029-Till Our Lives Burn Out- Ch9-Pt1b-Pt2a
Age Rating: 13 +
[Setsuna] “This is not a game, Mister Kuryakin.”
“Yes,” he said, suddenly serious, “I was checking the news channels a few minutes ago, and the 280 dead people in England reminded me of that.”
“Have there been any other such attacks?” Setsuna asked, as she got into the van.
“Not that I can tell, thank God. And by the way, it won’t be exactly hit or miss. I know where their records room is. I need to get a look at anything unusual they’ve been designing lately.”
“Kuryakin-sensei, where did you put the seats when you were sleeping in here?” asked Hotaru, as he got into to the driver’s seat.
“They fold down to create cargo space. By the way, Hotaru-chan, have you ever done this sort of thing before?”
“No, but I have the best teachers on the planet. Besides, I’m a Senshi,” she said as if that settled the matter. And it did.
“Indeed,” said Kuryakin, as he put the van in gear. “Well then, Sela Senshi, here we go …”
“Who’s the kid?” asked the Vice-Chief of Operations at the Matsusaka Isotronics firm.
When the elevator delivered Setsuna and Hotaru to the 28th floor of their corporate headquarters, she took quick stock of the situation and was pleased to see that her instincts were ‘on’ as usual. The receptionist at the first desk was young and looked to be inexperienced. Setsuna walked up to her, and explained her business. After dickering with her - “He’s in a meeting, he’s not to be disturbed, etc…” - Setsuna finally persuaded her to at least tell the man she was here and ask him to meet with her for just a moment.
The man came out. Setsuna was not a flirt in any way. She was proper at all times, kept her expression serious, if somewhat passive, and never spoke in anything other than her antiquated dialect, but the understated sexuality of her dress, and her tall, lithe, statuesque figure bespoke a class that, when needed, worked well for her, and gave her that sort of “command of the situation” when she needed it. The Vice-COO took one good look at her and she was halfway in the door without speaking a word. He introduced himself, then noticed Hotaru and looked very, very puzzled.
“She is my personal assistant,” said Setsuna in answer to his question.
“Does she have note from her mom to be here?” he asked, trying to sound funny.
“Miss Tomonaga?” Setsuna prompted, using Hotaru’s fake name. “Proceed.”
“Yes, Meiosei-sama,” Hotaru said, inwardly grinning at how fun this was.
Hotaru then launched into a quick, serious, business-like lecture about everything to do with Matsusaka Isotronics: product line, manufacturing processes, current liquidity and Nikkei market value, executive hierarchy complete with names and schooling, everything one could cull from the internet in forty minute and squeeze into a three minute discourse. It was very well done, as Setsuna-momma’s satisfied and rather proud look told her at once.
“Smart kid. You’ve done your homework.”
“She is the best personal assistant I have ever had. So then, will you consent to an interview?”
“Absolutely,” said the Vice-COO, quickly and duly smitten with the statuesque beauty and the precocious young girl before him. He ushered her and Hotaru into his office.
“We’ve had a few reporters around here lately,” he said, “ever since we won that contract to provide the electronics for the new TV transmission tower in the Sumida Ward. I take that’s why you are here?”
“Yes,” said Setsuna, who had also been counting on that, and was pleased to see she was not mistaken. “I should like to ask you about that, among other things.”
For someone so tall and noticeable, Kuryakin was good at stealth. He waited a few minutes in the first floor lobby, while Setsuna and Hotaru attempted to see one of the company execs. After about ten minutes, he decided that they must have succeeded, so he asked the receptionist where the nearest bathroom was. He hid out there for a few minutes, and once the coast was clear, he began his search for the records room.
