Chapter a Week 7 – Standby

Chapter a week is a story that’s updated once a week, but the writer continuing the story alternates every time. This serves as mainly a biweekly creative outlet for us where we try to improve our writing, but it also allows us to have fun with each other since we don’t have a story planned. Enjoy!

Disclaimer: All characters and events occurring are purely fictional. Any resemblances to real life are coincidental and not intentional.

15 years ago

“What defines a ‘human?’ This was the beginning theme of a recent article written by Donald Mateo Kennedy, which caught the attention of many people in the past week. Mr. DMK, could you please speak more about this?”

“Not mister, it’s philosopher. PHIL-O-SO-PHER. You got it, news lady?”

“I- I’m sorry, philosopher DMK, would you please speak about your recent article?”

“Yeah. Of course I’m going to. What do you think I’m here for? Anyway… so I’m sure you know already, but some months ago scientists did some data collection on people with Instincts.”

“Instincts, that’s referring to the special abilities?”

“Yeah. What the hell are you asking me for, if you already know the answer?”

“Wh– …. I’m sorry. Please, continue.”

“Right, so a while back they discovered that the muscular build of some of the people, especially with Instincts that actually affect physical capabilities, are inherently different to normal humans. We thought this was the human body gradually adapting to the special circumstances of these humans, as normal muscles would not be able to withstand the power exerted from the Instincts. If they had normal bodies, they’d be hostipitalized, haha!”

“Do you mean hospitalized?”

“Shut the fuck up, lady. I’m a philosopher, not a dictionary.”

“….”

“Now, some new research was conducted on people with Instincts that affect their mental capabilities. Like that kid, what was his name again… he like disappears on camera, and shit.”

“Do you mean Jonathan Seena? The boy who got viral by disappearing and reappearing on camera?”

“Yeah, yeah. That kid. Bunch of others like him got tested, and– well, we can’t say anything for sure right now since the test pool hasn’t been too huge, but– the structure of the brain itself was massively different to humans.”

“Oh, that’s quite fascinating!”

“Fascinating? Bitch, it’s fucking crazy! Muscles adapting to superhuman strength, sure. But brains don’t fucking change shape and shit. These fuckers, they’re not human man!”

“Change shape? So the brains were so distinct, that even the shapes were different to the brains of normal humans?”

“What? I told you, I’m not a fucking scientist. I’m a philosopher, you stupid bitch!”

…..

Comments

– what the hell? I thought that disappearing camera kid was fake

– me too, wow. the world is becoming a god damn movie

– this dmk retard is just making shit up, that camera thing was fake

– it was fake dumbass

– No it wasn’t, you can see in the footage the editing is too seamless

– no it’s fake you dumbass

– instincts? that’s a pretty retarded name

*

A few weeks ago

A female college student, wearing a cheap-looking dark blue suit, entered the Yuzuriha Detective Agency. After admiring the glamorous interior of the building for a short while, she approached the receptionist desk, where a slightly short, blue-haired woman sat on.

“Excuse me, where is Nodaka Asumi’s office?”

The receptionist looked up from her phone which she had been playing games on, and took a quick glance at the student before nodding and responding back.

“Ah, you’re Risa, right?”

Risa stood in shock for a while before she could respond. After all, even if it was a high class agency, the job offer that she had received was both an internship and relatively low-paying(at least for a detective). The only thing that stood out about the job was that it was a stand-in assistant job for the renowned detective Nodaka Asumi. But that being said, although Nodaka would stand out very much in an average setting, she was but another executive within the Yuzuriha Agency.

“Wow, you know who I am?” 

“Of course I do. I know everything, after all.” 

Risa laughed. “Really? Then how tall am I?”

“164.3 cm, at least during your last check up. You also weighed 55.7 kilograms back then, though I doubt that’s accurate now.” The receptionist gave an immediate response.

“What the hell?” The height had indeed been completely accurate, and so was the weight, though Risa weighed 58 kilograms on this day. But rather than feeling as though this person ‘knew everything,’ Risa felt more as though she was meeting her secret stalker. “Okay then, how many victims were there in the Washington GA case?”

“84, but that’s including the 35 people your new boss killed.”

“How tall is Mount Everest?”

“8,438 meters.”

“What’s the density of phosphorus?”

“1.82 grams per cubic centimeters.” 

“Woah….” Risa was amazed. Needless to say, she had no clue as to what the density of phosphorus was, but given the receptionist’s immediate response and confidence, she felt inclined to believe her. The receptionist grinned with pride, and held her hand out.

“I’m Tsukiha Natsuki. Receptionist and researcher of this place. You can just call me Natsuki. Nice to meet you.” Risa took her hand.

