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Shoot Up and Loot Up[]

During the late 1990s, a new era of gaming shone over the horizon. With the recent release of the N64, video games were becoming more prominent in human culture and the hearts of children. However, in 1997, a new console by the name of “The HyperCube” was released in Japan. It seemingly came out of nowhere, as there wasn’t a word or whisper about the production before it was released; yet it only took hours of them being on shelves for it to send people rushing into stores. Not only this, but the HyperCube’s release also came with the first and last video game for the HyperCube.

The game’s name roughly translates to “Shoot Up and Loot Up” in English. The game consists of 128 levels of shooting your way through the pixelated maps and enemies of the game. As you go through levels, you would unlock new weapons and armour, as you face new challenges and tougher foes. There was no real plot to the game, but that did not stop the game from exceeding. The most astounding part, however, was the sheer technological magnitude of the game.

The game had 28 hours of gameplay, 100GB of storage required for it and copious amounts of detail and features. The HyperCube, however, was the real powerhouse. It had 32GB of RAM, 500GB available for the hard drive and an extremely powerful processor. It would have been the next stage of evolution for games confined to the screen. It would have.

After a mere three days of the HyperCube’s release, it immediately came crashing down. Every single console and copy of “Shoot Up and Loot Up” were taken by authorities. Every copy and console were either burnt or disposed of in an effective manner. Vora, the company that made the game, inevitably went bankrupt. It is unknown if ignorant folk still hide their copies, and it is unlikely that we will ever find out. The only thing known is that Japan vowed to never speak of it again.

Yet, the true horror is not about anything scary inside the game. Nothing disturbing or supernatural was ever contained in the game. The true horror was how the game was made. What living, breathing, thinking human beings had to be put through to bring such a powerful machine to life. What lives were taken in the name of such a robust invention. What methods of production that were so horrid, it caused the game and console to be banned and destroyed. To explain it all in a flash would not do the victims justice or respect. So, we must go from the beginning.

Earlier in the year 1997, Tashiro Yuji was conjuring his thoughts in the dim light of his office. As the CEO of Vora, he knew he needed to try something different. While Vora’s toy sales had made it a company of greatness, to Tashiro it wasn’t great enough. He craved more. He wanted to start a revolution. He wanted his name stamped everywhere. He wanted to create something beyond the expectations of a god. But how?

His mind began to spark and fizzle. He began to remember. Last year, the N64 was released. Video games had reconstructed entertainment. What if he revolutionized video games? The magnets began to click together, and he knew what he had to do. But he needed to know more first. Through weeks of balancing research with his duties, he learnt what was essential for his plan.

He theorised that certain metals and minerals could act as more effective parts of a computer. He believed that the RAM, HHD and CPU could all vastly be improved with these new ingredients, along with the ROM data of a cartridge. Yet, these minerals were both very rare, expensive and hard to acquire. They were most common in the mountainous areas of Japan and were thought to be unimportant, only used for purposes such as jewellery. The amount that Tashiro could buy would not be enough to be sustainable for his plans, not to mention it all being very expensive. If he wanted these minerals, he would need to get these resources directly from the earth.

At that point, his brainstorming came to a block. He was already confident with the way that he planned the production to play out, but after this discovery, his plan began to show its cracks. If he tried to hire a mine to get the minerals himself, it would financially burden Vora if it did not work. Tashiro was very sensitive about the stability of Vora and if he spilt the glass of milk that was Vora’s money, Tashiro sure as hell would have cried over it. Most people in Tashiro’s shoes would have scrapped the idea and moved on, yet Tashiro wasn’t like most people. To him, his dreams were necessities. He didn’t care who he would hurt for his dreams, as long as they came true.

Tashiro collided, collaborated and negotiated with immoral forces and syndicates, trying to find which one was willing to take a cut of it all. After many hours of behind curtains meetings, Tashiro finally found what he was looking for. So, one night, Tashiro made his move.

That night was quiet, and all was calm until the peace was disrupted by trucks with the word “Vora” stamped onto them, rushing into the small and humble town of Ippai. As the citizens of Ippai peacefully slept, malevolence was spilling into the roads, suburbs and alleyways. As children had sweet dreams, others were having nightmares. And once the morning had triumphed over the night, great amounts of the homeless residents of Ippai had vanished into thin air. Or so it seemed…

On that same morning, Ippai’s homeless men did not wake up to see the gleaming sun, saturating the sky. Instead, they awoke to see the grey and rough surface of the cave ceiling above them. As they shifted out of their rough sleeping bags, paranoia and trepidation began to set in the group. Their old, dirty clothes had been replaced by pristine, blue and long sleeve pants, contained in overalls with a lighter shade of blue, with every overall having a seemingly random number embroidered on each one. Encasing them was an immense cavern, illuminated by hundreds of lanterns and light bulbs. Broad, sturdy metal poles held up the roof of the mine, present at every corner and surface. A dozen hydraulic shovels and haul trucks were parked by the dark corners of the great stone chamber. Four heavily armed guards stood at the door, ready with rifles to keep the men at bay. It took awhile for everyone to wake up, but it took even longer for them to calm down.

“ENOUGH!” a booming voice screamed from the cavern entrance, putting the commotion to a sudden halt. From the entrance, another guard stepped forward, holding a rifle in his hands.

“The name’s Furuya Susumu,” the guard spoke, “although bigger fish here are at play, I’m the head of this operation. I’ll be giving announcement, negotiating the head of this all, blah blah-”

“What the hell is going on?” one of the men screamed.

