Voyage of the Colonel Darvish

Bill's Bill
Jose/Levi back on the docks

As Ron’s Tiki pulled into its berth at Foster City the sun was just about halfway below the horizon. Just enough light to secure the cargo, make sure there was a watch posted and make preparations for cleaning the catch tomorrow. Ron instructs a dockworker about “billfish” and presses something into his hand, “Yesi Senior” says the teenager as he climbs on board to guard the Marlin. A group would sort fish overnight and into the morning then some or your crew would be back to clean and further prep everything for sale. A good organization will have fish vendors come to them and the docks would be full of what the fishermen called “Seagulls” (in English) free lance fish buyers, organized crime associates, Military purveyors anybody who needed food. The white colored flying rats were known by their Spanish name “Gaviota” or just “Gavs” to differentiate from the human kind.

After the initial deluge of Seagulls had got what they wanted the fish would be moved to a large bazaar that had been set up west of the docks, in a graded construction area, long ago destined for an office complex, its large flat gravel area was perfect for a trading area. Although primarily for fish, just about anything could be found and bartered for. Dozens of brightly decorated stalls and carts, vendors yelling about the wares they had, heated shouts of monetary disputes and the bustle of hundreds sometimes thousands of people coming and going.

Captain Ron invites the crew for a drink at a bar on the south of the bazaar. You recognize the red pagoda-esque roof of a pre war Pizza Hut. “Hut” has been replaced by a 4×8 sheet of plywood and the words “Cerveza-Alcoholicas” You hadn’t frequented this place of business before and hoped they didn’t served pizza flavored beer. The inside of the bar is bathed in shadows of the setting sun. Waiters begun lighting oil lamps and there was a Mariachi guitarist in the corner playing quietly.

There is a large chalkboard where the Pizza Hut menu used to be, various sea themed drinks, a light and dark beer, and sure enough pizzas all appearing to have fish toppings. Tequila was on the board but priced very high, more than likely made with little agave, it had ceased to be the drink associated with Mexicans, you just couldn’t grow agave around here. Mezcal and Pulque were both on there too, both also far away from their original forms as the plants used to make them all grew way behind the Mexican lines. Pulque now was goats milk mixed with grain alcohol, and Mezcal was just grain alcohol with a worm in the bottle.

“Mexican Wine for my crew” Ron pounded on the bar a bit rudely but the server was right there with a variety of glasses all containing a purple liquid. You all retrieve a glass and Ron leads you to a table singing

The sun still shines in the summer time
I’ll be yours if you’ll be mine
I tried to change but I changed my mind
Think I’ll have another glass of Mexican wine

The song is not familiar to you and you have a suspicion that Ron is about to tie one on. Jose figures that the wife and kids will be just as excited to hear about his exploits of today as this group. After a bit of banter and the wine tasting like soured grape juice he decides to call it a night. There is the usual machismo, questioning his manhood, but he knew that his family and the loyalty to them was more than proof of his manhood. He was a provider and a protector, that was what manhood was all about.

After Jose heads out Levi decides to have one more. He too is worried about spending a night out with the boys, staggering home after a few too many was a way to get rolled, or killed. If it was a night of drinking he wanted it would be done behind the safety of his locked doors and claymores. “How’s the beer here” Levi asks Ron who answers, “Stay AWAY from the light, Dark’s not too bad.” Levi had never had a taste for hard liqour, but his parents had made various fermented beverages, sweet tasting and low in alcohol which he’d often taken a smack from his father when he’d gotten into it when he was too young.

Levi remembered his last night on the island, the fests, his father bringing out his private stash, the tears in his mother’s eyes as his boat left the dock……UGGGH the sourness of the beer brought him back from his memories. He sat back down with Ron noticing two more crewmen had departed leaving only him Ron and a younger man named Bullock. “So what’s the Grand Slam Club” Levi asked Ron eluding to Ron’s earlier mention of using the rifle that Levi shot the Marlin with to join it"

Grand Slam Club, Ron rubbed his chin in the way people do when they are thinking, “Well son there are 4 breeds of big horn sheep, every single one of them an elusive mother fucker who lives high up in the mountains. Some say its 6, but FUCK those Ovis Canadius Canadius is different than Ovis Canadius Californius guys. When I grew up there were 4 types.” Ron starts extending his fingers as he counts,
ONE Dall’s sheep well he’s white as snow and lives up in Alaska,
TWO Stone’s Sheep he’s grey as slate and lives on the west coast of Canada,
THREE Fannin Sheep some assholes say that’s a Stone Sheep but FUCK THOSE DICKHEADS, Fannin are on the west coast of Canada
FOUR Rockey Mountain Bighorn, I’ll let you guess which mountains you gotta climb to take on of those.”

Ron goes onto explain that you gotta take one of each and have it documented that you have shot all four, then you are a member of the Grand Slam Club. Levi thought about hunting for just trophies, you’d probably not climb a mountain just for a cool set of horns, of course if the horns came to you, like a certain fish did to him, then the trophy was appropriate.

Ron continued, now slightly drunk from a few more glasses of Mexican Wine, continued telling stories. It was among the The Crow people, and a storyteller who went by Old Coyote that I heard this tale. A man possessed by evil spirits attempts to kill his son by pushing the young man over a cliff, but the boy is saved by getting caught in trees. There he is rescued and adopted by bighorn sheep, the boy grows to manhood and as he leaves the sheep heard he takes the name of the sheep leader, Big Metal to honor him. The other sheep grant him power, wisdom, sharp eyes, sure footedness, keen ears, great strength, and a strong heart. Big Metal returns to his people with the message that the Crow people will survive only so long as the river winding out of the mountains is known as the Bighorn River.

Levi is also feeling a bit woozy in the head and decides it is best to make his escape back to his apartment. He thinks about the bill from the marlin and the ceremonial daggers and swords created from them, once actually used in warfare he could think of no better way to honor his ancestors by creating one. He would have to do a bit of searching to find someone to craft it, but he was sure that his recent gains in food and a few jars of his family recipe fish sauce would go a long way in finding a craftsman

View
No one's in the Lighthouse and the Dungeness Crab
Maze on the Coy

The Coy gets into the Pacific Ocean proper begins to tack southward. The wind
is brisk from the south blowing directly northward up the coast. The Coy must
tack angled to the wind southwest then southeast, zig-zagging and sailing a
much longer distance then the end place would indicate. Maze is moving about
the deck and the sails are a handful, The Captain shouts orders and you swing
the sails about again and again. In no time at all you’ve built quite a sweat
of work. You keep an eye on Satou who is working feverishly but still cursing
occasionally at other crewmen.

Maze presence here have Satou undoubtedly on guard, yet even at his best
behavior you see that he was a distraction. Someone needs to kick his ass, but
Maze has decided today it would not be him. Especially at the orders of Asshole
nephew #1, whom Maze thinks has some other plan going on here. In between sail
angle changes Maze is able to retreat to the wheelhouse and snatch up the
binoculars to keep an eye on the lighthouse as it draws near.

As they near the Mori Point lighthouse Maze points the binoculars toward it
scanning intently for signs of AN#1 or anyone else who would be up there
watching. He sees no one, even the graffiti covered base buildings seem to be
devoid of life. Maze looks again at the lighthouse and notices about a dozen
seagulls are about the roof and rails, surely no one was in the lighthouse or
the gulls would have flown away.

Maze returns to assisting the crew with the sails and soon the lighthouse was
behind them. Pacifica State beach was now approaching off the port bow, the
place where AN#1 said a launch would be sent out to get you. Of course you
don’t even glance in that direction, you knew there was never a plan for a
launch to come for you.

The Coy reaches the area of planned fishing, and starts by dropping several
baited trolling lines. The water was still cool in the middle of winter and the
albacore were running due to the water temperature. Albacore schools are not
dense like other fish, so they are difficult to net in any numbers but if they
can take a half dozen 25-40 pound fish it would be a decent day. After the
lines were cast off the stern the crew busied themselves unfurling nets as the
Coy turns slightly to avoid the nets entangling with the trolling lines.

Drift gill nets are cast, once illegal due to them regularly being lost and
killing hundreds of fish, losing a net in this day and age meant a fisherman
went out of business, nets were not lost in post WW III 2010. Not to mention
that there was no one who cared about illegal activity anymore, gill nets,
dynamite, whatever gets you fish. The nets floats were clearly marked with red
floats of the Japanese fleet, a fisherman may not lose a net, but they would be
stolen if a boat drifted too far away.

The Coy had one more stop after the nets were cast. Captain Yamada turned her
toward the beach and the bow watch called out “READY THE HOOKS” as the men on
deck scrambled with large gaffing hooks. “FIRST POT TEN DEGREES STARBOARD” Men
rushed with a hook to the starboard bow as a red float connected to a crab pot
sitting on the sea floor. The float hooked and the Coy attempted to go as slow
as possible but it was still a rush for the men to haul the pot off the bottom,
get the crabs or lobsters out, re bait and recast before the next pot had to be
hauled aboard.

Within a couple hours the crew and Maze were exhausted, Maze can only imagine
how difficult this was when Satou had beaten the crew member unconscious,
forcing the crew to work a man down. The crustacean catch wasn’t great, but
there were still a couple of gems. Among few dozen red and rock crabs was a
very large Dungeness Crab. The Dungeness was rarely found this far south and
would probably go right onto Yasuda’s table tonight. Maze had to consciously
resist the urge to spit again at this thought. There were also a few Spiny
Lobsters, and some sea stars that had attached themselves to the outside of the
pots…everything went into the holds.

