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RP Homecoming

Soresu

FM of the Iromakuanhe
RP Date
YE 41
RP Location
Yamatai, VCE Virtual Space
Feeling his consciousness slip away as he lay in the bed, Yaichiro permitted the VCE to take hold and whisk him away to another realm. A virtual representation of the meeting which was to take place. A representation of Yuriko's father's home appeared as a meeting area, specifically a living area which opened out into the garden in Kyoto. Even though it was a fabrication, it carried with it all the nuance and detail which Yaichiro could muster through scans and weather data. Finding himself in the seiza position in front of a low table, he waited and observed the rising sun as he waited for his guest to appear.

The VCE's neural connection had at the beginning been unwilling to operate with her 'brain'. But, in the end, her mind begun to adapt, taking on these changes so as to work in a much more stable fashion. Tai felt uncomfortable still with it, but it was but a fly-bite and nothing more. Her 'avatar', a virtual version of herself appeared. She was standing not too far off, perhaps a few meters. She looked much the same as she did in the 'real' world. Tiny, small framed with long white hair tinged with lavender and a pale complexion.

In truth, she echoed her other mother, her contributor more than her birth mother, Yuriko. Right down to the crimson eyes and body posture. She walked straight-backed with a smooth gait to the waiting Yaichiro. Her method of dress reflected a bit of her character. Pants (blue jeans), an olive drab t-shirt with a rising blue sun and the accompanying Yamataian manufacturer of high-end clothing. She had her hair tied back instead of allowing it to fly free.

Tai took a moment to consider the man before her. He'd been taking care of her family for many years. Years in which she had been gone and unable to return. She appreciated that. And for this meeting. Seating herself across from him in much the same position the blond-haired man sat.

For the moment she just stared at him until finally speaking: "Thank you for taking the time to speak with me." she said, her voice was a little deep but still distinctly feminine.

"You're welcome, Tai. I hope you're alright with your grandfather's home as the venue. If it's not, we can change it to something else." The Commanding Officer of the Sakura invited the young woman to sit, though if she preferred to sit, she could do so. Yaichiro noted how similar to Midori she was but felt that mentioning it given the situation may well not have been appropriate.

"Now, you have questions. Ones you deserve the answers to, and I will give them to the utmost of my ability."

Tai cocked her head at the mentioning of her grandfather's home. She'd never met the man as he had died well over a decade ago. But, it was still a pleasant gesture on his part. She seated herself in the same manner as Yaichiro, her hands resting on her thighs.

His offer of answers was doubly appreciated, "Why?" asked Tai, she thought it was a fairly straightforward, obvious question. But she hastily added: "Why did she murder my contributor?" her latter question came out in an angry hiss showing her displeasure already.

"That is a long story...but one I will tell you in as complete and full a manner as I can, Tai. You see, before the whole UOC thing, Midori was as loyal as a Samurai could be. Hanako-Taisa, she, and I all served together on the YSS Sakura. Nothing which stood against the ideals and doctrine of the Empire was acceptable to her. She was rigid, and existed to serve as an extension and protector to Hanako...though she also became a friend. Then, at some point, while I had been pulled away on a different assignment, she became a POW. Thought dead. So she was revived into Midori II and assigned to a new ship and crew....eventually defecting to the UOC and building a family."

Yaichiro looked to Tai carefully. "I don't look down on her or Yuriko for their choice. While history has made clear the more advantageous choice, at the time we who were serving in the Fifth had to choose between the government and a people in the Yugumo Cluster with whom we'd been charged with protecting. The events of the revelation of PNUgen's involvement and coverup of the Elysian Plague of YE 08 combined with some manipulation of the facts at the Great Lighthouse made things even more unclear as to the Empire's conduct at the time. I very nearly stayed in the UOC with them. As I departed the UOC and returned to the Empire's space, Yuriko sold her father's home to me. That was the last time I ever saw her." He gave a sigh. "I hope her death was quick and painless, however it happened."

