Bad News No Matter What

Kazuo asks Kyouko about her visit from Sailor Earth. Naru listens in. Especially when something Sailor Earth said lets Kazuo draw a conclusion ... not one with any useful answers, but an answer at all is more than they've gotten in a year. (CW: language)

Date: 2018-01-15
Pose Count: 32
Kazuo Takeba 2018-01-15 18:43:34 88123
The text turns up a few hours after Kyouko dropped her own text to Mamoru. The one from Kazuo only reads: "Would like to talk with you about your visitor when convenient for you."
Kyouko Sakura 2018-01-15 18:46:29 88124
    Kyouko had been at work, of course, but stopping by the ECFH after getting off of her shift was nothing unusual or untoward. She likely would have done so anyway, even without the text from Kazuo, but receiving such a text, she makes a point of it. So it is that a bit later in the evening, she appears on the balcony of the penthouse, still wearing the black t-shirt and jeans that is her defacto work uniform.

    She pulls open the balcony door and steps inside, taking off her shoes and closing it again behind her before proceeding into the living room. "Hey," She calls out, both as greeting and warning to anyone about that she has arrived.
Kazuo Takeba 2018-01-15 18:51:21 88125
Kazuo is in the living room, where he's been pretending to read since half an hour before the end of Kyouko's shift. Fortunately no-one has either asked him what he's reading or caught him turning pages backward. At the balcony door's opening, he glances up over the book in question, then closes it and sets it down and rises. "Good evening. Did you have time to get something to eat?"
Kyouko Sakura 2018-01-15 18:53:13 88126
    "I had a snack from the store on my way out." Kyouko says, with a wave that is half greeting, half dismissal of the expressed concern. She alters trajectory to enter the living room, moving to one of the empty seats and flumping into it. "I'll go have dinner with Naru and Momo later, so I'm okay for right now."
Kazuo Takeba 2018-01-15 18:54:36 88127
"Good to hear." Kazuo doesn't so much as glance toward the kitchen, staying on his feet for a moment to study Kyouko from that angle instead. "Your visitor didn't try to feed you anything herself, did she?"
Kyouko Sakura 2018-01-15 18:56:20 88128
    Kyouko is not surprised to have this topic broached so swiftly, given the text that had been sent as forwarning. She just shakes her head, short red hair swirling against her jawbone as she grimaces faintly. "No. Well, she tried to feel me a load of bullshit, if that counts, but nothin' physical. Why, do I need to be afraid of her showing up and trying to make me eat a poisoned apple, or somethin'? 'Cause I ain't no princess."
Kazuo Takeba 2018-01-15 19:13:10 88129
"The energy she's carrying is disruptive," Kazuo answers, "and she's used it to try to induce mind-control before. I don't know what would happen if she tried to use it for that on you; I suspect the mind-control element would fail miserably, but it might be damaging in other ways."

He's still on his feet; that proves less ominous as he moves to the kitchen, rummaging for a moment before frowning and checking a cupboard. Apparently the apartment is in dire need of baked goods, as end-of-term arrives for the girls and finals approach for the guys. Pocky, however, is in the emergency reserve kit, and Kazuo fetches Kyouko's due sacrifice back out to her before taking his own seat again. "Do you remember what she said?"
Kyouko Sakura 2018-01-15 19:31:51 88130
    "That's right.." Kyouko murmurs, thoughtfully. "I do remember it kinda screwed you up when you absorbed some of it that one time." Then she shakes her head again. "But she didn't try to do anything like that. I don't know what she wanted. She just showed up, started making noise about how I was 'confusing' because I didn't have an equivalent back in the old days, then started threatening Mamoru and me. Same old spiel, y'know. I basically told her to eff off and if I saw her again I'd stick a spear in her."

