Outside Tradings building.
RING! RING! RING! RING! RING! RING! RING! RING!...... BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEEP. Click. Totomi disconnected his Soldier cell and looked toward the sky.
“Captain Dojima, Captain Dojima there’s a call for you!”
“Captain Dojima we still haven’t been able to contact the two officers.”
“Over there Captain Dojima, there are more wounded officers.”
“Captain Dojima should we request someone from Headquarters to assist...”
The dead of night, outside the Tradings Building, the many High Deck officers were swarming around the Nobles Soldier Captain; Lady Dojima since the quake had rocked the earth and the HighDeck Infiltration Officers had been trapped in the underground explosion. The spy... it was obvious the spy was tracking their every move and no one was yet sure who it could be. Lady Dojima continued to stand her ground in the horde with determined gilden eyes. Maburik and Kentaro were nowhere to be found and Totomi was standing mildly apart.
“Not all of the High Deck Officers have been accounted for Captain.”
“How many casualties do we have?” Lady Dojima replied.
“We’re still extracting them.”
“Alright, let’s head over there.”
“Everyone,” the officer made an about turn to face all the vehicles, waving his arms widely, “make way for the Captain!” But the place was too jam-packed with High Deck Officials’ cars and bulky snailing ambulance trucks.
“It’s fine,” Lady Dojima stopped the officer from making further declarations, “we’ll walk. It isn’t that far from here. Let's go everyone."
“Yes ma’am.” The group started away from Tradings Building, weaving their way through the cars, officials and gathering civilians. Totomi watched them depart. It’s no good. Not with the spy still within.
“...” Totomi took a pivot turn and headed to the far offs, toward the Soldiers’ limousines in the distance. His father was still there, disengaged. He looked at Totomi as his son neared, his long ponytailed hair swishing down his back.
Totomi didn’t say a word till he’d walked straight up to his father where he stopped. “Father,” he said.
“Father... where’s Lord Bromo?”
“Ah...” his father’s rich deep voice resounded, “he is back at Headquarters I assume. However, I wanted to watch over things here.”
“...” Totomi said nothing. What was he doing at HQ when there were so few Soldiers here? Totomi looked at Tradings Building breezily once more. How much longer will this go on...
“Such a mess,” Lord Hamasaki voiced Totomi’s thoughts pensively. “Son.”
“Yes father,” Totomi snapped out of his reverie.
“I have a thought. Contact your Okami friend.”
“It’s no good,” Totomi replied serenely, “I tried earlier but reaped no response.”
“Father, might you give me a ride to the Underground tunnel entrance.”
Lord Hamasaki quirked a brow, “do you plan on entering Totomi. I don’t think Lady Dojima would allow it.”
“...” wssshwsshhhhwssshhh. The wind blew. “She... has a good heart. But she’s a bit too risky.”
“...” That doesn’t answer my question. Lord Hamasaki studied his son’s unrevealing face for a moment. I see, you truly do not have any regards for policy. “Alright,” he said. “Let’s go.”
The two Hamasakis got into the back of Lord Hamasaki’s white limo and Lord Hamasaki instructed the driver from behind the dividing panel. They reversed out from between two other Nobles’ limos smoothly and turned onto a back road, driving swiftly and silently, and reached their destination in no time at all. The limousine pulled over and Totomi opened his passenger door to exit.
“I’ll call Tanjo again father,” he said as he got up.
“Alright. I’m heading over to HQ now.”
Totomi nodded at his father and then closed the door. The limo took off. Totomi turned around and headed toward the gathering. Lady Dojima was charging officers carrying the injured out of the tunnel onto ambulance truck gurneys and marking off a role list. Totomi walked up to her quietly.
“Excuse me Lady Dojima,” he said levelly, “may I have a word.”
“Hm,” Lady Dojima looked up startled at Totomi as he stood before her. Then she breathed out a sigh of relief, “oh finally another Soldier, but I’ve never seen you around before.”
“Allow me,” Totomi bowed shortly, “I am Totomi Hamasaki.”
“Pleasure,” Lady Dojima replied offhandedly, “I see, you’re the new Hamasaki then. I’m sorry about your loss... look here,” she continued without waiting for a reply, “where is your father... I thought I saw him around, is Lord Hamasaki still here?”
“He is on his way to HQ at this moment.”
“Damn,” Lady Dojima shook her head and stared off for a second almost forgetting Totomi’s presence. Then she looked back at him briskly, “so what’s the problem. Did something happen??”
