Chapter 2: The White Queen

Miyako cracked her gum and smiled to herself. She had spotted her prey. He was doomed.

She hummed a pleasant tune as she sat in her office cubicle in front of six large flat panel displays. The panels surrounded her high-backed ergonomic chair in a 120 degree arc. Her hands flew on the back-lit computer keyboard at high speed as she launched her avatars against the enemy hacker, and they dived in for the kill.

Meanwhile, her opponent was desperately trying to flee her ambush. A few seconds earlier he had detected the White Queen and had fired off several daemons in a panicky attempt to cover his escape. The daemons were coursing through the server, erasing the security audit logs, the USN journal, the NTFS MFT tables, everything. Miyako saw that the enemy was using some rather sophisticated techniques to try to save his skin: multi-threading with Robin Hood/Friar Tuck (to survive thread kills), dynamic polymorphism (to evade signature detection), rotating cipher suites (to avoid bruteforce decryption), and more.

She was impressed.

Hey, this guy is good.

But she was better.

Miyako leaned forward in her chair, her eyes shining.

Oooh... this guy is making it fun.

She loved to watch her prey struggle.

It was because she hated them. People.

Now, she loved humanity. Indeed, she donated regularly to several charities. She helped the poor, the sick, orphans, the victims. Yes, she loved humanity.

It was just people she couldn't stand.

Why? The reason was simple.

A person could hurt her. A person could betray her. A person could forsake her. A person could abandon her. People are hurtful and cruel.

But never a computer.

A computer could be trusted. They were predictable. They were safe. They did what they were told.

And Miyako was their master.

In her mind a computer could never betray her, not like a person could. Not like one particular person could. Not like one particular person that she trusted could. Not like one particular person that she trusted for the first and only time in her entire life since childhood could. Not like one particular person that she trusted for the first and only time in her entire life since childhood and had married and gave her body and soul to could.

Not like Hiro Hirono could.


Interlude

Yuu Himura entered the church and laid the bouquet of flowers at the altar. He then lit a candle, as was his custom.

He stood up, stepped back, and waited patiently and respectfully.

He waited.

He waited some more.

Nothing happened.

Something was wrong. He looked around. Normally at this point she materialized on a ledge far above the altar. But this time she wasn't there.

He turned and looked back toward the empty church pews. Nobody was there either.

Where in the world was she? She promised...

Then Yuu heard someone clearing their throat. He whirled around and faced the source of the sound.

A man was standing at the pulpit. He was tall and thin, dressed in a stylish white tuxedo with a white bow tie. His hands wore white gloves. His long black hair was tied in the back in an elegant pony tail.

The man made a bow like a virtuoso violinist receiving applause at the end of a successful concert.

"Hello, old friend. It's good to see you again. You're looking well."

Yuu stared in shock. "You.. what.."

The man said, "I do apologize. Yuuko feels bad about breaking her promise to see you today, but I assure you it was not her fault. Don't worry, she will return soon. She was called away on important business, you see. So she sent me to be her temporary replacement. I hope you don't mind."

Yuu blinked his eyes in confusion.

The man went on."I admit I'm only a trainee. I don't even have a third class license." He rolled his eyes. "Yes, I know, I know, technically it's against the rules for me to be on Earth at all. But she gave me a field promotion to third class so I could come down. She said it was because it would be best if you talked with somebody you already knew. Isn't that nice? That woman is so considerate. I really do like her."

Then the man sighed wistfully. "You know, Yuu, I wish I knew her better in high school before I left for Germany. You never talked about her, not really. Of course, I knew from the way you acted that she was the love of your life, and I knew from her weird behavior and all the gossip surrounding her in high school that she was pretty messed up psychologically, but, wow, I never realized that she had such a beautiful soul. Especially after all that horrible suffering that she endured. If I did I might have even stolen her away from you, heh. Just kidding. Anyway, I was so surprised when I met her up here, with her first class rank and everything. I had no idea she had that kind of authority. That's why she was able to give me a field promo to third class, you see. It was so I could walk down the light-stairs and meet you like this. I even heard a rumor that she's in line for a rod. Isn't that incredible? A rod! Yuu, there are levels of authority up here that you simply would not believe. Humans like her can rule whole mansions, and.."

