Chapter 19:

Calm Before The Storm

The Forbidden and the Gifted

[7:21 a.m., August 9th 2048, St. Petersburg, Russia. Shin, Yuki, Martial, Drift, Karina, Ashe and Kohaku step down from a black SUV towards a large, regularly shaped building at an abandoned street corner – the Sun still hasn’t risen, and the area is still rather dark. Shin and Yuki lead the way, with Drift and Karina patrolling from the back]Bookmark here

Yuki: Rina, this isn’t the place, is it?Bookmark here

Karina: No, next street over. But it should have the same look as this building.Bookmark here

Yuki: Alright – Nats has the go-ahead to go whenever then, right?Bookmark here

Karina: Yup. Whenever the siren goes, we’ll know. Her and Elec should’ve already met the rest of those English guys, and she should be meeting back with us soon enough. Bookmark here

Shin [To Kohaku]: You know the plan, right?Bookmark here

Kohaku: Just gotta hop through the side window with Nats and open the side-door, right?Bookmark here

Shin: More-or-less, yeah. Just make sure you ain’t stepping anywhere without Nats seeing to it first, alright? We don’t want anything to happen to ya.Bookmark here

Kohaku: What could even happen?Bookmark here

Martial [To Kohaku]: Oh, come on, don’t make us look stupid.Bookmark here

Kohaku: What?Bookmark here

Martial: There’s probably traps everywhere – even if people don’t come rushing you down, you don’t wanna be taken down by some weirdo’s contraption, now do you?Bookmark here

Kohaku: Oh no, I really don’t.Bookmark here

Martial: Exactly, so then just follow Natsumi’s lead, alright?Bookmark here

Kohaku: Okay, I’ll try.Bookmark here

Drift [Looks to them both]: Don’t worry, there shouldn’t be too much bullshit in the way. You should be able to get in and out pretty safely, I’d say. And Nats has been through stuff like this before, so you’re in good hands.Bookmark here

Kohaku: Thank you so much! Y’all really care a ton!Bookmark here

Drift: That’s just who we are, really. We get it from our guy at the top, eh Shin?Bookmark here

Shin [Looks behind him]: Eh Drift? You say something?Bookmark here

Drift: Nah, carry on mate.Bookmark here

Kohaku: He’s really a good guy, eh?Bookmark here

Drift: As much as the girls joke about him being a sadist – which in part, he may be – he does care a lot about the people around him. Everyone who’s apart of Eastern, he really values, even if he doesn’t show it. Even the one guy who left, who was part of our main squadron – my best mate – he still cares about him too.Bookmark here

Martial: Y’all really are the sappy bunch eh? Even though y’all are cutthroat killers by night? [Laughs]Bookmark here

Drift: He is, that’s for sure. I can’t speak for the rest of us though.Bookmark here

Martial [Chuckles]: Ah, I see, I see.Bookmark here

[Natsumi and Daisuke approach and wave down the group, before meeting on the next road over]Bookmark here

Shin: Y’all got everything done on your side?Bookmark here

Daisuke: Yeah.Bookmark here

Shin: Met the English guy’s leader?Bookmark here

Daisuke: Yeah – guy was laid-back, all things considered. Didn’t seem like a total moron – unlike a certain someone [He whacks Natsumi on the head].Bookmark here

Natsumi: Eh? What was that for?Bookmark here

Daisuke [Ignores her]: Anyway, I told Elec he could give the signal whenever he wanted. He said he’d wait a little bit since he figured that y’all wouldn’t be too close, and he was right.Bookmark here

Shin: Where’s the place then?Bookmark here

Daisuke: From behind us – end of the road. It looks like a dead-end with an abandoned building, but that’s where the address is.Bookmark here

Shin [To Karina]: Oi Rina!Bookmark here

Karina: What?Bookmark here

Shin: You got us dropped off a bit far from the place, didn’t ya?Bookmark here

Karina: Well of course we did, we’re the back-entry group after all. We can’t just be dropping ourselves on their front porch asking for a cup of tea, now, can we?Bookmark here

