August 25, 2035 Genom Tower MegaTokyo, Japan 1700 hrs. Chairman Quincy experienced a sense of deja-vu when the young man entered his office. For a moment, he relived the events of two years ago when Largo had nearly destroyed the building. But that was then and this was now. This time however, it was not Largo who stood before him, but Jason Chandler, the young CEO of Metagen. Quincy studied Chandler for a moment and tried to recall what he knew about the man. He had met Chandler before, but that was nearly seven years ago when the boy had interned at Genom during his last year of college. It was during that time that Quincy had appointed Brian J. Mason to be Chandler’s supervisor. During his tenure at Genom, the boy had learned a lot from Mason...in fact, Quincy was actually amazed at the pride Mason took in Chandler’s progress. Mason normally hated young upstarts who posed a potential threat to him. In fact, Mason had even gone so far to offer the kid a job when his internship was up. But Chandler politely refused his mentor’s offer and returned home to his father’s company. A few months later, Martin Chandler died under mysterious circumstances and Jason had taken his father’s place as CEO. Quincy remembered that day when he and Mason were told the news. He was shocked when his aide smiled approvingly and said, “Beautiful, couldn’t have done it better myself.” Since that time, Jason Chandler severed Metagen’s ties to the Pacific Consortium and restructured the company. In six short months, the company had suddenly tripled in size and profit. But Chandler had made enemies out of the Consortium, especially one William Ackerman. But despite the numerous conflicts between Metagen and the Consortium, neither side really suffered any severe losses. But each confrontation got nastier and bloodier and Quincy knew it was a matter of time before total war erupted between the two...a war that would leave both sides crippled and allow Genom a chance to take over the Pacific Rim Market. But then, a year ago, things changed when a Consortium assault team destroyed the Genom Island Complex in Hawaii. Quincy retaliated by sending a team BU-55Cs to assassinate William Ackerman. Twenty four hours later, two large crates containing the remains of his machines were delivered to his office along with a note that read, “Congratulations, old man, you just joined the endangered species list.” That was when Metagen and Genom had formed an uneasy alliance. Information concerning the Pacific Consortium and its activities were traded between the two companies, but that’s all the alliance produced...just information. Something tells me that is about to change, Quincy thought as he rose from his chair and extended his hand to Chandler. “Hello, Jason, it’s good to see you again. I see you’ve been rather productive in the last six years.” Chandler gripped the older man’s hand firmly and nodded. “I do my best, sir.” Quincy noticed something in the younger man’s eyes and it made him feel uneasy when he recognized it...a cold calculating intelligence that reminded him too much of Largo. But this isn’t Largo, Quincy reminded himself. Unfortunately, it’s too damn close for comfort. “So, Jason, what brings you to MegaTokyo personally?” Chandler released his grip and walked over to the large window that was overlooking MegaTokyo. “I wish to purchase something from you.” “You came all the way over here just to buy something?” Quincy’s eyes suddenly narrowed. “Why do that when you could have just contacted my associates instead of wasting my time?” The young man turned to reface Quincy and gave him a sly smile. “Because what I want is not available on the open market. Only you have access to the plans and I wish to restart the program.” “What are you talking about?” “A couple years ago, you formed a partnership with Gulf and Bradley to build a new type of boomer.” “Yes, the monster boomer project,” Quincy grunted in disgust. “It was more trouble than it was worth and the project failed miserably.” “It failed because you picked the wrong partner, but what were you expecting from a drunken Texas businessman and his lecherous scientist?” “And you think you could do better?” Quincy chuckled. “I’ve seen