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Ettin
Oct 2, 2010




Round 2! It's been long enough so I might do this next iaijutsu set and move on to new challenges. For now...

Kaihime

Kaihime checks around! The magistrates seem fine, though some of the Winter Court veterans are thinking of setting up a cynical deadpool on who and when the first Winter Court death will be and might appreciate Kaihime's input. Bakami is fine—her main problem right now is other Clans fishing to see if she'd be interested in a political marriage, and she already has people to deflect that. Tako Tsugumi just can't seem to navigate far so she's always glad to have another willing aide on hand though.


Misuko, Kei

Misuko gets on Yasuki Kenji's good side by gifting him an Ibis sword, while Kei gets similar information by sneaking a peek as he tries to send messages with a pocket scribe hidden in his sleeves during the duels.

Kenji really, really needs a Crane sword to complete his Clan sword collection. He's not a duelist, and the Doji think he's a crooked merchant anyway, so they wouldn't give him one. Instead, he's sponsoring Anzu. If she impresses them with her sword skills, they'll probably gift her a sword as a sign of respect, and she can give it to her patron in exchange for a hefty sum of credits. Everyone wins! He's avoiding being seen with her so the Crane don't work out their plan.

When Misuko brings him the Ibis sword, Kenji gratefully agrees to have the other Crab courtiers avoid ruining Misuko's plan with their musical tomfoolery—he'd rather avoid riling the Crane up right now, anyway. If she keeps quiet about his plans, she'll have a friend in the Crab delegation. As for Kei, Kenji seems like he'd pay well for help getting that sword.


Kei Specifically

Kei also handles the side business so nobody else has to!

Hiruma Daigo is actually taking acclimation medicine as far as Kei can tell, but she's also pretty sure Iwao has either tampered with it to add drugs or blackmailed Daigo into doing it. Messing with his medication is like evening things out, if you think about it. Daigo is downgraded from [Great] to [Good] for the purposes of this duel.

Seppun Kamui takes duels seriously, apparently: he withdraws from the duel, claiming that someone is meddling with it. That causes a minor diplomatic incident when Ichiro Moeka opens her big mouth and accuses him of calling her a cheat, and that causes another one when Kamui mentions that he received a strange note. (As an aside, this means Misuko can pretty much ignore that Ibis request to interfere.)

As for Bayushi Hayashi, or really Bayushi Iwao: Togashi Hei thinks Kei is sweet and the possibility of "bad things" is worth looking into, so she decides to look into it. By the time Seppun Kamui withdraws, she's already got suspicions. Afterwards she and Tonbo Shigeru talk to Kamui in private. Soon the courtiers are whispering that something's going to go down before the tournament ends...

The full impact of Kei's Sincerity will be felt next round. For now I'll tell you that Iwao was going to tip Kozue's duel her favour and Kaihime's against her, and both of those are off the table: now you'll duel them fair and square.

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Ettin
Oct 2, 2010


Alright! Finally managed to get this set done, so here's the results of your rolls. Here's the results for this round, then some Drama.



Anzu vs. Doji Shizuka
In one corner, a Crane warrior-poet who could bring most duelists down with a word. In the other, a ronin who can go through three bowls of ramen in ten minutes. She nailed the Master of Fire's yojimbo to the floor last round though, so a big crowd shows up for this one.

The two women size each other up, then begin to circle each other in search of a weak point.

And circle.

And circle.

About five minutes in they slow down and stand there instead. Someone coughs nervously.

Five more minutes pass. A few samurai start glancing at their pocket scrolls.

Another five minutes pass before Shizuka finally lets her hand relax and bows.

As the crowd erupts into chatter, she walks over to Anzu. Their chatter is inaudible over the crowd, but the two leave together.

Kohaku Kozue vs. Shinjo Izumo
Next up: some good solid duelling. Izumo shows up riding his feathery lizard again and makes just enough of a show of it that people don't think he's a blowhard, but it probably doesn't phase Kozue.

In fact, nothing seems to. Whether it's luck, a flash of inspiration, or just the will of the gods, Kozue seems to glide in just as Izumo moves for what he thinks is an opening, and makes a solid cut to his side. The Unicorn is stunned for a moment, but manages to regain his composure enough to concede gracefully before riding away.

Thanks to some Void spending and the Luck advantage, Kozue got first blood!

Marumaru Kaihime vs. Bayushi Hayashi
Kaihime and Hayashi's duel is a little odd in comparison. The Bayushi's a safe bet to win and he knows it, but his Toku training made him a bit too overconfident—rather than wait for a prime weak point, he leaps forward early. The move surprises Kaihime, but she manages to get her sword up in time and lands an awkward blow as Hayashi moves in. Not the most impressive victory, but a victory nonetheless. Hayashi is forced to bow in concession and grump off to wherever the Scorpion are hiding.

Kaihime rolled terribly, but Hayashi rolled terribly in the Focus round so Kaihime's terrible roll drew first blood.

Ujina Risuta vs. Hiruma Daigo
Daigo doesn't look so great once he turns up to the duel—some of the spectators whisper that he's not taken his acclimation medication—but even an under-the-weather Daigo is a fearsome opponent. He and Risuta spend a long time sizing each other up, and when they finally clash it's a spectacular display of form and grace... that sends both duelists reeling. A kharmic strike.

Daigo touches his cheek and thinks for a moment, before deciding that if he's this off his game it's not worth proceeding. He bows, acknowledges Risuta as the superior opponent, and goes to have a lie down.

Daigo was weakened to about Risuta's level and they ended in a kharmic strike.