    She beams as Pocky is presented, retrieving a stick and crunching the end off before adding, "I don't remember specifics, really, just that she was going on about the same stuff she's said before, how Mamoru is pretending to be her and leeching her power, or something. I dunno, it's all just BS. I basically told her that I don't care who's the real prince. I'm with Mamoru because Mamoru helped me. She ain't done shit but make life difficult, so I'm not about to switch to her side just because she says she has some nebulous 'right'. Not that I think she's telling the truth, but even if she was."
Kazuo Takeba 2018-01-15 19:43:07 88131
"So," Kazuo says slowly. "She's not changing her tactics even if they haven't worked for her. That's interesting."

He shifts weight, settling leaned against one arm of the couch he's on, propped up by an elbow. "I am firmly in the 'stick a spear in her' camp, myself, though I hope you'd call to share the opportunity first. Even if you have a shot at taking her down in one stroke, she's as likely to explode violently as anything else. Mamoru's come partway around to that. Even arriving infrequently, she's already been doing too much damage. So if she makes a move beyond conversation, we're free to respond."

His more usual frown manifests itself for a moment. "If you do happen to remember any of the specifics she said, I'd appreciate hearing. If we can track what she says, we may be able to figure out where she's getting her ideas. If we can do that, we may be able to find her."
Kyouko Sakura 2018-01-15 19:47:04 88132
    Kyouko shrugs her shoulders. "I almost did it then and there. Stuck a spear in her, I mean. But I wasn't gonna do that at the store. Tachibana-san doesn't have anything to do with this, and I don't want to cause trouble for her by having somebody get murdered in the shop. Earth seemed to suggest that we'd have a chance to test our strength against each other 'soon', but that's not any different than what she's said before so I dunno if it actually means anything."

    She shakes her head again, chewing down a few bites on the Pocky stick. "I mean.. I don't think she said anything that stands out as different from what she's said before. She said that she ruled over a golden kingdom for a thousand years, and defeated every evil that came against her until it was robbed from her, and that even if I killed her, she'd still have done more good in her life than I ever could so it would be worth it, that sorta stuff. I told her that if she defeated every evil that came against it, how the heck did she end up where she's at, but the only answer she seemed to have was that she was 'betrayed'. I assume she meant the whle Beryl thing but she didn't mention names."
Kazuo Takeba 2018-01-15 19:56:25 88133
Kazuo gives Kyouko a nod over not stabbing Earth then and there, half-casual. "Good choice. There's the possibility that she might target Tachibana-san for that, but if that happens that won't be any worse than fighting her in the shop would have been. And it's only a possibility. We'll do what we can to watch for it."

And then -- well. Kazuo doesn't interrupt her. But Kyouko can catch the flicker of not-quite-expression, the sudden gleam in metal-gray eyes, when she says 'for a thousand years.'

"Good catch," he says at the end. "Both when you were talking with her. And what you remembered. That tells us that she knows something about the Silver Millennium. It also tells us that she doesn't know that there was a difference between it and the Golden Kingdom. And she can't give you a better answer than 'betrayed' because she doesn't know why the fight started."
Kyouko Sakura 2018-01-15 19:59:48 88134
    Kyouko watches Kazuo's reaction with some interest, searching his face with her eyes, but doesn't comment, instead just shrugging her shoulders and saying, "I dunno about that. If you think that's what it means, it probably does. I'm not like, super up on that stuff myself so I can only report what she said to me. She certainly seemed to believe what she was sayin', but that doesn't mean anything as I pointed out to her myself."

    "All I know is, if she's causing problems for Mamoru and now harassing people at their jobs, I'm looking forward to running into her someplace where I don't have to worry about making a mess." She quirks her lips to the side. "And I'll make sure to let you know if that happens. Don't worry."
Naru Osaka 2018-01-15 20:11:43 88135
The baking delivery is just a little later than the Kyouko arrival. Naru is eternally boring, arriving via elevator and the actual door, although the lack of coat or outdoor clothing says that she was only coming from downstairs. There's tupperware in her hands, however, and the smell of chocolate in the form of chips wafting along with her. Cookies or muffins seem a distinct possibility.

