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Kazuko was quite flustered, it was early afternoon in Tokyo, she was outside of the Tokyo Imperium Palace. it was almost like central park, in the sense it was an untouched patch of forest in the middle of skyscrapers, though Tokyo was another world compared to New York. Even as she walked alone she could hear the quiet hum of the drones watching her every move, and anything else within a few miles of the palace. and though she couldn't see them, she could sense the dozens of bodyguards that stood throughout the grounds, not even considering the hundreds on the premises. She sighed, sitting upon a bench, it was a strange feeling to be alone and yet surrounded by people at the same time. The stresses of a half billion people under your command, and with a single misspoken sentence in public she could sentence every one of them to a very tragic death.

 

She sighed and looked at one of the many cats that lived on the castle grounds, the security didn't like them, something about CIA spy cats or something, Kazuko was Japanese and that was an unreasonable idea even to her.

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"Maybe you got it right Misutā neko, I should just go sit on a beach and watch the world for a while, I have a million kilometers of beach in my country and yet I'm stuck here in the middle of the city..." she said to the cat, not that she expected a reply, but at least the cats were honest about not caring about her, it was a better feeling than the feigned love she received from the servants. Worse yet, none of them were confidantes, she couldn't complain about her stresses like someone else her age could to their friends, there was no monarch sorority, inviting over another leader mean formalities and proper code of conduct, heaven forbid they just drop the act and stuff their faces with ice cream while watching movies for an evening.

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As she roamed the grounds it felt nice to not remember she was surrounded by skyscrapers, but in the back of her mind she knew she wasn't really on an adventure, she wasn't exploring some uncharted territory, she was in the middle of one of the largest cities in the world, and everyone within 3,000 kilometers of this spot was under her rule. She laid upon the grass, bemused by the fact there was probably a handmaiden somewhere watching her bask in the sunlight silently screaming at her because of the extra work that would come from the grass stains. let them have to put forth the extra effort. Kazuko thought to herself, "I'm worth it aren't I?" though the egotistical thought was quickly replaced with a voice whispering, "you're not." she simply shook the voice away, her doubts had been eating at her ever since the war, but she wasn't going to let them ruin her relaxing in the warm breeze. With her eyes closed, she could almost ignore the constant droning of the camera units, mentally filtering the noise out with the sound of the birds.

 

"Your Majesty?" a young girl's voice shouted. A hand maiden, on the other hand, could ruin her relaxing. "There you are your majesty." she said when she finally found her, bowing deeply. "What is it, can I not have time to myself?" the girl would bow even deeper, "I apologize your majesty, but..." Kazuko sighed, "I don't even want to hear your explanation." Kazuko muttered, sitting up, "Take me to where ever it is I am needed..." she'd give the garden one last look over her shoulder as she walked away. whispering quietly to herself, "An adventure is just what I need."

Edited by Mogar
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Later that day, during her normal exercise regimen she was trading blows with one of the Empress Guard, they changed her sparring partner every few days to ensure she didn't get too comfortable with one particular fighting style, officially at least. She realized it was so none of them were able to get too close to her and ruin their judgement. She could simply seduce one of them, but what was the point? they'd just get taken away and never seen again. The anger was useful in making her reflexes even faster than normal, swinging again and again at her opponent, he was losing ground with every parry, grunting as she put her full strength into each blow. As he reached the end of the mat she kicked out, knocking him onto his back, she smacked his blade out of his hands and held her blade to his neck. "Whats the point of training against people who are never going to hurt me? In a real fight they would be trying to kill me, how am I supposed to practice that with such cowardly sparring partners?" she spat, leaving the man wide eyed and silent, she walked away coolly, deciding that perhaps a meal would put her in a better mood.

 

A few hours later,  and the Imperium changed its name, a childish move she felt, but the reasoning was sound and what is she but the will of the people? Kazuko lifted her arm as she sat upon her massive four post bed, "Can't you see the strings?" she said to herself. The servant bot in her room replied "I couldn't understand your inquiry your majesty, please repeat." Kazuko just sighed, even in her own home they were getting rid of the people, having the servants be artifical did cut down on costs in the long term and certainly fixed any questions of loyalty, as well as cut down on surveillance costs, but left her even more alone.