By the time these duels are done, Drama has consumed the tournament.

With a Seppun and a Togashi backing him up, the courtier Tonbo Shigeru is able to openly accuse Bayushi Iwao of cheating. The argument that follows is long, explosive, and hard to follow, but it ends with Iwao being shamed into leaving Winter Court. It's a pretty big win for the Dragonfly, but Iwao swears revenge as he leaves Kyuden Kobayashi.

As the final rounds draw near, the Monkey finally unveil the tournament's prize: an alien sword. Apparently, Monkey samurai in the Imperial Exploration Corps found it on the newly-discovered Barrier Reef, a mineral-rich ocean world in the distant Obsidian Expanse sector covered in alien ruins. It's an exquisite display of craftsmanship and a one-of-a-kind prize... but it's still alien technology, and nobody's quite sure how to react to it. Should it be condemned? Coveted? Is it suitable to use? A good conversation piece? Should it be destroyed?

Speculation and debate take over the Court for the next two days, bringing a lot of attention to the tournament but burying interest in how the actual duels go...

. . .

It's been long enough and you've done pretty well, so I'm comfortable with wrapping the Iaijutsu Tournament! I'll say that over the next couple days the tournament is decided with some obvious pick (a Crane grandmaster or something) and Anzu in the top spots, then it's up to you folks how you place. At this point you've done well enough that you'll be honored either way.

If there's someone you want to talk to or some more rolls you want to make while the tournament wraps, now's the time!

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!



Void Points: 1/4

Kozue, at the very least, gets to be quietly smug, but it at least passes as the thrill of victory fades and things like gossip and food crowd the duel out of her mental space. As for the alien sword, Kozue's main voiced interest is "Does it shoot beams?" or whether or not it possesses any other powers she's seen on the Bionic Hoturi and other tokusatsu shows. Does it let you create illusionary copies of yourself? Maybe it carries an alien ghost curse? She has a lot of speculation in that regard.

As for the duels, Kozue at least places very strong for her age, but luck and void only carry her so far against greater skill. In this case it's Anzu, and the two actually clash swords with sparks before Kozue takes a cut to the temple as they slide apart. It's like the Carp could only lose to somebody more underdog than she, it seems. She doesn't seem bothered, though. Maybe if she had lost to a Crane, it'd be a different story, but losing to a near-peasant is a pleasant surprise to her, even if it might seem shameful to just about anybody else. Still, she will moan a bit that she'll never get to see what that alien sword does.

Comrade Gorbash
Jul 12, 2011

MY PAPER SOLDIERS
FORM A WALL
FIVE PACES THICK AND
TWICE AS TALL




Kaihime does shockingly well in the tournament, managing to make it all the way to the quarter finals due to a combination of ugly wins and some of the more skilled duelists dropping out after the revelation of the prize. An alien blade is just the sort of thing the Crow deal with, though, so Kaihime sticks it out.

Because of her fairly basic technique and lack of flair, several duelists who should have been able to beat her fail to do so. Doji Zenji, though, doesn't, and proceeds to wipe the floor with her. It's not so much that Doji Shizuka's younger sister has scouted Kaihime better than the others. Rather, Zenji is so focused on reaching Anzu that she's going all out in every match anyways.

Still, the tournament has been a big success for Kaihime. Not only did she have a better than expected showing herself, she kept betting everything on Anzu and has amassed a fairly sizable pot. She did take a little bit of her winnings to buy a some new kimonos and jackets, since her old ones were starting to get unacceptably out of style, but the rest she's let ride on the ronin in the final match.

Mitama
Feb 28, 2011

Indulging in daytime naps is the highest pleasure mortals can attain!




With a few more rivals out of the way and the final Winter Court events close to finalization, Misuko makes her next big move.

From her quarters in the side, she opens up her comms module and gets in touch with one of the Ibis aides on duty.

"Yes, it's me. I'd like to arrange a meeting with the Chancellor this afternoon. By the gardens on the Ibis side of the Court. No, don't worry, she won't be busy."

Then she heads to her wardrobe and looks for something nice. She's going to make such a splashing impression today.

Ettin
Oct 2, 2010


The rest of you indicated that you're not doing much and I'm done with my latest Kickstarter bullshit now. Time for a new adventure!

But first, advancement. You get +25 XP! Also, I'm going to do something different for the rest: Based on how you feel your actions went, you may take anywhere between -0.5 to 0.5 Honor. You may also do the same with -1 to 1 Glory. Tell me what you choose and why, in OOC if nothing else.


. . .



Perhaps unsurprisingly, the ronin Anzu wins the tournament. A few of her stronger opponents found honorable excuses to bow out when they discovered what the prize was, but she earns the alien sword either way.

Everyone who bet on her makes good money. Everyone else wanders off to lament their lost earnings and gossip about the duelists. The duelists (you included!) enjoy a brief moment in the Winter Court limelight until the next morning, when a debate over whether a Scorpion taken hostage by the Phoenix can receive a life-saving cyber-skeleton in Phoenix care takes over the Court for twenty minutes and everyone stops talking about it.

Oh, and Imperial Chancellor Doji Higurashi tells Misuko that she can get her timeslot. There's a catch, but it's pretty simple: Higurashi has also heard of Choumaru the ghost play ronin, and Misuko is to tell her that the Chancellor requests one for the Court. It is pretty obvious that this isn't really a request. No rush though.

. . .