“SHUT UP. Now, allow me to elaborate on what all this is. You have been transported here because they need you. For their company, which to you will remain unnamed, they’ve got a plan which needs you. For all the cogs to work, we need you. We need you to extract resources from this very mountain, for their dream to come to life. I can’t give much detail on the project, but what I can tell you is that it requires you.”

“Now, a history lesson for all you rats. The minerals and metals in this mountain were damn important to people many years ago, and they mined the hell out of this mountain. In the process, they left many mineshafts, which we’ve used to transform this place into what it is now. Don’t worry, they barely even scraped the surface of the amount of resources inside this mountain.”

“Now, this is where the fun begins. You’re gonna be extracting, smelting, exploding, all of this to get the resources we need. Now, if you’ve been paying attention, there’s a number on all of your uniforms. That’s your new name, so maybe consider forgetting your old one. We’ll also be doing rotations on jobs, so you won’t be doing the same thing all the time that you are here. Now, I’m not gonna be very present here, just making announcements and doing the stuff behind the scenes. But I want you to remember one thing. Do what we say. No exceptions. So, if you break this rule, WE’LL BREAK YOUR NOSE. IS THAT CLEAR?”

Silence was the only answer.


A fearful, collective yes was heard in response before Furuya nodded and left the cavern. Not a single man dared speak or wanted to for that matter. Eyes began to water, mouths curved in horror and breaths became shaky. It was more than a nightmare.

While a violent storm brewed in the mountain, the sun shone over at the head office of Vora. The cars filled up the car park and out came happy people. Programmers, artists, scientists, designers and testers all walked into the building, smiling with anticipation and excitement. The crowd piled up into the seats of the office assembly room, waiting for the presence of the man of brilliance to commence the great project. Once everyone had settled in, Tashiro Yuji walked the stage, accompanied by the applause of the audience.

“Greetings everyone,” Tashiro called to the audience, “I must first express how grateful I am to have all of you here. I am grateful that so much has been done for a simple dream of mine. What was once a molehill is now a mountain and I am so grateful for that. Everyone here has so much talent and I, yet again, am grateful for that. But enough of this gratitude talk. Let’s get right into the action.”

“For the company, we have a plan, an idea, a dream. For all of the cogs to work together, we need you. Our ambitions are much greater than simply making us another face in the crowd. To make our dream come to life, we need ideas, intelligence and ingenuity. And for that, we need you.”

“As most of you should know, a new type of entertainment has become very popular. Video games. A game confined to the screen, but not confined to mediocrity. My company wants to not only make one of these games but also create a new platform for video games. I believe there is more to this new form of entertainment. I have theorised that certain minerals and metals can act as better parts of a console. This is just a theory, but our scientists here hopefully will make it fact.”

A shower of applause rinsed the assembly room, before a scientist from the crowd raised his hand. Tashiro gestured for the person to ask their question.

“Where will we get these materials?” they asked curiously.

Tashiro paused for a moment, before opening his mouth to lie in response. “Vora will gain these minerals through purchasing and some paid extraction. Any other questions?”

The room fell silent and Tashiro continued. “Without further ado, welcome aboard!”

The crowd roared in excitement. Yet, through the sea of smiles and applause, something caught Tashiro’s attention. A man was rushing out of the theatre, his face flushing with anxiety. Tashiro walked off the stage and through the seat walkway, under the guise of heading towards his office. Out of the office theatre, Tashiro followed the man’s anxious sprint, from the office hall, all the way out to the car park.

Once the man finally halted, Tashiro made his move. “Are you alright?” he kindly asked the man. The man turned to face Tashiro, his face gushing red.

“I don’t belong here,” the man croaked, “I don’t deserve to be here.”

“Why do you say that?”

“Everyone here is a scientist, programmer, an artist, or a genius. I’m just a designer.”

Tashiro’s mind was rinsed with the instinct of empathy.

“That’s just as good,” Tashiro enthusiastically spoke.

“Anyone could replace me,” the man stuttered, his voice sounding dry.

“Listen here my boy, you’re here for a reason. It’s because you make a part of the foundation of this game. You’ve got the ideas, the brains, the reason why things exist! So come on my boy, make that foundation, shake the earth with your brainstorms. You’ll soon find how important you truly are.”

The man gave a slight smile to Tashiro. Tashiro smiled back. If only the man knew what was behind that smile.

As flowers blossomed, a poison was brewing. The workers in the mountain were sitting on scratchy rugs, watching the guards in front of them. “So, now we have gone over how to operate a hydraulic shovel and a haul truck,” the guard said, “any questions?” Silence was the only response. “Very well, allow us to continue.”

Through that day, the workers learnt the bare minimum of what was required to work a mine. Yet, the message that the guard nailed into the consciousness of the workers, was to obey orders.

Night eventually fell, but the guards were not finished yet. “Alright everyone, enough of us,” one of the guards yelled, “two other guards are going to take our place.” The guards walked out of the room and thus entered the other guards. They were sturdy and well built, looking like they could break necks with a flick of their wrist. “Everyone, MOVE!” one of them screamed. They began to order the workers to the entrance of the cavern. Some men tried to question the guards but were answered with both physical and verbal shove. Disturbance ruptured in the crowd of workers yet was silenced by the screeching and screaming of a large drill.

Once the screeching was put to a halt, guards rushed through the door holding what seemed to be explosives. Panic gushed through the workers but did not flow from their mouths. Tension and anticipation slithered through the crowd, with every man on edge. “Explosive planted,” the guard signaled to the other guard, sprinting back to the entrance, “everyone brace yourselves.”


Eyes widened.


Ears were blocked.


A great eruption of sound screamed through the chamber, violently ringing the eardrums of those in the room. The screams and yells of shock from the workers were suffocated under the great roar of the explosion. The lights violently flickered, as the cave rumbled in anger.

