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Tangled Currents - Gaze

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Mercy Merchant

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« on: (16:03:29/03-20-16) »
Joe is finishing up his mixed class of ten-year olds with a flourish.  The six students are all very into what he is trying to teach them, but one young boy, Tommy, seems to take it more seriously than the rest, as if he has something to prove or something to do.  As all the students clasp their hands and bow to you, Tommy seems to want to stay late again.  It is not the first time he has delayed leaving and he always seems to ask questions about your dragons.  This time is no different.  He bows again after the other kids have run off to the showers.  "Sensei Joe, may I ask a question?  I have been wondering about how the dragon would handle a bad man.  Can you tell me?"
"Speech"  *Thought*  <Matrix>

Chrome Head

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« Reply #1 on: (16:42:38/03-20-16) »
Joe gazes at Tommy for a few seconds. The kid had a good heart and karate seemed important to him, so Joe didn't want to disappoint him, but he also couldn't misrepresent what the dragon meant to him.

"Perhaps the dragon is the bad man, Tommy. To me, Dragon represents the ultimate challenge, and we should always strive to overcome it. When faced with a bad man, a karateka must try to look for a peaceful way to stop him, or contain him. You should always stand up for yourself and for those who need help against bad men, but you should especially try to do so peacefully when possible."

Mercy Merchant

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« Reply #2 on: (17:01:01/03-20-16) »
Tommy nods thoughtfully, as only ten year olds seem able to do.  "I.................think I understand.  But what if the bad man jus........"

"Tommy.  Time to go, honey."  Tommy is interrupted by the soft call from the door to the observation room.  you look up at the woman standing there.  You have noticed the Japanese woman before and had managed to pair her with Tommy by a matter of elimination when the other kids went off with other parents.  At five foot three, the young woman is cute, but certainly not beautiful in the trid sense.  Her dark hair hangs to just above her collar in a nice way that frames her Asian face.  Her almond shaped eyes are brown, but today are concealed behind dark glasses.  She is usually dressed in a slim pantsuit when she comes for Tommy, and today is no exception.  Tommy looks at her and turns back to you.  He clasps his hands together and bows again. 

"Thank you Sensei-Joe.  I have to leave now.  Maybe we can talk dragons again?"

The lad runs off to the showers and the woman at the door watches him then turns to look at you.  In a soft voice, slightly accented with Japanese, she says, "I hope that Tommy was not bothering you?  I have noticed that he likes to stay late to talk to you.  May I say that he is a fan?"
"Speech"  *Thought*  <Matrix>

Chrome Head

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« Reply #3 on: (17:20:19/03-20-16) »
Joe smiles warmly and makes a slight bow back. "Any time, Tommy-kun."

The muscular man wipes off sweat from his forehead with the fabric on his forearm before approaching the Japanese lady.  "He's not bothering me at all, Ma'am. He's just interested in more than just the physical aspects of karate and I'm happy to teach him what I can. He's got a good heart."

Mercy Merchant

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« Reply #4 on: (17:31:23/03-20-16) »
The woman bows slightly and holds out a soft hand.  "Thank you Sensei.  Pardon me for being ride.  I am Myotama O'Reagan and Tommy's mother.  Thank you for being interested in him.  He does have a good heart, but sometimes he wants to overreach his age and abilities.  Probably like all boys."

Your perception lets you see that the woman has a small bit of bruising near her left eye that the dark glasses and some makeup do not completely hide.
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Chrome Head

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« Reply #5 on: (18:40:25/03-20-16) »
Joe is starting to connect the dots but he's not sure how to get involved. He really wants to get involved...

"Nice to meet you, Ms O'Reagan. Your boy seems to be worried about some man in his life. Some man doing bad things, perhaps violent things. I don't want to overreach myself, but is it possible that Tommy is preparing for a fight?"

Mercy Merchant

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« Reply #6 on: (18:55:48/03-20-16) »
The woman purses her lips slightly, trying to think of something to say.  Her son comes up and says, "Hi, Mom.  Ready to go.  Goodbye Sensei.  See you tomorrow?"

Myotama puts her hand on Tommy's shoulder.  "What have you been telling strangers, Tommy?"

