Before tackling the forces of Silent Hill full on, the DMC crew heads off to buy some much needed office supplies.
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This fine day (fine on account of a distinct dearth of demons) Ren ascends the hill above the city to the store of all things cheaply-made and cheaply-sold. Ren doesn't have a hand full (on account of not having any hands) but does have some canvas bags folded up in the storage box atom the hovering disc of the forcefield generator. While heading across the parking lot, Ren ripples backwards for a bit to study the city from this vantage point.
It's not, however, a good vantage point for seeing the front window... After a bit of bump, Ren makes a turn with a flourish, as if to suggest that was intentional. Neither Ren nor window is any worse for wear, though the latter has a bit of a gill-mucus mark.
Seldom has Kotal ever had need to wander into this part of Twisted. In fact, he has been heavily avoiding it, preferring to do his shopping over by the bazaar or whatever small shops he can find that don't remind him of the giant monopoly Diablo has in this place. Alas, with his growing staff and now being in command of both DMC and TASK, he has realized that he is in far bigger demand of supplies that he had originally thought.
Having never been here before, Kotal follows along with Serenity which gives him the opportunity to see her crashing back first into the front window of the shop. "Well done." Kotal says sardonically, as Serenity's little flourish isn't fooling anybody. That also looked like it didn't hurt so she lets her be.
He does pause for a moment to readjust his bags and turn to look to the city below. Eyes narrowing as he scans for any lingering fog that may currently be traveling across the city. Fortunately he doesn't see any, or he might cut short the entire trip and jump straight into the fray.
He also takes that moment to make a head count and make sure that Rayne and Minu aren't trailing behind.
Rayne walks right by the two with a slight wave of her free hand, the other carrying a couple of cloth bags. "Relax a bit, Kotal," she says as the automated door she's stepping towards opens. "It's a department store. Not a torture chamber." She pauses, turning to look back at him again. "Or would you actually prefer that?"
Minu follows Rayne, her bright golden eyes wide as she takes in everything. She has of course been to many other realms, seen other folks, but its been a long time since she was out of the Grand Archive. Twisted is definitely a whole new experience for the little elf. The more she sees the more she wants to see. Bouncing along on dainty feet she looks almost child like though she is of course a young adult in elven years. Raynes words bring a giggle from her as she bounces through the open door "Aztecs were well known for their blood rituals. He would probably prefer the torture. Me, I haven't been shopping in a very long time. I can't wait to see what is available here in Twisted!"
Serenity offers Kotal a smile in reply to his remark, then flows into the store after him. "Now," Ren hisses cheerily, "if you happen to see something not on the shopping list, do make a note of it. But we can buy it another day, after we've had time to consider the need for it." Ren waves an outstretched 'wing' toward the shelves. "There's no need to test whether our budget has limits."
To Minu, Ren nods. "I'd like to do some browsing here myself," Ren agrees. "I've taken a brief look around before, but perhaps you will notice more than I." Ren looks to Rayne and asks, "Where to, first?"
Of course, when one looks and acts the way that Kotal does, he's sure to garner a certain reputation that may or may not be actually well deserved. As Rayne accuses Kotal of liking to indulge in torturing activities which is further supported by Minu's own apparent research of the ancient Aztecs, the warlord gives the two women an indignant scoff at their insinuations, even if they are in jest. "The poisoner sees no difference in his work than to that of the warrior, but the warrior does. I assure you, my penchant for kombat only extends to the battlefield. After all, I am Huitzilopotchli, not Xipe-Totec." Well, no one is probably going to get that reference, but Kotal has always had a strangely flowery way of speaking that isn't often understood. Sometimes, he may be purposely cryptic. And yes, he keeps saying Xipe-Totec with little concern to retaliation. He's likely one of the very few souls in the multiverse that doesn't have numbing fear of the Cenobite.
Moving right along though, Kotal enters the building with only just a mildly displeased face at being there to begin with. He understands that its a necessity and he's not petty enough to drag his feet and complain every step of the way. "Yes, of course." He nods to Serenity and glances at the very excited looking Minu. "You are welcome to browse after we are doing buying the essentials. Just don't wander too far away from the group." Hopefully this won't end with them having to call Minu's name over the speakers as if she was a little lost girl.
