NINJA SLAYER - Machine of Vengeance


Chapter 01

A man peers down lost in thought. Blood drips from both his arms. Most likely bathed in the blood of the five slain men surrounding him. One thing is evident: all five men are dead. Rain polluted by heavy metal washes the murky blood away clean.

Four corpses. Despite the demolished right half of one of their brains, they all looked like quadruplets with the same hair cut, the same face, all wearing the same dark suit; the telltale sign of yakuza clones.
As for the other corpse? A ninja dressed in a ninja costume. Standing between the corpses, the figure of the man peering down is a ninja as well.

The whirring sound of an aircraft propulsion system drew near and suddenly the sky became bright. The red ninja glanced up to reveal decadent neon signs in an entertainment district. Beyond the violent, vivid colored signs that read: おなしやす (Onashiyasu),カボス (Kobosu), 良く犬 (Yoku Inu), and コケシマート(Kokeshi Maat), a blimp traversed the skies above. The ninja glared at the airship’s steel underbelly.

“Cheap, cheap, actually cheap. We’re practically giving it away.” While sprinkling the surroundings with words of deception, the advertising airship Maguro Zeppelin projected its searchlight seeking out its target.
“This blimp is for advertising purposes; nothing “fishy” about it.”
A second later, the ninja leapt high and while kicking a neon sign he scurried up to the roof of a building and kept on truckin’.

Machine of Vengeance

As a man in a trench coat approaches, a smaller man hiding in the shadows of ductwork piping sluggishly gets to his feet. The trench coat man wears a hunting hat low over his eyes so we can’t make out his expression. Bringing both his hands together in front of his chest, he greets him saying, “Domo.”
The smaller man returns the same exchange of courtesies. “Domo.”

Exchange of courtesies or “aisatu” in Japanese. Since the reign of the Edo Tokugawa, the first shogun, spanning hundreds of years until now, the value systems of “honor” and “manners” remain unbroken in this Far East high-tech nation-state. The golden rule is: demean yourself, respect others. Here, harmonious accord is highly prized most beyond all things and these exchanges exist even amongst scumbag-loser drug addicts and pushers.

“Dozo. Here you are.” The trench coat man shoves several paper banknotes into the man’s hand. The face of Takeda Shingen is printed on the dead daimyo lord bills.
“Domo, thanks,” he says exchanging the money for a small chartula that he hands over.
“It’s killer. Really killer shit. Mixed with men-tai. It’ll blow your mind. The bio power is the shit.”

The trench coat man busts open the cartridge and shovels all six of the red pills into his mouth munching them down with his gnashing teeth.
The rodentesque smaller man screams a martial-arts-movie-haiyah, overexpressing his great surprise. “You’re some daredevil. Did it hit you? Feel it? If you trip too hard, you’re in big trouble. Can you see the Thousand Armed Avalokiteshwara diety? Yabai? You trippin’?”

“Nothing.” The trench coat man replied with an emotionless tone swallowing the pills without water.
The rodent chuckled, “You’re more than a daredevil. The thousand-armed deity is hitting you hard, right? Right?”
“So this is their vein of gold?”
“Huh?” The rat squints.
Then, the trench coat man’s eyes brightly glare!

“Yeeart!” The trench coat man suddenly unleashed a forward kick.
“Aaaargh!” The rat rolls to the asphalt after being kicked in the face! As he falls flat on his face, his front teeth smash and scatter onto the ground.
“Aieee! Aieee, you madman!”
In a split second, the trench coat man seizes him by the neck and hoists him up!

“What? What are you doing? Did you overdose? Are you high?”
Rather that replying the trench coat man removes his hunting cap revealing the dark red ninja hood and his menpo, a sinister facial armor metal mask covering everything below his nose!
“The drugs don’t work!”

The rat wallows, “A ninja? Why a ninja? Are you with the Soukai Syndicate?”

At the very mention of the Soukai Syndicate, the ninja’s eyes widen.
The rat bawls, “Aieeeee! Why’d you come here? I’m always trying my best! Complete transparency in my accounting, no funny business! Eight hours of overtime! I’m actually a blue-chip dealer! This must be a mistake!”

The ninja hoisted the man even higher. How merciless!
“Doing your best? By making more junkies, sucking up their money and forking it over to the Soukai Syndicate?”
“You’re with the Soukai Syndicate, right? A Soukai ninja, right? Why me?”
The ninja ignored the man’s whining. “Now tell me the whereabouts of your men-tai supplier. Answer me or perish!”

