Description: Djamila meets the new sponsor Gregory, discussing her future and talking a very important decision.
Gregory Ilvich is just over six feet of classically handsome 50-something corporate executive. Short salt-and-pepper hair, clean shaven, and in a suit that costs more than most people make in a year. He looks every part the kind of man one would expect to see on the front of a business magazine. And now that he has set the terms of engagement with Mint, smoothed things out with Kenzo... it's time to meet the member of the team he feels he is going to have to handle the most carefully.
Not even because Djamila needs any special accommodations on her own merit; she doesn't, she's made that very clear. As a fighter, she's excellent. Her style has been refined over the course of the Project, and there's no complaints there. But.
"You're sure about making both offers?"
The Evolve facility is currently empty; it isn't obvious who he is talking to. Until a smooth, robotic voice responds cooly.
"Yes. He has remained persistent. I calculate a high probability that this will win further loyalty."
He pauses, sighs. "Fine." He says, moving to linger by the elevator where he waits for Djamila to make her entrance. "I still think lawyers are the way to go, less... messy."
"Also imperfect. Some men believe they are not answerable to the laws of man. They can only be dissuaded by entertaining a higher power."
"... sure, boss, whatever you say."
Djamila had been sleeping. Or her room, at least. She had some more healing to do, and she took care of that. Now she was in the elevator to go to the training ground. The beep of the elevator definitely let her know she's on the right floor, if she has no other mean to know. She's dressed in a wine red outfit this time. Feeling for a different color of attire than her usual black or orange.
She wasn't able to hear any of the conversation, as she wasn't there, but she knows someone is there. Someone different. "Hello? Is that a bad time? Or is it ok to be here?" Far from her to assume anything at the moment.
She settles her staff on the floor, and leans on it, awaiting to see if it's ok for her to be here, or if she should find something else somewhere else.
The elevator door opens and Gregory smiles, "Djamila!" He declares, "Glad to see you. Gregory Ilvich, Director of Fighter Outreach here at Ultratech, it's good to meet you in the flesh at last." He steps out of the way, gesturing to invite the young woman into the space.
"I'm going to get a coffee, join me for a bit, won't you? There's a few things I'd like to run past you." And with that, he's leading the way to the stairs up to the second floor. It's not really said as though it were a question, though the opportunity is there to back out if she really doesn't want to have the conversation right now.
"Oh you are the newest sponsor, if I recall." She nods her head. "Gre... oh, should I call you sir?" She wasn't used to call people by a title, not for lack of respect, but if you have a name, Djamila will usually refer to that person by that name or nickname. Like Mint is Mint, not Madam.
With the question asked, she then picks her staff and start walking with you. "Of course, I will join you. It's nice to meet someone else in charge." She follows, taking the stairs like a pro and goes where he wants to be. "Though, I probably won't take coffee. I will serve myself some water or something." She didn't expect him to get the water for her or anything. "Either way, it's an honor to meet you." She says at last, and waits to see where he wishes to sit down.
"Hah, an honour. I don't get that much." Gregory laughs, shaking his head, "Just call me Greg, that's fine. And please. We have the kitchens for a reason, we'll get you that water." Which he demonstrates when they reach the second floor, walking over to place the order. A moment later, a fresh coffee for him and an ice cold water for Djamila appear, and he hands the glass to the young fighter.
"Don't sweat the small stuff, that's my advice. We're here to make your life easier, so take advantage of every facility we can offer. Otherwise, it's all just going to waste, right?" He grins, casually walking towards one of the seats and settling himself down, "I did want to check, have you had a chance to play around with the LifeBand? It's got a bunch of fun features we thought might be useful."
"Ok Greg." She bows her head slightly. "I don't use titles with people usually, but I am trying not to look like I don't respect someone." She gives a smile.
She seems surprise when he does the order himself. She would think he would have someone order for him or even asked Djamila to. "Thank you sir." She takes the glass which is offered. and takes a sift."
"I try to be more calm than I used to be. I've been having some angers issue at times. Now I have a different approach." She nods her head and follows toward the seating, and takes a seat across of him.
