Chapter 12:

Taming Saiko-chan

The Time Capsule - Part 1


  It was our third morning in this new post-Naturecaust world. The date was 27 February of 2099 -the cherry trees should start blossoming in just a few days- and the time was 10:23 a.m. when we all gathered to talk about our daily plans and get assigned tasks and responsibilities. Haru-kun was basically our 'head of security' already. Still unofficially but I think he was the best man .. er.. I mean boy for this job.

  Safety and security, as we all found out, were vital tasks. By now everyone knew Haru-kun's skills so when I kind of made his post official no-one objected. It was perhaps the toughest job of all. Haru-kun did not object either, he just blushed a bit. I think he was not used to be relied upon so much.
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  Next we needed a head of logistics. One responsible for food, water and other supplies. Arguably just as important as security. Without supplies we would all starve. And the supplies would soon dwindle. We either needed to escape Tokyo, like I mentioned before, or secure a large enough garden in Tokyo, such as a greenhouse, in order to grow our own food. Every greenhouse would be in a sorry state after seven decades of them being abandoned, but with some nitrogen and phosphorus based fertilizers their soil could be replenished.
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  The decayed organic matter of the plants during all these decades should also have kept the soil from turning completely dry and sterile. After some talk the post of head of logistics was assigned to Akira-kun. He volunteered himself. He said he loved gardening as a hobby back in the day, knew where to get fertilizers ("which, if kept dry, should be fine"), knew of a a couple of greenhouses nearby and also knew of a seed vault to get seeds to grow vegetables and fruit. Dry seeds, he said, can survive for a couple of centuries even when they are not refrigerated. Frozen seeds in seed vaults can last for thousands of years.
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  I wanted just about everyone to feel useful, so I kept on talking about new tasks. The third task was that of cooking. Who was the best cook among us or who thought he cooked well enough to take on the position of 'head cook'? Midori Rika raised her hand. Bookmark here

  "I know how to cook both Japanese style and English style, and that includes all meals. Back in England we were taught how to bake most English foods. When I arrived in Japan I felt a little bit too English in that domain so I took Japanese cooking classes for a few years. Provided I have the materials I can cook just about anything you want. But I want an assistant too. Asuga-chan here will do just fine", she said.
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  Asuga-chan was bit startled but her body tells suggested that she was relieved that she could finally make herself useful. We agreed to let them handle the cooking. So, the ones left without tasks were Hinata-kun, Yuki-chan and my Fumiko-chan. I did not count myself since I was responsible for the general command. I did not count Saiko-chan either since she was, er, Saiko-chan.Bookmark here

  "Heads of departments cannot work alone, can they? Hinata-kun how about you work with Akira-kun in logistics? You studied architecture, you said, so you must have a fairly good knowledge of many buildings in Tokyo. Furthermore, Akira-kun could use you to asses the safety of buildings when you go for supply runs. What say you Akira-kun?", I asked.Bookmark here

  "That is fine with me. I could certainly use an extra pair of hands", he said.
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  "I am fine as well. I think the post suits me well", Hinata-kun said in turn.
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  So what could Fumiko-chan and Yuki-chan do together? I could think of no more tasks; we all agreed to clean up the place in turns, including myself. Except one: work on Saiko-chan. Apply their girlie charms on her to try to reform her - or at least dial down her insanity a bit. It might sound naive, but perhaps by interacting with two normal girls Saiko-chan could normalize a bit herself. Or.. she might kill them both. How could we ensure that did not happen?Bookmark here

  I talked with the two girls and Haru-kun in private. He agreed to be present during their 'sessions'. While this would breach the 'girls-only rule' I could think of no other safe way to handle this. Fumiko-chan also said she wanted to 'study' Saiko-chan and her power, so this was probably a good mix. I did not want to place Yuki-chan with Akira-kun for obvious reasons. A couple working together would be a recipe for conflicts, or even chaos. The same with me and Fumiko-chan.Bookmark here

