Star Army

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  • 📅 December 2022 is YE 44.9 in the RP.

RP [SAINT] Reap what you 清楚

Ametheliana

Head in the Stars
🌟 Site Supporter
🎖️ Game Master
Retired Staff
RP Date
YE 44.6
RP Location
Kyoto
"Curiosity killed the cat but satisfaction brought it back."
-Nekovalkryja saying


Yamatai
Kyoto


A sunset red like blood oranges set over Kyoto and burned crimson reflections off the Ketsurui River's pulsing flow. It was an unseasonably chilly evening and fog crept in around skyscrapers and through parks as the day's light faded across the capitol plain. Downtown Kyoto was notably quiet even still, and the Chrome Catgirl was no exception. A couple Star Army soldiers who worked nearby sat at the bar, and what looked like a family of three tourists were otherwise the only diners right at this moment. The Star Army pair for their part looked relieved to have some peace and quiet while the out-of-towners variously oogled eyed all of the statues and old military gear and other stuff that made this restaurant everything that it was.

Down the hall and past the kitchen there's a spiral staircase made of that same fancy inlaid wood as everywhere else. "CELLAR" reads a little placard just beside it with an arrow pointing down. These lead to another hallway where patrons could find a cellar and more Star Army memorabilia.

And "keep going all the way to the end until you see a matte cat and then turn left," the rumor goes, speaking of an anonymous catgirl statue much like any of those on the tables above except one that was a pitch black and reflected the light around it so dully that it was the exact opposite of its shiny sisters nearby. "Those who don't belong will find themselves 'quickly' turned around by a drunkenly jovial Star Army soldier, and probably won't notice any lost time on their watch. But if you've got black panels and the right invite, just through one last door..."

The place was abuzz unlike the Chrome Catgirl nearby on this sleepy Kyoto evening. Dissimilarly still the walls and booths here were carved of the darkest ebony harvested from pristine forests on Tatiana decades ago. Though the Chrome Catgirl was sharply lit, this sub-bar of sorts was not. The only sources of light were the small table lamps placed deep in booths and nooks around the room. Their ultramarine blue and black glass shades did little to inject any luminescence into the chamber. Other senses had to be used in a room like this, where all the black uniforms kept their rank insignia and their faces in shadow. The senses took on so much in a place like this.

Jinja Emi could smell the scent of something distant and unfamiliar, but pleasant. The strong fir resin smell the wood wax used on the paneling of all of the booths. Many were pleasantly padded by velvety black paneled seating, which matched the apparel of those sitting in them. Someone's perfume caught Jinja's nose next as she walked between the tables and booths of the bar. It was fresh like sweet peas or something recently cut from the garden.

The room's atmosphere was enlivened by the smooth undertones of a jazz guitar plucking out chords alongside an electric bass. The soft and rhythmic drums of the music accompanied the soft tinkling and then clattering of ice inside of a shaker. Jinja's eyes followed the sound to see the hands and forearms of the bartender as they shook their mixed liquids and ice. Her eyes stayed on the little pockets of ice forming on the copper shaker as the kinetic motion of the ice created a cooling reaction. Quickly after the thin sheet of ice on the shaker had formed under the bartender's hand, they thumped the shaker with the palm of their hand. The two pieces, the high ball glass and the copper shaker, detached from one another and in the same motion, the bartender had swept the contents into a martini glass. With a flick of their wrist they shot an ioto of olive juice into the glass and turned around.

The soft ramblings of the next song beginning's enlivened the room even more as the pair walked through. The alto saxophone's high trembling notes over its partners the trombone, guitar, and drum melded with the enlivening of chatter around them.

There were many rules this bar had beyond that stuff about the ranks and what one had to do for an invite. No names was probably the most important one. Next important was that everyone had to pay respects to the Shadow Director upon arrival, which was a purely ceremonial role here in this little club hidden away beneath the Chrome Catgirl. All those gathered here at this Shadow Directorate of sorts were equal and proven in their quality as spies, assassins, and analysts. All those gathered here at this Shadow Directorate of sorts were equal and proven in their quality as spies, assassins, and analysts, but even here there was a first among equals.

The SAINT operative who had ordered the martini, shaken with its icey chunks floating about its surface, grasped the glass just as they looked at the dark figure that had absconded ahead of Jinja. Jinja saw the curiosity in the SAINT Nekovalkryja's face as she leaned into the light to get a better look at Jinja's companion. Her first look at one of this bar's patron's was brief, though, as Jinja continued past her as her shadow of a companion kept turning heads.

Like the famous restaurant above there was a lot of what could only be called collectables. A purple Tachibana Clan cape hung over one booth. There were unidentified Mishhuvurthyar husks suspended in glass jars filled with green fluid under one part of the bar. Black Spiral armbands could be seen variously hung in loops around the place, and a gold plated NSP sat on a little stand in front of a black-framed funerary portrait of Empress Ayame. Secret relics (or at least simulacra that passed for them) and outdated spy gadgets adorned every square inch of this clandestine bar found left past the Matte Cat in a darkened mirror of the Star Army-themed establishment that hid it.

