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Episode 3 (Companion Story) - Forever Forwards Remixed


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RP Date
YE 42
RP Location
Gemini Star Fortress, Jiyuu System
Resolutions of The Ghost: Episode 3: Companion Story - Forever Forwards Remixed

Companion Story to: Resolutions of The Ghost: Episode 3 - Forty-Two

Part 1: A New Home, Session 1
Part 1: A New Home, Session 2
Part 2: An Unexpected Detour, Session 1
Part 2: An Unexpected Detour, Session 2
Part 2: An Unexpected Detour, Session 3
Part 3: Last Minutes of Takeda, Session 1

Part 1: A New Home, Session 1

Authors: Andrew and Yuuki
  • Ge-E1-1b Tenba Transporter Flight 421
  • Jiyuu III Orbit

"Gemini Traffic Control, this is Pegasus 421, on approach," the Tenba transporter's pilot broadcasted as she transmitted the proper authorization codes to be guided into the docking bay of the massive station. "Authorization received, proceeding on autopilot."

In the rear, Jōtō Takeda "TT" Tachiko reviewed all of her communications over and over, while clasping a black, hermetically-sealed case bearing the Hinomaru to her chest as if it were her own child. She looked around at the other passengers, mainly soldiers reporting for duty aboard Gemini station, but for the most part remained focused inward, reading and rereading the orders and communiqués while she rehearsed what she's about to say.

Tachiko looked up, jostled by the switch from manual to autopilot, and felt the subtle pull of the transport aligning with the stations' gravity plane. It was only a few more moments before the pilot's voice sounded over the intercom, "On final approach to Gemini Station. Please remain in your seats until given clearance to disembark."

The Nekovalkyrja medic squeezed her precious case more tightly, and the chain jingled as the handcuff keeping it securely in her possession moved with her arm. Soon there was the distinct feeling of a gravity-manipulation-assisted landing and the whoosh of depressurization as the cabin atmosphere normalized with that of the docking bay.

"Passengers are clear to disembark." The doors slid open with a magnetic, sliding hum, and Tachiko stood to take her turn exiting.

  • Gemini Star Fortress
  • Jiyuu System

The Star Fortress was a never-ending flow of traffic, pedestrian traffic of returning citizens to Jiyuu and employees of both Yugumo Corporation and Ketsurui Fleet Yards added to the already surging movements of Star Army personnel through the vitally important HUB. Motoyoshi-Yamada Ayano was responsible for the command of Gemini, the veteran Chujo and the cohort of Katsuko had poured herself into her work, the reputation and honor of both her clan and their leader was on the line. Ayano folded her arms just beneath the rise of her breasts, her emerald eyes searched the faces of soldiers as they disembarked the Pegasus 421 Transport from Yamatai, looking for Tachiko. The enlisted soldier and her story had begun to filter through the ranks of the Motoyoshi Clan, it was obvious that Katsuko was about to invest heavily in the Neko's future as she made quick moves to snatch her from the enlisted pool from personnel before anyone else had the chance. Ayano spotted the enlisted soldier, she cleared her throat and then called out, “Takeda- Jōtō Hei!”

She approached the soldier and said in greeting, “Welcome to Gemini Star Fortress and Jiyuu, soldier.” She noted the cuffed case, that must of been where she was carrying the sensitive information requested by the Taisho. Eyes were on them, a Chujo sent to greet an enlisted soldier so personally was almost unheard of, but the young woman was more than just a soldier reporting for duty, she was a guest of the Taisho and would be honored as such. “Katsuko set me to meet you, she's consumed with some personal business on-planet for the time being. How was the trip?” she questioned as she stood in front of the soldier.

Nearly overwhelmed by the bustle of the enormous station that was Gemini Star Fortress, Tachiko was wide-eyed as she clung protectively to her charge. When she heard her name, Tachiko stood upright, stopped in her tracks and called out, "Hai!" There were already plenty of eyes on her from the news broadcasts, although she wasn't a particularly outstanding-looking individual, having had her form fixed when there was much less individual variation among Nekovalkyrja.

She noted that the individual who called her name was a Chujo, and she began bowing repeatedly; hugging the case to her chest as she was, she had no free hand to salute, and every reason

"Chujo! Takeda Tachiko reporting under orders!" She rose from the bow when the question was asked. "The trip was uneventful, Ma'am, although official transportation is much more comfortable than I remember."

