The Senses Axiom ~ Chapter 2
Chapter 2 - Blackout
Ayumi: Kaede, can't you be faster? Use a little more energy...
Kaede was inevitably pissed at Ayumi's orders. He was starting to wonder if he was taken out of that prison to merely be a flunkey for Ayumi...
Kaede: You want more speed? You certainly have opted for the finest means of transport to skyrocket our journey...
Kaede's assertion has rarely been so full of sarcasm. Facing an endless blue ocean under the basking heat, he was rowing for nearly an hour, a canoe of approximately 17 foot while Ayumi was shamelessly harmonizing with the tickling of the light breeze.
Ayumi: I thought you were more useful than that, Kaede.
Kaede: And I thought you were more intelligent than that.
Ayumi: Oh really?
Kaede: Yes. I thought that a Chief Inspector would atleast have traveled in an aircraft or even a ship, to a lone ghost island that resided dangerous criminals.
Ayumi: Freeing you is a top-secret mission. Did you envision that I'd bring a delegation for you?
Kaede: Still, a canoe? You c...
Ayumi: Shut up and paddle!
The order was swift and resonant; similar to bossy Ayumi's traits and something Kaede was now getting used to. He could have kept arguing but this was one desperate strife in which he was never victorious. Ayumi seemed to nail it with such élan every single time. Not to mention that Kaede could easily foresee a situation where the devil inside Ayumi awakens once more, if she were to become irate yet again. And in the middle of unknown realm of waters, was certainly not a dream place to witness that horrifying sight. Instead, Kaede had a more enchanting sight in front of him: Ayumi!
Her pristine snowy skin was glowing in the sparkling sunrays amidst the never-ending blue. The light whiff was blowing her light-brown hair dimly across her olive eyes - eyes that seemed amazed by the abyss of the sea. Kaede was admiring Ayumi's delicate beauty more and more. His sharp eyes noticed a small indentation in her right cheek that he guessed as a dimple; though she was yet to smile spiritedly since they met. His eyes was allured by her sylphlike spotless neck but before he could contemplate further down of her graceful body, Ayumi looked towards him, as he duly shied away. However, Ayumi was looking further away than Kaede and as Kaede turned around, he noticed that Ayumi was looking towards the prison island; that was no more visible to the eye.
Ayumi: I think this shall do it, Kaede!
She took out a small gadget from her pocket and activated it; as it started beeping red. And mere seconds later, a raucous sound was being heard; as a black jet emerged from the north-east. As it neared towards their canoe; Ayumi indicated Kaede to stand up while a rope ladder hanged from the jet.
Ayumi signaled Kaede to grab it instantly. Both of them grabbed the ropes tightly as the jet kept on moving. Kaede, as calm-headed in front of challenges, wasn't really intimated but he was surprised by Ayumi. She was not only clinging onto the ropes but her slender frame started climbing it. Slowly, Ayumi, followed by Kaede, entered through the jet door that closed promptly, as they got inside.
Ayumi: Well-timed, Hiro-kun!
A boy in his 20s was sitting near the cockpit; his head and his sky-blue hair visible from above the chair he sat upon.
Hiromitsu: You sure that the precautions were enough?
Kaede: Sorry to interrupt both of you but how about an introduction first?
Ayumi freckled in irk; seemingly annoyed of being interrupted. And given that he was able to see through that expression, Kaede concluded that Ayumi showed it off.
Hiromitsu: I'm Hiromitsu Arai, Chief Analyst of CIA and you must be Shindou-san?
Kaede: Indeed. Kaede Shindou and I'm somewhat more requited that Ayumi-san did provided me a dignified pick-up crew afterall...
Ayumi: Don't think too high of yourself, Kaede. And Hiro-kun, the precautions were far from perfect but I think, it won't create any future problems. We waited for the island to be out of sight. Even if the sound of the jet might have alerted them, we got on board without stopping and in fast motion. And seemingly, most guards seemed happy that Kaede was leaving their custody; and no one would blame them.
Kaede grabbed the pun but he chose to ignore it. Afterall, he brought this one on himself.
Ayumi: Thereby I don't think they would have followed us extensively.
