Shaken Faith



Scene Title Shaken Faith
Synopsis Would that things could have gone differently.
Date July 13, 2019

Tokyo Restricted Zone

Given the events that transpired earlier this evening implicated Americans, plural, it’s perhaps not unexpected that Banri Komura’s phone rings in the dead middle of night. Though to be fair, he could be expecting any number of callers. His phone buzzes against the surface of his nightstand, flashing an international number.

It’s just another indicator he’s definitely an American caller, if the English and the reference to another government’s group didn’t do it.

Hi, this is James Wells from the SLC-E Expressive Services Agency. Is this Ban-ri Komura?

He really tried not to butcher the accent.

If I have to, chotto nihongo dekimasen. Heh.

The noise Komura makes while the phone is held up to his ear is nothing short of an ursine growl. Sliding out of his bed in the middle of the night, he exhales a frustrated and fatigued sigh, then pushes up to his feet to stand. “Yes, Mr. Wells…” Komura’s accent is strong, but his English is solid. “Do they have those, mmn, clocks? On the walls of your office? The ones that tell what time it is somewhere else in the world?” Komura has always imagined US law-enforcement offices as they appear in movies.

“It is three…” Komura glances at his clock on the way out of his bedroom, “…sixteen in the morning, Mr. Wells.” Slowly, Komura exits his bedroom and enters the hall to the kitchen, then takes a right turn headed to the unlit space of his personal office. “What’s going on?”

"So sorry to bother you at this time of night," the voice on the other end of the phone apologizes. "We were only just forwarded a bulletin that came out, er, — I guess last night where you are — about a murder, it looks like…"

As Komura passes into the space of his office, he makes it only a handful of steps inside before hearing a tiny click behind his head.

It did not come from his phone.

"… and I was hoping to ask you a few questions."

Komura makes a small noise in the back of his throat, angling his attention to the glass face of a cabinet reflecting light from the kitchen. He can't make out the person behind him more than a silhouette, but it's enough to suspect that's a gun they're holding. Not lowering the phone from his ear, Komura juggles a conversation that is both directed at the person on the other end of the line and the one behind him…

“How can I help you?”

…not yet realizing they're one in the same.

Or close enough it doesn't matter.

"O-kay, let's see… did you have any leads on their current whereabouts? Any reason to believe they'd be headed anywhere in particular?" The voice on the end of the phone goes down through a list, but he doesn't exactly give enough time to answer. "Any clue into their motivations that might tie into that?" He sounds like he doesn't expect anything other than a polite declination, but he's just doing his duty, keeping Komura talking.

It's the silence from the figure behind him that has Komura tense. “No,” he replies flatly, “we should talk tomorrow. It's late here and so have— business in the morning.” He looks at the muted reflection in the glass of the cabinet, waiting for either a question or — in the case of the gun — an answer to come.

"Ah," the voice on the phone says, noting the shift in conversational tone, not to mention his dismissal. Overall, though, he doesn't seem surprised. In fact, he might've been waiting for it. "She's there, then, isn't she? Well, good luck."

"And give ON1 my best."

The line disconnects, leaving them both in silence. Komura with a phone in his hand, and the woman standing behind him with a gun in hers. It's held level, unwavering as the moments tick on. She breathes in and exhales calmly to break the quiet. Her voice is even.


"«You owe me an explanation.»"

“«I don't.»” Komura is bold enough to say as he lowers the phone from his ear and ends the call with a swipe of his thumb. Slowly, he moves to set the phone down on the desk ahead of him. “«If we’re talking debts, Asami, I believe you owe me more than you realize.»”

There's a tension in Komura’s voice that Asi’s never heard before. Not directed at her. His posture, likewise, is both still and somehow defensive all in one. The cautious way the old man balances his weight, keeps his knees bent, fingers splayed at his side. “«Put the gun down. We both know you won't shoot me.»”

It takes effort not to, actually. Not in the head, but in the foot. In one of his splayed hands. Anything to let him know how serious she is, and how little the past means to her at the moment. Something to properly convey her anger, her sense of betrayal.

Firing would be a loud, final resort given how much attention it would draw, though.

The gun is lowered, but still held tense by her side. “«We have worked together for how long.»" Asi's voice broils, her shoulders settle. "«If you saw this coming, how could you not trust me? How could you do that to me?»” Her jaw sets, grip still tight on the gun.

"Y'all could use English a little," Monica says from a shadowy corner. She's hard to make out in the dark, but once she pulls attention her way, it's easier to see the figure lingering there. With Asi lowering her weapon, Monica feels it's important that Komura knows he's not safe. That there's an element here without the history he and Asi share.


She doesn't step out, though, because this is Asi's show and she's just here to support. And to make sure Asi gets out if things go sideways. And since she doesn't want repeat something already asked. So she contents herself with watching. And with flipping a butterfly knife around in her fingers as a gentle reminder of the threat these two could pose to him.

