1 – 1 : Chapter 1 ALMOST PARADISE : Good bye, WADATSUMI / He and a little witch of Tokyo Bay

 Though they couldn’t open their mouth for a mouthpiece of the breathing machine, could talk even underwater through a microphone being pasted on their throat. This gadget is the thing that is able to sense vibrations of the vocal cords and convey them to others.

 But, when Ho’ori unintentionally leaked out a big bubble by a sigh, a teammate who poked at him with a finger said nothing. Ho’ori apologized to him by nodding, and then, started to move forward again like licking the sand bottom. Other members of the team quietly followed him from just behind.

 Each was alternately stabbing metal hand pegs to the bottom, was making holding points and, moving forward step by step under the endless large water clod. The looks of the group moving forward against torrents looked to be horizontally climbing a huge precipice. Choosing a shadow, stabbing the pegs into the inside of it, making a fulcrum, pulling their own body into it, and again seeking another shadow. Only these series of motions were repeated under the water again and again. The never ended desert seemed as if laughing at the desperate efforts of the soldiers.

 This operation purposed that the team was going to approach the target ship from 500 meters downstream and to get into it secretly, to arrest or kill terrorists immediately, and to save hostages. But, in this situation, any member couldn’t even imagine the ending of the road for the winning still yet. They were being forced to feel this desert was spreading forever. The clod of the water was strongly continuing to push eardrums from above of waterproof earphones by its pressure for a long time, so their ears had already lost even senses of pain.

 On the bottom of the river, there were colonies consisting of nests of the same kind of a mollusk here and there. They were benthos looking like a hybrid of a flower and a slender sand-worm, and they were showing their upper half of body like an earthworm coming out each hole. And were gathering foods by spreading a net type feeler like a flower on each head top.  

 That net can filter planktons from the water. And, these creatures are so sensitive to water moving, so when the team approached the nests even some meters, they immediately hid into their own holes. And after the human beings completely passed above, they came out from their houses so carefully and begun eating planktons again while swinging the bodies.

 In the next moment, Ho’ori watched all of the worms suddenly vanished into the holes. It happened about 15 meters ahead, and at this distance, the worms should not be capable of feeling the waves made by the team.


 Just after his voice spread to all of the team through on the vocal cords mike, the members stabbed pegs deeper into the bottom like a reflex movement and turned on the switch of sand anchor gimmick. At the same time when the metal claws, which sprang out from the inside of their mechanical pegs into the sand bottom, strongly anchored them to the earth, the team was attacked by a very heavy torrent. To the members enduring in clenching teeth didn’t have any option except to resist against the torrent like roaring, with relying on two fulcrums which were inside of the hands and by making own position lower as possible. Sand-dusts were dancing up higher and higher and a big crab passed rolling in directly front of Ho’ori’s face and went. The torrents did not end only by once, changed their directions again and again and attacked the team. All the members were violently treated in the water like vinyl trashes caught on stakes in the river.

 Ho’ori kept to bite and bite his own mouthpiece as if trying to cut off it and desperately endured the heavy torrent.

 He wished to kick the ass of himself who had been feeling the envy while watching at the children, today’s afternoon. On the shore of the river, the kids had been playing very lively, being decorated with the splashing of the water. They had been being never defeated by the burning early summer sunlight. It had been very sunny and all of all seemed too fun, so he had been really hoping from the heart to forget his own job and to dive into the water together with the children. And now, of course, he was regretting such thinking. He was already so bored by the water.

 The case happened about today’s 3 p.m., at Nihonbashi area where is a little upstream from Tsukuda island. Heavily armed robberies, who had failed to attack a cash transport truck, run away to the river, and showed the boat chasing show with TMPD on the mainstream of the river, and finally made a collision with the luxury sight-seeing yacht ‘TOYO’. This yacht was exactly about to come out from a canal at that moment.

 TOYO, which had been built for government plans to gather tourists, flourishingly had just finished the launching ceremony. However, her maiden voyage became bloody. The small boat of the criminals had begun to sink by the impact, so the robberies moved to TOYO and killed two guards immediately, throw away the bodies into the river, and made it as the warning against pursuers.

 Unfortunately, in TOYO, excluding the guards and other staff, there were about 50 guests, celebrities as guests by the local government of Tokyo, prizewinners of the public offering, and many kids. The children had been invited to this ceremony voyage as representatives of kindergartens, elementary, or junior high schools in this area.

