Chapter 4:

Dead End

The Forbidden and the Gifted

[4:13 a.m. August 8th, 2048, Seoul, Korea. The shot pans to the driving Sienna, along a lowly lit three-laned highway. As before, Drift is driving the van, with Naomi in the passenger seat. Shin and Electra sit in the middle while Yuki and Ashe sit in the back; Yuki and Shin on the right, Electra and Ashe on the left]Bookmark here

Drift: That took quite a while. We’ve only got 2 hours, more-or-less.Bookmark here

Naomi: I mean, we’re basically there.Bookmark here

Drift: True, I just didn’t think they had even more stuff there.Bookmark here

Naomi: We didn’t even need all the guns though, ha. We can’t even fit them all in this little van.Bookmark here

Drift: Yeah, and I’m not renting some delivery truck to haul that shit. Whenever the cops get a hold of that, they can have their fun.Bookmark here

Naomi: For real, haha. Although, there aren’t any leads to anyone who could’ve been manufacturing this stuff. Bookmark here

Drift: True, but these don’t look like these are the same material as the guys who make our stuff back home. [Pauses] By the way, are the guys in the back knocked out?Bookmark here

Naomi: [Turns back] Uh, yeah. [Pauses] Yuke’s, Ashe and Elec are sleeping, Shin’s doing… I don’t even know what he’s doing.Bookmark here

[Shin notices Naomi looking at him and looks up, taking off his airpods]Bookmark here

Shin: Yo! You need something Mi?Bookmark here

Naomi: Naw, don’t worry. We were just wondering what you were doing.Bookmark here

Shin: Oh, I’ve just got some music on, and I’m looking at some reports out of Warsaw.Bookmark here

Naomi: Warsaw? Where’s that?Bookmark here

Shin: Polish capital. They’ve said there’s been some suspicious goings on in their neighboring countries like Latvia and Estonia, but I can’t reach any proper sites for direct information. Russia has some ties too, but everything’s in goddamn Russian, and for some reason I can’t translate on this phone. Friggin hell.Bookmark here

Drift: Even if it’s secondary, you found anything juicy?Bookmark here

Shin: Eh, somewhat.Bookmark here

Naomi: Ooo, spill, spill!Bookmark here

Shin: Elec’s original guess was right, at least I’m 80% sure of it. Dreadknight’s been making some noise in East Europe. Bookmark here

Drift: Friggin hell, them again?Bookmark here

Shin: You’ve got some unfinished business with them, right?Bookmark here

Drift: Well, I don’t talk about it. But you can call it that. Bookmark here

Shin: This got something to do with that name we finally learned after all this time?Bookmark here

Drift: Yeah. I don’t wanna talk though, and I think most of the shit’s been burned in the history books. One day I’ll tell you though. Bookmark here

Shin: All good man, whenever you feel comfortable. Don’t worry too much. But yeah, back to them, they’ve been making moves into Slovenia and Croatia as well, and their numbers are much larger than we could’ve ever imagined.Bookmark here

Naomi: What figures we talking about?Bookmark here

Shin: They’ve got thousands of supporters.Bookmark here

Naomi: Thousands!?Bookmark here

Shin: That’s what early estimates and rumors say, although they are on the high side. Bookmark here

Naomi: How do they get that much support? Bookmark here

Shin: Quality of life. Ever since the Great Baltic War, which was started by that traitorous bastard Dyachstovsky, life hasn’t been easy. Working in these shitty conditions led to easy money and a way to put a roof over a lot of their extended families heads.Bookmark here

Drift: But even at the expense of freedom? I mean, weren’t their families gonna be killed?Bookmark here

Shin: Thing is, they’re trained well enough, so they can do much of the jobs that they’re assigned. Coming into our territory, I guess, is a different story, but tell me, who’s really competing with them in Europe?Bookmark here

