The meeting was taking place in a park several miles south from Sylia´s homeplace.
It was close to midnight while the Knight Sabers were on their way. They were moving in their usual combat suits. This was in this case not only for the purpose of security but also to stay incognito.
The day before a bomb had exploded in Sylia´s shop. They had no idea who was responsible or what could be the reasons. The list of their enemies was certainly long enough. And after what happened to Priss a few days ago, none of them believed this to be a coincidence.
So carefulness was more than just appropiate. But missing this meeting was also out of question.
It had only been the last month that someone had sent a army of boomers to wipe out a small coast town and kill every living being there, men, women and children.
This single incident had shaken Japan´s society to it´s core. Not so much for the number of people killed, but because it undermined the trust in genom as a company, even more so than their usual actions.
More than anything, this attack proved that boomers could be used against the population, not only in their favor, as many people wanted the public to believe.
And unlike so many other "boomer incidents", this one could not be written off as just a malfunctioning or a unfortunate accident.
Ultimately, the blow for genom´s reputation caused far more damage to Mega-Tokyo and Japan as a whole than the loss of life of or the destruction.
In some perverse sense, genom was Tokyo just like Tokyo was genom. As, after the earth quake, the town was lying in ruins, it had been the company that rebuilt everything.
Even now genom employed more people in the region than every other companies put together. A great part of the infra-structure belonged to them, factories, machines, housing complexes, hospitals. Without them, the city would not longer exist.
Even the Knight Sabers admitted that, as much as they hated the thought.
The disaster was shortly followed by a line of new boomer assaults in tokyo. During them, a few civilians and several of Nene´s colleagues had been killed, the last of an nearly endless list.
Like it later turned out, it was not coincidence. Genom´s investigation had led to one of their own officers.
Vice president Taiko had not only been the one selling the boomers that were used in the terror attack and seemed to be heavily involved in the massacre,
but it had been her who had organized and executed the latest series of "boomer incidents", the last of them a direct attack on the ED-police headquarters.
As soon as genom and so a short time later the Knight Sabers found out about her involvement, they made a move to put her under arrest. For the company, it was also a desperate move to save their own face. Their reputation in public was damaged but it would survive and after some time things would return to normal. Genom was needed and everybody knew that.
Only one day after Taiko´s arrest, the woman was found hanged in her cell, conveniently before she could tell anybody more about the details of her mysterious connections and before she could give out any names.
None of the Knight Sabers believed for even a single moment that it had been suicide. The only thing they didn´t knew was if it had been genom or Taiko´s "business partners".
For the last month they had secretly been searching for any clue about the background of the attacks, so far without any result.
And now someone had been coming to them. Offering them, in addition to hiring them for a new job, information about the supposed master minds behind the massacre. However it was someone who had contacted them.
Someone who was able to contact them in the first place. And that was the entire problem.
So in short words, it was clearly too good to be true. This entire situation was just screaming the word trap.
Genaros station, in earth orbit
They were walking through the corridors of the space station. The man calling himself Seth was flanked closely by "Diana", his personal assistant.
On the first sight looking human, she actually was a boomer of the 33C line, an assassin droid, like her series was often called.
The 33C were in first line used as bodyguards for high ranked business operatives or militaries. In fact they were however all too often used for exactly this purpose, as killers.
Despite being "only" a boomer, she was about to become a full fledged member of their organization. He was the one who had personally introduced her.
In opposite to some other members of the secret society, he didn´t thought of boomers as something "less" than human. He personally had never any understanding or patience for that sort of mindless bigotry.
This sort of thinking should have had no place in their world.
He remembered that it was only last month that he had personally given the order to exterminate an entire town, thousands of people and that executed by the hands of boomers.
Now alone to claim humans were generally better than boomers would made him a complete hypocrite. And when there was one thing he held himself not to be, then this.
Human or boomer, in fact it didn´t matter to him at all. What really counted and that alone was the way it should be for them, was the potential that someone showed, who had it and who not and Diana certainly had a lot of potential.
Her artificial sentience was on the level of a human being. She was intelligent, strong, determined and flexible, all in all ideal material. So why waste it only because she was a boomer?
Too bad many in the society still held to their outdated opinions. That was one of the things that would have to change in the future.
Another one he was particular impressed with, he had to admit, was the 33S whose AI they had salvaged.