“I’d like permission granted for entry into the underground passageway-”
“Oh my god, you what?” Lady Dojima’s eyes widened. Totomi remained unmoved and expressionless. “Are you serious? We’re trying to pull out all those injured officers and we’ve lost contact with three of our men in there...” she stared at Totomi frowning, “I don’t want anyone else going in until we clear this up first... we’re short of Soldiers as it is and-”
“Oh, there you are.”
Both Lady Dojima and Totomi turned their heads to the sound of the approaching voice. Kentaro and Maburik marched up to Lady Dojima and casually stood before Totomi to address her. Totomi stepped aside.
“This is where you all went huh,” Kentaro voiced testily, “I’ve been wanting to talk to you. Look at this mess, if only you’d done what I’d said in the first place-”
“Kentaro,” Lady Dojima cut him off, “I have no time for this. I have things to do-”
“Hey I’m just as much a Soldier as you are,” Kentaro pushed his glasses haughtily up on his nose bridge. Maburik stood at his side, stroking his long blonde hair and looking off boredly and then back at times to snicker and offer Kentaro a hand in the verbal exchange.
“You do realize our friend Nagira is still inside, don’t you Captain,” Kentaro folded his arms vexedly.
That’s right. Totomi looked on fixed; Nagira went in with the infiltration squad.
“And we have had no contact with him via Soldier cell either,” Maburik offered nasally.
“I am trying my best here,” Lady Dojima clenched the clipboard in her hands irritably.
“Your best clearly isn’t enough,” Kentaro said.
“Why you...” the Captain’s gilden eyes glistened as did Kentaro’s. Totomi noted the exchange. It was clear that the two were siblings. But... Nagira’s inside, isn’t he. Totomi looked toward the entrance. And he is not responding...
Totomi stepped back away from the squabbling Noble Soldiers and reached behind his ear to dial his friend back at HQ on his Soldier cell. This time, after one ring, Tanjo Okami responded. “Hi Totomi, what’s up.”
“Tanjo... where have you been.”
“Ahh... oh yea,” Tanjo sounded flustered on the other end, “sorry, I was a little busy and distracted and I turned my cell off and I missed your call, sorry... I should have called back Toto-”
“Where are you at present.”
“Uhhh... I’m at Headquarters.”
“Is Lord Bromo there with you?”
“Well... not exactly.”
“...What do you mean. He’s not at HQ?”
“Oh yes! He is at HQ... I’m just outside.”
“Tanjo...” Totomi said lowly and paused. “Why are you outside...”
“Hey it’s not my fault!” Tanjo exclaimed in a heat which Totomi didn’t feel the need to respond to. “He told me to stay outside and I’m not going to argue with that man, he’s so scary. I swear he wants to kill me-”
“I need you to follow him.”
“EHHH!!?” Tanjo screeched in shock. “Tell me you did not say to follow that monster! Please god no. Anything but that. Do you want me to follow your mom instead..?”
“...” Totomi’s lips pursed. He didn’t really have time to chat with Tanjo so. He had to cut him off now... “Tanjo... it is your duty.”
At once, the protests on the other end of the line broke off and Totomi heard a resolute gulp from his ambitious young friend. “Duty. Right. Alright Totomi. You can count on me.”
“Arigato Tanjo.” Totomi clicked off the call and looked at the Soldiers busy still arguing. He wasn’t even in their line of sight. He turned his back on them and started toward the underground entrance, pulling out his eye visor and fitting it on, his sword was faithfully at his belt. And so, Totomi Hamasaki entered the fray of the underground passageway shamelessly.
Tanjo Okami; the 17year old Noble Soldier fixed the two brown locks affront his face and puckered out brown hair at the back of his neck and took a deep breath. It was time to perform his obligation. He made a fist, his hazel eyes glistening with determination and then he boarded the elevator to the top floor. It was night time and HQ was empty, the lights eerily on in the quiet white building, shadows and echoes everywhere.
The elevator doors slid open, and the white clothed figure of Tanjo Okami marched down the hallway, trying not to make any unnecessary noise. He stopped at the operator mainframe room and slid open the door resolutely. SLAM! The door thundered open and Tanjo winced. “Ah gee... they don’t make doors like they used to... uh...”
Tanjo stopped midsentence as the two room occupants stared back at him from where they sat. Lord Bromo and Uriko (Totomi’s girlfriend). “Tanjo?” Uriko said quizzedly. Bromo, standing at her side with folded arms, glared at the newcomer hatefully. Tanjo winced...
“Um, hi Uriko. Uh... Bromo-dono... I...”
