Honoka - Ninety-nine Problems

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Description: As S.I.N. researchers attempt to clean up their mess from the previous violent altercation, they receive a visit from one of the friendly Southtown crime syndicates.

A refrigerated truck pulled up outside the sliding door adorned with signage for a local fish market. The suspiciously quiet warehouse had long since had its windows blacked out, years earlier and so much so that it was peeling away in places. The original equipment that was based here had to have been shuffled aside to make room for the impromptu operating theatre. Luxuriously padded dentist-style chair and monitoring equipment cleared away from the centre of the room, some of it even unplugged and wiring all looped and bundles up.

Free standing flood lighting had been erected and a reinforced gurney surrounded by more power tools than surgical instruments. A grisly business this was going on inside, an operation to remove each piece of implanted tech had been steadily progressing. Laboriously, checking through each subject's medical charts and the logistical paperwork to certify each device or implant on removal and storage. The scrubs and gloves were about all that could be unloaded from the ship. There was no time for clean suits and plastic screens, events and forces were mobilizing and time was of the essence. Moving things around on a waterfront which had so recently experienced levels of murder and violence that kept people mindful of what they were seeing, vigilant or wary of the unusual.

Working under pressure and short timeframe, This was their role here; ensure a full recovery of assets and minimum of remaining evidence before disposal. The 'doctors' or were they technicians? Crowded around the gurney where the ocular implant is lifted free it fitful chunks and wet scraping, placed carefully in a stainless steel organ pan to be moved to second station for cleaning. Of the three cadavers that had been delivered for extraction only one remained that was still in process, the other two covered by tarpaulin and shuffled away in a corner out of sight.

Only two guards patrolling walkways above where they had a better view and access to the exterior open windows. The remainder of the security force were still with the ship, which took priority in terms of defending. When work was done here all the gear would be returned to it.

The Dahlia of the Akatsuki places a hand across her forehead, closing her eyes. The warehouse -- it should have stood out like a sore thumb. She observed it in person just a few months ago -- and even then she could tell the building was unoccupied. It was unassuming -- conspicuously so. And now... Now the clock is ticking. There could be only minutes remaining.

The Dahlia opens her eyes. She looks to the bay, where a small shadow coasts by: a towboat pulling a big barge, barely noticeable against the midnight blue sky and its reflection on the slowly undulating surface of the water. The woman in white and black garb raises the cellphone to her ear, back pressed against the bay door of the warehouse adjacent to the one in question. She does not have line of sight of the warehouse, or the people inside, but that is not to say she is kept in the dark.

They, however, will be. The words are spoken into her cellphone. "Gentlemen, whenever you are ready."

The towboat's engine stops, and it slowly coasts forward. Boats of this size don't stop, after all. But without the forward momentum, the barge will be completely blocking the boat from departure.

It seemed like an unrelated detail. Much like the sound of a van's engine starting up three blocks away. But for the woman wearing a necklace with a scarlet dahlia cloissoine, it is all part of a larger plan.

Shots ring out, as soon as the patrolling guards pass their respective windows. High-caliber bullets pierce the glass so fast it won't even register a sound until split-seconds later. Almost a full block away, two snipers pull themselves out of line-of-sight of the warehouse, while two more backup snipers ready themselves for return fire.

On the ground level though, the Scarlet Dahlia begins walking forward. She stows the cellphone without any real pause, or show of concern.

Just a few feet before her, the van slams into the building, not far from the unassuming fish sign. The van's front grille crumples in the impact, along with the front facade of the building. The van will likely not be drivable again, but the driver and its passengers are prepared for that eventuality with helmets and padded vests.

Scant moments pass before a half-dozen passengers spill out of the van. Armed with assault rifles, and equipped with faceshields and body armor. They hustle into the building, advancing the front line of the Akatsuki straight towards the people with the most to lose from the surprise attack.

On the barge, men take aim with rocket launchers.
And not far off, there are four more vehicles on approach vectors. This will -not- be a repeat of the Dahlia's last visit to Southtown, she reminds herself, while walking past the smoking wreckage of the van and the newly-opened aperture in the front of the warehouse.
She hums, quietly, to herself. A small nursery rhyme taught to children.

