Introduction

The Temptation of Largo is a story that is only loosely related to Megatokyo. It takes place in a parallel universe that is closer to ours than it is to the Megatokyo universe (no magical girls, zombies, etc… etc…). Actually, the only tie this story has to Megatokyo is that it uses some of the same major characters. In that aspect it resembles the type omakes Fred usually does.

Throughout the story, I try to keep the character's personalities true to their Megatokyo counterparts. The one character I'm bound to get complaints about is Miho. Since there is no true consensus on what kind of character she is, a fair number of people are going to think I did her wrong.

Just so you know, I view Miho as a sociopath. Good and evil have little bearing on her. She does what she does because of personal motivations. Whether she's helping or hurting someone, it's all about what she wants and has little to do with the other person.

I would consider this to be a short story, it is ten chapters and it is complete.

Last, I would like to give tremendous thanks to my editor, Wavebird_Ocelot. With out his help the story would be pretty much the same, only much less readable. Actually, he put a lot of work into editing my poor writing, so I have graciously offered to give him half the proceeds generated from this story.

*****

The Temptation of Largo

A Fanfiction Omake

Written by Slez

Edited by Wavebird_Ocelot


One

Location: The American Japanese Anti-Terrorism Unit Command Center at Pearl Harbor Hawaii (also know as AJAT, pronounced A-Jat).

Colonel Sonoda paced around command center, as was his custom when he had the watch. The command center's function was to monitor the operations of the currently deployed covert teams. As he was making his rounds his sharp eye immediately spotted the warning signal flashing on one of the screens. While a warning signal wasn't all that uncommon, it was his job to deal with any problems, so he made his way towards offending screen.

"What's the situation?" the colonel asked the junior officer monitoring the display. "It's J-Team sir," the officer replied. "They're one hour late for their scheduled check in." The colonel rubbed his chin and murmured "Hmm… JT," then said to the officer, "Notify me if they don't check in within the next half hour." The officer responded with a crisp "Yes sir," then returned his attention to his screen.

The colonel was worried but he didn't want to show it. Being one hour late usually wasn't much to be concerned about, but JT's mission made him slightly nervous even without a missed check-in. He went directly from the monitoring station to his command chair. Once seated he swung his keyboard and monitor in front of him and pulled up JT's mission for review.

The goal of the mission was actually simple; it was how they were supposed to carry out the mission that made him nervous. JT's objective was to disrupt the operations of a minor South American Drug Lord, Pablo Escobar, while making all their actions look like accidents. The catch was that this mission was the first field test for an experimental weapon.

AJAT normally didn't deal with drug lords. It was a secret counter-terrorism project created by the American and Japanese governments shortly after 9/11. It utilized elite teams trained in stealth, espionage and combat, and it had top scientists from both countries developing technologies useful to the war on terror. An exception was made to act against this drug lord because they wanted an easy field test that was a little closer to home than their normal area of operation. They wanted a location where the U.S. Military could quickly come to their aid if necessary.

The weapon J-Team was testing was a major achievement for the AJAT scientists. It was a directed energy weapon that could stun or kill a target. In stun mode, its target wouldn't even know a weapon had been used, and to any observers it would look like the target had simply passed out. Its beam could be tightly focused to a single target, or could be wide spread to neutralize numerous targets at once, though in wide mode it could only stun, not kill. There had been prototypes of the weapon around for years, but they were too big and heavy to be practical. Only through recent advancements in power storage and generation technologies had it become practical for use in the field.

Colonel Sonoda silently prayed that nothing had gone seriously wrong with the mission. Those weapons represented some of the most sophisticated technology his unit had. Just the thought of that equipment falling into the wrong hands sent shivers down his spine. This was supposed to be easy. Incapacitate a few guards, burn up a bunch of drugs and processing equipment, and make it look like an accident caused by incompetents. Nothing could be simpler. So why, he wondered, are they late checking in?

JT was a veteran team with an exemplary record, so the colonel couldn't imagine what could have gone wrong. Then a thought struck him, Equipment malfunction, that's got to be it! The colonel leaned back in his chair and thought it over. He knew the equipment had been tested hundreds and hundreds of times in simulations and that an equipment malfunction was near impossible. However, it seemed much more likely than a minor drug lord taking out one of his best teams without one of them being able to get a message off.

Convinced that an equipment malfunction had incapacitated JT, the colonel decided the best course of action would be to send in another team to retrieve the equipment and any JT members that were still alive. He quickly pulled up the location and status of all his teams, and began to scan for the closest team. He knew that the sooner another team got there the better chance they hand of meeting their objective without extra complications. To his dismay, the team that could be there the fastest was M-Team, as they were currently training in Mexico. Damn it, he thought, my newest team, their first mission wasn't supposed to be until next week. He scanned the list again and found that the next closest team would be eight hours slower getting there. Oh well, he thought. Nothing like a baptism by fire. Good luck, MT, and I hope your people are ready Captain Piro.
Two

Largo was sitting on the hotel bed watching Kimiko put the finishing touches on Piro's disguise when Piro's data pad beeped and then started blinking red. Piro motioned for her to stop, then picked up the pad and started reading. Kimiko moved over towards Largo, who now looked like a Mexican villager thanks to her, and asked him in a hushed voice, "Doesn't red mean urgent orders?" Without taking his eyes off Piro, Largo replied, "Yes." Kimiko looked at Largo somewhat nervously and said, "But our first mission isn't until next week." Largo turned to look at her and just shrugged.

Erika was oblivious to what was going on because she was inspecting Kimiko's handiwork in the bathroom mirror. When she heard Piro call, she immediately came out into the main room. Once she joined them, Piro began, "Ok people, there's been a change of plans." He paused for a moment to look each person in the eye, "A situation has come up, and Command wants us to do some reconnaissance. A transport will be here in ten minutes to take us to the airstrip. I expect everyone to have their gear packed and be ready when it arrives."

Largo began packing his gear with enthusiasm, while Erika packed with her usual air of detachment. Kimiko was the only one that lingered. "Sir?" she started to ask before he cut her off. "Not now lieutenant - we'll get debriefed on the trip. Right now, time is of the essence." She hesitated only a moment before replying, "Yes sir," then she quickly began to pack.

As Piro packed his gear he couldn't help but worry about Kimiko. He knew she was an excellent solider, but he also knew she had been placed in a team a little early because of her other skills. Kimiko was a master of disguise and an excellent actress. She was the ideal match for him in undercover missions, which was supposed to be his team's specialty. He knew this sudden change of plans had put her on edge, but there wasn't much he could do about it. He'd help her as much as he could, but he couldn't play nursemaid for the whole mission. Hopefully she'd rise to whatever challenges awaited her.

Forty minutes after receiving their orders, MT was in the air. Piro was disappointed that the team had to leave Mexico early. His team members, especially Erika and Largo, needed extra practice at blending into a crowd and acting inconspicuous while in disguise, but there was nothing to be done about it. Instead, he needed to focus on getting his team prepared for its new mission.

