13. Atom Heart Mother

Worried about the news that Mason is searching for her father’s old lab, Sylia heads downtown to see the one person who can help her- her old friend Dr Shan. Having made her way past the various obstacles designed to let the Doctor pick and choose who he sees, Sylia settles down to hear what he has to say.

At K’s Garage, Priss is having her bike looked at once again, when Nene shows up. Priss assumes that Nene is here to see Macky, but Nene is less interested in pursuing this new relationship directly than she is in clearing up the mysteries of the Stingray family history by asking Priss a few questions.

Shan explains to Sylia that Mason’s excavations, ostensibly related to the Dragon Line and the Shohamm project, are actually covert searches for the Wizlab. However, Mason has been guessing at the location of the lab based on surface features, unaware the underground shifts have been more radical than those above. So far, this has meant that Mason has kept missing the target, but surely it can only be a matter of time before he finds it, through sheer luck if nothing else. To prevent this, Shan will help Sylia find a way to reach the lab first.

Even though they both met Sylia around the same time, Nene wonders if Priss knows anything additional about Sylia’s past, or about why she created the Knight Sabers. Does it have something to do with the fact that it was her father who originally patented boomer technology? Priss doesn’t know, and for that matter, she doesn’t really care.

Whilst Nene continues her research into the Stingray family at work, Sylia has business to discus with Nigel. She wants to build an EM pulse locator based on that used by the boomer-eating monster. By picking up on boomers, this locator will indirectly lead her to the Wizlab. First an initial test is needed- and the test subject is none other than Linna’s hardsuit. The suit is picked up by the locator, but a flaw is revealed. The range of the handheld EMP cannon/locator is far too small to be able to scan the city from home; instead the Knight Sabers will have to manually search the city- a task that could take years. Fortunately, with the data acquired from Doctor Shan, the search can be narrowed down to 27 likely sites- a far more manageable area.

Over lunch, Priss tells Linna about Nene’s concerns. Linna agrees that they shouldn’t pry into Sylia’s affairs, but she can’t help wondering about the same questions that Nene wants answers to. Sylia doesn’t seem too concerned about saving the world or raking in extra cash, so why did she create the Knight Sabers? Whatever the reason, Linna is willing to believe in what the Knight Sabers are doing- and to trust Sylia.

At K’s Garage, Macky tries to quiz Nigel about Sylia’s latest project, but Nigel refuses to take the bait and remains close-mouthed about Sylia’s search for the Wizlab. Their conversation is interrupted when a man in a dark suit arrives to talk to Nigel, and Macky is soon similarly distracted when Nene arrives. Trying to find out some more about the past from Macky’s perspective, Nene asks about his childhood. Macky duly answers, and yet his responses are too vague and generic to elicit any real information- although it may be that they are confirming something that Nene has already begun to suspect…

At Genom, Mason receives a report about Sylia’s visit to Dr Shan. Shan is a member of the “Old Order”, a group who could pose a threat to Genom, or just as equally serve as a useful tool. After all, if they use all their resources to find the lab, then Mason can just reap the benefits of their labour at the end of it. Not only that, but it seems he also plans for Nigel…

At the Silky Doll, Sylia lets the other Knight Sabers in on the next mission. Between them they will search the 27 sites looking for the Wiz lab. She reluctantly admits that this is indeed her father’s old lab, and that there may be something dangerous inside, but tells them she cannot explain any more. Linna and Priss agree to do the job (after all, they will be paid double), but Nene is not so willing. She wants to know why Macky doesn’t know that Sylia is looking for their father’s lab- or perhaps it isn’t “their” father’s at all. For Macky has no birth certificate or even adoption records; all the evidence would suggest that Dr Stingray never even had a son. But then, just who is Macky?

Sylia cannot bring herself to answer these questions, but there is worse yet to come. Nene has found out about another hidden secret in the Stingray past- a year before the quake, Genom had just bought out the Bioscape Corporation where Dr Stingray worked. A viable core had been produced and mass boomer production was just beginning, when there was a mysterious accident at the lab. Nene was unable to find out what happened, but it must have been bad, because Genom’s way of dealing with what happened was to detonate an artificial earthquake device. The Tokyo quake was no accident.

To the shock and anger of the other Knight Sabers, Sylia confirms that what Nene has just told them is indeed true. Even so, she still cannot tell them just what it was in the lab that required such a drastic response, although she swears that Macky was in no way connected to the accident. Nene, however, is no mood to trust Sylia or her words, and instead leaves the Silky Doll in anger.

Sylia suggests that Linna and Priss might want to leave too- after all, she has been using them and keeping them on a need-to-know basis from the very beginning. Nonetheless, they decide to stay- if there is something that dangerous out there, then they have no choice but to find it. Even with just the two of them searching three points every night, it should still take only five nights to find the lab. Committed to their new mission, Priss and Linna suit up, grab their EMP cannons, and begin the search, little realising that Mason’s people are watching their every move.

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