The island was called Tinuatu. It was afternoon there, though no one but the birds should have noticed. At seven degrees north latitude and just east of the antemeridian, it was quite isolated. Its nearest neighbors were Howland Island and Baker Island well to the south, and both uninhabited. It did however lie along several shipping routes. It was the remnant of a long dormant volcano, but it did not have the usual atoll structure common in that area, and was quite uninteresting geologically, except for one thing: a great network of caverns left by magma tubes and reservoirs that had been drained suddenly and completely by an undersea earthquake two hundred years ago. This was not generally known because of the lava domes, over grown with greenery, that covered all access to the caves. If it had been known, the place might have attracted much more interest. Some of the caverns were huge, and extended well down into the ocean. Tinuatu was uninhabited, until it was leased two years ago, ostensibly for placement of a navigational beacon and transmission array by an Australian entrepreneur with visions of putting up an orbital luxury hotel. Or least that’s what the paperwork said if anyone were to look into it. To anyone overflying the island, or passing by on a ship, the island still appeared uninhabited.
In fact, it was a very busy place. A visitor to that island on this day, would have seen the last remnants of a small container ship registered to a small tramp tanker company based in Singapore being cut up into small pieces and sent to a powder metallurgy smelter. By means of graphite electrodes, the scrap steel was melted in the melting chamber. Then, under moderate pressure, the molten steel was extruded through small openings, and hit with nitrogen gas. The gas expanded rapidly due to the heat creating incredible turbulence and destabilizing the molten stream as it cooled, atomizing the steel. The powdered steel was then sent to the centrifuge for separation into various grades. The most useful powders were put into molding containers, vacuum pumped to remove the air, and sealed. These were then sent to the Hot Isostatic Press, where the powder was welded back into solid steel, and forged or rolled. This method was chosen because it created very little smoke, because the steel made in this way could be easily forged into any necessary shape, and because steel created by the powder metallurgy method held all of the toughness and fracture strength records to date. The electricity for the process was provided by the culled power plants of several ‘tramp tankers’ – which in fact carry any cargo- that had ‘gone missing’ over the last year.
A visitor to the island on this day would also have been in mortal danger. The ravager had arrived and the busyness of the place was about to become an eerie, deathly quiet. It lurked in the shadows watching for the completion of the superstructure for the transmission array. Primitive though it was, the transmission equipment manufactured in the place the Terrans called Japan, would be good enough for the intended purpose. It would be installed even as the last of the superstructure was built, and then the humans that had been co-opted into doing the bidding of his kind on this world would reach the end of their usefulness. He was rather … hungry, but with the extremely unpleasant discovery that he was here on this world, the ravager had no choice but to lie low, and await the completion of this project. If all went well, he would be dealt with very soon.
And there was that further complication. His allies were something to worry about after all. His own earth minions knew little about them, but apparently, that man had found a group of magical guardians known as the Sela Senshi. He felt the power within them when he had tracked down the girl with his stench on her. Again, if all went well, he would soon find out just how magical they were.
Down in Nagoya, Haruka and Michiru had joined the second tour group. There was a worrisome moment when they realized that these people were of ‘their set’ and there might be someone who knew them among the group. Fortunately, there were only two people they had seen at parties, neither of whom they were remotely acquainted with. The tour was actually quite interesting, especially the part about how the composite hulls were formed. As the company demonstrated their unique steam pressing method on a 75 foot super-yacht, the sound covered their quick exit through a nearby door.
“Haruka?” said Michiru, “there is definitely something going on here. Be sharp.”
Kuryakin peeked around the corner on the 14th floor. The security cameras everywhere were no problem for him. The little black cylinder in his hand could momentarily ‘fuzz them’ them – so he called it- until he’d passed. A few minutes later, he found the room he was looking for. He put his hand on the door to try and sense if anyone was in there. There were a few people in the filing room, but that wasn’t what he needed to see. Timing it carefully, he entered without being seen. By carefully moving through the rows of cabinets, he made it into the microfilm room where hardcopies of schematics for all the company’s products could be found. No one saw him, and when he entered that room, he was quiet enough that the one person in there took no notice of him. Kuryakin hid until that person left. Then he started looking for schematics for any equipment that anything to do with radiated transmissions. He was going on a hunch, but if the ravager was involved, his hunch should be on. He began looking at diagrams for their most advanced stuff. Twice he had to take cover quickly, but afterward, it didn’t take long for him to find something very interesting. He took note of the schematic serial numbers on the microfiche, and then snuck into a computer room to find the corresponding data files and print out copies for a better look.
