Electric Daydreams in Moonlight Episode I

Episode I: A Neon Symphony

Detective Collin Tierney’s eyes sprang open as his alarm clock went off with an obnoxious buzz. He waved his hand over the holographic display and the alarm clock turned off. He sat up and reached over besides him. There was an indent in the sheets where somebody else had laid the night before and had since left. He shook his head, then decided to get up. Collin was a tall man with a rugged auburn beard, flecked with flashes of red covered a fine and cheerful face. Straight, fine hair slanted clumsily off his head as he looked from his top floor apartment at Neo Los Angeles. Holographic advertising signs and bright flares of electric energy filling every inch of vacant space in the dirty, busy streets. He smiled a bright and hopeful smile as he heard the sound of the hustle and bustle of the crowded metropolis, listening and watching to the city’s neon symphony.

He went to make his bed, the side opposite his still smelled faintly of perfume. He got ready and then slapped his Personal Life Assistant onto his wrist. It was a holographic display that acted as any modern phone would, except it fit into technology slightly bigger than a standard wrist watch and could instantly interact with basically anything in the city. It was able to read each person’s unique DNA it was keyed into so that it couldn’t be stolen. He sinched up his tie tight to his neck, put on his gun holster and grabbed his detective badge then left his apartment. He stepped out into the walkway and towards the elevator. He waited for it to open when a holographic display popped up declaring he needed to transfer a singular Zhao to use the lift. He sighed, swiped his PLA, instantly transferring the money to the elevator company and it opened for him to step in.

Zhaos, named after the then Chinese president were the currency that America had adopted after the Third World War between China, Russia, Japan and America. They were called Z’s in common vernacular. As Detective Tierney entered the elevator, 3 ads for various companies popped up on screens around him, then transitioned immediately to a newscast.

  “Welcome back to LA Primetime News, I’m your host Debra Gibbs. This morning’s major headline; Yamamoto Industries’ stock soared to record highs late last night as they announced that their new light rail technology will be used on the upcoming trans-Pacific bullet train that will allow travelers to move from Neo Tokyo to Los Angeles in just under 2 hours. Yamamoto Industries Chairman and Chief Operations Officer Hiroshi Nagata said that the ground breaking 748 billion Zhao agreement set to begin construction in 2094 is not only a massive achievement for Yamamoto Industries, but also for the newly formed alliance between these two superpowers. For more breaking stories, please continue watching LA Primetime News, where we keep you angry and distracted 24/7.”

 Tierney walked to his car, a boxy police vehicle with a light up display that indicated it was a police cruiser. He stepped into the high-tech driver’s seat and started up the motor with his PLA. He drove out of the garage and into the street. The streets of Los Angeles were filled to the brim with people, walking driving, eating. There was hardly a single inch of pavement that wasn’t covered in either street shops, food stalls, apartments or ramshackle homeless encampments. He drove through the city to a small restaurant called the Purple Rocket Diner. The restaurant was quaint, and fairly quiet, but it had flashy neon lights, including the name in Japanese symbols. The inside was styled after a very old 50’s diner. It didn’t have the best food, but the servers were always friendly with him and happy to have a conversation. Even though things were much better than they had been even 5 years ago, you still had to find little things to make you happy, and this charming little dinner did just that for the detective.

He stepped in and sat down at the service bar like he often did. A server came over and made small talk, pouring him a cup of coffee. One of the servers walked out of the back and then upon seeing the detective, immediately turned around and walked back through the doors.

“C’mon on out Ash. You can’t hide from him, he’s literally a detective.” One of the girls called to her. Ashlynn walked back out, heaving her entire head into a sigh.

“What do you want” she said with an attitude. Ash was a beautiful girl with dark black hair tied up in an elegant bun. Her face angular and sharp, her eyes dark brown, highlighted by silver eye shadow. The bridge of her nose was dotted with freckles which was the only blemish on her porcelain skin. Her lips were pouty, but tapered off as she smiled. She had a thin figure, but with fairly wide hips. Her posture was perky and confident, but underneath her headstrong attitude was an underlying darkness that occasionally crept out.

“I just want to know why you ghosted me this morning… You could have left a note or something.” Collin said

“Awww, you want me to write you a cute little note ‘last night was great. I hope to see you again. XOXO Ashlynn.’ With a nice heart, a lipstick mark kiss and a little dab of my perfume? Grow the fuck up. I’m not that girl.” Ash responded in a patronizing tone of voice.

