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SCION: CHAOSIUM! "Awakening"


Nina
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The Egyptian stepped between the columns and into the vast hall and paused, looking up. From outside the ceiling of this place appeared to be a dome resting on the thousand columns in the Greek, or was it Roman, fashion, either way distasteful to his senses. But from the inside, the ceiling, vast curving above and beyond, revealing the cosmos, a view that even now filled him with wonder.

 

“Stop your wool gathering architect, we have business to attend to.”

 

Imhotep searched out the source of the voice as he was unable to identify it from its sound alone. It was either Odin, the All-Father, or Zeus. Two gods so similar that to those who did not know them they could be thought to be one, and yet so different that they would forever be opposed to the other. They even looked alike and both with the greatest of egos. It was Odin, this time, his one eye glaring at him. Imhotep sketched a slight bow and moved to his place among those gathered.

 

“Well?”

 

That voice he would always be able to identify, its dulcet tone soothing, bringing the scent of cherry blossoms and the crash of waves along the shore to his senses. He gazed into the bright eyes of Amaterasu and answered her.

 

“One of the twelve is broken completely,” He tosses several pieces of what looks like slate onto the surface of the table around which the gods sit. “Four others have cracked and are deteriorating. Already some of the spawn have escaped.”

 

KLANG! The sound of the hammer slamming onto the table startled everyone there. Thor grinned, “Then let us go forth as of old and do battle! Send the spawn back to the hell they crawled out of.”

 

“And break every oath we took and send the world below spinning into chaos? As much as I would like to do as you suggest, we mustn’t, we cannot undo all we have accomplished,” Zeus spoke up his voice almost exactly like that of Odin’s, whom had spoken before.

 

“And what exactly have we accomplished,” questioned Thor sarcastically?

 

“Thor, show respect.” Thor’s wife Sif tilted her head in disapproval.

 

“I don’t know, the boy has a point, I would like to know what these accomplishments are myself.” The god that leaned forward out of the shadows which clung to him , Tezcatlipoca, the mirror about his neck flashing as it caught the light of the stars above, locked eyes with Zeus who halfway rose to accept the unspoken challenge.

 

“He means peace, and an end to the warfare which threatened to destroy us all.” Marduk did rise and stepped through the table which collapsed into mist, Mjolnir falling to be caught by Thor before it crashed onto the floor. “Are there any here who doubts Imhotep’s discoveries?” Marduk slowly turns eyeing all those gods gathered here in this place of reconciliation. Gods who represented all the Pantheons which still held influence upon the world through proxy. None answered in the affirmative.

 

He nodded to Imhotep, “Then you know what must be done,” Marduk spoke.

 

 

Lightning flashed and wind sheared at thirty thousand feet, the plane shook and dropped almost a hundred feet in a single breath. Not a comforting sensation especially with the Rocky Mountains looming ahead.

 

Ali Badren was jolted awake by the turbulence, the plane was dark, only lit in flashes by the lightning through the small windows. Ali looked around and saw… no one! He was alone, the plane which had been full of people was now empty. He scrambled to undo his seat belt when he felt a hand touch his. He jerked his head to the right looking at the seat beside him that had just been empty. Lightning Flashed. Jim Lee, his best friend sat there, looking at him serenely, caring. They had met in the first grade when Jim had come to Ali’s defense in the playground and the two had been friends ever since. Always together, through grade school, middle school, and halfway through high school when James Father took a new job at Denver’s Mile High Airport and they had moved away. But they had stayed in contact and had visited often during college breaks.

 

Jim was the reason Ali was on this plane. Because Jim was dead, and Ali was flying to Denver for the funeral. But here he was sitting next to him on the plane smiling. “You know I don’t like to ski,” said his dead friend.

 

The touch on his hand grew more insistent , the hand touching his gripped his wrist and shook his arm… Ali opened his eyes as the plane shook again. The middle-aged woman in the grey business suit stared at him with concern, “Sorry to startle you but you seemed to be having a bad dream, and they just announced we’ll be landing soon. They want us to put our seats into the upright position.”

 

A little more than two hours later Ali was on the ground and sitting in the living room of his dead best friend’s family’s house. It was somber there had been hugs and even tears. Jim’s dad had passed away a little over a year ago and Ali had been here for that funeral as well. Now there was just Jim’s mother Lorain and his sister Darlene, who had been away at collage in California but was now home.

 

At the moment, Darlene was fixing them some tea. As soon as Darlene had gone to the kitchen Lorain who had said little and was obviously grieving terribly had stood up and taken an envelop out of her dress pocket. She stepped over to Ali, held it out for him, “This was in…Jim’s desk in his office addressed for you.”

 

Ali could see his name on the envelope. He took the envelope and opened it inside were two ski resort tickets to the ski lodge at Snowfield, Colorado, a well-known exclusive town, and resort high up in the Rockies. The passes were all inclusive, hotel, board, and ski lift and were dated for two days after the funeral for one week.

 

 

Suruç, Turkey near the Syrian border 46 kilometres (29 mi) southwest of the city of Urfa

 

Kamala watched the dirty and dented white Land Rover bounce up the dirt track which passed for a road through the sprawling refugee camp. She had been here almost six months, a refugee herself, but now an integral part of the lifeline of so many. The Land Rover came to a stop in a cloud of dust Kamala saw the Doctors without Borders emblem on the door underneath the dirt. She hoped they had brought some much-needed supplies for her normal patients and that who ever they had sent would be able to get the mystery man to make sense.

 

Valentine looked up at the woman standing outside the tent with the crescent moon on its side. This must be the contact.

