Kagero - 4P: East Point - The Delve

Description: The agents report that this of Ryouhara's many orders is of top priority. Mayhem breaks out on the streets outside Kagura Enterprises, the site of the enigmatic woman running the 2011 King of Fighters tournament. As the security forces of the building rush to put an end to what is obviously some sort of terrorist attack, it leaves things relatively quiet for a lone rogue to sneak in. Evading surveillance, she climbs up the elevator shaft of the building to the top floor, where she is to attain any information she can gather on the nature of this year's tournament.

Kagura Enterprises is a company that tends to fly under the radar. Sure, many people know *of* Chizuru Kagura, know that she owns *a* business...but once people start asking more specific questions, that's when the information gets a bit muddy. They have business licenses in several countries, it's in good standing with all of them, and...that's it. Examination of their tax records reveal that they own a number of commercial sector buildings, all of which are in turn rented out to other companies on a floor by floor by floor basis. The mailing addresses are all P.O. boxes. It's almost like they don't *want* to be found.

When the riot starts, few will make the connection as to what this is really about. It's outside of an office building that had been reopened roughly ten years ago when a medium sized corporation was bought out and downsized. It's been remodelled since then, but the exterior is nothing exceptional. To most visitors, it's just a rented out tower of cube farms. People use the elevators every day, not realizing that the elavators are even capable of travelling below ground level. There's a very inconspicuous keyhole next to the one for firefighter maintenance that might have something to do with this fact, but there's one slight problem - it's modern. The keys themselves have a transponder signature. And what's more, the transponder...is chi based.

Getting these elevators to move downward is going to take an electronics wizard who knows something about chi engineering, and a hefty chunk of time to boot.

There might've been a little blip on the security monitoring systems a few weeks prior. Short enough to be dismissed as a glitch or electrical interference in or around the southmost elevator shaft. Should anyone have even bothered double checking the cameras or making a physical inspection of the sight, nothing incriminating would have been found. The advanced scouting had held to precise, exacting orders - figure out the nature of the interface then get the hell out, leave no trace behind. It wasn't much intel, but it was enough to figure out who would be burdened with dealing with the lock when the time came.

Her prismatic chi control had gotten even more precise over the years, to the point it isn't beyond her capacity to create slight, brief illusionary images provided she focuses hard enough. That attention to the ebb and flow of chi was what was needed here, since no one in Kagero could really answer the question of how the chi-based transponders would actually work. With a technical expertise obtained from years of less-honest electronic activities, Ayame was the perfect pick for the job out of the resources the shadowy faction had available. The streets outside may be in an uproar, a mechanical monstrocity set loose to draw eyes and focus away from the inside, but the real objectives were to be met out here on the inside.

Dressed in black, her long hair wrapped up beneath a hood that keeps her face mostly covered but for the eyes, the figure slipped through the more public floors of the building. Hiding out on one of the rented office floors until after hours was trivial, giving her easy access to the elevator she slips toward. In her right hand, a smart phone, the screen dimmed, the display covered in intelligence data being streamed to her by scanning and survelliance stations outside. Transmitted in code, and in small microbursts, the traffic is hard to detect unless one knew what they were looking for, and nearly impossible to read even if found. Infrared readouts give her an idea of where foot traffic on the inside is, though they're found to be unreliable... something about the building is making such simple scans less accurate than she'd have liked.

Another display on her phone shows her the locations of the elevators in their shafts throughout the building, giving her an idea of where foot traffic is likely to be at any given moment. When the doors open with the traditional chime, the girl slides in. Dropping to one knee, a highly modified netbook is produced, with a few extra cables running from it than one would get 'off the shelf'. "All right... Time to find out more about this tournament."

Tournaments are a big deal. Lots of money trades hands, lots of power shifts in concentration, it's not unusual for information about them to be held under such tight security. But even still, this upcoming event seems to be /ultra/ secure, given the absense of data floating around out there. Not even any leaks... no ex-disgruntled employees with an axe to grind... nada. Well, Ayame's goal is to fix that. Kagero wants to know more and they're willing to turn a city upside down briefly to get it.

