UN-GO — The Working Title Job (LB-C2)

Moving right along to Chapter 2, I’ll remind you all that this story is Still RATED MATURE, though this Chapter is a bit better than others….

Viewer Discretion is Advised.

CHAPTER 2. The Rising Sun.

The morning light shining through the curtains was a grim reminder of what would need to be done today, was Shinjuurou’s first thought as he awoke to a vaguely familiar room with an all-too-familiar bed mate.

The night before, he had sex with Rie Kaishou, the daughter of the man who had framed his previous name for murder, and continued to circumvent his efforts to expose the truth every single time.

In the pillow talk between the first and second rounds, they both had shared their feelings on the way Rie’s father, Rinroku, had constantly obstructed the truth. In the process, they realized something important about the case they had both been dragged into:

This line was pretty much a direct shout out to that story I mentioned before. LinkHere

Whoever was behind “The Rising Sun” hated Rinroku’s meddling just as much as they did to call him out as “The Compulsive Liar.”

This was something that drastically narrowed the pool of suspects down to some degree, but who those suspects were was an unknown at this point.

As Rie had so curtly put it: “So basically we’re still at fucking square one.”

And then with a renewed sense of frustration, etc. etc., they’d gone at it again.

Now it was the next day, and Shinjuurou had a list of things to do.

First and foremost was finding his pants so he could get his Cell Phone and call the home office. Maybe now Kazamori and Inga would respond.

Shifting slightly to his left to look out over the room, Shinjuurou was surprised to notice that Rie was already wide awake and was staring at him with a rather red blush on her face.

The morning after. This scene was…interesting to write.

“Morning,” He said groggily.

“M-Morning,” She stuttered, and that blush seemed to get even redder somehow.

“How long have you been up?” he asked as he realized that she had her arms wrapped around his left arm, basically pinning him to her.

“A few minutes I guess?” She didn’t seem to know. “I… I lost track of time… Thinking.”

“About what?” He had a guess as to where this was going.

“About…” She paused for a moment, then closed her eyes and rested her forehead against his shoulder as she sighed, “about what we’re going to do about breakfast, first. Then what we’re going to have to do in investigating the case…” All reasonable things. “…And what about us…as a… you know…couple?”

All reasonable things to think about.

Let’s break this down:

He sighed as well. “Well, we went at it completely blind…” He paled slightly as he realized that he couldn’t really remember how many times they’d done it during the night, or for how long. “A lot.” She giggled a bit at the tone he used. “So way I see it, we’re at least going to have to go on a lot more dates at least. Hopefully ones that won’t end up with us at a crime scene.”

They fucked. Repeatedly. Without protection.

There’s pretty much no way Rie’s not pregnant.

At the same time, Shinjuurou’s realized that he actually LIKES her.

“You really want to-?” She sat up so suddenly that part of her hair, tussled up and out of place as it was, landed in her mouth- forcing her to spit it out. He cracked a grin as she pouted, and shortened it down to a “Really?”

“I don’t regret what we ended up doing last night,” he said as he looked over her face to watch her reaction. “Honestly, I think I was afraid of making any kind of move in your direction without your dad coming down on me with a missile.”

Rie rolled her eyes, “I doubt he’d do that. Too many witnesses.”

And this confirms that. She took an interest in him for being him, when so many others wanted to use him as a tool. By this point in his investigative career with Inga and Kazamori, he sees them more as wayward kids who he has to keep an eye on rather than anyone that’s a potential romantic interest. Plus, Izumi’s out of the picture for reasons, and Katawase’s only just been introduced in the story- neither are viable interests.

Now, comes the thing that’s really going to bind them together even after this case is finished…

Their mutual dislike of Rie’s father.

“Yeah, probably he’d try framing me for murder instead,” Shinjuurou mentally congratulated himself for leaving off the “again.”

“Yeah, that sounds like dad alright,” She giggled, and Shinjuurou made a mental note to never mention the “again” part.

“So you mentioned breakfast?” Shinjuurou asked.

“Yeah,” Rie nodded, “since you couldn’t get in contact with those two last night, I figure we should head over there and see what’s up. If they’re fine, I was thinking we could go out to get breakfast while we catch them up to speed.”

“Sounds like a plan,” Shinjuurou said as he looked around the room, “though I’d like to give them a call first just to be sure.”

