Chapter 3:

Higuchi Ren & The Hassle of Travelling to Shanghai

The Forbidden and the Gifted

[12:44 a.m. August 8th, 2048, Seoul, Korea. The shot pans to a desolate storefront, at which the red Sienna is parked. Flickering tube lights are visible from the adjacent stores, as the front sign of the store appears to be falling off its hinges, while dust smudges the majority of the front window] Bookmark here

Shin [To Drift]: This? This shithole? [Steps down from the car] Why?Bookmark here

Drift: [Steps down from the car] Don’t ask me, this is what the GPS input gave me. It’s not my fault if its wrong, you hear?Bookmark here

[Naomi and Electra get down from either side of the car, followed by Yuki and Ashe shortly after]Bookmark here

Ashe: Where are we?Bookmark here

Yuki [To Ashe]: Ask our beloved driver. [Yells] Drift! What the hell man?Bookmark here

Electra [To Drift]: I knew it was a bad idea to trust you with directions mate.Bookmark here

Drift [To Electra]: Not like you could drive though, so why are you complaining?Bookmark here

Naomi [To both]: Wait, wait. [She looks to her right] This place… I think it’s right you know?Bookmark here

Electra: How in God’s name could this place be the right place? Hell, I’d believe one of the stores next to it even, not the one he parked right at.Bookmark here

Naomi: You know, there’s a reason this place is as decrepit as it is, eh?Bookmark here

Electra: Well, yes, but really, this bad?Bookmark here

Naomi: Considering I have old friends from here, if my bearings are still right, which I think they are, this looks like the same place which people used to talk about way back when. I’ve never been here though, so yeah, maybe it’s wrong, but from the skyline that I can see in the distance, and the way the alleys look, this is definitely the place where the rumors were from.Bookmark here

Ashe [To everyone]: Can someone fill me in on what’s going on here?Bookmark here

Shin [To Ashe]: Basically, there’s supposed to be an airline ticketing agency here for our types, and they sell tickets for flights out of Seoul, but not through Incheon, through a remote area on the outskirts that no one can really find. Even if you do find it, if you don’t go through the rigor of buying the tickets from them, from this place, they’ll likely just kill you, no questions asked. Bookmark here

Yuki: So yeah, it’s best to just go through these guys, if we can find them at least.Bookmark here

Shin [To Yuki]: Like, I think we can both agree that we’d rather go through Incheon, but with the load we have, clearly, we can’t go through there anymore.Bookmark here

Yuki: I mean, you know what we could do?Bookmark here

Shin: What?Bookmark here

Yuki: Send this shit through the airport back into Japan, and then we just fly regularly through Incheon without carting most of this stuff.Bookmark here

Shin: Karina would pick it up?Bookmark here

Yuki: I’ll text her. She’ll probably be able to. And it’s not like we need a lot of this stuff anyway.Bookmark here

Shin: Wait, did Nats and Dais take the private?Bookmark here

Yuki: Yeah, they did. They’ll have enough shit for us, and if we don’t, I don’t know what to say.Bookmark here

Ashe [Interjects]: Wait but, aren’t we going to Shanghai first? Won’t we need something for those guys? Or do you think we can take em fist-to-fist.Bookmark here

Yuki: [Pauses] You’re right, I friggin forgot that we weren’t just transiting, we need to beat the shit out of some people there eh?Bookmark here

Shin: So ya know, we could send most of this shit, the money, most of the weapons, most of the cartel shit, back to Karina and them, and we take some of this stuff and fly out from the same airport, just to Shanghai instead?Bookmark here

Yuki: Yeah, I think that’s our best bet.Bookmark here

Shin: I know these guys are said to charge a ton for shit though. [Pauses] Speaking of which, have any of you three figured out if we’re even in the right spot? [Looks at Electra, Drift and Naomi]Bookmark here

Drift [To Shin]: Yeah, yeah, it’s definitely this place. Have your shit ready though.Bookmark here

Ashe [To Shin]: We’re goin in here? But it looks abandoned, no? I’ve heard some rumors of this place, but not enough to know if this even is right.Bookmark here

