TOP > Scientific war [ 3 of 1 ]
Chapter 1: Reality
This tale is set in the America of the near future. At a project site, snow falls from the sky.
Creatures branded with the word °»Fail°… on one arm are forced to take tests to assess their proficiency at removing landmines. Their features are revolting and they are so ugly that they can hardly be regarded as human. With bulging veins, the arm branded with the word °»Fail°… is a muscular human arm that is about twice the size of a professional wrestler°«s. The other arm and trunk resemble those of a beast covered in fur, while both legs are scaly and differ not a bit from those of lizards. The noses and mouths of these creatures protrude like the snout of a wolf and their sense of smell is harnessed to help collect landmines.
Sentinels give the signal to complete the task at hand by firing their guns. The creatures branded with the word °»Fail°… then stop in their tracks and rise to their feet.
After using a radar instrument to determine how many landmines were collected, a sentinel enters a number corresponding to the removal success rate into a laptop computer. After entering this number, the sentinel turns to a compatriot situated to his side and nods to indicate completion. This other sentinel fishes out a remote-control device from his pocket and presses a button, setting off explosives planted ahead of time within the collected landmines, which in turn deliver a fiery end to these creatures that have been branded with the word °»Fail.°… These monsters that die by explosion are referred to as olfactory-enhanced prototype subjects.
The data-entry sentinel shows his laptop to the other sentinel and starts to speak, °»I get the feeling that we no longer need to conduct these olfactory-enhanced prototype tests.°…
The sentinel in possession of the remote-control device responds, °»Yeah, but even if they°«ve got the right skills, they still look like monsters, which likely means that the system isn°«t perfect yet.°…
A graph of the landmine removal success rate attributed to the olfactory-enhanced prototype subjects as shown on the laptop reveals that a success rate of 100% has become the norm.
At this expansive landmine removal site, one can find numerous remains situated a few dozen meters away, where prototype subjects (whose sense of smell had not been enhanced) were destroyed on the spot for failing to effectively remove the mines. These remains prove that the landmines in use here have retained their innate functionality as landmines and they have not been rigged to explode only through the use of the remote-control device. In surveying this scene, an observer would have to conclude that it is hardly any different from that of the wretched ugliness one might associate with land warfare.
Chapter 2: Family
Mark, a journalist, completed his job for the day and got in his car for the afternoon commute. With his radio playing loudly, he headed for his home in the suburbs.
Mark quickly answered a phone call from his wife Kate. Kate immediately assumed an aggressive tone with Mark. °»Are you going to be taking a side trip on your way home like you always do?°…
°»Since when have I been known for taking side trips on the way home?°… responded Mark with a smile.
Kate held down her belly with one hand, bent over, and laughed. Mark listened with delight to her laughter over the phone. After Kate stopped laughing, Mark asked, °»So, what°«s up? I°«m heading home as we speak.°…
Kate anxiously repeated herself, °»Wait, wait, wait!°…
Despite grimacing, Mark managed to crack a smile and echo Kate°«s demand by asking, °»Wait?°…
The two fell silent for a moment before Kate indicated what she wanted.
°»I want you to buy something.°…
Mark agreed to the request and turned his car around in the direction of a small supermarket that he had just passed. As a journalist working for a company that was well known even in the United States, Mark had built quite a solid reputation for himself by writing books and engaging in other worthwhile activities.
On arriving home, Mark opened the door and playfully met his two boys in the yard as they threw themselves into their father°«s arms. Smiling, Kate looked on from the doorway. Embracing his two children with both arms, Mark lightly kissed Kate and grinned. As Mark began to talk about his work, as he always did, Kate recalled that she was given a message to pass along to Mark by Joey, Mark°«s older brother. Joey had arranged to bring his own family that very night to enjoy a dinner at Mark°«s home.
Chapter 3: The Fusion Project
The Fusion Project was a program of various fusion experiments performed on soulless clones. These experiments were conducted in the utmost secrecy by the United States.
