"So, what's this all about, Okamura?"
A large gathering of Yakuza filled the room. Some sat on any furniture they could; others leaned against the walls or support beams. Cigarette smoke wafted through the sea of humanity.
Takeshi Okamura adressed the entire crowd. "I picked you guys out 'cause you're young enough to listen to reason.
"This monk Oyabun we got is taking everything we know right out from under us. Our buisnesses, our money, our women! Even our HERITAGE! Our HISTORY!
"I say we take him out and run the Yakuza ourselves!"
The crowd murmured perceptibly. One of the men spoke up. "Are you nuts! This is our leader you're talkin' about!"
"See!" he interjected furiously, "See, this is what I'm talking about! He's just a monk with a sword! An old, burned-out monk with a sword! And somehow, that allowed him to just march in and take charge of everything! And we're all expected to bow to whatever whim he has! Including giving up every single thing our clans worked for for centuries!"
Here he pulled out his gun and brandished it. "Look! I've got a piece! I go up to him, I do him! Problem solved!"
Again the crowd muttered amongst themselves. Okamura had already defied the Oyabun by bringing back what their leader had ordered them to give up.
"Hold it, Okamura. He's STILL our Oyabun! We follow him, no matter who he is," one man admonished. "This is a matter of loyalty, of respect. That's part of our history too, y'know."
Another one added, "And let me guess: YOU get to be the new Oyabun, right?"
"First of all, #$ RESPECT!" Okamura howled. "How is this monk respectin' US? He's taking money outta our pockets, food outta our mouths, women outta our beds, and all of you are just gonna LET him keep doin' it!
"And as for me becoming the new Oyabun, well..." he finally smiled, "it's MY plan, ain't it?"
The first man snorted. "Well, ain't THAT convenient. Anyway, you know if you kill him, all Hell will break loose! Most of it on YOU!"
"What're they gonna do? Kill ME? Let 'em TRY. The monk took away everybody's guns! Now that we got a few in, we got the edge."
He looked over the audience. "You know what? I don't CARE what the consequences are! I'm doing this!" He shoved the weapon back into his pocket. "So, the only question is: Are you all with me, or what? Are you in or out?"
Then one man broke in. "You crazy, Okamura."
And then he raised his hand. "But you also right. Count me in!"
Then another hand. "Yeah, why the #$ not!"
And another. "They already made sure we got nothin' better to do!"
And soon, almost every man in the room had joined them.
Takeshi Okamura surveyed the ocean of hands and smiled. Now he had his army.
"Okay, guys. Before we take out the monk, we gotta take out a few others first..."
Part One of Two
by Lamont Mallory
Kimiyo Hoshi created by Marv Wolfman and George Perez
The hospital waiting room was mostly filled. Some people coughed intermittenly. Others were clearly waiting for friends or family to re-emerge from the operating rooms. One woman in particular was on edge with worry, eying the double doors intently.
A woman clad in a green operating uniform came out of the double doors. Pulling down her surgical mask, she called, "Mori-san!"
"Dr. Hoshi!" the woman responded, leaping out of her chair. "Is he... Please tell me he's..."
Dr. Kimiyo Hoshi smiled. "The operation was successful, Mori-san. He'll need to stay here for a few weeks for observation, but he'll recover."
The woman's eyes lit up with relief and the tenseness flowed out of her body. "Thank you, Dr. Hoshi! Thank you very much!"
Then a male doctor, also in an operating outfit, emerged from the doors. "Of course it was successful! 'Lucky' was on the job!"
Deftly removing his gloves, he then took the woman's hand gallantly. "I told you... you can count on my good fortune. You can count on ME."
The woman blushed and pulled her hand away gently, but firmly. "Yes... yes, you did. Thank you." She walked away swiftly and nervously.
Dr. Hoshi's eyes narrowed further at her associate's unprofessional behavior. "Dr. Tetsuo Tanaka," she began, "might I remind you that she is MARRIED to our patient!"
"What? I was simply being polite!"
"'Polite'? Is THAT what you're calling it now?"
A nurse, wearing a pink uniform and carrying a clipboard, walked up to the two.
