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Togusa: A homicide staged to look like an accident?

Aramaki: From what the investigators tell me, the victim was apparently hit with such force, so there's little doubt his braincase was critically damaged.

Togusa: But the truck driver swears up and down, he doesn't remember anything because he fell asleep at the wheel?

Matsui: At this time, we're checking the driver's cyberbrain just to be safe, but I doubt we'll turn up anything.

Togusa: I guess our probe into the blackmailing the Energy Ministry just came to a dead end.

Aramaki: Assuming that this man was working alone.

Matsui: The victim's body was a Toyoda Chemicals model 2902. He had a Dermo 2706 Mark 2 braincase. Cutting-edge they are not, but both are new, domestically-made units. The exterior is also a market model with no options added, but the face is custom-designed. Judging from the cellular deterioration, though, I'd say that it's a holdover from when he was first prostheticized.

Togusa: It's unusual for a criminal to keep part of his old appearance.

Aramaki: Hm. I understand his blackmail MO was apparently rather crude. It's entirely possible the information we have about an Energy Ministry scandal is just a bluff.

Togusa: Even so, his death was made to look like an accident right as we were about to arrest our suspect, we found him murdered. Hm? What's with this symbol?

Matsui: I think it's the logo for the Shinjuku ward of the old capital.

Togusa: The area that sank in the war?

Matsui: Right. I don't know why, but for some reason, his braincase has a coating of glass and lead. He could've had it engraved when that work was done.

Aramaki: The man had these items on him. A reporter's contact information is written on here. It should provide clues in determining the man's identity.

Togusa: This is a wedding ring, isn't it?


DI: Latent Heat Source; EXCAVATION


Mihashi: He left a message at my office saying that he wanted to meet with me.

Togusa: I see.

Mihashi: I thought the tip smelled pretty bogus, but he had allegedly made the call from a public terminal in Tokyo.

Togusa: Tokyo? So, what was the tip that he wanted to give you?

Mihashi: It was about the scandal involving the Energy Ministry.

Togusa: If you spent your time checking out every little lead, you'd never get any work done.

Mihashi: Well, we don't usually meet our sources in person, but he said that he'd send me something that would prove his story.

Waitress: Just two? And would you like smoking or non-smoking? Right this way, please.

Togusa: It's completely black.

Mihashi: Yeah. I thought it was some kind of photographic evidence, but it's been exposed. The guy must've figured he wouldn't get the proof he wanted from digital data. Not there are many people nowadays who know how to handle film.

Togusa: Say, would you mind if I held on to this?

Mihashi: No, keep it if you want. There's really nothing on it, though.

Togusa: Chief, from what I've been able to learn so far, it looks like the man was in Tokyo up until a few days before he was killed. He sent a single frame of exposed film from there to that reporter.

Aramaki: Right. I want you head out to Tokyo on your own. In the meantime while you're en route, I'll find out which terminal was used by the victim.

Togusa: On my own, sir?

Aramaki: Everyone else is still busy putting security duty guarding the Prime Minister. I'll assign a Tachikoma to you.

Togusa: Is the radiation gonna be a problem?

Aramaki: How many years do you think have passed since the war ended? There's been no radiation; not after the "Japanese Miracle" was spread.

Togusa: Roger that.

Announcement: New Tokyo. New Tokyo. Announcing the arrival of the Etorofu #3, bound for Berutarube.

Tachikoma: If you're worried about residual radiation, I'd recommend getting a prosthetic body.

Togusa: I'm not worried about that. It's just a gut reaction.

Tachikoma: Do you feel sick? In that case, I can let you ride in my pod if you want to.

Togusa: That'd make me feel even worse. Just pipe down and follow me.

Tachikoma: Oh, a wise guy, eh?!

Togusa: This is where he called from? Here?

Tachikoma: Oh? Hm?

Tachikoma: Ooh? Ooh? Oooaagh!

Togusa: Have you seen this man?

Stallkeeper: Sorry, never seen him.

Togusa: He got a new prosthetic body somewhere around here, I believe.

Stallkeeper: I wouldn't know, then. Nobody around here can afford a new body, they make do with the lowest performance parts they can scrounge up.

