Track of the Apocalypse Ch4 Ficbit – Not Fear

Daniel leaned forward to examine the threads in question. “Not musty, no mold, some kind of cotton… I don’t think it was outside. Exposed, maybe, under partial cover; in a house, or under other objects someplace dry. Fairly recently, but it’s been cleaned since-” His breath caught. “Keishi isn’t the first place they hit for salvage.”

Sam and Teal’c traded glances. “So what does that mean?” Sam ventured.

“The Kongokaku are refugees,” Daniel stated. “But Aragane, Kurusu’s group – they’re refugees who started rescuing other refugees.”

“And they’re doing it on a shoestring and anything they can scoop up at a run, looks like,” Jack added. “Think airbase civilians versus average Joe Blow out of the ‘burbs mall. Or the Cajun Navy versus the yacht club.”

Sam did a double-take. “Sir… are you saying Kurusu’s men aren’t military?”

Daniel held up a finger. “Not our kind of military. But they referred to a Lady Ayame, so – I’d guess they’re private noble military. Which is really interesting, because they said Ikoma is a steamsmith. And Sukari had a rifle too.”

“Armed noble types tend to get touchy about regular guys picking up lethal stuff,” Jack agreed. “Want to bet that’s one of the things setting Naokata off?”

“But….” Sam flung her hands wide, as if trying to encompass that outpouring of gray-skinned fangy death. “The Kabane come in mobs. And even if you can’t hit the heart, that – knockback works. It doesn’t matter how bad your aim is. They need everyone willing to shoot!”

“Yeah, yeah; tactically stupid, but hey, people,” Jack said, almost cheerfully. Because knowing how people ticked and why a cracked guy might crack more was important. “Put anybody under scare-you-stupid stress, they fall back on what they know. That’s why we train guys so hard to do the right thing. So when they’re tired and hungry and facing down man-eating zombie hordes, they do not screw up.” He shrugged. “And you saw where the wrong training got us. Boom, headshot – not so much.”

“Those of Aragane have remained flexible enough to alter their tactics, and their training.” Teal’c rested his arms on his knees. “They have overcome their fear of the Kabane.”

“How can you say that?” Daniel kept his voice low. “Tozuka committed suicide.”

“The bushi Tozuka eliminated an enemy before it could attack anyone on the Koutetsujou.” Teal’c shook his head. “That is not fear, Daniel Jackson. That is the love of a warrior for his people.”

22 thoughts on “Track of the Apocalypse Ch4 Ficbit – Not Fear

  1. Sounds like they’re putting together the final pieces. Daniels misunderstanding highlights something though, that cultural distinction is a big part of what made the war in the Pacific so terrifying for US troops,

    Liked by 3 people

    1. The Japanese army was a hot mess. If a guy got thrown out of Prussia for being too nasty, that is not the guy to hire as a consultant. (We Americans got unfair luck by getting Von Steuben, who was probably really an uppity crafty sergeant, and knew what he was doing.)

      The guy who wrote and drew Gegege no Kitaro was a Japanese private in a half-decent unit, and he did a fictionalized comic of his experiences later, Onward Toward Our Noble Deaths. It is horrifying.

      So yeah, they were ordering people to commit suicide not only for “good” bushido reasons, but also for bad ones and to simplify paperwork. If you were a decent officer and knew what you were doing, it could make you and your unit a target. If you were crafty and connected, you might be able to avoid some stupidity; but you still had to deal with threats from the Thought Police to your family, or other lovely life experiences under totalitarianism.

      A lot of the institutionalized cruelty was not just to American prisoners, either.

      Also, the Kitaro guy’s own brother was executed as a war criminal, because he executed POWs, while he was someone who hated Japanese war crimes and taught about them to prevent revisionism. A hot mess.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. From what I understand, the WW2 Japanese were trying to rebuild their samurai traditions, after the shock of Admiral Perry using his black ships to Gaijin Smash their isolation caused them to abandon a lot of that in an attempt to modernize.

        One suspects that the classic samurai would have thought that the early 20th century recreation attempt produced a lot of batshit insanity.

        -Albert

        Liked by 5 people

      1. They’re even generating their own mythology of heroic infected, between that young swordsman in ep 4 (canon) and Tozuka in chapter 2 – proof that even if Aragane bushi are dead, they’re not quite finished yet….

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Mythology. Now that would be interesting to watch grow. Once science took hold here, fairy tales and myths kinda died, too many people looking for logic. But there? It didn’t quite manage to die before the kabane showed up, and no one has managed to explain them yet.

        Can you imagine the sorts of heroes and gods they’d tell of? Can you imagine who’d get re-imagined as what? (Can you imagine what their reactions would be to hearing the myths about themselves?)

        Liked by 4 people

      3. Actually, part of the problem in real life is that mythology didn’t die (it’s still going strong), but everyone has been convinced that it has, so all defenses against malicious manipulation of mythology have been lost. Look at the way “science” is treated, or the “rationalists”, or actors, or any of a variety of other factors in modern life, and you’ll see that we have our own modern mythology, we just call it by other names, saying “this isn’t mythology, so we can’t hold it to the same standards”.