"Only nothing, Mom.  And Sensei-Joe is not a stranger.  And that man hits you.  It is wrong and he should stop.  I am training to stop him."

She looks up at you and blushes a bit.  She is quite pretty when she does that.  "So that is why you wanted to come here, Tommy?  That is sweet, but you should let me handle my affairs.  Besides, I am sure that your Sensei does not have the time or the patience to hear about our troubles."

Tommy looks up at you.  "Yes he does.  Don't you Sensei-Joe?  The dragon would, wouldn't he?"
« Last Edit: (19:42:58/03-20-16) by Mercy Merchant »
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Chrome Head

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« Reply #7 on: (19:59:27/03-20-16) »
I'm not the Dragon! thinks Joe, but now was not the time. "The dragon wouldn't. I do."

Turning to the mother, "What man is beating you, Ms? Can I do something to help?"

Joe never thought of himself as chivalrous, but then again he was following the teachings of Dragonslayer. And he liked Tommy anyway.

Mercy Merchant

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« Reply #8 on: (20:20:46/03-20-16) »
The woman blushes again and looks confused.  Tommy tugs on her arm.  "Go on, Mom.  Tell him."

Myotama seems to make a decision and nods at the boy then looks at you.  "I leave it up to you.  If you want to hear the sordid details, come to our place for dinner.  I will make a Japanese meal for you in trade for listening.  It is only me and Tommy, so it is not a trouble to set another plate.  Here is the address............oh drek."  She blushes as she swears then continues to swear softly in Japanese as she fumbles with a cheap commlink she pulls from a small purse.  Tommy sighs and rolls his eyes as he holds out his hand.  She gives him the device as she continues.  "I am sorry, but these things make me feel so useless.  Tommy, please put our address in and the car park.  And please, Sensei, park at the place he puts in if you are driving.  I do not have a garage at my place and you do not want to park on the street unless you want gang tags on your car and maybe a missing wheel or four by the time you leave.  It is only a three block walk from the car park.  Please do not feel obligated to come.  Dinner is at seven and if you are not there by half past, I will know you changed your mind."

Tommy looks up at you.  "Alright, Sensei-Joe.  Just give me the code to send this to."

After giving the boy your code he sends you a text and gives the 'link back to his mother.  She smiles at you and says, "See you at dinner, maybe.  Come on, Tommy, we do not want to miss the bus.  School was hard today and I need to stop at Ito's on the way home if I am to make dinner."  The boy looks over his shoulder at you and waves as they walk out.

Checking your watch, you see that it is just after four now.  Your commlink pings with a text message.  It is the address that Tommy sent you.  According to your knowledge of the area, Tommy and his mother do not live in a nice part of the Barrens, as if any part could be considered nice.  There is a short note after the address.  >>Please come.  Ring the bell for 204.  We need help and she is a good cook.<<
« Last Edit: (03:02:02/03-21-16) by Mercy Merchant »
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Chrome Head

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« Reply #9 on: (23:08:28/03-21-16) »
The karate instructor nods and replies carefully, weighing his words. "I promise you that I'll be there tonight and I'll listen to your story. We'll see if I can be of help or not." Joe's word was golden, and he didn't say things like this lightly. Whatever predicament they were in, he genuinely wanted to help.

Just thinking of Tommy, and the fact that this boy was willing to stand up for his mother and even fight for her... how could he refuse?

He takes a quick look at his link and confirms that he received all the info, before letting the mother and child go. "Oh and Ma'am, just call me Joe, all right? And please don't give yourself too much trouble for me." he said smiling slightly. Watching them leave he thought how these were good folks, the kind worth protecting. They live in the barrens and they probably struggle daily, and yet they are still proud and honest and full of good intentions. It amazed him even more that the mother was willing to drive all the way to this dojo and manage to afford the lessons for her son.

Back home, he started to prepare mentally for possibly getting into a fight that evening. Everything was possible, it was the barrens after all, and maybe he'd want to confront whoever was mistreating them right then and there. He tried to meditate but he was too pre-occupied, so he just sat down and watched trid for a while.