“It’s going to collapse!” one of the workers screamed, barely able to be heard under the great sea of roars from the detonation. The workers huddled together, fearful of the cavern collapsing. Eventually, the sounds disintegrated, and the lights stopped flickering.

“Well, I’m no geologist,” one of the guards spoke out, “but I think we’ve blasted our way into a rich layer of rock.”

“Alright everyone,” another guard spoke, “night night. Due to dust fumes and such, we’ll be sleeping in a different room.”

“How could we sleep after something like this?!” A worker cried in outrage

“My friend, after the days you will endure, exhaustion will send you to rest. I assure you.”

That night, not a single pleasant dream was dreamt, in what would soon be known as hell.

The next morning, everyone was brought back to the cavern, each one wishing they would have woken up in Ippai. They instantly noticed the great crevice that stood many metres away from them. Once everyone had retaken their place in the cavern, a guard stood in front of the workers.

“Good morning everyone,” the guard called, “Today’s when the real work starts. We’ll begin with a roll call.”

Instead of names, numbers from 1-80 were heard, with everyone answering to their designated number.

“Alright, we’ll have 1-30 on clearing the debris,” the guard listed, “31-40 on haul trucks, 41-50 on hydraulic shovels and 51-80 on smelting and processing.”

New guards entered the cavern, before leading the workers to their new occupations. Once the organisation had been completed, the work began.

Those working the great shovels and trucks laboured in a poor effort at first. The men working the excavators could barely extract any ore from the Earth, unable to effectively pierce the stone with the buckets of the excavators. Yet, every mistake committed caused the committer to glance back at the guard operating the section, with fear of disappointing them. With every glance the workers took, they could notice more frustration brewing up in the face of the guard.

After what seemed like an eternity of anticipation slowly forming with each glance of fear, the guard’s patience finally dissolved.

“HEY!” the guard screamed out.

Everyone stopped what they were doing, snapping their heads in the direction of the shout. Once everyone's eye was fixated on the guard, he pulled out a device, with many buttons. The guard gestured to a haul truck that had been broken by the falling debris of the cave earlier in the day. The guard then conducted the attention of those viewing back to the device. The guard flipped a switch and the haul truck exploded, bits of metal and rock flying everywhere.

“Thankfully, no one was in there,” the guard calmly spoke, contrasting to what had just happened, “now, I’d recommend you put in some more effort.”

From the second the sentence left his mouth, the workers got straight back to work. This time, however, the workers pierced the Earth with subconscious ease.

After merciless hours of hard work, the first-ever lunch break came upon the workers. The abrupt, deep-pitched sound of a beep flooded through the chamber, thrusting trepidation upon the workers.

“Lunch break!” a thunderous voice yelled from the entrance, instantly washing away any anxieties the workers possessed. The guards took everyone from wherever they were working, the smelting room or the cavern itself and brought everyone together near the entrance. They were led to the hallway leading from the chamber, before being taken to the place they would know as their only refuge. The cafeteria.

Everyone was supplied with a tray, before walking in an orderly fashion towards the serving line. Burgers and fries from some fast-food chain were the only items present on the menu at the time. Many of the workers knew these foods very well. Before being taken to the cavern, their financial struggles had starved their budget to only be able to afford these unhealthy, calorie-dense types of food. As burgers were served upon the tray, it struck as a painful reminder to the workers of the struggles of their lives before. “Do not worry about the health quality of your meals,” one of the guards called out, “you’ll burn off the calories soon enough.”

Once everyone had taken their seats, a guard stepped forward. “Converse as you please, but please mind the volume,” the guard informed the crowd, “you do not want to test our patience.

“What’s your name?” one of the workers asked another, before the same guard stepped in between the conversation, setting the focus of attention on him. The worker who was asked the question soon felt an inability to speak. The worker looked down towards his overalls, before muttering, “15. My name is 15.”

The guard nodded in approval, before turning towards the other worker.

“I am 26,” the worker reluctantly spoke, “my name is 26.”

With the action of the words leaving his mouth, the guard left them be, and free to eat.

During that very lunch in that cafeteria, misery and complaints were the only things that the workers spoke of. The humid air, poisonous fumes and terrifying atmosphere of the smelting room, the fear of being collapsed by rock while digging out the earth and the unbearable coughing and wheezing of the workers constantly exposed to the dust saturated air of the cavern. Others told of the reasons for why they soon fell into the miserable embrace of the streets. Overly expensive housing prices, loss of jobs, the razor-sharp teeth of loan sharks or simply bad luck in the lottery of birth. Others talked about their families and how they had been separated from them when being taken to the great cavern. Everyone used this time to loosen any knots in their mind.

All of a sudden, a guard walked to the centre of the cafeteria, swiftly bringing the attention of the workers back to him. “Well, I hope you enjoyed your nice chit-chat, but we’ve got work to do. Don’t worry, you’ll be back here for dinner.” The guards led them back into the cavern and commenced the first rotation. Those on haul trucks and hydraulic shovels were transferred to smelting, smelters were transferred to haul trucks and hydraulic shovels and those cleaning the debris were divided among smelting and extracting the material. There were not enough trucks and diggers for everyone, so others were assigned to the job of drilling out samples to find spots of the mine rich in minerals. After many hours of hard work, the day finally came to a conclusion.

