Masuyo couldn’t help but feel utterly impressed as he followed the elegant chauffeur through the place. The tall man named Adda guided the boy through the beautiful garden and into the main building. They crossed the corridors while receiving stares from all directions, although no one tried to talk to them.
“Maybe they don’t say a thing because I’m with him?” Masuyou glanced at Adda's back and then went back to admire the rooms of the place.
“It doesn’t look like a bad place to work at all, right, Masuyo-san?” the chauffeur finally broke the silence.
“Yeah...” the boy murmured as they passed through the back door of the building, heading to a smaller one behind it.
“There’s where you’ll get your answers.” Adda stopped before the front entrance of the small building. “Now you just have to enter this door.”
“Hmm...” Masuyo fixed his eyes on the double door for some seconds, although made out of glass, he couldn't see through it, “Okay... thanks for everything, Adda.”
“You’re welcome Masuyo-san.” the man stretched out his arm, showing the way.
Masuyo went ahead and pushed the door, entering the building.
“Oh, hello! You must be the boy they said was coming today!” a young woman wearing glasses took her head off of several screens and greeted him with a smile, “You can wait there.” she pointed at some armchairs before a huge screen a couple of meters from her.
Masuyo walked towards said chairs while observing the room, it somehow reminded him of a reception or even a hotel lobby. He sat on one of the indicated armchairs and turned to the television in front of him, It was muted, but he could read the headline on the news: MEMBERS OF MIJIYUU CAUGHT TRYING TO INVADE DAIKEN.
“Mijiyuu? That’s kind of odd.” Masuyo didn’t know them very well, but as far as he remembered, the Mijiyuu was a group of cyberterrorists, so seeing them get caught by doing something outside the digital world was a bit strange.
“Sorry about that!” the woman apologized while changing the channel from her seat, “I don’t think you wanted to watch that kind of thing.”
“I don’t mind.” Masuyo said to her and then looked at the television again: THE INCREDIBLE FUTURINGTECH BUILDING: INNOVATION AND RECREATION. “Hey, can you unmute it please?”
“Oh, of course!” she unmuted the television, allowing Masuyo to hear a male voice talking:
“The FuturingTech building has proven to be an immense success! Inaugurated only a year ago, the unusual combination between futuristic arcade and laboratory tour is one of the great attractions of Kitoyama!”
“That’s right!” a woman followed, “For those who don’t know, the FuturingTech building is composed of two large edifices: one is an arcade filled with their latest tech, and the other is their laboratories, where they offer a tour to the visitors…”
“Oh, if it isn’t Masuyo!” a loud voice diverted the boy's attention.
“Huh?” Masuyo turned to his right. A couple of meters from him, a hefty man in a suit was looking at him.
“I’m Masanori Satou.” he introduced himself while extending his hand, “Nice to meet you.”
Masuyo’s eyes widened when he heard the name, “Masanori Satou...?” he murmured, it was the name of the man that called his mother the other day.
“Yes, I’m in charge of this unity.” he said with a serious tone while waving his hand to catch Masuyo’s attention.
“What’s up with this guy?” Masuyo stood up and cautiously looked at the man. He hesitantly shook his hand.
“I surmise you got most of the information from your mother. And that you are here to ask about Kisho.” he went straight to the point.
“That’s right.” Masuyo nodded.
“Well, I’ll tell you what I can do for you: I can grant you access to the files that we have regarding Kisho and explain why we can say for sure that he ‘died on the field’.”
“If you agree to work for us.”
“Just as I imagined.”
“You don’t have to worry, we’ll provide everything you’ll need, just like we do to the other members of your team.”
“Hmm, I figured you’d do something like this. It's fine, I’ll work for you.”
“Huh, If you agree that fast, you'll look desperate, Masuyo.”
“Whatever, just tell me why you think he's dead.”
“You need to sign a contract before I tell you.”
“Ugh.” Masuyo frowned “Why can’t you just tell me?”
“Okay, okay.” Satou shook his hands, “I'll tell you a little bit now, but it's only because of Kisho. You'll have to sign the contract right after.”
“You’ll know the details from your senior, but everyone working here can be tracked by the chip on their head.” he put his hand behind his back and continued: “A couple of days after Kisho left your house, his signal stopped, which can only mean one of the following two: either his chip stopped working because he died, or it’s an error in our systems.”
