The Gensokyo star system is a quiet backwater at the fringes of the galaxy, with only one charted faster-than-light route connecting it to civilized space. Poor prospects for colonization and a lack of strategic resources in the systems beyond make the Gensokyo system an unlikely place for future development. Nominally part of human space, the local administration is for most intents and purposes an independent entity. While the largest colony in the system, located on the marginally habitable (and most habitable in the system) planet Gensokyo Prime, is almost entirely human, various youkai who can handle more extreme living conditions have made various parts of the system their home. Everyone gets along, or at the least is civil enough to avoid open conflict, with everybody else for the most part.
The harvest moon festival, a tradition dating from a time when agriculture suffered from quaint restrictions such as seasons, is fast approaching. By happy coincidence the moon of Gensokyo Prime will be full as well, something that has worked up human and youkai alike into a state of excitement. It is at such a time that a certain private investigator receives a visit from a mysterious client, starting a chain of events that would forever change the Gensokyo system…
Character Select: [ ] Reimu Hakurei A former shrine maiden in a time when shrine maidens are viewed as cosplayers rather than spiritual guardians, she now supplements her nigh-non-existent donations with freelance private eye work to support herself. Special skill: Youkai extermination – improves odds in shootouts and brawls versus youkai.
[ ] Marisa Kirisame: A former fighter pilot who was dishonourably discharged for insubordination, theft and smuggling soon after the War ended, she now makes a living as a freelance private eye. Special skill: Ace pilot – improves odds in spacecar chases.
[ ] Sakura Izayoi: A former employee of the giant defense corporation SDM who left for health reasons, she took the relatively less stressful job of freelance private eye while nursing her health in the unpolluted air of Gensokyo Prime. Special skill: Time manipulation – slows down time but quickly causes exhaustion.
[ ] Youmu Konpaku: A former police detective who grew disillusioned with the corruption of the official system and quit, she now strives to serve justice her own way as a freelance private eye. Special item: Hakurouken – an impressive personal weapon (feel free to suggest which) which enhances interviewees’ truthfulness during interrogations.
Voice Select: [ ] First person [ ] Second person [ ] Third person
>>25186 Sakura Izayoi who was Sakuya Izayois sister was one day in a spaceship typing on a consoul. She got a spacemail from her sister that said that lunarians and youkai were attacking her mansion and aksed her for help so she went. Sakura Izayoi got her camisole shut down and wet on the platform to go up to the pockcit of the spaceship where he left her cocketwatch and normal witches close because she was in her space maid outfit. Sakura Izayoi got her pocketwash and said "its time for me to live up to my family name and face three life consequences".
...In all seriousness, this looks pretty interesting. [x] Reimu Hakurei [x] Third person
“The latest weather reports place a twenty-five percent chance of cloudy skies and a ten percent chance of rain on the day of the Harvest Moon Festival. In galactic news, SDM stock dropped two hundred points on Monday as the navy cancelled a contract for new Leviathan cruisers, in accordance with official policy to reduce fleet numbers to prewar levels…” I don’t need the radio to tell me that it’s going to rain. The air is stuffy with occasional gusts that ruffle the trees in the garden outside, only to quickly become still again. Dark clouds already cover patches of sky and block the sun, leaving the world in shadowless grey.
My house, which also serves as my office, lies on the outskirts of the colony. It is in a quiet location, removed from the bustle of the colony centre and its starport. I was tending to the flowers I grow in the garden out back when the crunch of tires on the dirt road leading to my house tells me that I have a visitor. It’s not the first time a client arrived while I was gardening, and I easily head back inside and remove my gardening gloves and boots before the bell rings.
“I’m coming!” I call out as I head to the front door and open it. “M-Ms. Yuyuko?”
Ms. Yuyuko Saigyouji was a close friend of my late father. As long as I can remember I have called her Ms. Yuyuko, even after I should have grown out of it. Old habits die hard, I guess. She is a dignified youkai associated with what humans call ghosts, who carries herself gracefully with impeccable manners, with the possible exception of her dining habits. Despite being a glutton, albeit one with flawless table etiquette, she somehow maintains a figure that women and men have killed for, though despite all the times I asked her how she accomplished it during my teenage years, she never revealed her secret to me.
