What was once incontrovertible, boisterous, down right menacing soon became engulfed by the group's endless chattering - dissolving gracefully into a distant harmless memory. Even while Shimada's shot began to shallow out Blackwell's eardrums and dilated eyes remained painfully widened. Stretched to their limits in anxious accommodation unprepared for such a ballsy display of what previously appeared as shear stupidity spawned from savage spontaneity. A fate common enough to allow safe passage for a previously sync unsophisticated mind now undoubtedly shattered, itching to take refuge.
No longer comfortably in tune with the meticulously constructed idea of his reality, nor in control of maintaining order throughout the haggard confines of his mind thoroughly set ablaze, Dash struggles to his feet. Careful and cautiously he avoids the urge of lining any one person up for an accusing glare. His wild astounded eyes hastily scan the ground for the whereabouts of Tomoe's dislodged molten round only to find themselves acquainted by its shattered remnants strewn haphazardly about the room in almost a blink of an eye. Judging from the healthy amount of fine lustrous slivers coupled by the frightening lack of distance between the hard head from which she discharged, he assured himself the condition of the gun if found was comparably unsettling.
A more alarming epiphany suddenly rose, evolved, matured, grew wings and flew from Blackwell for yet another psyche altering episode for if the strange black suit hadn't disposed of the bullet with such unprecedented proficiency another improvised death would have weight heavily upon his delicate conscious. Yes... as difficult and impossible as it seemed death had noticed him that night and chose to cast its nefarious smile upon him. This time clarity hit its mark with unparalleled accuracy though his mind try as it might yearned to continue, create and cultivate a myriad of scenarios fueled by already strained defense mechanisms. Despite itself, defeated and humbled it soon betrayed him disallowing the refusal of Shimada's wisdom being force fed into his brain.
The woman's actions though reckless were genuine, selfless, almost genius.
The results were terrifying, unexpected, absolute and irrefutable.
Whoever or whatever designed those highly advanced space age garments couldn't have been of this world and under closer scrutiny from the confines of his corner after giving into the gravity of the situation he himself had a hand in crafting... made him feel completely powerless. While this melting pot of oddly dressed strangers didn't have all the answers he wanted to hear, they may have had actual experience surviving every strange unexplained malicious order of an enigmatic life giving sphere who had somehow now enslaved him as well. For the first time since his arrival every look he gave these battle hardened veterans of this live action science fiction horror freak show revealed humbled curiosity and earnest respect. Previous moments of his now infamous unapologetic style of arrogant resolve were finally put to rest, unfounded and ignorant.
Embarrassed, vulnerable, feeling exposed as the loudest sole moron among them, and barely holding on swallowed up by the unaccommodating maelstrom of assorted emotions clawing their way to the surface, Blackwell struggles to apologize to the object of his misplaced aggression. Nervously clearing his throat after deciding against approaching her due to her slightly distorted facial expression in response to Keiko's swift invasion of the personal space Tomoe seems to hold dear, he instead speaks to her in a sympathetic and remorseful tone to signify his defeat:
"...I, uh... just wanted to let you know I won't be bothering you with any more questions or ridiculous accusations. It's one thing having to share the face of the only dark cloud hovering over your shoulders in life, but trying to extend that same misfortune to someone else is pretty fucked up, huh? I mean... I could have gotten yourself fucking KILLED egging you on into pulling a stunt like that... and for what? Trying to kick a little knowledge to a self centered loud mouthed moron like me? You don't even KNOW me. You don't know ANY of us. You could have just said nothing and let us go on about our fucking business. I mean... that little punk gave up REAL quick but you... didn't. You didn't owe me a damn thing yet you stepped up, gambled with YOUR LIFE and did what you had to just to benefit the rest of us out of the loop.
Tch, I bet you didn't even fucking know that suit DID that... did you? You were nervous as fuck before you pulled that trigger which in my eyes makes you more of a real man than I am. What I'm trying to say is that... I'm... really sorry. I still don't... understand what the hell is going on but that suit couldn't have been man made and those weren't blanks you shot. That much is painfully obvious. What just happened... shouldn't have happened. I just... don't know how much more of this shit I can take. What's real, what's fake, what to make of any of this or any of you. I just... know what you did right there was much more than what I've grown accustomed to my whole life. And that I guess... deserves my respect."
