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Knight Moves III


Shades of Gray

August 25, 2035
Neon Cafe
MegaTokyo, Japan
2130 hrs.

	Linna tried not be blatant in her questioning, but it was hard talking to someone
who, only a couple hours earlier, fought her to a draw.  “So,” she said, trying to keep her
tone as light as possible, “why were you outside of AD police headquarters?”
	Chase shrugged and sipped some water.  “Oh, something of a misunderstanding,
but it got taken care of.  They had some questions concerning something I saw earlier
today.  Why were you there?”
	“I had to drop a friend off at work.”
	“Oh, she’s a cop?”
	“No...yes...well, sort of.”  Linna laughed for a couple seconds as she tried to fix on
an appropriate answer.  “She’s a dispatcher and occasionally hands out traffic tickets.”
	“Ah,” Chase said as a smile tugged at the corners of his mouth, “one of those.”
	  He took another sip of water before he spoke again.  “What about you?”
	“Are you a cop?”
	Linna laughed again.  “ ask a lot of questions, don’t you?”
	The man shrugged.  “Yeah, it comes from the line of work I’m in.”
	Ah, Linna thought, an opening.  “If you don’t mind my asking,
what do you do for a living?”
	The playful smirk reappeared.  “Do you want a lie or do you want the truth?”
	“How about both.” Linna replied.
	“Okay, the truth is that I’m a corporate security specialist and the lie is that I’m
corporate security specialist.”
	“That’s not a clear answer.”
	“Wasn’t meant to be,” Chase said as he motioned for a waiter to pour him some
more water.  “My turn, what do you do for a living?”
	“I’m an aerobics instructor at a health spa.  I also teach some dance classes.”
	“Well, I guess that’s one way to stay in shape.”
	“It pays the bills, but I hope to eventually quit my job and open my own dance
studio when I get enough money.  I tried working for a brokerage firm, but it didn't work out and I just didn't
feel right working there...” she paused for a moment, realizing that she was rambling. 
“I’m sorry, I’m babbling, aren’t I?”
	Chase shrugged.  “Maybe, but at least you have a dream.”
	Linna sighed.  “Sometimes I wonder if it’s really worth it.  I mean, I keep trying to
make the dream happen and right when I’m about to succeed, it falls apart in front of me.”
	“But you keep reaching for it, don’t you?”
	“That’s all I can do.  I feel that if I stop, I might miss the opportunity I was
looking for.”
	For a moment, the playful smirk vanished and she thought she saw something in
his eyes...understanding, regret, loss perhaps.  “Your dreams vanish forever,” he said,
“and you simply dissipate into the system that becomes your life...a cog in the machine.”
	“Exactly.”  Linna stared at him for a moment before she asked her next question. 
“What are your dreams, Richard Chase?”
	The question caught him off guard.  “My dreams...?  I don’t know...sometimes I
wonder if I even know how to dream.”
	It was clear that he was uncomfortable and that struck a chord with Linna.  She
was about to say something else when his cell-phone chirped.
	“Talk about timing,” Chase chuckled as he pulled the phone out of his coat and
answered it.  “Hello?  Yeah...okay, no problem....Later.”
	He put the phone in his pocket and got up to leave.  “Looks like I have to go.”
	“What’s up?” Linna asked, trying not to sound too interested.
	“Oh, my employer wants me to check something out for him...nothing big.”  He
paused for a moment as he pondered his next words.  “Um...look, I know this sounds kind
of awkward, but I  would like to continue this conversation sometime.”
	“Like when?”
	“Oh...I don’t about tomorrow over lunch?”
	Linna smiled at him.  “I’d like that.  Would here be okay with you?”
	“Sure.  Besides, this is the only restaurant I know of.  I’ll see you tomorrow
around...two o’clock okay for you?”
	“Okay, see you tomorrow, Linna.”
	“Later.”  She watched him leave and waited until he was out of sight before she
got up from the table and bolted for a payphone.  Well, she thought, that was interesting. 
She ran her moneycard through the slot on the side of the phone and dialed a number. 
“Hello, Sylia?  You won’t believe what just happened to me.”

