Chapter 2

I had rested for a few hours, and was finally well enough to move around, by Kaneda's standards. He'd made sure I ate well and had changed the bandage on my head; he said it looked like the gash was healing better than he expected. Deciding to continue with the story he was telling earlier, Kaneda went on to explain that Tetsuo had become a subject of testing under the watchful eye of Colonel Shikishima and the Doctor, much in the same way that Takashi had. Apparently, there were two other child test subjects with Takashi, Kiyoko and Masaru. In addition to them, he explained, was Akira. These children, Akira and the others, were the "Espers," a group of youths with psychic powers. The Colonel had taken Tetsuo Shima in an effort to gauge how powerful he was in comparison to Akira. But Akira had been dead for some time, as of the moment Kaneda had attempted to rescue Tetsuo. Tetsuo had gotten into some kind of battle with the Espers, during the latter part of which he had determined what he assumed was Akira's location. And then, Tetsuo was gone, leaving only the Espers, Colonel Shikishima and his men, Kaneda and…

Kaneda! Did you get the girl? Is she all right?

Yeah, yeah, she's here and she's fine. Friggin' relax would ya? Jeez…

The girl sat in front of me, her eyes brown and glimmering and locked onto my own. She explained that she was Kei, Kaneda's girlfriend and a medium. What would Kaneda need me to meet a medium for? The whole thing sounded like bullshit, to be frank. Secret military testing for psychic kids, mediums, Akira. It was all a bunch of damn lies. Kei explained that Kaneda had come to get me as a means of preventing Shikishima and his Doctor from running the same battery of tests on me that had been done on the Espers. Apparently, she knew they were a step too late in reaching me, though, as one look in my eyes told her that I had already started taking the pills that were supposed to help suppress my latent psychic abilities.

She lifted a locked metal box from the floor and set it between us. Kei stated that the power that Akira, the Espers, and subsequently, Tetsuo had exists in everyone from the start, and that the key was wisely choosing how to use it after you had learned how. Kaneda and Kai had put the call out to her because they intended on testing and gauging my power, then training me to use it, so that there could be a person who could fight Tetsuo on his own level, should he decide to come back after his long absence. I nodded in silence, which was not to say that I had begun to fall in for this line of shit they were trying to feed me. Were they all on crack? Was I really supposed to believe that A – if Tetsuo even existed, he would come back and B – I was going to be trained to use "latent psychic ability" in order to fight him? Yeah, right. Damn idiots.

I looked from Kei, to Kaneda and back as Kei told me to focus on the contents inside the box, keep the images I was getting of them in my mind, and then write down on a sheet of paper exactly what these items were. I decided to humor her and go through with it, faking my way through and writing simply three words on the sheet of paper in front of me: block, car, lighter. Kei unlocked the box and lifted the lid after I'd shown her what I wrote, and pulled from the heavy metal container a wooden block, a toy car and a red cigarette lighter. No way. No fucking way! She faked it, she had to have. The box was rigged somehow or another. It had to be a trick.

Kaneda, get me the three small metal rings on the table near you. Bring them here and put them on the table.

Kaneda did as Kei asked him, and leaned against the wall as if bored by the process. This test, Kei explained, was to determine the scope of my telepathic power, if there was indeed, any. I was to lift and move the rings without the use of my hands, or so I had come to understand it. I was ready to humor her again and set a look of concentration on my face as I watched closely to try and see where the filament wire was tied onto the objects. Without warning, the rings rose slowly from the table. Playing along with the bit, I said to myself, left, and as expected, someone had moved the wires on the rings so that the rings moved left. A pause, and then I remembered that only Kaneda was in the room with us; Kai had gone out once Kei had gotten here. Near as I could tell, there was nothing that Kaneda was moving, but this had to be some kind of joke, it HAD to be. How the fuck could a person lift metal rings and move them without their hands or wires, and how were the contents of that solid metal box exactly what I had guessed, as a joke?

Have you told her about what happened at the Olympic construction site?

Yeah, I was getting' to it, and then you showed up with that damn test kit of yours. You want to hurry it up already, Kei? Kinda boring just sittin' here watching you do your medium gig.

Kei gave an apologetic wave of her hand and took to silence as I looked again from her to Kaneda. He exhaled with a façade of impatience set on his features; I noticed he was pretty cute once you got past his shit attitude, but that's another story. Colonel Shikishima had followed Tetsuo to the Olympic construction site in the old city, and Kaneda had followed the Colonel. The Espers had made their way to where Testuo was, also. It was the Colonel who had first tried to combat Tetsuo and his raging powers, but to little avail. Kaneda had shown up after that, attacking Tetsuo with a military laser weapon that he'd picked up from a corpse left in Tetsuo's wake. The fight went steadily between them, neither wavering or conceding to the other in the slightest, and then the unimaginable had begun. Then it happened? This whole fucking thing was god damn unimaginable, if you ask me. But whatever, let him talk. He kept going, telling me of how he had seen, with his own eyes, his once closest friend mutating into a grotesque form, resembling a giant infant. Every bit was undulating, as if reaching out for help, and then, the light.

The Espers had summoned Akira, in an attempt to help prevent further chaos from spilling out into Neo-Tokyo. Akira descended, and enveloped everything in a bright, white light. Kaneda told me of how, when it appeared, he saw nothing, but was suddenly struck with glimpses of Tetsuo's dreams and memories: being brought to the orphanage for the first time; meeting Kaneda; all of the capsules being out on their bikes, just for the hell of it. He also told me that he had gotten a glimpse of Akira's memories, though many, if not all of them, were of the tests he and the other Espers were subjected to by Colonel Shikishima and the Doctor. He had come out of his state of unconsciousness outside the old city, with Kei and Kai beside him. Their motorcycles were in bad condition, but usable, and the three of them rode off, in no particular direction. The Colonel was nowhere to be found, and the same could be said for Akira, the Espers and Tetsuo. But something told him, he said to me, that that moment was not the last time he would see the boy who was, at one point in time, the closest friend he had in the world.