There Was No Secret Evil-Fighting Organization (srsly?!), So I Made One MYSELF!
Chapter 4: Mad Scientists Die if They Don’t Cackle
Volume 6: Assailant from the Future
Just as they were about to be crushed by the yakuza in spite of their best efforts, the man known as Invisible Titan — the world’s most powerful esper, the progenitor and the one and only telekinetic, the one that all investigative authorities around the world were frothing at the mouth looking for, etc — walked in with amnesia. Going by the name of Yaku Yoruhisa, he helped awaken the superpowers sleeping within the core members at the Tsukimori residence and formed the dark secret organization Tsukuyomi with them. Together, they fought back against Tanioka-gumi, which had been so powerful it practically ran the underground society in Tokyo at the time. Eventually, they emerged victorious, subsequently absorbing Tanioka-gumi’s remnants and usurping its power. After many twists and turns, Yaku left Tsukuyomi and Tsukimori, who headed the organization, was left wheelchair-bound.
A while later, Tsukuyomi entered closed door talks with the Japanese government and agreed to take on the government’s dirty work. The four members at the core of Tsukuyomi were: the leader, Tsukimori Tsuyoshi, a man with the power to strengthen himself who had become wheelchair-bound; his right-hand man, Miyama Kyousuke, who had the power to attack with sound; Christina Najeen, a girl with the power of psychometry; and Lonalia Linalia Baba-Nyan, an engineer from from another world who served as the group’s advisor.
They had under them, including both the Strangers and former Tanioka-gumi members, twenty thousand people who followed them out of motivations ranging from duty to fear to even self-interest. All twenty thousand were ready to move at a moment’s notice with one word from Tsukuyomi. Although the majority of them were social outcasts and did not have a proper education — some could not speak Japanese and did not even have a nationality — many had very unique skill sets. Recently, the group had even accepted former terrorists who knew how to handle firearms. Though flawed, twenty thousand people made for a lot of manpower. With such numbers and four espers, Tsukimori-gumi had more than enough strength to control the underground society of the entire country of Japan.
Even though Tsukuyomi was a dark secret organization, the upper brass of the Japanese government already knew the members’ identities. In exchange for numerous concessions so that Tsukuyomi could provide for Tsukimori-gumi members, the government asked the group to do its dirty work every once in a while. There were ways to provide for twenty thousand people, but options were much more limited when almost all of them had criminal records and thus barred from proper employment. As a result, the Strangers had no choice but to make a living on dirty work. This left them in a position where support from the Japanese government was crucial to their survival.
Tsukimori-gumi’s income came from a large variety of sources. One of the more respectable ways involved members buying abandoned farmland at dirt-cheap prices and working it themselves. The names registered to the land and the names of those actually living there were completely different, but this was a rather minor offense in the large scheme of things. Some of the guys also headed out to sea with old fishermen who had no one else to take over their businesses (of course, this was 100% illegal employment). Thanks to this, Tsukimori-gumi was pretty well off when it came to food.
Slightly less respectable sources of income involved selling, at sky-high prices, dappo honey, which gave users stimulation when licked, and high purity curry powder made of unidentified plants smuggled into the country. Members also illegally brewed alcohol that was sourced to high-class restaurants within the Tokyo metropolitan area to rave reviews. Even Ama-no-Iwato had their labels on its menu.
Getting right up to the legal line, Tsukimori-gumi members stole money from scam artists and blackmailed corrupt government officials to get them replaced with those more willing to work with the group. And last but certainly not least, they also carried out requests from the Japanese government that must never be spoken of in the open.
Tsukimori-gumi had a bottom line: killing and harming innocents was strictly off the table. That said, although the aspect of “fighting evil with evil” was strong with them, the group was still filling its pockets through illegal means. They were objectively in the wrong, no question about it. However, if Tsukimori-gumi disappeared, an even more malicious group would take its place. As such, it was a form of necessary evil, so to speak. “Dark hero” or “chivalric yakuza” were perhaps more apt terms to describe the organization’s standing.
With the somewhat long-winded preface out of the way, the Visitor From the Future event was going to begin at the Tsukimori residence where Tsukuyomi was headquartered. This was a traditional walled Japanese house with a Japanese-style garden kept so immaculately even a layman could see the amount of care it got. Out front was a very spacious parking lot that was often occupied by visitors’ expensive cars. Everything about this estate fit the image of an influential yakuza boss’s residence. The mere fact Tsukimori had been able to secure such a massive property within the metropolitan area was a feat in and of itself.
