[2740 AD; Rezar, Iiayikohn – Mark’s Restaurant]
Law sat across from Mina, but it felt as if she had the majority of the table for herself. Compared to Law’s dish of meat stew, Mina had three dishes of her own: the same stew as Law, a hamburger and fries, and grilled salmon. To Law, it was quite impressive but also somewhat disturbing. He could not even touch his own dish due to the fact that she appeared to be eating without taking a break. When she did, he watched as she gulped down the food that was in her mouth.
“Are you not hungry?” Mina asked. “If you’re not, can I have your food?”
“I’m going to eat it, obviously,” Law said. “I just… I’m quite taken by you.”
Mina grinned. “That’s nice,” she said. “I don’t think you’ve earned anything, but that’s nice to hear.”
“I didn’t mean that like you think I did.”
“Oh,” she said. “So that’s a no from you?”
“I already said I was going to eat it!” Law said.
He picked up the spoon and started to eat, but it was nowhere near at the pace Mina was. Once they were finished, Mina relaxed by resting her head on the table while Law was still trying to find the right thing to say.
“Okay, pardon my Theias, but how the hell do you manage to eat that much?” Law asked. “Do you just not get tired?”
“I don’t know,” Mina replied. “In fact, I feel like I could have more if that’s okay with you.”
“No, no,” Law said, “I believe you. Just maybe eat later. I’m already worried about how I’m going to handle this bill.”
“That? I can pay for it. My uncle has a lot of money.”
“He does? He didn’t exactly strike me as a rich guy…”
“I don’t mean that he’s wealthy,” Mina said, “Just that he makes a lot of money day in and day out.”
“So you just depend on him, then?” Law asked. “I’m afraid to ask, but how old are you exactly?”
“That’s a relief,” he said.
“Was there a reason why you asked me that?”
“Uh, no reason,” Law replied. “Anyway, I was wondering if you’d let me ask you another question.”
“What’s that?” Mina asked.
“How are you so strong?” Law asked. “Did you get that from your parents?”
“Oh, I… I really don’t know my parents at all,” Mina replied. “My uncle’s the only one who’s raised me.”
“I’m sorry, I guess that was too personal,” Law said.
“No, don’t be,” Mina said. “I’m sure I’ll run into them soon. I hope…”
“Can’t say I can’t relate,” Law said.
“Well, it’s a long story.”
“Tell me!” Mina exclaimed, leaning in towards Law. “Tell me!”
“Remember when I said I used to be in the Ameci army?” Law asked. “I’ve got a bro still in the ranks.”
“That’s cool,” Mina said. “What’s he like?”
Law laughed. “The opposite of cool, I’d say,” he said. “He always takes things too seriously. Sometimes it gets to be too much.”
“Wow, he sounds boring,” Mina said.
“Yeah, but I do miss him,” Law replied. “He and I are close, whether we like it or not. That’s something no one can take away from me.”
“That must be nice, then.”
“Yeah,” he said. “You’ve got Drake, and I have Gavin. I guess that’s another thing we have in common, right?”
“Hey, you’re right!” Mina said.
“I know,” Law said. “Come on, let’s get going. There’s something I want you to see.”
After paying the bill, Law and Mina walked over to the park. They made it to the middle, where a large tree stood overlooking the entire park. Law placed his hand on the trunk and took out a small knife.
“Back when I was still in the army, me and Gavin made a promise,” Law said. “It seems like a silly thing now, but I wanted to travel to Iiayikohn with him. Obviously, I’ve already broken that promise, so I’ll just have to make it up to him.”
“What are you doing?” Mina asked.
Law drove his knife into the tree and began to carve out a message. “If you find this, please don’t be mad,” Law read aloud. “I know we will meet again. I hope you can forgive me for what I did.”
“It’s another long story,” Law replied. “I guess you could say I ‘betrayed’ him, Mina.”
“He’s your brother, though,” Mina said. “What could you have done to betray him?”
“It’s something I’d rather not talk about now.”
“Wow, and you like talking about yourself a lot.”
“Do I?” Law asked. Before she could reply, Law looked behind Mina and spotted Silvia.
“You do tend to do that,” Mina replied. “Is there something on my face?”
“No,” Law said. “I’m really sorry about this, but I need to go. I really had a good time with you tonight.”
Law followed after Silvia into the alley, staying far enough to avoid being spotted. As he trailed behind her, a couple of men in Iiayikohnian military uniforms joined up with Silvia. They looked around the alley as Law hid behind a garbage can, avoiding their line of sight.
“The Iiayi military?” Law asked himself. “What are they doing here?”
Law continued to follow the group until they made it to a wooden door surrounded in darkness. He watched as Silvia knocked twice. The silence hung in the air as Law breathed in and out, his eyes remaining open the entire time. Silence would soon break, but it was not what Law was expecting.
“There you are!” Mina said.
Law shushed her, grabbing her close to him and placing his hand on her mouth. Silvia looked around with the soldiers.
