I'm standing here, in a body that's not my own, on the tracks of an oncoming train. I let myself be hit by this train mercelessly, finally meeting my end; reaching both my goal and my desire. I have finally died, but not before I finished what I started all those years ago.
You may be wondering how I got here all of a sudden. Well, it was some years ago that I can't remember. I had just graduated from Sainou Joushou University (with honors, too) with my bachelors in psychology. It was fairly uneventful. I met a few friends, learned a few things, and carried my sister Corrianna through the first half of her degree as well. Keep her in mind. She becomes important later.
In my time at SJUni, there were two women who were the same year as I was in my field. There was a reserved woman by the name of Ageinadezh Ejinaren. And there was her best friend; a bubbly cheery woman named Katyra Xernilia. Katyra had also known Corrianna, and they hung out a lot together; them and sometimes Ageina. Of course, Corrianna had to bring me along. Katyra didn't mind, but Ageina felt often uneasy around me early on. Eventually she'd grow to acknowledge I'd be around and slowly opened up to me a little.
Later on, Corrianna leaked to me that Ageina was developing feelings for me. This left me rather speechless, as I wouldn't have thought that Ageina would have had those feelings. Katyra, maybe, but definitely not Ageina. I mulled this over a little longer than I probably should, as I had decided to acknowledge those feelings after we'd graduated.
Except it was too late.
Historically, the Fusou clan has a few distant ties to yakuza. My father often did favors for them, and vice-versa. Unfortunately, my father had passed while still having a loan to his name. But I didn't know about this until just after graduation. A few suited men had come to my door on a cloudy Friday afternoon. They had informed me of my father's loan, and that I had to repay them, since of course I was the old man's direct descendant. However; being a fresh college graduate meant I wasn't particularly wealthy, so I dismissed them with a generic income excuse. That was a mistake.
It was a few months down the road and I get an ominous note on my door.
"We have Corrianna."
That was on one side of the page in as big a text as it could fit. The other side had a set of directions. Since I hadn't any money, they had decided to have me pay them back in blood. I was assigned to kill five specific people. Their names were bold and underlined on the page, as well as relationships and reasoning. I was to tear their families apart with their deaths.
Some of the names on the page shocked me. Others were completely foreign. There was one line after all of the names that caught my attention:
"You have been assigned an enforcer who will oversee your completion of these tasks.
She will arrive at your residence within the next 48 hours."
So, not only am I now in a grandfathered contract with a yakuza group to kill some people, I also have a person breathing down my neck to make sure I do it? Was I gonna die? I didn't want to. But I wasn't worried about myself. I was worried about Corrianna, who they were keeping hostage until I made these kills.
I hope Corrianna is okay. I hope she wasn't already killed.
Until then, I guess I'll be waiting for that enforcer.
I live on my own. I have been for a few years now. It's fairly lonely where I live, but that's probably because of the rather large apartment I live in. I moved out from my family's place when I was 19. I was on good terms with my family-- I just wanted to break out of that shell and pursue life on my own. When I left, I hoped that they'd be okay without me. Although, there is a small desire to escape my family's relationship as well. But, as much as you want to, there's not escape from
My train of thought was interrupted by a knock at the door. My heart sunk to my stomach when I heard that; because I thought that my enforcer had arrived. I was nowhere ready for some big burly man to stalk me until I kill these people. But I swallowed my fear, took a deep breath, and went to the door.
"Yo, Yasuke!"Oh my god it's just Benny. I let out the biggest sigh of relief on the goddamn planet. "Hey, Benny. What's up?"
Lucien Benemeiru is one of my good friends from college, and my lower-floor neighbor. We hung out a lot in college along with our other friends, and he kinda just stuck around after graduating like I did. From the perspective of someone with yakuza connections, Benny is probably the most ideal friend one could have. He always did things out of the niceness of his heart and never expected anything in return. He didn't want no money and it's very rare he wanted favors. He's the guy you invite when you just wanna, like, hang or do something with. Like a brothers' night out. The way he lives is inspiring to me, and that's why he's one of my closest friends.
