Description: Alice and Meifeng meet up for some boba tea!
Alice got to see the other side of visiting the hospital, going there as a patient. Fortunately her wounds were not life threatening, with even the bite to the neck, as Lotus had mentioned, missed hitting anything vital, if it had, she likely wouldn't have even made it to the ER. The poison also seemed to work true too her word as well, it's effects had mostly faded by the time she was being treated, though a few doctors she talked to still worried it would have unforseen long term effects, and recommended she have blood work done on a regular basis until that could be confirmed one way or the other.
She had been released this afternoon, still sporting some bandages and stitches which she had a follow-up appointment to get removed. She first went to grab a big lunch, as the hospital food really is as bad as everyone says it is. Her next stop after that was the local NOL base. She'd been meaning to meet with Meifeng again, and her little run in with Lotus had delayed that a bit due to her time in the hospital. She makes her way inside and up to the reception desk. "Hello, I don't really have an appointment or anything, but I'm Alice Nonomura, and I'd like to see Meifeng if she's not too busy. We had planned to meet yesterday, but I was a bit indisposed."
The desk officer looks up at Alice's arrival, cheerful and polite as any good forward-facing Japanese employees ought to be. He nods with a crisply-delivered response, "Lieutenant Yao? I will let her know you're here, Ms Nonomura." A few buttons are pressed on a keypad. After a moment of looking back at his monitor, he responds, "She's on her way."
Ten seconds later, Meifeng rounds the bend with a small clipboard of incident reports tucked under one arm. The tiger lady looks far from official as she cracks a wide, toothy grin, waving cheerily at Alice. "Oh, hi, hellooooo! I had hoped to see you soon, but..." She closes her mouth, bowing her head and shoulders in apology. "Word travels fast. How do you feel?"
The tigress steps into conversational range, but is careful to keep from getting so close as to invade Alice's personal space. "Have you eaten already? You must be starving..."
Alice nods and smiles toward the desk officer. "Thank you very much." She offers as she stands back a bit to wait, and doesn't have to wait long at all as not long after she's said that Meifeng appears, and Alice smiles brightly at her chipper greeting. "A lot better now than I felt the morning after, but still not quite at one hundred percent... and I was starving, so much so that I got a big meal at the first appetizing place I saw after I left the hospital. But if you were looking to have lunch I could still join you and have some tea... maybe desert."
Meifeng nods, clapping her hands together softly at the thoughtful response. "Oh, that would be delightful. Are you a fan of boba tea? There is a wonderful place just down the street. They also have a great selection of desserts, if your sweet tooth has a craving." The tiger's tail flicks back and forth coquettishly, as the lieutentant smiles ebulliently.
She steps to the side of the desk, and slides her clipboard back into a slot purpose-made for such a duty. She then snaps a quick salute to the desk officer. "I will be taking my lunch, Takashi!"
And directing her attention back to Alice, she slips back into conversational range. "So you can change back and forth, hmm?" She smiles -- having an opinion, but holding off on actually offering until she hears Alice's response.
"Oh, that sounds great, been a little while since I've had some good boba tea, and my sweet tooth is indeed craving something." Alice responds with a grin, then turns and offers a wave to Takashi before joining Meifeng as they move to exit the building. Her grin fades as she instead looks serious and thoughtful at Meifeng's question about her shifting. "I can, in fact some times I change back automatically, usually when I'm exhausted. I'm guessing though that if you're asking me this, you can't."
Meifeng seems cheerful enough. There are topics which could drag her down, but this doesn't seem to be one of them. Exiting the building, she looks across the wide NOL campus, making a beeline in the direction of Chinatown.
"Quite right." She punctuates her answer with a smile. "But this is statistically normal, as I understand." Her tail bobs back and forth as she walks, her ears perking up and pivoting about at the various sounds she encounters.
"I know of maybe a handful of people who are able to shift back and forth. You seem to be about the same size as your other form, but... I trust that the transition is not painful for you?"
Alice is happy to see that Meifing's cheerfulness remains, she had worried this might be a touchy subject, but now she relaxes and her expression grows brighter and she smiles a bit while shaking her head as she gives her next answer.
