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Hachiman, Hard Boiled (Golden Lion AU) Cover Art

Chapter 5 - White Tiger[]

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Family Day Trip[]

08/17/3002 Location: Kyushu, Kagoshima, Draconis Combine

Two women watched a pair of young boys playing 'swords' in the grove from their perch. Behind them a bamboo forest and placid cloud touched mountains overlooked quiet Sapo Town. Best known as a resort for those escaping 'Black' Luthien's overbearing palace life and rampant pollution.

From the other side a handmaid walked as quickly as proper through the grove and up the pagoda's stairs. She took a respectful place before her voice squeaked over the women's cheering their children on. “Apologies. Honored Lady Kareena. I bear a missive from High Command.”

She opened the offered message, read it quickly, and strove to hold back tears. Jasmine Isu was immediately there to comfort her sister-in-law. Its messenger quietly departed before they finished.

An eerie silence settled over the two boys in their fantastical world. Concerned the younger one looked up at the pagoda. “They aren't there anymore.”

The other boy craned his neck looking at the now empty balcony from the looming bamboo stalks. “Is it lunch time already?”

His bamboo pole angled toward the ground from its chudan-no-kamae 'middle guard' position. “Wouldn't they have shouted, Isoroku?”

They puzzled the mystery as their 'swords' became walking sticks. “We should see what's going on, Theodore. Race you up the steps!”

Both of them rushed through the bamboo. Theodore started one step behind and his older cousin's lead rose to three. “That's not fair! You have longer legs than me.”

They flew up the stairs until they arrived breathless and laughing where their mothers sat on the mats. Kareena's face held only the slightest of tears. Isoroku's attitude darkened as he dropped the stick and slide next to his mother to wipe her tear. “What's wrong?”

Jasmine embraced her nephew and son in the comforting folds of her yukata. “I'm sorry boys. We just heard Miyamoto died on Alexandria.”

Isoroku made his own attempt to look strong but his aunt's empathy was stronger than his boyish courage. He brushed away tears and put on his bravest voice. “Did he die fighting?”

“He did, nephew. Murakami took down five (Skye) Rangers before it fell.” she said him

Raid in the Federated Suns[]


The city of Farow Junction was empty of all, but rats scurrying through the toxic sewer below. Above them Murakami stalked its AFFS prey with a pair of damaged Panthers. A gold fan spread out across its back from shoulder to shoulder marking its pilot as a graduate of the Pagoda for Imperial (Staff) Officers.

“Go above and scout. We will hold this street.”

“Hai Tai-I!”

Both Panthers pulled their arms in and leapt above landing as softly as their mass allowed on the crumbling buildings of Farow's Junction. He looked down at the battered Ki-Rin (Myrmidon) tank and mechanized Ashigaru at his feet. Like all DCMS Mechwarriors he looked down on lesser bushi. Unlike them he respected their unique abilities and felt utilizing more weapons a sound tactic. His time at PIO had given him great respect for their efficiencies.

While the Panthers looked ahead he took in the worn ambiance of a fallen city. As much a victim of war as fallen AFFS Ashigaru bravely daring to combat the 5th Sword of Light even through dishonorable means. “Reminds me of New Samarkand. Train as you fight, yes.”

Striker Combat Vehicle (on Hillside - HBS Game Version)

Striker Missile Combat Vehicle

Busosenshi Kyu shouted through the radio. “Kintaro, making a run for it!”

Upon hearing that the Ki-Rin moved into high gear rolling over flattened shards of gray Tiger and Striker UDB tanks. Murakami ran close behind its lumbering autocannon bobbing with each stride. “Flush it out! Don't lose visual.”

Sword of Light bushi pushed deeper into the city. A Panther disappeared into rubble as the Urban Defense Brigade detonated mines mounted on the ceiling of a low apartment block. The light mech crashed through floors before its broken limbless form was trapped in the basement.

Panther (2D 3D Cartoons version)

Panther Light 'Mech

Busosenshi Ayin's stern voice came over the Battlenet. “They got Kyu with a trap. Damn those FedRats.”

