The town of Inaba used to have a prosporous coal mining business. That was long ago. People never said what exactly caused to shut down. Some say that there were too many accidents. Others say the coal ran out. Still others say that they invoked the wrath of the Earth God, Namazu. This last is usually scoffed at in this day of spiritualism gone fallow.

     Whatever the reason, the easiest entrance into the mine tunnels is found a short distance from town, across long-unused roads, and leading to a boarded-off entrance festooned with warnings and overgrown with foliage. Hope you brought a crowbar, that most useful of miscellaneous tools in the Gordon Freeman School of Infiltration.

    A terrible wailing comes from within, as if the spirits of the dead have arisen in order to take vengeance upon the-

    Oh wait, that's a cat. A very hungry cat. Never mind.

<Pose Tracker> Akimoto Nagamori [S] has posed.

    Akimoto would attempt to find her way into the mine shaft her own reasons. She doubt that she would be caught, because honestly...who goes down here? She was hardpressed to remember that they even existed. Reguardless, the rumors of the Earth God had become angered caused some pause to her adventure, making sure to read up and take a few approprate offerings to Namazu in her bag, should she encounter spiritual activity. She also read up on any special prayers dedicated to the god, just in case.

    One is spoken before she starts prying off boards to the shaft, normally this would be impossible, but with help from a persona more inclined towards physical abilities. After a few moments, she steps into the shaft, pulling out a glow stick to illuminate the area around her. She also alters her persona back to Baba Yaga, spreading out her senses to the world around her. The last thing she needed was to fall to her death.

    Her time was not now, after all.

    If there is a cat in her tunnel, she frowns, looking down at the miserable thing. However, the priestess has a fondness for cats (not dogs, however, terrible things) and she kneels down, placing a small piece of food from a rice ball in her sack. More is put down, in more cat sized bites before she sets off.

<Pose Tracker> Enoha Koinose [U] has posed.

     The tunnels. It could very well lead to a trap, but Enoha's here anyway, eager to find out exactly *why* her brother's name was mentioned. And, well, hers too, but that's easily discoverable. Also, how many rolls of the dice would it take to create the sequence of events that led to that one message? It had to be a coincidence, even if you factor in the supernatural. Yet, Shion thought differently. Chie, Aigis, and Yukiko presented another side of the mystery pie, with emas and Indian burial grounds and FOX.

    She'll have to visit that shrine someday.

    Dressed in a pair of grubby pants tucked into muck boots, a hankerchief over her head and a paint-stained sweater and an old heavy coat, Enoha may not look so good, but she's going into an area where, if someone did try to be fashionable, it wouldn't last for long. At least the winter snow has taken care of most of the foliage they'd have to slush through. The boards have thankfully been taken care of, but... "... There's tracks in the snow. Recent ones. And the boards look like they've been dealt with pretty recently."

    She frowns. ".... Maybe this could be a trap. Someone could know we're coming." Not good. "Also, is that.... a cat I hear?"

<Pose Tracker> Chie Satonaka [KDA] has posed.

Following a certain splendid event that Chie chooses to be thankful to Tatsuhime Shrine for, Chie Satonaka went up to the temple with an offering, whereupon she was ATTACKED BY A FOX, except the fox just had an ema, begging for help for a poor old woman in finding her lost cat, thought lost somewhere in the mines. Chie arranged to go check it out in a few days with her friend Yukiko Amagi, and figured that would be simple.

Until yesterday, when it turned out it might be anything /but/. Action Mentor Shion Katsuragi and Big Sister Mentor Enoha Koinose revealed that they too had reason to investigate the great tunnel, something far more cryptic and personal: An investigation into mysterious persons, missing brothers, and strange mysteries, brought to their attention by Ace Detective Tohru Adachi. They all agreed it would be best to go in as a team - for fear of something nefarious afoot.

NOW

Chie Satonaka is in front. She is equipped with:

A) Punk Shoes (they look like sneakers) (and were popular a few years ago) (and would have Rage (Low) if that mattered)

B) Her usual springtime casualwear (despite it being /the dead of winter/)

C) A cat carrier (which has some)

D) Cat food (in it)

As the terrible wailing reaches her ears, Chie frowns. "Man, that's...that's a creepy sound!" she mutters. "But...I think it does sound kinda like a cat...!" She looks back at the others. Maybe they won't need to fight!? That'd be cool, if it's you know, just a cat, and not a terrible cat monster, or a terrible drill monster, or whatever, except--

Except then everyone else's stuff will dead end. And that'd be sad, especially for poor Enoha.

Chie sighs, screwing one eye shut in contemplation. "Well, not like we're gonna find out what's going on out here, I guess," she says, tromping forward, mentally gearing up to tear down anything that might be in her way, when--!

When Enoha notes that they're gone. Chie deflates. "Man!"

Chie likes kicking architecture to pieces, OK, it's a thing.

A look back at Enoha, worried: "Someone's here?" she murmurs, frowning. "...dammit. That's not a coincidence at all, is it," she sighs.

<Pose Tracker> Yukiko Amagi [KDA] has posed.

         To Yukiko, part of the reason that they were here, on top of all the supernatural business, was the fact that someone had lost a cat in these mines, according to the ema that Chie had. So, Yukiko had come prepared. Her school backpack had been reappropriated for use in carrying cat bait - while she wouldn't go overboard with the variety of food she had carried before. She had a couple of melons, and a little sealed container that carried a bit of fish.

She was terribly grateful when she had realized that Chie had brought the cat carrier as well. Yukiko, however, was seriously bundled up - crimson winter coat worn over a forest green turtleneck. Leggings under her long skirt, gloves of course, and winter boots. She kinda made crinkle noises when she walked.

Yukiko's own determination of this scenario was that it was probably a trap, and thusly, she had her battle fan clipped to the belt she wore on the outside of her jacket, the feathers of the fan fluttering with each of her step. "I haven't ever heard a cat sound like /that/," Yukiko says, glancing worriedly towards Chie. Yukiko didn't exactly have lots of cat experience, and she was kinda paranoid at the moment, anyways.

Pursing her lips tightly, she falls into line behind Chie, her eyes flickering over the surroundings.

<Pose Tracker> Tohru Adachi [NWO] has posed.

    Adachi, meanwhile, hates cats. Mangy, demanding, selfish, self-absorbed little bastards that never pay attention to you or do what you want them to do. And Inaba, naturally, is COVERED with cats. Adachi /hates/ cats.

    Unsurprisingly, he is not here for the cat. He's here for the ~mystery~. He isn't even aware there's supposed to *be* a cat until his team party, which he thought was going to consist of Enoha and maybe Katsuragi, turned out to also include Chie and Yukiko. What a pain. Still, he puts on airs of his usual good-natured self, though he makes token protests of concern for the girls' safety. After seeing that 'message' in the list of names that Enoha pointed out to him, after Katsuragi pointed it out to *her*... He suspects it'll be a good thing to have back-up Persona-Users.

    "Geez, do cats always sound like that? It's really creeping me out," he murmurs to no one in particular as they cluster in towards the entrance, and people note the obvious: that someone's already been here and opened up the entrance. He's wearing the thick winter jacket that Enoha gave him for Christmas. Probably wasn't the best idea to wear a nice jacket like that into a dirty mine, but he didn't think of that 'til it was already too late. He's got his gun on him as well, along with a heavy-duty flashlight that he may or may not have snatched from the police station. "Even if it's not a coincidence, nothing ventured, nothing gained, right, guys? We're not gonna know what's going on here if we don't go in."

    Adachi doesn't bother with some bluster along the lines of 'Don't worry, I'm the MAN here, and that means I'll protect you WOMENFOLK!' It'd only backfire, hardcore. As such, he just steps in after Chie and Yukiko, offering his arm to Enoha as he pulls out and flicks on the stormlight, the light flickering into the depths of the mine. "You all right? Watch your step."

<Pose Tracker> Shion Katsuragi [KDA] has posed.

    No, there's definitely something afoot here--Shion is sure of it. Call it 'detective's intuition', maybe, not that she's been at the job long enough to have a reputation for that kind of thing. She's long since stopped believing much in 'coincidence'. This may be some sort of trap, sure, but that doesn't mean that they can just /not/ look. There are too many reasons to look into it--Enoha's brother. The fact that Chie, too (and by extension Yukiko) were drawn here. A certain amount of professional 'need' to solve a case...and even the fact that whatever this is is involving Adachi, too.

    Detective Katsuragi is likewise dressed in a thick winter coat, and carrying--holstered--her gun. She pretty much agrees with her fellow officer, grudgingly or not--they won't know a thing if they don't go in. "...You're right," she says to Enoha, "Someone's here." It's possible, of course, that it's just yet another person drawn here for whatever reason--Chie and Yukiko would have gone whether they'd mentioned the trail of names or not. And that does sound like a cat. But--She glances to Chie, and allows herself to be quietly amused about the lack of kicking. Good-naturedly, of course. "Well, then just keep your eyes peeled, everyone." For her part, the red-haired woman is sticking with Enoha.

<Pose Tracker> Philemon [A] has posed.

    The source of the cat wailing is not immediately apparent, echoing down the tunnels and distorted terrible. Man, that's one loud cat.

    The mine entrance proceeds forward a short distance, a simple elevator leading down into the shaft proper for the personnel, with the alternate option of a latter for emergency use. The shaft looks like it hasn't been disturbed in some time, though the perceptive might notice tiny paw-prints (and Akimoto's prints) preceding them into the shaft itself. The generator to the side has some cans of gasoline with which to provide power. The generator looks like it can be filled and turned on. Though abandoned, it seems in good repair.

    Akimoto has a chance to get ahead of the group, should she choose to take the ladder. Otherwise, they're clearly going to catch up as she deals with the slightly time-consuming task of filling and activating the generator. Light might also be an issue, thought there does seem to be electric lights built into some of the support structures. Hmm.

<Pose Tracker> Akimoto Nagamori [S] has posed.

    While moving ahead would have been the method of choice for her, did she know she was being followed. Light for her was not an option, between her persona and a glow stick. However, having the generator on and working would allow her to focus her persona for more specific threats and conserve these glow sticks for an emergancy. So, the priestess, taking the more careful method, starts filling the generator, and getting ready to activate it.

    She turns her nose up at the smell of the gas, she always disliked the smell, but she will have to put up with the discomfort for now. This may give Akimoto a progress bar over her head for those of you at home. Stupid timed actions.

    Akimoto herself, when the group comes upon her, is waring thick robes, similar to her Shinto-garb, but a bit rougher material.

<Pose Tracker> Chie Satonaka [KDA] has posed.

Chie hums. "No," she decides. "Or...yes? It sounds like a cat, but...that is one messed up cat..." She hrms, unhappily, meeting eyes with Yukiko and giving her a steep, worried frown. This is gonna be bad, she thinks, but supplies only, toward Adachi: "Yeah, I know, right? That is a freaky sound! So, uhm, yeah. Be careful, I think! If we're lucky it'll just be hungry."

Chie does not expect to be lucky.

She DOES expect to keep walkin'. Which she does; she's relied on the others to bring light, but still, it shouldn't be too .../too/ big a problem? If worse comes to worst Yukiko can just set something on fire. Eyes find tracks in the snow: A person and a cat. "Yeah," she says. "The cat's here, at least. OK, that's good!" GOOD NEWS, mission can still succeed!!

And then:

Chie blinks at the robed woman crouched over the broken-down generator, fililng it up. Head tips slowly to one side. "Uhm." ... "Hello!" she calls, figuring subtlety is pretty much for the birds at this point. "...don't I know you...?"

Chie has never actually /seen/ Akimoto that she can recall.

<Pose Tracker> Enoha Koinose [U] has posed.

    Like Chie, Enoha's... not all that thickly dressed, though she doesn't go as far as Chie. "Cats can sound like that, when they're desperate, or if they're in heat," Enoha says, breath puffing out against the cold air as they enter into the entryway. "If we find that cat, that'll be two birds with one stone. Are you guys sure you want to stick with us for the rest of the search, though? I'm worried that that cat may have been here for a while." While not strictly a cat person, Enoha *does* like animals. "Also, if we do find my brother... I don't think it'd be a sight you'd want to carry with you." Someone just doesn't live here for twenty years- they wander in, fall, or get somehow disabled so that they can't simply walk back out. If they find Inohiko here, it'll be bones, if anything's left at all. It's been about twenty years, after all.

    She looks over to Shion and Adachi, judging their expressions before moving in, flashlight in hand. "Huh. There's still some light in here." Other than that, she's quiet.... until they get to the generator.... and.... someone dressed in a cloak, though the person's identity is not immediately apparent. "....!" Come it be the culprit? .... But wouldn't that be... anticlimatic?

