Date: September 6, 2014
Konoha's couriers have their hands full with the spring bounties of pigeon and hawk chicks! They seek the help of a few responsible shinobi, and that's just what they get.
"It's For The Birds"
Konoha - Hokage's Lookout - Aeries
The light is just now breaking over the horizon, or at least it's trying to break through the thick fog creeping along close to the ground. The air is thick and humid for today, but at least there isn't an unbearable heat behind it, so there was at least a tiny silver lining to a day like today. The chapter is coming to a close on spring, but it is only marking the beginning of another story. Thankfully this bright, cheerful season has blessed Konoha with quite a few hatchlings; messenger hawks and pigeons alike. Each tiny bird is usually taken to be hand raised by the special vets and couriers that are used to working with them, that way they are accustomed to a human hand and can be trained to hone their naturally sharp directional skills. Unfortunately, there were only so many people who could take the time to work with them one on one, so a call for help had to be placed with the shinobi. They were the most responsible amongst the village, only they could be trusted to take care of the baby birds in between their handlers' visits.
Ikari stands at the base of the look out, with her head tilted up to listen to one of the academy's instructors. "Now Ikari-chan. I know you are used to a more hands on role in the missions you have…helped with…" She reluctantly uses the word 'help' and doesn't sound too happy about all the danger this child has already put herself in, "But this time, you are going to be more of an…observer…I just want you to take notes about how you see the shinobi working and how everything is planned according to the situation. A good shinobi is always aware and patient. Now if they -ask- for your help, you may. But only if they ask. When you have all of your notes, I want a brief essay on what you've learned." Ikari's posture slumps a little when writing is brought up, "Yes Miki-chan…" She could at least be thankful for the fact that they were a little easier on her in regards to her writing and spelling and it was a chance to receive helpful critisism to further improve it.
This must be one of Noab's assistants' idea of a PR move. -.U;
Seriously, who puts a LITERALLY half-blind old man with sausage-sized fingers and fifty-pound grip strength in charge of handling a critter that could snap if you poked it wrong!?!? >.U; Especially when said old man has arguably far more important duties to take care of! But nooo, the schedule for today brought Noab to the eyerie to babysit chicks. :P He sits with a nestful of the little peepers, trying to get them accustomed to contact with a human hand without crushing them in the process. "Can't you maggots form a decent line?" he mutters. "I can't keep track of which of you is which."
Dealing with hatchling, messenger birds was indeed a job for only the most responsible of individuals. So why was Yasuki called out for such a delicate task…Must be Nobunaga's doing, the boy thought as he stood in front of a batch of the little birds. His sensei must figure if he spreads rumors of the Yamanaka as being dependable, enthusiastic and energetic, people might believe it to be true. He'd sigh as he'd glance up and peer about at the others that were gathered for such a task. Seeing a rather large man here as well came to a shock, but when he spots Ikari, Yasuki began to wonder if maybe that was her dad…Like a take your daughter to work kind of thing. "Ikari!" He'd offer a wave to the girl when she noticed before shifting his attention back to the birds, reaching out to poke one or two.
Each shinobi that was there to work with the birds would be left with a check list to go through. The first on the list was helping with the cataloging; weighing their birds, updating their age, making sure they were alert, and giving them their eye-dropper sized medicine to make sure they stay healthy. Next was the feeding both the pigeons and hawks got food specially designed for them (though the older hawks simply feed on raw, shredded meat). Finally, the baby sitting would be ending with just making sure the chicks didn't cause any trouble until the handlers returned.
The four baby pigeons don't comprehend Noab's lecturing and they all blindly crawl to try and form a little pile on the large, cushiony palm. Without hardly any down feathers yet, they had to do something to keep warm. They're all warm and it is easy to feel each of their little hearts racing. The hawk hatchlings in front of Yasuki look much fluffier and larger than Noab's, already covered in their white down coat, with their eyes wide open. When Yasuki reaches out to try and poke at them, his fingers are greeted with pecks and loud squeaky squawks of warning and hunger. He better be careful working with baby hawks, even at this age those sharp beaks weren't entirely for show.
Ikari perks up at the sound of her name and she takes a break from watching a Genin work with weighing his three hatchlings to wave at him, "Hiya Yasuki-san! I didn't think I'd see you here. You helpin' with the birdies too?" She peeks to see what sort of birds Yasuki got paired with, "Aw they're really fluffy…just lemme know if you need help okay? Th'teacher said I can help as long as someone asks…" Another familiar sound, she turns to look at Noab and grins brightly, "Noab-sensei! How're you? And those aren't maggots silly, they're birdies…oh! Same offer goes t'you! Lemme know if I can fetch anything."
