Chapter XLIII: Testing
My eyes opened and I slowly lifted my head from the chem lab table. I turnedside to side to let the double vision settle and looked down at the now blood-dotted surface which was still covered with crystals from earlier failedattempts. I briefly felt the top of my head to ensure that there weren’t anysignificant bumps before standing and taking a few tentative steps.Thankfully, my legs didn’t buckle. I grinned and lifted a spray bottle full ofthe clear liquid that had knocked me out off of the corner of the table,replacing Alter Ego’s mic on my shirt.
“You were right. It seemed that diluting the solution just a bit more made theaerosol light enough to stay in the air,” I said calmly. “As an added bonus, Ido seem to be at full cognitive efficiency.”
“That is correct, Naegi,” _Alter Ego responded, “_Although I must questionyour motives for testing the drug on yourself.”
“This keeps you honest,” I replied with a chuckle, “After all, I find thatbeings work much better when there’s a penalty for failure.”
“I suppose from your perspective it is still a reasonable fear, especiallygiven my prior actions. Is there still nothing I can do to convince you of mygood motives?”
I stood there for a second, thinking.
“Now that Fujisaki is gone, I don’t believe there is. I’ve no way to directlyexamine your code to find your goals, and without that everything is fakable.”
“So be it. I suppose I will have to do what I can from here, then.”
“Yes,” I replied, before putting the spray bottle in my backpack followed bythe other materials I had the chance to synthesize. I put the canister ofammonium nitrate into the bag especially carefully. Though it wasn’t volatileenough to go off at a touch, especially given that I had yet to mix in thefuel oil, I still didn’t want to risk anything. I didn’t particularly want theend of my life to be a physical analogue for the phrase ‘going out with abang’. After I filled my bag with the fruits of my hour’s work, I shoulderedit and walked back to my room before carefully setting it down on my bedsidetable. Kirigiri walked in a few seconds later, examining a glass shard similarto the one I had found in Classroom S.
“Kyouko, where did you find that?” I asked.
“It was placed on the floor by an unknown person about 10 minutes after youleft,” she replied, “I walked out of the room to try to find traces of thegroup of 3 who entered from the front and it was there when I returned. Istill cannot place its source.”
My eyes widened. It seemed Monokuma’s partner was leaving us theseintentionally. Why would they do something like this, though? If they weresending a message, then what was it? I would need to consider this further.
After thinking for a few seconds, I turned back to Kirigiri.
“If you do recall what the source of that glass was, please let me know?”
“Naegi, while examining the room, I realized something I think you shouldknow: the person that left the 4th blood spot likely didn’t die from theirwounds on the scene, if at all.”
“How can you tell?” I replied, confusion evident in my voice.
“By the remaining smaller blood drops. They extended directly from that bloodsplatter, implying that the wound kept bleeding for a period of time. Thosesplatters lead to the door before stopping abruptly at the door and there isno evidence of struggle in the hallway. Monokuma likely cleaned off whateverthere was. However, I am unsure why he would have done something like that.”
I tilted my head, pondering for a few seconds, before my eyes widened inrealization.
“He needed to make the room look like it was the site of some small localizedtragedy. Had there been blood coming from the door and leading down the hall,that would have made it far more difficult for him to pretend that the roomwas the site of the Malefaction. I am still uncertain what actual eventhappened in that room which he is covering up.”
“As am I.”
I lay back on my bed for a few seconds before jumping up as I remembered theother preparation I had made during the past hour.
“Kyouko, we should head to the dressing room. I’ll explain further when wearrive.”
Her eyes widened curiously and she stood up and followed me out of the room.We entered the dressing room about a minute later to find Celeste and Asahinawaiting for us. After Kirigiri and I entered, I closed the door behind mebefore turning to them. I opened my mouth to speak, only to be interrupted byAlter Ego.
“Naegi, I have detected radio emissions from this room indicating that thereis a camera. Lack of interference implies that only the one exists. Based onthe relative strength of the emissions, likely position is in locker 4 on theinside of the door, viewing through a pinhole. The camera appears to be motionactivated.”
I stepped over to the 4th locker before removing a small bottle from my sidepocket. I opened the door of the locker slightly and sprayed a faint mist fromthe bottle. About a second later, I heard a faint buzzing and hissing from thelocker followed by a sharp crack. I turned back to the others.
“Well, now that I’ve taken care of that little problem, let’s get down tobusiness.”
