Halo Two: Impulse:
Mikado awoke to someone talking.
Saki didn’t pick up this morning. I know I talked to her last night, but I can’t be too careful anymore. What if she ends up dead and I didn’t find out about it until it was too late? But I can’t leave Mikado alone. He’s in a worse shape than Saki is. The last thing I need is for him to get kidnapped by some lab and experimented on like he was at Chou Mori. But if I stay with him, Saki could die.
Mikado closed his eyes.
“It’s fine, Kida-kun,” he said. “You can go and see Mikajima. I’ll be fine for now, really.” But when he opened his eyes again, the tadpole found Masaomi sitting at his computer with a confused look on his face.
“What are you talking about?” he asked. Mikado sat up in his futon.
“I heard you talking about how worried you were about Mikajima,” he explained. Masaomi shook his head.
“I didn’t say anything,” he said.
“But I just heard you…” Mikado said.
“No,” his best friend insisted. The founder of the Dollars was about to speak when he heard snickering behind him. When he turned around, Satoshi sat at the foot of his futon, smirking.
“You!” Mikado shouted. The dead boy leaned forward.
“Well, well, well,” he said. “It appears you seemed to have inherited my curse.” Mikado looked around, trembling. He could feel Masaomi’s eyes on his back as he stared at the seemingly empty space at the end of his futon.
What are you talking about?
Satoshi looked at him like a little angel. “Why don’t you talk to me with your mouth?”
Because Masaomi-kun’s here! If I start talking out loud to you, he’s going think I’ve gone crazy.
“Doesn’t he think that about your already?” Satoshi asked, shrugging. “He already doesn’t leave your place because he’s scared you’re going to harm yourself. My question is how long before you end up scaring him away.”
That will never happen!
“Yeah, you say that now. He’ll eventually see you as what you are turning into, a freak.”
That’s not true!
The dead tadpole smiled at him like a cat. “Ah, it must be nice to live in that naïve little world of yours. That love you have has made you so dense. Boy, it’s going to be a sad day when they decide to kill you after they find out what you are.”
What did you mean I inherited your curse?
“Ah yes,” Satoshi said. “You can now hear thoughts.”
The dead boy put his arms behind his head. “I can’t wait to see your friendship with Masaomi crumble because you can hear what he really thinks about you!”
Mikado fell backwards in his futon as the color drained from his face. No…
“Mikado? Mikado, what’s wrong?” Masaomi asked. Satoshi smirked at his impact.
“There’s something I wanted to show you before we begin the next experiment,” Kitano said as he walked down the hall to Room 608. He swiped the keycard into the slot and walked through the open door. Etsuko followed him inside with a curious look on her face. Her partner walked over to the table where the Heartseed plant was kept under glass.
“Come over here and take a look,” Kitano said. Etsuko came over to the glassed-up plant.
“Do you see where this part of the base has tiny bumps and looks rough?” the psychiatrist asked. The doctor leaned in closer.
“Here, let me remove the case for you,” Kitano said. He twisted off the case with such care and lifted it up. He pointed over to the bumpy spot near the base he was talking about.
“See it?” he asked. Etsuko leaned in closer.
“Yes, I can see it,” she said before lifting her head. “Isn’t this where Satoshi’s flower was.”
“Yes,” her partner said. “Let me tell you an interesting little thing I discovered about this plant. You are aware of what happens when our beloved tadpoles die, right?”
“Yes,” Etsuko said.
“Well, I wondered what happened after the bud fell off. I noticed it back around February.” Kitano looked down at the bumpy patch.
“Apparently over time, the stem will shrink back into the rest of the plant and merge with the base.”
“But what about the blood sample inside of it?”
“Ah, this is where it gets fascinating. You see, I have had time to observe this Heartseed plant in between the game and our experiments. I took a sample of the base and examined it. Over the course of two months, I found that Satoshi’s blood sample got absorbed into the other tadpole samples in the stems.”
