There were four of them, although I could only see three, and they were large men, imposing physically and not the usual sort of dullish brutes you might expect. There was intelligence in their eyes and even humor perhaps as they stood duty in their crisp uniforms. They appeared to be unarmed, but they would most certainly not be. They were behind a large circular counter of aluminum and stainless steel and I'd already passed through a metal detector just by walking into the lobby; it was well concealed, but I knew what I was looking for. The chemical detectors were a little harder to spot.
My heels clicked on the marble tiles and the air was cool, devoid of any scent at all, which is rare and rather irritating to most people. The lobby was large, with a high ceiling and much glass, bright and open, inviting almost and the lack of visitors was unsettling, but this was a Sunday morning and the offices were closed. Those three men and I were the only ones present. The fourth person, presumably a man, but I didn't know for certain, was in another room, watching as my every move was recorded. My voice would be analyzed, my retinas and body temperature scanned, my breathing and heart rate as well. All that data would be compared to my clearance file and if there remained any doubt about whom I was I'd be asked for a DNA sample.
Mr. Yamashita was rather selective about his visitors.
"Miss Fuchida," one of the men, a black man named Stevens spoke and his voice was surprisingly gentle. "May I see your identification please?"
"Of course." I didn't smile, but opened my purse to retrieve my badge, a magnetic card I'd received by courier several days previously. It had my likeness imprinted upon it and other data. I hadn't worried myself over how or where they'd gotten my picture, that was obvious as it was the same as the photo in my most recent Japanese passport.
I laid it upon the counter and the two men behind Stevens watched closely, but gave me no sign of their thoughts. That degree of professionalism was reassuring at least. Most men would find it difficult to look at me without revealing something, desire being the most common response by far, sexual curiosity, because the human animal has an imperative to reproduce. It was an instinct I had exploited on more than one occasion, but these men were well trained, or perhaps chemically neutered and I thought that an interesting possibility. Humans were the weakest leak in any chain.
Stevens was doing little more than logging me into the building. The hidden fourth of their watch had already verified my identity, I was sure. Now it was a matter of waiting while certain sections of the building were made available to me, doors keyed to my voice and finger prints, for example. The central computer would be my guide, tracking me, leading me to where I was meant to be. I'd been through this before and as my badge was returned I removed my weapon, because Stevens was going to want it.
"The safety is on." I did smile then, setting my Colt Annihilator on the cold steel between us.
"I understand." Stevens didn't touch it immediately. "Thank you, Miss Fuchida. You may proceed to the elevator."
"Thank you." I gave the man a small tilt of my head and walked away.
The elevator was waiting for me, of course, with doors open. I stepped inside and stood in the center of the small room, feet together, hands behind my back and staring straight ahead at my own reflection. The floor was evenly lit, as was the ceiling of the elevator, while the walls were aluminum and polished to a mirror finish. There were no buttons to push. The elevator would stop at one floor only while I was in it, and that would be the one hundred and twelfth, the penthouse.
It was tempting to fuss over my appearance, for like all women I am a creature of vanity and a mirror has its own allure, but I didn't. I looked perfect and what I would change about myself was beyond the moment. I'm tall, as you know, lithe and athletic as a dancer might be, strong without appearing overly so to the casual eye. My hair was blonde then, and not so long, but loose upon my shoulders and dyed azure at the ends, just the last few centimeters of each strand. I'd favored that look greatly, as it went well with my cerulean eyes.
I wore a silk business suit, splendidly tailored in mustard. It had a nice sheen to it and fit my body well, with the skirt cut to mid-thigh and the jacket formed as a tunic, snug to my waist and breasts without being constricting. The shoulders were cleverly padded and the Chinese collar was high and stiff, and closed around my delicate throat. I wore no bra, of course, and my nipples were evident. Beneath my skirt, I wore a thong and black silk stockings of the real sort with a matching garter. Two inch slings braced my feet, in ostrich like my purse, and blue to match my eyes and hair. Only my lips and nails, fingers and toes, were out of place, being painted blood red as they were. A young woman has to get her power someplace.
The ride was so smooth I couldn't gain a sense of motion and not so fast as you might imagine. Too many elevators are designed to impress with their speed, racing from the ground to a thousand feet in the air in just a few dozen seconds. This elevator wasn't affected to impress, it was intended to seclude and isolate, to hold captive its passenger for precisely the time required to make one wonder if she weren't in fact trapped.
