Uncertainty As A Weapon

Kazuo and Naru take their turn to catch up with Alexis, and talk over the capabilities and some of the possible agenda of the Raskophs.

Date: 2018-02-07
Pose Count: 17
Kunzite 2018-02-07 18:35:42 88575
Working with Kriegsfauste may have made some things clearer about the top floor of the building. Like the fact that there are quiet wards worked on and through the walls themselves -- not designed to stop intrusions, not when so many of their invited guests *are* intruders by most standards, but designed to keep them from going unnoticed. To prompt reaction from the residents.

And to keep actual major structural damage from being done. There are a lot of downstairs neighbors. They don't deserve a building collapse on their heads.

There are dozens of small details like that, tiny almost-unnoticeable things that are arranged for assistance or for safety. The hall closets that contain first-aid supplies and equipment. Neil's sleep schedule, that's overtly just a university student twisting of time, but in actuality lets him consult the stars about looming dangers nightly. The rosebush by (in good weather, on) the balcony, that hides a sleeping ghost half-aware of comings and goings. The watch over the grief cubes hidden in a high kitchen cabinet.

Alexis, being who he is, has likely noticed most of them by now.

But people haven't made a point of checking up on him. Which means it's just a matter of time, isn't it?

So it's not a terrible surprise that one evening, when Alex has been lured out by takeout curry (three guesses from where), Kazuo might ask casually over his shoulder as he's taking down another stack of bowls for latecomers, "How are you and Kriegsfauste getting along?"
Naru Osaka 2018-02-07 18:43:47 88576
It is unlikely that the smell of curry has actually managed to permeate its way down a number of floors to Kyouko's apartment. Probably. There is, however, a late arrival, who nudges the door open and arrives without a jacket. The scent of a dark, rich, heavily spiced baked good does good battle with the scent of curry, melding and interacting and becoming better than either alone, really. Muffins, or possibly cupcakes, based on the shape of the container in Naru's hands.

Shoes off, Naru has a satchel casually slung over her shoulder as always, but the baking is headed for the kitchen for the moment. "Evening."
Stahlritter 2018-02-07 18:54:03 88577
If nothing else, Alexis has been much more willing to actually step out of his room after the incident at Lacrima's Manor. Even if going outside the frat house still involves hoodies or putting on the helmet-bearing Knight Cloth to avoid certain manner of eyes spotting him in the open.

With the missing of the leather jacket, Alexis' indoor clothes more or less just come down to a long-sleeved (albeit thin-fabriced) white shirt and blue, faded jeans-- easy enough to move around in, not too warm and easy enough to add onto if there's a sudden need to run outside.

So, yes, either way. Curry does in fact tempt him out (despite his past experiences with the food at Korma Chameleon), and the question from Kazuo...

Well. It doesn't *quite* draw him off guard, but it does leave him with a bit of a sheepish look behind Kazuo while he steps along after him.

"He nags a lot," he notes, vaguely amused. "But... he hasn't exploded on me or sent some beacon to my parents' people, so... I guess okay. As he's fond of reminding, I'm not really fully recovered yet, physically, but otherwise..."

"...Okay. I think I'm okay."
Kunzite 2018-02-07 19:04:26 88578
It's the unofficial uniform for the evening. Well, for every evening, where Alexis and Kazuo are concerned. "Good evening, Naru," Kazuo says toward satchel and bearer. "Good to have more confidence you've recovered." Because this year's respiratory illnesses are, frankly, awful, and therefore elapsed time is no guarantee.

Kazuo sets the bowls down beside the more easily-reached utensils and regards Alexis for a moment; something in the vaguely amused tone prompts a brief nod, and he sets about assembling Naru a bowl of rice-and-spices. "Recovery, as ever, takes time. It's good that you've made a better start on it. I trust you've had the chance to catch up with Lacrima by now. Is there anything immediate you could use any particular support to accomplish?" Because asking Alexis if he could use any help with anything, in those words, Never Ends Well.
Naru Osaka 2018-02-07 19:10:34 88579
Someone didn't get the memo about jeans and white shirts being the uniform for the evening, as Naru's leggings are a bright floral pattern, her dress a bold geometric, and her cardigan a drapey thing that she somehow manages not to drag into everything, likely by some sort of magic (if not Magic.). By rights, it should be an wincing combination, but somehow it works, even on Naru's petite self.

"Hey Alexis, how's things? How's Kriegfauste?" Naru's voice holds a level of warmth for the loud Device as she sets her container of carb-riddled delight on the counter, and accepts the bowl from Kazuo once assembled. "When you've a moment, could you grab me a mug?" She gestures to the cupboard she eternally can't reach, her request directed tokenly at Kazuo, but either are tall enough to oblige.