“Lorenz Risa. Though I guess you already know that.” As the two shook hands, Natsuki commented,


“German surname, right? Sprechen Sie deutsch?”

“Sorry, I don’t speak German.”


“I know, I’m just showing off. Nodaka’s office is on the second floor, the furthest away on the right side of the building. The elevator is right behind the pillar here.” She paused for a second for Risa to remember, before she continued. “Your hours start at 7:30, right? You’re a little early… not that it matters though— Nodaka often comes around 9-12. She did that when Kanou was around, so I doubt it’d be different now.”

“Kanou? Who’s that?… Wait, 9-12? There’s a 3 hour gap in her usual commute times?”

“Oh, Kanou is Nodaka’s precious assistant. Or at least was. It’s not like the door to her office is locked or anything, you should just be able to go in while you wait for her.”

With an expression of sheer dumbfoundedness, Risa thanked Natsuki and left.

It goes without saying, but Natsuki’s catchphrase stating that she ‘knew everything’ was completely false. If Risa had asked Natsuki about the date that some small TV show had aired, she would most likely have been unable to answer. But for someone like Risa, it just might be correct to state that Natsuki did indeed know everything.

Natsuki was born with an inherent Instinct, and thus had the ability of perfect memory from birth. Once she read something in a newspaper, she would never forget it. Not the day after, not a week later, not a year later, and not until her last breath. 

By the time she was 14, she was capable of speaking and writing all 141 official languages, and knew more about each subject than the majority of people with PhDs. Of course, she did not have a full understanding of all the knowledge she possessed. But the fact of the matter was that she was, and still is, essentially a living database.

*

Present Day, elevator of Yuzuriha Detective Agency

13:00

Just recently closing a case, Kazu and Matsuda, both employees of Yuzuriha Detective Agency Executive member Kenichi Akiro, were returning to the agency building. As they entered the elevator, they happened to enter at the same time as Natsuki.

“Hey, you all back from a case?”

“Yeah, we solved it! Though, it’d be more accurate to say that Kenichi-san solved it….” Matsuda put his hand behind his head, slightly embarrassed.

“Don’t worry about it. I’m sure you’re making contributions that you’re not even aware of. What floor?”

“The sixth. We’re about to grab lunch.”

“Oh, great! I’m getting lunch too!”

“Really? You wanna join us?”

“Matsuda… you’re even hitting on our receptionist?”

“I’d love to, but unfortunately I’ve got plans with someone else.” As Natsuki went to push the button for the sixth floor, Matsuda noticed that the button for the 15th floor was pushed.

The building of the Yuzuriha Agency had a total of 15 floors. Matsuda knew that floor 1 was the lobby, floors 2-5 and 7-14 were for each of the 11 executives and their respective employees and assistants, and the 6th floor was the dining hall. But he had absolutely no clue on what the 15th floor was for. Like Risa, Matsuda was a relatively new employee, so he assumed that it wasn’t particularly strange for him to not know. After all, none of the elevator buttons had labels on what each floor contained.

Nevertheless, seeing the button for the 15th floor piqued his interest, and even more so when he saw that Natsuki wasn’t leaving the elevator on the 6th floor, despite saying she would go to lunch.

*



“Dude, what’s on the 15th floor?” Naturally, the topic of conversation was decided on for Matsuda during lunch.

“The 15th floor? I don’t know, probably the roof or something?” Seeing that Kazu, who had worked in the Agency for much longer than he had, didn’t seem to know much about the 15th floor either, Matsuda began to ponder more. And as his interest increased, his focus shifted from the 15th floor to Natsuki.

“Why is Natsuki-san even here?”

“Huh? What are you talking about, she’s the receptionist.”

“Yeah, I know that. But do we even need one? I mean, people normally call the executives directly, right? Even the case we worked on just now, Kenichi-san got the request directly. I know she’s also the researcher, but isn’t most of the research done by detectives anyway?”

“Hm… I guess you’re right.”

“And yet the entire first floor is a lobby that pretty much only Natsuki-san is in….”

While he continued to ponder, the two detectives noticed a certain person whose tall figure juxtaposed her child-like expression resembling a lost child. It was Suzaki Yua, one of the executives of the Agency.

“What’s she doing?”

“It looks like she’s looking for someone to eat with. Her only friend Kushieda-san got called on an emergency case, after all.”

“Hm…” Matsuda raised his hand, and after catching Yua’s attention, pointed to an empty chair on the table he and Kazu sat on.

“Seriously, you’re even hitting on her?”

“No! She just obviously has no one to sit with. What’s wrong with me being a normal, sociable person?”

