Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex Custom

Eclipse
Kaneren Tonbogiri - July 23, 2032

<KANEREN TONBOGIRI>

[Rogue GSDA Artificial Intelligence / Wanted Terrorist]

 

The clacking of the maid's heels echoed down the hall as she pushed a cart towards a room. Her eyes were dead set upon the door ahead of her, never blinking, ever staring. The rattling wheels of the cleaning cart came to a halt before the android maid's knuckles rapped upon the polished wood of the guest room. Before long, the door was cracked and a man's face appeared, staring at the maid. The android let out a small smile, almost falsely so. The man grunted and closed the door, unlocking it before allowing the maid in. She immediately set to work, examining her surroundings. Within the penthouse suite were a few seated men. She could tell by their suits that they were members of the Yamaguchi-gumi, a large yakuza syndicate. There were four men sitting at a table along with two women. One of the women was standing behind one of the sofas, leaning over while caressing one of the mobster's shoulders. The other was sitting next to a larger man who's fingers were covered in rings. She was leaning against him, her hand upon his thigh. The maid deduced that this man was in charge. The boss looked up at the maid from behind his sunglasses.

"You! Get out." He stuck his ring covered finger out, pointing towards the door. With that, the maid bowed to him and vacated the room. Her eyes twitched as she walked down the hall. After a moment, she stumbled before catching herself. The maid looked around, clearly confused as to where she was. At that moment, Kaneren's form strode down the hallway towards the maid, her black long coat draping her shell. The AI adjusted her gloves as her yellow eyes burned upon the maid, who turned to face the woman. The android let out a smile, bowing slightly to the terrorist.

"Good evening, ma'am."

Kaneren ignored the android and made her way towards the door. She stared at the wood for a moment before knocking. The man from before peeked out of the crack to see an overweight middle aged individual wearing a suit staring right back at him. The guest grunted, raising an eyebrow at the doorman as he rapped his fingers upon his arm.

"Well, are you going to let me in, or are you just going to stand there like an idiot?" Kaneren hissed at the doorman, who was completely clueless as to whom was speaking. The doorman stared at the man he saw, unsure as to what to say. Before he could speak, the boss barked from within the room.

"Who is it!? Is it Kitano!?" The doorman glanced back at his boss, nodding to the man. The boss let out a growl, shaking his head. "Tell him to come back later!" As this was going down, one of Kaneren's puppeted shells made its way up to its master, pressing up against the wall out of the doorman's view. The yakuza looked at Kaneren and shook his head.

"Get out of here, Kitano. The boss don't wanna see ya." He shut the door in Kaneren's face. With that action, the puppet slumped to the floor, released from the AI's grasp. Kaneren knelt down and tossed the shell over her shoulder before banging on the door. She shouted through the wooden slab.

"The boss will change his mind when he sees this!"

She could hear discussion and commotion emanating from the room beyond. The door cracked open once again and the doorman saw what appeared to be Kaneren draped over Kitano's shoulder, unconscious. The doorman turned his head and spoke to the boss.

"He's got that Tonbogiri slut, boss." Kaneren's eyes narrowed at this. She could feel her rage building, her blood turning hot. The AI had no patience for derogatory terms directed towards her. It took all of her resolve to prevent her from blasting his face in. After a moment, the doorman allowed Kaneren inside. The woman walked in, carrying one of her spare shells over her shoulder. The boss looked at her for a moment before glancing to the body she was carrying. Without a word, he pointed to an empty sofa. Kaneren made her way over and tossed the shell upon the sofa before making her way back to the cleaning cart that she had left in the room. The boss stood from his seated position and walked over to the puppet, leaning over and examining it. A sickly grin came across his face.

"So beautiful. It's hard to believe she's a murderous killer. I hear Public Security still can't find her. And here she is. Just happened to fall into my lap." He caressed the puppet's face with his fingers, staring at her. Meanwhile, Kaneren's eyes shifted towards the man as her hand crept between two of the folded towels upon the cart. Her fingers brushed across a device. She felt around until she came across a switch, pressing it. The boss looked back at Kaneren.

"Kitano, how did you get her? I figured a fat slob like you wouldn't stand a chance." Kaneren chuckled at this as she moved one of her hands underneath of her trench coat, releasing the clasp on her pistol holster.

"If I told you, I'd have to kill you."

The rest of the room erupted into laughter as the AI stared at the boss. The yakuza returned his gaze back to the shell.

"She's not dead, is she? That would be a damn shame. I'd like to get to know her better." A dark chuckle escaped his throat. A small smirk crept upon Kaneren's lips as she thumbed the safety off on her G33 Advance.

"She's very much alive." Kaneren made her way over to the boss, looking down upon the man as he examined the shell in detail. After a moment, Kaneren dropped the hack and pressed the barrel of her pistol against the back of the man's head. The rest of the room whipped out their firearms and aimed at revealed AI. The boss's eyes grew wide as he shifted his gaze back to the AI.

"Kaneren! How in the-!?"

Kaneren stared the man in the eyes, pulling back the hammer of her firearm.

"Your defense barriers are pitiful. Hacking into your cyberbrains provided no challenge." She could hear one of the yakuza slowly making his way towards the AI, their sights right upon the woman's head. Kaneren turned her head and looked at the man. Their eyes met and he was almost entranced by her gaze. He started to sweat, his hands started to shake. He could feel his hand move his pistol from the AI, the barrel climbing up his own body until it was pointed directly at his own temple. The man panicked, breathing heavily.

"What are you d-!?" A shot rang out and the yakuza' corpse clashed into the floor, his blood splattered upon the wall. The boss shouted at his men.

"Kill the bitch!"

However, the rest of the criminals were unable to pull the trigger. As if some force was preventing them from carrying out their assault. Kaneren turned her gaze back to the boss as she pressed her pistol firmly against the man's head.

"Pitiful." Kaneren hissed in the man's ear before grabbing him by the back of the collar and throwing him into a chair, never taking her sights off of his form. The AI lowered her firearm, knowing she was in no danger as long as she had control of their cyberbrains. It would've been very difficult for someone to break her grasp, as she had ghost-hacked them. The perks of being Class-S. The yakuza boss stared at Kaneren, his sunglasses cocked upon his face, his eyes wide from fear.

"What the hell do you want!?"

She stood over the man, her voice sending chills up his spine.

"My purchase. Where is it?" The AI's words dripped with venom. The boss shook his head, bringing his hands up.

"Listen, I-" A bullet burrowed into the yakuza's kneecap, causing him to shriek in agony as she tumbled from the chair. Kaneren pointed her G33 at the other leg, staring down at him.

"Where is it?"

"I don't know! I swear, I don't know!" The boss screamed, clutching his leg. Blood leaked out from between his fingers, staining the carpet below. The man clenched his teeth together, saliva dripping from his lips as he glared daggers at the woman. Kaneren's yellow eyes met his own. Another shot rang out, blood spraying onto the back of the sofa. The man's screams reverberated throughout the room. A low growl came from her throat.

