Description: One by one, Violet Systems claims another victim for their Combot army. Not murder, no, but the acquisition of another fighter's character, their identity, their style. As Lee Chaolan spars over the Kyokugen identity, however, a certain idol in his crosshairs decides to make a cease and desist of a more personal nature. Lee Chaolan might be able to deal with a mere idol. But how long can he stand up against a goddess...?
Lee Chaolan was having a busy day today.
"Let me hear it, Koki" He says idly, laying back in his plush office chair. The executive suite of an office room was fair simple, in spite of its wrap around window giving a beautiful view of the Southtown skyline. Lee Chaolan was in his business suit. One hand of his? Reaching back behind his head. The other? Idly clutching a rose by the stem, between the two fingers. "Erm, well, Mister Chaolan, we've come across unforeseen... obstructions." Lee Chaolan focuses on the rose. "Oh? Are you saying that Kyokugen Dojo has rejected our offer again?" Koki is silent for a moment on the other end of the line. "It's... not Kyokugen rejecting us this time. It's the Garcia family." That gets a reaction from the executive.
Koki is quiet again, as Lee Chaolan leans forward. "I am disappointed, Koki. The intelligence reports identified that Robert Garcia has been close to the Kyokugen family, as well as the dojo. I've already assumed that he would throw his weight around at word of our actions. I expect-"
A slithe, shapely secretary slips inside of the executive's office. Lee Chaolan puts Koki on mute just as he sputters aloud. "Yes?~" Lee Chaolan says, looking up from his desk, to the beautiful assistant. The woman bows slightly. "You have someone who wants to see you." Lee Chaolan does not seem plussed. "Well, does he have an appointment?" The secretary shakes her head. "Well, no, she doesn't have a-"
"Oh, -she- doesn't?"
Lee Chaolan brightens a bit. He looks to the rose, and then gives the secretary a wink. "I'll make some space for my schedule then." He returns to the desk, and grazes a button. "Now listen to me. I am canceling our meeting. You may use that time to work on the Garcia family. I will have Kyokugen on my Combots. It's up to you on figuring out how." And with that, he hangs up. Leaning back in his chair, he gestures the rose to his assistant.
"Send her in~"
The secretary doesn't get more than a moment to respond, only halfway through starting the motions of offering an acknowledging bow when the door behind her swings wide with a sudden burst of motion. A young girl strides in hot on the heels of the wooden barricade, her own heels kicking up twinkling motes of golden sparkles with each enthusiastic hop-step she takes into the room. She pauses next to the assistant and reaches up with a delicately gloved hand, casually flipping her waist-length snow-white hair in a dismissive fashion. A veritable torrent of the sparkling motes shimmers along the silky smooth surface of her elegant lockes engulfing the slender teen's entire body in a glittery halo that briefly turns the large office into an impromptu disco club.
"Hey, hey, no need to be so formal! I'm sure Mr. Pretty Boy here is all sorts of interested in sharing the company of a delicate flower of youth such as myself." The mysterious girl leans forward and gives Lee a knowing wink, creating another tiny puff of whatever celestial glitter she seems to have bathed in. "Besides, we have a lot to talk abouuut~."
Without pausing in her delivery, Ingrid pirouettes to the side, literally dancing her way infront of the secretary and gives her a good solid push with the side of her waist, hip-checking the likely baffled woman back out the door with apparent ease despite her size. The snowy maiden snaps her fingers and a brilliant glow surrounds the handle of Lee's door which slams shut a moment later behind the secretary.
"Scram, sister, we got business to discuss."
Lee Chaolan's expression goes from charming to merely aloof. With the news of the Kyokugen front coming so strongly, and the cold shoulder he was aggressively receiving from Athena and the Psycho Soldiers after their... reappearance, Lee Chaolan was ill prepared for a third front from Ingrid. The secretary was stunned, unsure of how to deal with such a brazen entrance. But before she could object, the door... slams shut. Lee Chaolan's expression remains unchanged. "We do indeed, Ingrid." He says softly, as he presses a button. A contemporary egg-shaped plush seat rises from the floor, opposite to his desk. Lee Chaolan then lets his free hand gesture to it.
"Have a seat~"
While Ingrid works her way to the chair (if she even gets there at all), Lee Chaolan continues to speak, focusing on his rose. "I must say, I am surprised you have come to see me personally, Ingrid." Lee Chaolan says with just a hint of restraint. He fondles the rose, twirling it. "For almost a year, you've been a precious treasure I could not capture. The martial artist who got away. The idol of idols, the mysterious waif that just eludes me. The one fighter of my tournament who refused my invitation of just one more chance." He looks away from his rose coyly, giving Ingrid a wink.