"Not really, there's a weird sensation like it should hurt, but doesn't. I almost don't even think about it anymore. But you're right, for me the transformation mostly means putting on a lot of extra muscle, fur, and my leg joints changing. I'd think that for someone who grows taller or shorter as they change it would be a lot more potentially painful, with bones needing to rapidly grow or shrink, but I've never asked any such person that."
"Ahh... yes, I can imagine." Meifeng's feline eyes dart down to get a better look at Alice's legs -- purely a curiosity brought about by the conversation, of course.
"Hmm..." muses Meifeng, as she sniffs the air. Not in a 'danger is imminent' way, just a normal happenstance of her being a full-time feline. "I imagine it comes in handy, being able to move with more agility when the situation calls for it." She grins back as she walks, a lively spring in her step on the mere -thought- of moving like a rabbit.
"So, tell me, Alice -- what has been on your mind the past few days?"
Alice nods, taking a moment herself to look Meifeng over a bit as the tiger lady checks out her legs. "It certainly does come in handy. Makes me stronger, faster, able to jump a lot higher, and also brings the enhanced senses of smell and hearing that I see you also enjoy." She comments with a slight grin, considering for a moment shifting herself, but the thought of what that would do to her stitches almost makes her wince.
"Well, I guess thinking of meeting with you and getting established with the Library, but also I've been kicking myself that I was foolish to go and attack someone with a bounty by myself, and that I need to get better at defending myself against someone with a weapon." She admits with a shake of her head. "But at least I'm still here to learn from my mistakes."
Meifeng grins. "I have to admit, it still catches me off-guard to realize that many people can't experience the world as I do. It only seems natural to me, of course, not ... 'enhanced,' I suppose?" She offers a light, self-aware chuckle; it isn't a thought she would normally share with someone who looks like Alice does.
The gates of the Librarium often remain open during the day. Stepping outside, the tiger's keen senses are set upon by delightfully urban aromas, sending a gradual wrinkle across her nose. Still -- the thought of boba keeps her feet moving. She nods in response to Alice: "Mmm? ... Oh, yes." The tiger scratches a fingertip along one of the stripes on her cheek, not wanting to pile up more guilt and regret on the new inductee. "So, with the added benefit of hindsight, what would you have done differently?"
Alice gives Meifeng a thoughtful look before speaking. "So you were born like you are now then? I honestly had not considered how different that would make things until now. I guess it makes sense that the way you experience the world, your senses, the feline strength, etcetera, they all feel normal to you because you've always had them. Though, I imagine not being able to hide from those who view us with fear and animosity must be... difficult at times, to put it lightly."
Alice pauses and looks ahead, now picking up a scent of baked deserts herself, it made her smile even though her thoughts had dipped into her past, which wasn't exactly a plesant subject, one that she didn't often talk about, especially around those she'd barely met, but felt more comfortable talking about it with Meifeng. "I was... forced into becoming a shifter, kidnapped as a child, used for experiments, and trained to fight... I escaped when I was seventeen. Though I guess considering what the Libray does, you probably know some about this already."
Meifeng nods slowly, to all of the points that Alice raises. "Precisely that, on all counts!" Her tail flicks back and forth cheerily. "I cannot say whether I was -born- this way -- as I had had a spot of amnesia regarding anything before, mm, perhaps my seventh birthday? But yes. Otherwise, exactly."
The bakery is, in fact, dead ahead. And while it looks like the boba shop is next door, it's more that there's actually two storefronts for the same business, with one shared area behind the counter serving both. Meifeng leans over to get a better look at Alice's smile; it seems to be contagious!
Which makes the more melancholy story all the moreso. Meifeng nods grimly at the tale -- "... I have heard of some cases of such, yes. Mind, I was working out of the Shanghai office when the Nibutani Dam incident took place, but... yes."
As she walks, she finds herself drifting ever closer to Alice. Not as a tiger sneaking up on a rabbit, but more like a big sisterly type offering a shoulder to a friend in need.
"I will not pry, of course! But if you would like to talk about it I am happy to listen."
Meifeng stops, pulling the door of the boba side of the restaurant open with a jingle-jangling bell. She offers a warm smile, gesturing Alice inside! There she will find a menu board with about two dozen artificial flavors -- and almost as many flavors of tea. Almost all of which can have boba pearls added for a small charge, of course! Though if Alice is more interested in those scrumptious desserts, it's not a long walk around that counter.
