Chapter 1: Refuge of the Damned
"Listen Yui I'm going to explain this once more" Ritsu said.
"Uh huh I'm listening" Yui replied eagerly.
"Right well basically China... You know where China is right?"
"Yeah that's the place with pandas"
"Sure, but their enemy at the moment, you see Japan ruled over China and a whole load of other places for ages okay?"
"I don't know since we defeated the Americans I guess but that's not important. What matters is we ruled over this place for ages we were happy with the extra land and energy and stuff and they were happy because we got to spread our great culture to them. You know we gave them stuff like Sushi and Manga. Are following me?" Ritsu asked.
"Um I think so but if everybody was happy why did they get angry at us?" Yui answered.
"Well after a while they got started to dislike us and began to attack our people. Riots grew into a full rebellion and then they managed to kick us out. I don't really know why. I think they just blamed us for their poverty and hunger or something." Ritsu pondered.
"Is that why their attacking us now?" Yui asked
"Yep it sure is do you understand it now?" Ritsu ventured.
"Um not really, my head hurts" Yui complained
"Maybe I could explain it" Mugi proposed "You see Yui when a man and a women love each other very much..."
"Just what are you trying to explain to her!?" Azusa piped in.
"Oh sorry I seem to have misinterpreted the situation" Mugi mused.
"All of you keep it down" Mio whispered "The video's about to start."
"Hey I was just trying to explain to Yui why we're here, this stuff's important" Ritsu countered.
"So is this video, it should explain a lot of it" Mio replied.
The five girls were sat among many of their classmates in a small dark underground room facing a large screen.
The video started.
"Japan; what a magnificent country we are" A booming voiced narrator told them.
On the screen images of cherry blossom and traditional shrines were shown to a soothing soundtrack.
"The Land of the Rising Sun, home to the greatest civilization on earth. Through the strength and hard work of the Japanese people we have asserted ourselves as a superpower on the world stage and a leading light in science, medicine and technology.
Yes, with the hard work of its people, Japan has ruled over a prosperous empire since the beginning of the twentieth century.
The conquest of East Asia allowed the spread our great culture and a lot more living space for those feeling cramped back home.
It also brought benefits to the natives" the camera cut to a shot of Chinese workers in a paddy field accompanied by Japanese soldiers. "Just look at all these happy people working hard for the empire under the watchful eye of our brave soldiers.
However" tense music started to play in the background "As you may be aware not all of them appreciated our help, they returned it with scorn. These angry peasants rose up against their rightful masters, forcing us out of what is right fully ours. Such is their idiocy and impertinence that they blame the great empire of Japan for their own poverty and stupidity! Even having the tenacity as to mount an invasion of our shores the rotters!
The dramatic music subsisted and was replaced by a more calming tune once more.
"But don't worry; at this time of crisis the Japanese government seeks to protect its weak and innocent.
That is why you are here.
Across the country our government has built great underground shelters to protect its most vulnerable citizens for the duration of this problem. These will serve as your home for the next few months until this temporary disruption is halted. They contain large amounts of food and have inbuilt water purification systems so you never go hungry. They sport all sorts of facilities so you can continue your everyday lives in peace, isn't that fantastic?
"These magnificent works of engineering are closed by large steel doors that cannot be forced open, even by those rotten Chinese. The three feet of steel surrounding the shelters mean that it can withstand bombs, bullets and even nuclear warheads. Protecting you and your friends completely! For your protection once the shelter doors are closed they will not be reopened until the signal is given from the government that it is safe. Soon when the invaders are repelled and your courageous parents have won, the doors will open and you will be let out into the open world. In the meanwhile shelter life for you will go on much as normal, schooling will be provided, and so will all the great entertainment you enjoy on the outside. Time in the shelter will be fun! Isn't that right Senden-tan?"
A cute Chibi girl appeared on the screen "Yes, I'm looking forward to living in the shelter with all my friends. Mummy and Daddy are helping out the war effort but I'm staying right here."
"Ha ha. Isn't that sweet, now when you get into the shelter…."
Yui Hirasawa shuffled in her seat "Ooh I can't get comfy." she complained.
"Yeah and this stuff's really boring as well, I know what a shelter does. Can't we just go in already?" Ritsu added
Mio gave them both a cold glare "Quiet you two, this is important! We could be staying in here for months!"
Ritsu and Yui exchanged a glance and shifted their focus back to the video. After showing them the proper process for sanitation and washing inside the shelter the video quickly came to an end. "So!" the narrator continued, "Until we drive these barbarian invaders out of our homeland, you will remain cosy and safe in your shelter, out of the danger area. From me and Senden-Tan enjoy your time here and stay safe!"
