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Naomi Minami

Aberrant: Infinite Earth - Cosmos Nova - [Department 0 - CN] 11

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November 30, 2012

Hideyoshi Residence

Morning

Naomi rested lazily on her mattress, curled up as best she could with her stomach showing more and more of her new passengers. The Quint litter was coming along nicely, and already it comforted Naomi that the gestation pattern seemed to match the Human baseline in development. It's been 3 months since their conception, and the well wishers from Department 0 have been showing up from time to time.

But something was of dread in her life. Naomi slipped up. She snuck out last month to get some snacks from a local convenience store and a paparazzi got a photo of her and it was evident she was starting to show a "baby bump". The press has been on fire. Department Zero has, of course, been doing damage control. Congratulating the new family, assuring the public that everything was perfectly fine and deflecting conspiracy theories and outright crackpot assumptions.

In a way, Naomi felt guilty she foisted this on the people of Japan. She felt she should have at least said something to the people... to give more transparency... but with her now on 24 hour surveillance and being practically on house arrest... that seems a distant wish long gone.

She heard Ryu stepping about, training, cooking, and generally being his tiger self... she would have it no other way, but she felt she was taking him for granted.

Ryu was the light of her life yet...

She heard Ryu was in a nearby room or hallway. She opened a eye from her restful stupor and with a ear drooping she mewed. "Ryu-saaaaaan.... What's going onnn..."

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He had been a little agitated with her at first, when she got caught. Still it was done now, and in truth she paid the price far more than anyone else, as she was a virtual prisoner in his family home now. The Department insisted on her protection, and he grudgingly agreed to it, as a necessity, since their children would be among the first known, born to novas.

He was happy, and he knew, very lucky to have her, and Naoko as well.

He stood in the frame of the door and chuckled. "Nothing much, just letting you know dinner's ready. I fixed the sashimi and sushi you like, with a little extra kick this time. You can come to the table, or I can bring it to you. Naoko's out at the office, putting in an appearance."

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Naomi sighed... she might as well wear a orange maternity gown at this rate with a prisoner's number. She comes to, still sporting the grace and agility that is her right, even with 5 children in tow in her womb. "Thanks, dear." She said with a smile and a kiss. "And I know you do not know how to hold back with the spices. I've been craving them lately."

When they walk to the dinner table she sat down on a bar stool she bought just for her purposes. She liked them for their comfort and kindness to her tailbone, and the footrest at the bottom was a welcome addition. "I've been reading the reports from Department 0 in regards to my last investigations... the one incident in the American Southwest and TCRI is still being resolved, and this "Mother" terrorist still needs to be sorted out."

She sighed. "That... and I got this domestic issue... namely me."

"4 assasination threats and a bomb threat in the past month alone. Not to mention..."

She placed her hands on Ryu's. "There is still the matter... between us... I've been trying to figure out with myself what I've been doing wrong... I've no answers yet."

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"Let the Americans handle their mess. If they need us, I will go."

He looked at her and kissed her hand softly. "You didn't tell me of the death threats.."

"You haven't really been doing anything wrong, Naomi. I worry that this isolation is making you worry, and withdraw even from Me and Naoko. But I'm here, if there's something I can help with a problem for us that we need to fix, then let's fix it."

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"The threats were false alarms, thank god... but it was... enough for me to retreat. But... I'm also not sure of myself now. I can't... I can't know if I am going to be what my children will need. I mean, this is new... brand new to this world. I have to get this right first time."

She buries her head in Ryu's chest in her cat-like way, rubbing her scent on him. "I... I need you more than ever... I should have realized that from the start. I have to remember that parenthood is a team effort. But..."

She kissed Ryu, looking up to him with her cute eyes that shone the greater as she glowed with maternal grace. "But love is a co-operative effort. And I have been very much lax in that endeavor. For that... I am sorry. You... you are far more than capable of protecting me, and Naoko has our digital frontiers covered."

She sighed. "It's just sad really... something so... right... would send a minority into complete mania."

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He looked at her. "It's a huge change to get used to. It's going to take us both, but right now nearly all the difficulty is on you. Carrying five little ones, and then you'll have to birth them all... It's a huge responsibility. Until then there's so very little I can do for you except be here at your side, and be your shield against the outside world."

