Chapter Twenty-Four: Alternatives:
Watari worked into late hours to find a safer way to test the key. First, he needed into Snake Jaws’ main lab computer. Took about five days to do it. Watari looked at the gate’s records. His eyes narrowed as he read the data.
“Oh damn,” he muttered. The scientist got on his phone.
“Boss,” he said. “You really need to see this!”
By morning, the shinigami gathered around Watari’s laptop. Watari pointed to his screen.
“It looks they were telling the truth,” he said. Konoe leaned in and read the data.
“What am I looking at?” he asked.
“The mass of the gate.” Watari pointed to the screen. “The numbers represent the size through the years.” Konoe read as Watari scrolled down.
“They are dropping fast,” he said.
“Too fast,” the scientist said.
“What is causing it?” Hisoka asked.
“Time, age, bombings, natural disasters. Take you pick, really,” Watari said.
“How long until the gate is broken?” Tatsumi asked.
“Hard to say, really. Days, weeks, months, maybe.” Watari folded his arms across his chest. “The odds don’t look good.”
Tsuzuki trembled. “So it’s true.” He lifted his head. “Don’t tell me…”
“It’s possible,” Watari said. His friend shook his head.
“I won’t let them use my daughter like some lab rat!”
“You are talking about many lives here. Who knows how long before the gate is broken?”
Tsuzuki gritted his teeth. “Yes, I know! But she’s just a baby! There has to be another way.”
“We will find another way. I promise.”
“Tsuzuki, a word,” Tatsumi said. His former partner gave him a concerned look.
“What is with you?” Tatsumi asked in the hallway.
“What do you mean?” Tsuzuki asked.
“You’re getting too close to that baby.”
Tsuzuki gave him a blank stare. “What are you talking about? She’s my little girl.”
“That’s what I’m talking about. That baby isn’t yours.”
“I know, but she’s still my daughter.”
“She has a family. What will you do when they come looking for her?” Tatsumi waited for an answer. His former partner stared at him with big eyes.
“Uh… well…” Tsuzuki said in a small voice. Tatsumi sighed. He didn’t think this through, he thought.
“Tsuzuki…” he said.
“I can’t let her go,” Tsuzuki murmured.
The other shinigami lifted his head. “I love Kirika-chan and I want her, Anna, and I to be a family!”
Tatsumi frowned and pushed up his glasses. This is worse than when he was with Kimoto-san, he thought.
Meanwhile, Watari came to a grim conclusion. Konoe heard him out.
“And you’re sure this will work?” he asked.
“It’s all we’ve got at this stage,” Watari said. “I will talk to the people in Snake’s Jaws and work from there.”
“What about Tsuzuki?”
Watari sighed. “We’ll have to deal with him later. This more pressing.”
“Okay,” Konoe said after some thought. “Make the call.”
“Thank you.” Watari picked up his phone and dialed Snake Jaws’ laboratory.