2019-01-28 - TIMELINE 2: The Parable of the Shaken Can

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Title: TIMELINE 2 - The Parable of the Shaken Can

Steven tries to understand Fate and Eas's point of view. Mikoto has insights.


Mikoto Minagi, Steven Universe


Shitamachi Low City - Tokyo Bay

OOC - IC Date:

2019-01-28 - 2014-04-20

.**************************** Shitamachi Low City *****************************.
*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+ Tokyo Bay +*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+
 Once known as the "Inner Sea," the shelter Tokyo Bay once provided for
 merchants and fishermen helped Tokyo develop into the powerhouse that it is
 today, nor is it less useful today. Japan's largest shipping ports operate
 out of the Bay, as does its own navy and that of the US Forces. Herculean
 efforts dredge up its silt to create artificial islands, and factories drink
 its water to soothe their smoky throats.

 To most residents, however, the Bay is simply blue water glittering,
 salt-seasoned breezes, and gently drifting sails. The aptly named Rainbow
 Bridge crossing the bay enhances rather than damages its beauty, its white
 towers lit many nights by an artificial rainbow. A provincial visitor might
 consider Tokyo Bay to be trimmed like a garden hedge; it has a number of
 oddly geometric islands with arranged greenery, and any land touching the
 water often makes the best of it with a park, intake valve, or other
 imposition on nature. To a city-dweller, though, it is a miracle of open
 space and calm.
*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+* Players +*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*

<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

It's a nice, sunny mid-April afternoon, and the nice thing about spring is that it's not too hot despite the clear skies. This delightful weather has brought a lot of families to the very best fair-weather location: the beach. Tokyo Bay is buzzing with beach balls and towels and big, jaunty umbrellas, all the colours of the rainbow.

But some people aren't here on purpose; take, for instance, Mikoto Minagi, who forgot her swimsuit, because she just happened to wander in. This didn't really bother her, but she has since been informed that she does, in fact, need a swimsuit to swim in Tokyo. Even though it's warm enough that her clothes would dry just fine..?

Sometimes Tokyo is weird like that.

The thing about the crowds is that they always seem to thin out the closer they get to that strange art installation; maybe everyone is trying to avoid the tourists which would naturally come to see such a thing. Except that there are no tourists here, mysteriously! There's just Mikoto, wandering up from the beach in her sensible Ohtori flats.

This is where Steven lives, after all, and Mikoto likes Steven, so in her wandering she has apparently locked into the idea that she should go bother him. Plus, she kind of wants to make sure he's okay. He's gotten into a few fights, over the past couple of days, and even though he's very good at protecting people he is also alarmingly small.

<Pose Tracker> Steven Universe [Juuban Public School (5)] has posed.

"We have movement! I repeat, we have movement!"

A voice comes from under the steps of the lovely beach house nestled in the bosom of the Gem Temple. Of course, to standard citizens, it is an art installation. The residents prefer it to stay that way. At least most of them do. People still come over from time to time to take pictures, but otherwise they leave the home alone.

However! Someone does approach! And it warrants investigation!

The steps and piers mask a dune of sand, and under it, some kind of... opening? And a lot of army figures. A pair of binoculars peek out! It looks like a cooler has had sand piled up all around it, its lid taken off, and somehow the bottom punched out, making a crawlspace under a sand dune.

"Hold fire! I know that one. She is a friendly! No! Don't! The chief petty officer has gone AWOL! Oh no--AHH!"

In his bouncing around little figures, he tapped the cooler, and all the sand came down right on top of him. He is promptly buried. THe boy bokes his head up from the sand a few seconds later. "Hi Mikoto!" he calls from his sandy sepulchre.

<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Mikoto hears Steven's voice, and looks left and right as she tries to pinpoint it. It would be sensible for him to be out here somewhere! But it takes her a moment to spy the light glinting off a pair of binoculars, in a small cave.

This isn't terribly strange to her, because Mikoto takes naps in all sorts of odd places, but the little bits of plastic are new to her.

