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Ghost of a Chance (Worm X Ghost in the Shell)
- Thread starter Seclorum
- Start date Nov 10, 2015
- Tags ghost in the shell worm
--- Ghost of a Chance --- Worm X Ghost in the Shell --- :Index: Introduction (Arc 1): Part 1 ...
- Introductions - Part 1
- Ghost - Part 1
- Ghost - Part 2
- Omake - You dun goofed.
- Nov 10, 2015
--- Ghost of a Chance --- Worm X Ghost in the Shell --- :Index: Introduction (Arc 1): Part 1 , Part 2 , Part 3 , Part 4 , Part 5 , Part 6 , Part 7 , Part 8 Interlude Armsmaster Ghost (Arc 2): Part 1 , Part 2 , Omakes: Private Sector , Thank you Admiral Akbar (Pt1) , Thank you Admiral Akbar (Pt2) , Corporate Investments , You dun goofed ,
- Reader mode
* Warning * Some content may be disturbing to some readers, Gore and Body Modification. --- Ghost of a Chance GiTs!Taylor Part 1 --- My hands cramped up again and I put the soldering iron down. I grabbed a stress ball and started squeezing it and working my wrists around while I cracked my neck. Ever since that bitch did this to me… I had been broken. A "Flight" down the stairs could be relatively painless if you took it the right way. I had not. Both arms shattered, legs battered and bruised, and a cracked patella. It still kept me up at night, the memory. the shocking feeling that shot up my arms when my wrists internally detached and severed the nerves. Even to this day, I still wasn't recovered. My pinky and ring fingers on both hands refused to heal properly, the nerve was not quite attached right. Panacea had a six month waiting list to even get a shot at seeing her. And even then, I was still mostly healed. Doctors just kept saying I needed more physical therapy. So why would she even give me the time of day, when there were a hundred thousand cancer patients who needed her more than I did? But that's where all this came in. Taylor, fix thyself. I had scrounged for parts to build something amazing. A new body. A way out. It was crude, and would barely be able to move and walk but it was the best I had available. I just hoped it all worked. I'd had to steal from a medical supply store to get the IV and solution to use with it. But I was almost ready. Just a few more points to solder, and I could leave this broken husk, and emerge a beautiful butterfly ! The iron was warm in my hands as I hunched over the system. With a few moments work I completed the transfer mechanism. I got up and stretched my back from all the kinks that developed from hunching over, for the last time. Crossing the basement I mounted the steps slowly and at the top I made sure the bolt was secure to keep the room locked until I opened it. As I descended back down I gazed at all my work and smiled. It was covered by an old stained sheet for the most part, I tore that away and flung it into a wall so I could gaze at my creation. With a soft caress on her cheek I sat down on the crates behind her. It was uncomfortable as all hell, but for what was about to happen. It was alright. I fixed the IV into my arm and started the slow drip. It didn't have to be perfect, it just had to work until I woke up. With a sigh I leaned back and fixed my head into the frame that immobilized my head from shifting at all. It was important that my head not move during the procedure. I reached up and flicked open the read cover on the switch that would change me. "Here goes." I flicked the switch. I felt a cool sensation come in through my IV and up into my arm. I was sleep...sleepy… I wasn't awake for this part, for obvious reasons. After the machine had knocked me out, scalpels on crude arms came out and cut down to my skull. Then came the bone saw and drills. They made short work of opening my skull, as well they should. I had programmed them myself. Then they carefully lifted the top of my skull completely off, it was careful because I wanted to save as much as possible to speed healing. Once the top of my skull was securely put away, a specialized flat arm came down and slid down the small gap between my brain and skull and it slipped deep deep down towards my neck, before a small set of scissors neatly and precisely snipped my spinal cord just below the brain stem. It was pulled out and reinserted a couple more times to sever nerves around the periphery of the brain, the eyes most importantly. Once everything was snipped my brain was gently lifted up and placed into a hardened case. Severed nerves were connected to internal leads from the case, specialized electrodes were guided into every part of my brain making my brain more of a pincushion. Then the case was sealed closed. The case was lifted up and set into my new body, connections mating perfectly to link my brain to the body. The arms closed up my new body's metallic skull plate and set the artificial hair in place. With a his, a prepared solution was introduced into my cyber brain, that neutralized the sedative. I came awake very quickly. My new arms rose and fingers flexed with small servos whining. A smile came to my face. "TAYLOR! OPEN THE DOOR HONEY!" Dad was pounding on the basement door. 'Too damn early!' I thought as I sat up and looked behind me. My old body was still technically alive, but I had to stabilize it and install the support systems it would need to survive. "Not now Dad! I'm busy!" He bashed against the door, "OPEN THIS DOOR NOW!" "NOT NOW DAD!" I got up and rushed over to my old body and started working on placing the implants in the cavity. left by my brain. I had to scoop out my old eyes and some more spinal cord to make the necessary implants fit. Just my luck that someone would really hit the door and break it open while I had those eyes in my hands. A short, kid, in armor with pistols in his hands and a fancy visor covering the top of his face was standing there, with dad right behind him. I looked up at them, "It's not what you think."
* Warning * Some content may be disturbing for reader, Gore and Body modification. --- Ghost of a Chance GiTs!Taylor Part 2 --- Things proceeded about as well as to be expected. "HANDS UP!" The kid with the fancy pistols aimed them at me, while dad rushed forward and punched me in the face. Predictably, my head was made from sterner stuff than his hand. He howled in pain while I fell backwards. My balance still a bit off so soon after integration. My arms windmilled and the eyes went flying as I crashed into my old body and flipped up and over it to land in a heap. "Don't move!" The kid had rushed over to stand on the other side of my old body and he kept both pistols aimed at me, while he kept glancing over at my old body. "Look, I need to stabilize it before it dies. If you don't let me do that you really will cost me the ability to have my body anymore." I was looking him dead in the eyes, I knew he kept my gaze because his mouth was twitching and his pistols were wavering. "What do you need to do?" He asked. "Install the implants to allow the body to stay alive for one, keep the heart pumping and lungs breathing. Then affix the interface modules that would allow me to put my brain back." "Your… brain?" He seemed to go a bit green around the gills. "Yes. my brain." He pointed one of the pistols at my old body, "What happened to her's?" I sighed, "I am her. Now either let me up or shoot me." I could see the hesitation in his face, in his arms. Dad was sobbing on the floor, cradling his broken hand. "Shut up dad. I've got work to do." I got up. The kid stiffened then backed off to watch me work. I had even less time to get things in place and going. I worked quickly and affixed the proper neural links and kick started my old heart. Kid was watching me like a hawk when I pulled out the saw and started cutting down the skull. "What are you doing?" "Making space and reinforcing the cavity. Bone is too weak to properly support the Cyberbrain properly, so I'm going to fake most of the appearance of bone for the skull and rely on a reinforced shell to go around the cyberbrain module." I had hoped to salvage my old eyes, but the bugs got to them first. Ew. I wasn't going to touch them now. So I started installing cybernetic sockets to let me take my new eyes and transfer them over. I didn't have the resources to make more new eyes just yet. "Is she stable?" I wiped my brow, more from habit than need and nodded, "Yeah. It's going to be fine for a few hours at least. Till I've gotta eat something." Dad by this point had sat up and while still crying his eyes were wide open and staring at me, "Why? Why Taylor?" I fixed him with a glare, "Why not dad? My body was a broken husk. It hurt just to go to the fucking bathroom! I can make it better! I have made it better!" I jumped into the air and then did a little dance. Then just to prove my point further, I picked up a brick from back when they had gotten the fireplace remodeled, and exerted a little pressure. The brick exploded into powder in my hand. Dad's eyes were wide and the Kid's mouth was wide open. We all looked up when we heard the heavy sounds of boots stomping upstairs. It was quite a surprise when a blue stick with some kind of camera was stuck out into the doorway leading into the kitche. "Kid Win, is everything alright?" A male voice came from upstairs. The Kid sighed, "YES! It's," He looked at Dad, my old body, then me, "It's ok. If more than a bit disturbing." "I'm coming down." One of if not the most recognizable local hero came stomping down our basement stairs. Armsmaster. I could tell when he saw my old body, skull still open, because he nearly fell down the stairs. "What is going on?" I beat Kid to the punch, "These two," I pointed at dad and the Kid, "Interrupted a very sensitive and time critical operation!" He seemed to regard me for a few moments, "And you are a friend of the deceased?" "No you idiot! I am her! She is me! I just made a new body to use while I fixed my old one!" "I see." He turned to look at dad and his rapidly color changing hand, "And what's wrong with him?" "He jumped to conclusions." I said. Dad barked out a laugh, "Can you blame me? I think it's broken." I nodded, "It probably is. I heard a crack when he punched my head." Armsmaster kneeled down next to dad and started to apply a splint, "You should probably go to a hospital sir. Get it checked out." "What about Taylor?" "I'll be fine dad. I've got two wonder heroes here to protect me this time." --- Interrogation was boring as hell. Oh they didn't call it that, they kept referring to it as an interview, but I had plenty of experience being interrogated. Luckily, most of the people got unnerved and one even puked her guts out when I described what I had done. I unnerved a few more when I took my left hand completely off and using manipulators built into my fingertips on my right hand, started tweaking in the stump of my left arm. Finally, Kid Win and Armsmaster came back in and they had a surprising face with them. Panacea. Her eyes were downcast but still, she was here. "Huh, build a new body and transplant your brain into it and suddenly you can jump to the head of the line for your services." "I'm sorry." She said in a hushed tone. "I'm not. I'm going to be better than you could ever have made me." She shook her head, "It's not that. I… I couldn't save it." This got my attention, and I fitted my hand back into place with a snap. "What do you mean?" "Your body died Taylor." Armsmaster blurted out. My tone was frosty, "What?" Kid took my hands in his, "Something must have gone wrong but your body stopped doing something properly and by the time we got her," He motioned to Panacea, "there it was too late. Too much damage too quickly." "You idiots! This is exactly why I didn't want to come here! I could have fixed it!" I stood up and started pacing. Armsmaster spoke with authority, "Taylor. Please sit down." I turned a baleful gaze on him, "Why? So you can kill me for real this time?" They all flinched at my words. I needed to get out. The walls felt like they were crushing me. Armsmaster seemed to react the quickest, like he was expecting it. But he was still far too slow. I flashed to the door and my body launched through the air, broke the hinges clean off. My feet pounded on the cheap linoleum floor. I angled my body nearly parallel to the floor before launching into a spinning jump to the end of the hallway. I saw the end of a grappling claw skitter across the floor where my feet had just been before my leap. I turned and saw a window opposite the elevators and with a little run up I leapt through the tempered glass. Tiny shards flew around me as I sailed through the air towards a nearby building. It was at moments like these that I appreciated the gymnastic package I had compiled for my movement algorithm. I twisted and brought my feet forward and neatly punched through the glass of the office building, about four stories lower than where I had been in the PRT building. AN: Due to feedback I edited the last sentence out with Taylor Taunting. It was an idea that didn't quite pan out imho.
--- Ghost of a Chance GiTs!Taylor Part 3 --- It was around this time, I had to seriously reevaluate what the fuck I was going to do now. My body, my old body, was dead. If they kept it cold I still might be able to salvage it, but it would require a heck of a lot more modification and upgrades to fix than I could reasonably expect to make. But I stopped and asked myself, 'Why bother?' This new body was infinitely better! Faster, stronger, tougher. Why deal with that old and broken meat I used to call a body? People were giving me looks as I walked down the street. I looked at my arms and winced, the seams were plainly visible. I hadn't had time or resources to create a more realistic skin substitute. Sighing, I resolved to ignore the looks. They didn't matter anyway. Screw them! They didn't know what I had been through! But in trying to ignore the looks and whispering, it brought me back to the question. 'What the heck am I going to do now?' I didn't feel like going home, yet there really wasn't much I could do without tools or money anyway. Money? I stopped and skipped backwards until I came to be in front of an ATM. I hummed as I inspected the machine until I found an exposed USB port on the back. With barely a thought I grabbed a cable that extended from a hidden reel in my neck and plugged it in. The software was, to put it mildly, a joke. I tricked the system into dispensing a pair of twenty dollar bills, then wiped the past five minutes from the video recording. Pocketing the cash I skipped along the road. There was some kind of club ahead, I could see the line going down the block. I got an idea. And if there is one thing I learned from mom, a Hebert with an Idea is a sight to behold. The bouncer took a good look, up and down, the letch. But he nodded and let me straight in, much to the groans of the other patrons who had been waiting. I smirked, knowing exactly what tricked him into letting me in. They were spectacular after all. The beat pulsed all around me as I entered. The house lights were off but there were enough colors flashing from the stage and dance floor that everything was illuminated anyway. I brushed past a scowling blonde who left in a hurry while I stepped down towards the bar. I had never ordered anything before and the barkeeper seemed to scowl and look suspicious but he nodded and dispensed a Coke when I asked. I just turned to watch the people dance and sip my coke. The beat and everyone dancing made me want to join in, but I didn't trust my movement algorithm without some kind of patch for dancing. I hadn't even considered it when I first put everything together. Someone slid up next to me and said, "Hey there beautiful." I turned my head to look at him. My first thought was, 'Dear god this guy is Orange!' But it was deeper than that. He wasn't just Orange. He had small scales over his face, chest, and arms. His whole face was a bit elongated outwards and he had a tail, swinging behind him. He was more than a bit disconcerting. He flashed me a brilliant smile, "Hows about you and me go upstairs and we get to know each other better?" His eyebrows, what little there was to suggest them, twitched upwards. "Excuse me? What?" He reached out and poked my arm, at the seam, "We got something in common, and I'd like to talk. Got some friends who might like to meet you too." 'Did he just invite me to what I think he did?' "Eww! Creep!" I threw the remains of my coke in his face. A giant of a man in a large overcoat and hood waddled up, "Excuse me. I'm sorry for my friend if he offended you." 'Wow this guy is monotone.' I looked the big guy up and down. There wasn't an inch of skin exposed. 'Man, why didn't I think of that? Oh yeah, I didn't have the time.' I frowned at the reminder of just why I was here instead of working. The big man motioned to the bartender, "Please get the lady anything she wants, on the house." "Right Gregor. Old newt struck out again?" "Hey! I resemble that remark!" The Orange guy groused. The bartender laughed, "I think the young lady is underage too. Don't want to get in trouble buddy." Mr. Orange looked me up and down and whistled, "Damn girl. How old are you?" "I was Sixteen. But it's been a long day. I feel almost like new again." I flashed them a grin. They had no idea how true that was. The big man, Gregor, turned to me, "Excuse me Miss. But based on your appearance," He pointed to the seams on my arms, "There are some things we would like to ask you." 'God damn, are there giant glowing neon signs to these things?' "Ask away." I countered. He looked around and then said, "Perhaps somewhere a bit more private?" I looked at the bartender, "Do you trust this guy?" "Who Gregor? Guy's harmless. Big old teddy bear." I turned back to Gregor and nodded, "Sure. Lead away." Mr. Orange groaned, "Man. I get shot down by a teenager and the Snail picks her right up like that!" He snapped his fingers.
The crux mechanicus.
So happy this is a thread.
You needed worthy opponents.
I was hoping to eventually see a Ghost in the Shell cross. It seems Taylor is channeling Major Kusanagi. Effectively, Taylor appears to have a version of Bonesaw's and Mannequin's powers, with building artificial bodies. Each body can have different ratings. At least, her current one would get a Brute and Mover rating. From them being able to be swapped out there would also be a Stranger rating.
This story is being rushed. Taylor going ahead with a dangerous surgery because she developed some variant of biotinker power I can see. I can imagine a chain of events that leads Kid Win and Armsmaster to break down the door, and obviously Taylor is feeling resentful about people only care after she 'acts out.' The problem is that Taylor decides to cut and run before we understand what is happening. Why did Danny call the police? How did the PRT get involved and why were the only two people that might understand Taylor's tinkering sent out as opposed to a full PRT squad with Protectorate backup? Did the PRT know Taylor was a tinker beforehand? Then Taylor has her freak out and hits the streets... why? Taylor has enough composure to settle down while her skull is sawed open but now she gets claustrophobic? In canon tight spaces made Taylor's powers stronger, not cause her to lose her nerve, and the locker did not happen here so why is this even a problem? Robbing the ATM is entirely contrived. Canon Taylor would find that kind of wanton crime morally abhorrent, especially at this point in the timeline. The club comes way out of left field as well. Taylor has had zero social interaction since middle school. Emma and Sophia have seen to it that she has no friends and no chance of social development. Maybe Taylor is particularly genre savvy, but the clubbing scene should be entirely foreign to her. Here she strolls into the club like a badass, calmly slaps down some guy who was coming on to her, and meets up with known villains without breaking composure. The story just moves too fast and Taylor behaves inconsistently.
Interregnum said: Why did Danny call the police? Click to expand... Click to shrink...
Interregnum said: How did the PRT get involved and why were the only two people that might understand Taylor's tinkering sent out as opposed to a full PRT squad with Protectorate backup? Click to expand... Click to shrink...
Interregnum said: Did the PRT know Taylor was a tinker beforehand? Click to expand... Click to shrink...
Interregnum said: Then Taylor has her freak out and hits the streets... why? Click to expand... Click to shrink...
Interregnum said: Taylor has enough composure to settle down while her skull is sawed open but now she gets claustrophobic? Click to expand... Click to shrink...
Interregnum said: In canon tight spaces made Taylor's powers stronger, not cause her to lose her nerve, and the locker did not happen here so why is this even a problem? Click to expand... Click to shrink...
Interregnum said: Robbing the ATM is entirely contrived. Canon Taylor would find that kind of wanton crime morally abhorrent, especially at this point in the timeline. The club comes way out of left field as well. Taylor has had zero social interaction since middle school. Click to expand... Click to shrink...
Interregnum said: and meets up with known villains without breaking composure. Click to expand... Click to shrink...
Feathery Raptor of snowy planes and frozen sea
Interregnum said: The story just moves too fast and Taylor behaves inconsistently. Click to expand... Click to shrink...
JamesB said: Effectively, Taylor appears to have a version of Bonesaw's and Mannequin's powers, with building artificial bodies. Click to expand... Click to shrink...
TrueNeutral said: I was just wondering, "If/when this story hits an S9 arc, would Taylor be Mannequin's pick or Bonesaw's?" Click to expand... Click to shrink...
Accident Prone(Yes the caps are necessary)
Interregnum said: Taylor behaves inconsistently. Click to expand... Click to shrink...
Seclorum said: Valid. I had an idea and decided to dedicate at least 3 snips too it, and skipping over much of the trigger event period and subsequent follow up seem like a better idea than padding a story out with the same shit people have read a hundred times over. In addition, I tried to get into action early to engage reader interest. But then towards Snip 3 I kind of realized things were going really fast myself. Click to expand... Click to shrink...
The big problem that I have is the PRT/P's unrealistic stupidity, but that was kind of required to send the plot in Faultline's direction so whatever.
You are worried about the stupidity of Kid Win, Armsmaster and maybe Pancea in dealing with a fresh young new bio-robotic tinker. That might have worked if they realized said tinker is already pisssed off at them at the least. Piggot with Brandish and Coil probably would have done better
SwiftRosenthal said: The big problem that I have is the PRT/P's unrealistic stupidity, but that was kind of required to send the plot in Faultline's direction so whatever. Click to expand... Click to shrink...
