written by David Kuijt

Takeda motioned to the agents to stop as they were about to put the Doctor into the van.

"Doctor," he said darkly, "I'm going to give you a little advice."

"You are?" the Doctor responded meekly.

"I don't know if you've thought this whole thing entirely through. If you get out of this with your life, and you ever get your freedom again, I'd like to leave you with one thought."

The Doctor was not sure where this was going. "And that is?"

"Shion is free, Doctor." Takeda looked at the older man coldly. "And when she recovers, I'm going to tell her everything about what happened."

Takeda smiled slightly, icily. "I suspect that then she may want to find you, and discuss what you did to her. If I were you, Doctor, I'd be afraid. Very afraid."

The Doctor turned gray-faced, and at a gesture from Takeda the agents hustled him into the unmarked van.

Noriko gave Takeda a cool stare, "I do not think that was needed," she said flatly.

Takeda looked back as coldly. "I may have saved his life with that warning, Captain. But that wasn't why I did it. Every action has consequences. Now he knows what the consequences of his experiments are. Shion may kill him. And if she doesn't, I hopes he lives in terror for the rest of his life."

"And if the Doctor ends up dead, I now know who my first suspect will be." Noriko stared pointedly at Takeda.

"Hah!" Takeda laughed. "Me? Or Shion, or Genom? After he spills his guts to you, Genom is likely to kill him as ... inconvenient. Don't be foolish, Captain. If the good Doctor dies, you'll have a million suspects. And I don't want to kill him," Takeda's smile faded as he thought about it, "... quite. But I'd be perfectly happy if he lived in fear for a couple of decades." Takeda looked at Noriko. "Justice, I would say."

"Justice takes many forms, Mr. Johnson. And as a police officer, my desires for justice are tempered by the laws I am sworn to uphold." Noriko glanced over at Takeda, her expression stern, "Perhaps you should consider that before you make such threats again."

Takeda shrugged. "Don't confuse a warning with a threat, Captain. Whether or not I warned him about it, Shion will still find out."

"And if she kills him? Is that justice?" Noriko looked back to the van, which was being locked up in preparation for leaving. "I call it murder."

"Why? Because she is more powerful than he? He was perfectly happy to torture her to death with his experiments when he had the upper hand, and with far less justification."

"I did not say what the Doctor did was justified, Mr. Johnson." Noriko's voice was stern, "But we have laws here in Japan, laws that I do my best to see are obeyed. No one is above the law regardless of circumstance."

Takeda turned to face Noriko. "Your law doesn't impress me, Captain. By your law clones and replicants are property, with less rights than slaves, to be killed at a whim."

"They are not my laws, Mr. Johnson. I did not create them. But, I am sworn to uphold them, regardless of my personal feelings." Noriko glanced over at Takeda, "I understand you work for the UNA government, do you not? I would think you are familiar with such circumstances?"

"They are your laws," Takeda said coldly, "if you uphold them. You cannot so easily distance yourself from responsibility for upholding unjust law."

"Ahhh... but laws in both Japan and the UNA are created by the Diet and the Congress, which have been elected by the people. So, who am I to decide which laws are just and unjust?" Noriko's voice contained a touch of anger, "I cannot discard laws I consider unjust based on personal opinion! If I do that, I am no longer a police officer, I am merely a vigilante, enforcing my own brand of justice."

Takeda turned away. "We all make choices, Captain. You broke many laws in assisting our mission. How do you choose which laws to break, and which not to break?"

"So, we go from 'an eye for an eye', to the 'end justifies the means'? Tell me Mr. Johnson, which laws do you choose to support?"

"Don't avoid the question, Captain. You broke laws assisting us. How did you choose which laws it is okay to break?"

"I did what I thought was needed, Mr. Johnson, in order to see that this op was completed successfully." Noriko scowled at the horizon.

Takeda smiled. "Exactly. So you discarded laws based upon expedience and your own judgement."

Noriko's scowl got even blacker, but she did not respond.

Takeda watched the van leave. "Do you think you can hold onto Largo, Captain?"

"ESWAT has had to confine cyborgs before, Mr. Johnson and I do not believe that Mr. Largo will be any different."

Takeda nodded, although he didn't seem convinced. "Mr. Largo seemed very confident. In the lab, it looked for a moment like he was considering fighting against all of us at once, even knowing what we had done to his BU-35s. He calculated the risks against the gains of such an action, and decided it wasn't worth it. But he thought about it, and he doesn't look like a rash person."

"I'll keep that in mind."

The van turned a corner and was out of sight. "What are you going to do with them, Captain?

Noriko watched the van leave before speaking. "I no longer have any control over their fate, Mr. Johnson. Section 9 will be the ones to decide what to do with them."

Takeda shook his head, then turned to the small woman.

"You were a formidable ally, Captain. I'd like to thank you for your assistance."

Noriko stood silent for a moment, thinking. "You are welcome, Mr. Johnson," she finally responded, in a flat, formal tone.

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