Saki's Symphony

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Hiroshima, Japan

7:45 a.m. August 6, 1945


It was a quiet, clear, breezy, and overall a relatively slow morning in Hiroshima, but very few people within the city knew how ironic that fact was.

Those few that did know about the irony of the lazy morning at this point in time tended to walk down the streets significantly more quickly than everybody else. They also tended to be in groups. One such group of three people now walked down the street together, increasingly briskly, but they did not run. Time travellers rarely ran unless they had found what they were looking for, or they had been found by what was looking for them.

Drawing attention to what they truly were would be foolish, so the trio were dressed as members of a wedding; like just the morning's mundanity, though, their appearances were a lie.

Two of them, a Time Lord and Time Lady, were walking quickly because of a sense of urgency. The third only walked fast because of euphoric anticipation. Looking forward to what was to come was her favorite part of killing, and she was ecstatic over the fact that her companions were desperate enough to have asked for her presence with them this morning in spite of--and/or, she grinned in secret glee, because of---the fact that what history said happened to this city today paled in comparison to her own accomplishments.

She walked on, behind the timelords, unconcerned with their ceaseless prattle, and mused about that; perhaps "accomplishments" was not a lofty enough word. After all--she was an artist, and her medium was death.

Her name was Sakura April Shinguuji, and she was the deadliest weapon in Hiroshima today. She was, like every other cruelly efficient and lethal weapon, despised until the day desperately needed, and then eagerly embraced. The Time Lords were always so cordial when they needed her. She had nodded throughout their tediously boring explanations for why it was so important and how the world was at stake and transmitters and extraplanetary contact and covering the radiation evidence and at one point became excited enough by her growing anticipation to actually add something to their decently intense but long-winded orations to her that were framed with smiles and pleases. She liked the possibilities she recognized in coming to one of the few places where even her greatest magnum opus would not be traceable, and sighed with contentment as she realized this was so. It would be worth it. She was absolutely certain. And so, at the end of their boring passionate invitation, when they asked her if she could withstand the "fortissimo" of this mission, she happily reminded them that she could kill them all.

It was true. She could.

It was a capability that was not immediately obvious on casual observation, but one could get a hint if they looked closely. Her pale skin was one hint. Her red eyes were another. Her lack of warm-blooded body temperature was the most revealing hint about what she truly was, and yet it was her blue hair that was the hint that was the easiest to spot, and so the one that made the Time Lords decide disguises were necessary.

Sakura April hated disguises. They lengthened the time between the loud parts, and she eschewed disguises because they made things boringly easy, but the promise of the noises she would get to make and hear today was worth it to her. That was why she nodded her head when they cautiously suggested to her that she wear a disguise on this mission, and by that point she was so thrilled with the possibilities being here today promised that instead of pointing out that she was in disguise already by simply keeping her components in the shape of a humanoid body, she merely hummed along to the songs echoing in her mind.

Her human appearance was one of the few disguises that Sakura really even cared for, in spite of the required presence of fragile bits like arms and legs and inefficient ears and breakable fingers and pitifully shielded eyes and the seeming presence of humans' wrinkled, yielding flesh. Yet Sakura did LOVE the disguise that was her humanoid body, and for one simple reason--lambs do not fear what looks like them. This was usually the thought that she was often laughing so hard at, and though the knowledge that the upcoming party would be ruined if she laughed at it now kept her silent in front of the humans they passed, it still made her grin from ear to ear, and to walk the tiniest bit faster down the Hiroshima streets, reaching the limit in speed that the disguise she was wearing allowed.

Her brocaded zori meant that she had to labor to keep up with the Time Lords, and she hated this, but she eventually had to admit that the two Time Lords had concocted a very good disguise. Her blue hair, and indeed most of her somewhat-pale face, was covered by an elaborate wataboshi. The dazzlingly white shiromuku covered her body almost completely and was beautiful and disarming--even though it was quite literally doing the opposite. The tightly-secured kimono's bulk concealed every gun, knife, and instrument of her trade without even allowing them to clink or rattle. That wasn't her favorite part, though, or even why she had come around to appreciating the disguise. It was the futokoro-gatana a bride was permitted---no--expected, to carry in her the folds of her obi that gave her such joy. She had begun fantasizing about the possibilties immediately, and these thoughts made her giggle through most of the briefing; she'd seen very little reason to stop until they thought they needed to start again at the beginning. She insisted upon providing the kaiken herself before they ever travelled to 1945. They acquiesced. She knew they would. And here she was. Ready. Walking. Blissful.

It was perfect, and would be even more perfect once they reached their destination. That was what made her smile; so much so that her grin of elation was easily seen below the wataboshi and recognizable as the look of a woman on the best day of her life. She smiled about the overwhelming percussions and wild abandon. Her grin of expectancy spread all the way across her face. She walked a little faster.

She loved the disguise. It let the Time Lords to the talking, and, as always, they did. They used their paper, and their lies, and got toward the likeliest site in the city after a relentless whispered debate to one another about where the signal would be sent off of the planet right before the Americans' would conveniently make the transmitter undetectable by humans in just a few minutes. Or whatever it was they had said to her and were now whispering to one another. Why listen to it again?

