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Old 08-04-2019, 06:42 PM   #1
Junge
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Default The Grind

Clanking, pounding, cantankerous engines whirred on all sides, spurred on by copious quantities of imported Sector Two gasoline poured into their endlessly thirsty spouts. The only way the warehouses storing the Shichou’s massive mechanical looms could be any more different than the ritzy, glamorous front offices was if they’d also contained a open garbage dump.

“The landfill is out back,”
said the foreman as he puffed on a cigar. “Right past the sewer pipes.”

Thanking the man for his assistance Josuke bustled his way on with his head bent low. This was a part of the Shichou compound outsiders rarely got to see and the chuunin was trying his hardest to see as little of it as possible. The chuunin might be within the comforting confines of Amegakure’s caverns, but that didn't make him worry any less. One of his first missions as a chuunin had been with a Shichou- and it had ended in a spectacular failure on his part. Water under the bridge though, right?

It was a small blessing his gas mask kept his identity somewhat hidden. As Josuke wove between the weavers and slipped between the seamstresses he eventually found himself at the mission rendezvous. A dirty little secret of Hidden Rain living was that the tons of debris and trash generated by locals on a daily basis tended to add up. It couldn’t be dumped on the surface or burned, or that might give away their location. Stuffing it in the many tunnels of the village sort of made sense, up until people started getting sick from contaminated groundwater. That left scant few options.

Or, as certain members of a certain family saw it, business opportunities.

A representative from the Rat Yazuka was coming to inspect the Shichou dump before carting it off to who knew where. All garbage in the city was controlled by the Rats and apparently it produced quite a profit for the rodents. Nobody quite knew how or why organized crime came to control the village’s solid waste program but with 50 years of good service under them nobody was going to question the priorities of Amegakure’s most notorious gangsters. Other than a small fee, the only other requirement of the Rat family was that their brethren be guarded by shinobi. Most of the time this was purely an excuse for the small rodents to boss around creatures many time their size. Josuke expected nothing but a dull day standing guard on a heap of garbage.

He had still swallowed several doses of sedative to calm his nerves anyway. Better safe than sorry!
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Old 08-20-2019, 02:52 AM   #2
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Being part of the Medical and Environmental Studio of the Looms, it was Akisame and his brethren’s charge to assist with the entire facilities’ waste management systems. That ranged from inspections and clean ups to transportation and at times guard duty. It wasn’t a glamorous job, but as one of Liru’s lap dogs, the jounin never complained.

He had risen early the morning of the pick up to relieve the night guards and await his comrade’s arrival. Shifts and schedules were important for the health of all in Amegakure due to the absence of natural diurnal markers, and strict time-keeping was especially emphasized in the Shichou compound.

As the ex-model stood posing against a meshed fence in solo vigil, he took the time to listen to his surroundings. It was a bad habit of his to eavesdrop, and with this uncanny hearing it was hardly a challenge.

The sounds that radiated the area were wide and varied, but they were all ones he had become accustomed to. The creak of other studios opening their doors, the clocking in of employees and the crackling start up of machinery as the looms burst to life. In the distance he heard a gruff voice offer directions to his location, which he knew heralded the arrival of his team mate.

Josuke and Akisame had been on mission together before, and both were members of the medical fraternity, though their techniques and methods differed greatly. Once they had met up and were they ready, they would need to activate the temporary summoning scroll they had been issued with, which signaled the entrance of the garbage collectors of the Rat family. It was part of the chuunin’s duties to delivery the scroll to the Looms, as they were held and managed externally at HQ, and Akisame would have expected him to not have forgotten about it.

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Last edited by vulpix13; 08-29-2019 at 09:36 AM.. Reason: Added beginning of thread jutsu/specials.
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Old 08-24-2019, 08:12 PM   #3
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It took some breathless apologies and many, many tread upon toes, but Josuke did arrive at the Shichou dump (landfill) at the allotted time. A massive three foot long scroll lay strapped across his back like a load tied to a mule, with all manner of decorative tassels and golden embroidery adorning the scroll's casing. The Rats liked it that way. After some terse dialog between the two shinobi the scroll found itself in the hands of the jounin, who was the only one of proper rank to use it. This was a standard contract most medics learned during training, as getting rid of hazardous waste materials required constant reliance on the rodent yazuka. Even though this was obstinately a routine trash disposal job the upmost respect must be given to the summon family. Amegakure’s continued relationship with the diseased vermin depended on it.

A little bit over an hour later Josuke towered over another team of florescent jacket wearing mice as they tugged and towed a grim black sack of garbage towards their summoning scroll. “Squeak squeak” said one as it somehow puffed at the end of a cigarette. “Eek, sqeek, eekeeke,” said its partner in a tone that suggested he was ‘walking here’ and that Josuke needed to “move it or lose it”. The chuunin, dense as he may be, got the gist of their agitated vocalizations and obliged. The bag of refuse was tossed atop the unfurled scroll and with a poof it disappeared to parts unknown. Allegedly not even the Youkai knew where the rats sent it all. It was probably for the best.

