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Raiden Yamato: the Samoan Samurai 9
“Around the time of the death of Jubei Minamoto, in the Gold Coast Colonial City State [colony of the Sydney City State], along Kirra Beach, a group of shaolin monk warriors erected a statute of stained grey marble, lightly sprinkled in gold dust, of the fallen Filipino hero Joha [pronounced Yoha] Ona, lovely remembered as Yogi. The statute took six months to carve out and many weeks to transport by sea through multiple small ships, as the monks did not trust the Americans’ large aerial tankers with their posthumous gift. The statute overlooked the pristine beach, standing at 80 feet above a small flat marble slab. The giant sculpture’s left hand was fitted with a bronze bowl filled with long-lasting coal and charcoal, refilled twice daily to ensure a constant flame could be seen by residents passing by and others afar. The shaolin monks, after completing the monument, offered their services to guard to statute. Some Aussies welcomed the statue; others were indifferent, exhibiting mild approval when they learned funding for the monument was entirely private. So since its arrival to Kirra, the statue of Yogi overlooked the ocean, its head tilted down to earth to see the passing people, including a Samoan engineer that wanted to build an aerial ship in Yogi’s honor.” – Samoan historian
America was in ruins. It was razed from within after the collapse of its coastal cities. Sectarian conflict, urban warfare among ideological factions and the federal government’s unsustainable debt contributed to the fall of the 48 continental states, forcing Hawaii to become an independent kingdom. Alaska was initially occupied by Russia, then China, followed by Russia again, but after those nations and Canada collapsed, the former state became an abandoned wasteland ruled by demons, its towns and indigenous settlements reduced to gravesites without tombstones. The rest of the United States fell apart as Alaska did; first occupied by foreign powers before the demons eradicated most of the human communities, forcing the surviving Americans to form city-states.
Texas faired the best compared to the other states. Humans there were better prepared for the demon-induced drought and famine that plagued Americans further north, as well as both demon and foreign invasions and insurgencies by ideological extremist groups. Houston, San Antonio, El Paso and Dallas became their own military and economic powers that controlled much of the post-America trade and commerce in the former States, with Houston being the sole super power; all other American city-states outside the Texas Region owed debt to Houston. The rest of the world was profoundly shocked by this.
With 4 million residents and one of the largest military forces in the former States, Houston was the only American city-state protected by an invisible force-field system backed up by multiple anti-hacking ‘mother machines’, complex computers with God-like decoding capabilities and advance warning mechanisms designed to counter demonic forces and potential sieges. Its naval fleet possessed all of America’s navy ships and weaponry former rival nations China and Russia attempted to steal before the demon surge. Its air force of sleek jet bombers and tanker ships could reach as far as Tibet and Southern Argentina under one hour. Its army was composed of both American samurai and traditional ground troops, commanded by the Marine Corp. based in the Woodlands. The military ruled all of the city-state districts and colonies along 20,000 square miles of Texan territory – more than all other American city-states with their land/sea territory – with one exception: Sugar Land.
Sugar Land was a self-governing district of Houston, ruled by a civilian government independent of Houston’s ruling military party, the Occupation Matters Movement. Most of Sugar Land’s residents lived in worn out houses and brick apartments once owned by the middle class; poverty was not widespread [due to global decline in the cost of living expenses] but access to basic resources on a regular was hindered by daily dust storms and the military’s persistent rationing of commodities. The remaining 10% of Sugar Land’s people resided in a fortified gated community, the Sugar Land Town Square. City Hall was the residence of the town’s Shogun and her family – yes, Sugar Land was ruled by a female Shogun, and the other wealthy families lived in the former headquarters of Minute Maid. Half of Sugar Land’s adults of working age worked as local guard troops, their primary role as body guards to the wealthy families.
