asi_icon.gif zelda_icon.gif

Scene Title 準備
Synopsis A chance coffee encounter leads to another hand helping with the Matsuri planning!
Date October 3, 2018

Yamagato Building

An employee lounge

The dedication to blend nature into the very architecture of the building catches Asi by surprise again as she steps into the previously unfamiliar employee lounge near her dedicated office space. An entire wall is glass, providing an atrium view. In contrast, state of the art brewing machines blink at her from the bright countertop, surrounded by other kitchenette appliances. She admires the different options available with an absent expression while unscrewing the lid to a used container of Nescafe, tapping out a suitable amount in a glass mug, and opting for only hot water from the impressive machine. Instant coffee with a dash of orange zest had been an excellent tool in combating jet lag … she saw no reason to shirk the habit now that she was getting better adjusted.

Once the mixture is suitably blended, Asi turns her back on the atrium. Ankles cross as she leans against the counter, mulling over her plans for the rest of the morning.

Most of the time, Wilhelmina Falkenrath sticks to tea, for which she has an entire setup in her office. It’s fancy, and it offers a pleasant conversation starter whenever she has visitors. The caffeine is much more manageable and doesn’t leave her as jittery and on edge as coffee tends to do.

However, this isn’t really a most of the time kind of day. With both the investigation into the power outages, and the planning of the Matsuri on top of it, the walking lie detector has been stretched rather thin, and her sleep has suffered for it.

This is probably why the woman, dressed sharply in a dark purple business power suit, makes her way into the lounge, her matching heels clicking against the tile floor. Her hair is pulled into a neat but slightly tousled bun, and while she looks ever the consummate professional, the fatigue is showing in the corners of her eyes.

She makes a beeline for one of the brewing machines, punching a few entries in, before turning to lean against the counter that the machine rests atop, letting out a tired sigh; Asi is offered a small nod of acknowledgment, but it seems readily apparent that Zelda definitely needs the coffee that the state-of-the-art machine is currently concocting for her.

"おはよう," Asi greets the woman on a mission over the top of her mug. Her head politely dips forward out of habit, even if the gesture might be lost on the foreigner. She takes a moment to enjoy another sip of her homebrew before deciding to nudge the sealed jar of zest closer to the coffee machine in offering. The woman might benefit from it just as much as she had.

There's a certain fascination subtly conveyed by her mannerisms, though if it's at her being in general or just her bold sense of fashion, it's left unsaid. Asi's made no attempt at business-level wear herself today, anticipating travel. Her studded leather jacket is worn open, revealing a red scoop-neck blouse worn with a beaded chain necklace. Dark gray slacks are offset by black combat boots. There wasn't room, exactly, for bringing a wide variety of shoes with her.

"You seem as though you're having your second, if not your third Monday this week." Asi remarks, her English fluid and decidedly un-American in its inflection. "Rough deadline?"

The initial greeting in Japanese brings a small amount of tension to the woman’s shoulders, as for a moment she worries that this is another coworker with a language barrier. However, the orange zest, followed by the remark on her general demeanor, sees that tension dissolve once again. The woman ponders the zest for a moment, before deciding to add a small sprinkle to her now-completed cup of coffee.

“That…is probably the understatement of the year, there,” she replies in her East-of-London accent, smiling faintly as she inhales the steam from her coffee cup. “I never thought to add orange zest to coffee, and now I find myself wondering why.” Zelda offers an appreciative smile to the other woman.

“You could say that, yes,” the woman replies, chuckling. “Between investigating the power outages and planning a Matsuri based on reading and videos over the course of less than a month…” She laughs. “I just had to yell at a troupe of Noh performers who took issue with the date of the performance.”

There's no returned smile, but she does lift her mug in a sign of camaraderie. "It's likely a difficult habit to keep up out here. I've been informed the city is under rationing." There's an edge of disappointment to the delivery of the fact. Reconciling her image of what New York ought to be with the reality of the Safe Zone would be a daily adjustment. "I'll enjoy it while it lasts."

She pauses just before taking another sip, the word 'matsuri' standing out. Its deliberate use quickly becomes clear, and Asi lowers her mug entirely, fixed on Zelda's figure now with rapt attention. The silence is just long enough to be slightly uncomfortable.

"Fire the Noh troupe. Hire kabuki performers instead." The advice is delivered deadpan, no trace of humor. Her shoulder posture widens as she adds, "Kabuki is more entertaining to watch. Noh is cultured. If you're planning a 'matsuri'," there's a brief pause as she re-reflects on the likely intended audience of the air-quoted event, "You'll want kabuki."

“Yamagato seems to do well in keeping its employees well stocked,” is Zelda’s reply, lifting the coffee cup to her nose and inhaling, before taking a long, much-deserved sip. “It’s part of the reason I’ve been put in charge of this, I believe — to make the residents of the Safe Zone a bit less offended by the fact that we are so well off in our little bubble down here.”

The advice is met with raised brows. Then, without another word, the woman pulls out her company-issued phone, tapping the screen in rapid succession — a text message or email, probably, sent out to whoever is acting as her liason to the majority of the Matsuri.

