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Jasper
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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Black Rain   Mon Oct 10, 2016 5:30 pm

"It was.."

Jasper's speech trailed off as Weather Lady Kanran smiled in his direction. Although she seemed pleasant enough, the young man could not afford to forget that he was infiltrating a suspicious weather station. The droid attack from earlier that day could have been written off as a chance encounter if it happened in the city. But in a mountain pass that was barely populated? That was too perfect of a place to stage an ambush.

Kanran's new hire held out a memory card, offering it to the chartreuse woman. His selection of words was careful and deliberate, crafted to explain his situation without attempting to shift the blame for what would appear to be his personal failure.

"..not the day I expected, Ms. Kanran. I must apologize, for I was inconvenienced by a surge of construction traffic and vigilant safety guards for the entire trip. I had no choice but to take detours to reach my destination, and by that point I only had a few minutes of viable recording time."

He bowed slightly to the anchorwoman, awaiting her reply. "I should have paid closer attention to road condition bulletins."
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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Black Rain   Wed Oct 12, 2016 12:22 pm



Her immediate frowning reaction remained entirely internal, with no outward display. From the moment he began speaking, she knew that most of what he said could not be true. Her surveillance equipment proved that he took the most efficient route, made adequate time in getting there, was delayed for some reason outside of the van when he should have been disposed of... and returned to drive back. Why would he tell her this story instead?

"Oh my, so sorry it caused you so much trouble!" she replied, overflowing with false concern and sympathy. "I'm sure we'll make do with what you recorded. Thanks so much for your hard work!" As she accepted the memory card, her mind was whirling with so many questions.

"Hopefully your next assignment with us will be better! Thanks again!" she continued, gently maneuvering towards the exit, hoping he would quickly exit the premises for today.

Something was going on here. She didn't like it. She needed time to think about this. She needed the opportunity to calm her thoughts, clear her mind, and look at this situation from another angle. She had more "black rain" activity scheduled to continue to drain energy from the people of Tokyo, but the thought of staying holed up in the television seemed tortuous, even though it had not bothered her before. No, tonight she'd go out. She'd mingle with those stupid, awful humans and try to find an activity to occupy herself. Peridoto would not let this be the start of a string of failures, not when she was so determined to fight her way to the top of the Black Moon Clan hierarchy.

She was going to find a solution, whatever it took.
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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Black Rain   Fri Oct 21, 2016 11:42 am

Fortunately for his employer, Jasper was quick to follow on the subtle cues to exit. He met her external displays of compassion with tangible relief and gratitude, thankful that his own house of cards would not fall upon him today. "Thank you for your understanding, Ms. Kanran." Her luckless employee turned to face her again, bowing briefly as they parted ways.



Two hours later, the young man that had identified as John Steinbeck had found himself within a bar. He didn't recall reading the name of the establishment, only that he had left his car at home and made the walk to the lounge closest to his apartment.

Jasper mulled over the contents of his glass in dour silence, afforded distance from the other patrons by virtue of his physical size. He had no means of proving the existence of a conspiracy, and likely would have to further endanger himself to prove that the attack was somehow connected to the "black rain" phenomenon.

The black moon sigil that appeared on the fallen droids' gems suggested the presence of a shadow organization that would proactively attempt to eliminate its perceived threats. Unfortunately, the only individuals likely to know anything of it would be the sailor senshi - Jasper's former enemies. They would be suspicious of him, and that was assuming the utterly miraculous chance that the two would ever get to meet.
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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Black Rain   Wed Oct 26, 2016 10:38 am



She shed the Weather Lady Kanran persona for her night out. In her close-fitting top and gartered stockings, Peridoto turned heads wherever she went. Even with her disdain for the filthy humans of Tokyo, she didn't mind the attention. In fact, she welcomed it. At least these people were good for something—recognizing her own beauty and power. The Droids, obedient as they were, didn't quite offer that same awe.

The bar that she stopped in at was nondescript and semi-crowded, but it played music loudly enough for her tastes within the dimly-lit establishment. She didn't have shoulder her way past anyone to make it to the counter—the other patrons moved aside and made way when she approached. Perhaps in a way they could sense danger from her... or maybe they were just making way for a pretty lady. She didn't really care which one it was.