"Neither of us expected this, but I certainly don't have regrets. I love you Naomi. Don't doubt it." He kissed her back, stroking her back and her tail, noting that her fur was far softer and more luxurious.

"Don't worry about what will happen when our children are born, there's plenty of time left. Enjoy life, and try to relax some, stress isn't healthy for the children."

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"We both love fish, so I figured I'd go with that. I've got some salmon for later, if you want to try something somewhat different." He rubbed the developing baby bump, noting her fur seemed more luxurious, and decidedly softer. "Lots of changes for you it would seem. I don't mind."

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"Well, having easier to groom fur is definitely a plus." Naomi mused. Smiling and purring from being rubbed on her belly.

After her usual opening of grace once she gets to her meal, she politely starts off with the fish, enjoying a small bottle of milk on the side. "I think also... just being here... it... sort of drives me up the wall a little. You know?" She says, her ears twitching. "I mean, I caught myself last night trying to sneak out to get food again. The impulses are getting greater in scope."

She rubbed her stomach a little. "More like a lot of food... what is a full meal for a normal person is a snack for a Nova mother of 5, you know."

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"That's why there's thirty two ounces of cooked food on that plate. And confining a cat is always difficult. You need to remind yourself it's not just for your safety, but the little ones too. No mother cat would endanger her progeny."

He smiled and nuzzled the back of her neck. "I did finally complete the new larger hottub so we can both get in it now..."

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"Oh that is outstanding! I mean... not only do we bathe together but that darned noise from the construction is done!" She says, grinning jokingly. "But seriously, I am glad that is done... the quicker to enjoy it, I assume?"

She nibbled some more. "You know, Ryu, I've been thinking of an idea... I sent Naoko out to get some small spy-style cameras and some transmitters... There are going to be times my expertise will be needed and I will need some form of tele-presence. Namely being able to see the scene that I need to investigate. I hope you don't mind, if you take a camera/transmitter rig with you if Department Zero needs my assistance."

She was antsy... she felt she was letting Department Zero down. "...sorry... I shouldn't be talking about work..."

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"If it gives you something to do, and ends these little escape plans, then I will do it."

"You know the director has placed you on medical leave, and even now, the crime rate is still decreasing rapidly, at least here in Tokyo. The Yakuza have their turf, and we have ours, as always. The interlopers, well they're caught in the middle."

"I don't like the Yakuza, but at least they have rules. I can predict them easily. "

He chuckled. "Now finish your plate so we can go test my work."

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"Right."

Naomi's smile was one of a greater calm. Whenever she was around Ryu... he always managed to calm her mind's stormy seas.

"So... 6 months to go..." She says, patting her belly. "...and I am already proud of my children."

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He smiled finishing cleaning up after their meal. He teased her playfully, by swishing his tail at the tip of her nose. "Come on slowpoke.." He then headed back for the back, turning on the hottub he'd worked hard to modify and install for them.

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Naomi smiled as she finished her meal. Her humming mind seemed to calm, realizing at least with Ryu... her world was simple, safe...

She said a quiet little meow, as she headed to Ryu's latest build. First she changed to a bath robe, since pajamas just won't do. Her calico fur already looked soft from her development as a Mother, although she has kept up with keeping her fur trimmed and thin. She's realized that living as a member of catkind isn't exactly meant for a humanoid. She's appreciated human evolution even more... in particular the concept of bare skin.

When she walks up she purrs in delight. "Amazing work! Something to definately enjoy between us when we want some alone time. Particularly after the kittens are born."

She steps in, shedding off her bathrobe, revealing a sport bra and bicilist's shorts. Thin material and covering enough for modesty's sake.

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Ryu chuckled, and removed his clothing completely before climbing in with her. It was balanced so it didn't overflow when he got in, and he moved beside her, stroking her child filled stomach. "I figure once you really start to show, you'll want this as walking may be difficult near the end."

"You act like we are not alone in the house right now."

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Naomi blinked. "No I..."

If she was bare-skinned he'd see a blush. "I'm feeling a little..."

She wasn't self-concious, but right now she felt... a bit bashful. She was horrible at hiding this fact with someone she loved dearly like Ryu.

