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Re: IC 7 - Marrakech - Day 1

skullandscythe posted in IC 7 - Marrakech - Day 1 on 2019-04-18 19:20:16
Blake moves to secure Elroy, stopping more than an arm's lunge away with a gun pointed directly at Elroy's head. He'll notice soon, and if he doesn't cooperate, that's fine by Blake. He'd prefer alive, but he'll take dead.

Re: IC 7 - Marrakech - Day 1

Gatac posted in IC 7 - Marrakech - Day 1 on 2019-04-17 16:39:00
It's literal Zero Dark Thirty(two) and Operations kills the rather insistent vibration alarm on her watch for the third and final time. One entrance over from the strike team's hidey-hole, you've quietly made your way into an apartment sharing a wall with the targets. Mason keeps watch at the apartment door and motions to the scared-shitless evicted resident of their entry point that no, he's not about to be killed or hurt, they just need him to not run out and alert anyone for a minute yet. Inside the apartment, Blake's hard at work gently sticking shards of C4 to the wallpaper and wiring them up for a nice little mousehole. Ideally they'd have the fridge or something else in front of it on their side to direct the blast, but scraping heavy furniture over the floor would rather defeat the purpose of keeping their approach quiet. Plus there's no fridge in here. One of the downsides of going through a never-sold, squatted apartment.

Finally, Blake has everything rigged and backs out of the "bedroom" into the foyer, where Operations has already taken position with a ballistic vest and C8 automatic carbine, as well as the thickest piece of earpro you could find in the stash. He signs for Mason to stack up behind him, then checks his own weapons one last time. Clap on the shoulder from Mason to signal that he's ready, too, then Blake says a quick prayer and hits the big red button.

Remember kids: when you know there's gonna be a boom, keep your mouth open.

(Blake's Explosive Devices to initiate Player-Facing Combat = (3)+5 = 8)

The BANG! is a hell of a go code as Blake, Operations and Mason rush in, darting through the dust and debris into the apartment occupied by the strike team. Looks like you've come out in the "bedroom" there as well, with nobody inside but a couple of rolled up sleeping bags and other sundries. The foyer outside has a muscle-packed man in a t-shirt and 5.11 pants standing with his hand against the wall, MAWPing and shaking his head as he tries to stay on his feet. That's Elroy Mcdonald, if the pictures from the file are correctly labelled. To his right in the foyer (if that apartment has the same floorplan as your point of entry, just mirrored) should be the "kitchen", to the left the "bathroom" and apartment door, and straight through around a little corner, the "living room". Woulda been nice to get eyes on more than one hostile right on entry, but woulda coulda shoulda - if you want to use the element of shock you've got, now's the time to motor.

Jacob%20Mason

Gatac updated in Wiki on 2019-04-17 15:57:12
Bio

???

Abilities

Investigative

Academic
  • Human Terrain 2
  • Languages 3
  • Law 1
  • Military Science 2

Interpersonal
  • Bullshit Detector 3
  • Flattery 2
  • Flirting 3
  • Interrogation 1/2
  • Negotiation 1
  • Tradecraft 2
  • Streetwise 1/2

Technical
  • Notice 3
  • Outdoor Survival 2

General
  • Athletics 8
  • Conceal 4
  • Cover 13
  • Disguise 2
  • Driving 4
  • Explosive Devices 2
  • Hand-to-Hand 4
  • Health 8
  • Infiltration 6
  • Mechanics 2
  • Medic 4
  • Network 7
  • Piloting 2
  • Preparedness 8 (MOS)
  • Sense Trouble 8
  • Shooting 8
  • Stability 4
  • Surveillance 4
  • Weapons 8

Cover Identities
Stef Heimans, ABP - BURNED

Contacts
  • Alira Holden, ex-ASIS agent and fiancé (8 points left)

MUY CALIENTE!

Mason also brings with him 4 points of Extra Heat: 2 points in Colombia and 2 in Chechnya. But surely, the hateboner of two major groups of organized crime are not gonna create any problems for you at all.

