喰霊-零- 特戦四課 トオル ナツキ
Ga-Rei Zero : Tokusen 4
The peaceful night time of Tokyo bay docks was shattered by the thundering crashes of dislodged brick and the ear raking crunch of metal being crushed. People ran for their lives as a warehouse jolted and shuddered as if something was trying to tear it apart from the inside.
The incessant whipping of helicopter blades threw dust into the air and whipped ripples into the nearby calm waters. A behemoth troop transport set itself down just a few feet from the warehouse, challenging whatever was thundering around inside to oppose it.
With no hesitation and just a mere fraction of a second after the wheels of the sturdy craft had touched down, a stream of black armoured figures disembarked, orderly and efficient. Each one cradling a dangerous looking machine gun in their hands.
One of the figures stepped forward from the line of soldiers, his face harsh and determined, over one eye an orange, thin-film plate let off a slight glow in the moonlight.
"All forces, surround the building!" The man barked, and the line of men behind him sprang into motion, taking positions surrounding the quaking building.
"Tokusen One to operations centre," the man began talking into a microphone attached to his helmet, "target located in grid thirty four and identified as a Catergory B. We will now engage."
"Operations centre, acknowledged." A tinny reply sounded through the leader's helmet.
"Seekers, on!" The lead man barked again, and each soldier in turn raised his off hand to the side of their helmet to bring down identical orange plates to their leader. Then, they waited...
The clamouring sound of destruction intensified inside the building, and rose to an almighty crescendo as the structure finally gave way. As the dust of the collapsing material settled each man saw an eerie green outline spread across the opaque orange surface of their visor, the outline of an enormous lizard.
"Commence the attack!" The lead soldier's voice rang strong, not a hint of fear at the spectacle before him leaked into his orders. It wasn't the first time after all, to him this was just another day on the job.
A hail of of bullets barraged the outline of the lizard which had finally freed itself from its bonds of stone and metal, and it roared in protest, pushed from side to side with the force of each blow.
The lead man observed the work of his subordinates as they mercilessly hammered the creature with their attack. Looking back toward the city he noticed the perimeter established by his men was thinner on that side, perhaps the most important side, that couldn't be allowed.
"Box it in! Don't give it an open path!"
The creature was quick to capitalize on the weakness, for it, this was a matter of survival. The only thing it cared about was getting away so it could feast on the fleshy bodies of the dead and the living, it was a Kasha and that was its purpose, to eat and to never stop.
The creature howled in rage once again and flung itself against the unnatural force of the tiny objects striking it. The line of humans defending that perimeter scattered as the green outline of the enormous invisible thing grew closer in their left eyes. Some of them made it away, others weren't so fortunate, and their comrades watched in utter horror as the men were crushed beneath the glow of the invisible creature's outline.
That break in the human line was all the Kasha needed, it drew itself back up, some pieces of the squashed humans sticking to its invisible body like dismembered insects. The Kasha threw itself forward again curling its bulk into a rolling ellipse flattening everything in its path.
The soldiers watched helplessly as the outline of the creature fled further away and eventually faded completely from the range of their visor.
The lead soldier gripped the stalk of his microphone angrily. "This is Tokusen One to operations centre, the category B apparition has fled west on one zero four, heading toward the expressway and the population centre. Requesting immediate dispatch of a high speed mobile combat unit."
"Operations centre, acknowledged." the tinny reply came once again, "Good job softening it up, Tokusen One. Tokusen Four will take it from here."
On the other side of the city, a man sat at a nightclub table, a single cup of coffee nursed in his hands. He didn't particularly like the nasty substance, but it had become a force of habit pushed on him by his friends, there wasn't much else he could drink especially in his line of work.
The thrum of background music made things a little more bearable, for the man and the people who were waiting for the night's entertainment to start, and it was almost time for things to begin.
"Ah, Toru!" A chirpy voiced called from the man's blind spot.
The man, Toru, looked over his shoulder to greet the waitress that was approaching him with a menu.
"Ah, good evening." Toru replied, smiling awkwardly at her.
"Dressed in that coat again?" She asked referring to the long black coat he was wearing, hiding whatever clothes he had on underneath. "If you keep wearing that thing people are going to start thinking you're odd." She lectured him, her finger wagging absent mindedly out of habit, often the sign of someone that spent a lot of time with children.
"Who knows what they might think if I take it off..." Toru sighed, "It's best if it stays put."
"I guess you won't be needing this then?" The waitress asked referring to the menu, "You never do, do you?"
"Give me a break." Toru pinched the bridge of his nose with frustration. "You know I can't drink anything, and you know why I'm here."
"Ah, watching Natsuki's performance again?" She smiled at him knowingly. "You're so diligent Mr. Kanze, no wonder she's fallen for you."
Toru flustered a little at the insinuation and fixed her with a hard stare, willing her to close her mouth and leave him alone, sadly to no avail.
"Oh you're so cute, getting so embarrassed Toru." She slapped him on the back and jolted a little of the coffee out of his cup and onto the table. "But what would Aoi say if she knew? Oh she'd be so jealous."
"Leave me alone!" Toru demanded.
The waitress giggled and dropped the menu onto his table. "Well it's about to start so I guess I'd better get out of your sight. I don't want to be standing in the way when your eyes meet across the floor."
"Stop it..." Toru pleaded one more time, now finding it harder than ever to hide his embarrassment.
