2020-01-02 - Apples In Season


Kian brings a message from Marthe Pryde and information on who is moving in.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Thu Jan 2 06:14:10 2020
Location: Hells Kitchen

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Theme Song



Ranna Pryde has been sidelined by her operation. It's necessary. The human body only recovers from being cut open so quickly. But it is something that she has never done before and very likely it is quite difficult for her. Sitting still isn't something she is renowned for.

Shiranui has not been inactive though. He recently went on a rash of strikes, hitting the Hand and the Order of Si-Fan in rapid succession, leaving them reeling and the police confused. The result of all this fighting, spying and ninja-ing has been a haul of data and documents that have taken some time to go over. One of them has the tech-ninja coming by out of costume to check in at the safe house Ranna is staying at.

He has a key. And he doesn't bother to knock before he lets himself in. He just opens the door and peers inside. Then goes to the kitchen to see what's left of the food and drink supplies.

Ranna is perfectly able to be still when needed. It was part of her training. Kian, of course, hasn't known her long enough to know that and his impression, is justifiable. Ranna had made a concerted effort to kill Kian, or Shiranui, for a number of months.

Ranna is asleep on the couch when Kian comes in. She's been sleeping a lot, which is understandable - her body is healing and with the combination of the pain killers, it's knocked her out.

Instead of waking when he enters though - which she has been prone to do, the small ninja groans in her sleep. "No, Sensei, I will do better." Her voice, laced with pain is also scared. Kian has never heard Ranna scared - not even when they're being chased.

Kian looks over and pours himself a beer. Then he comes out from behind the 'bar' in the kitchen with a second beer and kicks the couch as he sets it down on the coffee table. This place is rather nice. It's a shame he's going to have to get rid of it when they're done but he can find another place. Nice places are not in short supply in New York.

"Hey. Wake up. Sensei isn't here." And if Kian is lucky, he won't ever know who her Sensei was. Ever.

The kick on the couch has Ranna flinching and wincing as the wound pulls. It's healing but moving still hurts. "I deserve ten, Sensei, for being imperfect. And ten for not following your instructions…" There's a flush to Ranna's face - it's not a blush, but the tell tale signs of fever.

It sounds like Kian might be grateful not to meet this Sensei.

Ranna's eyes flutter though and she stares blankly at the other Ninja for a moment, trying to gather herself. "I … "

"Breathe." Kian says as he settles on a chair opposite the couch and takes a pull at his beer. "Drink. I've got news."

While Ranna centers herself Kian turns on the TV. It's set to the news and the news is unsurprisingly about him. Not directly, they don't mention him by name, but the news caster does talk about how vigilante activity has spiked in recent evenings and the police are struggling to keep up. There's also some footage of vague ninja figures doing… ninja things on rooftops. It's not quite clear what, beyond fighting.

"Kian …" Ranna murmurs, groaning again as her back pulls again. It takes a moment for her to move upgright, face still flushed and she swallows, reaching for the water she has on the table to drink it down before taking the beer.

Blinking owlishly at the TV, it takes her a moment to put things together. "What did you do? And news? What news? Tell Midnight and Shadow have left town."

She doesn't drink from the beer yet, just staring at it. She's lost weight in the week she's been here - she didn't have much to loose, but lose it she has.

"Mmmm. No. They're still around. But I've set them chasing ghosts for a little bit." Kian takes another drink of his beer and indicates Ranna's. It's there. It's cold. She could microwave it if she prefers it warm but… that's not really his style.

"No. I found another message for you buried in some of the things I took. And when I say I, I mean the people that I asked to decode some of this stuff. It took a little while to do… but if I had to guess I'd say your mother is still trying to reach you."

Her mother. That had been a complicated topic the first time it came up and Kian expects it hasn't gotten any less so.

"I can see it. I … " Ranna shakes her head and takes it up. Warm beer. Who the hell would do that? "Like I said, what have you done?" Chasing ghosts. That sounds interesting. "It sounds like you bought me some time, anyway."

The Project Ninja gets a look when he mentions Ranna mother, the small brunette opening the bottle and taking a pull from it. "And what did Marthe Pryde have to say this time?" It's flat. Complicated is one to explain it. "And where did you get it? Sneak into another Order facility?"

"A couple of them yes, though that's not where I found it. I decided to try and figure out what the link between the Hand and the Order of Si Fan is, which had me running around town, tapping satellite uplinks and phone lines and then fighting cyber ninja when my extraction plans didn't go quite as expected. It was fun. I'm going to do it every week on fridays."

Kian shakes his head. He is not going to do that and it was not fun. But it was quite necessary.

"Have a look for yourself. A lot of it doesn't make sense to me. I found it buried in the system code of one of the uplink systems. 'My dearest daughter. I remember your father's birthday on the eleventh of March. We had blueberry custard and peach preserves. You helped me make poached pears. The apples were in season and the plums were just starting to flower."