"Fine." Kaneren marched over to the man, stepping over his writhing body. The woman knelt down next to the man as she holstered her G33. The woman violently grabbed the boss's hair, causing the man's sunglasses to fall from his face. Kaneren reached to the back of her neck, pulling out a retractable QRS cord before shoving it into one of the yakuza's ports. Her pupils constricted as she ghost-hacked the man. She sifted through his memories, witnessing various aspects of his life. Murder, robbery, rape, the works. A low growl escaped her throat. Everything that she saw disgusted her. It was a testament to humanity's decadence. Their immorality. Their inferiority. The yakuza's body was engulfed in spasms, saliva dripping from his lips as the AI's hack violated his brain. One of the onlookers whipped his head around, staring at one of the thugs.

"Get Hamada!"

The thug nodded, fearful. He rushed to the door, only for a loud shot to ring out. His knee gave way and he tumbled to the floor, screaming. One of the other men in the room stared at him with terrified eyes, the barrel of his pistol smoking. Kaneren's voice reached their ears.

"No one leaves." Her eyes shifted towards them for a moment before returning to her work. After a brief moment, an amused sigh came from her lips. She ripped the cord from the man's cyberbrain, allowing it to retract back into her neck. Kaneren stood from the man's writhing body, staring down at him.

"I thought as much." The AI buried a bullet into the boss's forehead. Several shots rang throughout the room as the criminals all shot each other. Their corpses crashed to the carpet below. Only the two women remained and they were trapped with the AI. Kaneren turned her head and gazed upon them. Their eyes locked. The rogue's gaze made their skin crawl. She looked upon them with amusement before, the corners of her mouth curled into a cruel smirk.

"You two may prove to be useful to me." The AI shoved her pistol back into its holster as she approached them. Their eyes were wide with horror, backing away towards the wall. Kaneren stepped over a corpse, the sole of her boot bathed in the man's blood. One of the women bolted towards the door, only to feel a sharp pain in her neck. She slammed into the wall before falling to the floor. Her eyes grew lifeless as she exhaled her last breath. Kaneren pulled her knife from the woman's spine. The remaining woman screamed, her face completely distraught. The AI turned towards the woman, staring down at her at the woman backed down into a corner, sobbing. Her tear-filled eyes stared at Kaneren, barely able to make out the AI's shape.

"W-why!? Why are you doing this!? Please! Let me go!" She begged Kaneren, who simply stared at her with a stoic expression. Kaneren said nothing. She merely took a step towards the woman. The victim shook her head, pleading with the rogue. Kaneren simply ignore her. She knelt down in front of her before placing her hand upon the woman's head. The woman tilted her head forward with Kaneren's assistance, crying.

"P-please…"

No words came from Kaneren's mouth. Instead, she reached behind her neck, extracting the QRS cord. The AI plugged the cord into the woman's cyberbrain. Her pupils constricted once again. After a few moments, Kaneren disconnected the cable, allowing it to retract back into her neck. She stood, her eyes wandering down to the woman.

"Up."

Upon Kaneren's command, the woman stood, staring at Kaneren with a blank look in her eyes. The AI watched her for a moment before barking another order.

"Go and get yourself cleaned up." She paused for a moment before issuing a secondary command. "Public Security Section 9 is hiring five new recruits. Some of their numbers come from outside of the country. Discover their identities and return to me. Use any methods necessary. Do you understand me?" Kusanagi's doppelganger narrowed her eyes, awaiting the woman's response. She gave a nod to Kaneren before walking past her and leaving the room. The AI's gaze followed the woman out. After a few moments, Kaneren too exited the room and made her way down the corridor. The AI began to softly hum to herself as she reached into her trench coat. Kaneren peered down to her hand as she pulled out a detonator. The woman flipped the switch with her thumb, her voice softly resonating off of the walls.

It appeared as if the oxygen was sucked out of the corridor as the bomb exploded. The AI turned her head and observed the fire as it engulfed the walls. The AI climbed into the elevator and took it down to the ground floor. It wouldn't be much longer before the police arrived. To them, it would appear that an opposing yakuza syndicate assassinated the Yamaguchi-gumi boss. It was precisely what Kaneren was aiming for. She reached the lobby, only to see that the police arrive far quicker than she expected. Kaneren blinked as several members of the Special Assault Team rushed into the building. Her eyes followed them as they rushed past her, hurrying up the stairwell behind her. Kaneren let out a small sigh as she made her way towards a side door. She placed her hand upon the door knob, twisting it. However, just as she was about to push the door open, she stopped dead in her tracks. The AI stood up straight, turning her head and looking up at a security camera. Her yellow eyes glared into the lens, fully knowing who was watching. She let out a scoff before pushing the door open and vacating the hotel.

The rain started to fall later that evening as Kaneren looked upon the warehouse. She approached the building, sliding a magazine into her stolen S25-R bullpup assault rifle. Her eyes narrowed as her feet carried her shell into the warehouse. The interior was dim. The very air seemed stagnant with the sound of silence. The only noise that reached Kaneren's ears was the sound of the raindrops pattering upon the tin roof. Her eyes scanned the room, only to see stillness. She slightly exhaled through her nose, taking a step forward. The clacking of her boots echoed through the empty room as she approached the office of the building. The AI attempted to open the door. However, it appeared to be caught. The woman's eyes narrowed at this and she forced it open, letting out a piercing squeal. The AI walked into the room, eyes scanning the empty chamber. Kaneren ripped open an old filing cabinet. She set down her bullpup before thumbing through the files.

"How archaic."

In the distance, she heard another door open. The woman instantly ceased her activity and picked up her rifle, pulling back the slide, loading a live round into the chamber. She left the office, listening closely. She honed in on the voices of at least three men.

"Did you hear? Some Yamaguchi-gumi thugs got torched at the New Port Hotel." One of them chriped up.

Kaneren peered around the corner. Two of the men were clearly armed, the remaining individual was dressed in a three piece suit. She deduced that the man in the suit was the leader. Her posture straightened and she simply walked towards the three of them. Her footsteps echoed throughout the warehouse as the two armed men aimed their rifles at Kaneren. The man in the suit stepped behind them. The AI stared at them as she approached. The man in the suit shouted at her.

"Who the hell are you!?"

Kaneren's eyes shifted towards the man, her brow furrowing in annoyance.

"You have something that belongs to me. I'm here to collect." Kaneren lifted her bullpup and aimed at them. The suit narrowed his eyes, watching the AI. He folded his arms as his two accomplices took a step towards Kaneren. With that action, she flipped the safety on her firearm off. The armed men clearly heard this noise as they immediately stopped in their tracks. Kaneren let out a hum as she lowered her rifle. The two men glanced at each other for a moment before taking a step towards the AI. Kaneren's eyes shifted towards them as she released her grip on her firearm, allowing it to hang from from her shoulder. The two men grinned at this, the suit watching her closely. One of the guards stopped dead in his tracks, sweat beading upon his forehead. His hands were shaking like leaves as he craned his neck towards his accomplice. The man seemed to choke on his words as he lifted his rifle and aimed at his partner. The man's eyes grew wide.