“«We all have our reasons.»” Komura says, ignoring the barely visible intruder’s request for English. “«Do not misconstrue tenure for trust, Asami. Some things are over your head and…»” It sounds like Komura wants to say more. But he doesn't.

Komura turns enough to regard Asi and keep Monica in his periphery. “«You were supposed to meet up with Genki. How did you get out of there?»”

Surprise makes itself visible on Asi in how she practically flinches at hearing what should have happened. What a memo she missed. "Genki?" she asks, such a happy word to be tinged with that much bitterness. As for the answer to how she escaped, she looks to Monica briefly while she considers it. Sorry, the play by play might have to come later, for some pieces. "私も秘密があるわ。" she says in an even voice as she turns back to Komura.

"You're not saying anything to inspire confidence, Chief," Asi states. For all her anger, the prodding use of a name dead to her, she's honed in on the allusion to a plan for her extraction, and that Komura felt this was all out of his control. "I can't help you if you don't help me," comes from her with more patience than she would have thought herself capable of even moments before.

"Why Genki?" she presses. "What happened? «Talk to me, Chief.»"

Monica lifts an eyebrow, her head tilting with curiosity at the change in Asi's tone. "Once we understand why Asi was tossed to the wolves, we can be on our way," she says dryly. "If you can't answer, then point us to someone who actually knows what the hell is going on."

She doesn't mind the notion of a repeat performance with someone else. Even if she would prefer not to. But if her friend is in trouble, or if she's being targeted, then Monica will keep going until they get to the bottom of it.

It’s Asi’s use of English that prompts Komura’s. “I don’t need your help,” he says with a look over to the technopath. “You can’t help. You being here is actively harming— ” he cuts himself off, looks around the room and then back to Asi. She’d know if the room was bugged, and that gives him some small measure of comfort.

“Shimesu Kitai,” Komura says, briefly and suspiciously eyeing Monica as he does, “has wanted to break down Japan’s registry for years. He’s been consolidating power, working to embarrass and remove Prime Minister Uchida. With enough support Kitai could take Uchida’s place himself…” Exhaling a sigh through his nose, Komura closes his eyes.

“Five months ago my daughter Kitsuko and my granddaughter were abducted on a trip to Shanghai. I was contacted by a man named Baruti Naidu, a South African smuggler, with the terms for their safe release. I…” Komura’s brows furrow together. “I refused, initially and intended to bring the details to the attention of international authorities. I was called back within minutes. Kitsuko was dead.”

Not opening his eyes, Komura continues to explain his situation. “They still have my granddaughter, Hisato. She’s eleven.” Finally, Komura opens his eyes and looks to Asi. “What was I supposed to do?” Whatever Komura’s story, it still doesn’t quite bridge the gap between a Diet member’s political ambitions and Asi’s current situation.

It does, and it doesn't.

An upset of the current political system would be a win for the man seeking to sweep power. It could pave his path to victory. Pro-Evolved politician, working on the side with pro-Evolved "activists" … it could have worked out to further his cause.

If he didn't accidentally shift things to the right, instead.

The tension in Asi's arm slacks when Komura brings up what happens to his daughter. Her brow knits before she can emotionally distance herself from his situation. It happens, though, because… the kidnapping happened five months ago. What an awful long time for someone to be manipulated.

"Did the Prime Minister actually order Lang brought in?" she asks in a tone that holds Komura at an arm's length away. The blue in her eyes is dark. "Or was it Naidu?" She pauses for only a moment, an edge to her voice when she speaks again. She slips tongues. "«And the Mazdak case?»"

The news about the granddaughter gets Monica's attention, her fingers still around the knife and she looks over at him. "Are you sure she's still alive?" Because it has been a long time. And these aren't exactly honorable people to be taken at their word. "We'll need whatever information you have about who took her and where she might be held. Any detail you have." She might not be happy with Komura, but she won't leave a child behind.

"We'll get her back."

She's not asking Asi first, either. She knows her answer, as well as the others with them.

"You're probably not the only person they're controlling like this. We can disrupt that."

The look Komura levels at Monica is scathing but silent. “She is alive,” is the only detail he offers. Perhaps it’s the only one he has. When he turns to Asi there is evident frustration in his tone. “I don’t know. Does it matter? To you and I, no. The order was put in, and you and I face different ends of the consequences. Do not get so hung up on the small details that you lose sight of the bigger picture. That being, you’re a wanted woman now. As are your friends,” he says with a look to Monica.

“I was going to smuggle you out of the country,” Komura admits in a smaller tone of voice after his indignation fades. The look he gives Asi is nearly paternal. “Give you a head start. I told Genki to tell no one. When you weren’t there I… assumed you already got it.” Swallowing noisily, Komura shakes his head and looks down at the floor.

“This country is teetering on the brink of its own civil war, Asami. What started in America was only the beginning. There are so many groups around the world who see the United States as a case study for revolution against a superior military superpower. What happened at that steelworks is just the beginning…” Komura looks tired, defeated, and worst of all out of options. “There are too many heads on this serpent, Asami. And too much venom.”

