Description: Her mission is clear. Her handlers? Not so much. Kasumi sets out on her first day with a new goal at Taiyo High - uncovering the mysteries she has been introduced to.
Since being recruited by Urien for reasons "not wholly reassuring" (who does a skills evaluation within ten seconds of a once-over?), Kasumi will have found her life quickly Will Smithed (turned around, upside down). For one, it's almost a given that she's being followed wherever she goes - it's not hard for a young woman with her extraordinary senses to catch glimpses of strange men in distant windows, in passing cars, presumably watching her. "Presumably" is the key term - it's impossible to see much of where their eyes are going past the gas-masks they all wear, but between those masks and the SUITS -- there's definitely an affiliation with *something*.
One begins to wonder exactly what kind of cesspool they've stepped into, right about now. How deep does the shit go? These guys had BETTER be paying her well.
Still, the job is easy enough. "Be a student." Easy enough, yeah?
TAIYO HIGH - 0643
Taiyo High Pickup/Dropoff Loop
Kasumi will have figured out, quickly, that she is probably hanging out with the wrong kind of people. Case-in-point - she's sitting in the back seat of a "tactical van", which is basically one of those obnoxious plain white numbers, windowless, with a whole buttload of electronics inside - and at least two of those masked, suited men seated at terminals behind Kasumi's 'seat'.
In the two front seats, a gasmasked driver seems to be speaking to a tall, twitchy-looking American man - blonde, raggedy-looking, wearing a trenchcoat, haphazardly gelled 'do, and a blonde five o'clock. NO gasmask, which certainly sets him aside. He's smoking a rumpled cigarette, and glancing from side-to-side, conspirationally, as though hunting for ghosts.
"--ckin' cameras everywhere, Carlton, and this ~van~ is a goddamn *sexual predator's car*. Who picked this? You think an international high-tech cartel is gonna not Chris Hansen the shit out of this?" He doesn't bother waiting for a reply - instead, he spins around in his seat, clasping the headrest white-knuckled, eyes wide-open, alert, (manic?), and focused *straight* on Kasumi.
"Alright, kiddo, name's Frederick, and you're gonna be workin' for us, right? Big burly guy in a suit picked you up after the tournament, said you'd be able to help out? Don't freak out about the guys in the car, Carlton here is ALMOST outta his trainin' and the two behind you are too busy freakin' out over you bein' a tournament winner to even talk to you. S'not offen they run into it and I *SEEN* these guys in the training rooms and they don't hold a CANDLE--" Frederick stops, to breath -- and also to stop himself from running away with the intros. Easy when you're flying as high as he is - he wasn't snorting sugar back at the stoplight. His inhalation is highlit by the cherry red flare of the light at the end of his cig - smoke plumes out of raw nostrils to collect against the low ceiling above him.
The whole van smells like smoke.
"Listen. You're a student here, so it's good, but we need you to try to get close to the principal. I dunno what you been told, but the fact is the guy's NOT who he's supposed to be, and we think the whole fuc- friggin' city's at risk. Probably more. We picked you 'cuz you're easy on the eyes, polite, and already in the 'system'. See if you can pick up documents, keep eyes on the guy, sniff around beneath the carpets and find what kinda dirt he's hidin' there."
Frederick leans back, finally - his grip relaxes on the chair. 'Carlton' leans in to mutter something to him, muffled.
"Oh, right. Anyone asks who I am, I'm Uncle Raul." He smiles, in spite of the cigarette, and slams a thumb into his chest. "Visitin' from the states, you can come up with the rest."
Being watched a lot is not doing wonders for the Exiled Shinobi's constant state of at least mild paranoia. She was always worried about being trailed, followed, spied on, and tracked anyway. And now every time she pauses to glance around, /someone/ seems to be around.
With the money Urien literally poured on her at the completion of her test, she has rented out a small apartment a few blocks away from Taiyo High. It beats living out of the collapsing building that had been her home the last few months.
And here she is. Urien alone was already a clue that she was probably playing with fire being involved in all this... but when the towering Spartan said that her mission was to look into problems at /Taiyo/, her interests went beyond the ridiculous amount of money he was offering her. The student body of Taiyo High was the closest replacement she had to the clan she had spent all her life growing up amongst. No one would be messing with Taiyo's students under her watch. If that meant spending some awkward moments cooped up in the most conspicuous van ever, so be it.
The Senior student has a certain composure about her in the midst of it all, waiting, seated, hands on her lap. She carries herself with a certain grace and looks so good sporting her Taiyo High uniform it should be illegal. Through it all, since being picked up to this moment, she maintains a confident poise, as if she's just one of those girls that knows she's 'got it going on' and feels no need to flaunt it.
Before she's addressed, her attention shifts to one of the men in the back with her, copper-brown eyes glancing him over before attention lingers on his face, "So... what's with the gas masks? Is there something I should know about?" They certainly don't help with blending into a crowd, to say the least.
