Description: After the massacre at the Southtown Village Mall, the Akatsuki are desperate to secure justice for the dead. This quest has brought the Scarlet Dahlia out to the warehouses in Southtown Harbor to check in on a team that has failed to report in only to find the reason: Bryan Fury. With a minigun aimed at her and her team, the Dahlia has to find a way to try to get the information she needs without ending up a smattering of red paste.
The death toll was unspeakable -- a mall shooting that left 67 people dead and over 3 more wounded. Southtown's police force was on high alert, but in the mind of one person in particular, that wasn't enough. It's not hard to understand that any force that could deal such damage would need more than Southtown's Finest could handle.
The matte-black vehicles were scouring the town for leads, paying attention to anything out of the ordinary. Each vehicle keeps in close contact with the others, ensuring that if there -is- an anomaly in the array, it can be reported to the others as soon as possible. For the interconnections of the Akatsuki will not be severed as cleanly as those of the Yamaguchi before -- a tightly-woven network is essential for the expanding control of the nascent organization.
Crime is only good for business when innocent people are not murdered in cold blood. Right now, the focus of the Akatsuki is on restoring faith in the STPD -- and if that means delivering the perpetrators in a gift-wrapped package upon the STPD's doorstep, so be it.
The Scarlet Dahlia looks over at the man opposite her. The patrols have been running every night for the past week, but this is her first time riding along. Her companion, in the back seat, has been on every patrol -- and he's barely twenty-two years old.
That would still make him her senior, by age if not by position in the organization.
And yet, he looks... terrified. Because, unlike the nights in the past, this night the web has been shaken. One team didn't report in.
The SUV pulls up alongside a warehouse not far from the harbor district. The driver remains seated; the front passenger is first to spill out of the car, sliding the door open for the overly-young lieutenant and the black-and-white-garbed Dahlia to step outside -- and then the two suits who were in the last row of seating.
"Quit shaking. You look like you're about to piss yourself," comments the Dahlia as she exits the vehicle, brushing off her long white skirt. "We'll have backup in six minutes. Surely you can keep yourself together that long, hmm?"
The Dahlia exudes confidence as she strides towards the warehouse, walking abreast of the three suited gentlemen. She's well aware that her opposition may be armed with contraband weapons. But she's also much, -much- more self-assured than most of her tender age -- for she has abilities that they lack.
The fact that people might be looking for Bryan never eluded him; despite his current position, he had been a detective in Interpol while he was still alive. The police had been simple enough to avoid by laying low in one of the safehouses that Doctor Abel had arranged for him, but the fact that these black vans had been patrolling so regularly, and at such unusual hours had been something different.
The Triads he had dealt with on his assignment to Hong Kong had never really been this organized. The small island had more than enough rival organizations that you could pass through any number of territories on a single drive through the city, but things were different here in Japan; they'd been spotted moving through every district of Southtown. And even being out in the warehouses by the docks, far south of the mall that had been attacked, hadn't done anything to discourage them.
The first group had been a problem, he'd had to finish moving all of the parts he'd managed to collect for Doctor Abel out to the drop-off point and hadn't caught sight of the camera that one group had the good sense to install on an otherwise empty truck. It was enough to get the team waiting in another van in the area to respond, and within minutes it had screeched to a halt right in front of him and they'd poured out armed with sub-machine guns.
Bryan Fury had been forced to handle it, although it would be a lie to say that he didn't still enjoy the look of fear that appeared when people realized their bullets seemed to have no effect on him.
Now the real problem was showing up. This wasn't just a quick response team hoping to take him by surprise; this was the back up. If they were police, they'd be the equivalent of a SWAT team and ready for anything.
So it was a good thing that Fury had managed to make arrangements.
The doors to the warehouse aren't even locked, but the instant they're opened, a slow whine begins to fill the air, the sound of something building up to incredible rotation.
