Back at headquarters, Yuuto sits on the edge of his chair as the surveillance video presents itself on his monitors. Kagome and Niko stand behind their technician friend, and observe the footage alongside Yuuto. In an instant, they spot Junko fly through the streets - causing Yuuto to try and keep up with her speed as he changes the selected camera view.
“Junko always looks so cool on her motorcycle,” Kagome admires as the lights from the screen ignite her brown eyes. Niko huffs as he crosses his arms across his chest. “It’s just a motorcycle,” He jabs in annoyance - etched with a hint of jealousy, “I ride on it all the time. Does that make me cool?”
“You ride on the back like a baby gorilla,” Kagome bickers back to Niko, matching his crossed arms, “Don’t be mad that you can’t even drive yet, short stuff.” Yuuto’s face falls in irritation as he hears Niko scoff at Kagome’s rebuttal. “Who’re you calling short?!” Niko eggs the argument further from behind Yuuto, “You’re shorter than me!”
“Would you guys shut the hell up?” Yuuto asks pointedly at the two bickering young adults behind him, arguing like two little children. Niko and Kagome immediately halt their disagreement and turn their gazes towards Yuuto - whose eyes remain glued to the screen in front of him. “I’m in the middle of an assignment here. If you two want to argue over size, there’s a measuring stick in the closet.”
Sharing one last curt glance at each other, Kagome and Niko telepathically agree to end their dispute there - not wanting to anger the working Yuuto seated just in front of them. The three of them cast their sights to the screens, as they watch their friends and fellow officers embark on yet another assignment.
The mechanical sounds coming from Yuuto’s keyboard sound out after each slender press of the keys. They are entranced by the display in front of them, and the three friends are thrown into complete concentration as they observe. The monitor’s radiated light slowly flashes from a blue, to a pink, then a white, to a red as the camera angles change at Yuuto’s command. Soft traffic ambiance emits from the open window in Kagome’s bedroom, and the vanishing scent of ramen slowly extinguishes itself from the apartment.
“You are on the shorter side, Niko,” Yuuto inputs after a few moments of silence, “Just putting that out there.” His face remains deadpan, but the younger male seethes quietly from behind Yuuto. Kagome struggles to hold in her poking laughter - needing to reach a hand up to her mouth to shield her muffled giggles from Niko.
Despite her attempts, Niko still takes notice of the entertained woman’s laughter. Instead of throwing himself into another argument, Niko decides to pull away from the commotion all together.
“I’m gonna go drink some milk!” Niko declares as he marches away from the computer set up. Yuuto’s neutral face draws up a smirk at the sentiment, and Kagome turns her head the other way as a full fledged smile creeps onto her features. The screen continues to radiate its colorful light onto the two remaining officers, as a car horn echoes from the street outside.
That same noise is replicated on the streets outside the looming building of the Tokyo Prefectural Police Department. Officers, detectives, receptionists and civilians alike all enter and emerge from the building as the night drags on. Within the confines of the building, a well-presented man is packing up his things - ready to head home for the night. Reaching down towards the monitor situated on his desk, his roughly plated fingertips switch off the screen.
Having heard his name, the man presumably named Kenta turns his gaze towards the noise, and spots a fellow officer standing outside of his cubicle. Like Kenta, he is dressed professionally, and a gold badge sits pinned on his button-up dress shirt. Offering a casual smile once he grabs the attention of Kenta, he states, “Chief called for you. See to him before you head home.”
“Right,” Kenta nods to the messenger before the officer heads out on his own. Looking down to his office chair, Kenta stares at his briefcase in thought. ‘What could he possibly want with me at this hour?’ Kenta asks himself - his mind mulling over countless scenarios and reasons as to why the Chief of Police is asking for his presence.
Exhaling a breath of anxiety, Kenta picks up his belongings and heads straight to his prescribed destination. Kenta saunters through the office - all the while dusting his shoulders off, straightening his slacks, and toying with his hair in fits of nervousness. Then, as if too soon, he winds up in front of the chief’s door. Pulling his face together, Kenta knocks hesitantly twice. “Come in, Kenta,” A voice faintly reverberates through the door and reaches Kenta.
Opening the door, he is greeted by a brawny, stoic man situated on his own chair behind a solid mahogany desk. ‘Nao Watanabe: Chief of Police’ is plated in gold on a rectangular plaque at the head of the desktop. In front of the desk sits two leather armchairs. The one towards the left side appears preoccupied by another individual - someone whom Kenta is unfamiliar with. The man is situated rather comfortably: lying back into the rigid cushions of the chair, relaxing his exposed forearms on the arm rests, and lazily crossing his right leg over left.
