“She was always the most worried and cautious one. For all that trouble, she was killed instantly by a bullet to the head. It’s really unfortunate. Remember, she was the only one to suggest postponing the Summer Festival at the Safety Council meeting,” Tomiko said quietly in a surprisingly calm voice. “I can’t remember feeling this much hatred for anything since that fiend, K. These despicable queerats, especially Yakomaru, are going to pay for what they’ve done. I vow to subject him to agony no living being has ever suffered as he dies a slow, protracted death.”
Then she gave a cheerful smile and started gathering members of the Ethics Committee for a conference.
Shisei Kaburagi called over the crowd, “Everyone, please remember your disaster response training. Form your groups of five and assess everyone’s health. If your group is missing members, join with another group. Never walk with less than five. …patrol the village in your groups and conduct a thorough search for any remaining queerats. Even if they claim to be loyal to humans and beg for their lives to be spared, kill them on sight. Be thorough, destroy their hearts or snap their necks to ensure death. Each member keeps watch in one direction, and make sure there are no blind spots above or below.”
Satoru took my arm. “Let’s go.”
“We’re the only two surviving members of our group from Sage Academy, so we have to join up with another incomplete group.”
“Yeah. What are you thinking about?”
“I don’t know. But my anxiety is gnawing away at me.”
He didn’t say more than that.
We quickly found three people and joined with them at Satoru’s suggestion. They were from the metallurgy plant. Fujita, the leader, was a middle-aged man, Kuramochi was a thirty-something year old man who was also a firefighter in his town, and Okano was a lady about two or three years older than us. One of their group members was in the hospital and hadn’t come to the festival, and the other had died from the poison gas attack. The three of them were full of grief and anger. Kuramochi showed signs of wanting to take revenge on the queerats, and Okano wept openly for the friends she had lost in the attack. Both were worried about their sick friend, so we headed to the hospital.