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Tokyo, Japan; Earth

Yoshirō Katashi walked through an immaculately tended garden, sandals rasping softly on the stepping stones leading through the water. He pauses for a second, savoring the fragrant aroma of the cherry blossoms, the soft brush of the gently falling petals anointing his brow, and basking in the subtle warmth of the simulated sunlight from the dome arcing overhead. He continued forward, taking careful steps on the smooth obsidian that peeked between the reflection of the idyllic blue "sky." Walking the gardens, which made the paths between buildings in the Ryū Hasu Yakuza's compound, never failed to relax him.

He quickly reached his destination, a bamboo raft sitting near the center of the gardens. There were five people on the raft, three men and two women. The three men were wearing kimonos made of fine velvet, open at the chest to display their tattoos. The two women... looking at them, Katashi felt his breath catch. They were wearing barely-opaque silk kimonos, which moved and clung to their bodies in such a way as to leave nothing about their figures to the imagination. Two perfect specimens of the ideal woman, one holding a small pole to steer the raft and the other kneeling on a mat next to a jar of Sake. A show of power by the obayun, completely unnecessary here in the compound.

Which is what made it so much more effective.

"Ah, Yoshirō-kohai!" one of the men calls, using the archaic Japanese so common amongst the Yakuza leadership, "Come, sit."

"Yes, Moto-sama," Katashi says in the same dialect, bowing to the three men in turn and stepping onto the raft. As he takes his seat on the mat, the woman holding the pole shoves off of the dock, and deftly steers the raft through the trees. Katashi gratefully accepts sake from the other woman, and sits back to drink, eying the pair.

"No need to worry about them, Yoshirō-kun," one of them - Kurosawa Jirou, the wakagashira - says, mistaking the glance's purpose, "Their tongues have been removed, and their eardrums burnt out. Neither can read or write, so everything that happens here stays between the four of us." Moto Akio, thin and bookish where Jirou was thickset and muscular, gives one of his odd half-smiles, crinkling the cold, grey eyes behind his thin glasses. The shateigashira wore his hair in a topknot, and kept his wakizashi with him at all times. His mind was as sharp, if not sharper, than his blade.

"Let's get to business," the third man, Kusakabe Shibō, says. The corpulent oyabun places a datapad in the center of the raft, a piece of technology incongruent in the archaic stylings of the compound. "This is my ship, the Ryū no Kiba," he says as an image appears on the screen, "It has been stolen. I wish it to be returned."

"The thief is one Kotomine Tokiomi, a kyodai in this very organization," Akio says, adjusting his glasses as he speaks. "He's hiding out with the Kurokaze, a group that traces its roots to a disowned offshoot of the 21st century group known as the Heiwajima Syndicate. They must be taken out."

"I know just the man," Katashi says, "Oyuki Kazuo."

"White Wolf?" Shibō says in surprise, "You think that honorless dog will help? He only cares about money."

"Money and a good fight," Katashi says, "And he's guaranteed the latter. Oyuki-kun is easily the best choice for this." Katashi discreetly gauges the reactions of his superiors to the use of the familiar honorific. Shibō and Jirou try to hide aghast looks, while Akio simply looks curious.

Moto-sama is the only leader of this outfit who thinks. Kusakabe-san and Kurosawa-san are too content with the "honor" of an age long past.

"Go, then," Moto Akio says, "And if this White Wolf fails us, you will answer for it. Is that acceptable, Kusakabe-san?" The corpulent man nods, and gestures with his formidable jowls at the woman moving the raft, who guides them back, as they sip Sake and make small talk. When they reach a set of stepping stones, Akio and Katashi both step off, while Shibō and Jirou both stay on the raft. "I wish to talk to my protegee for a moment," Akio says, as he and Katashi leave to two behind.

"What is it, Moto-sama?" Katashi says, as they get out of earshot.

"I just want to point out," Akio replies, switching from archaic Japanese to the more modern form, "That you're going to be sending a trained assassin to meet with Jirou and the appropriately-named Shibō. And myself, if I can't get out of the meeting some other way. If you wanted to assure that the Ryū Hasu have the leadership necessary to move forward and not backwards..."

"Moto-sama, are you saying..."

"I'm saying nothing, Yoshirō-kun. How you hire Oyuki-shi is up to you. I'm simply pointing out what it can look like... and what it can be. I could even whisper in a couple ears afterwards that Shibō was trying to double-cross. Now I need to go right here, Yoshirō-kun, but you need to leave the compound, yes?"

The two part at the fork, Katashi mulling over his mentor's words while he walks on the stones towards the garage. "Yo, I need a car," he says, poking his head inside once he gets there, "Be gone about an hour."

"Fifteen minutes. Be ready."

Katashi walks in and puts on a HAZENV suit, customized for the Ryū Hasu to look like a green kimono, with a seeming gilt-thread pattern of a dragon wrapping around it to come to rest on the right breast, holding a lotus in its mouth.

Say what you will about Shibō, he at least knows how to make stuff stylish.

He arrives in the decontamination chamber the same time as the car does. He gets in as the outer doors open, driving out of the edenic gardens into hell.

He drives through the thin fog; sometimes yellow, sometimes green, but always poisonous. He hears thunder off to his right, and so veers to the left, not wanting to get the car caught in the acidic rain. He moves through the bleak, eroded landscape, dotted here and there by small, environmentally-controlled colonies of workers and factories, arriving at his destination about twenty minutes or so after leaving his compound. He pulls into its decontamination chamber and gets out of the car, letting the systems work their magic.

He takes his suit off, and walks into a wide room, musky scent of a dojo pervading his nostrils. The sounds of practice stream out to him, the steady thwack of metal on wood. In the center of the dojo is a man dressed in a black kimono, wielding a wakizashi in one hand and a shikomizue in a reverse grip in the other. His skin gleams, a white metallic substance rather than flesh, as he practices, slicing long furrows into a wooden simulacrum.

"White Wolf!"

The man stops mid-swing, looking at his visitor, questioningly.

"The Ryū Hasu has a contract for you."

White Wolf nods.

"You'll be paid double your usual fee. You are to track down the Kurokaze, who are harboring a thief named Kotomine Tokiomi, as well as the ship he stole, the Ryū no Kiba. You are to kill Kotomine Tokiomi, as well as any of the Kurokaze who get in your way, retrieve the ship, and pilot it to the Ryū Hasu space station."

White Wolf nods again.

"Contact me if there are any problems, and I will contact you if any situations come up."

"Okay, Yoshirō-san," White Wolf says, "It will be done."

Katashi bows and walks back to the garage, re-entering his HAZENV suit and driving back home. White Wolf gathers his weaponry, preparing for the job ahead.


OOC: These missions are just Pach and I, so the comment order is Pach -> me -> Pach -> me.

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