Chapter 17 – Asphyxiation
The mutated screams reflected on the surveillance cameras were deafening.
It’s thrilling to see the scary guy who made my life come and go every time he appears.
Overwhelming physical strength and a large size for it. Is it because you have a lot of breathing? It was the variants that were hit first in the ‘suffocation operation’.
I squeezed my strength and let out a roar of rage as usual.
It just makes the voices that can be raised later become smaller.
Do you take out your anger by destroying the surrounding property?
It only weakens by doubling it. After bending (and failing to break!) A roadside tree, the mutant sat down on the ground.
His chest jumped as if he had been through an intense workout, but nothing would go into his lungs.
I adjusted the pad to zoom in on his face.
The originally ugly face was horribly distorted.
“Yes, yes, suffer a lot, you damn bastard.”
He said while eating in the lower control room, which he had become accustomed to by now. Food is preserved food.
Emergency food is stocked in the control room in preparation for bulkhead blockade in case of an emergency.
“It’s fortunate that they breathe like we do, like Earth creatures.”
The menus are monotonous like preserved food, but the appearance of the mutant writhing in agony was the best side dish in itself.
Infestations of less than human size are quite insensitive, if not completely unaware of pain.
On the other hand, the variant clearly showed reactions such as pain or anger, whether it had a more sophisticated biocomposition to match its athletic ability.
If you compromise a lot, you can barely look at it as a member of the ‘ecosystem’.
“Then why are you breathing? I thought it was something like an alien creature, so it wouldn’t budge even if I threw it into outer space.”
[There can be several hypotheses, but the most plausible one would be ‘using the biomechanism of the indigenous organism to be infected’, right? The many extreme mutations we’ve seen, that alone makes no sense. But even the system that maintains the metabolism and supplies energy to the muscles is completely redesigned? Without using the convenient method of breathing? That would already be the realm of fantasy rather than science.]
“Is it different from the zombies in zombie movies?”
[In a sense, zombies are more unscientific than infectious agents. Muscles that function without oxygen supply, unlimited power, homeostasis that is maintained even though vital activity has stopped. These are completely inexplicable.]
In a glimpse of the video, the mutant is now almost dying. He flinched as he grabbed his neck, and foam came out of his mouth.
[Besides, breathing is a power generation device that is more efficient than you can imagine. The higher you go, the difference between breathing and non-breathing is the difference between a generator and a campfire. Even beings born in a faraway universe couldn’t resist the temptation of that sweet energy in the process of evolution?]
To be honest, it was the first time I knew that the act of breathing was so great biologically. I was just a technician and soldier. I don’t know about biology.
6 hours 12 minutes 5 seconds.
It is the time counted on the glanced status board.
6 hours 12 minutes 6 seconds.
6 hours 12 minutes 7 seconds.
6 hours 12 minutes 8 seconds.
Each second was counted anew. That is the elapsed time since the start of the choking operation.
Air removal command in the shelter. Now, six hours after the opening, only a handful remained.
[In the end, there were no survivors. I’m sorry.]
Rose said, handing over coffee through the serving robot.
[I can not help it.]
With Artemis’ thorough training, it is sugar-free and creamy.
As Rose said, the broadcast was carried out for two days, but no survivors could be found, and the operation had to be carried out as scheduled.
Even so, it’s the same that my hand is shaking when I try to press the approve button. I checked again and again before.
‘The broadcasts must have continued every two minutes, right?’
‘What is the communication record within 72 hours?’
‘Which car was started?’
‘Changes in power use?’
[Launching. If a survivor locked in a dwelling house had only opened the refrigerator once, I would have been able to locate it instantly. Other than that, cameras and fire detectors are all over the place. Even the sewer we walked through.]
I needlessly ask Artemis, who must have already verified the surveillance data tens of thousands of times.
But she didn’t bother at all.
[No matter how huge it is, if there was a living person in this closed place, it would surely leave a small crumb and it can’t escape my eyes.]
After that, I asked a few more meaningless questions, but she patiently rebuked me.
In the end, I had no choice but to approve the order to start the exhaust system. That was 6 hours ago
[There is no chance that there will be survivors, one in a million. You don’t have to feel pressured by this task.]
Rose comforted me.
Black liquid dripped from the coffee cup in my hand.
Rather, if this was a sweet drink, I would have been drunk with the sweetness and passed it over happily, but the bitter taste and awakening effect only remind me of the weight of a cold sense of responsibility.
Oh, but there was one harvest. It would be more accurate to call it capture rather than harvest.
There were 4 dogs where my eyes were directed. The breed is Shepherd, all dogs brought in as guard dogs.
In a gun-free closed city, guard dogs are a great control tool. Some people fear beast fangs more than batons.
