Chapter 29: The Person Just For Her
Can it be?
Lorenzo Auditore's thoughts were running wild, his fingers flying frantically all over his laptop's keyboard as he accessed the Assassin Order's database.
Following the betrayal of Daniel Cross, and the ensuing disaster, the Order implemented stricter rules. These rules mandated thorough background checks not only on their members, but on every individual that had and would ever be affiliated with them. According to Acting Mentor Bill Miles, such changes in policy were intended precisely to ensure that the tragedy in Dubai never happened again.
As such, it was standard operating procedure for the Assassin Order to have dossiers on their members operating worldwide. Their level of detail was such that they even included the number of partners slept with, which was actually one of the less sensitive pieces of information they contained. Needless to say, they contained enough dirt to make sure that anyone who crossed them would be just as likely to be shamed and humiliated into suicide as they were to be targeted for assassination.
One such person was Ichiro Mihara, who had always been a close friend of the Far Eastern Assassin's Guild, and of Lorenzo in particular. It was common knowledge that he was practically a god in the field of robotics, and that his name was up there with Bill Gates and Steve Jobs as among the biggest names of the 21st century. What wasn't quite as well known, however, was that he had been highly valued by the Assassins not only as a financial backer, but as a mentor figure in his own right.
And finally, after minutes of searching, Lorenzo found his file. It's been a while, old friend.
"Dr. Ichiro Mihara, born 1995, was highly celebrated as a pioneer of science and technology. Today, he is best remembered not only as the father of all persocoms, but as the creator of the Angels that became a worldwide phenomenon early on in the decade."
The first paragraph hardly contained any information he could use, given that it was about the same as what he could find practically anywhere on the internet.
"The Assassin Order in particular has benefited immensely from his efforts. Mihara was a longtime mentor for the Order's Information Technology Division, having trained its members in various areas such as electronic warfare."
Again, thought Lorenzo with a smile, this was true. While Mihara – Icchan, as he had preferred to go by – had had neither the stomach nor the inclination for fieldwork, it was because of him that cyberspace was mostly Assassin territory. All of the IT Division's current members had been his students, and it showed. Indeed, when he was still alive, most if not all the Assassin Order's trainees were required to spend at least some time learning from him.
"Just as with the general public, however, Mihara's greatest contribution lay in persocom development. Especially notable was his work on the Eden series of persocoms which possess greater capabilities that allow them to engage in fieldwork as required by the Order. Even today, these persocoms continue to be of aid to the Order and its agents, acting among other things as bodyguards and field operatives."
Demeter… and Ceres?
That took Lorenzo by surprise.
He'd never known of Icchan's involvement in the development of the Eden series of persocoms, let alone that it was he who created Demeter and Ceres. In hindsight, though, it wasn't the least bit surprising, especially considering how the Eden series of five years ago was known for being more advanced than even the newest models of today. He doubted even those persocoms belonging to the military or the police actually saw much in the way of action.
And if anything, thought Lorenzo, it was his own fault for not having made the connection sooner. After all, Demeter and Ceres had been given to him by Icchan not long after his work on the project.
Sensing that the information he sought was further still, he read on.
"Dr. Mihara died in 2026, less than three years after creating the now-legendary Chobits – successors to the Eden series that came before – and less than two after the death of his daughter Freya. However, his legacy lives on today not only as part of the Assassin Order, but of society itself. As of this writing, he is survived by his wife Chitose, and their daughter Elda."
It was here that Lorenzo's hunch was confirmed.
Just as he'd suspected, it was his friend's daughter who Abstergo had kidnapped and then turned into a killing machine, all against her will. He'd never actually met Icchan's daughters, and he hadn't been there to witness their birth either, given that he'd been out of the country at the time. But even then, Lorenzo remembered his friend making references to them a couple of times. They were said to be a 'surprise' for his wife, who was barren and was unable to bear children of her own.
In fact, the database was rather misleading on one point; though it referred to the Chobits as the successors of the Eden series, Icchan had confided in him that there wasn't a lot of difference between their capabilities. According to what he'd said at the time, the one real difference between the persocoms of the Eden series and his daughters was sentience, and even that became moot later on, thanks to a certain incident. In Icchan's own words, his daughters were beings to be loved, and who could fall in love.
It was bad enough that they'd involved his family – as far as Lorenzo was concerned, Rei Mikage was family –in this mess, because they'd just entitled themselves to a messy death at his hands. And if he himself couldn't get to them, his twins would be much more likely to succeed.
But now, he thought, it was even worse that they'd kidnapped the boyfriend of his friend's daughter, after they made her into some mechanized demon. He, Lorenzo, might still have held some measure of mercy and compassion even for their most bitter enemies, but…
Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.
That statement best summed it up. Unlike Lorenzo himself – or, for that matter, Demeter and Ceres – Freya wasn't likely to bind herself to the Assassin's Creed, not least because she wasn't technically an Assassin to begin with.