As he was driving down to the least reputable part of the metroplex, Joe was trying to picture how things would be going down. Was he going to push a drunk husband out of the house, or would it be telling a ganger thug to go piss off someone else, or maybe he'd have to put an abusive employer back in his place? What was the woman's job anyway? No one with a legit job would choose to stay there. Maybe she was SINless, like countless others?

The adept arrived at the parking garage as per the instructions given to him, paid the fee to the automated machine, trusting that the place would be secure enough even in these parts, and he started making his way on foot towards Tommy's home. He was wearing jeans, a white shirt and his black synth-leather jacket. Because of the neighborhood, he knew that armor clothing was a minimum, and he packed his browning ultra, simply tucked behind at the belt. There was no need for a concealable holster here.
« Last Edit: (23:10:28/03-21-16) by Chrome Head »

Mercy Merchant

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« Reply #10 on: (00:30:24/03-22-16) »
The car park does indeed look secure, that impression reinforced by the uniformed man in the shack at the front.  He nods to you as you leave, making sure that you have your ticket and tells you that you will need it when you return or you will not be allowed back in the garage to even get close to your vehicle.  Your eye picks out that the guard structure is made of bullet resistant materials, to include the glass panes I the windows.  Additionally, the man appears fit and alert, far unlike some rent-a-cops you have seen. 

The three blocks to Tommy's house is like a deteriorating scene in one of those time lapse vids on the trid, except that this is real.  By the time you get to the last block, you know that your estimate of the need for a concealed holster is absolutely correct.  The number of punks with weapons openly displayed increases with each block farther into this section of the Barrens.  You do not look like prey so are left alone.  Mostly.  A pair of tatted whores approaches you about thirty feet from the address on your 'link, asking if you are looking for company.  When you indicate that you are not interested, a huge Troll strolls over and asks why you do not want to sample his girls.  "And you already wasted their last few minutes.  That means you owe ten credits."
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Chrome Head

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« Reply #11 on: (01:17:43/03-22-16) »
Joe's hyper alert senses were kicking in as the situation was heating up. But for now, nothing very threatening. Big trolls like this one were tough enough, but they tended to be rather slow. "I didn't ask for anything. They came to me, not the other way around. Just leave it, I'm not worth your trouble, trust me."

That was all Joe could come up with. He wasn't going to intimidate that troll, but maybe showing confidence would be enough to get rid of the idiotic pimp. There was not a hint of fear in his eyes, and although he might appear nonchalant at a glance, he was ready to strike.

Mercy Merchant

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« Reply #12 on: (01:54:18/03-22-16) »
The mountain on two legs in front of you looks confused, almost as if no one had ever talked to him like this before.  "Uh.......what?"  He looks around but is not getting much support from anyone else on the street.  Looking back at you, he pushes the two whores along.  "OK.  You got this one time."  The whores go back to strolling along the street and the Troll heads back to where he was standing to watch them.  He motions that he has his eyes on you as you walk past. 

The building that matches the address Tommy gave you is a bakery of sorts.  All the windows in the building are barred, even the upstairs ones, but that is not surprising as most of the windows you have seen since you left the car park have been barred.  The window of the bakery is empty of merchandise, leaving you to wonder if it is even still in operation.  The building has four floors and the door to the upstairs apartments is right next to the door to the bakery.  There is a row of buttons near a small intercom unit.  The name O'Reagan is neatly printed in a fancy style of calligraphy on the card over the number 204.

Ringing the bell for 204 brings a tinny voice through the intercom.  The words are so fuzzy that you cannot make even one out, but the banging of feet coming down stairs is evident enough.  Tommy opens the door with a smile.  He nods to you as he turns his head and yells up the stairs.  "Sensei-Joe is here Mom.  I'll bring him up."  The boy had washed his hair when he showered at the dojo and you wonder if he gets enough hot water in a place like this to take a regular shower.  You have heard of water rationing in the Barrens, and hot water would be at a premium.  Tommy motions for you to come up the stairs and you follow him, noting that the dim bulb in the stairwell flickers a couple of times during the climb up.  The apartment he leads you to is small, by anyone's standards.  It takes about three seconds to see that there is a small living room/dining room area, an even smaller kitchen, and only one door that seems to lead to a bedroom.  A quick glance confirms a small pile of blankets and sheets on the floor behind the ragged looking couch.

