Mecha Wars: Chapter Seventeen
Madigan scowled down at the young man sitting at the computer terminal and looking over at the display asked him, "They're all shell companies?"
"Yes, ma'am," the young man nodded meekly. "I've started tracing them back, but it's like following ghosts," he explained.
"So all the recent purchases of Quincy's stock has been through these companies," Madigan summarized. "None of which have any greater existence than a post office box or email address. But why didn't we catch this sooner?" she asked.
"Because we weren't really looking," the young man sighed.
Madigan scowled at the visibly pale young man, "I want you to trace the money back to it's source, you can use whatever resources that you need." Her voice dropped to a growl, "We must know who's buying up all that stock, it could be vital."
"Yes, ma'am," the man nodded.
Madigan strode away, running the situation through her mind. The stockholders meeting was coming up in less than two weeks, and she didn't want any surprises. It could be that the purchaser of the stocks wanted privacy for some personal or professional reason. A politician, for instance, who had voted in favor of Genom projects and wanted to cash in.
But that was too easy an answer, Madigan just knew it. Her gut instinct was telling her that this wasn't a simple thing, and after working at Genom for as long as she had, she had learned to trust in her gut. 'If Quincy goes down, I go down also,' she thought to herself grimly, 'which means that I cannot allow that to happen.'
Linna settled down in her chair even as Reika sat in the seat opposite her. The restaurant Reika had chosen was high class enough that Reika felt comfortable, but not so high class that Linna felt too uncomfortable. She wondered if Reika had learned to make that kind of choice in business school, or if it was just something she had picked up from her family?
"Thank you, for agreeing to go out with me," Reika smiled at her gently.
"Your welcome," Linna smiled back.
A server arrived and Reika ordered for them, selecting out a dinner and wine to go with the meal. Linna recognized a few of the more expensive dishes and thought about protesting the cost, but held herself back. If Reika wanted to do this, it was her choice. The food was delivered swiftly, and the servers left as quickly as they came.
They ate silently a few moments, then Linna looked up, finding herself meeting Reika's eyes. She smiled slightly, "I saw your video for 'Desperately Wanting' this morning."
Reika actually blushed, looking down at her plate. "I'm sorry about that," she said softly, "I don't really think I had considered how you might feel on seeing it."
"The song is beautiful," Linna said quietly, then she grinned, "the video, on the other hand, I haven't quite made up my mind about."
"I'm glad you liked the song, then," Reika blushed. She toyed with her food a bit, "It's about you, more or less."
"You don't really know me," Linna said as gently as she could. She wasn't quite sure what Reika was expecting, and she didn't to hurt the lady.
"I know," Reika nodded, "but I'd like to." She put her fork down, looking across the table, "My sister mentioned you a lot in her letters, you know. Then when I met you, it came as a surprise how... kind, even caring you were to me."
Linna blushed, looking down. Almost as soon as she had met Reika she had been concerned about her, worried about the intense young woman. She still didn't understand where that rapid connection between them had come from, but it had been deep and strong.
Reika reached across the table, gently laying her hand over Linna's as she said, "I just want to get to know you a little better. If something else develops, that would be fine, but I'd be happy just being your friend."
Linna looked across the table, trying to read Reika's brown eyes. "All right," she smiled at her, "lets try to be friends."
"That's it?" Priss blurted out, looking over at Linna in surprise the next morning. She hadn't really expected to see Linna out and about that early, especially after she heard that Linna and Reika had gone out together that night.
"Yes, that's it," Linna said grumpily.
"She was practically throwing herself at you," Priss waved her arms in the air, "and you didn't take her up on it? I know there's armies of Vision fangirls who would give their right arm to be where you were last night."
Linna looked down with a blush, "I'm not a Vision fangirl." A bit defensively, "And I am not such a smooth operator as you are, all right?"
"Somebody ought to be giving you lessons," Priss sighed. She shook her head, "All right, so what are you going to do next?"
"I'm not sure," Linna sighed. "I was thinking of showing her the sights around Mega-Tokyo, take her over to that underground golf course I showed you..." she trailed off at the look on Priss face. "Bad idea?" she asked her meekly.
"Golf," Priss sighed, shaking her head.
"There's nothing wrong with golf," Linna said with wounded dignity.
"I should track you down the old 'Dating for Dummies' book for you," Priss shook her head. She looked over at Linna, "You like Angelic Layer, right?"
Linna blinked in surprise, "Well, yes."
"Bring her over to one of those tournaments. At least there you can try to impress the lady while doing something you like," Priss offered.