But, when I reviewed the list that the yakuza guys wanted me to kill.... the first name on the list was Benny's. The fucks want me to kill one of my closest friends first. How fucked up is that? Although it's not like I can just tell him that, though.
"Yo, wanna head up to the bar later? Maybe shoot some pool?"
"Ah-- I'm not sure. Ask me later, mmkay?"
"Aight sounds good. Later, Yasuke."
Whew, that's all Benny wanted. Maybe I will give him one more round of pool before I have to..... off him. As my thoughts went on about the inevitable, another-- much louder-- knock rang out. I jumped so high I might as well have put a hole in my ceiling with my head. After calming my heart down a second time, I opened the door.
The voice I heard wasn't intimidating in the slightest-- at least in the way I was thinking; it was definitely intimidating, but in more of an unsettling serious kind of way instead of a scary crush my head in kind of way. Furthermore, there wasn't a big burly man standing in front of me. In fact it wasn't even a *man* standing in front of me. Instead, it was a.... rather young woman. I almost could say she's underage if it weren't for the relatively large rack she's sporting underneath the black dress that fit her curves oddly perfectly. I went from scared to confused almost instantly. Why is this woman here? I don't know her. I've never seen her before. Is she moving in? How old is she actuall--
"My name is Shina. I am the enforcer sent by XXXXXXXXX to oversee your father's payment."
"May I come in?"
After letting "Shina" inside, I had decided to run things down with her over a rather simple homemade lunch. This is what I knew:
"I am also instructed to assist in any plans you may have to make your payment."
So it begins. My enforcer is an underage busty woman and my first target is one of my closest friends. I'm going to hate the next ten years.
That night Benny and I went to the local bar. While we were drinking and playing pool there eternally sat in the back of my mind the fact that Benny was one of my targets, assigned to me by that yakuza group. The list not only had names but it had reasons for the listing. Benny had missed a large number of payments and thus was on the assassination list.
It's fairly mundane for someone to miss one payment to the yakuza-- hell, it's not all too uncommon to miss two. As long as you keep atop it then it's generally not an issue. However, Benny missed several, and had avoided yakuza interaction for long periods of time-- months to almost a year at a time. Now he's on a hitlist for being ignorant. I can't say I'm particularly surprised by why, but at the same time Benny's not a bad person either, so I'm very conflicted.
Benny won the first game of 8-ball, and he came up to me:
"Yo, Yasuke, y'alright?"
"Ah-- Yeah. I'm fine."
"You're lookin a little off in the game."
"Ahh-- I haven't gotten enough sleep is all. And I'm a little more buzzed than I usually am."
"Aight. Don't hammer yourself, now."
I stayed focused enough to win the second game, which seemed to satisfy Benny. I'm pretty good at pool, and I usually win most games against him. That's probably why he's satisfied: it's the norm. We played a third game, and I narrowly won that one. Benny called it after that one and we sat back at the counter.
I ordered another couple of drinks for us. I told him earlier I'd be paying for both of us. It's the least I could do before.... doing the deed. We talked about our day jobs. We talked about our love lives. I decided to tell him about what happened to Corrianna.
"Whoa, that's not fun."
"Yeah.... I gotta do some things for em."
"Is it gonna affect your daily life?"
".... Yeah, a little."
When we got up, I paid both of our bills and we left. We got here on foot because driving while drunk is a mistake. There's a back alley we take because it's quicker. It's also.... where I pulled my gun out of my jacket, stopped, took aim, and shot one single bullet into the back of his head.
Benny silently fell over. I crossed my fingers over his heart, and then mine. I'm sorry, Benny, but this is for Corrianna.
Dead: Lucien Benemeiru. Cause: Gunshot to the back of the head.
Killed: 1. Remain: 4.
I didn't get a restful night after what I did to Benny. In fact I could barely sleep at all. All I could think about was what laid before me. You ever get that sinking feeling like something bad's about to happen, but something already happened and it can't get any worse? You don't? Well, that's my state of being.