* * * * *

August 25, 2035
Ladys633 Building
MegaTokyo, Japan
2200 hrs.

	Sylia tapped the page-down key on her keyboard as she read the files that Nene
had uploaded to her.  She shook her head in disbelief as she read the file on one Richard
Chase, the man her team encountered earlier.  Hmmm, Richard Chase...born
12/12/07...orphaned at age eight, father was killed in a lab accident...
	Sylia almost choked.  Lab accident?...This is beginning to sound too close to
	The rest of the report gave a list of boarding schools attended throughout his
youth.  According to the academic reports, Chase received high marks in all of his
courses...he also got a lot reprimands for his behavior as well.  Then, at age sixteen, Chase
graduated high school and vanished only to reappear two years later in the employ of
Matzuda International as part of their security team.
	After three years with Matzuda, he went  freelance mercenary...hmmm, that
would explain a lot.  Okay, Mr. Chase, what kind of cybernetic enhancements do you
	She tapped a couple keys and pulled up Chase’s medical file.  Impossible,
she thought, no cybernetics at all?  Then how could he have done some of the things
we saw him do?  He managed to go one on one with a boomer and then leveled Priss with
a well placed kick.
	She hit another key and another shot of Chase appeared on the screen, this one
showed him eating an ice cream cone while waiting in line at a rock concert.  What
are you, Richard Chase?
	Her thoughts were interrupted by the telephone.  Without even looking, she picked
up the receiver and answered it.  “Hello?”
	It was Linna and she sounded excited.  “Hello, Sylia?  You won’t believe what just
happened to me!”
	Sylia sighed as she thumbed through the rest of Chase’s file.  “Let me guess, you
met this great guy and you have a good feeling about this one, right?”
	Now that was not the answer Sylia was expecting.
	It took Linna a couple seconds to recompose herself before she spoke again. 
“Remember that guy we tangled with earlier?  Well, I just finished having coffee with
	Sylia almost dropped the phone.  “What?  How?”
	“I dropped Nene off at work and my car died on me as he was coming out of the
ADP building.  Apparently, they questioned him about what had happened and they had
just released him.  He helped me get a tow truck and then we waited at the cafe across the
street.  He left when he got a phone call.”
	“Do you know where he went?”
	“No, he caught a cab and left.  But I’ll be meeting him tomorrow for lunch.”
	“Good, go along with it.  Priss and I will set up surveillance on him when he
leaves.”  She paused for a moment as she thought about something.  “Linna,” she asked,
“was there anything unusual about him?”
	“No, except for the fact that he drank a lot of water.  He must have gone through
at least four pitchers within thirty minutes.  It was almost as if he needed the stuff...then
again, maybe he’s more of a health nut than I am.”
	“What did you talk about?”
	“Nothing much...mostly about ourselves and what we did for a living.  It was
strange, actually, he didn’t tell me the truth, but he didn’t lie to me either.”
	“Maybe you should get over here, Linna.  Nene was able to upload some data to
me on our mystery man.”
	“Okay, I’ll be there in an hour.”  There was a brief click as Linna terminated the
connection and Sylia sighed.
	Things get weirder by the hour here.
	It had been a very strange day for Sylia.  First, she found an old data unit on her
doorstep that contained information concerning the final projects of her dead father.  Then
they had an encounter with this Richard Chase.  At first, she felt that the two events may
have been linked, but she doubted it.
	The phone rang again, probably Nene with more information.  “Hello?”
	“Sylia Stingray.”  It was a male voice, soft and gentle, barely more than a whisper.
	“I won’t waste time, Sylia, so I’ll be blunt.  You and your crew will stay out of the
way for the next few days.  I have nothing against you, but if you attack any of my employees
again, there will be consequences.”
	Sylia’s eyes narrowed.  “Who is this?”
	“For now, a friend.  But if we ever have a replay of the events that happened
earlier today between you and Richard Chase, I will be a very dangerous enemy.”
	“I don’t like people threatening me,” Sylia said, the metal edge working its way
into her voice.  “Especially people who don’t know who their dealing with.”
	There was soft laughter on the other end of the line.  “Oh, but I do know who I’m
dealing with and I do know how to get to you.”  
	There was a pause and then, “I think you should open your front door.”
	Then the line went dead.  Sylia got up from her chair and carefully made her way
to the front door.  She pulled a pistol out of her jacket as she opened the door...and
	Lying on the floor, bound and gagged, was her brother.
	“Mackie!” she cried as she knelt down and removed the cloth from his mouth. 
“What happened?”
	“I don’t know, sis.  I was leaving Raven’s to come home and someone jumped me
from behind.  Next thing I know, I’m here.”
	She was about to say something when the phone rang again.
	“I think that’s enough of a demonstration.  The next time you cause me any
trouble, I’ll start trashing your resources.”  Then he hung up again.
	Sylia’s face tightened in anger as did her hand.  How dare he threaten her.  She
was momentarily lost in her anger until she heard a crunch and felt sharp plastic cut into
her hand.  She looked down and realized she had just crushed the phone.
	“Hey, um, Sis,” Mackie said as he squirmed around on the floor, “how about
untying me?”

