The plane touched down in Hawaii around five hours later. As I got out of the plane, Charlotte and Eliza waved goodbye. “You sure you can get out of here yourself?” Eliza asked.
“cPhone’s have a web browser,” I said, holding up my cPhone. “I can get a ticket home and maybe reserve a room online. As long as I don’t need to use cash, I should be good.”
“What about eating?” Eliza asked.
“Well,” I said, “seeing as I somehow lost my credit card, I was thinking I could skip a few meals.”
“Jesus bloody Christ,” Eliza said, shaking her head. “Right. Char, I’m going off with Nate to make sure ‘e bloody gets something to eat. Also, ask the others if they want anything.”
“What are you getting?” Charlotte asked.
“Pizza sound good?” Eliza asked me. I nodded. “Pizza, then. Easy to feed everyone.”
“I suppose it will be American style,” Charlotte said, obviously disappointed. “Well, as long as you are back with the grease-soaked approximation of Italian food in six hours
We made our way through the airport and caught a cab. Eliza still had her credit card, so she paid for it. The driver was very talkative guy about my age, and without prompting, began launching into a thing about how he was moonlighting for Uber and Lyft at the same time and vlogging about the experience.
“Is… is that not against their rules?” Eliza asked.
“Probably,” our cabbie said. “But I haven’t been caught yet.” He then continued talking about some of the hijinks his fellow cabbies got into and lamented about how “Ridesharing drivers are so insular, you know?”
We just nodded along as he continued the one-sided conversation, with Eliza texting back and forth. From what I was able to make out, she was trying to get everyone’s orders for pizza. I turned to look out the window. We were passing a large, government-looking office building that was part smooth brick, part glass. The sign on the fence outside the building said “FBI Honolulu.” As we passed the security gate, it opened and a black Dodge Charger pulled out behind us. I noticed that there were police lights on it. I knew this because they were flashing.
“Aw, what the hell?” our driver said as he pulled over. “I was only going twenty over the speed limit!” I noticed that on the left, all that separated us from a drop off a cliff was a flimsy guard rail. To risk that, I’d have to have Eliza get out first. To the right were multiple lanes of traffic, and cars were going by us at over thirty miles above the speed limit. I took a deep breath. It was the FBI. I could always call a lawyer. That was assuming they were even after me.
Then I saw Eliza fumbling with something at her waist. She was wearing a loose hoodie and semi-baggy jeans. Just enough to conceal her CZ-75. “Eliza,” I said desperately, “for the love of God, don’t do what I think you’re doing.” Behind us, four men were getting out of the car. One of them, I recognized as Agent Hicks. His graying military-short hair and craggy face was fixed in a frown and was coming towards us with a purpose. His three companions didn’t look any happier.
“This is a Second Amendment thing, innit?” Eliza asked.
“First,” I said, “you don’t have a license, second, you aren’t a citizen, and third, the Second Amendment doesn’t protect you from shooting FBI agents!”
“You sure they’re FBI?” Charlotte asked.
“I recognize one.” I said. “Plus, they just came out of a building with a huge-ass sign saying ‘FBI,’ so, yeah, probably FBI.”
Eliza coolly took her hand away from her waist and readjusted her shirt. Before she did so, I caught a glimpse of the blue-black grip of her pistol. The look on her face said, “You’d better be right about this.” I smiled, trying to calm her down.
Meanwhile, one of the younger four agents (she was a black woman of around thirty, which tells you how old this crew was) knocked on the driver’s door. The driver rolled down his window. “Anything I can do, officers?”
“License and registration, please,” the woman said. Everything about her voice was neutral. Her accent, her emotion. This only made her seem more intimidating. To add to the intimidation factor, Hicks and what appeared to be the other senior agent, a balding, slightly pudgy man who looked like an accountant, had moved to my window to glare at Eliza and me. I looked at Eliza and noticed she was glaring back. I decided to study the back of the chair and pray that this would end with no one getting shot or disemboweled.
Our driver handed over his license and registration. “Anything that can hurt me in this car?”
I stared at Eliza as the cabbie assured the FBI agent he didn’t have anything. “Alright,” Eliza said, “I’m armed. ‘E doesn’t know about it. ‘E just picked me up.”
“Do you have a concealed carry permit?” the Agent asked.
“Everyone please get out of the car.” We did as asked, the driver giving us dirty looks. I honestly didn’t blame him. “Feet apart, hands on the roof of the car.” We lined up, and the FBI agent who had talked to the driver began patting us down while the other three agents watched.
“Enjoyin’ the show?” Eliza asked when it was her turn, turning her head towards the other three agents and giving her signature smirk.
“It just got more interesting,” the FBI agent patting her down said. I looked and saw that she’d taken out Eliza’s CZ and had removed the magazine. “So, you’re a foreign national, right? You might want to read up on our gun laws. Hawaii doesn’t allow magazine capacities over ten rounds, and I doubt you have a concealed carry license in this county.”