"What are you doing!?"

Several gunshots rang out as the man's body was riddled with lead. The suit stared in horror at the site.

"Kill her!"

Instead, the individual shoved the barrel into his mouth and pulled the trigger, causing his head to rupture. What was left of his corpse crumpled. Kaneren turned her gaze to the suit, a glare reaching the man's form. She folded her arms, hissing at him.

"When I went to the location agreed upon, the only individuals I met were three cyborgs in body armor. Needless to say, the trade didn't happen." Her eyes narrowed.

The suit's eyes met Kaneren's. However, something came over him. Chills crept over his skin, the hairs on his neck standing on end. Goosebumps emerged on his arms and it felt as if he was suffocating. His throat closed up as fear gripped him. Her eyes seemed to pierce into his soul, as if she was reading his every thought. He tried to speak, yet no words were heard. The AI's gaze left his form and settled upon a backpack sitting on a table near the door. She shifted her eyes back to the man. He inhaled through his teeth, a worried look plastered upon his face. Kaneren walked past the man, making her way towards the table. The rogue terrorist zipped open the pack, peering at its contents.

"You were planning on selling this to someone else." The man took a step towards Kaneren, putting his hands up.

"Hey, you've got it now, so what does it matter?" He let out a nervous chuckle. Kaneren pulled out her G33 Advance and pointed it at the man. A gasp escaped his lips, only to be greeted by a gunshot. The bullet passed through his torso, puncturing his heart before smacking into the wall behind him. He groaned as he slumped to his knees. After a moment, he collapsed, blood pooling from his wound. Kaneren zipped up the backpack before slipping it upon her left shoulder. She quickly left the warehouse. However, she stopped dead in her tracks as several laser sights were aimed upon her chest. The woman's eyes studied the dots for a brief moment before looking up at her guests. They appeared to be hired muscle for the man she had just murdered.

"Put it down, lady." One of them said.

Kaneren raised an eyebrow at this. Her eyes scanned their numbers. There were fifteen men. Judging from what she saw, none of them were prosthetic. An amused hum came from her throat.

"Simple enough." These men were in her way. She had retrieved her prize and had no desire to remain here any longer. She had work to do. With that, the woman removed the backpack and set it on the ground. The same man barked at her.

"The gun and coat."

Kaneren obliged. She rolled up her trench coat and tossed it upon the backpack. She adjusted her fingerless gloves as her eyes narrowed. One of the men chuckled at this.

"Huh, who knew that the bitch could listen?" With those words, Kaneren's brow furrowed with rage. She immediately sprinted at them with what appeared to be lightning speed. Within the blink of an eye, the AI stood mere inches from the man's face, glaring into his eyes. The man gasped. Before he could speak, Kaneren grabbed his jaw and ripped it straight from his head. He gurgled on his own blood as he fell to the ground. The rest of the men stared with wide eyes.

"Shoot her!" They all unloaded in Kaneren's direction, regardless of their own positioning. Not a single bullet met its mark as the AI rushed another man, lopping his head clean from his shoulders with a single swipe. A few of the goons dropped dead from friendly fire. Kaneren grappled yet another, grabbing his throat before ripping out his larynx. The AI pulled out her pistol and emptied the rest of her magazine into two more men. As she was reloading, one of the goons placed her into a choke hold. Kaneren smashed her boot upon the man's shoe, crushing the bones in his foot. He let out a wail, only to be met with an open palm strike to his sternum. The impact of her strike instantly stopped his heart and the man fell dead. At this point in time, only two men remained. They were clearly thrown into disarray, the rest of their comrades lay dead upon the ground. Kaneren slid a magazine into her G33 and pulled the slide back. She took cover behind one of the cars that they had brought. The two men unloaded upon the car, the windows shattering and glass falling upon her. The terrorist peered up once they had ceased fire. She cracked off one shot, which buried itself between the man's eyes. The remaining individual quickly swapped out the magazine in his submachine gun. He pulled the slide back and braced himself as he aimed at the car. Kaneren's eyes widened as she hunkered down, bringing her head down to her chest and covering it with her arms. The man squeezed the trigger and emptied the magazine of high velocity rounds. The car was shredded from the assault. From behind the wreckage of the car, Kaneren could hear the man fighting with his gun.

"Damn! Piece of shit!" He smacked the side of the machine pistol, attempting to unjam the breech. With that, Kaneren stood from her position. The man looked up and gasped, tossing the firearm away as he quickly reached for his own sidearm. Kaneren shot the man several time in the chest, killing him.

The woman observed the carnage around her, letting out a small hum as she holstered her G33 once again. As she walked back towards her belongings, she could feel a warmth upon her arm. Her eyes wandered down to her left arm to see a bullet wound upon her bicep. A clear red liquid was running down the length of her arm, dripping off of her elbow. A grunt escaped from her throat. After a moment, the bleeding ceased as the micromachines in her prosthetic body began to repair the wound. Kaneren pulled her trench coat back on, along with slinging her bullpup and her backpack over her shoulders. She walked away from the scene of the skirmish.

Kaneren walked down a crowded street of downtown Niihama. Despite the fact that she was in full view of the public, no one appeared to pay her any mind, even though she was a wanted terrorist. Except for one person.

"Well well, look who it is."

The AI stopped and glanced over to see Major Motoko Kusanagi staring at her, her arms folded. Kaneren's gaze fell upon her, her expression stoic. It was quite odd, seeing someone who shared the same shell. Eerie, almost. A grunt escaped from her throat. The Major leaned against a wall, watching the woman with hard eyes. With that, Kaneren made her way over to Kusanagi, standing in close proximity, but never too close. The two women faced each other. It was almost like a mirrored image. Motoko Kusanagi and Kaneren Tonbogiri. Reflections of one another. Kusanagi's eyes drifted towards Kaneren's blood stained hand, letting out a scoff.

"How many does that make now?" Her eyes hardened, displeased. Kaneren watched the Major closely, her amusement building.

"Have you been following me, namonaihito? I must say, you're quite flattering. You've done quite well to avoid detection, Major Kusanagi." The AI too, folded her arms across her chest, almost mockingly. Kusanagi's nose wrinkled at Kaneren's verbal jab. The woman's eyes fell upon Kaneren's backpack. However, she said nothing of it. Instead, she answered Kaneren's inquiry.

"You've been quiet. After you went off the grid in November, the Home Affairs Minister wanted to close the book on the whole thing. Needless to say, they've let you wander around freely."

Kaneren let out an amused grunt, watching her double with a slightly raised eyebrow.