"Who is making a mess of what?" Naru asks as she heads into the conversation just at the tail end of what Kyouko was saying.

The opening of the lid reveals cookies, offered to each of them.
Kazuo Takeba 2018-01-15 20:21:05 88136
Kazuo stops talking at the sound of the door, turning toward it. Naru's appearance is a relief of sorts even before the tupperware is made plain; he gives Kyouko first crack at the cookies because girlfriend, and because Kyouko, and because he's talking.

"Your lady," Kazuo remains one of the few people who can call Kyouko a lady with straight face and without sarcasm, "encountered the self-proclaimed Sailor Earth today. She behaved with grace in the face of provocation, and brought back useful information: that this Earth claims that she ruled the world for a thousand years of peace."

He exhales and sits back, regarding a point of the mural on the far wall. "The Silver Millennium," he says, still conversational, "was called that because their people could expect to live a thousand years. We on Earth couldn't. Didn't. We had human lifespans. We believed those in the sky looked down at us with pity at best, or as the next thing to wild beasts at worst. We believed they thought differently from us, minds distorted by their ability to see our generations as their brief projects. In the end, some of us believed that such a lifespan, and their residence on the inhospitable Moon, meant that the Moon's people wanted Earth to spread into. To support their expansion. Their children. A great deal of that was Beryl's maneuvering, her lies and her trickery. But if we had been able to live for a thousand years, if we had been able to meet them as equals on that one front, instead of fearing what methods spies who honed their skills over centuries might employ, or what plan a diplomat might be following to ask some small concession now that would bear fruit in five hundred years ... Beryl would have had nothing to work with."

He straightens to glance between the girls, and his mouth pulls sharply up at one corner, the way Kyouko's might if she displayed a fang. "So we know that she is lying. Mamoru was concerned that she might be, like Homura, from some alternate past. But if she were, there would be no reason for her to be wrong in such detail, yet unable to remember what should have been her sharpest memory. He was concerned that she might have been a victim, her own memories written over by implanted ones. Still possible. But the flaws in her story have been shown to her, over and over, and she still clings to it. So. Most likely she's something else. What, I don't know yet. Humans usually change tactics when confronted with their failure. But any construct using the energies she's using should have been taken apart by them long ago."
Kyouko Sakura 2018-01-15 20:26:54 88137
    Kyouko perks up at the arrival of Naru, seeming to do so a moment before the other girl actually enters as if some preternatural sense warns her of Naru's impending arrival. Maybe it's just the scent of cookies. She displays the depth of her feelings for her girlfriend by smooching Naru on the cheek before taking a cookie, although that's about the length of delay she can handle before one is making its way into her mouth.

    She listens to Kazuo's summation, shrugging a little bit. "I always knew she was lying. Because Mamoru helps people, and she just causes trouble. If she was really the good guy, she wouldn't be such an asshole." She seems oblivious to the fact that some goodguys in this very room strain that theory, but on the whole, it seems like sound reasoning.
Naru Osaka 2018-01-15 20:34:16 88138
Naru can't help but smile just a touch at Kyouko being referred to as 'her lady', and she leans into the smooch while passing out cookies.

"Oh that being an ass was a good indicator of good or evil. Alas, there are entirely too many charming charletons who disrupt that theory." Naru offers the cookies to Kazuo next and mmms softly as she considers his words.

"If she is from an alternate past, then her memory might be accurate to her reality." Naru points out. "Equally, any construct that we have met to this point would be taken apart by those energies, but clearly they sustain her."
Kazuo Takeba 2018-01-15 20:42:37 88139
A cookie is accepted, and broken over his palm to catch the crumbs. Naru's choice of descriptions to counter Kyouko's assertion prompts him to put a quarter of it in his mouth rather quickly. There will be no snickering from his direction.

