Disclaimer: I do not own Megatokyo, which is owned by Fred Gallagher, or the Megatokyo RPG, whose material was created by many devoted fans. I also am not responsible for the D20 Modern system, its materials, or factions used herein. I would like to thank everyone involved with creating this material for the inspiration it has provided and everyone who has supported me in this project. And I'd like to thank wikipedia for the research it has allowed me.
And... I am sorry for those who waited. The darkness to be dispelled exists in more than monsters. I only wish it will be as good as it could have been.
Tokyo Tides – Chapter 3: The Shadows
A phone rang. Ignored, it kept ringing. Eventually, Masamichi groaned, and his wife awoke in the process.
"That work?" Meimi said sleepily. "Wouldn't surprise me," Masamichi responded as he picked up the phone. "Masamichi here." "Sonoda-san, this is Soga Kakuei of the Public Security Bureau. We need to speak to you about your last case" Masamichi paused for a moment. "...Okay... How can I help you?" "We'll explain everything when we get there. " Get there? Masamichi bolted up. "Hey, wait! What's going on?" "As I said, we'll be right over." He had no answer. "I see. That'll be fine" Kakuei responded "Thank you." and hung up.
Masamichi left his bed and ruffled through the closet for his clothes. Meimi sat up.
"Something wrong, dear?"
"They probably just want me to answer a few questions about a case. You'd think they could wait until morning. I should be back soon."
Meimi nodded "Just... be careful Masamichi."
Masamichi smiled. "Always am. Don't worry about it." He left the room, and Meimi started trying to get back to sleep.
Worrying was something for him to do. Why did they want to speak to him now, of all times? Was this Nobuo's doing, to try to keep them relevant to the investigation? Had Kasu confessed after all? Masamichi stopped. Did they suspect him? He discarded the thought – it was absurd, after all. Still, the entire case had been absurd.
There was a knock at the door. Masamichi opened it. The man on the other side gave a quick bow before flashing his badge. Masamichi hoped it was just a force of habit. "Asai Rikiya, Public Security Bureau. Thank you, Sonoda-san. Please, come with me." The two stepped outside to the patrol car that was parked at the curb. "My partner is the one who contacted you by phone. I apologize that you'll have to sit in the back, but"
"I'm sorry, Rikiya-san. But I think you'd better tell me what's going on."
Rikiya turned to face him. "That's why we need your help."
Kakuei shook his head as he kept driving. "We already got all that from your station, Masamichi-san. Are you sure there's nothing else? Something we've missed. And be honest. We can't afford any more catastrophes."
Typical, Masamichi thought to himself. The whole thing was turning out to be a waste of time. Having gone over it again didn't even help him figure it out. How could he clear it up for anyone else? "Look, I don't understand it either. I'm sorry if I wasted your time but-"
Rikiya answered. "We apologize as well. We just hoped you had something new to tell us."
"Unless the dumpster got up and rolled away, I doubt any of my ideas would be helpful to you"
There was silence. Rikiya even turned around to face him, his face barely barely betraying how much the statement had seemed to stun him. They had probably thought he was crazy, and Masamichi had already begun to wish that they had allowed him a little more sleep. Rikiya tried to continue.
"Why me, anyways? Isei and Seitaro found the scene. There's my supervisor. Hell, there's even the forensics people. All I did was an interrogation before we put it into your hands. Why drag me back into this?"
Kakuei and Rikiya looked at each other for a moment. Rikuya explained, "We were going to talk to Isei and Seitaro when they contacted us. A perimeter's being made as we speak." That got Masamichi's attention. "What perimeter?" "We got a report from an officer stationed at the impound lot, reporting from the radio in his patrol car. Three people are dead, and that dumpster of yours is gone." Masamichi was shocked. "You mean it actually-" "Be serious, Sonoda!" Kakuei snapped. "Someone caused a blackout," "Blackout?" "took out three guards, and pulled the fence down so they could steal it. We haven't found the bodies, but what we did find... nothing could have survived it." Masamichi scratched his head as he shook it. He was a police officer and now was no time to start losing it. It took him several moments to collect his wits. "So, this perimeter..."
"The blackout area covers several blocks" Rikiya continued, "and the perimeter we're forming is larger, of course. But there are killers somewhere in there. Once it's been formed we're hoping that the Electric Power Company will be able to get power back up. Helicopters are en route, but eta is unknown."
"Is that normal procedure?" Masamichi wondered. "It is when you've got a group capable of killing three people in cold blood and tearing a fence down. Sonoda-san, I know this is hard for any of us to understand but-"
Masamichi was resolute. "Whatever I can do to help, I'm ready."
Rikiya smiled. "Thank you, because we're going in."
