Proposition of Lies [req. ANBU Sennin]

Kazu

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When he'd received the message one morning, the young boy wasn't sure how to react. He'd gotten ready, and come to this place as per the message's instructions. It was just before dawn, when the sun was just beginning to peek out over the horizon. As the first rays of sunshine hit the village, Kotsuko looked out to the various houses with a deep frown on his face. He contemplated what it was he planned to do. Since his battle with the shinobi known as Bikou, that six armed psychopath of a woman, he knew he'd been in the running to become an ANBU operative. For many years he'd wanted this, to be able to be a part of a branch of the government with such a degree of authority and control. Over the years his reasoning might have altered slightly, but in the end joining the ANBU always seemed to play out well for the young boy. At least, in his head it did. So why was he unsure now? As he stood there, the cold morning air brushing past him with the sweet scent of morning dew wafting through, he asked himself what it was he planned to do. He knew what was coming for him now. And, he knew there was no escaping from it. He'd been summoned to the ANBU's headquarters, after all! He couldn't easily refuse this sort of invitation. He exhaled a large breath of air, forming a large cloud of mist around himself. He tightened the jacket he wore around his smaller frame, and brought the scarf he wore up to cover part of his mouth. His cloud grey eyes were calm and unwavering, and his similarly colored hair flapped gently in the breeze. His thick boots crunched the light powder of snow around him. The gourds at his hips swayed with every movement he took. He exhaled again, and realized, for the third time, that he was stalling the inevitable. It was time to go. It was time to enter the Sileo Tempestas and resign himself to whatever would happen. He hoped he'd be able to deal with whatever it was that was to happen.

Turning to face the magnificent entrance of the subterranean headquarters, the young boy pressed forward. There was a staircase that led him deeper into the catacombs, every step losing more and more natural light. There were artificial bulbs in the sides of the walls, and with every step downward he took he could feel the place getting warmer. By the time he'd reached the bottom, his scarf had come off and he was just about ready to remove the jacket as well. The large cavern was rather acoustic, and every movement he made sent out a wave of sounds to reverberate throughout the area. It was impossible to be stealthy in this area, where people's professions were to avoid detection. Looking around, Ko remembered that the note had told him to be there right as the sun was rising. He'd begun his descent into the caverns right as the sun was beginning to rise—perhaps he would need to wait a few more minutes? Unfortunately, patience wasn't exactly the young boy's strongest trait. "Sasaki Kotsuko, here as requested. Bikou was the one who had tested me at the Colosseum." There was nothing but the sound of his voice reverberating throughout the halls around him. If someone was here to meet him, now would be a good time to do so. As the voices settled down around him, the young boy strained his ears to see what he could hear around him. At the moment, silence. The young boy held steadfast, his demeanor calm and relaxed, but alert. He was here for business, not to screw around. He would just have to wait and see who presented themselves.

[ooc: Kotsuko is referencing [this] topic, which should have been presented to you as a Snapshot. Apparently you're supposed to have known about this beforehand.]
 

Morishige

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In a matter of moments, Cho and Nobuyuki rounded the corner and were walking towards Kotsuko at a brisk pace. "Come come Kotsuko. Much to do and little time to do it in." he said with purpose before turning around another corner and continuing his pace.

Soon after, a small room that was used for interviews and interrogations alike was found and entered by the sennin and his secretary. Cho held the door open for the young man to enter before closing it. Nobuyuki got down to business. "Operative Bikou has vouched for your abilities and made a formal recommendation for you to join our ranks. The question is are you prepared for what it entails? The saying goes that when you become a ninja, your life isn't really your own anymore. That becomes true when you join this branch. You will face the worst possible enemies and situations by joining us, and your life expectancy goes down the drain. You have less freedom and more responsibility. If you have any doubts or questions, please voice them now. Cause once you go down this rabbit hole, if you manage to climb back out you won't be the same."

It was apparent that Nobuyuki didn't want to go through the usually monotonous testing and questions he usually did. Thankfully, the boy was recommended by one of his own so he could skip half of the pleasantries and skip to the middle.
 

