Description: The investigations of Lieutenant Lita Luwanda has wrought excellent fruit for our stalwart detective of Interpol. Finding a mysterious object in the footage of the crimes in Nippon, Agent Little returns to the scene of the explosion that nearly consumed them all. In the moonlight, however, he finds himself stumbling into the trap of a young woman, the cunning Nagase Iga. The femme fatale is curious for the truth... and curious for our own hero, Daniel Jack. Will our valiant detective fight of the teasing wiles of the dastardly shinobi? Or will he fall into the... Embrace of the Ninja?! (The cover artwork shows Daniel Jack in front of the rolling cliffs of Maine in the summertime in a closeup. He is topless, with his rippling muscles in full flex. He is currently holding Nagase, who is wearing a red strapless gown. Daniel Jack is not wearing his detective hat, but instead has a grey streak in his hair. He stares into Nagase with yellow eyes. Some scarring is around his neck, for some reason. Nagase seems to be overwhelmed, her half-lidded eyes rolled back in her head fainting in the embrace of Daniel Jack. Both seem very sweaty, as if both are just restraining their passions.) (65 cents)
A bright yellow Hitachi excavator reigns supreme over a ten-foot-tall mound of craggy concrete boulders and a six-foot-tall mound of recently-exhumed dirt. There are no lights in the empty lot -- aside from the two piles, everything has been cleared to the ground, with all contents worth reselling already taken off site.
The empty lot isn't what's important, but rather, the partially-destroyed warehouse beside it. One third of the metal roof has been crumpled as if it were made of paper, twisted and sheared to cast some of the waning moon's eerie light onto the warehouse's concrete floor. The warehouse is silent -- all hands have been evacuated from the building. The caution tape that had purportedly secured the building has been tattered and shredded from a week of neglect. This building is technically still under Interpol investigation, but resources being limited and all that has meant that a round-the-clock security detail is not exactly prudent.
This also means that the warehouse isn't exactly -abandoned- at the moment, as well. Sure, Interpol's not going to leave the place unmonitored -- they've stationed security cameras at key locations all throughout the facility under investigation. It just so happens that those are electronic devices, and easily circumvented by someone with both an a subversive nature and some modicum of talent. Which is to say, the sophisticated, top-dollar camera system has been compromised, and monitors back at the local Interpol-friendly HQ will show a time-delayed view of the exact same broadcast from the previous night.
One would need to make a personal visit to the warehouse to know that anyone's even here. It wouldn't be hard -- for right in the middle of the moonlit floorspace is a 2.5-foot-long post, made more obvious by the razor-sharp shadow cast down from it. Closer inspection would show that it's not a post -- but a ninjato, within its scabbard, held in place by a piece of some sort of grey putty, shaped in the form of a wedge. At the pommel of the ninjato's hilt is a stylized panda head.
"-Dammit- those guys were thorough..." mumbles the flame-haired ninjette as her deft fingers flip through the folders of a file cabinet in the back room. Razor-thin monofilaments stretched across points of entry give her the peace of mind to say whatever the heck she wants without fear of unexpected discovery.
Agent Little did not know yet that the site had been comprimised.
He was a detective, not a camera jockey. He wouldn't have gotten any warning about the feeds. The agent had pulled up outside the site in a black sedan, clad in his Interpol greys. He had been here once before. And now that it was Interpol controlled, access was a simple matter of giving the HQ an update, and then driving over. The purpose of the visit was simple.
That dumb panda head.
Lieutenant Lita Luwanda had found evidence of a tampering with the site at Nagita in hidden survellience footage, tucked away in secret. And while the cause of it wasn't clear, there was one piece of evidence: a toy panda head. Daniel Jack had returned to the ruins of the warehouse, with a simple, practical mission: recreate the crime. Search over it. And figure out if there are ANY other clues that could have survived. The agent approaches the warehouse entrance, dressed in his Interpol greys, a pale, pink scar on his cheek. It was finally healing. But scars might take a while. He approaches the exposed entryway of the warehouse, opened thanks to the explosion.
