Honoka - Niigata: You Win Some, You Lose Some

Description: A face-to-face meeting between Agent Little and someone he dubs the "Dragon Lady" means both of them are going to have to watch their backs a little more carefully in the future.

There is a large unmarked warehouse not far from the Niigata port. It's unmarked so as not to call attention to the import/export business that's being run here -- an above-board company, for the most part. Except for one peculiar export.

"Okay. Did I or did I -not- tell you to cut that crap out? It's been three weeks already! Plenty of time to, I dunno, stop taking orders!"

The voice is coming from a young woman, about 20 years old, dressed in a black and white blouse with a large overcloak. She's wearing violet sunglasses, indoors, so as to obscure her blue eyes from view.

And she's currently yelling at six gentleman easily twice her age, who could probably best her in a fight if she didn't have two black-suited bodyguards behind her.

"Now. Maybe you don't understand how this works, so I'll repeat it. You listen to me... and I take care of you. You can run whatever you want on the side as long as you LISTEN TO ME." She slings her hand at the metal container in bay 3 -- and instantly, the warehouse is filled with the sound of bent metal. A hemispherical crater appears in the side of it, as if she'd thrown a weight about the size of a bowling ball at it.

As the sound continues reverberating throughout the warehouse, she tilts her head at the man who seems to be in charge. "How... interested are you in listening to me now?"

Well, this was a turn.

Daniel Jack was an agent of Interpol. In the wake of a recent tournament in Southtown, he was assigned to a rather mundane case. An incredibly minor case, though a step up from investigating crabgrass, that was almost certainly given to him to keep him busy, or worse, humiliate him. Daniel Jack has endured a significant amount of torment both from his boss, known as 'The Chief,' as well as the Neo-League parade that he had been made to march through.

It comes as a surprise, that his investigations actually went somewhere.

The subject of the investigation was, as established, quite minor in the grand scheme of international crime. It might not even count as a crime. The issue was simply cocoa. Chocolate in its fundamental state. Large amounts had been moving in the local marketplaces across Japan, with the holiday season in full swing. However, as the beancounters in International Fraud had noted, this was not reflected with movement to the wholesale model. Cocoa was effectively moving out from plantations across the world, and arriving in the Japanese marketplaces, with no record from the middleman. The only clear evidence is that money was being exchanged with a mysterious entity from .

And that is what took Daniel this large, unmarked warehouse.

The detective's instincts took him to the only other entity that might care about how cocoa would pass hands: the Japanese government. Customs required that cocoa be kept track off, as well as any respective fees and transactions. Niigata, as a major port city managing the transportation of cocoa goods, was noted as being the host port of several ships that received cocoa transactions according to the beancounters. Find the ships, find the records, and then, find what was happening to the cocoa.

The trouble was, as Daniel soon found with local officials, nobody used either the C-word or the F-word.

Corruption and fraud work hand in hand, and while Daniel tried to be -tactful-, the presence of an Interpol agent investigating the customs would be an embarassment. Daniel was getting contradictary answers, cold shoulders, and what could even count as an obstruction of justice, if Interpol wasn't limited on what counted as its authority. Despite this, Daniel Jack found one thing that stood out in all the answers.

Nobody mentioned this warehouse.

Not even the few locals seemed to recognize it. Daniel never pressed on the issue, but when outlining potential import/export warehouses, this one always seemed to escape local's lists. It was a non-entity, something not worth paying attention to. Most damning to Daniel's eyes was what meager official records that he had access to, none mentioned this warehouse. Daniel Jack suspected that this warehouse was the hotbed of -something-, even if it was specifically cocoa.

And so far, he liked what he heard.

It was a cold December night, when Daniel Jack made his move on the warehouse. He was dressed in his Interpol greys, capped by a grey fedora and a grey trenchcoat. Entry to the warehouse was simple. The outside fence was padlocked, nothing that a quick Kasane Ate couldn't cut through. Casing the exterior, the detective had a few key points of entry. The loading bay, which he stayed the hell away from. An employee's entrance, potentially easy to slip into with a bit of lockpicking, but also very likely to be guarded. Same issue on the administrative entrance, opposite of the loading bay. There was another side entrance by the garbage cans, the opposite side of the building. And finally, almost as a side note, there were the large skylights up top, peppering the ceiling and even some of the walls, on top of where the manager's office overlooked the warehouse grounds.