Dr. Tanaka continued, "But that IS how you're supposed to be polite!" He looked at the figure advancing upon them. "Iwata-kun, tell her!"
Nurse Iwata chuckled softly and waved her hand. "I'm afraid I've seen what happens when I get in the middle of one of your arguments. I think I'll pass, thank you.
"So... I take it from your pleasant mood that the operation went well?" she asked.
"Of course," Dr. Hoshi asserted proudly.
"Thanks to my luck!" Dr. Tanaka chimed in.
Dr. Hoshi chose to ignore that.
The three began walking together. The nurse kept pace a few steps behind them, her pen poised at the ready as the female doctor issued instructions.
"Iwata-kun, the outpatient in Room 122 is suffering from mild hyponatremia. Make sure he drinks that entire bottle of sports drink, then you can send him on his way."
The nurse industriously scribbled on her clipboard's notepad. "Yes, Dr. Hoshi."
"Those endurance runners," Dr. Tanaka said, shaking his head. "You can overdo water just as easily as anything else."
The trio made their way through the reception area. The receptionist and three nurses were talking privately at the desk. As the three strolled past, the four women called out, in unison and with gusto, "Good morning, 'Lucky'!"
"I do believe they're playing my siren song!" Dr. Tanaka quipped, breaking away from his companions and sidling up to the desk.
Nurse Iwata shook her head and smiled knowingly. "He's incorrigible, isn't he?"
Dr. Hoshi let out an exasperated sigh. "Dr. Tanaka, need I remind you that you don't have time to flirt!" she ordered sternly, "You have several patients to attend to. Stay focused."
"Yes, 'Mother'," the man sighed, pretending to drag himself back to her side in childlike petulance.
"And I'll continue being your 'mother' until you finally grow up," Dr. Hoshi added.
As the three continued to walk, Dr. Tanaka began to tease Dr. Hoshi. "Still won't call me 'Lucky', huh? Not even after all this time? Everyone else does!"
He nudged her playfully. "You know you want to! Don't you?"
Nurse Iwata chuckled softly again. Dr. Hoshi's demeanor remained serious. "I will call you 'Dr. Tanaka' while we are at work here, and 'Tetsuo' outside of work. But under no circumstances will I ever call you..."
...Dr. Tanaka put his hand to his ear in anticipation...
"...that name," she concluded hastily. "And I'll keep reminding you that I will never call you by... that name... for another26 years, if I have to. And here's another reminder: Just because you were born on the most fortunate day of the Buddhist calendar doesn't make you... that word."
Dr. Tanaka folded his arms and pretended to sulk. "Well, you're no fun at all, Ki-chan!"
Dr. Hoshi raised an eyebrow. "Finally! You noticed! And DON'T call me 'Ki-chan'! We're not children anymore!"
Dr. Tanaka threw up his hands. "Kid, adult, what's the difference? You couldn't be fun if you wanted to, then or now!"
That raised her defenses. "WHAT! That's a lie and you know it!"
The man instinctively brought up his pinky finger. It waved in anticipation. "Wanna bet? What's the stakes this time?"
Dr. Hoshi eyed the wagging digit warily. Memories of countless bets came crashing through her mind. Countless lost bets...
"...No, I don't 'wanna bet'! I still haven't forgiven you for the bet that made me go to that priest to experience astral projection..." here she hushed her voice to a furious whisper, "...and the other Dr. Light jumped into my body, forcing me to jump into his!"
"You're still holding a grudge about that? After all this time? Besides, the whole incident sounded kinda silly when you told me about it."
"Anything can sound silly when it's not happening to YOU! Besides, it's especially creepy now that I know he--"
Just then the emergency doors burst open, and gray-suited ambulance workers raced in, touting a loaded gurney. The trio rushed over to attend to the situation, matching the gurney's speed.
"What have we got?" Dr. Hoshi asked urgently, as the two doctors put on new gloves. She noticed, with mild alarm, the ornate dragon tattoo on the aging patient's chest, but instead focused on the emergency.
"Gunshot wounds to the area below the chest!" said one worker.
"All the other guys we picked up are D.O.A.!" added another.
Others... Dr. Hoshi made sure to shut out that bit of distraction, too.
