Survival. Humans have become so good at surviving that it seems like we were never in the position to fight for our resources. So it begs the question, what if this freedom was taken away from us and we all had to fight to survive?
The year is 2075, the world's population has exceeded 10 billion. Food, water, and shelter have all become very scarce. People have started to do things that they never would have thought of doing. Stealing and murder have become so normalized that most people would not even bat an eye when hearing about these things.
Ozaki Koyo was your average 13-year-old boy living in Tokyo. He lived a quiet life, most of his day consisted of him spending time with his family and studying for school.
Koyo's dad worked for the government and was not home very often. Koyo didn't really understand what his dad's job was about, but he never really questioned it. All he knew was that his dad was working hard for his family so he can provide for them.
Koyo returned back to his home from school one night. Usually, he would immediately go to his room and relax for a while, but the world had other plans for him.
He saw his mother, younger brother, and sister all sitting in their living room together. At first, Koyo did not think much of it but when he stepped into the room to ask what was going on, he suddenly was hit with a wave of grief emitted from his family.
"Mom... what's going on?" said Koyo
There was a long pause, but eventually, Koyo's younger brother, Kei, managed to say:
"Who's gone? Kei, what's happening?"
The tension in Koyo grew, he began to think of all the possible outcomes inside of his head, preparing himself for whatever could be thrown at him.
"Koyo, your father... he's passed away." said Koyo's mother reluctantly.
"Wha- what do you mean? I was just talking to him on the phone the other day there's no way, it doesn't make sense!" Koyo exclaimed with every single emotion rushing through his head.
"That's what this letter says anyways." Kei shows Koyo
The letter was from the government. Most likely from Koyo's father's work. It was sent to Koyo's house to inform them of his dad's passing.
"We are sorry to inform you that Ozaki Masashi has unfortunately passed away due to an accident caused at his workplace..." Said Koyo as he was reading the letter.
Reading the letter made Koyo very angry.
"Couldn't they have at least sent someone to our house to inform us?" Koyo frustratingly said.
"How are we going to be able to set a proper funeral for him? Where is his body?!"
Tears ran down Koyo's eyes. He knew he would never be able to see his father again. And not being able to give a proper farewell made him feel even more defeated. But Koyo knew that he shouldn't be sulking forever, he had to be the one to take responsibility for his family, he needed to be the one to support them.
Koyo found a job and began working. His social life began to diminish, school was not a priority as it used to be, his childhood has ended. But Koyo knew that and he didn't mind. He would do anything for his family, even if it meant risking his own life.
A couple of months passed and Koyo and his family are barely hanging on to the little money that Koyo makes. But life was okay, obviously money would solve a lot of problems for them, but they were together, that's all that mattered.
One day Koyo received another letter from the government, but this time it was not about his father.
"Ozaki Koyo, you have been selected by the government of Tokyo to take part in a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that will change your life!" Koyo read, confused.
"Take part in a short test that will evaluate your physical prowess, and in return, we will reward you with an ample amount of money!" Koyo continued to read.
"Sounds too good to be true." Says Kei.
"I agree, don't risk it Koyo, we wouldn't want anything bad to happen to you." Koyo's mother said worryingly.
Koyo also felt like this seemed too good to be true, but he knew that this could also be a huge opportunity that could help his family out a lot. He also thought that he could try and find out how his father died and where his body was.
He decided that he would go and take the test. Even though it seemed suspicious, he could not waste this opportunity.
Koyo bid his farewells to his family and set off to the testing facility.
At first, when he reached the facility, he did not think he was at the right place. After all, a dark and gloomy building surrounded by an electric fence seemed more like a prison than where he was supposed to go for a "test".
He saw a line of people entering into a gate that led to a large field that was in front of the building and decided to follow them.
Koyo couldn't believe something as large as this facility existed where he lived. Most of Tokyo was now surrounded by large buildings and factories due to overpopulation, he thought there was no room for things like this.
His thoughts were interrupted by a loud voice that seemed to come from a megaphone. He looked forward and saw a large podium that sat directly in front of the huge facility. There was also a tall individual standing on the podium who wore a black suit and top hat as well as a very creepy-looking mask.
The man on the podium cleared his throat and began to speak into the megaphone, which drew in the crowd's attention.
"ATTENTION EVERYONE!" The man yelled into the megaphone causing the crowd to be silenced.
"As you all know, you have received a letter from us about a test, a simple physical test that you will all have to complete and in return, all 258 of you will receive an ample amount of money." Said the man in an enticing tone.
"There's a lot of people here, are they all here for the same reasons as me?" Koyo thought curiously.
"You will all have to perform an assorted amount of tests so that our staff can record the data." Said the man.
"Sounds easy enough." Said Koyo confidently.
"I will need all of you to move single file into the building where there will be staff members to show you all where to go." The man stated.
Following what the suspicious individual said, the group moved into the building in a single file line where they were met with a large empty room that didn't seem like it went anywhere else.
Suddenly the door closed behind them and the room became pitch black.
The group of people started to yell and scream out of fear and confusion. Koyo was confused out of his mind, he could not think straight and assess his situation because of all the noise and his inability to see anything.
Out of nowhere, a laugh that sounded like the man from before bellowed over the disoriented crowd.
At this point, Koyo's fight-or-flight mode switched on. He knew that he was in trouble and he needed to get out.
"There must be a way out! I need to find it so I can get back..." Koyo said as he gradually began to doze off.
"I'm... I'm falling asleep? What's happening?" Said Koyo with all of his senses disoriented.
Koyo started to hear bodies dropping to the floor one after another. Koyo focused as hard as he could and began to realize that the air smelled odd.
"Sleeping gas!" Koyo exclaimed to himself.
But before he could think of something else he fell to the floor, slowly starting to fall unconscious.
"What the hell is happening..." Said Koyo as he dozed off completely.