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The Black-cap Bay Incident [Game Thread - Ended]

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OOC: As mentioned in the advert, this game thread will be open to any and all Living World characters. In terms of continuum, this story is set at approximately the same time as the events in the 1e plot thread. Details about where characters should converge and the premise for them being there will be revealed in the opening posts and subsequent character interaction. Feel free to msg me if there are any questions, or you can just buzz the advert thread with said question. Now, on to the story...



***​


A bright moon hung low in a calm, cloudy night sky. Its pale light illuminated a rather unremarkable little island amid a still, pacific ocean. Clearly visible were the island's black topped, rocky mountains, forming a crescent around a deep bay. The remains of a volcano, collapsed long ago. From on high, two female shinigami beheld the little island. Their black shihakushou barely fluttered as they concealed the death gods against the night sky.

One of the women, Roake, scanned the island with her shocking, sky-blue eyes. "You're sure its here?" she asked the the stooped shinigami beside her.

"I am certain my child", Gran, the old veteran shinigami replied, "look closer."

Roake did as instructed. She had already spotted the little harbour, a few small ships and some structures, but nothing really to indicate that this island concealed what she was looking for. "I don't see anyth-"

She stopped midsentence as she saw a pale, wispy structure floating upwards. She had initially assumed that it was just an errant streak of mist. Upon closer inspection however, it moved quite strangely. It was in fact a long tendril of reishi, not errant or random at all, purposeful, intended, sweeping across the ocean surface and occasionally prodding and caressing at the skies.

"What is that?" Roake gasped.

"I'm not sure", Gran replied, "but it would probably be best if we avoid it."

Roake sighed and crossed her arms. "Hm, I thought the two of us would be enough to follow this lead while the manhunt in Soul Society was busy, but like this, I'm not sure it would be efficient or safe for just the two of us."

"We could do what we did back in my day", Gran replied with a chuckle. "Back then when resources were short we used to enlist humans who had spiritual powers. There were always a few who were out to make some profit or earn some favours. Some were even quite skilled."

Roake cast a rather skeptical look Gran's way. "Enlisting humans with spiritual powers for official business... isn't that illegal?"

"I won't tell if you don't", Gran grinned. "We're short on time and we need the help right?"

Roake nervously gnawed on her lip. She had a bad feeling.



*** 1 day later ***​


Roake stepped onto the bridge of the small, rusty salvage ship she had hired. It had cost nearly their entire mission budget, something that made Roake dread any potential damage that might come out during the mission. She had only just managed dodging a bill for her last mission that finances had tried to pin on her. Any additional expenses and they'd be out for blood. Roake found Gran at the helm of the ship, fidgeting with the controls and perusing the various dials and meters.

"You sure you know how to drive this thing?" Roake pensively asked. She had no idea how to work the thing, so if Gran (who had convinced her to get the ship) couldn't either, they were in trouble.

"Don't doubt your elders, child", Gran replied, still distracted by nearby lights and buttons. Somehow Roake wasn't convinced, for while she was currently in a gigai that looked like her spirit body, Gran by contrast had chosen a gigai of a large, strapping young man. The handsome young sailor though, still spoke and shuffled around like an old woman. "Off you go, Roake-chan. Go and meet our employees."

Roake sighed and shuffled out of the bridge, heading along the side of the ship towards the boarding point. She was still uncertain what employees would get. All she could offer in the advert was room, board, salvage and a vague promise of potential valuables that could be "liberated" by those who felt so inclined. She had used the channels that Gran had instructed, so there would definitely be humans with spiritual powers. Whether they would want to help though with so little information was another matter...

"I hope this works", she muttered. She descended to the dock with a little fold out chair she snatched up along the way. Setting it up and taking a seat, she produced her pipe from the pocket of her board-shorts and engaged its little cartridge. While she puffed away at the vapour, producing small bubbles which rose slowly and spilled out from beneath her wide-brimmed hat, she nervously fidgeted with her tank top shoulder-strap and flapped her flip-flop against her foot to some indecipherable beat.
 
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Lilac Hirvette

Lilac plunged a hand into his pocket and withdrew the slightly crumpled advert, doing his best to smooth it out and double-check that he was indeed headed toward the right place where he was supposed to meet the person in charge of this operation, or whatever it was exactly. From what he could tell, he seemed to be headed in the right direction, so he replaced the paper in his pocket and kept walking, glancing about for any signs of people. Perhaps there would be someone around who could tell him if he was on the right track or not.

