Date: January 4, 2011
The underground base of the Tao Shih is larger than most would suspect. It also contains horrors the likes of which would never be dreamed of except in the nightmares of Hell's worst sinners. The majority of these horrors have gathered on Level 5.
"Tao Shih Training Arc - Contamination On Level 5"
Level 5 - Location Unknown
Level 5 of the Tao Shih's secret underground base is similar to the medical facilities in that cavern on Level 8. That would be the place with the giant, hideous statue looming in it. Of those in the Tao Shih, only Kanami and Tomoyo have yet to be physically present on Level 8. They have only been transmitted via the Magic Lantern Seal, and thus may not appreciate the similarities between 8 and 5. But they exist.
Level 5 is much more like a hospital than like a shadowy place for operating on or storing bodies. The main difference between a hospital and Level 5 is that this fifth floor below ground is larger than any hospital 'top-side' -- and yet it is almost completely uninhabited. Occasional orderlies and doctor-looking types will pass through, or be spotted in rooms as one walks the halls, but overall the place just feels… Deserted. And deserted in the extra-creepy way too, because in some places it looks like operations or treatments on patients were just walked away from suddenly and left behind. One emergency room has a bloody table cloth on the operating table, with a variety of red-slicked medical instruments both on a tray next to the table and lying on the floor.
However, though such gruesome sights and individuals of questionable sanity make up about 3/4ths of the floor, the area right near the elevator is well-maintained and relatively active. The destination of the group, however, is not solely the medical facilities. It is a place right on the edges of where the active part meets the 'dead' part. For some >strange reason< there are manned guard posts set up throughout the halls at various points, and these guard posts are especially numerous at the 'border' where the living hospital becomes the dead hospital. Armed patrols frequent these areas, and sometimes the squawking of a radio will cause a group that was previously standing still to go dashing off down one dimly-lit corridor or another with a destination and a goal in mind.
Amuro is standing at Sentry Position 9-North, right at the forefront of the effort to keep the dead hospital from encroaching on the living hospital. He is waiting for those who have not yet arrived. The towering man intends to lead them straight through a large open area just ahead that looks a bit like a waiting room in a normal hospital, but with pieces of the floor torn up, and chunks of the reinforced-concrete ceiling lying around. Mune would likely already be with him, due to her being integral to at least two of the operations that will be occurring today.
Whenever the woman known as Datura had to go underground, she was never to be expected to be in a happy mood. Anything dark, dank, and 'disgusting', as she put it, didn't really deserve her presence. But really, she simply did not like them, despite her affinity for all things gothic in both her wardrobe and decor. Maybe it was simply the lack of windows that she disliked, for, unlike most goths, she much preferred the day over the night, no matter what her sense of style might say of her.
Out of her guise as the Lady Ryoko (away on the pretense of preparing a special performance for the dignitaries remaining for the final few matches), the blonde-haired ex-Konoha kunoichi wore a black-on-red corset for a top, terminating in a choker around her neck holding a reaper pendant. Her legs were semi-covered by a flaring skirt of some silken material, while knee-high, button-up leather boots kept her feet off of the floor. The left arm had a stiched wristband, as well as a metal arm bracer, while the right was left unadorned. But, of course, it had been cold once she had made her way underground, thus the woman formerly-known as Ryoko had abandoned her sense of personal style and demanded the labcoat off of one of the technician's backs as soon as she had gotten off of the elevator, thereby covering her shoulders and keeping her from shivering.
Thus, with her hands jammed into her labcoat pockets, a coat which proclaimed her to be a young man named 'Nubu', the mind-manipulator's heels come clicking down the halls towards the spot she had been directed to meet the Tao Shih leader at (she had even left the messenger alive!). She might almost look like a doctor, were it not for the open coat revealing the near-fetish gear beneath. And, of course, her customary quasi-pigtails.
"Anno, Amuro-kun. Can we not ever meet within the sunshine? Why must everything be done underground? We should really look into getting a mountain-top fortress. You know, those do get plenty of sun."
Today is the day that he was to go through with the surgery, Shinji has had plenty of time to think on this and to go to Amuro with his concerns. Standing in the elevator that began to lowering down towards the 5th floor, leaning against the back wall, his arms crossed, the light skinned man stands with his eyes closed going over in his mind even now and wondering if this is the best for him. Wearing two gowns which were offerd to him, Shinji made sure to wash up. With being with a group of women, being stinky is a no no. Besides, who want to be around a man who stinks anyways? The reason for the two gowns, everyone should be able to guess why, you don't want your butt showing out the back of your gown, hell with being on the medical wing, >IT'S COLD!< things tend to shrink due to coldness.
As the elevator chimes, and the doors open Shinji walks out of the elevator, a few people passing by look to him then continue on about whatever they were doing. Walking down the hall, and turning down a few other halls, Shinji finally arrives. Walking towards Amuro, Mune and now Datura, he quirked a brow. He hadn't seen Datura in the base here in Kusa, but if she is here is there something else going on. He remembered being told that it would only be Amuro and Mune doing the seal placement. Stopping in front of the three Shinji bows his head, "Alright, lets do this." he says. His voice doesn't betray any underlying fear, or weakness.