Her attention is immediately captured by the passanger in front spinning around in his chair, however. Hands on her lap, her school bag is on the floor of the van next to her feet. She had already heard him talking to the driver practically non-stop, so she isn't surprised by the speed with which he speaks, nor the relentless nature of his rambling. Her expression suggests an intense focus on the content. It might be important. She nods slightly occasionally to make it clear that she's following along.
It isn't until he's nearly finished that her eyebrows raise questioningly. "Uncle Raul? Are you going to be..." she pauses, perhaps looking for the right word to fill in for 'stalking', "...seen around me often?"
Either way, she seems like she can deal with the idea of claiming an American as her uncle. Family situations can be weird, to be certain. "I have been inside the administration building once already... I didn't notice anything unusal then," the undercover student considers. "But it seemed like almost everything important is locked away on the computer system. Do you have something that could help with that?" Hacking was not exactly a course at the Remote Mountain Village of the Mugen Tenshin, but she otherwise knows her way around a computer. They're really pretty easy to use these days.
Frederick is in the middle of chewing on his cigarette, thinking about Something, hand running through his hair for maybe the fiftieth time since he's gotten into this van. He's jittery - that's for sure. When Kasumi speaks up, the man practically startles out of his seat, and looks to Carlton, wildly, accusationally.
"The hell is wrong with you?? Unlock the fuckin' doors, man, she's gotta get to Home Ec or whatever."
"N-nah, boss, she's uh, askin' about-- she's got questions, sir."
In almost precisely the same fashion as he had before, Frederick spins around in his seat, grips the back of his chair, and lifts one sandy eyebrow to look to Kasumi. Carlton is clever, and restates the girl's questions to Frederick - he frowns, in deep consideration. Shit. She was supposed to just walk in and either die or succeed, like everybody else. Anybody askin' QUESTIONS normally gets MURDERED - the Illuminati don't really tolerate questions. Kasumi's status as... hired help... means she is sort of *immune*. Frederick's teeth gnash, but only a little.
"Motherfucker. What would Alan do...? This... ain't... my strength..."
Let's face it. Alan, next to a pretty much perfect teenage girl in a *non-windowed van* would be a scene disallowed on this or any other game. That's probably why Frederick's pursing his lips, frowning, and silently agreeing with the narration.
"Okay. I got this - listen. First of all, don't worry a hair on that pretty lil' head," Frederick fucked that line up, "about these guys, they're idiots. The gasmasks are part of the uniform, makes it hard to breathe and encourages discipline, fitness, gives 'em somethin' to look forward to when they make it to where I'm at." Frederick talks like somebody falls down the stairs, but at *least* he can confabulate with the best of 'em.
"So far as a computer thing? Ah, fuckin' -- jesus. OK. 'Course we got somethin' for you." Frederick specifically remembers one of the guys from R&D - Farnsworth - handing him a parcel on the way to pick Kasumi up.
Frederick hands her this parcel now. It's roughly the size of a lunchbox, wrapped in nondescript brown paper, which is easily torn off to reveal a next-generation cellphone, *completely* off the markets and utterly gorgeous. Before Kasumi can even react, Frederick's quick to slap one beefy hand over the case.
"Don't even fuckin' squeal about it. S'our phone, but I bet the boss might toss it into your pay if you do what we want. It's got all the program you need on it, just look into 'Utilities' and then in the 'Finances' folder. Password crackers, all of it. Sound good?"
She had already opened her mouth to remind the spastic passanger that she had questions when the hapless if hopeful Carlton does it for her, leaving Kasumi to close her mouth and wait. When his explanation spills forth about the masks, the expression he gets back is a blend of incredulity and surprise. She doesn't risk glancing at the other passengers to see if the look of forelorn defeat in their eyes confirms or denies Frederick's statement. By being the only one talking he appears to be, in spite a lack of any obvious qualifications, the one in charge.
Respecting the leader in any situation, but especially on an operation, is an ingrained trait in the girl by now. Such things were absolutes while growing up and life-long habits don't vanish easily. Even if the guy in charge seems hopped up on something.
The package received, she wastes no time in removing the brown paper in what might be a bit too meticulous manner, sliding fingers under the flaps to severe the tape without tearing the paper, and unwrapping it in that excruciating way that drives everyone else crazy when waiting on someone to open a present at Christmas.
The for-hire operative's head cants to the side, arm lifting to reach for it before Frederick's large hand slaps down over it. Her attention is back on him. Really, she's found that if her mind strays for even an instant while he's speaking, trying to pick up the trail of thoughts again a moment later is almost impossible. It's best to not be distracted when Uncle Raul is talking.
Her answer is without hesitation. Only then does she take hold of the phone in one hand and heft her schoolbag into her lap with her other hand, finding a closeable pocket for it in the middle. The camera and recording capabilities on it will also be a useful tool for her espionage arsenal.
