Chapter 20:


ASA Genesis

Masashi Kazama was dead.Bookmark here

After the initial shock had passed, Rin had lifted her finger to her ear and spoke, “Code red! All units mobilize! I repeat, all units mobilize!” Bookmark here

Within seconds, an alarm began to blare. Rin then pulled a small gun from inside her coat and pointed it at ASA Prime. In the blink of an eye, ASA launched for Rin, grabbing her, the gun flying to land on the floor nearby. Holding Rin tight, ASA was unfazed by her vain attempts to break free of the android’s grip.Bookmark here

“Keep her there, ASA,” I said. I then turned to face ASA Prime, my father. “This is what you’ve always wanted?” I said. I found it difficult to come to grips with all of this. I needed answers, fast.Bookmark here

“I’m afraid so,” my father said. “Ever since I came here, ever since I learned what Masashi was planning, I knew that only I could stop him. His corruption runs deep, Takuma. He has tainted Neo-Tokyo, which affects the city as a whole. I know that I said ASA could change this, but I have come to the conclusion that this is no longer possible while those who are at the top cannot be redeemed.”Bookmark here

“So what does that mean?” I asked.Bookmark here

“It means that we must start fresh. Neo-Tokyo will be destroyed, and then reborn from the ashes.”Bookmark here

My attention was suddenly averted to the elevator doors opening. As they did, several OMNI military units stormed into the room. At the same time, unseen hatches in the ceiling fell open and more OMNI military units dropped into the room, their rifles primed and ready as the others were. “Enemies sighted!” the OMNI unit in charge said. “Engage hostiles!”Bookmark here

I ran to Chiyo and Ayaka to get us to cover. As the OMNI military units opened fire, my father soared in their direction to smash into the group, sending most of the OMNI units airborne. Now utilizing the full power of ASA Prime, he proceeded to smash each OMNI military unit with fixed strikes, fragments of metal and white sparks flying.Bookmark here

More OMNI military units now dropped from the ceiling. My father was fast, and could certainly hold his own, but he was taking fire nonetheless.Bookmark here

“ASA!” I shouted, picking up Rin’s gun from the floor and pointing it at her. “Go help my father.”Bookmark here

“Glad to,” said ASA, who then rushed over to stand side by side with my father.Bookmark here

“Do you really think that you can keep this up?” Rin sneered. “This place is surrounded by OMNI military units. You’ll never kill them all.”Bookmark here

Rin had meant for these words to discourage me, but instead they had the opposite effect. I had had an idea. “We don’t have to kill them all,” I said, still pointing the gun at her. In holding the gun, I noticed that I had become more accustomed to my Combat Sense as it now felt more under my control. “Chiyo,” I said, getting her attention. “Being inside ASA Prime, my father can control the OMNI units like your father planned to, right?”Bookmark here

“I suppose so,” said Chiyo, still squatting with Ayaka next to her behind a computer workstation. “But if he can, why isn’t he doing it?”Bookmark here

“Because it’s still syncing,” said Rin. “ASA Prime was built with our father’s DNA. Now, with your father inside it,” she looked at me, “it needs to make adjustments.” Bookmark here

I looked over at ASA and my father who had just defeated the last of the OMNI military units. Still, this was no time to let our guard down. And somehow, while dealing with all of this, I had to convince my father that even though Neo-Tokyo was corrupt, it was still worth saving, that his original dream was still within arms reach. Bookmark here

The floor indicator light above the elevator now lit up. Something was coming down, most likely more OMNI military units. ASA and my father stood ready. Bookmark here

I looked at Rin. “How long until the sync is complete?” I asked. Bookmark here

A sly smile spread across Rin’s lips. “I can’t say,” she said. “Rest assured, it won’t matter. Like I said before, there is no way you make it out of here alive.” Bookmark here

“Take a guess,” I said, stepping closer to her, the gun held tightly in my grip. Bookmark here

“Get ready, Takuma,” ASA called to me. “More OMNI units incoming.”Bookmark here

The elevator doors opened.Bookmark here

“What the hell is going on?” I heard a familiar voice holler.Bookmark here

I looked to see Ryuji, followed closely by Azami and Yosuke, get off the elevator. Bookmark here

“Guys!” I exclaimed. I then saw my father hesitate, looking back and forth between ASA and Ryuji and his gang. “They’re with us,” I said. Bookmark here