"Amnesia huh?" Alice says with a tone of curiosity, there were certainly things she'd like to forget, but being someone in the medical field she knows it doesn't exactly work like that. "I guess by now if those memories were going to come back naturally, they would have." In theory a trigger event might still bring back a memory after this many years, but even a nurologist would probably say it was unlikely at best.
She walks into the shop as Meifeng holds the door for her, giving a nod in thanks. She takes a few moments to look at the menu before ordering a honeydew milk tea with the boba pearls, and a yellow cupcake where the frosting has been shaped to look like a pink flower. After a short wait and grabbing her order, she finds a table and sips at her tea while waiting for Meifeng.
Once she's come to join her at the table, Alice looks up at her. "My past is not something I talk about much, but even though we haven't known each other long I feel a litte more comfortable talking about it with you than I might with others." Indeed Alice was feeling that big sister vibe as well, and it's a new feeling as she was an only child before she was taken in by her foster family and became a big sister herself.
It isn't long before Meifeng arrives at the table with her own drink -- black tea boba -- and a slice of vanilla cake. On top is a slice of orange as garnish, coupled with way too much frosting. She slides into the table, ears quirking at the response. "... Oh! Well, not because of work, of course. Anything we discuss will be off the record, naturally!" Meifeng settles her plate and drink in front of her, clapping her hands before her. "I am happy to listen, all the same -- and to spend time with you, particularly!"
Her ears droop slightly, as her thoughts momentarily linger elsewhere. At how it feels... nice to just -talk-.
"You made a good choice, that selection is one of my favorites. They pay such close attention to the frosting here."
Alice takes a bite of her cupcake, then grins and laughs. "So this isn't a recorded interrogation, good to know!" She says with a jovial tone. She is happy that Meifeng is so open and friendly, as she doesn't have many close friends. "I'm really happy that we met and that we'll be working together, I think it's great that we can also spend time together outside of work, get to know each other better. To that end, I guess it's good to get the unplesant things out of the way and then we can focus on more positive things." She says a smile before taking a moment to collect her thoughts and take another sip of her tea.
"So I'll uh... spare the details but they experimented on us to find our limits, and often tried to get us to exceed them in high pressure situations... I was never allowed to see my parents or my friends... It was just awful... Later on, I overheard that the more promising of us were being brainwashed, turned into some kind of super soldiers. So I tried to escape, and I probably wouldn't have made it if it wasn't for the help of a friend I had made inside the facility, a girl even younger than me, her name is Uriko. She distracted the guards so that I could get away." She pauses again and takes another sip.
"I later joined forces with her mother and broke into the facility, we were able to rescue her and fortunately even though she had been brainwashed to the point that she fought both of us, in time she returned to how she was. I never did find out what happened to my parents, I looked for them but came up empty. With nowhere to go, Uriko's mother, Mitsuko, adopted me. After that I tried to go back to a normal life, finished highschool, went on to nursing school, and ended up working at Southtown General." Having gotten that off her chest, she takes a moment to eat more of her cupcake while waiting to see if Meifeng has any questions or something to say.
Meifeng offers a musical laugh in response. "Many things I do are by the book. But this is lunch time. And lunch time is off the books."
The great thing about discussing topics at a restaurant is that there is always -something- going on. Other customers coming in and placing their own orders, employees milling about with the random tasks necessary to keep the restaurant functioning. And, of course, enjoying the delicacies themselves. Meifeng, for her part, is sticking with the drink first, sipping away at her tea while Alice tells her harrowing tale.
There are definitely moments for the tigress to frown over. Her ears stay folded low; her tail skates low across the floor. But when Alice mentions Uriko, the tiger lady cants her head to the side, eyes returning to normal. "Oh." She nods with approval, enjoying the remainder of the story.
"Adopted you? That chapter of life sounds like it earned a happy ending." She grins, then leans forward to slurp a couple boba pearls through the straw.
"So do you still live with them? In Southtown?"