She was a very interesting case. On the one hand she was willing to do nearly everything for hers and her partners survival, including hunting down and killing others for their blood, on the other side she had been willing to die to protect the people she cared about.
While he of course didn´t share her opinion about self sacrifice for the sake of others, the citizens of Tokyo meant nothing to him, as did the lives of the Knight Sabers, but he had to admit, the strength of will she had shown was remarkable.
That was something even he understood.
Another example was this Priss Asagiri. Even from watching the memories alone he had seen how close the two women came in the relatively short time. No matter how you put it, shooting one of your closest friends, on her own request, is something that takes a lot.
"Seth" and "Diana" were on their way to the office of the new director of this station, who had taken over after the downfall and disgrace of his predecessor.
After the escape of the two sexaroids with the battle-mover over a year ago the former director Kaufman was forced to give up his position. A short time later he was found dead under mysterious circumstances.
The next who shared his fate was Richard Flint, at this time the head of GPCC (the GENOM Corporate Research Center), who had also been charged with several crimes, including the attempted illegal selling of the DD that led to it´s theft in the first place. He vanished without a trace a short time later.
Ironically both of this men were probably guilty of everything they had been accused of and had even more dirty secrets that nobody had ever even found out.
In the larger picture however, they had only been set up by Largo to take the fall for his schemes.
At they sides of the corridor, they were currently walking through, he recognized a few of the 33S who were still on the station, the ones who had not been part of the escape.
There were two versions of the model they knew from the records as "Meg". The first of them had red hair, like the one who had died as part of the ill fated escape, the other was identical looking, only that this one was blonde. Standing beside them was a dark haired sexaroid of a type they had never seen before.
And, as they noticed, also a nearly perfect copy of the boomer they knew as Anri.
While the Anri they remembered had dark hair of a greenish, a bit unnatural looking, color, this one had light brown. Otherwise however she looked exactly how the woman Seth had seen getting shot a few days ago. This could be useful, he thought.
A copy of Sylvie of course would have been even better. But so far he didn´t see one of the same design. That was a shame, it would made many things easier.
As they arrived at their destination, a small man of european heritage was already waiting for them before the entrance to a room.
"Mister Anderson", Seth acknowledged the director of genaros. "It is a pleasure to finally meet you in person." He spoke to him in a polite, non-passionate, but still somehow inviting way.
"Mister Sutek", the man greeted him, under the alias he was currently using. "Welcome on genaros station. It is a honor to be your host for the next days."
The director welcomed him with a hand-shake that Seth returned.
During the conversation none of them paid any attention to Diana, nor did she say anything, as expected from a boomer bodyguard.
"I fear I won´t be able to stay for long. I have important business that I have to attend to back on earth."
"I understand", director Anderson said friendly, with a light smile, as he led Seth inside. "Always hard working and determined, right?"
"You say it my friend", Seth replied.
The director placed a bottle of a expensive wine and two glasses on the table between them. Wordlessly, Diana opened it and pouring it for both of them.
"Well, I hope I can show you our hospitality as long as you are here", Anderson said.
"I am sure you will have that chance. Now please let us come to the reason I am here."
"Of course." The director activated a screen on the desk before him. After tipping a few commands in and waiting for a few moments, he turned the monitor around to show it to his guest.
It showed a number of blue prints and the picture of the brown haired young woman he knew next to them.
"33S model 100-S02-005, also called Sylvia", Anderson announced. "That is what you came looking for right?"
"Yes, exactly that."
"I don´t want to be too curious but, if I may ask, why do you have such interest in a single sexarroid boomer?"
"Let us just say I know people who have a special interest in this model."
"I understand. You know, if you didn´t have the highest clearance level from the company, it would be illegal for me to even show you this file."
"Well, then it is good that I have this clearance, right", Seth replied and chuckled lightly.
"It is. But still I don´t understand why you would pull so many strings to get something of so little worth."
"There is no reason why you should know everything about this deal either. My customers would actually prefer it if this were treated in confidence. We will of course remember your efforts and of course you will receive a sufficient compensation."
"That is good to hear", Anderson said.
The man had to die, Seth decided casually. He knew far too much already and was growing too greedy. They would be looking in the next time for a opportunity to arrange an an accident.
It didn´t matter anyway, in opposite to the 33S AI or the Knight Sabers, Anderson was nothing special.