Normally, blips like those are common enough to be written off, but the organization at the root of this tournament is obsessively methodical. Take, for example, the elevators. All elevators have at the bare minimum a crude weight sensor for preventing overload. But why stop there? When the doors of the elevator close, weight is sensed, and no buttons are depressed for ten seconds...it trips a cute little blinky light on the monitor displaying the video feed from the security camera in the corner of the elevator. Cameras are pretty obvious things. Ayame either knows she's on camera, or something has been done to fool a person on the viewing end. In either case...far below ground, someone picks up a phone. "We have a breach in the southeast elevator. Black clad, slender build, unknown gender. Looks like they're trying to figure out how the key works, so we've probably still got enough time to finish purging the servers--"

The transponder is an interesting thing. Not only is a physical key needed, but some sort of chi signature is needed in order to authenticate the access. One that is capable of manipulating sensory information. As it turns out, Ayame's job is...much easier than anticipated. She doesn't have to imitate or copy anything. The fact that her chi is capable of that feat is enough to give her an hour's head start on hacking the system. ...Ayame turns out to be more perfect for the job than even she had been led to believe. In short order the tumblers are picked, and the chi lock is authenticated.

Back downstairs, the guard's jaw drops. "...D-Disregard that, the elevator is moving! Don't ask me how, but we've got a full breach on our hands."

From another room, a black-robed man leans back against a wall in ill-humor, holding a wall phone to his ear as he listens to the report. With the satellite uplink on the rooftop taken out moments after the riot began, Reiji Oogami is the closest thing this outpost has to on-site Tactical Command. His brow knits at the fact that somehow the elevator was activated. "Cut the elevator shaft. Don't be so dramatic." It *is* interesting that the lock was capable of being bypassed somehow, but he's got more important things to worry about right now. "Keep the servers purging and set up patrols. Unless you see more than just her, hold off on evacuation. Open the B4 elevator doors on the adjacent elevator for exactly twenty seconds."

Setting the phone back on the hook, the man immediately takes off toward the doors to the opened elevator shaft, jumping through and latching on to the adjacent cable.

The interuder isn't given a full minute to recaculate their plans once the elevator stops. The roof escape simply *caves in*, another black clad figure sweeping the confined space with his foot in search of an opponent. "Last stop!"

COMBATSYS: Reiji has started a fight here.

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Reiji            0/-------/-------|

COMBATSYS: Ayame has joined the fight here.

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Reiji            0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0            Ayame

COMBATSYS: Ayame dodges Reiji's Medium Kick.

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Reiji            0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0            Ayame

Nimble fingers work fast. Having memorized schematics ahead of time and theorized on what exactly the secrets to the mechanism might be, Ayame is pleasantly surprised to find that everything she needs falling into place quickly. But while the task she is responsible is being carried out remarkably well, in operations this ambitious, there is always the chance of a piece slipping through the cracks. "What do you mean you just now hijacked the feed?" she whispers. "That's thirty nine seconds behind schedule. If anyone was watching the screens..."

She shakes her head, eyes scanning the feedback provided by the augmented netbook, the corner of her mouth curling into a faint grin, "Hold on, might not matter, I think I've got this..." The elevator glides smoothly into motion. "...yeah." She crouches next to the 'keyhole', getting ready to close and stow her devices the instance it reaches its destined floor.

"Heat signiture? Where? There isn't time for-"

The elevator comes to an unscheduled stop.

And then there's two. Reiji may wonder if his target has already escaped, for as his foot sweeps the interior it moves through only empty air, the elevator compartment seemingly occupied only by him. Even the tools that had been deployed are no where to be seen... There was no floor the intruder could have gotten off on in between Reiji's explosive entrance and when they were last spotted... Which means they really could have only gone right back out the only available exit - the very cavity created by Reiji when he charged in.

Indeed, a moment of focused listening will likely pick up the sound of a creak coming from on top of the elevator compartment... Of course, going back up to investigate risks an ambush!

COMBATSYS: Ayame takes no action.

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Reiji            0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0            Ayame

That's odd.

A breeze swirls through the closed interior of the elevator with the force of the undeterred kick, leaving Reiji balanced on one foot with the other drawing to a cautious pause in midair. "Clever.", he allows with a smirk.

The intruder is clearly a resourceful one...but that much was evident before he even lept into the elevator shaft. A good thing he opted on a tight time for the elevator doors. Still, now the two are engaged in a game of cat and mouse, and unless he keeps his wits about him the unknown party is likely to slip away. There is one thing that he has going for him however; the fact that he is no stranger to the art of misdirection, and the use of little-known techniques to facilitate it.

