2019-10-23 - The Old Man on the Mountain


The CEO of Ishiguro Industries begins to place pressure on Gwen Stacy, for use as a future token.

Log Info:

Storyteller: Shoko-Ishiguro
Date: 2019-10-23
Location: Ishiguro Industries Industrial Park

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Theme Song



After a few weeks of letting Miss Stacy get acquainted with the staff at Ishiguro Industries in the bio-hygiene research unit, and her getting to work as an intern on her forays into the world of hazardous infections, there comes an odd request. One day, a man in a suit is waiting beside the receptionist's desk, as Gwen comes in to work, and smiles brightly to her, clasping his hands before him. He's hiding, on his left hand, a missing left pinky digit, beneath his right hand.

"Hello, Miss Gwen," comes a thickly accented report. "I have excellent news. Ishiguro-san would like to meet with you personally."

He turns to the side and sweeps his right hand out, thumb up, gesturing towards the executive elevators, a security guard stepping side and removing a key chained to his belt, from his pocket. He inserts the key into a receptable, turning it, and the doors to the elevator cab smoothly slide open.

Well. That seems odd. And the fact that it seems odd is, for a very brief moment, writ upon Gwen's face; but the look of surprise is quickly replaced by the neutral expression she wore on the way in. So, Gwen straightens the labcoat she's already wearing, and clasps her hands beneath it, behind her back. She gives the man a quick look over, before she nods.

"Well, he's the boss," she replies pleasantly, adopting her own smile before following the the elevator. Several thoughts are bouncing around inside her head; why would the CEO want to meet an intern? Is this connected to why she was recruited in the first place? What sort of person is Ishiguro, anyway?

The truely observant, if they have been watching Gwen, might have noticed by now that something is different about her, from when she first walked into the building. It's hard ot pin down, of course, but the way she moves somehow seems… more sure of herself. More confident. That shows now; if there's any anxiety at all in her mind about going before the CEO of a large company, then there's no sign of it in evidence, just a collected confidence.
The elevator doors close with Gwen and the executive inside, and he pulls a brass lever.

The cab rises, a white light going upwards beneath glass squares with humbers on them. At the top floor, he pulls the lever back down, and the cab comes to a halt, after a few moments.

The door opens, and the executive gestures for her to exit.

"After you, Miss Gwen."

The top floor has a panoramic view along the side of the entire office campus below, with a receptionist's desk sitting alongside it, and a couch at the end, against a wall. The other side features a long fishtank, full of koi fish, in a sleepy and dreamy blue lined tank of stones and dark obsidian sand.

There's a black door at the end of the space, leading to an office marked with a green dragon battling a red dragon inside a gold circle, as if it was a diagonally designed ying-yang, the green in the lower left and the red in the upper right, a gold circle in the very center.

Gwen is quiet during the elevator ride up; her thoughts her own, apparently, not to be shared. At the top she smiles again, and bobs her head once. "Thank you," she replies, as she steps out of the elevator.

On the top floor, nothing is left unobserved; she keeps her hands clasped behind her back as she approaches the door — the dragon door, she christens it in her thoughts. The view gets a bit less of a look than the fish do, mind you. Afterall, you don't see a fish tank like that every day, and koi are cool in her estimation.

This is the point where most people might ask something like 'So what's the boss like?' but Gwen makes no such inquiry. He'll be the person that he is regardless, and that's who Gwen will meet, so she simply waits to be ushered through the door.
The executive following Gwen opens the door, and gestures her through, before closing behind her.

An old man in his late eighties is seated at a large, black, curved desk in the room, an upholstered black leather seat with brass-gold studs supporting his elderly frame. There is a bank of cameras to one side, and to the other a set of phones and remotes. He wears a pair of reading glasses, and a mutely handsome suit. He is frail, but peaceful, and behind him is a woman that looks much younger than him, but resembles him as the same genetic material, likely a daughter. She is wearing a black suit dress, with her hair pulled back into a ponytail, lacking her father's glasses. She looks hard and quite steely, with implied threat in everything she does.

"Miz Stacy," comes the voice of the woman, stepping out from beside the old man. "I am the Executive President. This is my father, Mister Ishiguro. Welcome."

She moves to stand beside Shoko, to his left, and Gwen's right, facing both of them and clasping her hands before her, going silent.

Shoko leans forward in his chair, smiling in an oddly benevolent fashion. He gestures at a pair of chairs before his desk, to sit.