The Coy turned back toward where the nets had been cast as two of the trolling
poles pulled in albacore. Now with the tailwind they reached the nets quickly,
before the men’s stamina had a chance to fully return from retrieving the crab
pots. The retrieval of the nets was even more exhausting, so much so as to even
curtail Satou’s violence. By the time the Coy has retrieved the nets and begun
it’s journey back to the docks

Maze was even too exhausted to say his Shakespeare quote on the way into the Bay
as they passed beneath the remains of the Golden Gate Bridge. Maze mentally
prepared himself for the possible confrontation with AN#1 that may occur at the
docks, but there was none. “Figures,” Maze thought, "AN#1 was probably drunk
in a whorehouse somewhere, it would be a day or two before he realized the job
was not done. A good night’s sleep and you’d be ready for him if he came a
calling.

View
Like shooting fish in a barrel
Levi and Jose day on the Tiki

“I met a gin soaked bar room queen in Memphis, She tried to take me upstairs for
a ride…” before Jose knew it he was singing “in the round” with Levi all the
while calling out contacts and helm corrections. A odd aural mix of English
rock, Samoan Wisdom and compass bearings….

Ron’s Tiki was a mile off shore and moving fast with the wind behind them, it
would be a quick sail out to the fishing grounds. Jose was going through
figures in his head, they would have to tack back against the wind if it didn’t
change, he wanted to make sure they got home before dark. The Tiki had a small
engine and old straight-6 diesel converted to alcohol but there wasn’t enough
fuel on board from much more then 30 minutes of use if they had to speed up, but
every ounce of fuel burned meant “money” lost in operating expenses

As the Tiki passed Hunter’s Point the Military patrol boats turned about, Levi
took one last look at the Grey Catamaran as it stood up on one vaka (hull on a
twin hulled vessel) lifting the other vaka completely out of the water as she
turned about hard, several of the crew hanging off the airborne side using their
weight to keep the ship from flipping. A skilled skipper could turn one of
these on a dime , a properly drilled crew would shift from side to side as the
boat turned and the Navy boat clearly had a competent crew aboard.

The Tiki stayed about a mile of shore as she approached the Oakland Bay bridge.
San Francisco was to the West with Treasure Island looming due north. “HEADING
CHANGE TO THREE THREE ZERO” Jose called to Ron putting them on course to shoot
under the bridge with a mile berth on either side.. San Francisco was still a
mess to the Bay side. The nukes that had fallen north of Oakland had damaged
the outer Bay side buildings blowing out windows and toppling lighter
structures. The initial radiation had killed thousands, but the city was
generally safe to move back into and had been heavily scrounged although
occasional caches one pre war loot were still discovered

Jose remembered news of a several famous paintings located and retrieved from
one of the Museums. In one of his dealings with Army Lieutenant a few years
back he remembered going into the man’s office and the man bragging about his
“Rothko” pointing to the painting “number 14” he’d called it, on the wall.
Jose remembered the painting as 3/4 red and 1/4 black underwhelming and surely
painted by a child. He had feigned interest caring little for a painting that
did nothing to benefit society. The artist was probably exploited by the
bourgeoisie who traded his art at ridiculous prices that the artist himself
never saw, now this clown of a Lieutenant was acting as if owning this painting
made him more cultured, or better than regular people who scraped along in the
ruins of civilization.

The Bay Bridge was behind them now. It still stood and was capable of holding
foot traffic, but few ventured its 5 mile stretch. Built in the 1930s it has
withstood earthquakes and now a nuclear war, but no maintenance had taken it’s
toll. It was a double deck bridge and some of the lower deck had fallen into
the bay, some of the upper roadway collapsing to the lower. Anyone coming from
Oakland would have to be accepted and get through the heavy Military defenses at
the San Francisco side. There was a massacre there long ago. Hundreds of
starving, radiation sick refugees refused entrance into San Francisco had built
up and eventually tried to storm their way through the roadblocks. Maybe the
bullets were better than starving to death or succumbing to rads…maybe. There
were still bleached bones scattered about the west end

CHANGE TO TWO SEVEN ZERO,” Jose called to Ron as Alcatraz was sighted to the
northwest, no one went there anymore and crazy rumors had spun up around it.
The most common is loud clanging in morse code ‘SOS’ or ‘please help me’ coming
from the island. Most write it off as loose items like a shutter banging
against something in the wind, but the superstitious insist there are ghosts
trying to lure sailors there, an updated Greek siren tale. Even more disturbing
is some sailors insisting they’d seen a huge creature with glowing eyes prowling
about at dusk.

The Golden Gate Bridge loomed into sight, as did the Pacific Ocean proper. The
Golden Gate was no longer, its two iconic towers still stood to either side of
the inlet to the bay but it’s roadway had fallen away piece by piece long ago.
Unspectacular in its demise, as if one day frequent passers by just noticed that
most of the bridge part was all gone. MULTIPLE CONTACTS DEAD AHEAD FIFTEEN
HUNDRED METERS" Jose called as numerous red sailed ships were seen through the
early morning mist “JAPANESE FLEET” Jose called back.

The Japanese fleet had taken up anchorage a few miles north of the rest of the
fleet. It enabled them to get to sea a bit faster. Long ago the fleet had been
ordered to fly ‘Chrysanthemum’ colored sails by their leaders to easily identify
them. Rarely did a red sailed ship help or even have any contact with a non red
sailed ship and visa versa. It seemed that originally Chrysanthemum red sails
were fairly uniform, now some had faded to orange or even pink, with newer sails
varying shades of deep red. (see photos-common boats-fish fleet and large
fishing) The Japanese fleet was headed south. Ron’s Tiki was headed north to
Bolina’s Bay for Cod, Albacore, Salmon and Jack Mackerels 37 degrees 54 minutes and
34 seconds North 123 degrees 41 minutes and 11 seconds West

It had taken the better part of 2 hours to finally get to sea with a good wind
at their backs, coming back in against the wind would take 3 to get back to
port. That left about 7 hours of sunlight to fish more than enough time to fill
their hold on a good day, and at least weather wise it was a good day. “JOSE,”
Ron yelled “COME AFT TO TAKE THE HELM” Jose and Ron would now switch places,
Ron calling directions to areas he knew to be good fishing spots. The Jacks that
they were seeking occasionally could be seen on the surface, but more than not
their schools were found out of hunches, and Captain Ron’s hunches were often
good.

As Levi walked the pitching deck aft he saw the fish crew reading the nets.
They arrived on “fish station” at around 10:00am still with the coast in site.
Ron was calling out directions back to Jose at the helm, then yelled to Levi
PREPARE TO CHUM” Levi picked the covers of various buckets on deck. Some held
worms and insects, others small pieces of wood or cork which in turn had fishing
line secured to and hooks baited with worms.

CHUM READY?” Ron asked, “CHUM READY” Levi answered “CHUM AWAY” Yelled Ron “CHUM
AWAY” Levi launched a handful of bugs and worms from the bucket. “PLAY OUT NET
ONE” Levi yelled to the netmen “BRING HER ABOUT MISTER JOSE” Ron was setting the
trap. They’d bait the water, hopefully lure fish into the area, the baited
floating cork and wood hopefully drawing them near the surface, then surround
them with nets and draw the net circle tighter and tighter until they haul a
catch.

The first haul was good, a school of Jacks had been lured in along with several
albacore. This first retrieval of the nets would have been a good days worth of
catch. They’d probably be able to cast the nets at least two more times
possible three. After the fish had been removed to the hold and the nets
readied again they repeated the process. The second catch was meager but
included a conversation piece floating just below the surface and snared by
their nets up came a barnacled 30 inch television set.

Last net cast of the day became the real conversation piece though. As the net
circle was drawn a noise draws all eyes as a huge Marlin breaches the surface
leaping and spinning before crashing back to the water’s surface with a CRASH!
RIFLE” Ron yells. “LEVI WHEELHOUSE NOW,” Jose yells to Levi who hurries to the
wheel house where Jose is pointing to a bolt action rifle secured to the wall
above a pump shotgun. The rifle has all stainless steel hardware and a nylon
stock. It also was tied to a nylon cord and a float, even loosing it over the
side would make it retrievable. Levi quickly deduced that it was fed from an
internal magazine, probably 5 shot and large caliber probably .30-06.
Retrieving it from the wall let you know that this was a very expensive custom
rifle, probably worth thousands of dollars before the war, and exquisitely
balanced.

LEVI YOU ARE WITH ME” Ron calls and Levi hurries to the bow. “You a good shot
right son?” before you answer he says “Rifle is loaded, one in the chamber,
safety ahead of the trigger guard” Levi already had thumbed the safety to ‘off’
“That Marlin breaches again you smoke that son of a bitch!” Levi knew that not
only would a Marlin provide a good monetary haul in prime meat, but if he
thrashed about could destroy a net and lose what ever catch they had. He needed
to be killed and Levi would have a mere split second to aim and fire if he
breached again.

