I can see a place that looks kind of like an abandoned workshop down along the Edo riverbank. The area is surrounded by silver grass, with the autumn breeze making the blades sway, each following its own pattern.
“This really feels like the end of Tokyo.”
“Well, it’s because Ichikawa lies on the other side of the river.” 1
The workshop-like building seems to have been in use until recently, as it is still in good condition.
A building had been built on a lot that might have been a parking lot before. From the outside it looks similar to a simple, square warehouse that appears to have been connected with big, white containers.
“I hear this is the place where Midori’s home workshop was.”
“Hee. Since you’ve said that she’s in medical measurement, I imagined it to be a more stylish building.”
“That’s none of your business!”
“Ah, Midori, long time no seeee!”
“Azusa sweetie, it’s great of you to visit. Let me ruffle your cute hair.”
Ms. Midori is a bespectacled beauty with clear-cut facial features, an impressive bob cut of uniform length, and her hair swept off her forehead into bangs flowing down the sides. These days my fate is linked to women with short hair, isn’t it?
Her white robe is somewhat clichéd. But I feel like I’ve seen her somewhere before…
“So, you said examination, but just what do you actually want to measure?”
“Well, about that, we’d like you to measure everything that can be measured, just as I said in my email.”
“What a very broad requirement…if it’s everything, it’ll cost a ton of money, you know? I really want to give you a discount, but we’re tight on cash, and might go bankrupt any day now.”
“Bankrupt, you say. Senpai, didn’t you get a loan?”
Hearing Miyoshi, Ms. Midori scowls at empty air, obviously awfully pissed off.
“Japan’s banks won’t lend you any money without any securities! And even if you get them to invest, it’s not like it’s any decent venture capital either!”
If a researcher also works as a manager, they get mentally worn down as they are forced to do various things they aren’t familiar with.
Fund-raising might be the extreme of that. Japan’s banks won’t lend any money to people without collateral.
“It sure builds up.”
After glancing at me, who blurted those words out unintentionally, she says to Miyoshi, “Azusa, that rude man is?”
“Ah, he’s the target of today’s scans.”
“I’m Yoshimura. Looking forward to working with you.”
“Naruse. You didn’t make a move on Azusa, did you?”
A-Aah, I got it! She resembles the JDA’s Ms. Naruse.
“Umm, it’s just a possibility, but do you possibly have a relative at the JDA──”
“You mean Miharu? She’s my older sister.”
Hearing that, it’s Miyoshi who raises her voice, “Eehh!? Ah, now that you mention it, I do feel like you resemble each other!”
Girl, you didn’t realize by now even though you know both of them so well!?
“Having said that, ever since I left school, we only meet each other at home for the end-of-year festivities, so she’s more like an acquaintance?”
“Acquaintance or whatever…”
I explain that she’s currently the full-time deputy chief of our party, and that we have received many favors from her.
“Hmm. The world sure is small.”
“So, I guess we’re going to immediately start the examination after signing the contract inside.”
“Please treat us well.”
“The scan will be for all data, the number of scans will be──”
“Thirty times for starters.”
“Thirty times!? …Listen, with that much it’ll cost roughly 60 million. You okay with that?”
“Will your company’s fundraising revive with this as well, senpai?”
“No way. There won’t be much left after paying for the reagents and the computer usage fee. But well, if you ask me whether I’m grateful that you’re testing as much as possible, I certainly am.”
It does cost a lot of money to do all that, doesn’t it? I try asking her out of curiosity against my better judgement, “However, supposing that you were to implement this, is there any demand for examinations that cost 2 million per run?”
“Now listen, normally no one does all types of scans, since it’s meaningless. Besides, the reason the examination expenses explode is because the demand is mostly limited to a small field. Such special examinations are done rarely, right?”
If you split development costs of 10,000 Yen across 10,000 people, it’s one Yen per person, but if there’s only one user, it means you can’t get back the original costs unless you get them to pay the whole 10,000 Yen, so I suppose there’s no way around it.
Rather, I’m surprised that there are ways for such examinations to be implemented as well.
“But then again, undoubtedly the biggest reason is──”
“──the existence of insurance companies.”
I spontaneously agree. A big cheer for an expensive medical fee system.
“Anyway, the payment for the examination costs isn’t an issue. Right, Miyoshi?”
“Yes, it’s no problem.”
“Does the company you work at make so much profit, Azusa?”
“No, this isn’t from a company…”
“Those will be Mr. Yoshimura’s and my own expenses.”
“Well, it’s something like research development costs.”
Hearing that, Ms. Midori reflexively turns an envious look at us, and while saying, “So Azusa, it was really the correct choice for you to not come to us. Haah, I’m jealous,” opens the door to the examination room.
It’s a small room with orderly grids densely drawn on the walls.
A futuristic pod is placed in its center. I’m made to sit down inside with just my briefs on.
“Because it’s a reference device, I will attach the various cables manually so that it’ll be easier to make adjustments.” Ms. Midori says, while pasting various sensors to my body.
It’ll very likely become much easier as a finished product with a fixed set of functions.
“Blood will be taken on each measurement run. It might sting a bit on your arm, but don’t mind it.”
“Can I have you tell me about your impressions of being measured later on?”
“I will write a report and hand it in.”
“That’ll be a big help. It won’t reduce the measuring fee, though.” Ms. Midori answers while laughing.
“Ah, please allow me to tell you about the timing for the measurements from my side.”
“Hmm? Yeah, that’s fine.”
“How do I signal you?”
“Sound is connected in here.”
After she exits the examination room, leaving me all alone in the pod, I secretly activate Making.
