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> A Waterfall of Cherry Blossoms, Oda Hidetaka in Fallout New Vegas
SubRosa
post Oct 15 2017, 11:06 PM
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From: Between The Worlds



Hi All. Been a while since I did any game writing. It has been nice to get back in practice. This next tale is not something I have planned out in advance, or have a large, overall plot planned out for. I don't know how often I might post new parts, or how many there might be.

For those not familiar with the name Oda Hidetaka is a character originally from Fallout 3. She is a samurai from 16th century Japan who was kidnapped by aliens, experimented upon when not in cryo freeze, and eventually escaped during the events of Fallout 3's Mothership Zeta addon. She is Japanese, a Samurai, and a Zen Buddhist. So there will be a lot of Japanese terms in italics. I could have tried not to use them, but I believe that doing so would strip the story of it flavor, and Hidetaka of her uniqueness. I have tried to write so most of these terms are self-explanatory. If not, Google is your friend.

For those not familiar with Fallout New Vegas, it begins with your character being held prisoner and shot in the head by a mysterious man in a checkered suit. Hidetaka's story picks up shortly afterward. I know people who have never played the game will probably feel lost at some things. But I will try to fill in most of the blanks as it goes along if I can make it come about naturally. I don't like big chunks of forced exposition to explain things.


A Ronin In Goodsprings, Part 1

Hidetaka's head felt like an army of monks were clanging a massive bonshō bell between her ears. With every footstep the bell swung to crash against one side of her skull. Then with the next step it slammed back into the other. The sun blazed overhead. Even though she only wore her wide-legged hakama trousers and shitagi shirt, the Nevada heat baked into her flesh.

The body is not a prison of flesh, Hidetaka told herself. It is nothing but a tool that she wore to perform the work of living. That tool labored in the hand of her spirit. The spirit does not feel pain. Neither does a tool. Therefore pain did not exist.

But the bonshō still boomed within her head. Clearly, Hidetaka had much more meditation to do before she became a true master of Zen.

She pushed open the door to the Prospector Saloon and stepped within. Hidden from Amaterasu's fiery gaze, the interior was cool and dim. Well, at least it was less hot, and less bright. For the sun's light still spilled in through the windows that lined the walls to her right, like golden yari stabbing the wooden floor into submission.

Hidetaka found herself standing in some sort of gaming room. A large table took up much of the space. Covered with green felt, most of its surface was sunken down, and contained numerous large balls and two long, wooden sticks. If she remembered correctly, the gaijin called it a 'pool'. But she thought a pool was supposed to be filled with water. The English language made even less sense than those who spoke it...

"I'm done being nice." A low voice growled to her left.

Hidetaka followed the naked threat into a second room. The wall to her left was cut by more windows and lined with booths. To the right a long wooden bar ran to the back of the space, with an opening between them to a hallway beyond.

"If you don't hand Ringo over soon, I'm going to get my friends and we're burning this town to the ground, got it?"

Hidetaka now saw that the author of the voice was a brown-skinned man wearing blue clothing under a thick, black armored vest. She recognized it as the armor a doshin - what these Nanban would call a 'law man' - from before the Great War. Experience had taught her that it would stop both her swords and gunfire. Experience had also taught her that in this age, many who wore such armor represented neither the law nor any legitimate authority. The irony did not escape Hidetaka.

Her gaze traveled to his bare, exposed neck. That would part easily enough under Takizakura's edge.

"We'll keep that in mind," a pink-skinned woman replied. She stood before him with her arms crossed defiantly. Unlike the armored man, she wore a simple floral dress under a dirty white apron, and a threadbare green top. Yet she did not seem to be at all intimidated by him, or the revolver at his hip. "Now, if you're not going to buy something, get out."

The armored man stabbed a finger toward the woman, but his words died in his throat as the wooden floorboards creaked under Hidetaka's feet. He turned to look at her, and Hidetaka realized that her hand was already gripped around her katana's cloth-wrapped grip. She had not thought about doing so. It had happened as naturally as breathing.

He took a step toward her. As the distance between them closed, Hidetaka's hand shifted to an underhanded grip. Again, she did not think of what she was doing, she simply acted.

The armored man's hand rested on the butt of his revolver. But he did not draw it forth. Not yet.

Hidetaka did not draw Takizakura either. Not yet.

"What do you want?" brown-skin barked.

