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CHAPTER THREE:Edit

Japan 2136hours 23/10/01-Edit

Martin’s PDC beeps and he looks over at the tanned whore, lying naked on the futon, her eyes wandering around him as he speaks into his wrist. “ Alright. I’ll be there at 12. Over,” says Martin. “ Prick.” He turns to the lady, who stares at him with hopeful eyes.

“ Sorry babe. Gotta rush. Business appointment,” he says, pulling on his jeans, zipping himself up as the whore rolls over and begins to fondle with the Genetic-Spray contraceptive aerosol. She dabs some fragrance on her as Martin glances over the Organic Superlubricant bottle, along with the whips, feather-dusters, chocolate sauce and whipped cream bottles. He shakes his head. He scans over the 100 New Yen into the black reader. She turns and looks over at him.

“ I won’t forget this,” she says in Japanese, with a smile.

“ Likewise,” says Martin with a grin as he pulls on the jacket and heads out into the hall. He walks past the other private rooms of the Hotel Chiba. He passes out onto the landing where April stands there, her arms folded. He removes a chip from his headpiece.

“ Got the call huh?” she asks. “ You bastard.”

“ Well at least I got luckier than you did with that bloke,” says Martin. “ How was he anyway?” He pockets the chip in a Sony player.

“ Shut up,” fumes April, her face red. “ How much was that cheap slut?” Martin checks through the chip records and then turns to her.

“ Best 100 New Yen I ever spent,” says Martin with a grin.

“ You asshole!” yells April, her eyebrows down, her face red.

“ Oi! Oi! I got the call, okay? Let’s go grab a drink or something at the bar. Might as well taste something before I leave,” snaps Martin, his own voice passionate and angry. “ Alright?”

“ You really are a bastard,” mutters April as they head into the elevator, which smells of cheap perfume and rings with the suggestive neural-net lift music that made you want to puke.

“ Yeah, but I’m practical,” says Martin as the lift descends onto the main lobby. They pass on over to the bar, where he orders a Chiba punch special. The waiter passes him a tall cocktail with a fluoro orange liquid with green leaves floating in it, a multi-coloured straw, a little umbrella and a slice of lemon with ice. “ To good health,” he says, downing the whole liquid in one gulp. He slams the glass back on the bench and takes a stagger back.

“ You lameass,” says April, turning to the waiter. “ Gimmie one of those.” She scans in the payment and the bartender returns with a similar drink. Martin looks at her as she sips it. “ What?”

“ Nothing, I just didn’t know you had the same taste,” says April. “ Especially that of a ‘bastard’.”

“ Well if you want to fuck things up, don’t let me stop you getting the blame,” says April, downing the drink.

“ You know half of the water in that hasn’t been purified,” mentions Martin. April sprays out a gush of the liquid over the bar. Martin laughs heartily. “ Got you there, didn’t I Ap?”

“ Well it’s on your bill,” says April, holding up her gloved hand. He looks at the scan to see his holograph’s face.

“ SHIT!” yells Martin. “ Why did I get teamed up with you?”

“ Dunno, because probably they needed somebody who could think.”

“ 100 New Yen is not a lot. It’s about 50 or 40 Australian,” says Martin as he orders another. April looks at him as he drowns it. “ Only about 5% alcohol. Makes up for it by having a very strong flavour that’s a bit overpowering,” says Martin. “ Pretty good for only $20 New Yen.”

“ You seriously need to get a life,” says April as she downs the rest of her drink. She glances at the PDC. She places the drink back. “ Fill it,” she says, scanning the PDC into a reader. She downs another drink. Martin just shakes his head as he looks over a bunch of whores checking out a mob of sailors.

“ Wonder if we’ll meet any Yaks in this deal?” he asks.

“ If we do, I’m sure to make you a good sacrifice,” says April.

“ Ha ha,” says Martin sarcastically, as he finishes off the drink.

2148hours-Edit

The pool hall was full of seedy characters as Sabrina sunk a red ball into the corner pocket, slamming two more in.

“ Nice shot,” comments a bloke from the corner, sporting a goatee, decked in leather along with several other punks. He nods at Yolz and Sab. “ Why not play with us? Much more friendlier?”

“ Yeah, whatever you reckon,” says Sab as she hands the cue over to Yolz. One of the punks glanced over at his comrade, pointed. He moved over, his tan dark, his eyes darker.

He leans on the pool table, looking at Yolz through coloured specs. “ Got some moves on you girl,” he notices as she aims the cue. “ Wanna hang?”

“ Don’t talk to strangers,” says Yolz, sinking three balls.

