Tokyo, Japan; Earth

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Yoshirō Katashi walked through an immaculately tended garden, sandals rasping softly on the stepping stones leading through the water. He pauses for a second, savoring the fragrant aroma of the cherry blossoms, the soft brush of the gently falling petals anointing his brow, and basking in the subtle warmth of the simulated sunlight from the dome arcing overhead. He continued forward, taking careful steps on the smooth obsidian that peeked between the reflection of the idyllic blue "sky." Walking the gardens, which made the paths between buildings in the Ryū Hasu Yakuza's compound, never failed to relax him.

He quickly reached his destination, a bamboo raft sitting near the center of the gardens. There were five people on the raft, three men and two women. The three men were wearing kimonos made of fine velvet, open at the chest to display their tattoos. The two women... looking at them, Katashi felt his breath catch. They were wearing barely-opaque silk kimonos, which moved and clung to their bodies in such a way as to leave nothing about their figures to the imagination. Two perfect specimens of the ideal woman, one holding a small pole to steer the raft and the other kneeling on a mat next to a jar of Sake. A show of power by the oyabun, completely unnecessary here in the compound.

Which is what made it so much more effective.

"Ah, Yoshirō-kohai!" one of the men calls, using the archaic Japanese so common amongst the Yakuza leadership, "Come, sit."

"Yes, Moto-sama," Katashi says in the same dialect, bowing to the three men in turn and stepping onto the raft. As he takes his seat on the mat, the woman holding the pole shoves off of the dock, and deftly steers the raft through the trees. Katashi gratefully accepts sake from the other woman, and sits back to drink, eying the pair.

"No need to worry about them, Yoshirō-kun," one of them - Kurosawa Jirou, the wakagashira - says, mistaking the glance's purpose, "Their tongues have been removed, and their eardrums burnt out. Neither can read nor write, so everything that happens here stays between the four of us." Moto Akio, thin and bookish where Jirou was thickset and muscular, gives one of his odd half-smiles, crinkling the cold, grey eyes behind his thin glasses. The shateigashira wore his hair in a topknot, and kept his wakizashi with him at all times. His mind was as sharp, if not sharper, than his blade.

"Let's get to business," the third man, Kusakabe Shibō, says. The corpulent oyabun places a datapad in the center of the raft, a piece of technology incongruent in the archaic stylings of the compound. "This is my ship, the Ryū no Kiba," he says as an image appears on the screen, "It has been stolen. I wish it to be returned."

"The thief is one Kotomine Tokiomi, a kyodai in this very organization," Akio says, adjusting his glasses as he speaks. "He's hiding out with the Kurokaze, a group that traces its roots to a disowned offshoot of the 21st century group known as the Heiwajima Syndicate. They must be taken out."

"I know just the man," Katashi says, "Oyuki Kazuo."

"White Wolf?" Shibō says in surprise, "You think that honorless dog will help? He only cares about money."

"Money and a good fight," Katashi says, "And he's guaranteed the latter. Oyuki-kun is easily the best choice for this." Katashi discreetly gauges the reactions of his superiors to the use of the familiar honorific. Shibō and Jirou try to hide aghast looks, while Akio simply looks curious.

Moto-sama is the only leader of this outfit who thinks. Kusakabe-san and Kurosawa-san are too content with the "honor" of an age long past.

"Go, then," Moto Akio says, "And if this White Wolf fails us, you will answer for it. Is that acceptable, Kusakabe-san?" The corpulent man nods, and gestures with his formidable jowls at the woman moving the raft, who guides them back, as they sip Sake and make small talk. When they reach a set of stepping stones, Akio and Katashi both step off, while Shibō and Jirou both stay on the raft. "I wish to talk to my protégée for a moment," Akio says, as he and Katashi leave to two behind.

"What is it, Moto-sama?" Katashi says, as they get out of earshot.

"I just want to point out," Akio replies, switching from archaic Japanese to the more modern form, "That you're going to be sending a trained assassin to meet with Jirou and the appropriately-named Shibō. And myself, if I can't get out of the meeting some other way. If you wanted to assure that the Ryū Hasu have the leadership necessary to move forward and not backwards..."