"To find enlightenment," Hidetaka replied evenly, "by following the Noble Eightfold Path laid out by our Lord Buddha. Failing that, I will settle for turning your throat into a waterfall of cherry blossoms."

The gunman blinked, and Hidetaka wondered if she had spoken correctly. This was all so much easier in a real language, like Japanese. She expected that the sword in her hand and ice in her eyes spoke plainly however. For the armored man shook his head, and took his hand from his weapon.

"I don't have time for this," he grumbled. Hidetaka did not take her eyes from him as he passed her on the way out the door. Only when he was gone did she relax, and remove her hand from Takizakura's hilt. She still watched the door however, in case the gunman returned.

"You must be that stranger Doc Mitchell patched up." Hidetaka turned to face the pink-skinned woman. She walked around behind the bar, and reached for a glass. Hidetaka noticed that a different glass held a handgun pointed barrel down. "My name is Trudy, welcome to Goodsprings."

Hidetaka took a stool at the bar, and suddenly noticed that the bonshō bell was once again pounding on the sides of her skull. She had completely forgotten about it during the confrontation. She had forgotten about everything, the pain, the heat, the hunger that now gnawed at her belly, even her sense of self.

The voice of Takuan, her childhood teacher rose in her memory. "All is emptiness: your own self, the flashing sword, and the arms that wield it. Even the thought of emptiness is no longer there. From this absolute emptiness comes the most wondrous unfoldment of doing."

Perhaps she was closer to enlightenment that she had realized?

"I am Oda Hidetaka," she said, "daughter of Oda Nobuhida and Tsuchida Gozen."

"Well Oda, that sounds... impressive," Trudy said with only one raised eyebrow. Hidetaka realized that the declaration meant nothing to a nanban barbarian of course. But it was the truth. She was a daimyo's daughter, even if her clan no longer existed. Even if her country no longer existed. "First drink's on the house. What will you have?"

"Water," the samurai said. Trudy put down the brown bottle she had been reaching for, and instead picked up a plastic jug and twisted off the top. She poured clear liquid from it into a clean glass and slid it across the counter top. "And it is Hidetaka. Oda is my family name."

"You put your last name first?" Trudy said "Beggin' your pardon, but sounds kind of backwards to me."

"Where I come from family always comes first," Hidetaka mused before taking a sip of the cool drink. "That is indeed backwards from what I have seen of this land. Still, which is better or worse, I do not know. Perhaps I am backwards as well. Perhaps I always was."

"The Doc said you were shot in the head," Trudy remarked. The dark-haired woman nodded to a simply dressed man who walked in and took a seat at the far end of the bar. She moved over to him, exchanged a few low words, and poured him a drink. Then she returned. "How are you feeling?"

Hidetaka was tempted to tell her that feeling was a lie of the flesh. That pain and discomfort were merely concepts, and that once even those concepts were rejected, they had no existence. But she imagined that the bartender would think her even crazier that she already must.

"It was a minor wound," the samurai said instead. "The bullet merely ricocheted off the bone and skimmed around to the other side of my skull before exiting the scalp."

"You must have a hard head," Trudy said.

"My parents have said so many times," Hidetaka breathed.

"Well you're alright Hidie!" Trudy slapped the bar with a laugh. "It says a lot about a person when they can laugh at themself. Just like it does when they can't."

Hidetaka glanced at the door the armored man had left through, understanding who she meant.

"Who was that man?" she asked.

"Joe Cobb," Trudy frowned. "He's a piece of trouble our little town doesn't need any part of."

"Then I will kill him for you." Hidetaka said earnestly. The town had been kind to her. They had saved her from a bullet in the head and a shallow grave. The debt of honor was clear, and must be repaid.

"You mean just murder him?" Trudy's eyes went wide. "He can bluster and threaten all he wants. That's not how we do things in Goodsprings."

"What is it he wants?" Hidetaka asked. Her fingers slid idly along the diamond-pattern of bronze-colored cloth that wrapped Takizakura's grip. "Perhaps he can be persuaded to leave Goodsprings alone?"

"He's after someone we gave shelter to," Trudy explained. "A caravaner named Ringo that came into town last week. He said he was the survivor of an attack, and bad men were after him. We gave him a place to lie low. We never thought anyone would actually come after him."

