Part the Eleventh—
“So put your rose colored glasses on / And party on”
—“Chained to the Rhythm,” Katy Perry
Obergruppenfuhrer John Smith was dressed meticulously in his Nazi uniform. He made sure, ever since the end of his engagement to Alexa—whoever she really was—that he projected an image of strength, precision, and vitality. Whenever anyone inquired about Alexa, he stated that she had been called to the Fatherland because of her extensive knowledge of the Pacific States. He had instructed Thomas to say the same thing.
When he arrived he was surprised, after Erich had saluted him, when his aide de camp followed him into his office and began to read off his itinerary to him.
“There is one addition,” Erich informed him. “You have two agents from the Imperial Embassy. They wish to speak to you on a matter of National Security.”
“Whose national security?” John asked as he set his files down on his desk and then put his briefcase aside. “Theirs or ours?”
“The aide I spoke to was particularly vague,” Erich apologized. “The Agents hoped to speak to you first thing this morning. They are waiting for you in a private room. I’m afraid that one will—” He paused, looking for words. “Cause comment. She already has, although there were few people here.”
John stilled. “Who is it?”
“I did not catch her name,” Erich apologized, “however she bears a striking resemblance to Miss Smith. In fact, I would state resolutely that they are the same person.”
Swearing under his breath, John looked up. “Escort Madam Kido and her companion in, Erich.”
Erich was clearly surprised by the name. He, undoubtedly, thought that Alexa was in the Fatherland—and John had just confirmed that not only was she most likely the woman waiting in the private room but she now possessed the name of a filthy yellow Jap.
John didn’t have long to wait.
Alexa was as beautiful as always. He was surprised to see her wide trousers, the black fabric flowing smoothly around her legs, an oriental style shirt wrapped around her torso, coming long past her waist and tied securely by a yellow sash to the side. It was certainly the most peculiar fashion. Her hair was left down, though it was brushed over one shoulder, falling down and catching the light to bring out the red. Her lips were that strange red, as always.
The man was unimportant.
“Agents Hayato and Misaki,” Erich introduced as Alexa and the Japanese man who was wearing a pressed suit bowed.
John saluted them, his arm outstretched.
Immediately, everyone sat down around the couches and silence filled the room after Erich left. John split his attention between his two guests, noticing how different they were. A Japanese agent aping the Aryan and an Aryan woman imitating the Japanese. It was almost comical.
Finally, it was Alexa who spoke. “How are you, John? I hope Thomas is well?”
“Quite well, Alexa,” he replied, his blue eyes catching hers. “He still asks about you although we’ve been telling everyone you’re in the Fatherland.”
“I understand,” she murmured. “Do call me ‘Misaki.’ I would be much obliged.”
“Is that the name on your papers?” he asked glibly.
She raised an eyebrow but didn’t respond.
It was Agent Hayato who spoke next. “We recovered a film—made by the Man in the High Castle. We understand that you were attempting to acquire it. It features Agent Misaki.”
John sat back and regarded them. “How did you recover such a film?”
“I’m afraid,” Alexa stated carefully, “that Joe was mistaken for a subversive, for which you have our apologies. Our sources in the Neutral Zone reported him and he was apprehended—”
“On the soil of the American Reich,” John guessed. “He is a citizen of this nation and an agent of the Greater Nazi Reich. I will be filing a formal complaint with your ambassador.”
The man nodded his head. “Such is your prerogative. However, we admit to no such wrong doing, only having Joe Blake in our possession. He has not been harmed. We are, of course, ready to release him to you, Obergruppenfuhrer Smith. We just wish to know how you wish for this to take place. Agent Misaki suggested that he is perhaps ‘undercover’ and that this should be maintained.”
“That is gracious,” John stated, clearly peeved though not showing it. “Take him in a nondescript car and drop him in an alley somewhere in Brooklyn. I would appreciate the return of the film.”
“It was clearly damaged,” Alexa told him immediately, “by the time it came into our possession. It seems that before it came into Joe’s hands, it was subjected to light during its initial exposure. The film is completely worthless.”