--- Ghost of a Chance GiTs!Taylor Part 4 --- Gregor lead me to a set of stairs and we ascended to the rooms above the club. It was surprising how much the floor cut down on the thumping music up here. Mr. Orange trailed along behind us and he saw my gaze on the floor, "Sound dampening materials. Cost an arm and a leg but we couldn't live without them." I stared at him, "Why are you following us?" He cocked his head and crossed his arms, "I live here." He crossed the lounge space and flopped onto a couch opposite a big screen TV then started flipping channels. "Newt! You better not have brought another one of your conquests up here!" An older womans voice yelled out from down a hallway. He raised his head and shouted down at her, "I didn't, mom . But Gregor did!" A pair of doors opened, one on either side of the lounge space. From the direction of the older womans voice, came a young looking woman with stern features and long black hair. She had a moist rag in her hands that she was using to methodically scrub them. From the opposite direction came a younger girl with curly brown hair. Both of them started looking me up and down with subtle glares. "Gregor. Who's this?" Gregor stepped in front of me and put his hands up in a placating gesture, "It's not what you think. I merely wanted to talk to her more privately." The younger girl came up behind me and started circling and inspecting me, she poked at the seams on my arms, "Hey. This is interesting." Mr. Orange, Newt, raised his hand and said, "The weird seams, yeah I know." I was really starting to feel self conscious about them and I crossed my arms in front of me to protect them, "What's so special about it to you people?" The older woman gently pushed Gregor out of the way and motioned to me to show her my arms. Gregor started to take off his coat, hat, and thick scarf. Newt sat up and just looked at me. I extended my right arm and the woman took it and turned it this way and that before running a finger along the seams. The younger girl put her hands on her hips, "Do you know where you come from? Any memory loss at all?" I cocked my head to the side, "Yes and no." The woman held my hand between hers, "Explain." "Yes I know where I come from. I was born here. Not this club but this city. And no I don't have any memory loss." By this point Gregor had exposed his skin to the world. A striking translucent blue. With some hard growths here and there. I couldn't help but stare. Newt was odd enough, but at least he seemed to be more, human. "I know what I look like must be strange and frightening." "Well, yes it is. But. You seem like a nice guy." He smiled at me before sitting down in a chair nearby. The woman let go of my hand and Sighed, "You have powers." "Yes? I mean I made this all myself." I waved up and down my body to illustrate my point. The girl returned to her room, "I'll let you guys give her the talk." "Sit down please. There are some things we should probably tell you about." She turned and pulled up a pair of cheap chairs and spun one around for me. We sat and she began, "There are a few things to know about being a parahuman. Like the unwritten rules." "Unwritten rules?" Newt chimed in, "Basically don't nark on civilian identities of others. Don't go after families of others." "Why?" It honestly puzzled me why you wouldn't go after say a villain's identity and family. The woman sighed, "It keeps the threat of it happening to you down. It preserves the fragile peace between the factions. And because if you don't, everybody will come down on you as a united force. It's happened a few times now so everyone tries real hard to prevent it happening again." "O...kay. That makes a twisted sort of sense." "Also," She cleared her throat, "You said you built… stuff right?" I nodded. "Well that's a whole nother target on your back. That makes you a Tinker, and Tinkers are some of the most dangerous Parahumans you will ever encounter. Because they can change what they can do. They get better over time, more equipment, better refinements. It also makes you a hot commodity for recruitment." "What?" "Plenty of gangs actively look for Tinkers to recruit. Because of that force multiplication effect. Because normal people can use your tech in most cases. Only you can really build it, but if you make a fancy gun that shoots lets say, spiders, at people. And it's simple enough to use by just pressing a trigger? The normal people can use it. So you could arm a whole bunch of people with spider guns and that can give them a huge advantage when fighting others." "Oh," I looked down for a moment, "Why are you telling me all this?" "Because we are all Parahumans up here. And well, we thought you were like them." She pointed a thumb over her shoulder at Newt and Gregor. Newt jumped to his feet, "Newter at your service." He bowed theatrically. "Newter? That's uhhh, that's different." "Friends and Family call me Newt. Cause near as we can figure I'm part newt now." He turned and flopped back onto the couch. Gregor was next and he also bowed as he introduced himself, "My name is Gregor. Gregor the Snail." I smiled at him, "Nice to meet you." The woman smiled at me and held a hand on her chest, "My name is Faultline. And everyone up here is part of my crew. Even Spitfire, who is not exactly the most social of people." "I heard that!" She shouted through her door. They all looked at me expectantly. 'What should I call myself?' It took me a while to wrestle my various thoughts on the subject. 'I was something ugly and broken, but I've transformed myself into this… new form. I can't go back. I'm forever altered by this. Like a stain. A blot of color on my soul, on the wings of this new butterfly I have made. Light, light filtering through those wings with a new color… color… oh what was that word…' "Chroma." I blurted out suddenly. They all seemed to accept that with nods, "Nice to meet you Chroma." Newt sat up, "So Chroma, you got any bits left unchanged?" I thought about it, "Not really. I mean I've still got my brain but I can't exactly put it back now. Stupid Armsmaster." "Armsmaster. What did that old rustbucket do this time?" The woman seemed intrigued. "Well I had just finished transfering my brain to my new cyberbrain case and integrated into this body…" Newt broke in, "Woah woah woah, you cut out your own brain? Wow!" "It wasn't that hard. But as I was saying, I had just finished the first stage when before I could fully stabilize my old body to survive without my brain, Kid Win and my dad broke down the door and well let's just say it didn't go so well. I evidently didn't take enough time to properly do the job since Kid was freaked out a bit, dad was panicking, and then when Armsmaster came down he pretty much rushed me off to be interviewed over at the PRT building. They came in not to long ago and told me my old body was dead." "Shit." Newt sat back hard at that. "Yeah. That's putting it mildly."
argent said: This is great. I have read too many stories that start with trigger scenes then do five more chapters of power testing. Showing what her power is and what her trigger was in small comments and maybe a flash back is a much better way to do it. Click to expand... Click to shrink...
An intro snip that gets Armsy and KW there would be good. Like maybe a briefing where they say why they suspect Taylor of being a tinker. Would flesh it out some. Also a snip with Armsy and maybe Panpan or rando oc throw away prt doc going over possible problems like lack of true brain chem in her new body. Would slow things down and flesh them out a bit. Expand the you killed me (or legally agg assualt or something) and have Armsy try to give the recruitment pitch, that forces the confrontation explosion that gets Taylor to dipset. Like 'why would I join up with a glorified gang? Youve browbeat and threatened me and assaulted me and now are trying to recruit me? Piss off I'm out' 'you can't leave' 'fuck you I "can't"' Maybe skip the ATM and instead have Newter on a smoke break when Taylor walks by? With Gregor or Spitfire (she would be a member of the crew around now yeah?) Hanging out with him, and with sharp eyes. Hmmm. Would really only require a snip break change point and then addition of that extra stuff and a fairly major rehaul of the third snip while keeping it the same in large strokes. Those would be my suggestions.
Honestly I wouldn't change much. This is a very strong start, maybe she rushed away from the PRT a bit fast but it was pretty understandable in story. I'm eagerly awaiting more.
BirdLawyer said: Honestly I wouldn't change much. This is a very strong start, maybe she rushed away from the PRT a bit fast but it was pretty understandable in story. I'm eagerly awaiting more. Click to expand... Click to shrink...
Well, this is certainly interesting. I'd like to note that it should absolutely be within PRT's capabilities (hell, Armsmaster's capabilities in his spare evening) to grow Taylor a spare clone body. They don't need to do any weird things with it, like make it sentient, and rapidly growing a blank body shouldn't be that hard. I wonder how Taylor would look at that. I am also wondering on what, if Anything Danny is going to do. Like, I don't know, sue them? They at the very least mishandled his daughter's remains. Some more thoughts: 1) Manton Limit. Taylor isn't protected by it. Which is going to bite her. A lot. 2) Certainly an interesting start, though I have to wonder what, if anything, Taylor is planning to do now. Upgrade her body, I guess. 3) What PRT is going to be doing is a big question. I mean, they could go after Taylor for destruction of property, I think, but that would be really low handed. 4) Working with Faultline could certainly be interesting, though I'm not sure Taylor would join fully.
Yog said: I'd like to note that it should absolutely be within PRT's capabilities (hell, Armsmaster's capabilities in his spare evening) to grow Taylor a spare clone body. Click to expand... Click to shrink...
Yog said: 1) Manton Limit. Taylor isn't protected by it. Which is going to bite her. A lot. Click to expand... Click to shrink...
Yog said: 2) Certainly an interesting start, though I have to wonder what, if anything, Taylor is planning to do now. Upgrade her body, I guess. Click to expand... Click to shrink...
Yog said: 3) What PRT is going to be doing is a big question. I mean, they could go after Taylor for destruction of property, I think, but that would be really low handed. Click to expand... Click to shrink...
Yog said: 4) Working with Faultline could certainly be interesting, though I'm not sure Taylor would join fully. Click to expand... Click to shrink...
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- Creative Works
- Creative Writing
Ghost in the Shell: The X Reality X of X Nen (Hunter X Hunter/Ghost in the Shell Crossover Fanfic)
- Thread starter Xavier Rall
- Start date Jan 3, 2019
A/N: I was bored, I hadn't written anything for a while, and eventually one of my ideas stuck...
- Ch. 1: The X Impossible X Train X Trip
- Ch. 2: Triple X Whammy
- Ch. 3: Hunting X for X Answers
- Ch. 4 Nen X By X Other X Names
- Ch. 5: A X Seemingly X Insurmountable X Height
- Xavier Rall
- Jan 3, 2019
"Speech" Thoughts Neural Communication <Phone/Radio/Video> Chapter 1: The x Impossible x Train x Trip Aramaki POV Daisuke Aramaki was a man of great experience. He had seen the world be rocked by global conflict twice – both nuclear and non-nuclear. He had seen technology evolve at a staggering rate to the point where the human soul could be examined, quantified, identified, and even directly manipulated. And his time as chief of Public Security Section 9 had shown him the great many dangers that the world of the 'Net posed to people's privacy and lives, as well as the various lengths and means that those who posed said dangers to go to get what they want. Chief, anything new from the Ministry of Transportation? came a female voice through his neural connection. "Nothing since your team moved out, Major," he replied from his place at Section 9 HQ, as he overlooked the support AIs and a digital map of New Port city showing their target moving rapidly. "The train is still moving along the B rail line at 175 kilometers per hour. The Ministry of Transportation has already cleared the trains off of all the tracks in the city, so we're at no risk of collision." Has Free Magic made any new announcements? a deeper male voice asked. Because I don't see how a runaway train is supposed to get the Higashisanjou executives to give in to their demands, unless they have hostages or something really valuable on that train. Nothing on that front, Batou, the Major replied. I accessed the rail systems, but I've found no sign of a virus in the system or even any other remote access or attempt at hacking the rail system. If Free Magic is controlling the train, they must have interfered with the hardware on the train itself. Major, I got something, came another male voice. But you're not going to believe it. Aramaki raised his eyebrow. After all, Ishikawa was not one prone to making such statements, and there was quite a bit that Section 9 had seen, so the realm of unbelief was thinner for them than most. What is it, Ishikawa? the Major replied. I've been going through the surveillance cameras around the time when the train was hijacked, and remember how at the stop right before the train was hijacked and ran away, passengers got off the car, but the train's crew also got off, and all of them insisted that no one else get on? Their cyberbrains were hacked by Free Magic to get everyone off the train, the Major said. What's so unbelievable about that? Here's the footage of the incident. Take a look at the elderly couple. The video Ishikawa showed came to Aramaki's cyber-eyes. He saw everyone get off the train, both passengers and crew alike, and they were pushing and pulling and even fighting on their way off the train to keep everyone out. Aramaki saw the couple at Ishikawa's prompting, saw as the old lady smacked a younger woman with her walking stick, and the man, her husband presumably, wrestling with a suited salaryman. Then, after the train left, everyone who'd been attacking the others suddenly collapsed. What's so significant about the couple? Aramaki asked. I used facial recognition to look at their records because they stood out, Ishikawa replied. And here's what I found out: they are one hundred percent natural. Are you saying that the elderly couple might be part of Free Magic, the Major inquired. And helped orchestrate the runaway train, and used the cyberhacked crowd to escape? I thought about that briefly, but then I used facial recognition on the rest of the passengers and crew who were cyberhacked, and I found three more people who are 100% natural and two more with partial prosthetics that don't include a cyberbrain. And all of them acted in the same manner as the others, who had cyberbrains. That IS strange, Batou said. If it was just a cyberbrain hack, then they wouldn't have been infected. Then they're most likely accomplices for Free Magic , the Major said. Either willing, or unwilling. That's not all, Major, Ishikawa continued. I also checked the cameras for all the stops before the train ran away, and I found these three people who boarded the train on the previous stop but were not seen getting off of it. Ishikawa showed fast-forwarded clips from the cameras at the stop, before pausing it and zooming it in on the features of three people. One looked like a stereotypical punk, with half of his dyed red hair slicked up to look spiky and the other half left hanging over his face, as well as gold piercings in his ears, torn and ragged blue jeans, death metal T-shirt, open dark purple vest, and hi-top green sneakers. His arms were clearly prosthetics, with black spikes riding the back of them The second was dressed in a black niqab that covered her(?) from head to toe, showing only dark brown eyes. The third, which almost drew a guffaw from Aramaki, was dressed as a cowboy. He had gone the whole nine yards to make it look authentic as well, from the weathered and wide dark brown hat and spurred boots to the long duster covering his frame. Quite the circus we're dealing with, Batou commented. We got anything else on 'em? Not much, unfortunately, Ishikawa said. The kid is Konno Rintaro, age 21, 164 centimeters, approximately 60 kilograms, was disinherited by his family three years ago, has a twin sister, Aye, who abandoned the family to join him. The two haven't been seen since. As for the other two, the niqab is preventing identification of the woman, and the cowboy is a foreigner, so I'm not finding him on any local databases right now. These three appear to be members of Free Magic, and potentially a fourth as well, the Major reasoned. Pazu, Bolma, have you found anyone or anything suspicious at the law firm? Aside from what looks like a lot of yakuza protecting the board, not really seeing anyone who could pose a threat, Pazu replied. I've been looking over the building and even the surrounding ones, but aside from that giant target sign Free Magic put up across the street from Higashisanjou, there's no evidence that Free Magic has tampered with anything, and no signs of explosives. Togusa, the Major continued. Have you found anything the police have on the previous Free Magic cases that could be helpful? Aside from the fact that they are still being overdramatic like the last four times they appeared, Togusa stated. The only thing that has been seen in any of the previous cases is that big banner they put up across from Higashisanjou, and that was something they used to cover a hole they somehow made in the road behind them as they were driving away. I've already examined the banner, Bolma piped up. It's made of cotton cloth and ordinary oil paint was used to make the target symbol. I've also looked behind the banner and there's nothing there. The only thing that's so unusual about it is I have no idea what manner of adhesive Free Magic used to put it up, but it's really strong and it's already made pulling it down a pain. Taking it down's going to take hours, and the owners of the building that has the banner have already hired people with power tools to extract it from the side of the building, and police have cleared the area underneath it in case it falls and buries or even crushes someone. Saito, how is the Board reacting to all this? the Major asked. I can't listen in to their conversation, not surprising considering it's a corporate boardroom in a building owned by a yakuza-aligned firm, Saito said. But I know for a fact they're still in there. They're acting like nothing is happening out of the ordinary. "We can't afford to continue allowing Free Magic to dictate the rules of engagement," Aramaki declared. "Major, Batou, how long before the Tachikomas get you on that train?" We're at one of the stops ahead of the train, and there no diverting tracks between it and us, the Major reported. At its current speed, it'll be upon our position in ninety seconds. "Don't risk the jump if you're uncertain you can't make it," Aramaki warned. Don't worry chief! the Major's Tachikoma replied enthusiastically. We're more than sturdy, quick and smart enough to make it like in the movies , Batou's Tachikoma declared. Aramaki nodded, although no one saw him do it. "Very well. Board the train, stop it, and apprehend the suspects. It's all in your hands again, Major." Roger, the Major responded. Hey, what about my hands, chief? Batou joked. Aramaki didn't smile at the joke. He was a man of experience, but none of his experiences gave him a manner of context by which to understand Free Magic. They were flashy, loud, used elaborate tricks and plans, and executed their schemes with seemingly reckless abandon but always seemed to be one step ahead of everyone trying to catch them. They acted like the kind of people you would see in manga and anime, with larger-than-life personalities (previously presumed, but probably now confirmed with the sighting of the cowboy) and grand scale spectacles. But he didn't need to have Major Kusanagi's ghost to know that there was something they were missing, something that would explain what Free Magic was ultimately trying to accomplish. Something that would explain how an aboveground runaway train could pose a threat to powerful and corporate lawyers over 100 meters off the ground in the middle of a dense urban center in a well-protected building more than five kilometers away. Kusanagi POV 40 seconds to jump. The train was fast approaching. Both Kusanagi and Batou were inside their respective Tachikomas on the roof of the train stop waiting for the train to pass right by in front of and below them. 30 seconds to jump. Jumping onto a speeding train like in the movies is technically possible, but it's very difficult and dangerous if any one of a hundred different factors is against it. Anything from the sheer velocity of the train and the state of repair for both the train and the tracks it's on to one's own position relative to the train when it's time to jump and the surface you're trying to grab on to in order to actually board the train. 20 seconds to jump. Fortunately, Motoko Kusanagi and Batou didn't have to consciously worry about a lot of these factors, considering they were both fully cyberized and were thus both fully capable of superhuman feats of strength and ability, and they were both riding the robotic Tachikomas that were able to break down the math of such a jump in a split second and whose multiple pedes and spider wire made them very capable of sticking the landing once they jumped. 