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Cyber Shogun Revolution

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Cyber Shogun Revolution

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Author: Peter Tieryas
Publisher: Ace Books, 2020
Series: United States of Japan: Book 3

1. United States of Japan
2. Mecha Samurai Empire
3. Cyber Shogun Revolution

Book Type: Novel
Genre: Science-Fiction
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Synopsis

NO ONE SURVIVES AN ALLIANCE WITH THE NAZIS. NOT WITHOUT USE OF FORCE.

Seattle, 2019. After a severe injury, ace mecha designer and pilot Reiko Morikawa is recruited to a secret organization plotting a revolt against the corrupt governor (and Nazi sympathizer) of the United States of Japan. When their plan to save the USJ from itself goes awry, the mission is only saved from failure because the governor is killed by an assassin known as Bloody Mary. But the assassin isn't satisfied with just the governor.

Bishop Wakana used to be a cop. Now he's an agent of the Tokko, the secret police. Following the trail of a Nazi scientist, Bishop discovers a web of weapons smuggling, black market mecha parts--and a mysterious assassin. This killer once hunted Nazis but now seems to be targeting the USJ itself. As the leaders of the United States of Japan come to realize the devil's bargain they made in their uneasy alliance with the Nazis, Bishop and Reiko are hot on the trail of Bloody Mary, trying to stop her before it's too late.


Excerpt

I.

Reiko Morikawa hated the rain. It reminded her of cold, damp nights full of regret. But she'd been ordered to Taiko City, once called Seattle by the old Americans, for an urgent meeting of the Sons of War.

Taiko City looked more dazzling on rainy nights. There were skyscrapers gleaming in vibrant neon, vying for attention with flashy brand logos. Advertisements that were the size of buildings flipped between new portical games, Queequegs Coffee, and various sushi chains that were expanding quickly thanks to breakthroughs in the farming of genetically modified super tuna. Many of the pedestrians were dressed in stylish storm kimonos, while others went for z-cloaks that could change optics to match a given season's fashion trends. Motorcycles zipped by in a frenetic dash, their lights echoing like trails from the past. Reiko spotted a patrol of two of the newer Anubis-class mechas that were designed to protect cities so that tragedies like the Kansas Massacre could never happen again. She'd lived through the massacre, barely surviving in her East Kansas apartment when the Nazis carried out their sneak attack on the city.

Reiko shuddered at the thought. She was glad to arrive early for her meeting with the Sons of War so she didn't have to dwell on memories of that day. She, like all the others, had to undergo a ritual cleansing. This meant a washing of hands and feet, then changing into new clothes that included a Noh mask wrapped tightly around her face. Audio recorders were built into each of the masks and acted as a voice recognition system designed to ensure the people behind the mask were who they said they were. If they weren't, tactile probes on the insides of each mask would become needles and kill the intruder instantly. The eye openings in the masks shut as the members were driven to a secret meeting place many kilometers away. Once they arrived, they had to go through another metal detector and be subjected to a full body search at their destination.

The corridors were lit by lanterns. The attendees were asked to take off their slippers when they got on the tatami mats and entered the main hall.

Reiko was one of the forty-seven present, all of whom were wearing Noh masks. The variety of traditional masks had expanded with the growth of the Empire, and the participants wore many types from different regions. The Sons of War usually met in groups of forty-seven, even though there were at least fifty times that number in total.

Reiko was wearing an onna-men mask, and she spotted several wearing the ghostly onryos. She knew one of them was her friend from her days at Berkeley Military Academy, Daniela Takemi. Daniela had been the one who'd recruited her to the Sons of War and her roommate when the Nazis had attacked Kansas.

"Nice mask," Daniela said.

Reiko replied, "You look very creepy in yours."

"We need all the ghosts we can get on our side," Daniela replied.

"So we can scare the crap out of our enemies?"

"Hopefully a lot more than just scaring."

Reiko's attention quickly went to the member who was wearing a George Washington face mask, white wig, and colonial hat. It was a strange choice considering that the leader of the Sons of War, General Noboru Yamaoka, had vanquished the GW threat over a decade ago in the Irvine Trap. Was there a special significance to its presence at this meeting? There very well could be, since pomp and drama were an important part of these ceremonies.

"Weird, right?" Daniela asked when she noticed the subject of Reiko's attention. "We should tar and feather them."

Reiko grimaced.

"Don't be so nervous," Daniela said. "We've been waiting a long time for tonight."

"I know," Reiko replied, then looked down at her artificial arm that was covered with genetically grown skin to appear mostly natural. She flexed her fingers and said, "It feels like it's been forever since Kansas."

