The Tana Case Part 4

GM: Yin
Players: Silhouette (Miyako), Lotus (Pema Lhadron), Laz, Yin
Synopsis: The investigation expands, bringing two more partners aboard. This log covers different scenes: the recruitment of Silhouette (redacted). The legwork of Lotus is a deep dive into Tibetan philosophical texts and challenges her for the little, but important details. Finally, the group of investigators meet at Yin's place, with Laz, Lotus, Silhouette, and Yin. Insights are exchanged, decisions made.
Date: 2082-06-26

Lotus Doing Research on Tanaka's Handwriting

So the mysterious Asiatown case regarding the missing Tanaka Tana, a teenage boy belonging to the tiny Tibetan diaspora present in Denver, keeps unwinding and growing in complexity. Pema, being a part of the diaspora herself - albeit with no family connections - does of course feel obliged to participate in the investigation even if her skills are more in the occult than the illegal Simsense scene.

Nevertheless, she does have two leads to work with: 1. A Tibetan textbook found in Tana's room, along with the boy's attempt to grasp the notoriously complex Tibetan writing system. 2. The business card of a psychiatrist

As part of her investigative efforts, Pema will go pursue these two leads. She will start by reading through Tana's writing. This should be a relatively trivial task for her, even if his handwriting is bound to be rife with spelling and grammatical errors (the Tibetan written language hasn't seen a spelling reform since the year 800 AD, so if you thought English with of Shakespearian spelling of words made no sense…). She'll make a transcription of his words in 'proper' written Tibetan and she'll also look up any references he might have made in the writing (you're not surprised that an old language like Tibetan is shock-full of literary and religious references, are you?). What is Tana writing? Does his words come from the textbook, or is it more like a diary? Does it reference any other media? She'll also hit the Robert E Lee Library to check for further copies of the textbook… although she doesn't have high hopes on that one.

(QROLL) Tibetan for "Reading through Tana's writing…": 2 2 3 4 4 11 15
(QROLL) Library Research for "Checking the library for other copies of the book…": 4 5 8

RESULTS PART 1: Tana's Tibetan textbook is an old fashioned one. It has a colorful modern wrapping, but it might have seen several decades already. It's a 'Grammar and Introduction to the Tibetan Language', by a Theos Hodge; first published in 2031, London. Tana's handwriting is on several loose sheets of paper, tucked into the book at several pages. Tana did not write anything directly in the book itself.

The written sheets of paper are indeed in Tibetan handwriting. It looks very recent and also very shaky and untrained. At first glance, it doesn't make so much sense. But Pema is an expert in Tibetan script and the calm and serene atmosphere of the Robert E. Lee Public Library adds greatly to her working condition!

The different sheets of handwriting are placed in different chapters of the book. Additionally, it appears that Tana (assuming he actually is the author of the handwriting) came back to different chapters throughout his learning progress. Pema quickly understands that he was developing his understanding of the basic grammar, writing, and some other details. With her profound knowledge of Tibetan intricacies, Pema realizes that Tana must have had a very clear idea of what he was going to express in Tibetan. He did not just copy phrases from the textbook; he did not just simple repetitions. He was developing a thought or a theme, a specific subject, and it seems like Tana went through the book, cover to cover, refining and working on his phrases, detailing his handwriting with all the little nuances Tibetan has to offer. He did poorly, overall. But enough for Pema to do a deeper exegesis.

RESULTS PART 2: Pema discovers three major phrases Tana assumedly was working on. He takes on a literary form, as if he was trying to tell a story or something that will happen in the future. A complex temporal structure he failed to grasp completely but he managed the basics.

(1) There is a city mentioned, where people live or will live in happiness. A place with palm trees which play an important role for their wellbeing. Pema finally transcribes it as good as she can as: "In those days, the people [in/of] this city will seek the highest happiness and tranquility, and they will be exceedingly pleased by the sound of the palm trees taking delight in it."

(2) Continuing the same form, Tana then tried to express something about family, birth and childhood. Again, with a floral motive intertwined. Pema transcribes as: "Having borne the baby with majesty [?] for ten months, the mother will then be in a grove abundant with flowers."

(3) Lastly, as if Tana was aware of the significance of the number three, a third phrase continues to elaborate the general topic, at least in a very general sense: "As soon as [he?] is born, that boy will take seven steps and under each step a lotus [pema] will grow."

