This article, Planning Espionage, is the second chapter of Braving the Waves arc, which is part of Bleach: Cataclysm. It follows Kentaro Hiroshi as the primary POV character, with Akiye, Sanada, Hawke, David, Kensei, Hisagi, Yori and Naoko as support. Shiju Shūdō, Tsubaki Kori and Takahara Yasuhiro are mentioned as possible allies.
Kentaro felt the weight of his father's old white haori. Every time he wore it he felt like his father was watching over him – which he would have hated as a younger man. The white haori had been worn by Kenji to symbolize his leadership and defiance of the Gotei 13. Now Kentaro was wearing it for the same reason. The weight of expectation was crushing. Still... he would wear it and wear it with pride.
“Ryan's followers are worried.” Sanada said. “They aren't at all happy with his leadership, and he responds by mobilizing Blake's agents all to readily.”
“He has become a tyrant. The power and responsibility that comes with leadership has gone to his head, I think.” Hawke noted.
“Really?” David responded, with a sarcastic tone of voice. “None of us had noticed.”
Kentaro didn't like the news coming out of the Seireitei lately. He had called this meeting to discuss matters concerning Ryan and what their response would be. The Reikai was already embroiled in war; so far the only neutral force was Heisekai, and that was simply because no-one who survived the Collapse could stand against Rosuto Shiba and Akira Nakamura as equals. There was a second reason however. Good fortune had recently placed two eager agents into his hands and they wanted to help.
“The problem is our information network.” Akiye said at last. “The Collapse all but decimated it. The only two who survived where Kensei and Hisagi and they can't be everywhere.”
The only response to that statement was a harrumph from Kensei. Hisagi kept his silence. He knew what was coming after all.
“Hisagi and I had a talk about that.” Kentaro said. “We need agents in the Gotei Remnant and we need people in Kohai Tochi. We don't like this... but Yori Hisagi and Naoko Izuru have volunteered themselves for both.”
The silence was deafening.
“You all think I'm mad and I can't say I blame you. But we're sadly lacking in options.” Kentaro noted. “We can't allow the Imawashi free-reign and we're needed to fight off Ryan in the event of another attack. We're short-handed. I don't like it but we need the kids.”
“How are they qualified?” Kensei asked, ever-serious.
“Naoko recently learned how to assume the form of a cat.” Kentaro revealed. “She doesn't leak any spiritual power whilst in this form. Coupled with her small stature she'll be easily fit to avoid our foes sight. As for Yori-”
“The plan with Yori,” Hisagi said, speaking up, “is for him to publicly betray us. He'll have a falling out with me in an area with plenty of witnesses and then join the side of the Gotei Remnant. He'll be in constant danger but he feels he's capable and I trust him. As for qualifications... they're as powerful as I was during the Winter War.”
It really was their own card.
“I don't like this.” Akiye whispered.
“Nor me.” David agreed.
“... I agree with Kentaro and Hisagi.” Hawke said, with a little hesitation.
“I'll bow to Kentaro's judgement on the matter.” Sanada added.
Kensei, once again, harrumphed in reply. “Do what you will. Just make sure the kids have an escape route.”
The rest of the meeting went quite smoothly. Everyone present could at least agree on what had to be done with Ryan and the Gotei Remnant. Doing what was proposed however was a different matter completely.
“Amagai and Hitsugaya have galvanized the military.” Sanada stated. “They're amongst the oldest and most experienced of the Captains. We'll have to deal with them before we touch Ryan.”
“Blake's the real problem.” Hawke noted. “The man's utterly ruthless and at the same time utterly devoted to Ryan, even if they don't get along on the surface. The fact he was one of the most experienced of the 2nd Division's assassins before the Collapse doesn't help our chances any.”
“We know what we have to do.” Kentaro said.
Two days later Yori enacted the ruse. Hisagi, as drunk as a skunk, dropped insults aimed at the Gotei Remnant all night. Kentaro, who had joined him for a drink, joined in as well. They even went as far as to make light of the dead instructors who'd taught Yori and Naoko in the academy, contrasting their teaching style – which was rubbish they said – with that of Maki Zhijun. Yori played his part well. He feigned a growing sense of irritation that was becoming more apparent as the night wore on.
Naoko, attempting to be the peace-keeper, tried to take him from the scene. Yori, however, was having none of it. He confronted his father about his statements and, fuelled by drink, Hisagi disciplined his son in-front of everyone. Yori, in response, reached for his Zanpakuto.
“That's enough!” Kentaro bellowed, drunkenness be-damned.
“You sit here making light of the dead... Better men than you died during the Collapse!”
With that Yori turned on his heel and stalked out of the bar with Naoko hot on his heels. Hisagi slumped into his seat and downed what remained of his pint, wishing very much that the ground would swallow him whole.
“Are we doing the right thing?” He asked.
“... Only time will tell, my friend.” Kentaro whispered. “Somehow I don't think he'll be alone however.”
There was something Kentaro hadn't told the others at the meeting. There where two individuals aligned with the Gotei Remnant who would see Ryan for what he truly was. Better yet they wouldn't sit on their hands and do nothing. One, known as Hotaru Takahashi, had known Jinta prior to his death. The second, Tsubaki Kori, was a cousin of Hawke and David, as well as Itazura and Mariko. He didn't know how the two survived the Collapse but survive it they did.
“I'll contact him as well.” Kentaro stated. “Kensei wants them to have an escape route? They'll have one alright.”