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"You have nothing to be ashamed of you know. And nothing of course I've not seen before." he chuckled, and kissed her neck softly. "Still, I get the feeling something else is bothering you."

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Naomi decided to loosen up and once in the water set her clothes aside. Being as agile as she was, she could do it rather subtly.

"It's that feeling I get that I'm under a microscope now, Ryu. Everything I do is watched. At first I welcomed the attention. I felt it was needed in these trying times but now..."

She looked at the water. "Now the other side of the blade is showing itself. Fame... is a double edged sword."

Sighing she slumped back into the water. "I'm too used to being a teacher, Ryu. I dreamed of being a detective but now that I am... Caveat Emptor."

"Ryu... I have walked over every tradition that Japan has held dear and everyone held their tongue. In a way I am starting to sway the hearts and minds of even the most staunch... A woman shouldn't lead, Ryu... yet for a long time I did and I triggered a revolution and now I am so uncomfortable in that role. Now... I just feel I might have gone past the "honeymoon"..."

She leaned over to Ryu, nuzzling him. "Perhaps... perhaps I should try to be something to you... traditionally..."

Her jade eyes were suddenly dazzling. "I... umm... I want to spend the rest of my life with you... Ryu."

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"Of course I'll take you as my wife, Naomi."

He kissed her softly, then nuzzled her. "You do realize it is the man's job to ask."

"We are under a microscope, and we always will be now Naomi, it's part of being a nova. They've already given me field command while you've been on leave. As I told you, you can go back to teaching. I fully expect you to put those skills to use once our children are born, they will need an exceptional teacher."

He held her to him gently. "I am not uncomfortable with anything that's happened, that you or I have done. I have no regrets, and all that I endure for work now is worth it, because it fulfills me professionally. You fulfill me spiritually."

He rubbed her stomach beneath the warm water and smiled. "You add so much joy to my life."

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"I know, Ryu." Naomi said with a smile. "And I was just trying to open you up to making the question... I guess I was... heavy handed in my prompting."

She nuzzled her future husband. "That is the problem with my brain... perhaps I do think too hard." She looks up. "I got all I need right here with you, within me, and beside me. I can't let the world keep me down."

Stroking his face she looked into his eyes. "And professionally... you can be so much more, and I am willing to help you. That is my duty as your wife."

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He laughed. "Relax Naomi.. Everything is okay, better than okay. I have my wife, and soon enough five children. As far as my career is concerned, adding the Job title "Father" to the list is going to be plenty. I will do more, when I am ready, and when I feel it is right. For now, I am happy professionally."

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Naomi loved ambition... although she never let on. She had ambitions herself.

"Perhaps there is room in my life for the detective and the teacher... As you are the Father and the protector."

She holds Ryu's head. "No more regrets from me." After kissing him she smiled. "And I can deduce none from you either."

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"decidedly not. Something else, I wanted to discuss. Once we marry, it won't be a big issue Legally to adopt Naoko, if that's what she'd like. She is family we may as well make it official."

He kissed her back passionately, his long tail stroking her side gently as he rubbed her developing baby bump.

"I know you hate being cooped up here, I may know somewhere we can vacation."

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Naomi quirked an eyebrow. "Oh? That would be..."

She kisses Ryu. "That would be excellent... I could use a few weeks of sun and sand... the cooling of the approaching winter is... depressing."

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He shook his head. Not quite what I was thinking, but if a beach run is what you want, it sounds good. I can call some people in Okinawa, I think we still have a summer home there on the beach."

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Naomi blinked. "That sounds wonderful! I could go diving! I haven't dived in a few months. More safer SCUBA diving as a Nova honestly, but such beautiful waters and the fish..."

A ringing sound is heard coming from Naomi's pile of clothes. She pulls out a flat comlink from a pocket on her shorts.

"Hello? Yes, Director... Really? Your office?"

Naomi blinked at Ryu in a way she's done with him before. Usually signalling "oh boy."

"Right... we'll be there. I'm suprised you need me in person... I understand, you'll fill us in when we arrive. We'll see you there."

She deactivates her Comlink. "That was Director Nishimura. She needs the two of us over at D0 Headquarters in Shinjuku. She's not relaying details but she sounded... happy."

