Chapter 12:

Phone Call

The Forbidden and the Gifted

[2:57 p.m., July 22nd 2044; Tokyo, Japan. Takuya kicks some lights on his way to his car, and as he drives off, throws a large object out of his car at some signage and glass in vandalization attempt which fails. From afar, Raphael and Denis watch, while Ryo mutters to himself, paying no attention to the damage being caused. The next scene begins with Takuya at home, later in the evening, looking through a list of papers]

Takuya: If I’m taken off of their records and all that tonight, let me see what I can find.

[He searches the pages, and finds one that piques his interest]

Takuya: Oh shit, what do we have here… [picks up the page]… who’s this? Albanian kid? Why the hell do we want to get him? Shit, let me input this into the laptop.

[He opens his laptop, logs onto the company’s website and pulls up information]

Takuya: For a company that’s this big, it’s a wonder they can’t kick me off today. I mean shit, Raph said they’d come after me if I started something, but frankly, I couldn’t give a damn.

[The image of a man pops up on the screen, appearing about 21 years of age. He has red bars all around his information]

Takuya: Weird. This guy looks like a normal kid. Hell, there’s no real red flags in this information, but there’s red flags all over his profile. The hell? Wait, he’s got information too… [pauses] Hold on, there’s a number here. Wait, before I call, let me get some more information.

[Takuya scours the page and finds some information about hit-dates, and comes to a realization]

Takuya: Ah shit, wouldn’t ya know it? They’re going after this don tonight in Albania. Wanna kill him, no matter the casualties on their front. But why? He’s got no record, nothing. The hell? Is he doing some shit on the side that they haven't listed? Impossible, right? Eh, who cares really - he seems fine enough, right? Let me call him then… Wilhelm, is it? Yeah. [He opens his phone and rings the number on his screen]

[The phone is answered]

Drift [over the phone]: Hello? Who’s this? A long distance caller?

Takuya: Wilhelm, I presume?

Drift [concerned]: Who the hell is this?

Takuya: The seventh as well? Must be a long list. Anywho, I got some information.

Drift: Woah, woah, woah there man. Hold on. Who are ya?

Takuya: Do you really care that much to know?

Drift: Well, no shit. You’re some random ass dude from God-knows where trying to tell me some shit. Of course, I want to know who you are.

Takuya: Well, alright, not like it’s gonna help you. I’m from Japan – Takuya, ex-special ops.

Drift: The hell does a special ops guy from across the god damn world want from me?

Takuya: Well, ya see. I’m ex-special ops. Quit on the bastards today.

Drift: Oh really, good for you. Congratulations. Why the hell should I care?

Takuya: Well, well buddy, you seem to be quite an asshole, don’t ya?

Drift: I don’t need your whole life story old man. If you wanna tell me something, then just set it to me straight. I don’t need no one beating around the bush.

Takuya: Alright, alright buddy. You want it straight? My guys from here are coming to kill ya tonight. It’s evening for me now, but I’m pretty sure it’s morning for ya.

Drift: Huh? Why the hell would your guys want me?

Takuya: Beats me. But you’re on their hitlist dumbass. Says they’re gonna hit your address tomorrow before the crack of dawn.

Drift: My house… is the address…

Takuya: I searched it up, looks like an older apartment near the outskirts of the capital? Off 5th street?

Drift: Yeah. What the hell…

Takuya: Any idea why they’re onto ya?

Drift: No clue man. I don’t think I’ve done anything too terrible, internationally at least.

Takuya: Well, you’ve done something that’s definitely fishy, I’ll give you that. [Pauses] And you had no idea that anyone was on your tail either eh?

Drift: Nope. It’s been quite calm around here for the past little bit. I do have two half-Japanese friends, but they're some of my closest friends and we go way back. I don’t think they'll sell me out.

Takuya: Yeah, probably not.

Takuya [Thinking]: Don’t think it’s his friend – these bastards, especially Ryo, are damn good at what they do. They’re probably working solo and tracked him down by themselves.

Drift [Clenches teeth]: Wait… I mean shit, is there any good reason that I should just up and believe you from your information?

Takuya: I don’t know man, you tell me. I’m giving you information about something that’s gonna happen, it’s up to you to decide if you wanna believe me or not.

