Saigo Gumi - Fast Introductions
"I'm telling you, Doi, I just don't fucking like this. We don't know anything about this kid, and let's face it, he's too damn young for the job. Kami-damned wet-nosed officer-schooled pain-in-the-ass, that's what we're getting. You know it."
The man addressed just sighed, slowly taking in the expressions of the other two occupants of the briefing room. They'd been waiting for almost an hour now, and still didn't know when it was to end.
In contrast to Katai's constant griping, Goro was just lounging back with that ever-present annoying grin on his face. He was good at what he did, but the boy came across too cocky, and Doi hoped he would survive the eventual wake-up call that reality was going to slap him with.
And then there was Junko. Like himself, she was leaning against a wall, brow wrinkled in thought as she absentmindedly ran her fingers over the now empty interface ports along her neck. A nervous habit of hers, but considering the situation, he didn't blame her.
All of them, with less then 12 hours notice, had been transferred and moved here without any information or background... and that was only 72 hours ago. Since then they'd been briefed by the Director about their general duties and such, but Doi still felt that there was a lot more going on that he wasn't hearing.
He did, however, have a chance to get to know the other three as they had arrived, and based from the skill sets that they'd admitted to... he could make a good guess.
Taking another deep breath his gaze turned once again to the closed office doors of Director Akimoto, and wondered what kind of man their new unit lead, Officer Saotome, was....
Taking a deep breath he checked the three large envelopes tucked under his arm and then knocked on Director Akimoto's door, opening it as soon as he heard the faint "enter" that came from within. Stepping inside, he quickly closed the door behind him and turned to face his new boss.
She was seated behind an enormous wood desk, nice but not expensive looking, that was piled high with various paperwork and no less then three monitoring stations. Stating "Officer Saotome reporting," he stepped right up and offered her the first of the three envelopes he carried, catching a better look of her as she stood to receive it.
She was tall, medium build, with short-cropped black hair and severe green eyes. Her body language expressed both annoyance and exhaustion, but according to the dossier that he'd read on her, Akimoto "Axe" Yukako was a brutally all-business kind of person.
Basically, she kind of reminded him of Nabiki.
But that was a long time ago.
"Take a seat Officer."
Giving her a short nod, he sat before noticing that she wasn't joining him. Giving him a critical look she finally said, "Welcome to the Saigo Gumi, Saotome. I'm busy at the moment, so you're just getting the abridged chew for now."
"This unit was formed, by order of the Prime Minister himself, for the singular purpose of dealing with the increasing number of terrorist attacks that are happening within Japan. For every three incidences the uniformed police and special investigators stop, one gets by, and THAT is unacceptable."
"I've got a hand picked team here, but I need someone with specialized training to manage them the way I want. I've read your dossier, and I like 'most' of it, so I went through Hell and I got you." Lowering her tone a moment she then said, "I know this isn't the assignment you were expecting, or trained for, but I need you to take these people and turn them into what you've been working with in Hong Kong for the last 18 months."
"I'm going to be blunt and let you know, in every respect, that this is going to be a shit job. There are a lot of people, especially in the military, who did not want this unit formed and who are looking for an excuse, ANY excuse, to shut it down." At that point she paused to glare at him while adding, "Don't give them one."
"On top of that, of course, we're dealing with a funding shortage. I've managed to secure both Dr. Itami, whom you're already familiar with, as well as a Dr. Kasamatsu on contract from Megatech to deal with personnel maintenance, but that's all since we're keeping everything in-house at this stage. Logistics, ordinance, and transportation are also in limited supply."
Finally stopping she paused a moment before asking, "Well?"
It was the only answer he could think of.
Giving him yet another final look she then motioned for him to stand as she then said, "Let's meet your team."
Snapping to attention as the Director's door was opened, Doi watched as she stepped into the room followed by a young man. Pausing long enough to make sure she had everyone's attention she then announced, "Everyone, this is Saotome Ranma, your new unit lead."
Looking at the man Doi mentally sighed. Having read the basic profile on Saotome only a couple hours ago, even he had to agree with Katai that Saotome looks matched the young age that was listed. At just shy of both Goro's and Doi's own six-foot heights, he had a slender athletic build, topped off with long black hair pulled into a ponytail. The young man's stony expression, however, gave nothing else away.