Up on the catwalk overhead, Bryan Fury stands grinning with a minigun in his hands; a weapon designed for vehicle warfare hefted with complete ease by a single man as he stares down at his visitors with a smile.
The ranks of the Akatsuki grew exponentially in the course of just a few short weeks; it's inevitable that not -everyone- was playing on same sheet of music yet. The core of the Tohoku arm of the gang had already become intimately familiar with the shadowy Dahlia's approach to dealing with strange and unusual business -- that is, don't start none and there won't be none.
Violence is only the answer when peaceful negotiations don't bear fruit, after all.
"This is the area where the alarm was tripped, milady..." starts the eager young lieutenant, as he steps closer to the Dahlia. He holds up his tablet, and notes, "The van's nearby, it's still a solid green on the GP-"
The lieutenant is silenced by a wave from the woman in white, as a look of mild concern forms upon her alabaster features. She doesn't voice her thought -- she doesn't have to. The faint smell of gunpowder still hangs in the air, noted with a light twitch of her nose. And what's more, the signs of something unsettling. She simply indicates for the man closest to the door to begin opening it, placing her hands on her hips.
It would be tough to make out the form of the man leering down from above -- but the psion has no trouble picking the man out from the shadows. As the door slides open, the Akatsuki advisor is already looking up at Bryan Fury.
"Good evening! And thank you for welcoming us into your humble abode!" she calls out, her voice ringing out clearly. As her voice echoes throughout the cavernous warehouse complex, her men finally hone in on the speech -- and they notice the minigun. Men begin to draw their guns, but it seems that the narrowed eyes of the advisor serve as a silent signal to stand down -- they hadn't even -touched- said weaponry yet, in all honesty.
The advisor stands resolute, her hand having never strayed from her hips. Shoulders squared with Bryan, the woman of unflagging confidence continues unperturbed -- entirely undisturbed by the clear threat of the spinning magazine of the minigun. "We are looking for four men. Possibly armed, possibly looking like these fine specimens of humanity who serve as my guard tonight. Have you seen them, perchance?"
The sheer volume of bullets that Bryan could unleash with the minigun in his hands is enough that it would easily make a friendly red paste of anyone unfortunate enough to get caught in the destruction. It's a weapon designed to have the potential to take out armored vehicles from the air while moving. The fact that nobody has had the opportunity to draw, let alone fire on Fury is a good for them.
It is also an utter disappointment.
The replicant had been hoping to give them the fleeting hope that they might be able to stop him; to yet again watch as their bullets do nothing and see the lingering moment of despair fill them before the end
Instead he's left to give a curious tilt to his head, raising his eyebrow as he's met with something far more diplomatic instead. The thumb operating the barrel doesn't hestitation though, leaving that ominous whine to ring all through the warehouse as an ever present threat.
For his part, Bryan offers a rare verbal response: "Dead."
The psion looks up to the replicant, and the minigun that he totes around as casually as a child might with a similarly-sized plastic toy. The significance of the gesture is not lost upon her.
It is, however, enough to lower the jaw of the lieutenant at her side. He attempts to whisper discreetly to the firecracker executive -- only to receive an upraised index finger as a silencing gesture.
The incline of Bryan Fury's head is met with an appreciative nod of her own -- she even tilts herself forward in a mild curtsy. The threat is still present, she notes -- even after her own diplomatic gesture.
Dead, he says. This brings a frown to her face -- but this is an emotion the complex woman -chooses- to communicate for the benefit of her laconic counterpart.
"Ah, I see. Regrettable," responds the Akatsuki advisor, with a lack of emotion that's only startling in contrast to those of her three companions. The two older gentlemen grow increasingly tense -- veins bulge on their heads, and hands ball into fists. The lieutenant, for his part, grows increasingly pale, the word repeating on his lips in a hushed whisper, "D-d-dead?"
"It is a shame," insists the advisor, "The city is in shock -- panic, even, over the loss of a great number of brothers and sisters. Like our companions, they too are..."
