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  • Current IC Month: 9月 YE 42 (through December 31, 2020)

RP [YSS Kōkatsu] All of Our Vices

raz

SAINT Director
Site Supporter
Game Master
RP Date
YE 41, following the Kuvexian Invasion
RP Location
New Vicky
Empress' Palace
Kyoto, Yamatai

Even after the order of Ketsurui Samurai had been separated from Star Army service and their duties scaled back, the Fukei Tokuko had seldom seen ceremonial duty at the palace. Standing sentry in ornately decorated hallways was beneath the wizened Nekovalkyrja's station despite the disgrace imposed on her sisters by the treachery of their Shadow Viper sect. This week of light palace duty she'd been assigned was a surprising if not welcome vacation from traversing the sector as a legal envoy on behalf of the Ketsurui Clan. Being stripped of her Taii rank in the Star Army hadn't diminished the oaths to which she was sworn for life to undertake, nor had it diminished the constant work associated with them. Tokuko didn't take her posting here as a slight, though, and had already determined herself to enjoy a few solitary days gazing out over the capital city from a singular spot on a secluded part of the palace's many exterior terraces. As far as she'd been briefed, not a soul took this route as part of their regular palace routes and, from what she knew, few had reason to travel it. It was almost meditative here.

This palace duty beside the intricate architecture and gardens of the Empress' Palace that Tokuku had been assigned to promised to be pleasantly uneventful. The nights off-duty in the company of admiring samurai trainees and journeywoman would be even more pleasant. It was a privileged, uninterrupted respite worthy of her station and years in service of the Ketsurui Clan.

When a member of the Imperial Guard passed in front of Tokuko's place on the afternoon her first day assigned here, the old magistrate almost mistook the guard for a dreamy palace apparition conjured up in her imagination. Tokuko's trained senses quickly centered on reality, though, recognizing the woman who had just passed — the senior yojimbo Tomoe — as a herald for the procession that was to follow. She fell to her knees immediately and lowered herself into saikeirei, an ultimately respectful bow that put Tokuko's forehead only three centimeters from the ornate wooden floorboards. Such demonstrations were reserved for the highest Imperial authorities. Among all her studies in laws of the Star Empire and personal combat and how best to dismember both Neko and Mishhu alike, Tokuko had probably trained most frequently to prostrate herself in this rare manner. In the twenty-one years as a Ketsurui Samurai, Tokuko had only needed to rely upon this particular training three times. Luckily, she believed it would pass quickly.

The four Imperial Guards following in formation stopped just to the left of Tokuko and behind their charge, whose flowered crimson silk robes flowed onto the floor like streams of blood, who ceased their dignified steps forward directly in front of Tokuko. In her younger days, Tokuko might have been reduced to a quivering mess when confronted by such grace. But her years in service to the Empire and Clan had hardened her for moments of reverence like today even more than they'd prepared her to face Yamatai's most dangerous enemies.

"The Interstellar Kingdom of Kuvexia has taken many of Yamatai's systems overnight," the Imperial voice said, obviously addressing Tokuko as she remained face-down behind her bushy mane of black bangs that brushed against the floor. "New Vicky is among the worlds they captured. Ketsurui Prison is there."

Tokuko's blood froze. Her muscles tensed as if ready to strike. She was acquainted well with many of those interned within Ketsurui Prison.

"You once captured an honored sister led astray," the woman before Tokuko continued. "She is imprisoned upon New Vicky. The Eihei-no-insen know more about this palace and other clan facilities than any others in the sector. You are to deliver your sister a quick judgment before the Kuvexians realize her value. Everything has been arranged. The Empire's trust is with you."

And with that, the procession continued on its way. Tokuko stood, suddenly exhausted from the gravity of her brief stint in the palace, and resumed her post there on the terrace overlooking Yamatai. Tomorrow morning, she would be behind enemy lines.

SAINT Headquarters, Vicky
Samurai Sector

Saiga-chusa knelt on one knee before a volumetric projection of two Nekovalkyrja, its teal light the only illumination in the chamber he and Shida-taisho standing beside him occupied.