"Moto-sama, are you saying..."

"I'm saying nothing, Yoshirō-kun. How you hire Oyuki-shi is up to you. I'm simply pointing out what it can look like... and what it can be. I could even whisper in a couple ears afterwards that Shibō was trying to double-cross. Now I need to go right here, Yoshirō-kun, but you need to leave the compound, yes?"

The two part at the fork, Katashi mulling over his mentor's words while he walks on the stones towards the garage. "Yo, I need a car," he says, poking his head inside once he gets there, "Be gone about an hour."

"Fifteen minutes. Be ready."

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Katashi walks in and puts on a HAZENV suit, customized for the Ryū Hasu to look like a green kimono, with a seeming gilt-thread pattern of a dragon wrapping around it to come to rest on the right breast, holding a lotus in its mouth.

Say what you will about Shibō, he at least knows how to make stuff stylish.

He arrives in the decontamination chamber the same time as the car does. He gets in as the outer doors open, driving out of the edenic gardens into hell.

He drives through the thin fog; sometimes yellow, sometimes green, but always poisonous. He hears thunder off to his right, and so veers to the left, not wanting to get the car caught in the acidic rain. He moves through the bleak, eroded landscape, dotted here and there by small, environmentally-controlled colonies of workers and factories, arriving at his destination about twenty minutes or so after leaving his compound. He pulls into its decontamination chamber and gets out of the car, letting the systems work their magic.

He takes his suit off, and walks into a wide room, musky scent of a dojo pervading his nostrils. The sounds of practice stream out to him, the steady thwack of metal on wood. In the center of the dojo is a man dressed in a black kimono, wielding a wakizashi in one hand and a shikomizue in a reverse grip in the other. His skin gleams, a white metallic substance rather than flesh, as he practices, slicing long furrows into a wooden simulacrum.

"White Wolf!"

The man stops mid-swing, looking at his visitor, questioningly.

"The Ryū Hasu has a contract for you."

White Wolf nods.

"You'll be paid double your usual fee. You are to track down the Kurokaze, who are harboring a thief named Kotomine Tokiomi, as well as the ship he stole, the Ryū no Kiba. You are to kill Kotomine Tokiomi, as well as any of the Kurokaze who get in your way, retrieve the ship, and pilot it to the Ryū Hasu space station."

White Wolf nods again.

"Contact me if there are any problems, and I will contact you if any situations come up."

"Okay, Yoshirō-san," White Wolf says, "It will be done."

Katashi bows and walks back to the garage, re-entering his HAZENV suit and driving back home. White Wolf gathers his weaponry, preparing for the job ahead.

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The Hidden Lotus: A secretive, yet highly popular dive owned by the notorious Kurokaze Syndicate located in the maze-like alleyways in downtown. Atop of a nearby rooftop, White Wolf observes the area from afar, hidden under the protection of his trusty umbrella slanted on his shoulder. The ominous sound of thunder clapped under the night sky as the acidic rain falls upon the toxic city.

Two men in HAZVENV suits armed with TXM-98 guard the entrance. Not too far from them a man, clearly under the influence, stumbles around with two clearly veiled females wrapped around each arm. The steel assassin focuses on the intoxicated individual with his red metallic eyes and makes a quick scan.

In less than a second, White Wolf pulls up a profile from GalNet for his masked individual. Ken Yuuto: A shateigashira for the Kurokaze and major player in the stolen goods market. "A good place to start." Kazuo said to himself. Recognizing the drunken yakuza as their superior, the guards open the door and let him and his guests in.

Very well trained men. Kazuo thought, complementing the two guards. Too bad they won't get to experience the brunt of my strength. With that said, White rummages through his baggy sleeve and pulls out several steel-sharp daggers. He pulls his arm back, then tosses them with immense speed at his unaware targets.


"Ghuk!" The guards didn't see it coming as the daggers rip through their suits and bury themselves deep into the jugulars in their neck. The dying men choked on the blood spouting from their neck while they slump against the wall, breathing their last breath. With the first task finished, White Wolf leapt from his stakeout position onto the next building before landing near the entryway of the dive. White Wolf looked both ways, making sure there won't be any more outside hindrances, before making his way into enemy territory.