"Is it your first time to a Zodiac-Class Star Fortress?" Ayano questioned, as she led the soldier towards the lift to the command area which was at the other side of the concourse. "We should probably get that case into a secure area. I guess you get to see a bit of the station on our way," she said, not wanting the rank difference to be a source of discomfort. The concourse was filled with shops and restaurants, a place for both soldiers and civilians, especially the Yugumo Corporation contractors and workers present to work on various starship projects for the rebuilding of the First Expeditionary Fleet.

"Yes, Chujo," Tachiko answered as she followed a step to the left side and a half-step behind, keeping a respectful distance but not so much that made addressing her difficult for the officer. "They were only just being brought online before..." It took Tachiko at least a full second to compose herself, "...before I entered stasis." Her knuckles whitened as she gripped the case more tightly. "It is supposed to unlock automatically when presented to an authorized individual."

She looked around at all of the shops and restaurants, essentially all of them not founded until she was already missing in action. "This is incredible..." As the pair passed by the Warm and Sweet in the concourse, Tachiko received mental pings reminding her that she had credit with the chain, and it prompted her, asking if she wanted to place an order to be ready when she arrived at the counter. Tachiko's stomach audibly growled, reminding her that this body had never once eaten in its existence, and, indeed, she had not eaten in nearly 14 years.

The Chujo looked into the Warm and Sweet shop as well as they passed, she glanced towards Tachiko and then back at the shop and stopped. "You want something?" Ayano asked it was quite obvious by that wanting look on the Neko's face that she was battling a craving. The black and frosted purple-tipped haired Chujo turned around, "...I could use something myself," she said as she led the way back into the shop. "Katsuko will want to go out, so don't ruin your appetite. The Taisho's finally taking some time off in Tokyo and wants me to bring you to meet her there," she said as she stopped in front of the pastry case and stared inside at all the delicious pastries and goodies.

Like a youngling, the former NH-17, unused to such luxuries, all but pressed her face to the glass. "I... it all looks and smells so delicious. I had a little credit with them, but I had no idea what it was!

Tachiko frowned as the clinking of the chain against the glass of display case reminded her that using her hands for anything but protecting her package was going to be difficult. "If Chujo requires stopping, then we shall." Practically salivating over the arrayed treats, Tachiko realized her lapse in decorum and straightens back up, clearing her throat and taking a step back.

"However, regulations require always having one's free hand available to draw one's service pistol when acting as a classified courier." Tachiko gave a small bow. Not that a Chujo didn't already know the regulations, but Tachiko was hardwired to be eager to please her superiors in her prior incarnation– a personality not easily lost with emancipation.

Ayano admired the young soldier's adherence to regulation and said, "I think it would be alright, you have my permission to enjoy a trip to the Warm and Sweet, after all, you're on board Gemini now and you're in escort with a Chujo. My security teams are always close by." She motioned to the blue-haired Yamataian woman behind the counter, "She can order first, I think she's likely hungry..." Ayano stated, she knew that the woman would have tended to seek her order first in respect of rank.

Tachiko gave another small bow at permission to order first, as she had indeed intended to defer to Ayano. The privilege made a little blush bloom in the pale cheeks of the dutiful Jōtō Hei. "Hai. Thank you, Chujo." She turned to the barista and smiled, "I don't even know what a lot of this stuff even is, I am sorry. Please give me a drink that is neither too sweet, nor too bitter, and one of these." Tachiko pointed at a plain croissant, then looked around, noticing for the first time that two of the soldiers who had been on the transport with her seemed to be part of that security team, and had been escorting her the entire way without her knowledge.

Ayano looked over the items in the case, there seemed to be a lack of the kind of sweets she liked but she finally settled on something. "I will have a Hanako's World Tropical Coconut Coffee and a cheese danish...." she ordered, the girl behind the counter went about making the same drink for them considering Tachiko had left it open for her. Ayano took a look back towards the concourse, "I rarely get down here these days, when I'm not on duty I'm usually on the surface, Katsuko seems to work from home a lot now, she is so driven to manage both the fleet and for some reason, all of Jiyuu at the same time," she said, trying to make conversation that didn't center around what the young woman had been through.

