In New York, countless cars of different models drove across the bridge that led to a different part of New York. A device on the opposite end of the bridge, which had a monitor on it blinked rapidly and then revealed the outline of a cackling joker. The bridge began to rise in the middle causing many drivers to drive off the edge to their deaths. As drivers screamed, the joker on the monitor continued to cackle.
In Japan, in Kurosagi’s complex, Hatori was in the bathroom mopping the floor. Hatori wiped the sweat off his forehead. Hatori could hear Kurosagi in the opposite wall making her batch of cookies and sighed.
“I know she’s older, but she still acts like a child,” said Hatori. Hatori suddenly heard the phone ring. He placed the mop against the wall and ran out to the phone. He picked the phone up.
“This is Kurosagi’s office.”
“Who is this? Where is Kurosagi?”
“Kurosagi’s in the kitchen right now cooking and I am her assistant: Hatori Ogami. Who is this?”
“Assistant, she never reported this. Anyway, tell her that she needs to report to New York. Mr. Simmons has already booked her flight.”
“Who is this?” Hatori asked again.
“I can’t tell you until we meet face to face Mr. Ogami, but I can tell you that she has to report to New York by order of the Bureau.”
“That’s right, now tell her nicely, Mr. Ogami.”
The phone hung up. Hatori placed the phone down and went to the kitchen. Kurosagi opened the door and saw Hatori before her ready to open the door.
“Who was on the phone, Ogami-San?” asked Kurosagi with a tray of Dutch chocolate cookies in her hands. Hatori scratched the back of his neck and stated, “You are to report to New York by the order of the Bureau and Reiji already has it all ready is what the nameless guy on the phone said.” Kurosagi frowned and placed the cookies upon a table in the kitchen. She walked out of the kitchen making sure to close the door and looked at Hatori seriously.
“They usually have Reiji call me to come, unless it’s a serious situation for them to want me to come quickly.”
Kurosagi walked to her desk and pulled out her bag. She slipped it on and glanced at Hatori.
“Let’s get going quickly,” said Kurosagi. Hatori nodded and stated, “Just let me grab some things.” Kurosagi nodded and watched Hatori pack the few items he had in her office. Hatori slipped on his bag over his shoulder and said, “I’m ready.” Kurosagi nodded and walked out the door with Hatori behind her. She grabbed her bike from under the stairs and immediately took off down the road. Hatori called after her as he grabbed his own bike too.
Hatori biked to her side and asked, “Are you going to be all right on the plane?” Kurosagi frowned and said, “I won’t be all right, but I don’t have a choice.” Hatori sighed wondering if there was anything he could do to help her get over her motion sickness.
When at the airport, they chained their bikes at the parking lot. Kurosagi and Hatori entered the terminal and went to the closes desk that was free.
“Excuse me,” said Kurosagi as she looked over the desk. The attendant at the desk looked over the desk to Kurosagi and asked, “Is there something you need?” Kurosagi nodded pulling out her Bureau badge from her bag.
“I need to know which plane I am taking to New York,” stated Kurosagi. The woman looked at the badge and then began to punch in some information onto the computer before her. The computer blinked once revealing Kurosagi’s travel plan. The woman nodded and printed out a special ticket. She handed the ticket to Kurosagi and instructed her to go to gate five for the plane. Kurosagi nodded and told Hatori to follow her. Hatori was about to, but the attendant said, “That ticket is only for one.” Hatori frowned as did Kurosagi. Kurosagi went back to the desk and placed her money card in front of the woman.
“Take the necessary amount for Ogami-San to fly with me to New York,” ordered Kurosagi. The woman nodded swiping Kurosagi’s card through the card reader. The ticket printed out as the woman returned Kurosagi’s card. The woman tore it from the printer and handed the extra ticket to Hatori.
“Enjoy your flight, detectives.”
Kurosagi and Hatori nodded and ran down the terminal to reach gate five. The minute they were on board, a woman in a white suit and long blonde hair waved to them. Kurosagi frowned.
“Turner-San,” muttered Kurosagi with annoyance behind her voice. Hatori looked at Kurosagi and asked, “You know that woman?” Kurosagi nodded.
“Her name is Ally Turner: a detective from England.”
“Does she work for the Bureau like you and Orchie?” asked Hatori. Kurosagi nodded. Ally approached Kurosagi and Hatori and asked, “So you were the detective that the Bureau contacted this time?” Kurosagi nodded. Ally chuckled and said, “What type of case is this that they want a brat like you to work on?” Kurosagi frowned. Hatori stood in front of Kurosagi making Ally raise an eyebrow.
“And who are you?”
“Kurosagi’s assistant: Hatori Ogami and you have no right to insult Kurosagi when she is a gifted detective,” stated Hatori in Kurosagi’s defense. Ally burst out laughing in a mocking manner and smirked at Hatori.
“So I guess you are the next one for Kurosagi’s curse,” stated Ally. Hatori blinked in confusion and asked, “What are you talking about?” Ally turned away from Hatori and said, “All the assistants of Kurosagi have died terrible deaths.” Hatori’s eyes widen as Ally went back to her seat. Hatori looked at Kurosagi and asked, “Is that true?” Kurosagi nodded and added, “Why do you think my connections have been asking if you were still alive?”
“I thought they were joking and why didn’t you tell me this sooner?” asked Hatori in a panic. Kurosagi chuckled and stated, “You never asked.” Hatori frowned with crossed arms.
“I’m still staying as your assistant, but make sure that I am still alive,” stated Hatori. Kurosagi giggled and headed to her seat with Hatori. Ally peeked at them as they walked and looked toward the brown haired man next to her.
“It looks like the brat detective has herself a new connection,” stated Ally. The man glanced at her and said, “Why would I care? My only concern is my programs.” Ally giggled and said, “That’s why you are my special hacker: Arthur.” Arthur looked out the window as the plane began to take flight.
While on the plane, Kurosagi threw up in different barf bags. Hatori rubbed her back trying to make her feel better.
“It looks like Kurosagi still can’t handle planes,” stated a black haired man behind them. Hatori looked back at the man and asked, “Do you know Kurosagi too?” The man nodded and said, “My name is Ling Wei: a detective from China, who works for the Bureau.”
“Another detective?” asked Hatori. Ling nodded and smirked down at Kurosagi.
“Are you too sick to introduce this new member of yours to me?” asked Ling. Kurosagi glared up at him with saliva on the side of her lips.
“His name is Hatori Ogami, my new assistant,” said Kurosagi and then threw up into a new barf bag. Ling chuckled and asked, “Is he going to die like the others?” Kurosagi flinched and glared back at Ling.
“Don’t make me hurl a barf bag at you,” warned Kurosagi. Ling chuckled and sat back against his chair. Hatori frowned and looked back at Kurosagi.
“Are all the detectives like this toward you?” asked Hatori.
“Pretty much, except for Orchie,” stated Kurosagi. Hatori rubbed Kurosagi’s back and asked, “Why isn’t Orchie here?”
“Not all detectives are called over for a case, Ogami-San,” said Kurosagi. Hatori nodded.
Ling stared at the back of the seats and smirked.
“I guess this is a contest for us detectives,” muttered Ling.
The plane landed at the airport of New York. Ally, Arthur, Ling, Hatori, and Kurosagi exited the plane one by one. Hatori had to carry Kurosagi on his back because Kurosagi could barely move.
“We’re here Kurosagi,” informed Hatori. Kurosagi thanked Hatori. Ally and Ling chuckled at the sight and then walked off. Hatori frowned at them and slowly placed Kurosagi to her feet. Hatori noticed Arthur staring at them. Arthur just shrugged at them and followed after Ally.
“Is that guy a detective too?” asked Hatori. Kurosagi shook her head as her complexion regained its color.
“His name is Arthur Clinton: a hacker that works for Turner-San and the Bureau.”
“A hacker like Terry?” asked Hatori. Kurosagi nodded.
Hatori and Kurosagi followed after Ally, Ling, and Arthur. They were instructed to climb into a black limo. Kurosagi frowned, but did as she was told. The minute they were inside they saw one brown haired woman and a red headed man sitting in the back.
“More detectives?” asked Hatori. Kurosagi nodded and introduced the woman as Sylvette Clayton from Canada and the man as Romano Gustav from Italy. Kurosagi looked at Sylvette and Romano and introduced Hatori as her new assistant. Sylvette scoffed.
“You never learn do you? He’s just going to die like the others,” stated Sylvette. Romano nodded in agreement. Hatori frowned telling Kurosagi to ignore their words. Kurosagi nodded pulling out a barf bag. Kurosagi began to throw up when the limo began to make turns down the road.
As the car moved, Ally began to giggle to herself.
“Did you notice too, Ally?” asked Ling with a smirk. Ally nodded making Hatori confused.
“All the detectives here have hackers and I was told to bring Arthur with me,” stated Ally.
Ling nodded and added, “So this job from the Bureau has something to do with our hackers.” Sylvette and Romano nodded in agreement. Hatori looked at Kurosagi wondering if she knew too.
Hatori peeked out the window of the limo and saw that the limo was heading into a tunnel. The minute the limo was in the tunnel, darkness enveloped the limo. In turn, the limo’s light switched on. A window that separated them from the driver opened up as the driver began to speak.
“We are almost to the New York headquarters of the Bureau, so please hang on tight,” instructed the driver. All the people on the car buckled up and held onto the closest handle. Kurosagi frowned trying to control her nausea. She gripped Hatori’s sleeve making him look at her.
“Hang on tight,” whispered Kurosagi making Hatori bewildered. Hatori heard a mechanical sound and the next thing he knew, the limo began to fall sharply at an incredible speed. Hatori felt like he was on a rollercoaster as he began to scream. Ally and Ling were laughing; Sylvette was silent as she shut her eyes; Romano gripped the door handle; Arthur had an indifferent look; and Kurosagi was puking into different barf bags. The limo then made a sharp turn making it slide to a sudden stop.
The doors unlocked and swung open. Hatori took this chance to run out and fall on all four on the pavement ground. Hatori panted with sweat on his brow.
The others left the car one by one. Kurosagi managed to stagger out with at least five barf bags in her hands. Kurosagi collapsed on the ground completely pale. Hatori saw this and ran to help her up.
“Are you OK, Kurosagi?” asked Hatori. Kurosagi nodded wiping the sweat off her forehead. Hatori looked around finally taking notice that they were in a parking garage with cameras attached to almost every pillar. Hatori looked at Kurosagi and asked, “Where exactly are we?”
“One of the secret quarters of the Bureau,” stated Kurosagi finally maintaining her balance. Hatori’s eyes widen mouthing, “Bureau?” Hatori took a few steps before Kurosagi grabbed his sleeve.
“Don’t wander off, Ogami-San,” warned Kurosagi with a serious tone. Hatori nodded.
Ling suddenly smacked Hatori’s shoulder making Hatori look at him.
“We better hurry inside, soon to be dead assistant,” said Ling with a sadistic smirk. Hatori frowned as he watched the others walk ahead of him. Kurosagi tugged his sleeve and whispered, “I won’t let you die.” Hatori nodded grabbing hold of Kurosagi’s small hand.
As they walked, Hatori noticed the multiple cameras on the pillars following them. Hatori looked at Kurosagi and asked, “Are we being watched?” Kurosagi nodded and added, “It is to make sure that there are no trespassers among us.” Kurosagi gently gripped Hatori’s hand.
“That’s why it is better for you to be with me,” said Kurosagi. Hatori nodded.
