Chapter 15 - Espionage
Detective Lei Wulong surveyed the snowy area and considered the situation. Russia had taken action against the Mishima Zaibatsu in exploding the organization's facility. Mishima, however, had taken out one of Russia's top soldiers in the same breath. Sergei Dragunov died of a gunshot wound to the head from his own gun but no fingerprints could be found. Abrasions on his neck suggested he had been choked by someone too.
"I don't like this one bit," Lei said on his cell phone, speaking with Raven, an operative for another organization wherein they had decided to share information.
"Yeah, we found a few buried in the snow. Couldn't see them at first." Lei stepped in the snow to see the few they'd found and pinned to a small canopy. They both knew what that likely meant.
"Jin Kazama doesn't dirty his own hands often. The devil had yet to attack anyone since Kazama took over the Mishima Zaibatsu. That man must have struck a nerve," Raven observed.
Lei continued their agreed analysis: "There were two shots. We haven't found the other bullet, but as things are, I'm guessing the Russian shot first, and Kazama retaliated."
"Gunshot wounds have triggered it before."
The Hong King detective walked around to follow his imagined situation as he stated, "Right. So Dragunov fires, the devil comes out, kills him, and Jin Kazama leaves. If you're right that he can create illusions, it wouldn't be hard to hide since there couldn't be many witnesses to begin with."
"Assuming he even wants to hide. Does the Russian government know…about the devil gene? That makes a big difference on Dragunov's intent. He might have been trying to activate it on purpose. Ill-advised on his part."
"I'll have to do some digging on that one," Lei admitted.
"I've got more bad news," Raven confessed. "He knows he's being watched. Come to think of it, he must have known for awhile. I don't know how long. He's planning something, Lei, something big. He waited until the absolute last moment he could reveal he knew and then blocked out my access."
"He's playing us all like some kind of chess game. This devil is smart. He knew the facility would be targeted and wiped out the data, so others couldn't find out what was here. I never pictured Jin Kazama as the type to be some kind of criminal mastermind."
"Heihachi Mishima undoubtedly influenced him beyond just training. He's reserved and focused. His behavior fits the type; the devil gene just enhances traits he already has and points them in a bad direction."
"That's really what you think it does?" Lei asked.
Raven paused in thought before continuing, "That's the current theory, yes. He recently met with Nina in his office, longer than usual, looked serious. I'm sure these incidents are related. I need to find out whatever this big, secret plan is. It can't be good. He took special precautions here he normally doesn't." What could be worse than the war the young man already started? Would they finally find out if it had a bigger purpose?
"Good luck on that. I'll contact you if I learn anything from the Russian government."
"Over and out."
While Lei and Raven pondered over the events in Russia, Jin laid out his objectives for Melissa: work for G Corp undercover and keep an eye on Asuka in Osaka. Indeed, no one from G Corp had reached out to Asuka yet, but with the increasing public support against the Mishima Zaibatsu, the rival company began to take advantage of those clamoring to join the fight against the Destroyer of Worlds, as some had come to call Jin, a title which Devil relished. Not only did G Corp take the help offered so generously, Kazuya grew confident in having his operations seek out Asuka because of what they had learned about her participation in the previous tournament. She could be an asset or a threat, and he could manipulate and react as necessary if he guided her to his side. Upon learning that the Osaka branch hired a data analyst who needed a new residence and that one had been available near Asuka for two months, he seized the opportunity. In Kazuya's mind, he pictured Jin to have all but forgotten his connection to the Kazama bloodline. The young CEO clearly focused on something unseen and far away. Jin had arranged for the family that once lived there to move out though all things considered, it wasn't necessary. Devil agreeing to the visit that night enhanced the assumption already made by the elder Mishima.
Sometime after all the arrangements had been made by warring father and son, Asuka Kazama walked across the street to greet the disguised Melissa, using an alternate name of Alisa Baker, moving into the house there with her father. They introduced themselves to each other and began to chat.
"Where are you from? America?" Asuka asked.
"Yes. Maine in the United States, to be precise."
"Oh. Why are you in Japan?"
"Work? You're not in high school?" Asuka asked in shock. Alisa looked so young, like a little doll. She was a bit short for an American girl.