“Aieeee!” The rat refuses. “I don’t know. Of course, I don’t know. Who should I know? The Soukai agent is always a mask guy like you. A ninja. I mean, what’s your game? What are you looking for? Did you have a falling out with your ninja buddies?”
“Yeeart!” Without responding, the ninja hurls the rat to the ground and stands on his back.
“Don’t play dumb with me”
The man screams in pain. “Aieeee!”

“Do you have any idea of the kind of careful research I did to find you? You think your lip service can fool me? Tell me.”
“If I tell, I’m a dead man! They’ll kill me. Have mercy!”
“There is no mercy.” The ninja tightens up his toes.
“Aieeeee! Aieeee! I’ll tell you. Aieeee!”

Amid the darkness at the abandoned Pier 3, rain polluted by heavy metal falls with a staccato beat. Long exposed to the toxic weather, the concrete reminds you of a lotus root eaten away by mice.
Then, a black “family” taxi drifts into the scene. Such a “family crest” taxi is the faithful and preferred means of transport serving a certain yakuza family.

Ready and waiting are ten skinhead black yakuza, squared-off as if they’re getting ready to an extra point kick in a football game. Their mysterious clan name 横浜御縄談合 is embroidered in silver kanji characters on their stadium jacket-esque uniforms. They greet the “family” taxi with an unusually risky aura.

Such is the nature of the Yokohama Ropeway Klan, the only yakuza clan composed of black skinheads. These club wielding, rope lynching, jet ski straddling, tuna fish boat raiding bad boys are a cold-blooded, brutal criminal mob. Before their line of sight, the taxi stops and the door swings open.

The black yakuza gasp. The exiting four men are total quadruplets with the same hair cut, the same face, wearing the same cyber sunglasses and the same dark suits with an identical family crest embroidered in their neckties!
The black yakuza kingpin mutters, “Whasdat…clone yakuza clones?”

The black yakuza exchange helter-skelter glances. They know the score: clone yakuza sharing a syngeneic genotype invented by Yoroshisan Pharmaceuticals. Reports of their practical use had swept the criminal world, but no one had actually seen them in action until now.
The kingpin spits, fearlessly breaks forward and scolds, “Punctuality is supposed to be a Japanese virtue, right?”

“Domo, our apologies!” The four yakuza clones remarked bowing at once. “Domo.”
“Domo.” The black yakuza respond to their exchange of courtesies. Despite the calm-before-the-storm air-of-imminent-assault, yakuza and ninja place a priority on saying hello.
While lowering their heads to bow, the kingpin threatens, “So man…whassup with the men-tai price?”

“We’re raising the going price. Due to the Russian ruble exchange rate.” The yakuza clone coldly blurts.
“Zakkenna-Korah!” The kingpin screams out some yakuza intimidation slang. How scary!
“Teme-Korah! You cocksucker! Bullshit! Total bullshit!” Damn scary! Any law-abiding Neo-Saitama citizen would surely piss his pants.

But the four yakuza clones are simultaneously shaken with defiant chuckling. All at once, they adjust their cyber-shades, turn in sync towards the family taxi and callout in unison. “Sensei, this way.”
Yes, there was someone other than the driver still in the car. A thin man dressed in an ash gray suit appears.

He quickly bows. “Domo. Well, Smith-san I presume? Pleased to make your acquaintance. I’m Arson.”
“A pleasure. I’m Smith.” The kingpin returns the bow. “Arson, eh?” He laughs making fun of the man. “Is your name a joke? What’s with your iron mask? You trying to make me laugh?”

“It’s no joke, Smith-san.” Arson nods in assent. “We Soukaiya hate jokes and our new price is serious.”
Kingpin Smith chortles with contempt. Ordering his men with his chin, the baddest mofo of the group steps forward who taunts with a club in his hand.
“I hate jokes too.”

The baddest mofo coercively swings his club.
Smith says with a shrug, “Andre’s an ex-pro baller. Show him what you got.” He grins.
Arson doesn’t bat an eyelash as Andre takes a few practice swings, his bat stopping on a dime right next to Arson’s head. The air pressure from his swing blows past his face!

Andre laughs and takes more practice swings, his bat stopping within a hair of Arson’s head again. The air pressure from his swing blows past his face!
But Arson doesn’t quiver. The yakuza clones remain in control and watch attentively.
The black yakuza gang chuckles with delight. “He’s shaking in his boots!”
The kingpin adds, “Ha-ha-ha! Andre! Go easy on him!”

