Editor: PervySageChuck, Nate, Skythewood
Sadly, there were some people in this world who abandoned reason and allowed their emotion to rule them. For instance, crazed killers running amok. There were also those murderers who hated monks so much that they even hated their cassocks as well. There were those who would even turn their blades on their targets’ family members.
They would also turn their emotions on the wrong targets. Sometimes they would go after people who were completely unrelated. In the case where their hatred transferred to the perpetrator’s family, the sins of the fathers would be passed on to their sons, as in how debts would be left to them or their relatives to pay, in the barbaric Roman way. However, those were how civilizations from 2000 years ago did things, because they were not as spiritually mature as people now.
However, to the victims of the Ginza Incident, Rory, Lelei and Tuka, as guests from the Special Region, were in a sense the first citizens of an enemy nation they had seen.
They were buried in the huge crowd thronging Ginza, and there was no guarantee that the people here would not transfer their anger onto them. As a result, Itami relaxed the stern look on his face and spoke despondently to Kuribayashi and Tomita.
“Let’s forget it for today. We’ll spend the night at Risa’s place.”
The two of them sagged. However, it was only expected that Itami — who ran away from things he did not like — would say something like that. However, Kuribayashi replied:
“But if we wait until tomorrow, we might be ambushed by agents from somewhere, and when the time comes, we’ll have to force our way through as well, right?”
The original plan was to protect Piña and Bozes from the Americans using the crowd Risa gathered. If they ran away now, her hard work would be wasted.
“Ahhh, we run and they chase us over and over again, they’re like debt collectors or something.”
Ichinotani nixed the idea of hiding in a military camp. If the government protected them, then when the American President called, they would not be able to escape. Prime Minister Motoi had resigned for that as well. Because their movements were not under government control, they could say, “They ran off, so sorry”, and then stick their tongues out at them in their hearts. His Excellency Tarou had laid the situation out to Itami, and he understood.
“Ahh, what a pain…”
Itami squeezed his eyes shut and grabbed his hair, then he sighed deeply before turning to Kuribayashi and Tomita and giving them an order.
If anyone tried to harm the girls, Tomita and Kuribayashi would shoot them. This was not “permission granted”; this was an “order”. Tomita and Kuribayashi had volunteered to join the JSDF, and as career soldiers with the rank of sergeants, they had been highly trained. In addition, they were veterans of actual combat. Once they heard the command phrased as on “order”, it flipped a switch in their minds which turned them into killing machines. Following that, the two of them inspected the magazines of their looted weapons, and they stuffed more spare magazines into their waist pouches or pants pockets. Of course, they would not openly carry their weapons and frighten the people around them. Instead, they tucked their weapons into their coats, but with the safeties off so they could shoot at any time. Surrounded by the huge crowd around then, they got off the bread van and set feet onto Ginza’s pavement.
Kuribayashi Shino wore a black leather jumper.
Under that, she wore a stone-washed denim mini-skirt over a pair of stockings. Her feet were encased by a pair of heeled boots. Perhaps the heels were because she had a complex about being short? As her nickname of “titty monster midget” suggested, she was a petite woman, but unlike the long bodies and short limbs of real midgets, her muscled body and slender limbs were proportionately scaled. That was to say, she gave the impression of a woman who had been shrunken down with the exception of her breasts.
The front of the jacket was open, exposing a white sweater.
If she were drawn in a standing pose, one would be able to see her left hand pressing down the left hem of her jumper, while her right hand was thrust inside it. If that depiction was in full color, one would be able to see the red lipstick on her lips and her clearly defined eyebrows, in addition to the cool expression on her face. Naturally, her right hand was gripping a German-made Heckler & Koch MP7. Because of her natural big breasts, even after concealing the SMG’s 34cm length inside her coat, the way her bosom pushed the material out allowed people from certain angles people to see what she was carrying inside.
She stood like this in the frigid winter wind, her mind on alert, which made people think that she looked really cool.
