Chapter 4:

Project: Breach

Project: Overthrow

The peak of sky-scrapers speared through the clouds like endless rockets heading for the moon. Encompassing the city skyline, swirls of grand roads and highways cut through gaps of buildings, so high that cars were mere ants in their colonies.

Daiki made a slow hike in the district, dragging himself from exhaustion. He located a tight alleyway of a restaurant with dumpsters overflowing and slumped himself against the wall.
I will make it up to you, somehow, some way. I promise.”

Daiki’s vision blurred, eventually fading into a long-needed slumber.


“Brother!” A girl with a smile as bright as the sun hugged her older brother's legs. “Are we going to the new year festival tonight?”

The boy, only fourteen, gave a comforted smile. “Nera, you’ve got middle school entrance exams next week. I know you wanna go, but you need to focus on your studies.”

“Awww, no fair!” She punched the boys back repeatedly, though it felt more like light taps.

“How about this—If you work hard and do well, I’ll take you to your favorite mochi shop!” The boy held his sister's hand, and they walked through their rural neighborhood in the city of Saitama.

“YAY!” she celebrated.

The boy chuckled.

“Daiki, what about you?” Nera asked.

“Hm? What about me?” He let out a reaffirming laugh.

“I mean… ever since mom and dad left, all you do is stay in your room and study. Sometimes I can hear you crying at night… You say things like ‘Nera deserves better’... It makes me really really sad. I want you to be happy, too.”

Daiki’s eyes widened, a grim realization reflecting in his expression. “Well, I don’t know what you saw, but your big brother is happy. You know why? Because I still have you.”


Daiki’s little sister jumped onto his waist, burying her face into his stomach as she cried tears of joy. As usual, he reacted with a slight panick, begging her to calm down. But as always, he bore through the moment as a proud older brother.

- -

“ARGHH!” Daiki bellowed, tearing and shredding stacks of declined job application letters in his room, littered with bottles of sleeping pills and empty coffee mugs. He slipped on a puddle of coffee, falling straight onto his back with a loud thud. 

Laying for a moment and staring at the ceiling, he turned to a certain letter that fluttered to the ground.


Daiki read the words he dreaded the most, and gentle tears streamed down his face.

He threw his hands to the side and let out a choked sob.

"Even after coming at the top of my class and getting my degree at the age of seventeen, I still hardly get by to give my sister the life that was stolen from her. Debt, debt, debt! That’s the only word I hear every damn day… Mom, Dad, why did the world decide to take you?... Why did the world spare such a failure like myself?”


“If you let her participate in this trial, we will waive your loans.”

“She’ll be back soon, right?”



“We are sorry, she’s been seized by authorities. You are deemed unworthy to raise her in your current financial circumstances.”




Daiki’s eyes jolted open, the rising sun bringing him to his senses. “Nera…” He grabbed his head, shaking off the emotional pain as he stood to his feet.

As he made his way out of the alley, he noticed a crowd gathering around a small stage. He hoped for it to be some form of entertainment, as anything at that point would have helped him briefly escape his suffering.

To his surprise, however, there were two men with bag coverings over their heads and handcuffs to their back. They knelt on the corner of the stage, most of their life seemingly sucked from their bodies.

Immediately, the realization of the cold silence of the crowd confirmed that it was anything but entertainment.

Daiki then noticed a podium, where a government official, if he had to guess, wore a luxurious suit. He carried himself with authority.

Two large bio-borgs stood like statues on the side of the man, ready to strike.

“Behind me stand a pair of threats to our society, nothing more than offscourings. They sought to kill the chief security officer in his sleep. They sought to harm you, our beautiful city saved from inevitable disaster thanks to Haven. As a public representative of this district's office, these men will suffer public execution by electrocution by our AI assistants.”

“Tch-” Daiki could not stand himself to accept the lies.

The bio-borgs who previously stood next to the suited man walked to the detained pair, unmasking them. Their faces, though muted, screamed the epitome of despair and agony. Subsequently the androids walked the men near the front of the stage, then kicked them to their knees once more, synchronously raising their steel arms. Their hands folded inward revealed an electrocution probe.

There was a brief moment of silence.

“The chief officer raped my wife, then he killed her in front of me! How would I ever stand to witness that and do nothing?! TELL ME!” one of the men screamed, tears rolling down his cheeks. “Then he blamed it on me! This ‘heaven’ you all speak of is a hell, and yo-”

The government tapped on a button, electrocuting the man until he could no longer speak. “A desperate lie to spare his life. Kill this scum,” he uttered the words sharply.


The two men fell flat onto their torso’s, steam rising over their fried bodies with a wretched smell of burnt flesh.