Drift: Sybil, no?Bookmark here

Shin: Sybil’s a good one, but they only have the Kingdom, France, what’s been carved out of Belgium-Holland, and a partial control of both Germany and Switzerland. Everything to the east is basically anyone’s game, and Sybil isn’t gonna start a territory dispute, even though getting the Austrian Republic and Italy would be quite the get.Bookmark here

Drift: True, but why not just go to England or France or wherever?Bookmark here

Shin: You think the actual English or French or Belg-Dutch Governments want to deal with those people? There’s been too much going on in those parts, especially with the development of those supposed ‘gifts’ or whatever.Bookmark here

Naomi: Gifts?Bookmark here

Drift: Oh, you haven’t heard. Should we tell her?Bookmark here

Shin: We? I barely know about them myself. You’re the one whos seen them, right?Bookmark here

Drift: Seen it once, yeah. I haven’t fought them, or I’d probably be dead, haha.Bookmark here

Shin: Haha, I can imagine. Those things are no joke.Bookmark here

Naomi: Aw, tell me!Bookmark here

Drift: Alright, fine. Although, I don’t really know the logistics or any of that garbage, I just have a brief idea of what they are from what I saw.Bookmark here

Naomi: That’s fine, tell me, tell me!Bookmark here

Drift: Well, from when me, Elec and Higuchi spent time in Greece, way before meeting you lot, we used to hear rumors about this, and mind you, this was during the  ending of that huge Baltic war or whatever. To us, it screamed of stupidity, cause how is someone gonna have some just inherited ability or whatnot, y’know? Bookmark here

Naomi: Mhmmmm.Bookmark here

Drift: But what Higuchi apparently heard from someone he worked with for a bit at his day-job – mind you, this was before we were the rugged lot that we are now – was that it’s not a common thing to have these gifts. Sure they appear, but they don’t appear for everyone, and even if they do, they’re not the easiest to control and certainly not the easiest to use. [Pauses] Even then, the shit screamed of some conspiracy or a farce or whatever, right?Bookmark here

Naomi: Yeah, definitely.Bookmark here

Drift: But the issue happened on – shit, I can’t even remember the day, but it was sometime during the summer – we had seen a guy who was, and no lie, this is going to sound extremely stupid and fabricated on my behalf, but it was a guy who was choke holding someone with some vines or something. Bookmark here

Naomi: You’re kidding.Bookmark here

Drift: Hell, I wish I was, you know. But that wasn’t the first person he’d killed apparently. When us three saw that, we didn’t waste time trying to intervene or whatever, we just made a dash for it. Sooner than later, we had seen on the local television that a man was killed in a shootout with police, and his face was identical to the guy we had seen. They never reported anything about his abilities or whatever, but in that shootout, they reported that he had killed at least seven officers, but the information that we found online says otherwise.Bookmark here

Naomi: There’s information online?Bookmark here

Drift: Not easy to access, but I have some files that I can show you. Some with pictures, some with information, but most people on these underground forums deduced that he likely had a murder count of at least 25 that day, and his ‘gift’, or whatever, was  controlling those friggin vines as he pleased.Bookmark here

Naomi: Okay, I’ll look into this then, yeah. But why has this stuff started springing up suddenly?Bookmark here

Drift: It hasn’t sprung up across the world. It’s sprung up there because people are desperate and they were in such a war-torn state, people who may have not even realized that they had these gifts either discovered them on a whim. [Pauses] Now, this is just a rumor, but the main theory behind a lot of this is that there’s in fact a real catalyst behind this madness, someone existing as a puppet-master and a savior for these people, who holds the actual true ‘gift’, y’know?Bookmark here

Naomi: Whad’ya mean by that?Bookmark here

Drift: Well, these gifts may be random, right, but they can’t have been random forever. Someone ought to have started this bullshit, and they’ve worked damn hard to keep it under wraps. Even then, this lineage likely sealed away whatever gift they had in order to not cause global chaos – which, in my eyes is stupid, since they’re blessed with power and just willingly chose not to use it.Bookmark here