Drift: Eh, but all of this, all out of the blue makes it even more suspicious to me.

Takuya: Listen man, frankly, I couldn’t care if you wanna believe me or not. I don’t have forever to go through people on this hitlist to call and get information across to, my access and all that is getting revoked tomorrow.

Drift: Revoked?

Takuya: Didn’t I tell you I quit on them?

Drift: Well yeah, but you could always be fibbing to get me to bite.

Takuya: If that’s what you want to think, that’s totally fine. But I won’t help you any further then. I’m only doing this out of spite towards these bastards. I could give less of a shit about you.

Drift: They backstab you?

Takuya: It’s a long story, but they fucked with a friend’s family who just died, which just doesn't sit right with me. So frankly, whether it’s you, or someone else, I just wanna screw with them and save someone on their hitlist, that’s it.

Drift: Then why pick me? First guy to pop up on your board?

Takuya: Nah, I searched through the papers, but you were the only one who came out clean throughout most of the papers. I couldn’t figure out why they wanted you that badly. Maybe ya did something that they don’t even wanna write down. Who knows?

Drift: Nah, that can’t be it.

Takuya: Still, you seemed normal enough for me to want to save. But I mean, I can see where your suspicions come from, and that’s fine, I guess. I’m not gonna waste too much time then, so I’ll be –

Drift: Wait.

Takuya: What now?

Drift: I know you could probably be lying your ass off now, but you seem to have a semi normal set of morals for a special-ops bastard. I could be getting duped to all hell now, but frankly, it’s a one in a million that someone calls me to try and save my life, so I’ll take your word on it and hope it doesn’t cost me. So, tell me, whad’ya think I need to do?

Takuya: Well, I’d say for starters, just go about your business as normal for the day. There’s no need to make yourself any more noticeable than need be.

Drift: Fair enough. [Pauses] Whad’ya think they’re going to do though?

Takuya: What’re you talking about?

Drift: Like, what’s their method? Can you tell me that at least?

Takuya: Well for the most part, it’s just a hitman or a couple of them at least.

Drift: They skilled?

Takuya: Well, they won’t be sending their most skilled man in… [he chokes on his words slightly] but most of the people these guys have are pretty damn good with guns and knives. You don’t want to get into it with them, that’s for sure. They aren’t just thugs; they’re actually trained and all that.

Drift: Ah, alright, alright. So, what do suggest for the evening?

Takuya: Well, since they’re gonna be coming to do this by like 9:00 or so in the night, I think you should just see if you can stay away from the area on your trip home. If all goes well, just call me back the next day and see if you could confirm if the shit happened or not.

Drift: I got those security cameras and all that littered around my place – they’re connected to my phone, so I should be able to see if shit actually goes down.

Takuya: Sounds good enough, just make sure that shit isn’t too obviously placed, or they’ll know the place is a decoy. If they can’t get you on that first night, they’re probably going to just keep looking around, but if they think the place is a decoy, they’ll stop camping around it as soon as possible and start looking for other leads. Using that place, you can probably buy an extra day or two, which should be enough for you to make your next moves.

Drift: Alright, I think they’re well placed. They’re small, so they shouldn’t be too noticeable, so yeah. I’ll tell my two friends as well, and we’ll get out of the area in the evening. Hopefully we don’t get tailed.

Takuya: Highly doubt they’d tail ya. They don’t know that I’m giving you this information, so if you don’t do anything out of the ordinary today, besides not showing up in the evening, you should be all good on that front.

Drift: Alright man, well, thanks for the info. I’ll let you know everything later, alright?

Takuya: Gotcha. Take care then.

[Takuya hangs up, and the scene shifts to Drift much later in the day with the time on the building behind him reading 7:57 p.m.]

Higuchi [To Drift]: Yo, drinks on you tonight right?

Electra: Yeah Wil, tonight’s your night, eh?

Drift [Looks behind them, before turning to them]: Listen guys.

Electra: Eh, what now?

Higuchi: Don’t tell me you blew the money that we just got mate…

Electra [To Higuchi]: He probably did, didn’t he?

Higuchi: Wouldn’t surprise me, that’s for sure.

Drift: Relax, relax, drinks are still on me for the night. But we can’t head back to the apartment tonight – you guys alright with that?

Higuchi: Eh? Why?