Crimson Tea Pavilion, City of the Smiling Tortoise, World of Dreams
9th Day of the Dog, 3122


The rest of the day is pretty standard: Bureaucracy, diplomacy, some interesting court drama. Bakami lets those ronin you arrested commit seppuku, bless her soft heart. The Crane and Lion get into an argument about gravity well shipping lane rights. That ashigaru you arrested is executed. A courtier spills his drink and it's extremely funny.

When the Court finally closes, you head out for dinner. The food courts of the Crimson Tea Pavilion have become the de facto hangout for small fry samurai: Minor Clan bushi and ronin are rubbing shoulders at the noodle stands and sake houses here, while most Great Clan courtiers are busy at fancier places down the street. It's a good place to unwind without worrying about keeping up appearances.

You find a nice open-air court with a view and settle down to eat, but you don't get to eat in peace for long. You hear the disturbance before you see it: people shouting, crashing noises, alarms going off. By the time it reaches your food court, someone's discharging a sidearm...


???

An alien beast barrels into the court, sending tables and ronin scattering. The horse-sized creature stops for a moment to taste the air with one of its alien tongues, and some nearby samurai have enough sense to try and shoot it. They can't get a good shot with the crowds around it though, and the creature runs them down with tooth and claw before turning and darting towards a nearby noodle stand. It leaps over the tables towards some unlucky ronin, jaws wide...

This is less a combat thing and more about how you react to this. Do you attack the creature, try to protect people, help the wounded, or something else? Striking down the creature without harming anyone is TN 30. If you fail, it gets a lucky attack or two in first.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!



Void Points: 4/4

Kozue stops in mid-noodle munchin', just staring for a moment before looking to Risuta. "... oni?", she asks, before hopping off her stool. "Well, whatever." She jogs past a waiter cleaning the floor, yanking the map out of his hands as she spins and pins it behind her back with both arms as she runs right after the monster. Planting one geta on the creature's lower jaw, she shoves the mop in to lock the creature's jaw open before kicking off. Skidding back slightly, she looks to the ronin. "Good evening! It's cool, you can finish your rice... you might want to run at the same time, though!", she says with that bothersome Carp cheer.

But then, she already ate all the beef in her bowl, so the best part of the meal was already over.

Spending 1 Void point for an Athletics check of 35 to lock the creature's maw open, at least for a bit.

Infinite Oregano
Dec 31, 2007

I'm going to make my friends eat infinite oregano and they'll have to do it because the recipe says so!



Risuta was positively incensed at having his meal interrupted by some vagrant alien abomination. "Luckily, no!" he replies quickly as he rises from his seat and Kozue sprints. His customary bowl of kare raisu was going to get cold, but at least it wasn't something new that he wanted to really focus on tasting, so it could have been a worse situation.

Kozue's aid was useful, allowing people to scatter and cause it to stop and fight with the mop jamming its mouth open. It gave Risuta a clear shot as he drew his sidearm, the bass hum it emitted as it charged up reminded Risuta that he hadn't had much opportunity to use it lately - generally a good thing - however an alien monster was a perfectly acceptable target. "Watch out!" he shouted as he fired from the hip, as all good samurai are supposed to do - let the bolt of radiant energy find its way.

Firearms/Reflexes: 6d10o10k3 16

And good enough is good enough! I mean taking too much pride can be... problematic..

Risuta let loose a couple bolts of radiant energy from his sidearm at the beast, hoping to down it or at least wound it sufficiently to allow it to be finished off - and moreover no longer a threat to those around.

Happily, Ettin was just telling me how thanks to Kozue's roll, the TN for just straight up shooting it went down to 15. Hooray!

ProfessorCirno
Feb 17, 2011

The strongest! The smartest! The rightest!




Stealth: 10d10o10k4 40

Kei is absolutely nowhere to be seen.

Ettin
Oct 2, 2010




"Hroo?" the beast has just enough time to snap the mop with its jaw before Risuta discharges his sidearm into its head. It collapses in a spray of blue blood.

The target dusts herself off, looks at the beast, and picks her fifth bowl of noodles back up.


Anzu, Ronin Swordswoman

"I'm not sure what just happened, but thank you."

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!



Void Points: 3/4

Kozue looks up, the blood having somehow spattered around her with only one drop on her cheek. Taking out a hankerchief, she wipes her cheek, before seeing Anzu and almost tensing as if going for her sword, but halts partway through. It's as if it took her a moment to realize the tournament was over, and she ohs. "Oh! Um... um..." Her blue eyes widen. "... does it shoot lasers? Is it alive? Can it cut through lies?", she starts in with a series of non sequiturs, skipping her introduction to get to matters of true importance. She's talking about that alien sword again, no doubt, but that may or may not be as obvious to Anzu.

ProfessorCirno
Feb 17, 2011

The strongest! The smartest! The rightest!




There's one last slurp, and Kei, alongside several now empty bowls of noodles - only one of which was actually her's - slide out from under a table.

"That was close! Ujina-san! You saved me, the wonderful Kei-chan! And! The others! Including the mysterious Anzu-san, ronin duelist and swordswoman! Dun da da da duuun! But! Where? Did it come from? And why was it here? Anzu-san, your sword, maybe...it MAKES those???"

Infinite Oregano
Dec 31, 2007

I'm going to make my friends eat infinite oregano and they'll have to do it because the recipe says so!



Ujina Risuta confidently holstered his sidearm before he approached Kozue, Anzu, and the alien beast's corpse. "It is under strange circumstances that we meet again, Anzu-san." said the Hare samurai as he tried to get a closer look at the alien beast (though obviously not close enough to touch it). "Do we know where this thing came from? I don't imagine such things are native to this planet. Perhaps it had an owner? This is quite an unusual planet, it might have been someone's 'pet'." inquired Ujina Risuta as glanced about to see if anyone was coming to investigate, while also taking a few quick looks to see if it had anything like a collar or identifying markings that might state that it was within someone's possession.