 

Valentine had never been to this camp before and should not be here alone now, but everyone else had responded to a bombing in Urfa where there had been multiple deaths and over a hundred and fifty casualties and that number was expected to go up. She had been about to depart for Urfa when the call had come in about a very ill man who had walked into the refugee camp here and the medic who had called for help could not explain the man’s illness. The described symptoms had sounded to Valentine like advanced radiation poisoning. Valentine had not said anything about that to the caller, but she had decided that running here to investigate was possibly very important.

 

 

Blackwind Technologies Dock and Receiving Yard, Port of Los Angeles, California 11:25PM

 

Thunder rolled and rain poured, lightning lit up the warehouses, containers and cranes that filled the over one hundred acres leased to Blackwind Technologies a subsidiary of the Kaze Industries Group.

 

The stormy night didn't bother Juno Reyes, she had been in worse, although if pressed she probably couldn't name when or where. But still she had been in worse, and at least here she was in a nice warm, dry Security SUV. No what bothered her was the severe lack of visibility. The street and security lights only appeared as small fuzzy dim balls and did nothing to show their surrounds and the lightning flashes only revealed the heavy sheets of rain.

 

She sighed squinting into the darkness, a murder squad of ISIS fighters could be sneaking up on her and she wouldn't know it until the bullets hit or the bombs went off. This thought caused her to frown. She missed the army, this was agood job, really better than what she had expected. But something was missing. The thrill the excitement. She had been and elite soldier and now she was a security guard. She sighed again.

 

She turned onto the dock road and headed back towards the station. All she had to do was make sure nothing was going on where the ships touched US soil then she was done for two hours before she had to repeat the whole routine again. There were only two ship docked this week so it would be quick and hopefully she wouldn't even have to get out of the car and get wet. She passed slowly by the two ships and saw nothing that warranted a stop and then as she passed the next empty berth the head light caught the silhouette of a small ship in a berth that was supposed to be empty. Juno slowed to a stop and killed her lights.

 

She got a better look at it when the lighning flashed it was small not one of the big container ships not even a midsize freighter, it looked more like a fishing boat. She keyed her mic hooked to her shoulder.

 

“Hey, Gary, this is Juno. Did someone come in late at berth four? A small boat,” Juno asked not realizing that she had slipped into her quiet radio voice.”

 

“Nothing on the docket except the Yondo Maru at one, and the Sivian Grace at two. Supposed to have a container ship coming tomorrow but it delayed and that would go to seven for offloading then right back out to anchor. Why you got something there?”

 

“Yes looks like a fishing boat.” “Might be someone taking refuge from the storm. Probably nothing but you better take a look just to make sure they don't need any help. Sorry” “Ok Juno out.”

 

Juno zipped up her coat and raised the hood, she'd still get soaked but at least... oh who was she kidding she was going to get soaked.

 

The rain lashed hard and the wind which she hadn't noticed in the car was blowing a lot harder. The boat was dark she couldn't see any lights at all which was unusual, her hand strayed to the handle of her pistol as she moved closer to the unknown vessel.

 

Lightning flashed and suddenly there was man in front of her no more than two meters away standing a still as a tree. She almost drew her weapon but stopped, the man didn't move and in the flashes of lightning she got a clearer picture of him, and it was not normal.

 

He was middling height, five eight or nine was hard to tell because he wore a wide brimmed hat and his head was tilted forward. But that wasn't all he was not dressed for a night out in a storm but rather he was dressed as if he had just stepped out of a Kurasawa film right down to the swords.

 

The man looked up and spoke. “Go to your bosses tell my name, Yojimbo”

 

Before she could respond the lightning flashed again blinding her and when it cleared he was gone.

 

 

 

 

Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, California after midnight

 

The storm raged outside but Tenchi heard nothing, even the rain which splattered against the reinforced plate glass panels of the balcony doors were a mere whisper. The house had been built by their father years before they were born and bore the ascetic of the times, but it was not an old house, not on the inside. As new technologies had been invented they had been incorporated into the dwelling, new additions had been added to accommodate the adult children whom were expected to continue living there when they were home, which they did.

 

The house itself sat at the peak of the mountain overlooking the city of Beverly Hills, occupying six full acres which itself was part of the one hundred and eighty seven acre billion dollar property. It was the most expensive privately owned property in the United States if not the world.

 

The view was spectacular, the way the lightning streaked across the sky, arms of vicious electricity touching the city below. His sister and mother had gone to bed hours ago but while he had tried, sleep had proven elusive this night. Maybe it was the storm. Tenchi stood at the balcony door watching the rain and lightning. When between one flash and the next a figure was now standing on the balcony.

 

Tench heard a gasp behind him. Stepping back from the door but keeping the unmoving figure in sight, he stole a glance back and saw his sister, Raiko, standing at the hall which led to the dining room and kitchen, she was wearing only her nightgown, but was oblivious to her near nakedness, her eyes wide staring at he figure on the balcony her hands covering her mouth as if to stifle a scream. Seeing her brother look at her she lowered her hands slightly and whispered a word...”Yojimbo!”

 

Wind blew in accompanied by rain the balcony doors had slid open as if of their own accord then the unmoving figure, moved. With short dancing steps both recognized as esoteric Kendo steps the man moved into the room. He was dressed in garb you would see in a samurai movie but it all looked authentic right down to the swords at his waist and the wide brimmed hat which concealed his face.

“Tenchi and Raiko Shirahara , your presence is required” with a deft and graceful step the man moved to a coffee table and laid an envelop down. He stepped back as Raiko raced forward and snatched it up looking inside. Inside were three reservation passes to a ski resort in Colorado.

 

“What is this? Who are you?” Tenchi had shifted position closer to his sister and they both faced the man he was wishing he were armed.

 

Yojimbo shrugged, “I do not know but if you are not there many will pay.”

