Essence

September 30, 2015:

Clint follows a known Hand connection and finds Kimiko Tatsu.

Hotel Niwa - Metropolis

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

Hotel Niwa. Metropolis.

It's a mistake, perhaps, to say that the place is 'known' to have ties to the underworld. It is after all, just a hotel. A very nice one too, with an unusual asthetic for such a sleek modern looking building. The interior is traditional Japanese, all carefully maintained and presented to offer guests a refuge from the hectic, gleaming world just outside. Metropolis may be the city of tomorrow, but this is a refreshing step back to the quiet of yesterday. A reminder, if you will, that in the march of progress it's important to remember those things that brought peace in past years.

Of course, it's also the residence of several people of interest to less… regulated sectors of the economy, which is what brings Bakuto here. Outwardly he's a simple businessman from Peru of Japanese descent - not an uncommon thing in Peru - but Clint Barton suspects he has ties to the recent rain of toads in New York. Just how he's tied… well Clint isn't sure yet. That's why he's followed the man here. Not followed him in yet but… hrm… maybe he can get some elevation and listen in. Oh for the gadgets SHIELD used to give him. Ah well.

Inside, Mister Bakuto approaches the front desk and gives the attendent a polite smile and a small bow in greeting. "Is Miss Tatsu available?" His accent is oriental despite his South American origins. "I wish to discuss business with her."


Of course the Japanese love their high tech, and the hotel is brimming with it… just carefully concealed. The best design is 99 invisible, after all. Even at the front desk, the computers that coordinate the activities of the hotel so it runs more like a machine than a business with people is set down and out of sight, so that the ultra-modern doesn't intrude on the elegance of the past.
fIt's a woman at the front desk. It's Japanese, is that really a surprise? Much lie the surroundings, they cling to some ideas of the past very tightly. She smiles as Mister Bakuto approaches, her voice high and soft and oh-so-deferential as she bows her upper body, hands folded in front of her. "Good day sir." Only then do her hands come up to tap at the screen below, bringing up Kimiko's appointments. "Do you have an appointment?"


It's not often that Oracle gets /asked/ to help by Barton. Her help often comes because she sees he needs it, he's normally in a scrape or a bind. Or in Gotham. Today though, the Clocktower bound redhead has been asked to help and she's monitoring that very same hotel.

Video feeds from the outside of the building are displayed on her screens and her algorithms are running to hack into the internal systems - once she has those, she'll have eyes on all parts of the building.

The systems are good though, state of the art - perhaps even better - and it's taking her slightly longer than usual.

"Ronin, this is Oracle. I have eyes on the street. Gaining access to the internal management systems. I need a moment longer." She hopes the brash ex-SHIELD agent gives it to her, but she's not going to hold her breath - she'll go blue and pass out.


It's important, really, to keep an eye on Mister Bakuto. He's already nearly slipped Clint twice and at one point the veteran agent was sure he'd been made. Now he thinks its just paranoia. People like Bakuto get like that. It keeps them alive. It doesn't tend to make them many friends though. "You work on that… I think I see a way up the side of the building. Moving in." Whether or not he makes it, and whether or not they detect him are other questions.

"Yes, I believe she is." One does not simply walk in on Kimiko Tatsu, even if one represents the parties that Bakuto represents. He's in a hurry, a bit. His superiors have not been happy with the interferance they've been getting from certain parties, which include SHIELD and now local and federal law enforcement. It's like someone is talking. And it may now be necessary to manage certain shipments through a party more insinuated into the region than Bakuto's people are, as much as that stings to admit. The man waits patiently while Kimiko's schedule is checked and presumably he himself is vetted. He's paranoid and he's come to expect that of others.


The receptionist doesn't get the details, but when she pulls up Kimiko's appointment it does have the man's name and image for visual confirmation. The woman's smile never falters, unfailingly polite as she bows her head again. "Of course, sir." Names aren't always something to toss about in public, given the behind-the-scenes business. She gestures to one side, fingers together and palm turned up to indicate a private elevator with a darkly suited Japanese man who nods over to Bakuto. "We will escort you to Miss Tatsu's office."

