Blossom and Cherry
October 15th 2107 4PM
The bright LA sun poured through the window highlighting the small amount dust the cleaning lady missed last night as I watched the motionless front door of Samuel Sloan investigations for the third day in a row without a client. As I am the owner, founder, and only living employee of the same it was beginning to concern me. Sarah assured me that we were in no danger of going bankrupt for a change. Still a man can only stare at a door for so many days before going a little bit crazy. After a solid half hour of watching the clock click from one minute to the next I turned to the empty air. “Is there any point to staying open for the last thirty minutes, or should we just call the day a loss?”
My secretary's holographic program activated and in an instant a translucent brunette was sitting on the edge of my desk looking back at me through thin wire glasses. “Much as I hate to encourage your tendency to close the office early, I am having a hard time seeing the point in a few more minutes today. Your call list is completely empty.” Sarah walked across the room, her black heels soundlessly making their way across the floor. “Wait this is unusual, I am getting an international call from a Toshiro Ishamoto.”
There was a name I hadn’t heard in years. “Toshiro? Put him through.”
“Connecting now detective.” The image of a Japanese man slowly came into focus in place of my blank screen. Older than I remembered him from his days on the west coast and with a ragged look in his eyes.
“Good to see you after all this time. What brings you back to my neck of the woods, so to speak.”
“I need to hire you I am afraid. Forgive me for skipping past the pleasantries. Time is short. I cannot go into detail where I might be overheard.”
“I still owe you a favor from the old days if memory serves. I doubt I will be able to be of much assistance in Tokyo however.”
“The work I need is local and I would need to be able to travel back in time to do it myself. I am sending you the address of my daughter Asiru, I need her removed from her apartment in Los Angeles and kept somewhere safe for a time. The men looking for her are dangerous so I will triple your normal fee, in addition to calling the debt between us even. She must be protected however.” The hard look in his eyes reminded me that this was a man who had once terrified most of the Tokyo underworld.
“I’m on it, I am assuming this will not wait till morning?”
“It will not, also I believe the men looking for me have a man within the local police force. Do not involve them if you can avoid it. I will contact you when I can and thank you.” The image faded back to a blank screen.
Sarah’s eyes followed me as I slid on my coat and checked my revolver in it’s holster. “I assume you met him before my tenure here began and that this job will not actually involve time travel?”
“Correct on both counts. The time travel was a code. Toshiro is coming to LA.” I slid my hat on as I headed out the door. “And I have work to do.”
The tires of my Fairlane kept a tight grip of the road as I sped out of downtown to the apartment of one Arisu Ishamoto. An Japanese thug in a cheap suit and a bowler was standing guard outside the front door and doing a bad job of looking inconspicuous. Unless I missed my guess his brother was standing at the back door.
I tapped my comms on as I made a causal drive by of the building, parking out of sight of the far side. “Sarah, keep an eye on the situation and be ready to call the law if this turns south.”
“Of course detective, they will be summoned when the shooting starts.”
I strode around the corner causally, being careful not to make eye contact with the side of beef outside the front door. Fidgeting in my pocket as I walked up the stairs completely ignoring him on the way by. He was in front of me in a second.
“Building is closed for maintenance. No entry today.” His speech was heavily accented and he appeared to be as much of a handyman as my mother. Not a convincing lie. He must have been hoping his size and the dull glare in his eyes would make people not want to find out more.
“I live here what do you mean the place is closed?” I moved to walk around the grunt, apparently clueless to the danger he presented.
The candidate for worst doorman ever placed his hand on my chest opening his jacket to reveal an automatic pistol holstered on his left side. “Take a walk.”
I took half a step back raising my hands in surrender.”Don’t shoot, I’m leaving.” I slowly started to turn around with my hands raised catching his guard dropping out of the corner of my eye as he tapped a comm unit in his ear.The moment his eyes turned away from me, I spun as the titanium joints in my right hand closed into a fist catching him with a right hook just under his left ear. The street echoed with the crunch of bone against metal as the big man crumpled to the ground like a puppet whose strings had just been cut. I quickly drug him away from the main entrance. That should keep his friends from finding him for a few minutes at least. A quick look through the door to make sure he didn’t have a friend inside and then I was in dashing up the stairs as I saw another pair of cheap suits searching the ground floor.
This was starting to look ugly. “Sarah, I need an exact location on Asiru’s apartment. Also begin a search for escape routes.”
“Next floor third door on the right. If you do not trust the front and back doors public records show two fire escapes.”
I cleared the stairs quietly making my way to the open apartment door. A switch on my eye lit up the hallway in infrared. There were a pair a goons trashing the place. My luck was holding on that at least. They had not found the girl yet and their backs were to me. I came in fast sliding my pistol out of it’s holster as a solid punch to the base of goon number one’s skull laid him out. Number two turned in surprise as I dashed forward pistol whipping him to the ground before a swift kick between the eyes put his lights out. There was an odd flicker in the infrared but no girl here, Japanese or otherwise. No time to work that out as the two from downstairs came in the door with automatic pistols drawn. I dived through the nearest doorway unloading my revolver over my left shoulder. One went down in a spray of blood as I took cover and quickly reloaded my pistol. Can’t say I liked the idea of going head to head with that automatic, but I was running out of options. I braced myself hoping I was faster than the guy outside the door as I heard a loud crash and a thump from the next room. Slowly coming around the corner I made out the blurry outline of a young Japanese woman standing over my new friend with what appeared to be a small statue in her hand before she faded out of sight.
This was new. I blinked before focusing in on that little glitch I saw in my infrared earlier. “Asiru? Your father sent me to get you out of here. Also if you would stop turning invisible that would help.”
A short and very disheveled Japanese girl blurred than slowly faded into view, still holding a broken piece of statue in her trembling hand. “How do you know my father.” Her small frame shook and I could see the terrified eyes of someone who has never seen a gunfight up close.
“We’re old friends from when he used to work in Los Angeles and the small army here was after you not me. So get moving now and talk later.” I went to the door, eyes searching both ways with my revolver behind me just out of view. “Sarah, best exit now.”
Asiru moved in close behind me as Sarah’s voice responded in my ear. “One floor up and you will see a way out on the left.”
I motioned behind me slowly making my way up the stairs, turning a corner before hearing the next wave of soldiers moving around below. Sarah’s voice came through as I saw the fire exit. “Detective the police are on their way to your location, if you wish to avoid them you will need to hurry.”
“Bullets flying will do that.” I put my right fist through the glass protecting the exit, a fire alarm sounded although one more loud noise at this point shouldn’t matter. “Believe it or not I am usually more of a gentleman. However no time so up and over.”
I noticed bit of color had returned to Asiru’s cheeks as she put her hand to her chest sighing dramatically. “My hero.” Then climbed out the window and down the emergency ladder.
After a quick scan of the alley for any other interested parties I made my way down as the car came around to meet us. “That’s mine, get in.” We climbed in and I slammed the gas, switching the auto drive off before it could tell me I was performing a number of unsafe maneuvers. “Care to explain the vanishing act earlier.”
Asiru glanced at me considering her response for a moment. “A gift from father. Prototype chameleon field, it was scrapped because it would not conceal a full sized man. Also glitches quite a bit if you move while it is activated.”
“But a small woman will work?” I sped away through the side streets and back alleys leaving the apartment building far behind as I checked behind me for a tail.
“If she holds very still.”
“Sarah, put me through to Cherry, I think I am going to need another favor.”