With a snorting giggle, Andre takes another practice swing. With Andre’s club beside Arson’s head, the black yakuza chortle again.
Suddenly, their smiles are frozen in place.
Kingpin Smith mumbles, “Andre?”
Where did Andre’s head go?

Arson exhales a controlled powerful breath. His right leg is motionless, extended straight at a diagonal angle. Standing on one leg and without moving a muscle, Arson scowls at Kingpin Smith.
“Huh?” Smith blinks.
The club falls from Andre’s headless body. Fresh blood spurts out like champagne uncorked from a bottle and he falls in a spread-eagle position.

Kingpin Smith repeats, “Andre?”
Instead of answering, with his leg still high in the air, Arson signals with his chin to the sky above.
As the night sky spins round and round like a baseball catcher chasing after a fly ball, Namu-Amida-Butsu…Oh my Buddha, it’s Andre’s head.

Wising up to the situation, Kingpin Smith trembles. The scene from earlier burnt into his retina, time stamped and imprinted into his memory. That kick. Arson’s kick, the one that beheaded Andre.
Arson says in a low rumble, “Don’t fuck with the Soukai Syndicate. Do you understand that?”
“Aieee!” Kingpin Smith remarked.

Gripping his machine gun in a rage, one of the black yakuza screams, “Son of a bitch!”
“You idiot. Stop.” Smith hurriedly tries to contain him but without consideration for the panic he has caused from the fear, the black yakuza pulls the trigger aiming at Arson. Wild, shooting spree shots ring out from the gun. BRATATATATAT!
Another black yakuza follows suit, grips his machine gun and fires. TATATATAT!

“Yeeart!” Arson evades the gunfire. The bullets don’t hit him.
“What the…”
“Yeeart!” Arson slips below the chest of the rapid firing black yakuza and calmly and easily drives a punch into his abdomen.
“Aaaargh!? Ooooff!?” The body of the rapid firing yakuza suddenly explodes into flames. DOD: dead on departure.
Namu-Amida-Butsu…Oh my Buddha. What is going on?

Frothing at the mouth, the other black yakuza fires his machine gun, but the bullets don’t hit their target!
Arson sneaks under the fire! “Yeeart!”
“Aaaargh!? Ooooff!?
And like before, after being punched in the torso, he goes up in flames and dies!
Namu-Amida-Butsu…Oh my Buddha!

While pissing his pants, Smith plops down on his knees nuzzling his forehead against the pavement. Begging and still wetting his drawers, Smith incoherently mutters over and over, “Ninja. A ninja!”
He scorched a man to ashes with one punch. Only a real ninja can perform such a trick. Only a real ninja has such jitsu.
The other seven follow Smith’s lead getting on their hands and knees. And of course, piss their pants as well!

“Is this your sign of allegiance?” Arson tramples on Smith’s head without hesitation.
“Yes. We are sorry.”
“We all make mistakes. Even ignorant braggarts too big for their britches. Soukai ninja are no bluff. We actually exist. You had to learn that the hard way, right?”
“Yes. We are sorry.”
“I look forward to your continued cooperation, Smith-san.”
“Yes. We are sorry.”

And that was that. Arson and the four yakuza clones somberly board their family taxi.
The driver mutters in a contained tone, “At your service.”
Arson sinks into the rear seat and solemnly says, “Take me to the Tokorozawa Pillar.”
“My pleasure.” The driver mutters back with reserve and drives off.

Arson gazes intently at the driver’s reflected image in the rear-view mirror.
The driver wears a hat low over his eyes and grips the steering wheel in a matter-of-fact manner.
Arson asks, “Did you change shifts? You’re not the same driver as last week”
“No, I’m not. Kameji-san retired.”
“I see.”
“Yes, he did.” The driver replied flipping the turn signal and steering the taxi towards town.

Arson accuses, “Driver, this is the wrong route. You idiot.”
“Sorry, sir.” The driver apologizes in a detached tone. “But this route will get you to where you’re going.”
“You’re not going to the Tokorozawa Pillar,” replies the driver.
Arson squints and pleads, “I’m not?” The atmosphere in the car goes from bad to worse.
The driver mutters in an emotionless tone, “You’re going to hell.”

Through the rear-view mirror, Arson zones in on the driver’s eyes. “What did you say?”
“Ninja.” The bottom of the driver’s mask shines in the light from the passing neon signs.
“Ninja shall perish.”