*Back in the lab, after you evaporated*
You gasped as you sat up, throwing the nervegear headset off.
“Hey! Hey!” Mirio called, trying to get your frantically searching eyes to focus on him, “I’m sorry I pulled you out of the game, I felt like something was wrong so I just—,”
“FREE IS GOHA!” you shouted at him, “they tried to kill me. They were going to kill me! They were going to take over my body and—,”
Mirio grabbed your trembling body into a hug and held you close, angry at himself for not doing something sooner about this Free person.
“You had suspicions, right?” he said softly to you, “I’m so sorry, Y/N…”
“W-Where’s Hansu?” you asked in a trembling voice, “why isn’t he here?!”
“I don’t know! I was trying to find him to get him to pull you out of the game but he’s not in the adjacent lab and he wasn’t in the hall. I even called out but no one else is here…”
“We… we need to find Hansu. I need to tell him where Goha is. All glitching monsters need to be monitored. Mirio, what do I do?!”
“It’s ok. We’ll find Hansu first then we’ll talk to him about next steps,” Mirio said, helping you off the examination table.
“I’ve been so stupid,” you berated yourself, “I let my guard down. I ignored Hansu’s warnings. I got too comfortable…”
“Hey,” Mirio said, taking your arm to stop you for a second, “everyone makes mistakes. You can learn and grow from this. Yes, it’s a hard lesson to learn because it involves almost losing your life but stay focused on what you need to do now and don’t let these thoughts trip you up. You can’t do anything about the past. The past is behind you. Look forward.”
“Mirio, thank you. Your kindness and understanding will be the death of me,” said before swiping his arm off you and grabbing for his hand, “let’s go find Hansu.”
You and he raced from the building and started heading off down the street, not sure where you were going, but needing to get to a pay phone somewhere where you could call him, and then the police if he didn’t answer.
Hansu (taken over by Goha) had just stepped out of the apartment when Hawks dropped down onto the verandah ledge.
“Oh, good to see you’re still standing,” he said in a cheeky voice as he swung under the roof and dropped in front of Hansu.
“Yeah,” Hansu (Goha) replied.
“You gave me your location. Thought something might be amiss,” Hawks said.
“Nah. All good. Thank you for coming by though,” Hansu said as he made to walk past the winged hero.
“You ok?” Hawks asked, sensing something was wrong with Hansu.
“Fine. I’m just tired,” Hansu replied and Hawks watched him go.
“Ok! Call me if you need me,” he chirped to the disappearing Hansu.
The grey haired assistant raised a hand to acknowledge Hawks’s statement then left the premises, punching in the exit code to leave.
“Now for the real objective,” Goha thought inside Hansu’s brain, as they forced Hansu to walk back to the lab.
“I don’t even know where to start looking,” you wailed as you and Mirio stopped on a corner street.
“Would he have gone to get food?” Mirio asked you.
“I don’t think so??”
You were about to head off in a different direction when you saw someone walking towards you and squinted in the dark.
“Hansu??” you called out.
“Yeah?” The voice of Hansu replied.
“Oh my god! Where did you go?!” you gasped, “Hansu! Goha is there! Free is Goha! They’re the same person. They tried to kill me?! Mirio saved me by pulling me out of the game… but we need to—,”
“Wait. Slow down,” Hansu said, “Goha was there?”
“Yes! And we need to re-check all the glitching monsters because they will be one of them.”
“Oh. I see. Well done,” Hansu said.
“This isn’t the time to be funny, Hansu, tell me what we need to do!”
“Where did you go?” Mirio asked Hansu, watching the grey haired assistant closely.
“To get food.”
“While you’re supposed to be watching out for us in game?” Mirio asked, trying to keep the suspicion out of his voice.
“It’s late and I haven’t eaten all day,” Hansu replied, “are you hungry? You should eat too.”
“No time for food,” you added, “we need to sort out Goha.”
“Listen, Professor, you head home and rest. I’ll deal with some things, ok?” Hansu said to you, patting you on the head, “Le million, take her home and then go home and rest.”
“Why did you call me by my hero name, Hansu?” Mirio asked.
“Because you saved Professor, didn’t you?” Hansu replied, “you were there when she needed you the most.”