No sooner than he said that were fougasses detonated as the Ki-Rin passed over them. Directional explosives angled perfectly to overbalance its turret and tip the armored vehicle. The 40 ton tank was thrown into an already shattered storefront. With its crew concussed and treads wrecked it was little more than salvage.

“They are drawing us in, Tai-I. Should we break off the pursuit?”

Oiled asphalt made the mech almost loose control. Isoroku reached his hand out to anchor the machine in order to keep its feet. “No. I won't let even one of these FedRats Mechs escape this city.

Sho-So Conti ordered it captured by day's end. As long as one remains our unit's honor is at stake.”

“Understood sir. It fell into a similar slick. You should be able to catch it if you run now.” said Ayin

Isoroku pushed the control yoke forward his eyes on the targeting reticle within his neurohelmet's visor. “Then that is what I shall do.”

Murakami ran unsteadily over the oil while UDB irregulars tossed incendiaries into it before returning to their sheltering structures. Isoroku pushed through the heat. His cooling vest strained to keep his core cool as torrents of sweat poured down his back and onto the polymer and steel seat that held him firm.

His 'Mech cleared the corner and into a cloud of short range missiles from the Kintaro and its infantry. A thunderous roar echoed off the concrete canyons. The green 'mech fell knees first before the rest of it crashed through the glass front of a shopping mall. Murakami stood opposite, its Tomodruzu cannon, the namesake for the Hunchback, still smoking from the killing blow.

Additional units from the Galedon Regulars followed up on the Sword of Light's vanguard. Since enemy mechs and heavy armor were no longer a threat lesser Ashigaru infantry and armored combat vehicles were assigned the ignoble task of clearing out guerrillas. Murakami needed to be rearmed before he could return to battle so there was time for some 'dismounted recon.'

Inside the shopping mall Isoroku, Nakayima laser pistol in hand, walked behind a platoon of helmeted Ashigaru carefully picking through broken glass. Below him these shards reflected oranges and reds of a setting sun. Behind him the Kintaro was still warm but lifeless. Power had been cut before they attacked the city so the mall was quiet. Steel gates lowered over the storefronts in an attempt to meager attempt to secure their goods.

Ayin tapped him on the shoulder. “Tai-I. The Physicians report that Kyu has been rescued and is en route to the MASH.”

Ashigaru continued their clearing patrol as the two Mechwarriors found themselves in a darkened Occidental Exports department store. Isoroku and Ayin holstered their pistols sensing no threat within. He held out a brightly printed dress, the label he recognized as one of the golden world designers popular in the Federated Suns. An exotic good only found within the markets of Hachiman where counterfeits and occasionally the real thing, smuggled under DCPA eyes, filled its street markets.

“This would look wonderful on Kanoko. I shall bring them to her in every color when I return. Along with outfits for our daughter.”

“Her due date must be coming soon.

The men moved through the silent department store. Its escalator turned to stairs and electronics department dark the promise of loot already drawing patrolling soldiers who filled their packs and pockets with goods. Unlike them Isoroku used his flashlight to find the baby section adding outfits to the designer dresses. “Within a month. I hope to be there when our daughter is born.

If I cannot though I pray she doesn't hold it against me. I was very clear that my service to the Dragon was non-negotiable before we wed.”

“Wasn't it arranged? I understand that would be clearly stated beforehand.”

Finally both men took a trip to the soda fountain of the store's snack bar. “That is true. However, ours was not arranged as both my parents were dead beforehand.”

Isoroku's face narrowed in anger quickly followed by sorrow and then back to its original grim configuration. This grimness softened however as he talked of his wife. “I met her on the campus of the University of Ashio. I got lost. Asked her for directions,” he paused to finish off his soda, “then her number.”

Unpleasant News from afar[]

06/08/3026 - Location: Markab, Contested World

The sun beat down on the 5th Sword of Light's camp in the shadow of their dropships. Orderly quonset huts faced broad avenues of compacted sand patrolled by Arkab Legionaries clad in their flowing white robes held assault rifles on their shoulders, armored vests across their chest, and jet black goggles over the eyes.

Tai-I Isoroku lay in the nicest office accommodations this oven of a world could offer. His head looming over reports detailing the poor supply situation the Sword of Light found itself in on this desolate dustball.