“Is that because of the binding we wrapped around each stem?”
“But does that mean the boys will have his…?” Etsuko formed her hands around her bust.
“No, not from what I have observed,” Kitano said. “None of them have become defective. I still haven’t come up with the answer as to why. But from what I last observed, our pets seemed to have inherited his ability.”
“Heh?” Etsuko asked with sparked interest.
“We’ll have to study this plant more as the experiments progress,” Kitano said. He looked at the clock behind the doctor.
“Speaking of which, I think we can begin the next experiment,” the therapist said.
“I’ll bring in the interns,” Etsuko said. Kitano handed her his keycard and she headed out of the room. The doctor returned with both sets of interns.
“Good morning,” Kitano greeted them. “How is everyone today?” He received a chorus of half-sleep answers.
“Come on,” he said. “You’re young. You should not be this tired in the morning.” Only Yuka looked like she wanted to answer the first question related to the new experiment he was going to ask.
“Never mind,” Kitano said. He reached into his coat pocket and pulled out the baggie of red gel tablets.
“Last time, we did the blue pills,” he said. “Now, we shall the test subjects the red pills.” The interns crowded around for a closer look. Kitano put each pill into the open flowers like he was administering medicine during his intern days at the hospital. The little blossoms closed up back into buds. After the last pill, the plant glowed a bright red.
“And now we wait,” the therapist said.
Things had calmed down for now.
Masaomi’s plan was to keep things calm and keep an eye on his best friend. It didn’t help that Mikado now tried to avoid him. The founder of the Dollars wouldn’t even look him in the eye.
“I can hear your thoughts,” he said, almost mumbling, as they walked to school. Masaomi gave him a strange look.
“Like Satoshi?” he asked.
“Yeah,” Mikado said. Masaomi put his arm around his shoulders.
“We will get through this,” he said. The founder of the Dollars looked at him like a desperate little child.
“But can we?” he asked.
“Hey, I can’t have you giving up on me here!” Masaomi said. “I don’t want to hear you doubting that we can’t survive this. I will find a way to get you back to normal even if it kills me.”
I will get him back even if it kills me!
Mikado shifted his eyes away and said nothing. The boys caught up with Anri, Noriko, and Chiharu on their way to school. En route, the founder of the Dollars noticed the sounds of the city, but no thoughts.
I could hear Masaomi’s thoughts all morning. Was that just a temporary thing? Was I just going crazy again? What about the others? Can they hear thoughts now too?
Suddenly, Mikado felt this burning sensation in his chest. He froze in his tracks. His friends turned around when they heard heavy breathing.
“Mikado-kun?” Anri asked.
Mikado could only hear one voice in his head.
Start a war. Start a war! Start a war!
The tadpole boy’s breathing grew heavier as he pulled out his cell phone. His fingers moved faster on the keys than his brain could keep up.
I have to do this! I have to do this!
“What are you doing?!” Masaomi yelled. He rushed forward and took the cell phone out of Mikado’s hand. His friend struggled to try and take it back.
“No!” he shouted. “Give it back! Give it back! I have to finish it! Please, give it back!” The Yellow Scarves happened to look at the unfinished message on the screen.
“What the hell?!” Masaomi asked. “Why are you trying to start a gang war?!” The girls looked at each other, whispering. Mikado sank to his knees.
“I… I don’t know,” he said. “I don’t know what came over me.” Masaomi was about to open his mouth when Mikado’s phone began to ring. His friend looked at him with pleading eyes.
“It could be important,” the tadpole boy said. “Please let me have my phone back.” Masaomi looked behind him at the girls. Anri, Chiharu, and Noriko didn’t dare to speak or move.
“Guys, what going on here?” Chiharu finally asked. Masaomi opened his mouth, but Mikado’s phone rang again. The founder of the Dollars managed to take it out of his best friend’s hand and answer it.
“Hello?” Mikado asked.
“Good morning, tadpoles,” Kitano’s pre-recorded voice said on the other end of the line. All of the color drained from Mikado’s face.