* * * * *

August 25, 2035
Saint Regis Hotel
MegaTokyo, Japan
2300 hrs.

	I was sitting at the hotel bar, wondering why Jason called me here.  I knew he
wanted to talk to me, but he could have waited for a couple hours.  After leaving the cafe,
I caught a cab back to the hotel and waited in the bar as ordered.  Needless to say, I was
ticked off.  I had finally loosened up and was starting to enjoy my stay in this town when
Jason decided that he needed me.  But hey, he was the boss and  I had no
choice...although, it would have been nice to have gotten that girl’s last name.
	Linna...not a bad name...not bad looking either.  Maybe I’ll find out tomorrow, I
decided.  Who knows, I might be able to actually get a real date out of this.
	“Ah, dreaming, aren’t we?” chided a voice from behind me.
	I turned around in my chair and saw Jason standing there.  “Damn, I hate it when
you do that.”
	Jason shrugged as he took a seat across from me.  “Sorry, I can’t help it.”
	“Yeah, right,” I grumbled.  “So...what’s up with this cloak and dagger charade?”
	Jason pulled a small device out of his coat and placed it on the table.  There was a
slight hiss for a moment and then nothing.  A nod from him told me that the area we were
sitting in was now shielded from any form of audio surveillance equipment.
	“We have a problem,” he said.  “I need you to do something for me tomorrow
	“What is it?” I asked.
	“Are you familiar with a company called Bioescape?”
	“Yeah, I remember reading about them awhile back.  Didn’t they pioneer research
in robotics technology that led to the development of boomers?”
	“The same.”  He reached into his coat and tossed me a small datapad.  “This is
data that we recently acquired.  It’s the schematics for some type of advanced boomer
technology that they were working on at Wiz labs before the destruction of the facility. 
We have reason to believe that this thing may still be there somewhere in the ruins of
Wiz Labs.”
	“You’re kidding,” I said as I thumbed the screen and flashed through the layouts. 
“I thought the news reports said the building was destroyed, but according to these
schematics, the building went fifteen levels underground.”
	Jason nodded.  “That’s right, but Genom made sure that the general public didn’t
know about that.  They went so far as to seal the area off and bury the late Doctor
Stingray and whatever secrets he took to the grave.”
	“What makes you so sure that the thing we’re looking for is here?  And why would
we need it?  If we wanted boomers, we could just buy them from Genom.”
	“Maybe, but Genom wants this thing too.  Something's got the old man worried
and I want to know what it is.”
	“So you want me to do a little tomb robbing tomorrow morning?”
	“That’s about it.”
	“No problem.”  I pocketed the datapad and got up to leave.  “Uh, Jason, where did
you go after you left ADP headquarters?”
	“Oh, nowhere important, I just had to tie up some loose ends.”