Shin: Just follow behind us and be careful. As much as it looks run-down, I think Drift’s right on the money about this.Bookmark here

[Ashe, Yuki and Shin walk towards Electra, Drift and Naomi, who walk towards the door, which Drift pushes]Bookmark here

Drift: Yeah, it’s open.Bookmark here

Yuki: [Points towards the motion sensor light] Look up, it’s got no cobwebs on it. This place isn’t as bad as it’s made to look like.Bookmark here

Drift: There’s also light from the basement. Maybe down there?Bookmark here

Yuki: Yeah probably, let’s…Bookmark here

[A voice is heard from the darkness in front of them]Bookmark here

Higuchi: Hmph. Didn’t think we’d get visitors this late eh?Bookmark here

Shin [Whispers]: Oh you’ve gotta be shitting me. Why does everything have to turn into a fight?Bookmark here

Electra [Whispers]: It’s okay. They shouldn’t shoot if we’re customers, right?Bookmark here

Higuchi [To Electra]: Yeah, but what kind of customer comes through when the clocks struck one? Only people that come to mind are pigs.Bookmark here

Shin [To Higuchi]: Listen mate, listen. You don’t wanna screw with us, eh? We’re from Japan…Bookmark here

Higuchi: Japan eh? Foreigners? We hate those types around here, other than Shin’s lot, eh? Oh, are you gonna go out of your way to claim to be him too?Bookmark here

Shin: If you’d turn on a damn light maybe you’d see for yourself, wise guy.Bookmark here

Higuchi: Nonsense, nonsense, I can tell perfectly well that you guys are Japanese, but you guys sure as hell aren’t those guys. Why would they come to us in Seoul anyway? At 1 am? Without even calling first?Bookmark here

Yuki [To Drift]: You could’ve called??Bookmark here

Drift [To Yuki]: Does it look like I know that I could have?Bookmark here

Shin [To Higuchi]: Alright, what about this? Let me turn on a light.Bookmark here

Higuchi: No dipshit. I don’t wanna see your hands move. I can see em shaking on the side of you right now. You’re nervous, and you’re itching to make a move. Bookmark here

Naomi [Thinking]: Wait, a guy who can tell Japanese apart from Koreans, has apparent night vision, is in the black market…Bookmark here

Naomi: Excuse me!Bookmark here

Shin: Naomi!Bookmark here

Electra: Don’t!Bookmark here

Higuchi: Oh, so you want to move, eh? What, little girl, are you a decoy? With your tiny ass voice? The middle guy with his hand still trembling is still my target, ya know.Bookmark here

Shin: Mi, don’t make any sudden movements. Please.Bookmark here

Drift: We don’t need bloodshed here, cause we’re probably gonna use this place more.Bookmark here

Higuchi: Eh wise guys, I can hear you, ya know? Can’t y’all drop the bluff? It’s stupid.Bookmark here

Shin: You’re beyond ignorant, dumbass. Can’t you call one of your guys from downstairs to come and turn on a light so neither of us has to move?Bookmark here

Higuchi: And take away my devoted attention from you? Hell no.Bookmark here

Shin: What do you think I’m gonna do in the split second you call for backup?Bookmark here

Higuchi: Hell, if I know, rat.Bookmark here

Naomi [Interjects]: Oh I’ve had it with both you idiots. How can’t you tell?Bookmark here

Higuchi: Little missy, you should probably shut up.Bookmark here

Shin: Mi, don’t provoke. Please, Mi.Bookmark here

Naomi: Are you both tone-deaf? Higuchi, are you?Bookmark here

Higuchi: [Pauses, then regains his cool] Ha, almost had me. You just know my name through records searches. Well, it wasn’t like you were gonna stay alive anyway.Bookmark here

Electra [Thinking]: Wait, that’s Ren? Oh, for Christ’s sake, that’s why it’s so hard.Bookmark here

Electra: Eh Ren?Bookmark here

Higuchi: Whadya want, shit for brains? Saying my name isn’t gonna provoke me, eh? Her saying it the first time was enough. You wasted your chance.Bookmark here

