Is It Worth It?

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Disclaimer: If I owned Magic Kaito or Detective Conan, I would be rich, famous, good at drawing, and fluent in Japanese. I am none of these things. *long sigh*

More thanks than can ever be expressed go to NinthFeather, the most understanding, helpful beta reader and friend on this—or any-planet. Thanks for putting up with me for so many years!

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6/9/2014

Journal Entry 1890763 – Is It Worth It? A Question for Nakamori-keibu

As I'm sure many of you are aware by now, I am a huge fan of KID, and I have a lot of respect for all the people who oppose him. Especially Nakamori-keibu, who's been KID's number one opponent from the very beginning, as far as I'm concerned.

And I was lucky enough to run into him this morning! Now, if you're one of those people who don't happen to be as much of a KID fan as I am, Nakamori-keibu, of the Tokyo MPD, is the head of the Task Force assigned to catching the infamous Kaitou KID, the famous phantom thief who frequently captures the hearts of his audience members while making off with priceless gemstones.

Nakamori-keibu was gracious enough to allow me to record a conversation with him early this morning over a cup of coffee to share with you. He told me that he only had time for one question... I hope that his response will be as enlightening for you, dear readers, as it was for myself. Here is the transcript of our discussion. I hope you find it as fascinating as I did!

A word of warning, however—the dear inspector likes to pepper his speech with certain words that are inappropriate for young ears. I believe that taking them out would be rather detrimental to the overall comprehension of his response, however, so make sure you're prepared to deal with a great deal of cursing before you read!

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"Is it worth it?"

You're asking me to answer that? Can't you try something else first?

No, of course you can't. All right then. Let's start with a bit of a review, so everyone knows what I'm up against. Explaining what I think of that question won't make sense otherwise.

Some of you may know me as Nakamori Ginzo. For those of you who don't—I'm in charge of the Task Force that's been after Kaitou KID for the last 21 years. If you aren't familiar with KID, you might know one of his other names—he's probably got a dozen or so by now, but the oldest of them is International Criminal 1412.

There are all kinds of different types of thieves in the world. Some are willing to kill to get what they want; the one I chase is insane enough to have a rule at each and every heist he pulls: No One Gets Hurt. Now, I don't have a damn clue why he has that rule, but he sticks to it. Enforces it, too. Anybody that draws on the KID—or anyone else, actually; it's amazing how many criminals have tried to shoot members of the crowd or the Task Force personnel on KID heists—has ended up with one of those bastard's crazy cards through the barrel of their gun. And yes, the damn things fly fast enough, even at a distance, to slice into metal, or concrete, or whatever the hell else the damn KID needs them to. I haven't the faintest idea how or why it works. I just know that it does.

His 'calling card', as some of the damn profilers like to call it, is the invitation to each and every one of his damn heists that somehow manages to make its way onto my desk. Sometimes he puts them in the newspaper to invite anyone who can solve the riddle—and trust me, the general public has gotten pretty damn good at solving them by now, judging from the number of fans that show up to his heists. Sometimes he gives out personal invitations to the freelance detectives that chase him—he calls them his "critics". But he always, always, sends at least two of 'em—one to the police, and one to the owner of the jewel, both signed with a grinning caricature of himself.

And those notes are never straightforward, either. No, the damn KID makes them riddles, and isn't shy about making them nearly impossible to solve. More than a few of the damn things were so cryptic that we couldn't even figure out what day the damned heist was supposed to be, let alone what fucking time he'd show up to steal his target.

No, I'm not kidding. He invites us. Every time. If you can figure the riddle out, he includes the time, date, and target, along with some obscure information on how he's planning to steal the damn thing. The damn thief actually called us once when we didn't show up, wondering where we were. And waited for us to get there before he started.

KID's damn crazy enough, on his own, to drive a team of psychiatrists insane. Introduce him to a crowd, and you might as well give up right then and there. Because not only is he a magician—and a damn good one at that—he's also a disguise artist. He's so fucking good at it that he regularly takes the place of people's husbands or wives or girlfriends and maintains his cover for hours at a time, perfectly. Yes, he is actually good enough to pass as a girl. The only cover he can't actually pull off for long is a child, because he's too tall for it. Anybody else is fair game—I've seen him go straight from a six-and-a-half foot muscled guy to a tiny little old grandmother with a walker in less time than it takes most people to snap their fingers.

Not only can he disguise himself as someone else, but he can imitate voices. You can't trust what anybody says over the police radio on a heist, 'cause the damn KID has hacked our frequencies and can use 'em to distract everyone from wherever the hell he happens to be at the moment. It's damned impossible, dealing with that.

And worse, he seems to think gravity and physics as we know it are optional. I've seen him go up the side of a skyscraper on a pair of roller skates with rockets strapped to them, walk seventy feet in air over open ground, run—without assistance—straight up a wall and perch like a damn demented bird against the ceiling. Hell, I've watched him go through eighteen disguises in just under six seconds, right in front of me. If, the next heist, he decided it'd be fun to show up as the Headless Horseman, steed and all, I don't think it'd even surprise me.

