A cemetery.

The ocean spreads under the blue sky. In the shade of a nearby tree, Botan is folding a paper airplane.
Inside the cemetery. A spot overlooking the sea.
Turning to the rear, Aya is standing in front of a certain headstone.

Aya: Aya...
He recalls Aya sleeping, and the empty bed with the cross cut into it.
Aya: I will find you! Without fail!

Mission 17: Kritiker / Na mo Naki Hokori (Critics / Nameless Pride)

A street at night.

Some delinquent-looking youths are stationed, crouching, in the street.
A strange-looking person with a cape that covers their head approaches.
He passes through, doing nothing, but directly behind him, one of the youths' cigarettes suddenly bursts into flame.

Youth A: Uwaa! Hot! Uwaaa!!
But now his entire body starts to burn, and in moments, he is engulfed in flames.
His watching friends hold their heads, and in the next moment, they too are burning.
Without knowing why, the passers-by are frozen in their tracks, unable to do anything but look on.
The night is illuminated with flames and screams as they burn up.

Koneko no Sumu Ie (storefront).

The three are getting ready to open.
Sakura Tomoe is leaning against the wall.
Omi, carrying flowers, notices her.

Omi: Oh--
Ken, wiping the window, turns around.
Ken: So, she's here again.
Omi: I wonder if Aya's not coming back.
Yohji is putting up a reopening poster.
Yohji: You can't do anything with him.
Ken: We ended up coming back here, but...
Giving up, Sakura leaves.
Birman walks past the retreating figure of Sakura.
The three notice her.

The road alongside the cemetery (car interior).

Aya is inside the parked car. He is about to start the engine when the passenger door opens and Botan gets in.
Aya: You... What do you want?
Botan says nothing and shows him a key.
Aya: Wha... That's...
It is the safety deposit box key he had entrusted to Sakura.
Looking at that key, Botan begins to speak.

Botan: A girl named Sakura asked me to return this to you. What is this, a safety deposit box key?
He hands it to Aya.
Botan: That girl, she waits in front of the shop every day. You must be very close if you left something like this with her, eh?
Aya: That's the only business I have with her.
Botan: Aya, go back to the flower shop. There's a mission.
Aya looks away.
Aya: I'm not going back.
Botan: What did you say?
Botan unconsciously leans forward.
Aya: I'm not part of Weiß any more.
Botan: You...
Aya returns his gaze to Botan.
Aya: I have places to go. Get out.
Botan: Going for a drive? Let me come along.
Aya: I have no interest in going on a date with you.
Botan puts a cigarette in his mouth.
Botan: But I do.
He starts to light his cigarette. Aya yells at him.
Aya: No smoking in this car!

Koneko no Sumu Ie (basement).

In the darkened room, the mission video is playing.
Persia: Gentlemen of Weiß, I announce a new mission.
Disconcerted by his voice, the three lean forward.
Persia: Recently, there have been a string of incidents in which youths suddenly die engulfed in flames. These are murders ordered by the leaders of the
"Thinking of the Future Association." White hunters of darkness, hunt the future of this black beast!
The video ends and the lights are turned on.
Ken: What the hell is this?
Omi: Persia... Persia is alive?
Manx: Unfortunately, this is a computer-simulated Persia.
The one who answered his question is Manx, who has just come down the stairs.
Manx: I thought you'd get it this way.
Yohji: This is crazy.
Ken: So, where's our target?
Manx: Ask Birman. I'm leaving the rest to her.
Birman looks silently at Manx.
Omi: What's going on?
Manx: I am Persia's private secretary. My duty is finished.
Manx looks sad.
At that point, Birman enters the conversation.
Birman: I will contact you later concerning the location of the target. I assume you're all participating?
The three look at each other.

Car interior.

