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Jasper
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PostSubject: [Advanced] Black Rain   18th April 2016, 11:06 am

Storyline Name: Black Rain
Creator(s): Jasper
Forum: Tokyo City
Advanced or Relaxed: Advanced
Plot Summary: Heavy clouds and intermittent caustic rain plague Tokyo, causing damage to buildings and plant life. At the same time, the people in the impacted regions are suffering from lethargy and unexplained illnesses.

Jasper Franklin is undergoing a midlife crisis, searching for legitimate and honest work as opposed to living off the ill-gotten gains that he acquired during his time in the Dark Kingdom. When the unnatural storm disrupts his attempts to find employment, Jasper decides to investigate further upon sensing something unnatural about the occurance.

The tainted showers are originating from a weather station in Tokyo, whose equipment and personnel have been corrupted and repurposed by Peridoto to seed nearby clouds with her vile power. These clouds become much darker than those of an ordinary thunderstorm, unleashing an acidic rain that behaves much like that created from industrial pollution. The only difference is that this rain is significantly more dangerous to humans, inflicting fatigue and weakness upon contact with exposed skin. Jasper is exposed to the black rain, but his past experience with dark power prevents him from suffering more than two days of lost productivity.

To avoid drawing undue attention, Peridoto disguises herself as Kurotsuki Kanran, the hijacked station's anchorwoman. Through the veneer of a sharp-eyed, critical weather expert, Peridoto delivers accurate and reliable forecasts of the black rain approximately 6 hours before they appear. However, other high-profile weather agencies are curiously unable to replicate Peridoto's predictions - a fact that is not lost on Jasper while he recovers from a rain-induced cold. Can he pull the plug on this scheme, or will Tokyo succumb to a flood of darkness?

Details on any necessary information: This plot takes place during the Romance arc.

Peridoto is acting under orders to steal human life energy in order to support Esmeraude's scheme of opening the Dark Gate. Utilizing the compromised weather station in its entirety, Peridoto has created an ominous storm that saps the energy of Tokyo's citizens.

Restrictions: Peridoto and Jasper Franklin, with Sailor Moon involved as a cameo role.

OOC Thread: None (Skype discussion)

Member to Character List:
Peridoto -> Aurae
Jasper Franklin -> Jasper
Sailor Moon -> Aurae
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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Black Rain   29th April 2016, 11:25 am



The red light blinked in rapid succession.

Three.

Two.

One.

Annnnd, live!

"Good morning, Tokyo!" the cheerful voice of the yellowish green-haired woman echoed. "This is Weather Watch with your host, Weather Lady Kanran!"

She posed, smiling intensely, the overt cuteness completely manufactured for the benefit of the station's numerous viewers.

"Look's like another cloudy and rainy day! Especially this black rain—it will fall heavily all over Tokyo at 10am, so stay indoors! What a boisterous weather season we're having this year! We're hearing a lot of reports of people catching cold, so make sure you carry an umbrella. You don't want to get caught in an unexpected shower! Northern regions, you might have some snow tonight. Hopefully we'll all see the sunshine tomorrow. Talk to you soon!"

"Cut! Good job, Ms. Kanran," the cameraman intoned. There was something unnatural about his eyes. About... his entire expression, actually. This probably had something to do with the fact that all of the employees at Tokyo 12 broadcast station had been replaced with Droids, thanks to the powers of the Black Moon Clan.

Periodoto, temporarily shedding her persona as the newest and hottest "Weather Big Sister" in the metropolitan area, grinned as she responded in kind. She left the broadcast suite, leaving the Droids to conduct a series of other programs, and headed into the control system. The equipment looked strange—patched together, repurposed in unusual and weird ways. This was Peridoto's current scheme, using the Malefic Black Crystal to leech energy from the population and weaken the White Moon points of power. With these creative updates, she was able to seed that Minus Energy directly into the clouds, sharing her corrosive abilities with the rain. Only a few days of this and already viewership was up (her reports were always accurate, of course) and Green Esmeraude had lauded her results so far.

The leggy young woman spun the chair around and dramatically planted herself in it, fingers on the control panel. It was time to schedule some particular weather for Tokyo.
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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Black Rain   12th May 2016, 6:40 am

Within the bustling district of Azabu, the first rays of morning light began to trickle over the horizon. There were too few clouds to the east to spoil the beautiful sunrise, which offered industrious early birds a magnificient view of a brand new day.

On the balcony of one such apartment, a pair of birds exchanged morning greetings (among other things) through a series of high-pitched chirps and warbles. The atmosphere was warm and lightly humid, a pleasant departure from the previous winter season. Before the two avians could begin to court one another, however, a thunderous expulsion of air erupted from within the building. Startled by the unseen presence, the winged visitors quickly took to the skies.



"Aaah.. CHOO!"

Within the comfort of his own living space, Jasper sniffled loudly after blowing his nose into a tissue. Illness was rare for this phsyically active individual, and when it did happen, the following period of convalesence was markedly short.