Kaede was now discerning Ayumi's point of view. Quite clearly, Ayumi was releasing him hazardously without much liability, that she seemed to take onto her own. Hiromitsu didn't seem convinced by Ayumi's explanation though, but he devoted his engrossment on his portable-computer screen rather than in budging Ayumi. Kaede, meanwhile, started analysing the spacious vessel of the jet. He could quite clearly tell that the backroom didn't contain any human smell but the most intriguing part was a railing system throughout the whole jet, upon which was set up the chair of Hiromitsu.
Ayumi: So, when will we reach there?
Hiromitsu: It shouldn't take more than half-an-hour now!
Ayumi gave a furtive glance to Kaede; who started sitting enthusiastically on a coach while eavesdropping cleverly on the conversation between Ayumi and Hiromitsu.
Ayumi: By the way, Hiro-kun, did you bring the thing I asked you?
Hiromitsu: You want to use it now?
Ayumi: Why waste time? So, have you got it?
Hiromitsu sighed; as he paused his game that he was playing and bent down to remove a miniscule trunk.
Hiromitsu: I haven't tested it since I fabricated it but...
Hiromitsu halted his explanation as he turned around to hand it to Ayumi. She went into some sort of trance that was not outlandish to Hiromitsu. Even Kaede sensed that atmosphere a few feet back and recognized it instantly - that same crazy demented aura of Ayumi. Ayumi, with a vile daft smile, grabbed the box and made a thanking gesture to Hiromitsu; as she walked towards a freaked-out Kaede.
Hiromitsu: Ayumi, I think you should...
But Ayumi wasn't listening to him anymore, fueled by her obsession with that box and her "prey" insight.
Kaede: W-what is t-t-there in this box?
Ayumi: It contains the remedy to nullify your Sensyl Chip.
Kaede was having deja-vu and he was starting to fear for his life. That box supposedly contained something to counteract his anomaly and he was afraid that Ayumi was again going to execute forward her sordid ideas. A scalpel, a scissor, a knife, a nailgun, a screwdriver - Kaede was trying to figure what death weapon was in that toolbox. As Ayumi started opening that box, Kaede scanned the jet for a parachute; jumping away from Ayumi, even into the gulf of rocky waters, was perhaps the wisest thing to do right now. But no such "salvation" item was here for Kaede. And soon Ayumi opened the case; that had two syringes.
Kaede: What are those s-s-yringes for?
Ayumi: It's to nullify your Sensyl Chip.
Hiromitsu: The injection contain a microchip that I created on Ayumi's demand. It has the effect to blur out your Sensyl Values.
Ayumi: Given that your Percept Grade is 0, you are going to pass out as a bland Obsolete in front of the Drones.
Kaede was still skeptical about this but his curiosity was aroused nonetheless to hear the complete idea.
Hiromitsu: Of course, this chip is pretty amateurish in concept and won't work in front of Advanced Scanners of CIE. But against brainless Drones, it shall do the trick!
Ayumi: All you need to do, Kaede, is to stick with us and not get captured.
Kaede: Roger that! But what is the second injection about?
Hiromitsu: Oh, that is a mere anesthesia that's going to "mop" the pain and put you to sleep.
Kaede: It's gonna hurt?
Hiromitsu: We are inserting a chip in your spinal column, Shindou-san. It think that's self-explanatory.
Ayumi: Take off your shirt, Kaede-kun.
Kaede took off his shirt while Ayumi started smiling devilishly again, with the injection in hand.
Kaede: Ayumi-san, be careful...
However, Hiromitsu noticed the unresponsiveness of Ayumi towards Kaede's pledge.
Hiromitsu: Ayumi, perhaps you should wait for...
But Ayumi speedily planted the anesthetic injection into Kaede's neck, whose eyelids got heavy within seconds. He gradually lied down onto the couch in complete unconsciousness.
Ayumi: You were saying, Hiro-kun?
Vicious efficiency - a trademark of Ayumi that Hiromitsu witnessed in her for years now.
Hiromitsu: Never mind, Ayumi.
