Midwinter ghoststory, 24 hours a day.
Kougami: Useless, we've lost him completely.
Ginoza: With the trees growing so thick and dense, it's like a maze here. Kougami, let's go back to the car for now.
Kougami: No choice, I guess... or this is what I'd want to say, but... Gino.
Ginoza: What is it, Kougami?
Kougami: Have you noticed that we've been going round in circles for some time now?
Ginoza: What? Now, this is strange. Could it be that GPS is malfunctioning?
Kougami: Well, looks like we've gotten ourselves completely lost.
Ginoza: What should we do? The sun is about to set.
Kougami: I'd say it'd be better to wait someplace safe till morning instead of walking blindly in the dark.
Ginoza: Agreed. Kougami, looks like there's some kind of building up ahead. Let's take shelter there.
Kougami: This building...
Ginoza: Looks like a desolate hotel to me. Do you know it?
Kougami: Yeah. Long ago, this location was redeveloped as a resort; this hotel was built back in that period. Anyway, if we ended up here, it means we're totally in the opposite direction from where we left the car.
Ginoza: I see. In any case, let's go inside.
Kougami: Be careful, the floors here are rotten.
Kougami: Hey, are you OK?!
Ginoza: Shit, my glasses... Ah, don't worry, I'm fine.
Kougami: There's ceiling over there, and the wind is blocked well enough... Looks like this is where we're staying tonight.
Ginoza: As it be might expected, once the sun set, it turned pitch dark. And it's gotten colder.
Kougami: Don't ask for luxuries. It's still better than sleeping out in the open air.
Ginoza: Haah, I can't connect to the net for some reason. Now we've got way too much free time on our hands... Oh, by the way, Kougami, it appears you know this area pretty well?
Kougami: Back when I was still an Inspector, I was put in charge of investigating the Musashino case. Do you remember it?
Ginoza: The unsolved one?
Kougami: Yeah, that one. The prime suspect was the son of the owner of this abandoned hotel. I pursued various angles and-- No, I'd better stop here.
Ginoza: Why? Did something happen?
Kougami: You won't believe me even if I tell you.
Ginoza: Cut the chase and tell me already.
Kougami: *sighs* You see, a certain event took place here long before Sybil was introduced. Originally, there was a small mountain settlement here. But then a bizarre massacre had occurred, with all the villagers getting slaughtered. Since then, this area became notorious as a place that you'd better stay away from if you know what's good for you. But some time after, it was decided to redevelop this spot where the village had been as a resort. In accordance with that plan, first, this hotel was built. But... due to certain frequent occurrences, the redevelopment plan was discontinued.
Ginoza: Certain frequent occurrences...?
Kougami: The occurrences when people saw them... the ghosts of the murdered villagers.
Ginoza: I-I was wondering where you were going with this story, but ghosts?! Really?! As if something so unscientific can actually exist!
Kougami: I thought so, too, at first. But here we are, at this hotel, with GPS malfunctioning for no reason... it's like we've been intentionally led here.
Ginoza: Ridiculous! GPS is malfunctioning because of geomagnetism and the position of the satellites! And us ending up here is a mere coincidence!
Ginoza: Aah!!! Oh, it's just a rat...
Kougami: Fhehehahahaha! I lied.
Ginoza: Argh! What?!
Kougami: I made it all up about the ghosts. The reason why the redevelopment plan was suspended was due to money shortage, is all. But, was it entertaining enough for you? Not so bored anymore?
Ginoza: Don't mess with me! How can this kind of talk entertain anyone?!
Kougami: Where are you going?
Ginoza: To answer the call of nature!
Kougami: Haha, be careful on your way then. Ah, it's gotten pretty cold. I probably should start a bonfire. Hm? That was fast, Gino.
Hollow voice: Come with me.
Kougami: What is it? Did something happen? Hey, where are you going? Gino, I'm asking what happened! Did you find something?
Ginoza: Hey, Kougami!
Ginoza: Kougami, what are you doing?
Kougami: Well, following you, obviously...?
Kougami: Yeah, the moonlight was reflecting off the guy's glasses, so I had no doubt it was you...
