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  • 📅 May 2023 is YE 45.4 in the RP.

[Yamatai] Hanami Festival & BBQ Cookout of YE 45 - OPEN RP


Okimi had once wondered why anyone would choose to watch a vehicular accident as it occurred, for surely you would try to avoid exposing yourself to such a tragic experience. Having been only three days old when she had overheard the comment 'like watching an aircar crash' and not understanding that the older neko's had been referring to her batch's painful early attempts at socialising, Okimi had had no reference to appreciate the sentiment.

She most certainly understood now.

Emiko Freyjasdóttir had been ordering a lot of food. Okimi certainly couldn't fault her for that as there was such a wide and wonderful variety of such on display and each morsel seemed as tempting as the last. The Caretaker's issue with the situation was that Emiko was easily eating everything she had ordered and Okimi was certain that just ONE of those orders would have sated her for a week. As the trio moved from vendor to vendor, Okimi would sneak a look over to Mineko just to check that this was to be considered normal and that freaking out was not the appropriate reaction. In the end, the young neko just couldn't tear herself away from witnessing the tall woman's seemingly inexhaustible appetite at work.

After a while though, Okimi's mind jumped tracks when she considered where Emiko could be storing all the food. Was she even storing it, or was her metabolism just annihilating the calories she was feeding it? There was no sign of discomfort, so eating this much could not be uncomfortable which likely meant it wasn't unprecedented. But if Emiko regularly ate that much, and Mineko's nonchalant reaction lent credence to such a conclusion, then she must suffer horribly when dealing with normal rations onboard the Resurgence. The poor woman must spend a lot of time being hungry. Well not on her watch! With a thought, Okimi made a mental reminder to find some kind of high-energy, calorie-heavy, nutritional supplements to keep onboard the ship to help save Emiko from going on a hangry rampage.

Her attention was immediately thereafter drawn by a voice she had become intimately familiar with over the past two months of leave. With a smile, Okimi turned towards the blue-skinned owner of said voice and waved her and her friend over. "Heya Luna-chan!" The purple-skinned neko cast an appreciate eye over the approaching pair, and almost regretted wearing her uniform for the event. "Looking good enough to eat there, Luna-chan.". She offered with an exaggerated wink before looking at the second new arrival. "And who is your pretty friend?" Okimi paused for a moment, then gasped and dramatically moved a hand over her mouth. "Wait, don't tell me you have a girlfriend you've been keeping secret from me?!'
Kaiko Park
Hoshi's Ryokan

Saiga's arrival caught Hanako by surprise. A smile of recognition crossed her face as she noted the taller man's hurried salute despite his hand being awkwardly weighed down by an assortment of food and beverages. Yet, she was more caught off-guard by the spontaneous hug he initiated. She gave a surprised chuckle, her body tensing for a moment before relaxing into the embrace.

"Saiga-san," Hanako responded warmly, "it has indeed been too long. I am glad to see you well." She seemed both amused and touched by Saiga telling her he had given her his vote during the YE 45.1 election. "Thank you for your vote. That means a lot to me. I initially wasn't going to run but there were a lot of people who came to convince me. In the end, I did it because I want to be able to make a positive difference in the lives of all Yamataian citizens. I hope to make everyone proud to support me and to be a Yamataian. I will never take for granted that a great nation is something that just happens, we have to keep working for it. We also owe a lot to people like you whose efforts keep the Empire secure."

When Saiga asked about their preferences for the grill, Hanako considered for a moment. "I have always had a preference for salmon, Saiga-san, and a glass of melon-flavored carbonated soda would be quite refreshing."

The old SAINT operative nodded, glad his extra drinks for Hoshi had made him prepared for extra guests. He grinned when Hanako thanked him, finding it amusing she was such a politician now.

