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Hachiman, Hard Boiled (Golden Lion AU) Cover Art

Chapter 7 - Public Insecurity[]

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Stake Out[]

08/22/3046 - Location: Genryu (Headwater) District - Masamori Metro, Hachiman


<<“Unit five oh two, report.”>>

A blue uniformed woman beside a white motorcycle quietly perched upon stairs. Its police lights were set to low power, but reflected off bronzed 'MMK.' (Masamori Metro Keisatsusho 'Police Department') This early in the morning the area was mostly abandoned. She watched a group of Tai Chi practitioners flow through their exercises as fluidly as the river beyond. “Just early rising elders.”

<<“Roger. Keep your eyes open, five oh two.”>>

<<“Affirmative.”>>

Miya Kibo nodded as she looked across the river exhaling nervous tension and breathing in cool early morning air. Dawn brought predatory shadows playing across the water cast from behind Murasaki District's bronze shark fin towers. The river churned where tugs pushed a container barge marked with 'Hachiman Taro Enterprises' distinctive demon helmet logo beneath one of Masamori's many bridges. Their bassy rumbling overpowered the birds chirping above her along one of the cities' nicest greenbelts.

She le “I don't have one. I haven't even been on a date since planet-fall.”aned back on the seat where her helmet rested and yawned. Fragrant steam rose from her cup of perfectly brewed green tea, a gift from the elders. Miya looked around for a reason that she was stationed here while stretching cold muscles. “Its too early for VIP protection. Who would choose to wake up at this hour?

Prankin' the new girl with some 'secret' assignment.

Bunch of jerks.”

Another hour passed and the city gradually came to life. Water Taxies and her normal ferry from Genryu to Murasaki began to run across the city's lifeblood. Her assigned area was becoming active with cyclists and more pedestrians. Sweet smells from neighborhood bakeries drifted over to her and across the water. “I could really go for something to eat.”

Her placid surroundings were interrupted by a thunderous sound behind her followed by a weak blast wave. She turned to see the tortured remains of a bridge section teetering dangerously close to the ferry below. Training kicked in as she donned her helmet and activated the whirring siren on her motorcycle. <<“Headwater Dispatch. Explosion on Schantrie bridge. Unit five oh two on site. Requesting backup.”>>

Three motorcycles dropped off the main road throttling up as they tore up the gravel track scattering onlookers in their wake. Both riders heavily armed and armored but paid her no attention as they ripped past her. <<“Armed suspects heading toward explosion.”>>

The smell of burning rubber on concrete filled her nose as smoke then rock billowed behind.

<<“Five oh two, in pursuit.”>>


Hot Streak


Whirn, Whirn, Whirn

Miya weaved around trees edging dangerously close to the guard rails along the river's edge. The tailing motorcycle gunner leaned out firing automatic bursts from the bulbous Mydron machine pistol. Bullets whizzed through branches, into tree trunks, or narrowly missed their mark. She felt sharp pain as small branches whipped through her jacket at high speed. <<“Shots fired.”>>

Ahead of her helmeted bikers fired rounds into the air scattering crowds while speeding toward Schantrie bridge.

Her comm-unit blared with reports. <<“Intercept them five oh two. Ironhide Seven engaging armored exoskeletons on the bridge. Reports of officers down.

Six two nine and oh five three are setting up a blockade in the Arcade district.”>>

She kept an eye out for a secure path to follow while accelerating to catch the black and tan Izaki Outriders her opponents were riding. Her Pesht PM700, designed for all day patrolling, struggled to keep up with the tuned choppers even on the gravel path. <<“Roger.”>>

Miya pulled the clutch out to idle her ride drawing from the shoulder holster to place it in a hollow within the instrument cluster. She put it back in gear accelerating along a solid patch of concrete. They neared the Neon Arcade neighborhood which she had memorized in the dark. Its streets narrowed as peddlers and food carts brimmed with a panicked breakfast crowd. “More pedestrians.”