Oh Clint. Aren't you glad you're looking to take the outside route? Kimiko's office is at the top of the luxury highrise hotel. It's part of her suite there, along with the guards that will do the checking of Mister Bakuto for weapons and wires and the like.

The building's cyber security is top-notch. While their American holdings here are involved with gambling and money laundering and the like, back in Japan they devote a not inconsiderable amount of resources to bleeding-edge electronics. Mostly oriented to cybernetics. But they're not Oracle.


Last cypher cracked, the feeds from the building start to appear on Oracles screens, views of hallways, elevators, restrooms (she'd like to say that was unique, but it's not) and offices start to appear. And there's audio too! A small luxury the redhead doesn't often get.

The blueprints for the building are also accessed and details of Kimiko's office transmitted to Ronin's phone app.

Oh yes, Mister Bakuto… well his phone just happens to be compromised. That latest app he downloaded? With that lovely data on his business interests? Totally planted by Oracle.


Clint may not be glad he's taking the outside route in a minute. It's… a long way up. He simply wasn't confident of his ability to talk his way inside. And with good reason. He doesn't exactly look like the kind of jet setter or travelling guru that'd be staying here. Honestly, they seem pretty picky about their clientel.

Wonder why that is?

A grapple arrow gets him up about six floors to a landing but from there it's going to be old fashioned free climbing. Granted, with a couple of tricks from his old spy days. Tricks that didn't come easy. More worrying than the long climb though is the lack of a quick way down. He'll uh… figure something out. He hopes.

Mister Bakuto, unaware he's being watched, comes up to the top floor. He's not exactly the picture of serenity. But he at least appears composed. A great many of his compatriots in this, er, particular sector of business are men. Meeting with a woman is unusual partly because it's at odds with the aura of solidified tradition this place presents but mostly because the women who tend to rise to prominence in this business are either especially good at what they do, or especially vicious. Or both. Which one Kimiko is he's about to find out.

"Miss Tatsu." He gives his host a polite bow as he's seen in. A much deeper one than what he offered the reception desk.


Kimiko is standing when Bakuto comes in, meeting him as he's shown in the door by her security. She's dressed in a cream pantsuit, pressed and tailored with her hair pulled back and not a one out of place. Her expression is calmly serene, but without the smile or deference given below. His bow is politely returned, and while she's not exactly welcoming nor is she being particularly cold. "Mister Bakuto." She returns before gesturing for him to take a seat before she takes her own.

"How can Clan Tatsu help you?" Her voice is softer than a man might use, but still nothing in Kimiko's manner is submissive.

Her office is fairly minimalist. Something Japanese tend to favor. There are a few plants, carefully tended bonsai, an ikebana arrangement. Things that in a Western office might read as 'feminine', but are less so in Eastern settings.


"Bakuto is in Tatsu's office, Ronin" Oracle reports, watching the body language of the man. The woman is interesting, of course, but so far there's nothing Oracle wouldn't expect of her. That doesn't mean she won't watch though. "He seems a little nervous."

Watching Clints ascent up the building, Oracle shakes her head. How will he get down in hurry? She might just start working on that.


"He is huh? I wonder way. I asked around some of my spy friends about Bakuto. Didn't get much that was useful. And even less about who he was meeting here." Which means that they're good at keeping quiet or haven't been around for long. Clint's not sure which.

The good news is that he's made good progress. It's windy up here but that's usually the case. He's almost in position and then maybe he can get a good listen in on the pair. Well, he hopes. The internal layout of the penthouse was near impossible to come by so he's going to have to do what he can from outside. Which is… probably safer. Just another minute more, anyway.

Bakuto represents… well certain interests. Kimiko knows who. Often that intimidates people. Certainly he hopes that the reputation of his superiors will be a factor in the upcoming conversations but he gets the feeling it might be less than he's used to.

"We're experiencing some difficulties with our import and export business. Moving our product to market, and shipping acquisitions out, has become quite challenging. I was given to understand that your people may have the necessary familiarity with the local landscape to smooth things over." Often it's considered impolite to approach these matters bluntly, so Bakuto dances around it, a bit. Unless of course Kimiko is one of those who is going to tell him to cut to the chase and use plain language. It's one thing he prefers about South America over Japan. The ability to be plain.


