Monday, December 13, 2010

He Who Calls – Chapter 2

The next morning, Nakajima and Feed sat in the Demon Banishment Project room, waiting for Narukawa's arrival. Lately, the roles of the three men in the project had changed. At this point Nakajima was more of a warrior than a programmer. During the day he spent his time training with the sword of Hi-no-Kagutsuchi, and at night he went scouting with Kerberos for any traces of Yumiko. While Narukawa was working with the police to track down Ohara and Yumiko, he was also absorbed in tracking down computers capable of demon summoning. Since the project was top-secret, it was unlikely that there would be any further help. While leading the team as a whole, Feed was immersed in writing the Demon Banishment Program.

"Nakajima, are you sure you shouldn't let your father in LA know about your mother?" Feed asked, his reddened eyes not leaving the screen.

"If I did, my father would probably come back to Japan. And he might end up as yet another casualty. In retrospect, it was foolish of me not to have thought of Yumiko's family and mine...."

Nakajima looked at Feed with an expression of conflict the likes of which he had never shown before. To him, the death of his mother was difficult to separate from his own fate; she had died at the hands of demons he had summoned. It reminded him all too well that he would never be safe until those demons were defeated.

Feed sighed and saved his program.

"Is it finished, Professor?"

"For the time being, yes. If you had done the programming, I bet it would have been finished a lot faster." Relieved, Feed stretched his weary muscles.

"I think I'll be able to help in the debugging at least."

"No, that would just be a waste of time for a warrior. Don't forget about Craft. It can help in that regard."

Feed set up his modem. His intent was to send the program to the AI set up in Massachusetts and have it perform the finishing touches. As Feed started communicating with Craft, Narukawa burst into the room.

"From analyzing some hair left at the scene, we were able to determine that it was Ohara that slaughtered the Shirasagi family. The police are going nuts. The missing persons incident at Jusho High hasn't even been solved yet, and now one of the missing student's families gets murdered. We currently have one thousand patrolmen searching for Ohara." Unable to restrain his emotion, Narukawa gave his report.

"Have they found any leads?"

"Yes. There have been some people who spotted her, but...on the night of the murders, several witnesses reported seeing her near both Kichijoji and Ota Ward, so the search is in total disarray right now."

"I think the former is more likely. Have a look." Nakajima pointed at the display next to him. On screen was a map of Tokyo with several red lines drawn on it.

"I've had Kerberos try and track Yumiko's path that night. After coming to my house from her own, she headed off in the direction of Musashino." Holding back emotion, Nakajima paused a moment.

"I think that Yumiko was chasing Ohara. And right after that, something must have happened to her..."

"But doesn't Yumiko possess great psychic power?"

"I'm sure that Ohara herself wouldn't have been any problem for her. But when you take into account Yumiko's state of mind that evening..."

Nakajima could say no more. Yumiko had saved his life that night, but he still held some uncontrollable resentment toward her for what she did. But considering what she must have felt when she had come to see him that night, he felt even greater regret and affection for her. At this point, his direct participation in the Demon Banishment Project was solely to find where she had gone.

"Hmm...I can't understand why anyone would have spotted her in Ota. Of course, if there's some sort of organization behind all of this, I could see how false information could have been spread to throw us off the scent. Narukawa, is there any chance the Cabinet Intelligence and Research Office could help? I know the Japanese police force is excellent, but I think they're a little out of their league here."

"Our main job is to collect information from abroad. With less than 1% of the manpower of the CIA, we can't work on collecting domestic information as well." Narukawa's response was not helpful.

"Besides, I think it's a little bit rash to say that this is the work of an organization on some level. At the very least, just connecting the dots from what we know, it seems perfectly plausible that this was all done out of Ohara's personal grudge."

The sound of a signal arriving from the modem echoed throughout the room.

"It's from Craft."

"The Demon Banishment Program is finished then?"
Drawn in by the other two as they rushed over to the main computer, Narukawa also looked at the display. "How much will the Demon Banishment Program help?"

"If we install this program into a computer's OS, it will destroy any digital devil sent to it. At the moment, it will only work as a self-defense mechanism."

"So what you're saying is, no demon can be summoned to a computer with this program in it?" Narukawa nodded as if he wasn't really sure whether he understood or not.


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