Levi knelt against the rail steading against the rail. Ron was yelling for Jose
to bring the boat about to tighten the net when the Marlin again roared from the
surface and the .30-06 roared in Levi’s hands. The Marlin shot straight out of
the water and Levi’s shot hit it square in the gill slits and punching out the
other side in a spray of bright red gill parts. Levi worked the action of the
rifle the bolt flowing through the motion effortlessly. The rifle cracked again
as the Marlin hit the water and the first expelled shell clinked to the deck.

All was quiet except for the lapping of the waves. “JOSE continue to COME
ABOUT” Ron’s bellowing voice brought them back to their work. Levi worked the
action on the rifle “Nice shot son” Ron thanked Levi with a hand on his shoulder
as Levi was feeling the smoothness of the action on the rifle. “This is a
beautiful gun.” Levi states. “Custom Borden Light Sheep Rifle thirty ought six”
Ron stated “I joined the Grand Slam Club with that rifle.”

Levi wasn’t sure what the ‘Grand Slam Club’ was but it was questions best left
for the bar afterward, they still had a net to retrieve. In an hour they’d
hauled in the net and another good catch, and the cherry on top was a 70 pound
Striped Marlin, almost 10 feet from bill tip to tail.

“Time to head back” Jose says to Ron “wanna make it to port before dusk.” “Take
the Helm Mister Jose” Ron says, “Heading One Six Zero” The Ron’s Tiki slewed
about and pointed toward the Golden Gate’s towers. Levi checked on the Marlin,
almost a perfect shot blowing through the gill area and leaving all the meat
intact. Then he saw what was probably his second shot, a notch taken out of the
tail. “Oh well I was hurried, like to see someone else get off two shots from a
bolt that quickly” Levi thought.

Jose smiled the kind of smile that forms inside you and you can’t help but
express on your face. His hands on the wheel, the waves rocking under the boat,
the fish crew now working the sails feverishly to tack back against the wind,
all nets back in place with little damage, a hold full of fish….

Levi smiled, He’d shot a fish

Ron started it this time
When I’m drivin’ in my car
And that man comes on the radio
He’s tellin’ me more and more
About some useless information
Supposed to fire my imagination
I can’t get no, oh no, no, no
Hey hey hey, that’s what I say

I can’t get no satisfaction

Jose then Levi and soon all of the crew had joined in. By the time they reached
port the sun was low in the sky and most of the Rolling Stones catalog had been
sung.

View
The Blooming Chrysanthemum
Maze goes to sea

Though he tries to remain calm and deferential without being passive, it’s clear
from Maze’s body language that being called a “brute” by anyone, let alone a
“blood brother” (since all members must take the oath to wear the pin)—stranger
or not—is not the key to a long, healthy, and prosperous life. While he waits
for “Asshole Nephew #1,” (the name under which Maze instantly filed the wiry
gangster in charge) and his muscle-bound pet to clear the area, he begins to
assess the problem at hand.

It strikes Maze that AN#1 is Yasuda’s choice to replace him altogether within
the organization. “He certainly made a point to let me know he’s got a patron at
the top,” Maze thinks, “though he’s clearly too full of himself to understand
the difference between fear and respect. People might fear that big, dumb inu he
leads around, but they won’t respect the man holding the leash.”

Wary that Yasuda is playing off his obvious ingrained loyalty to Uncle’s memory
and the organization as it had been, as well as his own sense of personal honor
to set him up for an unfortunate “accident” or some other possibly fatal
problem, while at sea today, Maze decides to ignore AN#1 instructions for
handling the captain by throwing the organization’s weight around in favor of a
more nuanced approach.

He quickly spots the Coy’s captain and waves him over, holding up the clipboard
with inventory and crew rosters as if we have an issue to discuss. Maze takes
his sunglasses off and puts them in his jacket pocket. As he pulls his hand out,
he palms one of the specially decorated hanafuda half-cards with the kifu design
that provide its bearer with a complimentary night’s entry, drink,
companionship, and a small stake for the tables on the house at any of Yasuda’s
“Mum Clubs” scattered around the organization.

Fortunately, Yasuda has been too lazy to change the design and too stupid to
inventory the number of cards among the various organization stores, club staff,
and the various organization “pin-men” with access, so Maze can continue to draw
on his stash to barter, generate goodwill, curry favor, or, in this case, to
ease the way into what will undoubtedly be a bit of rough sailing today.

While you never can tell with old salts like the Coy’s captain, Maze is fairly
certain that the captain didn’t catch the details of the exchange with AN#1.
That said, you didn’t need to hear anything to recognize the dynamic of a senior
making demands and issuing orders to a particularly untrustworthy and/or
disliked subordinate. If he doesn’t take control of this situation quickly, the
mission will likely go pear-shaped while at sea, which is a bad place to be
without any friends.

Just before he’s really close enough for a proper conversation, Maze loudly
calls out to the Coy’s captain in Japanese: “Captain, the honored sempai
(”senior member/upperclassman") has presented me with an opportunity on behalf
of his Oji Yasuda. A moment of your time please to discuss." Loud enough for
everyone on the Coy and the neighboring boat to hear, Maze was hoping that his
formality and the use of Japanese—a syntax, and, indeed, a language, Maze
rarely employed in his dockboss and overseer roles—served as a warning shot to
the captain. The stiff, overblown formality of his Japanese [“one thing the
mother tongue is particularly good at, it’s establishing a pecking order,” he
thinks to himself] should be a clear enough message in and of itself: ‘At the
very least, you, Mr. Captain, and I are about to be fucked in some
fashion—possibly terminally, at that. Let’s figure out how we can minimize the
pain and get through this without giving Yasuda reason to doubt either of us."

Maze has been tasked with humiliating a crewman for his jeopardising of profits.
Yasuda’s nephew now dubbed Asshole Nephew #1 has told Maze to throw the man over
the side of the boat, close enough to shore to only maybe be fatal. The Man
(Satou) is a huge bare knuckle brawler type and Maze has some other plans……

As the captain comes alongside, Maze slips the Kifu card under the top sheet on
his clipboard and sticks it to the crew roster beneath. “Ah, Captain, it would
seem,” as Maze flips up the topsheet to reveal the crew roster with its small
token of good will, “that your boat is short 1 crew member. The honored sempai
came down here this morning to address this issue personally. He has instructed me to
assist Satou-san by filling this position today. Now, while you take a moment to
update the roster and sign off in the appropriate places, I will go change into
something more appropriate for deck work.” A hard look accompanies the words
ASSIST Satou-san”, saying “it only gets worse if you don’t play along here,” on
the outside chance that the captain is somehow fooled by the seemingly sincere
deference in his tone.

The captain Jimmy Yamada is in his early 50s. A real play by the rules type who
bows at your presence showing respect for not only the family but you, you feel
that this is another one “one your side”

Maze dresses in a more proper work attire. He readjusts his shoulder rig—no
reason to limit his options since no one will ever confuse him for a regular
crew member anyway—being careful to secure the 92s carefully as losing it over
the side would be…unfortunate. He slips the KA-BAR into the small of his back
and clips his folding blade to his belt. That 4" blade might not be much, but no
one ever got killed because they had too MANY weapons (particularly those that
don’t run out of ammo) within reach. He wishes he had the collapsible baton that
he used to carry on dockboss duty as that sort of “swagger stick that can crush
heads” came in handy to emphasize a point by smashing the occasional crate. In
his experience, noise is almost always more effective than blood….

Unfortunately, he was a bit sloppy of late when it came to carrying the tools of
his previous position in the organization. That sort of self-pity MIGHT well get
him killed if he didn’t watch it. Sergeant McConnell displaces “Maze” in
McConnell’s head: “Ok, shitbird, you owe another hundred to your evening PT for
that fuck-up.” Ah well, there’s rarely a lack of blunt objects on a boat, so, as
his instructors in the Corps used to say it’s time to “assess, adapt, overcome,
and achieve.” With that, Maze grabs his ruck, adjusts the elastic retainer on
his shades, and falls-in behind the captain as he walks back down the wharf to
the Coy’s berth and the start of a long day on the water of drudework and
scheming.

The Japanese Fleet is beginning to unfurl its sails reds, oranges, pinks. “I
don’t see one true Chrysanthemum in color,” Maze thinks. When his uncle was
alive there was a specific color made from grinding the shells of processed
Pacific Red Crab and the female Cochenial fly. 50,000 Cochenial flies dried in
an oven 2 pounds of Red Crab Shells would make 3 pounds of powdered
chrysanthemum colored dye. Now that Yasuda was in charge any red color was
okay, uniformity was overlooked. It took too much manpower to gather and
process insects maybe?

Maybe Yasuda was just forgetting why Maze’s uncle had decreed this in the first
place. Cochineal is one of the few water-soluble colorants that resist
degradation with time. It is one of the most light- and heat-stable and
oxidation-resistant of all the natural organic colorants and is even more stable
than many synthetic food colours. The fleet used to look professional with
color matching sails. Now it just looked like a bunch of red orange and pink
laundry out to dry, Maze spat onto the dock. It wasn’t something he regularly
did, but his disgust for Yasuda and how he was letting the organization slip had
gotten the better of him.

