Hamamatsu Photonics wrote:Made famous for producing the combat goggles that Arismal must wear when encountering light brighter than what is native on their homeworld, Hamamatsu Photonics (HP) has expanded into creating the A.D.F.'s various heads-up-displays and cameras for surveillance. This mid-sized company with large-scale military contracts was essentially destroyed with the destruction of Arismal.
The third son of Mitsui Hamamatsu, patriarch of Hamamatsu Photonics, Daisuke was bound for the military. His older brothers had already taken executive positions within the company and were slated to be its leadership in the next generation. For a third-born, his only means to distinguish himself was to serve the military. Daisuke knew his duty and despite the lack of natural physical or mental acuity, his determination and work ethic saw him perform well through training. From a young age, he studied various martial arts and learned to combine them into an effective combat style appropriate for his lack of physical talent. Like a Hoshi philosopher once said, "It is the submerged rock that is unaffected by the crashing wave, not the one that stands tall." Daisuke tries to implement the tenants of patience and self-discipline learned in martial arts to other aspects of his life. He understands that there will always be those bigger, stronger, faster, more cunning than he. But his determination and focus helps him turn the enemies' strengths against them.
Day 00. Low-gravity Field Training Exercise (FTX) final exam: Atop spinning asteroid Messina
Flashback: 14 year old Daisuke wrote:Michio wasn't a bully in the traditional sense of the word. He didn't stuff you in your locker or beat you up on the playground after school. Instead, this cunning child waged a bit of a psychological warfare on you. Words were his weapons, emotions the means by which he made you do what he wanted. Michio always got his way.
One day, Daisuke came by Michio who had fallen through some thin ice and was struggling to keep his head above the freezing water. Michio's 'friends' were wringing their hands helplessly in the periphery, impotent to help. Filled with the valorous teachings from his father, Daisuke courageously risked his own life and rescued Michio from certain death. Though he did not know it that day, it became an act that he would soon learn to regret and threatens to unravel his moral compass.
At 14 years old, Daisuke was average in just about every way. He was an honest kid just trying to fit in with everyone else. For the most part, he was quite successful in this. He had a best friend named Yumiko whom he passed his free time with at school. Daisuke had known Yumiko since grade school. She and he worked on assignments together, played on the playground together and ate meals together. The past six months had been a bit strange however as Yumiko had begun to blossom from a girl into a woman. Her physical changes drew attention from classmates that previously did not know she existed. One of whom was Michio.
Not quite knowing what was going on, Daisuke naively watched as Michio manipulated Yumiko, driving a wedge between the two of them. For the first time, Daisuke found himself confused and angry. Michio was filling Yumiko's mind with lies that poisoned their relationship. When Daisuke asked his father what he should do, he preached more fortitude, discipline and honesty. Since his respect for his father ran deep, Daisuke followed his advice even though his heart screamed for him to fight. Daisuke continued to beseech Yumiko to stop listening to Michio, but that only further drove them apart. In a vocal confrontation between the three of them, Daisuke nearly came to blows with Michio whom Yumiko now fervently defended. Daisuke conceded the confrontation and was banished by Yumiko, asking that he never speak to her again. The look of Michio's smirk that day is etched into Daisuke's mind. Two weeks later, Michio and Yumiko stole a hovercycle and were involved in a terrible crash. Only Michio survived.
Deep inside his psyche, this loss chipped a crack into Daisuke's belief system. A tiny part of him believes that his nobility that day when he saved Michio's life instead brought more evil into the world. If Michio's life had not been spared, Yumiko would still be alive. Evil won because Good was too nice.
Daisuke carefully peaks over the ridge, exposing his head for no more than a couple seconds. Ducking back beneath cover, he conveys to the squad what he sees. "Fortified bunker with three hardpoint defenses. Charlie is exposed on their approach. Set up the mortar, target the bunker."
Daisuke gestures the mortar setup location to the three man team. "Ramirez to the left. Suppressing fire. Morgan to the right, eyes on the approach, signal when Charlie makes their move. We are to be the distraction while Charlie takes the bunker."
His squad-mates nod in quick affirmation, splitting the remainder of the squad up to complete their assigned tasks.
their radio belches a moment later. It is Charlie squad. Daisuke scrambles to crest the ridge again to get another look. He immediately sees that their companion squad decided to move early and are now enduring withering fire. "Change of plans. Tyson, Bocci, on me. We make the assault. Once we enter the bunker, move in to reinforce us."
Daisuke and his two fast-mover melee specialists quickly make a bee-line for the bunker. The fast-acting gamble pays off as the three wreak havoc in the enemy lines, forcing their attention away from the remainder of the two squads. As the defensive fire slows, the others are able to make a hasty approach and the exercise soon becomes a route.
