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GATE: The Janus Campaign


The Janus Campaign

The Janus Files 2: It's a mad, mad, mad, mad Empire!

As with the first excerpts of the Janus Files, over the course of the writing of The Janus Campaign, some bits have arisen, mainly produced by my readers, describing incidents which may or may not have happened during the course of the events in this story.. Many of these were provided by taalismn

We present more of these here. Enjoy!

It's Tradition, By George!

SAS Commander: "We pull this off, chaps, they'll have to strike off a new St. George award just to honor genuine dragon-slaying."

"Sir, given that it's been talked about that the Gate may have opened in medieval times, how do we know St. George didn't REALLY kill a bloody dragon?"

SAS Commander: "Then we're following in a fine British tradition!"

All In The Planning

Itami: "Taylor! It's ALL your fault!"

Taylor: "WHAT is my fault, Itami?"

Itami: "Ever since Aurelia described your house system to the girls, I can't get away with ANYTHING! Lelei has been drawing up schedules, Rory has taken on the role of House enforcer, Tuka is using those big innocent eyes on me and Yao! Around her, I can't even trust my own words! So it's all your fault! They're even calling Risa to get more stuff to blackmail me with! Risa's talking about moving back in with me! Damn it!"

Taylor: "I'm sorry. I'd love to help..."

Aurelia: "I'm sorry, my Lord but we need to be going. You need to be ready for Her Highness's party!"

Taylor: "Of course. You've all been looking forward to that. I'll start getting ready. Dress Whites?"

Aurelia: "Yes, my lord! Remember that your mothers will be there."

Itami: "Mothers, plural?"

Aurelia: "Oh yes! My mother, Nayu's mother, Lady Kalgi and her husband, Lady Octavia and Father, and Mrs. Taylor. Oh! And Lord Itami, I told Her Holiness and Miss Tuka that Her Highness has requested your presence also."

Rory's voice called from nearby: "Youji..."

Itami: "Dammit Taylor! Today was Comiket!"

Civil Defense

In the wake of the Ginza Incident, quite a few cities began taking looks at their own layouts and drawing up plans of what to do if a Gate showed up in THEIR neighborhoods.

Naturally, some of the property owners around New York City complained about the local police/National Guard approaching them about checking on renting(at discount) or commandeering, normally-high rent properties and looking into how best to turn them into local strong points…especially those properties overlooking Central Park.

"You want to know how best to knock out the windows for WHAT?!"

"Well, we figured we would put in a couple of heavy fifty-calibers, maybe a twenty-millimeter cannon …"


"Up to maybe a forty-millimeter if we can get it up your elevators. Or maybe we could get a Javelin team set up…there's enough room and ventilation in those apartments to handle the backblast, right?"


In other cities, it was a lack of civic preparedness which raised protests from citizens...

"Boston and New York are holding anti-Gate drills; what if they come through in HARTFORD?!"


PS... I Love You?!

"If we can just distract her for a moment," Itami suggested as Giselle came looking to settle the score.

"Right," Taylor nodded then shouted at Giselle. "Did you know you're beautiful when you're angry?"

Giselle stopped. "I... I'm beautiful? How beautiful am I?"

After a moment of surprise Itami fell over laughing. "Way to go! He wants to take you home to his mother! True love man!"

Giselle happily wrapped Taylor in a crushing embrace. "May Hardy grant me your soul forever!"


Itami continued to laugh.

Taylor shot him a look. "If I agree to marry you, will you kill him as my wedding present?"

Vintage Spirits

Elder: "On occasions like this we bring out the good booze."

Itami: "Which would be-?"

Elder: "Bottled seven hundred years ago."

Taylor: "Hey, look at the time! Sorry, love to stay, but we have places to go and people to see! Come along now!"

Itami: "You're sure in a hurry..."

Taylor: "...you really wanna stick around and tempt drunken shenanigans off centuries-old booze?"

Itami: "RIGHT! We are moving OUT!"

Matriarch Kyas: "Seven Hundred Years ago? Oh! I remember that batch! No... I don't think I'll have any of that. I've got some Twelve-Hundred-year-old stuff. Smooth."

Gross Anatomy

"All we've gotten to look at are little ones...oh, and that transformed corporal...and some of the sorta-dragon sophont-folk...THIS is like going from studying pigeons to walking through RODAN. Can you save us some lung tissue? We'd love to see what this thing uses for an oxygen transfer mechanism. Internal organs! If you spot anything that looks like intact organs, tag it and bag it and get it chilled! I'd PAY if we can get some intact parts of the heart! Damnit, I need a FREEZER CAR up here for our samples!"

(distant voice from the depths of the crater) "I think I found SPLEEN!"

Marriage in Triplicate!

Seeing a trend in it amongst personnel in the Janus/Special Region, governments have come out with several application forms; one for the single bride/groom, and the other for the other multiple partners.

"Form 244125-: Application for Recognized Group Familial Marriage-(Anchor)


National Affiliation:



Reasons for Special Consideration, Janus/Special Region Conditions(Check relevant boxes):

A: Declared by a community of 500 or more citizens and/or recognized Apostle of local god-entity to be appointed Champion/Avatar(attach signatures)

B: Declared by local god-entity to be Avatar/Demigod/God-Entity's Consort(provide witness statements)

C: Adopted by local aristocracy to peerage(Baron or higher)(provide signed official adoption)

D. Transformed/transfigured into post-human/creature of magic/demigod(attach medical files)

E. ...

"Form 33232324-: Application to Enter Into Recognized Group Familial Marriage-


National Affiliation:




Anchor of Desired Group Familial Marriage:

Reasons for Desiring Entry into Group Marriage(Check relevant boxes):

A: Destined Love(attach affidavit of Oracle/priest/soothsayer)

B. Life Debt(Attach incident report detailing nature of life debt)

C: Arranged Marriage(Attach sworn statement of parents/guardians)

D. Psychological/physical Dependence on Group Marriage Anchor(attach physician's/psychiatrist's records)

E. Political/Dynastic Treaty(attach relevant treaty documents)


"*Is your insanity permanent or temporary? Is it contagious?

*Are you currently taking substances that could adversely affect your judgment?

*Have you ever come under the influence of magic which could adversely affect your judgment?

*Have you gotten/discovered a tattoo or tattoos with the name(s) of any/all of the members of the group marriage on any part of your body? Are you regretting it?"


The additional law as below;

1) must check financial, asset and bank statement of the anchor, whether he or she can afford the multiple spouses and possible children. Also, the spouse's statement as well whether they willing to share their income to support the anchor.

2) Any additional new spouses(when taken, the 2nd and beyond), the family/martial/religion court must receive BOTH written and vocal agreement of first spouse(voice recording does not count). She or He has the power to say no and disagree with the choice of the spouse. When the anchor has more than 2(TWO) spouses, their "vote" will qualify as well.

3) Both 1st and 2nd MUST be fulfilled to make the marriage official.

4) Family records. Must make sure who your child is from which spouse. Neglected on this duty will lead to family abandonment and family problems. On the long terms, the threats of incest also raise a concern among conservative element if "anime siblings relation" is any indication.

War Powers

Zorzal: "I want a war."

Senate: "You ain't getting a war."