Peridoto caught the bartender's attention even before she made eye contact. She climbed onto an empty stool beside a man who seemed to have been given a wide berth by the others. Not that she planned to respect that. He was just another human, after all. When her drink arrived, she noted with satisfaction that the olive in her vodka martini perfectly matched the thematic colour of her outfit.

Now all she needed was someone to complain at. That was the purpose of this outing, after all—let off some steam so she could re-double her efforts to leech enemy from the people of Tokyo. Perhaps the patron next to her would serve well enough for that.

"Rough night?" she asked, used to immediately catching others' attention.
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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Black Rain   Thu Oct 27, 2016 12:16 pm

On the few occassions that Jasper chose to visit a pub, he observed a slow and deliberate pacing. Not only did he have a civic duty to avoid endangering other individuals with his own behavior, but he also preferred to maintain his own self reliance and personal agency above all else. The surest way to know he reached his limit was to watch the bar for individuals that he had not already spotted walking through the door.

Several heads turned to the arrival of a gorgeous woman in green. Jasper was no different on principle, but he took only enough interest in Peridoto's arrival to memorize her facial characteristics and her body profile before chasing another cocktail. How she chose to spend her night would be someone else's problem.

Inexplicably, the lady chose to claim a seat near Jasper.

He had meticulously gathered this personal space with a subtle projection of peerlessness, set apart from the other patrons by account of his size and veiled anger. He had not desired any humanoid company, not even the female variety with that level of physical beauty; all he needed was a soothing blend of whiskey and cola.

When Peridoto posed her question to the young man, he didn't immediately respond with a verbal reply. Instead, Jasper lifted his glass to his lips and drank its contents with a singular, audible gulp.

"The poison showers washed out my latest job interview," Jasper stated as he returned the empty glass to a beverage coaster. He watched the chartreuse damsel through his peripheral vision, uncertain as to what had provoked her interest. Though she certainly was pretty, a nagging sense of danger tugged at the corner of his mind. It was best to handle her with caution, if at all.
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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Black Rain   Sat Oct 29, 2016 6:02 pm



"Oh, darkness of Nemesis," she groaned internally at the terse reply. "Out of this entire bar, have I sat next to the dullest human present?"

She couldn't believe her luck. All of that nonsense earlier today with the still almost-unimaginable failure of her Droids to wipe out that strange "new hire"... and now this? At least she knew her acid rain was still causing trouble, based on this man's tale. Peridoto twirled the olive in her glass, admiring the colour again, loathe at the thought of standing up and finding another seat near a better conversation partner.

No, she decided, she simply wasn't going to do such a thing. She was charming enough for any of these stupid Earthlings. Just because this one seemed reluctant wasn't enough of a reason to give up and move elsewhere. Peridoto had every right to sit here, at this particularly seat, and enjoy this particular drink while blowing off steam with the exact particular man beside her. Even if he didn't originally think that was part of his evening plans, it was now!

"Oh, that sounds rough," she replied with as much sympathy as she could muster. "Maybe you're better off, though. I've had a miserable day at work."

She took a sip of her drink and cocked her head in his direction. "Any other job interviews? Been looking for a while?"
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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Black Rain   Fri Nov 04, 2016 11:53 am

The woman beside Jasper appeared to disregard his preferences towards solitude, remaining in the seat next to his person. What had encouraged her to pick him as her unfortunate audience? Was she so starved of attention that she would bother the most despicable person in the pub?

After a quiet moment of consideration, Jasper decided that there wasn't much harm in talking to the lady. He had no need of female companionship (not even the kind for hire), so there was nothing to lose by causing offense. The expatriate could even feign interest in whatever the damsel had to say. If she wasn't going to act on certain cues, then he felt justified in making a spectator's sport out of her personal problems.

Peridoto's glance was soon met by Jasper's hazel eyes, signalling a challenge to her earlier declaration. He spoke with a subtle firmness in his voice, offering an invitation for further exposition. "That was the first interview I had in a month, so for now I decided to handle personal affairs while I wait for another opportunity. How bad was your day?"
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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Black Rain   Tue Nov 15, 2016 10:46 am



She tried to maintain a sympathetic expression. This was not particularly easy for Peridoto, given that "sympathy" in many forms was hard to come by among the Black Moon Clan. She also knew that this was what the people of this strange barbaric past tended to expect of others. The woman had honed her skills enough to adequately fake her place among the humans of this era. If there was one thing she could be counted on, it was doing the job thoroughly. Still, he might have noticed a harsh glint to her brilliantly olive eyes, rather than the softness typically associated with true compassion.