And so they’ve hooked up, now to see what Inga and Kazamori have been up to.

Once again, there had been no response, and so the two Detectives got changed and headed out for Shinjuurou’s apartment as quickly as they physically could.

Much to Shinjuurou’s relief, the front door to his apartment was still locked.

Much to Shinjuurou’s concern, there was a lack of sound from inside as well.

“Inga? Kazamori?” Opening the door would prove to be a very mentaly blinding event for both him and Rie.

No, I mean Blinding, not Scarring.

As if opening the floodgates to a dam- a wave of blinding light seemed to rush out of the apartment the moment the door was opened even a crack- leaving the two Detectives standing there blinking their eyes until the stars vanished from their vision and the ringing from their ears…

Wait. No, that was just the telephone ringing.

more typos that seem to have popped up out of nowhere. :/

“Okay…” Rie said as she rubbed at her eyes with her fingers, “what just happened?”

“I’m not sure, really…” Shinjuurou frowned. “But somehow…”

It was then that they heard two synchronized screams of terror and surprise from inside.

“…I don’t think it was anything good.”

Racing inside, Shinjuurou and Rie were caught off guard by how disheveled and broken everything in the office/apartment/living space seemed to be.

Now THIS is scary. Pure NIGHTMARE fuel:

The answering machine was bleeding actual blood as it’s ringer seemed to play in an endless loop, which would explain why his calls hadn’t been going through, the clocks all seemed to have stopped at some point during the previous night, and the Disk Player was ejecting and retracting it’s disk tray haphazardly without any real reason at all.

Poor Phone.

Shinjuurou didn’t even dare see if the TV or the nearby computers were even working right, and instead followed the sounds of distress all the way into Inga’s room, where, sure enough, there was Inga and Kazamori.

“Woah-” Rie, who had followed him, shouted in surprise upon seeing the duo.

Shinjuurou admitted later on that he, too, was caught off guard by the sight of them both being naked and in the same bed as well, but what was even more concerning was the subtly fading white aura around them- just like what had pulsed out of the door when it had been opened.

Inga had his hands wrapped around large locks of his hair, and was muttering about being tricked by someone, while Kazamori was curled up into a ball and basically sobbing about not having an inter- Wait. Sobbing?

“Wh…What the hell happened in here?” Shinjuurou finally asked, which brought the two ‘children’, for lack of a better term, before him out of their shock.

And here we are. The million dollar moment that made this story evolve into something coherent and tangible.

Inga and Kazamori have both been turned human through a means not yet understood.

And they’re both a tad unhinged because of it.

A few minutes and a clothing change later…

Inga and Shinjuurou sat across from each other at the Kitchen Table.

“I screwed up, Shinjuurou,” Inga said it so quietly that Shinjuurou wasn’t sure if that was what had even been said. “Bettenou tricked me into eating her soul.”

“Huh…?” That was probably the worst reaction possible to this situation. “Okay, start over from the beginning here. What happened?”

“I realized a little while ago that my powers got modified a bit after I ate Bettenou’s soul.” Inga explained, “I wasn’t sure if I was just imagining things or if it was because I’d gotten used to only eating Truths out of huamns and not that of a Kami…But I thought I could try doing something to see if my powers were really changed or not.”

“Okay,” Shinjuurou said, “so why didn’t you tell me?”

“I was scared,” Inga shrugged, “I thought you’d want to change our deal or something…especially after all the trouble we went through because of Bettenou in the first place…”

Inga explains to Shinjuurou what HE thinks happened.

“Alright, moving on,” Shinuurou held a hand up to stop that rain of thought, “what happened last night?”

“Last night?” Inga frowned, “isn’t it still the 8th?”

“It’s the ninth,” Shinjuurou said.

But it doesn’t account for an apparent temporal bubble.

“…Damn.” Inga’s whole body shivered. “Right…well…I told Kazamori about what I thought my powers could do now, and she suggested a way to test it.”

“What way exactly?” Shinjuurou thought he had an idea of what was going to be said.

“An R.A.I. can’t get pregnant because they’re a robot,” Inga said simply.

“Ah,” Shinjuurou got the idea right then and there.

“So I tried to use Bettenou’s powers to make her think she was a human instead of an R.A.I…” Inga blushed a bit, “but I think Bettenou planned for me to try something like that…” He looked up and met Shinjuurou’s eyes with his own. “I ended up making myself fully human at the same time.”