Zorzal: "What do you mean? You heard me! I'm the Emperor! I want a war and I want it now!"

Senate: "No war. Not now, maybe later, but not now and not because you said so."

Zorzal: "Excuse me, but I can break you! I can order the army to kill your entire family!"

General: "Actually, no. Unless somebody presents compelling evidence that the Senate is engaged in treasonous acts, we can't move against them, or kill their families."

Zorzal: "Since when?! Defying me IS treason!"

General: "Not since the Reform Acts."


Senate: "The ones that prevent Emperors from casually slaying Senators and ordering the Imperial Army on spear-fodder wars. THOSE Reform Acts."

Zorzal: "Well, I overturn them!"

General: "Can't, not without a majority of consent from the Senate."

Zorzal: "...Diablo put you up to this, didn't he?"

Comfort Food

"Face it; they're not cute, or friendly, even when they're young. They're not particularly charismatic or photogenic. They don't act like baby seals. They smell bad. But they cook up real nice and tender and go well with a good beer."

"...you bastards...you shot me down, and now you serve me my own mount! AND MADE ME ENJOY IT!"

"Hey, why waste perfectly good meat? And it's not like the thing was a horse. If it were, we'd bury it with honors."

Legal Complications

Animal Rights activists file a lawsuit against the Government for killing endangered dragons. The Government lawyers respond:

"The Dragon was clearly violent attacking anyone without any provocation."

PETA-Member "But-"

"FURTHERMORE! Not only was the Dragon sterile but it was also created by a goddess for basically shits & giggles meaning its survival will have absolutely no negative impact on the local ecosystem at all. It might even be better off."

"It attacked two communes of green-living elves. This is the equivalent of a rabid barbecue-fanatic attacking with a chainsaw a stand of young redwoods."

PETA-Lawyer: "You put me in the precarious position of alienating Green Party supporters if I try to defend the dragon. You are the more evil lawyer, I concede."

PETA Hardliner: "But the elves WEREN'T vegans!"

PETA-Lawyer: "Moonbeam, our moral position is eroding faster than a glacier under a greenhouse effect. The opposition will point out that the elves live hundreds of years in SPITE of hunting and eating meat. You really want that coming out?"

He Can Fly! But Maybe Shouldn't Have...

Yep, no reports of 'Jet Aircraft Forced to Return to Airfield After Sucking Peter Pan into Engine" yet.


"What was that? Bird strike?!"

"Sounded too big to be a bird! It looked like a guy in green tights! Cut power to the port engine! I'm calling for an emergency landing!"

No big loss. The dude was hopped up on Pixie Dust!

Dragon Meet Trolls

Corporal Owens stirred awake, blinking to see one of his squadmates staring at him.

"...how you feeling. Owens?"

"Huh, what do you mean?"

"Well, after last night."

"What about last night. I went out with you guys, you drank beer, I didn't, I went to sleep."

"Well, somebody slipped you some beer-"

"They did?"

"And you didn't...nobody expected THAT reaction..."

"Reaction?...what reaction?"

"I think Command's going to want to talk to you soon."

"Huh About what?"

"Those three villages."

"WHAT three villages?!"

"Well. they might still count as three villages...if they've managed to put the fires out yet."


"Oh, you wouldn't have remembered that after what happened last night."


(new soldier comes in) "Hey, how's our merry arsonist feeling this morning?"

"He doesn't remember a thing."


"Oh, that's good. Keep it up, and your lawyer might be able to work it into an insanity defense."


"Hey, want me to call you one before the MPs come in here?"

(Meanwhile, the other guys are outside watching the surveillance cam they've got trained on Owens' face and laughing themselves silly).

The Age of Enlightenment

Oh, and the wonders of technology:

Hut 17, Camp Charon, Iwo Jima:







"But...It's so...Incredible!"

Benefitting From Experience

Sometime in the future:

Meeting the Unexpected (A Documentary Film)

(Opening shot of a military staff officer at the front of a room, slowly walking to the left of frame)

Officer: "Okay, you are all here because of what has become a not-so-unique-anymore set of circumstances. Now, some of you, through no fault of your own, stumbled into something we never encountered before…"

(As the officer walks along, a line of personnel, backs to the POV, come into view from the left hand side; they are wearing uniforms, or parts of uniforms, because it becomes apparent that not all of them fit a normal HUMAN uniform anymore. One has an unusually broad back, canine ears, fur spilling over the collar, and a tail twitches into view. The next in line is shorter and wider, and sprouting a pair of horns under a precariously-balanced cap, then there's an ENORMOUS backside and arms that look thick as tree trunks, and then somebody's uniformed back, only with nothing between its collar and the cap floating above it-)

Officer: (continuing)"-Some of you were deliberately attacked by means we are still learning to cope with, or cursed by powers we are still coming to grips with-"

(-next in line is what looks like a uniform sprouting bushels of tentacles where the head and arms should be. Then a gap as the officer is clearly looking DOWN at something. Then there's what looks like the back of a giant chicken. The next in line is taller, but this is because the torso is mounted atop a set of horse hindquarters, the full tail wicking nervously-)

Officer: (going on down the line)"-and some of you, in spite of our warnings, just plain fucked up-"

(-the next in line resembles a giant beetle or cockroach, another distinctly feline lines, yet another resembles a floating collection of rags, the last resembles a pile of rocks)

Officer: (stopping, then starting on back down the line)"-Needless to say, your lives have undergone a RADICAL change. You are fortunate, however, that the military is not without precedent in cases like yours, so we actually do have contingency policies for dealing with your new conditions, accommodating you in the service, and better preparing you for civilian life if and when you decide to opt out. So at this point I'll turn this over to one of the experts in this, who helped write the book and policy on dealing with problems like yours."

(Gold scale slides into view)

Owens(of course): " Thank you, Sergeant Simmons. Now, for the rest of you, let me start out by saying that, despite what you may think, your lives are NOT effectively over. In fact, they're just kickstarting-"


"Now, leading our seminar on Family Values in the Age of the Gates, allow me to introduce our guest speaker on the New Family, Senator William Octavius Taylor-"


"And now, before ComiKet festivities begin, some opening words from our Honorary Grand Marshal for Life, and Gracious Host of our present convention venue, Lord-Patriarch-Major Youji Itami-"

How I Met Your Mother

"Dad? How did you and mom meet?"

"Well, she had a really good left hook, and then she kicked me in the ribs-"

"I didn't kick you in the ribs, dear, I punched you in the gut."

Magnetic Personality

While able to avoid it at the airport while picking up Taylor's mother, Panache had no choice but to pass the metal detector after being invited to meet with the US Ambassador to Japan. With a DSS Agent standing nearby, a security technician asked Panache to place any items which might set off his scanners on the table. As she began to comply, another tech recorded the items for the record:







"It's a mace of office!" Panache objected







"Backup dagger"


"Chainmail undershirt."

Finally, with the Ambassador waiting, the senior agent simply rolled his eyes in defeat"Let's just stop before we get to the thigh dagger, the bosom throat-slicer, the scratch needle, and the razor wire garrote garters..."

