Chapter 01

In a dimly lit multi-storey car park in an abandoned commercial complex of the “Kokeshi Mall”, two men dressed in kendo style armor stalk forward covering each other’s back. One of them wields a shotgun while the other brandishes a small flamethrower. The scope light affixed to the gun barrel pierces the darkness and relentlessly searches for prey.

BOOM-BOOM-BOOM. BOOM-BOOM-BOOM. The humdrum electric monotone bass from the telltale Kokeshi Mart music mixed with scratchy static blares from the speakers in the parking lot. Cold, inorganic light from Neo-Saitama spills in as emergency alarm bells affixed to the pillars and walls along with 90 percent of the busted fluorescent lights flicker to illuminate signs that read: 『二十七階』 27th Floor『ショウギ中心』 Shougi Center『実際安い』Actually Cheap.

#KOKESHI:NAGAMU: Located the squid.
#KOKESHI:NAGAMU: Next to the junked yellow car.
#KOKESHI:SATOU: Wanna fry it up?
#KOKESHI:NAGAMU: Roger. Light him up.

Text letters projected in a fluorescent dayglow green font materialize on their bio-retina display. From the latest in cybernetic surgery, a wireless LAN terminal complete with IRC messaging client capabilities has been implanted into their brains. Consequently, communication is possible without the need to speak or tap a keyboard.

#KOKESHI:SATOU: Approaching the squid. Gonna fry it up.
#KOKESHI:NAGAMU: Roger. Light him up.

A man called Satou-san pulls the trigger on his flamethrower and spews a stream of fire at one of the parking spaces. As the fiery blaze coruscates the healthy jumbo squid in the parking space, its body curls up into the size of a small motorcycle giving off a spicy smell.

#KOKESHI:NAGAMU: Good cookin’. Smells savory.
#KOKESHI:SATOU: That should bring a hungry sumotori our way.
#KOKESHI:NAGAMU: What’s the score for today?
#KOKESHI:SATOU: I got six to your four, Nagamu-san. You’re on point.
#KOKESHI:SATOU: Sure, I’m sure. Camaraderie!
#KOKESHI:NAGAMU: Camaraderie!

CRAAAASH! Suddenly, the clamor of breaking glass reverberates through the underground parking lot. Then, painful groaning and heavy breathing are heard. Stepping back from the squid, the two men hunker down in the shadows behind a black van. Nagamu dismantles one of the magnetic lights on his gun shining it in the vicinity of the fried squid. The two men sense another presence getting closer.

Amidst the darkness an almost two meter tall, stark-naked giant sumo wrestler suddenly emerges; it’s a huge, feral bio-sumotori! Nagumu illuminates its smooth white skin as white as a corpse with his light. Maybe it was the sumotori’s last remaining bit of decency that made him do it, but he now wears a brown paper bag from Kokeshi Mart over his head to hide his shame.

Despite knowing deep in his blubbery gut that the fried squid is a trap, the famished bio-sumotori cannot fight off his urge for mouthwatering aroma of the finger lickin’ good fried squid. Dropping to his knees, he slides one of the beautifully brown sautéed legs through the paper bag and chomps down. Watching this sicko sacrilege scene as an observer makes you feel hideously nauseated almost grotesque.


Scrambling up to the top of the van, Nagamu aims his shotgun at the sumotori’s head and fires. His aim is slightly off as countless black shot pellets stoccado the sumotori’s porcelain skin. The foul stench of burning flesh shrouds the scene. Green bile bio-extract gushes to the ground.

“Aieeeee!” The sumotori plaintively cried. Nagamu cocks his shotgun and opens fire. The sizzling buckshot relentlessly rains down on the sumotori’s face scorching the paper bag that covers it.

“Aieeee!” The sumotori moans in agony thus ending his bio-life. Nagamu pounces down from the hood of the van and nimbly slices off the sumotori’s ears with a ceramic knife as if he’s done it before. He places the ears in a container with preservation solution that was hanging from the waist of his kendo armor. The score is now six to six. All tied up.

#KOKESHI:SATOU: Camaraderie!
#KOKESHI:NAGAMU: Camaraderie!

The two men are back on the hunt using amazing teamwork as they proceed in silence. These so-called kachigumi salarymen are winners of working world; high-class citizens that represent the top five percent of the population. When they are not working, they like to relax at Killzone Sumotori, a dangerous hunting playground set up for their leisure in an unpopulated area near the Kokeshi Mall.

All kachigumi salarymen place a high value on social and organizational harmony in the workplace. In competitive situations like this, they must be mindful of keeping an even score with each other. If by some chance, for example, the score is ten to one, the employee who scored ten would be ostracized in the office and in cyberspace as well. This kind of murahachi ostracism is a cruel but necessary form of insidious social lynching.

#KOKESHI:SATOU: That was a good work out, huh?
#KOKESHI:NAGAMU: Yes. Shall we go?
#KOKESHI:SATOU: Sure. Let’s go.
#KOKESHI:NAGAMU: Besides, tomorrow is a work day, you know.

The words they exchange are always excessively polite. But the reason is not because that is how life is in the kachigumi social structure. The reason is because all IRC communications are monitored in Neo-Saitama.

When careless, offensive remarks are made, regardless of the situation, a complaint is lodged to the cyber police where the account is frozen and penalty charges are incurred. In the worst case, penalties like incarceration and expulsion from society are imposed.

As the two kachigumi depart Killzone Sumotori and head for the elevator, they quickly board the elevator before a new sumotori can come their way. But Nagamu-san had overdosed on several Bariki drinks which blurred his field of vision. While he meant to push the button for the first floor, he mistakenly pressed the 13th underground floor button.