The senses are deprived, you see. Everything is artificial and around you. In the four mirrored walls, there is only infinity and yourself reflected countless times. It becomes a burden, remaining patient and calm in such circumstances, and it's entirely possible that Mr. Yamashita himself watches his visitors, observing their reactions as they wait for the doors to open. Only when he is satisfied that his subject is at last becoming distraught by that unexpected claustrophobia does the man finally release his prisoner. I've been a student of psychology all my life and so I was aware of the signs I might give him and I resisted the small things, such as looking at my watch, taking a deep breath, or even closing my eyes or twitching my fingers.
I merely stood until those doors opened several minutes later and I was very glad that they did.
There were two girls kneeling on either side of the spacious entry into which the elevator opened. They were both very young, exquisitely beautiful, and dressed in traditional kimonos, with their long black hair pinned up and faces painted like porcelain dolls. The one on the right removed my shoes slowly and gently, her tiny hands caressing my feet briefly. The one on my left rose gracefully, offered me a deep bow, and began to walk away without a word, and so I followed her small quick steps with some amusement. They were entirely delightful to the senses and possessed a wonderful harmony.
She stopped near a door, two doors actually, which looked as if they'd been transported from a feudal castle, or a temple most likely. They were large and heavy, weathered oak banded with black iron, and when the girl knelt near them, I approached. Pushing the door on the right, I found that it opened so easily a child could have moved it. I might have expected anything on the other side. A throne room would not have surprised me, given the stature of the man I was visiting. What I found was a rock garden, a very large one which must have occupied the center of the roof, with Mr. Yamashita's apartments encircling it as a large square. A lone cherry tree stood in the center, its blossoms filling the air like tufts of pink snow and around it a pond, doubtless filled with golden koi to swim among the lilies.
Mr. Yamashita was there, waiting for me alone. He was old then and that always surprised me for it was difficult to imagine him as anything but timeless. He dressed in a simple linen robe of teal, open at his throat with generous sleeves and a hem that only covered his knees. His thin calves and wrinkled feet were visible, his leathery hands as well, and his oriental face was drawn, with high cheeks and deep set eyes beneath his clean shaven skull. He was not frightening by himself, just standing there; he looked like an old aesthetic and his smile was paternal as he looked me up and down.
I bent low at the waist, my legs and back stiff, face down, hands at my sides with palms flat. I held my breath and remained that way for sometime before he was satisfied.
"Miss Fuchida, thank you for seeing me on such short notice," he said and his English was immaculate, without a trace of accent.
"It is an honor that I may be of service to you, sir," I replied carefully.
"You've changed your hair," he observed without a hint of opinion. "Why?"
"It pleases me," I answered without hesitating.
"Then it pleases me as well," he offered me a curt nod. "Walk with me. I'm old now; I need my exercise."
We walked together slowly and I remained two paces behind and a step to the right of him. We didn't speak for many minutes and it was very quiet but for the sound of the wind through the tree and our bare feet on the smooth pebbles of the path around the garden. The faint smell of the cherry blossoms filled me with pleasure and that garden held a great peace which I savored.
"How did Mhubat Ajhalad die," he asked me quietly. "I am curious."
I didn't answer for several minutes as I searched for the old man's interest. Ajhalad had been the CFO for the Reserve Bank of India and he'd died of a heart attack six weeks previously. It was very possible that Mr. Yamashita had been engaged in business with the man and his unexpected passing would have been unwelcome.
"The yew tree contains a poisonous alkaloid in its seeds and needles," I said slowly. "It is so toxic that a healthy deer eating even a few grams will fall over dead so suddenly that no symptoms may be seen. Within a few hours there is no trace of the poison whatsoever." I looked at the man. "It's magic."
Mr. Yamashita grunted with a slight nod of his head, pausing briefly to look into my eyes, but he said nothing else and we continued to walk slowly around the garden. Whatever his opinion of Ajhalad, the old man was not going to share it with me. I couldn't know if his interest in the subject lay with me or the dead man, and it was entirely possible he merely wished to demonstrate the degree of information he possessed. Very few people were even aware that the Indian had been assassinated and fewer still could identify me as the killer.
