2020-03-22 - I Am Tama


Ranna finds another message from Marthe

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Sun Mar 22 05:11:14 2020
Location: New York

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Theme Song



Kian's plan of 'use tracking data to make the Hand and the Order look like idiots' is bearing some fruit. Using data gleaned from the movements of Midnight and Shadow Stalker they have been able to identify and track a few other groups of Order operatives and were able to set up a couple scenarios to make them cross paths in hilarious ways. And then capture this data on camera and share it with the world.

This has the Order and the Hand seething and a number of people out for revenge. Naturally.

At the moment Kian Allard-Liao is in a streetside garage working on his bike. While electric, it still has a number of mechanical parts that need to be regularly serviced and that gets him a bit greasy.

It's been interesting watching the machinations of Kian. Ranna knows from first hand experience how mortifying he can be.

The small ex-Order ninja has been working today - at the market. It doesn't pay anywhere near as well as the underground fights she participates in, but it's easier money sometimes than taking a beating. And, to be honest, she's not fully recovered from the last beating she took.

Entering the garage where Kian is working, Ranna stops to watch him working silently. He might realise she's there, she's so silent - then again he might.

"I bought beer and pretzels, if you're hungry."

"That's great. Could you put them on the table? I'll be a minute." Kian is detaching the drive train from the electric motor, one of the things that drives the impeller on the back end. He sets it down on a bench and then goes to get a clean towel to wipe the grease off himself.

"Got a race tonight and want to make sure it all works. Did you just get off shift?" She's dressed normally so he's going to guess yes. At least, she's not dressed like she's going to a fight and it's too early anyway.

"A little bit ago. The pretzels are old stock - they'll be fresh but just." She says, putting the food on the table and turning to lean against it. Kian might be lean, but he's well built - even greasy, she doesn't mind looking.

Ranna is dressed normally, hair pulled back in a pony tail, jeans and collared t-shirt. She looks like she's spent the day on her feet. "A race, huh? Mind if I come to watch? I don't have a fight tonight. Next one is Tuesday …"

"Sure, come on down. There's usually cameras and such so that people can see. Or some folks go-pro it but I wouldn't watch those streams. You won't see me unless I lap them." Finally clean-ish Kian goes to get a pretzel and some beer. He hops up to sit on one of the tables.

"You look like you worked a full shift. Back and neck finally feeling better?" She had surgery but it's been long enough that he figures she should be well and truly recovered by this point.

"You're awfully confident." Ranna answers, opening a beer and taking a long drink. "Do I get to put the wreath about your neck if you win?" She's teasing a little. A little more relaxed with him than she has been previously. "Your last video is up to 3500 views by the way."

"I did, yeah. And mostly. Getting beat up regularly doesn't help the recover but now I have the armour, it's better. I still get stabs of pain every now and then, but I think that's phantoms more than anything. "

She doesn't talk about the dreams she gets though.

"Of course I am, this is how I pay my bills." Kian chuckles. "You didn't think it was by youtubing did you?" Wreath, he shakes his head. No wreath. No podium. Just money changing hands and sometimes cars too. Kian doesn't take other people's bikes usually but he does take money to not take their bikes. This is why people accept regularly losing to him, generally.

"That many? That'll annoy them. We will have to see if we can get one of them to go viral though. That'll REALLY annoy them."

And this is partly about annoying them.

"Well pay attention to them. Go see Hank if they get too bad." Beat. "Hear anything from your mother?"

Ranna just rolls her eyes at Kian's confidence. "No, I didn't. Not with 3500 views on a video." She says. "Make some Meme's and distribute them. That should help. Not that I understand them at all."

Memes aren't something that featured highly in Ranna's upbringing.

"I will. I'm sure they're nothing though. I could use a back rub from time to time though …" She even manages to say that with a straight face.

Any joking disappears at the mention of the Marthe Pryde. "Heard from mother? I … wouldn't say that." She says quietly but holds out her phone for Kian to take. "I was checking the forums, like you've shown me how to do. I found this message addressed to Little Hunter from Bitter Lady. That could be from her to me … "

"Mmmm? And what did this message say." Kian gives Ranna a level look at the mention of backrubs and takes another sip of his beer. It's nice and cold, she must have come right over from the store. The pretzels are just about to go stale yes but they're still soft and when heated still very nice.

All in all it's a good snack. Just what he needed to get through the rest of the work he has to do servicing that drive train and impeller.

"That's a no then…?" Ranna shrugs at the level look. She's used to it really.

