The newly formed GROUP organization consisting of Accelerator, Motoharu, Awaki and Etzali are tasked by Academy City to put an end to the Skill-Out gang; an armed group of Level 0 espers led by Komaba Ritoku who are planning to disable Academy City's communication network.This short story also introduces Hamazura Shiage who goes on to become the third protagonist of the series alongside Touma and Accelerator.
The reason why Komaba Ritoku planned to attack target espers was because of the increased attacks on Level 0s regardless of their affiliation with Skill-Out. Due to the previous attacks of Skill-Out on espers, the espers begun associating Level 0s as Skill-Out.Feeling somewhat responsible as well as the fear that the powerful espers would start attacking Level 0s for no other reason than for the sake of hunting Level 0s, Komaba Ritoku decides to take charge and began planning and organizing to incapacitate the dangerous espers in his list.After the failed invasion of Academy City by the Roman Catholic Church under Vento of the Front, hostilities between the two forces have increased and the likelihood of war has become apparent, and now sides are begun their preparations for it.However, because of Academy City's strengthening of their defenses against outside forces, the defenses within the city has considerably weakened, so much so that Komaba Ritoku and his Skill-Out gang can take advantage of it.
Skill-OutRitoku's plan to disable Academy City's communication networks was to raise the alert level of the city that was already on a high level (due to the recent hostilities with the Roman Catholic Church), using thousands of minor criminal acts such as moving abandoned cars into the designated emergency paths and clogging the drains around the entrances and exits to VIP facilities with trash. Due to the nature seemingly innocuous actions they are not treated as security concerns, however, at the same times as this the Skill-Out gangs have also properly prepared homemade explosives such as pole fire arrows.Because of this if Skill-Out uses the explosives already with their activities being labeled as errors, it would make the number of error reports in the security jump at a high enough level to overload the server that provides the security for the communication network of Academy City. This method would disable the communication networks for at least 2 to 3 districts in the city.With this, Skill-Out can do whatever they want in the city without Anti-Skill coming, however, their main target of concern are the espers in Ritoku's hitlist who require special attention in regards to attacks on Level 0s.Academy City quickly caught wind of Skill-Out's operation, here, the main concern is not that Skill-Out going on attacking espers but the fact that since Skill-Out disabling the communication networks would make the city more susceptible to outside attack, as well as the fact that since they have hostilities with another power they cannot simply disable the alert system that would accidentally cause the overload of the communications server when abused (as is what the Skill-Out are doing).Since redoing the security system that causes the error and overload of the communication networks would take too much time as well as the concern that Skill-Out would be attacking any minute even if Anti-Skill and Judgment forces worked to remove the obstructions they caused. Academy City is forced to handle the Skill-Out through force even if it's illegal. Academy City orders GROUP to take care of the Skill-Out.The plan is to stop the preemptively stop Skill-Out's plan terminating Komaba Ritoku – the leader and the brains behind the operation – as he knows the vital locations for the explosives that his group made that will allow the security system to trigger a much higher alert level, because of this, removing Ritoku would stop Skill-Out's plan.In the morning of October the 3rd, after being briefed by Unabra Mitsuki (Etzali), Accelerator is transported to Komaba Ritoku's Skill-Out stronghold to terminate him whilst Musujime Awaki – another member of GROUP – destroys the hidden money caches of the Skill-Out in order to cut off their funds, though it is her main priority she is also allowed to terminate Ritoku if Accelerator is unable to. Before Accelerator could get to Ritoku, he is held-up by several Skill-Out members who attack him as such he is unable to get to Ritoku in time who has now begun her confrontation with Komaba Ritoku.
Believing herself to be in advantage, Awaki attacks Ritoku with her Move Point. However, she misses several times as Ritoku easily dodges her attacks swiftly. After a few counterattacks by Ritoku which injures her, Awaki realizes that Ritoku is using Hard Taping under his clothes, which reinforces his body allowing him to move with inhuman speeds.Despite continuing to persist with attacking Ritoku, she is too overwhelmed by his speed to allow her to harm him in anyway, and is injured in the process. With the low frequency vibration treatment device that is supposed to calm her down in stressful situations doing more harm than good, Awaki is forced to go on the defensive. Awaki tries to stall for some time by talking to Ritoku, as so she can find a way to gain the advantage. However, Ritoku wanting to end the fight, charges towards Awaki for an attack. Seeing the oncoming Ritoku, Awaki is later forced to use a dumpster for protection against him, however, with Hard Taping equipped Ritoku easily pierces through the dumpster with his kick, completely obliterating it.After his attack, Ritoku finds upon entrails scattered along with the wreckage of the dumpster, as well as the bloody flashlight that Awaki uses. Believing that he completely smote Awaki into pieces, Ritoku leaves and brings along her flashlight, disappointed that he didn't get to use his specialty.
