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[12:07] <Sachiko> Saturday, the 14th of April.-
[12:07] <Sachiko> Night had fallen some time ago, and the windows looking out onto Soejima Road showed a town lit only by streetlights and faint neon in the brief glimpses one could get towards Katashiba's city centre.-
[12:07] <Sachiko> … and Sachiko needed to check, because she'd been locked in a cramped room since early that morning. Hunger had finally drawn her away, along with a side of exhaustion and eye fatigue. After a quick change of clothes she took the elevator down to the common area, checking her food options on her phone as she went.
[12:16] <Hideki> "Kurataaa~" Came a voice from one of the mismatched chairs closest to the big, ancient TV set. Hideki Nakajima let one leg hang limply over one of the chair's armrests as he swiveled around for a better look at his passing dormmate. "I haven't seen you in days. Are you bored too?"
[12:26] * Sachiko paused on the way past, letting the phone drop to her side. "Just putting it out there, but you might be bored because you're sitting alone in a mostly empty room."-
[12:26] <Sachiko> "… Unless Asahina's in there," she said, glancing over at the box. "Are you in there, Miss Asahina?"-
[12:26] <Sachiko> "…"-
[12:26] <Sachiko> "Guess not."
[12:32] <Hideki> "She's been gone all day." Hideki shook his head. "But you bring up a good point. And you know what? If we hang out for a while, then I won't be by myself anymore! What do you say?"
[12:45] <Sachiko> "Hm," she muttered, looking thoughtful. "I'm just going looking for food, but sure, you can tag along if you want."
[12:48] <Hideki> "Awesome." He hopped out of his chair. "What did you have in mind? Burgers?"
[12:56] <Sachiko> "Uh, sure," she said, a little shrug suggested she didn't care much. "Do you have a place…?"
[13:09] <Hideki> "You know? I think I just might." -
[13:10] <Hideki> […]-
[13:22] <Hideki> Wild Duck's Revenge looked like an everyday fast food restaurant from the outside, but crossing through the doors sent one into a different time and place. A magical time, when the scent of blood lingered in the air, and vigilantes freely roamed the earth. A duck mascot who cared only of striking back at the society that had robbed him of his loved ones loomed by the entrance, wings
[13:22] <Hideki> hovering inches from his holstered six-shooters, a bandoleer over its feathered chest, a wide cowboy hat pulled low over its eyes. -
[13:28] <Hideki> The order counter was white - as white as bones bleaching in the hot, dry desert sun - with a large plastic cactus on each end of it. Dominating the space directly above where the queue would have formed was a funeral portrait framed with black ribbon. The deceased? A stately looking green duck with a bright smile on its face. -
[13:35] <Hideki> The floors were hardwood. The seating was plastic and metal - all greens, browns and tans, with the occassional yellow accent. Earthly colors. The colors of a no-good town, weathered by harsh conditions and grudges that never died. The restaurant's slogan stood out in soft, warm red colors on the wall right above the self-serve soda fountain. "Revenge is a dish best served fried." -
[13:38] <Hideki> Hideki bounced happily up to the counter, and greeted the listless bowler-hatted employee with a smile. "The number 2 special, please. What about you, Kurata?"
[13:47] * Sachiko was still finding new things in the restaurant to look disbelievingly at by the time they hit the counter. This extended to her time reading the menu. "They like their theme here," she muttered. "I'll have the 'Counteroffensive Cheesburger Meal', I guess."
[13:51] <Hideki> "Nice one!" -
[13:53] <Hideki> It wouldn't take long before their orders were ready. It was apparently a slow period at Wild Duck's Revenge tonight… there were plenty of empty tables. Hideki beelined for the closest one and took a seat. "So!"
[14:09] * Sachiko took her own seat, setting the fast food paper bag down in front of her. "So," she agreed, unhurried. She grabbed a small handful of fries and chewed them over.-
[14:09] <Sachiko> "How's Yi doing?"
[14:14] <Hideki> "A lot better than she was before. As if the stuff at the old temple school wasn't enough, you know she's been getting all sorts of nasty messages, right?"
[14:17] <Sachiko> "I didn't," she said. "I kind of assumed it, though. The talk around the school has been poisonous enough."
[14:18] <Hideki> "Yeah. She's, uh, been taking a break from classes too."
[14:21] <Sachiko> "Yeah, I don't blame her," she said.-
[14:22] <Sachiko> She paused to chew a couple more fries. "I probably should've suggested we bring her along, but I've been meaning to talk to you privately."
[14:28] <Hideki> "Yeah…?" Hideki unwrapped his burger - a delicious one with two flame-broiled patties and a fried egg. "About something in particular?"
[15:00] <Sachiko> Sachiko had a matching one sitting in front of her now, but it went ignored for the moment. "I wanted to see where you stood on everything we've done this week."
