The Untold History of Eri Kasamoto
Whoppe-doo! Looks like my spare time has churned up another interesting story-however, unlike other times where the story is always happy and upbeat, this story is going to focus on the childhood past of Eri Kasamoto, the youngest member of the 4-man Metal Slug Team. For those who actually delved into the character profiles of the characters of the games, Eri by far has the darkest past out of all the characters.
Enough of that. Today, I present to you, the untold history of Miss Kasamoto and her history. These untold fables are what was the life of the lonely explosives specialist before her career in the military, namely, the SPARROWS Intelligence Organization. Enjoy.
(I do not own the character at all, Eri Kasamoto herself belongs to SNK Playmore. All other characters with the exception of the Metal Slug Crew and Flynn Taggart himself are all fictitious characters.)
A bar somewhere in Tokyo, Japan
Evening settled over the capital city of Japan as people on the streets began to find cover when the sky soon turned grey and lightning bolts flashed above their heads. Mobs of citizens, scurrying like busy and swarming ants, moved across the streets, with most of them covering their heads with umbrellas, newspapers, or whatever they could make use of to protect themselves from the heavy rain. Once again, the SV-001 Commando Team were on vacation after being "excused" by Fio's father, who promised to take all the members on an around-the-world trip to various locations. After visiting Fio's hometown in Genova, Italy and Hong Kong, China, which was, of course, Leon's home city (and of course Marco's favorite stop for the best Chinese foods that were available there for extremely cheap prices), Tarma decided to make a request and make their last stop at no other than Japan, which was namely his and Eri's home country. Mr. Germi, being the humble, battle scarred veteran he was, couldn't deny the request of Fio's best friends and gladly flew them to the eastern island nation with his customized private aircraft.
Aside from visiting Hokkaido and Hiroshima, which were Tarma and Eri's hometowns when they were young children, respectively, the team definitely couldn't miss out on checking out the nation's top spotlight and attraction-the high-tech capital city that was Tokyo.
"Wow, it was very nice for all of us to take one hell of a vacation around the world, not to mention we actually had a chance to visit one of the most high-tech countries on the planet!" Leon exclaimed as he looked out the window of a bar on the second floor of a mall. Rain pelted the windows in endless streams, but the team members were grateful to be dry. "What do they put in these sushi rolls anyways?" He asked as he picked through one of the food items with some ingredients he couldn't seem to identify.
Tarma chuckled a bit as he sipped some tea. "Don't mention it, soldier. We've seen most of Europe, been to Hong Kong, and served most of our time in the Americas, so I guess returning to my home country these days could've been suitable. By the way, Leon, that's salmon eggs. Won't do any harm to ya, so go ahead and eat it. So guys, what do you think?"
"It's great to get out of the Americas for once." Eri spoke sternly, observing the people below on the streets scurrying for cover in the rain or just being on their way to whatever destination they were trying to get to.
Marco grabbed a sushi roll and munched on it vigorously. "The food here is awesome! I have got to travel more often to Asian countries-their food is just so delicious and savoring! Western food these days are so boring and unhealthy, and that's saying a lot!" With a couple more bites, he finished eating and flushed down his food with one big gulp of ice-cold beer.
Flynn Taggart gulped down the remaining beer in his massive mug and burped loudly. "Well, I have to say, the people here are so polite. Much better than those ones back in America, that's for sure!"
"Well, you aren't!" Fio interrupted as she waved a hand over her nose, in order to fan the Marine's disgusting smell of his beer breath out of her atmosphere. "What did you eat! You smell terrible!"
"Fiolina's right, you still haven't changed your ways even after five years." Eri rolled her eyes in disgust.
"Hey, pardon me then, Miss Germi and Kasamoto! If I don't burp, it gives me gastrointestinal issues that involves bathroom camping! But as I was saying, the people here are far more polite and respecting to foreigners. Remember the time I accidently bumped into that gentleman? I was expecting him to throw a hissy fit at me for spilling his coffee on his business uniform but the guy just bowed a bit, murmured something in Japanese and walked away!"
Tarma raised his hand to attract one of the waiters. "Well, Lieutenant, it's a tradition. As far as I know, most Asians are extremely respectful and of course, that man said that he was sorry and that he should've watched where he was going." The waiter approached the table, and Tarma spoke something to the waiter in Japanese-a language only he and Eri could understand, and no one else on the team. Nodding a bit, the waiter wandered off and the vehicle specialist turned back to the team. "I'm getting us more sushi, if you guys and girls don't mind."
"Not me." Fio responded. "Now what were you saying, Mr. Taggart?"
Clearing his throat, the soldier with the best build on the team continued his story. "Well, like I was saying, I mean, in the US, the kids at school bullied poor Leon Chan here just because he was of an Asian descent and the fact he had a funny accent! Road raging is also common, man, I'm just glad not every citizen in America is given a firearm otherwise we'd be seeing murders every day." He tried not to laugh, even though it wasn't a very funny fact to begin with. "But what those fat, unhealthy kids didn't know was the fact they were bullying someone that'd soon become the savior of humanity! Ain't that right, Corporal!" He slapped his bud's back and gave him a friendly grin.
"Hah, a Corporal!" Tarma laughed. "Even Fio here is a Master Sergeant and despite the fact you're more skilled than her, your rank stinks!"
Fio instantly interrupted with a small yelp. "Hey! That wasn't funny!"
Crossing his arms, Leon rolled his eyes a bit and looked at the ranking on his uniform. "I'm no longer a Corporal, damn it. I would've been probably a Colonel if it wasn't for the fact the Marines decided to bust down my rank just because I disobeyed a direct order. So let's just all forget about that, alright?" Pausing a bit, he picked up a glass of beer soda, his favorite "customized" drink, and sipped the liquid in a relaxed manner. "By the way, I'd probably rub my accomplishments in those stupid kid's faces, because we're the ones always defending their sorry asses when the bombs fall on them, am I not correct? And no, I'm not the savior of mankind, that's a title that's going too far."
"Psh." Flynn responded. "I normally wouldn't say this, but I'm losing confidence in the youths today everywhere. They're all video-game induced freaks with an addiction to shooters with sparkly graphics! Nobody likes old school games anymore, yet there's quite a fan base!"
"True that. But while we fought in Europe I'll assume they were sitting at home playing Counter Strike and Team Fortress online and increasing their chances of a heart attack by munching on cheeseburgers. No wonder the obesity rate has been increasing! And they're criticizing that war is a bad thing when they don't even watch the news! Don't worry Fio, we all have our strengths and weaknesses but then I'm sure me and Flynn sure stink in terms of smell." He was referring to the fact that the US Marines sometimes had to go on for days and even weeks without a proper shower or bath.
All his other friends couldn't help but laugh at his speech. As much as the two Marines hated being laughed at, they loved to poke fun at themselves from time to time as they were often referred to as the "Clowns of Combat" like Marco said so when they first joined the squad about five years ago. However, all but one person were present at the table, and it wasn't long until Marco noticed that Eri was missing.
"Hey, where's Eri?" He asked.
"Going for a walk again by herself, I suppose…" Tarma answered his question as he caught the explosives specialist just walking out the door. "Ah man, sometimes, it's impossible to understand what is actually going on inside that girl's head. I guess we should just leave her be and such, she's like a closed book to us all even though she's so friendly to us on occasions…"
"Girls are weird. Hah. No wonder Leon and I never get any dates." Flynn laughed. "There are few girls in the Marines to begin with!"
"Hey hey hey, don't drag me into your little circle of homosexuality!" Leon raised a fist.
"I'm just joking, sheesh! And no I'm not gay either!"
The rest of the team laughed, completely forgetting about Eri as they continued to discuss their experiences since they believed it was better off leaving her alone regardless. Meanwhile, the lonely soldier away from the group left the restaurant as she continued her walk on the cold, wet streets, thoughts and memories running through her head as she walked towards wherever she was going.
The Streets of Tokyo
Why am I here? Why am I always so lonely? How come life never provides me with any answers? Eri pondered as she continued to steadily walk all by herself in the now mostly deserted streets, since it was late into the night and most people had sheltered themselves from the drenching rain. Completely soaked, rainwater continued to run across her skin and standard SPARROWS military uniform as she shook her head a bit, shaking the water out of her messy blonde hair. But then, life never really gave me any good answers to begin with, so whatever…
As she approached an intersection of two main streets, a noise soon caught her attention, and shifting her head slightly, she realized it was a young couple huddling together at a bus stop in the cold evening air. Both of them were conversing in Japanese, but for Eri who knew the language by heart by the time she was five years old, she understood each and every words the two individuals spoke.
"It's so cold…" The girl spoke as she shivered and huddled close to her male friend, trying to keep warm. "I should've brought a jacket…"
"Don't worry, you can take mines." The boy took off his leather jacket and placed it around the shivering body of his friend, all the while smiling warmly.
"Aw, but won't you be cold? You'll catch a cold, and you'll make me worry about you all over again."
"With you around, I'll always feel warm on the inside. That's all that matters."
Shaking her head in dismay and jealousy, Eri instantly looked away from the couple and continued walking on. Whenever she always witnessed couples conversing among themselves warmly, it would always trigger a feeling of loneliness and emptiness within her own self. It was probably the fact that she had made few friends throughout her life, even though most people had tried to but ended up unsuccessfully. Without doubts regardless, Eri's standards were quite high-she wanted a sweet and mature guy that won't act like a clown, but no one has been capable of achieving that. And it was also because of her cold attitude that scared most people away from her so it wasn't about the standards-it was also about the ones that actually had the guts to hold her cold hands of death.
