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» Restoration (Open)
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» The New Lieutenant (Open)
Thu Jul 12, 2018 11:56 am by Hanzō Judai

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The New Lieutenant (Open)

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The New Lieutenant (Open)

Post by Hanzō Judai on Tue Apr 17, 2018 9:57 am

Hanzo shifted his shoulders, looking at himself in the mirror. He'd gained quite a bit of muscle these last few months, and any softness in his face and body was gone, leaving chiseled muscle behind. His white hair had gotten longer hanging to his shoulders and his big round ears stuck up and twitched as he listened to the sounds of his apartment building. Biting his lip in thought, the Shapeshifter discarded his usual blue pants and reddish-orange shirt, donning his work uniform. At his hip, he tied his beautiful Asauchi, the blade and scabbard both polished to nearly mirror brilliance. Then, before he went out the door, he pulled the black and gold ceramic helmet over his head.

As Hanzo made his way through Seireitei to the Second Division, he elected not to use Shunpo. Instead, he walked slowly, feeling an odd mixture of pleasure and nervousness. He had officially submitted his acceptance of the second seat to his Captain earlier that week, claiming he finally felt powerful enough to have earned the position so graciously offered. A few months under the Kenpachi's watchful eye had made him stronger, better, faster than ever before. He lamented as he walked, however, that he had neglected any usage of Kido, but rationalized that the Kenpachi was the last person to ask for such lessons. But she had helped immensely with his performance of the sword and actual combat, and for that he was grateful. 

He also felt really confident for the first time in ages. He looked and felt good and he knew his Asauchi was more beautiful than most Zanpakuto. But the constant nagging voice in his mind called depression and anxiety reminded him that he was the only member of the seated class without a Shikai. And to that voice, he argued that he could fight on par with those others, even without his Shikai release! And nowhere did it claim you needed a Shikai to be a seated officer!

As Hanzo rambled through these types of thoughts on his way to the second Division to meet with his Captain to receive his badge and new position officially, he began humming a tune, singing it half-aloud. "All the problems/ make me wanna go/ like a bad girl/ straight to video/ little Devi/ welcome to the show/ you're a failure/ playing in stereo~" And as he walked, he didn't even notice the blip in his speech.
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Re: The New Lieutenant (Open)

Post by Shiroki on Tue Apr 24, 2018 12:04 am

They would not come. The words simply would not come.

Multiple scenarios occurred and were dismissed offhand as quickly as they had arisen: Too trite. Too melodramatic. Not dramatic enough. Too casual.

It was enough to make one wish they could simply destroy everything as a convenient excuse to get out of this mess. But no, that was the sword talking. What was it the instructors always used to say? Never get confused between the weapon and the wielder, the differences between them like those of a king and his horse?

You never let me do anything-- A sudden sharp surge from Inukaze, the mental equivalent of a pout. In theory it should've been easy to ignore, if things got easier with long practice.

In theory.

He returned his attention to the singular plaque currently resting innocently upon the table, the unlikely source of consternation and indecision. Nor did he need to actually stare at it to know what it looked like, that wooden shingle's appearance and texture already long seared into memory. As it would've been for any one of its previous owners to have worn it. The crude motif of a Hell Butterfly reared outspread wings right where it had been stenciled over the bold horizontal lines representing the number of their division. At least, it looked like a butterfly from one point of view. Tilt your head in the other direction slightly, sort of squint, and then the image shifted abruptly--until it no longer resembled a flying insect but rather something more like a combination of kabuki and domino mask; with those spots on the wings representing sinister eyes.

"Why a butterfly?" he had remembered asking (and annoying the hell out of) people during the early days of initiation. Nobody had known, or cared to find out apparently. There had been several conflicting answers. Some thought it was because 2nd was also in charge of the messenger/scouting unit--which made little sense because that unit had nothing to do with hell butterflies. Others thought it was supposed to be a moth, one of those breeds with poisonous dust or some such imagery. Most didn't particularly care what their division logo was or the origins behind it, as long as it didn't interfere with the day-to-day business of stabbing first and asking questions later. Many times the answer had been some variant of 'Go ask Sev and quit bothering me' which was Second Squad slang for 'go run home and see if I'm there'. Like the logo itself, whoever 'Sev' was had been forgotten in the memory of most and was only intended as a snipe hunt for oblivious recruits with more enthusiasm than sense.