"That's too bad," Peridoto replied, knowing it was a good phrase to use in such a situation. She had heard this sort of thing bantered about by the employees of Tokyo 12, during the observation period before she had them all replaced with Droids. "Maybe you'll find something else sooner than you think."

She sighed sharply, not dramatic, but merely a reaction, when he parried it back.

"I'm working on an important project. There's a lot riding on this; I've been vying for a promotion for years, and this could be the final piece. But my team... they had a simple job to complete today, and they totally botched it."

Peridoto scowled into her martini.

"You can't rely on anyone."
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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Black Rain   Tue Nov 15, 2016 2:27 pm

"That isn't true."

Peridoto's newfound associate had wished to spend the majority of his evening in relative peace, drinking while neither seeking or receiving ill intent. Strange circumstances found himself in the presence of a lady towards whom he held mixed feelings.

There was precious little that escaped the bitter eyes of Jasper Franklin. His drinking limit was based on an intuitive knowledge of his visual awareness and a vigilant disposition that actively sought discrepancies. 

Jasper had not yet reached that limit due to his body's resistance to poisons and toxins, which certainly included ethyl alcohol. His personal bar tab could have supplied drinks for a party of five, and he had not yet missed one single patron entering the establishment. Now with Peridoto so irritatingly close to him, he could unconsciously analyze her body profile to the point where it was possible to start making close guesses at her measurements..

Time to do some talking. Thankfully, the martini-sipping madam had given him options for discussion.

"You're.. a talented young woman who doesn't waver from a challenge." Jasper grasped for words, momentarily closing his eyes and raising a hand to his forehead. He had felt his vision waver from Peridoto's eyes, and to save face it was necessary to feign the appearance of a stranger struggling to form an articulated appraisal of another stranger. It was pretentious, but he didn't want to concede their contest of wills to her good-looking body.

Jasper continued, meeting Peridoto's gaze again with his own signature firmness. While the pupils of his eyes darted back and forth to follow the motions of the pub's other inhabitants, his body and posture were fully facing towards the lady in green. "You have self-confidence. That means you can rely on yourself."
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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Black Rain   Thu Dec 01, 2016 12:18 pm



She laughed, the sound somewhat more masculine and bitter than the feigned "oh-ho-ho-ho" common among Black Moon Clan woman. (Particularly Green Esmeraude, who seemed to have mastered the high-pitched echo of a "lady's laugh".)

"While that might be true, I cannot perform this assignment without my team," she replied, half-hiding a scowl.

The Droids were not the smartest things, but they did menial tasks and manual labor that avoided a need to station valuable operatives (like Peridoto herself) in concentration. Although their cause was a noble one, their available forces were not unlimited. The high-ranking among the group were quite busy at the moment with all the things happening in the Juuban district of Tokyo. Peridoto and others needed to provide as much widespread support as possible, both in the timeline of that abomination called Crystal Tokyo and this prehistoric time that eventually gave rise to it.

At least right now, despite the rest of her day, she wasn't feeling too bad. The alcohol served in this era remained tolerable. The bartender at this establishment didn't skimp on the mixture. The crowd remained quiet enough not to disturb her attempt to relax. The man beside her was not unpleasant to look at, and she felt a confident smile touch her lips to see him eying her. It was nice to be reminded that she was attractive and desirable in some way.

"Tomorrow should provide another opportunity, at least. And to you, as well, for your job search. So what about you—is self-reliance enough for your challenges?"
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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Black Rain   Tue Dec 27, 2016 4:51 pm

Unlike the woman beside him, Jasper was trying - and failing - to relax at the bar. A young couple entered the tavern shortly before his reply to the chartreuse woman, and he had spotted them walking inside as readily as when he placed his first drink order.