Crouching down low as if to jump back out of the elevator, Reiji does something rather curious for a fighter; he gathers chi about his person in a strong concentration, then jumps straight up. One copy of him bounds right back out of the caved in hatch, sweeping a set of corners with a kick as he does so. The other, the replica of him, leaps toward the opposite corners and rakes a fist across the ceiling, dissipating as it lands.

Having swept the interior of the elevator for an invisible opponent, his primary concern in either event is getting into a better position to plan his next move. The real Reiji pauses not on the roof of the elevator, but swiftly bounds off of the top of the elevator cart to grab onto an adjacent elevator cable, his vision scanning the interior all the while.

He'll save the smalltalk for when he has a fix on his opponent's position. Normally he can allow some measure of bravado, but an assault on a Yata complex by a potential Orochi leaves little room for playing games. He doesn't *feel* the presence of that taint on the air, but he can't afford to let his guard down either.

COMBATSYS: Reiji takes no action.

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Reiji            0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0            Ayame

The clock is ticking, time is running out. If this first responder is mostly acting alone, there is little time to incapacitate him and move on to the objective before the rest of whatever security shows up. If he is already working with others in a coordinated fashion, the mission may very well need to be scrubbed. Still, it's just one... How bad could it be?

The surge and swirl of precisely controlled chi to the extent of being able to have a 'spirit double' is all the evidence Ayame needs to realize that it could, in fact, be quite bad. Feet sweep through empty spaces - already she has seen his proclivity for probbing by way of 'Painful looking kicks' and quickly calculated the likely angles for his next sweeps to come in. She elected to not be at any of those points, of course.

Wedged into a corner of the elevator shaft, she almost blends in with the shadows. Perfectly still, the only warning Reiji might have is a flicker of the eyes as she blinks once, situated about five feet up from his own position. But that's probably not the movement he should be concerned about first and foremost - for from that corner of the shaft a blur of motion and the hiss of a flying knife in the dim shaft on a collision course with Reiji's right hand where it grips the cable...

It's just a distraction, however, for the real threat comes from the intruder herself springing from the corner with a jumping kick leveraged right for Reiji's side, attempting, perhaps intending to knock him loose from his perch. Closer now, he'd get only a slightly better understanding of what he's dealing with here. The lithe figure is clad in black garb - a thigh-lengthed tunic and matching black pants, her face mostly hidden by a cloth mask over her mouth and nose that leaves her sharp, brown eyes visible.

Whether or not her kick connects, she'll grab hold of the same cable as Reiji, attempting to secure a position about four feet above him and stomp at him with her feet to further her attempt at dislodging him!

COMBATSYS: Reiji interrupts Heavy Kick from Ayame with Maboroshi.

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Reiji            0/-------/---====|===----\-------\0            Ayame

The fact that the intruder could have already gotten that much distance on him was an anticipated possibility, but even with the refined Yata techniques at his disposal, Reiji simply can't be everywhere at once. His most immediate priority was locating his quarry and keeping it that way.

The knife is decidedly not what he's looking for, but it's a start.

Still focused on pinpointing Ayame's position, the facility's (apparently) lone defender is quick to shift hands to avoid having it trimmed by the knife, an election which leaves him with limited reaction time to the follow-up attack...but still, it's enough. He finally gets his first glimpse of Ayame, the infiltration attire disguising her identity as an individual but not concealing her build, which is something that is far more immediately relevant to his interests. Now he's got a position, and the beginnings of a mental impression of his opponent.

Reiji's eyes narrow, the man shifting his weight *into* the elevator cable as if to swing toward the wall. A seemingly daft thing, considering how well anchored his perch is...but with the effort another spirit body is swiftly ejected from his person in that direction. Turning back toward Ayame, he steels himself and braces for the impact as well as he can, throwing his own weight into her to act as a counter to the momentum. Simultaneously, his double kicks off of the wall with a backflip, pre-emptying Ayame's own plans with a surprisingly solid stomp of its own on her shoulders before she can recover her balance from striking the original. Still, the brief glimpse of a grimace of pain is enough to suggest that he still felt the force of that blow more than he perhaps anticipated.

