Date: May 13, 2016
Tsugumi discovered some disturbing information and calls Team 13 out to the forest to discuss it.
"Fire Starters - Flint And Tinder"
Land of Fire
It's weeks after the mission that Rinoko led to capture members of the group known simply as 'the Bombers' right now, at least by Konohagakure authorities. It's clear now they aren't composed solely of Toujitakumi ninja. But something even more important was recently discovered, and now Tsugumi has gathered Team 13, or at least as much of it as she could, for a mission. The odd thing is that she just showed up to each of their homes gave minimal information and barely communicated, and then dragged them all out of the Village and into the forest.
She seems calm enough, though unwavering in insisting they have to move quickly. So she'd show up at the Hyuga Village, outside Aru's fancy Head Family estate, and wait just long enough for her to come out of the gates before getting a move on. She'd show up at Nonon's home just outside the village with her grandparents, rap her knuckles on her window of the Namikaze kunoichi's bedroom and announce, "We're going on a mission, hurry." And then start going. Similar for Rinoko, giving only the barest information, but expecting everyone to follow her without question. It's not usual behavior for her. Obviously her daughter would pick up something's wrong, even if the others don't.
But once they're well out of the Village and somewhere out in the forest beyond the Village's walls, she comes to a stop, her Sharingan active, and starts scanning around the area. For what is unclear, though presumably any signs of Chakra. "Aru. Rinoko. Suzu. Help search for any signs of other people in the area." What this is all about is still a mystery. But whatever it is, it's clear that it's something she doesn't want to be overheard.
Uchiha Suzuha does as her mother says because that's her mom! She is a bit toussel-haired, but it will get back into its usual spikes soon enough as she responds, "Haaiii!" when her mom shows up at her bedroom door, telling her they're going on a mission and to get dressed. Suzu has barely finished squeezing herself into her rather stretched fishnet undershirt when she sees her mom is already out on the street and MOVING! She grabs the rest of her outfit and is still hopping into her shorts and has yet to put her actual shirt on as she chases after Tsugumi. "Geez, okaa-san! Can't you at least wait for me to not be flashing everyone when I step out the door!?" she complains as she works to get her arms through her vest holes while covering herself up with whichever arm she isn't putting into such.
By the time she's fully dressed and zipped up, they're already half way to obtaining an Aru. And by the time they get a Nonon, Suzu still hasn't gotten any answers from her mother. "Mom? What's going on?" she asks. To no reply except being told to hurry. When they get Rinoko too, and everyone so far has as much information as she does, the younger Uchiha kunoichi is getting worried. Reime wasn't around when they picked up Aru, and they're in such a hurry that they apparently don't have time to go find her.
Something is up. The leaping and running through the forest to reach some secluded grove is a strain on her back and shoulders thanks to having to do without proper support in her hurry, but she just frowns and activates her Sharingan, as she mumbles, "Okay then…" She doesn't know what she'd see that her mom can't, but she gives it a try anyway. Four eyes are better than two. And if they stack Byakugan and seal techniques on top of that… Though what Nonon can contribute she doesn't know yet. She's still unfamiliar with the younger kunoichi's capabilities beyond 'being fast' and apparently having a Lightning affinity.
So they're looking for unusual Chakra, or Chakra that doesn't belong to the ones in their group, or… Something?
Willing to follow suit with Tsugumi despite the minimal information, Rinoko hurries out the door to assist. She herself is in a bit of disarray, at least for her, in a simple shirt and pants, but she quickly slips on her normal attire and heads out the door. No questions, simply obedience. That shows the amount of trust the Rankoro woman has in her superior to be quite definite.
With the instructions given, she reaches into her coat to withdraw a tag and try to detect any enemies that might be in the area. There is a spike in her chakra as well, though the reason isn't exactly clear right now. What the Uchiha and Hyuga would be able to see, however, is that her entire body is alight with chakra in a way that they would have never seen in her before.
