Description: With the arrival of Zach Glenn, Ace Detective Daniel 'Jack' Little finally has what he needs to save Lieutenant Lita Luwanda. With the psionic assistance of Zach Glenn, the detective begins a journey into the depths of Lita's deepest subconscious. There, Daniel Jack battles the deepest visions and darkest desires of his partner. Will Daniel Jack succeed in rescuing his partner from herself? Or will he sink beneath into... The Enduring Memories?! (The cover shows Lita Luwanda asleep on an operating table, dressed in a strapless red dress. Above her, in a dream bubble, Zach Glenn is riding on top of a flying shark, mouth wide in shock, as he looks down at a jungle from above in a pink sky. Daniel Jack is currently topless, his shirts in tatters, as he fights barefisted with a tribe of angry, tattoed natives. He has one of them in a headlock, while he is punching another one in the jaw, knocking free a spear from its hand.) (45 cents)
THey would meet him in the conference room.
It was private. It was discreet. And it wasn't in a hotel room. Lita was... nervous about meeting Daniel in a hotel room. For good reasons. The detective's reputation was all over the place right now. And having a private meeting would be... well, rumors might start. No, Daniel Jack would be here with Lita, in a semi-public place. And they would be... well, he wasn't quite a friend. He wasn't any enemy either. Daniel Jack had history with him in the past.
Zach Glenn, frenemy with benefits.
The call had been made. Zach would meet them at the conference room of the hotel, right near the Pao Pao Cafe. They needed a healer, someone familiar with psionic afflictions. Daniel Jack himself was in the middle of the room, palms up, one hand forward, one hand back. He was in his defensive stance. And he carefully walks forward... and then walks backwards. Forwards. Backwards.
"Lita, is there any way I can get any direction faster?"
Lita for her part was pacing back and forth filled with nervous energy. She didn't know Zach Glenn from a can paint. She doesn't know what to expect, doesn't know if he's even capable of helping her. At this point she's grasping at straws in the hope that something can be done.
While trying to think of anything besides that match she receives salvation in the form of Daniel asking about how he can get better movement. This is something she can get into. It was a role she was used to being the one that trained the Delta Reds in melee combat.
"Part of that is physical capability, part of it is mechanics, and part of it is stance. In the case of stance it comes down to how much you're willing to sacrifice for it. Wider stance means more stability but less speed. A narrower stance means it's easier to get explosive movement but you sacrifice stability. Mechanics is more about how direct and how efficient your movements are. The less superfluous movements you have, the time you lose when you move. And then physical capability is what it says on the tin. It can be trained to a certain point however there are even things that can't be trained. Muscle explosiveness can be trained, leg length can't."
Zach Glenn was none too thrilled about the call, but Daniel seemed... concerned. Almost needful. That had gotten Glenn's curiousity. The Agent's need worked out in any case; Zach needed to talk to Daniel as well. One context would be as good as any.
There is a knock on the door. Zach reaches out mentally, checking the area. Daniel's presence, he recognizes easily. One other. Fluid, yet disciplined. Plenty of energy, but under control. But not someone he recognized. The psion readies his talents before simply walking in.
He looks over Daniel, then Lita, his expression going somewhat uncertain as he takes in the impromptu training session.
"Agent Little," he finally says by way of greeting to Daniel before turning to Lita. "Delta Red, right?" the monster hunter asks. "Lieutenant Lita Luwanda, I think?" He's not certain of the woman's identity but her presence here with Daniel, along some fights he had seen, and some knowledge of the special forces communities of the world filled in some blanks.
He turns back to Daniel. "You called me, Agent. What is it you need?" His tone is carefully neutral. To say that the relationship between the two men was rocky would be an understatement.
This was exactly Lita's niche.
Daniel Jack does the shuffle step back and forward a bit. "Well the stance is the tough part. Kasumi and Ryuhaku had the same limitations, the fighting style is pretty much... stuck with the stance. I can break it, but I lose a lot of the stability, as you say. And since I can't stretch my legs, that leaves... efficiency. Do you see any excess motions I am..."
He had finally arrived. Daniel Jack breaks from his stance, and strides to him quickly and easily. "See, that's fast." He says to Lita, reaching out his hand to shake Zach's. "You right on the nose Zach. She's the third member of Team Interpol. She's the heart of the team. The one that, uh, people aren't protesting." He tightens his lips. "Anyways, I'm not the one who needs you."
