NFG Season One - Kenzo's Meeting With Gregory Ilvich

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Description: Kenzo finds himself in need of clarifications in terms of dealing with all changes happening within this new iteration of Team Metal. Mr. Gregory Ilvich is more than happy to provide answers to the tech ninja's questions.

It has been a little while since Team Metal's relocation into the EVOLVE facilities. They've had time to get used to the rather surreal experience of living in a major corporate office, and Mr. Gregory Ilvich has been comfortable letting them come to him, rather than trying to force a meeting himself. He'd let them know he wanted to meet, and more or less left it in their court to determine their own availability as to when a meeting was convenient.

He's also not been hanging around the training facility itself, until one of those meeting slots has come up. Today, he's there. Conspicuous in the way that over six feet of fifty-something corporate executive in an extremely expensive suit naturally just is in a space like this. He let himself in five minutes before he was due to meet Kenzo, coffee cup in hand, and found himself a seat on the second floor where he can look down on the arena with a semi-decent view.

"ARIA, can you get the relevant fight data from Vito's Restaurant loaded for arena playback?"

The smooth mechanical voice comes from those cunningly hidden speakers.

"It is already taken care of, Mr. Ilvich."

He chuckles, nodding his head, "Of course it is, silly of me to even ask. Thanks. Any chance we can get those Fulgore units out of here?"

The tone is light and breezy; after all, his meeting partner could be with them at any moment, he doesn't want to betray any discomfort.

"No. You are well aware of the reason for the security precautions we are taking in this venture, Mr. Ilvich."

He sips his coffee, "Yeah, yeah..."

"I have noted your repeated requests. Should the situation change, you will be updated. It is no longer necessary to ask."

"... sure thing, ARIA. Thanks."

After his fight with Chevy, wanted to think of what he wanted to say and questions of what he wanted to ask and how he wanted to word those questions before he finally met up with Mr. Ilvich. When Kenzo gets to outside the door, he pauses as he takes a moment to take a breath and then knocks on the door.

"Mr. Ilvich? May I come in?"

While he waits for response, he fiddles with the Lifeband nervously. While he hasn't met the person but he has a bit of an idea built up in his head of what he's like. He sincerely hopes he's wrong. If he's not, he's determined to find a way to adapt.

The door opens, and the tall, 50-something suit is right on the other side. "Kenzo! Good to see you, glad you could make the time. Gregory Ilvich, by the way. It's a real pleasure. And please, call me Greg. Come on. You want a coffee? It's good stuff."

He raises his own paper cup in indication, though he casually discards it into a recycling bin as he leads Kenzo back to the second floor, where he can both order a coffee if the young man wants one and - more importantly - get himself a seat.

"Hell of a fight you had with Chevy, by the way. Hell of a fight. Felt like it could have gone either way right down to the wire. We'll just need to figure out how to tip the odds a little more in your favour from here on out, eh?"

"Thank you, Greg. I am usually more of a tea-drinker myself but I'll have a coffee."

The university student follows the older man back into the office and when the seat is offered he sits down. Meanwhile he's trying to figure out what to make of the new sponsor. The seemingly relaxed demeanor was not what he was expecting but he can't dismiss the idea that it's a facade altogether. More info is required.

"I went into the fight knowing that she was a dangerous person and treated her as such. When it comes down to it though, I think part of it is a problem that has seemed to plague me throughout the NFG. I get a strong start but then have difficulty finishing the job. I was just barely able to put Hawksley down before it could completely turn around on me."

What he wasn't going to mention was the exceptions which were Genie who pretty much wrecked him before he could get anything going and Buford who he was able to take down before a turn around could fully get going. Honestly, the less said about the wannabe, the better.

Gregory nods his head, placing the order for the coffee with the dumbwaiter which - faster than one would think possible - soon has a steaming paper cup all for Kenzo which he dutifully hands over before settling down in his chair overlooking the training arena.

"I'll be straight with you, when it comes to the actual mechanics of fighting, that's something I think we're all better off leaving to Mint." There's a ghost of a smile on his lips there, "I work with a lot of fighthers, but I'm not one myself. All I can tell you is that you looked like you were doing a good job to me. ARIA might have some notes it is worth going over later. I swear, these large language things they're cooking up these days are practically magic."

He chuckles, shaking his head as he leans back in his chair, "My job is to make sure you have the resources you need for training and innovation. So. Sounds like you figure you need a finisher, any thoughts along those lines?"

Kenzo takes his cup of coffee in his hand but doesn't sip right away. It would be folly to not let it cool down a bit before drinking. It would make the rest of this conversation way more uncomfortable than it has to be.