Daniel ran with the garbage entrance.

He wouldn't have a sure entrance on the topside, and climbing up was a little too much for the old man. And of the entrances, he gambled on the garbage entrance. The gamble paid off; the door wasn't deadbolted, and with a little finesse, he manages to force the doorknob lock to click open. Slipping inside, he creeps along slowly, dilligently.

He had broken in warehouses before.

Keeping between containers, he moves cautiously, listens alertly, as he moves around the perimeter of the warehouse. Until, ultimately, he stops dead, the stony-faced detective, very slowly, shifts his momentum back as he creeps nearly completely around the edge of the container. He had to avoid any sudden movements. Movement tended to draw the eye. The Agent of Interpol freezes just before he completely slips behind the container, leaving the edge of one eye peeking out.

As he watches the strange young lady yell at the men.

This crime ring's been running for several years. The Empress, as she would be known by the locals, has not been associated with them long: it'd been three weeks since she first really sunk her talons into the gentlemen here. And apparently, they need reminders.

The tallest seems to be in charge. Middle-aged, more than his fair share of stubble, and he easily has a foot on the Empress. He makes sure to demonstrate this by staring down his nose at her, angrily flicking a butterfly knife back and forth. And saying nothing, clearly holding back on... something.

The Empress gives him about five seconds of her stare, keeping her arms crossed before her. "Okay. It's like that, is it?" She glances around, narrowing her eyes for a moment in concern. What -was- that? Irritably, she turns her eyes back up to the man she'd pointedly ignored.

"You missed your opportunity, dumbass."

One palm. Right to the chest. That's all it takes to send Tall and Lanky reeling back a good six feet, clutching his chest.

"I turned my head for five seconds. Amateurs, all of you." She turns to the gangster immediately to her right -- said gangster scrabbles backwards so quickly he nearly falls over. "You. What did I say?" She waits through a second of stammering before interrupting, "I said -drop the goddamn shipments- or I drop each and every one of you."

She whirls on a third gentleman to her left. "You. I know. I know what you're thinking! You're thinking of another lame-assed excuse! Quit wasting my time, and I won't have to visit you fuckups so often."

The Empress closes her eyes at that, falling silent for a moment. Nostrils flare as she breathes.... calming breaths.

Then she points in the direction of the padlock which got ripped apart. And one of her bodyguards starts walking in that direction.

It does not take more than a second and a half for her to turn around, leap forward, and completely -pin- the tall and lanky gangster on the ground. Him: Flat on his back. Her: Hand at his throat, her cloak fluttering to the ground after her sudden motion. It happens so quickly, the sound of his back hitting the floor is echoing through the warehouse before anyone realizes what's going on.

A low voice is all it takes for her to make her statement -- none of the gangsters are even moving a muscle.

"Now. Move this product, and that's it. Not one damn word. Capice?"

Once the Empress releases his throat, he nods. Furiously. Dude doesn't even -know- Italian.

"Now... who just walked in here? One of your guys?"

The Empress has barely broken a sweat... but just about all of the men here are rolling in it.

Daniel was reading the lady dilligently.

Five foot five. Petite, but athletic. Black overcoat, and in spite of a large blouse, the detective could see body armor... and rather tasteless steel boots. Someone who was expected to deal with crap. And good at dealing with it too, judging by the other group. She definately seperate from the main group, who was headed by what looked like the tall guy. But the lady wasn't having any of that. As the detective watches the woman continue to rip off every god damn head, she promptly begins to kick evere ass. The 'dragon lady,' as the detective decides to name Honoka, demonstrated serious technique. Leadership personality, sheer contempt with the other group, and exceptional talent with martial arts.

Looks like a big fish.

As the dragon lady begins to become distracted, Daniel narrows his eyes. Unusual. But as she continues her rant, she emphasizes 'dropping the shipments.' Well, Agent Little was interested in shipments. As she sends out what he can only assume one of her 'personal' men. Something to keep alert on. If he was crawling around, then he might stumble on the detective. A blown cover would be the worst thing now. And then, she mentions that someone had walked in here.

