Date: July 13, 2012
A team of ninja participate in a scientific endeavor to study a giant snake.
The deserts of the Land of Wind appear to be a barren, waterless, plantless, lifeless wasteland to most people. There actually IS life here, and water can be found as well if one knows where to look and how to gather it. However, the fact remains that the desert is an inhospitable place to be without protection. The Eastern Desert is the great, barren expanse that lies between the border of the Land of Wind's border with the Land of Rivers, and the Hidden Sand Village.
Sunagakure lies to the west, and the border lies generally eastwards. North is empty desert.
B-rank: Noted zoologist Wani Ryoushi has requested a mission to implant
tracking and monitoring devices in a Greater Krayt, a burrowing snake
monster which roams the deserts of the Land of Wind. Due to the high
difficulty of the mission and a personal interest in the scientific
endeavor, the Kazekage will personally lead this mission.
This week on CrocodileKrayt Hunter! Wani Ryoushi prepares to go after the biggest momma Krayt of them all! "This is it, mates, the wildest 'unt of me career!" Starring special guest hunters including Kokoroe Sousa, the Kazekage of Sunagakure! "The pursuit of knowledge must not be deterred when it leads down a hazardous path." Tune in for adventure, thrills, and thick accents!
So yeah, Sunagakure (and a couple of non-affiliated ninja) have been commissioned to help this crazy zoologist implant tracking and monitoring devices in a Greater Krayt. Which is a giant snake monster. Which burrows through the sand with its brood. And is typically only found on the surface in sandstorms. Ryoushi is currently explaining the operation of his peculiar sail-equipped sandboards to the assembled shinobi while they wait for the coming sandstorm. "Remembah, always weave in th'wind, try t'keep it blowin' at least partly on y'side. Y'let it blow straight into y'sail from behind too long an' it might pick ya up an' jam y'nose into th'sand. You mates wot live around 'eah probably know what happens if y'stay in one spot in a sandstorm this size, you'll be buried in seconds!"
Sousa eyes the dark line on the horizon. "We'll need our most nimble members to take on the task of getting onto the Greater Krayt's back and implanting the devices," he says. "The rest of us will distract the Krayt and prevent its brood from interfering. Would anybody care to volunteer for a particular role?"
Kuoroke listens, looking through the goggles he has replaced his normal glasses with - this looks like it's going to be rough, after all. "I'll volunteer, but it's likely pro forma as I doubt I'm the most agile here." He states, neutrally, after Sousa's request. "I'll need some more information on the Krayt, though. Firstly, which of its senses are developped, which aren't? What would draw its attention? How does it attack its prey?"
The smallest of the lot - the youngest of the lot as well - meekly raises his hand, a slight quiver oscillating the glove wrapped around his fingers.
"I'd… umm… I'd not like to die or get grievously injured. I want whatever that job is," says Kazeodori, smiling weakly as he does so. It would be one thing were the boy here with his comrades-in-arms, for perhaps then his fearlessness would rise anew, like a phoenix beneath his breast. But, being that it seems his troupe has become otherwise detained, even after saying that they would attend such a grim affair together, Kazeodori is by his lonesome self. As it stands, there are only a few shinboi acquaintances here, and some of them not of the particularly warmly-liked variety. Thus, the tiny Genin, tucked into his sand-protecting robes (his mother having helped wrap them herself), seems a touch out of place amongst the ninja wranglers who have stepped forth for the mission, their spurs a-janglin'.
So, rather than his normal hunt, which usually includes a body count, Youkio has been brought on to help some suicidal maniac take on a giant snake. Brilliant… Oh, well, at least he's getting paid for this expedition. When the guy mentions needling the most nimble members, a faint smirk crosses the Dire Wolf's face. He and Mika are definitely going to have to go off animal instinct on this hunt. "Two of us can run like animals, I the wolf, and Mika the cat, so that shouldn't be much of a problem. I can go nimble or power, whichever's needed, but I suspect the cat would be the most agile."