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Ryu nodded. "Very well then." He was curious as to what this could be He extended a claw, and literally tore open a hole in spacetime. "This should get us there quickly and safely without dealing with the press or public."

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Naomi blinked. "Hey... I should get decent first!"

She ruffled Ryu's head before springing to her feet with feline grace that seemed completely counter to her condition. In fact she seemed not to lose a step. Her body has adapted quite well and her landing seemed to keep in mind her precious cargo's location. "One sec..."

Naomi quickly grabbed whatever she could find from her closet near her room, going with a plain white dress and the proper undergarments to go with it she had recently picked out, and after getting sorted with her hair hurried back to Ryu.

"Okay... let's go."

Once they crossed the space-time threshold, they discovered themselves right where Nishimura was waiting in her office.

"Oh? I knew you'd take a more expeditious route, Captain." She stood up and bowed out of respect. "And nice to see you again, Minami-Sensei."

She was grinning ear-to-ear like she knew something they didn't.

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Ryu got dried off and dressed while she did, and He followed her through.

Ryu looked at them. "Okay, what is that I'm not seeing and don't know. You all look extremely happy about something.."

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Director Nakamura smiled as she turned to the side in her chair. "I'll be brief... well as brief as this news can be."

"As of the first of the coming month I am being Promoted to the new "Ministry of Nova and Psion Services". It was finally approved by the Diet today. Just waiting on the Prime Minister to sign off on it. Also..."

She turns on the news on the thin OLED screen imbedded in the wall. On the bottom of a scene in the Diet was a scrolling breaking news notice.

Diet approves new Rescued rights act
Director of Department 0: This is a new era for Japan, and the world
Prime Minister: This is a much needed change in Japan policy[/code]

"This... this is a game changer for us. All of us. The world will be watching us carefully from this point on, and I feel this will be for the better. At least for our Nihonjin Rescued."

She adjusted her blazer as she turned back around. "There's more... Of the candidates to replace me, you two are the head candidates. Nishimura declined consideration, she loves her lab too much I wager, and we just signed Naoko on. You two have the most service to our country and her interests."

"That... and I just recieved good news to boot... Ryu, I am about to send you on a rescue mission."

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Ryu looked at her intently. "You want one of us to take over your old job." He nodded. "Well considering how things are, If that's how you best deem my service of my country to be fulfilled, then That's what I'll do." That Naomi would be too busy being a mother didn't need to be said.

"And this rescue mission? who, what, and where?"

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The soon to be Minster Nakamura leaned back in her chair, the screen bringing up a Google Maps style view of the Japanese archipelago. It scrolls north to a peninsula of Kamchatka in northern Russia.

"I just recieved word of a ghost wandering around Siberia."

She pulls up a map. "One of my contacts with the Japan Intelligence Service sent me this picture no more than two days ago."

She brings the picture up and the face was familiar, very much so, to Naomi.

"Kamiko? I thought she was..."

"So did I."

She zoomed in on the picture, and the bespectacled Nova was still wearing her glasses although she had a medical bandage over her left eye and major scarring on her face there.

"We had sent her to Fukushima to investigate a incursion on the Fukushimi DaiIchi power plant. Seems that our friends, particularly the Russian doing the hard lifting, was looking to snag some plutonium or possibly even uranium from the site. This was several months ago, in April. We were still getting security in place and it was still difficult getting manpower there due to the radiation still in the area."

Nakamura clears her throat. "We lost contact with Kamiko soon after she arrived there. When we sent Naomi, who is immune to the levels of radiation there as Kamiko is, there was nothing but evidence of a firefight and blood on the walls and some scattered paper and more embedded in the walls."

Naomi nodded. "I had to keep that information under my hat, Ryu... National Security and all that."

Nakamura held her hand up. "That's alright, Naomi... What needs to be said here, is that Kamiko is there. A decent sized port town on that peninsula. The Russian Government has given me the go ahead to send an agent or agents to the scene to investigate further. Since the Russians want our scar-faced friend and they want her backer just as badly, they will send whatever resources they can muster as well for this."

"I... unfortunately... have to send Naomi there as well. There is a Russian Naval Base there where she can stay for it's security and she can work with you and her Russian counterpart in getting any intel on Kamiko's whereabouts."

