Chapter Ten:
Unsuspecting targets

Seraphim stood paralyzed with fear; trying to figure out what to do now…they couldn't see her yet, but that wouldn't stop Usaka. How could she have been so foolish as to speak out loud not five feet from a human? How?

Usaka turned to Ed, saying, <Are you sure?>

Ed nodded, <Someone or something was shocked at some of the data you released. She isn't much of a professional; she gasped loud enough for me to hear it. She spoke English, so she may be with Microsoft.>

Usaka looked surprised, but he nodded knowledgeably. He, Ed, and Seraphim were the only things in the room now.

He chuckled, <I doubt it's anyone from Microsoft.>

He pulled out a small device and spoke into it, <Lock down the SED Conference Room; shut down all electronic devices and prepare an EMP charge.>

It was Ed's turn to look surprised. <Who else then? Nintendo?>

<Don't be foolish. The timeline altering I was talking about earlier held a funny signal with it; a very telling one. It wasn't anything human that messed with it, but the government had plenty to do with it.>

Usaka switched to English, speaking to what looked like thin air. "Do you want to come out now, or do I have to fire off that EMP blast?"

Seraphim knew she was trapped, but hoped he was bluffing as she stayed silent…there wasn't anywhere she could hide fast enough. She spotted a vent and ran over to it, but there was no way she could get through the screws quickly enough.
Usaka waited a minute or so, and then pulled out the communication device again.

<Ed, you might want to shut off your phone and PDA.>

Ed did so as Usaka ordered the short-range EMP pulse fired inside the room.
Seraphim could feel the cloaking device fail around her as the pulse shut off the electronic device. She was caught and she knew it. Ironically, she thought of Asmodeus. "And I just got done yelling at him for getting Piro caught," she laughed to herself.

Usaka walked right over to Seraphim, as though he expected her to be there. "Ah, a CEA operative. How…quaint."

He grabbed Seraphim and brought her up to eye level.

"Actually," he looked closely at the agent, "I think you may be perfect…Agent Seraphim."
"Do you know her, sir?"

"Yes, actually," Usaka smiled as he reminisced. "I used to be her project. Just another hopeless loser in need of some help by the CEA. What a bunch of condescending idiots these "consciences" are."

He smiled at Seraphim, "But now her agency is meddling in human affairs to a level even I wouldn't have dreamt of. Has the CEA no shame?"

Seraphim chose to address him…perhaps she could lead him off base. Perhaps she could still save the mission. "I don't know what you're talking about."

"You really are a fool, you know that, Seraphim," Usaka laughed.
He handed Seraphim to Ed. "Take her to a detainment cell. I'm sure Intelligence will have fun with a CEA operative."

He grinned sadistically. "Those wings must be a lot of fun to tear off…one…painful…feather at a time."

He laughed as Sera grimaced.

Ed looked confused, but he started to grab Seraphim, but his boss stopped him, handing him a glove first. "These things look human, but they aren't above rats. Don't listen to her, whatever she says."

The Sony operative nodded, put on the glove, and walked out the door with Sera in hand.

"Oh, Ed," Usaka said. "When you're done, you're assigned to the Americans."

He continued, "I believe you have a relationship with them both, according to some intelligence we picked up. Oh, and they have a tie to the EDS you're after. Two birds, one stone. Understand?"

"Yes sir."

Ed walked out the door, which shut itself behind him. Inside, Usaka walked in the door he had entered the room from. A cool sterile hallway greeted him. He walked down it to the end, where another door connected to his office, labeled, "Director of Operations: Sony Enforcement Division."

Usaka entered his pass code into the hallway panel and the door slid open. The office was, in stark contrast to the cold corporate steel outside, warm and inviting. There was a fireplace in the corner across from Usaka's desk and blue carpet flushed out the wooden walls and bookcases.

He walked over to his desk and sat down, pushing a flashing button on his phone. The far wall dissolved into a television screen. Sonoda Masamichi's face looked stern in the snow – he was outside.

<Hello Director-san; congratulations on your promotion.>
<Cut the formalities, Usaka-san.>
<Now, now, Masamichi, do remember your place in this relationship. You wouldn't have a job without me, let alone be director of the Cataclysm Division. Not after how you bungled that Idol job a few months back.>
<Sorry sir.>
<That's better. Did you detain the Americans?>
<Yes, they're in the car behind me, ready for transport.>
<Good. We just found a bug in our operation though. CEA seems to be involved with the rift. You might as well scan the suspects to see if they've been contacted.>
<CEA? They care about this?>
<Apparently. I'd be surprised if those two don't have operatives assigned to them.> He sighed angrily. <Fucking meddlers.>
<Very well sir.> Sonoda waved to an officer from his mech to check the car.
<Oh Masamichi: You still have to be punished for moving that Idol to Microsoft. You don't mess with Sony. And you do NOT mess with me.>

He hung up the video phone. Usaka laughed at his cleverness. He had the TPCD under his thumb because of that fool Masamichi. He had a link inside the CEA because of that fool Seraphim.

And soon, he'd have a way to get a link inside Microsoft when Nanasawa undoubtedly signed with him, thanks to Masamichi's unforeseen bungling.

He laughed again, remembering how hard it was to keep Nanasawa down and away from getting a job.

He wanted her for Sony, but she was not yet at full power. The anger towards her roommate was just starting to work. She needed her catalyst. Hayasaka Erika had Sonoda Hitoshi; Nanasawa Kimiko needed those Americans. He just had to figure out why.

The CEA was going to tell him.

The phone was flashing again. He pressed it, already knowing who it was.

<Usaka-san! Team is ready for operation. Our negotiator is already at her post.>
<Good; she will do well. And the roommate?>
<Hayasaka Erika's train has been delayed thanks to a well-timed EMP pulse.>
<Perfect. Commence with operation.>

Manipulation is a powerful tool...
...Many show prowess in such deeds. Only some show expertise.

Kimiko's dreams stand tall before her, and Sony offers a boost up the ladder. But to achieve her wishes she must push away the comfort of her friends.

A life without love isn't worth living...or is it?

MegaTokyo TimeLines -
Chapter Eleven: Shrewd negotiations

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