And Daniel takes a glimpse of a sidestep.

As far as the detective knew, he had been found out. Being found out wasn't the end of the world, even when sneaking around like that. Daniel had shadowed violent types before, and had been found out. A nasty run in with the Mad Gears was a rather -hot- memory about that, as well as the fallout leading him to be beaten within an inch of his life, and left for dead in a dumpster.

Reviving oneself in a dumpster was not a pleasant memory for the detective.

The Agent of Interpol had to make sure a few things either didn't happen, or were delayed as long as possible. The first was that they had no idea the extent of the break in. They were confused, responding to an unknown. The longer they remained confused, the more power Daniel held. The second was that while they do not know where he is, they will fan out and search. As long as they are fanned out, Daniel could deal with them one on one. Once they pinpointed him, then he had to look forward to being surrounded. But until then, he could pick them off, as long as he kept them confused. The final issue was to not fight someone who could, and would, beat his ass one on one.

In other words, the dragon lady.

Fighting a gang of toughs wasn't impossible for Daniel, just difficult. Even when you put the bodyguards into the mix, he could muster up on top. But the detective had seen the dragon lady in action. It didn't matter if she sounded like a ringleader of some sort, SOME kind of big player. Daniel wasn't here for big fish, and more importantly, he wasn't equipped to catch them other. Without the goons, she would be a close fight, and if she had the drop of the detective, almost certainly close in her favor. Dealing with her AND the toughs AND the bodyguards at once... would cause the capture of the agent.

Followed by quick execution, of course. So on top of drawing out the uncertainity of the infilitration, on top of keeping himself elusive and them spread out, and on top of the general confusion that was in play, he had to figure out a way to either keep the dragon lady from engaging in the ensuing mess, or even withdrawing. These were tall orders for a man who, at this very minute, could be looking at six toughs, two bodyguards, and a pint-sized martial artist expert coming on top of him now. Daniel had his own uncertainty to play with.

It was time to set things in motion, then.

The detective slips a hand into his trenchcoat. With a swift motion, borrowed from his old rival, he draws out a maglight. With a deft motion, he taps it hard against the container. And immediately, he moves. Low. Fast. Firm. He doesn't go back the way he comes in, leaving the warehouse by the garbage entrance. But he slams the door. And keeps moving. They would either charge down the sound of the noise, or if they had a brain to direct them, they would spread out in the small maze of the containers. Daniel Jack could work with either. The most important thing was to keep moving, keep them confused. And more importantly.

Avoid the dragon lady.

No response. The "Dragon Lady" makes a show of looking at each of the gang members in turn -- and each gives a confused, befuddled look in exchange. Fully on alert, the Empress recalls that she had explicitly asked -all- of this little cabal to be present -- and she counts the number she'd expected to find.

And just as she loosens her grip on the local leader, and starts to get back to her feet, she hears the tap, tap, tap of a maglight. She points at the sound: "You got a vermin problem here. Fan out!" But now that she's on watch, she can home in a bit more carefully. She gestures towards the container, to be sure -- but she fans her hand -away- from the sound. Whoever tried to draw her attention wanted to be -damn- sure to call their attention to the sound, so the "Dragon Lady" simply picks a reasonable course of egrees for a non-ninja to take.

She's pretty sure she's not so unlucky to face a -third- ninja in as many weeks, after all.

Kenichi -really- hated coming along with the Empress nowadays. He'd been one of the locals who had informed her about this shipping operation. It wasn't the 'core' of the shadowy group's operations in the region, but it was one of the best ways to get products and people moved in and out with no questions asked. This whole job that the Empress had stumbled into was supposed to have been taken care of -- and, as in the invasion of a "haunted" ryokan just a few days prior, it already seemed to be turning sour. And the Empress chose -him- to check on the noise, instead of her personal pet? Ugh.

Luckily, Kenichi doesn't have much time to be worried about his plight -- for that's when he stumbles into an Interpol agent with better places to be than here.

Agent Little was no ninja.

He was an experienced sleuth, so his stealth was of a far lower calibur than the expertise of a trained ninja. To no surprise, she calls out for the goons to fan out. That is fine. They were acting in a predictable manner now. Predictable was useful now. They would find him a lot easier now, but Daniel wasn't going to escape: He had to divide and conquer.