Hiromitsu got back to his game; ignoring Ayumi as he knew that Ayumi was not going to stop in any case. Sordid experiments was Ayumi's fetish and Hiromitsu let her be. Ayumi, meanwhile, injected the new chip into Kaede who was in dreamland.
Ayumi: Hiro-kun, are you sure that this will work? Maybe you should have made some more?
Hiromitsu: I like Shindou-san like that. So I'd prefer that you don't transform him into a sieve for now.
Ayumi: Still, maybe...
Hiromitsu: Ayumi, close that box now and let the poor thing sleep! This shall work, I'm 97.3% assertive of it.
Ayumi slowly cleaned up the small mess while Hiromitsu kept on playing his game.
Ayumi: By the way, how are you alone, Hiro-kun?
Hiromitsu: Onoda didn't want to come.
Hiromitsu: He said that he is going to cover our absence at the Bureau but to be honest, I think he is jealous that you were going to release Shindou-san.
Ayumi: Why would he be jealous?
Hiromitsu: Surely, he doesn't want another manly subordinate swarming around you.
Ayumi: He is a weird case. How does that affect him?
Hiromitsu: He is weird but Ayumi, why don't you accept his advances?
Ayumi: You want me to be like one of your eroge characters that you're playing right now?
Hiromitsu: Except the anal, I don't think it'll be so wrong.
Ayumi: If I feel like it someday, I will...
Hiromitsu: I swear I'll finish up all the galges in the world but you would still be at stage zero with Onoda.
Ayumi: Oh look, the girl you're trying to woo, is going to be grabbed by tentacles.
As Hiromitsu rushed back to his game, the screen froze with a 'Game Over' sign as Hiromitsu sulked as he got distracted by Ayumi. Ayumi, in another of her classic swerve, managed yet again, to change the conversation topic.
Hiromitsu: Damn! Now, I need to restart this game.
Ayumi: Take a break. We are going to reach the villa soon anyways. And Shu-sensei doesn't like those pervy games anyways.
Hiromitsu hesitantly agreed as he switched off his computer screen.
Hiromitsu: I still think that Onoda will join us. He won't be able to resist the temptation. He may be heads over heels over you but he isn't stupid. Surely, he got other reasons.
Ayumi: Perhaps, he just want to hide appearances at the Bureau. All three of us going on vacation would seem a bit suspicious.
Hiromitsu: Maybe. But I think, he stayed to talk to him.
Ayumi's friendly smile vanished on the spur of Hiromitsu's "hint"; leaving place to a frown expression.
Ayumi: You knew about this, didn't you?
Ayumi: I thought that I did warn both of you, that only I will talk to him.
Ayumi seemed to desperately to keep her calm, as fury and revulsion seemed to take over her.
Hiromitsu: Ayumi, before working together, we are a team. We do know that you are unequaled when it comes to swerve and convince people but if there was ever any chink in your armor, then most chances are that, it would be revealed against him.
Ayumi: I can confront...
Hiromitsu: Don't play tough. I'm not denying that you could have do it but Onoda is probably better suited for this.
Ayumi: I hope that Ono-kun doesn't mess it up!
Hiromitsu comforted Ayumi with a shoulder tap as he smiled merrily towards her.
Hiromitsu: Keep hope in both of us! Even if we may quarrel as individuals, our bond shall never let you down.
Ayumi nodded back to Hiromitsu. Fate might have snatched his smell and touch but for Ayumi, Hiromitsu's flair for encouragement and his sensible ways were unparalleled. For someone whose legs were partially unusable, his support was the most reliable. Once again, his brotherly comfort soothed her completely. And within few minutes later, they neared their destination.
Hiromitsu: Here we are! Shu-sensei's palatial villa!
Ayumi: There's someone flagging towards us to land there.
Hiromitsu: That's a butler, right? And isn't that Yakushi-san alongside him?
Ayumi: Yes, it is. Weirdly, he is also in a butler uniform. And they got a Drone puppy in a maid uniform.
Hiromitsu: Shu-sensei always had that knack for weird things.
Ayumi: That being said, that Drone could test whether Kaede's new chip is working or not.
Hiromitsu:That's nice but right now, he's dozed off and I'm not carrying him!