He paused and looked up. "Oh, sorry. Yes sir. Uh, I'm digressing. Not supposed to do that. Excuse me. Ahem. Okay, right, let's get back on track, shall we?" He cleared his throat again. "Anyway, as I said, Yuuko cannot be here with us today, so I will do the best I can as her replacement. Like I said it's only temporary. I hope that's okay with you? Please respond."

"..."

"You have to agree. It's required. C'mon, just say 'yes'. Otherwise I have to leave."

"Er.."

Kuze crossed his arms. He had a mildly annoyed look on his face. "Just nod your head, dummy."

Yuu nodded dumbly.

"Great!" Kuze whipped out a large book and started flipping pages. "Okay, my notes say we're going to review Job today." He put the open book on the lectern and placed his white-gloved hands on the rails. "You ready?"

"Uh.."

He beamed at his new student. "Wonderful! Let's begin. Basically, the story of Job explains the nature of our relationship with God and how it actually is intended to work. You see, our relationship with Him is not supposed to be master-and-slave. It is supposed to be parent-and-child. The distinction might seem minor to someone like you, but believe me, once you get up here you realize that it is of supreme importance. In fact, it is central to the Bible's whole thesis. Verses 1:10-11 explain why. You see, it all started when Satan visited God and said to Him..."

Yuu stared incomprehensibly at his former best friend as the tall man continued to burble away happily in the church pulpit.


Miyako was a white hat, a computer hacker who worked for the good guys. And she loved her job: Hunting down the human scum that infected cyberspace, finding them, tracking them, discovering their physical location, uncovering their True Names, and handing their sorry asses over to the authorities.

She was sitting on the main operations floor of Nippon Technology Services (NTS), the new IT security/services start-up firm that was recently founded by the Akarui Iriamuzu, formerly the CTO of Nippon Telephone and Telegraph (NTT), Japan's largest telecommunications firm.

Iriamuzu had the financial backing of the flamboyant multi-billionaire tycoon, Hozon Hanbai. It was Hanbai who gave Iriamuzu the necessary startup capital to found NTS. In return, Hanbai held a 70% ownership interest in the firm. With Hanbai's considerable financial help Iriamuzu had poached away some of NTT's best IT security talent to help launch the new company. That included a certain young and promising (and rather attractive) computer security expert named Miyako Hirono nee Miyamura.

NTS was headquartered on the 5th through 7th floors of Hanbai Tower, the tallest office building in Otowa. The firm specialized in high-level computer counter-espionage. In the four months since its splashy rollout in the media, NTS was already becoming a major force to be reckoned with in the murky world of computer information warfare and defense, having landed some lucrative contracts with several major Japanese corporations to protect their most precious online secrets from their enemies.

The new firm was now well known in the cyberdefense business. What few people knew was that much of the fearsome rep of NTS was due to the skills of one particular anonymous NTS agent. The only thing anyone knew for certain was that a mysterious white hat was now laying waste to whole segments of the hacker community. By now the enemy knew about her, and they feared her. They called her the White Queen. Except for her boss, Iriamuzu, no one inside nor outside of NTS knew who the White Queen actually was, other than the fact that it was a female.

But eventually one of the black hats managed to dox the White Queen and auctioned off the valuable intel for a princely sum. It was purchased by an angry black hatter who promptly tried to SWAT Miyako's home in retaliation for her previous bust of his lucrative botnet and stolen credit-card database, which had gotten him in hot water with the Russian Business Network (RBN). But instead of raiding Miyako's home, the police SWAT team somehow ended up raiding the hacker's own home address. How the switch happened was a mystery, and nobody was talking. However it was done, the short pimply-faced hikikomori hacker was summarily frog-marched by the SWAT team out of his parents' basement in handcuffs with his shirt pulled up to hide his face from the reporters present outside, who were also somehow tipped off about the impending raid.