In those days, Shiroki hadn't been overly blessed with sense. But damn if he wasn't determined. Persistence had located the one known as 'Sev' eventually, in the pursuit to know the reason behind their logo. And the outcome, as always, proved suitably anticlimatic.

"It--" explained the sage, "Is whatever you see it to be."

Some saw it as a mask, to signify the importance of their deeds being hidden and secret. Some saw it as a butterfly, a winged outcast who straddled both a world of flyers and a world of crawlers--adequately suiting the assassin who was part of society and yet apart from it. At its core origin it was intended to be both: to emphasize how the assassin needed to be overlooked and underestimated by people (hence the weak butterfly symbolism) in order to ply his trade. This latter interpretation had been the one Shiroki had taken entirely to heart in shaping his own philosophy: be overlooked, a fly on the wall. Below notice...until such time Inukaze could feast upon her prey.

It served as guiding principle thus far, and remained the reason why he had gone to the trouble of setting up such a complex masquerade in his new appointment as Captain. Few as yet were privy to the information that he and Alfred were one and the same. He had done much to keep it that way, taking pains to be seen together with the decoy and speaking on its behalf so others would assume they were two separate people. Being able to function to some degree on its own also meant he could leave Alfred in the office to 'brood imposingly' while he settled stuff outside. So far it had seemed to work--assuming the lack of blackmail letters or gossip to be any indication

All that could have to change though, with a Lieutenant in the picture.

Captains rarely kept such secrets from Vice-Captains, especially since both were supposed to work as a team in support of each other. Not having this potentially relevant bit of information would probably inconvenience Hanzo if a situation arose in the field and the chain-of-command came into question. Furthermore, keeping things secret for longer than necessary threatened to weaken whatever bonds of trust existed between the parties involved. Something like that could lead to plenty of hurt feelings and resentment.

On the other hand however, Hanzo's current relationship to 11th's Kenpachi created a current climate wherein he didn't quite dare let such information slip. Not because he suspected the new Lieutenant to be untrustworthy, you understand--simply because he would be so frequently close to the suspect; and with Hanzo's own unsuspecting nature...

Ah, screw it. No use lying to yourself. You DO suspect him. Of being an unwitting pawn against you, if nothing else. Just like you suspect everyone of being the same.

No. The secret had to keep. They had gone to too much trouble to gamble this on something as inconstant as trust. Things had to continue as they were, for Hanzo's own safety

Hah.

--and what he didn't know couldn't be used against him by questionable squad captains.

Restricted is the warrior who relies solely upon their own power; lamentable their fate. It is only through cooperation that the impossible is achieved, and chaos where opportunity is born

Oh gods, Ma'kine--not YOU too...

Even Alfred seemed to be regarding him disapprovingly as the construct took up its accustomed place behind the table, face expressionless as it cast the captain's coat over its shoulders. It didn't attempt to stop the kid from taking his usual position on said shoulder, but neither did it lower its arm or assist in the attempt.

Which was...pretty unusual. And it seemed to be ignoring him. Almost as though--was Alfred giving them the silent treatment? Could artificial gigai machines even sulk? Because it certainly seemed that this one was sulking. Right now.

Yet another issue to be dealt with. He did not have time for this.

The rattle at their office door indicated that a visitor was about to arrive.

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Re: The New Lieutenant (Open)

Post by Hanzō Judai on Tue Apr 24, 2018 1:21 am

Hanzo stood outside the office door, running his hands down the front of his uniform. It was fine, he told himself. It was natural, right, to be promoted? He'd worked hard, trained and been in more combat than most others in Second. True, he'd lost all those fights... And there was that one time he sprained his wrist when practicing against Kenpachi Algaliarept. And there was that time she'd tripped and Hanzo'd pulled his arm almost out of place when he tried grabbing her hand... Nope! This was a mistake! There was definitely someone more qualified for this position!