“Did you hear that?” Silvia asked.
“I did,” the tall soldier replied. “Show yourself!”
Law responded with a growl, then a bark. A high pitched bark followed, with a deeper one after that. The bald soldier shrugged, turning to the tall one.
“Mutts,” the bald soldier said. “Just ignore them.”
“Let’s go,” Silvia said.
They entered the door and closed it behind them. Law let go of Mina, causing her to punch him in the shoulder.
“Ow! Damn it, Mina!” Law said as he rubbed his inflicted shoulder.
“Sorry,” she said, “I got caught up in the moment.”
“Well, you could’ve almost had us killed!” Law said. “Especially with the Iiayikohn soldiers looming, it could have been brutal.”
“Those were soldiers?” Mina asked. “What are they doing out here?”
Law sighed. “Hell if I know,” he replied. “Raises more questions than answers, honestly.”
“Well, we’re going to have to find out about it,” she said.
“We? I don’t think I asked for your help.”
“When did you get so rude?” Mina asked.
“This is a secret mission,” Law said. “The key word being secret, as in: I’m trying to find out something without getting caught!”
“Okay, that sounds easy,” she said. “I can do the sneaking around thing just as good as you!”
“First off, I don’t think you have the training for it,” Law said. “Secondly, the whole point is to go alone. Having someone ‘tag along’ is not how I roll.”
“What’s the worst that could happen?”
“Are you serious?” Law asked. He stood up and walked up to the door. A turn of the knob, but to no avail. “Anyway, it’s locked. I’m going to have to find another point of entry.”
He walked away and Mina stepped up to the locked door in his place. “C’mon, you know what they say,” she said, “When a door closes, you just have to bust it open!”
Law turned and saw it happen. Mina clutched the doorknob with one hand as she thrust her first into the door, creating a large hole. She reached in and grabbed the other end of the doorknob and unlocked it. The door opened to reveal that Silvia and the two soldiers had already disappeared deeper into the building.
“See? I told you I could do this sneaking thing!” Mina said, flexing her arm.
“How?” Law asked.
“I told you,” she replied. “I busted the door down!”
“That’s good,” Mina said. “We have to be quiet, don’t we?”
Law planted his face in his hands. “Just, let’s go,” he said.
“Let’s go,” he repeated. “If we stay, somebody else might come.”
Law and Mina went into the building, with Law not bothering to close the door behind them. It was not as he planned it, but so far Law thought that he was lucky that neither of them got caught.
[2740 AD; Rezar, Iiayikohn – “Abandoned” Building]
It was a clear sky as the moon was the only visible thing, shining down on Ayanna and her small squad of four soldiers. Victor Wihll had also decided to join her, being a helpful asset in helping Ayanna find the location of the True Thekohnians. Their search led them to an abandoned building inside the Deci District. It appeared to have been abandoned not too long ago as there were no signs of wear on the exterior. Ayanna motioned to her squad to move in closer as they approached the front door.
“It must be locked,” Wihll said.
Ayanna placed her hand on the front door and pushed it open. Wihll shrugged as Ayanna directed the other soldiers to go inside.
“Let’s do this,” she said. “Wihll, you will be my backup in case things go wrong.”
“I believe that I can trust you,” Ayanna replied. “It’s not an easy thing to earn, but you have a passion that I can respect.”
“To hear you say that, Major, is truly an honor,” Wihll said. “Whatever happens, I want you to know… Well, perhaps it isn’t the right time.”
“We shouldn’t waste any more time staying here,” she said. “Go!”
Ayanna and Wihll charged into the building, following after their squad. The dark hallway was straightforward until they reunited with the squad at a split in the path. Ayanna looked to Wihll.
“Which one do you think we should take?” Wihll asked.
“Let’s split up,” Ayanna said. “We can cover more ground that way.”
“Sounds like a good idea,” Wihll said. He pointed to two of the soldiers. “Both of you, come with me. The major can go with the other two.”
“Okay,” Ayanna said.
Ayanna took the left path with her two soldiers while Wihll took the other. Wihll let the two soldiers go ahead as he walked behind them. It was an unnerving silence as they moved ahead in the dark, their quiet footsteps being the only audible noise in the building.
“What do you think about the major’s plan?” Wihll asked.
The soldier to Wihll’s left, a man with a full beard, turned his head. “Me? Well, Major Ansa probably has a good reason to launch this operation,” he said.
The other soldier, a woman with a ponytail, continued to walk. “It’s obvious Major Ansa does,” she said. “There’s been a lot of rumors about the True Thekohnians lately.”
“I suppose,” Wihll said. “Say, I don’t get to talk to my fellow soldiers often. Maybe we could have a little conversation while we walk?”
“That came out of nowhere,” the man said. “About what?”
Wihll rolled his eyes. “Is it bad I want to learn about you?” Wihll asked. “Perhaps you could tell me your names since you already know mine.”
“My name’s Rian,” the man said.
“Catrena,” the woman said. “It looks like there’s a room up ahead. Let’s take a look.”