"Perfect, I brought one of those out," Saiga said, stepping over to the little wooden prep table where he'd set the drinks to grab the one with a pair of green Yamataian melons printed on its label. He promptly handed it over to his old captain, leaving the bottle's pressurized marble cap un-pressed just in case Hanako wanted the pleasure of opening it herself. "I'll get you first pick of the salmon when it comes off the grill, too, rest assured."

His thoughts wandered for a second to the time they'd spoken about promotions and careers on the beach at Hanako's World even before the Kuvexian War had truly started. How Hanako herself had shared with him concerns for her future and it clashing with wanting to stay aboard the ship she was perhaps most famous for captaining. And now she was head of the entire government!

"Still make your Eucharis home, huh?" Saiga said. "Funny how you Ketsurui always find a ship to set up with."

"Only when I am on the go," Hanako told Saiga. "She is Blackberry's ship now."

"Oh I'm sure she is, Hanako-sama," he shot back with a knowing smile. "I'm happy you've managed to find a way to both help the Empire and find comfort in any case."

"Is there much room for adventuring on it when you're on the go?" Hoshi asked in between popping the marble through the top of the soda bottle with the palm of her hand and taking a sip of the refreshment.

"The Plumeria-class has everything I require," Hanako answered Hoshi. "I am glad I still get to travel with the Eucharis. I would much rather be on the ship I know and trust than merely a passenger on some other, perhaps less armed, vessel."

"Before you arrived, Hanako-sama was giving me a philosophy lesson," Hoshi said to Saiga, backpedaling the conversation a little.

Saiga had already begun to slice open the taut plastic wrapping clung around the salmon package he'd only just retrieved, using a sharp santoku knife to break its protective seal. There were already a few kurobuta sausages on the grill alongside peppers, onions, and zucchinis cooking, but there still remained plenty of room for everything else he'd brought out. In fact, the grill space that remained had been intended for it, so he kept working now that the pleasantries had been taken care of.

"Must have been enlightening," Saiga replied as he worked. "Hanako-sama's full of wisdom. I hope I didn't interrupt your lesson. You can always continue while I watch to make sure the food doesn't get burnt up," he joked, never doubting that he'd let that happen in the first place.

"I know it seems like a peaceful time for the Empire, and it is, in some ways, but I still feel like I am under a great pressure. I feel like we have this great potential in the larger Kagami galaxy and yet we are so small, struggling to grow and still dragged down by intra-sector politics. I feel like there is a giant clock ticking down and we need to beat it, but I cannot read the numbers the hands are passing over. Essentially, I feel we must do a much better job to ensure our long-term success in the face of newly-emerging and yet-to-emerge threats. What can we do to spread prosperity and safety that planet Yamatai enjoys to the larger universe?"

"Oddly enough, I feel that," Hoshi said as she immediately related to Hanako's metaphor. "For me, my fear is that somehow what I am doing adds to the hands moving closer to whatever they're counting down to, if that makes sense. It's why I was so hung up on asking you about right and wrong. It feels all too easy to do what feels right only to find out in hindsight that there was a better choice." Hoshi realized Hanako's last question may not have been rhetorical, but it was difficult to answer and she added, "To do no harm and only spread good is no small undertaking."

"It's not all your job, Hanako-sama," Saiga remarked from his place near the grill, having sat down in his wooden folding chair. With a pair of stainless steel tongs, he was putting down the first salmon fillet, skin side down, and had his gaze fixed on putting it perfectly to the flames that licked up beneath it. "The premiership suits you because of your concern for our nation, but it's Yui's duty to really watch out for all these interstellar threats, right?"

"Yes, and it's also my job to direct things like where our borders are, and where we put our population. Those are just as strategic as the military, yes?" she asked Saiga.

"When the population's mostly Nekovalkyrja who were created to fight and protect the rest of us, that's definitely something to think about," Saiga replied, looking up from behind his sunglasses with only his eyeballs for a brief moment but otherwise concentrating on putting some more fish down to cook. "Maybe all of our new colonial initiatives will convince a bunch of them to demilitarize and make far-off homes as part of Yamatai's legacy," he added, thinking about how Task Force 282 had recently fought to help the Uesureyans, a Yamataian offshoot, secure their place in the dangerous galaxy the Premier spoke of.