Beside her was Tomita. He wore a half-coat of cashmere wool. The tall and masculine Tomita was well-muscled, but not to the point of looking clumsy. His body resembled that of a nimble athlete. His skin was tanned, his face was stern, and his chin was shaven, so he looked fierce at a first glance. He watched his surroundings like a hawk.
He had a Belgian-made PDW under his arm, the FN P90.
The last was Itami. At a glance, he looked like a salaryman in his 30s. He wore a wrinkled suit, and a pair of cheap 2000 yen leather shoes (made of synthetic leather), and the grime on them was evident at a glance. He wore a dull longcoat, the same kind you might see in Shinjuku bars. If he stood in traffic during the peak hours, he would vanish into the crowds in an instant, and picking him out from everyone else would be very difficult. He had a Makarov handgun under his suit coat.
And so, the three of them shifted into battle mode in an instant. Risa gasped in surprise behind them. Until just now, they had been relaxed, but now there seemed to be a blazing aura around them, and there was an air around them as sharp as a bared katana. This was different from the air of intimidation that the yakuza or punks had around them; it was more like a carnivore awaiting its prey, which unsettled and discomfited people. However, Itami only stayed like this for a few moments. In an instant, he returned to his usual easygoing self.
“Sorry, Risa. We can’t take you along for the rest.”
Risa shrugged at Itami, who had stuck his head in from the outside of the van.
“Can’t be helped, right? What should I do about this van?”
“Find a place and abandon it. And don’t forget to return me the money I lent you.”
“If, if my doujin sells, the income should be enough for that. When are you coming back again?”
“Beats me. Not for the time being, at least. I’ll let you know when I can make it.”
Just as Itami was about to turn away, Risa called out to him and he froze.
“S-sempai, even if you say you’ll come back, sometimes you don’t. So, would you let me wait for you here?”
“If you have to say this sort of thing, why did you even leave me in the first place?”
“Because, because I felt bad about marrying you as a meal ticket. I felt that I was no good as a human being.”
Itami fell silent for a moment before replying, “Do as you like”. This time he was really gone.
“And so, Prime Minister Motoi’s sudden hospital visit and the announcement that he was going to resign took the world by surprise.”
The room had a giant image of Prime Minister Motoi as its background, and famous people the world over were commenting on it.
A bearded university professor said unhappily, “That was far too irresponsible.”
A female author replied in his defense, “The Prime Minister’s job is taxing; it’s only natural that he might end up having health problems as a result.”
“The opposition party’s been hounding him about his cabinet’s dirty laundry for days now, but now that he actually resigned, they don’t have anything to say.”
The man with a nameplate saying “Former Governor”, who was now a political commentator, briefed the Diet on the situation.
“Nah, the opposition won’t be discouraged. Once the next Prime Minister takes charge, they’ll just poll for the dissolution of the House of Representatives and then re-elect everyone.”
“I think the topic of discussion now is who will be the next Prime Minister. Nagata-chou of the incumbent party is already moving fast.”
After reporting the commentators’ remarks, the presenter went on to the next topic, which was the candidates to be the next Prime Minister.
“The incumbents have nominated three candidates, Morita-shi, Kanou-shi and Aramaki-shi.”
The huge pictures of the three men appeared on the display.
“Morita-shi has a strong support base and is viewed as the No.1 candidate. Kanou-shi is popular with the people, but he does not have much support within the party. It is not known whether the next party leader will be decided through internal agreement or through an election. Stay tuned, gentle viewers!”
After the political topic was concluded, the presenter’s face seemed to change as he moved on.
“The Ginza Incident”
It was followed by commercials.
After about four 60-second commercials (about washing liquid, car insurance, and super-thin, super-fragrant diapers), the next segment featured the people who had been summoned before the National Diet.
What the viewers saw was Tuka, the Elf with the flowing golden hair, standing on a red carpet and bathed in the light of countless flashbulbs, radiating an ethereal beauty. She looked like a model for shampoo and conditioner.