Last edited:
Chapter 32: Tokyo PD Blues


This chapter has undergone significant changes since first release:

Chapter 32: Tokyo PD Blues

Camp Augustus

It had been a good few days, Taylor reflected. In spite of his mother bringing out the photo albums. He had to admit that his baby pictures, at least, were beyond adorable. Of course, half an album's worth of new pictures was taken. Ruth reluctantly fighting the impulse to keep her eyes closed as she normally did. She made a note to get the photos copied and get the albums themselves duplicated on disc, both so she could keep a copy secured in a fireproof box if needed and send copies to her older children. It was their heritage as well. Also, she said that expected her daughter would inevitably share the pictures with her father. Ruth could only imagine the reaction on his face at them. As someone once said: 'Living well is the best revenge!'.

But that was incidental as she Antonius and Marcus called her 'Aunt Ruth' and as she hugged her new grandson. Even if Galador was technically older than she was, it was as if it had always been intended to be. As she would be staying in Yokosuka as Lady Octavia's guest, Taylor would arrange for her apartment to be packed and shipped and her lease resolved.

With his impending return to Janus in mind, Taylor went to Colonel Mihara with a request.

“Since we’ll be leaving the day after tomorrow, I’d like permission to take my fiancees into Tokyo tomorrow for the day. It may be the last opportunity we get for some time.”

“Are you sure that’s a good idea? You may have pulled off bringing Panache and Aurelia to the airport in Haneda but audacity won’t work every time. There are a lot of angry people in this country.”

“I know that, ma’am. Everybody has a reason. Hell! It’s been over seventy years and there are some Americans who still hate Japan and some Japanese who hate America. I won’t say they should start going to love-ins. Some wounds are just too deep. But for the rest of us… We can’t stay there. We admit what happened and hopefully we move on. And now Germany and Japan are two of our best allies.” Taylor shrugged. “That didn’t happen without effort. Somebody has to take the first steps.”

“Alright, Lieutenant. Let me make some calls. Let’s see if we can minimize some of the risks in those first steps.”

Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department

Commissioner Takao Arizuka hung up his phone suppressing a sigh. It wasn't that Colonel Mihara's request was anything excessive. In point of fact, it was rather a small request: That the Tokyo Police Department spare a few trustworthy officers for a guide and escort detail. While such a matter would normally be handled by the Public Security Intelligence Agency, Colonel Mihara was concerned that in the wake of events involving visitors from the other side of the Gate, there was a leak somewhere in the system and that she felt more secure requesting help from the uniformed police instead.

Of course, Arizuka could not even begin to entertain Mihara's request without considering politics. As much as he preferred to be a simple cop, politics were unavoidable at his level and that damned Gate had dropped a ton of it onto his desk.

For if the JSDF were the 'Heroes of Ginza' and the idols of the public's imagination, it had been his officers dying in the streets and his people who had blocked the bridges and kept the invaders from crossing the Sumida. Unrecognized for their service but having served well.

And then there had been the Emoto case…

In a city on edge over the Ginza invasion, the assault on Bokutou station, the attempted theft of the 'B Number One' Disc and the attempted disruption of Tokyo by foreign agents had left his department under scrutiny by Councilor Takashi Hino's committee. Well, if politicians were going to go trying to make political gains at the expense of his department, then it only made sense to have a few politicians on his side. And doing a little favor for the Americans was a small price to pay. Besides, it would put a twist into that arrogant Councilor's tail. That, in itself, would be worthwhile. It would be worth a few extra man-hours. The only question remained who he would assign this little task. And for that, he really only had one choice. He buzzed his secretary. "Get me Captain Kachou at Bokutou station."

Bokutou Station

"I don't quite understand, sir. Why us?" Officer Miyuki Kobayakawa asked after the Captain had outlined details of the assignment."

"Commissioner Arizuka said that help from the Metropolitan Police was requested because there might be a security leak over at the office of Public Security Intelligence. And the Commissioner told me that when it came to handling unusual situations, he naturally thought of us." Kachou replied wryly. “He also said that he trusts that you will behave with full professionalism and courtesy. As do I,” Kachou noted.

"So now we get to go play babysitter," Officer Natsumi Tsujimoto remarked. While she might have some reservations about this assignment, it would depend on how they behaved. Either way, she would do her job But if these people wanted to prove they could be trusted, the burden was on them and they were already in the hole on that one for obvious reasons. On the other hand, knowing that and still wanting to come took some brass, Natsumi figured, so that counted for something in her book.

"Hopefully, that's all that comes of it," their Captain replied. "But I'm sure you remember the young ladies who testified in front of the Diet the other month?" There wasn't much chance of anyone forgetting that anytime soon, he was quite certain.

"I thought Representative Kohara was going to have a stroke!" Tsujimoto recalled with some amusement.

"Yes," Kachou replied drily. "Well, afterward, they and a few other visitors were the targets of an attack by unknown agents. They hit a decoy bus and got the worst of it but it stands there is still the possibility of trouble. Don't take anything for granted."

"Yessir," Kobayakawa replied. "Do you think there could be a connection with the men who tried to steal the Bee Number One mod?" It didn't seem likely, given that the Incident in question had taken place only a scant couple of weeks after the appearance of the Gate but perhaps the chaos surrounding the Gate made for a convenient opportunity.

"It's possible, I suppose." Detective Emoto's program for an economic terror attack would have brought Japan to its knees had the disc escaped them. Emoto's plan for attacking Bokutou station and his hacking of regional traffic control systems had been bad enough. "Disrupting Tokyo or threatening the economic destabilization of Japan might be tempting options for a country that wanted access to the Gate. But we'll save that speculation for some other time. For now, let's just concentrate on the task at hand." He looked over his people and then turned to Inspector Kinoshita, who at a nod, then began to outline the assignments.

"This will be a plainclothes operation. Kobayakawa and Tsujimoto, you two will be the guides. Futaba and Nikaidou, you two will stick close by…

Camp Augustus

The following morning, Taylor discussed his plan to spend the day in Tokyo.

“Do you want to come, mom?” He asked.

Ruth shook her head. “No thanks. You know how I feel about being in a big city. I think I’ll stay here with my grandson.” She looked over at Galador. “Unless he wants to go too. In that case, I guess I’ll tag along. What do you think? Should we spend the day shopping or should we see what we can get into around here? I guess that would be you keeping me out of trouble.”

Her grandson giggled a bit at that and gave her a big hug.

Nayu’s mother, on the other hand, was quite eager to see Tokyo. “It’s an adventure,” Indras told her daughter. “Your father would have been thrilled to see a city like this.”

"I've taken the opportunity to arrange for you to have guides and an escort, Lieutenant,” Colonel Mihara said. “They should be here shortly."

Indeed, it was only a few minutes later that a Toyota HiAce was waved through the main gate ahead of a Suzuki Wagon R and a pair of motorcycles. Shortly after that, a tall, lean woman dressed in the uniform of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Force approached Colonel Mihara.

"Inspector Kaoruko Kinoshita, here with guides and escorts from Bokutou Station, compliments of Commissioner Arizuka."

"Thank you, Inspector, and please extend my thanks to Commissioner Arizuka when you see him," Mihara replied.

"Of course."

