[identity profile] genuinelie.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] theblackcross
The bell to the Koneko tinkled, the visitor not bothering to wait at the entryway for assistance. Yutaro Sato locked the door behind him speedily and headed directly to the back of the shop. He descended into the mission room without pause, guessing - correctly - that would be where to find Weiss with a Kritiker liaison present.

Gone was the former cheerful smile, the man had a gaunt look and stress lines at his eyes and forehead. A weak upturn of the lips greeted Abyssinian and Manx. He forcibly grew it into a bright smile. He hadn't met Weiss' former contact in person, and she was younger than he'd supposed. The other redheaded Weiss looked deeply unhappy, but it could be he was reading into things. They hadn't exactly started out on the right foot.

He nodded to the two present, and remained by the stairs. Manx was Kritiker after all, and he did not have a deep knowledge of his coworker. "Balinese called me here. It is good to finally meet you." He nodded at the redheaded woman.

Date: 2009-12-07 12:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ginnyvos.livejournal.com
Omi looked up from where he was working behind his computer when the alarms he had placed around the perimeter went off. He had switched them on as soon as he had gotten upstairs, a tiny little bit of protection in times that were far from certain. He quickly sent a text to both Yohji and Ken's phones before rushing downstairs.

He had only meant to hop up into his room and back down again, but then he'd realized that Yohji and Ken had stormed out without even knowing the proper address. Really now... And of course they were too proud to just text him and ask for it.

So instead, he'd sat down and looked up the school that matched what he remembered of Nagi's uniform and was just texting it to both of his idiot teammates when the alarms went off. Someone had entered the shop. He quickly made his way downstairs and was just in time to see the battered form of Sato disappearing into the mission-room.

He put away the dart that he'd taken out and silently followed the man down.

"Yes, I asked Balinese to call you," he replied, even though he was pretty sure that their liason hadn't noticed him yet. "There are a few things we are unclear on and we would like some clarification. Manx also has some questions in regards to you and your role in the organization." Omi said, all the while smiling pleasantly.

Date: 2009-12-16 05:03 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bcmanx.livejournal.com
Manx hung back, and nodded in return to Sato's greeting, a small pleasant smile all she offered in return. Omi was at his cheerful best, once again assuming the role of the polite host. Manx carefully regarded Sato as he fidgeted through the greetings.

Fairly fresh bruises, his face drawn and pale, clutching his briefcase as if it were life and death. It was clear this man simply did not fit the standard psychological profile required for field work. Her eyes narrowed slightly. The man was desperately trying and failing at putting up a brave front. Even if Sato was the traitor, he wouldn't be much of a threat as one. He was ready to crack under the pressure.

Ran excused himself and though Manx caught his glance she did not return it. She purposely kept her scrutiny on this ad hock agent. The heirarchy in the room needed to be clear.

"You've been a difficult man to reach, Sato. Despite that, I've carried out your request." She approached the man, small pleasant smile still in place. "Now, care to fill us in on why this team is playing cat and mouse with Schwarz?"

Date: 2009-12-17 02:52 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bcmanx.livejournal.com
Manx’s gaze stayed fixed on Sato. If he was concerned about sharing knowledge in front of Omi then perhaps this new Persia was intent on rebuilding the organization in his own image. Omi was one of a precious few field agents granted high level clearance. Or at least he had been. All that aside, Manx damn well knew they couldn’t keep him out of the data bases if he truly wanted to be there. She might as well save him the extra trouble.

“I beg to differ, Sato-san. My absence has tied my hands in many ways. And if my contact with this team reaches the wrong ears, I will have put myself in considerable trouble.” Manx stood aside and with a small gesture to the couch invited the man in to make himself comfortable. A small smirk fleetingly crossed her lips. If Sato considered himself ‘Kritiker’ then she was Martha Stewart…

Still, hearing the words actually given voice… The man truly believed someone with in Kritiker had tried to kill him. She put that thought aside and silently swallowed down the lump that rose in her throat.

