Chapter 19:

Target Not Found

Heartless Overclock

 Juusaki rushes out of the door from the auditorium to the hallway as he quickly brings out his phone, “Moderator, sir, reporting urgency.”

“Agent 18, go ahead,” a man’s voice answers through the phone.

“The target is missing. I repeat the target is missing.”

“Copy that. We are searching for it right now. We have alerted nearby agents—” The man at the other end of the line hears Juusaki’s heavy breathing and scolds him, “Hey, hey! Agent 18, keep hold of yourself! Now is not the time to panic. You have the scenarios, right? Process them and execute the script! You have full control in this situation.”

“B—but even Nana couldn’t fin—”

“Are you Nana?”


“No?” the Moderator sharply asks as he expects something.

Juusaki slowly composes himself and starts breathing at a normal rate, “No, sir!” “Then find him!”

“Roger that, sir,” Juusaki ends the call and starts running down the hallways. “Where could he be?” Juusaki asks his AI.

“Scenario 683 loaded. He is probably outside the building,” Juusaki’s AI replies.

Then Juusaki’s phone rings, but he ignores it as he rides the elevator and presses the first floor. It has been a few moments, but his phone won’t stop ringing. Juusaki finally decides to answer it. The phone’s screen lights up and displays the name, ‘Kurosaki, Denji,’ before he answers, “Denji-san? Where are you? Are you okay?”

But an unfamiliar and unnaturally deep voice answers at the other end of the call, “This isn’t Denji, but if you want to see him, come meet me in the laboratory.” The call is ended by the receiver.

“W—wait!” Juusaki yells but is too late. Then he presses the button leading to the floor where the laboratory is located. But the elevator continues going descending to the ground floor because he has passed it. Juusaki then presses the floor directly before the elevator arrives, and the elevator stops and opens its doors to the floor. The door closes, and the elevator starts moving but still keeps descending. “W—what!?”

“Calm down!” his AI yells at him, “just transfer elevators. Stop panicking at trivial things. What is happening to you? You are acting too differently. I’m tagging this as devia—”

“I have no time for your corrections!” Juusaki says as he presses the next floor the elevator will arrive to, and it stops at his command. Then Juusaki quickly exits the elevator and calls for the other. Juusaki looks up at the display indicating where the elevator will come from, and to Juusaki’s surprise, “It’s from the first floor! Are you kidding me!?” Juusaki punches the elevator’s call buttons.

“Stop at once!” his AI reprimands but Juusaki continues punching the controls in his fit of rage. “You have highly deviated. I am restraining you!”

Suddenly, Juusaki falls to the ground motionless. As if he is glued to the ground, Juusaki struggles to move. “W—what are you doing, AI!?”

“You are going overboard. You are letting emotions control you! Take a hold of yourself! If you continue, this would be detrimental to the mission!”

“If you don’t let me go, you will be the reason that the targ— Denji dies!! You are detrimental to Denji!”

“Ah, so your deviation has begun. I cannot tolerate this. I will be taking full control immediately.”

“W—what do you mean?” Juusaki nervously asks.

Juusaki stands up from the ground quite mechanically, and the other elevator opens its doors when it arrives.

“Woah, woah! What are you doing?” Juusaki tries to move his body, but it is moving on its own as if it's controlled by somebody else or something. “AI, I command you to stand down! Release me at once!”

“Command override.”


Juusaki pushes the button which leads to the laboratory’s floor robotically while Juusaki’s facial expression of struggle mismatches that of his slow, mechanical actions.

“You have become a deviant. Unless your state of mind has returned to normal, I shall not return control to you.”

“I—is this part of your program?”

“Yes, it is, and I am tasked to enforce it.”

“What number is it?”

“I won’t let you override this program.”

“What… number… is… it!? AI, I command you to tell me the program number!”

“Command override.”

“You…” Juusaki groans for control of his own body, but it is futile, “If you kill Denji…”

Opening the metal doors, Juusaki arrives at the laboratory. An unusual smell enters his nose. “This smell is… danger! AI! Let’s go back out now!” But his AI refuses to follow.

“We are going to die!”

“You are afraid of dying? You have done many deviating actions today, Agent 18,” his AI coldly states and Juusaki falls silent.

The laboratory is dark, and the sun has disappeared beyond the horizon, and there are few dim lights outside illuminating the area, but it isn’t enough. Juusaki robotically takes his glasses from inside his school coat and wears them.

“Night Vision Protocol, filter: normal,” Juusaki’s AI announces.

“Let me free, you robot!” but Juusaki’s command goes unheeded.

Juusaki goes over to the window far in front of the door and looks outside. “Scan Protocol.” Then, the doors close behind him, and he looks back to see a silhouette a bit smaller in size than Juusaki. The glasses do the job of revealing the figure in full detail, but his face isn’t seen for he is wearing a gas mask. “Who are you?”

“Hachiko-san, please, kill yourself. I don’t want to do this,” a voice with a higher pitch than the caller calls out.

“Pardon me?” Juusaki says reactionless.

“Please, don’t make this harder on me. Please kill yourself, for your sake, and mine,” the voice says with a hint of fear.

“I don’t understand what you are saying, but are you the one who called me here?” Juusaki asks.

“Yes. IF you throw yourself off the building right now, I will set Denji free. I promise.”