"I realize this request is a little unusual and we appreciate your being here," Mihara said, looking around at the assembled officers. "As you all may be aware, any visitors from across the Gate are potentially at risk for any number of reasons." She turned to Taylor. "Lieutenant Taylor, here, is one of our specialists in contact situations." She smirked. "In fact, he just might be too good at it. Allow me to introduce Lady Panache Fure Kalgi, Aurelia Co Germanicus, Aenaire La Monnier, and Nayu Ro Nin. These ladies are Lieutenant Taylor's fiancees."

“Um… It’s complicated,” Taylor sighed, feeling all eyes on him.

“Hardly, My Lord,” Panache smiled. "We proposed. You merely accepted our terms."

"And joining them will be Miss Indras Ro Nin, Miss Nayu's mother,” Mihara added. “They're looking forward to experiencing Tokyo for themselves.”

The officers assembled stared at them dumbstruck as they regarded the human woman, the Bunny girl, and the three elves. Officer Yoriko Nikaidou began to smirk as there were few things she liked more than whispers of gossip and romances. At the same time, she did feel just a touch of envy as well.

Tsujimoto considered it for a moment and then looked slyly at her partner and then over at officer Nakajima. The two had been pursuing love's bloom at a snail's pace for ages it seemed. "Well, good to see somebody knows not to let a good thing get away from him." This caused both Kobayakawa and Nakajima to blush and Nakajima to squirm just a little, while most of the other officers smirked. Inspector Kinoshita merely held the tiniest of smiles.

"Yes, well, in any case," Kinoshita said, looking at the group. "While plenty of foreign tourists come to Tokyo, this group will still stand out. I'm going to modify our original plan. Futaba, you and Nikaidou will join Tsujimoto and Kobayakawa in direct escort rather than trailing. Officers Nakajima and Neganebashi will tail on motorbike. I'll alert officers Kaneko and Hayashi of the modification in the plan." She turned to address Taylor and the others directly.

"For your own safety, please follow any instructions these officers give you. I cannot stress this enough."

"Of course, Inspector Kinoshita," Taylor replied.

"It will be as you say," Panache agreed. Aurelia very reluctantly nodding her compliance.

"Good," In that case, have a pleasant trip in Tokyo and I will be here when you return.."

"So, where first?" Kobayakawa asked as they loaded into the HiAce.

"We should probably find a place where we can get some clothes more appropriate to our surroundings," Panache suggested. While nothing could be done to hide Bunny or Elven ears, it was also quite clear that what was considered 'normal' attire in Japan was vastly different from fashion in Falmart. They were already likely to attract an uncomfortable amount of attention. Some of it would be benign curiosity and some would be suspicion, though no one expected anything openly hostile. Anything that reduced the conspicuousness of the group was probably a good idea.

"That makes sense," Miyuki agreed. "I know a good place." She thumbed her radio. "Futaba, we'll head for Bingo, Shinagawa first."

"Roger that. We'll be right behind you."

After the women were fitted in more casual outfits, they moved on to book shopping. This was mainly at Taylor's suggestion as he wanted to bring back books on agriculture, engineering, and mechanics, as well as any other inventions that he thought could be of use, especially to the Lands of his House. Of course, there were some limits. As Chief Richardson had said, he was neither crazy or a traitor, so no weapons technology. Certainly no gunpowder. Also, no steam power. The ancients understood the basic principles of steam and Taylor was in no great rush to see smokestacks billowing black smoke across Falmart. Only things that local craftsmen could build themselves. At Sergeant Kobayakawa's suggestion, they headed for Kinokuniya Books in South Shinjuku. It had a very large English language section. Of course, other books on everything from animal husbandry to fashion quickly piled up as well. Naturally, it wasn't all that odd that the accompanying officers indulged in sharing their own reading tastes and Panache was intrigued by Kobayakawa's interest in street racing and custom engines but then again, they and Sergeant Tsujimoto all shared a passion for speed. That at least gave them a common interest to discuss.

There was just a little problem as Aenaire looked through the bridal fashions. Heads popped up as a loud cry pierced the air and Taylor turned the corner to see Aenaire standing puzzled while officer Futaba gently patted Nikaidou on the shoulder as the diminutive policewoman sobbed while clutching a copy of 'Brides' magazine.

"Um…. Is something wrong?"

"Christmas cake!" Yoriko bawled. "I'm nothing but leftover Christmas cake!"

Aenaire blinked and looked to Futaba. "William." She gestured to Taylor. "Has explained 'Christmas' to me. But I don't understand why she would call herself 'Christmas Cake'?"

Futaba explained softly as she consoled her partner. "Christmas Cake… A Christmas cake that isn't sold and eaten by the end of Christmas is too old and should be thrown out."

Aenaire looked stunned. "You mean she thinks that she's..."

"An old maid!"Nikaidou cried.

No wonder why the girl was so upset! "Oh! You are such a young girl to worry about that. You know… I did marry young."

Yoriko looked up at her. "What happened?"

"I was only in my two-hundred and thirties. I was naive and met a very handsome man. He was charming! Made me feel like I was living in a dream! So we married and I bore him a son… But he didn't want the responsibility of being a father so he simply went on a trip one day and decided not to come back. Don't misunderstand me. I have a handsome and loving son. But he's only in his seventies and he deserves a good father. William is mature enough to be that and I am mature enough to know THAT is the man I want to marry."

"You don't understand!" Yoriko replied. "I don't want to end up alone."

"For a young lady like you? I'm sure that won't happen." Indras spoke up.

"Are you sure?"

"Trust me!"

Nikaidou paused for a moment and allowed a fleeting fantasy to enter her mind, filling her with a sense of possibility. Perhaps it was the confidence that Indras seemed to exude but whatever it was, Yoriko seemed noticeably more at ease.

Without further incident, the rest of the book shopping wrapped up. Actually carting the large numbers of books into the van proved no problem as Aurelia and Tsujimoto had a friendly competition of strength which Aurelia did not quite concede but admitted that 'For a human', Natsumi was impressively strong and it might be interesting to see her wrestle an ogre, adding she would be inclined to wager on Tsujimoto in such a contest.

Stopping for lunch, even the trailing officers were invited. Having traded in some gold the previous day, Taylor volunteered to take up the tab, which was completely fine for Tsujimoto as they pulled up to the Hayashiya Steak House. It seemed more than fair, Taylor considered.

With the opportunity at hand, Panache was curious to ask the officers about themselves, their work and experiences.

"Well," Kobayakawa began. "I'm originally from Okayama. My mother was a nurse and my father was a Shinto priest and a widower. They dated for years and then, mother says his daughter, Achika became very ill. After that, my father seemed to draw back into himself and told my mother that he couldn't take a chance of fathering another child who would face the type of sickness that my sister suffered from. He would not risk my mother's safety or that of a child. He left, not knowing my mother was pregnant. I've never met him."

“What about you?” Tsujimoto asked.

"My father," Panache replied. "Is a Baron. He's stubborn and giving something up for someone else's sake?… Well, I nearly disowned him after he pulled strings to get my little brother into the army." Panache faced Kobayakawa and Tsujimoto squarely. "I've trained to be a knight for years. I pray my sword is always in the service of right but right or wrong, I am trained. My brother never had a desire to go to war, although he would do anything to please our father. I'm only fortunate that I didn't lose him. I only hope something good comes from the terrible mistake my people made."