The ship Maze was on was one of the larger in the Japanese fleet. A 75 foot boat that once sold for half a million dollars before the war once called The Grizzly Bear, she was now The Black Coy
complete with large silhouette of a coy pained down her side. Once the yacht of
a sailing millionaire it’s stately below deck cabins had been cut out and
replaced by holds for fish. She still was a beauty with teak deckwork and brass
accoutrement’s, she just made a living for people rather than joy rides. Maze
watched the helmsman for awhile as Yamada Taii wandered the deck giving
occasional orders to crewman. Yamada looked to be toting the line and Maze’s
Kifu card.

Maze gazed out of the wheel house onto the deck and watched Satou, he didn’t
appear to be drunk today, but you do see his over exuberance with the crew.
Shoves and threatened backhands as he asserted his dominance over them.
Hunter’s Point Naval Base was off the port side and the usual patrol boats were
out scampering about making sure no incursions were made into US Navy waters.

Maze heard something, long and loud, a steam whistle. He hadn’t heard that for
ages, it was high pitched and shrill, not like that of a tugboat, but more like
that of an old steam train. Maze trained a pair of binoculars on Hunters Point,
he could see men milling about on the docks but little that caught his
eye…hold on a minute. A giant puff of black smoke rose from behind a
building, there was no accompanying BOOM a few seconds later, so it didn’t seem
to be an explosion, just a silent cloud of black smoke mushrooming up into the
sky.

a few minutes later and they were near the Bay bridge. Maze scanned it intently
with his binoculars. Occasionally crazies would walk her 5 miles span and
occasionally they would throw debis at boats passing beneath. There was no
movement from the bridge and the Coy passed below without incident. Maze
checked aft and could see the many sails of the Japanese fleet close behind red,
orange pink, Maze unconciously spat again. Further behind coming out of the
morning mist, were the sails of the rest of the fishing fleet. Boats of all
sizes strung out in a couple mile swath, all making for the sea, all looking for
mostly the same thing, fish, crab, lobster, anything to eat.

The Coy was one of the first boats to pass under the remains of the [[Golden Gate
Bridge]], her majestic towers guarding the Bay, standing like the legs of the
Colossus of Rhodes. As they passed by Maze states lightly but aloud:

Why man, he doth bestride the narrow world
Like a Colossus, and we petty men
Walk under his huge legs and peep about
To find ourselves dishonorable graves

Maze was pretty sure that was Shakespeare, a quote of Cassius….somehow he
remembered that from High School. Every time he passed under remains the Golden
Gate he recited it. Upon returning he will recite it again but changing
dishonorable to honorable if the day’s catch is worthy.

The Coy hits the open sea which is relatively calm and begins to tack into the
wind to the south. The going is much slower than the rocket ride out of the Bay
with the wind at their backs. Maze made the mental note of extra time needed to
get back to dock if the wind stayed the same. A couple klicks ahead off the
port bow, lay the Mori Point Lighthouse (GM note there is no lighthouse here in
real life, probably was long ago, but needed it for story). Maze trained his
binocs on it, still too far away. He figured if he was to pitch Satou over the
side directly west of the lighthouse that Asshole Nephew #1 would more than
likely be up in the light house making sure the job was done. It would take the
Coy about an hald an hour to get that far into the wind.

Maze has a good idea that this is a set up. (GM Note Justin you did a good job
of “smelling” this one out) Maze runs over in his head the varied scenarios that could play out;
Scenario #1 He’s successful at pitching Satou over the side, and Satou lives,
eventually Satou will try to kill him and Asshole Nephew takes Maze’s job
Scenario #2 He’s successful at pitching Satou over the side and Satou dies, his
prominent family comes after Maze, maybe even through “official” channels
Scenario #3 Satou pitches Maze over the side, or kills him in the struggle,
again Asshole Nephew #1 wins

View
A Samoan and an Equadorian walk into a bar...
Jose and Levi at sea

Levi and Jose have set sail on Ron’s Tiki fishing boat

The day on the water is refreshing for both Levi and Jose. Captain Ron is not a
master helmsman, but he is a master fish reader. Today you are concentrating on
attempting to find schools of Jacks (Jack Mackerel). The sky is clear with good
visibility out 2 miles, and the bay is calm. Ron is at the helm in the Bay,
leaving Jose on the bow watch. Jose calls out other boats as he sights them to
Ron. NEW CONTACT BEARING OH-ONE-FIVE TWO THOUSAND METERS!" Jose yells back
sighting another boat through binoculars, occasionally checking a compass
secured to the bow watch station.

Jose remembered the days of radar, every boat had one, even small pleasure
boats, beeping their warnings of approaching craft, a skipper could be lazy and
still be safe. All that changed after the EMPs set off by the Russians. Most
commercial sets were turned to junk, the few that survived long ago confiscated
by the Military. Now he had 15 other boats surrounding the Ron’s Tiki all his
responsibility to watch. A collision at sea was often fatal to all hands.
There was no coast guard anymore to save careless boaters, very few radio sets
to alert others, or hear distress calls. Plus a competitive atmosphere to the
fishing fleet meant that Captains often would be hesitant to stop and jeopardize
a days catch.

PREVIOUS CONTACT AT ONE-ONE-EIGHT HAS CLOSED TO 500 METERS” That was about as
close as Jose was willing to let a boat get. “CHANGE HEADING TEN DEGREES TO PORT
TO THREE FOUR ZERO,” Jose hollered back to the helm. This would make the craft
at the very least run parallel and may increase the distance between them. It
would also take them close to the 1 mile limit of Hunter’s Point.

Levi’s crew is going over the nets again, repairing small holes and making sure
they are no snarls that would prevent them from deploying correctly. Checking
sure the floats are secure, losing a net could put a captain out of business.
There are periods of watch in between, extra eyes on the surroundings never
hurt. In the Bay there were many boats. Levi can see at least a dozen other
boats about the Ron’s Tiki. Jose at the bow is calling out contacts and yelling
helm adjustments, Levi is on the port side as the buoys marking the 1 mile
boundary of the Hunter’s Point Naval Station come into view.

Jose sweeps his binoculars north-west toward Hunters Point. At just over a mile
away he can make out movement on the docks and numerous larger boats nothing
stands out but he does feel a slight longing to be part of a more organized
group. He missed the adrenaline fueled rescue or drug interdiction missions.
No one cared about drugs anymore, they still were a great money maker, even the
government moved pot and coke now. These two substances once banned were now in
every hospital, and medi-kit. Easily produced as pain killers and have replaced
synthesized drugs as there are few labs left with any capacity to produce
anything but basic drugs like penicillin and aspirin.

NEW CONTACT BEARING THREE THREE ZERO, CLOSING FAST, CHANGE COURSE TO
OH-TWO-ZERO” Jose shouts. Levi looks up at the warning of the new contact and
sees a speed boat approaching fast (see yahoo site-photos-common boats-coastal
patrol boat) His eyes pick out a man on the bow crouched behind an M2HB .50
caliber machine gun. Levi is relieved that they are changing course as to not
tangle with that. Just a few .50 caliber slugs would tear a wooden boat like
the Ron’s Tiki apart

The Tiki heads a few degrees off due north, traveling parallel to the boundary
of Hunter’s Point, The patrol boat shadows the Tiki after a few minutes it is
joined by a second patrol craft. “NEW CONTACT BEARING TWO SEVEN ZERO FIFTEEN
HUNDRED METERS AND HOLDING” Both Levi and Jose took long looks at this new
contact. Painted grey and looking like a shark with huge Triangular sail set
against the wind (see yahoo site-photos-common boats-Military Yacht) “Now there
is a beauty” both Levi and Jose are thinking simultaneously.

The military had acquired a number of luxury catamarans, sleek and fast with
huge cabins they were beautiful boats even wearing their grey navy paint. With
the right wind there were few boats that could outrun them and most sported .50
caliber machine guns and Mk 19 automatic grenade launchers, more than enough
firepower to tear apart any boat they wanted to.

Levi’s memory drifted to Samoan va’a-alo (out-rigger canoe) . His families
pride and joy was a modern fiberglass Va’a-tele (the big canoe) a huge double
canoe that could carry two smaller va’a-alo out to the fishing areas where they
would be launched. Levi loved the older wooden ones they had, his pride and joy
was no longer used by the family a wooden va’a made from a single tree trunk
hollowed out by his grandfather and still as seaworthy as the day he built it in
the 1940s Levi remembers often taking Va’a Ifilie Tama (Grandpa’s canoe made
from an ifilie tree) out just before dusk, often accompanied by the family dog
Pago. Spinner Dolphins would breach alongside the va’a and Pago would yap at
them as huge flying foxes (bats) swirled about in the air. Nafanua the goddess
of war was saved by these angels.. Levi had several tattoos dedicated to
Nafanua, the amount of tattoos a Samoan carried, indicated the size of his heart

" E GASE TOA AE OLA PULE" Levi sings out. (The shells are living but the Toa
tree is dead) Levi loved to bellow the sayings of his people and explaining them
to anyone who asked, no one was asking but he followed it with the English
translation singing out;
“We have great strength and power as people,
but we do not succeed
ignoring wisdom to make good decisions.
E gase toa ae ola pule”
Levi liked the way Samoan ‘pule’ and English ‘suceed’ almost rhymed and sung his
Samoan/English song often.

Jose heard the singing from Levi and liked the man’s baritone voice. It took
him back to his own boyhood he remembered his father singing as he returned home
from a day on the water and as he grew accompanying his father out fishing and
his father singing everything from traditional Ecuadoran songs to 60s rock like
The Rolling Stones which his father was particularly found of.