And there was that first bodyguard.

The detective rounds a bend, running straight into the bodyguard. Not metaphorically, either. Daniel Jack rounds the edge of a container, and when he sees that man, the agent just keeps up the pace as he beelines it to the bodyguard. Nearly overrunning the larger bodyguard, he simply leads in with a straight palm strike to the man's face, followed by a hand chop straight to the neck. The assault to the head and neck was rapid, and should start the fear response. What should come next from a trained fighter to lash out.

And Daniel would be ready.

Both hands would come out to whatever limb that Kenichi comes out, and if he can't even muster a limb, Daniel will just for the shoulder and hip. Gripping the bodyguard hard, he clamp on with the right, and lead in with the left. And with that, he will hurl the goon straight to the ground in a deft toss, keeping grips on him for a final -twist-, before finishing with a stomp to the head. A nasty, crippling combo, designed to disable.

But not one he will linger on long.

Daniel could hear them coming. Breaking away, he either leaves a bodyguard unconscious, dying, and/or just slowed down. The relentless Agent of Interpol keeps on the move, face tense. He rounds between two containers, circling the warehouse in a loop. Chi begins to build in his body, energy flooding to his limbs. Orange flame dances to his finger tips. He wasn't fleeing now.

He was hunting.

Kenichi is, in the kindest terms, a scrub. He's street-smart to some extent, but he's always been faster to employ words and -act- tough, rather than knowing how to actually -be- tough.

Which means he proves himself to be the perfect prey for Daniel's expert reads -- the palm strike, the hand chop, both set him up for his first instant snap reaction: a retaliatory knuckle sandwich which leaves him open for a quick, efficient takedown. With a sick crunch, he finds himself flat on his back. Down for the count.

But as soon as Daniel has engaged the target, the Empress is already coordinating her pawns. She does not fight fair.

Sudo, the "Dragon Lady's" taller bodyguard, starts moving as soon as Kenichi gets struck in the face. Daniel may have gotten away, but Sudo's quick to pursue, fists balled and ready for action.

And, though he begins to pursue, he's stops when it would take him too far from the -easy- way out.

One by one, the Niigata gang members stop what they're doing, as if struck by divine inspiration, and circle on in the same direction Sudo was. But not blindly -- they're not ghosts in a game of Pac-Man. Intelligently, coordinated by someone with acute knowledge of the layout of the warehouse.

Or by someone who had, in the meantime, leapt to the top of a container, and then used the high vantage point to leap onto the partially-descended hook of one of the container cranes.

"I'm not sure if you've noticed..." comes the Empress' voice, as she pulls her sunglasses off, balanced nimbly upon her new perch atop the crane hook. "But you're outnumbered. Staying to fight... is suicide."

The sound of two metal knives can be heard -- because she -wants- the sound of unsheathed blades to be audible by the agent. "Your -best- choice is to leave through the emergency door behind you. And pray."

The "Dragon Lady" makes an educated guess on Daniel's location based on where he was heard, and her current blind spots. The good thing is, her suggestion bears merit. The -bad- thing is, the Interpol Agent will have to leave the safety of a blind spot to reach it.

And her guards are still closing in.

The Empress starts humming the Final Jeopardy music. Loudly. In other words, Daniel has thirty seconds to comply.

Well, the Dragon Lady expected to fight fair.

Daniel Jack knew how these things should play out. When people's careers are at stake, people are willing to do anything. And when your career is criminal, anything means anything. These men would kill Daniel. And would do so in the most efficient, effective method possible.

Especially with Honoka guiding them.

Daniel Jack hears the sounds of several guards, converging on his point. Yes, yes, he was outnumbered. Yes, yes, staying to fight was suicide. And those were certainly lethal sounding knives. The Dragon Lady made very compelling points on running for the exit. The sheer presence of her personality was weighing down heavily on the detective.

But Daniel wasn't going to let himself be intimidated.

Agent Little's mind carefully sifts through the ever changing situation. She sounds higher up. She may be taking an higher position, perhaps climbing up on a container. Not bad. That limited his options. Unlike Honoka, he didn't have an intuitive knowledge of the layout of the warehouse. They were closing in on him, winding in. Looking alongside the containers, it looked like he was going to be boxed in. And being boxed was going to be a death sentence. When one plan failed, it was time to take a new one.

