Description: In the neutral territory of an enchanted cafe, Private Investigator Brandon Malone meets with the ninja Noboru Miyama to discuss the Hitbit corporation. Plans are exchanged, an alliance is formed, and the days of Lee Chaolan's pet project grow numbered.
Brandon Malone once more finds himself at the Hidden Planet Cafe. He received a message left at his hotel room as a request for a meeting about things of interest to him in relation to the King of Fighters. He responded with only agreeing if he could choose the meeting place seeing as he didn't know who was requesting his presence.
The Hidden Planet Cafe. It was a neutral ground for the small occult community within Southtown. No violence within its walls would be tolerated and it was enforced by the various wards and seals utilized in the building to suppress capabilities of violence be it physical or otherwise.
The mystical PI sits in a chair in the corner affording him a view of the door and his back against the wall, sipping his tea and waiting.
The occult community has never been the most trusting. Even among the shinobi clans there is usually a tone of respect. A quiet understanding of the other's skill. But among the occult such feelings are scattered at best. Too often some upstart mage will burst onto the scene with a newly translated book of ancient secrets, boast about how he is the hottest thing to have ever lived, and then have his soul consumed by an ancient demon. As a result, they're pretty jaded people.
The man that steps through the door at 5 minutes before 3 is likely not a member of the occult community. He is tall, with golden brown hair that falls in a lazy shag to frame his hard, bluntly stoic features. A worn brown eye patch hides his left eye, and he wears a casual outfit consisting of a baggy grey T-shirt, blue jeans, and hiking boots. On the surface he could be an American archeologist. Someone who digs for ancient treasures in hopes to find the next great magical artifact.
Brandon knows better. The man's build is muscular in a way only a life time fighter's can be. Thin white scars carve jagged lines across his hands, as well as through the thick blond hair of his forearms. He is definitely a fighter, if not an outright assassin.
A wave of heat follows the large blond man into the cafe, his singular ice-blue eye finding Brandon almost immediately. Making his way between the tables at a casual pace, he steps up to the chair across from the detective and offers him a faint bow of his head.
"I am Noboru Miyama, and it is not my intent to stay long." The words are rumbled in a deep bass, mellow and calm as a mountain pond. As he speaks he slides out his chair and sits, one hairy forearm bracing atop the table.
"You are aware of the combots, and their purpose?"
It seems it will indeed be straight to business. Noboru hasn't even bothered to order a drink.
The large muscular man who enters draws immediate attention. From the minor ritualists scattered about to the employees moving about the cafe, but especially so from the Private Investigator himself. For one thing, among the arcane community those who work on their physique are rare. Those who do to bulk up to the extent of Noboru are extremely rare. In fact other than a few earth based mystics here and there, it's almost unheard of.
When the mountainous man moves in his direction, he already assumed that it would be for him. He nods in response to Noboru and then when the ninja sits down he makes his reasons for being here known.
"So that's what they're called."
He thinks back to the arena and how the robots imitated his fight with Miguel. His fist balls tightly and there are only two things preventing him from drawing his own blood in the cafe. The fact that he's meticulous about keeping his nails neatly trimmed and filed and the fact that the wards in here are suppressing his ability to commit a violent act on himself.
"They analyze and learn from fighters in order to assimilate their techniques."
"part of what you say is truth. This ability is within their grasp, but it is crude, and easily fooled." Noboru replies, diner chair creaking softly as he settles his weight. While he speaks he folds both scarred hands together atop the table and interlaces his thick fingers, keeping them within easy sight of the detective. Though this building restricts violence of all kinds, old habits die hard.
"The true scanning equipment must be strapped onto the body of a fighter, or concealed at strategic points throughout an arena. Deep and constant scans must be made of muscles. Of energy. Without these measures they learn only through tracking motion, and this is not as precise. However, once a certain quantity of data is collected, these machines have advanced to a point to begin learning, adapting to understand the core of a style."
The big shinobi's eye attempts to meet Brandon's, to lock gazes with him across the table. he does not seem like the sort of man to exaggerate or waste words. In fact, he seems deadly serious. His expression is set and hard, stubbly jaw firm as he regards the smaller man.
"Already, fighters of great power have been observed. Enough data has been gathered to duplicate their ancient techniques, and replicate them into an army. My clan can not allow this to happen. I have spoken to Ayame of this, and we are agreed that the Hitbit corporation must be stopped. She has given me your name, and that of the third member of your team. It seems that you have left a favorable impression upon her."
Whether or not that impression is shared by Noboru is difficult to say. he seems not to be a man of many emotions at the best of times. However, he does fall silent here, the pause full of slight expectance as he waits to hear what Brandon might have to add. If nothing else he seems polite, in a hard, humorless sort of way.
The fact that the shinobi keeps his hands in plain sight is appreciated even if not necessary. Even still he knows that the eyes can fooled. His fighting style when he wields the cards is deceptive making cards he needs at a given moment look as though they suddenly appeared in his hands.