Tsujimoto frowned. It was true that Panache seemed like a decent person but the day that the Gate opened was one that would always be burned into all of their memories. And wasn't she the enemy? As polite as she was, she had just admitted to belonging to the people who had brutally attacked their homeland and killed hundreds of helpless people and now Natsumi and her colleagues were supposed to play 'tour guide'.

"Mistake?" Tsujimoto asked. "Invading our homes and killing defenseless people was a mistake?"

Panache stared down at the table, shame faced. Of those present, while Aurelia too was a citizen of the Empire, she did not represent the Empire the way Panache did. And Tsujimoto was right to be angry.

"Yes. A horrible mistake made because our people thought we could do as we wished. And because of our arrogance, hundreds of your people and hundreds of thousands of mine died. Not long ago, I was prepared to hate the people of your world for that. For the blood of the brother I thought I had lost and yes. I wanted blood for blood! And then," she looked to Taylor. "Someone showed me compassion I did not think I truly deserved. Wasn't I the enemy? But yes, Sergeant a mistake. Because if the men who ordered my brother and a hundred thousand other young men to march into your country are criminals in your eyes, that is fair. But the men who believed when our leaders told them to march are not criminals. At least not for that.

"My Princess wants peace. She risks being marked as a traitor by the Senate because she has seen that fighting you will destroy us. I believe in her goals. You may think I am trying to excuse my people. Perhaps I am. But what we did, it was the way things were. We accepted it without question. I'm not saying my people haven't earned their punishment. But please don’t hate all of us for the decisions of a few."

Tsujimoto frowned. "It's not that simple. We were there! We saw our fellow officers dead in the streets, dying to try and protect scared people who never threatened anybody!"

Panache had to know. She had to see it through their eyes. "I wasn't there. I need to know what it was like."

"You really want to know?" Kobayakawa asked.

"I need to know. Sergeant. Please? I need to know."

Tsujimoto saw the sincerity in Panache's request. "Alright..."

Flashback: Tokyo, August 11, 2017, Day of the Invasion of Ginza

It had been a typical morning for Tsujimoto. Natsumi was still missing Lieutenant Tokairin, who had gone off on a trip to the Himalayas to gain further training in mountain rescue climbing but at least soon both she and Miyuki would be back at good old Bokutou Station. Having completed the Ranger course, Natsumi was back at Metropolitan Police Headquarters, testing out new equipment. Some of it was half as inventive as the things Miyuki created even. The first confused reports started coming into Headquarters shortly after mid-morning. Reports from confused and terrified street officers about ‘monsters’ and ‘invaders wielding swords’ and frantic cell phone calls from civilians. Calls for ambulances and sighting reports from patrolling helicopters. Initially labeled a ‘riot’, it was soon clear that the situation was far worse. Especially as two police helicopters were lost.

In Bokutou, Captain Kachou and other station commanders soon received instructions to divert all civilian traffic away from the bridges across the Sumida and to block those bridges from the Invaders, especially the southernmost bridges as these were the ones most immediately in the invaders’ path. Initially, Higher authority was willing to concede the bridges between Chuo City and Harumi as HQ was effectively cut off and it was deemed that the invaders would storm the bridges before anyone could arrive. To Captain Kachou and the other station Captains east of the Sumida, this was not an acceptable answer. Of course, if Kachou had his two best officers back, he would have no doubt that they would reach the bridges in time but they would not be back for a couple more weeks. But they had to succeed anyway. Ceding Harumi was not acceptable. So Kachou sent Nakajima and his other motorcycle officers ahead to start commandeering tractor-trailer trucks and used those to barricade the Kachidoki and other bridges. It would only be later that Kachou and the other station Captains would be reminded that the Kachidoki, at least, was still functional as a drawbridge. But for now, his officers succeeded in blocking the bridges. It was horrible and heartbreaking to see and hear civilians trapped on the wrong side screaming in terror. The officers delayed as long as they could before completely blocking the bridges but as the invaders got closer, there was no alternative. Fortunately, the situation at the southern end of the Sumida was aided by the disinclination of the Commander of the Sixth Legion to push beyond the banks of the river and settling for securing the flank of the invasion.

Inside Tokyo itself, it was much worse. Hastily assembled riot police gathered and advanced with riot shields and teargas. While teargas was a new wrinkle, the close, body to body advance of the riot police was the bread and butter of the Saderan Imperial Army. Worse, auxiliaries utilized wind magic to break up the teargas clouds. In any case, the teargas only tended to irritate and anger Imperial troops.

As defense units were called in, a desperate siege revolved around Police Headquarters. Commissioner Arizuka personally assembled SWAT teams and snipers and organized them in the defense of Headquarters. During this time word was received that hostiles were closing on the Eitai Bridge with no opposition.

“I know of exactly TWO officers who might be able to get there in time and secure us that bridge,” Inspector Kinoshita commented on hearing the news. “I don’t care what it takes! Get me officers Tsujimoto and Kobayakawa NOW!”

Scant minutes later, Kobayakawa and Tsujimoto were in the main parking garage, donning armor vests.

“Get to Eitai Bridge and block it any way you can!” Kinoshita told them. “Once you secure the bridge, keep your heads down and try to stay safe. Got it?”

“Yes, ma’am,”
Kobayakawa answered, then turned to Natsumi. “Ready to go, partner?”

“You bet! Miyuki!”

“Good! Let’s strap in!”

Kinoshita watched as the entrance to the street beyond was opened just long enough for Miyuki’s car to storm out, scattering the nearest centuria in surprise, although at least two troopers failed to get out of the way in time.

“Stand by on Nitro!” Miyuki said as they tore through the street. Nearing the bridge, they found a single unmarked police car, tires punctured with arrows. Its surviving occupant, a plainclothes junior detective, his partner killed by an arrow. The troops trying to get passed him were caught off guard as Miyuki told Natsumi to take the wheel while Kobayakawa opened up a murderous reign of fire on the Saderans who fled as the patrol car blew past.

Pulling to a stop next to the unmarked car, Tsujimoto got out to check on the plainclothesman.

“Sergeants Tsujimoto and Kobayakawa. Are you alright?”

“I’m alright,”
He nodded, catching his breath. “Detective Togusa. Nice to meet you.” He jerked a thumb over in the direction of a fuel truck abandoned nearby. “My partner and I were going to use that tanker truck to block the bridge. He got caught trying to make a run for it.”

“Come on! Get in!”
The detective dove into the back seat as Miyuki swung the patrol car around, pulling up behind the tanker on the east side. Togusa and Kobayakawa firing on a freshly gathering group of invaders as Tsujimoto slipped into the cab.

“Gonna have to hotwire it. It’ll just take a minute”

“Make it quick! Looks like they’re serious, this time,”
Miyuki answered.

“Got it!”Natsumi exclaimed as the diesel engine growled to life. “Get clear, while I block the bridge.” Tsujimoto turned the wheel about and cut the road, before jumping out on the safe side and running to where her partner and Togusa were waiting.

“That will only slow them down unless we can ignite the truck,” Togusa observed. “Either of you ever make a molotov cocktail?” He asked, spying the gas can in the back.