    ".... Who are you, and why are you here?" Enoha's voice is firm, but not immediately accusatory.

<Pose Tracker> Yukiko Amagi [KDA] has posed.

In spite of how paranoid she was about this situation, well... it felt kinda nice for Yukiko to be striding into death and danger with not only Chie, but two of Inaba's finest. How could she be any safer?

"W-well, see, Chie? It's desperate or... um... other things, so it'll likely be safe," Yukiko says, pursing her lips tightly as she follows along after Chie. Likewise, Yukiko was focused entirely on Cat, and did not think that climbing into the depths of the earth would actually be dark. "I don't think it would be a good idea to split up, Koinose-san," Yukiko says, glancing over towards her for a moment. Shion's direction, if it could be called that, is met with a nod from Yukiko, the girl peering into the darkness...

At least until everyone's attention goes forward, to a hunched over person in a robe...! Yukiko stiffens with a bit of shock, her hands folding together in front of herself. Was this the trap?! Were they doomed?! Was the shadow about to strike?!

<Pose Tracker> Tohru Adachi [NWO] has posed.

    Adachi *really* doesn't like cats. It's not giving him the creeps per se, despite his claims otherwise out loud, but if it's going to scream like that, it'd be better if it was because he was wringing its furry neck until it snapped. Little bastard.

    He points the flashlight downwards towards the little pawprints, as well as the footprints, which are clearly much more recent--very recent indeed. Then the detective flicks his eyes upwards to the electric lights strung along every so often. They're not on, but... hmmm.

    "Yeah. Lucky," Adachi replies to Chie, slightly unenthusiastically. He gives Enoha a long glance when she tells the high schoolers that they can just leave once they find the cat--yeah, like Chie and Yukiko will really listen. If they were the type to be inclined to just walk away, they wouldn't have gotten involved with the TV world. Yukiko immediately proves him right, which is as it should be. Adachi, as he well knows, is /always/ right. Except when assholes go out of their way to *make* him wrong. Katsuragi, meanwhile, he just lets do whatever she wants.

    He stops when he sees the priestess, though. Not having ever actually seen Akimoto's face, he wouldn't be able to know for sure it's her, but given as it's 'a priestess who has her face wrapped up,' he jumps to the conclusion that it's the only other priestess he knows who does that, and who also happens to be Inaba-local. "You're not..." he begins to hazard, "that priestess from the shrine near the Samegawa, are you?"

<Pose Tracker> Shion Katsuragi [KDA] has posed.

    That /is/ a really loud cat, isn't it? Well, mines and echoes and all, right? And Enoha has that matter covered.

    Shion notices the attempt to get the others not to be involved, at least--a while ago, she'd have tried to same. She still might for Yukiko. "It's your choice, both of you, to stay or go once we find that cat. If you stay, I'd appreciate it if you stuck behind us, though--we need someone to protect Adachi if there's something supernatural down here." Why yes, what a reason to keep teenagers from seeing what she also suspects may be a collecion of bones! It may also have bonus effects on her fellow detective.

    "There is light..." And the tracks they can see. But, there's someone there, and Chie is already calling out a greeting. Shion glances to Enoha once, and steps from around the area, recognizing the robed woman, she thinks. "...Hey there. You alright down here?" Adachi already pegged what she had in mind. No trap, though, probably.

<Pose Tracker> Philemon [A] has posed.

    Once the gasoline is put into the generator and it's turned on, the machine begins to function with a loud, roaring clank. The cat is still quite audible though, even over that. The lights turn on, casting flickering light over the tunnels. The elevator begins to function as well.

    Once the elevator is taken downwards (it moves slowly and with a lot of grinding noises), the tunnels below seem to stretch on. The mazelike tunnels spread ot in all directions, but the cat tracks seem to be perfectly visible through the thin mist.

    Wait, mist? Or is it... fog? There are thin wisps coating the ground, creating a faint but apparently harmless miasma.

    The cat's direction is obvious, but what direction do you want to go? You're in a maze of twisty passages, all alike.

<Pose Tracker> Akimoto Nagamori [S] has posed.

    Akimoto turns around slightly surpised at there being people around.

    Like seriously, woah!

    She looks at the group assembled, and shakes her head slightly...it must be fate, she decides. However, they haven't attacked her, dispite knowing her, which elects a strange laugh from her.

    "Yes, you saved me from my shadow." She says, with a slight bow. "I do wish to thank you for that." She says, to Chie. Looking at the other people that have asked her obvious questions.

    "Yes, I am the same priestess. Disturbances within the earth have become troublesome. I came here, curious as to see if Namazu has reawoken...I hope four our sakes he has not, but if he is, I had come to attempt to appease him." Akimoto says, curiously serene. "However..." Akimoto says, looking at the cat carrier, "Something more mundane has brought you here I assume?" she says, with a wave of her hand.

    "While my name may be mud to you know, do understand I am still a follower of my faith. Inaba is my home as it is much yours, so it's welfare is mine as well." She continues, and looks towards the lift.

    "However, interestingly enough, fate has thrown us together. Shall we then continue so together?" She says.

    Akimoto has joined the party.

<Pose Tracker> Tohru Adachi [NWO] has posed.

    "H-haha, you're so thoughtful, Katsuragi!" Adachi laughs nervously over at his colleague/underling/other woman. "Though it makes me feel kind of weird, having to rely on high school girls to get protection..." It kind of makes him feel... /horribly/ amused. :] He bows his head Chie and Yukiko's way, regardless, rubbing the back of his head with the hand not holding the stormlight. "Th-then, I guess I'll be counting on you two, Amagi-san, Satonaka-san."

    God damn, though, even with the engine on now, Adachi can *still* hear that cat. He's starting to think that what the others are suspecting is right, and that's not a cat anymore. He glances again at the floor for those tracks, and notices a--fog? Inside these mines? Combining that with the 'HI ADACHI' nonsense and the reason he got involved in this in the first place, Adachi's suspicion-o-meter jumps to an 11. ...A good thing he's already got Chie and Yukiko as his vanguards, hah. Black eyes turn back towards Akimoto.

    "Then, uh... good to have you with us, I guess," he says. "But... Namazu? You mean that earthquake catfish god? You don't seriously think there's a god down here, do you?" Though Adachi is fairly sure that if she thinks so, there is... Namazu, huh. This is going to get interesting...

<Pose Tracker> Enoha Koinose [U] has posed.

     Akimoto?! Enoha frowns. Suspucious. While Akimoto has been attempting to make the case that her involvement with Strega is not altogether *willing*, Enoha... still doesn't quite trust the shinto priestess. Still.... Shadow? Akimoto was thrown into the TV? When did this happen?

    "I suppose you can say that..." Enoha says with a worried frown. "Chie-san and Yukiko-san are here to locate a missing pet. The rest of us are here to investigate a different matter." Funny, when she sets it up like that, it seems they all were *supposed* to come down here. For all that Enoha is suspucious of Akimoto, the priestess could easily be here for reasons unrelated to their own pursuits, as she just explained. ..... Maybe they're all being set up...? But why?

    Even if Shion thinks it'd be good for Chie and Yukiko to be around if Adachi needs protecting, Enoha can't help but wish she insisted harder that he stay behind. He's done so for dungeons, after all. Why go here, when Shion's already coming along? She'd make a report to him if all they found was a body. Going into the shaft with the group, Enoha regards the tunnels with a frown. "I don't think splitting up is such a good idea. However, we're not going to be able to investigate them all. Maybe there's a tunnel where the cat's calls are louder than the rest?"

Somewhere on the MUSH, Baofu has connected.

<Pose Tracker> Chie Satonaka [KDA] has posed.

Chie nods at Yukiko, murmuring, "Yeah, if it's desperate, maybe it won't fight too much. Lucky!" (yeah right)

Chie's boisterous personality seems to be undimmed by being in a cave that might potentially be composed entirely of evil. But that seems unlikely! So that's good news. Chie glances back at Shion's direction. "Oh, like we're /leaving/," she sighs, rolling her eyes. "C'mon, like I'm gonna leave the rookies in charge?" She grins at Shion, giving her a teasing wink. "You have to listen to your elders, you know!"

And: Akimoto! "Oh!" Chie says. "/I/ remember you! Hi! Uhm. ...yeah." Squares her shoulders, deep breath; "You're welcome. Uhm. Even if... ..." She frowns, stops trying to say anything fancy, settles for, "It's good to see you're OK. --Namazu? I hadn't heard of that one..." She holds up the cat carrier, shaking it. "Yeah, someone lost their cat, so we're looking. Well, some of us are, others have..." ... "Yeah, it's complicated," she finally hedges. A tip of her head, a little grin. "I guess we're not enemies, so yeh, let's just go."

Elevator.

Chie frowns at the mists, stepping out into the dirt of the cavern. "...well..." she says, slowly. "...we can follow the cat, anyway...I don't see a reason to do much else yet?"

<Pose Tracker> Yukiko Amagi [KDA] has posed.

Well, Yukiko thinks, Akimoto wasn't quite the trap she was suspecting. It was almost a letdown of sorts, the girl's shoulders slumping as Akimoto appears, well... friendly. Maybe it was just the creepy yowling cat down here, and there was nothing else to be frightened of at all. "We're investigating," Yukiko chimes in at the end of Chie's comments, "Someone's gone missing, and clues lead down here," she tells Akimoto, glancing over towards Chie.

Likewise, Yukiko inclines her head to Chie's plan. "If we find the cat, well, we might find other things nearby?" she asks, her eyes going to the rest of the party, (who all seemed to be adults. Hmm.) "But like we discussed last night, Shion-san - what kind of detectives would we be if we did not do any investigating?" Yukiko asks, a little bit of determination underscoring her voice.

<Pose Tracker> Chie Satonaka [KDA] has posed.

Chie nods at Yukiko, murmuring, "Yeah, if it's desperate, maybe it won't fight too much. Lucky!" (yeah right)

Chie's boisterous personality seems to be undimmed by being in a cave that might potentially be composed entirely of evil. But that seems unlikely! So that's good news. Chie glances back at Shion's direction. "Oh, like we're /leaving/," she sighs, rolling her eyes. "C'mon, like I'm gonna leave the rookies in charge?" She grins at Shion, giving her a teasing wink. "You have to listen to your elders, you know!"

A quick grin in Adachi's direction, a little thumbs up. "You can count on us!" Probably. Good odds Chie's going to run ahead like an idiot, though. But she'll totally try to jump in the way, at least!

And: Akimoto! "Oh!" Chie says. "/I/ remember you! Hi! Uhm. ...yeah." Squares her shoulders, deep breath; "You're welcome. Uhm. Even if... ..." She frowns, stops trying to say anything fancy, settles for, "It's good to see you're OK. --Namazu? I hadn't heard of that one..." She holds up the cat carrier, shaking it. "Yeah, someone lost their cat, so we're looking. Well, some of us are, others have..." ... "Yeah, it's complicated," she finally hedges. A tip of her head, a little grin. "I guess we're not enemies, so yeh, let's just go."

Elevator.

Chie frowns at the mists, stepping out into the dirt of the cavern. "...well..." she says, slowly. "...we can follow the cat, anyway...I don't see a reason to do much else yet?"

<Pose Tracker> Yukiko Amagi [KDA] has posed.

Well, Yukiko thinks, Akimoto wasn't quite the trap she was suspecting. It was almost a letdown of sorts, the girl's shoulders slumping as Akimoto appears, well... friendly. Maybe it was just the creepy yowling cat down here, and there was nothing else to be frightened of at all. "We're investigating," Yukiko chimes in at the end of Chie's comments, "Someone's gone missing, and clues lead down here," she tells Akimoto, glancing over towards Chie.

Likewise, Yukiko inclines her head to Chie's plan. "If we find the cat, well, we might find other things nearby?" she asks, her eyes going to the rest of the party, (who all seemed to be adults. Hmm.) "But like we discussed last night, Shion-san - what kind of detectives would we be if we did not do any investigating?" Yukiko asks, a little bit of determination underscoring her voice.

It was around that point that Yukiko processed that Adachi was counting on them. It struck her as odd, and for a moment, her expression adequately displays this, but with Chie's enthusiasm right beside her, how could she help doing anything but smile? "Right, Adachi-dono. We'll do our best!"

<Pose Tracker> Shion Katsuragi [KDA] has posed.

    "Just looking out for my fellow officer, Adachi," is what she says pleasantly enough. They're co-workers! That's so nice. "Oh, you'll be fine." A pause, and a firm nod to Chie and Yukiko. "Great. I'll trust you on this." And for the next part, she actually laughs to herself, grinning. "Of course. We can't have that." It's disrespectful to ignore your elders!