As Peridoto mused over her current situation, her following remark happened to remind the young man of the attempted hit on his life. He projected his best poker face, an impassive mask of all-seeing stoicism to sequester the anger that he felt at such an attempt. Logically speaking, Jasper had stumbled onto some criminal element which had not targeted him until he began snooping around in places that he did not belong. Even so, he knew better than to rationalize away all of someone's emotions - especially in matters of life and death. 

Jasper's right hand gripped his drinking glass tightly, almost enough to shatter the fragile material and spill its contents. "It has to be enough; I'm an army of one."
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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Black Rain   Wed Jan 04, 2017 1:30 pm



She noticed the way he tensed suddenly at her question; it was almost impossible to miss the signs. Something about that comment—intended to be light and off-hand—struck a nerve. This intrigued her. Perhaps there would be something amusing in further commentary from this tight-lipped young man. He really didn't seem to want to say much of anything, but she hoped she could find some way to keep him talking. It was far too early to head back to the station, and the thought of loitering around in multiple locations in this disgusting world of humans had absolutely no appeal.

"Oh?" she asked, hoping to draw him out. Maybe another drink would help? Peridoto's green eyes glanced towards the bartender, tapping a fingertip to order another round for the pair. "Has your army of one been hard at work lately?"
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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Black Rain   Tue Jan 31, 2017 9:37 am

"Yes. I have to fill the gap with temporary jobs, and it's not much different than working by yourself."

The green woman didn't waste much time in placing a second order for drinks, and had made eye contact with the bartender. Jasper noted that the other man had coincidentally given him a brief glance while fulfilling requests from another patron. Was the lady offering to cover another drink for him, or was it just a signal to keep talking?

Ah, what the hell. Another drink wouldn't really hurt him at this point. Jasper glanced sideways to Peridoto once their beverages arrived, having had sufficient time to further mull over her question. "Do you know that feeling? It's like being surrounded by lifeless drones."
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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Black Rain   Tue Jan 31, 2017 11:43 am



The chartreuse-haired vixen beside him immediately groaned in reply to his comment, rolling her eyes. It was a statement she couldn't have agreed with any more strongly. Peridoto wasn't just thinking of the Droids, but also of the brainless sycophants she worked with in Crystal Tokyo. The leaders of the Black Moon Clan—Prince Demand, his brother Blue Saphir, the lovely Green Esmeraude, and the passionate Crimson Rubeus—they had skill and polish. But the others... she sneered, thinking of their stupid "plans" and insipid ideas. Worthless, the whole lot of them.

"Oh yes," she replied, evident malice in her words, as she tipped back her glass. The green eyes looked somewhere distant, not within the confines of the bar. She could almost see the television station interior and her only barely-functional team of Droids.

"It's like you're the only one with a functioning brain, isn't it?" she continued. "Do you wonder: 'How can this be how it goes for others, when I have to do so much work?'"

And get so little credit or recognition for it. Tsch.
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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Black Rain   Mon Feb 06, 2017 5:29 pm

The vixen certainly had a lot of things running through her mind, not limited just to the bar's nightly special. Her gaze veered away, guided by some invisible vector to fixate on some remote location that was currently falling below her expectations. Jasper permitted himself the smallest of smiles at Peridoto's veiled grumbling when she voiced her agreement. The shoe was on the other foot now, and there was a certain amount of satisfaction to relish at her confirmation.

"Actually, I don't."

Jasper took a draught from his glass, permitting the lady a moment to readjust her attention - if not her eyes. His declaration was rich with a deeply voiced determination, a masculine thumbing of the nose at the weirdness in the world.

"I know the universe as a cold and uncaring place - more often than not. Strange things happen out there, much like the way strange things happen on this planet."

Though the young man acknowledged the harsh and impersonal nature of the greater galaxy, his statement carried the implication that he would dare to impose his own willpower against the prevailing cosmic winds.
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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Black Rain   Thu Feb 16, 2017 10:55 am



She took another sip, then adjusted her posture again, leaning into her elbows that rested on the bar. The green eyes were watching the young man beside her, listening to his commentary with more attention that she customarily gave humans. His statement resonated inside of her, even though the speaker couldn't possibly understand why.