And so the black hats feared the White Queen. They fled like blind termites from an upturned nest any time she exposed one of their online lairs, which was now happening more and more often.

Miyako leaned further forward in her high-backed chair and watched the panels flicker as her eyes glittered in their reflected glow.

Go ahead, try to run from me. I got you nailed, you bastard.

In her mind, all men were bastards. After Hiro Hirono had stabbed her in the back, she vowed that she would never let anyone betray and hurt her like that ever again. She knew that no man could be trusted. The only question was when, not if, the next betrayal would happen.

And so after she had divorced Hiro she moved out of his apartment and went back to the large empty estate where she was originally lived during her childhood. Once back into her old rooms, on a whim she purchased a fancy mail-order PC and had it installed with a high speed Internet connection. She played around with it, and soon she discovered that she was very good with computers, a natural adept. This was not surprising given her aptitude and intelligence. After all, she had breezed through Otobane Private Academy, having been ranked at the top of her class despite a terrible attendance record. She somehow managed to get top marks in mathematics, physics, writing, history, and all her other subjects while hardly ever attending class.

She snapped her gum as she sat in her office cubicle. She grinned at her six computer screens as her avatars spin their sticky web around her entrapped prey. The walls of her cubicle her were festooned with posters of various famous anime/manga heroines, all of whom were loners: Madoka Kaname from Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Matoko Kusinagi from Ghost in the Shell, Shiki Ryougi from Kara no Kyoukai: The Garden of Sinners. A Kyubey plushie sat in a corner and looked at Miyako with its adorable red eyes and big white fluffy tail. She made no secret of the fact that she was a bit of an otaku, which was not surprising given that she was married to a mangaka for almost four years.

The odd thing was, nobody realized that she was a total recluse, an athazagoraphobic who had absolutely no friends at all. It was because her parents had ignored their young daughter and had emotionally abandoned her during their endless fights and eventual divorce. Afterwards, Miyako had lived in the large empty house alone with her mother, who had become increasingly bedridden with severe depression until she had to be institutionalized when Miyako was 12, having totally neglected her only daughter for years.

All that childhood isolation had put a permanent scar on Miyako's heart. The young girl basically raised herself alone: feeding herself and her bedridden mother, doing the shopping for them both, cleaning the laundry, washing the floors. After her mother was taken away she did not want to be taken away as well, so Miyako used her wits to keep her freedom by constructing a clever ruse to fool the child-protection authorities. And then afterward she had carefully built up an elaborate fiction that her mother had returned home from the hospital and was again taking care of her. She managed to fool the school, her neighbors, the mailman, everyone. She did it for years. Nobody knew that she was in fact living completely alone in that large empty house.

She continued to attend school to make proper appearances. While at school she presented herself as a cheerful, happy-go-lucky girl. But it was just another ruse. Her heart was dark on the inside, and she trusted no one.

Wearing her fake happy-go-lucky exterior, she had become rather popular in high school, but only on a superficial level. With her yellow hair ribbons, her attractive looks, and genki-girl personality, Miyako Miyamura had reminded some people of Haruhi Suzumiya. But Miyako joined no school clubs, nor did she attend any school extracurricular activities. Nor was she blithely oblivious like Haruhi Suzumiya. Miyako knew exactly what she was doing.

She was often the center of school gossip. Whenever she made one of her infrequent appearances in class, the other girls would whisper excitedly behind her back, and the boys would dare each other to make a pass at her. Often she was bored, so when the most aggressive boys invariably tried to approach her, she sometimes took them up on it, flirting with them in turn, teasing them, making them think they might have a chance with her. With the biggest jerks she'd sometimes play with them, even going so far as to actually date them. The she'd casually slam them down in public, shaming them, destroying their fat male egos. And she'd do all with a charming smile and with the appearance of perfect innocence to anyone watching.

