Date: October 1, 2010
In a race against the clock to retrieve a specialist for a dying man who holds vital info, a pair from Kumogakure encounter opposition from a source thought extinct…
"Fetch the Doctor"
Mountains of the Land of Lightning
Sometimes police operations don't go as planned. Shoot, it's rare that they go entirely without a hitch. Take the Kumogakure PD's recent arrest of a certain yakuza goon--a goon who wasn't very important himself, but happened to have a key piece of knowledge the police need to bust a money laundering operation. The plan worked like clockwork for the most part--the crook was caught by surprise, none of his cohorts were there to foul things up, and the arrest was made easily. Only problem was, the goon fell and hit his head, putting him into a coma. Ironic, how running around a corner and being surprised by a talking crow can do more damage than a squad of ninja cops in pursuit. e.e
Anyway, the doctor's assessment is that the goon doesn't have much chance to live, and probably won't wake up before kicking the bucket. That is, unless a specialist can be brought in to fix his condition. Since the info trapped inside that damaged head is so important, and the other crooks are doubtless already working to clean up any trace of the laundering operation, the police have made fetching such a specialist a high priority. Plus, y'know, maybe they can save the rat's life, for what it's worth. e.e Anyhow, since speed is essential, only two ninja have been sent on this mission--Chief Investigator Saito Jon, and Fierce Beast Cat-Fist expert Nagayama Amaya, a married couple very well qualified for the task both individually and as a team.
The specialist which the duo have been sent to retrieve lives in an isolated laboratory some distance from Kumogakure. Funny, how these brilliant scientists feel a need to get away from society to conduct their research. If you ask them, they might tell you that human activity could disrupt their experiments, or they need the isolation to keep themselves focused. Jon's first impulse is to expect that some of the experiments are less than legal, but for the moment that's not as important as securing this scientist's help. As the little shack up on a mountainside comes into view, Scruvo swoops down glides alongside Jon and Amaya. "Oi, 'old up! Looks like th'brainy wallah went out fer a walk, only it wos somebody else's idea. Door's open an' theah's a bit o' smashed glass an' all inside." Jon frowns. "Sounds like our crooks have friends in this neighborhood."
Amaya is a field operative these days. She spends more time abroad, either in the Land of Lightning or other countries than she does in Kumogakure proper. So it is not exactly surprising that upon returning home from an extended mission she finds herself being sent out on another mission instead of being allowed to jump her husband and spend time with him for however many days she has available to her. Usually one or two. Sometimes three. Rarely more than that.
However, it >is< a surprise when she gets told that her mission is actually to work >with< Jon for once! The details aren't as important as the fact that she isn't going to be sent out immediately with no time to catch up. So she enthusiastically re-equipped herself with the few ninja tools she bothers carrying regularly and the two of them trekked across the mountain sides and vast grassy plateaus of the Land of Lightning until they found themselves here.
"…Sounds like they've already been here." That sets off all kinds of alarm bells in the back of her mind, but there's not a lot of time to stand around. Rather than waste precious seconds asking what a 'brainy wallah' is, she instead asks, "Does it look like there's anyone around still? Like ambushers? Or are they gone completely? If they anticipated we'd come looking for this medical scientist guy then they could have set up a trap too, nyah. Then again, if they're going to this much trouble to keep us from finding out what we want to know, they might not leave anyone behind who could be interrogated… So if they had the time to set up a trap, it'd be something like… I don't know. A bomb. Nevermind, Scruvo. I don't think investigating right now is important. Hmm…"
Running a hand through her white mane of hair, Amaya considers options. Time is running out. "Looks like we're going to have to track them somehow. There's plenty of soft soil around here. If they were walking they'd leave footprints. If they have horses, then even with those there'd be tracks. We need to find those tracks. Scruvo, can you fly as high as you can for us and look around up there? See if you spot anything odd? Gatherings of people, odd structures, things moving that shouldn't be… Anything of that nature." Then she begins searching the area for any traces of the kidnappers.