He hadn't known the tyranny cloaked in "tranquility" of Crystal Tokyo. Cold and uncaring—those were perfect words for that long-haired despot with the hard eyes. Everyone thought she was their savior and protector, but she enforced a harsh sentence for all that dared question her will. That was why Peridoto was here, now, trying to prevent all of it from happening. That was their glorious purpose: to restore order and balance to one part of the fickle universe.

She identified with the tone in his voice. She felt that same way; the world may have its own plans, but she had hers. And she would do whatever was necessary to advance her own agenda.

Peridoto chuckled slightly, the typical condescension suddenly lacking her tone. She admired the colour of her chartreuse fingernails in the dim light of the bar before settling them once more around her beverage's glass.

"It's all very true. Although I think it sounds to me like your 'army of one' has its benefits in other ways. There are many days I would appreciate fewer of my...associates."
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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Black Rain   Wed Mar 15, 2017 3:01 pm

"Fewer associates?"

Now at that point, Jasper couldn't help but to give the woman a bit more of his attention. He initially had loathed the thought of sharing space at the bar with what outwardly appeared to be a repressed clerk or beleaguered project manager. In most cases, he tried to avoid getting too personally involved in the problems of others; his own were great enough! Yet here he was, chatting with the lady who seemed to envy the very fact that Jasper was able to work alone in most cases.

Perhaps the drinks were now starting to work.

Jasper turned to face Peridoto, paying attention to her face, eyes, and posture in particular. He didn't attempt to disguise or hide the fact that his eyes would also occassionally drift towards the rest of her body; after all, his opinion of Peridoto's fashion sense was that she wanted to be seen.

"They must be noisy or bothersome. Have you ever considered that being their keeper is one of your unwritten duties?"
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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Black Rain   Wed Mar 15, 2017 3:44 pm



He was correct in thinking that her appearance invited observation. The fitted, cropped garments with their varying textures were specifically chosen to highlight her figure. Peridoto felt a small smile rise to her chartreuse lips, refreshed slightly with the knowledge that, regardless of how much she hated this place and these miserable people, at least she could enjoy their attention. She basked in it, adjusting her position at the bar in a way that seemed natural and motivated only by the human body need to move, but was instead intended to boost attractiveness of her attire. This was all so well-practiced to her after all these years that it functionally was natural. She didn't consciously need to think about it.

It wasn't alcohol that suddenly made this man seem appealing to her—it was the fact that he was now paying attention to her. It was really all she cared about, particularly for these people in this backwards time.

She made a sarcastic hissing sound before letting out a clipped laugh. Peridoto signaled to the bartender for a refill and finished her drink before speaking. At least alcohol still existed in this miserable place. It wasn't as good as what was available when she was back at the headquarters in her own time period, but it would do. That would have to be enough, for now.

"It's not unwritten."

The young woman sighed, tossing a few strands of the peridot-green hair back over her shoulder.

"For some of them, at least. Although I'd do with fewer of the conniving ones as well as fewer of the brainless ones," she continued, tapping her nails against the surface of the bar. "My chances would be even better with fewer candidates vying for top positions."
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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Black Rain   Wed Apr 12, 2017 1:07 pm

Drinking beside the ambitious young woman, Jasper briefly considered signalling for a refill. He continued to humor the lady in green with his attention, raising his glass to his lips while keeping at least one eye on Peridoto.

She's got a good figure..

To feel carnal desires was natural, just like it was for humans to breathe or sharks to swim. Trying to deny such urges without the proper understanding would certainly lead a man to ruin; it was a weakness that invited exploitation. Long before the moment Jasper was introduced to the Dark Kingdom, he learned that weakness would be crushed by strength.

Jasper knew that one of a woman's strongest abilities was the inherent ability to make herself more attractive to the opposite gender. He tried to avoid forming relationships that had their origins in physical infatuation, because it was far too easy to lose track of a balanced and panoptic view of the world by focusing too much on a girl's visual aesthetics.

and so do I.

What could he infer from his drinking partner's volunteered information? She had an ambitious attitude, openly admitting that she wished her occupation was a little less crowded. And if she was willing to chat with a male stranger, then the woman must have been desperate for attention.

"You have my sympathy; a crowded workplace is no different than a crowded sports tournament. You have to go above and beyond expectations just to get any form of notice."
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