Back in Ricca, the High Directorate helped themselves to a wonderful dinner just for themselves. It was a five man group, mostly from the ranks of the formerly disadvantaged lower classes of Riccan society. Chief Director Hsin-hung showed off his status with a well-tailored, gold-pinstriped suit. On the wall behind him hung a disc. He did not wear the disc when he and his supporters pushed through a resolution creating a High Directorate, but he did when they named him Chief Director. It gleamed as he announced that the High Directorate was to see to the administration of the island in the absence of the Emperor. Of paramount importance was the island’s defense.
They insisted the military and police should follow their orders. Luckily, I had the loyalty of one group and the fear of the other. The High Directorate then learned a valuable lesson when it comes to a group of civilian politicians bossing around a military: it’s kinda hard to force a military to do anything since, by definition, the military has all the really good shit for blowing things up. Now, a clever bunch of people with popular support could figure out all kinds of ways to undermine the military. The High Directorate turned out to be lacking there. They tried to recruit their own paramilitary group.
I’d call it an amateur move, but I’ve seen amateurs do better. I’ve supported amateurs doing better. That’s one reason I know that most revolutions can’t afford to pay professionals anyway. I mean, they’re generally the result of middle or upper-middle class privileged people wanting to be the upper class, but nobody focuses that much on paying debts during a revolution. Not financial debts, at least. Some people are all too happy to take advantage of a little chaos to settle other sorts of debts.
All the members of the High Directorate had come back for those debts. Financially, they dressed and ate well. One of them carried a number of engraved and plated weapons on his person, even after disarming for dinner. Guns have some uses, especially for the unimaginative folk, but most people have a limited number of hands to use them with. Rifling through the coat closet, I’d found where he dropped off an automatic rifle, an LMG, a bolt action rifle, and a .44 magnum revolver with a sniper scope on it. Not that they’d be useful, but I hid the ammo.
I know, I keep bringing up myself, but where am I in all this? To answer that question, let’s go back a few hours to before this little dinner. Just making it clear I got ahead of myself at the start here and we’re now backin’ dat ass up so as to prevent confusion. Well, more confusion than usual.
I snuck back into my own country. No one was trying to stop me, but it seemed handy. I’d kept up with the news while oversees, and now seemed like a good time to do something about it. My arrival proved timely, as well.
I’d snuck up to the building they’re throwing together right in front of the Palace remnants. It’s still partially tent, but they’ve got a lot more walls and supports up. I didn’t wear my armor, and sent Qiang along to practice sneaking into the palace. I got looks wandering around like that, but that’s because I’m beautiful and colorful. I’d never been female on the island.
I got there and saw a large group of mostly young men standing around. They wore jackets with a sunrise of some sort. Like a half circle cut by a horizontal line, and a bunch of smaller lines reaching up from the half circle, as well as an arrow cutting through the half circle to point upward. I saw the same symbol graffitied around with the phrase “New Direction” underneath it. They all hid their faces one way or another. I saw them in bandanas, surgical masks, face masks, and some even resorted to facepaint. There were a lot of them milling about, pretending they were guards or something.
I went to pull open a door and a pair of these guys rushed up to stop me. “Nobody goes in!” one of them yelled from behind a plastic mask in the shape of a guardian lion. One of those statues, that is, somewhat resembles a dog or a lion. The other one had red facepaint with squiggly black lines of it, but I didn’t recognize the pattern if it took inspiration from anything. That one stuck some cheap revolver gun in my face, a Rohm knockoff. Really cheap gun, and a potential danger to people on either side of the barrel. It was a testament to my abilities as an actor that I managed to look a little bit afraid.
“You’re pretty. Why you want to go in there when you could come with us?” asked the one with the gun.
“Why would I want to go with you when I can cut my nose off?” I asked.
He raised the pistol. “I could shoot it off.”
“Hey man, she’s too pretty to waste,” a third one said as he walked up, holding a long and hard piece of wood in his hands. A baseball bat, that is. He grabbed my arm. “Come on, don’t cause trouble.”
He led me away from there. “You got some nerve, girl. I like that, but most of these boys are intense. Just stay out of our way.” He let me go when we got twenty feet away from all the rest of them before letting me go. “You don’t want to be here today.”
“What’s going on here today?” I asked, putting all my weight on one leg and a hand on my hip. Trying to emphasize the hips and chests here with a nice stance.
He held up the bat to point at me while holding it near the top. He didn’t do it in a threatening way. His eyes were wide open, all concerned. “Don’t ask questions like that either. Just go.” He swept the bat off to the side. “Get out of here before you get caught up in this.”
If not for all the new construction going around so close to the former palace grounds, it might have been tough to maneuver around. I also had an opportunity to grab a goat and seaweed kebab from a small place catering to the workforce. Not bad. I didn’t like the seaweed, but not bad.
I circled around. Despite the debris being cleaned up, these New Direction guys didn’t cover the whole area. I managed to sneak in despite broad daylight working against me to look in on the Directory at work.
I edged forward, hearing a gavel bang on wood repeatedly. “The Lessers will sit down and know their place!”
That was from the central of five people sitting on a platform above the rest. In front of them, even more Directors jumped up from their chairs to yell at them. One of them, wearing a pair of sashes that criss-crossed his front and back, jumped onto a desk and shouted above the rest at his colleagues on high, “You will not usurp the power of this institution or of the Emperor himself!”
One on the far right pulled out a gleaming pearl and gold derringer and pointed it at that one. “You are acting like insolent dogs. This is why only we can be trusted to lead Ricca into its new direction.”