the crap your company produces in the way of robotics. Needless to say, your company’s Tracker- series is nothing more than a line of cheap erector sets with outdated weaponry.” “I’d like to point out that those were produced when my father controlled the company.” “And what have you done to correct that mistake? Nothing.” The young man reached into his coat and pulled out what appeared to be some sort of remote control device. “Tell you what, Quincy. Bring in a 55c boomer and I’ll show you something interesting.” Quincy raised an eyebrow at that request. What do you have in mind?” “Just humor me.” Quincy shrugged and pushed a button on his desk. A moment later, a powerfully built man in a suit entered the room. “You sent for me, sir?” asked the giant. Quincy nodded as he leaned back in his chair. “Yes I did.” He motioned in Chandler’s direction. “My colleague here has few questions to ask of you.” The large man turned to face Chandler. “And how may I be of service to you?” Chandler studied the man before he spoke. “You are a combat boomer?” The boomer nodded. “That is correct.” “Good. Now I want you to understand that it’s nothing personal, just business.” With his other hand, Chandler pulled a pistol out of his coat and pointed it at Quincy. “The chairman’s life is in danger, what do you do?” Suddenly, the boomer’s clothes and skin ripped away, revealing the massive death machine underneath. It had barely taken a step forward before an energy bolt bathed the upper torso of the machine. The machine stiffened for a moment, then staggered backwards before small electrical sparks erupted from its head and joints. Seconds later, it collapsed to the floor in a smoking heap. Chandler reholstered his pistol and placed the small black box on Quincy’s desk. “As you can see, Quincy, I’ve taken the liberty of upgrading my company’s weapons research program.” Quincy picked up the small device and examined it. It was simple enough, a small rectangular hand-held device that looked like some type of remote control except for the dark crystal like protuberance on the front. “Interesting,” Quincy mused, “a device that fires an electro-magnetic pulse. I’m impressed, Jason...would you mind telling me how you came to make a device like this?” “Actually, an employee of mine developed a device that performed a similar function and sold me the plans. I merely took the concept to the next step and built this. Granted, the thing can only fire three charges before it burns out, but it serves its purpose.” “But how were you able to acquire the technology to create a device so small?” Quincy asked as he handed the device back to Chandler. Chandler shook his head and laughed. “Now Quincy, you know I can’t reveal that, I’d be out of business.” “Then why show it to me?” “Just a simple demonstration to get your attention. Now, what would you say if I told you that I am willing to provide you with shielding technology against this type of weapon?” Quincy’s eyes narrowed. “What’s the catch?” “The technology will only be used in the manufacture of the new boomer, it will not be used in other combat series boomers.” “How can you be sure I won’t cross you?” Chandler laughed. “Believe me, Quincy, I’ll know. Besides, do you really think I don’t have other methods of taking down your combat boomers?” “And what makes you so sure I’ll give you what you want?” “You will, Quincy. If you don’t...” Chandler’s voice trailed off as he motioned in the direction of the fallen boomer. “Well, you can deal with the Consortium on your own, provided you build yourself some better toys.” Quincy studied the boomer’s remains for a moment before he spoke. “I see your point, but I would like to think about this before I agree to anything. I will give you my decision tomorrow.” “Fine by me. Until tomorrow then.” Chandler started for the door then stopped when it opened. “Oh, and Quincy?” “Yes?” “Next time, I’d like to meet you in person...these duplicate androids of yours are not that convincing.” With that last remark, Chandler left the office, leaving the Quincy construct wondering how dangerous the young man really was. After a few moments of silence, the duplicate spoke. “Just what I needed...another damn Largo.”