* * * * *

August 25, 2035
Cryo-facility 12
MegaTokyo, Japan
2300 hrs.

	Cryo facility 12, or C12 for short, was an interesting place.  It was the first prison
of its kind, a place where all prisoners were placed in cryogenic suspension.  Of course,
the concept was not new.  Cryoprisons were around on paper for nearly fifty years.  They
were featured prominently in various forms of science fiction media throughout the late
twentieth century.  But it wasn’t until 2027 that C12 became a reality.  Located sixty
kilometers outside of MegaTokyo, C12 looked like an iron mountain, not unlike Genom
tower, but smaller.  Combat boomers and patrol vehicles patrolled the ground surrounding
the complex while helicopters and various automated aircraft patrolled the prison airspace.
	Warden Ivan Mekker smiled as he stood on the prison helipad and watched the
transport land.  It was time to welcome the new addition to hell.  He was surprised when
he had received a call concerning this prisoner, but after checking the data records, he
found that the transfer had been approved.
	When the transport landed, the side door slid open and four guards came out and
took up position while two more appeared and dragged out their prisoner.  The small
procession then approached the warden and stopped.
	The lead guard saluted and handed the warden a datapad that contained the
information on the new inmate.  “Prisoner is secured, sir.”
	Mekker nodded and then scanned through the datapad’s contents.  Satisfied that
everything was in order he then focused his attention on the prisoner.  She was an
attractive woman; long blond hair, possibly in her late twenties, and a body to die
for...and if the information on the datapad was correct, the body was responsible for thirty
seven murders.
	Mekker smiled when he spoke.  “Hi there, I’m Warden Mekker, and the last
human being you will see for a very long time.”
	The blonde woman shrugged, but said nothing.
	Mekker shook his head.  The reports weren’t lying about this one being a cold fish. 
Most prisoners showed some form of fear when faced with an icy tomb for several
decades.  This one however, reacted as if someone were taking her to have her hair done. 
But your demeanor will change, my dear, Mekker thought.  Almost every
prisoner broke down in tears when lowered into the cryotank...this one would be no
	He led the small group through the various checkpoints until they reached a large
metal door marked “Cryotanks”.  Mekker placed his hand on the pad in the wall and the
door slid open to reveal an immense multi-level chamber that contained what looked like
hundreds of high-tech coffins.  Each “coffin” held a prisoner in cryosleep.  They made
their way to the bottom level of the chamber where a small cryo-pool awaited the next
prisoner to be processed.
	Mekker touched a few controls and the cryo-pool began to glow as it came on
line.  “Okay, boys.  Strip the prisoner and throw her in.”
	One of the guards walked over and undid the woman’s manacles and ankle chains
while another stepped forward to assist in undressing her.
	Mekker couldn’t help a wicked chuckle.  “Look on the bright side, babe.  In eighty
years, you’ll still have that body of yours.”
	The woman smiled at him.  It was a cold smile, a smile that actually made him feel
uncomfortable.  “I’m afraid, Warden Mekker, that there will be a 
change of plans.”
	Before Mekker could react, one of the guards turned around and shot him in the
chest.  The blast knocked him backwards and he fell into the cryo-pool.  He barely gurgled
out a scream before the unit activated, suddenly enveloping him in a sub-zero