Mika was asked to come along, along with Youkio. It was cause of their enhanced senses and agility that they were brought along. The girl looks to Youkio for a moment, as she listens to the Kage. Of course, the smart ones never volunteer right off the bat. That usually means that its the most dangerous. Its up to the Kage to decide roles though. For the moment, Mika is happily chowing down on a piece of dried fish. She never did explain how on earth she's able to get Fish in the desert….But a lot of scrolls come into her office on a weekly basis.
The fairly large man stands with his arms folded, rather lax about this hunt. While his human side is more accustomed to taking on humans, his animal side finds this quite enjoyable.
"We dunno!" Ryoushi replies cheerfully in response to Kuoroke's queries. n.n "That's wot this is all about, learnin' more about 'em. If it's like most snakes, though, its main sense'll be taste'n'smell. Not very good sight or hearin', though it can probably feel vibrations in the ground. Now, we do know that th'Zephyr Krayts — that's the liddle 'uns, named 'em that before we confirmed th'big momma existed — mostly eat crittahs wot get buried in the sandstorms, that's why y'only see 'em in sandstorms. It's still a mystery 'ow th'Greater Krayt gets enough t'eat out 'eah in th'desaht, though."
Sousa nods faintly after everyone speaks their preferred role; pretty much as he expected. "Very well. Mika-san and Youkio-san will be our planters. Make certain you are familiar with how the devices are attached. Kazeodori-san, correct? You may focus on combating any Zephyr Krayts which threaten our planters. They are non-venomous snakes which are typically about three meters in length and slim enough for a human hand to wrap around them. Their primary threat is in entangling a victim and pulling them down so that the sandstorm engulfs them." Sousa holds up a hand and makes it crackle briefly with lightning chakra. "I shall attempt to hold the Greater Krayt's attention. I don't know whether lightning will attract or repulse it, but either should prove usable. Kuoroke-san, please try to keep an eye on the situation as a whole and intercede where necessary. You all have ropes which should be useful should the need for a rescue arise."
After a few more minutes of whatever preparations are needed, the winds of the sandstorm begin to blow over the group. "This is it, mates! 'Old on tight!" The sand-filled winds pelt into the sails of the sandboards, and the vehicles launch into high speed along the dunes.
Kuoroke crouches slightly on the sandboard, taking off his cloak, and the attached gloves, and affixing them in the loop he has on his belt especially for that purpose. "Taste and smell. We should've grabbed something with a strong, recognizable smell. Oh well, I guess if blood is drawn, that will attract it sufficiently." The Kuroki observes, raising his voice over the roar of the wind. After a bit of time, he has another question. "How much damage to the Krayt is acceptable in order to keep our own safe?"
Three meters in length. Three meters. In length. Three. Meters. Kazeodori casts an eye from his feet to where his forehead would be were he looking at himself. The boy alone isn't even three meters in length! And he's supposed to wrap his hand around these serpentine beasts? Pffffft. The boy shakes his head warily, a question - perhaps a caveat for his own lack of courage - warming on his lips, but it is whipped away by the rise of the sandstorm. The youth shakes his head, but hops upon his sandboard nonetheless, immediately lashed through the desert at a speed that (were he not wearing goggles), would make his eyes water. It is here, traversing the dunes amidst the safety of practiced ninja, blanketed beneath the crackling Kage's power, riding the endless desert as infinity itself would, does Kazeodori let his inhibitions rip from his shoulders as so easily a tattered cloak. Beneath the scarf covering his face, beneath the wince of his eyes as his goggles are pelted with sand, a smile grows, and the boy's courage - at least for now - seems safe again.