We embrace like relatives, and I give her a peck on each kiss. “You look well, Youmu,” she nods approvingly after taking a step back and looking me up and down. She has a way of making me feel like a child, regardless of whatever I really was, whether it be naïve cadet, disillusioned detective, or world-weary private investigator. “I’m sure you still get mistaken for eighteen, don’t you? And here we were, your old co-workers and I were afraid that moving to a backwater like this would turn you into an old granny in no time. Have you been taking care of your skin properly?”
We don’t age as quickly as humans do, although it doesn’t mean that we don’t need to exert effort to maintain a youthful appearance. “Of course, I’m a big girl now.” I use a phrase I have used for over thirty years, but somehow it still feels as though I have yet to convince her fully of it. “Um, please come in.” There are two wings in my residence; the office where I receive clients and my private quarters. Hey, real estate is cheap on Gensokyo Prime and labour isn’t overpriced either. I gesture towards the living room, but Yuyuko shakes her head.
“I’d love to chat and catch up with you, but I have urgent business first. Shall we talk in your office?”
“Ah, okay. You can keep your shoes on!” I quickly interrupt her before she can remove her shoes. The floor is sturdy hardwood for easy cleaning, meant for clients entering and leaving, after all. I lead her into the office, past a sturdy wooden door on which the doorplate reads “Y. Konpaku”, one of the few mementos I retained from my previous place of employment. A large desk takes up the centre of the room, with cabinets lining the walls. Venetian blinds cover the west-facing window and filter the light of the late afternoon sun while a fan spins lazily overhead, giving the room some much-needed ventilation. I gesture to one of the two hardback chairs in front of the desk. “Please, sit. Would you like some coffee?” Tea at home, coffee at the office.
“How about some of that bottle you keep in your cabinet?” Yuyuko suggests with an innocent smile.
“W-w-what are you talking about – nevermind, I’m not underage anymore – but how did you know?” I sputter in surprise. I thought I kept my illicit trysts with alcohol a secret!
She chuckles with amusement. “Don’t be a silly girl. I’ve known you since you were a baby; of course you can’t keep anything hidden from me. Oh, do yourself a favour and pour yourself a glass too. You just might need it. And don’t worry, I never told anyone else about your secret stashes.”
With a slight feeling of dread I open the cabinet. Most of them contain files, but one contains a bottle of well-aged vintage and glasses. I set a pair of glasses on the desk and pour some of the amber liquid into each. “Cheers,” we clink our glasses together and each take a sip.
“I’m glad to see that your taste has improved at least,” Yuyuko nods approvingly. She sets her glass down, her teasing demeanour put away as well, becoming more business-like. I sit up straighter almost subconsciously. She reaches for the front of her kimono – I turn my gaze aside politely just in time as she takes out a tiny data drive. It fits easily in the palm of my hand and turns itself on, projecting a silvery holographic image of a shining orb, its surface pockmarked with craters.
“Full Moon: a pure platinum model of Luna cast to commemorate the end of the Apollo War in the twentieth century. Set with diamonds corresponding to major battlefields, with the largest one at Tranquility Base where Armstrong made first contact and where the peace treaty was signed. En route to Luna for exhibition, it disappeared and hasn’t been seen in centuries – but there are rumours. Always rumours.” I shake my head. “Any school child knows about this, and the bounty waiting for whoever finds it. But I’m a private investigator, not a treasure hunter on a wild-goose chase.”
“I know you’re too incorruptible to be motivated solely by money. But there’s more on the drive,” Yuyuko points out to me patiently.
“Alright, let’s see…” I call up the haptic interface and navigate through the remaining contents on the drive. “These look like rendezvous coordinates – for the Gensokyo system.” Something seems off; I look up at Yuyuko warily. “This is still officially human space, so if this is what I think it is, why aren’t the police investigating it?”
“Someone told them to stop looking for it.” She takes another sip. “You worked there before; you know how it goes.”
“And I also know that it’s bad for career and health to air someone’s dirty laundry when they have enough power to influence a police chief,” I counter. “There’s more to this than you’re letting on. Who gave you this information, and why?”
“Always cutting straight to the chase, aren’t you Youmu?” Yuyuko smiles somewhat patronizingly, making me feel like a little girl again. “You remember Onozuka? She was the one working on this case before higher priorities intruded upon her. She passed her findings to me because…” There was an uncharacteristic pause coming from Yuyuko.