At the moment, Baba was tinkering with a suspicious-looking object in a dark room underneath this property. The light of the monitors and screens surrounding her revealed it to be a microwave-sized mass of gauges, wires, and exposed circuit boards. Red and green LEDs blinked every now and then in no obvious pattern.
Behind the workbench where Baba was tightening screws was a sofa where Chris lay sprawled on her back. Wearing a sweater and jeans, she was currently absorbed in a game about collecting ninjas. Her favorite character was the one that, like herself, had blond hair and blue eyes.
After Baba put in the last screw and turned on her machine, it gave off a low hum as all the lights turned green.
“Ku ku ku… I am finally done!” she chuckled, her laughter quickly turning into unbridled cackling. “MUA HA HA HA HA!”
“What’d you finish?” Chris asked absentmindedly, still staring at her phone.
Baba whirled around, grinning broadly. “Listen and be surprised! I’ve made a time machine!”
“Oh, cool, a time ma— Wait, huh?!” Chris leaped up with a yelp, throwing her smartphone away. “You figured out time control ninjutsu?!”
No, it’s not ninjutsu. What even is time control ninjutsu? Do you use it by shouting, “Time Release!” and doing hand signs?1
As Baba wiped her grease-streaked hands on a cloth, beaming with self-satisfaction, Chris eagerly peeked over her shoulder at the machine.
“Is this really a time machine? Really? You’re not kidding? Wait, you started three days ago, though! It’s that easy to make one?!”
“It is indeed. This is a piece of cake for someone who understands the principles of the time-space continuum. It’d be hard to explain these principles based on this world’s level of scientific understanding, but where I’m from, they’re considered so basic that they’re covered in textbooks.”
“Omigod! Yes! Yay for otherworlders! Yay for grannies and their wisdom! Good job! So cute! You’re a genius!” Chris hoisted Baba into the air and swung her round and round in excitement.
Of course, what Baba had said was a complete lie. What she had made was not a time machine but simply a pile of junk with blinking lights. Apparently, the science fiction world that she came from did actually have time machines grounded on theories about time and space. However, she hadn’t the faintest idea how to make it. It was just like how if you asked a random person on Earth to make a smartphone, he wouldn’t even know what materials to use. Baba’s specialty lay in statecraft and the manufacturing of weapons to massacre Demon Lords with; she didn’t know the first thing about time machines.
However, if someone from a scientific fantasy world said something like, “I made a time machine. Everyone in my world knows how to,” there was really no appropriate answer other than, “Okay, if you say so.” This is why the SF setting is basically a cheat code!
“Wait a moment! Does that mean— Does that mean you can go into the future and come back with the winning numbers of the lottery?!”
“I can indeed.”
“Oh my god! The possibilities are endless! Hmm, on second thought, I think I want to go to the past first! It’s gotta be the past! Teach me how to use it! I can change the past so that Aniki doesn’t lose his arm, right?!”
What on… Aww, I’m so touched. She’s making me like her more. But the Kinemitsu Sago route has already been closed. Sorry.
“Yes you can. You can, but there are rules to time travel. And before all else, this time machine needs to charge up on time force. There is no choice but to wait for it to recharge naturally.”
“It’ll be a while before you can use it.”
“How long is ‘a while’?”
“Roughly twenty years.”
All the excitement drained out of Chris’s face. She stopped twirling Baba in the air and plopped her back in her chair. Then she shuffled back to the sofa, picked up her smartphone, and resumed gaming.
“Let me know when it’s been twenty years.”
“Very well. I suppose we can leave this in storage until then.” Baba shrugged while wiping off the grease stains on her hand with a rag.
The conversation died down, leaving the machine’s dull humming the only sound filling the subdued atmosphere in the underground room.
Okay, the lead up is over. Shiori should be in position somewhere close.
As Baba was putting her tools away, the time machine suddenly began shaking violently as its stable hum gave way to worrying sounds. The lights that had been shining green turned red and blinked furiously while circuits shorted and sparks flew everywhere.
Chris sighed and put her smartphone down again, getting up. “What is it this time?”
“Is this…?! I see, so that’s what— Oh no! Someone from the future is coming! Someone is coming to our time using the time machine after it’s been charged twenty years later! Chris! Be on your guard!”
“Whaaaaat?! O-O-Okay! Get behind me!”
Chris held her kunai up in readiness, standing between the time machine that had begun giving off white smoke and Baba, who had taken advantage of the situation to slip in some exposition. As the two watched nervously, the time machine shorted one last time, generating a flash of purple lightning and one final large puff of smoke before dying down.
