Ghost In The Shell Fan Fiction ❯ What's Next? ❯ Departure ( Chapter 7 )

[ P - Pre-Teen ]

What's Next?
Author: Ilze
Rating: PG13
Category: Drama
Summary: When the huge Megatech conglomerate closes due to a bad public reputation, the value to cybernetic Megatech-made bodies raises in the black market and people begin hunting for these cyborgs. If that isnt enough for Section 9 to handle, the number of recent ghost hackings is beginning to rise.
Disclaimer: I own no part of Ghost in the Shell, characters, or trademarks.
Chapter 7: Departure
Togusa had been on his way home when he got the call from Ishikawa. Night had fallen over the city as he turned his car around and sped back towards HQ in a haze of both disbeleif and grief. When he pulled up, he noticed that Chigako's and Bateau's cars were also present. Togusa jumped out of his ride and made his way into headquarters.
It wasnt long before the agent met up with his three friends. They were all huddled together, speaking in low voices outside Chief Aramaki's office. Togusa ran up to them just as they all turned in greeting, "What's going on?" He asked quickly.
Ishikawa scratched his gruffy beard and looked down, "It all happened shortly after we all left."
Togusa leaned back against the wall, hitting his head on the solid surface. He shut his eyes, "Tell me everything."
Shaking his head, Ishikawa continued, "We arent sure what caused it but we know it was a severe heart attack. I headed out to check out those images. I managed to clear one of them and tried to contact the Chief to tell him what I found. That's when I discovered what had happened."
Bateau and Chigako looked at the ground. The door to Aramaki's office opened suddenly and a few white-clad men rolled out a stretcher. On it was the remaining shell of a man covered in a white sheet. The agents of Section 9 didnt have to see the face of the deceased to know that their Chief was dead.
The remaining four agents sat in silence in the lobby of HQ. The entire thought of Chief Aramaki being dead was unbeleivable and yet strangly suspected. They would all agree that Aramaki was in failing health and that he looked like he'd been hit by a train the last time they'd seen him but still, it was very difficult for them to agree that Aramaki was gone.
Bateau was the first one to break the silence, "No one knows what caused it?"
Ishikawa shook his head as he stared into the distance, "No one has really investigated. It's already been proven that it was a heart attack but we havent checked what caused it."
"I wonder..." Bateau paused, "Do you think it could have been something inside that file found inside the hacker's brain?"
The bearded-agent shook his head, "The file was closed when I saw the computer screen."
"Most confidential files have a auto-close on them. After a few minutes of non-activity they close by themselves."
"How could we find out if Chief opened it?" Chigako asked.
The room was silent until Togusa stood abruptly, "I know." That was all the man said before he left the room in a rush. Leaving the rest of Section 9 only to wonder what the human could be thinking.
Togusa made his way down the narrow corridors of headquarters until he came upon a large door marked 'Security.' Opening the door, Togusa stepped into the room. The lone officer inside prepared to tell Togusa to leave but he stopped him with a class of his ID. The officer nodded and stepped aside so that Togusa could do what he wanted.
Moving to the panel of flashing screens, Togusa looked them over quickly. He glanced at the security officer behind him, "Give me all the records you have for the last hour of this room." He pointed to the panel that showed Chief Aramaki's office.
The gaurd nodded and moved to a separate room behind them. In a few moments he returned with a small chip. He handed it over to Togusa who thanked him in return. He sat down in one of the many seats in the room and uploaded the chip into one of the computers. A screen popped up and Togusa ordered it to play. The recording went on, starting with Chief Aramaki entering the room, followed by the rest of Section 9 and Doctor Hazama. Togusa fast forwarded through the talk that he was present for and stopped just as Chigako and Bateau left the room.
On the screen, Aramaki sat and rested for a moment before he went to work on his computer. The screen of Aramaki's computer was too far away for Togusa to get a clear look but he just let the tape continue. Chief Aramaki typed a few things on his computer, probably a security code or something but he suddenly stopped. Clutching his chest, Aramaki leaned back in his chair and stared foreward. He blinked a few times as he simply stared into the space in front of him. Finally, the Chief mouthed something that Togusa couldnt hear and collapsed into his desk in front of him.
The rest of the recording had no significant value so Togusa rewound the recording to where Aramaki prepared to open the file on his computer. Togusa frowned, "Enlarge the computer screen." Togusa ordered and the picture in front of him zoomed in on the screen. He watched as Aramaki typed in his password but he stopped. Aramaki never opened the memory file.
After zooming back out, Togusa let the tape play through again but stopped as Aramaki began to mouth something. He had the computer zoom in on Aramaki's mouth and played it again. Whatever he said, it had two syllabels. Togusa had the computer search it's database and try to find a match for whatever Aramaki had said.
