Date: September 23, 2016
Though the flooding brought by the Storm Brigade has been handled, the effects it left behind still needed to be. People were in danger, trapped within their homes and in worse cases, in pools of drain water beneath them. With the assistance of Hango and a recovery team, Itami keeps tabs on their efforts in hopes that they too do not become victims of the aftermath that is plaguing the village.
Poster's note: foul language filtered in obvious places.
"Standing Water - Family Rescue"
"I am not in much of a condition to be of help, but I'll do what I can from up here. It appears that the foes we have been facing are ones that have grown tougher and stronger than those previously fought. I find myself in this position more often than I would like to admit. Yet, Sunagakure still remains here and stands strong and I will strengthen myself and see to it that this village is better secured and protected," Itami described to those before her at one of the demolished homes.
"We have our work cut out for us, but this is where you all come in. The brave sorts who offer their lives to rescue others. You all may not be shinobi, but that matters not. It does not take being a shinobi to have heroic qualities. Besides, not all shinobi are heroes. Here today, you become protectors and defenders of your own merit. I think that's enough talking for now, though…" She smiled.
"Let's see to it that those down here are rescued. We already know that they're doing alright, but they could be doing better. We must be careful as we move debris around and objects to access them. This is one of many homes that have been flooded. Paired with the addition of sand and they are also subjected to quicksand conditions. We are here to remedy that."
Hango stands with the recovery team, a scroll under his arm, as he listens to Itami. He listens with a quiet look at the home behind Itami, studying it as she speaks, before his eyes flick back to her. The quicksand deeper in the substrata is concerning to him. Stepping forward, he offers Itami a little bob of his head, as he unfurls his scroll for her and steps up beside her, so he can show her its contents.
"I took the liberty of going to the records office, Kazekage, and subscribing the appropriate structural building records from the upkeep and taxation numbers on the housing we've identified as damaged…" His finger travels down from a grid of housing towards a second set of drawings, those ones sketchier and with question marks here and there. "With the lower substrata of the Catacombs, at least what we know about where they should be, and where there's been breaches." He looks back up at Itami, still holding the scroll so she can examine it or take it into her own hands, should she wish to delegate the job to someone else. "This ought to make our work as safe as possible. I could not, however, find any records on what particular threats lay in this portion of the underground. I was hoping you were privvy to such knowledge." The last sentence is spoken with hopeful suspicion.
"Thank you, Hango. The danger of the catacombs are few. The upper levels do not contain any particular issues that we need worry about other than structural damage now," Itami described. "I haven't even begun to traverse the whole of the catacombs for there are many tunnels down there, but…I have been around these levels enough to know that there is no immediate harm. Sand that has spilled in from above combined with water is our concern," Itami emphasizes as she looks down from above. It's a bit dark from here given how covered the openings are here. "We won't be able to move the larger parts, but I have had some testing done by earth jutsuists and builders. There is one area that has been deemed safe enough to enter from and perform an extraction of the people trapped below. We will use that point. The information you have gathered should assist in navigating the tunnels below."
Hango, as if he's a small dog that's just been given a treat, smiles and rolls his scroll back up. "I am happy to be of service, Kazekage." He tucks it back under his arm, and pushes his glasses up the bridge of his nose. "Being a Sensor Nin, I can also assist as a spotter. I'm assuming a triage of chakra health and emotion will be preferable for our teams?" he asks, as he looks across at the rest of the recovery team for a moment, his eyes half-lidding as he spots all their chakras, then he looks to the Kazekage, an odd state of focus apparent as he memorizes her signature and gives her chakra preference. "I am not yet skilled at the more potent abilities yet, but the fundamentals are present." He turns towards the house, stepping towards it and tipping his head downwards, casting his free arm forward and spreading his finger as a mental mnenomic, searching downwards into the catacombs for various survivors and pausing briefly over each that he can get in his mild range for their psychological and physical state.
"Fundamentals are important. I do not ignore them at this time," Itami grunted a bit as she repositioned herself in her chair. "Once you get a reading, share it with those around you so that they may have an idea of what to look for." She observed the recovery team as they waited patiently, though they did shift a bit every so often in anticipation. "We will conduct our business soon. Worry not," Itami offered to the recovery team. "We will begin soon. Trust me."
The readings, though they had varying levels of strength, showed that the people were alive. They were down below, all crowded together, at the least and most importantly, didn't appear to be sinking. It was a small group of three, likely a family.
