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Woman Claims To Have Caused The Blue Ash Crisis

This entry is rousing.  We received a letter from a Chino Tokuma who claims to have worked on a secret project that caused the Blue Ash Crisis.

It took little time for Apricot to track down this Chino Tokuma.  The magazine article had little substance and a lot of speculation claiming the letter was too sensitive to publish.  The neighborhood was pleasant to say the least.  A quiet urban sprawl, a few children playing in the alleyways.  She passed by several houses spruced up with plants.  She had always found the inner city to be less than pleasing.  All that concrete and how it was devoid of nature.  This area, however, it was beautiful.  The brick apartment buildings are surrounded by so much vegetation it appears as if they naturally grew out of the ground themselves.

The sound of a stream echoed as the other side of the road was home to a creek.  1514 Dujho street, after seeing the numbers displayed on the black cast iron fence Apricot smiled.  This was Chino's home.  She walks up the concrete stoop knocking on her forest green door.  After a few moments, the door opens to a mature Uchellan woman.  Apricot found it hard to place her age despite the black graying hair and pitted crows feet.  She had a blue button up shirt on with a pair of blond slacks.  "Hello dear, is there anything I can help you with."

"My name is Apricot Signa, I am a student journalist.  I read you had a story to tell about what happened during the Crisis." Apricot says in her best attempt at a sullen voice.

Chino nods her head with a half smile.  "Step in dear."  Once Apricot steps inside Chino's Uchellan background became clear.  The hard wood floors and low mat black furniture.  The warm lighting and choice of shrubbery.  She is led into a larger living room.  Chino ushers Apricot to sit at a small table.  "I will get us some tea to drink."

Apricot quickly rushes to mind for the proper etiquette to drink tea.  Being non-native to Uchella she forgot her mannerism.  Instead, she often came across as a "galjo" a derogatory term in Uchellan for a careless foreigner.

As Chino returns with a plate of hot tea Apricot places her knees together sitting so her rear just touches the heels of her feet.  She bows attempting to at least mask she had forgotten most of the conventions of tea drinking.  Chino lets out a small snicker.  "My dear, you are an immigrant are you not?" Apricot hesitantly nods her head.  "With a name like Signa what could you expect.  I don't even think my children know the old ways anymore.  I respect you tried though.  Now now sit like a modern lady."

Apricot at eases herself releasing the tension.  "You have decorated your home so nicely, miss Tokuma."

"Flattering an old lady like me will not get your report finished.  You must be eager to hear what I have to say.  I won't bore you with niceties.  I know you youngsters are busy people." Chino says taking a sip of her tea.  Apricot smirked slightly appreciating the consideration.  "Now, before we start I want to know exactly why you are interested in interviewing me?"  Chino asks.

"Well," Apricot says.

Chino interrupts her saying "I want the honest truth.  Not some slippery correct way of saying things.  I have to have you agree though nothing leaves this room."

Apricot nervously chuckles to herself.  "I don't know why myself.  I am just interested in what happened.  Someone said I might find an answer to a question I had if I understood it."

"And what question is nagging you?" Chino asks.

Apricot shakes her head.  "No, that question sounds crazy."

Chino nods her head.  "When I was a young girl like you I would have felt the same way.  I won't press you on it.  If it is the Crisis I would imagine it is not a comfortable subject."

"No, it really is not." Apricot wonders if Chino already knew.  She imagines that this elderly lady had gained a wisdom over the years considering her claimed experience.  Some healthy skeptisism of what is what.  That she had become an oracle.  Apricot blew it off as wishful thinking.  Though she was curious to know if this lady paid any mind to current events.  "Did you hear about the Ichigari Grocery attack?"

Chino nods her head.  "It was all over the news."

"I was there.  Do you believe what they are saying about it?"

"I suppose I should not with a question like that."

Apricot feels a seriousness come over her face.  "What if I said there was this monster."

"If you are asking if I think you are crazy, I do not," Chino says with a faint smile.  "In fact, I would tell you I have seen strange things too.  Lots of them.  I am an old woman now though.  I can't go on any longer.  I told my story to that strange man who runs that rag of a magazine.  Even he did not publish it."

"What is your story?" Apricot asks.

