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Fractured Mirror

Posted on Tue Dec 25th, 2018 @ 4:30pm by Executive Officer Valiyi Uhin & Deacon Kane

Mission: Shattered
Location: ISS Gaman, Admiral's Quarters
Timeline: MD 02 : 0830 Hrs

The young woman finished slicing the oranges and carefully arranged them in a bowl, accenting them with fresh kiwi fruit. After placing the fruit on the lacquer tray, she took a moment to appreciate the arrangement of the small bowls and plates of food along with their gentle aromas. "Meals are gold, silver and copper.” she remembered Maiko say, “With breakfast being gold, the most important meal, for it sets the tone of the day.” Picking up the tray she made her way from the small kitchen in the Admiral’s residence.

"Good morning Lady Tajima" one of the guards said, looking at her with cybernetic eyes that scanned her for weapons, explosives or anything else that could threaten the Admiral, "It's times like this I miss the crisp air on Mount Tate."

She smiled politely at the guard, wishing he'd call her 'Suna' instead of her formal name. "And I miss the sacred waters of Mikurigaike," she replied using the countersign, "It's cobalt blue beautifully reflects Tateyama." With a small bow, the guard allowed her to pass into the Admirals inner chambers. She followed the corridor down to his office where she found the Admiral sitting over a low desk reviewing multiple pads filled with reports and writing out the orders for the day.

Placing the tray on a low nearby table, she sat patiently, waiting for the poison sniffers to analyse its contents as the smells of the hot food filled the room. She worried that the breakfast would cool before Shinji would allow himself a break. Finally she saw him pause momentarily. “You have been working since the middle watch, Father.” She said admonishing him, as a concerned daughter, not his subordinate officer, “Please come and eat some food.”

The pause would not last long, as Shinji's attention returned to the PaDD he was examining. There was much to be done, and no time to spare on pleasantries such as food. Not at the moment, in any case. "Once I've finished determining which of the crew of that ship we've secured has the information I want. None of our interrogators have managed to find much of anything out. It seems we may have to go in and gut the ship itself."

“Then the interrogators shall keep digging and the ship will be reduced to scrap metal and stem bolts in order to yield her secrets." Suna replied as she scooped a spoonful of dark green leaves into a purple clay pot, pouring lukewarm water in, allowing them to seep. She counted the seconds in her head, transfering a bowl of white rice with pickled plums and small plate of grilled salmon to the tea tray. Then standing up she walked to Shinji’s desk and placed the food within the Admiral’s easy reach.

"In the meantime, I know trying to pull you away from work to be pointless, Father, but you have made me your physician,” the woman said with a soft loving gentleness which still carried an underlayment of hardened steel, “You are doing no one any good by starving yourself. As your doctor, I am giving you a simple prescription. Eat.” She added, pouring him a cup of the finest hon gyokuro, which had brewed to perfection within the teapot.

Shinji had become accustomed to the gentle prodding of his daughter. Her concern was noted with his hand reaching out for the tea, taking a sip as he removed himself from his PaDD. It seemed he would be ready to begin his breakfast ritual, but he paused after his first sip, giving Suna a rather stern look. "Is there anything to report other than the Admiral not eating his breakfast at the scheduled time?"

While Suna's first reaction was to dig her heels and yell at her father to just eat, one does not yell at the Lord of the Kwanto, Commander of the Eighth Fleet, whose flag waves on over five dozen planets conquered by his forces, no matter how much you love him or worry about him. Squaring her shoulders Suna bowed slightly and dutifully began her report.

"I have examined many of the crew of the Rose and found them to be in good health, relatively speaking. None appear to have been adversely effected by the crossover." Which Suna knew to be important, the untested technique for bringing the starship across could one day lead to fleets of conquest bringing civilization and order through a multiverse of barbaric realities. But that was a dream for another time, she reminded herself. For now she steeled herself, to make her case to keep the crew alive, "Though many are what they themselves refer to as 'knuckle-draggers' I believe they would make ideal candidates for the forced labor corp, not to mention the specialist like their doctor, whose skills could be useful after proper reeducation."

It was only then that Suna saw the devilish smile in her father eyes. She reddened slightly, embarrassed to be caught in her usual impassioned pleas, but happy that she brought some joy into her father's morning. Unfortunately like many things, this joy was short lived.

