Baito de Aku no Soshiki Volume 1
Part-Timing at Evil Organization
Author / Cherubim
Translated by: Aoitenshi
Chapter 4: School and Work Welcoming Ceremony
Both are equally important.
On April 1st at 3 pm, please be present at your nearest branch department.
Such was written on the pamphlet that I received previously.
And today is the D-day, April 1st.
It also coincides with the school entrance ceremony of the Ginshou Senior High School, the place where I will be commuting to for the next few years.
Silver Bell (銀鐘 — ginshou), the kanji sure is a pain to write1.
1 The two characters have 34 strokes in total.
It has been a week since the interview, and I have been passing each day consuming nothing but one rice ball, and water to drink.
There is pretty much nothing that humans cannot do when we try.
I have been doing several prep works during the last week.
First, I went to the municipal office in order to notify about my change of residence, but it appeared that the organization had completed the procedure for me.
On the way home, I stopped by a hardware store to buy a glass and other tableware, one item each.
It was troublesome when I had to drink without a glass on my first day, you know?
Afterwards, I greeted my neighbors. It was then when I knew that the apartment where I live was actually fully occupied when it was first built. But, it did not take even a week for all of them to start moving out.
According to the neighbors, there are rumors of ghosts haunting the apartment.
I did not see even one, though.
On this April 1st, seven in the morning, I get up and eat a bento that I purchased at a discount right when the supermarket was closing.
I brush my teeth and wash my face. Then, I confirm and arrange the things that I will need today in my bag. After all is done, I change into my uniform.
I look at myself in the washroom mirror.
My bed head stands tall, as if trying to reach the heavens above.
Although, the person has not even the shred of ambition to reach such heights. Well, since the hair will set itself, he needs not take the trouble.
And my face, nothing has changed. It would be troublesome if it has, actually.
But I should consider fixing my face if it turns horrible someday. Rather, I have to.
The uniform of Ginshou Academy is the typical black, with stand-up collar.
If I have to say about its trait, I guess it would be the buttons of the outer garment, which is silver in color.
Of course it is not made of real silver. Still, the color looks attractive in contrast with black. That is all.
Incidentally, the girls’ uniforms are white blazers, with the school badge embroidered on the left side of the chest in silver color.
After I finish changing, I saddle my bag and head to school right away.
Moderately designed, the buildings in this neighborhood are closely packed, giving a close impression of a shopping district. Lots of these shops are privately owned.
From this pseudo-shopping district, it takes me about five more minutes on foot to reach Ginshou High.
I have arrived early, but I can see others that are here earlier than me.
Everyone seems to be looking forward to their new lives. The smiles on their faces are dazzling.
One word immediately comes to mind when I look at the exterior of the school. “Huge”.
The building is symmetrical from left and right.
Having four stories, the left side of the building contains classrooms for the students.
While the other half to the right is where the laboratories and staff rooms are located.
In the center is a clock tower-like structure which serves as the entrance to the two sections.
It must be a place that commonly has the most traffic.
Ginshou High is the second biggest school in this area.
While it has graduated many students who got into reputable colleges and workforce, this school is not the prestigious type; just an ordinary school for public.
I enter the school gate and head for the building entrance without detours.
There is an exhibit wall at the entrance.
It displays a big ‘Congratulations’ text, followed by our class assignments pasted below it.
The classes are separated with alphabets.
From letter A, and ending with letter G; each class has 40 students, and is composed of 20-equal guys and girls.
Wow, there are 280 first-year students in total.
Although, it did not take long for me to find my name.
I am in class B.
From the clock tower, I head towards the first building and start climbing to the 4th floor.
That is where classrooms for the first-years are located.
By the way, the second-years’ are on the 3rd, and the third-years’ on the 2nd.
There is a reason for it.
With the oddly, many amounts of stairs, it will be easier to get to the 2nd floor than to the 3rd, and easier to the 3rd than the 4th.
And I reached the 4th floor.
