2019-10-05 - To Sweep Clean


A training session with Ken is interrupted by Yakuza

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Sat Oct 5 06:56:42 2019
Location: Staten Island

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Kenuichio is at his dojo doing what he often does this late at evening. Sweeping with an old timey straw broom. There's a certain element of 'clean the room, clean your mind' zen at play here. He finds it an excellent form of meditation. A good way to clear his mind and focus on things at hand. By day, of course, he oversees the family businesses or teaches here at the dojo. By night he is often engaged in more violent activities though clearly, not this one.

The door is open and there's a breeze blowing in along with the sound of street noises. Distant street noises, this part of town isn't too busy this late.

It's early evening and Babs isn't on duty yet. Well, Batgirl isn't. Oracle, and therefore Barbara, is - she is always on duty.

The redhead finds herself drawn to the dojo again. Cass has been out a lot, Avery's troubles, the fact that the city feels under siege all combine to leave the policemans daughter somewhat unsettled. Plus, Kenuichio is an interesting character.

Which is why it's Babs helping him to sweep the dojo. She'd finished her training not too long ago.

"Are you nearly finished?" Ken says, looking over in Babs' direction. "You are not overly strained from being on your feet for so long?" It's a deception she's kept up and needs to keep up to keep her identity intact.

There's a small noise outside and then a car pulls up. People in suits get out of it. Five of them. All asian. They looks rather… excessively official.

Ken frowns. "Get behind me, Barbara. This might be trouble."

It's actually not too hard to keep up that deception. Babs back is healed but it's still not overly strong, Batgirl can do what she does because of the augments in her suit.

"Nearly, Sensei." The woman offers a faint smile. "You have been very kind and down the bulk of the work. It is a polite fiction you're allowing that I am helping you." It is and it isn't.

As the car pulls, Babs looks and frowns, not asking twice as she moves behind and slightly to the left of Ken, still keeping that broom. "Who are they, Sensei?"

"Yakuza. I am not sure otherwise." Kenuichio's contacts within the Yakuza are not universally positive. After all he did serve on the Big Hero Six and they are not exactly friendly to organized crime, nor were they when he was there.

"Harada-san." A tight faced man says as they all step in. Several of them have hands inside their jackets.

"Nagumo-san." Ken greets the man. "You have brought quite a lot of friends with you."

"We have business to settle." The man says, clearly tense and angry.

"Very well, but leave my student out of it."

"No. She is our ticket out. The police will not dare risk the daughter of one of their own."

The men around 'Nagumo' draw weapons. All of them short blades. Wakazashi, they are called if Babs remembers. Ken is standing before them with a straw broom. The weapons in the room are too far away to make a lunge for.

Babs isn't like Cass, not trained to use swords or knives. Babs weapons of her choice are her brain, batarangs and escrima sticks. She's got two of three, sort of, here right now. "Shall I call him then?" The redhead asks cooly. "Tell him I've been stranded and I need a lift?"

"What business do you have with Harada-san?" She asks the men, eyeing those blades. They'll need to becareful. She'll need to becareful not to give her secret away.

"He is a problem, and he lacks honor."

Kenuichio frowns and his grip on the broom tightens. "My honor is intact. It simply did not require that I continue to work with you or your clan, Nagumo."

"You cost our family a lot when you broke ties." This seems to be about business. "But you will not have the chance to do so again." Nagumo gestures to Ken. "Leave her alive. Call your father if you wish, Barbara-san. It will make no difference."

The first and nearest enforcer moves in with a slice down Ken's chest. The samurai swordsmaster holds the broom across his body and at the last second an aura surrounds it. When the blade strikes the straw, it snaps in half, cut clean.

Then Kan lashes out with the fan end of the broom and using the broom cuts two more blades off at the hilt!

"I'm not sure you have room to speak of honour." The redhead says quietly, looking at the men. There's only so much she can say without giving herself away - but she *knows* that Ken had saved one of the Yakuza the other night.

"You will leave here and leave him ali—-" She steps back as the enforcers move in, blinking as Kens broom breaks the sword. "Well, alright then."

As the swordsmaster attacks the next two, Babs swings her own broom, intent of hitting the remains of the sword from the first Enforcers hand.

The surprise broom strike does indeed disarm the man Babs aimed it but it also draws his attention and even with no weapon he launches himself at her, intent on taking her down and probably disabling her. She should be an easy target, so far as he knows.

Ken is in the meantime four on one. Only two of them have swords and all of them have to watch out since that broom can apparently cut through steel. He lashes out with a kick and there's a crack of bone as a knee breaks. Okay. Now he's three on one.