“ Bet you do, bet you do,” he says, glancing at Sabrina, who stands there, her arms by her side, her eyes steady, alert. The guy stands behind Yolz, an arm on either side of her. He glances at her body and moves upwards to her neck and takes a deep breath. “ Mmmm, I could go for a little of that,” he says, moving a hand to her behind. Yolanda glances to Sabrina, who glares at the bloke.

“ Why not use that hand of yours and shove it, bozo,” says Sabrina.

“ It’s okay, I can handle him,” says Yolz, smiling knowingly.

“ Even so, I don’t like him,” snarls Sabrina. The man grins. He pulls out a flick-knife and points it at Yolanda’s throat.

“ Well I don’t like you either. I want you girl. Now are you gonna come or do you wanna play rough?” asks the bloke.

Yolanda looks at Sabrina. “ Well if you want to play, let’s play,” she says, shoving the cue between her legs, the cue slamming into his crotch. He doubles back, losing a grip on the knife. She whips around, slamming a leg into his face, he falls onto the floor, his face bleeding. The other punks scramble up. A glint of metal comes from the others, and the others ditches something. Sabrina’s hand snatches out the flying shruiken from the air and twirls it at the thrower, the metal star pinning the guy’s hair into the wall behind him. Suddenly there’s the click of a gun.

Sabrina doesn’t need to see a Smith and Wesson holster being held at her. She glances to Yolz, as a second bloke comes over to her, holding the knife.

“ What you just did was impossible. I like, wanna join?” he asks.

“ Piss off,” snaps Sabrina, her eyes glaring. She grabs the gun-holder’s arm and throws him into the table, collapsing it under his weight. The knife holder makes a swipe at Yolz and she leaps back. She ducks as he heaves at her, going onto her back, kicking her legs up and legging him up into the air, sending him flying until he sailed over the bar into a tray of glasses.

There’s the noise of several guns being cocked, and Yolz turns to see several large barrels being aimed at her. There’s another sound of a gun being cocked, and she turns to see Sabrina holding the shotgun. She lets loose a blast and a blue bolt of energy shoots out, slamming into the metal holsters. The metal expands and explodes in a heap of shrapnel. The men leap back, splinters of steel embedded in their bodies, bleeding from small cuts, their hands burnt. They yell and look at the single shotgun in her grasp. The other patrons in the hall look over at them with open mouths. Yolanda glances at the mirror behind the bar and sees their reflection of two oriental girls. She breathes a sigh of relief.

“ Come on, let’s get outta here,” she says.

“ Good idea,” says Sabrina, pulling the gun back. They head towards the door and bolt, running onto the street, keeping low as they ran into the crowd. The holographs around their bodies shifted, the features and colours of clothing melding and changing as they jaywalked across the street, amidst the honking of drivers. One car stops right in front of them, and they leap over the car in a full swoop, the driver glancing at them open-mouthed as they run across the block and stop into a walk, their holographs now of two african sailors merging into the crowd of kimonos and saraimans.

“ That was too close,” mutters Sabrina as a police car pulls up outside the pool bar. They continue walking onwards and are out of sight before anyone notices.

“ Alright, now where’s the bloody train terminal?” mutters Yolz.

2200hours-Edit

Hayley and Ryan brush past the crowd as they clamber down the staircase to the platforms, full of commuters. The electrics brush past, hissing as they stop and as other trains come on. Ryan stops over to the ticket office and orders two trips to Tokyo.

“ Come on, we have only a minute to find the bloody train,” mutters Hayley, pulling him aside as he grabs the tickets.

“ Alright! Alright! Keep your knickers on!” he calls as they hurry past businessmen, old ladies and young children alike.

They head onto platform 12, as they break across the bridges to the other side. A large silver passenger train pulls into the station, the doors open. Pushers shove suits into the freight terminals.

“ WAIT!” she calls, holding up the tickets. They push past the crowd, their feet echoing against the concrete as they merge into the sea of suits. They flow into the train, where three assistants in black uniforms are directing people into their lockers.

Hayley presents the ticket stubs to one of them, who scans the barcode as they place their gloved hands onto the plate, their holograph faces appearing on the screen above. The assistant nods and points to the tickets. They’re first class resting booths.

“ 11-C, 11-D, down there to the left,” says the assistant in Korean, the translation feeding through the PDC.

“ Thanks,” says Ryan, giving a mock salute as they head down to the lockers. For every two metres down there stood six lockers, half a metre tall each, 75 centimetres wide. They didn’t place anything in the storage circles beside the ladder. He turns to Hayley. “ You want the top mid or bottom mid?” he asks.

Hayley grabs the 11-C and climbs up to the locker, inserting the remainder of the stub into the slot, the plexiglass shield sliding across. She grabs the handlebars and pulls herself onto the futon, the ceiling screen advertising a military slogan for the Orbital Defence Pods.