Naomi: Well, maybe they did what they did for the greater good, and are only starting to change things because they've seen the state that the world's in now?Bookmark here

Drift: Well, for the most part I'd like to think it was done for a form of the 'greater good', especially cause up until like 2045, these things didn’t exist, not in the shadows, not in the light, nowhere. They just started popping up, especially during that war. Here’s my own little prediction, either the guy behind this has broken his seal, and chosen for hell to rage over – or, what’s more likely, considering that nothing too too bad has happened as yet, someone found out about it, and used it against whoever it is.Bookmark here

Naomi: But how?Bookmark here

Drift: How should I know, haha, it’s just a theory. But I can assure you, gifts do exist. They just aren’t like you see in manga or anime though, not everyone is blessed – or cursed – to have them, it seems like something that very very few people have, and something even fewer can master. Bookmark here

Shin: Hm, intriguing, intriguing. Throughout my digging, there hasn’t been an overwhelming amount of rumors for that stuff, but it has come up once in a while.Bookmark here

Naomi: Would you be surprised if we came across people like that though?Bookmark here

Shin: Frankly, yeah. I’m with Drift in the sense that, there probably aren’t many people who actually have these kinds of things. Still, I wouldn’t be surprised if the ringleaders of the cartel out there had some sort of connections.Bookmark here

Naomi: So, we may come across them?Bookmark here

Shin: Who knows. I don’t really think we’re gonna come across the ringleaders, although I'd like to. Gonna get a lot of the higher ups, but the top ranks are probably too chicken to show their faces.Bookmark here

Drift: Shouldn’t we try and get them to try and come out though? Like, I’m not saying we win against them, but I’m saying shouldn’t we try and do something about them before their influence gets too big?Bookmark here

Shin: Eh? So then why exactly are we going out of our way to fly to Shanghai? Hell, why did we even come here in the first place? We’re obviously trying to cut ‘em down… but cutting ‘em down doesn’t start at the source, as much as I’d like to try so.Bookmark here

Drift: It doesn’t? I mean, isn’t the saying that you cut ‘em at the neck and the rest of the body can’t survive? What’s the point of not going for the neck?Bookmark here

Shin: What’s the point of going for the neck if it’s reinforced with steel and iron? If we can’t cut through it, we’re wasting time, resources and manpower. We’ve got to chip away at it, and once we deplete enough, then we go back for the final blow.Bookmark here

Drift: So, you’re going long-con, if I may presume?Bookmark here

Shin: Precisely. We don’t have the manpower to counteract what they have, no matter how we skilled we are. So we took down whatever shitty trade is going on here, get some more information from someone a bit higher on the feeding chart in Shanghai, and infiltrate as well as possible in Europe before we fall back, and eventually go back. Bookmark here

Drift: If we get Sybil’s help though – Bookmark here

Shin: That’s a big if, but yeah, I know where you’re going with that. If we do get substantial help from Sybil, we’re essentially home free. Simply put, cause they’ve got manpower.Bookmark here

Naomi: But you aren’t banking on it?Bookmark here

Shin: Not really. Sure they’re a great bunch, and they’ll be able to help the two idiots who we sent out with planning and all, but I don’t know how ready they’d be to throw their own men into a line of fire.Bookmark here

Naomi: Why so?Bookmark here

Shin: They’ve got manpower, yeah. But they’ve kept a relatively peaceful front against Dreadknight this whole time, especially considering they’re both European powers in that sense. There’s no war to be fought, especially considering Sybil can pretty much hold their Belgium-Holland stronghold – sure, Dreadknight may get some leverage, but I don’t think they push into Western Europe, which is all Sybil needs to stay afloat. Bookmark here

Drift: Shit, never thought of it, I guess you’re right. Well, we can always hope that they’ll help, considering we're likely diving right into the midst of the chaos.Bookmark here

