Chapter 2

Crime on the Rise; robbery at the Shochin Bank

4/7/2175 A.D.- 4/7/163 A.H.E.

150 years ago, the Hesk came to Earth and everything changed. Technology and medicine has advanced to such a degree, you'd think this was a utopian time.

You'd be wrong.

Although the Hesk had integrated into our society and helped us reclaim what was lost to the elements we had foolishly thought conquered, humanity hasn't done much to change its ways. Many things change, but they still remain the same. One such problem that has grown more rampant in recent years is Crime. Crime is still a problem, one that had grown in recent years for reasons still unknown.

The one crime that has grown significantly has been robberies and they have spread like wildfire across the globe.

Even Japan has had a uptick. Japan is often seen as an example of a nearly crime-free country. Robbery's, murder's, assaults, arson: they almost never happen thanks to strict laws and even stricter punishments- if you do the crime, you REEEEEALLY pay the price. It's not anything major or permanent like losing a limb, but you will suffer. But it's thanks to these severe punishments that crime of all kinds has been kept low until recent times.

But things have a habit of changing over time- enemies becoming allies for an example, and while nobody can pinpoint the time when it began, it was clear that Japan was experiencing a crime wave. A truly nasty one at that. What was the cause? Nobody can say. There's no origin point for other countries either. Even the officials at Akatsuki were at a loss. The only regions that weren't experiencing such a ordeal was Antarctica and the Vatican, for obvious reasons.

No matter the time period or the technological advances made, crime will always be there to throw wrenches into civilized living. Thanks to Hesk technology, security in major places such as museums, banks, and important government locations have never been better. Bullets have all been replaced with lasers that come equipped with multiple settings, such as stun and kill. The truly lethal stuff belongs to the military. Old collector items such as the legendary Colt Single Action Army Revolver, to common rifles of the past like AK-47's, now forever gather dust. Bullets for those guns are extinct.

However, the new technologies also give the criminals a leg up against small fry targets. Unlike bullets, which can be traced with forensics, lasers cannot. And what happens with all that extra gunpowder now that bullet-crafting is an extinct practice? Well...

Earlier that night...

In the dead of the night, a unmarked green van backed up into the alleyway behind the Shochin Bank, a mid-sized bank established in 2088 in downtown Setagaya, Tokyo. At peak capacity, it can hold up to 500 Billion Yen. That's 4,085,955,000: Four Billion, Eighty-Five Million, Nine-Hundred and Fifty Five Thousand US Dollars. That is a lot of scratch. The back cargo doors opened up and 4 masked individuals in black sweaters, beanies to hide their faces, and leotards- codenamed Tsubasa, Sakura, Momo, and Kappa- came out with guns strapped to their sides.

Kappa, their heavy ordinance expert with a ton of explosives, bent down onto his knees and opened up his knapsack, pulling out said explosives- C7, a nasty mixture of gunpowder and plastic explosives. Deadly stuff. Sakura, the electrician, went to the power box. He pulled out a pair of tweezers and began cutting power to the building except for internal lights and computers. They don't want to attract too much attention. And Tsubasa kept watch with a smuggled assault rifle .

With a clip to the right cord, they heard a power-down sound and something inside clanking. "Lasers and Defense's are out." Sakura reported. He sounded like he was in his mid-to-late 30's, and like he smoked too many cigarettes, giving him a raspy voice that should be in anti-smoking commercials, and for someone twice his age.

Mom, the boss of this operation, nodded as he looked at his watch. "Alright. Once the explosives goes off, we'll only have minutes before the cops get here, so grab everything you can and stuff them in." He said in a calm and experienced tone for someone in his mid-30's.

A plastic strip was stretched out over a concrete wall. It was pulled to its limit before being put in place by a putty-like substance. Another strip was laid on, and another, and another, eventually the entire wall was covered in it. "The C7 on?" Momo asked Kappa.

"Done and done." He replied. He was the oldest out of all of them, barely breaking into 50. They all backed away behind the van to shield themselves from the blast.

Kappa smirked under his disguise as he pulled out a button from his pockets and pressed down on it. Seconds later, after a hissing noise, the strips and the putty exploded, creating a hole in the wall. They put on Oni masks to hide their eyes from the cameras- red for Momo, purple for Tsubasa, green for Kappa, and pink for Sakura-, and leather gloves before running inside the opening they created.

They ran into the bank vault and saw piles of Yen coins and paper dollars rolled up into wheels and wads right before them. The blast had blow apart several wheels, sending money flying every which way. There were billions, making some salivate. None of them have seen this much cash before in their lives.

"Cha-Ching!" Tsubasa laughed. He was the youngest out of all of them, sounding like he's barely out of high school. Momo and Kappa ran to the untouched wheels of money to roll them over to the blown-in exit while Tsubasa went back to their getaway vehicle to back it up into position. Sakura ran to the vault door to keep watch to see of any security was coming to check on the loud kaboom they surely must've heard. He was more worried about neighbors seeing this and calling the police then a couple of night guards.