Then pointing towards Doi, Director Akimoto continued.
"Haruguchi Doi, a decorated veteran of Tokyo's police Special Actions unit. He's to be your second and the team's tactical backup. Considering your recent time abroad, he'll know the lay of the land better then you, so make sure to use him."
"Ihara Katai, our ordinance specialist. Japan National Forces reserve, and a master marksman. His military background is an asset, especially his understanding of Japan's military chain-of-command." She then leveled one of those nasty glares at Katai a moment before moving on.
"Yamamoto Goro, recent graduate of Special Investigations, Ops Division, and possibly the only person here with a higher annual maintenance cost then yourself. Top of his class in both infiltration and hand-to-hand combat."
"And finally, Choshi Junko. Network and computer specialist, was originally contracted to InfoComp World Security before joining. If you need to have any background info or research done, she's the person to ask."
With that she swept her gaze across them all saying, "I want a general readiness report on my desk in four days, along with recommendations for equipment, further training, and anything else you think you'll need to get the job done." Getting a nod in reply, she then marched back into her office, nearly slamming the door behind her.
Letting out a tired sigh, Saotome gazed at the closed door a moment before turning to face them all.
"Er... hi. I'm Saotome Ranma, nice to meet you all."
There was a moment of silence before Katai suddenly exploded saying, "Well this is just fucking great! We've been hitched with a fucking cadet!"
Having spent enough time around 'hard core' military personnel, Doi almost groaned out loud as he watched Katai approached Saotome.
Jabbing two fingers into the young man's chest, Katai then said, "Listen up, cadet. I didn't serve in the Forces for ten years just to wipe some trainee's fucking nose. I don't know whose ass your father kissed for you to get here, but you just stay out of my way so I can get the fucking job done. Got it?"
Seeing a brief moment of severe annoyance flash across Saotome's face, Doi watched as the young man reached up to remove Katai's fingers from his chest. It was exactly what the older man had been waiting for. As soon as Saotome grabbed his fingers, Katai threw a hard left hook, which should have literally smashed the younger man backward into the Director's door... if he hadn't suddenly moved.
Leaning to his right, Saotome grabbed Katai's arm, right behind the wrist, and just dragged the man across his body and into the door, face first, behind him. Pushing himself away from the door, Katai spun in place towards Saotome's back, only to go backward once again as the young man's elbow hammered into his chest, tossing him back against the Director's door a second time. Coughing violently, the older man slid down to his knees as he tried to regain his breath.
Still not even bothering to look in Katai's direction Saotome then quietly, but firmly, stated, "I didn't ask for this job, but I got it, and I'm going to do it." Then taking two envelopes that had been held in his right hand the entire time, he tossed one to each Doi and Junko. "I don't expect you to like me. In fact, it's probably better that you didn't, but I do expect you to listen."
With a final glance over his shoulder he added, "And learn."
Shoving his hands into his pockets, he then turned and walked out the other door.
Waiting until the door was completely shut after Saotome's exit, Doi once again looked at the people around him, trying to judge their expressions.
Junko was just now standing after bending down to get the envelope that Saotome had thrown at her. She had a pensive frown on her face, and was slowly opening the package to withdraw the pile of paperwork it contained.
Goro still had that stupid smile on his face but it looked tighter then usual, almost forced. Eventually, he tore his eyes away from the closed door and looked to Doi, but he voiced no comment.
And then, of course, there was Katai...
The man's face a splotchy mass of red he lurched back to his feet. Taking a step towards the closed door he then stopped, before suddenly yelling, "You kami-damned son-of-a-bitch! Next time I fucking see you I'm gonna rip you in fucking two! You hear me!!!"
Turning to face Doi he continued. "Did you see that fuck?! He assaulted me! You saw it! Gonna throw his ass right in-"
Glaring at him a moment Katai finally muttered, "Fuck you too, Doi. He fucking assaulted me, you saw it!"
Slowly shaking his head he replied, "I saw you try to set him up for a chump, Katai, and blow it. He read you like an open book." Looking back towards Junko, who was still leafing through the pile of paperwork that Saotome had tossed at her, he asked, "Well?"