When Datura arrived Mune was busy speaking to a group of guards nearby, one of whom appears to be injured. From the way one pant leg is rolled up, it is immensely obviously that everything below the knee of that leg is gone. What's worse, it doesn't look like it was a 'clean' cut at all. It looks more like it was torn off, or twisted off, or… CHEWED off. Something nasty like that.
"No good. The virus has already spread," she offers. Then she straightens up from where she was examining the leg, strips off the once-sterile-but-now-blood-stained disposable gloves she was wearing and tosses them into a nearby incinerator hatch with the 'Bio-Hazard' symbol on the lid. One of the guards, a younger-looking one, calls out, "Wait! That's it!?" Mune turns to face the youth. He may actually be around the same age as her. Maybe he is a couple years older or younger, but he seems to be a lot less experienced than Mune. Mune says, "Even if I healed him he would need to be put down. As I said, the virus has already spread. I have neither the time nor the ability to purge him of the virus. If I could do THAT, then none of you would be needed down here." The guard sputters and says, "But can't you--?" His squad captain interrupts him with a hand on the shoulder. "Hey," he says simply. The younger guard just looks very upset as he stares at someone who was at least a comrade if not a friend and who has already lost a leg that apparently is about to lose his life as well.
Mune just draws a line across her throat with one finger and the squad captain nods when he sees the gesture. He turns the younger guard away and sends him off somewhere else so he doesn't have to watch. Then the captain draws a tanto from his belt with a metallic sliding noise. When she arrives back by Amuro and Datura, she nods vaguely at the lighter-skinned blonde without looking at her and says, "Amuro-sama, did you find what you were looking for in Konohagakure? We could really use it down here. We started with over 700 combat personnel and we now have 328."
A blood-curdling scream from behind her, followed by sickening, wet noises accentuates the fact that the injured man was not disposed of quickly enough and has just 'turned' and killed one of his former comrades before finally being slain himself. "--327," Mune ammends. "That is a loss of 373 fighting men and women since mid-way through October. We NEED to get this situation under control or we'll have to shut down this entire level."
Pale-faced, the young guard from before comes forward then, ranting and demanding an explanation as to what just happened to his buddy, and so on and so forth. Mune ignores him and turns to Shinji as he approaches. She nods towards him. She is dressed in a Medic-Nin's outfit with a large scroll strapped to her back today, rather than the revealing long coat ensemble she usually wears. This is no place to be leaving skin exposed. "No disrespect intended, Shinji-san, but why the hell are you wearing hospital gowns down here? I really hope you brought some weapons with you at least. If not…" She reaches over to a nearby tray of medical instruments and then hands Shinji a rusted scalpel.--Or is it rusty? Maybe that's dry blood. "Don't cut yourself with that, please."
Kanami has recovered from her fight against that nasty little Puppeteer *****. Well, more like 'sort of recovered'. She is healed thanks to a combinationg of Medical Ninjutsu and her heightened healing rate, but it has advanced the progression of her strange 'affliction' by leaps and bounds to have to strain her system and regrow flesh in the way that she has. The things that replace that which was lost are not entirely… 'Human'.
Kanami is wearing a blank mesh top under a black vest, with tight-but-flexible black leather on her legs and boots of the same material on her feet. She looks very different from her usual self not just in terms of clothing but in terms of physical features too. The right side of her face has SCALES on it of varying sizes and shapes, but all of them look quite reptillian. The same goes for her right eye, which is yellow and has a snake-iris and snake-pupil instead of her usual eye. It looks a lot like what her Doujouji Mask looks like… Only she's not wearing a mask. her hair has been brushed out repeatedly, but though it is straight and smooth NOW she had to literally CHOP her hair to get all the knots and tangles out of it. And it still almost down to her waist. It has grown long and wild.
Her flesh is pale like white marble, or like a corpse, or like something unwholesome and unnaturally white that has spent its entire existence under a rock and has never been exposed to the light before now. Her frame has grown much thinner, making her look gaunt rather than slender. Finally, her face shows odd structure to it, as though it had been sculpted rather than developing as it has. It is almost artificial-looking.
Infact, her face looks so strange that one might almost have the odd impulse to try to get ones fingers under the edges and pry it off. But it's not fake. That's her face right now. And she looks so different from her usual self that she may not even be recognized until she arrives behind Shinji, moves to the side, and greets everyone. "Greetings, everyone." That is her voice at least!
Amuro turns when Datura arrives and says, "I actually have a place like that in mind already, Datura. It has adequate room both for underground and aboveground facilities. It is where I found that statue you have seen in the cavern, and is called 'the Mountains' Graveyard'--" He does not get a chance to speak further on that matter, because that is when Mune comes over.
"Unfortunately, the Hokage's sister does not have the same genetic traits as the Hokage herself. The cultivated cells from Tobiramako have given no indication of possessing the potential for Wood Release. It would appear we will need to handle this situation without such." He then turns to Shinji, who has already arrived. "We will proceed when all of us here. In the meantime…" He turns to the young guardsman and his right arm whips up, planting his palm against the man's head -- actually against his face, forehead, >and< head, because Amuro's hand is so big!
