Cooperation is Best

Hana Shiroi invites Kunzite to speak with her about ways they may mututally benefit from her activities. Naru tags along.

Date: 2017-05-10
Pose Count: 35
Kunzite 2017-05-10 13:26:56 76191
    TXT from Naru: As agreed, when Hana turns up in my dreams, I'm telling someone. Hey there someone, Hana dropped by my dreams. Made even more relevant by her asking after you.

    TXT from Kazuo: That's interesting. Did the two of you have a pleasant visit?

    TXT from Naru: Brief, she really only wished to have me play messenger to 'the handsome one who was there when I awoke'.

    TXT from Kazuo: Unfortunate. You tend to enjoy the two of your discussions.

    TXT from Naru: I do, but I have no illusion that I have much in the way of control over them. She wishes to meet with you.

    TXT from Kazuo: That's an interesting request. Did she give any hint as to how she preferred such a meeting to be accomplished?

    TXT from Naru: Those details were left as an exercise to the reader.

    TXT from Kazuo: Well. There's always knocking.

    TXT from Naru: Works for me.

And that is how, after Naru's school day is over and Kazuo has migrated back from university classes, there are two people approaching a certain building --

Well. No. There are four people approaching a certain building. Naru and Kazuo doing so in matter-of-fact fashion, on foot. Apatite and Tuxedo Kamen taking a different and less standard road, on wary watch, but keeping a measure of distance; they are nearby in case things start to go wrong, but not so near as to stop it in the moment.

Hana Shiroi's old apartment remains useful as a potential contact point, whether or not she still uses it for anything else.
Naru Osaka 2017-05-10 13:33:56 76192
"So how /is/ school going?" Naru asks as she tugs open the door to the building, accepting that heading towards that apartment is about as matter of fact normal as anything else in her life.

Uber witch and a semi-abandoned apartment? Totally normal, right?

"If she's not here, I'll try catching her attention in dreams to make arrangements." Naru continues as she heads for the elevator. "I know you've ended up in my dreams before, but the details of how to do that on purpose is always really hazy for me."
Hana Shiroi 2017-05-10 13:37:15 76193
    For those who have experienced her presence before, it's easy to tell that Hana is indeed in residence before even actually entering the apartment. The strange sense of muted reality, of vaugely dreamlike perception that radiates from her like an aura can be felt the moment one steps out of the elevator. Naru, at least, has been to this place both when Hana is here, and when she isn't, and should recognize the feeling at once. Not quite a Labyrinth, but not quite not a Labyrinth, though the appearance of the hallway itself remains quite mundane.

    The door to the apartment is not locked, and it opens easily. As always, the main room of the penthouse is completely empty, devoid of furniture save for that single, red-cushioned chair which faces the door, and has its back to the floor-to-ceiling windows that reveal a stunning view of Tokyo. The chair itself is not particularly throne-like. But the way Hana Shiroi sits in it makes it seem like one, anyway.

    The petite, dark-haired and white-clad woman leans to one side against the back of the chair, one elbow propped on an armrest, closed fist against her cheek as her rainbow-hued eyes watch the door open. One leg is crossed over the other, for all as if she had been sitting there awaiting their arrival, though her face shows no hint of impatience.

    "Greetings, Little Bird, Servant of the Prince." She says, in her cool tones that always sound so bored with the world, so unconcerned. "It pleases me that you have accepted my invitation."
Kunzite 2017-05-10 14:30:46 76194
"It's school," Kazuo says, mild enough in tone. "I've done this year before. There's more effort in keeping an eye on the household's attempts to change its routine than there is in the actual work."

In the elevator, he adds, "That's generally done through the intervention of one of several third parties. A little of that we can manage in-house, but there are others with considerably more skill." And then they're stepping out of the elevator, and his manner changes; he tracks the building's security cameras (as opposed to the apartment's security cameras), and when he's out of sight of the former for an instant, he changes.

Kazuo isn't quite who was invited, after all, and it wouldn't do to show up in improper dress.

Kunzite bows formally to the woman in that single chair -- greeting and respect, though not subordination -- without ever quite impairing his vision. At least, if Hana's usual assistant is around, she's making herself nonobvious. "Greetings, White Flower. Of course it was accepted; both politeness and an appreciation of its rarity encourage that."
Naru Osaka 2017-05-10 14:34:09 76195
Naru quirks her head just a touch at that familiar feel as they step off the elevator, and she has no qualms about rapping only briefly on the door before opening it.

