Saturday, August 25, 2021
05:18 hrs Japan Standard Time
As they sped south on whatever highway this was, DJ wondered how Misato had managed to round up a Porsche in Japan on such short notice. Surely they didn't rent them at the airport, even to uniformed XCOM general officers. Did the agency have that kind of motor pool? If so, why had no one ever told him about it? He was an MIB operative with, the last time he bothered to check, the effective grade of major. Maybe it was only for generals?
He didn't ask out loud, though, because he knew Misato was expecting him to. Instead, he asked the other obvious question:
"So. Where are we going in such an almighty hurry?"
Misato didn't answer for a moment; all her concentration was occupied by the need (for some values of "need") to make a racing gear change and get around a delivery van. Traffic was light this early on a Saturday morning, but the Brigadier was driving—as she always had, in DJ's experience—like it was a life-or-death battle against impossible odds.
He didn't comment on that, either; just glanced into the tiny back seat to see that Asuka was still sound asleep—dead to the world, despite the evolutions Misato was putting the car through, her head tipped back against the head rest and rocking gently from side to side with the vehicle's motion.
Misato saw him look back, glanced in the rearview mirror, and grinned. "Wow, she's really out cold," she said.
"It's how she handles jet lag," DJ explained. "She'll pop awake when we get where we're going and be fine for the rest of the day. Whereas I," he went on, sounding a trifle annoyed about it, "will most likely burn out in..." He glanced at his watch. "... round about three hours."
"You had 10 hours to sleep on the flight over," Misato observed.
"Mm, that was the plan, on paper," DJ replied. Then, sitting back in his seat with a faint smile, he went on, "But the paper doesn't mention anything about how eh... frisky her ladyship tends to get after a good fight."
"Doooooon't need any more information," Misato said, then paused to dice with a taxicab for the only clear route around a Japan Post freight truck. Then, as if the previous few seconds' conversation hadn't intervened, she said, "We're heading for the Vickers-Mitsubishi shipyard in Yokosuka."
DJ raised an eyebrow. "Shipyard?"
Misato nodded. "Something there it's becoming increasingly obvious we're going to need."
As they drove past Mikasa Park, DJ looked with interest out his window at the grey bulk of the memorial battleship that gave the park its name, then chuckled.
"Poor old Mikasa. In the course of the last century she's gone from being a ship, to a building, to a submarine, and now back to a ship. She must be terribly confused." He kept the ship in sight as long as possible, then sat back and went on, "Shame we haven't more time, I'd rather like to take the tour."
"Maybe next time," Misato said. "Besides, I think you'll like what we're here to see even more."
She pulled the car to a halt in a parking space before a red-brick building that, given its location, DJ suspected of looking older than it really was. Waiting for them there was a slim young man in a white coverall marked with the Vickers-Mitsubishi logo—three diamonds inside a capital V, its arms elongated into stylized wings. DJ was mildly, but only mildly, surprised to find that he knew the man.
"Huh," said Asuka, blinking awake as the car came to a halt. "Are we there?"
"Just about," DJ replied. "Enjoy your nap? Look who's here."
"Makoto!" Asuka said, springing to embrace him as soon as she had extricated herself from the back of the Porsche.
"Good to see you again, Mr. Hyūga," said DJ, shaking the engineer's free hand. "What've you been doing with yourself?"
"Well," replied Hyūga with a smile, "if you'll follow me, I'll show you."