Patlabor: Personal Files
An Episodic Patlabor Fanfic by David A. Tatum
Disclaimer: Insert legal junk here...

Episode 01: Another Transfer

December 28, 1999

The entire Special Vehicles company was assembled for the ceremony.
Gomioka, the guest of honor, sat at the long table in front of the
assembled crowd between his wife and Captain Gotoh. He was having a hard
time keeping his eyes forward, towards the audience, like he was supposed
to. Instead, he kept looking nervously at the podium, where Captain Nagumo
was about to make her announcement.

"...And with the formation of the Third Unit, I am pleased to announce the
promotion of one of my best Labor pilots. Without further ado, let me
present... CAPTAIN Gomioka!"

Shinobu stepped back and to her right while gesturing towards the
microphone. Gomioka slowly stood up and walked up to the lectern,
accidentally brushing by her as she moved to her seat next to Gotoh.
Clearing his throat a little, he waited for the clapping to die down before
he addressed the assembly.

"This was... completely unexpected. When I heard that the Special Vehicles
division was forming a third unit, I was certain that I would not be
selected as its commander- I figured a command car officer or a desk
officer from outside of Special Vehicles would be promoted into the slot.
I certainly didn't expect I'D be the one to be promoted... But now that I
am, I want to thank those who brought me here- My command car officer,
Akito Kenichi; my transport driver, Tazaki Hiroaki; and, most especially,
the person who recommended me for the job- Captain Nagumo." He paused for
the polite applause that followed. "I will do my best to not fail the
trust the Special Vehicles division, and my former captain, has placed in
me." He winced at his own words, but recovered in order to finish with a
"Thank you" before returning to his seat. He noticed Gotoh looking at him
oddly when he first mentioned Shinobu, and he still felt the stare of the
unusual commander of Unit Two as he sat down. 'What is his problem, anyway?'
he wondered, as he whispered something into Shinobu's ear. He saw her nod,
and she stood up and went back to the podium.

"That is all for today," she began. "But the members of Unit Two and Akito
Kenichi are asked to stay behind for a moment. Dismissed."

The maintainance squad, most of Unit One's personnel, and most of the
guests (including Kanuka Clancy, who had flown back from the states on
Gomioka's invitation- the two of them had formed a pretty decent friendship
based on mutual admiration of skill and professionalism) stood up and
walked to the reception area in order to stuff their faces. Asuma
Shinohara snorted.

"Great, now we aren't going to get anything to eat," he muttered to Noa,
the young redhead sitting to his right, barely relaxing her shoulder into
his.

"Maybe it won't take too long," she soothed, despite being slightly annoyed
herself. It wasn't often they had anything other than fish, tomatoes, or
chinese takeout at the Special Vehicles headquarters.

Ohta, sitting behind the two of them, raged. "Will you two think without
your stomaches for once! This could be serious!"

Shinohara rolled his eyes. "Relax, Ohta... it's not like I was going to
walk out of this meeting, after all."

Noa nodded, frowning. "Besides, it's hard to think when you're hungry."

"I'll save some for you all! This looks like business, so I'm going on
ahead," Tamiko, Shinshi's wife, announced.

"I'll see you later, honey," Shinshi said, smiling. His smile became
nervous as he realized his wife was waiting for him to do more, and kissed
her goodbye, blushing fiercely.

Tamiko immediately became her bouncy and energetic self. "Bye, Miki!" she
exhaulted, hugging him fiercely in return before dashing out to join the
party.

"'Bye, Miki,'" Ohta mocked. "What a pathetic display! Police officers
should not be married- it distracts them from their work."

Gomioka, hearing Ohta's comments, frowned. His wife, following Shinshi's
wife out the door, spun around. "Excuse me?!" she screached. "Do you mean
that my husband should never have married me?!"

Ohta backed away from the enraged female. "Uh, no! I mean... uh... sorry,
Mrs. Gomioka...."

"Hmph," she snorted angrily, turning to leave. "Well, you should be!"

Hiromi just looked around nervously during the whole exchange, worried that
another fight was going to break out between Ohta and Shinshi- the last one
had been over Noa's game of catch, and had resulted in a softball flying
into his chicken cage. Akemi still hadn't recovered her old egg
production, she had been so scared.

Akito Kenichi just looked around him, wondering why he had been left with
all these crazy people.