 

Tired of sitting around feeling sorry for herself, she decided it was time she actually used her power to get what she wanted, and right now it was some excitement, these castle walls were strangling her. A quick change of clothing and she set out to the garage, it had been a while since she had driven herself. She stood admiring the vehicle collection she had accrued over the years, most of them one offs or concept vehicles from the Japanese auto manufacturers. The Empress Guard had tried to stop her of course, it was their duty to do so. She ignored their pleas to allow one of them to go with her and went about  selecting a yellow Lexus LFA. certainly not the most spectacular car in her inventory, it was pretty and flashy, the latter attribute would greatly upset the security. A few minutes later and she shot out of the garage and shortly after onto the city streets. the engine's growl silencing the hum of the drones, though she knew they'd be following her the entire evening. A helicopter with a squad of the Empress Guard would also be following her, but wouldn't interact with her directly unless they were forced to.

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She had enjoyed her time out, though her electronic jammer made for some entertaining conversations to be overheard. while she doubted anyone would recognize her without the formal robes and with the level of makeup that a normal woman her age would be wearing rather than the more natural look she went for in official statements, it was a precaution she was willing to take. It would be rather entertaining to be on the news in some foreign country knocking back alcohol in civilian clothing though.

 

As she was driving home, well over the legal limit of course, but she was the Empress of the entire fucking nation, what were they going to do, arrest her? she laughed at the thought, turning up the sound system as she sat at a red light. Evidently though, the red light and her racing yellow care were not obvious enough to the Mitsubishi Lancer that slammed into the back of her car, pushing her car into the middle of the intersection, the sickening sound of the crunch of steel and carbon fiber breaking filling the air. Enraged she threw open her door, "What the fuck?" she shouted at the guy still sitting in his car, who quickly threw open his own door, getting into her face, "You got a problem bitch? why were you stopped in the middle of the street?", She pushed him away from her "It's called a red light you prick, you could have killed me, do you have any idea who I am?" He pulled out a switchblade, "Nope, and I don't plan on letting you breathe long enough to find out."

 

She backed away from him, arms in the air, "You're making a very big mistake..." she said quietly, able to hear the whirling of helicopter blades above her. He walked at her brandishing the knife in front of him. "Come ere, not so talkative now are you?" Before she could reply, the sound of nylon rope smacking against pavement surrounding the man, with a half dozen Empress Guard surrounding him armed with T91 assault rifles. Now completely covered with two dozen red lasers from various positions surrounding the street, he finally decided to ask, "W-W-Who are you?" She sighed, "Your worst nightmare." She turned to head of the forces surrounding them, "Kill him." she said and got back in her car, the sound of her door closing coinciding with the barrage of assault rifle fire.

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  • 3 weeks later...

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Kazuko walked through her garden, it was mid afternoon and she was bored. The Saxons were proving to be an annoyance but unfortunately she couldn't destroy them, it took a few hours of convincing but she finally agreed to the military's plan of shadowing the Saxon fleet until they left the Imperium's EEZ, it wasn't as fun but something about international incidents and not wanting to piss off Europe. She missed Jeanne, hopefully she would wrap up her internal bullshit and they could go on vacation, perhaps to French Polynesia or something. 
 
Science Fiction, Science Fact, the line had been blurred for some time within the Imperium, with Tokyo serving to become a beacon of high technology. Synthetics, once considered to be something only dreamt about, were now commonplace in the Imperium, and through refinement became increasingly difficult to tell from the real thing. Section 7, a branch of the Public Security Intelligence Agency, was given the task of ensuring the Synthetics were monitored and kept following the 3 Laws. it became increasingly difficult as they became more and more widespread. Ironically, none of the synthetics within the Castle were 3 laws safe, all given special programming to ensure the security of the Empress and her retinue.
 
Hours later and it was time for another escape, this time in a new Lexus LFA, blacked out  and armored after the last incident, along with some special additions to make any drunken pricks regret their decision. She was unsure of her destination, but she supposed it didn't matter, this time they required her to travel with a bodyguard, a Synthetic using the name Takako 孝子, meaning "filial piety" and "child". An interesting choice, considering she was only designed to be obedient to Kazuko personally, she held respect for her "mother", but less so for her creators, since she would shoot them in a nanosecond if given the order by Kazuko. Her face was scarred from a combat incident, strangely deciding to keep the scars even though it made her recognizable, and certainly made the fact she was using artifical parts far more visible with the eye being clearly seen even from afar.
 