A young woman entered the door her tan duster having taken on a saffron brown tint from the storm outside. Some sand followed her into the 'mud-room' where she took her duster off hanging it next to the DCMS issue sand coat already there.

She bowed meekly mindful of the dust that followed her in. “Apologies, Tai-I. May I have a drink?”

“Of course, Acolyte Sarah.” A chilled pitcher of water and metal cup were extended to her. “I appreciate the Order's insistence on sending a person along with mail. We don't get many new faces out here.”

Sarah drank the cup quickly and filled it again mindful of Isoroku's potential judgment. Finding none she drank another. “With good reason. This is not what I would call a choice assignment. I do my duty to the Order however, as you do to your Coordinator.”

“Duty before comfort.” A silvered bag with the COMSTAR emblem on it was placed on the desk. “These will do much to ease the former with the latter.” In return Isoroku handed her another for outgoing multi-media messages to be couriered to the HPG as broadcasts were likely to be intercepted.

“COMSTAR is as usual your humble servant, Tai-I Kurita.” With that she departed into the dun haze gathering outside.

He looked at the bag and back to his work. Ozawa had been a big loss but it was going to take a bigger win to hold Markab. As company XO it was his job to make sure they cold fight well but the desert suffered no fools. “Duty before comfort.”

Instead of following his own mantra Isoroku opened the bag and found a message to him from his sister-in-law Ayame on Ashio. He read it once, then twice his determined countenance, that of a Kurita Samurai, faded to that of a broken man. One who reached down to remove the bottle of contraband tequila from the unit safe. He used it to fill his mug trying to drink his sorrows away.

The note fell to the dusty floor, 'Isoroku it is with my most sincere sorrow to report that my sister, your wife Kanoko, and infant daughter have died. We await your presence for the final ceremonies.

I am so very sorry for your loss. Ayame'

Family Gathering[]

08/01/3046 - Location: Taragi Kurita Clan Reserve, Deolali - Hachiman, Draconis Combine

Chandreskar Kurita moaned in relief as he lay face down on the table eyes closed. Two young women used every part of their feet to massage his portly back. They stabilized themselves on twisted rope tied to the ornate woodwork of the ceiling above.

A sharp snap and clapping rang out from the range below his balcony. Finished with their work Chandrasekhar lifted his head, threw his legs over the side of the table, and stretched his arms.

He looked over to the women clad in saris. An acceptable compromise from their normal (lack of) garments made at Tomoe Sakade's 'request.' One that had nothing to do with very real and graphic promises of physical torment.

“That was fantastic, ladies. Spend to much time looking down at my desk. Feel free to take a break.”

They donned their colorful sandals and gathered a number of other small objects. “Will we see you at the bath house later?”

The cool sake next him was smooth and refreshing. “I wouldn't miss it for anything.”

As they left he donned an indigo Yukata only loosely tying it over his gut enough to cover his fundoshi. He leaned over the rail to see a teen boy and middle aged man wearing hakama and kimonos folded down to reveal lean muscle on their left side.

Mitchell watched carefully as the boy calmly drew the bamboo Daikyu to his ear. “That's it, Minoru. Breath, maintain a firm composure, and the arrow will find its target.”

Minoru released the arrow which flexed and twisted mid-air until its iron point found its straw target. Three additional arrows were tucked in a quiver tied to his obi. The Kurita Clan's personal Kyudo format known as 'Fortuitous Five in Flight,' 5 arrows, 25cm target, 25 meters distant. Mitchell's own children, Minoru's fourth cousins, Akane and Hideyoshi took their own shots as their father watched each exchange.

Hideyoshi and Akane each had three arrows strike their targets. Breaking the tie required a 'sudden death' bonus round. Minoru and Mitchell sat in seiza until they finished...

Eight arrows later and Akane was victorious. Her brother reacted calmly at the disappointment and they bowed to each other. “Well done. Until another time.”

“Do they do this all the time?”

“Competition breeds excellence. This seemed safer than Iaido.”

They racked their bows as the siblings departed to continue other studies. Chandrasekhar ambled down the stairs. Mercifully it revealed less of his form than feared based on noise occasionally heard from the balcony. He looked over at the targets. “Only two hits? I expected more from Theodore's son.”