Once his sinuses had calmed back down, the young man picked up a remote control and thumbed a button near the top corner. The massive flatscreen monitor in Jasper's apartment reacted immediately, flashing to life. Immediately, the tenant was greeted by the smiling visage of "Weather Lady Kanran," a recent celebrity in the world of local meteorology.

Jasper wasn't sure what to think of her. Yes, she was attractive, but that was part of the marketing appeal. Rather than entertain cynical thoughts about the question of exploitation, Jasper instead leaned forward and narrowed his eyes slightly to focus on the actual report instead of the pretty woman and the colorful green screen graphics.

Heavy showers at 10 AM. Come to think of it, she's been quite accurate with the recent weather trends. And I have an interview scheduled at 9:45..

Jasper glanced towards the other end of his couch, where a bright yellow coat was resting in a neat, folded pile. If the weather forecast proved to be accurate, he would be protected from the rain - or at least, he would be protected long enough to find shelter.
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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Black Rain   23rd May 2016, 9:00 am



Her perfectly-manicured fingernail, the same peridot lacquer as the rest of her attire, paused momentarily over the button. Everything else was keyed into the machines, ready to go on schedule for the morning. She still hadn't decided exactly what her plans were for this evening, although of course there would be more of her "special" rain for the Tokyo-ites to contend with. Perhaps she'd focus on a particular neighborhood this time, just to keep people on their toes. She smiled to herself, the green lips curling, imagining how pleased Green Esmeraude would be.

And then she pushed the button. The lights blinked and flashed, the 10am rainstorm now absolutely guaranteed. And to think that very soon she'd be pulling more energy from the weakened bodies of the people in this metropolis... She grinned, pushing her chair back from the control panel.

Everything was going according to plan.
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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Black Rain   24th June 2016, 6:32 am

As the clock ticked closer to 10:00 AM, a roiling mass of grey vapor began to coalesce over the busy Azabu district. The all-too familiar scent of petrichor flooded Jasper's sinuses as he walked closer to a fenced-off building site. While it was far more physical than the young man might have otherwise preferred, construction work was honest and would keep his athletic figure from going to waste. 

Initially, the young expatriate believed there was nothing to fear from the boiling thunderstorm overheard. All he could think of was his pending interview and stepping further out of the shadow of the Dark Kingdom. His immediate hopes for a productive future began to dissolve as a greasy shower began to fall forth from the unruly sky.

Upon reaching the construction site, Jasper found the body of an older man sprawled out on the sidewalk. The individual's bright blue shirt and white hard hat marked him as a construction guard, but his pale skin and shallow breathing hinted at something more sinister. 

Jasper growled, dashing past the man into the construction yard. Were there other victims nearby? If something supernatural was involved, why was it happening here of all places?

Nothing was currently going to plan.
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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Black Rain   28th June 2016, 7:33 am



Her bright eyes watched the readouts from her comfortable chair in what had once been the station manager's office. It was hers now, of course, considering that the station manager had been unexpectedly removed from his position—much like the majority of the staff under the Black Moon Clan's new dominion here. Droids brought regular reports on the energy collected and the status of the manufactured storm: so far, everything looked excellent. Peridoto grinned to herself, imagining the words of praise she could certainly expect from Green Esmeraude when she reported in later this evening.

She had much to do until then, however. There was another storm needed—of course—to increase the life energy and keep this region from providing support power to that awful Crystal Tokyo. Suppression in this time period produced useful repercussions across the time and space that led to that terrible future—the one they were going to destroy. She just here to do her part.

And Peridoto wasn't about to let anything get in her way.
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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Black Rain   12th July 2016, 5:28 am

As Jasper hurried through the construction yard, his hopes for an ordinary morning continued to plummet. Every other employee within this lot had been incapacitated by the noisome shower, and they exhibited similar symptoms as the guard. Fishing out a cellphone from his pocket, Jasper quickly dialed for emergency services.

"Come quickly," he implored to the dispatcher. "These men need immediate help!"

Several minutes later, the arriving police and medical personnel arrived to find Jasper impatiently pacing around the yard. Relieved by their presence, Jasper was more than happy to let them go about their business.. however, three officers had kept their eyes trained on him. Without even speaking a word, he knew that they were treating him as a suspect.

The young man's relief started to fade away. "Why are you looking at me like that..?"


Over the next eight hours, Jasper found himself being questioned by a particularly hard-nosed police officer. The struggle to maintain a polite and respectful facade was real; he was boiling on the inside, surely not unlike Mount Fuji.

The detective had attempted to eke out a confession from Jasper about his alleged role in the endangerment of the construction workers. Jasper countered that he was attending an interview, and that he had not touched any of the victims; there was no immediate emergency that required him to move them out of place.