"You're the only one I can trust," he said finally. "Do you believe that?"
"No." I lowered my head slightly, understanding at last his earlier curiosity. "But I will accept it."
"You will humor me, in other words." Mr. Yamashita laughed and it was a dry sound, like crumpling an old newspaper in your fist. "There is a project, a secret being researched, and I require information."
"Information," I cleared my throat softly.
"I know," he lifted a hand and let it fall. "You're an assassin, not a spy, Miss Fuchida. These are special circumstances, however, and I have need of your skills in this matter."
"I don't understand," I said carefully.
"Once I have the information it, is likely that I will wish to terminate the project." Mr. Yamashita stopped walking and turned to face me. "By getting me the information, you will by necessity be in the proper position to do so."
"There are thirty-two employees at the facility and seventeen project members." He turned and began walking again. "You will be number eighteen."
"I'm not a scientist," I frowned slightly.
"I am aware of that," Mr. Yamashita nodded.
"Where is the target?" I asked. "Which company?"
"This one, Miss Fuchida."
"I don't understand."
"This project of which I speak, I didn't authorize it," he shook his head. "It is a secret inside my own company, like a cancer inside my body. It was undetected for many years, using funds intended for other uses, personnel assigned to other tasks."
Mr. Yamashita spoke slowly and softly, but his voice had an edge that was unmistakable.
"I have been subverted, Miss Fuchida," he sighed. "Made ill by this knowledge."
"No one must know of my…condition." Mr. Yamashita paused, staring hard into my eyes. "You will be my physician in this matter."
"A physician removes what she cannot heal." I closed my eyes for a moment.
"You will do this?"
"I will be your surgeon," I agreed.
"Yes." He stopped again, smiling now and turning to face me. "You will penetrate this project, gather information, and await my instructions."
"As you say." I bowed once more, sensing that our meeting was at an end, but he surprised me.
"How is your mother?"
"She is the same..." I hesitated. "You've been very generous."
"Her husband treats her well?"
"He's her husband," I allowed myself a shrug. "She is happy."
"Good." He closed his eyes for a moment, perhaps remembering my mother as she'd been twenty years before.
"Do you want me?" I asked him after a long moment of silence.
"You look like her, Miss Fuchida." Mr. Yamashita scrutinized my face, not answering me directly. "She knows you are here?"
"Yes." I looked into his yellow eyes. "It angers her, I think."
"Then why did you come?"
"You need me." I smiled at him for the first time. "I'm the only one you can trust."
He laughed at that. "You are a good daughter."
"And Mr. Fuchida is a good father," I said without humor.
"I do want you now," Mr. Yamashita decided.
"As you wish." I lifted my chin, bringing my hands to my collar and unsnapping it slowly while he watched.
"Of all my children," Mr. Yamashita said gently, "you are my favorite."
I might have blushed at his words, but one could never estimate the man's sincerity. I lowered my eyes and gave him a shy smile, the corners of my mouth rising as I opened my tunic, exposing the pale skin beneath. The air was cool, but hardy cold, and this was not the first time Mr. Yamashita would have me, but it was the first in a very long time, since I was a child really.
My nipples hardened quickly beneath his gaze and I let my tunic fall to the stones at my feet. I unzipped my skirt and let it go as well, so that the silk became a soft puddle around my ankles. I hooked my thumbs into the black nylon of my thong, pushing it down quickly to join my skirt and then stepped lightly to my left, so that all I wore were my stockings and the garter around my narrow waist.
I felt no shame undressing for this man, or any man for that matter. I'd been born lacking what most people would consider a conscience, or morals. Giving myself to Mr. Yamashita was the least of my crimes. I'd been a thief and a murderer; an extortionist, terrorist, and spy. I'd traded my body for money and favors; trafficked in guns, drugs, and people. I'd been very good at all of those things, so why should incest be any different?
"Touch yourself, please." Mr. Yamashita stared at my sex, which was smooth and hairless, my thin lips ruddy and pressed tightly together until I split them with my fingers.
