“Logic is the last refuge of a coward.”
– Clive Barker
The next morning, Aziz and Reed show up at Takeda’s office. Aziz decides to bring two agents as his personal security detail, Borges and O’Malley are the lucky ones. They are greeted by Takeda’s secretary, Amanda Grey. “The atmosphere is extremely tense here, Hisashi almost died yesterday. Follow me.” She escorts them to Takeda’s office; by the door there are two security guards, obviously Yakuza soldiers. The door opens, Takeda is sitting at his desk, absent-mindedly staring at his computer. His body guard, Satochi, stands behind him. Dr Bentley is also there, and approaches the door to greet the ZoneSec representatives. Wasting no time, he starts debriefing: “There was an attack last night and Mr Takeda’s personal guard took out three…” Bentley hesitates: “I’m not sure what to call them… They weren’t exactly people… Beings.” Faced with the disbelieving looks of Aziz and Reed he adds: “I’ll show you the corpses. Come!”.
Takeda signals Crowe, Reed and Bentley to sit with him, and says with a grave air: “I assume you have already been briefed on the situation.” Then orders his personal assistant to bring in the bodies. For a few minutes silence and suspense linger in the office. Six Asian men enter, each carrying a body bag, and deposit them on the floor. What comes immediately to everyone’s attention is the size of the bags, they are huge. “Open the bags,” Takeda orders. All three bags are opened at exactly the same time in a show of perfect Asian coordination.
The cadavers are certainly over 2 meters tall, muscular humanoids, but they have no facial features. There are bullet wounds and cuts, but no traces of blood can be seen. They are naked, but have no sex organs, nipples or belly button. The skin is dark and hairless. Aziz immediately recognises the figure from his vision and says: “I have seen this! Who are they?” Dr. Bentley replies: “You have never heard of this before? We call them Sicarii. Because of this…” Bentley reaches into one of the bags and pulls out a dagger which he throws on the table “This is a Sicario.”
“Genetically modified killers?” Aziz asks. “Assassins, yes, but not genetically modified.” “Cybernetics?” Aziz insists. Bentley, again, answers no. “One hundred percent organics. They may be created using biotechnology, but nothing we know. Nothing we are even capable of doing. Also, no one is as advanced in the field as we are.” Aziz tries to rationalise the situation by asking more questions. “Well, if it has a name, it’s because there have been other encounters with these creatures…” Yes, replies the eccentric Doctor, “there have been several attacks, but this is the first time we managed to kill them. The other times we stopped them, but they just ran away”. “I have one more question.” Adds Aziz: ” Where do they come from, then?” Dr Bentley smiles “Well, we don’t know. If someone was able to do this, I’d like to know whom, and hire them to come work with us!”
Suddenly Takeda stands up and signals them to approach him. “I let you go on talking because you were supposed to discuss this, but now let’s have a more serious conversation. Tell the minions to leave, please”. The Yakuza and the two Zone Sec agents leave the room, and Takeda continues with his usual grave demeanour. “This isn’t human work. These creatures aren’t human, they’re supernatural.”
Aziz shares his vision in detail and they conclude that it was related to the attacks. Takeda turns to the ZoneSec director and says: “Aziz, your boss is responsible for this. It was Kobayashi who sent these creatures.” Aziz is surprised. Takeda continues: “Some of our investigations have not been fully reported to the parent corporation. Notably, the work being done at Future Genetix. Kobayashi found out, or already knew about it, and they decided to annihilate Takeda Corporation. That’s why I called you here. I know your primary loyalty is to Kobayashi, but we’ve worked well together over the years. I want to know if I can count on ZoneSec’s support.” Aziz reassures him that his main concern as ZoneSec director is to avoid violence and bloodshed. Takeda assures him that the violence has only just started and then makes a dramatic statement: “I have suspected it for a long time, but now I am sure that Hideo Kobayashi is not a normal human. He is an ancient being, a demon. I know it sounds ridiculous, that is why I have kept it a secret. But these are the conclusions we’ve come to.”
Aziz is pragmatic “Let’s assume that’s all true. What is being done about security?” Takeda replies that at this point he trusts no one, but the Matsuda clan. Apart from the supernatural creatures, there’s also a Yakuza clan that wants him dead. Suddenly Takeda remembers something else: “Oh yes, and there’s this too!” A holographic image of what appears to be a cybernetic cockroach hovers in front of them.
“These are the creatures responsible for providing us with the future technology we’ve been reverse engineering. We have never had direct contact with them. Kobayashi has. But we call them Machinatores. Whatever they are, they have the ability to travel through time and are also Koboyashi’s allies”. Stunned, Aziz wants to know what exactly Takeda expects from him and the Japanese man explains that he wants ZoneSec’s support to ensure the protection of Takeda corporation’s facilities and top scientists and also investigate the matter.