A thick mist engulfs the cyborg samurai, cleansing him of any toxic substance stuck onto his garb before a second door opens up and lets him in. As he enters the Lotus, White Wolf makes a quick surveillance of the area.

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The entire area was dimly lit under the fluorescence of red light. Kurokaze thugs were scattered across the area, drinking and conversing with their fellow brothers, while female waitresses dressed in scanty clad bunny suits glide through the each table they serve. The dancers, on the other hand, were dressed in even more skimpy outfits dancing and swinging through poles for the lecherous entertainment of their male customers. On the top floor however, was Kazuo’s main target, Ken Yuuto, frolicking with his guests in a private room. A small grin appears on the assassin's face. With his target in sight, White Wolf then makes his way through the dive.


White Wolf stops midway after hearing a booming voice heading his direction. He turns his head. A man standing 7 ft. tall garbed in traditional yakuza tattoos makes his way towards the assassin. "You!" He said, looking down at him. White Wolf looks up at the yakuza in return.

"You don't belong here, machine!" The yakuza stated. "Members only."

White Wolf remains silent. "Not talking eh?" The yakuza asked. Clearly irritated, the large man cracks his immensely large fists. "Very well, prepare fo-Ack!" Without warning, Kazuo jabs his fist into the yakuza's abdomen before retracting it back under an eighth of a second, leaving a huge dent in the process.

Feeling a sudden, immense pain in his stomach, the giant yakuza stumbles onto his knees, holding onto his stomach. "Y-you..." He mumbles. White Wolf latches onto the man’s thick neck with his steel hands, crushing it in the process. With a flick of the wrist, Kazuo twists the neck of the yakuza in a full 360 degrees, killing him instantly. Letting go, the giant crumbles onto the ground with a loud thud.

Suddenly, the entire community stops in the middle of what they're doing. Their eyes now on the cyborg killer. One of the waitresses couldn't help, but scream in terror looking at the dead body under White Wolf's feet.

"It's him!" A man from the top floor yelled, pointing at the assassin. "It's the Howaishi!"

White Wolf smiled as he heard that name echoed through the room. This was going to be fun.

White Wolf slams his fist to the right, hitting a Yakuza member who had rushed to attack him square in the jaw. The unlucky man dropped to the floor, face looking like it was hit by a boulder.

Considering the name they had for his foe, that was hardly a surprise.

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The waitresses and eye candy steadily file out of the room as the gang members drew their blades, facing down the silent assassin before them.

White Wolf stands his ground, holding his umbrella in a graceful stance that belied his earlier ferocity. Three Kurokaze rush forward swinging; two are quickly knocked to the ground by White Wolf's umbrella, while the third is run through with the yari tip on the end. Two more flashes of the blade kill his remaining opponents.

Then, the Kurokaze rush him. He stabs forward and lets go of his yari, not bothering to retrieve it from the corpse. He draws his shikomizue in a reverse grip, slicing open one man's stomach and ripping out another's throat. As he does this, he lets one of his daggers fly, ripping through another man's face. Ducking under three blows, he whips his sword in a short arc, slicing his three assailants in the groin. The twist of his body as he does so avoids a fourth blade, stabbed straight down. His off-hand smashes into the man's sternum, shattering it. Another stroke with the shikomizue stabs through the man's head and into a post.

He lets go of it and throws two more knives, both of which strike their targets. He draws his wakizashi in his off-hand and slices left and right, gashing open the throats and chests of the three Kurokaze who mistakenly thought he was vulnerable.

The one man with a pistol finally raises it as White Wolf grabs his shikomizue and yanks it out of the post. He fires, but White Wolf's enhanced speed and senses move him out of the bullet's path. He then kicks off the floor, propelling him towards - and his sword through - the last remaining yakuza member on this floor.

One of Yuuto's guards comes running down the stairs to check the disturbance and gets a Wakizashi to the face for his trouble. White Wolf casually sheathes his swords and retrieves his daggers and umbrella. He walks upstairs, dagger in hand, hearing the other guard call out as he was about to turn the corner.