August 25, 2035 Tinsel City District MegaTokyo, Japan 1800 hrs. “And where do you think you’re going?” the woman in white armor asked me. Uh-oh...Richard, this is not good. I turned to run but was cut off by a dark blue armor. “I do believe she asked you a question.” There was something in the woman’s voice that told me she had an attitude problem. I was about to bring the Kinatzu up, but found myself staring at the muzzle of a very nasty looking cannon. “Uh-uh, don’t even think of using that.” I sighed deeply and shook my head. “You know, it’s people like you that hurt the tourist industry.” I glanced over at the white Knight Saber who was still standing there with her arms crossed. “Tell me something, is your friend here always a bitch?” The Knight Saber shrugged. “That’s one of her more endearing qualities.” “Ah...I see...all attitude and no brains.” “Don’t tempt me,” the blue Saber snarled. “And don’t bark at me,” I countered. She lunged forward in an attempt to punch me out. I instinctively ducked the blow and executed a kick that connected dead on with her face plate, snapping her head back and knocking her to the ground. I turned to face the white armor and found her missing. Hmm...now where did she go?...SHIT! INCOMING! I dove for cover as several shots of laserfire rained down from above me. I looked up and saw the woman hovering in the air. Well, I’ll be damned, an armor with a fully functional jetpack. I think it’s time to even the odds here. I reached into my coat and pulled out a flashball which I threw in the air. There was a flash of light, not unlike a camera flash, followed by a very confused “What the hell?” from my target. I could understand her surprise, the device had taken out her suit’s visual sensing equipment, which meant she was flying blind. The flashball’s effects would only last for about half a minute, but it was enough time for me to bolt down the street. I cut through an alley and made my way down another street that led to the entrance of an underground shopping mall. I glanced behind me to see if I was being followed and found no sign of them. Of course, if I was looking in front of me instead of behind, I would have seen a another woman in green armor land in front of me instead of blindly plowing into her. We both tumbled to the ground and rolled several feet before we recovered. Unfortunately, we both got up at the same time. On instinct, I raised the Kinatzu and had it pointed at the armor’s faceplate. At the same time, I felt the muzzle of her arm mounted laser at my throat. I raised an eyebrow and grinned. “And I only thought situations like this only happened in those old John Woo films.” The woman actually laughed at my remark. “Actually, this happens a lot around here.” “Really? Damn...I guess that means I should pull the trigger then.” “In case you haven’t noticed, you are holding a slug thrower and I am wearing armor. All you’ll do is scratch the surface and I’ll blow your head off.” “You’re right,” I said as I lowered my pistol. “But something tells me you won’t shoot me.” “And what makes you so sure of that?” she asked. “Because you don’t sound like a killer.” I quickly spun and kicked her in the side...or, I would have if she hadn’t caught my leg. “Nice move,”she said. “Unfortunately, your style is predictable.” “Predictable! Me?...ach, perish the thought.” I jumped up with my other foot and connected with the side of her helmet. Granted, it wasn’t as hard as the blow I delivered to the bitch in blue, but it was enough to make her partner drop me and stumble back a few feet. I rolled back onto my feet and was about to deliver another kick when I heard the sound of approaching sirens. The green Saber must have heard them too, because she suddenly kicked in her suit’s jets and left the scene. I reholstered the Kinatzu and walked out into the street as a patrol car pulled up in front of me. Doors swung open and two officers stepped out of the car, weapons drawn. “Freeze!” I slowly raised my hands and placed them behind my head. “Hi guys, how’s it going?”
Linna Yamazaki had returned to the Silky Doll truck just in time to see Nene, Mackie, and Sylia drag a semi-groggy Priss into the back of the vehicle. “What happened?” she asked. “Priss got knocked out cold by that guy,” Nene replied. “Sylia thinks she may have a concussion.” “Damn, think she’ll be okay?” Priss slowly brought her head up. “Oh yeah, I’m fine, mom. Just give me a moment and I’ll...I'll...er...um...Sylia? “Yes, Priss?” “I can see six of you...” Priss’ head slumped forward as she lost consciousness. “You sure she’ll be okay?” Linna asked as Mackie dropped the unconscious woman to the floor of the truck. “Of course she’ll be fine,” Mackie said as he closed up the back of the truck. “This is Priss we’re talking about. The woman is so thickheaded, I doubt there was any serious damage...not that there’s anything worth damaging up there. Hey, sis?” “Yes, Mackie?” “What kind of boomer was that anyway?” “I’m not sure,” Sylia replied. “To tell you the truth, I don’t think that was a boomer.” “Why did he attack us?” “He didn’t, he simply reacted in response to Priss’ actions...although...” Sylia paused for a moment as she considered something. “Linna, you caught up with him...what did you think?” Linna shrugged. “I’m not sure, Sylia. I felt as if he were toying with me...in fact, he seemed more concerned about getting away than facing us.” “Yes, I noticed that as well. Nene, did you manage to get a couple good shots of him.” The redheaded woman nodded. “Yeah, I’ll run them through the ADP mainframe and see what I can come up with.” “Good. I want to find out who this person is and who he works for.” “Why so concerned, Sylia?” “Because I have a very bad feeling about this...and I think it’s going to worse.”