Shin: Fair, but this far? Dais said it’s at the end of the street!Bookmark here

Daisuke: Well, the end of the street ain’t too far, to be fair.Bookmark here

Shin: Really?Bookmark here

Karina: Look ahead of you, you moron. [To Yuki] Look, it’s the same type of building.Bookmark here

Yuki [She looks straight ahead to see a larger, abandoned building at the end of the street]: Oh shit yeah, no way. That must be it, yeah?Bookmark here

Daisuke: Yeah, that’s it.Bookmark here

Ashe [To Drift]: Uhm… why does the place look so badly kept?Bookmark here

Drift: Well, as much as it stands out on the outside, it looks abandoned, so no one would really give a second thought about it. The inside of it though, especially the basement levels, are probably more high-tech than anything you’ve ever seen.Bookmark here

Ashe: Really?Bookmark here

Drift: Oh for sure. That’s the norm for places like this. Upstairs looks like it’s straight out of a horror movie, downstairs looks like it’s straight out of a damn spy film or some shit. Bookmark here

Ashe: Wowza. But still, won’t a place that’s this down and decrepit eventually catch the public eye?Bookmark here

Drift: Well, yes, but you gotta remember that even though Russia ain’t the Baltics and this isn’t technically Katarov’s territory, they’re funded pretty publicly by the Russians. Technically speaking, they could get as outlandish as they wanted without facing backlash from the government or any state officials because, well, they’ve got em right in their back pockets. Bookmark here

Ashe: Wait then, why have such a shitty place?Bookmark here

Drift: Well, there’s always foreign threats, right? Like us. Even if you track ‘em down to this city, you wouldn’t think its an old building at the end of the road in the middle of the city, right?Bookmark here

Ashe: Fair point, yeah. You guys got a place like this in Japan?Bookmark here

Drift: It’s somewhat similar in functionality, yeah. Except, we aren’t technically a ‘legal’ organization there – haha. But we make do.Bookmark here

Shin [To Drift]: Oi Drift!Bookmark here

Drift [Turns his head]: Yo, what’s up?Bookmark here

Shin: You ready mate?Bookmark here

Drift: Yeah. We the – oh shit, yeah we are here already, what the fuck? That felt a lot closer than it should have been.Bookmark here

Shin [To Natsumi and Kohaku]: You two should be get in the front just in case, we need to move as quickly as possible. Bookmark here

Natsumi: Gotcha boss.Bookmark here

Shin [To Daisuke]: Yo, you got the weapons?Bookmark here

Daisuke: Oh yeah, right, right. I don’t have one for everyone, but Rina, Nats, Shin and, I guess Martial can have one? Yukes, you don’t need one, right? [He grabs them from his knapsack and hands them to each of them four]Bookmark here

Yuki: Nah, I’m good. Don’t really have good aim – besides, I prefer a good ol’ fistfight.Bookmark here

Daisuke: You may not get that, y’know?Bookmark here

Yuki: Oh, I’ll make sure I get that, mark my words.Bookmark here

Daisuke [Shrugs]: Whatever ya say. I’m not gonna be one to go against what you think. Bookmark here

Natsumi [Looks at Daisuke]: Where’s your shotty?Bookmark here

Daisuke: It’s in the bag. Don’t worry, you’ll see it when we get inside – don’t be in such a rush.Bookmark here

Natsumi: Fine, fine.Bookmark here

Daisuke [Grabs a switchblade and throws it to Ashe]: Yo, take this! Bookmark here

Ashe: Oh shit, for me?Bookmark here

Daisuke: Yeah. I know the other girls got this bozo to accompany her, so she’ll be okay, but you’ll probably need something to hold onto to keep yourself safe. I didn’t wanna give a loaded gun to someone who’s never had one, so I guess you’ll have to settle for that. Just try and stick with the rest of us, alright?Bookmark here

Ashe: Yea, sounds good!Bookmark here

Shin [Looks back at everyone]: So, everyone knows what their role is once we get in?Bookmark here

Karina: Yup!Bookmark here

Yuki: I’m good!Bookmark here

Shin [To Martial]: Yo, bud.Bookmark here

Martial: What’s up, captain?Bookmark here

Shin: You confident with a gun, eh?Bookmark here

Martial: I’ve used em a little before. I’d say I know how they work though. Just load ‘em up and fire away, right? No rules here, we’re on international soil anyway. Bookmark here