"What was going on down there?"

White Wolf answered with a dagger throw to the throat. He pulls it out and breaks down the soundproof door, temporarily brought up short by the perverse scene in front of him.

The immense sound of the steel door breaking down causes the three to freeze up like statues as it falls down with a rumbling thud. White Wolf enters the area only to stumble upon his target and his fellow companions in the middle of their... private fun time.

Yuuto laid sprawled across the bed, his shirt half unbutton from the top, while the girls wore nothing but their socks. Wolf raises a brow as he spots a long, rubbery phallic shaped object in one of their hands. He could tell by the look on their face they were frightened beyond belief.

The assassin points at the girls. "You." He ordered. "Out."

Not a second sooner after his demand did they bolted, grabbing their clothes scattered across the floor. Once they were gone, White Wolf then seized the helpless yakuza by the collar of his crinkled shirt and lifts him up.

"Y-y-you!?" He stutters. "What the hell are doing!? Do you know who I am!?"

White Wolf's patience was growing thin. “I have no time for your chaff reputation." He says. “As of now, I am a man seeking an answer to a question with you as a key witness."

The Kurokaze was confused. "H-huh!?"

"Where is he?" White Wolf wasted no time getting to the point.


"Don't play me as a fool!" The assassin growled. “I know this area too well. Men who seek money for items they pillage from the weak. You give them a good price... only to sell the item for twice the profit. Now imagine one day you come across a seller offering you a high class ship, only to realize the ship comes from your competition and the man is offering more than the ship as a bargaining chip. Naturally, you want to keep your investment protected and out of harm’s way. Now I want the location of that ship and the one who supplied it to you."

"I can't." Yuuto muttered. "Closed agreement between the Kurokaze and their customers. If I do then they'll have my head!"

The assassin's patience grows weary. "I don't like to repeat myself.” He said. “If you value your life then give me what I want. Otherwise, I'll show you the path your fallen brothers have bravely taken unlike yourself."

With nothing to gamble on, Yuuto finally gives in. "O-okay, I'll tell you." White Wolf listens closely.

“The ship is stored along with the rest of the stolen goods inside the warehouse located in the abandoned Akihabra district. It's the one with the words "Bandai" on it. However, the one you truly seek is hidden in another warehouse located in the harbor on the south side of town." He explains. "They're both heavily guarded though. I doubt a man such as yourself will come out alive" Yuuto looked at his captor with sneer look of confidence.

Finally gotten what he came here for, White Wolf let's go of the cowards' shirt and has him fall on his ass. "Wait!" Ken says while rubbing his sore bottom. "You're not gonna leave me here are you?"

Kazuo looks down at the yakuza with a smug look on his face. “You’re right." He said. In a single flash, the assassin unsheathes his sword and makes one clean stroke before sheathing it back in. "The world would better with less filth around." With that said, White Wolf turns his back on the yakuza and strides his way out.

"Ahhh" Yuuto eyes widen as a horizontal line spreads across his neck. Thick, red liquid gushes out of the opening like a waterfall. As he makes his way out, White Wolf's ears suddenly twitch.

* tap tap tap tap tap *

The sounded of crowded footsteps fill the once silent area. Kazuo looks down from the balcony to see 10 more Kurokaze, armed with assault rifles, enter the area. “Look!" One of them said, pointing up. "It's the intruder! Kill him!" All of them raise their guns and open fire.


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Kazuo wasted no time opening up his once more to shield him from oncoming hail of plasma round, each of them bouncing off the frame like miniature comets.

"He's using a shield! Go around and flank him!" One of them said, before switching tactics.

Not wanting to be made into scrap metal, White Wolf reaches into the pockets of his hakama and pulls out several gray marbles between his fingertips. He reaches back and tosses them into the lower floor. The marbles bounce repeatedly before glowing bright blue.