"Deep vengeance is the daughter of deep silence, Kusanagi. They believe that they've deceived me, but while they've turned a blind eye to me, I've kept my eye on you. I am well aware of this secondary team that your superior is forming." She studied the Major as she continued. "You call me insane, call me a threat to mankind. Accuse me of madness. I'm interested in madness. Madness is what defines us, Kusanagi. It defines how much we can take before we~" Kaneren snapped her fingers. "Break. I believe it is the biggest thing in the human race, and the most constant. Tell me, how do you take from a man his madness without also compromising his identity?"

Major Kusanagi narrowed her eyes at the AI's monologue. A small chuckle emanated from the Major's throat.

"Every day human curiosity, Tonbogiri."

Kaneren let out an amused sigh, watching the woman with intrigue. She spoke with a rather quiet tone, inquisitive.

"How interesting~" Kaneren glanced at the people walking by for a moment before returning her gaze back to the Major. "I look forward to seeing what your new team is capable of." With those words, Kaneren stepped into the crowd and disappeared into the sea of people. Motoko Kusanagi stared with hard eyes, knowing that the worst had yet to come.

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Jinrai
Ai Kawashima - June 3, 2032

<AI KAWASHIMA>

[Colonel of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force]

 

The air in the barracks stood still with dead silence. It had been a long forty-eight hours. Sleep was a valuable commodity that appeared to be in short supply. The time was 0330 and daylight seemed so far away. The man standing watch glanced down at his wristwatch, releasing a defeated sigh. He leaned against the wall, rubbing at his eyes as he tried to stay awake. He let out a yawn, clearly exhausted from the previous two days. Before he closed his eyes, a loud bang was heard as light engulfed the barracks. Three drill sergeants stormed into the room, shouting at the recruits yet in bed.

"Get up! Now!" The soldiers clamored out of their bunks, groggy and in complete disarray. Men stumbled about, attempting to clothe themselves. One man nearly lost his balance as he tried to pull his pants on. Another appeared to refuse to climb out of bed. Needless to say, this brought the wrath of one drill sergeant down upon him. The sergeant immediately ran over to the man and began berating him. The soldier simply rolled over, his back facing the sergeant. The drill sergeant bared his teeth as he grabbed the back of the man's shirt, dragging him out of bed.

"Get your ass out of bed! You weren't recruited just to lay around all day!"

The soldier hit the floor with a thud. He climbed to his feet and stood at attention.

"Yes, sir!"

The sergeant spat on the floor before grabbing the man's bedding, tossing it on the floor. He growled at the man.

"Fix your fucking rack and get out of my face!" The drill sergeant stormed away from the man, off to make another recruit's life a living hell. It took approximately fifteen minutes for the platoon to get squared away. Upon inspection, they were escorted outside. A light rain fell upon the earth, drenching the pavement beneath their feet. The thirty-two recruits stood in a single file line, all facing forward. Water dripped off of their caps as one of the drill sergeants barked at them.

"Left, face!" With that command, the recruits made a synchronized motion, all obeying the man's order. Aside from the pouring rain, all was quiet. No one moved, no one spoke. It was as if the air they breathed grew stagnant. Everyone was on edge, unsure as to why they were standing out in the rain. Two of the drill sergeants spoke to one another, both keeping their eyes upon the recruits. Anyone watching the two NCOs knew that they were discussing the line of soldiers. One of the recruits glanced over to the woman next to him, about to whisper something to her. However, all that was heard was one of the sergeants.

"Eyes front!"

The soldier snapped to attention, staring straight ahead. The sergeant marched over to the young man, shouting in his face.

"You think this is a circus!? You think you can do whatever the hell you want!?" He waited for the soldier to respond. He didn't. The sergeant wrinkled his nose and bared his teeth. "Answer me, you piece of shit!" The recruit grew fearful, his eyes almost tearing up. However, he stood his ground and didn't give into the pressure. The sergeant growled and reeled back to strike the young man.

"Attention! Officer on deck!"

The sergeant immediately ceased and stood at attention, turning to face his superior. Approaching the platoon was a woman who stood about 5'10". She had short, black hair. A type of angled bob, almost. Her eyes were a piercing crystal blue. They were the type of eyes that immediately drew your attention. They appeared to have a cold intelligence behind them. One could tell that this individual was fully prosthetic. She approached them, her collar insignia visible under the floodlights. The head drill sergeant approached the woman, saluting her.

"Colonel Kawashima, ma'am!"

Kawashima glanced to him for a moment before giving him a small salute of her own. She folded her arms across her chest and scanned the line of recruits before speaking to the sergeant.

"Which of these have the highest aptitude scores?" Kawashima watched the recruits, noticing a handful of them shifting their eyes towards her. The sergeant clasped his hands behind his back, also examining the group. After a moment, he singled out six individuals. The colonel immediately focused her attention on those that the man had pointed out.

"Extent of cyberization?" She asked.

"One's fully prosthetic, one only has a cyberbrain, the rest are a mishmash of parts, ma'am."

Kawashima looked at the man, speaking in a dry tone.

"Get me the full cyborg and the one with the cyberbrain." She returned her gaze back to the recruits. The sergeant barked at them.

"Kobayashi, Ito! Move your asses up here!" The sergeant firmly pointed at the ground in front of him. A man and a woman quickly jogged over and stood at attention. The sergeant stood off to the side, watching Kawashima gaze upon the two recruits. She said nothing to them. One could tell that they were nervous underneath of her scrutinizing eyes. The colonel looked to the sergeant, waving him off.

"Carry on, Sergeant." She spoke in a quiet voice. With that, the man saluted his superior and returned to drilling the other recruits with his cohorts. Kobayashi and Ito stood perfectly still with Ito shivering. Kawashima's cold blue eyes locked their gaze with Ito. The young man stared at the officer, trying his best not to show any signs of cracking. She was looking for any weakness in him. Needless to say, she found plenty to work with. Her stoic facial expression did not change. She folded her arms across her chest, the rainwater running down the length of her exposed arms, pooling upon her wristwatch before falling to the pavement below. A quiet hum came from her lips.

"Do I make you nervous, Private Ito?"

The young man gave a slight nod, shouting.

"Yes, ma'am!"

Kawashima watched him closely, soaking in his response along with the warm rain. It wasn't a few moments later and a man approached. He was tall, approaching 6'8". There was no mistaking that this man was a heavily modified full cyborg. The only humanoid feature about him was his shape. His face had two large plates that covered where his cheekbones once were and he had no visible mouth. He also possessed two small green lenses in place of eyes. A smooth crest was upon his forehead, making his eyes seem smaller than what they actually were. Two reinforced antennae protruded from the back of his collarbone, further adding to his altered form. The recruits didn't move an inch as the intimidating man folded his arms as he stood next to Kawashima. The colonel didn't look at the man, but gave him an order nonetheless.

"Captain Tachibana. Escort Private Kobayashi and Private Ito to Facility B-6."

