Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Trade Secret: In Which Dr. Inkenstein Posts a YYH Fic

Disclaimer: Kenshin does not own the Yuu Yuu Hakusho characters or The Batman (they are the property of Togashi Yoshihiro and Bob Kane/DC), and does not make any money from said characters.

What Kenshin does own, however, are all the original characters
in this work, such as Father Brian and 'N.' Any attempt to "borrow" these characters will be met with the katana, or worse.

The events in Idiot Beloved take place shortly after the Dark Tournament; Firebird Sweet directly follows that timeline. For reference, I use a combination of the subtitled YYH anime and the American manga, plus some of the CD dramas.

This particular tale takes place about a year after the events in Are You Loathsome Tonight...and the 'Batman' we see here is a combination of 'Batman: The Animated Series' and one or two other sources, including the earliest Detective Comics.

Title: Trade Secret: Prologue
Author: JaganshiKenshin
Genre: Action/Adventure, Humor
Rating: K+/PG-13
Summary: When an old friend asks Hiei to take an assignment at odds with his secret dread, Hiei balks at the fence.

A/N: Thanks for reading this, and I appreciate your reviews!

Dark Knight-meet Flying Shadow

Trade Secret (a Yuu Yuu Hakusho/Batman crossover: Prologue)

"No," said Hiei.

Ah, well, thought Father Brian McCormick. It's to be expected.

The carpet was soft and deep, and pale, milky light streamed in from the tall bank of windows opposite Father Brian's chair. But sure and these Agency offices are just the thing of a glorious September morn, he mused.

A pity it is that we are all four of us gathered under such unhappy circumstances.

Mr. Narita Shun (whom everyone called 'N') and Father Brian comprised two of the quartet. Hiei, the third. And though Father Brian knew full well the reason for Hiei's refusal, he kept his mouth shut.

Not so N.

A distinguished, portly gentleman, and head of the Agency's Tokyo branch, N was trying to persuade Hiei. Alas, thought Father Brian. The lad won't persuade. No, you need a different tactic with that one. Maybe pleading.

Just now, N assumed an expression of long-suffering, because Hiei was saying to him, "Is this a matter of national security?"

"It is not," admitted N.

"Has it caused Godzilla to rampage through the streets?"

"It has not."

Hiei folded his arms. "Then which of the two syllables making up 'N-O' has escaped your understanding?"

Seated at his black lacquer desk, N tried to stare Hiei down. Father Brian knew this also was an exercise in futility.

Yoshikawa Industries was the name on this suite of offices, situated in a Shibuya district hi-rise. That was merely a front. The firm dealt not in electronics, but espionage.

Sometimes, the Agency had a hand in wrangling the inevitable youkai who decided a life of crime in the human world was their calling. The existence of such creatures was not generally known, even to some of the agents. But it was known to Hiei.

N pinched the bridge of his nose, while Hiei glowered at all and sundry, including Father Brian.

To the untrained eye, here was a good-looking lad in his middle twenties, with bristling black hair, keen crimson gaze, and a build for swift combat.

Except that Hiei wasn't exactly human.

For one, humans didn't come equipped with a third eye, for all that Hiei's Jagan was an implant and hidden behind his white headband.

On permanent duty in Tokyo by way of Boston, Father Brian had watched Hiei grow over these last few years from a sullen loner with a sense of honor, to a sullen loner with a sense of honor and a bulging caseload.

Give the boy credit. He griped, but always got his man. And there is far more to the heart, human or youkai, than presents itself on the surface.

No doubt Hiei's interior life was as surprising and varied as anyone else's, while the house of his spirit contained a nobility that he himself would vehemently deny.

Ah, the dear little pissant.

Father Brian shifted his attention to the fourth person in the office: a tall man, caped and costumed, a mystery wrapped in an enigma, apparently absorbed in studying the view of Tokyo.

Hiei turned an almost comically-wounded gaze on Father Brian. "Aren't you always telling me I have the right to refuse any of your so-called assignments?"

Father Brian played his trump card. "Ah, sure an' I got nothin' t' do with this one, lad."

"Then why are you here?" Hiei demanded.

"Me? I just wanted to meet The Batman." Father Brian waved a hand. And in between the time that he turned toward the Caped Crusader and the time he turned back, Hiei had gone.

Disappeared. Vanished. Exited in an eyeblink.

Not so much as a doorknob had clicked, not a curtain had stirred. Father Brian chuckled, shaking his head in fond exasperation. The lad could move like greased lightning itself when so inclined.

N sighed. The Batman grumbled in disgust.

