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Offline Daitō

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Stories of an Empire (Daitōjin Vignettes)
« on: February 19, 2022, 06:48:25 AM »
Stories of an Empire is a thread which will be used to detail various stories from around the Empire of Daitō, stretching from 1860 to the present. While such posts may not be made in any chronological order, they will be put up as links on this post in chronological order, as well as being categorized by their type.
Categories
Imperial Family

Coming Home — 10-19-19
A Night Worth Remembering — 07-14-22
The Transition — 08-03-22
Military

Politics

Spaceflight
The Voyagers, Part One — Moonshot (11-29-21)
The Voyagers, Part Two — Between Worlds (11-30-21)
The Voyagers, Part Three — Go for Undocking (12-01-21)
The Voyagers, Part Four — The Landing (12-01-21)
The Voyagers, Part Five — The First Step (12-01-21)
Shinkyō Calling (12-01-21)
The Voyagers, Part Six — Discovery (12-03-21)
The Voyagers, Part Seven — Final Day on the Moon (12-06-21)
Civilian

Misc.
« Last Edit: August 04, 2022, 05:28:16 AM by Daitō »
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Re: Stories of an Empire (Daitōjin Vignettes)
« Reply #1 on: February 19, 2022, 07:32:57 AM »
Shinkyō calling
Imperial Palace, Shinkyō
UTC 1900
December 1, 2021


The room was abuzz with movement, a mere two hours prior, Daitō had joined an illustrious cadre of nations who had landed a man on the moon, after all. However, for all that it was worth, it was only a half-complete job. They still had to return to their capsule, which still about six days away. Nonetheless, as his highness looked up at the moon, listening into the comms loop from mission control, he couldn't help but feel as though the intrepid flight of Ryū M-III had captured his imagination, much as it did many around the world. Even if this was a momentary distraction from his normal duties, sparse as they finally were due to the situation on the homefront settling down, it was worth the time and effort.

He wondered, as he often did, what it was like to soar among the stars, to see an alien world with his own eyes. Indeed, as a child he practically devoured old tapes of his nation's first forays into the great void, those and recordings of the first moon landing in '69 by his southern neighbor. It was such footage that convinced him, much to his parents protests, to join the Air Force, eventually serving as a pilot during the war. Risky business, that, but it made him feel truly alive in such a way few other experiences could. For a minute, he thought he might have caught a glimpse of Kyūden IV, that bygone relic of an age now passed, fly overhead, transiting the lunar surface as it did so, although it was more likely to be a satellite of some sort. Nonetheless, he continued to wait patiently for a chance to speak to the crew in what would be a most important call.
   "Tengu, Shinkyō." CAPCOM, presently being filled by ūchunaut Taichi Yukawa, said over the loop. He was set to fly in late January, by what Eijiro could remember.
   "Go ahead, Control." The mission commander, confusingly also named Eijiro, responded. Maybe he ought to change his actual name, keep it on the downlow, as the kids were saying these days.
   "Well, His Majesty is in his office now and would like to say a few words to you, over." CAPCOM replied.
   "That would be an honour." The commander said, to which His Majesty would snap to attention. It was time. He looked over his notes, something about how important of an undertaking this was, congratulations about achieving this goal... He just needed a minute to breathe. His excitement was almost palpable, but he didn't want to show it too much.
   "Alright, go ahead, your Majesty." Yukawa said, now to him. Go time.

And then, he spoke.

   "Hello, Ebashi-san, Kitamori-san, Akiyama-san. I'm speaking to you from the Imperial Palace over in Shinkyō, and this has to certainly be among the most important calls an Emperor of Daitō has ever had the pleasure to make. I really cannot put into words just how proud we all are of this achievement you have made. For every Daitōjin citizen, this has to be the proudest day of our lives, and for those all around the world, I'm sure they join with us to recognize what an immense achievement this mission has proven— will prove to be. Because of what you have done, the heavens have become more open than ever before, for as the number of nations who make this voyage from Mundus to Luna, the more our future becomes possible. As you speak to us from Shackleton Crater, it helps us to redouble our efforts to keep mankind's presence beyond our world permanent, as well as to bring peace and tranquility to Mundus. For one moment in our long and storied history as a species, we are one in their pride in this accomplishment, and one in our prayers that you will return safely home."
   "Thank you, your Majesty. I believe I speak for all of us in saying that it is a great honour and privilege for us to be here representing not only our nation, but all the children of Mundus with the curiosity to seek out what's out there... the children of Mundus with a vision for the future where we go forth, united in purpose, not divided by race, sex, or creed." The commander responded.
   "And thank you, Commander, for the opportunity to speak. I and everyone back home look forwards to see you return safely home, and we will watch your time on the surface with great interest. May the Kami be at your back."
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Re: Stories of an Empire (Daitōjin Vignettes)
« Reply #2 on: July 20, 2022, 10:21:11 AM »
A night worth remembering
Imperial Palace, Tenkyō, Daitō
UTC 2030
July 14, 2022