We did not sit, but merely stood and after some minutes of watching me work my clitoris to aching attention, of fingering my delicate slit slowly for him, Mr. Yamashita opened his robes. His flesh was grey and mottled with age, thin, but layered with soft rolls of skin which had once covered fat and muscle. It was not his body that I found attractive anyway. He was a powerful man, a wise and strong man who ruled as a king of old. Such power holds its own attraction and my desire was subservient to it. Beyond that, he was my biological father, as we both knew, and so we were corrupt in spirit as well as flesh, which also pleased me greatly.
Without being told to do so, I went to my knees before him. Mr. Yamashita's cock was stiff now and although certainly long past his prime, he remained virile and proud. I tasted his wrinkled skin, soft over the muscles underneath, and he filled my warm sucking mouth quickly, thrusting with his hips as the man's fingers went into my hair. His bones were hard, like skeletal hands digging into my scalp, and he was fucking my face, rather than allowing me to pleasure him as I'd been trained.
This excited him, however, and so it pleased me and I concentrated on opening my throat for his swollen penis. When Mr. Yamashita's cock penetrated me fully, so that my lips and nose were tickled by his wiry grey pubic hair, he rewarded me with a groan of pleasure. My throat was tight around him, the muscles rippling softly as if I might actually swallow his cock whole. My lungs ached and my face reddened noticeably before he released me.
"Turn around, Miss Fuchida." His voice was like a desert wind and I obeyed him, drinking cool air into my lungs.
He pushed on my back, there between my shoulders, until I was bent over for him, presenting my ready sex to his pleasure. I was wet now, from my own attentions and then from mouthing Mr. Yamashita's cock for several minutes, and I gave myself a secret smile of satisfaction for this was what I'd desired on all of my rare visits. He'd taken me once, many years before, but only to assure himself that he would have my virginity, I thought, which he had regarded as an obligation. Now, finally, he was taking me out of genuine desire and I may have been overestimating the value of that, but it was in my nature to seek advantage wherever possible.
"Yesssss…" I replied to his unasked question as Mr. Yamashita pushed his cock into my sex slowly.
I did want it, very much so, and I was ready. My pussy opened for him with enough resistance to add to his enjoyment. I'd refrained from sex for nearly a month, since I'd received news of my appointment, for I wanted myself immaculate and fresh for the man. My patience was rewarding both of us now, as Mr. Yamashita plunged his swollen member into the depths of my pussy, forcing the soft walls of my sex to embrace him lovingly. When he withdrew, the petals of my vulva, the now swollen and greasy lips of my cunt, clung tightly to his shaft, only to be turned once more inside as he pushed again.
It was a nice fuck and pleasant, if only slightly uncomfortable. I had my hands on my knees, with my spine arched, while Mr. Yamashita held my hips, stabbing his cock over and over into my womb. He'd not bothered to ask me if I was ovulating, or taking precautions; he didn't care. He's had many children, and children of children, and one more would be neither unwelcome nor surprising. It would not have bothered me to have his child, but I knew it would gain me nothing beyond what fucking the man might anyway, and so I'd insured myself against this possibility.
A pregnancy would interfere with my plans.
When I had my orgasm, I didn't fake it. His cock felt good inside me, moving back and forth and I'd brought my left hand to my clitoris, rubbing myself deliberately. It was very good, now that I was used to him, and the wetness poured out of me, spilling around Mr. Yamashita's driving cock and down my thighs to stain my stockings. I felt my stomach tighten and my breathing became ragged. I closed my eyes and moaned loudly with pleasure as my sex clamped down around him. He felt it, unmistakable and immediately welcome as he was very close to climax himself.
"There…" he breathed, pulling me back hard against him one last time, impaling me so deeply that I felt the tip of his spasming cock brushed up against my cervix.
Mr. Yamashita's hot sperm jetted into me, flooding the deepest recesses of my being with a distinct and passionate stain. I could feel him there, pulsing as he leaned over me, his open robe falling around us both like the coarse wings of a fallen angel. His arms were around me, under my tummy, and his face was in my hair. This was new for us, this intimacy, and I savored it through the pleasant fog of my recent orgasm. It would be a fleeting thing, I knew, and we'd make no mention of it in the future, but for the moment at least, it was mine.
"Thank you, Mr. Yamashita," I whispered as the man disengaged himself from me slowly, withdrawing his softening penis from my body.
"You're welcome, Miss Fuchida," he replied. "You will bathe and eat before you examine the information."