“Actually,” Eliza said, “I thought cops in this country needed things like warrants’n probable cause.”
“You’re consorting with a terrorist wanted in South Korea and Japan,” Hicks said, “who’s wanted in question for the murder of multiple law enforcement officers. You do not want to test me.”
“Can… can I have a lawyer?” I asked. “And can we get her a lawyer as well?”
After a short walk into the basement of the FBI building, I found myself sitting down on a table, my hands in cuffs behind my back, and two extremely pissed off FBI agents.
“So,” Hicks said, “you wanted to talk. Talk.”
“Not like this,” I said. “Before I’d even consider talking, I’d need these cuffs off and I’d need a lawyer present. Before, I was willing to just talk. You fucked up.”
“We didn’t,” Hicks’ partner said. This bald accountant-looking dude’s name was apparently Agent Barton. He threw down some pictures. “We don’t need a confession. We just have to show these pictures to a court.” I leaned over and looked at the pictures. “If you help us, we can reduce your sentence. If you don’t-”
“You have nothing,” I said, cutting off Barton and looking up from the pictures. “Those are grainy images of someone who’s face you can barely see, usually wearing dark glasses. And that’s when the person you say is me is facing the camera. I don’t suppose you have more proof?” I felt like a friend, Jennifer Kagemoto, when I said this. Being in the mob, she must have been in similar situations.
“But it could be you?” Barton asked.
“If I was on a jury, looking at these photos,” I said, “I could concede that it looked a lot like me. But the images are either so blurry or at such bad angles that I wouldn’t convict based on them. There’s literally hundreds of people that look like me. I even saw a YouTuber that looked exactly like me once.”
“Incheon, South Korea!” Hicks yelled, slamming his fist down on the table. “A team of heavily armed nut jobs and a minor land on a dock to meet up with mercenaries. A fire fight starts, and dozens of South Korean SWAT officers and an FBI HRT officer on loan were killed. Even more injured!” He gestured at half the pictures. “Then, someone who looked a hell of a lot like one of the suspects at Incheon kills a British military attaché in Japan and shoots his way out of that and starts another firefight in a pachinko parlor filled with civilians. It was you. Don’t lie to me.”
“You know,” I said, somewhat more coldly than I intended, “If I was a cynical man, I’d think the only reason you cared about those situations was because an FBI agent died. Someone you cared about more than the people who are currently dying. But I’m not that cynical.”
“Greg,” Hicks said, his face apoplectic, “How about you check on our limey friend?”
Agent Barton considered this a moment, then said, “Sure.” He stood up and whispered into Hick’s ear and said, “Make him talk.”
We waited in silence for the next few minutes. Hicks spent most of the time staring at the camera so I did too. I was the first to notice the light go out. “So,” I said, “are you going to threaten me with police brutality, or are you going to lay hands on me?”
“It depends,” Hicks said. “on whether or not you cooperate.”
“There are several options,” I said. “You can do things like a normal cop, and I can lawyer up, that’s the first option.”
Hicks leaned in close to me. “This Nakashima person… she’s killed twenty of the FBI and local officers sent to apprehend her, plus nine TSA and airport SWAT officers when she touched down. Not to mention torturing five CIA agents to death. She needs to be stopped.”
I did some math. Thirty four people dead. That was more than I had expected. Hell, it was even more than I had thought possible. I continued listing my options. “The second option is I answer all your questions about her in exchange for walking out of here with Eliza.”
Hicks snorted derisively. “Or,” I said, “you go with option three and beat on me a bit.”
“That’s looking better and better,” Hicks said.
I laughed. “I don’t know if it’s good sense, cowardice, or if you never were going to do it. If I’m wrong, I just want you to know this:” I leaned in as far as I could. “I’m not scared of you. I was in a room with Mayu. She also was going to torture me. I’ve faced space Nazis, terrorists, the Dragon’s Teeth and people that make them shit their pants and hide in their closet.” I leaned back. “Think about that, and what you, as a cop can do with a door closed.”
“Or I could send you to Gitmo,” Hicks said.
I shook my head. “You don’t get how connected I am, do you?” I asked. “Ask yourself: How did manage to get multiple assault boats to pick me up at Incheon? Why had I come there in the first place? How did my guns get considered to be adopted by the FBI and the army? And who dropped me off here? Hint: only two situations had the same benefactor.”
“Fine.” Hicks said. “I’ll let you go if-”
He saw my eyes widen at something behind him. Before he could turn around, his service weapon was out of his holster and pressed into the point where his neck met his shoulder.
“Or,” Mayu Nakashima said, her eyes gleaming with religious fervor, “we can all fall at the feet of the Messiah and beg forgiveness for our sins.” She giggled girlishly, her smile becoming so huge her eyes closed. “I vote for option five!”
Guess what? You can pre-order NIU Volume 1 for Kindle!