Kazu

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It didn't take long for his call to be answered. A man had responded from one of the halls, with a woman in tow behind him. As the man came into view, Kotsuko recognized him as the new ANBU Sennin, with what must have been his secretary close behind. He probably kept her near him at all times, both for the convenience of having someone manage your activities and also because she must be a skill bodyguard. It's what Kotsuko would have done, at least. The Sennin's quick response and lively attitude somewhat surprised the young boy, and seemed to make the knot that was slowly growing in his stomach worse. He had no idea how he was to handle the situation he was about to be put in, so he'd simply have to wing it. Following the two of them, the young boy walked down the halls with them until they reached a room that looked like any of the others. Being led inside, Kotsuko could see a small sitting area that looked to be designed for one on one discussions. Whether they interrogated suspects, interviewed new cadets, or tortured prisoners in these rooms made little difference to the young boy. He merely had desired this audience with the ANBU Sennin. Sitting down, and getting comfortable, Kotsuko was about to say something before the Sennin began to speak. Kotsuko held his tongue for a moment while the man gave him a fairly normal introduction. It seemed formulaic and above all else procedural, if not a little paraphrased. The man's words cut into Kotsuko like a hot knife, only making what he'd have to say that much worse. When the man paused to give the young boy a chance to raise any concerns, he saw his opportunity. "Actually, I have a problem. A problem, and a proposition."

The young boy took a breath, realizing that this could be one of the last things he did. The rumors about the ANBU Sennin had spread farther than just the corps, speaking of the man's adherence to the law and justice to a 't'. Perhaps this wasn't wise? "Since my encounter with Operative Bikou, there's been a complication. Since then, I've developed a need for some very specialized equipment for research I'd like to conduct. No offense to the ANBU Corps, but I'm not sure you have the type of medical equipment I need for this endeavor..." Kotsuko wasn't being all too subtle about this. He hoped the man would give himself a chance to explain himself properly. "However, I'm not some ignorant Academy Student. I've heard the rumors, sir. Did you and the Main Branch Sennin really show up at the hospital to interrogate the Medical Sennin?" Kotsuko waited for the man's answer, or lack thereof. He didn't need anything either way to continue. "With the whole business of the new Raikage, something has to be up. I don't think two Sennin showing up to another's office—obviously unannounced—is a good sign. Is the Medical Sennin a suspect of something?" Kotsuko actually legitimately paused this time. He was watching with his cold grey eyes, seeing if anything could be gleamed through that mask of his. Maybe even through the secretary? After a moment more, Kotsuko realized it was impossible and slouched back in his chair. He wasn't going to be given any hints with this one.

As he laid back in his seat, the young boy looked like he was hesitating to say something. He'd wait, though, a few moments more. He wanted to hear what the man had to say to his questions and musings.
 

Morishige

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Nobuyuki's eyebrow rose behind his mask at the young man taking control of the situation. There was nothing wrong with it, but the words he used made it almost sound nefarious at first. "A complication?" questioned the Sennin, even Cho seemed to perk up. Though it was hard to tell from behind the mask. After spending so much time with her lately though, Nobuyuki could tell.

It seemed the young man needed equipment for his research, the type of equipment that only the government would have; otherwise he probably would have just gone out and bought it all himself. It was interesting to say the least. But then he had to go and gossip. Nobuyuki audibly sighed as he finished his question regarding Shinrya Kitsune. "That is not the purpose of this meeting." he said with a direct tone. But Kotsuko was intent on learning something about why he and Kogami Ayumu had been at the hospital that day.

"Sasaki-san, we are here to discuss your eligibility to join the ANBU branch, nothing else. I would recommend not putting too much faith in rumors. Now, just what is this proposition you have? And what kinda of research requires equipment that you can't buy yourself."
 