    Namazu...Hm. "If we're all interested in Inaba's well-being, then we're all here for the same thing." She is of course going to keep an eye out herself--she is something of a suspicious person, eing a detective--but that's alright. As for where to go...

    "Cat might be our best bet. Let's go for where we hear the sounds the loudest," she agrees. After all, what other leads do they have? One thing, though..."Let's just use something to mark our path, so we don't get lost."

<Pose Tracker> Philemon [A] has posed.

    The lights cast pools of sight amidst the clinging darkness, but they keep everything lit well enough to navigate. The howling of the cat gets louder as the faint trail in the dust is followed through winding, twisting passages. More than once the lights flicker and spark a bit, but the reassurring chug of the generator thrums like a reassuring mechanical heartbeat. The floor is littered with debris here and there. Old, rusted discarded tools and equipment that hasn't seen use in over a decade.

    The faint mists grow thicker, making it hard to see the ground as one reaches the source of the caterwauling: A bunch of rocks seems to have fallen, trapping the cat under a light landslide. There is a small hole in the rock, giving the cat just enough room to turn his rocky cage into an amplifying horn, made only worse from the echoing nature of the tunnels.

    Well, this seems simple enough.

<Pose Tracker> Akimoto Nagamori [S] has posed.

    Akimoto follows the group without much to say.

    She observes the tunnel, making sure to try and keep an eye out for what she was searching for. Somewhere, there was the target of her search, besides the quelling of a spirit's wrath, but for now, she had to focus on...

    Fog? Here? This was physically impossible...but she knew of other places the fog existed. She frowns at the realization...she wonders, though, if that fog is bringing shadows into this world or not? It is a logical guess, but one she did not want to think about.

    "I would...advise caution. This fog is unnatural, much like the fog of another place." She says, cryptically. Those in the know will know what she refers to.

    And Adachi will know because he is currently PSYCHING everyone else out.

    Of course, it is he who may be DOUBLE PSYCHED!

<Pose Tracker> Enoha Koinose [U] has posed.

     At Chie and Yukiko's enthusiasm, Enoha chuckles. "Don't get too carried away- Tohru-san is a very capable man. We may need two cops on duty depending on what we find." And it may not neccesarily mean a body. However, Akimoto's mention of gods causes Enoha to pause. Gods? She'd never thought of supernatural influence going *that* far, Shinto or no. The personas that manifest above their heads may call themselves by the names of gods, legends, and heroes, but Enoha suspects they are not actually really any of the above, but a reflection cast onto that person's psyche.

    Otherwise, Enoha's been possessed by a stubborn carp this entire time. No, she *is* the carp. "I hope this mist isn't anything poisonous." She takes off the hankerchief off her head, wrapping it around her nose and mouth instead. "You guys have something to cover your mouths with?" she asks, her voice slightly muffled. "Even if the cat's alive, it may be because it's below the fog or somehow protect-" The priestess's words cause Enoha to pause again, a chill running down her spine. ".... The TVland... can't manifest in the physical world, can it...?"

     The pleading meow breaks through the chilling thought, keeping Enoha focused. "There it is, I think." Enoha steps forward through the mist, kneeling down to behind testing out the rocks to determine if they're very loose. "Be careful. If those rocks fell down *on* the cat, they can easily go all of the way through." She doesn't want to see any more death than what she was already expecting. If there's no danger of being crushed, she'll attempt to dig through and extract the cat herself. Thankfully, she's wearing a pair of gardening gloves.

<Pose Tracker> Tohru Adachi [NWO] has posed.

    "If the cat hasn't been wandering in and out of tunnels, we could just try following its tracks," Adachi suggests. "I bet it'd be where the fog is thickest too. Because..." think of a reason think of a reason think of a reason "...th-the fog has to get in from somewhere, right? So that's probably where the air is clearest! There might be some water over there, too, and the cat'd probably stay close to where it can get *some* kind of... uh... water. Yeah."

    Out for Inaba's well-being. Hah! /That's/ a joke. Adachi doesn't argue this point when Shion brings it up, though, just giving her a bland, bright kind of smile as he shines the flashlight right in her face. "Gosh, you're always so good to me, Katsuragi. What'd I ever do to deserve a junior like you?"

    Either way, it's agreed that splitting up is a dumb idea. He grins at Chie and Yukiko again, who are all Yeah, we'll protect you, Adachi-san! :D "Even so, they're the ones with the Personas, right? Though you're right, it's not like I'm helpless, either!" he says cheerfully to Enoha before they move on. Though then Akimoto is suggesting that this fog is the /same/ as that in the TV world... He snaps her a quick, wide-eyed look. No, she might be right... His frown deepens. "Y-yeah, that's a good idea, Enoha..." he murmurs, before pulling the collar of his coat up higher. It's not much, but it'll have to do if he's going to look like he's going with that idea.

    The lights are on, so he turns off the stormlight--better to save the batteries for if the lights die on them. It occurs to him that with the fog and the caterwauling and the flickering lights, this is like something from right out of a horror story. Actually, with them being underground, and the talk about Namazu, he's reminded specifically of Gyo... Doesn't look like there's any holes for them to shimmy into, though, heh.

    Oh, hey, the cat's been buried by rocks. Adachi takes a step to one side to get out of the others' way and look around for if there *are* any holes leading to the surface. Actually unearthing and handling the cat, he leaves up to the people who actually care about that kind of thing, like Enoha.

<Pose Tracker> Chie Satonaka [KDA] has posed.

Chie is not sharp enough to notice that mist cannot actually exist here. So she walks along more-or-less at ease, although she hews closer to Yukiko as they press on, and her footsteps, once bombastic and unfearful, grow more timid and uneasy. Her breathing coming a little bit faster, and she tries not to show the growing worry in her heart. This is all...creepy. And the thought, the.../certainty/ that things are going to go bad at any second is the worst part. Her arms are govered in goosebumps.

It's one thing to charge into the TV World with a party and know that you can expect Shadows to show up, know that you can expect a final confrontation - know the rules. But this is different. She doesn't know the rules. Doesn't know what to expect. So it's got her /very much/ on edge, especially as the growing mist starts giving her Silent Hill flashbacks. Or maybe flashbacks to that first trip through the TV...

But finally they come to the source. Chie looks to the others, briefly, unsure, and squinst at Akimoto's warning. "Like...another place?" she wonders, and looks around. Shit. Is it? ...

Slow, deep breath.

Finally she pulls away, saying, "If we just stare at it all day we're not gonna get anywhere," except her former bombastic certainty has a more fearful, nervous edge to it. She squats down near the cat, murmuring, "Gosh, this poor thing..." Uhm. A glance at Enoha, nodding, "Right..." She sets the carrier down to one side so she has both hands to work with in clearing the rubble away.

Shion Katsuragi has partially disconnected.

<Pose Tracker> Philemon [A] has posed.

The combined efforts to get the cat out from under the rocks bear fruit. As the rocks are pulled away, a BLACK FORM WITH BURNING YELLOW EYES LUNGES FORTH oh wait that just a cat. It meows indignantly a bit before launching into the carrier, immediately sensing cat food and nomming down on it like some kind of starving feline.

    The motion of the cat escaping also causes a small rockslide, causing rocks and dust to pour out and obscure the area harmlessly.

    As the dust clears, however, a steel-reinforced door is revealed, the latch closed... But the lock appears to have been broken off. The rockslide must have been what was holding it closed.

    Also revealed is a dead man, his clothes mostly rotten and dirty, having clearly perished from a lethal encounter between rock and head.

    Inexplicably, he is also clutching a printout of some sort. Examination of it reveals the following:

DATE: June 17, 1990

FROM: T-319

TO: T-212

SUBJ: SUBJECT 0

The retrieval of Subject 0 went well. He (should we call him he?) has experienced extreme neural degradation from exposure to hostile forces. Physical form shows severe trauma, partial invasion of tissues by hostile forces. Containment in location has been necessary due to proximity of Ma-347. Isolation from local mining operation is a simple affair. Ongoing research will continue.

<Pose Tracker> Yukiko Amagi [KDA] has posed.

"That's right, Katsuragi-san," Yukiko says towards Shion, a rather goofy smile touching her features. So caught up was Yukiko in the trap-that-wasn't-a-trap, did she go without noticing the fog. That little thing would last no longer - especially now that the fog was getting thicker in their descent. Favouring a smile towards Adachi at his always-cheery attitude, Yukiko's eyes go forward - before they drop to the ground, and take note of the creepy fog. Between this and the caterwauling...! "P-poisonous? Can fog be poisonous?" Yukiko asks with a sudden note of alarm. Does it stop her from trudging forward alongside Chie? Not really.

The connection between this fog and the TV fog causes Yukiko further pause, her lips pursing as she glances towards Enoha. "Of course not, I mean... it just gets foggy in Inaba sometimes - this is normal, not-poisonous, Inaba fog," she says, with a note of hopeful finality in her voice.

In spite of trying to reassure herself, and logically, all was well - there was that nibbling feeling of doubt in her heart. That things could go bad, at any moment - that her calm was misplaced.

But here they were, and the cat was reasonably safe and sound beneath the rocks, "Wow - it's a good thing that we came here when we did - it could have starved to death!" Yukiko chirps, squatting down alongside Chie. There were too many in there for her to do something directly, but she could, at the ver least, watch and peer into the hole, in spite of Enoha's wishes... and the cat bolts outwards, causing Yukiko to cry out and fall backwards, a little frown touching her features as she looks upon... dead body. Paling, she glances elsewhere, suddenly looking illish.

<Pose Tracker> Shion Katsuragi [KDA] has posed.

    Shion hates the fog--moreso now that she's been inside the TV World. But, Enoha catches something she at first doesn't--what it might mean. "...I don't know," she admits. And sure, the fog would have to get in from somewhere, fog just doesn't collect in places for no apparent reason! That's not how it works. She just doesn't remember that very well--that particular science course was a long timek ago. "...No idea, Adachi." The cheer does, perhaps to her fellow detective's satisfaction, drain from her voice some. "I guess you're just lucky." Of course, it might just be that she's being serious! That's all.

    It's dark in here, and perhaps spooky, but Shion at least is actually thriving on the frightening atmosphere. Except for the fog, of course. To Akimoto, she nods thoughtfully. "Mm...How can you tell?" A pause. "I'm sure it's not poisonous. The cat's been mewing heavily, and it can't cover its mouth, so..." Basic deduction. But then the cat is moved out, and Shion covers her eyes against the rockslide. "Everyone alright!?" She heard at least Yukiko cry out. The dust settles, and...

    Oh. A dead body. "...." She glances once to Enoha, and then...Well, Yukiko saw it. The detective approaches, with gloved hands, to look at the letter. She'll read it without touching, if she can, and read it aloud so everyone else can hear. "1990..."

<Pose Tracker> Akimoto Nagamori [S] has posed.

    Akimoto frowned a bit...

    "It is not a thing I can explain. A feeling, call it a hunch if you will, but I feel it more than just that." Akimoto always had a sixth sense for this, but right now she extends her senses out a bit. She will allow her persona to manifest for a moments, trying to get some insight into the area around them. She is not quite a spotter, but in a bind she can do with what she does have avalible.

    The persona would fade, looking at the body and Shion already starting to reveal what was in the letter. The Priestess frowns, in thought, and speaks. "Twenty years. Most interesting..." she was only a small lass...only a few years away from a date with destiny. "I wonder what this place is about. I have lived hear all my life, but never heard of a facility in the mines." She says, looking towards the door. After a moment, she says a small prayer for the dead and forgotten man. Buddism dealt with the aspect of death more than Shinto, but she at least could honor a forgotten man.

<Pose Tracker> Chie Satonaka [KDA] has posed.

YAAAA HOLY SHIT IT'S oh it's just a kitty leaping for Chie's cat carrier. Chie squawks in surprise in tandem with Yukiko, falling back as the landslide kicks up dust. Chie tosses her body in front of the cat carrier so the poor thing doesn't get killed by flying dust mites or whatever...and then once Chie has convinced herself they aren't going to be murdered by trolls, takes a second to reach in and pop the lid off of the cat food tins in there, and then just lets the kitty get to work. Poor thing must be /ravenous/. How bad would Chie be, after potentially weeks without access to meat!?

oh, man, don't even think of weeks without meat, END OF THE WORLD, MAN!!

Chie glances back at Yukiko, grinning a little bit. "It's cool," she says. "We're fine! No monsters." And /only then/ does she look up at two things:

A) Steel-reinforced, unlocked door.

B) Dead guy!

