proposal #4)

4. The Star Army may discriminate on a basis of species, language, culture, social class, physical attributes, mental attributes, sex, and age so long as it is in the interest of promoting overall efficiency. However, it may not discriminate by not by race, religion, sexual preference, or ancestry.

Forcing everyone but the Nekovalkyrja and Yamataians to leave the SAoY will not only fail to "promote efficiency", it will gut the combat abilities of the SAoY. Some of my top officers and soldiers, people who have loyally served the Empire for years, if not decades, are dropping of their resignations at my desk as we speak.

Unfortunately, as Mistress Yui's subordinate, military protocols dictate that I must not openly speak out against her. Encryption will shield the contents of this message from the eyes of the public, but not from hers. I am endangering my career, if not my life, just be writing you this message, but my days in the armed forces are limited to the end of this year anyway.

And I would rather die than see this Empire fall.

As the senator of Anisa, you must speak out against this injustice in the Imperial Senate. I can only pray that you have the courage to do this, or else all will be lost.


Henry Chen
Fleet Admiral, Third Expeditionary Fleet

- End Encryption -
- Begin Encryption -

FROM: Senator Maximillian Alphonse
TO: Taisho Henry Chen

Well, Henry, I suppose I would have to commit political suicide sooner or later. *chuckle* Admittedly I understand the spirit of her order, but this is a mistake any way you've looked at it. I have friends who were of those species that have just been banned, people who have saved their ships more than once in battle.

Standing up to the most powerful woman in the fleet? If I succeed, I'll be the greatest politician ever. So why not?

With my regards,

- End Encryption -
It was a cold, blustery day in the imperial capital of Kyoto, so Maximillian Alphonse had his trademark windbreaker on. He wore no glasses to hide his eyes today; his gaze was not one that needed hiding.

It was political suicide from the start...it was somewhat of an open secret that the Star Army admiralty had a great deal of influence on the Senate. He had revealed that secret, and got nothing out of it but a pink slip.

But then...he was young. ...ish. Idealistic, to a certain extent. He had believed Henry Chen, about the restrictions...but he wasn't entirely sure why.

Alphonse said:
Nekovalkyrja. An amalgamation of two disparate words from two disparate languages to form something only vaguely related to either.

Neko. The Japanese word for a cat, sometimes used to describe something feline, as the sustaining popularity of the ancients' nekomimi would no doubt indicate.

Valkyrie. An ancient legend, of warrior goddesses who chose the dead to serve their liege Odin, to fight in the predestined final battle of Ragnarok, where the world would end.

And through those they created nekovalkyrja. Living weapons created by PNUgen to fight for the Empire in the Yamataian Era. A marvel of genetic engineering. Created to be the strongest, smartest, most loyal soldiers possible. Perversely given the female form, like a nekomimi, but still deadly.

And yet, they're human.

They don't seem human at first. They don't have human ears. Their bodies, at least in the age of humans and Geshrin, were unnaturally perfect. They don't breed like humans, don't have human genders.

But they have the one vital element of humanity, and of sentience as a whole - free will. Of all the things they could possibly give their weapons, why free will?

Free will breeds dissension. And from dissension comes rebellion...like the Black Spiral. "The Great Nekovalkyrja Empire"...an empire of nothing but living weapons created by people who made the mistake of giving them free will.

From free will stems hesitation. A trigger does not hesitate. The one that pulls it is the one who hesitates. Hesitation, in war, is deadly...I've lost many a friend through that hesitation. I don't want to lose any more.

From free will stems culture. A gun does not have sex. A starship does not make music. A robot does not bow when it enters a room. A sword does not paint. And yet, the neko is known to do all of those things, and a lot more. It is a waste of time, for weapons, to have downtime, unless they require repairs.