Then there was Lelei, with her silver hair and calm eyes.
After her was Rory, in her black Goth Loli outfit, with her sharp tongue and playful expression.
“The three guests from the Special Region were warmly welcomed by the people. As someone who was formerly believed to only exist in people’s imaginations, Tuka Luna Marceau is the most popular among them.
A commentator said, “She’s very beautiful, isn’t she? Don’t you think she’d stir the otaku imagination? Since they were only thought to exist in fantasy until now, anyone would want to meet a real live elf.”
“I watched the Diet live telecast too, it really surprised me. That girl’s called Lelei-san, right? In just a few months, she’s mastered Japanese to this extent. And I thought Tuka-san’s ears were some sort of prop too,” a young female entertainment lawyer said.
“Speaking of their ages, what’s up with that? No, I know it’s embarrassing to ask a lady’s age. Maybe the years in the Special Region are very short?” a female author asked. She seemed quite concerned about that issue.
“According to reports from the Ministry of Defense, a year in the Special Region is roughly 389.3 days long, and every day is shorter than ours, so it all equals out in the end.”
“But Rory Mercury-san said she was over 900 years old. Yet she looks like a middle-schooler.”
The obsessed female author went on about it.
“Also, Tuka-san is supposed to be 160 years old, doesn’t she look too young?”
The truly obsessed female author continued.
A book once wrote that a properly educated woman would not be jealous of anything. For instance, they would not be overly sensitive about looks and wealth. However, when a 50-year old woman saw another woman who was far older than her, yet looked like she was in her teens, it would be difficult not to have mixed feelings about her.
“They already said at the Diet that the two of them are from long-lived species.”
“How about their men? They look young, but they’re over a hundred years old.”
“In truth, it does seem kind of unreal,” the bearded professor said.
“I won’t say they used makeup or cosmetic surgery to look young. I’d thought of it before, but given the faces they showed to the audience, I don’t think anyone would mind if they were over a hundred or over 500 years old,” the young entertainment lawyer replied.
“The girls who raised such a stir are now here today to offer flowers to the Ginza Incident memorial plaque, and after that they will return to the Special Region. A truly staggering number of fans have come to Ginza today to catch a glimpse of them.”
The presenter changed scenes, showing a close-up of people thronging the streets until they spilled out onto the roads.
Traffic was completely paralyzed, with massive jams everywhere. The police were struggling to control the crowds, trying to herd them with police whistles. Then, the presenter’s face appeared on the screen.
“What you’re seeing now is Ginza at one in the afternoon. Fans from all over the country have gathered in force. We’ll go over to our interviewer who’s on the ground right now. Nanami-san~”
The image shifted from the studio to a live telecast.
Because this was a nation-wide broadcast, Kuribayashi Nanami was frantically practicing her lines and ignoring her surroundings. She had written the word “man” on her palm, and trying her best to make a good smile. Behind her, one could see people thronging the memorial plaque.
After that, without any prearrangement at all, the crowd automatically parted, opening a clear path that led to the altar where the flowers would be offered, under the plaque. Along this path walked the black Goth girl, the long-haired elf, and the silver-haired girl, all carrying bouquets of flowers, followed by a woman with a head of vibrant red hair and another woman with golden drill hair, and behind them were a Japanese male and female who looked like their bodyguards. There were seven of them in total.
“Is the sound working, Kuribayashi-san!”
In truth, Itami was present too, but his sheer lack of presence meant that he was eclipsed by the three girls who were the stars of this show.
In that sense, one could say that he was a failure as a main character.
After she realised someone was calling out to her, Kuribayashi hurriedly put on her earpiece.
“Ah, this, this is live from Ginza.”
“Right now, what’s going on in this image?”
“Ah, yes. We’re on the scene right now. Currently, the three girls are approaching the flower altar, while the crowd is cheering and waving to them. The fans have filled up the roads and sidewalks and jammed up traffic for blocks around, but they’re especially polite to the girls. Nobody arranged it, but it seems the crowd has parted for them.”
