Chapter 5:


The Forbidden and the Gifted

[7:27 a.m., August 8th 2048, approaching Shanghai, China. The shot is within the small Bombardier tri-jet, panning between the six individuals – Shin, Yuki and Drift are all seen sleeping, while Electra, Naomi and Ashe are seen playing a round of card. The pilots voice can then be heard over the loudspeaker, as the outside view pans to the rising sun over Shanghai downtown]Bookmark here

Pilot: Just a quick heads up to you six, we’re going to be beginning our descent into Shanghai now; if you guys don’t mind just fastening your seatbelts as we’re gonna be expecting a bit of turbulence.Bookmark here

[Yuki and Shin both wake up, and Naomi nudges Drift, to which he also wakes up]Bookmark here

Pilot: As well, just a heads up, we’ll be arriving at the charter terminal, and all of your baggage has already been pre-scanned in Seoul, so you can walk out straight to Airport Road, and get your way to the main International Terminal if you wanna get into Shanghai or need to catch a connecting flight. Otherwise, the rental garage is just outside the terminal at 1473 Airport Road, and you can pick up a car there if you so require. In any case, thanks for booking your flight with us, and hope that you’ll be able to finish whatever business you so need to in Shanghai.Bookmark here

Yuki: That’s nice, isn’t it?Bookmark here

Naomi: What is?Bookmark here

Yuki: We’re pre-scanned from Seoul.Bookmark here

Naomi: Oh yeah, that’s true. I mean, if we weren’t pre-scanned, aren’t we screwed?Bookmark here

Yuki: Yeah probably, but I mean, hey, no immigration, customs, or any of that shit either. With or without the shit we’re carrying, that’s pretty big.Bookmark here

Shin: Yeah, customs is always such a hassle.Bookmark here

Electra: It’s not even like it’s customs itself, it’s just the queues and how strict everything is. Like the process at the desk isn’t even that hard.Bookmark here

Shin: Issue is you always arrive at the same time as like four other international flights.Bookmark here

Electra: Exactly. It’s never just your flight, there’s always some other dipshits. [Sighs] Whatever, at least we got lucky with this. Bookmark here

Naomi: It cost a pretty good amount though.Bookmark here

Electra: Eh, Shin put it down, it’s fine.Bookmark here

Ashe [Interjects]: Wait, did you guys have to pay for me? Oh, you didn’t have – Bookmark here

Shin: It’s fine, it’s fine. It’s on the groups tab anyway, so paying for you isn’t coming out of any of our pockets directly.Bookmark here

Ashe: Still, I only just got here. I don’t know how useful I’ll even be. Don’t you think paying for me is a bit too nice?Bookmark here

Shin: Eh, who knows, but we’re fine with it, don’t sweat the little details. Just stay safe, alright?Bookmark here

Ashe: Okay, will do.Bookmark here

[The plane touches down, and taxis to its gate at the Charter Terminal. Behind the docked plane, in the distance, is the International Terminal, which appears quite small due to relevant location. The main door opens, connected to a tube which allows access to the terminal]Bookmark here

Shin [To Pilot]: So just head out through here and then hit a right, and we should find our way out of here?Bookmark here

Pilot: Yup.Bookmark here

Shin: Alright. Thanks for a good flight as well.Bookmark here

Pilot: My pleasure, don’t mention it.Bookmark here

[The group heads down the tunnel and turns right at its end, entering the terminal. They follow the straight-ahead signs for the exit to Airport Road]Bookmark here

Yuki: Yo, Shin.Bookmark here

Shin: What’s up?Bookmark here

Yuki: Should we text the number that we found?Bookmark here

Shin: Nah, don’t. Bookmark here

Yuki: Not now?Bookmark here

Shin: They weren’t supposed to arrive for a little bit. We’ve got to keep it as legitamate as possible, cause we don’t need a mad goose chase in one of the biggest cities in the world – especially considering we barely actually know the ins and outs of Shanghai.Bookmark here

Electra: This guy really went and said ‘mad goose chase’.Bookmark here

Shin: And what if I did?Bookmark here

Electra: I didn’t think that normal people would actively say shit like that, ha.Bookmark here

Naomi: To be honest, I don’t think normal people actively say shit like that.Bookmark here