The cacophonous crash grabs the attention of everyone in the building, the tinkle of glass shattering hadn't been enough to break the concentration of those working on the plant floor even while the guards above scramble to throw themselves flat. The walls of this building were never going to stop a round or provide cover, the best they can do is lie flat and keep low profile with weapons directed inwards and both seeking out the source of the noise. The surgeons on the floor, panicking and throwing up their hands at the first sign of armed assailants, all except one who continues to routinely write away with a pen on clipboard.

Work was suspended, an intermission period begins at XX:XX. The robot nature of how it continues to record tasks and ignores all distraction including armed intruders something of a tell.

One of the guards above making a hand signal to the other as neither of them open fire, they we're well past outnumbered here and there was no order to engage. Distress signal had been sent, hopefully the force on the boat could handle these guys.

Workers on the ship direct their attention to the barge in a timely fashion, no openly hostile return movement but the presence of men on deck appears to be increasing steadily in ones and two's very minute. On the 'Scarborough Uwe' they had their own problems to deal with. Likewise there was a furious amount of scrambled communications being sent up and rerouted through the various channels from both locations. As centralized as the organization was, all they could do was wait for orders.
"Who are you people? D-Don't you know who we work for?"

The shrill and panicked squealing the best one of the men in scrubs can manage under the circumstances.

Amidst the alarms, the woman in white continues striding through the front of the building, glancing around with seemingly idle curiosity. After all, with armed escorts at her side, pointing their gun barrels at the techs, it's not something she -needs- to be concerned with.

She casts a glance upwards to the two unlucky recipients of high-powered sniper rounds to the chest. The body armor was barely strong enough to prevent penetration of the hollow-point rounds, but was sadly -not- enough to keep the two guards from being hammered sideways, slammed into the guardrails erected to keep inattentive workers from falling -- and then flipped -over- said rails. The kinetic force of her snipers' bullets would have been enough to decapitate the guards in an especially gory fashion -- if that is, indeed, what she had wanted.

No, the Dahlia extends her index finger to the first guard who he lies flattened upon the decking. Both are still driven by duty, able to train their guns inward on the aggressor, even against their incredible pain. It's their duty. And as she smiles back at each of them, popping her thumb as the "hammer" of her make-believe gun at the guard, before turning to repeat the gesture with the second guard. They will know -- and even hear it whispered in their minds in the Dahlia's own voice -- that it was her choice for them to live, to bear witness.

Meanwhile, her second round of snipers keeps their heat sensors on. The thin metal skin of the warehouse will be of little consequence to the full metal jacket rounds that are equipped for the second barrage -- if such a thing is even needed. Aboard the barge, rocket launchers focus on the boat. More stand ready, if need be -- but even in a worst case scenario, where everyone aboard the tug and barge are killed, the Scarborough Uwe will need to muster up enough power to cut -through- a heavy barge laden with several tons of useless goods if it seeks to escape without permission.

"Tax collectors," is the cheerful response of the Dahlia as she strides right up to the person who so dared to speak against her. "The City of Southtown has over a hundred casualties registered in connection with your friends here. Southtown, you may know, is all in a panic -- and for no real reason that we can manage other than these... men, on your examining tables. We simply want to know who's responsible."

She rests her hands on her hips, as two of the guards advance on the other techs, attempting to shoo the guards away from their work. Doctors, technicians... it doesn't matter. The Dahlia looks over, her smile speaking to her considerable control of the situation. "They're dead, you've got time for a few questions."

Her gaze falls back upon the one who spoke out to her. "So, yes, let's start with the easy questions, shall we? Tell me who you work for."

The Dahlia strides forward, her piercing blue gaze boring right into the technician's soul.

The building was severely compromised, snipers fire having incapacitated the onsite security even before the main thrust began. The situation looked grim for the only two armed defenders, having survived their knocks quite obviously from their continued movement. Both continue to lie flat; one has his arm trapped beneath his own body as he draws a sidearm and draws a bead on the intruders, most ineffective range for a pistol. The Assault rifle pressed beneath his body with the arm lying entangled with it at an unnatural angle - and still twitching. The other taking an English style prone position with his rifle, one knee forward and leaning slightly to the side as he peers along the iron sights at the intruders.