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"The sky above was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel." Kazuko muttered to herself, reminded of a book she once read. "I don't understand, could you repeat that your highness?" Takako asked, puzzled. "Never mind me, and stop calling me that, while we're out you shall call me Kiku, the point is to not draw attention to the fact I'm the Empress." she said with a sigh, sometimes it felt like she was surrounded by children, not that she wasn't childish herself, but the Synthetics were like 6 year olds, smart enough to know some things, but fail to grasp the nuances that come with adulthood.

 

They'd drive around for an hour before she was finally relaxed enough to decide on what to do.

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  • 2 weeks later...

The Palace was suffocating, Kazuko thought to herself as she read over a report complaining about the cost of fireworks from Macau, a similar display being performed in Tokyo Harbor nightly as well, the ¥470,000 per location probably could go to something else, but as she began to hear the sounds of the detonations, she threw the report into the fireplace. iI was time to go visit the territories she decided, something to change the pace before she went off to visit Europe. "Takako, Pack a suitcase for me, I want to set out to visit Aisu-shō in an hour." The bot simply nodded and set to work.

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  • 1 month later...

Hokkyoku no kōkyo
 
Upon the declarations of war, the Alpha Kazuko was moved to a secure location within Aisu-shō, the northern regions were easy to hide in, and the Imperium's grip upon the icy province was unlikely to be moved, even while the home islands were bombarded and Manchuria was being ravaged. Katsuro had only known the Imperial Palace until the boy was seven, the weather was as unforgiving as his mother was, and he was not given much free time, from the time he could walk he was trained on how to defend himself, with weapons of all types, an education with heavy focus on Asian history and military tactics was planned, though the war had ended by the time he was able to read, to take Kazuko's place he would need to learn from both her mistakes and the mistakes of others throughout history.

 

The fortress had Japanese designs, but was as modern as you could get with defensive structures, housing 6,500 soldiers and another 1,200 civilians, from the outside it appeared to be essentially a traditional Japanese fortress, what could not be seen from the outside was that the very mountain itself was carved into a nuclear shelter, a quarter mile below sea level underneath the mountain, this is where the Empress and her child had actually lived.

 

Katsuro was a unique child, one could expect nothing less from the spawn of two of the most polarizing monarchs in recent history. Kazuko had given him her temper, but also her determination, and from Jeanne, her eyes, her wit and her confidence. The child hated being isolated in Siberia, but he understood what had occurred from an early age, it didn't stop him from taking it out on the servants, but his mother never had to see his anger and none of the servants were stupid enough to speak ill of her son to her.

 

The kid had a great potential, as the heir to the Imperium's throne he would have the power to declare war, or make peace, the throne also came with an enormous pull over the Shinto religion, decisions on what to invest in, would his Imperium be a beacon of science and technology, or perhaps the arts? It was a lot of pressure for one so young, but he took it in stride, he had first learned of his parentage six months after they moved back to Tokyo, when he was eight. Arguing with his mother he said "I wish I lived with my father!" to which Kazuko's sharp tongue replied "I doubt she would treat you any better than I you arrogant brat." which of course led to a lengthy conversation to explain where he came from.

 

He adapted well to Tokyo life, but there was always something missing if he stayed away from the arctic for too long, regular travel between the two became commonplace, and as he grew older was granted far more freedom to simply explore the wilds of the northern reaches. He wasn't entirely alone, being the heir to a head of state had its perks, notably a prototype Jiritsu sukauto inu, (JSI), a scout dog. ensuring his security while wandering the siberian wilderness.

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Victory needs no explanation, defeat allows none.

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Where most kids would hate being alone, Katsuro was not most kids. He as grown to enjoy the drone assigned to him, giving it the nickname Juhi. There was not much sun anymore, winter had come to the northern lands, but he enjoyed the darkness, it honed his vision and his other senses, the cold simply making him appreciate the warmth of the fire when he decided to go home, there was much to do in the Ice Province, and he would learn this place well before he would be satisfied.

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The Siberian wastes held many secrets. 

 

Katsuro had been wandering those wastes for the past several days, the boy had advanced survival training and created his own shelter when needed, and the advanced technology of the Imperium provided a small heater that kept him warm for the frigid nightfall. The sun was in the sky, but the snow still fell. He crested the mountain he had spent the better part of an hour climbing and saw a familiar sight.