Ginoza: What are you saying? The lenses in my glasses shattered when we first got here. Besides, you said you were following someone... but that's impossible.
Ginoza: Look: you're on the edge of a cliff...
Socialization field-trip into the adult world, 24 hours a day
Sasayama(monologue): This is the red light disctrict of Shinjuku ward. With the emergence of the Sybil system, even sexual drive could be managed, which made the sex industry a relic of past, and night butterflies got replaced by robotic holographic avatars. However, even now, in this city there still exists a small number of hostess clubs, like in the good old times. And tonight, I, Sasayama Mitsuru, have come down to this city of night to throw a welcome party for the two rookie inspectors I'm now assigned to!
Kougami: Hey, Sasayama, what are you muttering about under your breath?
Sasayama: Ah? Oh, well, I'm just a bit excited, is all.
Ginoza: Hey, what is this district anyway? You insisted so strongly that we take you here, so we did, but...
Sasayama: Heheh! This might be too much excitement for the chaste little boys like you, you know!
Sasayama: Oh, don't make such grumpy faces! For Mitsuru-oniisan is about to take you to the one place on Earth closest to Paradise!
Kougami: A place on Earth closest to Paradise? Like, hospital?
Sasayama: Geez, no jinxing, okay?! I'm talking about a hostess club! That's where I'm gonna take you.
Ginoza: A hostess club?!
Sasayama: Yes! Neither of you dates girls properly anyway, right? So the generous Mitsuru-oniisan took the opportunity and decided to throw you a welcome party by leading you on a field-trip into the adult world to teach you some adult socialization skills!
Kougami: A welcome party for us? You just want to go to a hostess club yourself, no?
Sasayama: Zip it! Don't apply your cold analytical reasoning to this! Or what? Does that mean you don't wanna go to a hostess club? Don't wanna get an eyeful of an ample bossom every time the hostess leans down to put ice in your glass?! Or see a white thigh peeking from the slit of a long dress?!
Kougami: W-Well, I...
Sasayama: Hah?! I can't hear you!
Kougami: It's not like I'm not interes--
Sasayama: Exactly! Now, let's stop wasting time and let's go, recruits of the adult socialization world!!!
Ginoza: W-Wait! Before we make another step, I gotta ask something. I heard such places cost a fortune. Do we even have enough money?
Sasayama: Uh, I told you, just leave everything to me. I looked up the prices at each such club on the net beforehand! Based on that info, I picked the place most suitable for us tonight. And this place is...
Kougami&Ginoza: This place is...?
Sasayama: Pink Paradise, also known as Pin-Para!
Kougami: Pink Paradise?!
Ginoza: Also known as Pin-Para...
Kougami: I feel like my hue is getting clearer just from hearing the name alone.
Sasayama: Pin-Para is the weakest among the top 4 clubs in Shinjuku. A 40 minute self-service set there only costs 2,500 yen. And you can get a further 500 yen discount if you use a coupon that can be obtained online! All in all, it costs even less than a trip to your average dirty bar!
Sasayama: So don't worry about money, boys! Tonight, I'm treating you!
Girls: Welcome to our club!
Kougami: What's wrong, Sasayama?
Sasayama: What's wrong, you ask...? Well, nothing except they're all total fuglies!
Girls: Huh? What are you guys whispering about over there behind our backs? How indecent! We'll have you arrested if you're indecent with us!
Sasayama: I wanna kill something...
Ginoza: W-Wait! It's a false accusation!!!
Sasayama: You don't have to take what she said so damn seriously!!!
Girl: You know, mister, you're real scary!
Sasayama: Haha, well, sorry about that.
Sasayama(thoughts): Shit, oh shit, what have I done. Tread on a worm, and it will turn. So what if they're fuglies, they still have to have some other cute things, except a pretty face, going for them! Have fun, Mitsuru! Don't let the money you've already paid go to waste!
Girl: Ne, ne, oniisan!
Girl: Is it OK for me to order something to drink?
Sasayama: Sure, whatever your heart desires.
Girl: Alright! Then I'll have a bottle of Hennessy! The one for 30,000 yen!
Sasayama: Gha! W-Wait. Why a whole bottle all of a sudden? Why don't you start with one of these 1,000 yean drinks?