Completely covering the individual with his palm, Amuro focuses some Chakra through his arm and into the morphic Seal known as the Hand of Lore that lies on his right palm's flesh. The man should stop any struggling fairly quickly, and after a few seconds, he would be released and allowed to slump to the floor. Turning to another group nearby, Amuro says in his deep, deep, deep voice, "Have this >child< 'relocated' to somewhere in the Land of Rivers. Use the Sub-Transport. He will awaken in less than 24 hours, so make sure he is deposited and that you are back >before< this time tommorow."
Kanami has arrived while all of that was going on, so Amuro turns towards her and stares silently for several seconds. "…What a bother. The mutations are advancing more quickly than expected. Have you been expending Chakra, Kanami? You were told not to until after the procedure."
"Mu-mu." The blonde offers the dark-skinned woman with a frown, before angling that frown in the direction of the rather hideous-sounding noises coming from not-nearly-far-enough-away. Amuro receives a response that only has half of Datura's attention, focused as she is on the grotesque happening that she can't quite see. "The statue, huh? You never bring us anywhere nice."
The guard is paid little attention to as his mind is wiped. It would have been much quicker, and simpler, to kill him than to expend the manpower and effort to move him elsewhere. But, at least judging from the lack of eye-rolling, scowling, or simmering looks, the blonde-haired Yamanaka wasn't overly bothered, perhaps even approved of, the young man's survival. Things seem to be moving right along smoothly, as smoothly as things could be, as the kunoichi begins to prepare a list of questions to find out just what it was they were dealing with here. As a woman who prided herself on vanity and cleanliness, bacteria was NOT near the top of her list of favorite things.
But then Kanami shows up.
At first, the dark-haired Nogakujin only gets a glance from the blonde, and it seems that she indeed does not even recognize the older woman. At least, not until her head whips around fast enough to give herself whiplash for a second take. The outcast Yamanaka sucks in a ragged breath, one hand, half-covered by the too-long sleeves of her appropriate labcoat, going over her mouth as she gasps, blue eyes widening considerably in shock. For a few precious moments, Datura's mouth works, but no sound comes out. Then she steps closer, to lay one hand on Kanami's shoulder, the other brushing her hair away to get a better look at the scaled side of her head, fever-bright worry in her eyes and twisting her expression.
"Oh my god… Are you okay!? Amuro-kun, you can fix this? Mu-mu?" She half-turns to look at one, then the other, her voice slowly rising slightly with every syllable. "You can fix this now, right!?"
Having heard and witnessed guard 328's demise, Shinji takes the offered scalpel and looks at it then back to Mune. "For whatever is going on down here, I doubt this will help me and with the warning you just gave me cher' I'm not even trying to hold this." he says as he hands it back to her. "As for my attire, I'm going in for surgery, I'm not getting my stuff messed up." Looking to Datura as she ignores the guards and what Amuro done to the one who was demanding answers. Granted a slight twitch did come from Shinji and only one who is perceptive enough would see the scalpel as been taking. But before he is able to throw it at the guard who is showing disrespect, is quieted by Amuro.
Placing the scalpel back from where Mune picked it up, he sighs, and is about to say something when, he hears Kanamis voice he turns to look at her. "Oh, hey Kanami-san." Well there is a bit of shock which is quickly masked. 'What the hell happend to her?' he thinks to himself. The beauty he rescued from the whirlpool wasn't standing next to him, but someone else with her voice. As Datura sees whats happend to her friend, even he has to fully turn around and look at her. It is like she is going through a transformation, but as he begins to speak yet again his question is somewhat answered by Amuro, 'Why isn't she allowed to use chakra?' appearantly Amuro knows whats going on and from their meeting, something was to be happening with Kanami, but it wasn't stated, like his surgery. "Maybe we should go to where we need to go and not have everyone else in our buisness." he states cooly as he gestures to those guards and doctors who may now be looking towards them.
The men do as instructed. They know that questioning Amuro and harassing him about morality, ethics, wanting answers, making demands, etc. is likely to get THEM memory-wiped as well. They've seen it happen often enough to know THAT much. So they just pick up their 'friend' as he kneels on the ground gurgling and look to be in a stupor of some kind, and then carry him away.
Mune shrugs off Shinji's decision not to use the scalpel. In a situation like this, one cannot be picky. But she cannot force him to be armed. When Kanami arrives, even Mune looks startled. Her bright-cyan eyes widen a bit and she stares at the drastic changes that have taken place. At Datura's question, she snaps out of her horror and says, "Yes, that's one of the things we're down here for. There's a room on this level with what we need to fix Kanami-san, as well as augment Shinji-san, and teach you what Amuro-sama said he would. I can fix this woman… But we can't keep waiting around forever. The longer we wait, the harder it will be to reverse. If you'll follow me, I know the general location of the room. Only Amuro-sama can open it though." So she then starts off beyond the picket line as a ninja of some kind leading some non-ninja but well-trained fighters passes by a few feet ahead of her. Once everyone is out of the way, Mune proceeds.
She stops at every corner and intersection, even if only for a moment, to perform a brief scan of the adjacent hallways. Any time there is a room with an open door, she inspects it from a distance, doing her best to see into the interior, and does not turn her back on such a room until WELL beyond such. This caution is made difficult the further they go, as the electric lights become dimmer, sparser, or simply erratically functional. Mune eventually admits to the others, "I have never been further than this without adequate lighting. I'd rather put that out in the open now and get directions instead of pushing ahead and getting us lost in this hell like a useless mmmmmmisinformed person."