Another feast had come, supposedly in honor of the Gion Matsuri festival, though almost everyone knew it was just an excuse for an audience with the Emperor and to gather in one place. Eijiro knew that of course, after all, he had been in the court practically his entire life, but even so, he felt that it shouldn't diminish the experience whatsoever. Truthfully, he could never quite get used to these sorts of affairs, at least, within his position as Emperor anyways. As a child, he had enjoyed it, having the chance to spend time with friends from all across the Empire, but now? Now it was always "Your Majesty" and constant formality, as though they saw him less as a human and more of a god, which in all fairness many practically did, or at least as semi-divine. In time, he was sure he would get used to it, after all, it was just a change in terminology and people being even more polite than before, but it was nonetheless strange.

As he sat at a his table, overlooking the great hall, he counted at least fifty others present, likely more but he couldn't see them at that point. "Why did I ever agree to this?", he thought, as he listened to the musicians play their songs and watched the show which their music accompanied. He took a sip of sake from his cup as he listened to a conversation with Lord Muneyori Tomoshige, a Kakushaku[1] under the Kazoku system and a shō san-mi[2] within the court. While only a formal title, he was a senior counselor within the court, so his presence was usually welcome, and certainly Eijiro had to admit he enjoyed speaking to him.
   "Its almost hard to believe, Heika. Nearly two years and we're already out of it." Muneyori said from across the ways; he was seated just across from Eijiro, off to the right by a bit.
   "I only hope it was the right move, but if the people wanted it, then that's what we have to do." Eijiro replied; he admittedly wasn't too bothered by Daitō leaving the CSTO, but even so he was still cautious about what should be done.
   "The people?" Muneyori asked, an eyebrow raised. "The people, while important, don't drive the engine of the state. Besides, we all know you've grown disillusioned by the alliance, given that business last month."
With a sigh, Eijiro said "I suppose you're right, that did rub me the wrong way, so to speak." as he continued to watch the show, the fire from one of the braziers outside reflecting in his eyes. "But even so, lets be clear, the Empire-"
   "'the Empire cannot remained shackled to a corpse.' Yes, I know. Lord Tachibana said as much a few weeks back, when we had the chance to get together." Muneyori said, stretching his arms for a moment. "You're lucky to call him family, y'know."
   "In law, yes, but I suppose you're right." Eijiro admitted; yes, Eikichi spent his days as a painter, but he was certainly no slouch when it came to politics, having formerly served as State Minister of Foreign Affairs prior to his retirement. "He is certainly a wise man."
   "Aye. That he is." Muneyori said as he looked around the room. Someone was approaching, a servant or perhaps a lady-in-waiting, he could see that much, but for what he wasn't sure. Probably just to bring more drinks, if he were to guess. "Come to think of it, Heika, I haven't seen Her Majesty for a while. You have any idea what-" He said before cutting himself off as the servant spoke to the Emperor, her words hard for him to to hear simply due to the distance and the noise around himself.

   "What is it?" Eijiro asked the servant who had bowed to him, turning to look at her with a gentle smile. He may have been her superior, but that didn't mean he had to be harsh. A servant would take to their job better when given respect than when treated poorly, after all.
   "I wish to report that Her Majesty requests your presence, Heika." She said, looking up, though she dared not make eye-contact as it was still deemed disrespectful.
   "Where is she, come to think of it?" Asked Eijiro before adding "Actually... Let me guess, the Oikeniwa[3]?", knowing well it was her favorite place within the grounds.
   "Yes, Heika." The servant replied. "I humbly request that your Lordship follows."
   "Very well, thank you, Yuriko." Eijiro said before turning back to Muneyori. "My apologies, Muneyori-san, but I fear we will have to finish this conversation later."
   "That's fine, take as much time as you need." Muneyori said before continuing another conversation with someone else.