10 seconds. This was it. She was going to have her first encounter with the enigmatic group Free Magic. She couldn't shake the anticipation of meeting them. Her ghost was telling her it felt like the beginning of the cases of the Laughing Man, the Individual Eleven, and the Solid State Society. She hoped for once it was wrong. NOW! Both Tachikomas carrying the Major and Batou immediately jumped forward, firing their spider threads ahead of the train, allowing it to catch them. The energetic robots screamed in enthusiasm as they were briefly pulled in the air by the train, but both landed on the train with solid thumps, both saying 'oomph' to emphasize the impact. Batou, we're getting onto the train to deal with Free Magic, Kusanagi ordered, as the two Tachikomas headed for the link between the two cars of the old passenger train. Roger, he replied. Tachikomas, as soon as we board the train, see if you can find an external cable port so you can take control and stop the train. YES, MA'AM! they cried. The hatch opened on Kusanagi's Tachikoma, allowing the rushing wind through her hair and whipping against her body, trying to drag her away and dash her against the ground. She turned to the door the separated her from the train, and saw Batou through the door's window to the other side. They nodded to each other, and as one swung forward, smashing in the doors and rolling against the opposite entrances to the connecting cars. Kusanagi looked into the car ahead of her. Batou, I see the woman in the niqab in the middle car. I see the cowboy in the front car, Batou replied. Do you see the punk kid? No, Kusanagi replied. He's probably controlling the train from the driver's seat. Which means we need to go through the cowboy. But we can't forget the woman either. Batou noted. If we both go for the front, we'll get caught in the middle of a crossfire. Even if the cowboy isn't keeping in character, the most he could hide under that coat is a semiautomatic rifle. The woman on the other hand could be hiding a rocket launcher under that robe she's wearing. They should have noticed that we're here by now. Kusanagi reasoned. The fact they're not shooting means they're waiting for us to make the next move. Tachikomas, have you found anything yet? Nothing yet, Major! her Tachikoma responded. It's also very hard to maneuver on so little surface area when it's moving so fast and- AH! Duck! Looks like we might have the best chance of stopping the train, Kusanagi said. Let me take the woman, Batou offered. That way you can go through the cowboy and then head to the front to stop the train. Sounds like a plan, Kusanagi agreed, holding her pistol up. Batou mirrored her. Now! Kusanagi spun and kicked in the door to the front car, running forward several steps and leveling her gun at the cowboy. "Police! Freeze!" she ordered. In front of Kusanagi, in the middle of the train car and leaning against the cushioned plastic seats was the cowboy that Ishikawa had shown in the earlier footage. Up close, Kusanagi could see that he had done a good job embracing the Old American West archetype. From a faded blue button-down shirt and red bandanna to the worn brown leather pants and long coat, and he even had a slow-burning cigarette hanging from the edge of his lips. The only thing that told Kusanagi that he hadn't literally stepped out of the Old West and into the twenty-first century was his excellent hygienic state, from his clean-shaven face to a lack of dirty smells. The cowboy straightened himself up and put his hands on his hips and leveled a confident stare into Kusanagi's eyes. Ignoring Kusanagi, he took another drag on his cigarette, then blowing out a gray cloud of smoke. Gunshots sounded in the train car behind them, along with shattering glass. Major, Batou reported. I was right, the lady was packing a pair of shotguns under her dress. Keep her occupied. I got the cowboy. She put her full attention on the cowboy. "Open your coat, drop your weapons, and put your hands behind your head." Kusanagi directed. The man let the cigarette fall out of his mouth onto the floor, where he crushed it with his boot-heel. Then he gave her a smile that sat far too easily on his face for her liking. "You ma'am, are one of the damn finest-looking women I ever laid eyes on. It's a good thing that body is 100 percent prosthetics, so I probably won't be doing any permanent damage. Probably." Okay, now the little lady's got swords too, Batou told her. She ignored him. "Now," Kusanagi repeated, taking a step forward for emphasis. Still grinning like an idiot, he took off his coat, the soft ruffle of it hitting the floor revealing there were no weapons inside it. Also, to Kusanagi's surprise, she saw no guns on his belt, and he even gave her a twirl, showing he had no weapons stuffed in the back. "Ah, shoot, looks like I left my Peacemakers back home," he mockingly groaned. "Well, 'least I still got my handguns." He held his hands like they were guns, pointing them in Kusanagi's direction. Major! This lady's got a freaking chain, too! Batou sounded panicked. The bitch is toying with me! Things were starting to get worrisome. "Funny, but you're not done," Kusanagi stated. "Put your hands behind your head and lay down on the ground." The cowboy's smile got a little wider, taking on a very dangerous feel. "You can't see it, can you?" See what? Kusanagi thought, her ghost suddenly ringing alarm bells like a fire had broken out. "Oh right, you're ordinary folk. Of course you can't see it. Heck, you don't have a clue what I'm talking about. That's why your comrade back there is getting his ass kicked. And why yours is about to be. Shame too, I would've loved a proper shootout with ya'." "Put your hands behind your head, NOW!" Kusanagi screamed. "Bang," the cowboy said, jerking his right arm as if he'd fired a gun. The next instant, Kusanagi's gun exploded to pieces right in her hands. "What the-?" she gasped as she stumbled backwards in shock. "Woosh." Before she could fall further back, the cowboy was suddenly in front of her, cocking his arm back to land a haymaker right in her face. She quickly pulls her arms in front of her to protect herself. "Pow." His fist slams into her arms, crushing the metal limbs under the sheer force of the hit and throwing her body back through the air and into the doorframe. Kusanagi felt disoriented, and that was saying something for someone with such high-grade prosthetics as hers. "AAAAGGHHHH!" Batou screamed. "Oof, I hope you people got spare parts for those arms. Yours and his both." the cowboy winced, looking past her into the next car. "It's a real good thing for you and your friend that you're full-on cyborgs. Otherwise we mighta killed you two by accident. And our boss don't like us killing people he don't tell us to kill. Includin' decent-seeming folk like yourselves who're just doing your duty." Nothing was making sense in Major Motoko Kusanagi's head. Her gun exploding because a man said bang? A single woman carrying shotguns, swords, and chains and successfully hiding all of them from view under a dress? The cowboy's ridiculous speed? Her arms breaking from a single punch? Now she was wishing looks could kill, so that her glare would at least hurt the cowboy in front of her. "Hey, geezer!" came a young voice and footsteps. It was Konno Rintaro, the 'punk kid'. The cowboy sighed and turned to him. "You done with your stuff, Arms?" "Yeah, everything's ready on both ends," he said. "Had to deal with a couple blue bots, but I shut 'em up and tossed 'em off." Kusanagi suddenly realized. Tachikomas! What happened? Sorry, Major! they apologized. We were looking for the external ports, but then we were attacked by a weird kid with crazy prosthetic arms. He stabbed us with something and then suddenly we weren't on the train anymore! "So, what do we do with the cops?" 'Arms' asked. "We'll take them off the train with us," Kusanagi heard a female voice, and turned to see the covered woman walk into the link between the two cars, carrying a chained-up and unconscious Batou over her shoulder like a bag of potatoes. He was easily twice her size, and she held him with one arm. "Today is not their day to die." "You heard the lady," Motoko heard the cowboy say, before a pair of arms suddenly wraps around her and lifts her onto the cowboy's shoulders. "This is our stop!" For a brief moment, Motoko considered kicking the cowboy, but decided against it, as without the Tachikomas or the ability to stop the train in time for whatever it is they had planned for it, the cowboy was her best shot at getting off the train safely. They ran back, going to the third car in the back, opening the door and standing on the very back of the runaway train. After straining her neck to look behind, Motoko surmised from the low urban development she saw that they were at the outskirts of the city "I hope you know what you're doing!" she shouted over the wind. "Sure we do!" he responded. Then he grasped the woman's hand and the boy (reluctantly) grabbed the cowboy's arm. "Alright, as soon as we pass through the Gate, we jump! Got it?" the cowboy told his comrades. "Got it!" Konno yelled. "Yes," the woman said. "What gate?" Kusanagi asked. And then suddenly they passed through. One moment, Motoko Kusanagi was looking at the empty railroad track behind her. The next, she was staring at the immense face of a glass and steel skyscraper. "NOW!" the cowboy screamed, as the three members of Free Magic jumped. For a moment, they were falling in the air. The next, the woman's full-body dress opened like a parasol and expanded to the size of a tent and arrested their momentum. Motoko, having no time to marvel at the impossible feat in front of her, then turned her attention to the train- *CRASH* -just in time to watch it crash right into another skyscraper. WHAT THE HELL! Saito cried. Motoko Kusanagi couldn't believe it. Literally. WHAT THE FUCK! Pazu exclaimed She had to be dreaming. But her senses and systems were saying she was wide awake. The banner van- HOLY SHIT! Bolma swore. She had to have been hacked. But her immediate dive found no trace of a virus or outside access of any kind. Wait, Pazu, Bolma, what's going on? Togusa asked. There had to be a rational explanation. One that explained how Free Magic was able to instantly transport a train on ground level from the Niihama outskirts to the middle of the air in the financial district. That- that's- this can't be real, Ishikawa stuttered. She barely noticed when they touched down, the cowboy dropped her onto the sidewalk, the woman placing Batou next to her, and then the three entered a waiting car that drove off. Oh my God. Major, how did this happen? Kusanagi had ignored the rest of the chatter between her teammates and the police rushing about, keeping people away from Higashisanjou Law Firm, as well as getting them out, before the train lodged into a few of the building's upper floors fell out onto the street or did more damage to the building. But she gave her honest, Socratic answer to the chief. "I do not know."
- Reader mode
- Jan 31, 2019
Disclaimer: I don't own Ghost in the Shell or Hunter X Hunter. "Speech" Thought Flashback Cyber-comms <Video/phone/writing> Chapter 2: Triple x Whammy "I don't believe I need to tell you how difficult this situation has become, Section 9 Chief Aramaki," Prime Minister Kayabuki stated. "No, I don't believe you need to," he replied, looking back at not only the Prime Minister, but also the Ministers of Home Affairs, Justice, Transportation, Defense, Internal Affairs and Communications, and the Niihama Public Prosecutor. He and the rest of Section 9 all looked at the video footage from the incident just earlier. Although to call what had happened a mere 'incident' is to severely downplay the actual events of said 'incident.' "Until now, Free Magic was not regarded as a serious threat to national security," the Minister of Defense flipped through the file he was reading. "In all four prior incidents, while they did target high-profile individuals, most notably the former secretary of finance from the prior administration, their actions were simply heists, and the information thy released onto the Internet had nothing classified, and any harm done wasn't permanent. But what happened here defies belief." "Your team came face to face with the members of Free Magic responsible for yesterday afternoon's events," the Home Affairs Minister stated. "We need you to tell us everything you know about what happened." Aramaki nodded. "This latest incident began when a giant bullseye banner was put up across the street from Higashisanjou law firm sometime between 6 and 7 in the morning, along with a message warning them to give up the information they had on the yakuza. Soon word got out and Higashisanjou increased its security, and police arrived to provide protection. Section 9 deployed members to provide overwatch at the firm and another was sent to Police HQ to look over evidence to discern what methods they might utilize. Then at precisely 12:35, Free Magic hijacked the outbound B line train. A total of five members have been observed to be directly involved, with three on board the hijacked train, and two more laying advanced groundwork for its approach." Two videos were played side by side, in sync and in real time. On the left was a video recording of a train station cleared out and manned by security detail, and the one on the right revealed a bird's eye view of the street outside the Higashisanjou law firm, across which was a giant bullseye banner. In the left side video, nothing seems to be happening, then a young woman dressed in simple gym shorts and a tank top with a massive backpack barrels right through the security men and knocks out all three of them on her side with ease, while a man dressed in a tan trench coat does the same on the other side. Then, she jumps onto the track, opens the backpack, and pulls out a banner identical to the one in the other video, which immediately spreads out across the track and stiffens up to stand on its edge, with the young woman's hand still on it for support. Then the train arrives charges forward, makes contact with the banner- Aramaki continued. "As the train continued onward, the remaining members of my team were deployed to watch and/or board the train to engage and arrest the members of Free Magic." "Obviously, that didn't happen," the Defense Minister groused. "Yes," Aramaki replied. "From the three members on the train, my team encountered a man who could destroy a firearm at distance through some invisible means, an arms master of unparalleled caliber, and a cyber-hacker able to break into cyberbrains, trains, and our Tachikomas with ease. These three repelled my team long enough to ensure that the other two members off the train could complete their objective, allowing them to complete their mission and escape." And then disappears right into it. And just as it was somehow getting sucked into the banner on the left, it simultaneously was coming out of the banner in the right side video, its momentum carrying it through the air and right into section of windows right in front of where the Higashisanjou execs were holding their conference. After the back half of the train touched air, Motoko and Batou were taken off the train by Free Magic as its members leapt off, the woman's burka opening like a parachute and slowing their fall. The banners in both videos had disappeared after the train finished passing through them. After getting down to street level, all three of them took advantage of the chaos around them to drop off their human luggage, get into the street, open a manhole, and disappear into the sewers. After the train passed through(?), the woman holding up the now-absent banner then staggers and falls forward onto her hands, exhausted. Her partner then takes out a few sheets of paper from inside his coat and tosses them in the air, where they fold themselves into paper airplanes and fly toward each of the cameras in the stop. When the last plane reaches the camera used for the video, the man and the woman disappear from the video. "Have you gotten any positive identification on any of the suspects?" the Public Prosecutor asked. "We have learned that two of the members involved in the hijacking are brother and sister, named Rintaro and Aye Konno. Rintaro is suspected to have been responsible for hacking the cyberbrains of the passengers who stampeded off the train, the train itself, and the Tachikomas. As of yet, whatever he used to hack each of these, we have found no trace, and thus are classifying him as a super class-A hacker. But we have yet to identify any of the other members." "So the reason they're showing their faces is because they think we can't find them?" Bolma asked. "No," Batou replied. The team had seen his memory of the fight with the woman in the burka. She had been practically bouncing off of everything in the train car with how much she was jumping around him and dodging his bullets. In the end, she was able to break both of the arms of his high-performance prosthetic body with a chain before knocking him out with an axe kick to the crown of his head. Aramaki was glad that he had new bodies prepared for each of the fully-cyberized members of Section 9 ahead of time, so that they wouldn't be handicapped for long. "The reason they're showing their faces is because they think we can't stop them," Major Kusanagi finished. "And whatever it is they did on that train, it's certainly given them good cause to think that way." "I've also still been looking for the other members involved in the hijacking," Ishikawa said. "And unfortunately I haven't been able to find any record of them at all. No names, school photos, surveillance videos, military records, nothing." "What about the Konno siblings?" Togusa asked. "We know they're members of Free Magic, so can't we use them to find the rest of them?" "Tried that, but it looks like ever since they ran away three years ago, they've been keeping their heads down, so I haven't been able to find anything on them." "Do we know how Free Magic was able to pull off that- that- that magic trick of theirs?" the Internal Affairs and Communications Minister stammered. "The public and the media have been banging down the government's doors all day demanding answers and they're getting frustrated with our responses." "I'm afraid that remains a mystery," Aramaki replied. "While it would not surprise me to learn that someone was researching teleportation, I remember it being said at last year's theoretical science conference that the amount of data required to perform it even once surpasses the capacity of the entire Internet, and would likely require enormous amounts of power. And yet Free Magic was able to do so while side-stepping both problems." "So there is nothing new you have to tell us about Free Magic?" the Prime Minister asked. "Are we all just going to ignore the fact that these guys have freaky supernatural powers and that they just kicked our asses with them?" Batou blurted. The room fell into an uncomfortable silence, and everyone looked at Batou and each other. Then Togusa responded. "Isn't it a little early to call what they did supernatural? Maybe science fiction, but to call that supernatural-" "Togusa," Batou interrupted. "They moved a train five kilometers distant and a hundred meters in the air in an instant using nothing but a matching pair of painted papers. You explain to me how that sounds even remotely scientific. "That's enough, Batou," Aramaki ordered. Batou quieted down. "I understand we're all frustrated. We failed to stop Free Magic from killing the Higashisanjou board and we still don't know how they did it, and our two best combat operatives were beaten in close quarters by unknown individuals. Yes, we're all frustrated, but we're also still here and Free Magic is still out there, and arguing over that which we don't know enough will get us nowhere. Major, Batou, go and get into your new bodies before reporting back to duty. The rest of you I want looking into everything we can find about Free Magic. I don't care how you get it, just do it." "No ma'am," Aramaki said. "So, is there another reason that I am here?" "I am afraid so," the Public Prosecutor said, reaching into his suit and pulling out a letter, and handing it to Aramaki. "My office received this only two hours ago, from Free Magic. It has a list of their next targets." Aramaki opened the letter, and was surprised to see it written in flowing, old-fashioned cursive. It was short, and straight to the point: <To the Public Prosecutor, I have written this letter to explain to you that your office has done inadequate work in the prosecution of criminal activity in the city of Niihama. After our assault upon the Higashisanjou law firm, we learned that your office has made three great miscarriages of justice in the last year: Kojuro "KaKo" Kamoto, TV actor and endangered animal activist, and sexual predator and murderer of women and children. Nobuyushi Hoshino, owner and CEO of Zebra Printing, head of the Munakata yakuza gang. Konyo Sawachika, Internal Affairs and Communications Minister, political corruption and stock market price-rigging, stole millions from retirement plans. We did not start out with the aim of taking lives, but you failed to deliver justice for their victims. We won't. We are Free Magic.> Aramaki's brow furrowed in displeasure and anger. He had heard of those cases, and the fact the public prosecutor's office had failed to deliver on those verdicts had annoyed him. Unfortunately, either because none of these cases even touched on cyber-terrorism, or his team was too busy with other cases at the time, he and Section 9 had never gotten involved in them, leaving them unable to affect the outcome of the cases. And as a man of the law, Aramaki always retained a particular distaste for vigilantism. "Have they made any moves yet?" he asked. "Aside from send that letter, none that we are aware of," Kayabuki said. "As for our moves, the Public Prosecutor already arranged police protection for 'KaKo' and Nobuyushi Hoshino before contacting us. As for our dear Minister, I believe you've already noticed our beefed-up security?" "Yes, I have," he acknowledged. Major, have you finished looking over their security? Yes, Kusanagi replied. And I have to say they're not taking many chances. I've counted more than thirty guys in suits on the ground, another dozen in plain clothes, and I've spotted six sniper teams covering the angles. I'd say they're pretty secure, but after what Free Magic pulled just to off some corporate lawyers, I'm still worried. "However, as you probably have already surmised," Kayabuki continued, "we still don't feel entirely secure with our arrangements. While the Defense Minister would love to bring heavier equipment to bear, such an action would panic the public, and your group has always been better at being discrete. So, we would like you to help us protect these three men from Free Magic and, if possible, catch and arrest them." Aramaki bowed his head. "As you wish, Prime Minister. I will immediately inform my team and get them ready." "Thank you, Aramaki." GitS/HxH Six Hours Later… In police work, there were two field jobs that always took the longest and always involved long stretches of nothing: stakeouts, and protection detail. Batou and Togusa were very familiar with stakeouts, having been out on them together more times than they ever cared to count. Protection detail, on the other hand, was a very different beast of a job that they had performed on far fewer occasions – and always with unpleasant results. This was a major reason the two men were uncomfortable with their current assignment. "HEY! WHO WANTS TO HELP ME MAKE A BEER FOUNTAIN?" "WOOOOOO!!!" Although a far more pressing reason for their discomfort was the massive party being held out on the rooftop hotel pool area, which 'KaKo,' the Free Magic target they were protecting, had elected to throw at the last minute in light of learning that his life had been threatened with imminent doom. While no attempts had been made on his life yet, KaKo's party had already drawn in hundreds of his rabid fans. Both the pool area and KaKo's penthouse floor reached capacity very quickly, so the rest of the revelers who arrived later and were turned away decided to start 'extensions' of the party throughout the rest of the hotel, forcing the already thin police protection to stretch itself to watch even more guests. Batou and Togusa decided to make their job of protecting KaKo easier by being on the floor of the main party, but at the same time, it got on Batou's nerves with how loud and annoying the party-goers were, and Togusa's parenting instincts were ringing alarm bells with how young some of these people were, and he couldn't help but think his daughter might end up joining a crowd like this when she got old enough. Batou, Togusa. It was the Major. Major, you have no idea how good you sound right now, Batou replied, continuing to look at KaKo carefully stacking wine glasses on a table, while everyone around was cheering him on while trying to bob their heads and hands to the dubstep tune in the background. I agree, Togusa said. Has something happened with the Internal Affairs and Communications Minister? No, nothing yet, Kusanagi responded. He's been on pretty good behavior for a target, just eating meals, watching movies, and staying away from windows. But the Sun is setting, and I reckon that if Free Magic is going to do anything soon, it's going to be under the cover of darkness. That's going to be just great for us, Pazu said sarcastically. It's bad enough Bolma and I are not allowed to protect a yakuza head from on the same boat , but nightfall is going to make even keeping track of anyone or anything who might go overboard an even bigger pain. And that's to say nothing of the seagulls that keep pooping on us. I'm