Looking at the phone and the message she's saved, Ranna shakes her head. "I'm not sure, really. There's a lot of nonsense in it. Referencing things that didn't happen when we were together. "

"It jumps all over the place. She reminds me of reading I Am Tama, Lucky Cat when I was small. Then goes on to mention dates that we did other things. Like the mention of having mochi for Fathers birthday on April 6th. We did have mochi on April 6th, the year I turned sixteen. But … I don't have a Father, really."

Kian can see the message as Ranna talks. There's thing highlighted and underlined. Dates and words.

Kian takes up a pad and jots the numbers down. And also a few of the words. He starts to play with them, moving them into different combinations to see if anything makes sense. Anagrams are a crude way to get a message across but they can be hard to guess without any context for what the anagram is supposed to be about. After all the more symbols in the message the exponentially more combinations.

"Father's Birthday… huh." Kian says as he thinks. "Well you had to have had one in a strict technical sense. I mean it's not like you're a clone." Pause. "Er. Are you?"

Ranna watches as Kian jots things down. "I thought of that…" she says as he works. Nothing he comes up with makes sense. "And no, I don't believe I am. My mother chose my father for his genetic code, though. When I was conceived, there was no need for him to remain with her."

Ranna had been raised by Marthe for The Order.

"I need a copy of that book, Kian." She says slowly. "The edition that I would have had as a child. It's a cipher I think. It was a game, Mother used to play with me. Leaving little messages around - that I'd have to decode."

It's crude - a childs game, but could be effective?

"I see." Kian was chose for his bloodline but his bloodline came about more naturally. Certainly both the Allards and the Liaos are revered bloodlines among the people who know of them and the marriage of Kian's parents was strategic, but it was also a marriage and a relationship. He is not, in that manner, an experiment. And in the manner that he is, he volunteered.

"Mmmmm. I Am Tama… it's a pretty popular book. Let me see…"

Kian gets out his tablet and taps a bit. "There we go. Ebook. Two languages. English and Japanese. Er. Do you read Japanese?"

He hands it over either way. He knows that Ranna at least reads English.

"You see?" Ranna wonders at the tone that Kian uses. She doesn't think of herself as an experiment.

"I read and speak Japanese, Mandarin and English." she answers "But get the english version. Mother was using that to help me learn english."

When he's got the book down, she gives him a page number based the date, then a line number and tells him to copy the word at the beginning of the line.

Will it work with the ebook? Maybe. The message the young ninja has been given is interesting.

Shadow Midnight chosen of the beast.

Kian starts to copy things down. He's wondering the same things but when the message is complete he considers it. That… is not something he wanted to see but at least it makes sense.

"Chosen of the Beast. The Beast isn't associated with the Order. It's the demon-god worshipped by the Hand. Why would it be 'choosing' operatives from the Order? And why would the Order either care or put up with it?"

Those are not questions that he has answers to but he goes to his phone to check his tracking all the same. It's still operational.

"This is something we're going to need to look into. We should wait until one of these two is isolated and then pay them a personal visit. Whatever the Hand wants with them I doubt it's good news for either of us."

Which is true even if it doesn't directly concern them.

Ranna looks at the message and twists her lips as she thinks. "It doesn't make sense. If she had said Kalika, it might but not the beast." Kian's right, the Order wouldn't care or put with up it. But more importantly, why did Marthe go to the effort to tell her renegade daughter?

"We'll do that but we'll need to be careful. If they are chosen, then they are more dangerous than we expect." beat "Soon, though. We shouldn't delay to find out more. I don't dare send Mother a response. I don't know if I can trust her either."

Tonight though, Kian has a race.

The only reason Kian could think of that her mother would send such a message is that the Order is somehow cooperating with the Hand. Which he knows they already are on some levels but… they might be more into that than he had realized and that is potentially a very big problem not only for them but for the world.

"We will. Soon. Now… are you going to want a shower or something before the race? There's time to get changed and relax a bit." She has after all been working all day.

Ranna smirks at Kian as she slides from the table. "I think you need a shower more than I do. Perhaps we could share it …" She teases. "Yes, I need a shower. And I want to get changed - I don't want to be wearing my work shirt when I watch you tonight."

Kian gives her a level look again and then takes another sip of beer. "I don't think there are any showers in the garage or I'd tell you where they are. Anyway. See you at seven tonight?"

There's always a bit of a meet and greet to show off the vehicles. People who do illegal street racing tend to be really proud of what they've got and really into the machines in general.

And it's a good way to scope out the competition.

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