Gwen's hands stay clasped behind her back all the way into the executive office; she notes the door closing behind her without looking, and gives both occupants of the room a quick evaluation. At the greeting she smiles, and bows her head politely. "Mister Ishiguro, Executive President," she replies, finally unclasping her hands as she crosses the remaining distance. She pauses by the chairs, before picking the one closer to where the likely daughter is standing. She arranges herself lightly, with an economy of motion; nothing wasted.

"You keep beautiful Koi, if I may say so" she offers. "Kikusui, Goromo, and Kikokuryu, if I'm not mistaken?" Gwen has to admit she's actually not sure what the proper Japanese etiquette is for meeting a CEO; so she just falls back on what she's been taught as an American. When in doubt, pay a compliment.
"I have a fondness for spectacle, as is befitting of a man my age," Shoko says with a gentle refrain of his trembling voice. He emits a sigh, looking to his daughter, who fetches him an inhaler. "Of course, most men my age do not have the opportunity to show such handsome dignity."

The woman gives him his inhaler, and he breathes into it, some strange medicine that appears to be a mild opiate, his eyes lidding lowly. He takes a second puff, before handing it back, and reclining, relaxed.

"So, Miz Stacy, you have completed your work with perfunctory skill." There is a glass of water handed to him, and he takes a small quaff, gulping with his narrow throat rising and falling, before his daughter takes the cup. "As you may suspect, I did not take you to this company for merely your education."

Shoko raises a hand. "But I value your education, since you are a student, and the wise always must learn as a student to be a mentor." There is a gesture to the cameras. "I am not new to America, but I am new to this city."

Gwen listens to Shoko, with just a slight upward turn of her lips at the statement that he enjoys spectacle; that much has been obvious, to her mind, a man does not line the walk to his office with a priceless view and very expensive fish if he does not have a taste for spectacle. The inhaler is quietly noted as well; but hey, if the boss wants (or needs) to use an inhaler, that's up to him. She nods her head once, as she leans back comfortably in the chair.

"Suspicions do not equate to facts," she replies. "But I won't deny, I had wondered." No guesses are ventured, though.

The young blonde looks to the cameras, then back to Shoko. "I've lived my entire life in New York," she admits. "I've travelled, but I love this city, for all its beauty — and all its ugliness as well. I can't see myself living anywhere else. I'm glad you've had the chance to come here and see it for yourself."
At the mention of ugliness, there is a certain sad, downward look, his face warping as if it's melting wax as wrinkled flesh on bone. His daughter, does not share the look, instead chained irate fury, as if something she is holding back is angering her greatly.

"Yes, the world can be ugly." There is a look up, to his daughter, with a fatherly but stern gesture at the door. "Generations bear the crime most."

Shoko's Saiko Komon, his daughter, turns about and curtly walks out of the room, exiting.

Shoko returns his look to Gwen, with an inhale and puff of his chest. "But with this winter, comes a spring." He points at the closed doors behind Gwen at the long end of the office, where his daughter just left. "I was hoping that you could help me bring a thaw to this city as well."

Gwen perks an eyebrow upwards at the probable daughter's sudden, angry exit. There's a moment of 'was it something I said?' but it passes, as she looks back to Shoko. "Yes, the world can be ugly," she agrees. "And I would never suggest that anyone should ever refrain from working to make it less so. But ugliness can give its own opportunities, too; I remember watching a working man take off his shoes, once, and give them to a homeless person. He went home in his socks; the homeless man didn't have to worry about frostbitten feet that winter. I would call that a beautiful act of kindness."

The young student cups her chin in her fingers, and regards Shoko quizzically, for a long moment. "I'm honored," she states, "But I'm also curious. You chair a large company, and you have cast means at your disposal; why a first year biochemistry student, and a rather fresh intern? What do I contribute, that nobody else in your company can?"

There is a creak, as Shoko leans back in his chair.

"I lived through the firebombing of Tokyo, as a young child. It was a mad time, the entire world turned against Japan, because of the international situation around us. The affair proved to us that you could not fight to win a battle, you had to build a constituency, you had to act slowly, and of course, you could never raise a hand when a finger would do. Strength, you Americans taught us, was in friendship, your alliances just as effective at beating us as your reforms to our institutions. I would not have all of this, without America. I am very greatful, a poor boy from Tokyo, to have been allowed the opportunity to do such a thing as come here from Japan, and contribute."