“Because what?” I lean forward expectantly.
“Your father–“ Her words fill my heart with a surge of dread. It has been many years since he was killed in action while investigating a case that remains classified to this day. Is Yuyuko going to confirm what I think she has to say? “ –He was following a lead on the Full Moon when he was killed.”
[ ] I’ll check these coordinates. You should stay on the colony until I get back; the space lanes are unsafe because of pirates. [ ] I’ll check these coordinates. Are you coming along? [ ] I need some quiet time by myself to process this. [ ] Other / write-in.
I put down the data drive, silent for a moment. Finally, I clear my suddenly dry throat to speak. “I’ll check these coordinates. Are you coming along?”
Yuyuko looks at me sympathetically. I wish she’d rather not. “Are you okay, Youmu?”
“I’m fine, really.” I swallow, trying to force back the lump in my throat. “Father died more than ten years ago. I’ve moved on. Let’s go.”
“Right now?” she raises an incredulous eyebrow, not quite believing my display. “Drop everything and go?”
“Yes. The trail’s getting colder by the minute.” I drain my glass in one gulp and get up. “Coming? I’d rather not leave you here surface-side with the locals. They aren’t exactly the most refined bunch.” I retrieve Hakurouken and holster from its normal spot in my desk drawer and strap it around my waist.
“I suppose I should,” Yuyuko sets her own glass down, leaving it half full.
“We can finish the bottle when we get back,” I promise her, tilting my head towards the door. “Come on. The garage is in the back.”
The Myon spacecar is parked in the garage in the back, still sporting police colours, albeit those of a jurisdiction far, far away. “You still fly one of these?” Yuyuko queries lightly as she sees it. It’s a robust spacecar, not the most elegant, nor fastest, nor sleekest, but handles well enough to get the job done. With a deceptively boxy shape that favours durability over aesthetics, many suspects have thought it a slow, unwieldy vehicle - and every time they have been proven wrong.
“They were going to decommission the Myons and replace them with the next generation spacecar, so the department figured that no one would notice if a few never turned up at the scrapyard. It beats a gold watch as a retirement present, that’s for sure.” I open the cockpit and climb into the pilot’s seat while Yuyuko rides shotgun. “It’s useful in my line of work. People don’t usually ask as many questions when they see a police car.”
I start up the engine and run through the preflight checklist. Everything is ready to go - life support functioning, fuel topped up, shield generators running, garage doors opening. “Strapped in?” I glance over at Yuyuko, who has most decidedly not yet put on her seatbelt.
“It’ll wrinkle my dress,” she complains.
“Ms. Yuyuko!” I roll my eyes in exasperation.
“All right, all right,” she grumbles like the little child she does not look like at all, as she reluctantly snaps the seatbelt in place with a little click.
I start the anti-gravity drive and gently nudge the Myon out of the garage and into the warm rays of the autumn sun. Turning onto the road that connects to the rest of the colony, I keep the Myon a few feet above the ground, high enough to avoid the worst of the dirt but still low enough to qualify as ground transport.
“Tower, Myon One, requesting escape permission,” I comm local aerospace control and request permission to leave the planet.
“Myon One, Tower, permission granted. It’s a slow day; skies are clear. Check in with GenBoCaC if you’re passing by the Hakurei Gate. They’re calling for any militia.” Gensokyo Border Control And Customs is based at the Hakurei Gate, a bit further from the local sun than Gensokyo Prime, which in turn connects via faster-than-light to the rest of civilized space.
“Copy. Any idea what they want?”
“They wouldn’t say. Godspeed and Tower out.”
The Myon rapidly gains altitude as I push the throttle to its maximum and channel the energy into the anti-gravity drive. “Militia, eh?” Yuyuko teases. “I never thought you were the soldering type.”
“Anyone with a laser on her spacecar was coerced into the militia, whether they wanted it or not,” I explain. “Out here in the boondocks GenBoCaC wouldn’t be able to muster even a single flight otherwise.”
The colony soon becomes a speck on the ground, then disappears altogether as we climb ever higher. The sky becomes darker, and before long when we look up it is into star-filled space instead of bright sky. I plot a course towards the coordinates on the data drive. It lies on the ecliptic plane, but further away from the sun, and we would pass near the Hakurei Gate on the way there.