"You very involved with those projects, Hanako?"

"Those sound so much like the intra-sector politics that make looking at the greater picture —the greater potential— of the Kagami hard to do, too," Hoshi said, her dark blue eyes on Hanako. "It's tough when you know there's so much more to do but the cloudier things make envisioning such all the more difficult."

"I was not involved much at the time but I should be able to do it now. I think, if nothing else, I should be spreading out more and putting the seeds of our civilization throughout the galaxy so that we can flourish. That is going to take an effort from all of us and I plan to do my share and then some. I hope that we can see some unification in the future, with Uesu's force and others. I am open to possibilities. I do not know what the future holds but if we all work together it has got to be brighter," Hanako explained.

"There are a lot of possibilities there," Hoshi said, mulling over her thoughts. Brightening, she said, "Ideas better presented when I'm in uniform, perhaps. Working towards the future together is better, I know that is for sure! For the present circumstances, I do believe your first pick of the salmon should be ready soon. I'll nab you a plate and some of the veggies, Hanako!"

"Fish should be coming up done soon enough," Saiga said, glancing over at a ceramic platter where he'd put a few grilled treats that had already been finished earlier and then transferring some of the sausage and vegetable skewers from the grill onto it. He thought for a moment to say more — perhaps about how the Uesureyans seemed to idolize Aiko as much as many in Yamatai did, or to comment on how Nepleslia could use more Yamataian influence to its anarchic existence — but always remembered his place as a humble intelligence officer from a clan that existed to serve the Empire rather than direct it with too much insistence.

"Don't forget Victory and Honoria," Hanako grinned, cracking open her melon soda. She offered a casual toast. "To future possibilities, and the wisdom to seize them."

Saiga allowed his attention to break from grilling long enough to grab his beer and stand for Hanako's salute, passing the tip of his bottle around to tap with the others.

There was a sound of clinking glass bottles as Hoshi stretched over to hand them to Hanako's retinue before the tinkling of Hoshi cheering along, "Here, here!" Her smile widened giddily as she clicked the top of her bottle to Saiga's. "Well said, Hanako-sama!"

= = =

JP by Wes, Raz, and Ametheliana

He got the response from his m.essage as he was seated on the bench and smiled. His response was very simple, "Sounds good, no sign of a Belmont yet, at least where I am." So, he sat there reading and occasionally doing a bit of people watching.

When Nara sat next to him, he had gotten so used to seeing her in her tactical clothing, that seeing her in something else was a pleasant surprise. He smiled as he spoke,
"Hello, my friend. by the way this choice of clothing fits you." It always made his mood lighten when Nara was nearby, even in combat situations, it seemed that they worked well together as a duo or in a team. "Oh, well I decided to switch things up." He flipped back to the cover of the book, it was a copy of a book which Nara had told him about, a book of Norian proverbs. "Having you as a friend, has made want to understand more about Norian culture and beliefs." He had visibly relaxed with Nara's proximity.
Motoyoshi-Iaeysu Tetsuya

As was probably expected with the majority of the more well known Motoyoshi already on their massive Colonization Mission, their presence was less pronounced than in previous years. The group from Jiyuu was small, but the Bellflower Party Leader and Governor of Jiyuu, Motoyoshi-Ieyasu Tetsuya and a small group were huddled around a BBQ where they were grilling up cheese smokies to be served with teriyaki sauce, Tokyo mayo with friend onions sprinkled with seaweed on a bun for anyone who wanted them. As the canopies of cherry blossoms provided the best of shade over them. The rare male Nekovalkyrja, had his black suit jacket tossed over the back of a garden-style chair as his white dress shirt sleeves were rolled up past his elbows so he could work in front of the barbeque, a pair of tongs in one hand and a glass of plum wine from Ainu Orchards in the other. He had come all the way from Jiyuu to be there for the holiday even though it fell so close to the end of Unity Festival celebrations in the MCS Capital.