Aru stared a bit at all the busty beauties in the group, and not for the first time wondered if that's a qualifying trait for the group. But then she saw Nonon's chest and discarded the idea. It's just a coincidence, surely… Also, there's Reime, of course.
Aru doesn't know where big sister Reime is, or why that slacker can't ever seem to be on the same missions as the rest of the team, but she'll give her a chewing out later. But for now, she has the situation to consider. Being gathered up without explanation, told they're on a mission, and then getting dragged out to the middle of the woods and told to make sure they aren't being watched? Because that's the only reason she can think of for why they'd have so manyh sensor nin trying so many different methods of scanning for trouble. Watchers, followers, whatever.
She activates her Byakugan after focusing her Chakra, because her 'at rest' power pool is too small to do much otherwise. But she still hasn't mastered the Byakugan and her range is limited. It should at least be enough to determine if anything odd is in play… Maybe.
She assumes they'll get their explanation after they make sure the area is safe. Assuming it's safe…
Once Aru does her scan, she detects a huge (to her eyes) amount of Chakra focused all around Rinoko, like she's never seen before. It's practically inhuman in its concentration! Is… Is this what she was supposed to scan for? Someone disguised as one of their own!? "…Tsugumi-sensei…" She points towards Rinoko. "It seems Rinoko-sensei's Chakra is a bit different than I remember it. At least in amount and how she's using it. Is this what you wanted us to look for?" Of course, as clever as she is, she's still inexperienced. Calling out Rinoko for looking different than usual might make her react violently if she's really a disguised enemy. And that is a LOT of Chakra. She could be very strong!
Also, she detects some bugs in the area, but they're practically unnoticeable compared to Rinoko.
Namikaze Nonon hops out the window of her bedroom when Tsugumi appears at, with only a call back to her grandparents, "I'm off on a mission! Be back soon, I hope!" She's already wearing her usual ninja gear, so she just had to snatch up her tool pouch and she's on her way. She doesn't ask questions during the trip, though she smiles sparklingly at Aru when the Hyuga examines her body and then seems to dismiss her.
How rude! n_n
Once they reach their destination, however, Nonon decides she's going to let the proper sensor-nin do the scanning. She's still working on developing some kind of sensory ability like that. But she is trained in observation, at least, and analysis. Even has a bit of a gift for it. So she does what the ones around her might not due to having such fancy and useful sensor abilities. She listens to the sounds of the forest around them. She scans the area for signs of disturbances, races up a tree onto a branch in an eyeblink and looks around from up there. Foot prints? Silhouettes? Anything out of the ordinary? It's difficult to imagine there'd be traps already set if this place was chosen at random.
She looks down towards Rinoko when Aru points out something unusual about her, but Nonon can't detect anything out of place. "No, no, Aru-chan. Those are boobs. I think her boobs have gotten bigger. Chakra is something else." she jokes, but she's sure that if there were any actual difference in Rinoko's Chakra, one of the Uchiha would have noticed the coloration change or something. Just because Nonon doesn't have a doujutsu doesn't mean she isn't at least informed on how they work.
"I don't see any signs of activity in the area other than ours. So…" She starts walking down the tree towards the ground. "Who were we hoping not to be followed by?"
Tsugumi scrutinizes Rinoko briefly, and then says, "Her Chakra is the same as her usual Chakra in terms of coloration. Your Byakugan should be able to determine that even better than I can. I know she's concentrating a lot of Chakra in one place, but it still looks like hers, doesn't it?" Once she gets reports back from others, she'll take the next step in this 'mission'. She answers Nonon by saying, "There was a man who helped one of the bombers escape from the intel division during an interrogation. I mentioned this to you all before. He was seriously injured and captured, and has been in the hospital for months. All attempts at waking him to question him have been blocked and sidelined."
Tsugumi rests her hands on her hips and looks around at the others. "I disobeyed standing orders to leave him be, and used Genjutsu to interrogate him while he was comatose." She waits for that to sink in, and for any objections. Then she just says, "And my reason was to find out who in the Hidden Leaf has been helping the Bombers and their allies get in and out of the Village. I had to go against the chain of command to do so, but I was successful."