At first, Tachiko seemed uncomfortable about casual conversation, but then, after a few moments, speaks up, "I always looked up to the Taisho. For that very reason, Chujo. She always seemed tireless in pursuit of duty. When... when I was at Pnuge~ er, Ichiban, I mean, I loved the stories of the Empress and Samurai. I always wanted to be like that, the way they were." She managed to laugh a little, though never even loosening her grip on the hermetically-sealed case, Now she hugged it in wistful reverie, thinking of her youngling days. "Oh, that smells delightful," Tachiko remarked as the coconut-coffee scent wafted over the counter when the barista pulled the drinks.
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Part 1: A New Home, Session 2
Authors Andrew and Yuuki

  • Several Minutes Later,
  • Chujo Motoyoshi Ayano's Office, Gemini Star Fortress

Currently, because of the construction of Gemini's Command Zones, the Chujo had to share an office with both Katsuko and Eri. The lobby area was filled with scaffolding and construction equipment, Ayano led the soldier through the maze of workers and equipment to the office door, entered her command code and the door opened. The Office was like most Taisho's offices save the walls had been covered in volumetric windows; schematics and construction information filled the screens for the YSS Tokyo, along with a full three-dimensional volumetric projection of the ship which dominated a large table which had been temporarily placed to the right of the desk area. PANT-IES automatically adjusted the readouts to display only rank appropriate information. “I will be glad when construction is done. We're packed in here like sardines,” Ayano said as she moved behind the desk, “Alright, Jōtō Hei lets see about that case,” she motioned to the case the soldier had been carrying.

"Hai, Chujo!" The case and cuff both unlocked themselves when finally sat down on the desk in Katsuko's office, as KAMI pronounced the area secure and Ayano's clearance sufficient. Tachiko withdrew her wrist and rubbed it sorely; the cuff was put on her before she left the Eucharis in Yamatai orbit, and remained through hyperspace to the Gemini.

"We have atmospheric, geographical, meteorological and geological survey data, the genomes of every species we had managed to catalog before..." she coughed, "...before we had to abandon the research station." Tachiko looked down at the teal panel on her uniform. "I guess... if it happened today, it wouldn't be any of my business, with Science separate from Medical now."

Ayano shook her head as Tachiko spoke, "A good soldier makes the Star Army their business. It is what divides duty and passion. It doesn't matter what color your panels are. Anyone can serve because it is their duty, but when you have a passion for it....well, I guess I am starting to sound like Katsuko," she said with a chuckle. She sat down on the edge of the desk and unlocked the cuff mechanism that locked the cuff to Tachiko's wrist. The Chujo released the cuff and looked at her wrist, "I have some lotion in the service alcove I can give you for that," she uttered compassionately. "I am hoping the contents of the surveys are useful to the Taisho, it seems hard to preserve pieces of Taiie without the cloud of the clan splitting casting shade on her mood," she knew that this soldier had been in stasis for a long time. "Have you read up on what you missed?" she asked, still seated on the edge of the desk with her hands folded in her lap.

Tachiko's mind went briefly back to her time on the shuttle with her FARS lecturing her on everything she had been trying to read for herself. "Mm. Some Chujo, hai." Pinpricks exploded in Tachiko's fingertips as their blood supply was unhindered after the entire trip through hyperspace from the Yamataian to the Jiyuuian orbits. She reflected on the recent history she'd read (and heard). "Although I missed so much, Chujo, I don't know what I don't know." Looking down, Tachiko frowned at the red ring around her wrist. "And... I think maybe the lotion would help."

"Hmn," Ayano hummed at the soldier's response. She stepped out of the room and left her there for a moment while she went to the service alcove to retrieve the bottle of lotion. The black-haired Chujo reached for Tachi's right hand with the intent to apply some of the fragrant lavender lotions. "Just remember there is what history chooses to remember and then there is what the people who lived it felt. Katsuko can be intense, she's been through a lot. We all have." she said, the bottle of lotion in her hand and at the ready. "Taiie was the beginning of a nightmare, and hopefully this is the end of it," she said, the soldier made her reflect on the past, on the struggle their leader had faced since her time as Empress.

Tachiko bowed in thanks after receiving the lotion, then transferred it to the red ring around her left wrist and rubbed it in tenderly. "Hai, Chujo. She said I will be staying at Jiyuu-jo. That is her residence, as well as a Star Army outpost, isn't it? It's all new to me, this sector was not yet colonized."

Tachiko eyed the case again, "I was her soldier before. The intensity had a long way to travel before it got to me, though, Chujo."

"Hei Takeda, your issue requisition is being delivered to Jiyuu-jo and should be there before you arrive. I have pre-cleared your paperwork and can submit everything with your consent." The hologram of the FARS's emoticon pack stood at attention, with a simulated clipboard clasped to her mint-paneled chest.

"Thank you, Sayako." Tachiko nodded to the hologram, which bowed and disappeared.

"Is there anything else I need to do, Chujo?"