He didn't have many expectations in terms of company, his name rang far less bells than that of his mothers or father. His attention was mainly wrangled by the few who stopped while they passed by, handing out the delicious creation they had opted to cook for the occasion. He had hoped to catch a moment with Kinoshita Fusako, the owner of Ice Queen Sake but he didn't even see them with a booth set up this year, it was a shame because his father had impressed upon him she was someone who was both wise and a good friend to the family. Hopefully some others from Jiyuu or old comrades from the Star Army would show up; the festival had been blessed with fantastic weather even if it was much cooler than the tropical humidity he was used to on Jiyuu.

Majnun looked a bit puzzled as she tilted her head while her polished horns shown in the sun. "Unfortunately not, I am an Iromakuanhe. What is this" she paused curious about what Lenna spoke of. "What is a Norian and this Gamma Ark you speak of?" she asked obviously intrigued. "I only arrived here a few days ago. So, I am afraid I might not be quite used to things yet." she said before calmly listening to the conversation of others amongst the group.


Nara looked away from the book Itami was reading to her outfit when he spoke of its appearance. "Oh this? Well had to wear something to cover up the daggers. Otherwise, people might get uncomfortable. Not to mention I do not exactly know enough people here to feel comfortable any other way." she said as she settled back in her spot next to him on the bench with a content smile on her face. She visibly perked up as he began to discuss the book leaning forward once more to get a better look. "Did you now?" she said looking over the cover of his selection. She let out a rare chuckle, "Well proverbs are certainly a very safe topic. Some aspects of Norian beliefs and way of like may make you uncomfortable I am afraid." she said in a warm friendly manner. "If however you choose to explore those paths, proceed at your comfort level. As always, I am here for questions you may have." she said relaxing back into her spot stopping herself from resting her head on his shoulder.
Helen Klein
Kaiko Park

There were archaic phrases which still floated around among those who had enough years behind them. Jumbles of words and ideas that had long since lost their origins and roots. There was a phrase that was commonly tossed around between those who were older, older than bodies constructed of hemosynth congealed into muscle and hardened into bone. It was a silly little phrase that had been modified time and time again, but the most relevant iteration was quite simple: “All roads lead to Kyoto”, the heart of the Yamatai Empire, a heart that had continued to beat strong within the breast of the Empire through strain and hardship. Martial suffering that served as the poetic namesake for Kaiko park, a homage to what those who passed had bled and died for.

Memories of war and suffering were not foreign to one of the park’s visitors who had made her customary pilgrimage elsewhere in Kyoto, having already paid her annual respects to the marble figure of Kessaku “The Butcher” Irim who continued to serve as inspiration for the woman who strolled alone and quietly through the park. She had never stepped foot upon the newly constructed grounds, it was familiar and foreign to her all at once. Idyllic, pristine, she’d even consider calling it elysian in nature, if the term were not tied to another bloody conflict and a history that likely had scraps and debris somewhere beneath her feet, churned into the soil, likely being slowly digested by nodal machines.

It was a small miracle she had even managed to make her annual pilgrimage, her posting had been an attachment to the First Expeditionary Fleet at Leo Star Fortress, it’s where her career advancement had ground to a halt by her own choosing. She had become comfortable, even having transitioned for a time into dark blue uniform panels serving as a station investigator, then back to the black which currently adorned her Type 42 Class B’s which hugged against her body like a second skin. As far as wars went, she suffered far less than she was accustomed to, most certainly nowhere near as much as those who were honored by the paradise she strode upon.

No mystery existed in what churned inside of the anatomically heartless guts of Helen Klein; survivor’s guilt.