After asking some basic questions about the new TV tower in the Sumida Ward, Setsuna began asking questions about the various types of customers and the reasons they used the various products produced here, especially the latter. Hotaru sat nearby, dutifully recording all this and making notes, almost as if she were back in Kuryakin’s studio in the midst of a lesson. The conversation had proceeded very amicably, and the Vice-COO was very forthcoming about the various customers from all over the world.
“Have you made products for any uses in aerospace?” she asked.
“Well, any number of our products could have such applications.”
“Indeed? Have you recently designed anything specifically for application in space?”
“Well, NASA recently awarded us a subcontract in conjunction with an American firm for some equipment going into the international space station.”
“Very interesting. Anything else? Perhaps to do with SETI research and the like?”
‘SETI? Why should that come up …?’ At the mere mention of anything to do with extraterrestrials, the man was instantly suspicious. Setsuna now had the first of the answers she sought here. It had been her intention all along to ask questions that might ultimately get her and Hotaru thrown out. Her own psychic powers had ‘gone off’ as she entered the building, but she was also able to sense that any ‘evil aura’ in the place was minimal. At that point, she changed her tack, deciding to set her interviewee at ease, before making it known that she thought there might have been some sort of shady doings here. At that point, if the company was complicit in whatever conspiracy might be afoot, she felt it would go one of two ways: either the man would be puzzled because he really didn’t know anything, or he would deny anything to do with it, and ask them to leave, in which case, it would be reasonable to assume that something was going on.
“Miss Meiosei, who did you say you worked for again?” he asked.
As Setsuna explained, Hotaru, though new to this, picked up on the possibility that things were about to get very interesting. The man quickly turned to his desktop computer and searched for the alleged publication that “Miss Meiosei” and “Miss Tomonaga” worked for. It was quickly apparent he could find no such publication.
“Who are you people?” the man, who had suddenly gotten very nervous, asked. “Why do you want to know about anything to do with … I think you’d better leave. This interview is over.” He rose from his desk and headed to the door of his office to show them out. “Don’t make me call Security,” he said, threateningly, as he reached for the door handle.
Then a hand grabbed his, and, after twisting it at an angle that would assure compliance but little pain as long as that compliance was quickly given, the Vice-COO found himself being led back to his desk. The tall figure that emerged from the shadows then unplugged his phone. Setsuna and Hotaru were nearly as surprised as the Vice-COO.
“You’re with them, aren’t you?” he said sounding very scared now.
“Tell us what we need to know,” said the tall man in a deep voice, “and I swear, you will never see us again, except by happenstance.”
“Who are ‘they’?” Setsuna asked. She was actually pleased to see Kuryakin - for Hotaru’s sake, if things had gotten heated. Or so she told herself. The man did have a flare for timing, and that was something that she, given her occupation, appreciated more than most.
“Look,” the Vice-COO said, very nervous now, “I can’t tell you that.”
“Because those people …”
“You were threatened?”
“Not explicitly. You wouldn’t understand … unless you’d met them. They don’t have to threaten.”
“Officially speaking, who did you build these modules for?” asked Kuryakin as he put the plans he'd copied on his desk. The man barely glanced at them. He clearly knew what this was all about.
“A company in Argentina.” He gave them the name.
“I assume that you’re aware that firm does not exist,” said Kuryakin, playing a hunch.
“We didn’t know at first.”
“You did not care at all to try and find out to what purposes these people might put the equipment you were making for them?”
“Look,” he said, sweating heavily now, “everything seemed on the up and up, at first. They hired us, gave us the specs, and kept throwing R&D money at us until we were able to build them. All the checks cashed. I did as I was told, delivered the goods, and made a lot of money for this company. Once we sent them off, I was just glad to be done with it. And them.”