Immediately after takeoff, Largo worked with a member of the flight crew to setup the video conference equipment. Once completed, they initiated a link with the command center where Colonel Sonoda had a mission specialist ready to brief the team. Before the specialist started, each team member was given a packet with an intelligence report, maps and aerial photography of the target area. She began by reviewing the details of JT's mission, and then she went over the specs of the experimental weaponry. When she finished, Largo let out a long low whistle and said, "Very impressive weaponry - What security systems does it have?" The specialist replied, "The weapon has sophisticated biometric scanners that only allows one person to use the weapon. Also, each weapon has a tracking device that should allow you pinpoint its location if you get within three to four miles of the device. There will be tracking equipment included in your gear."

After a short pause Erika asked, "Do you have any information on what security systems Escobar is using?" The specialist checked her notes, and then answered, "We only have limited data; there should be a spec sheet included in your package. Even though he is a minor drug lord, expect him to have good security, especially around his residence. Hopefully you won't need to go anywhere near it." The last question of the briefing was asked by Kimiko, "What are our orders if we find that Escobar has possession of the weapons and our people?" The specialist looked aside, and then moved out of the way so Colonel Sonoda could respond. After brief consideration he replied, "I'm going to leave that decision up to Captain Piro. Situations like this are nothing new to him, and he knows your capabilities better than anyone, and I trust his judgment. Just keep in mind that the loss of these weapons would be devastating, and that even though backup is on the way, it's at least eight hours behind."

When the briefing ended Piro addressed his team, "Alright people, there is going to be an SUV waiting for us when we land. The airstrip is about sixty miles north of our target. I don't expect to interact with any locals today, but just in case I want everyone looking like tourists. If we do have any interaction, let me and Kimiko do the talking if possible. Remember we are two newlywed couples vacationing together, and all our credentials are in the vehicle." He paused to see if there were any questions then he looked at Kimiko and said, "You did a fine job on these disguises, it's a shame we didn't get to use them." He then addressed the group and said, "If there aren't any questions, let's get changed."

The rest of the plane trip was spent making themselves look like tourists and reviewing their information packets. They landed and got their vehicle without any complications, and within minutes of touching down they were on the road.

On a cursory inspection, the SUV looked like an ordinary vehicle, but in reality it was packed with hidden tactical equipment and weaponry. Piro drove and Kimiko sat in the front passenger seat. Kimiko pulled the wireless keyboard out from under her chair and activated the vehicle's in-dash navigation and tactical displays. Largo sat behind Piro and began setting up his workstation. In the back of the front seats were two hidden touch screen monitors and a keyboard. Largo folded one monitor out and left the other, and Erika did the same on her side. Piro gave everyone a few minutes to familiarize themselves with their systems before asking, "This is a different model than the one we trained on, does anyone foresee any problems?" Largo was the first to respond when he said, "This is a newer model. Configuration is a little different," then after pause he continued, "I foresee no complications in compensating for the differences." Erika and Kimiko both agreed.

When they were about ten miles from their target Piro took advantage of the SUV's four wheel drive and found them a nice secluded spot that wasn't visible from the road. Once situated, it only took Largo a few minutes to prepare the reconnaissance drone for flight. Kimiko hand-launched the drone, then remained outside the vehicle to keep watch in case someone wandered by. Largo flew the drone from his workstation while Erika controlled the cameras and monitored the sensors from hers. Piro sat in-between Largo and Erika to observe their progress.

After a half-hour of searching it was becoming obvious that there was no trace of JT or any of their equipment in the areas where they should have been. After accepting what that meant, Piro said, "Alright Largo, fly over the drug processing compound." When the drone made it to the compound Erika announced, "I'm picking up a tracking signal." Piro asked, "Is it coming from the compound?" Erika adjusted the controls and examined both displays before responding, "No sir, not from the compound. It's coming from somewhere west of the compound." There was no need to say any more, they had all studied the maps, Escobar's residence was due west of the drug compound.

Largo flew the drone over the residence to verify the signal was coming from there and to gather whatever tactical information they could. After Piro was satisfied that they had gathered all the information they could, he started to tell Largo bring the drone back when Erika exclaimed, "Damn!"

"What is it?" Piro asked. Erika's fingers flew over the controls as she responded, "I've lost the signal sir."
Three

On the outside Piro looked calm and collected, but on the inside he was a mess. After repeated attempts Erika failed to reacquire the tracking signal, and Largo fared no better. Largo ran diagnostics on all their equipment, but everything checked out. That left only one reason why they couldn't detect a tracking signal - It wasn't there. This meant that whoever had the weapons knew about the tracking beacon and knew how to suppress it. The ramification was that they were dealing with someone much more capable and dangerous than anyone had anticipated.

Piro was very concerned. AJAT's primary mission was to gather intelligence on terrorists. The rationale was that teams made up of Japanese and American personal would not be suspected of covert operations, and so far it had worked very well for the other teams. His team had been groomed especially for stealth and espionage. Breaking into a well guarded facility that was most likely on guard for such an attempt was not their forte. There was no way he was taking his team in after those weapons.

Piro told Largo to put the drone in an auto pilot loop flying around the residence while he contacted Colonel Sonoda. After bringing the colonel up to date Piro said, "Honestly sir, I don't think my team would have a chance of retrieving those weapons. Whoever we're dealing with is just too well prepared; there's no way we could surprise them." After a brief hesitation he added, "And sir, I don't think a second team will even the odds much. It is my recommendation that we enlist the help of a SEAL or Ranger unit, if we can get approval."

The colonel didn't respond right away. When he did he said, "I see. The general won't be happy, but he'd be less happy about losing that equipment. I think I can get you a SEAL unit, but it's up to you to keep those weapons contained until your support arrives. What's your plan, captain?" Piro responded almost instantly, "Well sir, Escobar's residence has a heliport. Do we have the authority to take out anything that tries to land there?" The colonel hesitated, then said, "This could get messy, but given the circumstances I'll give you that authority." After a moment of consideration he asked, "What if they try to leave by ground?"

Having already worked out a plan, Piro answered, "Due to the location of the heliport, we can't cover it and the front gate unless we split up. I'm reluctant to do that because we have very little information on their surveillance capabilities, and the best spot to watch the front gate offers poor natural defenses. There wouldn't be a place to hide the vehicle nearby, so whoever took that position wouldn't be able to make a quick get away. My plan is to mine the front gate with our vehicle's screw mining system, and then we'll take position to cover the heliport. If anyone tries to leave through the front gate we will see them with our reconnaissance drone. If we take out the lead vehicle, then hopefully no one else will be able to get out. Also, we'll move into position to stop anyone who tries. If anyone does manage to get by us, we still have the drone to follow them."

"Impressive Captain," replied the colonel. "It's a good plan. Hopefully you'll be able carry it out before they try to make a move. I'll update the general on the situation and I'll try to get you that SEAL unit ASAP. Good luck and godspeed, Sonoda out." With that he closed the connection.