Electra: Bloody dumbass. You don’t remember working with me and Drift three years ago before we started this shit with Yukes and Shin? When you nearly missed your flight back into Heathrow because you wanted a picture with Klaudia? Even though Drift was yelling at you the whole time, and when you finally got the pictures, they looked like shit? Tell me, what friggin rat would know that eh?Bookmark here

Higuchi: Wait. No. No. No. [Pauses] No. I can’t fall for it. You can’t persuade me.Bookmark here

Drift: You’ve always been garbage with telling people apart, you know Ren? Then riddle me this. [Pauses] Fuckin’ hell, cause you’re not gonna believe me otherwise. Why would Wilhelm really tell you his own name, eh?Bookmark here

Shin: [Shocked] Wow, that’s a shocker.Bookmark here

Ashe [To Shin]: Even to you guys?Bookmark here

Shin [To Ashe]: Yeah. Ren was always stubborn as hell, and I think Drift realized it would be of best interest to not prolong shit, even if it meant for him to spill the beans on info like that.Bookmark here

Higuchi: But that’s…Bookmark here

Drift: That’s not the full thing, right? Well yes. But why would I tell anyone my full name now, eh? Only you and Elec know it, and I’d like to keep it that way. [Pauses] Now turn the lights on, damnit.Bookmark here

[Higuchi, still shocked and visibly shaking, turns on the lights, despite his own fear, and reveals five other men, standing still with firearms drawn. Higuchi looks at the faces of Shin and Electra and immediately signals at his men to lower their guns]Bookmark here

Drift: You stubborn, slow, sack of shit. You’re never gonna change, are you?Bookmark here

Higuchi: [With more enthusiasm] This is still on you though, dipshit. You should’ve called.Bookmark here

[Yuki elbows Drift]Bookmark here

Drift: Ow! Damnit!Bookmark here

Electra [To Higuchi]: So, ever since you left Japan to try and do more for yourself, you ended up coming here, eh? The market that we created ain’t ever gonna leave you alone to be at peace?Bookmark here

Higuchi [Chuckles]: For real. I thought I could leave and start a life here, but I’m such a paranoid guy that I could never be at peace. And I didn’t wanna come groveling back to you lot and see the looks and your faces, so I chose to stay here. And hey, it’s pretty good you know. Bookmark here

[Higuchi walks down the dimly lit stairwell, followed by Yuki, Ashe, Drift, Shin and Naomi, and then the five other men, followed at the end by Electra]Bookmark here

Drift: You live around these parts I assume?Bookmark here

Higuchi: Well, close enough, I guess. Bookmark here

Drift: Feds ever busted you guys, or clear so far?Bookmark here

Higuchi: So far, so good. Would’ve thought they’d be closer on our asses, but I guess not. That’s why I was paranoid when you lot showed up, we hadn’t ever been busted on job and I’m not tryna be the sack of shit who has it on his record that the feds fucked up the place while he was on duty.Bookmark here

Drift: So, you’d opt to kill them? Cause let’s be real, the cops aren’t gonna give in to your demands.Bookmark here

Higuchi: Well, I wouldn’t have my hands tainted with blood, but yeah, I’d order my men to do it.Bookmark here

Drift: So, you’re in charge of a group around here? Would’ya look at that, you’re going places in this world… you ain’t just a shitty lackey eh?Bookmark here

Higuchi: [Laughs] Guess not, ha.Bookmark here

Drift: And to think, you’d be the one giving kill orders? Was funnier when you were the wuss back with Elec and myself, and we had to do the heavy lifting.Bookmark here

Yuki: To be fair, he did grow a pair when he joined us for the short time that he did.Bookmark here

Higuchi [To Drift]: Yeah see, even Yukes is defending me.Bookmark here

Drift: Yeah, you did change when we joined up with them, but you can’t deny that you weren’t always like that.Bookmark here

Higuchi: I wasn’t as weak as you make me out to be though.Bookmark here

Drift: Eh, yeah you were. [To Electra] Whad’ya say Elec? Was he as big of a wuss as I say he was?Bookmark here

[Electra shakes his head to regain to focus, and looks towards Drift]Bookmark here