It was not until that evening that Jasper was released from police custody. That actually came as a surprise; he was fully expecting the cops to detain him for up to two days. He walked back to his apartment, sulking at the knowledge of the sun setting overhead.
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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Black Rain   12th July 2016, 5:48 am



She made her report to Green Esmeraude precisely on time. Her words brimmed with good news. There was much energy to be captured here, and Peridoto had funneled a significant quantity of it to Prince Saphir for his works. She hoped that it was being used to grow and fuel Malefic Black Crystals and assist support in the other regions of Tokyo where those awful Crystal Points helped keep the regime of that terrible White Moon family reigning over the miserable future. With her work, they'd be able to change all that. They'd be able to recreate a better world!

The chartreuse woman settled back into her place at the station. Soon she'd deliver yet another broadcast and schedule yet another weather event seeded with her Dark Acid. The people of Tokyo had so very much left to give her, and she would do her best to carefully drain their energy in the most effective and thorough way possible. Other news channels were abuzz with reports of hospitalizations and strange flu-like symptoms; here they were careful to mention but not dwell on those kinds of unpleasant details. After all, Tokyo 12 felt fairly strongly that there was no need to keep out of the rain.
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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Black Rain   16th July 2016, 7:00 am

Once he was safely back inside his comfortable apartment, Jasper fell into a simple evening routine that (he hoped) would distract him from the unpleasantries of the morning. He prepared a relatively spartan meal of chicken and rice, began his laundry, and struck out another entry on a whiteboard which listed a series of prospective employers.

Dinner was a simple affair that Jasper rarely celebrated in pure silence. If he wasn't in the presence of other living associates, he would occupy himself by watching television - and not for the poorly written drivel that passed for entertainment these days. Rather, the bachelor would scour news and weather reports for practical, useful information.

One report of interest was an evening news talk show featuring a host and a researcher discussing the recent weather phenomena in Tokyo. It seemed as though accredited weather agencies were receiving criticism from their inability to accurately track and predict the sudden storms that spilled their noxious rain onto the city.

Wait a second.. Tokyo 12 reported the presence of that shower barely a few hours before it appeared.

Once he finished eating, Jasper began scouring the Internet from the relative comfort of his desktop computer. Within a few minutes, he located the contact information for the Tokyo 12 broadcast station. He quickly thumbed the appropriate numbers into his cellphone, standing up to pace around the apartment floor as he awaited an answer from the other end.

Weather Lady Kanran could give him a straight answer. She owed that much to him; those weird showers couldn't just show up out of nowhere without a reason.
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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Black Rain   22nd July 2016, 7:13 am



She vaguely heard the switchboard ring, somewhere deep within the building for Tokyo 12. Peridoto didn't pay it much thought. That's what the Droids were for, after all. They were proving to be much more efficient than any of the station's former employees. Initially she had tried to keep a few of those humans around, thinking it would better sustain the impression that nothing had changed here. But they were simply too hard to control.

Her most recent broadcast was over, and now she was relaxing in the lounge area that served as her personal quarters. It wasn't as nice as she may have preferred, but it was definitely the most comfortable room in the entire station headquarters. The Droids, after all, cared little for anything other than their duties. All the better that she should be the one to appreciate this place. She was reclining on one of the leather couches, pondering her evening plans, when a Droid's voice interrupted the green woman's thoughts.

"Telephone call for Ms. Kanran," it intoned.

She narrowed her eyes, dismissively waving one hand with the bright chartreuse-lacquered fingernails. The Droid, not seeming to understand the gesture, simply stood there holding the phone with its red flashing "hold" light.

"Weather Lady Kanran is not taking calls," she continued, her voice contemptuous. "Reject it."
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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Black Rain   22nd July 2016, 11:23 am

The receptionist's telephone greeting was pleasant enough, but it seemed a bit stiff. Jasper returned the idle pleasantries in kind, requesting to speak to the shower-predicting starlet of the station. She put him on hold, leaving him to endure 40 seconds of 'mood' music before returning to the line.

"Weather Lady Kanran is not taking calls at this time," was the response given to his inquiry. It was so cut and dry that he had trouble telling the answering secretary apart from an automated recording. Before Jasper could argue his point further, the phone call was abruptly ended.


An hour after his call, Jasper stared over the monitor of his computer screen. He had spent his time compiling a list of work-related skills and periods of employment, some of which actually happened to be authentic. He mused in his chair, reviewing all the listed information.

There were many risks to consider carefully, given his hastily-brewed plan to gain access to the weather station. A legitimate business would likely have discarded his resume after some fact checking, or in the worst case, report his attempted confidence artistry to the police. A crooked business would merely attempt some form of direct retaliation. Fortunately, his ruse didn't need to be complex or elaborate; it only needed to go unseen for a few precious minutes. By then, Jasper would be long gone with the answers he sought.

In either event, it would be prudent to present a false identity. Saving an alternate copy of the document, Jasper made a few finals change before committing the data to print. To the personnel of Tokyo 12, his name would be John Steinbeck. His address was also altered in turn, now pointing an affluent waterpark instead of his Azabu apartment.