Suddenly, as he mentions the LifeBand, she reaches in her pocket with her free hand. "Oh I meant to put this on. I am sorry." She puts the glass down on a table nearby and proceeds to do that. "I wonder how it would have fared in my match with Junko." She smiles sheepishly. "I won't remove it now. I promise." She mentally kick herself for being so forget, and then she prepares to let it go, unless Mister Greg brings it up himself. She wouldn't be able to blame him.
"So do I have to answer some questions, or perhaps asks some?" She wasn't sure how to proceed, but surely he had a way he wanted to do things. She grabs her water back and takes a sip."
Gregory nods his head, his expression quite serious as she takes out the device and puts it on. "I promise, it was designed with the fighting in mind." He says, "But, it's not a big deal. We'll just... keep that between you and me, this time around." He smiles again, though it doesn't quite reach his eyes. "It is important you keep it on at all times. It's a big part of the security system we have here, and it'll also alert you if you're straying into an area you don't have permission to be in."
He sips his coffee then, leaning back in his chair, "I do have some questions." He continues, "But, sure, if you have questions too, ask away. Always happy to answer."
She takes another sip. "I didn't try to go anywhere here. Well, beside the three floors I heard we could go to. I promise." She is quickly to say. "But no worries, I will be kept on me now. As I assume it can be brought in the shower." She smiles. "I will treat it like my blindfold."
She takes a pause, listening to Mister Greg, "Then please go ahead with your questions Greg." She takes being able to say his name really for granted, and it comes easily. "My own questions can wait. I want to be as helpful as I can. I am grateful to be on Team Metal once again." She takes another sip of water for good measure as she awaits the question. The staff simply standing in front of her, on her left side, waiting.
"Alright, we can start with my questions." Greg says easily, "I'm guessing you haven't had a chance to play with the LifeBand. Do make some time for that. The personal assistant is very useful, she can answer practically any question you might have. Just preface it with 'Hey, ARIA' or similar, and she'll perk right up. Can be downright spooky at times."
%He chuckles, and then reaches inside his suit jacket, pulling out a set of folded papers which he unfurls and places on the table between them. There are two copies; one in braille, and the other printed. Though he doesn't say anything about them directly. "Now. I know this is likely to be a sensitive subject, so let's just get through that part right away. Donald Miller. He's... persistent, isn't he? And something of a, distraction." He's picking his words very carefully; distraction, not threat. Though the implication is there.
"I promise to set sometime aside to play with it very soon. I am just a simple girl. I don't play with cool gadgets a lot." A simple might be a lie, might be how she sees herself. It could be different things. "I can send you an email on my impression of the product once I've used it, if you wish." She tries to make up for not really thinking about it. She didn't have any excuses really.
She reaches for the normal one first, her head turning toward that one. Then her hand touches the other one, but for that one, her head doesn't turn. It does lift up when Mister Greg tells her about her father. "He has been a distraction in Sunshine City." She takes a deep breath. "He's been less of one in Metro City. Probably because of the protection. It's the town he lives in however. Last I know.: After all he could have moved. "When I was younger, I didn't understand. Now I do." She has some shakes and anger she tries to keep under control. She takes another deep breath. "It's hard to remember the things he did. I won't lie. But the feelings I have, I can keep them under control most times." She lifts her head toward him. "It is not going to be a problem for me to be on Team Metal, or my usefulness?" She asks. It was a stupid question. If it had been a problem, they simply had to not pick her again. But she waits to see where this is going.
Greg nods his head, "That would be great, thanks, we always love to receive product feedback."
The document is quite complicated; it's a legal form. An elaborate one, but the meaning is clear enough even through the legal jargon. It's a restraining order, one so restrictive and with so many penalty clauses involved for violating it that if Donald Miller comes within a city block of Djamila, he will be financially ruined and tossed in jail.
"Don't misunderstand." Gregory says, calmly, "We don't hold you responsible for his actions and we doubt that he is likely to be a serious problem from now on. In fact, if he manages to be one, I'm given to understand that Kenzo will personally make him regret that he was ever born at all."
