The scene was almost the same as before, I sat on a leather sofa sipping away at what probably was my sixth canned milk coffee, while Mr. Uemichi sat a short distance away on a different nearby sofa typing away on a floating holographic keyboard.
Again, the atmosphere was very quiet.
As I patiently watched the waves pass by, the yacht that had been returning me to Japan’s mainland was now nearing the shore. I rubbed the collar around my neck and tried to crack the joints, but there was no success. I sighed.
After I had humbly accepted the collar proposed to me by CIMEDE, Dr. Arifuku, who was the creator of said collar had used the sensor in the back of the choker style device to scan my DNA pattern by reading a blood sample that I had cooperatively given him. The doctor had told me that it was painless, and that was partially true.
After the device had successfully scanned and calibrated to my DNA, it was strapped to my neck, being the perfect length. The choker had no size changing ability, in fact, it connected straight to the sensor area on the back that lay directly over my spine. As far as I could tell, there was no way to unlatch the choker externally, just an electronic frequency, in which I had no way of knowing the wavelengths to, and of course the escape method of cutting it.
I was quickly turned off from the cutting method after the very bulky and very scary director had proposed we needlessly try its unique function… that is what was painful. I don’t think that Dr. Arifuku had planned to test it since he had ultimate trust in his creation. But that damned, very damned cruel, very, very damned cruel son of a bitch director, had used a knife to make a slice in the material, which by the way had fused back together almost an instant later. What’s with that?
The less than an instant tear that Mr. Uemichi had created, sent an unexplainably harsh, pain causing surge of direct hell, right through my spine into my brain. I then had become a crippled corpse, almost like roadkill, like a carcass left to rot.
Through it all, what was a terrible situation for me, what I believe was the most numbing and painful thing I had ever experienced, that muscular bastard smiled. I believe I saw a smile cross the director’s face as he said, “It works.” with satisfaction in his voice.
DAMN THAT BASTARD!
I let out an irritated grunt as I looked at the bulky man, who was typing at a pale blue floating keyboard. Although he didn’t seem to notice, or he was just ignoring me.
The following ten minutes consisted of finally arriving at Japan’s shore and disembarking Mr. Uemichi’s yacht. I had also grabbed my seventh can of coffee before we had left the yacht’s deck.
“This stuff is damn good” I said intently, as I raised the almost empty can, not really expecting a response from the muscular man.
“How much coffee do you drink, kid?” asked Mr. Uemichi, as we walked side by side through the large, concrete harbor.
“Well, since it’s caffeine in dulled down by the milk, each can does not have a full coffee cup’s worth of caffeine. And so, I can drink more than one not worrying about caffeine overdose.” I said confidently.
“Being dulled down by milk or not, seven cans of coffee in less than an hour is still not healthy. Besides, that certain brand has a lot of sugar added in. So even if you don’t experience a caffeine overdose, you will definitely be consuming too much sugar.
“Woooow Mr. Director, are you worried about my health all of a sudden?”
“Not particularly, you can just make sure that you puke your guts out before entering my car.”
The parking lot for the harbor was a lot larger than I had expected, there was even a fenced in area with reserved parking. Of course, like I had thought, I followed Mr. Uemichi into the fenced in reserved parking. I wonder how much money this guy has, scratch that, I wonder which of these sweet rides belongs to him.
The two of us walked through the maze of expensive looking cars until Mr. Uemichi stopped at a red convertible parked near the back.
Wooaah! This guy takes muscle to a whole other level! I gasped, and walked around the foreign classic muscle car, mouth agape, taking in the unique curves that could only come from the country of America. “I’ve never seen a car like this in person.” I said, admiring the new sight before me.
In the year 2027, most cars had been trying to switch to electric because of clean air movements and warnings about global warming, along with various other environmental acts. With the new switch to electric, gasoline and diesel powered vehicles were becoming rarer to see on the road, even in foreign countries. They were starting to be seen as more of a collector’s items than actual modes of transportation and something being 60 years old like Mr. Uemichi’s car right here was like a museum piece.
“She’s a classic, alright” said the also muscular man, as he took his seat in the left side. “1967 Pontiac GTO, it was a pain to get her imported here.” Said the burly man as he smiled and reminisced.