When Serenity wonders where they should head to first, Kotal glances over his list to see the first order of business. "Office supplies. We don't have any paper, pens, printers.. or just about anything concerning an office." Hey, no one ever writes songs about how a general had to go shop for supplies for his army, but that doesn't mean that kind of stuff never happened.
Rayne breathes out a sigh of annoyance. "I still can't beleive there were only three pens in the entire building. Seriously, six fully stocked beer fridges, only three pens." She shakes her head. "Does anyone know if this place has weaponry? We seem to also have a lack of non-lethal force, for the most part. I may not be a fan of guns much anymore, but a decent stun setting could do a lot of good..." It can be odd sometimes, hearing the assumptions of energy-based weaponry coming from the woman who looks like she stepped out of a Dungeons and Dragons campaign. "Man, it has been decades since I've been to a place like this." She whistles, looking down the isles at the sheer size of the place.
Minu makes a face and rolls her eyes as Kotal takes that grumpy uncle tone and tells her to stay close as if she were a child. She has been a Keeper for well over a hundred years. She is perfectly capable of managing things, organizing them and keeping track of multiple important things. She may look like a doll but she is not a child. Well if the big man wants her to stay close, she can make sure she is...very close. The little elf pauses a heart beat just inside the door of the department store and shifts. One moment, elf, the next, elf owl. She takes wing with a tiny hoot. The store is large and has that open ceiling industrial look with the exposed metal beams and air ducts. The tiny owl flutters just over Kotals head then lands right on his helm.
Serenity nods to Kotal, then offers to Rayne, "Perhaps it's the philosophy of the office without paper?" Ren glances about, making a flowing spin in place, to spot the sign for the office supplies aisle of the store. "But paper, I imagine, would hold information better than a computer in the event that the physics the computer depends on are misbehaving."
Serenity frowns a bit, some moments after Rayne mentions the weapons. "I should hope-" Ren starts to say to her, then 'blinks' eyes inward at Minu's transformation. Ren looks up at her. "That was surprising, though maybe it shouldn't have been. Should I be jealous that I have only the one form?"
"I'm sure it does." Kotal responds to Rayne when she wonders if the S-Mart might carry weaponry. "I recall some of my subordinates in Outworld often times wandered to this kind of shops in Earthrealm to buy supplies for their guns. There ought to be hunting supplies around here that could offer some opportunities. Also, bear in mind that this is a Twisted store and therefore has supplies from all across the galaxy and dimensions. It may have things that far surpass the mundane."
The Aztec then makes a weary face when Serenity tries to defend the wholly inappropriate state that DMC was in and shakes his head. "I somehow doubt that is the case, Serenity." He grumbles and looks thoughtful all of the sudden. "Though you do bring up an interesting point I just considered. Although keeping information in our data files would be far more efficient than paper, I do not trust Gegoshi having so much freedom accessing our files. It would be best if we do keep written records so that she doesn't know our each and every move which she will undoubtedly pass on to Diablo." Of course, having written records means that someone has to keep them, and just as Kotal was about to tell Minu this is where she comes in, the little elf turns little owl and perches on his eagle helmet. Yo dawg, I heard you like birds so you can have a bird on your bird helmet so you can have a bird while wearing one. "Hm??" Kotal grunts and looks up but ultimately just lets Minu be for now, at least now he knows where the elf girl is at all times. Keep in mind that wise as the elf claims to be, the last time she wandered too far off she ended up being stuck in Twisted. Kotal would say he has a real reason to worry that she might make the run turn and end up somewhere lost in Twisted too if they aren't too careful with her.
Rayne says, "Good, good, I'll have to see if there's some sort of light blaster later. And Ren, I want to look into that because I currently don't have any non-lethal weapons other than my fists and feet. And I'm far from the strongest physical fighter around here. I want that option to just disable someone so that things can be handled in a... less permanent manner." As they arrive at the office supplies, she starts looking through the vast array of pens, from the dirt cheap to the horribly expensive. "But still, you're not the only one that doesn't transform. Kotal here settles for a helmet instead of actually transforming into one like Minu and me. What would the equivalent of turning into a bird be for you, Ren?" Deciding she likes the look and price of the 'Round Stic', she takes a couple boxes and puts them into her shopping bag."