"In any case," Yaichiro continued, "the first Midori was eventually recovered. She underwent horrible things and endured immense psychological trauma. Forced to conceive and deliver, she was broken to the point of being unable to serve. When Hanako-Shosho met her again...it was terse and awkward. Hanako-Shosho had since moved on with her life. There wasn't a place for Midori I in the army or with the Ketsurui Samurai she so valued, nor at Hanako-Shosho's side. Naturally, I opened this home to her, and it is here where she spent years recovering."

"Eventually, Midori II came to meet the first. They came to an agreement and shared each other's memories. Midori II was due to leave and hunt down those enemies of the Empire who had harmed Midori I, as well as hunting down those rogue offspring. Seeing how determined she was to do so, I presented her a black Zesuaium sword with which she could perform this task. It's from a Bellystabber-type vessel I own and is based on the Yui Ceremonial Sword. Meanwhile, Midori I was to be strengthened by the joining of their memories and rejoin the Ketsurui Samurai by going directly to Samurai House and petitioning their leadership to allow her return."

Yaichiro gave a sigh... "Midori I then killed Midori II in a shop in downtown Kyoto. She returned the slain woman's sword that I had made to my house and rejoined the Samurai, without even a word to me. Being aware of their mutual plans, I saw through what had happened and went to contact the Ketsurui Samurai, only for SAINT to intercept and confirm what I already knew." He then looked to Tai, straight into her eyes.

"The Ketsurui Samurai could not tolerate Midori II's continued existence after her departure to the UOC and leaving the Empire. They did not have the authority to kill her due to the pardon given by the Empress at the time, who had been their better. So instead, they took an unstable and wounded woman desperate to belong somewhere and used her as a weapon...dangling her restoration as a Samurai as a carrot before her if she'd only 'tend to her own dishonor'. Having lost everything and being desperate to have a purpose once more, the wounded woman did exactly as demanded. She was their blade once more...in an extrajudicial murder. Of course, since they were technically the same person with the same memories accessible to them, it was a legal loophole. So nothing was ever done and it was kept classified."

The chestnut blonde man looked tired. "It was a horrible betrayal that I couldn't tolerate. I left the bridge of the Sakura II and took a desk job. What time I had was spent caring for Midori II and Yuriko's children, who I opened my home to. The least I could do for the orphans of my friends was allow them to spend time in their grandfather's home and tend to their care. I shed no tears when the leadership of the Ketsurui Samurai fell from grace. As for Midori I...she is serving in the Army and still towing the party line. She refuses to discuss the matter beyond blaming her younger self for betraying everything she once stood for. But it is terse and hollow-sounding...as if it is a justification being clung to rather than the truth. I don't know fully how she truly feels about the matter though."

"...I can't blame Midori II for leaving the Empire. I can't bring myself to condemn Midori I for being manipulated when vulnerable in the most cruel of ways. I couldn't assist either when they needed me the most, even when I tried. In the end, helping you kids is all I could manage do. And even you specifically were rather scarce, so I can't really claim to have helped you at all."

Tai listened, her 'breathing' had begun to become more labored. Her eyes first widened, then going to slits and then back to normal. Long red lines inched up past the neck of her shirt to caress her cheeks in a pulsating, squirming display. Her knuckles going whiter than her complexion as she balled them into fists. The more she listened, the angrier she got and had been trying to maintain an air of calm which was failing miserably from the looks of things. Her chest rumbled with a barely constrained growl.

She'd been biting her bottom lip to stifle down the urge to rage. Yaichiro wasn't the problem. He had taken the time to try and explain the horrible situation which had gotten her mother killed. Reiko had disappeared once her lover, the second Midori had died and couldn't be found despite her best efforts.

Tai's body swayed as she sat while trying to take calming breaths. Her heart and soul hurt in ways she couldn't begin to fathom. Midori had been a patient albeit stern parent, especially when it came to the willful Tai.