August 25, 2035 AD Police Headquarters MegaTokyo, Japan 2100 hrs. I really love my job. As a corporate runner, you get to go to a lot of interesting places: foreign countries, exotic hotels, exotic restaurants.....you get the idea. However, there is a downside. For example, 'runners don't exactly get along well with law enforcement agencies (Interpol, CIA, and the Neo-Sov are the ones I usually deal with). Afterall, we don't exactly follow the law when we do our job (hell, most of our jobs consist of us breaking the law...mostly the part of the law that says you can't steal things or kill people). Another downside is that you also get to visit all the places you don't want to go, like Interpol headquarters (been there), CIA headquarters (done that), and even Siberia (I'd rather not disuss that one...long story). My current escapade landed me at AD Police headquarters (never been there). They allowed me one phone call and then hustled me into the mandatory interrogation room...then again, unlike most interrogation rooms, this was fairly nice compared to the others I'd been in. Like all police interrogation rooms, it came complete with three police officers, two for interrogation and the usual one to sit in the shadows and watch his buddies make fools of themselves. I tried not to crack up too much as the officers tried to intimidate me. It was the standard "good cop/bad cop" routine. One would sit across the table and ask questions while his buddy would hit me and make threats. "So...Mr. Chase," the first one began. "Would you care to tell us what you do for a living?" Well, that's an easy one, officer. I'm a professional corporate runner who probably makes more in one week than you do in a year. "I'm a computer programmer for Metagen International," I replied. The second interrogator, a bald guy that smelled like he crawled out of a sewer, hit me in the back of the head. "Don't insult us, Chase, we know what you do for a living." "Really, officer? Would you mind telling me so I can get my story straight?" A smirk made me look up. Apparently the man standing in the shadows found my remark amusing. The other interrogator, a nerdy looking guy with wavy blue hair, punched up something on the small datapad. "Name: Chase, Richard. Age: 28. Employment record: Matzuda Industries 2027 to 2028, security operations. In 2029 you did some 'freelance' security consulting for Diamondfire Corporation. And in 2030, you signed on with Metagen International as a security guard which is funny because most security guards can't afford the clothes you're wearing and the pistol we found you packing." "Hey, I got the clothes on clearance at Eddie Bauer and the gun...um, would you believe I won it in a poker game?" "Yeah, right," said the bald man as he placed the Kinatzu on the table. "A Kinatzu .45 auto-pistol. Designed to look like a the classic .45 automatic, but fires a high velocity shell that goes through most body-armor. They're very expensive, not to mention illegal." "Wow, I'm impressed , officer. You get a gold star for knowing your guns." The large man leaned down and stared me right in the eyes. It took all my effort to keep from laughing in his face. "Chase, we can nail your sorry ass on several charges. Possession and discharging of illegal firearms is only the beginning." "Wait second," I said. "All I did was come to the aid of an officer who was about to become boomer chow." "Maybe so, but when some guy comes out of nowhere, stands toe to toe with a boomer and then levels one of the Knight Sabers, we police officers start to worry." "Why?" I asked. "Because I'm better at your job then you are." I was greeted with a fist to the stomach, then my tormentor grabbed me by the hair. "You know, Chase, I don't like smart asses like you...they tend to have accidents when in custody." I was half tempted to jump up and rip his arm off, but decided against it. The last thing I needed was an entire building of ADP officers unloading several rounds into me. "Okay, that's enough." The cop standing in the shadows stepped forward. This guy was different. Unlike his fellow officers, we was wearing civillian clothes instead of a uniform. From the way he moved and talked, it was obvious that he had more experience than the two losers interrogating me. "You two take off, I'll handle it from here." I watched the two idiots leave and I could have sworn this cop was smiling slightly as he watched them go. After he shut the door behind them, he walked around to the opposite end of the table and picked up up the Kinatzu. "I suppose you really expect us to believe your poker story about this?" I shrugged. "Well, I do play poker and I did have it with me at the game." "I bet." He put the pistol down and slid it back across the table where it stopped in front of me. "And I suppose you're really here in Japan on vacation." "Well...yeah, you could say that. Look, detective, I'll level with you. I didn't come to this town looking for trouble. I went out to grab a pizza and the