Talk about things being held against you. She makes one impetuous decision in over a hundred years and it gets her stuck in Twisted and thought to be a flutter brain. Well there is nothing she can do about that no other then just settle in and get comfortable in her new life. She is not just a bird when she is in owl form. She is capable of complex thought and can understand things perfectly well she just can't emit human like speech. She rests on the big mans helm all the way over to the office supplies then hops off and flutters onto the closest shelf. The little owl walks the edge of the shelf, pausing to tilt her head upside down to look at various products. She finds the packs of binder dividers, brightly colored ones with little tabs for labeling. Leaning way down she plucks a pack from the peg and flipping her head she flicks them at the big man. "Hoot!"
Serenity frowns at Kotal's observations. "I suppose that Diablo does have access to our files, but I'm not sure that we can do much about this. Gegoshi already seems to have a strong awareness of what goes on in this town, with or without our help. We, in contrast, would not do as well without Gegoshi's help. Perhaps more a more strategic sort of secret-keeping is in order."
Ren nods to Rayne's explanation, then looks thoughtful after the question. "That's an interesting exercise in cultural translation..." Ren ripples to the side of her to peer curiously at Minu's activities. "Small schooling browsers, something like squid; or a predator of the deep or body of light, for the mythological parallels?"
Kotal looks up thoughtfully when Rayne brings up her concern of getting non-lethal armament, though carefully considering he is aware that he has a tiny owl riding on his helmet. Honestly, the thought of 'non-lethal' is rarely one that crosses his mind, though in an ancient times he and his Aztecs were rather infamous for their practices of taking their enemies for sacrifice, centuries of kombat had forced Kotal to change his methods into eliminating his opponents as quickly and gruesomely as possible.
Still, Rayne brought a good point, and he should see to it that she is well stocked on what she needs. "In the event we can't find any of those items here, we should endeavor to look into TASK's armory and see what they can offer. Mind you, Rayne, we are here mainly for office supplies. Do not despair too much if you cannot find suitable weapons for now."
Furthermore, Kotal does not confirm or deny his ability or lack thereof to turn into a bird. This is how godhood works, people: you sort of let your worshipers start telling tall stories about you until you build yourself a legendary reputation.
Kotal catches the binders thrown at him by the tiny owl and still finds the time to patronize her by extending his hand towards her and passing a gruff hand over the back of her head, preening Minu's feathers some.
As for Serenity's concern, he has more choice words for when the topic of Diablo and his lackey is brought up. "Oh, I can certainly do enough things to Diablo should he ever try to overstep his bounds again. You simply let me deal with that pretentious devil."
"As for Gegoshi, I do lack the ability to prevent her from looking over my metaphorical shoulder. It is true that we rely on her greatly, and that is not necessarily something that I enjoy. Therefore, even though she has not directly crossed us, we should start to take steps into limiting her power over us."
"Over years as an Emperor, I've learned very quickly that giving untrustworthy people a lot of power is only a recipe for disaster. Especially if said people call themselves your allies or subordinates."
Rayne says, "Well, yeah, like I said... something to look into for later. I've just not really been out... SHOPPING in over a decade and I'm a slight overwhelmed by this place. I mean, EVERYTHING is here!" She spreads her arms out and spins around once for emphasis. "I guess I need time to explore on my own when we're done here." She grins briefly before recomposing herself.
"But yes, office supplies. Binders, pens..." She looks ever at the array of printer/copy paper. "Oh my word, what is the difference between all those?"
The owlet pauses as she is about to toss a packet of post-its toward Kotal, to listen to the talk of the others. Her little head tilting so far to the side its almost upside down. When the big man reaches out to pet her she turns her head to push the post-its into his hand.
The little owl hops down from peg to peg till she spies something utterly wonderful. A P-Touch label maker! She must have this. It would make organizing and marking things so much easier then doing it by hand!! She hops on the peg and hoots loudly, fluttering her wings. The little owl pecks the plastic packaging, working the moderately heavy thing toward the end of the peg. "Hoot..hooo hoot hoot!"