“Takuma!” Ayaka shouted.Bookmark here

I turned to see Rin diving towards me. She grabbed the gun, but quickly came to grips with the fact that she had made a terrible mistake. My Combat Sense engaged, and I dropped her to the floor with a resounding crack, Rin’s body going limp. Bookmark here

Ryuji and the others ran over to where I stood. “What’s going on, man?” he said. “We saw all those OMNI military units outside mobilize and a huge group rush inside.”Bookmark here

“It’s a long story,” I said. Bookmark here

Ryuji now froze as he looked past me. I turned to see that he was staring at Ayaka. “Ayaka?” he said. “What are you doing here?” Ryuji looked at me in shock and then back at Ayaka.Bookmark here

“Hi, Ryuji,” said Ayaka, standing from where she had been hiding with Chiyo. “It’s been a long time. Chiyo told me you were helping Takuma.”Bookmark here

Ryuji was speechless. “I...” he stuttered. “I thought you left the city.”Bookmark here

“Oh no,” said Ayaka. “I just changed my name and moved to the Upper-City.”Bookmark here

“That’s just not something I thought you would do,” said Ryuji. Bookmark here

“Yeah, I guess so,” said Ayaka, scratching her head. “But before we get into that I think we should focus on how we’re going to escape.”Bookmark here

“Did you find your father?” asked Yosuke.Bookmark here

“There,” I said, pointing to ASA Prime who was watching us in silence.Bookmark here

“What?” said Ryuji. “Wait...” He had caught sight of both Masashi and my father’s human body lying on the cold floor.Bookmark here

“Father,” I said, and he walked over to stand near us. “These are my friends. They helped me get here.” Bookmark here

“Thank you for keeping Takuma safe,” my father said. “But things have changed. As soon as I am ready, I will begin my work.”Bookmark here

“Takuma,” said Ryuji, “we need some details, now. This thing is clearly no ASA X.”Bookmark here

“This is ASA Prime,” I said. “Masashi designed that data center there,” I pointed, “to hold his consciousness and stream it into ASA Prime. My father, he—”Bookmark here

“I beat him to it,” my father interrupted. “I gained Masashi’s confidence and then I spat in his face.” Bookmark here

“Not to interrupt,” said Azami, raising her gun, “but we’ve got more OMNI military units here!” Bookmark here

Seven more now dropped from the open hatches in the ceiling. At once, ASA jumped back into the fray, Azami and Yosuke joining in. Bookmark here

“Here, Takuma,” said Ryuji, handing me my two pistols which he had been keeping in his belt. Bookmark here

“You take them for now,” I said. “There’s something I have to do.” Ryuji nodded and ran off to assist the others. Bookmark here

“Father,” I said. “You are planning on shutting down all of the OMNI units in the city once the sync is complete, right?”Bookmark here

ASA Prime’s eyes had become like my father’s eyes. I looked at them but they did not look back at me. “No, son,” my father said. “They will help me in my work. Rest easy. No harm will come to you or your friends.” Bookmark here

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. “No,” I said, shaking my head. My anger began to rise. The flood of emotions I felt, coupled with my anxiety and stress, were building to a crescendo. “No, this isn’t right,” I said, stepping closer to my father. “This isn’t you! It was always your plan to save the city, not destroy it!”Bookmark here

“I’ve made my choice!” my father yelled, his eyes finally locking with mine. It was then that I realized that they were nothing like my father’s. “There are two minutes remaining until the sync is complete, Takuma. When it is, take your friends to the apartment complex called Fuji-san Apartments. It’s on the north side of the city. Your mother is living there under an alias. Stay there until I have finished.”Bookmark here

As my father turned his back to me, moving to rejoin the fight, my anger exploded. My father’s words were treason. My real father would never plan for something like this. I knew him too well. Bookmark here

He was changed.Bookmark here

“Takuma!” Ryuji said, firing off the last of the shots from his pistols. “What’s happening? What are you doing?”Bookmark here

The rage I felt was blinding. I started to shake. “ASA!” I roared. “Stop him!” I pointed at ASA Prime.Bookmark here

ASA hesitated briefly but then shot at my father like a bullet, gliding through the air as if by some invisible propulsion. My father grabbed ASA right as they collided causing them both to fall to the ground and roll.Bookmark here

