What Comes Out of the Arca
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That was the first thing that came out of my mouth when I heard my superior's words.

"I've got an important matter to discuss with you", he'd said, singling me out. As it was top secret, I'd been brought to a small meeting room, and the first thing he said was enough to make me almost exclaim in shock.

I thought for a moment if I'd misheard something, then waited a moment to see if he was joking. And then I spoke.

"Transferred to the 'Foundation'… do you mean Manna?"

"I thought so too at first, but no, it's that 'Foundation'. Ah, we're sincerely relying on your secrecy for this. It's required for our operations, that was the reason they gave, but even at my clearance—"

"Wait, wait a moment. I need to sort out my thoughts."

At any rate, he'd only told me I'd be "temporarily transferred due to the emergency situation" last night. And of all places to be transferred, that "Foundation"? Was this a mistake? What's going on— ah, but that was the truth of the matter.

Isn't this a trap, if you use your common sense?
"I understand your doubts… but read this."

Even though I couldn't accept this kind of situation, I took the documents he gave me.

As I flip through the papers, I realize.

This list is… oh, oh no.

"Ah. What's written there is all the experimental subjects that were captured by the Foundation or have gone missing. As some of those are under Lab No. 3, you should read through the list carefully — to put things simply, in exchange for providing them with his help, all of these subjects will be returned, and in addition they'll release some of our employees in their custody."

To be honest, I can't even imagine what's happening, but my thoughts had recovered to the point where I could tell that this meeting was not just some kind of tasteless joke.

The Foundation, returning our test subjects. I didn't yet think through what that really meant.

If — if that's really true, anyway.

On the other side of the ordinary world governed by the laws of physics written in science textbooks is the underworld governed by paratech. Whether you call it a watchman or a fearsome dictator, the thorn in our side called the "Foundation" would never come to us of all people to offer a deal.

At the very least, this was something that had never happened in my entire history at this organization.

What the hell was happening? What was the Foundaiton trying to do?

I tried to suppress my panic with reason and think. They had to have a reason to do this. That is—

"This is… a bad situation, isn't it."

"Of course. The Foundation sometimes — but rarely — cooperates with other organizations like this, but to make such concessions to us would be unthinkable. They must have found something truly anomalous — after all, the purpose this time seems to be of utmost secrecy. Probably something world-ending."

"That's not funny. So why him?"

"Hm, I hear that there are some other people outside our department being sent over as well… well, in any case, one of the things they required was someone "well versed in anomalous hominid biology and anomalous human engineering". So that's why it came to me to decide, I guess."

That explains it. With that kind of description, even if I couldn't understand, I was satisfied. So that was why they came to Lab No. 3 — and why they chose him. It's not like I want to praise him, but I don't think there are many people in this world who can match the passion with which he studied the human body.

"Having said that, I couldn't hand over a half-hearted researcher in exchange for that. He was a valuable asset to our company, but at the same time, he was quite the nuisance."

"Is it wrong to feel relieved after handing the nuisance off to someone else?"

"That's not funny."

I guess the director really did have that idea.

Everyone around him knew he was far ahead of his peers as a researcher, but as anyone who really knew him would know, he was unfortunately overly indifferent about anything other than his research.

Contrary to the eloquent impression he gave, he lacked all but the bare minimum in teamwork and ethics.

He'll definitely give the Foundation researchers who'll have to work with him a hard time, I thought. Perhaps the Foundation had no shortage of people like that.

Either way, to him, it would be no problem. He wasn't the type to let the change in environment affect his work — perhaps they'd considered that when selecting him.

"I don't know what the higher-ups and the Foundation are up to, but let's wish him all the best. There's definitely some good that will come, since the Foundation will be obligated to repay us."

"For the time being, I look forward to working with you, Acting Director of Lab No. 3's Hominid Biology Research Department."

After making it very clear that I was not to tell anyone, the manager left.

Well then.

Though I couldn't understand what was happening, I stopped trying to make sense of it.

With those experiments returned, countless research projects would be able to resume. Assigning people, keeping to the budget… so many headache-inducing problems would pile up, so I had no time to think about other things.

Even without these kinds of suspicions that can't be resolved, the world is full of mysteries and filled with anomalies. That's why we're here: to study them and unlock their secrets.

I told myself that and went back to the handover papers piled up high on my desk.


The man in the lab coat stepped off the escort vehicle towards the laboratory.

He had buried himself in research day and night for what seemed like ages, it had been almost forever since he'd went on a trip — much less a trip abroad.

Well, even if it was a trip abroad, he was surrounded by Mobile Task Force members armed with guns, sitting in an escort vehicle with no windows. Hardly a vacation.

In spite of the tense atmosphere around him, the man was perfectly calm.

Finally, he thought.

A research budget that wasn't made to turn a profit.

An environment for experimentation, where he wouldn't have to be worried about menial tasks.

Technology tens or hundreds of years ahead of civilian society.

And anomalies that surpassed the limits imposed by the laws of physics.

It was all there — an environment he, as a researcher, once only dreamed of.

His original, grand goal was the least of his concerns. The fact that he could be working for the enemy didn't matter to him. Only two months? Challenge accepted.

The research I'd only dreamt of will most definitely take shape.

Even if the world is destroyed, humanity, and I, will rise from the ashes like a phoenix.

Emblazoned on the back of his lab coat billowing in the wind was not the symbol — three arrows on a shield — of this facility, this organization.

The man proudly representing the symbol of the twisted double helix stopped before the researchers who had come to greet him with a smile, and spoke.

"Pleased to meet you. I am Itegiri, from the Japan Organisms Improvement and Creation Laboratory. Now…"

"Let's begin making humans."

An empty boxArca cannot be a Pandora's box.

Is there hope inside the boxArca born from madness?

52 days to game over.


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