He was looking at himself in a mirror in his room. He had on a custom made black business suit with a light blue shirt and a red and white striped tie. He had twelve more suits like this sitting in his closet. On his wrist was a gold Rolex watch that cost more than a million yen. He hadn't wanted to by the thing but Natsuo insisted that it was important for his new image. All of it had been paid for with his V.I.P. card and was written off to his expense account. Looking at the watch made him feel guilty. A million yen for a time piece? And he hadn't even had to pay for it himself. Looking at the mirror the person staring back at him seemed like a stranger, someone trying to impersonate a real executive.
What am I doing here? He wondered for the thousandth time.
Benitsubasa was standing in front of her own mirror in her room in nothing but her underwear. First she faced it head on with her shoulders back. She tried crossing her arms underneath her bra. She turned to the side and tried sticking her chest out.
"Why don't you just give it up and buy a padded bra?" Haihane called from her door.
Benitsubasa glared at her. "Shut up! Lots of men prefer women without huge unsightly breasts!"
"Yeah, the ones who are gay, like Natsuo."
"He's not gay he's just confused!" Benitsubasa shouted. "I'll definitely convert him with my feminine charms!"
Haihane rolled her eyes. She'd heard this often enough. "Anyway, you want to play on the Game System?"
"No! I'm busy!"
"Busy with what?" Haihane asked. "No matter how much you stare they're not going to grow any."
"Get out! And don't come in my room without knocking!" She began throwing shoes at her with lethal force.
Haihane shut the door and beat a hasty retreat. "Fine," she muttered. "Spend the rest of the day staring at them, see what that gets you." She loped toward the living room where the Game System was hooked up to the massive plasma screen. Since Benitsubasa didn't want to play and she knew better than to even ask Karasuba she supposed she would just play by herself.
Passing the new arrival's bedroom door she paused a second. Hmmm, well I can try I guess. She knocked on his door.
A second later it opened. He was dressed in shorts and an old grey T shirt. "Yes? What is it?"
"You want to play, 'Gun Blaster Demolition Derby 3' with me?" Haihane asked him frankly.
Minato blinked at her for a second. "Okay," he said.
The two of them were sprawled out on the living room floor in front of the plasma screen. On it a pair of colorful vehicles with a bizarre combination of weapons and armor were doing battle with each other while trying to avoid minefields and random tractors and eighteen wheelers that got in the way. Both of them were madly working their controllers.
Haihane charged at him with her mortar and flamethrower working. Minato meanwhile desperately peeled back as he fired off some rockets.
"You're really good at this," Haihane noted without ever taking her eyes off the screen.
"You are too," Minato said as he also tried to concentrate on avoiding being run over by a garbage truck. "Me and my friends back home played version two of this all the time. I didn't even know version three was out yet."
"It's not," Haihane informed him. "It doesn't come out until next Christmas. We happen to own the game manufacturer so we get all their new releases before the public does."
"Cool," he said. He finally got on her rear where the armor was always the lightest. Out of his car's hood popped up a cannon. It only took a couple shots to finally blow up her Charger. Flashing red letters announced he was the winner while she was the loser.
She looked over at him. "Want to play again?"
"Sure," he nodded.
"I think I like you ashikabi," she told him as she reset the game. "Karasuba and Natsuo would never play and Benitsubasa is too busy checking out her breasts."
"She's busy checking out her breasts in the mirror," Haihane clarified. "She wants big boobs but doesn't want to go get fixed or buy a padded bra."
"I see," Minato answered feeling a little uncomfortable. "So... Haihane what do you like to do?"
She shrugged. "I mostly just play video games and watch cartoons."
"Are those your only hobbies?"
She thought for a moment. "I like to fight," she told him. "Actually I love to fight. But we're not supposed to do that until the second stage starts."
Minaka and his mom had given him a rough outline of the phases of the Sekirei Plan but not their timing. "The Second Phase is where M.B.I. intends to take over the city and place it under siege right?"
