By Aidan Doyle
One of Saito’s guys led Kentaro through the arcade. They passed row after row of black game pods, silent except for the hum of their cooling systems. The idea of crawling into a pod and letting the rest of the world deal with its own problems was tempting, but Kentaro had spent thirty years hidden from society. He needed his old job back. Saito sat in an office in the back of the arcade. He was flicking through a document on his tablet and didn’t acknowledge Kentaro’s presence. Kentaro had plenty of practice at being made to wait. A young guy Kentaro didn’t recognize lounged on a chair in the corner of the room. Saito finally glanced up and motioned to the chair in front of the desk.
“Thank you for making the time to see me,” Kentaro said. He also had plenty of practice of being polite to jerks.
Saito’s gaze strayed back to his tablet. “My wife’s goal in life is to visit every world heritage site. Which do you think would be less boring, Angkor Wat or Petra?”
“I don’t travel much,” Kentaro replied.
Saito laughed. “I guess not. I think we’ll go to Angkor Wat. It says they filmed Audition for Death there. Maybe I’ll meet Akita Yumi.” The young guy guffawed appreciatively.
Kentaro had never heard of Audition for Death or Akita, but tried his best to make his chuckle sound authentic.
“So you’re supposed to be some superhacker?” Saito said.
Kentaro didn’t like boasting, but he needed the money. “I’m good with computers.”
“I already have guys that are good with computers.” The young guy looked as though he was ready to explode with smugness.
“How long were you away?” Saito asked.
“Thirty years.” Yamamoto would have told Saito all this.
“Technology has changed a lot since then,” Saito said.