“How were you supposed to deliver those modules?”
“Through a shipping company in Nagoya. I think from there they were supposed to go to a Chilean Port.”
“Which Chilean port?”
“Valparaíso, I think.”
"Do you have any idea what they're up to?"
"No. I swear it. I'm just glad we're done with them."
"I doubt that," Kuryakin said ominously, and the man looked positively petrified.
"No need to worry," said Setsuna, looking over her shoulder, as all three visitors headed for the door. "In a few minutes, this will have never happened."
Setsuna’s concealment aura went into effect the moment they left the Vice-CEO’s office. He emerged from it thirty minutes later, wondering where the last hour had gone, why his wrist was so stiff, and why his staff hadn’t told him he was going to be late for an important business luncheon.
“How did that interview go?” one of his secretaries asked him.
“What interview?” he asked, and the other secretaries looked puzzled as well.
“Wasn’t there just … someone …?” The secretary’s words trailed off. ‘I need a vacation.’
“That is an excellent trick,” Kuryakin said as he, Setsuna, and Hotaru left the building.
“Thank you,” she said. “As you can see, I do know what I am doing when it comes to this sort of thing. And just how did you get into that office without being seen?”
Kuryakin merely smiled.
“That was fun,” said Hotaru.
“No, Hotaru, it was not,” said Setsuna reprovingly. “It was our job. Nothing more.”
‘It was still fun,’ thought Hotaru as she got into the van.
“Speaking of which, I wonder how The Kittens are doing?” said Kuryakin, as he looked back over his shoulder at the building. Miss Meioh’s excellent trick notwithstanding, he was pretty sure someone was watching their departure with keen interest.
It would be three hours before they found out how Haruka and Michiru were doing. As they headed home, Kuryakin tried to call them on his cell phone. After they’d gone a little further, he asked Setsuna to call them to see if they were okay and had found out anything. She did so and got no answer. Kuryakin started to look a bit worried for them. Setsuna and Hotaru both took note as he drove a very circuitous route to the house to make sure they weren’t being followed. He just couldn’t shake that feeling someone had watched them leave the Matsusaka Isotronics Company. When they got home, Setsuna, at Hotaru’s prompting, called again.
Setsuna took all of this in stride, and Hotaru tried to take her cue from her, but Kuryakin’s expression became grimmer with each passing minute. He kept telling himself that they were fighters, that they had magical protections and attacks, and that if push came to shove, they could handle themselves; he had seen them do it from afar, and they did it very, very well. This might have been the first moment where Kuryakin realized that even though they had really not had much contact, and that they didn’t know him, nor he they very well, he had come to care for them both quite a bit. Now that he, Hotaru, and Setsuna had confirmed the danger was very real, he wished they’d gone out a little better prepared, whatever that meant. Meanwhile, Setsuna went to the phone in the dining room / kitchen, and began dialing a number. Kuryakin tried to call The Kittens on his cell phone and again there was no answer.
“I’m going to go after them,” he said.
“Mister Kuryakin,” said Setsuna very levelheadedly, “what point is there in that? You have no idea where they are, or what, if anything has happened. They can handle themselves.”
“I know, but if anything happened, I’d feel responsible.”
“You will be responsible,” she replied, more accusingly than she meant to sound.
“Perfection is overrated, Miss Meioh,” he retorted, “though just now, … I wish they had it.”
Setsuna was calling Rei Hino, and she answered a moment later. Setsuna told her that they had confirmed there was a danger. Hino-san asked if there was anything they could do to help. Setsuna told her that they didn’t know enough about the enemy yet, and that, for the time being, the one thing that the Inner Planet Senshi could do that would help the most was to make sure the Prince and Princess were safe. Again, Rei Hino made Setsuna swear that when it came time for fighting, she would call on them. Setsuna promised and then told her that she should let everyone know something was up. She also promised to call her again tonight.