“I met a gin soaked bar room queen in Memphis, She tried to take me upstairs for
a ride…” before Jose knew it he was singing “in the round” with Levi all the
while calling out contacts and helm corrections. A odd aural mix of English
rock, Samoan Wisdom and compass bearings

View
Levi's Apartment

Levi walks to his apartment complex, you’ve taken up residence in what used to be a nice apartment complex, you like it for it’s cinder block walls. You have a few neighbors, but they generally ignore you Levi moves to one of the metal shuttered windows to release the secret catch on the claymore mine attached to the front door. If anyone breaks in through the front door they will become red mist. And they ain’t getting in through the steel bars cemented into the windows, further secured with metal shutters

It is dark inside and Levi lights a few oil lamps fueled with a mixture of fish oil and alcohol. Levi moves over to a home built stove and takes some wood from a nearby pile. The stove is fired, and you move to one of two refrigerators sitting side by side opposite the stove.

One refrigerator is hooked to a small generator that is vented out through the wall like the stove. It used to be enough for the fridge and a few electric lights but you haven’t used it in years. Alcohol is expensive, light bulbs scarce and its incessant hum kept you awake at night.
The other fridge holds about a months worth of dried fish, rice and noodles. Pretty much what everyone eats around here. Fish and noodle stew, or fish and rice soup you think for a second and choose the latter as the water begins to boil on the stove.

Your cupboards are full of jars of “pickled” items mostly bok choy, sauerkraut and your own “brand” of fish sauce. You have several large crocks of it fermenting near the wall. Your fish sauce is occasionally traded as you have a good recipe remembering the way your parents made it so long ago. You could probably stretch this food out 3 or 4 months if needed.

Levi moved to one of the two bedrooms, one was for sleeping the other was for his toys. He disarmed the trip wire double barrel shotgun and second claymore by his gun cabinet. Levi knew the “second mouse gets the cheese” and it would take 5 or 6 “mice” to get his “cheese” and WAY more than that if he were home.

Levi removed his pride an joy from the cabinet. An M25 a product improved M21 with lightweight fiberglass stock, Leupold and Stevens 10x scope, bipod and large flash suppressor. He’d spend a nice evening with his “wife” cleaning and taking care of this beauty. Levi had a good collection of weapons. He went back to the living room, and re-engaged the front door claymore. THis area was pretty safe, but Levi’s military training over rode any possible false sense of security

Tomorrow he was asked to help with the catch just brought in. Separating all the fish parts, bones head and tail to be ground into “edible” paste, innards for different dishes and meat for fresh sale or prep to be preserved with salt smoking and dying. He’d be paid a weeks worth of food for a days work.
The morning breaks, and levi makes a small pot of coffee to get him started. Filters arent’ around anymore, so he spins the pot at arms-length like a fast-pitch softball player. It works, and it always put a smile on peoples’ faces..well, except that one time when the handle broke… He looks around at the Spartan conditions.

His home is a mix of the military, tradition, and practicality. There are some large pillows on the floor and a few chairs surround a large dinner table, all in the middle of the house’s one large room. Neatly arranged on the table is an old civilian radio, which he listens to for the one hour per evening when someone, somewhere, gets bored enough to report the days monotonous events. Such and such boat hauled X amount of fish, Jimmy’s looking for some kind of part, and Juaquin kid hit a homerun in a pick-up game of baseball. Small town in a big town

Next to the radio sits several books: a Ranger’s Handbook, a book about SOG, and an old magazine featuring Col. Bob Howard – a practical and inspirational assortment. It was good to have an old college nearby – and they said that we were dumb grunts! Bah!.

ON the other side of the radio was a well-folded and ragged old postcard of a tropical island. It brought back memories of home, where he was happy growing up. “Ignorance is indeed bliss”, he thought. Swimming, fishing, family, community, tradition. That was all he needed. Why did he want to leave? Oh ya, to make money and see the world. His thoughts drift to crab boats…not such a bad gig..good hard work for good pay with others who worked hard and didn’t mind sore muscles. His mind drifts to the that night in Merchant Marines when he…Levi is asleep on one of the large pillows comfortable in his protected home.

Levi wakes wike a jolt out of a dream about fishing, HA! Today will be a good day!

Levi finishes breakfast, takes time to secure his castle. He’s probably a target for somebody; I’m not a grayman. Someone probably knows what he has stashed away – anyone worth his weight in the Army was a wheeler dealer and a scrounger. Smiles and hard work can get you things….things like a Glock, a few frags, a case of 5.56, his pocket toy and his Wife: A weapon and a gun. The last piece of paper wedged into the door, heleaves for a day of blood, butchery, and brotherhood.

Dressed as he always does, BDU bottoms, jungle boots, and ready for a couple days of survival – his Widdle Buddy in his front pocket, the letter opener sideways under his belt, the Randall Airman sheathed, and for the heavy duty work today…a homemade tomahawk.

He hears some kids playing over on the next street, and turns to see what they’re doing. Tag? Sure! There’s always time for fun! There’s not enough of it nowdays… The watchful parents recognize Levi, and turn their backs on him and their kids. Levi’s a good man: good with kids, good with a smile, and good with a gun.

At the plant, Levi greets the bossmanand thanks him for letting have this job by giving him a small wood carving. Nothing fancy: just a small piece of 2×4 with some feathering, designs, and the boss’s name. Done overnight, but shows appreciation and bladeskill. While working, Levi is loud and boisterous…singing the traditional songs of Samoa, challenging workers to good-hearted speed and skill competitions, talking of time on the island. At lunch, he barters as was the custom in the Army. No more Tobasco, but a bit of jerky and fish sauce can go a good ways….Anything to make a day of labor into a day of fun. What’s life if you aren’t doing what you want to? What’s life if you aren’t helping others? Community is the key. Community can help you forget….

View
A Day in the Life

Diego,
There is a new student in your class today. Your early afternoon class is an
Advanced English class that borders on your language studies and thesis. Most
of your students are young adults who would in the past be considered gifted.
Not that they still aren’t gifted, just there is no use for overly book smart
people anymore. Most of the students in this class are in it to escape the
boredom of menial labor and light military work that is expected of everyone in
the area after age 18. The new student is not announced, nor have you been told
of her enrollment. The new student is a female, dark hair and skin, dressed
smartly in a women’s business coat over a blouse. Probably in her early 30s she
is fairly attractive and fixes her gaze on you as she opens an attache case
pulling out a spiral notebook and pen.

“Delores Gonzales” Delores she answers your question about who are you, “Heard your
class was interesting, been wasting my time doing all kinds of footwork research
myself when it sounds like you have already done what I am trying to learn, the
evolving language of this area.” You are slightly taken aback by her quoting
exactly what you are trying to teach here and working on. Over the next few
days Delores is the model student, she is always fixed upon your words, writing
copious amounts of notes and asking energizing questions in both English and
Spanish.

You are refreshed at someone who really wants to listen to your seminars, not
that the others don’t, just few of them are excited about it, and not as much as
Delores.

Maze
Your daily routine consists of early morning logistics, making sure the boats
are properly crewed, moving replacements where they are needed and watching the
fleet set sail, wasting the day away, then meeting the returning fleet and
watching as the catch makes it into the right holding spots and no one is
skimming product (except you of course). As this day dawns and you arrive as
the crews are there are two well dressed Nikkeijin waiting for you on the dock.
The fleet’s crews scamper about them as they stand as if at attention, upon
seeing you they move in your direction.

As they close you recognize the bigger one of them as a Yasuda thug, someone who
has been used as muscle, you don’t recognize the smaller wiry one. “Masahiro,”
the small one calls out “Yasuda’s got a job for you” You reply and he states
“you see Yasuda, my uncle,” he emphasizes UNCLE and lets the word hang for a
second, “has been having trouble with Albert Satou, the boson on the Black Coy.” Black Coy
You knew all too well about Satou, often drunk pretty mean and a thorn in your
side. His daddy was higher up in the organisation so he was tough to “fire” He
made life for fishermen on his boats difficult, which you always felt as
un-productive. You believe in the the old “catch more flies with honey”
approach, Satou was definitely vinegar.

“Satou has gone too far the baka yarou, and really roughed up a crewman,
normally I wouldn’t care but he did it before the Coy brought in her catch, crew
had to work a man down and that just won’t fly.” Yasuda’s nephew rocked back on
his heals. “Your job today is to get on the Black Coy and ride her out, tell
the captain that yesterday’s catch was unacceptable, if he mentions anything
about it being Lee’s fault, you tell him Yasuda is unhappy no matter who’s fault
it is.”

You ride the boat out into the ocean, it will turn southward along the coast.
When you see the Mori Point Lighthouse you tell the captain to close to half a
mile from shore, when you are directly west of the light house you pitch Satou
over the side," let him swim to shore, he stabs a finger rudely at you, a
gesture you are not accustomed to seeing and bringing this little man onto your
‘dislike’ pile. “Another half mile up the coast is Pacifica State beach we’ll
send a launch out to get you. Don’t screw it up Chikushou” he turns sharply
followed by the muscle and you are left alone to decide what to do, already a
tough assignment as Satou is twice your size and you know he’s fond of bare
knuckle brawling and wrestling often putting up his own money against
competitors, he usually wins.