Piles upon piles of paper rest across the desk and stay untouched - while a dusty, black phone lies atop a stack of manilla folders. “Thanks for coming in, Mr. Kiyama,” Chief Nao begins professionally, “I needed to speak with you before you headed home.” Kenta gives a clear nod towards his superior, but apprehensively side eyes the unnamed participant.
He silently swallows a lump of anxiety as he stands by the doorway - unsure of the nature of this impending conversation. “Please, sit,” Watanabe instructs him, allowing an already tired Mr. Kiyama to sit on the unoccupied burgundy leather arm chair. “You’re not in trouble, Mr. Kiyama. There’s no need to be anxious.”
His sentiment quickly alleviates most of the nerves rushing through the mind and bloodstream within Kenta - finding himself sitting more comfortably in the leather armchair than he was a mere five seconds ago. Even a soundless breath of relief exudes from Kenta’s tense lungs. Chief Watanabe softly smiles at this, knowing he now has put his officer at ease.
“Mr. Kiyama,” Nao begins, bringing his collected fists to his chin, “You are a decorated officer. You are highly regarded in this department as well as many other departments across the region. You are respected by your subordinates as well as your superiors, including myself. You are trustworthy, diligent, and passionate about what you do. Is all of this correct, Mr. Kiyama?” Nao holds Kenta’s gaze as he awaits a response.
Quickly and subconsciously sneaking a glance towards the figure next to him, Kenta clears his throat, “I’d like to assume I fit into all of those categories, sir,” He responds humbly and professionally. The stranger listening in on their conversation handles a toothpick in his fingertips whilst chewing on the end. A black cap and dark shades mask his appearance - making him even more mysterious than he has already made himself out to be.
“Exactly,” Nao confirms, slightly leaning his head downwards “All of that is exactly why I am offering you this opportunity.” Kenta is thrown off, not expecting this sort of outcome from his visit. As his eyebrows draw together in confusion, he piles together multiple ‘opportunities’ the Chief of Police might have in store for him. Chief Watanabe drags his eyes over the disorganized top of his desk, searching for something in particular. Once his eyes land on a specific folder of choice, Nao grips the contents in his hand.
“I’m sure you’ve heard rumors of our Special Operations Task Force, yes?” Watanabe questions Kenta, who still sits rather confused in the armchair in front of him. Kenta nods in response, not giving any details of what those rumors could have contained. “Well, allow me to tell it to you straight, Mr. Kiyama.”
Reaching out the hand grasping the manilla folder, Nao gifts Kenta the contents inside. Bowing his head slightly in appreciation, Kenta takes the folder and inspects the information it holds. Pictures of people in uniform - all belonging to the Tokyo Prefectural Police Department - are clipped to multiple reports regarding their respective roles. People like Mamoru Fukumoto, Captain of the Special Operations Task Force, and Takashi Shimizu, a Lieutenant, are all listed and held to a high regard in their reports.
“Our Special Operations Squadron consists of five hand-selected, skilled professionals all under the control of their superior Lieutenant,” Watanabe begins, leaning back into his leather chair while touching his fingertips together, “They operate solely on red-level threats assigned either by me, myself, or by their chosen captain - leaving green and yellow level threats to the regular officers here at the department.
“Their sole aim is to eliminate high-priority individuals with terroristic intent who pose a great threat to our society. Only trusted officers are chosen to fulfill these important roles,” Nao goes on, reciting his spiel to the men in front of him. “You, Kenta, are one of those officers.”
Staying silent during his chief’s oration, Kenta realizes what he is being offered by his superior. As of today, Kenta Kiyama was one of the few Captains among the Tokyo Prefectural Police Department. He has been working here for over two decades; climbing his way to his current position through hard work and dedication to his career.
Now - seated in front of his only boss and next to a complete stranger - he is being offered one of the most covert and dangerous positions a person in his department could ever be given. With his mouth slowly parting, Kenta’s heart pounds against his chest as its rate viciously intensifies with every passing moment. “But, I thought...” Kenta starts, attempting to voice one of his many thoughts, “The Special Operations Task Force… Sixteen years ago, didn’t it…”
Kenta’s meaningless rambling came to an abrupt halt at the sound of the mysterious figure clearing his throat. All of the attention in the world drew upon him and all of his glory, but he still remained silent. Kenta took this moment to try and apprehend the features this man wasn’t hiding behind a mask. Lo and behold, there wasn’t anything this man was putting on for show.