Leaning back, Togusa waited for it to find some matches. He rubbed his eyes as he thought about Aramaki. He knew that something had caused the Chief's heart attack. Aramaki was in bad health but something had to trigger the attack. Still, the thought of his chief being dead was very hard to deal with but Togusa held back his grief. At least until he knew what had caused his death.
A list popped up in front of Togusa and he began to skim over the list of words. He searched for some clue. Whatever Aramaki had said could be the key to finding out what killed him. Togusa continued through the list of possible words, finding nothing. He prepared to quit when something crossed his eyes. He stopped his scrolling and brought his view back to the word he'd found. His eyes widened at the finding.
Togusa gave a few orders to the computer and the recording played again with it zoomed in on the Chief's mouth. This time when he mouthed the word, a sound file played the word in Aramaki's voice over the recording. To Togusa's disbeleif, it fit perfectly.
In a hurry, Togusa contacted his three partners. He spoke to them over the network, "Meet me in Aramaki's office! I found something!"
Chief Aramaki's office had been closed off ever since the incident. Now, the remaining four agents stood idly in the room as they waited to hear what it was that Togusa had discovered.
Togusa nodded as he noted that everyone was there. Swallowing, he spoke in low volume to his friends, "I looked at the security tape of Aramaki's office." Ishikawa seemed to mentally kick himself at the fact that he hadnt thought of that, "and I found a couple things."
Togusa paused, "First of all, Aramaki never even opened the memory file. He stopped halfway through opening it." He glanced at the other officers, "Also, he said something right before he collapsed."
He paused once more and Bateau frowned, "What was it?"
Togusa looked up, "He said the word Major."
Ishikawa and Bateau stepped back in suprise. Chigako looked at them in confusion, "What's that mean?"
Bateau shook his head and sat down, "What does that mean?"
Togusa crossed his arms and looked to the ground, "Throughout the majority of the recording, Aramaki is staring foreward in disbeleif. I dont understand this but whatever it is. It has something to do with..."
Bateau cut him off as he mumbled the word, "Motoko..."
"But, she's dead." Ishikawa said as he looked from Togusa to Bateau, "Isnt she? She died a couple months ago along with the Puppet Master, right?"
Togusa nodded, "That's what I heard but her brain case was never found. Only her body."
"She couldnt still be alive, could she?" Ishikawa seemed to be staring at Bateau.
Bateau's eyes were fixated on the ground. He was completly distant from the rest of the group, lost in his own little world. His thoughts were interupted as a loud knock was heard on the door of the office.
Everyone in the room looked from one another in suprise. Ishikawa moved to the door and opened it to see who was there. They were greeted by three men in matching black suites. One of them had a visor covering his eyes. The lead man in the visor nodded to Ishikawa and walked past him into the office.
The man looked at the four agents, "Which one of you is the Chief of Section Number Nine?"
Ishikawa glared at the man, "Havent you heard the news? The Chief of Section 9 is dead."
The man frowned and glared right back, "You dont think I know that? I am the Head of Section 5, Uto Hoshomo. What I meant was who is the new Chief?"
The agents looked at one another. They hadnt even thought of who would take over after Aramaki was gone. They're thoughts were answered however as Bateau stood, "You can tell me whatever you need to say." He said.
Hoshomo nodded and turned to face him. The two were practically identical. Both were the same size. The only difference was the visor and bald head Hoshomo had, "Very well." He cleared his throat and took a document from the hand of one of his friends. He handed it to Bateau.
Bateau opened the envelope and read the document silently. He spoke afterwards in an angry tone, "What the hell is this?"
"That is a offical notice from the goverment that as of right now, Public Security Section 9 has been removed from the ranks of the goverment." A hidden smirk crossed the face of Hoshomo, "After the death of Aramaki, it was clear that Section 9 was falling apart. That document in your hands is just doing what would happen in due time anyways."
"Bull shit!" Bateau said in rage.
Hoshomo shrugged and turned to leave, "Whatever you say isnt going to change the verdict. Section 9 is no more and Section 5 is taking over all of your investigations. Dont worry about transferring your files onto the Section 5 database. They've all laready been copied and put into our network. I expect all of the originals to be deleted from Section 9's database as soon as possible. Good day, gentleman." With that, Section 5 left the room.
Bateau sat down in his chair and gritted his teeth. Togusa looked at the new chief, "What now?"
The room went silent as each of the men contemplayed what had just gone down. Aramaki was dead, Major Kusanagi was still alive, and Section 9 was no more. Bateau looked up and spoke firmly, "I dont know." He said and stood, "but right now, I'm gonna find out what the hell was in that hacker's memory."
The large cyborg moved to Aramaki's computer and sat down behind the large desk. The remainder of the former Section 9 moved behind him and watched as Bateau confirmed his identification and waited for the document to open.
Ishikawa spoke up behind Bateau, "Dont bother looking at the images. I got them covered."
