That Nazi


asi_icon.gif huruma_icon.gif

Scene Title That Nazi
Synopsis Asi reaches out to a former associate of "that Nazi" in the hopes of gaining some insight
Date November 2, 2018

Yamagato Park

Like much of the architecture in Yamagato Park, this second-story café achieves a balance between the manmade and natural, inviting sunlight and greenery indoors. Asi sits at a table by the window, her back to the wall and her eyes on the city street below. Each table in the quiet establishment has an arrangement of flowers, a small, thin tree actually growing in a stone plot near the entryway.

Her hands are cupped around a tall, ceramic mug, steaming drink untouched while she waits. Huruma Dunsimi had been one of the number at the Raytech meeting, and one who had offered up personal details about a mostly-mysterious figure named Adam Monroe. Things that could take root into wonderings that spawn invitations.

So, patiently, she waits and hopes for the best.

She's never met the woman whose invitation reaches her at her room at the Benchmark, but a quick search tells her just enough. Huruma hasn't been back into the main buildings of Yamagato since the gala and what followed, but when she arrives there at the gate she is an expected guest. The dark woman cuts an imposing figure amongst shorter, paler people, which really makes up the vast majority here. It's easy to see her coming, and clearly she knows it; she's in a black suit, with the sharp creases of her collar giving an aura of an edge against the red of a blouse.

"Asi Tetsuyama." The greeting is not a question for confirmation but one for acknowledgement. Huruma stops next to the table Asi waits at, waiting only a moment before sliding into the seat opposite.

"Ms. Dunsimi," Asi greets in kind with a polite tip of her head from her seat. She doesn't bother gesturing at the seat across from her, as the invitation had long-since been extended. "I'm glad you were able to join me. The border restriction for the Park being lifted makes meetings like these much easier than they used to be."

"I have credentials regardless. It would not have been terribly difficult." Huruma lifts a hand in a somewhat dismissive gesture, arching a brow across to her summoner. "But seeing as you invited me yourself and not through Wolfhound, I expect this is less business and more… something else?"

Unlike her counterpart, Asi is not dressed nearly as formally. Her black leather jacket is worn unzipped, a cream-colored turtleneck hardly visible save for what peeks from her collar. The casual attire might indicate this isn't exactly all business, but she rarely bothers with wearing a uniform even when the situation likely calls for it.

"That is … close to it, I would say." she nods, sitting up straighter in her seat and gesturing to Huruma with an upturned palm. "I took note of some of the things you were saying at the Raytech …" well, what to call it? "— briefing that took place late last month. I had hoped to ask you more about that Nazi, as he was being called." She pauses, brow upturned. Though nothing has been formally ordered yet, a waitress brings by a mug like Asi's, filled with steaming black coffee. Creamer and anything else you could think of adding to a cuppa waits on a tray at the opposite end of the table.

"If you were willing, that is."

Huruma leans back into her seat, one leg folding over the other, hands neatly stacked on her lap as she listens. She seems to pick up on what interests Asi a moment before she admits as much.

"Mmm." Huruma sounds an affirmative that she's heard what has been said, though there is no answer right away. Instead, a hint in the form of her nodding thank you to the waitress and one hand going to pick out some additives. "He has a name."

"I might be. I think that it will depend on the sorts of questions being asked."

"Adam Monroe — there is remarkably little you can find about him by looking him up, at least under that name. Something I found surprising, being in a room full of people who knew him instantly by that name." Asi explains conversationally enough. "It appeared you had more familiarity with him than most. Enough to identify his age, and at least one key personality characteristic."

After a beat, she goes on. "I think, given that there's suspicion he may be involved in some way in what is coming, it would be foolish not to seek out whatever information I can about him."

Huruma takes her time in fixing the cup to taste. A bit of a sweet tooth. Her shoulders hold more tension than the rest, and it settles along her spine. She pointedly answers nothing until she's tasted a mouthful of it, tempted to swallow it hot as she stares Asi down from over the rim.

"He has dozens of names. The least of which being Takezo Kensei." Huruma's lips purse tightly, the lines of her face casting more severe for a moment. "I take it you haven't questioned Ms. Nisatta at length."