There was an image from a satellite of the row of carefully positioned white dots in the serene black sea of space, the static of cosmic radiation filtering through the camera relay. Hayley hardly felt as Ryan slid onto the narrow rim around the case and stepped into the locker, adjusting the pillow on the futon. The ceiling was a mixture of overhead lights, a viewing screen, a keypad with a scanning plate and an overhead storage section. The time flashed in digital on an oblong screen beside the console buttons. The Japanese characters meant absolutely nothing to her, so she scanned her PDC along the nameplates and watched as the English translations appeared. She nodded and pulled the curtain across, as the shield closed. A red light was constantly flashing, and it was only then that she realised the train was already in motion.

“ How long we got?” squawked Ryan over the PDC, his voice a bare whisper, as the screen showed how Cyprus was supportive of Japan’s Anti Global Warming program that had been initiated since the early 21st century. The slogan CYPRUS- BUILDING FOR A BETTER TOMORROW was clearly visible. Hayley turned the screen to a TV show, showing a violent onslaught of magana cartoons colliding with blood and gore and all the entrails. No subtitles provided by the station though.

“ About five-ten minutes,” mutters Hayley. “ You mind being quiet for a few minutes? I need to psych up for this shit.”

“ Okay, okay,” says Ryan. “ See you in five then.”

The line went quiet, Hayley thumbed down the volume and focussed her attention on the breathing, the electronic flashes highlighting her face as she inhales and exhales deeply. There’s a light shudder. The screen shows the stop.

Funabashi. The train stopped for a minute and a half each stop. There would be only one more, Ichikawa, and then they would be in the heart of Tokyo. This was the capital stop route, which went for the major stops only. The quickest they could find at this time. Hayley opened her eyes as the final call message spread across the screen.

WILL ALL PASSENGERS FOR FUNASBASHI PLEASE EXIT NOW. YOU HAVE ONE MINUTE TO LEAVE THE TRAIN, it translated. ICHIKAWA STOP IN FOUR MINUTES. TOKYO IN TEN MINUTES.

“ That answer your question Ryan?” asks Hayley.

“ Yep, just about jumping for joy here,” remarks Ryan.

2212hours-Edit

Nick and Mandy stepped out of the corridor and onto the platform, the heating system blowing about their coats as they glanced around the hundred-odd faces at the station sector. There were over fifty stories of plain train tracks, the underground plazas a stream of bars, bookstores, travel agents, banks and toystores. The sign for Mitsubishi Bank was clearly projected in faded red neon from one of the overhangs that wormed it’s way.

“ Of the four million or so commuters here and we were lucky enough to get business class,” says Nick. “ We should’ve been caught.”

“ Well we weren’t. We paid for the ticket, we’re supporting the economy. We paid full rate and so we’ve probably done all we could,” says Mandy, glancing around as the green-suited police governed the flow of businessmen. People were shoving this way and right. Even though it was past peak hour, with the rate slowing to about two hundred odd per level.

The area was sparse, even for Tokyo.

“ Must be the tension in the air,” mutters Nick. “ Come on. Let’s get outta here.” The holographs of an asian couple reflect off the polished porcelain walls, as full-screen advertisements and the electronic throb from the dance discoteques was pulsating in the air. The crowd was a bunch of businessmen, their faces drained of colour, their shoulders bunching against each other as the single train platform awaited several thousand more new arrivals. The pushers stood at the gates, several moving more people onto the trains. A bunch of pimps and drug dealers sat at a corner outside a stripclub. Mandy and Nick pushed through the crowd, heading to an already full stairwell. Nick turned to Mandy.

“ Guess this is it,” he mutters.

“ Yeah, I guess so,” says Mandy. She moves forward and they kiss. Then they separated, Nick pulling off his coat, the holograph of a green police-officer uniform appearing around him. He tucked the cap in low as he moved through the mob towards the stairwell.

Mandy turned down the plaza, her boots clicking against the pavement. Several other figures, looking not much different to the suits, but moving towards her, yet at a distance, were visible. Mandy turned to see the cops of Martin, April and Ryan appear from the crowds. Sabrina, Hayley and Yolanda come out dressed in servicemen overalls. Mandy digs her hands into her pockets, the white uniform glancing over the windows of the plaza.

The holograph change was sudden enough to catch people off-guard, those who happened to glance their way would see a bunch of characters move out of a crowd and nothing else. Nothing new.

Hayley came up beside Mandy, her glasses reflecting the bright overhead light. “ I take it you guys know where to go.”

Mandy nods as the figures of Sabrina and Yolanda come up from behind them. The cop group moved into a Starbucks.