"First read, three individuals, together. They aren't sinking, likely solid ground. Can't say the way there is solid." He unfurls his scroll again as he gestures a trio from the recovery team over, pointing at the map and using his finger to gesture a way through the upper structure. "We go down at this point." One of the members of the team, who is the trap specialist, produces a long black cord, with metal balls along it. Hango looks, briefly thinking, before he looks up with eye contact and nods. "Good idea." Hango looks at the Kazekage. "I'll push forward until I stop finding signatures." He prefers this to battle, even if it is arguably more dangerous. He turns about and slips into a house alongside the three recovery operatives, one of them alighting fire in his hand to lead the way. Hango slides down a diagonal floor collapse into the catacomb shaft, waiting as the trap specialist follows before the operative with fire descends below, and finally one with a bundle of torches secured on his back.
"Excellent. I will keep track from up here with the rest. If anything goes awry, I will be down there, despite my condition," Itami offered to those that left down below to go save the family. She inhaled deeply and sighed the breath back out, hoping for the best.
Within the hole, lighting was, needless to say, lacking. Yet, the help of the torch enabled them to see and thankfully, the humidity wasn't enough to weaken the torch too much, it may just prove troublesome at some points. The water was lighter here, stagnant but free of any additional life forms. What insects did come from the flooding don't appear to have come into this area just yet, but the dangers of the water itself still persist.
Loose pieces of debris sit above the water, lighter objects floating while the dense sink. The sandstone that did collapse created a rough path, with a few jagged edges that need careful treading to cross. The corridor would widen into a larger basement room and the water turn from simple puddles to a wading pool, knees deep.
The torch bearer lights a torch from the fireball held in the hand of one Nin, and places it in Hango's outstretched hand. Hango moves forward across the floor carefully, making sure to shuffle his boots and place pressure on the toes with every strange step, resisting the normal urge to walk with his heels that boots provoke. As they reach the water, Hango pauses and gestures two fingers forward in a throwing motion. The trap specialist casts his line out, letting the metal balls sink beneath the water and rest there to see if there is quicksand, before the Nin reels the line back in, wrapping the cord around his forearm and using his alternate hand to keep the cord draw up, to avoid a tangle. Hango grits his teeth in annoyance at the wading depth water, the silt and muck and filth causing him great ire, the left side of his mouth and his left eyelid twitching as he keeps himself under control. It feels as if his skin is crawling, the feeling of uncleanliness. He turns his head left and right, his eyes half-lidding again as he chakra scans, comparing it to his memorized map portion. He slides the scroll into his hand rather than under his arm, to add a bit of certainty that he does not drop it into the water should he become unbalanced.
No quicksand now, but the softness of the floor becomes more prevalent as the group continues forward into the passage. There's a small section that the famiy is huddled into, surrounded by anything they could get their hands on to keep themselves stable. Above them, the roofing and walls collapsed leaving them in what felt more like a crawl space with water up to their shoulders. A mother, father, and one child were situated here, but as the group approached and vital signs strengthened, there was another life that was unaccounted for, very close to the mother. So close, in fact, it could be said they're one and the same.
There were small pots and jars floating around here as well as containers which kept food stored away, likely spoiled now. More debris from the home was floating over the water and sitting beneath it while the sand that sunk into this area suctions anything sufficiently heavy enough to it and traps it. The torch may be threatened now in these waters, but there are small rays of light in this room that help in guiding, but not quite enough.
Hango slides the scroll into his teeth, holding it above the water. He keeps the torch up and as far away from his body as he can manage, spotting the chakra sign of the mother. Pregnant? Then, there's a terrifying flicker through his mind. Monster. The Kazekage insisted the passages were safe at this level, but who knows what the flooding brought to the surface from the lower levels of these flooded tombs. The freed hand slips under the water, reaching to his hip and drawing a kunai. The calligrapher's paper normally kept around it for a wind burst has sopped away, but he keeps it in his palm nonetheless, point behind him for safety. He pauses as he gets close, flicking his wrist forward. The trap specialist does his best to test the water, but it's tricky at this water height to get a proper gauge of the floor's stability.
Hango's mind flickers through a lesson passed down in his family. Send the guy in you don't like first. He stands there, calculating his life, terrified for it and confronted with the cowardice of his early family life, versus the Nin that surround him. And then, slowly, he lets his torch dip out of his hand, into the water, snuffing itself out. "Too wet to keep a grip," he reports behind him, and the fire manipulator chuckles, going in ahead of him towards the family. Hango calls out ahead of him, "Recovery team here! Just stay still, we're coming!" His chakra sense surges as he focuses on the mother and the secondary life signature, watching it with irrational paranoia. He drifts, briefly, to his mother cradling his little sister, while he sat alone, playing with puzzles, his older sister bouncing on the knee of his father, before he snaps back forward with a shiver up his spine.