I closed down the screen of the now useless camera and stretched. While Imight have lost that intelligence source, I had certainly gained some valuableinformation from the experience. The last thing Naegi had done beforedestroying the camera was strange: he had turned his head slightly, almost asthough he was listening to something. Who would he have been listening to? Imentally ran through all possible sources, crossing off the list those who hadbeen eliminated. Eventually, I was left with only 5 options. Two of them werein the room with Naegi. Byakuya Togami was in the school’s library, as he hadbeen for almost all of the time between trials. Komaru Naegi…was admittedly apossibility. She and her so called ‘Future Foundation’ had thus far resistedall military attempts to defeat them. Her knack for tactics had already ledmany within Despair to acknowledge that the blood she shared with her brothercontained more than looks and her family name. However, there was no reasonwhy Naegi would only now be using his sister’s help. Had he been incommunication with her, his strikes would likely also be far more targeted.Therefore, that left only one option. An option that left me only one possibleresponse
I stood up from my place in the reconnaissance center, located securely on thesecond floor of the dormitories. As I stood, I almost felt the urge to skipdown the hall. For the first time in months, I had a clear path and well-defined prey. It was time for the wolf to go hunting.
After I spoke, I waited patiently for someone to ask the question which I wassure occupied all of their minds. I could have just launched straight intoplanning, but this felt more satisfying.
“What’s going on?” Asahina said.
“I’m glad you asked,” I replied, “Now, as I’m sure you have all noticed, themurders have continued unabated throughout all the events that have gone on inthe school, once even without an explicit motive. What some of you may notknow is that people in this room have been responsible for every one of thoseevents. I have called you here tonight because it’s time to step up the levelof our assaults.”
“Intriguing,” Celeste said, her eyes gleaming. “Given how entertaining thelast strike was, I await the plans for this one with bated breath.”
“Wait, are you saying one of us has been murdering people?” Asahina lookedconfused.
My body tensed as I barely stopped myself from facepalming. It wouldn’t do tobe quite so insulting. Asahina was useful, if a bit uninformed.
“My apologies, Asahina. I should have been more clear. As I’m sure you’venoticed, there have been…incidents in the school ranging from plumbing failureto ‘random’ explosions. We are the cause of those incidents. Anyway, as I wassaying, due to some useful information from a few sources which shall remainunnamed, I have become aware of the presence of another operative within theschool.”
Kirigiri stepped forward from behind me, holding a picture she had removedfrom Intelligence folio 6.
“Her name is Mukuro Ikusaba,” she said, pointing to the picture. “She is, orwas, the SDHS Soldier. She has been inside the school for an indeterminateperiod of time, possibly from the beginning of our incarceration.”
“How has she remained unseen?” Celeste asked. “In the beginning she could haveremained on the upper floors of the school, but at this point she only has theupper floor of the dormitory. Surely if she ever left someone would see her.”
I grinned slightly. I lived for these moments.
“Given your present state of knowledge about the school, that is true.However, there’s something you don’t know. The school walls house a building-encompassing tunnel system with two entrances, only one of which we canaccess. The Soldier has been located within this tunnel system multiple times,and it would seem that she traverses the school with it.”
“So what?” Asahina looked close to tears. “We know where she is. Big deal! Weknew where Monokuma was, and that didn’t stop Sakura from dying.”
“There’s one reason we’ll have better results than Sakura had. We aren’t goingto be attacking her at her strong points,” I replied, backpack slidingsmoothly off my shoulders. It landed softly on the ground as I stepped forwardto open the zipper on the largest pocket. The bottles inside gleamed.
“Now, I’m sure you all have been working diligently for the past few hours.Allow me to show you my contributions.”
Current status: Passive listener. Increase microphone amplification to 250%.
_Operational planning: 1120x approaching start point. 301x approachinginitialization. 201x approaching critical point 1. Deboxing approachingcritical point 3. _
_Likely points of failure for operation 1120x: Actions of asset Wolf. _
_Likely actions of Wolf: Last ditch effort to return normalcy through missionresumption. Missions available…end source of reconnaissance directly. Possibleattack likely in future. _
_Necessary response? Unlikely. Asset Group A preparations sufficient to repelWolf. Capture likely though not certain. _
DATA RECEIVED: Source: Microphone. Content: Strike plans. Operation match to1120x theoreticals…99.8%. Within acceptable cognitive variance. Simulation ofAsset Rat falls within useful parameters.
Possible effects of capture method? Low-unlikely. Fentanyl derivativeunlinked to significant health negatives. Scopolamine synthesis unsuccessful.Capture limited to knockout. Followup interrogation will require significantrestraint.
_Success of interrogation: Variable. Dependent on participants. To ensuretotal success will need to request personal involvement. _
Future actions: Continue observation. Ready asset Gem for her part in 301x.Ready asset Rat for future actions. Review specifications of SBB-4 wing‘sharpshooter’.
A/N: Sorry for the delay…I was going to finish this last week, but then Ultronkind of ate the time I had set aside for writing. Also, many thanks toLavender Dove for betaing this chapter and helping with the Asahina dialogue.Anyone with interest in betaing, PM me(I write through google drive, so you’dneed to provide an email to beta).
Storywise: Here’s some fun plot reveals for you all, enjoy them. All chemicalsin the story are both real and synthesizeable(though I wouldn’t suggest makingfentanyl at home, its almost certainly a controlled substance).
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