“I thought I told you to wait outside.” Bromo’s voice was as deep and booming as ever. He was looking directly at Tanjo as was Uriko where she sat before the Mac screens. They had minimized what they had been viewing.
“Uh......... I........” Tanjo grew red, “it was cold... sempai.”
“Hmph!” Bromo hmphed gruffly. The mood was tense (to Tanjo atleast) Uriko implored him then smirked, “hey buddy, you look like you’re ready to die.” Tanjo sighed. Atleast he had a friend there and wasn’t alone with the fearsome Soldier Captain Bromo.
“I wish I was.” He murmured in reply, then he perked up. “I don’t think things are going well at the Tradings Building at all. They’re about to climax just about now.”
“...” Bromo said nothing but ogled Tanjo out of the corner of his eye. Then, with a- “stay here boy,” he turned around and stormed pass Tanjo and out of the room. Tanjo gulped as the Captain swished past him. He looked back at Uriko as Bromo was out of sight.
“Did I say something wrong?”
“Ha ha!” Uriko chuckled huskily. “You know how that man is. It’s such a relief to breathe again.”
“Tell me about it.” Tanjo walked over to his friend and sat on a random seat. He spun it around and sighed. “My life is going to be a nightmare now. I don’t like being a Soldier anymore.” He pushed the sleeve back on his Soldier trench coat and checked his watch. He sighed again depressingly. “All this fridge-in spy business...”
Uriko stretched her arms behind her back and slid down in her chair. She took out a kunai and began sharpening her nails. “Well I just miss the action. This is boring!”
“Say...” Tanjo leant his chin on the back of his chair and looked Uriko in her obsidian eyes, “what were you and Lord Bromo doing anyway?”
“Tanjo...” Uriko stopped filing her index nail into a point and cocked her head to the side, “aren’t you supposed to keep beside Bromo?”
“Damnit!!!” Tanjo jumped up from his chair, knocking it over. Uriko casually went back to filing her nails and whistling. “God I’m sooo dead!!!” he spun on his heel and rushed to the and then turned off to run down the hallway-
“Oye Tanjo!!” Uriko suddenly called out. Tanjo stopped in his tracks and looked back over his shoulder at Uriko in the Mac room. She made a good luck sign and then pointed left with her thumb, “you’re going the wrong way.”
Tanjo blushed and then glanced down at his watch. “Actually... I have to use the bathroom first.”
The hall was a blurry swaying spotlight that faded periodically before Kochiro’s eyes. It continued to sway and dip, off the walls, to the ground and then back again like a long lost boat forever drifting on a tempestuous sea. A ringing sound was Kochiro’s companion in the silence; hot blood pulsated throughout his body with every blink of the lighting. Was it the mask light that was fading, or was Kochiro drifting on himself?Kochiro couldn’t tell and neither did he care to determine.
He was a zombie and he felt nauseous. His cheeks were flushed, mouth dried and the mask felt heavy. He was looking into the spotlight without actually seeing. It was all a blur and his head felt bizarrely dizzy.
“…” …killed someone…. Killed someone again……. Becoming a murderer. I am a murderer….
Kochiro swallowed dryly. My heart… Suddenly, he stumbled and had to grope the wall at his side. What’s… happening… his heart felt ready to explode.
The spotlight stilled on the scene at his feet. He fell to his knees and his stomach churned. Nauseous. He covered his mouth with his free hand. “I’m… I’m feeling…” Everything was spinning. Why was everything spinning..? Is this how it feels to be a killer..? Suddenly, Kochiro’s stomach lurched and he crunched over...
“......” Moments passed. Nothing had come out. Kochiro’s stomach settled. He stayed still, feeling the throb of the cut on his cheek, blurry floor, static, but nothing else. Silence. Get up. Almost there. Get up Kochiro.
Kochiro got to his feet sluggishly and stilled. “...” Almost there. Just do what you have to. Think of nothing else. Killing does not matter. Death does not matter. Nothing else matters. Nothing at all.
“......” Kochiro, placed one foot forward mutely. Then another. Then he started walking again; the zombie ascension, slightly bent forward with his arms hanging loosely, sleeping and drifting and opening his eyes to a the blurry spot of light ahead of him before stepping forward into it, and then another and another, slowly making his way down the hall.
Hahuh ha huh ha huh
Step step step
Ha huh ha huh
Step step step
Sweat. Breathe. Step. Sweat. Breathe. Step...