A pause. Just the space of a single heartbeat, and then.
"However. As you're probably aware, Ultratech is a military contractor first and foremost. We make problems go away. Mr. Miller has proven to be a problem, and my superiors would like him to ... cease, being one. What you're holding right now is the peaceful option. We'll have to go to court, but our lawyers will make sure that if he so much as makes a peep where you can hear it, he'll lose everything he has."
Another pause, a glance towards the looming Fulgore Units in the corner of the room.
"Or. If you like, we can take a less peaceful approach that guarantees you'll never have to worry about him again. The choice is yours."
Djamila listens careful, and she's intelligent, but legal Jargon isn't her strong suits. Over so many words, she gets at least it's a restraining order. It makes her wonder what he has to lose. Or rather, what he cares about at this point. In four years, it would have been enough time to move to something else. Was it such a pain for him to know she was around and alive. She wasn't sure why.
She gets distracted from her thoughts as Mister Greg explains the peaceful option and then the less peaceful option. She has to ask. "The less peaceful option would that an early retirement from this planet?" This was the nicest way to put it in her mind, and she didn't know why she did so. Perhaps she could simply say murder him, off him, or what's not. "Wouldn't that make me a bad person if I chose the second option?" She didn't say no. She didn't say she couldn't choose that. Her first instinct is to ask if she would be bad for requesting it.
She goes silent after that. She is aware she didn't say anything about product feedback, but that slipped her mind as soon as she got two options for her father.
Gregory takes a long sip of his coffee as Djamila muses the option aloud. He doesn't confirm or deny exactly what that option would entail. Nor does he immediately answer her when she asks what it would say about the state of her morality. Hhe lets the silence grow between them for several moments, makes a point of showing that he is thinking it over.
"I'm not a priest or a philosopher, Djamila." He says, his usual light-hearted, good-natured, we're-all-friends-here tone completely gone. "I'm a businessman. At the end of the day, it's my job to make sure that you and the rest of the team have the support you need to develop as best you can. If you're worried that I'll judge you." And here, he does smile, his tone easing up again, "I promise, I won't. It's your decision to make. No pressure."
She frowns, mulling it inside herself. Even after the long silence, when Mister Greg lets her know she is not going to be judged. That he's no priest or philospher. "He had four years to change. Four years one might consider a restraining orders, as he didn't know where I was, and perhaps didn't even know if I was alive. I left him alone. I did my own life." She takes a deep breath.
Then he came to me again. Because I've been on tv. I am not sure I understand why. I don't want him to suffer..." She sighs. "That's wrong. Part of me wants him to suffer for all he made me go through. For the part of me, traumatized." She makes a fist with her right hand. "Why is a restraining order scary, when you have nothing to lose? When you only have one goal in mind?" She takes another deep breath. "If the problem can be solved permanently, then I choose the less peaceful option to end up with the most peaceful solution. A solution I won't have to look over my shoulder because of what if. I shall be my own judge in this situation. I shall live with it." She has to do what's best, and she didn't believe the restraining order would end things.
"I'm glad to hear it."
Gregory sounds perfectly sincere as he says this, and without anything else to say on the matter, he gathers up the papers, folds them, and tucks them back inside his suit. They aren't going to be needed, after all. "Now then!" He says, clapping his hands brightly, "Let's move on to a more pleasant subject of conversation. Your training. Mint is obviously going to be taking the lead on a lot of the more, practical, elements of these things. I can't throw a punch to save my life! But, that doesn't mean we can't be useful. Tell me, are there any areas of your style you've been thinking of improving in particular?"
He's glad to hear it. How does it make her feel. It takes a moment, but then she smiles. She made a decision, and she assumes it. The smile, for all one knows, is genuine. It's a bit hard to tell without eyes to add more details to the smile.
"Most moves are my own, and I work on my staff a lot. I've been working to be more in control of them. I've been getting a certain degree of success. Especially in my friendly fight with Lucky Chloe. Keep in control of my own move, to anticipate the moves of my opponents and deals with them.