To conserve energy on his battery pack, Accelerator uses a strategy of using his vector powers to knock down his opponents, then turning off his battery pack and then shot the downed Skill-Out personnel. With this, he defeated the Skill-Out that was in his way in 10 minutes, without using 30 seconds off his battery power.Believing that Awaki finished her mission first of destroying Skill-Out's money cache, Accelerator becomes disappointed that he has yet to finish his own mission of finishing off Ritoku. However, as if on cue Ritoku shows himself before Accelerator knowing full well who he is, the latter taunts him of his reputation, however, Ritoku taunts Accelerator back showing Awaki's bloody flashlight and tells him how he has killed her.Irritated, Accelerator reminds Ritoku who he is dealing with, however, Ritoku calmly states on how he is prepared in dealing with monsters such as the Accelerator, and notes his knowledge on Accelerator's electrode. Irritated by this, Acclerator turns his vector powers on and charges towards Ritoku. Expecting this however, Ritoku takes out a seemingly harmless and non-threatening canister and tears it apart, releasing several metallic pieces that float up into the air. They are Chaff Seeds, which jams the electromagnetic signals, specifically it jams Accelerator's electrode, causing his powers to not work.Landing on a platform, Accelerator realizes that even his reflect is not working making him vulnerable. With no time to spare, Accelerator quickly moves out of the way as Ritoku tries to crush him with his feet. Taking out his handgun, Accelerator tries to shoot Ritoku but he cleanly dodges the barrel before before a bullet is fired. Ritoku later kicks away Accelerator's gun, making him completely defenseless against him. Ritoku then pulls out an odd-looking handgun – a Smart Weapon – and attacks Accelerator with it. Accelerator however, manages to dodge Ritoku's attack just in time by jumping off the platform but hurts himself in the process.Whilst on the ground, Accelerator somehow manages to find the handgun Ritoku kicked away previously and decides to shoot one of the tarpaulins covering the top of the alleyway, allowing air to pass through. However, Ritoku arrives and has now cornered Accelerator, aiming his gun on him. Believing that Ritoku's plan only targetted weak and defenseless enemies and being reminded of Yomikawa Aiho's words to him, Accelerator aims his gun at Ritoku and shoots.Accelerator remained unscathed after the bullets were fired, Ritoku is hit by the bullet of his Smart Weapon as Accelerator's powers return. Here, Accelerator reveals that he simply used ventilation to remove the Chaff Seeds from the enclosed area they were in, indicating that his firing a shot at the tarpaulin was intentional from the start. With Ritoku basically powerless to with Accelerator's powers having returned, he tries to use another canister of Chaff Seed to jam his electrodes again, however, Accelerator quickly disabled that attempt and charges towards Ritoku and using his vector powers, and throws him away.
The impact of the landing however, caused his cellphone to fall from his pocket. However, even as Ritoku bleeds, he still challenges Accelerator with his Smart Weapon that he still clutches in hand. Accelerator mocks him and states that the reason Level 0s are looked down upon was because of the fact that people like Ritoku, the Skill-Out, causing problems. Ritoku however, argues on an hypothetical event in which Level 0s are attacked by espers for sport. Accelerator then learns the true purpose of Ritoku's plans, the latter states that he knew that this day would come and tells Accelerator that they are both in similar circumstances. Seeing Accelerator as the last piece for his plan of solving the problem of Level 0's being attacked, Ritoku entrusts his feelings on Accelerator.Ritoku shoots Accelerator with his Smart Weapon knowing full well that Accelerator's Redirection is still working. Here, Ritoku dies spectacularly by his own hands using Accelerator's powers, carving his death upon Accelerator's heart.
AftermathWith his mission finished Etzali gives his regards to Accelerator through a call, and warns him of not being seen by anyone before being cut-off by Accelerator. Later calls out Musujime Awaki who reveals that she is still alive and that she helped Accelerator during his battle with Ritoku by teleporting his gun near him, which the latter noticed during the battle. After some banter between the two, Accelerator leaves intending to deal with the people on Ritoku's list of People Requiring Special Attention in Regards to Attacks on Level 0s taken from Ritoku's phone that fell out of his pocket earlier.It is later revealed that Komaba Ritoku was hesitant with the plan in attacking the targetted espers, as there were too many drawbacks to it, and required another step for it to succeed. With Ritoku seeing Accelerator's circumstances, he pulled a fatal gambit in which Accelerator himself would deal with the goal of their plan of taking care of the dangerous espers attacking Level 0s.
Due to the death of Komaba Ritoku, Hamazura Shiage somehow ends up as the leader of his Skill-Out gang, though he is given little respect by his comrades regardless of his position. They are later hired by Academy City to assassinate Misaka Misuzu, a representative of the Recovery Movement, during her visit to Dangai University's database center.During the evening of October the 3rd, a group of Skill-Out (Ritoku's gang) led by Hamazura Shiage move out and bomb Dangai University's Database Center, as an order from Academy City to assassinate Misaka Misuzu, a representative for the Recovery Movement who was planning on removing her daughter the 3rd Level 5 esper, Misaka Mikoto from Academy City.Several mishaps occur during the operation, and due to the in-fighting between the members of Skill-Out, her assassination was delayed after being captured by them. Their entire operation falls apart after Accelerator decides to interfere with Academy City's assassination Misaka Misuzu and assaults and kills several members of the Skill-Out group in the operation, as well as the arrival of Kamijou Touma who later rescued Misuzu after assaulting several other Skill-Out members separately and later defeating Hamazura Shiage.