Piro wasted little time briefing his team on the plan, and within minutes they were heading for the residence. On the journey Largo programmed the mining system to be initiated from a single button on the dashboard, while Erika monitored the residence and scouted for the optimal location to cover the heliport from. Kimiko and Piro discussed various scenarios of what they might encounter when they reached the gate, and reviewed what their responses would be. When they were a mile away Piro pulled over so everyone could put away any suspicious looking gear, and so Kimiko could get out a road map. He also had everyone check their concealed weapons, just in case. Once he was satisfied, he said, "Looks like we're ready to go. Everyone stay calm and we'll be out of here in under five minutes."

As they approached the gate, Piro pulled the SUV off the road and stopped a few feet from the gate. He hoped that no one would come to check on them since the residence's wall blocked them from view. As soon as he put the SUV in park he hit the button on the dash that would lay the mines. The mines looked like large screws with a rock on top of them. The deployment system would screw the mines into the ground far enough that only the fake rock would show. The softer ground on the side of the road would make deployment of the mines much quicker.

Thirty seconds had passed and the mines were partially deployed when the gate opened and a guard emerged. The guard carried an AK-47 and wore a communication headset. He walked around the SUV looking in all the windows before stopping in front of the driver's window. When Piro rolled down the window the guard asked, "Perdido? Lost?" Piro smiled nervously and glanced at the guard's gun before nodding his head and saying, "Yes - Si, Lost. We're tourists, turistas staying in Pereira." He gestured towards the map and said, "Pereira, donde Pereira?"

The guard smiled at him and then held up his hand and said, "Momento." Then the guard walked over towards the gate and started speaking into his headset. Piro was able to hear enough of the guard's words to gather that the guard was telling someone that they were lost tourists. When the guard finished his explanation he nodded his head a few times, then returned to the vehicle and started giving them directions. Just as the guard started talking Largo coughed, which was the signal that the mines were deployed. Piro was anxious to go but he knew he had to wait until the guard finished, so he just kept nodding his head as if the guard's broken English directions were perfectly clear.

Piro was just getting ready to thank the guard and tell him that he thought they could find their way when he heard Kimiko gasp. When Piro looked to see what had startled her, he saw about ten armed men streaming out of the gate. When he looked back at the guard he had been speaking to, he couldn't help but notice the AK-47 pointed directly at his head.
Four

After they were removed from the SUV, their arms were bound behind their backs, and they were searched for weapons. Next, they were escorted up to the residence at gunpoint, but instead of going in they were taken to an adjacent garage. The garage was more like a small warehouse; it was large enough to hold about twenty cars.

When Piro entered the garage he was a little surprised at how empty it was. There were only four cars, a van, a box truck and a handful of people. As their escorts led them towards the people, Piro tried to determine which of them was the leader. It didn't take long to spot her. She was dressed in black with shoulder length black hair, and she radiated an air of authority. His assessment was confirmed when they were led right to her.

As they approached her, she turned around to face them. Piro registered the look of surprise on her face an instant before he heard Largo gasp and say, "You," in a venomous hiss. Piro watched as her look of surprise transformed into a devious grin as she said, "Largo, what a pleasant surprise."

Piro found himself as surprised by the woman's familiarity with Largo as he was with her appearance. She was definitely Asian, probably of Japanese descent, not Hispanic like he would have guessed. She was also very young; she looked like she should have been in high school. He wondered what her connection with the drug lord was, and what gave them away at the gate. He had so many questions that his head started to spin, but he knew better than to ask. This wasn't a drill, these people were dangerous; any action he took that provoked them could easily be his last. He knew that and his team knew that, but after Largo's reaction, he hoped that Largo didn't temporarily forget.

When she spoke again she looked directly at Largo. "Oh Largo, it appears that you still haven't forgiven me. It wasn't personal, you know; it was just, convenient. Oh well, we'll have plenty of time to catch up later. Right now we need to get going before any more of your friends arrive." Then she turned to face one of the guards and said in Spanish, <Make sure they're tied up good and put them in the back of the truck. I don't want them harmed, I plan to interrogate them later.>

The guard replied, <Yes Ma'am,> and started to carry out her orders until she stopped him and said, <On second though, I think I'd like him,> as she pointed at Largo, <to ride with me. Although, I still want him tied up good.> The guard replied, <Yes Ma'am,> while Largo and the woman stared at each other. Largo finally responded while the rest of the team cringed, fearing that he might loose his cool, but all he said was, "What's your game this time, Miho?" Miho displayed an almost imperceptible grin, then turned and walked away.

After Largo was taken the rest of the team was loaded into the truck. Before they locked it, Piro noted that Kimiko looked defeated while Erika seemed much more alert. Once in the truck, he found he was tied so securely that it was difficult to move, and he saw little chance of getting loose. Though he was thankful that they weren't gagged, there was little else to be thankful for. Once the doors were locked it was almost completely dark in the truck.

Piro was concerned about Kimiko's mental state. He knew that she needed to stay sharp in case any opportunity for escape arose. If she wasn't ready they might miss an opportunity. He wanted to give her hope, but wasn't sure how. After thinking a bit an idea struck him, "Erika, how long will that drone circle before it runs out of power?" "At least two days sir," she replied. Piro then asked, "That unit stores video, doesn't it? How much video will it hold?" Erika considered a moment before answering then said, "I believe it can store a weeks worth of video sir." "Hmm…" Piro said, "so the other team should be able to download the video and find out what happened to us. They should even be able to I.D. these vehicles when they leave and see which direction they head?" Erika replied, "Yes sir, I don't see why not."

Piro gave Kimiko a little time to let that information sink in before continuing. "Ok, just because help may be on the way soon, I don't want either of you to stop looking for a way out of this mess. We all need to stay sharp and look for any opportunity that presents itself." When Piro finished, Erika responded with a crisp, "Yes sir," and Kimiko followed with a more subdued "Yes sir," of her own.

"Well people," Piro stated, "It looks like we've got nothing but time. Feel free to speak up it there is anything you have to say." After a few moments of silence Kimiko was the first to talk.

"When we were being escorted to the garage there was one guard that kept bumping into me. I think I heard someone call him Sancho." Erika interjected, "Yeah, I saw him." Kimiko then went on, "Well, I did my best to ignore him, but one time he bumped me hard enough that I stumbled and almost fell. After that, I instinctively looked up at him. The way he looked at me… I just knew he enjoyed hurting people. I've seen his type before, he'll make trouble for us… for me, any chance he gets."

***

Largo was put into the back seat of one of the cars. His hands were bound together as well as his feet, and a cord was tied between his hands and feet. The cord was short enough that he had to keep his hands between his knees while he sat. Once his seatbelt was on, he was fairly well immobilized. He thought he might have been able to release the seatbelt with his elbow, but saw no point in trying. The only thing he would achieve would be to get tied up better.

After waiting for about twenty minutes Miho got into the back seat with him and all the vehicles departed. Once they were on the road Miho turned to Largo and said, "It really wasn't personal, you know." Largo looked at her and said, "No, then what was it?"