Once the van had been moved close enough, milk crates with the bottoms covered up by cardboard were brought in to carry the wads of cash and the blown-apart wheels. Tsubasa climbed out the back, kicking out the last crate. "Start fillin' them up!" Momo ordered. Everyone went to work, scooping up all they can and filling up the crates to their limit. "And hurry; We got at least 4 minutes before they realize what's going on."

Tsubasa could hardly keep his excitement. He had never seen so much money before in his life. He's about to have a heart attack if he keeps this up. "Heheeeeeee. We're rich! We're rich!" He started stuffing his pockets with a few coins he was sure no one would notice.

Sakura saw what his underling was doing and grunted a sigh before heading over and grabbing his hand to keep more from taking. "No we're not. This is all for the boss, not for us. Got it?"

"Oh, come on!" He pulled his hand back. "Can't we just take a couple thousand? It's not like he's gonna need all of it."

"No!" Sakura exclaimed before getting back to the door. He made sure Tsubasa was looking; he raised his assault rifle and clicked the safety off, just in case. Tsubasa, while nervous why Sakura looked at him when he armed the thing, pouted and began filling up the crates with what could've and should've been his share. At least he still has the coins he already swiped before being noticed. The ones in his pockets aren't going to get taken from him.

At the end of their time table, they were able to swipe a very large amount of money: around 160 Billion worth. In American currency, that's around 132,264,320 dollars, and that's not counting what Tsubasa has in his pockets. It's not their target 200 Billion, but it'll be enough to keep their boss satisfied. They loaded up the heavy crates into their van, putting them on top of the sideways wheels. It was gonna be a tight fit for all 4 of them to get in, but they'll manage somehow.

"Last one!" Kappa commented as he heaved his crate in. Momo pulled it into a open spot and wiped his forehead- this is grueling work. "And about time- my back is killing me." He complained as he rubbed a sore spot.

Sakura felt uneasy about putting all the money into this one vehicle. It was going to be heavy. He looked under their vehicle and winced, fearing this was going to happen. "Oooh… I was afraid of this."

Momo came out of the van and walked over to the back while Kappa and Tsubasa panted heavily; they did all the heavy lifting. "What is it?"

Sakura pointed to the ground. The hover modules were mere centimetres off the ground, and that is not how they're supposed to operate. "We loaded in too much. We're right on the ground. Common modules aren't designed to carry half a banks worth of money! We'll have to use tire mode to even remotely get this thing moving!"

"That doesn't sound like it should even be a problem." Kappa panted as he leaned on the bank of the van, still catching his breath. "Don't freight trucks and armored cars use hover modules too? They carry more weight then this."

"Yeah, but they're designed and built that way. If we have a moving van, then we wouldn't have a problem... But the boss is cheap and we got the crappy kind. We fly out over the sea with this much weight, we're gonna sink. And we won't have enough boost to propel ourselves forward. Translation: we gotta use the tires."

"Guess that means we're taking the long way back." Tsubasa said in a smug little tone as he glared towards Momo. "Hate to say I told you so, but I told you so."

"Oh, like you could've known, daddy's boy."

"Enough." Momo ordered with a loud tone. "We don't have time for this. The power…" The lights inside flickered on, along with the alarm bell that of course followed. "… is now back on- crap. That means the cops will now be their way. We don't have time to argue about something as stupid as this. Right now, we gotta get out of here. We'll be forced to take it slow, but we'll get out of here. And once we're far enough away, we'll ditch these disguises. And besides..." He tapped the side of the rust bucket. "This thing is an antique. We'll be able to come up with something believable."

"And don't forget the getaway car at Akiba." Sakura mentioned. "We can split the take there and go in two separate directions back to the hideout. We only need to make it to the garage, then it's smooth sailing from there."

"I guess so." Tsubasa mumbled in passing.

Momo walked around to the front of the van, climbed into the drivers seat, and turned it on. The engine whined to life like a futuristic machine. It struggled to even stay afloat. With a flip of a switch, the hover modules turned right side up and a faux-rubber inflated, becoming tires. The rest of the crew climbed in, shutting all the doors, and the van slowly drove off. Sakura was right on the money, metaphorically speaking; the weight slowed them down, but if they play it right, avoid acting suspicious, and take all the right roads, it should be a easy, but long, ride back.

Just need to make it to Akiba first. The Following Morning...

Paperwork.

Easily the worst part of being a police officer. No matter the crime, no matter how big or small, paperwork always has to be filed. It is tedious, mind-numbing, and all-around not fun. That is something newly appointed Lieutenant Sezawa is learning the hard way. Ever since he got promoted several months ago, Sezawa has signed more paperwork then actual crime-stopping. It was tedious, even with the advent of computers and systems built for this sort of thing. Digital was just as bad as physical in this case.