I look to my left, searching for class B. In the long corridor, the classrooms start with class G, followed by F and E in sequence.
In other words, my class should be located on the right side.
When I look to the other side, I discover my classroom right away.
Entering it, I notice the blackboard. It has a piece of paper glued on it, which describes the seating arrangements along with our student numbers.
With the names sorted in Japanese Kana, I am sitting on desk number 3.
Thus, I take my own seat which is in the left part of the classroom, third row from the front.
Afterwards, I wait idly until the start of the opening ceremony.
Twenty minutes… I think. The bare classroom is now full with students. They are all already chatting and making their new cliques, or ones from their middle schools.
I was greeted by another student who is sitting near me, so we introduced ourselves to each other.
A man in his early thirties enters the room. Simultaneously, the students’ chatters are getting softer.
He has a tidy appearance, and his glasses really suit him. It seems he will be popular among the girls.
Although the girls are intending to talk in low volumes, I can still hear them clearly, 「 Waah, he’s so handsome! 」 and the like.
「 He looks hot in glasses~! 」
「 An enemy! All popular guys must die! 」
In the midst of the occasional dangerous remarks, the male teacher starts introducing himself.
「 Aah, quiet down, everyone. Starting from today, I am the homeroom teacher of this class. My name is Sugawa Masaki, it’s nice to meet you all. 」
Things progressed quickly under Sugawa-sensei’s guidance.
Lecturing about school regulations in simple sentences, asking everyone to make self-introductions; everything was completed in a blink of an eye with no time wasted.
Time passed regardless. Sugawa-sensei instructed us to line up according to our student numbers and head for the gymnasium.
So, we have been sitting on chairs in this gymnasium for around fifty minutes. Although everyone is looking upfront, their faces look really sleepy.
There were addresses from the vice-principal, from the student council, guests, so on and so forth. Our principal’s words of gratitude and blessings for our new lives as students are still continuing, in which I am not so thankful for.
There is… no one who is completely awake, it seems. Some are nodding their heads off, some have their eyes closed. There is also an extreme case where someone is snoring out loud.
It becomes a loop between students getting awakened by the teachers, before falling to sleep again.
Looking sideways, I notice Sugawa-sensei whispering to one of our sleeping male students.
Soon, he immediately jumps awake and sits up straight.
It seems there are others who are watching, too, since I can hear praising words from somewhere.
But, I wonder if I am seeing things. That guy who just woke up is letting out quite the amount of sweat. He looks to the front, but his face is really pale. His eyes are running about so fast to the extent that it amazes me.
Just what did Sugawa-sensei say to him? I am curious, but I will stop myself from asking.
While keeping an inexplicable fear against my teacher, the opening ceremony comes to a close.
We returned to our classroom, held an HR, and we were free to return home afterwards.
I was invited to a game center, but I declined because I have to go to my part-time job. I headed back home.
When I open the front door of my unit, I am getting the feeling that I can see a girl hanging upside down from the ceiling, glaring at me.
Regardless, I need to hurry to the company’s opening ceremony, so I pay it no mind. I take off my uniform and change into yesterday’s clothes.
「 KYAA!! 」 hearing that kind of sound, I see that the girl has disappeared.
My polluting thoughts are finally gone. I was worrying if I am suffering from daydreaming tendencies, but it is good to know that I can control it somehow.
However, I have actually been wearing the same clothes for several days now.
No, I am not those manga characters that own several clothes of the same motif.
I am wearing the very same clothes; the only piece I have. That is why I cannot just wash it.
A coin laundry, you say? The content of my purse does not even exceed 200 yen.
At first, I tried wearing only a towel, insisting that it was MY clothes, but it was plain impossible.
There is a washing machine here. But it had been raining every day, until yesterday.
In the end, I doubt it would have dried enough for me to wear again for today.