Successful results were attained through the Fusion Project. The extraordinary ability to regenerate, in much the same way that a lizard can regenerate a lost tail, was incorporated into human beings, as was the acute sense of smell associated with dogs. Muscular strength also developed rapidly.
Although the attributes of various other creatures were also fused into humans, there were many failures whose forms were a far cry from that of a normal human being.
Failed creatures from these experiments were essentially disposed of by two different means.
The head sentinel would receive reports from his staff.
The inorganic disposal squad would report, °»All beings have been incinerated without incident.°…
The organic disposal squad would then report, °»All beings have likewise been disposed of without incident.°…
Prototype subjects possessing superior regeneration abilities had to be, as a general rule, incinerated, since a lost head would eventually be replaced by a new one that could regenerate in a matter of months. Beings with no regenerative abilities would be ground up and fed to the fish. This approach was taken to hide evidence from people both inside and outside the country.
Chapter 4: Surface world
It was a holiday for Mark and his family.
The entire family had gathered by a river located a short distance from home to enjoy a leisurely day of fishing. From her position below a tree, with the sun streaming down through its leaves, Kate kept going back and forth between laughing at Mark and her kids and reading her book.
While driving home, as their two children slumbered comfortably in the car, Mark felt uneasy about something that Joey had told him on Saturday. Mark told Kate what was on his mind and she expressed concern about what was bothering her husband.
Joey was a husband to Martha and a father to daughter Lily. Having risen to the rank of colonel, Joey was the type of person who disliked things that were not on the level. His bravery meant that his superiors kept him at arm°«s length. Nevertheless, he was trusted by his subordinates and those who knew him best often remarked that he had truly found his calling as a soldier.
Joey often spent his nights at a bar and was the sort of good brother who enjoyed dining with close family members and hanging out with friends.
By drinking with Joey and his colleagues, Mark was able to easily obtain top-secret military information that would not normally be accessible to a professional journalist. Out of consideration for their positions, however, he did not publicly disclose what he had been told. Of course, some of the information he was privy to was of the sort that could not even be revealed to his own family.
But this time, circumstances were different.
Simon, a friend of Joey who Mark had frequently met, spoke of something ghastly. An old classmate of Simon°«s had managed to hack into an important top-secret state file on something known as the Fusion Project and was able to examine its contents.
The file suggested the existence of a Fusion Facility where prototype subjects were created by combining the DNA of all sorts of organisms with the DNA of human beings. It also indicated that there was a plan known as the Neo Project, which called for the creation of a class society in a massive complex based on data shaped by information from the human genome. It was reported that both Simon°«s friend and his circle of computer associates had disappeared several days after the contents of the file were communicated to Simon.
Mark decided to share these state secrets with Kate after realizing that his first priority was to protect his family before he could even think about acting as a journalist.
Chapter 5: A portent
Exceptional soldiers from across the land were transferred to a rarely visited region of the United States by transport planes and helicopters. While this site was expansive enough to accommodate nuclear tests, its location was not revealed to the soldiers. These soldiers were guided down a flight of stairs punctuating the broad wilderness like the entrance to a subway station.
With the Secretary of Defense in attendance, Joey and his crew, as well as a host of others, could sense that something unusual was afoot.
The Secretary of Defense commenced his speech before the assembled crowd.
°»Japan°«s Satake Group has managed to develop an armored humanoid weapon, designated Sakura. We are thinking about becoming involved with the practical issues being posed by the Sakura project. As things stand at the moment, we lack practical data that can be considered acceptable for our purposes, but this data is being compiled and we are hoping that this will lead to improved performance by Sakura units. I am asking everyone gathered here to harness your knowledge of modern weaponry to provide assistance. Operations are very simple. I believe that anyone can enter a Sakura unit and wield this combat vehicle by himself. Before a proper briefing is given, a practical test will be conducted in this coliseum. One-on-one combat between a computer-controlled Sakura unit and units operated by five pilots who have trained for a month will be arranged. The unit that is rendered immobile loses. That will be all.°…
Upon concluding his speech, the Secretary of Defense turned to a black-suited executive of the Satake Group seated next to him and smiled before the two shook hands with one another.