But hey, who wants a girl that has been a leader of street kids? Oh sure, while they'd probably say I'm a sweet individual during the first few days of a date but as soon as I tell them about my history, 99% of them run like they're fleeing from falling bombs. Oh geez, people are just not too mature these days…but then, the only individual that I feel enough maturity from is Tarma. He's got dreams and skills, at least. Marco's just a computer geek that loves his electronics more than his personal health, Flynn's an old childish beach bum with no dreams while Leon…I'm not even going to go into detail. He wants to open a noodle stand…what? Does he expect he'll be successful being in the food service business? But then, he's a war criminal that did the right thing…but he's still too childish! Murmuring to herself slightly, she kicked a soda can and watched it clatter across the road. As soon as it stopped moving, she took a deep sigh and continued her aimless stroll on the streets.
She continued her walk until she noticed a noodle stand that was still, for some reason open even though it was completely devoid of customers. As her stomach grumbled a bit, she approached the food stand and the only employee running the stand greeted Eri with a smiling face. The man who greeted her was a stocky male with quite a build and heavily weathered facial features, and a light beard covered most of his chin.
"Want something to eat, Miss? Don't worry, I'm not closing yet so order away if you want anything." He spoke as he rinsed some dishes and continued to slice some meat with a cleaver.
Eri looked at the menu, and decided what she really wanted to eat. Upon seeing her favorite dish-noodles in soup served with assorted seafood-her stomach rumbled even more. "Well, I'll take the seafood ramen. How much will it be?" She asked.
"Since you're the first customer this evening, I'll make it a low price for ya. Does 400 yen sound reasonable, Miss?"
Nodding her head, Eri counted out her money, handed it to the cook, and sat down on one of the chairs right outside the stand, observing the cloudy night sky as the rain continued to pour down. The chef began to make her food while she continued to drift her mind into a sea of thoughts. Memories from her past began to haunt her battle-scarred self, as they were moments of remembrance that would never leave her alone, no matter what…
Over 20 years ago, somewhere in Hiroshima, Japan
A woman in her mid-30s observed the area leading to their destination with her sharp eyes and under the cover of some bushes, and realized the two sentries that were previously standing at the church gates were leaving the area. "Ok, the coast is clear. Let's move. Follow me Tominaga, and don't get lost. We have to make this fast if we want to stay unnoticed and out of the sights of these patrols."
Rain continued to pour from the night sky as two individuals scurried towards the local church of their hometown, hoping not to be caught by any passing security patrols. In the wake of multiple terrorist attacks around the globe, world security has tightened tenfold and curfews had been instantiated by many governments around the world to ensure the chances of chaos would be lower in the event another terrorist attack occurred.
"What do you mean? You mean Eri's going away forever?"
"I've got no choice. I cannot support another child with the death of my husband…" Eri's mother lamented while covering the sleeping child from the rain in her arms. "Our only chance for her survival is to give her to the local orphanage. Maybe they would be able to support and raise her far better a weakened woman like me can do…"
"Mom, are we really giving Eri away?" Tominaga asked, wondering why they were giving away her one and only infant sister that was no more than one years old. "Why are we doing this?"
Mrs. Kasamoto turned to Eri's older sister and sighed sadly. "I normally wouldn't tell you because you're too young…but then there's no hiding the truth anymore. Because with the death of our father, we will not be able to provide enough income. I may be able to support you, but I have to work and I cannot take anymore leaves, the military desperately needs me. If I continue to miss work, I'll lose my job and our family will go into dismay. I'm sorry, my daughters…" She took one last look at the infant and kissed the sleeping baby gently on the forehead. "May the future look bright for you, Eri Kasamoto…Tominaga, if you have any more words to speak to your younger sister before we depart, please do so now."
Tominaga whispered a couple of words into the infant's ear, and tried not to cry. "I hope to see you again someday, sis…"
With that, Eri's mother lowered the baby comfortably at the steps leading into the church, and placed a paper in her hands. On the paper were the words "Eri Kasamoto. Birthday: June 6." clearly written in Japanese and English with pencil. Taking a final look at her baby daughter, Miss Kasamoto took one last moment to bid farewell to her child that she was forced to abandon for the better sake of both Eri and her own future. "Ok, we must depart now. For dawn will arrive in 3 hours and we must use darkness to avoid getting caught." In order to ensure Eri would be safe for the night, she knocked on the door of the church and quickly left the scene.
The two individuals quickly fled off into the night, hoping to avoid any patrols. Meanwhile, the late night security guard opened the door and muttered to himself.
"Hmm, thought I heard noises. Ah well, probably some pranksters again…hello, what's this?" He noticed Eri, who was still busy sleeping sweetly away at the porch, and picked her up with his arms. "What an adorable little child! Don't worry, we'll ensure you'll be taken care of." He whispered gently and took the baby inside. It was also this time he noticed a piece of paper clutched in her arms. Removing the slip, he took a glance at the paper.
"Eri Kasamoto…that must be your name, and we'll call you that as such. Maybe your family may have abandoned you, but we won't." Closing the doors, the security guard took Eri inside and turned her in to the church supervisors.
Many years later, at the same church…
It was now dusk hour, and most of the orphans were getting ready for bed after they had brushed their teeth. Eri had just finished her process of cleaning herself and was about to collect her belongings in her room, when she realized her favorite and only toy she had in her possession, a rag doll that she managed to create herself and with the help of one of the church assistants that volunteered to take care of the children periodically, was missing. Searching for it frantically, she headed into one of the boy's rooms and realized that the biggest child living at the orphanage was clutching it with his hands. She couldn't believe this!
"Hey, look at this ugly thing! I managed to steal it, it'll make a great toy to play football with!" In response to his comment, the other boys cheered while some simply laughed their heads off since the supervisors always confiscated their footballs because the boys would always damage the windows whenever they were tossed around.
"Who's this girl?" One of the other boys asked. "You know you can't come in here, this is the boy's zone, not for you cootie-induced freaks!" He taunted.
"Hand it over now!" Eri screamed as she tried to reclaim her favorite doll from the boy that was grasping it with his massive hands, for a 9 year old child anyways. "That's my favorite doll and you're not going to throw it around like a football!"
"Aw, does the little baby want her doll back? If you want it, you'll have to fight me for it!" The bigger bully mocked while sticking his tongue out. His other friends continued to laugh at the poor girl, but despite these conditions, the pint-sized girl didn't shed a single tear at all. In fact, she was looking forward to reclaim the toy from this fat boy. "Look, this girl is looking angry now! Watch out or she may beat us all up! NOT!" He began to cackle again in a mocking tone, but this just made Eri angrier.
"…if you don't hand it back to me now, I will make you hand it over to me." She simply replied while maintaining a menacing glare at the individual that stole her one and only toy.
"HA!" The bully replied as his friends began to laugh. "What are you going to do? Spray me with perfume? Bring it on, you wimp!"
Completely enraged, Eri grabbed a metal, die-cast toy car about the size of a computer mouse from the ground and flung it right at her opponent's face with all the force she could muster. The coward, not expecting an actual retaliation and a challenge of a fight from a pint-sized girl with a big mouth (in the perspective of himself and his little friends anyways) was hit directly in the forehead by the projectile, and stumbling over, fell directly on his back and in utter pain from the attack. His other four friends were eventually enraged themselves and began to rush at Eri.
"Let's get her!"
"You'll regret doing that!"
While the future SPARROWS agent wasn't scared at all in terms of facing down these bullies, their force was much more than she could handle-while she managed to fight off two of them with martial arts moves she learned from movies she loved to watch whenever she had the spare time, two more managed to pin her to the floor with their hulking bodies. The boy whom stole her doll earlier soon regained his senses and angrily stomped over in an angered fashion. Cracking his fists, he smiled devilishly at Eri and laughed.
"Ohohoho…such a brave little girl. Too bad your little victory's going to be short lived, as you're going to eat my fist. Hold her down, boys, while I deliver the blows. She's going to pay for scratching us like that." His two remaining followers nodded.
Feeling completely helpless, Eri closed her eyes and cried on the inside-she knew she was going to end up with bruises and broken teeth just because she tried to reclaim her favorite toy.
It was at this time when another individual had arrived on the scene-coming from behind the two boys that were holding Eri down without making a sound at all, he delivered two swift punches to each of the cowards that were holding her, and his attack was so swift that both lost their grip and were sent crashing into the ground, groaning in absolute, mind-numbing pain. The well-built boy immediately stood between Eri and the bully, standing in defiance and bravery and trying to prevent a future conflict. "I can't believe you…you're picking on a girl?" He spoke with a tone of courage. "You, for all people, set a bad example for guys everywhere with an act like yours."
"Shut it, pal. Now move out of the way so I can deal with her." The overweight yet tall bully demanded, cracking his fists as he stomped over. Meanwhile, Eri huddled behind her savior, trying to avoid eye contact with the one that had robbed her of her favorite toy.
"Fight me then." The young man, presumably two years older than Eri, rolled up his sleeves.
"No, please don't!" Eri begged as she clutched this new stranger's hands, not wanting him to get hurt just because of her problems. "This is my fault and I should've never started a fight with them!"
"No." He replied firmly. "These idiots should be the ones that should be at fault. They stole something from you that rightfully belongs to you, and if they're not going to admit their mistakes, I'll make them." Stepping forward, he flexed his muscles a bit and glared at the thief. "Alright, fatty. Let's make a deal. If I win, you give this young girl's toy back and you'd better apologize. But if you win…then you can continue to pound me all you wish. But you must not harm her no matter what the cost!"
