Date: April 7, 2015
A group of small-time crooks attempt to rip off Amani and Jon on a medical cadaver transaction. Poor, stupid crooks.
Fuuma Basin [Fuuma Alley]
An abandoned temple looks down on lonely road in the heartland of the land of Rice Paddies. Cascading of mountains reach past the treeline, green canopies clinging to the ranges like a fog. Valleys between them rock and forest are cut into the irregular flooded terraces the country is known for, but the fields grow fallow the closer they come to a wide, low basin sinking under the weight of a sprawling industrial city. Train tracks from all corners of the country converge under a cloud of smog that chokes out the sky even at this distance, and underneath these unnatural clouds the economic heart of the land of Rice glows like a fire.
It's late in the evening which is perfect for travel in the Summer, but more importantly, for the nature of the task taking place here. Amani traveled far from Kumo with a victim in tow to come down to Fuuma Alley to conduct some business. Fuuma isn't exactly known for being particularly legal, but this time it just so happens to be, but those involved may not have great histories. That's besides the point, though. They do a great service and she knew about it, so she took advantage of it. Unidentified bodies came around these parts far too often and without anyone to claim them, they end up just being cremated. So, she's come to the rescue to try and collect some for herself to take back with her.
She had a wagon at the ready catered to this specific task, its coach well insulated to carry them back for the long trip in complete cool. "We won't be here for much longer. We come here, have the bodies loaded and head back. It's that simple."
That's an ironic assignment for a detective…go to a high-crime area to assist in transporting cadavers. e.e Apparently this particular deal is clean enough for the Kumo administration, though, and Jon doesn't have jurisdiction here to go about making any arrests or anything. Ah well. "Half of me wants to say good, the sooner we get out of here the sooner I can shake the feeling that I'm shirking my duty," Jon mutters, preparing the storage space. "The other half is hoping we'll be around long enough to witness something blatantly illegal enough that I can get involved." "I vote wi' ya second 'alf, wot's th'rush?" Scruvo says. "We should visit some taverns while we're heah, maybe we kin find th'liddle lady a strappin' lad t'get friendly with." ;)
"No duties will be shirked here, you're doing me a great service…" Amani offered to Jon. "I assure you that this time, it's been handled with all the proper procedures in place," she cleared her throat. "I don't know if we'll witness anything that's criminal in nature. I hope not. I'd rather not cause a scene…or be involved in one," she smirked afterward. "Getting friendly sounds nice, but if you aren't willing to touch the lady birds in these parts, I don't want to touch the men around here either."
She drew the wagon to a stop and hopped out. Just over the rise in the road, a few men begin to approach. They're a rough looking bunch, but they've come to do their duty. Body transport wasn't easy work. "Hey. You must be the medic. Well, we've got your bodies. That's the good news. There's bad news, though…" Amani sighed. "Of course there's bad news. Alright…" She braced herself. "Some guys came and strong armed their way into our work and well, they've taken control of the warehouse we operate out of. They want more than the asking price we set for ya," he described. "Trying to put a squeeze on me. Well, we'll have to show them what's what. I don't like snags in my line of work."
Scruvo ruffles his feathers. "Corks, somebody who stops t'take an interest in me matin' prospects! Thank ya fer that, missy." Scruvo gazes off into the sky with an air of disillusioned sophistication. "Alas though, I've just about given up on findin' me equal. Learnin' 'uman speak did somethin' to me brain, I can't stand chattin' wi' ordinary crows fer too long, even pretty 'uns. They're just so basic, always squawkin' about food an' predators. Buildin' a nest wi' one would be sheer torture." "Hence why he spends most of his time gabbling in my ear," Jon snorts. "Exactly! Jonny-boy heah says mostly intelligent things, an' not very much o' that even!" n.n
And then the 'resurrection man' brigade comes along and gives their report. Well well, this is an interesting development…on its own, the testimony of some random men isn't enough to merit an unwarranted search, but since they're specifically going to that establishment to do business, if they discover foul play going on while they're there, they can't help but deal with it, right? ;) "Oh, this is surely just some sort of misunderstanding," Jon remarks innocently. "I'm sure it'll all be cleared up when we arrive and talk with these gentlemen." Scruvo edges sideways on his perch on the wagon. "Watch y'self, lass, Jonny-boy doesn't get crafty very often." c.c;
"I see. It's a shame you couldn't mate with your own, but seeing how you speak of them, I wouldn't find the average person to be all that different. There are plenty of basic humans, I've found," Amani found time to chuckle despite the recent change in situation. "Misunderstanding? I hope so. I really don't want to hurt anyone here," she remarked. "Let's be on our way to this warehouse. The more we figure out, the better. I want my bodies and you want your criminals. This should be a sufficient trade," she offers. "I'll be sure to keep my eyes peeled and ears to the ground," she added to Scruvo.
