Kriminalist

Chapter Twenty-Eight: A Lesson in Discovering Part C

MATSUDA

Work the next day is chaotic, as everyone begins to argue. I hate it when everyone argues. Our headquarters is usually a place of peace and friendship, and besides, I always lose. I don’t think that’s fair!

I was here on the original investigation too, but no one takes me seriously. I don’t know why, because I really did help last time! Even though no one suspected Light-san of being Kira, I was part of the team that finally took him down. So it stands to reason that my opinion in this new Kira case might be valid!

Anyway, I arrive at the headquarters in the morning to find everyone dressed in black and looking very serious. No one had told me we would be so formal this morning! I am wearing a navy blue suit, so I feel a little out of place right away. I make some coffee for everyone so that they might cheer up a little - it’s so tense in the investigation room sometimes - and we all start to work.

“Well,” says Aizawa after a while, breaking the silence, “It seems that we have a bigger problem than before, wouldn’t you agree?”

“Mm.” Lidner nods. “Now we know the new Kira really means business.”

“That’s not what I was referring to.” Aizawa replies. “I meant that we have watched all the Japanese news channels during the investigation, and many criminals only appeared on local news stations for local crimes. This means that the new Kira has access to all the information resources that we do.”

“We’re playing catch-up.” Gevanni agrees. “Being on the street for so long, I didn’t hear of many of these criminals, so whoever it is is still ahead of us.”

I look at him curiously. “Gevanni, you’re back in the office so suddenly. Where have you been all of this time?”

“Secret mission.” Gevanni clears his throat uncomfortably. “Sorry, only Near can tell you that.”

“Here, the office is under surveillance.” Yamamoto says slowly. “If you have been elsewhere, then… you could have been doing anything, with the knowledge of no one here.”

“What do you mean?” Gevanni asks sharply.

“You could have come in any number of times to read our lists, or taken them a few days ago to check them. What have you got to hide, Gevanni? Why don’t we know your real name, either? You know ours.”

“Yamamoto, I don’t think you quite realise the gravity of what you are suggesting.” Aizawa says, calmly, looking at his younger colleague admonishingly.

“I’m sorry, Chief,” Yamamoto apologises, “But you must admit that it is suspicious.”

“Near knows what he’s doing.” Aizawa says confidently, and the room falls into a pause of silence.

“Where is Near, anyway? And Mello?” Yamamoto asks after a moment.

“They’re having some sort of meeting.” Lester replies quietly from his desk. “Apparently they had a revelation of sorts last night.”

“They’re planning something without telling us again?”

“It’s for safety.”

“Huh. We have to tell them everything we do!”

“Yamamoto.” Aizawa said firmly. “I will not tell you again. Are you a part of this team, or would you prefer some gardening leave?”

“Sorry, Chief.”

“That’s what I thought.”

“But, one thing.” I say. “Aren’t we most likely to be under suspicion? Yamamoto and me and Chief, I mean. We’re the ones who wrote and checked the lists, so we had most access to them. Do you think Near will suspect us now?”

“No, we’re members of this team, and he trusts us.” Aizawa assures me.

“Then why won’t they tell us what they’re doing?” Yamamoto cuts in. “I bet they do suspect you, Matsuda-san. I’ve heard you talk about Light Yagami.”

“I still wonder if we really did the right thing.” I sigh, thinking again of my old friend. It seems very strange to me, still, that he could have been Light Yagami and also Kira at the same time. But then, appearances are usually deceptive, something I’ve had to learn.

“Of course we did.” Aizawa replies, his usual response to this kind of discussion.

“But until now the crime rates were soaring. Now crime will go down again and the world will be a better place to live in. Many of the criminals would have been sentenced to death anyway, so it’s not like Kira is murdering all of them, and many of them have already taken lives anyway.”

“Matsuda-san, please stop talking like people dying is actually a good thing.” Yamamoto says.

“The new Kira is corrupt, no matter what your opinion on the last is.” Near announces from the back of the room, and we all turn to look. He has entered with Mello, and is gazing dispassionately at us, obviously having listened to our discussion. “Would you like to know why the new Kira must be stopped, Matsuda?”