The film cut off and Miss Yamanaka reached up to switch the projector off. Standing next to her were three men in the blue uniform of shelter workers. Their expressions were almost as menacing as the rifles at their hips.
"Now," Sawako said "Does anybody have any questions before we enter the shelter properly?" Nobody raised their hands. "No? Good, I'm going to do one more quick head count before we go in," she said taking out a resister.
Ritsu lifted both arms in the air and stretched "I'm so glad that's over; I thought it was going to go on forever."
Mugi smiled at this. "Aren't you looking forward to living here? I think it could be quite fun."
"Yeah, it's going to be like one giant sleepover with everybody from school" Yui said enthusiastically.
"It's not just people from our school remember, there are a lot of other people already in there" Mio added. "I just hope it's not too crowded."
"Relax, we'll get to meet a bunch of new people, it will be an experience, I'm sure that when we're older and we've kicked some Chinese butts we'll look back on this as a highlight of our youth." Ritsu explained, rocking back on her chair.
"I'm not so sure," Azusa spoke up "I think we might miss the outside, the trees and the sky and our families…"
"Don't worry so much, it's going to be fine in there, they've got tons of facilities, and it'll be like a hotel" Ritsu promised with her usual Cheshire grin.
Sawako finished the headcount. "Everybody's here, good, we don't want to anybody shut out when the doors close, now if you'll come this way, Tanaka-San here—" she patted one of the shelter men's shoulders, "Will show us into the proper shelter."
The group of students rose, there were about 50 of them in total. It mostly consisted of seniors but there were several juniors, like Azusa, mixed in. This particular batch was the last one arriving from their school. Generally, each group would remain homogeneous in terms of year level but, occasionally, different batches were grouped together; Azusa and Ui, for example, waited to enter with their upperclassmen.
"Do you think we'll get to share a room in there?" Yui asked full of energy.
"Judging from the video it looks like it will only be two people per room, we can try to get rooms next to each other though," Mio proposed.
The people from their school slowly shuffled through the small door into the main shelter area creating congestion. The five of them waited till the entrance was a little less crowded, staying near the back of them.
"Man, this sucks!" Ritsu complained, "I bet cause we're last we're gonna be left with all the crappy rooms. The ones with dirty sheets that smell like cat piss."
"I hope not I can't handle dirt" Mio panicked.
"That doesn't matter as long as we're together, right?" Mugi smiled.
The students filed through the entrance, everybody seemed nervous, unsure what the shelter would bring.
"So did you all pack everything okay?" Mio asked; each of the girls had with them a small suitcase filled with everything they would need for months spent in the shelter, Ritsu and Azusa also carried rucksacks on their backs.
"I found it fine; turns out I don't need all too much after all, just a few changes of clothes, a toothbrush…" Ritsu answered.
"Please tell me you've at least brought a pair of clean underwear?" Mio said looking her friend with despair.
"Actually now that you mention it..." Ritsu looked rather sheepish, Mio sighed. "Ah, don't worry! I can just share with you!" The tawny haired girl claimed shamelessly, to Mio's horror and embarrassment.
"Don't you dare!" Mio cleanly swatted her on the back of her head, producing a rather comical lump on the brown mop of hair.
Mugi smiled at the familiarities between the two girls, patting the bruised Ritsu and turning toward Mio with a calm expression to defuse her growing insecurities. "Well we won't be short of tea while we're here, I've been sure to pack tea leaves, a tea pot and some saucers," she said "I've even brought some cakes for if we get hungry."
"Sounds great, I'll look forward to it," Mio agreed, comforted by the ojou-sama's neutrality. "I just wish I could have brought Eliza-bass along, we could have still practiced for the band, and it would have been just like at home."
"Oh well I'm fine!" Yui said cheerfully "I brought Gita along so I could practice I've got him right here." She reached for him beside her but found nothing, she looked around urgently. "Oh no I must have left him on the bus!" she wailed "I've got to go get him, I can't leave him behind."
Yui dropped her belongings and ran quickly back the way they had come. "Yui wait!" Mio cried "You can't just go running off like that!"
"No! I've got to get Gita, I can't get leave him behind." Yui said determinedly running down the corridor towards the entrance.
"Yui!" Mio shouted exasperatingly running after her. Yui wasn't hearing her; her mind was focused on retrieving her beloved instrument.
"Yui come on back here" Ritsu shouted, racing off with them. "
Wait for me!" Mugi called, following them.
"Um guys maybe we shouldn't run off…" Azusa said as the other girls raced off down the metal hallway leaving her alone with the unattended luggage. The other students had now dissipated through the entrance; even the blue uniformed men were gone.
"You could get separated…" Azusa finished to an audience of herself. Sighing, Azusa grimaced at her so-called responsible sempais. "I guess I should go tell Miss Yamanaka that they've gone and run off again." she admitted as she trudged off to the teacher.
