Date: January 7, 2015
Taiki asks Atsuro to interrogate Hige
Poster's note: foul language filtered in obvious places.
Clan Alpha's office, Clan Inuzuka Compound
Taiki has been mired down with the mess concerning Kaido for the past few days. After receiving a reply from Atsuro saying that he was busy on village business, Taiki had sent back a message asking him to see Taiki at the earliest possible convenience. This was in addition to putting up the Raikage and a contingent from Kumo who accompanied the two Inuzuka back for the trial. In the meantime, Taiki is making notes on everything he's found so far. He pauses and picks up a short scroll from the Hokage's office, reviewing the one line response once again. This response causes Taiki to shake his head in resignation.
As soon as Taiki's finished shaking his head, there's a knock on his office door and Atsuro lets himself in. "Boy," he says, walking into the room followed shortly by Taizen. "We can't get in touch even when you're in a hospital bed. In a way, this whole crisis has brought us closer together." He takes a chair in across the desk from Taiki, as does Taizen. "I assume that's what this is all about," he adds, "This whole thing with the Inuzuka in Kumo? Or is this just a lunch date?"
Taiki looks up to Atsuro and offers a slight grin of relief. "I know, even when I'm conscious and not going anywhere, you're busy. And when I'm finally moving about I'm too busy putting out fires and your busy in both of your duties." Taiki shrugs and leans back into his chair. "By the way, I want to thank you both for leading the rescue party and for helping Otousan while I was away. I greatly appreciate it."
After giving Atsuro a minute to respond to Taiki's gratitude, he moves on to Atsuro's second question, though his face morphs into a visage of pure disgust. "Don't remind me of that mess. While it could be very much worse to begin with, I still hate airing the clan's dirty laundry in front of another leadership's leadership. The Raikage and a small contingent from Kumo accompanied Kaido'baka and Hige'san back, and have been declared witnesses for the defense. So I can't even diplomatically tell them to let me handle it. To make matters worse, Hige'san may be genuinely innocent, but from Kaido'baka's speech to me that started this mess, I can't just accept what my own heightened senses are telling me about his reactions. And while I do have Konsho'san's testimony that he had no idea of any actions from Hige that warrant charges, the international attention prohibits me from using that testimony to release Hige-san…"
"Well," says Atsuro shrugging, "Now we have a big ol' problem to bond over. Just like old times." He sits back. "Well, I guess the first thing to do would be to start at… the start. With the situation as I understand it, we have concerns over keeping our kekkei genkai within the village, dealing with possibly dangerous elements in our own clan, and complicating our relationship with Kumogakure." He holds up a hand, "But before we go over any of that, can you tell me as much as you can about the situation itself? I basically know that Kaido said he wanted to leave Konoha permanently for Kumo. And you arrested him and… Hige?" Taizen woofs to confirm that Hige is the one in question. "I'm a little unclear on Hige's role in this actually. But basically, I'd like to here what exactly Kaido planned to do, and why, and any developments that have happened since then."
Taiki sets his scroll down leans forward to clasp his hands in front of him with both pointing fingers extended so he can rest his chin on it. "It all started about a week and a half ago. I was practicing some defensive water ninjutsu, since I can't do too much physically strenuous at the moment, when Kaido comes up to me. Apparently he snuck into the village, his words, to talk to me. After expressing regret that he wasn't part of the rescue mission, he tells me he wants to leave the Inuzuka and Konoha to take permanent residence in Kumo. He represented this as a done deal, and even went so far to as to tell me that if Daisuke tried to call him back, he'd refuse." Taiki sighs and adds, "In effect, he came to say goodbye."
Taiki lowers his hands to the desk and looks at Atsuro, "As I was informed shortly after my release from the Hospital, Konohagakure is on a war footing at the moment due to problems with the Silence. Kaido acted like he was severing all ties to the Inuzuka, and when I asked him why, he said it was to escape his reputation that he had a part in making. In other words, he was running away from a mess of his own doing. I admit to setting a verbal trap for him when I asked if he had started the paperwork process to transfer his shinobi registration to Kumo, but he indicated he did. As far as I know of, such options do not exist, but to cover my bases I sent off a letter to Daisuke asking him to postpone processing. Well, that stirred up a hornet's nest when Daisuke wrote me back and said," he pauses here to pick up the scroll he had looked at just before Atsuro came in, ""Konoha has no room for defectors." Given that Kaido had stated his intentions clearly, and admitted to training Hige, who supposedly asked to stay in Kumo as well, I had no choice but charge Kaido and detain Hige for questioning. Hige's ninken partner pretty much obsolves Hige of wrongdoing, and my senses judged Hige's responses as truthfully shocked when he was told what he would be questioned about. That's pretty much the gist of the situation."