Noab rolls his eye at Ikari. "They're maggots as far as I'm concerned. No discipline, no organization, no sense of camaraderie. Look at 'em, clambering over their siblings like they were sacks of rice." :P Back when Noab was a baby, he came out saluting and standing at attention, clearly. Noab eyes his checklist. Weight? Hmph, he can tell you what all four of them together weigh in his hand, 'hardly nothin''. Age? What's that supposed to mean, they all just hatched. -.U; Alertness? Considering that one just sat on his brother's head, and the other doesn't seem to notice himself, 'pretty darn useless'. Medicine…hrm. "Well, maybe there is something you can help me with, my hands are too big to work with this eyedropper. Ration each one a drop of this stuff, would you?"
"I didn't think I'd see me here either." Yasuki frowned before jerking and pulling his finger away from the hungry birds that managed to get a good nip in, prompting him to briefly place the finger in his mouth, "Ow." He'd mutter as he shifted his attention to Noab once again, upset at his own luck he wasn't fast enough at handing the responsibilities or the entire checklist off to Ikari first. "Seems that man needs more help than I. Be ashame if he squished one of the messenger pigeons that may some day deliver a message to me that might save my life…" It was unlikely of course, but you never know. "I should be fine. This'll probably build character or something." Reading through his list then shaking his head as he glanced at the harks before him. They looked pudgy. That's a weight. Probably needs to be more accurate. Sighing, Yasuki reached out to grab one of the fluffy birds to gauge their weight. "Maybe a couple ounces?" Was their a scale nearby? Eh, he was probably close enough.
There is a scale nearby! Just big enough to weigh baby birdies! Whenever the hawk hatchling is scooped up, it starts trying to kick its little legs and flap its little wings in protest. This might add to the difficulty if Yasuki did want to get a more accurate reading on the weight. The other hawk is more than happy to have his nesting place all to himself, and proceeds to try and squawk and squeak for its next meal. The poor little guy is barely able to stay up, and constantly topples over onto his tummy and sides.At least Noab and Yasuki are not alone with some of their less than precise recordings, and it seems quite a few of the other Genin participating are jotting down vague answers to the questions. After all, most've those questions would just be answered by the vet later anyways, right?
Ikari bobs her head at Noab when he asks for help with the medicine and carefully retrieves the dropper. She gets some medicine ready and whistles to try and get the babies' attention, "Coome on little nakie birdies…open up your mouths." Since the baby birds perceive the whistles as a potential meal, their heads dart up with their mouths wide open and squeaking. "Help me…try and keep track of which ones get th'medicine…" Ikari pokes her tongue out of her mouth while she concentrates on squirting one dose of medicine for each bird. They aren't very happy about it, and even though a birds' expressions might be limited, they definitely have something akin to a sour face.
Noab grmphs. "I'll try, but my eye isn't as good as yours probably are." Fortunately it turns out the chicks give a pretty good indication of whether they've been given medicine already. "Oh, don't like your rations, do you? What a horrible tragedy. Maybe we should just feed you beetle innards arranged like little cupcakes with minced worms for frosting. SUCK IT UP, MAGGOTS!" >P Speaking of which, wonder what goes into the bird food they're supposed to be giving out. e.U Noab picks up the packaging and peers at it for a moment, then shrugs and pours out the contents. "Guess they're probably too incompetent to feed themselves too. Think you could drop these pellets down their gullets?"
Catching sight of a scale, Yasuki would clutch up the other hawk that was starting to get used to having the nest to itself. At least that means it has some level of awareness. That with the fight the first hawk was putting up in protest of being held, they both passed one test at least. Something he'd remember for later as he moved to the scale to get a more accurate reading of one of the hawks and then the other. "Huh… Looks like I wasn't too far off." Finishing another assignment he'd return to the nest to drop off his fluff balls before making a few notes on the checklist.
Ikari giggles a little when she sees the funny faces the baby pigeons make after they get their medicine. They don't seem to respond much to Noab's drill sergeant yelling and just continue to shake their heads and bicker/peep crankily amongst themselves. She bobs her head and reaches over to pick out some of the pellets. She leans in to try and peek at Noab's check list. "Look like they's supposed to have…three pellets each. And we're supposed to mush it into a bit of a paste too.." She snickers and starts to mush and roll the first pellet up before she scrapes it off of her finger and into its awaiting beak.The little guy responds much more positively to -this- food, and greedily tries to peep at Ikari for more imediately. "Wait just a minute…gosh are all babies this impatient?"
She looks over her shoulder at Yasuki curiously. She was a little more worried about him than Noab, since he had actual hawks to work with. "How's it goin' Yasuki? You still doin' ok?" The hawk does not appreciate when Yasuki takes him away from his much more open nest, and tries to peck and nip at the fingers holding him while he flaps his wings. The other hawk proceeds to try and make a less than grand escape by flopping its way out've the scale whenever its turn is done. They both manage to make it back to the nest ok, and proceed to try and peck and yank on each other feathers in a territorial manner. Though they're about the same size thanks to the hand rearing, the boy is definitely a smidge bigger and has a tiny advantage. In the natural world, sometimes a tiny advantage is all you need.