Mirio nodded but in his gut he felt something was very wrong.
“Ok. I’ll take Y/N home… and then I’ll go and rest,” he said, giving Hansu a big fake smile.
Hansu smiled in return and then turned to you. “I’ll ring you tomorrow,” he stated, “for now I need to do some work.”
“Umm… ok… if you’re sure?” you replied, head still spinning about what had happened, so much so that you weren’t in any state of mind to be taking note of small changes to the people around you.
Hansu nodded. “I’m sure. Go and rest.”
Last words were exchanged, then Mirio took you home. He didn’t make mention of Hansu’s change in speech pattern or that he seemed a little different. He decided to let you settle in at home… then hide somewhere outside your house to keep watch.
He had a feeling Hansu might turn up.
It was a good half hour, after he had ‘left’ your place, that Hansu could be seen strolling down the footpath to your house then walking up the steps to the front door and knocking.
Inside, you heard the knock and froze.
“Hey, it’s me,” the voice of Hansu called.
“Oh!” you replied, quickly making your way to the front door and letting him in, “I thought you were going to call me tomorrow?” You inquired.
“Yes. I know. But I found some information that I thought you might want to know now,” he said to you, following you back to the kitchen.
“Ok?” you asked curiously, continuing what you were doing at the kitchen sink.
Hansu looked around, spying a knife on the bench and sidling over to it.
“Well… I found Goha.”
You turned to face him.
“You did?! S-So what now? Can you extract them from the game? Can you delete them?”
“Well…” he said, picking up the knife and flicking his thumb over the blade end to see how sharp it was as he watched himself do it, “it’s kinda a funny story…”
You watched him thumb the knife.
“Because I think… Goha is right…”
Your guts twisted with anxiety as Hansu looked up and took a step towards you with the knife in hand.
“You see… I don’t think I want you around either…”
“H-Hansu? No. Please. Don’t do this, put the knife down, please?”
“It would be much better if you didn’t exist…” He raised the knife up and you turned and fled with him chasing you.
Without thinking you let out a scream then turned around and yelled for ‘move’ to activate.
But it didn’t.
Suddenly, Mirio came phasing through the wall and connected with the side of Hansu’s body, slamming into him and knocking him over, the earpiece going flying from around his ear.
In a millisecond, Mirio had jumped Hansu and landed on the ear piece, crushing it into your carpet.
“Mirio!” you gasped, shaking as you dropped to the floor.
Hansu had pulled himself up into his hands and knees and was panting and clutching his head In hand as you looked from Mirio to Hansu, then back to Mirio again.
“He was being controlled by Goha.” Mirio stated, pointing to Hansu, “are you ok now, Hansu?”
“Yeah,” Hansu panted, still holding his head, “head still hurts though…”
“What happened?” you asked in shock, “how did Goha get to controlling you?”
“I found them. I found their apartment yesterday and went there to catch their programming into this USB… but they must have felt me plug in because I saw them open their eyes then a got a throbbing headache and suddenly I was being controlled but couldn’t speak my mind or anything because they had taken over. It was a very weird feeling.”
Mirio nodded. “I figured something wasn’t right… that’s why I stayed hidden in your front yard, Y/N. When I saw Hansu turn up here I knew something bad was going to happen.”
“You’re a good hero, Mirio,” Hansu panted, trying to get up off the floor.
“Hansu! You shouldn’t have gone alone! That’s so dangerous, and look what happened!”
“Looks like we’re peas in a pod then,” Hansu joked dryly, looking up and giving you a half smile.
“True.” You returned his smile and then crouched down and hugged him, “it’s all over now…” you looked up at Mirio. “Is it over now, right?”
“Yes. I believe so… Goha’s entire programming was controlling Hansu through this earpiece and I just…” He lifted his foot, “smashed it…”
“That’s a 50k piece of equipment,” Hansu moaned pitifully, sad for the plight of his expensive creation.
“Your life is worth so much more than 50k!” You said to Hansu.
“I think we can call this one a wrap,” Mirio said with a grin, “the final take down.”
“I only know the final countdown,” Hansu replied, “but in honour of this heinous situation being over, I’m happy to compromise.”
“Agreed,” you said with a relived smile.