"You once captured an honored sister lead astray," one of the holographic figures said to the other, who was almost laid out on the floor beside her. He knew them both. Tokuko had once fought with him to root out rebellion and treason in the Yugumo Cluster back when he'd served as the SAINT liaison to the Tenth Fleet. "She is imprisoned upon New Vicky. The Eihei-no-insen know more about this palace and other clan facilities than any others in the sector. You are to deliver your sister a quick judgment before the Kuvexians realize her value. Everything has been arranged. The Empire's trust is with you."

The live projection quickly cut off after that and Saiga stood, regarding Director Shida with the interested expectation that operatives were trained to maintain at all times.

"You needn't be so reverent, Chusa," Shida-taisho said, sounding amused as an eerily wide grin grew across their artificially alluring grey face. Shida's firm Neko form wore a Type 22 bodysuit today, its black panels spread tight across the director's sculpted musculature. "It's just volumetrics. I see the same every single day of my life and just stand there staring at her."

"And that is why our kami do not favor you, Shida-taisho," Saiga shot back, unabashed in the face of the empire's so-called top spy. "Nor do your ancestors. They laugh at that sultry body you've become. It was one thing when you still undertook missions, but today? Pathetic."

Shida's wide, shark-toothed smile didn't fade under the Chusa's criticism. The Director, in fact, looked even more entertained than they had been even a moment ago.

"I'm honestly surprised about your reputation in these matters, Saiga-chusa," Shida chided, not at all referring to the Geshrin commando's legend as the brutally effective operative that had been conjured up in the past decade. Saiga could almost see a pink flush under Shida's pallid cheeks, but he knew better than to play into those games. "Enough of your flirtations, though. Your mission is the same as your friend Tokuko's, but with an additional objective."

"Of course there is, old man," Saiga shot back, entirely unamused. "How do you deign to complicate my suicide mission?"

The SAINT director laughed, their unnaturally-wide mouth projecting a bellowing chuckle throughout the dark little space in which the two occupied.

"Suicide mission?" Shida asked, holding back their laughter. "In all your time with the Star Army you've yet to die! Not even Hanako-shosho leaving your dead-ass body with the Rixxikor could rid the Empire of your prideful Geshrin nuisance! Please, save the complaints for the next time you cross time and space to save your stupid body, Chusa! You've hardly let up since the last time."

"Then stop assigning me to missions, Shida-taisho," Saiga said, still waiting to hear what extra duties he'd been assigned. "So dismiss me from service or stop wasting my life."

"I am incapable of wasting your time, Saiga-chusa," Shida told him, cricling the Geshrin chusa in the darkness. "I could assign you to doing precisely this for the rest of your life. But neither of us actually want that so I'll allow you to proceed from here.

"Sensors show the SAINT facility on New Vicky has not self-destructed," the Director continued. "It was definitely supposed to do that by now, especially considering the Mishhuvurthyar research we are conducting there. You must ensure the New Vicky facility burns before the Kuvexians can unlock its secrets and, if they have, you must burn them as well. The facility's Soul Savior data would be appreciated, but is unnecessary and, like the operatives stationed there, is considered expendable. The YSS Kōkatsu will take you there and bring you back."

And then Director Shida disappeared into the darkness, leaving Saiga alone in the empty chamber that seemed to expand into a standard briefing room as its lights returned to normal intensity.

"Impossible," Saiga spat, standing alone in the little well-lit room he'd entered minutes before.

YSS Kōkatsu
High Orbit, Vicky

Shosa Okano Yoshiko floated alone in the zero-gravity environment of her ship's airlock, waiting to accept the new arrivals she was ordered to take deep into newly-acquired Kuvexian territory. It didn't worry her, of course, as such missions had been her job for all of her life. After all, Yoshiko and her crew were harriers tasked with taking the fight to the enemy on behalf of the Star Army by way of a black-hulled scout ship. The recent refit of her destroyer from Chiaki-pattern into a hyperspace fold-capable Azusa-class Light Gunship only bolstered her confidence in the simple mission to come. So the faux smile she put on came a little easier as she heard the shuttle carrying replacement crew, the extra operative, and the samurai tag-along make its final connection to the Kōkatsu. It'd been less than a day since Kuvexia's invasion of the Ketsurui Military Sector. Being part of the first wave to go back in was an honor for Yoshiko and her ship.