The other half worked in the other Houston districts, mainly low-skill hard labor, service and retail industry positions, and adult-oriented employment condemned by religious groups as adulterous. Advanced technology and oppressive government control, even in Sugar Land by over-protective measures to block Houston’s military governance, many workers had to work a main job and several side jobs to afford basic necessities, Sugar Land’s taxes and maybe a few accessory or entertainment expenses for special occasions; only those employed in the local guard received any benefits from the wealthy class. The wealthy class, in exchange for their self-governance, paid their own set of taxes to the Houston government, plus regulatory costs for use of Houston’s water supply, transportation routes, electricity and internet connection, as well as use of the force field dome shield. These expenses carried monthly and annual interest rates of 10% each, forcing Sugar Land’s ruling class to offer arranged marriages of virgin daughters to Houston’s military and political families to afford such expenses. Sex trafficking and prostitution were other prime sources of financial exchanging between the two governments. Fortunately, two exceptions that offered real hope for a better life existed.
Sugar Land had one independently-owned military facility, an air force and aerial warship factory owned by foreign residents from China: shaolin monks famous for mentoring the late ‘Yogi’ and his prodigy, Shan Houston. The monks also owned a separate temple complex that sat next to the Sugar Land-Houston borderline, providing residents two places of 'employment refuge'. Both facilities were owned and managed by Shan Houston.
"Shan was our beloved brother. He was our town's greatest warrior, in league with the Polynesians and other Asians in terms of combat abilities and talent, as well as intelligence. Few surpassed him, including his close friend and mentor Yogi. As Sugar Land's premiere dragon hunter, Shan tracked down and killed 50 dragons as his annual average, beating out Yogi's 40 to 45 annual median. All of the dragons he killed were demonic and direct threats to whoever they attempted to harm, whether they are a small village or a major city-state. Shan wielded both gun and sword as his primary weapons; he blasted his enemies with his plasma cannon gun, and slashed his way through enemy forces with his Nanjing Sword [one of Yogi's old swords], a Chinese-style katana with a nearly invisible glass blade that was stronger than titanium steel with spiritual toxins. Shan was also an American heartbroken over the collapse of his country, and he desired for the restoration of his former republic and the United States Constitution.” – Samoan historian with residency in Houston.
Famed Dragon Hunter Shan Houston, the successor of the Filipino ‘Ghost Face’ Summoner Joha Ona [better known as Yogi to Polynesian warriors], divided his time between two main tasks: running his air force and temple complexes, and hunting demonic dragons. Whenever he travelled, Shan hunted demon dragons for the kill, never bothering to capture them alive. If a village was under siege and had the money to pay for his services, Shan eliminated whatever dragon threatened, though if that village was poor, he charged them nothing. Whenever he returned home, he ran the two facilities with his business partners, most of them shaolin monks who became Americanized to be eligible for permanent residency. Shan, a native Houstonian, divided his two prime tasks equally, always returning home every other month, vowing not to become obsessed with tracking down any one particular demon; having seen other dragon hunters spiral into madness over hunting a prize-worthy creature, Shan optimized on his happiness and to be present with others, especially after enduring the loss of his beloved mentor Yogi.
Unlike most other dragon hunters, who simply killed their demon prey and collected their pay, Shan Houston, with the assistance of a Zion-ordained spell caster and demon biology specialist, collected certain organs and tissue samples of his caught prey. The heart and brain were the most useful, as those organs contained liquid metals that could be converted into gold and silver. Gold flakes were also found in the eyeballs of many dragons he killed. The liver tended to contain antibodies that could produce antidotes to demon-oriented diseases that were fatal to humans. These properties were extremely important for Shan to collect.
Shan lost family members and close friends to Demon Blood, the disease that devastated mankind, the same illness the Minamoto Twins [Pua and Tua] were born with. Demon Blood could not be treated with most conventional medical treatments, as the bacteria’s toxins ravaged human cells and immunity for a terminal outcome. After Jubei Minamoto’s passing, scientists were able to confirm that dragon organs contained properties that could treat, if not cure, Demon Blood since dragons shared some of the demons’ genes, but obtaining such organs were extremely difficult for any human since mankind was at war with demons. There were also moral objections from religious communities to dragon organ harvesting, as well as ethnic concerns from physicians and scientists themselves, but for Shan Houston, those qualms from critics had no value to him. He viewed the opposition to harvesting dragon organs as nonsensical BS.
