Date: March 14, 2014
The Neutral Medical Center convenes to decide what to do about Mushi's involvement in a clear military offensive.
Neutral Medical Center HQ
It is a solemn day at the Neutral Medical Center. One of their members has transgressed one of their most central principles: to never throw their support behind any of the Great Ninja Villages. That's what makes them the NEUTRAL Medical Center, after all. Complicating the matter is the fact that the transgressor is their founder and most senior member, Nikumari Mushi herself. Feelings and opinions are divided amongst all of the Center's staff as to what should be done about this…rumor has it, Mushi herself is conflicted about the proper course of action. c.c
To settle the matter, the upper leadership of the Center (although the authority structure of the organization is a bit vague and ad-hoc, being a collection of people who willingly work to make the world a better place on an almost charitable basis) decided to hold a sort of trial. The question at hand is not so much guilty or not guilty, as Mushi has freely confessed her doings; rather, it's to determine what the the consequences should be. With this goal in mind, all of the Center's members who are willing and able to attend have gathered.
Was Mushi going to remain here after having violated the very rules she created? Or was she going to be banished from the Neutral Medical Center which she built from nothing and cared for so long? It's not like in the past years she'd not forgiven a few transgressions. There was a time when one of the medics murdered a hidden village shinobi, but it had been in clear and spontaneous self defense. But there were other times she banished weeping medics for getting into altercations that pitted one hidden village against the other. In the neutral grounds the rules were (unofficially) less reviewed. Yet most accepted the judgement. They knew the consequences.
And Mushi had. She'd acted very deliberately, and understood. She wasn't even a rear line healer on that mission… she was an acting hidden village shinobi, for all intents and purposes. She'd even gone on that mission after she failed to save or perhaps caused the death of a village's Jinchuuriki. Mushi was fearing this trial, but strangely on the very day this trial was in session, she felt an almost serene acceptance. The right thing would be done at least. And as the founder, she had no choice but to accept the decision with grace. Though Mushi starts chewing her lip a bit when she sees the members in attendance, upon her arrival.
Naturally, Mushi's arrival causes a sudden increase in the volume of the makeshift courtroom. People in the crowd stand up and call out to her, everything from "We believe in you, Mushi-sama!" to "Why'd you do it?!" D: The head of the Center, an elderly medic named Tokio whom Mushi had entrusted with watching over the Center during her frequent sojourns, bangs a reflex-testing mallet against a pitri dish (it was the best thing they could find for the purpose). "Order, please! We won't get any answers by shouting all at once!" Once the crowd is sufficiently quieted and Mushi is seated, Tokio stands. "We are here today to decide upon the consequences for an unprecedented case. May I remind you all that this is not a court of law and we will not be condemning anyone. With that said, we must decide whether the recent actions of our founder, Nikumari Mushi-san, are a violation of our organizational rules, and if so what must be done in response." Tokio gives a nod to Mushi. "Mushi-san, so that everything may be as clear as possible to all present, would you please recount for us the actions you took which brought us to this?"
Recount it? Mushi feels as if she has had to recount this to many people already. And now she has to tell many more. She looks around at the faces. She's always met people's gaze directly, and after a sweep of the impromptu courtroom, she nods. And she begins to explain it in a clear voice.
"It started when I heard a Jinchuuriki had abandoned Konoha," she says. She pauses. Some here know she's a Jinchuuriki, but most don't. She toys with the idea of revealing it. Yet she doesn't want to burden too many people with that secret. Not that it's a secret any longer to two villages. "It was due to the parasitic epidemic in the various countries. You've all heard of that, and some of you treated that. A parasite had latched onto his bijuu's chakra as well as his own, and had grown both sentient and powerful. But I subdued him. I used a technique I thought would detach the parasite from him, knowing the risk. I failed and he died. But I did seal away the bijuu and the parasite separately."