And frankly, he just got inspired on taking the high ground.

The detective jumps towards one container's outer shell. With a heave, he jumps back, leaping towards the other container. His position was revealed, the rat race was over. But with a deft jerk, he heaves up over the edge. He was on top of one of the containers now, in open sight now. But he was, in turn, on top of one of the containers. Casting a hard glance towards the Dragon lady, hands alight with a sheen of orange sheen, the detective just shakes his head.

And he takes his leap to the next container, beginning his run across their tops.

If it were voiced aloud, the 'Dragon Lady' would consider the notion of 'fighting fair' to be an amusing joke, especially considering the numerical advantage Agent Little is up against. Despite his attempt to win the higher ground, the other containers have ladders. Her men may not be able to match him hand-to-hand, but that's why firearms are also called "the great equalizers."

But the 'Dragon Lady,' like Daniel Jack, has no interest in equality. That's why she's standing up high -- to get a better view of her opponent. Even in the dim lighting, it's easy to pick out the silhouette of a fedora and a trenchcoat. And the number of those would would wear a fedora and trenchcoat, and also be able to wield orange chi, are few and far between.

A flicker of recognition crosses her eyes. She'd come across the Interpol agent in her review of recent Neo League activity. "These are amusing games we play... Agent Little. But really... I'm flattered, that you would seek me out in person. Surely it can't be to cite official policy... for you've already subdued one of my men when all -we- wanted to do was talk with you. It would have been a perfect opportunity to present a warrant."

The Empress grows silent, but continues looking at Daniel way for a moment. That's likely all he will be able to sense; he wouldn't be able to hear the messages she's sending to her companions, but he'd be able to hear Sudo clambering his way up the ladder of his container. And he'd soon be able to hear four of her hired helpers clambering up other ladders throughout the warehouse. With pistols fairly obviously carried. It doesn't seem that the 'Dragon Lady' exactly trusts the Interpol Agent to come to a peaceable arrangement; he'd also be able to hear Miura, the tall, lanky flunkie she'd downed earlier, fire up the engine of a forklift. From his elevated position he'd be able to see Miura drive the blades of the forklift beneath the container the Empress had psi-blasted earlier -- he might be dismayed to learn that the container is filled with not only cocoa, but with some shoddily-constructed knockoffs of the name-brand shoes called 'Cruggs.'

"Allow me to summarize for you, Agent Little," calls out the Dragon Lady, rocking the crane hook back and forth as Daniel sprints across the containers. "You are threatening me with deadly force. I'm afraid I'm going to have to reiterate my request for you to leave, while I consult my lawyer on further action."

Daniel would probably have a pretty good view of the contraband container being raised off the floor, with Miura passing a worried glance back at the Empress. The evidence will likely not be present after the consulting a lawyer.

But he likely won't reach it in time -- as the Empress is flipping through the air. She lands in a three-point crouch a few meters in front of Daniel. Rising, she passes a glance at the orange chi flaring from the Interpol agent's hands, before turning her blue eyes up to his. "Or perhaps due process is simply a thin excuse for what seems to be your favorite pastime: Hurting people."

Well, yes.

Firearms were a concern. Ish. That's why he kept moving. Leaping to the next container, Daniel Jack lands on both feet, keeping his momentum forward. Everything was happening fast, and he keeps alert, he keeps track of what was changing. He keeps an eye on the woman standing up on the high ground with him; on the ropes. Some of the men begin to move up on the containers. There were guns. As the ringleader, the Dragon Lady, makes her leap, he watches her. He doesn't say anything yet.

But he was keenly listening.

As the woman mentioned his name, the detective can't help but smile. The glower is gone for a brief moment for a coy grin. As the threat continues, he pauses his advance, looking past the woman. Not in the eye, but past her, in an aside glance. The insult comes, the heavy comment comes. A piercing claim; that he enjoys to hurt people. If the timing came differently, it would have sent him reeling. She was not wrong in her take; Daniel Jack, in his public fights, was visibly disturbed by his presence in the fights. The difference now, though, was a meeting off the record. The details of that meeting was not public knowledge, but needless to say, when she tells him that he likes hurting people?

