Description: [Interim] Two days ago, an assassination attempt was made on live television. On Saturday Night Fight, Geese Howard was attacked. In this quiet corner of Greece, though, in a small private hospital, you wouldn't know that there was a manhunt sweeping the nation. No. In this secluded ward, all is quiet, all is still. And a particular patient is about to receive a visit...from his caregiver.
Teknon Kalos Lodge was the location he'd determined would serve amiably for his longterm recovery.
Of course, not the most technologically advanced locale on earth; it would be the passing fancy of a dragon to see a computer less than seven years old within as many times 10 feet of the premises. At least, that's the way the small backwater hospital deep in the ancient spaces of otherwise technologically advanced Athens before their new patient arrived.
Traditionally, Teknon Kalos is considered a location of the utmost discretion, perhaps serving only one, to maybe ten patients at a time. Questions.. aren't asked. Perfect.
The laboring beep of a compressor runs absently in the background as a motor churns, tilting the large dinosaur of a wheelchair forward. Ryouhara--or more appropriately, what is /left/ of Ryouhara, after all the bandages and gause and dressings have been applied--vainly reaches for the ratchet on the4 stand across from his bed. Not in that he fails to succeed. It's simply that his effort to repair the wheelchair's vibrating motor is useless.
He can't reach the bolt from there.
And even if he could.. well. He'd need a bigger ratchet to compensate for his loss of motor function.
He frowns, intensely.
Across the ward, the door opens, swinging on squeaking hinges. A few motes of dust swirl in the dim light of the room as a figure enters. She stands in the passageway for a moment before continuing on, nudging the door shut behind her. The hem of her long white coat whispers against her legs as she walks with easy strides, the metal disc of a stethoscope clicking against the plastic name tag clipped to her lapel. With both hands, she carries a dull galvanized tray, laden with small portions of limp medical institution cuisine. Including the requisite dish of wobbly gelatine covered in cling wrap.
"Lunchtime, Mister Ryouhara," she says, primly, speaking the name with faintly accented enunciation.
He drops the ratchet.
Literally, of course--the tool, far too polished and shiny to have actually been in the lodge for longer than a week or so, hits the floorboards with a clatter and bounces underneath the bed.
With that and not much more, he doesn't speak directly to the nurse when she enters, merely returning a hand to the control stick of his chair. It's a wonder they even had one available, considering the most advanced itemery in the large suite was currently occupying space beside the stand. Tanks, of sorts. One is long and thin, emblazoned with the familiar symbol of the Ryouhara, much popularized by the shinobi ninkougakusha, marked at the center with a triple-bladed biohazard symbol. Inside that container.. a full, preserved arm, with a glove that is clearly not one of Seishirou's still on it, sits in a sickly pale green suspension.
The other vessel is more or less opaque and guarded in banded steel. But it is inscribed with a new symbol--this one a three stroke symbol. The path of a dragonfly, winding around a stylized seal. But for the small slits of airtight glassed netting in it, a /glow/ suffuses its environ.
Swinging the chair around, Seishirou looks pointedly at the nurse, with a mix of hate!<tm> and anxiety concerning what was currently on the tray. An eye bleached pale yellow shoots a dagger like glare over the respirator, focusing on the so called 'nurse's' nametag.
The woman in the white coat and dress looks down, following her patient's gaze. She peers at the name printed neatly upon the badge, before lifting her chin. She arches one brow, meeting his gaze, impassively. She rattles the tray, faintly tarnished cutlery rapping against the edges of the plate.
"Now, now, Mister Ryouhara," she says to the man in the wheelchair, "this recovery period is for your own good. And you need to eat to keep up your strength."
She inclines her head at the two cylindical tanks occupying the corner of the room.
"You can play with your toys later."
A wet rasping sound eventually turns out to be his voice.
One word, from the nametag. "Riko."
The inside of the mask--at least, the parts rendered in clear plastic as opposed to gunmetal--fog over momentarily as the ninja scion doubles over at the waist, the curve of tubes stretching as the ninja's chest heaves silently--as /something/ vile is suppressed deep within.
Sickly eyes widen as the wave of pain hits.
It is only the first.