Finally, Kochiro had reached the stairs to the second floor and could see three heads of hair debating vigorously at the bottom. Two of them were clearly Angels with semi automatics in hand, and a spruce lady held between them, swaying sickly. Kochiro’s facial expression was devoid beneath the mask, he made no attempt to conceal his approach, nor any signal to alert the Muscles.
Clank, his first step on the stair.
“What the fuck is going on Hammer, why the fuck is everyone getting-...”
“Huh?” The female Muscle looked upward and then the heavily built Muscle Angel looked up too. Kochiro stepped down again, clank.
Cogs’ face screwed up tightly as she spun around and made a fist. “Who the fuck are you!?” Clank. Kochiro said nothing. He took another sluggish step down toward them. Clank
“Hey who the fuck are you, you mute fuck! Answer my fucking question!” Cogs raised her heavy gun in both arms and aimed it on Kochiro’s masked phantom form. Hammer swung around, clutching Shinya the Nobles hostage affront him and putting a gun to her head. “You a fuckin’ Soldier or not??? Three seconds to answer or I shoot!!!” Cla clink! “Three!” Cogs shouted.
Kochiro stepped down closer again, wordless. Clank. Nothing matters. “Two!!!” Clank. Kochiro’s eyes had blanked out. Nothing at all...
The Angel Muscles in the second floor lobby were all growing grumpy and restless and apparently sickly. One of the Muscles was pacing rapidly and breathing hard, another was standing sweating and swearing silently in the corner. Cogs stood next to Hammer near a window trying to keep steady and appear unperturbed. But then, - “quit that fuckin pacing you annoying fuckface!!” she spun around and snapped angrily.
The pacing Muscle stopped in his tracks and looked down to his boot. “But Cogs... I don’t feel so good.”
“Me too,” another voiced where he leant against a wall. Cogs glared at him and he grasped his stomach for effect, “seriously. I wanna fuckin throw up.”
“So do I!” Muscle one responded. “Boss, do you think them Nobles did something..? Maybe.... poisoned us all?!?”
“Oh shut up.” Cogs stamped her foot. “They won’t gas us with all these hostages here. And I don’t smell nothing either.”
“.....” the Muscles looked at each other and then down at their worn boots dejectedly and unconvinced. Cogs noted the despair and tskked. She elbowed Hammer, standing silently at her side and then started toward the door.
“Get the Nobles woman,” she ordered Hammer, “we’re gonna investigate so all you fuckfaces can stop complaining now.”
“Mmph,” Hammer grunted and hurled the semi drowsy Nobles hostage; Shinya, up by her arm, following Cogs out into the hallway. Cogs and Hammer, with Shinya between them struggling to keep up, walked down the hallway. Then, as they neared the end, Cogs stopped abruptly and leant against the wall beside the stairs.
“To tell you the truth Hammer, I don’t feel too hot either.” She mumbled lowly. Hammer said nothing. Silence. Cogs grit her teeth. “Do you think they would do it?? Gas every-fuckin-body???
“I mean,” Cogs continued, “are they stupid?? What the fuck is going on Hammer, why the fuck is everyone getting-...”
Cogs glanced behind her as a footstep sounded high up on the stairs to the floor and a masked black clad and suspicious figure emerged and stepped down toward them. Cogs’s face scrunched up, her grip tightened on her AK47 automatically. “Who the fuck are you???”
Clank. The intruder made no reply. Cogs was bemused. “Hey who the fuck are you, you mute fuck! Answer my fucking question!” Only one way to answer this problem. She raised her gun and aimed it at the intimidating ever silent imposter. Why wasn’t he responding. Idiot. He surely wanted to die. Hammer clutched Shinya tighter affront him and aimed his own gun at her head. She was too dazed to react.
“You a fuckin’ Soldier or not??? Three seconds to answer or I shoot!!!” Cla clink! She pulled back the charging handle. “Three!” Cogs shouted.
The imposter stepped down closer again, and wordless. Clank. “Two!!!” Another step. “One!!!!!” Cogs shouted finally, releasing the handle and positioning her index on the trigger... pulled back to squeeze it and then- “argh!” she fell forward onto her knees as a wave of dizziness washed over her. The submachine swung to her side on its strap as she clutched her head.
“Mmph?” Hammer turned to Cogs kneeling at his side, momentarily distracted.
“Grr,” Cogs shook her head swiftly, the world flashed red then back to normal again. “Just shoot... him...” Hammer turned back ahead, but the phantom was already directly in front of them. “Rrgh...” Cogs blinked. “Huh?” clad in black from toe up, the intruder had his hands stretched toward them; in his hands were two gas masks.