I'm not sure pissing off the most dangerous persocom in the world was a smart move on their part.
Heaving a sigh, Lorenzo exited the database and typed up new orders for his twins.
No you don't…!
Yuzuki gritted her teeth as she struggled to ward off the blow launched at her by her assailant, the both of them locked up in a battle of attrition.
The house security systems had gotten rid of most of the persocom assassins sent to dispatch Minoru, but alas, one of them managed to make it this far. With Freya's fragment guiding her movements, Yuzuki managed to head the would-be killer off, but the lack of weapons at her disposal prevented her from managing anything more than a stalemate.
It was just lucky that Freya's gift allowed her to hold out this long. But in spite of how it had all but turned her into a copy of Freya, she not only lacked the enhancements and the weapons, but was also hampered by the fact that her battery wouldn't last forever. She might have been able to hold out for this long, but unless a miracle happened…
"Idiot, don't space out now!" Freya's fragment admonished her. "The moment you hesitate, we're done!"
"I know," Yuzuki muttered to herself as she knocked the enemy away with a vicious kick to the gut, "But –"
"I'm taking control!"
Yuzuki could only watch as her body moved on its own. Cables shot out of the back of her head like tentacles as she laid a hand on the compartment in place of her enemy's right ear, forcing it open just enough for one of the cables to connect.
Yuzuki felt her lips move, but it was Freya's voice that came out. Their assailant struggled, but Yuzuki held her firmly against the heavy double doors to Minoru's bedroom. In the meantime, another set of cables burst out to wrap themselves around the enemy's neck.
"Just keep her like this for a while –"
No more than a few seconds passed than Freya recalled Yuzuki's wires and cables relinquishing control of Yuzuki's body as she did so. Just then, too, the enemy went rigid, light streaking across her eyes for a second, and then glazed over as she finally went limp in Yuzuki's arms.
"That was a close one, wasn't it?"
Freya's tone was casual, but Yuzuki could have sworn she heard a note of mingled relief and exhaustion somewhere.
"Mother… thank you."
Freya smiled at Chitose through her sister's body as the array of monitors and displays before them indicated GUNGNIR's success, before pulling her into a warm embrace.
Platinum Angel or not, even Freya had to admit that she felt a wonderful, blissful surge of relief at the fact that she and Yuzuki had managed to fend off the assassins. As with Chii, her fragment that resided in Yuzuki retained all her skills, but none of her enhancements, and it wasn't much of a help either that her enemy seemed to know all her moves. It was thanks to both Freya and Yuzuki that Minoru remained safe and sound.
At the same time, though, Freya acknowledged and was thankful for the role Chitose had played. She could tell from her mother's body language that she hadn't even wanted to use GUNGNIR, and so she was grateful for such selflessness on her mother's part. Had it not been for her mother, she and Yuzuki would most likely have been done for, back there.
And more importantly, had it not been for her mother, Minoru Kokubunji would be dead.
"Mother," Freya said suddenly as she let go. "Do you mind if I ask you something?"
This made Chitose look up. "Yes, dear Freya?"
"Do you approve of Rei for me, mother?"
Freya knew that that question was rather ridiculous at the moment, given that Rei was in the hands of her enemies, but she didn't care just now. All she knew was that eventually, they'd be together again.
All she knew was that she'd get him back.
Freya would rescue the person just for her.
Even if it meant leaving a trail of bodies in her wake.
The next day came.
As was his usual custom, Daniel Cross went to wake up each of his subordinates one by one, the better to get them fired up for another day's worth of training. Naturally, as the neophyte, it was Rei who would get the most unceremonious awakening.
And as was his usual custom, he'd greet Daniel with a scowling face that told of sweet dreams cut short.
At least, thought Daniel as he busied himself preparing coffee for two, this was the case at first. Over the course of a mere few days, it wasn't lost on Daniel that Rei had been complaining less and less, especially with respect to the early waking hours.
His performance, too, was steadily improving, most notably when it came to the physical training. And it wasn't just that, either; Rei's performance in the Animus continued to impress, so much so that computer-controlled opponents no longer sufficed. Needless to say, his overall improvement was very noticeable indeed.
So much so, in fact, that Daniel saw fit to arrange for a little reward for his latest and possibly greatest protégé.
Yeah, I think he'll enjoy this little present of mine.
Very much so, if I do say so myself.
Just then, though, he heard a knock on the door to his office that jolted him back to the real world. "Come on in," he called. "There's coffee here if you'd like some, too."
The door opened as one of their more recent trainees, a young woman clad in a black tanktop underneath a white coat, came in. While the features of her face were mostly Asian, her pale, blue eyes and her flaming red hair hinted at mixed parentage. Watching her, Daniel felt pleased with himself indeed.
Yeah, Rei, I believe you'll like her very much.
"Oh hey there, Reina."
"How'd you like to be assigned to a partner?"
Daniel had to exert a conscious effort not to break into a devious smirk as he addressed the lady in front of him.