Over the course of the next hour, Jasper utilized public transportation (and his own two feet) to arrive at the front doors of the weather station. Even though he was doing more riding than walking, he felt it necessary to moderate his exposure to the evening sky. A blue boilersuit was worn beneath his yellow raincoat; a calculated wardrobe option intended to present its wearer as a member of the Tokyo working class.

It was time to peel back the shiny outer layer of this weather station and examine its inner workings.
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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Black Rain   1st August 2016, 12:05 pm



Peridoto touched up the polish on her fingernails—it was very important that she always be looking her absolute best—and stared lazily out the window from her high office in the Tokyo 12 tower. So far it had been a very smooth day. Nothing particularly interesting had happened, which was boring but satisfactory, and all of her planned weather anomalies were occurring precisely on schedule. When she had to make her next report to Black Moon Clan command, she knew that she could do so with pride. That was very, very important to her, after all.

Her green eyes narrowed slightly when she spotted something odd outside on the street. A figure, probably a male figure, approached the security gate outside of their building... and the Droid posing as a security guard let him in. Peridoto sighed, nearly throwing her hands into the air. Those idiot Droids! Sometimes they were more bother than they were worth. They obeyed orders, and that was all fine and dandy until they obeyed someone else's order. It just took a little bit of authority and they blindly let themselves be ordered around.

Well, she was going to have to take care of this. How could she keep her secrets secret if there were people milling around in the station?

Peridoto strode into the hallway and flagged down the nearest Droid.

"You! Talk to reception. There's somewhere here. I want to know who, and why, and I don't want that person let out of any Droid's sight until I have answers."
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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Black Rain   1st August 2016, 2:25 pm

Shortly after his arrival at the weather station, Jasper was ushered inside and directed to wait inside the lobby for further contact. He took a seat in a simple metal chair, maintaining an upright position so as to sell the idea that he was anticipating an appointment from a director of human resources. While his raincoat and blue boilersuit wasn't exactly glamorous, they would help encourage the staff here to lower their guard. In Jasper's hands, rather than a cell phone or other distraction, was the thick manila folder which could only be assumed to carry his resume, cover letter, and work history.

Something's not right here..

So far, everything seemed to be proceeding smoothly. Jasper had given the security guard the name of John Steinbeck, which had been hastily written onto a temporary pass that was now affixed to the collar of his suit. Most notably, the visitor had noticed that many of the staff members in Tokyo 12 were staring at him. Were they trying to be subtle, or was it just an understated way of them knowing that he wasn't here for legitimate reasons? His skin tingled at the recognition of the ever-present pairs of eyes, all of which stared at him in some eerie and unsettling fashion.
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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Black Rain   3rd August 2016, 8:18 am



"An interview?" She could hardly believe what she was hearing. That was preposterous. Also impossible!

Tokyo 12 was a hot-spot for Minus Energy utilized by the Black Moon Clan. She had spent time and effort carefully cultivating the station to best serve their whims. All of the human workers were gone now, replaced with Droids, the useful energy of those humans carefully harvested to serve the great plans Prince Demand championed for their ultimate cause. There was no reason—absolutely no reason—to invite another, outside human from this Nemesis-forsaken time and place, to enter this place! Peridoto couldn't imagine a single outcome that would be beneficial to their group. More humans could only mean more meddling.

Her plans were going so well! Esmeraude was so pleased! The chartreuse eyes narrowed dangerously, the beautiful face twisting into a malicious scowl. There was absolutely no way she was going to let some miserable human jeopardize all of her hard work right now.

She toyed with her options. The most appealing would be converting this man into a Droid as well. However... she couldn't quite ignore the possibility that someone could notice the change. This person did not belong at Tokyo 12. She couldn't gauge who he might normally interact with and whether those people would raise any alarms due to changed behaviours. (Droids were, after all, not perfect replacements.) And then there was the fact that he was a foreigner. Periodoto wrinkled her nose with displeasure. She didn't fully understand the arrangement of "countries" in the 20th century, but she knew enough to recognize that any situation that might involve an embassy was bad news.

No, that made it pretty clear. They had to get rid of him. And they had to do it in the least-suspicious way possible. That was going to be tricky.

She sighed, and glanced over at her appearance in the mirror. A brief touch-up to her makeup, and then a careful moment to modify her outfit from her usual choice to something more appropriate for Weather Lady Kanran.

A few minutes later, she was striding into the waiting area, her face a mask of faked concern and cheerfulness.

"Mr. Stanbark?" she asked, fumbling over the unfamiliar foreign sounds. "I am so sorry for the confusion. I heard that you're here for an interview—is that correct?"

Peridoto couldn't help being curious what this man's excuse would be. It still struck her as very strange that he had come here.
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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Black Rain   4th August 2016, 12:06 pm

Someone's finally coming! Does this mean they're taking the bait?