next thing I know, I'm in the middle of a boomer rampage. I reacted on instinct and even saved one of your officers from becoming mince meat. It wasn't my fault the chrome bimbo brigade showed up." He just stared at me through those damn shades as he thought about something. After a couple more seconds, he spoke. "First off, I appreciate you saving my ass out there. Second, that's the only reason we haven't thrown you in a cell. But I am curious, Chase. Someone from your background, on vacation in MegaTokyo while your boss, Jason Chandler, is conducting business with Genom?" He shook his head and chuckled. "I'm sorry, Chase, but I don't buy it." I shrugged. "Your call, doesn't bother me. But truth be known, this is more of a mandatory vacation. Jason told me to stick around and hang out while he conducted business...just in case something goes wrong. My orders are to keep a low profile, and do nothing unless called." "Well, you did a fine job of that." I shook my head. "Hey, so I went out for pizza. It wasn't my fault this happened." "Maybe so, but you are now part of this investigation and your presence has brought up a lot of unwanted questions...." His voice trailed off as someone knocked on the door. The door open and the bald cop poked his head into the room. "Hey, MacNicol. Get this, Chase's employer is here and he wants us to release Chase. He also brought a couple lawyers and has threatned to bury us if we don't comply." The one called MacNicol turned and looked at me. Again, I could have sworn there was a slight smile on his face. "Hmmm, I see your employer works fast." I leaned back in my chair and grinned. "Yeah, and the company's got a killer dental plan. Maybe you should look into signing on," I looked glanced over at the bald cop, "instead of working with losers." "Nah, I like being honest," MacNicol shot back. "Ow...nice return," I said. "You sure don't want a job?" MacNicol nodded and laughed. "Oh, yeah...very sure." "So I'm free to go?" "Yup." "Cool," I said as I reached for my Kinatzu. I put it back in my coat and got up. "Well, it's been fun, MacNicol." Then I walked out the door.
Leon waited until Chase was out of the room, then he called in Jordan. The bald man entered and closed the door behind him. "So, what do you think?" Jordan shrugged. "Don't know. The kid may be cocky, but he was cool and professional. He knew we had nothing serious on him and wasn't even close to cracking. Damn, I was half expecting him to break out laughing." "Yeah, I got the same impression too." Leon pulled out a cigarette and lit it. "But I do believe most of his story. And when we interviewed the kid that worked at Tony's pizza, he backed Chase up." "But you really think something's going down?" Leon choked back a laugh. "Jordan, this is MegaTokyo. When is something not going down? Okay, I want a surveillance team on Chase's hotel and I want them to track him. Is Romanova in yet?" "No...she called and said she was running a little late, got caught up in traffic." "Fine, when Nene gets here, tell her to run a check on Metagen and see if she can dig up anything."
“I don’t believe it...I just can’t believe it. Is it really that hard for you to stay out of trouble?” “Hey, I’m sorry Jason,” I said as we walked out of ADP headquarters. “But what was I supposed to do?” “Not get involved.” “For crying out loud, Jason, the boomer trashed the restaurant I was in and was about to make mince meat out of a police officer.” “You shouldn’t have interfered.” “In case you hadn’t noticed, it was that same police officer that arranged for my release...no questions asked.” Jason rapped a knuckle against my head. “Hello, mission control to idiot, I don’t think you grasp the whole situation. They let you out for a reason...they want to know what’s going down and your appearance in MegaTokyo has grabbed their attention. You see that white sedan across the street?” I glanced down the street, pretending to take in the sights. Sure enough, there was a white sedan with dark tinted windows parked across from where we were standing. “Yeah, what about it?” “It contains two plainclothes officers who have orders to follow you wherever you go. That jogger that just ran by them has orders to watch you at the hotel and that street vendor outside the Saint Regis-” “There is no street vendor outside the Saint Regis,” I corrected. “There will be when you get back there and he has orders to report your every move while you’re there...well...I’ll be damned...” his voice trailed off and I followed his gaze. His attention was focused on a cute redhead who exited a small commuter car and her way towards the ADP building. From the look on his face, I could tell that Jason was up to something. “What’s going on, Jason?” “We’ll finish our conversation later, Richard.” He then turned and opened the door to a Porsche that was parked against the curb. “Where are you going?” He didn’t answer. Instead, he got in the car and drove off, leaving me to wonder what the hell was really going on.