Born in Hokkaido 37 years ago, Sezawa joined the Akatsuki Police Department at the age of 20 to get a steady income for his new and budding family; at that point, it was just him and his fiancee Imita. After a hard training course that made him turned him into a rigorous and stern man, he entered the APD force after graduation and slowly worked his way up the ranks, earning the respect of his coworkers and the attention of his superiors for his unorthodox but effective ways. Not long after joining the APD, he and Imita married and honeymooned in Chile; that's where she got pregnant with Fui- you can imagine their shock when they found what she was born with, both inside and outside. And quick factoid; Fui's name came from the Fuy River of Panguipulli, a Chilean city known for its breathtaking nature where the two newlyweds honeymooned.

Sezawa was 34 at the rank of Corporal when he made the case that elevated him to Lieutenant. His last job as a corporal, he had noticed that some strange crates had been arriving in Akatsuki, crates that were far too large for a for a 'magazine store'- with how many crates were licensed to the store, he had his suspicions. He and his partner Hesemawa went undercover and discovered a weapon-smuggling ring worth around 354 Million Yen, or around 3 Million US dollars. Few days later, the police came in full force and busted the weapon ring. As a reward for his discovery and takedown of this smuggling ring, he was promoted to Lieutenant.

While he was glad that his discovery would save lives in the long run, it left a lingering question in the his mind: who in the world needed all those weapons? There were dozens of different types and models, ranging from SMG's to LMG's to AR's and everything in between. Who wanted that and why? He spent the few months trying to figure it out, but never came up with anything. No local groups were large enough to require so much... at least none he was aware of. His first thought was the Chinese Triads, but like the Yakuza, they've grown silent in recent years.

His leading theory was twofold: that the store was being used as a front to sell them to thugs who had enough money to pay, or that it was a transfer point before being sent to the mainland. Where on the mainland? That was anyone's guess, and one with not enough proof to back that up. There were problems with his theories, to be sure: if they were selling to thugs, there would be a lot more robberies to pay for them, and while there have been upticks in robberies, nobody stole enough cash to pay for one, nor were any of the guns sold when they raided. That's what lead him into his transfer point theory, but that also didn't make much sense as there wasn't anything going on that would require all this firepower. There were no wars, no border skirmishes, no nothing. It was a mystery, to be sure, one he hopes he'll find the answer to soon before whoever wants those guns come looking.

He put down his pencil and huffed as he rubbed his neck to get rid of a crick that had developed. "Mmmrgh… I should not be doing all this neck bending." He may only be 35, but old age is already starting to rear its ugly neck. He was already getting grey hairs in his black crew-cut hair- he can blame the stress of the job for that. The pencil rolled up next to a picture he had on his desk, which held a family portrait of him, his wife Imita, and his daughters Fui and Lyric. They looked so young- Fui was about to go off to high school and she was holding a red-headed Lyric, who was around 5 years old at the time.

After getting rid of the crick, he grabbed the pencil and went back to work. He had worked here for so long, all the background chatter and unending phone calls have become white noise to him. Only a few things would break him out of this, and here came one of them right now: a young lad ten years younger then he, with oiled black hair combed back- the kids would call him a tool, for sure.

"Having fun yet?" Hesemawa joked as he stood by Sezawa's desk with a mugful of coffee. "And here i am, missing out on all the fun."

"I can't complain... literally. there's no use complaining about it... oh, who am i kidding- it sucks and whatever bureaucrat invented it was evil." He put his pencil down and sighed as he ran his hands down his face, rubbing his forehead and cheeks. "Times like this I wish I was still a corporal..."

"You and me both." He took a sip of his coffee. "I'm just glad i don't have to push paperwork." Sezawa glared at him as he took another sip while looking at the humongous stack of papers. "Well, i don't have to do piles." Lucky for him, all he needs to sign were crime reports. Sezawa grunted in pure irritation as he took the coffee from Hesemawa and took a huge drink of it. Hesemawa can't complain- he has been egging him in the past minute and this felt like an appropriate response. "Someones in a mood. You mad you're turning the big 3-8 today?"

"You had to bring that up..." He gave the coffee back and rubbed his face for a moment before setting his hands back down on the desk. "Time moves by too fast... i still remember being a private like it was yesterday. When did i get so old?"

"Old? You're not even 40 yet. Besides, have you seen Inochi?" He pointed to one of the senior officers on the other side of their floor. He looked vibrant and exuberant. "He's 61 and he doesn't look a day over 30."

Sezawa tapped his finger on the desk, having grown irritated by this topic. He always hated his birthday- it only reminded him that he was getting one year closer to the natural end. He kept that fear inside, though- outside, he was just a grouchy man who didn't like his birthday. Hesemawa quickly picked up on this. "Ok, ok. i'll stop. Sheesh." He grouchily took his cup back and Sezawa went back to signing paperwork. Just a few more papers and he can finally go out on patrol. How did he get stuck with all this? "By the way, did you hear what happened last night?"

Sezawa was so intent on finishing up this paperwork and finally going out on patrol, he didn't bother to look up. But he did hear, all the same. "You mean the explosive robbery at the Shochin bank?"

"So you have heard of it." Hesemawa took another drink and gulped it down.