Tachibana gave a resolute nod and pointed towards a building, shooting an unnerving glare at the two recruits. They immediately complied, both unsettled by the events that were transpiring. Kobayashi joined the GSDA to pay for college. She didn't know what she was getting herself into. Ito signed up at the request of his father. None of that mattered now. They were in the hands of Colonel Ai Kawashima, who had quite the reputation. They had heard stories. According to others' testimonies, the silent colonel was a domineering woman. She was known to exert her will upon others and instill fear and obedience. It was well known that Captain Katashi Tachibana was essentially her lapdog. He obeyed her every command without question and with reverent eagerness. Tachibana followed right on their heels, glaring at the backs of their heads. As the three individuals entered the designated building, Kawashima glanced back to the platoon of recruits as they drilled, if only for a moment. With that, she turned heel and followed after Tachibana and the new fledglings.

Private Akihito Ito was seated alone in a white-room, drying his face with a towel. The small room had no distinct features, save for a small one-way mirror upon the wall in front of him. He was intelligent enough to know that he was being watched. Examined like a lab rat. What for, he didn't know. He had no idea what he had gotten himself into, or why he was taken from his platoon. Seconds turned into minutes. Minutes into hours. Yet, no one appeared to speak with him. All the while, he knew that he was being watched. He assumed it to be Colonel Kawashima, but he had no way of knowing. Ito propped his head upon his hand, closing his eyes as exhaustion took him. He hadn't eaten anything that day, nor did he receive much sleep. Five hours in the last two days wasn't cutting it for him. The room was shielded, so he couldn't access the internet via his cyberbrain, either. Just as he was about to drift off to sleep, the door whooshed open, startling the private. He sat up straight as Kawashima and Tachibana entered the room, with Tachibana standing guard next to the door. The colonel sat in the chair across him, resting a sealed folder upon the table between them. She didn't look at the young man as she gingerly opened the folder. Her fingers gently thumbed through its contents, with the woman taking her time carefully looking through each and every document that was filed. Ito tilted his head slightly in order to get a better view. To his surprise, the folder was all of the information pertaining to him. His heart sunk when Kawashima's eyes rested upon a certain document, which she took an unusual amount of time inspecting.

"Warrant Officer Akihito Ito. Infiltration specialist attached to an unofficial unit referred to as Umibozu." Yet, she did not look upon him. Instead, she thumbed to yet another page. The woman continued.

"Enlisted in the MSDF at age 18. March 4th, 2027. Graduated with high honors from the Etajima Naval Academy in Hiroshima. It says here that you were immediately scouted by the Umibozu and joined their ranks in 2029." She paused, reading onward. "I see that you participated in the assault on Public Security Section 9's headquarters. You were one of the men who arrested one of their investigators. Pazu, I believe his name is?" She softly closed the folder before looking up at Ito, meeting his gaze with her own cold stare.

Ito blinked. His cover had been blown. He let out a sharp exhale through his nose, watching the colonel, unsure as to what his next move would be. Kawashima picked up the folder and extended her hand towards Tachibana. The massive captain took the folder from his superior and continued to observe the interrogation before him. The colonel crossed her legs and laced her fingers together, cupping her knee between her hands. Her expression didn't change. It was almost like Ito was staring into the eyes of a doll. It unnerved him. Ai Kawashima questioned him yet again.

"I can't say what your purpose here is, but I have a likely estimate, Warrant Officer. The Umibozu are known to be an effective fighting force, but they are also sloppy. Your unit did well during the Nemuro Operation, but my team had to come in and clean up the mess you left behind. 2024, was the year." In a rare display, Kawashima's eyes narrowed. "That's when our equivalent to your unit was formed. Of course, you already know this." Kawashima leaned back in her seat, folding her arms across her chest, her legs remaining crossed.

"You're here to obtain deployment reports and to identify the command structure of the Jinrai." She paused, keeping their eyes locked. "Correct?" Ito averted his eyes, saying nothing. The shrewd colonel gave an amused hum.

"I thought as much." She glanced to Captain Tachibana. The tall cyborg turned around and locked the door behind him, causing Ito to stare at the door with defeated eyes. Kawashima unsheathed her combat knife and buried it into the aluminum of the table, causing Ito to jump out of his skin. Kawashima leaned forward, resting her arms upon the surface of the cold, metal table, staring into Ito's eyes with a look that froze him. Tachibana then made his way behind the young man, slamming his palm upon the top of Ito's right hand before grabbing hold of his index finger with his iron grip. Ito shouted from the sudden pain.

"For a so-called Umibozu, you're rather undisciplined. I expected better of you, Warrant Officer." The colonel's eyes shifted down towards his captive hand before looking back at the worried young sailor. "Had you been fully prosthetic, things may have been easier." Her eyes shifted up to meet Tachibana's face. Ito had no time to think about what Kawashima had told him before Captain Tachibana twisted his wrist, snapped Ito's finger to the side. Ito screamed at the top of his lungs, the captain refusing to release his grip. Kawashima watched the warrant officer squirm, sweat dripping off of his chin. Her unsettling gaze didn't falter.

"I would like you to tell me who else has infiltrated my base, Warrant Officer Ito."

Ito simply glared at Kawashima, refusing to divulge any information to the woman. The colonel tapped her finger once on the table's surface. With that motion, Tachibana broke yet another finger. Another scream filled the room. Kawashima watched Ito shiver. He panted heavily, moaning from the immense pain. She repeated her inquiry. Ito didn't answer and Tachibana broke his thumb, causing it to hang loosely within his skin. The warrant officer screamed at the top of his lungs.

"Kamiyama! Genta Kamiyama! He's the informant!"

Kawashima's gaze didn't falter. She didn't blink. Instead, she spoke in a lower tone. Almost threateningly.

"Who else?"

Ito shook his head violently, shouting to the colonel.

"There's no one else, I swear!"

Tachibana broke his ring finger, causing the finger to stick straight up. The young warrant officer's right hand was a mess. Despite that, he didn't relent. Colonel Kawashima wrapped her fingers around the hilt of her serrated knife and yanked it out of the aluminum. She stood up from her chair and walked around the side of the table, standing close to Tachibana before leaning down next to the young man. She spoke to him in a low, cold tone.

"If you won't talk, then there's no need for a tongue."

With her free hand, violently grabbed the sides of Ito's jaw, digging her fingers into certain pressure points. His mouth was forced open as a result and the tip of the woman's knife inched closer and closer to the soft oral organ. Ito slammed his hand upon the table multiple times, trying to vocalize to her. Kawashima snapped her hand from his jaw to his throat, holding him tightly. Ito frantically voiced his words to the colonel.

"Wait, wait, wait! I can give you information! Public Security is investigating you, Colonel!"

Kawashima slightly tilted her head, listening to the captive warrant officer. Ito tried his best to look at the woman as he spoke. Between Kawashima holding him by the throat and Tachibana pinning him to the table, it was incredibly difficult to do so.

"Section 1! They've been watching you for fifteen months, now! Intercepting your transmissions. Hell, they've been watching you at home!"