"You wouldn't hurt me, would you?" Babs taunts the Enforcer, keeping her attention on him but also listening to the flow of the fight. "You're boss told you not to hurt me." No, no he hadn't - he'd said to leave her alive. He hadn't said in what in condition. Babs is counting on the fact that the nuance is lost.

It's amazing how quickly the woman sidesteps, without making it look like she really is. The broom swings again, trying to crack down across the thugs shoulder, as a leg sweeps out trying to trip him.

It's a good thing that Harada is too busy to notice Babs doing that leg sweep or he'd realize she couldn't possibly trip a man like that with legs as weak as hers are supposed to be. The broom does come down with a crack but, well, it's made of straw. It's certainly inconvenient but she might want something more solid.

When she looks again Ken is down to two attackers, one of whom is Nagumo and both are backing up.

"Grab the girl!" The second of the two fighters peels off to help his companion with Babs. They MAY be planning on using her as a human shield. Ken wouldn't kill his student, right?

Babs stumbled! That's what she'd tell Ken if he saw her. The enforcer just happened to trip when she did!

The broom cracks. The redhead curses, twirling it around so she can break in two. Something sturdier would certainly be in order, she just needs to get to the weapons rack. It's skitter-limp backwards across the dojo to the rack. She might not make it but she does have the two pieces of broom for the moment.

"I'm a woman, if you don't mind…" She taunts the men, to keep their attention on her.

She does - just - make it to the weapon's rack before the nearer of the two thugs catches her. When she turns she can see the other one closing in from her right… only to get an arrow in the back and fall over. Ken has a bow in his hand now and is back to fighting hand to hand with Nagumo. The Yakuza underboss seems skilled but she can worry about that later.

Because right now she's about to be tackled again. Babs' attacker doesn't have a weapon still, but he is larger and he's probably stronger. She's more skilled but using that skill risks her cover.

It's not just using that skill risks her cover, Babs could really hurt herself if she's not careful. It's a wooden Bokken that she puts her hand on, turning just in time to see the enforcer leap for her. "So you've decided a woman and want a roll in the hay?" She asks the man as he leaps. "Think quick…"

She throws the bokken at him, 'blade' first, as she grabs another one. Barely managing to sidestep as he barrels into her. Turning, more nimbly than she should be able to, Babs brings the blade of her weapon down again. As hard as she can.

This time Babs blow cracks down right between her attacker's shoulder puts his face on the ground hard. He tries to rise once, fails and stops moving.

A second cracking sound - one of a bow being struck on someone's head - announces the end of the fight. Nagumo crumples. He has a gun in his hand or rather what's left of one. It's cut off just before his knuckles. The barrel is on the floor in two pieces.

"Barbara-san, are you hurt?" Kenuichio turns to look for her, seemingly genuinely concerned.

Babs winces as the turn and the strike pull her back in a most uncomfortable way. In her suit, this wouldn't be a problem - her mask would hide her face, the reinforced kevlar would support her injured back. Which is what Ken sees as he turns.

"I … am, Kenuichio-san. It's nothing to worry about, really." She shifts uncomfortably, placing her hand on the weapons rack to use it to support her, sort of.

"Are you? And are they? Do … I need to call the police?" That she hasn't might be interesting to the sensei.

"Probably as I cannot dispose of them myself." Well he COULD but that would likely just cause more trouble and really, he doesn't want to have to dump five bodies in the river. It's sort of a pain to dump one.

"Call the police and then come sit down. I will brew you some tea. I am sorry that you have gotten caught up in this."

He's not sure HOW they learned she was his student but they definitely timed their visit to her presence. It was a crucial part of getting away with their plan.

"You … can't … dispose of them yourself." Babs pales. That's not an act, really. It's a clear reminder of the gulf that exists between them. "I'll call … Would you mind, fetching my cane please?" The pain isn't really feigned, just the extent of what she's feeling.

With the call placed, the redhead makes her way to the back of the studio, where the cushions and the table are set out.

"You don't need to apologise for me being caught up in this, but I would like to understand what *this* is, Kenuichio-san."

Ken comes into the other room and begins to brew tea. He is silent for a time, long enough that Babs might wonder if he's going to answer her. It's after he finally serves her tea and sits down himself that he takes up something approaching a response.

"Before I taught martial arts I served the people of Japan as a man of specific talents. I did this in recompense for a youth spent harming them. I know a number of people in the Yakuza and not entirely under favorable circumstances."

That would probably be enough reason there but there is more. "When I retired from that life I returned home and discovered that my family, which my father had tied closely to the Yakuza, had been turned into a shell of it's former self by them. I advised the clan's new leader to cut ties with them and spent some time repaying old debts and ensuring that they would have no further leverage over us. The decision was disappointing to many former associates to say the least and some of them lost a great deal of money and face."