Electra: Huh? The hell are you talkin about?Bookmark here

Naomi [To Electra]: He’s asking if Higuchi was as much of a wuss back before he joined up with us, or if he’s just exaggerating.Bookmark here

Electra: Oh nah, Higuchi was more of a wuss than most regular people I’d seen, ha. Hell, you [looks at Naomi] were so much easier to help than his sorry ass.Bookmark here

Higuchi [To Electra]: Eh suck it ya old goon. You couldn’t do anything besides fight anymore, shit-for-brains.Bookmark here

Electra [To Higuchi]: Huh? What was that? You wanna scrap, asshat?Bookmark here

Shin [To Both]: Both of you, screw off for a second. Higuchi, the hell’s down here?Bookmark here

Higuchi: Oh this? This is our main base of operations and all.Bookmark here

Shin: Why run it in this shitty basement when the whole place is shitty as is?Bookmark here

Higuchi: It’s one-way up and down, so anyone who comes down here unauthorized will probably be killed by our guards. You heard the staircase too, shit’s not safe and creeks with the smallest amount of weight placed on it. Bookmark here

Shin: So basically, if y’all don’t want someone here, they just die, eh?Bookmark here

Higuchi: More-or-less. But really, we do all of this for safety reasons, and we really haven’t gotten many unpleasant visitors.Bookmark here

Yuki: Tight security eh… dang. We should invest in some, no?Bookmark here

Shin: Eh, Karina and Hachiro are pretty good at what they do. And the van squad, Naomi, Drift and Elec are normally in the area, so it makes for pretty good security, even if it isn’t always there.Bookmark here

Yuki: That’s true, that’s true. Speaking of van squad, Ashe, you wanna join em?Bookmark here

Ashe: Huh? What’s the van squad?Bookmark here

Naomi: It’s us three! [She points to both Drift and Elec]Bookmark here

Ashe: Oh no, no, I really couldn’t. Shouldn’t I just be one of your average workers or guards? Like I know you just said you don’t have high security, but surely you guys have some just lay workers?Bookmark here

Yuki: Oh nah. We’re a small group. There’s ten – oh, forgot myself – eleven of us currently. We’re a small group, but we get the job done. I think you’d work with the van squad, you know?Bookmark here

Shin: Why discuss this now though Yuke?Bookmark here

Yuki: We’re probably gonna break off either in Shanghai, or whenever we fly into Europe. We should discuss all these management details while we still have the chance.Bookmark here

Shin: Fair, fair.Bookmark here

Yuki [To Ashe]: So whad’ya say? You up for it?Bookmark here

Ashe: I don’t wanna be a hinderance.Bookmark here

Drift [To Ashe]: Don’t stress, you’ll be just fine.Bookmark here

Electra: Yeah, you can’t be much worse than the bastard over there. [Points at Higuchi] Wait, I remembered, she’s a black belt eh? Yeah Hi, you’ve already been bested. Ha.Bookmark here

Drift: Hate to say it, but Elec’s probably right.Bookmark here

Higuchi: Can’t either of you give me a break for like two seconds? Damn. [Sighs, then laughs]Bookmark here

Naomi [To Ashe]: Trust me, you’ll love it with us. That Navy Odyssey’s been through a lot of mileage with us, and I don’t think we’ll stop when you come on board. Whad’ya say?Bookmark here

Ashe: Well, well, if you all say so, I can’t really refuse, can I?Bookmark here

Naomi: [Smiles] Aye, let’s go!Bookmark here

Higuchi: [Cheers] Yay for the new member!Bookmark here

Electra: Screw off, ditcher.Bookmark here

Higuchi: I didn’t ditch, you bastards gave me the green light to try and change my ways!Bookmark here

Electra: And look where you are. In basically the same shithole which you started.Bookmark here

Higuchi: [Grimaces] Eh, you have me there. [Pauses] Anyway, anyway, here we are. This is where a bunch of our regular laymen work to make these tickets.Bookmark here

Drift: [Whispers] You call them laymen, but if they were ever caught, they’d be treated as felons, right?Bookmark here