Kuryakin suddenly raised his head up. He could sense The Kittens were close to home. He would have been relieved, except the same prescience that told him that, also told him something had gone badly wrong. Ten minutes later, a car screeched to a halt to a stop in the circle drive, and then, its engine spent, it died right there. It was Tomboy Kitten’s Ferrari. It had taken a terrible beating, but no one noticed because Haruka was picking up an unconscious Michiru in her arms and screaming for Hotaru as loud as she could. She carried Michiru to the couch in the TV room, heedless of the blood that had soaked through Michiru’s clothes and was staining her arm then dripping to the floor. Hotaru feared her power of healing minor injuries was going to be over taxed, but ever since she’d healed that boy at the hospital, she had wondered just how far she could push that ability. This seemed like a good time to find out.
Michiru regained consciousness a few minutes after Hotaru went to work. She was hurting, but the wounds that the blood came from, while not merely superficial, were within Hotaru’s powers to close up quickly once Setsuna had removed the shrapnel from them. Too, there was the Senshis’ considerable recuperative powers. Kuryakin watched from the doorway as the three of them fretted over her, his expression increasingly pained. Setsuna glanced at him, and he asked “Is there anything I can do?” She looked at him as if to say ‘anything you can do? Now is not the time to go into that.’ Setsuna was torn right down the middle between wanting to say something that would make Kuryakin feel better, and something that would make him feel even worse. For the moment, she said “no, nothing.” Hotaru had been focused completely on Michiru, but now that she was out of danger, and the pain was being relieved, she looked up at him, and winked.
‘She’ll be fine. I think.’
Perhaps, but Kuryakin looked like someone remembering something terrible.
“Michiru-momma?” she asked a few minutes later. “How do you feel?”
“Not too bad, I think. Thank you, dear Hotaru, and you, Setsuna.”
“Just relax, Michiru,” said Haruka, the justifiable near panic in her face having ebbed to mere justifiable concern.
“My, I’ve made quite a mess here, haven’t I?” Michiru smiled wanly, as she reached a hand to Haruka’s face. “So how’s the car?”
“I don’t think I can bear to look,” Haruka replied, as she nuzzled her face, and kissed her cheek.
“Why so sad, Mister Kuryakin?” Michiru asked, glancing at the tall figure, partially hidden in shadow, in the doorway. “You’re such a softie.”
“Yes, because when I see someone innocent get hurt, I wonder, is that what it looked like when she …” but he did not finish that sentence. In fact, he began to wonder if he hadn’t said something really stupid. It was ‘Princess Kitten’ who was hurt, not anyone else. Why could he think of this only in the context of his own bad memories? “I’m so very sorry, Miss Kaioh.”
She regarded him circumspectly as she drew in a slow breath. Then, smiling an impishly fetching smile that completely belied what had just happened, she said, “You’re mad about us, aren’t you?”
He smiled a little.
“We have news,” she said, raising herself up. But first, she thought they should explain what had happened to them.
Getting into the filing room at the Toshimaru Shipping Company had proven to be a bit of a trick for Haruka and Michiru. There were plenty of security cameras around, and more than a few security guards. Haruka noticed that they all wore sunglasses even though they were indoors, and pointed that out to Michiru.
“Do you think it means something?” she asked.
“It just might.”
In fact, getting there proved so tricky, it was necessary for Michiru to use her talisman to find a weak spot in the security coverage. The magical mirror performed well. It not only gave them the floor the filing room was located on and a back door to it, but it also hinting at which cabinets to look at. There were cameras in there, as well, but there were also other people. Haruka and Michiru would blend in well at least for a few minutes. If anyone asked, they would claim to be interns, but the room was a very busy place and no one took much note of them. As Haruka rifled through the files of a particular cabinet, she came across a few folders that were noticeably thicker than the others. She pulled them out and handed one of them to Michiru. The files were a very interesting read.
“Michiru,” Haruka whispered, “if your mirror is working this well, this must be a real hot spot.”
They had both been so engrossed in what they were reading that did not notice the filing room had quietly emptied of people.