As the sandboard he rides kicks into gear, Youkio crouches down into position for optimal aerodynamic shape. While he darts along the sanddunes, he pushes ki throughout his body, beginning to gain a bit of size in muscle and his form becoming much more feral, ears taking on an elf-like form as his hair turns completely white and grows down to his back, white facial hair growing quickly to give him a fierce werewolf-like form. "Time to play," a much deeper voice than before rings out as he surfs on the sand, awaiting their prey.
"Wolves….", Mika grumbles. Her ears curl back, and her face flattens a little bit. Her tail grows out as little fangs creep out her mouth. She hops on the board, and goes into Surfer cat position on it as she rides it. Yes, You just witness two people change into half animals. Cricky!
Ryoushi looks back over his shoulder and shouts out a reply to Kuoroke. "Oh, y'know, 'uman life is always worth more'n crittahs an' all that. Still, it'd be a shame to 'urt such a rare specimen, so do y'best to avoid it, you ninja blokes're good at survivin' dangah, right?" Sousa doesn't bother adding anything to Ryoushi's assessment. Everyone here should know, of course, that if the mission is a failure, there will be no pay. e.e
It isn't too long before lines of brilliant GREEN start appearing in the sand. Zephyr Krayts pop out of the dunes almost like fish jumping from the ocean, arcing up briefly before disappearing beneath the surface again. Oh, did we mention a few of the little ones need to be tagged too? Yeah, that's a secondary mission objective. Everybody should have a bundle of simple tracking tag-like tracking devices which can simply be slapped onto a snake and will stick once activated with a small surge of chakra. Yay for ninja technology!
There isn't much time to focus solely on the small fry, though, because the Greater Krayt makes an appearance soon after the little ones show up. It's a fairly big monster — not Manda-size, for reference, but just big enough to swallow a human whole. Sousa tacks his craft out in front of the Greater Krayt and holds one hand high, creating brief sparks of lightning chakra. The Krayt definitely seems to notice, and — gives chase! Maybe there are giant lightning bugs or something it likes to snack on. c.c Well, now's the time to begin the operation!
Kuoroke flexes his shoulders, arms, and fingers slightly as the creatures appear, loosening up before what, apparently, will be a difficult situation. He knows there'll be no pay, but he doesn't care about that, what he cares about is doing his job properly, making sacrifices if the need is there. All he needed to know was the acceptable size of these sacrifices. "Preserve life, otherwise try to leave it unharmed. Understood." The Kuroki nods slightly, acknowledging the orders.
His preparations continue, as dots of light appear on tattoos around his body, spreading along the lines. They spread along his spine and his limbs, branching out along his arms, his legs, and his torso in a reinforcing embrace. It's no turning into an animal, but it's quite flashy. "All right, let's go." His eyes lock on to the large serpent, but other than his preparations, he seems to not be showing much initiative.
Kazeodori's eyes grow wide as the first minor Krayts begin to lift from the sand, the desert serpents leaping into the dull glitter and pebbly buffet of the sandstorm, graceful in even the most inhospitable of environments. Wider do the boy's eyes grow when he spots the Greater Krayt, it's massive jaws and tremendous body hinting at beasts known before man ever stepped his fragile toes upon land. The colossal creature churns through the sand, leaving warps of dunes in its wake, its brood swimming behind now that Sousa's distracted it with the crackle and whine of light. Kazeodori, meanwhile, watching the others take action around him, arcs his sandboard towards Kouroke, his hand pulling down his scarf, his mouth immediately crunching with sand. Over it, he attempts to yell:
"Hey! Hold me! I'll attach the tags!"
The Genin, it would seem, is referring to the illumination of Kuoroke's tattoos, and Kazeodori's knowledge of what they can do.
Mika shakes her head as Youkio likely got a little bit of sand in his eyes. She grumbles a bit as she starts heading for the big snake thing. She hopes that Sousa can keep it distracted for a bit as she moves a bit closer. Mika sniffs a little bit, and then starts to sneeze as sand gets in her nose. MEW! The girl tosses the first few tags on the snake, trying to catch it. She looks around for Youkio, sighing a bit as he likely is off playing around somewhere, that or tagging the little snakes while she does all the hard work.