"I have familiarity with him because I've worked with him." Huruma's mouth twitches in a laugh, followed by a sharper smile. "Among other things."

An eyebrow arches at the information, her curiosity at the information a constant as each phrase holds something new in it. Asi's fingers grip her own mug loosely, the slightly sweetened black coffee not yet being drank from. "No, I wasn't aware they had familiarity with each other." she clarifies about Adam and Nisatta, studying Huruma more intently than before.

"She oversees the museum, yes? If he is who I say he is… then logic dictates that she will have some insight." Huruma led with something heavy, and evens it out like so. "You may be surprised. I know that I was."

"Your curiosity could be dangerous, should you chase the wrong breadcrumbs. His assets tend to be more reaching than he is— but he is not afraid to get hands-on."

"She does more than oversee the museum, since the bombings." Asi supplies slowly, still chewing on what else she's been told. "Ms. Nisatta is acting President of Yamagato's New York branch currently." A sudden concern, if there was something more behind the coy phrasing.

At Huruma's warning, Asi's lips firm into a line, only her eyes smiling before she finally takes a sip from her mug. She looks down at the drink momentarily before her eyes flit back to the woman across her. "Still working with him, then, or is that all past tense?" she asks lightly.

"Good for her, then." It feels sincere, more than not. Huruma studies Asi's face behind the glint in her eyes, and beyond that the mix of her moods. The next question is only natural, and there is a silent debate over whether or not she wants to elaborate, or keep it simple. Simple is good. "Largely past tense."

A sigh escapes from more petite woman in the form of a brief breath from her nose. With it comes a wave of resignation. 'Largely' wasn't entirely, after all. The feeling is invisible, not at all worn in her expression. She sets her drink back on the decorative coaster it had been sitting on previously, head tilting slightly at Huruma. "I've generally found that when someone tries to silence you for pursuing a line of question, you tend to be on the right path. Perhaps not the one you meant to find yourself on, but the right one nonetheless."

Asi's study of Huruma laxes in its intensity and her lips firm into the smallest of smiles. "The man appears to have eccentric interests, professional and otherwise. Historically speaking. Do you feel his ideology has changed at all?"

It may not be worn in her expression, but Huruma can see right through anyone. She tips her head in response to the sigh, and it is followed with the narrow of her eyes. "Do you think I am trying to silence you?" Her mouth curves gently, eyes hooded under lids. "And does that make me an eccentric interest?"

"Ideology? Not likely. I met him in a prison break- from evolved holding cells. He was righteous far before that. We did our own terrible deeds, and I will carry that with me- but his ideas faltered less than his ability to enact them."

"You? Well, that would be unfortunate. No, the trouble I'm expecting is more foreign than that. I would just be disappointed if news of my inquiries filtered back to him through you." Asi admits, not seeming to know what to make of Huruma's other question. Though she doesn't speak on it, something like amusement flickers beneath the surface of her thoughts. No, Asi doesn't feel Huruma fits that bill. Should she?

She leans back in her seat, fingers drumming the tabletop once. "Do you know who I should expect when he does send someone?"

"You don't need to worry about me. We haven't spoken of late. I still retain a select few of his assets from before the war-" that's the Largely past tense- "but I do not tell him my business. And this is my business." Huruma sips at her coffee, leaning back to sit up and savor it. "Mmm, associate-wise? Obviously Praxites. He tends to aim for those in need of meaning or direction, and that can often coincide with youth. But he could be keeping any kind of company now."

"A relief." Asi relates politely, deadpan, though the emotion washes around underneath her skin as she recenters her thoughts on a more constructive path.

"Praxis," she muses, "is the external party that most stood to gain from the Fellowship bombing earlier this year. Adam's apparent closeness to them has bothered me since I've learned of it, as there's an odd picture that begins to form. Things that seem like they are just coincidences, unless you look harder."

Her head tilts slightly in the opposite direction, her eyebrows lifting just a tick. "One of those coincidences happens to be that Praxis and Yamagato, as well as a different Company, have shared memberships. Most of that Company's leadership are dead now, but Adam, and the Nakamuras remain." Her fingers lift off the side of her mug. "Adam being with Praxis, I wonder if there weren't additional motivations for the bombings aside from brazen corporate sabotage."