The query about 'support to accomplish' is met with attentiveness, although Naru doesn't visibly draw attention. She just listens for that answer.
Stahlritter 2018-02-07 19:30:29 88580

The synthesized Belkan voice comes up first, as if to answer Naru directly. The realization that he is the only one in the room who may have fully understood brings another sheepish look over ALexis' features, and he wiggles fingers to Naru's direction. "... He says he's fine," he VERY loosely transaltes for her benefit, before he makes way for the cupboards... since Kazuo might have his hands full with the cups and bowls of curry still.

But it's the question from Kazuo that gets his full attention either way, even while he's reaching up to get the requested mug.

"I don't know about 'immediate'," he murmurs when he comes down and turns to bring the mug to Naru directly. "I'm still just figuring out how all of... this stuff with Kriegsfauste works. A lot of it comes by instinct, which leads me to believe I was conditioned to some extent for him whenever my parents were... doing their stuff to me. But still."

"As for more long-term stuff-- I dunno. I've been trying to dig up some stuff about the Raskoph Conglomerate, but I can only do so much on that end. It's not like Mom and Dad exactly gave me tours of the workplace, you know? ... Well. Tours they didn't wipe from my memory anyhow."
Naru Osaka 2018-02-07 19:36:19 88581
Based on Naru's smile at that familar yelling in almost-german, there's a soft spot for Kriegsfauste. "I'm glad, and I'm glad the two of you are sorting things out." She murmurs her thanks as she takes the mug, which lets her set to the coffee acquistion to go with her curry.

"Well. My magic comes by instinct too, though, and I am quite confident I didn't get any prior conditioning." Naru points out as she lets the kettle do its thing and grabs herself some curry onto her rice before it gets cold. Or eaten.

There's just a flicker of a teasing little smile as Naru quips to Alexis, "What? No 'take your kid to work day'?" She shakes her head a little. "Makes sense. They seem to have things locked down pretty hard core."
Kunzite 2018-02-07 19:54:24 88582
"Might be best not to ask Lacrima on that," Kazuo says. "If primarily for her own sake. Zoisite and Mercury are good at turning things up, but Zoisite hasn't precisely had time to spare lately." He steps out of the way of the other two, studying them each in turn. Not studying Kriegsfauste for reasons of size and politeness, and of the ongoing trouble with his transformation. "And the other Device users might be best at helping you learn to understand what the two of you are doing by your instinct, so that you can improve on it and work on variations. But if they have trouble helping you break it down, I might be able to help with that."
Stahlritter 2018-02-07 20:06:48 88583
"... Sure," Alex says in deadpan with a slooow blink of the eyes directed at Naru over her teasing words. "If 'take your kid to work day' involves brainwashing exercises with bite-sized doses of Dark Energy for lunch."

He moves on along to draw a chair out for himself with a hand -- and another one with his foot, for whoever might be closest to claim it. "Rashmi actually sent me a text asking me to go with her and Koji to one of their training sessions for that express purpose," he offers then, in counter to Kazuo's suggestion. "So... that's underway, at least."

"As for my folks..." He lowers himself down to sitting, there. "You're kind of right about them locking things down. Krieg mentioned his archived data on his stay through their facilities goes back decades. Decades. For all we know they've been working on the supernatural side of things since they first founded the business. And yet no one seems to have had any idea about their presence prior to all this, despite the force and resources just my mom was tossing around while I was out of it. That's a dangerous damn sign, you know? It's the sorta thing I've seen once before on the more mundane side of things. ... Speaking of."

He turns a look to Naru, with his brows knitting together. "...You. Uh. Or your mom have seen any weird people moving around your house, by chance?"
Naru Osaka 2018-02-07 20:11:54 88584
Naru isn't rebuked by the deadpan reply, it only gets a smile from her. She sets her bowl down somewhere convenient and moves to make the coffee, now that the kettle is boiling.

"The facility we retrieved you from was not set up over a weekend." Naru nods. "So working on for years and years makes sense. The fact that they kept it hidden for so long, yeah.. that's kinda disconcerting."

Naru mmms softly and then shrugs. "Besides our customers? Not that I've noticed, but .." She has the grace to cough lightly. "I'm not there as much as I probably should be. Mom hasn't said anything, though. Are you expecting there to be weird crap at her place?"
Kunzite 2018-02-07 20:16:45 88585
"I'd be curious where you've seen it before," Kazuo remarks, apparently idly. Taking up position as reinforcement to a convenient wall -- convenient from the point of view of those chairs, at least. "I've seen signs of something that quiet and subtle once, as well. But no evidence it was something as long-lived, and no sign as of yet of any connection."