Throughout the days of labour, misery and conflict soon raised their ugly heads. The dust and fumes of the mine caused people to grow sick, further injecting each hour or working with suffering. The heat of the blast furnaces in the smelting sections caused many to sweat profusely, become dehydrated or even faint in very rare cases. Lack of good hygiene, other than a few squirts of hand sanitiser, caused many colds and fevers to spread across the workers in the cavern. Eventually, the infirmary would find itself with nearly half the workers, treated by people with the bare minimum of proper medical knowledge. Yet, the workers kept digging, smelting and working, and tried to the best of their abilities to plow through their health adversities.

After two weeks of blood, sweat and tears, Furuya walked into the cavern, cowering everyone in fear.

“I don’t usually feel pride towards people like you, but I’ve gotta say congratulations.” Furuya announced, “after the elbow grease you’ve put into this, the project has progressed significantly. Yet, I expect that your standard of work stays consistent, as that’s what we are depending on for the next phase of production. Without further ado, carry on.” Furuya left the cavern, before one of the guards stepped forward.

They began to call out the role, a part of the routine that the workers all knew too well. If served to them as a reminder of their position in all of this, simply numbers. Everything was going the way it usually went, until it got to one number.

“47?” the guard marking the role called.

“We have names, you know,” a voice responded in the crowd.

Everyone soon felt a chill rush through them. While most stood in silent fear, others let out gasps and murmurs. A guard stepped into the crowd, pushing others out of the way to find the source of the response. A worker, standing tall and brave, with the number 47 embroidered on their overall. Once the guard had found them, he stared down the man, with a glare that could break glass. However, 47 simply stared back, with a look of disgust and unamusement.

“My name is Nakamura Tsuyoshi,” the man being stared down spoke.

Almost a second later, the guard flung his fist into Nakamura, sending him to the ground.

“If any of you try to pull a stunt like that again, I’LL BREAK YOUR-” the guard tried to speak but was interrupted by a loud cough and sputter. He turned behind him to see that Nakamura was standing up tall, blood spilling from his nose, yet still holding that same, despising glare. Nakamura spat at the guard, hitting him directly in the face with his projection of saliva. Instead of hitting him again, the guard sighed and returned to the front to finish the roll call. On that day of work, everyone felt a sense of second-hand pride.

At dinner that night, the atmosphere seemingly changed. While the guards could not tell what the workers were speaking of, they could certainly sense something different in the cafeteria. The expressions of the workers differed from the usual, with great variation. Instead of the face of fear and grief both the workers and guards had become too familiar with, faces of anger, determination and confidence began to emerge. The guards knew something new was approaching, but they couldn’t predict it, nor did they know how to control it at the time. However, the most important thing they noticed, is that the faces of confidence and determination remained most common at the table that seated Nakamura Tsuyoshi.

The next day, every worker in that cavern wore a calm and collected face. The guards first took this as a beneficial thing to getting the work done, but they did not truly understand the reason everybody looked so jolly. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary happened during that day, until the afternoon. During that time, Nakamura was designated to the hydraulic shovels. At one point in their work frame, many people began to cough, sniffle and sneeze. These signs of sickness had been present before, but Nakamura began to notice it was more common this time. With every croak and cough of sickness, Nakamura’s temper began to weaken. He couldn’t bear to see his colleagues feel so miserable due to poor handling of sickness. So, he stopped working, stepped out of his hydraulic shovel and glared at the guards.

“Don’t you think you’re forgetting something in all of this?” Nakamura asked angrily.

“Don’t make me push this button, 47,” a guard responded, pulling out a device from his pocket.

“What good use would that be? You’re going to ignore what I have to say and let your workers work like this? They’re sick! We need better hygiene, like… showers.”

“Get back to work, or they’ll be bits of you all over this cavern.”

Upon that sentence, Nakamura considered getting back into the vehicle, until he looked around him. His workers surrounding him had all stepped out of our vehicles. The guard couldn’t kill them all up, it would be a waste of workers and money. After noticed that the workers outnumbered him, the guard surrendered.

“I’ll try to talk with those above me to see if we can improve our hygiene, now get to work,” the guard coldly said in defeat.

As Nakamura and his colleagues stepped back into the shovels, they felt a newly found sense of power.

During dinner that night, one of the guards stepped forward to make an announcement. “After a discussion with my fellow guards, along with the head of this whole project, we have made a change to the routine,” they spoke, “before dinner, there will be a time of the day where we will shower, in order to maintain good hygiene standards. The bathrooms that we already have are being utilised as a washroom, and the construction of these showers should be finished in a week’s time. For the time being, however, we will make sure to take regular hand washing breaks during our working hours.”

Once that sentence had finished, Nakamura smiled, as did many others in that very cafeteria.

“Well on a different subject,” one of the workers in the cafeteria spoke, “I think we should have breakfast as a third course of the day.” As they finished, the room fell silent.

“Excuse me?” one of the guards replied angrily, “Have you forgotten your place here? Has 47 distorted your mind?”

The worker’s face turned pale, as they began to sit back down at their seat. The guard glared at him one more time, before taking their place at the entrance of the cafeteria. However, that scolding wasn’t enough to set the workers in place.

Almost upon the guard taking back their place, Nakamura pushed his plate forward, attempting to make as much noise in the process of scraping his plate against the table. While the guard did not care about this at first, they would soon find themselves taking it seriously. Throughout that eating period, the sound of a plate scraping against a table eventually became ubiquitous. The guards were first confused, wondering what this action meant. However, it only took some time to realise that almost half of the cafeteria had moved their plates forward, along with refusing to hold any conversations with their colleagues. Then it hit the guards. The plates were all empty. They were refusing to eat. The guards knew what they had to do to stop any further adversities.