Due to numerous legal restrictions in Houston, Shan harvested the organs at his aerial ship factory and sold them to various private auction firms and research groups, most of them of European and Middle Eastern origin. Before such sales, Shan saved portions of the tissue for his own collection, saving them in hopes of developing antidotes for various demon toxins. Revenue from his sales also were used for scientific research and paying experts to manufacture the few known antidotes approved for use in humans.
Funds from the organ sales also went to the aerial ship company. High demand for dragon organs ensured the company’s ability to pay their workers relatively high salaries and benefits, including medical and dental coverage for them and close family members. Profits from organ sales were used to add accessory features to their warships and private planes, mostly by request of wealthy buyers from outside the former United States. Large-scale tanker ships of military background were the most common category to feature requested accessories.
While most aerial tankers were sold to private buyers and city-states [under strict monitoring by Houston military agents for security reasons], one tanker was reserved for Shan's commissioned hunting trips: the Yogi Ona. It was one of the largest sky tankers in the world, boasting the size of a NFL stadium, powered by liquid titanium oil and metallic electrolytes with solar panels as backup energy sources. The Yogi Ona housed all of Shan's harvested dragon samples. It also had his vast hunting equipment, from ammunition for his various guns and cannons to weaponized land, sea and air vehicles.
In addition to the above mentioned features, the Yogi Ona was protected with an invisible force field that surrounded the aircraft in an oval bubble. It consisted of three layers of fluid electric currents that constantly surged through and around each other at the speed of light, creating a barely visible liquid-mirror blur that almost no advanced radar or defense system could detect; even demons struggled to penetrate that kind of technology. To further frustrate potential assaults on the tanker, the Yogi Ona carried an unknown number of backup generators for the force field; such defensive features resulted in Shan receiving multiple requests from city-states for his tanker’s defense technology – many offering not only enormous wealth, but land, government titles and women; Shan laughed at these offers.
Shan Houston only allowed one group outside his shaolin/business group to use the Yogi Ona: a Houston-based commando unit that specialized in dragon and demon-oriented assignments, the Sato Ju [Sugar Guns]. The Sato Ju, the only Houston military group the shaolin monks trusted, were led by an female American chief captain, a war veteran who served in Afghanistan through the last three American administrations before her former country’s collapse. She led multiple commando units that composed the Sato Ju, a loose yet tightly managed entity of former US soldiers who specialized in hunting demons; the Sato Ju was one of several American commando units that could kill demons without assistance from Raiden Yamato-oriented samurai from the Polynesian sphere. The chief captain’s name was Susie.
Shan Houston had mixed about Susie. She was competent and highly experienced in high-stress situations, and she had very important insight on demons that were valuable to Shan’s dragon hunting assignments. However, her personal life concerned Shan; while qualified in her leadership role in most ways; her one weakness was her affair with [at least] two of her subordinates, both of whom had sensitive information about Shan that enemy outsiders desired to obtain for their own self interests. Too many times in his perceptive, Shan was walked into situations where Susie was in a consenting adult activity with one of her men, a repetitive pattern that annoyed him – especially when nudity was involved.
When Susie was not with one of her subordinate suitors, Susie spent most of her time at her communications Intel/Command headquarters, leading her ‘integration team’ to monitor and lead her various commando squads on their missions. Half of her time she stayed at the main communications room to oversee both her Intel and combat teams while sitting on her captain’s chair on an elevated platform that faced a giant TV screen, on top of a series of computer-filled levels occupied by her computer experts giving instructions via live texting. The other half of her work was spent at meeting with her military supervisors and generals, as well as catching up with Shan Houston to discuss his dragon hunts.