But Father Brian settled deeper into the easy chair. "Oh, he'll be back," Father Brian assured them. "Count on it."

(To be continued: What sort of job could be hellish enough to make Hiei bolt?)

Read the rest here.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Spring Green! In Which Dr. Inkenstein Tests Color and Shape

Spring has sprung (or so the calendar says!  the Actual Real Life Weather has other ideas), and so has Dr. Inkenstein's ink supply.

 It's that time of year when you want to move from the dark, brooding browns and burgundies of winter toward something lighter and brighter.

One day I found myself staring at three new, untested green inks. So I grabbed some pens for dipping and went to work.

Of all the dippers, a cheap little Wing Sung 285 (or maybe 235, it's hard to read...) proved the best and most pleasant to use, writing up to a half a page on a single dip. 

Thin paper beware.  These inks, tested on Clairefontaine's nice little Twin Book, do not show through, but will show through on Bagasse paper, except for Noodler's Zhivago.

 Despite not being light and bright at all,  Zhivago happens to be Dr. Inkenstein's favorite of the new greens, with its blackety-greenish undertones that show especially well when the ink is diluted.  I have been using the ink in a Nemosine Singularity (see previous review) for sketching.  It adds an intriguing glimpse of now-you-see-it, now-you-don't color in an ink that otherwise reads as black.

Many of you know Dr. Inkenstein as the Chief Engineer on the Cheap, Cheerful Pen Express.  So when I discovered this little oddity while surfing fleabay, I snapped it up.

The Papermate DJ uses standard international cartridges (and came with a free one from the dealer).  It comes in a few different colors, and this one was sold as green, labeled blue, and definitely looks a green that leans just slightly toward blue.  The Skrip Green in was IT for this pen.  A perfect pen/ink combo, owing entirely to laziness and luck.

At first, Dr. Inkenstein came away with green fingers and thought this little fountain pen leaked.  Later on, it was discovered to be Operator Error.  This has turned out to be a nice, wet, smooth writer that is yes, obviously cheap, but very comfy to hold and write with.

It has rubber-ish trim rings, and the translucent black cap does post (though not all that securely), and has the extra added advantage of two little 'relief''  hearts displayed on the clip if you are into cute.  I am.

I don't know if this is NOS or just new, but I had never seen the like, and jumped on it.  I'm sure if you searched for 'Papermate DJ Fountain Pen' you'd find it.  I think if you're a fan of inexpensive and cheerful writers this will be right up your alley.

One of these days: Superhero Pens.  Really.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Finding Nemo: In Which Dr. Inkenstein Explores Singularities

Submitted for your approval:  The Nemosine Singularity presents itself in triplicate.  Muahaha.  Left to right: Ivory, Granite, Black.

Available from xfountainpens, this re-tooled Chinese number offers splendid possibilities.

Admittedly, the Nemo nibs are nails.  Across the board.  No spring, no flex.  But sometimes, you just need a nail.

Dr. Inkenstein already owned a Nemosine Singularity in Granite (read: shiny gray), with a small cursive italic nib.  Actually the nibs themselves are huge.  The point is the smaller of the offered cursive italics. 

And this brings up another good point about the Nemo: all nib (point) sizes are available at no extra cost.  And there are quite a few.  Two cursive italics, and Fine, and Extra Fine, and Medium.

Nemo also fits Dr. Inkenstein's personal quirks.  It's a large-ish, fattish fountain pen but lightweight.  Another good thing about these x-pens is that they usually come with free shipping above a certain dollar amount, and this time, they came with about eight free ink cartridges of assorted blue and black to get you started writing.  But they also come with a free converter, if you wanted to use bottled ink.  In either case, they allow you to dive right in.

With Dr. Inkenstein being on a fine-nib kick, it seemed important to order two new Nemos: an Ivory with an F nib, and a black with EF.  They also come in blue and red and a few other finishes with silvertone trim.

And they are fifteen dollars each.  Come on, now.  Fifteen bucks!

As usual, they were tested under worst-case conditions.  I did not flush the nib or section, but yanked the pens out of the box (yes, they come with a light card box and instructions, great for first-timers) and heedlessly made them guzzle Noodler's inks: Black Swan in Australian Roses for the ivory F (yes, Dr. Inkenstein is indeed a ledge-walker) and Zhivago for the black EF.

And they wrote far better than they dipped.  Dipped, they were somewhat scratchy.  Filled, they were smooth nails, producing a fine, firm line. 

In short, these make great ink testers.  Or beginner pens.  Or starter pens.  Or just I-Want-One-In-Every-Color-And-Nib pens.