As their drinks arrived, she was still talking about the system and the different uses of it. “It is like an overlord, so to speak. I use it to find people who are supposed to be in a meeting, and it always knows where people are.” Kit said. “I haven’t had any issues in my research division so I can’t say how good it is at finding people who don’t belong there.”
“And you are all okay with this machine logging all of your movements?” Mitsuhide asked as he took a sip of his drink.
“At the building, of course, I am okay with it watching us.” Kit said as she smiled, “This go quick in research for different medicines, and it is a cut-throat world. I personally don’t work on anything too important, so again I am safe from things like this being directed towards me. Now if we were talking in the outside of work world, there is no way I would want something like this running over us.”
“And why pray, tell?” Mitsuhide asked, trying to keep a straight face while looking at her.
“I do want some privacy.” She replied.
“And what do you wish to keep so private?” he prompted. She looked at him and the same he was struggling to keep a straight face. She placed her elbows on the table and leaned forward.
“Wouldn’t you like to know?” she said, and he let out a bark of laughter.
“Actually I would now, but I understand. It would make jobs like my obsolete to a point. I think the human factor has to be there in law enforcement. Like today, for example. The people were trying to send a message to someone or something, but it was messed up because you don’t use lab rats. There is an element of humanity in there that you must understand. A machine would just not.” Mitsuhide said.
“That is the thing.” She said, “The company is pretty vocal about not using animals for testing. I can pull up about ninety different references right this second on my phone about how we don’t test or treat on animals. So if the group or person, I think we have to agree it was a group though by the number of rats released, knew anything about the company, why didn’t they know that?”
“You’re right,” Mitsuhide said as he looked at his phone. “This was a diversion.”
“The rats?” she asked.
“It was like a smoke signal in the building.” He said. He was letting his brain go over everything he had learned today. “How does your Charles actually work?”
“What do you mean?” she asked back.
“How does it know where you are?” he asked.
“You know I don’t know exactly. I thought it was facial recognition at one point, but on Halloween, it still knew where everyone was.” She said.
“It has to be a chip or strip somewhere.” Mitsuhide said, “Do you have your work, ID?”
“Here.” She said as she handed it over to him.
“Here it is.” He said as he held it up. “There is a small chip in the middle of the ID.”
“So that means they are tracking us?” she asked.
“I am afraid so. Your Charles is nothing more than a widespread tracker.” He said as he handed it back, “Now the question is who wasn’t there today that was.”
“I don’t follow.” She said.
“Someone had to access places and used someones ID to do it. So someone was not there in the building, but their ID was.” Mitsuhide said.
“Well, there is over five thousand people that work there. Good luck trying to find that needle in a needle stack.” She said.
“I know.” He said softly. “Enough about work. What do you like to do?”
“Work.” She replied with a smile.
“Don’t get out much?” he asked.
“No. Not really. I meet up with Lish once a week sometimes for dinner, but that is rare now that she started school again. I tend to bring work home with me.” She said.
“I know that feeling.” He said as he chuckled.
“I assume you don’t have a normal work schedule.” She said to him.
“I do. Monday through Friday nine to five.” He said as he laughed. “And whenever they need help with something.”
“Sounds pleasant.” She said .
“It does, but I am rather good at what I do.” He replied as he smiled at her.
“So what do you do for fun?” she asked.
“About the same as you. Dinner with one of the guys, go out for drinks once a week. Listen to them drone on about their girlfriends.” Mitsuhide said with a smile.
“I am never going to hear the end of this with Lish.” She said.
“What the date?” he asked as he thought it was going rather well.
“Her relationship with this Masamune. I certainly hope she doesn’t hurt him too much.” Kit said, and Mitsuhide looked at her for a second and then laughed.
“Her hurt him?” he asked. “Aren’t you worried for your cousin?”
“My cousin, god love her, is a force of nature all by herself. Like a hurricane with a tornado that causes wind damage and then floods the area.” Kit said.
“That is some force of nature. I think Masamune may have met his match.” He replied, “That sounds like an apt description of him too.”
“Wonderful.” Kit said.
“Excuse me?” the server came up to the table. “I don’t mean to rush you, but you may want to finish your dinners quickly or have them to go.”
“Why?” Kit asked.
“Look outside.” The server said, and they both did. While they had been talking, there was about a foot of snow on the ground.
“To go please,” Mitsuhide said. “Wonderful now, how am I supposed to get back into the city?”
“I don’t think I can get back across town.” She said.
“There is a hotel across the street.” The server said.
“I forgot about that place.” Kit said as she pulled out her phone and then typed in a few things. “Oh.”
“Oh, what?” Mitsuhide said.
“It seems it filled fast.” Kit said as she looked up.
“So no more rooms?” he asked.
“One.” She said.
“Well, that will do.” He said as he also pulled out his phone and clicked on a few things. He looked up and was grinning. She looked down at her phone and saw the last room was now booked.
“Well, that is great for you, but what about me?” she asked. As she tried to remember any other hotels in the area that she could stay at. She knew a few of them but wouldn’t want to ever stay at those ones.
“It is for you,” Mitsuhide said.
“What?” she asked.