She almost forgot that two of the people in this group are men. She is pretty sure Amuro wouldn't care, but Shinji might be offended. The quiet of this area once she stops speaking should probably be nearly deafening. It's the kind of quiet that produces a ringing in one's ears because there ISN'T any sound to hear. Nothing except the group's breathing, at least.
Kanami allows the touching of her shoulder, but when Datura wants to look at her face, she subtly tilts her head away despite her attempts to control that impulse. "I know I am hideous, Dat-chan." Kanami says quietly. "Please do not make me feel worse by staring at me." She sighs towards Amuro eventually as she turns her head forward again, trying not to flinch under the gaze of the others. "I had my match against that 'Kara' girl in the tournament. She managed to hurt me pretty badly and exhausted me physically and Chakra-wise. I know what you told me, but I thought as long as I did not get too hurt I would be alright. It seems, however, that I was mistaken on both counts. I used almost all of my Chakra and I think that has sped up these… 'Mutations', as you call them, quite a bit."
She pauses, and then confides quietly to the Tao Shih, hoping that the various guards, doctors, and so forth in the area will just mind their own business and not listen in, "I also do not think I have the capability to have children anymore." She lifts her mesh top a bit, showing her belly. Smooth, slender… And right over where her womb lies on the inside, there is a spider-web of black 'cracks' spreading outwards from a central point on her flesh.
After a pause, she lowers the shirt again and says, "A poisoned senbon needle was fired at sonic speeds right into my belly. It went in through there, and then went out through my back. In passing, it tore right through my--" The normally calm and self-controlled actress's voice cuts out as her throat closes up, and she lowers her head, pressing her face against Datura's shoulder for a moment until she regains her composure.
When she raises her head again, she is calm again, though her left eye is a bit wet. The right continues to stare as coldly and snake-like as ever. "I healed quickly. But what healed in place of my… My womb is… Not a human body part. I checked." She does not go into detail on how she checked. It must have been traumatic and may well have involved cutting herself open and relying on her new healing abilities to keep her alive. She nods an affirmative to Mune and then follows after her, touching Shinji's arm briefly in passing to acknowledge his concern -- however brief or hidden. No smile is offered towards him however. Kanami allows Mune to lead the way, and mostly just stays near the rear of the group. She can't use Chakra right now, so she doubts she can do much to help if there is trouble. It would be better if she stayed out of the way. When they stop, Kanami realizes that her sense are alive with signs of movement. Her eyes dart one way, catching sight of something moving back out of sight after its brief appearance from a shadowy hallway, and then they dart the other way as an empty tin can goes rolling across hallway floor, right out of a room up ahead, on the right. One bad thing about NOT believing everything in the world except oneself is fake.
Amuro confirms to Datura what Mune said. "I know the place where we can help Kanami. Do not get cut or injured by anything beyond this area. If you do, >especially if you are bleeding<, then let us know right away. Mune may be able to treat it if it is not severe and she can act quickly enough. It may involve the removal of the injured appendage, but it is better than the alternative. You may trust me on that. And if you get injured somewhere >other< than an extremity…"
He stops for a moment after taking several steps after Mune. Then he turns his head to look back at everyone else. "…Just try not to get injured."
He says nothing more on that subject and just follows.
Just like Mune, Amuro keeps aware of his surroundings. The main difference is that he does not have to look in a certain direction to see what's there. When the silence falls over them following Mune's confirmation that her experience is limited beyond this point, Amuro begins to speak up on the fact that he knows where to go from here. "--" but he has to stop immediately because he realizes they are not alone. He does not turn towards any of the presences he can detect.
Instead he just says, "Advance to the corner ahead and then go left. Keep walking that direction and do not stop until I rejoin you." He then strides ahead of everyone, and heads towards a particularly dark hallway. He stops right at its misshapen mouth, the deterioration of the paint and the wall structures making it look like swollen, discolored lips around a maw ready to close in on the first person to step far enough into its gullet to be unable to escape.
"And if you see something that… >looks< human and >isn't<, >keep your eyes on it< and search for something sharp you can swing with." Then he rapidly darts down a side-passage to his right, the loud thumps of Amuro's large, heavy-duty boots echoing into the silence that is soon shattered completely by a bizarre howl-like noise that has no identifiable direction that it is coming from. "KreeeEEEOOOW!" The call repeats once more, further away, and then is not heard again.
"No, I didn't mean…" Datura trails off as the Nogakujin turns her head and bids her not to look. In turn, she tucks her own head down and pinches her eyes closed for a moment, burying her own emotions for now in favor of allowing Kanami to express her own. The younger woman hadn't even known that the older wanted children, may even not have. But having the choice simply taken away was cruel in a way only a woman could fathom. The younger kunoichi's hand strokes through the older's bristly hair as emotion temporarily prevents her from continuing.
"Children… they're noisy, um… and messy… smell bad…" But this line of comfort doesn't go on for long before Datura decides that silent support would be much better than trying to focus on how much better off one is without rugrats running around. Instead, she holds on to the Nogakujin's arm as the group begins to move, one hand intertwining their fingers, the other gripping Kanami's bicep just above the elbow, assigning herself to company and emotional support.
