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Kin: What you have found so far is mysterious to you and I, but other may be able to make more sense of it. Would you continue to assist me by passing messages to some of my friends that may know more?

>>Yes, of course! Who do you need me to go see?

Kin: To the north of the Gardens lies Bass'ken Lake. My old friend Logan has a fishing shack there. Logan and I used to be traveling companions a long time ago he's surprisingly worldly. If you take what we know and compare it with his own experiences, we might find something that makes more sense.

So head up to Bass'ken Lake and find Old man Logan. Got it. I'll come back and let you know what I find out.

Kin: Logan may want you to check a few things out. I vouch for him personally. You can trust him...most of the time.

heh. Most of the time, eh? That's a glowing recommendation.

Kin: Logan can be quite...ill-tempered at times, but he's at his best with a challenge, so he should be sharp right now. Good luck to you, (name).

Thanks...I guess. See you later.

(at Logan)

L: Hey there, bub. How are ya? Care to take in some fishing?

Actually, a friend of yours sent me. Do you know Kin?

L: Tall intimidating type, way too serious, with a really strange mask?

Yup. That describes him pretty well. He says he knows you.

L: Yeah. He and I travelled together a bit after I left...well...after I left a previous engagement.

'Previous engagement'? Travelled together? I smell stories!

L: Yeah...well, mebbee. But my past is valuable to me and you've got to earn the right to hear about it. What does Kin want?

We've been learning as much as we can about the Animated, and he asked me to share what we know.

L: WE? You're a ninja then?

Well...no, Not yet anyway.

L: I thought not. Okay...tell me what ya know and maybe I'll share a bit of my past with ya.

Well, in a nutshell, different groups of Animated don't seem to share purposes with each other, but they do seem to evolve over time into bigger, stronger versions of themselves.

L: How the heck do they do that?

The ninjas say it has to do with some sort of energy fluctuations that waver back and forth across the countryside, sometimes eddying together and combining to create something larger and tougher than normal.

L: Ha! In other words, Kin and his crew don't know either. They're just guessing and covering it with their usual mystic mumbo-jumbo.

It could be...but they warned me about the energy buildups in time for me to intercept some of them from forming and taking over the groups already in the Zen Gardens.

L: Heh. I still say it could be coincidence, but I guess that adds up to what I see here at the Lake, too. The wolves, saws, and fluffs don't seem to care too much about each other ...and once in a while, something major shows up and romps the field for a bit before it disappears. Hmmmm...

Still, it doesn't explain much, does it? Thing appear alive for no particular reason and just start attacking things? It's really strange...

L: You might have something there..it reminds me of the time that the Gambino mansion got overrun with zombies. That was a hell of a mess...and it all started because of...damn.

Damn?

L: Yeah. Domn. If that situation connects with what's going on now, then Gambino's got to be mixed up in this thing somehow. And I'm sick to death of cleaning up his messes.

Gambino? *Johnny* Gambino? The head of G-Corp?

L: That's the one, bub. Listen, I've got my hands full here at the Lake and I've got responsibilities I can't just abandon. But maybe you could do me a favor?

>>Sure, What do you need?

L: I need to get in touch with my old friends that know Johnny really well so we can figure out he's up to. Edmund is cut off over in Durem, with no way to get here right now, but Agatha might know how to reach him. Do you know Agatha?

She runs the jewelry shop in Barton Town, right?

L: That's our girl! Go tell her what you just told me. She'll know whether this means anything and she'll get the word to Edmund...somehow.

So just go talk to Agatha at the Barton Jeweler's?

L: That's the stuff! Good luck, kid!

Thanks. And the name's (name).

L: hehehe. Sure it is, kid. Now get scootin'!

(afterwards at Agatha)

A: Hello there, hon. How can I help you?

>>Old Man Logan sent me to you, Agatha.

A: Logan? Well bless his heart. What does that old scrapper want with me?

Mostly, he wants to share information. We've been finding quite a lot out about the Animated and their rings and we wanted to pass it on.

A: Oh, *I* see. Logan doesn't want to tell ME that information. He just can't get to Edmund and wants me to run and fetch for him, doesn't he?

Ummm...errr, is there maybe a little history between you two?

A: History. Yes, I suppose that's how you might describe Logan, Edmund, Johnny and I, but I prefer to think of us as still vibrant and alive!

No! That's not what I meant...

A: I know, dearie. It's just been a long day and I'm having a bit of fun with you. What is it that Logan wants to tell me?

He thinks that the Animated might have some root cause that has something to do with Johnny Gambino.

A: What! Why?!?

Logan says that the way the Animated seem to pop out of now where, immediately starting to attack things around them, it reminds him a lot of when the zombies overran the Gambino mansion.

A: That's...very interesting. Bus, as I recall, the zombie outbreak has very specific origins in the G-Virus experiments that were occurring back then. The outbreak spread through the direct contact between a zombie and another dead thing. I don't see how that applies here since none of the Animated were ever really 'dead' since they'd never been 'alive' previously. Besides, w're not seeing Animated touch anything to bring it to life...they just seem to occur spontaneously!

I guess Logan was just guessing about it all.

A: hehehe. More than likely. Still, he might be right. Just because I can't see the connection, doesn't mean that there isn't one. Edmund's mind for analysis would be better suited to this issue. I'll contact him and let him know. But to me, this has about as much validity as the 'return of the Zurg' theories I keep hearing.

I guess we need information before we can really decide.

A: Well, then what we need to do is contact an organization that CAN gather that info for us. How would you feel about heading across the Gardens to try contactingthe Chyaku Norisu ninja clan?

You must be kidding! I started this whole journey by talking to those ninjas.

A: Really?!? *You* spoke to a ninja? Who?

His name is Kin.

A: Their clan's second-in-command? That's amazing! Well, go back to him and tell him about Logan's ring theory. The ninja are masters of piecing together bits of information into pictures that others can't see.

Is there anything else I should tell me?

A: Yes. We're getting reports of things roaming the areas north of the Gardens that are definitely *not* Animated. But they're also not natural.

What sorts of things?

A: The reports are very hard to believe, but so is everything else that's happening now. I've heard rumors of a return of the Zurg, sea creatures roaming around on land, and some even crazier things. It's hard to tell what's truth and what's being exaggerated due to panic.

The Animated show up, and then at the same time, other enemies start appearing at the same time? This sounding less and less like a coincidence...

A: Perhaps. It could also be something more fundamental, like an alteration in the physics of the universe for some reason, or even something as simple as that coincidence you mentioned.

Hmmm...

A: Yes, it does make you think, doesn't it? Well, do be a dear and go tell Kin what we've spoken about. I'll try to somehow get word of all this to Edmund and perhaps we will make sense of it soon.

All right. I'll head back to Kin then and see what he says about getting more info for you.

A: Thanks, hum. Good luck to you!

(back at Kin)

Kin: What did Logan have to say?

I spoke to him...and Agatha...

K: Agatha, too? You've been traveling a lot then. What did you find?

Well...Logan thinks the rings we're using come from within the Animated, and Agatha says there are more threats out there than just the Animated.

K: This may not be a situation we can easily resolve then. If this is as widespread as it sounds, then this may be a long-term change to our world. If that is true, then we may need to adopt a siege mentality toward this whole disaster, digging in and fighting back against the gathering hordes.

Cheery outlook you have there, Kin.

K: ...

See? Case in point. So what do we do next?

K: WE don't do anything. YOU do. But your journey to this point should be rewarded. Here. Take these small tokens of my esteem.

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