Once the throbbing pain of hitting the water subsides to some extent, I flip, and force my aching muscles to carry me to shore. I drag myself from the water and collapse, cold and soaked. Now my primary goal is to put distance between me and NONA tower.
I scramble to my feet, taking off into the concrete forest. This close to the tower, all the mobs have been contained. Only the destruction they left in their wake remains. Windows are smashed in, small fires still burn, and I'm surprised to find graffiti. The citizens may beleive they have on an excuse to go on a rampage, suposedly to protect themselves, but what made them think that made graffiti suddenly legal? How do they justify that?
I'm not sure how far I've ran until my legs give out beneath me. Hurriedly, I shift my weight to catch myself on a wall. On it, the words 'THE END' are spray painted in red. The reality of everything crashes into me all at once.
It isn't the chaos that has me in turmoil: I'm used to things like that by now. No, it's Shogo's capture that calls forth the tears to my eyes. I cup a hand to my mouth and sob.
Akane told me they won't kill him, but why shouldn't they? Surely they've linked him to many of his crimes by now. Even Shogo wont be able to talk his way out of this one. Will they torture him? If I hadn't been so sure reinforcements were on their way, I would have taken him, Akane at gunpoint, and escaped with him.
"Damn it!" I can't rescue him if I don't even know where he is! Consumed with worry, I cry until my tearducts have dried.
The victims are offered treatment for both their injuries and mentality. People are packed into public places, recovering from the riots. I don't have to look too hard to find a group of enforcers overseeing everything. Their inspector I recognize to be Ginoza, Kougami's partner before he was demoted. Now, I believe he works with Akane.
I recieve heavy medication to clear my hue. It isn't pills like the usual prescribed medicine. Instead, it flows into me through an IV. In my opinion, it's no different from morphine. I regulate my drip, unlike other patients in my condition. As they become drunk on a temporary state of Serenity, my moderation allows me to keep my senses about.
All the crying I did last night lowered my psycho pass enough to be classified as a side effect of the trauma. As long as I'm able to get it under control, they'll have no reason to arrest me.
The area stress level should be rapidly declining, and as soon as the mess is cleared, it'll be like nothing ever happened. There'll be slight unrest about the mere existance of the masks, but that will die down quickly. Society will keep fnctioning blindly, just as it always has. People will ignore everything that's inconvienient to them, so long as they can continue their lives without a care. A life without problems sounds appealing, doesn't it? I would rather die.
It isn't living if you don't struggle. People only have value when acting on their desires. I don't mean their want to help the community, but the want for themselves. Of course, that doesn't mean I'm alright with killing of those mindless sheep. They all have the potential to become indivisuals from the herd, and some take an entire lifetime to do it.
My attention is snagged when Ginoza gets up from his seat and leaves his group. Whatever has called him away, it must be extremely important for him to abandon his enforcers. From what I've researched, he likes to keep him hunting dogs on a tight leash.
The enforcers he's left behind are Masaoka and Yayoi. Masaoka is a retired detective, so it may be best that I don't approach him. Yayoi, however, was previously a musician. I might be able to pry some information out of her. Taking my medical drip with me, I approach the enforcer.
"Excuse me?" She turns and appraises me, deeming me harmless. "Those masks...how is that possible?" By beginning with a question many are bound to have, I'm creating in her the impression that I'm nothing but a victimized, confused citizen. By keeping it general, I'm opening up for more information.
Her response comes out in almost a monotone, factual. It strikes me that she's trying to seperate herself from the situation so that she doesn't react on emotion. I hadn't expected her to be an idot, but there is usually a level of innocence that comes with being young. For her to be aware that numbing herself is the best way for her to handle catastrophies, she's definitely been through more than you'd expect for her age. Then I'm hit with the realization that I'm not all that different from her.
"Technology doesn't always advance as fast as hackers. The problems exposed through this event will be dealt with immediately. It is possible something like this could happen again, but every time it does, Sybil improves because of it. Please don't worry."
"Who made them, though? How could a villain get away with that?" I plead, raising my voice enough to immitate panic.
"The suspect has been caught and is now in custody," she informs me, confirming my fears. "He'll be put on trial and prosecuted. I promise, we won't let him get away with anything."
"How soon?" I ask. It takes everything in me not to choke on my words. "When will the trial be?"
She shakes her head. "I don't know."
Swallowing this information, I thank her and return to the place I was sitting. I release a large dosage into my bloodstream when I notice my increased heartrate, forcing myself to calm down. I can't be discouraged. now have the word of both an inspector and an enforcer that he won't be killed immediately, that he isn't dead already. That's good news. Unfortunately, I can't question her as to where he's being held. Not only would that arouse suspision, but she may not even know.
Enforcers are treated as nothing more than tools, and what reason is there to tell a hammer top secret information about the most recent criminal mastermind? It would be nice if we could free the enforcers, too, when we finally destroy Sybil. There isn't a doubt in my mind the girl Yayoi deserves better. Masaoka, too. He actually worked for the law before Sybil was put into action, and I've found that he was both a talented and devoted detective. Kaguri didn't even get the chance to grow up before he was arrested as a latent criminal. It would be nice if he could gain a taste of freedom for oonce in his life.
Then there's Shinya Kougami. He used to be a Sybil servant, working alongside Ginoza as a inspector. He in no way deserved to be demoted, but his justified want for revenge secured a collar around his neck.