"Recovery team? You found us!" The father spoke excitedly. "Please, watch your step if you can. I know that is hard to say in this circumstance, but we have had trouble escaping due to the sand beneath our feet. Hopefully, the same will not happen to you." In the midst of explaining this, the child grows excited at the thought of being free from this family home turned prison. He ran forward, only to be snatched back by his father for his overzealousness. Whatever object they had clung to slipped out of his grasp and knocked against the wall. Dust fell atop their heads, but nothing significant occured.
The boy was frightened and rightfully so, but not by the events. No, it was his father's vice grip on his arm that showed some parts disappointment, but mostly fear of what could have happened. "I have a son and wife here. Please, take them first," he says. "I can't allow anything to happen to them. I have another child on the way that will be joining our family soon," he explained, giving an idea of what the extra vitals were.
The fire manipulator pauses at the words of the father, as Hango's frozen state snaps into motion and Hango grabs the new pointman's flak jacket by the collar and tugs him backwards. Waves of social paranoia and anxiety flow over Hango at the disaster he nearly just caused. The trap specialist reeled his line in, as the torch bearer at the back struggled to keep his parcel above the water. "Alright!" Hango says as he pulls the scroll out of his mouth and slides it into one of the breaches in the ceiling above them, deliberately moving it into a pinched position to keep it in place. Hango attempts to breath slowly, but the filth and the water he's submerged in keep his heart racing. His eyes snap open as he closes his mind's eye, relying merely on light. He raises the kunai in his hand above the water, and raises his other hand, showing them to the fire manipulator. "I get across along the wall, and we find a path with the floor tester. Just give me light."
Hango takes the tip of the ball lead from the trap specialist and wraps the cord around his neck, before he presses his belly up against the wall and stabs each kunai into the wall as he finds his way across, using the kunai as extra feet, his boot toes digging into the floor (or what's left of it) against the wall as much as he can. He breathes heavily, the social anxiety fading in favor of the fear of drowning in a colloid, beneath such filthy liquid.
The family looks forward now that they have light. It's a bit difficult for them to see as they had been trapped in intermittent degrees of light and dark. The dark had won on most occasions, bringing the family to close their eyes anytime the light of fire was nearby. Still, they had the need to be free and first to move along was the son who looked at Hango curiously. He got the idea of what he was doing and thought that may be his way out also. Maybe. There was still more work to be done here and he didn't know which approach to take first.
The fire manipulator takes heed and follow's Hango's lead in offering him light to be guided with. The floor was almost non-existent as most of it was just debris and sand. Yet, there were things around here that had the potential to be used should the need arise. The containers may be able to help if one could stabilize themselves on it. Some of the debis below could be turned to create a path or if worse comes to worse, a hole could be made in one of the walls here, but it'd have to be done carefully. Very carefully.
"I could pull the people from here. Ought to have enough line and room to work with," the trap specialist remarks. "If I head back the way we came, should give me a little leverage."
Hango reaches the family and palms his kunai, before undoing the cord around his neck and nodding back with an upward sidejerk at him. "Good idea," he responds, having noticed that the floor is pretty much a man-made antlion waiting to happen. Hango does not want to say it, but honestly the pregnant woman is the only problem. He does not understand pregnancy that thoroughly, being fourteen, but he knows that this is dangerous. "Hold steady on the line," Hango calls out, as he stabs both kunai into the wall behind the family, at just a foot beneath what remains of the ceiling, then wrapping the cord around them and between them with a cross pattern, before knotting them in the middle.
Hango lowers his hand at the trap specialist, telling him, "incline it down, so the buoyancy of the water will reduce the stress of going across the room." He pulls off his purple jacket, and begins tearing it into strips, only wearing his flak jacket and the tan shirt beneath it. "I'll take your kid across, then you take your wife across?" Hango poses a question. "The height differentials ought to match, and your wife has the additional issue," he says carefully, picking an odd moment to be polite. He hands the kid a long strip of fabric from his jacket, then one to the wife, then one to the father, before tossing his own over the downward sloping line to demonstrate.
The trap specialist nods and plays his part by working with Hango's orders. In the meantime, he waits for the family to do their part so he can do his. "Alright, I can do that. My son will go with you first and I'll keep my wife," he repeats, to ensure he understands. The son looks at Hango once more and prepares himself to be carried across. So far, all appears to be going well for the rescue effort. Minimal damage has been done to the surroundings themselves, but to the bodies, well, they're starting to feel the effects of having water soak against their skin. Thankfully, that is damage that can be recovered from.
"Careful and trust him to carry you. Do not fight, do not fear. Allow them to do their work," the father encourages his son. Meanwhile, the mother maintains her silence, largely in fear that if she speaks, something may happen. She just didn't know and didn't want to risk anything trying to find out.