Kimiko arches a dark brow. Her pause is telling. "Difficulties?" She's learned the hard way what 'difficulties' can mean in a city like Metropolis. That would be why hopefully Clint isn't going to try and listen through the office glass with a laser mic. All he'll get is the background music that uses the windows as a speaker. It's soft enough to be unobtrusive, but the vibrations in the glass totally keep someone that might do a flyby in blue-and-red from catching stray conversation. Or y'know, former SHIELD spies.

"I am sure that we could accommodate you… If we know what we are dealing with and the price is right." If Kimiko's intimidated, she certainly doesn't let it show. She is rather renowned in her circles as being something of an Ice Queen, though.

Other adornments in Kimiko's office are a smattering of ancient weapons that seem to be required by any Japanese businessperson. A stand with katana and wakizashi. Crossed naginata. Things of that nature.


The precautions against outside spying might work, but it doesn't help when the all-seeing eye has access to your internal systems. Oracle patches the audio through to Clint, so he can listen to the discussion as he climbs.

"They're currently beating around the bush." She's aware of how these conversations go and her attention is focussed as they dance their verbal dance. "When you get there, Ronin, beware, Ms Tatsu has an impressive weapons collection." The redhead smiles, grimly, at that "Whilst they appear to be the trapping of your quintessential Japanese business person, I'd warrant she knows how to use them."

What Oracle isn't sure of… and she kicks off some searches to investigate … is whether there's any symbology associated with the placement of the weapons and those plants.

Come to think of it, her attention turns to the plants… they could be good places to hide things - electronics or even toxins.


It's a good question whether or not Oracle can tell from her access what's hidden in there but there's no harm in letting her look. Clint does indeed go for the laser mic at the window…

And hears elevator music. Well, Japanese elevator music. "Well crap." He mutters more for himself than for his online compatriot but she'll hear it anyway no doubt. "She's got her windows proof against listening in so I'm going to go for roof and vent access, see what's there."

That means avoiding the windows, of course and getting up onto the roof without making any noise. Now if he can just find a good… oh hey, a skylight. Skylight's are fun. Maybe he can take a few pictures with a thermal camera and see if there are any documents worth photographing. There may not be. Security conscious people don't leave things out but sometimes they relax in secure, familair places.

"We're moving cargo mostly. Assorted antiques recovered by our… agents that need to be shipped back to our holdings overseas. And we move people in and out. There have been entanglements with… local law. Just misunderstandings I'm sure." Misunderstandings of the pointy kind. Kimiko may well be familair with that manner of misunderstanding. "It's made it difficult to get people in and out." The more so because not everyone being taken in or out wants to go. They're not /technically human trafficking inasmuch as they're not selling, but certain… people with certain talents - often paranormal or arcane talents - need to be moved and acquired here in the states as the Hand's plan unfolds back east. And what is that plan?

Good question. Right now Bakuto is hoping Kimiko won't ask.


If the plants are hiding anything, it doesn't come up on a casual scan. None of them identify as poisonous or the like.

Sadly for Clint, there are no documents lying out and about. A lot of people have messy, cluttered desks but Kimiko's looks like it's part of a photoshoot. The laquered desktop is clean, without a computer or personal momentos. That and the view behind her is all about making a statement to those that are sitting right where Bakuto is.

"Just local law?" She asks, the words with their British-accented English carefully enunciating each word. Local law isn't usually something that hinders the Hand.


Oracle is well aware at how clean Kimiko's office is… that's to be expected really. Just because the business woman doesn't have a computer on display, doesn't mean she doesn't have one. These types of offices have hidden nooks for those types of things - and being as technologically advanced as they are, the computer could be disguised. Paper thin monitors and the like that look like mirrors or pieces of art.

Checking the process that she'd started on accessing the computer system, the redhead notes it might nearly be there - of course, those processes look like they're hitting the systems from all over the world, nothing to lead back to Gotham.

"I've patched the audio in, Ronin." Oracle seems amused "You can hear what they're saying, as well as I."


