I observed her tiny movements and the moment her eyes opened, I stood beside her bed. “It’s 6:07:43, Kana. The exact time you woke up,” I said and she rolled her eyes at me. “Oh, shut up.” Tumalikod siya sa akin at tinalukbungan niya ang sarili niya ng kumot kaya agad ko naman ‘yong hinatak. She groaned while trying to pull back her blanket but I already threw it on the side. “Bumangon ka na d’yan! We still need to pack our things,” sabi ko naman. After 3.4 seconds, she finally sat up while glaring at me. “Goddamnit, J, it’s just 6 AM. Are you nuts?” “Technically, it’s 6:08:06 AM but—” “Fine, fine! Just stop with those numbers!” Tuluyan naman siyang tumayo at dumiretso sa banyo habang ako ay nakangiti lang habang pinapanood siya. Ang cute niya ‘pag naaasar pero minsan natatakot ako dahil gumaganti siya sa akin. It has been a year since she started living here but it seemed like it was just a few days ago. Nilabas ko naman ang maleta na nasa ilalim ng kama namin at muli akong napangiti. Thinking about living in the world of humdrums made me too excited that I couldn’t sleep at all. Yes, we get out during Fielding classes but only for a couple of hours. After solving the crime, we are immediately sent back to the campus. However, as part of the requirements to graduate, we need to catch a criminal and we can only do that if we live in their domain—the humdrum’s world. I suddenly heard a buzzing sound behind me, a reminder that those guys were already awake. “Morning,” Hiroshi said, his hologram walking around our room. “Himala. Ang aga n’yong nagising,” sabi ko naman. “I slept early while Hayate’s busy with his current project,” sagot niya. “He has a project?” “Some sort of a collaboration, I think.” Nasa kalagitnaan kami ng pag-uusap nang biglang bumukas ang pinto sa banyo at lumabas si Kana na naka-towel lang ang katawan at buhok. “Oops. Gotta go,” sabi ni Hiroshi at tumaas naman ang kilay ni Kana. “What the heck are you doing here? Pervert,” she said and that made Hiroshi turn around. “I’m not. Be thankful Hayate isn’t the one who’s here or else, he’ll see through that piece of absorbent fabric. Anyway, bye.” Pagkasabi niya no’n ay nawala ang hologram niya at huminga nang malalim si Kana para kumalma. Both of them are good with mechanisms and are competitive that’s why they see each other as rivals. Hence, they always fight. “That meganerd,” she grumbled while putting her clothes on. I remembered her saying that word for the first time when she was just living here for a week. When she saw those two with their glasses as they talked about complicated stuff, she labeled them as meganerds—a play on megane and nerd. Nagsimula naman kaming mag-impake at nakita ko na naman ang bagay na ‘yon sa mga gamit niya. She saw me staring at it so she threw it at my direction. “Still can’t believe it?” Looking at her FBI identification card still amazed me. Yes, she’s an FBI agent of the Cyber Division, someone who has been living in the humdrum’s world, upholding and enforcing criminal laws using her sixth sense and abilities. When she was introduced to us last year, we thought she was just a transferee from a Senshin family who lives in the humdrum world. “May meeting ba ulit ngayon?” tanong naman niya. Isinauli ko na rin ang ID niya at nagpatuloy kami sa pag-iimpake. “Yup. Some last-minute reminders from Sir Eiichi,” sagot ko naman. Pagkatapos naming magligpit ng mga gamit ay lumabas na kami para um-attend sa meeting. We met the two at the lobby, along with the three guys from the lower batch. “Hiro~” I sweetly called and he looked at me with those intense eyes. Pfft. That kid has really no expressions and that made me want to tease him more. Lumapit naman ako sa kanila at inakbayan ko siya. Halos magkasingtangkad na kami at paniguradong tatangkad pa ang isang ‘to. Parang dati lang, binubuhat ko pa siya. ‘What’s with that thought?’ he suddenly asked using his inner voice. ‘Why? Are you shy? Aren’t you a cute kid?’ I teased but I still couldn’t see any muscle movement on his face. ‘Don’t you have a meeting to attend?’ he said in a lower and colder tone. “Hey, are you telling me to go away?” napalakas kong sabi kaya napatingin sila sa amin. “Kind of,” sabay tanggal niya ng kamay ko sa balikat niya. “You brat! I practically raised you!” “Well then, thank you.” Pagkasabi niya no’n ay tuluy-tuloy siyang naglakad kasama sina Ken at Reiji na mukhang worried dahil sa sinabi sa akin ni Hiro. Sanay naman na ako sa batang ‘yon pero minsan nakakainis pa rin. Kaya ayaw siyang lapitan ng ibang estudyante galing sa ibang family ay dahil sa mukha niya at sa paraan niya ng pagsasalita. He really gives off a vibe similar to him. To his father. Narinig ko naman ang pigil na pagtawa ng tatlo kaya tinignan ko sila nang masama. “J, you really can’t defeat that kid in argument,” Kana commented. “She just doesn’t know how to handle him,” Hayate added. “Maybe that’s why he grew up like that,” dagdag pa ni Hiroshi. “Thank you very much,” I sarcastically said and all of them laughed. Tss. What a set of friends I have. *** “Again, you need to log all your activities and through those phones,” Sir Eiichi said while pointing at the device he gave us a while ago, “your entries will be sent to the intelligence department.” “Sir, question,” sabay taas ng kamay ng isang taga-Mimi. “What if we failed to record on a daily basis?” “We will assume that something happened to you so don’t forget to note down your observations and proceedings. Is that clear?” “Yes, Sir,” we answered in chorus. Pagkatapos no’n ay dinismiss niya kami at saktong marami nang estudyanteng naglalakad sa campus. Obvious kung sino ang transferees dahil may hawak silang maps o kaya naman kung saan-saan tumitingin. I actually have the habit of singling out the transferees during the first week and count them all. I would go to the administration office to confirm my inference and I’ve been getting accurate figures for three consecutive years. Sadly, I won’t be able to do that this year. Pagbalik namin sa dorm ay kinuha agad namin ang mga maleta namin at sumakay sa shuttle. We were sorted according to our families and grouped into teams with four members. Luckily, the Atama family have exactly four people. “Nagse-search ka na kaagad?” rinig ko sa harapan. “Yeah. The shorter the time we spend in arresting the criminal, the higher the grade. We should be preparing by now,” sagot naman ng isa. Mukhang nagse-search na sila sa iba’t ibang database ng potential targets. For families A to E, they are required to catch five A-class criminals each group while we, the Atama family, need to apprehend three S-class with at least one Erityian. We were the first group to be dropped off and we found ourselves standing in front of a simple apartment. The four of us entered the house and it has two indentical rooms, kitchen, bathroom, laundry area and a small living room. Nilagay agad namin ang mga gamit namin sa kwarto at balak ko na sanang mag-ayos pero napatigil ako nang mapatingin ako kay Kana. She was standing beside the windows and when she drew the curtain open, a huge digital billboard came into view. “Well, I guess we have our first potential target,” she said as we both watched the news being played from there. ‘The serial murderer who disappeared three years ago made his return with a new victim. The body has the same condition of brutality with the victims several years ago. For a more detailed report, here’s Nerisse Ocampo.’ “A serial murderer, huh?” Hiroshi said and I didn’t even notice their movements. “Jack Jr., huh?” sabi naman ni Hayate kaya napatingin kami sa kanya. “Do you know him?” tanong ko at in-adjust niya ang salamin na suot niya. “I have read about his case three years ago. He was given that alias because of his victims,” he explained. “Jack the Ripper,” Kana muttered and right after that, the detailed report was shown on the screen. “Yes. He earned that name because he mutilates his victims’ bodies and cuts them in half. We need to investigate this case since that guy is an elusive S-class criminal,” sabi niya at pagkatapos no’n ay may lumabas na hologram sa relong suot ni Hiroshi. “I just got some information about his cases,” he added. “Well then, why don’t we go to the crime scene?” I suggested and the three of them agreed. Agad kaming nag-ayos ng gamit na dadalhin namin at pagkatapos no’n ay lumabas kami. Our first target has been determined and he should be counting down his remaining days as a free man. Or in this case, I’d be the one deciding that.