She emphasizes the word, ensuring its echo resonates through the warehouse. "Dead." Her eyebrow arches upwards.
"What can you tell me about them tonight...?"
She has not asked for the man's name. She may not need to -- for the lieutenant is already flicking his hands across the slick surface of his tablet computer.
The contrast between the men and their apparent leader is intriguing enough that Bryan doesn't allow himself to simply slip into his default state of violence for the time being. Most of the people he has encountered since his ressurection have either been ready to respond to him with their own anger or simply abject terror.
The only calm voice he can recall now is that of Doctor Abel, but the scientist simply viewed Fury as a tool to achieve his goals. As far as the Doctor was concerned, there was very little difference between the replicant and the pure robots, aside from the fact that he required far less programming.
The lack of programming was an important difference.
"They shot first."
Those words are allowed to linger on the air as Fury's face splits back into that twisted smirk, "Or did you not mean your friends from before?"
The lieutenant glances between Fury and his tablet, attempting to rationalize the stream of incoming data with the replicant standing just a fair distance away. He is trying desperately to keep the reality of the spinning magazine of death from interfering with his work, while the other two men struggle between their need to fight and the obvious consequences of doing so.
The voice of the Dahlia is calm -- and there's a good chance that the woman's confidence may be persuasive as well. They shot first? ... This explains a lot. "I... see. If they drew their guns upon you, then surely, this was a mistake on their part." She passes a tight smile back at the man, even as her men frown in visible disapproval.
It is unwise to argue with a minigun, after all.
"There are many questions I wish to answer, and that was one. We will be taking the bodies back for a proper service. That said, I -do- wish to know about the people from last week, at the mall. They were not armed, and did not shoot first. What can you tell us about those people?"
The question is met with a long pause. Just how much did Bryan Fury care about giving these people information? The fact that under the circumstances this woman still felt as though she was in control of the situation was just amusing enough that for the moment, Fury didn't care to end things. However, a small adjustment of his positioning now gave her the perfect front view directly down the spinning barrels of his weapon of war.
If things were going to change, she was the one he was uncertain of. The others would shoot him, possibly flee, but she might do something more unusual... and her death would likely spur on the others to fight back out of rage rather than following whatever orders she might give them to complicate the situation further.
"I needed their parts. Spooked. Fled. I killed two."
The Dahlia has been cognizant of the threat before, but as the minigun is raised at her, she raises her hands in the universal sign of surrender. "For the time being, I want to remind you that I am not your enemy. You are the one making the threats now. You are the one holding the cards."
Should the minigun be fired, the response will be decidedly swift. Several vans are already moving into position -- perhaps the replicant's hearing is keen enough to notice the sounds of vehicles quietly approaching from a number of different vectors.
"Shall we continue?" she asks, arching her eyebrow once again, while both hands remain raised towards the roof of the warehouse. "You killed two. Then the others died due to other causes. What can you tell me of the 'dark lady,' was she the one who spooked you? I need to find this woman, friend. Help me, and I'll make some of your problems go away."
The problem with not caring to speak more than you need to is that sometimes people just don't understand exactly what you meant. Bryan, somewhat reluctantly, makes an effort to correct the confusion.
"They were spooked... maybe by her. I chased them. She got the other two, didn't want me to have them."
All through his explanation, Fury still keeps that barrel going. The only reason it's even worth his time to talk to these people is because of that overwhelming hopelessness that he's able to inflict. If he didn't still need to move all of the parts he'd collected, there wouldn't be any problems at all, but things were complicated.
"Could only hit her once. Had to settle for only one objective, otherwise I'd have enjoyed risking it."
This is, quite possibly, the most amicable conversation that the Ainu woman has had while at gunpoint. She can... sense that the replicant is amused for some reason. That he feels powerful with a dispenser of carnage at his very fingertips. That he feels to be on the dominant side of the negotiation. Everything she says, does, and asks -- is based on maintaining this relationship, even as her calculating mind is constantly engineering counterattacks to change that relationship in the blink of an eye. The landing upon which Bryan Fury rests, for instance -- or the parts which is he is intent upon moving.