“So, now that we understand one another let me just say that I am perplexed by this entire situation.” Of course, she did not know what this entire situation entailed just yet but that was why she had the man called here. “I left an 850 page dossier on Schwarz as well as mandated protocols when dealing with them in this team’s files. Until now, their survival of the incident at the museum had only been speculation. And quite frankly I am appalled that I have not yet been officially contacted on this matter. Schwarz falls directly under my division’s jurisdiction.”

Manx crossed her arms, her stance perhaps a bit more stern than she’d let on. It was highly unlikely that Schwarz had shown Sato mercy. If they had been sent to kill the man, he would be dead unless…

“We need to know what you know about this disk. You have two team members out risking their lives at the moment to retrieve more information, putting themselves directly in Schwarz’s path…” She looked to Sato critically. “…all without sanction. You best have good reason.”

Date: 2009-12-18 12:38 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bcmanx.livejournal.com
A single eyebrow arched just slightly as Manx listen to his response.

Defensive. Paranoid. Relieved. Idealistic. All in the same breath, no less.

Being attacked by Schwarz was enough to rattle anyone's cage but, as she very well knew, most of the agents who encountered them were never fortunate enough to experience that. Most of them never even saw them coming. But to think that someone within Kritiker would have HIRED them to kill an agent... well, that was enough to make even her paranoid. Just a little.

'Protecting innocents...'. That sort of idealism was almost refreshing. It brought her right back to the day she herself had been recruited. Any agent who had been in the field long enough looked back on that fresh faced naivety with a touch of melancholy. Their job wasn't really about protecting innocents so much as avenging them. There was a never ending source of evil in this world. They just helped keep it at bay. There was no doubt that they made a difference - she wouldn't still be doing this if she didn't believe that - it was just that her perspective had changed in light of all that she had seen.

"It is delicate..." she dipped her head with a small chuckle. "... so much so that you did not answer my question. What is on that disk? Your answer may answer quite a few of our questions."

Date: 2009-12-30 05:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ginnyvos.livejournal.com
Omi had kept quiet up till now, eager to let Manx do the dirty job of frying Sato for information when he himself was technically still subordinate to the man. Not that he felt very subordinate at the moment... But it was still better not to appear to critical. It was always better to keep people in the unknown when it came to the true extend of his abilities and insight. At least most people.

Manx was very aware of exactly what he was capable because she had had such a big part in training him to be the most efficient, best agent to do the job. He had no doubt that she had used her knowledge of him and his teammates to make many a tactical decision during missions. He had in fact trusted her to do just that. Sato though... Sato couldn't even beat Ken or Yohji when it came to tactical skills, let be Omi himself. No, as long as Sato was involved, he'd keep his knowledge and the tactical decisions to himself, even if he'd have to overrule him to do so.

In the end it all came down to the fact that not even one out of the four of them trusted Sato as much as necessary in their area of expertise. It was only their personal struggles that had kept them from actively acting against the man or his orders, he was sure.

Sato had, in Omi's eyes at least, just proven that he wasn't worth his trust either. The ease with which he seemed to speak over possibly life threatening missions showed Omi that he had no insight into their profession. The ease with which he dismissed Manx's insights and let her put him on the defensive showed Omi that he wasn't strong enough to do the job. What it all boiled down to was simply this. Much as he might be a nice man, he was not qualified to do his job and that was potentially hazardous to Omi's team. His family.

Omi didn't answer the man's smile. "I'd like to know what was on the disk as well. I have just send out two of my teammates to meet someone who is capable of collapsing not only buildings but a whole island with his mind. Much as I respect, trust and admire Balinese and Siberian, they are no match for Prodigy. I have kept your trust and not opened or looked at it while it was in our possession. However, Schwarz's interest in it changes the situation a lot. The fact that they have something in their possession that might be used as a weapon or blackmail material and the fact that this team might be up against whatever is on the disk makes it vital information."