After a few minutes and some more walking, the young man found himself coming upon the harbor, where he could see a ship docked with its gangplank extended down to the ground. He stopped, pausing to observe the ship for a brief moment, and then he glanced around, looking for its owners. Just as he turned his head, he caught sight of someone sitting in a chair, blowing what appeared to be bubbles from a long, slender pipe. He stared at the person, initially unsure if it was a man or a woman, but whomever they were, he assumed they were connected to the ship somehow, since they had set up right in front of it.

Smiling, glad that he'd finally found someone to speak to, Lilac approached the seated person, and slowly reached up his hand, flicking the hood of his heavy winter coat back off of his head, spilling his purple hair from within it. Although it was probably Summer and he should have been sweating profusely, there wasn't even a single drop of sweat in his hair or on his face to indicate that he was in any way overheating. Lilac directed two mismatched eyes at the person, smiling, and then he offered the person the same hand he'd just used to remove his hood for a handshake.

“Good afternoon,” he greeted casually, smiling. “Are you the person who sent this out, by any chance?” With that, he took the paper out of his pocket again and shook it out a bit, holding it up so that the person could read it and understand what he was referring to. “Name's Lilac Hirvette, by the way. Came here mainly because I was bored and looking for something to pass the time,” he elaborated, smiling while waiting for both the handshake and the person's response.
 
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Roake had somewhat dozed off when the young man's greeting suddenly startled her. Having barely saved her pipe from spilling from her lips, she righted her balanced on her seat and raised her hat somewhat to see who the new arrival was. She was a bit nonplussed by the shock of purple hair or the heavy coat, but seeing the paper advert being shook at her, Roake quickly leaped to her feet.

"Shhhh~", she hissed at the young man, trying to hush him and gesturing with her hand to hide the paper. Roake wasn't sure why she was being so cloak-and-dagger, but for some reason she felt some covertness was appropriate given the undertaking. She stole closer to the young man and tried to look nonchalant while mumbling so that only he could hear.

"Keep your voice down", she whispered, all the while casually looking around the dock at who might be near. "Act natural. You're here for the work?"

Even though Roake could clearly see the man's spiritual power, he seemed so 'demure' that she couldn't be sure. "You have some 'skills', correct?" The word 'skills' was comically accompanied by the air quotations in only the way an out-of-touch shinigami could do.
 
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The new arrival drew Roake's attention from her intended question. She saw the strange reiatsu on the young girl who had appeared on the dock and it had an eerie similarity to the boy Roake had been conversing with.

Where have I seen that before?...

Doubts aside, Roake was still rather pleased that the shot in the dark had already yielded two potential employees. Although they looked quite young, their apparent confidence was reassuring. Roake nodded to confirm the girl's statement. She gestured with her head for the two humans to follow her on board the ship. The ocean water was calm, but the ship noticeably rocked back and forth, causing the causeway to sway and the old metal hull to creak and groan.

At the top of the causeway, Roake turned left towards the front of the ship, proceeding to a small shaded area that contained a number of chairs and stools of various sizes and shapes, arranged around a rickety table. The table was almost covered by a map with various scribbles and notes on it along with some paper notes scrawled with eligible handwriting.

"Grab a seat", she said, motioning at the seats while taking up a high stool for herself. "Let me show you what we'd like to undertake. But firstly, some introductions... My name is Roake, just that. My partner is...um... Bill. He will be steering the ship and getting us to where we need to go."

At the mention of a destination, Roake lightly tapped at a point on the map. A keen observer would note that the area of ocean she pointed to showed no land existing there, nor did it contain an kind of marking or label at that location.

"There is a certain island there that Bill and I would very much like to explore. There are people there however, a company - so to speak, who may not take too kindly to our presence. That is why we sent out the advert for bodies for hire. We need talented people to help us slip in through the backdoor, or go straight in through front door if necessary. There will be danger, but also potentially high reward..."
 

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Alex

Although her official employment was running a cafe, Alex also took on odd-jobs investigating matters for clients. Nothing that interfered with police-work, oh no. But sometimes clients needed another point of view, or maybe the work had a supernatural bent to it - murders and such where the spirit might still linger around.