The trio of men lead them to Fuuma where they enter the ward where their warehouse is located. It appears they run an honest business in a place that's surrounded in the exact opposite. But, there are always those that want to try and take advantage of that fact. So far, the warehouse is unguarded. All the activity seems to be taking place inside. "No one is out here…Guess we'll have to look further."
The building appeared to be in good shape. There were doors that were barricaded from within, though they could be accessed with a simple knock…or break in. "I'm assuming we don't want to break into this place, so let's try to negotiate…"
Jon frowns on finding the door barricaded. "Yeah, brings all kinds of red tape trouble if you break into a place before seeing direct evidence of illegal activity, let alone the fact we have no warrant and aren't even authorized law enforcement here. We'll have to play this by ear and hope they're eager enough for the money to let us in." Jon puts on his best bored and slightly dopey look and knocks on the door. "Hey, anybody in there? We're the Kumo guys, here for the, uh, y'know."
"Oh, I'm taking their word for it. It's clear my work has been interrupted and we are in Fuuma Alley. I am familiar with these three, but the ones in here? I don't know them. That's enough for me to cry illegal. But, I'll try and handle this the proper way…" Amani sighed and approached the door where she knocked on it. "You have my goods and I want to…discuss with you how to acquire them." The bandits on the other side answered back. "How do we know you're clean?" Amani turned away from the door and tried to drown her quiet rage before spinning back towards the door once again.
"My name is Yamayuki Amani. Assuming you're the ones responsible for my cargo, I would assume you'd know I am the one you wanted to see for the exchange, but since it seems you're not looking for me, I guess I'll just have to take my business elsewhere. Maybe it was I who was mistaken…"
In the back of the doors, the sound of a hand meeting a head could be heard. "What are you, stupid?!" One of the men harshly whispered prior to removing the barricades to the door. "Sorry about that. That was just a minor slipup. That guy is uh, new," the bandit replied as he ushered both her and Jon inside. The body transporters that warned them, however had taken refuge elsewhere to keep from messing up the investigation.
So far so good. Jon saunters into the warehouse, looking around casually. "Yeah, whatever, long as we get the stuff. Still can't believe we had to come all the way out here for a bunch of bodies, I mean don't we end up with enough of those one way or another already?" -.- Seems like they're settling into a bit of a good cop, bad cop routine, only it's more of…lax client, demanding client? -.-a At any rate, hopefully Jon will be able to go relatively unnoticed in this situation while Amani keeps their attention. Jon flips open a switch in his brain with chakra, increasing his cognitive functioning as he scans for signs of criminal activity. Oh, and Scruvo? Jon had him go to keep an eye on the building from above, as much to get him out of the way as anything. Having a weird talking animal around doesn't do much to help criminals drop their guard. e.e
It doesn't appear this plan was well thought out. There aren't very many guards or any other factors that would indicate that much. At most, Scruvo would be able to see darn near everything. The cooler door where the bodies were being kept, one lone guy guarding it and the other two occupying Amani and Jon's time. No other bandits were called in. It seemed they just wanted to put some pressure on the buyer to get more funds and make off with 'em. Pretty basic plan, but handled poorly.