RESULTS PART 3: Having undertaken this tedious and arduous academic endeavor, Pema probably feels this adrenal rush in her heart and mind as a small riddle unfolds before her as a reward. She succeeded to identify three key aspects in Tana's handwriting which allow Pema to clearly reference the phrases: A baby borne for ten months, seven steps of growing lotus, and a narrative in a rather rare temporal form of something that is bound to come, a prophecy. Tana tried to re-translate passages from the 'Prophecy of Bodhisattva Maitreya'. The prophecy describes the coming incarnation of Maitreya in a time when the teachings of Gautama Buddha will be mostly forgotten. Maitreya will re-constitute the jewel of pure Dharma. However, why Tana would go down this road and try to re-translate it from English to Tibetan is not answered in the handwriting. Whatever inspired him with the prophecy of Maitreya, it is not in the textbook.

A last, almost overlooked, detail on the textbook: When Pema sits down in the library she actually has access to a digitized copy of the textbook. Bibliophilic as she is, she carefully compares the digitized version with Tana's textbook. It's almost identical. But there is one little but maybe outrageous detail. A red stamp below the imprint of Tana's textbook, rich with Tibetan ornaments, claims that Tana's copy was approved by Tibetan authorities under the regency of the late 15th Dalai Lhama, Lhasa.

The Recruitment of Silhouette


At Wrench's Werks - Road Trip Bar

Silhouette arrives ahead of the meet and finds a quiet place to sit, but then, as she's been told (see the sign here), there's no one else here so it's all pretty quiet. Earlier she sent a message via either text or trix that she had gotten word that Yin was working on a job that might benifit from some more eyes/hands/feet/whathaveyou and that she was very intrested in helping with the job. All that and a place to meet her at <insert time here> which happens to be the Road Trip bar since it's quiet and has a private clientel so should be safe to speak openly.

Yin found his way to Wrench's Works for the first time today. Actually, when Silhouette enters, he is already sitting alone at the bar. Two glasses on the counter suggest that there was someone else a while ago. After a moment, Yin realizes that someone else had entered. He lifts his head, smiling at Silhouette: "Kon'nichiwa, Miyako-san." He picks up his drink and walks over to her. "Thank you for getting in touch again."

Silhouette smiles and looks around, "This is a quiet place then, hai? We can talk freely I believe… I do not believe Laz-san would have it any other way, hai?" she smiles and bows politely, "Oh, and Konichiwa. Forgive, I have had a long day.. A lot of deliveries today."

You say "Sure, it's a good place here. Laz invited me a few weeks back, but it's my first visit here today. Can I get you something from the bar?"

Silhouette shakes her head, "No, but thank you. I'm ok right now." she smiles and looks around again. She then turns back and smiles some, "So, I heard that you have a case you're working on that might benifit from some additional help?"

Yin nods. "Yes, indeed I do. It's a missing person case in Asiantown, around K-Town, to be more precise. A young lad of age seventeen went missing last winter. He's from the local Tibetan diaspora." Yin eyes her curiously, "And you want to expand your endeavours beyond the deliveries? I mean, I'm always willing to accept help, especially since I started my agency only a few weeks back. This is my first major case in Denver. Do you have any idea how you would like to contribute? Any experience with investigative work?"

Silhouette blinks as she listens then hmmm's softly, "He went missing last winter? That's an awfully long time to be gone.. Is there any sort of trail left?" she then nods, "Hai, I would like to help. I need resources to be frank. My debt is not insignificant, so anything I can earn to help with it I must consider." she considers the last bit of that a moment before replying, "I helped problem solve for my … well.. for the company I worked for in Neo-Tokyo. Wasn't specificly missing persons, but following clues and leads to a goal is sort of a universal methodology, hai?"

Yin leans back and turns his glass of something dark and honey-colored in his hand. "Yes, it's universal, to some degree." He smiles at her. "Look, I am well aware that this bar caters the needs of a very special clientel. However, the investigative work is a bit different. It's quasi-legal, so to say. I put up the front and I can step in as a middle man to keep partners who work with me away from the Shining Mountain authorities who are the clients in this case. They don't care who I work with and they agreed to cover for a certain amount of personnel expenses. So, is there money in it for your help? Yes. Where does it come from? The Shining Mountain. Am I your typical Johnson? No. Since this case could potentially become a legal prosecution, we have to keep that in mind. I have a close eye on how we produce evidence and how we treat wittnesses and subjects. And I am aware that this case has aged already. So, we might have to overstep the boundaries of law at some point. If that happens, we have to make sure that we are not damaging our investigation, credibility, or reputation. Otherwise we won't be able to serve any legal prosecuton, if there will be any at all. Subtlety and good cover-ups are important. Do you think you can handle that kind of work?"

