East Meets West



Scene Title East Meets West
Synopsis Asi begins the trek to New York for an assignment with Yamagato Industries.
Date September 20, 2018

Over the coast of Washington State

どうしたんや?!” The voice on the other end of the line is angry. A great offense has been committed, after all. Formerly laid plans were now in ruins.

"お仕事なんだ。しょうがないよ。命令から何もできないし” Perhaps it hadn't been good to delay having this conversation after all. The receiver is tilted away from to better mute the sigh that comes after.

There's a long pause in which most people might presume the line to have dropped. The woman holding the phone knows better. If she listens hard enough, she can even hear a knife hitting a cutting board, some vegetable currently having disappointment taken out on it. Violently.

ジャ…" Now the sigh comes from the other end of the line, along with a failed attempt by the speaker to lift her tone to something lighter. "いつ帰ってくるの?お父さんのお誕生日に日本にいませんか?"


なんだと?” The polite voice has nearly turned back into a growl again.

Eyes close with a smirk. Stubborn as ever about keeping up appearances, she was. "可能性が低いわ。元日前は。。。"

As the voice trails off, the set of eyes that accompany it flash to look out the window of the jet. A dark brow furrows, finding something outside not to liking.



The line is disconnected without any physical touch, the screen going black. The woman lets the phone fall into her lap before resting her hand on the wall next to her, like the action would help her better listen for the world outside.


Save for the systems hosted in the cockpit, Asi could feel practically nothing as the plane banked amidst the ruins of Seattle to angle for a better landing. There was no distant, passive hum filtering up from the vine-covered buildings that spoke to any active technology she might be able to interface with. She'd heard, of course, that this place was designated a 'Dead Zone', but nothing compared to experiencing it for herself. For someone who had grown used to the unending thrum of Tokyo, this was already a culture shock of its own.

Leaning back in her seat, she shakes her head while slowly folding her arms across her chest. Her legs recross while she takes in in the husk of Seattle, the cabin of the Yamagato jet experiencing a loud shift in ambient noise as the craft prepares to land at the Vashon Island outpost. This site promised to become much in the future, as the seeds of the SEA-TAC Safe Zone took root and grew, but for now the city remained a broken mess with an overall green glow to it from the overgrowth running rampant.

Welcome to SEA-TAC Airport. Employees and contractors remaining on the Island, please report to Customs for processing. Personnel continuing on to the New York Safe Zone, please stand by for further instructions. We anticipate an approximate eight hour layover, barring development of inclement weather which would incur a delay. In the interim, …»"

Asi's up from her seat even before the light indicating it's safe to unbuckle kicks off, opening the overhead compartment to slide out her rolling bag. While the crew rested for the second, shorter leg of the flight, she planned to stretch her legs as well.

Shinjuku, Tokyo

September 3

"Is there a reason you love calling me out to back alley ramen-ya like this?"


A wiry, salaryman-looking 40-something looks up from his bowl, face full of noodles. After slurping the ramen away, he chortles, wiping his face before issuing a short grin to the woman standing at the edge of the ramen stand. His weary being marked with tired lines brightens with that grin, taking ten years off his serious face.

"I like to be predictable, of course." he says, head cocking to one side as he looks back down at his bowl. "Because then, after aaaaall these years, when I do something unpredictable, you'll never see it coming!"

Asi's hands remain firmly in the pockets of her studded leather jacket, leveling a hard stare accompanied by a raised eyebrow at him. Her hair is heavy around her features, coated with rainfall and gleaming in the neon lights of signage posted on nearby buildings.

Her sharp silence drives the other man to glance up for only a moment as he weaves another large bite of noodle up from the broth. Nagano Genki has withered under that stare in the past, and he's in no mood to meet it directly tonight. "Ah, don't look at me like that, devil woman. Who am I kidding, anyway?" He shrugs, his shoulders weighted. "You're sharp. You'd be the first to know something was wrong.

"Anyway, I've come across some additional information about your upcoming assignment I thought you might be interested in."

There's enough interest that she steps in under the tarp, signalling the stall owner for a bowl of her own before she shrugs off her jacket. Genki almost always picked empty ramen stands. Sometimes it meant that they showed custom to a respectable small business owner who was in need of the boost. Business begat business, after all. Sometimes it meant they had really shitty ramen.

"I'm listening."

"Just how much do you know about the States as of recently?"

A probing question. She doesn't immediately suspect this is a business call rather than a friendly heads-up, so her reply comes easily.

"Lately?" Asi takes a moment to think it through, placing an order for some cheap ricewine to warm her up. She looks straight ahead, arms folded on the board of the bar. "Not as much as I could. They tend to frown on hacking into foreign governments for the hell of it these days, you might have heard. I actually do care for the Mugai-Ryu's reputation abroad… believe it or not."

