Chapter 4:

The Unexpected

IN-CURSE [HIATUS]


There are humans and AI in this world. Humans have made AI so advanced. They made AI to help humans in their life. Because of how vastly advanced AI is, scientists have even made it look like us. In Neo-Tokyo, 10 Years ago, A company named Tonoe tried to make an android. They want it to be more “human”, so they can help and interact with us. Because of that their scientists began their research on computer engines, informatics, neuron technology, AI, and even human social behavior. The company even contributed to make H.A.N.S. With all the time and effort, and all of those years they have spent. Thus, they finally succeeded.

5 Years ago, they finally introduced the first android to the world. The world is surprised by it. They have built 2 androids. Male and female. They worked perfectly and interacted well with humans. The AI system on it really worked. Other countries also try to make it, but they never could, because the android has a specific AI neuron system.

After that great success they try to mass produce it. But it was not all a success. Some of the scientists have accidentally put up an antivirus on the android, which is against the protocol system. It was the male who got infected by it. The antivirus is supposed to secure the protocol and protect its system but somehow it does the opposite. The android began to attack and terrorize people after that it exploded. It was a total disaster. After that accident the female was shut down, and the project was left behind. Tonoe's company went bankrupt, and all of the investors left the company. At the end, the company was taken over by the government.

……………………………

I’m finally awake…

“Ugh… Where am I? my head still hurts a little bit.” I looked around and it seems that I’m in an empty room and my arms and legs are tied. “Why am I tied…? Am I still in Misaki’s lab? What is this place?” Did I do something terrible before? I’m trying to remember what’s happened before I’m down. That voice in my head before, It’s really loud and it hurts. I hear that it says ‘error’ and ‘rebooting’. Is there a problem with my arm and eye?

But way before that I see someone, and it’s Izumi Sensei…? Yes I saw him. That bastard, does he really want to kill me or does he want something from me? I still can’t believe that he is Misaki-san's supervisor. But at least I know why all of this happened so quickly. He is always watching me. Did he tie me up in here too? I must get out of here! But how and what should I do? Think… think… think…!

Suddenly I heard footsteps.

“Why did you tie me in here? “LET ME OUT OF HERE!!”

“I’m sorry but I can’t help you. Instead, I want to tell you something.”

What is he gonna tell me? Is this some kind of trick? “I’m done with your words murderer!.”

“Hey, shut your mouth first! I’m a different person. I’m serious right now and I’m trying to tell you something before I disappear, before it's too late! He will realize my presence sooner or later.”

“Who are you? Are you really Izumi sensei?” I can see that he is Izumi sensei, but he is different. I don’t feel he's threatening me but I’m still not sure.

“I am the consciousness of Izumi in your head, before he got corrupted.”

Corrupted…? Did I hear that right? Is that the truth?

“The reason you can see and hear me now is because of that right eye. With the system in your mechanical eye, I can interact with you. Right now, you’re not awake, in fact you are in the subconscious. Your subconscious has been affected with the system that has been running in your head. It has been running since you initiated it. You must’ve heard the word ‘SPHERE’ right?

“Wait, wait, wait, Why did you suddenly tell me all about this?”

“Because you must remember the REAL WORLD!”

The REAL WORLD, he said? “How? No, it’s not true. This is the world that I lived in. I lived peacefully here with my dad and my friend until you… Ugh…. My head… I’m seeing something…”

I suddenly saw a world where there is a city full of people and crowded, and there is a sea. White clouds across the atmosphere. Various mountain ranges rise like wrinkles on the planet's surface. and the space…

“What is this world…? Am I dreaming? Is there more like us in that world? But that world really got me feeling. Something… somewhere in my memories.”

“PROCESSING…”

“OBTAINING DATA - 01…”

“PROCESSING…”

“CALIBRATING…”

“5%... 8%... 12%... 20%... 25%...”

“ERROR!”

“RETRYING…”

“ERROR!”

“RETRYING…”

“ERROR!”

“25% DATA RETRIEVED”

“Ugh… my head! But why can’t I remember it?”

“Now you have remembered some of the REAL WORLD. But, He still tries to block every TRADER's memories about the REAL WORLD.”

“Who is ‘He’ and why does ‘He’ block my memories and every other person’s?”

“Hirata-kun…”

“Vice-kun… Wake Up, wake up…!” I hear a voice outside. Is it Asami?

“They're calling you… so there’s only 2 minutes remaining before you wake up. I will give all of the information about the tutorial, the system, and about SPHERE. I also unlocked all of your skills and upgraded your status. You will no longer see me again. Good Luck Hirata-kun and reach out to the REAL ONE. Goodbye…”

“PROCESSING…”

“DOWNLOADING…”

“My head… Ugh.. There's a lot of it…!”

“FILES OBTAIN”

“UNPACKING…”

“INITIALIZING”

“SHUTTING DOWN…”

BZZZZZ…

“Hirata…! Hirata…! wake up!”

I finally wake up. I see Kaito, Asami, Misaki and Izumi sensei?

“Are you alright Hirata?” I’m alright Kaito. Thanks for worrying about me.

“Is your head ok now, do you remember again what happened to your father and about Izumi sensei. Hirata-kun?”

“Yes, I remember it all, Misaki-san, I know that my father died when I was little. and Izumi is your supervising professor right?” ‘I lied. In fact, I know what really happens and I remembered it all. But I’m just trying to go on with this situation for now…

“Well that’s great Vice-kun.”