"You're just overthinking; its the low self-esteem talking," the little voice in his head told him. Just the nerves from talking to the boss. Absolutely nothing to worry about, he told himself. It's just the Captain, you'll exchange a few words, get a badge and be on your way. "It's not like it'll be your job to talk to the Captain every single day, to always be at his side or anything." Hanzo stifled a laugh; he was so nervous now even the voice in his head was sounding girly. He took his hand off his Asauchi hilt and opened the office door.




Stepping in, he was relieved to see Shiro, his friend who'd introduced him into the Second. Weird to think he now would outrank Shiro. He stood at attention, having bowed to Captain Alfred when he entered.


"Thank you, so much, for your patience Captain Otchi. I apologize for taking so long to accept the position, but I had wanted to be sure I had earned my place here, among the Second Devi. I'm truly honored, however, that you're still willing to offer me the position as your Lieutenant."
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Re: The New Lieutenant (Open)

Post by Shiroki on Fri May 25, 2018 7:51 am

Well, clearly he wasn't the only nervous person in the room.

This realization made him feel much better.

"Vice-Captain Judai!" Pushing off from the gigai's shoulder, he affected a pouncing leap that ended with both paws latched snugly around the new second-seat's neck. "Thank Kami you're here to save me from the Cap'n talking my ears off!"

Cue silence and scraping cicada wings. If anything, the look on Alfred's non-face only became more disapproving. Seemed like everyone these days was a critic.

One good thing about this new position was that it placed him at the right height to reach Hanzo's shihakusho sleeve: a definite requirement for the finicky business of setting the Lieutenant's insignia in place. In the Second, it was customary for previous rank-holders to ceremonially confer their badges of office to their successors...a practice that some had more trouble with than most.

On hindsight, it was lucky that this was usually a private ceremony. The sight of an ex-Lieutenant having to cling like a monkey to assist the immediate successor with his badge wasn't exactly dignified by any scope of the word. Oh well. Darned thing was on, and that was the important thing.

Now for the tricky part. It would've looked pretty suspicious to be the only one speaking for this entire encounter. Like it or not, Alfred was going to have to pitch in. And that of course, meant Tenteikuura. Shiro tugged at his own shihakusho sleeves, hoping they hid the pre-inked markings from view. This was the pre-arranged signal for Alfred to do his thing.

C'mon you big scarecrow. Stand up, stand up, stand up...

After what seemed like an eternity, the hooded gigai at last reacted as intended, gliding soundlessly over to their location. With both arms tucked away in voluminous sleeves, it sketched a polite bow.

"You honor us with your acceptance of this post, Lieutenant Judai," privately transmitted via Tenteikuura, the Captain's voice as usual would take on whatever quality the intended audience expected it to have. "It is a relief to have it in capable hands."

Shiro made good use of the intended pause in conversation to stick out a tongue at Alfred; who pointedly ignored him.

"I don't have to remind you that we do things differently in Second compared to other Squads. Unlike our..." a measured pause, "colleagues; you'll find things a bit less...open here. It is the Captain's prerogative to conceal secrets; even from the Lieutenant, should it be considered necessary. Naturally, to be fair the reverse also applies: As Lieutenant, you are free to omit any information you feel is not directly relevant to the execution of your duties. We in the Second respect each other's privacy, insofar as they remain able to maintain it,"

Translation: I won't be telling you everything, you're free to do the same, and we both understand we're going to be actively trying to learn each other's secrets since there's no rule against curiosity. After all, if a secret was truly worth keeping then one should at least put effort into hiding it, right?

"And as for those duties in question; as Lieutenant you are hereby in charge of the Patrol Corps, as well as in assisting as liaison to the Upper Seats. This comprises the Detention Unit, Execution Branch, Executive Militia and Minazukin. Given the weight of these responsibilities, Shiro will remain as head of Retrieval so there's one less thing to worry about,"

"Are the terms acceptable?"
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Re: The New Lieutenant (Open)

Post by Hanzō Judai on Mon May 28, 2018 10:38 pm

Hanzo nodded, placing his hand on the hilt of his Asauchi. With the badge on his shoulder, he was officially the Second Seat, the Vice Captain. Lieutenant. It was a big responsibility. One he alone would bear. Without a Zanpakuto... "You're being ridiculous," the voice in his head reminded him.