She freezes at his next line, hand reflexively grasping at the strap of the case over her shoulder. Whoever Steven is arguing with, he's clearly losing - and in a flash she draws her blade and springs back from her position, skidding in the sand. She can't help him if she's taken out as a normal girl. Her eyes dart across the beach to find the others, as Steven is overwhelmed in his hiding-place.


... he's...

... popping out and greeting her like nothing is wrong.

And she can't smell any gunpowder, or hear the telltale sounds of metal clicking into place.

Mikoto scans the beachline once more, and looks back to Steven, sheepish. "... there's no fighting?" She asks, uncertain. Did she mess it up.

<Pose Tracker> Steven Universe [Juuban Public School (5)] has posed.

Steven's pupils shrink and his eyes grow wide seeing what Mikoto does in greeting "Eep?!" he lets out, still mostly buring in his little sandpile. It slowly rolls out into the sunlight thanks to the effects of gravity. "I uh, I like you sword but there's no need for it!" the boy says, prying his hands looks of the sand entombing them. He waves them at her in a surrendering fashion.

"Hang on!" the boy says, digging a hand back in. A tongue pokes out of his mouth as he fishes for something. Out he pulls a little green army figurine! It fights right in your palm. In fact, a few can be seen partly poking out of the sand at this point.

"I was playing army guys! Goofing around and stuff. It was pretend!"

On closer inspection, Steven was still a little beaten up from the combination of events that had transpired recently. Only his left elbow has a sandy bandage on it. Fading bruises can be seen here and there, but take time to actually point out for common folk. "So uh, how's you?" he asks cheerfully. Even if that cool sword is still out, he is pretty sure she won't hit him with it.

"If you wanna use this area of the beach you totally can! I like to think of it sorta like a private waterfront area for my friends!" the boy adds, beaming. "I got some drinks and snacks at--" The child looks behind himself. A sand coated can of soda rolls out. "...I got more inside!"

<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

"Oh," Mikoto says, embarrassment in the way she relaxes from her tense position. "Pretend..." Like kendo, then. There were no real stakes, and she wasn't really in danger.

She feels silly that she didn't realise it was a game, even though she's gotten better at that over her time here.

Meekly, she makes her way back over to her discarded case and sheathes her blade again. She shrugs it over her shoulder and turns back, just in time to see that can of soda roll by.

It's so out-of-place that she has to laugh, which does a lot to chase away her awkward feelings at having the wrong reaction. "It's okay, Steven," she assures him. "Sand washes off!" This is not only useful advice for his snacks, but also himself. It's fine. A little sand never hurt anyone.

As she steps up, she can't help but notice the bandage and the bruises. She's looking better, herself; there aren't any outward signs that she's been hurt, despite the hard battles she's been through. Still -- perhaps her jumpiness is its own wound. "I'm good," she assures him. "Had stuff to do, but I got volunteers now!" FELINE VOLUNTEERS.

"Steven's okay too, right?" Mikoto asks, tilting her head as her braids tumble over her face. "I mean, lots has happened." It's not unusual to see her expressing concern over Steven's wellbeing after fights; he's still young, after all, so it's important to her to look out for him.

<Pose Tracker> Steven Universe [Juuban Public School (5)] has posed.

...It looked like Mikoto really expected to fight something. He wonders to himself... were recent events still bothering her? "Oh... hahah, yeah, true!" he mentions, taking the soda and quickly washing it off in the clear beach water befure running back. "Um.. you want it?" he asks nicely. No more sand, but a little wet.

"Oh, volunteers? For what? Tell meeee!" he says, his eyes wide no out of excitement. Maybe he can volunteer somehow!

A thought about her question. "I suppose so! THe fight over that blue thing and the bird was a lot to deal with quickly, but I am more bummed about Eas and ... what was the other girl's name?" he asks politely. "There was something strange about them. I dunno, it felt like they didn't want to in some small way?"