Fortunately, my next target is probably the least impactful of the list I received. Here's my rundown:
His name is Kiske Amamiya. Kiske is a leader of one of the smaller gang's chapters. He hides the fact he's in a gang from his family; especially his sister, Tsukaimo, who as far as people know is completely oblivious to it. To keep his identity obfuscated from those who know him, Kiske also goes by the alias of Kega Miyama.
I don't know this guy, so I probably won't feel nearly as torn apart as I was with Benny. With that notion settled, I slept.
When I woke up and sat up, in front of me stood that same redheaded girl.
"HIIIIIIII--!! AH GOD how did you get in here?!"
"Your door was unlocked, so I thought I'd invite myself in."
I got out of bed and made breakfast for two, as much as I really didn't feel like it.
"I have delivered confirmation of Benemeiru's payment."
"Geh.... do you have another word for that?"
"Would you prefer 'death' or 'due justice'?"
"...... You know what just stick with 'payment'."
Shina would go on to detail what I literally could only think about last night, reaffirming Kiske as my next kill. When she finished, she left a black envelope on the desk, thanked me for the food, and left.
When she was gone, I opened the envelope....
It was Corrianna. Least, it was a picture of her. There wasn't anything wrong with her visibly in this shot, other than a little bit of clothes battered. Looking at the back there was a date, and the name CORRIANNA FUSOU-ASKUA on it. It's yesterday's date, and it's definitely Corrianna's handwriting.
I let out a sigh. She's safe. For now. She was my security deposit. I had to act fast. Getting dressed, I left again.
I looked around for someone who would give me details on Kiske. Specifically, I asked for Kega Miyama, because if they know Kega, they're likely associated with his gang. I'm probably looking like I'm crazy, but I didn't care that much.
Eventually, someone gave me his whereabouts: he's headed for an old warehouse to strike an alliance deal with another small gang. The person says that they're trying to plot a revolt against the East Sainou Yakuza. Well that's ironic, innit? I thanked the guy (and I paid him enough money to get an ounce or something) and went on my way. I need to get to that warehouse before Kiske. Luckily, the warehouse is really close by. I gotta be quick enough.
It seems I was quick enough, as there doesn't seem to be anyone around. I slipped inside and looked around quickly. I found a bolted ladder to the upper deck in the corner. Probably isn't very safe to go up there given the barren state of this warehouse, but it's better than being jumped by not one, but two gangs. I climbed up, and carefully moved across the upper deck to an optimal vantage point. Luckily, I'm wearing my black suit, so hopefully I'm harder to spot.
Ah, I got up here just in time. The door squeaked open, and a group of young men in baggy pants and tank tops walked in. They were led by the one with the spiky silver hair it seems. That's Kiske's gang, and the silver hair guy is Kiske. His gang is here first, which means the other gang isn't here yet. I considered nicking Kiske here and now, to save me from being jumped by half the collective. I did decide on this, and I quietly pulled out my handgun and silencer. But as I was loading the mag in, I heard footsteps.
It's too late, the other gang is here. I stopped cold. I listened to what's going down.
"Alright. We are rivals by nature, but we now share a common goal."
"Yeah. What of it?"
"Forming our temporary alliance will allow us to reach our goal of running out the yakuza from our city."
"Yeah." "Yeah!" "Aye!" "Aight."
"Okay, but what's in it for us."
"You mean other than running out the yakuza?"
"Yeah. You want this alliance, so you got something for us?"
"..... Western district total control, and a pound of rock."
".... and majority control of 42nd."
"Al'ight. We're in."
I can't take any more of this. They're just dealing out city space like real estate. I took aim at Kiske.
"Well, Kega. You might be an alright negotiator after all."
Pshkick! I shot Kiske in the shoulder, which brought him down to his knees. Everybody in both gangs then drew their guns and bullets started flying. Blood was being shed in this abandoned warehouse, bullets fly, and tempers flare. Amidst the chaos, I take aim at Kiske again. Pshkick! Thank god I brought my silencer. It's pretty much unhearable in all the loud ass gunfire. I can't seem to get the kill shot though. One more try....