Personality

Drive: Altruism. Mason's all about doing the right thing. He just lives in a world where the Right Thing usually is to kill bad guys.
Symbol: A family on their knees with guns to their heads. The names, the faces, the dates...it blurs together for Mason, who's seen this too often. The people just outside that neat little picture, the ones holding those guns? Mason's gonna bury them, bury them all, so he never has to see this picture again.
Solace: Alira Holden, ASIS. Mason and Alira have crossed paths before, both professionally and...less professionally. And unlike the rest of Mason's conquests, Alira was a good choice. Would be a great choice, even, now that she's got a medical retirement and is out of the game for good.
Safety: A farm deep in the outback. Breed ostriches, drive a fuck-off big ute, keep an arsenal of "hunting" weapons large enough to repel an invading army. What could be safer than that?
Trust: Tim 1, Luc 0, Blake 0

Re: IC 7 - Marrakech - Day 1

Gatac posted in IC 7 - Marrakech - Day 1 on 2019-04-17 15:56:46
Blake groans as he stands up, leaving the file on the table. "Need some fresh air and a walk," he says, a little smile forming as he sees Lucy perk up at the word. "Wanna come with, girl? Go on a walk?"
Lucy gets up and starts wagging her tail emphatically.
"Good girl." Blake looks over at Laith as he gives Lucy ear scritches. "How bout you, man? Get some fresh air?"
"Sounds great," Laith says. He runs his hand over Lucy's head. "She could use it."

Getting down the stairs is a bit of a production, but Laith waves off all attempts at help. "Been spending too much time on my butt," he explains through the grimacing. Finally, back at ground level, you pick a side alley leading out of the souk towards a little square with a park on it.

"Thanks for getting me out of there," Laith says. "Things are a little bit...too real right now."
"I can only imagine," Blake replies. "It's must've been a while since you've been in a place where the faith is accepted, not merely tolerated."
"Oh," Laith says. "Oh, yeah, that's good. It's more what's going with...Jessica."
Blake nods. "How so?"
"Grow up the only Iranian-American kid in your town," Laith begins. "Claw your way up into fieldwork for the CIA. Find the one, exactly one person who gets you, have a whirlwind romance, then get fucking blown sky high by a mortar attack." He winces as his prosthetic leg hits the curb at a bad angle. "Recover while you think she's dead. Find out six months later she isn't but you can never get back together ever, but fuck it, she's alive, she's doing what she loves, don't be so fucking selfish you fucking asshole. And then...find out that's all a lie, probably. I can't tell you at how many levels this whole thing is fucking with me. I feel like half my life is suddenly up for debate."
Blake is silent for a bit. "What is it that you believe is a lie, Laith?"
"At this point?" Laith says. "I'm going big. Don't know if she ever actually loved me to start. It hurts to think but fuck, at least that's the whole thing taken care of. I'm not gonna play that game where I go halfway, forgive her and then it turns out there's still more lies underneath." His eyes are fixed forward. "I thought if Operations really wasn't her at all, just the body and the memories, that was...that hurt, too, but at least I still had her, I still had Jessica in my past. I thought the Operations thing was like a one-in-a-million miracle cure. But to hear that it was a program and she was a candidate and...I don't know. What made her so damn special, then? What didn't she tell me?" He sighs, then looks at Blake. "I probably sound like a paranoid headcase."
Blake shakes his head. "No, Laith, you sound like you're in pain and confused more than anything. You've been burned, and don't want to be burned again. She lied to you, so you don't know whether to believe anything she ever said. And given how readily we've been lied to lately..." Blake scowls. "Well, let's say it's understandable you feel this way." The scowl disappears, and Blake looks over at Laith sheepishly. "S'not healthy, though. It's a kind of denial - you're about to declare the entire relationship fake because you're not sure how many lies you've been told. Now, there's a lot that I'm still missing here, since I don't know how you met or how connected to the program she was before or what its method was SO I'm asking you - What's her agenda, then? What's in it for her to start a fake relationship with you?"
"Excellent question," Laith says. "I didn't have time for a conspiracy board but I asked myself that, of course." He looks at Blake. "I mean, tell me you don't try to get power over the things that scare you by trying to understand them rationally. That'd be a lie and we both know it." He smiles, but then shakes his head. "I don't know. There are no reasons I can think of. It's completely, bottom to top, illogical to think that." He looks back at Blake while Lucy rubs against his leg. "Tell that to my feelings, though."
Blake scratches his burgeoning stubble. "Well, when something nuts is going down and I can't deal, I write." He pulls out his little pocket notebook, flaps it back and forth a couple times. "Jot down a couple verses and I feel a little lighter. Writing's probably not your thing, but I think we can find you something. Don't need to be art, either - maybe take some time to just sit and pray, or grab me or Mason. Don't think he or Alira'll just leave you in the lurch." He puts a hand on Laith's shoulder. "We're not here to just help Jessica, or Ops. We're here for you, too."
Laith listens patiently to what Blake has to say. "Okay," he finally says, stopping his walk and looking straight at Blake. "Fair warning: I'm gonna hug you now." Just as quickly as he met Blake's eyes, he looks away, though. "If that's...okay."
Blake nods. "Course it is."
Laith brings it in and gives Blake a big hug. "Thanks," he says.
Blake allows himself a little smile. "No problem."