Ayano paused as the soldier received her update, the words hung on her tongue until after the communications channel closed. The Chujo sat down in the desk chair and leaned back as she explained, "Jiyuu-jo was supposed to be the Clan home when we colonized Jiyuu in YE 29. When the... traitors ... Formed the United Outer Colonies it was made into some kind of castle for Tio. The Mishuu bombed it when the colonies fell and Yaichiro had it restored for Katsuko. If anything it is a symbol of her retaking what is rightfully hers."

The Chujo shook her head, "No, I don't think there is anything else." She opened a comm link to the launch bay, "Prepare a shuttle, Flight plan route to Tokyo Spaceport," she ordered. The officer on the other end responded, "Hai, Chujo," in response then terminated the link. "We should get moving. Best not keep the Taisho waiting," she said.

Ayano stood up and moved the case and placed it inside the small vault that was under the desk, it could be dealt with later, at least for now it was secure.

Tachiko's eyes followed the case, full of precious things she's held onto for more than a decade disappear into a vault. It's the second time it had been out of her possession, the last with the promise of being temporary, to be returned to her precisely for this moment, but as the vault clicks shut, the sense of finality left an emptiness as her duty was finally complete after all this time.

"I am ready, Chujo!" Tachiko straightened herself, trying to open herself to the future now that she was unencumbered by missions past.
Part 2: An Unexpected Detour, Session 1
Authors: Andrew and Yuuki

  • Shuttle Lollipop-588, Ke-T8-1a 'Kuma'-Class Shuttle

Ayano had her Communicator in hand from the minute they left Gemini. For the most part, she wasn't that talkative, obviously consumed with the fleet business that was streaming through a series of secure text messages. She let out a sigh, and got up from her seat and Tachiko quickly and stuck her head into the cockpit, "Turn us around, change of plans," she said to the pilots. A few more seconds of muffled exchanges between her and pilots followed and the shuttle banked hard to abort it's approach on Jiyuu III and headed back towards Gemini.

The Chujo quickly returned to her seat and said to Tachi, "Well Takeda-Hei, it appears we're going to have to be a little late, I will let the Taisho know. Something has come up that I have to take care of," she said, still and urgency hung in her tone.

The communications exchange from the cockpit could be heard in the passenger compartment a few moments later, "Gemini Traffic Control, this is shuttle Lollipop-588 we're switching over to alternate frequency," the pilot announced over the communications channel. A few seconds later, on another channel he was speaking to someone else, "YSS Tokyo, this is Shuttle Lollipop-588 we're on approach to the main shuttle bay, we're ready for automation." The response came a few seconds later, the cheerful voice of Tokyo Himawari greeted them, "YSS Tokyo actual to Lollipop-588! Good to assist you! KAMI will take over from here," the avatar stated as the autopilot engaged and the Dreadnaught's KAMI took over the shuttle's flight.

Tachiko looked up as Ayano stood up with a little prior warning. The sudden bank had Tachiko grabbing the armrests, even if she could hear Ayano's order. It took a moment for the artificial gravity to respond to, and account for, the sudden maneuver, making Tachiko's guts sink low in her belly from the inertia.

"Hai, Chu–" Tachiko was about to give affirmation she understood, but the cockpit exchange cut her off, and she tilted her head, ears rotating along, to tune in to the conversation upfront. At the voice of the Tokyo itself, Tachi's ears flick straight upwards, and she turns to look at Ayano, about to say something.

That something is cut off by a gasp of surprise, as her view out of the window is suddenly engulfed by the massive bulk of the Tokyo filling her entire field of vision. "...wow..."

Ayano was consumed, the scrolling information on her communicator quickly reached a point where she tucked it back away. She reached for the bag of things she had packed and took out her Type 33 Datapad. "She is an impressive ship," she commented.

The Chujo looked up and focused on the soldier's reaction, "She was just finished, Katsuko's been waiting to make its launch official and get a chance to see what it can do." The shuttle was guided in by KAMI and landed on the deck of the shuttle bay. "Looks like you're with me for a while longer Takeda-Hei," she said as she headed towards the airlock and disembarked the shuttle on to the polished floor.

"Chujo!" Himawari's voice cheerfully chimed through the bay as the cute black-haired avatar of the YSS Tokyo emerged into view. The ship seemed to be in a finalization state, crates were stacked in the bay and clusters of technicians worked on various tasks, had wall panels removed and the sound of power tools humming could be heard from the open door to the corridor. "Sorry for the mess! Come on, let's get to the bridge. I want to show you what came in," she said as she has done a little spin in place, a cheerful smile on her face. "You must be Takeda-Hei! I've heard of you! Welcome to the YSS Tokyo!" she declared shamelessly as she singled out the soldier.

