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Hachiman, Hard Boiled (Golden Lion AU) Cover Art

Chapter 8 - Crossed Connections[]

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Stake Out[]

08/23/3046 Location: Murasaki General Hospital - Suite 1182, Masamori, Hachiman

Miya had finally gotten dressed under the supervision of the night nurse when a man in a damp trench-coat with a worn expression and all round five o clock shadow on his tan face walked in.

She tried to stand and salute but her limbs refused her orders and she settled unceremoniously to the bench. “Inspector Genju!”

“At ease, Constable Kibo.”

The nurse finished zipping her up before standing to depart. “Listen to your boss, Miss. I'll be outside if you need anything.”

Inspector Hector Genju watched her as she walked out the door. He settled down on the hospital bed opposite her leaving the bag by her side as he passed. “I brought you coffee and doughnuts.”

The smell drifting off a four pack box of doughnuts and steaming extra large cup of coffee was the best thing she had felt all night. “Thank you sir.”

“The department appreciates everything you did yesterday so don't give me any lip about this.

You are ordered to take a week of paid leave and at least two weeks on desk duty pending medical clearance before you are allowed on the beat again.”, Genju ordered

“A week of forced leave?” she asked

“That's right. Constable. You have to share the hero spotlight with someone else for a little while. It won't kill you.” he told her

“By the way I read your report.”, he added

He adjusted his glasses as he turned away from her. “I look forward to seeing that patrol cam footage from your bike when it is recovered. Its the talk of today within the precinct.”

If she any extra blood it would have gone to blushing but nothing came as he departed. Miya stood up to go into the lavatory and check herself in the mirror. She moved her fingers over the bumps and scratches held together with butterfly bandages. “I am a total mess.”

Her swollen lip was held together with stitches and sore. She attempted to pucker them to a feel of pressure. “That's probably gonna scar.”

A deep and disappointed exhale filled the room. “That's life though. Not like I have a boyfriend to disappoint, yet.”

She checked out of the hospital walking past fully kitted DCMS Infantry conducting presence patrols throughout Murasaki. They paid her only scant attention dressed as a civilian and injured as she was. “Amateurs. I could be carrying a pistol in this jacket and they'd hardly know.”

The ferry terminal was packed with civilians. A synthesized woman's voice came in over the Public Address. “Schantrie Bridge has been deemed unsafe for traffic. Citizens we appreciate your patience during this trying time.”

A major hole in the transport network had opened up. One that strained a city so unaccustomed to hostilities spanned both banks of the River Yamato. Miya was reading the crowds from the Raman stand she sometimes went to after work enjoying a spicy bowl of broth and the sweet taste of a strawberry smoothie.

Yesterday's attacks had caused as much psychological damage to the population as the bombs did to the bridge. The ferry ride across felt ominous as MMK gunships patrolled between the riverbanks. From the terminal she could see the top of her apartment block a short walk away. Two blocks in her vision blurred slightly. She muttered, “Damn vampire,” as she took a deep breath settling down on the sidewalk with her back to a bus stop vending machine.

Interlude - General Assembly[]

08/28/3046 – Location: Hachiman Taro Enterprises Complex - Masamori, Hachiman

A bald, red and black robed Physician of the Dragon stood in front of an old man in an impeccably white DCMS Officer uniform. “Tai-Shu Kurita. I must recommend you remain seated.”

“I have heard your advice Brother Isaac.” Isoroku rose unsteadily from his wheelchair with the assistance of a cane. “And after careful consideration I am disregarding it.”

Brother Isaac bowed his head, his voice filled with disappointment. “As you wish, Tai-Shu. If I may? I would like to walk beside you.”

The white haired Warlord let out a grunt. “I will allow it.”

“Thank you, Sir.”, Issac responded

Isoroku and Isaac walked along the catwalk and down metal stairs where blue clad BTE Technicians assessed the armored exoskeletons. Sparks erupted from metal and myomer twitched as it was probed with instruments. A scientist in a white coat walked up to the pair and bowed deeply. “Tai-Shu Kurita. It is an honor to meet you.”

