Saturday, 22 August 2015

Chapter six (segment eight), 2016, September, Ulf

After he had given Yukio a heads-up and a warning over the phone Ulf returned to Christina and Amaya. She was all police now.

A few minutes into her interrogation Christina's phone came alive and he saw her walk outdoors to take the call. She came back shortly after.

“Anything important?” Ulf asked.

Christina shook her head. “Nothing that couldn't wait.”

Amaya took up her questions from where she left off when Christina got her call.

Ulf sighed with relief. Good. Yukio should have caught up with Kyoko by now and then he can get her home. And it looked like the corporate credit cards would come in handy now. Ulf guessed he'd have the taxi fare for having Yukio safely home again written up as travel expenditures. And I'll bash your bloody head in if you try so save me money and walk home.


“Yes?” She turned to him and interrupted her interrogation of Christina.

“The old geezer warned us about this.”

The smile he got in return told him everything he needed to know about what she thought of Principal Nakagawa.

“Is that a proper way to address the old goat?” And her answer only verified it.

Christina looked at them both with wide eyes. “I thought… in Japan and all...”

“He put my little boy in danger!”

“Little boy.” She laughed so hard she had to curl up in a ball. “You two! He calls you his daughter and you call him your little boy.”

“Is that so, Urufu?”

“Amaya, I'm technically twenty years older, and...” Ulf started in panic.

“It's mother dear.”

“But Amaya...”

“Did you hear me, son?”

“Yes mother dear,” Ulf answered defeated.

Christina looked at them again. “Damn, she really is your guardian. Damn! I like you a lot more now. Keeping that inflated ego of his down and...”

“I'm not finished with you yet girl!”

Ulf stared in astonishment at how Christina went from threatening volcano to deflated balloon in seconds.

“Yes Sato-sensei,” she said meekly. She even cast down her eyes and stared at the floor like an obedient girl.

“Now Urufu, you were saying something earlier.”

“Yes mother dear,” he hadn't forgotten he wasn't on her good side yet, “it's Red Rose again. We're caught up in something bad.”

“Continue,” Amaya said and opened a new note in her tablet.

Ulf was halfway through a lengthy explanation when Christina's phone blared again.

“Crap! I asked her to wait until tomorrow. Excuse me, I'll make it short.” Christina took the call.

Ulf could see her preparing to cut it short when she suddenly paled and dropped her phone the floor.

“Fuck!” she said. “They attacked Ko-chan and I told her she shouldn't disturb me. What have I done?”

Ulf snatched up the phone. “Kyoko, what the hell happened?” he shouted into it.

He listened for a short while rage flare into life within him as Kyoko described what had happened.

“Make sure he gets to hospital and stay with him!”

There was a reply.

“I don't give a damn about what your dad's saying. If he doesn't agree he'll answer to me.” Then an idea came to him. “No, he'll answer to mother dear. Give him the phone!”

Ulf handed the phone to Amaya. “They hurt my friends. Mother dear, please I beg you!”

He only got to the 'hurt my friends' part before Amaya's face screwed up in an ugly grimace and she reached out with a hand and ripped the phone from him.”

“Sato Amaya here.”

Ulf saw her frown as she listened to Kyoko's father on the other end.

“You are to have Matsumoto Yukio transferred to hospital immediately. Takeida Kyoko will accompany him.”

Amaya listened and then she removed the phone from her ear and stared at it as if she didn't believe what she had heard. Something cold glimmered in her eyes and she put the phone back to the side of her face.

“That's Lieutenant Colonel Sato for you. This is not a request. It's a direct police order. If you fail to comply I'll have a patrol fetch both you and your daughter, is that understood?”

That's a military title? But she's in police uniform? What the bloody hell is going on?

Amaya hung up the call and handed back the phone to Christina. “Well, now that's taken care of.”

“Cool,” Christina said.

“Amaya, mother dear, what's happening?” Ulf stared at his guardian.

She looked back at him. “I told him to to obey.”

“Don't pull that crap on me!” Ulf didn't care if he got his face chewed off later or not. “What's with the military?”

“Military? I'm in the police.”

“Yeah, and Sweden didn't run me through fifteen months of conscript service when I was nineteen. I know military officer grades are different from the police.”

“This is not Sweden.”

“Amaya, please, just stop it! I am, or was, a conscript captain before the system was abolished some years ago.”


Ulf sighed. He hadn't told anyone since his arrival, and he had hoped he never would. “Look, with my high school grades I was assigned to the translator unit. It's effectively an interrogation unit. I still haven't forgotten my Russian.” He stared out the windows before he continued. “We might look like a naive and backwater nation to you, but we were taught methods on the darker side of grey when it came to interrogation.” Ulf gave Christina an unhappy look. “It's called torture. I had to know just about everything about military grades to know how valuable a prisoner was. It's nothing I'm proud about, OK?”

“Ah I understand.” The glare he got from his guardian was anything but friendly. “During your summer break I was transferred from the police. I'm going to be your handle from October onwards. For both of you.” She sent a glare Christina's way as well.

Ulf heard Christina gasp. Of course she had a handle as well. It was a part of the sham around their false identities. One part prison guard and two parts horribly powerful contact if things really went down the drain. Ulf's handle had made his management consulting possible, and Christina's should have made her life easier as well if she hadn't been so frantic about her independence.

“Amaya, how much do you know?”

“More than you,” she said. “Enough to know you're both better protected and less protected than what's decent. I know about the surveillance you set up. I even had parts of it extended here.”

“Crap!” Ulf said. Then his thoughts returned to Yukio, and his frustration at not being able to prevent what had happened flared to life. “Christina. Next time Kyoko calls you bloody well take that call! She was all alone and scared and you told your best friend to wait a day. Fine friend you are!”

All of a sudden he regretted his words. Christina looked as if struck. “Yes,” she whispered. “I will.” Then she broke down in tears.


“Ko-chan is hurt as well. She didn't say, but I could hear her breathing.”

It only took a few minutes to get them all into Amaya's car, and during the ride to the hospital Ulf had all the time he needed to wish he could take back his words. Christina lay in his lap whispering that she was disgusting and had betrayed her friend. Nothing he said would change her mind and another wedge crept in between them.

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