Eijiro then stood from his table before following the lady-in-waiting, first leaving the great hall before walking north then east towards the garden; the moon hung on the horizon, appearing full and brightening the sky as fireflies danced in the air. Truly a most wondrous sight, that much he certainly couldn't deny. As the two walked, they occasionally passed a few guests or servants; it mattered little, for whether rich or poor they bowed in reverence for the Emperor. Up some steps and a dozen more meters to go, they were close. Eventually, he reached the garden, the servant waiting by the palace walls as he continued his approach. There she stood, looking out on the reflecting pool, her vibrantly-coloured jūnihitoe standing in sharp contrast to the darkness around them.
   "Mayumi?" Eijiro asked gently as he approached the bridge, passing by a wooden lamp. "I... Your presence is sorely missed." He said to no response. Something seemed off about her, though why, he wasn't certain, though it was something he would nonetheless try to figure out. He stepped closer, placing his arm around her shoulder before asking "Is something wrong?"
   "No, Eiji." Mayumi said with a smile; there was certainly nothing wrong, on the contrary. "Nothing's wrong, it's just..." She hesitated with a laugh, albeit subdued. Indeed, she seemed as though she were positively beaming with joy.
   "It's just?" Eijiro said, his expression soft yet indicating, in his own way, his curiosity as to what she had to say. He felt as though perhaps he could just about grasp an inkling of what was on her mind, but only just.
   "I... I'm pregnant."  Mayumi said with a wide grin, her joy palpable within her voice. But for Eijiro, for the Emperor, everything seemed to stop.
He felt as though a wave of emotions submerged him, like the shore at high tide; he felt confusion, worry, but most importantly, joy. He couldn't quite get the words out, his heart seemed to race faster than the swiftest steed as he tried to process what she had said. Was this some sort of prank? No, it couldn't be, he thought, there was no way.
   "A-are you sure?" He asked, his voice shaken even as he struggled to contain a smile. A simple nod was the only reply, but that was all he needed. He ran his hands through his hair as he thought of what more to say, but what could he say? He was simply at a loss for words, he was going to be a father after all, with all of the worries that came with it. Eijiro pondered, although only for a moment, his own father, how he had 'raised' him and how he wished not to be like him. He couldn't bear the thought. Never. Instead, the two embraced in the light of the moon, sharing a tender kiss as they prepared to face this, a new chapter in their lives, together.

Tonight was to be a night they would cherish forever.

 1. "Kakushaku" translates roughly as Count in English
 2. 正三位, Senior Third Rank
 3. 御池庭, Lit. "Honourable Pool Garden"
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Re: Stories of an Empire (Daitōjin Vignettes)
« Reply #3 on: August 03, 2022, 11:42:30 PM »
The Transition
Imperial Palace, Tenkyō, Daitō
UTC 1300
August 28, 2020


Silence filled the air as Eijiro, son of Emperor Antei, sat upon the Takamikura throne in the Shishin-den hall of the Imperial Palace in Tenkyō. It had been two month since his father, the Emperor, had formally abdicated the throne, with the period between then and now being one of transition, when one era gave way to another. He had time to reflect on the years passed, on his father's reign and on those who came before. He was not the first Emperor, he knew that well, and he was determined not to be the last. Rather, he had high hopes for his reign, for it to be as though a second Keiyo era had dawned, a time of rejuvenation for Yamato of old. He looked down at his shaku for a moment, that ivory sceptre that made up part of his sokutai dress, and thought of those close to him. Of Mayumi, his bride to be, of his siblings, of the Imperial Family, of his dear friend, Count Tomoshige; they had been there for him for as long as he could remember, and as the Tenshi era began, he knew he would need their counsel, perhaps not politically, but rather as people he may confide in as need be.

He glanced around at the three sacred treasures, pondering the meaning of each of them, of the virtues he would need to possess as sovereign. Of the Ame-no-Murakumo-no-Tsurugi, the Heavenly Sword of Gathering Clouds, he knew it represented valour, both in the field and in his leadership. He would be called upon to serve the Empire with great valour when the time may come that he had to defend this ancient land. Of the mirror Yata-no-Kagami, the wisdom to lead the Empire well in daily life, as a symbol of the state and a guide unto his people. And of the Yasakani-no-Magatama beads, which represented benevolence; a ruler who loved his subjects as his own children was one who the people would follow even into death. Sure, he knew he could live up to these three simple things, but as Emperor there was much that would be expected of him. Would he truly be able to live up to the expectations the world had for him and even surpass them, or would he be doomed to be a footnote in history at best and an outright failure at worst?

A gong rung out, and thus he knew that it was time.