“I get it, you’re a cynic when it comes to lo…”

“A cynic is what you call somebody who doesn’t believe in love at first sight or some bullshit like that. I don’t know what to call somebody like me where the only person I thought I loved framed me for a robbery I didn’t commit and then ditched me when I went to jail for him.” Ash interrupted, wiping a spot on the bar to appear busy.

“I had fun. You’re a cool person Ash. I don’t want to leave it at whatever… Last night was?”

“It’s called hooking up with somebody when you’re tipsy to de-stress because you make 5 Zhaos and hour since you can’t get a decent job because you spent 6 years in prison. And what’s worse, now I have to hear everyone and their dog walk through that door patronize me by saying ‘wow, she’s really making something of her life.’ Or ‘This is why everyone deserves a second chance’ WHEN I DIDN’T DO ANYTHING WRONG IN THE FIRST FUCKING PLACE!”

Collin paused for a moment to let the words soak in before saying “Do you feel better now that you’ve got that off your chest?” he asked

“Honestly, yes.” Ash answered in a much calmer manner.

“I understand, you’re not ready for love or anything romantic. But, can I give you my info in case you just want to hang out or something?” Collin questioned

“Fine.” Ash sighed

Collin brought up the display on his PLA and flicked through it, sending it to Ash. Collin smiled at her and she jokingly rolled her eyes before flashing an adorable half-smile.

Collin turned to his server and began his order. “I’ll have the poached eggs and toast.” The server nodded and turned to walk away. Collin pulled her back gently. “Wait, is it real or synth eggs?”

“Synth eggs this week.” The server answered

“Can I change my order. You know I can’t eat that synthetic shit.” Collin replied harshly.

“Our chef Emil cooks them in a way you would never tell the difference. I promise.” The server offered.

“Sure, what the hell. Let’s try it, at least I get to eat, right? That’s more than some people around here get to say.” Collin responded cheerfully. The server smiled back at him and went off to start his order.

Auro Misami stepped into the lobby of the LA branch of Yamamoto Industries. The entryway was high-tech and polished to an almost sterile sheen. A water fountain rolled calming waves of water crashing to the pool below. Above it, a large hologram with the company’s founder talking played a small blurb of speech on repeat.

“Welcome to Yamamoto Industries, where future prosperity is the present.” It declared.

Auro Misami was a woman of Asian descent with stark black hair tied up into two buns on top of her head. Bangs framed a stony-complexioned face with noticeable signs of tiredness, especially under her eyes. She was a woman of small stature, but she had a slim build, especially around her waist. She wore rather large glasses that covered a large portion of her face, which in its resting state was disinterested. It matched her voice which was a bit monotone and bored. On her left wrist was a tattoo of a scepter with a crescent moon on it that covered a large part of her forearm. She wore a large red suit, similar to a hazmat suit that fit her tightly. There was a separate helmet that flipped over her head and had an air filtration mask on the front along with a clear plastic window to see. She strode inside the building from outside where it had begun to rain.

She stepped out of her suit, and pressed a button on the wrist that shrunk it and folded it up into a neat square that she carried with her. She walked across the lobby to where her department’s elevator was. She noticed the secretary at the check in suite was talking to a handsome man who was leaning across her desk, showing her pictures of his motorcycle.

“Yep, I just got it about a month ago. Aria motors Tempest, the newest model. Pulled out all the stops, custom paint job, underlit neon, 6.28-liter engine.” He was gently stroking the top of the receptionist’s hand with his fingers. “You should give me your info and maybe we’ll take a ride together some time.” He said slyly. The girl looked up at him a bit star struck and said

“Yeah… That’d be awesome.” The man smiled and stood up, turning to Auro.

“Ah Miss Misami, I’ve been looking for you.” He said with a smile.

“Niro… What have I done to be blessed…? Or more likely cursed with your presence?” Auro grumbled. 

Takaniro Ayasaka was a tall and muscular man with jet-black, close-cropped hair. He had a silver streak around the temples that wasn’t due to age; it was a stylistic choice. He kept a perfectly trimmed, thin beard that lined his picturesque face. He carried himself with an almost arrogant sense of self-assurance. He was as cunning as he was handsome and intelligent, as he was a sharp businessman which went hand in hand with his ability to smooth talk almost anybody. His wardrobe of choice was a bright white trench coat with a red collared shirt underneath. On his hands were red silken gloves with sequins lining the top of the hand and across a few fingers. His eyes were covered by pink hexagonal sunglasses.