The police had waved them passed the perimeter. Now here they were, driving through the dark streets with only the lights of their own car to guide them.
"What about backup?" Masamichi asked.
"We've got other cars coming in," Kakuei answered, "but in these conditions it'd be best if we didn't rely on them. Whoever we're dealing with, they're clearly psychopathic and capable of attacking anyone at anytime. I left a flare gun by your seat. Make sure you take it in case you need to signal us. Keep alert and-" He sighed, "watch for dumpsters."
Kakuei's frustration was beginning to build as he closed the lid. "Nothing. Five dumpsters and nothing."
"This... isn't the dumpster." Masamichi pointed out.
Rikiya and Kakuei looked at him. "How do you know? Rikiya asked.
Masamichi ran his hand over the dumpster's cold steel. "It doesn't look like it. It doesn't have the feel of the one-".
Screams echoed through the back alleys. The three officers raced to find them and found two civilians covered in blood.
Kakuei drew his gun "Freeze, and put your hands in the air!"
"You have to help us! Please you have to help us!"
and pointing off to a corner in the distance.
"Completely hysterical." Rikiya shook his head. "Masamichi-" He saw the officer racing towards where they were pointing. "Masamichi! Gah. Kakuei-san, call for backup. I'm going after him." Rikiya raced off.
Kakuei nodded. "Right." He returned to the car and spoke through his radio. "This is Soga Kakuei of the Public Security Bureau. I need backup and paramedics here at..." He looked around,trying to shine a flashlight on a street sign so he could find out where he was.
You're an idiot, Masamichi told himself as he ran. At best it's the killers. At worst, it's a trap. You're running almost blind into the darkness. And you've probably lost your backup. Blind corners, random turns, a run of a desperate man with a purpose. I should stop and... No. It's here. It has to be here. Keep going. Keep turning. You're going to-
A trash dumpster.
A trash dumpster covered in blood.
"Calm down," Kakuei put down his gun. "Listen, please, just keep calm!"
"He's a monster! He's going to kill us all!" Replied Keiko.
Masamichi stared. His mind raced, trying in retrospect to decided how his body had came to this point. Had he been led here?
Even without the bloodstains it didn't look normal. Masamichi thought back as Nobue's voice echoed in his mind, "We found some samples of it leaking into the garbage and on the bodies. Tests say it's similar to stomach acid and..."
He shook his head. That can't be it. That just can't be it.
"It's the dumpster! It's possessed!" Yelled Sho.
Kakuei gestured for them to calm down. "Don't worry, it's all right. Now tell me. Who did you see?"
"It tried to eat us!" Keiko cried.
Masamichi held his head. This is insane. You're thinking it's alive. There's an explanation for everything. For the bodies. The attacks. It's a trick, someone has to be pushing it. Just act professional, radio for backup and... His eyes darted around the scene as he drew his weapon. They could be here! He called out, "This is Sonoda Masamichi of the police! Come out into the open with your hands up!"
He was alone. Alone in a blacked out alley with a dumpster he had to strain to see. He could hear the whirring of helicopters off in the distance, but there would be no way to gain their attention. Not from here.
But you're not alone, are you?
Kakuei started taking notes. Completely hysterical, he thought to himself in agreement with Rikiya's judgement. "Did you see anyone attack you?"
"It was the dumpster!" Sho pleaded.
"Please!" Keiko begged, "You have to believe us!"
Whoever is behind this is very intricate, very strong, and out of their rightful minds, Kakuei believed as he continued writing.
There is no other explanation, Masamichi decided. It's alive.
Masamichi looked at the dumpster again. Nothing. He closed his eyes.
He tried to fight it. This is insane! If anyone heard you you'd be fired! Locked up in some mental asylum! You're not trying hard enough! There has to be a reason! It's not worth it to risk everything on some-
He thought of Dai Kasu, facing murder charges.
He thought of Oniji, the teen who had been killed.
He thought of the employee who had been crushed, and the lot guards who had been killed.
They're worth it. This is worth it. This isn't about logic. It's about justice. It's about lives. You can't believe it's alive because it's the simplest explanation. You have to know it is.
The blaring sirens of police and ambulance filled the air. Paramedics looked over the two victims as other police looked over them. In the distance, Kakuei could barely make out an exhausted Rikiya shambling towards him. He raced to meet him.
"Rikiya-san, what happened!"
"I lost him..." Rikiya gasped. "Masamichi...he's alone out there."
Masamichi opened his eyes. It was the same dumpster, and only the smallest details in its appearance had changed. And yet somehow, they were also the biggest ones.
And you have to do this alone. No one else is going to believe you. And no one else is going to die here.
"You're alive. And you're a murderer." Masamichi stated. "And it ends tonight."
