dir:\> CHAPTER I
It was late at night and the rain had been pouring down for days now. The dark and wet streets of the large megalopolis perpetually washed in bright advertisements in the form of neon lights and three-dimentional holograms formed a maze of roads, tight alleways and sharp corners where the scum of society hid away from the harsh reality drown in shallow consumerism and digital escapism. Such rough environment needed equally rough measures to keep peace and justice in the best terms possible, a sort of mantra that a select few had to live by.
The sound of calm footsteps echoing on the black marble tiles bounced between the tall walls of the long corridor between the elevator on one end to a discrete door on the other. The place was so quiet that anyone would hear a pin hit the floor. On the other side of the door, the faint sound of calm water moving and discrete traces of lavender scent floating in the air welcomed Jason once again. The lights were just bright enough to see vague edges and reflections; as long as he walked in a straight line everything would be fine. Such stimuli still triggered the good goosebumps on the back of the agent's neck, he knew something good was coming his way. He could feel it in his gut.
In front of him there was a long, narrow stretch of black tiles, flanked on both sides by what seemed to be a deep mass of water. Such portion of solid floor extended all the way to the center of the large room to a rectangular platform, which was completely empty aside three white cushions set on the floor forming a triangle - Jason's excitement crawled again from the upper half of his back up to his shoulders and neck. He tried to remain as calm as possible, though his fiery personality wasn't making it any easier as the seconds passed. The young man carefully took both shoes off and carefully sat in a Seiza position on one of the cushions, both hands rested on his lap. Jason closed both eyes and took a deep breath, letting his mind focus on the sound of the water gently sloshing and splashing against the tiles - a true challenge for an impatient head like his, as if discipline after eight years of being a Yamaduta hadn't been difficult enough already.
Jason clenched his fists and let his head tilt forward a little, trying to ignore the feeling of an incoming groan of an empty stomach. "Is it still difficult to keep your mind at peace, Jason? After all these years..." he heard a voice in the distance talk to him. The agent chose to keep his eyes closed - "Glad to hear from you again, boss. It's been a while." the young man replied, "A while it's been indeed, young man." the voice added. The agent could hear something in the water approach closer and closer, slowly step into the platform and sit down on a cushion. It wasn't until then that Jason opened his eyes and saw a familiar figure dressed in long and wet dark robes, and the faint red glow of their eye implants looking at him, sitting in the same position. Jason sighed deeply and finally spoke up, "You only call me when there's something big going on. What's up now?", he questioned. The other man shifted on his place and cleared his throat, "I'm afraid it's The Brotherhood again."
The younger agent could feel his shoulders and neck tense up, ready to get on his feet, but inspector Muller knew Jason well – maybe a little too well. The older man only raised his hand with his palm facing the younger one, Jason knew he had to remain seated. "I know what you're capable of, Jason. But I'm afraid you let yourself get carried away by your gut and not your head. I know the passion you have for your job has gotten you this far, but I'm afraid there are matters more important to take care of right now."
Jason took a deep breath in clear frustration, then questioned: "What can be more important than just giving me my gun and the first target? It's the fuckin' Brotherhood, every minute counts!" - Muller chuckled again and let his hand rest on his lap, then moved the other one that was closer to the empty spot on the third cushion. "There's someone I'd like you to meet first. He will be your new partner for this job, and you both will work as a unit. You will depend on him as much as he will depend on you..."
"But...!" Jason tried to talk back, but Muller didn't allow it. "Be kind, be respectful. Offer the respect a Yamaduta like you deserves." the older man said with a soft smile before calling out, seemingly talking to another individual: "Join us."