"Hahaha! Deal! But let me tell you this, girlie, you're letting the boy take all the burn just because you're too scared to fight me!" He tossed the doll to the ground and charged over to both individuals like a bull gone berserk, intent on pounding both Eri and her new defender to the ground.
Oh, wow. This guy is truly an idiot…Stepping aside slightly, he raised his right foot a bit, and the overweight bully ran straight into the foot without even suspecting it-what happened next was the obese tub of lard tripping over, falling face first to the ground and before he knew it he was rolling like a ball into the hallway and slamming into the wall, back-first. Making sure his opponent was completely dazed out and no longer posed a threat, the young man defending Eri smiled a bit, picked up the rag doll and handed it back to the blonde-haired child with a smile. "Here. I think this belongs to you."
"Oh…I don't know what to say…but…" Eri stuttered a bit, amazed from this stranger that had risked himself to actually save her most prized possession and to preserve her well-being. Taking the doll, she tried not to cry. "This is a very special possession of mines…it's like the only thing that makes me feel warm on the inside whenever I sleep at night."
"No need to say thanks, and I understand how special possessions can be. Just doing the right thing, and to prove the fact these bunch of kids are nothing more than a bunch of selfish cowards. Now let's go, it's getting late."
Eri's new friend brought her back to her room, where she was left standing at the front door. Just as she was about to enter her room with her friends, her newfound ally walked away while waving goodbye. But she still needed to know his name.
"Wait, I forgot to ask!" She called out.
"Yes?" The boy turned around.
"What is your name?"
Clearing his throat, he chuckled slightly. "Oh, I forgot my manners. The name's Matthew Kane, but you can call me Matt if you want to. That's what most of my friends call me anyways. What's yours?"
"Um…" Eri spoke as she shuffled her feet nervously while clutching her crude, yet cute, rag doll with her tiny hands. "I'm Eri Kasamoto."
"Nice name. Glad to meet you, Eri." Matthew nodded a bit while smiling. "Well, get some good night sleep, I'll see you tomorrow."
"Goodbye, Matt!" Eri smiled.
The next day, in the church orphanage's office…
"Do you actually think we'd believe you for that absurd story!" The supervisor of the church replied in response to the bully's story. Matthew, Eri, the bully and his four other friends were all dragged into the office concerning the racket last night.
"But sir, it is true! Eri just came into my room and punched me in the face saying I was too fat!" The bully cried while clutching his head, which was still in pain from the toy car that Eri threw at his head and the multiple rolls he was forced to go through before crashing into the wall because of his bumbling act of trying to topple Matthew. "Why won't you believe me!"
"It's true!" One of his friends spoke.
"You five brats have a long history of vandalizing and bullying people. Do you think an innocent girl like Eri would start a fight with you unless you did something completely stupid, so stupid it's enough to end up in a brawl? Tsk tsk tsk…" He sighed and continued writing down in a notepad.
Eri got out of her chair and pointed to the fat bully. "He stole my toy and was threatening me! I don't let people push me around like that!"
"Yes, but it's not reasonable for you to hit them that hard…" The supervisor replied. In reply, the bully and his friends snickered a bit.
Matthew interrupted him by raising his hand. "They were prepared to beat the poor life out of her. Do you think it's fair for five guys like these pounding on her and letting them get away with it? It would've happened if I didn't interrupt. I was just doing the right thing." He spoke in a polite and respecting voice.
The supervisor nodded. "Well Matthew, I have to say…you're the one with a clean record. I'll take your word for it, but then, let's see the truth. Because I had the whole scene recorded because these five idiots have a security camera right outside their room." The five other guys gulped nervously, knowing their lies won't save them from a punishment now.
Inserting a tape into a cassette player, the scene from last night played-and it showed the scene where all five guys had snuck into Eri's room, stole her doll, and all ran back to their own room, followed by Eri's pursuit of them determined to reclaim her toy. After that, it was just the usual-Eri beating them up, and Matthew's intrusion to protect her from a potential assault from five cowards. "Well, you five guys have done it again. Just going into the girls' rooms earns you a punishment instantly, but lying makes it all worse. And since you were going to pound Eri…you guys are going to clean all the toilets in the orphanage for the next year and you'll all be forced to go on 5km jogs for a month every morning at 6 in the morning! Oh, and Eri and Matthew, you're both free to leave. While you five…"
"NOOO!" The lead bully cried. "I can't even stand running 500 meters! Please sir, have mercy!" His other four friends all fell to their knees and begged for mercy.
Chuckling from the amusement of the punishment and reaction of the five other boys, Matthew left the office, with Eri following him closely.
"Oh, Matt…thanks for backing me up there." Eri thanked him.
"Oh, don't do that, Eri. I'm just helping you. That's what my brother taught me anyways. He's in the military and yes, he's quite the role model even though I don't see him anymore." He scratched his head nervously. "Come on, you want to go out for a walk? We can talk more there."
Both individuals walked out of the orphanage, greeted by the warm rays of the sun as the two began to socialize about their lives and their past.
Approximately 2 years later
Medical personnel rushed out of the orphanage, carrying many children covered in blood and charred from burns. Apparently, a terrorist bombing attack on the orphanage had killed and maimed many of the supervisors, volunteers and children of the shelter. While Eri herself was unharmed, her newfound friend, Matthew Kane, was critically injured by the blast-once again, he tried to protect her from the initial blast which succeeded, but the next few explosions caused by the terrorists eventually caught him wounded. His entire body was soaked in blood as he tried to clutch the wounds, all the while being rushed away for treatment by two UN soldiers.
"Move it! We need to get all those injured patched up as soon as possible on the double!" The officer in charge of the rescue operation screamed as more medics rushed onto the scene to save the dying occupants. Eri continued to run alongside the two soldiers carrying Matthew, crying and clutching his hand as he was rushed to safety.
"E-Eri…" Matthew uttered. "Please…take care…of yourself…I don't know…"
"Matt! NO! Don't say that!" Eri cried in response as she gripped her friend's hand tightly. "You will be alright!"
Another soldier soon forced the two to release their grip, and although Eri tried to go after Matthew, the infantryman maintained a firm grip on her hands, preventing her from interrupting the medics that were working to save the wounded boy's life. She couldn't understand this, however, and she tried to fight against the soldier's grip.
"LET ME GO! I'm not leaving my friend!" She screamed.
"I'm sorry, but I cannot let you risk the process of interrupting the medics' work!" The combatant replied in a harsh manner.
It was not long before Eri soon gave up fighting against her captor's grip, and the soldier, realizing she wouldn't stubbornly rush over to her friend, released her. The medics that were busy treating Matthew soon returned to the girl and shook their heads in disappointment.
"I'm-I'm sorry, your friend…we did our best. He's…passed." One of them announced his death.
Falling to the ground on her knees, she began to sob her heart out as she witnessed her one and only friend at the orphanage die off just like that…for there was nothing that she could do now but witness the devastation of the bombing that claimed so many innocent lives and the loss of her only childhood friend that had shown her friendship.
Modern Day, Tokyo, noodle stand
Eri blinked her eyes a bit as she shook a tear out of her face. She was tired of thinking about her history-why, in her entire life, did her only friend have to leave her? And it was all caused by a bunch of loyal fanatics that were willingly enough to give up their own lives for a cause some crazed leader convinced them to follow.
Matthew was like a surrogate brother to me…he cared for me, stood there for me, and was a shoulder that I could always cry on whenever I needed it. And they took it all away…if he was still alive today, I would probably be able to pull a better life together now. But there's no point in lamenting the past now. He told me to take care of myself and move on towards the future in the event he would have to leave me…which is the case now. I had so many things to say to you yet I never got the chance to do so…Placing her palms on her face, she tried not to cry for it would probably destroy all her reflexes in an instant.
The chef soon brought her bowl of noodles over, placed it on the table, and gave her a pair of chopsticks and a spoon. "Uh, Miss, sorry it took so long, but the stove wasn't co-operating as it planned to be, so I had to re-wire it some bit. But anyways, enjoy." He grinned slightly.
Eri looked up at her server and smiled in response. "Thank you." After that, the only server of the stand returned to his usual tasks of preparing the ingredients for any potential customers that might show up at the stand. Of course, there was none but he was glad that he had at least one, at the very least.
The SPARROWS agent slurped her noodles down while taking occasional bites from the assorted pieces of imitation crab meat, sliced tuna and raw salmon that were placed into the bowl along with the noodles. Since she didn't eat much with her friends previously, she was more than eager to finish the bowl rapidly.
And then I escaped that orphanage just because I couldn't stand living with the kids there anymore…oh well, they'd kick me out even I wanted to stay behind…then I began my life on the streets.
Her mind, once again, drifted to the time where she fled the orphanage and soon began her journey into the forbidden world of crime…
Church Orphanage, approximately 8 years ago
Ok, coast is clear. Eri thought to herself as she surveyed the hallways. Packing all the personal belongings she could carry by herself, she quietly tiptoed down the hallway of the orphanage and towards the exit. Tired of living here anyways…the kids are dumb and this place is no longer a safe haven.
She was tired of living a strict life. She was tired of having to put up with immature kids far younger than she was. She was tired of losing a very close friend of hers yet the bullies that had harassed her 2 years back survived-they were downright low lives that deserved the wrong end of a shotgun for their cowardly acts, in her mind anyways. And if she wasn't going to leave soon, the supervisors would kick her out sooner or later-more space was needed for future kids with no homes and families, and she was quite capable of surviving on the streets by herself regardless.
My childhood memory is nothing but a mere memory, so it's time to start a new slate.
Noticing that the late-night security guard had fallen asleep, she quietly sprinted for the door, opened it without making a sound, and fled into the night.