Electra: So you’re calling Shin abnormal?Bookmark here

Naomi: Precisely.Bookmark here

Electra: Great! And now that Mi’s said, it has to be true. So I can say it too.Bookmark here

Shin: You lot are insufferable.Bookmark here

Drift: What should we do for this little bit though?Bookmark here

Electra: We should probably get a car for now, no?Bookmark here

Shin: Yeah. I don’t think they’re gonna meet us in the airport, cause I don’t think they’re man enough to do that. If they text us saying they’re already at the airport, we just gotta tell em our flight landed early and we’re out. We gotta meet ‘em somewhere quiet.Bookmark here

Electra: Why, you wanna do something to them?Bookmark here

Shin: Well, when they see three Japanese people alongside two Europeans and you Ashe, they’re gonna think somethings up. Regardless of what we try and say.Bookmark here

Electra: You don’t think we can bullshit our way into saying that you three are just extra prizes?Bookmark here

Shin: Don’t think they’ll bite, you friggin dipshit. Besides, what if they know the faces of those two lackeys?Bookmark here

Electra: You really think they would?Bookmark here

Shin: Probably not, but who knows with Europeans eh – no offense to both of ya.Bookmark here

Electra: Eh, you’re kinda right tho. I wouldn’t trust ‘em much and wouldn’t be surprised if they knew everyone by name and picture. I guess I’ve got so acclimatized here that I’ve forgotten all about the stuff that went on in those parts.Bookmark here

Shin: You both are Greek, right?Bookmark here

Electra: Well, I am, and Higuchi was. We met Drift there, but Drift you’re from…Bookmark here

Drift: I’m Albanian, just beside there.Bookmark here

Shin: Really, eh? Wow. I heard that they were having a tough time before the war broke out and lost a ton of land to their neighboring countries, although I can’t even remember their names. Their ruler was definitely a really smart man, until everyone around him started to backstab him, or at least I’ve heard so at least.Bookmark here

Drift: Yeah. The stuff that happened wasn’t pretty. That’s why I chose to leave for Greece, and when shit hit the fan there, we found our way out of there to here, thanks to Mi.Bookmark here

Naomi: You know I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if I left you guys stranded there right? When Elec gave me the call, I knew I’d be able to find a way, and here we all are.Bookmark here

Electra: That’s true. I’m glad things worked out at least. Even for Higuchi.Bookmark here

Naomi: Yeah, definitely. [Pauses] Anyway, where’s that garage place? We gotta get a car for ourselves before we can do anything.Bookmark here

Electra: What was the address again?Bookmark here

Naomi: Uhhh… shoot, I can’t remember.Bookmark here

Electra: Yukes, you probably remember, right?Bookmark here

Yuki: Yeah, it was 1473 Airport, so I think we just go left when we’re out the terminal doors and we should see it on our left.Bookmark here

Electra: Alright.Bookmark here

[The group heads outside, and turns left, approaching the garage. As they arrive, they see a man waiting outside]Bookmark here

Electra [To the Man]: You from around here? Is this where we can rent a car?Bookmark here

Man: Yes, yes, this is the garage for weekly car rentals. If you need one, just talk to me. I’ll set you up with something. Bookmark here

Electra: Cool, you think you can get us something for the six of us?Bookmark here

Man: Sure thing. How many days you gonna need it for?Bookmark here

Electra: I’m undecided right now, but we’ll do three to be on the safe side, although we may return it tomorrow.Bookmark here

Man: I’ll have to write it down as three then. Bookmark here

Electra: Yeah whatever, that’s fine. How much you looking at charging us?Bookmark here

Man: So I can get you the Odyssey in the back, brand-new model. If we’re talking three days, I can do… uh, 1k?Bookmark here

Electra: 1k? Are you out of your mind?Bookmark here

Man: No, this is pretty standard around here y’know. I can go down to 850 tops if you want.Bookmark here

Electra: Holy this guys absurd… [Pauses, then turns to Naomi and Drift] might have to…Bookmark here

Drift [To the Man]: Say bud. We’ve just had a hard layover, we’ve flown across from the States to Japan, and from Japan to Korea, and we’re only into here for a short bit, before we head out. But we’re gonna come back here on our way back, so if you’re charging this type of horseshit, we just won’t show up here, we’ll just go somewhere else. Drop it to 550, and we’ll do it. Bookmark here