Kazu

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Kotsuko kind of expected this answer. So the rumors might have some truth to them—he really was a hard ass. Regardless, Kotsuko could still move forward with this. While the ANBU Sennin was directing things back to the subject of him joining the ANBU, Kotsuko was trying to figure out how to navigate this mine field of a discussion. He didn't want to come off as despicable or misguided, but at the same time he needed to make himself clear. He figured one of the best ways to do this was to be frank with the man in front of him. From what he'd seen so far, he was a man of no nonsense. Perhaps, instead of the way he usually worked, laying out his thinking and plan of action for the man was the best thing to do. It was always important to know the crowd you're preaching to, after all. Kotsuko decided to start with the simplest question, which was what kind of research he intended on doing that needed such advanced medical equipment? The answer he gave would be rather straightforward. "I plan to unravel the secrets of Kinjutsu and Kekkei Genkai alike. Where Isaki Kushin and the Harvesters failed, I plan to succeed. I will complete their work, and furthermore find out what other secrets I can figure out." Hopefully this tactic worked. Of course, Nobuyuki might be hesitant to hear this—after all, they'd just dealt with the betrayal of the last group of Harvesters. He couldn't fault Kotsuko for this, though, seeing as how the young boy had no knowledge of such involvement. The boy continued, "I'm led to believe that the ANBU would not possess the kind of specialized medical equipment needed for this. I plan to use the equipment available in the Medical Branch to conduct my research.

"However,"
the young boy paused, looking right into the ANBU Sennin's eye slits were in his mask, "that doesn't mean I plan to stay there. Once I gain enough knowledge, and am able to replicate their techniques and machinery, I plan to leave. I merely need the access to their knowledge and resources, for the time being." Hopefully the ANBU Sennin didn't take this the wrong way. Kotsuko would have to spin this pretty well in a moment, in order for the man to understand why he was bringing all of this up. "I still want to be an ANBU, and I still want to help the branch as much as I can. Even if I can't, officially, be a part of it..." Kotsuko closed his eyes for a moment and tilted his head back. He let out a sigh, and took a long breath in. He waited for a moment. That moment stretched to an uncomfortable length. Like a sudden explosion, the boy spoke again. "Let's say, hypothetically, those rumors are true. Let's also say that, in the worst case scenario, the Medical Sennin was somehow involved in the death of the late Raikage. Wouldn't that lead to suspicion as to what she was up to? Wouldn't it be a risk to allow her to roam around unwatched?" Another uncomfortable pause. More silence filled the room as the boy let that sink in. He turn his head back down to face the ANBU Sennin and his assistant once again. "Wouldn't it, then, be nice to have a pair of eyes and ears close by to her?" This was dangerous waters, and Kotsuko knew it. He'd been in a tough spot before, but he might be pushing his luck too far here. "Hypothetically, of course." What would the man, whose primary motivation seemed to be justice and good intent, be to such a statement? Would Kotsuko die here, accused of treason against the government of Kumogakure? Hopefully not. He had so much more potential than that.
 

Morishige

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Nobuyuki watched him silently from behind the mask as he prepared to speak. And his hidden expression remained stoic as he revealed what he wanted to research. This type of study was no unheard of in their world, but what was strange is he was coming to the ANBU for some reason rather than the medical branch. This probably had something to do with the proposition he had. Nobuyuki was intrigued. Kotsuko then added what he already knew, that the ANBU wouldn't have what he needed to do such research. He was correct as well. While they did have a small research and development division, it was more for special weaponry and jutsu for very special situations.

Unfortunately, he had been doing so well, but his choice of words would ever be his downfall. Nobuyuki smirked at how he was basically claiming that he would join the medical branch to learn their secrets only to abandon them so that he might pursue his research in private. While this was inherently bad, acquiring the use of government goods and knowledge and using them without the oversight of the government was not something Nobuyuki would condone. But, he would let the boy finish before scolding him.

Then came the hypotheticals. How he hated hypotheticals. In the end they were never hypothetical. Putting the word hypothetical in the sentence didn't absolve one of whatever ill intent they meant. At this point, Nobuyuki saw him not too unlike Kitsune. He had heard rumors of a situation, and decided to make a play with that information. At any other given point, what ultimatum would there have been if Kitsune hadn't been involved? It was then that Nobuyuki knew that Kotsuko knew that what he was doing was wrong. He was trying to make a deal to skirt around the rules, and that was not something that Nobuyuki ever encouraged.