The next morning after the roll call, the workers had finally met their satisfaction. Breakfast. Hash Browns, bacon and egg sandwiches and more breakfast items from some fast-food joint met the trays of the workers. While they consumed their meal, they spoke of happier times in their life, such as the good times they had with their families before the talons of poverty snatched them up, or perhaps the innocence and fun times of their youth that they so dearly missed. On that morning, the cafeteria had the most smiles it had ever harbored.

Once the meal was finished, Nakamura once again spoke. “I enjoyed that meal,” Nakamura spoke, “but you know what else I enjoy? Being paid. You cannot keep us as your slaves any longer.”

As soon that sentence left his mouth, the guards glared at him with more power than they had ever done before. The other workers in the cafeteria didn’t dare to say anything, as they simply watched as Nakamura was stared down by the hawk-like eyes of the guards.

“I will talk to the man in charge,” the guard spoke, in a dark, soft yet extremely intimidating tone.

Nakamura looked back, trying his best not to show his fear that the guards had finally invoked in him. He rejoined the crowd of workers, and so began another day of work.

After two days of hard work, the workers woke up one morning to see great steel wire, reaching across the entire cavern. They could not see the other end of it, due to the poor lighting of the cavern. Before the workers could think more about it, a guard stood in front of the crowd, before beginning to mark the role. The nature of the roll call was routine until it reached 47. It skipped 47.

Before the workers could start yet another day of labour, Furuya walked into the cavern.

“Hello, everyone,” he greeted those in the cavern, “today, I’ve got good and bad news. For me, it's all good news, but whatever. Good news? Excellent progress is being made. Just need a little more effort from all of you, and we’ll be on our merry little way. Oh yeah, and we’ve made the shower room you wanted. Bad news? Heh, well I think I’ll let that speak for itself.”

Suddenly, the sound of scraping and screeching of metal, pierced the ears of the workers, as the anticipation made their imaginative minds ponder over what bad news Furuya had spoken of. Then, piece by piece, things began to occur to them. The source of the scraping was coming from the wire, the number 47 had been skipped on the roll call and the wire seemed to be pulling something across it. Their own minds began to torture them, as they could only imagine what horrible thing could be revealed. Then, from the darkness, a figure, almost a silhouette, approached them from the darkened side of the wire, seemingly hanging from something. However, as more light shed upon that figure, the culmination of the most horrifying depths of their imaginations soon revealed itself to them, accelerating the anxieties they had when they first sensed something wasn’t right to top speed. 47.

He was hung from a barbed wire noose, pouring blood from his neck all the way down to his overalls. A bullet hole was ever-present on his forehead, which leaked blood all the way down to his neck. Maggots feasted upon his corpse, writhing from his wounds in grotesque delight. As his blood-stained body was dragged upon the wire, many workers spilled their insides by the pure sight of his corpse, while others screamed and panicked. As the workers suffered in the horror in front of them, the guards held nonchalant or even somewhat joyful expressions, unfazed by the disgusting, horrifying sight bestowed upon the workers. However, the worst part was 47’s eyes. The glassy, painful stare of his undead eyes, which spoke only of death.

Furuya could not contain himself and burst out in laughter.

“Holy shit, what a beauty,” Furuya laughed, attempting to further disturb the already horrified workers, “you don’t see that type of gore every day, do ya?”

Furuya laughed a bit more, before sighing, finding the pain of the workers to quickly become boring to him.

“Alright, I’ll give you a break,” Furuya, “for you to comprehend what just happened. It’ll also help me organise and talk to the boss. The guards will lead you to the cafeteria.”

Meanwhile, Tashiro Yuji was in the process of being informed of the status quo of the cavern through the process that he had done to keep in contact with the mining section of production since the start. By phone. Once Tashiro heard the news, he hung up the phone, before wandering his office, pondering yet again. He thought about the present and the future. At this point, the phase of programming and trying to design a more powerful computer to make the game with the minerals could be supported by the efforts of the workers and the company’s financial stance. Yet, the next phase could not.

Tashiro had plans to create a mass-producing factory and try to get as many of these minerals as possible to make the consoles, all while trying to pay everyone that he had planned on paying. Yet, that could not be supported by the status quo. The forces he was working with were very dangerous and if he didn’t shovel enough coal into that engine, it could turn out badly for him. Then, his mind once again began to yet again hiss and crackle. In order to make more money, he would sell the mineral. But in order for that, he needed the workers to work harder.

After an hour of trying to calm themselves down, the workers were greeted by the familiar voice at the entrance of the cafeteria. “After good consideration of the future, I have come to a conclusion,” Furuya spoke ominously, “for the next phase, work harder. WAY HARDER.” Furuya walked out of the cafeteria.

That night, as the workers tried to fall asleep in fear of what had just happened, many of their ears caught the attention of the conversation the two-night shift guards were having.

“Hey, I’m not familiar with who you are,” one of the guards inquired of the other, “but I know you seem to know a lot of people here.”

“Huh? Oh yeah,” the other began, “so the boss of this whole thing approached the syndicate I worked for, before they made an agreement for us to work here and supply all the equipment, fix the mountain into this cavern, create infrastructure here, supply weaponry, blah blah blah, for a large cut of the final product’s profits if the whole thing worked. If it didn’t work? The boss would just sell everything here and give the money back to us, while also giving our organisation a great amount of money as a compensation. But hey? We can’t really try to kill him, CEOs are damn hard to exterminate. But hey, don’t feel alienated that you’re not a member of our… you know what, but they didn’t want to send too many of us in. You’re basically the replacements for us, all you other people who actually know how to work a gun.”

The guard laughed.

“So, what do you think of the job?”

“Worth every yen! Jesus, you know how fun it was to shoot 47 right between the eyes? And hanging him from that wire? Best fun I’ve had in a long time!”