The funny thing was that nobody noticed how isolated she really was. She successfully hid the fact that she had no real friends. She was so cheerful, outgoing, and fun to be around that everyone had just assumed that she must have a really good reason for missing school so much. She must doing something really exciting outside of school. Otherwise why would she so rarely attend class? The speculation was rampant throughout the campus. One rumor was that she was in fact a secret fashion model working in another country. Another rumor was that she was actually an undercover police officer like on 21 Jump Street. The rumors continued to fly furiously, and it amused her to no end.

Christmas time was approaching. She was feeling depressed again, as she always did during that happy time of year, the joyous season when everyone went home to the see their families. She herself had no family. She never did, and she believed she never would.

On that particular Christmas Eve she had felt even more depressed than usual. That evening she slowly walked home from the empty movie theater, her head down.

Then a thief ran up behind her and snatched her purse. She ran after the culprit, but he was too fast for her to catch, so she grabbed a bicycle that was parked in front of the nearby church. A boy her age ran out of the church and yelled at her to stop as she pedaled off in hot pursuit.

But she was not used to riding a bicycle on a rough cobblestone street, and she hit a bump which tossed her right off the bike. She flew head-over-heels over the handlebars, hitting her head on smartly the pavement and she fell unconscious.

When she finally awoke again, she found that the same boy was now learning over her prostrate form, his pleasant-looking face now very close to her own. It seemed to her almost as if he was going to kiss her.

Wait, is this guy trying to take advantage of an unconscious girl? How typical!

But no, he wasn't. She saw that his face was filled with worry and concern for her.

She jumped up and ran after the thief on foot. The boy yelled and followed, huffing and puffing. Eventually they both collapsed on a park bench together, exhausted. The thief had gotten away.

She expected the boy to berate her for stealing and then wrecking his bike. But no, instead the boy continued to show concern for her. He wanted to escort her to the hospital to make sure that she was all right. After all, she was unconscious and so she might have suffered a closed head injury. He earnestly asked her several questions: Did she have a headache? Diziness? Nausea? Stiff neck? She reassured him that she was fine.

She felt touched by his concern. This boy was different. He was nothing like leering boys in school that had only one thing on their mind - the ones she had teased and then publicly humiliated. He thought of her not as a potential conquest, but as a person. She could see that he genuinely cared for her. He really did.

She giggled, then she jumped up and dragged Hiro along with her into the night. He protested meekly as she pulled him with her hand towards the beachfront, skipping and laughing in the brisk night air.

She smiled at her rescuer. "Thank you so much."

"For what?"

"Thank you so much for worrying about me."

"What are you talking about?"

"You are so nice." She smiled at him.

"Shut up, you're embarrassing me. And, uh, you need to go to the hospital."

She laughed.

It started to gently snow. Again she felt giddy.

She twirled joyfully in front of him. He started to fidget a bit.

She wondered why she was doing it. Why was she flirting with him like this? Normally she only did her over-the-top flirting-act with the aggressive jerks, the ones she detested, teasing them, stringing them along for a bit before slamming them down with a seemingly innocent rejection that was in fact totally humiliating.

But there was no reason for her to treat this boy that way. He was nothing like those jerks. He was gentle. He was kind. So why was she doing her usual come-on act?

It felt like she was acting on auto-pilot, that she herself was just some detached and disinterested neutral observer who was watching events play out from above.

Why am I doing this?

Was it because of the head injury? Or was it something else?

Then she felt it again, that empty feeling in the pit of her stomach.

Finally, she understood. She knew the reason.

It was because she did not want to be alone. Not for another Christmas. Not again.

Be with me.

"Amazing! Snow!" She continued to twirl and laugh as she put out her hands to collect the tender snowflakes.