“I got the room for you, sweetheart,” Mitsuhide said with a small smile.
“But what about you?” she asked as the server came and she was about to take out her card but was beaten by him again.
“I thought we could go over to the hotel and watch television or something until the roads are clear enough for me to get back into the city. I wasn’t suggesting anything else happen.” He said with a light in his eye.
“How could I deny that?” she asked with a laugh. “I am fine with that Mitsuhide.”
“I believe that is the first time you really said my name.” he grinned.
“That matters?” she prompted.
“I like the way you say it.” He responded.
“Did I say it wrong?” Kit nearly panicked.
“No, my dear Mouse wrangler, you did not.” He said as he took her coat and held it for her to put on.
“Actually rat wrangler.” She said with a laugh.
“Well, I stand corrected.” He said as he put out his arm for her to take. She wrapped her hand around his arm and was surprised at the muscles underneath. They walked to the door and saw the extent of what they had to cross to get to the hotel. She looked down at her shoes.
“This is going to hurt.” She said softly. He looked down at her and then her feet and chuckled.
“On the contrary, Princess.” He said as he swooped her up in his arms.
“Oh my god.” She said as she clung to him. she could feel him chuckling as she did grab ahold of his neck.
He walked across the street to the person who was running the front desk. When the man looked up and saw Mitsuhide carrying the small woman in his arms, he chuckled. “We are booked for the night.”
“I do believe I booked the last room, Mitsuhide Akechi.” He said as he put her down in the lobby.
“Ah yes but you didn’t book a room.” The man said.
“What did I book then?” Mitsuhide asked as he looked at the man.
“You booked the last cabin.” The man said.
“Do these cabins have heat?” Mitsuhide asked as he looked at the woman who was trying to suppress the shiver running through her. It must have dropped twenty degrees from the time he walked into the restaurant.
“Yes, they do. They also have the ability to have a fire in the fireplace.” The man said.
“Then, that is fine,” Mitsuhide said with a chuckle.
“Fill this out.” The man said as he handed Mitsuhide a piece of paper and a pen.
“How long is the storm supposed to last?” Kit asked as she nodded to the television.
“That’s the funny thing, ma’am. It was never supposed to hit us. It changed paths and then stalled on top of us. It looks like maybe two days.” The man said.
“Two days?” she asked as she looked outside and saw the snow was now at a foot and a half at least. She thought a bit, “If it lasts two days, we could end up with a four or five feet.”
“I know. It doesn’t look like it is going to die anytime soon either.” The man said.
“Then let’s make this for two nights?” Mitsuhide said smoothly. “If anything, I do not believe I can make it back into the city with this much snow on the ground for two days.”
“That’s a good idea, sir.” The man said as he typed in the information. “We have breakfast here in the lobby in the mornings, room service will still be up and running as we have the kitchens here on-premises.”
“Thank you.” Mitsuhide said as he looked at her, “At least we won’t starve.”
“Or freeze.” She said.
“No, Mouse I do not believe we will do that either.” He said as he took her hand and looked at the map on the counter as the man asked, “One key or two?”
“Two please,” Mitsuhide said as he handed her the first one and took the second for his own.
“Is there a store on this street that sells clothes?” she asked.
“A door down is a second-hand store.” The man behind the counter said. “She said she would remain open till normal hours. She lives above the store.”
“Great.” She said.
“What are you thinking, mouse?” Mitsuhide asked.
“Well, the sidewalk was passable a few minutes ago. You go to the room and turn up the heat. I will be there in a few.” Kit said.
“Alright.” He said as he eyed her. “Though if you aren’t back in twenty minutes, I will feel rather put out looking for you in the snowbanks.”
“Thanks a lot.” She said as she laughed. They split up, and he went to the cabin, and she went back outside to the store with its lights on. She opened the door and was met by the smell of a store that had been there for years. The stale mustiness of it was like an old friend in a way.
She glanced around. A smaller, older woman came up. “Don’t you think you should be at your home, my dear?”
“We got stranded over here, and now we are stuck for how long the storm stays over us.” Kit said with a smile. “I guess they are saying two days now. So I need to get some clothes for us for a few days.”
“You keep saying us though you are alone.” The woman said.
“My um, um, um date.” Kit said with a smile. “He is at the hotel next door.”
“Oh yes, good people over there.” The woman said. Kit in the meantime was looking at a few shirts for her and a pair of old sweatpants. She looked at the men’s section and found some tee shirts and two pair of sleeping lounge pants for him. She also found a silk robe for her. She piled the stuff up on the counter and waited as the woman rung everything up. Kit was looking around and saw two pair of sneakers there on the counter as well. “I’ll take those too.”
“Alright, dearie.” The woman said. Kit didn’t wait to have the total given to her as she just handed over her card and then took the bag. She walked out onto the street in near white-out conditions and into a hard body.
“You were talking too long,” Mitsuhide said in her ear as he tugged her along to the safety of the building of the hotel. He then continued to tug on her arm while she was dragging the bag behind her. They went back outside and toward the water when she saw the small cabin pop out of nowhere. He smiled at her in the darkness and opened the door quickly. She stepped inside and looked around.