Date: January 28, 2012
Itami approaches Sousa with the intent of figuring out something that's been bothering her about the records keeper, Nai. She feels with all the hints she's gained, she finally has the mind to ask about him and get rid of this nagging thought.
"Blood Red Sandman - The True Ghoul"
Sunagakure Administration Dome
Kazekage Administration Dome [Sunagakure]
The opening of the Kazekage Administration Dome leads up a flight of stairs, into the lobby of the expansive building. Looking upwards, the entire building is open to the sky. Each floor is a ring, built with a hole in the center to allow a view both upwards and downwards. It is a very impressive sight, with many people visible moving around the upper levels, and stopping to chat around the railings.
The lobby has a tiled floor, with a intricate concentric circular pattern, and the walls themselves have been actually painted, and have designs etched into the hardened sand. The only piece of furniture on the first floor is a desk, and directly behind that, a stair case moving up to the next level. On either side of the desk are Male guards, their faces covered, and a make secretary is seated behind the desk, ready to take any questions or arrange appointments.
No one proceeds to the upper levels without the secretary approving them, and in most cases the armed guards also check them out to make sure they are carrying no weapons. However, there are a few people who can walk back and forth easily without the guards checking them, although all of them must first speak with the secretary.
It was time for the office to get some attention, so Itami was inside the dome today with the hopes of taking care of business. More specifically, it wouldn't be her office getting attention, but the Kazekage's office and that's where her business takes place. It wouldn't be long before she made her way to the office, opening the door and closing it behind her without any regard to guards or others that may be either around or inside the office. Anyone there would probably be given the boot by her so she could focus. It's her time now and she intends to use it.
Sousa had just gotten settled in again, so to speak. Despite the importance of his office, a desk isn't something you generally keep a spare of around, at least not in fully-assembled form. And even once you get your new furniture in place, there's the task of filling it with all the files and supplies and whatnot which your previous one held, a job only Sousa could really do properly since nobody else knew where he kept things. But now his little command center is ready again, ready to attack the ever-accumulating and currently-critical mass of paperwork…but of course it's not going to be that simple. Sousa glances up on Itami's entrance. "Greetings, Itami-san. I take it the new secretary hasn't yet learned the procedure for checking in visitors."
Itami looked around the office for a bit before shaking her head saying, "Greetings, Sousa-sama and no, she has, but I decided to let myself in," she smirked as she began to approach the desk. "I still have some concerns to address and I wanted to speak with you privately about them," she looked back toward the door then around the office once more before giving herself the greenlight to speak. "I want to know more about Hone Nai. I have some suspicions about him that I can't shake off."
Sousa raises an eyebrow. "Considering his recent behavior as you reported it, 'suspicion' is almost too light a term," he remarks. "Not that I wish to jump to conclusions, but when a man characterizes himself as dead, it would be unnatural not to feel some perplexment and desire further explanation." Sousa shrugs. "Unfortunately, I have little insight as to why Nai would have sent an earth clone to you and said what he said. He has been with us since the founding of Sunagakure, in fact he was most helpful in organizing its administration. Despite his talent in such matters, he did not wish to be a member of the administration himself, and instead took the position of Head Recordskeeper. He has served in this capacity ever since, proficiently but quietly."
"Hmm, yes, I understand all of that…" Itami waved her hand in a dismissive fashion towards the majority of Sousa's words. "But that isn't the part that's bothering me. There's something more…something deeper. You remember when I told you that feeling returned? About that time I was at the academy? I want to know…" Her voice trailed off and she leaned in closer with a stern expression saying, "Is he the Ghoul?" That feeling she had was unmistakable and she wanted to confirm it. Besides, with the events that transpired at the hospital, the air, his remark about being dead…these are things she couldn't allow to pass her by.
Sousa regards Itami quietly for a moment. Came right to the point there, didn't she? Well, from the look of her, she's not going to be entirely convinced by a denial. Enough to get her out of the office for the moment, maybe, but…
"Yes," Sousa says at last. "I don't know precisely what preconceptions you bring to that term, but Nai is responsible for the legend known as the Ghoul of the Desert." Sousa sits back in his chair and steeples his fingers. "I first encountered Nai, although he did not have that name then, before Sunagakure was formed. It was in the desert, far from any civilization. His only thought was to make a meal of me, and I naturally objected rather strenuously. I was able to subdue him, but he proved curiously resistant to termination. Fortunately, he became more reasonable as my attempts drew closer to actually accomplishing that purpose. After some discussion, we came to the agreement that he would assist my endeavors, and I would arrange to conceal his unusual condition and do what I might to find a cure for it." Sousa gives a tight-lipped smile. "As you might imagine, progress on that front has been…elusive."