"Welcome to the Kōkatsu!" Yoshiko said as the airlock folded open to let the newcomers aboard. "MEGAMI has your cabin assignments. I'm only here to tell you we'll be underway momentarily and that, once that shuttle you're coming from departs, we're at Condition One. Kuvexia will rue the day the YSS Kōkatsu was ordered to strike back!"
 

demibear

Game Master
YSS Kōkatsu
High Orbit, Vicky

Santo Hei Nakama Osamura was the first of the replacement operatives to exit from the shuttle. With nothing but her standard issued items in a duffel bag, her mind was half distracted as she bowed to her new commanding officer. She was sure she was going to get grief for being the rare Santo Hei with a university diploma. Sure she could have come in as a Shoi, but she never felt comfortable in the leadership she was in sometimes in the military science classes she took. Maybe someday, but that day was not today.

She looked around the airlock for a moment before heading connecting with MEGAMI and heading to her assigned cabin.
 
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Ametheliana

Moderator
Staff Member
Submissions Reviewer
Game Master
Character Forum Mod
YSS KōKatsu
Deck 1


Walking with a measured gate, Tsubei Kyoka found her cabin assignment quickly enough to put her weekender duffel in it and leave. She had been off the ship enough time to have amassed a small cache of new clothes and a few essentials for the mission that had been upcoming- the mission that was now underway.

"Yuu-chan," the Ittô Juni spoke warmly despite using the Santô Hei's surname coupled with a friendly honorific. The black-haired Nekovalkyrja Kyoka was speaking to was staring vacantly at the ceiling from her bed, dressed in a well-pressed and black paneled Type 35 uniform. "I would wager a guess we should suit up. It's not too far, want to come with me?"

Yuu Sakaki turned her head and nodded, unfolded her hands from above her tummy muscles, and moved off of the bed to walk alongside the warrant officer.

"I am pleased the ship's command has not changed since our ventures on this ship started. Shosa Okano inspires something almost too powerful to put words too."

"I agree," Sakaki replied with a gaze on the hallway ahead.

Tsubei turned and slowed to prod at Sakaki's ribs, in more ways than metaphorically. "Come on, if you're inspired, show it!"

Sakaki betrayed a grin from the corner of her mouth before turning away, then looked back at Tsubei when they were nearly to the power armor entrance.

"Alright, alright," the junior crewman laughed slightly before standing before the door. She took a low stance and held her fist out before her, fingers curled, as she said, "No Kuvexian will slip through my claw-like grasp. I wield more power than a hundred of their finest warriors in the first bone of my thumb finger!" Her finger had pointed up to end at a tap against her temple. "Against the scum that call themselves a Kingdom, I won't hesitate to unleash the mind of a tactician sharpened 33 times over, honed to a sharp poi-" Yuu Sakaki had stopped because Tsubei had stepped back enough to trigger the door to the power armor bay's automatic opening and the normally quiet girl stopped mid-sentence, fearful of betraying the passion that Shosa Okana had inspired within her. Sadly, the Santô Hei had been caught up in her monologue too much to notice the door had been opened long enough for anyone inside to hear most of her fervent speech.

Kyoka stifled a low giggle as she put an arm over Sakaki's tall shoulders, "Let's get suited up..." Yuu Sakaki made no further charismatic motions or monologues while doing so.
 

raz

SAINT Director
Site Supporter
Game Master
UX-19 New Vicky
1.26 kilometers north of
Ketsurui Prison


Saiga-chusa watched out over the expansive, snowy plain between him and the team's objective through a pair of compact binoculars that looked lost in the big mittens they all wore — useful tokens from his stash that he'd brought along, knowing the mission parameters this SOFT he was leading today would require the gear in the absence of power armor. The cold was particularly bitter today and accompanied by a flurry of snowflakes felt like little darts against any exposed skin. A cloud of black smoke that dissipated outward in the blizzard flowed from the frontier fort's spire and darkened the air closer to the former base. It'd been sheared about in half by some capital ship's guns from orbit, mostly landing atop the fort itself with a kilometer of its length lying in three big broken chunks westward across the snow. Saiga could only imagine how the planet must have shook, recalling the clear signs of avalanche he'd seen in this area on their way down and how apocalyptic the invasion must have been for all of the personnel stationed underground here.