"You were simply the logical choice," Miho replied. "I'm sure you've guessed by now that I never intended to complete the training and join a team, but they don't just let you walk away from a program like that. They don't want you selling your skills to the highest bidder. So I needed a diversion to keep them off my trail while I escaped. Everyone knew that you didn't trust me, so you were the logical choice to frame for my disappearance. Plus, you were the sharpest one in the group. If left alone, you probably had the best chance of tracing me."

Largo couldn't help but be a little flattered by her explanation, but he couldn't see what difference it made. Instead of commenting on the past he simply said, "What do you want from me?" Miho frowned slightly and said, "Straight to the point, huh? Fine, I have use of your technical expertise and I want you to help me." Largo immediately responded, "Not likely."

Unfazed, Miho calmly responded, "Maybe, maybe not. We'll see what you have to say after you've seen all I'm prepared to offer you."

More out of curiosity than anything else Largo asked her, "And just what are you prepared to offer?" In response she stared at him so intently that he started to feel uncomfortable. Then she moved so close to him that he could feel the heat of her breath. Finally she put her hand on his thigh and whispered into his ear, "You'll see."
Five

Largo was very disturbed by how easily Miho was able to arouse him. On an intellectual level he hated her amoral attitude. The way she would do whatever it took to achieve her goals, indifferent to who got hurt in the process. The way she'd play games with peoples' lives just to suit her own needs. Intellectually he was repulsed by her, but physically… there was no way around it, she was gorgeous, and it was now obvious to him that she knew how take advantage of her physical assets. Just thinking about what she did got him excited.

Distraction, I need a distraction, he thought. Without really knowing what he was going to say he asked, "What gave away our deception at the gate?" Miho looked him over for a few moments before replying, "Seeing two American/Japanese couples in an SUV wouldn't normally raise any suspicions, but since I was once part of your organization it immediately raised a red flag. Though in this case it only confirmed my suspicions. What really gave you away was your vehicle." She paused and seemed to enjoy Largo's confusion before she continued. "You see, your vehicle was identical to the one the other team had."

Largo was so vexed by this information that he almost groaned. Instead of lamenting, he decided to press her for more information. She seemed to be in a talkative mood, and he tried to take advantage of it. Next he asked, "What is your objective here, and why are you working for a drug lord? This is not your kind of game."

Miho gave him a shrewd look before answering. "You're perceptive, but not quite perceptive enough. I don't work for the Drug Lord. My employer is much more powerful, so they worked out a deal with Escobar to use his facility." Largo struggled to understand what that meant and thought, She doesn't work for the Escobar. Someone much more powerful sent her here, but for what… As Miho continued her explanation, it suddenly donned on Largo why she was here. Before she had a chance to say it, he blurted out, "You're here for the weapons, you knew a team was coming!"

Miho nodded then mimed applauding and said, "Very good, Largo. Yes, my employer learned where and when AJAT was going to be testing its new toys, and I was hired specifically because of my knowledge of AJAT." Seeing Largo's look of concern Miho added, "Don't worry, my employer isn't going to make trouble for AJAT, they have no love for terrorists, they just wanted to get their hands on your new weapons. So far everything has gone exactly according to plan, the only anomaly has been your team. To be honest, I expected to be gone hours before anyone came to check on the other team. Your early arrival was quite unexpected, and quite fortuitous, for me at least."

Largo sat there, shook his head and wondered if his team's luck could have been any worse. Then he said, "Your objective was the weapons, so you must want my help with them." As soon as he said that it donned on him, "You want me to assist you in hacking the weapons' security!"

Miho gave him a half smile and said, "True, but now I want more than that. If things go well here, I'd like to make you my partner." Largo immediately started to voice a retort, but Miho silenced him by raising her hand and saying, "Before you start getting hostile, remember the position you're in, and before you start exclaiming vows of defiance your should hear my offer first."

Largo managed to choke back the verbal assault he was ready to unleash, and he did his best to calm himself down. He had no desire to have the guard in the front seat knock him out with the butt of his rifle, so he took deep breaths and tried to think things through. While he desperately wanted to shout that she was insane, the memory of how easily she had manipulated his emotions was still fresh in his memory, and he was not eager for another demonstration. In the end he decided that staying calm and cool was his best choice, so in a level voice he said, "I think you will find it very difficult to convince me to join you."

While he didn't exactly expect her to be stung by his words, he was still fairly unsettled by her reaction. After hearing his reply she flashed him a wicked smile that was both predatory and seductive. Then she said, "Oh, I hope so, it wouldn't be any fun be if you weren't."

The rest of the ride passed without any significant conversation, and they arrived at their destination about two hours later. Their destination was a small complex of buildings that looked like an abandoned storage facility. Largo was left guarded in the car while Miho and the rest of the guards went into several of the buildings. He could see the truck that his team members had been put into, but there was no activity near it.

After about a half-hour wait, a couple of guards untied his feet and escorted him to one of the buildings. Inside he found Miho waiting for him. She said, "Sorry for the wait, but I wasn't expecting company. It took my men a little while to prepare your… accommodations. I acquired this facility and prepared it to be my workshop and hideaway until things calmed down. I'm well aware of AJAT's capabilities and I didn't want to try to leave the country until it seemed likely that I was already gone." She then motioned to the guards to untie him while she headed for the door. Before she left she said to him, "Of course this means that you're going to have plenty of time to consider all the… finer details of my offer."

After she left, he took the opportunity to inspect his 'accommodations.' The building had obviously been built for storage. It was about fifteen feet wide and twenty feet long. In the middle of a long wall was a garage door, and on the same wall there was a regular door near the corner. The walls were windowless and made of cinderblock, and the floor was concrete. The building was lit with two fluorescent fixtures hanging from the ceiling, which was about fifteen feet high. After his inspection, he had to admit that for a storage building, it made a wonderful prison.

The only advantage he had was that he couldn't be seen from the outside. If he ever did try to break out, they wouldn't be able to see what he was doing, but at the moment he didn't see much of a chance of that. The guards did a good job, the room was completely barren. Besides, he wouldn't try anything right away; he'd be a model prisoner until they let their guard down. After he verified that both doors were locked, he sat down against the opposite wall. While he waited he wondered how they would enter the room if they didn't know where he was.

He found out about an hour later. The door opened suddenly and one of the tougher looking guards stood in the doorway. The guard was unarmed, which was smart on their part, because it meant he wouldn't be able to steal a weapon and use it against them. He could see an armed guard several feet behind the one in the doorway, and he expected there were at least one or two more he couldn't see.

When the guard saw him sitting against the wall he relaxed a little and entered the building; two armed guards came in behind him. Without speaking to him, the guard took Largo by the arm and led him out of the building and into another building where there was a restroom he could use. The whole time the two armed guards followed from a safe distance. When he was finished he was escorted back to the same building and locked in; no words were spoken.

