As midnight approached in Shinjuku, Hirohito issued a warning to the rest of the Headspace. Nikumono Custodial Services had launched a major operation on Tonarigumi which could be irreversible by daybreak.
Already, security clearance had been revoked for the whole group, and an APB had been issued with warrants for their arrest, with addendum labeling them as dangerous fugitives. The party sprang into action.
Vo1t and Hū were in the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building within minutes, trying to navigate their way to the mainframe to install a virus designed by 1CH1G0, while she and Dr. Copernicus watched over the spinner down below at street level below. The only straggler was David Clarke, who, excited to be given carte blanche to do some significant damage, was gearing up with weapons from one of his secret stashes hidden in the tunnels of Shinjuku Station.
As Vo1t and Hū made it through the first security barriers with fake IDs, Hirohito’s voice came through on the Headspace.
“I suspected this was going to happen, and I planned for it. Unfortunately, you’ll all have to go on without me. Get this done, I’m sorry.”
An explosion rocked the surrounding area as a floor of the building erupted into a downpour of broken glass and crumbled concrete. Flames billowed out from 30 stories up, and Dr. Copernicus and 1CH1G0 watched in horror as Hirohito’s body swan-dived onto the windshield of their vehicle. His voice echoed out, distorted by static.
“Like I said, all part of the plan. You’ll need the ID in my breast pocket to access the mainframe.”
Meanwhile, back at the station…
David Clarke gathered up the last of his gear, loaded for bear, clutching his WWIII era shotgun close. He heard a knock on the door of the utility tunnel he was held up in.
“Mr. Clarke, open up, we have a warrant for your arrest!” shouted the voice on the other end.
Clarke kicked open the door, knocking back the Nikumono agent on the other side. Looking to his left and right, he saw that his normal methods of escape were flanked, with a pair of agents on either end, sights trained on him. Before they could react, he barreled down the length of the hallway, taking advantage of the narrow passageway to easily hit his target, dispatching one of the two guards with a punishing shotgun blast. He grabbed the second agent, holding him up as cover, and then bashed his head against the wall repeatedly. The agents at the other end of the tunnel pulled back, and he tossed the limp body aside before making his way out of the tunnels to regroup at the building.
Hū and Vo1t navigated the subterranean passages of the government building, seeking out the mainframe. 1CH1G0 provided assistance by dismantling security systems and opening doors. While sneaking, Vo1t drew the attention of Zora, a known loyal Tonarigumi agent. Reacting in a wired fit of rage, Vo1t put a bullet in Zora’s head, drawing attention from the noise and killing someone who likely would have been willing to help.
Assumingly still undetected, Vo1t and Hū neared the mainframe. Unfortunately, someone had their tail, Captain Sato Masako, chief operator for Nikumono.
Back at the van, alerts went off drawing the attention of 1CH1G0 and Copernicus. Desperate to provide a distraction, Copernicus triggered explosives rigged in the building in advance, but, unable to manage her emotions through the tense moment, also triggered a flashback to her days working for Oroshi Medtech.
Suddenly, everyone in the squad was aware of what Copernicus had been hiding. Her efforts to develop drug therapies to eliminate compatibility with CYBERZONE, she had inadvertently generated major side effects that amounted to brain damage limiting impulse control. She had an opportunity to halt the program, but considered its timeliness more important than its quality, and ruined many lives in the rush.
Clarke arrived at the building and checked in with Copernicus and 1CH1G0, barely registering their panic before grabbing the keycard off of Hirohito’s body. He handed off a gun to each of them, hefted up his shotgun, and ran into the building.
Hū and Vo1t entered the mainframe and began uploading their virus. Vo1t, let slip through her mind a past experience with hacking that she would have as soon forgotten. She revealed to the party her sabotage of Tonarigumi while she worked officially for Nikumono Custodial Services. She had drugged Copernicus, and planted surveillance equipment in the ocular implants Copernicus was developing. The degree to which this infiltration may have spread is as of yet unknown, but what is clear is that there are many unwitting spies within the organization, their every moves being watched.
As the virus finished uploading, Hū’s ‘spider-sense’ tingled, and they could sense that they were both being watched in that moment. Hū slipped into the shadows and began tracking the newly arrived Sato, stalking from the tops of the servers. Just as Sato got Vo1t in her sights, Hū dropped down, using a Krav Maga disarming technique to force Sato to drop her gun, and breaking several fingers in her dominant hand at the same time.
Sato fell back, tossing a grenade from her belt as she took cover. Hū retreated and Vo1t stepped in to perform a quick flying clipper and send the grenade careening back in Sato’s direction. Explosions wracked the room and they both retreated, unsure if Sato was alive or dead.
They reconnected with Clarke who had left a trail of blood and tears in his wake to make for an easy extract. All three rushed back to Vo1t’s spinner and booked it out of Shinjuku before reinforcements could arrive.
Clarke took the party back to his base of operations, an old abandoned arcade in the long-ago flooded Akihabara and the Headspace planned their next move. With Vo1t’s past transgressions revealed, they acknowledged it would be much harder than they’d assumed to identify true loyalists, but at least the data they were seeking to corrupt had been permanently destroyed. The best course of action, everyone agreed, would be to identify who was at the heart of this operation, and make sure that Nikumono Custodial Services could never trust them again.