"Her memory might have been accurate to her reality," Kazuo agrees, once he can reasonably speak again. "But she can describe a thousand years of ordinary-for-her life ... but not the event that ended it. Which, if she reacts so strongly to it, should have been etched in her memory the way the parallel incident was in so many of ours. Nor does she react with dismay when presented with the people who would have been involved. If it were simply the inverse of the pattern the rest of us displayed, I might have believed that she had some variant reaction to the betrayal she asserts occurred. That she doesn't care -- that she dismisses any query about the details as unimportant, and diverts attention away to her assertion, instead of offering evidence? That suggests that there was no such event."

About the energies sustaining Earth ... that's left to stand on its own. Notable for the lack of comment.
Kyouko Sakura 2018-01-15 20:45:41 88140
    Kyouko is living in the relative bliss of having both Pocky and freshly-baked cookies available to her simultaneously, and is chewing on the cookie as she listens to Kazuo and Naru debate the possibilities of Earth's origin and her representation of the facts. "She's bad news no matter what's the truth about where she came from." SHe insists. "She was trying to get me to doubt Mamoru. It's not about wanting people to believe her- if it was, there would be no reason to go after us specifically. It's about taking away what Mamoru has."

    She shakes her head. "Nobody's gonna convince me that somebody is a nice and benevolent queen when she's more concerned with messing with other people's happiness than her own."
Naru Osaka 2018-01-15 20:57:03 88141
"It suggests to me that she was given her talking points, and doesn't know how to deviate from them." Naru muses as she too grabs a cookie. "In fact, it sounds disconcertingly like listening to Western news stations at the moment, but perhaps I am seeing parallels where none exist."

Another few cookies are set where any of them can reach them, before the container heads to the kitchen. "So if she's someone's minion.. who.. and yes, she's absolutely hell bent on screwing with Endy rather than anything else." Naru climbs on the counter, the cookies safe in their container, to get herself a mug as she chats.
Kazuo Takeba 2018-01-15 21:04:21 88142
"Someone who knows about the Silver Millennium. But not in detail." Kazuo continues to ration out his cookie by quarters, rather than challenging Kyouko for the bounty Naru left behind. "There are an unfortunate number of those at this point. The effort against Beryl resulted in a sizable number of people having some detail. All that's really necessary to get the kind of skewed idea about the Golden Kingdom that she seems to have, is to get someone complaining about the subject."

He glances at Kyouko, studying her steadily for a lingering moment. "And yes. Taking away what Mamoru has. She's not focusing on Moon -- she'd like to get Moon, but it's not a priority for her, which in the long term is a mistake on her principal's part. She's focused on Mamoru."

He falls silent for a moment, then adds, "Not Umai's foster family. She started manifesting before we offended them."
Kyouko Sakura 2018-01-15 21:07:01 88143
    "Also, where the hell is she getting off to in the meantime?" Kyouko asks, sounding vaugely sour. "She just shows up like once every couple of months to piss everybody off, then vanishes again. Where is she in the meantime? Seems like if we could figure that out, we could find out a lot more about why she's doing this crap in the first place."

    She sighs, chewing another bite of cookie before saying "Maybe I shoulda followed her when she left the shop, but I was on the clock and stuff." Kyouko takes her job at the conbenie almost as seriously as she takes her duty as Shitennou. The latter would trump the former if she really had to make a decision, but in the moment, letting Earth leave had seemed the wiser course.
Naru Osaka 2018-01-15 21:11:45 88144
"An interesting question." Naru muses as she puts the kettle on to provide herself with a hot beverage. Might even be coffee. Someone slept in this morning, coffee at this point in the evening is silly, but even still. "I could try following her, she has no real interest in me."

Naru mmms and shakes her head a little at Kazuo. "She turned up for the first time long before that.. the gaps are odd."
Kazuo Takeba 2018-01-15 21:14:34 88145
"You made the right call," Kazuo says to Kyouko. "Following someone who teleports is usually a waste of time. Unless you're Mercury."