Whether he's seen anything around Naru's mother's place, or whether he has someone watching it, he doesn't say.
Stahlritter 2018-02-07 20:22:22 88586
"Much smaller scale, granted, but similiar concept," Alex provides for Kazuo while he draws a bowl of curry over for himself. Something less-spicy. "Organized crime. I never butted heads with them, but-- I saw some signs and results. Keep hiding until the need to do something beyond just using proxies comes up, and otherwise keep the full extent of what they're capable of behind fronts and such. ... And then, usually, get under the skins of their enemies through... less direct means anyhow. Threats on people they care about. So..."

He coughs, and turns a brief, akward look to Naru, just from the corner of his eye. "... I'm pretty sure mom knows me and Naru... um... were dating before. So... I'm afraid they'd be holding some manner of surveillance there, at the very least, since I'm not sure she is aware of where you're *usually* spending your time, Naru."

"... And for that matter..."

There's a very visible wince that runs through him.

"... I have no idea just how much they got out of me whenever they had me down there."
Naru Osaka 2018-02-07 20:29:41 88587
"I also did a pretty good job of pissing her off when you first went missing." Naru adds as she adds cream to her coffee and then finally, oh so finally, settles with food and beverage and conversation. There doesn't appear to be any shared awkward at the reality of the 'ex' status in their relationship as Naru nods to Alexis on his speculation.

"It's a valid point, although if I was going to aim to stalk me, I'd trail me from school, which is a known quantity of where I am most days. Keeping tabs on me is not actually /that/ difficult, and my early morning runs are an excellent time to snag me. Quiet streets and I run alone, and I haven't been." She scoops up a bit of curry and rice, utterly calm about examining the potential kidnapping spots in her habits. "I haven't noticed anyone trailing me, but basically unless it's Wraiths, or they actually /attack/ me, I can be oblivious these days." She reaches over to give Alexis' arm a pat. "It's alright. Whatever turns up, we'll kick it."
Kunzite 2018-02-07 20:36:54 88588
"If they follow you here -" Kazuo makes a restrained, lazy little gesture of one hand. "If there's a significant threat against this building, Nephrite will find it. We take risks to civilians seriously; we have to, to stay here at all. If they try infiltration, Zoisite is more likely to turn it up." If they try direct magic, well. His job, and the wards'. "We're not immune to all threats. Neither are the Sakuras. But we have a threshold past which."

He falls silent for a moment, watching the pair of them. Then adds, "Does Miki-san need a warning to watch out for her family, or has she already had one?"
Stahlritter 2018-02-07 20:44:22 88589
"I'd be much more inclined for the amount of worry you have if they weren't such an unknown," Alexis murmurs after Naru, with another wince. "That's one of the other weapons they're using too, I'm sure. Uncertainty about them. The unknown is a scary thing-- it leaves people either too afraid to do anything or cocky enough to do something terribly ill-advised. ... The fact taht they aren't doing anything yet is kind of unsettling too, honestly. Though-- I suppose, if they got information about this place from me already - as little as it is - they'd probably figure directly poking in here would be. Well. The risks would probably outweigh the potential gains, you know? Like I said, they're... dangerously smart. Calculating and analytical.

... Aaaand, at Kazuo's mention of a certain Miki, he lets out a cough and just the FAINTEST hint of red gathers along his cheeks. "... I'd rather talk to her face to face about that, myself," he murmurs. "For... more than one reason."
Naru Osaka 2018-02-07 20:52:19 88590
"Much like I should be, Sayaka also should be properly paranoid. And not just because of your parents." Naru points out as she pauses to sip from her coffee. "They are an unknown, but honestly? So's just about everything else we face. I have only a vague thought on what sort of stupid Hana is going to unleash at some point, although based on the army of Wraiths she brought to her awakening, I'm not exactly looking forward to it." She glances to Kazuo and gestures. "I should talk to her again soon probably, FYI. I'll warn you."

Another bit of curry and Naru mm softly. "Our side aren't complete idiots all of the time." She notes back to him on the notion of 'dangerously smart'. "Although I don't disagree, the whole company is dangerous. It's easy to be lulled into a false sense of security."
Kunzite 2018-02-07 20:56:31 88591
Kazuo inclines his head to Naru. "It would be interesting to hear. I've talked to every Puella I can reliably turn up, at this point, and still haven't been able to turn up enough information to develop an independent model of the systems Hana's interested in."

Only talking with Hana might, in his opinion, be in and of itself an example of complete idiocy. But given who he works for, the options are limited. And in fairness, the talking plan has worked out in the past.

He lifts a hand a little to Alexis, lets it drop. "Besides. They're not unknowns. We have clear pictures of some of their limitations."