Silhouette tilts her head, "I have not commited a crime that I am wanted for, so legally speaking, I have no record that would be problematic if dealing with authorities were necessary. As for keeping to a specific set of instructions to maintain the integrity of the case, that would not be a problem either. I have no intention of strong arming anyone, I just wish to offer my assistance to help someone who has been nice to me." she smiles some and covers her mouth as she giggles a little, blushing as she does so.

Yin can't help but join the giggling with a quiet laugh. "Alright. Sounds good then. I mean, don't worry about the little details of investigative procedures. I try to support my partners on that side. I think only one is actually educated in that field, and she's gleaning it from skillsoft I believe," he laughs. "And if you are listening to advise and cautions, that's totally fine then. We are, after all, not the official public prosecuting authority, we're private investigators. Who knows, maybe you even find this kind of work intriguing and want to learn more while we move forward through the case. - Well then, the next logical step would be that you make yourself familiar with the details of the case. And you will soon see why I am so open minded about this case, readily involving others. It's a Shining Mountain case, but the cause is of some good nature, I think. Nothing shady, only a family heavily struck by bad fate, which tries to keep up their hopes for Tanaka Tana."

"Let's go to my … um… office, then. Actually, my makeshift office. I'm starting from scratch here in Denver, damn it. But you're welcome to step by anytime anyway if you want to work on the case, leave reports, or read on the latest developments. We would have to drive to the Mountain Hills Apartments 130, if that's okay for you? You can look into the reports so far and catch up with the case."

The Team of Investigators Meet

Mountain Hills: Room 130

The basic layout of this small apartment has been repurposed for office work. The combined kitchen, dining, and living area is iluminated by several modern but dim lamps, hanging low over the central dining table. A small window filters some street light through half opened shutters. The dining desk is covered with paperwork, sketches, a personal computer, as well as some remnants of fast food, donut deliveries, soykaf, and the occasional energy drink. The arrangement of chairs suggest that client meetings happen here from time to time. Two elegant steel chairs are placed on one long side of the table, with a third one directly opposite.

The busy desktop chaos seems to be limited to the dining table. A nearby small desk, the kitchen niche and some shelves are kept clean and in order, bordering to obsession.

Consequently, there are not many personal belongigs on display. The only exception is the selection of wall decoration. Several grey colored print photographies are placed in the center of otherwise empty white walls. There is a certain sense of symmetry. On closer inspection, the photographs have been manually painted with asian letters and delicate, colorful additions to the otherwise grey subjects.

The air in the apartment is filled with a fresh incense that reminds one of a light summer rain, a garden, or green tea.

Laz taps on the door with his forefinger, ducking under the doorframe when Yin unlocks the door. He's dressed super casually, but looks concerned as he closes the door without looking back.

"Hai Yin," he says, looking around the officer / flat of chaos.

Yin invites Laz into his apartment. It is hard to tell if Yin just got up or if he's working still, late into the morning hours. But he seems to be in good shape. No sign of tiredness in his eyes. Soycaf probably helped with that. "Laz, thank you for coming. Please, be my guest. I have a soycaf if you want. Or green tea. Even a beer I think."

Laz looks around for something solid to perch on, while answering, "Green tea, please," he says, deciding to lean on the wall instead, arms crossed loosely over his megamuscular chest.

A detective's apartment like the others, Laz seems to feel comfortable and almost at home. Everything is just like he expected it to be!

Yin: "Green tea. of course. Good choice. Hmm… so, seems like we both had the feeling of things left undiscussed. I want to apologize first, Laz, for being so rude last time we met at the plant shop. I was only talking about my worries but what I shoud've really asked is what all this meant back there at the Tsunami Gardens. The narkojet attack and the surveillance drone."

Yin says "I really would like to know more about that, and if I can help somehow."

Yin serves two cups of green tea without too much Japanese formality. But of course, the cups are treated respectfully with both hands and Yin cleans up the desk a bit, moving files and data pads aside before he sits down as well.

Laz smiles and joins Yin at the table, gently settling on one of the metal chairs before respectfully taking the cup and drinking.

"It's kind that you reached out to me, but no need to apologise. I have a very good idea where this attack may have originated, but it is something we can discuss another time. " He shrugs, "It could also be a mistake…" he says, but obviously doesn't believe that.

"I came here about two things…this boy you told me about, it bugs me, and I was going to offer to speak with the Shrink or May. Or both." He pauses, "Sometimes people tell me things because they find me intimidating, even when I do not act that way." He shrugs one of his corpulent shoulders.

Yin nods to Laz' first remark but also adds with a raised finger: "I understand if you don't want to give too much priority or attention to this poison attack, or if you prefer to not reveal the details to the next Japanese who happened to wittness the scene. But since I got involved now, I'd be happy know a little bit more, just in case some people feel like they want to shift attention from you to people who you probably know."

