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RP: YSS Aeon [Mission 3.2] - Beginnings and Recoveries

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Takamori sat up to look at Saki in the eyes. "No, it's not. But it's a start. Last question. You protect the Empire and its citizens. But who's protecting you, O great defender of the Empire?" He asked the question seriously, without any hint of sarcasm despite the mock title.
Saki was still smiling. She was not happy Saito was still going on about this, but this question was easy enough. She smiled and answered. "Oh this one is easy. I am soldier, I take in mind that I might die. BUT." She said and then continued. "As I will protect empire I will also try to protect my fellow soldiers as well. And I hope all my fellow soldiers will do the same. It is 'watching each others back' as you might call it. I do not require special protection, and I expect you to not want one too. We are all soldiers of Empire and deserve same level of protection. I hope you understand what I mean."

She was in the army, she was part of it. Saki saw army as one living being. Each part of it taking care of other. That was her idead and she was focused to hold on to it.
"Nope. No idea what nonsense you're spouting. I don't see what makes the Empire more important than the individual. I just see it as the best way to ensure the safety of my family. People are more important than some fancy notion of government and nation. I've lived twenty years, it doesn't sound like you've lived twenty months. I may not know about the broader world but I do think I know more about what's worth protecting than you. Family...friends. You don't seem to have the former and of the latter, it sounds like we could count those on one hand."

Takamori lay back down. This was not existentialism anymore or about one's place in the universe. This was about the importance of the individual versus the importance of the state. Patterns in history and political thought. This was much easier to handle than existential philosophy. Once the state became more important than the individual, history turned ugly. Dictatorships and mass suffering usually took place, all because individuals readily gave up their agency to the government on the basis of patriotism.

There was nothing wrong with the Empire, as far as Takamori was concerned. It was Saki's ready acceptance of the importance of the Empire over the individual. If that was the programming these days, then the Empire was headed in the wrong direction.

"To be blunt, you're substituting someone's else reason for fighting. I've laid out that there are other reasons but I can't change your mind if you're going to be stubborn and close-minded about it. If you really are that patriotic, fine. Your decision. But it doesn't seem like you've made any sort of decision; just doing it because that's all you know."
"Oh but when you think about it, individual is part of Empire. Empire is not just state itself," Saki started with her reply. "Without its people there would be no Empire. State needs its citizens, so by protecting Empire I also mean protecting every one of its citizens. Every individual in it. So no state is not more important that individual, their importance is basically on the same level."

She then paused and took few more seconds to think. "Saito-san, please don't forget that we are in the army. It is now our sole purpose to protect empire and its citizens and even laying our lifes down if the need should arise. Also yes, I do not have any friends. Yet. And I do not know anything else then being in army, but as I will age I will be gaining experience. And maybe once my service time will be done I will choose to become civilian and experience new things outside the army, but right now I am soldier and I will think as one."
"As I said, your definition of soldier is incomplete. We have given up certain freedoms to be the defenders of that which we love. But we are still citizens of the Empire and still retain certain duties and rights as citizens to be able to care about ourselves. To seek our own happiness and prosperity. I've considered soldiering as a career for a long time and if that was all the job was, I wouldn't be here.

"Individuals need a state to provide order and safety. The state is a creation of the people and is merely an institution that they allow to govern them." Takamori began to feel like he was repeating himself. The neko was either ignoring what he said or not understanding. Either way, he did not blame her. After all, he was, in a way, tearing down a lot of the beliefs she had based her life on. Of course she would reject them reflexively.

"Also, your counting sucks. I had learn math in school, wasting years of my life with that dull subject, trying my best to unlearn what was forced into me," he said, speaking more dramatically, "You were flash taught it and you're worse than me!"

He raised his hand to the ceiling, since he was still lying on the ground. "By my count, you have one friend who's always happy to knock some sense into you. As long as he's not on the menu."
Saki was slowly starting to dislike Saito's attitude. It seemed to her, that whatever she said was completely ignored by him. He probably thought he was right and he can't get in his mind that that might not be complete true. Also what was that bollocks about math? That also confused her a lot. But he also just said that he was her friends. Saki was not sure what to think about it. She knew him for about an hour. Can she really take him as friend so fast? Truth is that he took interest in her affairs and that he was trying to help her earlier. But his beliefs abour Empire were completely unacceptable. He wouldn't have his cozy lide with his family if it weren't for the Empire. WIthout Empire there would be anarchy.