Jasper had to restrain his outward emotions as Weather Lady Kanran made her entrance. He didn't quite expect to see the chartreuse starlet in person, and was now attempting to balance the quiet admiration of the sharp woman's looks with the proper amount of attention to her words. Rising to his feet, Jasper bowed briefly to the acclaimed meteorologist and opened his folder to reveal a résumé.

"Yes, Ms. Kanran; I was here for an interview regarding my potential employment."

That statement was a bold-faced lie. Jasper had made no such scheduling arrangements, but he had the audacity strength of personality to pretend otherwise. Kanran's bizarre coworkers seemed to take his words at face value, which evidently meant they kept their eyes on 'Mr. Steinbeck' at all times. Nonetheless, Jasper continued to play the part of a prospective job-seeker by keeping a mild, comfortably confident smile on his face.

"My skills are largely technical and physical, but I also have some experience with managing others. I can set up, troubleshoot, and break down camera equipment for transportation as necessary."
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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Black Rain   12th August 2016, 7:10 am



Peridoto swallowed her actual feelings about this encounter and feigned sympathy and embarrassment. Although she did wish she could have met this young man in a different situations. Humans were disgusting, but could definitely be amusing. She had spent a lot of time in this station surrounded only by Droids, and the boredom wasn't yet oppressive but it would be. Particularly if she was able to keep working hard on and succeeding at her mission.

But that would be something to deal with later. Right now she needed to remove this pest from her command center's grounds.

She batted her eyelashes in a disarming manner, tilting her head to emphasis the overall look.

"Oh my, that does sound impressive!" she replied. "Unfortunately, it sounds like our hiring department neglected to take down the recent job postings, all of which have been filled. It's too bad that we couldn't have reached out to you sooner, and I'm so sorry for all the confusion."

Peridoto just wanted to get him out of the office, now.

"However, I can keep your resume on file, if that's alright. We might be hiring again, and we could keep you at the top of our list!"

Or I could use it to try and replace you with a Droid later.
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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Black Rain   7th September 2016, 7:31 am

Jasper steadied his breathing while Weather Lady Kanran brought the "unfortunate" news to his attention. While he still had no actual proof that something rotten was happening within the station, there were multiple eyes on him now. It would be impossible to make any progress while he was so closely watched!

Opening the manila folder in his custody, Jasper presented his carefully doctored resume to the attractive young woman. The text was clean and orderly, intended to be easy on the eyes while conveying all its necessary information - like his chosen alias (a long-deceased American author) and a set of contact information carefully chosen to conceal his true identity.

"Here you are, miss Kanran. If you get an opening, you can reach me during most working hours of the day."
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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Black Rain   7th September 2016, 9:51 am



She scowled internally, even if her outward face maintained the same vague pleasantness. Why was he so difficult to get rid of? She had him surrounded by her Droids, but she didn't feel that sense of surety that she needed to act on his removal. There was just something about the way his eyes had surveyed the room... Something about the way he was standing there... It concerned her. He might turn out to be exactly the type of opponent to accidentally underestimate. And then what would happen? She couldn't risk jeopardizing all of her hard work here.

"Thank you so much, Mr. Stenben," she continued, mangling the false name again. "We'll keep in contact."

Go; get out of here! Don't come back, don't look around—find a job somewhere else!

She felt a sinking sense that there would be only one way to quickly get him out of the station. She groaned behind the false smile, glaring daggers at him in her imagination. His days were going to be numbered—that was certain. Anyone who caused trouble for her was just asking to receive their comeuppance. Besides... it had been a while since she had quieted some of these pesky humans.

"Well..." she continued, haltingly. "We might have something... Sometimes we need assistance with the live coverage. It would be part-time, on call."

Yes, make it as unimpressive as possible. Maybe he won't take it. Even if he does, at least this way he won't be in the office building. The garages and the vans are mostly untouched. And they're on the other side of the lot.
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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Black Rain   8th September 2016, 10:04 am

It looks like there's nothing left for me to find here..

Jasper bowed briefly, seeming to disregard the casual butchery of his falsified moniker. It was, quite likely, a common thing to experience for most expatriates. At least in this area, he felt that Weather Lady Kanran did not do so with any malicious intent.

"Thank you again for your time, miss Kanran. May you have have a pleasant day.."

The man identifying himself as John Steinbeck prepared to depart from the Tokyo-12 reception hall, turning towards the exit. When Kanran continued speaking, he halted and turned his upper torso to look back in her direction as she mentioned the possibility of part-time employment. "Really? Then I'd be more than happy to help when you need that extra pair of hands."
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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Black Rain   8th September 2016, 12:23 pm



Oh thank the Black Crystal, he was leaving. Peridoto maintained her facade as the cheerful and bubbly Weather Lady Kanran, politely waving at her incredibly unwanted visitor as he exited the building. Her chartreuse eyes watched him as long as she possibly could, until she was absolutely sure that he was actually gone. When she turned back to the worthless Droids that had allowed him in. For the rest of the evening, they were to bear the brunt of her frustrated fury.

