Author Topic: Night's Black Agents: Tribes of Tokyo  (Read 3515 times)

Cthuluzord

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Night's Black Agents: Tribes of Tokyo
« on: June 24, 2013, 10:18:08 AM »
I thought there was a thread for this, but I guess not. I'll go ahead and start one even though we are near the end of the campaign.

I needed to warm-up for writing today and couldn't stop thinking about Haru. Specifically, I couldn't figure out why he wanted to figure out the damned conspiracy so much, why he didn't just take the money and run. I wrote a little short story about it, taking place between tonight's game and the last (the raid on Wisdom Laboratories). Thought I'd put it here.

SPOILERS FOR THE CAMPAIGN AHEAD, OBVIOUSLY

Haru swayed but was not lulled to sleep. He was crammed into the dining alcove aboard a ship stolen from a thing hed defenestrated, immolated, crushed, and shred with an entire clip.

On the table lay the file folder and the laptop. Its charging light made the dark cabin pulse a dull green.

Haru never slept much anymore. He had to piss too often, and his slightest waking was as complete and total as the deathly exhaustion that could actually put him to bed. Most of all, the others said theyd been visited in their dreams, and though he was loath to admit it, he would not risk carrying the war to that front. Not yet.

Shinji had already rewired and connected the hard drive before bed. Hed used the task to distract himself from Kazuos screams as theyd dug shot from the boys shoulder by moonlight: still no stomach for blood even this late in the game. They all sprawled out on the bloodstained deck after, exhausted and spent after days on the hunt.

But it was all there for Haru now, the answers finally ready. He just had to open something and start reading. 

Haru did not want to look.

He splayed his hands out on either side of the intel. The calloused old fingers drummed rhythmically, in the way that had driven his lifes every partner, sexual and professional, mad at some point. He thought about how each finger tap meant hed have to sink this place to hide the prints. He thought about the cordite and blood that stained him up to the wrists, the rasp of detonation wires that had so often of late kissed the fingertips. He thought about all the bones and throats hed felt give way under those hands in the past month, about the way he could still force those hands to stop shaking as he feigned calm as he walked away from murders.

His life had built to this orgy of bullets and explosions in a terrible, discordant crescendo. A life spent living in vans, watching over bastards, learning to sharpen his eye with contempt like a blade to whetstone. It had served as foundation to these past few months. Even his failures the drinking, the forced retirement seemed worth it now.  Who else would keep these green troops alive? Who else would stop this, whatever it was?

Even losing Sachiko and the girls to that man up north that soft bastard who was better than him for all his weakness it could all be redeemed now. He just had to lead his boys home and close the door behind them.

He did not want to read the files.

Because he knew he was not thinking right. He knew he was old, nostalgic, and desperate. He knew that in some sick way he wanted all this as a validation, and he knew the enemy would use that desire to gut him. He was thinking like an amateur insurgent in a game that rewarded only the patient and the cold.

And they were playing against the most patient, cold thing Haru had ever seen. He could feel the strategy slipping from his control. Whatever was in the files would make the decision for him.

In the one drumming hand, he placed the possibility that after reading the files hed no longer be able to fool himself. There would be no more comforting suppositions about black ops, confidential biotech, or false flags. Hed have proof they faced actual Oni of legend, and that would cast him in the role of samurai sworn to save the innocent. Hed start thinking like a zealot, and his boys would get martyred in the process.

On the other hand, the files could confirm his cynicism. It would all be about money and misdirection; it always was. Instead of monsters, theyd be facing the usual greedy bastards, distinguishable only by their fancy new drugs. The whole travesty would be just another job. It would mean so many had died for nothing, for no reason other than he was too proud to admit hed gotten too old. Hed run away and die years and leagues away as just another broken spook, senile and shitting himself in a hospital bed.

Haru did not want to look at the files.

He emptied his pockets, looking for it. The Miroku revolver hit the table first, followed by the IDs of a dozen men that didnt exist but shared his face. Shiny new credit cards with fake names scattered, each fueled the money of a deluded madman who would likely see them all in prison even if they succeeded. A flier for the Empty Five floated out, the cover that may have overwritten the man. Finally, he clutched what he wanted and brought it to the dull charging light.

It was a small bottle of Yamazaki whiskey: a plastic, overpriced hotel sample. It had been the last drink he never took, the one hed been saving for later the night he got recruited for the security firm. Hed switched loyalties that night, from the bottle to the man who gave him another chance and the boys in his care. But the bottle was always with him, always accepting, desirous of his return. And each day he didnt pop the lid was a day he still had power. Just looking at it calmed him: the unbroken seal, the full-to-bursting little neck. His fingers stopped their drumming.

Refusal was his power. It always had been. He laid the golden-brown bottle on the file: it was the third option.

Haru took stock. They had enough money, and he had the resolve to get whatever other resources would be needed, provided enough time. They had the patron and his armies. There was the promised pardon upon the victory condition, a new life prepared and capable of shepherding the rest to safety.

Hed long ago recognized the shakes in young Kazuo, noticed the hungry eyes of a junkie every time they mentioned the drugs. Haru couldnt blame the boy after what hed been through, but he refused watch it eat him. Still, an addict would do anything for a fix, and one last binge might prove necessary.

Ito was a lost cause, too in love with the killing, too willing to follow orders, too old and worn for his age. That yakuza would keep in the game until he went bust, but hed stay a good soldier throughout. Good soldiers always had their uses.

Shinji needed out, whether he thought so or not. Too soft. Hed mold the boy into a soldier just long enough to see him freed of the job. Hed ensure hed survive and hope the boy could become human again afterwards.

Shiro wanted gone. This was not his country, and he was finally realizing that his smile couldnt keep the shrapnel away. A man would always push harder, the finish line in sight.

Finally, Haru had himself. He had his refusal.

When hed taken up that bottle, he did so knowing he would one day drink it. With certainty, he would fail. But each day that passed that was not that day was a victory.

Like the drink, he would refuse death. Despite all that faced them, he would survive. Their enemy, whatever he was, would pray for his failure. Hed make them beg for his death with the same desperation as his own ever-present thirst. And Haru would say no, again and again

Theyd imagine him hunting forever, leeching their eternity away with paranoia, a thing as persistent and relentless as themselves. Theyd grow frustrated, impatient for his inevitable death. They would try to hurry things along. Theyd make mistakes.

He would break the decadent immortality of these monsters with the stubbornness and spite of an old man.

Haru took up the Yamazaki, glared once more into its amber swirls, and returned it to his breast pocket.

Then he opened the files.

Salkovich

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Re: Night's Black Agents: Tribes of Tokyo
« Reply #1 on: June 24, 2013, 11:37:10 PM »
Holy shit
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Re: Night's Black Agents: Tribes of Tokyo
« Reply #2 on: June 25, 2013, 08:14:24 PM »
Damn... Haru is Japanese Clint Eastwood.That was a great read.
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