Ayumi: I got an idea. How about you lend him one of your wheelchairs?
Hiromitsu: That's a straight no!
Ayumi: Come on, don't be so stingy. I'm sure that you hid some of your "collection" in this jet.
Hiromitsu: These are not a collection. It's my way of life!
Ayumi: You said yourself that we can't carry him like that.
Hiromitsu reluctantly agreed and with a click, a hidden roof in the jet opened up. From there, was arranged an array of wheelchairs of all colours.
Hiromitsu: I'm choosing apple-green as it's suitable for reunions. Pick anyone for Kaede but he better not scratch it.
Ayumi just picked one randomly while she laughed at Hiromitsu sulking; who was getting on his apple-green wheelchair and changed his pair of specs too into a green one. Ever since Ayumi, Hiromitsu was fanatic about colours but she never thought that his obsession will take such proportions once he'll get a paycheck. She lifted Kaede onto the wheelchair as the jet auto-landed and the door opened.
Yakushi:: Welcome, you bunch of mischievous kids!
The old Yakushi elegantly welcomed all of them with lots of fervor.
Ayumi: Thank you, Yakushi-san!
Hiromitsu: Why are you and your personnel in butler outfits, Yakushi-san?
Yakushi: Oh, your sensei wants to live in more grandor, it seems.
They all casually chuckled before they decided to enter the palace.
Yakushi:: Leave the sleeping companion in the hands of Takagi. He'll take good care of him and take him to the guestroom. In the meanwhile, you two, can catch up time with your sensei.
Ayumi handed Kaede's wheelchair to the relatively young butler who walked off.
Hiromitsu: Be careful with the wheelchair!
Takagi: Yes, sir!
Soon, Ayumi and Hiromitsu, led by Yakushi:, walked into the castle as they saw a maid driving a highly sophisticated wheelchair with a well-built but aged man on it, in the hallway.
Shusei: Don't scream, Arai! I'm glad to meet you too.
Hiromitsu: How can your old eyes and deaf ears perceive that I screamed?
Shusei: My lip reading still functions perfectly, my boy! And my eyes are not only for lip-reading. There are 27 muscles in your face that contracts when you overexert your vocals.
Hiromitsu: Sharp as always, then. But I did scream on purpose though.
Hiromitsu and Shusei exchanged smiles; as the latter looked upon Ayumi.
Shusei: So my brave girl, you decided to go forth with your idea?
Ayumi: Indeed and I brought your desired visitor.
Shusei: Excellent but have you used your heart in this decision?
Ayumi: What do you mean, sensei?
Shusei: You are my brightest student, Ayumi and I know that you analysed all possibilities before going ahead with this mission. However, at times, some decision require an equal assistance from the heart and brain.
Ayumi: I won't back out, sensei. It's for the welfare of everybody.
Shusei: Very well. Then lead me towards him then and I'll tell him the truth.
Ayumi: I made a pact with him - He shall know the name and location of his brother, once the mission is completed.
Shusei: Understood, I'll only need to reveal the half-truth then.
Ayumi nodded affirmatively as she looked upon old Shusei in admiration.
Shusei: Yakushi, where is our guest?
Yakushi:: I'm guessing you'll find him in one of the guestrooms.
Shusei: I'll have my nosy genius, Ayumi drive me there then. You may dismiss, Yakushi.
Yakushi:: Very well then.
Meanwhile, Kaede was having those nightmares yet again. He felt a rushing in his ears; that of faint screams of help. Massive bloodshed and panic amidst a carnage as he felt the pain and despair of multiple people. Quick successions of horrendous images kept flashing in his mind but away from in a blinking second, there was a convivial image - that of two children cuddling and playing together with innocent smiles. Suddenly, that blissful memory faded as his head drew a dark fog. There was a laughter. A high-pitch nefarious laughter as he opened his eyes shell-shocked. His view was still slightly blurred, as he slowly saw olden Shusei by his bedside, smiling gleefully to him while Ayumi and Hiromitsu were behind Shusei. He felt cold sweat on his face as Shusei moved nearer towards him.
Shusei: Hello there, my boy! I wonder if you recognize me.
Kaede: I'm afraid I don't.
