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to go faster. You have to make it work."

There was an air of menace that Morishi could not even begin to articulate. He tried to think of something to say, and also tried to find a way to deal with the rising sense of dread that he felt in his gorge.

Then, just like that... it was over.

If they had been joined in a single, ominous purpose only seconds earlier, now the crowd dispersed. They did not so much as glance at each other; it seemed for all the world as if they were utterly unaware that each of the others existed.

Morishi sat there, his reports now completely forgotten, his coffee getting cold. What in the hell had just happened? Was it some soft of... of bizarre joke? Was that it? Somebody's sick idea of a prank on good old Morishi, the guy who could take any sort of ribbing no matter how odd?

He waited to see if there was any sort of recurrence, but there was none forthcoming. A minute or two later, one of the people who had been in the crowd walked past Morishi and didn't even give him a first look, much less a second.

"What was that all about?" Morishi muttered to himself. Unfortunately there was no one around to give him an answer.

And he realized that he couldn't let it go.

He got up from his table and, picking one of his observers at random, he followed the scruffy individual who had been telling him that he had to go faster.

Deuce, for his part, didn't appear to notice Morishi at all. In fact, he didn't even seem fully aware of his surroundings. He was walking along, looking upward, stiff and rigid with his arms at his sides. Every so often he would bump into someone passing by. The injured party would invariably utter some sort of profanity or tell him to watch where he was going, but they might as well have been talking to a sleepwalker,
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