The crowd of people observed, surprisingly, without much emotion—as if they became desensitized. It did not take long until they walked away, disconnecting themselves.

Daiki, however, remained, his anger so vigorous that his blood boiled. He wanted to do something to save them, but realized it would lead to nothing. Even now, he wanted to lunge at the suited man and tear him up from inside, but he instead resisted the urge.

“They will pay.” Daiki gritted his teeth, loosening his clenched fists. As he walked away from nothing less than a cold-hearted murder scene, he whispered, “Haven will pay, but I won’t fail like last time.”

- -


The sound of cars blared in all directions of the glowing city.

But none of those occurrences caught Daiki’s attention.

Everywhere he looked, every TV he passed by, every product people held, every machine in his proximity—he would either see or hear the same word:


A high pitch ring began to intensify in his ears, to the point his head felt like it’d explode any second if it rung any longer.

“Make it stop. Make it… stop. Curses-”

The ringing came to a sudden pause as he found himself tuning to a TV on the wall. He was unsure why it captured his attention, but listened closely anyway.

[Yes, we’re making staggering progress in our research! I would say within the next decade, we’ll be able to infuse artificial intelligence into everyday lives past just assistive robotics.]

[I’m sure the city has a lot of questions for this upcoming event, Mr. Kin Inagawa!]


“…Inagawa?” Daiki jolted his head and jumped from his seat, leaving a loud screeching as the stool dragged backward.

[And I have answers! - that is, if we’re ready to share them. Ladies and gentleman, I hope to see you attend the venue and if not, be sure to watch the event on all local news channels.]

[We look forward to hearing more! That was Kin Inagawa, grandson of the research division's founder speaking with us today. Haven’s yearly showcase is taking place tomorrow at six-pm, so be sure to tune in then.]

“Inagawa is still alive…? He should be dead- no, could this be his offspring?” Daiki glared at the screen, focusing on the familiar facial features he hoped to never see again.

“The event will take place outside Haven’s western research facility, in the stadium off Toyo street. This is Kei Nakanishi reporting today, and thank you for tuning in with TV Tokyo. We hope to see the masses attend!”

By this point, most had turned their attention away from Daiki, and he made a brisk pace away from the crowds.

Unlike before, he walked with belonging—with a goal in mind. “Thirty-five years later, and you still manage to fuel my ambitions through your generations, Inagawa. For all the innocent people—I won’t see it to the end until you suffer at my feet for the inhumane acts you’ve committed.” Daiki scowled. “Then, now, and most of all…”

For Nera.”

Daiki slowed his pace and recalled Aiza mentioning that a nuclear disaster had destroyed Japan, and only Tokyo remained.

Our city, Saitama, isn't far from here. I wonder… if it was destroyed, too. Could there be some clues I need before I move forward?”

Daiki contemplated the thought, but brushed it off since he did not have much time until the next night. The plausibility that his home survived, however, nagged at him, and insight on Nera nagged him more. As a result, Daiki found himself deciding over a hasty decision.

Closure before the storm seems just about right.”

- -

In the outskirts of Tokyo city, an electric motorcycle ventured through the sky-grazing highways, past the tier-three and two zones, near the border of the city. Reaching a dead end welcomed with rubbish and a crumbled wall, Daiki disembarked the stolen bike and climbed the short wall—which was more like a pile of bricks.

Miles of abandoned decaying buildings and construction equipment lay at his feet. Unlike the wastelands he knew, there was still a remaining essence of prior life - like a relic to the past. These made for an eerie and haunting atmosphere, sending a cold chill through his body.

“This is… what remains of Saitama… our home.” Daiki reluctantly trekked, familiarizing himself with parts and pieces of the city he once lived in. Not an ounce of life remained, and not a single outlander inhabited the area. This was likely due to the close proximity near Tokyo city which would be a risk, he thought.

Daiki raised his guard at an abrupt audio, seemingly a voice he heard just off the corner of a building.


Something muffled the words. On edge, Daiki steadily walked around the corner, his breath as shallow as the breeze.

He skidded back at a half destroyed face with dimmed flashing red eyes staring at him, but he lowered his guard when he realized it was only a dysfunctional bio-borg.

Awai—ng or–ers…

Buried in rubble, with its limbs and majority components detached the android had an uncanny resemblance to a decapitated corpse that left Daiki with a twisted gut sensation, especially since it had just a faint trace of life with its muffled, repeated phrase: Awaiting orders

Daiki could not help but feel empathy for it “Even if you're a victim of Haven, human or not. You were made to fulfill your duty to them, and after you walked your final step, you still await your orders…” His saddened look shifted to a stern one. “...How merciless.”

He then looked the other way and continued forward down the ruins of what was once a city as large as the capital.