"Isn't that interesting." Clint murmurs as he breaks out the thermal camera. Okay. Time to see if there are any odd heat sources. He sweeps it over the roof, looking through it and into the room. There's Kimiko and Bakuto. Vents and Heating. Mmmmmhmmm… Wait. What's that. There's something pinging on the camera and he's not sure what it is. He can get a look at it, but he'll have to lean out over the skylight. Well… nothing ventured…

"Local and Federal law." Bakuto says with some distaste. "And SHIELD." Which makes sense. SHIELD alerted local and federal law enforcement agencies after the hit on the SHIELD storage facility that went horribly, horribly wrong and now that they have those agencies are making it difficult to do illegal things unnnoticed. Especially in metropolis there's only so much bribery and brute force will get you. Contacts are more valuable and while the Hand has some, Kimoko has more. "My superiors are prepared to negociate a reasonable price for your assistance." And of course if they can tie the Tatsu clan into this, so much the better. They're often… ellusive. "Are you prepared to-"

Thunk. That's Clint. Hitting the skylight after overbalancing. He's quick enough to roll out of view but. "Crap. Crapcrapcrapcrapcrap."

"What was that?"


Kimiko's head tilts upwards just as her guest's does, though her expression remains placid. She lifts her fingers in a 'hold on' sort of gesture while the other dances over her desktop. The previously dark surface lights up, and to one side a wall that looked to be covered in Sumi-e style art but is actually a large monitor shifts images as Kimiko access the rooftop cameras.

The computer systems haven't noticed Oracle's attempts yet, the system relying more on encryption than detection.


A failing of most IT people - to not protect against all sorts of attacks. Encryption is only part of the equation - slowing people down, detecting their accesses … that's all part of the security business. Although, Oracle isn't going to complain that they don't do it - she'll just capitalise on it.

The cypher is nearly decrypted as Clint does a… Clint and the redhead rolls her eyes. Seeing Kimiko access the desktop (quite literally in fact) and the artwork lights up… Oracle moves into action.

Can she subvert the camera feed? Loop in something from a few a minutes ago? Is she quick enough? She's going to try, that's for sure… hands racing over her console as she tries to slice and splice …. "Ronin, they've got eyes on the roof. Keep down and move…"


Is Oracle good enough to subvert the camera feed? Regardless, that was a quite lound thunk. No bird, definitely. Clint quickly palms his mask and slides it on. It's gonna look weird, that mask combined with a black tee shirt and cargo pants and a quiver… and a bow. Yeah, he's got to get moving and fast. Even if they don't see anything they may come up and look.

First problem, how does one get down from a high building in a hurry? "Er, Okay, let's see…"

The Hand representative quirks an eyebrow but remains silent. He is looking up suspiciously at the roof now, though, wondering what's going on. If this were a double cross he'd be dead already. So… more interference then? "Miss Tatsu?"


Oracle manages to catch the all-digital feed to keep Ronin from showing up on the screen… but it causes enough of a lag that Kimiko's gotten suspicious. A few more light touches and the door on the roof slams open as Yakuza enforcers spill out. Dark suits, sunglasses… At least they're not in the red pajamas of the Hand, right?

Kimiko rises up to her feet, stepping over to pick up the katana by its laquered case and her gaze narrows on her guest. "Were you followed?" Did he bring his own trouble to her house? Given Clan Tatsu's business, it's entirely possible whoever might be here is here for them. But the timing is bad for the Hand rep.

To make things worse, Oracle's quick, messy highjack of the camera feeds has finally alerted the Tatsu systems that Something Is Wrong, and cyber alerts are going off up and down the network.

The first thing that happens? The Tatsu systems start cutting their connection to the Internet. It can restore connection after the breech is fixed.


Damn. Oracles eyes narrow at the screen as the alerts go up… and two things happen simultaenously.

A worm is set off to locate a back door to the system - typically a dial up connection for times when the 'Net is down but there may be something else she can use… if it finds something, the worm is programmed to connect to one of Oracles remote systems. Oh yes, it morphs and embeds itself into the Tatsu system… a rootkit that is not easily detectable - one that adapts and multiplies … that variant, goes dormant almost immediately, proof against when the Tatsu systems go live again.