Hanzo looked down before staring at the Captain's face. "Sir... I'll do the best I can. But are you sure the others will follow my orders? I'm one of the newest members and made incredible progress through the ranks. There's bound to be discontent, especially if I don't have a true Zanpakuto yet."

Hanzo gripped the jeweled handle of his sword firmly. He recalled saying yes to Shiro over lunch, how confident he'd been. How, during their conversation, he confessed to Shiro that he'd been privately calling his Asauchi "Devu~aobuzanaitou~otchi" based on a girl he'd met in a dream. He remembered how embarrassed he'd been to admit that he was so nervous about his lack of a Zanpakuto that he'd started pretending his Asauchi was one. In private, of course. He wondered what his Zanpakuto would be like. The girl from the dream had been rather... demanding. He hoped his Zanpakuto was as laid back he wanted to be.

"If you have any advice, I would be most thankful to hear it."
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Re: The New Lieutenant (Open)

Post by Shiroki on Tue May 29, 2018 10:22 am

Back at his customary place on Alfred's shoulder, the hooded figure and his mouthpiece traded a look as though they were holding a silent conversation.

"Cap'n says he's not really sure whatcha mean, Lieutenant Judai," Shiro 'translated', tilting his head to one side in a strangely animalistic manner. "He says he can see your zanpakuto plain as day. Not asauchi, mind you. Zanpakuto. An' he says anyone with two brain cells to rub t'gether should be able to as wel--" They exchanged another glance. "Well, that's not exactly what he said, but it's close enough,"

Not that they expected Hanzo to take their word for it at face value of course. Shiro hadn't exactly been planning such an encounter, but a Vice-Captain surely deserved some measure of trust. With an imperceptible sign he had Alfred draw his sizeable claymore from its sheath-harness on the gigai's back and toss it atop the table.


"That, Lieutenant Judai," the jackal commented, pointing a paw at the inert sword, "Is an asauchi. Yes: shocker, I know. Stupid cleaver's NOT the Cap'n's real zanpakuto. This is one of them secrets the Cap'n was talking about earlier. People can't tell the difference if he's carrying it with him all the time though, because his own reiatsu gets in the way. But now that he doesn't have it on him anymore, you can tell the difference, can't you? Look--here's mine as well for comparison," unsheathing Inukaze, Shiroki set it down on a nearby cabinet far enough from the claymore so as to not interrupt its radius. "Look at your sword--Devu; wasn't it? Now look at mine an' the Cap'n's. I'm sure you can feel it. Your reiatsu-sense's much better than y'think,"

And here was the moment of truth. If Hanzo did indeed open up his senses, there might even be a chance he would discover the truth behind Shiro and Alfred. Was that his true intention all along in staging this? He wasn't sure. All he knew was that there would be a chance, and not even an unlikely one--as he currently wasn't putting his full effort into maintaining the gigai's reiatsu shield. If Hanzo saw it, then that was that and he would come clean with the truth. But not till then.

Because this was the Second Division, dammit. Not hug-your-colleague-and-sing-kumbaya Squad 4. Here, you actually had to put some effort into finding stuff out. Not have other people's secrets handed over to you on a silver platter.

"And as for advice, why does it matter what people think?" They're not Cap'n, are they? If one day they actually luck into getting that white blankie, then maybe their opinions would be worth lis'ning to. But not till then,"retrieving his tonfa, he returned it to her place at his side. "Don't take any cheek from 'em Lieutenant. Do like I do--did--whatever. Kick their butts if you hafta,"
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Re: The New Lieutenant (Open)

Post by Hanzō Judai on Wed May 30, 2018 9:15 pm

Hanzo looked at the claymore, then the slim weapon near it. He reached out with the other sense, that ability to perceive the supernatural, and felt... An oddness. The tonfa was nearly identical to Shiro's energy, as was to be expected. But it was as if three Shiro were in the room, each slightly different. As for the claymore... it felt nothing like the other weapons.