Moments later, a dozen security guards burst into the room, shouting. The room was empty. After jamming the door, Haruka and Michiru were already headed down the hallway they’d come in by. It was a maintenance hall and didn’t have any cameras, but to get out, they would have to go through hallways that did.
“I wonder if we can get out by rejoining that tour group?” asked Michiru as they took a moment to fold up and stash some of the papers they’d taken.
“That’s what I am wondering, too,” Haruka said, with that tiny, confident smile that impending action usually brought out. “We might at least be able to take cover among them for a few minutes. They won’t want a scene with that big wig here.”
There was a loud bang at the other end of the hall. The guards were breaking through the jammed door with a vengeance.
“Okay, let’s go,” said Haruka. “And remember, don’t run until we absolutely have to.”
“I know that,” Michiru smiled.
They walked out and tried to hide among several people headed to and fro in the course of their jobs. They came to a big elevated concourse, and through the broad windows, they could see their tour group several floors below. The quickest way there would be to take an elevator, but the elder Outer Planet Senshi were well versed in this and knew that when you were running, elevators were about the best way possible to trap yourself. They quickly came to a junction where the concourse diverged in several directions. They headed for the nearest door, hoping the numerous possible paths might confuse their pursuers long enough to find the tour group.
“Damn,” Haruka barked. The moment the door closed behind them, they were beset by eight men. She lashed out at the nearest with a kick to his head that sent him toppling into the others as his sunglasses flew off. The man glowered at them, and they both saw it. The ‘men with no eyes’ did in fact have eyes, but the whites were black as night and the irises had a vague red glow to them with an occasional bluish sparkle. The effect was one of eerie dehumanization. Michiru could sense that these were indeed earth humans, but like the students at Infinity Academy, she could also sense they were “hostes” for something else. All eight of them rushed the two girls. They fought hard and kept them at bay, but they were being driven slowly toward an elevator. Then the guards paused, and one of them held up a controller and pushed a button. The elevator doors opened behind them but the car wasn’t there. Haruka took a quick look. The elevator car was well above them. It was probably their intention to knock them down the empty shaft.
That was a mistake. Haruka looked at Michiru, who nodded. To the surprise of the guards, both girls jumped. Fourteen floors below, rays of orange light glimmered through the cracks of the elevator door. A moment later, and the door and its frame were blown completely free of the wall as the orange light lit up the dark basement. Sailor Uranus and Sailor Neptune emerged from the elevator shaft at a dead run. The security guards who had come to check out the noise quickly found themselves awash in a wave of sea water that carried them out into the open. The two Senshi ran along a walkway that would take them to the super yacht, where the tour group was now eating wine and cheese and checking out the big wig’s prize purchase. When they got close enough, they de-transformed, and joined them looking innocent as little lambs and as curious as everyone else as to what the noise was all about. They got there just in time. This was a motored sailing yacht, and the anchorage motors were coming to life. Apparently, there would be a quick trip around the bay. This was perfect. Which ever way they went, they would pass very close to the parking lot before docking.
The boat took the ‘long way’ around the bay. Haruka and Michiru happily availed themselves of the refreshments, as they noticed with satisfaction that back ashore, the guards were running all around trying to find them, but apparently had no idea where they were. They chatted idly with a few people, and blended in extremely well. By the time it headed back to shore, the security guards had figured out they had hidden among the tour group. Haruka half expected that, and they could see a bunch of them gathered at the dock waiting for them. Fortunately, the boat would pass very close to the shore, and the parking lot.
“Think we can make it?” Haruka asked.
“Only if you haven’t had too much to drink, Haruka.”
She smirked, and the two of them ambled casually toward the back of the boat. Half a minute later, Haruka and Michiru jumped, landing on the shore twenty feet away. They walked oh-so-casually to the parking lot, and could see guards in the distance pointing to them, and running toward them. Ten seconds later, Haruka’s Ferrari left them in the dust. They were home free. Just the same, Haruka kept to the speed limit, while Michiru began taking a better look at the papers they’d stolen. They made it to the outskirts of Tokyo without any trouble, and entered the Tokyo Bay Aqualine. It was then Haruka noticed a single car coming up fast behind them.