She swallows. She suddenly wants a tall glass of water. "I went straight to Konoha. I had returned the boy's body, the bijuu, and even given them the parasite for study. I explained it in full to the Hokage, and she accepted my account. She absolved me of blame."
Mushi takes a deep breath. "Then a group of shinobi, from the Land of Lightning, Land of Wind, and the Land of Fire, as well as I joined forces to find an object that could supposedly reverse this parasitic epidemic. We cut through the enemy. And I helped too, not just as a medic, but as a shinobi. I ended the lives of two…criminals. No, people. We retrieved the object, and I returned to the village for a time. Then, I came here to answer for this." Then, she falls silent.
Tokio nods. "Thank you, Mushi-sensei. Now, as I said before, this is not a court of law, so we do not have a 'prosecution' and a 'defense' per se. However, two of our members have agreed to argue the cases for the possible extremes in what we might decide." Tokio motions to a pinch-faced doctor to her left, who stands up. "Gentaru-sensei will speak first, in favor of unfettered consequence."
The goatee'd doctor adjusts his circle-lensed glasses before speaking. Nobody in the Neutral Medical Center could be said to be Mushi's enemy, but Gentaru-sensei is perhaps the most stringent about the Center's ideals. "Learned colleagues of the Neutral Medical Center, the rules of our hallowed institution are quite clear. No member shall favor any faction above any other or take part in military offensives. Mushi-sensei's self-confessed actions are a blatant betrayal of this code. Our order was founded to heal, to offset and repair the devastation inflicted by the shinobi powers. Yet Mushi-sensei has aligned herself with several of these camps to wage war against a foreign entity we know little about. The necessary response is patently obvious, clouded only by our emotional misgivings. Just as we surgeons might cut away diseased flesh with clinical reticence, so too must we sever the tainted member from our — "
"How can you call Mushi-sama diseased flesh!?" "Don't you have any compassion!?" "Forget the rules, she probably saved more lives helping to stop those Philistines!" "ORDER!" Tokio raps with her 'gavel'. "We will discuss these views AFTER they have been properly expressed! Gentaru-sensei, my apologies. Would you like to continue?" Gentaru seems mildly shaken by the outburst from the crowd. "Er, no, I…suppose I got a touch caught up in the prose of my statements myself. I believe I've communicated the essence of my position." Tokio nods as Gentaru sits down. "Very well. Mushi-sensei, do you have anything to say at this time?"
Mushi is trying not to laugh as Gentaru argues one side. It's not that he lacks many correct points. In fact, they may all be very correct. But the way he speaks is like he's flipping through a religious text. Hallowed? Self-confessed? Code? He should've been a priest. She doesn't quite understand the charges leveled against her…since she doesn't understand all the words. Reticent? While people are shouting on her behalf, it gives Mushi time to think. In a black and white sense, she's black. When Tokio asks if she'd like to reply, Mushi flinches. She hadn't really expected a chance to reply, she just wanted her defense attorney…er, other medic…to put forward his or her point. There is one thing she wants to address, she supposes.
So she leans forward when everyone has quieted. "I never thought of this center as an organization that healed the wounds caused by the shinobi villages," she says. "It wasn't a countermeasure to them. It wasn't even a response. It's something apart and outside the cycle that the shinobi villages have created amongst themselves. They think they're different from each other…but I'm certain now they're not." She pauses. "I thought of the Center as an example to the world. We possess great power, and we do not use that power to harm others. We don't profit from inflicting pain, we profit from healing it. It's a different and better system. That's what I believe. So what I ask is that you choose what's best for this center…and the example it has set."