She gently supplies, her look more intent on Huruma again, "Which is why I'd like to ask you if you'd be willing to provide a more direct explanation of the relationship between Ms. Nisatta and Mr. Monroe. Your answer before made it sound like it went beyond artifact curation, and knowing the history of the museum's items."

"If he could kill every Nakamura, he would." Huruma murmurs this, just for Asi's ears. Her pale eyes stay ahead, fingers toying at cup handle. "Do you know her ability?" Is the first, quickly followed up. "She knew me before I knew her. She showed me some things.. we spoke, some. I do not quite know the extent of her, sorry to disappoint. But she knows who he used to be, and is now."

"I believe he means to." Asi replies just as faintly, almost in a whisper. Even lost in thought, her gaze is sharp, her heart burdened with concern about what she feels is a certainty. "One at a time."

She swings her mug upward again, drinking in the hopes of ridding that dark expression from her. Her other hand fishes for her phone in the pocket of her jacket, pulling it free with only a glance —like one might to check the time. In that brief moment, the light of several different screens reflect off her eyes. She replaces her phone in pocket, hand still on it.

"I've only read her file. Psychometry…" she doesn't look, or feel, any more at ease at having the explanation given to her. "Yes, that makes sense, I suppose."

"You may or may not appreciate my situation, prone in a great web between two or more spiders. Information is both my sword in shield in my official investigation, and my less official ones, like this." Her eyes flit back to Huruma, very little emotion running through her now. "If you know anything that could be of use, it could very well save lives. As I said, I don't believe the bombing incident will be the last attack."

Huruma isn’t shy about watching Asi check her phone, and she is rewarded with the shuffle of emotions and the glimmer of changing light. There is a hint of a smile when attention comes back to her, and she resumes the cradle of her drink. The other woman’s inner sights tone down as she speaks, and it’s not so surprising. This one is roughly a peer when it comes to powered squads.

“I don’t either. But things of use, that is harder. I used to be the right hand, and it’s been a while since that.” Huruma’s mouth presses into a thinner line. Adam shared a lot with her, but once the war began it waned, and waned. Now she can only make guesses to where he is at any given time. She supposes that is just the nature of a lifespan that long, but it still hurts to be forgotten.

“Reminds me, he hasn’t sent me any postcards in an age.” She sucks sharply against her teeth with a ‘tch’, lips curving in a laugh that doesn’t leave her chest.

"It may have something to do with your current employer," Asi suggests as tactfully as she can, assuming the comment wasn't meant to be a joke. A stray thought comes with an errant uptick of interest after that, dashed away with another sip of her cooling drink.

"Do you find your work fulfilling?" she asks abruptly, a non sequitur.

Or maybe not. That kernel of interest remains.

“I do have a life outside of Wolfhound. Most of us do.” Huruma rests her elbow on the arm of the chair, leaning her jaw onto the brace of fingers. It is interest personified, feline and patient. “He could reach me if he really wanted to. But it seems not.” Sounds like he really did the postcards. Surprise, not a joke?

“Fulfilling could mean a lot of things, darling.” Huruma is in a fair mood, so she indulges the questioning. “Enough. I get my licks in, it keeps me from getting bored, I get to chase scumbags… the company is nice too. The targets are dwindling, however. We may need to expand our horizons… or retire, I suppose. Not all of them have somewhere to go if that happens. So…fulfilling? Morally? Certainly. Socially? Absolutely. And what about you, askari? Serving as you do?”

The question elicits a small smile, her mug held more like one might loosely grip a cup of alcohol instead of coffee. Asi looks out the window as she composes her reply mentally.

"A life outside of serving? Moments stolen, sometimes forcefully." Even emotionally, it's delivered deadpan, only stray tendrils of bitter and lonely escaping the lock. "But I make the best of those moments as I take them."

"As for fulfilling? It fulfills its purpose. Those shinka-jin with great power are more likely to find themselves imprisoned instead of rewarded, or cherished." The coffee cup is tilted slightly in her loose grasp. "Service comes with certain benefits."