afraid we all have little choice, Kusanagi replied. Free Magic wants these men dead, and we're the only ones who have met them face to face. That makes us the best qualified to protect them. At the very least, this will give us insight into just how big Free Magic really is and how well they can handle tackling multiple objectives, Ishikawa jumped in. That is assuming that they focus on all three men at the same time and not go after them one at a time, Saito replied. Oh, can we- wait, hold on, Batou suddenly noticed KaKo start making choking sounds and pounding his chest. Oh, shit! He immediately grabbed for his gun and made to rush forward- And then a Chinese girl in a stereotypical red Chinese dress slapped his back especially hard and something came flying out of his mouth onto the floor. He heaved huge gulps of air, muttering "What the fuck was that?" Another person picked it up off the floor, exclaiming, "It's a ring!" Batou put his gun back and faded back to his original position, as the Chinese girl confessed to putting the ring in his glass, winning her his company. Batou, what happened? Kusanagi asked. False alarm, he groused. Mr. Batou, one of the Tachikomas assigned to his detail piped up. Why do humans throw parties? Wouldn't it be a lot less trouble to just call everyone to acknowledge a special occasion and ten go back to doing what's important in their lives and not waste it doing extravagant things like make beer fountains? Batou sighed. Tachikoma, life is hard, and sometimes you just need to unwind and relax in order to get through it. Huh. GitS/HxH Motoko Kusanagi still felt uneasy. This particular feeling of unease had started less than half an hour ago when the Minister returned to his in-mansion home theater to continue watching his movie of choice, Hitchcock's Psycho. Ever since that feeling emerged, she decided the best thing to do would be to stay in the theater with him. That feeling had yet to go away, and it stemmed from the fact that it almost felt like she had been… feeling something, but not with her body, but her Ghost. It was if it was screaming in her ear that someone else was there, and they were ready to kill the Minister the moment she turned away. It was a feeling she had never felt before, and she had already concluded that Free Magic was behind it. She had no way of figuring out Free Magic. One day they could be cleaning out an entire art collection, the next they could be ramming trains into corporate boardrooms. One day they're dashing thieves, the next they're vigilante killers. And that's not- Major! It was Saito. A whole fleet of cars just crashed into the gate! They're charging the manor! It must be Free Magic, the Major drew her gun, and rushed to the Minister. "Hey, Minis-" Afterwards, she would note that the man had been sitting unnaturally still for at least twenty minutes before Saito alerted her, and she actually hadn't been hearing him breathe for at least ten of those minutes. But she didn't know that now. As she reached her hand out to him, her hand ran into something, and suddenly cracks spread in front of her like one would see from a window or a sheet of ice before something shattered like glass and disappeared into nothing. Kusanagi drew back in shock of it, and saw that the image behind it was of the Interior Affairs and Communications Minister, Konyo Sawachika, the mechanical insides of his prosthetic body revealed to the world from a neat slice just above the shoulders, while the head that normally rested above that was nestled softly in the Minister's hands in his lap. GitS/HxH Everyone, get to your people now! Pazu and Bolma heard from the Major. Free Magic has already killed the Minister, they're likely moving already for their other targets! "You heard the lady," Pazu said. "No need to tell me twice," Bolma responded, bringing their small four-man boat in line with the yakuza multimillion dollar quadruple-deck yacht. As they were doing so, they suddenly heard a *thunkthunk* right behind them in the boat. They turned around to find rocking there in time with boat cresting each little wave on the open water was a pair of unpinned grenades. The two panicked and immediately jumped out into the freezing water of the Pacific Ocean. A moment later, was a pair of *BOOM*'s, sending pieces of their little ship flying through the air. After quickly noticing their boat wasn't about to sink, Pazu and Bolma grabbed onto the side of their ship and were about to get out of the water when they heard gunfire. Ducking down, they looked up at the yacht to see a giant flock of seagulls swarming about the boat, along with a lot of birds they didn't normally recall out at sea, such as pigeons, a few hawks, and even an eagle and a vulture. They also saw the birds clutching guns in their talons and shooting them at the yakuza on the ship, who were shooting back. "You've got to be shitting me," Pazu said, stupefied. GitS/HxH "KoKa, we're leaving, and that's final," Togusa insisted as he tried to catch him to take him away from the party. "And I said, I'm staying, and that's final," KoKa shot back, leaping around like a monkey, his partygoers playing keep away with him as well and making things harder for the detective. "Get back here you little shit!" Batou shouted as barreled through people to get to the celebrity brat, whom he had no idea how he had become famous in the first place. "We're trying to save your life, dammit!" "You only live once, man! YOLO!" he yelled, as he jumped right over the large officer's arms and into the arms of another girl, this one dressed in a skimpy yellow bikini. "Here, let me take you away from these bad men," she yelled, and took off toward the pool area, laughing all the way as Batou growled and continued chasing him. Then, as they got outside, Togusa cut them off, his hands out to either side to keep her from running around him. "Stop this childishness! It's only going to make things harder for you!" "He's right!" came a female voice. KaKo turned his head around, and saw the Chinese girl he'd been hanging around earlier come stomping at him. "O-oh, hey babe!" He stammered, wriggling out of the bikini girl's arms to walk forward to the girl who had saved him from choking on a ring earlier. "Hey, look, I'm sorry about ditching you, and-" *SMACK* The Chinese party-girl had pulled her hand back and smacked right on the side of the head, one that was easily heard by the whole entourage, even over the music. Allowing everyone to see KaKo's head come flying off its shoulders and soar through the air and over the lip of the roof to the street below, while his body collapsed onto the floor in a bloody heap. And while everyone, even Togusa and Batou were distracted by that sight, the Chinese party-girl who had just killed KaKo leaped over the roof and followed after the head. Togusa and Batou rushed to the edge of the roof she had jumped and looked over to see her falling to the pavement without a sound as a Tachikoma turned off its Thermal-Optic Camouflage right underneath her. She flipped and landed on the blue Think Tank with a crash, breaking all four of its legs and damaging its main body. Then she leaped off of it and onto a nearby van that immediately took off. "Dammit," Batou said. They only had two Tachikomas for this assignment, and the Major had the rest at the manor where they were protecting the Minister. It meant that Free Magic had gotten away right under their noses, again. GitS/HxH Safronova Lilya Yurievna let out a sigh of relief and dispelled her Cloak of Invisibility as the sedan she had jumped her finally carried her out of sight of the mansion, and thus any cameras that were set up around the place. It would be very difficult for the police to track her ride considering there were two dozen others of radically different types that 'Armand' had commandeered in order to allow her the luxury of options in order to escape. Although she was very lucky the cars arrived on time for her to escape, considering how much time it actually took her to carry out the assassination. The problem was certainly not a lack of ability, after all, the mansion didn't have a single Nen-user on the premises, and no amount of prosthetics could help when up against a master Nen-user like herself. In fact, the heaviest amount of gear on the grounds of the estate were the well-camouflaged spider-like robots hiding out on the roof and on the grounds, and there were only four of those, so there was no way they were going to get in the way of her escape. The problem was that she had been required by the boss to use stealth to carry out the mission, meaning that she had to make sure no one noticed her coming in or getting out. And the moment she reached the home theater where the Minister was located, she ran into the cyborg chick that Flynn Hess had fought on the train. The guy never forgot a beautiful face, literally, so he always had Armand's sister Aye draw it so that everyone could see it, which meant that she recognized her. The cyborg had been standing outside the door the whole time, but the moment that Safronova sneaked into the theater behind the Minster, the cyborg followed inside. For a moment, she was afraid the cyberized woman knew that she was there, but as she kept standing there, she realized that the woman truly wasn't aware of her presence, but she couldn't get rid of the feeling that she had somehow sensed her Nen. Which would be incredible, considering that the boss had discerned that those with cyberbrains were impaired in their ability to both use and sense Nen, and especially those with full-body prosthetics, and thus barely any natural flesh to speak of. The cyborg woman was very vigilant, so Safronova had to be very careful not to spook her. She was forced to shave time off of Cloak of Invisibility to conjure a full-body Mirror Illusion between the cyborg woman and the Minister. It was slow and pain-staking to do in order to make sure she got the illusion right and that the cyborg didn't witness her actually make it. Thank goodness Psycho was playing and the infamous shower scene was coming. Then, finally after she was certain the woman couldn't see through the Mirror Illusion, she briefly dropped her Cloak of Invisibility and transmuted her Glinting Dagger. When the murderer arrived on screen and the screeching music played, she covered the Minister's mouth and sliced her blade through his neck, keeping his head on his shoulders to keep it rolling off. Safronova looked to the cyborg. She didn't notice. She then put back on her Cloak of Invisibility and returned to the door, where she conjured another Mirror Illusion right over where the door was, opened it silently so that the guards on neither side of the door could notice it open, closed it just as quietly, and got away to the outside, just in time for the cars to arrive and for her to escape. <Safronova,> came the voice of her boss over her earpiece. <How are you?> "I'm alright, Filaes*," she replied with a smirk. "You're gonna love what I've got to share with everyone when I get back." *Pronounced FEE-lays*
- Feb 2, 2019
So, is Free magic Nen? Also, Free magic is a better name for Nen. Yay or Nay?
primepower1 said: So, is Free magic Nen? Also, Free magic is a better name for Nen. Yay or Nay? Click to expand... Click to shrink...
- Feb 3, 2019
I'll read this in the morning, but just let me say. Thank you, Thank you for seeing hunter x hunter and writing fanfiction for it. I look forward to seeing how this story plays out with Nen in a decidedly non Nen world.
- Mar 14, 2019
"Speech" Thought Video/Phone/Writing/Intercom Cyber-Communication Chapter 3: Hunting X for X Answers Zexian Yuan was told often that he needs to quit smoking, even as people marveled over how such a dedicated smoker as he could keep his lungs so clean. As much as he appreciated or were annoyed by people's concerns for his health, he never wanted to quit smoking because he was always stressed. This was perfectly understandable, since he was one of the Chinese Triad's top enforcers, which meant that there was always something or someone to stress over, from collecting money owed from debtors to dealing with international gangs trespassing on Triad territory and business. While sex and violence did wonders for venting that stress, one simply could not go around screwing and shooting people every other two hours, so smoking was the only truly reliable means of relieving stress he had for any time of day any day of the week. Now, there was another reason he wouldn't quit cigarettes, but it wasn't something he shared with a lot of people who he didn't kill right afterwards, since it was the secret to his robust health and his rise through the ranks of the Triads. And so, while one of the Triad's regional bosses negotiated drug trade with a Russian mobster looking to establish a presence in Niihama inside Il Veneziano, the city's only Italian restaurant, he went outside and lit a cigarette. As he was taking a long drag on the cigarette to send the relaxing nicotine to his brain and smoke to his lungs, he stared out at the world, seemingly doing nothing but watching nondescript cars and blissfully ignorant civilians go by. In reality, he was stressing himself out over another matter. "Hey, Swiss," came a squeaky, grating voice from his left. Zexian sighed, letting the smoke waft out of his mouth. "How many times have I told you not to call me that, Yahui?" he growled. "Don't know, do you?" he replied, stepping alongside him. The two men could hardly have contrasted more sharply with one another if they had tried. Zexian Yuan was tall, broad, with a well-trimmed circle beard on a roguishly handsome face with a head of short black hair, and dressed to the nines in a dark three-piece suit and a black diver's watch on his wrist. Yahui Ren was a string bean almost a whole head shorter with a long, sallow face below long, stringy blond-dyed hair and dressed in a blue and red ski coat and white sweat pants. In truth, Zexian hated Yahui very much, and vice versa, but they had to tolerate each other. After all, they knew each other's greatest secret, and each would only ever approach the other if their bosses deemed a job too dangerous for anyone else to perform, and if they were both close enough to one another that working together was possible, they considered extra insurance for a job well done. "So, do the bosses want us to deal with Free Magic?" Zexian asked Yahui. The smaller man snorted. "That obvious, huh?" "They've been in the news lately, and that stunt with the train was obviously the work of Torches, as was that attack on the yakuza. I would give them credit for creativity, but their flagrant use of Qi has been giving me headaches since yesterday." "It isn't the attack on the boat that got the bosses to send us," Yahui said, causing Zexian to raise an eyebrow. "It was actually the hit job on KaKo. Video of that attack went viral, and they noticed something rather interesting about the killer." "What's that?" Zexian asked, taking another puff. Yahui gave a smile. "It's Xue." Zexian's eyes widened in surprise, and he pulled his cigarette from his lips. "Xuegang Jin? She's alive?" Yahui nodded. "Yeah. Turns out the little powerhouse is not only still in the land of the living but she's running around with a new crowd, and they happen to be named Free Magic." Zexian scratched his beard, the cigarette between his fingers still burning. "I think that guy we spotted her with that time is why she's here." "Me and the bosses agree," Yahui said. "They want us to deal with Free Magic, especially in light of the yakuza attack. Xuegang has been running around with these guys for months, so she's both a traitor to the Triad and a valuable source of information. The bosses want us to get her and bring her back so we can squeeze everything she knows about Free Magic before killing her." "Sounds good," Zexian dropped the cigarette and rubbed it out under his shoe. "Only problem is that she's likely shared with them everything we know about Qi, so she's probably lit a few of their Torches as well, and if that train trick is any indication, she's found a genius or two in that group, which is going to make fighting them very difficult, and separating her from them will probably be just as much of a problem." "I've already had her name and photo dropped on the dark web and sent to all the informants," Yahui said. "All we have to do is wait for her to pop her head up and then we can follow and catch her at our leisure." Zexian sighed. It wasn't much of a plan, but it was the best they could do at the moment, and they could fill it in with more details as they learned more. They still had to be cautious, as they had no idea how much she had changed since running away, and there was no telling what abilities her new friends had. "Alright. Where's your hotel?" GitS/HxH In the English language, there are six basic one-word questions a person can ask, five start with the letter W, and the sixth with the letter H. Each of these questions ran through the Major's mind as she watched Ishikawa trawl through the Web in search for answers on the subject of her questions. Who is Free Magic? "Ishikawa, have you found anything on the faces we picked up on surveillance in Free Magic's last appearances?" Kusanagi asked him. "Nothing new. Even with AI Support, we haven't been able to find anything else on the people we saw, let alone on where they went after they did their jobs." What is Free Magic? "Have you been able to find any record of their presence online yet?" "The only thing that's changed is the chatter about them. I've already come across over three dozen different online forums each with multiple threads devoted to discussing Free Magic alone. I've found evidence in the Dark Web that different government organizations and underground rings have expressed interest in Free Magic for their abilities and fear for what they may do to them." When did Free Magic begin? "Have you found anything new about their history?" "The first known Free Magic operation was their robbery of banking mogul Nariakira Kataoka two months ago. One morning, they accused him of a variety of crimes, from embezzlement to murder, and declared they were going to rob him as punishment. That night, in spite of increased private security and police protection, they cleaned out his entire estate. The next morning, they published evidence online for his misdeeds and left the goods at various charities to be auctioned off." "But now they're killing their targets instead," Motoko mused. "Any sign that the Free Magic we're facing now is different from the one that committed the robberies?" "Hmm," Ishikawa mused. "The argument can be made both ways. On the one hand, their decision to resort to assassination instead of robbery can be evidence that another group decided to take Free Magic's name in order to steal their notoriety in order to have a bigger effect when they attacked their targets. On the other hand, they have used identical equipment and have equal skills in infiltration and escape." "The only question in either case is what the catalyst was to make things change to what they are," Motoko thought. Where is Free Magic hiding? "Any sign of where they're hiding?" "Still no. The only clue we have is that they've predominantly attacked targets within or around Niihama, so their base is probably somewhere inside the city. But since they have access to an entire fleet of cars and because they were able to strike three widely separated targets at once, they could also be anywhere in the city." Why was Free Magic doing this? "Do you think they're doing this just for vigilante justice?" she asked him. "I can't say," he said. "But I don't think you would ask something like that if that's what you really thought." "True," she stood up and crossed her arms. "I can't help but think there's another reason for their actions." "Do you think it has something to do with their supernatural abilities?" And there was the most important question in the Major's mind. How was Free Magic doing what they did? "Honestly, now that I think about it, their abilities may be what is lying at the heart of this affair. In the end, putting aside their identities, numbers, location, and even motivations, solving any of it will do us no good if we don't figure out what their abilities are, and how to counter them. But I guess you haven't made any progress on that either." Ishikawa pushed up the dive connector for the computer, and spun in his chair to face the Major. "None. Just the usual Internet conspiracies and forum discussion boards. They have a thousand ideas and a thousand explanations. The only useful thing they've thought about that I've fonud was whether or not what Free Magic was doing was part of a rational or irrational magic system." Kusanagi quirked an eyebrow. "Rational or irrational? How can magic be rational or irrational?" "It refers to whether or not the magic system of a particular setting follows a single, consistent, set of principles that determines how it works," Ishikawa explained. "An irrational magic system doesn't have a consistent set of rules. For example, American superhero comics have a lot of different superheroes who exist side by side in the same world, but they all have widely different powers that are usually based on wildly different principles based either in science fiction or fantasy." "Whereas a rational magic system has a single set of rules that applies to all supernatural abilities in a particular setting," Kusanagi surmised. "Correct. One example is the Earthsea fantasy series by Ursula K. Guin. All magic is controlled and expressed by use of a language called the Old Speech and through runes that communicate the language. While there are a variety of different powers one could master, from healing to weather control, all abilities stem from the same means and source." "I think I get the point you're trying to make: that we need to find out what kind of magic system Free Magic is utilizing." "Yeah, because what kind of system they use can affect how we approach them. If it's an irrational system, then we would have to investigate the members of Free Magic one by one before determining our strategies for arresting them. But if they employ a rational system, then we simply have to learn the principles of the system they're using and then make a single plan that can be employed, with variations, against the group as a whole." "Then let's hope their 'magic' has rationality," Kusanagi said. But then she rested her chin on her hand as a thought came to her. "On the other hand, if it is a rational magic system they're using, and it makes learning it easier, what's there to stop us from learning how to use their abilities ourselves, or more importantly, anyone else?" GitS/HxH Tamaki Konno felt that he had lived a rather successful life. While he had been born into a comfortable middle class life as the son of a corporate salaryman, his good grades and high praise from teachers soon filled him with a resolve to get to the top and make a name for himself. He was glad Japan didn't have a draft during World War IV, it would have delayed his entrance to college after he graduated from high school. After that, he found his way into Tsuchida Finances, a small brokerage firm, starting at the bottom of the ladder. And now, twenty-six years later, the Tsuchida Financial Conglomerate was an international powerhouse in the financial world, and he was its CEO. Indeed, the only thing for which he was wanting in the world was a legacy, something to ensure the immortality of his name. "Yes, that's them," he said. That was especially true now as he stared at the photographs of his current, and very disappointing legacy. "Rintaro and Aye." "Thank you," the detective