"Lead the way, Chujo!"

Following Ayano down the ramp, after the shuttle settled, Tachiko was surprised by the ship's manifestation addressing her directly. A flush rose in her cheeks, and Tachiko bowed several times in rapid succession. "Th-thank you, Chusa!" The last bow was held longer and lower than the last one, and Tachi looks up as she rises, finally taking a direct look at the avatar, "It is my humble pleasure to be in you, ah," Tachiko's blush reddens, "I mean, your ship. lead the way, Chusa."

Tachiko looked around at the ordered disarray of a military loading operation as it unfolded around the bay, then back at Himawari. "But... I am not sure I warrant being heard of, Chusa." Ever humble, Tachiko stayed a half-step behind and to Ayano's left as she followed along wherever she was led.

Himawari giggled at Tachiko's reference to being inside her. This Neko soldier was going to be fun she thought to herself. She led Ayano and the Jotto-Hei through the corridors and eventually to one of the operational lifts. The corridors were littered with open crates and working technicians often stopped to give respectful recognition to the Chujo and Chusa as they made their way through.

Ayano said to Tachiko, "You're a little bit of a celebrity considering what you just came back from."

  • YSS Tokyo - Bridge

Himawari led them down the ramps of the bridge levels to the lower-most platform and the Mission Command terminal. She had KAMI bring up a volumetric screen which had the Fleet's logo on it. "The YSS Ichika is on a shakedown cruise near the Tange System. They're going to be part of the Tokyo's future attachment..." the avatar explained, leaned over the terminal as she offered the Chujo the seat. "...anyway, they were running tests on their subspace communications array, through some of the older bands and they picked up this transmission from the Tange Colony. The Tenth doesn't have any ships in the system right now, so the Ichika is the closest ship," she said, her tendency to ramble showed.

The Chujo sat down at the terminal and engaged the SPINE, the seat adjusted to her comfort levels and she looked at the screen. The communication began to playback, for the most part, it was garbled, there was very little to see in the mess. "...Misato City...Emergency.. " she could pick out faint words in the communication, "...don't know who they are...Bloody insects! They're eating everything." Ayano quirked a brow her fuzzy ears twitched in annoyance as she commented, "Rixxikor...They're being invaded it sounds like. Tange is really off the beaten path, almost out of the Colonial Zone and probably have not got the best updates to their communications."

"Takeda-Hei, go up to communications and see if you can get me the Taisa of the Ichika," she ordered. "Thank you for turning us around Tokyo-Chusa. This is worth my attention."
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Part 2: An Unexpected Detour, Session 2
Authors: Andrew and Yuuki

"Hai, Chujo!" Tachiko snapped to attention and saluted crisply, brought out of the miasma of her embarrassment at being fussed over as any sort of a "celebrity" swirling with her amazement at the changes in the technology aboard a Star Army vessel that occurred without her– not to mention the scale of that vessel. It was her first face-to-face order, presented as one since she awoke. It's the first time she felt like she was actually "on duty," and it was the first time the gap in that duty stopped mattering, even for just a moment, as she got to fulfill that duty just as she was meant to do. Something like pride or purpose swelled within Tachiko and she bowed, redundantly after saluting before spinning on the ball of her jika-tabi in an about-face.

Tachiko was off on her mission before she realized she had no idea if she were heading the right direction to the communications. The flow of information into her upgraded body was a lot to handle. Even instincts needed to develop to be useful, of course, especially after the gap from NH-17 to NH-33, without the 29 between as a gradual upgrade.

Tachiko slowed from her hustle to a walk and looked around the bridge at the almost-alien technology at every station. She wasn't ever a member of the bridge crew, of course, even before her time away. Tachiko was a combat medic. She could barely even begin to parse how different things are on the bridge, and looked around, eyes darting desperately from uniform to uniform, trying to guess which station was which from the color of the panels and looking for the familiar green that she once wore herself. "Hmm..."

Himawari watched Tachiko for a few moments after the Chujo gave her orders. The poor girl was turned around and overwhelmed by the years of advancements and changes. It was doubtful she had time to brush up on much of anything. Tokyo's avatar giggled as she watched, she then followed Tachiko who stood in front of the Navigation station. "Lots of changes Takeda-Hei, Let's go and figure out this communication thing. Sometimes Chujo's just give orders and forget the training level of the soldier." she smiled and led the Jotto Hei up to the communications terminal on the port platform of the bridge.