Shin: Yeah, I’m fine with that man. You’re our ace here though, alright? They could’ve known that we’d meet up with Sybil in England, and they could’ve known that we’d come all the way here. But there ain’t no damn way they’d know about you. So you and your sis, we’re counting on you guys, alright? You more than anything, in fact. Bookmark here

Martial: Listen man… I’m just an informant here for the thrill of it. I’ll do whatever the hell I can, that’s for sure. I just wanna have some fun and load some bodies with bullets, that’s it. Bookmark here

Shin: You sound motivated…Bookmark here

Martial: Just a little excited, that’s all. Being an informant’s lame, that’s all. I’ve always wanted to do something like this, y’know? Shit gets the blood pumping through your damn veins. Shit’s crazy. SBookmark here

Shin: Hell mate, I’m all for it if it gets you riled up like that. Make sure ya came out alive though, alright?Bookmark here

Martial: Oh don’t worry. I may be crazy, but I’ll make sure to come out of this in one piece.Bookmark here

Shin [Turns to the rest]: Alright. As the leader here, lemme just start by saying – I expect you all to come out of here alive. I don’t wanna see none of you dead on the ground. Anything’s better than that. Anything. Alright?Bookmark here

Drift [To Ashe]: See? Told ya he’s a softie.Bookmark here

Ashe [Laughs]: He is.Bookmark here

Shin [To Drift]: I can hear ya, ya old, injured fart.Bookmark here

Drift: My bad, my bad, go on, go on. Bookmark here

Shin: Anyways… Nats and Ko are in charge of getting us in, but once we’re in, we’ll stick together, as we descend. If we split up, split down the middle, with the front half coming with me, Yukes and Dais, and the back half going with Rina and Drift. More than likely, they’ll have guards on the first floor down that we’ll have to take down, and then we’ll either find Katarov’s room, or we’ll have to go down another flight or two to find him. Regardless, by then, we should be backed up by our reinforcements from England, so we should be good then. [Pauses] Remember though, we don’t know shit about the building’s actual layout in the lower levels. These are all just guesses based on the blueprint for the original model – who knows what reno’s have been done or whatnot. Still, I think we’ll be alright. We haven’t come all this way for nothing, have we?Bookmark here

Yuki: No, we haven’t. We haven’t got this close for us to let him off here, have we?Bookmark here

Shin: We haven’t.Bookmark here

Drift [To Shin]: You want first crack at the big fella eh?Bookmark here

Shin: Yeah man. I know it’s probably not the smartest plan, and not the one Dais would draw up [Daisuke shrugs his shoulders], but I want a piece of him. No matter what.Bookmark here

Drift: That’s all you man.Bookmark here

Martial [Laughs]: You’ve got the same energy as me then, eh?Bookmark here

Shin: I have a reason to kill this moron though.Bookmark here

Martial [Chuckles]: Fair, fair. Still, I like seeing that energy exuded from anyone. Makes me feel a little less crazy.Bookmark here

Shin [Laughs]: I guess we’re all a little crazy though.Bookmark here

Martial: Guess so.Bookmark here

[A siren sounds from nearby, and Karina peaks her head around the corner, and sees the front entrance being bombarded, as the Sun slowly starts to peak itself up]Bookmark here

Karina: I guess that’s gonna be our go-ahead then.Bookmark here

Shin: Oh, hell yeah, it is. Let’s fucking go guys!Bookmark here

[The group runs towards the side, while gunshots, screams and sirens blast from the front entrance. Yuki catches a glimpse of Hachiro, sitting far in the back with his sniper rifle, and sticks a thumbs up to him, which he responds to by saluting to her. The group then makes it to the side window, and Drift picks up a large brick with his metallic hand and smashes the window in, breaking the glass and triggering another alarm] Bookmark here

Kohaku [To Natsumi]: You going first?Bookmark here

Natsumi: Yeah baby! [She jumps through the broken window and stretches out her hand to help Kohaku get through] Grab my hand!Bookmark here