Taking a moment to glace up she continued to read while muttering, "We're in for a busy week."
"Full physicals, hand-to-hand and firearm exercises, tactical sessions, hardware and personel integration testing... the whole damn works. By the time we finish, he's not only going to know what religion we are, but also the names of our favorite childhood pets."
Jamming the rest of the paperwork back into the envelope she added, "We start tomorrow morning at five, I'd suggest everyone get a good nights sleep." Then she too walked out the door.
Still grumbling and cussing under his breath Katai followed her out a moment later.
It was a couple of moments before Goro finally spoke.
"I'm not sure I like this, Doi. You've been around longer then me, sure, but this guy... I just don't know." Then, in a quieter voice, he added, "What the hell is going on in this place?"
Looking down at the unopened envelope still in his hands all he could say was, "I don't know, Goro..."
"...but I intend to find out."
Katai frowned as he watched the imaged cyberspace interface fall apart around him. Snorting in disdain he stopped the simulation maze dive and glared at Saotome a moment before disconnecting himself. A quick glance at the clock confirmed the fact what he'd suspected, while none of them so far had managed to make it past the assholes's maze barrier, he'd also managed to get booted the fastest.
But he didn't care. Hell, diving the net wasn't why he was brought onboard this team. Why the fuck should he care. And just what was Saotome's issue, anyhow? The little shit seemed hell-bent to cross train them all on... well, everything.
Taking a seat at the sideline he smirked though as he watched Junko take a seat in the simulator. This kind of crap was her specialty, and he looked forward to seeing her wipe Saotome's nose in it.
For the last 36 hours they'd all been poked, prodded, and just generally ran into the dirt while Saotome ran his stupid tests. Some of the shit was pretty stupid, and other bits Katai found just freaking insane. Who the hell would ever WANT to jump fourty feet from one rooftop to the next?
Seeing as both Doi and Goro were riveted to the main monitor, he turned to take in the view as well. He'd never really paid attention to it so far, but hell, seeing Saotome get stomped was something he'd been wanting to see for the last two days.
The graphical representation was poor in the fact that it only showed a very broad generalization of what was happening, however, it suited the needs for those who were not net inclined, and for those who were, the sessions were recorded in detail for later examination.
He watched as Junko was dropped into the maze and made her first probing attempts, which went unanswered. Taking his eyes away from the display he turned to look at the opposition himself, and that's when he noticed something.
Saotome wasn't physically doing... anything. He could see Junko physically breathing, facial muscles twitching, as she was reacting to everything happening in the simulation. But from Saotome, nothing. A person would almost think the guy was napping.
Hearing a gasp from Goro he looked back towards the display just in time to catch the tail end of Junko's first real attempt at penetration the maze barrier Saotome had set up for them, the graphical representation showing a glare of red lancing into the golden cube, and he also saw the response.
Fast, very fast. The attempt was stopped, analyzed, and a trace attempted with a single moment, but it stopped before it ever got back to the lady. Again and again she tried to brute her way in, even attempting multiple entries simultaneously, but they were all also stopped.
Now frowning, Katai took a step closer, noticing something happening back where Junko's initial entry into the simulation environment had been. Something was... building there. Suddenly grinning, he almost laughed at what was to be Saotome's downfall, because even if he knew about it, there was just no way he'd be able to compete.
He watched as their back and forth raged onward, while she brought her frames online. Twin semi-autonomous smart systems, built right into her cyberbrain itself, that were the state-of- the-art pride and joy of Arasaka Industries. And finally, he watched as they went into action.
Creeping into the maze they wormed their way into the heart of it, almost making a complete penetration before Saotome even noticed them through all the flak that she was throwing at him. Shaking his head Katai watched as Saotome ruthlessly cut off one of the probes while still maintaining a front, but it didn't stop the second, and finally the whole maze suddenly unraveled.
His snicker was cut short, however, when Saotome removed his interface and simply said, "Good," before turning his back to them and began punching up reports. Gritting his teeth Katai promised himself, one day real soon, Saotome and his smug-ass ways were going to get a rude awakening...
...and discover that he wasn't such hot shit after all.
