Chapter Twenty-Four | The questioning [part three]

<Dammit,> Lieutenant Takama sighed, already tense enough. Exasperated upon hearing the fire alarm ring, he asked rhetorically, <what now?>

Miho looked surprised by the fire alarm as well, but started to brush off the buzzing when a new distraction raised its head.

<Miho!> Eiji shouted as he threw open the conference room door and marched up to his daughter, flanked by Charlie and Kumasi. <What do you think you are doing?>

<Right now?> Miho answered slyly as she moved for the door, <I'm leaving.>

Charlie blocked her way. <Your father wishes to speak to you, young Tohya-san.>

Miho gave the Scotsman a cold stare. <Move.>

Charlie looked to Eiji, who nodded and said, <I can't think with this damned buzzer going off. This had better not be a stupid drill,> as he followed Miho and Shinichi from the room.

A number of students were filing out of the building in the semi-controlled panic that always occurs when knowledge is lacking. The five followed the students out of the building at a distance, Miho kept carefully in front by Charlie, much to her displeasure. As they moved towards the nearest exit, a TPCD officer joined them, adding to Miho's annoyance. The precautions they were taking were almost insulting to the girl. Takama and certainly her father knew that if she had a reason to run, she would have done so long ago. It was all part of the game.

She exited the school into the early-afternoon sunlight, flanked by her "guards." They group joined the students gathered a safe distance from the school. Looking across the park that surrounded the joint courtyards between the high and middle schools, Miho could see that the students from the middle school had been evacuated as well.

More curious was the panic of the teachers and school faculty, unbefitting of a mere drill. Looking back at the school, there was no seemingly no reason for an alarm to go off, let alone at both schools. There was no smoke emitting from either building.

<Oh, this is ridiculous,> Takama shouted, realizing the same thing as Miho. <And in the middle of a police investigation!> He turned to the unsuspecting principal, who was walking past him. <I want to talk to the delinquent that pulled that fire alarm!> he shouted, causing the man to knock off his own glasses in shock.

<Yes, Lieutenant-sama,> the principal said, bowing both as an apology and to pick up his dropped bifocals. Standing up straight again, he turned to a nearby woman.

<Kiribati-san, has the alarm system been shut off?>

<Yes, principal-san; we can start filing the students back in as soon as the respective teachers all take roll.>

<That's more like it,> Takama said, clapping his hands together and walking back towards the school and pulling his cell phone out. <Maybe NOW I can get something done. You know, I think this fresh air >

He didn't get to finish his sentence. Before he could get the final phrase from his lips, a massive explosion racked the school. The lieutenant was tossed high into the air over the heads of the gathered students. As Shinichi reached the peak of his body's arc through the air, his mind hadn't yet had time to comprehend what would happen when he crashed into the ground a hundred yards away from what used to be the school. Suddenly, the finality of his situation came to him as he saw that, ironically, the target his body was heading towards at a rapid velocity was his own police car. Shinichi closed his eyes and helplessly braced for impact as his body approached the vehicle.

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Already two kilometers away, Kiada had turned down his S2000's radio to listen fully to the explosion. A twisted smile overcame his face as he heard the confirmation he had been waiting for.

<No crime scene,> he said to himself, snickering madly, <no evidence. What a shame about the students, though. But, hey, b0|\|u5 p0i/\/7s for killing NPCs, right?>

He turned the radio back up, smiling again as the Breaking News sound played.

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