"That's right," she said.
"When will that be?"
Haihane scratched her head as she thought about it. "Well, phase one hasn't even begun yet. That kicks off in a little less than six months. They'll start letting a few sekirei leave at a time over another six months. After that we have to wait until only ten are left unwinged. Then we can play."
"It sounds like you're really looking forward to it," he noted quietly. "Do you really want to fight, maybe kill other sekirei so much?"
Minaka had also explained to him just what the Disciplinary Squad's role would be. They would not be participating directly in the Sekirei Plan. Instead they would be the enforcers who made others play the game as it was intended. Minaka took it for granted that some ashikabi and sekirei would try to circumvent his scheme. He intended the Disciplinary Squad to enforce his will and terrify the majority into obedience.
The job description wasn't one that made him comfortable.
"I sure do! I love fighting! All three of us do! It's part of the reason we were chosen. We don't care the reason we have to fight, all that matters is the chance to face someone with your life on the line!" She seemed even more eager about it that she did about Gun Blaster Demolition Derby 3. She made it sound like just another wonderful form of play.
With her messy hair, pale skin, bandages, and tattered clothes she looked rather scary. But hanging out with her she didn't seem like a bad person at all. Truthfully her personality reminded him of some of his slacker friends from back home. He didn't understand how her eagerness to fight and maybe kill others could belong in her personality.
From what she'd said he had maybe about a year before they would be called into service. He wondered if there was anything he could do to change their points of view and maybe rein them in a bit.
"Hey Haihane, want to go out for a little while after this?"
She looked at him curiously. "What do you mean?"
"I have a company car and a license," he told her. "Would you like to just go outside for awhile? It might be fun to get out."
She shrugged. "Okay I guess."
The two of them were driving through Tokyo in a silver Mercedes-Benz SLR with the top down. Haihane was over on the passenger side seat enjoying the feel of the wind in her still messy hair. Before leaving he had convinced her to at least change into a shirt and pants that covered up most of her bandages. The ones on her arms were still clearly visible.
Minato had never imagined that his very first car would be a company car or that it would be a Mercedes-Benz. Then again with everything else going on in his life driving an expensive foreign sports car didn't rate very high on his list of surprises.
"Is there anywhere special you want to go or do?" He asked her.
"What do you mean?" She inquired.
"Well, as your ashikabi I want to get to know you and try and take care of you if I can. I'd like us to become close and learn to trust one another. So if there's anything special you'd like to do today just let me know."
She stared at him. She stared at him for so long he began to wonder if something was wrong.
"Disney," she finally said.
"Disney? You mean Tokyo Disneyland?" He'd never been there. People in Tokyo considered it to be nothing but a tourist trap meant to attract visitors from out of town.
Haihane nodded. "I want to go on the rides and see the sights."
A semi-scary alien who loved to fight wanted to go to Tokyo Disneyland.
"Well why not?" Minato said with a laugh. "That makes as much sense as anything else."
Haihane looked at him questioningly. "So can we?" She used the same tone a ten year old might have.
"Yeah, let's so see Mickey and Donald."
It was late that evening when they returned. Benitsubasa and Karasuba were both camped out around the end table. Benitsubasa was watching some drama on the plasma where all the women were dressed in the latest fashions and top heavy. Karasuba was performing her favorite past time of sharpening her sword. They both looked up as they arrived.
Karasuba looked amused.
Benitsubasa looked startled and not quite sure if she should also be angry. "Where have you two been?"
Haihane was wearing black mouse ears as well as a pink and white shirt with 'Tokyo Disneyland' stamped across it. She also had several souvenirs on her including a stuffed Mickey Mouse doll.
"Minato took me to Disneyland," Haihane explained. She looked eagerly to him. "Can we go again sometime?"
"Sure," he said.
As Haihane went to her room to put away her things Benitsubasa stared at him, still not sure whether or not to be angry.
Karasuba stared too, but her look was one of pure amusement.