United States of Japan

United States of Japan by Peter Tieryas Read Free Book Online

Book: United States of Japan by Peter Tieryas Read Free Book Online
Authors: Peter Tieryas
drank the water and took his coat off a suit of samurai armor next to the door, deceptively antiquated even though it was coated in titanium – a gift for everyone who’d graduated from the Berkeley Military Academy. He exited his room, which was on the fiftieth floor, and descended down the high-speed elevator. Across the street was a beautiful garden park that was teeming with kids. He entered the subway entrance on Broadway. The station was sparkling clean, with portical displays along the walls broadcasting the California Nippon News. Most of them recounted the monumental sacrifices made during the Great Pacific War for its fortieth anniversary. The news changed to highlights of the huge victories the Japanese forces were having in Vietnam. “Soon, the rebels will be destroyed!” a general assured them.
    Public cleaners were sweeping the station and Ben paid three yen for a can of orange juice. As he passed a holographic image of the Emperor, he, like everyone else, bowed in deference. The Emperor was dressed in his ceremonial clothing, though he had on a crimson dragon mask that prevented commoners from seeing his face. Ben made sure to bow low and hold his stance, as cameras were recording impatience or disrespect to relay it back to the proper authorities. In the same way, multiple civilians bowed to him to show their respect to him as a military officer. The train came exactly on time at 9:15am and, though the station was nowhere near as busy as it would have been at rush hour on a non-holiday, there were still hundreds getting on. Ben sat on one of the special seats adjacent to the door that were designated for pure Japanese and military officers. Independent of ethnicity, many of the riders were sucked into their porticals, playing games alone as talking with friends on the subway was considered rude. An automated female voice spoke in pleasant Japanese and English, informing them that their next stop and final destination was at 3rd Street in Santa Monica.
    The train went above ground. Huge skyscrapers towered in the distance. Mechas – robotic soldiers that were as tall as the skyscrapers – vigilantly guarded the skies against enemies outside and within. His portical was synced with the California Nippon News and a report from Governor Ogasawara gave the annual report on the state of the union. “Crime rates are the lowest in the western hemisphere and pollution is virtually nonexistent,” she stated. This intercut with footage from New Berlin and Hitlerica with their smoggy cities, as their cars still used gasoline, unlike the purely electric vehicles of the USJ. “Our EKS industry,” (Electric Kikkai System), “is booming and, despite attempts by German Minister Goebbels to make New Berlin the portical entertainment capital of the world, Los Angeles still holds the distinction with over a thousand unique depots,” Governor Ogasawara vaunted.
    The train came to a stop. Ben got off on the 3rd Street exit which was the end of the 196th line. Sweepers were cleaning trash. A few civilians bowed to him and he greeted several police on duty with light nods. He went up the escalator into a plaza when a strumming melody started from his pocket. He took out his portical and opened the flaps.
    It was Tiffany Kaneko on the line.
    “Bad night?” she asked.
    He explained in brief about the ceremony.
    “Don’t take it personally,” she said.
    “How can I not?”
    “By not thinking about it. Be more like Saigo.”
    “The very last samurai during the Meiji Restoration. He didn’t care about rewards, rank, or title.”
    “Isn’t he the one who died rebelling against the government? We shouldn’t mention his name on a portical call.”
    “Don’t worry. He’s a hero.”
    “That I definitely am not. You have a fun night?”
    “Fun is one way of putting it,” Tiffany answered vaguely. “You sound tired.”
    “I can’t believe I got drunk so easily. A few shots don’t usually faze

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