"Anyway! The Tana case. Thank you for taking the time and listening into the records. Actually, I could use some help with this Rainer Zobel-Mangold." Yin picks up a data pad and scrolls through some basic information.

"I went to this therapist ten days ago, and he was…em… very uncooperative. He wouldn't even let me in. I think he has some issues with private investigators, or Japanese people. Or both. The moment he realized that I was looking for information on some of his clients, he totally blocked.
Yin says "I went to this therapist ten days ago, and he was…em… very uncooperative. He wouldn't even let me in. I think he has some issues with private investigators, or Japanese people. Or both. The moment he realized that I was looking for information on some of his clients, he totally blocked."

Laz nods, "I figured, but I think I can be rather convincing. I'm rather versatile, and can accommodate most stereotypes, as long as they don't expect a troll to show up," he says. "If you give me RZM's address and details, I will make an appointment for myself. We'll take it from there."

"Well, that's good to hear. Thank you…" Yin ponders about the END BOSS tee shirt and tips his index finger against his lips several times. "If we do this, though, you should know that whatever the outcome is, we should be able to use it in a court case, should it ever come to this. So, however you approach the situation, it should not result in anything that would damage our credibility. Let me be a bit more explicit on this point. The Shining Mountain is not treating this case as a prosecution so far. But at some point they could change their mind, depending on where this leads us to. I know, the Shining Mountain is largely run by the Triads in Denver, but they do have legal authority nevertheless. So, if it comes to a legal case, our investigation should be free of any ballast; like, for example, broken noses and a lawsuit against my, hmmm, partners."

Laz scrunches his nose, but it's not the tea having that effect.

There's a pause. Then: "Right. Not the best next move then for me to go see this shrink…perhaps I should focus on finding May?" He shakes his head, "I tend to be able to make people do whatever I want but no, it won't play well in court."

Yin seems to be surprised. He looks at Laz, then he laughs briefly: "Allright. This is honest! I am thankful for your clear words up front. I mean, if Zobel-Mangold does not comply but remains to be an important source in the case, I will have to find e way to cruck this nut. But maybe we are not so far yet. - Finding May is probably less risky. I tried to learn a bit more about her. If you want, I can give you some details?"

Laz nods, sipping his tea. "In some circles, I'm know as The Removalist….not from moving furniture, but because my official title in those circles is The Remover of Inconvenient Obstacles."

He finishes his tea and stands up, leaving it at that.

"Now, about May—yes, I shall focus on her."

Laz shoulder-pushes off the wall to take the few steps to the sink, where he places the bowl he was sipping tea from.

"Yes, May. Cuz I can make the shrink spill his beans, but no one's going to be sympathetic to our cause after that, whereas May, well, maybe May will appreciate that I may be able to, err, unlock certain doors that have been heretofore closed and locked?"

Yin is just about to give Laz a detailed reply on this May Naru, probably of the most important wittnesses in the Tana case. He circles the central table with his cup of tea, scrolling through some data with his free hand.

Pema shows up a bit late to the party, but she does appear all the same. There's a ring on the intercom system, and - provided she's allowed in - she shows up a few moments later. She's dressed in one of those more casual cheongsam dresses that's made from cotton instead of silk, short-sleeved with a knee-length skirt and a faint floral pattern upon its aquamarine fabric. her hair's been set up too, with a Tibetan ga'u Portable reliquary as the main piece of the bun. She's even sporting a paper fan to keep cool in the summer heat, but her brow's still slightly glistening from the walk outside. In her other hand she has a little bag, which she has already unslung from her shoulder as she comes in.

Yin greets her with a bow and bids her in: "Pema-san, excellent. Nice to see you. Welcome." Yin wears simple black suit trousers, a white buttoned shirt bith rolled up sleeves and a loose tie. The apartment's air condition is trying its best to provide a little relief from the weather outside. "I was just about to give Laz the latest information on Tanaka Tana's girlfriend, May Naru."

Yin serves Pema a cup of green tea as well. A nice, black and sturdy cup made from clay and painted with a single green twig. He waits for both to greet each other and for Pema to cool down a bit.

Laz smiles down at Lotus as she makes her way in, nodding to Yin as he gives the summary of the sitch.

"Well met, Lotus. Been a long time since we had a chance to eat a breakfast burrito over tea. Yin's tea is fine, yours is better." He winks, elbowing Yin in a friendly way.

He turns to get his tea bowl again, hoping he's not done anything too offensive. The back of his cassock is weirdly vented along both sides of the spine. As he turns back, he holds the cup with both hands, waiting for Yin to serve him again.