Linna had just dropped Nene off at ADP headquarters and was about to drive off when her car performed the sudden, but not unexpected, act of dying on her. “Oh, come on,” she cried, “don’t do this to me.” She turned the key, but the car refused to start. With a sigh of resignation, she popped the hood and got out. It was probably the electrical system again, she decided, half of her next paycheck. When she opened the hood, she was greeted by a wave of sparks and some smoke. “Dammit!” she snarled as she kicked the car. She was rewarded with a sharp pain in the ankle and stumbled backwards. She would have hit the ground if she hadn’t fallen into somebody. “Whoa,” she heard a male voice say as she felt someone catch her. “It’s dead already, I don’t think you can hurt it anymore.” She pushed off from the man and turned to face him. “Hey, I’ve had a bad day as it...is...” she stopped in mid-sentence. The long dark hair tied back in a ponytail, the long coat, jeans and T-shirt...No, she thought, what would he be doing here? He tilted his head slightly in curiosity. He wasn’t wearing sunglasses this time and she could see his eyes for the first time....green with a slight hint of mystery thrown in. Girl, pull yourself together, her mind told her. “Hey, you okay?” There was actual concern in his voice, which actually surprised her. It was hard to believe that this was the same individual that, only a couple hours earlier, had knocked Priss out cold. Then again, when Linna had fought him, she had felt a shift in his fighting style. When he took out Priss, he took her out quick and decisively. But when he fought her, it was almost as if he were sparring with her. Even looking at him now, she could see that playful smirk on his face. “I’m fine,” she managed to say after a few moments. “You just startled me.” “Sorry, I was just walking by when I saw your car explode in your face and thought you might need some help.” “You know anything about cars?” He smiled as he reached into his coat and pulled out a cell-phone. “Yeah, they break down and you have to pay a greedy mechanic a lot of money to fix them.” She had to laugh at that...the man had a sense of humor. “So what are you doing?” “Getting you a tow truck, of course.” He handed her the phone so she could dial the number. A few minutes later, she handed the phone back to him. “Well, that’s taken care of...I guess all I can do now is wait. Thanks for the phone.” “Glad I could help...um, listen...you wouldn’t happen to know of a good place to eat, would you? The restaurant I was at earlier got shut down.” “Well there is a small cafe across the street. It’s frequented mostly by the cops that work here, but I hear the food’s good.” “Thanks.” He started to walk away then stopped and turned around. “Um...I suppose I couldn’t interest you in a cup of coffee or something, could I?” Linna rolled her eyes. What a loser, she thought, trying to pick up on a woman in a moment of distress. It was almost as if he read her mind. “Hey, it’s only coffee. Besides, it’s a lot better than waiting for some tow truck that won’t be here for at least an hour.” He had a point there, Linna decided. It would also give her a chance to find out more about this person. “Okay,” she said as she grabbed her coat out of the car and followed him across the street. “By the way, I didn’t catch your name.” “Richard Chase.” “Linna.” “Hmmm, no last name...I guess that means you don’t trust me.” “Trust has to be earned, Mr. Chase. It’s not given out.” “Ouch...that hurt.” Linna couldn’t help it, she was actually starting to like this guy. But even as she let him guide her into the cafe, a part of her stayed alert. Remember, this man may be a killer...watch your back, girl.
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