"This is like the start of every horror story I have ever been told." Datura murmurs, briefly looking over her shoulder as they begin to enter the 'quarantine zone'. Being able to cause nightmares didn't ensure one immunity from becoming the lunch of one. And soon enough, there is an awful silence, the kind of silence that always came right before a piercing noise just as the monster itself shows up. Amuro leaves the group, just like the 'tough guy' that wants to protect everyone, that the rest of the victims will eventually find in pieces later. For her part, the blonde simply does as she is told without backtalk, for once, tugging Kanami's arm to try and get the older woman to come along with her.
"Mune!" Datura's voice is a harsh whisper, and the lack of use of her nickname gave a hint as to her take on th seriousness of the situation and her fear of that awful screech-growl. "What is going on here!? Is there a contagion? Why haven't they just set fire to this whole level and cleansed it!"
Stepping to Kanami's side, Shinji lowers his head slightly then places a hand on her opposite shoulder if allowed. As she explains the situation and how now she isn't able to have children he sighs a little, "I'm sorry, Kanami-san." he says to her. He didn't know Kanami well but for her to break down at this point about not being able to have children, this is something that he couldn't fathom. Hearing both Amuro and Mune state that they could help her, he smiles a little, "We are here for one another." he tells her. Feeling better about the group he choosen to sign up with, Shinji looks to Mune. "I better take that scalpel back. I can normally take care of myself but, given your warning, I better keep that scalpel." he tells her as he picks up the scalpel again.
Looking to Datura and giving her a reassuring smile, "Things will be alright." he says simply then looks to Amuro and Mune as Mune begins to lead them down the corridor. When she stops and states she hasn't been much further then she is currently. Shinji didn't know what to think about this, a part of the base that even Mune hasn't been through as well as Amuro instructing them to keep to one area of the corridor. Already on alert, Shinji moves to keep closer to the women of his group, only giving a affirmative nod in Amuros direction, he glances to the others and gestures forward. The silence is a bit harsh, but then again, he has to deal with it.
Mune does not move a SINGLE INCH when something backs up into the shadows on the edge of her peripheral vision. It was grey and may or may not have looked somewhat human. Mune does not know and does not really want to think about it. She knows what SOME of the things down here are, but given what was being kept here before everything went wrong… As fascinating as it might be to study the ways in which the source of all/most of these things is able to alter and create them, Mune is not going to risk herself to explore the depths of this place.
Then Amuro gives them directions. Mune turns quickly towards him, already realizing where he is going and what he is doing. She tries her hardest to hiss out denials, saying, 'No! No!' in harsh whispers, barely-audible, while making hand gestures to indicate the 8' tall man should NOT proceed. But he either does not notice or ignores her. At his final words, she dares to speak at barely-conversational-volume. "Come back!" she calls out quietly.
Amuro dashes off. The noise that follows almost immediately literally sends shivers up and down her spine. Taking in a shuddering breath, Mune starts moving. To the corner. Turn left. Walk forward and do not stop. Simple instructions. She follows them and hopes she lives to see another day. In response to Datura, Mune whispers back while keeping her eyes moving back and forth, scanning around. "Things were being done here -- experiments. Some were viruses, some were jutsu-based, some were other things. Everything was under control. Then someone stole the Stone of Body -- the thing from the Second Tower. It was brought here by the thief. Amuro-sama was attempting to 'extract' Riku's soul fragment from the Yin Beast -- the creature from Ankoku Cave. The idiot thief tried to use the Stone of Body to break into the place where the extraction was taking place. Who the hell knows what he thought he was going to do with it? But it worked. He broke in. And in the process he also breached the containment seals."
Mune stops talking for a moment as the hallway there are in now leads into another 'waiting room'-like area. It is large and open, more or less, but this is not their destination. Another hallway is directly across on the other side of this open space. If they keep walking forward they will proceed right into it, and continue to do so for awhile further. Mune can't see the end of the hall from here, but Amuro said to keep going. Mune has slowed down her pace in order to take stock of the area and see if there's anything lying in wait.
The moment she stops moving, something clatters above them. Mune whips her head around to find the source, and sees that there is a balcony-like hallway above them. She can clearly hear muffled thumps in an irregular pattern that does not match any creature that belongs on this Earth. Not two legs, not four, not six, not eight, not a hundred. Whatever it is does not have an even number of appendages -- if it even has ANY…
Mune starts walking again, moving swiftly and facing forward, eyes wide, and says quietly, "Keep moving. Don't stop."
Kanami gratefully accepts Datura's arm. Maybe her skin is paler than it has ever been, maybe she looks like one of the freakish monsters that Kanami can generate in the minds of others, but clearly those who matter aren't repulsed by her. Shinji's reassurances, the words from Mune that they can 'fix' this, Datura's closeness, and Amuro's powerful presence… It is an odd feeling. Like knowingly marching into Hell itself with friends at your side. Comfort and terror, mixed together.
However, this is not the first time Kanami has been down here on Level 5. She has drawn inspiration for some of her theatrical horrors from this place. At least one scene was taken almost completely from something she witnessed personally. So when they are told to get a move on without Amuro, she knows that if they want to live they need to follow his instructions. She almost didn't survive last time she was here. It was only ingenuity and skill that kept her from joining the Others as part of that… Horrific, abominable thing that she encountered purely by accident. She would never forget it. No matter how much she wanted to. Amuro knows this place, and she imagines he knows what might be down this path. He is not ready to die and he is not ready for THEM to die, so he is going to keep the Tao Shih alive. That means trusting him.
