UN-GO — The Working Title Job (LB-C4)

We return to a character that has not been seen since episode 2 with the opening of this chapter.

Trigger warning note, however. There’s some graphic depictions of violence in this chapter….

CHAPTER 4. Speed Chess

An Osada had not been looking forward to the day she saw or heard from Shinjuurou Yuuki again. He and a single child were the only ones who would openly admit the truth that she had killed her own mother, Hisako Osada. The police would never arrest her for the murder, instead pinning the blame on an innocent man.

Though, in the end, Shinjuurou had granted her wish of getting her voice out into the world, An knew that when she heard from the detective next that her life would be thrown into chaos, and what ‘normalcy’ could come from that avoided arrest would disappear.

In retrospect, that the Great Detective had called her phone number out of any other he might have had at his disposal was of a peculiar oddity that An would never truly understand, and always would make her believe that her cold cutting, opening remark was the only proper response for what little she knew at the time:

“What do you want?”

If you’ll remember, An was the girl who murdered her mother so she could sing.

Shinjuurou and Inga are the only ones who ‘knew’ of anyone and everyone.

“I need to borrow your mansion as a safe house for a little while,” was all she would get in response. “I’ll consider us even if you do this for me.”

“Even?” An had no clue what that even meant. She’d paid him fully for the investigation into herself, even though, on the surface of things, it appeared that the Defeated Detective had failed yet again. If he was referring to some sort of meta-debt that came from him knowing that she had murdered her own mother, then…in that case, An had no doubts that there was nothing she could do that would be able to pay it or make it ‘even.’

Even so…

“Alright,” she said, “I’ll do it.”

“Good,” he said, “I’m sending Inga along as escort. You remember him, right? Goofy kid with the panda hat?”

There was an off-phone shout of “Hey!” from Inga at that remark.

“Yes, I remember him,” An nodded, though it couldn’t be seen over the phone. That would be the kid who knew about it all.

“Right, he’ll be bringing two other girls with him. Kazamori, one of them, works with us, by the way. The other girl, Alicia, she’s the one who we need to keep hidden away.”

“I see,” So one girl worked with them then, and so probably knew about the murder.

“I’m trusting your judgement on security here. I don’t want anyone coming in or getting out until I come to pick them up.”

“I’m surprised you’re willing to trust me on this,” An said.

“You’re the first one who came to mind that I can trust on this,” Shinjuurou said, “and you know what they say.”

“No, what?”

“Your first instinct is usually the right one.”

Shinjuurou has turned to An for a *safe house,* and quotes another line from Elementary.

Shinjuurou hung up and shoved the phone into his pocket as the taxi cab came to a stop outside of the N.S.A. Firm building. “Alright,” he said to the Taxi Driver as he pulled out his wallet, “how much will it take you to get to the Osada Mansion from here?”

“Eh…About five’undred?” The Taxi Driver shrugged. “Depends on traffic.”

Shinjuurou grumbled and got a thousand yen out, “Here’s a thousand to take the three kids to the Osada Mansion, and keep the change.”

“Pleasure doin’ business wit’ya!” The Driver’s eyes had dollar signs in them as Shinjuurou and Rie got out and headed into the building.

Taxi Delivery Express- ironic that Shinjuurou would do this- the reverse of what An did with her mother’s body.

Chief Katawase was waiting for them, “About bloody time you two got here!” She chastised the duo.

“Sorry, we ran into traffic,” Shinjuurou apologized. “What’s the situation?”

“We’ve got a stolen computer with a shot up monitor and a potential second murder on our hands,” Katawase said with a scowl as she lead them to the elevator. “What do you THINK the situation is?”

“No need to be snappy now,” Rie said as the door closed, and the elevator took them upwards to the floor that housed the security office.

“Look, I’ve got a lot on my shoulders. After Hayami…you know…and I got promoted?” The chief sighed. “This is my first major case as a chief, alright? I didn’t expect it’d be this hard this soon. We’ve only dealt with petty disturbances so far, since I started…It’s a completely different feeling being in charge of an investigation as opposed to being just another cog in the machine.”