The bikers turned into the Neon Arcade proper with Miya in hot pursuit. <<“Suspects going through the neighborhood to dodge the barricade.”>>

Reika and Shogi's voices came over the radio. <<“Dammit! We'll try to cut them off at the expressway entrance. Keep on them Miya.”>>

Pedestrians cleared out as a police siren echoed off the close, covered alleyways of the Arcade. Narrow winding streets forced them as they crash through nets of lights and around blind corners. Bullets blasted concrete chips that cut into Miya's jacket and front tire as she wove around bollards. Her knee came perilously close to the ground while leaning into the curves tighter than they could with two people onboard.

She realized where she was based on the unlit signs speeding past her. “Straightest spot. Best chance.”

Miya's pistol kicked as two shots amplified by the tight confines of the Arcade rang out. A suspect's rear wheel spiraled apart as the shot in its 10mm shell found the mark. Its driver spun out of control crashing into a storefront with a crash and whistle from the gas cylinders within. She returned the pistol to its chamber accelerating back into the chase while dodging debris. <<“Dispatch. One bike, two suspects down near Sixth and Orange, suspect condition unknown, approach with caution. Officer still in pursuit.”>>

Neon Arcade faded away to the wider streets of the prosperous Hachi-Machiya neighborhood. Well tended and constructed houses clustered next to each other like a great conveyor molded them to the ground beneath. Narrow alleys separated every four to six houses into neatly ordered blocks, the metro alert system had ordered everyone inside so the streets were finally clear.

The sidewalk undulated beneath her as she dodged young trees, children's bikes, and toys parked by the roadside. Glass shattered at the impact as her siren wailed in pursuit. Manned barricades drew the suspect's fire allowing her to sneak into the rear bike's five o clock. She drew her pistol firing twice. Hollow thumps were met with a whistling ricochet as the shot bounced off asphalt. Her shots failed to pop the tire instead destroying windows across the street.

<<“Reika, Shogi Hold your fire. I can't hit him from this angle.”>>

Both officers took cover behind their bikes as she holstered the pistol taking hold of the handlebars once more. A narrow space between parked Kei cars was all she had available before the bikes overran the barricade.

Her bike jumped the curb propelled into the air before landing in a crash of suspension springs. Miya angled herself toward seven o clock of the rear motorcycle firing twice to shred the tire before speeding past alongside the remaining biker. An out of control bike threw the suspects into parked cars on either side of the street. Reika and Shogi had their guns and cuffs out before they came to. “Collars yours.”

Sweat rolled down her hair as she followed the remaining biker white-lining across the highway. A Wakizashi SG-58 nestled in her armpit as the gunner fired over and around motorists while passing at high speed. <<“Dispatch. I cannot safely engage the remaining suspects. To many civilians present.”>>

<<“Keep on him five oh two. Backup is en route to White Tiger's location.”>>

Hands white from strain, she engaged the throttle even as she could see the bike running low on power after this extended chase. An attempt on the Galedon Warlord's life was underway; and she was ordered to chase down some outlaw bikers instead!

She switched over the public band. <<“This is PC Miya Kibo of the MMK. I am in pursuit of armed suspects and am sounding a hue and cry compelling assistance to any on the public band.

Suspects are on a motorcycle white-lining between lane two and three near marker three six two heading south on highway eight from Hachi-Machiya.”>>

A Fusomori truck veered into the outlaw's path forcing them onto the rough shoulder and throwing the gunner from his seat. The driver managed to right themselves, braked hard enough that the magnesium pads caught fire. He ditched the bike just before it flew over the concrete divider onto the ground below before taking cover in the median. His companion got to his hands and knees, clothes tattered and bloodied from road rash, helmet lost in the crash, its rider dazed from the impact.

Miya braked hard pulling the bike with all her might as white smoke trailed behind her and over the highway. With two shooters she decided to ditch the bike in the gunner's rough direction. Now dismounted at speed she assumed a position like a flipped tortoise shielding her limbs by taking the road rash on the back of her body armor, ruining her brand new jacket in the process.

