January 23, 2012
The week is fairly uneventful. Monday, Sutekiko receives a call from Donald indicating that the dance will be this Saturday rather than any other time he might have told her. The following day, she receives an email from Agent Murach, indicating that the time of the job at the docks is in flux, and he will inform her of details as they become available. Otherwise, she prepares for the dance and the possible eventuality that she will need to do two jobs in the same night, if Agent Murach’s gig also moves to Saturday. She calls Artie Shelton to see how formal the dance is, and while training during the week, Donald discusses getting some form of concealable weapon so that Sutekiko can be armed just in case. They eventually decide on getting a beam staff, essentially a double-ended beam katana.
On Friday, Sutekiko calls DJ Inazuma to ask if he is having a show on Saturday, and when he says he does, she explains that she has a thing to do, but plans on coming late. He indicates that he is also having a show on Friday, and she says she’ll come. He also asks if she might like to get Chinese food as an early dinner, and she agrees.
Over dinner, Sutekiko and Inazuma have a long conversation. She explains about her job on Saturday, and the two reveal their names and a bit about their backgrounds — Sutekiko, herself actually Sakaki O’Brien, learns that Inazuma is actually Todd Akiyama. Like Sutekiko, he is an only child. Unlike her, both of his parents are Japanese (though his mother’s family has been in America for a few generations), and he developed an early interest in music and computers, leading him to his current job. They also determine that he is five years her elder.
After hitting the club to see Inazuma’s set, they decide to return to Sutekiko’s place to watch anime, the earlier conversation having revealed that Inazuma hasn’t seen very much. Before Inazuma leaves, Sutekiko mentions that she is somewhat nervous about their flirtations, prompting Inazuma to ask her out. She agrees and Inazuma stays over a little bit longer — largely as they start kissing.
Sutekiko awakens at about 5:30 PM, and checks to find a message from Donald earlier in the day, saying that she can come to the warehouse at around 5:00 PM. Sutekiko calls him to apologize for her lateness and explain that she will be over shortly.
After arriving and receiving her beam katana, Sutekiko and Donald make their way to Artie Shelton’s house. Donald introduces Sutekiko (or Sakaki, as she is primarily known among them) to Artie’s mother, and Ms. Shelton drives Artie and Sutekiko to the dance at P.S. 242.
Upon arrival, Artie introduces Sutekiko to his friends Cody, Cesar, Damian, Arthur, and Angie. They chat, and after a bit, Angie mentions the new exchange student from Japan. She draw’s Sutekiko’s attention to a girl standing against the wall, hair in her face, generally out of place and wearing a Gothic Lolita outfit. Angie and Sutekiko decide to go talk to her, and even convince her to meet with the people at her table. However, Sutekiko notices that she is distracted, as she keeps looking at the blonde-haired, blue-eyed girl towards the center of the room. Strangely, this girl keeps glancing at the Japanese girl and Sutekiko.
After an awkward exchange of greeting in which they learn the girl’s name is Hashimoto Masuyo, Masuyo excuses herself and slinks back into the crowd. Sutekiko asks about the other girl and learns that she is Danica, one of the more popular girls at school. After the lull following Masuyo’s absence passes, the group continues conversation, but Sutekiko keeps an eye on Masuyo and Danica.
After a bit of watching, Sutekiko sees Danica and some boy with whom she is dancing slink off. A gate closes off the hallways from the dance, but Danica pulls it open. Masuyo detaches herself from the wall and follows. In her case, the gate appears to be locked, but she focuses on it and it just slides open. Shortly after her, an older Japanese man wearing a suit and bow tie follows through the gate. Her interest piqued, Sutekiko excuses herself and goes to investigate.
She follows the man, seeing him draw a pistol when he thinks he is unobserved, until it appears he is headed to the locker room. There are two entrances inside, and he ponders the first, ignores it, and then moves to one farther up. He unlocks it and steps inside. Sutekiko sneaks into the first door.
She enters the locker room to hear a slight scuffling, and inches forward to see Danica and the boy up against the lockers. Sutekiko also sees the Japanese man enter from the opposite side of the locker room. After watching the scene unfold for a brief moment, Sutekiko hears a faint rattling. The locker next to her unseats itself and flings itself toward Danica, who turns and catches the brunt of the blow with the boy. He instantly falls unconscious.
Danica then shrieks and kicks herself off the lockers, half floating through the air. She zips into another alcove of lockers and Sutekiko hears the sounds of struggle. Sutekiko runs to find Danica, having grown claws and fangs, ripping at Masuyo while Masuyo tries to defend herself. Sutekiko, suspecting that Danica is truly Sally, calls her out, but Danica seems to have no recognition of Sutekiko. Beam staff at the ready, Sutekiko activates it and leaps at Danica. Despite having Danica’s claws rip into her side, Sutekiko manages to get in two swipes of the beam staff before Danica explodes, sending a shower of gore everywhere. Sutekiko looks over at Masuyo, who is hunched on the ground, frightened, but staring pointedly at Danica’s remains. Presuming that Masuyo is responsible and knows what is happening, Sutekiko asks her, when the man rounds the corner. He fires off a shot, and misses, but before Sutekiko can parley, his head explodes without warning. Sutekiko turns her attention to Masuyo and tries to talk her down, but the frightened girl panics and turns her gaze on Sutekiko. Sutekiko feels the pounding pressure start in her skull, but fights it through force of will. Seeing no other option, she flees and stumbles for an emergency exit, hitting the alarm as she passes through.
Sutekiko sneaks through the alleyways to return to the front, relieved that people are filing out. From her hiding place in the alley, she calls Donald to request his appearance, and she watches as students and staff file out. Within a few minutes, police arrive, and Sutekiko slinks further into the alleyway, ditching the beam staff first so that she is not caught with it.
Down a side alley, Sutekiko and Masuyo catch sight of one another. Sutekiko says simply, “No,” and the two part company. Sutekiko then tells Donald her position when he calls back, and waits. When he arrives, she gets into the car and starts into her story. Before long, however, she is interrupted by a phone call.
She ignores the first phone call, but when it rings a second time, she answers to hear Agent Murach. He indicates that a woman matching her description was noted at the school dance, and so he asks if the rogue psychic can be found and retrieved before the police find her. He indicates that they can arrange payment at a later time.
Sutekiko asks Donald to turn the car around, and he says he’ll check on Artie while she looks for Masuyo. She manages to track her through alleyways before finding her in a dead end. Sutekiko manages to talk her down and explains that she doesn’t know what is happening, but that Sutekiko has some people she is going to call to remove Masuyo from the situation, and is she all right with that? Masuyo reluctantly agrees, and Sutekiko calls Murach.
Within a few minutes, Murach arrives and walks into the alley, his hands raised. He explains that the man inside was a Japanese agent, and that Japan has been trying to capture and recruit psychics. He promises Sutekiko, though, that he will try to get a better life than that for Masuyo, and will try to get her family to America. When Masuyo asks Sutekiko’s opinion on these matters, Sutekiko says that she personally is inclined to trust Murach. She also mentions that Masuyo needs medical attention, which seals the deal. Masuyo goes with Murach, and before they leave, Murach says they will discuss this matter later.
Sutekiko then calls Donald to ask for him to pick her up, and she calls Inazuma to let him know that she won’t be coming to his show. He says he may try to catch her later, though, if she’s still up.
Once Donald picks her up, he returns her to the warehouse, and after receiving some treatment, she returns home. She texts Inazuma to let him know she has arrived, and proceeds to take a shower and rest.