Kanami moves at Datura's side, trying to keep pace with her. She keeps her mouth shut for the most part, hearing Mune's explanation. This is new information to Kanami, but it makes sense in a way… What else could have created a place like this? Only concentrated evil -- the very essence of everything BAD in the world -- could have reshaped a place of healing into a place of death to this extent. She just had to assume that Amuro was able to keep it contained somehow, or else things would be a LOT worse than they are already. "The Seals were restored, correct?" she asks quietly of Mune just before they reach the open space. Then she pauses behind only to hear the same thumping noises as everyone else. She looks only briefly, before focusing forward again. When Mune moves, so does she. No stopping -- literally OR figuratively. Kanami does not know if she could find her way back to safety if she had to flee for her life without directions, so she is too far forward to turn back now. And at the same time, to stop would be the same as trying to turn back. She wouldn't make it six feet before running into something terrible.
"Well, at least we know that Amuro-sama succeeded in getting Datura's sister to safety. Though it is unfortunate that all of… 'This' had to happen as a result." She is trying to keep herself calm and detached by acting aloof. It is not working. Her heart is beating so hard she thinks it might burst. And she knows that is possible, because she has caused it in her assassination targets before. All she can think of is, 'I do not want to die. Not here. And Dat-chan… She has to live too. This is my fault. If I did not need to be fixed she would still be safe!'
As the group crosses the lobby, bereft of any furniture or decorations this far in, they would not be accosted by anything until they were 3/4ths of the way across. Then, lurching out of the shadows of an overhang, is something very, very ugly. It looks like a human torso has been turned upside-down, and then turned to face >away< from the rest of the room. However, where its hands should be, there are feet. Where its feet should be, there are hands. Clawed hands, with long fingers. The head of this monster is situated between its shoulders, while its rear is above it. The face looks half-rotten and deformed, with blank-white eyes, scraggly hair on top, and a handful of sharp teeth in its loose-lipped mouth.
It comes walking out of the shadows on its feet-hands, and flexes its hand-feet above, seemingly eager to grasp something. It makes no noise other than labored breathing. It is teetering towards the group, but can easily be outpaced if they keep moving. The hallway ahead has numerous darkened doorways on each side. Patient rooms? Staff offices? Whatever their original purporses were, they are abandoned now.
Straight ahead, some flickering ceiling lights reveal the end of the hallway about 100 feet ahead. It cannot be ascertained from here what side-passages there might be, but it looks like there >might< be a left-hand hallway.
"Well… my thanks to the idiot-thief, then." One of Datura's hands briefly rubs at her breastbone, near her heart as she mutters out a reply. A disgusting mutation-causing virus caused by the source of all nightmares was not something she wanted to come into contact with, and the irrational fear of the unseen virus crawling all around her makes her long for gloves, a surgical mask, hell, a full-body protective latex suit! She had the urge to summon additional help, but given there was always a price attached to such help, really did not desire to do so unless it became absolutely necessary.
The odd-sounding noise of galloping feet above and behind them immediately draws her stare. The rest of the group may have been intent upon not looking towards the noise, but Datura's eyes were glued towards the source of the sound. If the rest of the Tao Shih were looking forward, there wasn't much point in her looking that way as well, leaving no one to watch what may or may not be coming up behind them! Despite herself, her desire to be 'strong', at least emotionally if not physically, given that she was the least deadly of the core Tao Shih in direct combat, the blonde-haired kunoichi's fingers squeeze those of the Nogakujin unconsciously in a display of nervous fear.
And then comes the THING from out of the shadows. Immediately, Datura's pace quickens, and she begins trying to pull the dark-haired woman she's hanging onto along with her, into a half-jog, half-walk. She had not come here to exterminate monsters. Fighting was a job left to the less fortunate, or capable. She doesn't speak a word as she tries to keep herself and Kanami moving, at the least, as if afraid that sound other than her heeled-boot footfalls would draw undue attention from the monstrosity.
Again this is just someting out of a horror story, well not a horror story he's ever heard of. But now as they moved down the hallway, Shinji keeps close Datura, Kanami and Mune, though Mune is leading them he is a little off to the side walking with them as they proceede down the dark corridor. Noting the mishappen thing that is walking towards them, cringing himself, Shinji is already wanting to get the helll to their destination. Though as he glances over to Datura, he notices her looking back behind them and if her attention is taking by whats behind them then it's not good. Whispering only loud enough for the group to hear, "Keep close and keep moving." he says.
Moving a little faster as Mune begins to moves a little quicker and Datura trying to pull Kanami along with her, his focus of protecting the women kicked in and he holds his scalpel like a kunai, careful to keep the blade from cutting him but ready to kill whatever comes close. Catching a slight noise off to his left ahead of Mune. Shinji looks off towards the office windows. Seeing something brush against the blinds, shaking his head he quickly calls to Mune, "Wait Mune-san." he says as something comes out of the door ahead of Mune.