"She is weak." Tai spat out with more venom than she'd meant to. Quickly grimacing, the young woman muttered an apology. Taking out her anger and frustrations on a man doing nothing more than providing context to the situation. But the words had been said, and she believed them, deep in the pit of her soul.

"You know what I will do with this information, yes?" asked as she stared right back at Yai.

"...Striking at Midori I will not bring your mother back, and I strongly suspect that your contributor knew what was in her other self's mind when they clashed blades. Those who are truly responsible have already lost face and in some cases their lives, time doing what law could not. While I'd honestly hoped that forgiveness would be on the table and that no more tragedy or sorrow would have to happen, I have no right to tell you what you can or can't do beyond the facts. I cannot give you your mother's blade though. It is currently being used in Tokyo against those who destroyed the UOC from within back then. Further details of that aren't mine to tell, though it seemed a worthy cause for a blade made to strike at your mother's enemies." Yaichiro looked very tired, more than his body should have allowed...

"How many comrades have I seen stray and die over the years? The Sakura's alumni are made of heroes, traitors, and the forgotten...no matter our intentions. Whichever of you dies...they can be buried here. I apologize for any dishonor that placing her body here may imply, should you be victorious. I can't forget my friends even if they err."

Tai continued to sway as the angry red lines had reached just below her eyesockets. Her nostrils flared as her pupils went to pinpricks. Oh, she wanted the woman dead. She shook her head in seeming discomfort as the swaying stopped and the lines began to gradually blend back into her natural skin tone.

"She is dead already," Tai stated in the matter-of-fact tone of Midori. "I will not kill her." it was too bad this place couldn't simulate drinks, she'd have killed for something with caffeine and its inebriating effects on her unique physiology.

"But," the young scientist seemed to still have some fire on those crimson eyes of hers, "She will not get off lightly." even as she spoke, Tai seemed to be studying Taisa Yaichiro Kage.

"She is currently serving in the Army. If you attack her outside of a consensual challenge, her comrades and the law of the Empire may come down on your head with even more force. I confess that I have been tempted to obliterate Samurai House in many ways over the past five years to avenge your mother, but I don't think she'd want me to do that, even if it didn't carry with it a heavy and permanent cost. Now you have to carefully consider how to conduct your own vengeance." The man would have offered a drink if they did any good here. Taste could be simulated, but none of the secondary effects.

"I will have her reminded of the life she took. Of what it caused her children, her true children." Tai said still with some heat in her words. "It will not come to physical blows." she all but promised.

"But she will not get off lightly. There are more ways than physical blows that can cause harm." Yaichiro's 'guest' fumed still. It was understandable given the situation.

"My little sister is tearing herself apart over this, Yaichiro, she lived through it and it has caused her great harm." for Tai it was still as fresh a wound as could be hand. She'd only found out about her mother's death a few days ago.

"She joined Yamatai's military to try and uncover this information."

"Had she ever bothered to ask, I would have gladly told her as readily as I've told you in spite of the gag order SAINT had on it at the time. You're her children, and deserve to know." Yaichiro explained, a bit surprised to learn of this fact regarding the younger of the sisters. "But I decided to wait until you girls were ready to ask about it yourselves. Your youth has been hard enough without my...volunteering the grim details. As for you challenging Midori II with words, that is your right. I can't promise open-mindedness on her part. I have already tried to discuss the matter...but I truly hope it brings you peace."

Tai seemed... amused by the mention of her age. She quickly replaced it with a more flat stare. "If she is anything like my mother and she is. She will be more stubborn than an Ox." she huffed. Well, two could play at that game. Memories of butting heads with her mother came to mind with startling clarity. It was enough for her posture to go from tense to slouching.

It still hurt to think about it even after Rikun had told her. This would be something she would have to do on her own without her headstrong sibling tagging along.

"I will tell Rikun, but I must withhold what I plan on doing from her." biting her bottom lip again, Tai dipped her head in thanks.