---

(Mason spends a point of Streetwise to track down the strike team)

Working off both the list of Bad Dudes (tm) and Alira's fix on the rental agency of Dana Lamb's ride, Mason narrows down the probable base of operations of the strike team to Tamensourt. A "new" development town just Northwest of Marrakech city limits, Tamensourt was built up massively with high-end tenement blocks in anticipation of a buying boom, which subsequently failed to materialize. Years later, the whole town is still only 20% occupied - legally, that is. Combine with a lack of police presence, season with criminals, then let boil over for a decade and you end up with what's unofficially known as the Rue de l'angoisse, a street's worth of light ochre tenement blocks that are deathly quiet during the day and quite deadly during the night. Word on the street is that a couple of larger-than-life foreigner assholes rolled up here a couple days ago and have claimed the fifth floor of entrance 4 for their use, "evicting" the prior tenants of floors 6 and 4 at gunpoint and barricading the stairwells. Even the customary house security guard - paid for by the absent owners and living in the block with his family - only admits this much after three small stacks of Euros have been slid over the coffee house table. He wouldn't mind seeing those guys gone, you see, but he also doesn't wanna get dead. Reasonable enough, one supposes.

Re: Jade Imperium - Afghanistan, Pt. 3

e of pi posted in Jade Imperium - Afghanistan, Pt. 3 on 2019-04-14 20:44:01
"Speaking of, we're officially arriving," Luis says as he follows the beacon-waving Turai's instructions and comes into a hover over the landing zone. "Thank you for flying Infiltrator Air, and please ensure you have all your covers ready before unloading the Manta."

Re: Empire

Gatac posted in Empire on 2019-04-13 19:40:18
It's a packed evening show at the Yasakani Theater, which sits right on the precipice between the posh city center and the docklands; the warm gas lamps that shine up front contrast quite nicely with the back alleys behind the theater. A hand-painted poster on a scroll advertises tonight's play: "Nine-Tailed Fox Romance", the latest in a series of "new-style" plays that are, to put it bluntly, designed to showcase the looks of the actors more than the didactic message of the play. (Insofar as NTFR has a message, it seems to be "Fooling around with fox demons is fun but they're gonna cheat on you and also devour your parents". Esoteric, that.) Anyway, despite being the premier theater of the capital, it doesn't compare to the Count's place back in Kargbeck, which to be fair set some pretty high standards in decadence. Kirika and Yukio - already appropriately notorious - are waved through by the usher into the main hall, where it's standing room only with fifteen minutes to the start of the show. A glance at the upper rungs shows that of the three box seats, two are occupied - High Lord Boota's among them.

"It seems the High Lord has himself a box seat," Kirika says. "Shall we introduce ourselves?"
"Let's," Yukio agrees, taking Kirika's proffered arm with a smile.

Together in proper arm-in-arm couple form, they make your way up the stairs to the boxes, skipping past the one rented out by an amorous couple to the one occupied by season ticket owner, High Lord Boota. It is easy to spot by the half dozen samurai parked in front of the entrance. One of them - the head samurai, to tell from his bearing and everyone else making room for him - steps forward to meet them. He's a thin, pale man who wears his hair in a tight ponytail while the frame of Hanse-built bifocal lenses sits on his nose.