Aya's speeding car.
Aya drives in silence. Botan continues talking while fiddling with his paper airplane
Botan: The "Thinking of the Future Association" is a research group started by teachers and ordinary company employees to try to do something about juvenile delinquency. But for some reason, over many months, it has turned into a murder syndicate. So, Aya, why do you think these utterly normal people have come to such a point?
Aya, remaining expressionless, answers disinterestedly.
Aya: Didn't I tell you I quit Weiß?
Botan gazes out through the window.
Botan: I was only asking for your opinion--just gossip. Personally, I wonder if "SS" isn't behind this. Just like your sister's kidnapping.
Aya looks grim.
Botan: And if so, then joining this mission wouldn't be without benefit.
Aya: You said something like that earlier, didn't you.
Botan: Well, to be sure, you may not find your sister right away. But if you solve the cases related to "SS" one by one, you should be able to find some clues.What are you going to accomplish just rushing around blindly?
Aya: You sure talk a lot.
Botan: What?
Aya: I don't have time to play your little games right now!
Botan: Ha! From where I stand, you look like the one who's playing.
Aya: Me!
Botan: You're busy looking for your sister? What can you do alone? How do you intend to ever find her?
The car drives along the coastlands. Aya's hospital comes into view.

The hospital (a corridor).

A nurse is walking briskly, and Aya is chasing her.
Aya: Wait a minute!
Nurse: Would you stop it already? I have absolutely nothing to say to you. You withdrew your sister, didn't you?
Aya: No--there had to have been something unusual. Please, try to remember anything, no matter how insignificant. I'm begging you!
Aya grabs her arm. She stops and glares at him.
Nurse: Let go of me! I'll call someone!
The nurse leaves. Aya remains standing there.
Botan: I see...
Aya turns, and there is Botan crouched down on the floor, playing with a child.
He throws the paper airplane, and the child happily chases it down the hall.
Botan watches, smiling, then slowly gets up and turns around.

Botan: But this is as far as you can get.
Aya says nothing.
The cleaning lady bumps into Botan.
Cleaning lady: Oh, I'm so sorry.
Botan: You're working hard.
The cleaning lady leaves.
Botan: That lady just now, I've had her undercover here since last week.
He holds a floppy disk out to Aya.
Botan: I just got some information. Do you want to see it?
Aya has a complex expression.

The hospital parking lot (car interior).

Aya inserts the disk into a notebook computer.
Botan peers over from the side.
Botan: How is it? It's made you reconsider Kritiker's powers of investigation, hasn't it?
Aya: Shut up for a second.
There is something like a register of names on the screen.
Botan puts his hand over Aya's and clicks.
Botan: Okamoto Shinichi, nursing aide, aged 33. Has been restless ever since the incident. Look, it says he's having an afair with a girl from a cabaret club. Lucky guy. If I were a kidnapper, he'd be the first person I'd bribe.
Aya is taken aback.

Koneko no Sumu Ie (storefront).

Momoe is in front of the store sweeping. The cat is with her, of course.
The other three are nowhere to be seen.

Koneko no Sumu Ie (living room).

A photograph of the incident is on the computer screen.
Omi is in front of the computer; Ken comes and looks over his shoulder.
Ken: How is it?
Omi: The surveillance camera only caught it by chance. And the picture quality isn't very good...
Yohji: Hey, check this out.
Yohji is sitting apart from them. They turn at the sound of his voice. He has a videocassette in his hand.

Ken: Geez, he burned up.
Omi: Where'd you get this video?
Yohji: Let's just say I have my sources.
Ken: In other words, leave it to Yohji to find suspicious videos.
Yohji: Whoa, stop.
Yohji suddenly freezes the frame.
Yohji: Isn't there something weird about this guy?
He rewinds the scene again.
Yohji: Wait, in both scenes...
There is a woman in every shot on the triple-split screen.
Omi changes the screen and looks at the thermography.
There's something of an unusually high temperature in her hand. They can also see something coming out of it.