 

“I asked who are you,” Tenchi asked his anger starting to show?

 

“She knows,” was all the figure said.

 

“There are three tickets is the third for mother,” asked Raiko?  “No.”  “Then for who?”  “You will know.” and with that answer he spun out of the room onto the balcony. At that moment a stroke of light and he vanished as he he had rode away on the electricity...

 

 

 

Spoiler

Ali you are not connected to anyone yet but you will be soon, Kamala and Valentine are together in Turkey with a little mystery, Tench Raiko and Juno will all be together.  do a little roll play (Ali I will do another post for you before you have to reply but if you want to talk to your friends mom or sister feel free to post).  

 

If you have any questions please message me. I tried to be as neutral when portraying your characters as I could if you have a problem with what I wrote you can rewrite is and i will replace my version with yours.

 

 

 

 

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Spoiler

Suruç, Turkey near the Syrian border 46 kilometres (29 mi) southwest of the city of Urfa

 

Kamala watched the dirty and dented white Land Rover bounce up the dirt track which passed for a road through the sprawling refugee camp. She had been here almost six months, a refugee herself, but now an integral part of the lifeline of so many. The Land Rover came to a stop in a cloud of dust Kamala saw the Doctors without Borders emblem on the door underneath the dirt. She hoped they had brought some much-needed supplies for her normal patients and that who ever they had sent would be able to get the mystery man to make sense.

 

Valentine looked up at the woman standing outside the tent with the crescent moon on its side. This must be the contact.

 

Valentine had never been to this camp before and should not be here alone now, but everyone else had responded to a bombing in Urfa where there had been multiple deaths and over a hundred and fifty casualties and that number was expected to go up. She had been about to depart for Urfa when the call had come in about a very ill man who had walked into the refugee camp here and the medic who had called for help could not explain the man’s illness. The described symptoms had sounded to Valentine like advanced radiation poisoning. Valentine had not said anything about that to the caller, but she had decided that running here to investigate was possibly very important.

 

*Suruc, Turkey*

 

Kamala's formal training had been comparatively sparse, her expertise won one life, one death, at a time in a country that'd been a warzone for the last ten years of her 24 year life. She'd been blessed to take part in a handful of Red Cross-sponsored trainings, but nothing they or her other mentors had taught her had prepared her for what she'd walked back into after being woken up mere hours after leaving the medical tent after a long night working. Burns but not from fire. Sickness and bleeding but nothing she knew. If it had been one of the Regime's chemical weapons from years ago, it wouldn't been one man walking into the camp sick. And he was foreign, which boded ill in her mind given the fanatics, but he came to the camp seeking help. So she'd tried to give it. And she couldn't, stumped as a healthy man got sicker and sicker...

 

So she had dug out the contact numbers. And, blessedly, one of the Doctors Without Borders had responded 'yes'. If she could save this man and spin it into more supplies to help others...

 

Kamala was struck by the strangest sensation as the driver of the Land Rover got out, a woman. For few heartbeats, the soft murmur of the camp fell away into silence and the smell of dust after rain wafted through her nostrils. She blinked, the feeling retreating, jolting back to focus. The Syrian midwife smiled,  stepping forward with a head nod of greeting. "Thank you so much for coming. My name is Kamala Jamil," she opened in her lightly-accented English, "I uncertain anyone would come, Doctor..?"

 

"Valentine Adama," the other woman offered.

 

"If you'll follow me..," Kamala returned, parting the flap of the tent to show the comparatively dark and cool interior, giving the usual scattering of hangers around a considering look before heading inside. The patient, one of a dozen, was off by himself in a corner of the tent, restlessly lying on his cot and burning up with a 100 degree fever, bandaged and hooked up to one of the prized IV drips. He kept faintly muttering a word over and over through bleeding lips amid gibberish, 'En’ganockt', sparking looks of relieved gratitude towards Valentine from the other refugee medics focusing on far-less-distressing patients.

 

"He's not responding to anything we have," Kamala offered into the relative silence, leaving unspoken the fact what they did have was too little for normal needs, let alone a healthy 40-year old man spontaneously dying from mysterious causes.   

 

 

 

 

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Beverly HIlls

 

Raiko sinks down onto the chair by the coffee table, envelope and tickets still clenched in one white knuckled grip. She's staring at the three inoffensive pieces of card in hand, but her gaze seems a million miles away and she's breathing hard, as if she's after come off a marathon, heart beating a frenzied tempo in her chest. Almost detachedly, she wishes she had a drink to hand.

 

She's almost startled when Tenchi sits down across from her, radiating concern. She hadn't forgotten he was there, exactly. The Twins are rarely unaware of each other when in the same room. IN the same way one was aware of their own limbs and their locations, they had an almost sixth sense for the others proximity. This being said, she felt that she could be excused for almost forgetting his presence.  He knows her, though, and knows that however long it takes her to work through her own thoughts, she will eventually explain, so he waits quietly, patiently, with an expression of concern.

 

She looks down at the tickets once more, taking a deep breath and slowly forcing her hand to open from the death grip she had them clenched in. Taking a long breath in and letting it stream out once more to centre herself.

 

"20 years." she starts in Japanese, the language causing her brother to perk up. While they spoke it, English and several others besides fluently, they tended to default to English in deference to their mother.

 

"He was there, Tenchi. 20 years ago. He was the  one." there's only one event that could engender that sort of response, in that sort of timeframe, so she doesn't need to elaborate. She lets out a small strained laugh. The man had had presence, even back then, and she had known him almost instinctively, his name basically leaping to her tongue without her brain needing to process it. Good to know that even 20 years later he could make her feel like a scared, stupid little girl with just a few words.