“ Meet you lot outside. We’ll keep on the ground,” mutters Martin, through the ear implants.

The group of cops leave the Stabucks, heading towards the stairwell. Soon they’re gone.

“ Time to meet the maker,” mutters Sabrina as they head on over through the crowd. They turn an alleyway down a long corridor, passing a few drunks who are sleeping against the walls. They get to the service door at the end.

Sabrina holds the PDC against the metal plate, glowing, illuminating the previous gloveprint against the service plate. Her gloved hand glowing as the bio-mesh leather rippled like water to meld into a larger hand that matched the scan. She held it against the door as Hayley connected her own PDC into the touchpad terminal. She hit a few buttons and the lock whirred, she opened the door into a large whitewashed room, Sabrina and Yolanda taking out the shotguns as Mandy closes the door behind them and locks it. Yolz grabs the drain cover and moves it aside, revealing the sewer entrance.

“ This just keeps on getting better and better,” says Mandy, shrivelling up her nose as she checks the atomic cell recharge.

“ Well, no rest for the wicked,” mutters Hayley as she pulls out her own gun and checks it. She lowers herself into the sewer, the others following, the grate slamming closed behind them.

2224hours-Edit

“ Cyprus corporation here boys, breathe it in,” says Nick as they look over the enormous steel and concrete complex, extending some 50 stories into the air.

“ Excuse me, but there’s a lady in your company,” points out April as she sips her coffee.

“ As I said before, Cyprus corporation, breathe it in,” says Nick.

“ How the hell are they gonna get in there?” asks Ryan.

“ That’s their problem to figure out,” says Martin.

“ You can be a real asshole sometimes, Martin,” mutters April.

“ The fuck’s up with you?” asks Martin, raising an eyebrow.

“ I just don’t like the fact that I’m here with you joe blows while I could be down there doing some ass whooping with the real brains of this little scheme of ours,” says April.

“ What is it with girls and asses? I mean they seem obsessed,” says Ryan.

“ Almost as much as you,” says Martin. Nick laughs.

“ SHUT UP!” yells Ryan, going red in the face.

The others laugh as suddenly two police interceptors come cruising in from two sides down the road and pull up outside Cyrpus.

Nick stops laughing.

“ Oh shit,” April and Martin say together. The cops pull out.

“ It’s not ten-thirty yet,” mutters April. “ And they aren’t there yet. They’re still in the sewer.”

“ Guess you’re happy about not being in their position right now, huh?” says Ryan. “ Must have motion detectors down there.”

“ No shit sherlock. What do you assume now?” asks Martin. “ How come we didn’t see this coming?”

“ Well we couldn’t just send a few people down there and ask them if there were any in the afterlife or when they were giving us their only call from a Japanese prison, or worse, a Zychagrophoid’s,” points out Nick. “ At least we can blame Baz for this one.”

“ No, they’re armed with dispersal holographs, they’ll cut out any bugs for a hundred metres at least,” says April. “ That part I did know, off his report.”

“ Well maybe they have long-range, or maybe they have something that picked up holograms?” says Martin. “ Maybe…”

A man calls out in Japanese. They turn to see several police officers starting towards them. They turn to attention, snapping their hands in a salute.

“ What are you two doing here?” yells a blonde officer with dark eyes, the translation feeding through the PDC and off the ear implants. “ I never ordered any teams here!”

“ We’re basic patrol team, sir!” yells Martin, the larynx microchip bursting the words out in Japanese language. “ This information was made unaware to us. We…”

“ Be quiet constable… Chan,” says the captain, his shoulder bands glowing in the light from the cruisers. “ This is a direct operation ordered by Mr Gregston! We thankfully have two Synth Tact teams inside.”

“ Thankyou, Captain Isoroku,” says a voice. They turn to see the black limousine beside the car and the tall form of a man dressed in a tuxedo with long wet locks of red hair. Isoroku bows. “ I’m sure they have heard clearly thanks to your loud voice. If they have happened to come across our little sting then that is no problem. In fact, I’m sure these fine gentlemen… pardon me, ladies and gentlemen can be of some… assistance to us,” says Gregson. The man looked over at the enormous skyscraper. “ I, myself has been called away from a function to deal with this little terrorist matter of ours. One that I hope you, Captain, will be able to deal with, without waking up the entire populace of Tokyo. Oh, and I want them alive.”

Isoroku gulps. Martin and April hide their smiles at his discomfort.

“ I’m then glad to announce that we have six teams already inside, armed with the best Synthmetal armour and weapons that can be provided. We will catch them with all our efforts,” says Isoroku.

Gregson smiles and nods. “ Good, bring them with you when you make the raid. I don’t want them to miss one minute of this.”

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