Nobuyuki looked to Cho for a moment, smiling. In her short time as secretary, she had seen things that made her a liability and an asset. Good thing ANBU knew how to keep secrets.

He turned back to Kotsuko and shook his head. "The subject of your research is not for me to judge, but for you to even suggest actively committing intrigue against the state based on a rumor alone. No. I will escort you out of the building, and your hypothetical intentions will be notified to the Raikage and the Medical Sennin. You will never be allowed to join the ANBU, and I assume never be allowed to join the Medical branch; but that's up to her." he finished, standing up out of his chair.

Cho quickly opened the door for him as he walked forward. Nobuyuki would wait for Kotsuko to follow before escorting him to the exit. Perhaps there would be a lesson here for the young man, but it would be the only lesson he would learn from the ANBU in his lifetime.

[Snapshot Jutsu Used]
[Topic Left when Kotsuko leaves the Sileo]

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Kazu

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"No." Kotsuko's eyes were steely as the ANBU Sennin told him this was over, standing out of his seat as if that made it final. The young boy would not move from his seat, nor would he take his eyes off of the man. That mask was no better than a determined will, keen on masking one's intentions. Who's will would be stronger, in this case? "You're mistaken. It is no rumor, but rather a highly intelligent guess. Call it whatever you will, but the fact of the matter is everyone is talking about it. The higher ups are talking about it, and that's not something you discredit. It's too much coincidence. If you're trying to tell me that nothing is amiss, then you're a fool for thinking me so blind." Kotsuko's voice was steady but sharp. Some might think that he was way out of line by talking to an ANBU Sennin in such a way, but Kotsuko knew that he wouldn't get anywhere with this man unless he did just that. He didn't have the luxury of being cryptic anymore. "Let's be clear then: of course I want to know the medical branch's secrets. Of course I want to learn what I need to learn. Is that wrong? Do you not think that everyone who joins the medical branch does so because it's fascinating and interesting? It's the most enticing thing one might find as an intellectual. I don't apologize for that, nor do I see anything wrong with it. Not every doctor is altruistic."

And then there was the issue of his implicit barring from the ANBU Branch. That wouldn't be good for Kotsuko, given everything at hand. "Why are you so afraid of rules, sir? They're not that special. I mean, do you honestly think you can fight fire without fire? You're not the village police force, sir. You're the covert division tasked with killing shinobi threats to the government. When you kill a man, does that not also break the law?" The young boy's whole body was still as he asked his questions and made his points. There was a certain hypocrisy he saw in this man, which he did not want to let slip. "Let me ask you: if I was truly intent on harming the government of Kumogakure, would I be telling you how I intend to 'steal medical secrets?' No. Do you think I'm just going to take these secrets and run with them? No. My plan was to bring that skill set here." He paused for a second and cocked his head. "You don't have the knowledge. You don't have the technology. You don't have the materials. And that's why I came here today. I can't assist the ANBU now, but perhaps I can assist the ANBU when the time is right. You must need someone to run your R&D Department, yes? I highly doubt whoever runs it now possesses the full knowledge of a trained medic. I'm offering my services in the future, to the ANBU. I'm not some thief." Hehe, that's a little ironic, huh? He'd entered the Medical Division right after breaking into the hospital to find out what kind of equipment they had. How very funny. "You may not agree with my methods, but frankly I don't agree with yours. We don't have to agree, but that doesn't mean I can't still be valuable to your branch."

Kotsuko would wait to see what he had to say. Would he kick him out for speaking more, or would he actually consider his words? Kotsuko knew which he hoped for more.

[ooc: Stopped]
 

Morishige

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Insubordination. Not an uncommon occurrence, but less so in the ANBU. It seemed he wasn't quite finished just yet.