"Lita here has been hit by some kind of psychic suggestion, like an affliction or something. We think it is from her fight with MURDERHOUSE, but that's only what we think. I remember you helping me and Honoka out when the Butcher was chomping our souls. And I figured, hey, this would be right up your alley."
"Can you give her an inspection?"
"I guess that woud make you, Zach Glenn. Nice to meet you."
Her hand extends toward the psion to give him a firm handshake if accepted and then she pulls away.
That's when Daniel weighs in on her commentary. "Actually that leaves two things. Muscle explosiveness and efficiency but we can cover that later."
After that, Daniel gives an overall summary of her current problem. She nods as he goes on but as soon as he talks giving her an inspection, she twitches in visible annoyance. She no longer can keep quiet.
"What the bloody 'ell? Are you daft? I'm a human being not an automobile!"
She strolls up right next to Daniel and gives him a light smack to the back of the head. Not enough to actually hurt him but enough to be audible and enough of a sting to let him know that he might've went a little too far.
"And I swear, if either of you make petrol jokes, I'm boxing your ears."
She then regains some semblance of composure. After a short moment she returns to the business at hand.
"In the MURDERHOUSE fight, there was a move where he told me to look at him. Our eyes locked and in that moment I was forced to relive all of my failures, all of my doubts, all of my fears in that one moment. When I looked at the video replays later on, not nearly as much time had passed as how it felt at that instant."
Zach's handshake is firm, confident. He doesn't even bother to hide the shit-eating grin when Lita smacks Daniel upside the head. He fishes a ten dollar bill out of his wallet and sets it on the table. He points to Lita before gesturing towards the money, as if to say it's all hers. He then listens carefully to the story with a slight frown. "Sounds like he got inside your head," Zach finally says as he folds his arms across his chest. "Some people can do that," he admits before looking over at Daniel. "And you want me to... what? Take a look inside her head, maybe try to do some kind of repairs?" Zach sounds a little angry, almost indignant.
Then he sighs, and reaches for a chair. Zach offers Lita the seat before grabbing one of his own. "I'm not a psychologist," Zach says firmly. "And my skills as an empath aren't exactly great." He looks over Lita, assessing the woman quickly, with a fighter's eye. "Have you recovered from the physical injuries, Lieutenant?" he asks with concern.
"Ow- hey!" That is the response from Daniel has, in the midsts of shaking Zach's hand, he takes a slap to the head. "Well it's not like I was gonna ask him to check under the hood!" Daniel rubs his head, as he turns towards Lita. As Zach gives his feedback, the detective just shakes his head. "This isn't just a psyche out. This MURDERHOUSE guy did something deeper. Like, she's comparing this to other traumatic fights, and something is different, very different." Daniel Jack steps back, letting the two deal with each other. But doesn't stop him from talking. "Now I figured that even if you couldn't... couldn't help Lita with her problem, you would know someone with deeper empathy thingies. Like I know I can't send her to the girl who fixed me up, so uh, if you can't do it..."
"Got an idea of who can?"
As Lita sits down she nods to Zach taking the money as she does so. "I'm fine physically. It's just my mindset is off kilter."
There's a look of concentration on her face. She was having trouble figuring out how to put the problem into words. She takes a deep breath, trying to relax and failing miserably. She's tense as the replay of her personal fail montage plays out in her head once more.
"What do you need me to do?"
Zach glances over at Daniel. He never /did/ explain how that had happened. Some conclusions could be reached, but that's not here or there. "I've got three. The first one's pretty much unreachable. I tend to run into her, not the other way around. The second one's on the wrong continent. The third one..." Zach smirks a bit at Daniel. "Well, you've already made it clear how you feel about her." He leans back in his chair, trying to relax a bit. "So I'm who you've got."
He watches Lita try to relax, the concern evident on his face. "First," he finally says. "Keep trying to do that. Relax, I mean." Zach's voice is calm, relaxed. "I'm not going to..." Zach scowls a bit, then leans forward, his elbows resting on his knees. "What Agent Little seems to want done, or thinks he wants done, is extremely dangerous. It's tricky work, and has just as much a chance of doing even more harm than it would do good." He looks Lita in the eyes, considering. "So we'll try this the old fashioned way, and see if I can help you out."