Bettenou could NEVER have planned for something like This.

Shinjuurou knows that.

“So if the power of Illusions and Truth combine to become a power of making Illusions Real…” Shinjuurou’s eyes widened slightly, “then if you use that power to lock yourself out of it…”

“You can’t use that same power to undo those changes,” Inga concluded.

“So that light show we saw earlier…?”

“Was mine and Bettenou’s powers escaping out into the world,” Inga said flatly. “Who knows where they wound up, or what monster has been born from them.”

“So what about you?” Shinjuurou asked, “Are you alright from all this?”

“Other than feeling like a piece of my own soul’s been torn out, I’m just fine,” Inga said with a roll of his eyes.

“Welcome to the club, then,” Shinjurou couldn’t help but note the irony.

Inga has literally had a piece ripped out of his own soul- that inner nature that drove him to eat souls in the first place.

[futurebookspoiler]That is the monster that has been born from the stream of light.[/spoiler]

Shinjuurou walked into the other room and sighed.

“How’s Kazamori?” He asked as he looked over the girl sitting on the couch and the girl who was fast asleep with her head in the other girl’s lap.

“She fell asleep just a minute ago,” Rie said in a whisper as she stroked a hand through the (Former?) R.A.I.’s hair. “She was really freaked out about…something. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her like that before, actually.”

“Well, considering all the electronics in here went bonkers around the same time,” Shinjuurou glanced at the still malfunctioning Disk Player, “I’m guessing whatever energy wave we saw come out of here messed with her too.”

“What was that anyways?” Rie asked.

“Inga thinks it was a trick by Bettenou to change his powers around,” Shinjuurou decided just to spell it out, “and lock him into a permanent human form. That energy wave would have been Inga’s and Bettenou’s combined powers escaping him.”

“What do you think?” Rie asked.

Kazamori’s suddenly had to deal with a similar thing to what Inga’s described, and I touch on that later in the story.

Only, it’s quite a bit different.

“I think they just got caught up in too big of an experiment,” Shinjuurou shrugged. “He’s probably right about that energy wave being what it was, but I don’t think Bettenou intentionally lured him into a trap that’s got this exact end result.”

“So what exactly were they trying to do?” Rie asked.

“Kazamori is a…was an R.A.I., I suppose is the right tense now,” Shinjuurou said, “so the basic idea was to make Kazamori a ‘real girl’ so she could get pregnant as proof of Inga’s ‘new’ powers. If he’d simply just had just created an illusion like Bettenou’s, then they would have known right away, but if it actually worked and Kazamori became a real flesh and blood girl, then…”

“Wait, so basically the whole thought process was, ‘turn mechanical parts into organic parts’?” Rie summarized.

“I guess it could be summarized like that,” Shinjuurou nodded.

“Then that explains why your home phone was bleeding out actual blood,” Rie said with a grimace.

There was no illusion here- just a reality warping wave that caused things to get VERY unstable.

Honestly, this could have played out in any number of ways….but the one I went with is the most believable in my mind’s eye.

“…Yeah, that just about makes sense,” a glance back over to the dead answering machine showed that it was literally dead, having bled out entirely at some point and had finally gone silent. “If Inga’s right about it being a post-humus trap, then any little thing Inga could have tested his powers out with might have ended up in the same result of his powers vanishing. But if this was just him putting out a generic “Make human” wave, then he might have been caught up in it just the same.” He sighed, “At any rate, we’ll have to put this on the back burner for now. We’ve got a potential serial killer out on the loose, after all.”

“So do we clue them in on it?” Rie asked.

“Probably would be for the best if we kept an eye on them,” Shinjuurou said, “but after breakfast. That’ll probably get everyone back up to speed.”

“I’d rather not wait to see what else got changed in this apartment by that light pulse,” Rie said, “so fast food?”

“Sounds good to me.”

Shinjuurou’s sentence there is a bit unstable.

Oh well.

We transition, have a bit of a recap, and then…

“I suppose the timing worked out okay then,” Kazamori said, a bit more quietly than usual, “that I can’t access the internet personally at the moment…” She seemed to be having trouble adopting to the fact that her entire body was entirely organic now. To be fair to the former R.A.I. though, Shinjuurou was finding the cosmetic changes to the girl to be a bit difficult to swallow as well.