“Now you’re talking our language detective!” Kobayakawa answered. “I can puncture the tank. Of course, we don’t want to be too close when it lights.”

“Leave that to me, Miyuki,”
Natsumi assured. Once Togusa finished crafting the incendiary device, Natsumi waited while Miyuki took careful aim and punctured the tanker, causing gasoline to pour out. Breaking Togusa’s radio open to provide a spark, Natsumi lit the wick, making sure it got a good start before giving their makeshift bomb a powerful toss, igniting the truck. With the way blocked by fire, the trio waited as around them, the world went insane.


"We waited on that bridge for three hours before relief came," Tsujimoto recalled.

"In the meantime, we lost scores of officers and hundreds of innocent civilians in the streets," Kobayakawa added. "And they never had a chance to understand why."

Panache looked at them, her eyes lowered. "Because of greed and arrogant pride. Officers… I have worked for years to protect the helpless, not attack them. Please… I ask you to accept my sincerest regrets and apologies and those of my Liege Lady, Princess Pina, and the Rose Order."

"Nations make war," Kobayakawa said. "People make peace.

Tsujimoto nodded and glanced around the table and made a circle gesture with her fork to include everyone sitting there. “We forgive you,” she said. “And on your word, I think those of us at this table would be inclined to give your Princess and the rest of your Order the benefit of the doubt. But I don’t think everyone is going to be that forgiving and the next person from your side I meet? Beyond what I’ve said? I’m not exactly going to trust them on sight.”

“That’s more than fair, Officer Tsujimoto,” Panache replied. “To be honest, I would sooner trust you and your companions than some Imperials I’ve known."

"One thing is it's harder to make war on a friend than a stranger!" Nikaidou agreed.

"Thank you," Panache replied with true heartfelt thanks.

"So…" Futaba asked after taking a sip of tea. "Where else did we plan to go after this?"

"Well, Panache admitted. "We were interested in…"

"'Fashion' is the term?" Nayu suggested.

"Yes! And perhaps then of a more personal sort?" Panache agreed.

"I know just the place!" Nikaidou declared. "It's called the Silky Doll! Nene Romanova over at Central control told me about it. She knows the owner, Miss Sylvia, or at least she says she does. It's supposed to be a real classy place!" To Indras’ amusement and satisfaction, Yoriko cast a sly look towards the head of the table. “I’ve actually been meaning to do some shopping there myself!” She declared.

Tsujimoto grinned. "Hey, Nakajima…"

"Sorry!" Nakajima hurriedly replied. "Better get back to shadowing. Right?" He asked his nodding comrade.

"Nonsense!" Hayase replied. "A close escort is best in these situations. You know that Inspector Kinoshita always expects us to use good judgment over a plan that doesn't fit the situation."

"She's right," Tsujimoto agreed. "Don't you think so, Miyuki?"

"Oh, definitely!" Miyuki agreed, having not quite forgiven the boys of Bokutou for their handling of the 'Flasher Mugger' case the previous month.

"What do you think, Lieutenant?" Nakajima asked Taylor.

"Every moment spent with a lovely lady is a privilege. Today I am very privileged."

Nakajima sighed. The afternoon was going to be a long one.

In the meantime, Panache pulled her groom-to-be aside and whispered a request into his ear. He nodded and placed a call to take care of it.

By the time the group returned to Camp Augustus, a very substantial amount of commerce had been concluded. With the escort mission completed, the officers from Bokutou were now off duty.

"If any of you would care to stay for dinner, you would be welcomed guests,"

"I'm afraid I'll have to decline," Inspector Kinoshita answered. Although lunch had been excellent and the conversation, pleasant, she was still Inspector Kinoshita. She could not allow herself the luxury of 'unwinding' around officers she was responsible for.

"Of course, Inspector. Perhaps we will have the pleasure of your company another day," Lady Octavia told her.


Most of the others did stay, however. Panache enjoyed sharing tales of battling goblins and developing a sense of kindredness with the women of Bokutou as they shared stories about their most interesting or exciting police cases. Honor and respect are qualities that know no one single flag.

The next day, it was time for Taylor's party to return to Janus. There were a great number of things to be done. As they passed through the checkpoint to enter the Gate, a florists van delivered six-hundred roses, two-hundred Red, two-hundred Yellow, and two-hundred White roses, placed in memory of the fallen of Ginza.
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Chapter 33: A Breeze and then Maelstrom

Fort Defiance, Alnus Hill

The continuing growth and expansion in Alnus Town were accompanied by the recruitment of locals of many races into the units serving in the Janus Theater. Additionally, others were hired as ‘contractors’. Orcs were now working in the supply depots. Translators from numerous races were serving with many units in theater. Experts in the local plant and wildlife had been sought out. Most significantly, the Pacific Allies had negotiated their first formal Alliance with a native population.

Surprisingly, this treaty was not with the Kingdom of the Elbe, whose King, Duran had finally come forward to Allied Command to discuss his kingdom’s withdrawal from the war, contingent on his return and restoration to his throne. Nor was it with the Uial tribe formerly of Schwarz Woods, although they had been moved to Alnus, pending a further discussion on their relocation.

Instead, it had been with a colony of Faeries living in the forest outside Alnus. The colony, numbering a few thousand strong, had been living in the local woods for ages. Initially, they had considered the presence of Titian’s army as an opportunity as they raided Titian’s camp in the middle of the night for food, fabric, or anything else useful that they might find. This turned into deep concern when Titian’s troops began harvesting part of the forest for lumber to help shore up the defenses at Alnus. The loss of cover and foraging ground was a very serious threat, in their view. So concerned were they, that the colony actually contemplated launching a full armed assault on Titian’s troops, knowing that the attempt would most likely lead to the colony’s destruction but having no real alternative.

It was with surprise and a mixture of relief and concern that the Faeries of the Alnus Colony witnessed the complete destruction of Titian’s army by an army from beyond the Gate. If confronting Titian’s 35,000 man army was considered a desperate and virtually suicidal gambit, then being forced to face the army that had so handily destroyed those same Imperial Legions AND those of Senator Godasen was simply unthinkable. Cautiously, scouts and foragers were dispatched to collect the goods of the newcomers in an attempt to judge both the danger and the possible opportunities presented by the new arrivals.

An accidental encounter brought Fae foragers and scouts, Nighean Gaoithe and Dannsaiche Adhair face to face with Marines of Fox Company of the Second Battalion, 5th Marines After talks and a formal apology of cinnamon rolls to Nighean and Dannsaiche for the flypaper, the duo and several of their companions had been formally mustered into Fox Company, with the association doing nothing to smooth the rough edges off either group and certainly not off Nighean. or Dannsaiche. Needless to say, they and the Marines made a good fit.