«OOC» Sousa says, "Oh, I should've mentioned, there are devices for the big snake that are a bit larger and need to be hooked into its scales more manually. Putting some of the tags on it is fine too, but you'll probably need to actually ride the snake to get the larger devices on. O:)"
As the smalls snakes pop up, Youkio starts slapping tags on them as he can. At the moment, he uses simple wolf-like speed to tag them. The power of the Dire Wolf style doesn't need to be used just-NEVERMIND THEN! As the giant Krayt comes up out of the ground, Youkio grins slightly and changes his direction to chase the massive beast. Coming up behind Mika, he goes to ramp a dune to fly over her in chase to try to beat her to the racing onto it, as well as gaining momentum to jump onto it.
And the rodeo has begun! Sousa listens carefully to the howling of the wind, predicting its changes in order to keep his craft ahead of the Greater Krayt. The huge snake continues following him, growing rather irate at the slipperiness of its prey. >.< The smaller Krayts mostly ignore the shinobi, registering them as 'prey too large to deal with until the sandstorm buries them'. Except for Youkio. As though sensing a threat to their progenitor, a number of Zephyr Krayts converge on the wolf-man's path. They spring up from the sand as he makes his leap, attempting to entangle him. >E
Kuoroke glares at Kazeodori, who seems to think he's in a position to tell -him- what to do. "Well, go ahead!" He shouts over the wind. Still, he tosses him a length of rope, the end of which wrapped around his upper arm and held in his hand, in case the boy does need holding on to. Meanwhile, his other arm and most of his body is used trying to maneuver his sandboard so, that it's in the way of the Zephyr Krayts to cut off their path to Youkio.
The Genin stares at the rope as it thunks and slides along the bottom of the sandboard. This… wasn't exactly what he had in mind, but this just might work anyway. Kazeodori, flicking his eyes up into the sand, and then down to find the rope, and then up into the sand, and then down to find the rope, and then just as his fingers touch fiber, his concentration breaks, and his sandboard wobbles like an uneven ball. It is in such positions, such moments of decision, that an individual's life can change - for better, or for worse - with but a choice made by nothing but intuition and fear. It is here, amongst such noble deeds and fated duds, that Kazeodori is brought, for - with but a second in hand - he has to choose between possibly righting and saving his sandboard (if he can), or letting the sandboard collapse into the dunes while he grabs the proffered rope. Being that the rope is just in hand, and the sandboard seems already lost, the Genin leaps from his board, clinging tightly to the rope attached to Kuoroke's arm.
Welp! Mika hisses a little bit as Youkio jumps over her, and then laughs as snakes go after him. The Little Kitten of doom zooms near him, and gives him the Tongue out funny face before she zooms away! The girl mutters a few times as she gets her claws out, and hops on Big Bad Krayt. She digs her claws in, and runs on all fours up the snake's body. She gets near the base of the head, where she goes into Kat Riding Bucking Snake position looking around. "Somebody time me!", she yells out as she holds one hand up with the box…
The joys of being a Kemonoken whose style is patterned after a prehistoric wolf that was nearly unstoppable in its massive packs… Animals tend to get a sense of danger and want you dead. Luckily, Kuoroke and Kazeodori clear the smaller snakes out of his path, and Youkio shifts to go over another dune and fly up to try to land atop the massive , starting at the top near Mika, attempting to bury one of the hooks into one of the creature's scales in a quick swipe as he attempts to ride in a winding pattern on the Krayt's back, trying to surf on the beast and plant the devices on him while giving himself a method of escape… Trying to use his brain AND athleticism, unlike his feline partner in crime!