For long distance missions, the Yogi Ona could only be used once per month. Exposure to varying electronic pollutes in the atmosphere made the tanker vulnerable to ‘shield decay’, an inevitable breakdown of electric cells in the ship’s force field due to contact with chemical toxins in clouds and the violent electric currents in storm systems, even minor storm cells. Shield decay made the tanker and all other vehicles using force fields exposed to potential hacking attempts, so to minimize the risk, Shan had the Yogi Ona go through a thorough cleansing process by a tech cleanup team. The process took up to 3 weeks to complete, primarily to allow adequate time for software and security updates.
Most missions Shan travelled alone, only communicating with his team via encrypted live feeds and texting. When the Yogi Ona was in cleanse hibernation, Shan usually used conventional forms of transportation, mainly bullet train and commercial flights thru city-state travel hubs. While tedious considering his resources, Shan preferred to minimize use of the Yogi Ona and other tankers to limit interference from the Houston military and other entities with questionable or hostile intent for him. If he needed advanced equipment for his dragon organ harvesting, he successfully created secret hubs of trusted scientists in various locations around the globe.
Few nations and city states knew of any of Shan’s secret travel hubs, and only had any knowledge of them through a small number of diplomats under military surveillance. Some Polynesians knew of Shan’s hubs through diplomatic networks in what used to be called American Samoa, as well as Hawaii and Guam; these three island groups were the only Polynesian locations former Americans travelled to as regular spots; any other island in the Pacific received rare visits from Americans. A few Japanese, Australian and Israeli diplomats knew of one or two travel hubs Shan frequented. Intelligence agents made frequent attempts to bribe those few individuals, including close friends of Shan, for knowledge of Shan’s organ research; such bribery yielded little fruit for intelligence operatives. Operatives once associated with the Obama and second Bush administrations were the least successful in learning anything about Shan, obtaining almost nothing, a surprise considering they offered the largest cash rewards [and women from Obama officials] compared to other operatives.
Unlike with most other dragon hunters, the demons could not track Shan Houston on his travels. While intelligence operatives could get tiny bits of info on his whereabouts, the Oni Emperor and his demonic rivals could not trace him until well after his missions were complete, and even with past movements, they collected almost nothing. Even if a demon could spot him, that demon would not live long enough to inform his master, as Shan would always kill that demon. Even if other demons tracked Shan down in an ensemble ambush, none of those demons lived either. Even though Shan was not a Raiden Yamato-class level warrior, he could fight demons on the same level as Samoan Samurai and Polynesian ninja.
Only one Oni [demon] had any substantive success in tracking Shan Houston. A nameless demonic spirit trapped in a red-masked samurai suit followed Shan whenever the dragon hunter tracked a dragon in the wilderness, mainly the desert where human settlement was almost extinct. This entity was once human itself, a ronin killed by his former master over a geisha they fought over, and rarely spoke its name to any living person – for anyone that did learned its name was killed by the Oni. Like any normal person, Shan was nervous about the spirit following him, though the spirit never approached him for combat, only observance. Every interaction consisted of dead silence from the Oni, as when spotted by Shan, it stood there motionless for a long time, making Shan anxious, before suddenly vanishing into nothing, leaving no trace. Shan was always confused by this nameless demon.
Given his impressive physical built and willingness to chase dragons for their organs, some oddly assumed Shan never felt pain or fear. Those warriors who lived thru many encounters with demons were often expected to be free of some of the faults of ordinary people, including weakness. This assumption of Shan irritated him, even with some locals in Sugar Land who knew only bits of his adventures without the context or sacrifices he had to make to complete his missions. Some who were profoundly ignorant in rudeness got the harshness critique from Shan, but for those who meant and had sincere interest in knowing Shan, in spirit of his mentor Yogi, Shan made time to give this quote to those open-minded people and the young, “Some people think that to be strong is to never feel pain. In reality, the strongest people are the ones who feel it, understand it, and accept it.” 
: Yogi Ona inspired by Johann Ofner [1988-2017]
: quote by Clark Shao [1983-2016]