Kian shakes his head again. "It doesn't make sense, apples aren't in season in March, it's completely banal and there's a lot of fruit references. So I suspect it's a code of some sort?"

"Dearest daughter?" Ranna shakes her head and takes the message from Kian, giving him a look. "I'll join you each Friday. Maybe I can make sure your extraction plans work - you seem to need me." He's always getting in trouble, otherwise.


"While I'm looking, what else did you find?" The message has her scowling, a lot. "YIt's not a code. I don't know who my father is." So she can't know his birthday or help celebrate it. For a long time she stares at the message. "It doesn't mean anything, Kian. It's just a way to get me to respond. She's trying to find me. It's something we did when I was young. Many would call it a game, I suppose. To me, it was training."

"That's an odd way to try to provoke a response." Kian says as he considers. "I'm not doing it every friday by the way. The point of doing it so much right now was so that I would not have to do that later for a little bit." But he will have to do it again at some point and he is almost certain to have upset people. A lot of people.

"What's with all the fruit references. It's so obvious that it would draw someone's attention if they did find it and that would put her at risk. She has to have done that for a reason. What was she training you in when she played this 'game' before?"

"To not respond. Most people would get the message and not understand it, so they'd ask. Then she'd be 'win'. I was meant to be silent, unseen …" Ranna shrugs. "I was very young, Kian, when she used this."

Ranna is silent as she looks at the message "Then we can do it every Thursday unless you think we're going to be busy doing something else."

There's a sigh before she addresses his questions again. "First, you had to decode it - so whoever decoded it, had to know the Orders cypher right? It's not *so obvious* but it's so blatant that someone just learning cyphers might well ask what it meant. At least that's how I remember it. The number of times that earned me caning…"

"If I were to consider the fruit and the message - it means she's lost touch with me and might be worried. I don't know why. I betrayed the Order."

"We might be busy doing something else." The Tech Ninja responds. He drums his fingers and considers. "If you were going to respond to it, how would you go about that?" While they could tap into the Order comm network any transmission would give their location away and it seems unlikely that it would go unmonitored.

"Is it possible that she has some manner of motherly affection for you and doesn't want you killed? I mean, presumably your mom is a human being and not a computer or osme such."

"Marthe Pryde has no motherly affection, Kian." Ranna snorts. "I was her … contribution… to The Order. Created and given to the Order on the day I was born. Everything she did was to ensure that her daughter did not embarrass her."

It's bitter and resigned. "I have no idea why she would want to know I'm alive - except to recover me for their plans."

"If I was to respond though, it would be in kind. 'Mother dearest. My favourite memory of father's birthday was the clotted cream. The apple blossoms were so pretty in your hair.' It's almost a nonsense message but it will tell her I'm alive, at least."

"And just what else might we be doing on Thursday and Friday nights?"

"Are you sure about that?" Kian says. "She was your mother after all. Lets try responding to her. We can sneak in and leave a message embedded in the protocols. It won't tell her anything other than you're still alive. And we can see what she does next. If indeed she does anything."

Kian takes another drink and memorizes the message though he'll be taking her along to help deliver it just in case.

"I hit the Order to keep them off balance and busy. But if we really want to get to the bottom of their spiritual drug scheme, we need to get to the person who designed the drug. And I know who that is now. AND… they're in town."

"It sounds like you had a relationship with your mother, Kian. And from what you said, you volunteered for your implants." Ranna hadn't, she been dedicated to the Order and they did what wanted. "You weren't turned into a mindless killing machine."

It's possible Ranna is a little out of sorts having had her back cut open recently.

She's not arguing about sending the message though. Anything they get from Marthe could be useful and she's not going to fall for 'maternal love'.

"And what do I do on Thursdays and Fridays?" After she's recovered she means. "You should have led with that information. Who and where? And how do we get them?"

"I did, before she was killed, along with my father." Kian says almost pointedly.

"Her name is Chan-ri Park. She's Korean and she's one of the Order's premier researchers and chemists. You may know her or at least know of her. As to how we get them… with patience."

He pushes some printouts toward Ranna. They're building schematics. "She's working at an Order shell company and living not very far away. It looks like she's trying to minimize her time spent outside Order controlled facilities which means we have three choices. We can watch her and hope she's the kind to want a social life every now and then, we can try to nab her on her commute or we can try to get her either in her home or place of work." Obviously that last one probably involves a fair amount of fighting.

Ranna winces at Kian's pointed comment. "And they were killed by people like me." It's bitter but repentant. "I'm sorry. That's a poor way to repay you."

"Chan-ri?" Ranna frowns "She was involved with some of the work on the children like me. Not my enhancements but others. Her name is revered within ou—- the Order ranks."