Hmmm, that's not so good. The sandboards are designed to keep a single person skimming along the shifting surface of the desert in a sandstorm. :/ Good thing Kazeodori isn't too much of an extra weight to Kuoroke's conveyance. He'll have to do something to keep from being simply a dead drag, though, especially since some of the Zephyr Krayts are already starting to view him as a half-buried target. c.c
Sousa is starting to run low on maneuvering space to evade the Greater Krayt. No matter how well he rides the winds of the sandstorm, he can't get enough speed to consistently outpace the desert predator. c.c Fortunately, Mika and Youkio landing on the Greater Krayt's back provides a respite for Sousa! Of course, that means he's no long accomplishing his task of distracting it from them. e.e Sousa sends back a jolt of D-rank lightning to grab the snake's attention back. It hisses balefully and resumes pursuing Sousa as its primary priority. >.<
The snake's back, covered with smooth scales designed for burrowing in the sand, proves remarkably accommodating to slide along with the sandboard…except that it's too curved to remain on top of. Youkio finds himself faced with the split-second choice of either trying to stick his feet to the snake's hide, hopefully while still keeping hold of the sandboard, or riding off onto the sand below, hopefully without wiping out, and look for another chance to board the monster reptile. Mika has more luck, managing to get to the Krayt's head. A pretty nice spot to put one of the monitoring devices, allowing it to pick up information about what the snake is doing…but also about the hardest place to remain mounted, with the head swerving back and forth in its pursuit of that annoying zapping thing.
"Hold on!" Kuoroke roars, yanking the rope powerfully, trying to get the boy out of the sand. His sandboard lunges to one side, reacting as per the laws of physics. The Kuroki has to allow two leaf-like tattoos to light up and slide off the top of his foot, wrapping around the sole, and set that foot down to stabilize the craft, while the tattoo ensures his foot slides as easily, if not more easily, than the sandboard.
After having made his attempt to pull the boy out of the sand, he focuses on the job the Genin will clearly not be doing in his current condition: keeping the Zephyr Krayts at bay and tagging them. He waits for the board to stabilize at least somewhat, and then releases it for a moment, reaching into his kunai pouch and hurling three of them in the general direction -he doesn't quite have the time to aim, but the rapid movement should at least startle them- of the nearest ones.
Kazeodori grunts as the sandboard whips and rights itself, tugging the boy along like a fish on the end of a hook. A stray Zephyr Krayt leaps towards the Genin, who solidly boots it in the jaw, causing the serpentine beast to waver and fall into the sand. Warm blue chakra starts to grow along the boy's hands, fixing him to the rope, which he begins to climb up and up, that he be closer to the sandboard, and farther from the wraps of the Zephyr Krayts. Once close enough to the board, Kazeodori pulls his own tags from within the confines of his robes, and he too begins launching them at the passing Krayts. It's not the easiest of tasks, trying to pin a tag on a slim, lengthy, slippery beast whilst being drug along in the sand by a fast-moving board. Thankfully, Kuoroke's heavy feet are keeping the pair of them from crashing into the sand. How much more of this the pair can keep up, however, is a question better wondered.
Just as his board is about to slip, Youkio kicks it up and holds onto it as he starts using the Tree Walking method stay on the giant creature. He starts to run along the side of the snake, going to hook another scale with one of the devices. When he is on a spot where he needs to go down, he hops on the board to ride down then goes back to running using the Tree Walking method to stay on. "Hey, Mika, when do we get to go home so I can kick your butt in the tournament and shove it in the other villagers' faces that you have to marry me, and they don't get to be royalty?"
Mika digs her claws in a bit more, and then takes a moment to WHALLOP the head of the Krayt. "Hold still, you…Snake?", she questions aloud. She waits for the right moment, and then plants the device on the head of the beast before she looks back at Youkio. "Its a once a year tournament, Youkio. You know that. And you missed your chance this year! You have to wait for the start of the next year.", she says. The woman mutters a bit. Of course, being a cat, Mika has likely been forgetting something…The woman takes a deep breath, and lets go. "Youkio! Flying cat coming at you!", she says, flying back towards a Wolf.