The second? A data dump … locating as many files as she can, the redheaded Information Goddess starts transferring them to a facility located in Switzerland… she won't get them all and she's not checking what she's grabbing…

"Ronin, you don't have a way down, do you?" The resignation in her voice does't translate through the digital disguise. Can she call out to SHIELD and get a quinjet there? Probably - but it wouldn't be in time.


"I'm a little busy right now." He's thinking. And not worrying about what's going on electronically at the moment in the battle of the hackers. No, instead he's shooting people with arrows. Sometimes in the knee but that's not always possible. Bad news for him? The roof doesn't have a whole lot of cover. Double bad news for him, Kimiko and Bakuto can hear it from where they are.

"Followed? Or is this your trouble. Is this building not secure?" It's the first time he's shown any annoyance but he is annoyed. This has been par for the course in the last few weeks and it's wearing thin. It's annoying his bosses too which is far, far more dangerous.


Gunfire barks from up top, muffled by the acoustics but still quite audible. At least no one is likely to hear it on the street oh-so-far below.

"The timing is a bit too coincidental to say this is my trouble." Kimiko replies back, words short and clipped. She nods to the private elevator. "Go. My staff will see you out quietly." Through one of the many hidden entrances. They'll have to pick up their conversation later. When there isn't a silly former birdie trying to poke his beak where it doesn't go.

As the Hand representative is hustled out of her office, Kimiko connects to her security's comms line. "Report."


Another arrow, another yakuza enforcer. Not that he knows who exactly they are but men in suits with compact automatics generally screams 'organized crime.' Well… nothing for it. Clint jumps into the skylight boots first and tumbles to the floor in a shower of glass shards accompanied by an earsplitting shattering noise. That'll have Oracle wincing no doubt. "If you're still in, override the elevators." He's gonna need a way down. Fast.

"What is the m-" Clint's fast on the draw. Fast enough to let an arrow go at Bakuto. Who is fast enough to not get pinioned by it, though the broadhead does wing him on the tricep. Hopefully all that is enough of a distraction for Clint to push past the man and his escort.

He hasn't quite counted on Kimiko though.


Kimiko ducks her head, turning away as the glass showers down around her and her office like deadly snow. The sharp edges cut her expensive suit and the quick movement pulls her long, heavy hair free of the pins that held it in place and spills it in a waterfall of blank ink down her back.

As Clint is focused on his target, the glass settles and Kimiko is standing to the side with katana held by the sheath in one hand, the other protecting her face one moment and the next there's the cool kiss of folded steel against his throat as she timesteps. Thecream of her suit and the gold of her skin are marred by thin streaks of red from where the skylight has cut her skin, one drop painting a line down her cheek.

"You, sir. Are an uninvited guest." Her tone is still calm. Placid. No anger, no fear to be seen and her hand is oh-so-steady.


Oracles tracking Bakuto, she'll call out one of her team out to collect him. Right now, her focus is on getting Clint out of there.

Wincing at the sound of shattering glass, she grits her teeth "They've shut down access to the system." Dropping Internet access is the only sure way to the hacker out and if she's got that backdoor, she's not letting on and overriding the elevators will do that.

One of the things about Oracles 'bird' network, is the connection it's given her a unique connection within SHIELD, which is only solidified with her position on the JL:A.

"Quinjet incoming, Ronin." It will take a few minutes … and she's given Ronin's co-ordinates to the pilot. He may need to dive for it - but it's better than taking the fall.


Quinjet incoming. He needs to buy time. That's what goes through Clint's head. Buy time and get to a place where he can take a jump. Unfortunately for Clint the rest of him is acting on instinct. Instinct when having a blade pressed up against his throat is to try to hook it with his recurve and drag it away while closing inside the swordsman's reach for an infight. Trained. Solid tactics. Good fighting.

Maybe not much good against a meta though. He hasn't processed that part yet. "Wish I could say I was sorry but…" The snark is automatic too. Sadly.


Oracle's system's manage to find the back door to the system, because the tech geeks can't NOT have one, no matter how much other people might point out that the whole reason to cut network access is to buy time to keep the system safe.