Name Yoshimura Keigo
Rank 1 / SP 1178.307
STR 14 (+)
VIT 15 (+)
INT 18 (+)
AGI 10 (+)
DEX 16 (+)
LUC 14 (+)
“Ah, moreover, please present the results always in the order of the measurements, okay?”
『A timestamp will be attached to the data, so that’s no problem.』
“Please start the first run then.”
『Okay. I’m beginning.』
I start to hear a mechanical sound similar to the buzzing of a CT scan moving, and immediately feel a prickling pain in my right arm, but as there’s no big stimulus or uncomfortable feeling besides that, I lie down sprawled while relaxing. And once several minutes have passed since the measurements began, I revise my stats further.
Name Yoshimura Keigo
Rank 1 / SP 1178.307 → 1176.307
HP 36.00 → 38.00
STR 14 (+) → 16
VIT 15 (+)
INT 18 (+)
AGI 10 (+)
DEX 16 (+)
LUC 14 (+)
First, I will start with STR. I intend to make it rise in units of 2 for the time being.
“Please start the next run.”
『Starting the second measurement run.』
And then, at the end of the 30th run, more than two hours had passed.
Name Yoshimura Keigo
Rank 1 / SP 1178.307 → 1118.307
HP 36.00 → 61
MP 33.00 → 52
STR 14 (+) → 24
VIT 15 (+) → 25
INT 18 (+) → 28
AGI 10 (+) → 20
DEX 16 (+) → 26
LUC 14 (+) → 24
“So, what’s your impression of being measured?”
“I will send you the report later, but probably because the blood was drawn from around the same area each time, it feels like the area will swell a bit, no matter how thin the needle might be.”
It kind of feels like being a drug addict.
“That’s because blood tests normally won’t be run thirty times in a row. Here, these are the examination results.” With those words, Ms. Midori hands a memory card to Miyoshi.
Miyoshi immediately plugs the card into her tablet, and starts checking the contents.
“Eh? The results are already available?”
“That’s one of our selling points, after all.” Ms. Midori proudly replies.
Even if it’s simple, being able to review the results before sending them to a lab might be effective in regards to reducing the workload of labs.
“So, was there any weird data?”
“No, the system automatically detecting problems from the physiological values didn’t spike ─ Nakajima.”
A man called Nakajima brings a bundle of papers from the table on the opposite side over.
To use paper nowadays, what an unusual guy.
“The physiological values didn’t have any extraordinary occurrences during the thirty runs. I don’t understand the meaning behind running the scan thirty times in the first place. Is it some kind of measurement accompanied by passage of time?”
“Ah, well, something like that.”
“However, the brain waves are a bit…”
“Yes. As the measurements advanced, the basic rhythm of the brain waves increased in frequency on the whole, albeit faintly.”
“Increased frequency? Not slowing down?” Midori confirms with a puzzled look. 2
“The frequency went up. The frequency of the brain waves depends on the level of the thalamus neuron’s membrane potential, but it feels as though the data input has increased at a level that isn’t comparable with the rising level of input through visional information when waking up.”
“Moreover, in accordance with the passage of time, the times where the frequency increased, can be separated into six stages.”
Six stages? Well, that means…
“Umm, I don’t really get what you’re saying.”
“This is not a place where you will hear medical science opinions. We are not doctors, so we can only talk about facts as they took place. Having said that…”
“It’s at the level where I wonder whether you might have some kind of mental disorder.”
“Level, you say…”
“Generally it often happens that the waves go non-REM, or in other words, slow down in their frequency, but you can’t unconditionally state that to be true either.”
“The waveforms are also different in cases of epilepsy.”
“The rest is nothing special worth mentioning… Ah! There’s something unrelated to physiological phenomena, though.”
“What is it?”
“How to put it…a strange fluctuation of the electromagnetic waves has been observed.”
“Electromagnetic waves? When did you observe something like that?”
“Well, since we were told to measure everything that can be measured, we measured it with the minimum grid of the room.”
“It’s not the influence of using your devices?”
“I believe that we have excluded those for the most part.”
“What’s that minimum grid?” I ask him.
“In this place, it’s a generic name for sensors that have been laid out inside the room at intervals of approximately three centimeters.”
“So, what kind of fluctuation was it?”
“I don’t know how to say it, but it’s as if a field of some kind of energy had been generated.”
“No idea. Maybe it’s what you call aura?” Nakajima laughed while saying those words, but that might have unexpectedly hit the core of the matter.
Miyoshi, who has been gazing at the numbers displayed on her tablet inside the train back home, suddenly lifts her face, and says, “Maybe the strengthening from dungeons is something like an exoskeleton?”
Sure, if only the punch power goes up, your fist should get hurt when you throw a super strong punch, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.
You can also consider that the cells were strengthened, but it’ll be difficult to explain the lack of a change to the physiological values with that. For example, thinking that your body is covered by some kind of field, and that this works like an exoskeleton, appears to make the explanation of the phenomena simple.
“There’s been almost no change to the physiological values. With this, saying that the cells were strengthened is a bit unreasonable.”
If an enhancement that seems to to double the output is carried out, it’s only logical for the energy consumption to double or the utilization efficiency to double, but if something like that happens to the body of a living being, it’d be far too weird for there to be no changes to the physiological values.
“Also, there was a change of brain waves, wasn’t there? Six stages, that’s definitely the number of stats.”
“Meaning, the body strengthening through monster killing is actually something like a mysterious field caused by the brain, kind of like ESP, huh?”
“Well, if we trust the measurements, it looks like you can explain it in such a way.” Miyoshi says, and dives into the sea of her thoughts once more.