Deciding to do my laundry as soon as I reach home later, I head out with the welcoming ceremony pamphlet in one hand.2
2 Tthere was a T/L error in the previous chapter (and fixed).
My destination is a public park near the apartment, named Fureai Park. It is a small park with the typical playing equipment, from a jungle gym to a swing, from a sand pit to a bench.
Specifically, I need to go to its public toilet. No, I am not here for business.
You are right, that is where a hidden entrance is located.
There is no one in the park.
However, it is not due to reports of perverts being sighted around the area.
Rather, children and seniors from this neighborhood choose to gather at another public park that is a little farther, but larger in size and with better facilities.
And so, I enter the male toilet of this empty park.
It is said in the pamphlet that I can enter from either side, but I do not want to get caught doing the strange yet courageous act.
Entering the toilet, I see on my right is for small business, and on my left is for big business.
Going further inside, the tiles on the wall are clean despite the place being a public toilet. Counting the third column from the right, fifteenth row from the bottom, I push the tile as designated.
The tile indented for about three centimeters. And, a separate tile that is two spaces to its left opens up like a locker.
There appears buttons where I have to input the passcode.
As guided by the pamphlet, I inputted the 12-digit passcode, one number at a time. The passcode itself is really obscure, written on separate pages.
The tile closes, and the whole wall slides vertically to the bottom, revealing a hidden stairs to the basement.
The gap is just enough for one person to pass through. Two people will get stuck if they try to walk side by side in here.
I go down four steps, and *whirr*, the wall behind me gradually rises and closes completely.
But since the place is well-lit, there is no problem for me to walk.
The stairs continue downward.
Walking down for who knows how many steps, I arrive at a wide space.
It is a rectangular platform, with a yellow line stretching before a big gap.
There is a single tube of metal fixed below in the middle. It looks like a monorail, and the width of the gap itself is big enough for a train to pass through.
From the ceiling hangs a signboard, which writes ‘Fureai Park Public Toilet’.
Just like a subway station.
I turn around, and I see that above the stairs where I just climbed down, there is a male toilet sign.
To the right, there is a different set of stairs, but with a female toilet sign posted above it instead.
The female toilet most likely has the same mechanism.
The signs are so misleading that people might believe these stairs lead to the toilets.
Well, I guess they do connect to real toilets.
Looking to the left, I see a pedestal-like object that one would usually find in the museums. You know, the one that gives you explanations on the exhibition. The button placed on top of it seems to be the trigger for it to start.
Although after I take a closer look, there is a text saying that it is a monorail stop button.
Perhaps, to make the monorail stop at this station.
Like the button attached on buses, only this one works the opposite way.
It was about one minute after I pressed the button. When I noticed there was light coming from the dark tunnel to my right, the source of the illumination has already stopped in front of me.
There was no sound at all during that whole instant.
The silence simply makes me think there is an entirely different level of technology at work here.
What appears in front of me is black and sleek; its design is similar to a bullet train, but a bit more angular.
*pssh*, the door slides open as if telling me to enter, in which I do right away.
In contrast with the outer appearance, the inside resembles a common train.
Long benches, racks for luggage above, and there are strap handles, too.
It is perfectly the interior of a train.
There is a TV screen above the entrance where I just entered, and another above the opposite door.
It seems to be displaying the routes and stations. I can see the words “Fureai Park Public Toilet” flashing on it.
That must be how it displays the current location.
In a monorail with no windows, this is surely an important thing to have.
After taking another look around, I also notice that I am the only one riding this one vehicle.
Pssh, the monorail shakes lightly according to the law of inertia when the door closes, but it is not to the extent that it makes me stumble.
And so, the monorail departs to the Antares Headquarters.
Five minutes have passed since I take a seat at the nearest bench.
Emitting a ringing sound, the screens above the entrances that are displaying the stations and routes now have the words “Headquarters” flashing.
The door opens.
I arrive at a place that looks close to an interchange station.
Looking around, I spot many things that are alike.
There are stairs and elevators, in which I choose to climb the stairs. I tread upon an overhead bridge that connects to all of the platforms here.