Yohji: Gasoline?
Omi: No, it's something much more flammable. I think it could be some substance that vaporizes the moment it's sprayed, and then something as minor as static electricity will ignite it.
Ken: Some special chemical?
Yohji: All right, we'll take it from there. First, I leave finding that particular fuel to you, Omi.
Omi: Yeah...
Ken: What?
Omi: I'm just thinking, it's just the three of us doing this.
Yohji: If he were here, he'd just say "Better to leave it alone."
Ken puts his hand on Omi's shoulder.
Ken: We'll just do what we can. Right?
Omi: Yeah.
Yohji also pats Omi on the shoulder.

Eyecatch: none
Commercial break
Eyecatch: Aya

In front of an apartment building (car interior).

A rainy night. Aya is waiting for someone to come out of the apartment building.
A paper airplane flies from the passenger seat and lands in front of him.
Botan: Sorry.
Aya: What is this?
Botan: That Azumi--she likes it.
Aya: Who's Azumi?
Botan: My daughter.
Botan flies the paper airplane off the windshield and catches it with his mouth on its return.
Aya snorts.
There is a brief silence. There is no indication that anyone is going to come out.
Botan: An affair with a cabaret girl... Have you ever been to a cabaret club?
Aya ignores him.
Botan: This is so boring... Oh, I get it! It just dawned on me--that girl Sakura--she looks just like your sister, doesn't she.
He finally provokes a response. Aya looks at Botan.
Botan: So, that's the way it is. But as a substitute for your sister--that's slightly pathetic.
Aya: It's none of your business.
Botan: I'm not going to leave you alone.
Aya: Why? Do you want to send me back to Weiß?
Botan: It's because I like you. I don't think of you as a stranger.
Aya: Stop jerking me around! Are you trying to piss me off?
Botan: Ah, yes, I do want to piss you off. I want to get you good and angry and tear off that cool surface of yours. Do you really not care what happens just as long as your sister is all right? She's not the only one threatened. You don't know what danger that Sakura could end up in if you abandon her. Even this case--
Aya: Shut up.
Botan: What?
Aya: He's coming out.

<commercial, eyecatch>

In front of the apartment building.

A man comes out, looking around cautiously. It is Shinichi Okamoto.
Just as he's about to open his umbrella, a blow knocks him to the concrete.
Of course, it's Aya who hit him.
Botan is in the car fiddling with his paper airplane.
Aya gets on top of Okamoto and, grabbing his necktie, is about to punch him again when Okamoto starts talking.

Okamoto: W-Wait, I'll talk, I'll talk. A strange woman in a bar gave me a lot of money... and so I left the emergency exit unlocked. When I went to look afterwards, there was a cross cut into the bed and the girl was gone. I got scared.
Aya: What do you mean, a strange woman?
Okamoto: She was wearing sunglasses the whole time. And it was dark in there--I couldn't see her...
Aya: And?
Okamoto: A-and...?
Aya: Aya! Where's my sister?
Okamoto: I don't know. I was only...
Aya: You helped them, didn't you?
Okamoto: I said, I don't know! If you really want to know that badly, why don't you report it to the police?
Aya is taken aback. Seeing this, Okamoto becomes more confident.
Okamoto: That's right--go to the police. To the police! If you're hiding something, you must be guilty, too.
Aya bites his tongue. His fist is trembling.
Okamoto: Heh. If you go to the police department's morgue, you might find her.
Aya beats him up.
Botan: That's enough! You'll kill him!
Okamoto disconcertedly tries to crawl away. Aya tries to stop him.
Botan: Calm down! What will you do if you kill him?
Okamoto tries to flee, gasping for breath. Aya still tries to stop him.
Botan: Knock it off!
Botan punches Aya in the stomach.
Aya: It's your fault he got away!
Aya hits him back. The two of them fight in the rain.
Botan: Stop screwing around! Just for now, you're Weiß, aren't you? If you lose your head and kill him, you're just a thug.
Aya: I'm not Weiß any more! How many times do I have to tell you?
Botan: No matter how much you say it, I'll still tell you you're Weiß!
Aya: Shut up! You don't know how I feel! Go home and fold paper airplanes for your daughter!
Botan: ...you stupid punk!
With one great punch, he knocks Aya to the ground.
Botan: What am I supposed to understand about you?
Botan gets on top of Aya and starts beating him up like Aya did to Okamura.
Botan: You think you're the only one who's suffered?
He hauls Aya up partway.
Botan: This is your power alone. Get it?
He hits Aya again.
Aya's breathing is strained. Botan gets up to leave, but he staggers and falls to his knees.
Aya, noticing, sits up and calls to him.