 

 

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Denver, Colorado

 

"I thought Jim didn't like to ski." Ali said lamely. The bizarre dream from the plane ride flickered through his memory. Great, what were the odds of that? But a very expensive full arrangement like this had to be planned, right? "I guess he changed his mind about that, then." Ali rubbed his forehead. "Could he afford a holiday splurge like this?"

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Denver...

 

"No he didn't like skiing. He didn't like a lot of things about living here in Denver," Lorain said looking at the reservations. "It was probably that girl." Ali caught a hint of dislike in his friends moms voice. "But if that's the case, I don't know why they would have been in an envelope addressed to you dear."

 

So many questions, but now just wasn't the time...

 

The funeral was held the next day it was somber and sad and so out of place. People Jim's age shouldn't be dead, not because of a stroke. Sure it was something that could happen to anyone at any age, Ali knew that, but it shouldn't have happened to his friend. Jim had a lot of friends that attended the service, some of them Ali knew from previous visits, all were at a loss. One, however caught his attention, a woman, young, very pretty, who kept apart. This woman, girl really from her looks, wasn't Jim's usual type. and from the looks he saw Lorain casting her way, Ali believed this was the one Lorain had mentioned the night before.  She left before the service ended and broke up.

 

Soon they were all back at the house, the traditional gathering of friends and family. Ali helped out as much as he could and noticed when the woman slipped into the house. He watched as she mingled a bit spoke to a couple of Jim's male friends, who seemed a bit uncomfortable at talking with her, embarrassed even. Ali watched as the woman slipped away down a hall that led to the addition where Jim's office was located. The girl had not once approached either Lorain or Darlene to offer condolences.

 

Excusing himself, Ali followed the woman discreetly, and was just in time to see her slip into Jim's private office. At the door which the woman had not closed completely Ali peered in, he saw the woman standing at Jim's desk, searching through his computer which she had apparently logged onto. From his vantage point outside Ali couldnt make out what she was looking for but he did see that she was searching for something.

 

Spoiler

The mysterious woman  683full-julia-zabolotnikova.thumb.jpg.d36e05560f06b42f8cc40a2ffd39a77c.jpg

 

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Shock hit Juno, slowing her reactions unforgivably. By the time she'd gotten her pistol out and brought it up, the weirdo in the Kurosawa-suit was already gone. And he had a sword.

 

Fencing wasn't something she'd been trained in, but facing possible attack from an unseen foe... Juno backed up against a stack of shipping containers to prevent herself from getting ganked from behind, then looked around, listening for footsteps. The damn rain though.

 

She called out, "Step out where I can see you!" After a brief pause she added, "Yojimbo! You want to meet my boss? We can do that! I'll drive us back, so we can get out of this goddamn rain!"

 

No response. Shit.

 

Juno did not want to radio in to report that a fucking samurai had appeared on the dock, then disappeared. How sure was she? Lightning played tricks on the senses. The deep dark, suddenly illuminated for a split second...it messed with your eyes. She had no idea what the 'yojimbo' thing was, but maybe something out of a movie? She hated questioning herself, but better do it now than have her supervisor do it later.

 

She cautiously moved forward again, trying to watch every direction. When she got to the spot she'd seen the apparition appear Juno hunkered down and peered at the ground...but it was rain-slicked concrete. Even if a guy HAD been standing there, it wouldn't leave a trace.

 

Finish the job.

 

Juno looked out at the little fishing boat that had put in. If she was going to radio in, it wouldn't be empty-handed.

 

Her gun went back in the holster, but she left the strap undone in case she needed it again in a hurry. Out came the heavy duty flashlight, and she played the beam over the boat, trying to see if there was any sign of people on board.

 

Ideally, someone who didn't follow bushido and vanish into the night.

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Blackwind Technologies Dock and Receiving Yard, Port of Los Angeles, California 11:57 PM

 

The boat rocked in the choppy waters of the harbor, banging against the concrete dock. Juno wasn't a sailor but she could tell that the vessel had been hastily tied up and not with great care. If the water got and rougher the boat might break free.

 

She played her light over the boat cover the deck and the pilot house, then still on the dock she walked toward the rear of the boat her light cutting through the gloom to reveal and empty untidy deck. There were no lights coming from the boat at all not from the pilot house and not from any of the portholes. And she couldn't hear any motors. Surely if anyone were onboard they would be running and engine or generator for electricity. This was getting weirder by the second.

 

Juno started back toward the front with her light on the boat but she did switch to up and down the dock just in case samurai bob returned. She didn't see anything until she came close to the Pilot House, while moving forward toward the bow she had also gotten closer to the boat and something caught her eye as she played the light across the front glass.

 

Something was on the glass. Rather on the inside of the glass It looked like a dark line that curved across the pane. Like a spray of paint or blood...

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Spoiler

*Suruc, Turkey*

 

Kamala's formal training had been comparatively sparse, her expertise won one life, one death, at a time in a country that'd been a warzone for the last ten years of her 24 year life. She'd been blessed to take part in a handful of Red Cross-sponsored trainings, but nothing they or her other mentors had taught her had prepared her for what she'd walked back into after being woken up mere hours after leaving the medical tent after a long night working. Burns but not from fire. Sickness and bleeding but nothing she knew. If it had been one of the Regime's chemical weapons from years ago, it wouldn't been one man walking into the camp sick. And he was foreign, which boded ill in her mind given the fanatics, but he came to the camp seeking help. So she'd tried to give it. And she couldn't, stumped as a healthy man got sicker and sicker...

 

So she had dug out the contact numbers. And, blessedly, one of the Doctors Without Borders had responded 'yes'. If she could save this man and spin it into more supplies to help others...