“So… you have no intention of trying anything with her?”

“That is a different matter.”

Yua slowly walked towards the two of them before she finally spoke.

“What is it?”

“Suzaki-san, do you want to sit with us?” Yua looked at Matsuda, then around her, then back at him, before realizing she was being invited to lunch.

“…If you insist that much, then I guess I have no choice but to oblige on your offer.” Kazu stared at Yua in utter confusion, while Matsuda grinned with joy, under the delusion that he had seduced her.

“What were the two of you discussing?”

“We were talking about Natsuki-san.”


“Hey, Matsuda!”

“What, it’s not like we’re badmouthing her or anything. I’m just curious!”

“Oh. What is it about her?”

“Well… we saw her go to the 15th floor, and I don’t think I even know what’s there.”

“The 15th floor is Miyuki’s office. Of course you don’t know it, I’ve never even gone in there in the 7 years I’ve worked here. Most people haven’t.”

“Her office?” Yua only led him to more questions than answers. “What is Natsuki-san doing, going there?”

Yua looked at Matsuda blankly and tilted her head, as if she had no clue as to what he was confused about. “The two of them have lunch every week.”

*

Meanwhile, 15th floor of the Yuzuriha Detective Agency

Is it because Miyuki felt guilty for recruiting her, a former renowned diagnostician, as a receptionist? Is it because Natsuki had only ever been assigned to two cases in 7 whole years she had worked in the Agency?

Whatever the reason, Natsuki did not particularly care, as the only reason she took the job in the first place was because of the outstanding pay that rivaled that of the executives. Besides, lunch with Miyuki was fun for her. She enjoyed it, and found Miyuki to be an interesting character.

But this particular day was different. Usually Miyuki would be babbling about some recent amusing event, or a funny joke she had heard. But today, she had barely said a word.

“Have you heard about the mass murders in the casino that occurred yesterday?” Miyuki finally broke the silence.

“Yes. I saw a report of it on the news this morning. Would you like me to give you the details on the case?”

“Haha, no, that’s fine. But I’m glad to see that your memory is as good as ever.”

“It’s my Instinct, after all…. Other than that, Kushieda asked me to look up some things on Risu Johoon, who seems to be the most suspicious in this case.”

“Oh? What did you find?”

“That’s the thing. It’s like he doesn’t exist. I can’t find anything about a Risu Johoon in any of the databases that I’ve looked into so far. No birth record, no passport, nothing. I’ve relayed the message onto Kushieda, but I plan on looking deeper into him after this.”

“I see.” Yosana stops for a while, staring at Natsuki. “I’m sorry to say this when you seem pretty enthusiastic about it, but you won’t need to look into this Risu Johoon. I’ll have some of the employees look into it, or ask another agency.”

“What? Why?”

“Natsuki-kun, do you know how many casualties there have been in the incident last night?”

“No, actually I don’t. They never specified in the news, though I suspect it is at least in the 40s.”

“There have been 153 casualties discovered so far.”


Upon hearing this, Natsuki instantly understood what Miyuki was leading up to. 7 years ago, in the aftermath of the Washington GA case, Yosana Miyuki reinstated the famous Yuzuriha Agency that she had previously refused to inherit after the death of her father, Yuzuriha Akatsuki. Yosana recruited 5 members of the investigation force in the Washington GA case, 4 of which are currently executives of the Agency, including Nodaka Asumi. The other 1 person was Tsukiha Natsuki. Not only was she not a part of the police force or a detective agency, but she was temporarily a part of the forensics team, and possessed no more deductive abilities than the average person. And despite this, there was one thing that made her stand out as one of the most useful figures in the enormous Washington GA case.

“I need you to thoroughly analyze the crime scene, and memorize every single detail about each of the 153 casualties.”

*

Meanwhile, 6th floor of the Yuzuriha Detective Agency

Hours had passed since I’d seen Nodaka-san holding the bloody knife on top of the corpses in the casino, and yet the memory is still burned into my mind. After Kushieda-san kidnapped Yamamoto Keiichi like an insane person, we’ve been waiting next to his hospital bed on the 7th floor of the agency, for what I am assuming will be an interrogation.

While we’ve been waiting, Kushieda-san has been on the phone a few times with Yosana-san, saying something like “what do you mean, in case there is a better candidate? There’s no god damn evidence and person!”

She has also reconfirmed a few facts with me. Some new facts have also been discovered within the case. The stab wounds were apparently not the actual lethal factor that killed the victims, but instead due to a toxin that was on the knife, which was discovered on the knife Nodaka-san was holding and matched to the corpses.