"Good afternoon, Hana." Naru greets, unconcerned about the change wrought upon Kazuo into Kunzite. The later is, if anything, more familiar than the former, but that too has changed over the last year. "I trust you are well?"
Hana Shiroi 2017-05-10 14:40:56 76196
    Hana seems to sense Kunzite's watchfulness, and a brief instant of mild amusement crosses her features. "Have no fear. Madison is not in attendance today. I know you and she have a.. history of conflict. Which is, I suspect, more of an issue for her than it is for you, but regardless. She is safely occupied elsewhere for the time being." No hint given as to where or doing what, which might be mildly concerning in and of itself, but there's not much that can be done about that at the moment.

    Her eyes shift briefly to Naru. "I am as well as ever. I see you have taken advantage of my lack of precision in my invitation to bring yourself along, Little Bird. I am amused. But I suppose it is irrelevant. Your presence does not significantly impact my purpose."

    Her eyes return to Kunzite, and she shifts her posture faintly in the chair. "I wished to speak with you, Servant of the Prince, for several reasons. I have gleaned, through my interactions with this one," a gesture to Naru, "reports from Madison, and my own observations, that you have some skill in energy manipulation, and some academic understanding of the processes inherent within. You are also level-headed, and treated me politely upon our last encounter. I feel you are less likely to reject my statements out of hand than others might be."
Kunzite 2017-05-10 14:48:50 76197
Possibly watching Kyouko and Mamoru. More likely doing something else altogether. Kunzite inclines his head toward Hana's reassurance-of-sorts, acknowledgment without a particular diminishment of that watchfulness. But that's a habit that's hardly limited to Hana's vicinity.

"It seemed to me," he notes in answer to Hana's further amusement, "that having someone on hand accustomed to both of our habits might diminish any chance of unfortunate misunderstandings." As opposed to unfortunate correct understandings, which are a different matter entirely.

The rest he listens to closely as well. "My Prince keeps a policy of listening to others where possible," he agrees, "and I am bound to follow his preferences on the matter. Where matters can be simplified through communication, it's proven useful for us and for others in the past." And then there are the times he thinks it's a terrible idea. Granted, half the times it's proven useful have been time he's thought it's a terrible idea.
Naru Osaka 2017-05-10 14:51:34 76198
Naru smiles, utterly unapologetic about playing to the letter of the invitation rather than the spirit of the invitation. "I am merely here as a facillitator." She comments and then keeps to that role as she settles quiet.

Her attention is clearly upon the pair of them, listening to Hana and Kunzite speak, even if her eyes go over to the view over the city, admiring it as she does every time she visits this apartment.
Hana Shiroi 2017-05-10 14:56:28 76199
    "You are here," Hana says to Naru, again with that faint hint of amusement, "Because you are too curious. But I already knew that. I shall not fault you for it."

    Her gaze returns to Kunzite then, studying him for a moment, still with that relaxed, almost lounging posture in the chair. "Your Prince believes that understanding and talk can solve any problem. Or nearly so, I imagine. He is an idealist. I suppose that suits his role. On the other hand, I am a pragmatist. I believe in doing whatever will solve my problems in the quickest and most efficient manner."

    She sits up slightly, bringing both hands together to fold on her lap. "That being the case, I will not dodge around the topic at hand. What do you know of the Incubator's system? I do not speak of the.. human cost, but rather the system as a whole. Puella and Witches are merely two cogs in that system, the raw materials, so to speak. The system itself is a vast, complicated manipulator and storage mechanism for energy."
Kunzite 2017-05-10 15:20:11 76200
The matter of idealism versus pragmatism is allowed to fall aside, as is the question of Naru's curiosity. Kunzite answers the Flower's question, instead. "I know something of the interchange between Puella and Witches. I know that the Incubators themselves did not fully or correctly understand their own system even before its recent change in manifestation. I know that it has, recently, been displaying and manipulated to display a number of behaviors that touch on matters the Incubators do not understand; collectively, this suggests that the Incubators may be wrong on a number of basic facts. I do not know to what end the Incubators maintain the system, other than potentially their own profit; their lack of full understanding and their tendency to mislead or deliver incomplete answers when it serves them mean that their own answers on the subject cannot be trusted."
Naru Osaka 2017-05-10 15:26:11 76201
True to her word, Naru remains quietly listening. Her attention moves from the city to the pair of people talking, her stance still and patient. There's a flicker of a smile, acknowlegement that curiosity is certainly one of her blessings, and curses, but she doesn't comment upon it.
Hana Shiroi 2017-05-10 15:41:37 76202
    Hana listens to what Kunzite has to say without change in posture or expression, simply nodding her head when he finishes talking. "Largely correct, but allow me to disabuse you of a few incorrect assumptions," She says, her tone mildly lecturing though not at all scornful. "The Incubators understand perfectly well how their system functions- how it is supposed to function. They designed and built it, after all. Magic, as I am sure you aware, is just at its essence one more universal force. It follows laws and rules just like those found in physics and other sciences, but operates within a different sphere of cognition. Of awareness."