 Clearly, it was the moment that the worst crime occurred since the rebeginning of the river.

 Due to the criminals showing excessively violent tendencies, TMPD early decided to give up negotiation and to send an attacking team into the yacht.

 But the timing was bad. Because, once in a half a month, a phenomenon that many strong torrents suddenly appear in the inside of the mainstream, at the high tide time, especially at night, was well known. In that hours, the water of the mainstream flowing toward the river mouth directly bumps against the high tide. As a result, many torrents happen and scatter to every direction in the river, so complex and powerful water moving was capable of suddenly happening anywhere. And today was that day.

 And naturally, the torrents become strongest before and after the highest and lowest tide.

 According to the observation, it had been thought that tonight the tide difference will have been the hugest near the time of the attack operation, so the tidal situation had been one of the most important elements for TMPD which had chosen the plan using SAT (Special Attack Team).On the location, like this river, flowing through the central town of Tokyo and shined by bright lights of the town and does not have enough depth than the sea, such torrents should be a big obstacle for the sneaking mission on the bottom.

 And what was even worse, TOYO had the transparency hold (the belly of a ship) which had been made for that guests could watch around inside of the water while staying with dry clothes. The local government had strongly intended to take the shipbuilding plan of this yacht as a leading feature on a sightseeing project making use of the redeveloped river. So, except the two restrooms and the engine room, the walls of yacht hold had made of special tempered clear resins for its guests to enjoy watching the underwater world. But of course, contrary to the peaceful design philosophy, under this situation, there was no reason these walls would not be the big advantage to villains minding attacks from the outer world.

 The criminals had built a wall of hostages onto the deck as a countermeasure to police snipers. Furthermore, because this area has many high-rise buildings and air flows tend to get the disorder, so sniping from a helicopter would be difficult. Of course, approaching by a boat will be too conspicuous. After all, an assault from an underwater route had been thought of as the best way, but this meant the police team would be required to act like shadows to their limit in the water world. They had to do in the same time, to take advantage of the carelessness of the villains being in the transparent ship hold, to move on the bottom silently than drifting seaweeds, and to notice every sign of the river to cope with the sudden torrents.

 But this day SAT water team didn’t have a member who was familiar with such underwater natural situations. Of course, some specialists were working in TMPD, but they had been injured because had gotten attacked when they had chased a suspicious on the night river several days ago. It was that something like a big whip had strongly thrown them against the surface of the water. So, though the degree of the wound was not serious, they had not been allowed to take part in the mission under the terrible torrents still yet. TMPD could have requested assistance from the coast guard of Japan, but to do so meant to lose the chance to show off their special team to people proudly, and to permit another government branch to invade their territory. SST (Special Security Team of Japan coast guard) might be cooled than them. In addition to that, the coast guard is certainly a special professional of tactics in the sea but it might be so dangerous to regard missions in the river in the city as same as in the ocean. The ocean has enough depth and many shadows to cheer their mission, but, this river has only from 5 to 8-meter depth. Moreover, though some very dark parts or thick water are certainly there in the inside of the river, almost all place of the bottom is always lit up dimly with the lights from the city.

 These had been the reasons why Ho’ori, who was not a military person and even never train tactical skills in the water, had to join the team of SAT, which was making the plan to attack criminals from under the water. Surely, from a viewpoint of their jobs as local civil servants, we cannot say that a river ranger and SAT don’t have any common points at all. And it was also true he had been joining an Underwater Jujitsu Circle in student days. But in other words, it was only that. The main reason for this choice was that his office originally has assistant roles for police, and maybe as the most important element, had been that he or his office doesn’t have a possibility to interfere in TMPD’s territory in the future.

 “What you must do is only one, guide us to near the yacht. All of the other things are our job. Don’t do anything except given work. Okay?”

 The team leader had ordered so to Ho’ori in a domineering tone peculiar to military people after the briefing.

 (Are you really thinking I can do something other?!)

 Ho’ori thought so but said nothing actually. TV news was conveying that the villains were heavily armed with many weapons which had been gotten through the northern Kyushu area. So, in fact, naturally, he never wanted even to approach the yacht. At that moment, against his eyes, assault rifles being in the arms of the team members were showing off their black color like darkness.

Ⓒ 2016 Takagi Tokio