"The trouble Micahel has, is that he plays stuff so close to his chest that his heart gets in the way" – Will Adrian

Michael sat up and rubbed the back of his neck. There was a dark slithering noise as if all the snakes in the world were having a disco. He opened his eyes and tried not to let too much light into his retinas, without success.

"Someone turn the sun down its too bright"

He looked at his watch. 7am

"...and it's only going to get brighter. Great"

He stood in his office and looked around. The ninja had jumped out of his window, which also had happened to double as a projection TV. He felt the wind whistling through his office and shivered uncontrollably.

"Where is he?" a voice asked from behind him

Michael slowly turned around to spot a shadow on the floor, rising ghost like, it reminded Michael of the scene in L'Morte D'Arthur where the lady of the lakes' hand thrust upwards holding Excalibur. It was one of the scenes he always thought they never quite got right in the movies.

The traditional ninja garb betrayed his profession, but the robes looked...strange. Instead of the usual dark colour it almost seemed as if they were made of living darkness. His eyes didn't have retinas or eyes in the usual sense of the word but all Michael saw were two wisps of smoke

Michael tried to stand, the room started moving so he thought better of it, and stayed sitting

"I don't know, now go away"

The was an eerie nails-on-a-blackboard sound as he drew his sword from an previously unseen scabbard on his back

Michael clamped his hands over his ears

"Killing me won't tell you if i know where he is"

"But it will give me pleasure"

Regardless of the mask on the ninjas face, he could almost see a Cheshire cat type of grin on his face

Michael rubbed his face and tried to massage the headache out

He sat and placed his elbows on his knees as he tried to look relaxed while the whole time he was thinking of a way out and his head wasn't cooperating. He looked at the ninja again, the supernaturally dark costume, the blending into a shadow, the movement only occurring in places that had no light.

He mentally linked into his computer system and accessed the high level functions that were impossible unless you were him. He ran scan after scan on the figure advancing on him and apart from height and build; everything else was inconclusive as if the scanning beams were being absorbed. He linked into the environmental controls. He could control life support, make certain areas of the buildings airtight, redirect air from one area to another, change humidity and light levels from cinema all the way up to stadium concert floodlights. He cranked the settings on the lights in his office to maximum brightness; he closed his eyes as he saw the ninja break into a run towards him. He triggered the lights as he felt the heat start to burn the hairs on his arm. Opening his eyes, he opened his palm towards the ninja as a bright blue nimbus started to crackle around his arm as he directed the power towards his palm, circuitry started to come online, bright blue lines of energy started snaking their way up and down his arm as the power started to build. The ninja covered his eyes and started to wildly slash at anything in front of him

"Hurts don't it?"

Michael couldn't help but smile. The ninja turned to the sound of his voice and started to stalk towards him, deliberately and trailing the sword point along the floor, it made a grating noise as the metal sword tip drew a groove along the wooden laminate flooring. His sword went up to strike at Michael, Michaels palm flashed blue as Michael thrust the power towards the ninja

Kita Marshall ran towards her boss' office when she heard a scream. Average silver haired, blue eyed, slim, what some would term 'beauty', though she had never ascribed to the axiom of bimbo's, what made them, what motivated them or all the jokes about them. She reached the corridor that led to Michael Garth's office.

Her boss was a mystery wrapped in an enigma. He would fly off the handle when profits went missing but then she would find out (through her own investigation ) that the same amount that went missing went to a war fund, or police fund or 9/11 fund and it was on Garth's authorization. She just didn't understand the type of person who would chew out the accountancy division for losing the money whilst you covertly shifted it from the bank to the charity of the day.

Reaching the door, she keyed in her passcode and she heard a small beep

"Kita Marshall, logged as entering at 7.13am"

She stood in the office as he spotted Michael nursing his hands as small wisps of smoke could be seen disappearing through the open wall

"Michael? What happened?"

He looked at her with pleading eyes

"I punched someone and it hurt my hand!"

Kita looked at the ceiling and prayed for some ancient god to strike her down. She sighed


Kita bandaged his hand and then went outside to her desk.

"Michael I may be your 'Executive Assistant', she highlighted the title by mimicking quotation marks with her fingers, "but don't ever mistake me for a brood mother"

Kita stormed out and walked back down the hall to her desk

Michael sat back at his desk and tried to ignore the wind and the chill from outside. He stretched his arms over his head, cracked his knuckles and rolled his head from side to side as he strove to stretch the muscles.

He waved his hand over the desk; streaks of blue ran up and down his arm, which was mirrored on the mahogany desktop. The circuitry in his implants connected with the Garth Server, the mahogany top wavered then vanished to be replaced by the LCD display of the tinted glass desk with frosted glass surrounds.

He pulled up the security camera footage that showed Jaeger running away. Dragging his hand into one of the images from the camera that was displayed on the desk he gestured with his hand and threw the image against the wall where it appeared framed like an old masterpiece. Michael stepped out from behind his desk and approached the framed image. He looked at the tall figure, the sandy blond hair and the muscular build. He put his hand into the frame, grabbed the image by the shoulders and pulled it back until it formed a 3D statuette half in and half out of the frame. Michael spun it round to look at the front of the figure but apart from the clothing which was extrapolated to show what he was wearing, the face was blank. He touched a spot on the figures shoulders and the image zoomed in on the brown strap that was evident on his back.