Man: Let me see. A whole lot of people have been missing lately. Maybe I know who you're looking for.

Togusa: This is the man.

Man: Ah, funny I had a feeling that this is the man you meant.

Togusa: Do you know him?

Man: No, I don't know who he is, but about four or five days ago, in this hellish heat a fellow wearing a black suit asked me about this guy. Had a face that would give you a heart attack, too. Like this. And then I heard there was a young woman asking about him down at the flophouse district. Out of curiosity, what kind of stunt did this ladies' man pull?

Togusa: Nothing too major. Thanks a lot.

Asagi: Excuse me. Do you happen to know someone named Kotan Kanji?

Rough: Sure, we know him.

Asagi: Oh, you do?

Rough: Yeah. Come on.

Togusa: Ah...!

Tachikoma: I knew it. That last one was a holy grail, a once in a lifetime find. Huh? Mr.Togusa? The string... Uh-oh, I think I broke it.

Togusa: You two beat it, unless you wanna end up like your friend here! You all right?

Aramaki: I have information for you about the person who contacted the reporter. I managed to verify that a man by the name of Kotan Kanji was in the Kanto Refugee District.

Togusa: Is that so? Just to be sure, I showed the ring and the dead man's photo to the woman I took into custody. According to her, both of them are Kotan's, no question about it.

Aramaki: Who is she?

Togusa: Ruriko Asagi. She told me she worked for a refugee support NGO two years ago, and that's when she met Kotan. She says that they stayed in touch after she left her job, their long-distance relationship continued and they eventually got engaged. But three months ago, she lost contact with him. Apparently, she came out to Tokyo from Akita in order to look for the guy after she suddenly received an e-mail from him. He'd written it to say goodbye.

Aramaki: Understood. I want you to keep questioning the woman.

Togusa: Roger.

Togusa: Feeling better?

Asagi: Huh... Kotan... he's dead, isn't he? You know, he gave this ring to me and he told me why. It was because he'd be able to leave Refugee Town soon. But when he attempted to get his ID, Kotan's prosthetic body got flagged during his inspections. It didn't meet the minimum performance requirements, so he couldn't leave. When he found out, Kotan was stunned. That's when he started to avoid me. Maybe he thought I had been hiding the standards requirement from him to avoid marriage.

Togusa: Didn't you have any way of getting in touch with Kotan?

Asagi: I called him again and again. I even told him I do whatever I could to help him get a new prosthetic body. But he turned down my offer.

Togusa: When he was found in Niihama, Kotan had already switched over to a domestic body. He never mentioned anything about that to you?

Asagi: No, not a word.

Togusa: I see. But he doesn't add up... The thing is, before he died, your fiance had come under suspicion of attempting to blackmail a government agency for money.

Asagi: Huh?

Togusa: When I heard your story, I thought that maybe Kotan that come up with the idea for blackmail so he could get himself a new prosthetic body. However, he'd already changed bodies by then. Why would he blackmail them afterwards? He had already got what he wanted...?

Asagi: In life, Kotan may have been dealt more than his share of bad luck, but he'd never stoop to doing anything unlawful.

Togusa: Maybe so. But there's a possibility that his death wasn't an accident, that he was killed by someone. Murdered.

Asagi: Huh?

Togusa: During the three months that you two were out of contact with each other, something happened to him. That's for sure. Shall we check the flophouse district tomorrow?

Gaffer: It was about a month ago, I guess. There was a rumor going around that somebody was looking to hire lots of workers with full prosthetic bodies. They were saying that anyone who is willing to go all the way inside Uchikan Seven would get paid with a good body for free.

Togusa: For free?

Gaffer: Yeah.

Togusa: And Uchikan Seven? What's that?

Gaffer: That's the name of one of the sunken areas. But come to think of it, I've never heard of anybody actually getting one of those bodies, maybe it's nothing more than scuttlebutt that someone was spreading.

Asagi: I don't think so. Since this man apparently did receive one.

Gaffer: Hmm? Hey! Does anybody here know anything about that story where you could get a free prosthetic body? These two claim that the guy in this picture really did get a full one.

Man: Hey!