Serenity looks less than pleased at Kotal's remark about Diablo but doesn't remark upon it, simply nodding in return. Ren grins, though, at the expression of enthusiasm from Rayne. "A decade?" Ren comments curiously, inclining rhinophores in her direction. "That sounds like quite a lot of accumulated acquisition that you have put off," Ren observes, motioning an extended portion of a 'wing' in her direction.
Ren starts to flow over for a look at said pile of paper, but pauses along the way for a look at Minu's efforts. "This is something that we need?" Ren inquires.
If Kotal notices that disapproving look that Serenity gives him, he certainly makes no indication of it. Goodness knows that Kotal and Serenity rarely see eye to eye on how to apply policies and what not, with Serenity opting favoring non-confrontational and less severe application of rules while, if Kotal really had his way, he'd eat the heart of every criminal in Twisted, or at least have them fight in the arena for their lives. That she wouldn't approve of his eagerness to butt heads with Diablo was completely expected.
Besides, it is clear that Kotal has far more important tasks at hand, such as, deciding what kind of paper is most suitable for their printers. "Honestly, I don't have any idea either." He tells Rayne whilst he inspects the hundreds of different options of paper available. "I am quite old fashioned with these things as well. I still remember when we had to flatten bark from trees in order to make passable manuscripts back in Tenochtitlan." The Aztec muses and rubs his chin. "Get one with recycled paper, I suppose. I'm not fond of needlessly wasting resources."
Minu, avoiding his pettings by throwing post-its notes at him -does- garner an annoyed face though. To think that she would refuse to be touched by a god.. the gall of this little owlet! Before he can show too much indignation though, Minu is already pushing yet another thing at him that makes her have far too much enthusiasm for someone who's just buying office supplies. "What is this?" Kotal grabs the P-Touch label and looks at it oddly, turning it every which way on his hands. "I can't make heads or tails of this aberration. What is it for?" He looks up questioningly to the girls.
Minu was not intentionally avoiding being petted, but there were important things to get. She is eager to get what she feels will help her do what ever job is set before her. When Serenity looks upon the P-Touch and asks about it the little bird hops and flutters her little wings eagerly. She hoots and plucks at the package until Kotal pulls the thing from the peg. She takes to wing and flies to his arm, hopping along it till she can use on small foot to scratch at the words "label" and "Organize". She looks up a the man and beak clatters.
Rayne says, "Yeah... Well, I also learned to not accumulate my acquisitions while I was at it. When you have to walk to where you're going and consider yourself a traveler..." She shrugs and selects a single ream of the second cheapest recycled option calling itself appropriate for printers. "I guess can always come back for more if this actually proves to be of poor quality. And really, I thought I had it primitive on Cevernal, yeesh. At least we could get paper there."
At Minu's excitement and Kotal's questioning of said excitement, Rayne takes a closer look at the P-Touch. "A... label maker? Looks like it makes labels for things." She shrugs. "She seems to want it pretty bad, though.""
"I suppose that we'll need to label files if we're to keep them on paper," Ren says a bit doubtfully after observing the package as Minu indicated. "I don't know how we can determine, though, that the paper, folders, and filing cabinet weren't fabricated from electronic components by Gegoshi." Ren glances from Kotal to Rayne. "Personally, I'm of the mind to trust our allies, insofar as we don't have the ability to act on our suspicions."
Ren nods to Rayne at her bit of history. "My possessions were somewhat limited by not living in a rural area," Ren mentions. "I can imagine that people living in places with such low population density as this," Ren motions out to the sides, "might collect enough to fill their larger apartments. But that's not a problem I've had to worry about so far." Ren folds in half to pull an additional empty cloth bag (further stuffed into a small plastic bag) from the storage box. Ren offers this to Rayne and adds thoughtfully, "But maybe I could take a look at jewelry while we're here. Do you know much about it?"
