Firefall Timeline 2185.8

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Entry 2185.8 - "The Crystite Boom"

"Junichiro Ozu was a Japanese national who worked as a general contractor during the construction of New Tokyo. His account provides a unique understanding of the persona of Shigeru Ichizoku, the rebirth of Kisuton, and most importantly the discovery of crystite power. I was fortunate enough to personally meet Mr. Ozu in a chance encounter in Australia about ten years ago. He was more than happy to talk with me about his experiences."

-Aris Holden - Historian


I think it's pretty absurd to debate which country was damaged most by the Firefall. I'll admit it was terrible across the world, but what happened in Japan is incomparable.

I remember when the rock fell out of orbit. We could see it all the way from my hometown in Akita. We watched, mouths agape, as it silently smashed into Tokyo. Moments later the deafening roar of the city's destruction hit us. It didn't feel real until that point, but afterwards there was no doubt it had destroyed everything for hundreds of kilometers. They say that the blast wave was the same as two hundred atomic bombs but I don't know about this. All I know is that I did everything I could to get my family as far away from it as fast as possible.

We were lucky. We ended up on one of the final ships to leave Akita, a fishing boat. It took us up to Sapporo where we found ourselves anchored in the harbor for five months. The officials in Sapporo, they wouldn't let us dock, wouldn't take any more refugees. They said there was nowhere for us to go, there just wasn't enough room in the city. And I'll tell you what we believed them. The harbor was so packed that you could walk across without getting your feet wet.

It was a rough time. Being stuck in those conditions... With meteors still falling. Every night they would light up the sky. Occasionally a big one would hit the Sea of Japan and send rogue waves towards the harbor, sinking some of the smaller vessels.

The first chance I saw to get out, I took it. The only jobs that were open were in Tokyo of all places. I heard stories about how some crazy billionaire wanted to rebuild the city, calling it New Tokyo. I didn't care about his reasons, I just wanted a way to take care of what was left of my family. Within a week of being hired as a general contractor I found myself at the job site. It was then that I figured out what they were calling New Tokyo was little more than a tent city. My entire family shared a ten by ten slab of concrete covered with a tarp. It wasn't ideal by any condition, but it was better than being refugees in a harbor.

I worked with a crew of five guys. In classic managerial fashion, we had all been provided workframes, but there was only enough electricity to run one of them at a time. At the time, the whole camp was powered by a converted steam-engine. There was barely enough electricity to keep us from freezing to death, let alone to run all the equipment. It made things tough, but we all had a job to do, so we rotated chargeups and then tried to conserve our energy over the course of the week. We rarely made it more than two days without some sort of delay. Still, we did everything we could to get the job done.

The worst part about New Tokyo was the air. You couldn't work without a mask because of all the dust and ash floating around. I remember at the end of each day, I'd have a layer of dust and snow caked on to the filter of my mask making it difficult to even breathe. It was disgusting. I wouldn't let my family out of our tent without one.

The water was also damn disgusting. It was barely drinkable, tasted like it came from a plumbing trap. I ended most days at the bar. I spent a lot of nights drinking sake. It was my escape. Helped me to pretend I was in Akita and forget about life in New Tokyo. Most nights were the same, a standard crowd doing the same thing I was.

One night, however, I got to share a glass of sake with Shigeru Ichizoku [CEO of Kisuton and primary investor of the rebuilding of New Tokyo] himself. It was a night I'll never forget. Ichizoku himself talking to a slouch like me. It must have been a sight to see...

[Ozu pauses to smile as he reflects on this]

I don't think most people understand what it was like for him. He had the weight of the whole country on his shoulders. The Firefall had shattered Japan and left its people without a home, but Ichizoku just couldn't let this happen. He had invested all his money into New Tokyo, hired tens of thousands of workers like me. Paid us. Gave our families something to eat... Somewhere to sleep. He gave us hope. And yet, he was failing. New Tokyo was failing. I think it is impossible for someone like me to give someone like him advice. What the hell would I know that he didn't already. So I did the only thing I could think of. I bought him a drink and I listened.

The next day, he went to survey the meteorite. And he found something. He figured out something was strange about that damn rock. The next thing I know, hundreds of scientists were showing up to do experiments on the asteroid rocks. We'd hear stories about how they hadn't seen anything like them. How the rocks broke the laws of physics. How they weren't effected by gravity quite like they ought to have been. Real strange stuff...

These stories went on for years with no real excitement or change. All I knew was that I had a job and my family had food on their plates. Then the EMP hit. [ed. An Electro Magnetic Pulse was caused by the first test of utilizing crystite as a power source] It brought our power-grid right down and fried electronics all over the place. One of the techs told me later he was fixing blown transformers for six months as far as ten kilometers outside of town.

That was the day that crystite boom started.

Within a month Ichizoku had us building a power plant that ran off the crystite. At the same time, Kisuton began selling licenses for the process of using crystite for electricity. Suddenly it was like New Tokyo was a boom town or something. It was an exciting time, it was like we could finally see the sun rising after a terrible night.

Next thing I know, since we were the only ones that knew how to build the crystite power plants, my crew and I started getting job offers from all over the globe. I ended up taking one in Australia, working for Ashworth Electric. It was nice to finally get my family out of that dusty place. Not that Australia was much better.

[Ozu laughs jokingly]

As we were leaving, I ran into Ichizoku once more, he just happened to be at the docks as the same time as me. Believe it or not, Ichizoku actually remembered me. We talked for almost an hour about how crystite would bring peace to the world and how it would finally end these new dark ages. It was good to see a smile on his face. It's a smile that I'll always remember...

When we parted ways he shook my hand and wished me luck. It was the last time I saw Ichizoku, or Japan for that matter.

[Ozu pauses for a few moments as if he debated revealing the next part]

You know, I still lose sleep sometimes... I hate to imagine how he took it. You know, when he figured out how wrong he was.

The Firefall Timeline Articles

Main - 2177.8 - 2178.6 - 2180.1 - 2182.6 - 2184.2 - 2185.8 - 2189.3 - 2228.3 - 2229.6 - 2233.98