"I dare you to find anyone who didn't. It was all over the news." He paused for a moment in his signing and put the eraser to his mouth as he pondered it. "What puzzles me is how they did it."

Hesemara removed the cup from his lips and gandered to his superior. "What do you mean?"

"Well, Shochin Bank is mostly automated. They could just have easily had a hacker break in, shut down all the systems, and nobody would know. But instead, they used explosives, and based on the reports, it was C7. That stuff is illegal to civilians. Which means they acquired it illegally. Whoever got it for them has military ties.. and that opens up a whole new can of worms since it could be from any country taking part in Akatsuki..."

"But don't they use that stuff in excavations?"

"Even then, they need a military or police guard to make sure nobody steals it or misuses it." Sezawa stopped writing paperwork for a moment and put his pen in his mouth, thinking about it. "... maybe they're Mafia, or even the Yakuza." Hesemara almost spit out his drink when he just about laughed. He kept it in and forced it down before he breathed out a laugh. Sezawa tapped his fingers on the desk while looking at his underling with lidded eyes that said 'are you kidding me?' "You don't think it's possible?"

"I think you have an active imagination. I think all those action movies warped your brain." Hesemara coughed as he breathed through his drink. "Hoo..." He patted himself on the chest a few times, feeling his lungs and heart going a mile a minute. "For starters, ignore what brain-dead action movies tell you- Yakuza don't rob from banks. It's too flashy. I know they have turf wars, but i didn't read about anyone bringing out sticks of dynamite or frag grenades. Yakuza play things safe and by the ear- they go big only when they need to. And secondly, recruitment is at an all time low, and nobodies heard a peep from them in almost 10 years. Tattoo's can be gotten for fun now; when was the last time you heard of that? I'm not arguing about the Mafia or the Triads being a possibility, but the Yakuza? The organization is either dead or went underground."

"I highly doubt that they're dead. It takes a long time for a powerful organization like that to disappear completely- just look at the Knights Templar. But... you may be right. They aren't flashy. But the other criminal gangs are. Or this could be a new group that is causing mayhem. There are so many possibilities."

"It's all just guess work." Hesemara drunk the last of his coffee and threw the empty cup into the nearest trash can. "We can't find answers just by spitballin'. Besides, it's not even our case- last i heard, they were giving this to SIT."

That prompted Sezawa to look up from his papers in disbelief. They're bringing in counter-terror groups? For a bank robbery? They didn't even use that many explosives, just enough to punch a hole in a admittedly thick wall. "How would this require the Special Investigation Teams? The robbers weren't terrorists."

"You answered your question before- they used C7, which is illegal to Civvies. I also heard they called in some liaisons from the army to help investigate, and i've heard rumors of them requesting a detective from the UK District."

"This all sounds like overkill, if you ask me. SIT, i can understand, but army liaisons and a detective?"

"Take it up with the chief- i'm just relaying what i heard. Can't say i blame 'em, though- using a bomb on a man-made island is a recipe for disaster. One big enough hole and a island is gonna sink."

Sezawa slowly shook his head. "A bomb big enough to punch though 100 meters of steel? Yeah right." He dotted one last i and set aside the last paper he needed to sign. He put his pen down and rubbed his sore wrist. "And with all that said, i'm done... ugh, i think i have carpel tunnel." Once the pain stopped,, he pushed his chair out and got up. Finally, they can get some fresh air. "Desk jobs are the absolute worse."

"I'll agree with you on that."

Ever since Akatsuki was built, the process on how to deliver punishment to criminals was hotly debated for a long time. Do they adopt the system of one of the member countries, or make one up on their own? It was a long discussion... too long, if you ask anyone, but they eventually found a process that works: combine aspects. The first two countries, Japan and America, have completely different ways with how they handle criminals both on the streets and in the courts, each with their strengths but nasty weaknesses. So how do they, and future countries added to Akatsuki, handle such a thing?

After going through many trial runs, they eventually landed on a process that seemed to be the most effective. The crime division is mostly taken after the Japan way- no nonsense, no qualms, and no holding back. They may look passive, but mark my words: Japanese police are no laughing matter. But that is used mainly as a last resort. Most times, they try to defuse a situation through negotiations, but when they need to throw down... well, you can imagine it. There are some instances where each district follows rules set by their home countries, but those are circumstancial when the need arises.

As for the court system... we'll come to that another day, but to give you a brief idea as of now, it's a mixture of both styles, to be honest. In the USA, and almost every other part of the world for that matter, things are simple: you have a lawyer to represent you, your opponent has a lawyer, there's evidence, trial hearings, juries, the whole works. Japan doesn't have juries: the Judge is the Jury. But like i said, we'll come to all the fine minutia and standards another day. And they planned ahead: any and all bribery is illegal, and all private meetings must have a impartial guard posted within to make sure no bribes are made.

"But they're close to Japan," i hear you ask. "Don't they follow Japanese laws?"

Yes and no.