Looking down briefly, John then turned his gaze back to his guests. “I would still appreciate to view the film for myself.”
Alexa and the other agent exchanged a glance, as if they were making a decision.
“Very well,” the man stated. “We will deliver it within the next day. Expect our diplomatic pouch, Obergruppenfuhrer.”
The three regarded each other and then John stood, the two Japanese agents following suit. “If I may speak to Agent Misaki for a moment.”
“I do not think that is wise, John,” she responded smoothly. “Anything you wish to say to me can be said in front of my partner, Agent Hayato. He will keep my confidence if that is necessary.”
John nodded for a moment, slipping his hands in his pockets, affecting a casualness he did not necessarily feel. “Are you happy?”
“Very,” she responded. “I wish I were still in the Pacific States, of course, with my husband, but I appreciate the lack of assassination attempts. You must congratulate me.”
John looked at her, his brows furrowed. “Of course, Alexa. I never congratulated you on your marriage.” The words were like ash in his mouth, but he said them for the sake of diplomacy. He wanted to strangle the little yellow bastard by her side, but that would certainly create an international incident.
“No, John,” she responded. “Chief Inspector Kido and I are expecting a child. Isn’t that wonderful news?”
Her eyes held his, a challenge, then without even a bow, Alexa turned and left.
A question tilted in John’s mind. He wouldn’t even vocalize it. However, it was still there.
Of course, Juliana breathed out as soon as she left Nazi Headquarters. She rested her hand on her stomach. She was three months along and just beginning to show. Juliana was unable to wear her Japanese dresses anymore without giving it away to the discerning eye. She hoped that, when Takeshi visited, he would still find her beautiful.
An official request came from Nazi Headquarters. It seemed John Smith had changed his mind. It would be educational if someone from the Imperial Embassy spoke to not only Thomas’s class but to his school.
The junior ambassador received the request, it seemed, or at least he was chosen to relay it to Juliana.
“You are in delicate health,” he carefully broached after relaying the message. “We have not suspended you from duties yet as we have a capable doctor in the building, and we know Japanese women are strong—and you are now Japanese.” This was surely the greatest compliment the junior ambassador could have given her. “If you choose to accept this invitation, you will be asked embarrassing questions about your life in the Pacific States.”
She nodded. “I know. About my position as Chief Inspector Takeshi Kido’s niece, perhaps.” Her blue eyes shone would her face.
“Just so,” he replied. “It is part of our culture. It is a part of our culture we do not wish to become known to the white man.”
“Then,” she answered, “it was a courtship. He was dating me for the purpose of marriage. His wife died before we met. Does that meet your approval? I can still speak of how the Resistance targeted me because I was the woman of the white man who chose to associate with the Chief Inspector of the kempeitai. How all of us who were of significance to powerful government officials were in danger. I could make it sound like families were involved although I don’t think I met a single Japanese family who was associated with the military.”
“Indeed,” the junior ambassador agreed. “You understand our position well.”
Pausing for several long moments, Juliana then asked quietly, “What should I say about my supposed engagement to Obergruppenfuhrer Smith? I cannot insult him.”
“Pretend it wasn’t you,” he answered succinctly. “You have always been the woman of Chief Inspector Takeshi Kido. If the Obergruppenfuhrer could not respect that, then he deserves to be humiliated, and you are gracious not to do so.”
“When do I go?”
“Friday,” he told her. “Are you able to wear one of your dresses or is it not possible in your condition? I wish for you to be the epitome of the Japanese woman.”
Juliana blushed and looked down. She reached down and touched the bump in her stomach. “I can. It’s tight, but it’s possible.”
“I will send you with an aide, Agent Misaki. I expect you to represent the Japanese Empire with honor.”
She bowed to him. “Thank you, junior ambassador.”
Trudy was angry with her sister. She had talked about a ‘big romantic date’ and had asked for somewhere private where she could secret herself away so no one would notice her. Trudy had thought she meant that she didn’t want that Japanese guy to realize she was stepping out on him. So, of course, she thought of a speak easy where the Resistance occasionally met up. It would be the last place the kempeitai would expect her. She and—well, who would it be if it wasn’t Frank?—wouldn’t be disturbed there.