I watched Mr. Yamashita leave, walking away as he wrapped his bluish-green robe around him. The girls were there, although I'd been unaware of them and I wondered how long they'd watched us. It mattered very little in any event. One of them was gathering my clothing, folding it carefully and the other offered me a bow and a gesture, indicating that they would see me to my bath and doubtless attend to my every need. Our meeting was concluded and I had my task before me.
"You..." I looked at one of the girls. "Bring me coffee."
I was sitting at a desk, in one of Mr. Yamashita's private studies that had been put at my disposal. I'd long since been bathed and massaged by the two girls, neither of whom spoke, but they understood well enough. They'd fed and clothed me in a kimono, red and gold, with a traditional crane print. There was a fire burning in the fireplace and it gave the room a warm glow, enhanced by the richly stained woodwork surrounding me. The only other light came from the lamp upon the desk, and I'd been reading files for several hours.
I was not a biochemist, as I'd reminded Mr. Yamashita, but I was a quick study and my education had been extensive and varied as I grew up. I understood much of the data in principle, if not in detail, and my assignment in any case was that of project security officer. This was not unusual as many of the company's projects were highly classified and sensitive to industrial and even governmental espionage. It was a cover which played to my strengths moreover, and required less technical knowledge than may otherwise have been expected of me.
The project, the legitimate one that Mr. Yamashita had endorsed several years previously, was code named "Mary" which meant nothing in and of itself. The stated goal of Project Mary was to identify and inhibit geriatric triggers in primate DNA, in effect to reduce or eliminate aging in test animals, specifically chimpanzees. Once this was accomplished the project would end, and a new project would be planned to advance that research into humans. It was expensive and highly theoretical, with a timeline of not years, but decades.
Being a small project, relative to company standards, Mary involved only thirty-two scientists, technicians, and staff, working at a modest, but well equipped laboratory in La Jolla, California. The annual budget was allotted something slightly less than fifteen million dollars. So far as most people were concerned it was little more than a sideshow, an indulgence into a field of medical science in which no real breakthrough was expected until well into the next century at the earliest. It raised few eyebrows amongst the board of directors, however, which was nothing more than Mr. Yamashita's rubber stamp in any event. All the major pharmaceutical companies conducted similar research because they couldn't afford not to.
Beneath that legitimate umbrella however, there did in fact lurk something else. The evidence was minimal to be sure, a phone intercept here and there, snippets of conversation and internal communications, memos and emails. Accounting records had been scrutinized and perhaps as much as thirty percent of Project Mary's budget for the last three years had been diverted to something else, and that was merely an estimate. The something else was referred to several times as simply 'F' or 'Foxtrot' and whoever was doing Foxtrot's laundry was very good at it.
All of this had been discovered quite by accident, by what was commonly referred to as routine housekeeping. The company's internal security conducting periodic sweeps of personnel and other assets, looking for potential weaknesses which might be exploited by a rival. These were intended to be unplanned, but the members of Foxtrot seemed to have been ready for them on every occasion, except the most recent. They'd had good information on internal affairs for many years and the sudden lapse was interesting. They'd been caught unprepared at last, but even so, the information gathered was vague and circumstantial at best.
These people were not fools and Mr. Yamashita had immediately terminated all official investigation into the affair. It wouldn't do to alarm the persons involved. Stopping their program, whatever it might be, was not most desirable. Identifying the members and revealing the nature and ultimate goal of their efforts, that could prove far more valuable. It could very well turn out that their program would be of use to the company and therefore continued, under proper management and authority, of course. Once that information was gathered, the individual members of the conspiracy, for that was very much how Mr. Yamashita regarded it, they would be expendable, even if their work was not.
Twelve men and five women had been identified as potential members of Foxtrot, and that was a mission I was far more comfortable with.
All that reading was giving me a headache and I leaned back, rubbing my eyes briefly as the girl returned with a silver tray laden with coffee and sweet breads. I watched her pour from a silver pot into a cup of bone china.
"Two sugars," I nodded. "Cream."
It was a joy watching her move and I chided myself at once for not asking for tea, perhaps in the garden. Doubtless this child geisha would have performed a tea ceremony fit for the Empress herself. Mr. Yamashita had other servants, I was sure, but I saw no sign of them, only these two girls who were specifically mine for the length of my stay.