Her next stage-being a leader of a gang and the legendary soldier of destruction-had begun.
Somewhere in the Downtown District of Hiroshima, 5 years later
A knock came from the metallic door, and Eri ordered one of her guards to see who it was.
"It's one of our own." He replied, peering through a window.
"Anyone following them?"
"Let them in."
Two of her gang members, escorted by a few lightly armed gunmen, rolled in two crates and caught their breath.
"So, what'd you bring back?" Eri asked her followers inside their hideout-a small, abandoned warehouse in the back alleyways, to be exact. Her physical appearance had changed greatly-she was no longer the cute-looking and innocent girl she once was when she was back at the orphanage. Instead, she had an appearance that was comparable to her look in the future when she first joined the SPARROWS. As her subordinates brought in their loot, she was busy finishing up her last pipe bomb-her specialty skill. As an expert in making explosives out of scrap, her products were cheap yet surprisingly powerful and effective most of the time.
"Uh, yeah…" One of the members of her gang replied. "We managed to purchase some food items, personal care needs, and my friend here managed to steal quite a load of surplus military firearms." His friend displayed a crate that held a few pistols, revolvers, submachine guns and a belt of hand grenades.
"Impressive…" She congratulated. "I didn't expect to see that we managed to steal quite prized weaponry. That should help us in fighting back against those other attacking gang members. We should be careful, since we don't exactly have the heaviest firepower."
Two gang members nodded a bit while clutching salvaged MP40s in their arms, which were considered relic weapons although still were effective because of their ruggedness, easy maintenance and reliability even though they were over 60 years old. "Last time we fought them, they had M16s and AK47s. We definitely need heavier firepower against them if we're even going to hope to last against such carnage."
"Heh." Eri laughed a bit. "Who needs those when we've got explosives?" She held up a homemade pipe bomb and grinned evilly. "They don't have explosives in their arsenal, that's for sure. But we've got enough pipe bombs, Molotov Cocktails and grenades here to burn down their entire complex if we really need to." She hopped off the crate she was sitting on, wandered over to another crate where all her gang's surplus explosives were stored, and took off the covering. Inside the container were stockpiled grenades, firebombs, and homemade pipe bombs all carefully and neatly arranged in the crate. "This one crate here can outmatch whatever military grade weapon they have-save for M60s and grenade launchers, but I doubt they even have any. The military won't leave those cannons unsecured, for sure."
She continued looking among her loyal followers-most of them were kids no older than she was-probably in their 14s and 15s, and yet now they were struggling to survive in a world terrorized by terrorist organizations and splinter factions alike. She herself was the oldest-aging at 17, she was often regarded as the most experienced and skillful out of all of her followers. As if that wasn't the only thing they had to hide from, they had to outrun the law at the same time too, not to mention fend for themselves against enemy gang organizations that opposed them. To survive, Eri's group of ragtag criminals specialized in selling firearms to other buyers at a bargain, but still yet cheap enough to help them make a living. To acquire the firearms, her gang would raid enemy hideouts and military armories by exposing their weak points and utilizing stealth to complete their objectives, for they were absolutely outgunned against professional soldiers and heavily armed enemy gangsters. But unlike other gangs, they had a secret poison in their arsenal-cheap, mass-produced explosives. They also utilized their explosives to make a profit as it was impossible to purchase them using legal means. However, they were careful in who they were selling them to, as it was extremely likely they could be easily ratted out by snitches who pretended to be the usual customer.
A member of hers grabbed a sandwich from the crate and began munching on it. "Well, I have to say, stealing military firearms is easy nowadays seeing how they don't repair their bases after terrorist bombings."
"It's because their funding is so damn undercut, they forget about maintenance of their bases anyways. I wouldn't be surprised if the water pipes in their bases are rusting and on the verge of snapping." A guard replied. "Trust me, my old man works for the military, and he told me the bathrooms at the barracks he works at were worst than that of public bathrooms. That's how underfunded the military is nowadays, no wonder terrorists are getting away all the time for their crazy suicidal schemes." He sat down on an oil drum and took a gulp from his beer. "So, what do we plan next? We've got quite some buyers on our list, and despite the fact we've got plenty of weapons in our stockpiles, we still have to keep ourselves well supplied and armed. Because we can't fight alone with our bare fists, if you know that!" He petted his MP5 submachine gun with pride, as it was one of the only few powerful weapons the gang had but it couldn't compare to high-powered weapons such as AK47s and M16s. Regardless, gangs that had weapons such as MP5s were more than grateful to have such high-quality weapons that were hard to procure. Most of these weapons could only be stolen from military bases and hideouts of terrorists and enemy gangs alike, if you were lucky to sneak into them undetected and get out alive in one piece that is.
Crossing her arms across her chest, Eri looked outside one of the window of the warehouse and took a deep breath. "I'm sure those other gangs know where our hideout exactly is now, seeing how they managed to damage one of our fortifications during their last assault here. It's either we take the fight to them, or they'll come here and rock our crib with an attitude. So, who's with me? I say we go trash their clubhouse now, loot whatever they have, and get the hell out of there. We don't exactly need to subdue them-setting the place on fire is more than enough to intimidate them to never mess with us again." She chuckled a bit, feeling confident that she had pyrotechnics on her side.
All her followers raised their hands without objecting. They knew that their leader always knew what to do, even in the direst circumstances.
"Then it's settled." Eri confirmed. "Gather up supplies, we're going to trash those natives for messing with us."
Gearing up and making sure all the members were armed to the teeth, Eri decided to utilize four pickup trucks for this operation-running back to base while carrying loot was definitely not a viable (or a good) option to begin with, so using wheels to make an escape while brimming with riches was their only one. Loading 3 boxes of explosives and giving every member on a team a submachine gun and pistol, her squad of 12, including herself, moved out.
Outside a rival gang's hideout
The raiding party arrived via four pickup trucks, all loaded with weapons and well protected with armor, albeit built from scrap or scavenged from military bases. Parking their vehicles close to the exit of the enemy compound, they quietly unloaded their munitions while they took strategic positions around the installation. However, reconnaissance was the first thing to do on the list before anything else.
"See anything?" Eri asked as one of her scouts peered at the enemy surroundings with his binoculars.
"Nope." The scout replied. "Just a bunch of lounging guards, nothing else. Looks like the way into the warehouse is lightly guarded also-looting the place should be cake, provided we make a good enough distraction. Most of the bulk of their members are probably sleeping right now, so we'd better make this quick."
"Will do." Eri turned to her squad mates. "Alright, you know the plan. Team A, you will be in charge of providing the distraction using explosives. Chuck them into the compound, make one hell of some fireworks, and the light show will draw them to the carnage like flies to rotting flesh. Team B, you will sneak into the compound, steal whatever you can get, and get back to the rendezvous point on the double. You'll be lightly armed, so don't get bogged down in a fight because it'll end up ugly if they break out their assault rifles." She explained as she pointed to various positions on a makeshift map she managed to create via continuous raids of this particular hideout. Her strategic skills and tactics made her a trusted leader among the ranks of her organization, and they rarely ever failed with her plans.
"Alright, I understand."
"I'll be in and out."
"Give it to them, boys." Eri laughed as she pulled out a lighter. Lighting a pipe bomb, she flung the explosive into the compound, while Molotov Cocktails and fragmentation grenades soon followed. The enemy gang had no idea what was about to hit them.
Continuous explosions soon erupted from within the base, and the rival gang members were absolutely surprised by the sudden ambush-none of them had any time to prepare, as Eri and a few other grenadiers on her squad had managed to destroy the armory holding their most powerful weapons. She didn't want to risk her member's lives trying to steal their heavy equipment nor did she want to face the sheer firepower of assault rifles so in the end she simply decided to destroy the stockpiles outright. Lighting another Molotov Cocktail, she proceeded to target the housing area of the base-by doing so, she would be able to impede reinforcements for a while until the fire could be extinguished-but by then, her own troops would've fled the area with the loot or the fire would simply consume the unaware enemies. She was here for a looting run, not extermination-although she was more than glad to exterminate the enemy as they had claimed plenty of lives of her fellows in their previous encounters.
"Go go go!" A voice ordered. Team B immediately rushed into the storage shacks while their escorts covered them with automatic fire from their submachine guns. The looting team began their collection, while Team A, the squad Eri belonged to, continued lobbing projectiles of death at the hapless enemy troopers. As some of her own teammates began to sustain injuries from the counterattacks launched by the enemy, she decided to literally start causing casualties as opposed to simply making them run for cover.
Grabbing her MP5 submachine gun, she drew a bead on two enemy gang members that were busy sniping the looting team with low-powered submachine guns and squeezed the trigger. As they were far too distracted from stopping the looters, they had no idea that Eri was about to down them with accurate shots-which she did so. The bullets tore into their legs, disabling them and downing them-but not killing them.
More reinforcements arrived, but Team A had been waiting for them-tossing more explosives, the mixture of pipe bombs, Molotov Cocktails and the few fragmentation grenades that were tossed into the area were either burned, annihilated or sent victims of the attacks flying into the sky. However, the bad news soon began to settle for Eri's team when they realized their ammunition was running dangerously low.
"Eri! Our supply of explosives is almost dry!"
"What!" She spoke, annoyed. She made sure she had enough to make the fireworks last for at least an hour or so, but it had only been 15 minutes into the brawl yet they were almost out. "Alright. Get Team B on the line. Tell them we're going to retreat now-we're going to wait for them, but tell them to stop looting and escape with whatever they managed to steal. We can't go on like this-risking ourselves against such a heavily armed enemy just for free loot is suicide so we'll come back another day. We've destroyed their armory so I doubt they'd have much assault rifles in their arsenal-for now." She knew they'd raid military bases once again, or simply buy them off terrorists and illegal gun dealers such as herself, to regain their firepower and to wreak revenge on them someday.