However, Alice had said Juliana had turned up with a Japanese gentleman in a suit and a hat.
At least, according to Alice, it didn’t seem to go well. The Jap seemed stern, which was usual for those yellow bastards, but Juliana had been agitated and a waiter said he even thought she might have been trying not to cry.
Of course, Trudy had called Juliana and said they should get together immediately, but Juliana had put her off. Work, she said.
Then her mom had said something over dinner about Juliana being unwell. “Had to go to a Japanese doctor.” The white man never went to Japanese doctors. They couldn’t afford it. Trudy was honestly surprised that this kempeitai fellow cared enough about her to bring her to one.
Now, three weeks later, the two sisters were finally meeting. Trudy was waiting in a diner when Juliana eventually came in. It was Saturday, which was Juliana’s day off, so of course she was dressed like a slanted eyed midget. Still, she was a bit too thin and pale. Her hair was even dull.
“What happened to you?” Trudy asked in shock when she took in the dark circles under Juliana’s eyes.
Juliana waved her off. “Just the flu,” she argued. “I’m over the worst of it.”
“This is more than the flu,” Trudy argued. “Did you catch some sort of Jap disease? They must have different ones than we do—” She moved to touch her sister’s cheek, but Juliana just waved her away.
“Really,” Juliana argued. “It’s nothing. I’ll be fine soon.”
Rebuffed, Trudy went back to her coffee. “Are we going to talk about your ‘big romantic date’ then? Which apparently wasn’t very romantic despite the fact that it was with that man?”
Throwing back her head, Juliana laughed. It was a tired, desperate laugh.
The waiter came through and set down a cup in front of Juliana and poured her a cup of coffee.
“That man,” Juliana stated cruelly, “helps pay for the food that you eat. You think it’s a coincidence that suddenly Mom can afford sugar and that you suddenly are given a new pair of white gloves when yours get a little too thin? Open up your eyes, Trudy. You can’t be that blind.” She took a sip of her coffee.
She stared at Juliana in shock. “You’re lying. Dad’s been picking up more shifts.”
“In the Nippon Building,” Juliana shot back. “I’ve seen him there.” Taking a deep breath, she centered herself and pushed her hair back. “Trudy, I love you. You’re my sister, but you’re just going to have to accept the fact that I’m with Takeshi-san. We’re a couple.”
“He’s Japanese!” Trudy practically shouted and the diner suddenly silenced and everyone turned to look at them.
Juliana sighed and set down her coffee. “I am very well aware of the fact he’s Japanese. However, you’ve had a year to get used to this situation, Trudy. I’m with the Chief Inspector.”
Trudy leaned forward and whispered dangerously, “He picks up Americans off the streets, interrogates them, tortures them, all in the name of the Japanese Empire! He has spies everywhere. He probably has one in this very diner.”
That didn’t seem to bother Juliana. “If he does, he’s listening to a very repetitive conversation considering how many times we’ve had it, Trudy. Me. Takeshi. Together. Get it?”
Grabbing her arm, Trudy hissed, “He picked up Frank again just last week.”
This, at least, seemed to catch Juliana’s attention. “Really? Well, I have no idea why. He doesn’t discuss work with me. I don’t expect him to.”
“Raped me,” Juliana hissed, and Trudy leaned back as if she were slapped. “The next day I threw myself in front of a bus and you and Mom just left me with that monster. I really couldn’t care less what happens to Frank. I hate the very sight of him. He makes me sick. Just listening to you talk about him makes me sick.”
“You don’t mean that,” Trudy insisted, grabbing Juliana’s arm, but her sister just wrenched away.
“Nice having this chat,” she admitted, taking out her wallet and enough money to cover both their coffees. “Have fun if this mysterious agent picks you up.” Juliana then swept out and, after looking both ways, crossed the street.