"Alright, so the bodies are all here, but given a few issues we've run into, we need to uh, consider some fees that apply to these here bodies. We've been a little tight on funds lately and have unfortunately needed to bump up some prices in order to make up for the issues until we're back on our feet. You've been a customer with us for a while and we'd really appreciate the understanding," one of the bandits explains coolly enough.
"I see… If that's the case, then I'd like to see some paperwork that indicates these changes. Once I've seen them, I may consider any additional fees." The talker decides to nudge his partner in the ribs and tells him to go and get the 'papers'. The guy pauses for a few moments as if trying to figure out what the heck he meant only to get a harder nudge to get going. "He'll return shortly with the paperwork. In the meantime, we should talk about future business."
Amani watched the guy head off and shortly after focused back on the main bandit. "Future business, hm? It's strange. I don't remember you or the others being here before…" She remarks. "Oh, we are from another company that recently acquired this warehouse. We're still in transition, y'see."
Well now, this oughta be good. There shouldn't be any paperwork if these guys just muscled in on the place, so what's the hapless minion going to fetch? More importantly, what's his boss up to, having nudged him to go get such nonexistent paperwork? It's hard to think of anything it could be beyond a stalling measure, but what purpose does that serve? In the end they still won't be able to prove their claim. Jon falls in behind the guy 'going to get the paperwork'. "Here, maybe I can help ya. I been here before, and I got some idea where the old guys kept stuff. Nuttiest system ya ever saw." n.n
"Still in transition. Well, as long as I get my bodies, then perhaps I'll consider doing further business under this new acquisition…" Amani still wasn't too keen on this guy and it was apparent in her body language. At most, she's trying to figure out if they're truly serious about this or if they're just that dead set on trying to milk her for cash or rather why are they stupid enough to even try?
"Eh? Wha? Oh, you know about paperwork? Alright, then yeah, we'll go get it together. Stuff isn't really my area. Don't really touch it all that often," the bandit remarks while going into the offices to acquire the paperwork.
Once inside the office, he begins looking around at different kinds of files, searching for what he needed. "Alright, I think I got 'em right here!" He withdraws the papers. "Have a look," he says darn near shoving them into Jon's hands to see. In the meantime, he takes the opportunity to try and sneak a piece of scrap metal laying in the area to attempt to strike him with, hoping he'd be looking at the papers in order to clock him right on the head.
Oh, puh-lease. Jon's experienced enough to keep an eye on anybody suspicious out of sheer habit, and with his attention-to-detail-bolstering technique active, the goon's clumsy attempt at subterfuge might as well come with a blinking red warning sign attached. Jon catches the bandit's fist tightly in his hand, as much to prevent the piece of metal from flying off and clattering as to defend himself from the blow. Then he staggers the stooge with a thrusting blow to the throat. Finally he plucks away the improvised club and stows it deftly under his arm, then runs through some handseals and projects chakra at the bandit.
The next thing the hapless crook knows, he's in a dark room, strapped to a chair with a lamp shining a cone of harsh light on him from directly above. Footsteps echo in the space, then Jon steps into the light. "You guys are either incredibly dumb, or you have something incredibly smart up your sleeves," Jon remarks. "I'm going to assume it's the latter, and that you're actually a dangerous and hardened criminal with nerves of steel, and that I'll have to resort to extremely painful measures to break you and get you to tell me what your master plan is before the trap is sprung and my compatriot gets hurt." Jon holds up a hand with lightning arcing between his fingers. "Care to try convincing me otherwise?"
The goon stumbles back, clutching his throat, feeling disoriented and with the added blow of chakra, he falls back against the wall, knocked out. There isn't any paperwork these guys could reach for without knowing what to look for. "What's taking so long for that paperwork to come through? Did that get lost in all the 'transitioning'?" Amani inquired growing more impatient. "It's a little messy, I admit miss, but we'll have it for you. Just wait…" Why don't you treat yourself to some water while you wait? It's not much, but it's the least we can do and you're likely a bit parched from your travels. The fountain is right that way." He gestured to its location against the wall. "You're not going to escort me?" She wondered. "I think you're a capable sort. You're fit to do it, eh?" He winked and smirked.