Once his own attack connects, Reiji releases his grip and allows himself to drop even as his double is dissipating, only to latch onto the cable again several feet downward and leap to a different set.

Definitely not an Orochi. An assassin hired by the Orochi then? They've manipulated human emotion for their own benefit before, but he doesn't have enough of a grasp of the intruder's fighting style to anticipate her unspoken intentions just yet.

The sharp gasp released at the chi manifested copy smashes into her is enough to remove all question as to the gender of Reiji's wouldbe assailant. Ayame's attack is cut short, her bid to secure a superior position on the cable denied her. Knocked hard to the side of her intended trajectory, her left hand snaps out to seize hold of another cable before pulling her body tight against it, requiring more than just a quick hold to regain her senses and rethink the way she's contending with this chi user. His mastery over the Yata-style of mirror images is impressive, rivaling even the infamous Ryouhara scion. She can't take anything she sees for granted... While thus far he hasn't sustained a copy image for a great length of time, it is in situations like these where split seconds matter just as much as minutes.

Pesky. "Che." Time for another plan. Her hand goes to her waist where a hip-pouch rests on her right side, pulling from it something that clinks with the sound of metallic chains. A glance up the shaft then down affords brief calculations into the space she has to work with. What kind of risk should she be putting this guy in? What if he slips completely and falls the length of the shaft? Would Kagero care if she took a life in this mission? It was supposed to be a much cleaner operation than that... the /messy/ stuff is going on outside. But this guy is more than just security easily distracted by something as 'everyday' as a giant katana wielding robo-panda!!

Well, there is one way to deal with someone in this scenario that reduces the risk of horrific injury... Releasing her grip on the cable, Ayame drops into a freefall. She's on a trajectory path with Reiji but this time the intent is not to strike but rather to entangle - a thin yet distressingly strong cable is whipped out as Ayame attempts to bind it around his chest in passing. "I need you to stay put," she hisses mid-whipping - and should she connect cleanly, Reiji will find himself bound and dangling by a cable around his chest with the upper end of it secured to the wall up where Ayame had dropped from, and his female combatant a few yards down, hanging once again onto the cables for support. "I won't be here long."

COMBATSYS: Reiji dodges Ayame's Medium Throw.

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Reiji            0/-------/---====|===----\-------\0            Ayame

The Yata Clan makes so few moves out in the open that it's difficult to predict how they will react to a hypothetical scenario. As attention riveting as a giant robotic panda is, the facility was built underground for a reason - minimal danger to structure, and easy creation of emergency escape routes. In the future, Seishirou's organization will be able to better predict their movements...but for now secrecy has served its purpose. But will it be enough to completely thwart the operation? That much is up to Reiji.

Even as the black-clad retainer is shambling back up the elevator shaft, he's trying to keep an eye on Ayame's movements. The drop makes his effort wasted for the time being - but this wasn't entirely unexpected given the certainty of her destination for the time being. That whip though? Yeah, not so much. Thankfully, misdirection saves the day again. Ayame could no doubt sense the man gathering chi again in preparation for something as he was climbing, but once she drops, too late is it apparent that a second Reiji is dropping from the position of the first in *advance* of her, leaving the second to its horriffic fate - bisection in two as the implement swiftly constricts around it! Such brutality. :(

"We're not too keen on visitors here.", comes the amused reply from below as he leaps toward the wall (for real this time), climbing the short distance to Ayame with a surprisingly quick succession of wall jumps. The last is likewise meant to cross her path laterally, the man rotating in midair to facilitate an attempted reverse elbow to her stomach. Whether or not he connects, he's left with an awkward moment of negating his momentum afterward, snagging another cable with an outstretched arm and spiralling around it until he's able to grip it with his knees again.

"Tell you what though...you've earned a question or two for getting this far. You might not even have to leave empty-handed if they're the right ones!" It could be a bluff to stall for time, but he doesn't sound terribly on the defensive either. ...On the other hand, he does seem to think very much of himself in declaring victory soon, so maybe he deserves a good thrashing anyway.

COMBATSYS: Ayame blocks Reiji's Aggressive Strike.