Alice nods to Meifeng's comment about the story having a happy ending, smiling thoughtfully. "Yeah, I guess you're right! I mean, I still miss my biological parents sometimes, but at this point is more of a wish that I could have known them better. Anyway yes, I do still live with them. I could afford my own place, but I stayed around to continue being a big sister to Uriko and help when mom's not around, it's both a way for me to help out, and to get a bit more of that 'normal family life' that I missed out on. How about you? How have things been, as much as you remember anyway?" She asks with clear curiosity, wondering what it was like to live as a tiger girl all the time.
It is, of course, a shame to hear about Alice's biological parents. Perhaps the tiger woman's amnesia can be a mixed blessing.
She draws in her breath, nodding slowly. "I suppose it pays well to be a nurse, then! The Librarium has been my only home away from home. It is heartwarming to know that you have such a good relationship with your family. I, too, have been blessed with a strong relationship with my father and mother."
The tigress pauses to sneak another sip of boba. Smiling, she continues.
"They tell me I looked to be eight or nine when they found me. There is no way to truly know, but they decided that day would be my new birthday from that point on." She closes her eyes, smiling warmly as she arches backward. "We... had some tough times. But we grew strong through it all." She lowers her gaze once more, so that she can address Alice directly again. "For when I was still young, I was rather... rambunctious. Feral, raw... undisciplined. And something of a terror to the community. And that... is when they enrolled me to learn kung fu."
She curls the cool drink close to her, relishing the chill sensation on her fingertips. "And then people stopped being scared of me. And started calling me by name. So, yes. Things have been well ever since. I make a call back to Changzhi twice a week. Things are slow there -- but that is normal for a mining town. For good reason, as 'exciting' days tend to be bad days."
Alice nods at the talk of how Meifeng was when she was young. "So learning kung fu helped to make you more calm and disciplined? That's good, it's fortunate you were able to make peace with those of your community and that you are still in touch with your family. I've seen what ones like us can do when they're out of control, and how people tend to react... I'm sure even a bunny girl like me could be a real problem if feral and cornered or scared." She takes a sip from her tea, slurping up some of the pearls.
"I was trained in a sort of kickboxing-like close quarters style, I hated it at first because the training was rough and we weren't really allowed to ask questions much, but in time I came to embrace it as I used it as a way to focus and take my mind off of everything else going on, not to mention I knew if I was ever going to get out, I'd likely have to fight my way out. While I'm happy I was able to lead a more peaceful life for a time, I am excited to become part of the Librarium and fight for the good of the world."
Lt Yao can be expressive when she wants to be, nodding along with enthusiasm with the bigger statements, sipping at her boba in the interim. Her eyes light up with interest as Alice mentions a 'bunny girl like her', but holds off on her response until Alice takes that sip.
"Fear is indeed a powerful motivator. Addressing and alleviating that fear is one of the biggest roles we have to play as Librarians." Meifeng wraps both hands about her cold drink -- what's left of it -- and draws it near.
Her smile returns, as Alice relates her fighting style. Kickboxing -- a curiously -violent- art, and yet one that Meifeng could understand would why it was chosen. "It is a good art for you, harnessing many of your skills. The Librarium has a number of places to practice, and I would be delighted to spar with you if you were to be up for it, sometime."
Taking one more sip of her boba, she then leans closer, using a softer voice. "Many see martial arts as a way of inflicting pain onto others. But the most valuable lesson for me was when I realized that it is, importantly, a way to connect with yourself. An ideal way to recognize your own limitations, and through practice and determination, surpass them. Fear can trigger a reaction. But mastery of martial arts allows you to choose your response."
"At least we don't have to worry about the fear of fees for overdue books!" Alice jokes with a giggle about the whole Librarian concept. "But in all seriousness that really is good to hear, I think I'll like being among the Librarians, especially if it means getting to work along with you and others like you." She says with a warm smile.
She then nods as Meifeng speaks about her fighting style, offers a spar, and offers some wise words about martial arts. "I do think the style fits my tendency towards quick movements as well as the fact that a lot of my strength lies in my legs, especially in rabbit form which I'm sure is a shock to no one." She says with a grin, then continues.
"Anyway, I'd really like to spar and train with you sometime. For a long time, I tried to avoid fighting, even casual things like a spar, at all costs, I guess because it was introduced to me in such a negative context, but I'm starting to see the need for it, and I would very much like to learn more about this way of using it to connect with yourself."