Kohaku [She grabs Natsumi’s hand]: Okay, I gotcha! Bookmark here

[The two fall through the window, into a small, dark room, which lights up as Natsumi first stands up. The noise from the outside can be heard, as can a loud humming noise, which can be assumed to be a generator]Bookmark here

Natsumi [To Kohaku]: You alright?Bookmark here

Kohaku: Yeah, I’m fine. How about you?Bookmark here

Natsumi: Yeah, nothing’s hurt here. [She looks at the door] Now, for this…Bookmark here

[She approaches the door and sees that it is off of its hinges, so she signals a go-ahead to Kohaku]Bookmark here

Natsumi: This doors unlocked, we can get outta here!Bookmark here

[She opens the door, and the noise becomes louder, but only from their left. Both of them turn right in the hallway, towards the side entrance door]Bookmark here

Kohaku: So, the outside door should be locked then, right? It can’t be this easy, right?Bookmark here

Natsumi: That’s what I’d think. Your brother been in any situations like this before?Bookmark here

Kohaku: Oh, probably, but he’d never tell me, that – Bookmark here

Natsumi [Grabs her and pushes her to the side]: Watch out!Bookmark here

[Kohaku falls to the side, as three large spikes fall straight down from the ceiling, landing right between the two, before contracting back to the ceiling]Bookmark here

Kohaku: Holy!Bookmark here

Natsumi: You okay?Bookmark here

Kohaku [Gets up]: Yeah, I’m totally fine. Nothing even hit me. Bookmark here

Natsumi [Walks towards her]: That’s good then. That’s what we meant by traps and shit though, there’s always garbage like that hiding in these kinds of places. Scummy shit, but no ones ever here to play by the rules. Bookmark here

Kohaku: How’d you even see it though?Bookmark here

Natsumi: Ceiling was uneven there, and there only. As much as you normally hate to guess the worst, in situations like these, it’s the only choice you have.Bookmark here

Kohaku: No wonder you guys are experts at this stuff… impressive really. No wonder Maki’s so interested in you guys and this kind of lifestyle.Bookmark here

Natsumi: He is? Really? He seems like a pretty smart guy himself.Bookmark here

Kohaku: He’s more of the wild one in the family, even counting all of our cousins. He’s always the one who wants a thrill and he’s always mentioned that he’s wanted to meet y’all, since y’all are always doing this type of crazy stuff. He’s a bit crazy for sure, but I’m okay with that, since I’m a lot more on the docile side.Bookmark here

Natsumi [Laughs]: Y’know, you can never be docile in this type of life. It’ll only get you killed, whether it’s mentally or physically. Don’t worry though, when this is all over, you can go back home with your bro.Bookmark here

Kohaku [Smiles]: I know, I know. Anything to protect him really – that’s the reason I’m out here right now. [They both laugh, and approach the side door, which is locked from the inside. Kohaku tugs on it, but to no avail] Ah shoot, it’s locked.Bookmark here

Natsumi: Dang. Think we could bust it open?Bookmark here

Kohaku: Like with a hammer or something?Bookmark here

Natsumi: Yeah.Bookmark here

Kohaku: It looks pretty fragile, so we might be able to. You have something to use though?Bookmark here

Natsumi: Oh, no. I thought you might.Bookmark here

Kohaku: Oh, I don’t have anything either, no. I didn’t carry anything with me.Bookmark here

Natsumi: Shit. Well, I could search around…Bookmark here

Kohaku: I doubt they’d have a hammer around here though, right?Bookmark here

Natsumi: You never know…Bookmark here

Kohaku: True, but still… [Pauses] Wait, Nats, is that a live wire over there? [She points to a stretch of cable running adjacent to the wall]Bookmark here

Natsumi [Walks over to it and looks at it]: Huh? This?Bookmark here

Kohaku: Yeah. Is it live?Bookmark here

Natsumi [Picks it up]: Oh no, it’s not connected to anything.Bookmark here

Kohaku: Oh sweet, really?Bookmark here

Natsumi [Confused]: Yeah… wait, why do we care? We know the electricity is running in this place anyway, so one dead wire –Bookmark here