They soon reached a metallic door with a card reader and eye scanner. Romano was the first to approach the door. He pulled out his Bureau’s badge and slid it through the card reader. The card reader blinked and then a robotic voice spoke out.
“Romano Gustav: Detective.”
Romano then looked into the eye scanner. A small red light shot from the scanner and into Romano’s eye. The light vanished and then made a beeping noise, which in turn made the metallic door open. Romano walked in as the door closed behind him. Ling went next followed by Ally and Arthur.
After the door closed behind Arthur, Sylvette looked at Kurosagi and asked, “Does your new assistant have a Bureau’s badge?” Kurosagi shook her head and added, “But I’ll be able to get him in.” Sylvette frowned and then did the procedure to get into the headquarters.
When the door closed once again, Kurosagi did the same procedure as the others and then grabbed Hatori’s hand. Kurosagi rushed in pulling Hatori inside with her. The door closed just as Hatori stumbled in. Kurosagi sighed and then led Hatori down the new hall. Hatori looked back at the closed door as they walked and asked, “Were you allowed to pull me in like that?”
“No, but this will let the Bureau know that you are my new assistant.”
Hatori nodded, even though he was still confused. Kurosagi and Hatori caught sight of the others and ran to them. Sylvette took notice of Hatori and chuckled.
“You really did get him in,” commented Sylvette. Kurosagi nodded gripping Hatori’s hand. Romano glanced at Hatori and added, “He must be something for you to want him as your assistant.” Hatori looked at Romano wondering if Romano was complimenting or insulting him.
They all continued down the hall until they entered a large area filled with different employees of the Bureau. Hatori looked around with wide eyes.
“This place is huge,” commented Hatori. Kurosagi nodded and said, “It has to be big to house all the employees of the Bureau.” Hatori looked around the building and stated, “I’ve never seen a building like this in New York.”
Ally laughed out loud making Hatori look at her. Ally brushed her hair back with her right hand and said, “Of course you wouldn’t see it. This base is underground.”
“Underground?” muttered Hatori. Ally nodded and added, “It’s kind of like an underground hive.”
“Why underground?” asked Hatori.
Ling smirked and answered, “To prevent terrorist attacks from attacking the bases.” Hatori nodded in understanding.
Kurosagi crossed her arms and added, “The Bureau started this underground location when the bases kept getting destroyed about maybe a hundred years ago.” Hatori’s eyes widen.
“That’s pretty amazing,” stated Hatori. Kurosagi nodded.
“You guys came fast.”
They all looked at the source of the new voice and saw the head of the Bureau headquarters of New York: Pion Kirkland. He smiled at all of them, but Hatori felt like it was a somewhat sinister smirk. Pion approached them and held his hand out to them to shake each of their hands.
“I’m glad you all could make it,” greeted Pion as he shook their hands. He stopped when he reached Hatori. He looked Hatori up and down and asked, “And who might you be?” Hatori cleared his throat.
“My name is Hatori Ogami: Kurosagi’s new assistant.”
Pion snapped his fingers in realization and said, “So you were the one on the phone.” Hatori’s eyes widen remembering the voice on the phone that called Kurosagi to New York. Hatori pointed at Pion and asked, “So you were the nameless guy on the phone?” Pion nodded and introduced himself as Pion Kirkland and head of the current headquarters that they were in. Pion looked at Kurosagi and asked, “Should I give him a badge as your assistant or do you just want him to rush in each time?” Kurosagi frowned and said, “Please give him one.” Pion smirked and pulled out a badge with Hatori’s name on it. He dumped it in Hatori’s hand and said, “We’ll take your picture when we have the time so just hold onto that badge for now.” Hatori nodded and looked at his new badge. Hatori’s eyes widen when he saw that his full name was on the badge.
“You already had this prepared before I got here?” asked Hatori. Pion nodded and said, “You did say your full name on the phone.” Hatori turned red remembering what he said on the phone. Pion looked at the others and said, “Now let’s head into the display room, so we can discuss the assignment.” They all nodded and followed Pion.
Hatori walked with Kurosagi as he stuffed his badge into his pocket. He looked toward Pion and asked, “Is he really the head of this base?” Kurosagi nodded.
“I know he seems a little strange, but he is qualified for his position,” stated Kurosagi. Hatori nodded.
As they followed Pion, Hatori noticed that the other employees were whispering to each other and staring at Kurosagi. Hatori couldn’t hear what they were saying, but he was able to make out one word from each person: “Monster.” Hatori clenched his fist and looked at Kurosagi wondering if she could hear what the employees were saying.
Pion slid his card through a card reader next to what looked like an elevator door. The card reader blinked and the door opened revealing a large room. In the large room was a long table with cloth covered chairs all around it. Just above the table was a large screen.
When they were inside the room the door closed behind them. Hatori noticed four other people: two men and two women, in the room already sitting in a different chair at the table. One man was maybe around his twenties. He had hair dyed green, black lipstick, a tattoo of a falcon on his exposed right shoulder, and clothes of the gothic variety. The second man looked more professionally dressed with his black turtle neck shirt and black pants. He looked around the age of thirty at most. His hair was ash brown and curled. One woman looked around her teens or a fresh college graduate. Her long blonde hair was pulled back by a hair band that had a red ribbon at the top. Her skirt was a light pink and her blouse was pure white. The last woman looked around the age of twenty. She wore a black cap with a smirking cat in the middle and a striped sweater with a pair of rolled up jeans.
The woman with the cap smiled when she caught sight of Kurosagi. She rose from her chair and waved at Kurosagi.
“Hey Kurosagi!” she greeted. Kurosagi waved back at the woman making Hatori confused.
“You know her?” asked Hatori. Kurosagi nodded and said, “You spoke with her too on the phone when we had tracking issues.” Hatori gasped.
“That woman is Terry Cheshire?” asked Hatori in disbelief. Kurosagi nodded. Terry urged Kurosagi to sit next to her. Kurosagi headed in Terry’s direction with Hatori behind her. Terry saw Hatori as Kurosagi sat next to her.
“Could you be Kurosagi’s assistant?” asked Terry. Hatori nodded. Terry smirked and hugged Hatori making him gasp.
“I finally get to meet you face to face,” cheered Terry. Hatori smiled and said, “Nice to meet you face to face too Cheshire-San.” Terry pulled away from Hatori laughing.
“Just call me Terry,” insisted Terry. Hatori nodded.
The woman with the head band suddenly cleared her throat making Hatori look at her.
“Did you say that you are Kurosagi’s assistant?”
Hatori nodded. The woman scoffed while the green haired man and the other man chuckled.
“Dead man walking,” mocked the woman making Hatori clench his hand. Terry stuck her tongue at the woman and said, “Don’t bother Hatori stupid pig.” The woman glared at Terry and then looked away.
Hatori sat next to Kurosagi and asked, “Who are those three?” Kurosagi crossed her arms as she spoke.
“The woman with the headband is Bambi O’Hara, Clayton-San’s hacker. The man with the green hair is Jules Potter, Gustav-San’s hacker. The man with the turtle neck is Jordan Howard, Wei-San’s hacker.”
“So they are all hackers like Terry?” asked Hatori. Kurosagi nodded. Hatori already noticed that Bambi, Jules, and Jordan were looking at Kurosagi with distasteful looks. Hatori frowned. Terry noticed this and whispered, “Don’t let them get to you, Hatori.” Hatori nodded.
When all of them were seated, Pion cleared his throat getting all of their attention. Pion rested the palm of his right hand on the surface of the table as he looked at them with seriousness in his eyes.
“I am about to assign you all a case that requires the talents of your hackers.”
“Our hackers?” asked Romano with his hands resting on the table. Pion nodded. He pulled out a remote on the table and pressed a single button. The screen switched on revealing four large pictures. The picture in the upper right corner was of a raised bridge with cars falling into the ocean. The picture in the upper left was a tall building engulfed by flames. The bottom right picture was the inside of a bank with people on the ground with lifeless eyes. The last picture was of two trains smashed together like a sandwich. Pion pulled a laser light from his pocket. He clicked it on and pointed it at the picture of the bridge.
“This was the first of the incidents. Someone hacked into the bridge controls and raised it causing the deaths of 153 New York citizens.”
Pion pointed at the picture of the bank.
“The second incident was inside the Bush Bank. The doors were locked and a deadly gas that was meant for robbery emergencies was released killing all inside.”
Pion pointed at the picture with the building.
“The third incident happened in the Skies Computer Company building. The radiator, which is computer controlled was overheated and exploded killing almost everyone in the building.”
Pion pointed at the picture with the trains.
“The latest incident was the Star Train Express Line. The controls of the trains were taken over and forced to crash. There were no survivors.”
Pion closed the laser light and added, “Each incident happened simultaneously and we didn’t make a connection until our computer experts found something in the systems.”
Pion clicked the remote again. The screen switched to a different picture of a joker laughing.
“This was found in the systems and you should all know that hackers always have a mark whether hidden or visible.”
They all nodded. Kurosagi looked at Pion and asked, “So is that why you asked our hackers here too?” Pion nodded.
“Your hackers are the best that the Bureau has. We need them to help catch this Joker.”
Sylvette scoffed and asked, “So why not just ask them?”
“You know that your hackers are more willing to listen to their detectives,” pointed out Pion. All of them nodded. Pion closed the screen and said, “Whoever catches this Joker first will get a raise of course.” All of them, except for Kurosagi, smirked and then ran out of the display room with their respective partners.
Kurosagi, who was still seated with Hatori and Terry, looked at Pion and asked, “Is there anything else you left out Kirkland-San?” Pion smirked.
“I guess you have been here long enough to know that I leave out something to make things interesting.”
Pion tossed Kurosagi a folder. Kurosagi opened the folder with a picture of a corpse and information on the side. Pion pointed at the folder.
“Each of the incidents had a death of a politician running for mayor of New York. That particular person died on the bridge and she was running for mayor.”
Kurosagi looked at Pion and said, “The body is still here right?” Pion nodded and added, “We need this case solved before the election of mayor, so please use that wonderful curse of yours.” Kurosagi nodded. Kurosagi got off her chair and ordered Hatori and Terry to follow her.
When they were outside, Pion leaned back in his chair with a smirk upon his lips.
“I wonder what surprises the little monster will reveal.”
Kurosagi walked down the hall with Hatori and Terry behind her. Hatori noticed that the others weren’t in sight and asked, “Where did the others go?”
“To their respected work areas to solve this case,” said Kurosagi. Terry nodded and added, “The detectives in the Bureau always work separately.” Hatori nodded.
They reached a room sealed by a metal door. Hatori placed his hand on the door. He felt chill against the palm of his hand and withdrew back.
“It’s freezing,” commented Hatori. Kurosagi nodded and added, “It should be to hold dead bodies in perfect condition.” Hatori gulped realizing that the room before them was a cold storage for the dead. Kurosagi pulled out a trench coat from her bag and handed it to Hatori.
“Wear this to keep warm,” stated Kurosagi. Hatori nodded and was about to slip the coat on, but paused when he recognized the clothing. Hatori frowned and asked, “Didn’t you use this coat to cover a corpse when you were controlling the corpse to walk?” Kurosagi nodded.
“Can’t I use a different coat?” asked Hatori. Kurosagi shook her head. Hatori sighed and slipped the coat trying to forget what was in the coat before him.
Terry rolled her pants down and dusted off her sweater.
“I’m ready to go in,” said Terry. Kurosagi looked at Terry as Kurosagi repositioned her bag upon her back.
“You don’t have to go in with me,” said Kurosagi. Terry crossed her arms and asked, “Are you sure?” Kurosagi nodded and added, “I know that you are eager to get back to your sanctuary in this base.”
