Noriko Yasuda


Lieutenant Commander


Commander Noriko Yasuda had been twenty three when she had her first encounter with the aliens. Her abduction had been what would eventually be dryly categorized as "Class Four," which meant genomic and genetic experimentation. For a long time, she had ascribed the nightmares and occasional sickness to a poor diet, to stress, to too much TV… When she had come to realize the terrible truth, she had kept it a secret, ashamed to even admit she believed in such an outlandish thing as malignant extraterrestrials. Chance and fate had conspired to give her an opportunity very few in her position would ever have. She was not the only abducted into UNETCO, but she was (to her knowledge) the highest ranked. More than six years ago, she had been a young police officer in Okinawa, the young wife of an American pilot. They had been married for less than a year when UNETCO had petitioned for his reassignment. He had come highly recommended by his superiors, and the organization was in need of the best pilots the world had to offer.

So he had disappeared ("Just some light test piloting," he had told her at the time), and a few months later, she had been told that she was to be relocated. Later, she learned the truth: very early in the war, the aliens and their human thralls had picked up on the strategy of using information picked from the minds of front line soldiers to determine their civilian identity. The families of several soldiers had been kidnapped, and UNETCO had decided to invest in most closely guarding and protecting the direct relatives of all front line operatives, including pilots. There were no "sanctuary communities" built at that time, so she had been allowed to stay on base.

There, confronted by the truth, her worst fears about her prior abductions had been confirmed. Determined to be useful, Noriko had tried to volunteer for combat duty herself, working every day to reach the high standards all XCOM soldiers had to meet or exceed. Then, during a desperate interception attempt against an alien Terror Ship, her husband had been shot down. They had not been together for very long, but the grief of losing him had almost broken her. The only thing that had kept her going was the cause, and the hatred that burned in her for revenge.

Every day, battling exhaustion and her own limits, she worked to become accepted as a soldier. When she had achieved that, and became the first XCOM soldier not drawn from the military, Noriko set her sights higher. Even after being wounded, she had bulled through weeks of physical therapy (plasma burns then being new and unconquered medical territory) and gotten back on the front lines. She was the second woman in UNETCO to advance to the rank of Lieutenant, and the first to make Captain. Commander Barrett had jumped ahead in their little competition and made Colonel and then Commander first, after the Rio Turkey Shoot, and the Irhil M'Goun reassignment, but Noriko didn't mind.

Barrett was a penny pincher, and known for being fiscally conservative, while Noriko knew she was seen as a more aggressive risk taker, happier spending money on guns and bombs than research and development. Still, she'd been happy enough commanding assaults against the hated alien foe in person, rather than managing things from behind a desk. It took a while, but she'd made more than a few friends in high places, and when the previous Colonel of Seiran had died in a mental duel with an Ethereal (always a risky prospect), she got the promotion. Six months later, the old Commander – who had built Seiran – retired after suffering from a stroke.

So it had come to be that a humble woman from Okinawa, a widow and an abductee who had lost her husband and suffered the most unforgivable of violations, now oversaw the defense of the eastern Pacific Rim from the creatures that had so wronged her. Even after so much, reading reports of how many of the alien invader had been killed still made her smile. For her, there was only one policy with regard to the enemy: zero tolerance. The aliens and those who aided them all had to be eradicated.

It was for that latter reason that she had been so eager to adopt the martial artists from Nerima. Over the years, she had brought together a superb group of combat operatives, all specialists in the art of hunting and killing aliens of all stripes. The idea of losing even one to fellow humans, misguided in their alliance with the star spawn, had always galled her and forced her to refrain from more aggressive action against the Sirius Movement. All because of Section Seven of the UNETCO Charter.

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