    "No, the issue with the Incubators is not a lack of understanding, but a lack of imagination. They designed and built a system to do what they required it to do, but they did not account for errors. It should work. For the large part, it does. But beings without imagination cannot properly conceptualize all the ways in which a system so vast might.. malfunction."

    "Anomalies such as myself, and Homura Akemi, and others I am sure, arise when that system encounters a contradiction. We are, to use an analogy, bugs in the software. A different entity might have forseen such bugs, worked to find a way to circumvent them, but that is simply not how the Incubators are. They are capable of great acts due to their implacable, emotionless intelligence, but are flawed in their lack of imagination. Their approach to problem solving, therefore, is reactionary. A problem arises, they attempt to correct it. They do not anticipate it beforehand and have pre-made plans."

    She pauses a moment. "There is opportunity, there. The system the Incubators built harvests, stores, and manipulates vasts amount of energy. They claim to use it to safeguard the universe from chaotic breakdown, but we have no proof of this, as you say. That energy could be put to a better use."

    "I find myself in a unique position, both of understanding and of capability. I believe that, with sufficient preperation, I could take it from them."

    "The entire system."
Kunzite 2017-05-10 15:51:30 76203
"Your correction is actually my meaning," Kazuo agrees, somewhat lazily matter-of-fact. "If they do not understand the failure states of their system, then they do not understand their system; they only believe that they do. Their discomfort at the presence of anomalies only underscores that."

It is either a statement of how much, or how little, he understands about the system that Hana's last statement does not cause him to display either surprise or fear.

(He stole an attack based on Witch energies from Riventon more than a year ago. If the system can be coopted in small ways, then it can be coopted in larger ones.)

"That is an interesting suggestion," he says. "One would reasonably be curious about its effects."
Naru Osaka 2017-05-10 15:55:08 76204
There is little doubt that Naru understands the basics of the Incubator's system of the world, but she has not spent all that much time considering the details. She listens, thoughtful, and moving a little further from the conversation brings her to the windows. Her backpack down, she emerges with a sketchbook, to doodle as she continues to listen.

The notion of taking it all over doesn't bring a gasp, or a blink of shock to her, just a soft little 'mhm'.
Hana Shiroi 2017-05-10 16:00:36 76205
    If Hana was expecting any sort of larger reaction, the lack of such does not seem to phase her. Instead, she just answers Kunzite's question. "The primary effect would be to grant me access to the energy they have stored. The secondary effect would be to deny access to the Incubators." She raises an eyebrow. "Which in turn, means no more Wishes. No more Puella."

    A handwave. "It has already been demonstrated that, in the absence of Witches, Wraiths appear, so there need be no fear of extant Puella starving. And surely the cessation of their creation is something that we can all agree is a desirable outcome. Puella are, by and large, an unfortunate lot, and ending the creation of new Puella seems a favor to those who might otherwise find themselves stuck in that state."