Nakamura taps her pen on the table. "There is one disturbing fact here..."

When she zooms out, it looks like Kamiko is wearing what looks like a school uniform. A common russian design. "I know Kamiko is not that old, but her wearing that is definitely out of character. Also, her ability to speak Russian fluently, as well as other languages is notable."

"Finally, Kamiko herself has been an asset to Japanese Intelligence since her eruption. She's one of our best and a patriot. Now... I have my doubts. Then again, "Mother" as they have been calling her has many resources of her own."

She adjusts herself in her seat. "I will make no illusions here, Naomi and yourself will be in danger possibly. We're going to be poking dragons."

"Our intel and with help from the American DSA puts the origin of the captured carrier that was made from a converted cargo ship originated from this port as a cargo ship before heading to a unknown point for the refit that made it a carrier. If you can... also get intel on where and who did the conversion. We may once we find Kamiko have a thread that will lead to the spider at the center of this web."

"Can I at least get your help, Captain Hideyoshi?"

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"The Hell you do."

The words came out backed with the deep bass rumble of a tiger's roar. "You get my help, on the condition that Naomi stays right here. I do NOT need to be worrying about her safety and the mission."

He looked at her. "No slight intended but this is going to be combat heavy, it's the russians, they only do things two ways. I would rather you remain here, where you and possibly Naoko can serve as Mission control."

He scowled. "I'm not mad regarding national secrecy, but putting Naomi and our five children at risk is foolish in the extreme. Sending her abroad, that is the Height of folly Director."

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Nakamura nodded. "Actually... that is just what I expected Ryu."

Naomi blinked. "What are you getting at?"

"I needed to know what Ryu's limits were and they were mine honestly. Very well. I will have a dedicated and encrypted sattelite uplink with you that you can access at any time. Naomi will stay here at Headquarters in the meantime to help coordinate our efforts with the Japanese and Russian governments. I will delay my appointment to my new position until this mission is complete."

Nakamura gets up and extends her hand to Ryu. "That's why I requested you be considered first for Director, Ryu. You don't put lives on the line just for national security. You think of other options that are just as viable. Naomi will need that for a bit. That guidance."

"You have my word Naomi will be safe while you are away. If anything happens, that is on my head."

Naomi scratches her head. "So... My Husband is going to be my superior as well?"

Nakamura blinked. "Wa... What? You're... Engaged?"

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He smiled. "Yes." just before your message interrupted." He chuckled. "It will be a small service, before the children are born, for the legal ramifications." He smiled.

"I trust Naomi has an important role for you to play."

The understanding of where he drew the line was important to him, and he'd felt it was a test. "It is somewhat selfish but I do not wish to risk my wife or our children's safety when there's no need for it."

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"Perfectly alright."

"Just to let you know when you arrive, you are going to have a target painted on you by The Russian and her cadre. She may just jump you on arrival or this could all be an elaborate trap you have to enter. Or all that will be there is Kamiko. Or no one. That picture was two days old. Old intel stinks to high heaven and I don't like it."

She sighs. "It would be best that you arrive there and immediately meet with our Russian contacts and start coordinating with them and in turn have them contact us back here."

"I would hope this resolves peacefully, but I am afraid there will be a lot of blood on the docks."

"This will get us one step closer to Mother, and it looks like The Russian is either her pawn, or her knight."

"I wager you have a method of getting there?"

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"I do, Flying commercial. Nothing to tip their hands." He smiled "I have a good number of things I can surprise them with still. I'll get Kamiko out, or at least find out what happened to her, Count on that."

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"Okay, I know of a seaplane operator out of Hokkaido that can help with that, Ryu. There's no airport for hundreds of Kilometers so she'll be of help. Old friend of the family."

She stands up and looks at the picture on screen. "Before you leave talk with Nishimura-sensei and get the gear you'll need. With you all you'll need is the comlink probably I wager."

Naomi gets up and hugs Ryu. "Just come back alright... and perhaps with Kamiko as well."

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"With your Shield or On it, Gotcha." He nodded and kissed her lightly before setting off to get the satlink. She had it ready and sitting out for him. "Don't break this one. It's not easy to make one to fit that feline head of yours."

He nodded. "Be ready in case of medical need. There's no telling what I'm going to find."

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