Whenever the officers have to go to the mainland, they have to follow the rules there- the same would apply if Akatsuki was build near any other country. But Akatsuki... it is its own nation, existing on its own rules and its own time. It even has its own seat at the UN.

Japanese police uniforms are quite simple when compared to the rest of the world. While the US' are decked out with more gear then a electronic's store and British are more old fashioned with the caps they wear, Japanese are more simplified. No matter the department, it's a common theme: navy blue trousers, same-colored dress shirt and tie, cuffs, a walkie talkie, and standard police caps. Each region has it's own varients- some go all black, while some have vests. Akatsuki's Japan district follows something similar to the basic look.

In the stations locker room, located on the garage level, Sezawa grunted as he slid the laser-proof vest underneath his shirt. Ever since the crime wave started, all officers have been required to wear laser-proof vests for their own protection. Hesemawa was outside at the door in the cold steel hallway, waiting patiently for his partner to finish getting ready.

He heard familiar footsteps to his right and looked to see the police chief for the precinct walking down the hall, with her second carrying papers behind her. A stern and taciturn woman, Chief Nikimori worked hard for her position. Her family has a horrible history going back hundreds of years of being associated with nasty illegal activities, from murder, to arson, to even bombing. When her mother got arrested for setting fire to a bus full of people- thankfully no one was killed- everyone feared Niki'd follow in their footsteps. Nope. She wants to prove that family legacies can be changed. And for the past 30 years, she has shown that it can work.

"Chief Nikimori." Hesemawa bowed in respect.

She nodded back. "At ease, corporal." He listened and raised his body back up. "If you are here, then i'm guessing Sezawa is finished with his paperwork."

"He is, but you know him."

She softly chuckled, knowing full well what he is like. "He does not like desk work. Can't say i don't blame him. But it's fitting i found you here." Her second came forward and handed her a piece of paper. "Your patrol route." She handed it to him, which he promptly took. "You've been assigned to Tokyo for a week. They're short staffed on patrols since the crime waves began."

"If the bank heist last night is anything to go by, they must be having major problems on the mainland."

"It's mostly just petty crimes- purse snatching, dime-store robberies, aggravated assaults, road rage, but they are so numerous nowadays, they just don't have the manpower to handle them all."

"Neither do we, for that matter."

"And that's not even counting the major stuff." Her second spoke. He was a lad around Hesemawa's age, but sporting spiky red hair, just like a anime protagonist. Ironic, since he isn't the hero of this tale. "There have been bank heists just like ours. Well, not like ours- they weren't as explosive, but... you know what i mean. There's also been several assassination attempts on high ranking officials in huge conglomerates."

"Geez. Wasn't the automatic force suppose to activate this year?"

"Yes, but that's not until June. Until then, we have to make do with what we have."

The door to the locker room opened and Sezawa walked out, now fully geared up for the day ahead. As long as it doesn't have him behind a desk, he's happy. He was surprised to see the chief standing out in the hallway. "Chief." He quickly bowed. "I wasn't expecting to see you here."

"I was just passing by." Hesemawa passed him along their patrol route. "I was just having a talk with Corporal Vinchi here about recent events."

"It is getting really nasty out there, isn't it?" Sezawa replied. They all nodded in agreement. He looked down at their patrol and raised a eyebrow in confusion. "Akihabara for a whole week?"

"They've requested assistance. Petty thefts in the Ward has skyrocketed, especially in the shopping district."

"Given that it's Akiba, that shouldn't be surprising." Hesemawa commented.

Sezawa put the paper under his arm and gave a farewell bow to her. "Thanks for the assignment, chief. We'll get right on it."

Niki gave a bow back and began to walk in the opposite direction they were heading down when she remembered something. "Oh, that's right, i forgot. It's somebody's birthday today." Sezawa came to a halt and moaned as he lowered his hat over his eyes. Figured someone was going to bring it up, but why did it have to be her? "Have anything excited plan when the workday is done?"

At least it wasn't a loaded question. They don't even do something like this over in Japan; there is a reason Akatsuki is called the new Melting Pot. "Not really, chief. But knowing my girls, they're gonna have some surprise waiting for me."

"Then you better get out on your patrol then. You don't want to get caught on the Bridge during Rush Hour traffic. Trust me- it's the absolute worse." She gave one last bow before heading for the elevator, with her second right behind her. The two officers walked down the opposite direction, towards the doors that lead into the garage proper.

"Doesn't she say that every day?" Hesemawa commented.

Reaching the exit doors, Sezawa grabbed a time-in sheet, wrote down today's date, as well as the number of any car still accessible in the garage from the keys that remain. All officers do this whenever they go out in a patrol car- they all ride in different ones every day. "Doesn't make it any less true." He replied as he grabbed one of the numbered keys and headed out the door.

Hesemawa pursed his lips to the side. "She can still try something original, like..." He paused at the door as he tried to come up with something, but couldn't. "...Ok, i can't come up with anything at the moment, but i will." He finished as he headed out, closing the door behind him.