From the ceiling, on the walls, there are various information on directions and such.
And so, I follow the signboards that are showing the way to the headquarters as my guide.
I walk until I reach a wide place. That is, if I need to describe it, like a mix between ticket gates at stations and boarding gates in airports.
There, I can hear the hustle and bustle coming from across the gates.
There are many gate kind-of things here; actually, too many to count. As for the width, two people might be able to enter at the same time. And the height, it should be all right as long as no one here is taller than 2 meters.
I can see people in twos and threes around me wearing casuals.
Everyone is entering the gates, one person at a time.
I, too, join in the flow and go through one of the gates.
As soon as I enter, suddenly, there are door shutters shutting down on me.
I am trapped, and it is pitch dark.
Okay, what is going to happen now?
There is a sound like some robotic arm movements, which I often hear on the TV.
With my eyes still not used to the darkness, there is something else covering them now.
But, it leaves my eyes open.
An eye mask would usually use cloth or the like to keep the eyes closed, so this must not be it.
「 Retina identification complete. Switching over to voice print check. Your name, please. 」
The mechanical synthesized voice is asking me for my name.
「 Ah, um, I am Aokura Arihisa. 」
「 Voice print check complete. Newly-Recruited Part-Time Combatant, Mr. Aokura Arihisa-sama, confirmed. Arihisa-sama, please head towards the locker room designated for combatants and leave your belongings in Locker No. 59603. Promptly change into your combatant suits and proceed to the speech hall. 」
At the same time, a three-dimensional map appears in front of me. It shows how to reach the locker room from here, and the speech hall afterwards with arrow symbols.
This is really easy to understand.
Again with the machinery sound, this time the map is drifting away from my sight.
When I thought that it is getting dark again, the partition in front of me starts to open.
Because my eyes have been trying to get used to the darkness, the light is extremely dazzling to me.
And as I accustom myself to the brightness, things come to view.
I have already seen the map in 3D, but seeing the real thing gives a different impression.
It is wide, really wide. This room alone is capable to hold entire residents of a town.
Also, there are many compartments in this room: R&D ward, construction ward, training grounds, napping ward; this wideness is how it ends up because of the many sections it has.
The place in the back is partitioned in an even greater variety, too many that I lost count.
What I am observing now is the number of people walking to and fro, particularly their attires.
To be exact, they are in black or white.
By no means I am talking about a board game, nor is it about zebras that I saw in a movie somewhere. But, they are in black or white.
You are right, while there is one person wearing everything in white, there is another person beside him wearing everything in black instead.
Such are the colors of the clothes worn by these people.
The white group; regardless of their gender, all of them are wearing long coats (the researcher ones) and white uniforms.
The black group; they are wearing skin suits accentuating their body lines, along with armor parts on their waists and chests, shoulders and arms.
They have helmets as well, but they are currently dangling behind their neck like the hood of a parka.
It seems that these people in black are the combatants.
From what I see, there are no women among the group.
Well, I do not think that I want to see girls getting injured during a combat, so it might be a good thing to know.
Alright, I should head to the locker room.
And here I am, the locker room.
But…… can I say something first?
「 Do we even need all these lockers?! 」
It seems that my assigned number being 59603 was not a joke.
In the first place, there is no meaning for a machine to joke around.
「 This is my first time witnessing a locker room where I can’t see the wall on the opposite side. 」
One row has 100 lockers each, but I cannot spot the end of it.
Following the provided directions and the numbers attached on the side of the lockers it took me two minutes while half-running, before I finally locate the locker bearing the number 59600.
Proceeding into the row, I reach locker #59603. Its size is no different than those in schools.
The only difference is, the fact that this one has a fingerprint authentication system on it.
There is an outline showing the shape of a right hand on the glass pane, and so I touch it.
A red line shines horizontally on the pane, moving from top to bottom, and kshaa, it makes a sound.
I wonder, how did they take my fingerprint and retina scan during the interview?