Trudy just watched her go. Clearly it hadn’t been a mistake when they had attempted to assassinate Chief Inspector Takeshi Kido with Juliana all those months ago in the tea shop. Perhaps another attempt was in order. It would take planning, but it was possible. Trudy had some people to talk to. Finishing her coffee, she got up and left, her eyes connecting with a man she knew was in the Resistance.
Juliana was waiting outside the principal’s office, sitting with her hands in her lap. She was dressed in her loosest Japanese dress in the Western style, a pale pink, her hair done elaborately on her head, a traditional robe of black velvet draped over her lap.
A man came out of an office, portly, and she stood.
He looked around and then turned to his secretary and whispered for several long moments. Then he turned and glanced at Juliana before turning back to the secretary.
“Forgive me—you were sent by the Imperial Embassy?” he asked as he looked at Juliana, taking her in. “You’re—Forgive me. You appear to be Aryan.”
“I am Aryan,” she responded as she stood, placing her cloak over one arm. “I am, however, a former citizen of the Japanese Pacific States and the wife of Chief Inspector Takeshi Kido of the kempeitai. I understood you wished your students to be educated in Japanese culture and the Pacific States in particular?”
The man looked startled. “Why—yes. When we were told to expect a,” he turned and picked up a piece of paper from his secretary’s desk, “Agent Misaki Kido, we were expecting a Japanese man.”
“You have an Aryan woman who has married into a Japanese Household,” she told him quite clearly. “I am sorry to be a disappointment. I understood it was my unique perspective that was what was particularly desirable.” Juliana paused and looked at the man for a moment. “If there has been a mistake—”
The principal’s eyes were now skimming down the sheet and his eyebrows rose in shock at something he read. “You have been recommended personally by Obergruppenfuhrer Smith!”
Juliana wondered why this man hadn’t done his research. “I’m very fond of Thomas, his son,” she said by way of answer. “He first asked me several months ago.—Thomas, that is.”
“Quite. Well. We’ve arranged for you to speak to a dozen of our most promising students, Thomas included.” He glanced down the list. “Yes, Thomas Smith will be there.”
This man was clearly incompetent.
Juliana was led to a classroom which was set up with about a dozen chairs in a circle. She placed her purse and cloak to the side, looking at the students and saw Thomas who waved. She smiled and nodded her head before she was introduced to a Mr. Mills.
“Students,” Mr. Mills stated, clapping his hands. “This is Agent Misaki Kido of the Japanese Empire. She is here to speak to you about the Pacific States where she was born and lived most of her life.”
Taking a breath, she stepped forward and looked around the students. “Well,” she began. “What is there to say? It’s certainly a lot cleaner here in the Greater Nazi Reich. When I first arrived here, I was so excited to see grass that I jumped from a moving car just to touch it!” Her eyes caught Thomas’s as everyone laughed, and he smiled at her as they shared the memory of all those months ago.
“So, there’s no grass?”
Juliana smiled. “No, there’s grass. It’s just in private parks where only the Japanese are allowed to go. There is certainly grass outside of the cities, but I lived in San Francisco and never left the city.”
“But you have a Japanese name?”
“My name—Misaki—is a nickname that was given to me by my husband shortly after we met. I was running late, and passed under a cherry tree and had cherry blossoms in my hair. Misaki means ‘cherry blossom.’ There is a great deal of tension between the Resistance and the government in the Pacific States and I was called a ‘race traitor’ for associating with my husband, and so I was often targeted. For that reason, I don’t use my actual name for fear of repercussions, even from the Resistance here in the American Reich.”
“You are a race traitor,” a boy with hair that was so blond it was almost white stated definitely. He was certainly a bully, Juliana decided.
“The Japanese are honorary Aryans,” she responded without missing a beat. “I would have been a true race traitor if I associated with a known Semite or Negro, both of which are fugitives in the Japanese Empire.”
This was going to be a long day.
Still, the questions kept on coming. They wanted to know about the food. About what women wore. Why she was wearing that particular dress and wasn’t dressed like an Aryan although she herself wasn’t Japanese.
Then came up the questions. “How do you know Thomas?” the bullying boy asked.