“The first one is usually the worst,” Shinjuurou said. “You don’t even want to know what my first case was about.”

“Try me,” Katawase said sourly.

“A friend of mine stole my original identity and committed a murder under it, which eventually forced events to lead to his death- my death, according to the news,” Shinjuurou said calmly, which had Rie blink in confusion and Katawase whistle lowly.

We get some focus on Katawase here, as well as have Shinjuurou relate, in summary, his first case.

Rie is blinking at the fact that Shinjuurou just spelled it out so simply.

“Yeah, now that’s something I hope this doesn’t lead into,” The Chief said.

“Well, if this case forces you to change your name,” Shinjuurou said, “it’s not the worst thing in the world. If anything, I can honestly say that that was the day my life truly began.”

Any remarks to that comment were put on hold as the elevator arrived and the doors opened with a ding, revealing a bustling group of police officers that had to be waded through before they arrived at the security office.

“We’re using this as Ground Base right now,” Katawase explained as they walked through the mess. “We’ve got an active crime scene on the floor below us, and we’re expecting another mass website hack any minute now.”

“So we’re going into round two then?” Rie asked.

“Pretty much,” Katwase confirmed, then called out as they entered the darkened, and surprisingly empty security room, “Yo, Izumi!”

“Yeah, whatever!” Izumi said quickly in return as she motion them over to the one monitor she was using to review the tapes. “Come look at this.”

It was a replay of the footage from Aranea’s kidnapping from Kenta’s office.

“That’s Asahina,” Rie deduced instantly upon seeing the face of the kidnapper.

“He muted the cameras before entering, but didn’t outright disable them until they hit the elevators,” Izumi explained, “we think he recorded this for the express purposes of uploading to the web.”

“That makes sense,” Katawase said, “but why not go live with it from the get go?”

That is the question indeed…

Rie answers:

“Because that wouldn’t fit the scenario Rising Sun’s written for us,” Rie answered. “They’re probably going to go into a live ransom demand after they play this footage. Why else kidnap Aranea instead of killing her outright?”

“Drama.” That is what “Rising Sun” is after.

“Or she wasn’t really kidnapped at all,” Shinjuurou offered.

“What the hell do you mean by that?” Katawase asked. “She was pulled out of there at gun point!”

“Yes, but the audio was muted,” Shinjuurou said as he observed Aranea stand up at Mitsuku’s behest. “Who’s to say they aren’t acting out a kidnapping while talking about what to order for dinner at their base?”

“That’s possible, I suppose…” Katawase frowned. “Wait. What?”

“Why would Aranea-san be working with them?” Izumi asked, frowning at Shinjuurou’s insinuation.

“Because she’s not Aranea Serket,” Rie said, “her real name is Kanzaki, Aria, and she went to high school with Kenta-san.”

“She did what?” Katawase shouted in surprise, “Why the hell didn’t she tell us!?”

“I seriously doubt that Aranea has a false identity,” Izumi said, “we ran a background check. Nothing came up on her-”

“But isn’t it your department’s specialty to create new family records?” Shinjuurou asked a rather pointed question. “You remember my first case, don’t you, Izumi-san?”

This whole event is someone crafting a large, seemingly random story.

The woman scowled, “Yes, but still, that’s something completely different from what we did. How did you even come up with such an outlandish conspiracy theory anyways?”

“We found a copy of Kenta’s High school yearbook,” Shinjuurou said, “and given that, I don’t think it’s too far out of bounds to reach the conclusion that Aranea, or Aria, used a similar method to your own create a false identity. Perhaps it even came about as a result of Rinroku’s meddling?” Shinjuurou said, “That could be why he was called out as ‘the compulsive liar’ at the start of all of this.”

“Rie, surely you’re not going to let him say that-” Izumi turned to Rie, but stopped when she saw the look on the girl’s face.

“My dad’s done some horrible things over the last few years, more so even recently. I wouldn’t put it past him to have done something that’s come back to bite him in the ass.” Rie then added, “Besides, there’s the missing school to think about.”

“Missing school?” Katawase asked.

