Story by Tsumori Tokio
The police main computer is protected by a group of Guardians, each with a color for a codename. Most of them are people who were infected by the Ogni virus and had portions of their brains removed, to be replaced by computer implants. This is the only legal way to acquire an implant. They then became expert hackers and were recruited by the police. One of the Guardians, called Red, has far superior powers and strikes terror into all of the military computer experts when they think about confronting him in cyberspace.
The doctor sits nearby and watches Lucifard in action. He unintentionally recalls the circumstances of his human wife's death. She had been failing from old age when he started detecting the presence of Hunters. Not wanting to leave her behind, even though she insisted she didn't want to be a burden to him, he put her in a wheelchair and tried to take her with him. He knew that if she were captured, she would be tortured in an attempt to make her spill his whereabouts. Unfortunately, the Hunters caught up with him and shot them both. The Hunters had thought that by blowing off one of his arms and legs, he was incapacitated, so they didn't need to keep her alive--not realizing that using her as a hostage would have served their purposes much better. He quickly reattached his severed limbs, which healed instantly, and used his claw-blades as throwing knives to take out all of the Hunters.
Saladin had thought at the time that he loved her, yet he realizes now that what he really valued from that relationship was not the woman herself, but the comfort and company she gave him. He hadn't wanted to lose her because he didn't want to be lonely again, though he never made her into an immortal companion. He's certain that at some level she knew that and didn't mind; she wanted him to be happy. Her last words were gratitude for their time together. Saddened by the memory and guilt, he starts crying quietly. He is astonished when Lucifard wordlessly approaches him and wipes away his tears before returning to work.
The two military hackers are charged with keeping the police computer busy so that Lilah can complete her mission--without leaving any evidence that the military is committing such a crime. It goes well at first, until Red is called into the cyber-battle. Lucifard is forced to confront Red directly to prevent Makoto from being caught. He is amazed at Red's skill and is enjoying the duel...until he accidentally mind-merges with Red, who is a telepath also using Brain Gear. He gets a mental flash of Red as a member of the Mermenoid race that was wiped out by the Terranauts. Red's telepathy activates Lucifard's PC rings, which zap both of them. (Lucifard is further disgusted that he just had "cyber-sex" with a man against his will.)
On the police side, Red regains consciousness after being zapped and relates what he experienced. He is a member of an amphibious race. They are born underwater and live there for a century. Then they enter a short "mature" phase, during which they can reproduce. Couples that have two to four children quickly die after a few years. The Mermenoids that do not reproduce lose their gills and are forced to live on land. Red is one of the latter. He got a mental image of Lucifard as a man with long black hair, an army uniform, and six pairs of wings. From the description, the other police hackers figure out their adversary's identity. They are incensed that a "lowly soldier" would dare to make fools out of the police. Red is convinced that Lucifard must be an extremly powerful telepath.
Lilah succeeds in rescuing the kidnap victim, who refuses to admit any knowledge of illegal drugs. She believes that he must have been given sophisticated mental suggestion so that the knowledge is only triggered under certain circumstances. This implies that the situation is far more complicated than anticipated. Compounding the matter is that the mafia have been stockpiling military weapons more powerful than even the army base has been able to afford. Her group of soldiers is pinned in the building by a horde of mercenaries in battle suits inside and two ultra-tough terraforming exosuit warriors retrofitted with high-powered weaponry.
Desperate to rescue the trapped soldiers, Lucifard puts his equipment on "Full Drive" mode. This allows him to manipulate two VTOL jets with his mind and send them to help Lilah's team. Saladin is entranced by his skill. The catch is that he can only use the equipment for ten minutes or risk damaging his brain from overexertion. He uses the jets to incapacitate the exosuit warriors and commandeers an illegal satellite laser cannon to destroy their legs. He winds up using the equipment for about twenty seconds longer than the time limit. By the time he takes it off, he is stricken with an incredible headache. Unexpectedly, both of his PC rings are activated, making him collapse in agony.
Saladin rushes to help him, but he has no idea how to deactivate the rings, and only Lilah has the key that can remove them. Seeing no other choice, he uses his claw-blade to cut one off. Before he has time to remove the second one, an unfamiliar golden-haired officer enters the room. Lucifard, reduced to acting like a small child from the pain, recognizes the officer as Nicolaroon Maverick and clings to him. "Nicole" uses mental powers to remove the second ring and put Lucifard to sleep. Saladin figures out that Nicole, who works for O2, is a Ra-Phael.
They take Lucifard to the hospital and test him thoroughly, but they can find no sign of damage and no cause for his pain. Lilah, who returned successfully after fighting off a female mercenary she recognized, visits the hospital room where Saladin is talking Kaja out of drawing on Lucifard's face while he's unconscious. As soon as she hears that both PC rings were removed, it activates a hidden trigger that makes her pull a gun on Lucifard. Saladin fights to stop her, though he hesitates to use his full strength for fear that he'll kill her. Luckily, Lucifard awakens and renders her unconscious.
Kaja is stricken with echoes of Lucifard's pain and accuses him of being telepathic. The Hakushi runs from the room on the pretense of getting some pain medication. Lucifard grabs Saladin and starts kissing him, making the doctor worry that he had accidentally released his scent again, but it turns out that the officer is only trying to distract himself from the pain. After Saladin bops him on the head for such insolence, Nicole shows up. He figures out that Lucifard was born with *both* psychokinesis and telepathy, but that O2 sealed his telepathy so that his power wouldn't be overwhelmingly dangerous. The Brain Gear enhanced Lucifard's telepathy, and the interference with the seal is what is causing the pain, not to mention being what set off the PC rings. Nicole, a telepath himself, is able to quell the pain with a quick kiss--making Saladin fiercely jealous.
End Volume Four
[Volume Three] [Volume Five] [Main Page]