It's a full twenty or so seconds before the ninja slumps back deep into the chair, weary. The pumps and scopes at its back spin wildly to compensate for the rapid change in lung capacity. Winded from the brief ordeal, Ryouhara brushes aside a stray wave of hair blocking his view, dark, wiry and considerably rumpled from not having seen a comb for days.
He breathes deep. Once, twice.
Then, resigned, he gestures to the respirator, unsealing the mask at his face with an audible hiss of system decompression.
The girl in the medical orderly's uniform purses her lips, frowning in disapproval. Walking forward, she sets the lunch tray by Seishirou's bedside, then crosses the room to where his wheelchair is. Deftly, she assists in unbuckling the respirator and the tangle of hoses running from the mask to the machinery.
As she works, she gives an admonishing shake of the head, clucking at Seishirou.
"Now, now, Mister Ryouhara," she says again, "you know you're not supposed to do that."
Riko lifts a finger, waggling it. In a didactical tone, she continues, "The proper line is 'Luke, I am your father.'"
A moment later, a grey streak instantly slides past Riko's head by inches, whisper quiet until the resounding THOCK.
A few strands of black hair float slowly to the wooden floorboards.
A kunai sits in the wall on the opposite side of the room, still shuddering from the impact. It is gleaming, fresh and new, and honed to a razor's edge.
Past dishevelled bangs, Ryouhara glares, still holding his respirator mask.
That was with his /left/ hand.
Riko tsks, softly. She doesn't turn round. She simply brings a hand to the side of her head, patting a few loose strands of hair back into place. Ignoring the dagger vibrating in the wall, she steps away from the irate man in the wheelchair, moving to the foot of the hospital bed. Bending down, she picks up the chart hanging there, flipping the pages attached to the clipboard. Producing a ballpoint pen from the pocket of her uniform, she makes a small scribbled notation.
"Your reflexes are still off," she observes, "it seems your hand-eye coordination is worse than we'd thought."
Riko taps the end of the pen against her lips.
"We'll have to schedule some physiotherapy sessions," she concludes.
His right hand slides to the holster hanging behind a catch on his chair, deft fingers probing the expanse wildly as he tracks Riko's movement from the corner of his eye. A face is made, as the rough leather turns up empty. There is a slow breath, before the shinobi visibly slumps in annoyance.
The respirator mask, now fully disengaged by Riko's ministrations, slides off easily. Suppressing a gag reflex with visible effort, the mask draws out the one cable to his throat, which he discards with the mask at his lap.
Breath... comes with difficulty.
Business first. "Headlines," he manages, his voice audibly raw from the intubation. The wheelchair hums as it turns and faces Riko, before Seishirou bids the machine move forward. "How far ..." ngh. "... far has it penetrated?"
Riko doesn't respond immediately. Instead, she quite deliberately makes another note on Seishirou's hospital chart, thumbing through the sheets of paper with a practiced eye. Then, finally, after a sufficient time has passed, she makes a small thoughtful sound.
"Obviously, Southtown media has the largest airtime ratio for coverage of the story. Front pages as well. Japan in general, quite similar. Worldwide, it hasn't dominated - but the story was picked up by all the major agencies. CNN, BBC, Reuters, AFP, Associated Press..."
The ballpoint pen flickers in her fingers, the length of plastic spinning into her palm.
"...though they can't seem to agree whether it's a terrorism story or sports."
Riko looks back at Seishirou.
"Next time you assassinate Geese Howard on live television, make sure you label it correctly, ne?"
A finger taps the controls of the wheelchair ornamentally, as the shinobi broods over the matter, affording the young lady's words far more attention than some would think healthy for someone in a recovery. A full minute later, he fianly nods. ".... It's fine," is what he manages. "Too much certainty..too much--" ugh. He gives up. "Goal was attained," he insists.
He glances back, to the stand just behind his chair now.
"Those..." he labors while speaking of the sealed containers, "Need to disappear--" he chokes, but it is a brief, fleeting thing. "Need to do it.." hhh.
He'll oversee it personally. "..by tonight."
Riko makes another tsk'ing noise, clicking her tongue. She shakes her head slightly, replacing the clipboard in its holder at the end of the hospital bed.
"Now, now, Mister Ryouhara," she repeats, in that same lecturing tone, "you're hardly well enough. Concentrate on recovering, or I'll set the matron on you."