“Ha, sure was. But what do you think of that other guy, the veteran? Okumura?”

“Pfft. Softie. Seems to hate this job but can’t get enough of the pay.”

“Boo hoo, I’ve got to hurt people!”

After hearing much of their vile conversing, the workers finally found themselves able to get to sleep.

Through the next days, during every hour, minute and second of labour, the workers endured, fear plagued their psyche. With every dig and drill, they made sure to put on their utmost focus, through the fear of what had happened so recently. Their eyes would only speak of pure anxiety and terror, as they looked upon the guards, petrified of what they might do to them next. The workers would barely talk in breakfast, lunch and dinner, as they soon found it hard to even open their mouths. However, in all of the fear, one man had had enough. 23.

One day, after a hard day’s work, the workers gathered up in the cafeteria for dinner. While most would stay silent and eat their dinner, 23 began to plot. “Hey, 56?” 23 whispered to 56 across the dinner table, “I got something to say about all of this.”

56 turned towards 23 in fear, after looking around the cafeteria. “What is it 23?” 56 whispered nervously.

“It’s okay, we’re seated at the back of the cafeteria, they can’t hear us.”

“So, what is it?”

“When I saw… well you what we all saw it, something struck me. They’re probably gonna kill us anyway. So, what’s the point in working hard at all?”

56 pondered this thought. Then, his face became calm. He accepted his fate. “I suppose this could be our only way of fighting back,” 56 replied, “before they all take us out.”

Throughout the rest of that meal, this new idea began to spread like wildfire from the match that was 23’s lips. The guards did not know of any of this, but they would soon.

Throughout the next few days, the number of resources being received proved to be unsubstantial to the project. The workers just were not working with the same focus and willpower that the guards had noticed them working with before. Yet, this wave of underworking seemed to come out of nowhere, which seemed to hit everyone nearly simultaneously. The guards tried to persuade them with fear, but it didn’t seem to work. They seemingly had become numb.

However, one lunch in the cafeteria, the guards tried their best to figure out what was going through the heads of the workers. They took their stances around multiple parts of the cafeteria, acting as ubiquitous ears and eyes in the cafeteria. As they tried their best to put the pieces together and listen in on the conversations, they realised the cause of this underwork was a new outlook that seemed to have been spread by someone in the very cafeteria. Now, all they needed to know was the cause of it all. And as they looked upon the back of the cafeteria, the cause became present to them.

The next day, something seemed… off. While 23’s name had been called and answered on the roll call, it didn’t feel like he was truly there. The message of underwork seemed to be spreading in a weaker fashion during the eating breaks. However, despite the message becoming weakened, the amount of minerals coming in still remained unsatisfactory. The focus the workers once possessed hadn’t yet been resurrected, and fear could not penetrate the outlook many of the workers had possessed. The guards needed to take the next step.

After dinner one night, the workers were not sent to bed immediately. The guard led them to a wide space in the cavern and set them upon a nearby cavern wall. Once again, Furuya walked into the room, a rifle in hand. “Hello, everyone,” Furuya called, in a mockingly friendly tone, “I have some stuff to say about this current state we’re in. The products of your labours aren’t satisfactory. They can’t afford to pay us, pay for more equipment and pay everyone involved. So, what’s the cause of this new low?”

“A new outlook’s been spreading like the plague around the walls of this cavern. The thought that hard work’s not necessary, ‘because we’ll kill all of you anyway. So, what’s the point of doing anything.”

Furuya paused, before looking around the cavern.

“Why the hell would we kill all of you by the end?” Furuya spoke in a sadistically sweet tone, “we’ve given barely any names, other than mine of course, I’ll get away with this. We have left everything about this project in complete ambiguity. Why would we kill you, if none of you can make a good case to the authorities? Now, even by the case that we are planning to kill all of you after all of the hard work and labour you have given us all, in return, wouldn’t it be painless?”

All of a sudden, a hydraulic shovel positioned in the room came to life. Once the light inside the vehicle had flickered itself on, a horrifying sight was revealed to be inside the shovel. 23, tied to the chair of the vehicle, possessing many cuts and lacerations upon him, soaking his overalls in his blood. However, he was very much alive and breathing, yet gagged with a piece of cloth, his eyes screaming of pain and torture.

One of the guards pulled out a switch, and the workers instantly jumped to conclusions.

“You’re going to blow him up!” one of the workers screamed.

“Oh no, not exactly,” the guard replied, “that would be a little too kind. Now listen up, the big man’s got more to say.”

“We tried to be fair,” Furuya began, “if everything went to plan, we would have had to get so violent. 47 wouldn’t have had to die, nor 23, none of you. We soon found out the only way you’d take seriously is to do more than show you a simple corpse. You need to see the process of a painful one. 47’s death was painless, I can say that for certain, but 23’s will not. He will fear his last moments alive as the rat he is. Let’s see how strong his outlook is now.”

As Furuya finished that sentence, the guards began to make sure the workers were properly pushed against the wall.


The workers embraced themselves.


Deja vu, back to weeks ago.


The guard flipped the switch.

The eruption of sound the workers had become familiar with when working with explosives in their arduous days of labour blasted through the ears of the workers, serving as a more painful and dementing message to the workers. The workers caught sight of the more rock dense part of the cavern sealing erupt with dust and combustion, as these rocks began to be torn from the ceiling by gravity. The workers could barely watch, as the shovel 23 was in was crushed ferociously by the rocks above, his screams of agony barely being heard underneath the screams of fear the workers emitted, and the roar of the explosion. As the whole cavern was filled with dust and terror, the workers wondered if 23’s death had been painless.