"I will take care of it." Whether 'it' refers to the phone or the operation as a whole goes unclarified. She's clearly already starting to shift her posture, ready to leave the mobile operations van and get off to Home Period or something equally mundane.
She pauses in the middle of moving however and glances back up toward Frederick, whether or not he has turned around in his seat again. "Ah... what should I do if something goes wrong?" Clan missions always had failsafes, fallback plans, and layers of contingency backup tactics pre-factored before going into any situation.
She takes a cursory look around the van and answers the question herself silently.
'...probably not call these guys.'
Frederick's turned around again, which means that Kasumi's talking to the back of his head when she pauses on her way out. What she'll notice, before she opens her mouth, is that he's practically staring *daggers* at Carlton, who could not be more squirmy in his seat if he tried. There is an extraordinarily uncomfortable silence in the car, broken only when the ninja/mercenary pauses, hand on the door, and asks Fred a question.
"--jesus, Christ, WHAT!" Frederick *spins* around, and -- whoa, whoa. He pauses, again taking a slow drag from that cigarette. Easy, tiger, you're gonna kill somebody. The man eyes Kasumi levelly, and indicates the phone she's carrying. "Listen," he mutters, already launching into his next words *while breathing. "I like you, I'm gonna cut it to you even, easy, like finishin' a preschool project. A baby could do the job - it's idiot proof. S'why we picked a goddamn kid, get me?"
Frederick looks from Kasumi to Carlton, to the ramshackle van. "Why d'you think we picked this dumpy-ass van for the dropoff? 'Cuz Carlton over here doesn't know how to look at a goddamn underage girl?"
"Not in Japan, si-"
"ShaddAP!" Frederick *punches* Carlton, and the man crumples. Frederick looks back to Kasumi.
"Somethin' goes wrong, sweetheart - and it might, which is why we picked someone who can wipe their own ass well enough - we're gonna know before you do. If there's one thing our business does *well*, it's info and recon - you're the front, but we got people in the school, we got people outside a' the school, we got people who'll wipe your fuckin' nose for you when you sneeze."
Frederick can't help the frown that falls over his features while he speaks - he is almost POSITIVE that Urien has done the line-up wrong for this. There's no way. Frederick looks to the door, then to Kasumi.
"Here, listen, listen-- listen. We got a guy better'n me on the inside, specifically there to babysit YOU. He'll contact you sooner or later, and be your point of contact inside. I'll pick you up n' drop you off, but I got my own shit to be doin' at one of the other schools." Frederick reverses his position for a second, opens the glove compartment, fiddles with something, and then spins BACK around.
He is wearing an enormous, blonde moustache, brushed back and slicked into place.
"Uncle Rico's got a janitor gig over at Gedo, see? Just... trust us. We got you well in hand, so long as you don't tip the principal off straightaway. You good? You got five minutes to get to class, and I'm gonna personally kick your ass outta this van if you keep comin' up with reasons to stick around." It's only half-audible. That moustache is a -serious- problem.
She doesn't recoil when he spins around with a shout, eyes just blinking slowly a short moment later. It takes more than that to spook this kid. It isn't until the punch collides with Calton that she starts at all but that reaction might be because she's feeling a bit bad that her hesitating resulted in the driver getting socked. Maybe he had it coming from a long list of crimes against humanity committed before she ever got in the conspicious van in the first place, but from what she'd seen so far, that was pretty unwarrented!
"I see," she replies softly, her tone patient though there is a hint of a terse edge to it now. She's dealing with maniacs. Very, /very/ well equipped maniacs with more dangerous toys than even trained professionals should be allowed near. She opens her mouth when he talks about picking her up and dropping her off. Prior to this day, she had been bustling about the city largely on foot. Getting a ride for a few blocks strikes her as not only unnecessary but a surefire way to get noticed even more than this single round trip could do. She better get this job done /quick/. Every day is going to be an awkward flirt with disaster with this crew.
She does, however, decide against voicing the concern. She isn't sure if he can handle any more questioning. Or who might get punched for it. Her hand grips the doorhandle and presses down only for nothing to happen. She pauses in surprise then tries again. Finally she pulls up on it and the door unlocks. Flaw? Or feature? It's just in time for her to look up irresponsibly huge moustache.
He says to trust them, the moustache quivering over his mouth as he speaks.
"Yeah." she starts to pull the door open finally. "I got it."
She doesn't look back. She isn't sure she can contain her suppressed laugh any longer and if she made eye contact with Frederick he would know, immediately, that she's barely holding it back.
"Later, Uncle Raul!" she calls in as she pulls the van door closed with significant force, her tone sounding a touch too amused at the whole charade. She pauses to run her fingers through her hair to check that everything is in place, hefts her schoolbag to her shoulder, and finally moves away from the White Van briskly.
Three minutes to cross campus to homeroom? Not a problem.
Log created on 23:42:32 12/09/2014 by Kasumi, and last modified on 02:44:13 12/10/2014.