"A good policy." Kotal nods to Rayne and her penchant for traveling light, though it's not surprising that Kotal would agree on a fellow minimalist. Even though he used to live in a tremendously opulent palace, Kotal Kahn is at heart a man that lives with very little. That much can be judged by his clothing since he's almost never wearing a shirt to begin with.
He continues to study to the P-Touch pad whilst Rayne and Minu explain its purpose, each on her own way of course. Kotal doesn't seem too reluctant about it, he just looks confused about the contraption. Eventually though, he caves in and rolls his glowing eyes. "Very well. If you really think such a thing is needed." He'll just let Minu figure out how that things works - he's been having enough trouble lately trying to work with a computer, he's not adding more things to his platter right now.
"You are right of course." Says he then to Serenity as she mentions the need to label things if Kotal really intends to favor using paper documents over storing everything electronically. "Then it would be in my best interest to give Minu free reign on what she intends to do." Hurray for having an OCD owlet then.
Serenity's concern that Gegoshi might be able to track their information even if its on paper causes Kotal to frown, though he doesn't look particularly concerned for now. "I will have to look into that." Then he shakes his head and chuckles when Serenity naively mentions that they should trust Twisted's government implicitly. "Oh, Serenity. Believe you me, you would not be saying such things had you seen what I had seen." Of course, Kotal doesn't elaborate any further since he is honor bound to not divulge on what transpired in his meeting with Setsuna and Caliga. Now, rather ironically, Serenity just has to trust Kotal's word on that.
As Serenity mentions trying to pull Rayne to go shopping jewelry with her, Kotal makes a point to intervene. "It is fine if you wish to buy decorations and such, but do so after Rayne has procured those weapons she mentioned."
Rayne says, "Man, jewelry... I'll have to figure out a sense of style to go for all together. I think that will have to wait, though... It's going to be a lot to think about. I might take you up on it later, but I think Kotal is right for the moment..." She frowns, though. "I do keep feeling like I only know half of what's going on around here, though."
When the consensus comes that she gets her label maker, the little bird settles down and hops her way up to Kotal's shoulder. She isnt sure who all the folks are that the others are discussing but if information is needed to be kept and organized, she is certainly the person to do it. Minu hoots softly at the mention of jewelry and turns her head upside down to look at the sea slug, as if trying to envision how she would wear such.
Serenity gives Kotal an inquisitive look at his reference to what he'd seen. Ren then nods to Rayne. "Mind you, I'm not saying that the government here gives me a feeling of comfort, but that since we're not, so far as I know, in a position to do anything about spying, we might as well just make decisions based on what is easiest for us." Ren looks back to Kotal, "Or would healing magic purify a filing cabinet of unwanted electronics?" The last is in the tone of an actual question and not a rhetorical remark, as would be appropriate for someone who knows even less about magic than about nanotech.
Ren happens to notice Minu's body language but seems to have trouble placing it, returning only a puzzled look. Ren also briefly copies the gesture, in a possibly even more disconcerting manner on account of the lack of neck vertebrae (or neck, for that matter).
"That is because you don't." Kotal answers Rayne quickly and in that overly brutal matter of his. "It is unfortunate, but I am not in the liberty to tell you all the details. At least not yet. All I can say for now is that you should trust in my decisions. I will not allow any of you to come to harm and that goes for protecting you from the fog monsters and from Diablo himself if it comes down to it."
The warlord glances at Serenity with that ever impassive gaze of his. Any other person might hav grown impatient of Serenity constantly second guessing him, but Kotal seems quite understanding about the colorful sea slugs doubts. He knows she has a very different perspective than his, considering that she's a dancing sea slug and he is the god of war, their views about the world are bound to be different. "If they could I would do purify them that way." Kotal grunts when Ren offers using magic on the paper first before printing anything on them, although that gives him the idea of giving them all a nice sun bath to possibly burn any circuitry there. "But I am simply not one to stand idly by and let things happen. Even though it might not be the easiest of paths, I would still prefer to take it instead of being back stabbed in the future for our complacency."
As both Minu and Serenity twist their heads downward like that and stare at each other, Kotal reflexively rubs his own neck showing that at least its making him a tad uncomfortable. "And just when I thought I had grown used to Twisted's encounters."