When criminals across the world begin to drop dead of sudden heart attacks some choose to worship the phenomenon as a god called "Kira."
But the world's law enforcement community sees it as the greatest murder investigation ever. At their wits end, they turn to the one investigator who has never failed them...
The eccentric, enigmatic, anonymous genius from England known only as...
THE NOTEBOOK OF DEATH
By Robert Myers
Folding his arms and leaning back in his chair, he grinned at his TV. For the tenth night in a row the only story was the mysterious deaths of criminals across the world. Deaths with no detectable link besides the target's guilt, and no known cause at all.
Meanwhile, the cult dedicated to the force behind the deaths steadily grew in numbers. They had dubbed their savior Kira, and began to speak of it as a god.
"Everything is going according to plan," he proclaimed.
Behind him a lanky, crow-black, nine-foot spectre grinned in amusement, baring row upon row of needle-like teeth.
The cancer of crime would soon be cut out of the old world, Light thought. And the person ... no, the God of this new order ...
A joke occured to him and his grinned widened.
"Let there be ... me," he thought.
With an abrupt burst of static, the news show cut to an emergency broadcast pattern.
"We interrupt your programming to bring you an important message from the ICPO. This is being broadcast all over the world. Japanese voiceover is provided by translator Yoshio Anderson."
A European man appeared on the screen. On the desk in front of him was a placard in English reading "Dr. William H. Oliver."
"Hello. My name is Dr. William Hudson Oliver, more commonly known as 'the Doctor,' the sole person able to mobilize police in every country worldwide ..."
Light's eyes bugged.
"What... the... hell?"
He'd heard stories from his father - urban legends, really - of an eccentric foreign genius called "the Doctor." He was said to appear out of nowhere at the site of unexplained events, usually in England. Then he'd vanish just as suddenly, leaving behind a trail of bodies. Light never believed them. But considering what he'd learned about the universe in the past month, he began to reconsider.
This man though seemed to be in his late 30s or early 40s — not nearly old enough to account for all the stories. Light filed the information away for later consideration.
"Criminals have been the target of a killing spree," Oliver continued, "Which has turned into the biggest mass murder case in history. This monstrous crime must be stopped at all costs. 'Kira,' as the perpertrator is commonly known, will be caught. I guarantee it."
The gaunt spirit beside Light chortled.
"He guarantees you'll be caught. Hyuk, hyuk..."
For a moment Light panicked. Then abruptly regained his composure.
He snatched up the notebook and held it before the TV set as though to taunt his pursuer.
"Moron! Like Hell I'll be caught! I've got the Death Note, see? Without this notebook you don't have any proof - none. There's no way you can catch me."
He turned to his ghastly companion.
"Hmpf. I was so ready for the police, or a guy like this... I knew this would happen."
On screen, Oliver was speaking directly to him now.
"Kira, I think I've got a pretty good idea of why you're doing this. But what you're doing is ...Evil!"
For the briefest moment Light's face fell. His mouth slack, his eyes as wide as a child who's pet had died. But almost instantly he set his jaw and glowered at the screen.
He smacked the notebook down on the desk, flipped it open to a blank page and grabbed a pen.
"I am righteous! You're the evil one," he scrawled Oliver's name across the page in uncharacteristically large letters.
"And just too damn stupid. If you'd been smarter this might have been interesting."
Eying his watch he waited out the last 40 seconds of the man's life. As it reached 10 he began to count down under his breath.
At zero the image on screen suddenly froze. It wasn't what he'd been expecting and seemed a bit ... anticlimactic. Nonetheless Light refolded his arms and chuckled softly.
"They must have cut it off the moment he started to convulse," he said aloud.
"Right? Ryuk?" But the shinigami simply grinned.
"Well, whatever, he's dead. And now they know ..."
"Weeeeelll," a new, digitally distorted Japanese voice came from the TV, "That was interesting. Wasn't that interesting folks? Fascinating even."
A bolt of ice shot up Light's spine. On the screen a black English question mark had appeared on a field of white.
"First of all, I really must apologize to the fine people watching this little charade. Charades? Tricks. Because there were several. Secondly, I'm sure many of you are worried about Dr. Oliver, and I'm very sorry to say that he has passed on now. But if it's any comfort, the real Dr. Oliver suffered a very serious head injury while saving dozens of lives in a certain troubled country a week ago. His will generously donated his body to science, and it has been sustained on basic life support since then. That was until two minutes ago when there was a fatal cardiac arrest. In all earnestness I offer my deepest sympathies to his family, and I humbly thank them for their assistance in this crisis. I promise that his second heroic sacrifice will not be in vain."
"Because you see... I am the Doctor."
Light gaped at the screen.
"What you saw just now was actually a computer-generated simulation of Dr. Oliver's face and voice I whipped up using a, what was it again? A Zhbao... Eh?"
A pause, then the sound of papers rustling.
"I'm told it's called an 'Ex Box three hundred and sixty.' My, that's quite a mouthful isn't it? ... Hmm?"
A brushing noise as of a hand being placed over the microphone.
"Oh, sorry, 'three-sixty.' Well, I suppose that's somewhat better."
"At any rate, I have to apologize to Kira for deceiving you with a child's toy. Especially since you've done so much to help our investigation tonight. Let's run down the list, hmm?"
"This guy," Light snarled.
"Are you sitting comfortably? Then we'll begin," the voice Doctor continued, "First of all, we now know you're in the Kanto region of Japan. Oh right, sorry, that was another trick. This program isn't actually being broadcast to the whole world. Using some basic detective work - involving some old newspapers, a ballpoint pen and half a pot of tea - we traced your earliest killings back to your home. Granted, that leaves nearly ... 43 million people to sort through. But still, I think ruling out over six billion others is respectable progress for a half-hour's work."
"We already knew you could kill at a distance. But the real find, and what I truly have to thank Dr. Oliver and the XBox for, is we've now confirmed you need nothing more than a face and a name. Honestly, that was a bit of a guess on my part and I'm rather surprised it worked. So it was very kind of you to jump to our bait."
"And finally there's one more thing that I and everyone else now knows about you, Kira. And I know you're listening."
Light sat expressionless and immobile. Ryuk shook with barely concealed mirth.
"You think you're very clever, don't you? Untouchable. That you're leading everyone on a merry chase."
And here his tone lost its mocking cheer and turned stern.
"But the truth is you're a rather impulsive child, aren't you?"
Muscles worked along the sides of Light's jaw.
"Oh dear, that was quite rude of me. Not a very smart way to speak to a 'god,'" the Doctor said, ladling thick sarcasm over the 'g' word.
"So since we already know that anyone who gets in your way is fair game, here I am. I've tricked you, embarrassed you, insulted you in front of the whole world on your own turf. So I guess it's only fair that you get another go. I've got some delicious sushi riding on a bet that nothing will happen to me, so I'd like to settle it this evening if you don't mind."
"... ah! I know, how about a haiku? A brief bit of beauty, something straight to the point. Here's one I've always loved by Matsuo Bashō, the master of the form."
another year is gone / a traveler's shade on my head, / straw sandals at my feet
"Beautiful! So simple, elegant and melancholy."
"Well folks, it seems our little friend doesn't want to play any more and I've won my bet. So once again, I must thank the family of my friend Dr. Oliver. I promise all of you that we will get to the bottom of this, and we will capture this 'Kira.'"
Light rose from his chair, shaking with rage.
"Doctor... I ..."
"Oh, and Kira..."
"... am Justice!"