The Tibetan girl discreetly gets a piece of tissue out of her bag and covers her face a bit with her free hand while dabbing her brow and the bridge of her nose. Then, she returns the bow of greeting and quickly crumples up the tissue and makes it disappear back into the black hole that is a woman's handbag. "Thank you for the invitation, Yin-san. I apologise for not bringing a gift as a guest, but at least I have a bit of information to offer." She puts her bag down to get a good five-six inches worth of paper and books out of her bag. She stops to receive a cup of tea, which she does with both hands. "Thank you. It's been a while, yes. Happy to see you here; Yin mentioned you showed interest in this case. I've done a bit of research, myself. It appears our boy Tana was intrigued by prophecy as well as simsense."

Yin just smiles and nods to Laz's remark on tea quality. Maybe he was about to say something, but who could reasonably object? He serves Laz some tea again, not overly formal but with typical Japanese focus and attention. Lotus's worries about a missing gift are handwaved aside by the busy detective. Both guests might easily spot a pistol in a concealable holster on Yin's back. It's quiet un-concealed actually, since he has his jacket off.

When Lotus reveals a stack of books, documents, and files, Yin is, of course, quiet intrigued: "Uuh, now, what have we here. I'm eager to learn more. Excellent. Let us get to it in a minute." He then turns to Laz and continues his report on May Naru.

"Well, I went to the Dunyi School, where Tanaka Tana was one of the students when he disappeared. I got some names of his peers and teachers but, interestingly, they also knew this May quiet well. Actually, she was working as a checkout-girl in the school's restaurant. That's where Tana met her first."

Yin puts down his cup of tea, starting to search for the details on May and the school investigation: "May Naru is about four or five years older than Tana. One of the teachers described her as a 'Korean-Vietnamese-Denver-Whatever' mix, roughly 5.6" tall and about 21 years old. She usually wears punky street wear, washed out blue jeans, a black synthleather tank-top and a white puff jacket. Stuff like that."

He scrolls down and projects a portrait of May Naru at one of the apartment walls. A typical biometric shot. All piercings removed, hair neatly tucked away, white-collared workwear. Probably a photo used for a work badge.

Yin continues: "She quit the restaurant job several months ago though, well before Tana went missing. Her whereabouts are unknown. Her address is no longer valid. She moved in January. The subject's mother, Tanaka Dawa, told us that May tried to help with finding her son, but she had no further contact with May since about ten weeks now. I'm not saying May is missing, but I guess people just lost sight of her. She has been characterized as a layabout."

Yin gives a sigh and leans back: "I have a contact with the Lone Star police force. She did check for the name May Naru and her portrait and came up with some details. Her residence is outdated, but her former employers are on the record. She did several minor jobs, but there is this car wash called 'Tom's car wash - spick and span 24'. That's close to the Cherry Creek Park border to the Warrens. She's worked there on irregular basis for over five years, between 2077 and 2081. Not great, but a place to start. Someone probably still stays in touch with her. It's a place for truckers, bikers, gangers. Actually, that's why I did shy a way a bit and put it on the bottom of my list." Yin smiles a little half-heartedly.

Finished with his brief presentation, Yin picks up his tea again and sits down on one of the chairs, oe arm dangling over the backrest. To Lotus he explains: "Laz offered to take the Mayx Naru lead in his hands."

Pema blows on her cup of tea to cool it down a little bit while she listens to Yin reporting what he's found. She takes her paperwork stuff - mostly Tana's textbook and exercises - and places it on the table. The picture of May gets a look of mixed feelings. "Given that Tana seems to be a relatively clean-cut boy before this whole thing transpired, I get the hunch that May here was at least in part responsible for leading him down curious paths." She tests out the tea, but determines it's still too hot and sets the cup down. "They seem to come from rather different worlds."

Yin nods thoughtfully. "Yes. Actually, from what Lanhua said about the Simsense Deck, I was wondering if Tana got if from May, actually. And I agree your assessment. She's four years older than Tana, roughly. Small jobs, lots of moving around, probably not so well educated. Different worlds seems fitting." Yin turns to Pema: "You think she brought him in contact with the Simsense and BTL scene?"

The Tibetan gives a shrug, "I have no evidence of this, of course, but it seems quite plausible to me. A shy boy, enticed by someone older than her and a bit of 'bad girl' image. I would not be surprised if she had him completely wrapped around her finger." She sets the notebook down on the table. "I don't think he introduced her to Buddhist prophecies, which is what I read about in his handwriting. He writes about Jampa Gonpo, or Maitreya as they're called in Sanskrit. A future Buddha, that will come down to the world and reintroduce the Dharma once the Buddhist religion has been forgotten. And he didn't get it from the textbook here, so he must've picked that up elsewhere."