Fui sat alone on a bench outside the school door, killing time before she would have to go in. The less time she spends in the same room with… certain people, the better. Alkaid and Kaguya already left with their friends, leaving her alone. They think she is strong enough to handle being by herself for a few minutes. She really isn't, but she puts up a brave front for them.

Called Modoyasu High, it was decent in size, sporting two triple-storied buildings positioned in a way where they look like an equal sign- the top part of the equal sign served for regular classes and had a rooftop garden, and the bottom was for classes like chemistry and for school clubs and activities and sported a swimming pool-, and both were connected by a couple of covered walkways built off the ground, a large gymnasium sporting retractable bleachers with a shed right next door housing all the equipment needed, and a large-ish field, sporting a soccer field, a baseball diamond, and a track lane that circled the soccer field. The rest of the field was open for whatever.

The school was surrounded mostly by a head-high stone wall with bars that go up a further 3 feet. There were only two entrances, all foot paths only, and both sealed shut by gates when it wasn't school hours. The main gate opened up into a long path that lead into a courtyard, flanked by a row of cherry trees on both sides. In the middle of the courtyard was a fountain and a series of benches. That's where Fui is at the moment.

In between the buildings was another courtyard, but with shrubbery and a pretty big oak tree that separated footpaths that was nestled between the two bridges. The tree made it a popular hangout spot after school.

Lyric's school was directly next door. The two facilities were separated by a chain link fence. They looked exactly the same, right down to the exterior paint colors. So how can people tell the difference? It's easy: the elementary school is the only one with a belltower.

Speaking of bells, the school bell rang, telling students that they only have a few minutes to get to their homerooms. Fui got up off the bench and headed inside, ignoring everyone around her just as they ignore her. It wasn't long until she drowned them out, turning them into white noise.

She approached her Getabako cupboard- number 44, that's a bad number to have- and opened it up, switching out her shoes. This is a very simple, but very important custom from Japan that carried over to almost every district in Akatsuki- it's in bad taste to enter a place of education or your home wearing shoes from outside, so you need some interior wear too. The US, East Europe, and Egypt districts actually adopted this concept.

As she put on her shoes, Fui overheard voices behind her, recognizing one of them that made her involuntarily flinch. She ignored them and hoped they would go away; she'll have to deal with her in class anyway, so she doesn't want more tacked on. She put her travel shoes in the cupboard and closed it- the sooner she gets this day going, the better.

She grabbed her bags and went towards the stairs when she suddenly felt groggy. She staggered on her feet for a moment before leaning against the cupboards. Her mind felt foggy and her vision blurred. She heard something, something that wasn't from around here, but she couldn't make out what it was. It was too muffled.

And just as sudden as it began, it ended. Waiting for a second to make sure it was over, she pushed herself off the cupboard, rubbing her head. Her mouth felt parched all of a sudden, like it was in the middle of a desert. "Ugh... what was that all about...?" Her voice even sounded like it hadn't had water in some time. She went to a nearby water fountain and drank as much as she could to quince the sudden thirst.

"What was that all about...?" She pondered as she rested at the fountain. Looking back over the past half hour, she didn't have a drink before now, so could that have been the cause? But it wouldn't cause it that quick, nor would it make her hear things. At least, that is what she thinks. As she headed up the stairs towards her classroom, she thought about what it was she did hear:

It sounded like someone was talking, but it was so brief, so muddled, and so distant, she couldn't hear a thing. It was the strangest thing... but the answer would come, sooner or later.

Four familiar and dangerous individuals sat at a covered table in the world famous Akihabara District in Chiyoda ward, completely tired and completely exhausted. They had been driving for hours on end and needed a place to crash. Given their location, they didn't have to get rid of their disguises. Most everyone would think they were cosplaying. It's a good thing they chose this place for their checkpoint, then.

If Japan is world famous for giant monsters and robots, stylized cartoon characters with big... eyes the size of dinner plates, and enough costumes and toys to make the holidays jealous, then Akihabara is the defacto center of it all. Often shortened to Akiba, this district of Tokyo is pop-culture central. You cannot go two steps without running into a advertisement or a store filled to the brim with toys, memorabilia, costumes, DVD's, toys, posters, body pillows, electronics, plushies, toys, video games, trailers playing on the side of buildings, and did i mention toys?

There is always something pop-culture related happening in this famed town. It's a nerds paradise, especially for those who love what many consider to be Japan's best contribution to the world: Anime. Name several famous cartoons in the history of the world and good chances that at least four of those will be Anime, and usually often the same answer too: Ghost in the Shell, Neon Genesis Evangelion, and Dragon Ball, and those are just the big 3 and most often used answers.

In a nearby parking garage, they had their van stashed, right next to their second getaway vehicle: a red SUV. They had finished dividing everything up between the cars, which had exhausted them even more then they already were, so they retreated to a nearby cafe to get something to help them get through the day. Above their heads, a building played the trailer to the latest Godzilla movie: Godzilla vs Chernobog. It's the 99th Godzilla movie ever made, and the 1st to be done by a Russian studio. As such, they felt it appropriate to use a Slavic monster, and who better then the God of Darkness?