Nodding, Bateau activated the message that was left in the hacker's mind. He waited as the file began to load, "Has anyone looked at this yet?" He asked.
The answer was all the same. No one had bothered to check the speech file yet. The only one who tried to look at it was dead. Finally, the loading was complete and the group listened to the message.
A long line of static played through the speakers of the private computer with a few hints of words in the background. It couldnt be said what the voice was saying or who the voice was. The group listened for anything they could make out. Nothing was audible to them until the end neared of the message.
Behind a large film of static, Bateau was able to make out four numbers. Four familiar numbers. 2501. He glanced behind him to see if any of his friends had heard it but it appeared as though he was the only one. The message came to and end and the group let out a unified sigh.
Togusa shook his head, "I didnt get anything outta that. Did any of you?"
Ishikawa and Chigako both added similar responses and Bateau spoke up, "Nope, nothing." He said although he didnt know why. There was no need for him to cover up the information but for some reason, he felt the need to. He shook his head and looked up to Ishikawa, "You got those images cleared up?"
"Only one." He said, "The others are all so messed up it'll take me days to figure them out."
"Go ahead and show us the one you got."
Ishikawa nodded and moved to Aramaki's desk. He reached behind the computer and pulled out a adapter wire and plugged himself into the PC. After a few seconds of silence, he said that he was ready.
On the computer screen, a small image of a building popped up. Ishikawa enlarged it so the group could see it better then spoke, "This place look familiar?"
Everyone studied the building quietly until Ishikawa interuppted them, "It's the Megatech building. This pic is pretty recent."
Bateau sat back in his seat and looked at the image. Chigako took a seat on the desk, "So, what's it mean?"
"From what I can see." Ishikawa said, "It could mean several things. A place of meeting, an order to hack more MT cyborgs, a target, a hideout. I'm not sure which it is."
Togusa scratched his head in frustration, "What's the plan then, boss?" He threw the question towards Bateau.
The large cyborg stood, "I aint your boss." He said steadily then moved out from behind the desk, "I dunno what the plan is. All I can say is that I'm going to investigate that Megatech building."
"Sounds good to me. I'm in." Togusa said.
"No." Bateau stopped the human in his tracks, "You need to go home and spend time with your wife." A slight smile came across his face, "I'm guessing the Mrs has been pretty lonely these past few days." Togusa seemed ready to protest but the cyborg cut him off, "That's the order, Togusa. If you say I'm the 'boss' then follow it."
The ex-cop sat down in frustration and Ishikawa was next, "Then I'll go with ya."
"I already got a job for you, Ishikawa." Bateau turned towards the bearded cyborg, "and it's kinda important. When I go into the building, I need you to monitor each floor I go on. Keep me up to date on any other movement, alright? I'm guessing the real hacker will have this place guarded plus, I bet Megatech wouldnt leave without leaving some killer guards or something."
He nodded, "Sure thing, Bateau."
Bateau smiled, "And dont you start, New Guy." He looked to Chigako, "You got the same orders as Togusa. Go home and take care of those grandparents of your's. Oh, and maybe try to find some girl. It aint healthy spending all your time with old folks and us."
Chigako chuckled and nodded without protest. Bateau then moved to the rest of the group, "Everyone got your orders? Alright then, Togusa and Chigako. Get out of here." The two stood and grimly said farewell to their friend and new leader before leaving. Bateau then turned to Ishikawa, "Hang around. I'll give you a call when I'm ready to get going."
Ishikawa nodded and took a seat. He yawned and stretched, "No problem, Chief."
Later that day, when the Sun was beginning to set. Bateau went back to the docks where he new he would see his newest companion. Just as he thought, the old fisherman sat on the docks with his and Bateau's rod in hand.
The old man smiled up at the large man, "Welcome back. You're late."
Bateau took his seat and his pole, "Yeah. Tough day at work."
"Really? What's up?"
"I got promoted." Bateua said flately. The old gentleman looked up at his friend and Bateau chuckled, "It's not like that. An old friend of mine died and I took his place."
"Oh." He looked down, "Well that's too bad."
"Yeah." Bateua took a long sip of the beer he had with him, "I cant stay long, gramps. I gotta big job tonight."
The old man nodded, "You dont sound too happy. Ya gotta bad feeling about this one, son?"
"Kind of." He was quiet for a moment, "It's strange. I've got this feeling that something's gonna happen. Actually, I also have a feeling that I might be meeting an old friend tonight."
"Well, I'm sure she'll be happy to see you." The old man said with a grin.
Bateau nodded and laid his rod down, "Thanks, old man." He stood with a yawn, "I guess I'll see you when I see you."
"I guess so. Hopefully soon."
"Yeah." With that, Bateau left the docks and headed for his car. It wasnt until he reached the automobile that he started to wonder how the old man knew that his friend was a she.
To Be Continued...