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Tiffany Korta

Sakura no akuma

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Ueno Park, Tokyo, Japan

29th March 2015, Hanami


With the Cherry blossom in full bloom it seemed that the whole of Tokyo was in the park enjoying good food and good company. The corner of the park you find yourself is a huge public part put on by Sanshain KinpÅge.   Sunshine Buttercup   was an idoru an sophisticated AI, that maybe fully aware, that wrote record and sung her own rather bouncy J-Pop. Right now she was chatting to and signing "autographs" with a bunch of excited fans, soon she was due to perform to the delight of many gathered in the area.

 

The sun was shining people was happy and the food and entertain were flowing frely, what could possibly go wrong?

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Sakurako adjusted her data glasses. She was resplendent in her regalia that was her now upgraded exploration suit, with her upgraded EMWand hanging from a loop on her waist like a sword. The two white stripes on the pink sailor collar of her suit signified this was the Mark II Exploration suit. In fact the pink and white color of her suit and vest was carefully chosen to celebrate the new spring. Sakurako looked over to the starting to drift cherry blossom petals. It would be a day or two more before the beauty of Spring would fade. She was here more for a technology conference, but this experience stole the show.

 

But to Sakurako this was springtime for more than all of the life on the planet... this was springtime for a whole new species of being. An Artificial Intelligence, right there in the digital flesh. A... sentinel of the singularity. "By Kurzweil's Analysis..."

 

This attracted Sakurako. To see a life form created by human hands, but to see it used for mere entertainment... the computing power could solve so many problems, create so much logistical perfection, calculate a cure for cancers or diseases... to simply be an entertainer seemed to be a whole much ado about nothing. Then again, to see a peaceful application for such an advanced being was admirable... and if she chose this life for herself, what isn't more noble than making Humanity happy?

Edited by The Osprey

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Alexander liked to think himself a rather worldly and experienced man, he'd traveled far and wide on holidays and with his work on the rail-roads of the world, having even managed to learn himself one or two languages by immersion alone there were few who could or even would deny it. he'd decided to make the use of his small grace period by once more setting out on what he hoped would be a rather more sedate holiday.

 

So far though he'd had a bit of a time of it, Japan was indeed a beautiful country the blooming of the cherry blossoms and the rise in spirits they brought with them only heightened this in the aged man's mind, it made him feel happy and sedate to be surrounded by such a springtime of youth and culture, aiding him in soaking up the parlance with ease, even as the Cantankerous spirit roiled in delight at the technology and innovation that surrounded it it felt slightly less active, not pushing him aggressively towards it goals or driving him to lash out at his foes.

 

giving a grateful incline of his head and presenting the necessary yen to the cheerful young lady before him he takes the plate of fried beef from her with a quiet "Domo harigato." much to her apparent amusement, proceeding to stride off in search of a seat, he avoided any where younger people might've been, though it was nice to see they respected their elders it had made him feel awkward and indeed a little old.

Edited by Exaccus

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Giang Trang calmly made her way through crowded paths of Ueno Park, taking in the wonderful sight of the many cherry blossoms which were now in full bloom. For the Asian young woman, this trip to Japan had been something of a risk. It was the closest she had come to Hong Kong and the center of her father’s sphere of influence since she had run away over two years ago. But as John had told her numerous times, she could not lead her life constantly trying to hide or be in fear of her father’s agents. And as much as she might enjoy spending time in the Lost World or Atlantis, the surface world on this Earth was still very much her home.

So Giang had decided to Japan for a few days, to take in some of the sights and experience some of the culture. After all, she had added Japanese to the number of additional languages she spoke during her last year at Claremont.

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After a few more virtual autographs Sunshine took to the stage to perform her latest J-Pop hits, for a hi-tech hologram performing in the sunlight the stage show was relatively basic with just her and (real) backing singers. For those that enjoyed the music it was quite an idilic scene.

 

But of cause it couldn’t last.

 

With a shower of cherry petals a woman appeared on stage behind the hologram in billowing robes of red and green. At first people thought it was part of the show until she strode angrily to one of the backing singers and grabbed her microphone.

 

<â€Why have you allowed this thing to be allowed into my park, it offends the spirits of the very trees around you.â€>

 

As spoke the nearby cherry trees began to shift and move shaking off blossum as they snaked toward the stage and the crowd.