Chie frowns, swallowing hard, and doesn't approach at all (DEAD GUY IN CAVE, no wait even worse DEAD GUY IN CAVE WITH OMINOUS DOOR, THIS IS EVERY KIND OF BAD). Shion does it, though, and after a few seconds of delay, Chie starts slowly deflating of her NAKED PANIC. "That's....that's, that's, 1990, that's twenty years ago, right?" Chie asks a stupid question because she is frightened and needs reassurance of what universe she is living in. "...I-I'm cool! I'm totally cool." She's /so/ lying. "Uhm. ...I was gonna...try something, what was it..."

<Pose Tracker> Tohru Adachi [NWO] has posed.

    Definitely not from outside, Adachi notes as he observes the walls. The cat LEAPS FORWARD AAAAH IT'S GOING TO EAT THEIR FACES OFF oh it just jumped into the cat carrier. Well, that was easy. Of course, now there's a dead body...

    Where the likes of Yukiko falls backwards and looks ill, Adachi takes several steps closer to get a better look, instantly intrigued. He's sure it can't be Inohiko, but what was someone doing down here? He moves in with Shion to take a look at that printout clutched in his hand, though unlike her, he's not so squeamish that he refuses to touch it. If he's delicate with it, it's not because he's afraid of disturbing the dead (oh boy oh boy a dead body :D) but to keep the printout from crumbling. Who knows how old that scrap of paper is?

    "1990... Twenty years ago. That sure was a long time ago, wasn't it?" he remarks, though he lets Shion read the contents out loud. As she does, Adachi furrows his brows. He isn't even able to enjoy Chie's reaction/freaking out. They were running *experiments* down here? Twenty years... right around when Inohiko disappeared. ...That's really fascinating. Really, *really* fascinating. He can so get it up for *this* investigation. Adachi lifts his eyes to the door.

    "...Guess we've gotta go through there to figure out this mystery, huh, gang?" he says, before he marches right up to that door. He doesn't seem afraid at all--but then, he's a man, and what's more the only man in a group of females, so surely he's gotta be a man when it counts, right?! "Satonaka-san, you're real strong--help me kick this door down!" It's time for a co-op attack!? ...wait, wasn't that from P3P, not P4? Is this P4P, then!?!?

<Pose Tracker> Yukiko Amagi [KDA] has posed.

Yukiko would put the 'time without meat before Chie gets ravenous' to days, not weeks.

Perhaps even hours.

Regardless! More than a little shaken, Yukiko draws a hand up to brush a hand through her hair as she silently gathers herself to her feet, (although she pauses to peer into the cat carrier - to make sure they actually caught a cat and not a gremlin or something.)

"There's the cat... but... what's this?" Yukiko asks, a frown etched on her features as she glances towards the door proper. Falling silent as Shion reads off that readout, Yukiko glances towards Chie. "Yeah - a long, long time ago, Adachi-san," Yukiko says in a tone she expected to be pleasant. Reaching out a hand, she offers Chie a hand up, glancing over towards the others - especially Adachi. "Do you think Koinase-san's brother has something to do with this...?" Yukiko asks, gesturing towards the door proper.

<Pose Tracker> Enoha Koinose [U] has posed.

     Enoha shrinks back as the small rockslide sends dust into the air, making it extra hard to see for a moment... until the air clears.

    There's a body there. Possibly male. The note, when read aloud for Enoha, makes her freeze, blood draining from her face until she looks nearly *ill*. Then, the date. 1990. "...." Enoha kneels down as her legs grow rubbery. ".... nnn...."

    That can't be her brother. It can't be. It can't be. "The date's right... it's in the mines, like the letter indicated... But it can't be him." Ma-347? Research? Neural degradation? Hostile forces? 1990. Partial invasion of tissues? "... Don't touch him," she finally says, a bit more forcefully than she intended it to be. Her voice sounds hoarse. "... More than you need to. If that note's correct... we have to be careful." Enoha's face is blotchy, threatening to cry at any moment. However, for now, she holds it back. "I should have... not decided that, if we found a body, it'd be him. Remember." Her voice grows thick with a tinge of steelly anger. "All the earlier signs point to this being a setup. That body could have been planted here by someone who wanted to toy with us. Either way, at least we'll give this poor man a proper burial..."

     But why is she so sure it's not him, so suddenly? There's no real clues on him. Maybe it's denial? Or...? "Tohru-san, be careful..." Her eyes, red-rimmed, look as Adachi goes towards the door with enthusiasm. "We don't know what may be in there..."

<Pose Tracker> Philemon [A] has posed.

    The door is EPICALLY KICKED OPEN in ways that only cops that are the HARDEST OF CORE (or Dojima) can imagine. The light silhouettes the kickers, giving them a dramatic entrance as the fog, much thicker, billows out of the sudden entrance and spills out into the tunnels as a whole.

    The hall beyond is far different than the tunnels, being a sterile white (or what would be white if the lights were properly on), lit with flickering flourescent bulbs. The floor is littered with papers and trash. The cat has stopped meowing, instead nomming away on the provender so nicely provided by Chie and company, so you don't have to worry about that.

    The walls, in places, are bowed, as if impacted by some terrifying force (or Chie's foot). In other places, part of the ceiling has caved in, making it difficult to squeeze past... Though it is possible.

    The trash on the floor, however, has many printouts, many of them appearing to be the same. The unique ones in this area read as follows:

DATE: January 15, 1991

FROM: T-319

TO: T-212

SUBJ: INITIAL RESPONSE

Subject has shown extensive contamination with entity designation 'Shadow'. Neural activity rapid and varied, subject to extreme mood swings. Subject undergoes transformation when highly agitated into large supernatural form which resembles a common catfish. Initial occurence resulted in 3 deaths due to cave-in of local mine area. This occurrance is a blessing in disguise, we can use this situation to close off the area and prevent potential discovery. Recommend contact with mine foreman and authorities to capitalize on media outbreak on issue. Proximity of Ma-347 is showing unusual effects on Subject 0. Continuing research.

DATE: September 12, 1991

FROM: T-319

TO: T-212

SUBJ: ONGOING RESEARCH

Subject continues to show mood swings, making frequent demands to see his family. Request information on living relatives of Subject 0. Suppression device appears to be operational, though tuning is ongoing. Second escape attempt was thwarted, but not before additional fatalities. Local miners continue to believe mine is haunted. Must prevent further outbreaks to keep location out of observation. Possiblity of removal of 'Shadow' entity. Request research into situation.

<Pose Tracker> Akimoto Nagamori [S] has posed.

    Akimoto listens to, or infact picks up one of the memos to read aloud. There is nothing here so far she would try to hide...she doesn't worry about it. It doesn't concern her, and has become more interesting to her. What was it they were researching here? Obviously just one shadow possessed? Nah, it seems unlikely that an entire facility would be dedicated to just one.

    Akimoto thinks on this for a moment, reguardless, the Shadow was highly dangerous...and resembled a catfish?

    "Well, it seems I was incorrect. It was not a god..." She does sound disappointed, "One overtaken by their impurity." She says, thinking a manifestation of shadow was directly related to the shinto faith of purity vs impurity.

    She may not be too far off base.

    "Let us be careful."

<Pose Tracker> Shion Katsuragi [KDA] has posed.

    'Supernatural' may have been preferable, really, to 'strange experiments beneath Inaba'. Hasn't SEBEC moved in only recently? "We won't touch him anymore," she says gently to Enoha, silently appreciating Akimoto's movement to say a small prayer. She's no priestess, herself--she's a detective--but that kind of thing, it's important. They will bury this man properly, one way or another.

    And as they go further, thanks to the amazing entrance through this door, Shion is one of the first to walk through the door. She can see the papers on the ground, going through them and scanning them over. "Ma-347...and check the dates on these. They were here for a long time." She frowns. 'Shadow'... "I'm not sure what Enoha's brother would have had to do wih all of this," the detective says to Yukiko, unaware that she may be portabe. "Right. Careful." She shakes her head, trying to breathe back out the fog. "I wonder who was doing all this?" And...Enoha's right. "It's true. This could be a setup of some kind. We don't have any way yet to confirm what we've seen here." Though if they take some of these papers /back/ with them...Wait. "You'd think that the fog would have degraded these reports..."

<Pose Tracker> Chie Satonaka [KDA] has posed.

Chie looks up from thinking about what she was going to do, and realizes -- "oh," and smiles at Yukiko, reaching up a hand to grab on and pull herself up. She takes a few seconds to pat herself down, get the dust off her. "The earlier signs point to complete craziness!" she reminds Enoha. "So who knows what's down here?"

And then--Adachi asks her to help. She swallows, hard, and then nods. She said she'd help. She steps over, and sets her feet next to the door, building up her strength, calling out Tomoe's aid, and then, once she shares a look with Adachi to confirm timing, spins around and CLOBBERS THE HELL OUT OF THAT DOOR, YESSIR YOU BET

Chie's foot hits the ground again, and she glances back at Yukiko, motioning for her to grab the cat carrier, since Chie left it back there to do kicking business. She watches, just kind of...looking, reading around, progressing onward in pace with the others. Her lips are dry. Research. Proximity of something something something, Ma-347, that sounds like an...element? Isowhassis? She remembers that, dimly, she's not /that/ stupid. But she's not sure what that would have to do with anything they know about right now, and doesn't mention it. Something like a catfish...

"Shadow Possessed?" she murmurs, unhappily. "...I think we found someone's dirty little secrets."

And then thinks back and remembers: "oh! That's what I was gonna do!" She reaches into her jacket pocket, and produces her bright yellow glasses with the color test bars on the side, her TV glasses, and, with a brief glance at Yukiko, says, "I guess there's a quick way to find out if...the fog is related, huh?" and slides them on.

Chie just kind of stares for a few seconds...

...and then hangs her head, and says, "Fffffffuhhhh---"

<Pose Tracker> Yukiko Amagi [KDA] has posed.

Yukiko watches in pride as Chie and Adachi kick down the door like action movie stars. Had she recovered from seeing the corpse yet? Well, not really. Still somewhat pale, Yukiko shifts the backpack on her shoulder, squaring her shoulders, and calling on the calm inherent in her persona to help her face this newest trial. Noticing the gesture towards the carrier a moment too late, Yukiko moves to pick up the cat carrier, (Hmm! It was usually her asking Chie or Thora to carry things,) closing her eyes and shifting it in front of herself so that she can carry it with both arms.

"Well, someone wanted us to look down here..." Yukiko says, her lips turning down into a frown. "Maybe even..." Yukiko begins, lowering her voice to share words with Shion alone, "...what if it's her brother leaving these messages, and not a trap at all?" she dares to hope. Of course, that would require that he have been experimented on, and mutated enough to be shy about appearing, or be the evil mastermind - if what she had learned from Chie's manga about such things were true.

 As for the fog? Yukiko - well, had the pair of glasses as well. Never quite sure when she would be called on to leap into the television, Yukiko tended to keep the pair upon her person. A pair that she had forgotten about for the time being. "Good idea, Chie!" she chirps some, biting her lower lip as she waits for her friend to put them on...

The reaction told her all she needed to know, Yukiko's expression growing surprised and concerned - all at once! "H...how is that possible?!" she asks no one in particular. "Is this like the Dark Hour stuff or something?" she asks, a new note of nervousness present in her posture.

<Pose Tracker> Tohru Adachi [NWO] has posed.

    EPIC KICKINGS HECK YEAH. Although Adachi probably just makes Chie do most of the footwork regardless, hehe. The fog billows out at them and surrounds them, and despite himself, Adachi grins in anticipation. He barely even pays attention to Enoha freaking out behind him (and in another reality, Tohru is close by herself, touching her, holding her, worrying about her, reassuring her, holding her hand tight to anchor her), though he at least calls back, "It'll be okay, all right? Just hang back with Katsuragi if you're scared--I'll handle this!"

    He flicks the stormlight on again, now that the fog's so thick in here and the lights are still shitty. He squeezes forward, glad for once that he's so skinny, collecting print-outs as they go. This is /just like/ playing some kind of survival horror game! ...ex...cept... they're not... surviving against any horrors. ...yet.

    :|a;

    "Shadow..." he murmurs, squinting at the papers. He turned into a catfish? Well, that explains Namazu, at least... He glances over at Akimoto when she expresses disappointment, then shrugs before looking back at Enoha and Shion, as the latter muses that the fog would've degraded this stuff. "I can't believe that anyone would go through the trouble of setting us up that all of *this* would be fake," he says, gesturing at the labs. "But... someone did send us here, I think." HI ADACHI. Yayoi, you bitch... Chasing you has been well worth it.

    Ma-347... Adachi could be sure he's heard that before. Damned if he can remember, though. On the other hand, Inohiko jumped into the TV and died there. This *can't* be him they're talking abou--

    Wait. No, no, he *didn't* die there. His body was never found. Is it possible that someone happened to rescue him back then...? Adachi knows that Persona-Users have been around for a long, long time, after all...