"Gah!" The men scream as they're suddenly blinded by an immense flash of blue light. Kazuo then pulls out his wakizashi with his off hand while holding the umbrella with the other and leaps into the air. As he lands on the ground with a loud thud, he quickly dashes into the middle of the unsuspecting crowd, slashing all who stand in his path to freedom. The red mist of his fallen enemies splatter across the umbrellas ' metal frame. Once he reaches outside, White Wolf quickly stumble upon several more Kurokaze waiting behind two limos.

"There he is! Open fire!"


Kazuo quickly blocks the plasma rounds with his umbrella, before dispatching the rest of them. "Guah! Augh!" As the corpses fall on the concrete slab, Kazuo uses one of the limos as jumping board and leaping into the air. The assassin bounces from wall to wall before reaching the rooftop and escaping into the night.

White Wolf sprinted along the rooftops towards the south side of the city, seeking his assassination target first. His cybernetics sharpened his eyes, making the noxious clouds transparent. He call up a list of Kurokaze-owned warehouses from GalNet, narrowing down the search to those on the south side near the docks.

Found you.

He draws near and crouches on a rooftop, spotting three guards. He leaps off the roof towards them, throwing his spear and impaling one in the gut. He draws his swords and cuts diagonally on either side of him as he lands, bisecting the other two. He sheathes his blades, picks up his spear and walks inside.

The hiss of the decontamination mist washes over him, and when the machine indicates the cycle is complete he steps out into an empty changing room. While here, he takes a moment to change the air filters on the HAZENV suit he wears under his kimono.

He steps back out to find himself face-to-face with ten more Kurokaze. He whips forward one of his flash marbles, which explodes and blinds everyone in the room. White Wolf, however, had already memorized the location of his opponents.

He stabs his spear forward, impaling one, and then rips it out to the right, slicing deep into the heart of another. He pulls it back and lashes out on the other side, cutting open the third's belly. Two more thrusts find their marks, and a slice with the tip fountains more blood from slashed throats. He stabs the ninth through the eyes, and splashes the final one's brain in with the butt of the spear. He hears the door open and throws a dagger towards it, impaling another Kurokaze member who walked in to check.

White Wolf blinks, his eyesight returning, and walks forward into the warehouse.

"Stop right there, assassin!" A voice calls out in the darkness, "We have fifty men aiming at your position!"

Kazuo stood silently still. The Kurokaze finally played it smart this time. Instead of taking him head on in broad daylight like before they hid their forces within the cover of darkness. The man probably wasn't lying about the number of men either. Judging from the assassin's acute hearing and the set of glowing goggled eyes, there was at least 20 or more men in the room.

"You think we wouldn't be prepare for you, you damn dog!?" The man yelled. "No one escapes the wrath of the Kurokaze!"

"Not at all," Kazuo said calmly. "If you haven’t then I'd expect this organization is run by nothing but little toads." The assassin grips his umbrella tightly.

"Why you..." The yakuza cocks his gun in response.

White smiles a small smile. He then rotates his hands around his staff, unlocking a new mechanism in the process. Suddenly, an eerie deafening sound emits throughout the entire room.

"Ahhhh!" The group then feel an immense pain throughout their eardrums, canceling out all other noise. A nauseating feeling soon follows, causing some to stumble around. "What the hell is that!?" Within a few seconds, the chips within the googles fries, causing the men to lose their most valuable advantage in total darks.

"I-I can't see!"

Then, the slaughter began. White Wolf dashed towards the distorted men around, slashing them to pieces with his sword. The sounds of men screaming and flesh ripping apart filled the room. Gunfire flicker in the room, but none of it hitting their intended target.

"Somebody hit the li-aaaaauh!"

One of the men blindly gets out of the slaughter staggering towards to switch and flipping it.

As the lights flickered on, the three remaining Kurokaze members stood in abject horror, seeing sixteen of their fellows on the ground, dead or dying. As one, they looked up at the demon that caused the carnage. White Wolf stood, umbrella ready to strike again. He simply looked at the syndicate's members, who threw down their weapons.

"The man you want is in there," one of them says in a hushed whisper, pointing towards a fabric-covered door, "Please spare us, Oyuki-sama, and we will tell no one you were here."