He stood straighter than before. “What can you tell me about the exoskeletons?”

Exoskeleton (with woman)

“Very advanced yet brute force pieces of engineering. They are an upgrade to the normal Heavy Industrial Exoframes commonly used in the support corps. Indeed it weighs slightly more than double them, almost a full metric ton. The vehicle can only move due to the triple strength myomer composite.

It's chassis is more reinforced than any in normal industrial types. It runs on a very compact fuel cell not patented anywhere else in the Inner Sphere. It will make HTE very wealthy if we can reverse engineer it.”

“That's all very nice. How bout weapons, armor, any sign of who made them?”, Isoroku asked

He pointed to one of the discarded dual missile tubes fished out of the river. Standard Heavy SRM Launcher. One shot. Most of the weight is in the mounting and fire control.”, Issac told him

Shattered plates of armor littered the ground with numbers written on them in colored chalk. “The armor's crude, not quite up to par with standard plate. Fortunately for us the guns of our Koan-Bu's Ironhide could penetrate it. Anything short of that would have a tough time.”

Isoroku leaned on the cane carefully watching the technicians as they cut sections free for examination. “I know. I hit it with a full drum of HE grenades and it hardly mattered.”

“However, even though we have spent the last couple days working solid we haven't found anything that we can pinpoint to source or origin.”, Issac reported

“Keep working on it. ISF has gotten no leads from the corpses. To many different factions involved but they are obviously professional hitmen with a deep pocketed backer.”, he ordered

“Speak with President Chandrasekhar, Tai-Shu Isoroku. This complex was attacked concurrently but I have no additional details.”

“I shall. Keep me updated.” he told the younger man

“Of course sir.”

The pair took an elevator to Chandrasekhar's office which had a view all the way to the ocean where dropships launched into the sky. With a gesture the portly president of Hachiman Taro Enterprises dismissed a dark skinned secretary or at least a women pretending to be one. She re-buttoned her blouse as she passed them. “You should have called ahead of time, Roku. In a couple of minutes that might have been embarrassing.”

Warlord Kurita pointed his cane at President Kurita from his wheelchair. It was not his strength that failed him, the doctor made a convincing pitch regarding faster healing. Hachiman had been more interesting than he anticipated but he had other duties to attend too once he was able to travel safely.

“You sicken me, Chandrasekhar.” he told his cousin.

“What is the use of wealth if one cannot enjoy it to the fullest?”, Chandrasekhar countered with hint of humor

“Why didn't you tell me HTE was attacked?”, he demanded

Chandreskar sat in the grand chair pushing the computer monitor out of the way. “You were in the hospital. My security dealt with the issue. A report would have been made. In time.”

“What were they looking for?”

“Mister Abdulsattar is investigating as we speak. Its a corporate matter.” Chandry informed him

“You're a Kurita same as I. We are valuable commodities. What if they were aiming for you or Minoru?”

“I don't think it is money they were looking for.”, Chandrasekhar told him

Chandy tapped his finger to his face. “Minoru though I hadn't considered that. We put a lot of effort into make him disappear as requested. Would you like to ask Tomoe or should I?”

“Tomoe entrusted her son's security to you. You send the message.”, he told him

He sighed deeply. “I was hoping you weren't going to say that.”

Rushing to Return Home[]

09/01/3046 - Location: Masamori, Hachiman

Miya hustled to get out of the sudden autumn rain. She entered her building's lobby with dripping hair and a damp uniform. A well-dressed older woman sat in her rocking chair doing needlework under an ornate blanket. “Oh my, Miya-chan. Let me get you a towel.”

“That's really not necessary, Mrs Sato. I was going to take a shower anyway.” Miya told Mrs Sato.
“I must insist. Sit right there and enjoy a cup of tea. Help yourself. I'll be right back.” she told her

Her firm statement left no room for interpretation so she respectfully poured from the kettle, placed the delicate ceramic cup on the glass table that marked Mrs. Sato's 'observation post.' The old widow was fond of making all manner of statements critical to the youth these days.