"Let me help you..." Himawari said as she grabbed the back of the black chair at the terminal and turned the seat towards Tachiko. "So the SPINE interface fits into...well, I'm sure you've figured out that much. I will help you from there." The cheerful cheeks of the avatar pinked slightly as she smiled. She would have KAMI geared up to transfer information to the soldier on how to use the communications terminal. Why teach a medic? Why not? After all, Ketsurui-Motoyoshi Taisho had something special planned for this young soldier, the bridge of the Flagship was a small hill to climb in comparison to what was to come.

Ayano continued to analyze the transmission from the outlaying Tange Colony. The Chujo was too involved in it to hear the mingle of the avatar and the soldier she had brought with her. Katsuko had told her to keep an ear to the ground, that action would present itself to fill the need of the new fleet for action and there it was, just as she had said. "Hmm..." Ayano hummed to herself as she opened up the scan data that had been sent by the YSS Ichika.

"Oh, ok. Hai, Chusa." Tachiko bowed her head shallowly as Himawari offered her help, and sat, with perhaps just a little trepidation in the chair. She shivered just a little as if feeling a sudden chill, and her eyes went unfocused, her expression a slack-neutral as SPINE became the new primary input to her consciousness. "This... is, different." It was the second time, since awakening from cryosleep, that she'd been hooked up to something to divert her consciousness from her body. Tachiko became one with the Tokyo's communication array, and she smiled a little, breaking her sleep-blank expression at the pleasurable sensation of the knowledge on how to use it began downloading and working its way through her memories and faculties like water flowing through cracks in parched soil.

"Chujo!" Tachiko announced, coming out of her SPINE-induced reverie. "Signal amplification and noise reduction complete, redirecting analysis results in the primary audio output." At Tachiko's mental command, enabled by an entire course in Star Army communications technology being written into her digital mind at once, the monitor speakers in the bridge begin to play the cleaned-up distress signal from Tange.

There were intense static and disruption over the recording of the communication. It played back now cleared up as much as it could be. Ayano stood up and looked back towards Tachiko and Himawari at the communications terminal as it played. " This is the Tange Colony, Misato City we are declaring an emergency..." the desperation could be heard in the man's voice. "They came from everywhere it seemed, we don't know who they are...Oh no, they're here! Bloody Insects! They are eating everything!" the message was followed by an intense amount of noise and disruption along with the eerie sound of the man on the recording's screams. The noise and disruption continued, Ayano felt that she could hear her own internal processes thud in her ears. Another voice came into clarity for just a moment, a haunting female voice that could only be described as disembodied. "To my folly...I should not have trusted...Kiyoko is insane..." the scrambled garble of the communication continued, "Damn Kuvexians...Baron...Kordoon...Akuro..." The message seemed to make even less sense than the first, and it definitely did not come from the Tange Colony. "...I will probably die out here...end to our game..." The look on Ayano's face was pale, she stumbled back and fell into the chair at the mission station. "I know that voice. Oh, I know that voice," she said as the chill worked down her spine.
"Where did that communication come from?" she asked Himawari. Himawari gave a slight nod to Tachiko, she took over the process a moment. The avatar went silent as information moved through the KAMI as it analyzed the communication, "A piggyback signal, I can't get a fix from an exact location but definitely somewhere to the galactic south of Tange." She looked at Ayano who almost seemed under the weather, "Are you alright Chujo?"

"Tokyo, playback restricted recording, YSS Fushi, Darso Log." the Chujo ordered, she did not answer the avatar's inquiry. (See: https://stararmy.com/roleplay-forum/threads/7sf-c-2-darso-our-visceral-terrors.8700/ )

A moment passed and the voice of Angelica filled the bridge communication's system, the main projection screen hosted a voice analysis diagram, "I have many things that belong to you." It was followed by a section of recording from the message they just listened to, "To my folly...I should not have trusted..." the two voice imprints lined up on the overlay. Ayano stared as the positive match results flashed on the projection.

Tachiko, of course, was in the depths of cryosleep, tucked away on an asteroid streaking through the Taiie Nebula when everything to do with what is going on right now occurred. She was disturbed enough by the distress call's content, however, going a bit pale and squirming in her seat. It reminded her of nothing less than the invasion of Taiie by the Mishhuvurthyar, for that same sort of panicked distress calls, ending in horrific screams, had presaged her medical bay being overwhelmed by casualties like a tsunami making landfall. The piggyback signal, so calmly, introspectively reflective, was an eerie change in tone. Being hooked directly into the communications station by SPINE, having the signal course through her very mind, she "felt" the message more, and it was unsettling enough to make her shiver. "It's definitely the same speaker," she said, simultaneously with the visual display of the match, having felt the answer immediately before it appeared in volumetrics for everyone to see.