Higuchi: Bingo!Bookmark here

Drift: Dang, that’s tough.. How’d you guys even recruit guys like this?Bookmark here

Higuchi: Don’t know. I haven’t asked the boss, and don’t really plan to. I just let him do whatever the hell he wants and don’t really care to dig around. Digging around’s what’s often left me in the ditch before, so I guess I choose to not do it anymore?Bookmark here

Drift: Eh, I guess. Don’t need paranoia racking your brains. Bookmark here

Drift [Thinking]: Although, I’d like to know what the hell he’s doing, and how unethical that shit is.Bookmark here

Higuchi [Calls across the room]: Yo Hidekai, you wanna help these guys out?Bookmark here

Viktor: Yeah, yeah, I will. Bookmark here

Higuchi: This new guy’s great… he’s probably my favorite. He only came here two weeks ago, but he’s been on a roll. Vik, what’s your typing speed?Bookmark here

Viktor: 117.Bookmark here

Higuchi: Friggin hell, where’d you learn like that? Shin, can you even beat that?Bookmark here

Shin: My fastest is 121, I think. So yeah, guess the sucker’s got some experience to get under his belt before he beats me.Bookmark here

Naomi [Thinking]: This child, he can’t be older than sixteen, no? Seventeen maybe? At the max? And he’s already in this? I mean, he isn’t killing anyone or causing a ruckus, so maybe it’s okay? I mean, we did start earlier than that, but still, we’re supposed to be oddities, or at least, the others are. Not everyone’s supposed to jump into this line of work this early! Ahhh, I think it’s okay though. Maybe he has extraordinary circumstances? Who am I to judge, and who am I to ask? Yeah, yeah, just leave him, I think.Bookmark here

Higuchi: Vik, they’re tryna fly out to Shanghai tomorrow? Think you can get that done?Bookmark here

Viktor: Shanghai, eh? [Pauses] Yeah, that’s fine. I should be able to schedule you guys in for an early morning tomorrow.Bookmark here

[Viktor starts typing into his PC]Bookmark here

Higuchi: So, why’re you flying into Shanghai?Bookmark here

Shin: Got some shit to deal with. Idiots from Europe, specifically.Bookmark here

Higuchi: Oh man, oh man, sounds like fun. [Turns to Ashe] This your first time?Bookmark here

Ashe: It is, it is.Bookmark here

Higuchi: Good luck out there! I won’t be rude like those two [points to Drift and Electra], but I think you’ll be able to do well!Bookmark here

Ashe: Thank you!Bookmark here

Viktor [Looks up towards Ashe]: Say, you’re the Yoshino girl?Bookmark here

Ashe: [Shivers as she turns towards him] Yes. I am. Why do you know?Bookmark here

Viktor: Oh no, I’m just from the Jeong area. Didn’t go to school much though, and wasn’t from your area, but you’re still a headliner regardless. I’ll wish you the best in your future with these guys too, wouldn’t want your beautiful face to be tainted.Bookmark here

Ashe: [Sighs of relief] Thank you, thank you, I think I could use as much good luck as possible.Bookmark here

[Another worker walks in]Bookmark here

Viktor [To the worker]: Oh Reina, would you mind turning on that PC?Bookmark here

Reina: Yeah, for sure. You wanna use it, or you need me on it?Bookmark here

Viktor: I’m gonna forward you some stuff, just go through it and then help me out. We got six tickets to make here, so the more hands the better.Bookmark here

Reina: Fair, fair.Bookmark here

Naomi [To Viktor]: Is she…Bookmark here

Viktor: Yea, she’s my girlfriend. I know she looks about my age and shouldn’t be in this line of work, but we didn’t have much choice, since I haven’t had a stable home since forever, and she’d been cast away from her school after being a victim – similarly probably to you, Yoshino.Bookmark here

Ashe: Oh no. I’m so sorry – Reina is it?Bookmark here

Reina: No, no, don’t be, you’re the prize of Jeong, you must’ve had it harder. I feel sorry for you, but I’m glad you found a nice family. Vik here is all I need, even if I’m a convict for working in these parts. I wouldn’t have it any other way.Bookmark here

