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Kaien

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"You should watch your mouth little girl."

"Who are you? Where are you?"

"Nearby."

Aki ran in fear for the door of the gymnasium. She'd stayed late to practice, but now some freak was after her.

She slammed into the doors but they wouldn't budge. "Help!! let me out of here.!!!" She tried unlocking it but the door wouldn't unlock. She ran to the other side and the voice mocked her.

"All this running around will get you nowhere. You cannot escape me."

"Come out and face me!"

"Where would be the sport in that dear girl? It's more fun to watch you squirm."

"Bastard."

"My, my, what a razor-edged tongue.."

She turned around and saw a shape in the darkness outside the door. It was the last thing she saw as her heart started pounding harder and harder, it felt as though it would explode in her chest. Then suddenly it stopped and her wide open eyes caught a glimpse of the emerald green eyes of her killer in the darkness, glowing like those of a cat, then she saw only the darkness.

Invisible Kaien quietly flew off back to his apartment with a smile on his face. "Baselines should learn that the only race that matters is the Nova one. The rest are just genetic throwbacks. He goes inside and sheds his eufiber garments and showers as normally as a regular high school student, completely immune to the cold-blooded murder he had wrought. "The Tiger and the Dragon, Ryusei, They are locked in eternal struggle. We novas will only repeat the humans folly if we cannot learn from it. I hope in time you can be made to see the light."

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The morning hadn't gone well for Ryusei. He'd seen everyone else to school fine, only to find that the Academy was cordoned off and class canceled for three days.

Calls to the student body turned up only rumor, and Even Kaien was having trouble finding out anything. His Father made several inquiries on his behalf only to be told things were under control.

Sakurako had already tried to find anything linked to the situation but she found nothing. Even the news seemed to be ignoring the temporary closure. It was a very private academy, and he was sure certain large amounts of money would alway keep it from any negative press.

He logged out if his computer at home with new knowledge of the cause and was dumbstruck. A student had died of fright by all accounts. Not just any student, but Aki noharra, the Senior class rep. As far back as he could remember Aki had always been utterly fearless. to hear she died of fright just didn't compute. He exited his room quietly and made his way down the hall to Sakurako's room. he stopped and knocked on her door.

"Sakura-chan we need to talk. I..." He faltered. "I know what happened, why they closed the school.."

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Sakurako taps the ledge her keyboard sits on looking at her screen. She finally figured out how to access the Novas-only section of a new OpNet site she was introduced to. Hearing Ryusei, and his tone, she's worried.

"Ryusei..."

Sakurako focuses on her computer for a moment and opens her door. She had put in a couple servo motors that activate on computer command.

"What's wrong, Brother?"

She spins around in her seat to face Ryusei.

"This is really bothering me too. What did you find out?"

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Hearing the name Aki makes her heart leap. She has to remind herself that it's the class president. It doesn't make the shock any less. She rises to her feet immediately.

"WHAT? You... just didn't say what I thought you said. Class President Noharra?"

Then Sakurako's rational side kicks in. "Of fright? What would be so frightening to even scare her? She was the iron lady of the school!"

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Sakurako closes her eyes. "Ryusei, you know this would be a matter better handled by the Police. I'm no detective either..."

She thinks to herself of the potential problems, she's genuinely worried. "What if I take a wrong turn and they think WE are up to no good regarding this case?"

She sighs... "I'll look, but if I find something we go RIGHT to the police. No exceptions. Okay? I don't think Aki would want us going to Jail because of her..."

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"I know that Sakurako." he fairly snaps at her. "Sorry this has just been a rough day. See what you can find and let me know. I'll be in my room, back on the site most likely."

"I see you found your way there. tell noone what you find other than me."

With that he leaves the room and returns to his own, staring dumbly at the computer, wondering if he can deal with the other novas right now.

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Sakurako sighs. "It's not like I'm not shocked by this either..."

She goes back to her terminal, closing the door. She then thinks, if she's acting in Aki's name, and the name of the school, she'd better get her mind in the game... She goes over to her closet and puts on her uniform.

"Aki... you were our president. I owe you this much, just to see if this was just as it was... I need to know now... For Ryusei... and our school."

She sits down, and clears her mind. "Time to go to work, Aki... What happened?" She goes to the school's server. And begins watching the traffic going to it for a few minutes. "All I need is that back door to open up that Viasoft has in his buggy as hell software. Every day it looks for software updates for it's drivers and that's when it's vulnerible.... I can just walkz on in if I play my cards right."

She starts coding in a Trojan Horse. One that can go in as a "Software Patch" but is in fact a permanent "portal" she can enter into the server. It'd be like she belonged there with the right moves. She'll just have to not disturb anything and code the portal to only let her in with the right security formula...

"Time to see if this'll work..."

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"God knows I tried, Ryusei. I even ran the video I copied through multiple enhancements... Nothing. Not a god-forsaken bit out of place other than Aki being dead..."

She tosses the thumb drive on Ryusei's bed.

"She was screaming it looked like, but there were no microphones anywhere recording. NONE... I'm... sorry... I failed."

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"No you didn't Sakurako. It was too much to hope for that we'd get a glimpse of what scared her. You did your very best and I won't forget that."

He looks at her and his face darkens. "They'll all sweep it under the rug you know. They'll say she had some sort of condition. Aki's parents aren't as affluent as the rest are. Their silence will be bought most likely. There was a tournament coming up she was involved in, they'll say she pushed herself to far and it aggravated her condition. The police will be paid off and it will all go on as if nothing happened."

Bitterness crept into his voice. "There'll be an official announcement. Due to her position on the council she'd have had the keys to get onto campus and into the gym. Maintenence could have easily missed her since the lights in the foyers always stay lit. It will all be very convincing. But it won't be the truth."