Girl: Eh? But the oniisan in glasses ordered Dom Perignon!
Sasayama: In gl-- What?!
Girls: Drink! Drink it up! Bottoms up!
Girl: Drink it all up.
Sasayama: Hey, Ginoza!!!
Sasayama: What the hell are you doing?!
Ginoza: She said she wanted t'have this champagne, so!
Sasayama: How much does it cost?!
Girl: 100,000 yen!
Girl: Oniisan, you're drunk.
Sasayama: What is it this time?!
Kougami: To think that you can have rare fruits that even the Ministry of Wellfare doesn't serve at a place like this...!
Sasayama: A plate of assorted fruits?! Hey, Kougami! How much's this gonna cost me?!
Sasayama: Oh shi...!!!
Girl: Ne, ne, may I have something to eat, too?
Sasayama: Shut up, fuglie!!! Don't butt in!!!
Girl: How rude!
Sasayama: Fuck, if we stay here any longer, I'll be finished, for sure... Hey, Ginoza! We're going back!
Ginoza: *pukes* Blurgh...!
Sasayama: Geez, don't puke! Come on, let's go!
Kougami: *sings* Now, sleee~p, let your weary body reee~st...
Sasayama: Don't sing karaoke, Kougami! One song costs 500 yen! Stop! Please, guys, just stop it already!!!
Girls: Thank you for visiting us!
Sasayama: Now I'm really down to the wire. Not a single yen was spared... Hey, wake up, you two!
Kougami: *mutters* I'm full, I can't eat anymore...
Sasayama: Heh, looks like we have one hell of newbies on our hands now, huh.
Ginoza: *pukes* Blargh!
Sasayama: Hey, Ginoza, stop puking! Look what you've done: a stray cat is eating that! Come on, get up, you two! We gotta go back to the PSB! C'mon! Get up and walk with your own two feet, I said!
Kougami(monologue): A socialization field-trip into the adult world, 24 hours a day. Too bad the two rookie Inspectors didn't remember anything about it...
Sasayama: Shit... I won't forget this, and I'll make sure to make you repay it all back to me in full some day! Mark my word!!!
Our meeting, 24 hours a day
Ginoza(monologue): This took place not long after I started my higher education curriculum at Nittou Academy. A bunch of nasty guys picked a fight with me on campus. There were 5 of them. "How come your hue can be so clear when you're a son of a latent criminal?" thugs accused me and then went as far as insulting my father. Finally I couldn't put up with it anymore and lost it, punching one of them. But it was 1 against 5, I was heavily outnumbered and couldn't do much. They kept beating me, and I was all bloody and biting my lip in frustration, when I heard a voice from somewhere.
Kougami: What's going on here?
Kougami: Looks like you're doing something that I clearly can't approve of.
Ginoza(monologue): Having said this, the owner of the voice suddenly knocked one of my attackers out. When the hoodlums wanted to know who the hell he was, he answered,
Kougami: I'm Kougami, from the social science department.
Ginoza(monologue): That's how he introduced himself. I, too, by no means was weak when it came to fighting, but Kougami was unparalleledly good. The thugs charged at him, but before they even knew what hit them, he kicked them lights out one after another. He then held a hand out to me who was collapsed on the ground.
Kougami: Are you OK?
Ginoza: Your Crime Coefficient will go up if you do something like what you did just now.
Ginoza(monologue): Unthinkingly, I accused the person who just saved me before even thanking him. His name was Kougami Shin'ya, and he belonged to the social science department. At the very first exam here at the Academy, he ranked first among our year, pushing me to the second place. Knowing full well who he was, I felt especially embarrased to be saved by him and couldn't bring myself to sincerely thank him. However, Kougami wasn't phased by my attitute.
Kougami: It's not like I attacked them with the intention to kill. I'm sure Sybil knows that.
Ginoza(monologue): ...he replied simply and gave me a carefree smile.
Ginoza: Why are you so strong all the while keeping your grades so good?
Kougami: That'd be 'cause I do kick-boxing and wrestling.
Ginoza: So you were told you have aptitude to be an athlete?
Kougami: No, it's more like a hobby of sorts...
Ginoza: Hobby? So you do it as part of stress care?