Her skin had taken on a slightly more pinkish tone, and her eyes, which had once been an eerie combination of yellow and black that didn’t seem naturally layered at all now seemed more normal looking with the subtraction of some of the heaviest black coloring.

“Yeah, if there’s one good thing to come out of this,” Inga agreed, and things went silent for a few moments at the turn of conversation.

“Good news!” Rie said as she sat down at the table, “I managed to get us an appointment at Otonoshi-san’s Security firm with the new CEO when the firm opens later this morning, and another one at Steranko’s local office just a bit after that.”

We get to see that, for sure, Kazamori has gone from RAI to full flesh and blood…and Kazamori and Inga are still feeling out of it.

Compared to their earlier feelings and emotions and attitudes, this shocking silence is startling!

“Well that’s the first good news I’ve heard with regards to this case all day,” Shinjuurou said, “when does the firm open?”

“In about an hour.”

“Hello and Welcome to the Numerical Security Advancements Firm,” a Secretary said to the two detectives and their “Assistants” who had entered. “Do you have an appointment?”

“Hi,” Rie said to the woman who smiled way too brightly, “we’re here with regards to the murder of your former CEO, Otonoshi, Kenta-san?”

“oh…” the woman’s smile faded immediately. “Right, of course. Follow me.” She stood up from her desk. “I’ll take you to Asashina-san’s office.”

The Secretary lead them to an elevator, and pushed a button to take them up to a higher floor.

We meet the nameless secretary.

As the elevator jerked to life, Shinjuurou asked, “Did you know Otonoshi-san well?”

“Otonoshi-san?” The woman asked. “No, I was only hired about a month ago, around the time that the Sasa Company’s Heir was killed in that fire, I think it was?” Kazamori and Inga both tensed up at the mention of the case, but the secretary didn’t seem to notice. “I never spoke with him much beyond the initial interview phase. He was very…what’s the word?…Tense, I believe. Yes, he seemed very tense all the time. Very secretive, especially about the project he was personally heading up.”

She’s new. And that’s important to note.

“What kind of project?” Rie asked.

“I never knew much of the details,” The Secretary answered, “only that it had something to do with an older set of supposedly canceled projects.”

The elevator dinged, and she lead them to the new CEO’s old office.

“Asahina-san?” The secretary knocked on the door, “Your Eight A.M. appointment is here to see you.”

“Please, come in,” came the voice of the man, Mitsuku Asahina, the new CEO of the Firm, and she let them in. “So you two must be the detectives that were called out by that stunt last night?”

“Right,” Shinjuurou nodded, “I’m Yuki, Shinjuurou, this is my assistant Inga,” he motioned to Inga, who was busy glancing around the office curiously.

“I’m Kaishou, Rie, filling in for my father who’s out of town on business,” Rie said, then motioned to Kazamori, “this is my assistant, Kazemori.” The intentional syllable change didn’t go unnoticed by the R.A.I., who simply bowed in acknowledgement and greeting.

“A pleasure to meet you.”

Also- because the secretary knows OF KazAmori, Rie subtly changes the pronunciation in introduction to KazEmori.

She’s intentionally diverting attention away from the girl’s transformation, in a way.

“I’m Asahina, Mitsuku, and I suppose I’m the new CEO with Kenta’s death,” the man, who was busy packing up his belongings of the desk into a box. “I hope you pardon the mess, but I’m just packing up my things for moving elsewhere.”

Know of the Suzumiya Haruhi series? Know about the Genderbent version of it?

Asahina, Mitsuku is a shoutout name to that.

“Moving to the new office?” Rie asked.

“No, the Police haven’t even shown up yet to dig through any of his things,” The man shook his head. “I don’t dare take his office anyways. It doesn’t feel right, somehow…Actually, I’m preparing for the inevitability that the company will be bought out soon enough and I’ll be out of a job.”

“What makes you say that?” Shinjuurou asked.

“Well, let’s just say that, dare I speak ill of the dead, Kenta wasn’t the best CEO the company could have had in recent months,” Mitsuku said. “Money was being siphoned off into shady projects he wouldn’t tell me anything about, whole departments were formed, sworn to secrecy with NDAs, then laid off just about as suddenly as they were made… Plus, in the recent weeks leading up to this tragedy, there were rumors about being bought out by J.J. Systems…” He sent a glance at Rie, “Your father’s company, if I’m not mistaken, Miss…Rie-chan was it?”