Still sliding she firing in the general direction of the shooter forcing him behind the concrete divider as she skidded to a stop. The SM-56 barked loud as traffic sped by them. Horns honked at foolish pedestrians on the highway, presently engaged in a life or death battle. Miya removed her helmet freeing immobile damp black hair. She scrambling to cover as the smell of burned metal and rubber filled the air as her motorcycle found its intended target. It and the stunned gunner fell off the highway together.

“I'll never be able to do that again. I hope they caught it on my patrol cam. Otherwise no one would believe me.”

Muzzle flash and the supersonic snap of bullets emerged from the remaining suspect who had also ditched his helmet to reveal a bald man with Maori style head tattoos. She didn't recognize them as belonging to any Yakuza she had studied. Miya dove over the divider to avoid incoming fire. Her vest twisted and flopped as she hit the ground within the narrow median. “Shit! Side panels torn.”

She reached down to her patrol belt unbuckling it as quickly as possible. “These pants are plenty tight already.”

Bullets chiseled out shards of concrete as she tied it higher while keeping low. It just barely buckled around her off hand side. Breathing was harder but it would keep the plates mostly where they needed to be. “You dead yet, bitch?”

“Where'd you learn to shoot Yak? I know little girls that could do better.”

Miya's eyes barely peered over the edge when a shot hit nearby throwing concrete dust into them. She coughed as she inhaled the particles and quickly rubbed her eyes trying to clear them. Inside her vest were sunglasses but they and he extra magazines had been crushed during the fall. “The one time where you actually need sunglasses and don't have them.”

Her bullet count had dipped to twelve from twenty three. “Half ammo. One bad guy in body armor.”

Something dropped across her neck. Strong arms pulled her up bending her across the coarse broken surface of the concrete divider. The Manriki chain tightened as Miya tried desperately to breath ineffectively punching to free herself.

All the strength in her feet and hands left. Surprised she lost grip of the sub-machine gun which draped across the divider, just out of reach but still attached to the vest. “No funny quips now huh?”

The last bit of her strength in her hands was enough to unbuckle the belt around her armor releasing it and giving her just enough centimeters to turn into the choke. Her feet and hands pushed off the concrete divider that now bent the larger man. With his balance compromised she kicked off and he didn't let go of the chain that bound them drawing him closer. He fell over the divider and onto her chest with a thump that knocked the wind out of both of them.

Still coughing Miya struggled for the gun pulling on her retention sling. The SMG clattered along the ground toward her. He wrapped her right hand with his own, punching her in the face with his left. Blood trickled from a busted lip as she palm struck him in the jaw with her own left hand as he reared up for another.

With him dazed she punched the inside of his right elbow wrapping his head on the reverse with her left arm. This was enough space to reel in the sling. She screamed as the last dozen rounds were fired into him at contact range.

Although she heard the click of an empty mag she pulled the trigger one last time to listen to the clack of the action before her hands lost all feeling. Miya watched the life drain from his eyes could smell his last rancid breath.

His dead weight settled on her chest, her breathing labored under the strain. Blood poured out of the dozen entry and exit gun shot wounds he sustained until she was almost drowning in it.

She turned her head to keep her airway clear hoped for the best as warm blood poured down her face.


Ambush on the mean streets of Masamori[]

08/22/3046 - Location: Genryu (Headwater) District - Masamori Metro, Hachiman


Bells rung as Isoroku Kurita woke in an overturned armored car. His head ached despite wearing a helmet. He could taste blood in his mouth even as he wiped some off his face from a bloodied nose. “Better a headache than a busted skull.”

Smoke filled the cabin as he worked the lever on the back door of the V-hulled 6x6 truck. He scrambled over injured MPS officers all of which bore signs of bruising or worse. Some were coming to but most of his security team was knocked out. The lever clanked as the armored hatch revealing the carnage left in the wake of the explosion.