Saki looked at him. "Saito-san," she began, but paused for a while seeking right words. "Please don't compare yourself to me. It is very naive from you to do so. I don't have same right as you do. I have obligations and I can't just do whatever I want. Empire gave me life and I must. Not can, not should but must. I must serve it with my whole soul and life until I return this debt. I am very happy for having as a friend but try look at all this with my eyes. I am just not same as you."
Etsu had been listening to the conversation and decided it was time to enter it.

"Saito-Santô Hei, you may want to reconsider some of your views. To the wrong person, it could be considered almost sedition. It sounds like you think being in the Army is just a job. It is much more than that. A soldier such as you is who has volunteered to put the safety of the Empire and its citizens above their own. You got to make that decision, and I sincerely hope that is why you joined. But Arai-Hei and the rest of us we did not get to choose.

You are confusing Arai-Hei. You are asking her questions, that no manufactured Neko is fully capable of answering as you would. She is ninety-nine days old. When she was 'created' she was fully grown, and had a fundamental knowledge of how to take care of herself. She then went through two months with her sisters learning basic social interactions. Two months not twenty years like you. Very few Nekovalkyrjra who come out of training have any idea of long term goals, they may have developed personal preferences, but they do not truly understand abstract concepts fully. She loves the Empire because it gave her life, just as she loved her sister. But it is not like the kind of love you have for your family members or someone closer.

Arai was created to serve the Empire, and unlike you has to serve. All Nekovalkyrja who are manufactured owe the military two years of service to repay the Empire for their construction. But we do not see it as a duty, its why we are here. So how can we note want to protect it.

When I was created, I did not have any of the freedoms that Arai-hei enjoys. I was a sprite, I do not know if you can understand that? Let me explain it. I had no real sense of self. I thought of myself as less than a person, a piece of equipment created to serve the Empire and this starbase. Most soldiers like you treated me pretty much the same way. My whole world was this starbase, and interacting socially with other soldiers or civilians was a foreign concept. I had my duty, and I was content with just performing it. It took me several years to learn to be a person.

Perhaps you should change to subject to less emotional subjects."
Takamori bit back a response. It was not the first time he'd heard that warning. Always the same thing. Any reply he could make simply made the situation worse. The best course of action was to walk away.

He stood up, shaking off the grass and dirt that clung to him, and looked at the eavedropper, then at Arai-san. "Fine. I am properly chastised. Ponder what I said, forget what I said, do what you want. I'll take my leave." There was no hint of sarcasm, but he could not quite keep his annoyance out.

Slowly, Takamori walked towards the exit, wondering anew about the surroundings. By the time he'd reached the exit, he'd made his decision. It was artificial, a construct meant to imitate the natural. An impressive replica but there was never anything beautiful about a copy. Originals were always better, from an aesthetic point of view.

As the doors closed behind him, Takamori walked towards his quarters, surrounded by steel bulkheads. However, before he got too lost in his thoughts, he pulled himself out.

Depressing. Much alike 'The Lost Character,' conceptually sound but poorly produced. Now, 'Nine Way Love Affair,' that was great was a great show. And hilarious to boot. Takamori smiled, remembering the show. He had watched it on its closing night and, as expected, the actors were having even more fun with their role. Takamori still wondered how many of the lines were off script.
Saki looked sad when Saito stood up and leaved. She got him angry and made him leave. He might stop being her friend now. She was probably too cold to him. True is that she was cold to him all the time.

She sat on her heels and looked in the water. She then looked to other neko near her wit non-focused eyes. Like she would be deep in thought. "Will it be always this tough for a neko?" she asked.
Etsu shook her head. "Things change Arai-Hei. I am sure the Army will always need us, but they do change. Sprites a no longer created. Your generation is more adapted to life."
"Clearly getting along with non-neko personel will be tough." Saki said and looked in direction Saito left again. "One disagreement is all that is needed for them to leave it seems. Oh I hope it won't be like that with everyone."
Yoshiro was walking back to his quarters when he saw Saki at the park. He was hesitant to talk to her because of what had happened at the graduation exercise but he gathered his courage and decided that speaking with her would be a good idea. "Arai-Hei, are you all right?" Yoshiro asked with concern in his voice. He wanted to talk to her about the graduation exercise but he wanted to know if she was ok first. "You said that you wanted to talk to me but is there anything that you want to talk about?"
Etsu probably did not have anythign to add. So Saki just sat near the water and looked at smal and big fishes swiming inside. It was nice and relaxing. SHe was caught completely unaware by Yoshiro. He startled her and she quickly jumped on her feets determined to not show any weakness in fron of him.