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Reiji            0/-------/---====|===----\-------\0            Ayame

The chainwhip constricts on the wrong target, Ayame becoming aware of such only when it cleaves through the image in a way that she very much didn't expect from a normal human body. A second flick of her wrist loosens the chain before she wraps it around her left forearm for 'safe keeping'. A soft exhale escapes her lips as she looks back up the elevator shaft, judging the distance back up to ground level, before glancing back down to keep her attention on Reiji, holding onto a single cable for the moment herself, teeth grit behind her mask.

Her right hand slips down to her side toward a long, slender pouch next to the one she had drawn the chain whip from, even as the determined defender launches a timely counter attack. When his elbow drives for her stomach, it will impact with something more solid than flesh - a short metal bar about an inch in diameter gripped in the girl's left hand which absorbs the meat of the impact.

"Oh?" she replies, spinning the six inch long tube in her hand as she twists around the cable in order to face Reiji once more, "Then this must just be a big misunderstanding. Don't worry about me, I'll help myself out - the down that way, right? "

He talks about questions and for a moment it seems her eyes sparkle with a mixture of amusement and excitement. "Now, now, I doubt you know anything useful to me... I'm not here to talk to the hired help." She's obviously needling now. Nothing about the way this guy fights suggests he's a rent-a-bodyguard by any means.

"See," she tenses a little, clearly preparing to attack again, arm pulling herself up a bit as she keeps her eyes on Reiji consistently now. "It's not every day one of the most secretive corporations in the world decides to bring the world's spotlight on itself by announcing a tournament... This event has sparked a lot of movement in less pleasent circles and some of us would like to figure out why... We're not going to be a problem for the big todo, unless we don't like what it's trying to do."

She shakes her head a little, a lock of strawberry-blonde bangs slipping loose over her forehead, "But we gotta be sure." She exhales again, "It's unfortunate you've been drawn up in this... not really part of the plan. But I really do need to get going, so you'll understand if-" She lunges then, spinning as she jumps for Reiji. "I must force an end to this exchange." From her leading left hand trails a thick plume of smoke from a palmed device of some kind.

It might make it a little tougher for the eyes to follow her right hand as she brings her fist in for Reiji's jaw, still bearing that thick metal tube for added impact!

COMBATSYS: Reiji blocks Ayame's Random Strike.

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Reiji            0/-------/--=====|===----\-------\0            Ayame

The display of preparation is too obvious. At some point a proper mixup game is well served by an unexpected straight shot with no fixings, but now...it just doesn't feel like the right time. Waiting for her to finish her explanation with a well measured patience (after all, time only serves to work in his favor - no need to let himself feel too pressured here - he does his best to time the speed of Ayame's lunge, shifting his weight to fully rest on his knees as he sweeps high with one forearm and low with the other, managing to deflect the true aim of the blow and taking a strike in the shoulder instead. Crossing his legs to further cement his balance, he uses this rare moment of proximity to make a grab for her arm...and if she's forced to grab on to his cable after the attack, she may be stuck grappling with him for a few precious moments.

"Tut, tut. I didn't think keeping our servers physically off the internet deserved *that* much attention...", he grins, clearly content to mince right back. "I'm sure your employers considered that there may be a good reason for all the secrecy, but...oh, FINE." While sighing with mock-exhasperation, it's clear that he's beginning to focus chi along the exterior of his body again in that now-familiar way.

"I'll give you that one. What are you going to do, tell the press?", he laughs, clearly entertained by the prospect. "You see...demons are real. Not the fire and brimstone bullshit sort, the kinds made of chi." To punctuare, another chi body splinters off from him, lunging to the side, swinging off of a cable, and leaping behind Ayame with its feet braced against the wall in preparation for an attack...

"And it's easier to keep them from assassinating the people they perceive as threats if we keep them gathered in one place."

And with that the chi body simply flickers out of existence. Did he overuse the ability? Nah, he's just trying to direct her attention away from the fist he was winding up behind his back, now cruising to crack against the left side of her chin.

"Anything else? There's some rather nice chairs in the lobby upstairs, I picked them out myself."

COMBATSYS: Ayame fails to counter Fierce Punch from Reiji with The Lament of Chronos; To Forget.

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Reiji            0/-------/--=====|======-\-------\0            Ayame

That Reiji proves to be more sturdily entrenched in his current position proves to be a challenge for the lunging girl as she fails to dislodge him as calculated. It forces her hand to go for the cable just above his arm, lending him an easy grip at her forearm that she isn't in a position to do anything about initially as she's focused more on keeping herself from falling. "I certainly don't care about your company secrets," she hisses back as she wraps her legs around the adjacent cable and starts pulling on her arm.

