Halo Twenty: Tomoya:
-Twelve Hours Earlier-
Tomoya forced Oshiro-sensei down at the kitchen table with the other two tadpoles. He kept the knife at his back. The poor old doctor looked around.
“Shuichi? Haru-kun?” he asked.
“Stay still!” Tomoya barked. Oshiro-sensei was forced to sit up straight.
“W-W-What do you want from me?” he asked.
“Shut up!” his captor barked. “We’re doing the talking. You just answer our questions.” The desperate doctor looked around.
“Where are the others involved with the Tadpole Project?” Tomoya asked.
“I… I don’t!” Oshiro-sensei shouted. His captor clicked his tongue.
“Don’t bullshit me!” he snapped. He forced his right hand down on the man’s shoulder. The old doctor’s body went stiff as his eyes clouded over.
“I hate my job and I want to punch the dean in the face,” he admitted. Oshiro-sensei looked shocked when he said that. Shuichi whistled, shaking his head.
“You the mild-mannered Oshiro-sensei wanting to get violent with a superior?” he asked. “Naughty, naughty.” The old doctor looked up with big eyes.
“What are you doing to me?!” he shouted. “My ex-wife left me for driving instructor because he younger than me and better in bed.”
“Surprised?” Tomoya asked. “Keep talking. We’ll get the truth out of you.” Oshiro-sensei’s eyes widened as he tried to keep quiet.
“Why are you doing this to me?” he asked. “I am fond of women who dress like schoolgirls.”
“You owe us!” Tomoya shouted. “You and the rest of them put us through hell.”
“But I didn’t do anything to you!” Oshiro-sensei said. “I always wanted to sleep with this one girl around my office.”
“Yeah, so did some of the Nazis during the Holocaust!” Shuichi shouted. Tomoya started to tremble and break out into a sweat.
“You okay, man?” Shuichi asked.
“Yeah!” Tomoya shouted. “We have to keep going for this!” The tadpole turned to their captive.
“Are you willing to tell us the truth?” he asked. “We can do this all night. I can draw out all of your secrets.” He paused to catch his breath.
“You wouldn’t want that, would you?” Tomoya asked. The former doctor frantically shook his head.
“No, no!” Oshiro-sensei wailed. “I want to lick my ex-wife’s feet again.” Shuichi wrinkled his nose.
“Dude!” he said. Oshiro-sensei covered his face.
“Hiding away like you did when they experimented on us?” Haru asked. “Surprise, surprise.”
“It wasn’t like that!” the doctor wailed. “I hate my wife’s son.” Tomoya rolled his eyes.
“Cut the crap!” he barked. “Just give us what we want! Where are the others involved with the Tadpole Project? Tell us now!”
“I don’t know where they are!” his captive shouted. “They won’t tell me! I haven’t been in contact with them. I like AKB48.”
“Liar!” Tomoya shouted.
“I’m not lying!” Oshiro-sensei wailed. “I may have their numbers but haven’t contact them in years! We haven’t tried to anyway! I want this nightmare to end as much as you do! I still don’t why I got chosen for that project. I wished that I had told somebody the truth then.” Tomoya clicked his tongue and drew back his head.
“This is pointless!” he shouted. He turned to the other two tadpoles.
“Let’s just kill him,” he said. Oshiro-sensei whipped around covered in sweat.
“No! Please don’t!” he begged.
“Why?” Tomoya asked. “You didn’t anything to stop them. You just stood back and let it happen.” But then, he lowered his knife.
“However, I have a better use for you,” he said. Shuichi, Haru, and Oshiro-sensei gave him a confused look. Tomoya looked at his fellow tadpoles.
“I want to try something,” he said. “Shuichi, take out one of your needles.” The tadpole gave him a strange look.
“Why?” he asked.
“Just do it,” Tomoya said. Shuichi shrugged.
“Alright,” he said. He held up his left index finger. The tadpole pulled out one long, thin needle from the skin. Oshiro-sensei stared at him with big eyes.
“Now, Haru-san, take your glove off and touch the needle,” Tomoya said. The older man looked at him in a strange way. But he slid off the glove and touched the tip of the needle. Instantly, the needle turned black. Seeing where this was heading, Shuichi tossed it over to the captive. With such precision, the needle buried itself in the back of the doctor’s neck. Oshiro-sensei’s whole body froze. He seemed to be shaking for a few minutes before he went still.
“What did you just do to me?!” he cried. Tomoya grabbed him by the shoulder in a vice-like grip.
“You are going to deliver a little message to Kitano-sensei,” he hissed in his ear. “You are to tell him that we are coming for him. We will bring the war to him. You will go straight to him an deliver our message word for word. You have a day and five hours to do it.” Oshiro-sensei started to shake.
“But I don’t know where he is!” he shouted.
“Well, you better start looking,” Tomoya said. “One day and five hours.” He let go of the hostage.
“Oh and one more thing,” he said. “Give me your phone.”
Another development took place in the Tadpole Project. Kitano was doing his rounds with the Heartseed plant when he noticed the changes.
“Hm?” he asked. The plant had turned a bright yellowish green. The therapist walked up for a closer look.
“That’s never done that before,” he said. Kitano reached into his coat pocket and pulled out his notebook. He scanned through his notes with a puzzled look on his face.
“I don’t think I have seen that before,” he said. Kitano pulled out his phone.
“Hello?” Etsuko asked on the other line.
“Yeah, I have a question,” he said.
“Yes, what about?” she asked.
“Which one of our drugs produces a bright yellowish green color in the Heartseed?” Kitano asked as he tilted his head, staring at the plant. There was a pause on the other line.
“Do what now?” the doctor asked at last.
“Are you free to come down and look?” Kitano asked.