The attendees erupted in rousing applause as if they had just seen a fantastic show.
Chapter 6: Portent II
While taking a brief routine pause from his duties at his office, Mark was summoned by his boss over an internal phone line. When Mark entered his boss°« office, his boss rose from his seat and began speaking.
°»We°«ve received a message from the government. It looks like some information controls are going to be put into place. I°«m still in the dark about the details, but it°«s possible that certain people will also find it difficult to depart from airports and travel outside the country or even go to other states. Your work will also be regulated in light of the fact that you report on political matters. It has come to pass that I will now have to report on your actions. It appears that they don°«t like to see you ? being as influential as you are with the public ? penetrating too deeply into matters concerning the state.°…
With his mouth agape, Mark stood there listening to his boss speak.
His boss asked, °»What do you say to the idea of transferring to another section and focusing on something different? I°«ve got to tell you that I°«m reluctant to lose the skills you bring to your job here. What do you say?°…
°»I°«d like some time to mull it over.°…
°»It doesn°«t have to be right away but I°«m going to have to ask you to give up your current beat.°…
Mark returned to his desk, where a sense of uneasiness descended upon his thoughts as he recalled Joey°«s description of the Fusion Project.
Chapter 7: Laying the groundwork
At the vacation home of a certain governor, beings known as clones and modeled ? on the basis of outer appearance only ? after actresses, singers, artists and other famous celebrities who were popular at one time in the past, were handled as tools for satisfying desires. Of course, this was kept secret from the general public.
When these circumstances threatened to erupt into a scandal, the clones were recovered by government workers with the placement of a single phone call.
Receiving no education, these clones were sequestered from the world at large and only cultivated, fed and given instructions on how to pleasure people. They were taught fear by being exposed to violence. It goes without saying that would-be escapees were eliminated through disposal by organic or inorganic means.
In this way, fusion facilities were established by numerous states after bribes based on incentives (in the form of prototype subjects and clones), which differed from the money that was printed by the government, were offered and accepted.
President Hamilton managed to absorb and expand a raft of powers by harnessing the power of prototypes for this purpose. Even the Vice-President succumbed to these machinations.
Chapter 8: Obverse and reverse
The state where the underground dome housing Joey and the others was located was under the administration of the Fusion Project and was also a so-called lawless zone at the mercy of governmental decrees. The governor and other top members of the government took makeshift measures to reassure the public by releasing various rumors, such as those that suggested that military facilities had been expanded.
An announcement was broadcast in the dome over the public-address system. °»Combat between a Sakura unit operated by Second Lieutenant Carl from Ohio and a computer-operated Sakura unit will now take place. Both units will be more or less similarly equipped, such that technique and skill will likely determine the winner. Let the fighting commence!°…
As soon as the signal was given to start the fight, two missiles were fired from the rear of the computer-operated Sakura unit. Without even a chance to brace himself, Second Lieutenant Carl thrust his shield-bearing arm forward and assumed a defensive posture.
A fiery blaze arose in the center of the dome.
When the computer attempted the same attack twice, an alert indicator turned on to signify a lack of missiles. The Sakura unit operated by Second Lieutenant Carl was completely missing one of its arms. Second lieutenant Carl himself had sustained a slight concussion from the shock of the explosion.
Having sensed that death was near at hand, however, Second Lieutenant Carl pressed the trigger button on his Gatling gun without taking aim and with hands that were shaking from fear. The bullets struck the special bullet-proof reinforced glass set up in front of the spectators before the gun was aligned with the computer-operated Sakura unit. Just as the computer-operated Sakura unit fired its missiles, the bullets from the Gatling gun fired by Second Lieutenant Carl managed to intercept them, causing them to explode and blowing the top of the computer-operated Sakura to smithereens.