Originally, there were more than 30 of them, but all died or became infected and only 4 remained.
In fact, I was very lucky to have been able to rescue them.
After securing control, in the process of Artemis thoroughly examining all surveillance records, traces were found little by little.
At one point they were presumed dead as they were no longer found, but a two-day broadcast pulled the dogs outside.
When a human voice resounded in the shelter full of screams and silence of the infected for the first time in a long time, did they think they had come to pick them up?
The guys caught on camera were haggard and skinny. I was gasping for breath because of the lowered air density.
After luring them in with food in a cargo drone and trapping them, I had to go through a lot of trouble moving them to this place.
Would it be cruel to say that it was fortunate that the dogs were so weak that they couldn’t resist being trapped by drones?
Now, the guys have recovered their stamina to some extent, and they are not frightened. In his black eyes, he sees the end of happiness slowly returning.
The dog that appears to be the leader of the 4 dogs was wearing a collar named ‘Rex’. They all survived because of Rex’s excellent leadership and judgment.
Our new family of four was under Artemis’ direction in the corner of the control room.
“Heh heh heh.”
“Heh heh heh.”
Dogs are immovable.
Then, a hologram was created in front of the dogs.
The dogs barked at the sudden appearance of the hologram, but soon calmed down after realizing that it was not a threat.
The hologram was of a dog standing up.
The hologram turned into a sitting dog.
Seeing that, Rex sat down, but the other three were still standing.
The serving robot brought jerky and gave it only to Rex.
“Heh heh heh.”
The one that enjoyed it sat down and waited patiently, while the other three looked at it with envy.
[Whoops, do you guys want to eat too?]
The hologram changed back to the figure of a standing puppy.
At the same time that the hologram changed to a sitting dog, three other dogs also sat down. Passing beef jerky given in front of them.
[Exactly, stupid mammals.]
The hologram returned to Artemis’ face. It’s a look of satisfaction.
“Heh heh heh.”
Her puppies, devouring her mouthful of jerky, stick out their tongues at her.
[I have 3714 pages of material on dog training. Hmm, this is usable and this is fine too. Except for this… Alright! I’ll have to make a program to educate these idiots. It’s more fun than you think to tame and control living creatures, isn’t it?]
Was it my imagination that Artemis’ eyes seemed to glow?
She assigned the dogs an area right next to the bathroom.
She did little to upset her, since she was already a pup who had been trained to live with humans, including toileting.
There is also the fact that Artemis’ discipline and command method are excellent.
Her dogs were quickly accepted as she was educating by showing her movements through a dog-shaped hologram.
Rose, who was observing next to me, said.
She “Didn’t seem like the type to like dogs.”
[Order is a good thing. Her education and control are excellent. The closed cycle must be controlled under strict order and discipline.]
The serving robot brought a plastic glove.
[Could you wear those gloves?]
She put on her gloves as she requested.
[Those dogs are guard dogs. Basically, they obey the person who raises them and feeds them.]
“Because they are animals that live in groups according to their ranks.”
[But you are the administrator of this place. I can’t always take care of those children.]
“I’m the only resident, and Artemis is doing all the shelter management, so it’s not particularly busy.”
[This is a formal story.]
When I put the whole grain biscuit in my mouth, the savory texture filled my mouth. I thought about throwing one to the dogs, but I gave up. Artemis would hate it for interfering with a carefully structured educational program.
[No matter how much you can’t take care of those children yourself, you’re the manager of this place. It should not be perceived as a stranger. It is against the operational order.]
“So what? No matter how much I tell the puppies, ‘I’m the tallest person here,’ they will wag their tails at the person who feeds them.”
[The dog is loyal and clever, but also stupid. I am well deceived. We will cultivate the sweat, body odor, and oil that permeated the plastic gloves worn by the manager.]
Her words piqued my interest.
[When the shelter is normalized, it will be bred through guard robots, and the cultured extract will be sprayed on the robots. Then, those children will perceive you as similar to the person who feeds and nurtures them. Even if you don’t fully identify with it, at least you won’t be hostile.]
“Is that possible? In the experiment video I saw before, even when strangers approached wearing the owner’s coat, they recognized everyone and barked.”
[Because the experiment was too lax. There must be the experimenter’s own body odor to cover with the owner’s smell alone, and dogs smell a lot of different smells. It wasn’t an experiment that controlled them all.]
“Well, that’s right.”
[You can take off your gloves now.]
Following the instructions, the serving robot retrieved the plastic gloves.
“I can’t wait to get back with those dogs.”
There is a large park in the upper VIP living area. I’m sure these guys will like it too.
I turned my gaze to the monitor and saw a fallen anomaly. The guy didn’t move anymore.
It would be foolishly fooled.