The three walked into the empty room, save for a couple of desks. Rian reached for the light switch, but to no avail as the lights would not come on.
“We’re shit out of luck, it looks like,” Rian said. “Why don’t we go back?”
Wihll grabbed Rian from behind, covering his mouth as he slit Rian’s throat with a knife. He dropped Rian to the ground as Catrena turned around.
“Mr. Wihll, what… what are you doing?” Catrena stepped back as Wihll advanced towards her.
“A good man never tells his secrets,” he replied. “Nor does he leave a witness.”
The other end of the building had Ayanna come up to a staircase leading up to the second floor. She and her two soldiers decided to take the stairs and see what was up there. To her expectation, the floor was shrouded in darkness like the first. Ayanna looked around when she could hear footsteps coming closer.
“Watch out,” she said to the soldiers.
She took out her gun and aimed it at the shadow that was going closer. As the moonlight shone through the window, Ayanna could make out that it was a man. He stopped in his tracks as soon as he noticed her pointing a gun at him.
“Don’t shoot me!” Law said. “Oh shit, it’s the Iiayikohnian military!”
“Who are you?” Ayanna asked. “Depending on your answer, I may have to use force.”
“Force, huh?” Law asked. “Now that I’ve got a better look at you, perhaps I wouldn’t mind if you used a little force on me.”
“I don’t mind it if you’re taller than me,” Law replied, “However, I do mind those two trying to ruin this moment.”
Ayanna turned to see the two soldiers behind her aiming their guns at her. She raised her gun once more as Law stood to the right of her.
“You two, explain yourselves!” Ayanna commanded.
One of the soldiers laughed. “Tell us, did you honestly believe that you were going to find clues about the True Thekohnians here?”
“It seems that Wihll was right,” the other soldier said with a grin on his face, “These overzealous Iiayikohnians will believe anything that you tell them!”
“Wihll is in on it, too?” Ayanna asked as she cocked her gun. “Answer me right now!”
“He should have taken care of those other two soldiers right about now,” the laughing soldier said. “Just as well, since we’re going to take care of you.”
“I have a question!” Law said.
The grinning soldier changed the aim of his gun over to Law. “What exactly do you want, pretty boy?”
“Well, thanks for the compliment,” Law said. “Anyway, I knew I saw a couple of your goons walk in with a red haired woman earlier. I’ve already talked with her, in fact.”
The laughing soldier pointed his gun at Law as well. “The fuck you talking about? Silvia’s not even here!”
“Well, that part is true,” Law said. “I searched this whole building. She left this place like a leaf on the wind.”
“Who even are you?”
Before Law could answer, Ayanna shot the laughing man in his arm, causing him to drop his gun. The grinning soldier tried to respond but was met with the same result: a bullet in the arm. Law dashed towards the two men and bashed their heads together, knocking them out.
“I really am the luckiest man alive,” he said. “It’s not often a gentleman like me gets to meet two strong ladies in one day.”
“Who are you?” Ayanna asked.
“Oh, just the man who’s going to treat you to a nice drink of tea,” Law replied. “Law Power.”
“I think I’ll pass,” she said.
“Hard to get, huh?”
“Enough,” she said. “You have connections with the True Thekohnians, do you not?”
“The only connection I have to them is that beautiful trickster,” Law replied. “It would be admirable if she weren’t so nefarious.”
“Okay, so you do,” she said. “Perhaps I should take you in for questioning.”
“Questioning sounds fun,” Law said. “It would only be fair if I asked questions too, right? Like maybe your hobbies or if you’re seeing someone?”
“Do you continue to miss the point?”
“Miss the point?” Law asked. “From what I’ve gathered, those two stated there’s at least one more creep in this facility.”
“Yes, and he may have already left by now,” Ayanna said.
“Why do you keep ditching me, Law?” Mina asked. She had just arrived to greet Law once again. Mina looked over at Ayanna, who looked back.
“Mina, I can explain this,” Law said.
“So, you’re the ‘True Thekohnian’ Law keeps talking about!” Mina said. She raised her arms and got into a stance. “Prepare for pain, you villain!”
Ayanna raised an eyebrow. “I have to go find Wihll,” she said. “Just get out of here.”
“Hold on!” Mina said. “You’re not the True Thekohnian?”
“No,” she replied, “But I have a feeling that I know who it is.”
Ayanna went back downstairs, stepping over the two unconcious men as she did. Law looked back to Mina, who was still in her pose.
“You can stop now,” he said. “Anyway, I’m going to go help her.”
“Because if those guys down there are any indication, this Wihll guy is even more dangerous,” Law replied. “Besides, a gentleman like me has to make a dashing entrance, doesn’t he?”
Law followed after Ayanna, leaving Mina behind. She dropped her fighting stance, her eyes wide open and mouth agape.
“That sounded so cool!” Mina said. “Of course, he can’t just have a grand entrance all to himself. I’m going after him!”
To be continued…