Aya: What's wrong?
Botan: Shut up! I aggravated an old wound, that's all. There's no way your punches would hurt me.
Aya smiles a little.
Botan drops a photograph as he gets up. Aya picks it up.
It is a picture of a smiling little girl holding a paper airplane.
Aya, still holding it, gets up. He leans on Botan, throwing off his balance.

Botan: Hey, don't lean on me.
Aya: You're the one leaning on me.
Aya pushes back on Botan's shoulder, but he staggers.
Botan: See? It's you.
Aya: You're the one doing it.
Botan: I'm saying, it's you.
Aya: Shut up! Walk straight.
So arguing and supporting each other, they make their way back to the car.

Car interior.

Aya, facing forward, gives the photograph back to Botan.
Botan takes it and looks at it.

Botan: Azumi...
Aya: Stop sticking to me and go home.
Botan: I don't have a home to go back to. My wife was killed. Azumi was kidnapped and vanished. It's been three years already.
Aya: You don't have any clues about your daughter?
Botan: She's probably dead already. --No! I want to believe she's still alive. That's why I joined Kritiker. If I keep following this case, I might run into some clues.
Just then, a transmission from Omi comes through on the LCD screen.
Omi: Aya-kun, are you there? We heard about the mission from Botan. We've located the target.
Aya and Botan look at each other.

Koneko no Sumu Ie (living room).

The three are standing in front of the computer.
Omi: We've figured out the special fuel used by the arson-murderer and traced its sale. And if you can come, Aya-kun...

Car interior.

Omi: In any case, I'm sending you a map.
A map appears on the screen.
Aya and Botan are silent.

The target's hideout.

A factory lot somewhere.
A fuel truck is parked in front of the building.
A single window is illuminated on the second floor of the building.
Inside, four men and a woman are talking around a computer.
On the monitor, someone's (Schurderich's) chest and clasped hands are visible.

Woman: Everyone, the youth problem is becoming more serious. We can't solve things by leading with purifying flames one or two at a time.
Schurderich: It's just as she says. If we continue dealing with the young hordes like this, the country will go to ruin.
Policeman: That's right!
Self-Defense Forces officer: That's right!
Man with glasses: That's right.
Fat man: Yes, that's right.
The woman nods.
Pointing to a white board with a map of the Tokyo area affixed to it, the SDF officer starts to explain.
SDF officer: These locations are shopping centers where the young hordes congregate. In accordance with our preparations, each street will burn down.

Schwarz' room.

The computer monitor shows the SDF officer.
SDF officer: We will purify all of Tokyo.
The power goes off.
Schurderich is the one sitting in front of the computer. The other three stand around him.
Crawford: It's no trifling matter. Five people manipulate, five thousand or fifty thousand burn.
Schurderich: They aren't manipulating anyone. They're just making suggestions.
Crawford: You mean, everyone lives in a world of madness and a single sheet of paper.
Farfarello: Everyone keeps a devil.
Nagi: Can people really create a new world this way?
So Nagi mutters. Schurderich, still sitting, turns to him.
Schurderich: Who knows? But they think they can.
Crawford: The purpose is unimportant. What we need is the process.

The target's hideout.

The light on the second floor goes out.
Aya's car pulls up.