“The High school that Kenta, Aria, and Mitsuku all went to is gone,” Rie repeated the information for the police chief. “The entire building was leveled and replaced with a grass field.”

“Who else but Kaishou, Rinroku to do something like that?” Shinjuurou asked. “Who could have the resources to pull it off when everything else around it was left untouched?”

Indeed.

Any response to that was cut off by a man running into the room just then, “It’s started!”

The World’s attention turned to the Rising Sun as their website overtook everything once more…

The Blood Red background had been replaced by a black and white checkerboard- and the security footage from the earlier kidnapping played before everyone, with an edited in “Previously Recorded” in the top right corner of the footage.

And then, it cut to a “LIVE!” feed of Aranea’s face as she read something pre-scripted, for it had been translated via subtitles for whichever region it was being viewed in, aloud.

“My name is Ara..Aria Kanzaki…and I am hidden somewhere high above the city.”

The footage view would show five hanging wooden crates, each suspended in the air over various city intersections by large ropes that looked like their weight bearing limit was being stressed to the maximum.

“Inside one of these crates is the hard drive I was forced to remove. Inside each of them is a…a piece of me.” the footage cut back to her- only to reveal that her arms and legs had been cut off, and capped off with rather ugly looking metal tubes. “T…There is also a bomb.”

OUCH.

Talk about a Dramatic story!

At that- a Timer appeared on the website- directly under the video.

“If I am not found before I either bleed out into this machine, the timer reaches zero, or the last crate has dropped to the street below…the bomb will detonate…” She was crying from the pain. “Please…someone…help me…!”

And so the feed cut out- instead focusing on the five wooden crates while the timer counted down silently.

This seems cruel- does it not?

Rie excused herself for a moment to find a bathroom.

“W…What kind of messed up people are these guys?” Katawase asked after a moment of silence.

“The kind that like cutting people’s limbs off,” Izumi answered as she clenched her fists.

First Kenta, now “Aria”?

Someone’s got a fetish, it seems.

Shinjuurou remained silent, even as the rest of the police officers in the room protested the treatment of the woman they had called a friend. His eyes narrowed down on the five different locations, and began trying to match street shapes from above with what he knew they looked like from below.

The conditions needed to be met exactly- find her before she bled out or the timer reached zero.

But what was that about the last crate…? Did that mean that they were going to fall?

That added an increased risk.

Too many variables.

“There-” He pointed at one crate, “that’s over the intersection of Eighth and Kabuto. You can see the freeway in the corner.”

Street name is made up. Any relation to real intersections is purely coincidental.

“Get someone over there right now!” Katawase shouted.

Sinjuurou looked at the four remaining streets, and quickly started to identify them as fast as he could.

TYPOS.

SERIOUSLY!?

Then he identified one that would be the closest to the building they were currently in, and the most likely candidate for Aranea and the computer’s true location.

Rie had come back by then, a good three minutes of solid thinking later.

And so, with officers dispatched to the other four locations, Shinjuurou headed for that location with Rie and Katawase in tow- Izumi opting to stay behind to monitor the website and call them to inform them of any developments.

Now that’s not suspicious at all.

The First crate dropped four minutes thirteen seconds into the count down.

It fell and fell and fell- and then- Four minutes thirty-one seconds into the count down- it impacted the intersection and shattered- sending wood, computer parts, and a left arm flying out into the street.

Traffic swerved out of the way of the sudden intrusion…

But the remains of the computer were destroyed by the cars driving through the intersection.

BOUNCE.

Shinjuurou swore as he heard the news, and hung up his phone.

“So the crates are dropping,” Katawase grumbled as she lead them out to the street where her car waited for them.

“Apparently that was the one with the left arm in it,” Shinjuurou said.

“The others probably won’t drop just yet,” Rie offered, “that was probably just to prove that the crates will drop.”

Yeah. But think about the timing for a moment….

They got into the car and Katawase began driving to the nearest crate location. Seven minutes, fourteen seconds into the count down, the second crate fell.

A driver screamed in horror as the left leg flew from the smashed open crate and hit their windshield.

They swerved- and crossed into opposing traffic.