"You have my word I will not kill her, or inflict bodily harm on her person." whether it was overconfidence on her part, or genuinely believing it possible to kill a Samurai such as Midori was hard to tell.

"A question if I may?" Tai asked then continued on without allowing Yaichiro the chance to give his consent. "What made you take in my family. Truly?"

"A number of things," Yaichiro answered, honestly. "You are the children of my friends and comrades. You had dire need. I own your grandfather's home, which is the proper place for you. And I failed to see the signs to save your mother's life in time. Even if I lacked all of those reasons though, I would still have assisted with your placement in Tsubomi at the very least to see to your care. It was created for all those in such a situation. All in all, I guess...I know what it means to have nothing and no one. That was where I was before joining the Army. The Sakura's crew was the closest thing to family I had. And you are heir to that."

The young man looked to Tai carefully. "I would like you to amend your word. That you merely don't intend to start a physical fight. As much as I care for Midori in spite of her trespass, I would not strip you of the ability to protect yourself if need be. If you have to, then do what you must to protect your life."

"I thank you for your caring for my family, I truly appreciate what you have done for them." it was as heartfelt as could be had from a woman like Tai. "Rikun has said she has taken care of my little brother, Yuichi's college tuition. I would like to assist with this if he furthers his education into a career." wasn't like she couldn't afford it now. And she owed the boy something, a nod that his eldest sister thought of him even after being gone for so long.

But back to the matter at hand, Tai tilted her head a little to one side as Yai continued. With a weighty exhalation, Tai nodded at the very last of his requests.

"Only as a last resort," she promised. If it came to blows she knew she'd have to go in for the kill. From what Rikun had told her of this 'first' Midori, and now Yaichiro's added information meant it was a distinct possibility.

"You have no questions for me?" Tai asked. "It seems terribly one-sided."

"I have millions, but she scrapes away to do this for her brother rather than to rely on another. You girls shouldn't be afraid to ask for help, you know." He smiled lightly, as he took note of her comments.

"Well, I am more than a little curious about what you've been up to all these years. I haven't heard much about Sourcian happenings outside of that one sentient and sapient ship, the Yggdrasill, still moving around. And that's more a Sourcian software thing than a true craft of that nature."

Tai offered a polite little smile, "My tale involves time travel, alternate universes and multiple encounters with alien species outside of the sector." was she lying?

"Rikun couldn't understand most of what has happened to me over the last decade. I will not try to explain it again I fear I haven't the energy to launch into something such as that again." she chuckled softly.

"I will say this, I live upon the Iromakuanhe's homeworld. There I do work to better them and repay their kindness to myself and my daughter." leaving it at that and open to more questions, Tai launched into another brief answer.

"I've dealt with Sourcian lifeforms, two of their individual humanoids and a Sourcian gunship called the Maras." the name of the once dreaded gunship and its capability to shut down an aether generator; effectively denying the enemy vessel its vital energies needed to sustain itself was half rumor and urban legend.

"Yeah, we've only in the past few years managed to find a way to beat the Aether Denial Wave. That ship was also at the Great Lighthouse when Yamatai attacked and was rather disruptive, as I recall. Nothing against the ship herself, though. That situation was...complicated. As for time travel and alternate universes, you'll find my suspension of disbelief there quite robust, for reasons that are heavily classified by the Army. Regarding your daughter, she's welcome to visit your grandfather's home as well, as long as she can get onto Yamatai without issue. It would be nice to meet her." Yaichiro made sure that Tai knew the house was open to her and her child, to the best of his abilities.

Tai briefly wondered what her daughter, Lillius would do if she were to come to visit. She'd brought her along, but had been worried her little hellion of a daughter might try to exert dominance over those she met.

"My daughter is... a handful. She is also a Sourcian."

"Well, I hope she'll behave herself and not damage anything, or hurt anyone, but she's welcome. I also have to wonder, is she in a typical form like we are, or is she a ship? I'm never sure which a Sourcian might take. For all I know, you can transform into a spaceship or something." Yaichiro half-joked.