There were easier ways into the SAINT facility and the old Geshrin operative knew it, as would any among them who'd been there before. But the samurai Tokuko's task was wordlessly wrapped up into SAINT's, and so the orders he'd read to the team during their interstellar voyage only stated that they were to enter the SAINT compound via Ketsurui Prison and proceed to trigger its auto-destruct sequence.

The YSS Kōkatsu's journey to bring them here hadn't been hectic, but it was certainly sobering. Although only one golden Kuvexian cruiser remained in orbit now, the charred scraps of a half dozen black Yui 7-class scout ships littered the system. The battle here hadn't been great, nor had it been necessary, but those ships had still been crewed by black-paneled comrades who refused to give even a speck of void to the Interstellar Kingdom. Both Saiga and the ship's captain Okano Yoshiko felt the sacrifice keenly, feeling bittersweet luck that they hadn't been responsible for having to give such orders. It was otherwise easy for the refit Kōkatsu to avoid the cruiser as it traversed silently to the far side of New Vicky. A Kuma shuttle then ferried them down through the planet's cold atmosphere and nestled itself among the low-lying foothills at the base of an imposing, icy mountain range just north of Ketsurui Prison.

Now they would crawl.

"It shouldn't take too long," Saiga said as the orange goggles fell back down the bridge of his nose when he put the binoculars down, already sounding cold-weary. He looked at Tokuko, still in her red haori and samurai garb, as he spoke over the squad's communications channel, smiling at her in the way one does when the situation absolutely sucks. "Visually camouflage yourselves if you're able," he reminded them, sure he was the only one among them who could not.

"Let's move."

Ketsurui Prison
North wall


The castle-like structure that sat atop the prison was itself mostly undamaged, especially compared to the smoldering remains of the Star Army fort that once sat beside it. Its four watchtowers were the exception, however, and their upper levels had been destroyed along with their Nekovalkyrja lookouts when the Kuvexians came mere hours before. Gates conspicuously open, the SAINT operatives could see a Kuvexian troop transport and its escort of two fighters sitting in the prison fort's courtyard. Their hulls refused to shine so brightly here, overtaken by a hazy coating of frost that made them look like ghosts haunting the tarmac.

In all, it only took about two hours for the Yamataian infiltrators to cross the snowy plain on their bellies. Five minutes had seemed to Saiga like twelve hours, though, and the Eihei-bodied Tokuko was herself intolerably sick of the experience about half way through. Still, both persisted alongside the others and made it to the prison's edge undetected. A handful of Kuvexian troopers had been seen upon the battlements performing irregular patrols as the operatives approached, but more of them had undoubtedly continued down into the subterranean detention center below. For now, the guards they'd seen were irrelevant.

With his back to the cold exterior wall that loomed above them, Saiga shuffled along to where its open gate would afford him a view inside. The Chusa drew his NSP before delicately adjusting his vantage point, inching over more and more until he could see as much of the courtyard as possible without revealing more than a sliver of his head. The wall itself was twenty feet thick and housed a door on its short facing, which allowed for interior access.

Saiga remained there in silent observation for ten minutes. Nobody stood guard with the spaceships outside but, like on the battlements above, individual soldiers seemed to come out from the transport ship and quickly patrol their area before retreating into its climate controlled warmth. Once satisfied he'd watched enough — after the courtyard's patrol returned to the transport — the Geshrin crept back away from the gateway and gathered the squad close enough for them to hear his voice. They were in too close contact now to rely on wireless communication outside of an emergency.

"Most of them seem to have gone inside, probably to the lower levels," Saiga told them. "There isn't much of value up here on the surface so getting to an elevator shouldn't be too much trouble. I'm going to try my standard clearance override on the doors here on the wall. If that doesn't work then we'll keep heading inward. Stack up and follow me."