Man: 550? No can do man. 700 minimum.Bookmark here

Drift: I’d do 700 when we come back, so long as the cars good. You’d be getting 1300 from that, you know? Think about it. I know you’re charging through the roof cause we’re charters, but we’ve spent a lot everywhere. Cut some slack and we’ll come back man.Bookmark here

Man: 650.Bookmark here

Drift: 550, or we’ll go somewhere else. Bookmark here

Man: [Grimaces] Fine, 550. Sign these papers, and here’s the key. [He hands a car key to Drift, while Electra signs off on the papers and Shin pays in cash] Bring it back in 3 days, tops. Anything more, and I’ll call to bill it to 800.Bookmark here

Drift: Yup, yup. [The group walks towards the car and hops in, with the same seating arrangement as in Korea]Bookmark here

Naomi: You’re good at that, you know?Bookmark here

Drift: Have to be, in order to keep his temper in check [He glances at Electra]Bookmark here

Electra: Hey there!Bookmark here

Drift: What, you know it’s true.Bookmark here

Ashe [To Yuki]: I’m surprised he can lie through his teeth without flinching at all though.Bookmark here

Yuki: He’s used to it by now, or at least I’d hope he’d be.Bookmark here

Drift [To Yuki]: Hey, I can hear you, y’know?Bookmark here

Yuki: Yeah, yeah I know, you damn liar.Bookmark here

Drift: It’s a useful skill though, you can’t deny it.Bookmark here

Yuki: Yeah, in circumstances like this. Like, if you were way off, there’d have been no way he would’ve agreed to 550. That’s basically just half off.Bookmark here

Drift: His original ask of 1000 is just an easy scam for tourists, especially for people with wads of cash coming through this terminal.Bookmark here

Electra: To be fair, we have wads of cash.Bookmark here

Drift: Yeah, but do we like spending it?Bookmark here

Electra: Yeah… no. (Laughs)Bookmark here

Ashe: Isn’t he gonna charge us though?Bookmark here

Electra: How so?Bookmark here

Ashe: Didn’t you sign off… wait…Bookmark here

Electra: Ahaha, you’re only catching on now? Nothing we do legitimately is in our real names, or we’d be goners for real.Bookmark here

Ashe: Oh man, that’s gonna take some adjusting for sure.Bookmark here

Electra: No kidding, I remember when we started, Yukes signed some garbage with her full name before passing it on to me.Bookmark here

Yuki: I did?Bookmark here

Electra: Yeah, that investors release from our like third expedition or whatever. Don’t even remember the scoundrels name, but I remember you doing it. You’re damn lucky the papers were passed on and it wasn’t handed right back to him.Bookmark here

Ashe: But it was only your third expedition, no? What’s the need for an alias by then?Bookmark here

Electra: Oh, we did some bad shit early on.Bookmark here

Yuki [To Electra]: Thanks to you lot, no less.Bookmark here

Electra: But we’re here now eh? That’s what matters, right Shin?Bookmark here

[Shin is looking out the window towards the Shanghai skyline]Bookmark here

Shin: Huh? Sorry, I missed that.Bookmark here

Electra: You alright bud? You haven’t been so cheery since we scammed that shitbag. You thinking he didn’t deserve it or something?Bookmark here

Shin: Oh nah, the weasel definitely deserved that. I was just… thinking about stuff. [Pauses] It’s alright though. [Pauses] Drift, where we gonna head to?Bookmark here

Drift: Let’s head into the city for now, we can probably get into some less conspicuous getup then the all-black tracksuits we’re rocking now.Bookmark here

Shin: Yeah, that’s fair.Bookmark here

[Drift drives off, towards the skyline which Shin had been eyeing. A time-skip occurs, and the next we see the group in Downtown Shanghai, with Shin looking down at his phone]Bookmark here

Shin: 9:56 already, dang. [Pauses] Oh shit, I felt a ring from this guy’s phone.Bookmark here

Naomi [To Yuki]: Jeez, those guys’ phones were dry.Bookmark here

Yuki [To Naomi]: Yeah, imagine only having texts about work, hahahaha, sucks.Bookmark here