Kohaku: No, no, I don’t mean it like that.Bookmark here

Natsumi: Huh? Then…Bookmark here

Kohaku: You think you could rip me a piece of it if its dead?Bookmark here

Natsumi [Confused, still]: Huh? I mean, okay…Bookmark here

[She rips the wire, then hands it to Kohaku, still confused]Bookmark here

Kohaku: Perfect.Bookmark here

Natsumi: Huh?Bookmark here

Kohaku: Wait, you still don’t know what I’m doing? Bookmark here

Natsumi: No… shouldn’t we be looking for a hammer or something like that?Bookmark here

Kohaku: No, no! I used to be able to pick locks all the time! It’s the one random skill I had while growing up – all I ever needed was a thin enough piece of wire like this and I’d be good!Bookmark here

Natsumi: Oh, what the hell, actually?Bookmark here

Kohaku: Yeah! [She begins to insert the wire into the lock, as Natsumi watches]Bookmark here

Natsumi: Oh, what the?Bookmark here

Kohaku: What happened now?Bookmark here

Natsumi: I thought the lock was a heavy-duty style one, like electronic with a passcode or whatever.Bookmark here

Kohaku: Oh no, it’s just this old-fashioned one.Bookmark here

Natsumi: Weird, eh?Bookmark here

Kohaku: Really?Bookmark here

Natsumi: I mean, kinda right? This is supposed to be their base of operations, and their side doors are locked using regular old latch-pad locks?Bookmark here

Kohaku: Hey, I mean, latch-pad locks are cool in their own right too! And I think it’s probably more heavily secured outside than it is inside. They probably haven’t really spoofed up the inside of this run-down building, right?Bookmark here

Natsumi: True, true. Plus, there’s no real need to have locks on the inside at all, right? Having the stuff locked from the outside is good enough.Bookmark here

[The pick works, and the lock opens]Bookmark here

Kohaku: Ah, it worked!Bookmark here

Natsumi: Shit, that was the quickest lockpick I’ve seen in my life. Sheesh.Bookmark here

[Natsumi tosses the lock aside and opens the side door, but sees no one standing outside]Bookmark here

Natsumi: Huh? They didn’t come here?Bookmark here

Kohaku: We went the right way, didn’t we?Bookmark here

Natsumi: Yeah, we did – this was the way that was outlined on the plan and blueprint that we got from Takuya. They should be here… right?Bookmark here

Kohaku: Maybe they went to a different side entrance?Bookmark here

Natsumi: Maybe, but why? They’ve got both Dais and Rina with em. They should be –Bookmark here

Shin [Pops up from around the corner]: Yo! You guys done already?Bookmark here

Kohaku [To Natsumi]: Look!Bookmark here

Natsumi: Oh, there they are.Bookmark here

[The group runs towards Natusmi and Kohaku]Bookmark here

Yuki: You two okay?Bookmark here

Kohaku: Yeah, we’re alright!Bookmark here

Natsumi [To Yuki]: Where were you guys?Bookmark here

Yuki: Huh? Whadya mean?Bookmark here

[The group walks through the door, and follows the same hallway that Natsumi and Kohaku had walked through, with Natsumi leading to make sure of traps]Bookmark here

Natsumi: Why were you guys hiding at the corner of the building? Why not just be right here?Bookmark here

Yuki: Oh, well, there was obviously some form of backlash from authorities and whatnot ever since the gunfire started at the main entrance – so we just hid to make sure that we weren’t in plain sight of no cops.Bookmark here

Natsumi: The cops showed up? Really?Bookmark here

Yuki: I mean, these guys got them in their pockets, no?Bookmark here

Natsumi: Yeah, that’s fair, they kinda do. Bookmark here

Karina [Interjects]: There wasn’t a heavy amount of them though – they did show up, but not in droves like I thought they would.Bookmark here

Yuki: Wait, really?Bookmark here

Karina: Yeah. I counted like seven or so cars… much less than what I’d expect. Maybe they didn’t expect our assault to be as big as this?Bookmark here