"No, I recently graduated college though I did take some accelerated courses."
"What do you do for a living?"
"I'm a data analyst."
"Oh." That sounded boring, which was indeed the point.
"I've told you about me, Miss Kazama. What about you?"
"There's not much to tell. I've lived in Osaka all my life and go to high school. I live with my father, like you, and help out at his dojo. Well, my cousin's an evil tyrant, you may have heard, but I'm not like him. I'll teach him a lesson first chance I get." She'd be better prepared to confront that devil head-on, she had decided though the shadow riddle still eluded her.
"You're related to Jin Kazama?" Alisa asked with innocent curiosity.
"It wasn't my idea," the Japanese girl remarked bitterly. "Anyway…if you're a data analyst, I assume you don't study martial arts."
"I've taken a few self-defense courses and read about some martial arts, but I don't actively practice any, no."
"Well, come over sometime, and you can watch a class, not just read about it, but see it in action."
"I would be honored."
During the next month, Asuka and Alisa became friendly acquaintances. Alisa had explained her work required strict confidentiality, so she couldn't really discuss it and would try to find other common ground, such as TV shows or books. Alisa read a lot and very quickly too. Eventually, Asuka opened up about her participation in the King of Iron Fist Tournament 5 though she left out the part where she was found in a pile of rubble and her devil cousin coming to visit her one night. Alisa spoke rather formally and came off a bit cold for it, but then, that's how she was taught when studying Japanese. She had a quirk where she loved wearing dark sunglasses all the time, even inside or even at night because she thought she looked cool with them. Asuka found it amusing. Something didn't seem right, but Alisa acted as a kind listener at least
One day as the two sat on the steps to Alisa's residence, a limo pulled up, and the window rolled down to reveal blonde girl with long, straight hair and a generally snotty air. She exited the vehicle, and her light blue eyes looked over Asuka and the darker-blue-haired person with her. She chose to ignore Alisa. "We meet again, Asuka Kazama. I won't lose to you this time!" she pointed emphatically.
"Lili?! What are you doing here?"
"Haven't you heard?" Lili asked, holding her arms akimbo.
Asuka looked to Alisa with an incredulous expression.
Lili tapped her foot. "Don't you watch the news? The tournament!"
"Tournament?" Asuka asked. Of course there could only be one tournament Lili meant, but the young Japanese girl still wondered.
"Let's go inside and see what she means," Alisa offered. "It's a mess, but if you want to watch the news, there's no better place. I have a very large TV. Come on in. I'll get you both some tea."
The other two girls followed, and Alisa's living room had a wall of TV monitors along with a number of computer towers with wires strewn every which way imaginable.
"What's all this?" Asuka asked aloud.
"That's for work. Ignore those."
Asuka looked to Lili, not grasping why a data analyst needed so many monitors. Lili shrugged innocently. Their host found a remote, pushed a button, and a very large TV monitor descended from an open slot on the wall opposite to the mass of monitors. Alisa sure was high-tech.
The anchorman relayed to his audience, "G Corporation has declared a massive bounty on the head of Mishima leader Jin Kazama. Only an hour later, the Mishima Zaibatsu seems to have replied with an announcement for the King of Iron Fist Tournament 6."
Asuka's eyes widened and she let out a subtle gasp. So it was that tournament. This would be her chance to confront Jin again. Lili began to talk. "You had better be there Asuka. I will not lose. I'll give you a practice match if you like."
"I'll beat your snotty butt anytime anywhere," Asuka snapped.
Alisa had already used the remote to put the giant monitor away. "I must request that the two of you not fight here, of course."
Both girls sheepishly rubbed the back of their heads. "Of course," they said at the same time and glared at each other for doing so.
"You must be excited, Miss Asuka. It would seem your tyrant cousin has extended an invitation for the lesson you want to teach him."
"I'll be the one to teach Jin Kazama a lesson right after I beat Asuka again!" Lili declared. "Then I shall have vengeance for my father and take back his oil field."
"He took that too, huh?" Asuka remarked. She placed her hand under her chin, becoming contemplative. "Well…we'd better start training and prepare for the trip."