I took the cup, offered with a perfect bow, and it was delicious and exactly what I needed. Caffeine and sugar, enough to get me through several more hours of reading and taking notes, formulating my plans for accomplishing my assignment. I would retire then, joined by my two guardians, who were surely tasked to keep me from straying as well as entertained. I would rest and return to the files, studying the available materials until I was comfortable and prepared. A jet had already been prepared to fly me to San Diego at my convenience and I always appreciated Mr. Yamashita's philosophy that money is worthless until spent. It had certainly made him wealthy enough and it made the man one of my favorite benefactors.
It is a strange thing, making love with someone who is incapable of making a sound. In this case there were two someone's, the young girls who were beside me on a luxurious futon. They'd had their vocal chords severed, if not completely removed, and not so long ago judging from the tiny scars on their thin necks. Speech enables one to learn language more efficiently, or so I've heard, and therefore these two girls had become fluent in at least two languages, Japanese and English, before losing their voices forever.
They were the same age and so closely resembling each other that I'd first thought they were fraternal twins, a belief encouraged by the fact that one of them had a small penis and testicles between her pale thighs. I guessed them to be twelve perhaps, no more than thirteen certainly, and well trained in the use of their hands and mouths.
I spent much of an hour on my stomach, with the one girl's delicate male genitals in my mouth, savoring her soft skin, which smelled of tsuga heterophylla and tasted like thin, salted honey. I had her on pillows, sitting up with her knees bent and she caressed my face, stroking me and rubbing my temples as I explored her hard little cock, which was no larger than my thumb.
Her testes were wrapped in a taut sack of pink skin and her breathing was soft and pleasing to my ears. I could take all of her into my mouth, her beautiful cock and balls, and I nibbled and sucked upon her until she arched her back, gasping and loosing several quick spurts of warm semen which I swallowed greedily. She tasted sweet and buttery and I didn't pause in my attentions after, for the girl had cum rather quickly that first time and I wanted to enjoy her over the next hour at least. It was a pleasure to set myself upon the task of finding out how many times I could make her cum.
The other one was behind me, on her soft tummy as well, with her mouth and hands working to give me pleasure. She'd begun with my ass, kissing my anus and wriggling her tiny tongue against the tightness there. Her fingers were inquisitive without being tentative, exploring my body, my buttocks and thighs, using all of her senses to determine what I enjoyed most. She must have been trained in acupressure, the both of them most likely, for she would seek and quickly find those places where the subtle pressure of a fingertip brought forth a shiver, or moan from my lips, causing my body to grow languid and pliant.
When she worked a finger into my rectum, it was a peculiar and welcome sensation and I murmured my approval as I worked my mouth around her sister's cock. The girl worked another finger, and another, and her hand was so small I barely noticed that she had somehow relaxed and opened my most private place to the extent that she could push her hand inside my ass. It startled me momentarily, as it seems a thing which must be painful, and yet I assure you it was not. She moved slowly and deliberately, no deeper than was necessary and without pulling her fist completely out, but only exercising her fingers in my rectum with my anus clasped tightly around her tiny wrist.
I had my own orgasm then, without her slightest touch upon my sex. I came hard and some moments later the girl removed herself carefully, requiring some many minutes to do so, and that was another pleasure in and of itself. She left us, to wash and return with towels, both damp and dry, and all of them heated nicely. She washed me carefully, while I was all too aware now of the emptiness between my legs. She dried me and then set herself upon the task of bringing pleasure finally to my sex.
The girl began with her mouth and hands, working my vulva as a devotion it seemed, rather than just an exercise in gratification. The girl licked and bit and suckled at my sex without hesitation and I found her stamina brilliant as her tireless tongue insinuated its way into the recesses of my moist canal. She sat on my back, straddling my prone form with her knees on either side of my waist, bent over with her forehead between my spread thighs, pressed to the futon beneath us. She worked my pussy in that way for a long while, and the child was so graceful and light upon me that I found her no burden whatsoever. Quite the contrary in fact, as the girl moved her smooth wet sex upon my flesh in time with her oral attentions.