Gotoh, who somehow had made it to up to the lectern without anyone else
noticing, tapped the microphone to get everyones attention. "Um, excuse
me, but I think we should get down to business, and maybe we'll make it out
of here before the maintainance squad attacks poor Tamiko for hording the
food she promised for us." Everyone quieted down and turned their
attention to the podium. "With the promotion of Gomioka and the formation
of the new unit, we are forced to re-organize personel in order to provide
him with at least one veteran team. So, Mr. Kenichi, you are joining your
former pilot. You will report to the Third Unit tommorow. You can go now,
unless you want to know who your new partners will be." Akito looked
longingly at the door, but decided he'd wait at least until he knew who his
new Labor pilot would be. "We'll promote Tazaki to take your place in the
first unit, and add a rookie pilot and driver to replace him and Gomioka.
Now, as far as Unit 2 is concerned... one pilot and one driver will be
leaving my unit to join Unit 3."

The low chatter that had been going on since Gotoh had started talking
ceased, and everyone looked at him with widening eyes, waiting for him to
continue.

Kumagami stepped forward and turned around to face the rest of the unit.
"This was a hard choice, but it was for the best. I felt as if Shinohara
had better chemistry with his team, and I also believe I would be better at
adapting rookies to the Special Vehicles division, so... Ohta, Shinshi... I
enjoyed the time we've had together, but I am afraid that I volunteered you
to the Third Unit."

Shinshi made a face. "You mean I'm being transferred but I STILL have to
put up with this marraige-hater? Ugh!"

Ohta looked stricken- not at Shinshi's words, but at Kumagami's
announcement. Slowly, he stood and turned to leave the room.

"Hey, Ohta- you were not dismissed!" Gomioka snapped.

He spun around and looked Gomioka straight in the eye. "With all due
respects, SIR, I am still a member of Unit 2 until tomorrow- and unless one
of my superiors from that unit orders me to stay, I am leaving. Goodbye."
With that, he slowly marched out of the doors into the parking lot, not even
bothering to spare a glance at the door leading to the reception.
Everyone's eyes followed him in shock.

"What's wrong with Ohta?" Noa asked, voicing the question that no-one else
was willing to ask.

Shinohara grimaced, looking around. "Come on," he said, tugging her
shoulder to indicate she should follow him.

* * * * *

A bus pulled to a stop outside of the small plot of reclaimed land that
served as Special Vehicle's headquarters. Seven people stepped out and
looked around in wonder.

"We have to work in this hell-hole from now on?" a disagreeable young man
with a mop of hair on his head groaned.

Another young man who's nose looked like it had been broken about a dozen
times snorted. "Shut up, Mashimo. You've done nothing but complain since
we went to labor training."

"You shut up too, Seiroku!" Mashimo shouted. "You've been complaining just
as much!"

"Yes, but I've been justified!" Seiroku replied.

"Um, excuse me," a cute female voice broke in. "Can you two please settle
this argument inside? It's cold out here, and I don't want to be late."

The two arguing men looked at her at the same time. She had curly hair
which made her even more cute than she already was as her wide eyes looked
down her button nose imploringly.

"Um... right," they both said at once, glaring at each other once more
before turning and leading the rest of them into the large warehouse-like
building down the road in front of them.

* * * * *

"Ohta?" Noa began cautiously, Shinohara standing behind her. The other
labor pilot didn't move a muscle when she called his name. "Ohta, what's
wrong?"

"Yeah, Ohta... Normally, you couldn't be happier if you got promoted,"
Shinohara commented.

"Promoted?" Ohta replied hoarsely. "What do you mean, 'promoted?'"

"Your transfer means you'll be the senior labor pilot," Asuma noted.

Ohta turned to face them and laughed sadly. For the first time, the two
who had come to check up on him saw the bottle of sake he was cradling in
his lap, almost empty. "Oh, really? Shinohara, you, of all people, should
know that isn't true. You were with me when we left Unit 1." Ohta took
the last swig of his bottle before continuing. "They said the exact same
thing- that the transfer was not a punishment, despite what they said about
the other team working better together, but a promotion- I'd be the senior
labor pilot in Captain Gotoh's squadron- I'd have command of labor one,
after all!" He snorted. "That lasted all of two weeks. When the new
labors arrived, along with your girlfriend over there, guess where I was
again? Back in labor number two, and a rookie was made senior over me!"
Sighing, he leaned back. "This is just like the last time- I'm being moved
into the new unit because the other team works better together, but I'm not
supposed to worry because I'll be the senior labor pilot. Sorry, I don't
believe that- I think you all are just trying to get rid of me!"