Gentaru looks a touch sour when Mushi says the Center wasn't made to counteract the shinobi villages. :[ They've always been a bit of a symbol-of-everything-wrong-with-the-world to him. It made him feel better to mentally shake a fist at them whenever he was treating patients, even if their ailments weren't directly related to shinobi actions. After all, obviously there wouldn't be as much disease spread around if there weren't warfare, right? :P But he keeps quiet, and there are thoughtful murmurings among the 'jury' about Mushi's words. If the Center's not supposed to inflict pain, what does that say about her taking part in the conflict? -.-a
Tokio gestures to her other side. "And now, Nasake-sensei will speak on behalf of full indemnification." The is a relieved creaking from a chair as a very portly doctor stands up. This one's countenance is much more relaxed than his counterpart, you might even say jolly. He looks out on his audience with a knowing smile and begins. "Friends, there's really no need to be so hung up over this. They say rules are made to be broken, and this is just the sort of situation where there really is wisdom in that. Mushi-sensei did the right thing, fighting to stop a foe who are not only attacking all of the shinobi nations, but are doing so by spreading a plague, in a sense making them our enemy first and foremost. Who cares if she had help from the ninja villages? We should welcome that sort of cooperation, with everyone at last working together. Is this a reason to reject someone, just because we call ourselves 'Neutral'? Are we so absolutely bound to rules we created ourselves, in the best wisdom we had when we made them, that we cannot now alter them when we are faced with new circumstances? Besides, this is Mushi-sensei we're talking about!" n.n
Nasake-sensei sits down again, looking as pleased as his chair sounds distressed. Certainly the jury looks to be feeling better now as they murmur over his words, although a few note that his speech was a little heavy on the emotional appeals and light on hard reason. c.ca Tokio nods. "Thank you, Nasake-sensei. Mushi-sensei, your thoughts?"
It's a very warm defense. Mushi realizes this chance to speak is the singular point. She could add to that emotional appeal with a passionate and fiery argument for her to stay. Or she could be silent and probably be banished. What is the right choice? What does she even want? Mushi isn't the kind of person who wants what's best for her. Yet she /is/ the leader. She knows she's more important to this center than most medics. But this decision might be more important than her. She takes a deep breath. And suddenly, it comes to her. She closes her eyes and opens them to look at her accuser and defender.
"You're both wrong," she tells them. "Gentaru-kun, I don't want this place to be a place limited by legality and rigidity. There's a reason we don't have a set hierarchy here. If you banish me solely on the reasons you provided, that's the first step towards a cold system like the shinobi villages. They have a term and rank for everything…their missions, their resources, even their people. It's dehumanizing. We can't start making some numerical code for the center. Don't banish me."
Then she turns to Nasake. "If I'm not banished the reputation of the center will be forever changed. We never kill others…most of the time? That I'm the founder only makes it worse. Even if a decision is made without regard to the fact I'm the founder, people will think my cleared name is due to the fact I'm the leader. And it would set a precedent for every medic here. So you should very much ban me." Is she saying they were arguing on the other's side?
She clears her throat. "There's only wrong decisions in this. I think you'll find it harder to find a right one."
Tokio gives a helpless chuckle. "Leave it to Mushi-sensei to reject both sides of the falling coin. However, we did say that Gentaru-sensei and Nasake-sensei represented the extreme possibilities. Perhaps we could find some middle road that would be acceptable." Tokio stands up. "We will now open the floor to individual suggestions, one at a time. Please raise your hand if you would like to speak and wait to be called upon."
A number of thoughts are brought up by the other medics:
"What if we expel her now, then accept her back in later?"
"Is there anything Mushi-sensei could do to make up for her actions?"
"Suppose we did revoke her membership, couldn't we still treat her as a friend and medical colleague regardless?"
"I gotta tell ya, if Mushi-sensei goes, a lot of us probably won't see much reason to stick around either." :P
"Hey, maybe we could surgically alter her appearance so she can stay under a new identity!" :D
…That last idea was given more credence than it should've been just because it piqued some of the doctors' imagination and sense of challenge, but most of them waved it off as both impractical and dishonest. e.e;
Mushi rolls her eyes as people give ideas that range from playful to practical. However, she frowns when she hears that some might leave if she leaves. She does consider the creative punishment that would allow her to stay. This is unprecedented. People either stayed or left, they weren't given halfway measures. Honestly she had come up with her own decision already. She'd condemn herself with an all out attack and give them grace to banish her. Why were so many people still on her side? Silently, Mushi despairs and rejoices simultaneously. In the meantime she quietly asks a medic beside her to get her a glass of water, who fetches one quickly.