 

Kamala was struck by the strangest sensation as the driver of the Land Rover got out, a woman. For few heartbeats, the soft murmur of the camp fell away into silence and the smell of dust after rain wafted through her nostrils. She blinked, the feeling retreating, jolting back to focus. The Syrian midwife smiled,  stepping forward with a head nod of greeting. "Thank you so much for coming. My name is Kamala Jamil," she opened in her lightly-accented English, "I uncertain anyone would come, Doctor..?"

 

"Valentine Adama," the other woman offered.

 

"If you'll follow me..," Kamala returned, parting the flap of the tent to show the comparatively dark and cool interior, giving the usual scattering of hangers around a considering look before heading inside. The patient, one of a dozen, was off by himself in a corner of the tent, restlessly lying on his cot and burning up with a 100 degree fever, bandaged and hooked up to one of the prized IV drips. He kept faintly muttering a word over and over through bleeding lips amid gibberish, 'En’ganockt', sparking looks of relieved gratitude towards Valentine from the other refugee medics focusing on far-less-distressing patients.

 

"He's not responding to anything we have," Kamala offered into the relative silence, leaving unspoken the fact what they did have was too little for normal needs, let alone a healthy 40-year old man spontaneously dying from mysterious causes.   

 

Valentine nodded; the shortages of the refugee camps were a fact of life out here. She knelt down next to the man and pulled on a pair of gloves. "Hello, my name is Dr. Valentine Adama," she said in overly clear English, then repeated herself in similarly slow, clear Arabic. "I'm going to look you over and see what we can do to help you, okay?" The man answered back in some other language or maybe just complete gibberish, Val couldn't figure out which and since she didn't know the language if it was one, it didn't much matter. 

She did as much as she could without touching him, not out of fear but respect - for many in this part of the world a female doctor tending to a male patient would be scandalous at best and more likely simply not allowed. The chart for the mystery man said that his temperature was 100 degrees exactly, never varied by even a tenth of a degree. His burns were on his hands, lower forearms, feet, and lower calves - no where else. She frowned as she tried to put together what could make that burn pattern. She inspected his bleeding nose and pantomimed grimacing for her so she could see his gums - also bleeding. 

Her movements were efficient, doing what was necessary, but there was a soothing feeling to them. Her touch was always as gentle as could be allowed and her expression as she worked peppered with warm smiles and a clear acknowledgement of the humanity of the man in front of her instead of the clinical "problem to be solved" some doctor's ended up with after years of practice. 

"Has he been drinking or eating?" she asked Kamala. "The chart says no urine or feces samples." 

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Blood. Guy with sword.

 

She quickly shone the flashlight around her again, listening and squinting into the storm. The man her brain had labeled 'Samurai Bob' refused to appear. If she'd really seen him, he'd probably escaped the scene of the crime by now. Juno tried rerunning the memory though, to fix that flash in her head so she could give the police a halfway decent description. He'd told her to tell her bosses his name, 'Yojimbo.' What kind of crazy...

 

"Hey!" she called out. "Is anyone on the boat?! Do you need help??"

 

The only answer was the insistent patter of rain, and the surge and swell of the surf on the hull.

 

Juno fished her radio up into her hand and clicked it. As much as she wanted to see what had happened in the boat, her duty was crystal clear. It was a crime scene, and she'd be contaminating it if she went aboard. There was no sign that someone was alive, though she couldn't rule out the possibility entirely. This needed to get called in.

 

"Gary, Juno here." She waited for him to acknowledge, then said, "I'm at the boat. There's no movement, no power and no one answering me when I shouted over there. There's some stuff on the windshield that looks like blood though." Juno hesitated, then added, "It's hard to tell with the storm, but I might have seen someone on the docks near it too. Just a flash though, and I haven't seen anyone since."

 

In her time working here, this was the first time that she'd had anything like this happen. She knew the employee manual, but also knew that actual practice usually was a bit different than what was printed.

 

"You want to get the police out here?"

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Denver

 

At this point, Ali was at one curious, and perhaps a tad suspicious. The red head, linked to his old friend, yet someone everyone treated like a batch of particularly old Limburger cheese. Loraine thought she was the reason for the ski tickets. It struck him that Loraine’s attitude towards her reminded him of the same disdainful attitude his own mother had struck towards the one boy Leyla had brought home – even though Morgan hadn’t seemed too bad to Ali.

 

Unsurprisingly, his sister had never introduced any prospective boyfriends to the family after that night.

 

Ali reached out and knocked on the door lightly thrice. The girl turned rapidly, trying to cover up the computer screen with her body. And of course, looking guilty as sin while doing so. Ali opened the door up a little more, smiling politely as if he’d not espied her secretive computer activities.

 

“Hi. Don’t mean to disturb you. I saw you at the funeral, and I don’t think we were introduced. Ali Badren. Jim was a really old friend.” He added sadly.

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Tenchi's first reaction was of course to move to protect his sister.  He had always done so when they were together, it was instinctive, even after their long separation, something he saw as his duty as her brother, something he was happy to be able to do.   Raiko's reaction saw him immediately call upon reflexes and reactions that had thankfully not been as needed since he came home.
 

After their guest left, Tenchi looked to Raiko, who was still clutching the Envelope.  She was lost in thought, and as he had a number of times before, He moved to fully stocked bar and fixed Raiko her favorite drink, and a double of whiskey for himself.  When she spoke in Japanese,  so shaken, he nodded, even though he was in the other room.  He brought the drink over to her, set it down before her, and smiled.  "As you like it, Raiko, now drink.   It will help."   He sat in the chair just to the left of her, and gave her left shoulder a reassuring squeeze.
 