"Affirmative." The member in charge of team communications picked up a radio and began to give the order of the retreat. "Team B, abort mission immediately and rendezvous at the rally point ASAP, with whatever you have on your hands. We're getting out of here, we're running out of ammo to provide a good distraction. Do you copy!"
The sounds of gunfire, youngsters yelling orders, and screams of pain accompanied the response on the other end. "Roger that. We're taking casualties but we'll haul ass out of here as quick as we can. Just give us five minutes or so, we're fighting our way out of this mess as we speak!"
Team A continued to provide as much support fire as they could in preparation for the assistance of Team B's escape from this hellhole-even though they had downed dozens of enemy gang members, the real reinforcements were really beginning to pour in-some of the guards of the compound immediately abandoned their posts, ones which they were supposed to help originally defend before Eri's arrival, and poured relentless gunfire into both teams. While not cut down instantly, they were suppressed, and couldn't launch frequent counterattacks until they found a suitable opening to either throw some explosives or pour some gunfire of their own back at them. Team B, after making a harrowing escape by fleeing through monstrous amounts of lead and explosives, quickly managed to load their loot on the pickups. As soon as they gave the signal that most of them were clear, Team A abandoned their position, while Eri tossed the last Molotov Cocktail she had at the crates-just in case the enemy wanted to steal their explosives, she'd burn them all before any of them could pillage from her unused weaponry.
Taking survey of her crew as the pickup trucks sped away from the burning and wrecked compound, she was glad that none of her followers were left behind. However, four of them were wounded, albeit not as severe. It was probably because her entire team wore body armor, while the rivals didn't really have any heavy weapons with them-all they had were pistols and a few submachine guns, at the max. Most of their assault rifles and armor were presumably destroyed by a firebomb attack, and should they have brought out the heavy artillery, casualties would have skyrocketed in a matter of moments.
Speeding through the streets back to their hideout, her members rejoiced at the amount of loot they had managed to procure. One of them waved an M16 and laughed.
"M16s, spare ammunition, food, water, spare cash, and grenades…man, we've got so much here, we won't have to go on another raid for like a month! We can fend off our territory with these heavy artilleries!"
"Hopefully." Eri replied sternly. She knew that even with the heaviest weapons on her side, her organization won't be invincible regardless. Learning from experience, she knew everything had a weakpoint and it was only a matter of time before it was exploited against her.
It was not long until they arrived back at their hideout-and to their dismay, it was somehow discovered by the military as half a dozen Humvees were surrounded on the outside.
"What the-they found our hideout!" The gunner on the back of a pickup cursed.
"Let's take the fight to them!" One of the gang members grabbed an M16 but Eri abruptly stopped him.
"Are you stupid!" She replied to his action.
"No! I'm going to take them down for crashing our crib!"
"You obviously know they'll annihilate us if we try to take them on, right?" Eri shook her head. "We're kids. They're trained soldiers. Use your brain, moron!"
Hastily, the member lowered his assault rifle. "Ok, but then who will confront them!"
"I will." The leader of the organization spoke out. In response to that, all her followers abruptly opposed to the plan but after some brief explanations, they knew it was best-because they knew the military wouldn't be harsh enough to arrest and torture them, given the amount of corruption spread among the ranks these days. It was also what led to the Central Park Bombing that resulted in the loss of General Donald Morden's son, which happened sometime last year. Eri's loyal followers promised that they would patiently wait until she would come back and report to them.
Heading into the compound of her hideout, Eri soon discovered that small squads of soldiers were occupying her warehouse, with some of them interrogating her guards while she was away. As soon as her entrance was noticed, a high-ranking military official of some sort turned around in her direction and approached her slowly with a smile.
"Just what do you want for trashing my home?" Eri demanded, without using any weapons. She couldn't risk getting shot by threatening a military official with her MP5.
"Ah, Eri Kasamoto…we've been observing you…" The official spoke with delight. "I am a representative from the Regular Army High Command, and-"
"Whatever. I know. Just tell me what the hell you want. Are you here to shoot us full of holes? Because we're ready for it." She replied, hoping this stranger wasn't really here for a battle.
Shaking his head, the official chuckled slightly. "No, no. For we are not here to wage war or arrest your fellow minions, but we are here for another purpose. As you can see, we are in need of soldiers for the Regular Army and the SPARROWS Intelligence Division, and we've been secretly monitoring individuals capable of joining our ranks. You, for one, are one of them and we are here to offer you a proposition." Two heavily armed Marines stood at his side, their faces blanketed by the pair of sunglasses they wore over their eyes. In reality, they were tactical visors disguised as such-for fashion or deception reasons, apparently.
"Cut the talk. Just get to the point."
"We'd like to recruit you to the SPARROWS Intelligence and Special Forces Division. What do you say? In return, we will provide your "followers" with a proper shelter, supplies and protection from persecution from law enforcement." The official smiled with a sinister smirk. "It's quite a deal, don't you agree, Miss?"
"How did you know about me and my skills?" She demanded.
"Surveillance and espionage…my dear. The government has eyes everywhere. You don't expect that you'd steal our equipment and hide back in the dark now and think we are completely brain dead of your actions, don't you?"
Eri was completely dumbfounded. She was known for her criminal actions all this time yet she didn't know she was being watched by the state.
"And to let me continue, will you accept our offer?"
"What if I don't?" The future SPARROWS agent asked almost instantly. She had no intentions of serving in the military and very likely never will.
"Then you and your friends will be sent to a maximum security prison, for if you are not willing to offer our skills to us, we have the right to arrest and detain you for raiding our property. But then, if you accept, we'll let them go and you'll be a full-fledged combatant as of now. Now answer my previous question."
Fearing for the lives of her followers and herself, Eri had no choice but to accept joining the Regular Army. Sighing, she hastily replied with a "yes" and within 30 minutes, she bided her loyal members of her gang farewell, and was en route to the Regular Army's Pan-Asian branch HQ in Tokyo via aircraft where her future occupation in the military was about to become a reality…
2 years later, at a SPARROWS training camp somewhere in the rural district of Japan
The blazing hot sun glared in the sky over the training camp, and countless trainees honed their skills and bodies in the field using various methods such as field exercises, playing competitive sports and running laps around the racetrack that surrounded the field. Heat poured onto the sweating recruits as they pushed their body to their limits for the tasks that awaited them in the future.
Must keep training and focused. Eri kept the thought in her mind as she paced herself on the racetrack. She had jogged at least 10 laps around the track that was approximately 1 km in length in total. The intense summer heat was starting to wear into her body, but seeing how she was used to such harsh environments, training in such intense and brutal weather wasn't much of a problem for her. However, she had to be prepared in general, for there were future conflicts that were about to brew in the harshest terrain on the planet…which was approximately 2 years from this very time.
At the age of 18, Eri became a full-fledged SPARROWS agent that specialized in assassinations, infiltration, and demolition. The world governments had been recruiting new agents and soldiers into the Regular Army, and to do this, they had been secretly observing individuals with special skills that made them stand above everyone else. Anyone with a particular trait that could be proven useful in the military yet they weren't an official combatant were instantly deemed as a possible recruit into the global military alliance. Eri was selected because of her ability to manufacture explosives easily, had natural-born leader skills and was quite the strategist during her early teenage years when she led her gang.
Alright, final lap. She thought as she crossed the finish line and realized she had just completed her 12th lap. Now to see if I can last three more laps in this crazy heat.
Checking her watch, it soon came to her senses that she was going to be late to her next training session-a class that dealt with hand-to-hand combat. Many of the other soldiers and agents that were busy training on the field previously were already leaving the field to report to their next assignment.
Ah, damn it. I'll make it, hopefully.
Finishing her final lap around the racetrack, she quickly made her way to the change room, got a fresh change of clothes, and hurried to her next class, hoping she wouldn't be late.
SPARROWS Training Camp, Gymnasium
Fortunately, Eri wasn't late-she had just arrived just on time in the gym, where her fellow classmates were also just getting assembled together and awaiting their drill instructor for their training session.
All the agents in her class varied-their racial backgrounds were all mixed, as there were individuals from all over the world. In addition, most of them had varying occupations-students, criminals, medical professionals, Marines, they were all there. There was also a massive age difference amongst the recruits-there were some that looked no younger than 15 years old, while there were old-looking veterans that were over 30 years old. The government hand-picked individuals that they felt were qualifying enough of joining this intelligence and Special Forces division, sent them the offer, and once they did so, they would be sent to top-secret training camps that few knew of. Those who denied the offer were often imprisoned, as the Regular Army was in dire need of more recruits-this was a legal move as it was an act of conscription where all able-bodied individuals were required to join a military branch if they were requested to do so by the world governments. Age and racial differences didn't really seem to matter-if they qualified, they would be sent an invitation to join the intelligence division.
The drill instructor soon walked into the arena, with the recruits eyeing the well-built man in command steadily, but not saying a word at all. Absolute silence drifted over the environment-with the exception of the continuous tapping of the instructor's heavy boots on the gymnasium's wooden floor, no other sounds could be heard in the chamber. He soon stopped walking, and turned towards the recruits that paid utmost attention to their teacher.
"Good morning, trainees." The man introduced. "I am Major Strauss, and I will be your teacher in classes that deal with close-range hand to hand combat. You are all aware that we are currently at war with a very powerful enemy, but then I'm sure you have learned about that in your intelligence sessions." He cleared his throat as he took a pause from his speech.