Cogs frowned and gradually got to her feet. “What’s this? Well I guess that means Angel Michael sent you huh.” Cogs hitched her gun back to her shoulder as the new Angel made no reply. Hammer lowered his gun too, not speaking either. Cogs made no move to take the masks so the three of the Angels stood frozen in silence as they were.
“.....” In the arms of Hammer, Shinya the hostage passed out and slid to the floor. Hammer let her fall unceremoniously. Cogs turned her head to witness the display, and taking her time, she turned back to look at the intruder, arms still outstretched. “So,” she said finally, “It was that crazy bastard who set up the gas. It’s not lethal I suppose.”
Kochiro didn’t say anything. Cogs tssked and angrily smacked Kochiro’s hands away. The masks flew out and fell onto the floor. “What kind of fuckin intro was that, can’t you atleast say something??? I was about to shoot your sorry ass blind. Where the fuck is Michael then, I demand to see him now.”
“...” Kochiro had completed his given task. That was all there was to it. The punk Angel standing affront him seemed pissed, but for some reason, Kochiro didn’t understand what she was talking about. He didn’t care and somehow couldn’t respond. The big guy was simply standing, looking at him, whilst the woman was glaring at him in full fury now, but he still didn’t open his mouth.
“Answer my... fucking,” Cogs shoved Kochiro backwards and he stumbled back on the stairs, “QUESTION!!!” Another shove and Kochiro fell onto his butt. Kochiro righted himself into a sitting position, but otherwise remained where he’d fallen. He stared ahead of him; into the white space of wall and legs. Cogs gaped slightly confused, but her natural anger took the better of her again.
“What the fuck’s the matter with you, I’ll fuckin kill you, I’ll fuckin kill you if you don’t say nothing you fuckin pathetic retard,” she pulled Kochiro up roughly by the neck of his jersey with two angry fists. Her hands curled tighter, drawing up masked Kochiro closer and closer into her face till she could practically breathe on him. “I’m not joking. I’m not fuckin joking ‘cause I’ve come so far and now Michael sends you; a little kid to make fun of us??? I’ll fuckin kill all of you. Where is he!???” Fists curling tighter.
“Hey!” a voice sounded from the corner of the hall. Hammer and Cogs spun their heads to the side to see. Uriel, bruised but alive, had appeared at the corner of the hall and was frowning puzzledly at the scene. At Kochiro; numb and irresponsive in a fist hold of Cogs. Cogs; brutally holding Kochiro, gun swinging on her shoulder. And the big Muscle Hammer; sub machine gun in hand, standing silently with a Nobles lady lying at his feet. “What the hell’s going on here?”
“Not a fuckin’ thing is what.” Cogs growled at him and turned back to Kochiro. “I’m about to teach this wretched fuckin lackey a lesson.”
“He’s an Angel, we’re on the same side you idiot!” Uriel walked up to them and stopped before Cogs. “His code name’s Raphael, Michael sent him to meet you.”
“Oh yea???” Cogs curled her fists even tighter, the elastic in the Kochiro’s turtleneck jersey stretching and slightly choking him. “...” Cogs brought her face even closer to his...
“Just knock it out!” Uriel knocked Cogs hands away aggravatedly. She stepped back and Kochiro was able to stand on the flat of his feet again. “And you, what’s your problem?” Uriel frowned at Kochiro at his side, “couldn’t you just tell them the plan?”
“...” Kochiro stared straight ahead, his shirt neck rumpled. Uriel realized he was getting no response from his masked ally so he just tssked. He looked back at Cogs and Hammer.
“Michael had us gas the entire building with a knock out hallucinogen,” Uriel said, “all of your Angel Muscles are probably cold out just about now. The Soldiers will respond properly any minute now, we have to get out of here.”
“Why the fuck is Michael messing with our plans now!!” Cogs randomly shouted at Uriel, “who the fuck does he think we are!!??”
“Stop the freakin’ cursing!!!” Uriel shouted back bristled, “you messed up! Michael is only helping you because we can’t afford to let you two into enemy hands! Because of some special device he gave you.” Uriel folded his arms vexed. “You only got this far cause most of the Nobles are too busy trying to find and capture Gabriel but they don’t know who the spy is yet.”
“Grr...” Cogs growled lowly, knowing this to be true. She glared at the masked boy with the curly hair who seemed determined to fulfill his mission. She turned her attention at the other at his side to let out some steam. “So when did this loser join the Angels? He’s Pathetic.”