Sybil has all but sapped hatred from modern society. It is our liberty to feel what we want, even if we're kept from acting rash. Sybil, though. Sybil puts those who feel hatred behind bars simply because of the possibility they might take up arms. Although it does balance crime at the least it's been in nearly all of history, it too often locks up innocents. Kougami seems to have a rare sense of justice that's hard to come by. I personally see that as a good quality, not a reason to be treated like a felon. None of the other enforcers have done anything illegal either, and as far as I can tell, they're not bad people.
With all these thoughts I have that would be considered 'rebellious', my psycho pass won't be lowering very fast. Luckily, I have the knowledge to be able to hide until I'm clear again. Unluckily, I probably won't clear up until Shogo is safe, and I'm certain he's alright. Who knows how long until that'll be.
Sighing, I remve the IV from my arm and pass it to a newcomer with wide, frantic eyes. I creep away from the crowd, careful to avoid nearby scanners and doctors. Once a safe distance from the refuge, I sprint home. Main streets and heavily populated areas I have to avoid, but I'm familiar enough with the backroads to find my way without any trouble.
Arriving home, I slam the door behind me. I ignore Hunter and the caws of the other two large birds and head straight to the computer, plopping down in the seat. Although I haven't got a wink of sleep, I don't feel the least bit drowsy.
I like to avoid doing any sort of illegal ectivity from this house, but this will be an exception. With fingers flying across the keyboard, I slip in to read Ginoza's recent reports. I don't ever implant things when I hack, and I'm unfamiliar with the terminology, but regardless, I possess the necessary skills. Getting in and out unnoticed is never child's play, but I can d it when I try.
I scan through, quickly searching for anything relevent. I find yet another confirmation on Shogo's capture, reported to be alive and well, but unconsious. I also discover Kaguri's gone missing. Ginoza has written that he was last seen at the NONA tower by Kougami and Akane last night. He was supposed to pursue a group seperate from Makashima into the basement. That would mean he followed that Korean hacker and his crew.
Now that I think about it, there hasn't been any sign of them, either. I pull up NONA tower's blueprint again, scrolling to inspect the lower floors. Most of them were lost in the recent blueprints and have completely fallen out of existance, but there's no evidence to suggust they were taken out. Those missing floors are where everyone disappeared from. Even in the original plans, there are no other ways out of the tower than through the front doors.
Does that mean they're still down there? Could they have gotten trapped at some point? But if that were the case, Kaguri wouldn't have been effected since he was behind them. Did something happen to all of them? Is there something down there preventing them from leaving? Whatever it may be, there's undeniably something down there. I imagine it's either extraordinarily important, or something that must be kept secret at all costs. But what could be so monumental has to have to hide it from even the people who work there day to day? I can't picture it.
A flurry of bright red feathers breaks my concentration. Cranberry's landed atop my computer, flapping to gain his footing.
"Hungry!" he squawks. "Cranberry is hungry!" I quickly close out of everything, erasing any footprints I may have left. The birds' foodbowls are indeed empty, so I refil them.
"Hunter, look up information concerning Shogo Makashima," I direct the hologram.
"Information found. Information blocked."
"Override code 66HNA32F:S."
The hawk stills, processing this information before, "Information found. Woud you like me to read it to you?"
"Twenty seven year old Shogo Makashima has been apprehended. He is suspected of having connections with multiple past cases, including that of Kozaburo Touma. He was found to be criminally asymptomatic, and is marked to be incorporated into Sybil within the week." Incorporated into Sybil? What is that supposed to mean? "There is evidence from both Inspector Akane Tsunemori and Enforcer Shinya Kougami that suggusts he has a female companion, who does not share his rare ability. She was spotted with him at NONA tower the day of his capture. If found, she will be killed with the lethal eliminator."
"Repeating," he states, rewinding his speech. "If found, she will be killed with the lethal eliminator." Why? My psycho pass isn't that high, and even if it spiked by chance, Sybil has no way of knowing that! Whatever happened to a computerized, digital judgement system without human influence? That has to be in there due to human input, because the set system would not judge someone without a read on their psycho pass.
"Hunter, are there any related reports filed? Disclude Rikako, Senguji, and other recent criminal apprehensions dating back a year."
"Multiple results found. Shall I list them all?" In any other situation, I'd find his formal wording amusing.
"Summerize to me the document that first listed Shogo Makashima," I command, readying a pen.
"Three years ago, Kozaburo Touma was taken into custody. He turned himself in and was promptly incorporated into the Sybil system, as he was found to be criminally asymptomatic. He told of another like him, with above average intellect, by the name of Shogo Makashima."
My pen had froze at Touma's name. He was incorporated? Is that why he seemed to just disappear? So is that what will happen to Shogo? Still, I find it hard to believe Touma simply spilled everything about us.
"Are there any places where the name Esther Bryant is mentioned?" I bite my lip, anxious as he searches thouroghly through the databases kept at NONA tower.
"Thank God!" Tension dissipates and I let myself fall on the table. I knew Touma was a good guy! He probably knew that even if he told them about Shogo, he wouldn't be easy to track down. But this still all begs the question, what does it mean to be incorporated? And why are dangerous criminals being made a part in how the government is run?
A knock at the door yanks me to my feet, and I'm opening it within seconds. The first thing I notice about the person is the stark white of his hair. I stand motionless, not quite processing the sight before my eyes.
"Are you going to let me in?"
The next thing I know, my arms are slung around his neck and my face is buried in his shoulder. His arms wrap around me as well, albeit much slower. As I embrace him, my thoughts feel like they're floating away and my vision begins to swim.
"Something's wrong," I murmur, my grip around him loosening, "with Sybil, Shogo." Strength gone, I slump to the floor.