Naomi: I mean, we say this, yet…Bookmark here

Yuki: Shhh Mi, no one needs to know the truth about how dry our phones are.Bookmark here

Electra [To Yuki and Naomi]: Huh? You two say something?Bookmark here

Yuki: Oh, no, no. Carry on.Bookmark here

Shin [Pulls out phone]: Alright, they said they’re at this location…Bookmark here

Yuki [Squints at the phone]: Number One Essential Cleaning Services? And the store titles in English? And we’re in China, and they’re from East Europe? What in the blue hell?Bookmark here

Shin: I ain’t got a clue. I mean, we can plug it into this GPS.Bookmark here

Ashe: That won’t do. Even if the place is in English, everything around Shanghai’s always gonna be in Mandarin. Bookmark here

Shin: So, can’t we just fling this into a translator?Bookmark here

Ashe: Do you even trust those things? The result’s gonna be something completely different from what we want.Bookmark here

Shin: True. So then, how were those two clowns supposed to find this place if they’re from friggin Europe. Like…Bookmark here

Ashe: I overheard the first guy – the guy who y’all killed first – saying he could speak Mandarin fluently, although, his accent was terrible. He could speak a bunch of languages, now that I think about it.Bookmark here

Shin: Well damn. Should we ask a local?Bookmark here

Ashe: I mean, all they speak is Mandarin too, right?Bookmark here

Shin: Shit. Then what the hell? None of you know a word of this shit?Bookmark here

[Naomi, Electra and Drift shake their heads]Bookmark here

Shin: So Yuki, you can?Bookmark here

Yuki: Well, maybe. I know words here and there… wait, yeah, no, I don’t know the first thing about this word. I just know the basics.Bookmark here

Shin: Well then, what the hell do we do.Bookmark here

Karina [From around the corner]: Oh, for shame. And I’d just thought you guys wouldn’t need my help for this. Aw…Bookmark here

Shin [Gasps]: Karina? Ain’t no friggin way.Bookmark here

Naomi [Runs towards her]: Karina!Bookmark here

Karina: Ah, this is why I keep knocking on you guys to learn more languages. I mean those two [Points at Drift and Electra], they’re pretty good at the whole multilingual thing. You three though, you gotta step up. [Pauses] Oh, is this Miss Yoshino? Pleasure to meet you!Bookmark here

Ashe: Ah, likewise, likewise. You’re the one they’ve been calling so frequently, right?Bookmark here

Karina: Yup, that’s me. I’m the brains behind these operations.Bookmark here

Shin: You? The brains?Bookmark here

Yuki: Shut up Shin, you didn’t even speak the damn language we needed like five seconds ago.Bookmark here

Shin: But, am I not the brains behind the operations?Bookmark here

Yuki: The hell, of course not! If anything, I’m more of a brains behind the operations than you are. Wouldn’t you agree Rina?Bookmark here

Karina: I’d have to agree there. Shin, your contributions are always valued, but you can’t be picking up titles that just aren’t yours, y’hear?Bookmark here

Shin: Great, now both of you are here to piss me off.Bookmark here

Karina: I know Yukes did a great job while I was away though.Bookmark here

Yuki: You bet I did.Bookmark here

Shin: I was already getting pissed off with her, and now you’re here too. Dang, like my luck ain’t already in the mud.Bookmark here

Ashe: I mean, isn’t she good to have cause of the language barrier though?Bookmark here

Karina: Aw, Ashe, I already love you. See Shin, no one likes you, you damn sadist!Bookmark here

Ashe: Oh no, no, I still like Shin. He’s been great to me.Bookmark here

Karina: C’mon now Yoshino, you gotta take my side here.Bookmark here

Ashe: Oh, I do?Bookmark here

Shin: Don’t get coaxed by her stupidity Ashe.Bookmark here

Karina: My what?Bookmark here

Shin: You heard me loud and clear, you damn witch.Bookmark here

Electra [Interjects]: Now, now, guys I’d love to…Bookmark here

Karina: Shut up, damn European brat.Bookmark here

Electra: HUH?Bookmark here

Karina: Kidding, kidding. Hahaha, love ya Elec. What were you gonna say?Bookmark here