"And what do I look like, a reporter? The press has nothing to do with this." She finally pries her left hand free and clings more tightly to the cable, glaring back at Reiji a little, eyes narrowed a little as he talks of demons. "Tch. And are you going to tell me you've fought these demons yourself?" There's an edge to her tone - one that suggests she isn't put off at the idea that he's leading her along with such talk. "Because /I/ have." The words are stated evenly, the teasing twist to her voice replaced with something far more sober.

Another copy appears but she can tell it isn't real by the signiture of his own chi that she's becoming increasingly familiar with. But just because it isn't real doesn't mean it isn't a viable threat. "I never realised there was so much money in it." she adds, that taunting tone back as she rolls her eyes upward as if to indicate the oppulance of the discrete office building itself.

Her right hand adjusts, bringing the bar up, crimson hued, intricate runes along its surface igniting with a flare of illumination. A shimmer washes over her of chi just beginning to be made manifest, but whatever she was trying to counter attack with is cut short by the smack to her jaw. The impact is enough to send her reeling, the girl losing her grip on the cable and flipping backward, only her wrapped legs keeping her from flying off all together. She does slip down several yards upside down before getting control over her descent, opting to dangle like that for a moment as she rubs her jaw with her left hand. "Hm, no, this isn't the right emotion either..." she murmurs to herself as if lost in thought for a few seconds. "That rules out regret and adrenaline brought on by dangerous heights, it must be something else..."

She blinks her eyes then shakes her head, as if bringing her focus back to the here and now. "I know all about those old stories. I wouldn't have thought someone as contemporary as your employer would still buy into them." She inhales and curls upward, reasserting her grip on the cable as she shakes her head to clear the dizzy feeling. "But why /now/?"

At this point, Reiji does something that his unexpected guest probably isn't expecting; he sticks his tongue out at the girl. "You don't, but on that same vein who would believe you? Evil demons out to destroy humanity! ...More on this groundbreaking story after this commercial break.'" For the severity of the situation, at least insofar as the company is concerned, he has to admits that this distraction is more entertaining than he'd expect it to be. It's not every day that you have an opportunity to play in a gym as elaborate as an elevator shaft. That and his opponent's sarcasm are probably rubbing off on him.

A hint of recognition is visible in Reiji's eye when the artifact begins to activate, noticably hastening the speed of his swing. "Whew, that was close..." He doesn't comment on it further, but it's clear that the facility's defender isn't unfamiliar with such works. And is now probably on the lookout for more of them. There was a *brief* look of concern on his face as she fell, but it quickly dissipates once it's clear that she has a solid grip again. "I've dealt with their minions for the most part, but I know how to recognize their art when I see it. Lately, there's been more of it than I like."

...Then Ayame says something that seems to strike a chord with her opponent. He tries to hold his composure for a moment. *snrr...rk* But after holding in the twisting corner of his smirk for a moment, he finally loses it and outright laughs, as if he had just been told the best joke he's hold in a long time. "Contemporary, Chizuru? ...Oh man, that's just...haha, wow. Good one." He crosses his arms around the cable, resting his chin on them as he peers down at the girl. "Kagura Enterprises is a means to the end. The purpose of the Yata Clan has never changed since the ancient days, just the tools at thier disposal. ...That purpose is to maintain the seal on the demon known as Orochi, and protect man from the machinations of those who obey him, or any other demon for that matter." Toward the last question directed at him, he shakes his head. "I can't say for certain why, but signs are certainly there. The fact that you say you've run into one is yet another one. The fact that the last leader of our clan was murdered by one of the Orochi Kings when she tried to prevent him from weakening the seal an even bigger one."

Having apparently let slip as much free information as he cares to for the moment, he then raises a brow. "So you can imagine why we value our privacy, and tend to take this sort of intrusion rather seriously. One high profile assassination is enough for this decade...we don't open our door to just anyone." He doesn't make any *overt* moves toward aggression, but the gathering forces near his person can be perceived. He hasn't dismissed the girl as a threat, and is preparing for the possibility that she'll insist on intruding further. "So. Given the circumstances, I think I've been more than accomodating. This isn't an archives open to the public. If your organization wants to treat it like one, they'll need to make us a better offer than riots on the streets and visitors in our walls." He smiles. Despite the earlier mirth, it isn't nearly a friendly one at this point. The message is quite clear. "Do we have an understanding?"