"Lady Kamura, Lady Matsumoto," the samurai says, bowing his head. "Boota-sama has asked that he not be disturbed. May I be of service?"
"We wish to speak with the High Lord about a particular matter," Kirika says.
"A matter of some delicacy," Yukio adds.
"Something not befitting standing in the hallway," Kirika continues. "Or passing messages back and forth."

The samurai bows his head deeper.

"Begging your forgiveness," he says, "but it cannot be helped. My orders are very specific. Lord Boota must not be disturbed."
Kirika's smile gains a bit of an edge. "Tell him that it is Lady Kamura and Lady Matsumoto."
"Who is it?" Boota's voice comes shouting from inside the box. Obviously he's currently chewing on something.
The samurai's eyeroll is almost hidden behind his glasses and the dim lighting. Almost. "The Ladies Kamura and Matsumoto wish to speak to you, Boota-sama."
"What?" Boota barks back.
"The Ladies -" the samurai begins, only to be interrupted by movement from inside the box.
"Outta my way, you dummies!" Boota barks, stumbling from the box. His fine silk kimono hangs open to his chest and the sleeves show the telltale signs of grease stains, as does his mouth. "You!" he says to Kirika. "What are you doing here? We have a deal."
"Merely to remind you of it," Kirika replies. "There will be a vote tomorrow."
Boota looks Kirika up and down. "Fine!" Boota says. "You'll get your vote. Now go, I'm sure you have someone else to bother!" He stomps back into the box.
"...I trust this satisfies your query," the samurai says, stepping into your way again.
"It does," Kirika replies. "And how is working for the High Lord?"
"It is a...most special honor," the samurai comments coolly. "My family has humbly served as retainers for seven generations. To be placed in a position of such importance is more than I could ask for."
"Hm," Kirika says. "Well, if we cross paths again, I hope it is under...more pleasant circumstances."
The samurai bows his head again. "That would be agreeable to me as well," he says. "A good evening to you, Lady Kamura, Lady Matsumoto. Please do enjoy the show."
"And a good evening to you..." Yukio says, waiting for the samurai to suggest his name upon realizing he hasn't introduced himself. However, the samurai stays quiet.
Kirika returns the bow. "Come, love, let us adjoin to a place not..." She cringes at the sounds of Boota stuffing his face, however muffled through the wall. "...so distracting."
"Quite," Yukio says.

Taking Kirika's arm again, she walks off with her dearest until they're halfway down the stairs and well out of earshot. "Are you ever not scouting for new talent, Kirika?"
"I don't know what you mean," Kirika claims. "There's never any fault in being polite and sympathetic - as a conwoman or Shadowguard."
"You know exactly what I mean," Yukio says.
"He just seemed...unhappy," Kirika replies. "And if I can offer a better...choice of employer..."
"Yes, but he didn't seem to like us much better than he does Boota," Yukio says. "Besides, he's Kiyomori clan. Ten generations back, they got crushed in a power play between the emperor and their daimyo. They still hold a grudge against the throne for that."
"Says the daughter of the man I tried to rip off whom I love without condition, while one of the clans that preyed on my family eagerly waits to train students for my dojo," Kirika says.
Yukio sighs. "Fine," she admits. "Also, I dated him briefly at the war academy. It did not go well."
"Oh, well then he is banished from the palace, let alone my Shadowwatch," Kirika replies with a smirk before giving Yukio a peck on the cheek.
"Thank you," Yukio says. Beyond the crowd, the kabuki play continues as a new flutist joins the score. "Do you care to watch the play, dearest?"
"Well, we can watch a play here, or we can go visit Hetechi and...revisit that balcony," Kirika says.
Yukio looks over to the concession stand. "Hetechi does have the better snacks," she says, then looks at the main actress up on stage not entirely butchering the notes she's singing. Clearly, her loose kimono is helping her get enough air to, ahem, project. "On the other hand, maybe the show here is better..."
"Hetechi can wait if you...are enjoying the show," Kirika replies.
"Hmm," Yukio says, smile growing as she looks at Kirika. "You did work as a courtesan, did you not? Yet I don't think I've ever heard you sing...or seen you dance without a sword."
"I could arrange a private performance at Hetechi's," Kirika says.
"Hmm," Yukio says, her smile growing into a grin. "Let us discuss the details on the way, then."