Both men react to the Dahlia's fingergun by exchanging glances with one another, an unusually transmitted message, but one they were definitely receiving. The one with a the sidearm relaxes his grip and lets the sidearm slip and before rolling over onto his back slowly and trying to free his twisted arm. The second continues to lay still without movement or comment though still viewing everything down the long barrel.

The technicians on the floor seemingly realizing they are left to face this woman alone begin to sweat. Most of them turning into a rough approximation of a turtle formation while keeping their hands up; Taking great pains to show just how unarmed they were in response to the approaching armed men. The self-appointed speaker for the group furrows his bushy brows at the tone and use of 'Tax collectors.' His humourless streak coming out as he begins to process what was going on and convert his initial fear into anger.

A finger hooked behind the surgical mask he pulls it down to his chin, his frock the least bloody and gloves spotlessly clean he's obviously the type to have others doing the heavy lifting. With her next comment being about the cadavers and another pretence at 'humour' or 'levity' in this situation.

"You can't get away with this! You're just unaware of who you're crossing? Young lady-! This is a Shadaloo facility. This is S.I.N.!"

His very lines could have been very nearly presceded by 'you meddling kids.' But the Shadaloo Intimidation Network, there were some small number of logos visible on the screens of some of the equipment, storage containers stacked away in the corner bearing the skull and wings of Shadaloo while all of the important cases, that equipment was being loaded INTO bore a globe surrounded by crescents and overlaid with prominent staring eye.

Was this some petty local crime lord? or vigilante for justice was picking a fight with something on the scale of Shadaloo? The good doctor viewing this woman with a mixture of surprise and growing contempt, his attitude was like witnessing someone growing a backbone in an accelerated timeframe.

He knew HIS organizations dick was bigger. How that helped him right at this moment was still a work in progress.

The Dahlia's guards hold their positions. Two of them keep eyes on the guards who still hold a threatening posture: just eyes, though. Two keep eyes on the boat, scanning for signs of activity. And the two remaining guards keep an eye on the anxious technicians. All have their hands on their firearms, but they practice good trigger discipline and have their gun barrels lowered for the moment.

The Dahlia is here to talk, after all: her intimidating presence is obvious and oppressive, clearly overpowering the weaker minds in the warehouse area. When the self-appointed speaker exhibits his dearth of humor, it only draws out a greater smile from the Dahlia.

"Ah, is it...?" is her slightly amused tone. It comes as news to the young Dahlia, but she handles the revelation with relative grace. "That's... a small problem, isn't it? Especially since the Akatsuki were not made -aware- of this particular facility. You see, our organizations have pre-existing business arrangements here."

The Akatsuki advisor arches an eyebrow at the self-proclaimed speaker, her hands resting calmly upon her hips. It's true that he may feel like top dog, but the fact remains, she has come into the command of a great deal of real estate in Southtown, and it is her understanding that she has the right to assert her influence. "Shadaloo then, should be able to answer for the deaths of sixty-six people. Especially as it appears that these deaths were in direct relation to the deceased individual on the gurney. Tell me, are you the one who gave the order to kill these people within our protectorate? Southtown is -horrified-, you see, and it would be a terrible shame for any of these callous acts were to continue."

The Dahlia tilts her head somewhat. "Or perhaps you can tell me why a man who looks very much like these ... soldiers of yours is walking around toting a minigun in his hands like it were a simple toy, hmm? He killed three of my men, and I'm not keen on playing -games- with any more of my darling footsoldier's lives. So let's come to an agreement: You answer my questions, and your people can get back to doing their jobs, hmm?"

A- small! Problem, small?? And here he was; tangled up in something he was unqualified to even hypothesize answers about! wondering how this problem might be only trivial by any stretch of his imagination. Some jilted criminal organization with a bone to pick with Shadaloo holding himself and his peer-no! workmates hostage.