"And it's likely that we'll never know the truth of the matter." he doesn't sound just bitter, he almost sounds defeated.

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"You know how other families can be, how others here at the school are. Money and power are everything to them, as is status. The school can't afford to lose its patrons so it will make everything go away, or at least make it where no one asks questions."

"Sorry sister, there are times where I look at things only in their negative aspect."

"If it got out she died of fright they could well cancel the semester, and then all sorts of crazies and loonies would set up shop trying to figure out what happened. Nobody wants to see that happen to a renowned school like Jindai, so people will look the other way and to as their told. It's up to us to remember this and to keep searching for what really happened."

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"we will be, i assure you." He watches her leave and pickes up the phone noting that its Kaien. "probably wants to go to some bar."

He answers it. "Hey Kaien, what's gonin on?"

"Come on Ryusei, I can tell yer down. just come with me and I'll help ya forget whatever's eating your ass this time. No crazy shit, just some fun."

Ryusei starts to refuse, but he knows Kaien's trying to help and had likely scanned his mind.. it wasn't like he wasn't broadcasting his melancholy. "OK, but nothing illegal. Let's try to avoid disgracing anyone today."

"You Got it Ryusei."

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Sakurako crosses her arms. "Just don't get too rowdy this time... for Aki's sake?"

She heads back to her room. "Also if you need the backdoor to the server, let me know... just don't use it for anything nefarious, okay?" she says before going back in her room for more time on the OpNet.

She sits down, and opens her browser, muttering to herself... "Not like I don't have work to do anyways..." she says as she opens mail from her Aunt's work. Looks like there were a few facts that need verifying regarding a new subject the science adviser wanted to cover in the OpNet show her Aunt's producing...

"Back to the millstone..."

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Kaien shows up at The Hideyoshi household with a smile. "So begins the education of Ryusei Hideyoshi."

He knocks on the door and is startled somewhat to see Ryusei actually answer. He looks like hell and Kaien frowns. "You look like shit Ryusei. I need you at the top of your game, not the damn bottom."

Kaien himself doesn't look to much better, more like the badboy he is than someone with a fashion sense.

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"Don't sweat it Ryu. Now come on I got something to show you." He takes off into the Tokyo sky and leads the slightly younger nova up to the very top of the tallest Skyscraper in Tokyo, Dynamo Industries, His father's company.

He lights down on the roof and waits patiently for Ryusei to join him.

"You are so slow Ryusei."

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"We're here Ryusei because I'm tired of you being a whiny brat. It's goddamn embarrassing to listen to you whine about what you can't do because you're a nova."

He spears Ryusei with his Emerald green gaze. "You control Time for God's sake man. I've seen you stop time all together, or age or deage something to suit your needs. Don't you understand how much of a gift that really is?"

He's slightly riled up. "Ryusei, all i can do is fly and limited mind reading... but you, you're so much more than that that it isn't even funny."

"I know I tease you for being rich, but have you ever considered the monetary value of what you can do? All the plastic surgeons in the damn world can try as they might but they cannot make someone look younger the way you can. I'm not tellin ya to sell out or anything, but ddammit all you see is the loss of things that were important to Ryusei Hideyoshi- baseline, and not Ryusei Hideyoshi, the Nova. It's like watching a really shitty anime."

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"No you dumbass, I'm just saying you need to look at this from a different perspective. Nobody died in your erruption, or was even hurt. You got everything you wanted and some things you didn't even know you did. In the grand scheme of things Ryusei you hit the damn jackpot and made out like a bandit. Fortune looked at you and gave you her best damn smile. I just want you to see that. Stop thinking about all you lost, and start thinking about how all you gained has and can continue to open new doors for you."

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It all hit him at his core as the real truth, that he hated what his novahood had cost him. "I've been a fool haven't I, that's the real truth isn't it?"

He sat there leaned up against the railing going over all the time since he became a nova, how he'd tried to be a baseline more than anything, harldly indulging in the use of his showy abilities, even though he truly loved to fly.

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"Yeah Brother, you certainly have been. Thing is I don't like fools, and I do like you. So here I am trying to make you into something other than fool."

He tries to take on a distinguished air. "The heir to House Hideyoshi's honor should be more than a whining child. You need to be a man who can own up to his mistakes, and make damn few of them. You need to be a nova, bright and shining like the sun, a beacon for what could be."

His voice softens. "You need to quit feeling sorry for yourself and worrying about everyone else's perceptions of you. You need to be your own man, true to yourself."

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"It's what friends do for each other Ryu. Now understand I ain't relievin ya of your responsibility to your siblings, I mean hell Sakurako errupted, who knows, maybe Takashi, Saito, or Yumiko will too. You gotta take care of those closest to you and make sure they know you'll be there for them. At the same time don't let them run your life."

"You know I ain't much for hanging out with big groups of people, but you and Shinobu and Noriko and Sakurako, you all are an okay bunch. What say tonight we all get together and go sing Karaoke at some nice little place down there. It'll be my treat this time."

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"That sounds like fun Kaien."

For the first time, Ryusei smiles. "Look I know I said I'd go with ya, but can I go and spend some time with Noriko for awhile? I've been neglecting her lately, to focused on other things."

"No worries Ryusei. I'll seeya tonight, say seven?"

"Seven will be great Kaien. Thanks for understanding."

Ryusei rockets off the building and towards Noriko's house, leaving Kaien alone.

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"Go on Ryusei, we'll play with the baselines tonight. who knows it might be fun, They do seem to at least tolerate me."

He smiles and speaks the words to himself. "I understand you far better than you can imagine, Dragon of the Hideyoshi, and that's why I'll always win against you, always."

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