The four robbers were struggling to drink down their coffee. "Can i go to bed, mommy...?" Tsubasa whined as he tried to drink down his coffee through a straw.

"No..." Momo droned, feeling as beat as him. "We're almost at the hideout... we can sleep there..."

Sakura rested his head on the table, pulling it up so his chin was on it. "So how do we decide who goes in which car...?"

"We'll figure it out when we get back there." Momo yawned loudly, feeling his eyes droop. "But i'm not driving."

Kappa downed the last of his drink and shook his head like a dog, grunting as such. "Bblblblblbll... Tjat wak ta-" He shook his head again. "That was needed. Woooooof." He coughed once. "Well, we best get going before anyone here realizes there's no Oni shows and we stick out like a sore thumb."

Sakura pursed his lips to the side, having found the strength to tap his finger on the table. "It's Akihabara- everyone stands out here."

Meanwhile, in a nearby parking structure, a couple of familiar officers were trying to break up a domestic dispute between two people; they got into a fight over the last body pillow of a... well, you don't wanna know. A lucky person won it in a contest and someone who entered the same contest got jealous. He was passive aggressive about it for a few days before things came to a blow when the winner won yet another contest the other had entered as well- talk about your good luck. Too bad that didn't last, because the fists soon started to fly. A passerby on the way to his car called it in.

Bringing us to now, when Sezawa's car pulled up to break them up. "Hey hey hey, break it up! Break it up!" Sezawa shouted to the two fighters, who were now on the ground, exchanging fists. The two officers grabbed the guy on top and pulled him off. The guy was incensed, still throwing punches wildly in the air as he was pulled off.

"Geez, buddy, take a chill pill!" Hesemara grunted, wincing whenever a elbow or a fist came too close.

A elbow got Sezawa in the face, pissing him off. He wasn't going to take it today. He and his subordinate pinned him down on the ground and sprayed pepper spray in his eyes. That did the trick as he was in too much pain to focus on fighting. He rolled on his back and rubbed his eyes as they watered up.

The guy who was being pummeled stood up, rubbing his nose. His entire face was coated in blood and bruises. "That guy... just attacked me out of the blue... I don't know what came over him."

"You'll find out when we bring you in for questioning." Sezawa grunted as he kept the guy down. Hesemara went over to the wounded lad and helped him up. They rolled the attacker over nad recognized who it was. "Ugh... Kineshe... should've guessed. This guy is an animal; he'll blow up at the littlest of things."

"Guess that explains why nobody tried to help." Hesemara commented, noting the missing crowd. You'd be surprised how many people crime scenes can attract.

Sezawa hauled Kineshe up and patted him down for weapons. He had none. "You just got out of jail; this has to be the shortest turnaround ever." Kineshe snarled back at him. The officer slowly shook his head in disappointment. "I swear, we should throw the book at you." He dragged him back to the squad car. Hesemara helped the hurt chap back to the car as well.

At the same time, four certain criminals had returned to the parking garage, ready to end this day that had gone on for far too long. They were sooooo tired, they didn't notice the cop that passed by them with the criminal, nor did he notice the four out of place Oni. The only one who noticed was the guy with swelling on his face.

"I am so ready to end this day..." Sakura yawned.

"Same..." Momo said, rubbing his drowsy eyes. He had just taken a booster to keep him awake. "Ok... me and Tsubasa will take the SUV. Sakura and Kappa, take the van. We'll take separate routes back." Skura and Kappa silently agreed while making animistic noises, heading back to the van.

Back to the cops, Sezawa stuffed Kineshe into the back of the car and slammed it shut. "Can't wait to see what caused this mess." He commented as he rubbed the back of his neck. He turned back to see Hesemara and the wounded man approaching, oblivious to the activity in the background. He then walked to the drivers seat, opened up the door, and grabbed the radio, calling the dispute in.

"We got a first aid kit in the car." Hesemara said, sitting the guy on the trunk. "I'll go grab it."

"Thanks." The guy winced. He looked back towards the activity in the background. "You know what's going on with them?"

The two officers looked back towards the two vehicles and saw the four strange men talking to each other, with a two in the seat of the van while two others were trying to get the SUV to start; seems they lost the keys. After some time, the guys in the van got impatient and just drove off, leaving their friends behind.

"I dunno." Sezawa shrugged. "Promoting a new game, maybe?"

"I don't remember hearing about anything involving four dudes in black spandex wearing Oni masks." Hesemara commented.

"Then why would they need two cars?" The wounded guy commented.

He shrugged. "Holding all their gear, maybe?"

They were about to find out for, as if it wasn't obvious, they couldn't get the car to start. The youngest of the two got fed up and went to the back of the SUV to find the tool box. Unknowing of the nearby cops, he opened up the trunk, revealing crates of money stacked to the tops. All of it was outdated and mostly coins.

It took Sezawa no less then a few seconds to piece it all together: masks, black body suits, crates full of money- it was clear as day. "THEY ROBBED THE BANK!" He shouted.