As the parts of the cavern ceiling collapsed, rebar above the workers held the stone ceiling together, as the storm of terror and explosions shook the cavern. Once the dust and terror cleared, the damaged rebar stuck out, yet still held the ceiling together. Every single worker was petrified, with even the guards somewhat anxious of the damage to the cavern. However, after a minute of analysis, the cavern seemed to still be intact.

“Alright,” one of the guards broke the silence, “time to get some rest.”

The guards began to lead them to the resting room, while many workers broke down, crying in the loss for their fellow colleague. However, despite the many cries of sorrow and loss, the guards kept their composure. Once the workers were set into bed, their tear-streaked faces felt the feeling of the rough pillows they had to rest their heads in during times where the explosions that were so frequent in times of labour had made the cavern unsafe to sleep in. Yet, the feeling truly brought them back to the first explosion they endured the wrath of in the cavern. And they thought about what that guard had said so many weeks ago.

“My friend, after the days you will endure, exhaustion will send you to rest. I assure you.”

That night, not a single pleasant dream was dreamt, in what was now known as hell.

The next morning while the workers were being taken to roll call, the guards could easily read the fear that radiated from their faces. The recent events of last night had nearly paralysed them.

“Good morning everyone,” the guard at the front nonchalantly said, despite the recent events, “I have to inform you of what will be changing in this very cavern. Firstly, we have been able to afford more hydraulic shovels and haul trucks, so we can get more work out of all of you. Secondly, speaking is forbidden, unless we command you to speak. This includes food breaks. We don’t want any more 47s or 23s. Now, onto today. After breakfast, everyone will work together to clean up the mess from last night. Is this clear? I command you to talk.”

“Yes,” the barely synchronised voices of the workers called. The guard nodded in response and brought them to the cafeteria for breakfast.

During the painful minutes of breakfast that the workers endured, silence rang through the eardrums of every worker. They didn’t know the consequences of talking, and they sure as hell didn’t want to find out. However, while fear was upon the minds of most of the workers, ambition was upon the mind of one. 15. He had had enough. Being forced to work for a cause he didn’t even know of, witnessing his colleagues die in gruesome fashion before listening to those who sent them to death make a joke about it. It was too much. He had reached his limit, and there was only one apparent solution to him. Escape.

As the workers cleaned up the mess from last night, the memories of last night stung every movement they took. The dust, the explosion and the death. It all pushed the wills of their minds to their near extent. However, while 15 was still mourning, he was also planning. Upon the pile, 15 found a large, sharp and thick piece of metal. As he examined the weapon, visions of him stabbing, beating and bludgeoning the guards washed over him. He had discovered the first step of his plan. He slid the metal into his overall pocket and carried on with the work.

During that same day, 15 was on the hydraulic shovel rotation, working yet brainstorming. He was going over what he had already known. Two guards take their place during the night to guard the entrance, they both hold rifles, guards did rotations from the night shift to the day shift. I was all useful information, but he needed to know what to do with it. Through his entire rotation, he brainstormed many plans, but none seemed to seem effective enough. However, once his time on the hydraulic shovel rotation had concluded, something occurred to him. The hydraulic shovel could be turned on and off with both ease and speed. He took note of that.

By lunch the next day, 15 had already figured out a good portion of his plan. He would turn on the hydraulic shovel, causing a distraction. One of the guards would go to check it out, and then he would take them out with the piece of metal he hid in his sleeping bag. He would then steal his gun, take out the other guard from the distance, before stealing his uniform and making a run for it. It all seemed to work out in 15's head. However, he knew before he acted out on his plan, he would need it to be the right moment, right time and he needed to know what to do if things turned south. Now, all he needed to do was map out the possibilities and wait.

After many nights of estimating, theorising, practicing his stealth and trying to catch sight of the hydraulic shovels in the darkness, the night had finally come to 15. While everyone gathered up in a crowd for a message from Furuya, 15 looked around the room to try and figure out where he would set up his sleeping bag. After a few moments of waiting, Furuya walked into the cavern.

“Good news, and only good news,” Furuya spoke, “the project is complete. You’ve all pushed through with so much effort, I guess I can only congratulate you for that. These final days here will be more restful, but you must stay focused. I wish you goodnight and good luck.”

Furuya walked out of the cavern, and the guards sent everyone to bed.

Yet, 15 was not planning to fall asleep. This would be the only chance at escape he could seize. He knew they were most likely going to kill everyone at the end of it all, so he knew of only one way to potentially escape death. Escape. He had tried so desperately to escape many things in his life. Childhood bullies, loneliness and poverty. He had all failed to escape those things, so he prayed desperately that his attempt of escape would not become piled in with the other failures of his life. This was his only goal.

Once all the lights turned out, his plan began to take place. The second he stepped out of his sleeping bag, he knew there was no going back, and the reality of the situation washed over him in a frigid wave. After a few seconds to prepare himself, he began to silently crawl.

After a minute or so of crawling ever so quietly, he had reached the hydraulic shovel. While he could barely see it through the darkness, it seemed to glimmer as it met his vision. He had planned it out so many times in his mind, but now it was right in front of him. He took a deep breath and quietly stepped inside the vehicle through the door he had purposely left open during his hydraulic shovel rotation. Once inside, he looked through the darkness to find the switch to turn it on. Once he had found it, he looked back at the guards. They hadn’t noticed. Before looking towards the piece of metals in his overalls pocket, he took a deep breath, before slamming down the button to turn it on.