Scruvo shakes his head. "Didn't see anythin' funny-lookin' besides th'remains of th'scuffle up theah. I ain't exactly a ninja bird, but I seen enough crook traps'n'ambushes t'say they ain't bothahed settin' one up, unless they got an expaht wi' 'em. Coulda missed it then. Anyhow, from wot I could tell, they 'eaded off around th'mountain, away from Kumo. I'll go see if I kin spot 'em now." Jon nods thoughtfully as Scruvo takes off. "That makes sense. Their objective is to keep the stoolie in his coma, so they're trying to take our specialist as far from Kumogakure as possible."
Meanwhile, Amaya's search reveals something interesting. There are indeed quite a few hoofprints leading up the side of the mountain…and along with them, a set of human footprints. Footprints moving in a long stride, and apparently keeping pace with the horses rather easily. It doesn't take a detective to surmise what that must mean.
"We'd better keep moving," Jon says, starting forward again. "Not only does every second count for our chances of busting those scum, the doctor could be in dang--" Suddenly there is a sickening twang of wire, and a huge bamboo lattice with spikes stuck through it springs up from the ground and whips down toward Jon. o.O;
Amaya does not immediately put together that the strides in the trail are those of a ninja. This is an error on her part. She thought maybe it was just someone really tall. That brief delay before her training and experience 'click' is almost enough for something bad to happen to Jon. But she realizes in time that there is someone ninja-trained among these criminal goons, and starts to warn her husband. Most ninja would not be able to react in time. Infact, even most Jounin do not have the speed and agility to do what Amaya does next. But a combination of feline-like instincts and trained reflexes enables her to somehow do several flips (not cartwheels) >sideways< while continuing to face forward, hooks her elbows under Jon's armpits as her mid-air, but low-height flips carry her behind him, and then brings him along with when she goes flipping out of the path of the punji stick trap.
She attaches her feet to the nearest surface with Chakra once she has finished her nearly ridiculously fast and impossible-looking acrobatics display, and stays there until she is certain that Jon and herself are safe. "Guess we were looking for traps in the wrong place, and they >do< have an expert with them." Thank you, Captain Obvious! "Let me go first, Jon-kun."
Whoa! @.@ One second Jon was staring at a nasty array of pointy objects rushing at him, the next he was hanging by his armpits in Amaya's embrace. c.c; Jon generally enjoys Amaya's embrace, but this isn't the most comfortable form of it he's experienced by a long chalk. Of course, it certainly beats being trapped under a bamboo flyswatter with multiple puncture wounds. "Thanks, Amaya-chan," Jon says after being dropped. "Can't believe I let myself get so careless--"
Just then there is a whizzing sound, and a cloud of senbon fly out of the forest toward the pair. Jon draws his rod swiftly and spins it, deflecting the needles in a circular area that protects both of them--mostly, anyway, a couple needles slips past and sting Jon's ankle. >.<; That may have been a mechanically-achieved attack, but it was no simple trap, it was manually aimed and triggered. Jon hurls a kunai with a tag attached in the direction from which the senbon came, then makes a handseal. There is a blast, and a shadowy form leaps through the trees to avoid being caught in it. "Launch time Whiskers!" Jon shouts, and grabs Amaya's hands. There is a spurt of chakra from the soles of Jon's feet, and he spins around rapidly before hurling Amaya at the foe.
Many would be completely surprised by being grabbed and spun around and thrown right after senbon come flying in from nowhere and are barely blocked at all. Many also have not trained exhaustively with their lifemates to obtain absolute trust and coordination in regard to Collaboration Taijutsu. Amaya and Jon are not one of those many.
When Amaya is hurled through the air, the specialty of the Neko-Ken style comes into play. That specialty is 'Mid-Air Combat'. Seriously, that is what the style focuses on. How often does that sort of thing come up? More often than one would think! Thus, as she sails towards the blur leaping from the trees, she does not hesitate, merely readies herself, pulling back both elbows and turning her hands so that her fingers face upwards while she clenches them into fists. Then, when she is close enough to the enemy, there is a small 'ripple' of red Ki that flows down her arms into her hands, as well as into her feet. She proceeds to slash at their attacker with a combination of two raking attacks with her fingers, one after the other, and then two claw-tipped kicks in a double-roundhouse fashion.