"I have no idea-"

Plausible deniability, start there and stay there. Deny-Deny-Deny. Right up until he's accused of having any kind of part in the deaths of more than sixty people. This was just absurdity!

"You're accusing me- of? well, pfwa! -well - just -- so you know!- that. For god's sake! they were just traitors who were put down!"

Didn't she know that S.I.N. had probably contained this situation well before it got REALLY out of control. The idea that armed terrorists running around a city fleeing an organization like Shadaloo with predators after them at every turn for their hardware?

"There was only the ONE body unaccounted for and the agent assured us that it was terminated. Her feed on the target included biometrics... -If someone is working on a similar line of technology that has nothing necessarily to do with us!"

That soldier was practically red-meaty-goo in a uniform shaped container after whatever had been done to kill him. There was a real chance not many secrets would come out of that one. There was always deaths to be accounted for in weapons research, if anything the fact that the death toll was so low and confined to such a small area was testament of them being an early model development with limited potential.

"Ma'am! There is something approaching your position at high speeds. First attempt at interception has already failed. It's - fast."

The warning is timely, it has to be. The tiny black object weaving through obstacle and traffic alike at incredible speeds, the scream of the engine audible in its passing but it was much too small and agile to be blocked by a van. At the sound becoming audible to the occupants of the warehouse the technicians begin to look a little hopeful, if it's possible to appear so while also feeling queasy.

Closer still to the warehouse the new target begins to slow to a fast crawl, still revving the gut's out of that engine they begin a slow circle around the crashed van and eventual stop just outside one of the entry points, remaining outside the building. Wreathed from the soles of their feet to neck entirely in oily looking leather the figure is still female and notably so. That outfit could very well have been painted or glued on. The featureless black helmet with tinted visor appears brand new, and probably related to the bike.

No plates or licensing visible, it's either that new or, never been intended for use on a road at all. The angular and sharp H2R with its carbon fibre body and sports suspension accentuates the curves of the woman riding it. It fit's like a glove, and the excitement of playing with the new toy seems to be draining away as the figure is confronted with this odd scene.

It's one of the tech's who blurts out a relived cry-


That changes things not one Iota. The figure keeps one hand on the accelerator and twists in the saddle to lay their free arm across the now revealed curve of the gas tank, they let their gloved fingers dangle. Not seemingly carrying any kind of firearm unless she'd swallowed it.

Not the slightest hint of compassion or caring for the people in this building seeps out of her, this wasn't that kind of person. They were intrigued by what was going on, enough to watch.

Stammering. Stumbling over his words. Marks of an inexperienced liar, or one who is trying to speak above his pay grade. When he speaks of traitors being put down... tch. "Traitors, hmmm?" She listens, making sure that she can use the full scope of her psychic abilities to make sense of the man's flustered speech. She senses condescension, irritation at being forced out of his comfort zone -- this is good, of course. Under duress, a pathological liar will double down on the deception, but an honest man will continue to insist the truth as he believes it to be. Both admissions are valuable in their own regard.

The truth is -- the Dahlia does -not- know what's going on. She's heard -of- S.I.N. before, but only from the mouth of someone known to be an enemy of such. Someone who was attacked by the mysterious 'Dark Lady' who seems to bear markings similar to the Dahlia's alter-ego. Someone who--

The woman in white turns towards her nearest escort -- the one who delivered the warning. "Some -thing?-" she demands of the guard. She narrows her eyes, turning back to the technician. She knows the threat is coming, and she is insistent on concluding business as soon as she can. "Alright, let me see if I got this right. You got some rogue asshole with a bad haircut and the vocabulary of a five-year-old who wanted your pretty S.I.N. tech, and he kinda ruined your day. And then you had..."

The Dahlia grimaces, closing her eyes as the other technician calls out the name. The name she has only heard in rumors, and even then, not very -well-. It matches her data -- the person who is walking in behind her really -does- seem to have an impressive aura.

The woman in white simply jerks her thumb back to the new arrival. "I'm guessing that's -her- who kicked him in the head a few times. Tell me I got this right, hm?"