As an engineer, it disgusts me, the uselessness of free will in a weapon. There are plenty of weapons that have no free will. The NovaCorp Custodian War Android, perfectly loyal and extremely powerful. The ever-feared Seraphs of the Elysians, with no will of their own but incredible abilities to serve their 'angelic' masters. And of course, the marvels of engineering that are the NH-18 and the famous (or infamous) NH-28 NIWS. All weapons designed to remove the human element from combat.

And even then, the neko is the one who fights the battles. Something human. And why? Why a human weapon?

What is the point of a weapon that can say 'no'?

The point was moot anyway. He was out of a job. He had no ships or weapons to repair, he had no political office to hold, and his old hobby? He had given it up long ago.

He bought a drink and sipped it as he continued to walk down the streets, watching the people go by. He was bored...very bored.

Soon enough an opportunity would come for him. It always did. And even if it didn't, he could always take up his old hobby again...

Damn, it's cold.
ON: Kyoto, Yamatai

Alphonse sat on a park bench, watching the snow fall to the ground as he enjoyed his drink. A boring, cold day, particularly for the recently unemployed. He reached into his pocket and put his glasses back on so he could gaze at the passerby without any potential intent being ascertained.

Across the park, wearing a long black pea coat, a woman crossed through the snow. She wore elegant, black, soft leather boots and her hair was obscured some by a headscarf she wore. She wasn't far away, but she hadn't seemed to notice the cool-looking man on the bench. She seemed to enjoy the sky. She was walking Alphonse's way.

He stared at the woman through his glasses, examining her dress and mannerisms...'that' part of him told her to take her for his own, and considering how he was already part of an erupting public scandal over Henry Chen, he saw no reason not to listen. Upon his face he took a warm smile, and he got out his tablet to look over the recent SANDRA reports.

The woman got closer, but still did not seem intent on sitting next to him. Peeking above his reports, Alphonse could see the woman had small silver strands in her hair, and her face carried small but distinguished creases -- she was older, but not too old. The pea coat hid most of her body, but he could see some of her legs, trapped in warm black leggings. Her lips were surprisingly full and defined, glossed lightly to protect them from the cold.

Alphonse bit his tongue to keep from licking his lips. 'That' part of him kept growing in influence in his mind, after a great many years of being suppressed for the sake of both his military and political careers. But his other thoughts remained; about his actions, and his involvement in the recent political drama. He wondered what would become of him once the smoke cleared.

As the woman drew closer still, she finally looked at Alphonse. She had a pretty, conservative smile, and light grey eyes enhanced by the overcast and snow. She let her gaze fall to the ground as she stepped over and delicately sat next to the man on the park bench. She seemed not to entirely notice him.

Alphonse looked to his right. "You would think that with PANTHEON, we wouldn't have snow..." An engineer to the bitter end - in fact, he was looking over weather reports for the nodally-controlled planet and looking for a reason why they couldn't, in fact, have a permanently maintained temperate climate.

The woman looked up again. "And rob the world of such a beautiful thing? ... It would be almost as bad as the plague." She kept an amused smile on her face.

"One shouldn't speak lightly of such a thing, lest they invite it upon themselves again." Alphonse was one of the lucky ones, as was this woman...though she still certainly must have lost many close to her, as he did. He tapped his tablet once more to bring up the SANDRA feed again.

"It is only a body," she said simply. "My career is sound ... a very dissimilar state compared to yours." The snow flakes stuck to her headscarf as she turned and looked at him, smile a little warmer.

"Hmph...so you do know my name, huh? Then you have the advantage." Alphonse's eyes met hers, obscured by the spectacles, matching smile taking his face. "Unless you would tell me yours."

"Debra," she said simply. "Debra Kurokawa."

"Then, Kurokawa-san, tell me what you know of my career."

"Very little ... I do not keep up much." She looked up toward the snow again, a pleasent look on her face. "But I know you are a senator, and you spoke of things the military did not approve of."