Electra: Oh, nah, I was gonna say that we should probably get a move on. They sent us that message with expectation that we’re at the airport, right? So, depending on where this place, we should probably get to driving.Bookmark here

Karina: Yeah, that’s true, swing me the location Shinzo.Bookmark here

Drift [Interjects]: Speaking of driving Rina, how’d you even get here?Bookmark here

Karina: Flew in, then caught a cab. Don’t worry, I’m bunking in your car. I’m hoping you lot have some space for me.Bookmark here

Drift: Oh yeah, we just scammed this shitbox of a renter guy, we got an eight-seater.Bookmark here

Ashe: Don’t lump me in with this! It was all you Drift!Bookmark here

Drift: Fair, fair.Bookmark here

Karina: Ah, Drift, never change, you lying bastard.Bookmark here

Drift: Haha, that’s what I’m good for.Bookmark here

Karina: Oh, and we’re lucky to have it. [To Shin] See Shin? That’s a commendable skill to have, you hear. Not your stupid sadism.Bookmark here

Shin: I’m not gonna listen to you, you damn witch.Bookmark here

[Karina pulls her own phone and types something into the maps app, to which a location pops up]Bookmark here

Karina: Got it! [Pauses] Oh, you dimwits, this place is closer to the airport than downtown.Bookmark here

Shin: Couldn’t you have just stayed near the airport? Why’d you cab out here? More importantly, how’d you friggin find us?Bookmark here

Karina: Having that chip in your phone Shinzo, that’s how. Are you stupid, or did you forget?Bookmark here

Shin: Oh, friggin hell. That again, whatever. [Pauses] Oh yeah, where’d you send Hachiro? Why ain’t he here with you?Bookmark here

Karina: Those other two could use someone like him, so I told him to tail ‘em as backup. Bookmark here

Shin: To Estonia?Bookmark here

Karina: Nah, I sent him to England.Bookmark here

Shin: Oh, to meet the Sybil guys as well?Bookmark here

Karina: Yeah, hopefully we can get them to at least somewhat help us.Bookmark here

Shin: Y’think they’d willingly help us?Bookmark here

Karina: Potentially. Bookmark here

Shin: Y’think they’d ask for money?Bookmark here

Karina: You think I wanna pay for their subpar ass services?Bookmark here

Shin: I mean, aren’t they decent?Bookmark here

Karina: I mean, they better be decent, they’re from friggin England. England’s got a god-sent military, so they better have some good ass recruits or people who left them. Bookmark here

Shin: True, but they have such little control over the underground scene in Europe. Them being decent should be a testament, eh?Bookmark here

Karina: A testament? Those bastards from Russia took control of most of the score there and they’re a bloody startup from a couple years ago. Oh, and what have they got for them in England? Wales? The bloody Holland-Belgium border? Like, what? Bookmark here

Shin: Should we really be saying all this, considering that we’re sending all three of them there? Don’t you believe in omens and all? [Pauses] Wait, you’re the damn religious one here! Bookmark here

Karina: Fair, fair. For Hach’s sake, I’ll leave em be.Bookmark here

Shin: Not even for Hach’s sake or even the other two. Don’t you think they’ll be a somewhat valuable partner down the line? Especially in the situation we’re in?Bookmark here

Karina: Eh…Bookmark here

Shin: Think logically for a sec, alright.Bookmark here

Karina: I already am, I don’t need you blabbing to me about logic.Bookmark here

Shin: Alright, alright, anyway, what I mean to say is, since these bastards are an Eastern European front, and Sybil’s a Western European front, and we’re out here on the Asian Eastern Coast … you see where I’m going?Bookmark here

Karina: Yeah, yeah, they’re in the middle, blah, blah. What good is it if they just jump the gun in England though and those guys get pissed at us?Bookmark here

Shin: You think they have the manpower to do that?Bookmark here

Karina: You think we have the manpower to sandwich them effectively?Bookmark here

Shin: With time…Bookmark here

Karina: Eh, I like what you’re thinking, and I get why we should befriend 'em and all, hell, that’s the reason I sent Hach. Regardless though, they’re still just a bunch of shitters, especially considering that they’re Englishmen. Bookmark here