She smiles a bit wider. "If I may, without coming off like I am full of myself. I think I've gotten better. I will work on getting even more control over my moves and work from there. A mix of instinct too. Junko was the first win in round 2 and what I like to call Djamila 2.0. I intend to continue that way.
"I understand you wouldn't fight yourself, but I presume you've seen me fight, perhaps even studied me a bit? If you have something in mind, I promise to consider it. Then, see if I think it suits me or not. For the rest, like you said, Mint has been great."
Gregory nods his head, "You're undoubtedly getting a lot better." He says, "The improvement has been obvious. And, yes, I've watched every fight. Multiple times, actually. I'm not an expert when it comes to the technical aspects of these things, all I can do is tell you that I thought you looked good out there. In the Rumble, too. Entered sixth, left ninth. Very fine showing."
He leans forwards, places his coffee on the table, and seems to consider for a moment. "My thought was whether there is anything we can do to improve the pole." He says, "That's the sort of area we can get our engineers involved in, if you want. I'm not sure what it is made of right now, but we can look at different alloys, maybe some kind of locking mechanism to root it to the ground more firmly if that's something you want to explore. Heck. If you want to get wild with it, we can absolutely look at installing weapons in there. There's got to be enough room for a flamethrower."
"Thank you. I tried to stay as long as I could in the rumble. The old me would blame the other team thunder members for interfering after Ichika called to me. Now I realize fights never go as planned. It was my fault, assuming I would be left alone to deal with Ichika in the rumble. If I blame Ichika or anyone else, I place the control to them. I much prefer to be in control now." She bows her head, finishes the water and puts the glass away.
"The pole took a beating against Junko, but it resisted, and I did my best to heal it too." It did look better than after the fight." She ponders a locking mechanism. Does she really need to have one. She has learn to deal with it on her own. "I don't think it will be necessary. Maybe if you have something non invasive to help it resist better to extremes, like fire and ice. Without changing too much of the original structure." It almost sounds like her staff is a friend, instead of a weapon, the way she goes about it.
After a short moment, she continues. "I am the weapon, and the staff is my extension." She then finally says. "I hope you understand, the staff, the wind, and my body. That's all I need to perform. A flame thrower or any other weapons like that, is not for me." She sighs, as if relaxing. "And if I need a projectile, I will find something in the immediate area where I fight. It's not problem." She pauses, but quickly adds. "But thank you for offering. I appreciate it."
"We can do better than resistant." Gregory says, confidently. "Chi-conductive metals, something that helps you earth those energies and channel your own more easily, or just incorporating tungsten to make it practically unbreakable, there are plenty of options." He chuckles easily, waving his hand vaguely as he does, "But, I totally understand. A lot of weapon users feel that way. I was just thinking, you know, with the whole meditation thing you have going on, why not bring in some Dhalsim-like elements."
A heartbeat, "Hm, we could also make it extendable-" And then he catches himself, "But, no. You just said you want to keep it relatively simple. We'll put that on pause and I'll have the boys in the lab whip up some samples of different materials, see if any feel like an improvement. Now. We're also considering bringing on some specialist consultants. I do have a lot of contacts in the fighting world so, are there any fighters you'd like me to reach out to, or are you happy to leave that to my judgement?"
"I will try anything you bring. As long as my staff, is not destroyed. I value it a lot. Let say it has a lot of sentimental value." She nods her head. "Dalshim. I could try extending my limbs one day. I never tried. It would work better than fire." She thinks about it. Maybe it wouldn't be that crazy. the problem is where to start about it. Something to wonder later on."
"If I need to be higher, the wind will bring me higher. I just... I would be willing to try it, if the staff isn't ruined in the process." Again showing it means quite a bit to her. She nods her head, when there would be different materials to try. She is willing to try things. She's not completely closed off.
After that, she takes a moment to ponder. "I trust your choices. If I want to meet someone for other reasons, I can figure it out. I think for fighting purpose, you will do the better choice. You have an external view of things. One that will be always internal on my end." She smiles.
Gregory laughs, shaking his head, "Don't worry about that." He says, cheerily, "I promise, we don't even need to take the original. You keep hold of that for training. The lab is more than capable of fabricating a selection of replicas for you to test out."
