Note: While the world of 'Legend of the Five Rings,' where Nasami was first born, is much less technologically advanced than that of 'Samurai 7,' it was still very easy for me to imagine my little samuraiko charging into the fray, taking out cruisers and divisions of Yakan like you see Kambei and Shichiroji doing in the very opening scenes of 'Samurai 7.' As such, I decided to write a quick story that shows Nasami and her comrades in the thick of the war.
Brave Words, Braver Deeds
The shout was barely audible above the rushing wind and the sounds of battle, but the samuraiko glanced up, her long white hair billowing behind her like an unfurled flag.
Racing past her own ship was a much larger cruiser. Standing proudly on the deck was a tall samurai, his armor dented in a dozen places, his long black hair blowing wildly around him. Emblazoned on the side of the carrier was the mon of her Clan, and her heart was lifted to be flying honor guard for her daimyo. She raised her katana to indicate that she had heard him.
"The Imperial Magistrates' division is on its way to support us, but it seems that our opponents wish to disobey the Emperor's command to leave our territory! Let us bring the wrath of the Emperor down upon them for ignoring an Imperial edict!"
The daimyo pointed his katana at an enemy cruiser that was currently hammering one of their allied ships. "Take them out!"
"Hai!" she shouted back, and began lightly running along the hull of the cruiser on which she rode until she reached the cockpit where her co-pilot was casually weaving in and out of the dogfights going on.
"Ikuko-san!" she called.
"I heard, I heard," the other samurai called back, even as she steered the cruiser toward the enemy ship, pulling back on the stick to gain them some altitude. "How do you want to do it?"
Nasami grinned, a wild smile full of life. "Just fly me past!"
"Your wish is my command," Ikuko said cheerfully, banking the ship down and around sharply. As they came around, Nasami stood and sprinted down the length of the hull... and leapt straight off of it.
For just a moment, she hung suspended in mid-air, and she closed her eyes for the briefest instant, savoring the feeling of her body in flight. Then gravity took hold and she plummeted downward, laughing out loud, bringing her katana around in front of her.
The Yakan soldiers on the enemy ship had just a moment to register the samuraiko falling out of the sky as she landed hard among them. Then, whirling like a dervish, she took out the entire Yakan patrol in mere moments. As an enemy scout ship came soaring up over her, she sprang into the air and grabbed hold of a cable underneath, sliced the bottom out from underneath the cockpit to send the pilot tumbling into oblivion, and then leapt back down, using her momentum to slice straight through the enemy cruiser.
Down, down, down she fell, taking out any enemy she passed along the way, until Ikuko brought the cruiser along beneath her, and she landed easily on her feet. As she glanced behind her, she saw the enemy cruiser vanish in a ball of exploding fire.
"A bit showy, even for you, but effective," Ikuko said with a faint smile.
"You're just saying that because you're stuck in there while I'm out here."
"Hey, I'm not the one who failed to make the grade as a pilot!" she reminded Nasami. Then she glanced down at her console. "Incoming message from the daimyo. 'Well done. New target - the enemy carrier. Take it out by any means necessary.'"
Nasami glanced in at her, concerned. "Anything more specific than that?"
"No, that's it," Ikuko said, her face somber now. She looked up at her, then out her forward screen. The fighting was incredibly intense around the carrier, as the fighters gathered around it, trying to hammer their way through, and then make a hasty retreat.
"It's not like Uji-sama to have us slash at retreating backs," Nasami mused aloud.
"Well, it's not our role to question, it's our role to serve."
"Then serve we will." She straightened up and tightened her grip on the katana. "Take us in."
Ikuko opened up the throttle and the two raced toward the heart of the battle. Nasami used her free hand to grab hold of a nearby bar as Ikuko wove her way past ships and other battles going on.
As they shot past two enormous mechanical samurai doing battle, Nasami's mouth twisted in distaste. "I still can't understand samurai who do that."
"Surrender their bodies to machinery."
"Even if it makes them better samurai?"
Nasami shook her head. "More effective, Ikuko-san. But most definitely not better."
"Look out!" Ikuko shouted, twisting hard on the controls, and Nasami clung to the side of the cockpit as another nearby mechanical samurai exploded. Ikuko was barely able to avoid the blast, and Nasami watched dispassionately as they shot past.
"You all right?" the pilot called, sparing her a quick glance.
"I'm fine, don't worry about me." Taking care not to lose her grip, she leaned outward. "You've got about another 300 yards to close, so get us over there, and then get yourself out, fast!"
