Leaning back in his chair, Yori strokes his chin.

IF you're still undecided, I can tell you a second story. This one , you probably already know."

"There once was a beautiful little girl. She didn't have many friends, and she didn't have parents she could remember. There were always strange men asking her to do things-to test her powers, to heal certain people. One day, though, the men tell her to go find a friend."

"And the little girl does. She finds lots of friends! And she was very happy with her new friends. But she doesn't know why she was told to go find these friends. The men from the City told her that her friends would keep her safe. But safe from what?"


"Across the city, there are two angry men in a board room. They are arguing with each other. They are dressed in suits and look nice, but they are not nice men. One of them oversees and funds a project somewhere in the city that is developing flexible clones for use in wars, and the other one is head of a project to train a very special ESPer to act as a medic for the privileged people who secretly run the city, because otherwise she would heal regular people and damage the profit they make from hospitals. This man wants the special girl all to himself, and threatens to kill anybody the first man sends to talk to the girl. He'll kill the girl too, if he has to; he'd rather she be dead than help anybody else."

"The girl doesn't know any of this. She just wants to play with her friends and grow up happy."


Yori pauses.

"Hmmmm. I guess you don't know this one after all."

"Believe me when I say that I would have rather just asked you. I don't like overt displays of force, I like doing things quickly and quietly. But my hand was forced; the people I work for wanted you, the people YOU work for, although you don't know it, also wanted you, and there was going to be conflict any way you approach this problem. I decided I'd rather have you somewhere safe where you wouldn't get hurt by an 'accidental stray bullet'. And if it makes you feel any better, I made sure not to hurt your friends. They're safe."


He examines the nails on his real hand, letting the girl absorb his words.

---------------------------------------------------------------------

In a security control room somewhere else in the labyrinthine building, a security guard watches dozens and dozens of monitors. He takes pride in his work, keeping the building safe. No lazy donut-eating buffoon is he; his eyes are watchful like a hawk, and he sees everything that goes on in and around the building. He leans over one monitor showing the skies over one of the warehouses in the complex, eyes narrowing. What IS that? He watches the monitor for a minute or two. It's been stationary in the air over the building for a while now...
Hmm.
He calls in another guard.

"Does that look like a bird to you?"