Dr Bentley has organised a team of the brightest minds from Takeda Corporation to examine the creatures and, once the meeting is over, Bentley and Aziz follow along with the corpses. Young O’Malley immediately offers his expertise as a chemist. Aziz’s immediate response is to decline, but then he has a feeling that it’s a good idea to take him, Dr. Bentley incredulously adds that he might be good for carrying equipment. In Future Genetix’ laboratory, the VIPs watch as the technicians perform the autopsy. The macroscopic examination is enough to realize that, although humanoid, the creatures have very little of human. The organs are completely different and unknown. The buzz among scientists is: “What the hell is this?!”. Another curiosity of the autopsy is that the creatures do have sexual organs, they are male and have huge penises, somehow hidden or retracted. Further analysis proves the creatures are a completely new and different life form. They have no recognizable DNA, the cells seem to be similar to Prokaryotic cells and silicone instead of carbon based. The conclusion of the scientists is that this is an alien life form, and was not created in a lab.
Dr Nakatomi is excited about this amazing discovery of an alien life form. At the same time, she’s constantly reminded of the conversation with Sir Nigel, and the borrowed occult book she spent the night reading. The book describes some-demon like creatures. She approaches Aziz and Bentley to show them the book and the descriptions, Dr Bentley smiles, and looks interested. O’Malley is also around and starts discussing theories with the attractive scientist. Both of them end up browsing the web. She’s looking for more references to the demons in the book, and him trying to find the Sicarii. Isabella finds a reference to a convent in Portugal, in the 1970s, where demoniac possessions supposedly took place. There is another reference related to a murder case in NY State in the 1980s. In both cases, the creatures were apparently summoned by artefacts. In the dark web, O’Malley finds similar pictures, but nobody knows what those creatures are.
Meanwhile, Aziz gets a notification from Natasha. Sir Nigel’s dead body was just found: he has been brutality tortured and killed, last night, at his house. He shares the news with Nakatomi. She asks Aziz to give her ZoneSec’s permission to investigate the decease’s library. She drags O’Malley with her. In Sir Nigel’s personal notes, they find a reference to someone he talked to not that long ago, a former nun called Sybil Kordova. She wanted to consult the book and help hunt the demons. O’Malley discovers not only her address, but that she was a famous exploitation movie star in the late 1960s. She was also involved in case of demonic possessions at the Portuguese Convent. Isabella and O’Malley decide to visit the old lady.
At his office, Aziz decides to meditate and look for a possible encounter with the Sicarii in the future. He sees himself in a desert, in some type of Carnival, there are people shooting at cowboys, that look like actors from the 20th century. Suddenly one of the creatures appears. Aziz is shot and wakes from his trance. After shacking the eerie feeling aside, he sees a message from Nakatomi informing him about her plans. He decides to send agent Gibson to make sure O’Malley doesn’t do anything too stupid.
Jana meets O’Malley and Dr Nakatomi in the Crepuscule District. She hears about the attempt against Takeda for the first time and the “alien demons” theory. Jana is disbelieving, but she’s there on orders. Together they knock on Sybil Kordova’s door and, to their surprise, an attractive young women answers the door. Sybil has been an avid consumer of Gill people’s fluids since the early 2000s. Once she knows the reason for their visit, she welcomes them with enthusiasm, and tells her side of the story. Unfortunately, they quickly conclude that maybe Sybil is a little sick in the head: she believes God speaks to her, normally when she takes PsyloC and Salvax. But she does have wards all over her house and Nakatomi thinks those may be useful to keep the Sicarii away, and decides to try to reproduce them. Before they leave, Sybil Kordova informs them that a female close to Takeda is one of the demons, but God didn’t give her any more details.
Nakatomi goes back to her hotel room and continues her readings about the occult, but this time after taking Salvyax and PsyloC. She ends up falling asleep and having a strange dream: she sees herself naked in the company of Sybil Kordova and other two women. She knows the three of them just had sex, they are inside a strange symbol, and outside the demons are looking at them. She awakes disturbed and annoyed about not remembering more details.
Meanwhile Doyle is entering the Blue Parrot to find his bouncer, Nils Thorndike, aiming a gun at him. Nils puts his weapon down when he sees Doyle, and gestures him to follow. In the guest room there is a Gill Woman, Doyle knows the man has a close relationship with one of the mutants, but he had never seen her. Thorndike does the introductions: “This is Amber.” They shake hands, but Amber is very reticent and scared. Nils explains to Doyle what is going on. The couple is part of a cell of the Mutant Liberation Front and are being chased by ZoneSec. They had plans to attack Leary Pharma to free the mutants being kept there as guinea pigs, but now have to lay low. Doyle is weary, but lets Amber stay hidden at the Parrot.
Borges is entering her apartment after finishing her shift at ZoneSec. She hears a startling noise and quickly turns around with her weapon ready. Standing there, is a woman that reminds her of her mother. The women raiser her arms and says: “Eva, I’m Indira, your mother. I need your help! They are after me again” Eva laughs a bitter laugh. “And what do I have to do with it?!” But she quickly composes herself and orders Indira to enter her the apartment. Indira explains that the Guerreros de Gaia are still after her. She came to Avalidad to ask for Eva’s help but, once she arrived, she suspected being followed. To make matters worse Indira tells Eva she was able to contact her brother, Tarrick, and that he will be soon arriving to the City. Borges isn’t ready for a family reunion…
Aziz is in his office, at home, when the doorbell rings. Ka’athryn calls out to him “Aziz there are some ZoneSec people here to see you”. Aziz finds five ZoneSec guards, and one of his lieutanants, Pete Jensen, at the door. Jensen announces: “Director Crowe you have been suspended for treason, please come with us.”The five officers point their guns at him.