Matsuura Nobuyuki watched as the boy began speaking, letting some details drop that the sennin would latch onto for future purposes. And he wasn't wrong either, there was definitely no way he would get anywhere without taking such a tone. As his barrage of words continued, Nobuyuki smiled. It had been some time since anyone spoke to him this way. What reason prevented others, he did not know, but the types of shinobi the academy put out these days were... interesting.

Kotsuko claimed to be a scholar, and Nobuyuki's mind immediately went to the one scholar he knew quite well, the very one whose death he was investigating. Hayata Shin. That man was a scholar as well. The boys words were beginning to make sense on the impenetrable wall that was Nobuyuki's idealism. Nobuyuki would be a fool if he were to believe that all who were ninja did it for the reasons he had. It frustrated him that there were those that selfish in the world, but he wouldn't be able to change that. He shook his head slightly and took a deep breath.

The boys final points hit well and hard. However insulting he went to be, or just blunt, he got the job done. And now it was the sennin's turn to rebuke him.

"You aren't stupid. You have made that quite clear." he spoke. He had never returned to sitting, so he began to pace the room. "Laws are the difference between civil society, and lawless killing. When we kill a man, it's so that society may continue to prosper and grow. I do the hard work here so that granny at home can enjoy her dinner without having to worry about the numerous dangers who envy our place in society. If we break the laws, then we are no better than the average criminal." he began, his voice calm and low. "But I digress."

"I can see your point, young Sasaki. You very well could have followed through with your plan without telling me, and I would have been none the wiser. But you sought to gain my trust and my favor in doing so. You have my favor, but my trust-- not yet. But you will have the opportunity to gain that as well."

"Go ahead with your little plan. The law doesn't prevent switching between branches, after all. However, on the matter of the medical sennin and these rumors you are hearing," he paused. "I will not officially sanction whatever espionage you intend. I cannot and will not sanction it. If I remember correctly, the ANBU's spying efforts were phased out before my time. I believe due to a incident regarding Inuzuka Gekido and one of the sennin blackmailing his family. But should you uncover information that is treasonous in nature, it would be your duty to report it to the proper authorities, no?" said Nobuyuki with a lighter step to his voice.

"Anyways, as long as you pass your tests, the ANBU branch will be open for you when you are ready. Don't do anything dumb to mess up your chances." warned the sennin, motioning with his hand towards the door. "Come, I will see you out."

[Topic Left]

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NC is a SAFE place. If anyone is harassing or bothering you in any way, please report their conduct to myself or any staff member.
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...a vision of the future.
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Kazu

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Well, what do you know? It seems the man wasn't so unreasonable after all. Listening to his responses, Kotsuko didn't feel the need to respond to anything. He simply nodded his head, having already said everything he needed to say. Aside from the occasional, "Yes, sir," the young boy had seemingly completed his task here. The ANBU Sennin's words were exactly what the young boy had hoped to hear. When he offered to escort him out, for the second time now, Kotsuko graciously accepted this time. "Thank you. I've enjoyed this meeting, and am looking forward to speaking with you again."" As they walked down the hallways of the Sileo Tempestas, Kotsuko maintained a look of nonchalant calmness. However, a moment later, the young boy would turn to the side at his audience, the ones reading the words his writer and written, and gave them a coy smile. "It's been a while, hasn't it? I've been a little busy, so forgive me for not cluing you in on things sooner. This occasion, however, warrants a sort of celebration."<i></i> Kotsuko continued to look at his audience, noting their reactions and murmurs. He hoped they didn't think his actions were all too odd.

"I'm not a traitor. That would imply I've been playing for my village at all! No, you misunderstand me my good people. I'm here for myself and my own goals. This is just another step, another move, and another piece of the puzzle. It's slowly coming together, but not quite yet."<i></i> The young boy wagged his finger at the audience, teasing them and playing around. "No spoilers now, you'll just have to see how these kinds of things will play out. As they are now, though, I can say with confidence that it's all moving along rather smoothly..."<i></i> He turned back to the other characters, returning his focus to the scene at hand. His face was once again calm and impassive, just like it had been for everyone else the whole time they'd been walking. No one knew that Kotsuko knew. They could never know.

[ooc: Topic Left.]