"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."
Arthur C. Clarke
“Where is that girl with the files I requested?” Koenma gave his pacifier an angry suck. He’d sent Botan out at least five minutes ago and she still had not returned.
“Koenma sir!” The aforementioned guide called as she ran into his office.
“There you are Botan!”
“Sir, you really should know-”
“You’ve made me wait and I don’t like to wait. Don’t do it again.”
“I apologize sir, but-”
“No buts. There is no excuse for dilly dallying.”
“Don’t interrupt me! Now, where are those files I wanted?” Botan gave an exasperated sigh.
“That’s what I’ve been trying to tell you!”
“Then spit it out girl!”
“There’s something wrong with the system — it wouldn’t let me in.”
“What do you mean?”
“I tried to access the network, but it completely shut me out.”
“You stupid girl, did you forget the password again?” Koenma asked angrily. Botan puffed out her cheeks and glared at him.
“Of course not. Other systems have been acting up as well. The boys over in soul processing said their networks started going haywire, reporting people dead that are completely healthy and others alive when they’ve been gone for hundreds of years! Criminal records is also having problems. Demons are being accredited with crimes such as jay walking and stealing candy from babies. Complaints have been flying in from all departments.”
“Nonsense. If anything was wrong I would have been notified.”
“Normally yes, but communications in down, too. No messages made it over the lines.” Suddenly, an alarm started going off.
“Attention. We are experiencing technical difficulties and are dealing with them swiftly. Please remain calm and *crackle* don’t taste the applesauce…” The ending came out garbled.
“What is going on!? Botan, why didn’t you tell me it was this serious!?” Koenma exclaimed.
“Well, I was trying to sir!” Botan huffed, but the miniature ruler ignored her and jumped down from his chair.
“I’m going to go have a word with our technicians and get this all straightened-” The lights suddenly went out, then flashed wildly. Koenma’s door slammed shut. Botan rushed over and tried to open it but jerked back when she was shocked.
“No one is going anywhere…” The weird voice stated, fluctuating in pitch.
“Botan! Call Yusuke and the others. There’s only one person who can fix this.”
“She’s not going to like it, sir.”
“We don’t have much of a choice right now!”
“So, Kurama… know anything about this chick we’re supposed to pick up?”
“I’m afraid I’ve never heard of her, Yusuke. Botan didn’t give you any details?”
“Nah, she just said to hurry up and get her to Spirit World. It was kinda hard to understand her though — there was a lot of static.”
“There was interference during my call as well. Botan said Spirit World’s systems were experiencing problems and this woman was needed to repair them.”
“I can’t believe we’ve become some stupid messengers.” Kuwabara kicked a rock that was in his path.
“If I understand correctly, this is a very important matter. Spirit World thinks there’s a virus in their systems. If this is the case, who knows how much damage will be done.”
“Yeah, yeah, whatever. Is this it?” Yusuke questioned moodily as he stopped in front of a rather plain house. White siding, black shingles, windows covered by blinds, perfectly trimmed yard… though it seemed normal, it also had an unwelcoming aura about it.
“Yes, this is the address Botan gave us.”
“So, what, we just go up and knock?”
“That would be the polite thing to do. However, it would not be wise.” Yusuke paused halfway through opening the gate.
“Why do you say that?”
“Her security system is amazingly efficient.” Kurama smiled slightly.
“I don’t see no security system.” Kuwabara looked puzzled. In answer, Kurama reached into his hair and pulled out a seed, which he proceeded to throw into the yard. The three watched as it suddenly burst into flames.
“I take it she’s not the social type.”
“What happened? I don’t get it.”
“Invisible lasers cross the ground. If Yusuke had tried to make it to the door to knock, he would have been disintegrated after taking one step into the yard.”
“Thanks for the warning. So how the heck are supposed to get to her?”
“You’re not. That’s the point.” A voice crackled through an unseen speaker.