Shin: Call it what you want. Anyway, where we heading to?Bookmark here

Karina: Head towards the airport. Check the GPS, I put it in already. Bookmark here

Shin: Drifto, you know where we’re going?Bookmark here

Drift: Yeah mate. It’s not too far away. Bookmark here

[The car takes off down the highway with the airport in sight at 10:07 a.m. At the next shot, the car is at a stop at 10:28 a.m.]Bookmark here

Naomi: So, this the place?Bookmark here

Shin: That’s what the bitch put in, yeah.Bookmark here

Karina: Who’re you calling…Bookmark here

Shin: You, you stupid hag.Bookmark here

Karina: Sadist. [Pauses] Anyway, have we got a real plan?Bookmark here

Shin: Not really. I mean, we could send in Elec and Drift to pose as the henchmen, right? They work as Europeans.Bookmark here

Karina: But why?Bookmark here

Shin: The hell do you mean ‘but why’?Bookmark here

Karina: Do you a peanut for a brain? You really wanna pull some stupid sham on these guys?Bookmark here

Shin: What? What the hell do you suggest then?Bookmark here

Karina: Break the damn place down!Bookmark here

Shin: HUH?Bookmark here

Karina: Why the hell not? Bookmark here

Shin: We don’t have the slightest clue who the hell these guys actually are, lackeys or not.Bookmark here

Karina: And…? Piece the puzzle together you dimwit, I swear you used to always be good at this kind of stuff.Bookmark here

Shin: Well, I don’t see how barging in accomplishes anything.Bookmark here

Karina: Think of it this way. The guys you met and killed in Seoul were just some street lackeys, probably known by name and number and that’s it. They’re pawns, nothing more to the big guys back home. Now, if they’re doing a deal here to hand over the girl, do you really think the big boss, or frankly any sort of huge entourage is gonna be here? Hell nah. They probably think they can get in and get out like that and are probably minimizing the amount of people that have to be here.Bookmark here

Shin: You really think so?Bookmark here

Karina: I mean, if not for us – who they probably don’t even know about, looking at the way you described em and all – who’s stopping em? The police force? Gimme a break, it’s like stealing candy from a baby. Look at the turnaround speed too, they got her yesterday, flew her into Shanghai today and are getting escort back into Europe tonight. They aren’t bringing the whole fleet for such a quick mission; they’re trying to be in and out.Bookmark here

Shin: Fair point, but still, we don’t know who they are in there.Bookmark here

Karina: Who cares? Bookmark here

Shin: What if it’s the talented guy, or someone of his caliber? Then what?Bookmark here

Karina: It won’t be. He’d come with a whole entourage, and the mission wouldn’t be turned around this quickly. There’s definitely someone with info here, cause they’re reporting to their senior – whoever it was that you told me – and he’s probably turning the girl around in Europe. Him and his couple of lackeys, we can definitely take. Bookmark here

Shin: But why not just go through with my original idea?Bookmark here

Karina: First, it’d waste time and its lame and boring.Bookmark here

Shin: That’s already two things…Bookmark here

Karina: Secondly, if they know what their lackeys look like, its game for Drift and Elec. We could brush em up however we want, but you can’t change their voices or their past knowledge. I doubt they’d kill em cause both of these two are strong [Electra smirks], but they’d probably be hurt pretty damn bad, and we can’t afford that if we’re moving out. Bookmark here

Shin: So, you’re saying you care about them?Bookmark here

Electra: What’s that, I’m hearing sympathy from Rina? I never thought I’d hear the day!Bookmark here

Karina: Oh, screw off both of ya. I’m doing what makes the most logical sense.Bookmark here

Yuki: And also, not going along with Shin’s shitty plans. Bookmark here

Karina: That too, that too! Bookmark here

Shin: Boy do I hate having both of you two together.Bookmark here

Karina: Aw, why love?Bookmark here

Shin: Don’t call me love, you detestable witch.Bookmark here

Yuki: Aw look, he’s mad!Bookmark here

Shin: You’re a witch too damnit.Bookmark here

Drift [Interjects]: Guys… I think we should get moving, no?Bookmark here

Shin: Yeah, fair play. Let’s do this shit.Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.