And playtime, it would seem, is over. Her men do not pose a threatening posture to the leather-clad figure, but neither do they exactly lower their guns -- just moving to keep their eyes on her.

"Now, let me tell you what's going to happen. You're going to finish extracting all the stuff that would incriminate S.I.N. And then you're going to get out of here ASAP, leaving the corpses behind."

The Dahlia no longer seems to be as confident, or as arrogant: Now she just looks irritable from the interruptions, taking a few steps sideways so that she can keep better apprised of the new arrival. The threats from the boat are minimal -- as far as she's concerned, there's only one person here who has her hackles raised.

Over the rumble of the engine Juri can't even possibly hear the words being exchanged between the woman and the usual techs, she was used to seeing these dweebs so they didn't hold much interest. Just observing the body language of all concerned and watching for any signals things were about to get nice and bloody. No joy there however. There's a little too much professionalism and trigger discipline stinking up the room in there... getting in the way of a good time.

The technicians appearing relieved to know she was nearby also seem stricken enough to be familiar with her personality. If she got involved, bullets would be flying about every which way. The S.I.N. crew getting the inkling there was an ironic dose of karma at work here, an eerily similar predicament to wind up in like many of these cadavers' victims.

"Ah, yes. *ahem* From my understanding, these (let's call them) men, were already fleeing a pursuer. Someone, after their lives as well as S.I.N. personnel... trying to contain them."

A bad lie, those men were dead. It wasn't containment so much as mopping up after an oversight let those men cut and run. The doctor draws the line at mentioning Juri's part in any of this unless the woman take it as invitation to do something.

Outside, Juri leans in and over the bike when the Dahlia jerks her thumb back at her, the movement of the guards piquing a spike in her interest. Especially when the Dahlia steps back and turns to get an eyeful of her.

"Why, hello there."

This may as well be silent commentary to herself over the engine noise but it felt appropriate a remark. The Japanese woman finally got her full-attention. Bent over the frame of the bike suggestively as she is, Juri arches her back to raise herself up for a better study. The Dahlia wasn't her usual type, women like her sometimes could have a powerful allure to them which she appreciated. The aura around Juri clung to her skin and rolled around and over the surface of the leather like she were on fire, much like the bike she was seemingly allowing the Feng-Shui engine to also idle. The pinpoint dot of violet light appearing on left hand side of her visor and as quickly fading away.

The technician working his jaw completely dumbfounded through most all of this, when told just how things would be done from here on out - it manages to break his composure enough for a seemingly startling revelation.

"She? uhm You-! you were after the bodies? Yes! ah-after the last of the devices has been removed. I believe they were planning to dispose of the refuse at sea. I- feeeeel -there would be no objection, to- you having them..?"

A chorus of agreement from all concerned but one of the technicians, whom is still taking notes. The recovery of this stuff, even the old tech was a high priority to ensure it was properly disposed of or repurposed. The rest was just waste disposal. There was the matter of the van to transport all this equipment, and why HELP HADN'T COME. But perhaps that might be a problem that didn't need addressing right this second.

The unhelpful kind of help that they HAD been delivered, instead seems to be at her limit on how much of this she can take. There was absolutely no way she was going to hang out and watch a business deal going down, not if she had even the remotest of choices else ways. The engine revs up in a timely fashion, up and down repeatedly while and the Korean woman turns her attention back to the display. With a sudden squeal of smoke, rubber and wheel spin she's gone, peeling out and the engine noise flying away at some heading further down the docks, in the direction of the ship.

The Dahlia bristles.
In the periphery of her vision is a woman who -- she surmises -- has been plaguing her footsteps for months. First, this "Dark Lady" had attempted to frame her for the death of a prominent yakuza kingpin, which led to an uncomfortable but necessary pivot of power in that region. And now... this "Dark Lady" appears to be at least tangentially responsible for the deaths of seventy people, in concert with the brutally indifferent cybernetic organism she'd already encountered.
And in front of her, a very shallow man is lying to her face, attempting to mortar over the gaps in the Dahlia's knowledge with toothpaste.