"And yet, here you are~"
Ingrid twirls around merrily to face the room's other occupant now that the two of them are alone. As is always the case, her youthful porcelain face wears an expression of coy amusement, as if she is perpetually privy to some wonderful joke that no one else knows. She makes no fuss about taking Lee up on his offer and skips over to the chair, flouncing down upon it like a cat sprawling on something that it knows belongs to another person in the hopes of attracting attention. Her feet dangle over one edge of the egg-shaped chair, swinging idly back and forth, and she takes a few seconds to wiggle around and get comfortable.
"Pretty swanky place you got here," she says, interrupting the last of his words as if they were unimportant idle chatter. Her gaze sweeps around the room stopping on the various pieces of high-class furniture briefly before moving on to the next. "Been a while since I was surrounded by this kind of luxury. Mmm, takes me back."
She turns her head back towards Lee and gives him a mischievious grin upon noticing the flower still delicately held in his hands. Her body spins around on the seat and she leans forward to rest her elbows on the edge of his desk, propping her chin up on her gloved hands.
"You know, I thought it was girls who were supposed to be obsessed with flowers. You keep fondling that thing like that and there's going to be rumooors~"
"Ha ha ha! Well, I know how much trouble rumors can be~"
Lee Chaolan does not stop toying with his flower. "Now, as you said before, you wanted to talk business." His gaze transfixes on Ingrid. "I know you have been a very busy girl, and I know you've gotten our requests. Our lawyer have spoken with your lawyers, you know how that goes. But we never really had a chance to talk as people." Lee chaolan smiles a bit more, the aloofness fading. "And here we are. People. And as far as the business goes, there is only one commodity I want."
"You know all too well I want your likeness, your sun style, Ingrid." Lee Chaolan turns around in his chair. A screen projects upon the wall, shimmering as it reveals technical blueprints... and the Psycho Soldiers, all squared off in the corner. "Please show Combot model 1. N. G. R. 1. D." And with it, the psycho soldiers fade. In its place, a figure of Ingrid appears, in a T-Pose, beside a Combot in a similar pose. There was a red message beside it. Data Incomplete - 100%. "My motives aren't too concealed, I am afraid. I am eager to take the top teams of my King of Fighters tournament, and have their data in my Combots. And naturally, some fighters are uncomfortable with that notion."
"But not all of them now, Ingrid."
"The United States has just released Guile and Charlie to me. Russia has given me Sergei, and Lita has been given to me by the United Kingdom. One by one, I am getting my fighters. And while some of your contemporaries here in Japan have resisted my offers, I am surprised you have been so resistant to the next in the Ingrid experience." Lee Chaolan turns around again. "Be honest, Ingrid."
"Was it because your experience was... unsatisfactory?"
The tiny idol turns her head to peer at the shimmering display as it projects upon the wall, wrinkling her nose in obvious distaste at the image of the clunky looking robot that would bear her legacy. There have been many in the past who sought the power that she possesses. Bribery, threats, kidnapping, blackmail. There are few methods that the various forces of darkness have not attempted to use to extort the strength of the Code from her her grasp. Only one has ever succeeded, much to her annoyance, but even with that theft of her essence, she had not felt so violated as she does at this moment.
Lapsing into silence for a time, she eventually turns her attention back to Lee and gives him another of her trademarked mysterious smiles. "You know, there's a difference between admiring someone and what you're doing. I can't speak for everyone, heaven's know there are some weirdos out there, but most girls don't find being stalked a form of flattery. Particularly by someone who wants to take everything that they are in order to make cheap copies to be sold off to unscrupulous war mongers."
Ingrid pushes to her feet, hopping out of the chair with a soft click of her heels that kicks up a tiny cloud of golden glitter around her elegant shoes. She stalks around the chair and starts to spin slowly as she does, one hand drifting up into the air as she dances with fluid ease towards the center of the room. A shimmering wave of golden light bursts to life in her outstretched hand as she twirls, her movements ballerina-like in both form and grace, leaving a contrail of glittering energy spiraling about her body in a dazzling display that lights up the room for a few brief instants. The light dies out with the same speed with which it was summoned, a momentary glimpse of the power at her command.
"There is only one Ingrid, Pretty Boy, and no wind-up toy is going to be entrusted with either my power or my good looks. The world just isn't ready for that kind of thing, ya know?" She leans forward and waggles a finger at him like a scolding mother. "People with gifts have a responsibility to ensure that they are used appropriately. Naturally," she adds with a weary sigh, "that lesson never seems to take root, no matter how hard I try to impress it upon the world. Which means I'm left to clean up the mess when someone comes along with yet another cockamamie get-rich-quick scheme regardless of the consequences."