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"This isn't good." Sakurako said, grabbing her EMWand, activating it in it's discharge mode, and closing the clear face plate of her helmet.

 

"The spirits or your own opinion?" Sakurako challenged the woman, crossing her arms. "You would think someone who brings joy to the crowd here would be enjoyable to the plants and trees here as well?! It is something that is well known in science that things that raise "positive energy" seems to have a positive response to plant cells. That and think about it... free CO2... trees in bloom LOVE that."

 

Sakurako leveled her gaze at the woman. "Stand down... this can't be good for the trees health, controlling them like this. Some of these Sakura are old... their roots are fragile!" she shouted.

 

Note,

Pink is English, Purple is Japanese.

Edited by The Osprey

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Giang had not been at the park for the performance by the holographic performer, but at the same time she was not bothered by the performance once it began. She stopped briefly to consider the performance, appreciative of the rather basic nature of it, which fit with the setting.

She had just turned away and started off a path toward another area of the park when the disturbance began. Turning back a moment, the Asian teen frowned slightly as several of the trees began to move.

Fortunately, Giang had long since learned to be prepared for just such an eventuality. If it was not agents sent by her father or another of Dr. Sin's lieutenants, there was always just a good chance some other incident would take place. Stepping off the path and into some thick bushes, she began removing her outer clothing, reveling a morphic molecule costume below that was colored in several shades of blue that seemed almost to flow and shimmer like water.

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finding a nice bench looking over the park, Alexander had barely managed to get his meal into his mouth when anon, the forest, she began to move, roots as old as time and as thick as mens arms churning up the soil that held them.

 

It was almost an instinct for him to look to the stage, because if someone was going to do something it was probably going to be theatrically, A bit of a squint at the stage let him see the source of the commotion, someone had one of the background dancers by their arms and was yelling indignantly about something  

 

<Ahhh its going to be one of those holidays.> He laments to himself as he sets his polystyrene plate down virtually untouched and made for the stage at full steam.

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The woman was apparently exasperated that people weren’t reacting exactly as she would have expected.

 

<”You dare to come to the defense of this... this thing! So be it you shall all suffer natures wrath!”>

 

She raised her hand and from all around worthing grabbing roots burst from the ground blinding grabbing anything it there grasp. There was a panic among the crowd as they began to dash around to try to avoid the reach of the tree roots.


The only person not affected was the hologram that was the source of her ere the root’s just went through her holographic form causing little bursts of light.

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Ulysses is quite taken by suprise when the ground breaks beneath him and roots surge forth like writhing tentacles, grasping and thrashing at him and seemingly everyone else in the immediate vicinity but he does not let that stop him from nimbly twisting out of the way of them as he hurtles along at full steam, though it presents to him a new problem entirely; hostages, deciding to divert his course he make a sharp turn, stumbling a little from the abruptness of it all and the displaced ground beneath him but managing to remain on his feet he charges headlong into the thick of the forrest brings his palms to bear on the bases of the roots around him, hoping that the thicker wood and further distance form their captives would keep the worst of the impacts away from their captives, splitting and shattering the wood.

"Trees that don't bend, Break." he mumbles to himself, leaving quite a hefty plume of steam and churned earth in his wake.

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Endeavor flies past the roots and branches, barely avoiding them as she flies in a straight vector at Sakura-no-Onna... "Sorry, but you have to be stopped..." She flies past swinging with her Plasma Blade at Sakura-no-Onna before getting to altitude over her, switching to her Electricity Emitter. "Please... surrender, we can still talk this out but I am serious. You're putting the lives of those here in jeopardy! The trees, the people, and that sentient digital life form!"

"Please... if you don't listen to reason we will be forced to stop you... with physical force if necessary. Please..." She plead.

Edited by Osprey

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The woman didn’t speak but her face screwed up in pure hate, at Endurance of the hologram she couldn’t be totally sure, and the tree branches around her writhed about in angry agitation. As they shook the leaves began to shed to be picked up by the woman and began to swirl around her. After a few second there was a torment of leaves that swirled around her, until she sent them flying towards Endeavor.

A few leaves clipped flesh causing a few small cut’s that suggested that her attack would have been effective, but most of the leaves missed Sakurako fluttering harmlessly away.

