Ghost In The Shell Fan Fiction ❯ Ghost in the Shell: Once Burned, Twice Shy ❯ Twice Shy Five ( Chapter 8 )

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

Twice Shy: Part Five

Yayoi didn't lower her gun a centimeter as she faced the woman who was calling herself Lain, but her eyes widened just slightly at that piece of news. The black haired police officer quietly asked her, "You're Lain?"

"Yes," Lain nodded slightly, the brown haired teen smiling slightly.

"Prove it," Yayoi kept her gun steady.

"No," Lain shook her head, her redish brown hair framing her oddly expressionless face. Her eyes were dark and intense, standing out in her pale skin as she looked up to meet Yayoi's eyes. On the left side of her face a piece of ribbon was tied around a short lock of her hair.

"Why not?" Yayoi demanded.

Motoko put her hand on Yayoi's arm, the dark purple haired agent smiling at her grimly. "Getting in here unauthorized should be impossible," she said firmly, "even for a team of agents, much less a single woman."

Yayoi scowled, "That doesn't mean she's Lain."

"No, it doesn't," Motoko agreed, "but she's already done one impossible thing today. I'm willing to wait and see what she does next."

Yayoi met Motoko's eyes and realized her former partner didn't really trust this Lain yet, either, she was just being less obvious about it. With that Yayoi slid her gun away, looking over at Lain and saying, "All right, let's see what we can do."

"Good," Lain nodded slightly, then she flashed a sudden smile, "though in truth I've come here for your help against Professor Mason."

"Why do you need our help?" Motoko blinked in surprise.

Yayoi looked equally shaken as she protested, "I thought that you were supposed to be some kind of cybernetic goddess."

"A goddess with self-imposed limits," Lain said simply. Before they could ask she added, "I quickly realized the truth of the saying, absolute power corrupts absolutely."

"So you set limits on what you could do," Yayoi said thoughtfully.

"There are many things that I need to explain to you," Lain said calmly. She gestured around the lab and at all the people still sleeping on the floor and said, "Could we talk about this somewhere a bit more comfortable?"

Motoko smiled wryly, "Right." She lead the other two women out of the room and down the hall, opening a side door. The room had a battered couch, chairs, a table and a coffeemaker that by the smell had been running a bit too long. She poured herself a cup of the thick brew, turning to look as Lain settled into a chair, "So talk."

Lain looked up as Yayoi was moving to the coffee machine and smiled sweetly, "Could you...?" Yayoi made a face but poured her a cup, setting it down beside the girl. "Thanks," Lain took a drink, murmuring, "it's been a long time."

"You're welcome," Yayoi said, pouring out her own cup. She hesitated for a moment, unsure if she should sit down then decided to remain standing by Motoko.

"I'm not quite sure where to start," Lain finally admitted as she cradled the cup in her hands, bringing it up to take a drink.

"You said you needed our help to stop Professor Mason," Motoko calmly offered as she studied Lain, "why is that?"

"Mason not only recovered the technology to download a ghost into the Wired," Lain said quietly, "he also recovered certain programs that were intended to make a man something like unto a god. The first time this sort of thing happened I had my full power and defeated the man who tried it, but this time I'm limited."

"Why not just remove your limitation and stop him?" Yayoi asked.

"I set the block so it could only be removed by certain key events," Lain shrugged casually, "Fouth Impact, alien invasion, or a life anhililating force sweeping across the planet. I never thought to include a power-mad murderer in the Wired to that list."

"Understandable," Motoko found herself admitting. She studied Lain intently for a moment before asking, "So what do you need us to do?"

"Even with my limitations," Lain flashed a slight smile, "I think I can stop, or at least contain Mason. However, I'm going to need you to...."

Yayoi listened to Lain explain, staring, then she shook her head. "You have to be crazy," she said firmly, "every objection I had to Motoko going into the Wired after him goes double for this!"

"It's not a bad plan," Motoko said thoughtfully.

"If this goes bad," Yayoi stared at her in horror, "you could end up labotomized!"

"I can't make you do this," Lain said, "but it may be the only way to stop Mason."

Motoko looked over at Yayoi then back at Lain. "Could you excuse us? I need to talk this over with my partner," she said, gently drawing Yayoi aside.

Yayoi followed her as she shook her head while muttering, "I don't remember you being this reckless when we worked together."

"It's not reckless," Motoko lead Yayoi over to the coffee pot as she said firmly, "or at most it's a calculated risk." She met Yayoi's eyes, "The plan can work, but I need your help to pull it off."

"My help?" Yayoi raised an eyebrow.

Motoko flashed a brave smile, the sort of one a younger, much cockier Motoko might have gave when they were out in the field together on a mission. "My body is going to be pretty defenseless while I'm taking care of business in the Wired," she said, "I want someone that I can trust out here taking care of it for me."

Yayoi looked at Motoko sideways, a ghost of a smile on her face. "Considering our history together, you'd do that?" she asked.

Motoko met her eyes, "Yes."

Yayoi nodded slightly, puffing a breath out in a sigh. "Then if you're determined to be this foolish," she said, "I guess I'll have to help."

Lain looked up curiously as they arived, "Well?"

"We'll do it," Motoko replied firmly.

"Good," Lain nodded gravely.

With that the three got up from their seats and went to work. It didn't take long to set up the cyberdive rig that Motoko would be using, it only took certain chips that Lain provided to bring it up to their needs. And every step of the way Yayoi studied the various modifications suspiciously, an attitude echoed somewhat by Motoko.

"Is being paranoid a requirement for government service," Lain noted at one point, "or does working for the government do it to you?"

Yayoi smiled slightly and just answered, "Yes."

"All right," Motoko lay back on the reclining seat, the connections snapping into place at the base of her neck, "let's do this thing."

"You sure?" Yayoi squeezed her hand gently.

"It's time," Lain agreed. Her body suddenly just dropped to the floor, like a puppet who's strings had been cut, and Motoko stiffened, then went limp.


It felt different than other cyberdives Motoko had been on, more vivid somehow. She slid down, layers of old data parting for her, eventually revealing a different place. It looked like a real enviroment, a school building and the town surrounding it. She settled down on a roadway, old fashioned power poles lining the route, the colors all washed out somehow.

"Well this is unexpected," Motoko looked down at the replica schoolgirl uniform that she now wore, tailored to her somewhat more generous figure.

"I'm sorry," Lain wore a matching uniform, a wry smile on her face, "this is my place, more or less, based on my precious memories."

Motoko concentrated, feeling the comfortable weight of her weapon in her hand, "Then let's go find Mason and go home."

To be continued....

Author's Note: Fouth Impact refers to events in Neon Genesis Evangelion, more or less. There were three 'impacts' in the series, and it can be assumed that a fourth would probably end all human life. The name Mason is a tip of the hat to Bubblegum Crisis.