"That is what tends to happen, isn't it?" Alphonse looked up as she did, at the snow that fell from the sky. "What Henry Chen did is common, you know. Every Senator, minus those from other worlds, is given instructions by the military. Most of them are in fact military themselves. I just decided to do what I thought was right...political suicide, of course."

"Of course," she responded. "A man of moral character does not survive long in politics. A terrible business, it is."

"I wouldn't go so far as to call myself moral...rather, I decided that the order, as it stood, would be appropriate. One identity took over for another...the engineer took over for the politician." It seemed that Alphonse was still somewhat conflicted with his decision, and it showed in his voice.

"Mm ... that was not what you wanted?"

"What I wanted...was efficiency. Despite my political maneuvering, and yes, even some of my personal feelings, I felt that the order would make the armed forces more efficient, and was the first tentative step toward a fully mechanized force."

"Mechanized ... you do not believe creatures with souls can fight efficiently?"

"Free will is the issue, not souls...though one would argue you cannot have one without the other."

Debra only nodded. "Choice is troublesome, isn't it? What man would not give for an all-obeying slave."

"The mistake of PNUgen, of course, was their desire for something human." Alphonse nodded in agreement with the woman. "War is not a pursuit worth the valued resources of humanity...namely, the human mind."

"Most of history, I believe, would agree with you." Debra had a bemused smile on her face. "And you wished to not repeat such history?"

"Something like that, yes." Alphonse simply smirked.

"Mmm ... " The woman slowly turned her head to look at him. "You are a man of control, yes?"

"You could say that," Alphonse said as he gazed at her. Could she see what lay beyond his spectacles, she would likely be very scared indeed...

"Hmm." Her smile widened some, but still bore no teeth. "And in one as young as you. What made you that way?"

"Those who work with machines have a tendency for control." ...or perhaps it was the other way around...

"Oh?" She seemed only slightly surprised. "Here I thought it was simply part of your nature. My mistake."

"I'm not one to look to the past," he said, as he looked at the tablet once again. "The future, however, is somewhat difficult to see as well."

"The future ... you wish to control that too?"

"Of course."

"Mmm ... not a believer in fate. You have free choice."

"Free will separates me from the machines."

Debra simply looked at him for a brief moment, then brought her eyes down to the snow. "How does one manage chance ... all of human existence has hinged on that."

"That is, I would surmise, the greatest machine one could create." Alphonse's gaze was brought to her briefly before he returned to his tablet. "But then, it would make both the military and the political structure obsolete, wouldn't it?"

She continued looking down. "AvaNet was like that, for some time ... someday, we might learn why it left." She returned her gaze to him. "That does not help you, does it?"

"No, it doesn't. I'm out of a job for the foreseeable future." He sighed. "I don't suppose you could help with that."

"I do not believe you would find fulfillment in a luxury clothing store," she said with a smile.

"An interesting business...you seem to be content without control." He shook his head. "I can't imagine that."

"Being content without control ... or me without control?"

"I'm not entirely sure."

Debra laughed -- a low-pitched, throaty kind of laugh. It followed her deep voice well. "I pity you, young man ... to search for certainty so resolutely takes so much energy."

"Where else would I put it? Defending an empire I have such spite for? Killing my soul for the sake of some small amount of power?" Alphonse shook his head. "No, I think I'll stick to that search."

"There are so many things other than power worth having," she said. "Pleasures. Pains. Pursuits of either."

"I do know quite a bit about those, you know...but I haven't pursued them in a very long time."

"Oh?" This seemed to pique Debra's fancy. "Again, in one so young ... what would you know?"

"I'm not as young as you seem to think I am...but I've learned how to provide pleasure...or provide pain in the guise of pleasure. Or even how to derive pleasure from the pain of others." Alphonse said this to Debra because he felt she would understand. It seemed appropriate.

" ... " Debra did not say anything for a full minute, letting the silence between them linger. The soft sound of falling snow made it seem even stronger, more meaningful ... but then she spoke. "I know of those concepts. But it has been so very long since I have heard them. No man wishes to think of such things when they see me."