The four Knight Sabers had arrived at the named meeting point, a small forest area close to the borders of the city and were waiting.
Two of them, Sylia and Nene, were standing in the open field, ready to great their new "business contacts".
Priss and Linna on the other hand were hiding in a safer distance between the thicket and the trees. It was a safety measure in case their meeting wouldn´t play out like they hoped it would.
The fact that someone was able to find them alone was already reason to worry. But in light of the latest events, the shooting at Priss, the bomb in the "Silky Doll" just yesterday, it was even more so.
The police had already spend a good part of the last day questioning Sylia´s employees, that meant her official employees, the workers of the lingerie shop she was owning and a few others.
There were of course several people working for Sylia who nobody knew about, connected to the Knight Sabers. So having the police on her trail was more than a small problem for her. She had her secret activities well, but there was always the chance that someone might find something out.
Of course there was a chance that all this was only a coincidence, that whoever had contacted them was just a very good detective, that alone was already bad enough and had nothing to do with the attacks on them.
But that was a risk none of the Knight Sabers wanted to take.
After a few more minutes they saw a large black limousine coming from the road close to the forest and stopping in a close distance to them. The doors of the car opened and out came a old man, around 60 to seventy years by Sylia´s estimate and a very large younger man who was walking closely behind him. Probably a boomer body guard, she thought.
It seemed their "guests" had arrived.
"You are the Knight Sabers?", the old man addressed them. "It is a pleasure to finally meet you."
It was in a remote district of Mega Tokyo. On top of an abandoned former factory building a young woman was slowly walking over the roof.
It was this place where she was told to meet with the man she called her boss. He on the other hand preferred to be called by another title.
If she was honest the man before her sometimes intimidated, yes scared her. The most time he didn´t seem much different from other people.
Sure, he was a criminal, someone who committed or ordered thefts, blackmail and even assassinations, as she had found out a few days ago. But that was not really something new to her. She had worked for people off-side the law before. Being around such people was something she was kind of used to.
But when, even for a short moment, he didn´t have himself under control. Whenever the facade crumbled, it was different. It was as if something about him wasn´t normal.
His actions, his behavior, his entire being, there was something about him that made her want to run away at this times.
But to where? After all he had been the one who got her off the streets nearly one year ago. He gave her a job, enough money to leave her old place, to start anew, he was the one who erased her past crime record. Everything she had, she had to thank him for.
She was telling himself that she was only imaging this moments, that she was exaggerating, a bit of paranoia. He was clearly not worse than any of her employers in the past, despite his eccentricity, at least not much.
"Master", she greeted him as she approached the silver haired figure in the grey business suit.
"Karen", Largo said, "went everything as planed?"
"Yes, the bomb in Miss Stingray´s shop exploded exactly as you had instructed", she answered.
"Good", he replied, "and what about the police?"
"I told them exactly what you have ordered me to."
"when you have done everything as I have told you, Sylia will have other things to deal with for the next days."
He wasn´t looking in her direction as he said this, Karen realized for a second, nearly as if he wasn´t even talking to her.
"Master?" She asked confused.
"Karen." His view returned to her as she addressed him. "You have done an excellent work", he said. "There is only one last thing left."
He grabbed her jacket with his left hand and draw her closer to him.
In a short moment all this little things she just didn´t want to take serious were coming back to her, all the things she just didn´t want to see. And she panicked. It happened only in a split second.
Then with his right hand he caught her around the throat and broke her neck with a single movement. Then he threw her over the edge of the building.
"Humans", he said, "so fragile", as he watched the woman´s falling body.
"Let me introduce us", the old addressed them. "My name is Joseph Brigan, I am the C.E.O of Weisskreuz industries. You can call him simply John." He gestured to his boomer bodyguard.
"You should know that two others are hiding close to us sir", the boomer informed him.
"I actually haven´t expected anything different. They don´t trust us yet, right?"
"And why should we trust you?" Sylia asked him. "I want to be polite and treat this meeting seriously, but you didn´t came to us through the proper contacts. You somehow found out the identity of one of my informants and you contacted us directly. You don´t win trust by spying on us."
"That is true", the man admitted. "We have done some research about your group."
"Including our civilian identities and our private lives?" Sylia asked, throwing out the bait.
"No, just enough to find you. However I have to admit I have an idea about one of you.