"Objectives are important. And I won't keep you from your current objectives much longer, I assure you." The Akatsuki advisor smiles tightly, nodding her head -- keeping the rest of her body in as casual a stance as she can for a position of apparent compliance.
"It'd be foolish to ask which way she went -- the trail is likely cold. But did she give any names, any way of identifying her?"
"When she hits you... it's like she's kicking you in the mind. Didn't take kindly to being hit through playground equipment... or the grenade." There's a bit of a pause before he adds, "Would have liked to get my hands on her eye."
This woman only has a few more opportunities to make the foolish decision to bring in her backup. Of course Fury hadn't settled for just a single weapon, and it would likely take more than what they were prepared to unload on him to stop him before he could activate the explosives that had been hidden through the safehouse as a backup measure when he moved in.
It would be exciting to see whether or not those would be enough to put him in any real danger.
The word comes out of nowhere, with no clear context offered from Fury's expression or tone. It's simply left to linger as he leaves it out there, dangling tauntingly until she moves to speak again and then he cuts in again. "They said they were afraid sin would come for them."
Kicking in the mind. Playground equipment. A grenade... An eye. None of these words is thrown out haphazardly. Some people toss out words freely and without reservation, giving little thought to their placement in the tapestry of a narrative. Others... are like Bryan Fury, are tacit and view their words and time as valuable currency, to be hoarded and never squandered.
The backup is an insurance policy, nothing more. In the case of a spiteful exchange, an overwhelming blow will be dealt -- to the laconic replicant's objectives, perhaps, if not the former detective himself.
Sin. That name should have some meaning to her, beyond the obvious. Every word has a meaning, every syllable a purpose.
The Scarlet Dahlia gives a crisp nod, lowering her hands slowly to either side. No sudden movements -- this is a directive echoed in the minds of her followers. The two men keep their arms raised. The lieutenant taps the glass of the tablet one more time, before raising it as well. The Dahlia herself drops to a low curtsy, as in the western fashion rather than the Japanese.
"Thank you for sharing with me, this evening. Tell me where the men are now, and allow us to receive them, and we will be happy to leave you to your objectives."
Inwardly, she grits her teeth. She could stand to have given herself a stronger negotiating position, but for right now... this works. It's true what she said -- she is not his enemy. And perhaps he is the enemy of her true enemy -- the one with an unusual eye who delivers kicks straight to the mind.
"Pier 7... funeral at sea."
The words are terse, as has been this entire exchange. It's clear that there's not much else to get out of Fury right now, and the longer this goes, the more likely it is for the replicant to simply grow bored with speaking for this long and try to see just what they had prepared for him.
He'd already died once, after all, and it had led to an incredible new experience. No need to play things too safe.
The Dahlia narrows her eyes at the terse, clipped response. She had patiently dealt with the prior responses, but to have the fate of her men dismissed in what could be the first measure of a haiku is...
Infuriating. That's a word that would suffice.
If her tongue were not held hostage by the minigun, she would certainly have had more to say. As it stands, the conflict between her controlled countenance and the blood-red stain working its way across it should aptly demonstrate how much the woman is holding in.
It takes a few seconds for the woman to collect herself. She bows her head again, setting her jaw firmly -- this time in a silent farewell. Following the example of the laconic replicant, she leaves without another word spoken, silently gesturing to her companions.
She pointedly leaves the door ajar, as a simple and final act of defiance.
Once she seats herself safely within the van, she gives the all-clear order to her men surrounding the warehouse.
Thirty minutes later, the Akatsuki information network will be provided with a clear and unequivocal protocol for dealing with minigun-armed combatants. Too many were lost this day on a fools' errand.
Log created on 21:13:18 07/18/2016 by Bryan, and last modified on 01:08:38 07/19/2016.