"So Cobb is one of these... bad men?" Hidetaka had never heard such a phrase before. But the meaning was clear enough. "I have met many bad men in my life. Steel is the only language they understand."

"Let's just hope it doesn't come to that," Trudy sighed. But from the look in her eyes, Hidetaka knew that the bartender already understood that was exactly what it would come to.



P.S. Takuan was a real Zen Master whom I appropriated, even though he lived after Hidetaka, and his quote is from here. For that matter, Oda Hidetaka was a real person whose name I used as well.

This post has been edited by SubRosa: Jun 29 2019, 02:21 AM


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haute ecole rider
post Oct 16 2017, 01:55 AM
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From: The place where the Witchhorses play



Hmmm, in looking at your linky to Oda Hidetaka, I notice he had two sisters, both of which did not have the clan name - interesting . . .

No, I don't play Fallout, nor am I interested in picking it up anytime sooner. But this is a Sage Rose story, so of course I had to read it. Looks interesting thus far, and I quite like (and appreciate) your intention of letting the Fallout world & lore unfold to us as you relate Hidetaka's story. I do look forward to more.


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TheCheshireKhajiit
post Oct 16 2017, 02:53 AM
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Can't wait for this to get all Seven Samurai meets The Magnificent Seven!*

*Yes, Khajiit is aware that The Magnificent Seven is a Western remake of Seven Samurai.


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haute ecole rider
post Oct 16 2017, 01:58 PM
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Ah, but Sage Rose already did her adaptation of the Seven Samurai/Magnificent Seven.

This feels more like Yojimbo/Fistful of Dollars to me . . .


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Renee
post Oct 16 2017, 03:26 PM
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smile.gif smile.gif smile.gif So glad you decided to do this, even if it's infrequent.

Lovely, especially the part when she hears her master's voice in memory. I think it's good you included all the Japanese words too. Adds flavor and mystery. See, I had no idea that the "last name" comes first.

And it sounds like Hidetaka's ready to take on whatever needs taking on in Goodsprings. Woe to those who cross paths.

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TheCheshireKhajiit
post Oct 16 2017, 03:40 PM
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QUOTE(haute ecole rider @ Oct 16 2017, 07:58 AM) *

Ah, but Sage Rose already did her adaptation of the Seven Samurai/Magnificent Seven.

This feels more like Yojimbo/Fistful of Dollars to me . . .

No, Hidetaka is helping out the town against bandits (powder gangers) just like in 7Sam/Mag7. The only difference is there aren't 6 other people with her, lol. You unfortunately can't play both sides against each other like in Yojimbo/Fistful of Dollars, though you can join the Powder Gangers, making for an interesting twist for very bad guys.


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Acadian
post Oct 19 2017, 10:29 PM
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WOOT! IPB Image

Forgive my tardiness, for I was off on a pilgrimage to visit Acadian Sr and only recently returned to find a most welcome new SubRosa fiction!

Fallout, New Vegas, eh? Like Rider, I’m unlikely to ever venture out of medieval fantasyland but your talent as a writer is too good to pass up regardless of the venue. So, also like Rider, I appreciate you clearly writing in such a manner that allows non-Fallouters to follow along and savor the story.

Heh, I identify with Trudie. I was calling our protagonist Oda as well. Now that I know Hidetaka serves as her first name, I instantly conjured the nickname Hidie just as Trudy did.

Ahah, I see the meaning of 'Waterfall of Cherry Blossoms' now and love the incongruously deadly and beautiful image it now conveys.

Hidetaka completely and convincingly lives within her zen role. Her internal dialogue proclaims this with almost her every thought. And a very cool character with an intriguing backstory she is. Well done!

As much as I admire – to the point of trying to emulate – your tendency to completely draft a story before beginning to post, I suspect it will be fun to see you ‘write as you go’ as you seem to have in mind for this one.

Welcome back to the Arena, my friend! happy.gif

This post has been edited by Acadian: Oct 21 2017, 02:32 AM


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Lopov
post Oct 21 2017, 09:50 AM
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Awesome. goodjob.gif

I didn't know about Oda being her family name either so I referred to her as Oda in the beginning, then I noticed you keep calling her Hidetaka so I... adapted. wink.gif

I like all the Japanese words, it sounds more authentic that way.

The description of pool in the Mojave and in Hidetaka's mind is my favorite scene from the first story.

Cobb's neck is about to be slit, but not just yet.


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