A brief smile lit Tai's face, one of genuine affection. "She is humanoid and appears as a young adult, perhaps eighteen to twenty. And she will behave if I tell her to." dealing with her as she matured had been utter hell but well worth it. She then pointed to herself.

"I will not go into fine detail about my body's abilities, but I can assume other forms, yes." she lifted a snowy eyebrow at the last.

"The engineer and officer in me wants to inquire further. The family friend in me is telling that part to shut up. I'll go with the latter. I'm glad you managed to find a slice of happiness out there, Tai. I guess this house would see at least four generations in it if she visited. Probably not what Yuriko intended when she sold it to me, but it seems best to keep it open to her family even after her passing." Yaichiro said, surprised with just how much Tai was like Midori. The facial expressions were similar, albeit a little less restricted than her mother's.

"She is on Yamatai, I've just forbidden her from straying too far from our rooms at the Kyoto Tower." Tai said and thought her runt of a daughter likely living high on the hog when it came to room service in utter spite. "Perhaps I'll bring her by soon, would you be home if I did so?"

"I have to go back to the Sakura before too long, but I can make some time. When do you plan to drop by?" Yaichiro asked, wondering when Tai and her daughter could be there.

The virtual Tai shrugged, "Whenever would work best for you, Yaichiro. It would be nice to see my little brother again. I wouldn't doubt he may be a little mad at me for leaving for so long, however." her tone had turned apologetic at that. She'd liked the lil'guy, but so much had happened to her at once she'd had to leave or risk endangering everyone.

"Will tomorrow work? Give everyone a chance to get there? I can't speak for Rikun, but Yuichi should have the day off then, and be in Kyoto." The CO tried to plan, and give them the best chance at seeing the whole family...at least those who still lived.

Tai pursed her lips for a moment before nodding. "That would work, I've already met with Rikun. I had to sneak away to try this odd little device, the VCE. There wasn't such a thing when I left. It causes me some discomfort due to my unique biology, but it is quite fascinating."

"I developed a precursor to it in YE 30, but some others took the concept and brought it to the masses in a better manner. Could be bitter, but I've had plenty of success in other areas. I'll gladly see you and your daughter tomorrow then. It's been nice to hear from you, Tai." He gave a small smile, one which was subtle but by no means limited in sentiment.

Tai's virtual avatar suddenly looked a little uncomfortable and it showed behind the eyes. "There is something you should know, Yaichiro. I am breaking her trust, but I must say it. It cannot go on anymore." she took a virtual breath, her eyes fluttering closed for a moment.

"Yuriko lives."

"...What?" Yaichiro blinked, more than a bit surprised. He was not sure how to feel. Happy? Confused? Angry? A little of each. "First, how? Second, I can understand your situation, but where was she when her kids were orphaned? What's she been doing all these years?" Yaichiro inquired, not pleased that Yuriko had ditched her children.

"Yuriko has not been right since she lost her first child, Yaichiro. Compounded with the immense weight of defending two nations, becoming the poster child for killing off a large part of the SMX's leadership, losing her father... I believe she wished to die. But not by her own hand. On the battlefield." Tai's lips were pursed, she clearly didn't like the answers she was giving.

"This is all from my point of view, however, I have only spoken to her twice in ten years. First to advise me to leave the sector due to some of what I mentioned had happened to me. And the second time telling me she had joined the Nepleslian Marine Corps. These are not the answers I would like to give you, Yaichiro, I was never close to her so I know very little."

Yaichiro gave a sigh. "You don't need to apologize, my answers to you have been no more pleasant. We've told each other what we can tell. That will have to do. Now I have to find a believable way of 'learning' of her survival that doesn't show you being involved. Searching for her through Nepleslia's public records isn't a bad place to start. Lots of UOC people wound up over there..."