"I'm uh, I'm just glad they left you alone after they got it. I was scared for both you and Endo..." he trails off. "Maybe there is something we can still do?"

He honestly has no idea what that Jewel Seed was for. It seemed powerful.

Too powerful.

<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Mikoto's just a bit strange like that.

She's also strange enough to quite happily take the can of soda, without a single worry. She sits herself down in the sand, slipping her sword-case off to rest beside her. The can fizzles from the agitation as she opens it, and she makes a wordless noise of surprise as she holds it out to avoid getting foamed. Thankfully, she manages to avoid the indignity of SODA STAINS, and once the can has calmed down she takes a drink.

"It's surprise!" Mikoto chirps, because she has learned about surprises and how they can make things more impressive. "Steven'll see at Dream Faire," she assures him, quickly.

She frowns in concern as Steven brings up those girls. "Fate," she answers him, because she remembers the telling. Someone who has to do what she does...

Mikoto glances over to Steven, as he admits he was afraid, and this time the concern softens her features. "... must've been scary," she says, the words gentled. "Sorry we left Steven alone like that." She smiles, again, but this time the expression is a little more restrained. "Steven's lots tougher than either of us, after all."

Even if she competes with him so often, Mikoto has to admit that she and Endo are a lot alike. Maybe that's why she feels the need to prove herself to him, in the end.

She looks back over the bay, tapping a finger against the rim of her soda-can. "Those girls..." Mikoto starts, and trails off for a moment. "They're both fighting for someone," she says, finally. "And I think making those people happy is more important to them than not fighting. Maybe more important than anything." Her voice grows quiet, more serious, as she considers them.

Mikoto sighs, golden eyes tracing the waves as they push in, pull out. "When someone's that important... it doesn't matter what you want, Steven. Even if you wanted not to fight... you'd still fight, 'cause it'd make them happy. Even if fighting made you unhappy..." She has not noticed her grip tightening around the can. "... even if you wanted to talk..."

She hears a little metal chink and realises she has dented the can. Consciously, she loosens her grip, taking another sip.

"They believe we can get through to them," she says, and it's a broad category. Perhaps Mikoto is thinking of Madoka, or Sailor Moon, or Mai, or everyone who has encouraged her to restrain her force when fighting other girls. She smiles, to try and deliberately dispel the tension which has gathered around her for some reason. "I'm no good at talking, but I won't give up, neither."

<Pose Tracker> Steven Universe [Juuban Public School (5)] has posed.

"Ohhhh! The faire!" the boy claps his hands! "I'm gonna have a thing there too! Its nothing fancy, but the cooking club wanted me to do a small thing to help! I'm not really any kind of competition, but they wanted to to try it out!" He seems really happy, even if he doesn't really seem to know what he's getting in to.

"Oh, right," he says in turn about Fate. "Oh, h-heh, yeah! It was kinda... scary. Thanks Mikoto. I guess I can't really hurt people all that well, so I have that at least!"

"Ah... but before they left, they said they were sorry? In a funny way.That is what made me think that. But what could be so important to hurt others but look sad?" The boy thinks for a small time, but sadly has no answers. He rubs one arm with a hand on a bruise sustained in that fight.

The grip on the can is noted. Steven flinches when he hears it. "I believe them too!" the boy says, holding his head, trying to remember that evening. "They weren't like normal evildoers! They didn't laugh at us, they didn't smile at our pain, enjoy our loss. They were... down?" he ends with the rhetorical question.

"Maybe we can talk to them. We just have to find them. I feel like it we aren't stopping them from taking blue gemstone things, they won't attack us. Maybe they'll listen..."

<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

"Steven'll do great!" Mikoto smiles, broadly. She believes in him! Surely the Faire will go well.

It's not the same sort of smile she wears as Steven admits he's not good at hurting people. "It's okay to not be good at that stuff," she says. "It's just... a different way of thinking."

Or not thinking.

Just like Mikoto isn't thinking about how harsh it is to phrase her particular talents in battle as hurting people.