He just lets it roll off him.

"Lady, I am flattered you know me," The agent of Interpol begins, that smile on his face as he gives another aside glance, now watching those men on the ladders climbing up on a nearby container. He suavely takes a few steps to the side, rotating to keep himself closer to Honoka... and keeping himself positioned to make sure a crossfire situation should gunshots come in. "That's not banter, by the way. That's a real, sincere comment, and I am flattered, ma'am. You are the first stranger to know who I am. Everything I've seen you had is smart, is savvy, and above all, damn competent." The energy suddenly focuses on his limbs, growing denser and brighter. "I remember people like you when I was a young idiot. Made a lot of mistakes with them. Gonna make a few more before I pass on. And I know you are real important, hell, I could probably bring down an entire empire if I brought you in. But lady?" He finally looks straight at Honoka.

"I'm just here for the chocolate."

And Daniel Jack slams his hands downwards.

Twin waves of orange energy flow from his limbs, pouring together into the container he was standing upon. The waves do not rip along the top, rolling towards Honoka. Instead, they swing in a circular motion at the point of contact, as Daniel moves. Kasane Ate, the signature technique of Todoh-Ryuu Kobojutsu, and one of the iconic moves of Daniel Jack. As the chi fades, deep lacerations are left into the container. The energy slashes could cut through metal. Daniel Jack himself had taken into a run, away from the Dragon Lady, and towards Miura. This was turning into a flustercuck. But he couldn't focus on the dragon lady and her legal staff.

He had to focus on the guilty container.

He takes another leap to a container. Not the offending one, but the next one. He was moving steadily, not recklessly. Another jump comes, as the forklift begins to really move. He could take out the forklift... but that's not what he wanted. Plus, it was too far. He surges forward, taking a finally burst of speed as he takes another leap. This time, he doesn't quite make it. With a grunt, he slams into the side of the container, grabbing the edge of it with both hands. A moment of weakness, a moment of exposure.

But with a grunt, he scrambles to the top.

Now what, Agent Little?

Indeed. Now what? The Empress had kept her eyes on the Interpol agent as he'd flitted across the containers, leaping atop them like they were oversized stepping stones. She can sense the smile, the lack of nervousness in his attitude. He's not kidding at all, when he says he's flattered. And he's also not kidding when he says he could bring down an entire empire for bringing her in.

It's when he mentions chocolate that the Empress is caught off-guard though. "... Chocolate," she repeats, matter-of-factly. But she doesn't get much opportunity to ponder further on that point, as scythes of a distinctively Kasane Ate flavor are ripping through the container right before her -- not an attack on her or Sudo, but rather... a simple distraction, and potentially a nuisance.

For a moment, the young puppetmaster is taken aback. Should she try to stop him, perhaps? ... No, she decides, rising and turning to face Daniel as he... leaps about, clinging momentarily to the side of the offending container like a koala.

The forklift bobs and weaves sharply as Miura struggles -- both from the sudden transfer of weight, and from Miura's panicked reaction to the agent he was trying to avoid. The Dragon Lady picks at her sleeve as if undoing a cufflink, and exhales sharply. Miura's panic eases somewhat, his steering normalizes, and it might even be a fine time for Daniel to stand safely.

Daniel might be able to hear the system of pulleys and tracks overhead. But the Empress speaks again, her voice calling out as she strides purposefully towards the bay door in back -- where a transfer truck awaits the container. "I suppose that means -this- is your true element now, instead of the staged nonsense that hits the airwaves. That's good to know, agent. But tell me... what will you do now that you have the goods you claim to be in search of?"

And if the Empress can keep him talking, keep him listening, perhaps he would be oblivious to the true threat -- the crane hook that had swerved into motion, and is likely to slam into him at a rate more than enough to knock him clear off the container -- if not into blissful unconsciousness.

Daniel Jack was really playing this by ear.

