Art of the Sale XI: Showdown!
A mohawked man opened the door of the mystic shop. Kyoji held the scouter; Akira, Kotomi, and Gakusha followed, passing an old man at the counter.
They were led to the back room. A series of video screens filled the wall.
SimMan turned a remote to one. A bound Sana appeared on screen. "As you can see, she is safe."
He turned to Kyoji. "The scouter fir st. Hand it over!"
"How about a demo?"
"Very well."
Kyoji placed the device on Gakusha's head, and plugged a screen into the back so SimMan could see.
Gakusha looked at Kotomi. The green heads up display showed statistics on Kotomi. He started reading them out loud.
"Body dimensions. 84. 53. 83. Height, 155. Weight, 43 kilos."
"Excellent!" SimMan approached the two men. "Hand me the device, and I free the girl."
"No." Kyoji pulled the device from Gakusha's head.
"We had a deal."
Kyoji pulled the screen cable from the device, and threw the scouter to the ground. He then proceeded to stomp on it.
"You fool! What have you done?"
"You asked me to bring one, not hand it to you. Doing so would violate my ethics."
"But Sana..." Gakusha cried out.
"I will not compromise myself, Gakusha. I am sorry."
"Very well, then." SimMan pointed the remote at the picture of Sana. It disappeared.
Gakusha rushed towards the fuzzy screen. "Noooo!"

All at once, the lights came on. A stranger stepped forward.
"Kyoji Kudo, you are a man of honor."
Kotomi recognized the man as Tomoko's father. "Mr. Saeki?"
"My stockholders would be proud to know that their investment in technology is safe in your hands." He bowed.
Kyoji returned the bow.
Akira was irate. "So this was some sort of weird test?"
"Which Kyoji passed. This is something we do before offering people more authority."
He nodded at SimMan. "As did you, sir. We shall be using your security services more often, now that we know what you're capable of."
SimMan returned his bow. "Thank you, sir."
"Kotomi, we hope to see you again this summer."
"I can't, sir. I hope to be in Germany."
"Well, maybe this young man can join us."
"But what about Sana?" Gakusha asked.
"Ask her yourself!"
Sana emerged from the door they came in, and embraced her lover. He returned the hug, and kissed her.
"Where have you been?"
"At the most expensive hotel in town. Free food, free drinks, and pay per view. All I had to do was not call anyone, other than my father. Poor guy had to work the store today."
She stopped smiling. "Do you forgive me?"
She held him close, so she could whisper in his ear. "Oh, and the room? We have it tonight, too."
Gakusha was happy. He did get the best prize.

Akira stood back, trying to look casual by nonchalantly looking around. SimMan approached her.
"How did you get the pictures?" she demanded.
"You left the window open."
"That's theft."
"And unlawful entry. But not breaking and entering." He put his arms up. "And now you've seen my place."
"State of the art video systems. Graphic design. Storage. Broadband. All the tools a modern fashion media person needs, except the talent."
He smiled at her.
She got it.
"What do you get out of it?"
"We share a common interest, you and I." He nodded toward Sana. "When she gets famous, they'll all know who got her there."
He dangled a key.
She recoiled. "I don't trust men."
"Neither do I."
She took the key. "Then we will get along just fine."