The pair flashed their badges at the security and then scanned their eyes on the retina scanners before being allowed access to the R&D lab elevator. They stepped in and moved to opposite sides of the elevator, Niro choosing to lean suavely against the wall.

“You still wearing that ridiculous suit whenever you go outside Auro-San? He questioned

“You’re basically asking me if the air quality in Los Angeles is still terrible, and the answer is yes, it is.” Misami replied, looking over at him. The elevator started moving downwards quickly.

“So let me guess, you came here to harass me about the project’s budget and then ask me a bunch of questions that most brilliant scientists in the world would have trouble understanding and then you’re going to write up a little report that won’t affect anything, thus having wasted an entire day of my time.” Auro groaned as the elevator reached its destination. It opened into a hallway of offices. The two started walking down the hall to Auro’s office.

“Well first of all, you should be thankful they sent me and not one of the older execs that’s basically a walking corpse who doesn’t understand how any of this technology works.” Niro started, opening the door and letting her in. “Second of all, I came here to celebrate.”

“I was wondering why everyone seems so chipper around here. What are we celebrating?” Auro inquired.

“You didn’t hear? Our light rail tech just got approved by the Japanese government. We’re building a bullet train straight from Neo Tokyo to LA. 750 billion Z’s baby hot damn!” he exclaimed, sitting down at Misami’s desk and putting his feet up, rudely knocking a knick knack over. Misami quickly realigned it perfectly and then said

“Great, but how does that affect me at all?”

“I don’t know about you, but I’m getting a fat bonus this year.” Niro replied. Auro sighed and turned away.

“Why don’t you get started on your work, I’m gonna set up in here if you don’t mind.”

Auro walked out of the office and through a few rooms to the research room. The area was bathed with harsh purplish- pink lighting and lined with expensive super computers and holographic screens blinking and flickering away. In the center was a large metallic device that contained a human brain in an electric blue liquid. The device was hooked up to a large screen. Off to the side of the room was a huge observatory window connected to the test control room. Several scientists were in the control room sitting near a large computer board with dials and sliders strewn across it. Auro entered and a young scientist with a blond mohawk and a long white lab coat looked over at her.

“What’s the special occasion Misami?” He questioned

“There’s nothing special, what are you talking about?” Auro snapped in response

“Well, I figured something important must be going on, since you actually ran a brush through your hair for once.” The man replied

“Bite me Briggs, I am not in the mood today.” Misami sneered in return, putting on a bright white lab coat and attaching her identification badge to the lapel.

“I know what it is.” Another female scientist inquired “It’s because Mr. Ayasaka is in town, isn’t it? We all know you two have a thing.” She laughed

“I do not have a thing for Ayasaka Hirito, he’s a corpo asshole just like the rest of these executive types. Now, can we please focus on the project?” Auro replied. She pushed a few sliders up and pressed a button and the electricity in the room started up with a loud vibrating noise.

“I thought I told you guys to begin before I got here.” Auro stated

“We did, it takes a while to get going, you know, because its electricity.” Griggs replied

“Thanks Griggs, I have 5 PHD’s, I think I understand how electricity works. I mean why is the subject not responding?”

“We changed up the electromagnetic flow a bit last night to take some stress off of the neural receptors and possibly get clearer images.” Hirito explained

Niro entered the room from the side door and closed it loudly behind him.

“Hello gang, I’m going to watch you conduct your experiment today. Don’t be stressed out, I’m not judging you or anything like that, just observing. Carry on as if I’m not here.” Niro stated, taking a seat. Misami immediately took out a pack of cigarettes, removed one with her mouth, lit it and pulled a deep draw off of it before ashing it into a nearby tray. She exhaled and wispy smoke filled the room. Slowly, the computers in the room started up and soon the screen in the middle was filling with images. Two children played on the strikingly green lawn of a suburban house.  Suddenly, it changed to the images of a college graduation.

“So, explain to me what’s going on here.” Niro asked “And don’t hold back with the technical knowledge, I can handle it.” He added.

Misami took another long drag off her cigarette and looked over at him. “Essentially what’s happening is we’re using electromagnetism to stimulate the synapses in the cadaver’s brain. We’re using that to draw memories out of the brain and project them to the screen as you can see.” She explained

“Wait, so we’re actually seeing the person’s own memories right now?” Niro inquired excitedly.

“Yes, unfortunately they’re completely out of order and scrambled, some of them are incredibly fleeting and fragmented, almost like dreams.” Griggs continued.