Junko grunted in pain as she hit the practice mat hard once again. Trying to roll with it she unsteadily lurched back to her feet, only to find Saotome right there in her face once again.
Forcing herself to move despite the pain and exhaustion she slipped left and tried a couple of quick leg strikes, which Saotome blocked before throwing a side hook at her.
Moving both arms to block she found her arms being smashed painfully into her chest, and a moment later she landed flat on her back. Hard.
"That was stupid, Officer Choshi. I weigh three times as much as you do, and you know I have a full cyber shell. You should have moved, not blocked."
Nodding she tried to stand, but collapsed before even making it to her knees.
"Cut her some slack, man. It's not like she's built to take this kind of stuff."
Almost cursing out loud she raised her head just long enough to shoot Goro a dirty look, and then suddenly she was being yanked her to feet. Stumbling a moment she grabbed onto Saotome, who'd pulled her up, to steady herself.
Finding herself being gently moved and then dropped on a side bench next to Doi, she watched as Saotome turned to Goro and said, "Officer Yamamoto, you're up." Watching as Goro removed his shirt with an ear-to-ear grin on his face, she sighed. She had a feeling that this was going to end up bad, somehow. Stepping into the middle of the room Saotome paused before saying, "Begin."
It happened so fast she almost gasped out loud.
The two young men launched themselves across the room at insane speeds, the practice floor mats actually ripping as they failed to absorb all the kinetic energy that had been just dumped onto them. A crack of sound hit her as the two of them met, followed by a barrage of heavy impacts and an almost whirlwind of motion, and then Goro was suddenly flying backward to hit one of the padded walls.
"I'm almost disappointed in you, Officer Yamamoto. I would have thought someone who had graduated top of his class in close combat studies would be a bit better then this."
Tearing her eyes away from the site of Goro getting back to his feet she turned to Saotome. The man was inspecting the nails of one of his hands, completely ignoring his opponent. Glancing back to Goro she watched as the man's eyes narrowed in anger, and then he was launching himself across the room once again.
Tripping the man with an almost frightening casualness, Saotome then said, "Don't loose your temper, you make stupid mistakes when you do."
Jumping back to his feet Goro came in once more, a bit more cautiously this time. Again, there was an explosion of activity and once again it ended with Goro being tossed sideways by a rolling punch.
Continuing to looking nonchalant Saotome said, "Once more should be enough."
Suddenly worried she glanced towards both Katai and Doi, but found both men watching the confrontation with serious expressions. Turning back she just caught Goro as he ripped his velcro seamed pants away. Knowing the regulations that were about to be broken she started to say, "Wait-" but was stopped as Doi's hand came to rest on her shoulder.
And then Goro faded as his thermoptic camouflage went active.
With an almost bored tone she heard Saotome suddenly say, "Officer Haruguchi, would you be so kind as to inform Doctor Kasamatsu that he will be receiving a class 2 maintenance job momentarily," and then shot sideways into a vicious crescent kick.
Hearing the man's foot impact with... something, she watched wide-eyed as Saotome proceeded to thoroughly beat what could only be Goro into the ground. It was strange, watching as Saotome seemed to be almost dancing as he fluidly moved from one attack to the next before finishing it all up with a powerful snap kick.
Jerking to her right at a crash she saw Goro suddenly appear, to slowly slide down onto the floor, unconscious. Bruises covered most of his body, and she wondered about what kind of internal damage must has been done to knock him out so soundly, and so quickly at that.
Walking up to the downed man, Saotome shook his head before grabbing Goro and hoisting him up onto his shoulders. Glancing back at the rest of them he then said, "Officer Ihara, as soon as I return, you're next."
Firing the last round Goro lowered the assault rifle to confirm his shots. Forty rounds, all within center circle. Nodding to himself in satisfaction he put the weapon back onto the table in front of him and turned to see how everyone else was doing.
Doi was doing good. A slightly better shot than himself, the older man continued to put round after round through the head of his target.
Katai, of course, had long since finished. A master marksman, especially with all the tactical interfaces built into him, the guy could shoot damn near anything with total accuracy. It was his one true strength.