The dumpster slowly rotated, its broad side turning to face the officer.
Oh Shit, Masamichi thought. Run! He barely had time to leave the alley and race to the side before the dumpster barrelled after him and skidded into the street. He had even less time to run from where he was before the dumpster plowed into the wall. The dumpster was fast. Far faster than he was. He could only escape by exploiting the dumpster's inertia and its difficulty in handling narrow spaces. But he knew it would only be a matter of time before he tired out.
Think, Masamichi! There's got to be some way to escape it! Masamichi saw another dumpster. Running on shear adrenaline, he hoisted himself on top of it just as the dumpster that was chasing him ran into it. Masamichi barely kept from falling off in the impact. He watched as the dumpster positioned itself between the far wall of the alley and the dumpster he was on. It opened its lid wide and, with only a foot or two separating them, rammed his own dumpster trying to force him off. It kept going tirelessly. Sonoda Masamichi started at the insides. It was full of the flesh of the dead officers, and various garbage besides. Your gun can't harm it – it's steel. You've got to do something before- that's it! He took the flare gun Kakuei had left him. He aimed.
The flare ignited the dumpster's contents. The putrid smell of burning flesh filled the air and Masamichi threw up. At first, the dumpster ignored the fire and continued its relentless assault. Then it stopped. Though its wheels never lifted more than a few inches off the ground, its wild bucking and clanging filled the air. It only lasted a few minutes, then it stopped.
The officer clasped his hands to his mouth and nose. Is...it dead? Can it die?
The shape of the dumpster began to soften. Its metallic hues faded to black. The dumpster itself took on an even more alien, inhuman feeling as it melted into the shadows, leaving nothing more than a bonfire and a police officer.
Sonoda Masamichi looked up. The flood lamp of the helicopter drawn by the smoke's fire glared over him. And over the helicopter blades, an altered voice called to him.
"We've done well to find you. Know that you are not alone against Shadow. We'll keep in touch."
Masamichi looked around.
He was alone.
"Alright," Rikiya stated as he poured over his notes. "Let me see if I have this correct, Masamichi-san." You were running off, alone, when you barely escaped getting crushed by the dumpster."
Sonoda Masamichi nodded.
"So you ran, and after almost getting crushed a couple more times, you ran and almost ran into a pile of... something."
Masamichi nodded again.
"So you're in the dark, and you fire the flare gun into what you think is garbage to create a light. And it turns out to be those three guards."
"And then they leave you alone, and we find you."
One last nod.
Rikiya sighed. "Bunch of lunatics trying to scare people with living dumpster crap. The two people Kakuei interviewed fell for it. Poor guys – fear does that to people."
Masamichi responded dryly. "You don't say."
"Look. You've had a long night and we got your statement. Go home, get some sleep."
"Uh-huh." Masamichi nodded and left.
"We'll keep in touch, and we'll catch them yet!"
Rikiya could almost swear that Masamichi had cringed.
Masamichi considered his future. He was aware of something that probably no one else on the police was. Monsters existed, and he could see them. Or maybe he had always been seeing them, and never realized it until now. Tonight was the first time he had perjured himself to another officer, and it wouldn't be the last, not when the alternative was a life in an insane asylum. This was the only way he could help people. A life of lies, and of fighting the darkness alone.
He walked up to his door and looked at his feet. It was a disk of some sort. He picked it up. It seemed like some sort of ceramic. On it was an insignia of a crossed scroll and sword, and the letters "E UMBRA FIAT LUX" were imprinted upon it.
He wished he was alone.
He pocketed the item and opened the door. His wife was waiting on the couch. He knew she had been sleeping and woke up just before he had arrived. He smiled. "Been waiting for me long?"
She smiled, "You're late again dear."
Masamichi smiled weakly. "Duty called. That case again." He greatly admired how she didn't bring up the smell of vomit.
Meimi stood up and brushed him off. "The kids are asleep. They tried to stay up for you too."
They'd believe me, Masamichi thought. They'd be so proud of how their father fought the evi-
His eyes popped. His jacket was in his wife's hands, but he had seen it this time. It wasn't speed or sleight of hand like he had long ago assumed. The jacket had slid off and moved itself through the air the foot or so to her hand. It had only been a split-second, but he saw it.
"Is something wrong, dear?" Meimi asked innocently.
Meimi looked concerned "Is something on my face?"
"S-s-sh-sh... you're Shadow!" He blurted out.
Meimi looked like she had been hit with a beam. The jacket slid off her hand and flopped to the floor as she made her way to the nearest chair. "You know."
Sonoda Masamichi dropped to his knees. What little was left of his world shattered. His question barely left his lips.
"What is going on?"