Shin: It certainly isn’t out of the realm of possibility. Hell, I’ve never met the man in command there, so I wouldn’t know what was going through his mind. It’s just that all of his moves till now have been so passive, I wouldn’t expect him to suddenly go on the offensive. Here’s to hoping I’m wrong though.Bookmark here

Naomi: Wait, you’ve never actually met him? Do you even know his name?Bookmark here

Shin: Nope, and he probably doesn’t know mine either - actually, he might, who knows, I just don't pay enough attention. Weird how shit works in this world, eh?Bookmark here

Naomi: Not the most ideal, I’ll tell you that.Bookmark here

Shin: Gets the job done though.Bookmark here

Naomi: Fair, fair.Bookmark here

Drift [Interjects]: Yo, yo, yo, I think we’re here. [Yells at the group in the back] Yo idiots, wake up, we’re here! [Punches Electra] Dumbass!Bookmark here

Electra: [Waking up] Okay, okay, shut up you stupid driver. [Yawns] Friggin can’t have anything when you’re around, damn.Bookmark here

Drift: Shut up grouch… look at Yuki and Ashe, they aren’t complaining.Bookmark here

Ashe [Thinking]: I’d be complaining if I wasn’t new here though…Bookmark here

Yuki: [Shakes her head] Huh, what’s going on?Bookmark here

Drift: We’re here.Bookmark here

Yuki: What, in Shanghai?Bookmark here

Shin: Yes, dipshit. We’re in friggin Shanghai. We carried you into the airport, and boarded the plane, and landed in Shang…Bookmark here

Yuki [Punches Shin]: Oh screw off, you sadist.Bookmark here

Shin: Didn’t need to punch that hard. Bookmark here

Yuki: Didn’t need to be sarcastic.Bookmark here

Shin: Didn’t need to think this was Shanghai.Bookmark here

Yuki: Didn’t need to know if it was.Bookmark here

Shin: Didn’t ask.Bookmark here

[Yuki slaps him again, to Shin’s visible frustration]Bookmark here

Drift: As much as I enjoy hearing you two bicker with each other, we should save it. [Pauses] Anyway, can someone tell me where the hell I’m supposed to go from here? Bookmark here

Shin: Aren’t we here?Bookmark here

Drift: Well, there’s a dead end.Bookmark here

Shin: Any side roads?Bookmark here

Drift: Not that they appear on the map.Bookmark here

Shin: Well, shit.Bookmark here

Yuki: Swing me the GPS.Bookmark here

Shin: Huh? What are you gonna do with it if we’ve already established that it’s a dead…?Bookmark here

Yuki: Zip it and pass it.Bookmark here

Shin: [Sighs, and gestures to Drift to hand it to him] Whatever, here ya go. [Drift hands him the GPS, which he hands to Yuki]Bookmark here

Yuki: [Looks at the GPS and grimaces, before getting an idea] Ah, I see!Bookmark here

Shin: Whad'ya see?Bookmark here

Yuki: The area to our direct left is shown as empty grassland. Bookmark here

Shin: So? What am I supposed to do with this information?Bookmark here

Yuki: Both past the dead end and to our right are grasslands, but we got the Toll Highway on our right in the next 500 meters, and we got some slums up front, maybe like… [Pauses] 700 or so meters away?Bookmark here

Shin: So, your suggestion is?Bookmark here

Yuki: The airports to the left. Unsurprisingly, there’s no noises, cause it’s nearly five in the morning, but it’s definitely there.Bookmark here

Shin: Yeah, alright, it’s there. I can get behind that. But what’s your suggestion? How are we supposed to get there? Wreck the car?Bookmark here

Yuki: I mean, if all else fails, yeah. But I think we’ll be alright. Let me hop out for a sec, move yourself.Bookmark here

[Shin squishes against the seat, and Yuki hops out the left door]Bookmark here

Yuki: Well, shit. This road’s pretty low-lit, I can’t make anything out.Bookmark here