He frowns down at the last quarter-cookie in his hand. Quarter-circles may still unnerve him, just a little, for a long time yet to come. "But you're right. Where she's staying in the mean time -- with that kind of energy --"

The frown tightens a little further. "We may be making an unwarranted assumption. We've brought up 'construct' as a possibility. Do we have any proof that, when we don't see her, she still exists?"
Kyouko Sakura 2018-01-15 21:17:38 88146
    "I don't have any proof that anybody exists when I can't see them." Kyouko says, somewhat sourly. Never much one for philosophy, she gets to her feet, stretching slightly. "I just got off my shift," She says to Naru, "So I'm gonna go downstairs and shower. Then I'll be back." She turns back towards Kazuo.

    "If you wanna bandy ideas around, Naru's much better for that than me anyway. But I'm looking forward more and more to getting to do what I do best to this Earth character. And like I said.. I'll make sure to call if the time comes." She snatches one last cookie, then makes her way to the balcony to depart.
Naru Osaka 2018-01-15 21:21:06 88147
"I think most of us are at a stage of object permamence at least." Naru snorts softly as she starts digging through the fridge, retrieving out lemon and ginger and acquiring the honey from the tea cupboard. "However, I do rather love the idea of her being put on a shelf when we don't see her, powered down and limp."

Naru nods to Kyouko at the mention of a shower. "There's curry in the pot on the stove, and rice in the rice cooker if you're hungry." Which is, we all now, a rhetorical question.
Kazuo Takeba 2018-01-15 21:37:37 88148
Better for that. Less frustrated by that, anyhow, nevermind that Kyouko as often as not comes up with a thought or a phrasing that eludes the other two. Kazuo lifts a hand to Kyouko's departure, and rises not so much to escort her to the balcony as to keep her from having to take the time to close the door behind her.

"It might," he says to Naru, "explain why she hasn't torn herself to pieces yet. But it's not the only possible explanation."

Mamoru's malfunctioning healing hangs silent in the air.
Naru Osaka 2018-01-15 22:35:13 88149
"Just because the energy she uses rips /us/ apart." Naru starts, immaterial of the fact that she's not actually tried playing with it to know if it actually does rip her apart. "Doesnt' mean it rips her apart. Although generally if you're determined on that point, it's probably more accurate than my speculations."

The kettle whistles, and boiling water is added to the honey and lemon and ginger. Which is most distinctly not coffee and the sharp scent of citrus faintly sweetened makes that clear through the apartment.
Kazuo Takeba 2018-01-15 22:39:12 88150
"One of the components is inherently destructive," Kazuo answers Naru. "Not simply 'incompatible with human life,' but inherently so. Either she has something or some method of keeping it in check, or she has something or some method of repairing the damage, or she exists as a series of short-term incarnations generated new each time and disappearing before the damage progresses too far. Or some other similar solution."

He does not at this time volunteer information on what other components might be involved. He does eat the last of the cookie, and then the crumbs large enough to be manageable, and then rise to borrow enough kitchen space to wash his hands.
Naru Osaka 2018-01-15 22:41:53 88151
"My personal vote is that she keeps it in check." Naru opines as she steps back enough to let Kazuo at the sink, holding her mug in both hands, inhaling the steam as it wafts up. "Although whoever, or whatever, she's working for or with might well repair her as needed, or there's a stasis involved. Still, inherently destructive is clear from her temperment, she wants to tear down, always and eternally."
Kazuo Takeba 2018-01-15 22:43:48 88152
Kazuo says nothing till he's turned the water back off, and can turn to regard Naru at relatively close range. There's a moment of quiet; then a nod to her, straightforward. And only then does he say, "How did your run at lunch go?"
Naru Osaka 2018-01-15 22:47:54 88153
The question is met with a wrinkle of Naru's nose of displeasure. "Short and slow." She sips from her lemon drink. "No classmates stabbed all afternoon, however. Although I could have happily dozed through afternoon classes."
Kazuo Takeba 2018-01-15 22:49:43 88154
"Yes, well," Kazuo replies, "it was a school day."

As if dozing through were the only reasonable approach to afternoon classes. At least for some people.