Chapter 8:

The plan

Jet Black Rock

Four hours after the initial strike, the team had finally settled down. Father Abraham welcomed the group with open arms and instructed the sisters to take care of Haiiro. Sen had explained what happened to them and Abraham understood that the future of Genkei city or even the entire country was riding on defeating Zane.

While they talked, Ari and Aurora put Celeste’s body inside. A clean white sheet was covering her and she was surrounded by beautiful flowers and some candles. Aurora, who knew her for a long time, was praying at her feet. Sorrow was not unknown to her but this one hit hard. Ari paid her respects and went back to guarding the entrance.

Meanwhile, Akari was playing soccer with the orphans, rather unaware of everything that was going on. The sight of her having fun was soothing. Yami, who was standing at the side of the inner garden, watching, could forget what had happened for at least a brief moment. Protecting her smile is everything to him and he would continue to do so. If Zane would have his way, these kinds of moments might not exist anymore.

Sen entered the garden. “Hey, you got a moment? We need to talk about your plan.” Yami nods and follows her inside. Father Abraham is going through some papers. With just a glance, Yami sees that they’re about Jet. One of the papers has a picture depicting Jet spreading throughout the body. Some of the imagery looks quite horrifying as depending on the point of entry, it might replace part of the brain or take over entirely.

Father Abraham looked like a caring man, trying his best to find a way to help out. He looks up and addresses Yami with a gentle smile. “You must be Yami. It’s unfortunate that we must meet under these circumstances and I’m sorry for your loss.”

“Sen told me everything. The kidnapping, the losses. The pressure and anxiety you must have felt. My poor son, it must have been tough, enduring everything.” “I-I’m okay now, thank you.” Yami says with an appreciative and sincere tone. “I know we have to focus on what comes next.” “Yes, Sen and I were discussing the details of your plan and would like to go over it one more time. Please follow me to my study. Sen, could you fetch the others?”

While Sen leaves the hallway, father Abraham's aura becomes more serious. “I assume you know that there’s no guarantee and you’re well aware of the risks? One wrong move or even the slightest hesitation and you’ll all die. Your actions might become their grave. Are you prepared for that?” With a heavy heart, Yami answers. “It’s the only way I know we have a chance. And besides, they’re all doing this on their own accord.”

“But even then, the risk… we could inform the military and let them try and deal with it. Sen’s influence might be enough to convince them to move. They-.” Yami’s getting restless and interrupts him. “They would move too slowly! And besides, we don’t know how deep the corruption goes. For all we know, they might try and get their hands on Jet themselves. That would turn Genkei into a war zone.”

“I’ll help out as long as your resolve is strong enough.” They walk past a window looking over the inner plaza. Akari’s shouting at her team to pass the ball, scoring a goal right after. She’s having fun. “I have just one favor to ask.”- Yami says-“ Sen told me Akari’s substitute parents were killed in the kidnapping. She can’t go back alone, so if anything would happen to me, would you allow her to stay here and look over her?” Abraham’s response is immediate “Of course! She’s a good kid.”

They enter the study and Abraham puts down the papers he was holding. A little later Aurora opens the door, making way for the others. Sen is pushing Haiiro, who’s sat in a wheelchair. And Ari is walking right behind her. “Haiiro, you’re up! Are you okay?” Yami asks. “A few broken ribs and a punctured lung, I’ve been better.”- He answers grumpily-” It isn’t nearly as fast as what happened to your arm back then, but Jet’s been helping me recover quite fast. In the end, I’m one of the lucky ones.”

The atmosphere is quite gloomy and it’s silent for a few moments until Haiiro changes the topic. “So, Sen told me you had a plan?” “Yeah… I’ve got an idea on how to stop Zane. But there’s something I need to ask first. The plan doesn’t depend on it, but it would nearly guarantee our success. Could you tell us more about the liquid in that needle you used earlier today? I tried asking Sen about it, but she didn’t know about it.”

Haiiro moves his wheelchair around so he faces everyone and starts explaining.

“I fear the day that comes when I won’t be able to suppress Jet anymore. Even now I have moments where I struggle to keep myself in check. That liquid was something I kept as a backup in case I’d lost control. So far I had only experimented on myself, I didn’t know how much it would affect others. But after seeing Zane not being able to keep up his flesh armor that well, I’d say it worked out quite well and it’s worth the shot.”

“The main ingredient that I used was my blood. While training and researching Jet, I found out that its power was influenced by my state of mind. I noticed that I got stronger when I was making progress and felt good about myself. And when I was stuck, I became weaker. So, I took a mixture of emotion-suppressing drugs and drew some of my blood to look at under a microscope. While many Jet particles were still active, some seemed to stop moving. And after a while, a chain reaction happened in which the inactive particles affected the active ones. Of course, after a few minutes, they went active again.”