Elsewhere the hardy rodent’s syndicate boss Hamon was engaged in talks with the jounin Shichou. Josuke felt a bit worried about how long the ‘little discussion’ was taking but that anxiety was nothing several large doses of muscle relaxant couldn’t solve. As the worker rodents took their third union mandated break his gas mask turned upwards, past the piles of trash and towards where his team leader was dealing with the summon. No news was good news, wasn't it?
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Old 08-25-2019, 04:34 AM   #4
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“Hamon-dono, Sir, may I ask you for your specific medical insights?”

Akisame was cunning in his approach of the recently promoted vermin honcho. Hamon was well known among the medical divisions, as he had originally been a black market field surgeon working under a different boss who capitalized in areas where the village medical staff were unable to attend or dared not to trespass. By plastering him with honorifics and personal relevance, the jounin fed into the fat rat’s overgrown ego. Among the echelon of the Rat Yakuza, all masters of ninjutsu in their own rights, this particular boss alone had delved into the realms of medicine and suture. An attribute that had led to him gaining control of the waste disposal business, and is one that he prided himself on.

“I have left that life behind me, but I always have an ear to listen to the ideas of a lowly scrub.”

The tone was slightly condescending and quite out of place, as Akisame physically towered above the other and the village’s medical practices were far more recognized than that of the backyard stitching mafia in any case. The jounin however took little notice and continued.

“It is a bit of a sensitive matter, and I assure you that we have in no way breached the terms of our contract with the Family. This package was collected outside of the village, after we completed a mission which prevented the spread of the source that caused this damage.”

Akisame took a knee to be face to face with, hopefully, his informant. From his strapped and sealed bag he removed a small plastic wrapper containing the corpses of five dead rat corpses frozen in a semi-translucent ichor mixture. He was careful to only bring a single bag to the meeting, to prevent a possible mass outrage.

“In all your years in the field, have you ever come across a technique that could revive the corpses of dead rats?”

“Taboo!” exclaimed the short rodent supervisor immediately, without giving any further room for the inquiry to continue.

“This is forbidden talk. In this we Rats do not agree with the shinobi ways, it is against nature. I should gut you right here…. But it would be bad for business, your looms bring in a lot of filth. Here is a warning for you instead. A fellow stitcher, he had crazy skills mind you, invaluable, once tried to follow these same lines you speak of and was hunted down and executed along with his wife and kids. Sadly we did not find his workshop, otherwise we would have burned it to the ground too.”

Hamon eased in to the side in order to put his arms around Akisame’s back, which made the jounin feel a bit uneasy as with his head turned, their visages were closer than ever.

“I like you scrub! But don’t mention this again,” he spoke enrapturedly while sneakily grabbing the frozen package from the Shichou’s hands.

“We will be taking this, and it’s going to cost you double this month. Always good doing business with you, Master Shichou...”
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Old 08-27-2019, 09:25 PM   #5
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As the tiny army of vermin marched through the dump memories flowed in through Josuke's drug haze. Not long ago, on a mission with the very same Shichou, hundreds of undead rats tried to tear him into pieces. It did not come as surprise to the chuunin, though, as he’d always imagined dying in such a horrible way ever since his childhood. Rats, birds, maggots, zombies- in those dark tunnels of Amegakure Josuke could and had imagined thousands of ways to die.

So, even as the swarms of coordinated, sentient, somewhat hostile rodents moved around him the medic was able to keep his composure. No, this chuunin had an iron will. Tortured by the Rain Militia, put through the meat grinder again and again, at 19 years old Josuke was a battle hardened warrior. It was a testament to his strength of character and expert training.

Or, perhaps, because his long term memory was being damaged by overdoses of stimulants. Either or.

The ‘day’ shift was drawing to a close and with great hesitation Josuke moved to approach his commanding officer. He spoke with his eyes turned downwards as he tried to avoid looking at the Shichou and the far too human acting rat. “Nothing to report, sir. Are we done for the day?”
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Old 08-29-2019, 03:55 PM   #6
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The secretive jounin had barely concluded his ‘business’ with the loose-lipped Hamon by the time his mission mate arrived to report in. From the chuunin’s evasive stance, it was clear to Akisame that his junior must have noticed something, or was at least aware of a transaction of sorts. But before he could worry any further, the vermin boss and his band of workers, along with the frozen evidence, evaporated in clouds of smoke.

"Well, it seems we are done. Those rats don’t waste any time. Just have to turn…"

But before he could continue his statement, the large scroll he was about to refer to poofed away as well, leaving behind a stamped invoice that floated to the jounin’s feet. While picking it up he noticed a new addition marked, ‘Consultation Fee,’ that pushed the total price up twofold. There was a grim look on Akisame’s face, as he knew that his father, a senior member of the accounting branch, was going to pick up the discrepancy. He could hear it already, ‘you are such a disappointment, when are you going to make something of your life, blah, blah, blah…’

He shoved the slip into one of his zipped pockets, turning his expression around as he spoke to Josuke.