Investigation/Perception: 6d10o10k3 24

Infinite Oregano fucked around with this message at Mar 16, 2017 around 09:42

Mitama
Feb 28, 2011

Indulging in daytime naps is the highest pleasure mortals can attain!




"The more ronin we meet, the more monsters just happen to come across our way. I don't think it's a coincidence."

Misuko sets aside her ramen, unfortunately ruined by the singular droplet of alien blood on the edge of bowl. A waste. "Anzu. Nice to see you again." She actually checks out the ronin on whether she actually still has the alien blade. Wasn't part of the deal with Yasuki Kenji to give him the prize sword?

Comrade Gorbash
Jul 12, 2011

MY PAPER SOLDIERS
FORM A WALL
FIVE PACES THICK AND
TWICE AS TALL




Kaihime was on the wrong side of the table when it happened, and somewhat sheepishly holsters her own pistol and places a call to Bakami's office, requesting a clean up crew and reporting the incident.

"I'm glad you're all right, Anzu-san. We're magistrates, so I suspect we'll be looking into this matter."

Ettin
Oct 2, 2010




Anzu bows, then steps back under the barrage of Sword Questions. She has the alien one on her; it has an intricate and unfamiliar design on the hilt, but she's wrapped a cloth around it for now.

"The Toku said they couldn't see much special about it, and I trust them. But the creatures of the stars have some strange ways..." she tucks it away for now. "I have some offers for it so I hope this doesn't affect anything."

"Should I stay at a different inn tonight? I can deal with assassins and robots but not this..."

Since Kaihime introduced you as magistrates, Anzu will do what you ask of her! She made a deal with Kenji to impress the Crane enough to win a sword but he's almost certainly one of the samurai trying to buy it off her.

. . .

While you handle that, the wounded are tended to. The nearest healer was Asahina Ryokai, a Crane shugenja with intricately-carved cyber-arms that are almost never visible thanks to his kimono sleeves. He was smoking comet tobacco in a corner when the alien struck, and hasn't bothered to put it out before dealing with the injured.

"Be careful," he tells anyone who approaches the alien. "I'd wager this creature secretes an anaesthetic. Our wounded fellows here don't seem very responsive." He waves a hand in the face of one, who responds so slowly you barely notice. Half-asleep children move faster than this. "Nanobandages will fix the wounds, at least..."

. . .

Risuta glances over the dead alien. It doesn't appear to be tagged, but it has a few scars that look a little too neat to be natural and it's not one of this planet's native species. Someone must have brought it here...

If you don't have an appropriate Lore skill, there's probably an Alien Expert you can speak to in this city. If you want to move the body, let me know how you deal with it. (Don't make skin contact with the sharp bits and you're fine, probably).

Ettin fucked around with this message at Mar 31, 2017 around 14:51

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!



Void Points: 3/4

Kozue touches her lips thoughtfully for a moment. “Well, maybe you should just make sure you stay at an inn with a narrow hallway?”, she says with an open-palm shrug. “Of course, if it’s the sword they’re after, we could make sure it’s secure until you have a buyer.”

Cue thought-bubble of Kozue swinging it around wildly in secret, and she grins a little a that thought. “We can totally keep it safe until it’s time for somebody to buy it. And then they can get attacked by a whatever-this-is!” A pause as she looks up from where she's swaying a bit. “Oh, we’d have to stop that too, wouldn’t we? Well, we can cross that off when we get to it."

Infinite Oregano
Dec 31, 2007

I'm going to make my friends eat infinite oregano and they'll have to do it because the recipe says so!



"Thank you for the warning, Asahina-san." replied Risuta to the shugenja before he continued his survey of this creature and the surrounds.

"Hmm. I dare say I'm not a big study on alien species, but it looks like it's been handled or treated in some fashion by someone, and it's not native to this planet. This was brought in in some way. We should probably find a xenobiologist and see if they can tell us more. That and a way to move it safely, if it possesses anaesthetic properties then it might be dangerous to handle, especially if it's being transported over whatever distance is between us and a hypothetical xenobiologist. Hmm." says Risuta, his eyes flicking over the body of the creature and any signs of which parts probably look the most dangerous, as he thinks about anyone who would fit the bill.

"If its secretions are not too easy to become exposed to it might be simpler to wrap it up in a tarpaulin and attach it to an appropriate vehicle, assuming the owner of said vehicle doesn't mind alien ichor staining it, of course." remarked Risuta as he continued to think.

Does Risuta know of anyone with this sort of expertise?

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!



Void Points: 3/4

After paying attention to Risuta's learned findings, Kozue simply bows to Anzu. “It would be an honor to be entrusted with your blade until you require it again.”, she says with the perhaps surprising gravity given her usual frivolity. She hangs in her bowed position, waiting for a response as if speaking to a lord or general.

But she’s speaking to a ronin, so it’s a little weird.

Making a Sincerity roll (with Benten's Blessing and a Void Point) for 45.

Ettin
Oct 2, 2010




Anzu bows hurriedly, under the assumption that if someone of higher status bows to her then she should bow slightly harder back.

"It would be an honor to have my sword guarded by a true Clan samurai. Here you go."

The sword is light in Kozue's hand, though it takes human hands a little bit to get used to the weights. If you twitch the cloth away, the light catches the sword in interesting ways...

Kozue can use Anzu's sword! If she wields it against an alien creature or someone employing alien tech, she gets +1k0 to damage.

