Date: November 29, 2013
Atsuro and Daisuke do another stakeout and are lead deeper into the mystery (and wilderness).
Poster's note: foul language filtered in obvious places.
"Colony Collapse - Part 2: Breaking Camp"
Island of Minatoriko
Not too long after staking out the docks, Atsuro, Daisuke, and Taizen find themselves once again getting ready for a stakeout. The stolen crate is still here, just sitting on the ground there. They're in the outskirts of the town, so they'll have to find some place to hide. "See anywhere good?" Atsuro asks. There are some good hiding places around — he's just asking for an opinion. It's later in the day, so it's getting darker, and there are plenty of bushes, boulders, and hidey holes around that probably have a good view of the crate.
And then there's the matter of the crate itself. "If we lose sight of them, is there some way we can track it?" Atsuro suggests, "I don't suppose the brilliant ninjutsu master has some special seal of tracking or something like that?"
Daisuke heads over to a nearby boulder that provided a good view of the crate with minimal effort. Their location was set, but Atsuro brings up another issue. "Don't look at me, I blow up things, I don't do such intricate things." he says in reply to Atsuro's question, chuckling lightly. "Can't you or Taizen pee on it or something? You know, Dynamic Marking." he asks with a raised brow, trying to stifle a laugh at the image. "I'd think that would be our best tracking option."
Okay, so the boulder works. As for peeing on the crate. "I dunno," says Atsuro, "I don't really wanna order my best friend to pee on things in front of us. As for /me/ peeing… dog pee is more identifiable. Also, if they happen to come along while it's happening, I have to explain why I decided to pee on their crate. Taizen doesn't."
Eventually, he and Taizen go with the plan of hiding behind the boulder so Taizen can mark the crate in privacy. Then he joins them back there, and they settle in and wait to see who comes along.
Mercifully, it's not too long of a wait. After around fifteen minutes, they can hear the sound of approaching footsteps. Then the voices of a couple of men. They're quiet, so they can't be heard perfectly, but the team can definitely make out "Looks like they got it away from the docks," and "Let's load it up."
Daisuke chuckles throughout Atsuro working out who was going to pee on what. Inuzuka problems. Despite that issue, things work out and it seems like the boulder was a good pick as the approaching footsteps of a couple of men announces potential culprits. As the men head to the crate Daisuke turns to Atsuro, relying on his good hearing by whispering. "Now, should we follow or apprehend? There could be more, but this could also be the safest spot to confront."
Atsuro considers this problem for a moment. Both options have their merits… and pitfalls. Being a tracker, Atsuro had intended to track. Darn you, Daisuke! Alternative approaches just make things more complicated. Then there's the sound of grunting from the other side of the boulder as the men both bend down and pick the crate up. Sounds like it's pretty heavy, as all the men can do is shuffle it along, though it's not clear where they're taking it yet. Atsuro carefully peeks out from the side of the boulder, then gets back in hiding. "I don't see a cart or anything," he whispers, "We follow them slowly for now, and make a decision when we see what they're planning to do with it."
Daisuke watches Atsuro work out the issue in his head, tempted to laugh but he doesn't. His suggestion was a bit of a joke after the peeing conversation they had, even if it did have its merits. Either way, it seems like Atsuro still wants to track, which Daisuke nods his head to and picks himself up, ready to follow. "Tent this is going to take awhile." he whispers back as he sees the men shuffling along."
Yup, it does take a while. For a good while, the men just heave the crate along. Clearly they aren't ninja, but they put some good effort into it, and they manage to get it off the road and over to a stream, not far away, but concealed by the nearby woods and not easily seen from the road. The Leaf nin, meanwhile, have the most relaxed pursuit in all of history, not having to do much more than move from cover to cover every so often. There's not even much risk of them getting caught, with the two men so focused on just getting where they're going. It's almost comical.
Finally, though, they reach their destination. There's a boat on the banks of the stream, with its bottom looking a little wet — obviously it's how these two characters got here in the first place. One man moves the boat out into the water, then they start the process of loading it. It's going to take a while, but if Atsuro and Daisuke wanna just grab them and interrogate them, this is probably their last chance for the time being. Otherwise, they'll have to follow. Atsuro gives Daisuke a look which somehow conveys all this.
High stepping from one cover to the next seemed like overkill for following these two as Daisuke makes his way along the road and off the path with Atsuro and Taizen. At least once the men moved off the path things picked up quickly. Daisuke first notices the boat on the shore and his mind whirls with the same thoughts he had with the last stage of the stakeout, pounce or follow. Both had merits and flaws, and it really was a question of what they wanted to accomplish. Catching Atsuro's look and understanding it all, he gives a questioning look before conveying that, again, it was the decision of catch two men or the whole gang, hoping Atsuro gets the message. Daisuke doesn't want just two flunkies, after all.
Atsuro nods, apparently getting the message, and agreeing. He waits as the men finish loading the crate, then the boat starts off, heading downstream. Fortunately, it's not going to be hard for ninja to keep up. Atsuro waits until they're a little farther down the stream, then he and Taizen come out from cover, crouched down and sticking to the darker spots of the forest as they follow the stream, keeping their distance, but being careful not to fall behind. So far, the two men don't seem to have noticed anything out of the ordinary as they continue down the stream, carried by its flow.