The woman facing off against Roning is petite. One might even call her 'tiny'. He hooks the blade, dragging it away from his vulnerable throat while moving to step inside her reach. Given their height and size difference, it's easy to tell who would win in a physical confrontation. Not too surprising then, that she moves to try to keep some of that distance, blade twisting to try to catch his bowstring as she pulls it free with the edge leaving traces of some glowing red substance in its wake. Anything that stuff touches is eaten away at as though the stuff were acid.

"I plan to have you say so much more than that you are sorry." Kimiko warns her intruder.


Of course there's a backdoor, it's what Oracle was counting on. If need be, she'll let her presence be known, but now, she's just poking around. That little worm she set off, is gathering the data and sending it to her.

Facepalming at Ronin's snark, she watches the Quinjets approach "2 minutes, Ronin." Thankfully those jets are quick and it's not far from New York to Metropolis. "Be ready to jump."


Clint spins his bowstaff to keep the blade away from his throat… or any of his other fleshy bits. The central seciton is hard wood and the staff ends are metal. Hopefully she doesn't slice them in two with whatever it is that she's got there. Not a normal sword he knows that already.

The archer throws up a knee but she's already backing. He's trying to keep her in range, keep her from incapacitating him for long enough to make a risky break… it's going to be an uphill battle though. "Do you now? I can say a lot more but I doubt you're gonna want to hear it." He'd really rather not be talking right now. Talking gives time for her to hurt him or more guards to arrive.


Of course what Kimiko has, that Clint doesn't know yet, is Time. It eats away at his bow, but the metal will likely hold up better than the wood as it starts to age decades in seconds.

Kimiko moves with him, a graceful flow of movement and that deadly blade that glints red sweeps for his legs. One of the best ways to slow someone down is to injure their legs. "I'll keep your offending tongue for a trophy when I am done."


Ronin can hear it now, the rumble of the Quinjets engine. Oracle is relaying Ronins location in the building to the Jet… they're going to have to take that window out for Ronin to make his exit. Firing weapons at a hotel in Metropolis probably isn't going to go too well… luckily Oracle has some tricks up her digital sleeves.

"This might hurt." She informs Ronin "You might want to cover your ears and turn so your phone is facing the window." A high pitched, Ultrasonic sound emits from his phones … it's the right frequency to shatter that glass and give Ronin the perfect exit …

Now… where is that Quinjet …. there it is… just coming into range.


The glass shattering and the sweep at Clint's leg come at roughly the same time. The blade cuts but it also does… something else. "Sonofa-!" It's not clear if that's for the injury or the noise. Maybe both.

Either way Ronin makes a break for it. He won't stand up in a fight against this woman much longer and while he's risking another attack at his back as he dives out the window, it's better than staying where he is…

Oh this is going to hurt. Quinjet contact in three… two…

Thud.


Kimiko doesn't get that warning, and the sudden ultrasonics have her stumbling back. She drops to one knee, but never drops the sword. It's the recovery that gives Ronin his window. Kimiko could have caught him but by the time she gets herself together he's already in freefall.

Now, now the placid mask breaks in a short snarl. Eyes narrowed she moves to that broken window with its steep drop. The wind at this height whips about her, causing her hair to rise and writhe on the currants the quinjet stirs up. The blade is pointed Ronin's way, voice raised to be heard over the whine of the engines and the distance between them. "This is not over, you and I!"


"No, it's not." Oracle murmurs to herself. That backdoor into the Tatsu system, giving her ears and eyes. It seems that the redhead now has some investigation to do. Who is this Kimiko Tatsu and why are The Hand seeking Tatsu's assistance.

There's a medic aboard the Quinjet - of course, they'd heard it was Ronin … what else would you expect.

"Ronin, report please…" she knows that he's on the jet, it's a force of habit.


"Ow." Is the report that Oracle gets back. Clint can hear the woman snarling at him over the engine noise. He's send an arrow back her way by way of response but she's already busted up his bow pretty good. "Well… that could have gone better…" He groans as he gets himself more fully situated inside the jet. He really hopes it's over between he and that deadly swordswoman.

But somehow he suspects not.

"We'll regroup and see what we learned. I hope that was worth it…"

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