Afterward, the trainees are gathering their equipment from the field when everything is suddenly bathed in bright white light and their comms go down. Bewildered, instructors and trainees alike gather together before Ramirez is the first to notice. "The frak..."
he utters as he points skyward to where Arismal used to be.
Day 03. Aboard the Arbalest:
Daisuke stares hard at the "HP" logo imprinted on the inside of his combat goggles. The mood aboard the destroyer had been a mixture of solemnity and rage as the destroyer moved to reunite with the rest of the fleet. Leaning more toward the former than the latter, the young Arismal confines himself to his bunk, struggling like so many others with the loss of their home.
Cloaked in solitude, he takes the first step to inner serenity. He presses two fingers against his sternum, finding his center-point. With intense focus, he wills away the poisonous despair that threatens to overwhelm him. After a few minutes, Daisuke's mind is clear. A clean, blank slate. And he breathes in slow, letting the recycled air fill his lungs. I am the submerged rock.
He thinks while exhaling, letting his worries flow out of him. Daisuke is largely successful in his self-purge, but not completely. Hidden from his consciousness, there remains a tiny twinge of anger stuck in the back of his mind like a nagging barb. Moments later, he is up and off to report for duty.
Day 184. Diplomatic Deployment Delta-Five-Seven
"Comin' up on the drop! I expect you boys to take care of business and to be home by dinner!"
the Staff Sergeant belts above the roar of burning atmosphere outside, tapping his helmet then vest to indicate for all the troopers to check their gear.
Daisuke stands, checks the chute of the man in front of him, taps their helmet, then checks the front of his gear before he feels a tap on his own helmet. Something about the specifics of this mission felt wrong to his burgeoning military instincts.
Ever since his brief brush on Day 41 helping suppress an attempted coup with the living legends, the 1st S.O.G., he had been a man without a home. Of course all Arismal shared the same woeful fate. But he was one of a select few that didn't seem to settle into a particular squad once the dust cleared. Likely top brass was still in-fighting to some degree and he just got unlucky. Or perhaps there was someone near the top who remembered his small role in helping the 1st S.O.G. secure the admiralty and was working to undermine his career. Regardless the reason, he seemed to be in a continual loop of deployments that involved a lot of walking around and even more waiting. Whenever action was on the horizon, he would be re-assigned. It was as if purpose and glory would forever be an aspiration just beyond his reach.
Feeling a bit like walking through a dream where he relives the same day over and over again, Daisuke jumps with his squad. They land on-target and gather beneath a small copse of trees.
"Good jump fellas. Well done. Cave entrance is 1500 meters North by Northwest."
Daisuke remarks, lifting his face-plate before addressing his troopers, "Remember, this is a rescue mission. The local chieftain's daughter has been kidnapped by some mountain hermit in that cave. And we are here to provide a show of force, convince the hermit to relinquish her into our custody. In return, ADF gets a cut of their harvest for the next five years. Let's do this by the numbers. I don't know about you, but I'm sick and tired of protein paste and am looking forward to some fresh fruits and veg."
With a flick of his wrist, Daisuke deploys his two scouts, "Harris, Thielen, get eyes on the cave and find a vantage with cover. You're overwatch. Everyone else, on me."
Nature and life abound on the planet. Though he does not say it aloud, it feels good to tread through the low grass and Daisuke re-lives the stolen few breaths of fresh air in his mind as they march toward the mouth of the cave. "Two bipedal thermals. Think one is the hermit, the other the daughter. Cave is large, 50 meters in diameter, but no tunnels."
Thielen reports over the comms in a timely fashion. "Roger that. Time to meet the neighbor."
Daisuke keys back.
Stepping into the mouth of the cave, Daisuke's HUD polarization lightens as he makes his introduction, "Good morning. My name is Lieutenant Daisuke Hamamatsu of the Arismal Defense Fleet. We are here at the request of that young lady's father."
He gestures at the thermal signature on the right before his normal vision acclimates and he sees her chained to the wall with a neck manacle. Biting back the angry words bubbling in his chest, he continues at diplomacy, "As you can see, we have the cave surrounded. For all parties involved, I recommend you remove her bindings and turn her over to us."
As Daisuke speaks, the ragged hermit slowly advances on the Hoshi man. The low growl rumbling from his throat suggesting either that he did not understand or perhaps care about the olive branch being offered. Now standing fully before Daisuke, angry breaths against his faceplate temporarily fog his view. "No."
is all the hermit says before backhanding the Lieutenant square in the chest, sending him flying with the force of a cargo truck. Immediately, Daisuke's squad opens fire.