Her expression is stern, a forceful glare.
Returning to Seishirou's side, she turns her own eyes upon the massive cylinders dominating the room, staring first at the opaque one marked with the dragonfly insignia...and then shifting her gaze to the clear tube filled with green preservative liquid, the tube with a severed human arm floating within.
Picking up the stethoscope hanging round her neck, she presses the disc of metal against the glass, holding it there for a good long moment.
"Mmn, yes," Riko murmurs.
"I trust," she asks, "all is satisfactory?"
A bared foot plants on the floorboard, sheathed only in the favor of bagged hospital fatigue pants, cinched above the ankle with thong that must be entirely outside regulation. The shinobi shifts, raw torn muscles tied tight with bandaging twisting on themselves as he labors to stand. To Seishirou's merit, he manages to keep his weight under him for a whole thirty seconds.
Long enough to prove ... some point or another.
The young man lands in the chair hard enough to send it moving back into the bed. He breathes. "... Yes," he confirms. All is.
"Not enough time... but the sample. Satisfactory. The blood, usable..."
"Some will come looking," he adds blearily, though to what exactly he refers is unclear.
A moment is taken, enough for Seishirou to catch his breath.
"Well then," Riko replies, as she plucks the earbuds out. She removes the medical instrument completely, wadding it up and placing it in the front pocket of her uniform coat. She straightens, then, running a hand down the front of her uniform, smoothing out wrinkles upon the white fabric. Finally, she turns back to Seishirou, watching as he slumps back into the wheelchair.
"Mm, well," she muses, "this location is reasonably secure. Enough until the next phase. If they come early, well..."
She makes a small gesture.
"We can always strap rocket launchers to your wheelchair."
"Preparation," he rasps, turning and rolling to the mirror atop the stand with a twitch of his pinky finger, "is one hundred and sixty percent of a victory." He stops, just to Riko's side.
He pauses, as he considers his appearance in the mirror. At this point, Seishirou seems only barely alive by traditional meter. He is haggard, face drawn and paled. He reaches up, delicately tocuhing the scar on the side of his face, the delicate line seared by the heat. His eyes, haunted and a sick shade of dusk green and yellow.
"Preparation.. prices paid."
Abruptly, the wheelchair whirls. Brooding, the shinobi rolls past the light of the window to settle in the shade near his bed. "We'll summon our chosen soon... Need to meet with..Geese.." Frown. "Can't be seen."
"Bring the kit," he adds, off hand.
"Can't be seen, at least," Riko replies, "by anyone you don't -want- to see. Mister Howard, certainly. And I'll be doing my part to gather the clans."
Riko nods once, a simple motion. A few silent steps brings her to the bedside. Leaning over the dull institutional frame and the stiff mattress, she reaches for the tray she set down a few moments ago, when she first entered the room. She sets the dessert dish aside, instead reaching for the metal cover resting atop the main dish.
With a dramatic little gesture, she lifts the cover, revealing not an unpalatable example of hospital cuisine...but a compact box, set neatly upon the plate. This she carries to Seishirou, holding it in front of him, just over his lap.
"In the meantime...lunch is served, monsieur," she drawls.
The topic seems a little raw for him, as he broods intensely. "No one," he murmurs. "Until .. complete." He looks to the side, his eyes narrowed in deep torrential concentration. ".. Is there any time.." He shakes his head. "It /will/ be worth it," he insists, his voice canting itself to a low growl, before another coughing fit is suppressed by what seems to be sheer force of will.
"Even Geese would be too much right now, but .. soon.." He pauses, as if to assure himself more than Riko. "Soon."
He glances back at the plate, with a faint raised lip of derision, only partially paying heed beneath a fierce storm of distraction. There is the assumption, of course, and that much is enough to turn his already delicate stomach, if he were to pay it any mind. At this point, the only thing he'd consider eating, ironically, is the weird gelatin dessert.
At least, so he thought, until the stainless steel cover is lifted.
He pauses, as he catches the scent, stirring him from his reverie.
He looks up.. and grudgingly accepts the tray, a moment later.
Log created on 17:41:02 02/28/2008 by Riko, and last modified on 21:40:54 02/28/2008.