Devu~aobuzanaitou~otchi, however, felt familiar. Not because he'd grown used to its weight and comforting presence as he had assumed. Because it felt like himself. In the months since obtaining it, he never actually reached out with his perception for it, but he knew, instinctively, that it used to be different. His brain made the connection then. He hadn't been just falling asleep during meditation sessions with Kenpachi Azalea. He'd unknowingly been doing Jizen, and she never told him. And if that had been Jizen, then that dream had been real. The... weapon was real. The girl, Devu~aobuzanaitou~otchi, had been his Spirit.

And, as his mind made these connections, it made a few others as well, picking up some inconsistencies. 

"This... is my Zanpakuto. Her name is... Devu~aobuzanaitou~otchi. That's what you're saying, right... Captain Shiroki?" As he asked, Hanzo changed his head to look not at the tall man in a coat, but the small Werewolf on his shoulder.
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Re: The New Lieutenant (Open)

Post by Shiroki on Tue Jun 12, 2018 12:50 pm

Huh. So the cat's out of the bag, was it? Well, damn.

Not that this came as much of a surprise, in hindsight. The invitation to Perceive almost counted as an open admission, didn't it--considering their new Lieutenant's progress in that field?

It occurs to him that he is *probably* being more cavalier about this development than is wise. A secret identity which was no longer secret isn't an advantage, after all.

Still...no point in crying over spilt milk. What's done is done, and the net value of a living lieutenant far outweighed the potential risk of others learning the secret.

"There's your proof, Hanzo. Not just anyone could See what you did just now. Remember when we first met? If we had this talk back then, you would'nt have noticed any reiatsu differences either," In the background Alfred powered down, entering a stooped position as the light left its eyes. "Some of the others still don't have a clue, actually. And I'd like to keep it that way,"

"So...yes. That's exactly what we're saying. Suspected as much when you mentioned napping around Old One-eye. If I know anything about the 11th, if that was REALLY the case you'd be dead now. Stands to reason that it wasn't a nap after all, since you obviously aren't. Dead, I mean," The recollection of that utter fiasco with the wolf Arrancar is still fresh in his mind. "Teacher or not, she does seem the type to get...carried away,"

"Seems you do have shikai after all, Lieutenant. Guess the question now is...what you're gonna do with it?" A pause. "I can book us a dojo if you wanna try it out, I mean. Up to you,"
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Re: The New Lieutenant (Open)

Post by Hanzō Judai on Wed Jun 13, 2018 11:40 pm

Hanzo nodded, looking from Shiroki to his own Zanpakuto. The voice in his head giggled. "That's my knight..." Hanzo shuddered as a chill went down his spine. This was real, he thought. He was a real Lieutenant. With a full-fledged Zanpakuto. His closest friend was the Captain of his Division. Somehow, he had more questions now than before.

"Shiro... er... Captain. I have no idea what my Shikai even does. I would need to practice and master its abilities, if any, before being able to use it while performing my new duties. It would be my responsibility now to master it as quickly as possible, and if you're offering assistance, I'll happily take it."
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Re: The New Lieutenant (Open)

Post by Shiroki on Tue Jul 03, 2018 11:29 pm

Would he now? Taiyo always believed there was no better time than the present, and since that day had been set aside for the Lieutenant ceremony it left their afternoons relatively free. No reason to put things off any later, really.

"Shall we see how it goes in the dojo? No pressure, this won't be a vice-captain exam or anythin' since you already have the position. Just a little tag to see what that blade can do. Usual setup?"

Terms of engagement: continue till one is disarmed or surrenders. Pretty standard stuff all told. He would also pause to give Hanzo the right to select their venue; as well as opportunities to accept or decline. That was the challenged-party's prerogative...unless they recklessly wished to throw away that advantage: a more foolhardy option than most, especially where 2nd Squad was concerned.

The offer was both a simple courtesy and reminder of their basic tenets. Pausing to let Hanzo choose subtly emphasized the fact that they WERE assassins, each perfectly able to prepare and rig a sparring ground in advance. Moreover; not just ABLE to, but also EXPECTED to--assuming Hanzo had attended half their division drills the new officer would certainly know that rigging the arena was standard protocol in the Onmitsukido handbook. One simply did NOT just walk into any kind of fight without first scoping out its location. By that same understanding, it was considered simple politeness for the challenger to allow their (non-ninja) opponent to choose their arena--in so doing making it impossible for any traps or hidden surprises to be set up beforehand.