Drawing in a deepening breath as a sudden wave of depression starts to creep in while weighing out his dwindling options of surviving this night, he continues on while scanning the room:
"...I'm not going to be a problem to anyone. You won't have to worry about me sticking my nose where it doesn't belong. Not after that... not anymore. I... just want to go home."
Unconcerned with waiting for a response he reaches for his iPod turning it on soon after his thumb, index and middle finger brush against its base. After lodging the headphones deep into his ear canals he sits back down, crossing his legs indian style while strumming the scroll pad in search of an album and artist capable of helping him drown the ever present anxiety prevalent in his thoughts and remarks in good music.
Tomoe taps her finger onto Blackwell's earbud to get his attention after his apology.
"It's fine. If you survive what's coming you can go home, but not before. Just remember what I said about the suit and the exploding head thing."
She leaves Blackwell since she knows all about the desire to be alone at times like this and sits against the wall in direct line of sight of the black ball.
While looking down Tomoe notices that for the first time before a mission she was wearing shoes. The night she was killed she wasn't wearing any and the black shoes the ball provided were blasted away in a test of the guns. Since then, as coincidence would have it she faced every mission with bare feet.
She unties her shoes and rolls up her socks and puts them inside. It didn't make any logical sense, but doing something different this time around felt dangerous.
I've survived this long without shoes. Why mess with what works?
Fully aware of her presence amidst searching for music and answers he fashions a quick but polite reply not bothering to take his eyes off of the screen.
"Given the fact this is apparently Tokyo, Japan... I don't have a 'home' here. As a matter of fact, I don't even have enough money to afford a ticket back home to the states. I'm just hoping that thing... malfunctioned somehow and will beam me back to a different ball somewhere in the states after we're done here tonight. If... that's possible. One of your friends speculated we might not be the only ones going through this madness. Fuck... here's hoping I last long enough to get an answer."
He then scratches his head slightly in frustration at the realization of how unnecessarily complicated his life has become only finding contentment in the fact his search had at last come to an end.
Shin shot a knowing smirk to Keiko as she took the cigar he was holding. He didnt care about Tomoe-san and the Gaijin right now, Keiko had a hold on him.
"Heh, good thing I got more than one", Shin murmered to Keiko and pulled another cigar out of his jacket and lit it up, "You need another, just let me know. I got about 7 left now. That should last, because when we're out on the field smoking will be the last thing you'll want to do."
Shin sat up and took a deep drag for a second before continuing; "Gotta say Keiko, its a breath of fresh air to have someone tell me their name here. I only know Tomoe-san and Sean-kun over there by name right now, and only got theirs from Tomoe's speeches to the newbs. This world would be a little better if people showed a little more courtesy."
Shin took another drag before his smirk changed to a warmer smile;
"Y'know, I think we're gonna get along just fine. Cant wait to see what you'll look like in one of these suits"
Shin lifted his t-shirt to show his Suit underneath, identical to Tomoe-sans one and gave Keiko a wink.
Keiko admires the suit, surprised that it suits a male physique as well as a female. The cogs in her head start ticking again as she envisions the clothes she make inspired by it. she takes another drag of the cigar before returning the wink.
"Oh, me neither....Can't wait."
She knocks on his chest firmly with a fist, blowing smoke from between pursed lips.
"So....if these suits make you stronger, and can stop a bullet and point-blank range, what the hell have we got to worry about?"
Andre almost passes out with the realization his brother has fallen prey to the same cruel fate as he. Andre cries out, "NNNOOOOO!!! RYU!!!...WAIT!!!" Andre thinks about reaching out and grabbing his brother's shoulder as he past but he knows that would only infuriate Ryunosuke. Like Andre, Ryunosuke can't tolerate being held or restrained. Instead Andre needed to use another approacch much like he used time and time again back in Chicago. Andre follows behind Ryunosuke being very careful to keep a safe distance. When Ryunosuke sits down Andre takes one knee, takes a deep breath then says,
"Ughhh Ryu please dont shut me out, not now bro. Not this time. Do you remember the first time you came to visit me at nana's? I told you then that Chicago was a insane place. I told you not to go out by yourself but you did and you know what happened. This place here is worse than that, way worse. What you'll see here is beyond description. I can't t tell you any real secifics, none of these assh0les can. But I can tell you if you don't listen to me right now you'll never see Niko, mom or anyone else ever again.". Then Andre ries up to his feet, looks down at his brother and begins ripping his hoodie off revealing that he too had one of the mysterious black suits on too.