    To Yukiko, Adachi adds, "Maybe? Maybe if we figure out who was funding this lab in the first place, we'll figure something out. All this equipment and research takes money, after all." Twenty years ago--so it couldn't have been SEBEC via the NWO, because the NWO has only existed for less than a decade. And the Dark Hour is likewise ten years old, and Mitsuru explained that *that* project was started on fourteen years ago, so probably not the Kirijo Group... Was this maybe some really early research stuff, though? "Let's look for some kind of logo," he suggests. "Maybe that'll give us a starting point."

<Pose Tracker> Enoha Koinose [U] has posed.

    "......" Enoha looks at the documents in a daze.Too many coincidences for it to be simple coincidence. Catfish. Like a carp? Family. The thought of her sweet brother, suffering right underneath her feet... No. Something else happened. Something worse, her subconscious whispers.

    Impurity.

    Something inside Enoha wants to snap at Akimoto, insisting that Inohiko was *not* that simple. Inohiko *wasn't* impure. Fingers clench into fists; she takes a few stablizing breaths. Akimoto is Strega, after all. For all Enoha knows, Akimoto could be saying this *intentionally* to get a rise out of her. Or, she could just have said it from the viewpoint of a priestess who may not realize just who the subject *could* be related to.

     That's why, when Shion speaks, Enoha looks back at Shion- her friend's words feel so comforting at a moment where it seems the saner choice is to accept everything her sight is presenting her. ".... maybe it's just an illusion, like those dungeons..." Or maybe she's just being wishful. The evidence is there, right? The dates, the little details... there's so many coincidences there. How can someone know so much as to make this all planned out?

    "That's a good idea, Chie," Enoha says in reaction to the short-haired teenager, nodding at her as she puts her fog-glasses on. "Maybe it'll... hm?" Was that a yes or a no? She kneels down, reaching with her gloved hands to examine one of the printouts for a possible logo as Adachi suggests it. ".... If someone set us up to fake us all out, they did it to fool more than one person." But why the hell target her brother?

<Pose Tracker> Philemon [A] has posed.

There are no logos on the printouts. They look like they've been made with a standard dot-matrix printer. The sides of the pages even have those tear-strips with the holes. Ancient tech by current standards, even if dot-matrix is still in use in some places.

    But the only answers lie farther in... Should one wish to reach out for this truth.

<Pose Tracker> Akimoto Nagamori [S] has posed.

    Akimoto shrugs at some of the questions...

    Akimoto found it slightly funny that people thought that only the here and now mattered. To forget history is to repeat the mistakes of the past. No...no doubt persona and shadows existed long before the here and now, and no doubt that people and organizations lasted for years before that.

    Akimoto looks towards the rest of the group...hatred in one, a deeper sorrow. The emotion was more real than the others here. However, Akimoto's bond to the woman was nothing.

    "Whatever our answers, they will not be found standing here." She says, and looking towards Adachi.

    She steps forward, walking deeper towards the fog. Her answers laid here as well. So strange that such a simple woman was so unafraid of the area around her.

<Pose Tracker> Shion Katsuragi [KDA] has posed.

    No logos, huh? And using really old printers--which is pretty much appropriate given the dates. No horror has directly appeared so far, at least, it's just all been hinted at. "I think so, too," she murmurs at Chie's notes about all the dirty secrets. Her attention, admittedly, is mostly divided between 'searching he area' and 'making sure Enoha is alright'. If Adachi were sharing most of his thoughts, they'd be realy, really helpful, but instead she can only reply, "Real or fake, it's no just for one person. The only way to find out for sure is to keep moving." To, one might say, 'reach out for the truth'. She's willing to consider the possibilities, but too many assumptions and too little data..that won't get them anywhere.

    As the glasses come up, and Chie and Yukiko seem so disturbed, Shion reaches into her jacket pocket and pulls out her own pair, slipping them onto her face and glancing about with a new look. It's...

    "...It's alright, everyone. If we stick together, we'll handle it." She walks further in, too.

<Pose Tracker> Philemon [A] has posed.

The complex is heavily damaged. Entire rooms appear to be full of rubble and smashed equipment. If there is anything of use here, it would take days or weeks of digging and sifting to find it. But there is one path forward, directed with strange streaks on the walls. It doesn't look like blood, unless this is some strange effect of the fog... But what is it?

    More printouts are found, this time pinned to the walls with objects. One has a scalpel through it. Another a syringe (how DID someone drive that into the wall without breaking it?), a third with a long shard of metal.

DATE: March 13, 1992

FROM: T-212

TO: T-319

SUBJ: REQUESTED INFORMATION

Subject 0 appears to have a full family. Investigation into Subject 0's whereabouts has stalled due to lack of evidence. Local police not equipped to handle supernatural incursions. Family is behaving within expected bounds. Do not contact or interfere. Keep supernatural entity contained. Authorization granted to pursue research 'Shadow Extraction'.

DATE: August 27, 1993

FROM: T-319

TO: T-212

SUBJ: SHADOW EXTRACTION

Progress slow. Difficulty lies in separating consciousness 'Shadow' from Subject 0. May be impossible but will continue work. Sources report local deposit of Ma-347 being exhausted. I noticed the last manifest showed a shipment to the Kirijo Ergonomics Laboratory. Request information on use.

DATE: September 8, 1993

FROM: T-212

TO: T-319

SUBJ: MA-347

Request denied. Additionally, Reallocation of resources are necessary. Suspend local operations and transmit copy of data, then perform local sterilization procedure.

There is only one room beyond, a dim light giving shapes to what appears to be some kind of exam room... With a computer, still operative, next to a printer. The screen is still on, images burned into it faintly, but the screensaver appears to be of some strange triangular insignia, rotating in old-style 3D.

<Pose Tracker> Chie Satonaka [KDA] has posed.

Chie sighs, explaining: "If you have your glasses, put 'em on. It's..." She mutters unhappily, rolling her shoulder. "This is the TV Fog. You can see through it with the glasses. .../somehow/." She seems extremely upset by that, but then again TV FOG IN THE REAL WORLD HOLY SHIT THAT IS INCREDIBLY BAD IN EVERY POSSIBLE WAY AHHHHHHHHHH AHHHHHHHHHHHHH AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

"Right, so we keep looking," Chie says, tromping onward. She glances back to make sure Yukiko's keeping up, reaching out to grab her arm to keep her in reach, since Yukiko's hands are busy with the cat carrier.

She just doesn't seem to get the printouts, but as people read them, she tries, muttering, "So, Subject 0, has a family...uh...Shadow-possessed..they tried to pull it out but couldn't...? And then...I guess they gave up?" She tips her head, slowly. "Ma-347...that sounds like an element or something, doesn't it?"

<Pose Tracker> Akimoto Nagamori [S] has posed.

    Akimoto read the memos as she walked...

    MA-347 caught her eye finally when it is refered to as an element. This gives Akimoto pause...this must be...

    Interesting, she thinks, and continues into the room. There was a single computer, still operating, as she looks towards the other three adults. Her computer skill was enough to operate basic computers, and the general 'normal' level of usage that people tend to use it for.

    She assumes that this may need a more technical touch to avoid destruction of important data.

    As Chie explains the deal with the glasses, Akimoto thinks about what is said about the material.

    Does this mean the TV world is a place where the Body, mind, and soul are closer to being one? The Priestess wondered then too about the Dark hour...

<Pose Tracker> Tohru Adachi [NWO] has posed.

    Adachi shrugs at Akimoto. Well, /duh/, they aren't gonna find those answers just standing around here. That said, he moves on with slightly more caution than before. His fog-vision is better than normal people's is, but it's not as good as it would be if he had a pair of glasses, or more specifically, if he had the clunky clay pair that Teddie gave him once upon a time. They make it further in to those print-outs nailed to the walls (he pays particular attention to the one pinned up by a syringe against the metal wall), as well as the computer that by some miracle is still functioning. Adachi stares at that for a long time.

    "Damn, I wish I'd brought a pad of paper or someth..." he begins to complain, and then stops. Then he shoves off his stormlight to Shion, before he unzips his coat and pulls out the pad of paper and stub of pencil that he ALWAYS carries in his inside pocket, and begins to sketch that logo twirling on the screen. Good thing he remembered that!! Even if it's late, he can start taking notes on what they've found so far--and he gets right on that, going back to the print-outs on the wall once he's sketched the rotating logo and taking down dates, to/from data and summaries of the information posted. Shadow Extraction--he remembers reading about that in the NWO's files. It's related to something called kegare; he'll have to look into that again, as he doesn't remember the nitty-gritty just this moment.

    Yeah, if Adachi were actually saying what he was thinking, this investigation sure would be a lot easier, wouldn't it, Katsuragi!!

    "It's not any element *I've* heard of," he remarks aloud to Chie, over his shoulder. "And I know--I studied my periodic table back in high school!" He studied the *hell* out of that thing, oh his lack of god. For now, though... So Kirijo *was* involved here. He'll have to ask Mitsuru about it. God, this is so interesting!!

<Pose Tracker> Enoha Koinose [U] has posed.

    More printouts. "...." Enoha feels like throwing up. It's almost like a cruel joke, instead of moment of bittersweet relief from a mystery that could have remained unsolved. She wanted to bring back an answer that he didn't have to deal with.... with *this*.

    "... Then maybe it has to do with that," Enoha says, her voice hoarse. Digging around in her jacket for those clip-ons (she brought them *just in case*), Enoha clips them to her glasses to reveal.... no fog. ".... This is *insane*...." Why is the fog in the real world? They didn't pass through any TVs! "I'm glad the KDA is involved now. And Kirijo corporation... if it's involved, we'll need to get SEES involved in order to get to the bottom of all this."

    She moves forward, whether the group is ready or not- most likely, they are. Coming into the curious room, her attention is immediately drawn to the computer. Moving over to it, Enoha immediately forgoes her usual careful attitude, impatience and anger winning out in favor of 'SEEKING TRUTHS".

    "... Shion-san. Tohru-san. Either of you good with computers? I'm not sure if it'll let me in." Enoha herself attempts to bring it out of the screensaver by typing on the old keyboard, mouth held in a grim line. ".... I'd hate to have to go all the way back to drag someone in, and I don't know if this equipment can survive the journey back."

    Or maybe, someone just forgot to set the password and they'll be able to get right in.

<Pose Tracker> Tohru Adachi [NWO] has posed.

    "Lemme get these notes done, and I'll give it a whirl. I've been getting better at that kinda stuff recently," Adachi tells Enoha almost absentmindedly over his shoulder. (In another reality, he's been paying close attention to her expressions, to her reactions, immediately goes to the computer when she asks and leaves further note-taking to Katsuragi...)

<Pose Tracker> Yukiko Amagi [KDA] has posed.

Yukiko, when even Shion remembers to put on her glasses - and especially when Chie directly says to, slips her hand into her coat to remove her own pair, settling them daintly upon the end of her nose. "This... isn't good, Chie," Yukiko says, hustling to keep up as she returns both her hands to the handle of the cat carrier.

Likewise, Yukiko reads the printouts herself, brow furrowing in thought. "We should stick close to Shion," she tells Chie in a whisper, brow furrowing as her mind mulls over everything that was happening. Akimoto draws a quiet glance from Yukiko then, newfound reservations arising in her mind. They had no clue who she was, right? Regardless, no time to dwell on such things. "Yes," Yukiko says in regards to what Adachi says, "That's not any normal element, but what if they are making new ones?" she asks. Chie could be right still!

Shaking her head away from that, Yukiko draws nearer to the computer as the adults talk amongst themselves over it, keeping mind of just about everything that was said. Kirijo corporation... Yukiko frowns.

<Pose Tracker> Shion Katsuragi [KDA] has posed.

    All these memos...Shion has every intention of taking them back to see what she can dig up about them. You can do some crazy things when you have physical evidence, after all--it's just a matter of doing it secretly. Well..maybe the KDA branch in Sumaru can do something about it. She does not laugh--she is too serious for that--when Adachi remembers his pad of paper and starts pulling it out to take notes. She carries one, too. Basic detective gear.

    "1993...It doesn't look like they're authorized by Kirijo, just that someone in their company or organization sent something there." She remembers that that company has a shady past, though--or at least, that's the rumor. She keeps track of a lot of rumors, actually. Right now, though, she's more worried about Enoha, approaching her friend as Yukiko mentions staying closer. "I think you should both stick to Enoha-san right now," is what she says, giving Enoha a look that she hopes is supportive. "It's crazy, but it's happening. I think we can safely assume that all of us are experiencing it, so..." If you eliminate the impossible, whatever's left is the truth. Adachi seems to have the computer handled, though. "It's fine, Adachi-san--you're busy, I'll give the computer a look." As Enoha tries to pull up the screen, Shion approaches it, getting ready to see what she can see. "I don't know about 'elements', but maybe there's something in here on it. ...At least there's a printer." She hopes there's ink.