Shin [Thinking]: Well, no shit. If you weren’t sleeping, you might’ve been able to see that. Bookmark here

Yuki [Yells]: Naomi! Could you come out here for a sec?Bookmark here

Shin [Thinking]: She’s so damn loud, holy shit, it’s 5 a.m.Bookmark here

[Naomi hops out the passenger side door and walks towards Yuki]Bookmark here

Yuki: Mi, your sense of smells still as good as it used to be, right?Bookmark here

Naomi: No reason for it to be any worse, I’d presume?Bookmark here

Yuki: Okay, nice, nice. You smell anything that smells like its rotten, but also like paint?Bookmark here

Naomi: Uh, yeah, although it’s pretty faint. It’s coming from just in front of the car.Bookmark here

Yuki: That’s probably just the dead-end sign. Could you walk a bit?Bookmark here

Naomi: Sure. [She walks away from the car, and after about twenty seconds, stops] Here, I’m getting it again, although it’s faint again.Bookmark here

[Yuki runs to where she is]Bookmark here

Yuki: Yup, looks about right. [Pauses] Thanks Mi, could you go back and tell Drift to reverse to where I’m standing?Bookmark here

Naomi: Sure thing. [She runs back to the car and enters, and gestures to Drift to reverse]Bookmark here

Shin [To Naomi]: So, the entrance is there?Bookmark here

Naomi: I’d think so? I’m not sure.Bookmark here

Ashe: Why is this so complicated?Bookmark here

Electra [To Ashe]: If it was daylight, we’d probably be able to see well. They just didn’t add the inroads on the GPS because this isn’t supposed to be a well-known place, since flights in and out of here are undertaken by private corps, y'know?Bookmark here

Ashe: Ah, I see. But I mean, aren’t planes kinda loud? Wouldn’t eliminating the inroads on google maps be kinda useless?Bookmark here

Electra: That’s fair, but in order for an airport to run at all, they likely need to have some form of permit, however old, because you can’t just be sending planes into aerospace without that. Likely, there’s a permit for this place, so it’s not ‘illegal’, even though the people using it would be designated under that broad term of ‘illegal’.Bookmark here

Ashe: Ah, so something like a loophole?Bookmark here

Electra: More or less. It’s pretty savvy, and international travel is also allowed, so technically it isn’t breaking international laws there either. The issue is that places like this have underhanded security and whatnot, which isn’t known to the other country.Bookmark here

Ashe: And unless they’re caught, the goods and people can be moved however they like?Bookmark here

Electra: Precisely. And in terms of taking the place off of maps, sure, they could’ve left it on, but it’s always better to have an extra layer of protection. You don’t need the rats on your ass every day because they know where the place is.Bookmark here

Ashe: Yeah, that’s fair.Bookmark here

[Drift meanwhile reverses the car to the spot where Yuki is standing]Bookmark here

Shin: So, Mi, what’d you tell her?Bookmark here

Naomi: Oh, she just asked if I could smell something rotting that also smelt like paint at the same time. Kinda weird.Bookmark here

Shin: Could you find it?Bookmark here

Naomi: Yeah, it was faint, but it was definitely there.Bookmark here

Shin: Hm.Bookmark here

Drift: [Rolls down his window, and yells to Yuki] What do you want me to do now?Bookmark here

[Yuki walks towards the window]Bookmark here

Yuki: Reverse to a little bit past where I was, then turn to the left.Bookmark here

Drift: Into the ditch?!Bookmark here

Yuki: You don’t trust me? Fine. [She runs back to where she was standing, and kicks at something, to which a loud thud is heard]Bookmark here

Drift: [Yells out his window] The hell was that?Bookmark here

Yuki: [Yells back] The stupid sign they use to cordon off roads, for construction or whatever. I kicked it down. That’s what they use in the nights as like a barrier – it's pretty useless if you ask me, all things considered.Bookmark here