  There was another surprising development this morning. Akira-kun, perhaps due to his training and love for everything electronic, started developing electrokinesis. That is generating and manipulating electric sparks or even arcs with your own body. The effect was still very mild but clearly visible. He closed the windows of the room we gathered to dim the light, then slowly raised his right hand, making a V (derived from Winston Churchill's famous 'victory sign') gesture with his index and middle finger.
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  Then, to our astonishment, a spark formed between the tips of these two fingers! It was fainter than the spark between the electrodes of a stun gun but it was clearly visible. I am sure it would get bigger and more powerful soon. He said he felt something had changed in him when he woke up after feeling like he was full of static electricity. His hair and body hair were raised and he needed to ground himself to get rid of the electric charge.
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  My own telekinesis also got stronger. I could now raise small and mid sized objects, not just barely move them. Fumiko-chan also started developing telepathy, like Saiko-chan. I could feel her mind whispering to my own, in a mix of emotions and words, but the others could not feel her yet. Presumably I felt her first because I am the closest to her. She also felt my own mind. This could complicate our relationship, so from now I needed to be wary of my.. thoughts as well.
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  The three newest members reported much more acute senses, particularly smelling and hearing. That was the standard first stage. Only Yuki-chan did not report feeling anything new. 'Perhaps the energy that was used to cure her congenital anosmia was so excessive that none was left to develop super powers or even make her other senses more acute?' I hypothesized. If that was indeed the case the pollen was not magic fairy dust after all, it had its limits. Thus it could be tested.
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  Since everyone's powers got stronger with each day that passed I was sure Saiko-chan's telepathy would get stronger as well. The fact that the first thing she did was use it to inflict pain must have meant that a lot of pain was inflicted on her in the past. In a sense that pain was probably mirroring her own pain. I am not a psychiatrist or psychologist but I know a thing or two about how the human brain works. I have had courses in neurology & neurobiology and I am well acquainted with the biochemistry of the human and mammalian brain more generally. A second PhD in neurobiology would have been my next target had Naturecaust not been unleashed, as I mentioned before.
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  However, since I am a biologist, I was trained to look at things from a biological perspective. Nature rather than nurture. And I think the latter is far more important in the case of Saiko-chan. Will Fumiko-chan and Yuki-chan manage to make her trust them?Bookmark here

  After everyone was assigned their tasks Akira-kun and Hinata-kun left to get supplies and to look at the state of a greenhouse nearby. Midori-chan and Asuga-chan took on cleaning our three rooms. Finally Fumiko-chan and Yuki-chan started working on the 'Saiko-chan issue', observed from a few meters away by Haru-kun. He looked like he really was not going to take his eyes off Saiko-chan, even for a second. The events of the rest of the chapter (except the last part) were narrated to me by Saiko-chan's three baby-sitters.
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  Saiko-chan and her three sitters settled in an adjacent room.
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  "What do you say we play a game to have some fun Saiko-chan?", Yuki-chan asked her.
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  "Ah.. the old trick of calling a psychopath with their name and showing empathy for them, in order to tame them. Good one sweetie, but I've been there done that", Saiko-chan responded.Bookmark here

  "Hey, we do not have to be nice you little bitch. You tried to skin us alive after all", Fumiko-chan was far less nice.
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  Saiko-chan laughed. "What is this, a good cop vs bad cop thing? You are both adorable! If that's the case who is he (nodded toward Haru-kun), the DA, the judge or the lawyer?"Bookmark here

  Haru-kun looked completely unbothered but Saiko-chan managed to get under Yuki-chan's skin.Bookmark here

  "He is our guard, missy. He is guarding us from you", she said a bit angrily.
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  "I gathered that already sweet pie, do not get rattled. I have just one concern right now. I do not want to play any games, do any 'girl talk', throw a baby shower, a pajama party or whatever else you are planning. I just want to take care of the body of my boyfriend and say my last goodbyes to him. It is not much to ask is it?", Haru-kun, Fumiko-chan and Yuki-chan all looked at each other at the same time with a meaningful 'Oh crap, we completely forgot Dai!' expression, and Saiko-chan noticed that.Bookmark here