“Yes, well,” Rie coughed politely, “this is the first I’ve heard of such a buy out. I doubt it was a thing my father was interested in.”

“I wouldn’t be so sure about that one,” Mitsuku sighed. “Kenta was drawing a lot of bad attention to this company from the shady sides of business, and I used to think that was just the tip of the iceberg…But his murder just seems to be the tip of an even larger one…or perhaps just a tip of another part of the same one, just hidden by the ocean’s depths.”

That’s a really weird metaphor. That aside, what he’s talking about here is just pure made up BULL SHIT for the most part.

“That’s a really long metaphor there,” Inga remarked as he looked over what appeared to be a high school photograph of the man before them, another man who could be assumed to be Kenta Otonoshi, and an unknown, though somewhat familiar woman in round glasses.

The Photograph is important.

Who the girl with glasses is rather important, although I have no clue which important girl it is.

“Yes, I suppose it is rather large,” Mitsuku agreed.

“Was Otonoshi-san working on any projects related to P versus NP before he died?” Rie asked.

“Miss, P Versus NP is not something that one just gives up,” Mitsuku said with a grimace. “I started to help Kenta with it before we started high school, and the next thing I knew, it was the dead of winter, a mere week before Christmas of the following year. Even years later when Kenta got me a job offer here at this firm, it was that damned equation that convinced me to take it. So yes, Kenta was working on P Versus NP before he died.” He shrugged slightly, “Whether or not it’s what got him killed or not, I can’t say for certain.”

This is about one of the few true things Mitsuku says in this area of dialogue.

“You mentioned some shady projects,” Shinjuurou began, “and the secretary we talked to on the way in said that Otonoshi-san was working on some secret project that was tied into older, canceled ones. Did he happen to confide anything to you about that?”

“That would be another reason I suspect this Firm is not long for this world,” Mitsuku said. “Kenta refused to tell me anything of what these projects of his were, even when I became his second in command.” He sighed yet again, “Kenta grew very paranoid after the war. He changed so much that he might as well have been a completely different person. The only time I can remember him confiding anything to me that might be of relevance was when he was convinced someone was coming to kill him after all that stuff about J.J. System’s Chairman supposedly being killed in that studio bombing.”

“Do you think anyone might have really wanted him dead?” Rie asked.

“You’re asking the wrong person, Miss,” Mitsuku said with a grumble. “After all the shit he’s pulled with this company, I can think of over a dozen people, including myself, who would want to kill him for what he’s done.”

Kenta being paranoid is another true thing….as is the fact that Mitsuku wanted Kenta dead.

“Two more questions,” Shinjuurou said, “then we’ll let you get back to your packing.”

“Sure,” Mitsuku said.

“The first is if we could have access to Kenta-san’s office to do a little digging around for anything?”

“Yeah, sure, I don’t got a problem with that. I think the Police should be here in a few minutes to do that too.”

“The second is this,” Shinjuurou then asked a major question, “did Kenta-san remodel his house at any time in the last few years?”

“Are you kidding me?” Mitsuku laughed hollowly at that question. “What part of “Paranoid” did you not get about this guy? He’s had his house remodeled at least six times that I can think of since he became CEO. He once told me that his security systems need to always be the best and latest and that the CEO should have just as much security as any project run.”

“Would he have put in the cameras that ended up broadcasting to the internet?” Rie asked.

“Knowing Kenta? Yes,” Mitsuku said with a nod.

“Thank you for your time,” Rie bowed.

The renovation thing is another true thing.

“Sure thing,” Mitsuku said, “anything that can help bring Kenta’s killer to justice.”

“Oh, and we’re going to need a list of those people too, if you don’t mind!” Inga said with a grin.

“Right, of course,” Mitsuku nodded.

Does the list of names matter much?

no.

They headed to the Old CEO’s office and entered, surprised to find that Izumi Koyama and Mayoi Katawase had arrived as well.

“Oh, I see you brought the midgets with you today,” Izumi frowned at Inga.

“Who’re you calling a midget?!” Inga protested with a huff.

“Easy there,” Shinjuurou put a hand on the boy’s head and turned his attention to Izumi. “Have you started searching the room yet?”