She drinks every drop and raises her hand.
When she does, every hand goes down. Mushi smirks at that, and is able to find her voice from then on. "I'd like to speak," she says. Obviously. "I made it sound as if I founded this center from love and nobility. Yet what I really made this for was the last words my brother said. He said I should help the world. I vowed I would…but I took it so literally. To me, it was an unfeeling duty that I had to do to fulfill his wish like a transaction. It was even a strategy to safely leave my village. In some ways I don't think there's anything wrong with that."
She runs her hand through her hair. "Umm…yet when this center grew, something happened that I didn't expect. You all won me over. I had no warmth in my heart after he died. But all of you replaced that. You made me realize there were people as good as my brother out there. You're my brother. My family."
D'awwwww. n.n But what does that mean for the question at hand? c.ca It certainly doesn't make anyone more comfortable with the idea of throwing Mushi out in the cold. Tokio sits back and stares thoughtfully into the distance. She remains this way for quite some time, and some in the 'jury' begin to wonder what's supposed to happen next. A few raise their hands, but Tokio doesn't seem to notice. Finally one of them raises his voice. "Um, I think we should — "
A gentle rapping from the mallet cuts off the tentative suggestion and shows that Tokio is present after all. "My apologies, I was pondering Mushi-sensei's words," Tokio says, sitting up. "I believe she has struck upon something very important. There is no better word to describe what we are than 'family'. We work together, live together, share our meals and our laughter. We support one another, and when need be, shelter each other from the world outside."
Tokio shakes her head. "Yet it is not good or natural for most families to remain under one roof forever. The children must grow and become a part of the world. They cannot stay 'Neutral' their entire lives. They must find their place in the world…" Tokio gives Mushi a wry smile. "…particularly when it is time for them to join another family." ;)
Tokio stands up. "Perhaps Mushi-sensei is serving as an example for us all once again. Yes, the members of the Neutral Medical Center must abide by the principles we have set…not because they are always right, but because they protect us. When one of us finds we no longer can remain under those rules, that is likely a sign that they are ready to strike out on their own." Tokio looks to Mushi, blinking back tears. "Mushi-sensei…no, Mushi-chan. You will always be a part of our family, and our doors will be open to you. If you call for help, we will answer. Yet I believe it is time that you leave the nest."
Mushi looks up at Tokio, the veteran healer, and then smiles ruefully. It's a expression that says 'well if you want to.' Tokio would be able to understand. Mushi was just about to resign. She didn't want to have to put the burden on anyone here. Maybe Mushi shouldn't have cut out the rest of her speech, and gone on with the 'I'm leaving' part. Then again, maybe this is the better way. A good way to leave no ill will was to leave before anyone had to give her the boot. But Tokio had just chosen the best way, by stepping up and gracefully but firmly shouldering that burden. The woman had always been that way. Maybe it's why Mushi put her in charge. Mushi looks to Nasake, but she doesn't even want to think about what would happen if he was in charge. Or Gentaru.
So she turns to the medics. For a second she's tempted to blurt out 'I was gonna resign anyway, thanks ALOT Tokio-san!' Hehe. But instead she says warmly, "Thank you, all of you, for being my family. And you always will be. Thank you for the warmth you've shown me. And thank you most of all for upholding an ideal that's stronger than just one person." Then she pauses, and she's struck by a thought. Yeah, it's that easy. "It won't make me happy if any of you leave on my behalf," she tells them clearly. "You shouldn't even stay on my behalf. Stay to support and maintain your friends and the Center." Then she'd give a deep bow, and leave.