Part the First—
“I am not afraid anymore / Standing in the eye of the Storm / Ready to face this, Dying to taste this, Sick sweet warmth”
—“Not Afraid Anymore,” Halsey
She was sitting by the side of the road, her long dark hair pulled behind her ears, her Aryan blue eyes shining out as she looked at him. Chief Inspector Takeshi Kido took her in, how she sat with poise despite the fact that she was on the edge of the Neutral Zone, having been held up by immigration officials, and the familiar lust overtook him.
At first it was a simple matter. She did not have the proper papers to leave the Japanese Pacific States. He wondered why she wouldn’t tell him of her expedition, not even with a telephone call. It would have been put through. His secretary knew that when Miss Crain called, which had only been five times in the past two years of their affair, that he should put her through immediately.
Unfortunately, she had now become something of more—someone of interest to the kempeitai.
On a routine sweep, someone had brought it to Chief Inspector Kido’s attention that a Frank Frink was a Semite. Chief Inspector Kido did not care for such racial distinctions among the white man. However, as allies of the Greater Nazi Reich, the Japanese Empire fell in line with their racial beliefs. While they did not exterminate the negroes or the Jews, they encouraged them to leave for the Neutral Zone and tortured them when they simply wouldn’t keep their heads down.
Well, they made an example of Frank Frink.
It might have been an extra motivation that her family believed that he would one day be Juliana’s husband. Chief Inspector Takeshi Kido was not a jealous man, but he was a possessive one. Of course, Chief Inspector Takeshi Kido understood her need to have a boyfriend if not a husband so that her family would not ask questions. From what she told him they were currently trying to “set her up” with someone suitable. That, however, did not mean he had to be pleased about it.
And didn’t Frank Frink just have the most interesting information?
Trudy Walker, a known member of the Resistance, had been carrying one of the famed films before she was shot in the street. She had passed it to her half-sister Juliana Crain, who had disappeared to the Neutral Zone. Now, it would appear, everyone wanted Juliana Crain—or rather the film she had in her possession.
It was Chief Inspector Takeshi Kido who had her—and he intended to use her for information before taking her back to his bed.
There was a small office that he was given. There was no Fung Shui or elegance to it, just a serviceable table, two chairs, and a recording device that a subordinate brought to him.
Juliana Crain was brought before him in her suit, so Western, a thick material, utterly suitable for a trip into Colorado, Chief Inspector Takeshi Kido thought. She was obviously a sensible girl, at least on the surface, given her ill-advised trip. Prettier than most of the colonized. Yes, he mentally agreed with himself, certainly prettier. He had always thought so since she had first caught his attention on the streets of San Francisco. Juliana Crain had a certain charm to the way her eyes shone out of her face that his wife’s eyes did not possess.
He mentally shook himself. Such thoughts were beneath him when he must interrogate Juliana, the girl he called Misaki-chan when he was making love to her.
Flipping on the recording machine, his eyes flicked to the film cannister between them.
Her eyes followed his and he noticed that she convulsively swallowed. At least she realized he was interviewing her in an official capacity and that this was potentially serious.
“Let us begin with the basics,” he suggested in his crisp, Japanese accented English. “What is your name?”
“Juliana Crain,” she stated firmly.
“How did you come into possession of this film cannister?”
“Trudy,” she whispered, glancing down again. She cleared her throat and looked at him directly, holding his gaze. “My sister Trudy gave it to me before she was shot. I—I was afraid of being shot myself.”
He made a note in her file. “Why did you not hand it into the authorities?” To me?
“I thought you would shoot me,” she elaborated. “No, I thought I would take it to the Neutral Zone and—get rid of it. It wasn’t safe here in the Pacific States. I wasn’t safe here.” There had been the bombing in the tea shop and then she had had to be moved from the apartment he kept for her to the military protected facility because the Resistance hated ‘race traitors,’ as they called them. Juliana hadn’t been safe since the first time she had smiled at him in the herbal tea shop. “If it could get Trudy shot just for having it—what about me?” Juliana moved her hands restlessly in her lap and he noticed that she seemed like a bird trapped in a cage, flapping its wings, trying to get out yet knowing that it would never get through the bars closing around it. “Not everyone knows who I am, recognizes me, Chief Inspector.”