“No,” Katawase said, “we only got here just before you did. We were trying to figure out what to search first.”

“Well as they always say,” Rie said with a grin, “six heads are better than two!”

“I don’t think anyone has actually said that before you,” Kazamori said quietly.

“She’s got a point though,” Katawase followed that comment with a characteristic “Hue Hue Hue!”

We see that Izumi and Katawase have arrived.

And so they began to search, the moments passing away in silence as they each went to a different area of the room.

Kazamori and Inga focused on the computer and desk that Kenta Otonoshi would have used day to day, the two Detectives searched through the bookshelf on the left side of the room, and the Police Chief and the Prossecutor searched the cabinets on the right side of the room.

It was a little while into the search that Rie found a ledger of business expenses. “Hey, Shinjuurou, what do you make of this?” She asked as she settled down on the floor to open the ledger up and page through it.

“Huh?” Shinjuurou then knelled down to lean over her shoulder to look as she paged through it. “Looks like a expense book…”

“Yeah, but it’s the second one I found,” Rie said, “and it’s unmarked too…”

“And then there’s the numbers…that doesn’t add up even though it looks like it should…”

The Ledger….a plot point I introduced that didn’t serve to do much overall.

As they looked over that, Katawase elbowed Izumi in the arm with a grin on her face, “Hey, Izumi-chan, Izumi-chan!”

“What is it?” Izumi scowled, “And don’t call me that, please.”

“Don’t those two look all close an’ cuddly all’f’a sudden?” Katawase asked as she nodded in Shinjuurou and Rie’s direction.

Izumi followed the Chief’s directional cue, and observed the two. She’d never really paid attention before to people’s emotional cues, but now that she was being forced to look… There was a distance between the two that seemed to have been filled. That could be trouble if Rinroku ever found out. “No, they don’t.”

“Aww, come on,” Katawase protested, “you really don’t see it? And they were all dressed up last night too…!”

Izumi’s reaction here is rather odd, wouldn’t you think?

Thankfully for Rie and Shinjuurou, who heard all of this thanks to the two officers talking louder than they thought they were, Inga spoke up just then, “FOUND SOMETHING!”

“It looks like all personal data related to a particular project was uploaded to a drop box cloud for ease of access,” Kazamori explained. “Unfortunately, access to the local copy appears to be password encrypted on several levels. I cannot tell what is inside the contents of this drop box cloud beyond the name.”

“And what name is that?” Rie asked.

“An alphanumerical string of letters and numbers: ‘P, r, 0, V, z, n, L, underscore, 5, N, underscore, P, 1, 3.'” Kazamori repeated the string back.

“Hold on, I think I saw that in here…” Rie flipped back a few pages, and then Shinjuurou pointed at one.

“There. Project ‘Provisonal Five-N, Pie’…Pi?” Shinjuurou frowned, “I don’t think this is an accounting book at all… Look at that line there…” He pointed at a line.

“Oh..?” Rie’s eyes widened. “OH!”

If you read certain letters, it spells: “P Vz N P”

Heh.

“What’cha got there, lovebirds?” Katawase asked of them, which made them jump slightly in surprise.

“Looks like an accounting book at first glance,” Shinjuurou said after a second of recomposing himself, “but I think this might be a code book.”

“I’ve got to agree on that, but I think it might be an accounting book hidden inside a code book too,” Rie put the theory forward.

“I’ll have Aranea-san take a look at it,” Izumi said, “maybe she will find something in there will let us into that drop box.”

“Sounds like a plan,” Shinjuurou agreed with a glance at Kazamori. “Ah, I think we should get going soon. If we’re going to make it to that appointment on time.”

“Oh, you’re right!” Rie nodded suddenly holding the book awkwardly as if trying to bookmark the current page before closing it, “Sorry to bail out on you, Izumi, Officer Katawase, we’ve got somewhere to be and not a lot of time to get there.”

“Huh?” Inga blinked, “But it’s not anywhere near lunch ti-” Kazamori elbowed him in the gut. “-EEEM! Ow…” Izumi raised an eyebrow at him. “Er…Um…Right! I guess it’s later than I thought! I just got hungry all of a sudden!”

Katawase blinked, though her eyes could not be seen, “Huh?”

Rie steals a page.

There was a thud, and the code/accounting book was placed on the ground. “Alright, we’ve got to get going,” Rie said. “Later, Izumi-san!”