There's an arched brow from the man at her side. Asi, be caught? The side-eye from him says it all. He doesn't buy it.

A short breath from her nose as she feels the look more than sees it. "It's about the risk it incurs."

"The Asi I met all those years ago never would have said something like that." he comments offhandedly, mixing his noodles around in the broth.

"That's what being collared and turned into a government dog does to you, Nagano. No thanks to you, I might add." She sets her shot of sake down after taking it, nose wrinkled at a perceived turn in the conversation, eyes on the empty glass. "Do you actually have any information for me, or did you call me to tell me you'll miss me while I'm abroad?"

He rubs his nose with the side of his hand, eyes down in his bowl. He's tired. It's been a long week. It was about to get even longer. "From what I hear, it's a pretty different way of life over there. Substantially different." he points out.

"Less tech-incorporated, certainly." she agrees, reaching to snap apart a pair of disposable chopsticks and turn her attention to the bowl that's just arrived.

He shakes his head to wipe off the sour expression that's starting to form. "いや— アシ— 聞いてないだろう."

She's not. It's on purpose now. He needs to get to the point. He must sense that, as he sighs and speaks a little more openly.

"I hear it's more free over there, especially for a government dog who chafes at the collar." he says, another net of noodle held above the broth to cool in the night air. "One who might desire for its leash to change hands."

There's a clatter as she drops her utensils down into the bowl, eyes narrowed violently. "Ah, this isn't an exchange of information," she says slowly, bitterly as she realizes it. "This is a goddamned handler briefing." She's stung by the surprise intervention, pushing back from her barstool. She turns around to reach for her coat on the free-standing hook behind the seating, her temper searing.

"Leave now, and I put forward the recommendation you don't go." he says without looking up, voice lazy. He knows how much power he presumes he still holds, so he's in no rush to get the words out. "They'll listen. Our history, and all."

She scoffs, head tilting back as she smiles to the ceiling for the flash of a moment before turning back. Coat still over one arm, she spreads the other out, unafraid to take up the crucial space in the small alley stand. "Are you kidding me right now, Nagano?"

"Just hear me out. That's all I'm asking."

"Then talk." she barks, attempting patience even if her tone didn't reflect it. "I'm listening."

He lets out a resigned sigh, wrist slacking for a moment before he takes a bite of noodle, letting the rest of the clump fall back into the bowl to be dealt with shortly.

"Yamagato negotiating for a Mugai-Ryu member to assist with an arguably extrajudicial investigation was a surprise to everyone. I don't think it was you by chance. I'm sure they've got your dossier — what left of it exists — and they might make a move."

"Nagano, like Yamagato could buy—" Asi's bristling at the insinuation, quick to defend her loyalty, but Genki continues on as if she hadn't spoke at all.

"Just because you're going abroad doesn't mean the politics of home will vanish. For you?" he gestures outwardly with his held chopsticks. He knows it's impolite, but doesn't care. He never has let a little thing like impropriety keep him from talking with his hands. "They'll get worse. You're going to be the sole Mugai-Ryu representative in the US. It's not just about putting on a good performance with Yamagato, helping solve their issue… it becomes diplomatic, Asi. I don't think you fully understand that."

"Two: Just because you're going abroad doesn't mean your leash gets any longer. Don't get too comfortable to that way of life over there." He still is carrying on patronizingly slow, his head shaking as he looks thoughtfully at a fixed point in front of him..

"They let 進化人 pretty much do whatever they want over there. They have their voluntary 'registry' system, but it's not like it gets acted on anymore unless you're a criminal."

Asi's fired up enough she almost doesn't let the comment pass without argument. Almost. The hand under her coat its curled into a fist.

"Remember who you are, Asi. Remember where your loyalties lie. Remember why you have the freedom you do now."

After waiting a sufficient amount of time to make sure he's done with his lecture, she shrugs her studded leather jacket on, flipping her hair out of the collar with a flick of her hand.

Go fuck yourself, Genki.»" she leans forward to spit the English out before turning away, headed out into the rain.

Still not having turned once her way since the initial greeting, Nagano Genki doesn't bother to look back now, savoring a piece of pork from the bowl. "Yeah … Dismissed, I guess." he mumbles into the broth, shoulders dropping from an exhaled, resigned sigh. He finally lifts his free hand to wipe down his face, contemplating what to do with the response he was given.