Back in his room he found some food, water and a mat. Since he knew they could drug or kill him whenever they wanted, he ate the food without question. Once finished he lied down on the mat to rest. It wasn't comfortable, but it beat lying the concrete floor. Before he fell asleep the door opened again, with the same procedure as last time. Only this time the guards brought in a chair. The guards securely tied him to the chair, when they were finished, they left and Miho came in.
Six

The first thing Largo noticed as Miho entered the room was her long trench coat. It was cooler in the mountainous region they were in, but it wasn't exactly trench coat weather. The next thing that stood out was her perfume, which wasn't overbearing, but he got a good whiff of it while she slowly walked around his chair. The scent was intoxicating and for a second he almost forgot the predicament he was in.

After completing a circuit around his chair she stopped in front of him and said, "Sorry for the restraints, but they're necessary so we can be alone." She began walking around him again and said, "You know, I never wanted to be your enemy, it's just the way things happened to work out. Actually, I've always admired you, and I think it's a shame that we've never been able to combine our talents. We really have a lot in common, you know." She was standing in front of him again and looked him in the eye when she spoke, "We were both recruited for the same program, we both are good with electronics and computers, we both are formidable soldiers and we both love to play games."

Largo tried to stay as detached as possible, not wanting to be a part of anything she was trying to do, but her voice was as seductive as her scent. He found it was impossible to ignore her words. She wasn't even close to convincing him of anything, but he knew she had only started. He wanted to ignore her, and he was disappointed that he couldn't.

She started walking around him again as she talked, "I'm not evil, Largo; if I were, I'd simply torture your teammates until you helped me, but if I did that, I know you'd never work with me. You'd hate me forever, and I don't want that. So you see, I really do want us to be partners." When she was in front of him again, she faced him and said, "The real challenge is going to be trust. Before you can seriously consider any offer, you're going to need to trust me. I've been thinking about this for the last few hours, and I think I have a solution. To build a mutual trust, I have devised a little game that we are going to play." She paused for a moment and fixed him with an intense stare before she continued in a slow, deliberate voice, "And, I am going to show you how much I really - want - you." As she said the last few words, she opened her trench coat and let it fall to the ground.

Largo was trying his best to stay unaffected by anything she did, but this was just too much. Underneath the trench coat Miho was wearing one of the sexiest outfits he had ever seen. She was wearing a frilly corset that was laced up the front. It had an attached petticoat that just barely covered her panties, and she was wearing fishnet pantyhose that were held up with a garter belt. The tight corset showed off her lean, athletic body, while shaping her breasts to create a modest cleavage, and the petticoat hid just enough of her figure to tantalize the imagination. The outfit's effect was dramatic.

For a moment he forgot about everything other than the sexy vision before him, but he was quickly brought back to reality when he tried to move and remembered he was restrained. When his brain kicked back into gear, he became very nervous about what she had in mind for him. He understood her tactic and despised her all the more for it, but his body seemed to have a mind of its own.

After giving him plenty of time to take a good hard look, she did a slow graceful pirouette then asked, "Do you like?" When he didn't reply she sauntered over to him, examined his pants and said, "Ah, I guess at least part of you approves." Then she stood up and said, "Well, I guess I should explain the rules of our game."

Largo had no intention of playing any game, but he had no choice but to listen to her. Part of him wanted to yell at her and make snide remarks, but he knew that if he raised his emotions, she could use them against him. So he decided that saying nothing was his best course of action.

She stood up in front of him and gave him a wicked grin before turning her back to him. Instead of walking away, she slowly sat down on his lap and said coyly, "I hope you don't mind, but I though I might as well make myself comfortable. There, that's better," she said as she turned sideways so she could see his face. "It's really a simple game," she said as she leaned against his shoulder. "The game's called Slave, and I'm going to be your slave." She stretched her arms above her head and nonchalantly put one arm around him. Then she whispered in his ear, "I'll do anything you command." After a brief pause, she said, "There are a few conditions, though. I will not obey any commands that aren't for your personal pleasure, and I won't harm myself, no matter how much it would please you. Hmm… what else. No one else is allowed to play and if you don't give me a command I'll do as I please." She took her free hand and began drawing circles on his chest with her finger and said, "What is your command, master?"

Although Largo had never intended to play her game, the main reason he didn't immediately succumb to temptation had more to do with shock than any willpower on his part. Everything about her was erotic, and her sitting in his lap made her impossible to ignore. Plus, her scent him was driving him crazy; for a moment he wondered if she was using pheromones. He had been totally unprepared for how tempting her game would be, and he had never been so turned on in his life. Luckily, by the time his shock wore off, his brain was functional enough to realize that if he did participate in her game, it would soon erode his ability to resist her.

When he didn't respond she pretended to pout and said, "No command? Hmm… maybe you're just too tense? I know, I'll just help you relax a little." She got up and walked behind him and started to massage his neck and shoulders. After just a few minutes, Largo started to relax as her hands deftly kneaded away his tension, and he found he couldn't help but enjoy her excellent technique. As he relaxed she let her hands slide down his chest and as her head moved towards his ear she whispered, "Feeling better? I hope you enjoyed that." In his relaxed state he instinctively started to reply before he realized what he was doing. He choked back his reply and ended up making an unintelligible noise. Miho let her hands roam his chest as she said, "I guess I'll take that as a yes. You know, I'll massage any part of your body; I'm very good at relieving tension." She rested her head on his shoulder as she allowed her hands to drift dangerously towards his loins as she asked, "Any commands, master?"

Internally, Largo was waging a fierce battle with his libido. Everything about her just dripped of sex; the way she looked; the way she moved; the way she smelt; the way she talked and the way she touched. He desperately wanted to mutter the words, "Do it." He knew that's all it would take. What she was offering was the stuff fantasies were made of. It would have been so easy to give in, but somehow he managed to fight off his desire and keep his silence.

When it became clear that he wasn't going to respond, she slowly pulled away and put her trench coat back on. Then she said, "What a fun little game, don't you think? I'm really going to enjoy this. I thought it went exceptionally well for our first try, and I'm sure we'll find plenty of ways to make it more interesting the more we play it." Before she left she added, "The guards will come in and untie you in a few minutes. Oh, and sweet dreams, Largo."
Seven

Unable to sleep that evening, Largo analyzed his situation. He was being held captive by an ex-AJAT member somewhere in the Colombian Mountains. He was isolated from his teammates and didn't know their status. The present prospects for escape looked dim, unless his captors relaxed their procedures, and a gorgeous temptress was hell-bent on devouring his soul.

It was that last item that was occupying the majority of his thoughts. He hated himself for being so attracted to her. Especially because he knew exactly what kind of person she was, and what she was trying to do. In spite of that, he found himself turned on just thinking about her game.

He knew it was her plan to hide out here for awhile, and he wondered how many times they would play her little game in the upcoming weeks. More importantly, he wondered how he would resist her. He tried to think of ways to distract himself, but he rejected all of them as not strong enough. While trying to think of a good distraction, thoughts of Erika popped into his head.

