Thursday, February 16, 2017
M-Com Mission Report - Operation Internal Labyrinth: Part One - Monster of the Week Campaign
A series of impressive pranks have been striking various companies in Tokyo. M-Com is uncertain as to the nature of the pranksters but the ambitious nature of these pranks heavily implies that the perpetrator (or perpetrators) have access to some sort of supernatural abilities. M-Com wants this supposition confirmed and, if proven, the pranksters to be apprehended or recruited as appropriate. With most of his current effort spent securing back-up for Thomas undertaking Operation Forgotten Scepter, Kasper is only able to secure a single analyst to help him aside from his team (some of whom he sends to assist Katkemat in Operation Wild Rain). As it stands, he heads to Japan with Lt. Kallistos Daley, the engineer Marcia Campbell, and Violet MacNeil, the woman infected by the chiang-shih curse which has been suppressed by nanites.
Checking out the dossier, Kasper immediately recognizes that there are two pranksters involved. One likes to go in while there is nobody around and set up numerous and obvious re-arrangements of things to make normal work operation impossible until someone fixes things. The other prefers to set up a Rube-Goldberg style succession of events which they leave for the employees of the company to set off themselves. The pranksters are targeting companies with a heavy reputation for abusing workers and leaving people hanging high and dry back when the economic bubble burst in Japan. Among the targeted companies was Suidobashi Heavy Industries, the company that Kurata Hikozaemon operates with.
He decides to take the chance to investigate the site of the most recent prank where Isawa Entertainment Group's demonstration for a new product at a local mall was interrupted by loud K-Pop and obnoxiously swirling and bright lights. Unfortunately, as it was March 24th, the school year had ended the day before and there were a stream of students all around the mall investigating the site of the recent public prank. Despite this, he sets Daley to start looking for emotional impressions and for Campbell to use the science tech to look for wibbly wobbly dimensional stuff while he works with Violet to analyze the evidence.
Despite the difficulty of filtering through all the kids on the first day out of school, they managed to find that the pranksters are using mirrors to travel and thus definitely using magical abilities. Kasper worries that they might be over using such magic in ways that risk the appearance of crystal mantids in the city. They note that the mirrors around them are subtly flickering though people by and large haven't noticed yet, meaning that this area is especially destabilized compared to a lot of the world. Meanwhile, he and Violet have pegged what they expect to be the next target, an idol-concert occurring in the next couple of hours.
Kasper and his team head for the sight to find a mild crowd already present as people are listening to the opening entertainments around the site. A quick analysis and he recognizes that it is likely to be the rube-goldberg prankster that is going to hit this site. He thus concludes that the first place the pranskter will hit are the jumbotrons which he expects to be the center-piece of the prank. As this prankster prefers the targets to set off their own things, he reasons that they will set up the end result first and link the triggers later.
With Cambell and Violet directing drones and Daley walking amongst the crowds and reading emotions and thoughts, he started scanning the crowd himself and spotted a pencilly looking guy with a clipboard moving about and investigating himself. He directed Daley to get into his head and relay information to him. She learns that the man's name is Kanno Jintoishi and that he was some sort of city planner that was investigating the pranks himself. Getting close, Kasper was able to confirm that the man had a map similar to theirs but had the added bit of conclusion that there was a center where the pranksters were operating out of.
He started a conversation and Mr. Kanno was initially resistant to cooperating until Kasper contacted Violet and started reading off every bit of information she found for him including that he had had a rather successful if mundane life until he made a stink about an uncovered heritage site found under the city. After which his wife divorced him and he had been shuffled off into doing low-paying busy work.
Kasper is concerned that this site is magically active and letting things into the world above and beyond whatever the pranksters are using it for. Daley telepathically notes that she has picked up the presence of the "schemer" which is how they've been referring to the rube-goldberg style prankster. He takes a moment to think and concludes that the pranksters are likely watching each others' works and pinpoints a mall and attached parking garage where the other prankster is likely to be.
Telling Daley to hold off for a moment he invited Mr. Kanno to go across the street with him and set up to find the other prankster. He finds a young man watching out a window, a little bit out of place and not noticing as he walks up beside the prankster, between him and a full-length mirror. The girl finally noticed the foreign agent and tried to dive past him for the mirror only for Kasper to casually grab him and wrap his arm in a companionable way around the prankster's shoulders. A moment later, a very confused looking girl walked out of the mirror trying to figure out why she wasn't starting her prank and blinking past Daley's mind-control.
Kasper starts to say he wants to talk to the two of them when he notes a red-dot appear on her head and dives to save her from an incoming sniper bullet, getting her clear but being crazed in the process.
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