Kougami: No. I guess I do it because it's fun to try and train my body.
Ginoza: This is the first time I've ever heard a reason like that. So you took up sports as your hobby not because your concellor recommended it to you after a hue check?
Kougami: There's no particular reason, really. I do it simply because I find it fun to do, is all.
Ginoza:Kougami Shin'ya, you're one really wierd person...
Kougami: You know my name?
Ginoza: *mutters under his breath* Of course I know your name, you're the freaking number one in our year. Damn you.
Kougami: Hm? Did you say something?
Ginoza: No, I didn't. Don't you know my name?
Kougami: Well, I vaguely recall seeing it somewhere, but... What was it, again... Gino-something, I think...?
Ginoza: Ginoza Nobuchika. Make sure to remember it.
Ginoza(monologue): Since then, Kougami and I spent a lot of time together. It would probably be correct to say that to me the school life consisted of studying and goofing around with Kougami. One day, when we were in our last year, Kougami brought up the subject of future careers.
Kougami: Say, Gino. What do you wanna do in the future?
Ginoza: I'm going to become an Inspector. It's a fast career track at the Ministry of Health and Wellfare.
Kougami: Is it any fun, this kind of work?
Ginoza: It's not about whether it's fun or not. At present, the Ministry of Health and Wellfare became the center of the world. And I want to get close to that center, even if a little.
Ginoza(monologue): It wouldn't be strange if there came a moment when I'd be forced into alienation. And it's precisely because I was a son of a latent criminal that I wanted to be closer to the authorities, even if a little.
Kougami: Really? Well, why don't I become an Inspector, too, then?
Ginoza: Don't just decide like it's nothing! And just so you know, it's not that easy to become one!
Kougami: Gino, has there ever been at least one thing that you could do and I couldn't?
Kougami: Oh come on, don't make such a scary face! It was just a joke.
Ginoza: A joke like that coming from you sounds like an insult!
Kougami: S-Sorry then.
Ginoza: You think you're the kind of guy who can succeed at anything if he tries, no?
Kougami: No, I don't...
Ginoza: Yes, you do, don't even bother denying. But, you fail to notice a big flaw that you have.
Kougami: A big flaw... that I have...?
Ginoza: Indeed. You totally lack sense of humor.
Kougami: Gheh?! Hahahaha! I'm as good as finished if you're, of all people, pointing this out to me, Gino.
Ginoza: Hey, what's that supposed to mean?
Kougami: Wait, could it be that you're not aware of it yourself...? I see. In that case, I sincerely apologize. Hahahaha!
Ginoza: What's so funny?! You're unbearable, you know that?!
Ginoza: Hey, quit laughing already!!!
Izumo: Today, our first guest wishes to appear under the pseudonym Blue-san. You do police-related work, it is quite a dangerous line of work nowadays, you probably have a lot of worries.
Reishi: Yes, indeed, I have quite a few of them. Speaking purely hypothetically, let us assume I have a friend who is like a huge bomb and gradually losing control over himself, probably due to being surrounded by unreasonable hoodlums who understand nothing and act purely on impulses.
Izumo: Oh, you don't say... On the other hand, though, have a thought that it might be exactly because your friend is among the kindred spirits that he is able to maintain his self-control never occurred to you? Speaking purely hypothetically, at the very least, they are better than the likes of a person who throws someone into a jail and still ties to disguise himself as his friend after that.
Reishi: What a valuable piece of advice... I am greatly obliged to you for it.
Izumo: No, no, don't mention it.
Reishi: But then again, I have to wonder how much a piece of advice telling me not to work on that friend of mine and not to take any measures and just leave everything as it is could be worth...
Izumo: Geh, erm... You could view it like that, too, I suppose... Nothing less from a person doing police-related work, your insight is really sharp and perfectly logical.
Reishi: No, no.
Izumo: Still, I daresay, that perfect logic might be what drives your friend into a corner before you even know it, so maybe more consideration towards his wishes would be in order, too.
Reishi: Indeed. You might have a point. But, I daresay, that consideration is what robs him of the means to maintain self-control, and, as a result, drives him to his downfall. It may be that such a choice is the case of getting the priorities backwards and mistaking the cause for the end.
