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It's six PM.
I haven't had much of a sense of time passing since the dome appeared, but... it's already evening.

The atmosphere in the maintenance office is tense.

"The Doctor said he'd be waiting deep beneath the surface... does this building have a basement?"

"Certainly not one that appears on the official plans.
But maybe..."

"Under the Medical Centre? But that one's blocked off with concrete..."

"It does not seem to me that the medical centre is an entirely independent building."

"There may well be a path from this building into the basement there.
Is there anywhere you might have missed something?"

 

Missed something... or forgotten something...
Somewhere I forgot to look...?

"Oh."

 

That's right! The encyclopaedia in the library, in the medical centre...

...and the chronology and the medical records.
I'd like to talk to Nageki again.

"You've thought of something?"

"Yeah. I need to go check.
Sakuya-"

"..."

 

He hasn't spoken since what happened in the infirmary.

I can't blame him... I know how he feels.
Better to leave him alone.

_______________________________________________________________

???

"...
..."

"...I know.
I'm worried about it, too."

???

"..."

"You're fading again.
Where are you...?"

"Nageki!
There you are!"

"...what is it?"

"I've found out a lot about the school... and about you."

"...I see."

"I suppose you... know who I am, then?"

"Sort of, but... there are things I need to ask you.
That's why I'm here."

 

The fire five years ago, and the dome today.
How are they related?

Nageki must know something about the secrets this school holds.

"You... aren't really here anymore, are you?"

"...that might be so.
Or it might not."

"I saw, in the school records.
It says you... died, five years ago. In an accident in the medical centre."

"..."

"I had... become aware of that.
I stopped my own clock here.
That's why I can never leave."

"You stopped your...?"

 

In other words-

"...at the very least, I took my life through my own will.
I am... almost sure of that."

"So you didn't die in the accident...?"

 

He hangs his head in silence.
Looks like he can't remember everything from before he died...

"I need a clue.
There must be a basement under the medical centre, and I need to get in there..."

"Oh, that's right... the encyclopaedia."

"The encyclopaedia?"

"You used to go to the medical centre, right?
Did you switch one of the encyclopaedias from there with one here?"

"Why would...?"

 

That's what I want to know!
I guess I should just tell him.

"Look, you know how the encyclopaedias are out of order?
There are two copies of volume nine, and no volume six."

"The medical centre has the same encyclopaedias?"

"Yeah. There are two copies of six there, and no nine."

"...how disorderly."

"Yeah... anyway, one of the copies of volue six there has a library sticker on it. Someone must have taken it from here."

"...switched the encyclopaedias..."

"..."

"...Mister Kawara.
Try... reading this copy of volume nine."

"Looking's worth a thousand spoken words, I guess."

"...huh?"

 

This isn't right.

It looks like just another book when it's closed, but...

"It's... a box...?"

 

It's full of files.
Some sort of documents...?

"They're all from five years ago.
These must have been..."

"What does it say?
That one."

"Let's see..."

The music stops.

 

Operation Hatoful.

"This is talking about... using carrier individuals as biological weapons... to fight humans...?"

 

It has the same title as the file in the headmaster's office.
But I never expected anything like this...

"Meaning... this school has been used for biological weapons development for at least five years."

"2180: New strains of Sumatera Influenza isolated."

"2183: a new strain has been isolated from Fujishiro Nageki.
It is lethal to humans, and has been named Charon virus. It has entered research at St Pigeonations' medical centre."

"...Charon virus?"

"...humans I met... would always get very sick..."

"Are you remembering something?"

"...yes.
I think so."

"I think I was the one who brought that book here.
The birds with me in the medical centre often did... secret things in the reference room."

"I wanted to... tell someone.
Tell someone important what was happening in the centre-"

"...what was it? My family...?
It must have been my family..."

"..."

"That's right.
I burned.
I had to... disappear."

"...why didn't I notice?
Did I need your help to see...?"

 

He paces nervously in circles, rambling on to himself.