As servants dressed in black sokutai furled the curtain which separated him from the outside world, he was certain to hide how he felt from those beyond the veil. He gazed out from the hall, out upon banners and a thousand soldiers, dressed in the traditional garb of the imperial guard, dating back to the Heijō period of old. He then watched as the Prime Minister, one Yoshihiko Koshida, approached the throne and bowed. A servant stepped forward along the throne, turned to Eijiro, then bowed for five seconds. He then stepped inwards and with great care, he took from him the shaku before walking away. The process repeated itself, with another servant bringing him a sheet of paper, folded seven times, which contained the speech which he was to deliver. He took the paper, his eyes forwards, then nodded as the servant bowed. Once the servant had cleared the throne, Eijiro would unfold the paper and at once he began to speak.
   "Having previously succeeded to the imperial throne in accordance with the Constitution of the Empire of Daitō and the Special Measures Provision of the Imperial House Law, I now perform the ceremony of enthronement at the Shishin-den Hall and proclaim my enthronement to those at home and abroad." He spoke in a calm, collected manner, full of poise in how he carried himself. Everyone else was silent, almost deafeningly so; it even seemed as though the natural world had gone quiet, paying homage to the new Emperor. "I deeply reflect that, for nearly thirty years, His Imperial Majesty, the Emperor-Emeritus constantly prayed for the happiness of the people and for peace across the world, always sharing in the joys and sorrows of the people, and showing compassion throughout his rule. I pledge hereby to act in accordance with the powers vested in me by the constitution and the divine as leader of the Empire and as heir to the legacy of Yamato of old, always wishing for the happiness of the people and peace around the world, turning my thoughts to the people and standing with them." He continued as he reached the final part of his statement; he couldn't help but smile a bit, even with how nervous he was. It was a day he knew was coming since as long as he could remember, and now that it was happening, he felt as though a huge burden had been lifted from his shoulders. "I sincerely hope, as we enter this new era, that our country, through our people's wisdom and unceasing efforts, achieves further development and contributes to the friendship and peace of the international community and the welfare and prosperity of mankind."

With this complete, the servant returned, taking the paper and handing him back the shaku then leaving the throne once again. Then, the Prime Minister stepped forwards and bowed, before he too spoke, delivering a statement acknowledging his accession to the throne.
   "I have respectfully conveyed, internally and externally, the enthronement of His Imperial Majesty and Emperor on this day and place. It is a great pleasure for the people that the Emperor has held the ceremony of accession to the Imperial throne at the state hall of the Imperial Palace to promulgate his enthronement worldwide. I respect His Imperial Majesty more that he will learn from the example of his predecessor, the Emperor Emeritus, who has shared the joys and sufferings of the Daitōjin people, and that he will follow in his father's footsteps in acting in accordance with the constitution, to lead the Empire and its people. I acknowledge your pledge to ensure that Daitō grows and develops, that it contributes to peace and friendship in the world, and the welfare and prosperity of mankind. The people shall look up to His Imperial Majesty as a symbol and leader of the state and of the country's unity, and I pledge on behalf of the people to achieve a fresh start for Daitō so that it may be more open to the world, more energetic, and more cultured. The Daitōjin people shall strive for peace in the world, and for the welfare of mankind. I shall end my words of congratulation by praying for peace in the Tenshi era and for the wellbeing of the Emperor."

The Prime Minister then bowed before taking three steps backwards and bowing once more, more deeply than the first. He then raised his voice, saying with great vigor,
   "I request those in attendance to face forwards." before, with a power and respect befitting the importance of the ceremony, shouting "Tennōheika Banzai!", the last part thrice, leading those assembled, many in number, in that chant. So loud and numerous it was that perhaps Amaterasu-Ōmikami, the goddess of the Sun, would've heard it and that Ryūjin, dragon god of the seas, would've been startled by its power.

At long last, the new era had dawned.
« Last Edit: October 25, 2022, 09:39:01 PM by Daitō »
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Re: Stories of an Empire (Daitōjin Vignettes)
« Reply #4 on: October 13, 2022, 03:55:24 AM »
The Superintendent and the General
Special Higher Police Headquarters, Kōjimachi, Sendō Ward, Shinkyō
UTC 1230
October 03, 2022


Jin Hiraishi, Superintendent-General of the Special Higher Police, had scarcely been able to rest for the better part of a year. With the assassination of Emperor-Emeritus Antei and Prime Minister Daisuke Hayata the year prior, all of his time had become dedicated to the investigation, for such a brazen attack was something he neither could nor would abide. "They" had struck against the Emperor himself, and as the old song went, the enemies of His Imperial Majesty were his enemies as well. Regardless, he felt like he had reached a brick wall in the investigation. He knew the Kokuryūkai had orchestrated the killing, yes, but there was yet a missing piece. He suspected, though it was probably unfounded... probably, that the CDP had been involved. It wouldn't surprise him; they claimed to be "pro-democracy" and "pro-liberalization", but those claims were but a façade. Thirty-five years of working among the highest echelons of the government taught him that they were just anti-YFD and would do anything, anything to damage their reputation if it meant they could win.

He sighed as he read through yet another report. Nothing new on the case of Emperor Antei's murder, and everything else was quiet. Too quiet, truth be told. His counterpart in Rokkenjima's INIS, Tamaki Kado, had failed to respond to the request to cooperate on investigating alleged Anausa infiltration of the Empire, which was a fair request, to be clear. His silence over the last months spoke far louder than words, as though there were something he was hiding. Certainly something to look into, he thought, as he received a call. Picking up the phone, he would answer.
   "What is it?" He asked as he closed the file.
   "Hiraishi-sōkan, Hokinoue-chūjō is here to see you." Jin's secretary, Hiroyo Haga, said over the phone.
   "Ah, alright..." Jin said, quickly putting away his files. He was, after all, meeting the commander of the Kenpeitai, so he wanted to make a good impression. Sure, he knew him from way back in the day, back when he was working counterespionage towards the end of the Cold War, but still. "...Send him in."

