Exiting the elevator, Noriko was surprised at how cold the hallway felt. It was still only early summer, far to early for the building's air conditioning to be set to such a frigid level. In the depths of MegaTokyo's most torrid summers the lowered environmental settings were a welcome relief from the sweltering heat. But the air in the hall was icy, a penetrating cold that cut through her uniform coat like a knife. Noriko found it disquieting that she could see her breath.
Arriving at the doors to the AMP's offices, Noriko came upon a most unusual sight. Sitting on the floor across from the AMP entrance, back against the wall, knees drawn up to the chest, was a white haired woman dressed in a long black coat. It was with some apprehension that Noriko realized that the woman's coat was covered with a light dusting of frost across the shoulders, and a similar icy patch had formed across the wall behind her.
Stopping in her tracks Noriko stared momentarily at the scene before her. Turning her body slightly sideways to hide her motions, Noriko quietly slid her sidearm from it's holster. <May I help you?>
Obviously startled, the woman jumped to her feet, brushing loose strands of hair from her face. Her skin was very pale, with bright blue markings along her cheeks and forehead. The large, blue eyes almost seemed to glow slightly in the shadow of her icy tresses.
<Uhm...> the woman looked quite nervous, hands making erratic fluttering motions before her, <uh... hello.> Her voice possessed an eerie crystalline quality to it.
Noriko stared silently at the intruder.
<I'm Mara...> Mara paused and swallowed, <and you are?>
<Officer Kobayashi, and I'll ask again. May I help you?>
Mara bowed slightly, <Hello Officer Kobayashi.> Bringing her head back up to look at Noriko directly, it became obvious that Mara was blushing slightly, <Is Officer Jones here?>
<No he isn't...> Noriko slowly re-holstered her pistol, bringing it into view for the first time as she did. <May I help you with something?>
Mara seemed to suddenly deflate, her breath coming forth in a great white cloud. <He's not...?> Glancing about the hall in uncertainty, Mara turned back to Noriko, <I am sorry, where are my manners? I am being rude. I am very pleased to meet you, Officer Kobayashi of the AMP. I am Mara, who, as you may guess, am not from this fine city.> She paused and gave Noriko a genuine smile, <Officer Jones was rather helpful in the matter of finding my sister, and I just wanted to thank him personally.>
Noriko thought for a moment, reveiwing Takahashi's case load in her mind for a moment. <I'm glad he was of assistance to you, although I do not remember the case you are refering to...>
<Oh... I was looking for my sister... Marller.> Mara paused and wiped the back of her hand across her eyes, <I understand she was killed by that evil sorcerer Shang Tzung.>
<Ah yes... quite an evil man.> Noriko said with a half smile.
<Very true... but he is dead now, and will longer be a trouble to us.> Noriko felt a little uncertain as to who "us" was supposed to refer to.
Mara stood silently for a moment, staring at the floor, then begain to speak. <Do you know when Officer Jones might arrive?> Mara made a sweeping motion with one arm, flakes of frost dropping from her coat to the floor, < I have spent the evening exploring this most interesting city, and thought that he would be a great help in this matter.>
Noriko raised an eyebrow, <Officer Takahashi is rather new to the city himself, but I'm sure he'd be delighted to give it his best shot.>
<That's wonderful!> Mara sounded delighted, <Can I wait for him then?>
Noriko thought for a moment before flashing a devilish grin, <Why of course you can! Come right in.> With that Noriko moved past Mara, unlocking the door to the office and walking inside...
Mara bowed as Noriko passed, <Why thank you Officer Kobayashi, you are too kind.> Gathering her rime-coated coat about her, she followed the AMP officer into the room.
Noriko showed Mara to Takahashi's desk, <This is Officer Takahashi's desk, feel free to wait here for him.> Noriko paused for a second, <Although he is usually late for work, his girlfriends usually detain him until about 7am.>
Mara's unconcealed wonderment at her new surroundings vanished immedietly. <Girlfriends...?> she asked in an icy tone of voice that closely matched her appearence.
Noriko sat down at her own desk and powered up the computer as she talked. <Oh yes, Takahashi is quite the ladies man.> Turning her chair slightly she looked over at Mara, <He's very popular.>
Mara didn't bother responding, she simply slumped down into the chair, chin in hand, glowering at the office doors. Noriko found it amusing that Takahashi's desk was starting to develop a thin layer of ice.
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