Such is my line of thought when the locker door opens.
What I find inside is the black full body suit that I saw earlier, plus the armor parts and a helmet-like sturdy full-face mask.
I take off everything except for my T-shirt and trunks, then first, I wear the black full body suit.
It is the type with a zipper starting from the neck down to around the stomach area, like a riding suit.
I pull the zipper all the way up to my neck.
Now this is really scary, it is a perfect fit. There is no discomfort at all.
They never asked me about my body measurements during the interview.
I wear the armor parts, beginning from my feet.
First, I attach the shoes-like things, then I equip the leg armors.
Next, I wear the waist armor. It is going to protect my important organs, so I give extra attention to it.
After the chest parts and shoulders, there is only the mask left.
There is a fastener on the back of the body suit (at the neck area), and its pair on the back part of the mask.
The body suit is highly elastic on that part, it retracts to its original shape as soon as I release my pull.
With that feature, the mask can be attached to the fastener that is fixed in that area.
Well then, I need to hurry to the speech hall or I will be late.
Confirming that I have stored my removed clothes and valuables inside the locker, I close the door.
And so, I go to join the group of black and white.
En route, I saw other people similarly changing into their body suits.
One person was only in his trunk, one was currently attaching his chest armor. There was one that had finished changing, while another was wholly naked.
I keep looking out for the direction markers while walking along with the groups. After ten minutes, we all arrive at the speech hall.
There are numerous doors. It seemed like everyone was going in as they wished, but then I notice the signs above the doors.
The left side is for the Executives and Leaders. The right side is for combatants in active service and researchers.
Since ‘active service’ is specified, there must be those that are retired, too.
I hope the majority of them are retired due to normal reasons.
And the main point, the new recruits—both part-time and full-time—are guided to the doors in the center.
…… This arrangement gives me a bad feeling. Perhaps in the case that some of the new recruits, or all are actually spies, we will be subdued with a pincer attack in no time.
It is dark inside the hall.
Although when I look below, there is a fluorescent line guiding our way.
Following the direction, I come across a group of people standing at ease.
I notice there are letters at my feet, telling us to stand at ease.
And so I take the same posture with those around me.
These guys are most likely the new combatants, either they are part-time like me, or full-time employees.
Little by little, the place is getting rowdy. I can sense more and people standing to my right and behind me.
I wonder how much time has passed as I stand here in the dark, with the only illumination being the fluorescent line below.
Just when I start to go mad from this impatience, I hear the ringing sound from a microphone.
「 It seems all of the new recruits are here. So… 」
Clack, lightings shine upon a much higher place than us, revealing a man who is standing at an altar-like structure.
「 So bright… ahem. So, we shall commence our welcoming ceremony. 」
Declares the man on the platform.
His face is hidden by a mask, but he seems tall. He has a good build, and his long hair is red in color.
And most importantly, the majesty that he emits clearly shows that he is the one who stands above the rest.
All of the recruits are aware of it.
That person is the head of this organization, of Antares.
「 Hey, don’t you think the lightings are too strong? It’s hot, and it’s too bright. 」
Despite the small amount of stupidity that he is giving right now.
The lightings are reduced somewhat. The shadows that were clearly defined before are getting dim, which increases the eeriness of the place.
「 Well then, I am the Chief of this organization. 」
I guessed it right.
「 I have a few things to say to you first. Welcome to Antares, you shall work and endeavor to bring terror, chaos, and destruction to people. 」
After that, he uses a little while to explain about the resolution necessary as a combatant.
To sum it up, a combatant will be resented even by strangers, and there are times when we will have to wage our lives.
「 If it is only to the extent of injuries or bone fractures, our medical technology is able to heal you faster as we are more advanced than the general hospitals. Therefore, I want you to do your best not to die. 」
I do not know whether his last sentence was for consolation or encouragement.
「 Moving on, I shall introduce the Four Executives that represent our organization, Antares. 」
As he said that, from a lower place than the altar, four separate lightings shine towards us.