"Run a search on all local police officers of this height and build with shoulder injuries" He shouted to no one in particular, a beep was his only response

The 3D image was subverted as the police department file was overlaid.

"Will Adrian, Detective, Homicide, and Hope City Police Dept. Logged as admitted to Hope General, and as far as records show, he is still there", the voice sounded female and sultry.

"Using the statue as a template, overlay Will Adrian over the top, using proportionate measurements from the file"

The text on the file was subverted as the 3d image came back to the forefront. The face and clothing from the police file was overlaid over the security image. It fit perfectly

"Keep him in the hospital, log him as needing observation, and send his police file to the E-reader"

The 3d image shrank back down into the 2d painting frame. The ornate design of the bottom frame vanished to be replaced by a progress bar as the file was uploaded to Garth personal tablet pc. The indicator showed page 1 of 16

Michael whistled in surprise

"Store all this camera footage on my personal server and encrypt it under the usual guidelines"

A beep confirmed his choice as the frame (and image) vanished from the wall

Michael left the office shortly afterwards and drove straight to Hope General hospital in his one of a kind customized dodge charger with electric blue colour and white stripe emblazoned over the roof and down the hood

Driving from the industrial estate to the hospital took no time at all as his onboard computer logged all the traffic data and chose the less clustered routes. The car drove itself as Michael sat with his hand resting on the E-reader. His implants drained the data and passed it straight into Michael.

He closed his eyes as the data flowed into him. His brain conjured images from the data as he sat and watched Will Adrian's official life pass before his eyes. Streets, academies, family homes were downloaded and portrayed in full depth as he watched from a 1st person view how young Will grew up. Official psychiatric reports were portrayed as idiosyncrasies' in the film that was Will Adrian.


Michael opened his eyes and sat up. Looking around he spotted himself parked at Hope City General. He sat still for a while as he adjusted to all the data.

"Michael?" the female voice queried

"The data..."

"Was it not what you expected? Are upgrades required?", she queried

Michael shook his head

"No, it's not that."

"What then?"

Michael looked up and suddenly everything made sense

"It's a lie"

Leaving the car, Michael confidently strode into the ER department of the hospital. Spotting a Michael walked past him to the cordoned off bed that was sitting in the corner of the room.

"Detective Adrian"

Will looked up in surprise; his right arm was taped to his chest with surgical tape. He nodded in acknowledgement


Michael shook his head

"My name is Michael Garth"

A rustling of curtains caused both men to look back as the doctor re-entered

"Sorry, no visitors"

Will gestured

"It's ok Paul, we have business"

Paul looked at Will's clipboard and then prodded Will's shoulder. Will exhaled in pain

"Five minutes, no more and then you are getting some painkillers whether you like it or not and if you don't take them within my sight then you aren't leaving"

Will nodded and Paul left

Michael sat on the edge of the gurney that Will was half lying, half sitting on

"You're not Triad"

Will chuckled


"So what are you?"

"I used to be part of a ninja clan, but things went south so i left when fingers started pointing at me for something. So i joined the police force, it's closest to what i know"

"Why were you looking for a police force? I thought ninjas worked from the shadows and killed anyone who crossed them"

Will shook his head

"Like everything else, we change and evolve. The curre...last grand master used us as a sort of police force. Missing children, villages quarrelling, murderers escaping, he used us to settle things one way or another and there was no appeals procedure."

"Sounds simple enough, what happened?"

"His successor wasn't as wise and he didn't like me"

Michael nodded

"Who was that other guy?"

Will tried to move and stretch his muscles but stopped suddenly as pain spasmed across his features

"I can't be sure but i think he was my old sparring partner growing up. Very idealistic when i knew him, but i guess he isn't that way anymore"

Michael sat, deep in thought

"I have a job proposition for you"

Will started laughing then stopped

"I have a job already"

"This one fits your justice quotient and you'll be helping more people"

Will looked up to Michael

"I'm listening"

"It's called project: Jericho"

"How many people are involved in this project?"

"Mainly you, but you have to report to me"

"What is it I'll be doing?"

"I have computer taps in most official computers, but i can't spare the time to collate all the information. I need someone who can sift it all and eventually make it into more than it is."

"What does that mean?"

"Hacker internet boards/forums, Yakuza files, Triad observations. This thing is alive Will, it can adapt and do some good"

"What do you mean, alive?"

Michael sighed and tried to slow his racing heart rate

"Since i was young i have always wanted to stop computer crime, but to stop it, you have to understand it. This computer program i have written taps into any and all information sources whether legal or not and puts them into your lap. I had to manually put taps on government computers but after that the computer learns what is good and what is evil and searches worldwide for it. Mafia shell companies, Yakuza corporations, Triad fronts. As long as they use a computer I...we can have all that data and we can shut them down, Will. We can make real progress and do real good in this world."

Will thought about all the corruption and evil this program could do in the wrong hands. He didn't trust Garth but the plan was a noble one and he believed that Garth had good intentions. Will made a mental note to study up on computer technology while he was on this project

"I'm in"