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Washi and Asakura: PI - Casefile 1: Briar Rose by Donna Gregory
Washi and Asakura: PI - Casefile 1: Briar Rose by Donna Gregory
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Introduction

The year is 2066, nearly four years after the end of a brutal, decade-long war between the European Coalition, led by the nation of Huntworl, and the Asian-Ameris Alliance. Although the Alliance nations were nominally the winners of the war, it has taken its toll on the entire world.

The last few years of the war were desperate ones on both sides. But whereas the Alliance resorted to building armored suits and remotely-controlled mecha, the Coalition did what had been considered unthinkable. It created bioengineered lifeforms, many human in appearance but ruthless in temperament, to throw against their enemies. When even that failed, the Coalition began taking those who had been too weak to fight, or those soldiers considered too badly injured to continue and remaking them. Coalition Cyborgs in those last years were responsible for more deaths of Alliance troops than any other single unit during the war. To the civilian populace, the simple mention of the word was enough to conjure horrifying images of baby-eating, mechanical monsters. One elite battalion was sent to the European theater in a last ditch attempt to stop the Coalition. The newsfeed images of the Red Impulse unit, led by the now legendary Kentaro Washio, as they stormed the Huntworlian Palace and took the head of the prime minister - Kerry Beoluke, became icons of the war. Sadly, so did the images of the squad being cut down by the prime minister's cyborg guards before Red Impulse's reinforcements could arrive. But by then, with Beoluke's death, it was all over but for the shouting.

The United Nations was reinstituted as a measure to ensure the world would never fall to such divisiveness again, as a ruling council of nations. To this end, a fifty year moratorium was placed on the technologies used in the latter days, and monitored by a special arm of the UN...the ISO. Special interest, of course was placed on the European tech. All information and examples of the bioengineering technology and cybernetics was ordered destroyed or locked in UN vaults. (In many cases, however, even harmless technologies were made inaccessible to the public.)

That first year, hundreds of cybernetically enhanced Coalition troops were rounded up and slaughtered on live newsfeed in the name of world peace.

Out of the ruins of the world's cities, new ones now rise, phoenix-like. The greatest of these is New Utoland City, almost 50% completed in only the past few years, and the new home of the UN. The gleaming glass, steel, and stone towers loom above the skeletal remains of the old city, colloquially called „Oldtown‰ by its inhabitants. Welcome to the city. Enjoy the ride.

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Washio & Asakura: PI // Casefile 1: Briar Rose

**The name's Washio. Ken Washio. I'm a PI. Got a little office in the seedy end of New Utoland City, right on the fringe between Oldtown and bright lights. That's okay. I like things seedy. It's Friday, 10 p.m., do you know where your partner is? Mine's staggering into the office right now, preceded by the chime of dogtags and smelling of cheap whiskey and cheaper cigarettes. Backlit by the neon night, he looks like someone I wouldn't want to meet in a dark alley.**

Joe closed the office door behind him, squinting at the flashing neon go-go bar sign as Ken stuffed the little tape recorder into the desk.

"Well?" He asked gruffly.

"Well, what?" Ken looked around nervously.

"Any calls?" Joe looked exasperated as he stubbed a butt out in the commemorative frog ashtray they'd gotten on their last case. It sat watching them with its beady little glass eyes from on top of the TV that hadn't worked since they got the office. Scowling, he watched the smoke curl up from the frog's little nostrils. "And where the hell is that kid you hired to keep the place neat?"

"If you didn't keep leaving empty beer cans all over the place.. and, no, we haven't gotten any calls." Ken pushed the smoking frog further away.

It was then that there was the sharp click of high heels in the hall. The silhoutte of a woman showed through the thick glass of the door emblazoned with their names.

****

**I knew it as soon as I saw her. Beautiful dames are nothing but trouble. It's a direct proportion. The more beautiful, the more trouble. And she was trouble with a capital T. She was wearing a little rose pink suit that didn't leave much to the imagination. With her white gloves and go-go boots and her little pink hat, she looked like the princess of Mod high society. And then, she blinked those huge green eyes.**

"Oh for crying out loud, Ken." Joe whacked him on the back of his head as he got up.

"Owww! Whadya do that for?"

"You were talking to yourself again, fool." Joe ran his fingers back through his long hair in a quick attempt at grooming as the woman in pink stood before them, clutching her little white Chanel bag.

"You have to help me" she said softly, her enormous eyes brimming with tears.

They nearly fell over each other trying to give her the box of kleenex. "We don't get your kind around here much, miss..ah I didn't catch your name?" Ken stammered.

She blew her nose delicately. "I didn't throw it. May I sit down?"

"Um, sure" Ken gestured to the seat Joe had vacated, as Joe sat on the desk.

She looked up at the two of them. "My name is Jun Nambu. You have to help me find my father. I'm fabulously wealthy. I can pay you anything you want.." She looked away and sighed heavily, fingering the chunky pearls at her neck.

"Anything?" A smile began to slide across Joe's face before it was Ken's turn to smack him on the back of the head.

"Dammit, man, she's a client! Stop thinking with your dick for once." Ken whispered.

"Yeah, yeah.." Joe lit a cigarette. "What I'd like to know, and no offense Miss Nambu, is if you're so stinking rich, what're doing here?"

"Joe..." hissed Ken before Jun held up a small, white-gloved hand with a picture of herself and a middle-aged, mustachioed Japanese man.

"No, Mr. Washio, it's a valid question. Do you two know who my father is?"

Ken and Joe looked at each other and shrugged.

"My father is Kozoburo Nambu. He's a brilliant scientist, just won the Nobel Prize. But, he's a little..odd. He's been working on something very top secret for the government. Yesterday, we were supposed to meet for lunch at his favorite restaurant, but he never showed up. I.. I'm afraid an underworld organization may have taken him..SOB!" She daubed at her face with the tissue, taking care not to smear her mascara.

"Maybe this is a job for the ISO or something, Miss Nambu." Ken looked at his partner nervously.

"NO! Ahem...no. You see, fate led me to you."

"Fate?" Joe arched an eyebrow, as he stuffed the cigarette in the frog.

"Yes. You see, when I got home and I couldn't find him, my poodle Snoogums jumped on the table like I always tell her not to do. You know she's a naughty little dog. Nonono I always tell her.."

"And?"

"Oh. Well, the phone book fell open to the page with your names on it." Jun's eyes wandered to the dust-covered TV screen in the corner.

"See, Joe. I told you it was a good idea to advertise in the yellow pages." Ken leaned back smugly.

"And then she threw up on the page." Her eyes never left the dusty glass as she smoothed her hair

"oh."

"Please. I'll pay 500 UtoYen a day plus expenses. Can you help me?" She leaned forward in the chair and both men's eyes widened.

"Yeah. Sure." Ken mumbled.

[to be continued......]
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