Daisuke sticks to the trees above Atsuro with a good view of the boat from within their foliage. With the darkening sky out, it should provide enough cover even if the two men decided to directly look at the tree he was in. Moving trees each time the boat moved away just enough, he keeps quiet and observes, occasionally looking ahead to see if there was any indication as to where this boat was going, any landmarks or caves or strongholds would be swell, especially as the evening moves on.
The stream leads farther and farther away from the town. After a while of following, it's fair to say they're quite deep into the wilderness. The stream twists and meanders occasionally, but there's nothing really all that special about the pursuit. Eventually, though, Daisuke up in the trees can spot a plume of smoke rising up from somewhere in the forest, and maybe hear the sound of chatter in the distance. And not long after this, the men bring the boat over to the side of the stream again and disembark, unloading the crate and starting to haul it again.
The camp isn't far away, and soon enough, they've lead the Leaf nin there. It's not a very impressive camp. Just a large campfire, plus some tents and a few barrels and crates — either for supplies, or more stolen goods. There are about five men already there, and they greet the two men, eager to inspect the crate. Seems like it's a little group of bandits, so far.
The stream chase wasn't the most thrilling, and with the sky darkening Daisuke hoped they didn't eventually lose them. The island wasn't that big to begin with so Daisuke assures himself that it shouldn't be long. Sure enough, he spots the plume of smoke from the trees and perks up. He looks down towards Atsuro, hoping to catch his attention. Either way, they will be moving into some action soon.
Moving from the stream to a good spot to observer the hand off was a bit tricky, more men meant more eyes so Daisuke had to be a bit more careful. Able to find a nearby vantage point, Daisuke silently watches what look like just a handful of bandits so far. He saw no issue with rounding them up, but he also knew from his many missions with bandits that it was best to wait for everything to be accounted for, so far there was no 'boss' type he could see.
Atsuro and Taizen can't see the smoke from where they are, but a nod from Atsuro back at Daisuke confirms that they can smell it. The Inuzuka duo croaches down in the bushes to watch the camp, occasionally exchanging glances with Daisuke. Daisuke is indeed right about there being no boss around. But after a short wait, it seems like there isn't going to /be/ any boss around. After exchanging greetings and such, the men open up the crate and produce a fancy-looking ottoman. Probably worth a good bit of money, but it's not clear why these guys would want it for their camp. Fortunately, once the men have calmed down a little, their conversation can be made out more clearly. It seems they're planning to give it to somebody in exchange for payment. But they don't clearly say whom, or where to find them.
After hearing what was generally the idea that the bandits had planned, Daisuke moves from his position to Atsuro's, crouching down in the bushes to discuss strategy. "It sounds like a typical hand off, the only problem being this could be something off-island that takes place every so often. Now my first instinct is to jump these guys, get the information out of them, and do the hand off ourselves. That way we reduce the amount of participants. What do you think?" he whispers to Atsuro as they continue to watch.
Atsuro nods, then grins. "Daisuke, you are only half as handsome as me, but twice as clever. I was planning on just jumping them and hoping we could get at least one of them to talk. Didn't take it that extra step." He nods slowly. "I think that makes a lot of sense. We take 'em alive and figure out what's up, then we can disguise ourselves as them and meet up with whoever on our own." If Daisuke agrees, they start getting in position, ready to leap out of the bushes and ambush the men, waiting for Daisuke to signal that he's ready too — or just go ahead and attack.
"We can discuss the actual fraction of handsomeness I am to you, which you mistakenly reversed, after we get these guys. I'll move back to my spot across the way then signal, lets do this quick and easy." Daisuke says with a grin, giving Taizen a good luck pat before he disappears again. As the men move from the entranceway to the camp, it was time to go, and Daisuke signals to Atsuro that it was time. Giving Atsuro a few moments to receive the signal, he would pounce, leaping from his tree and aiming two powerful chops towards the back of two of the camp men's necks in an attempt to subdue quickly, relying on his team to handle the others.
"I think I was mistakenly too generous to you," Atsuro teases back. Then he and Taizen get ready to strike, waiting for the signal. When it comes, they leap out of the bushes into the air. They spin like a pair of drills, smashing nearby trees and tents, but also any of the men Daisuke hasn't already dispatched, knocking them to the ground, and into unconsciousness. Once they're satisfied with the destruction they've caused, they land. "Well," says Atsuro, "That probably isn't that, but we've found another link in the chain, eh?"
Daisuke stands from tying up his two men tightly, looking at all the destruction Atsuro caused. "You know, if someone from the village saw this without seeing you tear up the place, they would totally blame me." he says, amazed at how clean he was and destructive Atsuro and Taizen were, like they had switched roles. He chuckles and looks around the camp, trying to locate anything else stolen. "Another link, and an unpleasant way of finding out where the chain leads. Never liked torture in interrogation. I suppose for now we should get everyone secured away and keep the fire going, it might be a long night."