Electra: Oooo, he’s probably getting laid so he’s kicking us out, right?

Higuchi: Him? Getting laid? Ha. No way, right Wil?

Drift: No, you morons, no one’s getting laid today – and besides, I’ll get laid before you ever do, so zip it Higuchi.

Higuchi: You know that ain’t true.

Electra [Interrupts]: Anyway, anyway, why’re we getting kicked out? Don’t tell me you forgot to pay the damn rent now…

Higuchi: But it’s nearly the end of the month – wouldn’t they just kick us out next month?

Electra: I’d think so too, but I’m not in charge of rent, that’s Wil’s job anyway, so he’d know. So, Wil, why are we getting kicked out?

Drift: We’re not getting kicked out you meathead.

Electra: Huh? Didn’t you say we were?

Drift: No, I didn’t God-damn it. I said we shouldn’t go back for tonight – not forever.

Higuchi: You found a nicer place for us to stay?

Drift: No man. We’re gonna stay in a hotel for the night, I found a place, but you gotta put it under your name.

Higuchi: Eh? What for?

Drift: Just trust me on this, alright?

Electra [Looks towards Drift, then turns towards Higuchi]: Yeah, I’m good with it. Let’s do it.

Higuchi [Shrugs]: I mean shit, why not? You got money for it though, I’d presume?

Drift: Yeah, yeah, drinks and the bill’s gonna be on me.

Higuchi: Sweet.

Electra: How close is the place?

Higuchi: Just down the street, we should see it at the next intersection.

[They walk towards the next intersection and see a quaint hotel, which Drift points to. They enter, reserve a large room for the night under Electra’s name, before taking their key and walking up to the room, which is on the highest floor]

Higuchi [Opens the door]: Wow, this place is nice. How much?

Drift: 105 Euros? Give or take?

Higuchi: Steep, but it’s you paying, so I ain’t complaining.

Electra [walks toward the kitchen area]: Ayo! We got a complementary pack of beers back here!

Higuchi [Turns his head]: Actually? Which?

Electra: Bud lights – you up for one?

Higuchi: Sure, swing me one.

Electra: Wil, want one?

Drift: Maybe after… [pauses] Elec, you got your laptop?

Electra: Yeah, I do, you need it?

Drift: Yeah. Got the adaptor too?

Electra: Yeah. Both are in my bag back at the door. Why’d you need it?

Higuchi [To Drift]: Yeah man, we’re clear of anyone hearing us, why’re we even here? [Laughs] I mean shit, I’ll take a vacation, but I’d prefer to go out of the country, y’know?

Drift [Heads to the door to grab the laptop]: Oh yeah, I never got to explaining. It’ll all make sense when I pull out the laptop.

Electra [Confused]: Huh? There’s something on my laptop that’ll make us all understand? I ain’t following mate.

Drift [Grabs the laptop and turns it on]: Here, here. [He plugs in the adaptor cable to the phone and turns on the phone] Take a look.

[Higuchi looks from behind him, while Electra enters the room with two beers and places them on the tabletop, before joining Higuchi and Drift and looking at the screen. The screen flickers, before turning on and the view from a camera is seen on screen]

Higuchi: Ain’t this our place?

Drift: Yeah, it is.

Higuchi: So, we came here… to spy on our own place? Seems pretty pointless, don’t ya think? I thought it’d at least be work related if it wasn’t a vacation.

Drift: Wait a second.

[The computer’s clock hits 8:55, and as they look at the screen, they see their main door fidgeting]

Electra: Were we supposed to have someone today?

Higuchi: The fridge had some problems, so I called in a guy that I knew, but I thought that I’d told him to come in two days, not tonight.

Electra: Today’s the newspaper day, so maybe…

Drift [Looks at him]: Just shut up and look at the screen.

[Electra and Higuchi stare intently at the screen]

Drift [Thinking]: This better be what I thought it was, Jap.

[On the screen, the door is seen moving back and forth, before it opens. Three men in jet black attire and wearing ski masks enter the room]

Electra: HUH?

Higuchi: Don’t tell me you got in some shit with some bastards without us knowing Wil.

Electra [Looks at Drift]: Did ya?

Drift: Keep watching.

[They turn their heads to the screen again]

Higuchi [To Drift]: This thing got volume?