Pshkick! That one had to be it. But, what followed pulled my heart right out of my chest--
Welp, there's my cue. I skirted across the upper deck until finding a spot to jump down from, all while dodging numerous bullet shots being launched at me. On the ground, I took a strategic shot with my penultimate bullet, severing what was left of the already terrible lighting. Black suit to save the day again, as it was difficult for the gang to see, and I somehow managed to get out and make a run for it.
I got home. I locked everything I could lock. I went into the bathroom and declothed. It was then I noticed a graze wound on my upper arm. I treated it with a bandage and ice. It wasn't that bad of a gash. Should be fine in a week or so.
I didn't know if I killed Kiske or not, so I turned on the radio and tuned to some news.
".... a gang brawl has led to the death of many young men; most notable of this is 21-year-old Kiske Amamiya...."
Dead: Kiske Amamiya. Cause: Suffocation from a pierced lung.
Killed: 2. Remain: 3.
You know that feeling? That uh.... the unease you get when you know there's something haunting you and you wanna stop but can't? I've murdered two people up to this point. I feel like I'm going to be, like, arrested and taken away forever. That's how they get you. They won't kill you but they'll have you do their dirty work and save them time.
Or it's just the next name on this list. Nope, that feeling is definitely the next name on this list.
The name written on this list is Ageinadezh Ejinaren. Yeah. Ageina is the next one on the list. But before we get there, I need to make a small detour.
I recently decided on a new startup, dedicated to research on the reasoning behind malice actions. I wanted to know why at the deepest darkest levels why someone would want to act poorly. I lived in the western part of the Kyoukataka metropolitan area now so in my admittedly infinite creativity, I named the place "Kyoukataka Laboratories". Pretty cool, huh? Anyway, I started out in a pretty traditional manner; asking volunteers questions about their lives and histories and whatnot. That got me pretty far, but I decided to go deeper. I wanted to know to their very core how they act and realistically predict their actions.
By a sheer bout of luck, my enforcer Shina was pursuing a similar goal for a different purpose: artificial intelligence. So, we agreed that we'd pursue this shared goal in her offtime, and my first official employee became Shina Tachiyama.
We started work on a project. The project you know as Project VES started as this. It's had a few name changes, but it started out not as VES, but AES: the Augmented Existence System. We determined that by diverting calls from the mind and spirit (the Existence, we called it), we could do anything we wanted to the Existence. Including copying and analysing it. We drew out the specifications for the technology, and while Shina was getting to work on the first prototype, I looked into test subjects.
As it turns out, one of the volunteer prospects for Kyoukataka Laboratories was a woman I knew very well: Ageinadezh Ejinaren. Right. I needed to kill her. Well, before I do, I should get back to her on this. I do, and we schedule a meetup to about a week from now.
🌟 INTERMISSION 🌟
By that time, the prototype system was ready to go, and I met Ageina at the lobby. We caught up for a few minutes while heading to the lab. She tells me that her half-sister is starting college at SJUni, the same place we went to. That was cool. As we were coming in, Shina was heading out on her lunch break. That was fine. I knew how to work the system; after all, I co-developed it. I hooked up Ageina and ran the system. At the time, we had full terminal control over the diversion. Made a copy of her to our data server and began to look her over, eliciting actions and seeing how she would react.
Of course, this was Ageina. I could know things I never knew. So, I ran an action similar to if I confessed to her. The reaction the system had would've been absolutely wholesome if I actually went through with it. It reported flustering, stammering, what-have-you. This made me happy, and when I get out of this Yakuza thing I know what I'm gonna do.
I also elicited a small fight simulation. I knew Ageina was a good fighter so I expected her to do well, which she did. I also shot her. Not actually, but I simulated one.
It was around that time I put in that shot command that the machine jumped a little. It was a little concerning, but since I was done, I decided to delete the contents and let her out. When I deleted the copy the machine rattled some more before it crashed. In an effort to save Ageina, I ripped open the machine she was in.
I uh..... that wasn't the copy I was working with.... was it?
Dead: Ageinadezh Ejinaren. Cause: Accidental existential desynchronicity.
Killed: 3. Remain: 2.
I took the limp body of Ageina and ran out of the lab as fast as I could.