Ayano remained silent for a moment as that she was sending orders to the YSS Ichika to maintain stealth and to keep their sensors on the Tange System as well as they could without detection. The entire fleet was skeleton crews, ships on shakedown cruises around the cluster. This was exactly the contingency situation that she and Katsuko had discussed. "Chusa, start calling your crew. Get Fort Tokyo involved, I don't care if you call every cadet on the base up here," the Chujo ordered. They had to staff the YSS Tokyo and that was going to mean more than a challenge. She knew Katsuko was not going to sit another month on Jiyuu with developments like these.

"Hai, Chujo!" Himawari responded in compliance, the avatar patted Tachiko on the shoulder with her right hand. "It was nice to meet you, I have to get to work now and I think you're headed back off the ship. We will meet again soon." The Chusa said as she ascended the platform and sat down in the Captain's chair.

Ayano said to Tachiko as she headed towards the lift, "Let's go, we need to catch up with Katsuko. In the meantime, I think I should probably answer some questions you have on your mind on the way, so go ahead and ask what you have to." Their shuttle was being prepped for launch again, the pilots already in the cockpit as they prepared to launch once the Chujo and Jotto Hei were on board.
Part 2: An Unexpected Detour, Session 3

Tachiko's ears snapped upright at Ayano's command after the relaxed, happy flop they'd sunk to during the sheepish little blushing bow she made when Himawari acknowledged her before departing. "Hai, Chujo!" Irrespective of being disturbed or set ill at ease by the transmission, the resilient Neko leaped to her feet and followed along towards the lift with a dutiful, purposeful spring to her step, ears high.

"Well, Chujo, I suppose the first one is what's our mission," Tachiko paused, weighing the gravity of her big question as she allowed the other to come out first. "And the next one is, 'Who was that?'"

Ayano waited until they were in the shuttle and back en route to the surface before she started to answer Tachiko's question. "That was Angelica, a Nightmare Type Mishhuvurthyar. She assisted Kiyoko and the Tange in their actions of treason against Katsuko. She's a manipulative and evil creature who will stop at nothing to get what she wants," the Chujo explained, despite the raw information, there was the emotion behind the words. The Motoyoshi view of Angelica was far more than what could be described in a conversation, as far as they were concerned she was responsible for the continued division in the clan and the corruption of Motoyoshi Kiyoko.

"We've known for a while that Kiyoko's goal is to sell the Akuro to the Kuvexians, we're just having trouble finding out where and when. Hopefully, this intercepted communication has a clue, since it mentions the Akuro, not that we can trust a word Angelica says." The Chujo had to be careful with her words, even with the fact Katsuko had plans for this soldiers, the rank of the soldier had to be considered when she shared information about Angelica or Kiyoko and their actions. "That answer your question?" she asked.

The shuttle zipped through the atmosphere of Jiyuu III and dipped below the cloud cover as it made a wide descending turn towards the new part of Tokyo City in the West.

To Tachiko, Mishhuvurthyar weren't exactly differentiated by type, all of them being the SMX type in her mind, though she'd read over some military history of the Second Mishhuvurthyar war that described NMX Neo-Mishhuvurthyar in detail. The ones she'd experienced firsthand were still foremost, the image, the word conjured in her mind. Tachiko brought up in her digital mind's eidetic memory the facts she had learned about the type and nodded. The question was answered, but the answer was still processing.

"Hai, Chujo." Tachiko though another moment as the shuttle began landing. "Maybe she wanted us to hear the message, then?"

Ayano thought carefully about what Tachiko had said and the Chujo nodded as she said, "It is likely Angelica wanted the whole universe to hear whatever she had to say. Anything she can say or do to try and hurt our Clan of the Empire. She's a -- snake." Ayano took a deep breath as the glistening skyscrapers of Tokyo could be seen out the window of the shuttle. "It is hard to believe that this place has finally become our home, there was a time when I thought the only way I would ever see Tokyo again would have been ablaze as we had to unleash fury on it," she commented almost absently, the conversation veered away from Angelica because she felt she had said enough already.