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      4. It did, and did not die. English Isles fairy beliefs, and the endemic traditional grimoires are gone from English speakers in the US, pretty much.

        But on the one hand you have beliefs about ‘native peoples’ and ‘female power’, and you have communist magical traditions and wiccan/new age/neo pagan magical traditions on the other.

        Situations with fusions, rather that replacement with the same tune with different words, can be interesting.

        Liked by 2 people

      5. It was not even ten years ago that someone told me seriously that if you leave a peeled onion out on a table in the middle of the room, all sickness will go into the onion and nobody will catch cold or flu. Not an old person. Not someone from the hollers.

        Suddenly I had one of those moments where the desire not to trample on folklore warred with the desire to teach. I did not think this person would believe me, so I decided I should let that one go.

        Urban legends. Academic urban legends. Old folklore. Humors theory. Very little of it goes away.

        Liked by 3 people

      6. It just gets re-fluffed. And maybe some of the details shifted around to go with other things.

        But another factor that obscures what’s going on is that we look back at mythology as “believing in stuff that isn’t true”, and thus “so what we believe in isn’t mythology”. But that’s ignoring that at the time, those who believed it didn’t consider it “believing in something untrue”, it was just “the way things are”. And we still, nowdays, believe stuff “because that’s the way stuff is”, even when there’s someone, somewhere, more educated/knowledgeable/etc who can say “actually, that’s something untrue”. It’s a big part of the thing with stuff labeled “magic” nowdays, vs stuff labeled “science”, ignoring that a lot of stuff “scientists” believed was “fully proven” has since been thoroughly disproven, and that historically the term “magic” was used in equivalent fashion to the current use of the term “science”, for “knowledge and study of the workings of the world, that normal people may not be able to understand”.

        Liked by 4 people

      7. Hmm . . . does the odor of onion repel bugs?

        *Google-fu*

        Flies, at the very least, dislike the odor and will tend to stay away. So the cause is wrong but the effect is accurate: A cut onion will tend to ward away disease.

        -Albert

        Liked by 3 people

      8. Right, my scary witch character (not her fault she’s scary, the ‘gift’ causes a 30% reaction penalty per Ars Magica, which RPG I’m using as a starting point for how her magic works) is sending her slave out in dog form to hunt for onions and garlic as soon as they set camp. Any other pungent plants, roots, or herbs that happen to keep bugs off?

        -Albert

        Liked by 1 person

      9. Is your Slave a dog or do they just have a dog form? Is it like a shapeshifter type thing?

        Like

      10. She made a pelt that, when he wears it, turns him into a dog for a few hours. (Not her only skinchanger item, but dogs are useful for finding something by smell and coming back with it.)

        The one he’s going to be using the most, at least for a while, is the ox yoke: Cut wood, load conveyance (I’m thinking like a sleigh, the wood runners are sliding on the ground rather than snow, I can’t think of the right term for this but I’m pretty sure I’m remembering something real), attach yoke, wear yoke and become ox, drag it back to their camp-then-tent-then-hut-then-house, wait for her to remove yoke so he can start unloading the wood they need for building with and burning-when-winter-comes.

        -Albert

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      11. Albert: It depends on the language and region. In British English (and in most of Europe when the terms or their language’s equivalent are used), sled/sleigh/sledge are pretty thoroughly synonymous, and also almost exclusively include the meaning “for use on snow/ice only”, while in American English the different terms are used to distinguish between the variety of things they might be used for (sleigh being “snow/ice alternative to a carriage, for carrying people”, sled usually implying that it’s small but not requiring that it be for people, and sledge implying large/rough as well as being the variant used when snow/ice are not included). So in American English, the term you’d be looking for is likely to be “sledge”, tho it might be “sled” for some people.

        Also, while I don’t think it’s what you’re talking about, one historical alternative is the “travois”, tho that was really rough (basically being just a pair of branches dragged behind whatever’s being used to pull the thing, serving simultaneously as “runners” and as the structure of the vehicle, to which the cargo is lashed). Another thing to note is that most sledges intended for use on dirt/rock/etc instead of snow/ice are built rough, because they get worn away fast in actual use, so it’s not worth the effort of trying to build them to last (they won’t last, even if you try), and frequently they’re build without actual “runners” (just a wide flat bottom).

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      12. Turns out that a travois is almost _exactly_ what I was picturing/remembering.

        They’re having to start over, because she had to flee with everything she could pack up quickly (the whole ‘judged unfairly’ bit), and the wagon he was pulling (as an ox) broke down so they don’t even have working wheels for him to make a handcart with. ‘Primitive’ is going to be the watchword until they find a new town to trade with.

        Fortunately, he’s as broad-spectrum badass as Pa from Little House on the Prairie.

        -Albert

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  2. /They’re even generating their own mythology of heroic infected/
    Which is a big difference then how the stations see those that get bitten/infected. They’re impure, diseased, shamed, to be tossed out/killed and forgotten about.

    Liked by 5 people

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