“DON’T GIVE ME THAT DREKKING CRAP, YOSHIKI!”, screamed Rin, slamming her palms on the salary-man’s desk. Heads turned in the outer office, as the sound insulation of a middle-manager’s walls proved insufficient in the face of the young woman’s rage. “I don’t give a fragging rat’s ass about the counselor’s ‘evaluation’! I the response team got footage of the bastards, AND I WANT IT NOW!”
The office manager tried to look calm and confident. He made placating motions with his hands, more for the benefit of the growing audience outside than for the enraged widow. “Please, Yoshido-san”, he pleaded. “I am not authorized to access those files.” He stepped closer, reaching out the take Rin’s hands, hoping to diffuse some of her anger.
It was a mistake. Despite her small frame, the young woman grabbed the lapels of his 500¥ jacket and lifted him off the floor. For the first time, Yoshiki realized that his dead friend’s wife might actually injure him in her quest to learn the identities of his killers. But the fear in his eyes seemed to get through to her where words did not. She opened her grip, and the anger dissolved into frustrated tears as Yoshiki staggered to regain his balance.
“Dammit, Yoshi”, she whispered, once the worst of the emotion had passed. “They took away my husband. They took away Yumi and Katsu’s father. They took away YOUR FRIEND!”
The manager braced himself for another onslaught, but Rin just slumped into a nearby chair.
“I to know. They to pay for what they did. Saito-san claims there is ‘no profit in revenge’, but what else do I have?” The pleading look almost broke Yoshiki’s heart.
“You have Yumiko and Katsumi”, he replied gently.
Rin sighed. “When I look at them, all I see is broken dreams. I see two children who have lost their father to those monsters.”
And their mother, he almost added. He’d once thought he was in love with the young woman. It had almost destroyed his friendship with Akio. Now, all he saw was a broken and embittered husk of the beautiful person she once was.
He rose and strode back around his desk. Rin raised her head and gave him a questioning look as he triggered the AR interface and opened the secure data node with a special access ID. After the trideo files had transferred to the young woman’s commlink, he triggered the program that would edit the access records and remove the copy flags.
“Several seconds of the footage have been erased”, he said, “MTS believes it was the work of hackers. But it is still possible to see the faces of several of the men.” He looked grimly at his friend’s wife. “This is a mistake, Rin”, he said quietly.
Looking more determined, the young widow stood, smiled thinly and replied, “No, Yoshiko. It is an opportunity.” She stepped around the desk and kissed the manager on the cheek before turning to stride out of the office. Secretaries and junior staff scattered out of her way, trying to look like they hadn’t been paying attention to the scene.
The young man slumped in his chair as he watched her go, feeling a small part of his soul crumble away. The side door to his office opened quietly as the Senior Manager entered.
“It is done”, Yoshiko mumbled, unable to even look at the older man. “There is no profit in revenge”, he added, with a note of challenge.
“That is correct, Abe-san”, replied Mr. Saito, “But forgiveness is not cost-effective.” He patted the young man’s shoulder briefly. “This is in the corporation’s best interest. You have served our family well.”
Yoshiko looked at his desk as the departmental manager left. The holo of the vacation in Hawaii three years ago; Akio, Rin, Eri and himself, smiling at the camera while the four children played in the sand.
But have you served well?