Lee Chaolan, for his purpose, was patient.
Ingrid had that presence. That flicker of loathing that did not surprise the executive. She saw through the illusions and the barriers. As she makes her spin, the demonstration of power, Lee Chaolan smirks slightly. That was the light he wanted. Averting his eyes from the shine, he chuckles. "That buffoonish oaf of a detective didn't understand what you were." He said softly.
"And it's clear I've underestimated you as well."
"There is one thing we couldn't replicate, Ingrid. Well, two things. The first is your charm, naturally. But the second is that unique gift. Your powers are... well, we only have limited data on it. We would have more information on it but... of course, your companions had a different opinion on it." Lee Chaolan shrugs, as he rises from his chair. He strides across to the window, to look over the skyline. "I can never achieve either, no matter the technology, I can admit that. But just the shape of it... it's artistic. I could always take the shape of an idol like you, shape it, and make it just similar enough. Like what that Yoshiaki had done. But what's the point when you have something more than that?" He glances back at Ingrid, sniffing the rose slightly.
"The ambition for something more."
He walks towards Ingrid, past her. "Certainly, there are some who would take that gift. It's not impossible, to steal the identity of a person, and rebuild it with wires and data mines. But it is unsavory, as well as unethical. Still, it is tempting for those with ambitions to just... reach and grasp what was right at their fingertips before. So much incredible, mystical power, Ingrid. To have that power, mass produced and spread across the world... it is certainly the dream." Lee Chaolan releases the rose, letting it spin through the air towards Ingrid. "I'm afraid I don't know if I can stop from my ambitions for power, Ingrid."
"But I can make you free of them, if you like."
The snow white goddess listens to the man across the room as he lays out the flaws of his designs on obtaining her power, one by one. At first glance, it appeared as if he was admitting defeat, heaping praises upon a foe that had bested him in an attempt to retain some dignity or the appearance of sportsmanship. But she's met his kind before, those with enough power that they thought themselves too aloof to be weighed down by something as meager as humility. It is but a single move of a piece on the board, a shifting of tactics. And oh how she loves this game.
Ingrid's hand extends out and, with dainty gesture, plucks the rose from the air as it sails gently towards her. Her fingers nimbly manuever around the thorns on its slender stem as she twirls it between them, flourishing the gift with supernatural ease before bringing its fragrant petals up to her nose. While not nearly as pleasing as the aroma of the flowers found growing in her homeland, she has to admit that its certainly a fine scent. Smiling with approval, she tucks the vibrant blossom into her hair, nestling it just above her ear near one of the twin hair ornaments.
"It is precisely that sentiment that makes me so sure that you are not someone I have any desire to see in possession of power, mine or anyone else's. You aren't the one who gets to decide what that power is used for. That much responsibility is not meant for the likes of you. And allowing such potential for mischief to be mass-produced and distributed, well, I'm afraid I can't just sit back and let that happen."
For a brief moment, the girl's expression changes, becoming something somber and serious. She loses all pretense of amusement or joviality, her lips pressing into a thin line, eyes narrowing ever so slightly. Her posture changes, the girl drawing upright to stand in a manner that evokes mental imagery of ancient rulers, every aspect of her bearing infused with elegance and regalty.
"You're playing with fire, boy. And it isn't just you who stands to suffer when something goes wrong. The whole world could burn in the fires of this ambition of yours. I know, because I've seen it before. This will end badly."
Though her voice remains the same soft and almost annoyingly girlish tone as before, her words carry with them a sense of unimaginable weariness. Ingrid stares at Lee, unmoving, for a full three seconds, that same fatigue and sadness reflected in the shimmering surface of her eyes.
And then it all falls apart. She winks at him, her mysteriously aloof grin rushing forward to dispell the awkward tension. Her hair swooshes in another display of sparkly disdain as she flips it casually to one side, resting the other hand on her hip and offering a shrug in Lee's direction.
"But hey, that's just one girl's opinion. Feel free to listen~ Or don't!"
The tiny goddess spins on her heels, twirling a full rotation in place, and when she faces him once more she is leaning forward, waggling a finger at him again.
"But if you do something naughty, I'm gonna have to come back here and punish you, m'kay? There might also be an 'I told you so' or two involved."
Lee Chaolan felt the warmth around him.