Benefits which don't qualify as very fulfilling, possibly. "Mu-imi dewa nai, kedo…" she starts before trailing off, settling the mug down off of the intended coaster, outside the societal bound it's supposed to exist inside. She glances back to Huruma with a stiff shrug, an aching longing bubbling out from under her emotional control. She smiles pleasantly in an attempt to override it.

"I suspect," she interjects with a wry twinge of amusement that echoes down through her being, "my team may have started a betting pool as to whether or not I'll cause an international incident by not returning once my assignment here is completed." A derisive, or maybe amused snort of breath escapes her as the small smile returns.

"Mendokusai kara akirameru dake dekiru yo, ne." Her hold on her emotions loosens its vice more, that powerful bitter feeling flowing freely now despite her smile. There's also anger, regret — and an odd sense of duty. "Shou ga nai, ne."

"Besides," she adds conspiratorially, "They foot the bill for my prototypes in the hopes it'll be something else useful for them. No proposals needing filed — the stipend is just there for use."

Service did have its use, after all.

"Who knows," Asi suggests of Wolfhound, "Perhaps the threat Mr. Ray sees on the horizon will be your next great challenge."

Asi manages a much more thorough, if disjointed, answer to the same question; Huruma listens intently, the subtle movements of her pupils seeming to follow the rise, fall, and masking of the other woman's emotions.

“International incidents are vastly underrated.” Huruma's voice hits a low drawl, gaze wandering briefly. She lowers her eyes once more to Asi, hooded by dark lids in her stare. The inability to quell her emotions back down prompts Huruma to press for more. It can be easier this way, with the masked people. Waiting is the key. “Stipends are lovely, I am sure. And what is the real price paid for such freedoms…?”

“It would not be the first time that Richard's threats become my challenges. So far it has been worth the trouble.”

At Huruma's hinting, Asi looks back lazily with her head slightly tilted, amusement visible in her eyes now. She makes no effort to hide that one. "Of course they are." she replies mildly, her posture shifting more upright.

In the middle of lifting her mug again, she lets her fingers free of the side briefly, letting it hang off of her knuckles during the gesture. "The price is service, of course." It's a simple fact. She shrugs, pressing her drink to her lips again before tilting it back. "But being left to your own devices truly has no price."

Her position has its advantages, if one had the patience to bear through the cost of entry.

She lets out a quiet click of her tongue as she settles the mug back on the coaster, seeming thoughtful. "Well, as you said, getting your licks in provides its own special brand of fulfilling. The issue with the entity sounds like one where you need armed with the right knowledge, and be stationed appropriately, at the appropriate time, with a suitable weapon." Asi emits a short hm. "Very fulfilling, in my opinion. A high-stakes mystery to be carefully unraveled and subdued."

A beat later, she smiles again. "One mystery at a time, though. The bombing is enough of one, and one I should return my attention to."

Huruma has patience, but not for servitude, such as it is. She seems to shrug it off as simple differences, even rolling her shoulders and canting her head in a gesture to such.

“At least we have something in common, being that we are fond of a good mystery, hm?” The dark woman leans forward to set a forearm against the table, gaze drawing up and down her companion. It seems that the issue of the entity is deliberately kept back with Asi, and Huruma silently studies the shifts of her mood as the topic flicks back to the former.

“Did you want to ask me anything else? Anything specific? I mean… I do have personal details, but the usefulness depends on what you might need.”

Asi considers Huruma carefully, her emotions reduced to echoes during her internal deliberation. When she comes to her decision, a determination flows. "Anything could be useful." she states evenly. "The man is a regenerator who could very well be immortal, one who is well-armed with resources — what I require is leverage, and personal details in particular are key to that. His preference for tea, any associates you may know of that I have not uncovered, information on any progeny of his or other close relations — I must reiterate any information you can share with me about him may be the difference between life and death." Likely not her own, either. Likely.

"You said yourself you and he are no longer close. But what you have to offer could stand to be the breadcrumbs that leads to the edge I am looking for."

She pauses, realizing the scope of what she asks is still broad. Her posture settles as she looks back at Huruma, still nothing but cold determination within her.

"Beyond the Nakamuras, what does he hate? What angers him? … What does he love?" Her brow arches slightly, a touch of thrill joining her determination. "What would he risk himself for?"