"Look at me Ryu, would I wear anything like this if I f_cking didn't have too? We have to work together bro, just like before. You and me together bro.".
Andre waits for any signs of hope that Ryunosuke will respond to his words. Hopefully Ryu will join his brother once again.
Shin tensed his chest to make it seem like it was muscly for Keiko as she tapped it.
"Well, you got me. My memory was wiped so I dont even remember the alien attacking us, last thing I remember was charging at it and I ended up back here. These suits do help though, one kid left without one and he didnt come back. Best wear one... I was lucky because last time I was here I just had a hospital gown that didnt even cover my back, I wore this Suit out of covering up rather than protection, but I'm here now so it must have helped somehow."
Shin took a third hard drag on his cigar.
"Did you know you can jump like 20 feet in the air with these things too? My guess is the Suit is like a muscle suit from MGS, powering up your leg muscles to give your jumps more oomph."
Shin took another slightly more impatient drag on his cigar, giving a darting look to the black ball.
"When are we going anyway? Everyone's here already, when is that ball going to play its little stupid song?"
Shin stretches over to the ball and lightly taps it with his fist as if tapping a mobile phone to get more coverage.
Tomoe absently turns the glock over in her hands. At first she thought it was funny. It was the fourth time someone brought a gun into the room. Saigo, the woman cop whose name she never learned, the lunatic from last time and whoever brought this one. It was as traditional as not wearing shoes.
As funny as it was that a gun should pop up every time, it reminded Tomoe of the fact that she is the last survivor of that first mission. Koi, Saigo, Joshua and even that platypus were all dead.
I don't get it. I'm not strong, I'm not that smart. Why did I survive when everyone else died?
Tomoe decides that she would deal with these feelings of guilt the same she dealt with everything else. By not dealing with it.
I'm alive. That's all that matters.
Thinking about the others who had died suddenly makes Tomoe realize just how sick she is of seeing people around her die.
She goes over in her head to try to remember if everyone knew the most important details. Putting on the suit, getting a weapon, not straying outside of the zone, these things were all covered. Still, it felt as if there was something she was forgetting.
"The time limit!" she blurts out too suddenly and too loudly for her own liking. She stands up to address the others.
"Everyone, make sure that once the hour is up there are no aliens left alive. You have to kill every single one. If you see someone and you think it may be an alien, don't hesitate. If people have to die I'd rather it not be one of us."
Tomoe feels a slight touch of guilt over putting their lives over other people's, but she recognized that as something instilled in her by polite society. Young women didn't advocate killing innocent people as acceptable. That voice that expressed guilt over things like that had grown more and more quiet.
She heaves a heavy sigh and sits back down.
Ryunosuke buried his face in his hands as if to shield himself from his brothers words, it would seem Andre had fallen prey to the group madness too. No, no, no, I don't believe it! Instead of being rescued Ryunosuke was being pulled in deeper. This nightmare was far from being over. One thing Andre said that made Rynouke really mad was Andre's mention of Niko's name. How dare he bring her into this after what he did to her.
"She's not yours any more Dre, she belongs with me now. Ain't Megumi good enough for you, ヘ! Don't let her name come outta your mouth again."
Ryunosuke sighs and withdrew mentally even further than before. I gotta get outta here.I'll play along for. Andre is right, blood is thicker than water. If I get the chance I'll get him back away from these retards.
Sean for the first time wanted to speak to someone; at least feel like he had some kind of important role to play in all this. The only thing he could think about was what was the next target. He could feel a slight nervous chill come over him as aliens of different sizes and shapes overwhelmed his thoughts. With everybody in the room clamoring around Tomoe or dealing with their own crap Sean found in easier just to leave the main room again.
In the hallway Sean once again unsheathes his sword and takes more practice swings; he felt it had a calming effect on him taking practice swings and feeling comfortable with a sword. For now Sean waits outside in the hallway waiting for the ball to open up; he couldn't explain it but for some reason he didn't feel comfortable in the main room around anybody.....for now