The minutes pass uneventfully as the Myon makes it way through the void, its un-aerodynamic shape meeting no resistance in the vacuum of space. I put on some music and pass the time catching up with Yuyuko.
A uniquely accented voice interrupts us over the comm as we pass by the Hakurei Gate. “Myon One, Hakurei Two. Come in, overz.”
“Copy. What’s up Marisa?” Marisa Kirisame is GenBoCaC’s “space combat consultant”. There are rumours that she was an ace pilot in the war before her discharge, credited with scores of confirmed kills. Now it’s rumoured that she smuggles contraband into the system whenever she is not patrolling the Gate against, ironically enough, smugglers trying to smuggle contraband into the system.
“Good to see you, Youmu. Reimu’s with me too, overz.”
“Hello Reimu.” Reimu Hakurei is the person in charge of GenBoCaC. The fact that one as young as her can have this position speaks volumes about the insignificance of this system in galactic affairs. She also really likes to cosplay as a Terran shrine maiden, for reasons that only she can fathom. Worse still, she actually believes that she is one, but at least her delusions do not interfere with her work and our freedom to fly in space - most of the time.
“You’re just the right person we’re looking for. Change your callsign to Hakurei Three for now and fall in formation on Reimu’s starboard. We’re going to check out these coordinates, overz.” Marisa’s tone isn’t the kind that leaves me a choice. A pair of blips on my scanner inform me that Marisa’s and Reimu’s spacecraft have undocked from Hakurei Gate.
“Hakurei One, Hakurei Three acknowledges and assuming formation.” I comply with Marisa’s demand and fly into position. Her words are backed by the lasers and missiles on her military-grade spacecraft. Mine’s a modified civilian spacecar retrofitted with a bank of surplus weapons, definitely no match. Besides, her set of coordinates are suspiciously similar to mine.
“Are you going to play along with them?” Yuyuko pipes up beside me.
“They’re headed the same place we’re going. It can’t be coincidence.” I answer her and turn the comm back on. “Can one of you tell me what exactly is going on here?”
“We intercepted an encrypted transmission an hour ago and traced it back to these coordinates. The encryption was too strong to crack, but I recognized it from the war. It uses Bug protocols, overz,” Marisa explains, bitterness creeping into her voice.
“I thought the bugs were driven back to their home system during the war-” I ask.
“Yes, they were supposed to be,” Marisa replies. “And my gut tells me to bring as much firepower as I can to blow this fu-”
“Hey, Marisa...” Reimu interrupts hesitantly.
“I’m fine,” Marisa claims, sounding about as sincere as I did. “It’s probably nothing more than a leftover spy drone, anyways. Anyways - thanks for coming along, Youmu. Overz.”
“Don’t worry about it,” I answer politely.
“We’ll finish up as quickly as we can and let you go on your way,” Reimu assures me.
In the end I figure that this detour is not going to take Yuyuko and I far out of our way, and so it can’t hurt to effectively have an escort see us there. I adjust the autopilot so that it will maintain formation and let it do its thing, while I force myself to relax and pick up our catching up where I left off with Yuyuko.
Still, as we draw closer to our destination I can’t help but to scan the instruments over and over again. Life support is chugging along as usual, plenty of fuel is left, heading and velocity are locked on the correct values, shield generators continue running, engine heat is within acceptable levels, and even the weapon diagnostics are all green. Yet, I can’t shake off a feeling of unease.
“You’re nervous,” Yuyuko states the obvious.
“Thanks, Ms. Yuyuko,” I reply dryly.
A high-pitched alarm suddenly reverberates through the cockpit as multiple red blips appear on my scanners. “Incoming bogeys dead ahead, overz!” Marisa shouts out a warning, proving that I have more than a simple system malfunction on my hands.
“Unidentified spacecraft, this is Gensokyo Border Control and Customs. Identify yourselves and power down at once,” Reimu announces over an open channel. In all my years of experience I have never had a single suspect comply with such a demand. This time is no different, as the unknown craft remain silent and accelerate towards us while maintaining a perfect formation beautiful and ominous, as though controlled by a higher power. The Myon’s sensors count twelve of them.