A few moments passed in silence, the air still, the sun shining through the curtain. The clock kept ticking, the only thing audible in the room, though just in the hall, footsteps drew ever closer. Before his guest arrived, Jin stood up from his desk, awaiting him. He looked out of the window, his office overlooking the Imperial Palace, now under renovation; the city below stretched out as far as the eye could see, great metal spires jutting out into the high heavens, sheathed in glass and glittering the mid-day sun. But of course, the office also overlooked the site of his greatest failure as head of the Tokkō; the place where an Emperor had died and where everything had changed. Perhaps there had been something he had missed back then, a clue that would've prevented such a grave tragedy as this. Whatever the case may have been, his thoughts were soon interrupted by the door swinging open.
   "Been a while, Hiraishi-sōkan." A man—Takahiko Hokinoue—said as he walked in, his tan uniform shone upon by the lights overhead. "Heh... Still a little strange, calling you that."
   "Hokinoue-chūjō." Jin said with a bow and a smile. "Please, take a seat." He said, motioning to a chair in front of his desk before he once more sat down. Takahiko obliged as he opened his suitcase before pulling out a few files. "You have what I asked you for?" He asked as he looked at the files he was pulling out.
   "Yep, all of them and more." Takahiko noted as he placed them on the table. "Y'know, it wasn't easy collecting all of this intel. One might think you owed me a favor after this."
   "Fair enough, General. If there's anything you or the Kenpeitai need from us, I'll do what I can to oblige."

Almost immediately, Jin began going through the files, at least eight in number, each given a name. Of particular note to him was one on Hisao Yanagisawa, Representative for Shinkyō's fifth district and the present head of the Constitutional Democratic Party. Naturally, that was the first one he opened, being drawn to it like a moth to a flame. Perhaps he was too suspicious of the opposition, even if they were a bunch of hypocrites at best and as a malignant tumor on the nation at worst. It was them that had brought ruin upon the Empire's economy back in the nineties, for which he was quietly thankful they hadn't regained the premiership since. But now, with the investigation trailing on, people would be pointing fingers in the upcoming election. The Yafukudō, his dear party, would undoubtedly be viewed as having failed the state if they couldn't bring the former Emperor's killers to justice.
   "Oh, you're gonna like that one." Takahiko said, looking up from one of the other files, having elected of his own accord to read through them as well. "It's got everything. Ties to organized crime, to the Kokuryūkai , his involvement in the killings—By the Kami, even ties to the killing of Prime Minister Fukumoto back in 2020 and terrorists in Tsukishimadō."
   "...it says here he's a Rokkenjiman asset." Jin said with a sigh. "We ruled that out ages ago."
   "What? That wasn't in the file I gave-" Takahiko said before cutting himself off, noticing the grin on his counterpart and friend's face.
   "I'm kidding, don't worry." Jin said with a chuckle. "Though honestly, anyone who thinks Victoria is nice enough to want to vacation there more than once has to be in bed with the Rokkenjimans."
   "Heh... I'll certainly drink to that!" Takahiko said with a laugh of his own. Both of them had been to the city before and didn't enjoy it... Then again, nothing did quite beat the Miyako Islands for a vacation, with its crystal-blue waters, white sands, and tropical climate.
   "In any case though, this'll be... quite the conference we're having. Emperor's summons and the like, so lets... try not to screw this up." Jin said, noting the trouble with the investigation over the last year. "Still, the evidence here is pretty ironclad, if I do say so myself, so I don't have any doubts."
   "Yep... At long last, this nightmare is almost over."

A few hours passed, but soon, the General would leave the building, returning to his own duties. Just a week to go and then it would begin.
« Last Edit: October 21, 2022, 07:24:40 PM by Daitō »
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Re: Stories of an Empire (Daitōjin Vignettes)
« Reply #5 on: October 22, 2022, 06:01:04 PM »
The Conference
Imperial Palace, Sendō Ward, Shinkyō
UTC 01400
October 10, 2022


   Eijiro had to admit, it was different being at the head of one of these meetings rather than merely sitting in on one. For a so-called "Imperial Conference", he really wasn't doing much. Just listening, and listening, and listening. He understood why this was the case; as the Emperor, he was supposed to remain above politics, it being beneath someone of his station as the direct descendant of Amaterasu, the sun goddess, in a line unbroken going back to when the world was young. Those were mere stories, of course. He knew it, but what harm did such stories do if it meant that stability was maintained? Thus, he saw no reason to speak during the proceedings, boring as they may have been. He watched as ministers and officials entered the room, taking their places at tables set to the left, right, and in front of him. With a nod, he beckoned for them to sit.