Tai's avatar nodded, she'd just betrayed her mother's trust and it didn't sit well with her. "Go easy on her." she said, "When I last spoke to her she was not herself. And I worry for her mental health."

"That seems to be a common ailment to the old crew. I'll keep it in mind. Thanks, Tai." Yaichiro responded, his brief anger back under control. She must have had her own situation as well. Hopefully, things wouldn't get even more complicated. Both of the kids' parents were alive, and yet they were orphans...

This was all kinds of dysfunctional.

"What time tomorrow?" Tai asked in a bid to change the subject. She didn't like mentioning her mother. The woman was a broken wreck with a death wish. The only reason she hadn't died yet was that she was just too damn good at killing and avoiding it in turn.

"How about 2 or 3 PM? Give you time to have lunch before coming here." He responded, wondering just what she had in mind...

Nodding the Tai avatar seemed pleased with the suggestion, "Just give Lillius a small berth at first. She'll want to explore the place. Sadly it's a habit I haven't been able to break. She has no shame when it comes to other people's things."

"Understood. I'll try to make sure any breakables are put away." Yaichiro said, pondering if the kid coming is particularly young. Perhaps he should block off the stairs unless she has an antigravity system.

"I will make sure she knows there will be hell to pay should she get too rambunctious." Tai stated, "She's barely an adult but still acts childish."

"Wait, an adult? Ah, I thought we were discussing a young child with such behavior. It doesn't change anything, I suppose. It'll still be interesting to meet her. Should I...still block off the stairways?" He asked, pondering what precautions he should take.

Tai burst out laughing at Yaichiro's expense. She shook her head while still chuckling. "She would rip the barrier apart and scamper upstairs. I can keep her in check... mostly anyways. I will try to get her to be on her best behavior. But remember, she is still an alien with alien sensibilities and thoughts no matter how acclimated she has become to humanoid life."

"Fair enough. I'll try to warn Yuichi about it too, then. I was thinking more along the lines of those barriers you put up for toddlers to keep them from falling downstairs into a basement...but that seems moot." He said, making a smile and not minding the laughter. It was good to know that she was capable of such. It was the first time he'd seen it from her.

"He will be home then?" Tai missed the lil'munchkin, although he was no doubt any longer the same tiny little guy she remembered.

"Unless there is something planned of which I'm not aware. He has nothing on his schedule that I know of at that time." Yaichiro was a bit hesitant to fully promise for the young man, but he was pretty sure it'd be fine.

Tai nodded thoughtfully, her attention seeming to be elsewhere a moment. Looking back to Yaichiro wearing an apologetic look. "Then I suppose this is the end of our little discussion for now. I will keep what you said to myself. Rikun is too emotional and headstrong. If she knew some of what you have told me," she shrugged, "She may well try to go hunt this first Midori herself."

It still sounded crazy for the daughter to desire to hunt someone who was quite deadly in her own right.

"I suppose so. I look forward to seeing you and your daughter in person. I'll move the shinies off-site just in case." Yaichiro was glad she was back, even if she'd been gone for too long. Perhaps he could help salvage things for this broken family. Or at least this generation of them.

"Perhaps that would be for the best. Things that capture the light, particularly 'shiny' objects can cause her to be fascinated by them." Tai grumped at the tail end. She'd had to apologize and pay for an ungodly number of things her daughter had gotten a hold of.

"Well, I need to get going. I'll see you tomorrow, Tai. Say hello to your daughter for me!" He would soon disconnect since the conversation had petered out. It was a bit awkward, perhaps because neither of them were very social, but it was still nice...

Tai sighed, her shoulders slumping a little. She'd betrayed her mother's trust. But it had to happen sooner or later. Whether the woman had the courage to try to own up to her failings was another matter. She cut the connection on her end and sat up from the little couch she had been using.

Well, that had gone better than she'd hoped for. Now all she had to do was talk a six-foot-tall killing machine to be on her best behavior tomorrow.

Chiharu help her.

END
 
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