COMBATSYS: Reiji gathers his will.

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Reiji            1/------=/=======|======-\-------\0            Ayame

Ayame seems content to hang where she is for a moment, legs wrapped around the cable, right hand maintaining a firm grip while her left hand holds onto the smaller rod that briefly demonstrated that there's more to that little weapon than is immediately obvious. Reiji gets a very direct look from those sharp eyes as he speaks of having faced minions of the demonic sort before. It seems she's taking the claim at face value for the moment.

When her words provoke a laugh from him, however, her expression remains neutral, searching, as if not particularly phased by the moment of amusement her apparenty obliviousness has brought about. At least, at first. The mask does well to conceal the faintest tug at the corner of her lip within the shadows of the dim shaft. Of course, part of what he recites about Chizuru Kagura is not particularly unknown information about the Yata clan itself. But it got the seemingly cooperative guardian talking, and that's all she wanted for now.

Some of the information is tucked away - interesting, even if not entirely critical. To think that the entire corporate enterprise was for something other than good ol' fashion wealth accumulation... What a horrible thought! "Nn," she replies when he brings up her own encounter. "The Devil of Kouga was no mere minion..." But the words aren't loud, as if she's thinking more to herself about the encounter of over a year gone by. He can't or won't say exactly why the Kagura CEO has chosen now, of all times, to act, but the ideas he tosses out are enough to chew on all the same. Maybe others can investigate these signs he mentioned to double check the facts on them. For now, she has to calculate her options carefully.

"Heh," she grunts, slipping her left hand to her pocket, tucking away the little metal bar. "Accommodating indeed, and just when I was getting close to leaving a negative comment with the Tokyo Business Bureau..." She leans her head to the side slightly, "This isn't the last we'll see of each other, I suspect. But for now-" She could keep trying to fight her way through this, but the proverbial clock is ticking. Her hand goes to her ear, "Operation complete, withdraw all forward operatives." With that, she lunges up, grabbing a tight hold of the cable to gain a few yards in one sudden burst of movement. "Who's to say what the others will make of what I pass along... chaos is in the wind either way."

She lunges again, bringing herself even with Reiji, holding tightly to the parallel cable, pausing briefly to look at him for quick moment as if to study him further. "At least someone's doing something..." she finally murmurs before looking up and contining her ascent quickly, intending to leave him behind unless he gives chase. "World's too damn idle in the face of so strife." What will Kagero do, she wonders. Not even she can guess the secrative operation's next move. "There's a wildcard in the mix... Well, at least one. But if we find out about anything that might be of mutual interest... perhaps I can repay your accommodating nature with a favor down the line, hm?" Another lunge up the shaft. "Make sure to change the locks after I leave," she points out, as if she needed to. "Though I don't think I will be coming this way again... the security is more tenacious than we had calculated." He can probably hear the grin on her lips by then.

COMBATSYS: Ayame calculates her next move.

[      \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////////             ]
Reiji            1/------=/=======|======-\-------\0            Ayame

Hmm. Judging from the outward indicators that the witty infiltrator is providing, she seems to be withdrawing. Hooray for diplomacy? He can only hope security is paying enough attention to the exchange to stop the data wipe. What with Kagura Enterprises only trusting isolated, physially wired computer networks, "restoring from backup" typically involves waiting for eight packages to arrive containing encrypted fragments of the larger archive. Ah well, it gives the IT guy something to earn his salary with. Smug guy was spending too much time hitting on the cute secretary anyway. ...That's supposed to be Reiji's job.

When Ayame suggests that this won't be their last encounter, he chuckles lowly in response. "Yeah, well...nothing's too surprising in this line of work. It comes with the territory." He rolls his eyes, but seemingly at his own expressed sentiment. Must be his life story or something.