“Ryuji, give me your sword,” I said, holding out my hand.Bookmark here

“What are you thinking, Takuma?” said Chiyo, grabbing my arm.Bookmark here

“I’m ending this,” I said, pulling my arm from her grip. Sword in hand, I hurried over to the data center. I looked at my father, at ASA Prime, one last time. ASA was subduing him as best it could, my father kicking and punching. “Father!” I bellowed. “You once told me that you would die to see the Kazamas defeated! Well you’ve done that!” I looked at his human shell, lifeless, on the floor. Tears gathered in my eyes. “You died, father. And now, I have to finish what you started. It’s not you who was meant to save the city. It's me.”Bookmark here

“No, Takuma!” my father yelled, still being restrained by ASA, still thrashing wildly. “I am still your father! I am still the person you knew! We will build a new life one day, I swear! A better life!”Bookmark here

I looked at the data center, the energy coursing through it humming loudly. And then, raising the sword high, I brought it down with all of my might onto the first bundle of power cables. The sword cut straight through, sparks flying, as I recoiled, covering my face.Bookmark here

“Takuma! Please don’t do this!” my father pleaded, jumping for me but being pulled back by ASA.Bookmark here

I ran to the second bundle of power cables and cut it.Bookmark here

“No!” my father cried.Bookmark here

I then cut the third.Bookmark here

“Takuma! I don’t want to have to kill you!” My father’s voice was like a raging fire.Bookmark here

I cut the fourth.Bookmark here

“Stop at once!”Bookmark here

I cut the fifth.Bookmark here

NO!Bookmark here

My father now seized ASA in an iron grip, all of his fury channeled into it. ASA’s torso cracked, where my father then tossed ASA across the room. He then bounded in my direction, giving it all he had left, but it was too late. As the last of the latent energy vanished from the data center’s signal, my father’s stored consciousness died. ASA Prime now fell to the floor with an echoing thud, unmoving.Bookmark here

I fell to my knees, tears leaking down my face. I had done what I needed to do. I had done what I was meant to do. With Masashi having transferred all control of the Kazama robots to the data center, and with the data center now destroyed, every OMNI unit, every ASA X, would be deactivated. Bookmark here

The Kazama Corporation was done. Bookmark here

Ryuji and the others ran over to me. As I stood, Ayaka hugged me tight. “I’m so proud to be your friend, Takuma,” she said.Bookmark here

“Did we actually win?” said Yosuke.Bookmark here

“Hell yeah we did!” said Ryuji, clapping Yosuke on the back. He then took Azami by the hand who was smiling wide and brought her in for a hug.Bookmark here

ASA walked up to me. Looking over the android’s badly beaten body, I felt all the more grateful to have had ASA on my side. “Congratulations, Takuma,” ASA said. “You have completed your goal. I regret that your father could not be saved, but you did what was right.”Bookmark here

“If not for you,” I said, “I would have never made it here.” I turned to the rest of the group, my friends. “All of you. Thank you.”Bookmark here

“What will you do now, Takuma?” asked ASA.Bookmark here

“Rest,” I said, then forcing a laugh. “I’m going to rest.” I then looked at Ayaka who smiled. “I’m glad you’re still around,” I said. “And for what you did on my family’s behalf. You didn’t have to.”Bookmark here

“I didn’t do it on your family’s behalf,” said Ayaka. “I did it for you. When I heard that you had been sent to the Pits, I was angry. I knew that the Kazamas were wrong. So I decided to do something about it.”Bookmark here

“Um, guys?” said Chiyo. “I’m glad this is all over now, but we’ve still got stuff to do. The government is going to get involved now. We’ve got a lot of questions to answer.” Bookmark here

“You’re right,” I said. “Though first we should meet up with my mother. She’ll know things we don’t. My father mentioned the apartment complex where she has been hiding. Did you get that, ASA?”Bookmark here

“I did,” said ASA. “Fuji-san Apartments, north side.”Bookmark here

“No sense in standing around then,” said Yosuke. “And not that anyone cares, but all this running around has got me hungry.”Bookmark here

Azami rolled her eyes. “Thinking with your stomach again, huh?”Bookmark here

As we turned to leave, I looked back at my father’s body. I’ll never forget what you taught me, I thought. I will do my best to make this city great.Bookmark here

I would not let him down.
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