She looked in his eyes and responded. "I wanted to talk to you? Oh Hai I did." She finally remembered saying it to him, when they arrived to their guest-rooms. "I wanted to talk about our exam, but I though about it and I want to tell you that I am sorry. I treated you badly, what happened was done by my as well as by any other of our group." She then bowed to him as sign of apology.

She though about it and that was true. Still thinking that it was mighty careless from Yoshiro to use bomb that big on the vehicle, especially when they could just use their weaponry and other means. She also though his orders were long and too much described needlessly. But it was his first time leading and she remembered that she did not much better when she leaded in space-sim.
Yoshiro was certainly surprised at this turn of events. He thought that Saki would be mad at him and now here she was apologizing. "You know Arai-hei, you have nothing to apologize for. I screwed up and that is all there is to it. I was too eager to be a hero and it cost us. It was a good thing that was training though. I should have thought things through but at the time I thought that my strategy was sound." Yoshiro said sincerely. "I should have consulted the team more and organized a better strategy but instead I got overly aggressive and cost the team their lives. If there is anyone who should apologize Arai-hei, it is me."

To prove his point he bowed to Saki and waited for her response. He hoped that she understood that she had a right to be angry at him for screwing up. "I was in command so anything that happened, good or bad was my responsibility. You had a right to be upset at what I did because I gave irresponsible orders." Yoshiro said.
Saki straightened up. Maybe Yoshiro did not do so good on last exam but he looked like nice guy. At least this is how she would think one would look. Saki also though she should be nice to him and try not to argue with him, he could leave like Saito-san. Dealing with Yamataian was really hard, it was much easier with other Nekoes.

"It's is okay Tanaka-hei," she said nad put hand on his shoulder. "We are still learning. We are santo-hei so none of us were able to give or trained to give proper orders or to lead other in battle. I think your orders were pretty logical, even if they were taking a lot of time to give out. And with no additional explosive training it was no wonder you did not recognize how powerful that bomb was. Like I said everyone of our team was at mistake."
He stood up and breathed out in relief. Even though the they failed as a team, he was going to take responsibility since he was in command. For the moment though he was happy. "If you don't mind me asking, you seemed a bit upset about something. What was said that bothered you so much?" He asked, hoping that he wasn't intruding on something personal. "You do not have to talk about it if you don't want to though. I just thought that I could help you out if you are sad."

Etsu watched the new soldier warily. She was tending her plants, but keeping her ears alert for a repeat of the earlier episode. She was perplexed by the first soldiers reaction. But decided that it was his problem and not hers.
Saki looked in Yoshiro'S eyes and smiled. Though the smile looked a little distant and forceful. "It's okay. I met someone new here on the station and he is going to join Atuan too. If get through our interviews of course. But we got to talk about something and disagreed so he stomped off. But I am sure he never looked at what we discussed from my point of view." She said to Yoshiro and sighed.

Maybe Sait looked at it from her point of view. But he probably ignored it ot though her point of view was wrong. But how can she be wrong by being loyal to the empire? Yes she is not fanatic. Loyal is the right word.

"It is just," she continued her speech. "that we discussed Empire and our relationshup with it. Mainly my relationship. And it did not seem like he could understand it. Or did not want to. I have no idea, all I know is that when Matsumoto-juni tried to explain him as she is more mature neko and knows her way with words much better he seemed to get angry and left."
"Well the way I see it is that we all owe a debt to the Empire. I can sure tell you that. Even if we don't think we do, the Empire is what made us and we all owe her a debt. He just has a different point of view on things and besides your reason is as valid as his is. It doesn't make you stupid or anything of that nature." Yoshiro said. "I feel that I owe the Empire more than she owes me and gods willing I will do all that I can to help. Until the day I fulfill my debt I will bleed for the Empire until I give everything and then give some more." He smiled at Saki.

I wonder what the future holds for us. It will get better and I will be able to tell my grandkids about this. Yoshiro thought to himself. I just hope that my parents and my brother and sister will be okay while I am gone.

"If you are ready to leave I can walk you back to your quarters or I can hang out here and keep you compnay. Your choice." Yoshiro said and blushed a bit, thinking that he might have been a bit too forward with the question.
"Well it made me literally," Saki said and chuckled. But Yoshiro has a point, though it still seemed almost like Saito was talking about taking himself first and his service to Empire second. But why would he join the army then? Saki did not really understand.

"Well I wanted to go swimming too," she said to Yoshito now that all the heavy conversation was done. "There is a pool on the station and I did not get to swim much before. Do you want to go too?" She asked Yoshiro. Maybe she will befriend him too. She will still have to talk with Saito later.
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