I don't want to be alone. Not tonight.

She stopped and faced him again, putting her hands coyly behind her back while leaning forward slightly.

"Hey, isn't this kind of romantic? Sharing a White Christmas with someone?"

He said awkwardly, "Uh.. I guess." He was so adorable.

She decided to tease him. "Don't act so cool."

Her next words surprised even herself.

She said quietly, "No one wants to be alone tonight."

It was because, for the first time that she could remember, she realized that she was willingly opening up and revealing herself to another person.

He shrugged, "Whatever. I'm fine on my own. Always have been."

Huh? He must have misunderstood what she was saying. He had thought that she was talking about him, not her.

What did he say? Did he say that he was a loner too?

The empty feeling in her stomach got stronger.

"Not me. I can't stand being alone." Again, the quiet bitterness in her voice surprised both of them.

Things began to get awkward. She felt embarrassed. And that itself was weird. Usually she never cared what anyone else thought of her.

Eventually the pair got over their mutual awkwardness and started over with proper introductions. His name was Hiro Hirono. Her name was Miyako Miyamura. She playfully mocked his name, "Hiro Hiro..?" He mocked hers. "Miya Miya..?"They both laughed.

Then she approached him and leaned forward with her face just inches from his own. She said coyly, "Hey, Hirono-kun..."

"Yes?"

"There's no one home at my house tonight."

"W-what?"

Be with me.

Then in mock anger she pushed him back, turned her face away, and crossed her arms. "Get your mind out of the gutter, you bad boy."

"Look, I don't know what you're talking about."

She giggled. "Guess what? My house keys were in that stolen bag."

"They were?"

"Yep. And that means I won't be able to get into my house. Gosh, I guess I'll have to spend the night outside." She touched her finger to her chin. "It's dangerous for a girl to be out all night by herself, don't you think so?"

"Wait, are you asking me to be your escort tonight?"

She grinned, "Well, if you're in for a penny you're in for a pound. Let's go!" She grabbed his hand and dragged him off towards the city lights.

And so the couple enjoyed a wonderful night together on the town. They walked along the storefronts looking at all the Christmas displays. Eventually they found a nice romantic restaurant where they had a delightful meal. Next, the couple visited a karaoke room. Miyako was a good singer. She shoved Hiro in front of the microphone to perform mandatory duets. Then she made him dance with her. Then she ran out and dragged him to another karaoke bar and they did it all over again. Afterwards, at Hiro's suggestion, they stopped at a 24-hour coffee ship to get re-caffinated. They sat and shared lattes and espressos together as they chatted away into the night.

Eventually by 4 a.m. they were both exhausted. They slowly walked home together arm in arm, leaning on each other for support, as Miyako continued to gaily sing Christmas carols that were now slightly off key. They hadn't planned on staying out so late. Finally they approached the front gate of her large, empty, home.

Hiro held her hands. "Miyamura-chan, I had a wonderful time."

"So did I."

"Yeah."

Finally she said it. "Say, would you like to come inside for a nightcap? I could make some tea." She pulled out her door key.

He spotted it. "Hey, you told me that thief stole your keys!"

She made a small grin. "I lied. I had a spare."

"You are so naughty."

Her smile grew a bit. "Yeah, I am."

There was a pause.

Dammit, do something. Kiss me. Anything.

Finally she said, "Are you sure you don't want to come inside? I could make you some nice chamomile."

Hiro shuffled his feet nervously. "Uh, thanks, but I should really be getting home."

"You do?

"Yeah. I'm already in trouble as it is for staying out so late. I should go."

Her shoulders drooped slightly.

Hiro, please be with me? Just for this one night? Just for this one perfect night? Just for this one perfect night where I'm not alone? Just for this one, magical, wonderful, perfect night where I'm not alone, and I can pretend to be your lover and you can pretend to be mine?

"Please?"

He looked at her.

