Characters and original story by Katsuhiro Otomo. Not me.
PROLOGUE: Exit, Sandman
JULY 7, 2054 1:18 AM
When the sun takes a sabbatical, the megalopolis of Neo-Tokyo turns into a light show. From seemingly every building: neon, holograms, videoboards on synchronized loops. Weary eyes cascade through the interconnected mazes of alleyways and sidewalks, bathing in the night scene and the July air. For the anti-government forces, it was time to initiate a killing blow.
On one stretch of a maze, a small semi lurched its way through traffic, and came to a stop at the police checkpoint up ahead. There had been many reports of biker gangs on the prowl, and the crime rate had gone up considerably since last month. As a result, whole sections of the city were being scoured with all the tactical subtlety of nails scratching chalkboard. The semi's occupants, a mustachioed man in his mid-thirties and a girl of about eighteen, switched their eyes, as if in unison, to the right, where an officer with an assault rifle slung over his arm stood watching them. The mustachioed man rolled down his window. The interior of the semi, where the couple sat, was dimly lit, and gave them an almost unnerving presence that made the officer tense. This was an eight-hour shift in the dead of night, after all.
"Good evening, officer," the mustachioed man said. The armed officer replied in kind.
"Where are you headed?" The officer asked.
Immediately, the man with the mustache, like a trained parrot, responded: "My daughter and I are from Osaka, and we're headed upcountry. Sick relative."
The officer shined his shoulder-mounted flashlight to the passenger's side, and the girl's eyes winced in the yellow-gold light. She had on a baseball cap, a beige vest, a gray sleeveless shirt, and brown shorts that barely went beyond the outskirts of her thighs.
"Hmm," the officer gestured. "License and registration, if you will."
Reaching into his pocket, the driver produced said documents. The officer fingered them for a bit, before handing them back to the man. "Do you mind telling me what's in the container?"
A brief pause, and then, "Our necessaries."
Through his infogoggles, the officer squinted and goose-stepped to the back of the truck. The girl fiddled with her watch for a bit, and saw that everything was going ahead of schedule. Ryu earned his nickname "the Razor" in the organization for his promptness. Tonight, he wouldn't prove them wrong.
From the open window, Ryu could hear the officer give the desk man the green light. The officer walked back to the window, and signaled for Ryu to continue on. In actuality, Ryu and the girl, Kei, had not come from Osaka. Rather, they came from a pick-up spot by the docks.
JULY 7, 2054 12:41 AM
Sometime earlier, another semi eased its way onto the small parking lot overlooking the Neo-Tokyo Bay, which reflected the night lights like a shimmering, polished mirror. Following the semi was a relatively old green Honda. Inside, Dr. Yasouke Onishi's knuckles were white as his hands delicately danced side to side on the wheel. In the lot, Kei and Ryu stood watch, wary of any unexpected gifts or guests. The intel was shady at best; this Onishi had to have been worth it, for him to go to such great lengths to get the package. Ryu dug in his pocket, produced a cigarette and took a quick drag, tossing it away as the semi and the Honda parked close by. The first person to step out of the vehicles was Onishi. As he closed the door, he scratched his fuzzy scalp in the night breeze. An old man like me would have a heart attack by now; you are making the biggest skreeonk of your life, he thought. He felt open. He was exiting trough a gate of no return. Onishi, hands in the pockets of his lab coat, strode over asphalt and ancient paint to Ryu and Kei. He had no idea who they were; that was part of the deal.
Smoke emanating from his lips, Ryu asked, "Do you know why you're here, Doctor?"
"Yes," the old doctor replied. In Onishi's voice, Kei could tell something was off. In fact, she felt as though she were in his shoes.
"Then you understand what might happen if the gift isn't in its wrapper?"
"Indeed. I hope that you understand, but... getting this out of the lab was a clusterfuck."
"You got it out, didn't you?"
"Hand to God. Your drivers," Onishi gestured to the rough gorillas looking down on him from the windows of the wrapper, "did much of the gruntwork."
Ryu was a razor, all right. His diction was concise, free from excessive verbage. He seemed to be bring Onishi down to his level.
"Well," Ryu began, "would you mind if we have a look at the present?"
Onishi nodded. Kei signaled the driver's the unlock the container doors. The three briskly walked to the back of the semi. Sliding open the door of the container slightly, Ryu felt a gush of cold air.
The interior of the container was dark, save for some light which emanated from small consoles around the gift: a large rectangular cryogenic capsule. Staring bemusedly at the capsule and the equipment, Ryu helped Onishi and Kei up. Opening the door just enough for the three of them to get through, they entered the container.
"Talk about a tomb..." Kei said under her breath, shivering somewhat.
"What's all this?" Ryu asked, indicating the capsule and its numerous attachments.
Onishi replied, jokingly, "Your gift." Moving over to it, he described in great technical detail the capsule and its attachments.
"You have everything you need to do the job right here," Onishi said.
"What's inside the capsule?" Ryu asked.
"That's the real gift." Onishi scoffed. "That... or rather, he, is the reason I..."
"There's someone frozen in there?" Kei asked.
Ryu responded, "You mean to tell me this was a kidnapping job?"
"What I am telling you is that I'm risking my career... Hell, my life... for doing this. I think that the time is appropriate for some compensation."
"Nine grand's already been wired in your account."
"Nine skreeonk grand? That's it? That's more than what you probably make in a year."
"Our bosses don't give a shit about your expenses, Doctor. You want a vacation to Guam, start a brothel." Ryu's voice had a bitter sharpness. He was a razor, indeed.
Onishi's teeth grinded under a closed, aged mouth. His white mustache twirled slightly. Without a word, he stomped out of the container, and sped out of the parking lot in his Honda. Kei's eyes never left the cryogenic capsule. There was somewhere in there; there was a whole aura about the capsule, booming from within. The gorilla faced semi occupants came to the back ready for assistance.
"Wait," Kei muttered. Her hand caressed the icy steel of the capsule's top.
"What's the matter, Kei?" Ryu asked as he moved toward her, putting his hand on her shoulder.
"Nothing. Just a feeling."
Working their way into the container, the gorillas began the relatively simple task of opening the present.
Kei and Ryu's countenances froze, etched in a visage that was a combination of surprise, disbelief, and confirmation. This was a kidnapping, and there was someone inside the ice.
That someone was a nude boy, age between 10-14, eyes shut, lips open enough to reveal white teeth.
One gorilla guard scoffed. "Sleeping Beauty's in for a rude awakening."