And such odd-jobs did help to supplement her cafe income, which was admittedly steady enough to get along but not by much.

So she had always kept her eye on the newspaper and pinboard classifieds, for any potential side-work. And the Quincy did find something somewhat promising - decent salvage could be valuable if sold to the right buyers.

Deciding to give this the benefit of doubt, Alex had packed a small rucksack with some essentials and turned up about 500 metres from the meeting point, walking around to carefully scout the area. She'd noticed the two humans waiting by an old boat-thing.

Remaining cautious, Alex had waited until two other interested parties had turned up to talk before deciding to join them. She walked up at an unhurried pace, arriving too late to overhear any conversation or to be invited up the gangplank. So she stood on the dock, close enough to examine the old salvage ship in all its (former) glory.

"Hear ya got a job?" The Quincy asked in her usual direct fashion, glancing around to see if there was anyone she recognised.

As she waited, the blonde could not help but peer yet again at the ship. Or rather, rustbucket. This close, there was no disguising the age of the vehicle. Well, it was floating so it was a good sign, right? It probably was seaworthy or something, just in need of a decent coat of paint. Maybe.

Though fairly adept at electronic gadgetry, cars and bikes, the blonde had not much idea about boats. Outside of horror movies, that is. Sharks and big octopus with teeth seemed to like eating boats... though if they tried eating this one, they'd probably get tetanus poisoning within half-a-minute.

Rabies-infected sharks. Fun. Unbidden, the Jaws movie theme began to hum in her mind. Dun dun, dun dun, dun dunnnn
 
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Lilac Hirvette

Oops. Looks like I caught her sleeping. Lilac observed the woman, for he could now see that it was a woman, as she seemingly startled awake and hurriedly moved to catch the bubble-blowing pipe, all before pushing up the brim of her hat so that she could see him. He opened his mouth to apologize for scaring her awake, but the woman was already shushing him and gesturing for him to put the paper he held in his hand away. Hm, interesting. Looks like this is something secret after all.

The young man quickly folded the paper back into a semi-neat square and jammed it back into his pocket, and by the time he'd done so, the woman had stood up and moved closer to him, close enough that she could mumble a few things so that only the two of them could hear, for she had asked him to keep his voice down. Lilac nodded his head in understanding and gently inclined his head, ready and waiting to listen to her. The woman didn't waste any time in getting right to the point, and for a moment, Lilac could only stare at her as she made air quotes around the word, 'skills.'

Huh. He was rather amused, but decided against saying anything about it. Instead, he opted to raise his hand and reach underneath the collar of his shirt, drawing out the pendant that was hiding there, letting it down so that it sat against his chest, in plain sight now, shimmering against the material of his coat. Lilac smiled, and copied the woman's use of air quotes as he spoke in a quiet voice. “Yeah, I got some skills,” he answered, smiling. “Believe me, lady, I wouldn't have come if I didn't.”

It was then that he felt another presence approaching them, and he raised his head, turning around to look behind them. His eyes fell upon another young woman, who had blond hair and a cap atop her head. Without wasting even a second, the blond offered them her name and made it quite obvious that she had come here for the job as well. Lilac stood quietly again, giving the girl a quick glance over, and already he was getting the feeling that there was something...unusual about her, but he said nothing; he wasn't the one running the show here after all.

The woman who did seem to be in charge gave a nod, and then shuffled them along onto the ship. Fortunately, it was not Lilac's first time on a ship and he was able to find his footing on the rocking boat easily enough, glad that he wasn't about to trip and fall on his face, and even more relieved that he was not prone to motion sickness. Smiling, he followed the woman and Rachel into the area which housed the chairs and table. He was offered his choice of seats, but declined, opting to stand for now, but he did come close to the table so that he could see the map and listen in on everything.

“Nice to meet you, Roake-san,” he said as the woman gave her name, and he gave a small salute off the top of his head, accompanied by a smile, before sticking his hand back inside his coat pocket. “And you too, Rhys-san,” he added, smiling at the blond, nodding again. “The name's Lilac Hirvette, and just Lilac is fine or whatever.”