The nine Fae assigned to Fox Company initially carried their traditional weapons, mainly swords or arrows dipped either in toxin from crimson leapers which tended to cause sharp pain and paralysis when driven into a wound, or, rarely, sap from a plant called Ibora’s Heart, which had a highly sedative effect. More recently, a lightweight laser pointer and miniature goggles had been added to their equipment along with a tiny wireless headset. The Fae had already proven themselves as recon scouts. Of course, they also needed a high caloric intake. Whereas their human counterparts might need up to three thousand calories a day, Fae functioned best on four hundred calories. They could survive on much lower amounts but at minimal amounts, Fae could end up sleeping for twenty hours a day. For this reason, one Marine, designated as ‘canteen’, carried extra rations to help maintain their Fae teammates, who normally deployed in groups of three while on patrol. Needless to say, ‘canteen’ was usually a Fae’s favorite Marine in the field. In particular, Nighean, Dannsaiche, and their partner, Strìnan Sgàthan were particularly fond of Corporal Gataki as the Long Beach native quickly learned their specific individual tastes and idiosyncrasies.

“George,” the eight-inch tall Nighean said with a grin. “You’re a right good and blessed Èireannach! Ye know right what we’re needing, love.”

“You know I’m Greek, right?” He laughed.

“Ye’ll always be Èireannach to us,” Strinan told him.

“In fact, ye give us half a chance, ye’ll be Èireannach for life!” Dannsaiche said giving her hips a suggestive wiggle.

“How would that even work?" Private Buckman asked.

“We’d have ta get creative!” Nighean replied. “But that’s fine. We like a challenge!”

“Well, before we all get carried away,” Sergeant Duncan cut in. “Let’s try and watch the shenanigans, I just talked to the L-T. In three days, there’s gonna be a shitload of reporters and UN Observers coming in to poke their noses into anything they can. Therefore… First Platoon has been volunteered to head to Italica to reinforce a platoon from Echo Company in assisting in the defense of the city and running patrols in the area.”

“Why us Sarge?” Buckman asked.

“Because the powers that be are of the opinion that letting this bunch of screwballs anywhere near the media is not exactly in anyone’s best interest.”

“Well, at least it gets us away from Major Powers,” Gataki commented. The battalion XO was high on everyone’s list of least favorite people.

“Major Pain in the arse!” Dannsaiche corrected.

“He’s naught but a misbegot motherless bastard,” Nighean replied.

And they say we’re not teaching them good social manners, Master Sergeant Duncan shook his head. He had heard the scuttlebutt about Italica and he had the feeling that their stay would be as interesting as a Chinese Curse.

Akusho District, Sadera

“Man! I was hoping for a paradise full of beast girls. This place is a dump!” Sergeant Kurata exclaimed as Third Recon and their guides, led by Lieutenant Thomas Theisman, drove through the narrow streets of ‘Trouble Town’. A weary and wary populace watched them, standing amid the dirty squalor of Akusho’s slums.

Theisman threw a look at Kurata. “If they had known a bigshot was coming for a visit, Sergeant, I’m sure they’d have snapped to and made sure their homes reflected the shining and exotic splendor you were expecting.”

Kurata shrank at Theisman’s rebuke. He hadn’t really meant anything but still…

“Anyway, now that you’re with Persia and Katrine, I thought you were off the market,” Shino put in.

“Well,” Kurata replied in a hushed voice. “It’s just… Well, aren’t you curious? I mean Even here, these girls are like nothing on Earth! Um… You won’t say anything about this, will you? Persia and Katrine are kind of possessive. Besides, what about our squad leader?” He asked, glancing over to where Yao had practically welded herself to Itami’s side ever since their return from Mount Tybe. “Or Lieutenant Taylor? They’ve got at least four apiece! That’s not fair!”

“Their cases are different,” Shino replied. “As for not telling Persia and Katrine about your wandering eye? We’ll see. I just might,” Shino replied as the small convoy proceeded to a large warehouse which sat next to the main Allied safehouse.

“We’re particularly glad to have you here, Sergeant Kurokawa. Medical help is the most important thing we have to offer down here,” Theisman explained. “Major Nyutabaru will fill you in further inside.”

It was shortly thereafter that Kurokawa had changed into civvies and began to see patients, Miss Mizari, first among them. It seemed Kurokawa was able to form an easy rapport with Mizari and the other girls working the Venus and the Bacchante. Kurokawa’s manner and lack of judgementalism and condescension helped in this regard, although she did find it interesting as Mizari expressed disappointment that Allied soldiers did not seem interested in her services and curiosity in just what would attract them.

Kurokawa could understand Mizari’s position. In comparison to most of her customers, Allied soldiers were wealthy and much more sophisticated. On the other hand, what Mizari could not know was that Captain Harrington had recommended using Mizari and the other girls at the Venus as a test case to see if they could be counted upon to follow a set of guidelines that would minimize the risks of disease transmission. If so, then Harrington recommended sending girls from the Venus and the Bacchante to Alnus to set up a licensed and carefully administered legal brothel. As much as it was the popular public solution to declare a ‘no tolerance’ policy in regards to soldiers seeking out such pleasures, hard pragmatism suggested this was simply not realistic, especially in a particularly exotic land where such things were seen as the cultural norm. It was an imperfect solution in an imperfect universe and as Kurokawa knew, it was the only way for Mizari and her girls to make a living in a hard world and this was a better alternative than other choices to be had.

With Kurokawa on detached duty, the rest of Third Recon were invited guests at Princess Pina’s Palace before their expected trip back to Alnus in the morning. As the Third Recon troopers gratefully accepted Pina’s hospitality they looked forward to a peaceful night’s rest. They would be sorely disappointed, for late that evening, Mizari came to see Kurokawa, bringing with her every single one of her girls from the Venus if Kurokawa was not seriously mistaken, all of whom seemed nervous and or agitated about something if Kurokawa was any judge. In particular, Mizari brought with her a nervous young Siren named Tuwal, who explained that the village she grew up in was near an active volcano and whenever the volcano stirred, it was accompanied by a shaking of the earth. But that she and others in her village would get a certain ‘feeling’ before the ground began to shake and that she had been having the same feeling since the early morning and could not stop shaking.

Nyutabaru, whom Kurokawa had called when Mizari arrived, noted that many of the other girls of different species were likewise exhibiting cues of agitation and it concerned him greatly as he looked at Harrington and Theisman.

“When I was in Kobe, I noticed one day that the birds and other animals were behaving in a very nervous and agitated fashion. I didn’t know what it meant… Until Kobe was hit by a magnitude 8.2 Earthquake later that day.”

“Are you saying that you think an earthquake is in the offering, Major?” Harrington asked.

“Yes, Captain “ He turned to the radio operator. “Send an emergency Flash message to Alnus and all commands that a major earthquake may be imminent!”

“Yes, sir!” The operator answered as Nyutabaru continued, addressing everyone in the room. “Spread the word for everyone to extinguish any fires and get outside into a clearing if possible. If you can’t get outside, then find an interior room and take cover under a sturdy table or such. Better alert the Akusho bosses.” He turned to Harrington and Theisman. “Once the operator gets a message confirmation from Alnus, we’ll secure the generator and take cover.”

Sadera, Palace of Zorzal El Caesar

It had been another uneasy day for Noriko, Tyuuke, and the other slaves in Zorzal’s palace. Apparently, his royal heinousness was getting particularly put out with the kitchen staff. Normally that would be a problem that would only fall on their heads as Tyuule had learned how to direct the Prince’s bad moods away from the house slaves. Unfortunately, his annoyances this day were simply too many. While he agreed that the kitchen staff should be punished and perhaps he should replace some of them, he was also angered that his older siblings. The First and Second Imperial Princesses had seen to make sport of him publicly, in front of his younger sister, Pina.