    "I assure you, Servant of the Prince, that I am no enemy of humanity. My goals are purely selfish, and I admit that, but by that same token they are not malicious. I will remove impedements, should they present themselves, but I do not wish any harm to humans, magical or otherwise, as a goal in and of itself. Surely you can see the benefit to.. altering the current status quo in this way."
Kunzite 2017-05-10 16:08:58 76206
"It seems to me," Kunzite observes, disputing none of her statements for the moment, "that there are a few questions raised by this plan. For one, energy seems to enter that portion of the system by the specific act of the Incubators collecting used grief items. Removing the Incubators' access to the system would thus also appear to remove your ability to collect more energy, leaving you in possession of a very large but ultimately finite store. Or do you have a way around that problem?"
Naru Osaka 2017-05-10 16:10:25 76207
A convenient spot to lean, watching out the window and the conversation between Kunzite and Hana. Naru sketches. Hard to say what, exactly, its an abstract piece, somewhat unusual for her.
Hana Shiroi 2017-05-10 16:12:09 76208
    "That is correct, but also irrelevant." Hana says, in response to the question from Kunzite. Her eyes shift briefly to track Naru, but no comment is given. They return to Kunzite.

    "I believe the energy they already have stored, that is resident in the system, will be more than sufficient for what I require. The need to collect more is not something that I anticipate."
Kunzite 2017-05-10 16:16:41 76209
"In which case, the question that is raised is your intended use for that energy." Kunzite cocks his head to one side, regarding Hana with somewhat more interest now -- not that he was disinterested before. "It's a question to which I'd given a little thought at one point, but for obvious reasons you are some decades ahead of me on that path."

He should probably try to sound a little less like Riventon, now and then.
Hana Shiroi 2017-05-10 16:22:20 76210
    "My ultimate goal is simply self-preservation." Hana says, without any hint of deception in her tone. "As it stands, there are many who would wish me destroyed simply for existing. This is not an ideal state of things for me. I wish to render myself.." A pause, as she perhaps searches for the correct term, "Unreachable."

    "I know you have no reason to trust me, and indeed perhaps reason to do the opposite, but I speak truly when I say that you have nothing to fear from me, so long as you do not actively attempt to interfere with my plans. Should you be willing to assist, there may even be benefits that I can grant, with whatever of that energy remains when I am finished with it. I anticipate the sum will be not inconsiderable."
Kunzite 2017-05-10 16:35:21 76211
"My Prince," Kunzite says conversationally, "idealist that he has already been stated to be, is in favor of finding a resolution, if possible, that leaves both your existence and the human population of the Earth and of this city intact. Do you believe your present plan, this rendering of yourself as unreachable, would do so? Or would the mere existence of humans in proximity render them an impediment, or unfortunate collateral damage?"

He does not inquire about what would happen when Wraiths existed and Puella did not, or why Hana has not made a statement about the fate of extant Puella other than that they would not starve. Not at this juncture.
Naru Osaka 2017-05-10 16:37:10 76212
Naru opens her mouth to ask something into the mix of conversation, her eyes not lifting from her page as she does, but closes her mouth again as Kunzite ably and capably asks the question she wished to also know the answer to. That covered, and equally without yet asking about current puella, Naru continues drawing.
Hana Shiroi 2017-05-10 16:43:51 76213
    "I do not believe that my solution would have a net negative impact on humanity as a whole." Hana responds to Kunzite, in possibly the most vague, doublespeak answer that has ever been put forth.

    "I cannot, unfortunately, list a precise catalogue of the side-effects of what I propose. There is no precedent, and my understanding of the outcome is imperfect. I am confident that I will be able to achieve my goal. I am confident that my doing so does not necessitate harm to humanity. I am confident of little else at this point."

    "But that is why I asked to speak with you. I understand that energy systems are somewhat of a specialty of yours. Do not mistake me- I am confident in my ability to achieve this outcome with or without you. But you may be able to help me do so with a minimum of risk. To myself and to others. I believe this strongly enough to invite you here to speak with you."
Kunzite 2017-05-10 16:49:02 76214
Kunzite gives a slight bow, again, considering her for a moment after. "My understanding of energy systems is somewhat more -- aesthetic than analytical," he says. "There are others who consider them a science, and could perhaps give more detailed information. But my viewpoint may be an advantage to you rather than a limitation, given your own inclinations. And you have been gracious so far. What would you have of me?"
Naru Osaka 2017-05-10 16:51:48 76215
Naru looks up, finally, and over at the pair of them, her attention upon the conversation a clear and obvious thing again, rather than an assumption shared by all in the room. Kunzite is asking the questions, and she continues to leave him to the questioning.
Hana Shiroi 2017-05-10 16:59:02 76216
    "Your knowledge of energy systems is not the only reason I would have your assistance over others." Hana says, by way of explanation. "You are also polite, you do not seek unnecessary conflict, and you are willing to consider solutions presented to you. These are not things that can be said of all the 'others' you mentions."