"Check your aim!"
Daisuke reminds his squad through short gasping breaths. He finds his feet and is greeted with the sight of the hermit reverting back to its natural form. That of a 30 foot-long horned lizard with wings. The Hoshi man's eyes go wide at the unexpected development. And he immediately sees the need to re-engage as the beast seems to shrug off the weapons-fire, closing on his teammates and knocking them around. Realizing the need to even the odds, Daisuke focuses his energies and tries to mimic the beast, a surge of raw power and innate abilities flood his body. Using some manner of magical flight that must be innate to the beast, Daisuke bodily collides with the beast and grapples it with equal strength, fighting for supremacy. "Rescue her! I'll harry this beast!"
Daisuke roar-commands to his squad as he hip-tosses the beast with an earth-shaking tremble that defies the laws of physics. The beast lashes out in return, vice-like jaws quickly rendering his armor a tattered and useless mess. But when teeth meet Daisuke's flesh, they find no purchase. He appears as hardened as his foe and just like the beast, wounds seem to mend before one's eyes.
Daisuke's squad are professional and efficient in following their CO's orders. Fast movers break off the attack and make for the chained woman with their slower companions pulling up the rear with fire support. While Daisuke delays the beast's return to its domicile, his team detonate shaped charges that make short work of the chain holding her in place. Almost clear of the mouth of the cave, Daisuke notices a searing heat growing in the beast's throat as he grapples with it. He manages to redirect a gout of super-heated fire before his focused effort is rewarded with a tail strike to his temple that allows the beast to take flight unimpeded.
It inhales deeply and belches out another gout. Not having enough time to reach the beast's head, Daisuke instead throws himself bodily in the path of the raging inferno to give his compatriots a chance to escape. Now completely naked and devoid of any of his gear, Daisuke is still nonetheless relatively unscathed. He launches himself anew at the beast who roars in frustration. A split second before the Hoshi man makes contact, the beast vanishes, seemingly willing itself beyond space and time to a different place. "Ho ho ho, can't get away from Kondo that easily."
Daisuke exclaims before tapping the beast's same ability, but to much different effect. His teammates witness the disappearance of their CO and are left amidst smoldering silence, to complete the mission without him.
[9 months later] Croftonland -- Last Remnant of Red Eclipse
Daisuke checks his gear again, while sighing to himself. He had learned a lot since that fateful day he appeared ash-covered, but otherwise naked in a meadow. He had learned the powers he borrowed was from a mythical beast that existed (usually in the shadows) in reality, an adult dragon. And that the world he accidentally dimensionally teleported to was some sort of nexus for conflict, especially among the powerful. Moving forward, he would need to be prepared to be perpetually surprised. The unexpected is to become mundane.
Red Eclipse, the squad that recognized his talent when few others could, was designed to be an advanced scouting party. But by Daisuke's measure, that simply meant that they relied primarily on stealth and speed for their survival. Unlike his Arismal teammates, they brought unique skills
to the situation but no unique powers
. When stealth and speed was not enough, there was little they could do in the face of doom. At least they left a parting gift, called in an airstrike that slowed the Deevils' progress down. But personally, Daisuke could feel his inner demon (Kondo
) growing in strength. Pain, anguish and sadness was its fuel and the past couple years were abundantly fruitful in such currency.
They (Red Eclipse) were a fun-loving bunch though. Took him in and taught him about this crazy new planet he was marooned on. And he found New Paducah to be a fascinating place until their deployment to Croftonland in the Lakes region refocused his attention on conflict and combat.
For the last few months, Croftonland had been a bloodbath. By last count, over two hundred other mercenaries, nearly a thousand civilians had paid the ultimate price in this extended and unconventional conflict. Still, after the gruesome encounter that claimed the lives of his compatriots, Daisuke finds himself back in a familiar place... waiting to be assigned.
"You think it's true?"
Daisuke asks Braylon, a young tech working on weapon systems alignment. "Five-O says so. Says they're bringing in some heavy hitters from MercTown too. Maybe they're talents'll help with some sorta breakthrough."
Braylon responds before jiggling a wire free of its attachment, "Damn solder won't make a good connection!"
Nodding noncommittally, Daisuke commiserates with a far-off look, "Yea, that's a tough one. Don't forget to take a break every once in a while, get some air, clear your head... Take care buddy."
The Hoshi man claps Braylon on the back warmly before stepping back out into the camp and looking toward the horizon.
Heavy hitters from MercTown, huh. I wonder who the reinforcements are?