He looked between the two senior agents, seeking Manx's approval and Sato's reaction, whatever that reaction might be.

Date: 2010-01-27 03:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bcmanx.livejournal.com
Manx's attention was casually riveted on Sato. She spared no glance for Omi or for Ran as he returned to the conversation. It was all about Sato and the information he either would or would not share. The man took a few moments of quiet reflection before deciding on his course of action.

He was teetering on the brink and had finally decided to jump blind into the chasm.

Manx kept her expression stoically neutral but it was taking some effort to remain so.

"...people like Schwarz..."

A hundred thoughts flooded through her mind in an instant. She reigned them in with a small dip of her head and slow blink before bringing her eyes back up to bore through Sato.

Sato knew what every other agent knew... Manx was now in 'Recruitment'. As a general rule it would be seen as a slap in the face, a demotion of sorts. And it had been intended as such. It was only a matter of time before their superiors learned the full extent of her true agenda. After all, they had left the parameters of her new position wide open. And Sato had no clue why his words were just as inflammatory as any racial slur.

"I wonder if those 'people like Schwarz' feel as if they need a cure?" The steely tone of her voice made it clear that the question was rhetorical. She left her seat on the couch to pace lightly. For all her considerable restraint, she felt as if she'd explode if she didn't do something. Pacing would have to suffice. She would not give Sato more than that.

"Do you even hear the words you are speaking? Even the attempt at such a thing is declaration of war on a segment of our society that we do NOT want actively fighting against us. These are the methods Esset used..." Manx stopped herself midsentence. She would not finish that thought. She could not let her self entertain the idea that Kritiker was becoming the very beast that they had just destroyed. She swallowed hard, redirecting her focus to where it needed to be at the moment.

" All that aside - here and now - half of your team is out there trying to discern the threat that Schwarz poses. We can only hope that they do not view this disk as an attempted cure. They certainly do not need the disk to cause havoc but they certainly would not hesitate to use it if it served their purposes." Again Manx halted her train of thought looking to Sato then to Omi and Ran, whom, she felt, would have more insightful answers.

"...a voice..." She focused on Ran. "Who knows how many copies of this disk there may be but how many more could be created as long as the source remains." Anger was roiling in her hazel eyes even if she managed to keep the tinge of it out of her voice. She wheeled around on her heel to face down Sato.

"Kritiker has a talent in their employ and they are attempting to use a talent to destroy other talents."

Date: 2010-02-20 03:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bcmanx.livejournal.com
Manx's eyes went momentarily wide as she realized she assumed too much. Her most recent experiences had tainted her objectivity. She had reacted to Sato's words with a level of protectivness that stunned even her. She hadn't realized she had become so personally invested in her new calling.

But even her personal epiphany didn't dissuade the stern look that crossed her face as Sato continued to speak.

So the disk was only a failed experiment in trying to cure the effects of the voice of, presumably, a talent. A failed experiment that just happened to kill anyone and everyone who hears it... even talents, some of which proved frustratingly immune to such things.

Manx was not a big believer in coincidences that convenient.

She recomposed herself, taking a big breath before speaking.

"Spoken like a true scientist..." She mused mirthlessly. "Human beings are not a 'resource' to be used and disposed of when their usefulness is outlived. The recording is of a voice... the voice of a human being, a talent... so as long as this person lives, more copies of the disk could theoretically be made. Am I following you correctly, Sato-san?"

Manx was looking at the much bigger picture that instantly presented itself, applying this information to her own situations. And she recognized that and forced herself back to the present, to the problem at hand... to Weiss.

What was Sato getting these boys into?

This all smacked of a much bigger, internal power struggle - one, that it seemed, Sato was trying desperately to disbelieve. Weiss was always used as a tool to acheive Kritikers ends. And that had insultated them from the politics of Kritiker - they never needed to concern themselves or involve themselves in such things. They had more than enough on their plates as it was.