The tigress takes one last sip to finish off her tea, leaving a seabed full of tapioca pearls to pick off one by one as the conversational opportunities present. She responds to the joke with a musical laugh; her tail lashes around quickly with her enthusiasm. "Now you are getting into the spirit of the job!"
Really, though, Meifeng had worried that, with how Alice talked about kickboxing in the past tense, she might have moved past it; a dark alleyway in her memory to avoid in the future. But with the realities of work in the Novus Orbis Librarium, avoiding combat could be inevitable. So Meifeng aims to be gentle in her encouragement -- not to push too fast. Which is why her tail isn't quite as empassioned as Alice speaks about the arts.
"It is true, I had guessed as much," she replies, with a commisserating smile. "I would offer a spar after lunch but you have just exited the hospital, after all. I am happy to offer a rain check for now."
She sips a few pearls through her straw and grins. "Kickboxing is fun! It shares some similarities to my preferred style, bajiquan -- the hard, powerful -snap- movements, mostly." As she speaks, she raises her hands, snapping a stiffened hand through representations of the indicated style. "But there are a number of martial arts that you may also enjoy. Pigua zhang is my second love, and it focuses on rhythm and fluid motion." Here, her hand motions grow more languid and supple, like water through a stream. "You can practice pigua zhang and tai chi at your own pace, anytime and anywhere you may want the opportunity to relax and attune yourself with your surroundings." She blinks for a moment, then adds with an upraised finger: " ... Without scaring people, as you would with kickboxing or baji."
Alice smiles as Meifeng laughs at her librarian joke. She really is rather enthused about starting this new job, a little nervous too, but she is trying her best to keep her thoughts positive. Her expression shifts to more of a grin at the comment about sparing after lunch. "Yeah, what kind of nurse would I be if I went completely against the doctor's advice to take it easy?" She says with a chuckle. "I'll let you know when I'm ready to cash in that raincheck. As for learning other styles that I can practice without scaring people, that does sound like a great idea. I had a feeling I'd be learning a lot when I joined, but that wasn't something that had crossed my mind."
The sisterly tiger rests her chin in her palm as she smiles back at Alice. It's been refreshing to speak with someone as eager to help people as Alice is. "I have a good feeling that you will not be the only one learning, Alice. You have much to teach others -- about nursing, and first aid, but also about -compassion-. Ultimately, that is what the job is about, I feel -- protecting people not only from forces without, but from forces within. Keeping people from injuring themselves with sorcery they do not understand."
The tiger grins, lifting her chin up, and giving her dessert a hungry eye. But instead of acting on that impulse, she looks back up to Alice.
"So I was wondering... what do you know much about... magic? The Azure?"
She draws out her fork. And stabs off a tiny corner of her icing-topped delicacy.
"Many of our kind are issued an Ars Magus -- a magical artifact that can help out at times."
Alice nods as her smile remains, happy to hear directly from someone at the librarium that her existing skills and talents would not only be useful but also welcomed with others perhaps wishing to learn from her. She takes a sip from her nearly forgotton tea, slurping up a few pearls along with it as Meifeng asks about magic. At this she shakes her head slightly.
"I'm afraid I'm certainly no expert, as it's not something I've had much exposure to until recently. In particular I ran into a bat-like woman who claimed to be a necromancer. Hazama recognized her by description and said she was Echo. I have started trying to familarize myself with others like her who are on the bounty list, as well as researching magic itself, but there is so much out there, I feel like a minnow diving into an ocean of information."
"Oh! I see...." Meifeng silently tallies up the topics that Alice has shown an interest in, not wanting to overburden her. But in the meantime, she learns about her encounters with Hazama, and Echo.
"Ah, yes! The Acting Colonel is wise in many things. But what comes naturally to him may take us in the rank-and-file a little longer to memorize." One ear twitches as the door jingles open for another customer, but the tiger's gaze remains fixed firmly upon Alice.
"My advice is simple, really..." She slices her fork down for another small morsel of her dessert. "Small bites!" And she takes a bite to demonstrate.
After a moment of savoring her tiny bite, she adds, "Did you know that the Librarium had a flash card set for learning the bounties? It was created to make the learning process easier, starting with the SS bounties and working down in severity. A-Rank bounties and up would prove a challenge even for an entire battalion of us."