“...” Uriel held the same sentiments as he glanced at Kochiro but Kochiro seemed to be in a world of his own and not up to it at the moment. What in the world happened to him? “That’s not the point here.” Uriel looked back at Cogs and Hammer fixedly. “Michael said we are to escape to the roof. He says that Hammer would have to break down the door to the roof cause we can’t access the elevators anymore.” He looked at Hammer trustily, “can you do that?”
“Mmm,” Hammer grunted. He bent and picked up the masks with his colossal hands, giving one to Cogs and fitting the other onto his head.
“And uh,” Uriel nodded at the Nobles lady lying sickly on the floor in their midst, “what about her?”
“Who cares???” Cogs stepped over the lady and started up the stairway to the third floor. Hammer promptly followed. Uriel found himself frowning at the callous display. Then he started after the two Muscles and stopped on the first stair, looking back at Kochiro.
“Come on...” Uriel said to Kochiro in a soft semi-sympathetic voice. Then he hesitated and added, “baka.”
Totomi Hamasaki was in. He’d surreptitiously entered the Tradings building and made it pass the underground passageway without notice. From there, he went up past the basement car park, and up into the first floor. Though every floor excluding the second was in total darkness, his Soldier eye visor provided maximum clarification with its Gama and X-ray vision. His sword faithfully at his side beneath his trench coat, Totomi ascended tranquilly up the stairway to the second floor.
It was eerily silent when Totomi reached the second, and it was here that he got his first surprise. “!!” Totomi walked forward and knelt beside the Nobles lady lying on the floor, panting for breath. He placed a hand on her forehead as she groped about in her unconsciousness. She seemed to be alright except for the sweating and shortness of breath. “...” Totomi looked at her for a moment more. This was the hostage. At the very least she was safe and alive.
Steadily, Totomi got to his feet, scooping up the lady in his arms. He couldn’t just leave her there. And why was this floor so silent and devoid of life? Where were the Angels and hostages? Contemplating this, Totomi carried the Nobles lady through double doors into the lobby to rest her in a couch there. Assuring that she was as comfortable as could be possible in the situation, Totomi headed back out into the hallway to search.
Step step step. Pause. It was this room. A trail of unconscious Angels had lead him here. He was at the door to a corner office, hand on the doorknob, pondering. There seemed to be strange groaning on the other side of the door. “....” should... he....
THUDUUD! Totomi stepped back as the door swung outward and a tattooed gun toting man fell out, unconscious. Totomi stared down at the figure wordlessly. Then, he looked up and into the room. He stepped over the body and into the large office.
Angels and hostages alike all lied unconscious at different positions throughout its area. Many of them were groaning and groping about in their sleep. It seemed to be the same condition that ailed the Nobles lady he had recently rescued. It couldn’t be poison, could it? Who had done this? “......” Totomi stepped back out and closed the door shut. Whoever had done it had to still be in the building. A third party? But who? Totomi would call it in to the Soldiers outside, but not yet. There was no time. Nagira was somewhere inside the building as well.
Totomi couldn’t contact Nagira via Soldier cell still. I’ll have to search. Hopefully... he was in time.
Thud thud thud thud thud thud.
Totomi ascended the second floor flight and entered the darkness of the third floor. Who could it be? Where were they hiding? What was truthfully going on??? “....” the third floor provided no such luck/ or misfortune indeed and Totomi felt that he truly had to make haste. He should probably notify the officers outside but he had to give them something to work with. Was it another ambush? Or possibly the Angels and whoever else were escaping full flight.
“......” Totomi sped up and rounded the corner to ascend the stairs of the third flight-
“!!!” There was a faint red figure on his radar, but Totomi didn’t need the extra vision to make out who it was laying in a red pool at the foot of the fourth floor stairs. “Nagira..?” Totomi voiced softly and flew over. He stooped down, red staining his uniform; he touched his accomplice by the shoulders and braced him onto his lap. “Nagira...”
Nagira’s dark blue eyes fluttered faintly open, and then close and open again. His midnight hair was loosed of its ponytail and random strands stuck to the bloody streaks about his face. His gleaming white uniform was resplendent with rosy crimson stains. The same red was slowly creeping up Totomi’s uniform where he knelt cradling Nagira below the stairway. Moonlight filtered through the top window onto Nagira’s face.
“Ah...Totomi Hamasaki...” Nagira whispered in a faded voice, his eyes finally settled halfway open. “So, you’re here. We meet again.”
“What happened,” Totomi responded gently. There was no doubt in his mind that Nagira was on the brink of death.