Kawashima's eyes narrowed at this news. She finally spoke, her grip upon her knife tightening even more.

"Is that so? Then there is no need for you any longer, Warrant Officer Ito." She flipped her knife so that the blade was resting in her palm. Tachibana grabbed the knife as the colonel released her grip upon the young man's throat. The captain grabbed the top of Ito's head and yanked it back, exposing his throat to the blade of the knife.

"Die with honor, Warrant Officer." Kawashima said as her cold, blue eyes were upon him. With those words, Tachibana dragged the edge of the blade across his windpipe. Ito began to choke as he fell to the floor. It wasn't much longer before the Umibozu agent expired. Kawashima looked to the captain, her eyes ever stoic.

"Salvage his cyberbrain. I want his memories extracted and transferred to an external memory device. Dispose of the body."

Tachibana gave a nod and grabbed Ito's corpse. He left the room with the warrant officer in tow. Kawashima picked up her knife, looking down at the blade for a brief moment before returning it back to its sheath. With that, the woman left the interrogation room. Now, she knew who was watching her. She opened up an encrypted cybercomm channel.

<Give Public Security a false lead. I want all evidence of records between February 2028 and January 2032 destroyed. Leave no trace. No shortcuts, do I make myself clear?>

<Yes, ma'am!>

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Akuma
Kaneren - November 11, 2031

<KANEREN TONBOGIRI>

[Rogue GSDA Artificial Intelligence]

 

"I see that it took you minimal time to track me down. I am quite impressed." The man could feel the cold gaze upon the back of his neck, as if a bitter wind scorched his nape. Unfortunately, the woman's gaze wasn't the only thing that he felt. Pressed upon the side of his throat was the cold barrel of a handgun. He didn't know the make or model. Digging behind his jaw next to his larynx were her fingers, effectively holding him in place. The captive man attempted to shift in order to meet her eyes with his own gaze. However, his captor's fingers tightened as she violently jerked his head back to perform the action herself.

"Don't." Upon meeting her gaze, pulses of shivers echoed down his spine. Those yellow orbs seemed to pierce into his soul. Picking him apart, piece by piece. He had never seen such animosity before. The man let out a grunt, hissing through his teeth.

"You don't realize what you've done, Kaneren." He attempted to twist away from her grasp, only to be met with a tightening of force. It was futile. Gurgling in the form of words escaped his lips. "Y-You've murdered so many cops! You think you can just get away with this!?" Kaneren's frozen eyes stared down at him as she held the firearm firmly against his neck.

"It will only be a matter of time before Section Nine Chief Daisuke Aramaki sends his dogs after me. I wonder though~" She hummed as her gaze wandered away from her captive's face. Only a moment passed before he was met with the AI's stare once again. "Who's going to come for you, officer?"

The police officer's eyes went wide just before a booming crack echoed throughout the alleyway. He could feel the warmth engulfing his neck. Kaneren's iron grip had released him and he slumped over onto the pavement. As he watched his blood flow out in front of him, Kaneren stared down upon his dying form. A whisper reached her ears.

"Why?"

Kaneren glanced to her pistol for a moment before shoving the firearm into the holster upon the small of her back. The man's eyes glossed over as his last breath of life was taken from him. Giving her murdered victim one last glance, Kaneren turned and walked away from his corpse. The woman's pace quickened as the sound of sirens reached her ears. It didn't take long for the police to track her down. Then again, the artificial intelligence hadn't been very subtle. She glanced down at the pavement behind her, eyes narrowing as she saw a small, trickling path of blood chasing her. Her yellow eyes wandered down to the front of her jacket and a low growl escaped from her throat. A heavy plash resonated from the alleyway after Kaneren had removed the article, tossing it away. Her dark gray fitted tee and black rig were exposed for all to see as she strapped a large firearm to her back. It was an anti-materiel rifle. An M93 Black Arrow, to be precise, although it appeared to be heavily modified. Kaneren released her G33 Advance pistol from her scabbard and proceeded to quicken the pace. Rainwater covered her boot as she took a heavy step into the puddle, her stride ever increasing.

From the streets came the shouting of several men and women. Car doors slammed shut and weapons were loaded. Kaneren knew that the police were a mere hop and a skip away. Her eyes narrowed, shifting towards the street. The lights from the squad cars illuminated her face, if only for a moment. Without a word, the rogue anomaly turned heel and ran the opposite direction. The shouting intensified as the sound of several bodies hurrying after reached her ears. Kaneren whipped around, squeezing the trigger of her pistol. Two bullets embedded themselves into one of the police officers. One in the jaw, one in the left eye. The two officers that were with the man dove behind a dumpster as the artificial intelligence fired upon them. One of the officers glanced upon his deceased partner, his eyes widened at the horror that he saw.

"You whore!" he screamed, whipping up from behind the receptacle to attempt to land a shot on the woman. However, he was met with a bullet of his own that burrowed deeply into his chest. He let out a wail, crashing to the concrete. The last officer quickly grabbed him, dragging him back into cover. Blood seeped between his fingers as he attempted to stop the bleeding.

"Come on, come on! Stay with me, Watanabe!" Officer Watanabe's eyes rolled back in his skull, blood leaking from his mouth. The bullet had pierced his lung and he was drowning. His partner attempted to slow the flow of blood, but it didn't appear to cease. He opened his cybercomms, trying to call for backup.

<Officer down! Officer down! Watanabe's been shot! Suspect is fleeing on foot! Requesting immediate aid!>

What he heard in response was mostly static. He could barely hear the voice on the other side. The officer let out a loud grunt, slamming his fist against the dumpster.

<Say again! You're not coming in clearly!>

The voice that he heard was not what he was expecting. Certainly not one he wished to hear, either.

<You are all alone. The only company you will be keeping today is the cold embrace of death.>

The man blinked, looking up only to see Kaneren looming over him, her yellow eyes burning into his soul. He let out a surprised gasp, only for the woman to snatch him up by his throat. Kaneren squeezed with all of her might, crushing the cop's windpipe as if it was paper. His eyes bulged in his skull, his fingers attempted to claw at Kaneren's arms as her gloved hands tightened their grip. The rogue woman's eyes snapped towards the slim metal watch upon her right wrist as her victim managed to hook one of his fingers under the strap. She bared her teeth in rage and twisted his head around, instantly killing him. Without a word, Kaneren threw his body away from her, watching the corpse collide with the concrete.

She glanced up into the sky to see a Botanachi tilt rotor fly over. Her eyes narrowed. Kaneren knew that it was Public Security Section 9. A low growl came from her throat. Quickly turning tail and sprinting as fast as she could, her footsteps echoed and resonated throughout the twisting and winding back alleys. It wasn't much longer before she heard the heavy steps of a think tank. Hastily, she made her way to a door and wasted no time kicking it in. The metal door was left with a sizeable dent as it was ripped from the hinges, crashing into the building. She ducked into the dark doorway, attempting to mask herself from the pursuing think tank. Kaneren quickly clambered up the stairwell, shoving past a younger man who looked at her with bewilderment.

