|The Kenji Files
Author: Helbereth PM
Kenji Setou and Emi Ibarazaki have moved on from their days at Yamaku and become agents with a multi-national organization. Investigating strange happenings, the mismatched pair fight against or work with the disparate denizens of their respective worlds, seeking answers and uncovering truths.Rated: Fiction T - English - Sci-Fi/Drama - & Kenji S. - Chapters: 5 - Words: 11,254 - Favs: 1 - Follows: 1 - Updated: 09-17-12 - Published: 08-21-12 - id: 8452032
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
The Kenji Files:
Dark Garden Part 4
Out of Eden
No matter how many times he looked out the door, the racing thoughts in his head wouldn't subside. Wracking his brain, recalling the base schematics he studied, Kenji remembered a flaw in the design and planned to use it to slip out of the base through a low-security area. Whether it would actually work or not, it was about the only way to slip out unnoticed; short of climbing through a ventilation shaft.
Unfortunately, he would need help, and Ibarazaki was his go-to person for assistance in all things conspiracy-related. Even though she didn't necessarily believe him most of the time, her curiosity usually worked in his favor. However, after being drugged, kidnapped, stripped, hog-tied, left for dead and then carried, naked, through the woods, she was probably not going to be happy to see him.
Getting out of his room was simple enough; he claimed Laromy was suffering a diabetic attack and that drew attention away while he wandered to the stairwell. He was free to roam the facility, really, but the diversion kept a fair number of people from looking his way; or noticing their coming escape.
Truthfully, he was probably being over-cautious in his approach. The NPC was a good-natured organization by all accounts, and he doubted they were involved in anything malicious, but they weren't above suspicion. Too many things about this escapade didn't sit right, and it seemed like his agency was somehow involved. Ibarazaki would understand that, he thought; she was always suspicious of coincidences.
That thought in mind, he finally knocked on the door and listened for her groggy, but cheerful reply, "Nurse, I'm fine, really! I just need sleep."
Feeling a little bad about disturbing her, Kenji pushed through the door and replied, "it's not Nurse, Emi." Using her first name, rather than the more formal surname, was how Kenji let her know he was serious.
"Oh it's you," she replied in a mirthless monotone. "Whatever you want, don't even bother," she balked, "we can figure this out after we get some rest; go back to your room."
Her apparent willingness to investigate perked his frown up, but her intent to wait leveled his smile into a grimace. "We might not get the chance," he explained, looking at her earnestly, "Laromy told me they're planning to black-book it."
That made her eye him suspiciously, but her expression didn't seem annoyed so much as intrigued. Taking a few strides across the room, her new prosthesis remaining eerily silent, she reached for a hair tie on the small desk and wrapped her hair into a tight ponytail, sighing audibly. Looking at him squarely, she rolled her eyes and inquired, "I assume you're planning to go gallivanting off to figure it out before they start dropping napalm?"
Her reference to napalm made Kenji cringe; that was a long time ago, but the scarred patch on the back of his leg still kept him awake some nights. "Paper cover-up, mostly," Kenji retorted, suspecting it wasn't a problem that needed a fiery cleansing, "I dunno about you, but I'd rather know who stuffed us in that shed for three days; if we uncover something else-"
"Fine, shut up, I'll help," Ibarazaki interjected, slapping Kenji's shoulder and heading toward the door. "How's Laromy?" she asked as she twisted the knob.
"Delightfully complicit," Kenji replied, hoping she didn't turn to see his smirk. Not that she'd likely have any problem with him choking their boss out and leaving him on the floor of his room, but there was no need for her to know those details.
Having expected more resistance, Kenji was somewhat perplexed by her unusually fast agreement, prompting him to inquire, "why so little argument?"
"Peace of mind," she replied, shrugging as they stepped out into the darkened hall, "and this whole thing smells like shit; maybe your spleen isn't wrong this time."
What she didn't tell Kenji at the time, was that Nurse had laid out the whole scenario while going over the new features on her new Cheetah Mach-Threes. Having browsed the file before it was rescinded, he was equally displeased with the apparent silence coming from his superiors, and advised that she should seek answers despite the likelihood of a cover-up. Kenji showing up and relating a similar tale was just the last straw pushing her toward seeking out the veiled truth about their waylay.