Drift: Okay, I’m skeptical, but whatever, it’s our best shot. Hop back in.Bookmark here

[Yuki runs back to the car, and Drift reverses to where she was]Bookmark here

Shin: I hope this works, I’m not trying to wreck another car.Bookmark here

Yuki: If it doesn’t, we should probably brace, right?Bookmark here

Shin: So you aren’t confident??Bookmark here

Yuki: I am, but if something goes wrong, blame Mi’s sense of smell, not me.Bookmark here

Shin: Screw off, I’m blaming you.Bookmark here

Drift [Interjects]: Okay y’all, I’m going for it.Bookmark here

Ashe [Thinking]: Oh please God, I signed up for my death with these guys, but not like this, please, I beg... I didn't even get to do anything.Bookmark here

Shin [Thinking]: I’m suing the shit out of Yuki if this car gets wrecked.Bookmark here

Naomi [Thinking]: I’m pretty sure I was right, wasn’t I? I’m never wrong, right?Bookmark here

[The entire group grimaces as Drift floors the pedal, and turns left. The car turns, and after two seconds, the car is still moving forward, without a scratch]Bookmark here

Yuki: See! I told you!Bookmark here

Shin: You weren’t even confident.Bookmark here

Yuki: But I was right, so who cares?Bookmark here

Shin: Oh damn you.Bookmark here

Drift: So, I’d assume we just keep on going then, right?Bookmark here

Shin: That’s what it looks like. And I’d think there’d probably be signs if we’d really need to turn anyway, but who are we kidding, there aren’t gonna be any terminals or any of that shit. This place is small, so I’d assume it’s just one place for everyone.Bookmark here

Drift: That’s fair. I’ll floor it then, if any of you see any signs, just tell me.Bookmark here

Shin: Floor it? What we talking about?Bookmark here

Drift: I’d think 150?Bookmark here

Electra: You call that flooring? I’ll drive if that’s the best your pathetic ass can do.Bookmark here

Drift: I can hit 170 if you really want me to.Bookmark here

Electra: Rookie numbers, but better nothing. Let’s see you actually do it.Bookmark here

Drift: Fine, I think you’re gonna regret challenging me.Bookmark here

Electra: We’ll see, bigshot.Bookmark here

[Drift floors the pedal, and speeds down the empty road for some time, before Naomi yells]Bookmark here

Naomi: There was a sign!Bookmark here

Drift: What’d it say?Bookmark here

Naomi: I can’t possibly know, with you going so fast, slow it down please! Mi’s dizzy!Bookmark here

Drift: Alright. [He lets up, slowing down to 80 km/h]Bookmark here

Electra: What are we, snails?Bookmark here

Drift: Oh shut up. [Pauses] Mi, see if you can see anything else, if possible? Thanks.Bookmark here

[They drive ahead for another minute, before Naomi points to the right]Bookmark here

Naomi: That sign, right in front of us! It says… [Pauses and squints] reduce speed, security ahead?Bookmark here

Drift: So, there’s not even one damn terminal, they just screen us in our car and let us fly? Bookmark here

Naomi: I’d guess so. I mean, look at the map… [Pauses and shows the GPS map] we’re pretty far in, I don’t think they could build a whole terminal in this limited space.Bookmark here

Drift: Well, let me slow it down even more. We should basically be there.Bookmark here

[A light flickers ahead]Bookmark here

Shin: That’s probably the security right there. Bookmark here

[Drift drives towards the dim light, which illuminates a small checkpoint. The car comes to a stop, as Drift rolls down the driver-side window and Shin rolls down his window]Bookmark here

Guard: Papers?Bookmark here

Drift: Elec, you got em?Bookmark here

Electra: Yup, right here. [He pulls out the stash of tickets and hands them through the window] This is for all six of us.Bookmark here

Guard: What’s your purpose of travel?Bookmark here

Electra: Business sir, nothing more.Bookmark here

Guard: [Looks at the papers] Japanese citizens, eh? Oh, one – oh, make that two Koreans, ah. Why to Shanghai through here?Bookmark here