With two ninjas in the equation, things became a lot more complicated. Shiroki could certainly put Hanzo at ease by letting the other select the field of engagement...but since Hanzo too was ALSO onmitsukido, there would be no guarantee that the field he chose would be completely free of potential nasty surprises as well. That was a risk he would have to take.
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Re: The New Lieutenant (Open)

Post by Hanzō Judai on Thu Jul 05, 2018 6:12 pm

Hanzo rubbed the handle of his Zanpakuto- a real Zanpakuto!- and closed his eyes in thought. Taking a deep breath, he opened them, and gave Shiroki a smile. "There's an unused section of the Eleventh's training grounds. Nobody uses it anymore, and I doubt most of them know where it is, since it's not on any maps or accessible from the roads. Kenpachi Algaliarept showed me how to find it, since you have to go through some old buildings. Did you know the Eleventh Division has a library of all things?"

The unused area he was referring to was a section of the Eleventh formed by improper planning when the Division's grounds were being built. It was a few hundred square feet gap between several of the massive walls and buildings that formed the Seireitei, and could only by accessed by going through the Eleventh Division's library's second floor's storage room's window, and jumping down from the balcony. The building itself was almost never used, and featured as much dust as books.

In essence, it was the perfect place to fight without being observed, or causing any unnecessary damage. Nothing of value filled the lot, and grass grew thick there.

"I can show you the way, if you would like to go. None of the Eleventh should bother us there; the library hasn't seen anyone inside it but the Kenpachi in years it looks like."
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Re: The New Lieutenant (Open)

Post by Shiroki on Tue Jul 10, 2018 11:38 pm

Why not? Learning about a semi-secret location in the heart of 11th's territory would surely come in handy at some later point in time. Not to mention his own burning curiosity at what Hanzo's shikai would manifest as. Having to cede familiar ground in exchange would be a small enough price to pay.

"Sure, lead the way,"
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Re: The New Lieutenant (Open)

Post by Hanzō Judai on Thu Jul 12, 2018 11:56 am

Hanzo readjusted his attire, hand resting on the hilt of his beautiful Zanpakuto. "Alright, after me. It's quite the route so try not to let curiosity get the best of you, alright Sh- Captain Shiroki." Smiling, Hanzo turned and began to lead the way with a determined and purposeful stride.

While he'd been training under the Lady Kenpachi, he learned that the old habits of the 11th died hard. The best way to avoid being hassled was to act as if you had a reason to be there. Without an active Lieutenant, the chain of command went from the Captain directly to the other three seated officers, and nobody really knew everything the Kenpachi was doing, only what their rotation was ordered to do. And nobody wanted to step on her toes, so to speak.

The walk to the 11th was quick, but then Hanzo had to lead his Captain down several side streets and back alleyways until they came to the Old Training Ground. It was used for practice by some of the older members of the Division, but most preferred the updated New Training Ground that was by the barracks rather than this. But still, a handful of grizzled Humans and Giants were sparring or lifting weights, and in a corner a small pack of Werewolves, in Humanoid and Wolf forms, were wrestling. Hanzo lead the small white Werewolf along the wall to the building behind the yard. Sliding open the door, he gestured for Shiroki to go in ahead before sliding the door shut.

The inside was dark, and Hanzo pulled an old fashioned lantern off the wall and lit the flame. The light revealed a very dusty room with half-rotted benches. Eight bookshelves filled the room from wall to wall with small walkways between them. It was evident from the disturbances in the dust that someone had been here frequently recently and was reading some of the books and repairing the benches.

Hanzo looked around quickly before leading the way to the back, going up a flight of stairs behind the back counter. Upstairs were several rooms, but only one door seemed to have been used at all in the last three decades. He went through it and went immediately through a storage room full of outdated training equipment and boxes of books to a propped open window. He gestured out it to a small, completely enclosed area.

"Just jump on down, Captain."
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