Catalysis, Part VIII



Also Featuring:

eizen_icon.gif jiba_icon.gif

Scene Title Catalysis, Part VIII
Synopsis The last domino falls.
Date January 15, 2021

Hunched over her desk, rain streaking down the windows at her back, Kimiko Nakamura rests her head in her hands and massages her fingers against her brow. A scene from the surgery theater earlier this morning plays on a loop inside the glass top of her desk. Footage of Yi-Min Yeh's surgery and the seizure she experienced during the operation. Kimiko watches it over and over again, watches the doctors scrambling, watches the automated surgeon limbs spin up and out of the way to allow the doctors in to their patient. She watches Yi-Min flatline on the table and be resuscitated by the surgeons. She watches a complete and utter disaster.

{You appear to be watching this footage for longer than anticipated. Would you like me to stop the playback, Ms. Nakamura?} Jiba inquires, and Kimiko waves her hand over his holographic display to dismiss him from her office and locking him out from returning without authorization. She doesn't have the patience for ghosts today.

"Eizen," Kimiko calls, pressing a touch-screen button on her desk. "Please come up to my office." She doesn't wait for a response, just closes the line and slouches back into her chair, rubbing her hands over her face. But her palm comes back wet. Kimiko flinches, looks down at the smear of red smudged up her hand and glistening brightly on her fingertips. Her brows furrow again, she touches her upper lip and her fingers come away crimson.

Kimiko's breath hitches in the back of her throat.

Twelve Minutes Later

Executive Level
Yamagato Building

January 15th
4:16 pm

A soft chime accompanies the executive elevator opening to the top floor lobby. Eizen Erazawa strides out, tucking his Awasu phone into the inner pocket of his jacket. Long-legged strides bring Eizen down the black marble-lined corridor between tall, dark columns and toward the reception area to Kimiko's office. As Eizen passes the administrative desk, the young woman seated behind it turns swiftly and calls out to Eizen. "Ms. Nakamura isn't accepting guests at this time."

Eizen turns to Kimiko's admin with one brow raised. He almost doesn't know what to say at first. "She just called me," is the most polite answer he can give. Kimiko's admin smiles apologetically and turns her desktop screen toward Eizen and tries to unlock the door to Kimiko's room.

"She put her office under Private Mode going on thirteen minutes ago, Sir. I couldn't open the doors if I wanted to." The admin smiles awkwardly, apologetically. "She may have received a priority call." Eizen reaches for the door nonetheless, giving the handle an experimental jiggle. It doesn't budge. Making a dissatisfied noise in the back of his throat, Eizen looks at the admin staff, then walks to a nearby sofa and sits down on the edge, folding his hands in his lap as he watches the door to Kimiko's office like an obedient hound. So he waits, one leg jittering up and down, wondering if this is Kimiko's way of expressing displeasure with him. But on even a cursory second thought he knows the truth. That isn't how she is.

Several minutes go by, and Eizen impatiently stands from the couch and walks back to the admin desk. "Can you call her?" He asks, and the admin looks up with wide eyes at Eizen, then slowly shakes her head.

"The room is silent. I can't call in through any of our internal systems." She says nervously, looking back and forth between her computer screen and Eizen. The latter of whom retrieves his cell phone from his jacket and dials Kimiko's personal line directly. This was unusual now. Kimiko had never kept him waiting this long before. The call goes through, straight to voicemail. Eizen snorts, pacing back and forth like an angry, caged tiger. he waits another ten minutes and it's nearly five by now. Eizen goes back to the admin desk and leans forward toward the young woman behind it.

"Did Ms. Nakamura receive a call on her internal line before engaging Private Mode?" Eizen asks, and the admin checks the incoming and outgoing call logs.

"No, nothing in our out before it was engaged." The admin says, focused on telecom logs. "She may have placed an outgoing call once it was engaged. We don't keep logs from— "

"I know how it works." Eizen says at the edge of his patience. He checks his phone, no response from Kimiko. "Jiba," Eizen calls out, and Jiba's voice rises around him in the room.

{Hello Eizen. How can I—}

"When did you speak to Kimiko last?" Eizen asks through clenched teeth.

{At 4:03 pm, Sir.} Jiba replies back. {She was reviewing the footage from Ms. Yeh's surgery and dismissed me in frustration after I inquired about her viewing habits.}

Eizen's phone buzzes in his pocket. At first his expression is relief, reaching for the phone. But when a name other than Kimiko Nakamura appears on the screen, his confidence sinks. "Erazawa," Eizen greets over the phone. Whatever is said on the other end draws his eyes to Kimiko's door. "When did this happen?" He asks sharply. "And Mr. Khan?" Eizen's throat tightens. "Handle it." He curtly dismisses before terminating the call and advancing on the door to Kimiko's office.

"Jiba, can you bypass the locks on Kimiko's doors?" Eizen asks the AI, to which Jiba replies with a sharp beep.

{I cannot. It is against my behavioral shackles.}

Eizen responds by drawing his sidearm and aiming it at the lock. "Cover your ears," he barks to the admin assistant who yelps and cowers at her desk, shielding her head with her hands. Eizen fires half his magazine into the door, the first four rounds doing nothing but the fifth and sixth rounds manage to punch through the lock. He steps forward, kicking the door twice before one side finally gives way and opens into Kimiko's office. The moment Eizen can see into her expansive personal space, he knows something is wrong. Kimiko is laying on the floor.

"Call a medical team!" Eizen screams, rushing into the office, gun drawn and checking the corners for anyone who shouldn't be there. "Kimiko— Kimiko!" Eizen drops to one knee beside Kimiko, rolling her over onto her back. Blood has stained Kimiko's face and rivulets run from her tear ducts, nostrils and ears. "I need emergency medical now!" Setting his gun down beside himself, Eizen cradles Kimiko in his arms, one hand on her cheek. "Kimiko— Kimiko?!"


Two Hours Later

Yamagato Park

January 15th
6:29 pm

A light, drizzling rain blurs the view of Yamagato Park through the windshield of a car parked on the edges of the neighborhood. A haze of blue and violet neon light floods the sedan's interior where a lone woman sits in thoughtful silence with a blocky, cheap cell phone cradled in her lap. Pale blue eyes regard the faint outline of her reflection in the windshield, her profile illuminated in vibrant turquoise light by a nearby neon sign. The phone in her lap finally vibrates, causing the redhead to jolt up in her seat. Taking a moment to regain her composure, she brings the phone to her ear.

«No man ever threw away life while it was worth keeping.» A distorted voice states on the other end of the phone.

"A wise man apportions his beliefs to the evidence." The redhead recites back.

«Status update.»

"I don't even know where to start…" The redhead says in a near whisper, hunching forward against her steering wheel. "There… there were multiple medical emergencies. Yamagato staff, Isabelle Khan and Shahid Kahn both suffered severe strokes and were moved to medical. There was a surgical accident of some kind in the medical wing this morning, but I haven't been able to get details beyond that it happened, but—"

«Who was in for surgery?»

"No I—I don't know. Not an employee? But that's not—"

«You need to find out.»

"Listen!" The redhead hisses. "None of that matters. That's not—she's dead." The redhead says with a quaver in her voice.

«Who is dead? The surgery recipient?»

"No. No…" The redhead tries to explain. "Christ. She's dead." A car passes by as she's trying to explain, the light bathing her face from left to right, allowing the redhead to see her own reflection in the windshield for a moment. That bit of clarity, that sense of self gives her the clarity of mind to say what she's been trying to this whole time.


"Kimiko Nakamura is dead."

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