A youth suddenly dashed out of the wall of people. Before Tomita could body-check him, Rory raised her halberd and thumped it down into the ground, creating a ringing sound like a shakujo. Coupled with her bewitching smile, the youth fell flat on his butt, and then he scrambled back into the crowd.
“We can only see three people in that image, are there any more?”
“Yes, there are seven in total.”
“Are the other four from the Special Region as well?”
“I don’t think so, they look like… like… nee-san?!”
“Sor-sorry. I don’t know why, but my big sister is there.”
“Is that Kuribayashi-san’s big sister?”
“Yes, my big sister works in the JSDF, she should be in the Special Region, I never heard anything about her coming back. Nee-san, what are you doing?!”
“Hm, it’s Nanami-chan, what are you doing here?”
The older Kuribayashi sister replied nonchalantly to her little sister from the road. That said, she was still watching her surroundings at maximum alertness. They had to work extra hard because they were not professional SPs.
“I’m doing a TV broadcast.”
“No way, you mean it’s live?”
“Well, it’s just a webcast-”
“Yaho~ Mom, are you well?” In this instant, the camera turned to her.
Because of this, everyone in the nation saw a glimpse of her carrying a H&K MP7 with her right hand in the middle of Ginza. Assuming she was still thinking straight, the only reason why she would expose herself like that was because 70% of her attention was being spent on looking out for danger. Under Kuribayashi, Tomita’s and Itami’s oversight, Rory and the other people from the Special Region offered their flowers. As they did this, over a hundred flashbulbs went off. After it was done, Rory looked around and quietly said, “Someone should ring a bell for the spirits of the dead.” Then she raised her halberd and loudly asked, “Won’t someone ring a bell for me?”
And as though in answer to her request, the Ginza Wako Clock Tower began ringing. The way Rory went “Mm, thank you”, then smiled and closed her eyes brought a somber air to the place.
The camera paused to film the elder Kuribayashi and the three Special Region guests kneeling before the memorial plaque. After the bells finished ringing, they rose and turned their backs to the plaque, in order to face the crowd. The cameraman quickly shifted to capture their faces, while the boom operator recorded the Kuribayashi sisters’ exchange.
“Then, can we interview them?”
The younger Kuribayashi was speaking normally in front of a national audience. But the producer clenched his fist and smiled, “Well done” from his production room. Originally, his opinion of her was so low it could not have gone any lower, so she could only go up from there. His opinion of her now was reflected in the fact that she managed to get an exclusive close-up with the three girls who were the talk of the nation.
“No way, no way. After they offer their flowers, we’re returning to the Special Region ASAP.”
“Why not? Not even for a while?”
“We were attacked yesterday, you see.”
“Attacked? By who?”
“Americans, I think, or maybe the Chinese or Russians. The train we were on got stopped for some reason, the hotel we were supposed to stay in was burned down by arson, and a whole bunch of things happened, so that’s why today we—”
She was pissed off about the whole thing, and toward the end her words were starting to jumble together. Saying all that was pretty much the same as exposing the whole affair. Besides, anyone who read the papers or watched TV would find that what she said matched up with recent occurrences.
Before the unhappy Graham stood a Japanese man.
It was Komakado, from Intelligence Branch. Once, he had seemed like a grim and imposing man, and with his crutch that grim darkness surrounding him only deepened, as though he was radiating an air of discomfort.
“What’s up, Komakado? There’s nothing for you to do here.”
“It’s true, we’ve been ordered not to interfere with your work. However, there are Russian and Chinese agents out there. We can’t ignore them, so we locked onto them.”
As Graham thanked Komakado, he sighed in relief. If this kept up, Japan would be helping them suppress the agents from the Russians and the Chinese.
The CIA’s plan was to create a panic and cut the TV broadcast, then take advantage of the confusion to have their teams abduct the guests. It was a difficult plan to execute.
“Speaking of which, Graham, how do you CIA people tell Russian and Chinese agents apart? Could you teach me? I’d like to know how.”