He grunts in dislike of the blanks being filled in. "Great power have been observed. Trust me I know. I made sure I knew the team makeup of the tournaments. I'm planning on seeing if I could hit them in the bank account by determining the legality of this. Even with the power of the one that single handedly took down our entire team, it would be too dangerous to allow multiples of him let alone the copies of my own team mate. And there are others in the tournament that are dangerous to duplicate. On the upside, they stand to make powerful enemies if they continue to go through with it."
He begins counting off on his fingers as he enumerates each point, "Rich socialites, professional American Football players, Elite Military from governments who wouldn't want their soldiers skills being duplicated, pop idols who could tear them apart in the eyes of public opinion through social media, among others."
His hands rest on the table once more as he leans back in his chair. "My question is what are your plans for dealing with it?"
"The workings of the corporate world are not where my skills lie." Noboru admits, though there is no regret in his tone as he does so. "but well you know what you say is only part of the truth. The military wishes nothing more than to duplicate its best soldiers. The corporations that back these pop stars, they would jump at the opportunity to take their skills and synthesize the next form of entertainment." The ninja's tone is frank, gaze hard as he finishes simply, "The world is not a place of friendliness, Mr. Malone."
Noboru's hard expression remains for a moment longer before he blinks his cold blue eye, wrinkles forming at the corner as he lets out a tired sigh. The mask of stoicism he wears fractures just a bit, revealing the many years of hardships this man has seen.
"I have obtained the skull of a hitbit." He rumbles, a slight, thoughtful frown lingering on his features. "Soon it will arrive in the care of Ayame, to be taken, along with an explanation of our efforts, to a young shinobi of great technical skill. It is my hope that she will be able to infiltrate the information banks of this corporation and determine where their remote data is stored. Once this is known, we will have the ability to destroy their backups, and erase their data. Only then can the hitbit's themselves be destroyed. I will assist where I am able, but my hand in these matters is known. it is best if I operate as a distraction."
The plan Noboru is suggesting is far outside the realm of legality. it is most likely dangerous, and has a high risk of harming other people in its execution . But there is a certain brutal practicality to it. A scorched earth mentality, meant to stomp the entire corporation out as a threat.
Studying Brandon with solemn calm, the bulky shinobi waits to see how his plan will be received. There is no great agony in his cold blue eye. No fretting over the violence he has suggested. But there is an awareness, Perhaps conveyed by his solemnity, that makes it perfectly clear he understands what it is he suggests.
"The military they may want duplicates of their own best soldiers but they sure as hell aren't going to want them to fall into anyone elses hands. And as for the pop stars, the power they have over the hearts of their adoring public is what I plan on leveraging for my purposes. I don't hold any illusions of the world being friendly which is I want to go after their money. The less they can dedicate to these bots the harder it will be for them produce and profit off of them."
As Noboru goes though his plans Brandon smiles. While he in particular rather operate in the realm of legality this is just too dangerous to leave alone. The fact that Ayame will be involved as well.
"Actually, I think we can both be of assistance to each other. I can go after them, build a case to hurt them in court. I could be the publicity distraction while you guys operate in the shadows. And with a well timed leak, they'll be too busy dealing with the publicity problems to deal with you or the technically skilled shinobi for that matter. I can also exchange any information I come across in my investigations if there's any possibility of it being useful to you."
"Your plan is a wise one." Noboru replies easily, tilting his stubble-dusted chin in a fractional upnod of respect.
"Information must flow freely from both sides. I will meet with you when I am able to discuss what is known, but if I can not be found you must send your findings to Ayame. There are other investigations that must be seen to by my clan, and I will be moving freely across the land." As he speaks, the large man unlaces his fingers and slides his hands apart, resting them palm-up atop the table. Where the backs had shown clear signs of scarring, his palms and fingers are extremely calloused. The texture of his grip is likely more similar to stone than flesh.
"If you wish to bring your other partner into the fold you are welcome. I must depart soon. Do you have any final requests of me?" The question is as quiet and stoic as any other thing Noboru has said, but the offer seems somehow to hold weight. There is a very real sense that what is asked of this man will be considered, and there will be results. But there will also be a cost.
Such an exchange is likely known to a man who dabbles in magic.
Exchange that is known to a man that dabbles in magic but also to a man that is private investigator. As a result, he doesn't want to tap that type of resource quite yet but he'd be stupid not to keep the option available for a later moment.
"My associate is probably going to remain the advisory role for now. As for any requests, not for the moment but I will contact you either through Ayame or directly if something comes up."
Noboru's chair lets out a final creek as he rises smoothly to his feet, shaggy head bowing forward in simple acknowledgement of Brandon's reply. There is a certain lumbering grace to his movements as he steps away from his seat and slides it back beneath the table, pausing to give the detective one final somber glance.
"Remain safe, detective Malone." He rumbles idly, before turning about to stroll past the approaching waiter on his way toward the door. As ever he is a man of few words, and fewer expressions.
Moments later, he is gone.
Log created on 19:58:29 06/28/2016 by Noboru, and last modified on 15:44:41 06/29/2016.