2011 04 28: Killers and Cooks

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Mission Name: Killers and Cooks
Date of Mission: April 28, 2011
Locale: Shiga Prefecture, Japan, in an undisclosed area near the capital Otsu.

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away…

Russ NPC
NPCs: Hiro Koga, Maki, J. Smithers, E. Wilming

Residence: Koga Headquarters
Area: Main Kitchen
Time: 6:30 PM


Hollering out in English, Russ wipes the sweat off his brow as he tosses the yakisoba noodles from the frying pan and into the air.

The noodles fall back onto the heated iron skillet as his one good arm lashes out to catch them in place. "Y'all be killin' my reputation if you don't get yo' asses over here NOW."

While his bandaged arm stretches towards the bottle of sake, swinging it this way and that to spill its contents over the flaming noodles, Russ nearly knocks over a can of soy sauce by the counter. "SHIT, MAN! I ONLY GOT TWO HANDS! MAKI! MAKKKIIIIIIIII!!!!!!"

"Ok, ok! Stop scream already, I here." A short Asian dude with a buzz-cut wanders in, apron-over-waist.

"You know, you really shouldn't be flailing that arm around. Dr. Tetsuo told me he just stitched you up yesterday," Maki grumbles, reverting to Japanese as he sets an armful of Mikasa porcelain over an equally pristine tray, pointing at Russ's injured arm.

"Fuck that. Like I care what the doc says! He don't have a group of rich, hungry-ass contrabands outside waitin' for him to serve them eight-course meals!!! And I'm not even includin' dessert," Russ huffs back in Maki's native language, scowling. Nevermind the periodic spasms of pain he gets from slinging his injured arm around from all the cooking going on - by now he's gotten used to it. Pain in the kitchen. Pain outside the kitchen. The same old shit's made him comfortably numb to the experience.

And as for Maki, well, he tries not to laugh at Russ's thick American accent, smartly occupying himself with the plates instead. "I thought Kurosaki was in-charge of the dinner tonight? Where is he?"

Russ wipes one hand against the apron sitting over his large stomach, while the other holds the pan steady. Then he flicks his wrist to toss back those noodles with a grimace on his face. "Old one-eye is out on some business with Kai," he responds in Japanese. After those Yakuza asshats barged in on their meeting the other night in Iga, it's not surprising. This pretty much sums up why he has a nasty gash all the way up his arm, but it's stitched closed and wounded tightly by bandages to keep it from opening up again. With his mouth firmly set in a grim line, he takes a pair of wooden tongs and starts to fill up the plates with his latest stir-fried noodle creation, and surely enough, the dishes are garnished with tart lemongrass and spices to give it that extra POW. He slaps a towel over his shoulder.

Maki frowns, "Business? That's unusual. It's not common for the chief guard to be accompanying our topnotch assassin on an assignment." He looks dubious. "I mean, if someone like Kaizoku is bringing him along, it must be something big. Guess I haven't been around long enough to know how things work around here."

"It's not an assignment." Nuh. Uh. It's something personal. "And ya know what? You're right! YOU DON'T KNOW. So right now, I'm tellin' your skinny ass to drop off course number six to those waiters outside, 'cause I hate servin' my food cold. Now MOVE." Russ tersely shoos his sous-chef out with just enough oomph so that he won't drop the tray-full of fine china and noodles.

"Now where th' hell did I put those raw oysters," he wonders, reverting back to English with another angry scowl. "GOD DAMN!!!"

Residence: Koga Headquarters
Area: Guest Dining Room
Time: 6:36 PM

The Guest Dining Room was unlike anything J. Smithers had ever seen, and even now, he has a hard time wrapping this head around the stunning decor of the area's simplistic interior. The myriad white lamps which reflect off the spotless lacquered table from above is a vision in itself, complimenting all the subtle gold motifs, he notes, as the sixth course of their dinner makes its way to him tonight.