Noa blushed. 'Girlfriend?' she asked herself. Looking at her partner, she
couldn't tell for herself if it was true or not. They seemed to do just
about everything together, and they were very comfortable together- there
had been times when they were so relaxed sitting back to back that one or
the other of them would just fall asleep. She also remembered one vacation
right before a civil war had broken out- she had been wondering if piloting
Alphonse was enough of a reason to stay in the Special Vehicles division
and risk her life on a near daily basis. Then Asuma had called, asking if
she wanted to get together and do something, and she was so excited that
he'd called... she knew then that he, too, was part of why she stayed in
the SV2. She smiled, remembering how she knew her father was jealous of
her for having someone like Shinohara nearby all of the time. Then that
war made her put aside all the thoughts she'd had in that little time
they'd spent together. So she knew he meant something to her... still, he
seemed to act as little more than what he said- a friend- and he always
seemed to be more interested in Kanuka than anyone else. But did he? What
was all of that about a pilot and command car needing to function as 'two
in one?' And did she think of him as more than a friend herself?

Shinohara, however, had missed that little accusation about his
relationship with Noa. He was thinking too much about the rest of what
Ohta had said. "Get rid of you? Ohta, is that what you think we want?
You're our friend! We might sometimes think you're a bit uptight, or that
you're too obsessed with guns, but we certainly don't want you gone!"

"Oh?!" Ohta shouted accusingly. "Prove it to me! Help me stay with the
Second unit!"

"How?" Asuma asked.

"I... I don't know..." Ohta admitted, breaking down.

Asuma thought about it for a second. "Well, I don't think I can do that...
but there might be something else I can do. Noa!"

Noa blinked, looking at him in surprise. While wondering if she was his
girlfriend, she had forgotten he was standing right there- in fact, she
forgot why they were there.

"Um, uh... Yes, Asuma?"

"Come on, we've got to talk to Captain Gomioka."

"Uh, right... coming, Asuma."

* * * * *

The seven people who had left the bus stood at attention in front of
Special Vehicle's three captains. Gomioka and Shinobu were inspecting the
uniforms of the assembled people, while Gotoh sat with his feet on his
desk, casually looking at the new recruits from his chair.

"Name?" Gomioka asked.

"Joudo Ishikawa, sir," a short, thin, balding man answered. Despite having
lost some hair, he appeared to be in his mid-twenties.

"Name?"

"Yamane Seiroku," the man with a broken nose spat out.

"Name?"

"Natsume Kawai, sir," the cute young girl who had been cold replied.

"Name?"

"Kenji Iguchi, sir," a nondescript man shrugged. He doubted anyone would
remember his name in the morning.

"Name?"

"Yoshi Tobe, sir," a man who's looks would be pleasant if it weren't for a
scar over his left eye.

"Name?"

"Koichi Miyagi, SIR!" came the enthusiastic response of a man with a
friendly looking smile.

"Name?"

"Ueki Mashimo," the disagreeable mop-haired man said, yawning.

Gomioka and Shinobu finished their inspection and stepped out from the new
recruits and nodded to them. "Well, it is too late to do much more today.
Tomorrow, we will divide you among the various units and you can begin
learning your duties," Shinobu announced. "There are three slots in Unit 3
with Captain Gomioka, and two slots each in Units 1 and 2, commanded by
Captain Gotoh and myself. I suggest you settle down into your quarters and
get some rest- tomorrow will be a big day for all of you. Dismissed."

The rookies shuffled out of the room slowly, mumbling to themselves.

"Well, what do you think?" Shinobu asked both Gomioka and Gotoh.

"A typical bunch of rookies- you have some troublemakers, some
exceptionally well disciplined people, and a few people who are harmless
but probably not very good policemen," Gotoh considered. "But we'll know
more tomorrow."

"Uh..." Gomioka muttered, not sure of how to proceed. "Well, I've never
had to worry about this sort of thing before, but... I think they'll do all
right." In truth, he thought Gotoh's assessment was pretty accurate, but
he needed to say something.

Before anyone could continue, a knocking erupted from the office door.
"Come in!" Gotoh called.

Shinohara and Noa burst into the door. "Well, we found out why Ohta was so
upset."

The three captains looked at one another and blinked. "Well?" Shinobu
prompted, curious despite not being involved in the whole situation.

