Chapter 9:

A Greater Threat

The Time Capsule - Part 1

  When our shift ended I talked with Fumiko-chan, Akira-kun and Haru-kun and we all decided to talk to the others about our new ‘gifts’. While there was a risk that they might panic or worse we thought the risk was greater if they didn’t start learning to control their gifts soon and they got out of control. They would also be practically defenseless against gifted hostiles who had learned to control their powers.

  No one to ones this time, we all agreed to talk to the rest at the same time, so we put guard duty on ice for a few minutes, since we didn’t think we would be attacked within the next 10 minutes or so. Akira-kun and Fumiko-chan were to be the next guard buddies. Haru-kun, always obsessed with security, insisted that we should not leave our guard post empty even for just a few minutes. I didn’t listen to him. I should have.

  Fumiko-chan volunteered to speak first.

  “Look, I will cut right to the chase. Have you all been feeling.. strange lately? Have your senses become more acute, for instance? Or… how should I put it, have you developed any weird new power like moving things with your mind or something?”, she cut right to the chase indeed. No foreplay.

  Yuki-chan -who woke up about the same time as I did if you recall- raised her hand, but the three newcomers looked baffled. It was probably still too early for them, since they just woke up this morning.

  "Talk to us Yuki-chan", I said.

  "Well, this might sound strange..", she hesitated. "
  "Nothing is too strange anymore, go on", Fumiko-chan said.

  "You see, I used to be anosmic, due to congenital anosmia. This means that since I was born I could not smell a single thing, and as a result my taste was also affected too. Everything I ate tasted bland. Since this morning, after I woke up, I think I've started to smell things. I do not even know what smell is, other than what I've read in books and seen in movies and TV shows, but I have no other way to explain it.  I smell, still faintly, both good and bad smells.

The strangest thing is that my anosmia was purely genetic. I had barely any functioning olfactory cells and a damaged olfactory nerve, so all the doctors said that unfortunately I could never smell anything in my entire life. And yet I just did! How is that possible?!", Yuki-chan said with excitement.

  How indeed.. So the pollen cannot only sharpen our senses but can even regenerate a broken sense from scratch? That is.. utterly remarkable. It is basically the same as gifting eyesight to someone who was blind from birth. The pollen somehow generated new olfactory cells at the back of her nose and restored her olfactory nerve. If it wasn't so toxic for the 90% of the people it could well have been regarded as the 'elixir of life', if not immortality. How on Earth nature developed a pollen with such mystical qualities I have no idea. That's beyond even science fiction; this is almost magic.

  My thoughts were interrupted by a very loud 'Thump!!' that looked like it came from the front door. Haru-kun bolted out without uttering a word, and I followed close behind.

  "Since we are probably being attacked Haru-kun I should have listened to you. But now it is too late, isn't it?", I moaned.

  "Let's just be careful Asahi-senpai, and keep your voice down please", he whispered.

  He was moving fast  but was barely audible. I noticed that he wore sandals with soft thin rubber soles, which surely helped him remain in 'stealth mode', but no sandal in the world could help an untrained person be this quiet.

  At the same time I wondered who our potential attackers were, how many, whether they had followed us here or not, and -above all- if they were gifted. We could find ourselves in big trouble if they were, since for the moment only Haru-kun has developed a gift. If were stormed by 4 - 5 hostiles who were all gifted that's it, we would be done.

  As we approached the front entrance we took care to be very quiet. We noticed only two hostiles. They were not the Yakuza goons we beat earlier, they were some other, younger ones. They were a couple actually, a boy and a girl. The boy looked like he brought down the front door on his own, so apparently he was tele-kinetic like Haru-kun.

  Right at that moment I felt an intense pain that came out of nowhere. Haru-kun felt it too it seemed, but tried to tough it out. It was a strange piercing headache, as if my head was being pierced with an immaterial awl all the way to the center of the brain. I noticed that the girl was trying to focus at the time, so the cause must have been her. Was she a telepath too or some kind of 'pain inducer'? I could hear no stray thoughts, but perhaps she could hear ours and that's how she spotted us.

  The girl and the boy appeared to be 18 to 19. I think Haru-kun tried to focus away her power, to kick her out of his head. I tried doing the same. I imagined her power as an awl that I started gradually pulling out. I think I managed to pull it out half the way through, so the pain subsided quite a bit. Beside the effect of pain both our noses started bleeding.

  At that moment, as if she felt us resisting her power, she shouted :

"There they are Dai, behind that corner! Go get them, I've started feeling tired", the pain vanished completely. Using her power at such an early stage clearly took a toll on her.

  "I am on to them babe, take a break", Dai said while devising a crude plan of attack. He tried lifting the entire reception desk to throw it at us but it was too heavy for him. So he instead pulled out some yen coins and started throwing them at us at very high speed using his power. I had no idea what their motive for attacking us were. Was 'babe' the actual perpetrator who pulled Dai by the nose? Or where they just bored? Dai happily clarified it for us.

  "We didn't follow or spot you or anything, you were hiding good. My girlfriend here sensed you were inside this building with her power. Oh, you don't know about powers yet? Too bad!", Dai kept on bombarding us with coins. A few hit the wall beside us and they were wedged half deep, so if just one of them hit us on the forehead or the heart it could probably kill us.