The agent of Interpol believed in right and wrong, and believed that yeah, he could, in theory, bring down an entire criminal empire by snapping up the Dragon Lady. However, that would imply she didn't have infinite plans in place to deal with moments like that. Yeah, Daniel Jack has done enough crap on the private side of things to know that these masterminds weren't screwed over by surprise arrests. "Technically cocoa!" The detective calls out, heaving himself upright on the container. He turns around, easing his balance on the top. Glancing towards the cargo bay doors, he DOES hear the gears going on overhead. Hell, he is even keeping a bead on the goons, for when the bullets fly. Daniel Jack's sharp perceptions were tempered by years of experience. He was analyzing what was going around. Finally, he responds to the woman.

"Yeah, uh, maybe you guys are getting this all wrong."

The detective puts his guard up, keeping his footing even on the container, as energy continues to burn on his arms. He keeps looking around, only aside glances coming towards the woman as he keeps alert. "Like what comes next? I could tell you just how much trouble you all are in, how long you guys are gonna spend in jail, and how I will assure victory over the criminal element in this warehouse. Yeah, but see, that's kind of gonna fall on hollow ears right now. I know that the local cops are in on it. I know I'm outnumbered. It sure sounds a hell like I'm backed in a corner, doesn't it? So how about this one, and tell me if you've heard it."

"I'm gonna treat you all like the adults you are, and tell you what exactly I plan on doing."

"I'm gonna check the documentation on this- crap!" Detective pivots. With a deft grip, he puts his hands on the hook. Another step comes, and he rotates it, letting it pass around him. He continues to takes his steps, moving with careful, delicate footwork, the gentle motions of the Aikido-style martial techniques of Todoh-Ryuu coming in full demonstration. "Like, as I was saying. I'm investigating why the hell this chocolate is getting past customs. This is white collared crap. You said yourself, this isn't even -your- stuff, lady. Why the hell are you dicking around here, putting yourself and your organization at risk of global attention over some damn chocolate. I don't even know you, or what you are part of. As far as I know, I'm busting a corrupt little hick town in Nippon. The detective eases himself, the pulley finally coming to a stop, as his head rocks, dizzy. The angle of the pulley rope continues to lean, as the container and forklift moves away. Unleashing a slash of energy to the top of this container, he opens a fresh gash into the container. And finally, the detective hurls his weight, slamming the hook straight into the open gash he ripped open, letting it snare into the container. After the hurl, the detective stumbles backwards, his footing loosening up. And yet, he sighs, as he gets ready for the aftermath of a crane hook being used as a braking system.

"Want your last exploit being caught over a container of smuggled chocolate and bootleg shoes, ma'am?"

"Perhaps there is truth in that statement." While the Empress may not be good at -playing- music, she certainly responds to it well. And the agent has some interesting knowledge bombs to drop on her. Like... the contents of the container, which elicits a frown from the so-called Dragon Lady. She, like Daniel, is keeping a watchful eye on everything as it goes on, quietly creating a symphony of her own... though one with only subtle, nearly inaudible currents running underneath the more obvious crescendoes.

Like the crane hook as it whistles past the detective's head -- a move which draws a barely-perceptible smirk from the young woman as she strides up. Yes, she's content to leave the Detective on his high ground, unsteady as it is while Miura drives him to the truck.

She even commands Miura to stop the forklift while he continues to use the crane hook as an opening implement to ruin the perfectly serviceable container. What a waste!

She could be... more disturbed. But this actually dovetails nicely with a loose end she'd been pondering over the past few minutes. "Well. It seems your read of the situation is perfectly..." She draws in a breath, careful to avoid self-incrimination as she adds, "... plausible. I do hope the story entertains your chief; he seems like a difficult man to please."

Sudo begins climbing down from the container he was standing on. And the other men also begin climbing down from their perches as well. The agent's recital, as it is, appears to be well-received: the Empress turns her gaze towards the lanky individual from before. Said individual suddenly slumps forward, released from whatever had been keeping him from freaking out the past few moments. Blinking, he looks around dumbly for a moment, only to notice the Empress staring back at him.

With a sweet, almost saccharine smile, she asks her cohort -- apparently, now her former cohort, "Miura-san... since this is -entirely- your responsibility, I trust you won't mind answering the detective's questions?" And... having practically thrown Miura under the bus, she looks up to the detective, even as Miura's compatriots look questioningly at one another. Their gaze is drawn back towards the Empress with a single snap of her fingers. "Well, then. Miura would be happy to load the container for you, unless you plan on tearing it apart any further. ... And if there's nothing else I can help you with this evening, Agent Little, we'll just be on our way...?"
Daniel could only catch glimpses of the song.