“There’s still… much to discuss,” Nao states vaguely, responding to Kenta’s unintelligible questions, “But, as it stands, will you accept this opportunity, Mr. Kiyama?” Kenta’s gaze falls back upon Nao Watanabe in front of him, and he stares for a brief moment - pulling all of his unanswered questions and uncategorized thoughts together. Then, drawing his features into a dignified position, Kenta Kiyama nods.
Just as the solidified words left his mouth, Junko is found racing after Daisuke Aoki down the Metropolitan Expressway. She and her motorcycle are a few vehicles behind Aoki: in order to create some sort of barrier between the two. The spaced street lights cast flares against her glossy black helmet with each passing pole. The rhythm of the engine’s roars below her promote tremors in her legs, while the sharp wind pierces the strands of her choppy hair and sends them afloat.
“Target is currently taking leave from the Metropolitan Expressway,” Junko informs Yuuto on her earpiece. Back at headquarters, Yuuto is nodding at the intel passed through to him. “Roger, I have eyes on the white Toyota Yaris. Don’t stray too far away, Junko,” Yuuto replies to her previous message. With a firm nod, Junko revs her engine by turning the handles forward - making her motorcycle lurch forward in velocity. Taking the exit behind Aoki, she notices the apartment building is in sight.
In the lobby of the building, Jiro sits on a sofa, awaiting Aoki’s presence. “Jiro,” He hears Yuuto call through his earpiece, “Aoki will be arriving in T-minus two minutes. Are you ready?” Jiro’s eyes widen at the sudden notice, and stashes his phone away within the confines of his jean pocket. “Ready,” Jiro responds lowly, sinking into the cushions as he eyes the doorway from under his baseball cap.
“Remember, you’re looking for a tall old guy with a surprisingly full head of blonde hair,” The technician reminds Jiro in his ear, “Two small beauty marks positioned at the top of the target's forehead are confirmation of his identity.” A surplus of people waltzing through the luxurious lobby crowd Jiro’s field of vision. The overall guest attire is a bit more dressy than Jiro suited himself to be, which bodes not too well for the young officer and his attempts to remain hidden.
Jiro’s eyes land on an entering man that fits every category Yuuto described - causing reason for him to stand up and get a closer look. Using the civilians in the lobby as cover, Jiro maneuvers his way through the crowded room to reach the suspect.
From under his blue cap, Jiro’s gaze lands directly on two obvious birthmarks placed ever so graciously atop Aoki’s forehead. “Found him,” Jiro whispers into his minuscule microphone, “He’s like a walking target practice with those two specks.”
Aoki greets multiple people on his way to the elevator, causing Jiro to continuously stop in his tracks so as to not be seen. One older woman in particular seems to throw herself quite a bit at the target, whomst appears to enjoy this company.
“Mr. Aoki, dear!” The old woman greets as she makes her presence known, “What will you be serving for this week’s dinner? Oh, I can hardly wait!” A hearty laugh echoes from the caverns of Daisuke’s stomach at the woman’s endearments.
“Ms. Suzuki, you’re too kind,” Aoki responds gingerly, placing an arm around the woman’s back. The affection makes Jiro snarl, for he knows the true nature of the man in front of him. “But, I do plan on keeping this Wednesday night’s dinner a secret, so tell the guests that nothing is quite set in stone just yet!” Ms. Suzuki smiles a sickeningly wide grin at his words as she cozies up to his side.
“Please, call me Haruhi,” The woman blushes as she whispers softly to Daisuke, causing a faint blush to be seen on his wrinkling cheeks. From a distance away, Jiro rolls his eyes. “I’ll see you the night after next, Haruhi,” Daisuke coos to his lady friend just before they part ways. Now heading to the elevator, Jiro is tight in succession. As they draw nearer, Jiro realizes the lift Aoki plans on hitching a ride on is nearing capacity.
“Shit,” He mumbles to himself, picking up his pace to a slight jog. In order to affirm that nobody enters his apartment alongside Aoki, Jiro needs to ride the elevator with him. As he reaches the elevator door, Jiro is met by another man who plans on entering the lift. They both stare at each other, guessing the other’s next move. Being it necessary for Jiro to ride this elevator, he comes up with an excuse.
“I really need to take a shit,” Jiro empathizes with the stranger, “Can I take this one up?” The man dressed in a formal blazer and slacks eyes Jiro - in all his denim glory - up and down. He gifts Jiro with a hesitant nod, then backs away from the elevator door. “Thanks, man,” Jiro appreciates. Stepping into the lift, he stares down the dressy man as the doors close in front of him.
As the ride begins to elevate, Jiro eyes the numbered buttons located to his right. Floors seven, thirteen, twenty-one and twenty-two were all pressed. ‘This might take a while,’ Jiro thinks to himself.