The young man turned his attention back to Roake, and followed the line of her finger to where it connected with the map, only to discover that there was no island underneath her fingertip, only open water. But just because something was not marked on a map did not mean there wasn't something there. This mission was one that was apparently covered in secrets, and he was inclined to believe her. She offered a brief explanation of what their job basically was, and Lilac's brain was already jumping. Oh, this is cool. So, we're kind of like spies then. This ought to be fun.

Although, in some far back corner of his mind, he was just slightly apprehensive of the big bad company that was probably doing something illegal on this little unmarked island. But he would worry about that whenever they actually came face to face with them. For now...

He felt another presence near the ship, and this presence was one which he recognized. A big grin split his face as Lilac turned away from the table and left the two women to converse between themselves, and he eagerly scurried out to the deck, gripping the railing as he looked back at the dock. There she was, the owner of the cafe; Alex. Oh, yes, this was going to be much more fun than he'd thought. Lilac raised a hand, waving enthusiastically at Alex, while grinning from ear to ear. “Hiya, Alex!” he called. “Came to join the party too, huh? Nice!” He used the word party, careful to disguise their true activity, in case someone was listening to them.

Lowering his hand back to the railing, Lilac simmered down, only just then realizing that he was almost entirely surrounded by girls. The only other guy was Bill, and Lilac couldn't have known how mistaken he was there. Not that girls bothered him, either. He'd grown up with an older sister, and was used to them. But he did wonder if they'd turn out to be just as bossy as Lucina was. He knew for a fact that Alex could assume control of the situation quite aptly, and it made him grin again. Wonder if she's okay with doing sneaky things like this.
 
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Roake

Roake frownedas she watched Lilac skip off to the edge of the ship to greet another potential employer.

At least he's being somewhat discreet. I suppose this is what we get for hiring freelancers...

Roake folded her arms and sighed, deciding to address Rachel's concerns. "Hm...", she mumbled for a bit, trying to formualte a meaningful response. "Well, the lack of meaningful information for you guys is more because of the limited information I have than me not telling you. What is abundantly clear is that this company... whoever they are... are very good at covering their tracks, I they'll go to any lengths to keep their secrets, secret."

Roake sauntered over to a nearby crate and picked up a newspaper dated to about a week ago. "Remember this?" She asked, pointing at the front page story. The newspaper photo showed a smouldering, collapsed building with the bold headline 'Faulty Gas Line Destroys Corporate Building'. "That was their handiwork. Trust me, it was no accident, but what it does tell us is how dangerous these people are. I guess you might ask why we are messing with an entity like this in the first place. The reality is that... we believe... that are busy with something that poses a threat to the entire world. Call me crazy if you want, but we must learn what they are up to..."

"Now, now, Roake-chan. No need to be so dramatic." It was Gran, a.k.a 'uncle Bob' who had emerged from the ship interior, wiping 'his' hands with an old cloth and bearing large, friendly smile. Roake's frown deepened as she regarded the massive gigai the old woman had chosen, muscles buldging everywhere out of a ridiculously tight tank top.

What is this old woman thinking...?

"Quite a lively bunch we have here!" Bob grinned. "Hello, my name is-"

"Bob" Roake interrupted. "That's Bob."

Bob regarded Roake for a moment with a questioning glance before confirming "Yes... Bob. Pleased to meet you!"

"I think there is just one more that has to embark. Are we ready on your end?" Roake asked.

"Mhm", Bob responded. "Ready when you are."
 

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Anton stood on the harbourside, looking up at the dilapidated ship with curious, narrowed eyes. He heard voices, saw people heading up and down the gangplank. He was maybe a little late, but the ship was still there, and his lateness wasn't stopping him from eyeing up the situation suspiciously and taking his time smoking a cigarette before he made the decision whether or not to come on board and join the crew. No wifi on there… the thought crossed his mind. How long would he be without internet access? Could he handle it?

For God's sake, Anton, you're a Holy Warrior… go and do something useful for a change… He needed to get offline. While his online alter ego Cecelia kicked ass and levelled up quite convincingly, Anton was letting his abilities - his God-given abilities - go to waste. He did not want to get back on the wagon, he really didn't. But he knew he had to. "Merde," he cursed, stamping out his cigarette beneath his boot heel.