The waitress curtseyed, mocking him, and flashed a devious smile at him. "You're so lucky having the two of them dote on you the way they do. I don't know how you're ever going to make a choice."
Toru placed the cup of coffee on the table and buried his head in his hands, pleading for some miracle to make her stop teasing him.
"I'll see you later Mr. Kanze, don't stare at her too hard or she might forget her lyrics."
"Why you..." He flattened his head against the table this time as the waitress twirled and skipped away, happy that she had done a good job of making his night as awkward as possible.
The club's lights dimmed as if on cue, and the lights on the stage brightened illuminating the musicians that had been setting up there. Toru raised his head to watch, his eyes shifting from figure to figure looking for one in particular.
Despite his embarrassment at being called on it, he was here to watch Natsuki that much was true. It wasn't intentional, at least not at first, the two of them always had to be close to one another, that was the nature of their job. But recently it hadn't mattered that it was because of work, here was here now because he wanted to see her. He looked forward to these weekends, and he looked forward to seeing her. His friends were right however, eventually he was going to have to make a choice. But now wasn't the time to worry about that, right now they were all happy and that was what was most important to him.
Toru spotted Natsuki in the shadows of the stage, standing with her back to the microphone, the rest of the band standing ready with their instruments each of them waiting for their cue. Toru perked up instantly and forgot all about the teasing he had just endured and focused his gaze on her just as she predicted he would, but he didn't care.
One by one each musician lovingly guided their instruments into the beginnings of their opening song. This is what Toru had been waiting for all night, the lighting on the stage changed and the crowd hushed as Natsuki and her band finally came into view.
As always, her long hair was a perfect cascade of black silk down her back, but the clothing was a little unusual, that wasn't uncommon for her, but this was particularly unexpected.
Underneath his black coat, Toru was wearing the same thing, almost. The gaudy orange jumpsuit with the number four emblazoned on the left shoulder, which served as their uniform, was the last thing Toru had expected to see her wearing here of all places. Natsuki's version of the jumpsuit was a little different, the chest was white and the legs were cut short exposing her thighs and and stockings that wrapped tightly around her slender legs.
The music began to grow more lively and Natsuki's leg began move in time with the music. Toru couldn't help but admire her decision, only she could make that awful form fitting uniform into something amazing. As the intensity of the music reached its peak, Natsuki span and grasped the microphone stand, pulling it toward herself, both her eyes closed and her lips parted, letting the incredible strength of her voice ring out to the very back of the spacious venue.
Natsuki's eyes opened, her stare locking straight to Toru, leaving him frozen like an animal dazzled by the glare of headlights. The vibrant mauve coronas around her pupils were as intoxicating as the power of voice that reached out to every soul in the packed nightclub.
Locked in place by this sweet poison, Toru couldn't help but wonder; if he had to choose right now, could there be any doubt at all in his mind?
The music was wonderful of course, each member of the band played their part but for Toru, the evening was spent mesmerized by the strength of Natsuki's voice.
Like all good things, it didn't last.
A chime from inside the Toru's heavy coat shook him from his trance, and he stood from the table. Natsuki's expression on stage visibly changed and she seemed prepared and resigned to whatever Toru's sudden movement meant. Nodding to Natsuki, Toru turned and left the performance, stepping outside into an alleyway in the grasp of a cold winter.
It was only a matter of mere moments before Natsuki joined him in the alleyway.
"How did they take it?" Toru asked her, in reference to her sudden departure.
"They'll forgive me." Natsuki replied, a hint of disappointment prevalent in her voice. "It had to be tonight, of all nights."
From one of the pockets on her uniform, Natsuki retrieved a small ear piece, and fixed it into place under hair.
"This is Agent Three Three, reporting in." She spoke, keeping the item pressed to her ear.
"This is the operations centre." The familiar voice of a young girl echoed through the device. "A category B apparition is heading west at speed on one zero four. Tokusen Four is being mobilized to engage the target. Agents Three Three and Seven Seven are ordered to immediately intercept the target."
"Agent Three Three, acknowledged. Heading east on one zero four to intercept the target." Natsuki confirmed with the voice.
"Operations centre, acknowledged." The voice replied once again, then went silent.
"Let's move out." Toru stretched his arms and fingers loosening himself up.
"Yeah." Natsuki nodded to him, smiling.
Leaning against the rear exit of the nightclub was a spotless red and black motorcycle also with the number four emblazoned on its side. Natsuki straddled herself across its seat and retrieved a pair of helmets from storage bins in the rear. She offered one to Toru who waved it away.
"I can see better without it." He explained.
Natsuki frowned at him and put both helmets away.
"Natsuki..." He began to protest that she should at least take care of herself, but he knew better than to continue. If anything were to happen, she didn't want to be the one to come back alone.
Toru joined her on the motorcycle, and secured himself in the rear position, removing the long coat and tossing it to the side outside the nightclub door, reavealing the uniform below and the twin Walther P99s holstered at his back.
"Toru..." Natsuki asked him without turning around. "Tomorrow is another performance, and Tokusen Three is on call... Will you come again?"
"I'm sorry..." Toru bowed his head, even though she couldn't see. "Tomorrow, Aoi is-"
"Aoi is, huh?" Natsuki cut him off, the hint of disappointment in her voice changing to bitterness. "That's okay." She lied.
"Sorry..." Toru apologized, sincerely and regretfully.
Without another word, Natsuki kick started the motorcycle and the two of them embarked together to their destination.