While far from being a manipulator like the Dragon Lady, Daniel Jack was watching her play since the beginning. That was the danger with women like Honoka. You only get a glimmer of the song, if you are paying attention, but the only thing you know about the full symphony is that it is so much larger than the song. You could never predict what comes next, you could never know what is a trick, a trap. There was only one thing that you could trust in, with a woman like that.

She always looked out for her own interest.

That was a predictable trait, that ultimately ends up in Daniel's favor. As the hook jabs in the container, the Agent of Interpol waits to be jerked off his feet, as the forklift meets a cargo hook. But the jerk doesn't come. The forklift comes to a stop. Holding fast on his feet, he regains his balance. He waits, scanning the warehouse around him. Everything had stopped.

But how was it in her favor.

Daniel Jack knows there was an angle. And knows that people lie. He keeps his guard up, hands up. "I know you are up to something, lady. I can't prove it, and I can't do a damn thing about it. If you and your companions are walking out, though... I am content to let you have your getaway." Oh, Daniel would get hell for it if the Chief found out. But the fact of the matter was that if he got this mook and the container? Then he completed the mission. The best he was gonna get on this lady was a profile on her dossier.

If she didn't have one already.

The detective leans over to the hook, and with a jerk, pulls it out. But he doesn't leap off the container. "Your terms are acceptable. Beat it." He thrust a thumb. "I'll take care of things here..." Daniel Jack tilts his head warily, wiggling his mustache.

"... Once you get out."

The Empress likes to dream big. But she also likes to execute in small, discrete units. Some might call them cells, but she never would. It's too cold a term, too impersonal. She builds connections. Talks to -people-. That's why this was such a letdown for her. Oh, Miura, why couldn't you listen... why couldn't you sing from the same sheet of music?

She keeps her eyes upon Agent Little as best she can. He may have offered the choice to the Empress, but the fact is, she'd already calculated this to be a viable outcome. -- certainly a better outcome than leaving an Interpol officer beaten and bruised on the floor of the same warehouse.

Is she up to something? Certainly. Is she, like Daniel suggests, content in her getaway? "... 'Getaway,' Agent Little? You imply that there's some kind of crime taking place here tonight." A sweet smile, a dab of honey. But there's no need to elaborate -- the Empress only speaks when she has something relevant to say. Ever mindful of traps and bugs, she never communicates 'in the clear,' as it were. Even her phone conversations are short, clipped, and terminated with disposable, one-time-use phones. It'd be very difficult for Daniel Jack to track down the Dragon Lady again... and even with a recording device, she doubts there's anything seriously actionable unless Miura decides to press a charge of battery upon her.

She is content to allow him -his- getaway, under her own terms. As he acknowledges. For she knows that he won't find anything of note in the warehouse. Documented or not... the rest of the shipments are legit. Why were they off the record? The Empress will just let Miura explain that -- it wasn't -her- concern. Shipping wasn't really a primary focus of the Empress'... not yet, anyway. To her... this was just one loose end, a vestigial organ to cut loose, before it exploded bile everywhere.

Like it has already somewhat proven to.

"Miura, do take good care of our agent." She smiles back to Miura. And winks at him -- drawing a shudder from the lanky man. "We'll be in touch."

Sudo has, by this point, retrieved Kenichi, and with one arm draped over his shoulder, he assists the man to the door. The other five men have already started walking. The Empress hastens to join them, waving her fingertips to Daniel as she departs. "Was a pleasure, Agent Little. But please... next time, do not be afraid to knock? I'm sure we can avoid destroying anything precious next time."

This would probably be the first -documented- piece of Interpol evidence available on the "Dragon Lady." She's not concerned. What's to document?

[OOC] Daniel "Lady Killer" Little says, "The real loss of this scene"
[OOC] Daniel "Lady Killer" Little says, "That you know are gonna have an Interpol profile name of 'Dragon Lady'"
[OOC] Daniel "Lady Killer" Little says, "Far less dignified than Empress."

Log created on 16:06:35 12/31/2014 by Honoka, and last modified on 00:55:57 01/01/2015.