[15:16] <Hideki> "Heh. Where to even begin?" Hideki set the burger down, and wiped his fingers with his napkin. "It's been like some long dream. Or a nightmare. Not sure which. A lot of it I just feel plain bad about. Ji-Hu's sharing our building now, and we can't even tell her what we're doing. And then there's our goal…"
[15:33] <Sachiko> "Yeah. I have a pretty good idea of where everyone else stands on that, but you… you talk less." She said it in a way that made it sound like a compliment.
[15:43] <Hideki> So Hideki took it as one. "Well, thanks. Since I'm on a roll, though, I figure I'll spill a little more. After seeing Ji-Hu this week, I think we're gonna have to do something, even if it ends up being the thing I feel bad about. She's doing a little better since staying with us, but I can only see this being a temporary solution."
[15:51] * Sachiko nodded. "I'm not advising doing nothing, no matter what some people think," Sachiko said with a sigh, rubbing her face with her clean hand.-
[15:51] <Sachiko> "But if there's another option, I intend to find it."
[15:57] <Hideki> "I hear ya. Is it because you wouldn't want someone to tweak your personality if the situation was flipped? Or is it purely an ethical thing?"
[16:11] <Sachiko> "A bit of both," she said. "How to put it…"-
[16:12] * Sachiko was quiet for a moment, choosing her words. "Ok. Personality isn't born fully-formed, divorced from context," Sachiko said, growing a little more animated now. Occasionally she gestured with a chip. "It's a function of that context. Major factors of your personality have roots in experience and history and random acts of chance and on and on and on."-
[16:12] <Sachiko> "As far as I'm concerned, personality is another kind of memory. Changing it requires you to alter that memory, and that alteration goes a lot further than the person you're actually changing. And none of the changes we make can ever be truly objective, because we're not capable of that as people."-
[16:12] <Sachiko> "It's a bigger, scarier thing than I'd trust anyone with," she said. "And certainly not me."
[16:18] * Hideki stared, blinking. "That sounds exactly like something my psychology teacher would've said."
[16:21] * Sachiko chose to focus on her burger. "… I did a lot of reading last year."
[16:27] <Hideki> "I see." He took a big bite. "I never really thought of the link between all this and memory before. If what you're saying is true, we're not just changing someone's personality, we're changing their world as they know it. You read up on any philosophy last year too?"
[16:31] <Sachiko> "A little bit," she nodded. "Nothing much further than entry-level.
[16:31] <Sachiko> "
[16:57] <Hideki> "You might've already read him, but if you haven't, check out John Locke. He backs up your point pretty well." Hideki nodded. "For me, I think the most jarring thing is that last point you brought up. Like, we aren't experts in this. How could we possibly do this and not bungle it horribly? Or, like, if you on an operation table, who would you want doing the surgery? Wouldn't you prefer
[16:57] <Hideki> a non-surgical option if there was one available? Can't you make the decision on your own?"
[11:17] <Sachiko> "I'd want to, definitely," she said, keeping her voice low despite the emptiness of the place. "We've only got the insistence of a magic cat that this is what has to happen, and I don't see why we should just take him at his word."-
[11:17] <Sachiko> She was quiet for a moment. "… You know that old team he keeps hinting at? I'm pretty sure they killed someone."
[11:24] <Hideki> "Yeah…?" Hideki pulled back slightly. "How can you be so sure?"
[11:44] <Sachiko> "Spent all day trying to make sense of that library on the fifth floor," she muttered. "It's a total mess, but I managed to find some old mission reports that were mostly written in French. I feel like they were trying to annoy me through space and time."-
[11:44] <Sachiko> "Most reports end in a way that's easy to translate, though: "Résultat: ombre réformée." Her pronunciation of French was, predictably, a little haphazard. "'Shadow Reformed', basically. That's how all of them go, except for the last one, where it's 'Shadow Terminated'."-
[11:44] <Sachiko> "Roy's already told us what that does."
[11:45] <Hideki> "…"-
[11:49] <Hideki> "Yeah," he said uncomfortably. "Yeah, something seriously went wrong. Did the rest of the team make it out? Like, was it a thing where both sides wiped out except for Roy?"
[11:55] <Sachiko> "I don't know yet," she admitted. "I can't really read the bulk of it. I've got a strong sense Roy wasn't the one writing the reports, though, so I think at least some of them made it through that."-
[11:55] <Sachiko> "You're definitely right about something going sideways, though. As doubtful as I am about all of this, I don't really think they would have done it on purpose."
[11:56] <Hideki> "Yeah. If every other record showed them successfully reforming someone, that's the only conclusion I can draw."
[12:00] * Sachiko nodded.-
[12:00] <Sachiko> "I think our best chance for an answer is probably in that library. I just have to find it, and that could take weeks."