“Mikado?” Noriko asked.
“What’s the matter?” Masaomi asked as he shook on the other boy’s arm. “Hey! Hey!” He froze when he overheard the next part of Kitano’s message.
“You are receiving this call because we have begun the second tadpole experiment,” the therapist said in the recording. “The first one was a success and we will now begin to advance your evolution. For the next seventy-two hours, you will have no impulse control. You will only act on your id at random times for different periods of time. Again, consider this a motive to strengthen your powers and evolve. I wish you luck. Goodbye.”
Mikado and Masaomi looked at each other with wide eyes.
Tetsu stared at his phone. Kitano’s message explained what happened to him minutes earlier. He and Taichi had just finished eating breakfast. Tetsu noticed that he kept hearing his partner’s thoughts all morning.
“I still love you,” Tetsu said. “But I just can’t touch you right now.” Taichi looked up at him with an odd look.
“Why are you telling me this?” he asked. Tetsu shook his head.
“Are you feeling okay?” his boyfriend asked. He reached over to put his hand on Tetsu’s forehead, but the other young man pushed him away.
“Don’t!” he shouted. “Please?” Taichi sat back down.
“What’s gotten into you?” he asked. Tetsu looked down at his hands. Suddenly, he felt a burning sensation in his chest. Taichi looked up when he heard him breathing heavily.
“Tetsu… -kun?” he asked. The fire tadpole shoved everything away from the table and crawled across it. Taichi’s eyes widened as his boyfriend climbed on top of him.
“Tetsu-kun, what are you doing?!” he asked. The other boy panted as he took off his shirt and gloves.
“Fuck me,” he said breathlessly. Taichi looked so bewildered.
“What?!” he asked.
“Fuck me,” Tetsu said again. “Fuck me. Fuck me!”
“Okay… you didn’t want me to touch you earlier and now you want sex?” the other boy asked. “What is going on with you?”
“Take your clothes off,” Tetsu said as his hunger increased. He grabbed hold of Taichi’s jeans and started to unzip them. But then, the fire tadpole paused with big, frightened eyes.
“Oh god,” Tetsu murmured. He climbed off of his boyfriend and crawled over into the corner, trembling.
“Tetsu-kun?” Taichi asked. Tetsu buried his head in his hands.
After hearing Kitano’s message, the tadpole didn’t know whether to scream or cry. Why can’t they just leave me alone? He lifted his head when his phone rang again. Tetsu gritted his teeth. Son of a bitch!
“What is it, you bastard?!” he asked over the phone.
“Easy there,” Shingen said on the other end of the line. “It’s only me.” Tetsu’s face went dull.
“Oh, it’s you,” he muttered.
“What’s with that tone?” the old man asked. Tetsu groaned.
“What do you want?”
“We’re going to need all of you tadpoles to come by my son’s apartment as soon as you can.”
“You’re going to want to hear this. My team and I have made some rather interesting finds this morning. Have you noticed any changes lately?”
Tetsu snorted. “Maybe.”
“Aw, what do you sound so bitter?”
“Would you be shocked if I said that I didn’t trust you?”
“I get that a lot. I’ll be seeing you soon.” Shingen hung up, leaving Tetsu to stare at his phone with narrowed eyes.
“You’re all the same,” he muttered.
Shingen didn’t enjoy having to wait for most of the tadpoles to show up.
“Most of them are still in school, dear,” Emilia had to remind him. Her husband rubbed his forehead.
“Yes, yes,” he said. She walked over and cuddled up next to him on the couch. The older man didn’t seem to know where to put his hand at first before he settled on wrapping his arm around her shoulders. Tetsu sat on the other side of the room, frowning.
“What do you want from us?” he asked in a low voice.
“What?” Shingen asked. Tetsu leaned forward with his elbows on his lap.
“I don’t believe that you are trying to help us out of charity,” he said. “What is your angle? Why are you trying to help us so much?” Emilia kissed her husband on the cheek.
