Post by Alain Merrick on Jan 11, 2018 0:07:42 GMT -5
“I tend to be rather busy while in Seireitei. So rarely do I have the opportunity to spend time on personal endeavors like the clinic. Probably explains why I have yet to make significant progress.” Though he had scouted a few potential sites for his two underground laboratories, only the former required the clinic as a cover. In the deep Rukongai outskirts, he suspected that prying eyes would be minimal to nonexistent. Out of sight, out of mind was his thinking.
When Machie suggested that they begin walking, his first thought was having to weave in and out of the afternoon crowds. He could already feel the headache forming. Then the female Shinigami stepped to the roof’s edge, looking out across the sky. “Ah yes. No time to waste if we want to make full use of our three days of independent study.” Jumping from the roof, he began to expel minute amounts of reiryoku from the soles of his feet, hardening the reishi beneath them as he landed.
“Not that I mind walking of course, but I do hope that we are able to pick up the pace before too long.” Merrick had an almost innate need to always be occupied which wasn't being satisfied by walking unless he was also doing something else. Often times, thinking could be enough, but even then, he was usually multitasking. “How long has it been since our paths crossed for the first time at Third Division? Much has probably happened for you in that time. Do you have any interesting stories to tell which could appease a curious mind?”
The female shinigami followed Merrick off the edge of the roof, carefully focusing the reishi beneath her feet.
“Well, we can sight see on our way to see to this disturbance.”
Once she was sure her feet were steady, Machie began to follow her acquaintance. She didn't answer his questions about the time between their last meeting and now. She glanced below admiring the way the buildings still seemed so tall despite their height advantage. She'd spent much of the few weeks since meeting the medic in the library tending to the hell butterflies. Their seemingly random flight patterns soothed her and inspired a meditative peace within the feline woman. The greenhouses had become one of Machie's favorite places. The warmth, relative quiet, and entrancing dance of the jigokuchō seemed to please Nasima as well. The zanpakutō spirit felt more present in these times, radiating contentedness.
“It's been a few weeks, hasn't it?” Machie asked aloud after a time. “I meditated, I suppose. I sought rapport with my zanpakutō spirit. She seems to like butterflies.” A shrug followed. “Nasima is rather withdrawn, but perhaps it is because she believes I am headed down the wrong path. However, I may convince her to help me with my goal despite her misgivings.”
Vague as the answer was, it still was far more informative than the dark skinned woman would have been when they first met. For whatever reason, Nasima waited to speak until she was with Merrick. If getting to know him had anything to do with going down the path Nasima wanted, then Machie would try it. If she could do some things right in Nasima’s eyes, the cat might be more willing to help her.
Post by Alain Merrick on Jan 14, 2018 15:25:40 GMT -5
“Sightseeing, but with a purpose.” Though he described it as recreation, he didn’t have enjoyment or diversion from work in mind. The aim was strictly to acquire knowledge in pursuit of his underground laboratory. However, as far as Machie was concerned, she would only need to know about the clinic. Merrick didn’t really trust the woman, at least where his personal matters were concerned. Still, the need for assistance had become a growing reality in recent weeks. As such, this business with the upside cross would serve as a dry run to determine if the female Shinigami could be trusted with something more important, and vastly more secretive.
“You will need to trust someone eventually.” Aleith’Sor’s boisterous voice rang in his head.
I trust you. Although when he thought about it, he knew exactly what she would say. “Trust is easy when one’s confidant is unable to betray you.” It would have been hard for him to argue with such a statement which was why he was appreciative for the silence. And yet at the same time, he was mildly disappointed when the woman failed to shower him with some of her usual pearls of wisdom.
When Machie finally saw fit to speak, he came to the conclusion that she had no concept of time. “Weeks? Try months.” She must have been in some deep meditative trances if she thought it had been mere weeks since they last met. “Surely you had more to occupy your time than the one task?” When she had turned the question around on him, he pondered what he had done which could be shared without revealing too much on a personal level. “Let me see. Well, you know about my work at the hospital. Eight hours of each day is spent there on a variety of tasks. Then there is the occasional mission, like your hollow hunt, which sends me to the human realm or the deep outskirts of the Rukongai. Lastly, there are the many hours of training to hone my craft in the various arts. I do not know about you, but I have not had the luxury of free time since joining the Gotei.”
“And why is that I wonder.” The zanpakuto spirit had finally decide to chime in once again.