Mitchell adjusted the Yumi and arrows along the back wall. “It took me seven months before I hit two targets.”

“Well you're not what the Clan calls a Kensai Kami, Mitchell.”

“That's rich coming from you, Chandrasekhar.”

Chandreskar drummed his pot belly. “I trained in Sumo. It is a honorable art.”

“You spent all your time in the sauna.”

“And the Geisha teahouse, the bar.” He put his hand to his chin. “There was a really good brothel near my stable in Takaoguchi.” A broad smile filled his face. “Ah. Fond memories.”

“I've never seen you with a top-knot, Uncle Chandy.”

A deep laughter echoed through the wooden building. “And you won't, Minoru. To much trouble. You are here after all among the non-Bushi Kuritas.”

With everything in order Mitchell turned his back to the door. “Not that you can't of course. I've seen your kempo.”

“My mother taught me.” Minoru told Mitchell

“Yes, of course. Someone we both rightfully respect.” said Mitchell

“The word you are looking for Mitch is fear.”

Minoru rose to his feet. “Uncle Isoroku! I didn't know you were going to be here.”

Federated Suns DCMS Threat Assessment 3046[]

Compiled by Tancred Sandoval, MI7
Fort Ballycastle, Lexington, Federated Suns

For reference to First Prince Ian Rennard Davion


Although I have remained as objective as possible while compiling this report from agencies and allies I cannot stress enough that the biggest threat to the Federated Suns is also it oldest. This is not merely my father speaking but personal experience and the debriefing of AFFS and LCAF personnel who have engaged it lately. The Draconis Combine Mustered Soldiery has only increased in threat while the Capellan Conflict rightfully drew on our attention and resources.

While Theodore Kuritia may have stopped at Capella DCMS governors still control a number of important CC worlds. Tormano's military cannot and the Atrean Parliament will not be enough to remove them. At the same time reaching out and striking them will invite a devastating counter-attack of which we are still ill-prepared to negate. Through Takashi and Theodore's reforms of government and Isoroku's experimentation and leadership on the battlefield we are over-matched in most every aspect, except allies, for now.

Key Personalities

Isoroku Kurita, Warlord of the Galedon Military District

We are truly unlucky to have two individuals that embody the Combine's ideals of a Samurai Warrior in our time. Isoroku Kurita and his White Tiger Battalion have served in every brigade within the DCMS across the entire realm. While his cousin redeemed the Legion of Vega from inside most of Isoroku's achievements have been externally facing. He has fought every possible enemy to the Combine from Ronin, Pirates to both of the Skye and Robinson Rangers, along with the House Steiner 10th Lyran Guards and our own Davion Assault Guards, serving both staff and combat command roles.

Each individual Mechwarrior and Pilot are selected from the cream of the crop of the Draconis Combine's reborn Kensai Kami (Sword Spirit) program, restarted by Isoroku himself from fragments of notes about the Draconis Warriors that beat SLDF Gunslingers during The Secret War. His Tigers serve as test pilots for units such as the Shinobi and Mauler Assault 'Mech. Despite this they show the kind of coordination between combat arms that even our Regimental Combat Teams envy.

Theodore Kurita, Gunji-no-Kanrei

The Deputy of Military Affairs' combat record has proven the inverse of his more threatening cousin. He is indeed perhaps the most dangerous one. According to our best sources he has only participated in several raids. His actions have been more internally facing and all the more impactful for it. Theodore has cracked the whip inside the DCMS' and Draconis Combine's various agencies shaking them up by either by cashiering out or granting 'The Honor of Wakizashi' to recalcitrant bureaucrats.

It was his idea to offer the DCMS to Romano's forces preserving her realm until it finally fell under the weight of both Theodore's betrayal and Tormano's Jie Fang Legion. We are fairly certain that COMSTAR had provided all the mechs for purchase, at a discount, to the Yakuza and other undesirables. They were then trained under Theodore's own reformed Legions of Vega until they were deployed to support the CCAF.

New and Emerging Threats

In just the past five years the DCMS has introduced a dozen new Mech designs from LAW and other suppliers. Using Isoroku's test pilots and raids against our forces these mechs improve quickly and rapidly hit serial production without growing pains like our own procurement cycle. The Perilous (Penetrator) mechs are being rapidly replaced by new Rakshasas as its development cycle took too long. Although it was not a waste per say that program was an ill omen that I hope will not linger long.