Terry chuckled and said, “You got that right.”
Terry winked at Hatori and said, “Meet up with you later.” With that, Terry ran off waving farewell to Kurosagi. Hatori looked at Kurosagi and asked, “What is Terry’s sanctuary?”
“It’s where she hacks.”
Hatori nodded in understanding. Kurosagi typed in a code on the door pad rapidly and the door in turn opened up. A rush of cold wind burst from the door. Hatori wrapped the coat tighter around him as the temperature dropped. Kurosagi walked into the cold storage as did Hatori. The minute they were inside, the door shut behind them.
They walked across the cold chamber, which was practically covered by ice. Hatori looked at Kurosagi and asked, “So where exactly is the body?” Kurosagi hushed Hatori and then called out, “Goro-San!” Out of the ice emerged a man completely covered by ice. The man looked like a polar bear at first, but anyone could tell it was a man when his face came into view.
“Who called?” asked the man. Kurosagi approached the man and said, “I did, Goro-San.” Goro looked at Kurosagi and chuckled.
“So Boss Pion told you to use your curse on a body, right?” asked Goro. Kurosagi nodded. Goro suddenly spotted Hatori and asked, “Is he a friend of yours?” Kurosagi nodded and added, “His name is Hatori Ogami, my new assistant.” Goro burst out laughing with ice shining on his beard. He smirked at Hatori and said, “Let’s see how long you’ll last.” Hatori gulped.
Goro looked back at Kurosagi and asked, “So what body are you looking for?” Kurosagi showed the folder and said, “Abigail Charles: the one who died at the bridge incident.” Goro looked through the folder and pointed at the picture.
“The one who was running for mayor,” said Goro. Kurosagi nodded. Goro urged Kurosagi and Hatori to follow him. Goro grabbed hold of a ladder and slid it to a balcony above them. He climbed up with Kurosagi and Hatori behind him. Kurosagi looked down at Hatori who was climbing behind her and noticed that he was averting his eyes. Kurosagi sighed and said, “You won’t get into any trouble if you see my underwear.” Hatori blushed and screamed, “It is still wrong!” Kurosagi rolled her eyes and continued her ascent. Kurosagi crawled onto the balcony feeling the coldness of the ice against her skin.
Goro walked across the balcony until he reached a locker. He typed in a combination on the locker. The locker clicked open. Goro reached into the locker and rolled out a tray that had the cold body of Abigail Charles. Hatori and Kurosagi stared at the dead body. The skin was pale and covered in ice. If not for the ice, some people would believe that she was asleep.
Goro dusted his hands off and said, “Now do your thing, so I can put her away.” Kurosagi nodded and held her hand over the body.
“Tell me the three clues I need to solve this case: Abigail Charles.”
Kurosagi placed her hand on the body and felt the rush of heat enter her body. Kurosagi gasped as her eyes became glazed.
“Park, Joker, Attention.”
Kurosagi released the body and nearly fell to the ground, but Hatori supported her back. Kurosagi stared at the dead body with a smirk.
“Park, Joker, and Attention: the three clues I need to solve this case,” said Kurosagi. Kurosagi was about to move away from Hatori, but Hatori wrapped the coat around Kurosagi to her displeasure.
“What are you doing Ogami-San?” asked Kurosagi with a frown. Hatori looked at Kurosagi and said, “Your body is freezing.” Kurosagi sighed and said, “I won’t die from this you know.”
“I know that, but I don’t want you to be cold,” said Hatori. Kurosagi smiled and clenched the coat around herself.
“Fine,” said Kurosagi. Goro saw this as he shoved the body back in the drawer and frowned.
That boy is going to die someday if he stays with her.
Kurosagi and Hatori left the cold storage only to meet up with Arthur, who was leaning against the wall. Kurosagi managed to slip from Hatori’s coat and looked up at Arthur.
“Why are you here, Clinton-San?” asked Kurosagi. Arthur frowned and said, “I’m not Japanese, so call me Arthur.”
“All right Arthur, now tell me why you are here,” stated Kurosagi. Arthur approached Kurosagi and asked, “What are the clues?” Kurosagi smirked.
“Don’t we detectives work individually?” asked Kurosagi. Arthur crossed his arms.
“The detectives do, but if you remember, I am a hacker, so how about telling me the clues so I can help my partner?” asked Arthur. Kurosagi chuckled.
“All right, but I do have a price for the clues,” said Kurosagi and held her hand at Arthur. Arthur frowned as he dug in his pocket. He dumped a pure black flash drive in her opened hand. He pointed at it and said, “That’s a special password breaker I created. You can use that when Terry isn’t available, so now the clues.” Kurosagi looked the flash drive over and nodded.
“The deal is done, but if you put a virus in this then I will make sure that all your files will be deleted,” said Kurosagi. Arthur clicked his tongue.
“Only an idiot hacker will send a virus to you,” said Arthur. Kurosagi chuckled and said, “Well the clues are park, joker, and attention. Use these clues well, Arthur.” Kurosagi and Hatori walked pass Arthur. Arthur watched them leave with a glare.
Kurosagi and Hatori walked down the hall of the bureau. Hatori noticed that the new hall they entered was a lot quieter and asked, “Why aren’t people in this hall?” Kurosagi looked at Hatori and stated, “This leads to Terry’s Sanctuary, so other employees unless told otherwise can’t walk here.” Hatori raised an eyebrow and asked, “Why?”
“Because I can’t take the chance of rats getting in here.”
Hatori flinched and looked around for the source of the voice. Kurosagi chuckled and said, “Terry can see us through a mini camera she installed in the hall. There’s also a speaker somewhere here.” Hatori nodded, but was still confused.
“Just keep walking until you reach my door. I’ll let you in,” stated Terry through a speaker. Kurosagi nodded and continued her pace with Hatori.
At the end of the hall was a metal door with the words “Death to Rats” written in red ink on the front. Hatori stared at the words and asked, “Does Terry hate rats?” Kurosagi chuckled and said, “Ask her yourself.” Hatori gulped.
The door slid open revealing Terry with her cap turned backwards. She pulled Hatori and Kurosagi into the room with a wide smile. When they were inside, the door closed behind them.
In the room were countless computers with anime figurines, CDs, and wires of different colors. Hatori looked around in amazement.
“So this is your Sanctuary, Terry?” asked Hatori nervously. Terry nodded and pulled a computer chair under her.
“I do all my hacking here,” stated Terry as she spun in her chair. Terry faced Kurosagi and asked, “So what do you need me to do to catch this Joker Hacker?”
“I need you to get all the information you can on the parks in New York.”
“You got it,” said Terry. Terry turned to one of the computers and began to type in a code rapidly that Hatori couldn’t make out. As Terry worked, he noticed a picture frame on one of the tables. He picked it up and saw that it was a picture of Peter Khan with a young boy, most likely Utsuho, and Terry and Kurosagi standing next to him. Hatori pointed at the picture and asked, “Is this Khan-San?” Terry glanced at Hatori and said, “That’s him.”
“Why do you have his picture?”
“Well he is my foster father,” said Terry as she typed.
“Foster father?” exclaimed Hatori. Terry nodded and glanced at Kurosagi, who was reading a magazine she found.
“Kurosagi brought me to him when she found me,” stated Terry.
“Back in middle school, I found out my teacher was embezzling funds from the school, so I hacked into his computer and revealed it to the whole school. I was expelled for hacking and my parents disowned me. They didn’t want to parent a criminal. I was desperate to get food, so I tried to rob someone and that someone turned out to be Kurosagi. She wasn’t scared of me and just gave me a cookie she was eating. After that she brought me to Peter and Peter adopted me. Technically my real name is Terry Khan, but I changed it to Cheshire, so if I’m caught by someone bigger then they won’t hurt him.”
Terry smiled and added, “Kurosagi is my savior.” Hatori smiled and looked at Kurosagi, who was still reading.
“You really are kind hearted,” said Hatori as he placed the picture frame down. Kurosagi paused, but then turned the page in the magazine. A beeping sound was heard from one of Terry’s computers. Terry smirked and said, “I got all the information.” Kurosagi closed the magazine and went to Terry’s side.
“So how many parks are there currently?” asked Kurosagi. Terry scrolled through the screen of the computer.
“There are thirty parks now, the oldest being the National Park,” stated Terry. Terry stopped on a park name and sighed.
“My mistake, there are only twenty-nine parks. The thirtieth park was demolished to make a new building for Ace Corporation.”
Terry nodded and added, “It’s a computer company famous for their arm length computer boards.” Kurosagi thought to herself and then said, “Can you get some information on that company?” Terry nodded. She typed rapidly on the computer, but then her screen went blank.
“What happened?” asked Hatori. Terry typed on the keyboard, but nothing came up. She cursed under her breath.
“I tried to hack into the Ace Corporation system, but something went wrong,” muttered Terry as she tried to get her screens up. The screen came up revealing a cackling joker. Terry’s computers began to give off sparks. Terry cursed as she tried to fight off the virus of the Joker.
“It’s trying to delete all my files,” screamed Terry as she typed on one of her computers rapidly. Kurosagi saw one of the plugs and looked at Hatori, who was beginning to panic.
“Pull the plug now, Ogami-San!” ordered Kurosagi. Hatori immediately took off the plug shutting down all the computers in Terry’s Sanctuary. Terry sighed in relief.
“Thanks guys. Some files might have been saved,” stated Terry. Kurosagi nodded and added, “But this makes things more serious. How did the Joker get into a Bureau system?” They suddenly heard screams from outside and ran toward the door. They ran out of Terry’s Sanctuary and down the hall. The minute they were out of the hall they saw the Cackling Joker on all screens of the Bureau.
At all the computers, the hackers and computer experts were trying desperately to save the files. Terry ran to one of the computers and immediately began to type. She looked back at Hatori and Kurosagi and said, “I’ll try to control things here. You two need to get to the Ace Corporation and figure out who the hell is Joker.” Kurosagi and Hatori nodded and then ran into a different hallway.
Hatori looked at Kurosagi as they ran and asked, “So how do we get out?” Kurosagi pulled out her Bureau badge and said, “Getting out of here is easy.” Kurosagi scanned her badge at a passing scanner, which opened a door for them. Kurosagi and Hatori ran into it as employees ran pass the door.
At the end of the new hall they were in, was a single blue button. Kurosagi grabbed Hatori’s hand and said, “Don’t let go.” Hatori nodded gripping Kurosagi’s hand. Kurosagi pressed the button and the next thing Hatori knew, the sound of the cackling joker had vanished. It was replaced with the sound of seagulls. Hatori looked around and saw that they were standing on the edge of a beach. Hatori looked at Kurosagi with wide eyes.
“How did we get here?”
“It was a teleportation device. It can only function in the bureau so it is only an exit.”
Kurosagi looked at herself and added, “At least the Joker didn’t interfere with the device or we would have been in pieces.” Hatori turned pale. Kurosagi released Hatori’s hand and said, “Let’s head to the Ace Corporation Building that rests on a dead park.” Hatori nodded and followed Kurosagi.
As they walked through the streets of New York, Kurosagi asked for the directions for the Ace Corporation building. Each person she asked led her closer to the Ace Corporation building. In about an hour, Kurosagi and Hatori had reached the Ace Corporation building.
Kurosagi approached the building, but then frowned when she saw Ally and Ling already walking to the building. Kurosagi ran to them with Hatori behind her.
“Why are you two here?” asked Kurosagi. Ally and Ling looked down at her and smirked.
