Ghost In The Shell Fan Fiction ❯ Ghost in the Shell: Once Burned, Twice Shy ❯ Twice Shy Two ( Chapter 5 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]

Twice Shy: Part Two

Yayoi Mitsuri looked at the crime scene around her calmly, trying to focus her concentration on the job that lay ahead of her. This murder smelled all wrong, somehow, things just weren't adding up. It was almost like an assassination, but without any apparent motive, no reason to kill the target. She firmly hoped that the background checks would come up with something useful, but she wasn't holding out much hope.

Yayoi looked up, her dark hair flowing wetly down her back as she snuck a glance at the dark purple haired woman sitting in the unmarked police cruiser. Having Motoko Kusanagi here was such an odd experience, one that she was still trying to figure out. She worked for Section Nine, Yayoi had heard, doing the sort of jobs the government rarely admitted they needed done.

'So why is someone like her out here?' Yayoi frowned. The political connection was an obvious explanation, but it was almost too obvious. 'Of course I could always be over thinking this,' she admitted to herself.

There was a movement by the cruiser, and Yayoi was surprised to see Motoko stuck her head out of the car window and yell, "Hey, Yayoi! Get over here!"

Yayoi made her way to the cruiser with a quizzical look on her face. "Yes?" she asked, looking down at Motoko curiously.

"There's a new complication to this case," Motoko said to her simply, directing Yayoi's attention to the cruiser's viewscreen.

Yayoi saw the face on the viewscreen and recognized the white haired, nearly bald older man almost instantly, 'That's Aramaki, the head of Section Nine!' She stiffened and crisply said, "Sir!"

"Two additional murders," Aramaki said to simply, "apparently taking place at the same time and using identical methods."

Yayoi's thoughts raced as she absorbed that information, slotting it in with what she had seen here. "We're not just dealing with a murder," she finally said gravely, "or at least not murder alone. Conspiracy, at least, or..."

"... or a puppet master," Motoko added grimly.

'Puppet master?' Yayoi blinked, filing that information away. She looked over at Aramaki's face and mustered up her courage to ask him, "Was there any mention of something called 'the Wired' with the other incidents?"

"The Wired is coming," Aramaki calmly quoted, "was attached to the messages we received for the other two murders."

Motoko frowned thoughtfully. "I helped one of the crime scene techs find what looked like a data-disk," she said, "was anything similar found at the other locations?"

'Where did she...?' Yayoi felt a sudden flash of irritation and quickly quelled it. If Motoko had helped them find something it was a good thing, no matter how much her gut might think it was just interfering with her case.

"Yes," Aramaki nodded, "we've got two of the disks with our analysis teams, but they're well encrypted. We'll need time to crack that."

Yayoi hesitated before reluctantly asking, "Do you think you'll need the third disk to assist with the decoding?"

"It would probably help," Motoko said dryly.

Yayoi gave Aramaki and Motoko a grim look, "I really hate the idea of handing any of the evidence over to you, especially if we ever have to prosecute whoever did this. It seriously screws with the chain of possession."

"But?" Aramaki prompted her.

"You've got better equipment and staff to analyze the disk," Yayoi said dryly, "I'll authorize the disk to be released to you." She looked at Motoko, "Can you sent that big monkey over to the police lab, I'll tell them he's coming?"

"Batou," Motoko provided the name with a little smile even as she connected to him cybernetically. 'Batou?' she visualized him.

'Yeah, Major?' Batou answered.

'Swing by the police crime lab,' Motoko ordered, 'they have a data-disk waiting for you to pick up. It's tied to this assassination investigation.'

'Got it,' Batou replied and disconnected.

"That's oddly eerie," Yayoi noted quietly. She looked over at Aramaki, "I'd like to be kept in the loop on this investigation, despite the work being done by your people."

"I don't object," Aramaki said before looking at Motoko, "Major?"

Motoko gave Yayoi a thoughtful look before she said, "I don't have a problem with that."

"Good. Let me know when you have some progress to report," Aramaki said before disconnecting, his expression already focused on his next task.

"Where to?" Yayoi asked as she went around to the passenger side and climbed in.

"The main analysis lab," Motoko said crisply as she started up the unmarked cruiser, "the disk should be there in a few moments."

They rode silently, Yayoi occasionally looking over to study the intense woman's profile. "What was your boss so concerned about?" she finally asked.

Motoko smiled slightly, restrained humor twinkling in her dark eyes. "Right now," she smiled wryly, "he's probably fielding calls from every nervous minister concerned that they're going to be the next target." She sighed softly, "It's one of the reason's I've never wanted to advance that high, dealing with that sort of thing."

Yayoi nodded slightly, a slight smile on her face. "No, you were never much interested in promotion," she agreed, "just nailing the bad guys. Does Section Nine let you do that?"

"More often than not," Motoko said noncommittally. She looked over at Yayoi, "I noticed you haven't continued your cyberization. Why?"

Yayoi hesitated, trying to find the best way of putting it. "I haven't become a convert to the 'Humanity First' group or something like that," Yayoi smiled slightly, "but I did remember our little run in with that 'Wired' nutcase. I don't know if becoming a full cyborg did that to him or if he was crazy to start with... but I didn't want to find out."

"Fair enough," Motoko agreed, the tone of her voice neither approving or disapproving. They pulled in front of a nondescript government building, "We're here."

"Not quite what I was expecting," Yayoi blinked up at the plain building in surprise. Not that she was sure what she thought it would be, but this wasn't it.

"Section Nine tries to keep a low profile," Motoko said dryly.

The keycard that Motoko used opened the main doors, revealing a simple front room. They walked through, the Major nodding her greetings to the others as they went on through. "There doesn't seem to be any women here," Yayoi noted.

Motoko's expression was oddly remote as she said, "I learned my lesson. I'm very careful to keep myself out of temptation."

Yayoi blinked in honest surprise as Motoko sat down at one of the desks. 'No women here at all? She did all that because we...' she thought, feeling profoundly shaken.

"Looks like we've got something," Motoko said as she opened up a series of files. "The three disks each contained fragments of a message."

The screen showed a burst of snow first, then a figure that was oddly familiar to them both. The man looked casual, the wind gently ruffling his gray hair, an odd smile visible on his face as he looked at them. Something about him, his stance, the way that he moved, told Motoko that he was fully cybernetic, with little or no parts of his human body left.

"He's dead," Yayoi whispered, "I saw the body myself." The shooter from years ago, the assassin who had sought to kill Gretchen Phillips for her anti-cybernetics stance, stared out at them from the screen.

"The Wired is coming," he said to them with that same unnerving serenity, "our goddess is awakening from her long rest. Lain is coming. Embrace the Wired or be destroyed, there are no other options." With that, the image was simply gone.

"Artificially created image, maybe," Motoko said grimly, "or maybe... something else. Whoever it is, we still don't know what they want."

"Lain..." Yayoi frowned, trying to recall something. "Lain of the Wired..."

"You know something?" Motoko looked up at her from her seat.

"Something I read, once," Yayoi mused. "Lain is a legend in cyberdive circles, she supposedly could go anywhere, do almost anything," she paused, "if she was even real."

"If she is coming back," Motoko said grimly, "then we could all be in trouble."

To be continued...