Neither of the twins were alcoholics, but both drank socially.   "It's too late tonight to do anything, so I think we should call in to the office in the morning. I'd say rest up, but I can't imagine either of us sleeping after that.   We can make sure there's no crises that require us to act immediately, then  We can let them know we're taking a small vacation.  It is that time of year, and we have gone skiing often enough.   Of course, we can't just leave yet, since we're clearly meant to bring whoever this third person is along with us.   That strikes me as implying they'll find us somehow, and we'll know them by some particular detail only we'd know."   
 

He rubbed her shoulder reassuringly.   "We'll face whatever this is together, like old times, and everything else going forward."   Tenchi was still in serious mode, but at the same time, the concern for his sister bled through.  He remembered the incident, and for some time after, he'd been the only one she'd really have anything to do with.  It took time for her to open back up, and in a bolt of lightning, she'd been reminded of it so dramatically.   He could see her still shaking.  She'd be mortified if anyone else saw her like this.
 

"We'll go, see what this is about, and move forward, Together." There was a conviction in his voice, a strength, that had only come from experience leading others in combat.  He had wanted to put his days as a Soldier, a warrior behind him, but he'd never fail to fight at his sister's side, never again.
 

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Raiko lets out a long breath, reaching for the Whiskey Sour set in front of her. Picking it up, she frowns at the minute tremble, forcibly suppressing it with another long breath. She takes her first sip, and nodding as her brother speaks. He was right of course. It was approaching the witching hour already, and there was little they would be able to do till after the sun rose, at least. Much as it rankled. She lets out a sardonic chuckle at his comment.

 

"No, I think sleep will be some time in coming. Best just get dressed and find something to do. Packing, at least, while we wait for our companion to make themselves known."

 

She was glad that there was little doubt in her brothers mind that they would be following this particular trail. Like as not, Yojimbo had saved her all those years ago and a debt was owed for it. Her honor would demand nothing less than her best attempt to fulfill the request.

 

"Yes. Together, as always."

 

Having a somewhat concrete plan was helping, now they had a rough idea of how they were going to proceed, the last of the quake leaving her frame as her mind started turning over various ideas.

 

"I'm sure we can find some business in the area. There's a couple of startups I've been keeping my eye on in the area that could be beneficial to our portfolio. I will have to do some reading later. In the meantime, I will probably use the Gym, if you'd care to join me for a Spar?" She finally seems to remember what she's wearing, blinking down at the almost sheer fabric. "After I dress in something a little more appropriate." There was no embarrassment in the tone, as there would be with anyone else, just observation.

 

 

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Denver

 

Stacy knew she was going to get caught, she had had everything planned, what to say, how to talk her way out, but that had assumed that it was Jim’s mother or sister that caught her. This she hadn’t planned on.

 

“Um…  I’m Stacy, a more recent friend I guess.”  She glanced around focused on the window.  Ali thought that she looked like she was about to scramble that way and throw herself through the window in a bid to escape. For and instant, that is precisely what she had considered doing. Instead, she looked back at him and her eyes softened in sympathy.

 

“Ali? You’re the best friend from back east, Jim talked about you.” She half turns to let Ali see the computer. “I know this looks bad, but really I’m trying to protect Jim, his memory anyway. I think there’s some….compromising images on this computer and I need to find them and delete them, but some of these folders have additional password protection, and I don’t know those passwords. Probably on his phone too if you know where that is?”

 

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Tenchi smiled back at her.   "Yes, if anyone saw us like this they'd probably get the wrong idea." He himself was clad only in boxers and a black tanktop, and  chuckled softly. "Meet you down in the gym in ten?"
 

Raiko nodded, and the two went to their rooms to change into more appropriate attire.  In the gym they went through a warmup and stretch routine that they'd learned long ago, designed for them by Instructor Masaki.   After that,  each selected one of the many practice weapons available, and had a seemingly endless succession of sparring matches.  They kept score, tallying their own points.  Raiko was good, she had some impressive skill and control,  but Tenchi was on another level still.   It was almost like she was fighting their former instructor, Katsuhito Masaki.  She did score several points, coming close,  but never enough to win a match.   Most brothers would have let her win at least once, but not Tenchi.  He'd done so when they were younger, but she'd gotten so mad at him, he promised he'd never "let her win" again.

 

"You're getting even better Raiko.   You couldn't have gotten that last point years ago."  He said as he breathed to center himself.   He could of course still keep going,  but the point was to work off energy, not wear each other out completely.   They didn't follow strict Kendo rules, or really any, which let them incorporate a multitude of moves.

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Blackwind Technologies Dock and Receiving Yard, Port of Los Angeles, California 12:05 AM

 

Gary was quiet for a moment “hmm, Juno, go back to your car and wait. I’m coming down there before we make a fuss. Give me ten minutes.”

 

Gary must have sped through every stop sign because he was there in six. Juno showed Gary everything she had seen, and  it was obvious he was reluctant to call the cops. After repeating Juno’s call out to the boat himself, he turned to Juno, “I don’t want to call the cops unless we have too, it’s probably foreign flagged, call the cops and we’ll have Coast Guard, Homeland Security and who knows who else gumming up the works around here. Let’s make sure we need to, I’m going aboard.” Gary jumped onto the boat.

 

After only a second Juno followed. In the Pilothouse they discovered that it was blood on the window and there was more on the floor. They should have called the cops then, but Gary was too curious now and it seemed the boat was uninhabited, and it was. By  the living.

 

The was more blood and they found bullet holes as well, but it wasn’t until the opened a crew access to the hold that they found the crew.

 

Juno had seen some terrible things during her tours in the middle east, but this was … this was a scene from hell. There were nine bodies hacked apart mostly piled all together on top of what they would later find out was almost thirty tons of raw opium. Near the bodies was a stack of firearms all broken some looked as if they had been sliced in half.