“Well Arthur found some information about the accidents leading to this building,” replied Ally. Ling crossed his arms and said, “Jordan also found a connection with the accidents that led to this building.” Kurosagi sighed with crossed arms.
“I bet Arthur used the clues to find the connection and Jordan might have hacked the same information from Arthur,” deduced Kurosagi. Ally and Ling frowned and then turned away from her.
“Well this is our lead, so go somewhere else,” they stated in unison. They walked through the doors of the building. Hatori frowned and said, “But this is also your lead.” Kurosagi looked at Hatori and said, “That’s why we are going in.”
Kurosagi and Hatori walked into the building and saw Ally and Ling arguing with the clerk at the desk. Kurosagi chuckled and said, “Looks like the clerk won’t honor their bureau badge.” Kurosagi walked up to the clerk’s desk ignoring Ally and Ling. The clerk looked away from Ally and Ling to face Kurosagi.
“What do you want kid?” asked the female clerk in a rude tone. Kurosagi tipped-toe, so she could see the clerk over the desk.
“Can I go in to see the head of Ace Corporation?” asked Kurosagi. The woman raised an eyebrow and stated, “I already told these two, but you can’t go in unless you have an appointment. I don’t care if you are the police, you can’t go in.” Kurosagi suddenly began to tear up making the clerk, Ally, and Ling gasp.
“But I need to go in. Daddy needs to speak with him concerning the school project. I’m going to get in trouble,” whimpered Kurosagi. The clerk stared at Kurosagi and then sighed.
“Fine,” replied the clerk. Ling and Ally looked at the clerk with wide eyes and screamed, “Are you seriously buying this?” The clerk looked at Ally and Ling and said, “I was a kid once I can tell when they are scared to get in trouble.” Ally and Ling glared at Kurosagi, who was still tearing up.
The clerk typed on her speaker phone. The phone rang and then a man’s voice echoed through it.
“What is it?”
“A child and her father need to see you concerning a school project.”
“It must have something to do with the upcoming election. Let them in.”
“OK Mr. Montgomery.”
The clerk hung up the phone and looked back at Kurosagi.
“Your father and you can see the head. He will be on the top floor in room 200,” stated the clerk. Kurosagi smiled brightly and thanked the clerk. The clerk blushed at Kurosagi’s smile and mouthed, “So cute.” Kurosagi looked at Hatori and said, “Let’s go daddy.” Hatori nodded and followed Kurosagi to the elevator.
As they headed to the elevator, Kurosagi smirked back at Ally and Ling. Ling stuck up his middle finger at Kurosagi, while Ally did a slur of curse words.
The elevator doors closed in front of Hatori and Kurosagi the minute they were on. The elevator rose up with classical music playing in the background. Hatori looked at Kurosagi and asked, “Are we going to pretend to be father and daughter in front of him or are we going to reveal our identities?” Kurosagi looked at Hatori and then eyed the corner of the elevator in the upper right corner. Kurosagi could make out a camera just barely visible. She glanced back at Hatori and mouthed an apology. She grabbed his hand and stabbed her finger into it. Hatori was about to scream, but covered his mouth to prevent any sound.
There’s a camera so I need to speak to you like this.
“Could you have warned me first?”
Hatori was trying to prevent tears from escaping from his eyes.
I did mouth an apology, but I guess you didn’t see it. Anyway, we are going to pretend to be father and daughter in there. If we reveal that we work for the bureau, he won’t give us as much information, understand?
“I understand now please remove your finger. I think I’m losing too much blood.”
Kurosagi yanked her blood soaked finger from Hatori’s hand. Hatori immediately wrapped his bleeding hand with a handkerchief trying to stop the flow of the bleeding. Kurosagi wiped her hand with the back of her skirt and stared at Hatori’s wounded hand.
“I’ll heal that up later,” whispered Kurosagi. Hatori nodded still shaking in pain.
The elevator opened up revealing a hallway filled with employees. Kurosagi and Hatori pushed their way through the crowd. As they traveled through the crowd, they looked at the nameplates of the door. Hatori spotted the door labeled 200 and pointed it out to Kurosagi. Kurosagi nodded and was about to walk forward, but was accidentally pushed aside. Kurosagi was about to fall to the ground, but Hatori rushed to her and caught her.
Kurosagi glanced back at Hatori and thanked him. Hatori nodded in response. Hatori suddenly picked her up making Kurosagi gasp. She looked at Hatori with a glare and demanded what he was doing.
“This place is crowded and I don’t want you to keep falling, so let me carry you until we reach the door.”
Kurosagi sighed and said, “Fine.” Hatori pushed through the crowd toward the door. As he pushed through the crowd, Kurosagi could hear the employees talking about the upcoming election and about the head being in the lead.
When Hatori reached the door, he placed Kurosagi down. Kurosagi dusted her skirt off and knocked on the door lightly.
“Who is it?” asked a manly voice through the door.
“I’m the child the clerk downstairs told you about,” called in Kurosagi.
Kurosagi opened the door lightly and walked into the room with Hatori. The room was a large office with a desk, book shelves, file cabinets, antique statues, Monet paintings, and a high class computer that rested on the desk. In front of the desk sat the head of Ace Corporation. The head of Ace Corporation smiled at Kurosagi as he stood up.
“I am John Montgomery, the head of Ace Corporation, and you are…?”
“My name is Emi and this is my father: Hatori Ogami.”
Hatori bowed to John. John chuckled and walked up to them. He looked at Hatori and said, “I was told you needed to speak with me concerning a school project.” Hatori nodded and asked, “Are you willing to help?” John nodded. He kneeled in front of Kurosagi and asked, “So what do you want to know?”
“Well my school project concerns the election for mayor, so can you tell me who is running against you?”
John chuckled and replied, “Well I can tell you watch the news to know that I am running for mayor. Anyway, I am running against three people as of now. Their names are Jessica Flore, Mat Ramon, and Hope Ann.”
“I thought there were seven running against you?” asked Kurosagi. John sighed and said, “There were, but four of them died in an accident.”
“That’s horrible,” whimpered Kurosagi making Hatori laugh uneasily. John nodded and replied, “That is horrible. I do want to win the election, but I don’t want any of them to die for me to win.” Kurosagi narrowed her eyes.
Kurosagi then cleared her throat and asked, “So when do you have to give a speech?”
“I plan to give a speech tomorrow morning. I can give your father and you VIP passes so you can see the stage better. I can even let you ride with me in the limo.”
John nodded. Kurosagi accepted the offer happily.
The door to John’s office suddenly opened revealing a high school girl with long blonde hair. She ran to John and embraced him.
“Daddy,” cheered the girl. John chuckled and hugged the girl back. Kurosagi stared at the girl and asked, “Who is she?” John separated from the girl and said, “This is my eldest daughter: Charlotte. She comes to my work once in a while to help with the election.” The girl, Charlotte, nodded. She kneeled in front of Kurosagi asking for her name.
“My name is Emi,” replied Kurosagi. Charlotte giggled and stated, “You are so cute.” John chuckled and asked, “So did anything new come up?” Charlotte nodded as she stood up.
“The election speech for tomorrow has been moved to the Tiffany Hall and the contributors of the hall have agreed to help with your campaign.”
“That’s wonderful news,” cheered John. Charlotte nodded in agreement. John looked back at Hatori and Kurosagi and asked, “I have to announce the news to my employees, so if you have nothing else to say, I can notify my secretary downstairs to give you the VIP passes before you leave.” Kurosagi shook her head.
“I still have some questions to ask, so daddy and I will wait here,” stated Kurosagi. John nodded and began to walk out of his office with Charlotte behind him.
When they were out of the room, Kurosagi rushed to the computer. Hatori ran to her and asked, “What are you doing?” Kurosagi plugged in the flash drive she received from Arthur into the computer and stated, “The Joker hacker got into the computers of the Bureau after Terry tried to hack the computers in this building, so there might be something in here.” When the flash drive was accessed, the screen of the computer blinked a few times and then it was covered by countless numbers. In a matter of seconds, Kurosagi had access to the hidden files of the computer. Kurosagi smirked.
“Arthur’s software worked well,” commented Kurosagi. She then pulled out a vial labeled “cheetah” from her bag and swallowed the ashes within it. With the power of the ashes, she was able to type on the computer at an incredible speed. She surfed all the files within the computer. As she read the files, she began to frown.
“What is it?” asked Hatori, trying to read the computer screen.
“Some of these files show that he fixed the market in his favor. In other words he is ripping off the city.”
“That’s horrible,” stated Hatori. Kurosagi nodded and added, “Let’s hope he never wins mayor and I will make sure that the police receive this.”
“What about the Joker? Does it have any clues on that?”
Kurosagi shook her head and added, “There’s nothing here that leads to the Joker.” Hatori suddenly heard footsteps approaching the room and told Kurosagi to hurry up. Kurosagi looked through the last file. On the last file, Kurosagi caught sight of a familiar symbol: a Joker. Kurosagi removed the flash drive and then shut the computer off. Hatori and her rushed to the center of the room and stood in place as if they had done nothing.
Charlotte entered the room and looked at Hatori and Kurosagi. She smiled at them warmly and said, “Daddy decided to visit the Tiffany Hall, so he told me to inform you to pick up your VIP passes from the secretary downstairs and that he will continue his interview with you tomorrow after the speech.” Kurosagi and Hatori nodded and walked pass Charlotte.
Kurosagi looked back at Charlotte and asked, “Aren’t you going with your daddy?” Charlotte shook her head and said, “I have my duties here. Remember to arrive at Tiffany Hall at eight.” Charlotte closed the door behind Kurosagi with a smile still upon her lips.
Kurosagi looked at Hatori with a smirk and said, “Looks like we have a lead on the Joker.”
“What do you mean?”
“The last file had the Joker symbol, so the Joker hacked into that file at some point. If we can use the information that the Joker hacked then we might find the Joker.”
Hatori nodded. Kurosagi and Hatori entered the elevator and waited for it to complete its descent down. The elevator suddenly stopped midway. Hatori pressed the bottom button repeatedly, but the elevator refused to respond.
“What’s going on?”
Kurosagi looked around the elevator and then looked toward the camera in the elevator. The camera focused making Kurosagi’s eyes widen. She grabbed Hatori’s hand making him confused.
“Is something wrong?” asked Hatori. Kurosagi nodded and whispered, “I believe we are in danger.” The music within the elevator suddenly stopped and was replaced with the sound of a Joker’s laugh. Hatori’s eyes were wide as Kurosagi held his hand. The lights of the buttons began to flash and the number display above the buttons suddenly revealed the digital picture of the cackling Joker.
“The elevator was hacked?” screamed Hatori. Kurosagi nodded and added, “When the Joker hacks, chaos follows.” Hatori felt his heart race at the realization of what was coming next. The elevator made a loud screech and began to plummet down. Hatori screamed as he felt his feet leave the ground with Kurosagi still holding his hand.
Kurosagi gritted her teeth as she used her free hand to dig in her bag. She searched her bag quickly and then yanked out two vials: one labeled elephant and the other eagle. Kurosagi smirked when she saw the labels and began to devour the ashes within then. With her small feet, she smashed the camera and then slammed the hatch on the roof of the elevator open. She looked at Hatori and said, “Hold on tight, Ogami-San.” Hatori nodded gripping Kurosagi’s small hand with both hands.
Kurosagi used the power of the ashes to fly out of the hatch of the elevator with Hatori. The elevator fell pass their feet creating sparks in the air. They looked down at the elevator as it crashed into the bottom floor with the Joker’s laugh fading.