Atsuro sits back in the chair and folds his arms, nodding slowly as Taiki explains the situation. Once Taiki's finished, Atsuro just sighs and closes his eye for a few seconds. "And here I thought there'd be some kind of room for doubt," he says, opening his eyes again, "Let's start with Kaido then. I'd rather not be too hasty in judging him… even if it seems like it's an easy job."
After taking a moment to organize his thoughts, he begins, "First, there's no mistaking the paperwork thing? I don't mean that he sent in a form or something because obviously there's no such form, but there's no way it's anything like… he sent a letter to Daisuke before leaving Kumo, then came here to discuss it with you and arrived ahead of the letter? And did he say anything else about this whole reputation thing? That's not very specific." Taizen adds, "Could he have meant something else when he said he was sneaking in? Maybe he was avoiding family members who might have asked how he was doing in Kumogakure."
Then Atsuro adds, "Unless we have hard evidence that Hige is actually conspiring with him, I'd say he pretty much has to be let off the hook — and maybe not let him work in other villages for a while. Even if he did somehow plan to help Kaido, he's the lower-ranking ninja; he could have been coerced. Nicely or forcefully."
"Regarding Hige'san first," Taiki answers as he leans back. "I'm pretty sure he's innocent. However, with Kenta spewing off at the mouth on how Hige asked to stay in Kumo and Kaido was training him, I can't just let him go without questioning him. And because I'm pretty much judge and prosecutor in this fiasco, I shouldn't be the one to question him. I was hoping I could convince you to do it. At least he wouldn't be so ready to shovel himself as he would be if I did the questioning."
Taiki looks over his scrolls and says, "Daisuke's subordinates state there's no such thing as a transfer, and no letter crossed their desk, which would be standard procedure in cases like this. Daisuke's message, along with his recall of Kaido to Konoha after I contacted him, pretty much tells me what the reaction would be if he did receive something. So essentially we have him declaring himself a free-agent to me, in a nutshell. If I had been fully recovered when he talked to me, I likely would have put him in the secure wing of the hospital." An open declaration of intent to the Clan Head is, after all, sufficient evidence and reason for such a reaction after all.
"And as far as his reputation is concerned, it's rather well known. The man is a pervert, and propositioned Daisuke's girlfriend. His ninken is a bigger pervert than Shinobu. Shinobu only jokes about things, never really meaning it. Bandit, Kaido's ninken, has been known to do things. Bandit has several people wanting to castrate him, and Kaido's own efforts combined with Bandit's has pretty much destroyed his reputation. But as far as I'm aware, no one wants to castrate Kaido. That's what Kaido wants to run from. No death threats, no certain-death betrothals, nothing of the sort. Just a reputation he earned."
Atsuro blinks. "That's all?" he asks, "Are you serious? You haven't just cooked up this whole situation as a prank or something?" He narrows his eyes and looks intensely at Taiki's face. "King, this is real. What the specter?" He wipes a hand across his face. "I was expecting to hear that someone spread malicious rumours about him or something, and he felt he had no alternative but to dat-da dat-da da…" He lets loose a long sigh, "The rumours are really that… lame? He could have fixed that by talking with Bandit, only trying to pick up women in bars, and waiting a few months. Like this clan isn't full of people who sleep around."
He sighs and shakes his head. "Moving on. I can talk with Hige, but you're sure I'm the best choice? I imagine a jounin coming and interrogating him is pretty scary for a genin in jail, whether that jounin is a clan head or a clan advisor slash Hokage-clan liaison slash male model. Anyway, even if he /did/ ask, his position relative to Kaido makes it almost impossible to say that there was genuine wrongdoing. He's a genin — a kid. Maybe he thought there was some legitimate way of arranging to stay in Kumo. He might not even have really understood what he was asking, or at least the implications. And, well, it's not really that surprising that he would want to be loyal to his teacher." He raises his hands. "Let me boil it down. When I was that kid's age, I wouldn't be able to tell you the possible consequences of establishing a second Inuzuka line in an allied village. And I'd have said I'd do anything for my sensei. If you ask me, any recently graduated genin in the village could have ended up in his exact situation. It was just bad luck that he got transferred over to Kumo with the one teacher who would involve him in… whatever the mole you wanna call this." He shrugs. "Okay. And what's this about people from Kumo coming to testify in Kaido's defense?"
"I'm trying not to use language that would adequately describe what I view this situation as," Taiki says succinctly. "We both know that I can be as foul mouthed as anyone, more so if you're talking about people like Berii-san, but I made a promise to myself I'd cut back on the vulgarity a bit when I became Clan Alphs. Suffices to say the initials for the description of this situation is c-f." Yes, Taiki is serious about this reputation thing.