Camouflaged with the gloomy surroundings stood a small apartment complex, somehow standing despite it appearing like it would crumble at any moment. Daiki, however, had no trouble distinguishing the building he once knew as home. “I can’t believe it…” He approached the apartment, standing at the spot where an entrance once stood, though it was now one of many. “A nuclear disaster, and thirty-five years later.”

Daiki trailed up the steel stairs of the building, making an occasional leap to avoid failing through the dangerously large gaps. Past a few stories, he finally approached an unhinged door, reading the posted sign beside it.


“This is it.”

With every step he took in his late home, Daiki’s heart thumped harder. Past the entrance, past the bathroom - the sensation only increased as he approached his sister's bedroom.

Holding back his hesitation, Daiki stepped in, and widened his eyes from how preserved the room and belongings were. Her pink bedding was neat, already made—the same way he had made it after she never returned home, only a little dirt to tarnish it. Her hairbrush was atop a low table, where she used to get ready every morning. Even the walls were near flawless, with only the corners sinking in from the moisture.

A cold sweat started to edge on Daiki while his body started to quiver uncontrollably. Just when he thought the sight had pushed him over the edge, he noticed a picture frame on the tatami mats, displaying a photo of him and Nera he had gifted her after she graduated junior-high.

“Urk!” Daiki fell to his knees, grabbing a hold of his mouth to avoid vomiting on the spot. Quickly, he rushed out of the room into the bathroom and threw up into the sink. Regaining a bit of himself, he lifted his head and took a look into the foggy and scratched mirror, where he narrowed his eyebrows.

“I really haven't aged a day since being out of the capsule, even after all these decades…” Daiki ran his fingers over his cheekbones, following the contour of his face. He tousled his maroon hair, which had grown past his forehead. “Could this mean… that if Nera is still in their capsule, too, she’ll be exactly how I remember her?”


Daiki found himself dozing off in the mirror, where he imagined Nera running around in the same place he stood back before his life changed for the worst, yanking at his hair to help her warm instant noodles since she couldn't reach the microwave.

He shifted his eyes to the corner of the mirror, where the entrance of their home reflected, imagining himself sitting by the door alone, anxiously waiting for Nera to return - the sole source of his contentment in life at that time.

Daiki jerked his head to look behind him, as if he half expected to see his childhood self standing like in the reflection. To his expectations, nothing other than a molded coat rack and an empty hole for a door was present. His breath accelerated again, and Daiki dazed off into the mirror once more, where he remembered the events of a day he would know to be the worst of his life, as if they were happening in the reflection he stared at.

Like the unexpected man who had shown up to his doorstep, offering to pay off his student loan debt and unpaid rent if they allowed his sister to undergo a trial for exceptional students. Like the moment he found out that she would not be returning home and not even law enforcement would be willing to offer a helping hand. Like the moment he formed a rebellion with his team to expose Haven’s twisted ways once and for all. Like the terror-stricken sight of his sister locked in a capsule deep within a research facility undergoing inhumane tests. Like the vile grin of the man that stole it all-

“INAGAWA!” Daiki’s eyes emitted a blue light, his pupils dilating. Fast spazzes of electricity surged over his body, and he slammed his fists into the mirror, sending a crashing sound penetrating the otherwise silent atmosphere. Fragments of shattered glass flew to the ground, and Daiki made no remark to his blooded fists.

His breaths were as heavy as his anger, while he took one last look into the mirror, where this time the only reflection was a broken one of himself.

- -

Hours later, In the midst of the evening rush, Daiki stood before a stoplight, hoodie covering his wandering eyes. He scanned each car that passed, in search of the first of many vans that contained the words Haven on the side of them.

He reached for a device in his pocket, which appeared to be a slim phone - though it had chunks of components jumbled on the back of it and appeared dysfunctional.

“I need to take care of this…now.”

It did not take long, since in a matter of minutes, he spotted a matte black van with the blue logo printed across its surface. However, that was only one of two variables he needed to extinguish his next move, as the van approached the stop light which displayed green in place of red.

“Here it goes-” Daiki shifted his head back and forth between the intersection and the fastly approaching vehicle, trusting his guts and making a speedily dash towards it. He took a leap off the pavement, grabbing a hold of a light post just as the van passed by, and flung himself off after a few swift spins with momentum built up.

“This is exactly why I couldn't involve you, Aiza.”

With a light thud on the roof of the vehicle, Daiki lowered himself to an army crawl, slowly progressing towards the front doors. He flicked his wrist, and revealed a sharp metal rod. With a quick roll on the hood of the van, still in a flat position, he thrusted the metal rod into the front passenger window.


Fragments of razor sharp glass zoomed past him, dispersing into the moving air. Daiki lowered his body off the edge of the vehicle, thrusting his legs into the shattered window and entering the van.