And Daniel Jack stops dead, before entering.
A post was in the middle of the room. Every step comes with even, careful pacing. Daniel Jack sensed a trap. He didn't know What KIND of trap. But he knew it. Every motion was coming with the careful, diligent scan. His senses were heightened; his vision was limited. His hearing wasn't. He could hear the faint rustling of papers, the tiniest groans of a file cabinet. He walks into a spiderweb of some kind, sweeping the hand free. He feels a little warm inside, as he breaks through the monofilaments.
He remembered the LAST TIME he had to fight through spiderwebs.
Moving steadily through the warehouse, he keeps his ears and eyes open. His breathing was slow, and silent. His footsteps were silent. He was just a figure in grey, moving through the warehouse. He couldn't hear the sounds anymore. Tension was heightening, as he finally reaches the strange post. Up close, he could see... a ninjato. A ninja sword... knife thing? Daniel Jack narrows his eyes, leaning forward at the pommel. Reaching into his jacket, he pulls out his cellphone, looking at the picture given to him. The same panda head. With that kind of dagger. 'Dammit.' Daniel Jack, mouthing the words to himself silently.
The Battle Disc System was revolutionary when Nagase first put it on. The tech-ninja has applied many of her own bespoke upgrades, even though the core functionality -- unmatched by anything in the consumer market -- remains one-of-a-kind. Which is to say that the bumblebee-yellow kunoichi is aware of the unexpected guest the instant he breaches the monofilaments. Nagase clamps her jaw shut, and she peers towards the entrance of the room -- towards the ninjato she'd left as an obvious point of reference to anyone who might be disturbing her little visit to an old haunt. She stops making any noise whatsoever.
Dammit, she thinks to herself. Interpol.
In the center of the warehouse floor, the panda head begins wobbling unsteadily from one side to the other. It's not clear why, and it's even less clear whether it has any relationship to the sound of a filing cabinet drawer slamming shut in another room of the facility.
It's not clear what the wobbling is for until the putty explodes -- proving that it wasn't putty so much as a low-yield plastic explosive, triggered by a (rapidly disintegrating) wireless receiver mounted to its base. It's more for shock and awe value than anything else -- in fact, the net -goal- of the explosion is to send the ninjato rocketing upwards. Oh, and to add smoke. Lots of smoke.
Where it is caught in mid-air by a figure that flits into view on the thin metal rafters of the half-exposed warehouse structure. The figure's eyeglasses gleam in the reflected moonlight in the wake of the explosion, as she calmly hangs the practically unharmed ninjato back in its proper place upon her back.
Her gaze flickers across the Interpol greys, and her Battle Disc System adds an annotation to her eyeglasses labeling the agent's identity and a few choice statistics. "Oh! Hi! Good evening, Detective!" she chirps out with a friendly wave. "Wonderful night, ain't it?" She crinkles her nose at the man as she crouches frog-style upon the support structure, tapping a few buttons upon her left wrist.
Beep, beep. That would likely be Daniel's phone, indicating that cell service has been interrupted.
"Hey, look, since I got ya here, d'ya wanna chat for a bit? It's about these people who seem to wanna kill us an' all."
The ninjette who thumbed her nose at the Rumble In The Streets tournament has already proven she can clear forty feet with no difficulty at all. It takes no great leap of imagination to suggest that the flame-haired kunoichi can escape whenever she damn well feels like it.
Daniel suddenly realizes the trap.
As the panda head begins to wobble, the detective's eyes go wide. Immediately, he covers his eyes with his arm as he turns away. The blast comes. And it seems to have a bark much worse than its bite. Coughing violently as the smoke comes around him, he finally uncovers his eyes, glaring up at the rafters above. And there, he sees the cause of all this trouble. The words burst out from his lips.