Drift: Yeah, lemme turn it up.

[He ups the volume on the laptop, and voices can be heard, albeit muffled]

Electra: Higuchi, those accents…

Higuchi: That’s Japanese for sure.

Electra: The hell?

Higuchi: Did you do something to provoke em?

Electra: Me? You’ve got the same amount of Japanese as I do chump, come on now.

Higuchi: But if I didn’t do shit, and you didn’t do shit, then what the fuck?

Electra: Well…

[On the screen, the three masked men are seen overturning furniture and vandalizing the property. On two of their backs are loaded artillery style rifles]

Higuchi: Woah, woah, where the hell did they get that type of shit from?

Electra: They probably have that stuff back there, I’d guess?

Higuchi: Well, but off the streets? You really think so?

Electra: Yea, probably not.

[They both stop talking and look directly at Drift, who hasn’t spoken]

Electra: Oi bastard! You know a thing or two about what’s going on here, don’t ya?

Drift: Well, I do know a thing or two about this, yeah.

Electra: Then what the hell is going on?

Drift: Well, you see. They are Japanese nationals, and they were after us.

Electra: Thanks for the update Sherlock. How’d you get this information and why the hell would you only tell us about this today? Why not warn us preemptively?

Drift: Well, fact of the matter is that I only got the call this morning.

Higuchi: Call? The hell are you talking about? Who the hell would willingly get into contact with any of us to protect us?

Drift: Not from anyone around here, but a guy from Japan.

Electra: Huh?

Drift: Not one of either of your relatives, that’s for sure, but a dude from special ops, as he proclaimed.

Electra: What the hell? A special op from the other side of the world calling us?

Drift: Don’t ask me. I was as surprised as you were. But he was the one who told me that there’d be a hit on us tonight.

Higuchi: What the hell? You think there’s a turf war out there?

Drift: Nah. He had quit his role earlier in the day, so he was calling whoever the hell he could find on the hitlist who didn’t look like they were a complete asshat – his words, not mine.

Higuchi: So, a Guardian Angel type in that case?

Electra: Well, I sure as hell would say so.

Higuchi [To Drift]: You didn’t know anything about this happening tonight, eh?

Drift: Not a clue. We’d probably all be dead if I didn’t listen to that guy. [Pauses] I was close to hanging up on him, to be fair. I mean dang, would you really trust some garbage like that?

Higuchi: Nope, ha. Sounds like a scam if I’ve ever heard of one.

Drift: Exactly. But what told me to keep listening – I don’t even know. But shit, I guess he was the real deal.

Electra: You got his number on your phone?

Drift: Yeah, he didn’t call encrypted.

Electra: Shit, alright.

[The three look at the cameras, and essentially see their house being ripped apart as the three masked men continue to look for them]

Drift: He said we should probably call him back later tonight to see what we could do for the future.

Higuchi: The future?

Drift: What he said is if those guys don’t get us tonight, they aren’t just gonna screw off and call the mission a failure. They’re trained at what they do, so they’ll stay for as long as need be to get the job done. Especially since we’re on a highly wanted red-list – well, at least I am; he didn’t mention you two.

Higuchi: The hell could you have done that would cause such uproar across the world?

Drift: Beats me. I haven’t even gone there once. You two have though, so I would’ve thought that this shit involves y’all. Guess not.

Electra [Looks at them both while drinking his beer]: Well, should we call him back now? We’ve pretty much confirmed that he’s the real deal.

Drift: Yeah, I’m good with it. I can call him up now if your good with it, Higuchi.

Higuchi: Sounds fair to me. Call him up.

[Drift unplugs the phone from the computer, ending the video of the house being ripped apart. He calls the long-distance number from his ‘recent’ tab. The phone rings twice on speaker, before being picked up by Takuya on the other end]

Takuya: Yo, what’s up. It’s early as shit – hell, the birds haven’t even come but what’re you up to? I assume you’re the same guy I called from Albania, am I right?

Drift: Yeah. You didn’t get anyone else?

Takuya: Called a couple others, but no one took my word. The rest of the people on the hitlist just seemed like asshats, so I didn’t even bother sparing them.

Drift: Fair enough, fair enough.

Takuya: So, anything happen? According to my world clock, it should be around 9 for you, no?