Alphonse kept his eyes on her throughout the silence...but when she spoke, he removed her glasses, and let her see his true intent. "Hmph...most, they don't understand. It's so rare, to find someone who does."

"It is rare to find one so resolutely dedicated to control, not power." His eyes seemed not to faze her at all, the creases around her eyes not touching them.

"The universe...is large enough, I suppose, to provide for every opportunity." Seeing no fear in the woman's eyes, 'that' part of Alphonse was satisfied. "Would you show me your store?"

"My store?" She had not expected the question, it seemed. Alphonse was treated to a rare glimpse of surprise on her features. "I suppose."

The two did not walk far -- only about half a mile -- before being presented with a small, narrow clothing store in the more upscale part of Kyoto. Above, a sign read, "Wings of the River." She produced an old-fashioned metal key to unlock the store, then let him inside, closing the door behind him. The store was dark, but the clothes were all arranged on racks and displays, showing very high-end tastes.

Alphonse's eyes darted around the store to examine its merchandise - it was rather rare to see a true clothing store of this type on the planet, and it seemed so...quaint. Like the entire store itself was an antique. However, this didn't phase him in the slightest. "Unlike my contemporaries, I do so enjoy nostalgia."

"Ha ha," she laughed lightly. "Nostalgia, like all things, has a price. I do not make much, but I am never wanting. Not all of it is brand made ... some are originals, by me."

"Admirable," Alphonse simply commented, as he examined one of the items. "You rarely see this quality in this day and age."

"Flatterer," Debra said in faux admonishment. "I leanred, with time and age, that old hands can learn new tricks."

"Then I suppose there's hope for me then," Alphonse joked slightly. He wasn't much for humor, but he wasn't completely witless.

"Ha! You are too much." She looked back at him in the dark, the snow glinting in the pale light. Her eyes were almost catlike with how they shone. "You have many years left in you, Alphonse."

Alphonse looked over and smiled in that way of his, and his predatory gaze never let up. "Don't you?"

"I suppose," she said carefully. "But who is to know?"

"Speak for yourself...I plan to live forever." It wasn't a joke.

"Forever is not impossible, but it is a very long time. Are you sure you are up to it?"

"We'll find out, won't we?" He stepped closer.

"We? I do not think I will live so long." She did not move.

"PNUgen and the Ketsurui have done some amazing things." He stepped closer once again.

"Not to me, they have not." She still did not move, but she had not lost any of her clothing. It was cold in the store, so her breath could be seen.

"So you are still..." The question was left open. He did not step.

"Geshrin? Not entirely. I am a hybrid. My dead husband's doing." She said it simply, without any anguish.

"You have aged well, then..." He took one more step.

Debra could feel his breath. "After 48 years, that is a grand compliment."

"48, huh...? I would have guessed at least 15 less..." Alphonse's eyes began to close, just slightly, as he got closer.

"Again, you flatter me. If I did not suspect otherwise, I would accuse you of desiring my company." The smile on her face was one of slight amusement, but her eyes said differently.

"You would suspect correctly...it has been far too long for me."

"So you become desperate enough for even an old woman like me?" Debra nearly felt the heat radiating from him. It chilled her, ever so slightly.

"Desperate? I'm attracted to older women. I resent the accusation." Alphonse frowned, momentarily, but his eyes never changed. He knew what he was doing to her.

"Oh ... so you know how to appreciate someone with experience." She took a step now, her coat pressed against his chest. She let a hand run down his arm. "Strong, but not too strong."

Alphonse's hand brought itself to her spine, and his knuckles ran down its length. "You clothe yourself rather heavily...how heavily do you guard yourself?"

"As heavily as I feel necessary," she said, not responding to his touch. She brought a hand along his chin and smiled. "Sturdy boy."