Daniel Jack didn't have the Battle Disc System in his corner. But what he DID have was the insight to check up on the last round of fights, including the matchup between Ayame and Nagase... which had double forfeits. "Reaper's girl, yeah. Dammit. First Ibuki, and now I got Nagase. What is with ninjas being friggin teenage dames." Daniel Jack mutters like an old man as he just stands amongst the smoke, NOT going for his cellphone instantly. After all, he had a ninja to deal with.
And she just wanted to talk.
Daniel Jack stands amongst the slowly spreading cloud, crossing his arms. Yeah. She could escape any time she wanted. And Daniel sure as hell couldn't catch her. "Alright lady, I got you trespassing on Interpol property. But I think we can forgive this little transgression, cause it sounds like your business might be my business, and visa versa. Yeah, we can talk. One condition though."
"You tell me why the hell you're snooping around here, lady!"
He said her name. That's... that's good, actually. The Iga-ryu ninja eases down to sit upon the rafter, kicking her feet lightly as she claps her hands. Mention of 'Ibuki' slips past for the moment -- she's more pleased that the man remembers her name. "Rockin', we can skip the boring introduction bit."
Then she realizes he just mentioned the name of that -other- teenage ninja. Frowning, she edges her glasses up along the bridge of her nose with her index finger. "Dames. Who the heck says 'dames' anyway..." He's not the only one who can offer dry complaints.
"Um, -Interpol- property?" She tap-taps her fingers on her wrist, sliding through menus here and there as she rambles: "It's -odd-, because I can't tell, it doesn't -seem- to have been deeded over, and there's nothing on the Town of Narita records, so... hmm."
Nagase tilts her head down at a precarious angle, counterbalanced by precision positioning of her legs -- anyone who tried this -without- years of ninjutsu and/or acrobatics training would have fallen, easily. "Maybe someone's just -terrible- at filling out -paperwork-."
Leaning back up, she begins kicking her feet lightly again. Her voice raises an octave as she pantomimes an exaggerated expression of surprise. "And gee willikers, mister, do you -always- talk 'teenage dames' with the h-e-double-hockeysticks word?" Nagase rolls her eyes, palms snapping to the rafter as she casts her eyes moonward. Her voice drops back an octave. "Taking potshots at each other's a waste of both our times, Detective. But I'll tell you anyway. I came to see how much you guys left behind. Answer is: not much! So this 'lady's' got no reason to stick around here and tell you anything else about the nutty guys who want you dead if there's gonna be any more strings attached."
She stops speaking, but her mouth kept moving as if she was going to add the word 'Capiche?' This... trenchcoat is messing with her head.
"Orrrrr what I found in the servers for this silly tournament thing..."
The frown comes slowly.
It was a precise frown, it was an intense frown. It was a frown that came piece by piece. Drip, drip, drip. Every word that was coming from the queen ninja smartass was like a hammer on the corners of the detective's mouth. Clang. Clang. Clang. Drip. Drip. Drip. Eventually, the frown turns into a glower, and the glower soon moves beyond something even more powerful, even more legendary.
A full-on Todoh-Ryuu grimace.
Daniel Jack leans back as she taunts him with what was on the servers. Oh, that was definately something that Daniel could use. But the presence of the detective was grim. "Look, you dick around past police tape, and the best case scenario is that you get a warning. You know better, but whatever, Dennis The Menace 2 Society." He grumbles under his breath indignantly. "Gee willikers, what a load of- look, Nagase." Daniel Jack gives her a straight look. "You're right. We're adults here, we can talk about the important thing." She was asking about what we left behind. And the detective needed... leverage.
"I don't think it's a good idea for you to start slipping out right now." The detective begins, wiggling his mustache. "We have names and numbers. And the fact you've put on the show here? I mean, there are few reasons why 'somebody' would wanna snoop around here. And frankly, lady, none look really good for you. This place and the site down at Yokohama are connected, Nagase. And now, so are you, and your ninja clan. That's not the first time I've seen that panda bear head at the scene of the crime; and from what I've seen, you got the skillset and technical know-how to make things happen. You're smart. But I've seen the footage now, Nagase."