Hango nods at the father, remaining quiet and looking at the father instead of the son, to avoid intimidating the child. He knew how fathers could be. "Okay, little guy," he says, as he lifts the child up out of the water to the line, and manuevers the strip of hardy cloth over the line, before letting him catch it in his other hand. He then slips his arms up in front of the child, and then bends his elbows behind his forearms, securing his upper body and putting his own strip over the line. "We'll just take it nice and slow," he says, walking forward over the debris and muck on the floorless ground, hanging from the cord as the trap specialist grunts and holds them. "Once we're across, you go, sir," he says behind him before he gets too far. "However you feel comfortable. You'll want both strips across the line, to divide your weight, and keep it spread out on the cord."
The kid, perhaps in all his innocence, found his carrying to safety to be fun. He gave a small smile to Hango, enjoying the lift he was receiving. Still, what father says must be listened to and so he kept himself controlled until he was safely across. The father, seeing the completion of his son's journey now moves to take his with his wife. He takes her up and applies the directions given to him to ensure that they can also safely cross. His height is a mild problem for him as he can feel the ground drawing close to his feet, but he keeps himself together as he works with her to cross. "Steady. We'll make it across. Just find the ground and keep going."
As the torch bearer keeps the child back and away from the team, Hango spots the discomfort in the tone of father's voice, and does a quick spot check of abstract geometry. He looks sidelong at the trap line bearer, and points up. "Raise the line for him," he says quietly, before the trap spotter does so, Hango pitching in with his own grip, the two of them leveraging the line higher for the pair, since they're larger. Hango says nothing further, knowing its a process for both of them that the Nin might be wise to stay out of. The light remains, just so they don't panic.
The raising of the line definitely does the trick and the father is able to help his wife across and take the pull to get themselves to the safety of the corridor. "Thank you, thank you so much," the wife offered to Hango sincerely. "From here, we should be able to get back without any problems. This went better than I imagined," the trap bearer spoke. He looked up at the building to see if it'd come down on him for saying something that appeared to be so out of turn, but thankfully that isn't the case. "Think that means we can go back the way we came. This job should be over with in a bit." Up above, Itami inquires into readings of the situation, using what sensors are available to aid in this situation. Chakra levels appear to be normal and stable. "I imagine they'll be coming soon. We should ensure that the area is kept safe for their arrival. Go down and make sure that they'll have reinforcements just in case," Itami states. With that, another team goes down and goes in to provide backup.
Hango reaches up and snags the scroll, remembering where he left it above. "We'll need to ditch the line," Hango says with an apologetic frown to the traps expert. He shivers in the water, the dank cavern and the water beginning to get to him. The torch bearer moves out first, along with the trap bearer, the family in the middle and Hango and the fire expert in the rear, keeping the way lit. "We have reinforcements coming from above," the Rankoro notes with a flicker of his eyelids, aware that more chakra signatures are descending now that he's facing the proper direction.
The reinforcements stand at the edge of the corridor, awaiting the group to come back out. At most, the access point still appears to be stable, but naturally, that little bit of dust that came down earlier managed to allow for the rest of the walling to seek trying to fall down. It started in the room the family was trapped in and started a chain leading up to the corridor, stopping just shy of it. The home creaked and the rubble resettled while water sloshed and splashed around. "That could have been—Eh, nevermind," the trap bearer grumbled as he cuts his line loose. He has no choice but to leave it now, it's become tangled in more debris.
"We're here to lend you extra support to get out. Once up above, the family will receive immediate medical attention," the wind user spoke at the other end of the corridor. "Might have to make it quick. I don't think the chain intends to end there." With good reason. While the chain did end at the corridor, it did manage to create another reaction on the other side of the house. The corridor lined itself with stress cracks as the walls were slowly being pulled in an opposing direction.
Hango grunts as he sees the stress cracks, moving out at the end of the team and towards the way they came. The Nin in the front help the family up the slope towards the first floor of the house and outside, with the fire user and Hango staying with the reinforcements. Hango is shaking now, feeling nauseous from the filth he's covered in, that he's noticing now that they're out of the water. He climbs out of the house just behind the fire manipulator, who snuffs his flame. Hango offers his scroll to a Nin waiting above, as the family receives medical attention, and collapses down onto his backside, against a wall, knees up. He lets his chin tilt upwards, now showing obvious signs of the reaction he has to being this filthy with such detritus. He looks at the Kazekage, gulping at being seen this way. "I get a little bothered by dirt sometimes," he says weakly, with a grin.
Itami watches as the family comes up along with the rest of the rescuers. She smiles and sighs in relief, though it is tempered by Hango's reaction to the predicament. "…I understand," she grinned. "Thank you for your assistance today. Later on, I will have you come by my office and see to it that we can have arrangements for you to be accepted here. I believe it's been long enough. I may not be at complete strength, but I am still functional. Until then, I'll make sure you and the rescuers are debriefed and relieved of duty. Hopefully, quickly."