Unfortunately, while Zorzal despised his older sisters, Tyuule, as a mere slave, dared not speak ill of Imperial blood. Further, while raping her had been sufficient pleasure for him on previous occasions, today he was getting more impatient to see what results Tyuule had achieved in training Noriko for his pleasure. Tyuule was hard pressed to suppress her disgust and anger at the thought of Zorzal touching her beautiful flower. But for her careful plans to destroy Zorzal and the world that could allow such a monster to exist, she was quite capable of killing him as she was made to stand quietly and watch as he took Noriko, knowing that if Noriko’s reactions failed to please him, they both would be brutally punished. But Tyuule’s Beautiful Flower endured. Tyuule’s pride in Noriko’s strength warring with her disgust at watching such an unworthy creature have her.

Finally, the ordeal ended and Tyuule was allowed to take Noriko back to the slave quarters where she began to clean Noriko and tend her injuries.

“You were very brave,” Tyuule said. “I’m very proud of you.”

“If I had failed, he would have hurt you. I couldn’t let him hurt you because of me anymore,” Noriko told her quietly.

Tyuule finished washing her and simply held her. Her Flower had grown stronger than Tyuule had hoped and she had suffered to protect Tyuule. Tyuule found herself cursing and praising the gods all at the same time for this as they lay down and Tyuule protectively held Noriko to her…

Only to be woken by rumbling somewhere in the distance but getting closer. She shook Noriko awake as the whole palace began to shake madly. Noriko’s eyes went wide as she seemed to recognize this danger.

“Earthquake! Quick! Everyone! Get under the tables!” Noriko cried as the shaking continued and objects began crashing to the floor. After what seemed like an eternity, the shaking stopped. Slowly, everyone got to their feet.

“Is everyone alright?” Tyuule demanded as they each nodded. But Noriko stared up at a crack in the outer wall and the ceiling.

“We have to get out of here! There will be aftershocks!”

“Aftershocks?” Another slave asked confused.

“More shakes. Quakes don’t happen singularly,” Noriko said and looked at Tyuule. “This building is damaged! We don’t want to be in here when the aftershocks start!”

“Are you sure?” Tyuule demanded. She knew what they had to do and that, in itself would have its own dangers.

“Yes! We have earthquakes in Japan very often! There will be another shaking!”

“We have to tell Zorzal. If we try to leave without his permission, he will have us all punished and possibly killed.” Tyuule looked at the other slaves.

“You and I will go to Zorzal," she said, turning back to Noriko. "Where is the safest place for everyone else to wait?”

“Move the tables next to the doorway and grab pillows. If the shaking starts again, put a pillow over your head and get under the table. Stay away from that bookcase and the outer wall. Put out the lanterns and candles.”

“Do as she says,” Tyuule told the rest and then nodded to Noriko. “Alright. Let’s go..”

Akusho District, Sadera

“Is everyone alright?” Sergeant Major Kuwahara asked as he finally got his breath, the terrified Naga finally releasing some of the pressure on his ribcage and settled for gently sobbing on his chest as the immediate terror passed. He softly smiled at her, noting that the girl appeared to be about the same age as his own daughter, as he gently rubbed her back. Although she was not crushing him in panic anymore, the Naga, named Uma, held on to him all the more anxiously with her arms on his shoulders.

Getting nods from the other allied soldiers, Kuwahara continued to comfort Uma with a gentle voice, calming her. Likewise, Kurokawa held Mizari, who for all her worldliness, was reduced to a frightened child desperately seeking the reassurance of a mother who seemed so impossibly calm and brave.

As Tom Theisman did a mental headcount, he found a pretty four armed girl named Satha, wrapped around his ankles with two arms while covering her head with the other two For Satha, the ‘Green Man’ was the only comfort in a world that threatened to crumble around her.

Kurata, for his part, was experiencing a ‘perfect storm’ of geek nirvana as at least three frightened beauties clung to him. Though he already had Persia and Katrine, the thrill of having yet another Catgirl and a pair of Vulpines all over him was overwhelming as they held on for dear life.

“Save us, Master!” One of the Foxgirls cried as they looked upon him with huge eyes that looked as if they beheld a mythic hero. They would gladly give themselves and everything they had to be saved from the end of everything.

“It’s alright. I’m here. You’re safe.” Best of all was that Kuribayashi wasn’t here to spoil his grand moment.

“Thank you, Master!” The second Foxgirl said, snuggling closer as meantime, Major Nyutabaru gently held Tuwal, thinking how her warning had probably saved a great many lives. It was an ability that the Japan Meteorological Agency could seriously use. But Nyutabaru also recognized how bad this experience was for Tuwal. It would take a harder man than he to suggest subjecting her to such trauma again by taking her to Japan where scientists would study her gifts, likely heedless of the cost to Tuwal. For now, what mattered was that she was safe.

All around them, the women of the Venus and the Bacchante and indeed all the residents of Akusho saw that only the ‘Green Men’ were not in terror. Except for perhaps one young man, who pushed down his fear to find the only person that mattered to him. If the world was to end, he would find Tuwal and hold her as it ended.

His name was Prairie but it was her name he shouted as he stumbled his way through the streets to the Venus, where he knew she worked. He knew of the Green Men, subjected himself to their rules so Tuwal would not lose her job if he saw her. He was not sure he understood them but they treated Tuwal well and didn’t cheat her and allowed them time to be together. He had been saving money for them to leave Akusho. He was skilled as a farm hand and because of the war and the levies of men that would never return to the fields, that was a skill in demand. But she was doing even better and at least around the Green Men, they were safe. Perhaps he would consider a job at Alnus. Assuming there was a tomorrow to come, of course.


“Prairie!” She cried, hearing him call her name. Major Nyutabaru helped her up and guided her into her lover’s arms. It was what she needed more than anything.

“Tuwal! Are you alright?”

“Yes,” she nodded choppily. “I told them about feeling the shakes. They listened and had us come outside. We’re all safe! At least for now.”

“Hardy will kill and claim us all!” A dazed and panicked man screamed. “PLEASE GRANT US MERCY GREAT HARDY!”

“SHUT UP!” Prairie shouted angrily, not wanting to hear it. “STOP PRAYING AND GET UP!” He stepped back from Tuwal. “There are fires that need to be put out and people trapped in their homes! Hardy isn’t going to save Akusho! WE WILL! NOW GET MOVING!”

“You heard the young lad!” Captain Harrington shouted. "I want a headcount of our people first and then we go door to door! Block by block! Let’s be about it people!”
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Self-proclaimed FiC official absinthe provider :)
Great story, as usual. I do have a small concern tho…

Of course, they also needed a high caloric intake. Whereas their human counterparts might need up to three thousand calories a day, Fae functioned best on four hundred calories.
The first part would imply that they need higher caloric intake than humans, but the second part seems to contradict it (3000 for humans vs 400 for faes).


Great story, as usual. I do have a small concern tho…

The first part would imply that they need higher caloric intake than humans, but the second part seems to contradict it (3000 for humans vs 400 for faes).
It's both. They may need fewer calories in ABSOLUTE terns But greater proportionally in relation to their body mass.

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