Noab scratches his head. "I wouldn't really know. Never was a family man." -.U Noab glances over at Yasuki's fighting hawks, as he can't do much besides hold the pigeons as they're being fed. "Get deeper in there, you miserable chicken! You can't win if you're not willing to take some risks! You there, stop letting go when he counterbites!" >P
No…"Yeah, I'm fine." Yasuki would offer in response as he set the checklist down to inspect his hands. His fingers must have looked like worms to the little fellas. Reasons like this is why he'd prefer the comfort of a field of grass compared to putting himself in danger. Yes, handling hatchlings was considered danger. His hands were proof. Sighing, he'd lean closer toward the nest and watch as the two hawks began to fight "Stop that. Your brother and sister." Poking at the pair again, though trying to be quicker this time to save his hands the pain. "Next on the list is medicine, but I'll feed you first to hopefully calm your pecking. Medicine after." He'd reach for the food, the shredded raw meat and tear it into smaller pieces and holding a portion in each hand above the hawks to separate them.
"You don't got any? Aren't you too old to have any now?" Ikari giggles a little, but continues to focus on helping to feed the pigeons. She finally manages to get to the second one, but the first still thinks that it's her turn and tries to push each chick that Ikari tries to turn her focus to out of the way. "Hey…stop it. I can't…feed the rest of them…" She carefully tries to pick up the greedy chick and offers it to Noab's other hand, "This one needs a time out." With the chubby, greedy one out of the way, it is a little easier to focus on feeding the others.
In the meantime, the hawks continue to bicker and the brother even pulls out a beak full of fluffy white feathers. It shakes his head and falls over trying to get the downy fluff out of his mouth. Him and his sister scramble up onto the tips of their talons in an attempt to reach the shredded meat. The sister tries to get a little bit of height by trying to climb over the brother's back. They might not really care whether they get bits of meat or somebody's finger, food was food.
Noab cups his other hand to trap the offending chick within it. "You heard the lady, it's solitary confinement for you, maggot. Not that I expect you to notice any difference." e.U Noab nods to Ikari. "Affirmative, it would be pretty unlikely that I could have children at this age. Especially since that would involve getting married." :P
Not wanting to be bit once again, Yasuki was quick to simply drop the meat into the nest, then tear off a couple more smaller pieces from the shredded meat and drop them in the nest as well. Once those appetizers were scarfed down, Yasuki had a full meal waiting for them as soon as they started begging again. Except it wasn't meat that awaited them. It was an eye dropper filled with medicine.
The tiny bird tries to peep in protest, but the peeps are only muffled by Noab's fingers being around it. Since its voice probably won't be heard, it proceeds to try and peck and bite his hand, shaking and pinching whatever she can. Ikari grins as she gently scrapes the last bit of smushed pellet into the baby pigeon's mouth, "You don't like any pretty ladies? Papa says he met Momma when he wassa teenager. He always says even though she got him in a lotta trouble when he was tryin' to impress her, he wouldn't change it." She starts to try and brush off the last remaining bits of bird food from her hands, "Ok. They're all fed. What else we gotta do?"
Meanwhile, now that the meat is in the nest, the chicks dive and tussle over what bits and pieces they can. When all the meat is gone and them still thinking that their bellies are empty, they jump up to reach the eye dropper. They are sorely disappointed though when they find that it's just bitter medicine instead of the yummy meat they were expecting. They both fall over trying to shake their heads to get rid of the taste, and the brother takes his anger out on the sister by kicking at her with his talons. A small group of handlers come out and one by one start to relieve the Genin and others of their temporary duties with the chicks. "Ah Akimichi Noab and…" This handler looks down at a clipboard to double check a name, "Yamanaka Yasuki. Were there any problems you'd like to report? If not, then you are both dismissed and great job. Your help is really appreciated."
Noab snorts. "Even if I did, no pretty ladies would like me. But no, I don't particularly care about romance. I spent my youth fighting for the clan and I don't have any regrets about it. Let the rest of 'em worry about having kids."
When the handlers arrive to take over, Noab shrugs. "Only problem was I had to spend the morning looking after a bunch of squeaking balls of feathers. I appreciate being relieved, gentlemen." Noab turns over the chicks, then heads on out to handle the next thing on his schedule.
Yasuki would snicker at the reactions from the hawks as they suffer through their medicine. "You'll grow big and strong now." Offering a smile until seeing the angry reaction of the male. "Except you tubbs if you keep that up." Poking at the brother to knock it away with plans on continuing to do such if he didn't behave himself. Though as the handlers appear, Yasuki would straighten up and shrug at the question, "I don't know. That one weighs more, probably needs to be put on a diet. It might also explain why he's so aggressive. Taking out his anger on his sister. I'd offer suggestions on fixing the issue, but I don't know about such things. Anyways, happy to help." Offering a wave before starting to head out himself, passing Ikari on the way. "Nice seeing you again. Maybe once your done with your studies we can get together. Perhaps lure Nobunaga into giving us a free meal again." Another wave and he'd be off.