Electra: We got some shit to transport.Bookmark here

Guard: Weapons or drugs?Bookmark here

Electra: [Pauses, before Drift nods] Both.Bookmark here

Guard: Good, good, you aren’t gonna try and bullshit me. Bookmark here

Electra: Why would I?Bookmark here

Guard: Don’t know, but everything’s written here in ink, including everything that you’re transporting. Try and bullshit me and I’ll blow your head off, ha.Bookmark here

Electra: Not the nicest way of keeping customers though, is it?Bookmark here

Guard: Couldn’t care less. My job’s to make sure no bullshit’s getting through into this airspace. Especially from some shitter at like 5 in the morning. [Pauses] Carrying any cash that isn’t yours?Bookmark here

Electra: Yeah.Bookmark here

Guard: How much?Bookmark here

Electra: I didn’t friggin count mate, honest. If you want, here, take a friggin stack of it and be happy, alright? [Drift hands over a stack of cash to the guard]Bookmark here

Guard: Alright, that’s fine.Bookmark here

Electra [Thinking]: Of course that’s fine, it’s like a whole grand. Probably more than his biweekly earnings, ha.Bookmark here

Guard: You said you have six in the car, right?Bookmark here

Electra: Yessir.Bookmark here

Guard: Let me just check that. [He steps out of his post, and walks around the car, looking inside. He opens the back to see the groups haul, and closes it, before returning to his post]Bookmark here

Electra: Everything good sir?Bookmark here

Guard: Yup. Oh yeah, one more thing.Bookmark here

Electra: What’s it?Bookmark here

Guard: Who sold you these?Bookmark here

Electra: Higuchi’s the main guy, but there was a duo who actually processed them… shit, what were their names… damn, what the hell? They were…Bookmark here

Naomi [Interjects]: Viktor and Reina, sir.Bookmark here

Guard: [Looks down at the papers and hands them back] Yeah, alright. [Pauses] Keep driving straight, and at the second round-a-bout, take the left turn, and drive onto the tarmac towards ‘International’. Your flights only at 6:35, so you guys can probably just go inside the terminal and get something to eat before you gotta get on.Bookmark here

Yuki [Thinking]: 100 to 0 real quick for that guy eh? Jesus.Bookmark here

Electra [To Guard]: Yo! Do you know if the flight’s private or not?Bookmark here

Guard: I can’t guarantee, but the aircraft being used is a small one, and most of the time we don’t put groups together cause we don’t need the damn plane falling out of the sky cause of some dumbass bad blood, so you guys should be alone.Bookmark here

Electra: Alright, thanks man. Alright Drift let’s go.Bookmark here

Drift: Gotcha mate. [To Guard] Thanks mate.Bookmark here

Guard: Yeah no worries. Pleasure doing business.Bookmark here

[Drift steps on the accelerator and floors it]Bookmark here

Yuki [To Ashe]: Scary, ain’t it?Bookmark here

Ashe: You’re telling me! Holy, that guy looked so ready to start blasting, I thought he’d actually just go for it. Jesus, people in these lines have no mercy I’d guess?Bookmark here

Yuki: That’s just how it goes.Bookmark here

Drift [To Electra]: Why’d you just take that from him though?Bookmark here

Electra: To be fair, you did nod. Bookmark here

Drift: Still, I thought you’d lose your cool even with that?Bookmark here

Ashe [To Yuki]: What're they talking about?Bookmark here

Yuki: Oh, it’s just Drift wondering why Electra was so compliant, that’s all.Bookmark here

Ashe: Huh? Why wouldn’t you be compliant though? He threatened…Bookmark here

Yuki: Ashe, Ashe, you gotta remember. We may not act it, and we definitely don’t look it – I mean, look at Shin’s slob ass – but we’d probably be able to take most of em, even if there were like fifty.Bookmark here