Higuchi: [Brushes at his eye] Dang…Bookmark here

Drift: Oh, you wuss, stop crying.Bookmark here

Higuchi: I’m not crying, damnit!Bookmark here

Viktor: Okay, Reina, open your mail. [Looks at the group] We should be done in a minute or so.Bookmark here

Drift: Aye, big thanks to you two for doing this so quickly.Bookmark here

[Reina moves to her PC and boots it up, opening up her Hotmail account]Bookmark here

Reina: Vik, this the file?Bookmark here

Viktor: [Moves over to look at her screen] Yeah, it is. Just finish it up and give the final administration go-ahead and you can print it for them.Bookmark here

Reina: Gotcha!Bookmark here

Yuki [To Viktor]: So, when do you think our plane should leave?Bookmark here

Viktor: So far, I’ve been able to schedule a 6:35 flight, but its flight time is a bit long, so it’ll probably land by 7:30 Shanghai time. We could get you on a quicker flight, but that means you’d only arrive by nine at the earliest. I don’t know why the flight route is set the way it is for that early morning one.Bookmark here

Yuki: That’s fine, that’s fine. Our original flight – or these guys’ original flight – was supposed to only take off at 7:30 anyway, so we would’ve landed at nine anyway. I don’t know how they were planning to fly out of Incheon though.Bookmark here

Higuchi: I’m telling you, those European mongrels do things differently, eh Drift?Bookmark here

Drift: Not like I paid much attention while we lived in those parts, but yeah, shit was always going down, and they found ways to do whatever they needed, no matter how scummy the methods.Bookmark here

Yuki: But realistically, how do you get shit through security like that?Bookmark here

Drift: Beats me.Bookmark here

Yuki: Dang. I mean, that type of stuff could be useful in the future for us, you know?Bookmark here

Drift: We have the private though, we barely need to actually use these international airports anymore. Besides, even when we go through them, we don’t have this type of haul.Bookmark here

Higuchi: Hey, hey, can I see the haul?Bookmark here

Drift: No.Bookmark here

Higuchi: Aw, why not?Bookmark here

Drift: Why do I need to tell you why I won’t show you? Matter of fact, why do you even need to see in the first place? Screw off.Bookmark here

Higuchi: Just lemme see, damn straight-laced asshole.Bookmark here

Electra: Nah mate, we don’t need you idiots here getting ahold of our information. We’ve told you where we’re going already, and that’s only cause it’s you…Bookmark here

Higuchi: I mean if you don’t tell us where you wanna go, we wouldn’t be able to create the tickets.Bookmark here

Naomi [Whispers to Electra]: He’s got you there.Bookmark here

Electra: Oh, shut up Mi. And nah [Looks at Higuchi], I know you too damn well you trickster. Bookmark here

Higuchi: Huh?Bookmark here

Electra: Don’t even lie, if we told you anything, it would just into your information bank, and you’d sell it to a highest bidder. Even if it’s us.Bookmark here

Higuchi: Well – Bookmark here

Shin: Eh Elec, you saying that could lead to those two [Points to Viktor and Reina] reporting him to the higher ups, no?Bookmark here

Electra: Oh – Bookmark here

Viktor: Don’t worry about it. He’s the one who helped us out, we kinda already have a feeling for how shady he is, ha. We could always rat him out, but we’re on his side.Bookmark here

Electra: Ah, that’s good to hear at least. Ha, I didn’t even think of the possible ramifications of saying that type of shit. Eh, either way, you’d weasel your way out of it, sucker.Bookmark here

Higuchi: But, but…Bookmark here

Electra: Nah if there’s one thing that I’ll give your annoying ass credit for, it’s being able to get out of shitty situations like its nothing, cause as dense as you are, you’ve got enough of a brain. That’s why you ran ops when you were back with us – although Shin does a better job with it, can’t lie.Bookmark here

Higuchi: That’s fair, yeah. And yeah, to be honest, I wouldn’t have sold you guys out, but I would’ve passed the information of the goods along a chain. I’d make pretty good bank, you hear? Just let me know, you lot could probably deal with whoever comes after y’all.Bookmark here