I slowly ran my hand across the top of the door until I reached the door handle. Gently pulling on the chrome handle, the door opened. I abnormally sat down in the right-side passenger seat of the car and gave Mr. Uemichi a grin of pure bliss. However, the look that I received in return was the complete opposite of bliss…… What did I do!?
The muscular man responded to the question that I hadn’t voiced out. “Don’t touch the paint”
The grin that had stretched across my face slowly faded. The muscular director turned the key, and the carburetor powered engine roared to life.
I’m definitely going to drive this thing, I thought, as the red convertible sports car, or should I say the red convertible muscle car pulled out of the reserved parking lot that was behind the harbor.
The drive to CIMEDE Academy was shorter than I had expected. Traffic was a little rough around the more populated areas, but once we entered the highway, we were able to avoid the large crowds that were driving in the city.
From the instant we pulled into the gates of CIMEDE Academy, to the moment we walked through the large double doors, I was in awe of the intricate architecture that reminded me of a historical European castle.
“Whoa…” I let out a whistle of admiration as we walked through the beautifully decorated hallways.
Some of the flooring in this castle… Err… school were made out of a mixture of different kinds of hardwood tiles, that created a unique pattern with the different colors of wood. Other areas were overlaid in red carpet, such as the main lobby that was past the double doors, the large circular staircase that we had walked under, some of the hallways that I passed by, and even the hallway that I was following Mr. Uemichi through at this moment.
As we walked, I continued to think about how much different this school is compared to mine. Actually, a good question is, what am I going to do about my old school life?.
I hadn’t given my old… or should I say current school much thought ever since I accepted Mr. Uemichi’s offer. In his offer, the director had said that I could stay at CIMEDE Academy’s dormitory, but this place was pretty far from my old school, and it would be a hassle to do the distance in between every day. I do recall the director saying something about me taking some classes here, but I’m not sure.
As I thought about stuff that would probably get taken care of for me, I curiously tried to see more of the layout of the large building that I was in. The hallway that I have been following the muscular director through, branched off into other paths, and I could see the contents of some of the rooms that were connected to the paths. I couldn’t make out for sure what exactly some of the rooms contained, but I could see desks and chairs, so they’re probably classrooms of some sort.
After walking through the corridor from the entrance straight back, we had arrived at a large, wooded door. The large man didn’t even think to knock as he twisted the knob for the wooden door. There was no creak, and the door slid open, under the force of his push.
The large man walked through the door’s entrance and gestured towards two chairs opposite of his desk. I took my seat on one of the two, the chair that had been on the right side. With my back facing the door, Mr. Uemichi walked around the desk, and took a seat in the large leather chair facing me.
I pulled a pen from the round penholder sitting atop the director’s engraved, wooden, executive desk and started spinning it in-between my fingers. “So, now that I’m at CIMEDE Academy, I was wondering what’s going to happen with my current high school enrollment?” I asked, bringing the question that I had earlier to light.
Mr. Uemichi gave me a dubious look. “School enrollment? We’ve been keeping tabs on you for the past four months and there was no information about you being enrolled in a school of any sort. Actually, now that you bring it up, your name was a pain in the ass to track down. There were only a couple hits with your name and photo that helped us find out about you. And with bringing that up, I’ve been meaning to ask you this earlier, Is your name really Saburi Keisuke?”
I looked at Mr. Uemichi, who had accused me of not being who I said I was, and I responded with a five-word statement. “I guess we’ll never know”.
The truth of the matter is that I have amnesia. I don’t have any memories from before I was 12 years old, and I truly don’t have any idea about who I was before that. Considering that, my response was not really a lie at all.
Mr. Uemichi looked at me with annoyance. “If you’re going to be working for CIMEDE, there needs to be a level of trust between us--------”
I cut in before he could continue. “How about we play a game? Something like, I tell you something about me every time I help CIMEDE crack a case. Any possible question you can think of, I’ll answer.”
Mr. Uemichi frowned at my suggestion. “I didn’t recruit you to play games with, I think that your expertise as a thief could be useful for certain things. However, if you decide not to cooperate, I can have you sent right back to that island prison where you would be right now, if it weren’t for me.”