White Wolf looked at the door, and then at the four men kneeling in supplication in front of him, mulling over his decision.

"Your comrades died fighting like brave men and you expect me to let you live?" With that said, White Wolf flings at the pleading men, striking them all in the head simultaneously. All of them plop onto the floor in their own pool of blood. “Your place is in the river of Styx."

White Wolf then turns his attention towards the veiled room. He readies his sword and opens the door. Inside the man, Kotomine Tokiomi, lies rolled in a ball atop of a leather couch. "Please..." He begs. "Spare me, I'll give you anything."

"Kotomine Tokiomi," Kazuo said solemnly, walking towards the frightened thief. "You have been charged with crimes against the Ryū Hasu. Theft against oyabun and information gathering for a rival clan." He then unsheathes his blade and raises it up against the Tokiomi's head. “Your sentence: execution by decapitation."

"I beg you." The yakuza pleaded, tearing up.

"I, Kazuo Oyuki, your executioner have relived you of your duty and sentenced you a place in the riverman's boat to the afterlife." In a single flash, Kazuo makes one clean slice all the way through the man's neck and sheaths his blade. The thief's head tumbles off his neck and rolled onto the floor. Kazuo takes a hold of the decapitated head and makes his way out of the safe house.

White Wolf steps back out into the contaminated night, leaping back up to the rooftops and running towards the warehouse where the stolen spaceship resides. He runs and jumps over the roofs, making steady progress and confounding any pursuers he may have attracted.

He'd almost reached the warehouse when his communicator beeped. "I'm busy."

"This may save your life," Yoshirō Katashi replies, "Moto-sama has informed me that Kusakabe-san and Kurosawa-san are planning to kill you when you deliver the ship. Moto-sama will try to get out of it, but if he doesn't then he's the one with glasses. Please leave him alive and kill the other two."

"I can do that," White Wolf says, and closes the channel. He looks down and notices a group of five guards in front of the warehouse. He leaps forward off the roof towards them, umbrella extended. As he feels it bite into flesh, he lets go and draws his shikomizue and wakizashi, taking off two more heads as he drew. Two flashes of the blades end the final two members' lives, and he sheathes his swords.

White Wolf reached into his robe and takes a four-prong grappling hook latched onto a chain. He swings it several times before launching it onto the open windows above. With a single tug the hook pierces through the metal frame as the assassin climbs his way to the top, clinging tightly to the chains so he won't slip from the acidic rain lubricating the links. White Wolf takes a sneak peek inside.

Looking around he spots a total of eight guards walking around the vicinity. No armor. All equipped with the same shotguns that tried to end him before. Heavily guarded he said... White Wolf smirked. Enough to guard against a pack of dogs. The cargo inside wasn't as impressive as he predicted. Most of it was firearms, ranging from sniper rifles to launchers, some of them illegally modified. The rest was just the typical stolen goods. However, the oyabun’s ship stood out the most from the crowd. A sleek design similar to a stealth ship with a glass hour build. Painted in chrome blue with white stripes wrapped around the edges of the ship's wings.

A beautiful ship. He thought. Such a shame it withers away in a boxed up hangar. With all the information gathered, White Wolf makes his move. He enters the building slowly and silently. His feet lay upon the concrete floor, but doesn't make a sound as he dashes behind a cargo of preserved roses. Someone was coming. White Wolf was right on the money, the guard was making his routine route around the vicinity. The assassin slowly unsheathes his blade. Like a wolf hunting in the snowy caps, he makes his move. White Wolf charges at the guard with blinding speed.

The guard didn't have time to react as he felt the blade pierce through his chest cavity. His deathly screams fall on deaf ears from steel grip of the assassin's hand. White Wolf carefully lays the guard's corpse against the cargo frame with steady hands before pulling out his blade slowly. "One down, seven to go." He whispered.

White Wolf made quick work of the guards inside. One by one, they silently fell upon his ebony blade. As the final guard slumps onto the floor, his head rolling in another direction, White Wolf cleans his blade of the filth's blood before sheathing it back in. He then makes his way towards his target: the ship.

