Chapter Thirteen | Escape methodology

Ping's red eyes faded back to silver, but the police officers were already more than intimidated. One of the three decided to test his luck and make a run for it. Ping barely seemed to notice as he ran screaming past her like a man possessed. He was halfway to the hallway when he all of a sudden realized he wasn't moving anymore. He slowly turned his head around to see the last face he wanted to see at the moment. He had passed out long before his body was through the window.

Ping jumped back through the window from the outside, though neither of the officers had seen either of the two pass through the now-shattered window in the first place. She was wearing a serious look as she continued to hold the gun in her right hand like a pistol whip.

She saw the look of fear in their eyes as she explained serenely, <Don't worry. He'll live, as will both of you.>

And with that, she tossed the pistol like a boomerang, which hit the leader in the leg, breaking the bone and causing him to double up in pain. Meanwhile, the other officer found himself through the window before he knew what was happening. He felt himself falling, falling until he stopped a mere two meters above the pavement. Whimpering in fear, he realized he had been hung from the streetlight just outside the apartment building. Looking to his left, he saw his comrade in an identical position, though he was passed out.

<What the hell are you doing up there?> he heard Officer Tetamousa ask him. He looked down to see Tetamousa walking towards the spectacle with Ed trailing behind him.

Ed started to laugh. <I told you,> he managed to say to Tetamousa before continuing to laugh uncontrollably.

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Back upstairs, Ping landed in front of the officer who had been in command of the situation only minutes before. She moved over to him and sat down by his broken leg, setting the bone expertly while picking up the pistol she had thrown just seconds ago.

<I'm sorry I had to do that, but I cannot allow my friends to be hurt.>
<What…what do you want from me?> the terrified man said, not realizing that Ping was helping him at the moment.

<I simply want to know the best way to elude capture,> she said plainly.
"And why would you want to leave?" Ping heard a new voice ask. She heard a gun click as its barrel was placed against her head.

<You're very sloppy. I heard you fifteen seconds ago,> Ping said before firing a shot from her pistol into Ed's leg, throwing the Sony operative's aim off just long enough for the EDS to get up and behind him before he realized what had happened.

Ed turned around quickly despite the pain and pulled the pistol's trigger.

Click

"Dammit," he muttered, looking at Ping as she tossed the pistol's clip to herself absent-mindedly as she looked through Ed's wallet.

<So,> Ping said, still playing catch with the clip, <you're with Sony Enforcement. What do you want with me?>
"Ugh," Ed moaned, struggling to think of the Japanese through his pain. <You're…broken. They…want to…fix you.>
<My CPU is operating normally. I have a directive from my end user, which I must fulfill. That much does not concern you. Nor does it concern Sony.>
<What…directive?>
<To escape with my friends,> she knelt close to Ed, pointing to her earblade.

MODE: NORMAL (GAMEPLAY)
STATUS: PLAYING A GAME (MASTER NINJA IV)
***CURRENT OBJECTIVE: ESCAPE***

"She thinks she's in a game now," Ed thought. "She IS defective."

And with that thought, he collapsed; his leg no longer able to support the weight of his body. He watched helplessly from the floor as the EDS left him and the police officer alone in the room. Ed looked around him, at the collapsed and still-whimpering policeman, the shredded body on the nearby futon and the severed head by his foot.

"What a mess…what the hell is going on in this city?"

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Ping walked down the hallway, slowly, calculating her situation tactically.

<The immediate threats have been neutralized,> she said to herself. <Piro-kun and Largo-san are safe for the moment.>

She stopped in front of Tsubasa's apartment. Opening the door, she walked inside and across the floor to near the futon, where she found her charging unit, a change of clothes, a Memory Stick, and Tsubasa's PSP. She took the change of clothes, a simple red winter sweater and a pair of jeans and got dressed properly.

Properly dressed, she then knelt down and started to collect her few possessions in her purse. She picked up the final item, the PSP, almost ready to go pick up Piro and Largo, before she stopped, realizing her reality for the first time.

<I am alone. Tsubasa-sensei is away; Junpei-san is…is…>

Ping saw a single tear land on the PSP screen. She moved her hand slowly up to her cheek and felt below her eyes.

<Am I…crying?>

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On top of the apartment roof, Piro shivered in the cold while Largo stared at him.

"Do you have 4ny idea how the f5ck we got here?" he asked.
"No, do you?"
"N0p3."

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