"Wait, hold on, you're not going to take that thing out by yourself!" Ikuko said, startled.
Suddenly Nasami's eyes went huge in her face. "IKUKO, EVADE! DOWN!"
Without even stopping to ask why, the pilot leaned hard on the stick, and they dropped into a vertical dive... as three enemy missiles raced right through where they had been a moment before. But even as they dove, the missiles turned and began to follow them.
"How in Jigoku did they get a lock on us in the middle of all of that?" Nasami screamed. Ikuko opened the throttle up all the way and gunned it straight for an enemy cruiser, barely skimming her way past the hull so that one of the missiles slammed into the side.
"One down, two to go!" she called back.
"Head for the carrier!" Nasami yelled as Ikuko sent the cruiser into a spin to try and shake the last two missiles.
"We'll never get near it!"
"IT WASN'T A SUGGESTION!" Nasami hollered.
Ikuko growled, but Nasami did actually outrank her.
They raced toward the carrier, the missiles right on their tail.
"I'm going to take out those missiles!" Nasami shouted over the racing wind. "You have five seconds to get there and catch me!"
"Are you out of your mind?"
She ignored Ikuko and stood up, turning to look behind her. With a slowly spreading smile, she released the bar she was holding and jumped straight up.
The ship raced out from beneath her.
The missiles followed the ship with single-minded precision.
Right up until they reached the samuraiko, when still on her way up, Nasami sliced the first one in half, timing her fall to drop her past the second one.
A lightning-fast swipe of her katana took out the other missile, and the samurai pilot was able to fly her way right into the heart of the battle around the enemy carrier.
Nasami dropped straight onto the back of an allied machine samurai, then she leapt from one mechanical body to the other, slicing open enemies as she went, leaving a trail of destruction in her wake.
As close as she dared, Ikuko banked the cruiser around to follow the hull of the carrier, and Nasami landed beside her on the deck, holding the katana out at her side. As they flew past, the samuraiko's katana carved an enormous gash in the side of the carrier.
Right until they reached the engine room.
With a deafening explosion, the engine burst into flames, throwing Nasami clear off her feet as Ikuko's ship raced out from underneath her. As she watched, the enemy carrier slowly vanished in a ball of fire.
Nasami plummeted downward in an uncontrolled fall, the wind whipping past her as she gasped.
Out of the corner of her eye, she saw an enemy samurai, twice as big as the usual mechanical warriors, heading straight for an allied ship. Mentally, she winced, but without hesitation, she reached out one hand and grabbed one of the life support cables on the samurai's back to slow her fall.
Then she screamed as she nearly dislocated her own shoulder, but she instinctively whipped her katana around to behead the samurai as she tumbled past him.
The gambit was successful. Her fall had been slowed just enough for Ikuko to fly beneath her, and she landed hard on the hull.
"Are you all right?" she heard Ikuko shout, her panic barely controlled.
"Yes," Nasami gasped. "But remind me to never do that again."
"Isn't that what you said the last time you did that?" her pilot laughed.
As Nasami and Ikuko glanced above them, they saw two other samurai and their co-pilots drop in on other sideto cover their escape.
"Now they get here..." Ikuko said dryly.
"Innovative tactics, Nasami-san!" one of the samurai called to Nasami as his cruiser took up a guard position on Ikuko's left.
"It must be the company I keep, Kuroshin-sama!" she yelled back gleefully. Then she pointed her katana at the other samurai flying to her right. "Besides, I'll leave the brute force aspect of fighting to Kaminari-sama and Kori-san!"
Just then a huge battleship shot by over their heads, and all six samurai and pilots looked up, recognizing the distinctive gold and green mon of theImperial Magistrates' flagship. Flying escort were several smaller cruisers, manned by several samurai. But even as the Magistrates' division flew into the fighting, the enemy refused to retreat as ordered.
"Ikuko!" Nasami called, pointing to the battleship.
"I see it," her pilot called back. "Orders?"
The samuraiko glanced to her right and saw Kaminari point his enormous tetsubo at the battleship, rumbling an oath. Then she looked to her right and saw Kuroshin raise his katana and wakizashi to a guard position.
Laughing, she lifted her own katana and pointed toward the enemy.
"FOR THE EMPIRE!" she shouted.
"FOR THE EMPIRE!" The battle cry was taken up by the other five samurai, and as one, they raced into battle once more.