Chapter 2:

Kono's Repair Shop


Bright blue lights greeted my eyes as I passed under a familiar sign. The lights flickered and hummed to a simple tune, one I heard every day.

“Kono’s Repair Shop”, Those three words that welcomed me day after day.

“Look who decided to show up.” From within the garage came a gruff voice. With a groan, Kono leaned up from under the sporty hovercar in the center of the room and grinned. “Come take over this for a sec, will ya?”

“On it.” I walked over and grabbed the wrench out of Kono’s hands, leaning down towards the sleek sporty hovercar frame as the morning news reached my ears.

“Good morning Tokyo! Leading off the news today is a report by the Fides Corporation, Tekashi Onoe has been named the most recent recipient of the Fides Protector Award, given to citizens who help protect the truth. Onoe reported to authorities that a dangerous rebel group was organizing across the street from his apartment. His bravery and loyalty should serve as a goal for all citizens across our glorious city. And remember, if you see any suspicious activity make sure to notify your local Corruption Checker or call 9-”

“Snitch.” Kono shook his head as he changed the channel to some trendy hip rock group that was making the rounds.

“He was only doing the right thing.”

“You got a weird definition of what the right thing is, kid.” I stayed quiet as he gestured towards me to give him the wrench. “Anyway, go help Nari with opening up for the day.”

“She’s already here?”

“Yep, a few minutes faster than you, gotta step it up kid.” Part of me felt Kono was pulling my leg. Sure I wasn't exactly what you’d call on time today, but Nari made being fashionably late a lifestyle. Kono pointed toward the counter, littered with papers and machine parts Kono was too busy to store elsewhere.

Nari’s face appeared from the back, her blonde hair blowing in the subtle breeze coming in from the open garage door. “Looks like someone showed up late today.”

“Like you're one to talk. I'm here earlier than you every day.”

“Stop living in the past. We gotta focus on the here and now, and today you just weren't fast enough.”

I rolled my eyes at her and started cleaning up the counter for the day. Kono wasn’t exactly organized per se, so it was up to me and Nari to make the place look halfway presentable. It’d been like this ever since he took us in so at this point it was just our routine.

Soon enough, the shutters were open, and the lights fully blared onto the hazy street. People walked across the grimy road, staring at the Virtual Lens’s sitting on their eyes, anything to ignore the streets around them.

Not that any of the wanderers out there would be coming anywhere near the garage. Twenty customers in a day would probably break a record or two.

The smell of exhaust filled the garage as sounds of a roaring engine sprang to life. Flames shot out from the hovercar’s sleek rims and propelled the fashionable hunk of metal into the air. “Damn I still got it! These ol gas guzzlers don’t stand a chance against raw talent. No amount of new electric engines gonna wear out these hands.” Kono grinned and wiped his brow.

“Might wanna focus on those electric engines. Not long until Fides finally bans those gas guzzlers.” I said.

Kono looked outside before speaking, a nervous look replacing his smile. “Please, like they give a shit about that. Fides just don't want to deal with importing oil into this hellhole.”

“Excuse me? Why wouldn't Fides care? It's the Truth that environmental concerns are one of their top tenets at the moment! They even produced a whole segment on how to improve the environment on the news last night.

“News.” Kono scoffed. “Anyway, y’all hear the news about the parade this afternoon? Thought about going for a bit of a laugh“

“Are they having another one already?” Nari walked out from the back with a bottle of water in hand, flipping it in the air. “ You’d think people would get bored of them at this point.”

“Bored of them? Fides puts more money than we’ll ever see in our lives into those for us. Wouldn't it be rude to not appreciate the gift after all they’ve done for us.”

“You got a weird view on gifts Makoto.”

“Least I’m smart enough to actually choose a side, the right side.”

Nari’s face quickly turned bright red. Crap. “Excuse me? You can worship your little Fides altar at home all you want but don't you dare to tell me what side to choose!”

“You will have to eventually Nari, no use in delaying the inevitable.”

She full on laughed. “I don't know what dystopian future you see coming with big brother up in his fancy tower, but right now both Fides and the rebels are just as untrustworthy and content to not do shit to each other.”


“Makoto, Nari!” Kono’s deep voice echoed around the garage like a musician blowing full force into his instrument.

Nari and I looked each other in the eyes, then walked off away from each other. God Nari was always like this, too damn stubborn to choose a side. Sure Kono was on the wrong side, but at least he was on one. Both sides couldn’t both be correct after all. At this point delaying your choice was a fool's errand.