"We have the footage"
Daniel Jack motions towards the cameras around. "You can cover up. You're smart, real smart.Now, you can go slipping off, don't got a whole lot to catch you. I mean, hell." Ninjas. "But Interpol's like a bear. You don't need to outrun the bear, just outrun whoever else you are with, am I right. So let me ask you something. You can get away from Interpol. You can outrun Interpol right now. But is everyone else gonna be able to outrun that bear?" He points a finger to the tip of his nose.
"And what are they gonna do when they find out you left them behind?"
Nagase's feet kick about as she listens. She knew the Interpol agent had a reputation for being patient. This is not the same man, as far as she's concerned -- he's weary, he's had a lot of Life happen to him in the past couple weeks, and he's not going to put up with her games.
Dennis the Menace 2 Society -- that one arched a judgmental eyebrow. Way to stay in touch with the youth segment.
The ninja listens. Names, numbers, footage... and... family.
"I'm pretty sure I'd get arrested, hm? But, before we continue, I want you to write this word down in your little notebook or whatever, Detective."
The kunoichi edges her glasses up along the bridge of her nose with a finger.
As her finger slides away from her glasses, she lets the fingertip linger while it's pointing at her eyes. It's a subtle hint, and from the sudden intensity from the otherwise disaffected teenager, it's unlikely to be repeated again.
The tech-ninja flattens her hand out, using it to mask a yawn, as she shifts back to her normal state of 'irritating brat'. "So. It's pretty clear I need to get arrested. You have my name and my number, from the records, sure. Y'know, if that was -reliable- intel, that'd be great for you. And it's -real- funny how both this place and Yokohama ended up on camera, when, gosh, they could've picked -anywhere-, Detective. Why is that? Have you figured it out yet?"
Nagase looks up to the moon again, her black-and-grey striped legs stop pumping back and forth, ankles crossing over one another. Her tone shifts again -- and she's dropped the bubblegum pretense. "I'm pissed off, Daniel. Can I call you Daniel?"
She doesn't seem to care the response. "Daniel, you got shot. That's... pretty actionable. Not once, not twice, but... three times? Four now? It wasn't anyone I work with. Boss-man doesn't pay an assassin to /miss/."
She draws in her breath. "Whoever's doin' this shit ain't in it for money. They want the power. And when your crew's number five on the list, what's your goal?"
She casts her eyes back down towards Daniel. "You get rid of numbers one through four."
Daniel Jack doesn't have his notepad out. He was keeping his hands in his pocket. Watching. Reading. And now, pacing. A word that meant something. But what it meant... was not clear. Daniel Jack waits, watching. Sulking as the smoke cloud fully fades. "Daniel's fine." The detective growls.
"So you don't got anything new for me."
"Look, I know I'm being played, Nagase." The detective lays it thick. "That's obvious. This isn't a new, shocking revelation here. Yakuza's getting split, The Asshole Syndicate is getting dragged up into the light, and somebody somewhere is gonna get to fill in the gaps and become the new hot dog. You don't think I know that this was all because some creep was planning on getting rid of everybody in his way?" He pulls a hand out of the pocket, motioning around the ruins of the warehouse. "What happened down it Yokohama? Obvious set up. Every single thing coming through on this tournament has been a set up to destroy every single thing in his way. Hell, at this point, it might be to set expectations, and then have a string of crimes AWAY from the events while we're all distracted by them. A god damned genius is behind it, and is playing us all. But you know what?"
"In the end, that's my job here."
He turns away a moment, looking down. "I don't care if the gangs are getting caught because another gangster is luring them out to wipe out the competition. Because in the end, I need to find the criminals, and bring them justice, and make the world a safer, brighter place. I can't let these creeps go because oh, they are being tricked into committing crimes, or being tricked to reveal themselves. If I didn't drag these creeps in, and destroy the very foundations they sit on? I wouldn't be doing my job." Daniel Jack turns around, looking back up at Nagase. "But if I find out who is behind this, scuzzy? That's my priority, A1. So unless you tell me exactly who is jerking everyone around?"