Then the sound of the flatlining graph permeated the quickly moving scene.
"We're losing him!" Dr. Tanaka jumped in.
"Defibrillator!" Dr. Hoshi shouted to Nurse Iwata, who quickly obliged.
"Stop the gurney!" she ordered. As the apparatus ground to a halt, the woman charged the electric paddles against each other. Then she flung her hands to each side of the victim's chest. "CLEAR!"
The man's body involuntarily jumped, then settled down on the gurney. The graph leaped with him, then returned to neutral.
She immediately recharged the paddles. "COME ON! Stay with us!"
Again, the involutary jump.
Again, back to neutral.
"One more time!"
"Dr. Hoshi," Dr. Tanaka began, shaking his head, "He's..."
But Dr. Hoshi was adamant. "ONE MORE TIME!" she demanded, charging up the paddles again.
Everyone seemed to sigh at once. Another lost soul...
There was a moment of defeated silence, permeated by the flatline. Dr. Hoshi broke the silence first. "Time of death?"
Dr. Tanaka examined his wristwatch. "11:23 AM." Nurse Iwata began taking down the information, as the man shook his head. "Sometimes, my luck just doesn't get a chance to kick in."
Dr. Hoshi's gloved fists tightened, and she angrily expressed aloud what everyone was thinking: "The tattoo... the gunshot wounds... Typical pointless YAKUZA gang war!"
Then she added in her mind, 'They've got guns again, and they just couldn't wait to use them...'
This ambush wasn't going well at all.
It was Ikari's job to kill former Oyabun Tsutomo Aoki from afar while his friends lured him out. He was the one with the gun. So why had they completely lost contact with him? His cell phone hadn't rung ever since they split up.
He was in Aoki's residence, which, with its neatly-tiled, polished floors and stylish furnishings, still spoke of the Yakuza clans' remaining wealth. Aoki himself was now meeting him eye-to-eye, standing only a few meters away. That would have been a good thing, if his target didn't look completely calm, almost as if the old man knew to expect an attack. What was his deal?
Never mind that. Despite everything, Ikari still had a job to do. He lifted his weapon to fire.
Then he heard a gun blast from the shadows of the room.
And he knew it wasn't his.
The sudden pain seared his hand, and he let the gun fall. A heavy hand shoved him to the wall.
And he found his own weapon pointed at his head.
"You see, I've already heard of your little generational war," Aoki informed him. "Word gets around when former Oyabuns begin to get murdered. But it also helps..."
At that point, two men stepped out of the shadows...
"...when you surround yourself with loyal men.
Both of the men were young... and one of them wielding a smoking gun. Ikari's so-called friends...
"Good work," Aoki told them, his eyes remaining firmly trained on the assailant. "Expect to be handsomely rewarded for your devotion."
"You... traitors!" hissed the helpless man.
"Sorry, pal," the one with the gun said, shrugging, "This is our clan. Some of us still believe in family and the chain of command, y'know."
"Besides," added the other, "Okamura's a nutcase."
Aoki nodded in agreement. "Indeed. Despite all the lies you've been fed, it's you, your allies, and Okamura who are the traitors here. And not very good ones at that. Did you really think some of us 'old guys' got to BE this old by not having our wits about us? Or having trusted sources of information?
"You expect to kill us and then take over as leaders of the clans without even considering that we have ways of fighting back!
He pushed the young man's head against the wall with the gun.
"So many things have changed since I was your age," he continued, "but one thing always remains the same."
He burrowed the gun into Ikari's skull.
"Rebellious children have to be punished."
"This is NOT fair!"
Imako Hoshi stopped sweeping the hallway floor and propped herself up against the wall, sulking. Yasu, working toward her from the other end of the hall, scowled at her.
"I'm the one who should be saying that!" her brother said ruefully, stopping his own sweeping. "I'm being punished for something you made me do!"
"But she was supposed to take it easy on us, like I asked..." the girl pouted, looking at the floor in disappointment. "Now we have to sweep the entire house!"
"So? We STILL got off easy. We disobeyed Mom, used something from her lab without asking, AND almost got ourselves killed, remember?" the boy shot back.