“What are you saying?”
“Oh, I’m just curious if CIA agents have a way to instantly tell them apart. Russians and Chinese look the same to me…”
As he listened to Komakado say that, Graham worriedly went for his cell phone.
He tried calling all his emplaced subordinates, but there was no response.
“You son of a-!”
“Like I said, I can’t tell the Russians from the Chinese. Sorry about that.”
Komakado smiled as he faded into the crowd, and Graham knew the operation had failed.
Komakado withdrew his mobile phone, and dialled a number from his contact list.
Several seconds later, Komakado spoke.
“Yo, Itami. That was a pretty slick move you pulled.”
Darryl, the President of the United States, angrily kicked over the wastepaper basket in his office. He had a telephone and display in front of him which currently showed the live telecast from Tokyo’s Ginza district. No CIA agent team, however skilled, could snatch the guests now. The fatal blow was the mention that “We were attacked by the Americans, Russians and Chinese,” which had been heard by the entire nation. On top of that, the CIA personnel in charge of inciting a panic and disrupting the TV broadcast had been captured by the Japanese, who apparently could not differentiate between the Russians and Chinese.
The command team was intact, so they could try and force the issue, but that would end up being broadcast throughout the nation as well.
Once word of that got out, any hostiles would instantly become a villain. Be they American, Chinese or Russian, anyone who tried to use force now would end up scoring a goal against their own country. He had not expected the Japanese government to be bold and vicious enough to actually try something like this. Without any direct action on their part, they had sealed off the Americans’ ability to act, and they had even exposed the illegal activities of the Americans, Russians and Chinese, which would only lead to censure and difficulty for them.
For instance, the White House could say to the Japanese government “Don’t say such meaningless nonsense” with reference to that servicewoman, as could the Kremlin, or Zhongnanhai. The Japanese would probably release an official statement along the lines of “The Japanese government knows nothing about any so-called illegal activities conducted by the Americans (or Russians, or Chinese) and end the matter there.
If an accusation like that was made on national television, the Japanese government would have to respond with “Nobody would believe the words of a mere JSDF trooper”. Even if they tried to press the issue, the Japanese government would reply “She babbled that nonsense while she was drunk and on vacation, right? And her gun was just a toy, the proof is that Japan did not supply her with such a weapon,” and then they would cut off communications.
However, one would not even need to ask to know who the citizens that watched the broadcast would side with. After all, it was a simple conversation between two sisters, which was why it felt realistic to the audience. Darryl thought he saw a phantom Motoi lecturing him from inside the transmitted image.
“If you try and do anything to our guests, you had best prepare yourselves.”
“Shit, shit! Bloody Motoi! That son of a bitch!”
He trampled on the remains of the wastepaper basket, and scattered it even further across the Oval Office’s red carpet.
President Sheganov of the Russian Federation toasted his screen inside the Kremlin with the glass of vodka he was holding. “Not bad, Japanese. Not bad.” Within the depths of Zhongnanhai, Chairman Dong Dechou clicked his tongue, and then ordered his man on the scene to withdraw.
And so, Itami and his companions managed to safely… well, not quite, they had accumulated a fair bit of mental and emotional fatigue, but they did manage to reach the Ginza side of the Gate.
Before passing through the Gate, they had to submit to an inspection by the sentries, much like an airport. If they were moving a vehicle through, everything in the cargo compartment would have to be opened up and anything hand-carried would also be inspected. After that, the security personnel would take their fingerprints, palmprints, perform a retina scan and measure their pulse rate among other tests. Only after all these tests were completed could they enter the concrete dome which contained the Gate.
“Did you buy all of these in Tokyo?
“Is something wrong?”
As Itami responded in a playful way, the commander of the sentry post sighed deeply.
While checking the girls’ luggage, they found Rory’s black Goth clothes along with her punk-style (with spikes and chains) clothes and underwear. Apparently Rory was not interested in normal clothes, but she seemed to like metallic things. After that were a bunch of daily-use items and things like Lelei’s laptop, Tuka’s compound bow, all of which piled up like a miniature mountain. The sentry commander could only close his mouth.