Masamori had grown dramatically in the past thirty years as trade volume for its product increased alongside COMSTAR and the Draconis Combine's post-Helm Core efforts to bring more jumpships on line. Manufacturing growth and urban sprawl rapidly overran the Yamoto River basin and Yoshitune's launch schedule had tripled with bigger vessels being more common than before.

Mrs Sato returned with a white towel and a black envelope. “A very handsome young man dropped this off for you while you were away.”

She dried her hair and took the offered envelope. Red ink surrounded the black dragon of the DCMS Logo. A raised wax seal bore a tiger posed in mid-strike. Her fingers lost some of their strength but kept enough control to drop the letter in her lap rather than on the floor.

Only a whisper came out as she focused on a light across the room. “Its from Tai-Shu Isoroku.”

“Open it up and send a prompt reply. I'm certain he included a contact card for that courier or maybe another one just as handsome.” the old woman told her

“What could he want with me?” she asked

“You won't know until you open it up.” insisted Mrs. Sato

Miya stood up suddenly juggling the envelope into her hands. “I have to go!” She bowed politely to Mrs. Sato. “Thank you for the tea.”

Her apartment was dark and sparse. The week of forced leave had consisted of rest and organizing bags left unpacked since her arrival in April. She had slept so much one day that Mrs. Sato let herself in to check on her. Today was not much better and despite it being late afternoon Miya had been ready to settle down for the night.

There was no letter opener in the apartment, she hardly knew anyone not related to work on world and hadn't expected to get any unsolicited mail from powerful Warlords. A long hair pin was substituted as she carefully separated folded paper and its wax emblem. Within were three items, the DCMS's Garrison and Warlord Isoroku Kurita's contact cards, and a small note written with very formal and bold calligraphy. A small decorative design drawn in ink filled in a blank space beneath the short note.

'Constable Miya Kibo.

Thank you for helping save my life.

I would like to show my appreciation to you in some fashion.

Please accept my invitation to dinner to discuss.

Best Regards,

Isoroku Kurita.

The final signature must be his personal stamp, a spread palm mirrored by an open fan below. Not his professional one, the tiger, used on official paperwork. And it was in gold ink!

Shocked she walked over to the small fridge in her kitchenette and silently took a long pull right from the sake bottle. She redressed into a Yukata before walking into the building's well appointed bath, locking the door and settling into a deep soaking tub. Her mouth hovered over the sudsy water as she reclined into the grooves hoping the warm water would melt away this unusual situation she felt trapped in.

“What am I going to do now?” she asked herself

Next Morning at the District Police Station[]

09/02/3046 - Location: Masamori, Hachiman - District Police Station

Miya eyed the white police motorcycles parked outside the bustling and newly fortified, with bollards, Genryu Koban. The pagoda style building blended into others located within a scenic riverside park characterizing a relaxed lower-middle class neighborhood adjacent to more interesting ones.

Shogi, Saburo, and Reika of the Koban's mobile patrol stepped out of the station and settled on their motorcycle seats. Shogi and Saburo nodded before heading out on patrol. Patrols which had principally concerned traffic issues and drunks until a few weeks ago. Now they headed out with PDWs at the ready, just in case.

Reika kept her helmet tucked into her arm trying to get a look at her friend. “How are you feeling Miya? You seem to have more color then yesterday.”

Instead Miya kept her head low trying not to show any expression. “Its all bronzer...I barely made it back to the apartment.”

“You should take more time off. Buy a train ticket to Srinagar. Get some sun and spices to regain your strength. said Yara'n

The Inspector would understand.”, said Yara'n

“The Inspector would understand what, Constable Yara'n?” Inspector Hector Genju stopped mid-stride behind them with keys in one hand, putting a hat over tight cut brown hair with the other. So close that his cologne drifted over to them although neither found it appealing.

“Miya is...” Yara'n began

A pale hand came over Reika's mouth muffling the rest. Miya's voice rose over the surrounding noise enough that it would have draw attention had anything other than chirping birds been present. “Perfectly fine, Inspector.”