named Togusa put the photos back in his jacket. He and his fully-cyberized partner, Batou he said, had come in saying they were from Public Security Section 9, and wanted to know about his children. He never liked police, and so he made sure he did as little as possible to attract their attention in all of his business. "What is the point of this, detectives? You must have pulled up all of their information online already, so why are you going through the trouble of coming to me?" He was exasperated with them already. "Because we discovered that they were involved with Free Magic's train attack on the Higashisanjou law firm," Togusa said. "And because you're their father, we were hoping you would have some insight into them that we wouldn't find online." "Detectives," he growled. "Anything you need to know about my children is already online, because I saw to it that as much of it as I deemed necessary was put there. This is something I have made expressly clear to them for years as I raised them, that I desired that they pull themselves up in the world either by capitalizing on their reputation or rising up in spite of it, so long as what they did was legal. "And if you want to ask me where they could probably be," he continued, "I assure you that I've already had people look there. I assume you've probably seen my bank records, and noticed the transactions I've been making to private investigation agencies. I've been trying to find them ever since that boy decided to run away with his sister, and no one I've hired has even seen them. Frankly, I'm at the edge of my patience. If the latest investigator I hired doesn't succeed, then I'm just going to disown those brats and be done with them." "Ah, I see," Togusa said, glancing at his partner, who returned the look. "With all that in mind, why did they run away?" "Simple," he turned in his seat to look out the window. "They didn't like how I raised them and expected the world of them, so they ran away to be 'free' of me and to fulfill their small-minded desires." He saw a flash of anger pass through the detectives faces, something he saw more visibly with Togusa. People often had that reaction when he told them so bluntly how he raised his children, but it was always strongest with other parents who weren't of like minds to him. He didn't care about people like them. "Thank you for your time, Mr. Konno," Batou said, pulling his partner away so that the both of them would leave. As they walked out the door, Konno sighed and sat back in his chair. He really wanted to get his children back, so that he could properly admonish them for their stunt before setting them back on the right path. Now it was only a question of whether his man, a self-professed "retrieval expert," would find Rintaro and Aye or whether Section 9 would. He wanted an update from Mr. Montes, and so he was tempted to call him, but hesitated at the thought that the detectives were tapping his line for exactly that purpose. I would rather not my children get caught in the crossfire if things turn violent, he thought. But then he remembered that the detectives mentioned Higashisanjou. More specifically, the impossible train that killed its board members. Up to now, all official sources said that law enforcement was baffled as to how Free Magic had pulled off the roundabout assassination. His own contacts had said as much, except for one from Africa that said that he had an idea as to what was at work, and warned him not to get involved with such people. And now it seemed his wayward son and daughter had done just that. They brought this on their own heads. He grabbed the phone. GitS/HxH Thank you for the information, Kubota, Aramaki said to his friend. Keep me updated if anything happens. The cyber-comm was disconnected, the image of his friend disappearing from his view and he immediately contacted the Major, her image sliding into perspective. Major, I just learned something. You've got great timing chief, Kusanagi replied. We just learned something interesting as well, but you can go first. Alright, he acknowledged. I just learned that Intelligence has spotted three suspected Imperial American agents entering the country, and they're currently here in the city. Due to the timing of their arrival, we suspect they're either using Free Magic as a cover for their mission, or Free Magic is their target. Good to know we're not the only ones who's worrying about them, Kusanagi sighed. Also, Batou and Togusa just wrapped up with Tamaki Konno. Did they learn anything new? At first, no, she explained. But the man told them that he had been hiring private investigators and they requested we check his bank records and tap his phone lines. The guy has spent over ¥70 million on private investigators, and not all of them have squeaky clean reputations. In fact, his latest hire is a suspected international criminal, one Martin Montes. I've heard of him, Aramaki replied. He showed up five years ago. The man is an independent retrieval specialist who usually works for the Italian Mafia or the Russian Mob. He always commands high prices for his services, seeing as he has yet to fail a job or been caught. Yeah, but we learned all that after we heard him talk with Mr. Konno over the phone, she stated. He's apparently told Mr. Konno that he's on the Konno siblings' trail, and promised to bring them back to Mr. Konno "broken, but alive." Do we know where he is? he asked. Ishikawa traced the call to a coffee shop that wasn't too far from the building that hosted Higashisanjou as well as the hotel where KaKo had his party, Kusanagi said. After that, we were able to get a picture of his car, so we've sent Batou and Togusa after him. Very good, he praised her. We need to- Chief. It was Bolma who interrupted. Word came in from Azuma and Proto you need to hear. I'm guessing the reason they're breaking cover is related to Free Magic? Aramaki theorized. Yeah, Bolma replied. They learned that the Triad is getting antsy over Free Magic. Then things got interesting when they recognized the Chinese girl who killed KaKo. Did they get a name? the Major inquired. Xuegang Jin, he said. They know she's 16, they don't know where she was born, but they did pick her up from Beijing's streets. She's a trained assassin, and she worked for them killing people for years before she successfully faked her death and ran away from them nine months ago. Is there anything else about her they could learn, perhaps anything about possible abilities? Aramaki pleaded. Nothing on that, Bolma disappointed him. But the Triad wants her back, so they've sent her old supervisors after her. A pair of notorious enforcers, named Zexian Yuan and Yahui Ren. I'll have the AI support get to work on finding them immediately, Aramaki replied. As soon as we have a lead, you, Saito and Pazu will go after them. They can possibly lead us to finding not only this Xuegang Jin, but other members of Free Magic as well. Roger. Bolma disconnected. Major, Aramaki returned his attention to her. Chief, Kusanagi began. How much are you willing to bet that the Americans are after one of the members of Free Magic as well? About as much as you, and I would likely go one step further and say that the 'cowboy' you fought on the train is the one they're pursuing. Intelligence is already shadowing them, so I'll send you with a Tachikoma to meet up with them as soon as we find them. Roger, she acknowledged. One more thing, is anything about this bugging you? What do you mean? The American Empire, the Triads, and the CEO of Tsuchida Financial Conglomerate, she listed. Aside from the fact that all three have a lot of money and power, right now the only thing they have in common is that they are chasing after Free Magic because of the connections that members of Free Magic have with them. The group has to already be aware of this much. So do you think- "That this is all a trap?" Aramaki realized. "It would be a perfect demonstration of their power, it would tie up loose ends with their members' pasts, and it would fit their established M.O. perfectly. Make sure to communicate that with your team, and tell them to prepare for a fight." GitS/HxH Sitting on a public bench at a bus stop, all of the world walking by unaware, was the leader of Free Magic himself, dressed in an unassuming dark gray suit ensemble with a maroon shirt and navy blue tie. If one were to stop and take a look at him, they wouldn't quite be sure what to make of him. To look at his face, one would see a young man in the prime of his youth and a smile that held not a single care in the world, all set beneath a head of black hair with silver dyed edges. Yet one would have no idea where to place his heritage, with an off-white pallor and a structure that would pass as native in both Europe and East Asia, with deep grey eyes that betrayed some alien nature to him. Once again, night had fallen around him. The time for the operation to start was almost upon them. Doing things under the cover of darkness was very cliché, but it couldn't be denied that there were definite advantages to doing so, from fewer people walking around to get underfoot to reduced visibility for your own actions. But most of all, for Files* Joor's tastes, it was suitably dramatic for this occasion. It was then that a small insect flew up from a nearby sewer grate and toward Files Joor. It landed on his cheek, and then crawled back on his head to his ear and hung from his earlobe, looking for all the world like an exotic earring. "Is everyone in place?" he spoke as if on a phone. <Yep,> replied the insect, communicating what its maker relayed. <Ome is waiting for Xuegang at the restaurant, Nobukazu has met with Rintaro already, and Masazumi is watching Flynn get ready.> "Has the expected response been sent?" <Not exactly. We knew the Triad was going to send Yuan and Ren, and they are tailing Xuegang right now. We just found Rintaro and Aye's father's hired guy driving towards where Rintaro is staying for now. And Max and Jay are getting into place to fight Flynn, but I saw a woman traveling with them.> "This could be a problem," he mused, allowing his smile to drop. "We don't have time to change the plan, and our members are too scattered and busy to be of aid to each of them. What of the police and the government agents?" <Logan's keeping a read on their broadcasts, and Shuko's birds are helping me keep an eye on them.> Then he smiled again. "What of Section 9?" <I've been keeping a special eye on that group like you asked. Several of their members are moving towards each of the fight zones. They'll likely see what happens.> "Very good." He stood up from the bench and head for the intersection, waiting for the light to give the go. "And whose zone is Motoko Kusanagi headed towards?" <Flynn's.> "Very nice." <Filaes?>* "Yes, Rise?"** <Why are you so interested in Section 9? Especially Kusanagi?"> The light changed, and he joined the crowd in crossing the street. He looked up at his eventual destination, Section 9 Headquarters. "It's probably cliché, but let's just say that from the moment I saw her sketched face, I felt Fate tug at my strings." *pronounced FEE-lays* **pronounced REE-zay**
- Jun 30, 2019
"Speech" Thought <Phone> Cyber-Communications Chapter 4: Nen X By X Other X Names A camera watches the entrance to Section 9 HQ from a hidden alcove above the door outside. A man across the street says "Can't Hack Paper," and throws a photo of himself like a paper airplane right to the camera, guided by a red string only he can see. It attaches itself to the camera. The man crosses the street and enters the building. The camera doesn't see him, and neither do any of the other cameras inside. GitS/HxH The suspected American agents had been driving for the last twenty minutes, ever since they left the hotel room that had been nigh impossible to listen in on. And from Kusanagi's vantage point from the inside of a thermal-optic camouflaged Tachikoma, she could see them approaching and finally stopping in front of a theater, whose sign declared it to be the Classics Theatre, while a notice on the front door declared it to be foreclosed. Ishikawa, can you see inside the building? she watched the agents get out of the car and look around. Nope, there appears to be no security footage inside the building, he replied. Motoko watched as the group, two men and one woman, split up on their approach to the theater, one man and one woman moving to the sides, and the second man simply strolling towards the front door. But, Ishikawa continued. I did find the theater's blueprints from when it was built twenty-six years ago. There is a roof access on the southwest side, and if you take the stairwell down to the first level you come across, you can get onto the catwalks backstage and get a clear view of most of the seating area. However, there is no way to get the Tachikoma in without anyone inside noticing. Copy that. The Tachikoma then shot out its wires and swiftly crossed the gap between rooftops, allow Makoto to head for the roof access, undetected by those below. Ishikawa, call for backup, Makoto descended the stairs, her machine rifle in her hands and against her shoulder as she looked for the entrance to the catwalks used backstage to control the lights for shows. Any particular reason why? We already have the Intelligence team with us to help you. The Intelligence team that had been monitoring the Americans before she showed up had been frustrated that they hadn't been able to learn anything new from the American operatives, and so had been hesitant to let her take the lead. But, they caved to the authority that she commanded from her no-nonsense attitude, personal charisma, Section 9's reputation, and the very loyal and well-armed Tachikoma that accompanied her. We still don't know everything that Free Magic is capable of, but considering just how few people the Americans sent to handle just one person, I think that the Americans do know something. Have the Intelligence team surround the building and coordinate the reinforcements when they arrive. I'm going to sit and watch the Americans and Free Magic deal with each other, and by the time they'll be done, we'll be able to handle whoever's left with sheer numbers and firepower. It's a crude strategy, but it's the best I can come up with now. Soon, she found the entrance she was looking for, and opened it quietly. She soon found herself stepping lightly so that the long-unattended metal catwalks wouldn't clang, creak or squeal and give her position away to the man who was sitting in the middle of the dusty stage that was exhibiting the first signs of mold along its edges. He wore a massive wide-brimmed wizard's hat decorated with stars and a crescent moon, a massive navy blue cloak covered his whole body, billowing out in every direction on the floor, and a stereotypical knotted wood staff resting in his hands. She kept her thermal-optic camouflage up as she saw the American man she suspected to be the op leader enter through the center faded red velvet coated double door. The man was every inch a soldier, the long trench coat that he had been wearing outside, and that his two comrades had similar iterations of, had been ditched to reveal a light armor suit outfitted for urban warfare, from the collar all the way down to the boots, and he wore a full-protection combat helmet complete with red augmented goggles and a black mask over his mouth. The machine gun in his hand was easily at least half again bigger than Motoko's firearm, and it was leveled right at the man on stage. "I know this probably sounds cliché," Motoko almost let out a gasp as she recognized the wizard's voice, as he stood to his feet. "But it really has been a long time since we last met, hasn't it Max?" "You never should have left in the first place Flynn, especially not the way you did," the soldier responded. Flynn , Motoko thought. So that's the cowboy's name. "Sorry about your feelings, but let me tell you, all the black ops assassinations and extermination orders were really getting to me and I really needed an out, and since the Empire really doesn't like letting people like us go, the only out I saw was from life altogether." "So why are you here, alive?" Max, the soldier, continued to slowly step closer and closer. Motoko scanned the theater as she quietly lurked invisibly on the catwalk. She had seen three people enter the theater, so she looked for the other two soldiers. Considering they were a three-man team, they hadn't come in from the roof like she had, and one had come through the front to play on their familiarity with the target, there were immediately two approaches she would have had people take in approaching a target. "A man found me and brought me back from the brink," Flynn smoothly rose straight up onto his feet. "That same man saw my potential, and taught me how to harness it in ways I couldn't imagine." "He was an Enflamed?" Max kept his rifle trained on Flynn. "If you can tell us who and where he is, we might just be able to convince Command to let you live." Major, something's wrong, Ishikawa told her. I'm trying to get in contact with the Intelligence team, but I'm getting nothing. Check surveillance, she continued scanning. The two spots were the overhang seats, to sweep the upper levels and gain the high ground, and backstage from below, to sweep for unwelcome surprises and catch their target from above and below. Looking closely first at the overhanging section, she saw nothing at first, until finally spotting the slight haze that signaled the presence of a thermal-optic camouflage. Then, as she continued sneaking, she swept the backstage, and soon found a similar haze approaching from behind the curtain that separated the stage from the backstage. Flynn chuckled. "You never were good at getting people to say what you wanted without pulling rank or fingernails. And let me give you an offer you are just as likely to refuse." He leveled his staff at Max. "Leave, and Free Magic will never bother you, let alone kill you." In response, a laser sight lit up on his rifle and put a red dot on Flynn's head. "My country may not be perfect, but it is my country, and I will never betray it." Flynn's face fell. "I'm so sorry," he whispered. Major! The Intelligence team is dead! Shot with arrows! He's attacking the theater! Motoko saw the haze push on the curtain- *thud* For a single moment she heard something towards the back of the theater, like something had hit a wall- *SQUELCH* And then she saw an arrow spear the haze right through the center, dispelling his invisibility, killing him instantly, and causing the two men to escalate their standoff. Max pulled the trigger on his rifle. Flynn shouted "FIRE!" And bullets and flames flew towards one another. GitS/HxH A pair of technicians work on a computer, baffled as to what is causing the static, and then even more baffled when it suddenly clears up and is fine. Neither notice a strange insect detach itself and fly to a man in a suit, attaching itself to his ear and hang off it like an earring. The it told him the layout of the building. GitS/HxH <You're working late AGAIN Daddy?> Togusa's daughter whined from the other end of the line. He pointedly ignored Batou's teasing smirk as the phantom-eyed cyborg navigated his yellow muscle car into the eastern part of Niihama, right where the suburbs just began to give way to full scale urban development. "I'm sorry, Yumi," Togusa sighed, wishing that he could be home with his wife and daughter enjoying some old Disney movie instead of hunting down terrorists who thought real life was a movie. "But the guys me and my team are trying catch are really dangerous and they don't like giving me a moment's rest." <You're going after Free Magic?> Yumi's voice held a mix of fear and excitement in it, both of which concerned Togusa. "Yeah," he admitted. "Just about everyone on the news is talking about them." <Not just the news> she informed. <Everyone at school can't stop talking about them. You wouldn't believe some of the stuff they've come up with.> "Heh, I can believe that they would think of anything," Togusa chortled. "Well, I can't tell you what everyone here at work thinks they are, but I can tell you that our thoughts are probably much more rational than whatever your friends are saying at school." <What's so rational about supernatural powers being flung around that can plunge trains through buildings or mind control birds into shooting gangsters?> "Yeah, goo- wait, how do you know about the birds?" The press release about Free Magic's victims had downplayed or erased all of the most seemingly supernatural details about how their victims had been killed. At least, those that could be downplayed or erased, seeing as it was nigh impossible to hide the teleporting train. <Kido-sensei found a video online of a flock of birds shooting at a boat. The timing with the mob boss killed on a yacht by Free magic was too good.> "And how did your martial arts sensei find that?" <Uhhh, remember how he's an ex-con? He got it from a buddy who found it while trawling the Dark Web.> "We really need to find you a different martial arts teacher. Taisuke Kido keeps getting shadier and shadier every time you talk about him." <Dad, come on, he's an okay guy, and an even better sensei. He left all that behind years ago.> We're going to be coming up on Martin Montes's latest known address in a minute, Batou notified. You should probably wrap that up. "Look, we'll talk when I get back, okay? I love you." <You too. Bye. *click*> Togusa hung up his phone and sighed as he leaned back into his seat. "That little girl still causing trouble for you?" Batou ribbed him. "It's her martial arts teacher, again . I swear that I have no idea just what on Earth that man is teaching my little girl, only that he's teaching her something he shouldn't, and that I can't prove any of it." "Whew, man that's frustrating," Batou sympathized. "But hey, at least she's not hooking up with any bad boys on the sly, huh?" "Ugh, don't even get me started on that, let's just get this Montes guy, find out what he knows about the Konno siblings so that we can find the Konno siblings so we can find out everything they know about Free Magic so we can-" *RAT-TAT-TAT-TAT-TAT-TAT-TAT-TAT-TAT-TAT!