"Forever and a half. But it'll be over soon."

Reiko wasn't so sure.

The meeting began with a hymn and prayer to Ieyasu, first shogun of the Tokugawa shogunate. The old military dictator had united Japan and brought peace to the main island after years of turmoil. He was the de facto ruler of Japan and made all the key decisions. General Yamaoka revered the old shogun, even painting the crest of the triple hollyhock (mon) for his personal mecha when he was promoted to general.

Even though General Yamaoka did not identify himself as such, everyone knew it was him when he spoke at the meeting. His booming voice, his stoic mask, and his impassioned pose left no doubt.

"We are patriots. We are here because we love our country. Our governor bribed his way into power by feeding lies to Tokyo Command. He has never served in the military. He is a liar, a conceited buffoon who has no regard for life. It is because of his lack of leadership that the Kansas Massacre was allowed to happen. And worse, in his attempt to save face, he tried to blame others, including our esteemed intelligence community. So many of our most respected colleagues were unceremoniously dismissed or forced to commit seppuku for sins they did not commit. Now we have incontrovertible proof that he is collaborating with the Nazis. The Nazis, our sworn enemies! We cannot leave the fate of our country in the hands of fools. We have taken an oath to each other to wrest control away from Tamura and establish a new government. Anything less, and we'd be shirking our responsibilities."

The general's voice was mesmerizing as he led them through the crimes committed by Governor Tamura, some minor, others sacrilegious, immoral, and inhuman. General Yamaoka named all the officials and soldiers the governor forced to kill themselves solely for political expediency. The general had firsthand experience of the governor's influence.

Shortly after the Kansas Massacre, Yamaoka had devised the plan to take over Texarkana Fortress in the German Americas. The campaign succeeded beyond the expectations of the political leadership. Yamaoka conquered Texarkana, smashed the infamous Hitler statue that was purportedly the third tallest structure in the German Americas, and broadcast his victory to the world. The Nazis had been helpless against the new Strand mechas that made mincemeat of their biomechs. But rather than follow up their victory with a march all the way to the East Coast, their governor, Daigo Tamura, incited Tokyo Command to question Yamaoka's intentions. This had led to all sorts of political fallout.

"It's time for us to make our move," Yamaoka asserted. "We've prepared so long for this moment. The poor leadership of those in command has put everyone at risk. The Nazis will never know their place, and even now they're making preparations for a retaliatory excursion against our forces in the Quiet Border. We've tried rapprochement when I was forced to relinquish the eastern half of Texarkana Fortress. Command wants us to give up the western half too, but that's only convinced the Nazis that the Empire is weak. They weren't wrong. Our political leaders have made one mistake after another, starting with our losses in San Diego. No one survives an alliance with the Nazis. Not without the use of force. We will take control of our country before our so-called leaders throw it away."

Reiko knew the implications of what that meant thanks to the Kansas Massacre. The fact that General Yamaoka's attempt to avenge her compatriots had been stopped by Tamura still disgusted her, as did the revelation he'd been paid off by the Nazis. She trembled in rage just thinking about it.

"The commanders of eighteen of the outposts in the ninth section of the Quiet Border have all agreed to be part of the revolution," an officer confirmed.

"The fire chiefs at the thirteen local regions are ready for any contingency in case there's a mishap."

Thirty members went down the list, confirming all those who would take part in the revolution that would follow after the death of Governor Daigo Tamura.

General Yamaoka said, "From here, you will all go to your designated points. The penalty of failure will almost certainly be death for you and your family. But success means we save the country from itself."

"We won't fail!" someone yelled.

Yamaoka nodded, pleased by the boldness. "No, we won't. We have reason to believe security, while tough, will be vulnerable to a coordinated attack. Our inside contact on the governor's staff has given us the exact route with guard detail. For our own security purposes, you will only be informed of your part in the mission. All of your tasks, however trivial they may seem, will be of essence to the mission. For those taking on the brunt of the combat work, I bow in respect for what you are about to do. Though we have taken many precautions and the plan is sound, there is a chance you may not return. Know that you will forever be honored and spoken of with reverence among the Sons of War. I swear that your sacrifice will not be in vain," he said, and bowed.

The meeting ended. Daniela approached Reiko and said, "You have one of the toughest assignments tonight."

"I'll manage," Reiko replied.

"Good luck. Our future depends on you."

"No pressure."

"Does anything shake you?" Daniela asked.

"The chicken dancers at the Bertoli Discotheque," Reiko cheekily replied.

"I'll be sure to get us VIP seats after this is over."

