Nu-13 (an evil sign):
The only noises that could be heard within this silent room was the hum of the machines and the footsteps of the scientists who were deep in thought. On the screen of the central main monitor, the image of a girl with numerous cables attached to her was displayed. On top of that, the cable attached directly to her right eye made her a rather unusual sight. The girl was motionless. Whether she was alive or dead... That was something that was hard to be sure about.
“The readings have stabilised”
The female voice of the operator resounded through the loudspeaker.
“Right, that's good. Increase sethir levels by 500... inject it in!”
The old man in a white lab coat sitting in front of the main monitor issued out the order.
“Roger. Injecting an additional 500 amount of sethir.”
As the operator's voice resounded, simultaneously the noise level of the machines began to increase. After a moment, the cable attached to the girl's right eye began to undulate, and shortly became dyed black.
Instantly, like the beat of a pulse, the girl began to quiver slighty.
The surrounding scientists cheered slightly. Before reaching this stage, there had been countless failures.
“Right, all that's left is to wait for the establishment...”
“Yeah, it will take quite a while till the awakening. However, it seems we will be able to finish within schedule.”
The short and slender-built assistant seated next to the old scientist replied.
“Because this one took so long to reach us, I'm a little uneasy... The delivery is set for tomorrow at 1030 hours right?”
“Yes, it's scheduled to be delivered to the 13th Hierachical City Kagutsuchi tomorrow at 1030 hours.”
The 13th body delivered to the Hierachical city numbered 13... such an ominous combination, the assistant thought but kept it to himself.
The old scientist and his seated assistant gazed intently on the monitor with some emotion. After this all that was left was for the seithir to fully permeate, and then wait for the establishment process. Each of the scientists began to relax.
“Nevertheless, this 13th subject that we confiscated from Ikaruga... it seems it's level of completion is different than from what was declared”
“Yeah, it's something that Sector Seven made that was desgined by Dr. Relius”
“Hm, that puppeter huh? I guess I should say as expected of his work then. But still, to think that those damned Sector Seven could advance to this point...”
“They nearly stole a march on us. Nonetheless, it's too early for us to let our guard down”
“Yeah. There were 3 bodies that were built in Ikaruga. Out of those 1 was retrieved by us, the Libarium, and is now here but...”
“The whereabouts of the remainding 2 are unknown. While in the midst of recovering this subject, the Libarium's special forces ran into interference from a giant individual resembling a “demon”, and it seems another body was unfortunately stolen. The delay in the arrival of this subject is also the fault of the interference caused by the unknown individual”
“ A giant resembling a “demon” huh. I wonder who's he working for... and which other body did he steal?”
“Well, that has yet to be investigated into. Still, if it's the 12th then it's going to be a little bit troublesome...”
The 2 men frowned.
“Still, regarding the demon in Ikaruga, that's certainly some sort of fairy tale right?”
The old scientist uneasily shrugged the subject off. The other scientists laughed. The many tales of the “demons” and “monsters” in Ikaruga was widespread and was treated as common knowledge amongst them.
“Ah yeah, there's one more. There's this one case of the “grim reaper”. Have you guys heard about it?”
“You mean the one who's destroying the boundary contact mediums and cauldrons? Who or what is he?
“I don't know much. Other than the fact that he's dressed in red and has silver hair...”
The assistant disappointedly shrugged his shoulders.
“Boy oh boy, the intelligence department are rather useless aren't they...”
The old scientist replied. At that moment, a click sound indicated the door had opened.
“Ah~ sorry, am I interrupting anything? Pardon me...”
Suddenly, a voice they weren't used to hearing echoed from behind them, and the scientists turned around. Other than the half opened door, the top half of a slenderly built male suddenly popped out of the gap. He was clad in a dark suit, and held a hat in his hands. His eyes seemed to not know how to open.
“Hey, this is a restricted zone! How did you get in!?”
One of the scientists raised the alarm over the conspicious suit-clad outsider. With an innocent look on his face, the man in the suit casually slid into the room.
“I apologise for the sudden intrusion. I am Hazama from the intelligence department. So sorry, to have come while you're all in the middle of work...”
His voice dripping with sarcasm, Hazama introduced himself. It seems he had been observing their idle chatter. Whether he had heard their criticism of the intelligence department was undiscernable.
“... And what does the intelligence branch want?”
The old scientist replied with a level voice. Walking with steady and light footsteps, Hazama stood before the scientist.
“I came to retrieve the 13th subject but... I guess it'll take a little more time hm?”
“Retrieve? Isn't the 13th subject scheduled to be transported to Kagutsuchi tomorrow at 1030 hours?”
His face showing doubt, the scientist posed the question. The surrounding scientists' wariness of Hazama increased.
“Ahh~, well circumstances have changed somewhat. No actually, everything's going according to plan.”
“I do not understand what you're saying. Please explain.”
“You could call it a bluff. To decieve your enemies, first decieve your friends, as they say, right?”
As he said that, Hazama looked around at the scientists' faces. The old scientist quickly caught on.
“I see. In other words, the official order was just a diversion, huh...”
“That's right, that's right. The 13th subject is very important after all. If it were to be destroyed or stolen then, it'd be very bad wouldn't it?”
“Sector seven has already begun to move, and when they'll come here to cause disruptions is undeterminable. And also, there's...”
Hazama stopped mid-sentence. With one eye slightly opened, he continued in a low voice.
“... The situation regarding the “grim reaper” too.”
The scientists murmurred amongst themselves in low voices
“It seems you don't believe me. Then, I guess it can't be helped. Look here, this is the imperial edict”
While saying so Hazama casually drew out a what appeared to be a note written on a piece of paper from his inner pocket.
“The seal of the Imperator is present, do you see it?”
It was said with a light tone.
“No, it's fine. I understand. We will make preperations for the transport immediately. Please give us a while to make all the arrangments.”
“Ah, before that. The truth is, aside from the retrieval I was given a special order as well...”
“It would be bad if there were some sort of mistake. So then, I need to confirm the number of the subject with my own 2 eyes.”
“Impossible...! How could there have been a mistake!?”
The assistant raised his voice, to insist that their work was without flaw. Hazama turned to face the outburst, his expression unchanging.
“... I understand. However, I will have to accompany you in, that won't be a problem right?”
The old scientist rebuked his subordinate, and tried his best to give a calm response to Hazama.
“No, of course it won't be”
The old scientist led Hazama along, into the depths of the research lab, and guided him into the subject's room. Attached to the binding devices, the 13th subject's body which hung from the restraints, was unmistakably alive. As Hazama approached he climbed up a stepladder, and examined the middle of the 13th subject's neck and chest.
“Ah, I see. It's unmistakably the 13th , yes.”
While tracing the number 13 engraving with his finger, Hazama smiled as he spoke.
“Are you satisfied now?”
“Yes, thanks to you”
“Then, let's hurry up and leave.”
Snapping the file shut with a bang, the old scientist pressed Hazama to leave. Then, he turned on his heels and began to walk quickly towards the door. Hazama turned and followed suit. However, on his way out he turned to face the 13th subject, and with both eyes opened began to mutter
“Yo, doll. It's about time to wake up from your dream. There'll be plenty of time to continue the rest in reality... no?”
As if in response, the 13th subject's left eyelid appeared to flutter weakly.