“Thank you,” she replies, after quickly sending off whatever message it is she was composing. “I’m Zelda, by the way.” She offers a small smile to the other woman. “Kam kindly put me in charge of organizing a week-long festival for a culture I know very little about, so any advice is appreciated.”

Zelda. A unique name. Asi looks off past the woman's shoulder as she tries to recall someone with that name on the roster of Yamagato employees she'd recently reviewed. No first names came to mind. Nickname? It wouldn't have been documented on that form. Unfortunate. She'd love to know exactly who this Zelda was that she'd have been given such a stretch assignment.

There's a brief tug of a smirk that vanishes away into a deep drink of her coffee as she makes a note to investigate later. Her expression is reined in, returning to polite nonchalance quickly once the coffee is mostly drained. "I'm sure you have it well in hand." she assures, sounding too confident.

If she doesn't already, she soon will. Asi's attempt to 'leave it at that' and return to her desk is an immediate failure, as she doesn't remove herself from the countertop, fingers still wrapped around the mostly-drained mug. The coffee wasn't entirely gone yet.

There's a feigned disinterest as she continues looking just slightly off of where Zelda is standing, ring finger tapping along the glass she holds. "Because of course, you already have plans for street vendors. Not just to share the culture, but to share the abundance. But there will be culture through food — takoyaki, okonomiyaki, taiyaki — deep fried, delicious and partnered with other barbecue more recognizable to American taste." Her gaze shifts just slightly to the left, eyes on Zelda's directly now. "But if I could make just one suggestion, it would be to include fried ice. It's too late in the year for kakigori."

There's only the slightest pause, taken to keep herself from speaking too quickly. In case Zelda wants to take notes on anything that would be missing. "You've already made some plans for entertainment. If you'll be bringing out any taiko, since foreigners seem to enjoy those, I know you'll ensure there are drums for children and others who would want to try. The lights and other street decoration will create an inviting atmosphere. It'll go just fine, Zelda."

Asi turns her cup back up, draining what remains of the coffee and standing up from her leaning position to move to place the mug in the sink. "But have you thought about fireworks?" she asks, her voice more wry than before. Asi has thoughts about fireworks.

The hint of a thoughtful look at her name prompts the woman to fidget a bit. “Sorry, you won’t find that name on my office door — My given name is Wilhelmina Falkenrath.” It’s important for her to be accessible to employees, after all, at least while she’s planning this Matsuri. She takes a long swig of coffee.

As Asi begins to talk more, that company-issued phone is pulled out again, and Zelda jots down a few notes — this is someone who clearly knows what she’s talking about, and the little ex-lawyer is a perfectionist — so this is a perfect conversation to be having, as far as she’s concerned. “I’ve got most of the orders put in — I pulled some street vendors from over in Japan just for this, same with the entertainment and the games.” She smiles.

“There will also be a small parade on the first day, to honor the history of Japan, and of Yamagato Industries.” She got someone to organize that part for accuracy, but she made sure to add that. “As to fireworks, I have some ordered — Kam mentioned a desire to have a fireworks show. I haven’t figured out the exact logistics for it, but there are…a rather large amount of very pretty explosives coming in from overseas.”

She had to pull some strings to lift the fireworks ban, too — it involved calling in several fire and rescue teams, for just in case.

"I'll assist you with this." Asi makes the offer possibly too quickly, too eagerly, and possibly too forcefully, but she's not the sort to overly analyze her own behavior like that. Her earnestness is apparent, and serious. A well-done hanabi is a work of art with the capacity for depth in its brief but brilliant execution.

"If you're already importing resources, add one more to the list - Hirota Oubi. A shinka pyrotechnician from Osaka. It's his off-season. If not him, then someone local. Preferably SLC-E." There's the impression she'll make do either way, and that she's already invested in this, for some reason. She begins to smile.

"I'll need assistance with one other thing I don't think I could easily produce myself. A marching band - local. Brass-heavy, at least two flutes and a clarinet." She's collected the small jar in one hand, the container of coffee tucked under her arm. "And of course, the biggest space possible possible allocated for the viewing. Something that allows the fireworks to clearly be seen from the Safe Zone."

She looks back to Zelda with a broadened smile that still doesn't touch her eyes. How could she let it?

It would get in the way of the planning going on behind them.

"My name is Asi. Tetsuyama Asi. Your aki-matsuri will go splendidly, Zelda."

Knuckles lightly rap on Zelda's bicep as she walks past her, eyes on the path ahead of her. "I'll be in touch." It's not a lie.

The walk back to her office is in silence, another partition of thought running in tandem with the plans for the fireworks show. Wilhelmina Falkenrath. That was a name that she did recall seeing on the roster.

Expatriate of the UK. Liason to the SLC-Expressive Services Agency. SLC-E herself, specializing in something described as 'lie detection'. Hm.

Kam had that walking lie detector awfully bogged down with this public relations festival, and Falkenrath wasn't even American herself. So she was likely doubly tied up with this planning, keeping her occupied and away from potentially …

Not that it was any of Asi's business, of course. She simply found Zelda to be a curious employee to have effectively sidelined as the investigation was kicking off.

A coincidence to concern herself with later. For now, she'd just volunteered herself to help with the event, and she looked forward to contributing to that small win.

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