Peridoto wanted that to be the end of it. A few days passed, quiet and calm. Lots of storms, carefully engineered by a particular weather channel, that resulted in more illness and unrest among the people of Tokyo. But there was unrest in Tokyo 12, too.

As much as she wanted to just ignore that annoying snooping man, she couldn't help feeling like he had become a wild card variable in her perfectly balanced equation. What if he talked to others? What if he came back to follow up? She couldn't control his actions, unlike his Droids, and when she tried to cross-reference some of the information on his resume it only made her hate Earth and humans and the 20th century even more. It would be better to keep him close, so she could monitor him.

And replace him.

That was how Jasper wound up hired, part-time, by Tokyo 12, as a driver and technical operating assistant. Today would be his first day, with the request to drive a good 100km to get some footage of a rock slide in an area west of Tokyo. It would be solo, to keep him away from the Droids other than brief interactions to enter the premises and sign out the van and equipment. While he was occupied, she'd think about how she could make it easier for him to not come back.
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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Black Rain   13th September 2016, 5:59 am

Jasper arrived a few minutes ahead of schedule, seemingly to exhibit the diligent punctuality that was implicitly expected from the Japanese workforce. The bright-eyed, brown haired young man was clean shaven, carrying with him a mild aroma of tea-scented soap. His uniform didn't deviate far from the original outfit worn during his first visit, having been carefully selected to conform with Tokyo-12's employee dress code. It was washed and cleanly pressed in order to present its bearer as a clean, orderly member of the weather station's team of technicians. Completing the outfit was a pair of black steel-toed work boots which would have been equally welcome at a welding shop.

It was a shame that this working relationship wasn't built to last.

Jasper checked in with the few brief personnel that, unknown to him, had been specifically designated to steer the new guy on his way. Upon signing his cover identity's name to the release logs for the van and camera equipment, he proceeded to the garage to load the assigned vehicle and inspect its condition prior to departure.

No time for me to poke around the building? I'm just going to have to look at the few things I can.
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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Black Rain   13th September 2016, 6:56 am



So. He was here.

Peridoto frowned as she watched him on the monitors. Her Black Crystal earrings tinkled gently as she turned her head, the only sound in the control room this morning besides the hum of computers. He looked normal enough, and that was what continued to bother her. His resume had been quickly committed to the incinerator, not even checked over for accuracy. She wasn't a hiring manager for a television station, after all—she was a member of the Black Moon Clan from the 30th century. Jasper was lucky that Peridoto didn't have the skill or desire to perform a background check and uncover the errors in his document.

That didn't make him (or his job) any safer at the moment.

The Droids in the garage all had their instructions. Prevent him from exploring the building. If he tried to go inside, they were under strict orders to take him down and call reinforcements to assist. Then they'd replace him with one of their own. Peridoto could feel that itch to just order it right now and get him out of her way, but there was something else going on. She couldn't quite put her finger on it, but she wanted to know more.

So for now, she waited. And watched. The van he had been assigned to had monitoring in it, as well. She'd be keeping a close eye on him.
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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Black Rain   15th September 2016, 11:47 am

Tokyo-12's new guy had been given a very specific van for his assigned task. He spent several minutes checking its equipment to ensure a safe and accident-free ride. There may have been underinflated tires, cleverly disguised welds to the rims, cracked mirrors, chipped windshields - all of which were expected hazards from everyday use.

It would not be the kind of evidence Jasper could cite as example for wrongdoing, but the internal voices of paranoia and cynicism were all too eager to remind him that no authority figures would shed tears over a preventable accident. These same safety steps would also reveal the presence of intentional sabotage..


Thirty minutes later, Jasper climbed into the driver's seat and started the engine. He could find nothing amiss with the van, inside or out, but still felt as if he was on the defensive. His hands gripped the wheel, but he remained stationary for a few moments of silent reflection while staring out into the parking garage.

Perhaps it's just the strange people here.. they're so stiff and impersonal, like the stories of new guys in an army unit. No one talks to them until they prove their worth.

Once his thoughts were cleared, Jasper began his road trip out of Tokyo to the awaiting rock slide. It would feel good to drive again.
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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Black Rain   21st September 2016, 1:16 pm



Good. So far, he remained unaware.

He was right in thinking that the van itself had not been tampered with—except for the monitoring, of course. No reason to turn this "problem" into something that could be traced back to the television channel, after all. Peridoto rather liked the nest she had made for herself at Tokyo 12, as well as her current alter-ego as "Weather Lady Kanran". It would be a shame to cast all of that aside so quickly.

The three Droids currently tracking this mysterious new hire used the GPS navigation from the vehicle itself, allowing them to maintain an excellent distance to avoid being seen. They all looked rather innocuous—like normal civilians who might be seen in the area. Nothing too official. Nothing related to Tokyo 12. They drove a boring 4-door sedan that one inexpertly had stolen.