Sakura didn't pay attention to their prattle. As always, she paid attention to other things that were more important to her. Like who walked with a limp, and how few doors had locks, and how thick walls were likely to be, and how both of her companion Time Lords were trying to avoiding making eye contact with people that they knew would soon be dead.

Xadium was the one that asked for directions to a shrine close to the base.

The Intern was the one who wept and lamented where soldiers could hear it that they had been separated from their group by the air raid siren, and if they might offer help. They both took turns asking soldiers if they had seen a group in montsuki kimono and hakama who looked really excited.

Her disguise worked perfectly to compliment this--mostly because Sakura April was so ecstatic about the delights awaiting her as to put a bride to shame. Sakura April simply walked ahead and mentally sang a potential melody to herself, and allowed the Time Lords to lie to the people they met. They lied that the high-ranking officer they were most suspicious of was waiting to escort their group and had financed the wedding. They lied about when they had arrived in the city. They lied that it was a good morning. They lied about how they would have the reception in the city today. She watched the Time Lords lie to the people of Hiroshima about why there were there and who they were; and when they were not lying with their mouths open, Sakura watched the Time Lords lie with their silence as well, while the clock crept toward 8:00 and they said nothing.

Finally, they arrived at the heavily guarded outpost that concealed the entrance underground. They climbed upon the roof and all three of them looked over at the many soldiers guarding what they had been told to, and as the Time Lords obsessively checked their chronometers and said how fortunate they were that the device hadn't been activated yet, Sakura considered how fortunate she was that so many humans remained behind, and how there was no place for the Time Lords to sneak by them, and deny her getting what she had been promised. She admired and savored her favorite part of what was to come--her first victims' incognizance. She heard their unhurried heartbeats--a testimony to her stealth, with great satisfaction. She grinned widely enough that the Time Lords looked away, and then looked at one another guiltily. She waited for them to speak to her, knowing they had no choice. They needed time, somebody else, or a distraction, and they didn’t have the first two. There were not even any DOORS. Every bit of the structure they were atop was lined with solid Duranium ore, which would require just enough effort or bang to get through that the humans would notice, attack, and call for help. Twenty seconds went by, but neither Xadium nor the Intern told her to do what they all knew was necessary. She pointed at the speed bumps below them, and said,

“Now dearies, just tell yourselves what you have to—there’s no easy way. They are dead anyway, and you know it, and nobody else ever will. The nuclear option you brought is ready and waiting, and won't wait anymore!”

As Sakura leapt off of the roof with an ecstatic flourish out over the soldiers, the Time Lords whispered something about focusing on the people they could save, but their words didn’t matter to her right now.

Sakura April landed among a banquet, and when she drew the kaiken instead of wasting time with a greeting, the world turned into a carnival of fulfillment and glory. Death had now entered Hiroshima.

They struck and fired at her again and again with their guns and knives, hiding their fragile bodies behind primitive metallurgy and chemical reactions while they shouted to one another to attack her again. She parried and dodged, allowing them their illusions, and listened to their voices to save the most interesting ones for later.

There was no reason to rush, so she didn’t. Their weapons could harm her body no more than a casual insult, the bomb that would be dropped in a few minutes was an inconvenience worth the price of admission, and besides, this was her favorite part. More and more of them showed up in response to the screaming. Everything was perfect. She savored their resistance and shouts and presumption of victory as she danced unharmed among them, carefully restricting her movements to appear within the meager reflex range of the human nervous system. This toying lasted until she had identified the one with the least interesting vocal range--who coincidentally was the only one noticing Xadium and Neminix slide into the hole they had cut into the building—and so she leapt upon him, seized him by the throat, and--for fun, paused long enough to let a blow land on her convincingly. She hesitated just long enough to savor the basal utterance of triumph from his allies, and then lifted the man into the air and squeezed his neck hard enough that his flesh ran through her fingers like wetted clay. She turned, grinning, to see their reactions, and their faces did not disappoint.

It was then, as her victims realized enough of the truth to gasp and take that instinctive and oh-so-delicious first step backwards, that Sakura made eye contact with each one in turn, and feasted upon the growing doubt in their eyes. They understood, but only now. Death was the remedy for human illusions. This was her favorite part.

Humans had the obnoxiously hubristic habit of considering themselves above other animals--somehow more than creatures of flesh, and exempt from nature’s laws, so she joyfully used the wedding kaiken to dissuade them of these notions, and pirouetted across the ground to the beat of the growing song within her mind as she effortlessly broke bones, and severed the tendons and muscles that would have allowed her guests to leave her performance early. She avoided every organ that would prove a showstopper, and by the time the last of her victims were no longer standing, not a trace of white on her shiromuku remained.

It was only after all were on the ground that she put her knife away and took out the more precise implements required to enact her songs in earnest. All the while, she continued to play, never breaking rhythm.

She performed her waltz upon their groaning bodies, and sang along to the repeating motif of begging, screaming, and silence. She played on and on until all the instruments were broken, and still was singing when they all stopped existing a few minutes later, as she danced between them on the grass slick with their blood. It had been everything she hoped for, just as she knew it would. This was always her favorite part.