   Even as Crown Prince, back when his father was Emperor, back when he was still alive, he had to admit these meetings could be quite dull. Yes, he was sitting in on them back then to "learn", but it taught him little more  than to maintain his composure and remain both silent as the moon and as unmoving as a statue. Instead, he'd use those times to think about the history of the room he was in. All of the great names and faces who had passed through there. All of the important decisions that had been reached. From the Keiyo Restoration and the annexation of Tsukishima to the decision to declare war upon Ardia and everything that came between and after. And here he was, sitting at the head of the Gozen Kaigi after nearly thirty years. The very seat where, back in 1945, following the cruel bombing of Hatsukaichi, the decisions were made that would bring about peace unto the continent. And all because one man, one Emperor who was once a pawn for those around him, spoke when nobody else would, breaking a deadlock which would've cost many, many more lives.

   Of course, even if it was just another meeting, it was one which was of grave importance. The heads of the Tokkō and the Kenpeitai, Superintendent-General Hiraishi and Lieutenant General Hokinoue had made a major breakthrough in the investigation into the Kokuryūkai, one which was... disturbing in its nature. He'd already known about the Constitutional Democratic Party's issues, their ideology. Even the most ardent Sonyuist of the YFD would find them extreme, and to most moderates, the fact that they were even allowed to serve in the Diet was unacceptable. But to think they would go so far as to work with these traitors to not only orchestrate a coup, but to try to kill him when that failed? Now, they were practically enemies of the state, or at least, their leadership was. Everyone in the room agreed that, at a bare minimum, Hisao Yanagisawa, the leader of the party, should be arrested on the charge of High Treason and dealt with in such a manner as that which befit him. No. What they disagreed with wasn't what should be done about the CDP. Rather, they had come into conflict over what would be done afterwards.

   "We can't just carry on like nothing happened." Said Goro Usatsuka, the President of the Planning Board[1], as he looked around the room.
   With a nod, Prime Minister Suketoshi Heishi said "I agree, but... I worry that whatever action we take, it will reflect poorly on the government and on the Yafudō[2]." as he rested his left arm on the table. "If we strike now, arrest Yanagisawa, then it will just seem to the people as an attempt to eliminate a potential rival."
   "If we do not act now, then it is only a matter of time before he—before the Kokuryūkai—strikes again." Okimoto Esashi pointed out, which was met with the approval of General Hokinoue. "He very nearly succeeded in claiming His Imperial Majesty's life, or have you forgotten?"
   "No."
   "Then why are you so resistant to arresting him while we have the opportunity?"
   "It's simple. The damage it could do would—"
   Superintendent-General Hiraishi spoke up, saying, "What the Prime Minister is trying to say, I believe, is that he is worried about the unrest that it will bring." as he looked over to the marshal. "Of course, that is something which we are prepared for. Though not, I will admit, as well prepared as we can be."
   "And what"—Suketoshi tapped his fingers on the side of the desk—"would you want in order to be as well-prepared for this unrest as necessary?"
   "Heishi-sōri, are you familiar, by any chance, with the Peace Preservation Law put into place back in '85[3]?" Hokinoue inquired.
   "Of course, everyone does. What about it?"
   "It needs to be revived. Updated for the days we live in, yes, but for the sake of stability, it should be adopted once more."
   Stunned by what he was hearing, Entarō Wakayama, the Commissioner-General of the Imperial Police Agency, said, "Absolutely not." as he pounded the table with his hand. "Yes, I realize that it worked while we had it, but certainly everyone present is aware of what it gave the Tōkko, the Kenpeitai, and even the Tokubetsu Keisatsutai? What you are asking for, Hokinoue-chūjō, Hiraishi-keibu, is a return to the era of Hisayuki Sonyu, to rule through fear."

   By the Kami, if they were in a sinking boat, they would probably argue about who would be bailing it right until the moment they went under. In other words, they were either going to be at it for hours or, in the worst case scenario, they would never come to an agreement on this. Certainly, Eijiro recognized why General Hokinoue's proposal was met with such a strong reaction; like Suketoshi had said, practically everyone knew what it was. It made it a criminal offence to form an association with the goal of altering the kokutai, which was more or less the most that people tended to know about it. What it really did, which was something many had forgotten over the last ninety-seven years, was that it could be used to brand any opposition as working to alter the kokutai. It would, suffice to say, set a precedent which Eijiro was conflicted on. He wanted to preserve the democratic system in place, yes, but on the other hand, he wished to see the violence which had marked the first year of his reign never reemerge. But of course, he couldn't say anything. The thought was, or so he thought, practically impossible.