He stands up, then, draining his coffee and tossing the paper cup into the recycling bin "Now then." He says, "You had some questions for me?"
"Ok, I trust you. Thank you." That seems to settleher, when they don't even need to take it. She even smile again. She's a happy gal.
"One, are we allowed to have outside visitors here? Or is that a big no no?" She waits than asks after. "Not my father kind of problems, but if I have other kinds of problems, I am happy to take care of them myself if they happen. But should I let you guys (She means the sponsors) know?" She stretches a bit. "I am just wondering if you prefer to know what is going on, even if I handle things. Nothing really special right now. Just in case something else happens."
Gregory nods along, "Visitor passes are available, you'll have to request them from reception and we'll do a quick background check, but most people should be fine so long as they abide by the usual restrictions. And yeah. We'd like to be kept informed. I don't doubt that you can handle everything life throws at you, but you don't have to do that on your own any more. My top priority here is to make sure that you have the freedom and resources to become the best fighter you can be. If there are, distractions, or difficulties, that get in the way of that? It's my job to make sure they get resolved as quickly and smoothly as possible. We're a team." He chuckles, "And since I can't get in the ring myself, I have to find other ways to earn my keep, you know?"
"Ok Visitor pass, and background checks. Got it. I didn't want to invite someone only to be refused and be told off later." She grins a bit.
"As for the problems. Well I just didn't want to look like reporting to the sponsors and be told like 'Oh my god, don't be whiny, you can handle your own problems.'. I am aware I can, but I understand what you're saying also. So, if there's a problem, I will let you know." She smiles. "Thank you. For everything. I appreciate this meeting. On my end, there is no more questions. Just some things I figured would be better face to face."
Gregory chuckles softly, "I promise, no problem is too big or, more importantly, too small for me to take care of when it comes to this project."
Once again, the corporate executive's eyes drift to those Fulgore units. The looming position of them at the edge of the room. "Team Metal is in a damn fine place, in no small part thanks to you. But we can do better. The other teams are going to be amping up their games from here on out, so we need to do the same. Innovate, improve, and evolve so that when the dust settles, we're the ones standing on top. I have no doubt that you'll do just that."
He claps his hands together again and smiles, "Great to talk, seriously. I'll look forward to getting those prototypes together. There'll probably be some group training exercises in the near future too, and hopefully those guests I mentioned. You have a great day now, and if you think of anything, don't hesitate to reach out, okay?"
"I had to evolve. I feel like I was heading toward a destructive path. I aim to continue to involve, to be the best I can be. I enjoy fighting." She nods her head. "A lot. She quickly add. "Everyone on the team is great. Kenzo I am really a fan of. JD has been great in the rumble. Sarah is very nice and I met Iris recently. I really like her too. We will do great, I think. Even better than first round."
She puts her left hand on her staff. "Great to meet you and talk to you. I will email you soon for the lifeband review and will let you know of anything else there might be." She stands to bow correctly to the sponsor. "Thank you for everything Greg. I will look forward for any training with my teammaters and guests. Might look for more training on my own too. Never enough, as long as I don't destroy my body." She beams. "You have a great day."
"Always do, Djamila!" Gregory replies brightly, beaming from ear to ear, "I'm living the dream here. Working with you all is the best part of my job. And seriously, don't worry about all this bowing and stuff. I prefer a relaxed work environment, you know? Ultimately, I'm here to support you, not the other way around."
He keeps on smiling as he casually walks back to the elevator, "I'll let myself out, give you some space for training, I hope it goes well!"
And that smile remains until the moment the elevator doors close. Then his features drop, and he raises his own LifeBand up to his wrist. "Connect to Ben Ferris." He says, and, a moment later. "Yeah, hey, Ben. Greg. Great news. You are go on that project we talked about. Budget should hit your account in five. Remember. The Boss wants delivery to Site Juliet Papa. Okay. Have a good one."
Log created on 11:30:10 09/16/2023 by Djamila, and last modified on 11:01:21 09/17/2023.