He ignored her last statement. “You are aware,” he stated carefully, “that you are being watched.”
Her eyes flicked up and he looked at her dispassionately.
“There has been chatter on the wires from the Resistance,” he stated carefully, his Japanese eyes looking out through his spectacles. “You are not safe with your parents’ association with a Mr. Frank Frink. His sister and her children were exterminated for being Jews and from what I understand—he blames you although he and then, by extension, they were targeted through a sweep that was initially random.”
“Laura,” she gasped, “and the kids are dead?”
“That is not the point, Miss Crain,” he replied harshly, though his voice was modulated to seem calm and cool. “The kempeitai appreciates that you surrendered the film as soon as we requested it, although we wish you had been more—forthcoming.”
She bowed her head in submission.
“Have you watched it?”
“No, Chief Inspector,” she answered quietly. “I would never presume—”
Odd, he thought. The traitor Frank Frink claimed that she had, but he had never described it himself. He might have been embellishing his story to gain favor, perhaps, when he finally broke and admitted where Juliana had gone—although, at that point, they had already had her in custody.
Then again, as his mistress, Juliana was very well aware that she should never watch that film, let alone be in possession of it.
Chief Inspector Takeshi Kido took her in for a long moment, marveling at her hair that was neither auburn nor brown—a color as rare among the white man as the Japanese—her startling blue eyes—her strong jaw—Although he was not a passionate man or one taken to lust, Juliana Crain had always raised such emotions in him. Not even his perfect Japanese wife could and she was the epitome of Japanese grace. While high officials, such as himself, often had mistresses or ‘nieces’, as they were called, they were almost exclusively Japanese, and they caused comment if they were of the white man. She had caused comment in certain circles although they had been very discreet.
He tilted his head, imagining the line of her neck bared to his lips. No, he was not a passionate man, but he could appreciate Juliana Crain.
Nor was he sentimental. Still, he would hate to leave her to the hands of the Resistance.
“Although it is rare,” he admitted, “I would offer you relocation. I fear that the Resistance would still find you. They have found you before and now they want you for this film. We are of the opinion that they believe you stole it, killed Trudy Walker, and perhaps meant to give it to the kempeitai given your association with certain individuals.—Are you attached to the Pacific States, Miss Crain?”
It was an interesting question. She was clearly fond of him, choosing to stroke his face and kiss him when she was not required to. However, that did not mean that she did not do it for the well appointed apartment he gave her or the clothes and cosmetics she could afford at his pleasure.
She looked at him, entirely startled. “Chief Inspector?”
“Applying for a visa or asylum is too obvious,” he told her, not looking at her. “They’ll still find you. The Resistance has ways of finding out information. I must ask you to be completely candid with me. If I send you to the American Reich, will you seek to be a productive member of their society or will you be subversive?”
She looked down at her lap and took several deep breaths. “I don’t understand you.” When he made to explain it to her again, she continued, “I understand, I just don’t comprehend your reasoning.” Looking to her side, she asked quietly, “Why?”
“There are death threats on the wire,” he finally admitted. “It is believed you killed your sister for the film and not—the authorities—as I’ve explained. I do not take these threats lightly, Miss Crain.” His eyes begged her to understand the severity of what was happening.
Juliana Crain sucked in a breath and then her bluer than blue eyes sought his out. “I see,” she admitted.
Chief Inspector Takeshi Kido desperately wanted her alive. As much as it pained him to admit sentiment, he would rather a world where she was alive although in the care of another empire and the arms of another man, than one where she might be murdered on the streets of San Francisco.
“If we do this, Miss Juliana Crain must be completely gone. I cannot say how long you will be hidden before I arrange for you to be found. You will never speak to your mother again. You will never see Mr. Frink, not that I believe you have that particular desire. You will leave this place with me in a matter of days and we will enter the Neutral Zone. Using my diplomatic visa we will infiltrate the American Reich where I will then arrange matters.”