Electra: No can do.Bookmark here

Yuki: Didn’t you leave us to become a better person? The hell happened to that?Bookmark here

Higuchi: Well, you see…Bookmark here

Yuki: Nah. No excuses from you.Bookmark here

Naomi: See, see Higuchi, we’re doing this for your sake. It’ll be better for you to start doing things the right way, even if it’s little by little. Bookmark here

Higuchi: Fine, I guess you’re right.Bookmark here

Electra: Of course, he listens to Mi.Bookmark here

Naomi: Everyone listens to Mi!Bookmark here

Electra: Pun intended?Bookmark here

Naomi: For the most part.Bookmark here

Electra [To Higuchi]: Well, for the most part, I agree with her. You wanted to change, and we can’t do that in one sitting. But cutting that stuff little by little should be able to help, y’know?Bookmark here

Higuchi: Eh….Bookmark here

Electra: Then again, knowing you, you’ll probably just be craving that even more later on. Bookmark here

Higuchi: Hey, that ain’t completely true you hear?Bookmark here

Electra: Yeah, yeah, keep feeding yourself lies. But for real, try to be better man. Bookmark here

Higuchi: I will, I will.Bookmark here

Drift: [Throws a paper at Higuchi] Here’s Mi, Shin and my numbers. Keep in touch more often, don’t just ghost us for over half a year, you hear?Bookmark here

Higuchi: Yeah, yeah that’s my bad. I changed my official contact to Korean six months ago and got rid of my old Japanese phone, so I really didn’t have a way to find your numbers. And anyone around these parts would think you’re crazy for asking for you guys’ numbers.Bookmark here

Shin: Oh, we’re famous?Bookmark here

Higuchi: Yeah, over the last six months, you guys have kinda been taking the East Coast by storm. I think a couple weeks ago my boss was mentioning something about your ventures into Singapore?Bookmark here

Shin: Oh yeah, I sent Hachiro and Yuki down there a while back for some work. I think you guys created quite a scare, no?Bookmark here

Yuki: It’s all Hachiro’s fault. He’s such a menace with his snipers.Bookmark here

Shin: I mean, he told me you held your own.Bookmark here

Yuki: I should be able to hold my own! He just steals the spotlight every time.Bookmark here

Higuchi: Yeah, and even before that. You guys had taken all of Japan’s underworld by storm, and even made noise here and on the Chinese coast. Your influence has flooded far south, even before the Singapore fire-sale, cause you guys have a lot of backers.Bookmark here

Yuki: Oh, is that so?Bookmark here

Higuchi: Yeah, definitely. I’m glad you guys are doing well. And I’m glad no one’s found about my own identity here. If they did, I’d probably be in a ton of shit.Bookmark here

Yuki: How so – Bookmark here

Viktor [Interjects]: Sorry to interrupt your talk, but here’s the tickets. I got you guys six for the 6:35 departure.Bookmark here

Yuki: Oooo, okay, that’s perfect. Thank you again… what’s your name?Bookmark here

Viktor: Vik. Vik Hidekai. Bookmark here

Yuki: Ah, okay. Thanks Vik.Bookmark here

Viktor: No problem at all.Bookmark here

Yuki: Oh yeah, Higuchi, can you tell us where this place is?Bookmark here

Shin: Oh yeah, yeah, how the hell do we even get there?Bookmark here

Drift: They aren’t gonna flag us down when we get there, right?Bookmark here

Viktor: They won’t do that, if you present the tickets without saying anything. Don’t ask them if they wanna see anything, just show them. But the location… sir, you told me a couple days ago, but I’m hazy as hell right now, you mind telling them?Bookmark here

Higuchi: Yeah, yeah. Just take the main freeway north into Seoul, and take the exit onto the 193 West from Downtown. After that, it gets a bit confusing, so just input the address on this sheet of paper into your GPS, and you should be able to find it. [He hands Drift a paper]Bookmark here

Drift: Damn, this is deep, eh?Bookmark here

Higuchi: Didn’t say it would be close.Bookmark here

Drift: Do you guys have to go down there frequently?Bookmark here

Higuchi: Nah not really, we’re just the headquarters. We don’t do much with dealing with them.Bookmark here