"Do you not own a calender OR a sense of time?" Youkio calls back to Mika as he hooks another device onto the snake. At the mention of a flying cat, he turns and reaches up to grab the woman and bring her down to him. A faint smirk crosses his face as he goes to give Mika a light kiss before getting back to work. "Trying to dodge around fighting me again?"
Okay, the Greater Krayt is willing to ignore a couple of little weights on its back in favor of chasing an irksome prey, but when one of those uninvited passengers BONKS it on the head, that's sure to grab its attention. >.<# After recovering from the blow, it rears up and turns around to lunge at Mika and Youkio with a wide-open mouth. Sousa veers widely to the sides, tacking to prevent himself from getting too far ahead of the group while still keeping forward momentum so that he doesn't bog down. "Might we all maintain a certain amount of professionalism? As freelancers, you ought to be especially aware of the importance of repeat clientele." e.e
Meanwhile, Ryoushi, who has mainly been busy catching, tagging, and releasing Zephyr Krayts on the edges of the herd, waves to the rest. "That's good, mates, I think we've got enough! Let's 'ead sideways outta this sandstorm!"
The professionalism, or lack thereof, of the two foreigners on top of the Krayt seem to interest Kuoroke little, most of his attention is focused on the boy he's got holding on to a length of rope. "Alright!" the Councillor shouts, giving the rope another tug to reel Kaze in a bit more, while trying to guide his own board after those of the others. "Let's go!"
Kazeodori, upon hearing the shouts of accomplishment, takes the rope is in hands, and - with a shimmer and splash of blue chakra - clings his feet to the side of the sandboard, acting as a weight and a pull for Kuoroke, hopefully making it easier for the elder to surf the dunes. Once thoroughly magnetized, the Genin releases a hand, a muffled exclamation rising into the air along with his fist. His eyes are squinched, and, beneath his mask, he is surely smiling. It may not have been the most elegant of successes, but it was one nonetheless.
Professionalism? Well, while Youkio does pride himself in being a pro as a mercenary, this gig isn't really that serious to him. Still, gotta listen to the one holding the check. Once Mika is clear, he starts back to work attaching the devices. As instructions are shouted, he hops on the board and tries to surf with Mika to the beast's underbelly to draw it toward the edge where Ryoushi wants.
"Alright! We'll behave!", Mika shouts out, giving a small wave. She does poke Youkio though. "I did have a plan. I planned that you woiuld have a sensible plan knowing I wouldn't plan anything.", she says. THe girl attaches a few more devices along with Youkio, and then pokes at him to get away before they become lunch. Mika stands on the back of the board, and has Youkio steer while she calls her ki up and out of her body a little bit. There's a cat that forms above her head, hissing at the snake, hopefully coaxing it into chasing them out of the sandstorm.
What's this? Youkio and Mika think they're supposed to be goading the Greater Krayt into continuing to pursue them? o.o What we have here is a failure to communicate! >.< Must be because of the sandstorm. Couldn't possibly have anything to do with Ryoushi's flawless diction. c.c
At any rate, it's a problem. They have to rely on the winds to keep their boards on top of the sands until they reach the outermost edges of the sandstorm. As they get away from the center, the burying influence of the sand will decrease, but so will the winds, and thus their speed…but losing speed would be a Bad Thing with a giant snake monster chasing them. c.c Fortunately Sousa has the means to rectify this situation. He projects a genjutsu at the Greater Krayt, causing it to perceive its targets heading off in another direction, still flying straight with the storm. "I believe our client said HEAD out of the storm, not LEAD it out!" the Kazekage shouts. :P "Come on, the mission is complete!"
The rest was fairly uneventful. The group manages to ride out the storm and get back to Sunagakure largely unscathed. There was some pay docked to recompense a couple of lost sandboards, but Ryoushi went light on them there, considering the vehicles to be good for little else than what they'd already been used for. MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!