“Interference detected,” the android operator flunk its arm out, throwing a bright orange flame which blinded Daiki’s vision.


The flames engulfed the whole front of the inner vehicle, leaving only Daiki affected by the scorching hot fire. As fast as he could, Daiki clamped his hands onto the android's flame throwing arm, and snapped it out of its socket facing the closed off door behind them. The metal plated door scorched a bright orange color from the open flame.


The van skidded across the road, as the bio-borg struggled to operate the vehicle with one arm while keeping Daiki out of its trouble, all with a snapped arm.

Daiki thrust kicked the molten metal plate behind them, causing it to warp inward and melt open, revealing the back contents of the van. He rushed into the back of the van, and the android by this point prioritized keeping a distance from hitting pedestrians or fatally colliding.

The back compartment was filled with advanced technology, including aluminum crates of what appeared to be ammunition, gun components, and even electronics. As speedily as possible, he unhatched the lid of the aluminum crates and messily rummaged the parts.

“C’mon, just a single four-tier circuit board,” he muttered to himself while searching the parts with one hand, and simultaneously filling his pockets full with the other.

“There it is—and a transmitter and receiver as well!” Daiki felt his first moment of thrill since waking, which was abruptly interrupted by the screeching of tires on the road and the van coming with a complete harsh stop. Daiki found the side of his body colliding against the steel side, and he took a steep tumble onto the floor of the vehicle.

After a brief moment of standing to hit feet and rubbing the top of his head, Daiki was confident the van would not be moving any longer and thrusted his leg against the doors of the van, causing them to swing open from sudden impact. He stood a swift glance to his sides, then did a front roll off the vehicle and sprinted away from the scene.

Jumping over a few short rails and obstacles in his path, Daiki huddled against a wall of the back of a distant building, making sure to readjust his hoodie on his head. He reached for his cargo pants pockets, dumping the jumbles of components onto his lap to avoid them touching any contaminants, then revealed his device.

“To think that I managed to get my hands on a four-point-o circuit board and transmitter. This device should be capable of infiltrating any security, connection, or service shortly, including Haven’s MOS.”

Daiki let out a small smirk from the corner of his mouth, and started to tinker with the components in his usual nifty ways. After just a few minutes, he reapplied the back of the device forcefully with wired parts hanging out of the shell, and taking notice of the risk of the new components detaching, he tore a long strip of his clock and tied it around to hold them in place.

After releasing a sigh of satisfaction, Daiki successfully booted the device and watched it update.

“A little rough around…” Daiki inspected the rather revolting look of the smartphone-like device.

“...many edges on this thing, but I guess I’ll name you Igniter.”

- -

Multiple helicopters shredded through the night breeze, encompassing a stadium of inconceivable size - at least three acres. Some shuttered light onto the stage, while others had news reporters and cameramen broadcasting the massive event.

In the middle of the stadium, in the middle of the stage, stood none other than Inagawa himself draped in formal wear, with nearly an army of bio-borgs hidden out of the spotlights behind his person.

Business partners, civilians, and even international names gathered to witness the globally anticipated event. The people in the perimeter of the stadium were less than needles in a haystack, and they cheered profoundly while Inagawa offered a bow.

“Thank you, thank you! You all are too kind!” his well-spoken voice echoed in the speakers, and he paced the stage with a charismatic smile, lifting his hand to greet the people in the crowds. Industrial cameras filled every surface near the stage, and the media captured photos briskly at every angle. “Now then, we’ll begin our fiftieth showcase!”

Far out from the center stadium stood a Haven research facility, just as magnificent in size. Near the back exit, a janitor carried a bag of trash out while lightly yawning. As he did so, his neck was greeted with a stiff hit from the side of a palm, and fell into the hands of a hooded young man.

“Nothing personal, I’ll just be borrowing your clothes,” Daiki gently laid the man onto the concrete.

Dressed in the attire fitted for a janitor, Daiki took hold of a mop trolley and dragged it into the back entrance of the facility, lowering his hat over his eyes and keeping a lowered gaze to avoid suspicion. Grabbing the device from his pocket, Igniter, Daiki launched an application that was preset to cause disruptions to nearby security.

With an event of this size, there’s bound to be less people in this research facility since all hands are on deck in the stadium. There’s no better time than now to get some inside leads on which facility Nera’s capsule could be located.

The facility was as expected, with dark technology-lined hallways and occasional automatic doors. Daiki stopped at a mounted computer near a door and with confidence, began to dabble with configurations.


Author's Note: Extremely exhausted, another exam tomorrow, but here's another chapter! I definitely couldn't edit it nearly as much as the previous ones, but it is what it is. I hope you all enjoy!