Niro folded his hands across the lower part of his face as he watched in awe at the images playing across the screen. He saw an entire lifetime dancing across the monitor in brief flashes. His glasses reflected the images as he observed intently the project which he’d gotten the funding approved for 2 years ago. He leaned back in his chair as Misami took another drag off her cigarette, the smoke pluming up in front of him. She pushed a lever down on the control room circuit board and the room quieted down as the power slowly shut down. The experiment turned off and the subject returned to its tranquil state. Misami looked back at Niro after putting the cigarette out and he smiled.

“So, what’s the next step, if you don’t mind me asking?”

“We’ve been working on a computer algorithm which can sort the memories by certain key identification points, age, perception, height, life events etcetera. It will then automatically order these memories by these parameters and hopefully string together any fragmented ones into something more coherent.” Misami clarified.

“Well friends, don’t let me get in the way of your work. I’ll get out of your hair for now. I’ll check back in later; I have work of my own to do. I’ll be in Auro-San’s office if you need me for any reason.” Niro said, nodded to the group and standing up, smoothing out his coat behind him. He walked out into the hallway, closing the door behind him carelessly once more.

“I don’t know about you guys, but he can stay in my hair all day if you know what I’m saying.” Hirito claimed slyly.  

“Keep your pituitary gland in check please Kisama. And that innuendo didn’t even make sense.” Misami replied

“You must be fun at parties.” Griggs chimed in, not looking up from his work.

“I’m sure I’d be plenty of fun at parties.” Auro stated “I have a master’s degree in sociology, so I have a deep understanding of human social interactions.”

“Clearly.”

Niro walked down the hallway to Auro’s office and opened the door. He looked both ways down the hall, then closed and locked it behind him. He sat down at the desk and put his feet under it. Something touched his foot and he looked under the bureau and saw a bedroll. He returned his attention to the task at hand. He pulled up his PLA and placed a call. He flicked his wrist and it projected to the screen on the far side of the room. He sat on the edge of the desk and faced the screen. The phone rang twice and then there was an answer, but the line remained silent.

“Do you have that status report mein Susser?” a voice finally replied. The video feed caught up to the telephone and cast to the screen. The only thing in the image was a room swamped with red light. There was a shadowy figure in the center of the frame flooded in bright white to the point you could only see the silhouette of a woman’s body sitting in a tall backed chair.

“What did I tell you about calling me that at work Chairman Voight?” Niro replied out of the side of his mouth, looking down out of embarrassment.

“Please, call me Ava, I don’t care if it’s at work.” The woman countered. Her voice was soft, airy and silken, with a heavy German accent. The way she spoke, it was almost if the texture of the words could barely form in her mouth, they just fell out in a breathy, measured and seductive waterfall of mixed dialects.

“I just wanted to report that the Ariadne project is ahead of schedule and shockingly on budget.” Niro detailed, looking down at his notes. “Misami and her team are doing incredible work.”

“Well, I’ll make sure that the board sees to that your budget is expanded. Thank you for the information mein guter Junge” She turned around in her chair as the call ended and the feed was moved off the screen.

It was around 7 O’clock when Misami and Niro both left the office. They ran into each other in the hallway and walked to the elevator with each other in silence. They got in and stood on opposite sides again. The elevator stopped a floor above them and Hirito, Griggs and a few other scientists stepped into the elevator, making it significantly more crowded. Griggs turned to Misami and said “You wanna come out with us to Corcello’s for a few drinks?”

“When has Misami ever taken up an offer to go out?” another scientist laughed

“I’m just asking so she doesn’t like, shoot the place up.” Griggs replied

“Seriously Griggs, do I really put off mass shooter vibes?” Misami snapped at him, exasperated

Hirito stuck her hand out flat and waved it back and forth.

“I hate all of you.” Misami groaned

“Just come out with us.” Griggs pleaded

“Sorry, but I’ve got to go over budget reports and boring shit with this corporate asshole.” She said, tilting her head towards Niro.

“Well, good luck and I mean that for both of you.” Griggs said as everybody got out on the second floor.

As soon as the elevator doors closed, Misami ran over to Niro and jumped into his arms. He was taken aback at first, but then soon the two partook in a series of profound kisses. When they disengaged, Auro pushed him forcefully but playfully in the shoulder.

“Why didn’t you tell me you were coming back to Los Angeles?” she exclaimed

“It’s been four years Auro-san. I figured you wouldn’t care anymore.” Niro replied truthfully.