Drift: You ever flown out of there?Bookmark here

Higuchi: Nah, why would I need to?Bookmark here

Drift: Fair, fair. I’d just like someones actual opinion of the place.Bookmark here

Higuchi: They do decent enough work. They’re flown on small Bombardiers though, so you guys are likely gonna be the only lot flying. That’s why it’s gonna cost you a pretty penny for each.Bookmark here

Drift: Oh yeah, I can tell. Shin, you got the tab right?Bookmark here

Shin: Yeah, it’s on the group, Karina will get notified soon enough.Bookmark here

Drift: She’ll freak when she sees the total.Bookmark here

Shin: Eh, I wouldn’t count on it. She doesn’t get surprised by much anymore. [Gestures to Higuchi] Pass the machine.Bookmark here

Higuchi: Oh, you use card?Bookmark here

Shin: Yeah, and it’s an actual banks card. I was surprised when I looked through things, but my original account under my legitimate name isn’t blacklisted, so I can still do stuff. This one’s just under some fake name though, it just serves as our group card.Bookmark here

Higuchi: Wait, you guys aren’t blacklisted as yet?Bookmark here

Shin: Surprisingly not. There’s a ton of evidence, but – at least according to whatever sources I’ve gathered – they can’t officially blacklist us, and only China’s really got a sniff of us legitimately. In Japan we’re surprisingly fine.Bookmark here

Higuchi: Shit man, you guys are really killing it.Bookmark here

Shin: Group effort on that. It’s nice that we can all pull our slack and no one’s really every able to tail us, no matter what we do.Bookmark here

Higuchi: Although going into Europe may spell some other shit for you guys.Bookmark here

Shin: Yeah it might. We just gotta trust whatever we’ve got though. Them coming over to these ends can’t just be for her. [Points at Ashe] There’s definitely some other shitty reason, cause they can do their trafficking wherever – hell, Europe’s a prime hotspot for that shit. They shouldn’t be going foreign to get a single girl, and if, in some miraculous way, that’s their only reason, then we’ll beat the shit outta them anyway, because you don’t do this shit on our turf.Bookmark here

Higuchi: East Block, eh?Bookmark here

Shin: That’s what they used to call us, back when you were around.Bookmark here

Higuchi: What, you guys changed the name?Bookmark here

Yuki: You didn’t hear?Bookmark here

Higuchi: No!Bookmark here

Naomi: We’re just Eastern now. Most of Japan refers to us by that name, I’m surprised it hasn’t gotten across the sea. Bookmark here

Higuchi: Dang, alright. Not gonna lie, it sounds less intimidating.Bookmark here

Naomi: But it rolls off the tongue faster!Bookmark here

Higuchi: That’s true, that’s true.Bookmark here

Shin: Anyway man, it’s nearly 2:00 now, we’ve been chatting for quite a bit, we should probably head out. Let’s get upstairs.Bookmark here

[The group heads upstairs with Higuchi, Viktor and Reina follow slightly behind. When they get outside, Drift leans on the driver side door, and the rest of the group stands in front of the van]Bookmark here

Higuchi: Well, hopefully you guys get everything done safely. Come back in one piece, you hear?Bookmark here

Electra: Yeah, yeah, we will, we will.Bookmark here

Higuchi [Whispers to Drift]: Take care of em all, you hear?Bookmark here

Drift: Yeah, I know. You take care of yourself out here alright?Bookmark here

Higuchi: Don’t worry. I’ll shipshape myself. Hopefully these new kids can help me out with that.Bookmark here

Drift: Don’t rely on them, they’re just kids. You’ve got your own problems, fix ‘em yourself.Bookmark here

Higuchi: Yeah, you’re right. I’ll do this myself. Bookmark here

Shin [To Higuchi]: Good to hear mate. I’m expecting big things from you.Bookmark here

Higuchi: I won’t let you down, Cap. [Shin chuckles]Bookmark here

Naomi: [Waves] Well we’re off, see you hopefully!Bookmark here

Higuchi: Yeah! Safe drive and travels!Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.