Yui burst out of the shelter's gate and found herself in open air. The shelter was built into a side of a mountain; the door was made up of three different mechanisms, two sideways opening doors reminiscent of those found on elevators only much thicker and wider. The last part of the door was the one facing the outside and the largest of the three, an eight foot wide slab of steel that descended from the ceiling. Once it descended it was nigh impossible to open it again, anyone trying to get in would be confronted with a two feet thick wall of steel impervious to almost any sort of known bombs or explosives. It was so difficult to enter that it was almost more like a prison than somewhere made to protect people.
"Yui! Wait up would you?!" Ritsu shouted, Yui halted and examined the horizon. They were quite high up so she could see a lot, forests and countryside rolling on for miles. The area they were in was remote, it had taken hours by bus to reach here and by now the sun was now setting in the sky.
"You shouldn't have run off like that!" Mio chided as the three girls caught Yui.
"Sorry I just need to get Gita" she said rubbing the back of her head.
"It's okay," Mio said warmly "I know how you feel; it might get boring in there if you don't have your instrument to play. We could be spending a long time in there so you don't want to leave anything behind."
"Right, me and Gita are inseparable!" Yui smiled.
"Let's just make this quick okay" Ritsu said "Azusa's waiting for us back there."
"Yep I'll just go up and ask the Mr. Bus driver if I can get him, it will be easy!" Yui said hurrying off.
"Yui you're going in the wrong direction, the car park is down the mountain" Mio reminded her.
"Oh right sorry," Yui apologized doing a 180 degree turn.
The path down to the car park was a short and winding one specifically built for access to the shelter. Yui managed to trip more than once on the way down but eventually they reached the car park. It was empty.
"Hey where's the bus?!" Ritsu exclaimed as they walked onto the tarmac.
"It was just here wasn't it?" Mugi pointed to an empty space.
"No I think it was round that corner," Mio suggested. It wasn't, they were the only ones there. A cold breeze whispered through the empty car park, making Mio shiver.
"The bus can't be gone!" Ritsu exclaimed.
"It's a bus, they move in case you hadn't noticed," Mio explained wearily, she turned to her brown-haired friend who looked hysterical "I'm sorry Yui it looks like it's already left."
"Gita," Yui whimpered.
"It's alright," Mugi promised, "I'm sure you'll be able to find him again when this is all over."
"I guess..." she said. They started to turn back
"Well that was a waste of time!" Ritsu complained.
"Ritsu!" Mio scolded "we were just trying to get Gita back for, I'm sure you'd want us to go back if it was your drum kit?"
Ritsu looked ashamed "I'm sorry Yui."
"It's okay I miss Gita though"
"It's only been a few minutes" Mio pointed out.
"Ritsu has a point though" Mugi offered "we had better be getting back they'll be worried about us."
Azusa pushed through the crowd; this was the main dining room of the shelter. A large square room with a white floor, the engineers hadn't put any effort into disguising the fact that the ceiling and walls were made out of steel, they lay unpainted and bland. Azusa supposed that the fact that the shelters had to be constructed so fast meant there wasn't much time to be dealing with aesthetics.
Tables lay all around the place with chairs at them, there didn't seem to be much order to their positioning as they were just scattered around the place. Already there seemed to be people flooding the place as well as her group she spotted many different uniforms, kids of all ages that got more disproportionately female as the age increased. She also spotted families with young children and several old women wading through the crowd. Miss Yamanaka was at the front next to a man in a blue shirt that was showing them round; she looked rather overwhelmed by the experience.
"Sawako! Sawako-sensei" Azusa cried as she got nearer the front. Miss Yamanaka turned around.
"Oh Azusa-Chan, do you have a question?"
"Um Sawako, Yui and the others…"
A blaring siren interrupted what she was saying. Wheeee-oooooo
"What's that noise!?" Azusa asked. Sawako looked as confused as she was; all around there were murmurs of discontent. Her teacher turned anxiously to the man next to her. "
Tanaka, what does that mean?" she cried.
"It's an air raid warning, it means we need to close up early," he answered darkly. Azusa's eyes filled with horror.
"No, you can't!" she said pulling at his sleeves.
"Sorry girl, its procedure, this thing's got to close, we've got enemy aircraft approach," he answered tiredly.
"No, you don't understand my friends are still out there!" Azusa almost screamed at him, "Please you have to!"
He shrugged. "Well, not much I can do about it."
Sawako turned to the small girl. "Yui and the others are still out there?"
"Yeah, they're gonna be locked out if we don't do something!" Azusa worried; she was panicking now.
Sawako turned angrily to Tanaka. "You heard her, do something you imbecile!"