---

It's a long wait for Toshiba and Takao, particularly as they both know just enough about healing to independently come to the conclusion that Copperhead, by all rights, should not have survived being struck by lightning, nor anything that happened thereafter. But with Yu Lee's mainlander magic, any manipulation of chi seems possible - though the tale of Lady Ikishi proves a most concerning example of its possible abuses. One must understand, therefore, how jealously Yu Lee guards her secrets, and so it is their very knowledge of medicine that sees the two shinobi banned from the procedure, lest either of them learn something that they should not know.

Finally, Ueki emerges, looking pale and about a year older than before. He walks over to the two and plops himself down next to them.

"He's...sleeping now," Ueki says. "They don't...they don't know when he's gonna wake up. If he's gonna recover..." He trails off. "...if he's gonna be there when Toshiro becomes Emperor," he adds. "And for what? All so some crazy spirit-thing could torture Homi for...what? What the hells was the deal with that, even? You've fought the Yo-thing before, what did he even want?"

There are no answers, at least, none that Ueki would understand. If there is one thing you have learned about yokai, it's that their motives and means are rarely comprehensible to mortals. Old grudges become twisted and distorted by the ravages of time. The feelings at the moment of death - rarely peaceful - echo into the painful eternity of the worlds beyond. Over there, reason is fragile and only hate truly endures. Give it enough time and even the kindest soul caught in such a place will be reduced to a wounded beast dressed in the rags of its long-gone humanity, doomed to either scream impotently at the veil or - worse - cross it and haunt the living until its final destruction. This is, you realize, the meaning of the word 'hell'.

"Fuck spirits," Ueki concludes.

---

There is, of course, a party happening at Lord Hetechi's mansion. Well, more of a soirée, really, to judge from the rather reduced amount of carriages and servants waiting outside. Accordingly, there's a rather large pool of Hetechi's servants eager to jump onto escorting the pair inside to the main hall, where the find the crowd silently seated on cushy cushions while the poet Yamada-san is reading from his newest works. That would explain the, ahem, select clientele. He's currently doing a thing where he is slowly sipping on wine while staring into the crowd, building tension between him and the audience to create the correct emotional landscape for his next recital. Kirika and Yukio quietly take a seat at the back, holding hands and leaning against each other as they wait.

"The dreadful autumn grasps me," the poet speechifies to universal silence. "I am plucked from my world! Oh, fall, fall! I fall and leave - a leaf, my brothers gone before me. Goodbye, tree. Goodbye, life. Goodbye, love." A dramatic breath. "Goodbye."

Polite applause chases Yamada-san off the stage for a brief interruption in the reading. Somebody hands Yukio a finely calligraphed program. Looks like Yamada-san has been extraordinarily inspired by the upheaval as of late and there's about two more hours of this to look forward to.

"Shall we take advantage of this interlude to make our introductions and slip away?" Kirika whispers in Yukio's ear.
"Quick, before he comes back," Yukio agrees.

They vacate their cushions and make their way over to the banquet, where Lord Hetechi is discussing the details of the third course with his chef. Sitting next to them in a chair with an elevated leg is Kichirou. He and Hetechi are holding hands tightly.