AS far as people from Kumo is concerned, Kaido and Hige came back with the Raikage and someone named Michiko, both of who were claimed and verified themselves as witnesses for Kaido's defense. I haven't asked what they have to say because honestly? I want this open to the public in case I have to kill the baka. I'm just hoping the idiot will be smart and show /some/ repentance. Defection in wartime, which you and I both know Konoha currently is, is treason, and punishable by death, even if the defection is to an allied village. I don't think he really understands that yet, and Daisuke's message to me about no room for defectors tells me where he stands on this issue."
Taiki then takes a deep breath and says, "There's no way to avoid intimidating the genin. And, truth be told, intimidating him a little would only make his story more reasonable. Given what I suspect now, I'm likely not to actually charge Hige, but I need him questioned first. And I need it done by someone who will give him the benefit of a doubt, which from your own words means you."
"I was trying to stick to language we could use in official statements," Atsuro says with a wave of his hand, "But okay. Thanks for not hurting our sensitive ears." He reaches over to Taizen and puts his hands over the dog's ears for a moment.
"Well, I have to admit, Hiei speaking in his favour certainly does him credit. I've met Michiko, but I don't know enough about her. I have no idea what they could possibly say in his defense, though, unless they're prepared to testify that the Kaido who spoke with you was an impostor. Crazier things have happened, I guess." He shrugs. "Listen to what they say, try not to make any snap judgements. In either direction."
Regarding Hige, he nods. "I'm just saying. And considering that I don't think we can even convict him with any evidence or testimony we're even remotely likely to see even if he did act maliciously, I think I might be giving him a bit more than the benefit of the doubt."
Taiki rolls his eyes at Atsuro's first comments, and simply says, "You're welcome. And as far as Hiei-sama and Michiko goes, I'll listen to them. But in the end this is Clan business, and Kaido lives and dies by how things go for him. You know me, Atsuro. I'm generally a fair person. I just think this situation is something that never should have come up in the first place. Kaido'baka's reasons make him seem like a coward, and fly in the face of those who sacrificed more than he ever dreamt of sacrificing for this clan. But, my duty to clan comes first, and we can ill-afford to lose manpower at the moment. So in the end I'll take the council's arguments into consideration before making a decision." Taiki's reputation for honor and duty is well established for good reason, after all. "Just do your best for Hige'san. To be honest, I don't want to get him involved with this. I'd be deliriously happy to let the genin go before trying Kaido-san."
Atsuro sighs a little. "I was hoping that we'd missed something. Even if his reputation actually /had/ been pretty bad, that would have been enough for me to suggest you treat him leniently — god knows there are plenty of people in this clan who refuse to give anyone a fair chance." He shakes his head, then shakes it again. "Stupid. Why did this even come up?" After a final shake of his head, he says, "I'll talk to Hige and let you know what he says. As for Kaido… well, I hope either he or the Kumo delegation have something /in-propelling-credible/ to say in his defense."
"Tinker if I know," Taiki says succinctly to Atsuro's question. "This entire thing is FUBARed, at a time we seriously don't need this kind of plague. Not only do we have Konoha's alliance with Kumo and Suna against the Silence to worry about, but we have increased hostilities from the Recluse. This clan does not need this level of… treasure… at this time. We especially don't need to have it on an international stage. I could cheerfully strangle whoever had the bright idea to involve the Raikage and other Kumo nin in this. But… what's done is done, and all I can do is hope that whatever solution comes up doesn't cause too many issues for our clan, or for Konoha in general."
Not much else to say, is there? "Do what you think is right," says Atsuro, "Let's just hope that the right thing isn't… the thing we think it is." He stands up and Taizen steps down from his own chair. "I'll talk with Hige," he says, "What sort of conditions is he being kept in? House arrest, normal jail? Or like, the oubliette?" He turns to leave the room, then looks back over his shoulder. "There's nothing else you need to talk to me about?" He pauses before he reaches the door, just in case.
"They're in the standard chakra-resistant holding cells. Their ninken partners are being kept separately in the ninken kennels. Normal rations and food," Taiki says boredly. "Kaido-san is being an idiot, he's not actively trying to tear the clan down, but he stands to do it through stupidity. So the oubliette is not needed for this." He then shakes his head and adds, "Thank you, and there's nothing left that can't wait."
"We have an oubliette?" Atsuro asks, "I was just joking." Geez! He sighs. "I know he's just being an idiot — that's what makes the situation what it is. I'd rather not have someone be executed just because they lack perspective. I feel like you have a good grasp of the situation though… assuming Kaido or Hige don't have a completely different story. Which would actually make me very happy." He reaches a hand out to the door knob. "That's it, then," he says, "I'll talk with Hige. Do your best, and good luck." Taizen adds, "Good luck, Taiki." Then Atsuro opens the door and they walk out of the office.