When Jasper set up to capture that requested footage... they'd be ready for him.
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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Black Rain   23rd September 2016, 6:20 pm

Based on the expected travel distance, Jasper's trip was scheduled to last for at least five hours.

Boredom behind the wheel was guaranteed to be a non-issue; navigating the urban sprawl of the greater Tokyo metropolis demanded constant awareness of his surroundings. Thankfully, the air conditioning system was in working order. Cool air would keep the expatriate's attention on the roads, while the heating core would prevent the van's windows from fogging over.


Nearly three hours later, the new operating assistant of Tokyo 12 stepped out from the driver's seat to gaze upon his assignment. The debris blocked a 5 km stretch of roadway located in a thickly forested mountain pass, requiring other motorists to take an alternate route. Jasper had conveniently ignored the posted warning signs up to the point where the road was barricaded, then eased the van onto the shoulder.

For all practical purposes and intents, the slide zone was his oyster. An overpass bridge spanned both sides of the freeway, offering Jasper a beautiful, unrestricted view of his assignment and the surrounding countryside. He paused to breathe in the cool air, then exhaled in satisfaction and began to retrieve the camera equipment.

The cost of tape wasn't a concern; getting enough footage to satisfy Weather Lady Kanran's demands would be.
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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Black Rain   26th September 2016, 11:27 am



This appeared to be a perfect opportunity. Her newly hired errand boy seemed to be completely alone up here. Countryside and mountains stretched on in all directions, kilometer after kilometer. It was so unlikely that anyone would be around to see anything suspicious. Peridoto felt confident about her plan, seeing how nicely things were coming together. Particularly with the rock slide, most of the locals were keeping their distance from this unstable ground. Maybe they could blame the accident on that...

"Droids!" she commanded, instantly broadcasting her voice to the small crowd of dummies that had watched the Tokyo 12 van reach its destination. "Get rid of him."
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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Black Rain   4th October 2016, 11:19 am

The rookie cameraman approached his job with a quiet professionalism, setting up a tripod on the bridge overlooking the rockslide. The stand itself was weighted down with specialized sandbags to restrict motion and ensure a smooth, seamless recording. As an afterthought, Jasper had also chosen to place emergency reflective triangles on the bridge to warn any approaching traffic to his presence. 

Still, he didn't want to fully commit his attention to the task at hand. He had felt uneasy within the station during his unsolicited "application," and even now when Kanran had summoned him for this particular task. The camera had barely been joined to the tripod when Jasper sensed that he wasn't alone; three individuals appearing to resemble construction workers had approached him.

Their footsteps were heavy enough to draw out a glance, soon followed by a shaking of the head and a return to his duties. Whatever they were assigned to do, Jasper would mind his own business. Unfortunately, Jasper was their business; one of the workers spoke up from a distance of approximately eight meters. "Excuse me, this road is closed."

Jasper ignored him, removing the lens cap from the camera as he peered through the viewfinder.

The voice repeated its warning, more insistent in its declaration. It was also six meters away. "Sir, this road is closed."

Jasper kept his eye to the camera viewfinder, raising his left hand to wave dismissively at the approaching voices. "Yes, I heard you the first time. I'll be leaving in half an hour."

From an unwelcome of proximity of four meters, the construction worker disregarded Jasper's body language. "You need to leave immediately. It's not safe here."

He couldn't ignore them any longer. With an irritable scowl, Jasper stepped away from his camera and looked at the workers who were so determined to see him leave. Why did they feel that three men were necessary to convince Jasper to leave? Why were they standing between him and the van? These were clear warning signs on their own, but the presence of what looked like a black turtleneck shirt among one of the workers' attire was particularly strange. This season was far too warm for that type of clothing, even if the bearer was expecting to work in a windy place?

Jasper gave voice to his suspicion, pointing an accusing finger at the supposed workers. They were probably waiting to attack him while he was returning the camera to the Tokyo 12 van. "I didn't see any construction equipment approaching or leaving from this location. Who exactly do you work for?"

A vile screech split the air as the dubious drones cast off their disguises. Drones? That was probably the best way to describe the bizarre humanoid figures before Jasper. They had an eerie, robotic appearance that suggested they were carved from some unknown material, as opposed to possessing flesh like an ordinary human being. The entire body was colored with a deep umbral pitch, save for the chalky white heads with dark holes for eyes and a curious black crescent marking on the forehead. Jasper didn't have much time to consider the significance of the black moon, however; the creatures hissed again and went on the offensive.

The attackers were akin to marionettes, dancing at the command of some unwholesome puppeteer. They attempted to tackle him to the ground, carelessly trusting in their numbers and boldness to overrun their sole human target. Before the first assailant could lay its hands on him, Jasper calmly stepped to the left and kicked the drone's feet out from beneath its torso - all without breaking his standing posture. The automaton fell onto its face behind him, just a few centimeters shy of the camera stand.