That's right, Hiro. On this perfect Christmas Eve we will drink tea and sit on the sofa. We'll talk about our mutual loneliness. When the time is right I'll lean over and kiss you, then I'll escort you to my bedroom. And then afterwards, after you are sound asleep and snoring, I am going to slowly and carefully wrap my arms around your sleeping torso so as not to wake you up. And then I am going to close my eyes and pretend that I am holding my soulmate. I am going to pretend that you are the one person that I can be vulnerable with, to trust, and to love, for the rest of my life.

And then, with my arms wrapped around my make-believe soulmate on this oh-so-perfect Christmas Eve night, I will silently cry myself to sleep.

And in the morning I will wake up, and you will be gone.

He looked down at his feet. "No, I should really be getting home."

"Oh. I see. Your parents huh?"

"No, I live by myself."

"Oh? Ah. Girlfriend. I should have known. I see. I'm sorry.."

"No, I just have a sister who worries about me a lot. Well anyway, like I said, it's getting late and I really ought to be going. Goodnight."

"Sure, uh, goodnight."

"I really did have a wonderful time. Thank you so much." He shook her hand. "Goodbye."

"Bye.."

He left.

She stood there as she watched him walk away into the night.

She couldn't believe it. Just her luck. She had to pick the one perfect gentleman in all of Otowa.

She dropped her head and looked down at the pavement. She felt shamed, defeated.. and alone.

Her tears started to mingle with the fallen snow.


Four months later, to her complete surprise, Miyako ran into Hiro again at her school. She met him on the school rooftop. It was her favorite hiding spot to escape the other students. Neither one realized that the other one attended the same school. And so there on the school rooftop, to her absolute delight, she discovered that not only was he a school-skipping loner like herself, but he was also an otaku. He even wrote the stuff! He was a professional mangaka.

It was simply too good to be true.

She fell for him right then. She decided that she would try to build a real relationship with him. She would open up and trust another human being for the very first time. And over the next several days she did exactly that: She opened herself up to him, revealed to him her vulnerabilities, her fears, her secrets. And he reciprocated in turn.

It was amazing. It was magical. Her Christmas Eve fantasy seemed to be coming to true. And not for just one night, possibly forever. She was falling in love with him, and he in return with her.

A few months later she moved in with him. Meanwhile, Hiro dropped out of school to work on writing his manga full time.

The whole affair was completely scandalous of course, but neither one of them cared a whit. She had no family to tsk-tsk the arrangement, and Hiro's father seemed to actually approve of the situation (with the provisio that Hiro continue to focus on his artistic pursuits). Hiro's sister, Nagi, felt the same way, and she gave the happy couple her blessings as well, and Nagi and Miyako became friends.

And so Miyako had finally found a place that she could call a real home: A place with sound, a place with color, a place that was truly her home.

Shortly after her high school graduation ceremony (where she had politely declined the role of valedictorian), Miyako had married Hiro in a simple private civil ceremony. She insisted on continuing to live with him in his small apartment, not in her family's large (and empty) estate. It was because, she had explained to him, his little apartment was now her real home. Hiro understood.

And so the years passed. They tried to have children. Hiro took it well when Miyako's infertility was finally diagnosed. But her old abandonment phobia began to resurface. She couldn't give him children, so might he leave her because of it? But he hugged his tearful wife and reassured her, and he told her repeatedly that no matter what happened he would love her now and always.

They then explored the idea of adoption, going to the church orphanage that was affiliated with their old high school. Nagi had told Miyako the sad tale about Yuu and Yuuko at that same orphanage, and so Miyako wanted very much to adopt and rescue a needy child from that kind of lonely isolation, the kind that she herself had endured for most of her life.

But then something happened. She couldn't believe it. Despite all his promises, despite all his reassurances, Hiro had betrayed and abandoned her. And so all her old childhood fears came flooding back. Her clinical athazagoraphobia (pathological fear of abandonment) returned with a vengeance, and it consumed her.