Drift: Yeah. The camera’s caught most of what happened.

Takuya: Ah I see, I see. You think they noticed?

Drift: Hell nah. They just ravaged through most of our place.

Takuya: Seems about right for a bunch of assassins, ahaha. Good thing you didn’t decide to fight them, eh?

Higuchi: Eh, we would’ve been able to take them, don’t ya think?

Electra: Hell nah! Did you see them?

Takuya [To Drift]: Seems as though you got company?

Drift: Haha, they’re just the guys I work with. They live with me – Higuchi and Electra.

Takuya: Oh… wait a sec, Higuchi? Japanese?

Higuchi [To Drift]: Yeah mate, half Japanese. Moved here when I was younger.

Takuya: Oh, okay. You weren’t on the list, so I guess it’s a coincidence that our people got involved with your friend, who isn’t even Japanese. Weird shit. Who’s the other?

Electra: Electra bossman.

Takuya: Ohh… that accent, you the other Japanese friend?

Electra: Yeah, I am.

Takuya: Changed your name?

Electra: Nope. Parents gave me Elec when I was younger cause we were going to move to Albania later on anyway. Easier to understand – I guess – in Europe. I came here later than Higuchi though, so I know some of my relatives back home at least.

Takuya: Interesting, interesting.

Drift [Interjects]: Anyway bud, what’s your plan here? Should we move out of the city for some time and try to come back later? Cross the border to Macedonia?

Takuya: Ooo, I don’t think you want to go to Macedonia.

Drift: Why not?

Higuchi [Looks at Drift]: You haven’t heard?

Drift: Heard what?

Higuchi: They’re big supporters of the creation of the Baltic Empire. They supply arms and all that in secret to them. They aren’t looking to get involved in it, but they’re looking at the fall of lots of countries like Latvia and all that. Probably not the ideal place to go to – at least here we don’t have any real threats to the country.

Takuya: It’s exactly like your friend said.

Drift: Then where else?

Takuya: There’s Montenegro.

Drift: Oh hell no.

Electra: Yeah, that’s a pass from me as well.

Takuya: Huh? Why?

Drift: You work for special ops and haven’t heard of the vine bastard? The dude with that gift, or whatever? The super strong guy?

Takuya: Huh? You talking about Dreadknight’s leader, Katarov? He’s from Kiev, is he not?

Drift: Hell no. Even I know who Katarov is. This guy was some bastard who murdered a bunch of people and we saw his ass. Could control vines or some shit – I know, sounds like some garbage from sci-fi, feel free to doubt me, but all three of us saw it.

Takuya: So, he’s still alive?

Electra: Nope, he’s dead.

Takuya: Then what’s the problem with Montenegro? Ain’t he dead?

Electra: He was from Montenegro. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to go live in a country that spawned a god-damn vine-splitter, even if the dude’s dead.

Takuya: Well, I mean, there’s other places in the E.U. but I don’t know how open those places would be to immigration and stuff, even if you all are in the Union. At least Montenegro, Macedonia and Bosnia are on good terms with Albania, from what I’ve read.

Higuchi: How about the U.K.? Or America?

Electra: Man, do you know how it expensive it is in both of those places, right? In both we won’t even get a fair trade for the Euro, now that the Dollar’s surpassed it by so much, and the Pound’s never gonna be less.

Higuchi: Then where the hell else?

Drift: Do we just stay put and move to the outskirts? We could keep business up that way too.

Higuchi: That doesn’t sound too bad.

Takuya: You could do that, but I’m telling you, they’ll come after y’all. That’s just who these bastards are. You may be able to outrun them, but if you stay in their hunting area, you’re gonna be toast.

Drift: Then where man?

Takuya: Hmmmmm… [Pauses, then comes to a realization] Wait. You two are Japanese, aren’t you? That means you have dual citizenship…

Higuchi: Woah, woah, woah, woah. Are you suggesting we come to Japan after all that shit about hunting grounds that you just spouted off?

Electra: Yeah man, I don’t know if that’s the smartest idea.

Takuya: Hear me out, hear me out.

Drift: Okay, what? We’re listening.