“So, the alternative is obvious, right? Your systems failed.”
“That’s very unlikely since his signal is the only one missing. Besides, he hasn’t contacted anyone since he went to your house.”
“Isn’t there a way to disable the chip without killing him?”
“That can’t be true.” Masuyo stared at the ground in disbelief, “Can it? No, he isn't dead... but what if...?”
“Boy.” Satou looked at him with a steady expression.
“What?” Masuyo returned his attention to the man.
“Don’t forget your promise and stop acting like an idiot.” saying this, Masanori walked to the door, stopping before it, “Yoko.” his words were directed to the woman behind her computer, “You know what to do.”
“Yes, sir!” she replied without taking her eyes from the monitors.
Masanori Satou pushed the door and left the building, leaving Masuyo Hirano alone with the woman.
“I’m sorry about that.” she looked at Masuyo.
The boy glanced at the door with disgust, “Ugh, no problem.” and then turned to the woman with a nonchalant expression: “Yoko, isn't it?”
“Yep, I’m Yoko Oomori! You can call me Yoko. Nice to meet you!”
“I’m Masuyo Hirano. Call me Masuyo.”
“Okay, Masuyo-kun, come here.” she said while stretching to pick two devices that were behind her. “Since it was Kisho who recommended you, I’ve no doubt you’ll be a great Diver, but I have to check it anyway.”
“Check?” the boy approached Yoko, who was now holding something.
“Yeah, first I’ll see with you really are Masuyo Hirano…” she held one of the devices a few centimeters away from Masuyo’s left side of the head, it was a simple scanner for the ID chip.
“Masuyo Hirano, seventeen years old.” a robotic voice asserted.
“Great! Now we'll see if you have what it takes...” she grabbed another device, it was similar to a small camera. “Say Cheesee!”
“What?” as Masuyo opened his mouth Yoko pressed a button. The little device glimmered with red light while producing a small but sharp noise and releasing a roasted scent.
“I don’t think you are photogenic, Masuyo-kun.” Yoko spun the “camera” in her hands and then put it on her desk.
“I agree with that.” Masuyo said while yawning.
“Oh no!” Yoko got up from her chair with a jump, “Do you know who I am??”
“How can I know? We've just met, Yoko.”
“Oh, god.” she sighed with relief, “Don’t scare me like that.”
“Nothing.” the woman turned one of the screens to Masuyo, “Just press your finger here.”
Seeing that it was asking for a fingerprint, Masuyo got close to the monitor without bothering to read the entire contract displayed, but his eyes got caught up by one thing: Twelve months of service.
“I’ll have to stay here for an entire year?”
“Sorry, nothing I can do about it. It’s the standard procedure.”
“Ugh, okay.” he sighed while leaving his fingerprint on the display.
“Alright!” Yoko clapped her hands, “Now you’re an official member of our team! Let’s meet the others, shall we?” she showed him the way to a corridor.
Masuyo followed the young woman, it didn’t take much time so they could hear voices coming from one of the rooms:
“...it’s pretty good, especially the action scenes…” the first voice was bland and had a dry tone, “I even thought it was animated by Ufofable at first.”
“But then I saw that it was B-2 Animations, and got surprised.”
“Hmm, I see!” the second voice was deep and friendly, “That’s the one with the huge Robots and Mekas, right, Sute-chan?”
“Okay! I’ll watch it when I have some time.” the second voice paused to give a soft laugh, “Is there anything else you wanna recommend?”
“No… I started some others, but I still haven’t seen three episodes, so I can’t know if they are good yet.”
“Okay! Leaving that aside, when do you think…” the voice stopped itself when two people entered the room.
Masuyo walked through the door right after Yoko. He looked at the place, it was basically a small classroom, filled with chairs and desks, and having a digital board on the wall.
In the back of the room, there were two figures: one tall and young man with black hair, lounging on a desk and eating ice cream, and a girl, shorter than Masuyo. She had short silver hair covered by a hood and was leaning against the wall.
“Hey, guys!” Yoko waved at them. “This is Masuyo-kun!” she then turned to the boy, “Hey Masuyo! These are Sute-chan and Hisoka, the other Divers.”