She pumped her other hand almost fumbling her lunch pail. “and ready to file those reports...The ones that have been piling up.” Miya nodded madly as Hector eyed awkward smiles. “If you're not feeling well, Constable Kibo, you know...”

“Was up late last night...that's all.” she told the Inspector

He stared at her for several moments. His brown eyes searching her blues for something hidden beneath. “You should get proper rest, Constable.” He dipped the brim of his toward the ladies. “We all should.”

“Thank you sir.” she responded to her superior

Inspector Genju pulled past the pair in an unmarked car before heading off to conduct his business. Reika Yara'n put her helmet on the back of the motorcycle, putting hands on hips as she leaned toward Miya.

“Very subtle, and to think you worked undercover at one time. You know he's a detective right? In addition to being our boss. Not that you need to be one to know something's off about you.

Spit it out!” demanded her fellow constable said

Her face and body turned to walk toward the entrance. The other woman grabbed her wrist. Her firm grip arresting any attempt to escape despite Miya's efforts. “I don't want to. You can't make me.”

“I think you really do. Let's talk over a more private area, my treat. We both have work to do until then.”

Miya lifted her head to face the other woman. “Your treat, huh?”

“You get raman, like usual.

Nice raman, but no crab and caviar.”, Yara'n told her

“I don't even know if I'd like it.” Miya commented

“Well maybe you'll get a chance. On someone else's credits.” she commented

Reika watched Miya's face tweak curiously at the mention of very fancy food far above her pay rate, or status. “Eleven?”

Constable Kibo nodded, Reika departed to deal with a wakening city, its worsening traffic, and other issues. The desk sergeant looked up from his paperwork. His stern countenance accentuated by the harsh light overhead and shadows cast from his own hat.

“Morning, Henrique. Any word yet?” asked Miya

“Morning, Miya. No, afraid they still haven't replaced your armor. They probably figure you'd pay off the guns first.” Henrique told her

She looked at the new larger metal cabinet behind him painted in dark red letters 'ERT.' Her revolver was kept close with a pair of speed-loaders and folding knife on the opposite side of the shoulder harness. A harness that incidentally served to mildly 'bump' her otherwise meager 'assets' under the jacket. “Armor is really nice to have though, but they are not wrong. Its the only way to get them. Are those the Shimatsus?”

“Aye. Want to take a look.”

Miya nodded and Henrique took out a heavily key ring, picking a shiny one. Inside were twelve matte gray Shimatsu 42 assault rifles with a DCMS logo stamped onto the stocks. Several pistols, a pair of personal defense weapons (including her own), filled magazines and cylinders for both, and boxes of ammo filled out the leftover space.

“Armored car dropped them off last night. Took the old arms locker away, probably for target practice.” desk sergeant told her

He pulled out a gray satchel which clacked and an ammo box thumped as he put them on a cart. “If you don't have any work waiting for you. You're helping load magazines.”

“But I'll break a nail.” she complained to him

Henrique slammed the heavy steel doors closed before locking them. “It'll grow back, Constable. There's a fast loader device in the satchel. So you can keep them looking fresh for your boyfriend.”

A blush came to her face through the bronze cosmetics that tried but failed to restore her country complexion lost after months of night and inside work.

“Good for you.

Men are nothing but trouble in relationships. Trust me I know.”, said the Desk Sergeant

An immediate response was quickly squelched as the man sat back into his chair and re-assumed his responsibilities. She rode the elevator with the ammo cart in tow settling at the desk right outside the Inspector's office. Piles of paperwork awaited her hand. Four deep baskets occupied a nearby cart, 'Physical Archive' 'Digitization' 'Destruction' and 'Transfer'

Recent events had increased the number of daily and weekly reports just as she was put on desk duty. Her hands ached even before she pulled out the Koban's Hanko stamp and ink pad. The analog clock read 05:58 and Hachiman's sun struggled to clear the horizon.

At 11:08 Miya and Reika sat across from one another in a metal booth over steaming cups of oolong tea. Constant rubbing failed to ease the pain in Miya's hands and the motion mildly irritated Reika.

“Why does it never end?”