Perilous Heavy BattleMech

Perilous Heavy Mech

The DCMS has spent a lot of resources lately to modernize their armor specifically using the new Ferro-Fibrous armor composite to improve protection for vehicles and their crews. The Ki-Rin (Myrmidon), Bulldog, and Tokugawa tanks are just as potent as anything in the AFFS' aging inventory of armored fighting vehicles.

Tokugawa Heavy Tank (MW Dave School version)

Tokugawa Heavy Tank

Ashigaru infantry have seen an increase in lethality with new acquisitions from smaller firms just breaking into the DCMS procurement cycle. Additionally there is concerning evidence that DEST teams are experimenting with PA(L) armors similar to the legendary Nighthawk XXI instead of their normal infiltration suits on high risk mission.

Now the Ghost Regiments are falling apart. That makes them more dangerous.


We must always remember that one cannot leash a snake.

Or lose focus and miss the Scorpion.

Family Gathering Continues[]

08/01/3046 - Location: Taragi Kurita Clan Reserve, Deolali - Hachiman, Draconis Combine

Isoroku Kurita loomed large in the door having inherited the formidable stature of his father and forceful presence of his maternal Grandfather. He stepped forward to Minoru and Mitchell putting the Yumi, locally produced and highly prized artisan wares, away. “Mind if I shoot a round?”

Mitchell offered up the Yumi and Ya. “I'm certain you can teach the youth a few things in the process. Chandreskar and I will head to the house.”

Chandrasekhar lifted his arms in an exaggerated motion of weariness. “Speak for yourself, Mitchell. I'm headed to the bath house.”

“No amount of water will be sufficient for your filth.” commented Mitchell

Like a veteran Kabuki actor, no doubt due to his favor among them, Chandrasekhar's face twisted in a most unnatural configuration. He dropped it and brushed his hands down his coat. “I'd worry if it were actually.”

With that Mitchell and Chandrasekhar departed with bows on all sides to their quarters within the family complex. One that had grown dramatically since Chandrasekhar had become the resident Kurita of Hachiman and de facto Chairman, when he wanted to be.

Akane sat closest to him as Isoroku chose a Yumi and set of arrows. He always treated her well despite their distant relation and his own history of aversion to the fairer sex. “Uncle Isoroku, is it true that you were the youngest Kurita to score a perfect five?”

He raised the bow to its ready stance as dusk started to fall over the forests of Deolali. His Ya found its mark just off center of the target with a solid thwack. Isoroku readied another arrow. “Is that what Constance says?”

She nodded in agreement with the others. “Presently there are over three thousand in our Clan. Trying for five kids before you die will do that.

Fortuitous Five in Flight has been around for more than a century.”

Minoru had an off feeling about Isoroku's expression, but his face was calm as he drew the bowstring. The youngest Kurita present paid close attention to the master.

Thwack, dead center. “So I'm sure she is mistaken.” Isoroku commented

“Isn't that her job though, as Keeper of House Honor?” Akane asked

Another arrow nocked and released to a solid impact downrange. “Among other things.”

Instead of choosing one arrow Isoroku drew the final pair from the jar holding them firmly between his fingers. Hideoyoshi and Minoru watched in awe, double arrows from a Daikyu.

A stillness fell over the range as he lifted and drew both arrows to his opposite ear holding them for tense seconds.

Two hits registered on the hill. Only one of which caught the target. Isoroku returned his kimono to the shoulder covering scars and injuries sustained on his torso throughout a long DCMS career. He looked over to his nephew who looked mildly disappointed that the Kyudo round had ended imperfectly.

“Minoru would you go and retrieve the arrows for me?” he asked

He fast walked across the range while Isoroku showed his older cousins some finer points on the drawing of the Daikyu bow. Minoru walked beyond the target to find the Ya that his uncle had fired and missed. Something felt wrong about it but the light was fading and he retrieved the other four from the target.

Upon returning he handed the stray arrow to his uncle. The shaft was missing two of the three feathers that helped stabilize the heavy arrow in flight. “Did you remove the fletching before you fired it?”