“You should be starving by now, right? Ever been to Hikari’s? It’s a sushi restaurant a few blocks from here...”

Hikari’s catered to a unique crowd with its compartmentalized booths designed for privacy, often used by businessmen for off-the-book discussions or meeting their mistresses away from prying eyes. Akisame had been invited there a few times before, during his younger modelling days, to meet the whims and needs of some of the top designers of the time. It was not a place frequented by shinobi, mostly due to the exorbitant prices, but knowing that he was already in trouble, it was a good time as any for him to max out the family card.

“... come on, Josuke. I’m buying, plus we need to talk.”
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Old 08-31-2019, 06:38 PM   #7
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Without his mask no doubt Josuke’s contorted expression would have been enough of a response to the jounin. Not only had the long hours in the garbage heap robbed him his appetite, but raw fish! Raw! It didn't matter that some sushi didn’t have fish on it, the chef prepared everything with his same filthy hands regardless! The boy never ate out, preferring his rigorously sterilized canned food and Amegakure rations to the germ infested disease soaked trash served at dining establishments. Not only that but despite Josuke’s best efforts there were sure to be layers upon layers of filthy germs coating his protective clothing now. The gas mask made it impossible to tell if he smelled, but Josuke just always assumed that he did anyway.

And then! There was absolutely nothing the Shichou jounin could want to talk about that would be good news. Nobody ever gave Josuke good news. He probably wanted to scold the chuunin for something, or blackmail him, or poison him with raw fish. One way or another this unofficial rendezvous was sure to develop into a living nightmare.

But, alas, even through the pupil dilating haze of his chemically suppressed emotions, Josuke’s sense of duty held firm. His superior officer must have something important to talk about and regardless of the enormity of the chuunin’s desire not to, it still must be done. For the good of Amegakure.

Speaking through tightly grinding teeth the teenage Josuke mumbled out a strained, forced response. “If you say so, sir. I can meet you there.”

Last edited by Junge; 09-05-2019 at 12:39 PM..
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Old 09-03-2019, 03:25 AM   #8
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The sector’s cavern floodlights had turned to a low orange tint by the time that the jounin had arrived at the scene. It was a feature of the advanced circadian control systems built into the civil design to mimic the night and stimulate sleep, though sleep rarely took place in the district he found himself in. Instead it was lined with clubs and restaurants covered in bright neon illumination, all filled to capacity with queues extending way beyond their entrance doors.

Akisame was to meet Josuke there. They had left each other during the late afternoon to get freshened up before their evening’s discussions. The ex-model, leaning against the corner of their designated restaurant’s walls as he bided his time, was clad in a black pinstripe tuxedo with a bow-tie and purple shades. His loose blonde hair, which was rarely seen, hanged due to the insufficient drying performed in his rush to make his appointment and booking on time.

Hikari’s was a special establishment that blended in on the outside with the glitz and glamour of the high street, but at its core housed sealed and secluded dining rooms. With his family name, Akisame had reserved a private booth for the two of them, bypassing the need for them to have had to deal with the gridlock at the main entry.

As he waited, he listened to the gossip in the air, the clamour of privileged denizens trying to bribe bouncers and the footsteps of pickpocketing street kids scurrying away from their unaware victims. Vigilant to those approaching, he would occasionally have had to turn around or move out of view to avoid someone recognizing him (it had only been 3 years since he left the spotlight after all).

‘Hmmm… I wonder what attire Josuke will bring to the occasion… hopefully not another lifejacket.’

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Old 09-05-2019, 10:41 PM   #9
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The misshapen muzzle of a gas mask poked out from one of the oblong shadows cast by the Sector’s mood lighting. Josuke’s approach, as usual, took him through the winding back alleys and away from the crowded main streets. Too dangerous out there.

He extended a crooked finger to tap the jounin but it was apparent the man was already aware of the chuunin’s presense. After a quiet, terse exchange of words, the two entered the dining establishment. There was no perceptible change in Josuke who head to toe still clad himself in chemically sterilized fabrics. The blacks and browns of his trappings weren’t a fashion choice- that was simply the color all his clothes turned after many repeated washings with caustic lime. The medic never went out In anything other than his work uniform, because going out was ALWAYS work.

As had been the case for months, a cocktail of drugs he ingested prior to the rendezvous kept him oblivious to whatever social queues he might be missing. Josuke's hitai-ate was still in plain view and perhaps it would ruffle some feathers of the tuxedo-and-high-heels crowd. Regardless of the stares, though, 10 milligrams of benzos with a swish of sodium blockers to keep the tremors down made Josuke walk tall and proud. The massive headaches that came with it wouldn’t hit for a few hours anyway. And there was always morphine for that!

With slightly slurred speech he did little but order some tea. He wouldn’t drink it because there was no way he was putting a single thing in his mouth from this place. Josuke could relax a bit though, and not just because of the drugs. On the way in he took note of the bathroom location, so if he needed to go vomit then he could do so at his leisure. And in a worst case scenario many of the potted plants and other décor would likely serve as an impromptu bedpan well enough!
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