Yuki: I doubt it. We’re talking about Katarov after all.Bookmark here

Karina: True, but still – it feels off. Bookmark here

Yuki: Maybe Kat doesn’t want police intervention?Bookmark here

Karina: What, you mean to say he knows that we’re here with these types of numbers after all?Bookmark here

Yuki: Honestly, I doubt he knows about our numbers with who we’ve got from England, but I also don’t think he’s stupid enough to call in any less cops or backup than he actually needs.Bookmark here

Shin [Interjects]: Yukes is right – the bastard’s cunning, and what’s worse, he’s resourceful as shit. He’s cocky sure, but if he thought he’d need more backup, he’d have called for more backup. There’s a reason there’s only seven or so cars.Bookmark here

Karina [To Yuki]: Then what’s the theory then?Bookmark here

Yuki: Oh, a theory? I don’t really have one. [She looks around] Dais, you wanna shoot?Bookmark here

Daisuke [Looks up, confused]: Eh? What?Bookmark here

Yuki: Never mind, forget it. We’ll cross that bridge when we have – Bookmark here

Martial [Interjects]: If it were me at least – I’d think he’s brought backup for whatever extra troops we’d be bring. He had to have known we were coming – at least the ten or so of us, and probably took bets that we’d have some form of backup, although probably not to the extent we got, but still, he definitely knew we’d get something or the other out of that bastard – what was his name again?Bookmark here

Yuki: Who, the English guy?Bookmark here

Martial: Yeah, him.Bookmark here

Yuki: Nats, what was it?Bookmark here

Natsumi: Lockwood.Bookmark here

Martial: Yeah, yeah, him. He probably knew that we’d get some reinforcements from him and planned accordingly. An alarm trigger probably automatically called upon a standard number of cops – say seven, like Karina called – but he can just as easily ring more up if he’s holed up downstairs and was threatened by our numbers.Bookmark here

Yuki: Wait, wait, are you insinuating that this place is a farce? That this is a decoy in and of itself?Bookmark here

Martial: That’s one possible scenario for sure. As I said, if he’s holed up downstairs, don’t you think he’d be more frightened of our numbers? His predictions likely predicted that we’d bring reinforcements, but not forty-five armed British soldiers, right?Bookmark here

Karina [Confused]: Wait, so you’re agreeing with me then? That we surprised him with our numbers?Bookmark here

Martial: Well, not quite. What I’m saying is, he wants us to think that he’s predicted wrong.Bookmark here

Shin [Confused]: Wait, hold it. I’m still not following. What the hell are ya talking about?Bookmark here

Martial: He wants us to think that he’s predicted wrong, and then for us to doubt that same theory, because we know it’s Katarov and we know how smart he is and whatever, and that there’s no way he actually could’ve predicted wrong – just like how Yuki was saying.Bookmark here

Yuki: Wait, wait, what?Bookmark here

Martial: He wants us to think like you’re thinking right now – that he hasn’t made a mistake, and that he’s prepared for this. But then why seven cops? Regardless of how you think about it, that’s an absurdly low number. That isn’t enough to guard him, is it? No matter how strong he is, with the numbers we have, we’ve got to be able to overwhelm him right? Even though he is as strong as a demon, we’re what, fifty-five strong?Bookmark here

Shin: Yeah, but just like you said, he is as strong as a demon. My brother could take down at least ten men at once. This guy took him down. I wouldn’t put it past him to be able to take down numbers like that at all.Bookmark here

Martial: Exactly!Bookmark here

Shin [Confused]: Wait, what?Bookmark here

Martial: The seven cop cars are more than enough for him to defend himself, considering his overwhelming strength – plus, he has his right-hand man with him too, that Fetistof guy, right? Plus that other guy, what’s his name, the assassin? Oh well, doesn’t matter too much. But see, he’s still strong enough to overpower even these numbers – but we’d be so caught up in the lack of back-up that we’d start thinking that it’s actually all part of his plan, and that this place isn’t actually his hideout, and that we’ve been duped completely.Bookmark here

