Wednesday, 05 December 2007

So It's Been A While

Stuff has happened. There have been two games [I'll get to the details later], there was Lucas's birthday dinner [which was fun, though I suspect he was rather disappointed by the lack of other sushi], there was Thanksgiving [photos are up somewhere], there was Tiina Napoleon's 25th [utterly bizarre to see people I was at school with after 7 years, but fun], there was supposed to be Claire's 21st [I was in bed by 8pm instead, which was disappointing, but necessary] and there's been an awful lot of work. Oh, and Criminal Minds [cute geeky guy mmm...]

That's not in a particularly clear order, but that's irrelevant.

Criminal Minds is a series we got from my sister while in Cintsa. It's one of those ones about the absolutely amazing team of FBI Profilers who always get the bad guy[s] and so on. It has a number of redeeming qualities.
[1.] It's not awful [2.] I like the characters [3.] It has the cute geeky guy [admittedly lacking in glasses, but I've forgiven him for this] [4.] It has the fat girl who nobody notices is fat and who is the computer specialist type and nobody ever says anything disparaging about that.

Lucas [so much for my not-using-real-names resolution. On the other hand, he comments as lucas, so it's not my fault]. Anyway, Lucas had a birthday. A bunch of us went to a very pretty place in celebration. It was fun. Particularly since I got to spend more time than usual talking to the female part of what Nad calls the Davison-Maclay-Hivemind. Button had some interesting observations on some of the attendees, whether or not they're accurate is another matter, one I'm not qualified to evaluate, so I will merely taunt you with the knowledge that they exist and not share them with you.

In terms of work, I had a meeting with my supervisor, JS. I have selected my next sample [a cow, named Pig. Don't ask], and it has been broken up. We decided to start with the rib samples we had, rather than the femur [as we did with Wendell] in the hopes that that would prove more compliant. However, JL was able to break up both the rib and the femur of Pig with a pair of pliers [I think], rather than the bandsaw that was necessary for Wendell. We've also decided to try to sieve Wendell with defatting solution rather than acetone. If this makes it easier then it means that it's the fat that's the problem [too much fat causes the bone particles to stick together and not go through the 11micron mesh]. We must wait and see what the outcome of that is, however. I'm also supposed to be writing a report on the results I got from the giraffe powder.

Two games have gone past, and I will not bother attempting to separate them. So, we started by going to Masazumi's wake. At least, Kamenosuke, Ishie and Hideo did. Yashamaru arrived late. There were a number of dead people floating about [ghosts], who disappeared around the middle of the wake. All but one of them. Confluence remembered the existence of my father and he had a great time at the wake. I suspect that he had an even better time later, when Bayushi Yutaka cornered me and attempted to have his usual sort of conversation. Sadly, I failed at keeping a straight face as my father mocked him horrendously. I don't think he was offended, however [actually, I suspect he was encouraged, which can only be a bad thing].

The magistrates [much to Yashamaru's dismay] were then dragged upstairs by Yutaka, who wanted to show them the delightful view from the upper story window. I suspect Yashamaru didn't understand that he was merely trying to find an excuse to speak to us somewhat privately. He has apparently discovered the identity of the poisoner, who apparently did it by accident ["I have no medical skills whatsoever, but this thing you're taking that's medicinal in small doses and fatal in large - I think you should up your dosage, it'll make you feel better. No, really."] - he did not wish to disclose the person's identity to us, though we have our suspicions, and failed to get a promise out of Kamenosuke that we would not investigate that aspect of the case. He then offered us his assistance, should we require it.

On our way back to the Gaki, Yashamaru told us that he had discovered the identity of the tainted individual at Maiden's Lake [to be fair, it's not particularly hard when they walk up to you and tell you], the stolen jade tea was for them, their current supply of jade tea has been stolen. The kami say that the tea is not missing. Yashamaru refuses to tell us the name of the person in question, though both Kamenosuke and Ishie have figured it out. Currently, matters are at a standstill, as our only advice for this person currently is to get hold of the Kuni and ask for their help. If this person does not wish to inform the Kuni of their predicament ... things will possibly get ugly. But we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. The news does clarify something my father once said, which I thought was merely uncharitable, but since he never bothers to give me useful information that I can actually use immediately, it's annoying.

Anyway, while Kamenosuke and Hideo stayed with the Gaki, Yashamaru and Ishie went over the wall. They attempted to discover what the thing that went over was. The kami were singularly unhelpful. Having convinced the right people that we should be allowed to take the Gaki into the estate, we did so. He led us to where the flying, tainted creature went into the castle. We then took him back outside, gave him his soccer ball of mint [actually, that might have happened before, it's hard to keep track] and, with the return of his daisho, he attempted to commit seppuku. After the third attempt, Kamenosuke cut off his head and he started turning into some sort of acidic ooze. Ishie set him alight and, while discussing their next step, Nagataka arrived. Hideo elected to remain with the corpse and supervise the clean-up.

Nagataka had been prevented from attending the wake by a rather disturbing vision - one of the unidentified members of which was later identified by Yashamaru as the man who killed his mother. From the other details we suspect that the other unknown person involved is Isawa Hanchero. We met with Daichi the next morning, following which Yashamaru and Kamenosuke went to chat to Isawa Saigo. He told them that it was Hanchero's mother who first wanted to learn about ways in which to intimidate the kami into lying or refusing to reveal information. She, however, is dead. As one of our major tasks is the locating of Hanchero, the news is worrying. Other worrying news: Hanchero's mother had an accomplice/ally who was never identified and is still wandering about out there.

I bumped into Masazumi's younger son, who trained with the Asahina. He was carrying a rather curious smelling something, which he informed me was a tonic he'd made to help someone be calm. Since I thought I knew precisely who he was taking it to, I let him go with merely observing how nervous he was and how it seemed that he was particularly unhappy to have met me. I then went to collect pretty stones in the garden. Kamenosuke went and spoke to just about everyone, while Nagataka and Yashamaru amused themselves as only Dragon can. Hideo spent most of the day in bed, recovering from supervising the clean-up. Kamenosuke and I had a little chat about the aforementioned younger son, which resulted in him writing a haiku, which Doji Taniko was asked to deliver. She was upset because her grandmother forbid her to speak to her mother and refused to say why. [Incidentally her grandmother also said that she'd explain when Taniko was older, but as she's hoping to commit seppuku soon, that seems unlikely]. At some point, Yodo arrived with a message for Kamenosuke, from Nagataka, explaining that he wouldn't be able to attend the wake - he'd forgotten about it due to his need to count push-ups.

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