2019-10-22 - It's A Question Of Face


Batgirl decides to meet Ken, not the Samurai.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Tue Oct 22 05:43:10 2019
Location: Brooklyn

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It's late in Kens dojo, all the students left sometime ago. It's quiet as Ken goes about his usual chores of closing the place up, as it should be. He's the only one there, isn't he?

It's as he's locking the door for the evening, preparing to depart that he'll feel the draft on his back and hear the soft /thud/ of boots behind him.

He may well feel the brush of fabric against his back, as well. "I believe we have mutual contact, Mister Harada."

That modulated voice. He should recognise it.

Ken is not in western dress, being as he has been cleaning up here in the dojo. No he looks rather Japanese at the moment which makes sense. As he is, after all. At the sound behind him he stops his sweeping and straightens up without turning around.

"You have quite a theatrical entrance. And keep rather late hours." The voice is familiar to him, even modulated.

The swords master looks over his shoulder. "Batgirl, I take it?"

"So do you." The redheaded Bat is standing behind Ken, arms folded over her chest. "And yes, you can call me that. Batgirl it is." beat "Do you have plans tonight? Should I make an appointment to see you?"

"Theatrical entrances are a bonus. Keep our friends and foes on their toes so to speak. As to late hours, you wouldn't believe the propositions I get when I wear this gear in the daylight." She pauses "The police really don't have a good sense of humour."

"Our mutual contact has asked me to look into some of yours. Collect some information for her." Her. She hasn't said the name, Barbara Gordon, but he should know who she's referring to. Barbara had said he might not like who she uses.

"I might. I can imagine there are a variety of things that people might propose." The sensei turns to face Batgirl still holding only a straw broom. He looks the very picture of a martial arts movie, perhaps a bit more if he had grey hair. As it stands he looks rather young to be filling the role of wise old man.

"As it happens I do not have plans tonight beyond enjoying a cup of tea. Why? Shall I make plans?" Does she need an appointment? Apparently not. "You are not, I suppose, coming to ask to be taught the way of the sword?"

"Do you think you could teach me?" Batgirl asks, lounging against the door frame, arms still crossed. It's unlikely she'll take him up on it, but it's tempting. To be able to let loose and actually spar with the man. There will be too similarities between Barbara Gordon's style and her own to explain away.

Even coming here tonight, was a risk.

"My contact mentioned you liked tea. From that darling little store a few blocks over." beat "I wanted to know what you knew of the Yakuza's physical security. Electronics I'll have covered but our mutual contact mentioned they might employ other means of securing their goods. Forewarned is forearmed, after all."

"Swordsmanship? I can teach most people. Unless they truly have no ability to learn." Kenuichio says, eyeing Batgirl. She's armored yes. And while she is not hostile she is definitely dressed for a fight. This squares with what he's seen before. For someone so adverse to taking violence to it's logical conclusion she is rather well equipped.

"There will be guards. If there is something important enough to require the attention of one of the clan, then the guards will be of exceptional quality. Depending on whom they are working with there may be others. Here, I would expect the guards to be as heavily armed as they can get away with. Is that what you meant by physical security? Or do you mean tricks used to conceal things of true importance?"

Because he had mentioned a few tricks like that to Babs.

"That's what I've heard. That you can teach. I've also heard you're excellent fighter." Does he know she knows he's The Samurai? "I'll think on your offer though. Right now, I'm here on business."

"I meant more unusual means of security. I'm assuming they are all versed in martial arts to greater degree. But locks on doors. Finding codes. Hiding cupboards and notes etc. Our contact mentioned these people don't think … like Westerners."

"They do not. Important information will always be hidden. Sometimes in very unlikely places. I mentioned to 'your contact' the trick of encoding them on the tattoos of a trusted retainer. That is but one method. They will distrust technology. Important knowledge will be held in hardcopy when at all possible." Sometimes it's not but when it can be, it is.

Kenuichio moves over to the corner and puts the broom away. "Any permanent residence will also be riddled with hidden shortcuts and traps. Somewhat similar to a ninja house. Stairs that can be pulled up behind you or dropped down. Walls that conceal doors. Floorboards that may be removed to cause an adversary to stumble in the dark. Even deliberately creaky floors to warn of an intruder moving across them." Not at all like westerners. And very, very paranoid about their security.

"So it's possible the information they seek won't be held on computer, then, if they distrust technology so much." Batgirl is thinking, the cogs turning - not that Ken can see that. All he can see is the mask that she wears.

"It's permanent residences of people attached to them, I'll be going into. Women who have been seen with one of your Yakuza. It's best, I think, to assume they've taken those precautions. Is there any telltale signs that I should watch out for?"

She's wondering if she do this alone or if she should call the Samurai in to help.

"I can get the blueprints for the houses and learn them. Check contractors who might have been engaged to do work."

"Not by first entering no. In New York it is difficult to have guards patrolling the grounds as there are no grounds unless you are very, very wealthy. The house will be dark. All will be quiet. If your mask has optics you may notice things out of place but a well built ninja house is difficult to read without having been in it. That's why they are used."

So it's down to having a good team and being able to think on your feet quickly. Because they will do things that Babs has to react to.

If the Samurai would help Kenuichio gives no sign. But it's possibly not a bad idea to ask.

"Look for Japanese owned companies. It may be difficult to get them to talk though. Privacy agreements are taken very seriously among the Yakuza."

"I have optics and many surveillance devices at my disposal." Batgirl's sightless eyes follow Ken as he moves. She's still leaning against door frame, not intending to intrude any further, it seems. Oracle, send a message to the Samurai. Ask he will help Batgirl on a job. She subvocalises.

The message goes out and sounds on Kens phone. Batgirl isn't going to let on just how much they know - yet.

"I'll need ways to check wall cavities and floor spaces as well." That's almost to herself.

"I'll do that and there's more than one way to skin a cat, Mister Harada." Rather than use the honorific that Barbara uses, Batgirl deliberately westernises her address. "Social engineering is normally a good way to get information. I'll have to think how to approach that before I do."

The phone goes off and Ken looks at it. It's unobtrusively over on a bit of shelving. When he checks the message he snorts. "Your friend the Oracle does not appear to be quite so all seeing. She wishes to know if I wish to help you smack your shins against low laying booby traps before you are stabbed by a man with a spear."

Ken is not especially surprised when people know who he is because after all that WAS public. He sighs a little sometimes. He wishes it were less public. But the fact is you can find this out on the internet if you know where to look.

"Just remember whose society you are engineering. Japanese respond much better to questions of face than anything else."

"Or they are and we wished to give you the option to remain hidden, if you wanted. We take peoples identities seriously, Mister Harada." There's a silence as the masked face watches him. "So, will you? Want to work with a Bat who won't kill?"

"I'll remember. Thank you. Questions of face. I'll have Oracle do some research."

"Will you want to work with a swordsman who will?" That's really the question. Kenuichio doesn't really have a problem with Batgirl deliberately fighting in a more difficult and dangerous way. It's her insistence on everyone ELSE doing it that makes him roll his eyes.

"Feel free to drop by again, Batgirl, but try not to do so when the students are about. I do not know that the dojo could take TWO redheads."

Because she's different from Barbara Gordon, right?

"I would prefer you didn't kill. It will bring the rest of the family down on you." She shakes her head. That's a discussion for another time. Tonight she has a route to patrol.

"I doubt your dojo could take two. I doubt you could either." The redheaded bat answers. "I told you, I'm a woman of the night." At least he thinks they're different people.

Batgirl turns and disappears into the night, with a parting "I'll tell you when …"

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