A practiced con artist, as well as a disciplined psion, the Ainu-Japanese woman can tell the man is not being 100% forthright with her. And she calls him on that, with a knowing smile and a feral gleam in her eyes.
"You either don't know, or don't love your life enough to keep from spitting out half-truths. Save your pandering for now, I'm not interested."

The Dahlia takes a single step forward, lips taking a downward turn. With that one step, the pressure and humidity rise, without the heat traditionally associated with such variances. (She could dial up the intensity even further, but... well. As Shadaloo, he's probably used to that.) An eyebrow arches. "You and your team have ninety minutes to finish what you're doing. Leave the corpses here, dressed as they were, and we'll take care of the rest. I suggest you get started."
The left side of her mouth pulls into a faint smirk, as she shrugs her shoulders. "Or you can try to bluster me out again. I can't promise to be as forgiving next time though."

With only a brief pause to see if the technician has any other witty comments to offer, she turns on her heel. Her demand delivered, she has no further business with the man: a blissful pardon, as her aura fades back from storm-grade intensity to a dull background roar. As the Dahlia turns to walk away, so too do her armed escorts.

Instead of departing, though, the Dahlia strides out to the dock, the scent of fresh rubber still thick in the dingy harbor air. She may not have given her full attention to the woman identified as 'Juri,' but neither her sinuous motions nor the passing of her high-powered motorcycle escaped the master manipulator's notice. She lingers on the dock for a moment, appearing to take a moment enjoying night breeze, as a counterpart to the harsh necessities of barking demands to someone else's men out of the operational necessities of keeping a city's people marching in tune. But in actuality, the puppetmaster is lost in thought. The Dahlia has not yet obtained what she came for, and something compels her to stand and think for a moment. So many questions unanswered, and yet she has enough pieces to gestalt a story to salve the harried minds of the Southtown populace. There is the issue of the -other- aggressor against S.I.N. who apparently started this whole monstrosity... but she's already handed that issue off to her business associate, thankfully.

She intends to stay true to her ninety-minute assurance: a road barricade from her people and helpful cooperation from the Southtown PD are intended to dissuade the casual riff-raff from taking notice. Much like with the earlier confrontation that led to such unfortunate deaths, "looking the other way" is a nice way to earn a payday. A word to her escorts conveys an order for the tugboat owner to restart his engines. The barge will be out of the way in minutes, but her ground forces will remain intact until the job is done.

The gaze of the Scarlet Dahlia, however, rests only upon the receding form of the motorcycle and its enigmatic, leather-clad driver. This 'Juri' was the one -- she's absolutely sure of it. But with the matter close to resolution, she has no real urge to poke the hornet's nest. And yet, so close to her nemesis -- an associate of S.I.N. who despite the Shadow Council agreement seems hellbent on harrying her -- she is conflicted. What exactly -is- that woman's plan, wonders the Dahlia as she stands on the dock, in full view of the technicians, the guards, and the ship. In the eye of the hurricane, walled up by her veritable army of followers.

The failing con/technician swallows hard while grimacing as that smile broadens. That glint in her eyes! He'd seen that kind of thing before and these situations could turn deadly in an instant. He gums and chews on the perfect reply that will -- of course, not come to him. Perhaps some days later when he inevitably wakes up in a cold sweat while remembering this moment. He takes the well-advised option of closing his mouth; he quite loved his life after all.

Standing there - sweating, silent and wide eyed he would have thought he'd seen it all in this line of business, but now even the young women of today were monsters that made his blood run cold. With the Dahlia stepping forward he visibly flinches and tries to take a step back. Right into the gurney and stopped cold - as she raises the intensity right in his face. Now falling prostrate on the floor the man offers his sincerest of apologies with his head down and folded up neatly in on himself with a squealed and terrified 'hiiiiiii-ii.'

All the more amusing since he was clearly some westerner and not even Japanese.

Likewise Screaming down the harbour the bike decelerates only long enough to line up with the pier-side gangplank and rockets it's way straight up the thing, sending it clattering and banging and the nylon rope handrails twanging. The security detail and sailors on deck having to make way -fast- for the monster coming aboard (and her motorcycle.) All while she makes no effort to turn to avoid them.