These would be the most tense moments so far. While Saiga-chusa trusted that no hostile soldier would brave the cold again for some time, they were still required to be as visible as they'd ever been, all huddled up around the quickest way into the prison's girthy perimeter structure. Saiga's code was entered without incident, though, and the team was in out of the cutting snow and biting cold in no time. Saiga knelt beside the door's interior as the rest came in and took positions around the room. It was ten-feet-by-ten and filled with closed cargo crates and wall lockers. Its walls were bare other than an open door opposite the one they'd come in and a one-inch light strip that currently bathed the prison's interior with a soft red light. At least the hazard siren that usually accompanied such an alert had been deactivated. Things were so quiet in here when the automatic door shut behind the last of them, cutting the team off from the frozen storm whose sounds they'd come to know and ignore over the past few hours.

That small relief only lasted a moment, though.

An alien voice that all of the operatives recognized as Kuvexian echoed loud toward them, questioning in its tone. Saiga's pistol was still drawn and he pointed it at the clear threshold where they were being addressed from, his focus on the new situation intense and immediate. There was no hiding now. Ice frozen to his face and hair melted quickly in here, and dripped down annoyingly over his open eyes even as the Chusa dared not blink. The Kuvexian's question came again, now more urgently and with an ugly, repetitive sound that didn't seem to match the smile on the Kuvexian trooper's blue face as he walked in and saw the collection of SAINT operatives.

The panic only had time to register in the laughing Kuvexian's eyes before his jolly head was vaporized by a heavy NSP blast. His body crumpled and rattled ungraciously to the ground in a messy thud. The quiet was short again after Saiga fired. As instinctually relieving as it was for him to remove the threat, the silence only heralded an explosion of radio chatter that now flowed from the dead soldier's kit.

"Get to the lift!" Saiga ordered, himself moving ahead without delay. They'd all been briefed on the prison's floorplan and knew where to go; their way deeper into the facility and tunnel to the SAINT base was only a few dozen feet away. "Let's move, people!"
 

Ametheliana

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Staff Member
Submissions Reviewer
Game Master
Character Forum Mod
Ketsurui Prison
Floor 1


There was a happy excitement edging at Yuu Sakaki’s otherwise stoic lips. The young Neko was hopeful that the comfort and quiet of the prison castle’s interior would follow them at least to the lower levels, where Saiga-chusa had estimated the enemy troops has taken positions. Her momentary optimism cracked at the thawing sheath of ice around her lips. The soldier’s upbeat smile did not return, though, as the babel of the Kuvexian's lilting tone broke the newfound silence. The reiterated words fell from his sickly blue grin to careen into Sakaki’s ears. She felt like she was seeing a stumble of someone too far away to do anything about as her hand dropped to her weapon.

Upon the entrance of the alien enemy, Tsubei Kyoka's arms had already raised to hold her pistol for a shot. Once Saiga’s NPS had discharged and the Kuvexian was downed, her violet eyes looked from the Kuvexian's prior location to the doorway he had come. The Ittô Juni stepped past the Chusa with a steady gate. The cacophony of chatter and Saiga’s orders rang loud and true, respectively.

“Secured,” Kyoka said with a curt breath before she tapped her hand in front of Yuu Sakaki behind her, who was pulling up on her rear. “Time to beat it.” With a fast push off of the ground, the Ittô Juni had found a position above door frames without taking too much time while getting her angle of approach on their way down. She scoped the doorways that she passed as her vision permitted. The twelve-year old Nekovalkyjra -a time-worn veteran’s age by her engineered species’ standards- pushed forward at her wuick aerial clip to the lift. Yuu Sakaki had clicked off of the ground to follow in her wake while scoping doorways and the rest of the hallway for any hostile threats as Tsubei was doing. This processing level was not the team’s mission destination and the pair would be hard pressed to waver now.
 
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demibear

Game Master
The last place Osamura ever thought she would be placed in would be a SOFT. But here she was, freezing in a hellish landscape and staring into the whiteness of the blizzard. She just constantly thought about how this is what the forces before the Rikugun must have went through when fighting with the horrors of the past.

