Disclaimer: This is a work of fanfiction. I do not own Sword Art Online. Sword Art Online is owned by Reki Kawahara and ASCII Media Works.

November 6th, 2022, NHK TV news reporting studio, Tokyo, Japan

"Our top story tonight", a female news reader said, "Over two hundred have been found dead after playing the new virtual reality multiplayer video game Sword Art Online on the Nerve Gear virtual reality game console. The cause of death appears to be damage to the brain caused by microwave radiation emitted from the device. Family and relatives of anyone using the device are strongly encouraged to stay tuned, and to not attempt to remove the Nerve Gear device from the user, as this may result in the activation of the fatal microwave emissions"

"More disturbingly", the news reader continued, "government agencies and media outlets across the world have received a message from an individual claiming to be Kayaba Akihiko, reclusive genius CEO of Argus Corporation, and designer of Nerve Gear console. The message states that the deadly effect of the Nerve Gear device is not a production defect, but was intentionally engineered into the console to produce the fatal microwave radiation upon the death of the player's in game avatar, or any attempt to remove or destroy the Nerve Gear. Akihiko has given a two-hour window to transport victims of the device to hospitals. Local authorities are now in the process of transporting the victims, where they will be placed on life support. After the two hour window, the message states that any disconnection from external power for more than ten minutes will result in the death of the player, activated by the Nerve Gear's internal battery."

"Nerve Gear units and copies of Sword Art Online have been taken off store shelves across the country, and in other countries in which the console has been released, and any person who possesses as Nerve Gear or copy of the game that is not currently in use it is urged to turn the device in to local authorities. Earlier today, police raided the corporate headquarters of Argus with a search warrant, and seized blueprints and other materials pertaining to the Nerve Gear and Sword Art Online, and brought several high ranking employees in for questioning, however, they have not located Akihiko. The National Police Agency, working in concert with Interpol, has set up an information hotline has been set up, and citizens are urged to report any sightings of Akihiko or other information relating to his whereabouts."

The screen was covered entirely with the following text:

KAYABA AKIHIKO INFORMATION HOTLINE:

Phone: 555-394-1369

Email: akihiko_tipline .jp

Electronics store, Akihabara, Tokyo, Japan, November 6th, 2022

As soon as that news broadcast flashed through across out TV display, I had a feeling this would happen. What I didn't expect was for the cops to show up at the door of my workplace literally three minutes after the broadcast.

Several officers walked into the building, surprising some of the shoppers, but others looked like they knew exactly what they were here for.

"Souta Kobayashi–san ", a police officer, a sergeant who appeared to be leading the others, "You're the manager of this place, correct"

"Yes", I replied, "I'm assuming you're here for the Sword Art Online copies".

"Yes, we're here to confiscate all copies of Sword Art Online, Nerve Gear consoles, and any other Nerve Gear software you have in stock and we have a warrant for records of all of your sales of Sword Art Online.", the officer replied quickly.

"When I heard the announcement on the TV, I placed all of the copies of the game I have left in the back room, but I only have about a dozen, they sold out so quickly.", I responded, "The Nerve Gear consoles and games are over there, the cashier should have a key to the display case". I motioned to a glass case containing Nerve Gear consoles and games along the wall.

"Ishikawa, Ueda", the police sergeant said to two of his subordinates, "Get those Nerve Gears and games into the truck".

"On it, sir", one of the police officers said, walking over with a hand truck and proceeding to the start loading the consoles on the dolly, which they would presumably wheel out a truck parked outside.

From what little I could see outside, it looked like the police were raiding all the electronics stores on this street- probably all the stores in Tokyo... no in Japan… and loading the consoles and games into trucks.

"They must be doing the same thing in North America and Europe and anywhere else Sword Art Online was released", I thought as I led the police officers through the door to the back room.

The sergeant directed one of his subordinates to collect the remaining dozen copies of Sword Art Online, while I entered the back office with the sergeant and started the computer. I inputted the password, which allowed access to the sales records, into the computer.

"I have the sales records here", I said, "You should be able to find information on anyone who paid with a credit card, but if they paid with cash, I'll only have a record of the sale".

The sergeant motioned me to move over. I got out of the chair and moved to the side as he inserted a flash drive and uploaded the data.

"You ordered two hundred fifty copies of Sword Art Online from the manufacturer, is this correct?", the police sergeant asked.

"Yes", I responded.

"And you sold 238 on the first day?", the officer continued.

"Yes", I responded again.

"Hayashi", the sergeant yelled out into the store room.

"Yes", the police officer named Hayashi responded.

"How many copies of Sword Art Online did you find in the storeroom?"

"Twelve, sir", Hayashi responded.

"Everything here seems to check out", the sergeant said as he left, "Thank your for your cooperation".

"Good luck finding Akihiko and getting all those people out of there.", I said as the police left the store.

Author's Note: The Akihiko hotline and email are obviously completely fictional, so don't bother calling! I do not know what the proper format for a Japanese phone number looks like, so I took some artistic license.