“So…”- Sen intervenes-” All we need to do is to mix a heavy dose of an emotion-suppressing drug and inject it?” “Not exactly” Haiiro responds. “As I said, there’s a chain reaction of inactive Jet particles affecting the other ones. And the more clustered the particles, the better the reaction. This method works exponentially faster than injecting a suppressant drug. If Yami plans on using the liquid for his plan, it will surely be the most effective method.”

“Isn’t that still quite easy then? We’ll just do the same thing you did and take him down from a distance?” Sen notes. “There’s one more catch. The needle I had my blood preserved in was specifically designed to keep Jet’s state stable. I kept it safe in a liquid freezing mod at my hip and used complex chemicals to slow down the reversal process. I lost the container when I fought Zane at the conference center and assembling the chemicals to make the reversal slow down again would take too much time.”

“Since Jet reverts to an active state after approximately five to ten minutes, we’ll have to make the substance right before injecting him, giving us a brief window to take him down. There’s a final issue though, as it would also mean that the one who takes the suppressant drugs would not be able to use their powers to the fullest, potentially leaving them defenseless.”

Sen shivers as she remembers that Zane is not the only one they’ll have to deal with. “We would still have to deal with that Neto guy.” “I-I’ll do it!” Ari says while coming forward. “Even though I knew what a monster he was, I acted too late and people died because of that. I’m a powered one and a police officer on top of that, yet my combat abilities are inferior. I don’t even know what kind of ability Jet gave me. And it’s probably for that reason that Zane let me leave at the airport. I was no threat to him.”

Yami objects. “We can’t ask you to do this. It’s part of the plan that I came up with and I should be the one to take the risk.” “Then who would be left to fight!” Ari shouts. “Sen is unpowered, Haiiro can’t even stand and while I don’t question Aurora’s ability, he’s twice her size! It has to be me! You’re the only one who can face him.”- She pauses-” And if you’d fall, Akari would be lonely.” Haiiro agrees. “Then that’s decided, now Yami, let us hear the details of your plan.”

“Ari told us about the signals sent out by Jet’s activation. So, if a new powered one is borne, even without using a stone, the signal would cross the entire country and alert Zane.” Haiiro continues his train of thought. “He would have no choice but to come to us, giving us the advantage. A great idea! But how would you create a powered one? We don’t even have any dust left.”

Yami continues. “Well, just like how Neto used his arms, I can similarly use Jet. I thought I could only stretch my arms at first, but every time I did that, a string-like tentacle would come out of my arms. When I grabbed Zane earlier, I noticed some of these strings going inside his body. My ability seems to be sharing power, and if I share it with someone who hasn’t been in contact with Jet, a new host would be born. And that would be Sen.”

“That’s too dangerous, it’s not like she would gain powers right away. Sen would-” Sen interrupts Haiiro. “We already discussed this before you woke up. I’m the only one on the team that doesn’t host Jet yet. Unless Abraham is suddenly going to take him on, it’s got to be me.” “We’ll protect her, you can trust us.” Aurora ensures him.

Haiiro has known Sen for a long time and knows when he’s lost. He gives in. “Since we don’t seem to have any other ideas, I guess we’ll have to go with it. We’ll start the operation at 600 hours in the morning. Let’s all get some rest and clear our heads. Tomorrow, we’ll have saved the Genkei!”

The evening draws closer and everyone winds down in their own way. After saying grace, during dinner, there’s much laughter and enjoyment. Akari’s talking all excited about the afternoon she spent with the orphans, energetically portraying how she made the winning goal.

However, they’re unaware of the danger they’re in. Outside of the church, a shadow is watching them from the rooftops, glancing through the windows. This shadow is the mysterious beauty in the hooded robes that took down Celeste.

She makes a call and it’s answered immediately. “What have you got for me?” The callee answers. “I followed them as you asked. They’re currently having dinner at Kiyomi church in the west sector. That Korean police woman you told me about is here as well and she’s on guard, making it hard to get close.”

“They haven’t spotted me yet but I don’t think I can move without alerting them. All they did until now was meet with the priest. I couldn’t hear what they said but by reading their body language, it seems that emotions ran high. In the end, it looked like they settled on something. What are your orders?”

“Excellent work Nephthys. Stay where you are and keep observing them. If any of them leave, call me immediately. Otherwise, wait until dark and then when they’re all asleep, you sneak into the church and take out Yami. He made his choice and he’s too big of a threat to leave alive.” “I understand. I will do as you command.” Nephthys cuts the comms and continues laying in wait. Until the time is right to strike.