The six car pile up was fortunate enough to have had no fatalities.

But then again- they don’t have the time for thinking. Not with their luck barely scraping by.

You think six cars is lucky with no fatalities? Try a thirteen car pileup!

And they say reality is unrealistic.

The police cruiser arrived a few seconds after all of that had happened, and the three of them emptied out.

“There it is!” Shinjuurou pointed up at the barely visible crate against the dimming night sky.

“How are we getting up there though?” Rie asked.

“Just let me flash my badge,” Katawase said with a growl, and with that, they ran towards the shortest of the four corner buildings that the crate was suspended from.

Simultaneously, Cruisers and Police arrived at the scenes of the other crates, and began closing the street off so that they could begin ascending the buildings and reaching the crate before it could fall.

They began ascending the floors- and climbing to the roofs via elevator if the buildings had them, and if they didn’t, they ascended by stairwell.

The third crate’s ropes snapped- and the crate fell down to the street below. This happened at the point that our two detectives and the police chief reached the mid point of the small building’s height via elevator. It was the right leg.

“Damn it!” Katawase swore upon hearing the news, “Hurry up you piece of junk!”

Higher and higher, higher and higher…!

The police broke onto the roof tops of the fourth crate’s suspensions, and began working towards winching in the crate from the one side.

The rope began to fray…

Rie was the first one on the rooftop, running towards the fifth crate’s rope winch, Shinjuurou was but a few feet behind her.

“Reel it in!” Someone shouted, and nobody cared who.

The trio worked quickly…

The rope snapped- and the fourth crate began to swing downwards towards the city streets below…

With a mighty smash- wood and metal went flying- and the right arm broke against the pavement with a bloody crack.

Smack.

But the fifth crate had been rescued.

With a mighty smack from the end of Katawase’s gun, the front of the crate fell open, revealing a computer tower and…

A decapitated, limbless, male torso, all blood drained from it.

“…Where’s the head?” Katawase asked.

“What I want to know is why it’s a guy’s body and not a girl’s,” Shinjuurou frowned.

Rie just ran to the edge of the rooftop to throw up onto the street below.

Look out belooooooooow!

But in all honesty- I’d be really squicked out as well.

“What do you mean it’s not Aranea?” Izumi shouted into the phone.

“It’s exactly what I said,” Katawase answered, “it’s a male torso, Mister Asahina if I had to guess, that or some unknown john doe. …So Unless Aranea was wearin’ fake boobs the entire time…”

“Don’t even joke about that right now,” Izumi said sourly.

“Sorry sorry!”

“What about the computer?” Izumi asked as she glanced to the count down- still running.

“It’s the wrong model for the office. Shinjuurou seems to think we were intentionally being misdirected.” Katawase answered.

“Where is he anyways?” Izumi asked.

“Rie threw up over the edge of the building, he took her down to the nearest restroom to get the rest outta her.” Katawase chuckled, “I tell ya, Izumi! Those two are fuckin’ each other!”

“Watch the language when we’re on duty, Mayoi,” Izumi scolded, “we’ve got two murders to investigate now.”

Mayoi Katawase: Shipper on Deck.

So this chopped up guy? Remember how Kenta had a RELATIVELY NEW secretary?

This is the old secretary.

“And a rogue bomb on the loose,” Katawase added. “I think if anyone has it, it’ll be Serket.”

“Why are you believing the theories of that man for?” Izumi asked, frowning in a concerned way.

“It makes sense, Izumi-chan, that’s why!” Katawase said, “She was prominently in the footage, we were made to think it was her in those crates, and even *IF* it’s not Mitsuku Asahina we’ve got here, then it doesn’t make any sense for it to not be her.”

“She could still be out there somewhere in the city,” Izumi said.

“Yeah but,” Katawase paused, “…c’mon, Izumi-chan. I know you were shaken up by Hayami-baka’s betrayal, and you don’t want Aranea to turn out to be just like that…but you’ve gotta face the facts here. Aranea Serket’s suspect number one right now, and we can’t-” the pause in speech was undetectable as a thought suddenly occurred to her- “go letting our emotions get the best of us.”