Yin frowns and picks up the textbook, browsing the pages carefully. "This answers my next question. So this is heavy Buddhist philosophy and religious text then? He did not try to express his own ideas or maybe experiences in Tibetan?" He seems a bit surprised. "I was hoping that he, maybe, would try to translate personal things."

If Pema also provided translations, Yin would read Tana's translations with interest. Also, Pema might notice that Yin tries to read some Tibetan words by himself. Did he start to learn Tibetan a bit for himself?

The pile of Pema's papers includes his textbook, her transcript of the handwriting (which is a work of sublime penmanship, especially compared to Tana's own handwriting), as well as a copy of the 4th-century Buddhist monk Aryashura's work on Buddha's incarnations, probably printed off the Matrix. "I guess he puts a personal touch on it," Pema says as she picks up the teacup again, her hands now free of paper. "Literary Tibetan is very difficult to read, even for native speakers. It's like reading the Canterbury Tales or another medieval English poem as a 21st-century American. I'm guessing that Tana came in contact with these writings, but he never had access to Tibetan originals or he failed to understand them, and then began a laborious project of re-translating them back into our language. Some archaic pieces taken wholesale from an original, but most of it is an attempt of his own to write it. Exactly why he did that, I don't know."

"Hmm..," Yin nods. "Excellent work. So, this leaves us with an even bigger question: Why would he bother? His mother said, he was not really into their language and religion. Not beyond everyday rituals and maybe some community practice. Pema, can you…um, can you assess the significance of his writing? I mean, why would someone read or even write about this prophecy? What does it imply? Has it any meaning to offer for a young emmigrant boy in Denver?"

Pema takes a moment to enjoy the tea, letting her answer brew in her head for a moment as she savours the bitter leaves. "Well… as he did see a psychiatrist, he clearly wasn't mentally in a good state, and perhaps the daily offerings and other rites never managed to calm his spirit. Dreaming of a prophecy of a boy, walking on lotus flowers and achieving enlightenment after giving up his old life in a world that's decadent and oblivious of the true Dharma, would perhaps be appealing to him. The Mahayana sutras often describe the states of enlightenment and the heavenly abodes as quite fantastic, using deliberately exaggerated quantities of everything to emphasise their sublimeness. Those sort of worlds can only be experienced in two ways; either by enlightenment… or by Simsense."

May Naru's portrait is still projected on the wall. It flickers from time to time, distorting her face just for the break of a second. A very even-shaped face, a little cut across her left eyebrow. Pitch-black hair, tightly knotted. Her mouth is rather small. No makeup, maybe a little leftover eyeliner from last night? Also, she removed some piercings for the shot; nose, ears, maybe eyebrow. Even though she appears stripped and exposed like on a mug shot, she smiles. A smile that even softens her sharp almond-shaped eyes. Her skin is quiet dark, like a girl from rural Indonesia, Vietnam, or Mongolia. All in all, a roughed-up beauty.

Yin continues to study May's face while listening carefully to Pema and developing his thoughts: "From experience I'd say, if a boy in his age gets in touch with religious thoughts, there must be a significant other who introduced him to it. Usually, that's peers, family, relationships or unique emotional experiences, like abuse, loss, another person's death, or accidents. I totally agree with you, Pema, that May doesn't really fit in here. And indeed, your idea is a striking one! Maybe the BTL consumption is somehow related to these prophecies. I neer heard of such a thing, but who knows. And if I get you right, the prophecy could cater to his insecurities and maybe traumatic experiences. Hm. I fear that we don't have enough pieces of the puzzle yet. But I feel a certain tingling under my skin. His handwritings seem to be significant. His psychotherapy and his BTL consumptions are both valid candidates for further insights into his religious endeavours."

Pema has, despite her best efforts to avoid it, taken on a bit of tan and has a considerably more bronzed complexion than her usual pale self. A nightmare for a fashion-conscious Asian girl, but perhaps she's matured enough to accept that's what summer sun does to you. She looks back at May's projection on the wall, considering her, as if seeing something of herself in her. The two girls are about the same age, after all. "According to some historians, shamanic experiments with psychoactive plants is the origin of all religion. I don't think I'd agree with that, but it nonetheless seem not too far-fetched that experimenting with BTL would serve as a modern-day equivalent. Especially if you're a confused teenager that is looking for spiritual meaning to his life, but doesn't know where to look for it."

Yin let some moments pass by in silence until he turns his head to Pema, observing her from a different angle, maybe: "Is this the same reliquary you wore when we first met Tanaka Dawa?"