I bow my head, feeling uncomfortable that he may now have more reason to suspect me than before, nervous that he might take me off the case. “Yes, please, Near-san.”

MELLO

That idiot Matsuda spouting off about Bastard Yagami… what a surprise. He’s always taking the understanding route, being all compassionate and trying to excuse the actions of criminals - it even says so in his file. He’s not dangerous, just an idiot, and he’s put enough people behind bars that we can at least trust him to do his job no matter what his opinion on the matter.

At least we can tell him now, and all the others, that the new Kira is a fake. This guy clearly has no interest in making the world a better place if he can get a profit out of it.

As Near fills the team in on the bribe Kira took from Arik the Viking, I watch their faces carefully. I see shock, disgust, even anger; and I know that this team is a good team. If anyone can catch Kira, it’s us. With Matt upstairs doing work behind the scenes, the SPK working here, and me doing undercover surveillance on the mafia gang, it will be easy to get the better of the new Kira. Make no mistake - this is not Light Yagami, who, though I hate him, I have to admit was intensely smart. This new Kira is only a shadow of the last, and I see it only as luck that he has evaded us thus far.

“Lastly,” Near is saying, “There will be a slight adjustment to our headquarters set-up. Mello will be leaving us for an indefinite amount of time to carry out another area of investigation elsewhere, so for the meantime I want Lidner to take over checking the internet. Lester, you’ll carry on your cross-referencing to find a pattern, but without Lidner’s help. Is that clear with everyone?”

“Where is Mello-san going?” Matsuda asks, looking all naïve and curious.

“That is confidential, Matsuda. Also, since the deaths have now begun in earnest, Gevanni will be checking major international news channels for reports on criminals, while you yourself stay with the Japanese stations.” Near pauses, and glances around. “So, if everyone understands, let’s get back to work. I’ll be escorting Mello to his new post.”

There are a smattering of nods around the room, and the members of the SPK go back to work. Near and I back up to my floor, and suddenly everything is beginning to feel very real. I wonder if I’m still up to this.

I finish packing and sit down on the bed next to Matt. He hasn’t been saying much - just watching me, and pretending to play on his DS - so I loop an arm around his shoulders and pull his head down into the crook of my neck.

“I’ll see you soon, Matt.” I promise. “You’ll barely notice I’m gone.”

“Don’t be ridiculous.” Matt snorts. “I always notice when you’re gone.”

“Mello - brrzzt - please come back to the investigation room - brrzzt - it’s urgent.”

The intercom makes us both flinch, the harsh electronic buzzing cutting through our moment like a gunshot. It was Near’s voice, and since he knows I’m supposed to be leaving very soon, I assume it really is very urgent. I kiss Matt lightly on the forehead and get up, going to the lift with a quiet promise to return and see him before I leave the building.

In the investigation room, everyone is hushed, standing in a semi-circle facing Near. A television screen is flickering with images from a news channel, the sound muted, the Japanese reporter’s mouth opening and closing in a way that seems silly without the noise. The atmosphere in the room is troubled. I do not have long to wonder what has happened.

“Mello. It is good that you have joined us.” Near nods. “In the last ten minutes, a children’s hospital in Tokyo has revealed that they received an anonymous donation of over one hundred thousand dollars last night.”

The numbers click. “The exact amount that Arik the Viking paid Kira?”

“Yes. The exact amount.”

I sink into a chair, thinking rapidly. “So Kira took the bribe, and then gave it away? To what end?”

“To save the children.” Matsuda puts in. “The new Kira is honourable! He’s following Light’s code of creating a better world.”

“Matsuda-san, please.” Yamamoto says. “Kira is far from honourable. He is a murderer.”

“Near, I think I need to leave immediately.” I say, hearing my own words come as if from a distance. “It’s now essential for me to work quickly.”

“Yes.” Near agrees. “It’s time for the SPK to step this investigation up a gear.”


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