Jose
Your day consists of occasionally receiving orders from MilGov and heading to an
old restaurant (your office) on the edge of Foster City where the fleet is. It
is always a list of boats and names that you organise into full crews, putting
guys you know as good with guys you know as not so good, trying to keep the best
efficiency possible and posting assignments on a board at the enterence to the
docks. The list is for the week, but you know that there will be absentees,
some will return in a day or two, occasionally they never come back. There is
always a good pool of people waiting nearby, all saying they are great sailors,
you looking for signs of a real seaman, often carrying a length of rope with you
and asking perspective sailors to tie a bowline, or an anchor hitch or a clove.
Sometimes pulling out your sextant and asking them to take a reading, a funny
trick you like when it is overcast.

This day is no exception with several seamen missing but most noticeably the
Ron’s Tiki missing its first mate and a deckhand. You look to the pool of extra
men, and pick the ones you know. Hanging in the back is a man you’ve seen
before, a squat Pacific Islander whom you don’t know by name but you have seen
about the north end of the docks which some other paper pusher is assigned to
with you having the south end. You know this guy is a sailor, you feel it, no
gimmicks needed. you point in his direction….

Levi
A day has passed since you helped prep the catch. You hung around at the north
end of the docks hoping to find a ride on a boat but knowing that you were set
better than most and not in need of a job right away. The Milgov comptroller
was a Chinese named Ling Bai Weng. Weng assigned men to the boats on the north
end of the docks, someone else did the south end. You usually worked the north,
were all the Asian cultures and crews congregated, the south was primarily
Whites Blacks and Mexican crews. Weng took a few men for net throwers and told
them were to go, that was work you didn’t want and headed to the south end of
the dock, maybe something there.

Arriving at the south end of the docks the Milgov comptroller is a dark skinned
probably Mexican late 30s male who is shouting in a mix of Spanish and English.
He sees you over the crowd of others “Haga usted quiere trabajar” he yells
and points at you which you recognise as Spanish “Do you want work?” he repeats
himself assuming the same words in English. What the hell you think, this guy
sought me out through the rest of these people, why not a day on the water.

Jose/Levi
The man you’ve chosen is a Pacific Islander and you decide that he will
accompany you on the Ron’s Tiki as you’ve decided to take the mate’s spot.
“Come with me” you say and walk down to the Ron’s Tiki berth. You introduce
yourselves on the way. The Islanders name is Levi, you exchange some niceties
and arrive at the boat, a 60 foot fish trawler (see Photos-Common Boats-Fish
Trawler)

“Ahoy Ron!” Jose yells and a older white man sticks his head topped with a
battered captains hat out of the pilot house. “Jose, my compadre, come aboard,
what brings you here?” Captain Ron bellows loudly at Jose. “Your mate won’t
show up today so I’m taking his spot,” Jose replies. “Well Welcome aboard,”
Captain Ron answers, “Who’s your friend?” He extends a friendly hand to Levi.
Before Levi can answer Jose says “Captain Ronald Jorgenson this is Levi he’ll
supervise the fish crew.”

The day is uneventful as the Ron’s Tiki heads out to open water, drops its nets
as it slowly turns in a wide circle. Jose is either in the wheelhouse or at the
bow. Levi works along with the 3 other crewman playing out the nets until the
boat has turned a complete circle, ensnaring their quarry. The boat circles
become tighter as the nets are drawn together eventually pulled over the side
and the catch pulled from the nets and into the center hold. The nets are cast
again and the circle repeated as the sun sets you had back to the dock

View
Back at Home
Back to the ole grind

Maze

10 miles used to be nothing “back in the day” but jogging 10 miles to and 10
miles from has put most of a marathon on your much older legs. Your 2 hour time
for the 10 miles was far from even close to your best. Even Marines get old you
say to yourself. You strip off most of your sweat soaked clothing and wade out
into the Bay for a cool off. Charlie is there acting like he never left, you
know he was with you somewhere as you can tell he’s been “exercising” probably
jogging just out of site behind you, yet somehow that fucker beat you home.

Maze lets the water wash over him as he wades out into the bay. The salt water stings a few spots on his back where he’s had recent work done on the Chrysanthemums; had a local artist touch up some outlines. It cost him a prime cut on the next Tuna catch, but it was worth it. Young Hanzo did good work in the old style. He mixed his own inks and protected the formulas at gunpoint. Maze well knew that he wasn’t going see that particular shade of red on the flowers OR the unit patch on his left arm on any man he didn’t already know.

“At least that cocksucker ”/wikis/yasuda" class=“wiki-page-link”>Yasuda kept Uncle’s “kifu” motif. Not sure what the fuck I’d do if they made me change all my ink."

He rubs his aching thighs as he wades from the bay. He shoots his best “grumpy sergeant” look at Charlie. “Hey little brother. Toss me that t-shirt so I can dry off.”

As the boy approaches, Maze, always conscious of foreign eyes and ears, mutters, sotto voice, “Pick up anything interesting while I was inside?”

Charlie mugs a confused look “What’chu mean boss?” again with the stereotypical Asian voice. He then lowers his voice “You know Tan the zhongguo ren (Chinese person) who runs that huge rickshaw service.” Maze answers, “yea saw him coming out as I was going in” Well after you went inside I stopped him said “hi” we’ve always had good relations with them so I asked him a bit about what was inside.

Tan told me that he’s heard about the Navy starting to construct ships there again and wanted to take a look. Says he was only able to get into some limited areas and couldn’t get into the heavily defended inner area. His guys are in and out of there all the time and heard lots of rumors but nothing concrete.

Maze answers “yea that’s about all I saw” It was close to time that the fleet would be heading back in and Maze would be playing inventory boy again, Yasuda was seemingly trying to drive the spirit out of him, giving him the most ordinary middle management tasks possible.

Maze headed toward his bungalow, still wanting that air of authority he used to have and that a few of the boat crews still showed him. He pulled out his working clothes one of his pre war suits that was cut big enough to fit over the shoulder holster yet still let everyone know he was armed, not that everyone else wasn’t anyway. He then removed the coat and retrieved the scabbard that allowed him to wear a KA-BAR that was inscribed with the family name in Kanji, in the small of his back.

It was a short walk down to the docks……

As Maze heads out the door he adjusts the “organization pin” on his lapel. He feels the bulge of his sunglasses in his jacket pocket though a glance at the sinking sun tells him that those shades won’t be of much us at this point in the day. Yet another day of fish scales on his sleeves and salt stains on his boots that never quite come all the way out. “Eh,” he thinks “call me the working man, I guess that’s what I am…” he thinks. That thought triggers the memory of another version of himself, seemingly another lifetime ago.

“Dietz? Detzel? What the fuck was that kid’s name? Every time he got tapped for a patrol, he’d start belting out some Rush tune in all its Geddy Lee nasally best… “It seems to me, I could live my life a lot better than I think I am. I guess that’s why they call me, call me the workin’ man….” was usually the last thing we heard before he went outside the wire. Better than all those white kids who thought they were Flavor fucking Flav, I guess. Detweller. That was his name. Funny the shit you remember”

Maze realizes can’t remember what the kid looked like before the PPK round took the top of his head off. That helmet might as well have been a fried chicken bucket for all the good it did him… He’s lost touch with all the live ones as moved on, one by one, to new lives in the After days. But the dead ones? Yea, they still stop by for a visit now and again after all these years.

He shakes off the memories of a bygone life before heading to the corner; he can’t afford for any of Yasuda’s lackeys to see him distracted while “on the job.” “There are standards to uphold,” they’d tell him, like any of those low-rent gangster wannabes had the first idea of what “honor,” “duty,” and fucking standards might be.

“Christ, if I can’t get my shit together before I hit the waterline, it’s going to be a rough night.”

He takes a look at the sky and figures he’s got a few minutes to spare before offloading truly starts. He makes a quick detour, ducking down an alley a block from the waterline to see about paying off a debt. Spying the small Oni encircled in red, Hanzo’s “calling card” painted over an otherwise nondescript doorway, Maze ducks in and looks for one of the Korean women that play hostess and serve as door security. No one wants their irezumi wrecked because the artists dropped the needle to pull a gun, now do they? Just because Hanzo’s studio was considered “out-of-bounds territory” for all the Asian organizations, well, that doesn’t mean that there wasn’t the occasional conflict. It just meant the internal punishment—and payment—was particularly severe.

“Kim”—it’s always “Kim”, when it isn’t “Lee,” anyway—“the man in?”

The bored girl sitting just inside the door raises one hand and jerks her thumb back over her shoulder toward the rickety stairs up to the studio. “Client. Be at least 3 hours if the last time ‘round is any judge. You need more work? Don’t think he can get you in tonight; maybe tomorrow.”

They knew him and his ability to pay well enough here that he could generally get work done on credit if things were tight. That said, he was still pretty sure the hand he couldn’t see was on the butt of a shotgun… Maze shakes his head. “No. But if he’ll be here a while, I’m thinking of sending Charlie around in a bit with a package to pay down the tab.”

She nods and picks up a nail file as he turns to leave. Maze ducks back out and hurries to the corner, turning toward the docks. He can see a slowly-assembling forest of masts, which tells him it’s time to get down to business. Just before he hits the first of the slips where the larger boats in Yasuda’s fleet dock, he spies Charlie. “Stick around little brother, if this works out tonight, I’ll have a Maguro [Bluefin] head for you to bring to Hanzo’s studio. See if you can find one of those waxed bags they use for the Uni haul. And don’t stick yourself on an urchin spine.”