Miyako promptly divorced her feckless husband. She vowed that she would never speak to him ever again. Hiro tried to explain but she wouldn't listen.

No, she could not trust even him, the most perfect gentleman in Otoawa. She was betrayed.. again! She was abandoned.. again! First by her father and mother, then by her husband. She could never trust anyone ever again.

She fell back into her old bad childhood habits, her self-imposed isolation from everyone and everything. She still functioned in society of course. And so men still continued to approach her. And if a particularly obnoxious jerk hit on her she'd cheerfully lead him along, let him think he was going to get lucky, and then she would blow him off and humiliate him. She was becoming more and more creative in her rejections of her hapless suitors that way. They crawled away with their male egos devastated, and yet she always seemed so perfectly innocent when she casually blew them off, as if she didn't know what she said. It was because she believed that it was better to reject others before she herself was rejected. After all, it always happened sooner or later. That's just how life was.

Now, she was not completely cruel. For example, she genuinely cared for the innocent, the victims, those who were hurt or abandoned or betrayed by their families, lovers or friends - young girls especially, the ones most likely to be hurt like she was hurt.

Miyako spit out her gum as she continued to watch the computer screen. She decided that she had toyed with her victim enough. She pressed the F9 key on her computer keyboard to order her avatars to dissect the hapless hacker and report back his True Name. Then she leaned back, turned off the panels, and yawned.

And somewhere, far away, there was a scream.


"Is this what you wanted, sir?"

"Yes."

Akarui Iriamuzu handed the dossier to Hozon Hanbai, the famed business tycoon. The multi-billionaire flipped open the folder as he leaned back in his high-backed office chair in an enormous executive office suite on the top floor of Hanbai tower.

Iriamuzu sat down in the visitor's chair opposite the large gold-leafed desk. He lit a Cuban cigar. Meanwhile, Hanbai picked up the photograph that was inside the dossier. "My, she's quite an attractive young lady."

Iriamuzu blew a smoke ring. "Don't let those pretty eyes fool you. Check the psych profile. She might be the best white hat in the business, and she is absolutely charming to my whole staff, but deep down that is one crazy man-hating bitch."

"I see. Well, she does seem to be very good at her job."

"She is. She uses the handle 'White Queen', but I think a better name would be black widow or praying mantis."

Hanbai raised an eyebrow. "Praying mantis?"

"The female mantis bites the head off the male while it's still copulating."

Hanbai winced at the image. "I think I get the picture."

Iriamuzu went on. "And don't let her innocent ditzy-girl act fool you. She's brilliant. And she's sneaky and ruthless against anyone that she considers to be her enemy."

Hanbai continued to flip through the dossier. "Which seems to be basically everyone. She sounds totally paranoid to me."

"Hmm... no, not in the clinical sense. Paranoids believe in irrational conspiracy theories, that everyone is out to 'get' them. She's quite rational, and her targets are selective."

"Which makes her such an effective white hat."

"Yes, as long as we pick the targets."

"Obviously."

Hanbai continued to flip through the file. "It says here that she didn't start working with computers until she was almost 21. I find that rather hard to believe. Is it true?"

"It is. She learns amazingly fast, she's very adaptable, and she takes direction well. She'd be an ideal employee if she wasn't so psycho."

"I see. And she has no friends or family. No one will miss her." He stood up. "Well done, Akarui."

"Sir?"

"Yes, I think she might be perfect for the job."


A/N:

Note: Miyako is not actually a man-hater (Iriamuzu is wrong here); she is simply deeply bitter inside, and so she is merely taking out her frustration on targets of opportunity.

We are still in the early part of the story as we introduce the main characters. Next up will be Kyosuke, Kei, and Hiro. So please click on the Follow button to get notified when the next chapter goes up. And, as always, I really do appreciate your Favorites/Reviews.

Thank you for reading,
-HuuskerDu