It is too bright. While we were able to see the Chief clearly, the way the Four Executives are standing make it so that only their silhouettes are visible to us.
I look at their outlines starting from the left. The first one looks like a human, but with hairlike things protruding all over.
The next silhouette has two pairs of claws as his limbs, and I can see a pair of wings on his back, or something like it.
Next is, how do I say describe it… a man with feelers? Tentacles?
The last one on the rightmost is human-shaped. She is the one who delivered us an address a few minutes earlier.
「 On behalf of the Executives, I am Siren. 」
Her voice was that of a young woman. Although, I feel that I have heard her voice somewhere before.
「 I would like to add to Chief’s address earlier. Combatants, you are currently designated only by your numbers. Therefore, if any of you desire to be called by an alias like us, please endeavor to rise through the ranks and become a Leader class. That is all. 」
She returned to her position after saying that.
What she meant is perhaps, to tell us to work like mad until we climb up in rank if we do not want to be called by mere numbers? I wonder.
Why am I interpreting her speech this way? Although she had been talking politely, is it because of the coercive feeling that I feel she included behind her words?
Although she is the one with the most human-looking silhouette, she ended up becoming the eeriest one of them all due to her address.
All spotlights except for those illuminating the Chief went out.
「 With the greetings over, gentlemen! You have now become Antares’s combatants. 」
Everyone is now focusing their view on the Chief again.
「 Combatants, please wear your masks. 」
I heard a voice from the Executives.
Sounds start to resound through the hall.
I, too, wear mask that has been dangling around my neck.
When I do, black fibers or something similar to it starts to flow from the neck area, continuing to wrap my whole body.
Parts of the suits covering my body, but not by armor parts are now perfectly coated with the thin skin.
Since the mask only had a V-shaped hole, I imagined that my vision would get confined.
But the moment I wear it, I can see a black screen (a tempered glass, I think) and activation letters written on it.
It then starts displaying texts about activating carbon coating as a defense mechanism to my whole body, some power boost, and a notice about a voice changer being set in motion. After the texts disappear, I can see normally as if I never wear the mask was not there to begin with.
Looking around, everyone now looks identical.
There are yellow lights shining from the area around their eyes.
In a place with a little illumination, all the combatants give off a spectacle.
It is eerie to see all these yellow pupils shining from the darkness.
「 We are evil. We are feared, and people always wish for us to be destroyed. 」
Following the Chief’s chants, everyone around me starts to let out their roars.
「 But can the evil perish? No, that is impossible! 」
「 And why? Because we are here! We are the evil! We are the incarnation of terror! Yes, we Antares shall become the darkness covering the whole world! 」
A war cry, the loudest one that I have ever heard.
Having failed to receive the same exhilaration, I try to let out my own voice.
「 Oooh. 」(Um, )
What? My voice has changed. Aah, what was meant by ‘voice changer’ seems to be a tool to change my whole speech into “Ooh” instead.
The welcoming ceremony came to a close while enveloped in a bizarre enthusiasm.
As one who did not reach the same excitement, I am fatigued in a different sense.
We were then instructed to wear the mask, always, unless told otherwise.
Of course, like when eating or going to the toilet.
After a while, we were told to disband and return home. Slipping by the still excited combatants, I return to the locker room.
I head towards locker #59603 directly. Although, when I was going to give my handprint, the mask lets out infrared rays-like thing from around the eyes. The system accepts the authentication and the door opens.
I finished changing and close the locker door. *whirr* *whirr*
Having lost the will to mind about it, I tread the path where I came from, ride in the monorail, and return to Fureai Park.
At the apartment stairs, I feel that my ankle is being grabbed a few times, then I enter my own room.
Inside, there is a woman—half of it—sprouting from the wall, glaring at me.
I lament the fact my delusions are still going strong, even in my fatigue, as I enter the bathroom to sleep (on the floor).
Well, starting from tomorrow, I will give it my best.