She looked at him for a long moment. “And it will all be over? It will—all—be gone?”
He understood what he was asking her and he took off his spectacles for a moment so she could see his eyes unobstructed. “If you wish for a final goodbye among those here, then you will be given one.”
Juliana Crain nodded and then took in a deep breath. “Who will find me?”
“I will arrange for Obergruppenfuhrer John Smith in New York City or one of his highest ranking men, Miss Crain. A letter will be left with you if I cannot give Obergruppenfuhrer Smith the details myself. I intend to meet with him personally.”
She nodded nervously. “Thank you, Chief Inspector. As always, I put my life in your hands.”
It was done then. He put back on his spectacles and turned off the recording machine. Coming around the table he looked down at her and she rose to stand beside him. She reached up on her toes to whisper in his ear, “If I could have gotten to you, I would have, Takeshi-san.” Then she kissed him slow and sweet. He pressed his hands on her upper arms, holding her there as he reveled in the kiss, one of their last, before pulling away and walking out the door. He had to arrange to give her away to the American Reich.
He wasn’t a simpleton. He knew what would happen.
She was beautiful, she was young. Although she was in the accident, she was still capable of bearing children. Juliana had been fortunate with Frank, ensuring she wouldn’t carry a Jewish child, but there had been one occasion when she had to visit a doctor to end a pregnancy, killing his child. A bombing had forced a miscarriage several months earlier. He still prayed for their souls, but it was necessary for him to keep his position as Chief Inspector and for the honor of his family.
Her eyes were Aryan.
They would find her a husband. It was a certainty.
Now there were only the arrangements to be made.
His visit with Obergruppenfuhrer John Smith was unscheduled. Chief Inspector Takeshi Kido had settled Juliana Crain in an apartment in Manhattan that was owned by the Japanese Government. She only had Japanese style dresses made of the finest silks, enough food in the kitchen to last two weeks, and she had her new personal history memorized. The door was locked from the outside. No one from the embassy would disturb it while he had signed out the use of it and the American Reich would not disturb it unless they suspected a crime—and he was going to ensure that they did if necessary.
“I would prefer to speak off the record,” he told Smith as soon as he entered to the office. “This is a matter of great delicacy.”
Obergruppenfuhrer Smith was a handsome man with black hair, firm cheekbones, and blue eyes. He was not exactly the Aryan ideal but he was projected strength in a way that the Japanese were not, and Chief Inspector Takeshi Kido hoped that this man stayed away from Juliana Crain. In his heart of hearts, he hoped that all men stayed away from Juliana.
“There is a situation,” he explained, handing over a file. “This young woman has been targeted by the Resistance and we cannot guarantee her safety. She is no longer safe among her family and friends because of their own ties to the Resistance (it was initially her sister who put her at risk), and because of her own association with the Japanese Government in San Francisco. She is considered among the white man there as a ‘race traitor.’”
Smith looked over the papers carefully. “What happened to the film?”
“It is in possession of the kempeitai,” he responded.
“Of course,” he murmured, a little distracted, turning back to the first page, which listed her basic health information. “She is in perfect health, two viable pregnancies despite an automobile accident.”
“Yes,” Chief Inspector Takeshi Kido agreed, beginning to weave his tale. “A Semite, who has been tortured since then and whose family has been euthanized to set an example, pushed her in front of a bus. It is believed he is a member of the Resistance. He exerts a great deal of control over this young woman’s family and has been hounding her since the accident. I believe, as I have been informed, he has romantic intentions despite his violence.”
“Semites are irrational creatures,” Obergruppenfuhrer Smith agreed. “She never succumbed?”
“Not of her own volition,” he stated with a slight nastiness to his voice, thinking of the actual situation. “I do not know the exact specifics.”
Obergruppenfuhrer Smith flipped through the pages and then went to the back page. “There is a specific request that she be allowed to marry and have a family. It is understood in the Reich that a woman’s place is to bear the next generation for the Reich. This request is erroneous.”
Chief Inspector Takeshi Kido’s lips thinned. “It is not always the case in the Pacific States.—This is a personal favor, Obergruppenfuhrer. Her friends in the government do not wish her blood on their hands. They want her to have everything the Reich can offer her.”