"Oh, come on! We stopped her from killing that other Dr. Light! That has to count for something!"
"Yeah, and she only tried to kill him because he attacked us! And he couldn't have done that if we had stayed home like we were SUPPOSED to, and not tried to fight him in the first place! And it was all YOUR idea, so it's still all YOUR fault!"
And then the boy added the words that took the last straw. "How STUPID are you!"
That made the girl jump away from the wall. "HEY! I am NOT stupid!"
Her hands balled into fists... and the fists began to glow.
Yasu's eyes went wide. "Imako! Your hands!"
But his voice was drowned out by her indignation. "I AM NOT STUPID!" she yelled. The girl lunged at him, extending her arm, and her hand released the energy.
Yasu narrowly jumped out of the way, as the mass of light blasted a large hole right through a wall.
Dust flew into the air from both sides of the hole. The surrounding plaster cracked, and pieces of the wall fell to the floor. Both children stared at the devastation, shocked. Imako tore her eyes away from the hole, and examined her hands, front and back. She shook her head in incredulity. "How... how did I..."
Yasu managed to piece together a full sentence. "We're gonna have to do a LOT more sweeping..."
The girl quickly pointed an accusing finger. "This-- This is YOUR fault! You shouldn't have been calling me names! And you shouldn't have dodged the thing!"
The boy spun to face her, his brow intensely furrowed. "WHAT! Like I'm just gonna stand there and take a shot like that! Besides, it was YOU who fired that blast in the first place!"
"Well-- how was I supposed to know I could do that, anyway!" She looked away thoughtfully. "How did I get light powers like Mom? Unless..."
The two looked at each other and spoke in unison. "That blast from yesterday!"
"But what about me?" Yasu asked, looking intensely at his own hands. "I was hit, too, but I can't..."
Then they began to glow. An involuntary "Wow..." escaped from the boy's mouth, as he marvelled at the power he held.
Then he remembered the mess his sister had already made.
"Please don't shoot! Please don't shoot!" Yasu prayed, willing the energy to go away peacefully.
And the energy obliged by dissipating. The boy heaved a sigh of relief.
Imako clapped her hands together excitedly. "This is PERFECT! We've got superpowers now, so we can be REAL superheroes this time!"
Not again! Yasu instinctively began to inch away...
...and Imako instinctively grabbed him before he could.
"Oh, no, you don't," she told him, that distinctive glimmer in her eyes and eagerness in her voice.
The boy trembled in her grasp...
Dr. Light descended on the police station, landing at the top of the steps. Rather than entering immediately, she first took up each of the sides of her cape and draped it all around her body. Lifting her head some to complete her regal bearing, she pushed the door open.
"Hello," the female desk receptionist greeted her. "Captain Kisagi is waiting for you."
She stepped out from behind her desk and beckoned for the heroine to follow. "This way, please."
As Dr. Light strolled through the precinct, slowly and delberately, some of the officers gazed at her admiringly. Others lifted a disapproving eyebrow at the spectacle she was making of herself. The heroine held her head high and pretended not to notice, but she was clearly enjoying the attention, positive and negative.
The receptionist came to the Captain's office, and politely knocked on the closed door. "Doctor Light is here to see you, sir."
"Good," answered a male voice from inside. "Send her in."
The woman moved to turn the knob, but Dr. Light waved her away. As several members of the force looked on, the heroine stepped towards the door, converted herself to radio waves to gracefully pass through, and returned to human form inside.
He picked up a manila envelope on his desk and opened it. "As you know, all of the Tokyo Yakuza clans were united under one Oyabun 4 years ago." He took out a picture and placed it on the desk. "His name is Takano Sakai."
Dr. Light picked up the picture and examined it, as Kisagi continued: "Our intel indicates that he's a former monk, and therefore a benevolent leader. He's been working to dismantle the Yakuza's illegal infrastructure, instructing clan members to turn in guns, shutting down brothels and loan companies, and the like."
"So I've heard," Dr. Light responded. "It's been all over the TV news and the daily papers."
"It's taken Sakai most of these 4 years to get to the point where he could do this. But a month ago, we began to hear rumblings that a young member of the Okamura clan has been ordering men to start the illegal buisnesses again."