Suzu doesn't notice any usual Chakra in the area… Though Rinoko DOES have a lot of Chakra all over her. "Maybe her clothes are a disguised ninja, clinging to her…?" she mutters, ignoring Nonon's theory. But her mom quickly dismisses it and explains it. "Oh, okay! That's a relief—" Suzu starts, then her mom tells them what this is about. And Suzu closes her mouth. She thinks carefully… "…Okay." More quiet. "…Did you find anything?" She understands the implications, she thinks, but… You know. Kind of important that it achieved a result that was worth it.
Rinoko blinks when Aru points her out rather than some enemy, though she manages not to show her embarrassment. When Nonon, however, points out her breasts and that they've apparently increased in size, she blushes deeply. "Um… I don't think… that I'm the subject of the search…"
Breathing a sigh of relief when the attention is finally off her, she looks back to Tsugumi and listens to the explanation of the situation. So Tsugumi's been breaking a few rules, and they are likely doing so in this mission and could wind up in a lot of trouble… But they are a team, and, whatever Tsugumi's found out and whatever they're here for, she's certain it's worth the risk.
Aru pauses… Frowns. And allows the veins in alongside her eyes to fade back under her skin. "You're right. My apologies." She listens to the explanation and doesn't have much to add. This is already waaaay above her paygrade. Given her inexperience, she's inclined to listen and learn rather than speak up.
That is a serious thing to announce, yes. So who they're hiding from… Could be the Village itself. Or at least people in it. ANBU, even, if these people have that much authority… Though technically, ANBU are only supposed to obey the Hokage. And Nonon doesn't want to think about it going that high up. Instead, she decides to point something else out. "And informing us of this, now we're all implicated." Nonon mentions calmly, no sign of her usual smile and cheerfulness. "You knew this, but told us anyway. Meaning this isn't something you think you could handle on your own… Or you don't know who else to go to. Or, I suppose, it means you want to take others down with you, but I doubt you'd include your daughter in this mess if that was the case."
Infact, including Suzu means this situation may be even more dire than anticipated.
Tsugumi nods to Nonon's analysis. "More or less. There's someone close to the Hokage who shouldn't be. A man named Moroi. He's an advisor on the Village's administrative manners. And he seeks to become the next Hokage by aiding these insurgents in dismantling the current Hidden Leaf, so that people lose confidence in Senju Daisuke. I'm not sure how far his influence extends, since he's kept to the shadows up until now." She looks to Rinoko and says, "My husband has been investigating all this, as a member of the Konohagakure police force. I think he's in danger as a result. But just accusing this man isn't going to be enough. And using the memories of a man who is comatose who I interrogated against orders as testimony isn't going to be enough. So honestly, yes. This isn't something I can do myself."
She folds her arms and looks around at everyone. "I wouldn't have involved all of you if I could have avoided it. But I don't know who else I can trust at this point. We need to catch Moroi in the act, get solid evidence, and then take him down. And with Ken as a potential target, we can't take forever. I have ideas, but I want to hear what you all think as well."
Suzu is a bit terrified hearing all this. Someone in such a position of power and apparently corrupt enough to have such widespread plans and now… Now her dad's in danger? "Uh… I…" She doesn't know. She doesn't know where to even start with this. "W-well… Obviously we should rescue dad, right? We've got to warn him! That's our first priority!" She clenches her fists in determination. "…Right? I mean, first we warn dad, and… Or maybe we warn the Hokage first? Or ANBU if we have to. The ANBU are loyal only to the Hokage!" Or that's the theory, as Nonon realized too.
Rinoko is a bit at a loss… She's known that situations such as this can happen, but dealing with one personally is going to be tough. "Warning either of them could mean notifying the enemy and putting them in a worse position than they are in now," she points out, glancing to Suzu then back to Tsugumi. "… Is there any intelligence on when he'll make his next move?" she asks thoughtfully, trying to put all pieces of the puzzle they are provided together in her head.