Babs manages to lower herself to the cushions and watches as Ken prepares the tea. It's a familiar process by now but she watches anyway, green eyes taking everything in.

"I see." She finally says, quietly, sipping the tea that he served. "And these people were here just to hurt you? Or was there more that wanted from you? It doesn't strike me as particularly honourable to attack one such as you. It strikes me as even less honourable to attack one of your students and a woman at that."

"Honor is, as it turns out, a somewhat subjective thing." Ken points out as he sips at his own tea. He's silent for a few minutes more, thinking.

"It was for revenge yes but it is more complicated than just a desire to hurt me. In their eyes I have wounded them. I have lessened their honor and that stain cannot be wiped away until it is addressed. Only by defeating me, or harming me, can their honor be restored."

"You sound like a fortune cookie, you know that, Kenuichio-san?" Babs responds quietly. This is becoming a familiar thing, to sit here like this and speak with him. "Subjective is that it is in the eye beholder?"

She might know a little about that.

"So an eye for an eye?" The redhead shakes her head. "That's very christian of them, isn't it? And not a little bit messed up." She's thinking though. "So they will keep doing this until they feel their honour is restored?"

"What does the rest of your family have to say about this?"

"There is great wisdom in fortune cookies." Ken smiles slightly at the joke and takes another sip. "Honor is very much in the eye of the beholder. There are rules but as with most things in life they are not free."

Another sip and another smile. "You mean Jewish, I think. The eye for an eye. That was Moses. Jesus was more 'turn the other cheek'. An interesting western philisophical debate but Nagumo is Buddhist so there is that."

The swordsman looks at Babs consideringly for a moment. "Little, I imagine. They are far away and cannot affect the process of law here."

"There is also much rhetoric." Babs returns the smile. "The trick is deciding what is wisdom and what is not." She gestures slightly "Jewish, Christian. I should know better, I suppose. However, are you going to tell me that this is a tenet of being a Buddhist?"

"Your family might not be here. They are most certainly unable to affect the process of law here but what these men are doing, Kenuichio-san, is not legal and not covered by any aspect of our legal frameworks. 'Honour' is not a currency we recognise."

"This is a tenet of being Yakuza, Barbara." Ken says as he sets his teacup down. "And in part Japanese though most of my countrymen would not take it to quite this extreme."

And that's true. The Japanese take honor very seriously. It's part of their culture but it's not generally a killing matter.

"Be that as it may…" Ken notes as Babs describes the situation here in the States. "I still cannot imagine it will give my family anything to say about this. I am here to deal with exactly these kinds of problems." Well not THIS kind of problem but close.

"Then I say it's not very Buddist of them." Babs set down her cup as well, perhaps mimicking Ken, perhaps not. "It is what I understand to be Japanese though." Honour is important she knows that.

"You did this for your family and now you're paying the price, it seems to me Kenuichio-san, that you have paid a lot for what you did when you were young."

"To borrow your phrase, be that as it may, what are you going to about them. They won't stop till you have paid what they demand."

"I was neither wise nor good when I was young. I am perhaps wiser now. Whether or not I am good is a question I leave to men more interested in good and evil than I am." Kenuichio has some interesting affiliates and, well, she's seen how bloodthirsty he can be when it gets down to it.

"They are human. They will stop if they do not think they can win. Most of them have no desire to die. What I must do is find a way to convince them that they cannot win."

"Good and evil are in the eyes of the beholder, as well, I think." Babs well knows of Ken's affiliates and some of his earlier antics. She also hows … ruthless he can be.

the redhead is silent for a moment, hands folded on the table in front of her, teacup just ahead of them. "You do realise that I'm a Private Investigator, yes? If you're looking for leverage on these men, I'm likely going to be able to find it." Her green eyes hold his, watching for a response. "With that leverage, you will have a way to convince them."

Ken chuckles softly. "Are you suggesting I hare you, Barbara?" It's not a bad idea. She can find out things that he can't and he can make use of them. Though given that he hadn't broached the topic himself one wonders what his original plan had been. Possibly quite a violent one.

"Do you wish to undertake this? It will be dangerous. They did not hesitate to attack you here and I would not risk your safety unnecessarily."

"And if you don't hire me, what would your plan be?" The redhead answers canting her head at the chuckle. "I don't need to remind you, that they knew *who* I was and that I was one of your students. If that's not dangerous, I'm not sure what is."

Lowering her eyes to look at her hands for a moment. "I'm used to dangerous work, Kenuichio-san. It goes hand in hand with being an investigator, sometimes."