Ashe: Fifty?!Bookmark here

Yuki: Yeah. I mean, maybe with protecting you, maybe not. But regularly, yeah. I’d think so. [To Electra] So that begs the question Elec, why’d you bend the knee?Bookmark here

Electra: Huh? I mean,Bookmark here

Shin: You want Higuchi to do well, ain’t it?Bookmark here

Electra: Huh? What’s that?Bookmark here

Shin: It’s the truth. You’re never that level-headed.Bookmark here

Electra: Coming from you. Bookmark here

Shin: Yeah, that’s fair, but still, you’d only not get pissed off because you believe in this little shitty startup that Higuchi’s a part of.Bookmark here

Naomi: Is it really a startup though?Bookmark here

Shin: Well, no. But the whole lot of people they’ve hired are a bunch of idiots. I mean this guard didn’t know head or tail about how to properly do his job and if this was anyone else, he’d probably be begging for his life right now. And they’re hiring friggin kids to be part of this, even if it’s only in the information department.Bookmark here

Naomi: True.Bookmark here

Yuki: Yeah, it’s a bad time if Higuchi’s your most experienced and best fighter.Bookmark here

All: [Collectively grimace] Yeah.Bookmark here

[The car continues on, with shots of the group talking as sunlight begins to illuminate the car, ever so slightly. Drift turns at the round-a-bout, and drives toward the terminal, at which Drifts parks and the group gets down from the car]Bookmark here

Drift: What’re we gonna do with the car?Bookmark here

Ashe: Aren’t you driving? Didn’t you have a plan?Bookmark here

Drift: Not entirely, no.Bookmark here

Ashe: [Drops head] Oh, man. Bookmark here

Shin: I’ll just text Higuchi tonight, he can come with someone and pick it up and return it. Bookmark here

Ashe: You guys managed to rent this thing?Bookmark here

Shin: Of course.Bookmark here

Ashe: Without being caught?Bookmark here

Shin: Come on Ashe, Yuke’s just told you. We’re not some slouches, haha.Bookmark here

Electra [Interjects]: Alright, enough chitchat, I’m starving. Lemme get something to eat from inside before we get on this flight.Bookmark here

Naomi: Oooo, I wanna see where else they travel to from here, hopefully they have a travel board!Bookmark here

Ashe: I mean, this is an airport, however illegal, so I think they’d still have a board.Bookmark here

Naomi: Oooo, I hope so!Bookmark here

Ashe: Alright, let’s go inside then!Bookmark here

[The groups walks inside the small terminal, which has two small restaurants, a flight board, and five gates on the opposite end]Bookmark here

Naomi: Oh, look Ashe! [She points at the flight board]Bookmark here

Ashe: Oh, they got our flight to Shanghai as well as the other one, and they also got one to Tokyo, one to Nanjing, one to Vladivostok, one to Hong Kong and two to Beijing.Bookmark here

Naomi: That’s all for today though. Pretty quiet.Bookmark here

Electra [Yells]: Yo, anyone want any food? Me and Drift are buying.Bookmark here

Ashe: We’ll pass, thanks for asking!Bookmark here

[Electra and Drift eat their meals, as Yuki and Shin play games on their phones against one another, while Ashe and Naomi wander around until their call for boarding at Gate 2 is made over their intercom. The group gets together, and walks towards their gate, where they’re greeted by their pilot]Bookmark here

Pilot: Must be the group that I was told about. Under sir Drift, right?Bookmark here

Drift: [Steps forward] Yup, that’s me.Bookmark here

Pilot: Welcome aboard. Since you’re all here, we’re gonna depart ten minutes ahead of schedule.Bookmark here

Drift: Perfect, let’s get a move on then. Bookmark here

[The group walks out the gate towards an older private jet, which they board behind the pilot]Bookmark here

Shin [Whispers to himself]: We’re gonna fucking end this shit.  Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.