Seeing as I am the Emperor, that would have been a good time to step in and assert myself, but the High Directors had given some sort of signal. New Direction goons ran in with their varied arms. Some of them gave war cries as they forced the regular Directors down to the floor in short order. The one with the sash was hit in the legs until he fell down. Others were attacked with blunt weapons or pistol whipped. Some just needed to be held at knife point, but they were all put on their knees.
The High Director banged his gavel again. “You are all to be tried for treason against the state tomorrow. We shall see how cooperative you are to the High Directorate then. Take them away to the Yomi cells.”
The New Direction whooped enthusiastically as they led off the governing body of the island to some sort of holding center not related to my own military or police. I transmitted orders to the Deep One Drone Division to keep an eye on this group and surveil wherever they go, but without crowding around and making it obvious.
As for me, I went to go retrieve my armor from the docks, where it had been airing out after my latest cleaning. I think even some of the fish were gagging on the smell. Once I’d acquired my famous formal wear, it was time to crash the High Directorate’s congratulatory dinner.
I moved carefully, despite the heavier armor. I had to do a lot of cleaning to get my hologram projectors up and running again. Still, sneaking is something I do well enough. It got me the gun-lover’s ammo easily.
I very nearly killed the servants for convenience. They belonged to this head guy, Hsin-hung, but they were still my citizens, so I had to do things a little differently. Like when I snuck up behind the chef in the kitchen, tightened a cord in my hand, and jumped up behind him. The apple fell into his mouth naturally enough, obstructing his ability to cry out. The cord yanked back on his head, and I tied it around there easily enough. The chef turned around, eyes wide, only to see the fanged grin of my mask there. “Hello. I just needed you quiet. By the way, got a cup of sugar I can borrow?” I swung a bag of sugar right into his balls, knocking him to his knees where he could be easily handcuffed to the stove.
“Now then,” I looked around the kitchen, “Next course is going to be dessert.” I looked around, trying to see something I could whip up in a hurry. Ooh, whipping cream. I could make that work.
In the dining room, the High Directorate were no doubt surprised to see a giant cake wheeled out just before the main leg of lamb was supposed to be sent out.
“What is this?” asked Hsin-hung. “The cake is too early. Send it back.”
“I am afraid I can’t, sir,” said the waiter I’d roped into helping out.
“I am the High Director. No one’s orders supersede mine,” he responded.
The waiter spoke quietly. I couldn’t hear it from my position. Hsin-hung had some problem with it, too. “What did you say?”
“The Emperor’s orders do!” the waiter shouted. I heard the scrape of metal as our resident Director Gun Nut pulled a piece on the waiter. Then nothing much.
“Why isn’t is shooting?!” asked the disappointed would-be killer.
I exploded out of the top of the whipped cream shaped like a cake, topless. Bottomless too, I suppose I should say. What I’m trying to get across is my nudity. I was naked, with boobs covered in whipped cream. If I had a camera, I know what I’d be putting on a calender as a national fundraiser. So I popped out of the whipped cream cake. I threw a pair of knives and spit a third one like I was rapping a sick rhyme. As bad as my singing is, my rapping is downright lethal. So is a knife to the throat, and that took care of three of our High Directors.
“Whew. That takes care of those,” I said, looking around. I turned to wink at Hsin-hung and the gun guy. “Heya. How are y’all doin’?”
“What treachery is this? Guards!”
I held up a finger and stepped out of the box the cream had been shaped around. “Yeah, there aren’t really too many of those left now after someone sent them the soup. I know some chemicals that give people the jungle shits, I shit you not. Didn’t want anymore people running in to arrest people in the name of the Emperor. Funny thing, that, I didn’t authorize arresting the Directors.” I climbed onto the table, shaking off a bit, and quickly stepped around an ice sculpture of an Eastern dragon.
“This woman is not the Emperor,” said our resident firearm lover. Click, he tried another gun. Another gun. Another gun. Another gun.
“Yeah, I could convince you, maybe put my armor back on, but why? So, you guys arrest and execute directors in my name now?” I kicked Hsin-hung’s knives away before he thought to pick them up. I leaned down to look at him. “Awful lot of power for a director to admit for me, the ability to just execute the legislative body of the island.”
I heard the other one jump out of his seat. I grabbed a silver plate and turned, bashing him upside the head and laying him out on the table, then smashed the edge of the plate down on his throat repeatedly until I left a bent plate embedded in his flesh while he bled out. Then I turned back to Hsin-hung, smiling around the blood that had sprayed all over my face. “Don’t get me wrong, I say I have that power anyway. Nice to have you admit it, though.”
“What do you want, you crazy bitch?” Hsin-hung asked.
I booped his nose. “A world my daughter will be safe in. And that means not having a stupid revolving door of people who think they have what it takes to challenge me. You want that crazy shit, take it off the island.”
Hsin-hung folded his hands up in front of him. “My mind may be open to this proposal, Emperor.” He emphasized the word as if to admit acceptance of the delusions of a madwoman.
I made a clicking noise with my mouth, then grabbed the ice dragon off the table and smashed it into Hsin-hung’s head over and over again until brain oozed out onto his gilded hardwood chair. “Yeah, it’s important to stay open-minded.” I snapped my fingers and the waiter rushed over. “Fetch my armor. It’s brisk outside.”
H e nodded and ran off. Meanwhile, the Riccan Security team and Deep One Drone Division received the order to move in and rescue the Directors and eliminate any of the High Directorate’s thugs who got in the way.
Now that the country’s back in order, I can finally move the world in a New Direction.