The heroine nodded in recognition. "I suspected as much. The leader of the thugs I brought to you yesterday mentioned that name."
He pulled out a series of pictures and poured them out on the desk. "This is the one: Takeshi Okamura."
Dr. Light took up those photos as well.
Captain Kisagi continued. "Okamura's making a grab for power. He intends to kill Sakai and take over. We interrogated your 'friends', and they tell us that most of the younger Yakuza members are on Okamura's side. Now, those men generally don't control the clans they're part of, but these recent killings have targeted their leaders, the former Oyabuns of their separate clans."
"And that allows the younger men to move up into the leadership positions," Dr. Light filled in the blank. "I've heard about the gunshot victims brought into the hospital today. One of them was definitely old enough to lead a Yakuza clan."
"The fact that the Yakuza's criminal ways are resurging is actually the least of our worries at this point," the Captain pointed out. "With all these families involved, this won't be a typical two-clan gang war. If we don't nip this in the bud, those Yakuza that were murdered today might be just the beginning of a massive bloodbath."
"That WON'T happen," Dr. Light concluded emphatically, slamming the pictures on the desk. "Not on MY watch!"
"Not on OUR watch," the Captain amended with a smile. "That's why I've taken pains to arrange a meeting with Sakai later tonight. Not only can we discuss a way to protect him, we can also get more information from the inside."
"Later is good," agreed the heroine. "But I intend to do something NOW." She turned to go.
The Captain stood up from his chair. "And might I ask what you intend to do?"
She turned to look back at him, her eyes glowing with her intent.
"I'm a Doctor. It's time to make a 'house call'."
The heroine landed near one of the known Yakuza-held buildings. Folding her arms and turning to bright light, she began to float right towards the front door. Her hair and cape flowed behind her in her fury.
The guard, a burly-framed man, stood in the doorway and tried to stare down the heroine. "No way you're getting in here!" he asserted, approaching her.
He reached out to halt the glowing goddess...
... until he began to burn.
"AAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGHHHH!" he cried as his hand and arm began to char. Involuntarily, he pushed himself out of the way.
Dr. Light did not slow down her progress one bit, but she did speak. "Free piece of advice: Stay out of my way."
She went right through the front door, burning her silhouette in it. The Yakuza inside were startled at first. Then they also set themselves in her path...
...and the closest Yakuza member started to burn.
"#$!" he howled, jumping away as his forearm turned red and black. The rest of the men wisely parted to let the shining woman through, giving her a wide berth.
"She's headed for the stairs," one of them said. "Better let Okamura know he's got trouble coming."
The man pulled out his cell phone and pushed a few buttons. He brought it up to his ear...
...and received a extremely high-pitched SSKKKEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! Blood began to spout from the canal, and he clutched at the ear in pain. His friends gasped, then looked at the apparent creator of the static.
The glowing figure had stopped, her half-turned face looking over her shoulder at them. Her eye flared menancingly. Then she moved on, towards the door to the stairs.
One of the men gathered up enough courage to speak. "I guess the boss is on his own..."
After burning through the stairwell door, Dr. Light quickly soared between the staircases. She scanned each floor with her x-ray vision as she came to it.
The top floor of the building was a single, spacious bedroom, lush carpeting covering the floor and a expensive bed far in the back. Fine paintings decorated the walls. Takeshi Okamura was relaxing in his built-in sauna, flanked by two women. And he was talking on his cell phone.
"So, Ikari and the others never made it back from Aoki's place...
"Some of the others, too, huh? Looks like they're on to us, alright. We'll have to work with what we got, and skip directly to the final phase, then.
He hit the disconnect button on his cell phone, and set it down behind him. He assumed a pleasant smile as he took each woman by the shoulder. "Now, ladies, where were we?"
Suddenly, the door burst open. In floated the glowing heroine. The three in the sauna gasped in surprise.
Dr. Light wasted no time taking charge. "I suggest you young ladies leave. NOW."
The women took the hint and jumped out of the sauna, grabbing their towels and clothes to cover themselves. "What would your MOTHERS think!" Dr. Light scolded as they hurried past. The two withered under her disapproving gaze.