"Oh well, I grew up as a farm girl in Yoshima.  My parents were farmers and their parents and so on until antiquity.  My parents noticed at an early age I was quite good at my studies.  I developed a real love for electricity before I was ten.  I had created an electric generated that used water by the age of twelve.  The state caught wind of this and the Uchellan empire conscripted me to work with the Blue Ash project.  Blue Ash at the time was a tiny fishing and mining community.  When I had first arrived my job was to assist in establishing power lines along with city planners.

It did not take long before we transformed the sleepy little town of Blue Ash into a bustling city.  A drilling expedition had been working all the while below the city.  It became cover for what we really done." Chino says finishing the last of her tea.  She grabs a silver pitcher pouring herself another cup.  "Would you care for me to top off your's?" Chino asks.

"No thank you, but please continue," Apricot says.

Chino places the pitcher down and takes a sip of tea.  "Below the city, we had made a very elaborate machine.  Its purpose was to make teleportation possible.  We were rather proud of our work and early tests showed we could in fact transport matter from one end of the base to the other in a matter of seconds.  Things changed however when we attempted our first manned test.  We discovered it was not so simple as we had thought.  Inside the gate was a black void similar to that of outer space.  We called this the between plane." Chino smirked.  "This is where things will get weird hun."  Apricot nods her head.

"The leaders of the group were the Okabe family and a man named Uraias Hilderic.  Uraias was a strange man.  I later found out why but at the time I found him to be focused on his work.  So Uraias would spend a lot of time in the main corridor mumbling to himself taking notes.  The plans and schematics he had drawn out were far more advanced than anyone had ever seen before.  He demanded that it was this spot to make this device.  It was a gate but not like the others.  This gate did not create a space but would rather be used to look into hyperspaces.  He had very specific coordinates too.

We had assembled a satellite that would be our observer.  Everything went as planned.  We set the satellite out into the hyperspace and could observe from the satellite's transmission what the hyperspace was like.  We quickly discovered however everything was not as we expected.  There were lots of orbs floating around inside the hyperspace.  We had simply thought they were pockets of energy that had balled together and could not dissipate.

Uraias devised a way to harness the energy, so we built a second satellite.  Once it was inside the void we put a technician in a suit and sent him out with the thing.  I was manning the electric output that day.  It was difficult, my job was to keep the power on for the city goers above while maintaining the gate so our technician did not get trapped inside.  Uraias had not shown up.  I felt uneasy, to begin with, but that made me feel even more uneasy.  There was an extremely large orb that appeared in the distance.  It rushed through destroying everything in its path.  The sound it made was so loud it destroyed the radio speakers.

We were in a panic.  A complete blackout.  When we left the control room we found Uraias in the main corridor surrounded by those orbs.  A pair of workers had been ripped to pieces, he was eating them.  He was saying some crazy things mumbling about a new world.  Those blue orbs just kept flying out of the gate.  Whispering around the room like they were alive.  That was when the Okabe clan showed up and destroyed the gate.  They took all of us into custody and we were arrested.  I was cleared of all charges fairly quickly.  Told not to talk about any of this."

Apricot nods her head with concern.  "That sounds terrible."

"I am not done." Chino continues.  "We had built that city in a particular design.  In the form of a sigil.  It was all a ritual.  The people who lived above were spirited away.  I cannot imagine what happened to them.  The city stayed intact.  There was no explosion.  The sun went black for several days, that is true but that was not from smoke.  I never found out what those blue orbs were though or where they went to.  I never left.  I just stayed here.  Uraias, we never found out what happened to him.  He was not alone though.  We always thought he was babbling to himself like it was the way he thought.  He was taking orders from something.  He was not alone.  He sure designed none of those devices.  That is my story dear."

"Thank you, Miss Tokuma," Apricot says.  "I really appreciate what you have told me.  It answers my question."

"I am glad dear.  I can rest easy now knowing my story will live on beyond me." Chino says.  "The nights seem to get longer these days.  Now, go on your way.  I did my good deed for the day."  Chino walks Apricot to her front door bidding her farewell.  As Apricot leaves she cannot help but feel as though Chino didn't tell her everything and she had a sneaking suspicion those blue orbs may be the phantoms that escaped the reaper.
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