Aru is still completely out of her league. She looks down thoughtfully. "…I can't see the Hyuga Clan leaders being involved in this. Or all the other Clan Heads. It would be directly undermining their own influence. It's hard to tell who to trust, but if we tell enough people, then there's no way they'll be able to silence everyone." She knows this is probably a terrible plan, but it's all she can think of.
Nonon thinks over this. Everyone has… Some kind of point. Even if not all good ones. Nonon doesn't have the experience of Rinoko or Tsugumi, certainly. Or at least not the age and wisdom. But she did learn one thing from that mission to capture the Bombers. "Turnabout." She looks up. "They knew we were going on a mission to come after them, led us to believe one thing, and then did another. If 'we' went on a mission, letting the enemy know where 'we' are, they won't be expecting us to show up. And when we show up, it should be to go after the target they wouldn't expect us to."
Nonon looks up. "Like a lady named Aoiko taught me: If they don't know where we really are or what we can really do, they can't plan to counter us. So we have someone who can make up fake 'us'es go on a 'mission' to lure the wrong kinds of company. And then someone like, say, our Genjutsu expert, with the strongest back-up she can get, goes after the lynchpin that's informing the enemies… Moroi himself."
Tsugumi nods apologetically to Suzu. "I feel the same way. I want to get my husband out of danger as soon as possible. But rushing to do so might put him in even more danger." She thinks about Aru's idea and says, "Informing people incase we fail in our mission is a good idea. Or rather having insurance that we can use as a bargaining chip. If we fail or are captured, having all the information we've gathered delivered to as many people in authority as possible could be very valuable. But again, we don't know who we can trust right now." She looks to Rinoko. "Do you think you could arrange to have animated paper deliver itself via a Fuinjutsu command of some kind if you triggered it?"
Then, as Tsugumi begins to answer Rinoko's question, Nonon makes her suggestion. Tsugumi thinks about it, and then nods. "I don't know when he'll make his next move. The information I obtained was months out of date. But I know how to find out when his next move will be… By dictating his response. If we go on a fake mission, as Nonon suggests, we'll know when he'll strike. And if we allow it to slip that we might be onto him, or tracking down information that could lead to Moroi, he may panic or focus on us specifically." Tsugumi taps her chin. "If I could make Shadow Clones…" But she can't. And her talents lie elsewhere. "If I could isolate Moroi himself, I believe I could take him down non-lethally with Genjutsu. I'd just need eye contact and it would be over. He's just a civilian advisor as far as I know, but I'd rather not take chances. I'd like at least one person to back me up. Meaning it will be up to as few people as possible to fake the entire team, but also be skilled enough to take on anyone who comes after them."
Tsugumi looks at Suzu. "I think you need to be one of those people. You've grown so much since you started down your path of the shinobi. I think you're strong enough to handle this responsibility. I'm… Loathe to put you in danger. But I trust you to make it through."
Then she looks to Rinoko and says, "Do you have recommendations for who else would be on the decoy team?"
Suzu feels a bit bad for not thinking of that, but she's honestly just kind of panicking. The points everyone else make sound… Well… Sound! But the idea that she might be one of those who goes on the 'decoy team', that her mother trusts her THAT much, and has recognized her growth to THAT degree? Suzu is… She's… She's just overwhelmed with emotion. She takes in a shuddering breath and wipes moisture from her eyes, which have lost their Sharingan after it was determined they were alone.
Then she says, "Thank you… I mean…! I'll complete my mission!"
Then she looks to Aru and says, "If Aru were the only one left in the Village, and was doing simple D-Rank missions… Maybe she could plant or deliver the messages covertly, all around the Village. If she can find Reime, they could even do it together to make it seem less suspicious for only one Genin. That would free up Rinoko-sensei to help on one of the other teams too." Yes! They can do this! They can make it work! They'll save everyone for sure!