Looking over the building schematics, Ranna frowns even more. "I'm not going to be able to fight for another week or so. I can watch her, when I can get out and about. Depending on what we find, we might need to nab her somewhere."

"These schematics aren't complete …"

They were indeed killed by people like Ranna but Kian doesn't push the point. He just leans back and nods. "That's what I'd heard but the data was unclear. In any case if she's here it means something big."

When Ranna points out what they're looking at he frowns and goes through the pages. "There's a page missing. I printed all the data I got. They must have the rest of it somewhere else."

But where? "Can you tell what is missing? Or… what it is? I'm not real technical."

"It does and it means they're ready to enact whatever it is they are doing." Ranna watches as Kian leans back. He didn't comment and for that … she's thankful. Her conscience however, is not clear.

Flicking through the pages, Ranna sighs. "Every Order facility has a worship room. That's what's not on here. That and the accesses to it. They aren't usually public and can be accessed in private. Like that train platform that ran under a hotel here somewhere…. " That's something she saw on one of the programs she watched recently.

"Those plans would be in Chan-ri's possession. They're not sort of thing she likes to publicise."

"The Waldorf Astoria, you mean? The abandoned one?" Worship room. That's… ominous. Kian folds his arms and thinks. He's not very familiar with the Order's practices beyond their criminal ways and their general intent to control the world.

"What is it you worship and is there anything else of significance held there?" There's a short pause. "Either way that just makes it more important that we find a way to get to her without bringing down the entire city on our heads." Because kidnapping her will be, well, kidnapping. Which is slightly illegal.

"Yes. That's the one. Did you know that one of the US presidents used it to hide the fact he was disabled?" Ranna really is terrible with American history. "But something like that. I don't see any locations on these documents, do you know where they're doing this?"

The next question has her pausing. "Not who I worship, Kian. Even I did, I don't any more…" the small ninja says quietly. "It depends though. Most of the Order worship Buluc Chabtan but there are a group that seem to be dedicated to Kali." Neither are great options but the first is little frightning. "Normally the room is laid out for ritual. Honoring the god so they will accept the offerings." Offerings, such a nice to say sacrifice. "I have never seen in one but I have heard. I imagine they hold the vestments and tools for the ceremonies."

"The entire city is on our head anyway. It's not like anything we're doing is particularly legal. I should go see Mister Murdoch, though, make sure he is situated to bail us out if we get into trouble."

"The plans were for something upstate, in Albany." The State Capital city. What they're doing there isn't clear but the fact is they have their best workers HERE. They have to be related somehow, but exactly how isn't quite clear yet.

"I take it that the entire order doesn't participate in these rituals yet?" Sacrifices? That's a bit terrifying and Kian wonders what other esoteric beings they might revere.

"That's a pretty good idea. Whatever we're looking at… that kind of trouble is likely." He sighs. "Why are they important enough to hide?"

"Not all no. Some of us were just fodder, clearly." Ranna answers. "It's not widespread though. Only some do. I don't know a lot about it." Albany? Isn't that in Australia?

"Why hide them? It's not hiding, it's protecting. Only the inner circle knows how to use them and I think they want to keep to it that way. But I'm not sure, Kian. I was a soldier, really."

"Then we should both alleviate our ignorance by finding someone who knows more and asking them some pointed questions." Kian stands up. "When you're feeling it, we'll work out a schedule to keep her under surveillance. Until then…"

He moves back to the kitchen to work on some food. "Rest up."

"Don't have a choice, do I?" Ranna sighs, watching as Kian starts to move.

"Kian … " she starts, letting her voice fade with a shake of her head. "… thank you. I owe you a lot…"

"Don't worry about it." She may indeed owe him a lot. But she's going to pay it back, he's sure. She's that sort and in any case he's not giving her many choices.

"Or if you are going to worry about it, don't worry about it until you're better. " And can move. Because she's quite cut up right now, even if she is recovering.

"Will you stay … a bit, tonight?" Ranna's already started paying him back. It's not a debt that she'll ever be able to clear.

But she's not going to worry about it now. She can't do anything yet, so there's that.

In the meantime, he's doing dinner and she should try and clean up.

"That was my plan. At least as long as dinner. I don't want to rush off with a full stomach and in any case I've been out for a while. I need some time off my feet." He'd ask if that's a problem but… he knows it's not. She doesn't want to be alone. And to be honest with everything that's going on with her mother he doesn't blame her.

"How much beer is left?" Because these are the important questions.

"Not much. You drink a bit of it…" Is Ranna sassing him? "Enough for tonight, but I've been making a list of what I'm using, so I know what to buy when I can get out." It's on the benchtop, he can see it.

"I'll be back in a moment … and I'll try to help you." She's moving now, which is something.

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