December 9, 2011
Sutekiko receives a phone call from DJ Inazuma, indicating that there is some sort of rescue mission, and would she be interested in meeting him in Fourside this weekend. She agrees, and when the time comes, they meet in Jackie’s Café. With DJ Inazuma is his neighbor, Amy Sanchez, who was looking for help to find her missing daughter. It turns out that her daughter disappeared, and after hunting around, she learned that her daughter joined some group called the Star Children, apparently living in a commune out in the Dusty Dunes Desert. When she contacted the police, they vaguely brushed her off and refused to do anything. In response, she and a few other parents who have lost children to the commune pooled their money together and decided to hire someone. That someone was Sutekiko.
Sutekiko asked if there are pictures of these children, and Mrs. Sanchez says that she only has pictures of her own children, but can get some of the others. After she leaves, Inazuma explains that pictures probably aren’t necessary, as the teenagers will probably be young, scared, and noncombative — or at least not as combative as the hardcore members of the cult. Additionally, the kids are all aged about 16 to 20, and all told, the group looking for their lost children has $2,000 to contribute. Sutekiko says that she probably won’t take the money, though. Finally, DJ Inazuma explains that the leader is some guy named Leroy Abrams, who claims to be immortal. After some discussion and a brief walk, Sutekiko and DJ Inazuma return to Jackie’s Café. Mrs. Sanchez returns with appropriate pictures. Sutekiko looks over them to memorize them, then decides to go into the desert to take care of the situation. DJ Inazuma tells her to call him when she is finished.
Sutekiko rides out into the desert before finally seeing the rickety, expansive buildings of the Star Children’s commune in the distance. With night falling, she hides the bike behind some scrub brush, then stealthily approaches the compound. Before reaching the entrance, she is spotted, by a kid with a flashlight, who tells her to be careful out here and to come in. She enters, coming to a place where she hears music. The music having stopped by her arrival, she enters a room where several people are talking, mostly crowded around a man with crazed eyes holding a guitar. His head is shaved, as are the heads of a few people in the audience, and he looks at her as she enters. After asking her about what brings her here, he starts to sing a song about a rainbow come from across the desert to deliver love when she starts “dancing,” truly looking for an opportunity to slam him with her staff. When she does so, she tries to play it off as an accident, but he doesn’t believe her, calling for help instead. The two girls with shaved heads jump into the fray, one pulling out a beam katana, and after struggling against her and the group of teenagers, two more people enter the room. One, impossibly large and wielding a double chainsaw, rushes in, followed by a female form with distinctly lizard-like scales and spikes. As they surround her, the other kids move out of the way. Despite her valiant fight, the woman with the beam katana and the man with the double chainsaw manage to overpower her, with a swing of the chainsaw being the last thing she sees.
She awakens, in great pain, naked, tied up on the floor of a featureless room. After getting her bearings and noting a high window in the room, as well as the fact that sunlight is entering, she wriggles free of her bonds and ponders what to do next when the door starts to open. The young man who brought her in the previous night enters, and is about to leave in an alarmed fashion when she convinces him to keep quiet. She then explains that she was just coming to help as the families of the teens here are so distraught that they would send someone such as herself to try to save them. Seemingly unaware that his parents were even looking for him, he agrees not to tell her anything and gives her his gun. He then says he will try to return with things for her. After he leaves, she writes a note in mud on the wall indicating that she will return and then slips out the window.
After sneaking through the desert, she finally comes to the road and waits for a car to pass. She flags down the driver, who immediately takes her to the police station in Fourside. The police then transfer her to the hospital, where she is given morphine and treated for her injuries. She calls DJ Inazuma to let him know that things did not go well and that she won’t be taking the money. She then goes to sleep.
After awakening, she rests for a while before noting an older, suited man watching her through her window. He walks away when he sees that she notices him, and she tries to follow. When she loses him, she tells the front desk about the intruder and returns to her room. Police ask her about her encounter in the desert, and then take her to the police station to be processed. Once her testimony is finalized, the suited man reappears, indicating that he is Sam Murach with the United States government. He again asks her about her testimony, and afterwards, asks if she is interested in taking any jobs for the government, as per her typical arrangement. She is initially vague, but afterward says she will consider it. He says he will contact her later. She also asks if her things may be recovered, and he agrees to do so when the Star Children are dealt with. She is then taken home.
Within a few days, her Vespa, staff, and shield are returned, though she never hears about any raid on the compound. When she speaks to DJ Inazuma later, he says that the children were returned, but that he knows little details about whatever happened. In any event, the Star Children are no more.