“We have to check all of these, you know.”
However, inspecting feminine-use items would pose all sorts of problems.
The female soldiers would handle delicate items like underwear and so on, but if they had to inspect each and every sundry item, they would never get things done. The commander was thinking about whether to just briefly go over the things. Meanwhile, more female personnel conducted body searches of Lelei, Tuka, Rory, Piña, Bozes and Kuribayashi.
And then, with a “What’s this?” they withdrew a pistol that had been very well concealed upon Piña and Bozes’ persons.
He was impressed by the way Kuribayashi had not flinched at all. He smoothly followed up by saying “Oh, it’s for self-protection. We let them carry it just in case”. Then, with a loud thump, a heavy backpack was deposited in front of the commander.
The contents of the backpack, when placed on the inspection table, turned out to be a veritable mountain of looted weapons.
“Well, we couldn’t just leave them lying around, could we? We picked them up, but do we need to turn them over to you?”
In truth, the JSDF did not have any procedures for handling looted weapons.
If he tried to follow procedure and impound these weapons, it would create a lot of problems related to the handling and seizure of them. Besides, there was no way unmarked weapons used by illegal nationals and seized by common civilians could be entered into a report.
“So what will you do?”
Because of that, the mere existence of these looted weapons was a pain in the ass. Naturally, a man who was part of an organization would probably not want to subject himself to that sort of bother. After the sentry commander heard Itami’s story about how he got those weapons, he turned aside while saying, “I saw nothing” and “I heard nothing”.
“These guns are your loot. So their responsibility falls to you. In any case, I’ll record these weapons on a black sheet. Our part in this is now settled. How about that?”
Recording them on a black sheet meant that the records would only be revealed if a problem surfaced in the future. Otherwise, those records would not exist on any official documentation. Under certain conditions, these black sheets might be shredded by orders from the brass.
And so, the looted weapons and ammunition ended up going into the stores of 3rd Recon.
Lelei, Rory and Tuka were seated in the back of Tomita’s HMV. They were headed back to the refugee camp at the foot of Arnus Hill.
Since they had brought back a lot of souvenirs with them, Itami was helping to sort them out.
“Japan was a fun place,” Rory said.
“It was very exciting. I hope to be able to visit again,” Lelei said.
“Shopping was fun,” Tuka smiled.
The three of them bade their farewells to Itami before they went their separate ways.
The sky was getting dark, since the sun was setting.
Tuka returned to the room she had been given at the prefab housing, and opened the door with a bright, “I’m home!”
“The other side of the Gate was awesome, and we brought back so much stuff,” she said as she put her things onto the table in the darkened room. But she tilted her head because there was no response.
“Hmm? Not there?”
After searching briefly in the room, she sighed and said, “Really, Dad, where have you gone?”
“I look away for just a moment and this is what happens.”
Tuka sorted out the things she bought as she muttered to herself.
Elsewhere, Piña and Bozes were in the room assigned as their quarters. The two of them were enveloped in a grim atmosphere, and they sat silently on their beds.
An intermediary for the Empire and Japan. She now realised just how heavy a burden it truly was.
If this war continued, the Empire would undoubtedly lose. The difference in civilization, technology and warfare was far too great to overcome. She had seen it with her own eyes and felt it with her own body.
Bozes called out to her, in an attempt to clear the air.
“Mm. Tomorrow we return to the Capital,” Piña answered.
She would immediately begin the work for the peace talks, in her role as mediator.
She did not know what form those talks would take. If things went wrong, they would end in the Empire’s defeat. But if she let the war carry on, the death toll would be around the same as well.
Piña converted her resolve into words.
“I shall end this war.”
1: A shakujo is a buddhist prayer staff.
2: Minister of Defence Kanou Tarou = His Excellency Tarou. Because some people out there will need this pointed out to them.