Ryo stormed away from the Jinsei command bunker and towards the Williamsburg bridge checkpoint. All around him, the military encampment was oddly quiet. It had been this way for a few weeks, since the Sky Dragons had been deployed. Since then, there had been little for the ordinary troops to do, except mop up after they had passed. On moonless nights like this, the troops used to be nothing but nerves; now they relaxed, listening to the distant sounds of the Sky Dragons destroying their opposition. Even now, one of the ominous black triangles hung over the base, rearming, refueling and reminding all the troops of Jinsei's unmatched power.
For Ryo, it had been deathly boring. At the start of the invasion, he had been brought in to identify potential ESPers amongst Jinsei's captives. But now, the policy had changed. They were taking no prisoners, wiping out any who stood up to them. And so he had sat around the compound, waiting for reassignment.
Until tonight. He had first felt it five minutes ago, the familiar pressure in his mind that signaled an ESPer's powers. But even as he had scanned the camp, trying to find the source it had grown, drowning out almost all thought. He had never felt such a magnitude of power, although he had heard names that could generate it. Yet there was no sign of the famous white-haired ESPer weapon, or the insane monster rumored to be waiting in the furthest reaches of the Zone.
A couple of guards snapped to attention as he approached the bridge, saluting him. Although technically not a part of Jinsei's 'security force,' he had been given an honorary rank that put him above almost all the soldiers.
"Stand aside, I have business in the city," he said. It was impossible to read their expressions in the blank masks of their uniforms.
"I need to see your authorization from the commander," one of the soldiers replied. Ryo swore inwardly. His rank gave him pretty much free reign over the compound, but it obviously ran out the moment he stepped over the bridge.
"There's no time for that, this is urgent." He could feel the pressure building even now. He didn't know what was coming, except that it would be huge; beyond the scope of any power he'd ever witnessed before.
"I'll have to check with the commander," the soldier replied.
"No time," Ryo muttered. The pressure had spiked, and he turned. At last he could feel its source, seemingly emanating from a point above the command bunker. His eyes widened as he saw it finally take effect.
Cracks appeared across the surface of the bunker seconds before the shockwave hit. An invisible force pushed down, crushing the roof inwards and collapsing the walls down on the inside. The pile of rubble that once was the nerve center of the invasion held eerily still for a second, with chunks of debris suspended in midair. Then came the noise, an earsplitting boom. The rubble burst out, hurtling across the compound. It seared through the air, smashing buildings and tearing apart cyberdroids. Troops were crushed by ferrocrete blocks moving at unearthly speed. Glancing up, Ryo saw the Sky dragon's side fragment from the impact, and it began to fall. Jinsei's greatest weapon had been felled, and it was only a side-effect.
Chaos reigned. Ryo stood stunned, staring at the devastation for longer than he could figure. Had this really all happened in a few seconds? The pressure had released in his head, and he felt a new clarity, as if his mind had somehow expanded. He could feel the entire compound around him; the screams of the wounded, the panicking of the survivors, the rush of innumerable feet as they tried to asses the damage or simply escape it. And amongst them, he felt a presence dead ahead of him.
Shun Maeda, the commander of Jinsei's Zero Zone force crawled from the wreckage of the bunker as Ryo ran to his side. His face was a mess, with indescribable injuries mercifully hidden by a flow of blood. His remaining eye fixed on Ryo and he gasped out "Status report, soldier."
Ryo shook his head, the events beyond comprehension, let alone description. "I don't know... It's over. Everything's gone."
"The attacker?" Shun asked.
Ryo glanced up at the sky. He hadn't seen the attacker, but there was no doubt to his identity from the presence that still lingered in his mind. "Ran. It was Ran."
Spycorp report: March 22 2034
Jinsei's forces have suffered a crippling blow from an attack on their Zero Zone compound. ESPers of all calibers across Neo York have reported feeling the psychic report of the attack; reliable sources indicate that it was perpetrated by Ran. Jinsei's forces are regrouping at the ruins of their base to rebuild, so much of the pressure is off Zone fighters for now.
Missions for this report include:
Knockdown: A formerly abandoned Jinsei facility outside Tokyo has seen an unusual surge in activity recently, beginning at the end of last year. An employer is interested in the site, less to discover the goings-on, but rather to knock it out of action. Those signing up for the mission are open to decide on their own tactics, and are offered considerable support by the employer.
Mark: Of the Three Guildenstein operatives identified by Spycorp, two have already been extracted. The third one is a high-placed researcher in the Neo York tower. Payment for his extraction is considerable, providing he is alive. The corporation has offered a bonus to anyone who can recover his current research projects. Contact Spycorp for further details.
Supply Lines: Rumors abound of a new model of aerial combat cyberdroid being sent to Jinsei's Zero Zone invasion forces for deployment on their Sky Dragons. A corporation is paying handsomely for anyone who can disrupt their deployment and acquire samples of the new lightweight armor and drive materials said to be used in its construction. Spycorp analysis indicates that the best opportunity for such a mission would be a surprise attack on transports delivering the cyberdroids to the zone. Contact Spycorp for leads on the cyberdroid's believed deployment times and capabilities.
The Big Score: With the leaked information on Jinsei's latest development, innumerable companies are scrambling to steal the technology. Spycorp has compiled a large number of offers to steal the data on Jinsei's psionic enhancer. What information we have points to its development being entirely in the Jinsei Tokyo tower, and very heavily guarded. This will be a difficult assignment for any agent, but Spycorp is willing to extend its support on this one. Contact Spycorp for all mission and support details.
Puppy Walk: An operative is required to test a new model of security synthetic in the field. The corporation in question wishes to see how their new product handles live combat and unexpected situations. The corporation ads that an operation in the Zero Zone would be the perfect testing ground. Contact Spycorp for additional missions to aid in the testing process.
Return to Kazei 5 PBEM Stories