Yamagato Tower


September 1st

At the heart of Shibuya, the corporate headquarters for Yamagato Industries rises up like a sword from the surrounding cities. The glittering, pale spire of the Yamagato Tower rises higher than nearly all of the surrounding buildings and scrapes just past the looming height of the Tokyo Sky Tree. This height makes the view from the executive level on the 108th floor a dizzying one, where the floor to ceiling windows show a panorama of Tokyo that makes the city look like a mosaic of gray, white, and neon.

“They’re ready for you.”

A young man in a sleek black suit with a pin bearing the Yamagato Industries logo looks up from his terminal at the reception desk, motioning to a pair of frosted glass doors adjacent to the waiting area. The they in question is the board of directors for Yamagato Industries who requested a personal meeting with the Mugai-ryu operative they’ll be receiving state-side. Given all of the tumult of the last year, an extra level of scrutiny was to be expected, but this?

Asi turns from the window at the notification, eyes tearing away from the view. She's never bothered with a trip up the Skytree, so this view at this hour was something she'd paused to absorb instead of waiting seated. She's shirked her leather jacket for a formal blazer that she smooths down with a swipe of her hand. Unlike the other women working this late in the building, she's opted for slacks and pennyloafers instead of a skirt and heels.

She pauses just before the glass door, fingers resting on the handle. Her posture lifts ever so slightly as she raises her head again and opens the door into the boardoom. As soon as she's stepped in, she bows formally at the waist before briskly stepping toward the table. She'd been at a loss for what exactly to say to her hosts, so she sticks with the prepared statements. "Thank you for having me. I appreciate the opportunity to speak with you before beginning this assignment."

The board members seated at the table flicker. One by one their three-dimensional images gutter and disappear like a blown out candle. At a distance they were indistinguishable from the real thing, but up close infrequent scan lines from lasers constantly drawing their image into photoreactive gas gave them a subtle unreality. There was no board to meet here, just a figment.

At the far end of the room, three shallow steps lead up to a glossy black desk set with a single white vase in which rests a clipped branch from a sakura. No blossoms have fallen from the branch. Behind the desk, a tall, pointed window spills with the city’s lights. A lone figure stands there, back to the conference table. “I apologize for the deception,” the woman says softly, turning and regarding Asi with dark eyes. As she moves from behind the desk there’s an audible whirring and clicking sound of something mechanical, and it's clear her right leg is artificial even though it's covered by wide-legged pants and sensible shoes. Her right hand, likewise, is artifice but visible from the wrist down as delicately moving metallic fingers grasping an entirely mundane wooden walking cane sculpted with a dragon’s head.


Kimiko Nakamura is instantly recognizable, even with her injuries. After the bombing at Nakamura Tower her face and that of her late husband’s were across all local and international media. But the woman standing here in front of Asi isn't the wilting violet the media has portrayed her to be. There is a steeliness in her eyes. “Asami,” no Asi here, no surnames. “I need your help.”

Asi's hands, which had gone to clasp behind her back, slowly return to her side as the facade vanishes. It takes a moment for her attention to travel all the way down the empty seats to the CEO's desk and the woman there. She hadn't expected Kimiko to be one of the number present, and seeing her be the only one elicits another stiff bow from the shoulders. A sign of respect, rather than forced politeness. Owed to a woman who's been through tragedy this year.

Her footfalls are muted as she makes her way around the table, visibly pausing as she hears her own name. Not the name known to the rest of the world — the one that was scrubbed from every database in Japan over a decade ago. Interesting. She's been thorough. The pause is brief, the information filed away as she gets close enough to distinguish the woman from the machine, at which point her eyes linger on the distinctively mechanical digits grasping the wooden cane. Now that she's at a respectable distance, her hands clasp behind her back again.

"I doubt it's needed for designing or acquiring you a more realistic-looking prosthesis." Something wouldn't allow her to have let the clearly high-tech, but obvious limb go without a note. She lifts her chin slightly, the gesture soft and indicative to the other woman that while it's an unrelated problem, it's not one she'd be opposed to helping her solve. After all, she'd just called her by name. "What can I do for you, Ms. Nakamura?"

Kimiko smiles away the comment about the prosthesis. “First, a confession. For context.” Kimiko slowly and uncomfortably makes her way down the shallow steps toward the boardroom table, making a gesture in the air with one hand that seems to mean something to the lasers constantly scanning the room, for it causes each seat at the table to fold backwards until it resembles a stool, the. recess down into the floor until only the square seat cushion protrudes an inch off the tile. The table, too, lowers down to a height of six inches off the floor. A projected image of cherry blossom branches in a tall vase appears in a flicker on the table’s surface.

“My registration is falsified,” Kimiko plainly states to a government agent tasked with apprehending registry evasion. “It indicates that my ability, claircognizance, helps me recall information I've forgotten and gain limited access to the thoughts of those around me. It is not that.” Slowly, Kimiko levers herself down onto one of the floor-level cushions and lays her cane across her lap, motioning for Asi to join her at the left corner seat.