Kurosagi carried Hatori to a closed elevator door and asked, “Can you get a good hold?” Hatori nodded grabbing onto a pipe near the door. Kurosagi hovered next to him and then pried the door open. Kurosagi flew through the door and then helped Hatori through. Hatori was breathing heavily as he kneeled on the ground. Kurosagi kneeled next to him.
“Can you walk?” asked Kurosagi. Hatori nodded and stood up.
“I guess that murder attempt means that we are definitely close,” said Hatori. Kurosagi nodded. They walked through the hall of the floor they were on. They began to hear the sounds of alarms, which was most likely for the crashed elevator. As they walked, Kurosagi grabbed Hatori’s hand. Hatori looked at Kurosagi and asked, “Are you healing it now?” Kurosagi nodded as she pulled out her sewing kit from her bag.
“The people watching the cameras will be busy dealing with the destruction of the elevator.”
Kurosagi pulled out a needle and a strand of her hair from her head and immediately used the two items to sew up Hatori’s wounded hand. The wound vanished leaving no scar behind. Hatori sighed in relief and said, “I still wish you can come up with a better way to communicate with me secretly without stabbing me.” Kurosagi chuckled and apologized.
They went down the stairs because of the destroyed elevator. When they were downstairs, they saw firemen and policemen rushing in toward the elevator. The secretary at the desk had a look of panic. Kurosagi sighed and said, “Let’s just grab the VIP passes and go.” Hatori nodded. They were about to approach the secretary, but stopped in their tracks when they saw Ling and Ally approaching them.
Ling reached them first and demanded what had happened. Ally demanded the same question. Kurosagi glanced at the elevator where the firemen were and stated, “Joker tried to kill Ogami-San and I in the elevator. We were able to escape in time.” Ling frowned.
“That means you were close right?” asked Ling. Kurosagi nodded and then pushed Ling aside.
“Ogami-San and I have to get our passes from that lady, so please do your special detective work,” said Kurosagi. Ling groaned.
Before Kurosagi could walk any further, Ally stood in her way and asked, “Why didn’t you tell us that the Joker had infiltrated the Bureau?” Kurosagi sighed.
“You guys never asked and I thought you would already know,” said Kurosagi. Ally frowned and muttered, “You are always like this.” Kurosagi smirked and said, “Well this is me.” Kurosagi walked pass Ally with Hatori trailing behind her.
Ling and Ally left the building, while Kurosagi and Hatori grabbed their VIP passes. Kurosagi and Hatori headed out of the building. Kurosagi heard Hatori’s stomach growl and asked, “Do you want to grab something to eat first?” Hatori nodded with a blush against his cheek.
They walked toward the closes restaurant labeled as “American Delight.” They walked through the door and sat on the closes table. A waitress that was close gave them each a menu. As they looked over the menu, Kurosagi peeked around her. She spotted Sylvette sitting at another table eating a plate of spicy cheese omelet and smirked.
“Looks like Clayton-San was hungry too,” commented Kurosagi. Hatori perked up and looked in the direction Kurosagi was looking. He took notice of Sylvette and asked, “How far do you think she is in solving this case?”
“Knowing Clayton-San, she already had O’Hara-San get the information she needed from the accidents and would be waiting for someone for more information.”
Kurosagi nodded and added, “She is after all a gifted detective and she will never act by instinct unless necessary.” Hatori eyed Sylvette and asked, “Who do you think she is waiting for?”
Kurosagi smirked as she lowered her menu.
“Most likely for one of the candidates running for mayor,” stated Kurosagi. The minute her words were spoken, a woman dressed in a brown business suit walked through the restaurant door. She looked around and then headed to Sylvette’s table.
Kurosagi dug in her bag and then told Hatori to order whatever he wanted. Hatori nodded, but his focus was mostly on the newcomer at Sylvette’s table. Kurosagi pulled out a vial labeled owl from her bag and then devoured the ashes in it. She then closed her eyes and focused her hearing toward Sylvette’s table. Kurosagi could hear their every word.
“So why have you called me here detective?” asked the woman at the table.
“Are you aware that your competition are dying one by one because of unfortunate accidents?”
“I am aware, but I have nothing to do with this.”
“Are you sure? I looked at the bank incident cameras and learned that you met Mr. Collins just moments before the toxic gas was released. Are you telling me that was mere coincidence, Miss. Ann?”
“I’m telling the truth. I only met him there concerning the election.”
“Then what about Mrs. Fran, you also met her at the train station where she died.”
“Are you seriously accusing me of murder?”
“I’m just saying that it is too much of a coincidence. You were also present at the building fire where Mr. Watson died.”
Kurosagi’s eyes widen when she heard Hope slam her hand on the table. Hope was standing from the table with anger in her eyes.
“I would never murder any of them. Now leave me be or I will report you,” warned Hope and then walked away from Sylvette’s table. Sylvette smirked and drank her coffee.
Hatori looked at Kurosagi and asked, “What just happened? I couldn’t hear their conversation.” Kurosagi crossed her arms and stated, “Clayton-San believes that Ann-San has something to do with the Joker.”
Kurosagi nodded and added, “Ann-San was present at the location of the accidents before they happened, but something doesn’t make sense.”
“What do you mean?”
“Why would she want to speak with competition before the election and why wouldn’t she give more details to a detective to prove her innocence?”
“Do you think she is hiding something?” asked Hatori. Kurosagi nodded and then glanced at Sylvette as a waitress took Hatori’s order. Sylvette had a satisfied look as she drank her coffee.
When Hatori had finished his meal, Kurosagi and Hatori left the restaurant quickly. Kurosagi glanced back at Hatori and said, “We are going to the train site where Joker struck, OK?” Hatori nodded and then asked, “Is there something there?”
“Maybe, I just have a feeling that Clayton-San missed something when she looked through the cameras.”
Hatori nodded and continued to follow Kurosagi. He suddenly asked about the file on John’s computer that had the Joker symbol. Kurosagi glanced back at Hatori.
“I need Terry to look up that file in more detail, but now isn’t the time,” reasoned Kurosagi. Hatori nodded still wondering what was on the file.
On the way to the train station, Kurosagi saw a woman speaking on her cell phone with an angered expression. Kurosagi would have walked pass her, until she saw a crane holding a metal bar above the woman. Kurosagi with her keener hearing could hear the laugh of the Joker. Kurosagi immediately ran at the woman making Hatori gasp. Just as Kurosagi reached the woman, the crane released the metal bar. The metal bar darted toward the woman. Kurosagi grabbed the woman making the woman gasp and drop her phone. Kurosagi shoved the woman to the side just as the metal pipe fell where the woman once stood. The woman stared at the fallen pipe with wide eyes.
“Was I next?” she whispered. Kurosagi looked at the woman with a raised eyebrow. Hatori ran to Kurosagi and the woman asking if they were all right. Kurosagi nodded and then looked back at the woman.
“Can you please tell me your name?”
“My name is Jessica Flore.”
Jessica’s voice was shaking. Kurosagi stood up and asked, “Were you waiting for someone?” Jessica nodded.
“I was supposed to meet Miss. Ann to speak to her about the e-mail.”
“Do you mean Hope Ann?”
Jessica nodded. Jessica clenched her forehead shaking.
“I need to pull out or I will be killed by the Joker like the others,” stuttered Jessica. Hatori and Kurosagi’s eyes widened.
Kurosagi glanced up at the crane and stated, “I’m sure Joker hacked into the crane. The Joker somehow contacted her using Ann-San’s phone and made sure she was here. It was all to kill her.” Kurosagi knelt in front of Jessica, who was shaking uncontrollably.
“How do you know about Joker?”
“An E-mail that said that we would be killed if we didn’t pull out from the election was sent to all of us. It was written from the Joker. We thought it was a joke, but the Joker is trying to kill us.”
Jessica shot up to her feet shoving Kurosagi away and then dashed down the sidewalk with tears in her eyes. Kurosagi watched Jessica run off with Hatori helping her up. Kurosagi smirked and said, “Looks like the Joker contacted all the people running for mayor.” Kurosagi looked at Hatori and said, “Let’s head to the train station now.” Hatori nodded.
Two hours later, they arrived at the Star Line Express Train station. Bodies were still being hauled out and police officials and firemen were still at the site. Kurosagi frowned.
“Looks like there were still bodies to be gathered,” stated Kurosagi. Hatori nodded and added, “It’s hard to believe that this many people died in one day.” Kurosagi nodded. Kurosagi spotted Romano at the train wreck taking pictures. Kurosagi called out to him. Romano took one glance at her and then turned away. Kurosagi approached Romano with Hatori.
“Gustav-San are you here to gather information too?” asked Kurosagi. Romano glared at Kurosagi and said, “I am, but that doesn’t concern you.” Kurosagi chuckled. She saw Romano pull out a folder from his bag. When he opened the folder, she saw pictures with a name under each of them. Kurosagi knew that Romano had figured out that the accidents had one mayor candidate die in them, but she also noticed that he managed to get the pictures of the ones that were currently alive. Romano shut the folder and then walked pass Kurosagi.
“There is nothing else here, so it is best for you to look somewhere else, you monster brat.”
Hatori frowned as he watched Romano walk off. Hatori looked back at Kurosagi and said, “You shouldn’t let the others insult you like this.” Kurosagi chuckled.
“But their words are true,” stated Kurosagi. Hatori groaned. Kurosagi smirked and said, “Thanks to Romano, now I know how all the mayor candidates look like.” Hatori was filled with confusion.
They suddenly felt the ground begin to shake and the sound of a train horn. Kurosagi looked around as the police forces and firemen began to run out of the station. Kurosagi looked down the train tracks and saw a train rushing toward the crash site. Kurosagi gritted her teeth and screamed, “We need to get out!” Hatori nodded and ran toward the exit. Kurosagi was going to follow, but stopped in her tracks when she heard the laugh of a Joker approaching. Kurosagi clenched her fist and looked up at Hatori.
“I need to stay here,” stated Kurosagi. Hatori gasped and exclaimed, “Why?” Kurosagi glanced at the approaching train.
“One of the mayor candidates might be on that train. I need to be here to save them if possible.”
Hatori shook his head and said, “I’ll stay too.” Kurosagi glared at Hatori and ran at him. She leapt up and slapped him across the face. Hatori’s eyes were wide as he placed a hand to his red cheek. Kurosagi’s eyes looked at him seriously.
“I don’t want you to die like the others. Leave now. I promise that I will come back.”
Hatori clenched his pain pulsing cheek and nodded. He ran out of the station with the others.
Kurosagi looked at the approaching train and ran toward it. She leapt up when she was at the nose of the train and then jumped through the window. When inside the train, she could hear the laugh of the Joker clearly. She looked to the side and saw the train driver trying to take control of the train desperately. Kurosagi grabbed his hand making him finally take notice of her.
“We need to get to the back of the train,” stated Kurosagi. The train driver shook his head.
“We won’t make it in time. I have to stop this train now,” stated the train driver in a panic. Kurosagi clenched his hand tighter.
“We’ll make it, so please help me get everyone out of here,” stated Kurosagi. The train driver saw the seriousness in her eyes and nodded. Kurosagi ran to the door of the engine room with the train driver in hand. Kurosagi frowned when she saw that it was locked. There was no time to open it by normal means, so Kurosagi kicked it open sending the door flying. The train driver’s eyes were wide as he looked at the destroyed door.
Kurosagi pulled him along as they ran down the train hall. She looked at the driver and asked, “So how many are on board?”