The recruits murmured among themselves, but Strauss instantly held up a hand, demanding silence of the crowd. "Yes, I know the world is unstable as it is, but you all do know that General Morden and his brother are already making plans to commence invasion of our territories."
And he's telling us now? At the last minute? Eri thought in her mind.
"This is why all of you, being the most experienced recruits that you are, will be the ones that will be pulling off assassination missions of important Imperial Rebellion officials. By doing so, we will hopefully to sever the enemy's chain of command and therefore rendering their military command to a mess-hopefully. Anyone have any questions? Today's class is cancelled and instead it will be your first mission in the field-"
Before he could even continue his sentence, the crowd went into uproar for the sudden mission they were assigned-being just graduates of training only a few weeks back, they were being thrown into the warzone-not just for regular infantryman mission, but instead, high-risk missions where a single bullet miss can mean life or death for these recruits, not to mention the fate of the countries they served.
"Are you serious!"
"You're relying on us to do the task!"
"This is outrageous!"
Countless comments were shot at Strauss, but being a longtime drill instructor he understood how the recruits must have felt for being sent on their first high-risk mission.
Eri, on the other hand, was just speechless. She was shocked at the fact they were about to depart on a mission where mistakes had no room on the battlefield, but at the same time she was finally getting the taste of extremes-the young agent had always wanted to take part in something with extreme risks. These other recruits probably haven't been through what I have been…after all, what kind of 15 year old would be lobbing Molotov Cocktails into enemy fortifications and ruling street gangs with a powerful, strategic mind? This is really the moment to put my skills to the test. It's now or never.
"I am sorry." Strauss apologized. "But we are desperately running short of agents to pull off such missions, and all of our other soldiers are too busy catching up with other campaigns. Not only that, but this mission is of utmost importance. High Command is counting on you all for this mission to succeed. And since this is a top-secret operation that not even the Regular Army knows about, we had to keep it a secret until the last minute. Does anyone have any questions?"
None of the recruits replied, but some murmured among themselves once again.
"Great. You all have 30 minutes to prepare before we are shipped out. I wish you all the best of luck on this mission." With that, Major Strauss departed and all the other recruits went to their lockers soon after.
SPARROWS Training Base, Airfield
Like all other female SPARROWS agents, Eri had her standard gear designed specifically for them-a light vest designed to protect against some hazards (but not heavy gunfire or anything overwhelming), a normal t-shirt suited for all-purpose use, a pair of shorts (as most agents operated in hot, dry environments such as deserts and jungles), knee pads and finally a pair of all-terrain boots designed to last for long times of use. Although she would have a hard time living in cold environments with the type of gear she used, her objective, was, fortunately, being sent to the Middle East to eliminate a warlord suspected to having ties with the Imperial Rebellion. Sighing and thinking a bit about her mission, she geared up with her M79 grenade launcher, a supply of explosives, her backup .38 Murder revolver (the standard sidearm for all Regular Army female operatives) and finally her trusty backup weapon, a nightstick.
This is my first time in the field, and hell, it's going to be rough. I just know it…my team has to assassinate a high-ranking warlord, and they're sending recruits to do the task. Are they really suicidal for sending us out there like that? Sighing, she continued to secure her knee pads around her knees when another individual approached her.
"Hey. Are you Eri Kasamoto?"
Eri looked up and was just about to answer that question when she realized the person asking that question was a familiar face that she would never imagine ever seeing again in her lifetime. "Are…are you…Matthew Kane?" She asked, not believing what was going on before her.
A longtime friend from her childhood, killed by terrorists as an orphan, was now standing before her eyes. His lighthearted smile reflected his gentle and caring, yet fearsome personality and reputation. "Hey, who else knows your name? You're not exactly the friendly type, if my records tell me correctly. But anyways, I'm happy to see you again after all these years."
Being completely lost, the SPARROWS agent instantly had over a thousand questions running through her mind-but the biggest one was that why her friend was still here and alive, standing right in front of her face when he was killed exactly 6 years ago in a terrorist attack. "Matt…I have to ask…why are you here? Why are you still alive?"
Matthew sighed and looked out onto the airfield runway as if there was an answer there. "Listen, Eri. You must not promise to tell anyone else about this. I may be a normal human being, but I'm truly not-and I'm about to tell you the actual truth right now-that is, if you promise to keep it a secret and not tell anyone else about it. Not your fellow recruits, the drill instructors, not even the officials that run the military organization. Will you keep that promise?" He asked as he clutched her left hand tightly as a sign of hoping that she'll promise him.
Nodding, Eri smiled. "I will, Matt. Please tell me."
"Alright…" Eri's childhood friend sat down on a crate beside her and took a deep breath. "What I am about to tell you is the result of a top-secret government project the richest countries and their top scientists have been pulling off away from the public eye for almost 10 years. As you know, warfare is messy business but many world governments have been trying to avert that with a top secret project codenamed "Project Alpha". It is a classified procedure and international joint assignment to create super soldiers and to usher mankind into a new age where the battlefields wouldn't be so bloody in the future-or so they expected."
"What does this have to do with you?" Eri asked.
"I am one of those super soldiers manufactured."
Shocked in horror, Eri tried not to cry nor scream in fear. She couldn't believe her only friend from her childhood was remade into a machine with only one objective in mind: kill. "I…I don't know…"
"I understand." Matthew tried to avoid eye contact with her. "I know how you feel. The government deemed me as a worthy selection for the process because what those medics said about me dead was a lie. I wasn't dead-even if I was fully healed, they wouldn't be able to repair my physical form despite the fact my brain was still fully functional and only suffered some fractures. I was just that damaged from the attack. Because of my skills as a kid, they decided to take my body, re-modify it a bit with cybernetics and armor, and make me a prototype war machine. I have none of my original body parts-only my brain is the real organ. All the skin, hair, flesh and steel bones…they're artificial and they used my DNA to create it using unknown means. But all these times, I have been wondering about your life…even when I was undergoing my most brutal training, I would always hope that you would be in a better position than I am."
"Please, Matt…I'm just happy that you're back. I don't care if you're a cybernetic monstrosity created as a top secret government project, you'll always be the sweet, kind friend that always stood for me there." She hugged her friend, and Matt sighed. "Please don't leave me again, I beg of you!"
Holding her shoulders, the prototype cybernetic organism had a blank expression on his near-perfect artificial face. "I don't know how long I can stay. The government might transfer me off the team, but…I don't know. I hope you understand, and please keep my promise. Because if this goes public, both you and I will have to suffer some dire consequences."
"I won't break it, Matt." She smiled and stroked his hair, despite the fact it was artificial.
"Ok, let's go. I'm assigned to your squad, so show me what you learned during my…absence."
The two immediately hurried over to their cargo plane, and after being loaded with the rest of the agents sent on this assassination mission, along with a couple of armored vehicles and crates containing weapons, supplies and other essentials, the aircraft lifted off the airstrip and its course was set towards Tajikistan, where their target was last reported to be hiding at…
Above the skies of the Middle Eastern nation, Tajikistan
The pilot's voice echoed into the cabin, announcing their arrival and beginning the countdown. All the SPARROWS agents onboard the transport got to their feet, ensured their parachutes and equipment were secure in order to prevent any possible accidents, and quickly got into position for a jump off the aircraft.
The cargo bay doors of the transport aircraft opened, revealing a dark terrain below them. All that was below them were the stony deserts of the Middle East.
Heavy winds blew into the transport, with many of the agents nervous about their first paradrop into enemy territory. For many, it could be their last.
All the agents immediately sprinted towards the opening and all of them immediately began free-falling towards the ground thousands of feet beneath them. Behind them, the five armored Infantry Fighting Vehicles soon followed as they were rolled out of the armored aerial transport, and equipped with their own special parachutes, the ATVs soon began their descent with the squad of SPARROWS agents that had already deployed their parachutes approximately 2 minutes after their descent.
To many of the young recruits, the airborne drop was too much for them so many had their heads spun wildly as the endless sky whirled around them. For the veterans, however-this was a real thrill, and the same could be said for the more daring youngsters that just loved extreme stunts but never got a chance to try them out in their normal lives. But now that they had been involved in some of the world's most classified top secret operations, they were living life on the extreme for the rest of their lives-or until they decided to quit the military or end up in an unfortunate fate.
The setting sun just disappeared over the horizon as Eri, Matthew, and the rest of the paratrooper division landed on a raised plateau of the desert overlooking the targeted hideout they were supposedly going to assault. Behind them, the five IFVs landed softly on the stone, all thanks to the parachutes that assisted in their descent (and to prevent their destruction by slamming into the ground after being dropped from the sky) and rolled into formation.
"So, what's the plan." One of the agents spoke up, loosening his bandanna and fixing his hair a bit after free-falling from the sky after a few thousand feet. "Will this be a quick in and out mission or are we going to be bombing the living crap out of these fools from dusk till dawn?"
Matthew stepped forward, and began to explain the mission to the other SPARROWS agents. "Alright, listen up. We've confirmed that our target is hiding in a bunker in that base below the plateau. We must fight our way into the compound with the help of our IFVs, and there are two options we can eliminate our hiding rat. We need to plant a beacon there so they can direct an airstrike on that structure-they can't do so now because there's a potential sandstorm approaching, so they need proper guidance. It's either that or we use our snipers to gun him down once he appears in one of those openings in that building, but it's risky. The airstrike option might render him alive while the gas attack will guarantee his death if it is pulled off correctly." The machine explained in a completely normal voice, not showing any signs of his true form-only Eri and him knew what he truly was on the inside.