 

Imperium bases dotted the territory, with a significant number of them not on any official record, advanced technology they did not wish to see fall into the enemy hands was researched in these secret locations, one of the drawbacks with such scenarios was if those who were to deliver supplies died, you were pretty fucked. Such a scenario is what had occurred at Arufashiguma, which Katsuro had finally encountered upon his travels.

 

He trudged through the snow with Juhi, the drone going ahead and standing at the giant doors. and staring into the darkness. It was strange, it had looked as though they were preparing to leave but there was simply nobody there, and as he got closer he soon realized it had been years since anyone touched the drop ship parked out front, or the dozens of crates strewn about the front of the research facility.

 

Normally he would have called for some support, but everything was gone, perhaps he could find something incredible and be able to impress his mother for once. She had rarely been the loving doting parent, but had been specially cold towards him ever since he had asked to meet his other mother. Sighing, he lit one of the glow stick "torches" and entered the place, his first task to close the damn doors, the glass in the sun room was broken, but if he could reseal the facility the internal power should return it to a comfortable temperature again. He walked along the wall until he eventually found it, yanking on the frozen handle until it gave in and began the doors closing, slowly of course, they hadn't moved in years after all.

 

The lights flickered on as he moved, the facility awakening once more to signs of life. "Juhi, go explore and show me the way up to that solarium, I already searched the databases, this is not in any of them, it must have been a black facility from the war." he said, mostly to himself as the drone already had taken off. It was certainly an Imperium facility, but strange it was not listed, he had the same access to military records as his mother. He ran his hand across the wall as he walked slowly into the place, looking for any signs of life, the garage he was in was a mess, with containers everywhere it seemed like they had tried to leave in a hurry.

 

Juhi returned about ten minutes later, holding up his paw, which contained a fiber line for Katsuro to plug into his handheld, it wasn't a complete map, but at least gave him enough information to reach the next place he had to go. Katsuro figured he'd explore the place today and then perhaps call for extraction if he found anything interesting.

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  • 2 weeks later...

They spent another 15 minutes to eventually reach the solarium, the broken window was unfixable by him alone, so he activated the blast doors to close it off from the rest of the facility, finally restoring enough of a seal to let the place warm up. "Juhi, go explore, let me know if you find anything interesting." He muttered, the drone letting off a small bark before running off. He'd look for the nearest terminal and look for climate control settings, turning the heat on max, he hadn't been warm for over a week now, he took the chance to spoil himself.

 

He ran his hand across the smooth metallic wall, descending deeper into the dark facility, the lights turning on as he walked underneath them. It seemed as though this was a far larger facility than he had thought, it felt like he had been walking down the gradient tunnel forever before he finally reached the first set of doors, a total of three of them, one on each side and one dead in front of him. "let's try door number one." he thought to himself, pushing the doors open.

 

As the lights flickered on he saw several tanks along the walls, all contained a sickly green liquid, but otherwise empty. In the center of the room stood a steel table, covered in paperwork, he glanced through them, covered with notations and various formulas, the actual tech he could decipher led him to believe it was some sort of genetic research, but he wouldn't even begin to imagine what it meant, taking off his glove he rant the sensory glove he wore underneath, able to effectively "scan" each document, the process taking several minutes but would ensure the data could be given to someone more gifted than him at this sort of thing.

 

The room across the hall on the other hand, contained something he understood very quickly, the room was at least 300 meters long, with a table to the right of the entrance on which several rifles sat, with a firing range taking up most of the room. Katsuro examined the weapons for several minutes, and then took one off the table, holding it up to his shoulder he took aim at one of the paper targets, exhaling slowly, he pulled the trigger. No recoil was what surprised him the most, a narrow beam of light shot from the end of the gun through the target, though it only lasted for about 3/4ths of a second before it stopped.

 

This would be something that could impress his mother, laser weaponry was still being tested, but reliable versions had yet to be found. he took the guns off the table and put them in a duffel bag, setting them down in the hallway outside. There was no sign of Juhi, which meant door number two was not simply a room, but more to explore. He yawned as he pushed through the door into another hallway, finally feeling the warmth from the ventilation system, wondering if he would find the sleeping facilities. a nice warm bed would be perfect right about now.

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