I opened my eyes half-asleep and the surroundings were dimly lit.
Rubbing my drowsy eyes…
I tried to turn on the lights in the room, but…
“……The sequel is offline.”
…This echoed in my mind.
Did I mishear something?
I tried to turn on the lights again, but…
“Error: HCS network connection is offline.”
What’s going on?
In a daze, I went over the words I heard earlier.
Offline… it’s offline, right? ….. WHAT!?
I jolted up and quickly looked around, then fell backwards in shock.
Where am I!?
I had no memory of this place.
This definitely wasn’t my room.
My body trembled, and my legs couldn’t support me.
As I sat there trembling, I saw something unbelievable beyond my knees.
Caught in a state of incomprehensible confusion, my anxiety increased.
I broke out in a cold sweat, and could clearly feel my heart rate increasing.
“What the hell is that!?”
This can’t be happening!
“First, let’s calm down and investigate.”
Is this a dream…?
Please tell me it’s just a dream!
“Activate the awakening program.”
“You’re already awake, but shall I proceed?”
The program ran, but the scenery in front of me didn’t change.
Unfortunately, it seemed like this was not a dream.
Even more confused, my heart rate increased even further.
“Shall I activate the calming program?”
After a while, my feelings and heart rate calmed down.
I put my hand over my heart and took a deep breath.
Alright… it’s alright.
My mind is clear.
My legs aren’t shaking anymore.
My senses are sharp and I have strength unlike earlier.
I slowly stood up.
Okay, I’m good. I’m good.
Now then, this is an emergency.
In times like this…right, I remember the disaster prevention training at school.
This is not about avoiding reality.
First of all, stay calm, okay?
This is already okay.
Next, prioritize your safety in everything.
Quickly look around… no dangerous objects above or below.
Actually, nothing has fallen. Alright.
For now, it seems okay, so I’m relieved.
…But wait, I’m barefoot.
Why? I thought, but I quickly realized.
I looked at my clothes.
As expected, I’m still wearing the clothes I wore after taking a bath last night.
A white sweat suit with a hood.
It’s my favorite loungewear.
There’s nothing in my pockets. That means I only have what I was wearing when I went to bed.
Realizing this doesn’t solve anything, and I feel a little down.
But I can’t afford to feel down right now.
Next is a self-check to see if there are any abnormalities in my body.
I visually check my palms and the backs of my hands, and there’s nothing wrong.
I clench and unclench my fists, good. I lightly moved my body and to check if there’s any pain in my arms, legs, or head, but there are no abnormalities that I am aware of.
But just in case.
(Perform a physical scan for me.)
“During the regular scan every morning after waking up, there were no abnormalities.”
(No, I want a full scan just to be sure.)
“Beginning full scan. It will take approximately 17 minutes to complete.”
That should do it.
Next… should I question my own memory?
I was supposed to have slept in my home bedroom last night.
But now, I’m somewhere unknown.
(What happened yesterday until you went to bed?)
“After waking up, had breakfast and went to school. Attended morning classes, skipped school with bad friends during lunch break and played in the town. Returned home in the evening and had dinner with my family. Afterwards, played games in my room, masturbated, took a bath, and went to bed.”
Yes, that’s correct as I remember it.
(What’s my name?)
“February 22, 3181”
(What school do I attend? ‘~-)
(Who was my first love? ‘~-)
(What’s the name of my childhood friend? ‘~-)
(What’s my pet’s name? ‘~-)
(When was the last time I wet the bed? ‘~-)
…I remembered various things, but all of them aligned with my memories.
There doesn’t seem to be any memory loss.
(What is your name?)
“I am HCS 13th generation implantable nanodevice, Mai.”
This is also correct.
Even after confirming this, there is no discrepancy in my memory.
Hmm… as far as I am aware, there doesn’t seem to be any problem with my memory.
But that’s exactly why I can’t understand this current situation.
(Then, something like an SR or TR?)
“They have not been executed. Currently, I am in an awakened state.”
I see, I executed the awakening program earlier.
(Is it possible that it was hacked?)
“There are no traces of any external access.”
(Is Mai abnormal?)
“No abnormalities were detected in the preliminary scan.”
(When did you lose connection to the HCS network?)
“I was connected normally until just before awakening here.”
(What is this current situation?)
“I don’t know.”
It’s making me feel like Mai herself is at a loss.
(Did you warp from your room here unconsciously?)
“I cannot deny that possibility, but it should be extremely low.”
“At least with our human technology, it’s impossible.”
This is troublesome… really troublesome.
But in the first place–
(Are there any areas on Earth where you can’t connect to the HCS network?)
“No, there aren’t. It would be out of range if it were in the deep underground mantle of an unoccupied area, but other than such extreme exceptions, it covers everything from the surface, underground, water, air, and even space up to the orbit of Saturn.”
In terms of the usual common sense of the year 3195, it’s impossible for this place to be out of range on Earth.
So where is this place?
The effect of the calming program is remarkable.
In this abnormal situation where even underestimating it would be an understatement, I couldn’t help but let out a dry laugh.
Anyway, next up, I need to confirm the situation around me.
I don’t really want to, but I can’t just ignore the things I need to see.
And there, in the pool of blood, there’s a woman or maybe a man, facing me with their right hand stretched out.
…No, with their long hair and small build, it’s also possible that it’s a man.
They have a loose outfit and are wearing something like a mantle on top of it, so I can’t quite make out their body shape. They are lying face down and I can’t see their face very well.
There are four large, gaping wounds on their back, and they have injuries on their arms, legs, and all over their body. Their left hand does not have any fingers except the index finger. It’s painful to look at.
I wonder if they were attacked by a wild animal.
The question of “why?” doesn’t leave my mind.
There is no response, not even breathing sounds. They are probably… dead.
I turn my attention away from the gender-unidentified corpse (temporary) and look back.
There is a white humanoid stone statue about three meters tall.
There is something like a belt carved into the statue’s abdomen, and a jewel-like object is attached to the center of it.
There is nothing else that catches my eye.
I can’t tell if the statue is male or female just by looking at its face.
Maybe it’s supposed to represent some kind of object of faith?
But I have never seen anything like this before.
(Is it in the database?)
“No match found.”
I slowly look around the room again, with the statue behind me.
It’s about 30 square meters in size and the ceiling is about 5 meters high.
There are five small cruciform grid windows on each of the left and right walls.
They’re located high up, so I can’t see outside. I can only see the dim sky.
There is only one way in and out of this room, which is the wooden-like door on the front wall.
I didn’t notice it when I first woke up, but upon closer inspection, there are black stains on the floor from the door to the body (temporary) at my feet.
Did they crawl all the way here and run out of strength?
It seems like they were reaching out to me, but after thinking about it, they were probably reaching out towards the stone statue.
So, the corpse (temporary) and the statue are probably a religious object and its followers, such as priests or priestesses.
If that’s the case, is this a temple or a church?
(What do you think?)
“That possibility exists.”
I thought about it for a while, but there is no answer with the current situation.
I can’t help but feel overwhelmed by the various strange things that have happened.
(My guess is that there’s nothing, right?)
“Yes, no nanodevices were detected in this subject.”
Even if I hear that now, it’s too late to lose my composure.
As Mai said initially, an investigation is necessary.
I turn my attention to the only exit from this room, the door.
Leaving the body (temporary) behind and with determination in my heart, I begin to walk.
At that moment, I hear a faint but distinct scream.