The assassin enters a few keys in the pass code, unlocking the ships hangar door. Pressurized air steamed from inside the ship as the hangar door slowly unfolds. White Wolf then enters the ship and heads for the main control. Another successful mission...but at what cost? Even before he got information on the ship's location his employers were already planning his demise, but that was nothing new. One less degenerate polluting this world. However, the mission itself...was too easy in his mind. He thought working as an assassin for the yakuza would give him worthy opponents to fight, something to challenge him both physically and mentally.

Except, the missions he taken so far have been oh too similar. The enemy was now turning into butter, so easy to cut. To kill. How long will it take before he becomes a full fledge killer? How long will it take before someone asks him to kill something as feeble as a child? With all these thoughts swirling around his head, White Wolf had no time to collect his thought. Right now, he needed to return the ship and give his employers the proper reward they deserve.

White Wolf stopped in front of the steering console, slightly taken aback. In place of the usual keyboard controls, there were three massive wheels that looked like they were taken straight from 1,500-year-old pirate vessels, labeled 傾斜, 回転, and ヨー.

So each wheel rotates one of the three planes of movement. This will be an... interesting flight.

The sounds of the acid rain had ceased, so he presses a few buttons to open the warehouse and fly out, rising out of the polluted clouds and heading towards the space station. He takes the opportunity to take off his HAZENV suit; he'd paid a fortune to make it compatible with his assassination activities, but it was still far more restricting than the simple kimono he put on.

Ryū Hasu space station, geosynchronous orbit above Tokyo

"Kusakabe-sama," One of the Ryū-Hasu guards on the space station says, "It seems Katashi's contact pulled through."

"Hoh?" Shibō Kusakabe says, looking at the monitor. "That does appear to be my ship. Akio, Jirou-kun, accompany me and a few guards to meet with the assassin."

"Guards, Shibō?" Akio Moto says, "Won't that put his back up and make it harder to negotiate his payment?"

"Simple precaution," Jirou Kurosawa replies, "We can't take the chance that the Kurokaze sent him on a hit against Shibō. You feeling okay, Akio-kun? You'd have normally caught that."

"Forgive me. I've been excessively tired lately," Akio says, smiling warmly, "I will go find my kohai. He should be here."

"I will see you at the meeting, then," Shibō says. Akio bows and turns to depart in search of Katashi Yoshirō, the man who set all this in motion. As he exits the room, his smile turns malicious.

White Wolf steps out of the Ryū no Kiba, seeing a corpulent man - Kusakabe, most likely - and a thickset, muscular man - likely Kurosawa - flanked by six guards.

"Oyuki-kun," the fat man says, striding towards him, "Thank you for bringing my ship back. Come, let's discuss the reward you..." Shibō stops with a gasp, as White Wolf's yari umbrella is thrust through him. The guards bring their rifles up to shoot, but he opens the canopy, deflecting the bullets.

"You should have thought before betraying me," White Wolf says, whispering to the surprised Shibō before closing his umbrella's canopy and slinging him to the side, facing his seven foes.

The guards steadily aim their rifles at the assassin. "Do you honestly think you have a chance against me?" White Wolf said, pointing his spear umbrella at them. “Do you know how many men I've killed in the course of three hours to get here?"

The guards remained utterly silent with their fingers on the trigger.

"More than you had killed in your entire lifespan." He answered." Lay down your weapons and you'll live to see another day thanks to the gods."

Kurosawa Jirou chuckled. “You think you can intimidate my men to surrender, Kazuo? My men were bred for this moment. It is you who are the fool. Now, kill him!" He ordered.

However, the men remained utterly still, not even flexing a single muscle.

"What are you waiting for?!" The wakagashira yelled. "Kill him." Without warning, the guards immediately fall back behind their leader. "What's the meaning of this?" Kurosawa then heard a stilted chuckle coming behind him. He turns to see Moto was the one laughing behind his back. "Moto?"

"I'm afraid your guards have chosen to protect their new leader" the old man said devilishly.

Kurosawa's eyes widen in shock. "You!" He growled. "You were behind this?!"

Moto swiveled his head from side to side. “More or less." He said playfully.