Looking at him shrewdly, Smith glanced at the file before flitting his eyes up again. “She’s had two viable pregnancies, but has had no husband and doesn’t seem to have any children defecting with her. Whose mistress is she?”
Of course, Chief Inspector Takeshi Kido had been prepared for this question. “He is trusting you with something precious. In times of war in Japan, and it is a place of conflict in the Pacific States, a mistress is more important than a wife. She holds an unparalleled place in Japanese Society while the conflict persists. You must realize that she has held a place of honor, which is commendable for one not born in Japan or even of Japanese parents.” He did not directly reference that she was white or that the Japanese were her overlords. It would not be tactful.
“A mistress more important than a wife?” Smith mused, finally turning and sitting behind his desk. He indicated a chair across from him and Chief Inspector Takeshi Kido sat down. “That is certainly a novelty. How do I know, if this woman marries well, that there will not be an international incident if she is on her Nazi husband’s arm and she comes face to face with her former lover?”
It was a reasonable question to ask. Where Japan was all about honor and restraint, that was not necessarily true of the white man.
“I give you my personal assurances,” Chief Inspector Takeshi Kido murmured, bowing his head.
Smith looked at him for a long moment and then recognition appeared in his eyes. “Of course, Chief Inspector. I don’t suppose the young lady has a name?”
“Not anymore. I told her she must leave it in the Pacific States. On occasion she has been called ‘Misaki.’—‘beautiful blossom.’”
“It would be strange for someone with Aryan eyes,” Smith murmured, looking back at the opening page of her file, “to have a Japanese name.”
“It is still her name at present,” he answered. “Perhaps if she is left with nothing of the life she has lived for the past twenty years, she will be left with that.”
“Have you thought of another name?” Obergruppenfuhrer Smith asked carefully.
Chief Inspector Takeshi Kido paused and then admitted, “Jordis. She is a master of several types of Japanese martial arts. It has given others great pleasure to watch her with the sword and I understand, from my research, that this name means ‘sword goddess.’”
Smith appeared pensive. “You have an address?”
“I thought you might have a raid,” he agreed, taking out a small notecard from his jacket. “Suspect some illegal activity. Human trafficking. It’s true, is it not, Obergruppenfuhrer?”
“I suppose it is,” he laughed, taking the paper and looking it over. “You have said your goodbyes?”
“Yes,” he agreed, not letting any hint of sadness enter his voice. He had held Juliana for the last time in his arms, kissing her eyelids as she slept before he left. “She will never hear from anyone in our government again.”
He stood to leave but Smith called him back. “I will take her into my household,” he promised. “I’ll manufacture a reason. My son will appreciate having someone other than just me and a housekeeper. It will be good for him to teach someone about the Greater Nazi Reich, and it will give her a position unparalleled in society, as she has been accustomed to.”
It was a peace offering. Chief Inspector Takeshi Kido understood it for what it was and he bowed low. “Thank you. I leave Misaki to your care.”
Juliana kept track of the days on a pad of paper on the desk. She had five silk dresses that came down past her knees, all in Asian silks, that were secured at her shoulders before clipping at her waist. They were simple in fashion though with intricate designs. She brushed her hair out every morning in the mirror, washing her face and putting on simple cosmetics that were provided. Takeshi had even remembered to provide six tubes of her favorite lipstick. She meticulously applied it every morning in case today was the day she would be rescued.
She had been accustomed to eating and drinking primarily Asian food because of Takeshi. She wanted her home to be welcoming to him so she had it fully stocked. She only ate American food at food carts in the street or at her mother’s house.
Frank despaired of her—not that she saw much of him anymore.
Then again, he despaired over so many things, such as her ability to get out of sex. Over the past three years, she had had sex two times, and only because he had forced himself on her. At first she was injured but then she had met Takeshi.
It had almost been a moment of fate, a chance meeting. She had given Takeshi the last of her mother’s favorite tea in a shop and, unbeknownst to her, he seemed to have followed her home (to where she lived with Frank) and personally delivered her the same herbal tea three days later (Frank had been out—sometimes she wondered if Takeshi planned it that way).