Maze hopes Old Man Ko got a decent tuna haul this time out. One upshot to a third of the world being reduced to light grey ash means the Bluefin, once nearly fished to extinction, run further and in greater numbers than they have since the Lincoln administration. But they’re still big unpleasant fish and competition is tough. Ever since Ko taught him that the fatty meat between the collar and gills—the kama toro—was actually better than those belly cuts prized since, shit, probably since Tokugawa and his samurai marched on Sekigahara—knowledge equivalent to a “secret handshake” among fishermen—Maze quickly used it as a reward for a job well done among his crews as well as taking the occasional cut himself to buy some good will and more than a few luxuries. Anyone who tasted it once craved it again like a drug; and it was harder to get than most drugs. You could grow or manufacture an awful lot of things, but there’s only 1 collar on a tuna…

That knowledge also served a practical purpose, though. When the big fish were being butchered dockside he could tell right away who thought they could get one over on the dock boss. He certainly noticed that it didn’t take long for the fish destined for Yasuda’s table to get shorter and shorter as the better cuts were being surreptitiously worked into the butcher’s trash. The disrespect was becoming palpable.

“But I ain’t dock boss anymore, so it’s not my problem, now is it….” Maze pulls out a pen and pad and starts making his way toward the boats and another long night of counting sea urchins, snappers, mackerel, and eels…

Diego
You walk along the Bayshore Freeway, occasionally straying off to see a site.
It is roughly 4 miles back to The City College of San Francisco, Airport Campus.
You and several other educators/intellectuals have carved a bit of a niche at
this campus. Finding the library and many classrooms untouched you’ve moved
into a loose collective of educators and students. Since the surrounding
communities are happy to have people around to teach the CCSF is guarded by
several community militia and has not seen a problem outside of a political
discussion that led to a pistol fight a few years back. By the time you get
home it is late afternoon.

Diego had been fond of long walks before he acquired that small boat in 2003.
His long pensamiento (thinking) walks had long ago been replaced with
pensamiento sails. He was still curious as to what the military was doing at
Hunter’s Point. Most of the world was oblivious to him, he was very content in
his surroundings, but was missing excitement.

It was too late to take the boat out so he sat down with some lesson plans for
tomorrow. His weeks usually consisted of classroom work teaching reading and
writing to local children, and teens. Mostly helping the Spanish to speak
English and visa versa. But also a host of Asian students Chinese and Japanese.
It sure wasn’t what he wanted to do, but it “paid the bills” It earned him the
right to live at this college and it earned him a good living in whatever he
desired food, clothes and occasional other items which were bartered for his
services.

Diego’s true passion was language and its evolution. Since the war there was a
need to communicate between the various ethnicities that their very survival
depended on. The people of California had evolved the language into a mix of
English and Spanish with elements of Japanese and Chinese.

Sailors from the North often had trouble communicating with traders from
California. In only a decade apart the north influenced by French and Inuit had
evolved in its own way. Diego was sure that this cultural phenomena was worth
categorizing and studying.

He’d learned Chinese and Japanese and after teaching the locals would push his
small sailboat out into the bay to contemplate, returning late at night to write
working on his Thesis of Language Evolution. When stuck he’d fire up his short
wave radio and when the atmosphere was clear he’d hopefully find another lost
soul trying to communicate across the many miles.

Levi
You’ve been freelancing about as a crew member but there was no work for you
today. Still good natured enough to and with enough contacts to hitch a ride on
a boat out in the morning as Hunter’s Point is about 15 miles away. You ended
up doing some work anyway, as you are never one to stand about and the Ship’s
skipper was more than happy to give you a ride for the help. The boat came back
at dusk, with a good sized catch. You arrive home at dark, but have been
offered a job to clean the catch tomorrow. Which will means food for a week for
you.

Levi walks to his apartment complex, you’ve taken up residence in what used to
be a nice apartment complex, you like it for it’s cinder block walls. You have a
few neighbors, but they generally ignore you Levi moves to one of the metal
shuttered windows to release the secret catch on the claymore mine attached to
the front door. If anyone breaks in through the front door they will become red
mist. And they ain’t getting in through the steel bars cemented into the
windows, further secured with metal shutters

It is dark inside and Levi lights a few oil lamps fueled with a mixture of fish
oil and alcohol. Levi moves over to a home built stove and takes some wood from
a nearby pile. The stove is fired, and you move to one of two refrigerators
sitting side by side opposite the stove.

One refrigerator is hooked to a small generator that is vented out through the
wall like the stove. It used to be enough for the fridge and a few electric
lights but you haven’t used it in years. Alcohol is expensive, light bulbs
scarce and its incessant hum kept you awake at night.

The other fridge holds about a months worth of dried fish, rice and noodles.
Pretty much what everyone eats around here. Fish and noodle stew, or fish and
rice soup you think for a second and choose the latter as the water begins to
boil on the stove.

Your cupboards are full of jars of “pickled” items mostly bok choy, sauerkraut
and your own “brand” of fish sauce. You have several large crocks of it
fermenting near the wall. Your fish sauce is occasionally traded as you have a
good recipe remembering the way your parents made it so long ago. You could
probably stretch this food out 3 or 4 months if needed.

Levi moved to one of the two bedrooms, one was for sleeping the other was for
his toys. He disarmed the trip wire double barrel shotgun and second claymore
by his gun cabinet. Levi knew the “second mouse gets the cheese” and it would
take 5 or 6 “mice” to get his “cheese” and WAY more than that if he were home.

Levi removed his pride an joy from the cabinet. An M25 a product improved M21
with lightweight fiberglass stock, Leupold and Stevens 10x scope, bipod and
large flash suppressor. He’d spend a nice evening with his “wife” cleaning and
taking care of this beauty. Levi had a good collection of weapons. He went
back to the living room, and re-engaged the front door claymore. THis area was
pretty safe, but Levi’s military training over rode any possible false sense of
security

Tomorrow he was asked to help with the catch just brought in. Separating all
the fish parts, bones head and tail to be ground into “edible” paste, innards
for different dishes and meat for fresh sale or prep to be preserved with salt
smoking and dying. He’d be paid a weeks worth of food for a days work.

Jose
You hitched a ride on a boat back from Hunter’s point. He’d served on this
boat several times when crew were ill or otherwise couldn’t work. He knew the
captain well and saw the disappointment on his face overlooking a mediocre
catch. He didn’t make any small talk with any crew, standing on the forecastle,
leaning on the rail, feeling the waves kick the bow up and down, just breathing
in being on the water.

Jose longed for the pre-war days, lots of boats, lots of work, lots of days on
the water. The last great Naval battles were fought years ago and once majestic
navies now rested on the bottoms of oceans and bays. The Navy absorbed the
Coast Guard even though most units retained their designations.

In the dark days after the turn of the century, famines, radiation, food riots
all led to our current situation. Milgovs “Navy” was mostly small alcohol
powered patrol boats with little more than keeping the occasional pirate at bay.

Soon man relearned the art of harvesting the wind. Pleasure sailing boats, once
a toy of the rich, became the savior of any an ordinary man. Jose had helped
with this transition. He’d worked on wind powered boats as a child and these
were technological marvels compared to some of the boats he had grown up on.

In the latter part of 2000s, a large fishing fleet had sprung up in the shelter
of San Francisco Bay. Milgov had an interest in protecting the food supply and
had commissioned Jose and others as armed guard on boats, even crewing complete
boats.

Recently Jose had been “promoted” by Milgov. His organizational skills had
“won” him the ability to organize the guards on the boats….whoopee a desk job.
Jose could usually mail it in, organizing a weeks worth of work in one day.

Jose always woke up early with the change of the local militia guard. First the early morning watch walked to their posts yapping about the local scuttlebutt out. About 20 minutes later, the night crew returned looking for dinner and to spend some personal time with the local bathtub gin. The community consisted of mostly Latinos — Mexicans, Peruvians and the like. Surprisingly, the rather large Sihk contingent was welcomed with open arms despite the language and religious differences.

Jose helped set it up. Boats needed skilled people to work on them, but skilled people were hard to come by. Jose convinced the base command to turn the old training barracks into live quarters for the families. The skilled workers were protected and the base had a ready supply of labor. The militia was mostly to protect the community from itself. Coast Guard Island was like Great Britain. A large group of troublemakers needed to put out a lot of effort.

Despite that, there was one enemy that no bomb, no missile, no shell could defeat. He knew her well. It was the sea. Yeah, she could murder violently like a storm, but it was the slow quiet way she killed and ended his livelihood. The salt. Take a piece of steel and some salt water alone and the water will win. As a young kid, his father and uncles would call him from playing to help chisel and paint, sand and paint. Repeat. He didn’t understand why then, but quickly discovered as an adult. It did not take long for a little chip to turn into a bubble of rust. Without paint to fix that chip it didn’t take long for them to pile up and a once sea worthy vessel was sitting in the dry dock a rusty hulk. The next problem was patching up these boats. Inch thick steel is tough to fix. Once the steel rivets were used up, there wasn’t a fire hot enough to make one. You could craft them from iron, but Iron, steel and salt water was a Titanic waiting to happen. Pine tar pitch worked great and was easier to make. Wood and fiberglass was much easier to work with without power tools. Jose had old timers who were steelworkers before the war, but no with supplies they cut fiberglass boats to make patches and used pitch to make the boat seaworthy. It frustrated him with boredom, but that wasn’t his biggest concern.