Isoroku held the arrow passing the remaining feather through fingers calloused from hard practice and real war. “No, this was caused by the arrow just missing its target.”

The arrow was passed around to the teens. “Do you want to know what the most important lesson I teach everyone that goes through the Kensai Kami program is?

They waited patiently while he looked downrange at the target. "Always take the shot, only then will it find your target."

Prospects of Fighting Ghosts[]

08/18/3046 - Location: Kurita Shrine - Taragi Kurita Clan Reserve, Deolali - Hachiman, Draconis Combine

An ornate wooden structure painted red and gold sat majestically atop the Kurita Clan's own Hill Shrine to Hachiman, patron guardian of Warriors and namesake of this proud world. An alternating pattern of eight banners, either black arrow red background, or red arrow black background, fluttered along the roofs of the shrine's buildings animated by the trade winds over Deolali. Dark bronze lanterns hung in front of its veranda and Toro, stone ones, rose from the garden. Their fires were only lit for special occasions, most commonly the crowning of a new Coordinator or the death of the Keeper of House Honor.

Isoroku Kurita wearily climbed narrow and rough wooden steps cut through a bamboo grove clustered on a steep hillside eschewing the easier ramp and concrete stairs on the eastern slope. No attention was paid to him by the plain clothes as he passed under a red Torii spirit gate. Above him the pure white birds of the Shrine's carefully tended dovecote flew freely across the lightening forest.

A fat Pachiritsu, one of Hachiman's alien 'lightning squirrels' chirped on a nearby bamboo pole feeding off fallen seed and nuts from the birds above. It eventually found its way next to him before being brushed away with a mild shock of irritation to Isoroku's hand.

He continued the ascent of the hill spotting the SLDF green profile of 'Revenant.' “Aleksandr Kerensky's” rebuilt Orion Heavy 'Mech given to his cousin Theodore by Aunt Florimel, then Keeper of House Honor, now entombed on Kagoshima after a lifetime of faithful service. It had been locked into a fighting pose and secreted away to stand across the Sando entryway like some great colossus of yore. One that could at any moment animate to break down the gates of a Castle Brian once more.

Orion ( On the March)

Orion Heavy 'Mech

Ribbons and prayer flags danced in the wind upon their cables anchored to its shoulders. The effect was one of a dome of protection either from or to its former owners, now long distant, or in Kerensky's case long dead. Pillarine acolytes paid appropriate respect before continuing about their normal business, cleaning the paths and managing such a prestigious property.

As he neared the Hodan he could see the small wooden tags for petitioners to the spirits within. Two dove shaped ones of light wood were selected and filled out using nearby brush and well. Kanji as precise as its bearer was placed in the sun to dry. White jade and ivory Magatomi stones attached by a slender chain brushed his kimono as he closed his eyes to listen to the shrine's ambient noise. Birds chirping among the bamboo, straw brooms sweeping on stone, flapping of silk flags on the wind, and his own steadied breath.

Sounds of sandals on stone and clank of prayer beads woke him from his trance. Isoroku didn't open his eyes. He knew the bearer's gait by ear because he had been there when he was injured during the Ronin War, on the wrong side. “Alexander.”

A stern voice neared as its owner sat on the bench nearby. “Isoroku.”

“Bit of a Kurita Clan reunion on Hachiman of late.” Alexander commented

“Having an ongoing mob war in Masamori right after the Expo will do that. At least they had the decency to wait for the last visitors to leave or Migaki would be having fits. Chandreaskar assures us that Sumiyama will step in before it gets out of control.” Isoroku told him

“Do you believe him?” Alexander asked

The pause between the priest and warrior lingered. “Is that why you are here?”

“In part. My cousin's insistence and COMSTAR's influence with the Ghost Regiments have come back to bite us. As I expected it would.

You can't give gangster's bigger guns on their honor to behave and not expect them to use them. Even the Amphigean groups have higher standards.”

“So what will you do, Isoroku?” Alexander probed

“For now, honor Kanoko and I's anniversary and her memory." Her thumbed an ivory pendant with faded ink writing on it.

"After that, I suppose I figure out how to fight Ghosts.”

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