"If you've realized something, it would help me to know what it is..."

"I've remembered.
Remembered what happened here five years ago."

_______________________________________________________________


 

I can't remember my parents' faces.
I lived in an orphanage with other birds my age since before I could remember...

I never thought much of it at the time, but apparently everybirdie there was a war orphan.

But, I did not resent the humans who had started the war.
I did not care.

I thought that living with other chicks and no parents was as natural as could be.

 

One day, the endless routine was broken, and some humans broke into the orphanage.

They had guns, and kept shouting.
"Free Humanity, Free Humanity".

I think that's what they said.

They barricaded themselves in our house, and killed us one at a time.
I was helpless.
I could only hide in the corner and weep as my family was killed before my eyes.

I don't know how much time had gone by since they came.
When I looked around the silent room, they were all collapsed on the floor.

Birds had come to save us.
They had come and killed the evil humans.
That is what I thought.
But...

 

You have been given a great power.
You are one of the chosen few.

 

I left the orphanage with my one remaining sibling, and we lived in an apartment.

But I was weak, and couldn't go to school or get a job.
I was nothing but a burden.

And then I received the invitation.

We wish to welcome you with special treatment.
How would you like to study at the world's foremost avian school?

We will provide anything you need.
Anything at all.

There is a hospital on the school grounds.
We will provide a room for you to live there.
You shall receive all the care you require.

I was living with my brother.
I did not want to leave him.

But if I continued to live with him I would only hold him down...

He was happy to hear that I would have a chance to improve my physical condition.
And so I enrolled in St. Pigeonation's...

 

I was still weak, and so I often stayed in my room. I had no friends, but I was not unhappy.

The nurses and the faculty were all very kind to me.

And then, early in my first summer vacation, the Doctor made a proposal to me.

This vacation is the perfect opportunity.
Would you like to undergo intensive treatment?
You will have to stay inside for some time, but by the end of the summer you should be as healthy as any other bird in the school.

 

And so began a long summer in the underground facility.
First, a routine of daily examinations and numerous medications.

 

And then the experiments began.
The experiments to kill humans.

A human would be brought to me.
They would struggle, and gasp.
And then, with a last, painful sigh, they would stop moving.

I knew why I was brought here.
Living in my body was a virus deadly to humans in a matter of minutes.

The music fades.

 

My parents, whose faces I never knew, were killed by humans.
Everyone else in the orphanage was killed by humans.
And in return... I killed another human with each experiment.

Simply by standing in the same room as me... by breathing the same air as me... they would collapse.

I couldn't stand it.
I had no reason not to hate them, but... watching them die in front of me shaved away at my heart, little by little.

And so I decided to end it all.

I had only one wish.
I wanted...

I wanted to disappear from this world without a trace.

_______________________________________________________________


"The Charon Virus... the deadly guest that made its home in my body."

"That is what they called it.
No doubt they were searching for a way to destroy humanity with that virus..."

"That was Operation Hatoful?"

"...yes."

"That's why I... that's why I burned it all, five years ago. There should have been nothing left, but-"

"I am... not here.
But maybe, just maybe... there's still something left, somewhere."

"And, I can feel him, close by... my-"

"...Mister Kawara.
Are you going to the basement?"

"I don't have a choice.
To find a way out of here alive, and to find out why they killed Hiyoko... I need to ask the Doctor."

"...I see."

"That encyclopaedia.
What else is inside?"

The music stops.

"...oh."

 

A piece of paper, folded up along with the files.
This is-

"A map of the medical centre...?"

"When I was there, I went in through the medical centre. But it must connect to the main building somewhere near here."

"Umm, that looks like the gym, so those stairs are..."

"I believe it is in the chemistry preparation room.
The researchers often went in there."

 

The Doctor is- beneath the preparation room.

"Thank you, Nageki. I have to go."

"Yes.
I think you will be seeing me again, and-"

"...Miss Tosaka, as well."

 

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