Inquiring about how he planned to get out of the acropolis unnoticed, Ibarazaki leveled a barrage of questions at Kenji, to which he had already worked out the answers. Once they got down to the bottom level, it was a simple matter of crossing the hydroponic bay and blasting a hole through a rock wall leading into the service tunnels. Since they were disused after construction finished, few patrols wandered the perimeter there, and their exit would probably go undetected.
Walking through the halls of UQC-13, they were both respected agents of NPC. Well, maybe not respected, but they wouldn't be bothered. Kenji had a reputation for being sullen and confrontational, which meant few of the other agents wanted to associate with him, but he thought that was fine. Ibarazaki was the personable one, and that showed as they neared the armory.
Grinning through her distaste for the formality, the guards outside the door saluted Agent Ibarazaki, sneering at her cohort, as they slipped into the well-lit room stocked with enough firepower to arm world war three. Mostly a blurry mess of black, white and gray to Kenji, the room was not one they usually bothered with, but if they were going back to Purgatory Chasm, or Kingsmouth, they would want to be prepared.
Ibarazaki walked straight across the room to a rack containing the new M90-Z Light-Wave Disruptor Rifles; her personal favorite general-purpose weapon. Designed to imitate the look of a typical assault rifle, the M90-Z had a black stock and long barrel, hair trigger, sights, and protrusions along the bottom to imitate ammunition, but the internal workings were something to be admired. Using fractal light generated by a plasma power cell hidden inside its unusually thick stock, the internal workings were mostly classified, but, essentially, it shot bursts of highly charged particles using technology born from experiments at CERN's LHC in Switzerland.
Kenji hoped the safety was on.
Choosing a normal nine millimeter sidearm and strapping it on under her coat, Ibarazaki tucked the rifle into a suitcase and waited for Kenji to make a decision. Never being particularly handy with firearms, largely because of his poor vision, Kenji usually avoided carrying them; but this was no time to be gun-shy; especially with her disapproving grimace fixed on him. Deciding on a smaller K-21 "Jimmy" Focused-Laser rifle, the older model, he dropped that into a similar metallic case and chose another nine-millimeter Beretta for his sidearm.
Strapping it under his coat similarly, Kenji smirked and commented, "maybe we won't need them."
"Whoever left us in the woods naked like that is at least losing a few limbs," she quipped as they exited the room. The guards looked them over suspiciously, mostly at the cases, but Ibarazaki's smile and curt pace left them speechless; she had a way of ending conflicts without letting them start.
NPC was a vigilant organization, Kenji realized, and they certainly had secrets to keep. Keeping ahead of their security measures would be hit or miss, and a fair amount of luck was required for his plan to work. Ibarazaki seemed to agree. Keeping her usually bouncy gait subdued, she walked just ahead, watching for curious bystanders.
Few people were out this late, but anyone could be suspicious at this hour. Thus, like following the speed limit when you're smuggling weed in the trunk, they walked quietly through the halls and down the stairs, then across the courtyard toward the section marked as Hydroponics.
Taking the K-21 was actually partly because of this upcoming hurdle, Kenji figured the sustained setting could cut a gash wide enough for he and Ibarazaki to slip through. He hadn't counted on her expertise having been assigned to guard duty for her first year with the NPC.
Finding a hidden panel in the rock wall, she lifted away the keypad and reached her slender arm into the hole it left. Feeling around for a moment, she smirked when her hand found what she was looking for; apparently the rock wall was another illusion. The sound of crackling metal followed as she strained to pull something out of the wall. A moment later, a metallic crunch made it through the hole and she jerked away, still holding the wires she had ripped from their housing.
The rock wall fizzled and vanished, replaced with an oddly shaped door that opened into a dark hallway. Hefting her Beretta out of its holster and flicking on the front-mounted light, she gave Kenji a wink and began walking through the door. Following closely, Kenji shook his head at his lack of knowledge, lifting his own Beretta out of its holster to add a second light to their foray.
"This leads out to a hangar," Ibarazaki remarks as they walk, keeping her voice low. "Nurse mentioned a package would be waiting there," she continued, not taking her eyes off the diffused beam of white light, "whatever you stumbled on, even he thought I should help."
Maybe Nurse wasn't so bad after-all.