Part 3: The Last Minutes of Takeda, Session 1

The shuttle landed on the tarmac. Service vehicles zipped back and forth between aprons, dodging the busy traffic of incoming and outgoing ships from all over the Kikyo Sector. Tokyo was a busy place now, a bustling business center for the galactic east with the days of instability behind them. Atarashi Starport was nearly four times the size of the one in Motoyoshi-Cho, and even it was beginning to reach capacity as trade and the demand for goods from Jiyuu were on a steady climb. The pro-Imperial propaganda was everywhere, billboards flashed with patriotic ads that captured the theme of the mercy and might of Her Majesty Himiko I.

Ayano's previous comment about her surprise that Tokyo had finally become their home was reinforced again as the airlock opened and she departed the shuttle and stood on the tarmac, she looked towards the skyscrapers and she smiled at the beauty. The sub-tropical sun was high in the sky, two enlisted soldiers held umbrellas for Ayano and Tachiko as they waited for the car that had been arranged by Katsuko to take them to the hotel.

Tachiko had never set foot here- it didn't exist as anything more than a survey site when she had been frozen in time for all those years. "Galactic East" ended a dozen light-years or so West, as far as she had ever known; she was on the exploration and colonization missions for some of those now-Coreward worlds, after all.

Tachiko blinked in the sun as her eyes made the transition from UV-shielded shuttle windows to the warm, summery sun near-blinding her before she stepped under the shade of the waiting umbrellas. This was another new, odd experience, one that left a pink flush in Tachiko's pale cheeks. She was still just an enlisted soldier, and, for the first time, it occurred to Tachiko that although she was still merely a Santō Hei, she was, by far, the most senior Santō Hei in the entirety of the Star Army of Yamatai. By an entire decade, at least. The enormity of it was not unlike one of the colossal spires of the mega towers of Tokyo.

"Arigatō," Tachiko bowed her head at the parasol-bearing fellow (but junior) Santō Hei, giving a small smile, as soft as her thanks were spoken. "I think I like it here, Chujo," Tachiko remarked to Ayano as they waited, attention rapt and heart-swelling as the Imperialist advertisements did their job stirring her patriotic inclinations.

A black sporty sedan closed on the tarmac where the shuttle had landed, it had small 1XF and YSE flags on the corners of the hood. It pulled up and the two enlisted that had held umbrellas for the Chujo and the other soldier stepped forward and opened the doors of the car for them. Once they were inside, Ayano said to Tachiko, "When my sister heard that you had come out of stasis, she was moved by the fact you'd managed to complete a mission that we thought was abandoned. Your story inspired Katsuko, and it impressed me," she explained as the soldiers shut the doors and the driver took the car back in the direction it had come from.

"In all honesty, I had my doubts when Katsuko invited you here. I wondered how you'd possibly fit in, and if you were someone who could live up to her expectations," Ayano took off the metaphorical Chujo hat for a minute and spoke purely as one of the original twelve leaders of the Motoyoshi, "After spending the day with you, I have seen you're not only someone who lives up to expectations, but you're a loyal and devoted soldier who deserves what you're about to be offered." The Chujo turned her head briefly and looked out as the car was in motion. "You say you like it here, I hope you do because my sister intends fully to adopt you, What do you think about that? We want you to become a Motoyoshi," Ayano explained as she turned her attention back to Tachiko in curiosity. She wanted to give the soldier at least a warning of what was about to happen. The Car wove through the city, then ducked underground into one of the roadways to head towards the Atarashi location of the Fuji Hotel.

Already ill at ease in such luxury, when Tachiko heard Ayano say those words, the last of the blush drained from her face, leaving it pale. She began to tremble, mouth dry and eyes dilated. Sure, she was wealthy now, thanks to a lucky win in the Year-End salvage lottery and a faithful F.A.R.S. with some initiative, but Motoyoshi was something else entirely. They were Royalty with a capital R.

"It was the last mission she gave me, I would have died trying," Tachiko softly replied after the several moments it took her to collect herself enough to speak. Her stomach felt like a freefall, and the tips of her fingers still shook. And indeed, she did believe she was about to die, at the time, though her redacted memories allowed her little more than the remembrance of that emotion. "I have always been the Taisho's soldier, Chujo. I have served Motoyoshi since my first assignment. I..." She paused, inhaling to steel herself, "I could never refuse such an honor, Chujo, regardless of what I may think about it." Tachiko spoke as calmly as she could, but there was an edge in her voice as if she was about to break down at any moment. Tachiko averted her gaze, focusing on the megacity flying by out the tinted windows with an introspective look until was replaced by the darkness and streaking lights of the tunnel.