"Agent, can you get us something to drink? Non-alcoholic?" There's no rancor in the request.
Daniel Jack was stuck on drink duty, it looked like.
"Pfft." The detective grunts. "Alright scuzzies. I'll get you two drinks. Non-Alcoholic drinks." Daniel Jack just shakes his head at that. What kind of person wanted NOT alcoholic drinks. Daniel Jack slips towards the exit of the room. Non-Alcoholic. Well, he would get THEM non-Alcoholic drinks. But for Daniel himself? He wanted something heavy, and sharp.
Briefly, Daniel considers if he has a drinking problem.
She takes several breaths slowly inhaling through her nose and just as slowly exhaling through her mouth. With each breath it gets easier and easier to relax as long as she focuses on her breathing at the exclusion of everything else. Not the interplay between the agent and psion. Not the foot falls of her team mate leaving to get drinks.
"Ok. Old fashioned way it is."
Zach blinks at the complete non-reaction Daniel gives at the oblique mention of Honoka Kawamoto. Not that it matters. He turns to Lita. "Okay," Zach finally says. "I'm going to ask some questions. There are no wrong answers, and if you don't want to answer them you don't have to."
Zach gives Lita a moment before pressing on. "When you revisit those memories," he asks. "It's all stuff you /remember/, nothing new added? Nothing that doesn't make sense?"
In through her nose, out through her mouth... Her breathing is consistent down to the tenth of a second with the focus she's putting on her breathing. Nodding when Zach tells her that she's going to ask some questions. She closes her eyes and that replay of the fail montage and the anxieties enters her head.
"The parts dealing with failures are my memories. The parts dealing with my anxieties and fears are exaggerations."
"Which," he says, "Tends to be the case for the vast majority of the population." Zach laces his fingers together. "So the failures," he continues, watching Lita. Paying attention not just to her physical reactions, but the reactions that he can read just under the surface. He claims concerning his skills as an empath are, at least to him, accurate. But it would not be untrue to say that he sucks only by comparison, and that Zach Glenn has set some pretty high bars in that regard. "Tell what you did about one of them," he asks.
"Don't tell me what the failure was," he adds. "Just tell me what you did about it. What you got from it."
Her mind instantly goes to the conversation that she had with Daniel previously. It's easy for her mind return to it since they're in the same room as that conversation. Her eyes close as the mind focuses in on the training she took on after her particular(in her eyes) failure.
"I swore that I'd never be caught without a weapon again even if I had to be my own weapon."
She thinks of the various martial arts teachers she sought out for training with various types of weaponry as well as various unarmed disciplines. While she never mastered a particular style except for her heavy sword style, she became a fairly decent generalist in various weapons. And then she taught herself how to apply them to improvised weaponry.
Zach grins softly at this. "Good," he says. "Give me another one. Something different. Perhaps not fight related." He seems to be going somewhere with this.
It takes a few moments for her to relax enough to identify a non combat related one. Her mind goes back to her secondary school days. She remembers her regional girl's cricket team. It was her first year on it. Their team took a brutal loss at the beginning of the season. Because of it they were thought of as one of the least likely to win a championship that year.
"My cricket team. We worked harder and we got better about studying our opponents."
She thought of all the drills she did at practice and even when she was at home. A smile came to her lips.
"When we made it to the tourney, they expected a repeat of the last match. Heh. They didn't see us coming until it was too late."
Zach's smile grows at this memory. "See what you're doing here," Zach asks. "What it sounds like he tried to do was to get you fixated on the negative aspects of those situations. And while I would put good money that not every one of those memories you are getting in your montage had a happy ending, or even a good ending, there's more to those memories than just that moment. They don't stop. They are not the end of the story, as it were." Zach leans back, resting his hands on his knees.
"I'm going to share something with you, to offer you a sort of parallel," he says after a moment. "People like me, people who deal with powers of the mind, generally gain a certain surface level sensitivity to the people around us. We can turn down the metaphorical volume on this sense, but for the most part, it never really goes away. It's easy to get lost in it, and when that happens, it can be difficult to seperate what you are actually feeling as opposed to what the people around you are feeling."
