"We've studied the best we can on how Artificial manipulates the memories of all those that live here. Apparently, it specifically targets humans.
Whether it be from brainwaves or something else, we don't know yet. The other living creatures, the animals, are affected only mildly.
It might be that compared to humans, manipulation of their memories are not as vital since they move more along the lines of instincts.
No doubt, if Artificial was somehow made, it was made with the mind of holding human beings or at least beings of high sentience."
"But those that broke away, the reason was because of this;"
Senpai showed me images of what looks to be a snake like microbe.
"What... what is this?"
"This is the virus that inhabits our bodies, and what caused what happened to us."
My jaw dropped as I looked through the images.
"We call it a virus, but actually it is more of a parasite.
It is a living creature; thus, it can evade Artificial, but it isn't something that could actually be classified as living or sentient.
When it enters the body of its host, it bonds itself to the bloodstream and restructures the inside of their body.
Changing the organs and the internal structure of that person into...err...something different from a normal human."
"And by doing this, the infected person eventually drops off Artificial's senses.
They will no longer be manipulated by Artificial, their thoughts become contradictory and they finally break free." He explained.
"You're telling me this..., this thing is inside all of us?! Inside of me?!" I cried out in fear.
"...yes." Senpai replied.
This thing is inside my body. It mutated me and now...
"How do we get rid of it?"
"I said, how do we get rid of it!?" I cried as I leapt out of my seat.
Everyone was silent. They all looked away, trying to avoid my gaze.
"You can't..." The President said coldly.
"WHY!?" I demanded as I stared into his frightening eyes. I was sweating profusely, as I awaited an explanation.
"The virus... it is impossible to get rid of is because it is what's keeping us alive." Senpai explained.
I was in shock. My mind was blank as I slowly stepped back.
As I nearly fell over, Hideyoshi quickly caught me.
"Are you okay?" He asked with concern.
I did not respond. Trying to process everything they just told me. This thing is inside my body..., I'm... I'm...
"Senpai, Prez, I think that's enough! Throwing all of this at her, it's just too much to handle all at once!"
"No...!" I protested as I pushed him away and got back up on my feet. "Tell me! Tell me more about this virus! Tell me more about what happens to those who become infected!"
"Hmm... Well, that's really all we can say. The virus isn't contagious and how it chooses its host is a mystery.
Our original theory was that this was what helped us escape from Artificial's grasp, until we found you." Senpai said.
My stomach felt like it was in knots, as I await his further explanation.
"You broke away despite not being infected. It should have been impossible, yet you did. I tried to scan your body, but I did not find any notable differences.
You are the same as us, but at the same time you are not. Um... I'm not sure how to say it..."
"You have my x-rays, don't you? Show me."
"Eh? You don't really need... I mean..."
"SHOW ME!" I demanded.
Senpai hesitantly brought out my x-rays. As I looked at them, even I could tell, something was strange. All my x-rays were similar yet different from theirs. It was even more of a mess.
"Don't take it the wrong way! It might be a little different, but your body is functioning just the same-"
"Monster..." I mumbled. "We're... I'm a monster..."
"Whoa, hey now! Let's take a little step back. Nobody is saying that, it's just...well..."
"Well what? Is it not true? If we're not humans any more, then what are we?" Anger swelled inside me. They were dancing around the topic, yet I already know what was in their mind.
From my eyes and theirs, there was no doubt we can only be viewed as abominations.
"Maybe superhumans would be a better term." The president suddenly replied.
I turned my head to him. His eyes glared at me, but this time I did not feel scared. I could instead only feel anger, as if I had just heard something ridiculous.
"You're kidding me." I said with utter contempt.
"Because of the virus, our body has become much more durable. Light wounds, bruises, they are healed almost instantaneously.
Even certain fatal blows that would otherwise kill normal humans could be survived by us. You might not really feel it yet, but strength, stamina, speed.
All of those have been increased drastically for you." The president explained to me. "Although at a price."
I clutched my fist.
"And that is?"
"Kenjirou, you didn't have to bring that up. I was hoping to avoid it."
"Tell her Mitsuhide."
"Haa... as Kenjirou said, the virus does seem to give us increased abilities. But at the same time, for the virus to fully function, it requires a... um... a terminus of sort.
Basically, a place where it can reside. And usually, that ends up being..."
"A part of our body." Hideyoshi interjected. "It takes a part of our body, destroying its functions to add its own."
"Tsk..." Senpai clicked his tongue. "A part, my ass."
I slowly slumped back into the chair. My head hurts as I try to process all this information. It was all such... nonsense.
"And how do I know that anything you say is true? How do I know this isn't some elaborate prank by a bunch of crazies?" I said as I cover my hand over my face.
"Prank?! Are you serious? You think we're doing all of this for laughs?" Mitsuhide-senpai replied angrily.
"And didn't you just said that you didn't doubt what we were saying was the truth?! What the hell are you-?"
"Mitsuhide, calm down."
He immediately backed down at the president's request.
I sat there in silence. It was a stupid thing to say yet, I did not know what else to say anymore. I knew none of this was a lie, none of this was a prank.
But at the same time, I also didn't know what else to think.
"I'm leaving." I quickly picked myself up and turned towards the door.
"Where are you going?"
I did not respond. I just want to leave.
"Takatora, I hope we can see you later. Please consider our offer to join the club." The president said to me as I was about to open the door.
I froze. There were so many things in my head. So many things I want to say. So many emotions all bottled up. And each one of them were only;
"You're all crazy. All the things you just said, all of this. It's just... insanity." I blurted out without even turning around.
"Hey, the hell are you trying to say?" Senpai asked angrily.
"No, I will not stand for this. We told her everything we knew, risked our lives to save her and this is how she responds? This is why, you god damn kids..."
"Senpai, don't do this." I heard Hideyoshi plead.
I turn back to look at him. A sudden feeling of rage swelled up within me.
"I didn't ask you to save me."
"Oh ho! You're really going down this route? Well, let me tell you what, Ryuuko;"
"Don't call me that. I don't know you." I spat.
"You can run and cry all you want, it changes nothing Ryuuko." He continued, ignoring me. "We're extending our hands to you because we're the only ones left to give a crap.
Nobody else in this damn world is going to even glance at you, not even that so called friend of yours. And know this;"
"SENPAI NO!" Hideyoshi cried out in protest.
"It was all because of you that the virus in our body has been mutated even further. Calling us monsters, but you'r-"
I immediately grabbed the phone from the table and threw it on the ground, smashing it.
The room was then silent. I felt everybody staring at me in shock, their gaze piercing my body, yet I could only feel nothing but uncontrollable rage.
I swung open the club door and ran away as fast as I could.