“I know things,” Kimiko says flatly. “Potentially, anything. Factual information, as it exists, can be at my disposal at a moment’s notice. Corporate strategies, military secrets, prospective representative’s personal histories…” Her dark eyes square on Asi. “Very little is inaccessible to me. And yet,” Kimiko holds up her mechanical hand, “I need your help.”

Watching the room transform the way it does brings a gleam to Asi's eye. While the government had its share of technological wonders, this certainly fell under the non-essential category. Fingertips resting on the table's edge, she lowers herself down into a sit, not looking at her host as she processes the information that's just been given to her. Technically, she should report the woman. Realistically, she could even arrest her just based on the description she's provided of her power. The unfriendly term Class 4 comes to mind when thinking of that powerful an ability.

But honestly — Asi's just impressed. She finally lets a short breath of surprise escape her along with a sideways glance. All things being on the table as they are, she forgoes sitting formally and opts for comfort, legs crossing. "All powers have their limits." she offers sympathetically. "What technology can forget, the human mind retains. Distance in particular can damn even the most powerful clairvoyant." There's a slight tilt to her head, as she figures that could be the source of Kimiko's problem. "It'd be easy for you to go to New York yourself, if that were the case. But you expect trouble, don't you."

Her eyes settle on the illusion of the flower vase. "What are you anticipating, that you figure I of all people can help you with?" Because it's clear now that she's been requested specifically.

“You said it yourself, my ability has… limitations.” Kimiko’s use of the word power is broader, a play on words to describe both her Expressive ability and her power as a CEO. Here she sits, two limbs and a husband lost, evidence of her own limitations. “I know who perpetrated the bombing on this building and the Fellowship Building in the US, but the truth of the matter is an ugly thing. It isn't for the public, it isn't for the courts of the world or governments to try. Because it's older than all of them.”

Reaching into her blazer, Kimiko retrieves an envelope and lays it down on the table between she and Asi, then slides it slowly forward toward her. “I need your clear eyes, I need your tenacity, and I need your discretion.” As she moves her living hand away from the envelope, Kimiko inhales slowly and folds her hands in her lap. “Most importantly of all, I don't need Asami Tetsuzan.”

Down on the table, the envelope is painted with a calligraphed ink symbol of half a DNA helix.

“I need Asi.”

Yamagato SEA-TAC Landing Strip


September 20th

The connection is shit, but it's satellite, and that's something.

} Just landed.
} Any news while I was wheels-up?

She leans her head back into the wall while she waits, eyes closed. It's the middle of the day, and she'd much rather be sleeping due to the time differential. The terminal is very small, basically just one long hallway with a handful of transparent doors that allow one to walk out directly onto the tarmac. The long glass walls let in plenty of natural sunlight, bright rays streaking down the hall. She rolls her neck to better make herself comfortable, hand still on her phone while it charges.

Several minutes pass that way. Suddenly, her eyes snap open to visually confirm what she already knows. No response.

Strange. Her hand is unmoving as the next ping keys itself out on its own accord.

} What, no new conspiracy theories in the last 14 hours? O:

Silence again.

She adjusts her posture one more time to comfortably doze upright, making sure her hand doesn't leave her phone. It was a long layover — she'd wait until it was time to board again if she had to, as well. Holding out hope for a reply was a bit of a stretch, but stranger things could happen.

Ah. One last thing, first.

From: Tetsuyama Asi
To: Yamagato Industries NYC - Offices of Kam Nisatta
Checking in. Flights are on schedule. Should be in New York by tomorrow morning.

From: Tetsuyama Asi
To: Nagano Genki
A flower far from home is incapable of withering if it never had strong roots to begin with.

The latter she waits until a 'Read' notification appears on her screen, immediately erasing the message before the bleary-eyed operative can snap a screenshot of the late-night barb. The tone of it had been a bit much, but she was still angry with him. He'd been scared of how much she might like living abroad? He'd not seen scared yet. She'd not let him live it down.

From: Tetsuyama Asi
To: Nagano Genki
Should be in New York by tomorrow morning. Sleep well.

From there, she would finally settle in for that nap, if not for a sudden loss of electricity leaving the airport lit only by the 'power' of nature. Unscheduled power outages are unheard of in Tokyo, so she immediately is on her feet, hair on the back of her neck raised as she looks up and down the short terminal hall, quickly assessing where members of a response team might be coming and going from …

Literally no one else even bats an eyelash, though, continuing about their business just the same as if the lights were on. It's something the workers here must have adapted to over time.

Apparently, this is just normal out West.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License