Junko appeared to be holding her own, but was obviously still suffering from the beating she'd gotten during yesterday's close quarter exercises. Following that train of thought he found himself once again trying to replay exactly what had happened yesterday. Saotome was just so damn fast it was crazy, and he knew, he KNEW, that the bastard had also been holding back on him.
Was he that good?
Shaking his head at the thought he turned to Saotome as both Doi and Junko finished up. The man was checking a pistol while stepping up to an empty firing booth before he shouted, "Okay everyone, standard 10mm speed round, full clip."
Reaching into his pocket Saotome then pulled something, and with a toss sent it into the middle of room. Eyes wide, Goro recognized it as a low-grade Chinese electro-magnetic pulse grenade only a moment before it went off.
He felt his own body jerk as the pulse passed over him causing multiple minor system failures. It was only by the grace of all the heavy shielding built into him that he wasn't on the floor twitching as his brain went into system shock. Grabbing onto the table next to him he frantically began the process of shutting down unnecessary functions while rerouting everything else that he could.
Looking up through the static haze that now filled his vision he saw everyone else staggering as well, though not nearly as bad as both Saotome and himself. Was the man completely crazy?
That's when he heard Saotome almost scream, "Speed round. Start!"
Reacting almost instinctively from his academy training, he lurched and grabbed the 10mm pistol on the table in front of him before pointing it in the general direction of the target and squeezing the trigger as fast as he could. Just as his vision was starting to improve, the clip ran dry.
Dropping the pistol he took two steps and almost threw himself into the nearest chair available, still trying to access all the damage that he'd taken. Upon hearing Katai's voice he looked back towards the rest of the group.
"Are you fucking crazy you asshole?! You could have killed someone with that stunt!"
Watching as Saotome took a deep breath he heard the man reply with, "Assuming any of you bothered to read the information I'd given you a couple days ago, you would already know that there is a 60 percent chance that any particular terrorist group is likely to be armed with at least one of those." He then watched as the man almost staggered out of the room while muttering, "Get used to it."
Was this guy for real?
Glancing at the clock once more Ranma turned to all the reports laid out in front of him before gathering them together and stepping inside Director Akimoto's office, not bothering to knock as the door was already open.
The woman took only a moment to glance at him before she turned back to the monitors in front of her. There was a moment of quiet before she finally said, "Cutting it a little close, aren't you?"
Dropping the inch-thick pile onto a relatively clear spot he settled himself into a chair, the same one he'd sat in just a couple days ago, before he bothered to answer.
"You said four days, you didn't mention a particular time."
Not bothering to reply she picked up the report and began to leaf through it. A minute later she said, "I've done my homework, Saotome, and I know that you might be used to slightly more eccentric training styles, but I wish you'd curb some of it. I've got complaints from both Doctor Kasamatsu as well as one of your own people about the methods you're using. As it stands, we're already starting to dip into our slush funds."
Closing his eyes he ignored the comment. Nothing that he'd put them through could have seriously hurt them... and none of it even came close to what he had endured as a child.
"So what do you think?"
Opening his eyes at her question he paused before saying, "They're good. Once they're properly trained, they should be able to do whatever you want with them. You've got a couple of discipline issues to deal with, but that's it."
He watched as she snorted while muttering, "The best always come with discipline issues. Isn't that right, Saotome?"
Again, he didn't bother answering, but did continue to watch her as she read the summary report he'd just typed up not 30 minutes ago. It was quite some time before she finally glanced back towards him and said, "What?"
"Why am I here?"
She paused a moment before dropping the thick report back onto the table and leaned back into her chair.
"I picked you because you were the best person for the job."
Angrily slamming his fist into the chair's armrest he shot back, "Damn it, contrary to popular opinion I'm not completely stupid! Why am I here?!"
She stared at him, silent, for a period of time before opening a drawer on her desk. Taking a single photograph out she glanced at it a moment before muttering, "It was hell getting this," and slid it across the table to him.
The photo was of a Japanese officer, happily chatting away with some Caucasian while the both of them enjoyed what appeared to be very nice meal. Uncertain about what the image was supposed to tell him, Ranma turned back to the director and said, "So?"
"Would it help to know that the man you are looking at is Major Fujimaki Akira, the clear military choice to lead this unit. The man sitting across from him is from the American Embassy."