Kurosawa gripped his fist angrily. " will pay for this!"

Moto swivel his finger in disagreement. “I’m afraid it's you who will be paying for their sins, Kurosawa." Moto said pointing behind his former comrade.

Kurosawa turns around to see White Wolf staring back at him. His red eyes burning with killing intent. "Come!" The assassin bent his knees slightly while gripping tightly to the hilt of his sheathed sword. "I shall give you an honorable death very few individuals will grant you."

Kurosawa chuckled. "So this is my fate after all. Very well..." The wakagashira slowly disrobed himself of his hakama, revealing his very well-toned yet scarred muscular body. He then unsheathes his katana holstered by his side. “At the very least I'll have the chance to take you with me."

The two men stare at each other intensely while Moto and the others watch as spectators. Kazuo and Kurosawa, warriors trapped in time that never was their own, now began a practice lost many centuries ago. A duel of blades.

Kurosawa yells at the top of his lungs as he charges at his opponent with great speed. The assassin quickly follow suits. Now inches apart from each other, the elderly wakagashira raises his blade with blinding speed and prepares to strike the assassin before he can unsheathe his blade. The match was his, he thought, but little did he know. Kazuo was a beast of an entirely different breed.

Meet Midway...

To White Wolf the wakagashira was but a sloth. A sloth who came to duel the much agile and well prepared jaguar. As the blade slowly comes down at him, the assassin leaps in a single bound above his opponent. He then unsheathes his blade and in a single stroke, he strikes.

And Slice The Void In Aimless Flight.

In a split second, the duel was over. White Wolf landed eloquently behind the wakagashira as he abruptly stops. Kurosawa stood deathly still gripping his blade. A single tear seeped out as state of euphoria washed upon his face.

"Magnificent." He gasped.

Without warning, the elderly wakagashira's entire skull splits vertically in half. Blood gushes out freely like fountain before his body slumps onto the floor. White Wolf then lowers his blade. The deed was done.

Moto couldn't help but applaud. "Bravo." He says. "Yoshirō was right about you, Oyuki-san."

Was this your ploy, old man?" Kazuo said drearily." To use my skills to get you at the top of the chain?" He quickly deduced.

Moto merely shakes his head. "You overestimate my ambition, Oyuki-san. Had the late Shibō and Jirou-kun been competent, I would have been content to stay the shateigashira. Being a little lower on the totem pole is far lower risk."

"One who does not assume risk should not wear a sword," White Wolf says in disdain, pointing at the wakizashi Moto wears at his hip. At that moment, the door opens and the guard captain walks in, flanked by three of his guards. He looks at the two dead bodies, White Wolf's bloody blade, and Moto's pleasant demeanor, and quickly pieces together what happened. He pulls out a combat knife, charging at Moto.

Moto calmly turns, ducks under the initial slash, and draws his sword in perfect battojutsu form through the guard captain's neck. "Shibō tried to renege on a deal, he says to the other guards as he cleans his dagger, "Go back to your duties."

The guards obey, and he turns back to White Wolf, who looks at him disinterestedly.

"You misunderstood me, Oyuki-kun. I am not adverse to risk. It simply makes my life easier when there's less of it. Now, while Shibō was an incompetent fool, he was also a close friend of mine. I do hope you understand if I'm loathe to see you again. You may take his trophy ship as reward for the service of killing him. Yoshirō!" Yoshirō Katashi steps forward. "My kohai will discuss the payment for your task for Shibō. I have other matters to attend to. Thank you, Oyuki-san, and I dearly hope not to see you again."

Moto turns and strides out, taking his guard retinue with him, leaving White Wolf and Yoshirō alone in the hangar.

"I believe 40 Plaht was the agreed-upon amount?" Yoshirō says.

White Wolf nods.

"Okay then. That will be transferred to your account."

White Wolf turns and starts to board his new ship, when Yoshirō calls out to him.

"White Wolf!"

The assassin stops and turns around.

"There's a lot of assassination jobs to be found on MegaPlex. If they need references, give them my name."

White Wolf nods and enters his ship, preparing to leave.

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