. . .

Infinite Oregano and I talked about it and to save time, I'm going to say that Risuta knows a xenobiologist and you drag (or at least, have someone drag) the alien to them. Here we go!

If you want to do something else, feel free to post it and I'll deal with that.


You're in a food court full of samurai who want this alien the hell out of here, so it's not too hard to rustle up a tarpaulin and a vehicle. Asahina Ryokai has a couple assistants wrap it in the tarp, and an Ox samurai whose friend was one of the wounded offers to carry it there in a trailer attached to his motorcycle. Pretty soon you're pulling up...

... to a veterinary clinic. Risuta's contact is Usagi Haruo, a xenobiologist trained by some obscure Minor Clan in a distant sector, and his main business is treating the many strange creatures some courtiers keep as pets. Getting all up in some alien's guts for a living is weird even by Minor Clan standards, but the Hare are fine with it because his knowledge is useful for dealing with alien-worship cults. It looks like the Winter Court is bringing in a lot of business, though there are more Scorpion taking an interest in the clinic than you'd like. (A non-zero number of Scorpion.)

Risuta managed to call ahead, so he's already waiting in his protective gear with a couple of non-samurai assistants. While they relieve the Ox of the alien, Haruo bows to you.


Usagi Haruo, xenozoologist

"Hello. Don't worry, it's in good hands now. I'll see what I can find and you magistrates can take it from there."

"Oh, before I start, what kind of inspection are we talking? Are you just expecting scans or should I, you know, get in there?"

You should decide whether you want Haruo to get all up in its guts or not. You'll get what you need either way; saying yes is risky (and probably unsettling) but might pay off.

Ettin fucked around with this message at Apr 26, 2017 around 10:42

Infinite Oregano
Dec 31, 2007

I'm going to make my friends eat infinite oregano and they'll have to do it because the recipe says so!



"Greetings, Haruo-san. You have... impeccable timing when it comes to wearing all appropriate equipment for this endeavour, on such short notice as well." said Risuta as his gaze flicked up and down of Haruo's concealed figure. "Although generally I don't see any harm in giving it a more... thorough examination. It's either that or let it slowly decompose... assuming that's what it does. However, the thought occurs given the unknown nature of this and why it is here and so on, it might be best to given it a thorough scanning before you actually dissect it. If only because who knows what has been done to it before and it wouldn't do to have any... unpleasant surprises." continued Risuta, unwilling to take unnecessary risks, especially when it comes to what is ostensibly subterfuge.

"However, if it's all the same to you I'd prefer to let you give it a thorough examination, assuming it's safe, with me not present in the room at the time." said Risuta, although thankful is not nearly fascinated in xenobiology to wish to witness someone digging into the remains of one.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!



Void Points: 3/4

Kozue has a cloth in front of her face. "As Usagi-san says.", she says, her glance indicating Risuta rather than the biologist. "But is there someplace we can observe, and, aaaa maybe it would be good to make sure there's a bin nearby instead somebody with a weaker stomach turns up!" She forces a smile uselessly, given that it's behind the cloth. "There should be somebody along to assist in case there's any trouble." She looks around to the others, apparently more inclined to volunteer one of her fellow magistrates than volunteer herself.

ProfessorCirno
Feb 17, 2011

The strongest! The smartest! The rightest!




"Not to put too fine a point on it, but is this really in our pay grace? Tortoise don't really deal with this kind of alien. Shouldn't we call...I dunno, the Crab? Or Mantis? Isn't weird alien stuff more their line of work? Tell you what though, maybe I can find out the origin of our sword. That's not made by Rokugani. Which means it either passed my Clan's hands at some point - or it was supposed to, which means someone's going to be very upset, and someone else is going to be very...nothing much, soon."

Kei looks right the gently caress away from this whole faffing about with actual living alien monster bits and contacts the greater Tortoise networks instead. The Monkey should've never been able to just snag an alien artifact, much less present it live. At the very least, a Tortoise most have been on hand to EXAMINE it. And what is this Barrier Reef, anyways?

Investigation: 6d10o10k3 24
Lore (All, Sage Bitches): 5d10o10k4 22

ProfessorCirno fucked around with this message at Apr 24, 2017 around 05:50

Comrade Gorbash
Jul 12, 2011

MY PAPER SOLDIERS
FORM A WALL
FIVE PACES THICK AND
TWICE AS TALL




"Anzu-san, it would probably be best if you stayed with us for the time being. We should probably find you more secure lodgings." Kaihime figures Risuta has this alien creature aspect of this well in hand, and Kozue has the sword, that just leaves Anzu herself.

"Did you get a chance to eat before this happened? We can find somewhere for you get a meal if not." Kaihime considers, then adds, "If I may, where did you learn kenjutsu and iaijutsu? I don't recognize your style, but it's clearly effective!"

Mitama
Feb 28, 2011

Indulging in daytime naps is the highest pleasure mortals can attain!




Misuko peels herself away from the others before she gets wrapped into an alien autospy. One look of the creature's innards was more than enough, thank you.

She has other things to do. The Chancellor wants a ghost play ronin. Misuko will provide her one. Just a little more to her ultimate goal.

But where is she going to find Choumaru?

Ettin
Oct 2, 2010




Choumaru's Place [Misuko]

It's been a while since you had a nice chat with Choumaru! You brought her here, so she's not hard to find—some of the ronin decided to stay at a capsule hotel a few blocks away from the Pavilion, and Choumaru's made herself comfortable in Room 107-2. She climbs out and bows when Misuko approaches.

