Ghost In The Shell Fan Fiction ❯ Ghost in the Shell: Once Burned, Twice Shy ❯ Twice Shy Four ( Chapter 7 )

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

Twice Shy: Part Four

It was raining again as they left the club, both of them running from the building over to the cruiser. "Hope this storm passes soon," Yayoi muttered, the black haired woman smoothly climbing in the passenger's side.

"Sorry to say it's not likely," Motoko flashed her a smile. Her purple hair was flattened a bit by the rain, but other than that she looked good. She focused her will, concentrating to activate the communicator and blinked at the message she recieved. "Isn't that interesting?" Motoko murmured.

"What?" Yayoi asked with a frown.

Motoko started up the car, swiftly pulling out into the rain swept streets. "There's been a development back at the analysis lab," she said, watching out for other vehicles as she sliced through traffic, "something about that message."

"I thought they had already decoded it?" Yayoi blinked.

"I asked them to see if they could trace it back to it's source," Motoko said with a shrug, "analyse any visual data buried in the recording itself." She paused before adding, "Apparently it originated within the internet itself."

"You're serious?" Yayoi asked. "It was entirely computer generated?"

"Looks like it," Motoko said. She smiled grimly, "That's why we're headed over there, to talk to them in more detail."

Yoyoi nodded slightly. She looked out into the rain and asked, "Are your people looking into this Lain as well?"

"Yeah," Motoko smiled wryly, "if this mythical goddess of the 'net is involved, I want to know anything I can about her."

"There was something I found when I looked into it years back," Yayoi pulled out a notepad, writing something down. "Out of curiosity I did a simple 'net search on Lain, and this came up," she showed the paper to Motoko.

"" Motoko read the mail address with a raised eyebrow. "The Navi address hasn't been used in years," she said.

"Even odder," Yayoi said, "it's the only mail address with the name Lain in it. There seems to be a block on using the name otherwise."

"Unusual," Motoko noted as they pulled in front of the nondescript building they had visited earlier. Motoko's keycard 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.

The tech's didn't have much more information than what Motoko had relayed, sadly. It appeared that the message had been entirely assembled within the net, the coding of the pieces of the file identified as being from various centers in the web.

"Hey," Batou walked in, drops of rain clinging to his coat. The computer room was small, made even smaller from the size of the man occupying the space with them.

"You again," Yayoi frowned. She didn't much like the man, probably less because of anything he had done and more because of the close relationship he had with Motoko. There was a casual ease between them, one that reminded her of what Motoko and herself once had.

"Any luck tracing back the original assasin?" Motoko asked Batou curiously.

"Some interesting stuff turned up when we did some deep digging," Batou said with a slight smile. "He was Prof. Mason, a researcher in applied cybernetics at Tokyo University. Aparently he was studying the tech explosion that happened in the early twentieth century and certain covert organizations like the Knights."

"Hackers," Yayoi supplied before Motoko could ask him, "supposidly assotiated with Lain, but it wasn't clear if they were her friends or enemies."

"Yeah," Batou agreed, completely oblivious to any hostile vibes that were coming off her. "He was also interested in the supposed downloading of minds to the Wired that was going on," he continued, "and how they were accomplishing it."

"Did he unearth pieces of that technology?" Motoko asked curiously.

"Looks like it," Batou agreed, "some chips and computer technology from that era, anyway. It was shortly after that he went into the procedures to become a full body cyborg."

Yayoi leaned forward curiously, "Did anything unusual turn up in the original autopsy? I'm pretty sure you have those records...."

"Good guess," Batou nodded. He tilted his head to the side, "There were some pieces of really odd technology in him... a neural accelerant, antique chips, a few other things."

Motoko nodded slightly, her eyes strangely distant. "Thanks, Batou," she said thoughtfully, "that could be important."

Batou left the room after exchanging a few pleasantries with Motoko. Yayoi looked at Motoko thoughtfully, trying to read her face and finding it harder to do than she remembered. "You aren't thinking about going in there after him?" she asked.

"I don't know," Motoko admitted before looking up to meet Yayoi's eyes, "but I do think that I know what happened with the killings. Probably, anyway."

"What?" Yayoi frowned.

"The Professor is able to reach out of the Wired somewhat," Motoko said, "and he ghost-hacked his targets. May have been directly, may have just been bystanders, but he compelled the deaths to show us his power."

"And why target them?" Yayoi challenged.

"They were all moderates in regular contact with Gretchen Phillips," Motoko said, "not so rabidly anti-cyborg but willing to listen to her. He was making a point, that it was dangerous to interfere with him or his goals."

"You found that out in the background check," Yayoi's voice suddenly sparked with anger, "and you didn't share it with me?"

"I didn't put it all together until now," Motoko said, not sounding very apologetic about it. She sighed softly, "Now, if he is in the Wired how else do we go after him but a cyberdive? It's not like he has a body to arrest."

"And what's to stop him friom lobotimizing you in there?" Yayoi challended her, "You know that he's had years to grow in power in there."

"I refuse to let a murderer walk away," Motoko said intensely, "simply because there's some danger involved with going after him."

Yayoi opened her mouth to say something....

.... when alarms rang out around them. "Security breech?" Motoko jumped up, a impressive looking pistol in hand. She lead the way out the door, "What's going on?"

The two ran down the halls, following the signal down to it's source, freezing in surprise as they came into a larger computer center. Everyone lay there unconscious, all the researchers and Batou were just snoring away.

"Freeze," Yayoi raised her pistol, pointing it at a figure standing in the shadows.

"If I do that," the woman's voice was quiet, "I can't explain why I need your help."

"Move forward to where you can see you," Motoko instructed, her dark eyes alight with some kind of odd curiosity.

The woman who walked out of the shadows had redish brown hair framing her face. Her eyes were dark and intense, standing out in her pale skin. On the left side of her face a piece of ribbon was tied around a lock of her hair. Her slim body was sheathed in simple clothing, a clearly amused smile flickering on her lips.

"Who are you," Yayoi asked, "how did you get in here?"

"I would have thought you'd recognize me," she smiled, "considering all of the research you've done." She looked over at Motoko, who had holstered her gun and was gazing at the woman with awe and a bit of fear in her eyes, "She certainly has."

"So who is she?" Yayoi demanded of Motoko.

"Lain," Motoko answered quietly, "I think she's Lain."

To be continued....