"Hey! What the shit!?"

Kaneren ignored him, knowing full well that she was in danger. Upon reaching the fifth floor of the apartment complex, the woman barreled into a residence, summoning the surprised screams of a young woman. Her husband shouted angrily at their uninvited guest, with Kaneren glaring at them. Two shots rang out as both tenants crashed to the floor. The rogue slammed the door shut before proceeding to smash the hinges, hoping to jam the object. She then barricaded the door with haste after hearing the unmistakable voice of one of Section 9's Tachikoma think tanks. Kaneren knew that the door wouldn't hold. She flew to the window, peering outside to see members of Section 9 cloaking as they rushed towards the building.

"Thermoptical camouflage. Type 2902, I suspect." The fugitive's eyes narrowed. Kaneren glanced back towards the barricaded door. She was trapped. Fighting her way out was an option, but she knew that it would be foolhardy. Even one of her skill would stand very little chance of making it out in one piece. She could handle the think tank with little difficulty, but dealing with the rest of Public Security would prove to be nigh impossible. Kaneren had studied the bureau's roster. She knew that the team's marksman, Saito, would likely have eyes on the building. She would be spotted as soon as she escaped through the window, if she hadn't been seen already. Ishikawa would attempt to cut off her cybercommunications to prevent her from hacking into any of their systems, or their cyberbrains. It would've been very difficult for them to deal with the artificial intelligence if she succeeded, so she knew that they had taken that into account. Batou would be storming the place with the Tachikoma and a handful of others. Rookies, she suspected. Along with perhaps Togusa, Pazu, and Borma. That would leave Motoko Kusanagi to flank or ambush her.

Doing what she believed to be the best decision in her situation, Kaneren slid the window open and clambered out. Without fail, a shot rang out and clipped her left shoulder. The artificial intelligence let out a hiss from between her teeth, her blood splattering upon the paned glass. She dove from the windowsill as yet another shot reached her ears. Luckily for Kaneren, the bullet missed its mark. The woman's prosthetic body left a crater in the pavement below, but she wasted no time in resuming her escape. Batou slammed through the barricaded door and poked his head out of the window, seeing their quarry fleeing into yet another alleyway.

"Shit! Tachikoma, cut her off!"

The blue think tank eagerly leapt from the side of the complex onto the street behind Kaneren.

"You got it, Mr. Batou!"

Kaneren let out a gasp as her eyes widened. She came under heavy fire from the mounted 7.62 gun. She dove into the nearest doorway, pressing her back against the wall. This was wasting time. It would only be a few moments before Major Kusanagi caught up to her. Maybe less. Kaneren fumbled about her rig, retrieving a fragmentation grenade. She pulled the pin and tossed it towards the Tachikoma. It wouldn't damage the machine in the slightest, but it would buy her some time.

"Hey! That's not very nice!" The Tachikoma yelled at her. By the time the machine had gotten its words out, Kaneren was already gone. As she went to round a corner, she felt the impact of a closed fist upon her cheek. The rogue reeled back from the blow, readying herself as her own fists came up. Her eyes immediately shifted towards the right as she parried another blow.

"Your thermoptics will do you no good, Kusanagi." Kaneren brought her knee up, only to feel the Major block the blow. At that, Kusanagi deactivated the camouflage and the two of them stared fiercely at each other. The cyborg and the AI traded blow after blow, neither of them gaining the advantage over the other. Kaneren brought up her forearms, stopping a kick from the Major. With that, the AI smashed her boot against the Major's shin, hoping that her opponent would lose her footing. Unfortunately for Kaneren, Kusanagi spun around and crashed her elbow into the back of her neck.

"Aaugh!" Kaneren stumbled forward a bit, shooting a glare at the Major. Kusanagi stepped back, readying herself for another onslaught. Her words reached Kaneren's ears.

"That's enough, Kaneren. Your little tirade is over." Major Kusanagi's red eyes glared at the AI, never blinking, never moving. Kaneren removed her Zastava and rig, tossing them away. She bared her teeth, growling deeply from her throat.

"Get out of my way." Kaneren stared at her, sliding her boots across the ground into a front stance, her forward hand open with the other closed. Neither woman moved, each waiting for the other. Kaneren studied the Major. Time was quickly vanishing and she had to escape. The AI had no intention of returning to her captors. The woman's pupils constricted as she attempted to infiltrate Kusanagi's cyberbrain. Warning displays were flooding the Major's field of view, indicating an attempt.

"Damn it!" Major Kusanagi shouted as Kaneren immediately jumped her, brandishing a knife. Kusanagi blocked the blade with her Seburo, using all of her might to keep the knife from penetrating her eye. The AI growled as she tried to force the blade downward, but she could not overcome the woman's strength. They were deadlocked.

"Major!" Batou's voice rang out as he rushed down the alleyway towards them. Kaneren shifted her eyes towards the man, shooting daggers in his direction. Utilizing the opening that the AI had granted her, Kusanagi kicked Kaneren in the stomach, launching her away. The rogue had caught herself, only for Batou to open fire upon her. With that, Kaneren sprinted away as fast as she could.

<Tachikoma! What the hell are you sitting around for!?>

The Major barked at the think tank. Upon hearing confirmation from the machine, she too rushed after Kaneren. The AI narrowed her eyes as she looked up to see the Tachikoma tailing her. She suspected that they were beginning to become desperate. Kaneren had escaped their trap and luck was on her side. She could hear the commotion of a large group of people nearby. It would have to be the optimal solution in such a situation. With that, Kaneren ducked off to the side and ran towards the source of the noise.

<She's heading towards the marketplace. If she reaches her destination, a lot of people could get hurt.>

<That's probably what she's thinking. We've got to stop her. Batou, flank right!>

<You got it!>

With that, Batou cut from the Major and sprinted down his own alleyway, while Kusanagi followed Kaneren's path. The AI came to an opening in the tight buildings and appeared before a large bustling market. All sorts of produce were being sold here. From vegetables to fruits, poultry to fish. Some stalls were serving various forms of street foods. Those that did had stools out front for customers to sit and enjoy their meal. Kaneren sheathed her knife as she examined the market. A small smirk crept upon her lips.

"Excellent." However, her train of thought was interrupted by the Tachikoma that had followed her to this place. It stopped upon the roof behind her, leaving an audible groan as its servos came to a complete halt. Kaneren whipped her head around and stared up at it for a brief moment, a look of annoyance gracing her face. With that, Kaneren activated her own thermoptic camouflage as she made her way into the crowd, never taking her eyes off of the think tank. At first, she shoved past people, but proceeded to slow down, taking some time to collect her thoughts. The AI kept a close eye on the Tachikoma until she spotted Major Kusanagi emerge from where she had came. Her eyes narrowed as she stared at the woman, who didn't appear to know where she had gone.