“...” Nagira was looking straight up at the ceiling and not at Totomi who was looking straight down at him. “There are about three others who’ve entered the building since this began. I believe they are with the Angels, however,” Nagira swallowed and let the moonlight dance over his eyelashes for a while. “They seem to be from another group maybe. Well, the real thing actually.” Totomi nodded.
“Two are called Uriel and Kandai. The Angel name seems to be an alias. The one I encountered was a young boy, he was wearing a gas mask, I think they may have gassed the building.”
That explains it, Totomi thought, the code name Angels have come to rescue their subordinates.
“Four of them passed here a while ago. The two who shot the first Nobles hostage, the boy I had encountered and another boy with curly hair.” Nagira paused for breath as his chest spasmed and he winced shortly. Then he reopened his eyes to the moonlight and continued on. “They’re escaping to the roof.”
“...” Totomi said nothing. So that was it. Nagira...
“Well Totomi, I have to apologize.”
“Hm?” Totomi blinked and looked into Nagira’s eyes perplexed. Nagira finally obliged and he turned his face slightly to look directly at Totomi. He put on a small smile. “Seems like I won’t be introducing you to my Soldier friends after all.”
“Nagira...” Nagira turned back his head and closed his eyes shut.
“Hurry now Totomi, you have a mission to accomplish.”
“I’ll wait here with you.”
“Really Totomi,” Nagira smiled small again, “I’m done for, I am.”
“I know,” Totomi reassured in a serene tone, “but I’ll wait with you anyway.”
“...” Nagira’s eyes opened and met with Totomi’s once more. He smiled in genuine at his friend. “I’ve never smiled so much before I’ve met you. It’s been a pleasure...” his eyes slowly drifted shut, “...Totomi...”
As though symbolic, the moon was suddenly covered by a passing cloud and shadows fell across Nagira’s face. The red figure dimmed to yellow on Totomi’s visor and he could feel the beating of Nagira’s heart against him no more. He let a moment of silence pass before rising. Then, to his feet, Totomi carefully placed Nagira against an unblemished wall and laid his hands across his chest. He offered a prayer then he pulled out his sword and swiped a length of his trench coat off to make a make shift mask without a second’s thought.
Totomi stood in the pool of blood, mask wound about his mouth and the end flapping about dramatically. The bottom of his coat and pants in a fiery pattern of blood creeping upward, Totomi pressed on his Soldier cell and connected to Captain Dojima.
“Nagira is down on the third floor. Angels heading to the roof. I shall pursue.” Beep.
The four Angels; Cogs and Hammer, Uriel and Kochiro were almost to the top of the building. Cogs Hammer and Uriel were speeding on ahead, the flashlights on their gas masks guiding them as they zoomed around each corner and flew up flight after flight of stairs. They didn’t seem to notice Kochiro lagging behind, becoming more and more distant from the group, and swaying sickly, ready to faint.
On the third or so top floor, Kochiro’s knees gave out. The Angels went up the stairs and rounded the corner. Kochiro saw but their backs before crumpling to his knees. He breathed in and out deeply, trying to righten himself. His legs were weak. He dropped his bag off his shoulders and stared at the swirly ground. Then, steadily, he got to his feet again. He had to catch up with the others. He took a step forward, hand on the wall to guide him and walked up the flight of stairs. He hit the landing, rounded the corner and started up the second flight but his legs gave yielded once more.
No use. It was no use. Ha huh ha huh ha... Kochiro stayed on knees and hand. He couldn’t make it. They’d probably left him by now. He’d done what they’d wanted anyway. Give up. Just give up. He let himself fall against the wall, effectively knocking out his mask light and leaned there, gradually sitting there at the bottom of the second flight, lying against the wall. “...”
Suddenly, a flash of white even in the darkness caught Kochiro’s attention and he retreated tightly behind the corner of the wall. Another Soldier! Kochiro’s heart started fluttering sporadically. The Soldier had stopped around the base of the stairway, something had caught his interest. Kochiro pursed his lips and held his breath. His bag!!! Kochiro dared not move to peer again.
The Soldier with the draping dark hair and amethyst eyes examined the bag fleetingly. Dust of a chemical, a roll of band aids but not much else. So they might be somewhere on this floor, the Soldier was thinking. The Soldier looked up the stairway and then turned around with a wave of his trench coat. He’d have to investigate thoroughly before proceeding. Couldn’t afford to let the Angels slip past now.
Kochiro still didn’t budge when he was certain the Soldier had moved away. He breathed out. He was allowing strength to return to his legs. Maybe the others really had left already. What was he to do? His head spun and he closed his eyes. Why am I here...?....