“Michiru,” she said quietly, nodding her head behind them. It wouldn’t do for them to find out where they lived. Haruka took the exit that would take the back way around the peninsula to the house. She should have no trouble losing one car. But then, one car became two and then four. Or maybe more. It was hard to tell since they were all different makes.
‘What ever happened to the good old days where the bad guys all drove the same black sedans?’ Haruka thought to herself.
The four of them were trying to box her in, but every time one of them tried to pull ahead of her, she drove her Ferrari as though it were an extension of her body, whisking in and out traffic, and hoping that somewhere she might be able to catch the attention of a police car. None were to be found.
“Never around when you need them, eh Haruka?” said Michiru with a grim but fetching smile.
“I’m afraid we’ve missed our turn off, too,” she smiled back.
A silver SUV was bearing down on them. They were coming to a turn and Haruka slowed a little to see if he would try to pass her. He did, which was a mistake. Haruka accelerated through the back of the turn and tapped him quite lightly on the left rear. The heavy vehicle fishtailed, then went out of control and rolled. A red minivan met the same fate, in even more spectacular fashion, when the driver tried to use the down slope of the hill to outrun Haruka to the bottom. One tap, and the van rolled and sailed magnificently through the air. There was no time to consider that the occupants had surely perished in the sickening crash that followed. Now on level ground again, a tan mid-size car managed to come even with them and slammed into her. As she was dodging it, the green sports car – the car that had first picked them up- shot past her on the left. Then, as it pulled well ahead, something flew out of the window.
“Haruka!” Michiru screamed. The first and only woman to win Dakar nearly managed to dodge it completely, but the blast caught the right side of the car. Michiru’s head slammed hard into her shoulder, but the most frightening thing was the blood she could only see out of the corner of her eye as she was trying to keep control of the car. She did not have time to ponder the miracle that prevented any of the tires from being blown. They had gone across the median, bumping and banging as they went, but Haruka was as good as her billing, and kept it upright. They bounced hard onto the opposite highway, and then cut across four lanes of countervailing traffic to spin around and join the flow. At the next intersection, Haruka was able to take the turn off she’d meant to, but it seemed that if she slowed down at all, the car would die, so she drove it mercilessly up the winding mountain road that would take her to the house from the south. The Ferrari gasped and sputtered all the way, wisps of steam flowing from under the hood, and trailing oil. It took every ounce of skill and nerve she possessed to get them home.
Chapter 009 – Fiat Justitia Ruat Caelum
‘What is it? She's not like the Pluto of before. She’s stronger, bigger.’
– Chibiusa, Infinity Saga (Manga)
“They are human,” Michiru said of the ‘men with no eyes’, “from here, I mean. But they’re possessed by something very dark and alien.”
“I could feel it too. They’re ‘hostes,’ like the students at Infinity Academy,” Haruka said. “And they were quite a bit stronger than normal, too.”
“I think I know what’s up with their eyes,” Kuryakin said looking thoughtful. “Particularly strong fallen ones can sort of take over others that way. I know of a few instances in which they could feel things through the touch of their ‘hostes’ as you call them. I’m guessing that they are able to see things through them here. Which would mean it really is them. The ravagers, I mean. But how did humans ever make contact with them?”
“So then,” said Haruka. “Take a look at these.
“Interesting,” said Kuryakin, after a few minutes of looking at the papers they’d stolen.
“Yes,” said Michiru, “and there were four other files like that one.”
“All of the ships had gone missing?”
“I wonder what their destinations were?”
“Oh, here,” Haruka said pulling some more folded up papers out of her jacket pocket. It was a complete manifest of ships, cargoes, and destinations for that company from the last six months. She pointed to the names of the ships that were missing ...
(Word Limit Reached)