Takuya: I said to avoid their hunting grounds, didn’t I? You guys are wanted by the Japanese, but you’re wanted IN Albania. They dispatched what, three guys? As well as backup? The higher ups don’t care about you three, if I’m being quite honest – they put the hitlist out and forget about anyone, even the red-list guys. Only guy that they even remembered was Katarov.

Electra: You had a hit on Katarov?

Takuya: Yeah, but that’s not important to talk about. And frankly, I don’t want to talk about that shit. It’s the reason why I’m calling you lot right now. A lots happened – your main guy, Wil was it? – should know a hint of it.

[Drift nods his head to Higuchi and Electra]

Higuchi: But I’m still not following, why are we doing this exactly? Why would we move to Japan if it’s right under their noses?

Takuya: The people who were sent out to kill y’all aren’t gonna be back in Japan for a while. Hell, do you think they’re gonna come back to Japan with a failed mission? Do you think they can tell the higher ups that they’re coming back to search Japan because the Albanian national fled to god-damn Japan? They’d be disposed of on the spot, guarantee.

Higuchi: So, you think we’d be safe there?

Takuya: I can’t guarantee shit. But I doubt anyone would think that the damn pursued fled to the pursuer’s country.

Electra: But what about me and Higuchi, won’t they catch onto us being Japanese nationals?

Takuya: I went through the files, no one aside from Wil was mentioned from Albania on the hitlist. I doubt they know about y’all – sorry to rain on your parade.

Electra [Quietly, to Drift]: Y’know, my little cousin Naomi lives in Japan. Her family was always close with us, we could try and go there?

Drift [To Takuya]: I didn’t trust you first, and I’m gonna question you again, even though you saved my life. You aren’t talking out of your ass, are ya?

Takuya: There’s no real reason for me to talk out of my ass. If I was lying to get some dumbasses killed on a mission out of spite, I’d be the biggest moron in the world. Seeing some people on their hitlist survive is switching sides fully. I’m not an asshole, I may have worked as special ops, but I like to think I have a sense of justice and morality – my good friend taught me that, and I wouldn’t lie on his name.

Drift [To Electra and Higuchi]: You buying this Japan thing?

Higuchi: Not exactly, but I mean shit, we can’t just bunk at this hotel forever, and we can’t really move anywhere besides the neighboring countries – and we don’t want to go to any of them. We can’t afford America, England or those places, so I mean shit.

Electra: I may sound naïve, but I’m more inclined to believe this guy because he actually saved our lives. Whether he wants to betray us and lie on his friend’s name is up to him. We could always go on our own, but we could’ve easily died today and none of us would’ve saw it coming. [Looks at Higuchi] I mean shit, you yourself said he was a Guardian angel.

Higuchi: Fair point. I’m skeptical, but I guess it is our best bet.

Takuya: You guys made up your mind?

Drift: Sounds like they’re on board with this. And I’m just saying, if you’re plotting some bullshit beyond this, just know you’ll have the blood of three innocent guys on your hands.

Takuya: I ain’t plotting shit but believe what you want to believe.

Electra [To Takuya]: When should we leave here then?

Takuya: They’re probably gonna up the whole night today and tomorrow, so just lay low at the hotel or wherever you’re at tonight, alright? Try to leave in two days’ time maximum, in the afternoon. They’re jetlagged and working in the night, so that should be the ideal time to catch a flight out. Wil, make sure you’re listed as a visitor on one of these two’s entry, so that they don’t flag you down or whatever on entry with immigration or all that. Try and make your entry into the country as normal as possible, because that should be when you’re most vulnerable.

Drift: Will do, will do. [Pauses] This should be our last conversation ever then. If we survive, we’ll forever be grateful for what you did.

Takuya: I’ll hope that I’ll be able to see y’all someday if our paths ever align, but if not, hopefully you have a good rest of your life wherever you end up in Japan. You guys can get tickets though, right?

Electra: Yeah, don’t stress that. [Pauses] By the way, can you search any more information on us right now, like where they may be at, or any live updates?

Takuya: If I was still employed, I probably could. But I got disconnected last night. Sorry mate.

Electra: No worries, no worries. [Pauses] Well, thanks again for everything mister special ops!

Takuya: No worries. Take care of yourselves and have a safe next couple of days.

[The scene cuts back to 2047, with Drift reacquainting with Takuya]

Shin [Looks at Drift]: You morons didn’t believe him for a second! Ha! Tak you were such a sketchy piece of shit!