“It’s a private train, so only Mr. Ramon and his son and daughter are on board.”
“You mean Mat Ramon correct?” asked Kurosagi. The train driver nodded.
“I was driving them to the speech site, but then the controls were hacked.”
“When were they hacked?”
“Two hours ago.”
“Tell me where they are right now!”
“They should be in one of the passenger seats.”
Kurosagi immediately began to kick every door in sight forcing them open. She suddenly heard a child’s scream and followed the scream. She found the source of the voice and kicked it open. In the room was Mat with his son in hand. Kurosagi looked around the room and asked, “Where is your daughter?”
“Katie went to the bathroom and hasn’t come back,” said Mat in a panicked voice. Kurosagi pulled Mat and his six-year-old son out of the room and said, “I’ll find your daughter, so you two go to the back of the train with this man.” Mat and his son nodded and ran down the train hall with the driver.
Kurosagi used her super speed to search every room. She found a door with the bathroom symbol and banged on the door.
“Are you in there Katie?” asked Kurosagi.
“Please help me,” begged Katie through the door. Kurosagi kicked the door down and yanked Katie out of the room. The minute Katie was out Kurosagi heard the front of the train crash. Kurosagi and Katie were forced forward as the train began to tumble forward. Kurosagi maintained her footing and carried Katie in her arms. Kurosagi could smell gas and knew what was coming next. A ball of fire burst forward toward them from the front of the train. Kurosagi ran down the train hallway avoiding the metal wreckage.
Katie screamed as the fire got closer. Kurosagi gritted her teeth and picked up her pace. She saw the end of the train and the train driver helping Mat and his son out. Kurosagi crashed into the train driver forcing him out of the train. She pushed them all down as the fire burst from the train doors.
The laugh of the Joker faded as the fire raged inside the train. Kurosagi sat up and looked at the train wreckage. She then looked at Mat, the train driver, Katie and her brother. They had a few scratches, but nothing major. Kurosagi gave out a sigh and then pulled out her phone. She pressed the speed dial for Hatori’s phone. The phone rang and then Hatori picked up.
“Ogami-San, I’m glad you listened to me.”
“I’m glad to hear that, but tell me if you are all right.”
Kurosagi glanced at the others.
“I was able to get the people off the train before it crashed, but the Joker was definitely trying to kill another mayor candidate.”
“I see. Tell me where you are, so I can get the forces to get you guys out of there.”
“We are at the back of the train. Please make it quick.”
Hatori hung up the phone. Kurosagi felt a hand on her leg and looked toward Mat. Mat was sitting up with his hand on Kurosagi. He smiled at Kurosagi and thanked her. Kurosagi nodded and then said, “Ramon-San, I need you to tell me when you got the e-mail.” Mat sighed as he gathered his children into his arms.
“So you know about it: the threat that we all got?”
Kurosagi nodded and added, “I heard it by chance, so please tell me when you got it? I need to know as a detective.” Mat nodded.
“I got it five months ago.”
Mat nodded and added, “I was surprised because I was recently notified about me being a candidate for mayor.” Mat hugged his crying children tighter.
“I never took the e-mail seriously, but if I knew that this Joker was going to try to kill me with my children then I would have withdrawn from the election earlier.”
Kurosagi thought to herself and asked, “Why were you on the train?”
“I was heading to the election site, but I only brought my children along because Hope said she wanted to meet them.”
“Are you talking about the other mayor candidate?” asked Kurosagi. Mat nodded. He showed a warm smile and said, “We are supposed to be fighting for the mayor position, but we got close.”
“So you two are involved with each other?” asked Kurosagi. Mat nodded and added, “My wife died a long time ago when these two were just babies. Hope was the one who helped me get back on my feet. She’s kind and I love her.” Kurosagi chuckled.
“I understand. That’s why Ann-San didn’t want to say anymore to Clayton-San back in the café. She was trying to keep the relationship between you and her secret.”
Mat nodded and added, “It would make the election more difficult after all.”
Kurosagi then held her hand to Mat and asked, “Can I look at your call log?” Mat nodded and dumped his cell phone in her hand. Kurosagi searched through his call log until she reached Hope’s name. Kurosagi looked at the time of the call and frowned.
“Ann-San couldn’t have called you at this time.”
“At this time, I was in a restaurant with Ogami-San. At the same time, I saw Ann-San speaking with a detective. She was busy, so she couldn’t have called you at that time.”
Mat grew pale and asked, “Then who called me?” Kurosagi typed a few digits on Mat’s phone, but then the phone gave off a spark. She dropped the phone. On the screen of the phone appeared the picture of a joker. Mat’s eyes were wide as Kurosagi glared down on the phone.
Kurosagi, the train driver, Mat, and Mat’s children were finally escorted off the crash site. Kurosagi dusted off her dress as Hatori ran to her. Hatori hugged her saying how he was relieved that she was all right. Kurosagi nodded and then said, “I now know that the Joker came around five months ago.” Hatori released Kurosagi and asked, “Is that right?” Kurosagi nodded.
“But the accidents started not that long ago,” stated Hatori. Kurosagi nodded and added, “But the threatening e-mails were delivered to the candidates five months ago. I can see why the candidates would think it was a joke if there was no action taken after all this time.” Kurosagi then showed Mat’s cell phone to Hatori.
“I also learned that the Joker was using Ann-San’s phone to lure the candidates to their death.”
“Why her phone?”
“Most likely to frame her, but I haven’t found the why yet.”
Kurosagi pulled out her own cell phone and said, “Because of Ramon-San I was able to figure out Joker’s trick.”
Kurosagi nodded and added, “To hack all around at such a short amount of time is impossible for one person.”
“There are two hackers working together who call themselves Joker.”
Kurosagi held her ear to the phone.
“Who are you calling?” asked Hatori. Kurosagi glanced at Hatori and said, “Orchie.”
The phone rang and then was picked up by Orchie.
“Kurosagi, what can I do for you or are you calling to play?”
“It’s work related.”
“Darn, so what do you need?”
“Do you know where they are keeping a hacker I captured this year?”
“Hacker, do you mean the hacker of the mafia you took down?”
“That’s right, so do you know?”
“I do, but why do you need to know? You usually don’t want to have any contact with the criminals you capture.”
“This one is different. I need him to complete this mystery.”
“All right, he’s in the Sohma Prison.”
“Can you fly him to New York?”
“I can, but what are you going to do to him there.”
“That’s a secret.”
Orchie laughed through the phone and said, “He’ll be there tomorrow at seven in the morning.” Kurosagi thanked Orchie and then hung up the phone.
Hatori looked at Kurosagi and asked, “Who is being sent here?” Kurosagi smirked and stated, “You met him before, just wait till tomorrow.” Hatori was filled with confusion as Kurosagi began to walk off.
Kurosagi’s phone suddenly began to ring. Kurosagi picked it up.
“This is Terry. Kurosagi, we got everything under control in the Bureau again, so Pion wants all the detectives back to base.”
“I understand Terry. Ogami-San and I will be there shortly.”
“See you there,” answered Terry and then hung up.
Kurosagi shut her phone and looked back at Hatori.
“We need to head back to base, but don’t reveal that the Joker is actually two people,” stated Kurosagi.
“I know the others will feel defeat and not investigate any further.”
Hatori smiled and asked, “Do you want them to investigate?” Kurosagi nodded and added, “I still need to figure out why the Joker wants the mayor candidates dead.” Hatori nodded.
Kurosagi flinched and looked to her side only to see Mat’s son walking to her with a blanket over his shoulder. Kurosagi crossed her arms in front of her and asked what he wanted. Mat’s son bowed and said, “Thank you for saving my sister and dad.” Kurosagi chuckled.
“It was nothing, what is your name?”
“Daniel Ramon, six-years-old.”
“Well live well Daniel-Kun,” stated Kurosagi. Daniel nodded. He then clenched the blanket tighter around him and asked, “So do you know what happened on the train?”
“You want to know?”
Daniel nodded and added, “I overheard dad and you talking and figured out that you are some type of detective trying to protect us from this Joker, so I need to know more so I can protect my family too.” Kurosagi smirked.
“You’re interesting kid. Well, I can tell you that the train was hacked by this Joker and that the Joker wanted your father dead.”
“That’s what I am trying to figure out,” stated Kurosagi. Kurosagi suddenly remembered Mat’s words and asked, “Do you remember anything that happened five months ago before your father got that e-mail?” Daniel smacked his lips thinking hard.
“I remember that dad started seeing Miss. Ann. Dad thought Katie and I didn’t meet her, but we saw her by chance in the park.”
Kurosagi’s eyebrows furrowed.
“It was called Fuze Park. It was very old, but still fun. It was really sad when it was demolished to build a new company building.”
“Do you know the name of the company?”
Daniel nodded and stated, “It was Ace Corporation.” Kurosagi smirked. She patted Daniel’s head and said, “Thank you for the information.” Daniel nodded and then began to run back to the ambulance where his sister and father were waiting.
“He said Ace Corporation right?” asked Hatori as he looked in the direction Daniel went. Kurosagi nodded and said, “When we get back, I will need Terry to get some information on Hope Ann.” Hatori nodded.
They had returned to base using the same limo, so Kurosagi was pale from her nausea. Hatori helped her out and then saw the other detectives approaching the door to the base. Ling looked back at Hatori and Kurosagi and asked, “What took you two so long?”
“The limo was a little hard to find,” admitted Hatori. Ling chuckled and said, “Well you two shouldn’t have bothered to come because I just solved this case.”
“Is that so?” asked Kurosagi, her complexion coming back. Ling nodded and said, “I will reveal the truth in the meeting.”
Ally laughed and said, “Let’s see if our conclusions are the same then.” Ling nodded accepting the challenge. Romano and Sylvette smiled feeling that they were victorious. Kurosagi sighed and asked, “If you all think that Hope Ann is the culprit than you are wrong.” The detectives looked at Kurosagi with wide eyes.
“So you think someone else is the culprit?” asked Sylvette with crossed arms. Kurosagi nodded.
“I believe all of you have figured out that she had a relationship with Mat Ramon and think that might be the reason to kill. You think the others that were killed figured out her secret relationship and would use that against her and in order not to have it leaked, she lured them to a different site and then, after leaving, hacked into the system and killed them. Those deductions are flawed because she had an alibi when it came to Mat Ramon’s train. She was speaking with Clayton-San in the restaurant when the train was hacked. She couldn’t have done it.”
The detectives frowned.
Sylvette was the first to head to the door. She glanced back at Kurosagi and said, “I will prove you wrong brat.” The others nodded and then walked to the door.
Hatori looked at Kurosagi and asked, “So do we at least have a suspect?”
“The suspects we are looking for have a connection with Ace Corporation and to Hope Ann,” stated Kurosagi. Kurosagi walked toward the door and added, “We will attend the meeting and tomorrow we will go to the airport.”
“What about Montgomery-San’s speech?”
“We will still go, but we will be a little late.”
Hatori nodded and followed Kurosagi into the base.
The next day, Kurosagi and Hatori waited at the airport. Hatori looked at his wrist watch and asked, “Orchie said that the hacker will be here at seven, right?” Kurosagi nodded. Kurosagi suddenly caught sight of Orchie’s brown colored jacket and called out to him. Orchie waved to Kurosagi and approached her dragging a man in his right hand.
“Kurosagi, nice to see you,” greeted Orchie. Kurosagi nodded and looked at the man in Orchie’s hand.