“That's the job. I know its all new to you but it won't be for long.”

“I hate being Inspector Genju's secretary.” said Miya

“You're at least a well-compensated one Miya-chan. Reika told her

“Well I hear Chandrasekhar-sama pays better, but working for him is 'strenuous,' or so I hear.”

“Eww.” Miya played with the restaurant menu and its bright bold pictures. “If this is some kind of ploy to avoid me ordering the spicy beef bowl it won't work.”

“I wouldn't dream of it. Now spit it out! You are acting strange. What's wrong?” Reika asked her

She dithered at the response mercifully alleviated by the waiter arriving to take their orders.

Reika leaned in whispering. “Were you or are you pregnant?”

“What no! That's not it.” exclaimed

“Well I don't know how far you took your little undercover gig.”

“Gross. No I spent more time beating men with a stick than theirs.”

“Alright so is it a guy? Or girl, no judgment.”

“Ummm....Well a man asked me to have dinner with him.”

“That's great. Why is it so weird then?” asked Reika

Now Miya leaned forward and whispered into Reika's ear. “It's the man I saved with the transfusion. Tai-Shu Isoroku Kurita.”

Reika's face barely contained the shock. “You...and him for dinner?”

“He says he wants to thank me for saving his life.” she calmly told Reika

“In what way?” with raised eyebrow

“I don't know. He's old enough to be my father. He can't possible want that, but I don't know.” Miya told her

“So the crab and caviar from earlier?”


“Well he doesn't have a record for lechery like Chandrasekhar. He at least gave you the option to refuse. I guess he could have summoned you since he's a Warlord and all. That would have been all kinds of creepy.”Miya began to explain

“Even asking me to dinner is. He signed with his personal Hanko.

What should I do? I don't even have a dress that nice, or money to get one, I'm too embarrassed.” Miya finished explaining

“Well if you go to the Dawn Circus in Srinager you can get one. They rent all kinds of costumes and formal-wear at reasonable rates, with fitting included.” Reiya told her friend

“What part of I don't have any money for that did you, Miss?”

“I guess you could pay them in trade or maybe he has an ummm...'entertaining' account on file. They'd probably take his invitation as approval without question.”

Miya sighed, “But I'll look like a tramp.”

“Where do you think we got your outfits when you were undercover?” asked Reika

“What! They came from those Canopian hussies. The Inspector said they were from a storage unit.”

She shrugged and crossed her arms over her chest. “Now I feel like a trollop too.”

“I thought you looked nice.” Reika

“I was playing a whore.” she complained

“And now you can play a different role.”

Their waiter returned with bowls laden with noodles, broth, and vegetables. Each woman removed their chopsticks and got to work. “I'll refuse him. Then I won't even need to worry about it.”

“That might not be wise. High status men aren't used to hearing no from those they deem lesser.” commented Reika

Rich broth and simmered vegetables occupied their attentions for a time until only the liquid remained. “Maybe he is sincere in his appreciation. Everything I hear says that he has remained true to his dead wife throughout his life despite probably having all kinds of options. He used his personal stamp. That shows a great deal of respect for you.”

“You have proven unhelpful in this matter, Sensei.” Miya told her

“Well I would have said hell yes to whatever he had in mind. Been a while.”

The older woman paid the bill by placing her cred card against a disk on the table. They both stood and walked out to her motorcycle. “Of course I'm a little more experienced than you are in that way.” Reika commented

Woman Police Officer (Motorcycle)

Constable Reika, Hachiman Motorcycle Police Officer

“A bold claim.” Miya said

“Well surprise me then.”

Reika put her helmet on, “If you're not interested send him my way. I think I could handle the White Tiger.” Before she put the face-plate down she made a playful cat gesture. “Rrww”

Her motorcycle sped away and Miya's head dipped low. She pulled out her personal HTE Handipad, licked the stylus and tapped the screen until she pulled up the train schedule to Srinager. A ticket was purchased with her public servant discount. She sent out a text to Hector Genju's official comm-pad.

'Will be coming in late tomorrow. I have an appointment.'

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