Since the incident came to light, the road before the department store has been closed, but the police and the countermeasure department still had their hands full from the fleeing customers.
Curious onlookers and the media crowded the area past the police barricade.
A woman dressed in everyday clothes ignored the voices telling her to stop, and entered a large van that was parked in front of the department store. The people inside were confused by her appearance.
She knew that this van was being used in place of the control center here.
Sure enough it was outfitted with the necessary equipment to serve as a command room as well as the necessary personnel.
A reliable commanding officer, who happened to be her superior, was also inside.
“Sasamori… Wait, you’re not Sasamori anymore.
What’s the matter, Nakamura? Ah, but I guess there’s no point in asking that. I take it you were among the customers?”
Kazama wondered for a moment what was up with the frightening look on her face, but he immediately figured out why.
After all, there was no other reason this subordinate of his would go out of her way to stick her head in a case.
She’s a good person at heart, so she’ll definitely help out with what she can, but when things have gotten this bad, she won’t stick her head in since she’ll just get in the way without any equipment or preparation.
Kazama believed in a good sense that she was not the overzealous sort to needlessly stick her head into a case.
“Yes, what’s the situation!?”
“Wait, you first. Tell me what you’ve seen.”
They’ve already spoken to the customers that fled, but they were all panicking and couldn’t get anything from them. A lot of them also just fled because of the commotion.
They’re investigating inside the building, but they’d like to get some information on what actually happened inside.
“S-Sorry. In that case—”
At first, Rinko thought of hiding what Shinichi did, but there were a lot of eyewitnesses, so she decided there was no point to it and just gave a brief account of what occurred.
She talked about how Shinichi identified a group of armed men and the events that occurred thereafter.
She also talked about how she prioritized escaping with the mother they happened into instead of chasing after Shinichi when he went up.
They happened into some other armed criminals along the way, but the amaryllis took care of them.
“I left that person and Shinji to her.
She’ll probably protect them if something happens.”
“That creature is completely allied with that boy, after all.
You think that’s the reason why he left her too, right?”
“Yes, I thought she’d give chase when he went up, but she prioritized helping us instead.”
“She’s sharp, I see.
Hmm, wait… We have contact from the guys who entered the first floor.”
Kayama placed his hand over the intercom by his ear as he listened to the report.
His tough face didn’t change much, but Rinko has been working with him for a long time and she knew that the report did not seem to be good news.
“…Did something happen?”
“Most likely… nothing has happened just yet.
You’re a relative, so I shouldn’t be talking to you about this, but… Do you want to hear it?”
Rinko nodded without any hesitation and Kayama sighed before speaking.
Although it wasn’t really okay to do this, but he wanted to hear the opinion of a trusted subordinate of his.
“First of all, the armed men that were done in by your group has been secured in the first floor.
After searching the area, the team has concluded that there’s no one left in the first floor.
Customers fled from the third floor where the criminals seem to have barricaded themselves in.
According to them, they were able to get away thanks to a boy who interfered.”
“Yeah, that’s probably him. Unfortunately, that’s the end of what we know. He wasn’t among the people who fled.
A Garestonian girl and a kid being protected by her also still haven’t gotten down.”
The image of the two hostages being secured and Shinichi being unable to move flashed through both Rinko and Kayama’s mind.
Kayama hasn’t personally seen him move, but Rinko said that he could suppress armed men barehanded.
If so, then he should be fairly strong.
“What demands do the criminals have?”
“None. They haven’t even tried to contact us.
The lines inside have all been destroyed, so there’s no response even when we try to contact them.
The third floor has also been completely closed. Doesn’t seem like they have any intention of letting anyone in.”
“…The third floor is closed? What does that mean?”
That expression alone stuck out.
The former two were common in cases where the criminals have locked themselves in.
Building a barricade to prevent others from climbing up to the highest floor is also common.
But her superior never once described such situations as ‘closed’.
“The elevators have all been stopped at the third floor and turned off.
Electromagnetic nets have also been set on the stairs to prevent anyone from passing through.
Moreover, they’re the kind with an output level so great that severe damage will be inflicted to the building if we tried and forced our way through.”
That meant that they currently had no way of getting to the floor where the criminals were.
Electromagnetic Nets were – as the name implied – nets which coursed with electricity.
They came in all types from non-lethal ones used in normal situations to lethal ones used in prison and important facilities.
The latter type required special equipment to break past.
The good news is that it’s obvious when the system is functioning since translucent wall coursing with purple electricity can be seen, so in most cases, an accident won’t occur.
That’s also why they were able to judge that they can’t break through them presently.
“Where did they get something like that!? Even the countermeasure department dosen’t have something like that!
They should have only been equipped with guns!”
It was strange how they had that with them when they were only equipped with guns. The gap in technology between the two was simply too big.
The electromagnetic net was made by the engineers of Garesto because of their curiosity for electricity.
An electromagnetic net that’s only meant to prevent crime can easily be procured, but the lethal types aren’t something even the Countermeasure Department can get, and that’s despite being a department that prioritized high-tech equipment.
“Yeah, it doesn’t make sense. There are other traps too.
Sensor bombs on the walls, air mines on the roof, so many in fact that there’s no place to step on.
We can’t enter through the windows either.”
If they have gone that far, then the highest floor has indeed been closed off.
That made Rinko feel even more that something was amiss.
They went out of their way to prepare so much just to keep the authorities off their backs, and yet they’re using old weapons.
It seemed as if they were originally planning on locking themselves in, but their objectives remain unclear.
If this was truly orchestrated only by a group of people disadvantaged by the interaction with Garesto, then the usual trend suggests they wouldn’t use Garesto-made tools and will also have to make some demands.
Hence, the question begged itself, just what could they be trying to accomplish?