Though despite the freezing cold, she could not help but feel amazed at the remains of the Ketsurui prison when it began to be seen more clearly and the Kuvexian vessels iced over in the courtyard. She made a note of the likely numbers of Kuvexians within as they made thier way to the inside.

When the complacent Kuvexian came upon the lot of cold and angry SAINT operatives, she had raised her own NSP when he came into view. But did get a shot off in time and watched his head vaporize. How did such small and frail creatures create an empire. Questions for another time as she moved past the corpse to the next objective.
 
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raz

SAINT Director
Site Supporter
Game Master
With Kyoka now on point, the SAINT team moved quickly past that first room and the unlucky Kuvexian solider who'd come out to greet them. Saiga-chusa had holstered his NSP and taken the downed enemy's gun — what appeared to be some sort of rapid fire energy PDW — along with the unfortunate alien's communicator, still chattering with alarmed Kuvexian questions. As they moved, Saiga played with his multi-function bracelet for a second or two and activated a short-range jamming protocol that he'd asked the techs at Hera Group to retrofit into his team's wrist gadgets. After that, all they heard from the Kuvexian communicator were bursts of gentle white noise and, with any luck, that's all the Kuvexians nearby heard between each other, too.

The corridor itself had smooth, unblemished dirt-brown concrete walls that appeared speckled with dull grey chips. These zesuaium slivers, otherwise unusable cast-off created during the harvesting of the metal or the production of Yamataian warships, made for sturdy fortress walls and helped keep the SAINT team insulated from whatever sensors the Kuvexians now had trained on their location. Only two-and-a-half meters across and the same high, the halls were spacious enough to maneuver but, other than Star Army cargo crates and some inert equipment chests only recently brought in by the Kuvexian invaders, contained little in the way of cover or concealment. Every fifteen meters, a wall with a blast door in the center — all of which had already been opened by the Kuvexians — broke up what would otherwise be a long, relatively straight passageway. The same red hazard lighting they'd encountered upon entering the facility still anointed their path ahead.

After passing through three hallway sections, Saiga saw movement off through the pinhole of open blast doors before them. The Nekovalkyrja operatives among their number doubtlessly spied the enemy contacts first, but the inbound Kuvexians made no indication that they'd detected the SAINT group.

"There will be a turn-off to our left in the next compartment," Saiga told the others, whispering the information only loud enough for his communicator to pick up and transmit to the others. "Take that turn and proceed through the door there. After that there will be twenty meters of rampway and then another ten straight-on to the lift."

The Chusa picked up his pace, leaning into his jog until it became a sprint. He wasn't faster than a hovering Neko, but was fast enough for his task and broke off from the group when the others veered away in pursuit of their orders. He came to a stop beside the wall and its open blast door that lay at the far end of the hallway where they needed to divert course. The Kuvexians beyond were much closer now and must have seen some movement from the Yamataians, because they hollered out a nasty mess of their sharp, tuneless language and popped off a few purple energy bolts in Saiga's direction. He calmly squatted down as their gunfire fizzled harmlessly against the zesu-reinforced structure and shot back blindly a couple of times using the Kuvexian gun he'd picked up earlier.

Seeing purple tracers coming back at them must have given the oncoming Kuvexians pause because they stopped firing and their shouting sounded almost like the questioning tones Saiga's earlier victim had produced before his death. Their pause was good enough for Saiga-chusa, who coolly proceeded to pull a white sphere with an orange stripe out from the depths of his parka, yank on a rubberized cloth loop attached to the ball, and then roll it far into the next corridor section. He then reached to a wall panel above him and shut the blast door, making sure to lock it manually before standing and turning his gun on the panel itself. One shot should, of course, do the trick.

Meanwhile, the rest of the SAINTs approached their turn-off to find the hatch there conspicuously closed unlike the others so far. Kyoka, still on point, keyed in the functions to open it. And open it did — right into a startled Kuvexian commando whose right hand reached down toward the door's access panel on the other side, with at least eight more of his comrades scurrying up behind him!
 
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