But despite the new revelations within the case, the two of us have seemingly come to a halt. We can’t make heads or tails of this case. The only real suspect that we’ve been able to find in this case, Risu Johoon, is apparently not in any database, so we don’t know anything about him. The state of the corpses, and the method of killing doesn’t match up with what Nodaka-san would do. Not to mention Isshiki Nao, Nodaka-san’s girlfriend. She was killed about 24 hours from now, and her body was moved to the casino port-mortem. 

Kushieda-san and I looked over the CCTV footage, but it all suddenly stopped about three hours before Nodaka-san called me, so it was quite a bit before the massacre began. The CCTVs themselves seem to have been manually destroyed by one person, as the time that the CCTVs were destroyed differ, and there are ‘stab wounds’ on the cameras matching relatively well with Nodaka-san’s knife.  But no one appearing to destroy the CCTVs showed up on the footage before they broke.

“Kushieda-san… even if there are clues that we are missing right now, I feel like this case….the perpetrator has an Instinct.”

She clicks her tongue. “Damn it. Are you kidding me?”

“Huh? What is it?” Did she think of something?

“I can’t believe I came to the same conclusion as Nodaka’s retarded assistant…”

This bitch…

“But… you’re right.” She sighs. Normally the call that a murder case was perpetrated by someone with Instincts is a call made very late. This is for three reasons, the first being that so far, a mere 25,000 people in the entire world have been discovered to possess an Instinct in the past 55 years, since they were first discovered. The predicted number of people to actually have Instincts is around 0.001% of the population, roughly 80,000 people. The second reason being that any clever case looks like it’s been committed by someone with an instinct. Take any closed-room murder. If we assume too early that someone used an Instinct to commit the murder, then we might miss out on the possibility that it is not a true closed-room murder, and some sort of trick was used in order to make one look like one. The final reason is that even if we assume the perpetrator has Instincts, there are extremely limited resources to be able to arrest someone like that. There is no complete database detailing each person’s Instincts, meaning that there are people who we don’t know have Instincts, and Instincts we don’t know about.

However, given the complexity of this case, the mass scale of the casualties that is almost double the infamous Washington GA case, it seems more and more probable by the second that the perpetrator has some kind of Instinct, and more reasonable that we should go forward with this case assuming so.

Kushieda-san looks down with her eyes closed, seemingly deep in thought. She switches between that and looking at her phone. But her expression of ponder quickly changes into frustration, and she mumbles something like “screw it.”

“Bakassistant, do you know what my Instinct is?”

“Do you mean like your instinct instinct, or your ability Instinct?” Honestly, the name ‘Instinct’ is such a stupid one. I know that it was originally made because scientists thought that instincts were closely related to the owner’s psychology and personality, but even that was proven false! Seriously, why the hell do people still call it ‘Instinct’?

Kushieda-san gives me a look of such immense annoyance that it looked like I had killed her parents. Wait, you wouldn’t be annoyed in that scenario. Damn, Nodaka-san’s inhumaneness is rubbing off on me! 

“My ability. Do you know what it is?”

“No, I don’t. Nodaka-san never told me.”

“Yeah, I thought so.” She takes the glove off of her right hand. “My Instinct allows me to see the past 24 hours of a person’s memory by touching them with my right hand. There are just three conditions. The first is that the person must be alive. The second is that I have to know three things that occurred to them in the last 24 hours. The last is that in a 10 meter radius, there can’t be any alive person excluding me and them.” She signalled a ‘shoo, shoo’ motion to me.

I stare at her in awe. Out of the 25,000 people with Instincts in the world, around 8,000 of those have been revealed to the public in the last 50 years. I remember as a child, slowly glossing over the long list of them on Wikipedia over the course of weeks. Some of them were absolutely mind-boggling, while some of them were pretty lame. But although I do remember a few of them having conditions to activate, it was the first time I had ever met someone with one, not to mention with such an extreme ability like Kushieda-san’s.

“Are there… any side effects?” I question her while I move away from the room. A 10 meter radius…. I had heard that there were 20 extra, unnecessary meters in the Yuzuriha Agency’s building, in between the 6th, 7th, and 8th floors. I assumed maybe that was because of some ventilation of something on the dining floor, but was it solely for Kushieda-san?

“Not really, but I can’t use it again for 30 days, and I can only use it once on a person.” After my 15th or so step back, Kushieda-san’s right hand seemed to glow, ever so slightly. “Oh, and since I’ll be experiencing his memories, I’ll be unconscious for the next 24 hours.”

She places her hand on top of the forehead of Keiichi-san’s unconscious body, and proceeds to immediately collapse to the ground.

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