I held a poker face that bore no expression as I looked at the director, who had an expression of pure anger burning across his face. I ignored his already angry state and took an extreme risk with my single conjecture. “You said that you “can” have me sent back to that island, not that you “will” send me back…… I happen to believe that you need another thief’s logic in order to track down what the thief who had stolen those artifacts is doing now, or what he plans to do next. In other words, you need me.”
Mr. Uemichi’s face distorted even more from the rage struck look he had. “You’re a first-class pain in the ass, kid. But it is true that we could use your skills.”
Mr. Uemichi, who was still frowning, hesitated a tiny bit, then continued. “However, you are aware that this first assignment that I’m giving you is just a trial. That means that if you complete your mission successfully, I might continue to allow you to do this working release program by helping CIMEDE out with similar problems. And of course, if the opposite were to happen, and you failed to complete this assignment by not bringing back the stolen artifacts, I would then give you a nice ticket back to you underground cage... Sound like a bargain?”
“Yeah, I think I get picture, but actually, what do you mean by fail? If I didn’t find the stolen artifacts, then I could continue to keep looking right? Or is there a catch?”
“Well, there’s always a catch. Never once should you ever start thinking otherwise.”
I looked at Mr. Uemichi questionably. “So-uh… What’s the catch?”
“That’s in the mission details. I will explain the details when your handler gets here.”
“Yes, I do recall telling you before that I will be assigning you a partner, who in turn will also be the leash to your collar. In other words, your handler.”
“Ah-yeah. Right. I do remember you saying that. So, who’s going to be my partner?”
Mr. Uemichi ignored my question and started dialing a number on his phone. He didn’t seem to wait long after dialing, since he began to speak almost instantly. “I need you to come to my office… I’ll let you know when you get here… and make it quick…” Mr. Uemichi ended the call and set his phone on the desk.
I had thought he was being rude to me, but that phone call just now had opened my eyes to the fact that he wasn’t too polite to anyone he talked to.
The muscular director started writing on a sheet of paper, and I opened my mouth. “So, who was that?................................Was it a student, or a graduated agent?...........................................Mr. Director Sir, how long am I going to be talking to myself?.............................................” I continued to ask random questions about my new partner, but the director continued to ignore my voice, as if he didn’t even hear it to begin with. I waited a while, and a while, and a while, and a while, and a while… I spoke again. “Could it be that you’re going to be my partner?..............................”
Mr. Uemichi looked up from the paper that he was writing on and moved his mouth. “Shut up”
What the hell is with him? I’m just curious about my new partner, or handler. I was about to open my mouth again, but Mr. Uemichi’s gaze snapped towards me, and I disarmed my larynx.
I continued to spin a pen around my fingers for what felt like forever, but when I looked at the wall clock that was mounted on the wall behind Mr. Uemichi, I had realized that less than two minutes had passed since the phone call.
Hearing the knocks on the door, that had rung loudly after the silence that owned the room, my natural reflex of such an action caused me to call out. “Come in”
I looked towards the door, but no one had entered. Mr. Uemichi dropped the pen he had been writing with in irritation, probably because I had answered the door in his office. He spoke in a loud, irritated voice, full of anger. “Shut your mouth already, Ass! This is my office, and your voice is making me want to return you to your cage already.”
Almost an instant later………………… “Come in”
That voice? An instant turnaround from before? What the hell is wrong with this guy? He had been speaking to me with such anger, and now he was calm and collected? WHAT THE HELL!?
I heard the door open and the sound of light footsteps approaching. I wonder who it is? I thought. With natural curiosity, I turned my head. What I saw was a teenage girl with auburn red hair.
Well for some reason, I didn’t expect her at all. Well actually, her face might have slipped into my head when I thought about a student, but I had honestly disregarded her as a contestant, probably because I had imagined my friend Isami, and thought about being with someone similar to him.
The red-haired girl froze in surprise, but no more than an instant later she regained herself. The girl opened her mouth and spoke, but her voice was not directed towards me, but towards Mr. Uemichi.
“Director, what is he doing here?”