"Small details are a matter of perspective. The why of the situation is more important than the what of it to me," Asi meets his paternal gaze with only a small shake of her head. Even if she had found Genki, she'd feel the same way.

"If this government falls, it's because it did it to itself," she states in a moment of anger. "If the United States is a case study, then we should have learned Shinka-jin are to be embraced, not feared. Not suppressed. Not…" Before she does something she'll regret with it, she goes through the process of holstering her weapon, no less frustrated as she voices, "Not destroyed."

Hearing the repetition of her name does cause her to snap in some way, though. "黙りなさい," Asi urges Komura with a long look. "The bigger picture remains what happens next to the country as a whole. Mazdak is as much to blame as the projects that drew them like moths to flame— as are the people that supported and buried those projects."

"But not you," Asi says with more pity than anger. Disappointment stings throughout. "You just let them reduce you to a puppet on a string." To his credit, he tried. He was hurt for it before, but he tried anyway. The way he was talking now though, his Hail Mary was to try and scoop her elsewhere, to theoretical safety. The lack of hope — of the usual quiet certainty in his voice — frightens her in a way she'll only process later.

She gestures to Monica with a jerk of her head. "One of the Americans who fought against that military superpower and won is asking how she can help you. Let's give her everything possible." Asi arches an eyebrow, the fire in her voice mellowing some. "People like her have made miracles happen before, Komura." And children like his granddaughter didn't deserve to suffer for the sins of older men.

Closing her eyes, she shakes her head once. Her tone is quieter still. "じいちゃん, please."

Monica lifts her hand in a placating gesture at his look, and his insistence. To her, it makes him seem less sure of that answer than he probably wants to be. "I want to help," she says, gentler this time, "I'm able to help. And none of us wants her to still be in their company when they decide you've run out of usefulness, right?" She knows how unlikely it is that she would just be let go, in the end. "And I can't imagine you like being under their thumb."

This situation is a grim reminder for Monica. There was a time when people targeted her family, too, to get at her. She's never forgiven herself for what they got dragged into. For what her grandmother went through. For her brother's fate.

She can empathize with the weight Komura is carrying around.

It is with the utmost patience of a man who was held at gunpoint by people now demanding to help that Komura says, “No.” There's a concrete rigidity to his sentiment. “I am in command of the most talented law enforcement officers in the nation of Japan. Officers who trust me, believe in me, and understand that everything I do is for them. Do either of you think that if I knew where she was, who was holding her, or any information beyond the small amount they afford me I would be in this situation?”

“My daughter went to China to get away from Japan. Because her daughter was like you,” Komura says to Asi. Not in anger, but in a call for sympathy. “The people who have her aren't idiots. They control information, and I obey. In fact it could all be a lie and all that's left of my family could be dead.” Komura’s jaw trembles. “But if I believe there is even a chance my granddaughter is still alive… I will hold onto it tightly.

Swallowing down bile in the back of his throat, Komura shakes his head. “The last time an American came to Japan to be a hero it caused all of this.” He speaks of the Shibuya incident. Of Magnes Varlane. “Do you have more demands to make of me at gunpoint, Asami?”

It stings, a little, realizing Asi is no longer among that number. No longer of the number who report to Komura, and someone who has had her faith in him shaken. When he asks her if she has any more gunpoint inquiries, she simply lifts both empty hands from her side as a tell.

“Why do you keep calling me that,” she asks flatly anyway. There could be several reasons. But she wants to hear it from him.

She’s got enough to ruminate on as far as Komura is concerned, enough digging to be done. Asi doesn’t want this to be added to the pile, or worse, be yet another thing she’ll never have an answer for.

"Magnes Varlane didn't cause this. Your government caused this when they decided to use one person as an excuse to oppress millions. But yes, all Evolved and all Americans are just like him, sure. Did you know he liked comic books, too? Better get those fans on lock down before they try anything." Monica folds her arms, sympathy for the man evaporating in that one moment. Asi knows by now that it's unlikely Monica will give up on the girl, though, just because her grandfather can absolutely do one.

"Asi trusted you, too, you know. And you blindfolded her and threw her to the wolves. If your people trust you, then I'm sorry for them." She lets out a heavy sigh and looks over at her friend. "Are we done with this guy, Asi?"

Komura’s brows furrow as he listens to Monica, then closes his eyes and blinks a look over to Asi. “It is who you are,” is his only answer for her. Maybe it’s who Komura hopes she is, or hopes she can become again some day. Maybe it’s a warning about her family, about their vulnerability in this situation. He doesn’t make it clear, if even he knows the answer.

“There is nothing to help,” is Komura’s final assertion of his position. “My hands are tied— have been. Yours, now, less so. The world thinks you a criminal.” Komura looks down to the floor, then away in shame before he can fix a stare back on Asi. “What would Asami Tetsuyama do?”

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License