"Small bites, though! The Azure is quite possibly the most difficult subject to master. Please, when you are ready, let me be your guide."
She grins. "But in the meantime." She raises the tines of her fork. "Smaller bites, yes?"
Alice notices the sound of the customer entering as well, and spares a brief glance before turning back to Meifeng. "Of course, and I'm sure there are things that you and I have talents in that would be much more difficult for him. Such is the way of the world, right?" She comments with a small grin and a nod. She thinks of Meifeng's advice as she watches her take a little bite of the dessert on her plate, subconsiously scratcthing the spot where Lotus had bitten her. "Yes, small bites. I know this is a big step, best to take it slow and not get in over my head. I'll have to be careful not to forget that in the excitement."
"Well, naturally! Otherwise we would not need his Intelligence to be separate from our Infantry." The tigress sits back from her dish, taking the opportunity to flex a bicep -- such as it can be seen underneath the exaggerated shape of her uniform's upper sleeve. "They determine what needs to be done based on the information available, and then we are able to carry out those orders. A quite efficient system!"
Meifeng wriggles her nose. Mindful of the attention she attracted from the store's other customers, she scales back to her usual level of calm. "So, as it is -- I will need to return to my duties soon, but I was wondering -- were there any questions you might have had for me? About the Librarium, about Southtown... anything, really?" She holds off on taking another slice of her dessert, out of deference to Alice. "... Like, for example: is the wound itchy?" She gestures with the side of her thumb to the spot Alice just scratched. "I hope it is not bothering you overly much."
Alice does take notice of the attention they were getting with Meifeng flexing and speaking about carrying out orders, she notices that things seem to calm a bit when Meifeng herself calms, but still feels like they're being watched a little. She tries to push that from her mind as she sips more of her tea.
As Meifeng brings attention to her casual scratching at her neck, she shakes her head. "Maybe a little, that feeling when your skin has stretched to heal a cut, but I think it was more a subconsious thing as I thought about that night. Lotus was very much not a small bite, but I guess I learned the hard way. As for questions, anything you can tell me about how I can get started with the Librarium and what to look out for in Southtown now that I'm with you?"
"Oh, I see!" It's always trickier to deal with the mental and psychosomatic side effects of an attack like that. And, as part of her position, she knows just how difficult it can be to deal with someone of Lotus' notoriety. "I am sure that it will pass over time. Do make use of our support division if the physical manifestations persist; they can be of great help." She flashes a bittersweet smile; perhaps she's had a run-in or two with similar effects.
Oh! How to get started." Meifeng folds her hands in front of her, thinking for a moment. "The first thing to do is familiarize yourself with the NOL's command structure. The two largest departments are the Infantry, with blue uniforms like mine, Intelligence, with black uniforms, and Engineering, in purple. Most likely, you will work under one of these departments."
It sounds like boring stuff, but Lt Yao appears to be fully invested in it, wearing a chipper smile. "Now, you most likely joined as enlisted, signing a contract for a few years, right? This would mean you would start as an E-1 Private, unless some other arrangements were made..?"
"I will, certainly. Wouldn't want to let some unknown fester unchecked, especially when we are talking magic, though from what Lotus told me, and the effects it seemed to have, she hit me with some sort of poison that attacks the nervous system and causes pain but no significant lasting harm, at least nothing the doctors that treated me could find." Alice comments before she finishes drinking her tea.
She later nods as Meifeng goes over the command structure and where she'll likely fit within it. "I don't believe there were any special arrangements made, I guess you or I could ask Hazama about that as he was to put the paperwork through for my joining. I only remember him saying that he would expedite said paperwork."
Meifeng's enthusiasm seemed to have been placed on pause for a moment.
Her tail even stops moving.
She smiles briefly. "The Acting Colonel is good at cutting through paperwork. So there is a good chance you may end up higher due to your work experience."
Her tail droops, and then falls slightly, before resuming motion at a fraction of its earlier pace. "Regardless -- enlisted servicemembers are the lifeblood of the Librarium. The worker bees, such as it is. Without you, the Librarium could not complete its mission." She reaches up to scratch the fur of her cheek. "Many of my fellow officers forget that, seeing as how they tend to hold positions of authority over the enlisted members. My point is -- you do good work, and it will not be long before your rank insignia is upgraded to match that." Rank insignia -- and -pay grade-, of course.
