<What's wrong, Piro? >

Piro looked at Kimiko and sighed, <I really wanted to do this right. I don't understand why we have to stay in. How bad could it be? >

Kimiko gave him a wry grin; <You have no idea. However, I do know something that we can do that will probably make both of us feel better. >

Piro looked at her warily, <What might that be? >

<Go get your sketchpad, I want you to draw for me. >

Piro raised an eyebrow but didn't say a word as he went to get his pack.


Ping looked back and forth between Erika and Miho. They could only stare at first then Erika stood and glared at her, <You could have told us about this before now, Ping. We could have helped you. This is an awful risk for you and, what is it you called them, the sisters to undertake all on your own. >

Miho nodded, <She's right, Ping. We would have supported you. No Idol likes the way that they are used, and those like myself particularly hate the way that we've been manipulated. We were created to protect the masses and we should have been involved. >

Ping looked at Erika and shook her head, <It's too late for anyone to stop what we have set into motion. If you support us now then it will simply add weight to our effort. You couldn't stand alone against them and expect to survive. >

She turned to Miho, <I know of your dream, it's one that we can share. Even as formidable as you and Sashi are you had no hope of survival either. But we have access to the inner workings of The Machine now. >

Miho and Erika looked at each other then got their cell phones out. They had calls to make.


The Twins approached their mark from either side; the right Twin snatched the gym bag away fromm him deftly. <So sorry to interrupt you, but we can't allow you to continue. > He violently jerked away from the other Twin and bounded toward a nearby alley.

He didn't make it.


<Inspector Sonoda, I believe that I have something of interest for you. >

Masamichi looked at Europea and grunted, all he wanted right now was to watch a little television with his beautiful wife and relax. <Okay, what is it? >

Europea grinned and a small picture popped up in the corner of the television screen. It was a feed from the Twins. Sonoda blinked rapidly as he watched the wannabe bomber being dragged by his heels and he gasped as the contents of the bag were revealed. Meimi leaned forward and grabbed Europea's arm.

<Go back, there in the crowd! >

It was no problem for the Twin holding the bag to look at exactly the right spot. She'd already seen what had caught Meimi's attention.

Yuki, Mami and Asako were standing in line to enter the Cave of Evil not three meters from the bomber.


"Ed, isn't that the apartment where Piro and Ping live?"

Ed looked off into the distance and squinted, <My eyes aren't up to your level, doll. Do you want to go say hi? "

Ashley shook her head, "No, Ping is at a club with her friends. They've left Piro with the Nanasawa woman."

Ed smiled, "Be honest, you want to go see if he's behaving himself, don't you?"

She smiled back "Who, me?"


Piro watches Kimiko talk on the phone with a growing sense of unease. Finally she hung up and turned to him.<That was Erika, there are some serious things going on tonight. She wants us to watch one of the news channels.>

Piro started to question her when the building began to shake. At first he thought it was an earthquake until the spotlight began to shine in the balcony window. He and Kimiko went out to see what was going on.

As they stood on the balcony they could only gape in astonishment at the Osprey that was hovering about fifty meters away. It turned toward them and came so close that they could see into the cockpit.

"That's Ed!"

Ed grinned at Piro and waved, then the aircraft slowly turned right. Piro's eyes went wide as he recognized a familiar redheaded figure waving and grinning. He weakly waved back then the Osprey pivoted its wings down and sped off into the night.


In Sony Corporate Headquarters a solitary figure stared at the bank of monitors on the walls of his office. As he lit a cigar he began to softly chuckle to himself.

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