Ken casts a look at Babs' cane and then looks back at her. She might be used to doing capable work but how able is she to defend herself from this kind of attack in the future? He might be forgiven for wondering that. She does, after all, keep how physically capable she really is a secret.

"I was simply planning to make myself very expensive." Thaaaaat probably involves violence. Babs' way is a lot more targeted and a lot more efficient. And a lot less likely to blow back on them in spectacular ways.

Well, okay, maybe not that but still.

"You can make yourself very expensive, it will take time and despite that interesting ability I noted out there, you may well be very hurt in doing so." The redhead answers watching Kens eyes move to her cane and back again. "If you're thinking it, say it, Kenuichio-san. You do not think I'm capable because I'm physically incapicatated."

"Perhaps I should stay home and tend house, instead of what I do? That will save me, won't it? They won't knock on the door one day with a gun in their hands, shoot me, abuse me and consign me to a chair for the rest of my life. That's if I survived this time, that is."

There's the slightest note of bitterness in Babs voice, her eyes close for a moment as she breaths. "Forgive me, Sensei. That was not appropriate. If you wish my assistance, I am willing to offer it."

"Perhaps they will, and perhaps the won't. But the odds of them doing so increase if you insist on being involved in their business." Ken points out. If he's perturbed by her bitter outburst, then he doesn't show it. He simply takes up his tea again and sips.

"If you are willing to offer your assistance, however, I am willing to take it. How will you begin?"

"I tried to stay out once before, Kenuichio-san and it did not save me." Babs answers quietly, looking at her hands and not meeting his eyes. "Besides, I would not leave you to deal with this if there was something I could do. And there is. I *am* involved, it's just the depth that varies."

His acceptance has her looking up from under her lashes, still not meeting his eyes directly. "I will work with the police to identify these people, trace their business connections and find out how to hurt their businesses."

"You understand that if you do that you may discover me." He did just get finished saying that he had prior Yakuza contacts and Babs knows from being Batgirl that he still has some. He's very much a 'shades of grey' kind of guy which is interesting with someone with such a black and white sense of honor.

"I hope sincerely that does not bother you. And what will you do once you find out how to hurt their business?"

Babs finally looks up and holds Kens gaze "You just told me you had connections with them. As long as you're honest, as far as you can be honest, it won't be an issue for me. Will it … be a problem for you, the things I might discover?"

The … hurt … is still there. The memory from so long ago - the attack seems to have bought that to mind.

"I … may need to call in the assistance of some others that don't work entirely within the law. Will that be a problem for you?" beat "As to what I will do, when I know the *what* we will speak, you and I. Make plans from there - whatever it is, they *must* know it's you that are pulling the strings."

"I doubt anything you discover about me will be very serious trouble but some may not approve of what you might find. As for others? Call whom you will. If they have problems with me they can find me here in the dojo."

The Yakuza found him here in the dojo and the fact that he didn't kill any of them is mostly down to the fact that only one of them had a gun. If others paid a visit here they might find it much less congenial.

"I … hope you can trust to tell me, one day, Kenuichio-san. I will find out, but I will not judge." In many ways, Gordon Investigation isn't paid to judge. They're paid to deliver results. Though this is becoming a little more personal.

A lot personal, really.

"I will, if they need to visit it will be for information only. They aren't hired to have exceptions with what I do, either."

"I hope I can trust you that much as well, one day, Barbara-san." Ken says. He's calm. Controlled to the point of seeming subdued. His emotions aren't on display like most westerners which… is probably expected. That's something the Japanese value, really.

"Your offer of help is greatly appreciated and I have taken note of the risks you are taking in helping me. Do you wish, when we are finished here, to train a little? Or do you wish to go home?"

It is getting late in the evening after all and he's noticed that Barbara often goes home before it gets well and truly late.

"What makes you think that I don't trust you, Kenuichio-san?" Babs is a controlled woman for a westerner but right now, she's working through that attack. It has thrown her a little.

"I … would, actually. Though I can't be too late. I … need to stretch my back out a bit."

"Do you? I do not think you entirely should. You do not know much about me." That's kind of an assumption. Most of the time it wouldn't be a bad one but for the fact that Barbara isn't an ordinary woman or even an ordinary investigator. And she's got the Oracle on her side.

"Come. When you are done we will train. It is the best thing for righting the body and clearing the mind I have found." Is that what Babs has found? Either way it's what they're going to do probably until she decides she has to go home and put on the suit.

"To a degree, Kenuichio-san. To a degree." Babs does smile at that. He's not wrong to question her.

Putting her empty cup back on the table, the redhead goes to stand. "I … am ready, Sensei. And it is, yes, in many ways though I have found other pursuits are just as good as well." Maybe one day he'll find out about them. "Let us train."

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