Shusei: My name is Nadaguchi Shusei. Ex-Director of CIA and we met briefly...
Kaede: Excuse me but who am I?
Ayumi and Hiromitsu looked towards each other perplexedly as Kaede seemed cold but also, even more confused than both of them.
Shusei: You are Kaede. Can't you remember how you ended up here?
Kaede: I can't...I can't remember anything...
Shusei: Look at Ayumi - you recognize her, right?
Shusei pointed towards Ayumi and as Kaede looked upon the appalled face of Ayumi, images of their meeting resurfaced. Soon, the memories of his prison stay, the daily sufferings in captivity, the deal with Ayumi and her angelic face in the backdrop of the azure flashed into his head; as he gasped ponderously.
Kaede: I can remember now. I was a Prisoner that Ayumi freed.
Ayumi and Hiromitsu were relieved as Kaede seemed back to himself.
Kaede: I still can't guess who you are though.
Shusei: Your mind seems a little foggy right now. I'll try to guide you: I met you for a brief instant after we retrieved you on Yukishima Island.
Kaede: Yukishima Island? Where is that? And why was I there?
Shusei was gazing Kaede with extreme concentration, as he deemed the confusion of Kaede to be genuine.
Shusei: This is a picture of the island. Does this evoke anything to you?
Kaede grabbed the picture that Shusei handed to him but no matter how he delved into the picture, his head remained blank.
Kaede: I'd like to remain alone for some instants.
All of them were dismayed but they all nodded to leave Kaede alone for now, was the better case. They all made their way down; away from Kaede.
Shusei: I'm afraid, Kaede suffers from Focal Retrograde Amnesia. Luckily, it doesn't seem too serious but right now, his farthest memories seemed blacked out inside him.
Hiromitsu: This is all crazy! How can he suffer a blackout?
Ayumi remained silent. Deep inside her, countless theories were being formed as she tried to understand how everything turned upside down.
Shusei: Anything that happened in the jet? Or while he was with you Ayumi?
Hiromitsu and Ayumi looked towards each other. Right now, both of them were in sync and fearing the same thing.
Ayumi: No way!
Hiromitsu: I told you to wait and to be more careful.
Ayumi: This can't be. I executed the whole procedure in perfection; albeit in haste.
Hiromitsu: Haste is the work of devils, Ayumi.
Ayumi wasn't to admit it - she was confident of how she injected the chip into the vertebral column smoothly.
Ayumi: What if it's just your chip that's faulty and had side-effects.
Hiromitsu: Now, don't put the hat upon me. Besides, how can "that" leads to amnesia?
Shusei: Whatever both of you did, this better not be serious.
Hiromitsu: Sensei is right, Ayumi. Now, we can't even take him to medical facilities.
Something was off - Ayumi could feel it. Her luring of Kaede, the deal, the injection. All of that were successfully pulled-off.
Ayumi: Maybe he is just faking the memory loss?
Hiromitsu: I doubt it. I did not sense an ounce of dishonesty in his voice and more than my eyes, I'd blindly believe into Shu-sensei's scent.
Ayumi couldn't deny Hiromitsu's point. He was right because even in her eyes, Shu-sensei's smell sense was the most effective lie detector.
Hiromitsu: Perhaps, he lured you since that jail. What if he planned his amnesiac drama for a full-proof escape?
As much as Hiromitsu's conspiracy theory could have solved this mystery, Ayumi shook her head in disbelief. Without a shred of doubt, she was emphatic that she baited Kaede; and not vice-versa.
Hiromitsu: Whatsoever, he must recover at all costs! A witness with a blackout cannot help us in any means.
Shusei: Even if we get a veiled hint from him, that would be a start. Ayumi, you are disturbed but you are the most skilled in interrogation. The most prodigious in that field. Kaede's memory resides in your hands but your state of mind need to unhindered for that.
Ayumi was trying to emerge from the clash between her optimists and pessimists thoughts. If she was faulty of his situation, was she the right one to handle this interrogation? If it was Kaede who were the master-puppeteer, was it correct to blindfully remain in that spot?
Hiromitsu: What will you do, Ayumi?
~END OF CHAPTER~