"A souvenir of your adventures?" Kirika asks Kichirou.
"Well, I was possessed by the yokai spirit of Homi-dono's dead son who brought me to the old mill to wreak vengeance on the same, and somewhere in the middle of fighting one of your ninja friends stabbed me through the foot," Kichirou recalls. "It's...actually, it's mostly all okay now. I think."
"I'm quite certain the story will make sense at some point," Hetechi says, dismissing the chef with a nod. "Lady Kamura, Lady Matsumoto," he greets them with a nod. "To what do we owe the pleasure?"
"Merely here to mention a certain vote coming up tomorrow, High Lord," Kirika says with a bow, "and seeking respite from...an otherwise exciting day."
"Hm", Hetechi says. "I feel your mention of excitement is a license to pry, so I shall ask: what happened to you, then?"
"...when was the last night?" Kirika asks. "Was it when I was here studying for your trial?" She gives Yukio's hand a squeeze. "Or was it the party?"
"The studying, I should say," Yukio says.
"Perhaps a summary of events following the trial will suffice," Hetechi suggests.
"Well, after the trial, it was revealed that the yokai within Lady Ikishi had begun to consume her, Himiko desired for us to save her mother, so we met with Ikishi. She managed to isolate the yokai within her arm, which I cut off to sever her connection with the yokai - that part was particularly nice," Kirika says with a smirk. "Master Sinan - or whatever he was, actually - removed the spirits and vanished, and we took our leave back to find High Lord Shira's heart as part of our deal to save Ikishi. Our associates went with him and High Lady Ishikawa to restore him, while I went with Yukio, my aunt -"
"Her aunt's spirit," Yukio adds.
"Yes, of course her spirit," Kirika says, as if that was the least insane option, "and a few others to explore the depths of Ikishi's lair. There we found General Noronu - or rather, the yokai operating the reanimated form of General Noronu - killed him, freed the spirits of my missing Shadowwatch agents, rescued Kagemaru, and escaped in a metal vessel that moved underwater - until it almost sank and we had to swim for the surface." She pauses as she thinks for a moment longer. "And we visited the other High Lords, which meant having to see Boota again."
"...wine?" Hetechi asks, grabbing two cups and holding them out for the pair.
"Yes, thank you," Kirika says with a smile, handing the other to Yukio.
"Dearest," Yukio says as she takes the wine, "perhaps we could impose on Hetechi-dono to spend the night?"
"Too late," Hetechi says. "I'm afraid that after hearing about all this I must insist you do so."
"...the docks might require our presence?" Kirika weakly offers. "What about the others?"
"They're fine," Kichirou says. "Mostly."
"...explain," Yukio says.
"One of the ninjas was hit by lightning," Kichirou says.
"But he survived," Hetechi hastens to add.
"That mainlander woman is taking care of him," Kichirou says.
Hetechi sighs. "If I may," he says. "Lady Kamura, you will, I am sure, never run out of issues that vie for your attention. But you have a most beautiful woman at your side who clearly longs for your undivided attention. Might I humbly suggest you let the empire be the empire for one night and check your sorrows at the doorstep?"
"But -" Kirika starts.
"Hetechi-dono," a servant calls, stepping up with an empty silver platter. "We are running low on hachinoko," she says, her braided black hair allowing a look at the faint scar on the side of her cheek. "I will have the chef prepare the frying of the karintō."
"Very good," Hetechi says. "I shall have Yamada distract the crowd some more."
The servant nods, then turns to Kirika. "Leave the docks to us," she says, brushing aside her apron to show off the Shadowwatch braid on her belt. She nods once, then makes for the kitchen.
"It appears the docks are receiving the required presence, then," Hetechi muses. "Any other excuses, Shadowguard?"
"...I suppose not," Kirika says.
"Excellent!" Yukio replies. "Just tell us where to go."
"I believe you know the way to my guest quarters," Hetechi says. "I shall have refreshments sent up -"
"Actually," Yukio says, "I was hoping we could clean ourselves first." She smiles at Kirika. "You made sure everyone's clothes got cleaned after the swim. Except for yours. Also, you know...I still think about that hot bath, after the sparring at the Academy."
"I see we shall not soon run out of stories to tell each other," Hetechi comments dryly, then claps his hands. Ozaki, the immaculately groomed young servant from last time, appears as if from thin air. "Ozaki, would you please show my guests to the hot baths? And take care of whatever else they might require."
"Of course, Hetechi-dono," Ozaki says. "If you would be so kind as to follow me, ladies."

It's a fairly long walk through the mansion - what isn't, considering the size? - and Yukio only has to slightly drag Kirika along with her. The Shadowwatch agent has gone on to do what needs to be done, which means she's not in Kirika's sight, which clearly agitates her, but soon they have left the hustle and bustle behind to arrive at Lord Hetechi's bathhouse in a private little courtyard that overlooks the bay from a cliffside of the mansion's island. Ozaki excuses himself to stoke the fire that will heat the water inside, which Yukio uses as an excuse to steer Kirika past the bathhouse and almost to the edge of the cliffs, where a lonely cherry tree tries to stretch towards the night sky. Yukio's hand rides over Kirika's back.