Izumo: Gih! Well, you are quite right. It would have been so much easier if what the cause is and what the end is could be clearly determined by outsiders and that dear friend of yours docilely obeyed to what those outsiders decided for him.
Reishi: Weeeell... hahahaha. *unleashes his power*
Izumo: Indeed... hehehehe. *releases flames*
Reishi: It looks like our time is up, though. I shall use the numerous advice you have given me as a possible reference. A very hypothetical reference.
Izumo: Of course, I'm happy if I was of service to you. Today I wasn't able to be a hospitable host, however. Come to think of it, I even forgot to offer you tea.
Reishi: That's quite all right, you don't have to fuss over me.
Izumo: Well, see you next time then!
Izumo: Ehm, so, our second guest today goes under the pseudonym Heartless Woman.
Seri: Stop calling me that, I told you many times already, didn't I?
Izumo: Well, Seri-chan, then.
Seri: Why do you have to attach '-chan'? Do your work seriously, didn't they tell you this last time, too?
Izumo: It's fine as it is! And you could have comforted me a little, y'know? Your superior was really mean to me just now, y'know? Here, anko for you as a little extra service from me.
Seri: Khm. To me, it looked like you both went all out throwing insults at each other. Well, I'll take the anko, though. Thanks. Now come on, get on with it.
Izumo: With you ordering me around like this, it's hard to say which one of us is the host here... Em, so, is there something that troubles you?
Seri: There is. Lotsa things.
Seri: Yes, lotsa. Like shrewd overbearing superiors who just love to always have their way. And after getting manipulated and abused by them, I have to cover for my subordinates who love to do things in their own pace way too much. And then...
Izumo: Wha, there's more...?
Seri: Much more! I told you upfront, didn't I?! For example, the government that always curries the favor with His Excellency, yet tries to make lapdogs out of us; or the police that try to get in our way because they think it's their territory; or the National Defence Force that keeps coming at us to probe into all things Slate-related; or Tokyo Assembly that drags out structural alternation to the Family Register section for the n-th season already. Oh, and the Neighborhood Association tried to force us - and us alone! - to sort out our garbage!
Izumo: The Neighborhood Association...?
Seri: Not to mention that there's a mountain of inside issues, too. We've got to let the Rabbits with their equipment supplies pass through, yet our agents are so slow to start working! The Captain is unexpectedly careless when it comes to paperwork and just pushes almost everything onto me. Fushimi-kun can do work, but his attitude towards his duties is the worst...
Izumo: Hey, wai-- Stop! Stop! It's turning into a completely one-sided monologue, y'know...
Seri: But it's not even half of it! Oh well. Now, propose a solution.
Seri: You're giving people advice here, right? So, propose a solution to my troubles, I'm waiting.
Izumo: Solution... Ah! Well, about that... Erm, uh, what I want to say is...
Seri: What you want to say is...?
Izumo: See you next time!
Seri: Don't you try to worm your way out of it! Give me proper advice! It's because you lot are so damn irresponsible that...
Izumo: Wai--! Neck!!! My neck!!! Ow!!! Uncle, uncle!!! Ah...!
Izumo: Aah, today is an awfully unlucky day for me... Let me introduce our third guest today by the pseudonym Monkey-san.
Saru: Tsk! What the heck? Misaki's not coming here today, huh? Geez, how long does he plan to hang out with those worthless guys anyway? He should just stop playing their make believe game of heartwarming camaraderie!
Izumo: Um, excuse me...
Saru: Tsk, ridiculous.
Saru: How come--
Saru: --he's all relaxed and keeps grinning like a fool when I'm gone?! I'm gone, goddamnit!!! Me, gone!!! That fuckin' Misaki, he doesn't understand a jack!
Izumo: Hey, can you hear me?
Saru: He should've chased more desperately after me!!! When we run into each other, he's all fired up seething, 'Damn traitor!!!', isn't he?! Then why the hell he's not coming to chase after me with the same zeal?!
Saru: If I were in his shoes, I'd go join even Scepter 4! Yes, that's right, that's what Misaki should've done! That's the right thing to do under the...
Izumo: Well then, see you next time! And Happy New Year!