“Wouldn’t care anymore? How many people do you think I’m close to Niro?”

“Ok fair.”

The elevator door opened to the parking garage, and the pair exited.

“Can I give you a ride home? It’ll spare you having to put that stupid suit on again.” Niro offered with a chuckle. Misami sighed.

“Yeah, fine, I guess. We gotta stop to pick up some beer though.” Misami conceded

“Perfect. Let me go get my ride. Have you seen my new motorcycle yet? I just got it about a month ago.” Niro said as he walked away towards his bike.

“Motorcycle?” Misami asked

“Yeah, I know, you don’t like riding motorcycles, but you still live at the same place, right?” Niro replied

“Y-Yeah.”

“Ok then, it’s just a few blocks away. You’ll be fine.” Niro reassured her. She nodded and he brought the sparkling new motorcycle around. The sound of the engine echoed throughout the concrete structure as he pulled up to Misami. He suavely tossed her the helmet as he brought his bike around to whipping stop, the underlit neon lighting the pavement icy blue. It was immediately dropped to the floor. She picked it up and put it over her head. Niro held out his hand and guided her onto the bike.

“Just hang on to me, we’ll get you home in no time.”

Beer cans were strewn about the living room table in Misami’s usually perfectly organized and tidy home. It was a spacious apartment, one that most people in the city could never begin to afford, but Misami had earned it through hours and hours of work. Niro and her had been at it for hours talking, catching up and reconnecting. Outside the window near the bed, the city’s heartbeat continued on into the night. They could hear the low murmur of electronic buzzing and cars driving by on the street. A half drank beer in a tall pint glass was placed on the bedside table. The surface of the beverage quivered and jumped around as the small table shook. Eventually it fell still. Niro and Misami laid back in bed, their hands intertwined as Niro pulled himself away from her slightly, separating their bodies from the tact of their damp skin. He rested his head against the pillow and looked over at her. The pair smiled at each other.

“I really missed this.” Misami stated.

“The sex or…”

“Everything. I miss talking to you and having somebody that doesn’t make me feel so much like an alien.”

“An alien, what do you mean by that Auro-san?” He inquired, holding her close in the crook of his arm.

Misami paused for a moment and said “I don’t get humans. They’re complicated, nuanced and illogical. That’s why I love mathematics and science. There’s one right answer and only one right answer, and if it isn’t correct, you can figure out exactly what you did wrong. People aren’t like that, there’s so many variables.” She explained

“Well, step one is to stop looking at people like experiments. Let’s start with that.” Niro sniggered.

Misami laughed back with him. “Noted. But besides that… You’re really easy to talk to. I’m not sure what it is, but… I connect with you in a way that I never have with any other person.” She admitted. “And yes, the sex is nice. Even though I’m sorry for being so bad at it.”

“You’re the furthest thing from bad at it… Surprisingly.” Niro reassured her, reaching across for the glass of beer. The pale brown drink had lost most of its carbonation, but he gulped down a fair bit of it. He resettled himself next to her in the bed and looked down at his partner, sweeping a bit of hair gently out of her eyes.

“You look concerned Taka.” She said

“Well, it’s just… I saw your bedroll under your desk at work. Are you sleeping in your office?” he asked her with a troubled tone in his voice.

“I mean, yeah. Once in a great while.” Misami answered

“Auro-san, I’ve seen your time logs. You’re working almost 100 hours most weeks. That’s not healthy.”

“I’m fine Niro, just drop it.” She replied defensively

“Remember what happened last time you did that?” he reminded her

“…I helped invent a neural implant that decreased the effects of degenerative mental illnesses like Alzheimer’s and dementia by up to 70 percent?”

“Yes, but you always do this. Anytime something happens in your personal life, you bury yourself in your work and try to forget about it.” Niro said. He paused to take another sip of his beer. “I know this is hypocritical of me to say because I up and left back to Japan when Haruka died, but it doesn’t make what I’m saying any less true.”

Misami sighed and took her hand away from his so she could fold it over her stomach.

“I hate how you always act like I didn’t know Haruka existed.  She wasn’t just your sister she was my friend too, you know.”

“I know Auro. I’m sorry. All I’m saying is that you should take a few weeks off. I have a summer home in San Francisco. We should go there and we can just relax together for a while.” Niro offered.

“I can’t take a vacation now. We’re so fucking close to cracking this; I can feel it.” Auro replied passionately.