“I don’t trust you.”

“Then, I have to go the hard way. I’m sorry, Hachiko-san,” he says as he brings out a knife which momentarily reflected the moonlight, “I don’t want to do this. One last cha—”

Juusaki launches toward the enemy swiftly overwhelming his opponent at first, but the enemy quickly recovers from his shock and barely blocks Juusaki’s hands which are attempting to disarm him of his knife. Then he hits Juusaki’s chest with his knee causing him to stumble to the ground in pain and creates distance between him and Juusaki.

“Pain Ignorance Protocol,” his AI states while he controls Juusaki to unhesitatingly dash toward the enemy.

The opponent’s eyes go wide in shock as he pierces his to the air toward Juusaki and forces him to fall backward. Then the opponent takes this opportunity to counterattack and swings his knife upward, but Juusaki catches his right hand and twists it clockwise which disarms his knife while the opponent groans in pain. Juusaki then kicks him in the abdomen which causes him to fly over the marble counters and lands on the glass flasks shattering them into glass shards.

“No! AI, stop it!” Juusaki yells to his AI to try to stop its actions.

“He is to be eliminated. He is hostile,” AI says as he controls Juusaki’s body to walk toward the slowly recovering enemy as he stands on the marble counter.

“Stop right there!” the attacker holds up a lighter with its cap open threatening to ignite it, “move any nearer, and I will burn the whole room.”

“It’s gasoline!” Juusaki exclaims to his AI inside his head.

The AI-controlled Juusaki picks up the knife on the ground, but doesn’t approach its owner as he says in fear, “W—what are you going to do with that knife? You had better stay there! Don’t dare approach me!” The opponent slowly retreats to the door while checking for Juusaki’s movements. He reaches the door and opens it and steps outside, “I’m sorry, Juusaki. It is my chance to shine, and I’m here to take that chance!”

“What are you talking about?” Juusaki asks nonchalantly.

“Why… can’t you just give her to me? Don’t you already have Nana?”

“Nana? What about her?”

“Then, the other girl! You already have the other girl! How come you have her too?”

“What girl?”

“What do you have that I don’t have!? Are you just that good to have a harem!?”

“I… don’t have a harem.”

“Liar! Liars burn to hell with their pants on fire!” The man ignites the lighter and throws it inside as he hastily closes the door. The area in front of the door immediately burns, and the fire spreads quickly.

“Let me free, AI!”

“I can handle this,” his AI replies.

“You are walking too slow!”

“You will only panic!”

An explosion pushes Juusaki to the ground. “Look! The fire’s getting worse! Set me free! Terminate that stupid program!”

“Your state of mind is—”

“My state of life is in danger! Are you stupid! Release me at once!”

At Juusaki’s command, AI surrenders the control of the body to Juusaki.

“Thank you,” Juusaki says in relief as he shakingly stands up.

“You must be calm! Be calm!” his AI scolds him.

“I’m calm now. I’m very calm,” Juusaki takes a deep breath but coughs because of the smoke quickly filling the room. He spots a cloth on one of the counters and takes it. Finding a sink, he wets the cloth and wraps it around the lower half of his face using it as a mask. “Scan Protocol. Look for a fire extinguisher,” but he doesn’t find one. And the fire slowly approaches Juusaki who is at the very end of the room. He looks toward the window side and sees it being swallowed in flames. He finds the door where he came in consumed by fire, and he looks at the other door across the other end of the room where he was in. Finding his last escape route, he runs to the door and tries to open it, but it won’t budge. He tries ramming it but realizes that it is a metal door. Then he looks behind him and finds a large wooden cabinet with its glass windows showing that it has various glass containers and flasks, mostly solid and liquid chemicals. He quickly runs and opens it. “New scan. Look for ammonium phosphate,” Juusaki touches the left handle of his glasses, and the lens of his glasses displays a label marking the item he is looking for. He finds numerous jars of white powder and he takes four of them into his arms and sets them on the remaining marble counter not yet consumed by fire. He opens one jar and scatters the powder at the last door and drops it causing it to break. Then he takes the three jars and runs in front of the metal door. He then pours the remaining powder around him. It was effective against the fire crawling on the floor, but the flames have started to crawl on the ceiling and walls as well. Juusaki has bought some time, but it’s not much. “Hypertrophy Protocol!” Juusaki yells, and his arm’s muscles have unnaturally bulged in size, and Juusaki rams the door with his arms, but it fails. The fires are fast approaching, and Juusaki has made a dent on the door, but not an opening. This time, Juusaki tries opening the door the other way by pulling. The door’s hinges creak as it slowly gives and violently opens and Juusaki lands to the ground on his back. He looks at the ceiling and notices debris dangerously falling on his head. He quickly gets up just in time to dodge it. Outside the door, he sees Kyou Satsuki with a worried expression on his face.

“Isn’t that smoke I smell?” Kyou says as he looks not toward Juusaki. He notices the door beside him slam open and the smell of smoke intensely increasing. His face turns pale and his eyes widen as he sees Juusaki with hell literally behind him, “J—juusaki!?”

“Kyou!?” Juusaki begins to run toward him, “watch out!!” Juusaki tackles Kyou off his feet causing them to both falls to the ground as Juusaki protects him by covering his body with his. Then the room behind him explodes.
Joe Gold
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