This combat suits you are wearing are based on the designs of Doctor. Katsuhito Stingray right? I recognize it, I knew him when he was still alive, you should know."
"Even if you are right, how we got to this technology is our business."
"Miss Sylia Stingray, am I correct?" Brigan asked her.
Instinctively, she raised her arm and pointed her weapon at him.
The boomer raised a gun at the same moment. Nobody moved.
"I assure you I am not your enemy Miss Stingray. Quite the opposite, I am probably the closest ally you have right now. I have no intention to give you identity to anybody else, I promise that", he said. He was far too calm given the situation he was in.
"But if you come to the idea to actually shoot me, not only would you endanger the rest of your group, everything I know about you would go to the press. Would you risk that? Now please lower your weapon. As I said, I am not your enemy."
Sylia did what he had said.
"Good, I will treat you as a usual costumer, at least for now."
"That is all what I wanted, at least for now", he replied. "I think we have a few things to talk about."
"My informant said you could give us information about the massacre last month."
"I know that you have been trying to find out about this for a few weeks now."
"That is correct." There was no purpose in hiding this fact now.
"If I tell you what I know, you all could land on the death list of even more people as you already are right now."
"We assumed this and we have already agreed that this won´t stop us", Sylia answered.
"Good", he told her. "Tell me, have you ever heard of "Black Circle"?"
"No", Sylia admitted.
"Der Schwarze Kreis, as it is originally called. It is, you could call it a secret society that operates on multiple continents. It already exists for several decades now. Their organization is undermining companies, militaries and governments."
"Sounds like genom", Priss commented from the side-lines. She and Linna were hearing the entire conversation over come."
"All that to further the higher goals of their society."
"And what are this goals?" Sylia wanted to know.
"Black Circle follows, what you would call a philosophy of the survival of the fittest. Or that is at last a superficial description."
"What do you mean by that?"
"You should know the groups where they are rooted from were organizations of German fugitives in the fifties and sixties in South America. At one point several of this group united and restructured themselves."
"Just great", Priss said.
"Their organization as it is today is still following many of the ideas of the groups it was founded from, however modernized versions of it. They think, beside other things, that the human race as it is now is not longer sufficient for our modern times and they want to force the "natural development" as they call it."
"And for this reason they kill all this people?"
"The attack that happened one month ago was a test."
"A test?" Sylia asked now incredulous.
"I guess you have heard about the Overmind Control System?"
The other three Knight Sabers listening however had no idea that they were talking about."
"Yes, I have", Sylia answered. "It is a system that activates a special programming in the minds of every boomer that allows genom to take control of them if they find it necessary."
"Yes, since it was your father who invented the cyber-droids, I thought you would know about this. It was a safety measure to make sure that nobody uses boomers against the population, at least not at a great scale or against genom itself", he added.
"In opposite to the usual boomer attacks where only a handful of people get hurt", Sylia said sarcastically.
"Exactly, if someone buys and assassin droid and orders it to kill his personal rival or if a single combat boomer goes berserk and kills a few people, genom would neither care or do something about it."
"We know that better than anybody else", Nene said quietly.
"But if some terrorist group buys an army of boomers to attack large population centers or to overthrow the government or something similar, genom has a way to stop them. The only reason the massacre in the last month could happen was because it took place in a relative remote area and as a complete surprise. It was simply already over before the people in genom realized what was happening. Otherwise they would have just shut the boomers down."
"A safety measure", Sylia repeated what he had said a few moments ago.
"Yes and exactly here lies the problem."
"They have found a way around the system."
Explanations: In this chapter I gave a name and a agenda to the people who are responsible for the most that happened in this story and the one before.
The infamous Nazi organizations in South America actually existed and had already been often used in fiction before. Sorry if you think I am not being very original here.
The villain called "Seth", is basically a character without a name. Everything he had been called is stated to be only aliases. He has however the habit of usually keeping his first name and changing the second.
The name Seth has two meanings.
a) Seth or Set was the eqyptian god of chaos. The last name Sutek, he is using here, is based on Sutekh, another name of the same god.
b) In the bible, Seth was the third son of Adam. He was stated to be born to replace Abel after he had been murdered. Just as the organization wishes to replace the current humanity with something better.
Every name he had used so far is so a subtle hint to the aims of the organization he is working for.