"Alright, fair enough. I'll go and get some." As she moved away from the bandit to get some water, he followed at a distance away from her and waited until she had pressed against the fountain to make a move to reach out and strike her. Of course, she knew he was coming. Even without seeing him, she heard the oaf with every step he took. She'd activated her nejigan while turned away and took note of every sound made around here. She quickly retaliated by ducking out of the way, watching his hand bash against the fountain and quickly struck his midsection with a stamina draining technique to bring him to his knees. "That was just awful. Your technique is horrendous, but I suppose I should credit you for your idiot effort…" Now the only one left is the guard in front of the cooler…
Back in the office, the goon finds himself stuck. He's struggling, but can't seem to pull himself from whatever is holding him down. He finally looks down to find he's in a chair. The light shines in his eyes, causing him to wince. "Heeey, what's all this?" He asks to the room. Out from the surrounding darkness comes his answer. Sort of. "What? Uh…no, what? No!" The guy replies. "I don't want to be in pain," he shook his head furiously. "I'll tell you! We just wanted to muscle some money out of her and make a break for it. That's it! Nothing else."
Jon glances out of the office and observes Amani dealing with bandit number two. Well, that guy was pretty easy too apparently…all signs point toward this being just a bunch of thugs dumb enough to muscle in on a (supposedly, relatively) honest business in order to rip off NINJA of all things. :P Did they even know who their clientele were supposed to be? Jon turns his attention back to the guy he's got trapped in genjutsu. The illusionary Jon in the guy's head snorts. "Well, of course, that's exactly what a devious master crook would say to buy time — " Jon's sparking hand shoots towards the mook's forehead — *BOP!* A moderate, non-charged bonk from the real Jon brings the man out of it, and he finds he's been trussed up. " — but I'll take your word on it, for now."
Jon steps out of the office and strides toward the guy guarding the cooler, dropping the languid act. "Heyyyy, guess what? Your buddies attacked us and now they're nursing some nice bruises. That means you're under suspicion by association. If you attack us too, we can wrap you all up in a neat little bundle and drop you off at the nearest honest police station! Please give me that excuse." :)
"But I'm not a—" The bandit was cut off and snapped back into reality. "Um…okay?" He asked with some trepidation, expecting some other spark to come across his head. Instead, it clicked in that he was bound and couldn't move. Maybe it was better to be in this position.
"Jon, where did you go?" Amani asked. "You were supposed to be here with me," she huffed. "But whatever. I just got attacked." She paused and looked at the goon. "He attempted, at least. He won't have enough energy to get up." The goon guarding the cooler saw the two ninja approaching and gulped. "Nope." Sure, he was part of the team, but he's not about to join in their fate. Maybe he can get a job here instead. He walked off and granted access to the cooler. "Oh, wonderful. We can get my bodies now."
Jon shrugs. "Had to keep an eye on that other one. You never know, he might've brought back forged papers or something, then we'd have really been in trouble." ;) Jon goes over to the cooler. "I suppose we'd best call the real owners in before we touch the, eh, merchandise. Lemme check this thing for traps, though." Just because these guys are stupid doesn't mean they didn't do anything nasty to the cooler. Jon looks over the outside for any of the common signs, then carefully opens the door…
Traps? There don't appear to be any around here. These guys were pretty barebones about what they intended to do. "No traps. I'm not picking up on any changes in frequency around here to indicate one is present," she looked once more to see the different pings coming back from all the objects in here. "Anyway, you're free to open the door. Oh, the coast is clear!" She called to the three workers. They wasted no time in coming back into the place. "You guys really cleaned up," the leader laughed. "We'll get these bodies loaded up and into the wagon and send ya on your way. Oh, we still need the payment of course. Heh. Gotta make a living."
Amani smirked. "Understood. I have everything on hand as usual. I can appreciate good business."