Fiery cars and broken concrete surrounded him. A portion of Masamori's intentionally weak bridges leaned dangerously threatening a passenger ferry passing below with the wreckage of a kei van. The ferry's horn was the first thing he heard and it almost deafened him. He drew the pistol attached on his armored vest taking in the scene. Nothing other than the failing bridge seemed to be threatening him.

“Try harder than that you bastards. I survived Rasalhague.

Isoroku returned the pistol to his holster returning to the rear hatch, white smoke rose from the cabin inside. “Wake up!”

His White Tigers woke amid groaning police officers. “What the hell, Chief?”

“No questions. Grab the blues, pass them this way, and clear out with the guns.”

He activated the HTE-TR505 tactical radio positioned on his shoulder blade. “This is White Tiger. Demanding emergency services on Schantrie Bridge. Sixteen civilians and officers wounded, five dead. Head, Neck, and Back injuries probable.”

Despite his age Isoroku was still strong enough to carry wounded and fully kitted out men to safety. He knew some likely had head and neck injuries and shouldn't be moved without a board but there was no time for that. Less wounded officers supported themselves on abandoned cars sitting in pockets of broken glass.

The White Tigers pulled out the vehicle's bulging medical bag and handfuls of guns shuttling them to safety as quickly as possible. Flames erupted from the fuel tank singing exposed hairs and skin while charring their gray DCMS tanker fatigues.

One of Isoroku's fingers pointed toward the MMK Sergeant Hiryo Kitowashi. “Order your men to stabilize the injured. We will keep an eye out for a clean up crew.”

Hiryo shouted the ragged sounds of his voice barely carrying over car alarms and the flames consuming their truck. “What makes you think there will be a clean up crew?”

Through the smoke Isoroku spotted a trio of shambling monstrosities through the smoke and dust, Heavy Industrial Exoskeletons mounting heavy ordnance and armor. They were followed by a group of armed men shooting their guns in the air. “Every good ambush has a back up plan.”

Any remaining motorists fled from idling cars to safety. Isoroku calmly loaded HE grenades from a bandoleer into the drum of a MMK grenade launcher. Tigers found cover readying the MMK's shotguns and PDWs for the firefight.

Ten minutes later

Isoroku's eyes burned as the tear gas his Tigers were using as improvised yellow white smoke drifted toward them. He dove to the ground as the armored exoskeleton fired its last volley of short range missiles. Their explosions threw a lightweight Kei car into the air, it plunged to the river below throwing up a mist stream high enough to clear the bridge deck.

Two heavy thuds filled the air around him as a pair of low-velocity HE shells whistled overhead. Armor plates and one of the myomer actuated arms flew off the diabolical machine. One landed next to him, sparks and shards of asphalt flew around him as he covered his face. Once the horrid twitching limb came to a rest Isoroku opened his eyes to see a Shimatsu 42 assault rifle with a drum magazine still in the mounting bracket before him.

In the distance he could hear the heavy thrub of a diesel engine. Toward the Murasaki district was the high turreted profile of an Ironhide Urban Assault Vehicle. Its paired light rifles barked again sending another shredded exoskeleton crashed to the ground. The machine rose again using its pair of heavy claws to dig deep into metal of a parked cars to use it as a shield.

Satisfied that the biggest threat was being handled Isoroku crawled toward the assault rifle mounted to the still twitching arm of the exoskeleton smoldering nearby. Enemy infantry fired toward his position the intermittent report of their bullets drowning out the cries of wounded soldiers. This was not his first time in a firefight...and it would not be his last.

He pulled at the twisted bracket ripping the rifle from its mountings. The Shimatsu was a normal unmodified version connected with a simple electronic firing circuit. It was jammed, he rammed the charging handle forward ejecting the troublesome shell. Isoroku reached out to the twisted piece of brass inspecting it closely, finding its defects beautiful today. “If it weren't for you I might be dead. I'll keep you for good luck.”