Groaning out loud he looked once more at the photo before tossing it back onto her desk. "I'm not suited for these games, Akimoto..."
Once more leaning back in her chair she said, "And that's one of the reasons why I wanted you. With Akira compromised, you were my best choice, my first if truth be told. And you don't have to enjoy it, Saotome, you just need to learn to play."
Closing his eyes in thought once again he finally asked, "How long do I have?"
"Days, Saotome. If you're lucky."
Stepping into the bar Doi looked around, taking in all the early morning drunks and toughs that frequented the place, before he noticed the bartender motioning him towards one of the back areas. Nodding his thanks he made his way over and eventually spotted a secluded corner where the rest of his team were situated, it being walled off on three sides yet still giving them enough room to more then make their own mess.
Like most officers Doi was used to having a regular watering hole, a local meeting spot where he could talk with his fellow co-workers in a non-official environment. The whole place had a sleazy feel to it, but with the bartender recognizing what party he'd wanted so quickly, the staff were obviously familiar with this kind of use. He just knew that it had to be Katai who'd picked it.
"You like the place Harugushi?"
Shrugging his shoulders he dropped into an empty chair and spent a moment rubbing his face with both hands before looking at the three of them once again.
"Hey Doi." Looking up he took in Goro's concerned look before the man said, "What's the problem? Hell, 'boot camp' ended yesterday. Relax, drink a beer, something..."
Sighing to himself he replied by pulling out a set of documents from his jacket and throwing them onto the table. Junko, who immediately gave them a cursory glance, was the first to react.
Snatching a particular report with sudden swiftness she quickly flipped through it before turning to him and demanding, "What the hell is this?"
Both Katai and Goro stared at her a moment, taken back by the sudden break of Junko's usually cool demeanor, and then suddenly dived for the remaining paperwork spilled onto the table in front of them. There was a moment in which papers were scanned and traded between the two men before Goro looked up at him and said in a hushed voice, "Kami-sama, this is my whole life here, Doi. What's going on?"
"So it is, and I don't have a damn clue as to how he got hold of it."
Making the connection faster then the others Junko blurted out, "The envelope he threw at you, the day he showed up. This was in that envelope, wasn't it?"
Slowly nodding he said, "On all of us. Every single piece of dirt, or even something that could be construed as dirt, on all four of us."
Again scrubbing his face he finally said, "I don't know. I'm in the dark just about as much as the rest of you. However, I'm also supposed to be meeting with him tonight to go over training and tactical schedules for the rest of this month, and I fully intend to find out."
"Fuck that." Standing up Katai began shredding the papers in his hands. "I'm going to go 'talk' to the fucker right now. He's screwing around with our damn lives here. This is going to stop NOW."
"Sit down Katai."
"Not this time Doi. He went too fucking far this time, and he's going to answer for it!"
Pushing back to his feet he stepped in front of the man before he could leave. They stood that way, facing each other, before Doi heard the man growl.
"Get out of my way Doi."
"Let me talk to him first, Katai. If you go right now, you'll screw the whole thing up even more, and get busted in the process." In a quieter voice he repeated, "Let me talk to him."
The wiry man continued to quietly rage there in front of him before he spun and with a vicious kick launched a chair into the far wall. Stomping over to another he sat, locking his gaze once again on the person stopping him.
"You'd better, Doi. And you'd better get some answers too, cause I ain't going to put up with this shit any longer. You got me?"
Reaching out he took the papers still being limply held in Goro's hand. Taking a lighter from his pocket he then deliberately lit them, dropping the result onto the pile still on the table, before saying, "Don't worry, Katai. I plan to."
Tossing her own paperwork onto the now flaming pile Junko leveled her own gaze at him before looking down at Goro's slumped form, who just mutely stared as his life burn before him.
"We'll be waiting."
Nodding towards her, he turned and made it as far as the front door before an emergency over-ride slammed it's way into his cyberbrain.
<This is Director Akimoto. We have a class 3 terrorist situation currently in progress. All unit members of the Saigo Gumi are to respond immediately.>
He almost missed Katai's comment as he rushed out the door.
"She CAN'T be fucking serious..."