"The ranks are like many military ranks. Enlisted ranks go from Private, to Private First Class, all the way up to Master Sergeant. Officers go from Warrant Officer, to Lieutenant and up. Thankfully, though -- rank tends to matter less, as you will generally have a 'boss' and you answer to them."
Lt Yao leans forward, raising a hand to the side of her mouth. "Officers tend to be territorial about their enlisted members, so they will tend to watch out for you."
Alice had taken notice of the way Meifeng's tail moves, so when it suddenly changes she does notice and gives a curious glance, especially at the drooping. She listens as Meifeng goes on further about ranks and the inner workings of NOL, and gives a nod of understanding, but her eyes drift to her tail again before returning to meet Meifeng's eyes. "Is everything alright?" She asks with a bit of concern in her tone of voice.
The question takes Meifeng aback; she didn't -think- she had given any verbal cues as to her discomfort. But then as she notices the drift in Alice's gaze, she laughs -- a bit awkwardly -- with understanding.
Her ears droop down, as her tail sweeps into a hook-shape. She keeps her low voice as she answers: "It is... complicated. I apologize, I do not want to give the wrong impression. I suppose I will be blunt: I am wary of Intelligence. Though perhaps that is simply a factor of not really knowing how exactly they obtain their knowledge."
Having said that, she breathes a sigh of relief. "To date, though, I have not received an order from Southtown Command that I have not felt comfortable carrying out. So perhaps it is just the primal fear of the Beast inside me, hmm?"
Alice seems to carefully consider what Meifeng says of her feelings before nodding in agreement. "As much as I can empathize with that, I do feel like it's an unfortunate truth of any sort of intelligence group. Perhaps something to do with if the manner in which they got their information was revealed it would compromise their continued ability to gain said intelligence." She says with a shrug, it was a speculative guess that admittedly was based partly on reading about fictional spies and the like.
"That you haven't gotten any orders you were uncomfortable with is comforting though. You strike me as a good person who, like me, really wants to help people so I get the impression that most orders you'd be comfortable with, I would as well."
Meifeng smiles back, clapping her hands before her. "Exactly. I apologize for worrying you, Alice! I know you will have a great time working with us. It is a wonderful opportunity."
The tiger's tail resumes its previous speed, as the matter of Acting Colonel Hazama is left in the past. "But yes. Beyond that, just... reading the indoc materials should help familiarize you with the organization, the chain of command for your particular group."
A small vibration is heard. Meifeng blinks for a moment, and pulls her phone up onto the table.
"... Oh." She sweeps the message away, and looks back to Alice. "As it happens -- it would seem I've been assigned as your indoc liaison. So, uh... welcome to the team!"
Alice smiles at Meifeng's apology. "To be honest, I wasn't really that worried from anything you've said, but simply starting a new job, especially when it's quite a bit different than what you're used to, guess it's natural that I'd be a little nervous about it." She nods at the mention to read up more on the organization.
She glances towards the sound of Meifeng's phone and grins slightly as the tiger says what the message was about. "I recall Hazama did suggest that we might end up working together. I guess the fact that we've already met and even worked together a bit is rather convenient, wouldn't you agree?" Not to mention that they both have an animal side, even if the tiger is a bit more permanent.
"Oh. That does make sense! I suppose I really was worrying too much after all!" Meifeng flashes the brightest smile she'd worn all day, sitting upright in her seat. "Well, then!"
She folds her hands together before her, sitting up prim and proper. "Well, then! It looks like I will need to be the one gathering together a welcome packet, so... shall we meet tomorrow -officially-, bright and early at 9am?"
She waits for a proper response, before looking hungrily at the remainder of her delicacy. "If so, then I propose we adjourn the work talk and enjoy our treats..."
Alice nods and returns Meifeng's rather infectious smile with one of her own. "9am sounds great, I'll try to make sure I get plenty of sleep so I'm as bright and glowing as the day itself." She says with a chipper tone and indeed agrees that they should leave any remaining work talk for when they are working tomorrow, as she promptly digs into what's left of her cupcake, taking small bites to savor it.
Log created on 20:08:15 07/11/2022 by Meifeng, and last modified on 21:17:27 07/20/2022.