   Suketoshi stood up from the table and turned to Eijiro. With a deep bow, he said, "Heika, although I recognize that in doing so, I am breaking a tradition held since the days of Keiō-seitai, I, your most dutiful servant, humbly request that you break this deadlock and make a decision on what our course is to be."

   Everyone was quiet then. Not since the days after Ardia rained down atomic hellfire upon Hatsukaichi had anyone requested that an Emperor speak during a meeting of the Gozen Kaigi. The last time it was even seriously considered was back in 1971, during the Tatenokai Incident. But now, Suketoshi had really done it. Despite being a moderate, he genuinely believed that the Emperor should take more of a role in leading the state, at least during times of crisis, so this was hardly something he wouldn't do, to be sure. After all, it was Hisayuki Sonyu himself who, in 1945, asked Eijiro's great-grandfather to do the same. Yet Eijiro, for all of the things he had done that went against convention, joining the navy, fighting in an active conflict, participating in the Mundus Games twice, was still a man who valued tradition. Even when the security of the state required it as it did now, he felt conflicted. With a sigh, the Emperor stood up from the table.

   All who were assembled had turned their eyes to him, their gaze unwavering as spoke up.
   "Very well. The concerns raised by Wakayama-chōkan with regards to the proposal raised by Hokinoue-chūjō and Hiraishi-keibu are noted. Indeed, indeed, I can see why such worries are justified, after all, under the laws issued in my great-grandfather's name, the Tokubetsu Kōtō Keisatsu and Kenpeitai were granted a position which far exceeded the duties they were given, granted carte blanche to prosecute any form of dissent." Eijiro acknowledged, glancing around the room. "However, there are times when certain measures which, though perhaps having the potential for injustice in the wrong hands, are nonetheless necessary to ensure that peace is restored and that further bloodshed is avoided.

   "Hokinoue-chūjō, Hiraishi-keibu, Ishihara-keibu, Makimura-chūjō" He said, looking to the heads of the four main intelligence agencies within the Empire. "I am authorizing you to prosecute those responsible for the attacks on the sixth of Rokugatsu[4], 2681 and the eleventh of Jūnigatsu[5] within the fullest extent of the law. Particularly, target . Heishi-sōri, I request that, once the elections have come to an end, you and the Yafudō as a whole work to reinstate certain powers granted by the 2585 Peace Preservation Law, granting the intelligence service authorization to fully stamp out these... terrorists once and for all. When that is done, that law will be abolished, make no mistake. This is only a temporary measure to ensure that this particular threat is crushed."

   With that, the Emperor went silent, returning to his seat so that the conference could proceed. There was some murmuring among those assembled, after all, a nearly eighty year precedent had been shattered before their eyes. Some supported the move by the Emperor to speak up, including, of course, the Prime Minister, as well as Marshal Esashi and the various heads of both the Imperial Armed Forces and the various intelligence services. On the other hand, figures such as Goro Usatsuka as well as Ministers Haruno and Besujima and Commissioner-General Wakayama, were more critical of the move, since they wished to avoid such a drastic step to the best of their ability. Perhaps it was justified, perhaps not. History would prove to be the judge in that regard. What was clear, however, was that finally, this crisis was almost over. By the end of the day, the Gozen Kaigi would come to a final decision, one based on the Emperor's directives although in a more restrained manner.

 1. Planning Board — The Planning Board is the bureau responsible for submitting recommendations to the Prime Minister on matters of national importance, and coordinating their implementation.
 2. Acronyms — "Yafudō" is the Onishi-language acronym for the Yamato Fukkatsu Dōmei party.
 3. Dates, Part One — In this case, Hokinoue is referring not to 1985, but 2585 on the Imperial Calendar, which corresponds to 1925 on the Gregorian Calendar.
 4. Dates, Part Two — "Rokugatsu" is the Yamatojin Onishi name for June.
 5. Dates, Part Three — "Jūnigatsu" is the Yamatojin Onishi name for December.
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Re: Stories of an Empire (Daitōjin Vignettes)
« Reply #6 on: October 25, 2022, 07:18:22 PM »
The Captive
Special Higher Police Headquarters, Kōjimachi, Sendō Ward, Shinkyō
UTC... Uncertain
October 24, 2022


   This was it, thought Hisao Yanagisawa as he glanced around the vacant, dull-gray cell he now found himself in. There was no way he was getting out of here a free man, now that the Tokkō had caught him. Nearly two years since that fateful day in November, when he made a decision which would, as it seemed now, cost him everything. Frankly, were it not for it happening to him, he might've laughed. He, a man with no experience in intelligence work, had evaded the thought police for two years, while most rarely made it three months, or say they said. Perhaps they were getting desperate? No, why would he kid himself so? They would never have made the arrest if they weren't already certain of his guilt. That was just how the legal system worked, he knew it, his prosecutors knew it, everyone knew it. And the thing about that? They were correct. He was guilty, guilty of loving his country, of placing its interests above everyone else. Even if it meant knowing that for the Empire to survive, it needed different hands on the wheel, so to say. Someone more easily controlled, who wouldn't take the nation down a path nobody could foresee.