As Zach talks something clicks in her head. Her mind thinks back to the conversation she had with Daniel in this very room. She knew exactly what was different but she needed Zach, a psion to put context to it. She remembers every word she said to him and repeats it for Zach to hear but the difference in tone and delivery was that now she understood why it hit her so hard.
"Have you ever been psychologically force fed every failure, every doubt, every little bit of anxiety, and forced to live through each one in the time to blink? That's why it hit me so hard. In that moment where I looked into his eyes right before I got slammed through the floor, I lived through all of that. No time between heartaches, no time to self reflect between failures, no time to collect myself, to time to rebuild my confidence in between failures. And then after all of that while I'm still mentally vulnerable, I fail because he took all the punishment I could deliver. He didn't block it, he didn't dodge it. He just waded through it like I was hitting him with a bloody nerf bat."
There's a eureka moment. What Zach is doing at this moment is giving her that moment to self reflect that she never could get during that fight with MURDERHOUSE. And with that moment to collect herself she can now at least begin to figure out which direction to take.
Zach winces at the description. "I cannot say that I have," Zach answers in response to the first question. "But that is not to say that I've never been in a situation that mentally overwhelms you like that." It's Zach's turn to take a centering breath. "I was in Metro City when it disappeared." He says in a tone that suggests he's not about to talk about it beyond that.
"But it sounds to me like you kept fighting in the face of what he did to you," Zach says. He leans forward, earnest and intent. "And that is something that way more difficult that you give it credit for. Losing a fight sucks, yeah," he continues, "But that will happen when you fight. So here is my question."
Zach leans in close, his eyes narrowed slightly as he kind of gets in Lita's face. "What are you going to /do/ about it?"
"I had no choice," she says in response to keeping on fighting in the face of what happened to her. "He was going to keep coming regardless and I wasn't out of it enough to play dead particularly well."
She then reflects on the statement that he said previously about being in Metro City when it disappeared. She remembered reading about all of the deaths and then she connects it to sensitivity to those around him. She wonders if he felt all those lives get extinguished. Though on the surface she keeps a stiff upper lip, she has a hard inward cringe. She decides for both her sake and his, that she tables that line of thought and goes directly to the next question.
"The only thing I know how to do. Work harder."
He sure as hell did.
Zach nods once firmly with a sure grin on his face as he stands upright, getting out of Lita's face. "Too bloody right," he says. "That's how you say it, yeah?" He sobers a little. "I won't say it will be easy, Lieutenant," he continues. "But I /will/ tell you that it gets easier with time and distance. And that strength of will is the best defense against those kinds of attacks."
Lita rises to her feet once more with hand extended towards Zach. The free hand slides the chair back under the table as a sigh of relief leaves her lips.
"Once again. Thank you."
Her mind flashes back to the particular fight as she was desperately trying to regain some breathing room. Her mind flashes back to that moment where she was freaking out. There's something nagging her about the detail but she can't quite figure out what it is. Like she had missed an important piece. Thankfully, it wasn't a piece that she needed to heal. It still was in the back of her mind just out of reach.
She stretches and then glances at the business table at the bump put into the table from when she slammed her fist into it.
Zach returns the handshake again. "It's no trouble," he answers. "Glad I could help." He glances at the table, then out the door. "You can tell Agent Little whatever it is you want to about what just happened here," he says with a conspiratorial grin on his face. "So feel free to mess with his head if you want."
One would figure he'd have come back by now. Maybe he's out getting drunk?
Daniel Jack finally staggers back into the room.
The stench of whiskey is carried with him. He has a bottle of cucumber water in one hand. In the other? Arizona Iced Tea. "Heeeeey." Daniel Jack states aloud. "Sorry about that, had a... detour." He hiccups. "I got... tea... and water..." He stumbles forward, landing on the table. Leaning into it, he looks back towards Zach, and Lita.
"What's the bill?"
Zach looks Daniel over with a frown. "No bill," he says evenly. "Just glad I could help." He had considered telling Daniel some things he had learned during the course of his ill-fated King of Fighters run, but seeing the Agent like this pretty much killed that idea.
With that, Zach eases out of the door, trying not to gag on the whiskey stench as he does so.
Log created on 16:11:19 07/01/2016 by Daniel, and last modified on 22:48:20 07/04/2016.