Only Omi had delved deeper but that was predictable given his heritage.

This disk and acting solely on Sato's direction would clearly put them in the middle of something that could be quite huge and quite ugly. Yes, it was the 'right thing to do' but was it the right thing for Weiss? Innocent lives or the lives of these four assassins? Manx swallowed hard as she answered that question for herself, the answer clear in her head almost instantaneously.

Her chest hollowed out as she felt a small part of herself die in that moment.

Date: 2010-02-21 05:58 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] aki-jade.livejournal.com
Schuldig found himself chewing on the filter of his cigarette. Sato was obviously a moron, clinging to his ideals no matter how far-fetched his reasoning was. He wasn't fooling anyone. Especially not Schuldig. He knew more than he was letting on.

Carefully, he followed the trail of thought down past the reasons and the self-induced delusions of grandeur. He wanted to find the root of this story. Sato might be a moron, but he knew more than he was letting on. Schuldig knew he was. It was just a matter of finding out what the "more" was.

He didn't like the idea of someone trying to "cure" him. And Sato furious backpedaling on the subject didn't help matters any. Honestly, he was just as bad in his ideology as anyone in Rosenkruez or Esset. Tools, resources, talents... no one ever used the word human.

He sighed, pulling the cigarette from him mouth and trying to squish the filter back into its original shape. When that failed, he tossed the ruined thing into the latte cup with the other butts and lit a new one.

Brad was going to be pissed off when he got his car back.

Date: 2010-02-26 09:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bcmanx.livejournal.com
Manx dipped her head and chuckled softly to herself. It might be a good idea for the man to hole up here at the Koneko with four assassins to protect him. He just did not seem to see the big picture.

"Their file reads like science fiction, doesn't it?" She relaxed her stance, her eyes falling on Ran where he stood. "We still are not sure how Weiss survived the collapse of the museum - relatively whole and intact - while thousands were crushed or drowned. True, there was a massive explosion that could have weakened the structure but that was not what brought it down. The only detail that we are sure of is that Schwarz orchestrated the whole thing. That team wanted their own organization destroyed and they have the resources, the experience and nearly god-like powers at their disposal to make it happen. Who knows what drives them now?"

She looked back to Sato, the small smile on her face more rueful than amused. "So... to answer your question... yes. They are more than capable of causing destruction on a terrifying scale without such a weapon. Money could be a motivating factor..." She looked to Omi as she crossed her arms.

"...so unless there has been any new information uncovered about Schwarz, I believe it is safe to assume that we simply have no way of predicting what they might or might not do."

She looked back to Sato.

"They left you alive. They kidnapped then released Yohji none the worse for wear. Do we even know if they were retrieving the disk for themselves or for someone else? They have laid low for months so why resurface now?" The questions were only posed as points to think on. There were no immediate answers to be had.

"Schwarz had been somewhat predictable while they were under Esset. They had orders to follow. In the museum, Oracle had gloated that they we looking only to cause chaos in an effort to bring down civilized society as we know it. And we already know they are more than capable of seeing that threat through. They nearly brought Japan to it's knees in the weeks before that final confrontation. So what are they waiting for?" These were all things she had personally thought on for months. Schwarz had become her own personal nemesis - she simply would not be caught unprepared should they have survived that night. And now, she was not so sure exactly how she felt about them knowing that they did still live.

"No. They do not need the disk. But..." Her eyes went a bit wide with a sudden realization. "... wait... if this disk is also capable of affecting talents..."

Date: 2010-02-26 11:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] aki-jade.livejournal.com

Schuldig scowled, carefully probing at Manx's mind, trying to see where she was going with this train of thought. Either she just realized that they could use the disk to try and destroy Schwarz, or she just realized that they would want the whole project destroyed. They were two completely different ends of the spectrum, and, really, he needed to know.