At the time, Juliana had thought that certainly he had more important matters to occupy his time, especially as he introduced himself as the Chief Inspector in San Francisco, but as she sat at their little table, drinking tea, she found herself smiling for the first time since the accident.
She had first kissed him in the rain in an alley, where no one could see them, and he had taken her to his apartment. She hadn’t left for four days, preferring to return to his home after her day working for the Trade Minister, where Chief Inspector Takeshi Kido would make passionate love to her again and again. Then they would settle into dinner, filled with kisses, and stories of what life was like before the war, and what it was like in Japan.
Now, it was different. The buildings were so clean from what she could tell. When she made love to Takeshi one last time here in New York, she had actually cried. She believed she didn’t love him, but she felt precious.
Juliana wondered if she would ever find that again.
Now, after three days of being alone, all she could do was think of how she would never see Takeshi again. All she had from him was a bracelet that she wore around her left wrist. It wasn’t a wedding ring, but it was a promise of fidelity between them. Her family thought it odd. Frank had called her a traitor when she first started wearing it, but she didn’t care. Takeshi had given it to her as a sign of his devotion, and she had sworn never to take it off—but here, in the Greater Nazi Reich, she just might have to break her promise.
She didn’t even hear the first hit to the door as she looked out the window down to the street below, her cup of strange black tea in her hand. Then she heard the second shudder and she looked over at the door. A third forceful kick and the door flew into the room and she dropped the teacup in shock.
It took a moment for the dust to settle and then a tall man in a black uniform, a black leather trench coat, and a black military hat walked through the door. His blue eyes looked at her and he smiled. “Misaki,” he greeted. “I understand that you are contraband from the Pacific States.”
Not knowing what to do, she bowed low. “I—Only one person has ever called me that.”
“It was the name I was given,” he answered in his voice which had a rather attractive rasp to it. “Do you prefer another? Jordis was suggested.”
Jordis. Yordis with a German ‘J.’ She rather disliked it. What was Takeshi thinking other than giving her a German name? The name of her cat Alexa would have been better! He had given Alexa to her on her twenty-third birthday.
“No,” she answered firmly. “Misaki is much more familiar. I’m fluent in Japanese and don’t know a word in German, I’m afraid.”
“We’ll just have to change that,” the officer promised. “I’m sorry it took us so long. I wanted to process you without having any fear of you being sent back. You’ll still need to go see Dr. Adler for a full check up in the next few days, but you’re coming home to me and my son, Thomas. He’s looking forward to meeting you.”
She nodded and then walked over to the closet, taking a suitcase out of it and coming back to set it on the bed. “How old is Thomas?” she asked, looking at him. “And who are you, Officer?”
“Obergruppenfuhrer John Smith,” he answered. “John, please. I promised Chief Inspector Kido that you would be under my personal protection.”
“Thank you,” she murmured as she folded a pink dress. “I—Thank you. I imagine this place will be strange to me.”
She was packed in a matter of minutes, gently putting the six tubes of lipstick on the top of her dresses, and then John ordered some Corporal to take the case for her before helping her into a coat. Slipping her feet into her shoes, she sighed and stepped out of the room. She looked behind her, at the bed where she had last made love to Takeshi, and then moved out into the hallway.
Juliana Crain was dead, and now she was Misaki—strange as that name was, a name whispered in passion, in sweet affection.
Wondering if she would ever find that again, she let herself be led to a car with small Nazi flags on it to show it was an official government car and, a moment later, John slid in next to her.
“May I ask about your wife?” she murmured after the car had started.
“Helen?” he replied. “She died, bringing our daughter Amy into the world. That was a good ten years ago now.”
“I’m sorry for your loss,” she responded. “How old was Thomas?”
“About five,” he responded. “As I said, I think it will be good to have you around, someone to teach, a woman although you are quite young. At least he won’t think I’m planning on replacing his mother,” John laughed.
“No,” Juliana responded, laughing herself. “I imagine that would have been an awkward conversation.”
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