<Pose Tracker> Philemon [A] has posed.

The exam room itself consists of an exam table with strange machines around it... But most tables don't have bindings, and ones that looks like they snapped under terrifying force, having twisted and snapped. The bindings themselves glitter faintly in the dlm light... Silver?

    Silver... And blood. This is definately blood in the room. Most of the consoles are smashed, with red splashes on the walls and streaked along the floor, darkening to black as it leaves the room. The keyboard itself has some faint resistance on it. It might be best not to think about that. The screensaver pops off as soon as someone hits a key. Looks like someone didn't set a password on their screensaver. It reveals a few messages. Looks like someone was trying to leave some kind of correspondence.

DATE: April 12, 1994

FROM: T-319

TO: <Address Corrupted>

SUBJ: STERILIZATION

This is my last day here. Orders state the the location should be scrubbed clean, but I can't do it. I might leave, but I can't kill him. But I also can't release him. I tried to find a way to save him. Whoever find these messages... forgive me. I will put him into a coma and hope that I can find a way to help him later...

Date: December 31, 2000

FROM: T-319

TO: <Address Corrupted>

SUBJ: SALVATION

I could not stop them. I could not save them. Their screams will haunt my memories for the rest of my life. I came back here, knowing he would be here. I couldn't save them, but I can save him. I know more, now. I will wake him up and then give him his life back.

And if I fail, well. God have mercy on my soul.

Date: December 31, 2000

FROM: T-319

TO: <Address Corrupted>

SUBJ: what have i done

extraction failed, he is at the door right now, i can hear his screams as he crashes into the door. I will try to seal the area but he might escape, please forgive me for all of this please please please

he is here_

[OOC] Enoha Koinose says, "BLINK TAG"

[OOC] Philemon says, "tick. tick. tick."

[OOC] Shion Katsuragi says, "whoa, a"

[OOC] Shion Katsuragi says, "a sensible use of blinking ANSI!?"

[OOC] Shion Katsuragi says, "Hell has frozen over!"

[OOC] Tohru Adachi ROFL

[OOC] Tohru Adachi says, "it's gotten gradually colder and colder over the course of this scene"

[OOC] Tohru Adachi says, "which by the way is AWESOOOOOMMMMMMME"

[OOC] Shion Katsuragi says, "oh it sure is"

[OOC] Enoha Koinose says, "welcome home, psuedo-brother"

[OOC] Tohru Adachi says, "though this is fascinating. In this timeline, Katsuragi sees that stuff first. In the original, Adachi does."

[OOC] Enoha Koinose says, "Yeah."

[OOC] Tohru Adachi will have to add that into his pose, how he'd be reacting otherwise

[OOC] Ryotaro Dojima returns to the window, sees SENSIBLE BLINK TAG.

[OOC] Ryotaro Dojima runs screaming into the hills.

[OOC] Shion Katsuragi takes over Dojima's positio

[OOC] Shion Katsuragi now runs all the detectives in Inaba ever

[OOC] Aigis says, "man I wonder what sort of abomination Minagi will eventually turn into according to these messages"

[OOC] Aigis says, "I hope Nemesis"

<Pose Tracker> Philemon [A] has posed.

    120 seconds pass.

A moment later, there is a dull CRUMP noise as something explodes, and the entire area is plunged into darkness. In the distance, the reassuring thrum of the generator, so far away back at the entrance of the mine, is gone.

There is a sound of something crumbling, as a voice speaks up. Rough, and quiet, singing an old, old theme. "zankoku na tenshi no you ni, shounen yo shinwa ni nare..."

    There is a clatter at one side of the room. Should lights swing there, there is only the faint remainder of motion as the voice speaks again. "Sister... Sister, is that you..."

<Pose Tracker> Akimoto Nagamori [S] has posed.

    Shadow...extraction...

    The term itself is unfamilar, but she is sure she heard something about a shadow being removed before. Akimoto desperately looks for more clues about the material in question...after those last messages, she fears time has run out. Because in s situation like this, if it can go wrong, it will go wrong.

    However, the timer goes off. Akimoto, reaching into her bag to pull out the glow stick again, raises it up so that it shows a faint glow on the entire room. It's enough to move by, but not much more than that.

    Akimoto then stops...

    She doesn't look afraid, but she looks concerned. Getting out of here became a lot more difficult, and posibly dangerous.

    A fight here would be risky

<Pose Tracker> Tohru Adachi [NWO] has posed.

    "Well, I guess that's possible. I don't think that's it, though. It's probably some kind of... atomic compound or something," Adachi suggests to Yukiko, as if he actually knows what the heck he's talking about, and even a moment's worth of questioning will reveal that he doesn't. It's something to say, though, and he waves off Shion as she says she'll take a look at the computer while he's taking down notes. He debates heading back to the other rooms to note down what was written over there, but decides against it; he'll do that on the way out, and for now finishes up and takes a look over at the exam room.

    A thrill shivers down Adachi's spine. Something was here. Something that ripped its way out violently. Is it still here? Is it alive? Is it dead? Is it Inohiko? He follows the path of the streaks of red, though he doesn't actually leave the room; Adachi has more sense than *that*. He heads on back over to the computer to peek over Shion's shoulder at the stuff on the computer. "So what's it say?" he asks. "Anything interesting?"

    This is when the power goes out.

    (In another reality, Adachi was the one who messed with the computer and was the one who read the messages, and he took notes of them at least. He stared for a very, very long time at the very last line and the blinking input tag, or at least until the power died.)

    In either reality, Adachi snarls, "FUCK," as an explosion leads to everything going black, though his reasons for doing so are different from timeline to timeline. The sound of that old song (hey he remembers that anime) emanates through the room, and he knows, he *knows*, even before it asks after its sister, that this really is Inohiko. How did they get him out of the TV world? Who let him out? Was it someone like him? No... Inohiko *was* like him before, wasn't he? He suddenly had the ability to go through the TV, despite having no experience with the supernatural...

    But he's not afraid. On the contrary, his face is lit up with a grin as he trades his pad of paper and pencil stub for his sidearm. *This* is what he's talking about!! (In the other reality, he's already grabbed Enoha by the hand and pushed her behind him before trading notes for guns.) "Inohiko?" he calls out. "Inohiko Koinose--is that you?"

<Pose Tracker> Chie Satonaka [KDA] has posed.

Chie files into the room, looking around. With a grip on Yukiko, her nerves are calming. Yukiko is OK. Enoha is OK. Shion is OK. The cat is OK. Adachi is handling the computer and is OK. Akimoto does not matter to Chie's immediate circle of friends but is /also/ OK. Everything is gold! Or, rather, "What...are those restraints?" Chie murmurs, peering. "That doesn't look like...what kind of metal is that, silver?" Her head tilts in the other direction like some kind of dumbness owl. "Silver like, what, /werewolves/?" She frowns, scratches the back of her head. The blood is................more to her expectation, and therefore manages only to upset Chie a little. Yukiko may feel a little tighter grip on her arm.

And then she turns her attention back to the display. Shadow extraction. Failure. The subject is...shit. Chie tries to think. Why the hell would you extract someone's SHADOW? Wouldn't that be SUPER BAD!? Sure the Shadow is a douchebag who smiles like she's about to rip out your heart and eat it and, and, and a lot of stuff like that but it's /part of you/, you /need/ that it's like taking out your bowels just because they're gross! But, and, her head spins, trying to understand, and before she can say anything something EXPLODES and the lights go out, and Chie SCREAMS like she were in a '50's horror flick (maybe she is).

A voice. Chie doesn't dare try to resonate. She can hear the voice. It's singing, "Evan...gelion?" she mutters, but as lights dart around the room and fail to /find/ anything, Chie's breath rapidly increases pace, her lips dry out, her heart is in her throat and her ears are exploding and, and, and, and, and, and, and, and, and, and, and, and, and, and, and, and, and, and

<Pose Tracker> Yukiko Amagi [KDA] has posed.

It was a bit of a blur, all told. Yukiko tended to like to take her time, process things more slowly - Chie was moving her at a quick pace through the remains of the facility, and eyes flickering here and there. Once they come to an end, a certain sick feeling settles into the pit of her stomach as she turns her eyes away from what must have surely been torture devices. She knew they were restraints, knew this place had a medical purpose, but all the... blood?

The tighter grip upon her arm did hurt a bit, but it was reassuring at the same time - it reminded her that Chie was there. "W-wait..." Yukiko says, as her eyes travel over the computer screen. "...it's been sealed in?! Doesn't that mean that this creature is in..." Yukiko begins, as the power fails at that moment. Likewise, Yukiko shrieks along with Chie. Anime songs... she did not watch anime, she read, and read proper things - only getting her pop culture fix through Chie.

Yukiko, at any other time, would be grabbing ahold of Chie's shoulder and something, and never letting go. Instead, both her hands were occupied by cat carrier, and her fingers twist tighter unto the handle as her widening eyes try their hardest to pierce the darkness - see what, just what was hiding out there. This does not work.

<Pose Tracker> Enoha Koinose [U] has posed.

     Taking one glove off, Enoha taps at the keyboard with her bare hand (or not, if Adachi interfenes), wincing as the key resists. She reads, silent. "......" Why? It can't be him. This can't be her brother He was in the T-

    The lights go out immediately at that moment. Then... a voice. Maybe it is... "E.... Vangelion?" Wasn't that an anime series?

    If this is really her brother... she should be the one to deal with him. She came down here to put an end to the mystery, right? "Everyone, get behind me." It's a strict command, rather than a suggestion. "If you're going to stay, support me. I'm going to try to deal with this. Maybe I can reach out to him..."

    How would she react in another timeline? Maybe she wouldn't immediately think to be so self-sacrificing in the face of god only knows what's out there. Adachi's selfish qualities do have some positive effects on Enoha in the original timeline. "I am Enoha Koinose. If you're looking for someone named that, then, yes... I just may be your sister..." Enoha's takes a step forward- if Shion's in the way, she attempt to push her aside, her fingers feeling cold against Shion's clothes. Her voice comes out in a whisper towards Shion. "Get them out of here, Shion... I don't want them to see this... I don't know what's there, but I don't want to inflict this on them..."

    She's scared too- maybe Shion can feel it in the way Enoha grips her fingers into her skin. "... I have to try..."

     And thus, if Shion is sufficiently held aside, Enoha will walk forward, the maiden going to meet the beast and possibly tame it through will alone. "... Are you my brother? I'm sorry... that it too this long... I've missed you so much..."

     But since were tarot card art a reflection of reality?

<Pose Tracker> Shion Katsuragi [KDA] has posed.

    Someone trying to go as far as to make up for what they've done. That's what it seems like. Except... "1994...2000..." Sealing the area. 'He is here'. Shion reads the messages on the screen with a frown that only deepens, not only at the messages but at the growing sense of foreboding in her mind. In this reality, it's the red-haired woman who takes the notes, copying down every word on the screen in her ruthlessly neat hand. "Hold on, it says..." Since after all, she has a notepad, too. In the other, it's her who asks Adachi 'what's it say?' though she doesn't talk about whether it's interesting. She gets to focus, too, on the other sights of the room, the blood, and the srange metal.

    The lights go out. Things have just officially 'gone wrong'. "Everyone, stay calm!" She has to keep tight control over her voice as she says it, too. 'Sister', she hears the voice calling. She flicks on the stormlight that Adachi gave her, and glances to Enoha--the light is kept away from her friend's face. Even if Shion can't see how Enoha is doing, letting her reaction to this horror go unseen is the least she can do for her. And in another time, she moves immediately to Enoha, unburdened by seeing the screen.

    Akimoto's glow light helps, too--is that a grin on Adachi's face? It must be a trick of the light. But, it's time to act. Chie just screamed, and the first thought the deective has now is to give people something to do. Just like...Enoha is already doing. Shion is definitely in the way, and she can feel that cold grip. She, quietly, responds, "Enoha, I'm not leaving you. You can try to deal with him, but you'd better bet that if so much as a /move/ comes your way I'm getting you out of there." This, too, is a firm statement, not a suggestion. This is true in either timeline, but even more here--here, she has more stake in protecting the clerk.

    "Everyone, you heard her. Enoha's on point right now. Chie, I need you--you're the strongest fighter we have, so if something goes wrong, I want the two of us to hold it off so the others can get away first." And, she doesn't have to say, protect Yukiko. Shion is still the same person she was, after all. For now, she moves right up behind Enoha, ready in an instant to throw the other woman down and take whatever's coming herself.