 

They fled the boat, and after Gary vomited over the side of the boat for about five minutes he told Juno he was going to call the cops, only he didn’t, he called the his boss.

 

Beverly Hills. Thirty minutes later

 

The twins sparred and worked up a sweat, it was good for Raiko it helped clear her mind of unfortunate memories. But they had barely been at it for more than ten minutes when Tenchi’s phone blasted out his ringtone at full volume, something it would only do if the call was from two or three sources and that meant it was an emergency.

 

Tenchi handed his weapon to Raiko and went to the bench to retrieve his phone he looked at the caller Id. Matt Sorrum, BLackwind’s Chief of Security. “Hello, Matt.”

“Sorry to disturb you so late Mr Shirahara, but we have a situation at the receiving pier.  Mr Akerson is in Washington and his phone is going to voice mail, and this is bad.”

 

“What is it Matt?”

 

“Mr. Shirahara, we got a boat full of dead men, guns, and drugs down here.”

 

Blackwind Technologies Dock and Receiving Yard, Port of Los Angeles, California   01:22 AM

 

The helicopter set down across from a what looked like a small fishing trawler and before the rotors even started to slow Tenchi ans Raiko were out of the bird and sprinting across the lot to where several company security cars were parked. The storm hadn’t let up one bit.

 

Sorrum met them and immediately filled them in as they went up to the vessel. “Juno Reyes one of our Night Security discovered the boat tied up that wasn’t supposed Gary Thain, the supervisor,” He pointed out the two security cops standing away from the boat, “came out and they went aboard and made the discovery. He called me immediately.”  It’s pretty gruesome down there,” Sorrum glanced at Raiko,  “Miss Shirahara, you might want to wait up here.”

 

 

 

 

 

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A brief tightening of her jaw, quickly smoothed back into tranquility is the only sign of Raiko's displeasure at being told what to do, even couched as it is in a suggestion. Still, she offers a sharp nod to the man, reminding herself that it comes from a place of concern. Asides. The boat could be dealt with in time. Best to get the information from the horses mouth so to speak. They could proceed from there.

 

In a moment of synchronicity, the twins, without breaking stride, turn to the two security guards, leaving Sorrum almost scrambling to follow.

 

Approaching the two security guards, she takes a moment to take them in, nodding in appreciation at their apparent sharpness, coming to a stop in front of them, she offers them both slight incline of the head in greeting.

 

"Mr. Thain, Ms. Reyes. If you would walk us through what happened tonight, we would appreciate it." her eyes lock on to Juno. "You were the one to find the boat in the first place, were you not?"

 

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Juno found herself wondering if the two high-ups did the 'twin thing' on purpose, or if it was just something they did without thinking. And then she wondered which would be creepier if it was true. In the meantime she had to consciously restrain herself from saluting. It was such an ingrained habit of responding to authority.

 

"I was," she replied. "I spotted the boat while on patrol at about eleven-thirty last night. I called in to verify there wasn't a legitimate scheduling that I wasn't aware of, then got out of my car to investigate. As I got closer, I got a glimpse of a man on the docks nearby in a lightning flash."

 

She paused at this and worked her jaw a little. Even having seen the kind of...butchery that had happened on the boat, with the dismembering seemingly done by a sharp edge, it was hard to report this part without feeling like an idiot.

 

"The man looked like he was wearing a costume," she went on. "Period samurai type costume. Bearing in mind it was dark, and the light only lasted for a second...I can't swear that I'm not wrong." Juno took a deep breath. "Anyway, when I got closer, there was no sign of him. I called out, but no response. So I went on to check the boat out. There I saw blood spatters on the windshield, and the boat was unpowered and no one answered calls. I called in again, and Gary came down to confirm."

 

Juno nodded and looked off at the ship.

 

"Someone hacked the crew up into pieces, piled the pieces up. There's a big bag of drugs on board too. I don't think they meant to offload here; no one was waiting for them. Probably whoever attacked the crew brought the boat here themselves, debarked and escaped."

 

Here she stopped, giving room for more questions. God knew she had enough of her own for three people.

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On 2/28/2021 at 2:34 PM, Valentine Elena Adamo said:

Valentine nodded; the shortages of the refugee camps were a fact of life out here. She knelt down next to the man and pulled on a pair of gloves. "Hello, my name is Dr. Valentine Adama," she said in overly clear English, then repeated herself in similarly slow, clear Arabic. "I'm going to look you over and see what we can do to help you, okay?" The man answered back in some other language or maybe just complete gibberish, Val couldn't figure out which and since she didn't know the language if it was one, it didn't much matter. 

She did as much as she could without touching him, not out of fear but respect - for many in this part of the world a female doctor tending to a male patient would be scandalous at best and more likely simply not allowed. The chart for the mystery man said that his temperature was 100 degrees exactly, never varied by even a tenth of a degree. His burns were on his hands, lower forearms, feet, and lower calves - no where else. She frowned as she tried to put together what could make that burn pattern. She inspected his bleeding nose and pantomimed grimacing for her so she could see his gums - also bleeding. 

Her movements were efficient, doing what was necessary, but there was a soothing feeling to them. Her touch was always as gentle as could be allowed and her expression as she worked peppered with warm smiles and a clear acknowledgement of the humanity of the man in front of her instead of the clinical "problem to be solved" some doctor's ended up with after years of practice. 

"Has he been drinking or eating?" she asked Kamala. "The chart says no urine or feces samples." 