* *BANG* *BANG* *BANG* *BANG* Just as the sounds of the gunfire reached their ears, a green and blue delivery van sped across the road about a hundred meters in front of them, one of its doors flapping open and shut as shots were fired from inside the vehicle, as it made for the highway. Five seconds later, a massive armored and pockmarked jeep came roaring in pursuit, while smashing aside a car that inexplicably lurched in front of it as if to stop or delay it. "That can't possibly be a coincidence," Batou said, immediately turning the car and flooring the gas to pursue the car chase. "I hope it isn't," Togusa agreed, as he took out his revolver and started loading it with armor-piercing rounds. GitS/HxH The man comes across a door that requires a key card. He slips a string into the tiny groove between the machine and the wall. He then uses Ome Yoshitake's Firestarter to fry the circuits, and the door automatically opens to allow him through. GitS/HxH Chief, Bolma reported. We got eyes on Xuegang Jin. She's in the Chinatown district headed down Húanghūn St. towards Cao Tu Road. Very good, Aramaki replied. Also, cameras have just spotted two individuals who match the descriptions of Zexian Yuan and Yahui Ren fed to us by Azuma and Proto. You should be able to spot them trailing Miss Jin. Bolma looked out of the passenger-side window of the van he was in. This part of town was defined by neon signs in Chinese characters hanging off of various shops and restaurants jutting into the main streets while any alleyway wider than two meters across and not sealed with a wall or fence promised a doorway in the side of one of the buildings to a hidden paradise of nightlife dominated and run by the Triad. First, Bolma's phantom eyes fixed on Xuegang Jin. She was dressed in yet another Chinese dress, a qipao, although this one instead was a bright shade of sapphire blue with purple edges, and a golden lotus flower embroidered over her heart, and she held a folding fan in her hand with a matching style and symbol. Looking behind her, Bolma saw two Chinese men whose gazes were also fixated on the young woman. One in a sharp business attire, the other in a casual ski jacket and sweatpants. I see 'em, he said. They're keeping pace about ten meters behind her. Huh, Pazu interjected from the driver's seat. Hard to believe that this girl is a known member of Free Magic and a murderer. Wonder what the hell kind of prosthetics she's hiding under there? Who knows if she even has prosthetics? Bolma pondered. Free Magic has done some pretty crazy stuff since they showed up. Are you really going to start saying that these guys have magic or some stupid stuff like that? Pazu snorted. Honestly, you guys see one train get teleported and suddenly you think somebody found a way to break the laws of physics. Have you guys forgotten that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic? I see that you've read Arthur C. Clarke, Aramaki complimented. Nope, never read a word of his work, Pazu said. But that quote of his is hard to avoid in a world where the Internet and cybernetics are normal. You make a very good point, Pazu, his boss mused. It may be that Free Magic's showmanship has blinded us to thinking rationally about far more plausible means and methods to their actions. But then again, we still haven't found any reasonable explanation for the train. Or the birds from the boat , Pazu admitted. Seriously, how do you train birds to shoot? Eyes up. Target 1 just walked into Niihama Panda, Saito announced from his rooftop perch. Bolma looked and saw that Xuegang Jin had been greeted by a waiter, and was headed to a table set in the middle of the surprisingly roomy restaurant. Copy that. Targets 2 and 3 are following inside. What are your orders, Chief? We don't have a perfect read on what or who Free Magic has at its disposal , Aramaki stated. Hang back and observe, but the moment they cause a disturbance, move in and apprehend the suspects. Avoid killing them if at all possible. We need to learn as much about them as possible and they will have more information to give us alive than dead. Roger, the three men replied, as they watched the two men walk inside, straight to Xuegang's table. Saito, Bolma kept his eyes on the men, as they walked onto opposite sides of the slight figure of the young woman. Can you see anyone else suspicious coming our way? Nope, there are no reinforcements that I can see coming, he said. Whoa, heads up, Pazu noted. The man in the suit had waved his hand at everyone in the restaurant, and they all immediately got up and began walking out. Boss, something's happening in the restaurant, Bolma got out and pulled out his handgun, Pazu following from the other side. We're moving in to apprehend the suspects. The crowd left the restaurant, leaving only Xin Xuegang and her two Triad stalkers inside to be seen- For an instant, Bolma, Pazu, Saito, and their unusually quiet Tachikoma partner saw the whole inside of the restaurant blur, like all of the pixels in an image suddenly went out of alignment. The next instant, it all simultaneously burst into flames, the resulting shockwave knocking everyone without full body prosthetics down into the pavement. GitS/HxH "Phoo, I know we haven't been doing so very well against Free Magic, but if we're not allowed to go after them, then we'll never have the chance to prove ourselves!" One Tachikoma said. "I don't know," another one said. "These guys can teleport trains, hack our bodies, heck, they even beat the Major! And that was just the first time we met them!" The man in a suit would have loved to hear more of their conversation, but he had a schedule to keep, and so turned away, content that they were presently occupied, and glad he didn't have to use Fast and Furious. GitS/HxH Finding Xuegang Jin was far and out the easy part. In a spiritually dead city polluted by consumerism and cyberization, a Torch seeking out and finding another one was much easier than it would for any other kind of people. But, the moment he and Zexian saw Xuegang with her Qi set in Pīfēng , and bigger than they had last seen it, they immediately suspected that she was expecting them. And when she walked into Niihama Panda, a Triad-affiliated restaurant, they knew for sure. "We're not the only ones watching her," Zexian softly said to him. A brief scan with his eyes picked out the van sitting across from the restaurant with a bald man with red phantom eyes sitting in shotgun, which was the left-hand side of the car in Japan. "I see 'em," he replied without turning his head. The two walked into the restaurant, and immediately allowed their Qi to be boosted by Tígāo , tingeing it with their hostility to Xuegang. This drew the attention of everyone in the restaurant, who immediately stiffened in fear. The two watched as Xuegang's Qi remained steady, demonstrating a control that took many painful months of training for her to achieve, and that had since been improved. "You are alive, Xuegang Jin," Zexian said matter-of-factly, moving behind her to keep her from running for the door. "Yep," she remained sitting. "You made us and the Triad believe you were dead," Yahui followed up, moving to her right, and cutting her off from the windows. "Uh-huh," she then unfolded her fan and waved air towards herself. "And you understand the price of coming back to the Triad, alive, and keeping the company you do?" Zexian waved his hand at the restaurant crowd, and the customers immediately rushed out the door while the staff ran out through the back. The man then began turning the hands on his Swiss Stopwatch, setting it back by five minutes, while Yahui allowed his Acid Spill to drip and sizzle to the floor, eating away at the carpet. Xuegang stood up, and they both could see her Qi coalesce around her fan as she turned to face them with a grim smirk on her face. "Hell yeah." Zexian restarted the watch, and the outline of a sphere shot out from the watch, enveloping the inside of the restaurant's serving area and stretching through the floor, the ceiling, outside the building, and inside towards the kitchen. While everything seemed normal, if one were to look outside the five-meter radius from where the watch was set, it would seem as though the world had frozen in place – as if time had stopped. Not getting away this, ungrateful bitch! Yahui screamed in his mind. He immediately flung his hands forward, splashing acid directly at Xuegang. She turned and swung her fan with a wind that swept the acid aside past her onto the floor, the table, and a few chairs. The same wind ruffled Zexian's clothes and messed up the timing of his draw so that his custom pistol's first shot nicked Xuegang on the chin instead of punching through her brain. Guns normally wouldn't help, Yahui realized, but she's using so much Qi on her fan to keep my acid away, she doesn't have enough to reliably protect her from Zexian's heavy rounds. Her chin wasn't bleeding, but it would certainly bruise later, and she then instinctually threw herself backwards, rolling over the table and knocking aside its napkins, menus and condiments as she dodged the next two shots from Zexian. Snarling, Yahui charged forward with an acid-layered fist as Xuegang landed on the other side of the table and flipped it up at him with a kick. She swung another burst of wind at Zexian and threw off the aim of his next shots, while Yahui's fist cracked the table, while acid rapidly ate through it, splitting it apart to allow him through. Xuegang leaped back, just in time to avoid Zexian's sixth shot from piercing her kneecap. Then the seventh shot came right between her and the door to the kitchen, causing her to freeze and hold her fan up in defense. "You have definitely become much faster and stronger since you left," Zexian complimented, keeping his gun leveled at her chest, while Yahui stalked closer. "The Triad will forgive if you stop wasting your talent like this." Looks like Swiss forgot to load a full magazine, he would've just pegged her otherwise, Yahui reasoned. The girl just smirked in response. "Too bad yours are about to be wasted." This confused them, until they suddenly sensed a Torch flare. Above and behind them. FUCK! And I knew this was a trap! He turned in the direction of the flare, just as a circle of fire sliced right through the ceiling, bringing the blazing round section of the floor above down on their heads. GitS/HxH Another of Section 9's technicians press a button for the elevator, and waits for its arrival. A man in a suit steps behind him without his knowledge. A red string then wraps about the technician and the man, laying over his suit and face with an image of the technician's red uniform and cyber-mask. The two walk into the elevator after the door opens, and the technician takes them up to AI support. GitS/HxH *RAT-TAT-TAT-TAT-TAT-TAT-TAT-TAT-TAT-TAT!* "Really glad that man told me this kid was wrapped up with Free Magic," Martin Montes said to himself, as he reloaded his gun, before pointing it out the window to fire at the van ahead of him. *BANG* *BANG* *BANG* He had recently come off a more exciting job when Señor Konno offered him a not-insubstantial amount of money to find his three-year wayward son and daughter. At first, he thought it was just going to be a wild goose chase after he compiled all the relevant data from previous investigators – which amounted to very little of anything at all. Then he decided to chase the distraction found in the mystery of the teleporting train – which was a mystery to anyone but someone like him, who was trained to utilize the powers of his alma . *RAT-TAT-TAT-TAT-TAT-TAT-TAT-TAT!* Still, even something like that baffled him. He knew that his mentor had told him that one could theoretically do anything with alma with sufficient training, willpower, and talent, but even this was something that stretched the bounds of belief. When he decided to investigate the scene of the train crash, he suddenly struck gold when he found an image of Rintaro Konno in a vehicle moving away from the scene. He followed the van, but somehow lost the boy in the pursuit, who abandoned the van and let it drive on its own. *BANG* *BANG* Now knowing that the boy was in the city, and hoping that the sister wasn't too far away either, he paid a few hackers to get into the city surveillance grid and look for the pair, while telling Sr. Konno that he was close to finding his kids. Then, not two minutes after he gets a hit on the boy camping out in a cheap hotel, his current client calls him to say that detectives had come by with evidence that the children were part of Free Magic, and to be careful when retrieving them. *RAT-TAT-TAT-TAT* Considering the hundreds of rounds that had been blasted into the armored jeep that he had recently purchased from the black market, he indeed considered it very fortunate that Sr. Konno had warned him. This chase had only been going for about a couple of minutes, and it was already very annoying. While he had been taking fire from someone in the back of the van, whoever was driving was throwing some manner of disc out the driver's and shotgun seat's windows at various vehicles and causing them to veer right into his jeep. Thankfully, his jeep could take such hits, but- *CRASH* That was the seventh time his jeep had been hit, the seventh time his jeep was forced to swerve and skid on the road and he had to fight to keep all four tires on the ground without running into any of the other motor vehicles on the road. And all while his windshield was cracked all over from multiple bullets. Fortunately, thanks to enfocar , he was able to keep track of the alma -infused beacon he had fired at the van at the start of the chase. *BANG* *crack* That surprised Martin, because the shot that took out his driver-side mirror came from behind. Looking in the rear-view mirror, he saw a yellow muscle car giving chase, a man leaning out through the shotgun window to fire at him. While he couldn't tell what kind of man he was or who he was working for, he made the assumption that he was law enforcement because there had only been one cop car so far during this whole chase, and he had given it the mother of all side swipes right into a passing truck. The van ahead then suddenly hit a pothole, knocking one of the doors open right into a passing car, smashing said door off its hinges and into the street, and revealing its occupant. He was a relatively short man from what he could see, judging from his hunched over position. He was dressed in a green Hawaiian shirt with yellow and blue flowers as well as tan cargo shorts and black sandals. He had several machine guns and two crates of bullets about him, with one rifle in his hand being fed with a loop from one of the crates. But what interested Martin the most was the black ball in his other hand that he held near to eye level that, his alma -infused eyes revealed, was an object made from the man's own alma . Not one to let his good fortune go to waste, he fired again at the man who was furiously shaking the black orb with a white spot that he noticed- *BANG* *POW* Only to be reminded of the car following him when his back left tire suddenly got blown out, throwing off his aim as his jeep swerved again- *RAT-TAT-TAT-TAT-TAT-TAT-TAT-TAT-TAT-TAT* And then the next burst of bullets broke through the windshield, shooting lead and glass into his body. Fortunately for him, his body could take gunfire thanks to his alma . Unfortunately for him, it still really hurt, and the spasms from the pain, in tandem with the blasted tire, caused him to jerk the wheel too hard and cause his jeep to veer sideways and then flip over, knocking him out. GitS/HxH The man gets off the elevator, just as a pair of AI androids were pushing along a trolley loaded with various computer components that were designated for recycling. The man lashes out a string at the trolley's left-side wheels, and the entire thing falls over, spilling computer parts all over the floor. The technician is frustrated, but moves to help the androids clean up, all while the disguised man slips away. GitS/HxH Maxton Nash honestly wished that he didn't have to fight Flynn Hess. And it wasn't just because he was a fellow Limit Breaker. This man was his comrade once. His friend. His brother. They had eaten the same crappy MREs together. They had crawled through the same mud together. They had slept in the same tents, trenches and foxholes together. They had bandaged each other's wounds and covered each other's backs. These were experiences that civilians could read about but never truly fathom, moments that had bound them together tighter than blood. And for a man to just turn his back on you in spite of all of that is just one step down from being as bad as him stabbing you in the back. The plume of fire that came from Flynn's staff was something he did not expect, but his forward dodge came just in time and after he fired at Flynn, who took the bullet on the staff, cracking it. Then when Flynn immediately ran and dove off the stage onto the music platform in front of the stage, Phoebe jumped to the ground from the balcony behind both Max and the fire and then took her shot, catching Flynn on the left side of his chest – where the bullet impacted with a *thunk.* Maxton was briefly confused and worried about the sound, and then Flynn threw off the wizard hat and cloak to reveal that he was wearing black and gold samurai armor underneath. And it also showed the katana that he instantly unsheathed, and suddenly the air about him changed. "Whoosh," Flynn muttered, right before he suddenly sped forward with his sword arcing right at Max, who started firing at him, the bullets pinging off the armor. Ultimate Soldier! Maxton mentally intoned, as he back-stepped from Maxton's strike, but not far enough to save the barrel of his gun from getting sliced. His Best Actor is a heck of a lot better than before if he's able to transition between roles so easily while retaining that level of power, he observed. *BOOM* *BOOM* *BOOM* *BOOM* *BOOM* *BOOM* Multiple explosions went off in a row backstage and sent the catwalk plummeting to the ground with a resounding crash, and Maxton's peripheral vision noted the depowering of a thermal-optics cloak. We need to keep close to Flynn, he reckoned. I don't know how his friend is making these attacks, but we gotta stay close so that he doesn't risk hurting his friend, assuming they are working together. And who is that? Japanese Intelligence? But he had no more time to reflect on the stranger, as Flynn came at him again and again with more swings and strikes, not allowing him to reach for his weapons, and keeping him in front of the fire he set, and the seats on both sides. Then, for a moment, his forward momentum stalled when Phoebe fired another round at him, and he was forced to step back and shift his blade upward and slice the bullet in mid-air. Now! With the brief respite Phoebe bought him, he drew his knife and pistol and rushed at him, firing and stabbing at him. The bullets still deflected, but the armor was denting and cracking, and the knife and sword locked blades while Flynn grabbed Max's gun hand. The two wrestled against one another, and now Max was able to use his greater size, strength, and power to his advantage to push Flynn back, and another bullet from Phoebe right onto his helmet knocked it off and staggered him back. Max wrested the gun away and fired at him again, emptying his entire mag right at Flynn's face, even as Flynn held up his arms and swung his blade to block and deflect bullets, forcing him back towards the stage. Then Max charged him again and brought down his knife right onto Flynn's sword hand, forcing him to drop the katana, and then he whipped him across the face with his pistol and knocked him back again- *BOOM* Then there was a new explosion, this time behind him, and he looked behind to see Phoebe, their latest, and thus weakest, Enflamed, get thrown in the air like a rag doll, all her limbs mangled and her head flopping on its neck like a jack-in-the-box. First shock, then sadness, then anger, all processed in a matter of moments. He heard a clang and turned back to Flynn- To see an empty suit of armor and an abandoned sword-blade with no hilt. He turned around again- Just in time for a navy blue ninja-suited Flynn to stab him in the eye and into his brain. GitS/HxH Sorry chief, Bolma told him. Xuegang Jin and our two targets walked into the restaurant, but none of us saw her walk out when the explosion happened, and Saito hasn't seen any of them either. "And what of this blur you witnessed before that?" Aramaki asked. Can't say for sure until we've had a diagnostic check. "See what you can find, then return to HQ." Roger. Bolma disconnected. Aramaki brought up Batou. "What have you caught?" It's just who we thought we were chasing, Batou replied. Martin Montes, and this guy took a few hits in that chase. Whoever he was chasing sure got him good. "How bad is his condition?" Aramaki inquired. Looks like a concussion, and he'll be out for a bit. Police response was delayed, but they'll be here soon to take him into custody. "And the people he was pursuing?" They ditched the van after driving a bit and got away, Batou said regrettably. "Tell the police to inform us as soon as Mr. Montes is awake and able to be interrogated." Roger. Batou disconnected. Aramaki addressed the last one in line. "Major, what happened?" A lot, chief, she said. The cowboy on the train is named Flynn, and he appears to be former black ops and a defector. Whoever the Americans sent called him an Enflamed and were former comrades who were definitely able to keep up with him. But Flynn had an archer for backup who killed the Intelligence team and can hit a thermal-optic camouflaged target from outside a building. The Americans are all dead, and I was nearly killed too. "So the Americans know about Free Magic's abilities, at least to a greater extent than we do," Aramaki surmised. "Was there anything else you could gather?" Nothing, unfortunately. Flynn set a fire that's burning down the building as we speak. There won't be a lot of evidence left, but at least we might be able to gather dog tags or DNA from what might be left of the bodies. "Gather anything you can with Ishikawa, then return to HQ. We need to put together everything we've learned and reevaluate what we know about Free Magic." Roger, see you there, chief. She disconnected. Aramaki leaned back in his chair, and sighed audibly. "It's always difficult, being the leader," a strange voice spoke. Aramaki jolted up to his feet and turned to the source. It was an impeccably dressed young man with silver-tipped black hair, an insectoid jeweled earring, a strange yet handsome complexion and construction to his face, and gray eyes filled with more experience than anyone his apparent age should hold. "Especially when you're faced with an unprecedented situation, and everyone is looking to you for answers that you too are grasping about in the dark for." Aramaki stood shocked as he looked at him. "What? How did you get in here? Who are you?" The young man reached out a hand in greeting. "My name is Filaes Joor. I am the leader and founder of Free Magic. I would like to have a talk with you and your team about the nature of the world to come." A/N: Alternate Terminology for Nen: Qi (Chinese)/Alma (Spanish) – Nen/Aura. Pīfēng (Chinese) – Ten. Tígāo (Chinese) – Ren. Enfocar (Spanish) – Gyo.
I wonder just how much the Japanese government actually knows about Nen and are keeping Section 9 in the dark about. I would find if weird if no one in Japan's government knew anything about Nen considering who else does. Keep up the good work!
I'm getting too chivalrous for this shit.
it not all that bad. at least ghost in the shell world is just earth compare to the fucking insanity that is HxH world.
- Jul 2, 2019
Damn, this is a gem I have missed! I love how Section 9 is trying to deal with an OCP!
shiv katall said: Damn, this is a gem I have missed! I love how Section 9 is trying to deal with an OCP! Click to expand... Click to shrink...
Xavier Rall said: OCP - Outside Context Problem. I have personally been contemplating using that term in the next chapter, when Section 9 personally meets Files Joor. I have even thought about incorporating it in the title, because the term fits Section 9's current situation so perfectly. But I don't plan on it remaining that way forever. Click to expand... Click to shrink...
shiv katall said: Yeah, I'm actually surprised that Japan doesn't seem to have some super-secret group that handles stuff like this. The US apparently has. There's that guy from South America which implies they have people trained in nen. The Chinese triad have them. I would have bet my hat that Batou's daughter's martial arts teacher knows nen. But there's a bit of evidence against Japan having their own task force of nen-users: such a task force would have been called upon when that high-ranking minister was under threat. Instead they brought in conventional assets, and Section 9. But I'm looking forward to Section 9's reaction when they find out that you can have a combat monster that can go toe to toe with the best cyborg, but it's flesh, blood, and "spirit." Like, holy shit. Click to expand... Click to shrink...