Helen’s features had not changed even in the slightest over the course of the years that had passed, pristine and unblemished. Even with the ageless face of a glorified murder-doll, the burden of what should have been and could have been, trespassed upon her visage in a fleeting moment as she looked upon the golden idol. Before her was an iconic statue which was part of the closest thing that Yamataians held to a ‘faith’, a tribute to the resolve and determination of Ketsurui Aiko, who had undoubtedly earned a place enshrined within the literal hero worship of Yamataian culture. For the 47-year-old Chusa, the tribute cut deep to her very core.

Gleaming, shining, brilliant before a tearful gaze stood the golden statue. Pure and untarnished, gallant and with a sculpted facsimile of the royal’s face. A face teeming with the pride of the Empire. That pride was earned in blood and suffering. Helen wondered when was the last time she fired a shot in anger? Saw life leave the eyes of an enemy? Witnessed with her own eyes the flash-bulb brightness of a combatant’s craft becoming a conflagration within an aetheric explosion? Her expression hardened back to neutrality, as she came to realize that she had walked the road back to Kyoto, but had forgotten the reason why she walked.

Since setting foot on the soil that was the sacred home of the Empire, Helen considered it fortuitous that she made it to Kyoto instead of having left with the fleet to the Kosuke Sector, but why? On the surface, even to her own thoughts, the purpose of her journey was for her annual tribute to The Butcher, but in that she deceived herself. She strode further through the memorial park, watching as cherry blossoms swirled through the air, fleeting in their beauty. Sweet scents of blossoms mixed with the festively jovial aromas of the celebration that took place within the memorial park. She needed to remind herself, she was alive, she at least had the chance to do more going forward, and she needed to give her thanks to those who could not have such a privilege, those who gave everything as an offering to the life of the Empire.

It would be rude to decline a gift, would it not? Helen mused as she regained her resolve. She strode alone through the park, at least as alone as one could be in the middle of such festivities. After a brief transaction at a food vendor’s stand she mulled on where the road leading out from Kyoto may take her, a limitless path stood before her, twisted and coiled like the yakisoba she worked down her gullet. As she strode with a six-pint bowl in hand, she gave pause at another memorial display, swallowing, and pausing in her indulgence.

There was a moment of quiet contemplation, not of herself, not of the concept of the Empire, but of those who gave every last shred of their being for it, and whispered words left her lips before she would continue on her way “Thank you for your service”.

He smiled, one of the things that being around Nara brought out in him, he tended to show his emotions around her. "Yes, much like how I wear long sleeves to hide the bands which hold the throwing knives along my arms, or the blade I keep in my boot. It wouldn't do to carry openly, at least during a festival." It was a sign of the trust they had in each other, with how they could show their hidden selves when the other was around. "Philosophy and the like are where I tend to start when learning about another race." He smiled back at his friend. "I appreciate any aid you can offer me, my friend. Perhaps, when we both have a chance, you can aid in my learning." He could have sworn that she had been about to rest her head on his shoulder, but he could also have been mistaken. "Do you have anything you wanted to do while the festival is in full swing?"
Zus thought briefly on Enki's proposal of a test of skills, but had to deny it, at least for now. "I'm not sure I could, I've only ever piloted an Iromakuanhe frame, never one from this sector, and besides, It's been about a decade since I piloted a frame. I might not be much fun to go against. However, my ship does have a compliment of frames, and their pilots would love the opportunity to test their skills."

As Andar spoke, Aerin thought on his words, noticing that he had come to the same conclusion that Origin had already come to. "I do believe there is plenty our companies, and others, could do to help those around the sector. You might get a few Kicks out of this, but we were about to propose an organize a meeting of all the major corporations, to try and standardize all the common basic things. That way, those who keep us safe, and those who make the galaxy spin around us, can have an easier time doing their jobs. how's it sound? a bit of extra work on our part, and I think we can get everything spinning just a bit more smoothly, you know?"