'... I would ask why someone like you is getting in my way...'

They were sorry, he says, and Mikoto hums through closed lips as she considers it. They were down. She offers him a small smile. "... yeah. Doesn't always gotta be fight. They're girls, too." That's what she has to keep reminding herself of.

(That's what gets uncomfortable. That's what makes it hard.)

"It's... probably pretty complicated," she supposes. "They might even feel sad about feeling sad." Eas is antipathic towards emotion; Fate is complicated. Their reactions are what she draws from, surely. "But I don't think they have a choice. There's..."

Her eyes focus in on the driplets of soda resting in the groove of the soda-can, from where the pressure escaped all at once. All at once it dawns on her: "... no way out."

Mikoto blinks, staring at it for a long moment, before she shakes her head. "We're not giving them options they can take, Steven! Just gotta -- figure out how to give them something -- something they can actually use. 'Cause they'd just explode if they opened up. It's been too much, too long. Too used to everyone being enemies."

<Pose Tracker> Steven Universe [Juuban Public School (5)] has posed.

"Different way of thinking...?" Steven replies with. Huh. Maybe that's why he isn't good at fighting. Maybe? "Well if it is worth anything, I think you both did really good out there," the boy adds, trying to be reassuring.

There is a long awkward moment of silence from Steven-- he seems to struggle to find something to say that could help in this situation. But all answers need their assailants present. Talking to them. Working things out. Even trying to pry info from them somehow. "Do you think..." he finally replies with. "...They are being forced against their wills?" Eas didn't strike him like that. Fate however...

"I just wish they would talk before acting, is all." A look to the shore as he plops down in the sand. "It's funny. In the moment, I always hear that 'this is it' or 'there's no way around it'. Does everyone just hold private meetings to decide this I don't go to? Or is that determined in the moment? We've gotten through crazy things by putting our heads together."

"I just kinda wish... we got to try." THe boy knows there's a good chance that this order of events has to go this way, but refuses to give up that alternatives aren't out there. Bad things would happen if they got all those gemstones.

"S-Sorry Mikoto... I'm probably just rambling. You all know so much more than me about magic stuff. I should just listen to you all! I've learned so much." A small little smile peeks out from his dour moment.

<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Mikoto hums negation as she shakes her head. "Don't think it's that simple," she says, on the topic of their hands being forced. "I think... they really do believe in their important people that much." There is nothing which cannot be done in the name of love.

"... can't Steven admire that?" Mikoto asides, in light surprise, as she glances over to him. "I don't think it's bad."

She wouldn't.

Mikoto takes another sip of her soda as she considers. She'd never thought of it being hard to understand, but she can hear the frustration, there. "It's hard, starting out, right..?" She glances over, smiling to him. "It's okay. Just listen, and Steven will get better quick. But there's no meetings. When we say there's no other way..." Mikoto makes a considering noise, as she tilts her chin up, thinking of how to explain it. She's getting better at teaching, but she still doesn't remember much which would help.

"... sometimes it's 'cause we've fought enough to know no one's gonna back down. Sometimes it's 'cause it's too important to guess." She shrugs a shoulder, glancing aside. "And sometimes we're just being stubborn, too. So it's kinda like experience, kinda like knowing what's at stake..." She puffs out her cheeks, shaking her head. Like she said, she's no good at talking. She's not a good person to try and explain something this complicated.

She smiles, canting her head. "We should try," she says, "because Steven believes." That is more than enough reason to put forward an effort, in Mikoto's opinion.

But there's something in the way he's starting to ramble which worries her; she's seen it before, the doubt, seeking reassurance. It's a hard topic for him. She remembers how hard those topics were.

And so she breaks away from their dour subject: "Steven," Mikoto says, tone a little brighter, "remember movie that came up before? The, um..." She taps a finger at her chin as she looks up, trying to remember. "Blade thing? I'm here now!" She points out, brightly. "Let's see it, okay?"

She'll even make an active effort not to complain about how unrealistic it is.