It should be a chill. But Lee Chaolan was past the cold. He already saw what the outcomes would be. Someone like Ingrid... he saw the shadows of the power. What was the choice here was whether Ingrid would bend, or if she would break, or would she stand strong. She was threatening Lee instead. A threat that Lee could sense that was backed up. So as she catches the rose, as she makes her case, Lee Chaolan only draws in a quiet breath, and exhales. His game was much larger than him and Ingrid. And he had to make his gambits.
"No, no, I get the message~"
Lee Chaolan walks back around to his desk. Relaxing back in his plush office chair, he leans back, looking just a bit... disappointed. It wasn't humble, it wasn't humility. It was a light air of defeatism. Someone proud making a hasty retreat. The image behind him, on the wall, had changed slightly. Ingrid's missing data had shifted from 100% to merely 95%. Specks of information, trickling in piece by piece. And with a few taps, they dissolved back down to 100%.
"I know you are more than you seem, Ingrid. What that is may forever be a mystery to me now. But right now, I have too many enemies. And I can't carry out what I intend with someone like you after my neck. So I will have my lawyers withdraw their litigations, their challenges to you. I surrender my Ingrid Combot, and will let the dream die. Daedalus warned Icarus about flying too close to the son. I'm not going to be an Icarus. But if you do need to come back and punish me." He leans over the desk a bit, eyes twinkling.
"Promise you'll limit the 'I told you so's?
There is a moment of brief lingering hope that flutters through the girl's senses as she lays out her ultimatum. Lee seemed to respect the fact that he had no idea who Ingrid was or what she was capable of. Men in his position were often practical and realistic by necessity. Sure, someone could rise to power through a series of fortuitous events but such individuals rarely lasted long without the skills and foresight necessary to see to their own survival. Such goals often required sacrifices and she had averted more than one potential disaster by simply playing upon that simple basic instinct of self-preservation. She was a wild card, an unknown factor that showed up when least expected and most unwanted, something than any smart businessman would do everything in their power to avoid.
That spark of hope sputters out rather quickly, however, as Lee retreats once more to the role of damage control. He doesn't want her meddling in his plans but nor does he intend to give them up completely. His offer is a placating gesture, an attempt to mollify her desire to interfere through assurances that she herself would not be a target.
Were she any one else, that might have worked. With the absurd amount of resources backing him up, Lee is a formidabble opponent. A sane person caught up in this mess would take every chance to cut and run and let the devil take the hindmost. To all appearances, Ingrid is little more than prominent celebrity, a quirk idol that likes to draw attention to herself and then vanish seemingly without ryhme or reason, so it would make sense for her to seek out this opportunity to leave well enough alone. But, as Lee had so pointedly noticed, Ingrid is far more than she seems.
Her eyes shift slightly to the side as the screen updates with fresh information. She'd noticed that the counter was going down soon after her arrival, indicating that her data was being scanned in an entirely predictable fashion. It worried her little. Even if Lee were to get the entirity of her biometric data, he would not be able to replicate the spark that made her what she is. Even That Man couldn't manage that. But she does feign a look of pleased surprise upon seeing the counter reset to its former status of 100% missing data.
"Well." Ingrid stalks over to the front of Lee's desk, sashaying her hips in an over-exaggerated manner that sends her skirt swaying back and forth, smirking playfully at the young businessman. "No promises. Life is much more interesting when there's a few mysteries involved, don't you think~?"
The tiny idol presses two fingers to her temple and sweeps them towards Lee, giving him a cheery salute and a wink, then turns on her heel and heads for the door. She opens it normally this time and steps through portal into the outer office, though not before giving her hair one last imperious flip with a gloved hand, trailing golden sparkles like some kind of Disney fairy as she vanishes from sight.
Lee Chaolan was smirking.
Ingrid was... showing far more force of personality than any mere idol. Even for a celebrity, there was a certain... edge to her. The reason why Lee Chaolan was happy to stay out of her way. And yet, if she had a less... selfish bent, then he would be looking at more trouble. He was a reasonable man though. He might have to make some unreasonable concessions, if she was going to start meddling in affairs that are none of her business. Lee Chaolan doesn't let his nature out, just smiling as the strange idol opens a portal... and steps out. Lee Chaolan blinks twice, before leaning back in his chair again.
He turns back around to the screen behind him. A few taps. And Ingrid is gone again from the screen. Back again is the Psycho Soldiers, this time broken down piece by piece. 0% missing data. Each one ready, almost ready except for a single... missing spark. Athena and Haru are fully incomplete, Kensou is only partially complete, and only Momoko is in beta, with the M0M0K0 line. Just that one piece. A little more effort. Lee Chaolan shakes his head.
"... I think I like Athena a little more, though."
Log created on 15:43:45 06/02/2017 by Lee Chaolan, and last modified on 19:41:42 06/03/2017.