    At the final question, she simply tilts her heads lightly, dark hair falling over one shoulder. "What I want is for you to consider what I have said. Look into the Incubator's system. Try to see if you can understand how it works. Then compares notes with me. My hope is that your perspective might alert me to anything I have missed. I am not an Incubator, you see. I have the imagination to conceieve of.. undesirable, unforseen outcomes. I wish to avoid them."
Kunzite 2017-05-10 17:06:46 76217
Contacts with the Puella. Riventon's witch-blast, and how it interacted with his own dark energy at the time. Hannah Sharpe's tainted Linker Core. Madoka's Wish. The strange, burning Wraith on the rooftop.

Faint and faded memories of a distant, different Earth, where magic was everywhere, and yet none of the memories of that time he's heard of involved anything that might be a Puella or an Incubator.

"Given that your preference is for survival in a form you recognize as remaining yourself," Kunzite says quietly, "that seems wise when tampering with these things, yes. That system is built on undesirable and unforeseen outcomes for all parties. I'll do what I can."

Whatever what he can turns out to be. But -- the mental image of Hana transformed into a Wraithlike being is one that makes him somewhat glad he is not, himself, an artist.
Naru Osaka 2017-05-10 17:28:58 76218
All the reasons that Kunzite makes a good choice just brings a quiet smile to Naru's lips. They're true.

Naru draws a moment longer, as if capturing some last thought upon her page as she closes her sketchbook and bends to put it in her bag again. She moves nearer to the pair of them, as it appears that their conversation seems to be done. "Have you been making any art lately, Hana?"
Hana Shiroi 2017-05-10 17:30:56 76219
    Hana merely nods. "I had a feeling that you would understand that mutual cooperation is preferable to needless conflict." She says, her face still calm, showing no satisfiaction, only a calm surety that her assessment of the situation was correct. "I am glad that it is so."

    "When you have reached any conclusions you may, you can come here to contact me and discuss them. It will be some time before I am ready to act, one way or the other, and so there is no need for undue haste. In return, I will.. restrain Madison, for the time being. She is a useful tool, but not, I fear, for the present circumstance."

    Her eyes turn to Naru, as the girl approaches. At the question of art, a faint smile touches her lips, but she shakes her head. "No, I fear not, Little Bird. I am busy preparing for the greatest work of art of my life. Other considerations have been put aside, for now."
Kunzite 2017-05-10 17:34:53 76220
"Restraint on her part will be considerably appreciated. She's managed to accumulate quite a number of unnecessary enemies over time." Kazuo bows slightly for a third time, and steps back as Naru approaches, as if to more visibly yield the floor to her.
Naru Osaka 2017-05-10 17:46:16 76221
Naru comes up alongside Kunzite, calmly and likely briefly, reinserting herself back into the conversation. "I tend to feel that there is always time for art, even amongst other life encompassing projects, but I can appreciate your focus upon the one. If you are agreeable, I would be glad to visit again."
Hana Shiroi 2017-05-10 17:49:36 76222
    "There is always time for art," Hana agrees with Naru. "Which is why I am focusing so intently on this project. If successful, it will be my greatest work." Another faint smile. Self-satisfied.

    "I do not mind your visits, Little Bird." She then says, with a mild shrug which insinuates she does not feel they are necessary, either. "Do as you wish."
Kunzite 2017-05-10 17:52:22 76223
"One wonders what you will find with which to occupy yourself after," Kunzite notes quietly. "But the nature of changes of such magnitude is to present unforeseen challenges and opportunities; so that may take care of itself."

The phrase 'new media' finds interesting applications, sometimes.
Naru Osaka 2017-05-10 17:54:50 76224
"I will look forward to seeing it." Naru comments with a quirk of a smile. Likely, everyone will get to see it, and more than likely, it's going to be a controversial piece. Just at a guess.

There is a glance to Kunzite, to see if he is ready to head off again, the visit having that sense of being done for the time being.
Hana Shiroi 2017-05-10 17:57:46 76225
    Hana merely nods. "I hope you find it suitable. Well then. I look forward to hearing from you again." This directed to Kunzite, before she inclines her head to the door. A dismissal, no mistake.