Keeping an eye on the man in the sauna, Dr. Light watched the women exit the room. As the door closed, her eyes began to glow. The energy jumped to the top edge of the door, and began welding it to the doorway.
"Hey!" called Okamura. "What do you think you're doing!"
A wicked grin crossed the heroine's face. "You'll see..."
Quickly finishing her welding job, Dr. Light turned and floated towards the edge of the sauna. "I've heard about some recent Yakuza shootings. You wouldn't happen to know anything about them, would you?"
"Hmmm... do I? Should I?" Okamura stroked his chin and glanced off into the air as if trying to remember.
Then he looked the white-clad beauty up and down, studying her curves from his low vantage point. He licked his lips in approval. "How about this: Since you've chased off my company, why don't you shed that costume of yours and hop in? Who knows; I might start to recall something..."
No longer amused, the heroine simply raised a hand. A bolt of electricity shot out of it and into the water.
"AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH!" the man screamed.
"I'll pass," she answered disdainfully. "Hasn't anyone warned you not to play out of your league?"
Then Dr. Light set her sights on the sauna control panel and fired. The Yakuza jumped away from the short circuiting panel, as the bubbles and the underwater heater came to a halt.
"What the #$ IS this!" he demanded to know, moving to get out of the water.
She raised her hand again. "STAY IN. Or do you want a bigger electric shock?"
The man stopped and stared her in the eyes for a moment, looking for any hint of a bluff. He finally sunk back into the water.
Then she glided toward the wall and spread her arms wide. The entire wall began to glow... and then melt.
"What... What are you doing now!"
She continued to turn the concrete into liquid. Smoke rose from the increasing mass of goo. "I'm making my point perfectly clear to you. If ANY more people turn up shot - Yakuza or otherwise - I intend to hold you PERSONALLY responsible."
The concrete had now completely melted from end to end. The wind eagerly rushed in.
Her furious expression radically changed to a triumphant, ear-to-ear sneer. "I understand that tonight is going to be unseasonably cold. You really should have dressed more warmly. Too bad."
Then she turned into light and flew out of the completely open building side.
The nippy, fast-moving air bit greedily at Okamura's wet skin. His now-unheatable water was rapidly cooling off. He frantically reached for his cell phone and jabbed a button.
"That Dr. Light &$#sealed me in the room and melted an entire WALL!" he yelled into the device, his teeth grinding from equal parts rage and cold. "Get someone up here with a frickin' AXE or a BLOWTORCH or something before I freeze to death!"
"And call the guys in for a meeting A.S.A.P.!"
He glared at the panoramic view of the city the heroine left him.
"We got us another obstacle to get rid of..."
To Be Continued...
After seeing other writers use Author's Notes sections to address things from the reviews, I have decided to do the same. So, here goes...
Peter Gilles writes:
Brilliant start to the story! You've captured Kimiyo's character almost perfectly. I can't wait to read the next chapter.
Thanks! I'll keep working towards "absolutely perfect", though!
Icha, you already know how to reach me! ;)
Phil Urich writes:
Very good first chapter. I'm interested in seeing how she got her powers and more about Tokyo superbeings side of business as well as her relationship with doctor light. I look forward to more
Thanks! And there will definitely be more on the other Japanese heroes, like Rising Sun and Katana! (Including a special project I hope to begin, that ties in to the current story...)
And you can bet that Arthur will be back at some point, too!
Thus far, I have to say this is an interesting series about one of the lesser known characters of the DCU that certainly doesn't lack for quality. With that in mind, would you be interested in writing at a group fanfiction site? If so, drop me a line at borntoxceed at good ol' yahoo.
I'm certainly considering the offer, but I'm kinda swamped right now with all the stuff I have planned around here.
Faye Chua writes:
This is a wonderful story about a little-noticed character... so many times I've mentioned Dr Light and she always gets mixed up with the villain. I'm glad that you've written such a great story about her, and hope to see more in the future.
Thanks! More is on the way... like the above story, for example:)
And one of the motives behind this series is redefining Kimiyo, and showing where she, Arthur, and Jacob sit in the Dr. Light legacy.
See you next issue!