Chapter three. Today Kiyone is introduced to the rest of Section Nine and joins the investigation.

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Minor Incidental Jobs, Chapter Three: Ground Work

As the Yagami returned to Earth, Kiyone was curious to note that Major Kusanagi seemed to take interstellar travel so matter-of-factly. Obviously a professional to the core, the woman reminded Kiyone of film she had seen of some of Earth's predatory cats. Intense when stalking prey, senses always alert and waiting to pounce on any unwary creature that might happen to blunder into her path. Somehow Kiyone had a hard time picturing The Major at a karaoke bar.

The first order of business on reaching Section Nine Headquarters was a meeting with Chief Aramaki... the director of Section Nine whose face was dominated by piercing eyes and a hard nose. Then came a unit briefing.

"Major..." Kiyone said calmly noting the scrutinizing looks of her erstwhile teammates. "I'd like to examine the site myself."

"We canvased the joint thoroughly." The slightly irritated voice of the big man who was called Batou replied. Kiyone noted that Kusanagi did not immediately answer but that she seemed to be observing how Kiyone would respond.

"With all respect detective, You were directly involved in the incident..." She ignored the sudden flash in the man's face at the word 'incident' "It's very difficult to form a completely objective picture when your initial frame of reference has already been set. Besides... I'm here to assist in investigating a terrorist attack... Not investigating someone else's observations of it. Look..." She said relaxing her tone. "I may not know Detective Togusa, but someone tried to kill a fellow cop. I don't care what uniform he might wear. I aim to nail someone hard." She finished. Kusanagi's face drew into a thin smile of approval as Batou nodded and his stony face eased just a fraction.

"Very well then Detective." Kusanagi said after a moment. "Batou... You and Makibi will go over the hotel again... Top to bottom. Take Max with you."

"Right." Batou acknowledged getting up. He paused a moment at the door without looking back. "Well detective... Are you coming?"

Kiyone stood up calmly."Wouldn't miss it... "

Not bad. Kusanagi thought to herself watching the pair go. If she can handle Batou then she'll probably do okay. She went down the list of team assignments and then headed to Tokyo General...

In an undisclosed location...

"You are certain the operation went untraceable?"

"Absolutely. For insurance we are of course lending all possible assistance to the police in this matter.

"And what about Section Nine?"

Section Nine specializes in high tech and cyber crimes. They'll be looking in all the wrong places."

"Perhaps... But I think we may have a problem on that end. Be ready to clean up on short notice..."

The drive to the hotel was quiet. Batou was clearly not much of a talker and Kiyone saw no point in attempting to engage him in fruitless small talk. Batou would speak when he was ready. Behind them, Tachikoma Max followed right behind. As they neared the hotel, Batou uttered a curse as up ahead were parked about thirty different police vehicles... forensics units... the works. Everywhere.

"What the hell?" He abruptly pulled his new 2036 model Dodge Charger over with a screech and virtually leapt out with a boiling look on his face.

"uh oh..." Max said watching him as Kiyone got out.

"uh oh is right..."

Batou stormed into the lobby. "Who the hell is in charge of this circus?!" He demanded of a patrol man. The startled young officer points to a man in a pricey suit. Batou grunted as Kiyone silently caught up to him.

"You in charge?" Batou demanded of the suit.

"I am. Captain Ogata. And you are?"

Batou showed him his ID. "Section Nine..."

'I've heard about you people. I've got no time for you glory hounds." Ogata said ignoring the barely controlled anger on Batou's face. "You had your turn now stay out of our way."

"It seems you have time to completely contaminate a crime scene Captain." Kiyone said coldly.

"And who the hell are you?" The Captain demanded angrily... Section Nine or not this girl wasn't going to just shoot her mouth off without getting slapped down and hard.

Kiyone smiled. "I'm afraid you don't have clearance to know that Captain." She handed over her paperwork signed by the Prime Minister of Japan authorizing one Kiyone Makibi to act unfettered in cooperation with Special Unit Section Nine. The shocked Captain clenched it hard until Kiyone took hold of the corner. "I'll take that back now." She said. "Now Captain... You have teams tripping all over each other here. This crime scene has been violated in ways that even an academy noob would recoil at. Now I suggest you get as many of these extra bodies out of our way. We want a list of everyone you've got out here ready by the time we leave. Get your team heads over here right now. On the off chance they've actually found anything of use, we want to see it.

"Now." She added. "Assuming we actually can find whoever did this... I really don't give a rat's ass who gets the credit. If we can get some solid cooperation then we'll gladly gift wrap this case and let you make all the high profile arrests you want. My concern is seeing the responsible parties go down hard for this..." She eased her tone back slightly. "And I think that's really what you want as well. Nothing more or less... Am I right?"

Ogata grunted. Perhaps he had been a little too relieved to accept all the extra help that headquarters had suddenly authorized. He still wasn't certain whether he trusted these Section Nine people or the assertive Miss Makibi... Just maybe they weren't all a bunch of glory hounds...

To Be Continued...

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