Footsteps joined the natural chorus of sounds that any repair shop comes with. I heard two sets softly walking closer to the counter that was currently where I sat, looking down and sorting through the mountains of papers.

“Hey, Makoto! Long time no see!” Before me sat a familiar face with a glowing smile.

“Morning Akane, what brings you here?” Akane sat down across from me in her crimson shirt and dark gray pants, twirling her black hair around her finger.

“Dad kinda busted his Virtual Lens and asked me where he could get an easy fix, and obviously you guys were the first place to come to mind!” She energetically gestured towards the figure next to her, an older man with graying hair and a silver mechanical arm.

“Sorry for the intrusion mam, I just wanted to inquire about fixing my Virtual Lens.” He set the clear contact on the counter as both me and Akane turned bright red.

Akane leaned down to her dad’s ear and softly muttered. “Dad, Makoto’s a guy.”

“Bah, nonsense. No man has that long of hair and dresses so scantily.”

Scantily? I looked down at my clothes. Sure I was showing a bit of skin with most of my legs and a bit of my stomach exposed, but it wasn't like I was trying to show off anything!”


“I-I can assure you, sir, I am very much a guy.”

It took a few seconds for her dad to respond before he broke out in laughter. “Hahaha, Well I guess if he says so I can't really deny it. Anyway son, would you be so kind as to take a look at my Virtual Lens?”

“Of course, it's what we're here for.” Akane’s dad smiled and slid the clear contact on the counter. “Let's see…” I set it on our chip reader and with the push of the button the whirring of electricity joined the orchestra in the shop. “This should tell us what's wrong with the lens in a few, and if it's minor it should take care of it for you.”

Akane’s dad stared in awe. “Dang I can’t keep up with this new fangled technology. I remember when Fides was just rolling these out, back before they liberated us.”

“Really? What was it like back then?” I asked.

“Anarchy would be one way to describe it. Everyone had their own opinions on every little thing, leading to a plague of misinformation. Every source of news was saying something completely different no matter the medium. You could check three different websites for the weather and they’d all say completely different things, but when you went outside it was immediately clear all of them were wrong.”

“How did people live like that? Having to find what's true for every single little thing sounds exhausting.”

Akane’s dad sighed. “Oh, it was. Why do you think Fides got so much praise when they created the Truth system? There was some backlash at first, but eventually everyone came around. There's no need to argue about what's right or wrong when their machine simply spits the truth out after all.”

“Did you hear about the parade Makoto?” Akane asked, putting a quick smile on her face.

“We were just talking about it actually a bit before you two came, I was thinking of maybe stopping by if I had time.”

“Great! Dad and I were thinking of giving it a watch but something came up, if you make it tell me how it goes, will you?”

“Of course, I’d be happy to. Sucks that something came up on such an important day.”

“Pfff, blame her pathetic excuse of a boyfriend and his disappearing act.”

Akane’s smile slowly melted away, revealing an icy cold face that made my skin crawl. “Father, could you please not talk about my boyfriend like that.”

He put his hands up in surrender, not showing any signs of being intimidated. “Yeah yeah, my bad.”

No one said a word for a few seconds before the beeping of the computer shocked me out of my trance. “Looks like one of the semiconductors got slightly dinged up.” I picked up the Lens and gave it a once over. “I think that took care of it.”

“Thank you so much, Makoto!” Akane grabbed the Virtual Lens and handed it to her father, an enormous smile back on her face. She placed a few bills on the counter and then turned around and walked towards the exit with her dad following close behind. “Tell me how the parade goes!”

“Will do.” I watched her walk onto the hazy street as the slow pitter patter of a light rainfall started to fall onto the dark cloudy streets.

A few hours later I was relaxed on the counter, watching the now empty streets as the weather stormed outside. Lightning struck every few seconds in the torrential rain outside.

“Makoto got a job for you.” Kono’s voice shocked me out of my trance, almost making me physically jump in my chair.

“Sure, what do you need?”

“These sporty models need a few parts I don't got around here. Take Nari and head to Utagai Market to get me some shit.” Kono scribbled some words on a random piece of paper and passed the note to me. “Hey Nari!”

She leaned out of the back, chewing a piece of gum. “What’s up”

“Get your raincoat and grab some cash from the back. You and Makoto get to take advantage of this wonderful weather and go on the trip of a lifetime.

Liber Mercury