He knew he shouldn’t complain. His skills were rewarded. He knew he was appreciated. After helping to train the militia, he was never asked to stand guard. Many of those people owed him their lives. Without his help, they’d be living on the mainland and it was still hell there. MilGov appreciated him. Jose knew how to make Cutler’s resin. Pine trees were dry heated producing pine pitch and charcoal. The charcoal was used for cooking and heating. The pitch was mixed with bees wax and sawdust and turned hard once it dried and cured. While the manufactured products were much easier and faster, when times were hard, they turned to the old ways back in the village. He wasn’t a capitalist. He taught people how to do it and return, he was given a job. If he did it all again, he wouldn’t of given his knowledge for free.

So now, he pushed paper. To important to go to sea. Not wealthy enough to do otherwise.

That is why the poster so thrilled him. It would be like old times. It inspired him — so much so that he decided that he’d find a way to get on a boat for a day if he could. Someone might get pissed, but what were they going to do. He wasn’t MilGov. They like to remind him of that.

View
Journey back to Home
Leaving Hunter's Point

After sitting down at Hunter’s Point you are left with the impression that this
was some sort of survey, maybe this was an effort to get the census up to date
to add a constitutional legitimacy to the Military Government’s control?

Diego, Maze, and Levi all took a stroll about the base’s semi restricted areas.
(JPs character has seen plenty of Naval bases to not need to wander about yet
another). What you learned is that MilGov has done a lot in the last 5 years to
reestablish this base. You saw all manner of things going on that you would
expect on a busy Naval base.

Nothing really stood out as odd except maybe the fact that for as lax as the
outer defenses were the inner defenses were unusually high.

If you click on Links-Hunter’s Point Map I have added indicators where each of
you are living/working. Feel free to let me know if you want your character to
live somewhere else. I just did this for simplicity

I will start with the closest character as you all will basically see about the
same thing on your way home
GM Note for Justin I’ve placed Maze further away than the original write up

Diego,
You walk along the Bayshore Freeway, occasionally straying off to see a site.
It is roughly 4 miles back to The City College of San Francisco, Airport Campus.
You and several other educators/intellectuals have carved a bit of a niche at
this campus. Finding the library and many classrooms untouched you’ve moved
into a loose collective of educators and students. Since the surrounding
communities are happy to have people around to teach the CCSF is guarded by
several community militia and has not seen a problem outside of a political
discussion that led to a pistol fight a few years back. By the time you get
home it is late afternoon.

Maze
10 miles used to be nothing “back in the day” but jogging 10 miles to and 10
miles from has put most of a marathon on your much older legs. Your 2 hour time
for the 10 miles was far from even close to your best. Even Marines get old you
say to yourself. You strip off most of your sweat soaked clothing and wade out
into the Bay for a cool off. Charlie is there acting like he never left, you
know he was with you somewhere as you can tell he’s been “exercising” probably
jogging just out of site behind you, yet somehow that fucker beat you home.

Levi,
You’ve been freelancing about as a crew member but there was no work for you
today. Still good natured enough to and with enough contacts to hitch a ride on
a boat out in the morning as Hunter’s Point is about 15 miles away. You ended
up doing some work anyway, as you are never one to stand about and the Ship’s
skipper was more than happy to give you a ride for the help. The boat came back
at dusk, with a good sized catch. You arrive home at dark, but have been
offered a job to clean the catch tomorrow. Which will means food for a week for
you.

Jose
After the bombs fell the Coast Guard was absorbed into The Navy. After most large ships were destroyed the Navy reverted to small patrol boats. You’ve been working on a combination of coastal patrol boats and commercial fishing boats. Recently the Navy has “promoted” you to a desk job stationed with the commercial fishing fleet.

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Political Conditions

MilGov holds all power in the area. All political positions are held by military personal. There is no ex-military. There is conscripted service starting at 16 to 18 and lasting 4,6 or 8 years, but this can be as simple as report for duty when occasionally called if you are a fisherman, dockworker, or other laborer that the military deems needed. It can also be full blown you are a conscripted soldier. After consripted service everyone is in “the militia” or reduced to “civilian”

If you are chosen you may continue your military “career” but this is choice of the state, not personal. Any and every able bodied person either serves or works. Corruption is rampant and most children of power like criminal organisations do not report, but these are only a few. Dissenters, rabble rouses activists are banished or disappear. Maybe think current Venezuela, Burma, or ancient Rome

Maybe even Germany in 1938 or even occupied France 1943 but you are a Nazi sympathiser Vichy, and most citizens have guns. Patrols would be avoided just to not get in their way, give them an excuse, but you would not have a fear of them.

There is no police force, just military. Milgov is interested in keeping its borders secure, so most of its troops are stationed on the border, or patrolling it. There are reactionary forces that would stop inner violence from escalating, but they usually wait until one side has an upper hand then either bargain with the stronger, or just wipe both out.

There are some military versions of public works. Road repair being most prominant, but there is a fire service and city logistical service too, both rarely seen unless there is something military involved

A military patrol would not bother with a single or even several armed people, as basically everyone is armed. Larger groups may bring scrutiny, there are passes issued and ID papers that you all carry, but they are easily forged and altered. You may basically move about, with weapons without problem, using them may bring a patrol to observe, but rarely intervene.

Everyone has ID card papers, the forms and cards vary wildly, and are easily forged
Civilian-lowest form, would not be recalled
Militia-brings a bit more prestige/privilage can be recalled at any time
Military-selected to stay, military will use you where ever they want, more prestige and privilage .

Each of these has a 0-4 star rating after it. 0=low 4=high

Each of these has a caveat, and certain levels of corruption will have purchase higher forms of ID or more stars. In addition they would have thier organisasion identification card/papers so presenting a military ID and a ID from a (crimianl) company would be common. You can alos lose stars due to misdeeds or just loosing your usefuless to the goverment

Although pushed as “patriotism” the government rules by soviet style nationalism. There are many who are happy to be in a reasonably safe environment and see the military government as beneficial. Many see it as repressive as well, but are too busy eking out a living or afraid of the consequences to oppose it in anyway.

All the characters are past conscription age, and all served.

Diego has been “discharged” and would be the least likely to be called to service, he carries a “civilian” ID with 3 stars. The Military is happy having teachers as they want an educated population and as Diego is primarily a linguist they have little problem with his work. Plus his previous service has earned him an additional star as ‘useful’ There are only real world teaching allowed, there is no philosophy or art classes anymore. History is taught by military teachers who have to conform to state ideas.

Maze. His organization “bought” his status. He would also be very unlikely to be called to service as the government has been paid off and they consider him useful in what he does. He carries a Military ID with one star, and also carries his organization card, along with bribe chits etc…..

Levi. Still carries his militia card as ID. He has been called up a few times but only for a few week long deployments at border outposts. Since he is basically a freelance worker, and none of the deployments has been dangerous, he doesn’t mind the free food. He carries a Militia card with 2 stars

Jose still is employed in the Military carries a Military card with one star. He should be allowed two, but the military has constantly screwed him over for promotions accolades, or recognition of his service. He was a long carrying Military 0 the one star only coming recently and long overdue.

Civilian Card slang “Civ” followed by number of stars
Civ0. basic allowance for remaining in territory, old, infirm
Civ1 general worker, low skill level gruntwork
Civ2 skilled laborer, or young and strong
Civ3 specific skill, history of service, good standing
Civ4 rare a Civilian 3 (who has bribed) done exceptional work

Militia Card slang letters M-A (Em-AY) or Ma (like mother)
MA 0 conscript who served without accolade, old
MA1 regular grunt soldier
MA 2 specialized soldier
MA3 officer leader
MA4 rare officer leader (bribed) done exceptional work

Military always said as ‘military’ to denote its level above M-A
Military 0 current solidier grunt, private
Military 1 regular soldier who has some special skill or time in the military
Military 2 NCO or rewarded soldier, someone with specialzed skill
Military 3 officer or higher NCO
Military 4 high officer, official serving in politics
Military 5 very rare, not bribeable, Generals who hold top political and military positions

STRATOCRACY
A stratocracy is a form of government headed by military chiefs; the term is derived from two Greek terms signifying army and power. It is not the same as a military dictatorship or military junta where the military’s political power is not enforced or even supported by other laws. Rather, stratocracy is a form of military government in which the state and the military are traditionally or constitutionally the same entity, and government positions are always occupied by military leaders. Citizens with mandatory and/or voluntary military service, or who have been honorably discharged, have the right to elect and/or govern. The military’s political power is supported by law and the society. As such a stratocracy does not have to be autocratic by nature in order to preserve its right to rule.
Historically, the term was used by Greeks to describe the structure of the late Roman Republic and later the early Empire, where there was no distinction between military and civilian offices, and appointment to governing roles required military service and promotion. The closest modern equivalent to a stratocracy is the State Peace and Development Council of Myanmar (Burma), which is arguably different from most other military dictatorships in that it completely abolished the civilian constitution and legislature.

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