Laborer: I wouldn't be sitting here alive today if it weren't for the Professor.

Togusa: Professor?

Laborer: Yeah. He taught me all kinds of things when we were at Uchikan Seven.

Asagi: Please, will you tell me what happened there?

Laborer: I'm not really sure, myself. I just worked and did whatever they told me to without question.

Togusa: Do you remember who hired you?

Laborer: I think it was an outfit called Kuromatsu Electric or something. They told us that they were excavating some kind of installation that was buried during the war. They also said we'd be diving a long way down, so we were instructed to report after we went full prosthetic. One catch, in order to go down, you had to be at least 98% prosthetic, so I gave up on that plan, but after I had back-alley doctor dummy up my percentage, I managed to slip in.

Togusa: Was this logo on the prosthetic bodies?

Laborer: Yeah. It was on all of them. And the Professor, he was all happy and excited about getting to swap into a new prosthetic body. But one thing you can never be sure of is whether or not you really got a new one, 'cause you can't see your own braincase. So eventually, they ended up getting about forty of us workers together, and we were taking deep underground. There were probably other guys besides me who had doctored their percentages. Anyway, I teamed up with the Professor, and everybody started to work. "De-scaling," I think that's the name for it. We were wearing dust masks, but we still turned pitch black, even inside our noses. The Professor told me not to worry, he said I'd be okay if I cut my sense receptors, but I told him I couldn't do that 'cause I wasn't totally prosthetic. As soon as he heard that he got this scary look on his face and told me that if I didn't get out of there pronto, I was gonna die. But I wanted the money real bad, and I didn't listen to him. So the Professor gave me this thing saying to keep my eyes peeled and if it ever turned black, get out of there fast. And then, only four days into the job, all hell broke loose. Sirens started blaring all of a sudden, and just as I was wondering what was going on, some guys who looked like technicians were carried out on stretchers from the inner work site. Then and there it finally sank in that the job was really dangerous.

Togusa: And that's when you ran away?

Laborer: Yeah. The next thing I knew, these guys in black came rushing in. Me and the Professor gotta out of the place without any problem, we were okay, but as the two of us were running, I happened to glance back and see that the rest of the guys who we were working with had been sealed in by some huge steel doors.

Asagi: And Kotan, what happened to him after that?

Laborer: He said something about having to tell the world what he saw down in the tunnels, the people needed to know what was going on there, then he up and disappeared.

Togusa: Look, can you take us to where this Uchikan Seven place is?

Laborer: No way! I wouldn't go back there even if you paid me! Nuh-uh!

Togusa: Just partway is fine.

Asagi: Please. I need to know what Kotan saw there and what happened to him.

Togusa: The GSDA is down there.

Laborer: I don't get it. This is all new. That fence wasn't there when I ran away.

Laborer: If you go in through here, you should be able to get to it. Sorry, but this is as far as I'm going.

Togusa: It's okay. Thanks.

Togusa: This place is...!

Asagi: Huh?

Togusa: Armsuits! Run!

Togusa: Crap! Come on, already. Jump! Do it!

Tachikoma: Are you okay, Mr. Togusa?

Togusa: Tachikoma!

Tachikoma: Boo-yah!

Announcement: Announcing the arrival of the Mirai 52, bound for New Fukuoka.

Togusa: Kotan knew the risks, but he must've gone there anyway so that he could eventually be with you. Unfortunately, he was smart enough to figure out what kind of installation was down there, and for that he was killed.

Asagi: I'll quickly stop back home, and go to pick his body up.

Togusa: Good. If you run into any trouble, call me right away. Okay?

Asagi: Yeah.

Togusa: Kotan stumbled on an accident at a nuclear plant that was hidden in underground installation, then used that information to threaten the Energy Ministry. He may have really tried to expose the scandal to the public, though.

Aramaki: I see. My guess is they had an accident with the reactor while they were working and then tried to cover it up by hastily starting to bury everything, but the military doesn't seem to be aware of the situation. The real question this raises is under whose authority was that prewar installation excavated, and for what purpose?

Togusa: Those men in black suits...

Aramaki: It sounds like there's still more to this story. Once you get back, put together your report.

Togusa: Yes, sir.

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