Itami listens intently to Sousa as he explains Nai's relation to the Ghoul of the Desert. So it's just as she suspected. That feeling she had that crept up on her was the same one as before in the academy, although the academy was a bit more of an extreme case. She was almost killed then dealing with the Ghoul let alone trying to manage Kaede and keep him from being a nuissance to the building.
Once he's finished, she nods slowly and pulls herself away from the table, allowing her hands to fall limply to her sides. "How do you cure something like that? Is it even possible?" She wonders. "He's dead, as I was so told…" She turned away and sighed. "So, now I don't know what to do…or how to go about doing this. I'm frustrated."
Sousa shrugs. "Theoretically, nearly anything is possible. You simply have to arrange the correct circumstances for an event to occur, and it shall. The question is whether such arrangements are within the boundaries of your own capabilities…or compliance. As for Nai being dead, that depends on your definition of the term. He does not breath, and blood does flow through his veins, yet he moves and thinks and feels. He does not have all the attributes we associate with living, but personally I would rather expand the definition of 'alive,' or more accurately reduce its conditions, than count him as dead."
Sousa stands up. "Unfortunately, curing Nai, even where it within my capabilities, is no longer within the realm of things I choose to comply with. He has become an extreme hazard to Sunagakure, and must be eliminated at the next opportunity. I am expecting that opportunity to arrive in the near future, when he attempts to kill me."
Itami is not a scientific sort, so trying to stretch the limits of terminology for what constitutes as alive and or dead is something she doesn't really care for. As far as she's concern, he's dead and he told her he was dead, so she's taking his word for it. "So now he's to be killed…I see," she hummed. "I have someone else in mind to become a records keeper, but if elimination is your wish, then I suppose all that's left for me to do is to drum up a force and have him executed." She grows quiet and grasps her arms lightly, "I have some uncertainties. It's almost a bit sad, I suppose. I can't say for sure if he's the sort to have good intentions, but…it seemed like he did while he was tamed, I suppose you could say, but even he said he has to be stopped. So…" She shrugged, her arms now taking place on her hips as she shifts her weight to one side, "Not much that can be done about that."
Sosua lifts an eyebrow. "Drum up a force? Oh no, that would be a rather wasteful means of accomplishing the end. Nai's combat capabilities — the Ghoul's capabilities, you might say — have much to do with toxicity. Attacking multiple opponents simultaneously is hardly any more difficult for him than a single one. Even were a team effort to subdue him successful, it would likely come at a high cost. So it really would be best to allow a single, highly capable combatant to deal with him. Perhaps two." Especially since Sousa would prefer that the whole Nai=Ghoul thing not become too public of knowledge. e.e
"I found your account of Nai's communication with you very interesting, by the way," Sousa remarks. "When he visited me as the Ghoul, he displayed no regret or hesitation regarding his intended goal to kill me and everyone else. Perhaps we should add a bit of split-personality to his known psychoses. At any rate, perhaps we can reach Nai and use him against the Ghoul, so to speak."
"I'm only speaking on account of what he told me. A force is what I thought I'd need, but of course, utilizing smaller yet stronger seems to be the better option. I don't believe I've ever had to face off against him so I wasn't aware of the kind of damage he's able to do." Itami sighs once more. Seems this all has her a bit on edge. "I don't know why he approached me in that way when he just as easily could have killed me there, but…maybe. If it's at all possible to reach him underneath all of that," she spoke in a slightly solemn tone. "Well, this clears up some things and pieces together some holes from other memories I've had…I suppose I can let this rest and perhaps we can discuss later about how to subdue him."