"You're trembling, dearest," she says quietly. "Your nerves are getting the better of you, I think."
"It's just all so much," Kirika whispers back.
"Yes, it is," Yukio says. "I...I can't even remember the last time I had a day where everything was safe and predictable and within my grasp. Not since Toshi brought those ninjas to our little farm." She pauses for a moment. "If you could go back to being Kasumi Kagawa...if you had to make the choice all over again to help Toshi with my father and the horses and everything that came after...would you still go down this path?"
Kirika turns around and wraps her arms around Yukio. "Never, love. Not for a moment. Would you?"
"I've been tempted," Yukio admits. "Dearest, there's just so much...evil in our path. So many people who will do...who have done terrible things to get ahead. So much pain. And sometimes I sit and wonder. Toshi and I, we were...we were happy at the farm. It was a different kind of happiness but that doesn't make it less real. We could have spent our lives there just being with each other, and it wouldn't have been a waste. Venturing out got me you...but it also got me all this responsibility, all this weight on my shoulders. And I know that this is a battle that will be fought every day for the rest of my life. Unlike the Academy, there will be nobody to call the battle and award points. I shall flail and struggle and die never knowing what my legacy will be. But then you drag me with you again and I steel my heart to be next to you." She sniffles. "I just...I want to be happy, with you and Toshi. It feels so...selfish."
Kirika pulls Yukio close. "I am happy. Toshi is happy. We are making a difference here, saving lives, setting wrongs right. It's hard work, but...it's worthwhile." She gives Yukio a kiss. "Just like farming. You do the work, and see your efforts grow into something better. Yes?"
Yukio returns the kiss, then looks out to the sea. "You think we'll ever go there?" she asks quietly. "Wherever...whatever there is, behind the horizon."
"Maybe," Kirika says. "And if you mean beyond even that...if we are apart in the hereafter, the Heavens had better build higher walls, love."
Yukio laughs. "If we both wreck half the next world in search for another, I should think we'll be reunited twice as quickly," she says. "Perhaps even quicker if the masters of that place see reason."
"But for now, our bath awaits," Kirika says. "And while a dance might not be possible, I will gladly sing for you."
"Mmh," Yukio purrs.

They wander back to the bathhouse, where Ozaki awaits.

"The baths have been heated and scented," he says. "Shall I open the shutters to the sea for a view?"
"That would be lovely," Yukio says.

As Ozaki goes around the outside of the bathhouse to open the shutters, Yukio grasps Kirika's obi by the knot.

"And to think," she says, "this time we didn't even have to beat each other black and blue first."
"I think it's time for something I've been thinking about since that first bath," Kirika coos back.
"Are you gonna tell me what that is," Yukio asks, "or is it a surprise?"
"It should wait until after I sing for you," Kirika says as she slides Yukio's kimono off her shoulders. "Because we will both be far too busy after."
"Is that a fact?" Yukio asks.
"Pull and find out," Kirika replies in a sing-song tone and a smirk.

Re: Jade Imperium - Afghanistan, Pt. 3

Admiral Duck Sauce posted in Jade Imperium - Afghanistan, Pt. 3 on 2019-04-12 18:34:48
FTE googles it. "Well, that's no help. In the meantime, we also are headed for the railgun sites in a presumed-friendly manta. Sooner or later we'll need to cut a hole in that wall. Let's get what we need to Navarone this shit."

Re: Jade Imperium - Afghanistan, Pt. 3

punkey posted in Jade Imperium - Afghanistan, Pt. 3 on 2019-04-12 15:47:06
"I'd Google Tienanmen Square if you want a sneak preview of what it looks like when people rebel in China," Garrett says. "And that was before they put the whole country at war."

Re: Jade Imperium - Afghanistan, Pt. 3

Admiral Duck Sauce posted in Jade Imperium - Afghanistan, Pt. 3 on 2019-04-12 03:40:45
"The planes might not sway Imperial citizens but they might erode Chinese support", says FTE. "Maybe combined with a power and comms disruption, we could maybe put a target on this place and get someone else to swing the hammer."

Re: Jade Imperium - Afghanistan, Pt. 3

punkey posted in Jade Imperium - Afghanistan, Pt. 3 on 2019-04-12 02:41:44
"Yeah, we've got them here," Garrett replies. "They've got the three in that base, and it looks like they're putting a couple in a few of their forward bases in a few big cities."