“So you brought him?” asked Kurosagi. Orchie nodded. Hatori looked at the man, who was most likely the hacker Kurosagi called for and gasped. The man in Orchie’s grasp was Shigure Natsumi, an ex-member of the Natsumi mafia group that Kurosagi took down. Hatori pointed at Shigure and asked, “So he’s a hacker too?” Kurosagi nodded.
“He went undercover as a policeman and changed the files to cover up the murders that the Natsumi group committed. He’s the reason for the endless cold cases before.”
Shigure scoffed and muttered, “It’s just plain sad that the boss lost to a little girl like you.” Orchie gripped Shigure’s arm tighter making him cringe.
“Show some respect to Kurosagi, young man. You are going to be working for her after all,” stated Orchie. Shigure glared at Orchie and screamed, “I never agreed to this!” Kurosagi smirked.
“How about this: you work for me and I will make your term as a prisoner shorter and you will be paid for your efforts? Is that good?”
Shigure frowned and said, “Can you really make my term shorter?” Kurosagi nodded and added, “As long as you work under me in the Bureau.” Shigure groaned and nodded. Kurosagi chuckled and looked at Hatori.
“Please lead Shigure-San to the limo.”
Hatori nodded and took Shigure’s other free arm. Hatori noticed the metal collar around Shigure’s neck and asked, “What’s that collar?” Shigure gripped the collar and said, “It’s like a dog collar. If we cause any trouble then the collar will release a spark.” Shigure scoffed and added, “I figured out about the spark the hard way.” Hatori could see the frustration in Shigure’s face and began to understand why Shigure would want his sentence to be shortened.
Hatori, Kurosagi, and Shigure got into the limo. Kurosagi waved goodbye to Orchie just as the limo began to move. Kurosagi pulled out a barf bag from her bag making Shigure look at her.
“Why do you have a paper bag in your hand?” asked Shigure. His question was answered when Kurosagi threw up in the bag just as the limo was making a turn. Shigure covered his mouth from disgust. He looked at Hatori and asked, “Does she get car sick?” Hatori nodded and added, “You get used to it after a while.” Shigure felt nauseous as he listened to Kurosagi throw up.
“We are almost there,” said the limo driver as they entered a dark tunnel. Hatori grabbed hold of the side door and then looked at Shigure.
“Grab hold of something.”
“Why?” asked Shigure. The limo suddenly made a sharp drop making Shigure scream. Shigure grabbed Kurosagi making her gasp and nearly choke. Kurosagi tried to shove Shigure away, but he held onto her like a cat over water screaming. Hatori frowned and yelled, “I said grab something, not Kurosagi!” Shigure didn’t seem to hear Hatori’s words.
The limo went to an abrupt stop. The doors swung open. Hatori exited the car panting and then glanced back into the car. Kurosagi had stopped throwing up and Shigure was shaking as he held onto Kurosagi. Hatori frowned and went back into the car. He yanked Kurosagi from Shigure’s grasp and said, “We are here so calm down.” Shigure immediately exited the car and fell flat to the ground.
“Why didn’t you guys tell me that we were going to be on a rollercoaster?” asked Shigure still pale. Kurosagi chuckled as Hatori placed her on the ground and took her barf bags.
“I guess Shigure hates rollercoaster rides,” said Kurosagi. Shigure glared at her and said, “You have no right to make fun of me when you get car sick.” Kurosagi shrugged and walked pass Shigure. Shigure clenched his fist feeling insulted by Kurosagi.
Hatori helped Shigure to his feet and said, “Kurosagi and I have passes, so you might have to rush in.”
Kurosagi opened the door with her identification card and the pulled Shigure in quickly making him gasp. The door shut moments Shigure was in. Shigure stared at the door wide eyed. The door opened again allowing Hatori in. Hatori looked at Shigure and said, “I’m sure you’ll get an identification card too.” Shigure nodded half shaking.
Kurosagi, Shigure, and Hatori walked into the base and down the hall leading to Terry’s Sanctuary. When in the hall, they heard Terry’s voice.
“Kurosagi, welcome back.”
“Hey Terry,” greeted Kurosagi. Shigure looked around rapidly and asked, “Who was that?”
“Terry Cheshire, she’s my hacker,” answered Kurosagi. Shigure looked at Kurosagi and asked, “You have a hacker all ready, so why am I even here?” Kurosagi chuckled and told Shigure to be patient.
They soon reached the door to Terry’s sanctuary. Shigure saw the words upon the door and frowned.
“What the hell is this?”
“You have a problem with it?”
Shigure sighed. Terry opened the door for them with a smile upon her lips. She urged them inside and then finally took notice of Shigure. She pointed at Shigure and asked, “Who is this guy?” Kurosagi held a hand to Shigure.
“His name is Shigure Natsumi. He is a hacker just like you.”
Terry gasped and asked, “Am I being replaced?” Kurosagi shook her head and smirked.
“You told me to get you a second pair of hands, so here they are.”
Terry looked Shigure over and said, “How can I work with a guy like this? He looks like a total loser.” Shigure frowned and said, “I’ll have you know that I’ve been hacking since I was a high schooler.” Terry chuckled and said, “Well I’ve been hacking since middle school.” Shigure groaned. Kurosagi sighed.
“I know you two like to work alone, but I need you guys to work together in order for us to capture this Joker.”
“Who is Joker?” asked Shigure.
“Two hackers that are causing chaos in New York. That’s why I need to have two hackers together.”
Terry and Shigure scoffed and turned away from each other with a pout. Kurosagi smirked and said, “How about you make this a contest then?”
“A contest?” Shigure and Terry said in unison. Kurosagi nodded and added, “Let’s see who can help me capture the Joker first.” Shigure and Terry looked at each other and then smirked.
“Let’s see who is the best hacker here,” they said and went to an empty computer. Terry shoved Shigure to a different computer and said, “This one is for family file hacking only.” Shigure scoffed and said, “I swear that I’m getting my own computer when this is over.” Kurosagi chuckled at the sight of Shigure and Terry searching for any trace of Joker.
Kurosagi tugged on Terry’s shirt making her look at her.
“I need you to look more into detail on a file that I found in Montgomery-San’s computer.”
“Are you crazy? The last time I did that, the Joker got in.”
Kurosagi chuckled and pointed at Shigure.
“That’s why you need a second pair of hands to fight off the virus.”
Terry looked at Shigure and smirked.
“I see your point,” stated Terry. Terry held a thumbs-up to Kurosagi and said, “Leave that info to me.” Terry typed on the computer rapidly and then glanced at Shigure.
“Fight off any virus that tries to get into the system Shigure,” ordered Terry. Shigure scoffed and said, “You don’t have to tell me that.”
Terry hacked into the Ace Corporation computer. Shigure saw a virus about to erupt and immediately disposed of it using his own hacking skills.
“No one can beat the rat,” stated Shigure in triumph. Terry flinched and glared at Shigure.
“Your hacker symbol is a rat?” screamed Terry. Shigure nodded and finally took notice of Terry’s symbol on the computer he was working on.
“Why in the world is your symbol a cat?” demanded Shigure. Terry stuck her tongue at him and continued to search through the hacked files. Terry looked at Kurosagi and asked, “What file are we looking for?”
“It will have the Joker symbol on it,” stated Kurosagi. Hatori nodded in agreement. Terry scrolled down the files and finally caught sight of the file Kurosagi was talking about. Terry forced the file open and smirked.
“I got in.”
Kurosagi and Hatori looked the file over. Hatori’s eyes widen and said, “This is the list of mayor candidates.” Kurosagi nodded and said, “This file was how the Joker knew who to e-mail.” Kurosagi frowned and added, “This also reveals that Montgomery-San fixed the mayor candidates.”
“Ramon-San mentioned that he didn’t even know he was a candidate for mayor until after the e-mail. Chances are that Montgomery-San chose people that he found easy to win against and somehow hacked the computers for the election himself.”
“So he’s Joker?” asked Hatori in surprise. Kurosagi shook her head.
“He wanted easy competition, so there was no reason for him to murder them and I already told you that there are two people and they are somehow related to Ace Corporation and Hope Ann.”
“I wonder who it is?” Terry asked herself.
“I have an idea,” stated Shigure as he typed on the computer before him. They looked at him and saw that he was reading through a file on the computer. Terry peeked over his shoulder and gasped.
“That’s a record from Family Records!” exclaimed Terry. Shigure nodded with a smirk upon his lips.
“That’s right and this file gives me an idea on who the Joker might be.”
Kurosagi and Hatori peeked over Shigure’s shoulder. Hatori gasped and said, “This is Montgomery-San’s family record.” Shigure nodded. Kurosagi examined the file and spotted a familiar name.
“It looks like Ann-San was married to Montgomery-San for a year and then divorced him,” stated Kurosagi. Kurosagi thought to herself and added, “Now that I think about it, the Joker wanted to kill Ramon-San’s children on the train too. The Joker definitely has a personal grudge.” Shigure nodded and then clicked his mouse twice. He leaned against his chair and said, “Now see for yourself on who the Joker truly is.” They looked at the screen. Hatori’s eyes widened and then glanced at Kurosagi.
“Is Shigure-San right?”
Kurosagi smirked and nodded.
“These two have the sources to commit the crime and hold a grudge against Hope Ann.”
Kurosagi pulled out her phone and began to dial a number. Hatori raised an eyebrow asking who she was calling. Kurosagi showed her famous smirk and said, “Someone I hope is willing to follow me into the darkness.”
At eight o’clock in the morning, John was getting ready for his speech. He took a mint to freshen his breath and brushed back his hair. He heard a knock on his door as he fixed his tie.
The door opened revealing Charlotte in a pink light dress. She walked to her father and began to fix his tie.
“You always suck when it comes to fixing your tie, daddy,” stated Charlotte as she fixed his tie. John chuckled and said, “Well I usually have my wife do this.” Charlotte paused and then looked at her father.
“If you win this election, are you going to find a new wife?” asked Charlotte. John sighed pulling away from Charlotte.
“I plan to. I need to find someone who can watch over you two,” stated John. Charlotte shook her head and said, “We can take care of ourselves.” John chuckled. He looked back at Charlotte as he slipped on his ID badge and asked, “Have Emi and Mr. Ogami arrived yet?” Charlotte shook her head.
“Maybe they couldn’t make it,” said Charlotte. John sighed.
“That’s disappointing. Emi is a sweet girl,” stated John. Charlotte frowned and said, “Maybe they got hurt at the building when the elevator malfunctioned.” John chuckled.
“No one was on the elevator, so I can assure you that they weren’t killed.”
Charlotte clenched her fist. John nodded at his reflection in approval and then walked pass Charlotte to the door. John looked back at Charlotte and said, “Make sure to watch all the speeches, I need to know my competition.” Charlotte nodded.
When John left the room, Charlotte slammed her fist against the wall with crazed eyes. She clenched her head and muttered, “What’s so good about younger children?”
John finished giving his speech and left the stage with the audience applauding him. As he left the stage, he saw Hope walking to him.
Hope nodded and asked, “Are you done with your speech?” John nodded and asked, “Why are you late?” Hope sighed as she placed a hand to her arm.
“I was being questioned at the police station.”
Hope nodded and said, “They think that I was the one causing all the disasters that have hit New York lately.” John laughed.
“Now why would they think that?”
“Because I was at each site, but it is strange. I only went there because I received a message.”
Hope nodded and added, “Being questioned could jeopardized my chance at mayor.” Hope suddenly glared at John making him flinch.
“Being questioned by police makes me look bad, but if I reveal something more scandalous then my problem will be seen as nothing.”
