Track of the Apocalypse Ch10 Ficbit – Official Stories

Carter’s eyes lingered on curves of steel and rubber. “I have a bike back home.” She looked them over again; not getting closer, though her fingers twitched like Eishun’s had the first time he got his hands on jet bullets. “I don’t think I could shoot from it the way you do, though. Our bikes aren’t built to be stable firing platforms.”

And O’Neill was watching them, and Uryuu had had enough for one day. “You didn’t come here to talk bikes.” He held one hand out flat, aware of his men behind him, the other townsfolk in hearing distance… ah, screw it. “Ask, or don’t ask. Kurusu doesn’t beat around the bush this much.”

Hell no. Kurusu knew what it was like fighting the Kabane, face to face. There wasn’t time for all the lordly politicking station lords pulled on each other. You had to know what your people could do – allies or enemies or whatever the Koutetsujou was to the Hunters now – and you had to know it fast.

And that’s why he went for the bikes, Uryuu realized, ears hot. Wanted to see what we’re like when we’re riled.

Bet he pokes Kabane with sticks, too.

O’Neill swept the car with his eyes; casual, but touching anyone else who might be in listening range. “Look, before we go any farther…. Lady Ayame’s in charge on this hayajiro, and given we’re all hitching a ride, what she says goes. Including about you guys. But.”

Yeah, there’s always a but.

The gray bushi took a half-step closer; not straight in, not sidling away. “You and Eishun came in to get us in Keishi. You didn’t have to do that. You’re not under Ayame’s command, there’s no way anybody could make you ride right into the middle of the Kabane hordes. You risked your necks to save our lives.” O’Neill breathed in, and shrugged. “Far as I’m concerned, we owe you.”

Oh…kay. That wasn’t what Uryuu had expected.

“We could let the whole mess lie,” O’Neill nodded. “Up to you. But my team would like to know what the hell happened with the shogun, and why. Because one way or another we need to get back through Keishi, and that’s going to take a lot of help. And there’s no way we’re going to get it if we stomp on people’s toes because we don’t know who was on which side in a civil war, and how that rippled down to the shogun being stupid enough to strip the stations of soldiers to try and fight the Kabane out in the field when just a few sorties should have told him that wouldn’t work.”


A/N: And now we get some pretty ‘splosions….

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20 thoughts on “Track of the Apocalypse Ch10 Ficbit – Official Stories

  1. Uryuu: “Except it DID work. Biba and his troops were winning, holding the line and reclaiming territory.”
    O’Neill: “So what went wrong?”
    Uryuu: “Turns out it’s really hard to fight Kabane when shipments of food and ammo stop coming. From what I understand, the order to cut off the flow of supplies came directly from the Shogun.”
    ::Jacksplosion imminent::

    Honestly, this revelation is worse than incompetence. The Shogun intentionally allowed the Kabane to overrun all of Hi-no-moto, essentially murdering all those bushi under Biba’s command to make it possible.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Uh. I think I’ve figured out the Shogun’s intent.

      I mean, he’s got a son at the perfect age for some “I know better than the grownups” rebellion. So he sends the son to command the losing side of a war to gain some humility.

      Then Biba comes up with viable anti-Kabane weapons and tactics.

      Suddenly, the Shogun feels like he’s going to be seen as a has-been. Even if Biba lets him remain nominally in charge, it’ll be Biba, Savior of Hi-No-Moto, who truly rules. Better for the Shogun to cut his losses, learn from the survivors how to kill Kabane, and begat new heirs.

      Except Biba survives (probably by going Kabaneri), and so his veterans are staying with him rather than returning to the Shogun’s authority.

      Over the next ten years, Biba experiments until he’s developed the tools – by experimenting on little girls until his scientists figure out how to make them kabaneri reliably, then how to make them Nue reliably – to take his revenge upon his father and everyone who has hidden behind the Shogunate. Not sure what the Shogun was doing, all this time.

      -Albert

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Well, it is canon to the series that the Shogun had paranoid episodes about his own son being a threat. The kind of episodes that involved Biba waking up at night at least once, with his father standing over him with weapon in hand.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Okay, so the Shogun always expected the Kabane to kill Biba for him, but then Biba and his men came up with workable weapons and tactics, so supplies had to be cut off to try to finish the job.

        I still think the Shogun was expecting to debrief the surviving remnant on how to kill Kabane (even if he planned to have them executed afterward).

        -Albert

        Liked by 4 people

      1. The Shogun shows some unpleasant parallels with the French government(s) between WWI and WWII.
        (Short version: the Maginot Line did exactly what it was supposed to. The Belgian border was supposed to be handled by the regular army, but the French politicians were more afraid of their own army than the Germans, so….)

        Stalin too, come to think of it: “Anyone competent is a threat to my authority!”

        Uryuu. Not *everyone* is out to get you. Thinking that way leads down the same road that the Shogun and Biba.

        And, think about it — Jack just offered you a chance to get himself *deeper* into your debt. Not choose-you-over-Ayame deep, but having a 3rd party around that’s mostly neutral, doesn’t automatically hate you for Biba-association, *and* has some degree of trust from Ayame? Start thinking longer-term.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. There is also the possibility that the Shogun ran the numbers and realized that the assault force Biba was leading was burning through resources faster than could be sustained. Potentially fast enough that, at the rate of advance Biba was maintaining, the stockpiles would bottom out before victory was achieved.

    Alternatively, the Shogun might have realized that he did not have the political capacity to provide sufficient supplies. After all, the food and armaments had to come from somewhere, and the station lords need their armories for self-defense at the least. No reasonable station lord would give up what limited defenses they had, and certainly not while shipping considerable amounts of food off to feed a distant army. Their subjects might just decide that a change of leadership was in order, to preserve their own defenses. And if the Shogun emptied his own armory, one or more of the station lords might see a chance to settle old scores from the civil war.

    The third option was that with the loss of land beyond the station walls the population might have been larger than could be sustained. The invasion might have had failure as one of the planned options. Just provide enough supplies up front that none of the troops heading out will notice anything odd, and once they are committed to battle it’ll be too late to do anything about it.

    Or the Shogun was just flat crazy. Personally, I’d bet on some underlying problem helped along by a bit of paranoia.

    From what I recall of the anime the only backstory we get is from Biba’s perspective, who is at the very least a bit biased. If I am wrong, please direct me to the evidence.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If the problem was in part stockpiles running out, the right choice would have been to pull at least some of the soldiers back, leaving a sacrificial rearguard with orders to hold out to the very last…

      Liked by 3 people

    1. After Jack has had time to at least partially digest the revelations: “And that is why practically every halfway successful nation on our world doesn’t have an absolute ruler.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. One funny thing about that is, from what I understand the US Founding Fathers made the President more of an absolute monarch than European kings tended to be when they wrote the Constitution, having had the experience of the Articles of Confederation to discover one way for a country to not work.

        But any nation with an unaccountable decision-making elite (which inevitably arranges to be hereditary ASAP) is going to self-sabotage, which is a big part of why the US has been the world’s hyperpower: We’re a couple of generations behind the Russians, Chinese, and Europeans in that regard.

        -Albert

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh, Jack is NOT going to like this story! It’s not that the Shogun was simply stupid, he was also paranoid and actively trying to kill his kid! Not sure if he was deliberately planning to slowly kill off what remained of his whole country, or if it was just his paranoia not letting him see the long term implications of his actions, but the end result was ugly either way.

    Liked by 1 person

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