“Sure, just give me a second,” Etsuko said.
Within ten minutes, the doctor and the therapist stood in front of the glowing Heartseed. Etsuko stroked her chin.
“Run through the drugs in your notes again,” she said. Kitano took out his notebook.
“Amaterasu, Tsukuyomi, Susanoo, Ame-no-Uzume-no-Mikoto, Nio, Oyamatsumi, Rajin, Kojin, Kuebiko, Jurojin…” he read off. He paused and went up the list. The therapist went down from Nio to Jurojin. His finger settled on a spot and looked up at the plant.
“I think this is the Kojin,” Kitano said at last.
“When did we do that?” Etsuko asked.
“Hang on,” Kitano said. He looked down at his notes again. He narrowed his eyes. “It’s saying about… August 1998.” The doctor took a minute to think.
“I want to say that Kojin are small tablets that went under the tongue,” she said.
“Think it’s on the tapes?” Kitano asked.
“We will have to see,” Etsuko said.
“What do you think that the Kojin does?” he asked.
“We will have to see in the morning,” the doctor said.
“Agreed,” Kitano said, nodding. He took down the latest notes.
Mikado stared at his plate on the table. His friends were eating up their breakfast. Masaomi looked over at him.
“You’re not hungry, man?” he asked. Mikado lifted his head.
“Hm?” he asked. “Oh, no not really.” The tadpole got up and wrapped up his food. He walked over to the front door and put on his shoes.
“Where are you going?” Anri asked.
“Just out,” Mikado said. He walked out the door without a word. The way he spoke sounded so nonchalant. Anri and Masaomi looked at each other as the door closed. He hadn’t touched his food at all.
He didn’t come back until noon. Mikado didn’t answer his phone. Not like they could go out and look for him. The tadpole didn’t even say where he was going.
“It’s no use,” Anri said. “He’s not picking up.”
“Hang on,” Masaomi said. He pulled out his phone. He started to dial up another number.
“Hello?” a woman asked on the other line.
“Hey, Naomi-san,” the Yellow Scarves shogun said. “Is Mikado with you?”
“No,” she said. “Why? Did something?”
“Well…” Masaomi said. Suddenly, the door opened.
“He just came in. I’ve got to go,” Masaomi said. He hung up before Naomi could say a word.
“I’m back,” Mikado said. Masaomi and Anri were waiting for him in his apartment.
“Where did you go?” Anri asked. The tadpole boy just shrugged.
“Just out,” Mikado said again. He walked over to his computer and booted it up. The tadpole didn’t even stop by the fridge. Masaomi and Anri couldn’t figure it out.
On the opposite end of the coin, Nami sat in a ramen place, finishing up another bowl. That was her eighteenth bowl. The kitchen staff watched her with uneasy looks on their faces.
“Could I have more?” Nami asked. The main cook blinked at first.
“I think you had enough,” he said. The tadpole glared at him.
“I’m still hungry,” she growled.
“Yes...” the cook said. “But you’ve had enough.”
“I want more food!” Nami shouted. “Give me more!” The cook nervously laughed.
“Okay…” he mumbled. He turned and went back to the kitchen. Nami sat back in place. She couldn’t understand what was happening now. But all that she knew was that she had to keep eating.
-Makoto and Michiko-
Once again, Michiko tracked down Makoto. She couldn’t give up this time. The young girl puffed up her cheeks.
Makoto-san! We have to talk now! She’s starting to get her memories back!
That was enough to alert him.
You can’t mean…
I’m afraid so.
Where are you now?
I am standing outside of your apartment. I’ll come up right now. Are you alone?
Good, I will be right there.
Makoto’s stomach dropped as he could hear the footsteps coming up the stairs. He closed his blind eyes. He could already see where this was heading. Makoto had prayed in his heart of hearts that she would stay away. But that encounter yesterday told him that this game wouldn’t allow it. She was going to be forced to play this stupid game again.
Thinking about that made his blood burn.
“I know how you feel,” Michiko spoke up. Makoto’s body froze. He heard footsteps coming closer.
“Do you see why we have to stop this madness?” she asked. “If you won’t do it for them, do it for her. How do you think she’s going to feel being pulled back into this hell once she gets her memories back? You never wanted this for her. She didn’t want this for you either.”
“I know that!” Makoto shouted. It took him by surprise to hear himself raising his voice for the first time in a while.
“So why won’t you get up and fight?” Michiko asked. Makoto opened his blind eyes and trembled.
“I can’t…” he mumbled.
“And why is that?!” Michiko shouted. “Do you want her to suffer through our misery again?”
“No!” Makoto shouted.
“Then why won’t you fight?!” the girl shouted with her arms up in the air.
“I’m scared to lose her again!” he yelled back. He seemed to collapse onto the floor. Now that it was out, it was going to begin all over again. Michiko folded her arms across her chest.
“There is no excuse for that,” she said in a cold. Why couldn’t she just leave alone?
Kitano had just finished up his paperwork for the evening when he heard pounding on his office door. He didn’t even look up.
“Enter,” Kitano said. The doorknob struggled for three minutes before the door opened. The therapist looked up as he heard a thud on the carpet. Oshiro-sensei lay face down on the floor.
“Oshiro?” Kitano asked in shock. He ran over to the fallen man. The therapist lifted up his head. His former colleague’s breathing was labored as he looked so pale.
“Oshiro?” the therapist asked. “What are you doing here? What happened to you?” Oshiro-sensei managed to carry out his final task before succumbing to his death.
“They are… coming for… you,” the dying doctor said in between swallow breaths. “They are bringing their war to… you…”
“What are you talking about?” Kitano asked. When he saw the blackened needle sticking out of the dead man’s nape, he had his answer.