Prelude to Funeral for a Friend

Mojo walked through the long corridors of the Kazei 5 headquarters. He had just finished a meeting with Takeda and Avatar where he informed them that he would be taking a leave of absence of the next several weeks. He told them that it was because of the death of his grandmother, who was his only living relative, but that was something he knew would be done with in just a few days. The real reason was what he had seen on their last mission.

He could not get the horrific images out of his head. The monsters that they had fought against were also amongst them. The raw power they possessed made them inherently dangerous. Somewhere in his mind he had always known this, but to see firsthand the destruction they could cause was chilling. When they had arrived in the chamber that held Shion, all but he and Jagger had left to attend to other matters. For that brief moment, he knew he should zero Shion right there, no matter the loss of his own life in response. That moment caused him a chill even now. He knew the logical conclusion to his train of thought. He should not have just eliminated Shion, but all such threats. Miss Kobayashi, Takeda and all of the clones, as well as...

As if formed directly from his thought, Ryan stepped into the hallway right in front of him, his metallic hand in a fist.

"Me?!? You think I'm a threat as well? You gonna try and kill me, too?"

Mojo knew these were not questions. He knew with Ryan, no one was truly alone with their thoughts. His look of shock was replaced by the slow steady smile he usually wore.

"So what now ammi? You got me on dis one, and I won' deny anytin'," Mojo said in an almost jovial tone.

"There are two things saving you right now 'friend'. The first is that I've felt the same way at times. The power they have is unimaginable, but I don't have that anymore. Maybe at one time I did, but that's all changed now," Ryan said as he slowly rubbed his cybernetic arm, "and I don't think I'll ever get it back. But when I did have that power, I know how it effects others to see it, and I know what it can do to those who use it. It can make you crazy, but it doesn't make us all crazy. That little girl that Takeda is watching has the power in her. Could you kill a little girl for what she might become?"

Mojo just stared at Ryan with blank eyes and that Cajun smile, trying desperately to hide his thoughts.

"Yes, I guess you could," Ryan sighed.

"So," Mojo interrupted the long silence, "what is de second t'ing savin' me?"

"That you're conflicted on this. I know you used to be a company man. I know that death was your business, and I know you're trying to put that behind you. I'm guessing it's a work in progress, and I'm hoping you can finish what you've started here."

Mojo just stood there knowing this was what he had to find out.

* I've been this way for so long. Can I really do this type of work with going back to who I was?*

"That's a question only you can answer," Ryan replied.

Ryan turned and walked back down the hallway.

"But if you can't, don't come back here."

Mojo grinned openly at the final threat. He knew that the attitude would serve Ryan well in this group. Mojo only hoped that someday he could truly be a part of it.

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