“It sounds as though you’ve been busy,” Machie commented. She wiggled her toes, glad to note that the last of the strange paralysis seemed to have worn off. His disbelief at her abbreviated description of the past few-- months was it?--however long it had been since their last meeting was interesting. It indicated that he had expected to hear more. Was he interested in the more mundane tasks in her day to day life such as training? Or the exercises with her fellow combat specialists? They valued teamwork and camaraderie, though that made life a little difficult for her. She preferred to work through her problems without people asking too many questions or offering unsolicited advice.
“I suppose I trained too,” the feline woman admitted. Her eyes wandered the scenery below. She glanced at Merrick briefly, then followed his gaze. Which parts of the tangle of streets and buildings below interested him most?
“You might not have been entirely wrong to say I am not… well suited for the Fifth.” Machie resisted the urge to sigh at her frustration. “There is an emphasis on integration that just doesn’t…” she trailed off again. Then, remembering her resolution to give making a friend a good faith effort, the dark skinned woman continued, “it doesn’t align with how I prefer to live or train. I know they mean to be kind but I would rather be left alone. The constant pressure to form close bonds so fast and with so many people… it’s overwhelming.” This time, a sigh did escape.
“I think I’m recovered enough to travel at a faster pace now,” she intoned after a short silence, indicating the end of her sharing. The flat monotone had returned to her voice, as if she had not just come close to confiding in another person. In moments, Machie retreated from being a new soldier, uncertain of her place in the Gotei to a two dimensional extra --a face in the crowd with no feelings or memorable traits. She folded inwards, emotionally, stowing away any hints of vulnerability, of personality.
Talking to Merrick was easy, especially now that he was encouraging her to say what was on her mind. He gave her space to talk about herself without asking too much. He was straightforward, for the most part. Even with all of this, Machie was at her limit for opening up and trusting for now. 402/4134
Post by Alain Merrick on Jan 17, 2018 0:22:50 GMT -5
How the woman was unable to realize that Fifth was a poor fit until recently, was beyond him. “The Infantry Fighting Force does seem to have a reputation for being a rather boisterous bunch which, in my opinion, is not like you. I believe I may have asked previously, but why did you choose to join them?” If she preferred to be left alone, then any other division would have better. Merrick was often doing his own thing in Third, but he also actively avoided others. Things had worked out well thus far. “Fifth also seems driven by only one thing, combat. I would have said that was unlike you as well, but after witnessing your battle with Pariapsis, I am not so sure.” That revelation had been a minor disappointment for the Shinigami doctor.
When Machie confirmed that she was enough to travel with hoho, Alain offered a nod. Then with a single burst of reiryoku from the soles of his feet, he was soaring through the New York sky. “Regrettably, there are no structures in my preferred style between here and our destination. Thus, there is no need to delay, but stay ready. We will likely encounter spiritually aware humans and Quincy. I am aware of only individual in the group who is at or near my level of strength, but we should still exercise caution by stopping a few blocks away. Then we suppress our reiatsu and approach unnoticed. I trust you are capable of the feat?” It was never going to be the best plan, especially if Machie struggled to hide herself. Though perhaps they could take a wait and see approach. Kyokko spells could hide them while they observed to see if anyone entered or exited the building. If her ability with hado was any indication, then Bakudo #26 was within her capabilities. In any case, he let the question hang in the area as he gave himself another burst of speed as he maneuvered around more skyscrapers.
The combat specialist shrugged at Merrick’s response. She had joined the Fifth in hopes that focusing on her combat skills, primarily her zanjutsu would help her pursue her relationship with her zanpakuto spirit. This was proving to be far less successful than she had hoped and the dark skinned woman didn’t need to be told she didn’t fit in. She had known that the first day. Machie hadn’t tried very hard to fit in, thinking that she could be a part of the Fifth Division yet do things her own way.
However, the time for sharing had passed so Machie prepared herself to follow the medic. To her consternation, Merrick was much faster than her. Machie propelled herself forward with reiryoku and ran as quickly as she could to catch up. When she finally caught up to the medic, it was because he had stopped moving rather than her reaching comparable speed.