"How will we get a clear shot, though? It's not like we can lure him out with bait, as they're not that dumb, despite the fact these rebels don't even know how to speak a proper language." A younger agent piqued up.
"We use poison gas to send him out running. That's why instead of throwing a beacon down, I assume we're going to gas his crib, send him out running, and then put a bullet in his brain-or we can simply gas the place then let the airstrike do its job. Sure, he might be able to hide from the air assault but the gas will choke him if he hides in there, hoping it'll protect him from the strike."
"I like the gas option, Matt." Eri replied. She always loved to take her fights up close and personal, as opposed to shooting someone from a mile away. But then, if she was in charge of sniping this warlord, she might as well do it-her accuracy skills were by far, top notch compared to the other SPARROWS operatives-she didn't know about Matthew, though, but seeing how he was created to be the ultimate war machine, in terms of a prototype model anyways, she expected him to perform much better on the battlefield regardless. "So, I guess we charge in with our IFVs, blow a hole in their defenses, gas out our target, then end his life? Sounds like a suicide mission to me…"
"You bet it is. They've got Stinger Sites and Machine Gun Nests all over the place." The sniper team of their squad replied as both soldiers observed their targeted environment with binoculars and sniper rifle scopes. "We need to somehow down those defenses, otherwise they'll annihilate us before we even get past the front entrance."
Matthew grabbed a M60, locked and loaded it, and grinned. "That's why we'll get our snipers to kill the guys manning the Stinger Sites while the IFVs roll in to smelt those gun nests. The IFVs themselves also have fire ports for our convenience, so essentially we can shoot them up while we roll in there. Alright, looks like dusk is approaching. Anyone have any objections? Because that's our plan-roll in with our vehicles while our sharpshooter team disables the defenses, wreck the place, and gas the bunker. Once the bunker is gassed, shoot whoever runs out of the entrance."
Nobody replied-but most of them were astonished at this team member and his ability to come up with such a genius, yet absurd plan but then none of them have any other plans to begin with regardless.
"So who's going with whom?" Eri asked.
"Snipers obviously remain up here, while the other guys will hitch a ride in the IFVs, I guess. We can rely on you for cover, right sniper squads?" Matthew asked.
All the sharpshooters assigned for this task saluted and grinned.
"We won't miss."
"You can count on us."
"Just do your task and we'll hit them where they least expect it."
"I guess that's settled." Eri replied. "Let's get down to business."
Four IFVs were sent out for this operation, while one more remained as a security vehicle for the team of five snipers in the event the terrorists discovered their location and threw an all-out assault at them. Eri was the machine gunner of the lead IFV, while Matthew was in charge of driving the lead vehicle. Behind them, the four other armored carriers followed them in a single-file fashion. Gripping her flare gun, Eri's heart pulsed rapidly as they approached the designated compound. Once they were in range, they would deploy the flare and the snipers would start shooting at the Stinger Sites to neutralize the base's anti-tank capabilities. And after that, the IFVs would be responsible for giving living hell to the defenders while the snipers continue to shoot and kill whatever posed a reasonable threat to the armor convoy, such as soldiers armed with rocket launchers or RPGs.
Inside the vehicles, the operatives continued to socialize among themselves to pass the time as they approached their targets. Eri decided to socialize with Matthew, as he was the only one that knew her especially well, even after his death and resurrection. She tried to avoid eye contact with the cyborg, as she'd blush a bit after maintaining too much with her friend.
"So…where have you been all these years?" Matthew asked as he continued to navigate the vehicle. Using his advanced targeting systems installed in his machine body, he could easily drive a car even if his physical vision was blinded.
"What do you mean?" Eri asked as she investigated her grenade launcher, making it was fully functional and in working order.
"Like, what have you been doing ever since…my passing? Let's leave it at that." Matthew didn't want to mention about his death.
"Oh…" Eri paused for a bit. "Long story short, I sort of ran away from the orphanage because…well, I got tired and the fact your absence really dampened my stay there, and I ended up living on the streets and leading a gang. From there, I lived life as a felon running from the law and looting from other rival gangs for a living. That was when the government decided to send an official to talk to me and offer me an invitation to join the SPARROWS, because they said my skills as a criminal really drew their interest of having me in their military."
"Ah, yes…the government and their methods of recruitment…" Matthew tapped his chin a bit. "Let me guess, they gave you a threat if you didn't join, right?"
Eri took a breath. "Yes. They threatened to imprison me and the kids I led. But then, I had no choice anyways…I just wonder how the fellows I led are doing now after these years. I wonder if they're still alive and such without my guidance." Despite the fact most of the kids she knew when she led them were just strangers that decided to follow her lead since they had no home like her, she had garnered plenty of trust from them and in return, she knew they trusted her especially well.
"Don't worry. I'm sure they're doing just as fine." Matthew comforted her, even though he wasn't sure about himself but he was known to be an optimistic person.
After discussing her own history, Eri decided to ask her friend about his. "What about you, Matt? What happened?"
Matthew grabbed the radio, and spoke into it. "All units prepare for engagement. The target zone is only a few minutes from our position so get ready for one hell of a party." For replies, all he received were raspy commands such as "affirmative", "roger", or "you got it". He placed the radio back into the holder on the dashboard of the Infantry Fighting Vehicle and turned to Eri. "Oh, well, about my past, I was mostly unconscious after suffering massive damage. I wasn't sure what happened after that, but when I woke up for the first time after years of being in darkness, I found myself within a new body. I felt that I was like a superhuman. The scientists and military officials told me about what happened to me, and that was it. Then I received a year of training or so and then just one day, I was transferred to your squad. I saw your name on the roster of the team list and I was just glad to hear you were still doing well."
"I wouldn't consider being forcefully drafted into the military a good thing…" Eri shook her head.
"Well, I guess it's better than being a lowly homeless person, I assume?"
It was not long until the squad had reached the rendezvous point of their very location they were supposed to be launching their first sequence of their assault, and Matthew surveyed the area. "Looks like they have heavier defenses now than earlier. You think they noticed our approach?"
"Probably." Eri grabbed her flare gun. "You want me to fire off the signal flare?"
"By all means, do so."
Eri poked her head out of the vehicle and out onto the turret. Aiming the flare gun into the night sky, she unleashed the signal flare into the night, and a brilliant beacon launched from her disposable handgun. The flare rocketed into the dark night sky above their heads, which was completely pitch-black, save for a couple of stars and a crescent moon that illuminated minimal light onto the desert surface. In the distance, the squad of snipers all took firing positions upon noticing the flare.
"We've got sight of your flare, armor squad. Taking out targets now." The sniper team's commander replied through the radio. In an instant, their anti-materiel rifles cracked, sending out massive BANG noises into the quiet night environment. The terrorists, the ones on the receiving end of the sniper rifles, did not expect such an assault and the ones manning the Stinger Sites all dropped like flies before they even knew what was going on. "Targets are down-continuing elimination of anti-armor capabilities. You are clear to commence the assault."
"Hold on, boys and girls! This ride might get bumpy!" Matthew ordered his squad and the other IFVs. "Fasten your seat belts!" In response, Eri made sure she was comfortable manning the machine gun turret on top of the vehicle and she ensured the weapon suited her needs.
Armor piercing rounds…capable of firing over 800 rounds a minute…just what I needed. Chuckling a bit, Eri placed her hands on the gun's controls and got ready for the assault.
Matthew accelerated the IFV to its max potential, which was about 60 km/h for the standard Bradley IFVs used for the operation. Charging the vehicle through the main gates, the armored platoon caught the terrorists completely by surprise when all four vehicles crashed through their weak barricades and began to pepper them with high-powered machine gun fire-the defenders of the outpost were completely outgunned and surprised to launch an effective counterattack while the SPARROWS squad's snipers continued to cut down any anti-armor soldiers while the other soldiers were completely protected within their armored vehicles as they poured molten death on the enemy from the fire ports.
Eri pointed the turret gun towards some oil barrels, and destroyed them with a couple of bursts-the resulting blast from the explosion ignited some unfortunate insurgents as they were turned to charcoal in a flash. She maintained a serious looking face as she continued her assault, destroying the enemy as if they weren't even there.
"Alright kids, save your ammunition! We still have to ensure that we have enough for the fight out of here!" Matthew ordered as he maneuvered the armored vehicle through the muddle and messes of the burning terrorist holdout, while the other vehicles followed suit. It was at this time he noticed the terrorists bringing out a tank of their own-this was bad news. Even though the IFVs were armed with anti-tank missiles, their armor rendered them under gunned and easily destroyed. He was just about to warn the third IFV of the armor squad when he noticed the enemy tank's cannon take aim at them.
"Squad leader Gamma! You've got hostile armor, three o'clock!" He warned through the radio, hoping it wasn't too late.
"We're taking heavy fire, can't hold out much longer! They took out one of our treads with a RPG, we can't seem to move-"
Suddenly, a massive explosion erupted from behind Eri and Matthew's vehicle, and the IFV that was reporting damage to their vehicle suddenly fell silent-a moment ago, they were screaming frantically about the damage, but now, only static followed. The death of his own squad members made Matthew wince in pain, and he was more than willing for some payback. The enemy tank then shifted focus on the three remaining SPARROWS vehicles, and Matthew knew he had to act fast. Aw damn, our C4 charges were all loaded in that vehicle…our mission might turn sour, but we'll find a way. He quickly turned to Eri.
"Eri! Take that tank out with the missiles!" He ordered. "On your right!"