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Having finished changing into her costume, Giang surrounded herself with a thin, shimmering sheen of water as she reached out with one hand toward the water of a nearby pond.  A spout of water rose up from the pond, snaking through the air toward the Asian teenager, who gracefully jumped onto the water spout, which then lifted higher up into the air as it carried Giang over toward the stage. 

There the young woman found two other heroes already on the scene and trying to stop the plant woman.  One Giang recognized, Ulysses, a steam powered hero she had worked with in upstate New York a little over a year ago.  The other was a younger teenager whom she did not recognize. 

Moving close to the stage, Giang focused her attention on the plant woman who had started all of this.  "I am afraid you leave us little choice."  She stated aloud as she brought her hands up in front of her.  A blast of twisting coils of water shot out from the Asian teen's hands, streaking toward the plant woman to hit her squarely in the chest.  The force of the blast was powerful enough that it knocked the plant woman off her feet, sending her flying backward almost ten meters before she landed on the ground, dazed.

Edited by Thevshi

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With his hands filled with torn wood and plant matter ulysses once more turned on a pivot and resumed his charge for the now blatantly aggressive tree-lady, even as she was sent tumbling away by the torrent of water that a familiar youngster riding a waterspout has blasted her with, he wastes no time at all in running headlong into his barely recovered foe with the crown of his hardened skull,  striking a satisfyingly solid hit on her shoulder and hitting with all the weight and fury of a freight train, that she didn't keel over as the venerable trees he'd cut his way through on the little detour was testament to her resilience.

"Surrender!" he bellows "You're out-gunned and outnumbered." torrents of billowing steam now practical whistling from the corners of his mouth and blowing the corners of his moustache into upward points

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Sakurako knew that this woman wasn't receptive to negotiation. She looked down as her suit's superficial damage closed up. Seems the spaceworthy modifications she made to the outer skin were a good idea in general. The minor scrapes she got from those leaves would need a little compression to quickly help with healing. She was totally gonna need a shower after this. "Sorry, I don't think she wants to negotiate, Ulysses!" Sakurako shouted. Sakurako kept her sword at the ready and flew in for a second sword run. Moving her sword looking to strike firm upon her before once again dashing into the sky.

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With an almost unnatural sound, perhaps like how a tree would shriek in pain, the plant woman fell unconscious from you combined blows. The cherry tree’s roots gave one last writhe in sympathetic agony before returning to their positions as before, apparently unharmed by their brief period of activity. The Japanese were a little more reserved than the average Freedomite but they still showed their joy at the villain being stopped. Soon the sounds of sirens suggested that the police would still be on the scene.

As thing were still working themselves out the star of the show, Sunshine herself, came up to the hero and gave them a  friendly smile

“Thank you all for you help.” her english was flawless “I’d like you all to attend a small party I’m holding later, I insist and won’t take no for an answer”

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With the plant controlling woman was rendered unconscious and the controlled cherry blossoms returned to their original places, Giang allowed herself to relax slightly as she looked back over the other two heroes who had responded to the threat.  "I am pleased to have the opportunity to work alongside you once more Ulysses."  The young woman stated to the steam powered hero, giving him a respectful bow. 

She then turned to Endeavor.  <"I do not believe we have met, I am Tsunami.">  She said to the teen in Japanese, giving her a small bow in greeting as well. 

When Sunshine came over to thank the gathered heroes, Tsunami briefly considered trying to politely decline the AI's request.  But given the attack on the AI in broad daylight, the Asian young woman decided it might be best to attend, just in case.

"Then I will of course be happy to attend, thank you for the invitation."  

Edited by Thevshi

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Endeavor turned off her EMWand, hovering down to the now calming battlefield. "This is going to be one heck of an insurance bill... and we're going to need some tree specialists to get these Sakura back in place..." She said not to any one person until Tsunami got her attention. "Oh. Thank you. I was here on a little one-day trip to see this Hologram in action." She said, turning to the AI. "While claiming that there isn't a option on attending or not is a bit imposing and can be considered rude, I'll take you up on the offer, Miss." Endeavor said to the AI, opening up her helmet and letting her hair out. The fact Endeavor was a type of heroine who didn't hide her identity was a bit odd. She turned to Tsunami again. "Name's Sakurako. Endeavor's just a callsign..."

Note: Still speaking in Japanese.