Meanwhile, on an adjacent rooftop across the street, Ren sits perched with his legs crossed as the wind whips at the few loose strands of hair fallen from his bun. Softly rocking side to side, a rhythmic and melancholic song starts to hum from deep within his chest. Ren purrs the tune as if from memory, and the notes are carried away by the whirring wind surrounding him. Then, taking Ren by surprise, Yuuto calls for him over the earpiece.
“It’s the thirteenth floor,” Yuuto informs after he gathers Ren’s attention, “Lights should flicker on in about ten seconds and counting.” While sliding closer to the edge of the roof and leaning on the wall that protects him from falling, Ren counts from the ground floor up to the thirteenth, and finds an apartment light flicker on. “Got it,” Ren affirms under his breath. Eyeing the apartment located just a few levels beneath him, Ren watches as an older man takes a seat in his living room.
Reaching into his duffel bag, he pulls out a notepad and pen. “Approximately fifty meters away, with a downwards angle of about thirty degrees, taking wind interference into consideration…” Ren mumbles away as he writes important factors down that will assist in the choosing of artillery. After a short while, a voice could be heard over the earpiece: “Ren? Ren?” Yuuto calls for his friend, earning no response back. “Ren!” Kagome shouts through the speaker, causing a once focused Ren to nearly jump out of his skin.
“Yes?! Yuuto? Kagome? What’s wrong?!” Ren frantically responds, bringing his right fingertips to the earpiece. “Nothing’s wrong… you just zoned out for a minute,” Yuuto replies, gaining authority over the communications once again, “Junko and Jiro rallied outside of the apartment building. Meet them down there ASAP.”
“Right,” Ren assures, glancing down at the lively street. He sees Junko and Jiro assembled at the curbside right in front of the apartment building entrance across the road. Shoving his notepad and pen into the sizable duffel bag, Ren sets off to meet his friends.
Reaching the entrance to the roof, the brawny man pulls at the handle and swings open the door - causing a slight breeze to meet his front. Descending the ominous and dark staircase, Ren’s quick footsteps quietly tap against the cold cement beneath hum.
Soon enough, he reaches the street, and sees his friends waiting for him across the way. Looking both ways, Ren shuffles his bag strap higher onto his shoulder before jogging across the boisterous street while the coast is clear. “Hey, Ren,” Junko greets her fellow officer as he joins them at the curb, “How’d everything on your end go?”
“Good!” He energetically declares, “I believe I have the perfect sniper in mind for you, Jiro. I’ll see to Kaito tomorrow to handle the requisition.” Jiro nods to Ren’s brief summarization as he throws his hands into the pockets of his jean jacket. Seeing Jiro’s body language, Ren asks, “What about you guys, anything interesting happen?”
Despite his hands still being kept in his pockets, Jiro moves his hands while he responds, “I was just telling Junko that surveillance for Wednesday is a no go,” Jiro starts, recalling some events he witnessed during his observation period, “I overheard Aoki mention a weekly dinner party he hosts on Wednesday nights. Lots of guests means lots of unavoidable civilians.” Ren’s lips draw inwards as he takes this new information into consideration.
“We’ll just have to survey Friday and make the decision afterwards,” Junko determines, gripping the handles of her motorcycle tighter, “The execution will either take place next Monday, or the following Friday - considering the induction dinner will take place that Sunday.”
The two men nod at their lieutenant’s convictions. Underneath her tinted helmet, Junko looks between the two officers. “So,” She begins lightly, “Which one of you wants a ride back to headquarters?” The question makes Jiro’s and Ren’s eyes shoot open, catching each other’s shocked faces. “Rock paper scissors?” Ren queries Jiro, who agrees with a nod.
“Rock, paper, scissors…”
A mere minute later, Ren and Junko wish Jiro a safe trip back as they veer onwards on Junko’s motorcycle. A disgruntled and defeated Jiro huffs in annoyance as he starts his own journey home. Ren’s burly arms stay secured around Junko’s waist as Junko’s own arms hunch over the handlebars of her bike. Despite her insisting prior to heading off, Ren made sure Junko was the one sporting the helmet on the way home. The subconscious ways Ren consistently looked out for Junko made her feel more at ease, as well as thankful she had a friend like Ren in her life.
As the wind brazenly plunges through Junko’s hair, cars continue to zip past the two on their right. One car in particular holds Kenta Kiyama - who eyes the two outcast characters on their motor vehicle as they pass one another. Time seems to slow down, and Kenta subconsciously burns the image of a girl with contrasting hair carrying a brawny man with long hair on the back of a motorcycle into the depths of his mind