Botan: So this is it...
Aya leans towards the passenger seat and looks out.
The door to the building opens and the five come out.

Botan: This is bad--they're leaving the scene.
Botan is about to get out of the car.
Aya: What are you trying to do?
Botan: Hold them back until Ken and the others get here.
Aya: How?
Botan: Are you coming?
Aya says nothing and looks away.
Botan: So, you have absolutely no intention of joining the mission.
Aya: I...
Aya falls silent.
Botan: Look, Aya, I'd like to hit you again, but we don't have the time. I'll just tell you this. You and me, we're in similar positions, but I'm not in it only to find my daughter. I worry about the baby next door, the neighborhood kids. This case is my mission.
Botan gets out of the car.
Aya says nothing.
Botan gets under the fuel truck and punctures the tire with a knife.
But the policeman, last to leave, spies Botan and draws his pistol.

Policeman: Who's there!
The policeman fires. Botan runs.
Aya is startled by the gunshot.

Aya: Botan...
Botan's words run through his mind.
"Do you really not care what happens just as long as your sister is all right?" "This case is my mission."
Aya looks at the little girl's picture left on the seat.
He shuts his eyes tight. His eyelids tremble faintly.
Then, he opens his eyes as though he's made up his mind.
He gets out of the car, picks up his sword, and heads towards Botan.
Botan: Oh, Aya!
Noticing Aya, Botan smiles. At that moment, a bullet strikes his chest.
Botan: Oh...
Aya: Botan!
The policeman hears him and turns to point his pistol at Aya. But Botan's paper airplane distracts him.
Aya runs and smites him.
As Aya lands, he next sees the woman. She gun barrel she's holding seems to be the head of a hose.

Woman: Who are you!
The woman shoots a green liquid at him, but Aya dodges and it lands on the back of the staggering policeman instead.
The policeman's body instantly bursts into flame. He screams as he starts to burn.
Aya walks up to Botan, kneeling on the ground.

Botan: Aya! You finally took an interest for me.
Aya: This is serious! You're messed up!
As he speaks, the gun is fired again.
Aya dodges, but he takes a shot in the knee.
He collapses.
Smiling evilly, the SDF officer pulls the trigger again.

Botan: Aya!
At once, Botan gets in front of Aya.
The machine gun fires wildly with Botan as its target.

Aya: Botan!
The gun is finally empty, and the gunshots stop. But Botan has taken countless hits, and his body is in bad shape. Still, he gives Aya a final smile.
Aya: Botan...
As if to attack the routed enemy, the woman sprays the green liquid on Botan.
In his mind, Botan can see his daughter running innocently.

Botan: Azumi...
His body bursts into flames.
Aya: Botan!!
In moments, he is engulfed in flames. He collapses.
Aya: Botan--!
SDF officer: This is the end!
The man with the machine gun is entangled in wire. It's Youji.
Omi: Aya-kun!
Omi shoots his weapon and clothes to Aya.
Aya catches them.

The man in glasses comes running, aiming for Youji's back.
But he is felled by Ken's bugnuks.
The man trying to escape from the wire is struck down from behind by Aya.

Omi's darts fly. They hit the man's hand. The glass cup he was holding falls to the ground, and the fuel inside sets his body on fire.
The woman, still holding the hose, screams as though mad and sprays the fuel.
She falls to Aya's sword, but as she drops the hose, it sprays fuel towards the tank.

Youji: Aya!
Ken: Aya!
Omi: Aya-kun!
The four flee as the fire spreads.
Behind them, the tank explodes and everything burns.

The cemetery.

On a hill overlooking the sea, Aya stands in the shade of a tree.
Aya: Botan...
He looks at the paper airplane in his hand.
Aya: I don't believe in missions. But you...
He throws the paper airplane towards the sea.
It glides on the breeze, high in the blue sky, and gently flies away.

Aya: I believe in you.

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