A figure slowly stood up under the pale illumination of the computer monitors in the dimly-lit underground room. The smoke gradually cleared away, revealing a cute girl in a sailor uniform very similar in design to the one issued to the high school students of Ashinohara Academy. Her facial features and height seemed very similar to Shiori, but she looked younger, she was not wearing the hair clip that Shiori always had on, and her wavy black hair stopped at her shoulders instead of reaching her waist. Anyone who had seen Shiori would immediately assume she was Shiori’s younger sister.
The girl coughed a few times while brushing dust off her skirt.
“Huh? I think I’ve seen… Is that Absolute Dress Up Woman from Instagram? What? Why’s she here?” Chris, who had never met Shiori in person before, was extremely confused.
Is that what they’re calling Shiori on social media?
The mysterious time traveler looked around, noticed Chris, then widened her eyes in surprise. “Omigosh, are you Chris-san? You look so young! Oh, in this time period, you’re still… So I really did come to the past! Wow, you look exactly the same, Baba-san. If you two are together, does that mean this is a Tsukuyomi facility?”
Baba poked her head out from Chris’s back. “And who are you?” she asked, trying to move the conversation along. “Why do you know so much about us?”
Instead of answering, Shiori poked through the various tools scattered over Baba’s workbench and nonchalantly continued her own questioning. “Just checking: what year is it now?”
Baba frowned. “Come again?”
“What year is it now in A.D.? What month? What day?”
Th-There it is! Number one in the list of things that all time travelers do! Confirming the date! Now we’re talking!
When Chris and Baba exchanged a look and the former answered her, Shiori did a little fist pump.
“So the time traveling was a success. All that’s left is to stop that from happening. Okay. Chris-san, byeeee! There’s something I have to do!” Shiori grabbed the time machine under an arm and blithely made her way to the door.
“Nuh-uh, not so fast! Before you go, you’re gonna spill everything you know about the fut—” Chris reached out to grab Shiori but suddenly made a funny face. “Huh?! She turned invis— Or not. Huh?! What?!”
Huh? What happened?
“I’m Time Ruler, Chris-san. You can’t read me with your precognition, remember? ’Cus we manipulate things on different space-time dislocation variables. You already know that muc— Or not. Not yet.”
Shiori gave her explanation with a little smirk with a brief look toward the camera. Apparently Chris couldn’t see her when reading the future.
Do the two time-related powers interfere with each other? Uh, I don’t quite get it, but I do love Shiori’s strategy of putting up a smokescreen using a whole bunch of incomprehensible jargon.
“No matter what your circumstances are, there’s no way we’re letting a time traveler get away,” Baba declared. “We’re going to need you to leave behind the machine and all the information you hold. Chris, go get her!”
Before Chris had time to reply, however, the kunai disappeared from her hand, as did the smoke bomb she was taking out from her jeans pocket. In fact, she found herself standing only in her underwear, with her sweater and jeans neatly folded on the sofa.
“That’s how you get someone,” Shiori chortled.
Caught off guard, Chris stumbled to regain her balance. “Wait a—”
Baba promptly turned around and took off, but Shiori caught up in the blink of an eye and delivered a karate chop to the back of her neck with a sharp exhale. The grandma loli helplessly crumpled to the ground.
As expected of someone from the future; she sure knows how to handle herself. I’m sure she must have received gifted education from her mom since she was young.
“You’re not getting away!” Chris howled, lunging forward in a tackle. Due to her wealth of experience fighting with yakuza, she was mentally tough enough to not freeze from embarrassment even when stripped down to her underwear in the middle of battle.
Shiori, however, had other plans. “Nuh-uh, I’m outta here!”
However, oh no! Chris’s precognition is a terrible match for Shiori’s chronoprohiberis!
The next instant, Chris was lying on the ground, gagged and trussed up in a long coat. She glared daggers from her eyes. “Mmmgghhhh!”
“You’re twenty years too early to think of beating me! Adios!” With a chuckle, the time traveler gave her opponents a flying kiss and disappeared through the door, time machine in hand.
And thus, a time traveler is now loose in Tokyo. Whatever could her aim be? What is her shocking identity? Could she possibly be…Kinemitsu and Shiori’s daughter?!
And so we fade to black. Stay tuned for the Amaterasu side of the “assailant from the future” event next time!
If you’re enjoying the series, please consider buying Volumes 1 and 2 in Japanese and English to support Kurodome-sensei and me!
All details in the Table of Contents page.