She wraps it up with an attempt to grab the target with one hand by any loose bit of clothing or an extremity within reach, and hurl him in much the same way that Jon hurled her a moment ago right back down to the ground. Maybe she should have started off slower, but this guy is obviously intending to kill them so she has no reason to hold back -- though she also does not intend to kill him in return.
The mystery assailant evidently prefers long-range assault, and he's set the situation up to take advantage of that. He can dodge and hide amongst the trees against any straight-lined long-range attack; after all, the disadvantage of throw weapons is that the attacker has no control over the weapon once it leaves their hands. An intelligent missile which aggressively responds to his movements, however, appears to be a new one on him. o.O;;; Amaya's claws rip over his flesh despite his attempt to dodge away. He does prove skilled enough to avoid her final grab, though. "Didn't pay me enough for this," he hisses, doing a few handseals. He slaps a palm to the ground, and a strange contraption appears in a puff of smoke. It's like some weird mechanical man, a skeleton formed of metal tubes and a diverse array of attached weaponry. Grabbing a pair of levers on the mech's back, the assassin manipulates it to advance on Amaya, jabbing with blades and swinging heavy weights on chains.
Meanwhile, Jon has been running to close the distance. He gathers up his chakra and focuses on the enemy ninja, preparing to bring a swift end to the combat.
Amaya lands after her mid-air assault only to be confronted with a mechanical man… Skeleton… Thing. Some kind of machine. It also is armed with blades and chains and weights. Probably intended more to keep her out of arm's reach than to do damage, though it can probably do the latter as well. If this guy is a long-range combatant than he won't want Amaya getting in close unless he has a distinct advantage. So she plays along at first, using a mix of Chakra and her own agility to evade the weapons by side-stepping and ducking, and then suddenly appearing to vanish in a blur that heads off to her left.
The blur is an after-image, because Amaya is actually trailing what appears to be a an army-green streak, as though her legs and turned into an indistinct 'tail', and her long, snow-white hair likewise trails behind her in a streak of its own. The overall impression, for anyone with the reaction time and quickness of perception to even see this, is that Amaya seems to be like two differently colored stripes of paint that eventually resolve into a completed image of herself. That 'image' is >behind< the ninja now, and is the >real< Amaya.
And she is not going to hold back now that she has flanked the enemy! She channels Geki into one hand, causing her fingernails to lengthen and harden into claws. She slashes once at his machine in an attempt to sever its 'spine', and then performs another of those super-fast maneuvers. This time, she simply leaps straight up, about seven feet in the air, and then tries to drive a foot down at an angle to the back of the ninja's head. Even if she doesn't hit somehow, she'll hopefully at least distract him enough for Jon to nail him with something. She knows her husband well enough to figure that he won't just stand around while Amaya does the fighting.
The enemy ninja gasps as a clawed hand shoots past him from behind and slashes gratingly against his machine's support column. c.C; But of course it doesn't do anything, the special metal is far too str--*CLANG* The ninja gasps again as his precious weapon falls apart, and--what the bleep!?!? Now its parts are reconfiguring and forming a cage around him! What's going on!?!?
What's going on, as it happens, is that all this is in the ninja's head, an illusion created by Jon. Paralyzed by the imaginary constrictions, he becomes an easy target for Amaya's kick. The powerful blow knocks the ninja out like a light. "Great work, Whiskers," Jon says, pulling out a pair of ninja cuffs. "I'll make sure he doesn't go anyplace, and then we can get after the other goons."
And, since we're a little short on time, we'll skim over the rest of the mission. Jon and Amaya do handily rescue the good doctor, with plenty of flaying fun on the crooks. They return in time to revive the informant, and thanks to some clever interrogation involving genjutsu to make him think he wakes up in the company of his comrades, the police gain the vital info they need and make an effective bust on the money launderers. The ninja they hired, ironically, required treatment similar to the other guy, and grudgingly spilled the identity of his employer, a corrupt Kumogakure official. The resulting investigation, however, turned up a disturbing loose end. The corrupt official had been collaborating with an anonymous messenger who claimed association with a name long thought erased from effective existence: the Kyakume Crime Syndicate.