KID excels in breaking you of thinking about things linearly. He defies every natural law—he's as likely to rise from under the cement like a demon from Hell to snatch whatever he's after as he is to descend from the ceiling like he's a damned angel. And I don't think I've ever seen him pull the same trick twice—at least, not in the same way. Every heist he pulls, he pulls something new. For all the prep you do, he's done twice as much—there's no telling what'll happen at any given moment, no matter how hard you try, or what you do to try to stop him.

There is no stopping KID. You can trip him up, or slow him down, but you can't touch him. The most anyone's managed in 21 years is to grab the very edge of his cape, but even that didn't stick. We've tried booby trapping the jewel cases, setting tripwires and alarms and security measures so strict that not even the owner could get in to check the jewel, and KID still walks away with his prize every damn time.

Usually on that damn hang glider that his cape turns into. Don't ask me how it works. It's like the card gun—utterly impossible according to every law of physics, and yet it works for him every damn time. There's no way I'm going into his other equipment—you'd never believe some of the shit he's pulled on a heist, and you interview people nearly as insane as the one I chase around after dark in a fucking day-glow-white suit.

Anyway... I was going over KID's typical modus operandi. So. He sends a note. He shows up perfectly on time. He does utterly impossible things to taunt the Task Force and whoever else showed up to catch him, and steals whatever he's after regardless of what we do. He disappears, usually by way of the damn hang glider, and the jewel reappears after a relatively short period of time—anywhere up to a full month after the last heist, and occasionally in somebody's pocket before he leaves the building he stole it from.

I still don't know why he does what he does. I suspect I never will. Oh, I have theories, the rest of the Task Force has them too. The tamer ones involve a simple love of the spotlight; of being attention-deprived and a thrill-seeker. The white suit supports that. He's eye-catching, and that can't be an error, because he seems to live the role, play it up for the crowd, make himself unable to be missed.

But I don't believe that's his reason. It might be part of it, I can't deny that much. But there's something much deeper that drives him. I can't put a finger on what it is, exactly—putting KID in a box is damn near impossible, I don't care what the box is—but he's got a goal. I don't know what it is, and I don't know what he'll do when he completes that goal...

...but I can honestly say that I hope he doesn't catch a bullet trying to do it.

People used to ask me what I would do if KID actually got himself shot on a heist. I'm actually a little surprised that wasn't your question. I'm never sure I know the answer to that one, to be quite frank. The correct answer, as far as the Law is concerned, is to take the evidence as it comes and arrest his sorry ass. But I've seen a lot more than most, chasing KID all these years, and I know there's a lot worse than him out there.

Which brings us back to your actual question, Miss Reporter. "Is it worth it?"

The answer to that greatly depends on who I'm meant to be answering for. For KID, on holding his insane fucking heists once a month or so? He obviously thinks his goal—whatever the hell it actually is—is worth it, or he wouldn't be an active thief even now, 21 years after he started.

For me, on chasing KID? It's absolutely worth it. KID has a way of making you reevaluate your position. Which sounds batshit crazy to say out loud, but it's true. He makes you think. KID's like a giant fucking Chinese puzzle box, one you just know has an amazing story inside if you can just figure out how to crack the damn thing open, and the riddles that came with it just taunt you into trying harder than ever.

It's... ah, what the hell, I'm just gonna say it—fun, chasing him. Yeah, he's technically a criminal, but there's not a mean bone in his body. There's no danger to anyone, at all, because he won't allow it. And the stuff he pulls—the way he does it—it's... god, this sounds stupid... pretty. He's a magician of the highest order, and a showman at heart, and that shows, in every little thing he does, in the way he does it. You can't help but marvel at the perfection of it, even while you're screaming your head off at him to get the fuck down from the chandelier and stop throwing those damn pink stage smoke capsules around already. And that damn insane grin he always wears just begs you to chase him. I swear, he thinks getting chased around like he's some demented fucking rabbit is even more fun than actually stealing the damn gems.

It's been worth it for my career, too. I mean, how often does a typical police officer get the chance to face off against a master criminal that the profilers still can't make sense of? I've traveled the world over, chasing him around, and seen a lot of the way different forces work, taken bits and pieces of them back home to implement in the Task Force to make things more efficient. Hell, people writing books on thieves have started calling me up looking for insight or even to write a forward for their book. Never thought I'd be doing that sort of thing. Or sitting down for interviews like this, either. It's been a crazy journey, these 21 years, and I don't think it's gonna be over any time soon.

But was it worth it, for my family? No. Hell no. I have a daughter—she's in college now. I've missed... it's probably been half her life, chasing KID across the globe. That's not something I can get back, or make up to her. Ever. I can't even begin to describe how much that hurts, that I've missed so much of her life because of a goddamn phantom thief. I wasn't there when she took her first steps, I wasn't there the first time she got into a real fight with Kaito-kun, I wasn't there when the idiot boy broke her heart, I wasn't there when she got her acceptance letter to college, I wasn't there—for any of it.

And that's on me, for being so obsessed chasing a phantom that I forgot I had someone at home waiting for me.

So, was it worth it?

...I don't know. Maybe time, or history, will tell. But for now? There isn't a clear answer to that. Maybe if I catch him, it will. Or maybe if I catch him, I'll still decide it wasn't worth it, in the end.

But I do know this—

I'm not gonna give up. Not on my daughter, and not on catching that damn thief.

Did that answer your question?