- Jan 11, 2020
A/N: I don't own Hunter X Hunter or Ghost in the Shell. Only my original characters and this story. "Speech" Thought Cyber-Communications Chapter 5: A X Seemingly X Insurmountable X Height Emergency Cyber-Communication to all contacts! Aramaki speedily relayed as he stoically stared in terror at the man before him. Free Magic has breached Section 9 headquarters and taken me hostage! All personnel immediately initiate Quarantine Protocols! Evacuate the building and lock everything down! All active field operatives drop everything and return immediately for rescue and call for backup! Immediately after he communicated that, alarms immediately began blaring, and massive airtight blast doors sealed off the two entrances into the AI Support Room, trapping Aramaki inside with the self-declared leader of Free Magic, Filaes Joor. "Normally, I might scold you for refusing a handshake when offered," Filaes's voice silkily rolled out before he withdrew his hand. "But then again, the Oriental custom is to bow, and I am an invader in your base of operations, so I suppose you can be forgiven for a minor slight like that. Still, I would like it if you were courteous enough to at least tell me your name, good sir." Aramaki narrowed his eyes. "Aramaki Daisuke, Chief of Public Security Section Nine. Surely you were aware of that, considering how much effort you put in just to come and introduce yourself to me?" He was more interested in why he wasn't showing the slightest sign of panic at being trapped. The young man shrugged. "When you want to have a conversation, you're supposed to start by introducing yourself. Now that we have both told each other their names, what would you like to talk about before your team returns to rescue you from me?" Aramaki had so many questions he wanted to ask this man right now. About his powers, his comrades, his motives, his past. He settled for something more immediately pressing: "I will ask again. How did you break inside Section 9?" "Tsk tsk, Aramaki," Filaes wagged a finger at him like he was chiding a child. "I can't go around telling random people all my secrets now can I? But since I plan to be sharing a very big secret later, I suppose I can tell you that I am very good at persuading doors to let me in and for cameras to not see me." "What big secret?" Filaes was being very vague as to his abilities, which frustrated Aramaki to no end. "As I said, later," Filaes stated. "Tell me, Aramaki. Do you remember the transhumanism debates of the late 20 th and early 21 st centuries?" "I recall that the debate over the subject is much older than that," Aramaki replied. "In fact the foundations for the modern idea of transhumanism were laid down centuries before by William Godwin's arguments for earthly immortality in his 'Enquiry Concerning Political Justice and Its Influence on Morals and Happiness', and even explored in Mary Shelley's 'Frankenstein.'" "Perhaps, but the debate only truly became a mainstream phenomenon when the first advances into modern cyberization were made," Filaes turned from Aramaki and walked to the door. "As that was the time when people began to get a clear picture of what the future of cyberization would entail, and more specifically, its benefits and detriments." Aramaki didn't know what Filaes was doing by running his hand and fingers over the blast door, but he continued talking to him. "Yes. It was then that people began to think of cyberized prosthetics in order to replace lost or destroyed limbs, as well as utilizing computer technology to enhance our mental capabilities. But by means of integrating technology with biology, the inherent danger of how technology could be manipulated by outside forces made people fear how cyberization could lead to dehumanization as machine parts whittled away at our human empathy and free will." "You certainly get a close-up view of that debate's once-hypothetical scenarios on a regular basis, don't you?" Aramaki assumed Filaes was still examining the wall for a weakness. "Especially in the cases of Gouda's Individual Eleven virus and the Solid State Society." Aramaki almost gasped. "How did you learn about them? All knowledge of Gouda's involvement in the Individual Eleven and the affairs surrounding the Solid State Society were buried and stored away from all wireless access. Who told you this?" Filaes placed his other hand on the door, then turned and smirked at Aramaki. "Someone who is very intimately familiar with the full consequences of transhumanism, albeit achieved through the same medium as my own methods employ." "Medium?" Aramaki wondered. "So despite the powers of you and your associates appearing to be wildly disparate from our observations up to this point, all of them fall under the umbrella of a rational magic system?" "Already so accepting of supernatural powers?" Filaes bent down and felt his fingers along the edge where the door met the floor. "Must have been the train. Too bad I don't have the means to pull that off, let alone the time and energy to learn how." "A shame for you, considering such an ability would be the handiest means for your escape," Aramaki noted. "All while you keep talking because it will eat up the oxygen in the room while I try to get through this door until we both pass out, making me vulnerable to arrest, or death. Am I wrong?" Filaes asked. "No," Aramaki replied. "You are certainly an impressive man to put your own life at risk and embrace extreme measures in order to capture your target," Filaes applauded, as he got back up to his feet. "And against most people, such measures as you've taken just now would indeed secure you victory." Aramaki got an uncomfortable feeling in his gut. "And you're saying that you're not most people?" Without breaking eye contact, Filaes put his hand on the blast door, and pushed it as if it were just an ordinary door. And this time, Aramaki couldn't hide his shock, as the bombproof and airtight barrier simply tipped over, freed from being trapped in a steel vise to fall flat with a resounding *CRASH.* "Follow me, and I will show you something of what I am," Filaes finally replied. Aramaki followed, unaware that a bejeweled insect had landed on his suit collar and crawled down inside. GitS/HxH My god… Aramaki said. Chief, what happened? Kusanagi asked. Right now, as she and the rest of the team rushed form their scattered locations back to base, Motoko Kusanagi was mentally kicking herself for not preparing for the inevitable counterattack from Free Magic. For all that Free Magic acted like it had walked out of a shounen manga, it was still comprised of criminals willing to rob or kill anyone they liked. They stole billions from some of the most powerful multinational corporations in the world and flaunted it after getting away. They assassinated several of the most powerfully corrupt people in Niihama in needlessly and impossibly creative ways. They quickly found out that they were being hunted and set traps for their hunters on the fly. And Section 9 was among the people hunting them. He somehow managed to silently slice through the Quarantine Protocol Barrier to the AI Room on all sides in less than a minute and push it over with no effort. Aramaki said. If Kusanagi were a weaker woman, she would have slumped from the shock, so she settled for an introspective silence as she considered her options. Her teammates chose to be more vocal in their responses. What the Hell? Bolma and Batou. How did he do that? Saito and Togusa. You've gotta be shitting me. Only Pazu. Things are bad. We need a plan, Kusanagi spoke up. Pazu, Bolma, Saito, the three of you look for a spot for Saito to get a clear shot at HQ. Ishikawa, while that's going on, see if you can divert any police to our position. We could really use the extra firepower after seeing what these ability-users can do in action. Chief, try to get this Filaes somewhere near a window or in the open, so that Saito can snipe him. During the time that he sets up to take the shot, the rest of us will break in with help from the Tachikomas and get in close to distract him from Saito. We're all still a few minutes out, however, so please buy us as much time as you can until we can get into position! It seems we're in luck then, Aramaki replied. We appear to be headed towards the roof. But remain cautious, we still don't know what he is capable of, or what unknown allies he may have on call. He could have some means of surviving a sniper round, and thus become aware of your assault. As of now, assume your lives to be in mortal danger, and keep your eyes open for suspicious persons. Roger, Section Nine responded. As her Tachikoma raced to bring both of them to HQ, Motoko's mind raced to find out what Free Magic hoped to accomplish. Why did Free Magic attack us? Simple, we're investigating them, she thought. But how did they find us? There are two ways you find an organization – you track them down, or someone tells you where they are. IN the case of the latter, Section 9 operates out of the public eye, especially after our initial outing over the Laughing Man case, so the only people who know we still operate are government officials and foreign intelligence agencies. Considering that Flynn is confirmed to be former American black ops, it's certainly not beyond the realm of possibility that they have access to sources that would be able to reveal such information to them. It's even possible they have members or supporters in the government itself. If they tracked us, then there are two – no, three – ways they could have done it. First, a tail. Once they encountered us, they must have immediately figured we weren't average police officers, so they had members follow us to find out who we were and where we operated from. Second, they did a hack. A lot of the files for Section 9's members have been buried pretty deep in the system, but they wouldn't need that. But they would need access to the surveillance camera network in the city. Then they would only need our faces and then run a facial recognition algorithm to find where we've been and where we've gone. But if it's because of an ability they have, then we can only speculate as to how it works, when it was used, or even what other side effects might arise from it. As soon as we have the opportunity, we all will need to sit down and try to figure out what all this is. GitS/HxH "Isn't there something you want to talk about with me?" Filaes asked Aramaki. "We're almost halfway to the roof, and you haven't let a single word pass through your lips." "Sorry," Aramaki apologized. "It's just that you are so unlike any other person I have ever met, that I am having trouble determining what I ought to talk to you about." "That's not a reference to how good I am at opening doors, is it?" Filaes remarked. "You are not the first person with extraordinary talents I have encountered," Aramaki replied. "Although I do admit that what you and your compatriots have done is far outside my normal experiences. But it's much more than just that." The elevator dinged and the doors opened to let them out on the building's top floor. Filaes took the lead as the two moved towards the roof access, and Aramaki mentally noted that Filaes never asked for directions once. "How so?" Filaes asked without turning his head. "It's how you talk, how you act, everything about how you do everything you do," Aramaki stated. "It's almost as if you are trying your hardest to act larger than life and put on a show for the whole world to see." "Shakespeare did say that all the world is a stage and that we are all players upon it," Filaes rebutted. "But few people give such obvious performances like yours in places other than actual theater stages to people who aren't in the mood to attend a show." "Who's to say that we aren't performing in a show right now to a very special audience waiting with baited breath for the dramatic climax?" Aramaki suddenly had a thought. "Is that all that what Free Magic is doing is? A performance? With the world as your audience?" Filaes clapped his hands while looking over his shoulder at him. "Very perceptive of you, Chief Aramaki. But there is still context that you're missing that is key to understanding the nature of my plan." "How many of you are there?" Aramaki suddenly asked as Filaes reached the stairway to the roof access. "Members of Free Magic?" Filaes cocked his eyebrow. "Do you honestly expect a straight answer on such delicate information?" "How many ability-users are there?" Aramaki specified. Filaes stopped a few steps above him, and turned to fully face him. "During the time of your organization's known activities here," Aramaki continued. "Free Magic's conducted physical robberies, cyber-crimes, hijacking, and assassinations of various direct and remote methods. Whatever power you and yours utilize, the one thing about it that is clear is that its uses are highly versatile as a whole. What is less clear to me is how wide that range is for individual users, though I believe that it is far narrower. With how widely ranged your actions have been, it's clear that a wide range of talents is required to pull all of them off, so I suspect that your organization has at least more than ten people as members based solely on what we've seen, and considering how sparingly you've used them, I'd say you don't have many more members than that, perhaps around another dozen at most, or fifty total. "But more significant than that, is the response that you've generated. Just now, your organization has engaged in combat with three separate factions that pursued you directly. We witnessed one expressing familiarity with not only one of your members, but with his abilities. And although there is no evidence yet to confirm it, we suspect that there was a clash between one of your members and the Triad, one in which both sides some manner of abilities considering certain observed phenomena. These state that there are others outside of Free Magic who are aware of these abilities and either possess it themselves or have users of it in their employ. And seeing how far flung just the involved parties are, that means there are more of you outside of Japan. "So I ask one more time: How many ability-users are there in the world?" Filaes was very quiet, and very still, as Aramaki finished expressing himself. It was at this moment that Aramaki was perhaps more frightened of the man than at any point since he met him. Before, Filaes smiled and moved with the easy grace of a self-assured and charismatic leader. Now, he neither smiled nor frowned, and his stance was straight but not rigid, with a seemingly relaxed pose that could have also been a disguised fighting posture. Most notably, his eyes were utterly blank slates, staring at Aramaki with obvious intensity, but unknown emotion. Aramaki was frightened, because Filaes was giving him no clear signs on what he was thinking or what was going to do next, and he didn't even know why Filaes was doing this now. Then suddenly Filaes shifted himself back into the form he'd taken upon first meeting Aramaki. "Do be careful, Chief Aramaki. I don't want you to spoil anything that I want to reveal to my intended audience." Then he turned and continued right back up to the door. Aramaki followed up, realizing what truly unsettled him about Filaes Joor. He was a man in perfect control of his emotions, because he was a man with no emotions of his own. "Speaking of which, tell them to meet me up here. I am especially eager to see them face to face," as he flicked out a red string to coil weightlessly around Aramaki's neck. GitS/HxH Sorry, Major, Aramaki said. It seems he's caught on. I can buy you no more time. Don't worry, Chief, Kusanagi assured, as the Tachikoma made the final turn and headed straight for HQ. You've done as much as you could. Taking advantage of the fact that Free Magic hadn't jammed any of the signals to and from Section 9 HQ, Aramaki had relayed to them everything that he and Filaes talked about, as well as their precise locations in the building, but now it appeared that Filaes had been aware of this all along, and was putting an end to any illusions of his ignorance, while also forcing a confrontation with them. Batou, Togusa, it looks like we're going in, she alerted. Both of you board one of the Tachikomas, and bring the rest up as well. It might be a bit of overkill, but I'd rather be over prepared than under prepared. Roger, they responded, as Kusanagi reached the base of Section 9. Saito, how long until you're in place? Motoko didn't ask where he was setting up, just in case something happened that would make her give away his direction. It took a bit because there aren't a lot of buildings taller than HQ that are close enough by for a decent shot, but we've picked a spot, so give us two to three minutes and we'll be good to go. Good. Pazu, Bolma, watch his back. Make sure there are no unpleasant surprises. Roger. Pazu. Roger. Bolma. Tachikomas, you here? She asked. "We're here, Major!" Motoko turned to see two Tachikomas come from the side. "Are the other three of you with Batou and Togusa?" "Yes ma'am!" One saluted. "We are locked, loaded, and ready to go!" "Alright." Everyone, activate thermal-optic camouflage and begin ascending. When we reach the roof, our objective is to separate Filaes Joor from Chief Aramaki without sacrificing his life. Best case scenario sees us also arresting Filaes Joor and interrogating him for information on Free Magic's members and organizational structure. However, we will more likely have a forceful confrontation in which we will be forced to shoot to kill. Saito will hopefully kill him if it comes to that with a sniper round, but if he misses, it will be up to us to take him down. Are we all clear? Yes. Togusa. Clear. Batou. With everything that needed to be said before said, it was time to get the mission done. Alright. All units at Section Nine HQ, let's get up there, she ordered. And with that, the Tachikomas fired their spider cables and began climbing the skyscraper. It would take at least for minute before they would reach the roof, and the Tachikomas didn't have enough cable to make the transition from ground level to top level in one go, so when each of them ran out of cable, they had to help each other get higher so that none of them would fall. The whole way up though, Motoko felt conflicted between anticipation and fear. The former because waiting up on the roof was a man with the answers to every pertinent question she had of late, the latter because this man had the greatest potential of anyone she'd ever met to killing her. This wasn't an unfamiliar feeling, seeing as being a cybernetic soldier for decades had put her in both the most dangerous warzones and the toughest law enforcement cases. She has faced the possibility of death before on multiple occasions, and had even resigned herself to it at one point during the Dojima Refugee Crisis. The difference between all of the previous brushes with death and this one, is that before, she knew who she was fighting, why they fighting, and she knew how to fight them. The man that had just penetrated the inner sanctum of Section Nine and threatened to cut off its head, this Filaes Joor, was an unknown quantity by almost every metric. Even with Aramaki filling her in with his observations of the man, she still knew and felt in the depths of her being that there was so much more going on with this man and his group than what they'd already seen. Indeed, this man was the doorway to an entire world that had been hidden from her sight, and just like with any other case, she simply could not let things just lie until she had given her all to get to the bottom of it. And then, finally, after a minute of ascension, all six Tachikomas crested the roof of Section Nine at once. They saw there, in the middle of the roof, an unfamiliar man dressed in a black suit and red vest with silver-edged black hair, with Aramaki standing five paces behind. The Tachikomas all immediately leveled their guns at the man who could only be Filaes Joor. And once again, just like with when she met Flynn the first and second times and when the Minister had been assassinated, her Ghost was alerting her to mortal peril. Hold your fire, Kusanagi ordered. Filaes Joor could still be holding Aramaki hostage somehow. No one fired, but everyone watched Filaes very closely. Saito, do you have a clear shot? Kusanagi didn't need to know his position, but she certainly needed to know if anyone was in the way. Don't worry about that, Major, he answered. There's thankfully not as much wind as usual at this altitude, the sky's clear, and no one on the roof is in between my sights and him. Say the word and I'll pop his head. Keep your comms open, Kusanagi then directed her attention to another absent member. Ishikawa, what's the word on backup? Not good, Major. The police are dealing with a lot of chaos from having multiple simultaneous firefights break out in different parts of the city that are causing panic to ripple outwards, and the other specialized law enforcement agencies and the military are more concerned with protecting important city and national officials from attack. No meaningful aid is coming our way for a while, if ever. Dammit, Motoko swore. She didn't know if this was intentional or not, but it seemed as though Free Magic had gotten the politicians so scared that they immediately demanded protection, having followed the logical conclusion that, if they were targeting major financial and political figures, any one of them could be next. Thus leaving such a highly secretive, highly active, and very relatively small agency like the Public Safety Bureau Section Nine vulnerable to a decapitation strike. But Motoko wondered if this really was a decapitation strike. After all, only one member of Free Magic was here, and if you aimed to get rid of an entire organization, it was always smarter and safer to send multiple agents to ensure success. This is Filaes Joor? Togusa asked. He looks like he just graduated from college. No kidding, Batou concurred. He's certainly got youthful arrogance challenging us like this, but I can't help but shake the feeling that the chief is still in danger. Everyone stay focused, Kusanagi reminded them. Filaes expects to see us, so just the Tachikomas holding me, Batou and Togusa will disengage thermal-optics and approach him. The other three of you remain hidden, just in case he has any other surprises up his sleeve. "I would prefer if all of the Tachikomas de-cloaked," Filaes spoke up. Silence. "And just realize," he raised his left gloved hand toward Aramaki, "that an untoward action aimed at me very well could lead to Chief Aramaki's death." Then, Aramaki let out a painful grunt, and a line of red suddenly appeared encircling his neck just below his chin, drops oozing out and downward. Saito! Kill him! Aramaki suddenly ordered, shocking the members of Section Nine. But, Chief, Saito hesitated. Now! Fire! Aramaki repeated. Saito took the shot. With the latest model of sniper rifle technology designed to kill a man from several kilometers away, even if protected by a layer of metal, aided by a cybernetic eye in his left socket, and decades of marksmanship under his belt, all of Section Nine knew that there no way that Saito could miss. And he didn't. But the bullet rebounded right off the side of Filaes Joor's head with an audible *DING* and sailed through the air before bouncing twice on the ground and rolling to the foot of Motoko's Tachikoma. Filaes looked directly at Kusanagi's Tachikoma, and thus directly at her. "Reveal yourselves, please." Drop thermal-optics, Kusanagi resigned. And Saito, Pazu, and Bolma, stand down and get out of there. We don't need any more surprises today from Free Magic if we can help it. Dammit, Saito was exasperated. Alright, Major, Pazu was tired. Okay, Bolma replied. All six Tachikomas dropped thermal-optics and became plain to see. Then, Motoko Kusanagi opened the hatch and climbed out, standing atop the pilot compartment of the think-tank. A moment later, both Batou and Togusa also got up out of their Tachikomas. Filaes's smile widened upon seeing Kusanagi, and she became distinctly uncomfortable at the sight of it. "So you are Motoko Kusanagi," he said, reaching out his hand to her. "You are just the woman I wanted to meet." "And you are Filaes Joor, and you are just the man I need to meet," she replied coldly, drawing her pistol and leveling it at him. Filaes chuckled, and swept his arms around. "Kusanagi, I stand here utterly unafraid of being surrounded by six robot tanks and took a sniper round to the head without so much as a bump. Do you really think a handgun will make much of a difference?" "It makes enough of a difference to me," she responded. Filaes just sighed in response. "Suit yourself" Then he swept his arms down, and all of the machine gun arms for the Tachikomas were all sliced off all at once and each fell to the ground with loud *CLANKs*. The Tachikomas were, very understandably, startled. "Waugh!" "My arms fell off! Why?!" "Aaaahhh!" "Put my arms right back this instant!" The Tachikomas all jerked and moved about as they expressed their shock, nearly causing those with human crewmates to shake them off the building to their deaths. Togusa and Batou managed to hold on, while Motoko managed to jump off onto the ground/roof and avoid falling off the side. "There," Filaes said, stepping towards Kusanagi. "Now I don't feel like a cornered animal." Motoko kept her weapon trained on him as he approached, even if she was aware that it probably didn't pose any real threat to him. Filaes then stopped, and held up a finger as if he had just remembered something, before turning to Batou and Togusa. "The two of you can tend to Chief Aramaki now, I have no more need to hold him hostage. I assure you, I will not be making new threats to his life or person today." Batou and Togusa looked at one another, then at Kusanagi, who simply nodded. They immediately got down from the Tachikomas and rushed to Aramaki's side. Filaes then spoke to the Tachikomas. "As for the six of you, please keep back from myself and Motoko Kusanagi. I want nothing and no one to come between what we have to talk about." Then the Tachikoma immediately stepped in front of Kusanagi and spread out its arms. "Never! We will not let you harm the Major! If you want her, you gotta go through me!" Then the other Tachikomas immediately rushed and surrounded Filaes Joor, breaking Motoko's line of sight on Filaes Joor. "That's right!" "We will stop you!" They cried. A loud *BANG* was heard and one of the Tachikomas was sent rolling backwards towards the roof's edge. Two of its comrades immediately rushed over and fired their spider cables, grabbing their compatriot just as it went over the edge, breaking its fall. Motoko was then able to see Filaes Joor with his arm extended out and up, as if he had just dealt someone an uppercut punch. "Please keep back," he repeated. The Tachikomas were wary, but they didn't move, until Kusanagi spoke up. "Let him through." With visible reluctance, the Tachikomas made way for Filaes Joor, who resumed his advancement toward her. "Now we can finally talk, Motoko Kusanagi." "Why do you want to talk to me?" she demanded, still not letting her pistol point away from between Filaes Joor's eyes. Why go to all this trouble to see me?" Filaes stopped three paces away from her, his smile still sitting very nicely on his face. "Because you are one of the most fascinating