If there’s a two, there’s going to be a three.
I’m in complete control; I can quit anytime I want…!
They passed into the construction zone at the base of the tower. The lengthening shadows would have concealed the number of men about them from a human.
“Your Household Troops?” Nichole asked.
“Some,” Togame replied, tucking her sunglasses into a hidden pocket of her yukata. “Some of my Kempeitai as well.”
“I see.” Literally. They comport themselves differently.
A retainer held open one of the doors into the tower’s base.
“Going all the way up? Sure!” Togame bumped her shoulder to her odd friend’s arm. “It’s mine, after all!”
The elevator was smaller than most. Given the narrowness of the structure, that was understandable.
“About how long – ”
“A bit less than three minutes,” she replied, working her jaw. “That’s at top speed; it can cause damage to your, well, my ears, if you’re not ready for the pressure drop.”
The door closed. Nichole’s legs flexed at the sudden acceleration.
“What did you want to discuss?”
“As you told me, you are very young in the world, and I am sending you on a very challenging task.” She raised her hand to the glass, looking at Tokyo drop away under their feet. Togame worked her jaw again.
“Power is the only fact, friend Nichole,” she began. “It’s the one part of the human condition you cannot fake…”
The door opened at the Observation Deck. Nichole’s mind reeled at how much older she had been made in the last two minutes at her friend’s speech.
“Coming?” Togame looked back.
Nichole nodded a little jerkily as she stepped out. The room was tiny: no more than ten meters in diameter. The sway of the tower was very evident. The city was a blaze of light beneath them.
“Ah. Here they come.”
Nichole was surprised to see her friend not looking down but up at three sets of moving lights. Helicopters. Big ones, too. There was an object… they were transporting something.
“My subject… that man down below, was quite correct: I was waiting for something to finish this.”
Togame took a few steps to a panel on the wall. She drew a key attached to a cord from about her neck and unlocked it. There were six buttons: three red, three black.
“I wanted to make a point,” she pushed the first red button. “To my country…”
The crystalline ceiling changed phase and was now transparent.
“…to other countries…” She pushed the second red. Besides swaying, the tower now had an odd, almost hypnotic hum. The ‘copters with their burden were just overhead.
It looks like some kind of capstone… but all the way up here, who would know…?
The helicopters moved away a small distance. The object… remained?
“And perhaps, most importantly, to myself!” Togame tossed her head back to look at her friend, her grin almost a snarl. “I am Empress! I did this!”
She pushed the third red button.
Nichole5 had to shield her machine eyes against the explosion of light from above.
Some kind of large, three-sided, pyramidal block hovered a few meters over the top of the tower, impossibly bright and totally silent.
“I do not know this technology…” She whispered.
“EM Drive,” Togame crowed. “Dreamt of in America, developed in China, and built by us!”
She turned about and grabbed Nichole’s hands.
“Us! A working reactionless motor!” Nichole was unaware that human eyes could gleam like machine’s. “The solar system is at our feet!”
Her friend seemed to recollect herself and where she was. She closed and locked the panel, gesturing at the elevator.
“May I see you out?”