   He could hear footsteps drawing near, muffled by the walls which isolated him from the outside world. Out the window, small as it was, he could see that it was at least daylight out, though beyond that he really couldn't say. Beyond these muffled footsteps, the only noise that he could hear was the faint hum of the lights above which shone down brilliantly, though it was quite uncomfortable how bright it was. Probably by design, were he to guess. Still, it could be worse. He could've been handed over to the Kenpeitai, and if the rumors were true, this cell would've been as a palace by comparison. The door swung open, and in entered two men, one older, the other younger. Though he knew not the younger of the two, the other wore a face he recognized.

   "Let me guess, my 'essay' still wasn't good enough?" Asked Hisao with a sigh as he rolled his eyes. He'd been forced to write and rewrite an account of how he had become involved in, quote, "dangerous ideologies" over the last couple days that he had been held here, and every time he was done, it wasn't good enough for his captors. He wasn't sure why, probably just to screw with him.
   The elder of the two men, Jin Hiraishi, replied, "Actually, no. We're done with that. However, I do believe that Inspector Kishida"—he glanced over to his protégé—"has a few questions for you."
   "Thank you, sir." Kishida said with a bow. "Yanagisawa-san, while you have admitted to being involved with the ideology of the Kokuryūkai, we need specifics. For example, and to be clear, it is advisable that you answer truthfully, where were you on the day of the attack, back in June of last year?"
   "You really think I would know that? It was ages—"
   "Don't give me that." The inspector cut him off, placing his hand against the wall of the cell. "Someone like you has records of practically everywhere you go, not to mention, it being such a major event, something you'd at least have some memory of."
   "Fine, if you must know, I was at home. With my family. Watching His Imperial Majesty's speech."
   After a second, Jin pressed a button on his phone, playing a recording of Hisao which said, "Yes, Ijima-chūi did his job to the best of his ability. Killed both Hayata and the Emperor-emeritus. I think the Emperor was also among them, but the feed cut out before then. Now we've just gotta deal with who comes next, assuming our 'friend' really did get taken out as well. Oh, and Yaegashi-taishō? Take care of Ijima, better to tie loose ends."

   "Where did you get that?" Hisao asked, looking over to Jin. He was still calm, he knew where this road led. It was a sacrifice he was willing to make; even if he and the kokuryūkai failed, the changes that the Empire was certain to make would be enough. In a way, he won, or so he told himself. There was no getting out of this now.
   "Let's just call it... hm... Divine intervention." Kishida stated.
   "You aren't even going to deny it?" Jin asked Hisao.
   "I meant every word of it. Founding and leading the kokuryūkai? ordering the attack back nearly two years ago? Ordering the death of His Imperial Majesty? All of it, I meant.
   "Frankly, Hiraishi-keishisōkan, if I didn't do it, then somebody else would've eventually. Don't pretend to me that it wouldn't be the case. Have these walls not held many over the years who would've sought to change the Empire, for better or for ill? Was it not your beloved Yafudō which first came to power through the blood of those who Hisayuki Sonyu thought endangered the future of the Empire?"
   Jin glared at him, feeling nothing for him but the utmost contempt and disgust. "You've just admitted to treason, you do realize that?" He asked him, his voice sharp and his fists balled.
   "Treason. Yes, that is the word you use for it. Not patriotism, not following in the example your forebears set ages ago. But treason?" He waved his hand. "Nobody questions beyond what someone did. Never why."

   For a moment, Hisao looked down at the floor. It mattered little what he said now; he was finished. Even if there was some doubt in their minds, his pride wouldn't allow him to grovel, to beg for his life like some common criminal. No, he would face what was to certainly be his death with some dignity, something he was sure they would not afford him. History would be his judge, and if it meant he was to sink to the deepest hell for his sins, then so be it.
   "I'd say that's all we needed, wouldn't you say, Kishida-keibu?" Jin asked Hisao, who nodded in agreement. "Well, in any case..." He said as he and his compatriot walked towards the door, his head held high as he moved slowly before opening it. "Yanagisawa-san, while I cannot say with any true certainty how your judge will rule, I would not expect it will be a positive outcome for you. I would offer you the best of luck, but frankly? Someone like you doesn't deserve it. You have three days." He stated as they left and the door slammed shut. That was it. A man's fate sealed, and with it, perhaps this case would be over.
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"Tie me to a missile and fire me at Pyrettania. I am ready."