  Dai continued :  "You see, we woke up three days ago, on probably the first day of awakening. Why attack you? We are just bored, that's all. Especially my missy here. She says she wants to see your girls gutted out like little piglets, and then enjoy looking at their lifeless blank eyes. She can sense all four of your girls and wants to give them pain. As for you boys you are all mine".

  That's great, we were discovered by a pair of super toxic teenage psychopaths who reinforce each other's psychopathy. A rare bunch but they do exist. They probably both slumbered in a super secure psychiatric hospital or something. Fortunately neither could control their powers well yet. Dai seemed like he would miss an elephant from five meters, while 'babe' was getting swiftly tired.

  I nodded to Haru-kun and showed him the wedged coins and the ones that had fallen on the floor. He understood.

  "We can play this game too you know", said Haru-kun, as he lifted two coins with his mind and flung them at very high speed just 5 or 6 cm away from Dai. They were wedged on the wall behind him about 3/4 of the way in. Haru-kun missed on purpose. That was a warning shot. And he was clearly quite faster and far more accurate at this 'game' than Dai.

  Dai lost his nerve right there. His face took a horrified expression. I thought he was going to pee his pants or bolt the heck away with his girl. And he probably would have if she didn't attack us next. This time she went deep. And hard. I felt her rage, deep inside my bones and every part of my brain. Her rage that we almost hurt her precious psycho boy by defending ourselves against their unprovoked attack.

  Fortunately both me and Haru-kun (specially him) had started getting accustomed to her power. I think we kind of build some tolerance against it.

  "Ditch the coins Dai and use your power on them directly! Come on, I want to gut their little bitches who think they're better than me so bad. These two guys are the front and mid line. If they fall all of them fall. I will let you rape all four of them anyway you want while I and their boys watch tied up; when we get bored with them we will gut them all out and take bits of their entrails with us, as kawaii little trophies!!".

  She was a telepath all right. And a complete psycho one at that. I started to seriously reconsider my earlier pledge not to kill anyone. If we let these two leave this place alive they would simply kill the next ones they met, just like they had probably killed many others before. Wouldn't we be responsible for those deaths?

  My morals started their weird dance inside my head. Would it be more ethical to let them live and have them kill the next poor souls they find or to kill them right here right now and spare any new murders? On the other hand, if we started killing people it would be like a "Crossing of the Rubicon". We could no longer uncross it. Could we kill just those two and not be negatively affected so that we hesitate less and less to kill whenever we face a grave threat? Is that really possible? What would make us sleep better at night, to kill them or spare them and be indirectly responsible for their next murders (that we will never know about)?

  Fumiko-chan often said I over-complicated things. Haru-kun, despite being so young, and despite never having killed anyone (as far as I knew), would probably be less troubled about killing them than me. I am not sure how, but I could tell. To kill or not to kill, that is the question.. Of course we first needed to survive them; we could decide later.

  Dai indeed used his telekinetic power on us. He focused it on Haru-kun, who tried to resist it but was pinged forcefully to the wall and hit his head too. He might have also cracked a rib or two. I saw blood dripping from his forehead. I got angry that they hurt his bright mind. It appeared that Dai was close to his limit as well. He probably spent half of his energy just by bringing down our heavy door. Boldly, with my bokken in hand, I started approaching him. He tried to push me back with his power. He succeeded a couple of times -I felt a kind of invisible hand pushing me back- but by the fourth time his power was too weak to even register on me.

  Very fast, I approached from his side and used my bokken to hit him on the back of his head. His eyes went ahegao-like and he fell on the floor like a bag of sand. His 'babe' screamed at the sight, perhaps thinking I killed him. She tried to use her power on me; I think she tried to put me under this time, since her pain attack no longer worked. I felt dizzy and sleepy but just for a few moments. In the next few moments she was also face down on the floor, beside her psycho boyfriend.

  Haru-kun wiped the blood from his head with a cloth and felt his chest for cracked ribs. I think he looked a bit disappointed that I took out both of them and left him no prey. If that was the case he would recover; he was a big boy.

  We tied up our two psycho attackers with a duct tape we found at an office near the entrance and secured them somewhere close. I decided to ask the opinion of the others about their fate and my ethical dilemma, but we had no intention of carrying them four floors. I would have the others come down to the ground floor.

  Haru-kun's head was not too wounded. He had no concussion or anything, and his senses were not impaired. However he kept on coughing a bit of blood for the next few days. He never complained but I think his fractured rib was causing him quite a bit of pain.

  I had no intention of holding a vote over this. I did not think this was something that a simple 'majority rule' should handle. I wanted this to be by consensus. We would either all agree to kill them or we would let them go, despite knowing full well that they would try to kill the next people -mostly young girls- they found.

  As you can tell, our dear descendants, this was a major decision for our team, so I do not want to squeeze it hastily at the end of this chapter. We talked about this, extensively, so it could not be squeezed anyway. Please do not judge us, whatever we decided. I am going to present the arguments we laid down for and against killing them in the next chapter. Did we cross this Rubicon or not?

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