There's the slightest bit of tension in the air as the two are parallel to each other once again - they were just fighting, after all - but it's more a matter of probing senses than outright hostility. It's broken when Reiji reaches into his pocket, slowly and deliberately (the lack of sudden motion is doubtless to his advantage), sliding a wallet out of his pocket. Of note, he never fully opens it, merely flicking its outermost flap open so that he can fish out a business card from a small stack of them that is tucked away in there. The wallet is re-pocketed, and the card extended to Ayame before she climbs out of reach.

It identifies him as an amateur photographer. The printing job is convincingly cheap. "Here. My personal e-mail address is on there. Tell your 'operatives' that it's not worth the time to break in there, since you won't find anything work related...but if you want to set up another meeting, use that." He pauses for a moment, lower lip sucking inward in thought. The image of this stranger hanging upside-down moments ago sticks out well enough with him, so he'll go with that. "Mention something about...'possum photos if you send me something, otherwise I'll assume you're compromised." These Kagura Enterprises folks certainly take their security seriously, but if they're really this invested in the hunting of demons...that would certainly be a worthwhile characteristic.

To her parting remarks about the state of the world, that...that is what finally manages to make his smile falter a bit. But the hesitation is only for a moment, and in the end he rolls his shoulders. "That's the way of the world. Someone's got to watch their asses for them, lord knows they'd too busy watching people punching each other on TV. Toss me something on that demon of yours if you fancy it, I'll see if there's something I can dig up." *Technically* Ayame is the one owing him favor as she's already acknowledging, given her entrance, but this is what he does for a living and now she's got him curious. Their respective partings made, Reiji himself lifts one hand to offer a two-fingered salute before allowing himself to slide down the cable, back toward the basement bunker.

It's only a few minutes later that he realizes he has no way of opening the door from the outside, or of speaking to anyone over too easily snooped wireless signals that the Yata do not trust. Friggin'...

COMBATSYS: Reiji gains composure.

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Reiji            1/-------/=======|======-\-------\0            Ayame

She tenses when he goes for his pocket, but the motion is enough to cause Ayame to pause her ascent all the same. The card gets a curious look before she reaches out to take hold of it, as if still suspecting some kind of shenanigans. Taking it quickly, she skims her eyes over it briefly. "Photographer." there's a hint of a laugh in her voice. "Mn... I'm just a scout, whether or not others decide they need to see your basement accommodations for themselves, I can't say. As for me, I'd be fine settling for chatting about possum pictures instead." She never gives her name.

She continues on her way up. He mentions the demon she referenced and she calls back down, "The Capital 7 casino was her lair, if you want to read up on her a little. Maybe we'll speak on that one again sometime, Reiji."

She climbs quickly, healthy and athletic as she is, that distant voice chatting into her ear as she makes her way up higher into the office building, requesting updates. Her exit doesn't seem to be the ground floor at all, as the girl pries open one of the elevator doors on the fifteenth a couple minutes later. "Oh, quiet already, I got enough. The nanosecond we got seen, they were probably locking down the basement tighter than Yuu's puppet shop... and you don't mess with Yuu's puppet shop. Could've been a full data wipe... the hell is the point then, huh? The guy talked enough to give us some direction... gave me an idea, it'll have to suffice."

Making her way over to a door granting access to the stairwell, she continues her journey upward to the rooftop. A crossbow and zipline later, and she's dropped down to the roof of one of the neighboring, less militantly secure buildings from where a small glider was stowed previously. A glance over her shoulder at the Kagura Enterprises building gives the girl pause. To think, an institution dedicated to fighting the likes of Marise... and to think that there's more out there like the Devil of Koga to worry about. A reflective look crosses her features as she finally pulls off the hooded mask and stuffs it into her pocket, letting her long, strawberry blonde hair pour out over her shoulders. The earpiece communicator is similarly removed and pocketed. Isn't that the life she was supposed to have? Wasn't that the destiny her parents had in mind for her? That fate she ran away from to escape when so young? Why does it bother her now then, to think others are doing her job?

Grunting, the girl takes a step off the side of the building, the glider unfurling, granting her controlled descent to the streets below. She has a report to file. "Ayame, you're getting in way over your head..." she mutters to herself. Life was simplier before she encountered the Ryouhara scion.

COMBATSYS: Ayame has left the fight here.

[   \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Reiji            1/-------/=======|

COMBATSYS: Reiji has ended the fight here.

Log created on 23:16:23 12/19/2010 by Ayame, and last modified on 16:40:40 01/15/2011.