Upon hearing his order, Eri quickly rotated the turret of the IFV and faced the enemy tank. It was attempting to spray them with its own machine guns, but fortunately the armor of their own fighting vehicles managed to hold the anti-personnel rounds. Taking careful aim, she unleashed one of the wire-guided missiles from the rocket launcher of the Bradley and guiding the projectile carefully, she managed to score a direct hit right in the terrorist tank's turret. The resulting hit rendered the armored vehicle useless, as the missile had crippled the tank's cannon and turret-meaning it was nothing more than a moving pile of scrap.
"Nice shooting, Eri!" Matthew congratulated as he observed the tank burn from the blast.
"Heh, couldn't have said so better myself." Eri laughed and winked. This was her first armored kill ever since she left the training academy, and it was something she always wanted to look forward to.
The three remaining vehicles soon managed to breach the bulk of the enemy's defenses and successfully reached the outside of the bunker. Despite the fact the other two IFVs tried to damage the bunker with their weapons, the thick concrete and steel mixture rendered the fortification nearly invulnerable to all forms of conventional assault-they'd definitely need an airstrike to blow the structure to ashes, but then, to ensure the warlord doesn't live to see the light again, they decided to use a lethal combo-a gas-inducing air assault.
Matthew abandoned the driver's seat of the IFV and hopped out with his M60 in both arms. "Eri, I'm going out there to protect the crew that's preparing the gas devices. You stay here, you understand?"
Eager to jump into action herself and not wanting her friend to get hurt, Eri decided to fight the battle on ground up close and personal as opposed to in the safety of the vehicle's multi-weapon systems turret. "No, you defended me when I was younger, now it's my turn to watch over your back!" Jumping out of the vehicle's turret, she grabbed the grenade launcher and joined Matthew and the rest of his squad on the ground with a smile and a serious face.
"Eri, this is no game!"
"I didn't say it was. Now you're not going to fight without me, alright!"
Matthew sighed, and realizing that his friend just wanted to repay the favor for saving her favorite toy from the usual playground bullies years ago, decided to accept the fact to let Eri fight side by side with him. "Very well, but watch yourself." He reminded. In response, the female SPARROWS agent saluted. "Alright, we're responsible for planting the gas grenades in this bunker. Try rolling the device through the front door!" He ordered the other squad mates while blazing his M60 machine gun at the oncoming reinforcements. Those who were caught in the hail of his bullets were promptly grounded by the heavy machine gun.
One of the agents responsible for setting up the gas quickly tried to force the door of the bunker open. With that option out of the way, he immediately used a shotgun to try to breach the door open, but to no avail. Lacking proper C4 charges because of the IFV belonging to squad leader Gamma (originally was assigned to demolitions) had fallen prey to the tank assault. "Sir, its locked shut. The shotgun can't breach the heavy armor of that door, and they've managed to seal most of the fire ports of the bunker."
"Try an air vent." Eri advised. "Have some of this!" She roared as she fired a grenade launcher at a machine gun emplacement, destroying the fortification and making the other soldiers' lives on her team a little bit easier. To the right of her, the two surviving IFVs continued to blaze their machine guns, providing sufficient suppressing fire against the enemy.
Two more agents searched around the bunker and managed to find an air vent. "Yes, there's a vent here. We can use it!"
"Drop the gas grenades into those vents." Matthew commanded as he took cover and quickly inserted a new ammunition belt into his machine gun.
The operatives did as they were told, and quickly tossed 7 grenades that were specifically designed to release poisonous gases instead of explosives. The clunking noises of the devices could be heard echoing through the vents as they bounced back and forth through the tubes. "Devices are deployed!" One of them reported.
"Airstrike beacon is deployed!" The SPARROWS agent in charge of setting down the device that was used to call down accurate air strikes from the sky.
"Good job, everyone. Now let's get the hell out of here!" Matthew quickly stopped firing his M60 and hopped back into the IFV. Eri followed him shortly after, along with the numerous agents responsible for the deployments of the devices.
Acting quickly, Matthew maneuvered the IFV towards the exit-but this time, more terrorist reinforcements had showed up, to their dismay. Steering the vehicle through the smoking carnage as bodies, scrap, and other types of debris laid on the sandy terrain, he tried to keep his mind off his fallen comrades as he worked to save the surviving ones of his squad.
"Warrant Officer Matthew, we have some bad news." The radio crackled. Apparently, it was a message from the sniper team that was responsible for their cover.
"Tell it to me."
"We've got contacts approaching from the west. Apparently, they're Imperial Rebellion units; they've got a full force of attack helicopters and armored tanks rolling towards your position. They haven't discovered us yet, but we're finished if they spot us. There's also another division approaching from the east-looks like a full Regular Army force."
"What!" Eri abruptly spoke, as she could hear the conversation despite the fact her machine gun continuously roared as she mowed through the terrorists with it. "So you're saying the Regulars used us as bait so they could lure the Imperials to our position where they'd be easy kills? This smells like a setup to me…" She was suspecting that the warlord they were supposed to kill was nothing more than bait to lure the Imperials in, as they showed up in almost every skirmish that involved the Regular Army or any of its affiliates-namely the SPARROWS in this case-because of their desire to exterminate their main enemy. After the Imperials were attracted to the lure like flies to rotting flesh, the real attack force-the Regular Army-would move in, and clean them up with one stroke with their superior tactics and technology. They were often lucky to outgun the Imperial Rebellions, as the latter weren't exactly the brightest in terms of tactics despite their brute force and superior numbers.
"Setup or not, our primary objective is to get out of this mess in one piece." Matthew corrected her.
Suddenly, a flurry of missiles slammed into the last two IFVs, and both exploded into massive fireballs and scrap-the crews of both vehicles had no time to scream as they were incinerated in the blast. Before Matthew and Eri knew it, they were surrounded on both sides by four new vehicles unlike no other.
These new vehicles were no like any main battle tank or any conventional vehicle either have faced in their lives-in fact, it was as if the new types of weapons before them were straight out of a sci-fi movie. With its odd polygonal shapes that made up the structure of the vehicle, the tank was built like a ground version of the famed F-117A Stealth Fighter. Two missile launchers, similar to those ones that were mounted on the M270 MLRS, albeit on a smaller scale, protruded from the turrets of the tank.
"A stealth tank…" Matthew uttered in surprise. "These fabled vehicles…I thought they didn't exist…"
"What-what are we going to do!" Eri asked in fear. She knew there was no way they could possibly take on four of these new enemies with only a weak machine gun and slow-firing, yet effective, wire-guided missiles. "We can't take them on all at once!"
"Hang on. I'm making a break for it!" Her cyborg companion stomped on the gas of the IFV, and Eri was instantly thrown back. Hitting her head on the gun turret, she was knocked unconscious as the vehicle slammed into one of the stealth tanks, rolling over it and crushing it with its light treads and while the other stealth tanks tried to focus firing, Matthew managed to flee the scene quickly enough before the missiles could acquire a firm lock-on on his vehicle.
Completely knocked out, Eri was completely unaware of the events of what happened after…
About four days later, somewhere in a military base in Afghanistan
Eri shook her head a bit as she regained her conscience. She realized she was now in a military base of some sort, and was in the barracks of the installation. She looked around, and realized there was only one other individual in the room with her-a military official of some sort.
"Where-where am I?" She asked.
"Why, you're in Afghanistan as you speak." The official answered. "You were knocked out cold for 4 days after the assault, but you didn't suffer any major injuries. A young man brought you here-man, he was exhausted and his IFV was riddled with bullet holes! Regardless, how are you doing?"
Suddenly, the official's mention of Matthew made Eri want to know where he was. "Where's Warrant Officer Matthew?"
"Hold on a second." The official flipped through some records in a binder, concerning all of the agents that took part in that operation. "Sorry, no such person."
"What? Can you check again?" Eri asked.
"Oh wait, do you mean Warrant Officer Matthew Kane?"
"Yes!" Eri smiled a bit.
"He was listed as killed in action over 4 years ago on a mission somewhere in South America. Not sure why he's in your records, though…there was no such individual assigned to your team." The official tilted his beret a bit.
"But he was just with me four days ago!"
"I'm sorry, Miss, but there has been no records of someone by the name of Matthew Kane serving in this operation. Maybe it was just your imagination."
Eri just stood there, with a blank stare on her face. She couldn't believe it-what was really going on? "Never mind." She quickly retrieved her belongings and walked outside of the steel and plastic structure. Going for a walk, she began to think about what was really going on these past few days.
Was he just an illusion? Or was he truly real?
Modern Day, Tokyo, noodle stand
Eri's thoughts drifted back to reality as she finished her noodles. Burping a bit, she wiped her mouth and realized her cellphone was ringing. Pulling the phone from her belt, she answered it. "Hello?"
"Eri, where are you? It's Marco!"
"Eh, I just went to get some dinner, Mr. Rossi. Don't worry, I'm coming back now."
"Alright, we'll wait for ya outside the mall where we ate. We're going back to the hotel soon, so please hurry up."
Eri laughed a bit. "Will do, Major." She switched the phone off and placed it back in her pouch attached on her belt. Sighing, she got to her feet and left the noodle stand, where the chef waved goodbye to her. In response, she did the same with a smile.
And that was your history lesson, Miss Kasamoto. Even to this day, the mysteries of Matthew Kane and my parents continue to shadow me, and they'll likely remain so the chances of solving the puzzles to both their whereabouts are slim to none. Oh well…I'll miss you, mom, dad and Matt, wherever you all are. But the past is no longer worth remembering, it's time to move on.
Walking alone down the streets, the SPARROWS agent continued down the road of nothingness, strolling defiantly into the night, leaving her memories of her previous life behind.