Katawase realizes she was doing that exact same thing.

“I guess you’re right…” Izumi began.

“Yeah, Aren’t I always?” Katawase then glanced over to the rooftop door, empty and motionless. “I’m gonna go check on Rie-chan. See if she’s okay.”

“Alright, I’ll let you know if there are any changes to the website,” Izumi said.

And with that, Katawase hung up and went for the door.

Shinjuurou went to the bathroom door when a knock came suddenly.

“Rie’s a bit better now,” He began when he saw that it was Katawase on the other side. “She’s just…had a long day-”

“Yeah okay that’s great-” Katawase cut him off. “Look, I just had a brain wave.”

“Yeah?” Shinjuurou asked.

“What if Ara- Aria never left Otonoshi’s office building?”

“You don’t think…?” Shinjuurou began.

“She and Mitsuku might have been hiding in plain sight this entire time,” The Chief said.

“The entire crate thing was a distraction meant to keep us away,” Shinjuurou realized. “But how? Didn’t you have the building swept clean?”

“There’s got to be a hidden room somewhere,” Katawase said, “Otonoshi was super paranoid! Why wouldn’t he have had a panic room installed somewhere that Mitsuku Asahina would have known about?”

“We’ve got to get back over there,” Shinjuurou said, and turned back into the bathroom, “I’ll go get Rie.”

aaaHA!

They were only half way back down the building’s height when the timer on the website hit zero.

The video cut to static, and moments later, Mitsuku Asahina’s face appeared on the video, a grim expression on his face.

“It is with great regret that I inform you that dear Aria…was not in any of those five crates on the video. I apologize for the deception, Defeated Detective, but the necessary clues were there for you to put together.”

He stood up, revealing that he was standing in a very familiar office- Rinroku Kaishou’s.

“I find the timing no less than perfect, however, in that your chase across town allowed me the time to reach the Compulsive Liar’s household, after my associates had rigged it with explosives.” He held up a hand, “No, don’t get up. In fact, don’t even send anything but the fire department. You won’t get here in time to stop me.”

That’s ominous.

He ran his hands up his face and back across his hair.

“I only regret that so many lives have needed to be wasted to get to this stage. The Day of the Rising Sun. Kenta’s former secretary who caught on too soon and needed to be…put on ice… Kenta himself, and Aria. Dear sweet Aria. Oh, such a shame that you all could not find her in time. But it all happened so fast, I cannot blame you for assuming that she had gone further than a mere city block away.”

He smiled.

“To the Liar himself. Your tyranny is at an end. By the time you even hear about this, your whole media empire will have been toppled. That prized piece of software that allowed you to manipulate the internet?” He made a poof motion with his hands. “Gone. Useless. When the bomb detonates, our P Versus NP software will hit the internet and it will become mass-market freeware in an instant. In fact, anyone watching this live on the web will get a free development package downloaded onto their computer! No, it doesn’t have any malware or anything like that…We’re not monsters, you know.”

Because if there’s anything worse than Hackers who take over websites to show their own content, it’s Crackers who take over websites to feed Malware off of them!

He chuckled, “To the Liar’s daughter who has been investigating in his stead. I do not know what brought you into the affairs of your accursed old man, but I am sorry that it will cost you your household. Oh, don’t be concerned. My associates made sure to pack your clothes for you. They’ll be shipped to…oh where was it? Hehe…Oh right. I guess I forgot. I guess that will be another mystery to solve…”

He glanced to his watch.

“Oh well, I do believe it’s time for me to end this now. Local dispatch should be here any second now…” He waved to the camera. “Good bye, cruel world. May you awaken tomorrow under the light of the Rising Sun. A new era in which you are all no longer lied to by the man whose library I now stand in…and prepare to burn.” He took a few steps away from the camera.

“To the Last Great Detective and his Girlfriend, the Liar’s Daughter. The Ending has Not Yet Been Written,” He smirked. “Catch Us If You Can.”

The screen went white and the beginning rush of a “FWHOOM” could be heard before the video feed cut to static.

Obligatory Myst reference by burning of Library and “Ending has not yet been written.”

 

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