He put his hands in front of him "Tell you what, the mechanism takes a while to get started, you might make it if you go fast." Azusa and Sawako looked at one another and ran.
Ritsu grunted; the walk back uphill to the shelter had been a struggle, not least because Yui was dragging behind them, still upset about Gita. They were now only 15 meters away; they could see the doors of the shelter.
"Wow the view up here really is something," Ritsu remarked looking out at the setting sun.
"Yeah it sure is" Mio took a minute to appreciate before she heard a blaring noise it Wait, what's that noise?" Mio asked, as they heard a siren. She took a few steps towards the door.
"Hey!" a voice called loudly.
"Is that Azusa?" Ritsu asked. They looked at each other; something was wrong, very wrong.
Azusa and Sawako sped down the long entrance hallway as fast as their legs could carry them "Yui, Ritsu, Mugi, Mio!" she called "the doors closing, get in here!"
She could see them but they couldn't seem to hear her. "Come on please get in here!" she panted. They stared at her idly. As the mechanism began to creek she saw a look of horribly realization on their faces. Ritsu began to sprint forward in a desperate frenzy but it was too late. The first two doors slammed together with a breathtaking bang and Ritsu could only watch in horror as the large shelter door was released and crashed down to the ground with a mighty thud, leaving them shut out behind a wall of steel.
There was a moment of awful understanding as the group took in the events.
"We're shut out, that can't be" Mio frantically looked to the others.
"No, they have to let us in!" Ritsu pounded her fists on the door "Open up in there!"
She deflated at the silence that met her.
"This is your fault!" she rounded on Yui "If you hadn't run outside to get your stupid guitar we wouldn't be in this mess!"
"I'm sorry..." Yui said weakly "I didn't mean to."
"Leave her alone Ritsu, she didn't know the door was going to shut" Mio countered.
"I guess you're right, none of us could have known this was going to happen." Ritsu sighed and sat down against the eight foot door piece of steel emblazoned with the imperial flag.
"So are we shut outside for good then?" Mugi worried.
"Looks that way" Mio said grimly
"But Azu-nyan and Ui are in there!" Yui fretted.
"It's not them we should be worrying about; they're nice and cosy in the shelter at the moment. Probably enjoying some food or a cup of tea " Ritsu sulked.
"What are we supposed to do?!" Mio exploded "We're locked out of our shelter without any transport or adults with us, I don't know what we can do?"
"Maybe could we try to get into another shelter?" Mugi suggested.
"Not likely, from what I heard on the news all the rest are full already" Ritsu shot down.
"Well then where are we supposed to go?" Mio asked desperately. The question was left hanging as they all reflected on the situation.
"Home?" a small voice answered.
The others turned to look at Yui
"Eh?" they said.
"Maybe we could just go home, back where we were" Yui explained.
Ritsu shrugged, "Well I don't have any better ideas."
Mio was unconvinced. "Do you know how far that is? It would take us ages to get back there."
"I don't see what other choice we have" Ritsu countered. "It's either that or we just stay at this door waiting forever for it to open."
"I quite like the idea; we can stay go home to club room and drink tea," Mugi suggested.
"Well then it's decided!" Ritsu exclaimed "I didn't want to stay in some stupid shelter anyway; they'll be stuck in there bored out of their minds while we'll be having fun at home, we shouldn't be feeling sorry for ourselves we should be feeling sorry for them."
"Well there is the small matter of getting there first," Mio reminded her.
"Eh that shouldn't be a problem, we can probably hitchhike it most of the way or Mugi can use her connections to arrange something, it's all fine," Ritsu said, brightening up.
"Yeah it'll be just like before won't it?" Yui smiled.
"Sure it will. This whole things going to be over pretty soon anyway. My Dad's gonna kick some Chinese butt back to Beijing and then all the others will come out of the shelter and be jealous of us because we didn't spend our youth in a cramp steel box!" Ritsu said confidently putting her arms behind her head.
"When you put it like that this whole thing doesn't seem too bad," Mio admitted.
"I know right? We'll be having tea and cakes again soon, mark my words." Ritsu promised with a grin.
A/N: So this is the first chapter, I hoped you enjoyed it.If you have any questions about the story don't hesitate to Pm me. Sorry about putting in too much dodgy alternative history in this first chapter, I thought the war needed some background. Also sorry for punctuation and grammar mistakes.
Any reviews are always appreciated; it's great to get feedback so I can improve. I've got a lot planned for this fic so keep reading, if you want that is you don't have to.
Also I'd like to say thank you to user WolfePony for beta reading for me.
Oh yeah I also don't own K-on! Or any of its characters in case that wasn't obvious.
It shouldn't be too long before the next chapter out