“I admire your ambition and commitment to your work Misami, just don’t burn yourself out again.” He said, tracing the lines on her tattoo. She pulled her hand away quickly. Niro stood up and took the covers off of himself. He grabbed his clothes off the floor and put them back on quickly.

“I’m gonna go back to my hotel room. I have some financial junk to finish up on. I’ll see you tomorrow at work.” He stated, pulling his jacket over his broad shoulders. “We’re all going out to celebrate the big bullet train contract tomorrow night. You should stop by.”

“Absolutely not.” Misami replied quickly and definitively.

“I’ll take you out for chicken katsu and ramen afterwards.” Niro tempted her.

“Ugh, fine. I’ll think about it. No guarantees.” She responded

“Alright. I’ll catch you tomorrow. It was nice seeing you again Misami.” He smiled, placing his sunglasses on his head coolly.

“It was nice seeing you too Niro.” Misami replied, mirroring his emotions. He left out the front door, closing it gently behind him. As soon as he left, Auro got up, put her bed clothes on and began cleaning up the apartment.

Detective Tierney sat in his police cruiser sipping piping hot coffee and looking out the window onto the street from the parking lot of a convenience store. Jazz was playing over the radio, and the radio lights flashed as the music played at a low volume. He looked over at his partner, Jr. Detective Sam Gallagher. Gallagher was 5 years younger than Tierney, but he somehow looked older than his senior partner, especially with his grizzled beard and thinning hairline he usually covered up with a cap. He was short and stout and he spoke with a husky tone of voice. Tierney and him seemed very different, especially with the age gap, but they both had an appreciation for jazz music and didn’t mind the night shift, so they got on well enough.

“Tierney?” Gallagher stated, breaking the ponderous silence of the still night.

“What’s up?” Collin responded

“You know that cold case you were working on from about 4 years back? The one with the Japanese girl?”

“Yeah, Haruka Ayasaka? What about her?”

“Do you still think about that case?”

“Yeah, why?” Collin responded; a bit taken aback by the random question.

“I was just thinking about it. That was my third day on the job when you found her body in the park.”

“Why are you thinking about it?” Collin inquired

“Well, I heard a rumor that Yamamoto Industries was working on this tech that could like, replay people’s memories, even after they died. I was just thinking about how that would affect cold cases. You know, just typical night shift stuff.” Gallagher stated, then looked back out the window.

Tierney really liked the night shift. Sure, the scum of the city came out at night, but there was a calmness, a still but steady rhythm after sundown that appealed to him. He continued to look out his window, scanning the street, he turned up the radio without looking.

“You hear about that new kid that plays at the Second Life?” Gallagher asked

“Yeah, Erle Jeffery, right? Kid has the all the technical chops in the world on that sax, but somebody needs to tell him that anybody can string a bunch of exercises together given enough practice. You just can’t teach soul.” Tierney replied, taking another gulp of his coffee which was still just above being comfortably hot. Suddenly, a loud bang interrupted the serenity of the night. A group of people ran into the middle of the street. Both the police officers jumped out of their vehicle and moved toward to the scene.

“Gallagher, call this in, I’m going to check it out.” Tierney declared as he ran to find out what had happened. Gallagher grabbed his PLA and called it in. Tierney ran to the intersection where a car had crashed into a street light. The engine was smoldering and the front of the car had been cratered inward by the impact with the pole. Tierney ran to the vehicle, flashing his police badge to keep the civilians away. He pushed a few people out of his path and moved to the door of the car. He pulled open the door forcefully and saw lying across the leather seats was a body. It was still and unmoving, but it clearly had not been driving the car as it was set to the auto pilot function. It was a woman’s body in a slightly blood-stained white dress. On her visage was a porcelain mask, ivory in color, covering one half of her face. The other eye was closed, but the porcelain mask was haunting and doll like. In her hand was a small slip of paper, held limply and folded into the shape of a butterfly. The detective grabbed the paper and unfolded it. Written on the inside of the note were the words

“I admire your work on the Ayasaka case Detective Tierney. Would you like to play a game of wits?” The mere mention of his name on a piece of paper held by a dead woman sent shivers reverberating up his spine and throughout his body. Around him was loud, people were hysterically screaming as his body caught up with his mind. He moved to find his partner and the world was once again quiet. Nothing but the buzzing of colored lights, the movement of holographic signs and cars. The sound of machinery. There was nothing but the city’s neon symphony.