“What are you talking about?” asked John with a raised eyebrow. Hope smirked and said, “I will just reveal that my ex-husband fixed the mayor candidates and that he was ripping money off the city.” John’s eyes widened. He glared at Hope and said, “You have no proof.” Hope showed a red flash drive in her right hand.
“This has the files that prove of your swindling,” said Hope. John tried to grab it from her, but Hope pulled away and giggled.
“This is my win, John,” said Hope and then headed to the stage to give her speech. John’s whole form was shaking as he watched Hope.
Hope stepped on the stage and saw Hatori among the people. Hope nodded at Hatori. Hatori nodded back and then pushed through the crowd. The lights shown on Hope’s form as she stood in front of the podium.
Before Hope could speak, the screens behind her went blank. The people in the hall began to murmur wondering what was going on. The screens turned back on revealing the face of a cackling Joker. Hope backed against the podium with fear in her eyes.
“Please no,” whispered Hope. Hope clenched her fist and gulped. She took in a deep breath and then screamed, “Stop this right now you two. Do you plan to kill your mother?” The sound of the Joker’s laugh became quieter making all confused. John was just as confused as he looked up at the stage.
The sound of walking footsteps approached the stage. Hope looked at the source of the steps and saw a girl who looked exactly like Charlotte except that she was wearing baggy clothes and her hair was a tangled mess. Hope looked at the girl and said, “I haven’t seen you in a long time, Sylvia.”
Sylvia looked at Hope and said, “But I’ve seen you. You were playing with some children that weren’t sister and I in the park. You loved them more than us.” Hope sighed with crossed arms.
“I do love them. They are the children of my beloved, but I still loved Charlotte and you,” said Hope. Sylvia shook her head.
“You don’t love us. If you loved us then you would have stopped father from running for mayor and you would have stopped him from destroying the park that Charlotte and I loved so much.”
“The park that was destroyed five months ago?” asked Hope. Sylvia nodded. Sylvia clenched her head and said, “I just wanted father to be with us, but he destroyed everything that we loved because of the mayor election.”
Charlotte walked onto the stage next with an angered expression.
“If you never left us then Sylvia wouldn’t have sent those e-mails out and we wouldn’t have to kill to get daddy’s attention. If you stayed then we wouldn’t have created Joker.”
All the people within the hall erupted in noise at the confession of John’s twin daughters being murderers. John covered his mouth in shock as tears ran down his cheeks.
Sylvia pushed down her baggy sleeve revealing a rectangular small laptop strapped to her arm. She flipped it open and typed in a code. When she pressed “enter” the laugh of the Joker upon the screens grew louder. Charlotte pulled out a similar computer from behind her back and typed rapidly on it. She glared at Hope as tears struggled to get out.
“If father never married you then Sylvia and I would never feel this empty. If only you never became our mother.”
Charlotte pressed a button on her computer. Hope heard the click of a gun and the next thing she knew, she felt the sting of multiple bullets impale her from behind. The people screamed as Hope fell to the stage with blood trailing behind her. The people then struggled to get out through the doors, but Sylvia activated the automatic lock, sealing the door shut. The people banged on the door screaming. Charlotte laughed like a maniac as she controlled the guns on the ceiling meant to protect the candidates from attacks.
Before Charlotte could press the button to activate the guns again, Hatori emerged from back stage and yanked the laptop from her. Charlotte looked at Hatori with wide eyes. Hatori slammed her computer to the ground and said, “I won’t let the Joker claim more victims.” Charlotte tried to slap Hatori, but he grabbed her hand and twisted it behind her back. Charlotte screamed out in pain.
Sylvia tried to take control of the gun with her hacking skills to save her sister, but she suddenly noticed that someone else had hacked into the system. On her screen was a Cheshire Cat smiling widely and a Rat with a cap that was blinking. The locks to the hall opened up allowing everyone to run out. Sylvia typed on her computer rapidly trying to fight off the intruders on her computer, but it was no use. The computer crashed making Sylvia scream. Sylvia yanked her computer off and dumped it on the ground. Sylvia looked around the empty hall rapidly and shook her head.
“What do I do now?”
Sylvia gasped and looked toward Hope. Hope was getting up making Sylvia scream. Charlotte saw this too and momentarily forgot the pain in her arm. Hope smirked at the two girls as she walked toward them. Hope touched the blood on her abdomen and then showed it to Sylvia with a chuckle.
“I guess it was a good idea for me to take Ann-San’s place for the speech.”
Hope removed the contacts from her eyes revealing her red eyes. Hope placed her blood covered hand to her chest and said, “My name is Kurosagi, the great detective.”
Kurosagi nodded and rubbed the blood between her fingers.
“I spoke with Hope Ann before the speech was to be given and convinced her to let me take her place in order to prove her innocent and to reveal who the Joker really was. I just had to drink her blood and I would take her form.”
Kurosagi pointed at Charlotte and Sylvia and said, “You two wanted to kill the mayor candidates to not help your father win, but to get his attention. You planned to tell him and hoped that he would be proud of you because you became skilled hackers just like him.”
Kurosagi sighed and said, “You got off track when you decided to try and kill me in the elevator just because your father complimented me, and Ramon-San’s children because they played with Ann-San. You killed all those people for attention and because you were jealous.”
Sylvia shook her head with tears running down her cheeks.
“We just wanted things to go back to the way they were. We wanted to play in the park with father and mom again just like before.”
Kurosagi shook her head and said, “Ann-San married your father when you two were only six, but then the marriage ended after a year. You two felt upset because of this, but that was a long time ago. That is no reason to murder innocent people who had nothing to do with this.”
“You don’t know anything!” screamed Sylvia. Sylvia picked up her crashed computer and threw it at Kurosagi. The computer slammed against Kurosagi’s forehead and then fell to the ground. Blood trailed down Kurosagi’s forehead making Hatori gasp.
Kurosagi glared at Sylvia as the wound on her head healed. Sylvia began to shake as she looked at Kurosagi. Kurosagi wiped the blood on her forehead with her sleeve still glaring at Sylvia.
“You tell me that I don’t know anything, but I do understand the feeling of wanting to go back to the past. To go back to the past where you can be loved would be total bliss, but it can never happen. No matter how many times you cry, the past will always be in the past.”
Kurosagi held her hand at Sylvia making Sylvia flinch.
“The park that was destroyed to make the new Ace Corporation building was the connection to the murderers; Joker was the hack system that killed many people; and getting John Montgomery’s attention was the motive for the murders. The pieces have been connected now fall into the darkness Sylvia Montgomery.”
Sylvia gave out an ear piercing scream as she looked into Kurosagi’s red eyes and then fell to the ground. Charlotte looked down at her unconscious sister with wide eyes and then looked at Kurosagi. She saw Kurosagi’s eyes give off a reflection and shook her head with fear in her eyes. Charlotte began to beg, but her begging fell on deaf ears when Kurosagi held her hand to her. Charlotte screamed and then fell unconscious. Hatori allowed her to fall to the ground and looked at Kurosagi, who was in Hope’s form.
“Should we bring them to the police now?” asked Hatori.
“I already told the Bureau to call them before we got here. It is best for us to leave,” said Kurosagi. Hatori nodded and began to follow her off stage.
When Kurosagi was off stage, she looked toward John, who was backed against a wall with wide eyes. Kurosagi walked to him and then kneeled in front of him.
“Because of your greed, your children will never make it in the world. I hope you decide to turn yourself in, Montgomery-San.”
John clenched his head as he began to sob. Kurosagi walked away from John and out the back door with Hatori.
Just moments later, Ling entered the hall and saw the fallen girls on the stage and John crying against the wall. Ally entered behind him and asked, “So Kurosagi beat us to the punch again?” Ling nodded with a frown. He walked onto the stage with Ally. Ally kneeled next to the unconscious girls and opened one of their eyelids. Ally shook her head.
“It was definitely Kurosagi.”
Ling sighed and said, “Looks like they are headed for the asylum.” Ally nodded in agreement.
Hours later, Kurosagi was in Pion’s office still in Hope’s form. Hatori was forced to wait outside, while Pion and Kurosagi were in the office. Pion smiled at Kurosagi and dumped a check worth a million dollars in front of her.
“Congratulations once again in solving the mystery, Kurosagi.”
Kurosagi nodded and took the check from the table. Before Kurosagi could lift her hand from the table, Pion grabbed her hand making her look at him.
“I’m only telling you this because you are the best detective: you should fire that new assistant of yours,” stated Pion with seriousness in his eyes. Kurosagi yanked her hand away.
“Why should I do that?”
“He’s not fit to be a detective and he will die sooner or later if he stays with you. Just like the others before him.”
Kurosagi stood up from the seat she was in and walked toward the door. She glared back at Pion and said, “I will protect Ogami-San with this body.” Kurosagi walked out the door and slammed it behind her.
Pion frowned and muttered, “That’s what you said about the others and yet they still died.”
In the hall, Kurosagi and Hatori walked toward Terry’s sanctuary. Hatori glanced at Kurosagi asking how much she got for the case. When she told him the amount, Hatori nearly keeled over. It made him wonder how much Kurosagi had in her bank account.
The minute they were in the hall leading to Terry’s sanctuary, they heard Terry scream. They dashed down the hall and were shocked to see the door to Terry’s sanctuary wide open. Kurosagi was the first through the door and saw Terry strangling Shigure. Hatori saw this too and immediately ran to Terry and pried her away from Shigure. Shigure gasped for air as Terry attempted to free herself from Hatori’s grasp.
Kurosagi sighed and asked, “What happened?” Terry glared at Shigure and yelled, “He hacked one of my computers and now I can’t even get on it!” Shigure smirked and said, “Well I needed my own computer.” Terry swung her feet up in an attempt to kick Shigure, but to no avail.
“Come on now. I need you two to work together from now on,” stated Kurosagi. Terry scoffed, while Shigure began to stare at Kurosagi with a bewildered look.
“Who are you?” asked Shigure. Kurosagi chuckled and said, “It’s me, Kurosagi.” Shigure gasped and looked her up and down.
“Why do you look like that?”
“I drank Hope Ann’s blood to take her form. I will be back to normal in a day.”
Shigure was still in shock as he stared at Kurosagi’s form.
Kurosagi looked at Terry and said, “How about you tell him how things work here? You also have the right to activate the collar on him if he gives you too much trouble.” Shigure flinched, while Terry smiled widely. Hatori felt her struggles stop and released her. Terry crunched her knuckles and said, “If I have the right to activate that collar then I am happy to have him as an underclassman.” Shigure gulped and then laughed uneasily.
“You don’t have the controller, so I have nothing to worry about,” stated Shigure. Terry smirked and placed her hand on the keyboard of the closest computer.
“The Cheshire Cat always finds a way in,” stated Terry. Shigure gasped and immediately went to the closest computer. Terry and Shigure typed on their own computers rapidly. Terry was trying to hack into the controls of the collar, while Shigure tried to stop her.
Kurosagi chuckled and ordered Hatori to follow her. On the way out, Hatori could hear the computer battle between Shigure and Terry. Hatori glanced at Kurosagi and asked, “Should we really leave them like that?”
“They’ll be fine and Terry already has control of the collar anyway.”
Kurosagi nodded and added, “Terry just doesn’t want to admit it just yet.”
Kurosagi suddenly remembered Pion’s words and frowned. She held Hatori’s hand making him look at her.
Kurosagi gripped his hand without looking at him and whispered, “I won’t let you end up like the others.” Hatori smiled at Kurosagi and nodded. Kurosagi headed toward the exit of the Bureau with Hatori’s hand in her grip.