"Captain Gomioka, do you remember when he was the junior labor pilot in
Unit 1?" Shinohara asked. Gomioka nodded, and he continued. "Well, do
you remember what we all told him when he and I were transferred to form
the nucleus of Unit 2?"

"No..." the captain replied, thinking. "Can't say I do."

"Well, we told him that he was being transferred because the senior labor
crew had better chemistry, but he that he wasn't being punished- he was
being promoted to the senior labor pilot of the second unit. When Noa
arrived, however, she was made the senior pilot despite his greater
experience. He believes we are doing the same thing again."

Gotoh's eyes widened as he heard this. "And why did no-one tell me he was
promised this when they transferred him to my command?"

Shinobu looked embarrassed. "Er... my apologies... I didn't even think
about it."

Gomioka frowned. "So what does this mean?"

Shinohara bit his lower lip. "Captain Gomioka, do you think you make
certain that there is no competition for senior labor pilot in the third
unit- that you assign that position to Ohta irregardless of how the rookies
do?"

The new captain had no clue how to handle that request. He knew from their
days together that Ohta was a reckless, overbearing man who was obsessed
over the labor's firearms, and it would probably be irresponsible to
promise such a position to a man like that. But... he looked up into
Shinobu's eyes, and saw the guilt she felt over the situation. She had
made a promise, and had forgotten about it- and that caused the current
mess. He could not just do nothing for her when he had a choice.

"Very well, Mr. Shinohara," he said, nodding to the young man. "Go and
tell him that he cannot be displaced as senior pilot because of the
rookies' contest tomorrow."

* * * * *

"I'm... sorry for having said what I did, Shinohara," Ohta said, walking
with Asuma and Noa towards the reception area. They had all given up hope
of getting any food, but at least they could join in on the fun and
entertainment before it was over. "I do not really believe you were trying
to get rid of me- I was just..."

"Relax- I know you were upset, but don't worry about it. Captain Gomioka
promised me that he would not let the same thing happen to you this time.
Now, come on and have some fun- this is your last day with Unit 2. Enjoy
it with us."

They entered the party, already in progress. Tamiko, dragging her husband
behind her, immediately ran up to them. "There you three are!" she
effervesced. "I've barely been able to keep these for you!" With that,
the turned to her husband and took three plates full of food from him,
handing them to Noa, Asuma, and Ohta in a flash. "Come on, eat up! Enjoy
yourself!" With that, she returned to the center of the party, mingling
with the other party-goers. Music was playing and people were dancing in
one corner of the room, and Noa grabbed Shinohara off so that they could
get in a dance or two when they finished their food (not that she had
decided that she was his girlfriend or anything, she reminded herself, but
they DID do this sort of thing together every now and then). Ohta looked
dumbstruck, however, as Kumagami and Kanuka broke off dancing (much to the
annoyance of the men in the room, as there were only a half dozen women to
dance with, three of them (Tamiko, Gomioka's wife, and Noa) appeared
attached while a fourth (Gotoh's niece) was a bit too young) and, joined
by Hiromi, approached him.

"Ohta, I'm glad to see you are feeling better," Hiromi said, putting one of
his giant hands on the other man's shoulder. "I will miss having you as a
part of our family here in the Second Unit, but you are always welcome to a
tomato when I pick them!"

"I'm sorry to force you out when you obviously did not want to go,"
Kumagami comforted, also placing her hand on Ohta's shoulder. "I think,
however, that your experience will serve the Third Unit greatly."

Kanuka smiled slyly at Ohta. "I don't particularly care if you leave the
second unit or not, Ohta." She turned and started to walk away. Looking
over her shoulder, she continued, "After all, that means I'll have an
excuse to start shaping up another one of these shoddy Japanese Patlabor
units..."

Ohta smiled, a few small tears forming in the corners of his eyes. No,
Unit Two was not trying to get rid of him. Making a mental note to try and
keep in touch with everyone, he walked with them into the middle of the
party.

-------------------------
Episode 1 Closing Notes:
Don't worry about the new characters taking over- they're mostly extras,
with one or two protagonists thrown in. And don't worry about me ignoring
any of the main characters- I plan on dealing with all THREE units about
evenly.

Next Episode:
The new recruits get transferred to the various units, and Kanuka visits
her grandmother.
-----------------------------------------------------------
Sir Desaix, member # 116 of the Knights of the True Fiancee
desaix@sysnet.net
fanfics available at
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