[12:08] <Hideki> "Well. It's still going to be there weeks later," Hideki pointed out. "And we could do some more digging around in other places. Ask him outright, for example. Or one of his old teammates."
[12:20] <Sachiko> "… do you get the sense that any of them are still with us? I don't know that I do, even if they made it through that last mission."
[12:26] <Hideki> "The only teammate we know was turned into a cat for 30 years. I don't think the rest of them got off much better, but maybe there's at least one of them out there still."
[12:27] * Sachiko shrugged. "Fair point. Worth asking, I guess."
[12:31] <Hideki> "So, personal question here. Have you ever daydreamed about becoming a detective?"
[12:43] * Sachiko had taken a bite of her burger, and so for a few seconds her best response was a very confused squint. "… No. Why?"
[12:49] <Hideki> "No reason. All this sneaking around, hiding secrets while digging up information on other people? Very PI. Or even… spy-like!"
[13:12] * Sachiko rolled her eyes. "I read some books. Not exactly master spy material."
[13:21] <Hideki> "Yeah, you read some books. Dug through some old adventure logs written in a foreign language. Critically think about weird situations, and seem okay with collecting data to bust them and find the truth. If you're not a spy, then you're some kind of -" a weird expression crossed his face. -
[13:22] <Hideki> "Oh no. An… archaeologist?"
[13:33] <Sachiko> "… is that a negative thing? Do you have an anti-archaeology bias I'm unaware of?"
[13:35] <Hideki> "Negative? I dunno. Both my folks are archaeologists, though."
[13:37] <Sachiko> "Wait, really?" she asked. "That's pretty cool."
[13:52] <Hideki> "You'd think so," Hideki muttered. "All I know is that they take long research trips together and get all combative - and then googly-eyed - over stuff like old decaying Buddhist temples."
[14:04] <Sachiko> "… your parents are a team of romantically volatile archaeologists." She was grinning now. "That's amazing."
[14:09] <Hideki> "Yeah, yeah. It sounds cute to an outsider, but consider their kid's perspective. It's weird and kinda gross."
[14:12] <Sachiko> "And this is why you fear archaeology," she said, nodding. "I see, I see."
[14:14] <Hideki> "Hey, it's not a 'fear'. It's a healthy wariness of a profession that's apparently filled with people like my parents."
[14:16] <Sachiko> "Where does that put me, then? Apparently I'm halfway towards joining them."
[14:17] <Hideki> "It's not too late for you. I still think you have a good shot in the espionage business."
[14:21] <Sachiko> "Maybe you're right. Nothing ever goes wrong in espionage."
[14:23] <Hideki> "That's the spirit!"
[14:36] <Sachiko> Sachiko's laughter went on for a while.-
[14:36] <Sachiko> "… alright," she said, still smiling faintly. "So I'll keep working on the library, and we'll try to see what our options are."
[14:39] <Hideki> "Alright. We've gotta start somewhere, right? I can't read French, but do you want me to help with anything?"
[14:50] * Sachiko took a moment to consider this. "There is one difficult thing you might be able to help with, though I feel bad asking."-
[15:00] <Sachiko> [remove the -*]
[15:01] <Hideki> "Yeah? I'm listening…"
[15:01] <Sachiko> "I'm pretty sure Adrien knows French."
[15:05] <Hideki> "Ahh. You meant it when you said it was difficult, huh?"
[15:09] <Sachiko> "I try to say what I mean."
[15:10] <Hideki> "Yeah, you've been upfront, I'll give you that." Hideki chewed on what was left of his burger, although that wasn't much now. "Hell, I'll give it a shot."
[15:12] * Sachiko smiled. "Thanks."-
[15:13] <Sachiko> "I've set the mission reports aside in the library, but if you need help finding them just let me know."
[15:14] <Hideki> "Got it. Wish me luck."
[15:14] <PersonaGM> [ Thou art I; I art thou.-
[15:14] <PersonaGM> [ Thou hast glimpsed a new path of thine heart, with which to rewrite your story.-
[15:14] <PersonaGM> [ With the first meeting of the Devil Arcana and the Lovers Arcana, the beginning of your transformation and that of the world begins.]
[15:20] <Sachiko> "Just try not to punch him. He doesn't seem to like that," she said helpfully.
[15:24] <Hideki> "I'll keep that in mind," Hideki grinned. "I'm not in the habit of doing that sort of stuff anyway."
[15:30] <Sachiko> "Yeah, well neither am I, but here we are."
[15:38] <Hideki> "Heh. Touche." Hideki stood up. "I'm grabbing a drink. Want me to get you anything while I'm up?"
[15:38] <Sachiko> "I'm good. Should probably finish what I have first," she said, raising half a burger.-
[15:38] <Sachiko> "… thanks for listening, though."
[15:42] <Hideki> "Hey, anytime."

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