"Still squeamish about what needs to be done, Lap-Dog?" Hissed a voice from a hooded figure entering the room, "Your doctor and his 'knuckle-draggers' will be breathing vacuum two seconds after we find what we need. You are really a pathetic Lap-dog, aren't you?" she added scooping up the bowl of Miso soup left on the low table. With a smile on her ruined lips, the hag began to loudly slurp directly from the bowl, not only because she was famished, but also because of the distress it would cause Suna. Stuffing a piece of pickled daikon down her throat with her fingers, she added, "And still you pretend to be of consequence. Making reports over food that would seem foolish at a child's tea party." She cackled.

But as usual the hag underestimated Suna, who again earned her nickname by showing her sand as she replied, "I blame the inferior genetic stock, from which I derive, Sister."

"You dare insult my father in his own study?" The hag hissed.

"It is not our father I wish to insult, nor his genetic make up I was questioning, honored sister." Suna replied, which earned her getting the dregs of the miso soup thrown in her face.

"Enough." Shinji's voice cut through their arguing, a distaste in his voice as he watched on. The world was terrible enough that he should not have had to deal with the ugliness of these endless experiments plaguing his mornings. He pointed at the hag, then at the nearby seat. "Sit, and remain silent."

The hag turned staring defiantly at Shunji, but quickly looked away, shrinking under his withering gaze. Bowing with reverence, she turned and knelt at the low table like a civilized person. Folding her hands on her lap, she remained silent with only the glaring hatred for Suna remaining in her eyes. As for Suna herself she stood in silence, horrified for bringing disharmony to her father's morning. She knew Shinji was under a tremendous amount of stress, and felt only shame in adding to his burden with her inability to hold her tongue, where her sister was concern. Red faced she bowed low to the Admiral who seemed unaware of her as he stared after her sister.

Then, Shinji turned to Suna, gaze softening ever so slightly. "We should make attempts to re-educate the physician, and perhaps any of the scientists as well. The denizens of this reality have proven to be resourceful, but if they are too defiant, we may need more severe means."

“Thank you father. I will leave you then, to eat with your daughter in peace.” Bowing again Suna withdrew from Sinji's offices leaving never meeting the Hagel’s gaze, though not out of fear as some would suppose, but as one final act of defiance on Suna part, to show her honored sister that she would not rise to the bait.

After the shōji door slid silently closed behind Suna, the hag lowered her hood revealing her face. Above her ruined lips, a strip of bandage wrapped around her head, choked with patches of red and sickly yellow as blood and pus worked their way from the sutures underneath. Above the bandage her skin was smooth and milky white. Her hair, though short was a luxuriously shiny black color. Her unruined face was an exact match of Suna's, though if anyone called it a copy the hag would make sure they died in great pain for she knew that Suna was the copy. The mysterious advisor that everyone called ‘the hag' was the true Lady Tajima.

“There are times, father, that I think even you forget that neutered clone isn't you daughter.” Tajima hissed, “Tell me will you miss her gentle ways once I fully heal, and retake my rightful place?"

Shinji waited for her to finish the acid she spat in his direction. There was little that could be done about her attitude, but even after all these years, the daughter he had raised was little less than tolerable. "Clone or not, she is working in your stead aboard this ship and is to be treated with such respect until such a time when you are to return."

“Yes, Father of course. As always, I will comply to your orders, as the loyal daughter that you made.” Tajima replied, bowing to Shinji. Tajima could not help but feel the mockery in that bow, or help hide the smile in the twisted truth in what she just said. Her father was getting soft and sentimental, she told herself. Ever since her ‘accident’ that exposed her to those delta rays, she'd come to realize how truly weak the Admiral had become. Well, she thought slurping her tea, as she eyed her father, If one compliant clone can masquerade as myself, maybe I could grow another that would put the power of the whole eighth fleet at my fingertips. But that was a plan for after she became whole again, she told herself as she bowed again to her loving father.




Admiral Shinji Kita
Commanding Officer,
ISS Gaman

Suna
Chief Science Officer
ISS Gaman

Tajima
Honored Daughter
ISS Gaman

 

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