<Pose Tracker> Philemon [A] has posed.

    People panic. Switch on lights. Fear crawls through the darkness like a thousand ants up one's spine. There is movement, faint movement here. There. Always staying just out of range of light. The glowstick radiates through the room, causing faint gleaming from the metallic objects in the room. The faint singing resonates through the room along with the movement, almost singsong in the manner of a child to an old memory. "aoi kaze ga ima mune no DOA wo tataite mo watashi dake wo tada mitsumete hohoende'ru anata..."

Finally, the motion stops when Enoha calls out her name. The motion stops, and the voice calls out again, "Sister... I've waited so long. I've been in the dark so long. Why didn't you come, sister? I've missed you so much... Please, come here..."

And there, the wall rumbles at the opposite end of the room, crumbling down as golden eyes open in the darkness. "Sister..."

<Pose Tracker> Akimoto Nagamori [S] has posed.

    Akimoto realized that...

    Things were about to get hairy. Her time here was going to be cut short, and leaving may be impossible. However, she was not one to give up so easily. While she was not afraid of death, she was not going to give into it so willingly either. This was not her time.

    As the group's attention was focused towards one side of the room, her's was on the 'silver' binds that were here. She moves, quickly, and uses a bit of her supernatural barrowed strength to rip out what she can. placing each one that she can remove into her bag for the moment.

    She only needed a bit more time, and she hoped that all eyes would be on the shadow possessed, and the dark would be enough to obscure the rest.

<Pose Tracker> Tohru Adachi [NWO] has posed.

    Chie screaming like the chick who gets killed first in those old black-and-white movies is possibly the best part of this, if only because Yukiko doesn't scream too. Akimoto is pretty much a non-entity to Adachi right now, so her work at tearing off those silver restraints goes ignored. If anyone enters into his perception right now, it's Enoha and Katsuragi, but most of all, it's the horror that's been sealed down here for ten years. He doesn't even notice Katsuragi staring at his face in the low light of Akimoto's glowstick, much less the stormlight he shoved off onto her, though that grin fades when Enoha steps right forward to face the thing in the darkness.

    In the alternate timeline, he'd have never let her do it--at the very least, he'd have stuck by her side; in this timeline, though, he simply watches her, and watches as those golden eyes open up in the darkness. For him to have survived this long... Either he's incredibly weak or incredibly powerful. It looks like he's not paying attention to *him*, any, which is fine. Adachi instead chooses to quietly undo the safety on his gun and lift it partway, though not yet all the way to prepare to fire towards those golden eyes.

    "I'll stay with you, Enoha," he does murmur, which would be the same from one reality to the next--though here, his reasons are because he's come this far and he refuses to leave now. "Katsuragi, take care of the others." He apparently forgets that he's supposed to be the squishy one here...?!

<Pose Tracker> Enoha Koinose [U] has posed.

    "I didn't know where you were." No, Enoha knew full well, didn't she? Or did she?

    "The cops were looking up and down the streets for you... Mom couldn't stop thinking about you... She closed her business..." Enoha takes another step, then another. "My friends... we can help you with what was done to you... even if life can't be the same, I'll protect you, just like you did me." With the ungloved hand, she extends it forward. "The world's changed a lot... but there's a lot of things that are better. I know you'd like it." Tears begin to collect in her eyes. "I work at the Yomenaido Bookstore now... I can get you a discount. You know that manga you really liked? It's still going. It'll be different, but we'll help you. Me, Dad, Mom..."

    Is this.... really.... Inohiko...? Her big brother....? "We're brother and sister, right...? You're stronger than you realize...."

    'I'll stay with you.'

    "-Tohru?" Enoha looks over her shoulder at the murmur. Is he coming forward...? "Tohru, stay back....!"

<Pose Tracker> Chie Satonaka [KDA] has posed.

Chie continues GRAPPLING Yukiko, breathing quick and frightened in her ear, as things progress. The singing keeps up. The wall crumbles away. Golden eyes. Chie knows what those eyes mean. She's frantic, trying to keep her stomach from revolting, but, but, but, but--

Shion calls out to her. Yukiko might be able to hear Chie swallowing her fear. A slow breath. Two. Three. Four. Chie squeezes her shoulder in the dark. "I'm here!" Chie calls to Shion, moving toward the lady with the flashlight.

Enoha is moving. Adachi is--also...moving. Chie looks to Shion for advice, about to step forward and block that. If nothing else, she braces herself. Adachi's the only one here Chie doesn't /know/ has powers. He seems to be in the know and that seems to get people powers /pretty damn quick/, but...

She's got to protect him, if it comes to that.

God damn does she not want it to come to that.

COMBAT: Chie Satonaka is now covering Tohru Adachi.

<Pose Tracker> Yukiko Amagi [KDA] has posed.

Yukiko had to remember to begin breathing again. She was reminded when she felt like she was suffocating. Clutching cat carrier all the more firmly, the drama going on between Enoha and her brother(?) was barely noticed. She was trying to reach out to it - try to stop this thing without one of the fights that so mark the supernatural here. This was very, very good.

Chie was scared - terrified, it seemed, and Yukiko could barely hold unto her composure to avoid breaking down into outright tears or something. Chie's idea to leave her side to protect Adachi made sound tactical sense, but for a long, yawning moment, the effect was that Yukiko was alone. All alone in the dark, with noises and sounds all around her, each and every one sounding unfamiliar and alien. Shouting, growling, and whatever silly noises were coming from the cat in the carrier.

She really was feeling as though fainting would be a decent idea at the moment.

However, Yukiko looks into herself for the strength - the strength that had manifested as Konohana Sakuya. Closing her eyes, she takes a composing breath - no, she was still terrified. But at least she wasn't on the edge of fainting or something. What's more - she knew that Chie had been scared too, and she was still moving, still fighting? Why should she be different?

It was difficult to tell where people where in the dark, and a little plainative call of "Chie?" sounds. Stepping to the side closer to where she believed Chie was. Hefting the cat carrier up like it was a shield, (certainly not so for the poor cat,) she hopes to stand, right before Chie, her brow furrowing in determination. (For that was better than panic, right?)

COMBAT: Yukiko Amagi is now covering Chie Satonaka.

<Pose Tracker> Shion Katsuragi [KDA] has posed.

    Golden eyes in the darkness...

    She, too, is too focused on what's going on with Enoha and the creature to give much eye to Akimoto. In the other time, she'd not pay the priestess any mind at all right now, but in this one, her eyes are sharp, always ready to catch a hint of something untoward. "...What are you doing over there?" She says it simply, but ony as a warning. Her eyes move back immediately to the glow in the darkness, and to Enoha. She'd let Enoha make the attempt in either, though it's harder, here--here she can't help but interfere. She doesn't know what Adachi does. "Good!" to Chie.

     And then Adachi is moving forward--Shion shakes her head. "I'm staying with her," she replies, and then Chie moves forward to protect her fellow detective. She doesn't smile to the girl--she can't here--but it's exactly what she wanted to see. She approaches, though she keeps a few steps back, and moves into a ready stance. Her gun isn't out--it's a sprinter's preparation, so she can save Enoha if it comes to it.

    And watching Enoha with this thing that might be her brother is heartbreaking enough without thinking that the creature might attack her. Her light here moves towards the shaking of the wall, flashing beside those golden eyes--not too close, she has the presence of mind not to try to blind the thing, but she needs to know. The red-haired woman mouhs a silent apology to herself if it's something Enoha really shouldn't see. She resolves to help him if they can, but... "Don't worry," she says, to anyone, though it seems that Yukiko, too, is showing a lot more strength than someone might expect. Detective Katsuragi hopes it will be alright.

<Pose Tracker> Philemon [A] has posed.

    Enoha steps forward, trying to console, reach out to her brother. Reach out to the truth, as horrifying as it is. She steps closer, and she feels something reach out to her ungloved hand, the faintest touch... "Yes... We will be together, Sister... Forever..."

    And then a light moves, swiveling towards the golden eyes.

    Dun and crimson scales shimmer under the light, long spikes gleaming and jutting out along its spine, rippling like a fin down the length of the massive creature. Long tentacles lash agitatedly from the elongated face of the being, as long flippers ending in hands sweep out from under where the shoulders would be. Nictating eyes reflexively close at the light, even the reflected glow startling it. The gleam reflects of a dripping viscous substance coating Inohiko's body, visible where seething Shadows do not cling like hissing barnacles all over its body.

 The entire being flinches back, roaring, as the Shadows dart off of it in a massive swarm, a hundred golden pinpoints joining the twin glow of Inohiko. The entire complex shakes under the massive bellow, before it begins thrashing.

    This might be a good time to get the hell out.

 /=========================( - THE HERMIT Reverse - )=========================\

/---------------------------------------=======================================\

|                                                                                                |

|                              - NAMAZU-INOHIKO KOINOSE -                      |

|                                 - SUBJECT 0BLIVION -                                 |

|                                                                                                |

\=======================================---------------------------------------/

 \=================================( - IX - )=================================/

<Pose Tracker> Tohru Adachi [NWO] has posed.

    Adachi was willing to fight it out with this decade-old creature. He is somewhat less willing when he actually *sees* the thing, and remembers, hmmm, torn restraints, blood all over the walls... Even if they're all Persona-Users here (and even if, hilariously, the high school girls have decided to stick themselves right in front of him--as well they should!), just how strong is this thing that's been living in a place that's apparently been crossing over with the TV world?

    There is an indeniable sense of deja vu, of a 'self' that would have done anything for Enoha.

    Screw the others. Adachi grabs Enoha by the arm and *wrenches* her back. "We're getting out of here!!" he shouts, before attempting to drag her to the exit. "Katsuragi, we need that light! Come on!!"

    For a guy without a Persona, he seems more in control of himself than he really should be--but then, he *is* a cop; even if he's a durp, he must have made it this long by keeping cool under the wire, right? "Amagi-san, Satonaka-san... I-I'm gonna leave the rear to you guys!!" ...or maybe not so much after all. Though perhaps Shion could easily give the light to Enoha while she protects the teenagers--wait, if there's only one light, how are they supposed to escape AND cover the rear?

    W-wait, does this mean he's completely ignoring Akimoto!? (Well, yes; she can just go ahead and die, for all he cares.)

<Pose Tracker> Akimoto Nagamori [S] has posed.

    Akimoto inwardly growls a little...

    Yes, take your precious eyes off me instead of on the monster ready to kill them. However, the thing starts to transform...

    Akimoto has been around the block a bit, and when a shadow does that, that quickly, and given that it has been around for so long... Akimoto surmises that it is quite powerful. However, fighting it here, in such an unstable place, would be quite foolis-

    Akimoto almost stares in surprise as Adachi attempts to leave her.

    Yeah, sorry, but that's not going to happen. She bolts right after Adachi starts booking it, she didn't like their chances as a group, she's not going to try this solo. Fate brought them together, gave her her gift, and now it is time to RUN LIKE MAD BECAUSE FATE WANTS IT'S TOLL!

<Pose Tracker> Enoha Koinose [U] has posed.

    The truth may hurt... "Nii-san..." But it's still the truth. And you still have the present to change things. "... Things can change from here on out. For the better." Even if her hand touches something no human should ever touch... her brother's still there. "We'll give you back whatever they took from you... you'll make a new life for yourself. The world's beautiful..." She smiles openly as she feels something touch her hand, a brief sense of contact....

    Then all hell breaks loose.

    "GET OUT NOW!" Enoha cries out to them desperately at the first sign of trouble, worried about the others around her than the very real horror that she's just saw. That image... it'll be in her mind forever. She may not be able to even *function* emotionally later. But here and now? Her senses are clear as a bell. Get them out. Get everyone you love out of here. You dragged them here. The thrashing oblivion beast nearly cuts into Enoha, if not for the surprising efforts of one Adachi, painfully yanking her back from an even worse fate. Blindly, she runs with him as he holds onto her, expression blank as she fumbles (ha) alongside him. "....."

<Pose Tracker> Philemon [A] has posed.

As everyone panics and flees, Namazu roars again, thrashing straight through the room and crushing its contents, not caring if the room collapses upon it. With its terrible strength, it seems to not care if it is buried in rock. The seething Shadows with it simply melt through the crevices and grasp after the fleeing group, hungrily attempting to slow down or rip bites out of the slow ones.

    The next five minutes are pure terror as the seekers emerge from the laboratory, the horror narrowly crashing at their heels. Water erupts around them, narrowly missing them, or battering them just out of reach. Earth slashes and juts up around them, the very caves itself tseemingly trying to entrap them and grind them beneath tons of rock.

"SISTER! DON'T LEAVE ME, SISTER! I DON'T WANT TO BE ALONE AGAIN!" It howls after her, his strident childlike voice distorted in a terrifying mockery.