The feline shinigami took controlled breaths in through her nose and released the air in soft huffs through her mouth while she recovered from their accelerated travel. Glancing around their new surroundings, Machie waited for Merrick to speak. This unofficial mission was more his than hers, and it was time to fall back again. Breathing calmed, the dark skinned woman began stretching her senses, trying to get her bearings. The familiar purple-tipped cat ears appeared above her heads and an ethereal tail curled around her feet while she crouched. 241/4375
Post by Alain Merrick on Jan 18, 2018 23:12:50 GMT -5
Glancing over his shoulder from time to time, it was clear that Machie needed to work on her hoho technique. The Shinigami doctor had been traveling half speed at best and she was still lagging behind. When the pair finally arrived about three blocks from the office building, the young woman was struggling for breath. Perhaps that explained why she had fallen silent yet again, but he suspected that there was more to it. In any case, the silence was golden. Now if she would only maintain it should he decide to pursue Amara and her group.
As he waited for Machie to regain her composure, his sky blue eyes drifted towards their destination. Rising above all of the nearby structures, the office building was easy to pick out from a distance. Nevertheless, the decision to make this little detour before returning Soul Society had left him unprepared. Normally, he would have taken the time to peruse blueprints of an unknown location. Likewise, he would have spent hours if not days, simply observing a prospective target. Unfortunately, the pair were working with limited freedom.
Alain lifted his right arm and pointed with index and middle fingers pressed together. “That is the building and judging from the others nearby, we are looking at ten floors.” The man didn’t like to guess, but he would know for certain upon arrival. “I think that we should split up when we get there. One will enter via the top floor, the other, the first. Which would you prefer?” Merrick preferred the roof, but he was flexible. It just seemed like the most likely choice for a quick escape was the roof and he was the faster of the two. “I trust that you will be capable of handling a few wayward humans or Quincy?”
He took a moment to stretch his arms high overhead before adjusting the glasses upon his face. It wasn’t going to be much of a plan, but what other choice did he have besides walking away. “Do you have any questions or suggestions before we begin? Be quick. If we wait too long, we will be contending with the darkness as well.” In all likelihood, the interior of the building would be well-lit, but he preferred to expect the unexpected. “If there is nothing else, we can suppress our reiatsu and scramble across roofs for the last few blocks. Then we use the parking garage to get in position.”
Machie observed the building, eyes narrowed. She could hear hints of something inside; there were spiritually aware beings inside. “If they are not unusually strong I will be alright.” The dark skinned woman frowned, but the expression disappeared quickly. She glanced at the sky, taking note of the sun’s position. “Let’s go. I’ll take the bottom.”
Another glance towards the building.
“When should we meet up? A couple of hours?” She pulled her denreishinki from her pocket and flipped it open. “It’s about five thirty now.” Machie flipped the phone closed and then slipped it back into a pocket in her uniform. Her hand brushed against one of the rips in her uniform. Inwardly, the feline woman regretted the damage done to her clothing. She would have to take some time to repair it. It was a shame she hadn’t thought to bring extra clothes. 145/4520
Post by Alain Merrick on Jan 20, 2018 0:20:54 GMT -5
Hopefully, the woman had the good sense to retreat if she confronted trouble which she couldn't handle. “Then I shall enter via the roof and work my way down.” Once again, he questioned Machie’s concept of time. “Hours? How long does it take you walk up five flights of stairs? I do not see this taking more than ten minutes. Twenty at the most. Unless we do find something.” If this turned out to be a simple gathering of Quincy or spiritually aware humans, then there was nothing for them to do. Without evidence of experimentation being perpetrated, no one was going to willingly talk to a pair of Shinigami. Nor would they have the authority to do anything beyond ask a few questions. “We will meet on the Fifth floor. Depending on our speed, maybe that shifts up or down a floor. Remember, we are only interested in crime of a spiritual nature. Human matters are not our concern.” He looked the woman up and down briefly. She seemed ready. “Let us go.”
Merrick suppressed his reiatsu to the best of his ability and began sprinting across rooftops for the next three blocks. When they reached the building opposite their destination, he stopped momentarily. “I will see you there.” Then he jumped across the gulf between the buildings, landing atop the office complex. Leaning over the roof’s edge, he watched Machie enter the turnstile on the first floor. Alain followed suit, using the roof access door to slip inside. As he suspected, the halls were well-lit. The tenth floor was completely empty. When he descended to the ninth, he began to notice fluctuations in reiatsu signatures. He could distinguish three spiritually aware humans, close to ground level. At first, he thought that they might be suppressing their reiatsu like him, but then one of the signatures vanished completely. “Hmm.” Potentially concerning, but Machie’s energy remained clear as day. As he continued to methodically work his way down to the fifth floor, he wondered if Adrian’s information had been correct after all. He didn't know what was going on just yet, but something didn't seem quite right.
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