Shoko rests, looking at Gwen evenly from across his desk. "I may work in industry, but I deal in politics. I am interested, in your father, Miz Stacy. I am a father, and I support my daughter's career, and I would like to think your father would wish to as well."

There's a long moment (or maybe it just seems long) while Gwen considers her next answer. Her father is, of course, a policeman, and just a constable either.

"I came home with a bad grade, once," she admits. "In high school. Too much time spent worrying about a boy, not enough studying. You could say my Father made certain I wasn't about to make that mistake ever again, and I haven't scored anything less than top marks ever since."

Gwen flares her hands, before resting them on her knees as she leans forwards a little. "I'm an only child to a single parent. My Father is committed to his career, but he's been no less committed to raising me. He's never been the type of Father to miss spending time with his daughter because of work. He's told me he'll support anything I do, whatever it is — so long as it's legal, of course." The last is said in a lighter note, with a genuine smile.

"I'm no expert in war history. I studied it in one course, in high school. I know enough that I know it's never as simple as 'good guys and bad guys'. History is always written by the victor — reality isn't always reflected. I like to hope America's exports have been positive, but it's too complex for me to judge. I take your word for it; you were there."

"It is not Japanese to discuss fatherhood as a father, so I will remain silent about my own stories," Shoko says with a soft look, after having heard Gwen's tale of her father. "But it is American, I believe, to discuss business with even manners."

Shoko reaches behind his discuss, pulling up a drawer, and removing a little maiden puppet, about six inches tall, setting it on the desk. The hair matches Gwen's, standing in Shinto shrine maiden garb.

"I wish to bring the culture of Japan to New York City, namely civic action for more business between your fair city, and my fellow corporate business men, back home in my country. Your father, is my first step."

He presses the doll forward across his desk, as a gift, smiling with an oddly sinister playfulness, barely restrained beneath his reading glasses.

"Do please ask your father, if he will support me in his ward, as a representative of the industrial union. I wish to establish collective bartering inside New York City's AFL-CIO branch, and the assistance of a man of such high honor would be greatly beneficial. Merely a word, is all I ask, to back Ishiguro Industries as a potential partner in the various industries present in New York City."

He leans back in his chair, steepling his fingers with his fingers splayed and crossed at the tips, a Buddhist sign of loyalty to a state, a banned mudra since World War 2.

"The Japanese wish to offer you, America, job opportunities, and we wish to signal that we both support labor, and the police."

Once it becomes apparent that the doll is a gift, Gwen picks it up to look at it more closely, holding it very carefully; wouldn't want to damage it, afterall. She does not, however, seem to be at all worried about dropping it. It holds her attention for a long moment, and the similarity of hair color between herself and the doll, in its impressive garb, isn't lost on her.

Soon enough the moment is passed, and Gwen sets the doll back down on the desk in front of her. "It's beautiful," she observes. Clearly, she is suitably impressed. "And, I will ask my Father about what you're offering to do."

The steepling of fingers the way Shoko does it, is not a gesture that Gwen is familiar with, and her general lack of reaction to it rather betrays the fact. "He's… not a man who is easily convinced," she adds, spreading both hands, "Not even by me. I can't make any promises, except that I'll ask him." She smiles pleasantly, "But if I tell him you're looking to support labor and the police, well, I'm sure that would go a long way."
Shoko Ishiguro offers a low, kind nod, closing his eyes.

"Thank you, Ms. Stacy. I appreciate your help in this matter."

He presses a button, on his board of phones and remotes, and soon, the door opens, the executive that had ushered Gwen up to his office, at the door.

"Thank you for meeting with me, Ms. Stacy. It is a pleasure having you at this firm."

Gwen rises from her seat; she smiles, and offers a bow, probably having heard that in Japan you do that. It's a smooth, almost graceful motion, and it's totally American, but it's an attempt at the very least. "Thank you," she replies. "I hope I can continue to contribute." She picks up the doll once more, and takes a couple of steps back from the chairs, before she turns to follow the executive back into the hallway.

Once out, Gwen adopts a deeply pensive look; she walks with her hands at her sides, and takes the time to look at the Koi once more. (Yes, that one is definitely of the Kikokuryu variety, she's sure of it; even having only studied the species of Koi sine someone mentioned there were some impressive ones on the top floor a couple of weeks ago.)

The doll is held carefully; very carefully. It seems symbollic of something, but exactly what it means, Gwen has no idea.

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