    Finally, there is a massive crash as one of the tunnels entirely gives way, the braces shattering and burying Namazu and his minions. The impact throws the group to the ground just short of the tunnel nexus they saw when they entered. There is only one way out and that is up the emergency ladder.

    How fast can they escape? Will Namazu pursue them? Is it dead?

    Do you dare wait to see?

<Pose Tracker> Shion Katsuragi [KDA] has posed.

    The eyes of a horde of Shadows can light their way.

    The /thing/ appears, the thing that once may have been Inohiko Koinose, and the sight causes even Katsuragi's blood to run cold. In another world, she'd be moving back already, as Tohru grabbed hold of Enoha and moved her backward, as--

    It happens just that way. The sense of 'self' of who she is, who she should be, and the mask she earned in her own time in the television drives her here. She hears Adachi's shouts, and Enoha's, too--there's no worry that the woman here will try to stay. Not anymore. She gives one brief look to Enoha and Tohru as they pass, and then a firm nod. "I'll be right with you," she says, allowing the others to flee behind her. The light is passed on, and there's nothing left now but to let the others escape, and run after them.

    "Chie, let's go! Yukiko, take the light up!" To give the others enough of a start, the detective seps forward, once, straight into the path of the coming shadows. She points the light straight back, to account for their path, and summons forth her Persona, with the call, "Shield us! BRITOMART!" The knighty figure appears, jabbing her spear forward as a wave of energy accompanies it, and moves to /book the hell out/ as soon as Chie and Yukiko are ahead of her.

    It's going to be really, really close, and Shion isn't coming out of this unbloodied. But if it means the others do...

<Pose Tracker> Chie Satonaka [KDA] has posed.

Yukiko is frightened. Chie can feel it across that distance, feel the resonance of the one person she is closest to in her heart, the cry and counter-cry of Konohana Sakuya to Tomoe Gozen, worry and fear and worse, and if things hadn't...gone as they do, with Yukiko pushing in front, then she may have had to slip back to guide her, or...or something, she's too dazed by sheer force of emotion to actually parse through what she should've done, would've done, she resolves to get Yukiko something nice later for her mistake and has to think about something else right now!!

Maybe it'll work. Maybe? Just...maybe...but then he says something that is a lot, lot of a problem. Stay Forever, huh. Chie's whole body tenses, and the Shadows dart around, and.... "My...what the hell--!" Chie chokes out at the sight of the THING that used to be Inohiko Koinose. She growls, low in her throat. Enoha screams to go. She agrees.

Chie just wades through the tide of Shadows, batting her feet out to try and clear the path. Adachi darts out. Chie reaches out to hook her arm around Yukiko's (for lack of a hand to grasp), yelling, "Right! We'll handle the rear!" because Shion asked her to, and Adachi is trusting her.

Chie hears the orders. "Right!" Chie yells, pounding out toward the others' back, but -- Shion's staying!? Sh-- Chie snaps a leg up, a quick snap kick through her Evoker card, yelling, "Protect me, Tomoe!" The light in the hall suddenly burns blue-white, Tomoe snapping out of Chie's body and surging toward the Shadow mass - swings her beam naginata and hurls it into the swarm, letting it ricochet around the room for a while before it fades out.

And that's all the time-buying she's got time for. She reaches out, grabs the stormlight from where Shion shoved it onto Yukiko (her hands are full, after all) and tugs Yukiko's shoulder, turns on her heels, and runs as fast as she can, hoping Yukiko can keep up.

Don't think about how scared you are. Shion's depending on you. Shion needs you to be strong right now. No, more than that...Yukiko does, so Chie can't, she won't, she'll never stop, because...because she doesn't /need/ more reason than she's already got.

If they trip, they die, she thinks. It's reason enough. In a sick way she's pretty glad she figured out the glasses will help her with this fog.

<Pose Tracker> Yukiko Amagi [KDA] has posed.

Things went from bad to worse in a hurry. Yukiko glances over her shoulder. Adachi is...? Gone?! Then the shadow starts thrashing, and it seems as though things go from bad to terrible. Cat carrier in one hand, and stormlight in the other, Yukiko takes a slow step away from the monster, ducking at some unseen or imagined lash in the air above herself... the light was snatched from her hands, and Yukiko makes no comment against it - she needed a free hand.

And then Yukiko turns, "What about you, Katsuragi-s..." Yukiko says, another roar drowning out her voice. Running as fast as she can down the corridor, cat carrier bouncing the poor cat inside - Yukiko imagined the cat would rather be bounced about then buried under rocks again - Yukiko keeps glancing over her shoulder to look over whoever was following her. Shion? A monster? Hopefully just the detective was after her, or before her in this dark. "Shion!" Yukiko calls out as they make their way to the ladder.

Yukiko did not stop to wait for the detective, really - if she paused on the ladder, she could make things worse for Katsuragi-dono.

Climbing a ladder with cat carrier in hand was more than a little awkward, but Yukiko had plenty of ~motivation~, and was quickly hiking her way up the ladder and out.

Hopefully, the cat was okay after all of this.

<Pose Tracker> Akimoto Nagamori [S] has posed.

    Akimoto, a priestess and primarily a magic user often uses these things to find her way out of trouble.

    And BOY has trouble found them tonight. As they got to the ladder, this would be the only way up...and with all these people needing to get up there, Akimoto has an idea that will shorten the queue for...

    Herself, and possibly any one behind her. Instead of Baba Yaga, Kachina appears around her. "I call upon the power of the elements, recall thy pact and offer thy strength! GARULA!" She invokes the power of the spell...

    The target? The ground right above her, using it as a blast under her feet, she attempts to litterally rocket jump towards the top. However, even she can't make the full jump, and instead, manages to grab the ladder above the others. Quickly climbing up the rest of the way.

<Pose Tracker> Philemon [A] has posed.

    They scramble up the ladder, the shifting earth greeting them as they run towards the light ahead as if it would be the last they ever saw. Were they a little slower, that might have been the case, but they win free, the group of explorers escaping the mine shaft just as a powerful tremor causes the collapses of the entire shaft, sending even the entranceway collapsing.

    Amidst the earth rumbling and churning, perhaps one might think they hear a voice, singing a song from long ago...

    But it might also be just one's imagination, as the land finally quiets, and peace returns to the sleepy town of Inaba.

But will those secrets remain buried? Or have they unleashed something upon the world best left entrapped?

Only you will know for sure.

<Pose Tracker> Tohru Adachi [NWO] has posed.

    Once they're all out of the mine shaft, Adachi turns back towards it, now collapsed. His gun is still in his hand, and now that they've reached safety, he absently re-holsters it, though not after debating over the merits of shooting that bitch Nagamori for daring to cut in front of the rest of them (or, more accurately, for daring to cut in front of *him*). The only thing that stopped him on the stairs was that Akimoto probably would have fallen on top of him, and the only thing stopping him now is witnesses. What a pain.

    "It looks like everyone's out okay, so..." the detective says slowly as he looks over Chie, Yukiko, and Katsuragi. He turns towards Enoha. "Let's... get you home," he tells her quietly.

    What a strange feeling... It's like he actually cares about her. It reminds him of--something else-- Ah, it's gone now. Oh well; whatever. "You guys were great," he adds to the girls, smiling to them as he waves and moves to take Enoha under one arm. "Thanks a lot--I knew I could count on you."

    Well, they *did* keep the ones who ran off ahead alive, so why not?

<Pose Tracker> Enoha Koinose [U] has posed.

     The last few minutes feel like they happen to someone else entirely, all sound and feeling and emotion muffled. It's a good thing everyone else is making sure Enoha's on her way out, because, right now? She's running on pilot mode. She doesn't speak at all when they make it out, just numbly following, eyes staring straight ahead until-

    For a moment, Enoha looks at Adachi, something like recongination flickering in her eyes- the same deja vu that created that twinge of pain at the idea of breaking up with him, something she considered beforehand in an attempt to see if he'd be happier elsewhere. Something.... doesn't want to let him go, regardless of how out of character it feels for her to feel that way. But why?

    Why does she just want to hold him and kiss him, to feel comforted by him and to comfort him back, when she only felt self-doubt and fear before?

    It floats away like oil on water, the horror setting in as she realizes who else lives at home.

    ".... I can't face her." Enoha finally speaks after a long while, looking ill. "... They did that to him. Why. He was just a teenage boy in high school... he could have been Chie or Yukiko or Souji's friend... But they took all that away from him... I..." She looks blankly downwards, at a complete loss. "My mom's waiting for him to come back... I can never tell her..."

    "..... I was always scared that one of you kids would disappear..." She looks at Chie and Yukiko, tears in her eyes. "Just like he did. That's why... that's why I tried to reach out to you when I could... I wanted to make sure..." She shakes her head, tears freely running down her face. "... But I never imagined it'd end up like this... Nii-san... oh god.... why..."

    She just looks up to the sky and cries openly, quietly, for the brother who disappeared.

<Pose Tracker> Tohru Adachi [NWO] has posed.

    In this timeline, Adachi simply stands next to Enoha, a touch awkwardly, to watch her cry as he drops his arm away from her.

    In the original, Tohru's expression settles into something unreadable, almost blank, almost grim, before he steps in close and pulls her quietly, tightly, against him--and to hell with the audience.

<Pose Tracker> Shion Katsuragi [KDA] has posed.

    "...It's alright, Enoha..." Shion watches as Adachi stands next to Enoha. Some other time, she'd have watched as the two of them stayed close, feeling that a leas something was being offered here. In this one, however, it's her who moves close, standing on Enoha's other side, and offering a shoulder for her friend to cry on, if she's willing to take it. She won't tell her not to do it, either. What she says is true, and the adrenaline of the moments before has given way to something...else.

    "It's alright." She'll offer Enoha a place with her tonight; she shouldn't have to go home and face more, and she shouldn't be left alone. It's not right. Something else, too, just isn't right.

    The others did do well. Shion will have to tell them so.

<Pose Tracker> Yukiko Amagi [KDA] has posed.

         The cat was alive, everyone! Unhappy, certainly. Bruised, probably, but alive.

         Panting with the stresses of the last few minutes, Yukiko leans forward to place the cat carrier upon the earth, tempted to fall on her knees, but faced with the irrational fear of dirtying her skirt with grass stains should she do so. One can only imagine what the group looked like, after crawling through a mine.

         "E-everyone alright?" Yukiko asks, glancing about the assembled. Everyone seemed to be here, seemed to be alive... well... Yukiko's lips turn down into a sudden frown. Everyone except Enoha's brother. It was that thought that snaps her attention towards Enoha, not too much longer before she starts pouring her heart out, causing Yukiko's frown to deep and her expression to take on a look of concern. Drawing herself up, she draws her hand up to brush her hair away from her eyes.

         She doesn't respond. How do you respond to something like that? With a glance upwards towards Adachi, then back down again towards Enoha. She... really did not know Enoha - for all that she said to Shion the other day, about trusting her, that was true, but... well... for something like this? Regardless, Yukiko approaches the older woman, just to stand by her and Shion as she cries - hopefully bolstering the support that Shion can grant her.

<Pose Tracker> Chie Satonaka [KDA] has posed.

Chie HAULS ASS -- to safety!!

Chie pants as she finally releases Yukiko's arm, just...halfway doubling over and panting from exhaustion, fear, dumbfounded terror. She watches the others, her heart cracking open and spilling her control all over the walls, nothing makes sense and everything is terrible, and...

Enoha explains herself. The awful, terrible truth of all this. There are a billion questions. Chie will think of these later - not just to Inohiko Koinose, but others, too. Yayoi. Why were three disparate groups called to the mines today - /today/. What's...going on? Is something pulling the strings here, or, or...

Enoha is talking. Chie looks at her, finally reaching up and pulling off ehr TV glasses. She can't console Enoha. Nobody on Earth can console that woman. She saw something Heaven should never have allowed. They all saw it, but she..she lived it, knows it, is being destroyed by it. Chie will have to help her, she decides. Be there for the woman. She's going to need someone. Chie's heart is exploding in her chest. Shion tries to be there - Adachi can't. Chie can't blame him.

Chie slips up to the assembly gathering around Enoha - trying to show some support for their friend and fighter, even if...even if nobody in the whole world shares her pain.

"It's not alright," Chie murmurs, sickly, and doesn't even care what they see when her arms snake around Yukiko's waist, pulling against her, needing the comfort of that warmth - Yukiko's here, Yukiko's alive, the world is going to continue spinning and Chie can use that certainty to keep thinking. Slow breaths, deep breaths.

To...nominally to Enoha, but with her so lost, perhaps the words are simply meant for the wind: "...but we'll get through this. ...together."