Choumaru, Ronin Playwright


Bakami is acting as her patron for now, and it looks like the Toku gave her some clothes that don't look like she found them in a dumpster. Good.

"Good evening. How can this ronin help you?"

Choumaru listens intently to Misuko's explanation, then bows. If the thought of being ordered to perform for the Court alarms her, she doesn't show it.

"Thank you, Toki-sama. This ronin is unworthy, but... a play can be arranged. All that is required is time to write it." Choumaru thinks. "And some assistance. Much of this ronin's troupe is running the theater back in Nibui Mura. This ronin would not dream of asking a Clan samurai to sully herself by associating with a lowly ronin play, of course, but if you can suggest anyone it would be an honor, Toki-sama."

. . .

Kei

Kei does some multitasking and networks her way to some more information! The Tortoise know a lot about what goes on in the Imperial Exploration Corps through the Natsuya family, a shugenja family who basically exist to join the Corps and watch for threats. Here's what they got:

  • Barrier Reef is an ocean world, discovered and settled only recently. It's mostly influenced by Chikushudo and Maigo no Musha. It has some large and dangerous xenofauna.
  • It's covered in the ruins of an extinct, amphibious alien race codenamed the Mizunin. They had pre-FTL technology about on par with the 2000s Diamond Empire and some interesting water magic.
  • The sword itself is mostly interesting for the alien materials used in its construction (that kept it sharp and powerful past the Mizunin's extinction) and the magic used to forge it.
  • It's a powerful sword, but the Natsuya studied it and determined it was safe. (So far, no Mizunin relics have been dangerous.)
  • The Exploration Corps eventually gifted it to the Monkey to reward a Fuzake Corps samurai who saved an exploration ship from Mizunin satellite debris. The Monkey could do what they wanted with it after.
  • Barrier Reef was eventually given to the Crane, who share the system it's in with the Phoenix. The Mantis found an excuse to blockade the world to try and make the Crane let them have it, though.

. . .

Usagi Haruo's Veterinary Clinic [Kei, Kozue, Risuta]

Haruo leads you to an observation room above the operating room, and looks down as his heimin assistants load the beast onto a table.

"What you're looking at here is a Barrier Reef Direspine. Vicious thing. Those spines can deliver a contact poison that paralyzes its prey. It's designed to work on Barrier Reef brains so it wears off on us faster, but I still wouldn't touch it. I can tell you it's probably been cybernetically enhanced before coming here, but let me confirm it..."

Haruo sits at a computer and scanners start to swivel around the thing. Haruo's screens are hard to read, but there's some sort of x-ray that shows cables and metal inside...

"Ah, thought so. It's been augmented. Mostly to help it survive offworld, but I'm seeing some kind of sensors. You see this bit? That's a spirit box. If you know what Realms touch an alien beast's world, you can use a Spirit Box to give it basic augs without studying its body as much. From what you said, I'm guessing someone rigged this thing up to be a hunter. The Hare have done that before, actually. It should have an access port..."

Haruo reaches for a button, pauses, and reaches for another one. A slower scanner kicks in.

"Make sure there are no surprises" are basically the magic words here, so well done!

"Oh, here we go. See this bit? By the spirit box, behind the left eye? Packed with volatiles. My guess is it'll blow the Direspine across the walls unless it gets the right access code. Someone doesn't want this thing studied."

This sounds like something a crime gang might do, to Kei. And anyone else who has dealt with criminal elements before, really.

Haruo heads for the operating room as the heimin wheel in a tray of surgical equipment and a plastic curtain. "...I think I can get it out. Should be able to track who did it. Give me ten minutes. If the Direspines are being directed to hunt the sword it should be no problem, right?"

. . .

A Tempura Stall Down The Street [Kaihime]

As soon as Kaihime mentions a meal, Anzu grins and basically drags her to a tempura stall down the street. "I had some food but I wasn't finished. When you're ronin you learn to eat every chance you get!"

Once you've got some food and shochu, she continues. "You asked about my training... a monastery, to be honest. Nice place in an asteroid belt. I helped guard it, and the ronin there taught me everything they knew. So did the ex-samurai monks. They taught me the Tao, too..." Anzu winks and lifts her drink. "Though I'm not as good at it as them, of course."

Above you, a Direspine peers out from the rooftops. As Kaihime notices the creature it slides off the roof and drops towards Anzu, claws outstretched...

Anzu only catches Kaihime's reaction. "It was a joke, Kaihime-san."

Comrade Gorbash
Jul 12, 2011

MY PAPER SOLDIERS
FORM A WALL
FIVE PACES THICK AND
TWICE AS TALL




Kaihime jumps up, shoving Anzu out of the way as she draws her sword and slashes at the attacking creatures. "Get down!"

Kenjutsu + Agility: 7d10o10k3 31
Kenjutsu Damage: 7d10o10k2 18

Ettin
Oct 2, 2010




The Direspine lands with a thump that shakes the tempura cart, and Kaihime's sword cleaves through one of its spines.

It roars and turns to focus on Kaihime. The two circle for a few seconds, but beasts don't do duels. It lunges as soon as it can, looking to chomp down...

Biting Kaihime: 6d10o10k4 26
Biting Kaihime: 4d10o10k3 6 Phew!

If that hit, Kaihime has to make a Stamina roll (TN 20) to resist its alien venom. If she fails, she's effectively Stunned for a while. If she passes, she's merely Fatigued.


Anzu recovers, draws her wakizashi, and rams it into the creature's back to buy Kaihime a few seconds. "Kaihime-san!"