There was really nothing between them, other than being partners, but he couldn't shake the feeling that he had felt something deeper. There was definitely potential there, but at the moment he was in no position to do anything about it. In the end he decided that it wouldn't be such a good idea to distract himself by thinking of his attractive partner.

He briefly considered relieving his sexual tension manually, but quickly abandoned the idea. If Miho had installed surveillance equipment, or if she found out another way, she would be able to use that against him. So in the end he used a meditation technique to clear his mind. It worked well enough to help him get to sleep.

Over the next two weeks Largo fell into a torturous routine. He was given food twice a day, taken to the bathroom three times a day and was allowed to bathe and change clothes every third day. The only thing that wasn't routine was his visits from Miho. He assumed she varied time and frequency of her visits so that he would never know when she was coming. Sometimes she would come to him as little as once a day, and sometimes as many as five times a day. The effect on him was that he ended up spending most of his time wondering when she was going to show up next.

She didn't always play her game. Sometimes she would just come in and talk to him. She was the only person that did, even though he never responded. When she came to talk, she would talk about things she knew he'd be interested in like, some of the jobs she'd taken and the technology and weapons she used. She also talked about her progress on hacking the weapon's security, and occasionally she'd tell him about some current news that she though he'd be interested in.

Those sessions were by far the minority; most of their time together was spent playing the game. She had several sexy outfits and she never wore the same one twice in a row. Largo realized that she must have been studying his reactions, because if she did something that really turned him on, she was certain to do it again. She also developed tactics to deal with the ways he tried to resist her. If he wouldn't look at her or shut his eyes, she would explicitly describe the type of commands he could give her, making sure she painted a vivid mental picture. If he tried to zone out and not pay attention, she would become much more physical in her tempting.

By the end of two weeks, she had become so adept at arousing him that he could barely stand it. He fought so hard to resist her, that by the end of each game he was completely exhausted. She dominated his existence to the point that he was unable to think of anything but her. When is she coming next; what will she be wearing; what is she going to do; how long will I be able to resist her? She permeated his thoughts to the point that he even dreamed of playing her game. There was no escaping her even in his sleep; she had become his world.

At this point there were only two things Largo thought about: How much he wanted her, and where he would find the strength to resist her. That's why he was completely disoriented when he didn't see her for a whole day. The day seemed to last forever as he sat watching the door waiting for her. As each minute passed, his anticipation grew and time seemed to stretch out impossibly long. By the end of the day he was so rattled that he could barely sleep. All night he wondered what it meant that she didn't show. Did she no longer need him; did she not want him; had she grown tired of him? Then a different thought occurred to him, maybe something happened to her; maybe she was injured or even killed. In spite of himself, his desire for her was so strong that he was actually concerned.

When she didn't come to him the next day he truly began to panic. On that day he had only one thought - where was she? Every passing second was agonizing as he sat watching the door. Where is she? he thought over and over again as he silently willed her to come through the door. There was nothing else he could think about, nothing else that mattered. It finally happened that evening, the guards came and tied him to the chair, then Miho walked in.

For several minutes she said nothing as they both stared at each other. Largo was so grateful to see her that he wanted to cry, but he was also upset that she had kept him waiting so long. Thoughts of resisting didn't even enter his mind. When she did speak, he thought her voice sounded almost angelic as she said, "I'm sorry I've been away so long. Did you miss me?" Largo's instincts told him to say nothing, but he ignored them and replied, "Yes." A huge smile spread across her face and she said, "I've missed you too."
Eight

Kimiko couldn't remember ever being so miserable in her life. She was sitting on a mat, locked in a room with Piro and Erika. She had thought that the ride here was bad, bouncing around in the back of a dark truck, tied up so tight she could barely move. That was almost two weeks ago, and all they had done since then was rot in a cell. No one talked to them or asked them any questions, and other than the daily routines they did nothing.

For the first few days they talked amongst themselves, but soon they ran out of things to say. They couldn't openly discuss escape plans, because they knew they were being monitored. Piro had tried to keep their spirits up and minds active, but even he became subdued shortly after the first week. The only bright spot was when they exchanged stories of how they ended up in AJAT.

She actually laughed out loud when Piro told the story of how he and Largo got kicked out of some gaming convention. Largo was so upset that he got smashed and made a fool of himself in front of the whole convention; the next day, he couldn't even remember what he'd done. When Piro told him he didn't believe it until they found pictures and a story about it on the web. Largo was so mortified that he had embarrassed himself before the world's best game designers that he became determined to change his life. After several weeks of soul searching he decided to join the army, and Piro couldn't talk him out of it. Piro then sheepishly admitted that he was so passive back then that he enlisted because he didn't know what else to do.

Piro was much more sympathetic when she and Erika told their story. They told him how she became so depressed after she missed an interview for a voice acting job, that Erika felt it was necessary to go to extreme measures to boost her confidence. Erika set up an elaborate hoax with the help of Colonel Sonoda, then Inspector Sonoda, where Kimiko thought she was helping the police in a sting operation. She ended up performing so well in the fake sting, that the police offered her a job to do undercover work. Erika then confessed that, even though she denied it at the time, she really joined the police to keep an eye on Kimiko.

That one bright spot happened over a week ago, and now she was even more depressed than she had been when she missed that interview. She knew that both Piro and Erika cared about her in their own special ways, and that they both meant well when they tried to talk to her, but there was really nothing they could do. A month ago she would have been excited by the prospect of being locked in a room with Piro. There was definitely a spark there, but the bleakness of their situation had extinguished even that.

She knew what had happened; it was the helpless feeling this situation instilled. It was exactly how she felt back before she joined the Tokyo Police. Now that feeling brought back all the insecurities she thought she'd overcome. She knew what she needed to do; she just wondered if she had the strength to do it.

Kimiko didn't speak to Piro or Erika the rest of the day, and she went through the daily rituals in a robotic fashion. In fact, she didn't make a sound until the guards came to take them to the bathroom just before lights out. They lined up against the wall, where the surveillance camera could see them, when they heard the knock on the door. When Kimiko saw that one of the two guards that came in was Sancho, she hung her head and let out a soft muffled sob. Piro and Erika both looked at her in shock, but Sancho had a huge grin on his face.

He was the same guard that almost knocked her over right when they were captured. She knew that there were many horrible things that he wanted to do to her, but luckily the guards must have been forbidden from doing such things. Instead he tormented her in more subtle ways. The way he stared at her was very unsettling, and the comments he made wore on her over time, along with the 'accidental' jostles and bumps. The more time that passed the bolder he became. This recent sign of weakness was sure to increase his boldness.

Sancho looked right at Kimiko and said, "Vamos, chica." When she didn't move he said "Vamos," in a sterner voice. With her head hung, Kimiko walked towards them and made a few more muffled sobs. Sancho kept his gun on her while the other guard aimed his towards Piro and Erika. When they got Kimiko outside, Sancho tied her hands behind her back, then launched into a heated discussion with the other guard. The conversation was too fast for her to understand much, but she understood enough to get the gist of it. She knew Sancho won the argument when he gave the other guard some money and then led her off on his own.