Scrambling for cover Isoroku lifted the Shimatsu firing it in long bursts at the enemy. One hundred rounds went fast as he raced across the bridge suppressing and striking down his foes with a calm efficiency of a warrior monk. MMK and Kõan-Bu (Ministry of Public Security) reinforcements swarmed their position from both sides of the bridge. Incendiary grenades set the Ironhide alight forcing the crew to bail and join their allies to fight the diminishing masked marauders on foot.

Sergeant Hiryo tapped him on the shoulder, Isoroku's helmet had been lost in the fight and his vest was dented with enemy fire. Blood and sweat seeped through one of his pant legs. “Sir you're hit. Sit down. I'll tie it off.”

Instead of waiting Isoroku removed the tourniquet he kept around his upper arm. He tied it off himself using a metal pen from his vest pocket to tighten the knot and reduce blood flow to his left leg. “Take care of the people that are actually hurt. This isn't my first time.”

“With all due respect sir. You are an insufferable old man.”

“I am a survivor.” Isoroku told the officer

Isoroku gently pushed the MMK officer away with the empty rifle barely held in his nerveless fingers. “Do your duty Hiryo... I'll do mine.”

The insufferable Hiryo waited just long enough for him to lean against a burned out car. Isoroku felt his vision go dark, his hands grew slack, his skin lost its color.

“Duty before comfort.” came in a whisper as Isoroku struggled to keep upright while using the rifle as a cane.

He dropped the rifle forward only to fall with it into the officers arms. His stumbled with the sudden dead weight after carrying and caring for so many others.

“Medic!”


Aftermath of a Terrorist Attack[]


Firefighting boats kept a cordon around Schantrie bridge their powerful water jets fighting fires as they arose. Customs Police Gunboats forced all river traffic to remain on their docks. MMK helicopters flew overhead searching for additional terrorists in support of patrol cars and foot patrols. News choppers hovered over the Headwaters Medical Center and away from restricted airspace above the bridge.

Miya gritted her teeth as she felt burning antiseptic being applied to raw skin. “Ow!”

Her face was still dripping wet after having the perp's blood washed out of her hair and off her face.

A man's voice came from behind her. “You got lucky today, Constable.”

“If I felt like I was going to get lucky...”

“Ow!” She felt the pressure and alcohol of the bandage being applied. “I would have worn cuter underwear.”

Her tattered uniform had been cut away to reveal road rashed limbs and a sopping wet sports bra and briefs. “There's still time to meet a nice guy young lady. Its not even nine o clock.”

“I get that from a lot of guys.” she said

“Well, not from me. You're young enough to be my daughter.” he told her

“That too. Anyway thanks, Unai.” Miya thanked him

Miya wrapped herself up in a silver emergency blanket before turning to face an RN whose scrubs were purple with blood beneath a plastic apron. “All done. By the way Miss Kibo your lab results came back with no issues.”

“That's a relief.” She exhaled sharply. “I certainly didn't want any more surprises today.”

“See if you can find an open bench outside. You've been through a lot and I have more patients.” he told him

She opened the treatment tent flap ushered out by an orderly to the treated area. Another patient with scratches caused from broken glass took her place. Outside was cacophony and ordered chaos as medics rang between patients struggling to triage so many injured. Police officers maintained order, security, and communication with medics on site.

Tarps were draped over those that had succumb to their injuries. Walking wounded littered the nearby park under the careful watch of neighborhood volunteers who did the best they could to help. Stabilized patients were loaded onto the ambulances under careful supervision to be treated at the better appointed Murasaki General.

“Its not like I have anywhere else to be right now.”

Her head hurt from being punched and although she hadn't seen herself in a mirror lately she could feel bruises on her face. She touched her busted lip which had been stitched back together. Vibration traveled through her palm, it was her landlady, and emergency contact. 'On my way with the clothes dearie. Traffic is bad.

She squeeze the phone so hard it cracked and cut her palm. “Just walk. It's six blocks!”

Rage and despair entrained themselves into her sense of duty.