Not wanting to leave the scene empty handed, the other droids pressed their attack. If it wasn't for the relatively short time frame of the assault, Jasper would have considered mocking their rather basic approach. Their single-minded assault had its own merits, but they chose their target quite poorly.

Jasper raised his right foot, catching the second drone with a side kick that struck deep into its midsection. The stunning force of the blow pushed the doll back, affording Jasper enough space to pummel the third moon-marked minion with a vicious trio of threshing punches. The final blow, a straight punch from Jasper's right hand, carried enough force behind it to propel the hapless droid off of the overpass and onto the highway below.



About an hour later, Jasper finished loading the camera into the Tokyo 12 van and began the trip back to the weather station. The droid that he had knocked off of the bridge appeared to disintegrate on impact, leaving behind a fine sandy residue along with a single gem that carried the familiar black crescent moon. It was green, similar to an emerald, but not quite the same color.

Jasper attempted to question the two drones that had not fallen off of the bridge, but was merely answered by screeching and further aggression. Having lost his patience with the automatons, Jasper crushed them into the side of the mountain with a compressed burst of telekinetic force.

While he was able to record some footage of the rockslide, it was far less than the full 90 minutes that he had desired. Weather Lady Kanran would have to make do with fifteen, and he would have to lie about the actual attack to explain why he fell so far below his own goals. Jasper had not been harmed, after all, and there were virtually no signs of struggle at the van or on any of the company's property.

He was going to need a drink once he returned the camera.
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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Black Rain   4th October 2016, 12:04 pm



The surveillance equipment in the Tokyo 12 van was not positioned well enough for Peridoto to actually watch the Droid attack. It wasn't sophisticated and sensitive enough to hear the scuffle outside of the van or record anything useful for her future perusal. There were better things to use the amazing powers of the Malefic Black Crystal on, after all, than mere audio-visual equipment. She didn't expect to be able to watch the Droids, but she fully expected them to complete their task.

When, instead, the brown-haired man climbed back into the van almost as though nothing had happened and drove on, she could have screamed. She could have thrown something. What had happened out there? The chartreuse-themed woman practically launched herself from the swivel chair as she adjusted her focus to communicate with her Droids... and it was then she realized they were gone. Totally gone. Destroyed.

How had they been destroyed?!?!

There were no sailor soldiers in this area—right? Wasn't that what she had heard in the bulletins from headquarters on such a regular basis? Green Esmeraude would have mentioned something if it were otherwise... wouldn't she? Were the plans in the Juuban district not going as well as they should have been, allowing the sailor soldiers to move to a different area and cause a nuisance.

Well, if they thought they were going to interfere with Peridoto's plans with no consequences, they would have another thing coming. Her bright green eyes narrowed viciously as she thought about the awful things she would have in store for them. She drummed her long nails, tipped with the peridot lacquer, against the hard surfaces of the control room, mulling over her options. How had he survived? That should not have been possible. What had interfered? How could he seem so calm? Had they been intercepted before they could even reach their destination?

She was very curious what her new part-time employee would report when he returned from this assignment. Very curious, indeed.
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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Black Rain   5th October 2016, 7:30 am

The sun reached the horizon before Jasper was able to reach the Tokyo 12 station headquarters. He delicately maneuvered through the vast urban cityscape, carefully minding his speed and pedestrians alike on the return trip. Though the city offered far more obstacles to an attack on Jasper's life than a lonely mountain pass, it was still no time to let his guard down.

Those stinking robots..

Even if their attack had been poorly conceived, it had taken a great amount of precious time from Jasper's day. His return was quiet and unexciting, allowing him to transport precious camera equipment back into the station building with little fanfare. Each step into the building was watched closely, up to and including his signature of release logs. Thankfully, the staff obliged to answer his question as to Ms. Kanran's whereabouts, directing him towards her office to hand over the memory module containing his day's efforts.

This meeting would likely not end well, but it had to be done. Rather than tell his employer that he had been attacked, Jasper would explain that construction projects (and the workers performing them) had consistently interfered with his attempts to find a suitable site for recording.
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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Black Rain   10th October 2016, 6:22 am



Weather Lady Kanran maintained her usual cheerful facade, but in this moment it was certainly a facade. The man standing before her should have been unconscious, dragged in by the Droids, ready to be replaced with a copy of himself to wander about his usual activities while she slowly drained the last of the energy from him. All for the power and glory of the Black Moon Clan! The fact that he managed to stand on his own two feet and look alert and lively only increased her level of irritation. She wanted to know exactly what had happened to ruin all of her carefully-laid plans!

She smiled at him as she approached, even though she was fantasizing about drenching him in Dark Acid and watching his skin corrode. If nothing else, Peridoto was an extremely skilled actress. Otherwise how else could she fool the people of Tokyo day-in and day-out with her weather lady routine? It was only a hint of harshness in her eyes that came through, but certainly not enough to give her away in the slightest.

"So, how did it go?" she asked, voice bright and energetic.

Peridoto was very interested in this answer.
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[Advanced] Black Rain

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