Date: Unknown (log received September 16, 2012)
A hypothetical war tears through the Land of Wind, and Kuoroke wakes up in a temporary field hospital, but with no time to heal.
"What If? Final Performance - Value Appraisal"
A quickly constructed hut near the Desert Cliffs in the Land of the Wind.
Kuoroke opened his eyes and looked around, firstly inspecting his surroundings. The hot, dry wind that had woken him up was blowing in through the windows -roughly square-shaped holes in the walls- of the building he was in, an overcrowded dome made of sandstone maybe 20 metres in diameter. He was lying on a cot, as were many other ninja, with a variety of cuts, bruises, missing limbs, burns both thermal and chemical, neurological damage, and every other form of harm both physical and mental one can imagine. A small group of still-healthy people, medical nin by their uniform, moved quickly between the cots, trying to lessen the suffering as well as they could and speed the road to recovery. The guards who were posted at the windows, mostly Hayato judging by their hats, wore the harsh, worried expressions of someone not certain if they'll live to see another sunrise - or another meal.
It took Kuoroke seconds to get an idea of the situation he found himself in and, done with examining his surroundings, he turned his attention towards himself. His head was bandaged, covering both the head wound he'd sustained and the right half of his face - at the very least, he'd have to wear an eyepatch from now on. His right arm was held together by splints, which was probably the only thing holding a thoroughly fractured limb together. But worse than the extensive damage to the right side of his body was the fact he couldn't feel anything below his waist, despite knowing his right leg was at least as badly damaged as the arm.
For a few moments, this puzzled him, while the memories of the injuries he'd sustained returned to him. Then, he remembered the last wound before passing out: a crushing, lightning-enveloped blow to the spine. So that was it: it was broken, and with that much electricity, the nerve damage would probably be irreversible. As he became aware of his condition, Kuoroke was forced to re-evaluate something he often considered, but now in an entirely different light: he had to reconsider his own value to the village, should he survive this. The resulting prospect was so little past breaking even he paled beyond even what the bloodloss had done to him, his tanned skin taking on a greenish hue. The Kuroki cursed.
While Kuoroke was busy thinking about himself, however, things around him picked up as a few scouts returned and reported, in words whispered to the med-nin in charge. Judging by their worried eyes and their tense tones, the news wasn't good. Even in his current state, Kuoroke decided to make himself useful and give his own insight on the situation. So, the Councillor, if that term still meant anything, called out and got the med-nin in charge to approach him.
"Report, Jounin… and, what's your name?"
"Iga Hideki, sir." the med-nin answered. He started off by who was lying on the cots and how thorough their injuries, and then continued to the casualties since Kuoroke had been out. There were no names here, just figures and statistics. Like it was, pale and harsh, Kuoroke's face stayed in the same expression during the entire description. After giving a quick description of what he knew of the overall situation of the war, Hideki explained their place in all of this. "Who you see here is who we've got healthy, plus four -I hope four- scouts and twelve more guards standing outside."
"What was in the latest report?"
"Enemies sighted, sir. Approaching us. We've got an hour… maybe only half an hour, they have an idea of where we are and are tracking us down, and we're not well enough camouflaged to escape them indefinitely. We're preparing to defend right now… as well as we can."
Kuoroke sank into calculations again. Not about himself, but about the others here, now. Average cost and likelihood of recovery of those he'd heard about. Likelihood of victory. Strength of the various people here - it was a good thing he knew many of their files by heart. Movement speed. After a few minutes, he called Hideki and requested a map of the region, which was brought.
"You've got too many wounded, and not enough people. If they find this place, all of the wounded are done for, and the rest of you are most likely to die." He informed Hideki. Hideki nodded, for he was aware of this fact. "You don't have the manpower to defend them all. If we try to flee, we'll be slowed down by the wounded and hunted down. We'll be just as caught as here, but without even the defenses." With a frown, Kuoroke realised how much he detested being in a no-win scenario. His frown deepened when he realized it wasn't quite a no-win scenario, and with a voice hoarse from pain, he began giving instructions. "Get whatever Shippodoku you have, and tunnel your way out of here, right from the center of the room. Don't try to hide it, just collapse it behind you. Get all the injured-" Kuoroke cut himself off. Those who could not be saved should not hold back those who could. "Take those who are expected to recover the fastest back first, then work your way up from there. Who stays behind, stays behind. Get them back to Sunagakure or wherever we're the strongest right now. Furthermore…"
After they had started, Kuoroke rolled off his cot, and began dragging himself around the room. Sometimes, someone would take the time to help him - he'd bark for them to get lost and get to the real work of setting up the escape. His movement went agonizingly slowly, but, by his calculations, it went quickly enough to be ready by the time they'd get there. Regularly, hawks would return bearing news of enemy movements. Just as regularly, they would not. Such losses were necessary, Kuoroke reminded himself, looking at the grief-stricken expressions of their Hayato friends as he grovelled past in the dust.
When the door was opened by a well-place kick, the room was both brightly illuminated and a bit awkward. What was once a clean floor now was a mess most reminiscent of a construction site, dug open and opening into a wide pit. A few of the cots were still occupied: those who were comatose, simply dying either way, or simply not valuable enough to be rescued, had been abandoned on Kuoroke's orders. Light-giving, bright chains criss-crossed the room like a madman's impression of a spider's web. In the middle of it all, over the pit, hung the spider: a sad, broken body, dirt-crusted to the point of being irrecognizeable. The only thing clean on the entire figure was the Sunagakure forehead protector - it was cleaned and polished to a high shine, as if it had just been made. Where the chains met his body, they had burnt into it, causing blood to drip on the ground with a pat-pat-pat-pat-pat. The pain was agonizing, and everything in front of Kuoroke's eyes was hazy and red because of it. The only thing that kept the former -now former- Councillor conscious was the awareness he wouldn't have to endure it for long.
With a grunt, he finished the last handseal he had prepared, grinning at the soldiers entering the room.
The first exploding tag swung him to the left. It was the only one he'd see: the light of the chains holding him up was extinguished at the same time his consciousness was. But the trap was still set up: unsupported, the second explosion threw him to the right like a rag doll. Somewhere in mid-air, he met a falling piece of the roof. Dragging him down in its fall, it would forever become his tombstone. The tags kept exploding, each triggered by the last. In a matter of moments, the entire dome was disintegrated, part of it collapsed inward, but most of it thrown outward like shrapnel from a building-sized grenade. In life, Kuoroke had had good chakra reserves, and he had depleted almost all of them for this: now these chakra reserves blew apart the entire hillside, rocks raining and sliding over the opponent. No, he probably wouldn't kill all of the enemy soldiers. Maybe he'd only kill one or two, but he'd slow them down, and in the massive pile of rubble he'd leave, the tunnel through which the others escaped would be hidden well enough to make it take a while to look for. And this meant at least the healthy ones would escape with their lives. And those lives were just more valuable to the Land of the Wind than Kuoroke's would have been, at least by his calculations.