Silence reigned supreme for several moments before an announcement was made, °»A win for Second Lieutenant Carl!°…
The venue was engulfed in a din of feverish excitement for the unprecedented display of combat that had never before been witnessed by the spectators in the audience.
Speaking over a live video conferencing line, the Secretary of Defense declared to the other party, °»Sakura units are more effectively operated when maneuvered by a flesh-and-blood human being with a mind of his own.°…
The person on the other end of the line responded, °»It certainly looks that way. Proceed according to plan then.°…
Answering in the affirmative, the Secretary of Defense concluded his video conference.
Amid the din of the soldiers who had seen the fight from start to finish, Joey was dumbstruck by the sight of this new weapon appearing before his very eyes and could not conceal his sense of utter shock. It was then that a corpse of what looked like a wolf emerged from inside the computer-operated Sakura unit as the smoke from the explosion dispersed. When he fixed his gaze on this scene, Joey saw that the face of the wolf appeared human, as did its limbs.
Joey turned to his friend and asked, °»Simon is that thing human? Didn°«t they say that it was being operated by a computer?°…
Simon gathered his composure and replied in an even tone, °»Perhaps it°«s that thing my friend was talking about.°…
Although a subsequent announcement explained that a dog had been placed in the computer-operated Sakura unit to test the safety and ruggedness of the cockpit, this statement was determined by Joey and his friends to be illogical and lacking in credibility.
From the day that this test was conducted, certain soldiers had no choice but to engage in training and combat exercises involving this latest modern piece of weaponry.
Chapter 9: A new feat
Several days later, new research results emerged from the Development Division of the Fusion Facility and were announced to a select number of people at the White House.
One of these results was the ability to preserve human bodies at absolute zero and subsequently revive them. Another was the ability ? albeit imperfectly realized ? to create radiation-proof skin in order to withstand the radioactivity that blocked efforts to exploit space. Yet another was a stealth human being raised strictly on a diet of colorless, transparent intravenous fluids that rendered the body as transparent as that of a jellyfish. Any of these results could be synthesized in human beings.
President Hamilton applauded these results. With only presidential aide Percy instructed to stay behind, everyone else was asked to exit the room.
President Hamilton spoke to Percy, °»It appears that the era in which science is the great equalizer in our world has finally arrived.°…
Percy grinned and replied, °»No doubt, America will quickly create a state of true peace and order throughout the world.°…
President Hamilton was rather irritated by Percy°«s serious look. Although these two had been practically at each other°«s throats in the past, Percy decided that he would dedicate all of his strength toward serving his boss upon learning of the philosophy that guided this powerful man. The irritated face of the President bespoke of the contrast between this change in Percy and the improved ease with which progress could now be made.
As it had been decided that facilities would also be installed in Japan upon successfully attaining seventy percent of the goals of the Fusion Project, President Hamilton commenced a telephone call with Prime Minister Noda of Japan.
President Hamilton spoke first, °»It°«s been a while, Mr. Prime Minister. It looks like Asia still isn°«t willing to accept Japan into its fold.°…
°»It truly has been a while, Mr. President. Asia remains a thorn in our side.°…
°»Things are going according to plan. How are things on your side?°…
°»Is that so? We°«ve made preparations for reception. Let°«s proceed as scheduled.°…
°»Understood. We should meet in the very near future.°…
Japan, a country that prioritized its national interests in the same way that the United States did, was unable to avoid conflict with the rest of the Asian continent and had indeed intensified its hostility over many years. Most Asian nations had conspicuously let their feelings become known, such as by refusing entry to approximately ninety percent of all Japanese people. Despite the absence of actual walls, the barriers constituted by these national borders were generically referred to as °»metaphysical walls.°… Naturally, such circumstances were recognized as having stemmed from the conduct of the Japanese forces during the Second World War.
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