“Er, um…” Izumi stared out after them as the two detectives and their ‘assistants’ quickly left the room, heading to the elevator as quickly as they could.

“What the hell was that for, Kazamori?” Inga asked with a slight scowl.

“Not here,” Shinjuurou said, “outside.”

“You found something in that book, didn’t you?” Inga asked.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about, Inga,” Rie said as she discretely pulled out a folded sheet of paper from a pocket, and put it back in. “We’ve got that outstanding appointment with Steranko, remember?”

“It’s half-way across town,” Shinjuurou said, “not that far from Otonoshi’s house, actually. The drive’s going to be even longer from here than from Rie’s place to there.”

Subtle. Reeeeeeeeaaaal Subtle.

They took the elevator down, and quickly exited the building.

“So now that we’re out of there, what did you guys find?” Inga asked.

“It was Kazamori’s discovery of the drop box that tipped us off,” Shinjuurou said, “and you found that right off the bat, didn’t you?”

“His Email Inbox showed numerous space purchase upgrades for the drop box account,” Kazamori said, “I copied everything to a flash drive just in case Rising Sun tampers with the original copies after today,” and she held up a thumb drive.

“That drop box name was right over another listing,” Rie explained as she held up the stolen page, “Steranko Security.”

“There were a few other names on there we might want to investigate too,” Shinjuurou said, “so we tore a page out when Izumi and Katawase weren’t looking.”

“So that was why Kazamori hit me,” Inga scowled. “Not cool, Shinjuurou!”

“They needed a distraction,” Kazamori said, “so I thought of one loud enough to cover the sound of tearing paper.”

“Still though…” Inga grumbled, “you didn’t have to hit me so hard…”

“Sorry,” Kazamori apologized, with a surprising slightly pinkish tone coming over her cheeks, “it’s harder to control strength when I can’t adjust it as a numerical value.”

Kazamori has a lot to learn, it seems.

Before the conversation could drift into that dark territory again, Shinjuurou voiced a question, “So what else did you find on the computer?”

“Nothing beyond the emails and the drop box,” Kazamori said, “everything appeared to have been emptied out save for the receipt emails, most likely too important to delete permanently, and when I checked the system files, it appears that a hard system reformat was done within the last week. The drop box most likely contains all of the important information. A virtual desktop as it were.”

“Yeah, the desk was just as empty as the computer,” Inga said as he put his arms behind his head, “lots of fresh dust lines though. I think someone cleared it out last night. Also- was it just me, or did anyone else notice a disturbing lack of photographs in that office?”

“Now that you mention it,” Rie said, “I don’t remember seeing any paintings or photos at his house either.”

“But that Mitsuku guy, he had a bunch of photos on his shelves and desk,” Inga continued. “A lot of those were high school photos, too. I wonder if he was embarrassed about his past or something?”

“Maybe someone from his high school days when he worked on P Versus NP?” Shinjuurou wondered, “That could be how they knew he completed it. If the Rising Sun group included Kenta Otonoshi, then this might not be a straight murder case at all.”

Inga makes the important observation here, and it supports Shinjuurou’s idea.

“We could be going about it the wrong way, if that’s the case,” Rie noted as she scanned over the sheet of paper. “We’ll have to check the yearbooks to see if any of these names match up with Kenta’s old classmates.”

“I say we split up for now,” Shinjuurou said, “I’ll take Inga with me to Steranko. Rie…?”

“I’ll take Kazamori with me to the Library, we’ll search online for the Yearbooks, and the school,” Rie nodded. “If we can’t find an online copy of the yearbooks, we’ll have to search for a hard copy somewhere else.”

“Wait,” Inga began, “we’re splitting up? Why?”

“So that way we can cover more ground.” Shinjuurou said, “If the Rising Sun is using P Versus NP to easily hack into the world’s websites, we’re going to need to move quickly to search for everything before they cover their tracks.”

“It sounds like a reasonable plan to me,” Kazamori agreed.

“We’ll meet up back at my place after we finish up,” Shinjuurou decided. “I have a feeling it’ll be off the radar after…well…” he trailed off.

“Right,” Rie nodded, “plus, who knows if they haven’t bugged my place by now. They did call my dad out on this, after all.”

And so they went their separate ways.

End of chapter 2!

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