Right before Jinja was recognized she could hear the din of conversation ahead. She caught "They've summoned the Directorate here!" luckily enough, picked out from so many others on the same topic. Disbelief was the pervasive mood here, though Jinja picked up some anger from operatives who doubtlessly worked in the Strategic Initiatives Network. Their rage was righteous and justified, she agreed (as had her report on the matter), but they did not know everything was being done to preserve SAINT's foundational special operations units of today's Star Army.

More of the bar began to see Jinja like the martini Neko moments before and the silence spread, even to the jazz quintet, and heralded only to the still-distracted by creeping whispers of their awestruck comrades. And then it was all quiet.

"You have not reported for duty, operatives," came a gravelly woman's voice from across the room. She was a Neko who sat in a big raised chair made of the same carved ebony as the rest of the spook bar, and wore her black panels on a Type 22 bodysuit.

The Shadow Director.

Stepping forward the red flecks on her cheeks quivered then sloped downward as her face set in a cold stare. Her expression matched the somber bow she gave the director before stepping forward. Her companion bowed in unison beside her. As they did, a black-paneled man stepped forward with a towel wrapped bottle, which Jinja took with a curt nod. Her hands swiftly moved the bottle so that both of her hands held it. With her arm closest to the director over the bottle and the other supporting it, she loosened the clear liquid into the stout ceramic cup that sat before the shadow director. With the ochoko cup filled, Jinja stepped back.

Jinja murmured, "It's just a small token." In humble response, the shadow director's arm reflexively raised and waved her palm in front of her umbrous face. Her shoulders sat squarely facing Jinja's companion, though.

"Token enough," the Shadow Director grumbled with a fanged grin revealed from the shadow that covered her eyes and nose. Instead of drinking, this apparently senior operative stood from their throne and bowed past where Deputy Director Jinja Emi stood and to her companion. "The Shadow Director stands relieved."

With a gasp, Jinja Emi's surprise escaped her, though she wondered what she had expected. Only this ceremonial changing of hands would be what were to transpire after Yui's response to her yearly report.

"The Shadow Director takes watch," Emi's companion responded before changing places with the other woman. Then she sat down and remained silent for a moment as she grew accustomed to the new seat. After a time, the new Shadow Director gestured to Emi from the shadows.

"You may deliver your report," came a serpentine voice that wrapped listeners in its warm embrace while driving a chilling terror into their spine.

Jinja noted the mood of the room. Everyone had been unsure, wondering. With the seating of the new Shadow Director, that mood had shifted and she reflected in that in her choice of opening words.

"Cease your curiosity. We know." Jinja Emi said. "Now you do, too. It's true that the Director and Deputy Director have been summoned to Star Army Command and, yes, are presently en route. The Director wants everyone to know that he and Jinja will continue to serve the Empire through this assault upon the Star Army and protect it with the course laid ahead for them."

Jinja gritted her teeth as she spoke, "That's not all." She had squinted as she said SAINT's motto, as if looking through the shadowy depths of the room and into those of the enemy. Her hands had become sharp and pointed at her side as she spoke in a hushed tone to the even quieter crowd.

"We know you will be able to do the same. We know that Jinja and Shida expect all of SAINT to do the same." With desolate red eyes looking out of her ghostly face, the SAINT agent breathed her final words. She then swiveled slightly to look to the Shadow Director, "Shida-taisho sends a final order."

The new Shadow Director had sat cross-legged with their left elbow braced on the black throne's armrest, her wrist angled toward the ceiling while her hand rested limp. A quick snap of her fingers prompted the bartender back across the room to shuffle around for something and scurry over as the Shadow Director stood. She unbuttoned her black paneled Type 35 and gathered a scroll from within. Unrolling the perfect piece of parchment to its full twenty inch length, the second Shadow Director revealed the calligraphy upon it to the assembled SAINT operatives.

It read: みなごろし. Total massacre.

From the summoned bartender the Shadow Director received a small mallet, and from her jacket she produced a blackened Zesuaium nail. After stepping up onto the throne's seat, three loud cracks broke the reigning silence and echoed sharply through the bar, digging into the bones of everyone present. The bartender twitched each time the hammer struck. He retrieved it when the Shadow Director stepped down and faded back into the crowd.

A new SAINT souvenir for the bar.

"We will deliver this fate upon any dastard who would weaken the Star Army and our ability to protect the Yamatai Star Empire," the new Shadow Director said, picking up the sake-filled cup that had been in front of the throne since they'd sat in it. She raised it high and the assembled operatives stood in the packed bar to raise their own drinks. "Every operative and analyst in the fleet knows those responsible for this attempt to destroy our organization. 'We know' indeed," they reminded their rapt audience in the same controlled, chilling voice nonetheless packed with all the venom that one would expect from any veteran SAINT operative.

Emi's satisfied snarl on her red-whiskered face mirrored the speech, and with no glass to throw had kept a hand on her hip and another clenched at her waist. With a dignified expression on her front she started thinking about the next destination she would visit with her shadow.

"You have your orders. Now: allow none of their traitorous kind disrupt our mission ever again," the new Shadow Director said before downing her cup of sake and then throwing it to shatter against the floor. The assembled operatives followed suit, leaving the floor a glittering starscape underneath the Matte Cat's dreary lights. Already, the first Shadow Director was approaching across the floor with crunchy steps over the sloppy constellations beneath her. Soon she stood opposite the woman who had just delivered Shida's last command.

"The Shadow Director stands relieved," Emi's companion said, and then the two departed.
 
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