The girl brought me off several times, as often as she desired it seemed, and she was considerate and careful in that way, giving me pause between peaks that I might appreciate and understand my ecstasy fully before she brought me to another climax. How much it must have cost Mr. Yamashita for those two marvelous toys, I had no idea. I'd have been afraid to guess, but whatever the figure might be, I swore under my breath that it had been too little. They must have been trained from a very early age and I could only wonder at the limits of their expertise.
We slept together finally, after several brief hours of sensual pleasure, one girl with her head on my left arm, the other upon my right, both of them facing me, as I lay on my back. Their slender legs were over mine, their hands on my stomach and breasts, even as they kissed and whispered soundless thoughts upon my neck and cheeks. I cradled them and slept and my final thought was that it should be a tragedy for these two creatures to age another day. They were perfection come to life and with that paradox I closed my eyes.
I felt his presence even before the door opened, although he tried to hide himself and I had no wish to disappoint him, or reveal any more than he already knew.
"You are nearly prepared?" his voice seemed to startle me and I sat erect suddenly and then stood behind the desk, bowing as Mr. Yamashita entered the study.
"I will leave tonight," I said, replying in Japanese for that was how he'd addressed me.
"Forgive my interruption, Fuchida-San." He was dressed now, in a charcoal suit and scarlet necktie. "I merely wished to see you once more before I leave New York."
"I am grateful for your attention, Yamashita-San."
"Have you been made comfortable?" The man looked at the two girls, kneeling near the desk.
They'd awoken before me, for the second morning in a row, and once again prepared themselves and then my bath and breakfast. If they were tired or bored, they gave me no sign of it, but waited upon their knees for any indication of need or desire on my part. I'd been studying for very nearly two full days and I'd learned as much as I could from the files at my disposal. It was almost time for me to leave.
"Most comfortable; your servants have been quite attentive." I did not smile, but my pleasure was evident nonetheless.
"It is unfortunate that circumstances do not allow me to be a proper host, Fuchida-San, and must rely upon my servants' conciliation."
"As you say, Yamashita-San." I bowed very low as there was no other response I could make without insulting him.
"It will please me if you will accept my Bonsai," he said as I righted myself. "They are a poor gift, but…" he made a small gesture towards the two girls and smiled, "…I have a sense that you will find a proper use for them."
"You are perceptive and generous, Yamashita-San," I said slowly, careful to appear uneager. "I will accept your gift."
"You honor me, Fuchida-San."
True to Japanese custom, Mr. Yamashita had delivered upon his guest a present which was neither expected nor unwelcome. He'd read me easily and correctly, and all of his protestations to the contrary, the man knew better than I how generous he was being. I had to suspect other motives, naturally, for that was in both my nature and his. The two girls would be spies for him, possibly, and so I would be cautious.
"There is another member," I told him, although it was ill-mannered of me to do so. "You're aware of this?"
"External to Mary," the man nodded.
"I'm unable to identify him…or her…with the data available. If you wish…"
"It is not necessary, Miss Fuchida. I have taken the necessary action." He offered me a thin smile and his eyes were narrow slits staring into mine.
"I understand." I bowed as he left without another word. Only a person you trust can betray you.
I was not the only agent Mr. Yamashita had contracted to resolve this small problem; he'd made that suddenly clear. The situation was compartmented as much as it could be, which was understandable. He would have no desire for any one person to have more information than was absolutely necessary; that was why I was playing the spy first, and assassin later. It was also possible that whoever Foxtrot's benefactor was, that person would be very highly placed in the company; someone in a position to know when Mary was going to be swept by security, for instance. Such a person must be trusted and beyond reproach, and people like that were never immediately replaceable.
I put the matter out of my mind and glanced at the files on the desk, the data glowing on the laptop computer. I was finished with it. I had my notes to back up my excellent memory and I'd long grown weary of reading. I rocked in the large leather chair, turning in it slowly to distract myself with my newly acquired gifts.
They had made no movement; their countenance had not changed, even when the girls had been given away by their master. The two of them were wearing kimonos of lavender and white, their faces once more painted white, with pouting red lips and lavender shadow around their bright brown eyes. Fashioned as they were, I could not tell which was male and which was female, although I'd long since decided they were both girls and so it mattered very little to me.