Okay, so I am going a bit out of order, here. This actually happens between when I got in contact with Ageinadezh and when she came to the lab. I live pretty far from the lab so to save money I often took the train to and from home to get there. It works well; the lab is right near the mall so the stop became shared between the mall and the lab.
Anyway, I was looking over my list again on the train. The next one after Ageina was a guy named Sinskei Aerien. Seems pretty average to me; just a regular kid with a slight delinquent streak. Apparently he has a record of not remembering loans and his luck ended him up on the bad side of the wrong person. Maybe he has Alzheimer's or something. Nah, he's not that old yet. Not even close. I'd hazard him around 19-20 at oldest.
So I put my list away, and when I look up--
"....... Need something?"
It's him. It's Sinskei. Right here in front of me.
"... Ah, you're here for me, aren'tcha?"
Before I knew it, he'd already had gotten up from his chair and I was pinned to the window by a shoe to my chest. Clearly, he's aware that someone's after him. I didn't wanna fight him on this train but I guess I'm gonna. I swiftkicked him away and roundhoused him to the ground. It didn't faze him. He just got up like I just pushed him over.
So we start casually brawling on the train. There weren't many people on at this time, but the few there in our car were in shock and trying to get away as much as possible. We're at the end of our car now and I got reversed on. I'm running out of room. There's just one thing I can do.
I opened the door and hopped out of the car, onto the roof. I got a fair distance back when Sinskei got up as well. We continued brawling, albeit there was much more care from the both of us. You see, the train on this route is atop an overpass for most of the trip, so that the highways don't get clogged by being stopped for trains. So not only are we on the roof of a roughly nine foot tall train, we're also about 20 more feet off of stable ground, because other than a small railing about the height of the wheels to keep the train from utterly falling off if it derails, there's nothing stopping us from falling off.
We're keeping our distance; having switched to styles resembling outboxing. Neither of us want to leave an opening for punishment. I did have the advantage, though. I was able to see the tunnel up ahead, which smacked Sinskei on the head. Thus, I crawled towards him as he grabbed his head, and as the tunnel ended, I pushed him off of the train.
I couldn't quite hear anything as he fell, but there was a very faint "crash" near the highway. I only hope that Sinskei was the only one affected. I lay on my stomach as I went home. I don't think coming back in to the train is a good idea.
Dead: Sinskei Aerien. Cause: Blunt force trauma caused by hard landing; car accident.
Killed: 4. Remain: 1.
So, that brings us here. Actually, let me get this out of the way first. It wasn't really my plan to end Jenna's life the way I did. I didn't even plan on ending her life at all.
You see, I've grown a personal and business relationship with Shina by this point. By extension, I ended up getting to know Jenna really well. So, my original plan was to.... basically do what I accidentally did to Ageinadezh, but on purpose. I would have ended Jenna's Body, but leave her Existence intact until I could develop a method of reanimating her Body again. I was basically gonna pull a fast one on a bunch of yakuza.
The whole opening party was unrelated to the state of Jenna. I genuinely wanted to see what would come of panic. But I should have hidden myself away so I wasn't a sitting duck. But then I would have been a sitting duck to the swat team that came in. Which my body ended up being sacrificed to anyway. By the way, many people believe that it was Jenna's Existence that was in my Body when it was shot down. It wasn't. It actually was a copy of my own Existence. I'm not that stupid to just lead Jenna to death like that.
That's something I could never tell Shina. Jenna's Existence still remains in the engine. But she'll probably never know because if I told her with Jenna's Body, that would raise so many red flags.
Thus, I returned halfway through what became known as the Coordinated Suffering of Kyoukataka. Perhaps nobody knew what happened in that building. I never got to find out, for I ended my own life in Jenna's body shortly after.
It won't be in my time but I hope that what I have done can be viewed in a sense of nobility eventually. Or not; perhaps Shina will end up hating me forever. I hope I can reach her when I encounter her next....
Whenever that is.
Corrianna, I hope you're okay.
Dead: Yasuke Fusou. Cause: Train collision.
Killed: 5. Remain: 0....?