Kaihime can go again, if she's not stunned! After that, the others can hear the roar and burst out of the clinic. If you do, you can spend this turn either opening fire or closing the distance with your sword. It won't take much more to finish it!

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!



Void Points: 3/4

Kozue turns some peculiar shades for a samurai to turn. "I- have to go meditate for a moment-", she starts, but at least she's distracted by the roar. "Oh, Thank the fortunes!", she mumbles in the fashion of one beginning to become accustomed to mortal danger coming and going like so much rain. "I'm going to see what the trouble is!" She points back towards the observation window. "Don't stop working!", she says, and then, putting a hand to her sword, she rushes towards the door to make her way outside, but stops to bow. "Please!" And then, she turns back to make her way towards the trouble.

Infinite Oregano
Dec 31, 2007

I'm going to make my friends eat infinite oregano and they'll have to do it because the recipe says so!



Risuta was beginning to do that thing where he starts to zone out that some may have noticed when things get too quiet. He was gladly startled into focus by the commotion outside. "I'm going to go find out what that was, it doesn't sound good. You should probably stay here Kei, and yes Haruo-san, I'd appreciate it if you continued to work on this while we're gone... something tells me this isn't coincidence, and we need as much information as we can find regarding something like this." Risuta managed to bark out before storming off outside, one hand reaching for his sidearm, the other for the activation circuit for his 'tatami' class 'armour', although deploying neither for the moment. Kozue made it out in front of him of him of course, his still 'waking up', combined with being more verbose both slowed him down in this case, perhaps to his detriment, or to Kaihime's.

Comrade Gorbash
Jul 12, 2011

MY PAPER SOLDIERS
FORM A WALL
FIVE PACES THICK AND
TWICE AS TALL




Kaihime isn't quite able to avoid the creature's counterattack. The venom immediately makes her dizzy, though the wound is barely worth noting. She has to end this quick.

While it's distracted by Anzu's attack, Kaihime launches herself at it again, hoping that she isn't already too weakened to finish it off.

Throwing a void point at this because I'd really rather not be stunned.
Stamina: 4d10o10k4 42

Kenjutsu + Agility; Damage: 7d10o10k3 39 7d10o10k2 26

Ettin
Oct 2, 2010




Kaihime's second blow carves a line down its face, but it was already pretty angry so that doesn't change much. It swings its spiked tail at Anzu to keep her at bay, then lunges forward at Kaihime for the kill...

It has a penalty of +10 at this point, so:
Wounded Bite: 6d10o10k4 32
Luckily, that's a miss! Now anyone who moved within range earlier is free to attack it. If you can deal another ~30 damage, it's dead.

Infinite Oregano
Dec 31, 2007

I'm going to make my friends eat infinite oregano and they'll have to do it because the recipe says so!



Risuta went for his pistol as he shifted his position during his advance, moving to put Kaihime out of the direct line of fire for his shot as he got closer to the alien beast.

Firearms/Reflexes: 6d10o10k3 32

Damage (Standard Sidearm): 7d10o10k3 34

Although Risuta's trained reflexes could have let him get another shot off, one shot was all he needed. He didn't even get close enough to the beast to necessitate the activation of his armour, something that he preferred - why reveal your secrets if you do not need to, after all.

Infinite Oregano fucked around with this message at May 6, 2017 around 08:16

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!



Void Points: 3/4

As Risuta comes to a careful shot, Kozue pops up beside, diving dramatically as she fires pulses of radiant blue energy at the creature from her slightly oversized pistol. Despite the drama, her aim is sharp, and she rolls up to a crouching ready position, taking a moment to engage the cooler on the pistol with a hissing sound and sharp bit of steam.

How'd she get here after Risuta? Well, she did get a little lost on the way... but nevermind that.

Kozue's attack roll will be a 33, and her damage roll if she hits will be 23.

Mitama
Feb 28, 2011

Indulging in daytime naps is the highest pleasure mortals can attain!




"Anyone, hmm?"

Misuko ponders.

"I suppose we should start with someone familiar with your plays. I know you have your lead role and Batsu won't let you budge from it. That's fine, it's your play, after all. So then you will just need a supporting cast in place of your crew, which is easy to arrange for a samurai of interests in the arts. And I'm sure it's preferable for that samurai to have an interest to be on stage herself, particularly to impress the Imperial Chancellor with her range of talents."

She nods.

"Very well, I will need to take a hand in this. I can't let you screw this up, after all." She then appraises Choumaru's attire with a glance. "We won't need to find you better clothes, thankfully. I like these, makes you look cuter."

Mitama fucked around with this message at May 7, 2017 around 00:28

Ettin
Oct 2, 2010




Choumaru [Misuko]

Choumaru kneels. "Thank you, Toki-sama."

Misuko is now performing in Choumaru's play! The Ibis can probably help set the rest up.

. . .

Tempura Stall [The Rest]

The Direspine goes down in another spray of blue blood, which thankfully only hits the ronin.

Anzu wipes her face. "Blech."

Rather than make you roleplay waiting, I'll move ahead slightly to Haruo's results. Kaihime will feel woozy for a bit but can recover, and Misuko can meet up if she wants.

. . .

Usagi Haruo

By the time you clean up, calm the tempura stall owner, and drag the alien back to Haruo, he's ready. Kaihime is feeling a lot better, too.

"Here we go." Haruo has managed to cut into the first Direspine, disconnect the explosives, and jack into the creature's augs. Nobody needs to see the inside of its head, so he's covered it with a curtain. "I'm not too great at this part, but I managed to extract tracking data."