But that damn fucking shield she had up, and was keeping up. He could break it with nearly no thought about it and steal the information that way, but he prided himself on being above the smash and grab telepaths he trained with in Rosenkreuz. He would find a crack. He had do. He skimmed along the surface of her shields, looking for any possible way to get at her thoughts without alerting her.

As for the others, it was an easy thing to blur their memory of those words she just spoke, blinding them to her possible epiphany. None of them would remember hearing the words that were just spoken. It would buy him a little time as he tried to figure out which way Manx was swinging with this.

Date: 2010-03-13 07:48 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ginnyvos.livejournal.com
"They aren't using the disk," Omi suddenly spoke up. "They have had the disk in their possession for a few days now, but they aren't using it."

It took real effort to put aside his view of Schwarz anything but pure evil, but if he did and looked at the facts... Yohji had seen it. Of course Yohji had seen it. Of the four of them, Yohji seemed to be the one that thought in grays the most. Omi himself had been blind though.

The acts they had committed before the fall of the tower, they were acts committed under the order of either Takatori or the organization they had destroyed. From Manx words, they had been all but owned by that organization.

True, they had seemed to take an ungodly amount of glee in doing what they had apparently been ordered to do, but... What if... What if they weren't out to use the disk. If they had, they would surely have used it by now? Sato said the disk was originally manufactured to 'cure' talents but was a disaster.

It was a possibility that Schwarz was not out to use them, only to keep anyone from using the disk against them. Self-protection, or the protection of ones team... Those were things Omi could relate to. Those were things Omi had killed for and would kill for again. So what was it that made Schwarz doing the same thing suddenly a crime.

All through his thought process, it was hard to hold the view he'd had of Schwarz ever since meeting them - the darkest of dark beasts, unnatural, sadistic and endlessly harmful - at bay. The thought of them being anything but that seemed preposterous even now. Could they have been so wrong?

The image of Schuldig using his sister against him came up and he mentally discarded his theory. It was nonsense. Schwarz were out to cause harm and chaos and needed to be stopped. It was as simple as that and he shouldn't let them mess with his head.

Date: 2010-03-27 02:07 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bcmanx.livejournal.com
Manx shifted her position as Omi and Ran voiced logical but improbable alternate scenarios.

No - Schwarz wasn't using the disk but she seriously doubted that they would simply give away such a powerful weapon - even to the highest bidder. This weapon had the potential to affect them as well.

No - all the money in Tokyo wouldn't be enough. If she were in Oracle's position, she would hold the disk close, if, for nothing else, insurance that it couldn't be used against them.

Manx glanced sidelong at Ran, steeling her expression. As their handler, she would be quick with 'that's not your concern'. But she was no longer their handler. The simple fact that she was here, having this conversation, was as good as being a traitor to the organization. But it was no longer the Kritiker she had known.

"What I have heard is whispered rumor and innuendo. There are no hard facts to be had..." The statement almost sounded final, that hard edge that crept into her voice when she was delivering the final word on a subject rose but trailed off with her words. ".. the only 'fact' is that the last person to have passed along rumors had met with an unfortunate accident. there is nothing to prove that it had been anything but a random act of fate but somehow..." Again her voice faded as she turned away from them all.

Doubting Kritiker was as good as doubting herself. She had invested so much of herself into this lifelong mission that it was actually painful to even entertain such doubts. It seemed clear to her - something was dreadfulyl wrong in at the heart of the organization that had become her home.

"Birman is still in place here in the Tokyo division." She looked to Sato then between Omi and Ran and fell silent. She would not say more infront of this man no matter how convinced she was of his loyalty. He hadn't earned her trust that thoroughly.

"No matter what the big picture holds, right now, the disk is the main concern. And, unfortunately, we may just have to wait until Schwarz decides to show their hand. Hopefully, Ken and Yohji will be able to find Prodigy and, if nothing else, convey the message that we are waiting for their next move." She looked to them all, her eyes eyes hard, arms crossed tight across her chest.

"We can only hope that they do not operate the same way as they used to."


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The Black Cross

September 2010

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