people I have ever known." "Funny, I don't think we've met before," Motoko reflected on what Aramaki had relayed to her while he was with him, and she had to concur that trying to read this man was about as Herculean a task as it gets. "True," he admitted. "But after Flynn got a close encounter with you and had one of my colleagues sketch your likeness, we ran it through every Internet database we could access, and we were very surprised at what we found." "Aramaki said you had access to classified information on the Individual Eleven, as well as the Solid State Society," Motoko replied. "Hard to imagine there wasn't much you didn't find if you were able to dig up that." "One thing I didn't mention to him was that we know about Aoi, from the Laughing Man case," Filaes revealed. Now that surprised Kusanagi. It was one thing to learn about the Individual Eleven and the Solid State Society, as Section Nine had kept files on the case in their aftermaths. But with the Laughing Man case, all of Section Nine's involvement had been scrubbed from all records in the wake of then-Secretary General Yakushima pinning the Laughing Man case and other crimes on them before dispatching Special Forces to capture or kill them, forcing them to temporarily disband and scatter. "How did you learn about that?" Motoko questioned. "Even if you did learn about my identity, and use that to piece together my history from all digital records, Aoi's involvement was never made known to anyone beyond myself and Aramaki, and neither of us left behind any sort of record for you to track down. How did you find out about him, and what have you done with him?" At that moment, Batou and Togusa were startled when a bejeweled bug suddenly flew up from inside Aramaki's suit collar and buzzed its way past the Tachikomas and over Filaes to hover between him and Motoko Kusanagi before settling on his left ear. She was then quick to note that Filaes had an identical one hanging from his right ear. "My friend here, who shall be called Fly on the Wall, has information gathering abilities that are second to none," he boasted. "Within mere minutes of receiving the image of your face, she knew your name, the names of your coworkers and your arrests, and everywhere you had been within this city for the past month. She then used it to do a deep dive into government and military records, and quickly found out about every case you participated in that you have on digital file. Then she learned through newspaper reference your involvement in the Laughing Man case, and used that to look through all security footage memories going back to the time of Section Nine's initial dissolving all the way to when you became active again, and we found him as well. It took her only seven hours to do it." Motoko was stunned. Whoever or whatever this Fly on the Wall was, their hacking abilities were indeed second to none. And since it had come from Aramaki, she immediately presumed that it was how Filaes had listened in on their cyber-communications, something that was generally nigh impossible to tap into without the involved parties being aware. "As for Aoi himself," he continued. "We're just keeping an eye on him. We have no plans to do anything with him for the time being, though he remains a person of interest due to the critical role he played in regards to kicking off the Laughing Man phenomenon." Motoko's gaze remained like steel, fixed on Filaes, and gave him little indication of her true thoughts. Inside, she was roiling at all of the impossible things he was saying and doing in front of her. "What are you doing?" she asked. "Why are you doing all of this? How are you doing all of this?" Filaes's grin went as wide as a human face could stretch it without revealing teeth. "All three questions you asked share the same answer: Nen." "What is Nen?" she immediately asked. "First thing to know is that all living things generate an energy known as aura," Filaes explained. "It flows through us and intermittently leak out, uncontrolled and unrefined. Some unknown time ago, it was discovered that by consciously opening and controlling certain microscopic pores in the body, that aura could be directly harnessed and put to use like a tool. The ability to control one's aura like this is called Nen." "I imagine that there are particular rules that one must follow to control and train one's use of Nen?" Kusanagi asked. "Correct," Filaes praised. "And also just as humans have varying levels of talent in varying fields, each Nen user has varying levels of aura they can utilize and varying levels of talents in the various different types of applications of Nen." So Nen is a rational magic system, and all of Free Magic abides by it, Motoko thought. "What limits are there to learning Nen?" At that, Filaes let go of his smile, and he appeared to grow a little somber? Motoko couldn't tell if it was an act or not. "Generally, there is no limit to a person's ability to meditate and open their own nodes aside from awareness of such an ability and the willpower to see your training through. However, this modern age has imposed a new limitation on the ability to utilize Nen: cybernetics." This caused Motoko to open her mouth for a brief moment to express her shock. With light speed, she swiftly understood the possible implications of what he said, in particular regarding her. "You said that Aura comes from living things, and that cybernetics limits the ability to utilize Aura as Nen. Does that mean that the more a person is cyberized, the less Aura they are able to generate and thus control, and so leading to a lesser ability to use Nen?" "Good answer, but incomplete" he replied. "Aura leaves the body through the nodes that Nen-users manipulate in order to use Aura as Nen. A person could have only the skin replaced with cybernetics and leave the rest of their body as is, and thus still be able to generate about as much Aura as before, but without those nodes, the Aura is restricted in the ways that it can then leave the body, and so far less of it can get out, and without those nodes, the ways that Aura can then be utilized as Nen are greatly restricted." Motoko Kusanagi was thus able to connect the last dots, and thus how this information was relevant to her. "To be clear, you are aware of what I am, correct?" Filaes nodded. "Full-body prosthetics, with the only remaining organic part of your body being your heavily cyberized brain. Which means your capacity to generate Aura and to utilize it as Nen is next to zero." For a moment, Motoko felt strange. For years, while she had had many questions and musings regarding the truth of her existence and identity, she hadn't been uncomfortable living in a cybernetic body since her first days living in one after she survived that plane crash during her adolescence. But now she was being told by this man of incredible power and ability, no matter how much she disagreed with his actions, that those very same cybernetics that had brought her back to a life worth living and that had served her so well for decades, were simultaneously restricting the full potential of her very being. But then he smiled again. "But your ability to do so is still there. And in fact is active even now." The moment was gone, and Motoko stood very still, both confusion and hope(?) swelling through her. "What do you mean, that it's active?" "During when one of my associates assassinated the Minister, they noticed that upon entrance, you reacted to their presence, even if you couldn't see or hear them. Do you recall sensing anything out of the ordinary then?" Filaes asked. Motoko started. She knew that feeling. In fact, when she concentrated, she could still feel it now. "Ahhh," Filaes awed at her. "Your Nen is indeed extremely faint, but it is there. But with how faint it is, it seems the only thing it can definitively sense is active Nen, which is why it appears that it cannot interact with anything or anyone else." Then, suddenly, the sensation that Motoko felt from Filaes was gone, and she gasped at it. In fact, if Motoko hadn't still been looking straight at him, she would've thought he had completely disappeared. And just as unexpectedly, it was back. "You reacted to it just like I thought you would," Filaes applauded. "You, Motoko Kusanagi, are what Nen-users refer to as a genius." "As in one who can use Nen without being instructed or taught about it?" she clarified. "Correct again," Filaes confirmed. "And everything you've said and done has assured me that everything I hoped for with you has not been in vain." "What is it you're saying?" she interrogated. "Are you trying to rope into being a part of Free Magic?" "No," he answered. "But I do plan to initiate you as a part of my plans." "Why would I even want to be part of your plans? You're a law-breaker, and I work for the law." Motoko may have had her whole worldview and sense of self upended in the past two minutes, but she remained faithful and true to the spirit of the law and bringing criminals like him to justice. "Because my plans with you hinge on you faithfully acting as a part of law enforcement," he declared. That was something she wasn't prepared to hear. "Here is the thing that you must understand, Motoko Kusanagi," Filaes stated. "Free Magic is far more than a mere name for the group that I lead. It is our founding creed and rallying cry. It is our demand to the world and the goal of our dreams. Those who use this power are relatively few and are scattered across the world. We are all hidden, and all a part of the same underground society, whether by choice or by force, one whose aim is to do nothing but remain hidden from the world at large. Among them are good people preventing from performing good to the full force of their being, and those whose evils go unpunished because they are too powerful to get caught by those in the public eye. "You wanted to know what the goal of Free Magic is?" he reached his hand out to her again. "It is rip the mask off the masquerade that is the world of Nen-users, and drag them all into the light kicking and screaming, so that none who wield power greater than that of their fellow man will have far fewer places to hide, and be forced to face the world as they truly are. And soon, we will destroy the last barrier to the unveiling of the full force of our miracle power to all the world, and no one, from within that society or from without, will be unable to stop it." It was a fairly good sales pitch, as far as supervillain speeches go, even if it sounded a bit rehearsed. "Sounds a little grandiose," she critiqued. "Still don't know where I fit in, and why I would help you." "Because you want to catch me," he responded. He then pulled back his hand and reached into his suit. "Hey!" Motoko shouted. Filaes held up a hand of caution, then pulled out the hand in his suit. In it was held a very large and peculiar phone. The steel-blue device was bigger than his hand, with buttons in the same arrangement as on a normal phone, but with strange, unknown characters on them, as well as a slot on the bottom for inserting a card. He held it out towards her. "If you wish to arrest me, you must use this device to access my location. This phone is one of only perhaps between one and two hundred of its kind, and each one is held by a member of an organization of Nen-users known as the Hunters. I myself am a member, and this device belonged to a former member who is currently deceased. Each device can access the location of any other device when one slides the corresponding membership card in the device. Like this one," he said, holding up a white plastic card with the same strange characters, his photo, and a strange symbol like a double 'X'. "My location is on this device, but in order to unlock it, you must first insert the membership cards of three different Hunters on this device. But just know, that the only cards that will work toward unlocking my location are those that you acquire through overcoming a Hunter in a challenge. Any others will not count." Motoko struggled to keep up with everything that he was saying. "What's to stop me from just using the first three cards I come across, including those who help me without any sort of 'challenge?'" "Another companion of mine has very finely tuned skills with manipulating Nen," he replied. "He arranged it within this device so that it would respond in exactly the manner I just described to you." Filaes then walked around Motoko Kusanagi and stopped right at the edge, Motoko following him with her handgun. "Oh, and one more thing before I go," he mentioned, turning to her. "Don't be too hasty in pursuing me. I've held a lot of my power back because I don't want to kill you. But I assure you, the moment you have completed my challenge, the gloves come off. I will fight as hard as I can to defeat you and your allies. Even to the death. This challenge serves also to make sure that you will be strong enough to take me when the time comes for us to face off." She felt dread at that. "How do you know I'm not strong enough?" she asked anyway. That was when an invisible wall of pure energy just slammed into her with the strength of a freight train and launched her back into one of the Tachikomas that had held back the whole time with enough force to knock it over and leave a massive dent in its side. "Major!" The Tachikomas cried. Motoko was dazed after taking that hit, feeling worse than almost any other time she could remember. "Motoko!" Batou immediately rushed over to help, Togusa and the tended-to Aramaki right behind him. She was shocked at the sheer amount of power that he was capable of unleashing at a moment's notice. "That is how I know you're not strong enough yet," Filaes Joor replied, a neutral face set over his features. And he somehow expected her to catch up to him and fight him on equal footing. How in the world do I reach that? she wondered. Then, after looking at her one more time as if from the top of a mountain peak, he stepped over the roof's edge and vanished. A/N: FINALLY! Please give honest reviews and critiques.
Can't believe I missed this story the first time around. It's refreshing to see a group of professionals actually act like professionals - exposed to an OCP, they immediately try to understand the rules behind the phenomena they are seeing, instead of panicking or denying what's happening. Still, if Nen pushes the human body this far past the best cyborg technology has to offer, there isn't any way forward for Section 9. Unless they have the ability to grow a flesh and blood body and sleeve a cyberbrain into it, the Major and Batou are too crippled to make any difference in a fight with Nen users. I'm looking forward to seeing where this could be going. Edit: I almost didn't read this story because the title is a mess. Might need to brainstorm something that feels like a SAC episode title... something to do with computers and OCPs?
If Section9 can get their hands on some NenCode that hardens Nen into specific formations, then they could do a lot more. This is Section9 they know Coding
Well, this is very interesting. I only just found this but could not stop reading this for long. I am going to be watching this from now on.
Doctor Blood said: Can't believe I missed this story the first time around. It's refreshing to see a group of professionals actually act like professionals - exposed to an OCP, they immediately try to understand the rules behind the phenomena they are seeing, instead of panicking or denying what's happening. Still, if Nen pushes the human body this far past the best cyborg technology has to offer, there isn't any way forward for Section 9. Unless they have the ability to grow a flesh and blood body and sleeve a cyberbrain into it, the Major and Batou are too crippled to make any difference in a fight with Nen users. Click to expand... Click to shrink...
Doctor Blood said: Edit: I almost didn't read this story because the title is a mess. Might need to brainstorm something that feels like a SAC episode title... something to do with computers and OCPs? Click to expand... Click to shrink...
It has been generally agreed upon now that this story needs a better title. Therefore, I have come up with a list of different titles this story could use, and you may all then vote for your favorite choices: 1. Ghost X Shell: OCP Outside Context Problem 2. Ghost in the Shell: OCP Outside Context Problem 3. Ghost X Shell: NGW Nen Generation Warfare 4. Ghost in the Shell: NGW Nen Generation Warfare 5. Ghost X Shell: HG Hunter X Gatherers 6. Ghost in the Shell: HG Hunter Gatherers 7. Ghost X Shell: NWO New World Order 8. Ghost in the Shell: NWO New World Order
So Filias' plan requires Makoto to act as she normally would and remain faithful to herself as a officer of the law. I wonder just how much corruption and world shattering revelations will be unveiled by Free Magic before this is over and done. Keep up the good work!
- Jan 12, 2020
I'm not sure what Filaes' game is. His stated goal of revealing nen to the world and making it more accessible, is totally believable. It's definitely something a lot of people can get behind - it's freaking super-powers! It does need a lot of training, but if you can make nen a PE subject starting elementary school, make it happen 2-3 times a week in highschool, continue on to college, then you have a super-soldier program ready to go! Only problem is everyone else would probably be doing the same. No, my question is why he's trying to bring Motoko and Section 9 into this. If he wanted to spread the knowledge of nen to the greater human population, the best bet was to get 50 nen users together, go to some small country or faction somewhere, and offer to train their fighters. To put it in modern IRL terms, if a bunch of nen users went to the Taliban or to North Korea and trained their soldiers, the rest of the world would find out shortly. And you can bet that the US won't allow a "missile gap" and will move heaven and earth to get nen users of their own. And the rest of the world will not be far behind. No, if Filaes just wanted it to spread, he doesn't need Section 9 for that. He could saying the truth, that he wants Motoko to be strong enough to take him down. But why? I don't think he's the strongest nen user in the world, and if this world's HunterXHunter association is anything like the one from the anime/manga, then it's going to be lead by some inhuman combat monster like Netero and have other members who might be in the same ballpark. If Filaes wanted to be beaten by a worthy foe, there are others he can go to. The best guesses I could make are: 1. there's some personal history involved. Even with a series, Motoko's past isn't really clear, and Filaes might have known her from before, and maybe trying to reconnect with her or 2. he's interested in how cyberization affects nen usage. He says that full-cyberization prevents the aura from leaking out properly and makes nen hard to use, but if it was that simple then why would he challenge Motoko to get stronger to beat him? Even if he says Motoko is a genius, if he's right then Motoko's nen ability would be horribly stunted. Maybe it's not, and he wants to know how machine bodies interact with said aura
shiv katall said: I'm not sure what Filaes' game is. His stated goal of revealing nen to the world and making it more accessible, is totally believable. It's definitely something a lot of people can get behind - it's freaking super-powers! It does need a lot of training, but if you can make nen a PE subject starting elementary school, make it happen 2-3 times a week in highschool, continue on to college, then you have a super-soldier program ready to go! Only problem is everyone else would probably be doing the same. No, my question is why he's trying to bring Motoko and Section 9 into this. If he wanted to spread the knowledge of nen to the greater human population, the best bet was to get 50 nen users together, go to some small country or faction somewhere, and offer to train their fighters. To put it in modern IRL terms, if a bunch of nen users went to the Taliban or to North Korea and trained their soldiers, the rest of the world would find out shortly. And you can bet that the US won't allow a "missile gap" and will move heaven and earth to get nen users of their own. And the rest of the world will not be far behind. No, if Filaes just wanted it to spread, he doesn't need Section 9 for that. He could saying the truth, that he wants Motoko to be strong enough to take him down. But why? I don't think he's the strongest nen user in the world, and if this world's HunterXHunter association is anything like the one from the anime/manga, then it's going to be lead by some inhuman combat monster like Netero and have other members who might be in the same ballpark. If Filaes wanted to be beaten by a worthy foe, there are others he can go to. The best guesses I could make are: 1. there's some personal history involved. Even with a series, Motoko's past isn't really clear, and Filaes might have known her from before, and maybe trying to reconnect with her or 2. he's interested in how cyberization affects nen usage. He says that full-cyberization prevents the aura from leaking out properly and makes nen hard to use, but if it was that simple then why would he challenge Motoko to get stronger to beat him? Even if he says Motoko is a genius, if he's right then Motoko's nen ability would be horribly stunted. Maybe it's not, and he wants to know how machine bodies interact with said aura Click to expand... Click to shrink...
- Nov 16, 2023
I have an announcement: I will no longer be continuing this story, and am putting it up for adoption. I'm sorry to whoever hoped to see it continued, and I thank those few who did read this. If someone is interested in adopting this story, send me a private message and I will give you my notes for this story, from characters and powers to ideas for future arcs. Good night.
Mother and Child
- View history
Summary [ ]
Following Ishikawa 's intelligence reports, the Major heads to Taiwan to investigate a lead on Kuze . She learns that he had a powerful effect on the refugees, and is believed responsible for the creation of a narcotics and explosive smuggling ring. As she prepares to leave the police station, the detective discloses that her plane will not leave until tomorrow, giving Kusanagi some much needed free time. While on the streets, Kusanagi meets a street kid with aspirations to make it big by dabbling in the drug trade. The kid is already in trouble for stealing cocaine from the Shouji (a rival gang on the island) and reveals to the Major that he and his friends intend to pressure-mold the drugs into figures for shipment overseas. At the end of the day the Major heads for her hotel, and the kid spends the night with her, but at dawn Kusanagi discovers the kid has left. On her way to the airport the Major discovers a bath house key in her pocket book, and following the lead recovers the remaining cocaine. Deducing the kids' location to be the Yakuza headquarters Kusanagi storms the building, catching both the Shouji and the three Yakuza heads off guard. With two separate weapons pointed at the Yakuza heads and the Shouji, Kusanagi discloses her terms: In exchange for the kid and a promise from the Yakuza leaders not to retaliate against the refugees on Taiwan, the Major will hand over the Shouji's stolen cocaine. The Yakuza agree to her terms, and force the Shouji gang to let the kid and the Major escape from the building unharmed. At the airport, Kusanagi suggests that the kid create a future for himself rather than getting caught up in a pointless gang war. The first terminal of Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport and Yuanshan Grand Hotel was presented in the episode.
Notable Dialogue [ ]
Chai (Kid) : [When Motoko gets into bed next to him' and turns off the light' .] Sister, mind if I ask you one question?
Major : What is it?
Chai : When you're full prosthetic... Can you have sex?
Major : Care to see for yourself?
Chai : I think I'll pass. [He closes his eyes.]
- 1 Motoko Kusanagi
- 2 Laughing Man
- 3 Motoko Kusanagi/SAC
Ghost in the Shell (manga)/Fanfic Recs
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Proof that the remaining 10% is worth dying for here.
These are recommendations made by Tropers for Ghost in the Shell fanfics, all of which have to be signed to stay on the page. Feel free to add a fanfic of your own to the list, but remember to use the template found here .
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Authors, and Websites
Stories focused on the family and the friendly relationships of the cast. Plot-focused stories or light day-in-the-life stories. Pretty much anything that isn't focused on romance.
Unnamed Serena Dawn GitS RP by Slipstream
- Recommended by Latw PIAT
- Synopsis : Either an After Action Report or a very detailed plan for a role-play session, this is a story written almost like a standard Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex" season, but focuses mainly on a small group of OCs who occationally but into Section 9. The lack of descriptions and intrapersonal interaction leaves a lot to wish for, but the plot carries most of it.
- Comments : I've read the occational GitS fanfic, and writing GitS fanfic is hard. Writing Original Flavour GitS fanfic is even harder. Writing season-long, Original Flavour GitS fanfic is ztyping impossible. Doing so without really trying... This fic really captures the universe and Xanatos-nature of the show itself, and its plot moves at the same pace as the SAC seasons, so it's a joy to read.
Far Behind by AJ.
- Recommended by da fox22
- Synopsis : If he's going to be nothing more than the means to an end, he might as well be an active participant. Batoufic.
- Sneebs: The sparse prose and neat narrative make this story work so well. What is not said really hits home on batou's isolation and makes for an interesting noir-esque read.
Only Natural by Vaeru.
- Recommended by eagle108
- Synopsis : Togusa, meet the Tachikomas. Tachikomas, meet Togusa
- Comments : Occurs before the first season and Vaeru nails down every single character in this piece perfectly. Togusa gets introduced to the Tachikomas by Batou, which leads to one of the excitable tanks finding out the hard way (irony there) that Togusa isn't cybernized like Batou or Motoko is (Ishikawa and Saito doesn't count by the tanks' logic, as the former rarely heads into actual combat and the latter's a sniper). Which then has the Tachikomas deciding to do their best to protect the rookie in the most heartwarming way.
Bitter Apple: GENESIS by hakojo
- Recommended by Wild Goose
- Synopsis : "For God knows that when you eat of the fruit, your eyes shall be opened, and you shall be as a God yourself..."
- Comments : Original take on the Major's Shrouded in Myth backstory. Well worth the read.
Stories focused on the romantic relationships between the cast.
- Reads Reads 6,654 6,654 6.6K
- Votes Votes 137 137 137
- Parts Parts 4 4 4
- Time Time 26m 0 hours, 26 minutes 26m
- bio Sun, May 3, 2020
- Prologue: a request from Section 9 Sun, May 10, 2020
- Chapter 1: the transfer Sat, Sep 26, 2020
- Chapter 2: The test Fri, Aug 5, 2022
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Unspoken (BNHA x Male child reader)
Y/n was cursed, unable to speak without the risk of hurting others. but he still tries to go on with life, the way he wants to. too bad danger keeps finding him when he wants no part of it..