“Pardon us for interrupting, but we have an important message for you.”
“I don’t want it.”
“What?” Yusuke asked angrily.
“I don’t want it. Now go away.”
“Look, we came all the way out here and almost died, so you can’t just say you don’t want the stupid message! Now let us in!”
“What part of ‘go away’ do you not understand?” The voice sounded bored. Yusuke twitched. Then cursed.
“Please, you must understand, this is of vital importance.”
“I doubt it. But if you’re not going to go away, you might as well come in before people start getting suspicious. I’m going to deactivate my security for ten seconds. If you’re not in the door by then… you’ll die. I suggest you hurry.”
“She sounds like Genkai. Don’t tell me I have another old hag on my hands.”
“The security is down. We should probably take her advice and hurry.” The three walked quickly to the front door. Yusuke hesitantly touched the doorknob as if it too were booby trapped (which it was normally, but that had been turned off as well). When it didn’t bite him, he turned it and they all entered. The door shut behind them, and they were left in complete darkness.
“Now what?” Kuwabara’s voice made itself heard.
“I hear noise coming from this direction.” Kurama started walking down what appeared to be a hallway.
“What direction? I can’t see anything!” Kuwabara sounded panicked.
“Just follow my voice.” Eventually a light came into view. They walked toward it to find a doorway opening into a darkened room. The lone source of light shone from a computer screen, illuminating the face of the woman sitting behind it. Her hair was pulled back from her face and tied messily into a haphazard bun. Glasses were perched on the end of her nose as she typed furiously on a keyboard.
“What does Spirit World want from me now?” You asked, never taking your eyes off the screen or pausing in your rapid hand movements.
“How did you know we were from Spirit World?” The one in the green jumpsuit asked suspiciously.
“Why else would I have a demon and two spiritually powerful people in my house? Kurama, Yusuke, and Kuwabara if my readings are right, and I know they are. I told that stupid baby I was done, and I meant it. Tell him to shove his message up his you-know-what and to stop bothering me.” Your order made Yusuke snort — he always enjoyed a good laugh at Koenma’s expense.
“I’m afraid it’s not that simple,” Kurama stated.
“Yeah, Koenma and Botan think the system might have a virus or something,” Kuwabara added.
“Why do you say that?” Yusuke piped up this time.
“Because I designed their security myself. Nothing can get past it.”
“Cocky aren’t you?” Yusuke challenged. You still didn’t look up from your work at the former detective’s goading.
“No, cocky can exist without proper founding. Confidence, however, is developed over time by proving yourself over and over again. I am confident that my system is perfect.”
“Well, obviously it’s not ‘cause things are going nuts up there.”
“One of those fools must have done something wrong. Tell Koenma to get one of his engineers to fix it.”
“He’s tried, but they’re locked out of the computer mainframe.” At this your hands froze over the keys and you finally looked up, particularly at the fox spirit who’d made this statement.
“Security has been turned on around the master room and no one can get past.”
“Why don’t they turn off the security?”
“It’s been locked down.”
“Why hasn’t Koenma just used the master override?”
“He’s locked in his office.” Yusuke smirked.
“What?” Your eyes narrowed.
“Botan says that if they try to open the door they’re electrically shocked.”
“That’s not possible. That’s a security measure that Koenma could activate from his office if he was ever threatened. It’s meant to keep intruders out. It’s only connected to the outer door handle.”
“You can see where we have a problem,” Yusuke stated smugly. You shook your head.
“It doesn’t make sense. I constructed every aspect of that system. There’s no way a virus could have penetrated its defenses.”
“Would you stop going on about how perfect your system is and just come and fix it?” Yusuke crossed his arms impatiently. You glared at the boy.
“Fine, I’m coming.” You glanced back to your screen and hit a few more keys. It suddenly went black, extinguishing all light in the room. “Light on.” Then boys blinked as their eyes adjusted to the new brightness.
“Wait a second! You’re not old!”