Myotama greets you from the kitchen.  "Thank you for coming, Joe-san.  You honor our home.  Please be comfortable.  Dinner is almost done.  Tommy?"

The boy moves from where he is setting the table.  "Yes, Mom?"

"Please entertain our honored guest.  I will finish the table."

Tommy nods and motions for you to come into the small living room.  His face goes a bit red as he points out the best spot to sit on the couch to avoid the springs that seem to be poking through in at least two places.  He asks if you are interested in seeing his drawings of the Dragon?  Without really waiting to hear your reply, he goes to get a book from a small pile stacked against a wall of the very sparsely furnished room.  He brings it over to you, saying, "I hope that you can make them out.  I had to draw them from memory."  Opening the book, you are struck by three things.  First, the boy is a whiz at drawing.  The details of the dragon scales and the armor of the knight facing him are exquisite.  Second, although the dragon always seems to be some variation, the knight is always the same, or near enough to be so.  Third, while the dragons are done quite well, there is always a bit of haziness to the outer detail, but the knight is drawn clearly and perfectly.  Skimming through the book, you see at least twenty drawings that are complete and several more that are just sketches or partially finished.
« Last Edit: (03:20:55/03-22-16) by Mercy Merchant »
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Chrome Head

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« Reply #13 on: (22:28:55/03-23-16) »
Joe wan't too sure what to expect from that evening, but this was nice, entering the life of this little family for a few hours, getting to know better his most enthusiastic student. For a moment, he was almost forgetting why he even came here tonight.

"These.. these are amazing, Tommy!" says Joe. He would never have expected that a child -- this particular boy! -- would be so good at drawing. Taking the time to inspect each picture carefully, he pays special attention to the knight.  "Who's the knight? What does he represent?"

Mercy Merchant

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« Reply #14 on: (00:11:06/03-24-16) »
Tuesday, 5 June  1930  Barrens

Tommy blushes a bit at the praise, but his mild embarrassment is quickly replaced by enthusiasm when you ask the questions.  He moves to be able to look over your shoulder.  "I do not know who he is Sensei-Joe.  He shows up in every vision.  Always the same guy, even though the dragons are all different.  See?  Here and here.  The same armor and everything.  I think he is trying to kill all of the dragons.  But the dragons are strong.  Sometimes I think he is trying to say something, but I can't seem to make it out.  Maybe it is a foreign language or something."

Myotama speaks from where she is setting the table.  "Tommy.  Make sure that you are not bothering our guest."  She walks over to stand behind you, leaning over the back of the couch.  A faint scent of flowers comes from her, pleasant and just the right amount.  "He is a good artist, don't you think Joe-san?  I think he could go far if he applied the same diligence to his schoolwork as he does to his drawings."

"Mom!.  I do well enough."  He crinkles his nose a bit.  "And what is that smell?  Like flowers?"

Myotama stands and quickly moves back to the small dining area to finish the table.  "I am just saying that you could do better if you tried.  An education is important.  You want to move out of this place some day, don't you?"

"Only if I can take care of you."  Tommy turns back to the drawings and points out some special things that make the pictures stand out.  Again, you notice that although he talks a lot about the dragons, it is the knights that have been given the best detail.  Soon, the two of you are called to the table.  The smell of the food sets your mouth to watering.  Both of them bow their heads and Tommy says a short prayer, adding a special comment thanking Sensei-Joe for coming by to help them.  Myotama serves dinner with a light hand.  Your observation skills pick out that she wears no jewelry and that one of her ears looks to be slightly higher than the other.  She has a nice smile and shares it often, although there is an undercurrent of something else beneath the surface.  The dinner is well prepared and there is plenty to eat, perhaps because this is a special occasion.  The dinner conversation is light and she encourages Tommy to talk about his day. 

When dinner is done, she and Tommy clear the dishes away and begin to wash up.  Myotama washes and Tommy dries, but leaves the dishes stacked on the counter because he is too short to reach the upper cupboards.
« Last Edit: (09:56:54/03-24-16) by Mercy Merchant »
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