	Erika watched in satisfaction as the rest of her team took out the rest of the
security guards in the room.  One security guard decided to be foolish and charged her,
gun blazing.  She staggered back as the bullets impacted her chest, but she didn’t go
down.  She looked down at the wounds for a moment and watched them begin to heal,
pushing the bullets out of her body.
	“What the hell-” was all the guard got out before Erika lunged forward and grabbed
him by the throat.
	She lifted him up off the floor and smiled coldly at him.  “That was not nice,” she
said as she tightened her grip.  The guard continued to struggle even as Erika increased
the pressure ever so slightly.  After a few more seconds, there was a snap followed by a
choked gurgle, and the man’s head slumped forward.
	Erika sighed and dropped her victim.  “Foolish humans,” she said as she walked
over to the control panel.  “They deserve extinction.”
	Another of her teammates walked over to where she was and handed her a disc. 
“This contains the security protocols needed to deactivate the boomers outside when we leave the
	Erika shook her head.  “No, I have a better idea.”  She tapped a couple keys and
selected an option.  Above her, machinery whirred as mechanical arms lowered one of the
coffins to the ground.  The control panel on the coffin door began to flash as the coffin
began to warm up.  Three minutes later, Erika opened the door and a scrawny human
tumbled out of the coffin, coughing as he gasped for air.  One of the false guards
approached Yoshida with a syringe and injected the revival supplement into his arm.  
	“Greetings, Dr. Yoshida.  I trust your rest was unpleasant?”
	The man looked up at her.  “Ah, sarcasm.  It would figure that you prison guards
would have a primitive sense of humor.”
	“Be careful, doctor, or we’ll leave you here and let the security detail outside finish
you off.”
	Miriam Yoshida blinked.  “What?  You mean I’m being broken out?  By whom?” 
He was about to ask some more questions when he felt fire erupt in his arm before it
spread through his whole body.  He screamed in agony as the searing pain enveloped him
until finally, five minutes later, the pain subsided.
	Erika watched as the man slowly got up off the floor.  “Now that we have
completed the revival process, your new employer wishes you to begin work
immediately.”  She threw him a set of coveralls which he put on.
	“Who am I working for?” Yoshida asked.
	“All in good time, Mr. Yoshida.  But right now, we need you to disable the
boomers that are outside the facility.  Can you do it?”
	Yoshida laughed as he made his way to the computer.  “Child’s play, my dear,
child’s play.  No...wait.”
	Erika looked up.  “What is it?”
	Yoshida tapped a couple keys and then walked over to the cryo-pool and the
frozen form of Warden Mekker.  “Ah, Warden Ivan Mekker,” he said as he gave the
statue a slight bow, “I regret to inform you that I must leave your generous hospitality.”
	Mechanical arms reached down and pulled the prison warden out of the cryo pool. 
Yoshida studied the statue for a moment and laughed.  “A masterpiece,” he cried, “a
beautiful work of art, is it not?”  Then, with a feral scream, he picked up a chair and
smashed it into the statue, shattering the warden into frozen bloody bits.
	“Are you through, Yoshida?” Erika asked.  She was starting to get annoyed at this
man’s erratic behavior.
	Yoshida nodded and then walked back to the computer terminal.  After studying
the data, his evil chuckle echoed throughout the chamber.  “It will be glorious.”  He typed
in several commands and a small window appeared on the touch-screen.
	“What did you do?” she asked.
	“Did you recognize the type of boomers they have guarding this place?”
	“Yes, they were mostly BU-12s and a handful of Doberman class boomers.”
	Yoshida chuckled again, a sound that was actually beginning to send chills down
Erika’s spine.  “Yes, Dobermans,” he said, “boomers so dangerous that they will attack
anything that does not generate the appropriate IFF code.  It’s just too bad that the IFF
codes have been deactivated.”
	There was a loud rumble and the chamber shook as something exploded outside.
	“What was that?” asked one of Erika’s teammates.
	Yoshida checked the video display in the window and smiled.  “That, my friend,
was a BU-12 getting wasted.”
	“Oh, that’s nice,” Erika snapped, “and how do we get out of here?”
	“Very simple, my friends,” Yoshida laughed.  “We wait inside until the Dobermans
finish off the security detail outside.  After they have performed that task, they have orders
to attack MegaTokyo, giving the local law enforcement something else to deal with other
than escapees from some mere cryoprison.  Until then, we will have to wait.”
	“How Long?”
	“About fifteen minutes if the Dobermans live up to their performance record. 
Needless to say, the authorities are going to have one large mess to clean up.  I imagine
that the carnage will be quite magnificent.”
	“You’re a sick man, Yoshida.”
	Yoshida smiled coldly and nodded.  “Yes, but then again, what you call sickness, I
call brilliance.  Now, what does your employer want me to do?”

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Email: KJ.