"Nearly half of Japanese citizens would not support the use of the Army even if Japan were invaded." —News report, August 2001

Colonel Yamato of the Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force sat in his office, the lights turned so low that it might as well have been candlelight, and watched the computer screen in front of him. It flickered as a new update was loaded into the system by a distant system operator.

The red dots were even closer now. They had appeared fifteen minutes earlier without warning. At least, without any warning to Yamato. Surely the Americans had seen something, known something about it beforehand. But they must have not told the JSDF command about it, misinterpreting their data. Surely if the Japanese commanders had known about it earlier they would have said something? Of course they would have. They would not deny their loyal men the opportunity to die for their country. Still, where were their orders?

The instructions that had come with the invasion alert had been very explicit: Do not mobilize under any circumstances. The attack was not near Yamato's base, and presumably his commanders would be busy discussing strategy before mobilizing the rear troops. The politicians would likewise be busy talking in the Diet about the "defensive action." Yamato did not care much about politics; he just wanted to serve his country. The screen flickered again and the dots shifted locations.

They were at the shore! Invaders must be landing on Japanese soil at that moment! Yamato's hand jerked towards the intercom button and then withdrew. Where were the symbols representing Japan's warriors? The local army bases should have had time to mobilize by now. Where were Japan's loyal defenders? Yamato grabbed at his phone and connected to the army base nearest the invasion. He was surprised when the operator patched him through to the colonel in charge; why wasn't the commander busy with the defenses?

"Colonel? It's Colonel Yamato. May I respectfully inquire as to what is occurring? I don't see any of your forces on my tactical display." He listened for a long moment. "If you don't have any orders to move out then might I suggest that you do so on your own authority?" He listened to the explanation of the fellow colonel. "You have orders to remain in your base? Why? Of course I would never question my general's judgement; I merely worry that there has been a problem that is preventing him from giving the correct order." There was a brief moment of discussion more, and then Yamato offered, "Of course, of course, I shouldn't be taking up your time like this. I am sure that you have important decisions to make." He hung up the phone and stared out into space. What was going on? He turned on his personal radio and tuned it to a civilian radio station.

The news was incredible: Civilians not immediately under threat were blockading army bases all around the country, but the ones in the landing zone were seizing weapons and attacking the invaders. The Diet was tangled up in a debate over whether they could constitutionally declare war on the invaders. The American Seventh Fleet, Third Marine Expeditionary Force, Fifth Air Force, and 9th Theater Army Area Command had mobilized, often over the objections of the JSDF commanders whom they were stationed with, although for some reason they weren't showing up on Yamato's tactical display. Yamato assumed that if they were moving then the Tropic Lightning Division and the 45th Corps Support Group would be on their way from America along with other reinforcements, and for a moment he felt relieved. Japan would be well defended. Then his expression changed and he straightened up in his chair.

Yamato was ashamed. How dare he think such thoughts? Japan was being defended, true, but not by it's own people. It was being defended by gaijin, foreigners. It deserved the protection of it's own people! He again demanded of empty space and of himself, "Where are Japan's loyal defenders? Where are Japan's noble warriors in her hour of need? We are hiding in our bases! We must take action!" He stood up and turned towards the door. Obviously something had gone seriously wrong at the SDF command centers, preventing the commanders from giving the men and women of the defense forces the order to serve their country. Yamato paused just long enough to straighten out his uniform and carefully dampen any signs of emotion on his face before striding to the door, opening it, and stepping out to face the enemy.