"It looks like they're being guided towards a particular samurai, not the sword... Can't tell you who, but I can see where they're coming from. They swam to our island from the Scorpion mainland, about... here."

Haruo puts his data on a holo-map. The Direspine came from a nearby dock district, out of a run-down Dojicorp warehouse...

You've got an origin point! You can case the area, gather info, get help, or just go kick the door down if you like.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!



Void Points: 3/4

“W-we better move quickly, shouldn’t we?”, Kozue says, still a little pale around the surgery. all the process as she folds her arms. “If they know their creatures didn’t make it, they’ll probably move…” She peers at the map. “... the Crane…?” She quickly adds, looking away, “... clearly have nothing to with this, I’m sure!”

She thinks for a moment, frowning either regarding the subject or just at the notion of having to kick her brain into gear. “Should we go and stake it out before calling for backup? Well, it'd probably be best to let Kei-ch... san do that, actually." She waves hand. "And we can be on standby to jump into action!" She beams, thinking she might have a moment to start catching up on episodes of The Bionic Hoturi. Oh, and her duty to the Emperor.

ProfessorCirno
Feb 17, 2011

The strongest! The smartest! The rightest!




"Wow, but you know, as fun and cool as it sounds to watch them dissect this? And! It sounds REALLY important, too!"

A window of a nearby geisha house pops up faintly behind Kei. There's nothing that objectively points to it being done by her, and so she is still technically being polite. Kinda.

"I ALSO have to go meditate, so if you'll excuse me until when you're done and we can share more informa-"

The roar is heard!

"Actually, I think I have to stay right here, away from the roar, which is in the direction of..."

The address of the geisha house gets fuzzy for a moment, then displays something entirely different

"...where I was going to meditate. Besides. The others have this covered. This is their job. It is not Kei-chan's job. Kei-chan's job does not at any point involve dealing with this sort of thing. They'll be back anyways."

~ - ~

"Ok. Abandoned Dojicorp warehouse on Scorpionland? That was always going to end up being shady. But this? Dealing with aliens? This is way way way far from shady! This is...SUPER shady! EXTRA shady!"

Kei's voice gets quiet!

"Treasonously shady. Sounds like someone is very sour that they didn't get the sword. If the target dies to these aliens, and hey they're from the same planet, people will assume it's totally a cursed sword, and not an assassination! And it's so roundabout and needlessly complicated! That's right. I'm sorry, I'm sorry." She motions as if to pat Risuta on the shoulder. "I'm so sorry, but we're dealing with someone who has an inflated opinion about themselves. They probably think they're a criminal mastermind. Sadly, they're no Kei-chan. SO! We should scope that place. Get our eyeballs all ready. Prepare the ears. Get our scout on if you know what I'm saying. Kei-chan is good at scouting around first. AND. Docks? I guarantee that other people have seen what's in there, too. You know, non-samurai are everywhere, and see everything. You just have to ask them. Ok, I just have to ask them, because all of you look like you hire someone just to wipe. Kei-chan is down to earth. Friendly. Personable! Loveable! The most wonderful friend you could have! Everyone will talk to me! And I can peek in with my super duper Kei-chan certified height enhancers! Which means I'm short, so they won't notice me."

She puts her hands on her hips and gives a confident nod!

"Also, the rest of you are going to be a block away at the most so when things go to poo poo, you can run in and save me. Because I know you. I know for all your talk of backup and such, you're all going to insist that we do this ourselves. So fine. Let's get this over with. THEN I can go...meditate."

ProfessorCirno fucked around with this message at May 11, 2017 around 06:12

Infinite Oregano
Dec 31, 2007

I'm going to make my friends eat infinite oregano and they'll have to do it because the recipe says so!



"Agreed. I believe this warrants investigation. However, Kasuga-san, it might be... helpful if I were to be closer to your proximity, at least on site. I am after all able to employ... subtlety, when it comes to such matters, which especially might be useful if... events start to occur. We will likely have to move quickly, however, for these conspirators might be able to infer that we are beginning to trace them, and if they get... concerned they might be much harder to find." replied Risuta, giving a knowing look when he refers to his subtlety.

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Ettin
Oct 2, 2010




You both have Investigation mastery, so rather than call for rolls I'm just going to write out what a Tortoise with Kei's skills and a Hare with Risuta's would find:


Kougami Docks, Neo Pokau-3, World of Dreams

Some samurai consider the World of Dreams to be the true capital of the Empire, and when you catch a ride to the nearest mainland it's easy to see why. This city stretches as far as the eye can see, and you know that if you headed to the skyscrapers on the horizon and looked beyond you'd just see more city. You'd need lifetimes to fully explore it. Luckily, this dock district is less than an hour away.

As you poke around nearby, ask the locals, pester a dock worker in a sake house etc., you discover:

  • On paper, this Dojicorp warehouse stores imports from the border systems. It is one of thousands of Dojicorp assets on this world.
  • The warehouse is "managed" by some low-tier Crane bureaucrat who "manages" multiple sites from some distant, cushy office and rarely shows up. If you hid something here even Dojicorp wouldn't notice.
  • The warehouse looks shady, but these whole docks are crime-ridden so the locals think that's normal.
  • The local employees are a bunch of heimin and a few cyborg guards; if they're samurai they don't advertise it.
  • The warehouse has a second floor, supposedly for Samurai Things the heimin aren't allowed to see.
  • The second-floor lights are on tonight.

The warehouse itself sits on a quiet street, sandwiched between an exports company and a seaside maze of shipping containers. There are plenty of ways to get in. It even has a front door!

How are your magistrates approaching this?

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