“Would you rather them or us?” he asked. The fire tadpole put his arms behind his head.
“Neither to be honest,” he said.
“Oh and return that horse statue you have in your bag when you leave,” Shingen said. The tadpole about jumped back in his seat.
“What?!” he shouted.
“I saw you take it earlier,” the older man said. “Please put it back where you found it.” Tetsu frowned as he puffed up his cheeks.
“Fine, I’ll put it back,” he mumbled. Tetsu paused and looked at the door just before he settled back into place. Shingen and Emilia looked up when they heard the doorbell ring.
“Oh, they’re here,” Emilia said.
“I’ll get it,” Tetsu said. He leapt to his feet and walked over to the door. He was greeted by Mikado, Masaomi, and the tadpole girls.
“Yo,” the fire tadpole said.
“You’ve been here long?” Mikado asked with a puzzled look on his face.
“Yeah,” Tetsu said. He happened to look out in the crowd at the door and notice Masaomi standing with Mikado.
“Who is this?” he asked. Masaomi grabbed his best friend by the arm.
“It’s okay,” Mikado said. “He’s with me. He knows about my powers.” Tetsu glared at Masaomi for a second and then backed away from the door.
“Fine, whatever,” he said. Masaomi and the tadpoles walked into the apartment. They all took a seat in the apartment. Shingen clapped his hands together.
“Perfect,” he said. “I know you all have some questions. So, I’m just going to go right ahead and say it. You’re already aware of the new experiment that Tandeki has pushed you into, right?” The older doctor took note of the looks of discomfort on the on tadpoles’ faces.
“Of course you are,” he said. “How many of you are starting to hear thoughts?” All but the three normal human raised their hands.
“I see,” Shingen said. Emilia stood next to her husband. She held up a picture of Aida Satoshi. Mikado couldn’t bring himself to look at the photograph. Masaomi rubbed his friend on the shoulder.
“This was Aida Satoshi,” Emilia said. “He was a tadpole just like you. He was died back in January.”
“Because of his death,” Shingen said. “You all have his power.” The tadpoles all had confused looks on their faces.
“So we can hear thoughts now?” Akiko asked. Emilia had a tinge of slight worry on her face at the girl’s tone.
“Yes,” she said as she tried to make herself calm down.
“But,” Shingen said. He held up a sheet of paper. “This sheet of paper is one tadpole’s powers. When one of you die…” The old doctor ripped the paper into tiny pieces and threw them to the floor.
“You all only get one tiny piece of that power,” he said. “Depending on how many tadpoles there are.”
“I hope you’re going to clean that up, dad,” someone spoke up. Everyone looked up to see Shinra and Celty in the doorway.
“Yeah, yeah, I will,” Shingen said.
“Is that why we can only hear thoughts when we’re alone with one person?” Mikado asked.
“Yes,” Emilia said.
“Wait, how many of us are there?” Nami asked.
“Fifty-two,” Shinra answered in a grim tone. “There are fifty-two of you total, not counting Aida. Tandeki have been doing this project since 1989.” Nobody spoke. Masaomi pulled Mikado closer to him when he felt his best friend trembling. He whispered a little phrase into the founder of the Dollars’.
“I will protect you no matter what.”
As much as Mikado wanted to believe that, he slowly began to doubt that would be possible. But, Masaomi wouldn’t listen to his reasoning anyway. This current experiment only made things worse.
Kitano and Etsuko watched as the tadpoles’ Heartseed plant glowed bright red.
“Etsuko-sensei,” Kitano spoke up.
“Yes, Kitano-sensei?” the doctor asked.
“I think it’s time we let the interns be more hands-on with the tadpole evolution,” her partner said. “I have been in a teaching mood lately.”
“You sure?” she asked.
“Yes,” he said.
“Alright, we shall let the interns be more active in the experiments,” the doctor said.
“Good,” the therapist said back.