As one of Koga's servers sets the Mikasa plate in front of him, Smithers smiles. "Noodles. I wasn't expecting that!" Every dish so far has been a delectable surprise to the man enjoying Hiro Koga's hospitality this evening. Picking up his chopsticks to sample a strand, the man's eyes widen at the refreshing flavors that burst onto his tongue and palate. "This is quite an unusual combination, Mr. Koga. The heat from the spices really offsets that tartness - it's like some kind of obscure, citrus-y…?" He has a hard time putting his finger on that last ingredient. "It almost tastes like lemon zest but lacks the bitterness that comes with it."

E. Wilming suddenly coughs as he takes in a mouthful of yakisoba noodles. "A bit too spicy for my tastes, though were I able to handle the heat, I'm sure I would have enjoyed it more thoroughly." The man dabs at the corners of his mouth and takes a long sip from his glass of cold sake. Despite the fact that he's having a hard time with the spices, he tries again; this time taking a smaller bite as he wraps one long noodle over his chopsticks.

Smithers frowns at Wilming, "I've no idea what you're talking about. The spices are relatively mild in comparison to the grilled Habanero peppers we had in Peru."

"I never TRIED those," Wilming grits back, once he's chewed it down and taken another drink from his chilled glass.

"Gentlemen," Koga's heavy Japanese accent is the most noticeable amongst American voices. At the head of the glossy table he sits, a distinguished-looking Asian man past his prime, yet even in his old age, there is a distinct sharpness about him that could very well put the wits of younger men to shame. Silver chopsticks poised in one hand over the plateful of steaming noodles, he looks to the duo with an expression that's neither amused nor irritable. "Please do not force yourselves to try every dish my chef has prepared for you this evening; you are my guests. In fact, I would suggest that you refrain from doing so, should some ingredients not sit well with your appetites."

"Actually, they're all very delicious, it's just that —" Wilming appears incredibly perturbed as he abruptly pauses mid-sentence, almost frightened at the prospect of offending his gracious host.

"I think what he's trying to say is, is that he's a wimp when it comes to spicy food. In all honesty though, I can't find anything wrong with this dish." Frowning still at his business partner, the man known as J. Smithers takes another chopstick-full of noodles and bites into them.

"Ah, so I see. Very good. My chef will be pleased to hear this." One would assume Koga's comment only referred to the positive, but with him it's hard to tell. His expression pleasant, he continues the conversation easily, speaking to Smithers and Wilming as though they're old friends. "Now, on to business then. What was so important that you wished to see me, both of you flying all the way out here from the States?" He hasn't even touched his own noodles yet.

"Ahem. Well, you see.." E. Wilming shifts uncomfortably in his seat, then tries once again to explain. "We've decided to retire from the business." Annoyed, he watches Smithers while he eats, the latter noticeably enjoying his latest course too much to really pay attention to the conversation at hand. Well perhaps he is listening — he's just not doing much to help his friend out here. "…and that leaves a bunch of our employees without a 'job.' We're afraid they might retaliate against us once they find out, and were hoping that you could use them so that they won't."

In the world of contract killing, there are no outs once you are in. What these two are suggesting is practically unheard of.

Koga leans back into his chair at the table, setting his chopsticks down and folding his hands in front of him, "As my ancestors would say: 'A man who fears his own workers is not fit to rule over them.'" There's nothing particularly derisive about his tone that would implicate scorn towards his guests, and his mien is far too calm to suggest otherwise. "But, this is neither the time to philosophize, nor the time to turn away a request from associates I've known for over twenty years. All of your contacts are presently working in the States, yes?"

"That is correct," Wilming nods. "And we understand that this is quite a huge favor we're asking of you. Our base of operations is currently in NYC, but that will go to waste once we finalize our plans. As soon as you take over, we'll be disappearing from the U.S. for good. I've already told my wife to start packing."

"I am aware that most of your employees work alone," Koga idly reaches for the pair of silver chopsticks again and picks up a strand of yakisoba with them. His thick accent is the only thing that's keeping his English from sounding fluent. "That is a problem for me, but it can easily be fixed, since I know just the right person to send down there. Let us discuss what I require in order for us to make this happen for you."

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