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Ulysses had been quite stunned that someone knew who he was without a introduction, his public exploits must've been getting more attention than he'd thought, he returns the bow to tsunami awkwardly "And you too, Tsunami, I wish it were under better circumstances." he says, a little awkward now the heat of the battle has passed and he finds himself at the center of the attention, Finding himself saved by the timely arrival of the AI of the hour

He ponders the invite for a while, whilst he had no desire to feel like a third caterpillar track he's been made keenly aware not only of the customs of hospitality but that as a member of the vanguard he would soon be representing the United kingdoms government, if ever there was a time to practise suffering in serenity now was it.

"I would be honoured to attend; Dohmo Harigato" he tries with a graceful incline of his head that almost sends his cap falling to the floor, saved only by the timely intervention of his gloved right hand pushing it back onto his noggin, he remembered mirthfully when someone had asked if he glued it on to keep it in place whilst he was moving at full steam.

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Sunshine looked mortified that she had caused some kind of offense, the level of emotion display by her was remarkable for an Artificial Intelligence.

“I’m sorry if I caused offense. Did I get the idiom wrong? I don’t always get such thing correct.” there was a genuine sense she was trying to apologise for her faux pas.

She looked around at the park and the crowds that were trying to decide what to do next, as the villain was being hustled away but the Japanese authorities.

“I really should finish the show, it’s expected of me. You more than welcome to watch from the sides or I have a small trailer where you can wait for me to finish.”

 

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"Then I am pleased to meet you Sakurako."   Giang replied as the teenage girl introduced herself, giving a second small bow.  The Asian young woman then turned her attention back to Sunshine as the AI excused herself to finish her performance.   

"We fully understand and will likely wish to remain her while you finish."  She replied. 

Once the AI had moved back to the stage, Giang turned back to the other two heroes.  "So, I expect like me you are concerned that where there has been one attack against Sunshine, there is the potential for more?  Perhaps we can use our time at this event to learn if there is more to this than a random attack."

Edited by Thevshi

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"Well, we had the luddite attack, next would be those wanting to steal the technology for their own purposes." Sakurako said, looking over the scene. "I think our plant lover here was a lone operator, but that's up for the police to figure out."

Sakurako crossed her arms. "This AI is young... her social interaction skills aren't up to full standards just yet, that means she's impressionable... might be a good idea to keep an eye on her for the time being and take her up on her offer later on. I'd like to keep an eye on her."

She opened her helmet and scratched her head in concern once she pulled the cowl back that covered her hair. "On a side note, mind if I switched to English?" Sakurako asked, switching to her slightly British English. "Japanese is actually my second language. I'm not a citizen, I'm here on a tourist visa, it's just easier for me to come here as I have family. My Grandfather is a real fun guy to be around."

She smiled. "I think once we take care of the lower-end of the triage stuff, the minor cuts and scrapes on the civilians here, which will let the emergency services handle the more severely injured, we could try to enjoy what ever concert is left?"

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"Dunno how much help I'd be with either; haven't learned the lingo quite yet, learning through immersion and all." he muses as he examines the outlying park "Ill keep an eye out for anyone suspicious though and detain them till one of ya's free to interpret?" he offers as he dusts his hands free of chipped cherry blossom wood. "less you think there's someone needs intimidating." he adds.

<Why can't I ever just have a normal holiday?>  he quietly laments to himself as he scans the crowds for signs of miffed faces.

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"No worries, I can translate, Ulysses." She said, smiling.

"Now, once we get things sorted here at the park we should start considering what we will wear this evening." She said with a sigh.

She crossed her hands for a moment, thinking about the artificial intelligence's response...

"Expected of me... What sort of things are they feeding them... her? They got a sentient life form possibly, and they're treating them like some sort of..." She thought, before shaking off her distraction to do a quick orbit of the incident area, circling with a 500 foot radius from the "ground zero" of the conflict. Sakurako couldn't just let this rest as she switched her suit from it's pink and white colors to it's more rescue-configuration red and orange. "This conversation is going to be interesting..."

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The show carried on without any further incident and whilst the crowd was a little thinned by today's events they still crowded around to enjoy the show. With the show again well underway a young woman, who was apparently Sunshine’s PA, approached you all and spoke in a slightly accented English.

“Ms Sanshain Kinpouge has asked me to arrange transport to wherever you wish, as well as arrange transport to tonight's celebrations. I have also been cleared to help you purchase suitable clothes for the party, though due to time constraints I’m afraid it will all be off the rack.”

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