“They aren’t responding. Making a few shots across their bows will change their mi- damn it!” Marisa swears unexpectedly. “Those are bug fighter drones and that’s a bug attack formation, overz.”
“What’s our plan?” Reimu asks.
“Take them head on and take them down hard,” Marisa responds decisively. “Youmu, you don’t have enough shielding to survive the initial pass, so hang back and engage only after the furball starts. We still need you, overz.”
“Are we really going to get mixed up in all this?” Yuyuko asks worriedly. “Shouldn’t we just steer clear of everything?”
[ ] Do as Marisa says. [ ] Leeroy Jenkins! [ ] Remain in formation for the initial pass anyways. [ ] Execute the RSLG maneuver (look it up if you don’t know what it is).
Marisa is the space combat consultant and ace pilot here, after all. I turn aside to fall behind and take a flanking position at the same time as Reimu and Marisa engage afterburners and roar soundlessly ahead. The lights in the cabin dim and the stereo music is cut off as I shut down non-essential systems and divert the energy to power up and arm the weapon banks. I double check to make sure that the engine and shields are running fine.
By the time I look back up, Reimu’s and Marisa’s craft are tiny specks at the tip of radiant exhaust trails, two comets charging head-on against twelve glowing tails coming directly at them. One of them launches a missile at the oncoming cluster of drones, which streaks head of them two leaving a third brilliant line in its wake. The bug fighters scatter to avoid the explosion but not before two of the red blips disappear from my scanners.
Then they enter within laser range and all hell breaks loose in a flurry of light that rivals the most lunatic danmaku show. The bug drones spew out round after round of orange-red shot, filling space with their fiery projectiles. Hakurei One and Hakurei Two easily avoid them and return fire of their own. Marisa’s interceptor executes a barrel roll and slides between gaps of bug fire while raining iridescent beams upon the enemy. One, two, then three more drones break apart into debris after being hit. Reimu nudges her fighter just barely out of the way of an incoming stream of orange bullets to leave a trail of sparks behind her as they graze harmlessly against shields. She unleashes a barrage of needle-like lasers and claims a kill of her own.
“Hang on!” I warn Yuyuko as we enter the fray ourselves. Of the remaining six bug fighters, two head straight for me while the remaining four turn about to reengage Reimu and Marisa after their first strafing run. I jink in random directions to avoid incoming fire as the drones spray orange and red at me. The spacecar occasionally shudders under the impact of a hit or two but the shields hold and keep us alive. The lock-on tone informs me that I have a weapons solution and I squeeze the trigger! The twin laser cannons sing, each putting out six hundred shots a minute. One of the drones disintegrates just as we fly right pass them.
“Just like the training simulations. No sweat,” my voice is surprisingly steady as I look over to see how Yuyuko is doing. Other than an understandable degree of tension she looks fine, but-
“Youmu! Behind us!” She points towards the back window at the drone behind us. It has already reversed facing with a turn so sharp that no spacecraft with living occupants can possibly have matched. I throw the Myon into a hard turn and swerve just in time out of the way of a fresh stream of bug fire that tears through the space we occupied scant moments ago. The gentle scent of her perfume and the soft pressing of her skin dimly register in my mind as centripetal force pushes Yuyuko against me, seat belt or no.
The drone stubbornly remains hot on my tail no matter how hard I try to shake it off. I constantly turn this way and that to spoil the bug fighter’s aim, but despite my best efforts the Myon is still being rocked by the impacts of glancing shots every now and then. Alarms beeped, unnecessarily warning me of the remaining shield strength dropping low. “I can’t shake it off!”. Looking at Yuyuko I say what might be my last words as the drone’s bullets chip the last remaining bits of shields away, “I’m sorry Yu-“
“Gotcha covered, Hakurei Three.” A voice cool as ice, hardly recognizable as Marisa’s, saves our lives. An iridescent beam pierces through the drone’s hull and leaves an expanding cloud of debris in place of the former bug fighter a moment later. Marisa’s sleek spacecraft passes in front of us. I check the scanners and they come up blank. All of the drones have been destroyed.
“Is everybody all right? Check in.” It’s Reimu’s voice.
“Hakurei Two, all green, overz,” Marisa replies, sounding more like her old self now.
“Hakurei Three, ten-four. Thanks for the save.” I don’t trust myself to say anymore. My heart is still trying to jump out of my chest.