By the way, why is Izumi sensei your supervising professor Misaki-san?”

“Well the reason is that professor Izumi had been working on several AI projects. and he really helped me throughout my projects and research. By the way, he also alerted me when both of you were in trouble with those hunter droids.”

“Thank you sensei. But why do you two never tell me about this nee-san?”

“Kaito, you know that some of the projects and research in here are top secret and highly restricted, so I can’t tell you much about it.” You two can get here because of me. so both of you got a special pass as a visitor.”

“I’m really glad you’re fine, Hirata-kun. I keep monitoring your vitals when you’re unconscious.”

“Yeah… Thanks a lot, sensei…”

Why can he act so calm and friendly after what he has done to me? This must be his acting face. He tried to blend in with my closest person. How can I get out of this? I must tell everyone, but how?

“By the way, can I have a private conversation with Hirata-kun? After all, Misaki had brought Hirata here, so I want to tell him about that.”

“Of course Professor Izumi, no problem at all. Kaito, Asami. there is also something I want to tell you guys, come on…”

They left and I’m now alone with him in this room.

“So, uhm… I didn’t know you were Misaki-san supervising professor, Sensei...”

“Actually, I just became her supervising professor 2 months ago. Oh, and please call me professor here.”

“So, Hirata-kun. Don’t be so surprised now. Well, I know you are surprised… I see that you’re so amazed with this research lab. This is a special national lab facility, and this is the one and only most advanced research lab in Neo-Nippon. But it’s not just a lab… as what has happened to you before.”

What does he mean? Is there something hidden and secret in this place?

“The proof is when you pass out before, and your memories are mixed up. You think I didn’t notice?”

I realize that he has set me up. So I would pass out. What is he going to do right now? I know he is corrupted. But, he wouldn't do something risky like kill me in here right?

“Tell me, do you meet the ‘Principal’?

Now I know his name. It was the ‘Principal’ who talked to me.

“My mixed up memories? Principal? I don’t know what you are talking about. Why are you suddenly asking weird questions sensei? Why are you acting so weird? Is this another game?” I’m really trying to act naturally so he won’t realize it.

“Really? you don’t know anything about it?”

“C’mon don’t give me some nonsense sensei.” It is really hard and weird to act like this while remembering the man in front of me has murdered my father.

“Guess it’s just another malfunction in your body. I’m sorry I’ve asked you a lot of weird questions. I just want to make sure again about your memory.Please forget all of the things that I just said.”

“Uhm… Ok, no problem sensei. By the way didn’t Misaki-san said that you want to tell me something Sensei?”

“Oh, yes I almost forgot, I still have some work to do, so Misaki will tell you the details later.”

“Well, see you later sensei.”

He then waved and left. I’m so relieved, my act in front of him was very risky. I’m really afraid but thankfully I can trick him. I can’t believe he is only talking about that and he didn’t even tell the real thing that Misaki has mentioned before. I know he won’t let me go just like that. But I think it is safe for now.

“We’re back, Vice kun! Hey, why are you so sweaty? You’re ok?”

“I…I’m fine, nothing to worry about.” “Oh Asami-san, you said that you want to explain everything to us, so what is it?”

“Oh yes, uh… actually Misaki-nee will explain it.”

Then Misaki explains it all. She had been working together with Asami 4 years ago. She first met her when she visited an orphanage in Neo-Tokyo. The caretakers said that the girl came to the orphanage 6 months ago by herself. When she came, she was worn-out and wrench. She doesn’t have parents or anyone she knows. She was all alone. They said that the girl doesn’t have a friend and she is actually pretty smart. After that Misaki took her and treated her well. She finally recovered and became cheerful.

She has helped Misaki-san with her work. Misaki can’t tell us about her because she didn’t want anyone to know it and she has a debt to someone that also had done the same thing to her. Every time Misaki worked outside Neo-Tokyo Misaki always put Asami to watch her, that’s why she taught Asami how to use a laser gun and geared her up with it. So, every time Misaki was in trouble she was always ready and that’s why she could send Asami to help us that time.

Now I understand why Asami suddenly came and helped us that time.

After that Misaki told us why she wanted us to come here, besides what she wanted us to tell us what happened. Right now, she is still working on her project on an AI that can control things. So, the thing itself will do as we command. Then, Kaito asked about the hunter droids. Misaki still didn’t know who or why the hunter droid suddenly came and attacked us. But she hopes that maybe she can get a clue on the archive that records them. She wants us to take the data she needed for the AI project she’s working on in the archive database office.

She had the data before but it was deleted on her computer. She also wants us to take the hunter droid archive there too. Because those hunter droids must be operated by scientists or officials in this city. Every hunter droid activity is recorded and every data is sent to the archive. Maybe we can find something in there. Misaki also said that Asami will join us at the archive database office. She will help us if there is a problem.

Even though I heard Misaki-san explain, I’m still aware of Izumi sensei. Because he is unpredictable. I mean he’s watching me all the time. I believe it was Izumi sensei that told Misaki to ask us to get that archive. But, for now I want to get out of here and figure a way to tell them that Izumi sensei is behind all of this. Before we went, Misaki upgraded my mechanical arm and eye. She said that he makes it more comfortable for me. After that we then prepared to go, but suddenly Izumi sensei came and grabbed my shoulder. Then he whispered in my ear and said, “I hope you had more time, Hirata-kun…”