Mr. Yamashita had referred to them as Bonsai and the conversation remained with me, the same way everything the man said was carefully noted. He was not a person to waste words. Everything Mr. Yamashita said and did was to a purpose. He was not random or frivolous, and so Bonsai had some significance beyond the obvious, but I was unsure of what it might be.
"I'm going to call you Hemlock and Ivy," I told them after fifteen or twenty minutes of silence. "We'll leave this place soon. Go prepare your things."
I found my own clothes hanging in the closet of my room. My skirt and tunic had been cleaned, my stockings and thong laundered. I'd barely managed to remove my kimono before one of the girls appeared as if she'd read my thoughts, hastening to assist me, and I didn't refuse her. The other would be preparing their own clothing and personal things for travel, although I had no idea how much or little that might be. I had two homes, one in Tokyo and another in Berlin, and maids, household staff to cook and clean and maintain my residences while I was away, but this was very new to me. These two girls were something else entirely and I was unused to such personal attention.
The other joined us some thirty minutes later, as I was finishing my makeup. I'd been watched carefully in that process by the one I shall call Hemlock. She wanted to understand how I made myself up, how I wanted to appear, and I knew that once she was confident in her abilities, it would be another ritual she would be eager to perform on my behalf.
The other, whom I will call Ivy, entered the room carrying a cardboard box, a large square some 50 centimeters in length and width, and perhaps 20 centimeters in depth. It had been sealed and wrapped in clear plastic and was apparently not too heavy. She gave me a bow and set it carefully upon the vanity near me as her sister moved some small items to make room.
I opened it with a nail file as the two girls stepped back, once again kneeling as they had nothing specific to do. Inside the box I found my weapon, the Annihilator I'd left downstairs. They'd returned it now that Mr. Yamashita was gone, although removing it from my person had been only symbolic at best. I could have killed him at any time, with any number of innocuous items on my person or his, or even my bare hands. My skills at such things were very credible. I checked the safety and then the clip, ejecting the power supply and after satisfying myself that it was fully charged, replaced it in the handgrip. I set the weapon aside and looked through what remained in the box.
It was paperwork, much of it pertaining to my cover assignment as the Project Security Officer for Mary. There were the necessary identification badges, facility information including keys and combinations, access codes for doors and the mainframe computers. A cover letter assured me that my contract and clearance had been forwarded to La Jolla by courier, so the Project Director would be expecting me. I doubted he would be very happy with that bit of news. The company provided me with housing, a private residence in nearby Mission Bay, which was a relative term given traffic in the San Diego area. It was staffed and prepared for my arrival and the details were there.
I was especially interested to find a smaller envelope near the bottom and it contained Japanese passports, immunization cards, and birth certificates for my two girls. Brother and sister, as I'd suspected, born 18 minutes apart and very nearly twelve years before. Atsumi was the girl, the elder of the two as her name suggested, and her brother's name was Keiyu, which I dismissed immediately. We would not use those names. I looked at the photos, which had been taken recently it seemed, and then at my painted dolls as they waited impassively, but beneath their lovely faces I could not tell which was which. With time, I thought, I'd learn to see the subtle differences that exist in all of us, but for the moment it was a fun little game to try and guess.
The birth certificates listed the parents unknown, which was unheard of in Japan and I had a difficult time imagining a Japanese official stamping such incomplete documents, but the papers looked authentic and Mr. Yamashita could almost certainly make any arrangements he wished. The passports had valid immigrant visas for both the United States and Germany, which led me to even greater appreciation of Mr. Yamashita's attention to detail. The final documents I looked at were equally important, as they were appointments of guardianship, naming myself the sole legal parent of the two children. They were dated two weeks prior and if I felt myself manipulated by Mr. Yamashita, as I surely had been, in this case I was not unhappy about it.
I could have made my own arrangements, of course. I hadn't concerned myself overly much with the complexities of traveling with two children at my side. I had no small experience with such things as moving people in and out of countries, and as soon as I was able I'd change their history to better suit my needs. That would also serve to isolate them further from Mr. Yamashita, which I was determined to do. He was by no means my only employer and if I kept the girls for any great length of time, I would need to be assured of their loyalty to only me. It was a problem poised at the back of my mind and I'd have to give it much thought. That the idea of selling them immediately didn't occur to me reveals much of my unexpected infatuation.