As they were in a enclosed parking garage, his voice carried all the way to the criminals, who felt goosebumps break out. "Oh crap!" Tsubasa and Momo exclaimed. Instinctively, Tsubasa pulled out a assault rifle and, despite Momo yelling 'no!', he opened up on the cops. The wounded man and Kineshe yelped in fear and ducked down, with the wounded man rolling over the trunk to hide behind it. The cops ducked down to avoid the oncoming barrage.

Sezawa crawled into the drivers seat and kept his head down. The windowglass cracked from the constant barrage- good thing these things were laser proof. "This is car 23, this is car 23! We are under heavy fire! Confirmed identities of the Shochin bank robbers! They are armed and extremely dangerous! Request back up! Perpetrators vehicles is a crimson SUV located in the Akihabara parking garage located at-" More shots drowned him out, making him duck down.

Freaking out, Momo did something he hadn't done in a long time and hotwired the car. It roared to life; this thing had some modifications done to it. After closing the trunk, Tsubasa kept firing as he made his way around to the passenger side door and climbed in. The tires screeched on the pavement, spinning around as it blazed towards the exit.

"We're going after them!" Sezawa commanded as he sat back up and put his keys in the ignition.

"What about these two?" Hesemara said, referring to the current crime they were doing beforehand...

...which Sezawa had forgotten about when they were shot at. He tapped his fingers on the steering wheel, poking one of his cheeks with his tongue. They were running out of time and looked back to the attacker, who was stunned by the sudden turn of events. "Are you going to try anything?" Kineshe rapidly shook his head. Even animals know when they are in danger and when to cower. "Good." He turned to Hesemara. "Throw him in the back. The windows are laser proof."

"We're taking civvies into a combat zone?" Hesemara commented back as he helped the wounded man into the back. He looked to his attacker and got scared.

Planning ahead, Sezawa pressed a button, bringing up a divider that kept the attacker and the victim separated. "By the time paramedics come here for him, those two will be long gone, and so will Kineshe if we leave him behind, causing who knows how much damage. At least this way, we can keep an eye on him."

Hesemara stayed silent as he climbed back in and his superior pressed on the gas. He turned to the two in the back and commented, "Bet you never saw your day going this way, did you?" No, no they did not. From a brawl in a parking lot to a a high speed chase- that is a rapid escalation. The squad car revved up and sped up instantly, chasing after the ones who shot at it.

Sezawa wanted a interesting diversion from all that paperwork. He just didn't plan on this intense a diversion.

While all that craziness was going on, the wolf A.I. panted as he finally caught a breather. He had been on the run for hours with no break in his pursuer's attacks. It was only after ducking into someone's laptop at a internet café was he able to shake them off. To the laptop's owner, it'll look like he got some lag from bad wi-fi. For now, the wolf is safe.

For the moment, anyway.

The wolf fell over, tired as heck. Ever since he came across those files, his life has been one hectic chase after another. "I can't keep doing this…" He panted. He pulled them up and tilted his tired head. "Just… what in the world are these things?" He tried accessing them, but they required a password, something he didn't have.

Suddenly, he arched his back as if he was howling at the moon, but in truth was going though very intense pain. He silently yelled in pain as a dot of light appeared on his forehead. The pain worsened as the dot extracted something out of his mind in the form of a black arrowhead with orange markings. The last time this had happened, he had lost all recollection of the past few years, including how he got these files and this pain to begin with.

"N-no… not… again…"

Working though the pain, he swatted the dot away and slashed it to ribbons as he panted again. The arrowhead returned into him. He grunted in pain, with each grunt growing lighter until the pain subsided. "Damn… I forgot this laptop is connected to the network…" He rubbed his sore head. "Ergh… I need to get the hell out of here and find a place to hide. But where?"

He checked the laptops contents to see if there was something inside that was a good enough place to hide. The contents are represented by the icons that appeared on the desktop. He flipped though them to find a good spot. He discovered some downloaded videos, but that'll make him appear in them, so they're out.

He continued looking until the owner closed the laptop, putting it into a sleep mode and cutting off the connection to the net.

His eyes glowing purple, the wolf growled as he was enveloped in darkness. "Great..." In seconds, the programs the laptop came alive in the closed off space, represented in familiar shapes like animals and bipedals. They moved around and began interacting with one another.

The wolf groaned, not wanting to socialize with them. "Stuck with a bunch of programs… that's just my luck. Things already went bad today; why not add onto it?" He let loose a aggravated groan of a sigh, plopping down in a corner of the computer. "Well, at least I'll be safe for now. As long as this is closed, they can't find me." He laid down on his front and pulled up a game of solitaire to pass the time. Even this far into the future, that game is still a mainstay. "(But as soon as it opens, I need to bolt and find another disconnected place... that's gonna be impossible.)"

But the questions remained on his mind as they have for the past few hours: why were they chasing him? What in the world did he find? Who did he work with last? He wasn't going to find answers today, but he would in the future.

Answers connected to him and a certain girl...