She was a police constable! she fiery thought

There was a major terrorist attack still in progress within her city! she mind raged

Yet she was stuck here in her underwear with no one to telling her what she could do to help. She couldn't contain it any longer and shouted at the top of her lungs to the sky.

“There is no justice in this universe!” she shouted

The shout rang out over the park as Miya blushed at the outburst as people looked towards her with worried faces. “Sorry”

An ambulance arrived at the medical center right next to her. A frantic paramedic burst out of the door heading in her general direction to the intake station. He couldn't control his volume. “I need at least two units of Oh positive. Its urgent. We're losing him.”

The doctor consulted their noteputer to the dismay of the paramedic who continued shouting. “What do you mean you don't any! Give me somebody that has some. Right now!”

Miya's eyes lit up as she hustled over to the doctor and associated MMK Sergeant in charge of the scene. “I'm Oh positive.”

“Who are you? Let me see some ID.” Sergeant asked

She produced her Patrol tags/medical bracelet. 'Kibo, Miya. MMK Constable. Age 20. Type O Pos.'

"You'll do."

The frantic paramedic grabbed her by the arm in the same motion wiping her forearm with an alcohol swab. Although she tried to step up she was instead pulled up by the strong arms of a DCMS Combat Medic.

He laid her on one of the bench holding her down while sticking her vein with a needle. The paramedic closed the doors and got back to putting pressure on a leg wound. Her blood flowed into an older man who had one gray pant leg roughly cut off. His head rolled over, blue eyes locking with hers as the ambulance sped away and everything faded.


Poor Taste in Hospital Food[]


Bright light and incessant beeping woke Miya. She opened her eyes then immediately closed them in tears at the blinding light. Her voice was weak, mouth dry. “Will someone please close the curtains?”

She heard someone stepping lightly into the room which smelled faintly of lavender. “Sorry. We've been busy today.”

“Its not even ten o clock yet.”

The blinds closed with a rough plastic on plastic noise. Miya sensed the woman's hesitation. “Right?”

“Miss Kibo, you've been asleep all day. You lost a lot of blood and passed out.”

Miya's eyes snapped open and an alarm sounded from the instrument behind her. She found an IV stuck in her arm and her surprisingly pale body under a clean hospital gown somewhere high up with a nice view of Murasaki's skyline. “But I wasn't even hurt that bad."

Her arm moved across her chest feeling for any unseen injuries. “I didn't get shot. I don't feel anything.”

She tried to lift herself and felt immediately faint. The nurse rushed over to her, easing her back onto the pillow. “Please don't do that Miss. We replaced your lost volume with fluids but your red count is very low and you haven't eaten all day. You're in no condition to stand up and walk around on your own.”

Alarms faded as her pulse eased back to its normal resting number as panic faded. She tried to put her arms behind her head but got tangled up in the leads. They returned to her chest instead. “Today sucked.”

The nurse nodded, Miya noticed the woman's hair was a tattered mess. An up-do that had fallen down over time. “You're telling me. I was supposed to get married today but they called everyone back in...No excuses.”

“What happened to the other guy?”

“I'm heard he pulled through thanks to one and a half liters of your blood. He would have died in that ambulance without you.

Once he gets out of post-op I'm sure you can visit if you'd like.”

She pointed to a neatly folded bundle of clothes lying on the bench. “Your land lady dropped those off for you. She seems nice.”

“A real senile sweetheart.”

A bottle of some kind of chunky dark red smoothie and thick straw appeared on the tray. Its colorful chibi-style cuddlefish mascot stared at her through holographic eyes. “I will assign someone to help you dress later if you'd like but drink this first. It will help.”

“Strawberry?”

“Pomegranate.”

Miya sighed and uncapped the bottle drinking some of its tart contents. “I guess it'll do.”

“I'm sorry, Miss Kibo. I have to complete my rounds. Rest.”

Her stomach growled at its mistress' neglect. “Any chance I can get some solid food tonight.”

“If we get any donations from local eateries someone will tell you.”

Miya nodded and got back to the sugary vending machine snack. “Pssh. I only like the strawberry one.”



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