"Major! That Kaneren lady disappeared!" The Tachikoma wailed down to Section 9's field commander. Kusanagi growled, scanning the crowd for anyone matching the AI's features; and by extension, her own.

"I can see that."

The Tachikoma too, searched the crowd, but to now avail.

"She has thermoptic camouflage, Major! Just like you!"

Kusanagi didn't grace the Tachikoma with an answer. Instead she activated her own camouflage and merged with the crowd. Kaneren would no doubt be laying low, trying to oust them via attrition. She knew that Kaneren had little choice at this point in time. The busy market was the perfect place for her to hide.

By this point, Batou had also entered the marketplace, as Togusa caught up with the man. The larger man looked around, baring his teeth before exclaiming in frustration.

"Shit, we lost her!"

Togusa glanced to his partner for a moment before checking the cylinder of his Manteba revolver. He wasn't sure what he was going to do if he came face to face with the rogue AI. She had murdered nearly forty police officers, many of whom he had known. Not only that, but the fact that he had seen her fight firsthand made him less than confident. Nonetheless, he would carry out his duties as instructed, or die. Whichever came first. Batou looked around, trying to find anyone who remotely resembled their suspect.

"Where the hell could she be?" He looked to Togusa and nodded in one direction. "You go that way and don't let your guard down. We'll cover more ground this way."

Before Togusa could even answer, Batou disappeared into the moving crowd. The former detective let out a sigh before walking along one of the busy paths, glancing at the different stands. Kaneren was in here somewhere. Togusa approached a ramen vendor, completely unaware of the eyes that watched him. Kaneren stood just inside perched next to a customer, her arms folded, thermoptics still active. The detective entered the stall, examining the patrons from behind. There was a woman with black hair who was seated, reading the newspaper. From behind, she resembled the Major quite a bit. Togusa pulled back the hammer of his pistol, preparing for the worst. Standing on the other side of the stall, Kaneren silently watched the situation play out. Togusa approached the woman, speaking up.

"Excuse me, miss?"

The woman turned her head and looked at Togusa, her cold blue eyes sizing him up. She looked strikingly similar to Major Kusanagi, but there were noticeable differences. Her eyes in particular. They seemed almost like eyes an android would possess. Cold and calculating. Her eyebrows also stood out. They were thin and seemed to slightly arch up. It was clear to Togusa that she was fully prosthetic. She appeared to be close to Kusanagi's age. His eyes wandered down to her clothing and he blinked. His new acquaintance was wearing an olive drab Type 65 work uniform. Her sleeves were rolled up past her elbows and a watch was adorned upon her left wrist. Togusa noticed the insignia upon her collar indicated that she held the rank of Colonel. Her name tag answered his question. Kawashima. The woman stared at him for a moment before speaking to him.

"Can I help you?" Colonel Ai Kawashima stared at him, her gaze never faltering. Truth be told, it made him shudder. Kawashima continued to stare, waiting for an answer from the speechless man. His words seemed to be caught in his throat. He had heard stories and rumors about Colonel Kawashima, but he never imagined he would run into her, face to face. She let out a small grunt before returning to her ramen.

"If you have nothing to say, then leave me be."

Togusa let out a sigh.

"Sorry."

He left the stall, walking right past Kaneren, whose eyes followed him. She too, stepped out of the stall and began tailing the man. However, she was unaware that Colonel Kawashima was staring directly at her backside as she left. Togusa opened a cybercomm channel, speaking to his colleagues as he walked.

<If she's here, she's gotta be laying low. I mean, that's what I would do.>

<Cut the chatter. She'll be monitoring our comms.>

"She sure isn't your typical perp." Togusa muttered to himself as he made his way down the path. Kaneren tailed the man, staring at the back of his head. She cautiously pulled her knife out of its sheath, carefully stepping around water puddles as to not short out her camouflage. However, Batou rounded the corner, meeting back up with the former detective. Kaneren narrowed her eyes as she inched her knife closer to Togusa's neck. Unfortunately for the AI, the Tachikoma zoomed in between her and Togusa, speaking to the two men in an exuberant tone. Kaneren let out a small grunt and backed away. It was fruitless. There was no point in dispatching the ex-cop if she was going to be caught in the process. She felt a hand slap across her mouth, silencing her as a pistol was placed against the small of her back.

"Hiding like a wolf among sheep. I expected more of you." Colonel Kawashima's words brushed the AI's ear. Kawashima slowly led Kaneren between two food vendor stalls before releasing her, in which the yellow-eyed woman deactivated her thermoptic camouflage. Kaneren folded her arms and stared at the Colonel, her eyes ever burning.

"I will not go back, Colonel Kawashima. Your people attempted to have me killed. Deactivated and disassembled like some cheap device." Kaneren's words were full of venom. Kawashima didn't blink as she offered a rebuttal.

"The implications of an artificial intelligence developing a ghost are dangerous." She too, folded her arms before continuing. "I don't know what happened, if it was an accident or if it was intentional, but you've developed a ghost. I-" Kaneren cut off Kawashima before she was allowed to finish her sentence.

"You are afraid. Afraid of what I can do to you and your kind." Kaneren's head tilted up slightly, as if she was looking down upon Kawashima with disdain. "It is only natural. People fear what they do not understand. It is an inherent trait in all human beings. Their most base emotion." She fell silent for a moment, locking eyes with Kawashima before continuing. "Your underestimation will cost you, Colonel."

Kawashima blinked for a moment before a she felt an arm wrap around her throat, pulling her into a headlock. The Colonel struggled with her assailant before a Brain Blocker was slapped onto the back of her neck, effortlessly connecting to her QRS ports. Kawashima crashed to the ground, unable to move or access her cyberbrain. The woman saw her assailant walk over to Kaneren, only to plunge the woman's knife directly into her throat. The AI didn't resist and immediately crumpled to the ground. The assailant knelt down next to Kawashima, her face coming into view. It too was Kaneren. Although, this one was wearing a black midriff shirt underneath of a black long coat. Her eyes seemed to be even colder than the previous shell's. Kaneren spoke in an icy, cold tone.

"I am not an idiot, Colonel Kawashima. What you were interacting with just now was a puppet shell of mine. One of far inferior quality." Kaneren Tonbogiri tilted her head and looked over at the shell, her knife sticking out of the puppet's throat. The true AI leaned over and scooped up her G33 Advance, holstering it behind the small of her back. Her gaze returned to Colonel Kawashima. "Section 9 will find you here, but don't try to follow me." A small smirk crept upon her lips as she stood and began to walk away, merging with the crowd.

<I look forward to seeing what you and Aramaki plan on doing next.>

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Welcome to your campaign!
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The adventure log is where you list the sessions and adventures your party has been on, but for now, we suggest doing a very light “story so far” post. Just give a brief overview of what the party has done up to this point. After each future session, create a new post detailing that night’s adventures.

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