 

*Suruc, Turkey*

 

"Nothing since he walked out of the desert from the north-west. If not for the IV, he may not have lasted long enough for you to get here," the Syrian refugee confirmed with a frown of deep concern. First thing she had tried when she had gotten a grasp on the situation in her sleep-deprived state was getting Rasheed, the camp's second most qualified (and more importantly male) medic, to try and get him to suck on a damp cloth to get any moisture into him, a trick that worked on even the most delicate or weakest of her patients. No joy, just more muttering and gibberish and that word over and over. It made the hair on her neck under her headscarf stand up. This was a man with something important to say, and not a lot of time to say it if his condition had it's way. Not today.

 

A thought struck Kamala, a feeling brewing since the Doctor had agreed to come despite the disaster that had had their Turkish guards so on edge all morning, "You had an idea about what this could be when we were talking over the phone, didn't you, Doctor? Something unusual even for here." 

 

 

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Tenchi's eyes narrowed at her desicription of what she saw, and he looked askance at Raiko.   "Did the man say anything?"  he asked, his steel-grey eyes uncommonly intense, and  it actually seemed like he believed her.
 

"Did you touch anything in the boat?"  The cops were going to be all over this, and he knew that the press would get wind of it somehow. Still, that didn't matter, 
 

Tenchi looked at Raiko, then back to the Security guards.   This was uncanny, to say the least, but they needed some sort of confirmation.   
 

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Juno visibly grimaced slightly; the first major emotion she'd expressed since she'd started speaking.

 

"I thought he said something," she admitted, "...it's more than a little weird, but with the rain and wind and thunder, it could have been just about anything." Disclaimer issued, Juno went on, "But it sounded like he told me to tell my bosses that his name was 'Yojimbo.'"

 

She very assiduously did not look at Matt, keeping her eyes resting on Tenchi's.

 

"And, for what it's worth, the victims in the boat were cut up, not hacked like with an axe. Even their guns were cut up. Straight, clean slashes. A really sharp knife...or a sword."

 

What was really weird for Juno though was that telling Tenchi this did not make her feel foolish, as she'd been sure it would. It almost felt more like a burden being set down. A tension she hadn't even been aware of in her shoulders eased.

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Raiko was letting the report wash over her, nodding as Juno shared the events of the evening. At the mention of the Samurai, she goes utterly still. The odds of two Samurai garbed individuals showing up in a single night were so vanishingly slim as to be absurd, and they were apparently awaiting a companion of their own. Her eyes flick over, meeting Tenchi's own glance, offering no visible sign of her thoughts, though the glance spoke mountains. Confirm then act.

 

Reassessing the woman in front of her through half lidded eyes, there is something sharply attentive in the gaze now. There is a weight to the gaze now that hadn't been there before. Now, there was interest.

 

As the Woman in front of her confirms her hopes(fears?). She lets out a long breath through her nose, eyes flicking once more over to her brother briefly and returning.

 

"I see." Without taking her eyes off Juno, she continniues. "Mr Sorrum. If you would be so kind as to call the Commissioner and let him know that Raiko is in need of his assistance, and to bring his people along. Brief them on the situation." her attention turns to Gary for the first time. "Mr. Thain, if you could please await them at the entrance and bring them to us when they arrive. From this point on, everything is done by protocol." before returning to Juno as the others hop to it and they have a moment of Privacy under the pouring rain.

 

"You are sure he called himself 'Yojimbo'?"

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Juno wasn't 'old' by any stretch, but she'd seen enough to know when something was up. Her eyes flicked from Raiko to Tenchi, following her gaze, then back. These two were walls. She couldn't get a good read, but they clearly knew something about that name. Triads? No no, what was the Japanese one? Yakuza? Something like that.

 

"Like I said, it was storming pretty hard, so I wouldn't swear on oath that I heard exactly that," she said, "but...yeah, I'm pretty sure. Yojimbo isn't the kind of word I'd just accidentally make up out random sounds."

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"No, it certainly isn't."   Tenchi said, his voice abit harder than before.   The others had left to do as Raiko asked, giving them some privacy.  "Thank you for exercising good judgement."

Tenchi nodded.  "You're former military, aren't you?  I Saw you almost salute when you were introduced.  It's a hard habit to break once you get used to it."

"You said they were sliced, with a sword, would you say the one who did it was an expert?   Someone who cut through metal and flesh is certainly strong, but were the cuts clean or ragged that you saw?"   

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Juno shook her head. "Couldn't say for sure. We didn't stick around to do a detailed examination or anything, what with it being a crime scene and all." She let that hang for a second, just to accentuate the point that the police hadn't been called yet, then continued. "The...stumps looked pretty clean to me, but it's not like I've seen a lot of this kind of thing before. Still, whoever did this took out a boatload of armed drug runners with a sword and a set of medieval armor.  At least, if it was the same guy I saw."

 

She shrugged at that. "Sounds like an expert to me."

 

Gambling that there was some tit for this tat, she then said, "And yeah, US Army. Hey, do you know who this guy is? Is this some kind of...revenge thing where he wants you to know he's after you or something?"

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Raiko sighed. "We will need to have words with Mr Sorrum and Mr Thain. Their resolve to protect the company is admirable, but the police should have been called sooner." she hated those conversations. Someone who is actively trying to help rarely appreciates being told they have made things worse. The papers would have a field day that it took so long for the police to be called. But that was something to deal with later.

 

She nods to Juno's description, letting out a brief laugh at her final comment. "Nothing so dramatic, no. If anything the opposite. I daresay the investigation will turn up some interesting leads on our interlopers. As for Yojimbo himself," she pauses, hesitating. She would need to know of him if she were to be their companion as the Samurai wished, but she remained uncomfortable with the idea of sharing the exact details. "we will have to wait for a more comfortable setting." Not to mention private.

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