Walkabout, 4

We stare at each-other awkwardly for a few seconds. Helene is the first to talk.

“Hey, Miku. Sorry about that scare.”

“You disconnected from our session so fast, so abrupt. I thought something happened to you. And then that shot. I thought you were dead.”

“I’m so sorry about that. It caught us by surprise.”

“Looks like. First things first, who was the dead woman? She kind of looked like you. She wore that wig and those dark clothes.” I remember the light-absorbing fabric that Helena and her crowd used. They could disappear down a dark alley in the blink of an eye.

“She was part of the plan. We, my friends and I, we’ve been experimenting with remoting into people, instead of into shells.”

“So you got it working? You were remoting from that cafe, I saw it. The cops know it. Through her?”

“Yeah. Kia played the role of a shell. I walked around Tokyo and wandered into a cyber cafe.”

“From here, from my apartment?”

Helena looked around at the small cramped space that I occupied.

“From this apartment.”

“Fuck. I had no idea. You can remote into a person. So you remoted into Kia, went to Joy Shack, looked me up in Mexico City and wandered for a bit, then someone came into the cyber cafe and shot Kia. Is that about it?”

Helena was nodding along, had started to half-way through my summary.

“Do you think they were after you or after Kia?”

“No idea.”

I looked Helena in the eyes, we stared at eachother for a bit, then my mobile piped up.

“Detective Willows from Seattle PD for you.”

I shot Helene a look, turned back and smiled, and stabbed the answer button.

The Detective was calling about Helena’s murder in Tokyo. She was contacted by Detective Wong, after he could not get an answer from my shell, which was still hanging out outside the cyber cafe.

“Hang on, I’ll be right there.” I terminated the call and picked up my headset, put it on. It wasn’t connected to my mobile yet. I looked at Helena and asked her, “What do you want me to say?”

“The truth. You don’t know that person, and we just spent forty-five minutes exploring Mexico City.”

True, but why did it feel wrong?

“Detective, sorry about that, I was changing and didn’t notice you.”

We talked about the shooting. Detective Wong lead the Tokyo investigation. He was in his forties and seemed constantly on edge, always moving, talking quickly. He was the only human official here so far.

The Seattle cop was Detective Wilson, a woman in her fifties. She walked with us through the crime-scene and used a blue-and-black shell of a diplomat.

The cops walked my shell over to the crime scene, showed the angles and what had transpired, then walked me over to a stretcher. The woman I could not recognize had to be Kia. She was shot through the throat.

“Do you know Helena Mons?”

“I do.”

“Is this person,” Detective Wong said, pointing to the dead woman, “Helena Mons?”

“No, it is not.”

The cadre of Detectives shut up for a while and looked at the woman on the stretcher, looked around themselves, their gaze wandering over computer stations and the bar, the pile of cookies. Only one of them could enjoy them, but they all looked for and found the same plate of sugar.

“Do you know this person?” Detective Wong finally asked me.

The goggles showed his image, a short detective from Japan on a random murder case. His face overlayed with Helena’s, whom I saw through the goggles. She stood in my kitchen and waited for my decision.

“No, never met her. Can I go now?”

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