Yuki: Wait, weren’t you the one who came up with that idea?Bookmark here

Martial: I was – but if you guys kept talking about it, that’s eventually the conclusion that you guys would come to as well. I just saved the arguing and the time-wasting, that’s all. And that’s the conclusion that he’d want us to end up at, because then we’d waste even more time looking for his actual hideout, while we’d have left it originally!Bookmark here

Shin [Shakes his head, trying to comprehend everything]: So basically, what you’re saying is, he was trying to play some form of 8d chess, or something with us, where he was trying to dupe us into believing something that never even existed, but we’d concoct by ourselves to satisfy the conditions that had been presented to us…Bookmark here

Martial: Exactly right. It’s just a simple battle of the minds, at the end of the day. He was just playing a little bit of a mind game by having that little backup show up. It was a test, so-to-speak.Bookmark here

Shin: So essentially, the right decision is to do nothing at all and to pay no attention to the backup and the numbers and all that then, right?Bookmark here

Martial: That’s exactly right. Bookmark here

Shin: So basically, your entire spiel meant nothing then?Bookmark here

Martial: Oh, to an extent, yes. But eventually, discussing this kind of thing would have led you to believe that he didn’t actually stay here, while in fact, he is probably sitting right underneath us, sipping a glass of white wine. Like they say, everything is nothing, and nothing is everything. Sure, I could have said nothing here, and nothing would have changed, but I said everything, and everything has changed. This is how he, that man Katarov, would be thinking at least.Bookmark here

Shin: You’re smart, aren’t ya? You seem to do well under pressure.Bookmark here

Martial: You called me your trump card or something, didn’t you? I’m batshit crazy, yes, but I’m always up for a battle of wits y’know – just like a good ol’ bloodbath, this gets the blood rushing too. It’s awesome man. Bookmark here

Shin: Yeah, I did, but the way you think – only someone like Kat would think like that.Bookmark here

Martial: Yeah. He’s a smart leader man, but I ain’t one to just let him win, y’know? I’m here to have fun too – right Ko?Bookmark here

Kohaku [To Martial]: Huh? Bookmark here

Martial: I said that I’m here to have some fun, right?Bookmark here

Kohaku: Uh, I guess so? That’s what you’d told me all this time, right?Bookmark here

Martial: Yeah, I did. [Looks back to Shin] I won’t be outdone here, Shin. Don’t ya worry about me – you called me your trump after all.Bookmark here

[Shin nods, and the group continues to move down the hallway, led by Natsumi in the front, Shin, Yuki and Martial behind her, and Karina and Drift in the back. Suddenly, Natsumi raises her hand]Bookmark here

Natsumi [From the front, calling to the back]: Yo!Bookmark here

Drift: What is it?Bookmark here

Karina: You see something?Bookmark here

Natsumi: There’s a staircase here… and the main entrance is just up ahead, the noise is getting much louder here.Bookmark here

Karina: Alright, so we should be seeing those bastards sometime soon, shouldn’t we?Bookmark here

Natsumi: Yeah, we should… watch out on the right… [she hits a hidden switch, which triggers]Bookmark here

Yuki: Huh? Was that a trap-door switch?Bookmark here

Natsumi: Yeah, couldn’t ya tell?Bookmark here

Yuki: Not really, no…Bookmark here

Natsumi [Laughs]: You’re getting slow, eh Yukes?Bookmark here

Yuki: Oh, shut up, will ya?Bookmark here

Shin [Steps in front of Natsumi and Yuki, and sees the staircase downstairs]: So, this is it eh?Bookmark here

Natsumi: Yeah. This looks like the only staircase here.Bookmark here

Shin: Perfect, alright. And we’re here before the guys from the cops, reinforcements and front entrance guys could change to focus us – we should be good then. [Pauses] We should still help the front though, considering where we are right now – Rina, Dais, Ashe, you guys okay to go help the front? Bookmark here

Daisuke: Gotcha cap. [The three of them nod their heads wishing ‘good luck’ to the others, before taking off towards the noise from the front doors]Bookmark here

Shin [Looks at the others and smiles]: Now… where do we start? [The group walks down the staircase, and just as they reach the door at the bottom of the staircase, it opens]Bookmark here

Fetistof [Opens the door]: Indeed Shinzo… where do we start?Bookmark here

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