Reiko went to her mecha, the Inago. It was a Katamari class, which was much smaller than the average mecha at about ten meters tall. It sacrificed bulk in exchange for increased agility and ease of control. Her piloting controls placed her inside a cube of gelatinous fluid called the Salamander. There, she could move without pain, despite the injuries she'd taken during the Kansas Massacre. The fluid held healing properties that eased her muscles and could actually sense what she intended to do. The Katamari could even be piloted without the use of her hands. She could use her feet, her eyes, her brows, and even her voice, though voice commands made most pilots hoarse in less than half an hour. Reiko piloted via a combination of her legs, eyes, and voice.

The Katamari had a capsule-like helmet and simplified green armor that used stealth optics to blend in with its background. Acoustic microphones, motion sensors, and a variety of other trackers gave Reiko optimal awareness of her environment. She was also given a Skaria Type-19 prototype electromagnetic gun that, when fired, could magnetize and control anything with metal. Another experimental device that she'd long advocated for, the directional plasma shield, made the Katamaris a fierce challenge for any opposing mecha. The shield used a projection of plasma to heat up the air in a given direction, which in turn would be controlled by a magnetic field. The dense heat would cause most projectiles to lose most of their force, or slow down to the point where they would be harmless against the Inago's armor.

As Reiko piloted the Inago out of the warehouse, the night felt different. Rain always made the city scintillate. Each building seemed to be weeping.

She knew the details of her mission, as she'd been informed of them before the meeting. There was going to be a convoy of nine security cars with the governor. They were driving over the West Taiko Bridge, which was about eight hundred meters long. It was a cantilevered bridge, with minimal traffic in the evening. Reiko's task was to dismantle two of the security cars.

Her magnetic gun should be able to do that with ease. There were three other Katamaris, each with the same weapon. Reiko knew it was a smart decision to use the Katamaris, since they were part of the city defense and no one would bat an eye to see a group of them moving through the city together. Just in case, though, they'd received fake permits for sentry duty along the Spokane St. Viaduct which would pass basic scrutiny.

That's where she arrived at 20:13 p.m. The governor's convoy wasn't due for another forty minutes. Governor Tamura was stuck in a contentious meeting with city officials about the annual budget and one of their inside sources informed them that the meeting was running late.

Her team was using code names. The three other Katamaris with her were Gold, Blue, and Green. She herself was randomly named Red. They paired up and stationed themselves on opposite sides of the bridge. Green was her principal partner and he was meticulously going over their instructions on the encrypted channel. She recognized his voice as one of the officers who'd spoken during the public funeral after the Kansas Massacre.

"You there, Red?" Green asked.

"I am," Reiko answered.

The 3-D grid of the map visually splayed out on her goggles and she looked at the simulated routes of attack.

"You're from Berkeley, aren't you?" he asked.

"I was there a few years ago," she replied.

"I thought I recognized your voice. I used to serve in Mechtown."

"Same here."

"You were in Kansas during the attack?"

"I was," Reiko answered. "You?"

"I was showing my nephew around the mecha training camps in Kansas," Green said. "His dream was to become a pilot and I was giving him an early tour. We were on the freeway when the Nazi biomechs attacked and destroyed the road. I didn't even know what happened until I woke up in the hospital. They said his death was quick. I couldn't look my sister in the eye. She still hasn't spoken a word since his passing."

He became silent.

Reiko empathized with his pain.

"I used to be stationed in East Moscow," Gold said. "During the winters, it got so cold, the showers wouldn't work 'cause the pipes in our barracks would freeze. Nazis used to take their prisoners and line them up in weird poses along the wall and pour water over them. They'd freeze to death but stay in their strange poses for months. Sometimes they'd snipe at them and make their bodies shatter. I had a buddy who used to sneak over to the western side 'cause he had a girlfriend there. He got caught and the next time I saw him was on the wall with his girlfriend. They had contorted their bodies and shaped their corpses into a frozen heart..."

It was hard to imagine what life could be like in the western half of the Soviet Union, where non-Aryans were slaves, and even among pure Germans, a misspoken word would turn you into a political prisoner, subject to the whims of the Gestapo.

"I fought with the general when we took Texarkana Fortress," Blue stated. "We found an underground structure filled with prisoners. But they were more like walking corpses. You had to see the things the Nazis were doing, stitching people together and splicing them with animals. They forced them to breed and tortured the babies in front of their parents. I still have nightmares about what I saw. We didn't take Nazi prisoners. We killed every soldier we caught. We should have kept on going. Governor Tamura should never have stopped us."

Copyright © 2020 by Peter Tieryas


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