There's a little "huh?" in surprise from Pema as Yin changes the topic. "Oh… yes, yes it is. It is an antique, that I did my best to restore, with new gemstones. It is now a focus of Chi." When talking to other Asian people, she consistently calls magical power 'chi' instead of the Western term 'mana'.

Yin smiles a bit, lost in thought. Then he straightens himself: "Your findings don't really fit in. By that I mean that we can find plausible explanations and connections, but overall I have the strong feeling, that you found something is rather criticing our general assumptions, instead of verifying. Which is a good thing, I guess. The question is, how shall we proceed? Pema, do you see any further directions you would like to follow? And Laz, what are your thoughts on May Naru so far?"

Laz has been listening—none of this is his forte, though he can follow along on just about any subject so long as it doesn't get too esoteric.

When Yin speaks to him, he smiles at the P.I.: "I think all she's got of her culture is the trappings and the name. Sounds like a typical third gen immigrant: cherry picking for form, not substance." He shrugs, crossing his arms. "I do not even think we can assume she ever cared much for him; perhaps he was interesting in his earnestness. I should like to find her, speak to her, and drum in the importance of her not holding back." He looks to Lotus, then back to Yin.

"Pema is unusually mature for her age; I do not think that is the case with May. Let's find her, and prove me wrong."

Yin activates himself again, stands up from his chair and walks over to the kitchen area, setting up another brew of tea and some synthetic water melon from the fridge. He nods to Laz's words and waits for any suggestions Pema might have.

Pema looks down at her cup of tea, not because of any newly found interest in it, but perhaps just to look away from all the work for a moment. "I don't know where to proceed, to be honest," she says, after a while. "I could look further into the sutras for something that corresponds with Tana's search, but I fear it'd be like a needle in a haystack. I think we should find her." She looks up, eyes back on May's flickering image. "And then perhaps everything else falls in place." She takes a sip of tea, then turns to Laz. "I was eighty-nine when I died, as an old man in India. That makes me well over a hundred today. Perhaps I am still immature, in that sense."

With his back turned towards Pema and Laz, only a sharp clank can be heard from where Yin almost fumbles with the tea cups the moment Pema brings up her spiritual age. "Ah, em… Ah, shit," he comments on the little mess under his breath.

Laz smiles, takes a sip of his tea.

"Shall we go see about this hangout you mentioned, the one at the bottom of your list, Yin?" He makes no comment on anyone's spiritual age.

A bit shaken by Pema's comment, Yin intensifies his efforts with the green tea, adding some additional leaves from a special cup he usually uses for personal ceremonies. Finally, he returns to Laz and Pema, offering a second brew and some slices of fresh, cool water melon. "Pema-san. You're an inspiration in many ways," he remarks matter-of-factly. "May Naru it is then, it's over-due anyway. The last known person to have travelled with Tana. Yes, this Car Wash seems to be the best place to start without falling back to random inquiries around the DTC. Do you need anything, Laz? Do you want to go alone or with someone else?"

Whatever thoughtful mood that the topic was bringing Pema into is quickly washed away by the noises in the kitchen. The Tibetan girl winces a little, startled by Yin's fumbling, and it sort of brings her out of her state of mind. "Oh my, do you need help?" She doesn't act upon it though, as it doesn't seem like Yin needs it, but she still looks a little on edge. "Anyway, yes… I agree, the car wash. From there, it should be possible to find her." She looks over to Laz for a moment, then back at her portrait. "If she wants to talk to us, that is."

Laz claps once, "Right, let's take my Bulldog, it needs a wash anyway. Who wants to come along?"

Yin agrees to Laz with a nod. "Alright… and here goes my best brew for today…Uh?" As the door bell chimes, Yin quickly checks for the door and let Silhouette in. "Oh, just in time, Miyako-san."

Silhouette bows as the door is opened, "Konichiwa." she steps just inside and stops as she's still wearing her boots. She bows to the room, "Konichiwa honored associates of Yin-sama."

Yin quickly introduces everyone: "Meet my other partners: Pema-san, Laz. Miyako-san. Seems we all share a common interest in the Tana case." He then starts to gather some personal belongings and equipment which takes several minutes.

Pema is standing over by the table, next to a small pile of papers and books that no doubt has some connection to their investigation. She's wearing an aquamarine knee-length cheongsam dress and was holding a teacup in her hands until Yin made a mess in her kitchen. "I'm so sorry," she says to Yin, "I'll bring some tea next time, how about it?" She stops as there's someone else on the doorbell. "More people joining in?" She looks with surprise as Miyako comes in, but she returns a light bow. "Hajimemashite yoroshiku onegaishimasu," she replies with a pronunciation good enough for her to pose as a Japanese woman. Of course, the dress says otherwise.