She cried quietly as they walked, rarely making any audible sobs, but tears rolled down her face. Sancho said, "No worry chicka, Sancho good; Sancho muy good," as he laughed and led her away from the bathroom and towards another storage building. When they reached the building, Sancho gagged Kimiko, and then he opened the door and turned on the lights. After he guided her into the building, he shut the door and asked, "You like, chica?"

Kimiko saw the makeshift bed near the opposite wall, but she didn't move when he nudged her towards it. With an annoyed grunt, Sancho gave her a hefty shove towards the bed, which should have sent her sprawling to the ground. Instead of falling or staggering, Kimiko dove forward when he pushed her.

This was it; this was what she had been hoping for, planning for and dreading since she overheard some of the guards talking about Sancho's 'Love Shack.' This was her one chance and she took it. As she dove forward she tucked her head down so that she could roll forward. When her legs came over her head, she stretched her arms up and let her legs slide through them so that her hands were in front of her when she rolled up to her feet.

Back on her feet and still in a crouched position, she quickly pivoted to face a stunned Sancho, and without any hesitation she launched herself towards him. In the seconds it took to reach him, she cocked both arms to one side and swung at his head with all her might. Completely unprepared, he didn't even try to defend himself until it was too late. The blow connected square on the side of his head and sent him staggering backwards into the door. Wasting no time, Kimiko pinned him up against the door with her forearms, she then looked him in the eye and brought her knee up in-between his legs with tremendous force. His dazed look of pained disbelief only lasted a moment before he fell unconscious.

In less than fifteen seconds after they entered the building it was over. Kimiko stood trembling as the shock of what she did washed over her. No time for this now, she thought. Move girl, move. Quickly snapping back to action, she found Sancho's knife and freed herself. Next she removed his clothes; then she tied and gagged him.

With Sancho secured, she went about the task of making herself look like a guard. Luckily, this was her area of expertise. Sancho was only about an inch taller than she was, so that wasn't a problem, but he was quite a bit stockier. She used the knife to cut up the bedding, and used it to fill out her clothes. She tucked her hair into her hat, and got some dirt to darken any exposed skin. Once finished, she inspected herself in the blade of the knife. Not bad, she thought. I whish I had my makeup kit, but this should do.

After getting her disguise ready, she searched the building for anything she could use. Even though this building hadn't been cleaned out like her cell, there wasn't much in it. She did find a three-foot steel pipe that she decided would make an excellent club. She knew a gunshot would alert the whole compound, and didn't like the thought of getting close enough to use the knife. So she decided her weapon of choice would be the pipe.

With the pipe tucked into her pants and concealed under her jacket she headed back to her cell. The light in front of the building let her see the guard well before he could see her. When she got into view, she bent over and started staggering around. When the guard saw her he thought she was Sancho and asked, <Hey Sancho, what's wrong? Are you Ok?> In response Kimiko put her hands on her chest and started breathing heavy and gasping. When the guard came close enough, she took the pipe and rammed it into his abdomen. As he doubled over, she knocked him out with a blow to the head.

With the guard disabled, she quickly checked the monitor to make sure there were no guards in the building. Seeing none, she opened the door and said, "Piro, Erika, get out here and help me with this guard." When both stood there staring at her with disbelieving faces, she said, "Move it people, let's go!" Piro and Erika exchanged a quick, bewildered look, then dashed out with huge smiles on their faces.
Nine

Erika couldn't understand why Piro was so reluctant to split up. She knew he was cautious by nature, but she was surprised that it would cloud his judgment like this. Maybe he felt responsible that his team had been captured, and he was being extra cautious now. It still was no excuse for making a tactical mistake. With a tinge of desperation in her voice, she reiterated her point, "If we all go to the barracks, whoever's guarding Largo is sure to be alerted. If that happens they'll either kill him or use him as a hostage. If we all go to find Largo, we may alert the rest of the camp and lose our element of surprise. Plus, someone is going to eventually notice we've escaped. Sir, splitting up is our best chance of getting Largo and ourselves out of here safely."

She could tell that Piro was torn over this, and she assumed he was struggling with his instincts and logic. She hoped logic would win out. She held her breath as he spoke, "Ok, we'll split up, but I'm the one who's going after Largo."

Erika shook her head and said, "No disrespect sir, be we both know I'm the team's best fighter. If anyone is going by themselves it's got to be me." Piro was obviously agitated by this, and it looked like he was about to give Erika an order when Kimiko reached out and put a hand on his shoulder. Erika watched as the two stared at each other, then saw how Piro deflated.

Piro looked back and forth between the two girls and said, "Sometimes I wonder who's really in charge here." He threw his hands up and said, "Ok Erika, you go after Largo, and Kimiko and I will take care of the guards." Then he turned to Kimiko and said, "She's going to need a disguise, and we've already wasted too much time; I suggest you get busy."

In a little under fifteen minutes after Kimiko freed her, she was disguised as a guard and on the move. They knew which buildings the guards used as barracks, because they had seen them going in and out on the way to the bathroom. They had no idea where Largo was, or even if he was still in the complex. Fortunately, there weren't many buildings to check, so it wouldn't take long to find out.

It only took Erika a few minutes to discover that there was only one other building that was guarded. I sure as hell hope he's in there, she thought as she scoped the area. It only took her a minute to come up with a plan of attack, when she was ready she checked her watch. Piro told her he was going to give her ten minutes before he acted. He also told her to use her own judgment on whether or not to attack before they did.

Erika decided that it shouldn't be a problem taking out the two guards. If she waited for Piro and Kimiko to act first only one guard, at most, would leave to see what was going on, and the other one would be alerted. If she acted first they would have one less guard to worry about. With her mind made up she put her plan into action.

She starting walking in a leisurely fashion, straight down the main path to the building. Kimiko did good enough of a job with her disguise that, in this light, she could probably get as close as fifteen feet without any problems. The guards didn't notice her until she was about twenty feet away. When one of them greeted her she just waved her hand in reply. When she was about fifteen feet away the other guard asked, "Que pasa?" She acted like she was going to answer then she bowed her head, so the brim of her hat would cover her face, and she started coughing. At about eight feet away she was still coughing when both guards started asking questions in suspicious voices. That's when she made her move.

She ran the last few feet and struck the guard on her right in the throat with the side of her hand. The powerful blow crushed his windpipe, and he fell to the ground gasping for air. At nearly the same instant as her blow connected, she thrust the knife in her left hand into the abdomen of the other guard. Leaving the knife in his gut, she grabbed his head with both hands and broke his neck, then quickly killed the other guard.

Hurriedly, she dragged both bodies into the shadows and out of sight. Next, she looked for a monitor to see if Largo was inside, but was disappointed when she couldn't find one. Preparing herself to go in, she chose a handgun over the AK-47 as her primary weapon. She didn't expect anyone else to be in there if Largo was, but she knew she was more accurate with a handgun just in case there was. With a handgun in one hand, a knife in the other and an AK-47 strapped to her back she thought she'd be ready for anything. She had no idea how wrong she was.