A clicking sound from down the hall somewhere stopped their slow advance, and Kenji crouched, blotting out his light while Ibarazaki switched hers off, and waited, listening for more. If there was one advantage Kenji had over Ibarazaki, it was his hearing. Though he still relied heavily on his blurry vision, when in a situation where it became totally useless, his hearing was quite keen.
Hearing another clicking sound, this time closer, he patted his partner's shoulder and gestured in its direction. Still uncertain of its source, he stood and began leading toward the sound. Finding a t-junction, he flattened against the left wall while Ibarazaki took the right. Sidling to the edge and peering around it, the clicking sound became clear; there stood Nurse.
Fiddling with a handgun of some kind in one hand, he paced back and forth, lit by a hazy beam of light emanating from somewhere down the hall behind him. Rolling his eyes at Nurse's apparent lack of stealth, Kenji nodded toward Ibarazaki, and they slid around the corner, each taking a side of the hall as they approached.
"Nurse?" Ibarazaki whispered as they neared. He started and spun, pointing his handgun aimlessly into the darkness. "It's me, Emi!" she protested, "don't shoot!"
His shoulders relaxed and he dropped the gun down, recognizing her voice. "Those new spikes are damn quiet!" he remarked excitedly, "good thing you said something or I'd have plugged you both."
"The safety is on," Ibarazaki noted patting his shoulder as she passed by, "good thing you're not an agent."
"Is he coming with us now?" Kenji inquired, still uncertain how the grinning man got word of their imminent departure.
"I texted him our plan," she said nonchalantly, "while you were fumbling around in the armory."
"You realize they'll track that," Kenji lamented.
"Fuck 'em," she retorted, "their red tape just makes getting things done a giant hassle."
Her animosity was to be expected, but her tone seemed ominous. Kenji wondered what else she might be planning after this excursion, but perhaps it was better to leave it alone until they had a chance to finish what they started. Quieting his questions, Kenji followed the mismatched pair out to a loading dock constructed in a giant cavern.
Docked along the edge of a cement pier were a number of small watercraft, but they didn't hold his attention for long. Instead his gaze fell upon an angular, black helicopter parked on a raised platform. It appeared similar to the one they had been picked up in from Kingsmouth, though the only crew appeared to be a tall, skinny fellow with long sandy hair and a clipboard suspended under his left arm. Wearing a flight-suit and aviator sunglasses, despite being in a dark cavern, the pilot seemed familiar, but Kenji couldn't quite make out his face.
"Fueled and ready, Emi," he remarked, his throaty voice echoing into the hollow cavern, "say the word and we're airborne in two minutes."
"You remember Nurse, of course; and this is Kenji," Ibarazaki stated as they crossed the platform.
"I remember him," the man replied, "skittish guy in one-seventeen, right? Friend of that fellow you dated for a while, as I recall." Evidently he knew who Kenji was, but neither his voice nor his face seemed to clarify anything.
Ibarazaki, springing ahead, wrapped the tall man in a friendly hug and then backed away to turn and introduce him. "This is Jun Yamata," she stated, holding a hand out, "though you might remember him better as the Track Captain."
Offering a quick salute of sorts, merely brushing his forehead with two of his grease-stained fingers, Jun nodded and added, "pleasure to make your acquaintance, again."
"How did he get in past security?" Nurse inquired, apparently not javing been kept informed of everything.
"Sora's a stealth chopper," Jun explained, "armed with radar jamming, sonar deflection and the latest in hull design. Best not to go into too much detail, but suffice to say, the NPCs ain't got a chance of seeing her unless I want 'em to."
"Fire her up, Jun," Ibarazaki interjected, hopping into the cabin. Tossing her smart-phone out into the water, she added, "rather not give them any more time to find out we've gone."
"On it!" Jun replied, already in his seat before Kenji could even close the distance and join Ibarazaki. Nurse following a moment later, they belted into the seats and closed the door. Until the chopper actually started lifting off, Kenji hadn't even considered how they might get out of the cavern, but he soon realized the plan was to follow the water, flying barely inches off the surface, through an opening leading out into a nearby bay.
Whatever else Jun knew, he was apparently a skilled pilot.
Slipping out into the night, Kenji looked around at the other passengers and wondered just how much trouble he'd really gottten them into. This business with Kingsmouth and Purgatory Chasm seemed like something sinister that needed to be dealt with, but he worried the cost might be too great.
Maybe his spleen had led them astray afterall.