Chapter 6

The interrogation room had never seemed so inadequate. But Momoki had to remind himself it was intended to basically hold a single prisoner, their guard (maybe two when required), and the interrogator. After the inexplicable triple synchronized death it now held himself, Wakashika, Hondomachi, four guards, Narihisago and Fukuda. The latter two in cuffs and seated at the table, calmly enough.

They'd all taken a short break, enough to get something to eat and drink. Time sufficient to process what they had witnessed. Well, that had been the idea. Now as he sat across the table from the inmates he came to a revelation. No time would be enough to process this.

Taking a deep breath to steady his composure, Momoki met the eyes of each of the pilots. Hondomachi stood at the edge of the table. Her bright eyes shimmered with a mixture of excitement and intensity. Though she'd been a bit shaken at first, now it seemed she'd been infused with a spirit to get to the heart of this. He knew that expression well enough by now. There was no force on this Earth capable of dissuading her from seeing this to its end.

In the chair beside her, Narihisago sat straight in his chair, cuffed hands rested on the table, his crutches in the hand of a guard behind him as a precaution. His narrowed eyes seemed outwardly placid. But again, familiarity spoke otherwise. The wheels were turning furiously in his scruffy head. He was far from shattered by the experience. Instead he seemed eager to tease out more from another go at it.

That bothered Momoki. How had Narihisago come to be such a glutton for punishment? It could be argued that it was nothing but a sick twist on just-deserts for what he had done. But still … he didn't seem to draw a line at what went too far. Anything to solve the mystery. Any lengths to stop the monsters lurking in the real world … the world he no longer had a place in.

Leaning against the wall Fukuda slouched in his chair with a bland smile on his face. Lazy eyes studied Momoki back, it seemed Fukuda was the only one not wrapped up in coming to a conclusion. But Momoki had to give him one thing. He had done his job in the id well.

"Alright, so now that we've had a chance to step away from this, anyone have fresh thoughts?"

Fukuda's grin spread for a moment as he offered the first reply to Momoki's question. "That Narihisago's ability to push people to their willing deaths is pretty amazing."

"That wasn't me." Narihisago side-eyed him.

"Keep saying it, br—" Eyes flashed down to Fukuda's exposed ribs within elbow shot, he thought better of it and splayed his cuffed hands instead of finishing the word.

Locking eyes with Momoki, Narihisago cleared his throat. "Each of us played the music as it was written. All three parts. At first I read the notes as Hondomachi showed me. But as we got further into the piece the act of reading the notes became unnecessary. It was infectious."

Hondomachi rubbed her chin. "I would concur with that precisely. Unlike the times when Anaido and Hijiriido tried the piece on our own, with Sakaido added to the mix something different occurred. It felt like … like … "

"A high." Fukuda drawled. When all eyes snapped to him, he shrugged. "Hey, I tried a lot of things before. I can assure you that's exactly how a drug high feels. Course, it usually ends different."

"Wait." Momoki rolled his fingers on the tabletop. "We know that drugs introduced to the pilot's bloodstream can alter the dive. But how would a high happen from inside a dive? There were no needles."

"Something more infectious." Wakashika set his pad down on the table and pulled up a video. "Things like this have happened at raves. The music can affect the consciousness and alter inhibitions."

On the screen Momoki watched the handheld video showing the veritable mosh pit thrashing to the beat. "Yes, but that music is entirely different. In the id well we're dealing with classical. Not exactly known for inducing riots."

"Hondomachi said it herself in the dive, music is the language of emotions." Wakashika pointed at her. "Just because it wasn't a typical headbanger piece doesn't mean it can't impact in a similar way. There were three of you in there."

"So," Hondomachi mused, taking a few steps, "you're saying we engaged in a classical mini rave?"

"More or less. Some of the classical composers were obsessed with death. It's possible."

"A little death music?" Fukuda's grin was entirely too cheery for the topic even after everyone offered him a glare.

Narihisago's eyes unfocused as he stared off through Momoki. "If such a thing were possible to be able to harness music in such a way to influence others, consider the crimes one would be capable of. If orchestrating deaths were possible, so would manipulating other actions and reactions."

"Hrm," Wakashika leaned on the table. "Orchestrating … well, we are looking at classical music, classical instruments." A slow smile grew before he crowed out, "I hereby dub the murderer the Orchestrator!"

Narihisago sighed. "What is it with the ridiculous names?"

"We need them to keep track of the cases."

"Hey," Fukuda lifted his chin, "I happened to like mine. Perforator is kind of radical. Just cause I didn't get called something that sounds like a misbehaving kindergartner. The Cornerer. How silly."

Narihisago's tone didn't even change from the icy norm. "Kindergartners don't get put in the corner for talking classmates into impaling themselves on scissors."

"Enough." Momoki silenced the room. "There is no official name for this case. But the MO does seem logical, if a tad absurd. Let's say that someone is capable of literally composing pieces of music with subliminal suggestions. If this is the case … "

"We'd better hurry and find them. Imagine if such a piece like this were recorded and distributed." Hondomachi leaned on the table. "That would be horrific."

"Hopefully it requires actually playing the piece."

"But even if it does," Narihisago added in response to Momoki, "it would make a concert at a music hall an entirely different affair when the orchestra starts to eliminate themselves. Imagine the reaction of a general audience assuming they were attending a usual performance. The question is why would anyone want to do this?"

Wakashika broke the prolonged silence. "Changes the whole idea of facing the music. Hold on, don't give me the evil eye just yet. Music is passion. So there has to be something, some deep passion they've connected to the music."

Planting a hand on her hip, Hondomachi gave him a huge case of stink eye, enough he backed up. "Don't tell me you think this is some love-sick man killing to get the girl."

Narihisago snorted a laugh. "Well, if it was, he did it more than once."

All eyes snapped to him.

"What? You guys mean you didn't catch it? There was more than one score written on the walls in that well. And I bet we're talking more than passion. This is too complex for merely that."

Wakashika tossed a hand in the air. "What would you know about passion?"

Narihisago met his gaze and forced the man to visibly shiver.