Taking very small steps out of the office, is what appears to be a woman. The woman is dressed in an old-fashioned nurse's outfit, with the colors possibly once having been white and pink, but now are grey and dull-brown, respectively. The woman comes out into the hallway, her heeled shoes clicking on the concrete flooring (it seems that carpets were never installed), and then turns to face away from the group. She keeps her hands folded together at stomach level, and has her back turned. Shoulder-length hair hangs on her head, and may have once been blonde, but is far more pale -- almost bleached.
The nurse stays where she is for a little while, and then begins backing up. She takes remarkably small, very controlled, and strangely >precise< steps as she continues to advance on the Tao Shih while her back remains to them. Every movement she makes comes in a jerky fashion, one piece at a time. So rather than taking a step backwards, she lifts one leg, bends her knee, places the foot behind her, rests her weight on it, and then does the same with her other foot. The nearly stop-animation-like movements, combined with how quickly she is able to perform them (she is walking backwards in this manner as quickly as anyone else here might walk forwards) just gives off a feeling of 'wrongness'. This woman might >look< human… But she isn't acting 'correctly' enough to be a human.
"Move away from it and keep moving, lets get to where we need to be." he says again in a whisper. His hand shaking, and well he is nervous about what the hell he sees. This isn't right and whatever the hell it is, he isn't taking a chance on any of his charges getting hurt.
Mune continues ahead, fighting the urge to grind her teeth. She wants to use her Vital Search Technique to locate everything around her, but doesn't dare. Some things down here can sense and feed on Chakra. And not all of them use the method of 'grab her and drain her' to feed. Some are more painful… And some prefer to feed on Chakra by digesting the flesh of the newly-dead, before their energies full leave their body. For 'flavor'.
Mune proceeds past the foot-hand thing without much of a glance. She is not able to place it in terms of experiments, so assumes for the moment it is just a random mutation. Once they are beyond it and into the hallway beyond the open area, Mune answers Kanami quietly. "Yes, they were restored. But if we try to burn down this level then it might set off who-knows-what. Volatile chemicals might explode, and cause the upper levels to collapse or otherwise suffer harm. It might even make the entire Grass Village fall into the ground. And on top of that, the… 'Yin Beast' is still down here. At least in part. It is not physically present in our world, but the room that was set up to allow for studying it without letting it loose is very much a physical place. Amuro-sama would rather the room be destroyed properly rather than left to possibly be dug up by someone a century from now and used for nefarious ends."
She is so busy explaining, that she almost doesn't realize the suspicious nature of this hallway. Darkened doorways… Dirt-covered and dust-smeared windows that one cannot see into… And their destination about 70 feet in front of them? Too good to be true. Too much like a trap to NOT be a trap. Then Shinji warns her and she stops in place. About 20 feet ahead of them, a nurse comes out of a room. Mune feels cold all of a sudden. "That's one of the medical staff that used to work down here," she whispers. She never found out what happened to them. She just knows that if she had been in the area when the Seals were breached, she could have 'vanished' like the other doctors and medic-nin. The nurse stands there for a moment, and then she starts walking backwards in that herky-jerky manner. Mune's flesh crawls seeing those movements. Everything about this woman screams, 'WRONG. BAD. STAY AWAY.'
Whatever this thing used to be or was made to resemble, it is not a human. "We can't stop, and we can't get around it. Take it down. Try not to use Chakra if you can help it." She then reaches for her medical pouch and draws out a powerful sedative, and a slightly-less-powerful stimulant, both in syringe form. She takes off the plastic caps, holds one in each hand, and then dashes forwards at the nurse-thing. If at all possible, she will try to throw each syringe at about the half-way point, and then continue on to try to pass it by. If all works well, the not-quite-right woman will not even have a chance to lash out at Mune before the drugs start working. If they don't go so well… She may have to do some dodging. The point is to distract it.
Kanami squeezes Datura's hand back. An attempt to comfort, or a display of her own fear, either way it lets Datura know she feels the same way. That horrible creature coming out of the shadows is not so horrible as some other things Kanami has seen or created for others to see. Infact, there is little down here that can faze her just by sight. It is the feeling of helplessness that terrifies her. She has always felt powerful before. She has felt in-control of her life and destiny. Now she just feels like meat, waiting to be devoured.
Once they are beyond the thing and into the next hallway, Kanami listens to Mune's hurried, quiet explanation. But she sort of wishes Mune would shut up at this point. The air is laced with tension, heavy with the weight of… SOMETHING. She doesn't know what, but she just knows something awful is going to happen very, very soon. "Perhaps we should focus on the task at hand--" she begins, but Shinji's warning makes HER shut up. The nurse-thing comes out, and despite the inhuman manner in which the seemingly-human woman moves, Kanami only gasps slightly at the dramatic manner that this is all happening in. Even in the middle of Hell itself, the actress is the sort who would appreciate being skinned alive, if only it was artfully executed. Still, it is not just she that is in danger here.
She has no weapons. She hadn't thought them necessary, and would have been awful with them anyway. So Kanami just moves with Datura to the side of the hall, trying to stay out of the way and keep an eye out behind them while the two combat-capable members of the group advance.