"After looking over my statistics, the one finisher I actually do have has a 20% success rate, if I include practice sessions where it has been used. When it lands, it hurts. However with the low success rate that is only going to get lower as more and more of my fight footage becomes available, I can't justify keeping it as it is. There might be something I can salvage from it to create something new but as it stands..."

He leaves those words hanging in the air. After all, the action is he needs to take on that particular front is obvious. Atleast to him and possibly Aria's data sheets if she was queried on that particular area.

"That would be... hm, ARIA, can you load bookmark three for me?"

"Yes, Mr. Ilvich." Comes the mechanical voice, and Gregory waves down to the arena below, where a holographic representation of Kenzo and Chevy appear. It is late in the fight, though not quite the end - the moment when Kenzo's attempt to wrap the chain around Chevy's neck is interrupted by a suddenly redeployed, spinning staff, and a hard yank into a painful geyser. The few seconds of battle are slowed down, allowed to play on loop for the pair to review from their higher perch.

"This, I think?" He continues, "As I say, I'm no fighting expert. But, hell. ARIA, does anything stand out to you?"

The smooth, mechanical voice betrays no emotion whatsoever as it is consulted for its opinion. Perhaps surprisingly, though, it does have one. "Prior to this exchange, the momentum was decidedly in Kenzo Kuroiwa's favour. It is my analysis that if the early lead was used to take a moment and calculate an attack vector through the opponent's guard with this assault the odds of success and overall victory would have increased by at least twenty per cent."

Kenzo nods as he watches the loop after the first playback. He's watched that recording both from a first person and third person point of view. He knows that moment pretty intimately. And so after that, he brings his attention back to Greg until he phones a friend in the form of a particular LLM.

"I've noticed a tendency in most people and especially in those who have a tendencies toward counter attacking to respond to me hanging back to calculate an attack vector by hanging back in preparation for the next attack. ARIA, could you calculate the probability of Chevy responding to me taking a moment to calculate said attack vector by hanging back to ready herself to respond to that attack. And then after that, could you calculate the overall odds of success of my assault with me making those calculations and Chevy responding by hanging back to prepare for it?"

With those two questions asked, he looks back at the hologram looping that particular moment in the fight.

It doesn't take long for ARIA to make those calculations.

"Chevelle Beaumont had already made such preparations earlier in the battle. There are no public incidences of her repeating this technique multiple times in a combat, or of her responding to her opponent's efforts to do the same by mirroring it herself. Generaly, she has responded to such efforts by attempting to break the advantage with a swift technique. I would estimate that the likelihood in this fight would have been no greater than thirty three per cent. In the event that she did, it is still my estimation that your superior analytical skills should grant you a four per cent advantage."

Gregory shakes his head, "You can stop the replay now, thanks ARIA." He says, and then, to Kenzo, "None of that makes much sense to me. Quantifying the difference between your tactical skill and hers as four per cent?" He chuckles, "I swear they just make it up."

ARIA, if she has any defense to offer, remains silent.

Maybe he was too close to the action making looking at it objectively more difficult. Maybe it was the lack of variety of opponents before the NFG to allow him to look at a variety of strategies for how one would deal with him to work against. Maybe it was a combination of the two. Whatever it was, he couldn't dispute Aria's analysis. She was right and part of his problem was that he was fighting Chevy like they were one of his previous opponents near the end.

With all that being said, it was the fight with Chevy that was straw that broke the camel's back in terms of his confidence in using that finisher in his fights. And the mental aspects are often an important part of fighting.

"I can't say ARIA is wrong, though."

He lifts his hands upwards as he shrugs to concede that point.

Gregory returns the shrug, albeit with a fairly good-natured smile. "You're the expert." He says, "She can offer more specialised advice if you want it. Brainstorm ideas for new techniques, that sort of thing. I'm not qualified to judge whether or not they'd actually work mind you, but hell, just know that it's an option if you're having trouble."

He leans forward again, clasping his hands in his lap as he does. "I did want to make sure you've got all the tools and space you need to work on that tech of yours. Of all the prospects we've got, you're the one whose fighting style it feels like we can benefit the most. If there's anything that has been out of reach just because of money, well. Let me know, okay?"

Kenzo manages, just barely, to keep his face neutral when the idea he can at least talk to the man if there's something he needs for his tech that was out of reach due to money is talked about. It was the type of thing that he talked about in the NFG interviews.

It takes a moment to remind himself to keep himself focused. He did still have some misgivings about this iteration of the team in particular. It is a glance at the Lifeband on his wrist in particular that serves as his biggest reminder.