“He does have children. I have never met any of them, and I suspect most are passed or of an age.” Huruma turns her hand out dismissively. That one probably won’t affect much. “We had other associates. Many of them also gone. There are a few stragglers. He certainly liked to keep a man by the name of Michael Green on his payroll- for god knows what reason. I think he runs some distribution lines for the Triad, now.”

Speaking of the Triad… Huruma downs the last of her coffee, the tip of her tongue running over teeth in thought and absent sweep.

“We were the ones who helped to bore Refrain into this world. Now, the Ghost Shadows run every part of it, yet I am not convinced that he does not have a contact. He was fond of the project, and it brought in quite the gains.”

“He was never the type to risk himself when someone else would do it for him.” Huruma flashes a sharp grin, breath huffing. “Expect a new team, varied in ability. As for what he loves and hates, ah,” She ticks off her fingers with the other hand, mouth pursed in thought. “Failure is a thorn in his side. Seeing others like us subjugated, in a manner. He loves fruity drinks. I’m not sure how useful that would be.” The tease is good-natured, despite the topic.

“It has been long enough that I could not tell you what his aim is, apart from building something out of our ashes, as he has done for hundreds of years before this. Resourcefulness never leaves the fox.”

Asi's head tilts as she absorbs it all, one hand still in the pocket of her jacket. Hearing Michael Green's name doesn't elicit a reaction from her like it's new information, a note of disappointment ebbing through her determination before being swiftly covered over. Hearing about the Refrain certainly helps with that.

Humor doesn't run under her skin at the comment about the fruity drinks. "If I ever happen to host him, —well." she says with a momentary tick of her brow. It'd have its use then.

"From the ashes," she echoes back, her eyes drifting away for a moment before her gaze sharpen, something falling into place. As she looks back, Asi lets out a quiet click. "That doesn't bode well."

Suspicion of something starts to form until it's a stab in her that can't be ignored, one that brings her to her feet. "There's something I should look into."

"Ms. Dunsimi, thank you again for coming."

If she ever happens to host him it may be too late to get ahead already. Huruma bears the faint weight of her more legal name with a stiff smile back. Adam and ashes always went well together, didn't they? She studies Asi's inner developments in silence, notetaking as she always does.

“You are most welcome.” Huruma leans back, arching a brow to the other woman now on her feet. It seems she might linger for a time, rather than follow suit. “Do let me know how it goes. You know where to reach me should you need anything.”

"The same goes for you. Especially if 'anything' includes something scandalous."

While she likely wouldn't risk causing an incident that would call attention to herself, it doesn't seem she have any qualms about helping others with their own mischief.

Her fingertips tap the ledge of the table before she moves off, her thoughts still a tangled web whose lines she tries to create order to.

There's unrest. Rising tensions. Iraq. West versus Middle-East. Praxis involvement inevitable. The new machines — nothing but ashes. South Africa? Europe, no. Possibly. I don't think. But this…

The rest of it was a mess, if she could could prove the threads all intersected. It was time to start pulling on what she could to see where it lead.

Create the radicals the world wants to burn, give the world the tools to burn them and much more in the process. Possibly even by accident. With how dangerous the near-autonomous platforms were reported to be, collateral damage would be inevitable. She'd thought the design of the weapon was reckless and irresponsible, but what if it had been deliberately insidious? Machine learning dictated its friend-or-foe identification, and any machine could be tampered with … or have hidden programming.

At the far end of it, still disjointed from the web, stands the giant question - the true reason why Yamagato leadership was attacked. She refuses to write it off as a simple act of revenge disjointed from everything else.

If building from the ashes was the long-term goal, the US was a fertile ground for testing out his rebuilding ability. Praxis's rebuilding ability.

If that's the case, no wonder they're gunning for those contracts so hard. Hurting the Nakamuras would have made the attack an act of killing two birds with one stone.

And somehow, somewhere in this, that Entity is tied in as well…

Asi's thoughts continue to race, echoes of emotion ping-ponging around inside her until she's hit the street and strolls out of Huruma's range.

Whenever she's done with her coffee, she'll find the tab has already been paid— a business card provided to her by the waitress when she asks for the bill. The front is decidedly in Japanese, likely Asi's information, but the back is home to a handwritten, American phone number.

Just in case.

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