Juri swings the machine around in a broad semi-circle around the bow deck and comes to a gliding halt where she has some kind of a view. The engine cutting out with a whine and sharp rattle, It was a fun new toy and she was getting plenty of satisfaction out of playing with it.

When Juri peels the helmet off her face is streaked with a light sweat with unbound hair plastered to her skin. Annoying her such that she has to comb it off her face with her fingertips, before shaking her hair out. She wasn't certain what all that was about down dockside? but she was already putting it out of her mind.

In a few minutes they'd have to start sending out some muscle to help with the removal but she wasn't keen on helping or making herself useful. Her interest was more geared towards some 'plucky-little-organization' daring to cross S.I.N. and therefore Shadaloo. That made them worthy of a faint blip on her radar. Vicious or territorial underdogs?

"Sai-yo-nara there cutie, I'll be seeing ya!"

Someone might want that girlie dead for this, else? There was always something she might want to play with to pass the time next time she was in town. She grew bored so very easily. The distance between them was great enough that Juri didn't bother with any kind of tease; otherwise it might've be fun to prod the bull.

The driver is satisfied that his van is in drivable shape after the collision with the entrance. It's not pretty, but it won't need a tow truck.
The facility? It's much worse off, but that's not really going to be an issue with Akatsuki's distribution of forces. The gaping wound in the front facade of the building in the harbor district won't be as big an issue as it could be.

In the harbor, the towboat captain is starting to pull away, towing the barge to a distance that would allow the S.I.N. boat to exit without need of a collision.

Lips pressed into a firm line, the Dahlia stares wordlessly at the Dark Lady upon the boat. Words, were there? It's impossible to hear at this range, of course. But the onus of launching a conversation falls upon the lady with the superbike, not the woman who appears to have walked here on foot.

The Akatsuki advisor turns her shoulder to the Dark Lady with an air of finality, her heeled boots clomping lightly upon the dock as she makes her way back to the road. No hand gestures are offered to her men, no verbal communication of any kind is made, and yet the yakuza scramble off as if following prior orders. While some will withdraw in time with the Dahlia, others will remain behind to effect the terms of the agreement.

The Dahlia's expression stays stern. Her people already know to avoid bringing inconsequential matters to her attention -- and it goes double now. Southtown was practically shut down by what, in her estimation, was a completely unnecessary attack. She lost three of her men and risked an already-fragile business agreement for a shallow sense of safety and integrity.

Perhaps she shouldn't have bothered. But the dark manipulator of the Ainu agenda intends to live a life without regrets, and resting idle while her powerbase is challenged was a definite threat.

A second van rolls up just as the Dahlia reaches the street, its door rolling open. Moments later, the van pulls off, the puppetmaster safely aboard -- full of thoughts on the coming storm.

The remaining surgery takes a mere forty minutes. Things actually going a lot faster with Dr. Klein reduced to a sniffling mess for the duration of the procedure; allowing the others to focus on the task at hand. The work had to be a bit sloppy but the tech was all accounted for, a forklift and crane hard at work dockside recovering the hastily boxed up consoles and electronics. That 'Dahlia' !! the time she set was tight.

When the lights go out, some of the contents of the warehouse remain. The lighting rigs left where they stood. The ground still spotty with blood and other fluids goes without cleaning but the three corpses remain. Similarly a few unused packing materials in the form of the Shadaloo marked crates and all the candy wrappers, cigarette butts and ancient chewed floor-gum such a place inevitably collects.

When the ship finally leaves harbour ahead of even it's revised schedule it's only a day out from meeting with aircraft waiting to pick up their VIP's up for a prompt debriefing and transfer elsewhere. For possibly the most important performance review of their lives hanging over their heads.

Juri would just be glad to get off this slow moving tub and back to somewhere where it was even half-possible to find something entertaining to do.

Log created on 18:38:02 08/01/2016 by Honoka, and last modified on 09:52:07 08/08/2016.