Sousa nods. "Yes. Of course, I wouldn't rely too heavily on reasoning with him. Particularly since we'll essentially be saying, 'Please let us destroy you.'" Sousa sits back down at his desk. "I appreciate your cooperation in this matter, Itami-san. Please do keep Nai's identity in confidence, it wouldn't do to have people questioning leadership's motivations and such during a crisis like this. Oh, and one other thing: I am considering dieing to better understand some of the claims the Ghoul made and prepare to face him. I may have need of a partner to resuscitate me."
Itami chuckled. Yes, that would be the easier way and sometimes, she almost wished things could happen that way, but…it'd be highly impractical. "Well, I'm wanting to do what's best for the village. I don't want them in any more danger than they already are at this moment," she explained while finally taking the time out to take a seat. "I'll keep his identity a secret. I don't need the village exploding with that kind of knowledge wandering around. I've already got enough on my plate as is," she shook her head. "So, I think that's about i—" She cut herself off as Sousa's last words finally filtered into her head and processed.
A curious frown soon took form on her face. She laughed in disbelief saying, "You…want to die…to understand some of the claims he made? How…" She couldn't find the right words for this as she looked up into the air, her expression still maintaining the disbelief her voice held, "I…this is…I have no words."
Sousa listens to Itami with a blank expression. "Yes, although I use the term 'die' here loosely," he explains. "I've 'died' once before, you know, during that massive attack on Sunagakure. An enemy agent managed to link his spirit to mine, and when he died, I was dragged along behind him. It's a rather complicated story in all, but one of the things I learned at that time was that I was supposedly scheduled to die at the age of 38. My current age." Sousa picks up a document from his to-do pile and starts to read it. "I'm not certain how to interpret that data with regard to theories of fate vs. choice and the like, but I would rather attempt to fulfill that appointment at the time of my choosing, with preparations in place, and maximal odds of coming back to life once more…" Sousa glances up at Itami. "…which would be improved by having a trustworthy partner on the living side of things."
"Well, I know you've died once before, but…to die /again/?" Itami inquired exasperatedly. She lifted her hands into the air and shook them along with her head. "Alright, alright. I don't even /know/ how you're going to go along with all this and trying to think about it only gives me a headache. I'll just have to trust your judgement on this because, personally, I think this is all quite outrageous and you frighten me," she put it all quite bluntly. "So!" She laid her hands to rest in her lap and lifted her head, "I'm hoping this works out in your favor. I know it happened once, but twice is pushing it. For me, at least. I don't mind being there to resuscitate you, but I am uncertain if I have the means necessary to do so. What would it take to bring you back? Hibari might be able to provide the expertise for that sort of thing if it's as complicated as I'm thinking."
Sousa chuckles. "The likelihood of success during a second trial is independent of the outcome of a previous trial, all else held equal. If anything, my previous experience should increase my odds of succeeding. As for the method, I haven't entirely figured that out yet. Hibari-san's expertise might be useful, yes, but I would prefer to keep this between ourselves if possible. Aside from which, the cause of my death was listed as 'severence of spirit from body.' I don't believe physical methods of bringing about clinical death will do. I have located some writings which describe methods which may allow for non-destructive, self-induced termination, but I don't wish to attempt them until I am as prepared as reasonably possible."
Sousa taps his chin. "Your role will be primarily to attempt stimulation of my body when the necessary time comes. I imagine restarting my heart will be the primary concern. I can give you some essential training in cardiopulmonary resuscitation if you need it, and in injection of stimulants. In the worst-case scenario, you can simply bring in qualified help. We will most likely attempt this in an unoccupied hospital room."
"I…suppose so. Grief, this is all so complicated…" Itami chuckled to give herself a chance to calm down and think clearly about this all. Maybe she needs to go and learn all this stuff eventually. "Well…okay. The more I get into this the greater my confusion. I'll just…" She smiled, "I'll, yes, I'll take up that role. I would like some training in resuscitation so that I may at least be certain that I'm giving it my all properly when the time comes to bring you back to life, so to speak."
Sousa nods. "Good. I'll send for you when I have time to go over it with you. For now, I have to get through most of this paperwork or I'll be hounded too much to get anything done in private. Thank you for understanding the situation, Itami-san. I'm rather glad you found out."
"No problem," Itami remarked as she gave a lazy salute to Sousa. It still /was/ a problem to her, but she was going to try and shove it down so she wouldn't have to second guess things. "I'll take my leave here, then. Good luck with work and all." She flickered out of the office.