The man slowed his running just enough to turn the corner into a blacked-out neighborhood, down a side alley, into claustrophobic darkness.
Two uniformed police officers chased him, their sleeves beaming cones of light.
“Suspect is an early twenties male,” one of the officers said into her sleeve, voice bouncing with her footfalls. “Slight build. Heavily augmented. Injured. ASEAN sector. Heading south behind Akasaka Pine Crest on foot.”
The pair chased him through the alley, across another street, and down another alley. Propelled by prosthetic legs, he ran between and parkoured over small vehicles, dodging occasional pedestrians, never touching anything with his left hand. It remained cradled against his chest, his mangled arm staining his shirt with blood.
The officers cornered him when he turned into another alley filled with rubble.
“Hands where we can see them!”
Panicked, he grabbed a nearby trash receptacle and tried to overturn it in a desperate bid for time, but it was attached to the wall of the building. He unconsciously ran his right hand through his gold-speckled hair, activating a wave of glittering luminescence as he looked back and forth at the walls around him, his expression on the verge of a breakdown.
The officers slowed their pace and approached him cautiously, illuminating him with their sleeve flashlights. “Get down on the ground!”
“Please,” he said, holding his left arm with his right. “Please. It wasn’t me!”
The woman adjusted her grip on her tonfa as she and her partner took a few slow, cautious steps forward, boots grinding the gravel beneath them. “I said, get down on the ground!”
“Please.” He fell to his knees and raised his right hand, but kept his left arm down. He was sobbing now. “I didn’t do it! Please! It was my hand!”
He presented his bloodied left arm, hand torn to shreds as if by an animal. Tendon and bone glistened in the unsteady light. Both hands were covered in blood. He had used his augmented claws to rake open his own flesh.
“Get down on the ground. Now!”
His mouth opened in an agony of fear and his left hand trembled violently. Slowly, he complied. “I can’t get it out.” Tears mixed with drool at the corner of his mouth. Terror contorted his face. “My hand did it . . .”
The officers took two more steps forward.
As he lay down on his stomach, right hand raised, his left hand skittered over the gravel and asphalt, an uncanny creature attached to a man.
Miyako tilted her head toward the image of the suspect held in the Ninth Step Station interrogation room. “Maruyama Touma,” she said to Emma, who finished reviewing the case file on her sleeve while listening. “Twenty-two years old. Boyfriend of our victim, Takahashi Aoi.”
Emma nodded and scanned the file. Takahashi worked as an assistant at the Japanese liaison office in the Chinese sector of Tokyo, but lived on the Japanese side. Maruyama had been spending the night at her apartment when he stabbed her in the neck with a syringe, administering an unknown substance. Maruyama had no documented history of violence, though when pressed he had admitted to frequenting black market augmentation studios run by the Nakajima-kai.
Fortunately, Takahashi was alive and being held at Mitsui Memorial Hospital.
“He’s been refusing to speak?” Emma said. “At all?”
“Not since about ten minutes after they brought him in. All he did before that was ask about Takahashi.”
The suspect sat in the room with a nurse crouching next to him, bandaging his self-inflicted wounds. The injuries had been thoroughly documented, cleaned, and stitched. Now he simply stared into the empty space in front of him, occasionally sniffling and tapping the table with his claws while the nurse finished his work, maneuvering around the handcuffs and chain.
“He looks like he’s about done,” Emma said, jaw tensed in anger at the thought of the young woman recovering in the hospital. One more woman out of countless others, attacked by a man she trusted. Like Councilwoman Nakagawa. “Let’s do this.”
Miyako and Emma entered the interrogation room and wasted no time. The instant they crossed the threshold, Miyako swiped a photo of Takahashi over to the table’s projection module, a shot taken from one of her social media accounts. She was smiling at whoever held the camera.
Emma nodded to the nurse, who quickly snipped the end of the bandage, tucked it against Maruyama’s hand, collected his supplies, and left. Maruyama just stared at Takahashi’s photo.
“No more games. Why did you attack her?” Miyako demanded.
Maruyama’s gaze remained firmly planted on his girlfriend’s image. He shook his head slightly. Clenched his jaw. Was he fighting back tears...