The nurse-thing takes both syringes in the back, and instantly whips around to face Mune as she charges at her. The nurse-thing's face cannot be seen, however, because its head is moving around and around in all manner of different directions, and it it moving so quickly that it appears like a time-lapse video of a torture victim or someone going through several seizures in a row. Her head and face are just a blur. She continues moving in that jerky manner, but a female-pitched, phlegmy, back-of-the-throat hissing noise emerges from the creature as it reveals that its right hand has been chopped off and replaced with a combination of different dentist's tools, including a nasty-looking drill. All the machines activate at once, producing high-pitched whining as they spin, and pump, and saw at the air, ready to be used on the first person to come within range.
Given Mune is the closest person, the nurse reaches for her with its left hand, trying to snap its grey-fleshed fingers closed about her arm or anything else it can grab. It does not seem to be slowed down or reacting poorly to the drugs at all, at least for the moment. But given the way its head is freaking out, maybe >that< is the reaction.
"The what!?" Datura's voice is a scream-whisper at the mention of what was down here with them. If nothing else managed to get to the blonde-haired kunoichi in a fear-inducing manner, the thought of meeting that creature, and going through the living hell her life had become for several months, again was certainly enough to goose-pimple her flesh and set the small hairs on the back of her neck to standing up. "No one ever told me that was down he-"
The runaway Yamanaka cuts off as the nurse-thing walks out into their path, causing her to pull up short, her hand getting a deathgrip on Kanami's. 'Don't use chakra.' For a pair of women who had neglected their physical combat skills almost their entire careers, there really wasn't much worse one could say to them. The teenaged diva could feel her heart practically thumping in her throat, the vein at her neck pulsating as her nostrils flaired with each breath that seemed to come quicker than the last. That meant the couldn't even climb up the walls!
The former-Konoha kunoichi releases Kanami's hand in order to shrug herself out of her labcoat, deciding that loose clothing was definitively not something she desired to have on that would enable cold, clammy hands to drag her to a gruesome death. She holds onto it, frowning as she masters her baser instincts and allows her training to take over, which was harder than she liked to admit. Unfortunately, there was no way to keep holding hands and still be able to get past this obstruction no matter how much emotional strength she was able to draw from it! "Kana, I have an idea…"
The corset-wearing blonde jogs forward, unfortunately lacking the speed to interrupt the ghoul's attack on the medic of their group, instead casting the billowing white labcoat she had 'borrowed' out like a net, seeking to smack it into, and thus temporarily cover, the hideous thing's face! She doesn't stop running as she tries to obscure the sight of herself, hugging the wall before hitting her knees and going into a professional baseball-slide, making herself as thin as she can between the floor and the wall, and thus hopefully avoid those awful tools and whatever pain, or contagion, they sought to spread through her flesh.
With the threat of this nurse and now Mune telling them not to use chakra, that was practically easy for the ex-merc. He did note that the hallway is pretty narrow, so they have no real way of passing except for taking out the nurse or possibly blinding it if thats possible. Shinji did hear a bit of Munes earlier comments but now his mind quickly focuses on the immediate concern.
As Mune begin moving backwards away from the nurse, "Mune focus." he says in reassuring and calm tone as the woman looks at the hideous looking nurse. But as she throws the syringes at the nurse, he grins and remembers the scalpel he has. Looking to Datura as she takes off her labcoat and begins running towards the nurse. He grins and follows up behind Datura. He had a plan to and hopefully, this will help. "When you see your chance, run all of you." he says as he quickly rushes pass Kanami and Mune.
Using his speed and agility Shinji grabs at Daturas labcoat, quickly moving to bring the arms of the coat up towards the nurses arm. There isn't a lot of room for him to manuver around, but Shinji is doing what he can to try and tie the coat about the nurse to neutralize her arms.
Mune does not move fast enough. Ninja speed is not enough to get by the creature, and it seizes her by the throat and pins her against the wall, causing dust to 'poof' off of the plaster and form a cloud around the two of them. The nurse draws up her arm, the mechanical tools of dental surgery jagging and whirring and drilling and then as the monster tries to plant that nasty collection into her gut, Datura comes forward and tosses the labcoat over the nurse's thrashing head. It immediately spazzes out and begins swinging its lethal machinery around wildly, shrieking and hollering in a rage.
Then Shinji comes in and grabs the coat, pinning the creature's arms and tying them behind it with the sleeves. It's constantly-moving head somehow manages to tear through the coat--no. It's EATING the coat in tiny but rapid bites! Luckily its arms are still tied up so it can't do anything further. Mune has been freed from the creature's grip thanks to Shinji's wrestling with the damned thing, so the dark-skinned woman just tries to get out of the way and continue down the hall towards the end. She can definitely make out a left-hand passage now. Running at full speed brings her to it quickly. She puts her back to the wall, and then slowly peeks around the corner.
What she sees makes her stop breathing for several seconds. She just forgets how. Moving all the way around the corner, Mune looks behind herself to make sure this no mistake. No, there isn't a right-hand passage -- just the left one. When Mune finally starts breathing again it's to come back out into the main hallway and yell to everyone, "It's a dead-end!" With the noises the nurse is making, it is unlikely that their presence down here is still unknown. No point in trying to whisper over the abomination's howls. Mune looks to her right, down the passage again. It just ends in a blank wall, with a light bulb hanging from the ceiling, lighting up the alcove. It's almost like it was designed to mock them by showing quite clearly there is no escape.
"It's just a ****ing dead-end! There's NOTHING HERE!"