Naomi [Giggles]: Elec, you really didn’t trust him!

Electra: Well, I mean naturally! It’s a Japanese guy, telling us that Japanese special forces were out to get an Albanian guy, and then is telling us to come to Japan! I mean, we didn’t have a better choice, but still! It still sounds like such a ridiculous proposition!

Takuya: Well yeah, now that I think about it. Couldn’t think of anything better though, haha. And I mean hey, the fact that we can all stand here and laugh about it means everything’s turned out pretty fine I’d say.

Shin: Ah it has, it has.

Takuya [Looks at Drift]: So, I take it, you’re behind a lot of this, eh?

Drift: Well, Shin wanted to start it, I just happened to be at Naomi’s place when he brought it up to her and Electra.

Takuya: So you were some shithead in Albania, weren’t ya?

Drift: I mean, I wouldn’t have told you that back there, but yeah, us three were, haha. Don’t know why that’d attract Japanese special ops, but we had our fair share of bullshit.

Takuya: Then why was your record clean! Hell, why were the other two [looks at Higuchi and Electra] not even on the records?

Drift: Haha, beats me. A lot of our shit didn’t have valid evidence, I presume. We were thugs, but we were pretty good at what we did, you know?

Higuchi [From behind]: I’d say we did a pretty good job out there.

Electra: Hell, that’s why we’ve started off so strong with East Block here too, am I right?

Higuchi: Shin’s a pretty good leader I’d say.

Yuki: You’re giving Shin all the credit?

Higuchi [Looks at Yuki and laughs]: You too, miss Yuki. We wouldn’t be here without you, that’s for sure.

Takuya [Looks at them all, then chuckles]: Oh man, I should’ve just let you idiots die in Albania if I knew you’d lead these dipshits into this type of life.

Shin: Oh, boo-hoo old fart.

Takuya: Oh Shin, how would you mother feel? She left you to bring in money overseas thinking you’d never follow in your brother’s footsteps and here you are. God damn it.

Shin: Well, I think I’m successful. If this gang wasn’t running everything, then yeah, I’d say I’d have disappointed mom, but I think I’ve done pretty good.

Takuya [Shakes his head]: Whatever man.

Drift [Looks at Takuya]: Wait, wait, wait. I’m just putting two and two together… are you the friend of Ichigo that Shin’s told us so much about?

Takuya: Yeah. He had died a couple days before I called you lot. I quit on the shitheads I worked with because they weren’t willing to respect his death and give money to his family like any normal human beings would do. That’s why Shin’s mom had to go overseas, and why the special ops group disintegrated after Ichigo died and I decided to fuck off.

Electra: Man, that’s wild.

Naomi: Who would’ve that there’d be this much overlap in all of our lives?

Takuya [Looks at Naomi, then pats her on the head]: Who would’ve thought your cousin was a gang leader in Albania, eh Naomi?

Naomi: Naomi didn’t know all that either until now! It’s not my fault!

Takuya [Chuckles]: I know, I know, haha.

[The group laughs heartily together, before Takuya looks at Shin]

Takuya: So, Shin, what’s your real reason to be calling me out here? You got something up your sleeve you damn devil?

Yuki: Sadist, not devil!

Takuya: Same difference, haha.

Shin [Looks at Takuya]: Old geezer, I know you’re a god damn old fart, but I think you’re pretty good at what you do. You could be of use to us, don’t ya think?

Takuya [Laughs]: What’s this? The younger brother of my best friend – who was my junior – is asking me to work under him? [Chuckles] I never thought I’d never see the day man, but I guess life comes full cycle.

Yuki [Looks at him seriously]: It’s probably better than just working odd jobs and searching out all these online forums, isn’t it?

Takuya [Laughs]: Yeah, you can tell me that much. There’s not much to debate here, I’m in for this shit Shin. Let’s do this. You want me as an informant, don’t ya?

Shin: Yeah, that’s about all that you’d be good for anyway, right?

Takuya: I guess so, haha.

Shin [As the group laughs away, he leans towards Takuya]: We’re killing Katarov, alright?

Takuya: Hell yeah man. I’ll do all that I can, you damn weasel. Kill that bastard.