The young man walked purposefully up the gangplank onto the rustbucket of a ship. His confident stride betrayed nothing of the little argument he had been having with himself moments earlier. From his bearing and the sharpness of his clothing, from a distance, he could have been a male model sauntering onto a "shabby chic" photo shoot. He was wearing layers of t-shirts and newly minted indigo jeans, carrying a duffel bag bulging with a squarish shape slung across his back. Mid-brown hair hung with artful scruffiness into his eyes.

"So, I heard someone is looking for secret agents?" said Anton, stopping at the top of the gangplank and casting his eye around the various assortment of strangers. A tiny, blonde, European girl, a huge bruiser in a tank top, a purple haired guy, another blonde woman, and someone dressed in flip flops and a hat. A word from English popped into his head at this group of people. Oddballs.

For some reason, he felt like this was joining a party on Soul Ark Online, and started to mentally assign character classes to the group. The big guy was clearly the tank, the tiny girl a striker… Not that he would be staying and joining this crew if this turned out to be a trap or some other kind of bullshit. However, if the ad he'd seen online was legit … this could really be what he needed to break him out of his apathy.
 

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While still standing on the dock, Alex hadn't just been idly staring at the rust spots on the ship. She had been continually checking out her surroundings, and it seemed as if there were several presences aboard the ship - spiritually gifted and in a flavour she knew rather well. Quincy?

And just to confirm her thoughts, the young man she'd met at the cafe suddenly appeared atop the ship, and waved at her quite eagerly, mentioning something about a 'party'. Wait, he noticed the advertisement too?

"Heya, Kid!" Alex called back with an answering wave, eyeing the youth carefully in case someone yanked him backwards or shushed him. Nothing of the kind happened, which meant whoever on the ship was alright with that.

The blonde was about to ask if she should board the ship, when another man swaggered up the gangplank like he owned the place. The only giveaway that he actually didn't, and was a potential participant in this venture, was the rucksack slung over his back. No-one seemed to object to this - good.

A brief frown flickered over her brow. While it was good that there were a few people on this trip, it only meant that there was less salvage for each person, and correspondingly less money earned. Oh well, any income was good, she reasoned (albeit grudgingly).

Adjusting her own rucksack with a comfortable shrug, Alex trotted up the gangplank herself, coming face-to-face with a small group of strangers, with only one vaguely-familiar face.

"Alex, pleased ta' meetcha." She introduced herself in a casual off-handed way, looking around for the expedition leader. Frankly, all of them seemed to look like the hired help - especially the muscle-bound young man who was clearly going to hoist the sails and work the engines, or whatever heavy stuff the ship needed work done on.
 
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Lilac Hirvette

Lilac lowered his arm and settled himself in, resting his arms on the ship's rickety railing as he observed yet another person, a young man this time, approach on the dock. To Lilac, the young man appeared somewhat rugged, but he could tell instantly from the man's state of dress that he was definitely a city kid, just like the rest of them. He noted the rucksack which was hung over the man's shoulder, but he didn't bother to wonder what was inside of it.

As he watched, his mismatched eyes widened a fraction as the man approached the gang plank and immediately proceeded to board the ship without even an ounce of hesitation. Lilac stood up straight once more, wondering if he should greet the man and direct him toward what he now considered the 'meeting room.' But just as he was thinking about it, he suddenly noticed Alex was now boarding the ship as well, and he decided to wait for her instead.

Once the two newcomers were safely aboard and no one had fallen into the water, Lilac smiled warmly and walked over to greet them properly. It felt comforting to have at least one person he was at least a little familiar with going on this job with him, and it was nice to see another guy as well; it made him feel not so out of place now, despite that the young man didn't seem to be openly friendly. Well, he supposed that was all right. This was a job, after all. They would all need to take it seriously. He did not fail to realize that fact.

“Welcome aboard,” he greeted in a cheerful voice. Even though this was not his vessel, he still felt that it was an appropriate thing to say, not that he knew any better. “Everyone is waiting in the room just down there,” he explained, pointing in the 'meeting room's' direction.

Lilac led them both back to the room where Roake, Rachel, and Bob were still waiting. He smiled as he came in, obviously feeling more comfortable and less hyper now, and he moved to take a seat on one of the various chairs set around the table which held the map. He relaxed against the chair's back, content to remain silent as Alex and the brunette asked their questions and made their introductions. On the inside, he wondered if more people would turn up or if they were going to be setting sail soon.
 
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