“Be at ease,” the chairman commanded as we stood in attention in her warm and – well – girly office. We immediately executed the command – feet apart, hands loosely clipped behind our back.
Ruka, Ichirou and I were immediately summoned here by the Intelligence Chairman/ Captain (IC) – Mayuko Junho – as soon as we have arrived at the base. She looked at us intently but her eyes were soft and again – for the nth time – I wondered how she was able to be the IC, putting aside the fact that she is the daughter of the man who founded this – how do you call it ? – organization.
Mayuko is so fragile, so soft. She always speaks with her small voice. She is kind and always take things seriously but also always deciding on matters slowly and critically. Her words – ever since we were children – have always been my shelter, my courage and the reason I am here, an A.I.S (Artificial Intelligence Section) sergeant.
Yeah, you’ve heard it right. We’ve known each other ever since we were sucking our muddy thumb and watching Barney on TV. Ruka, Mayuko, Makuto – Mayuko’s twin brother and also the External Tactics and Affairs Chairman/Captain (EC) – and I were childhood buddies. Ruka’s always been the noisy one. Mayuko’s the quiet, kind and intelligent one. Makuto’s the courageous one, the brave leader, and the strong fighter. I . . . well I hate saying this but, I’m the silent one, you know, the introvert, the one who always would hide in the shadows . . . afraid of being found or caught by my father . . .
“Sir, mission carried out successfully, sir,” Ruka reported, interrupting my reverie. By the way, the organization adopts that of the military rules, though not to the extent of supreme order and control. This is an advanced intelligence agency after all.
“Well done sergeants,” Mayuko said, “How is Kaori doing?”
“Sir,” Ruka dragged a breath then let it out, “we rushed her to the clinic. She is currently being treated, sir.”
“Is it that bad?” Mayuko’s face was a mixture of worry, pain and something else – guilt?
“Sergeant Kawakiri (the base’s medical authority) said it was nothing we should all be afraid of. It is serious, yeah, but it is not deadly. Kaori’d be all up and ready to kick butt after afew – maybe three – months, sir,” Ichirou said, grinning. “That monkey will surely live, sir, no worries.”
“Watch your words sergeant! This matter is not something to laugh about. Your comrade was badly hurt and is in the state of great pain. Now is not the time to crack lame jokes!” Mayuko took a deep breath. Hail the awakening of the deadly dragon (^ ^). “No dinner for you today Sergeant Matsumoto.”
I saw Ruka supress a smile as Ichirou’s face sunk in. “What did I do?” he mumbled. I chuckled inwardly. You’re still lucky it’s a no- dinner. You’ll be damned if you got a demoting warrant.
“Anyway,” Mayuko said as she walked around her desk and dug a file out of one of one of the desk drawers. “I have a new mission for you sergeants,” she said and laid out the file on her table.
“Sir, what is the mission about?” Ruka asked.
“It’s a follow-up mission, actually,” she held up a photo of a girl. “She was the one you rescued earlier. I have just gotten a report before you came in and apparently, she has no memories at all.”