"That could work," Linna nodded thoughtfully, "That way, I can tell them about that party Sylia's organizing."
"Just make sure that Reika doesn't think that you're involved with any of the Layer players," Priss thought to add.
"They Layer players I know are all couples," Linna said with a great deal of dignity.
"Doesn't stop a threesome," Priss smirked.
"Priss, you're a pervert," Linna sweatdropped.
Priss just laughed.
Later that day Priss smoothly coasted her bike to a stop in front of the office building. She read the directions again off the business card her Aunt had given her and nodded thoughtfully, 'I guess this is the place."
She made her way into the lobby, the human security guard looking up at her suspiciously. The dark haired woman asked Priss stiffly, "Can I help you?"
Priss narrowed her eyes, instantly not liking the young woman's attitude. Even though she was in her biker leathers, it didn't mean the woman should jump to conclusions. "Priss Asagiri," she dropped her wallet open to her id on to the desk top, "I'm here to visit the A.M.N.Y. agency. They know that I'm coming."
The woman checked the name against a computerized list, her eyes widening slightly as she spotted the name. She handed the wallet back with an apologetic look, "Sorry, Ms. Asagiri. You can go right on up. They're on the tenth floor, and have the entire western wing."
"Gee, thanks," Priss snarled as she stepped into the elevator. As the doors were closing she turned to see the pale face of the guard. 'I guess a complaint could get her fired, or worse, replaced by a Boomer,' Priss thought. She smiled wryly, 'And from the look on her face, she isn't going to make that little mistake again.'
The elevator opened up on the tenth floor, and Priss blinked at how upper class the place looked. 'I guess detective work pays pretty well,' she thought. She headed west, eventually coming to an older style door with frosted glass in it. Etched into the glass was, 'A.M.N.Y.' and underneath was, 'Investigation Agency.'
Priss knocked, and heard Yoriko's cheerful voice call out, "Come in."
"Hey, Yoriko," Priss waved to the woman behind the reception desk. When Priss asked her Aunt about it she had explained that theoretically they all took turns sitting there, but usually it was either Yoriko or Aoi, because of their good naturedness. Other than that the reception had a few plants and a fair sized couch for customers to sit on.
"Hey, Priss," Yoriko answered cheerfully. "Natsumi and Miyuki are in their offices," she explained with a smile.
Priss looked around her with raised eyebrows, "You all have your own private offices?"
"Yep," Yoriko bounced up out of her desk to lead Priss back into the office suites. "Of course, we don't mind trading off gear if we need to," she added, "like when I used Miyuki's computer to do research on you."
"I guess that makes sense," Priss agreed. They knocked on Miyuki's office door first, but got no answer, so they moved on to try the next one. Priss raised her hand to tap when they heard an odd noise coming from inside Natsumi's office. Priss exchanged a long look with Yoriko before asking, "They wouldn't be...?"
Yoriko blushed slightly and shrugged, "Dunno."
Priss tried the door handle, finding it unlocked. With an evil smile she turned it and swiftly pushed the door open, catching Natsumi and Miyuki necking on top of the desk.
"Oh, god," Yoriko covered her blushing face with her hands.
"Priss!" Natsumi went beet red, both she and Miyuki getting off the desk as quickly as possible. She tidied her short hair, even as Miyuki checked her braid and straightened her skirt.
"Priss, hum, you're early," Miyuki was blushing fiercely.
Priss made a show of checking her watch, "Actually, I'm right on time." She smirked, "I guess you must have lost track of time, somehow."
"You couldn't have stopped her?" Natsumi raised her eyebrow at Yoriko.
Yoriko smirked, a blush on her cheeks, "Why? It was so educational."
"What was educational?" Aoi came up to them to ask. She nodded to Priss, "Hi, Priss. How's it been going?"
Yoriko beamed at her lover, "Priss caught then necking at work again."
"Again?" Priss raised her eyebrow at that. She shook her head, remembering why she had come by today, "My friend Sylia is holding a party at the store she runs, the Silky Doll, and I've arranged for you all to be invited."
"A chance to meet all your friends, I take it?" Natsumi asked.
"Pretty much," Priss nodded. "She's invited a few other friends, too, so it won't be too much of a grilling," she smiled, "but there probably will be some."
Natsumi exchanged a glance with Miyuki before nodding, "We'd love to go."
Yoriko and Aoi both agreed as well, "We're in."
"So when is this party?" Miyuki asked reasonably.
"In one week," Priss smiled.
To be continued...