Kochiro’s eyes sprang open. A bug faced Uriel was looking down at him, an unknown mixture of emotions in his voice. He didn’t seem to know what expression to take, and how to deal with his ally. Kochiro said nothing.
“You’re sick huh,” he decided on aggravated disapproval. “There’s a slash on your mask, you must have breathed in too much of the BZ. When’d that happen?”
“...” happen... Kochiro thought. It must have been when the first Soldier slashed the BZ bag and he’d breathed it in directly. So that was the reason. Uriel’s face was still hanging affront his, hands on waist.
“That dead Soldier we passed way back on the third floor... it was you, wasn’t it? You killed that man.” Uriel’s voice grew more baffled and troubled now. Kochiro leant his head against the wall again and let his eyes close. Sick. Go away Uriel... “Damn! I knew it,” Uriel straightened up and his feet tapped nervously, “What’re you doing with a gun??? This was supposed to be a stealth mission. Who gave you a gun... come on, speak to me.” Kochiro’s eyelids fluttered in their closed state. Go away... “Please...” Uriel pleaded quietly, “Raphael...”
“...” Slowly, Kochiro opened his eyes and looked at Uriel. His dry lips parted and he closed and opened his eyes once more. Uriel...“There.... there’s a Soldier following us.”
“What?? A Soldier!?” Uriel bent down next to Kochiro, “are you sure?”
Quietly, Kochiro nodded his head. He parted his lips again, “he’s searching this floor. They wear eye visors so they could see in the dark.”
“...” Uriel gripped his stick weapon in his left hand tightly, “we really gotta go.”
“What’s that?” Cogs and Hammer had appeared at the top of the second flight suddenly. Uriel looked up at them contemptuously. He knew what was about to follow. “A Soldier is downstairs??? We’re gonna kill him!!!”
“We have no time for this!” Uriel shouted and stretched out his arms but Cogs flew pass, knocking him away and flying down the stairs with Hammer. Uriel growled and quickly dialled Michael on his radio. Idiots! “Michael!”
“Are you ready?”
“Michael; Cogs and Hammer aren’t listening! They flew down the stairs after a Soldier and they’re not coming back!!!”
“You have to stop them any way possible,” Kandai’s voice replied smoothly.
“I know, but-“
“Have Raphael kill them.”
“What?” Uriel’s head recoiled in shock. Kochiro didn’t say anything from where he sat numbly. “What dyu mean kill them, are you the one that gave him the gun?”
“I don’t really need Cogs and Hammer’s assistance anymore,” Kandai continued coolly, “my initial plan had been to rescue then subdue them in any way. The other Muscles would be detained by the Nobles because they’ve become too much of a liability. But now it’s best if those two, as well, are simply killed. They’ve made their choice. Now go, meet me at the roof Uriel.”
“Michael...” Uriel didn’t know what to say. His words drifted out tentatively but then he cleared his throat and started speaking again- “Raphael’s sick Michael. He breathed in the BZ and... and what about the virus chip Cogs and Hammer supposedly have? Michael... Raphael’s sick-”
“I gave them a fake... Uriel. Do as I say,” Michael cut him off coldly. “We need those two killed. Can you make it to the roof now?”
“..... yes.” Uriel responded unenthusiastically. A fake..? “I have some C4 left.”
“Good.” Click. The conversation was over. It took a while before Uriel could lower his hand and look toward his partner on the floor.
“Well... you heard the plan Raphael,” Uriel said firmly, face set beneath his mask. “I have C4 left for the door to the roof, and Cogs and Hammer are to be eliminated. It’s time we part ways,” Uriel nodded and clenched his stick weapon firmly once more. “Are you ready?”
Totomi had scouted the floor entirely. No one had been there. Eerie silent night; he headed back to the stairway whence he had found the backpack and stopped in his tracks. Beneath the shadows, he beheld a masked figure... waiting for him. The figure stood cool, seemingly numb, and taunting. Totomi said nothing, stepped forward a few metres toward his rival and put a hand to his sword’s hilt gracefully. A wind blew across the scene, teasing Totomi’s hair and bloodied trench coat about. The masked Angel still didn’t emerge from within his shadows.
“Are you the one,” Totomi said calmly, facing his opponent square on and ready to face any response that was forth-withcoming, “who killed Nagira?” Nothing. Totomi really couldn’t say he expected a reply as yet. But the moment of closure had arrived. He kept his hand safely on the hilt of his sword. Tonight... he was going to confront the person he’d been waiting for for so long. “Are you the one....” he started again, embracing the moment for all it was worth, “who killed my brother.”