"I'm gonna do my job."
You don't got anything new for me, he says. Nagase cocks an eyebrow at him, a shrewd smile crossing her lips. But she understands his motivation almost instantly. He's irritable, and he's defeated, but he's not just taking his ball and storming home to complain to mommy -- he's using a tried-and-true negotiation tactic for a hostile witness.
He knows he's being played. That's... good. And he's reviewing each and every data point the kunoichi -needs- him to know at this point of the game. He's already seen what Nagase and Ayame were able to spell out for him -- she needn't really spill the beans on -that- again. It's damn obvious to -her- that the Rumble Committee is not exactly playing fair here, either in match placement or in creating a -two-way- link to the HitBit devices.
And on top of that, he's also surmised the possibility of another event happening with all the distractions arising.
Nagase's smile has only grown with each data point spelled out in the open. She even smiles at the new nickname for her most recent employer -- that's just good humor, here. It's just a job, after all.
This was -way- more effective than thinking of discrete little questions to ask and pry out of the detective.
"Well, I tell you it's not the 'Asshole Syndicate,' and it's not ninjas. I don't care whether you take my word on that or not."
Nagase pushes herself back up so that she's crouching on the rafter. "Look, I get that you're a good man, Daniel. And you wanna save lives, right? This... Whoever this is? They're just gonna keep killing people till they get what they want. It's pretty clear they have a bigger hate-on for the Yamaguchi-gumi than anyone else -- and they went and tried to make it look like the Yamaguchi-gumi wanted you out."
The flame-haired ninja shrugs her shoulders, silhouetted by the moonlight. "So if you want the bloodshed to end, and the gaps are just gonna fill... doesn't it make sense to just break up the Yamaguchi? I don't know the angle, I don't know how they're workin' it. But I'm kinda agreein' with you. Maybe whoever's workin' this'll quit when they think they've won."
She hops to the roof without too much difficulty. "And then you can get back to beatin' up 'teenage dames' for fun and profit, hmm?"
She leaps again, flickering into nothingness, with her last word fading on the wind.
Daniel Jack lays down the law hard and fast.
Nagase was an arrogant prick. Daniel Jack would lay her out like so many opponents before, if it so crossed him. But it wouldn't cross him. Not unless it was self-defense. The fact was bitter. The bloodshed was only going to end until he tore apart whoever was the mystery man behind the scenes... or until they felt like they've won. And breaking up the Yamaguchi-gumi might just let whoever it was... win. And Interpol wins, and justice wins. Everybody wins; but the bad guy wins even more. Daniel Jack was the man who could do it. Who could pull the trigger. And this girl knew it. As she gives a quick taunt, Daniel Jack balls up his fists and steps towards her as she flickers out of sight.
"Dammit some of them were adults!"
Daniel Jack shakes a fist at she speaks Italian to him. Daniel Jack was feeling warm again, but he was still hot under the collar for negative reasons. "Alright Daniel. What do you know different now. That the Asshole Syndicate and The Asshole Clan of Ninjas aren't involved. And that maybe... guh, give them what they want, and then the bloodshed will stop." The Agent of Interpol begins to cool down now, his thoughts falling into place. "... And maybe, maybe that the next move will be away from the sites of the fights." Daniel Jack considers carefully. It wasn't rational. It was just an intuition. "The next move... what would I do if I was a criminal mastermind?" The detective looks up at the moon, his hands deep into his pockets again. Pulling Interpol away from active fight sites... the Chief would have his nads if it backfired. But if it didn't.... Daniel Jack growls. "I wonder if there -IS- a god damn asshole clan of ninjas that go around making assholes of themselves and are god damn assholes to everyone."
Little did Daniel know that the Ryouhara was already exterminated down to a man.
Log created on 13:12:44 02/24/2016 by Daniel, and last modified on 19:47:01 02/25/2016.