“Bug drones can’t operate by themselves. Their mothership has got to be nearby, overz,” Marisa insists.
“Nonsense,” Reimu scoffs. “There’s no way that a bug ship can get through the gate without me noticing.”
“Wanna bet on that, overz?”
While the two of them continue to bicker, I turn my attention back to Yuyuko. “We survived – are you okay, Yuyuko?”
“Yes, I’m fine,” she has a relieved smile on her face. “Although this is a little too much excitement for me in my old age. More importantly, where did you learn to fly like that?”
“Well, they had a course or two about spacecar chases back in police school,” I explained, “although they usually assumed that the police would be the ones doing the chasing and shooting, not the other way around.”
“Hey Youmu, how’re you holding up? You’ve been awful quiet lately, overz,” Marisa’s mention of my name catches my attention.
“I’m still here. You two done with your little spat?” I chuckle.
“Hardly,” Reimu drawled dangerously calmly. “But we’ve agreed to patrol the area for further signs of bugs. It’s probably a wild goose chase and we’ve already taken up enough of your time, so you can go now.”
“Thanks for your help, overz!” Marisa chimes in.
“See you around. Out.” I thumb off the communicator and turn to Yuyuko, “Ready, Yuyuko?” She nods and I ease the Myon back towards our original destination. They’re nearby, relatively speaking. There are no other contacts on the scope, but I keep the spacecar’s combat settings active, just in case.
It’s a short flight over to the coordinates that Yuyuko gave me; Reimu’s and Marisa’s crafts are even still within the edges of scanner range. “There’s nothing out here,” I mutter. Just as another patch of empty space, like all the rest.
“I’m sorry,” Yuyuko whispers back. “I shouldn’t have raised your hopes. It was a long shot at best-“
“No, something’s not right here,” I ignore the useless sensor output and look out into the starry expanse with my own two eyes. “Call it a gut feeling.” My finger rests on the trigger. “Right… there!”
The laser beam blazes across the eternal night – and hits something. The background of stars ripples and distorts before fading away to reveal a large freighter. Suddenly the spacecar’s sensors pick up the freighter’s emissions and designate it as a large unknown where a moment before they had quite strongly insisted that nothing was there. The mystery vessel makes no signal or automated response to identify itself, whether as civilian or military, private or commercial. Except for its temperature, which is just high enough to sustain life, it may as well be a derelict.
“Reimu, Marisa, you getting this?” I establish an uplink to their spacecrafts and send the visual I’m seeing to them. “Kowloon-class freighter, modified cargo bay – looks like a hangar of some sort.” The hangar bay doors are open, but the interior is unlit and looks abandoned. Despite appearances, though, my scanners indicate that the air-vacuum boundary is being maintained inside by a force field. Someone has use of it, and that someone needs to breathe.
“What the – where did it come from?” In the background behind Reimu’s voice I can hear the roar of her fighter’s engines as she makes best speed towards the unidentified freighter and me.
“No idea, but I don’t think it planned on being found.” The freighter’s engines light up like a beacon. As it accelerates the hangar doors begin to close. I make the decision in a split second; to chicken out now would be to face a lifetime of regrets and what-ifs. I fire up the Myon’s engine and catch up to the retreating vessel before it has a chance to pick up speed. The front half of the spacecar pushes through the force field and slips in the narrowing gap between the bay doors. “Take care of the spacecar Miss Yuyuko!” is all I have time to ask of her as I open the door and drop into the freighter’s hangar. The autopilot command I managed to enter in the past few seconds kicks in. It closes the door and engages reverse thrusters to push the Myon away before the hangar doors slam shut.
Artificial gravity pulls me down to the floor of the hangar. It is not the best of my landings but I manage to roll and avoid injury. I unholster Hakurouken as my eyes adjust to the dark. Its familiar grip gives me comfort in an unknown, most likely dangerous situation. There are few problems that cannot be solved by me and Hakurouken, my trusty…
[x] Monomolecular vibre-sword with plasma bolt surprise. The hilt charges a ball of plasma. Youmu swings the sword and out flies danmaku. The blade vibrates, forcing whatever material its cutting to stay apart, making for a near frictionless slash through even bone. Also pretty damn sharp.