“My husband is acquainted with Obergruppenfuhrer Smith professionally. He has had occasion to travel to the American Reich in the past. I also live here and operate as an employee of the Imperial Embassy. I have visited Nazi Headquarters myself in a professional capacity.”
The boy wouldn’t stop. “Are you a spy? A real race traitor?”
She smiled at him kindly, but it took all she had as she was feeling a bout of morning sickness at that moment. “I’m afraid that I’m not a spy. I’m afraid I’d make a rather poor one.”
A girl piped up. “Do you know any spies?”
That certainly surprised Juliana. “I’m sure I do. However, as they’re spies, they’re not likely to tell me.”
“So, if you’re not a spy,” a girl with ponytails who had been rather quiet up to this point asked, “what do you do?”
“I help my Japanese partner understand the nuances of the language of the white man,” she explained, “which is what the Japanese call all people who are white, whether Aryan, Slavs, Scandinavians, Normans, white Hispanics, et cetera. I am in a singular position of being able to bridge both cultures.”
Thomas this time raised his hand and Juliana called on him. Surprisingly, he asked about her engagement ring. She supposed he’d been curious about it for a long time.
Akihito Kido was a boy of eight.
He remembered clearly when his father first started sending his mother tokens of his affection in the form of cherry tea. For some reason, his mother stated that he was not to drink the tea.
Akihito did not know why. An explanation was not given. However, his esteemed father had instructed that this was to be the way, and so it was the way. Every morning his mother would drink the tea.
The tea smelled refreshing but still Akihito did not drink it.
He did not make any connection between the tea and his mother’s illness. It was subtle at first. She seemed tired. Then she spent more time in bed. Then the vomiting started.
His esteemed father, in his concern, sent more tea—a different blend—in the hopes that it would soothe his wife’s illness. Still, Akihito’s mother’s condition only worsened. Akihito was confused. He was so worried he even called his esteemed father in San Francisco, but he must have had the wrong number. It said it belonged to ‘Juliana Crain’ but his father’s name was printed next to it in bold strokes.
“Hello?” a woman answered in English. “Smith Residence.”
“Juliana Crain?” he replied in stumbling English. “I—”
There was a pause, and then the woman on the other end of the phone switched to Japanese. “Is this better? How may I help you?”
“I am looking for my father. I have this telephone extension,” Akihito said desperately.
Again, there was a pause, and then the woman stated carefully, “That is peculiar. May I ask who your esteemed father is? Perhaps you have reversed the digits?”
Akihito looked down at the piece of paper and didn’t recognize the handwriting. It wasn’t his mother’s hand and not his esteemed father’s. Suddenly, he wondered why this number was in his mother’s file. “This number is in the Pacific States,” he stated carefully. “I think.”
“No,” she disagreed, and then there were muffled sounds in the background. “Who is your esteemed father? I used to work for one of the government ministers in the Pacific States. Perhaps I can give him a message tomorrow and he can assign someone to find your father. Are you in the Japanese homeland?”
There was the sound of crackling on the end of the line and it seemed as if there was movement on the other end as well. Voices, muffled, echoed across the line, and then the woman spoke again:
“Is this Akihito Kido?” Her voice was kind but worried. “Please. Akihito-chan. Is that you?”
He hung up the telephone quickly and looked back toward his mother’s room.
The next day, his aunt came and took him away. He never saw his mother alive again.
Akihito remembered the name ‘Juliana Crain’ although the woman had never said she was, in fact, Juliana Crain. She had never said her name at all.
His esteemed father did not return for the funeral. His duties would not allow him to. Akihito stood as the chief mourner and felt the loss of being parentless, an orphan in all but name.
He heard from his father again just a few months later to tell him that he had remarried and that his new mother was residing at the Imperial Embassy in New York City. She would not be returning to Japan until his father’s tour was complete. The letter was impersonal and offered little information. Akihito was confused. It did not even offer an address.
Still, Akihito sat down at his desk and pushed away his schoolwork. He took out a sheet of paper and addressed it to ‘Madam Takeshi Kido.’ It would be easy enough to find out the address of the embassy.
The letter was just a simple question, apart from his signature:
Are you Juliana Crain?