Yin answers to Pema: "Don't worry. Failing is learning. But I would certainly not say no to a good brew of yours." To Miyako he adds: "We are just about to leave for a possible whereabouts of May Naru, Tana's girlfriend." Yin points at a projection of a young asian woman's portrait against one of the apartment walls. "Laz is going to check out one of her former employers, a car wash near Cherry Creek."

Laz smiles as he's introduced, "We've met once or twice," he says, not recalling exactly where perhaps, or just being distracted. "Was going to suggest we take one of mine, get it carwashed, but four of us showing up and asking for this girl…not sure how that's going to play out? Should we agree an angle beforehand?"

Silhouette bows to each as they're introduced and since she doesn't speak Japanese rl replies appropriatley to Pema's greeting with a smile before straightening up and looking at the projection as Yin explains.

"If I was a delinquent girl," Pema says with a rather matter-of-fact sort of fashion that clearly states she doesn't consider herself one, "I would probably leap out the window and run if four people in a car came looking for me." She looks over to the portrait of May Naru still projected on the wall. "If she lives the life I think she does, she's going to be smart and good at hiding."

"I couldn't agree more," says the large elf, "Perhaps it's better if the ladies go, and if they flush her out, then, worse comes to worse, I can, err, get involved?"

Yin, still occupied with some electronics and a backpack, nods to Laz and Pema: "Well, rule of procedure number one for now should be: let us not reveal the nature of our investigation to anyone else except May. Not until we have a better understanding of this place and the clientel. Regarding the angle, I suggest that I stay behind, on comms, and keeping an eye open from the distance. This is a rough part of the CAS border to the Warrens. So I think it's okay if we do this together, but maybe we can split up on the scene. Laz goes in first as a customer. Pema and Miyako-san approach maybe the owner or staff directly. I stay behind, covering the major access ways as far as possible."

"I can drop Pema and Miyako-san off, if necessary, and wait in the car, if this is fine for everyone?" Yin adds.

Pema looks around nervously, as if waiting for an opportunity to say something. Eventually, she clears her throat and says, "I know this may come as a surprise, but I have done a bit of bounty hunting in the past… and I know a spell that, if case, will tell me if May is at the car wash long before we set our foot inside of it." She smiles nervously, only barely showing teeth. "Just thought I'd mention it."

Silhouette listens intently as she continues to examine the projection of the girl as if memorizing her so she might be able to spot her should she appear.

"So long as it is unwarded, or the ward is of legal strength, no doubt?" asks Laz of Pema, quickly glancing between the others. "Worth a shot, then I go in as a customer. Also, I'll be in a car that changes plates and colours, and I can wear a random face and skin tone….once we have a plan."

Yin nods to Pema with a smile: "Even better then. So, in order bring us a bit in line I would like to appoint Laz as the operation's lead for now. He picked the May lead anyway and this car wash, the area, the clientel, I think we should follow someone who's able to cope with any gangers and brawlers we might face. I'll be i the car with the details on the case so far, making sure that we don't miss details. But I am ready where I am needed. I am an arcane investigator as well, even though more focused on crime scenes. So, if everyone is fine with that, I hand it over to you, Laz?"

While Laz gets the Bulldog up front, Yin sticks around, finishing his gear preparation. "You've got a second, Pema-san?"

Pema has picked up the Sanskrit piece of scripture that she found somewhere on the Matrix, flipping through the heavily annotated pages. She looks up, "Yes, of course. What do you need?"

He steps closer to her, but his words can still be overheard by Silhouette, if she cares: "May I ask how you approach the arcane tracking? I think I remember you told me that you follow the hermetic way, right? Do you think a portrait and name is enough to pinpoint her if she hides around the car wash?"

"Hermetic?" Pema looks a little vexed. She takes the Sanskrit writings and puts them down, shaking her head a bit. "Hermetic would imply a Western approach - four elements, numerology, Agrippa and Paracelsus? I learnt magic at Wuxing corporation's university in Hong Kong. Traditional Chinese magic. I suppose it does have some similarities, but a Western grimoire is not useful to me." She points to the portrait, "We do have an imagine of her, and her name. That ought to be enough to find her with the spell."

Yin nods, "Ah, I see. Excuse my ignorance then." He bows deeply and straightens after a few seconds. "I will focus on complementing you as best as I can with my limited possibilities that I have."

Pema returns the bow, "With teamwork we will do well. We've already uncovered so much so far, I'm convince we'll come to the bottom of this mystery." She turns over to Silhouette and smiles timidly, then back to Yin. "Shall we go, then?"

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License