  "He might have meant nothing to you but I knew him for five years you know, from before all this crap happened, since I was 13. So it was 5 years + however decades have passed since the world as we knew it ended", Saiko-chan disclosed stuff about her past, her connection with Dai-kun and her age. Perhaps that was progress. Perhaps she was playing us.
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  "It's been 74 years. We managed to calculate it. The date is 27 February of 2099 and the time is..", Yuki-chan looked at her Rollex watch, "11.28 a.m. we are sorry we kind of forgot your boyfriend", she looked at the others and they both nodded, "you may attend to him now if you wish. If you want our help with collecting wood or some other stuff just ask. We will be close.. but not too close".
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  "No site, 74 years? Too bad... er... I meant thank God Tokyo was not destroyed by a 8 - 8.5 Richter scale earthquake during all that time. I guess most seismologists were wrong back in the day. All right...", she stood up and wiped off some dust from her, "...can we go now?"
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  So they led her to the body of Dai-kun, down in the ground floor, five or so meters from the front door. We had covered him with a white sheet and she removed it to look at him. We did not touch the steel pipe though, we left it inside him. We thought it was not our place to remove it. Saiko-chan did not seem to be bothered that we didn't, but she got down on her knees and then started sobbing and crying. The other three felt her pain but it didn't look she did on purpose, they said.
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  It felt like "She was overwhelmed with sorrow, and we just felt some of it because we were close", Fumiko-chan explained. So did that mean that earlier when she attacked us she also fully felt the pain she was giving us? The thought sent shivers down my spine. Since Fumiko-chan also developed telepathy she was the ideal person to understand how Saiko-chan's mind was wired and so perhaps the one best suited to rewire it to a proper functioning order.
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  Saiko-chan wiped her tears and went to look for a place to hold the funeral pyre. She went through the front door the two had brought down before (we needed to fix that, ASAP). For a very brief moment they thought she would run, but she didn't. She picked an open space ten meters or so from our front door. She noted it in her head and then went to gather wood. The others offered to help but she declined. There were only small wood bits in this neighborhood so this was going to take quite a while.
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  It took her more than two hours to gather the required quantity of wood. She placed all of it neatly in a pile that was bit larger than a body and then went back inside to get Dai-kun. The others knew she was going to decline their help in carrying him but this time she was going to need it. She tried to drag him but he was too heavy. He was extra heavy due to the steel pipe. She tried removing it but it was stuck deep and it wouldn't even budge. She had also worn herself out with all that wood gathering so she barely had any strength left. She started crying again.
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  Haru-kun approached her.
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  "With respect, may I help you carry him?", he asked. She tried to decline but she no longer could. The others almost felt sorry for her. She was a wreck.
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  "Do whatever you want boy. But do not think I am going to owe you for this", she said.Bookmark here

  "I wouldn't want to help you if you were to owe me Saiko-senpai. Help in exchange for help is not true help, it is just a trade", Saiko-chan looked surprised. The others thought they saw admiration get drawn on her face, but they weren't sure. Either way she seemed pleased with Haru-kun's reply.
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  "Do you want me to remove the metal pipe or do you want to incinerate him with it?", Haru-kun asked her.Bookmark here

  "Please do not remove it. He looks horrible with a pipe for a head but if you remove it he will probably look much worse. Who knows, his entire spine might get dragged along. So I'd rather leave the pipe in place", this was the first time they heard Saiko-chan say the word 'please'. So she knew the word after all.
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  Rather than using his power, since it was still weak for moving a body, Haru-kun held Dai-kun's hands and Saiko-chan held his legs. They lifted him and carried him toward the entrance of our building, and then toward his final resting place. Now all that was left was for her to say her prayers and manage to light up a fire, which Saiko-chan had no idea how to do.
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  This was something that Haru-kun did not know how to do either (for once), so he sent Yuki-chan to call me; I felt a bit relieved that I was called to be honest. I gathered some scraps of papers to use for fire starters, and I brought my stick I had used earlier to make a fire in the Mejirodai dorms. I waited for Saiko-chan to say her prayers and goodbyes and when she nodded I started working on the fire.Bookmark here

  Dai-kun's body was laying on the funeral pyre with the green steel piper protruding from his neck. There was barely a head left. It was an almost (darkly) comical sight, but I would have killed myself out of shame had I laughed at that moment. I didn't.Bookmark here

  Fortunately most of the wood Saiko-chan gathered was quite dry, so when the fire started the wood started burning nice and smooth. The rest of us were already watching, from a distance in front of the entrance. All but Akira-kun and Hinata-kun who were on a supply run I mean.Bookmark here

  When the fire started burning strong Saiko-chan started crying in turn more intensely.
"Goodbye my love-", she cried, briefly interrupted by the steel pipe which was dislodged and fell on the ground with a loud bang, "-I will never forget you and I will always love you! You will eternally remain here!", she said while putting her hand on her chest. 
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  If both of them were not complete psychos this would have been a very touching moment. It was still  kind of touching though. And Saiko-chan was certainly not acting. I fully expected that she would promise him she would slice all of our necks then bathe and dance in a pool formed from our blood but she didn't; perhaps she did during her silent prayer earlier though, who knows.
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  Dear readers from the far future, our dear ancestors, this was quite an emotional chapter. The taming of Saiko-chan has begun, and frankly I have no idea where it will lead or whether it will even work. I almost hear my dear old Hideo-sensei whispering in my ear :
"If you play with fire sooner or later you are going to get burnt kozo ('boy'). And that girl is pure fire. Fire can be tamed but can she?"Bookmark here

  Stay tuned for more exciting developments during the next chapters, not just with Saiko-chan but others in our team as well. Mother nature is not quite done with us yet! Neither are the other survivors!
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