"I was curious about a couple things. I can continue to wear the Lifeband if it is required but I was surprised that it was made mandatory considering I had already been using biometric monitoring wearables that were linked in directly into my specs. I was also wondering what receiving an infraction entails. How many can be received? How are infractions punished? Are there other ways of getting infractions aside from the obvious like starting non-training related fights with team mates or mentors?"

Gregory nods his head, "Yes, I'm afraid the LifeBand is non-negotiable." He says, pulling up the sleeve of his jacket to show that he, too, is wearing one. "It might seem unnecessary given what you've got access to already, but it's the most important part of our security setup here."

He stands, then, and moves to the barrier which serves as a railing for the arena. He grasps the top of it. "You know what happened to Djamila." He says, a lot more blunt with the young man than he had been with Mint. "Then there's that lunatic Juri and her team that snatched up a bunch of literal monsters. There's people on Blaze we know literally nothing about other than 'people seem to die when they are around', and even Thunder has volatile elements now."

He is staring down not at the arena itself, but the Fulgore units stationed within the facility.

"The LifeBand can get a drone to you anywhere in the city within three minutes. We can mobilise an entire First Reaction Team after that if we have to. My bosses, well. They take security very seriously. Very. Seriously. If one of you got maimed or killed on our watch? Ultratech would never live it down."

He turns back to Kenzo, then, smiling that easy smile, "As for infractions, that's really it. The LifeBand will warn you if you're at risk. Don't access areas you aren't cleared for, don't break company property, don't assault people without it all being signed off in advance."

Is he at ease with having to wear the Lifeband. Not exactly. Is he still going to feel tethered because he's wearing it? Does he understand the rationale behind it? Absolutely. After all, he was the one who drove Djamila back to Fort Metal when she refused to rest up and not only that, almost got into a fight with Ichika. Is he going to keep his sound dampening sleeve close by. Definitely. There's conversations he can see himself having and activities he could see himself doing that he might not want Ultratech listening in on even if he still wants them to at least able to track his location if shit goes down. Also, he doesn't want to mess with his Lifeband at the risk of it causing an infraction from doing so.

"I don't have to like it, but it makes sense."

It is at this point, he takes his first sip of the coffee and nodding at the flavor.

"After discussing things with you, I feel better about being a part of this iteration of Metal. I just have one request."

He takes another sip of his coffee as rises from his seat.

"If Djamila's sperm donor makes another play for her, I want to be notified so I can get a shot in while the drones makes the fucker regret his life choices."

"That's Corporate life for you." Gregory agrees, nodding his head, "Good coffee, good money, and all the little compromises you have to make to get to keep both."

His smile really does come very easily. He folds his arms across his chest as he considers the request, and finally, nods his head. "I don't think that'll be a problem." He says, "I still need to have my meeting with Djamila. My hope is that she'll let us unleash something even worse than those Fulgore units down there."

A beat.

"Lawyers. You would not believe how quickly we can make that whole problem just, disappear."

He snaps his fingers, and he's not smiling any more; this topic of conversation is, at least, something that deserves to be taken seriously. "But. We need her permission. As much as I'd like to release the hounds, I get that family is... a difficult subject."

And then he's clapping his hands together, his smile returning. "I'm glad to hear I've set your mind at ease, though. You were a key pick for us here at Ultratech. You know the company motto, right?"

"I guess that'll have to do. All this however, seems to have made my own measures for her redundant."

With that, the ninja takes a final sip of his coffee. He then pushes the chair to exactly where it was before he came in down to the millimeter.

"When your motto is 'Looking to the past to preserve the future,' you picking me makes sense. It's still humbling to be picked as high as I was. Anyway, thank you for your time."

Kenzo extends his hand to be shaked and should handshake be initiated, it's firm. It goes up and down exactly twice before he begins to pull away and he isn't trying to crush hands in some macho display of strength.

Gregory nods at the understanding, "No more than you deserved. Trust me, the bosses were ... pretty exacting on their requirements and pick order. Happy to say, we got everyone we wanted. Now we just need to take you all to the next level."

The handshake is returned with a well-practiced, formal squeeze; not weak, not painful, and he lets Kenzo set the two shake pace. "We might have some more training exercises coming up in future." He continues, "There's a few project teams that will not get off my back about having their prototypes tested by you all, but, I told them, we need to get everyone settled in first. Plenty of time for that later. You have a good day, and if you need anything else, at any time? My door is always open."

Log created on 12:49:07 09/14/2023 by Kenzo, and last modified on 12:19:32 09/15/2023.