As quietly as she could, she opened the door about an inch then backed away. She waited a few moments to see if anything would happen; when nothing did, she tried to look into the building. Not being able to see anything, she cautiously opened the door a little more. When the door was open enough, she stuck her head and gun into the room to see what was inside. She was so surprised by what she saw that she actually dropped her gun.

The sight of their captor sitting on Largo's lap, dressed like a tart, and passionately kissing him was more than she could cope with. She didn't even realize she had dropped the gun until she heard it hit the floor. As soon as she realized what she'd done, she instantly regretted it, because she felt like shooting both of them.

Dropping the gun had another undesirable effect; it alerted the kissing couple that they had company. With speed that defied belief, the woman he had called Miho saw her and came charging at her. A knife seemed to materialize in her hand as she charged. Only later did she realize that it must have been hidden on the chair, because there certainly was no place to hide it on her body.

Luckily Erika's fighting instincts were so fine-tuned that she didn't need her brain to respond to the attack. If she had, she would have been dead before she knew what happened. Instead, she deftly blocked Miho's attack, and automatically countered with a slash of her own. Miho spun away from the attack and swung her blade at Erika's head. Erika blocked the swing then snapped a kick at her opponent, which forced her to jump back to avoid it.

Now that there were a few feet between them, they took a brief pause and sized each other up. Neither one was overly eager to return to combat, so Erika took the time to try to sort her thoughts. Her first thought was, Why is Largo still sitting in the chair? A quick glance revealed that he was bound to it. While she was still upset that he had been kissing Miho, she was now glad that she didn't shoot him. Thinking of shooting him reminded her of the gun she'd dropped.

They took a few more stabs at each other, but it soon became obvious that they were almost equally matched. At the next break in the action, Erika stole a quick glance at the gun, but she quickly discarded any thoughts of retrieving it. Miho was just too fast; she knew she'd be dead before she could use it. She also realized that the same held true for the AK-47 strapped to her back. Her biggest concern was how to keep Miho from getting the gun. Her opponent was much quicker and nimbler than she was, so her chance of retrieving the weapon was much better. While considering Miho's abilities, she came to the conclusion that if it hadn't been for her longer reach and extraordinary reflexes, she'd surely be dead by now.

She decided that the best way to keep the gun from Miho was to kick it out of reach. If she were lucky, maybe Miho would run after it, then she would have time to use the AK-47. When she kicked the gun, Miho attacked. The attack was a straightforward lunge directed right at her heart. Once again her lightning reflexes saved her, but this time she didn't come out unscathed. The deflected lunge missed her chest but still caught her on the upper arm and left behind a gaping wound. Her counter thrust was slow and unbalanced; it completely missed its mark as her opponent had already backed away.

As they studied each other again Erika became mad at herself. She realized that she must have telegraphed her thoughts with her eye movements, and that Miho had been waiting for her to act. As she vowed to herself not to repeat her mistake, she began to wonder if she could pull a similar trick. Then it dawned on her, when Piro and Kimiko attacked, Miho was sure to be distracted. She took a quick peek at her watch and saw that it was almost time. Knowing she had little time left, she made a quick decision about what she was going to do then simply waited for her distraction to happen.

Moments later she heard the gunshots and instantly lunged at her opponent. Even though she was distracted, Miho was able to jump out of the way quick enough to avoid serious damage, but Erika's blade did make a long shallow cut along her forearm. Without taking a break to check her wound, Miho lunged past Erika, trying to take a swipe at her arm as she passed, but Erika was prepared and expertly parried her attack.

Now Erika stood in-between Largo and Miho, and Miho was closest to the door. As Erika watched her, she could tell that she was listening to the fighting going on out side. After a moment of listening she finally spoke. "Your friends?" she asked. In reply Erika simply nodded her head. After another moment Miho said, "I see… perhaps another time." Then with a quick look at Largo, that Erika couldn't read, Miho disappeared out into the night.
Ten

Erika stood there stunned. She couldn't believe that her opponent had fled. Later, when she reflected on it, it did make sense. Miho must have known that her hired thugs were no match for Piro and Kimiko. She must have figured that the four men who were guarding the two prison buildings were dead or incapacitated. That left only about eight unsuspecting men against two well-armed, highly trained solders. She must have quickly analyzed her situation and decided it was best to cut her losses and run. Erika realized that she made a very disciplined and correct decision.

Piro and Kimiko quickly overcame the remaining guards. Once the survivors were locked up, Kimiko came looking for Largo and Erika, while Piro guarded their prisoners and used one of their cell phones to call for help. After Kimiko found Erika, Erika explained what happened with Miho. Kimiko quickly warned Piro that Miho was on the loose, then she returned to watch the other building while Erika tended to Largo.

Erika was worried about Largo. The whole time she had been in the room with him, he never said a word. Until Kimiko came back she hadn't been able to give him any attention for fear that Miho would return, but now he had her undivided attention. As she cut his bonds, he never even looked up at her. When she finished, she spoke to him in the gentlest voice she could muster, "It's over Largo. We're free. You're free."

When Largo still didn't respond or even look up, she knelt down in front of him and lifted his head with her hand. When she looked at his face she almost dropped his head in shock. There were no marks on him, no welts or bruises of any kind; he looked well fed and healthy, but he didn't look like Largo at all. Her throat tightened and her mouth became dry as she looked into his dead eyes. Where did he go? Where's my partner? she thought, as she searched his face for a trace of him.

A wave of emotions crashed into her as she tried to think of something to say. She was furious that Miho would do this to him, she was distraught over the thought that he would never be the same again, she was hopeful that the damage could be repaired and she was happy that they were free and alive. The powerful and conflicting emotions were wreaking havoc on her normally stoic demeanor. When she spoke again, her voice was so full of emotion that even Kimiko turned and gawked at her. "Largo," she said, "what happened to you?"

The whole time she had been looking at him, his eyes had been dead and unfocused. After she asked him what happened his eyes finally focused on her. The pain in his eyes was so intense that it gave her chills, but she refused to look away. When he spoke, his voice was frail and pained as he said, "She… she broke me. She broke me."

After speaking, his eyes unfocused, and that dead look returned. It must be some kind of a defense mechanism, she thought. For a minute she just looked at him, not knowing what to do. Then, almost instinctively, she stood up and pulled him up into an embrace. It wasn't an embrace friendship or love. It was more primal than that. It was an embrace that simply said, "I will support you. I will be there for you."

Silent tears flowed down her face as she held his listless body in her arms. She wondered how long it would take, or even if it was possible to get back the Largo that she knew. She didn't know how long they stood like that, but it seemed like an eternity before Largo made any sort of movement. When he did, she held her breath not knowing what to expect. As he put his arms around her she felt her heart fill with hope. She could hear the distant sounds of helicopters as she stood there holding him and smiling.



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Author's Note

Thank you for reading I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it, and thanks to everyone who took the time to comment. Please feel free to leave any comments or criticisms you have, I'd love to hear them.

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