The second the lights inside the vehicle turned on, Okumura Yoshinori, one of the guards working the night shift rushed over to the source of the light. 15 crawled out through the door and attempted to hide behind the shovel. Once Okumura reached the hydraulic shovel, he immediately caught sight of 15, holding a piece of metal in his hand. Once 15’s eyes met Okumura’s, every last bit of 15’s pigmentation flushed away, as tears began to stream from his eyes. It was over. 15 began to weep even harder, as his life began to flash before his eyes. His life consisted of so many failures of trying to reach freedom, it all stinging him harder than the salty tears stinging his eyes. Now, he knew he would die a failure. Unable to break free from the horrid cycle of his life and redeem himself of the many problems in his life that he was unable to solve.

However, when Okumura saw the sight of tears flood from 15’s face, the past months of his life flashed before him. Accepting the deal to work as a guard, having to put other living, breathing and thinking human beings into labour that tore through their human rights. All of this for a damn good paycheck, better than the jobs he had failed to gain a substantial wage from. While the pay would save his life, it was at that moment his wrongs and mistakes tore his soul to shreds. He had lost his sense of humanity and empathy to the clawed talons of money, and he too began to shed a tear. “I’m sorry,” Okumura wept silently, unable to control his guilt and sadness. And before the workers knew, a gunshot was heard, sending them into uncontrollable sadness as well. However, it was all halted by the sound of a gun dropping.

“Okumura? Is he dead?” the other guard called out, walking into the darkness. However, before the guard could take another step, a bullet flew right through the guard’s head, before his body hit the floor. As 15 held the rifle in his hands, his tears washed away, before he looked towards Okumura. Okumura looked back, before kneeling and raising his hands up by his own will.

“I do not deserve to breathe this air any longer,” Okumura wept, “although I have given you my gun, I do not deserve to be forgiven. I have put all of you through horrible things, so if you want justice, please end my life.”

15 hesitated, before walking away from Okumura. “What you have done allows us to forgive you for everything. Thank you for shooting towards the ceiling, rather than at me,” 15 responded, before rushing towards the other guard’s corpse. He began to steal his uniform, donning it as his own, before reloading the rifle. 15 once again nodded towards Okumura and rushed through the exit.

Yet, he was not free yet. While the gunshots did not truly warrant the attention of the other guards in the sleeping area, they were still awake, as they were trying to sleep through the noise. They all had rifles by their bed, so shooting them would only wake them, and cause them to shoot 15 in turn. 15 began to sneak past them, knowing that the guards most likely knew each other well. After he had made it past the room, 15 began to run. However, while 15 made his sprint, the attention of the guards was caught, and they began to get out of bed to prepare to chase him.

As 15 navigated through the tunnels, he could hear the sounds of footsteps behind him. They were beginning to chase him, but they couldn’t really recognise him from behind.

“Aoyama?” one of the guards called out behind him, “why are you running?”

“My family needs me,” 15 lied, “for a special occasion.”

“You need to get back in there! Okumura can’t do it all by himself!”

“My mother’s-”

“I don’t give a damn, get back here this instant!”

After 2 minutes of rushing through complex tunnels, 15 finally made it to the exit. Miraculously, 15 had got them off their tail, but he still could not rest. Once his eyes finally caught sight of the night sky, he felt all of his stresses wash away from him. Finally, he was free from the deepest pits of man-made hell, and he had finally reached the surface, a great platform of rock, followed by the road leading back to civilisation. He was no longer 15. He was Takata Tetsuo. He wanted to experience it all, just for a moment, but he knew he had to move. He caught sight of a truck, which had just arrived to deliver food. Some people were walking out of the truck to deliver food into the cavern, but they did not care for Takata's presence, due to his uniform. Luckily, the food had been all taken out of the truck, and the truck was ready to leave. It was Takata’s time to strike.

Takata swiftly walked towards the truck and took the seat next to the driver. Takata looked over, to see a woman, who was looking back at him with confusion.

“I know you’re confused, but I need you to drive you to Ippai,” Takata said, nearly out of breath.

“Who are you?” the woman said, still in a confused state.

“It doesn’t matter who I am, I need you to drive me to Ippai. Please. It’s serious.”

The woman shrugged her shoulders, before driving away from the mountain.

“You’re lucky I got off my shift,” she scoffed, “why do you have to leave in such a hurry anyway.”

“Emergency,” Takata replied, “I can’t say, it’s private. But I have a question for you. Do you know who you’re even working for?”

“Uh, my boss?”

“What company do you work for?”

“Vora. Not sure why we’re delivering food to a mountain, but the pay’s good so why the hell not?”

Takata nearly broke down at that sentence. Vora had lied to her, making her unknowingly support a horrific cause. Vora manipulated so many to support such a terrible project, that they knew nothing of. Takata tried to keep his composure to ask another question. “What’s the name of this mountain, anyway?” Takata inquired, trying his best not to break down.

“It doesn’t have a name, but it’s from the north-east exit of Ippai,” she replied.

Takata nodded in response, before staring out the window for the rest of the trip, thinking about his next move.

Once Takata had been dropped off at Ippai, exhaustion began to wash over him. While he had only just escaped, he needed somewhere safe to sleep. While he looked around Ippai, he noticed the absence of residents living amongst the alleyways. He was confused at first, as many of the people he knew did not end up in the great walls of the cavern, so it would be his first thought that they were simply left behind. However, his confusions were quickly answered, as he saw a silhouette in an apartment window. He recognised who they were. The second he saw their face, he rushed into the apartment.

As he walked through the halls, he tried to figure out how the light correlated to the hallway he was currently in. After much thought, he came to the conclusion it was room 24 that the person he was after was staying in. He approached the room door, panting as he looked through the peephole. His confirmations were correct. It was her. He knocked on the door, waiting patiently before the door opened to reveal a familiar face to both him and her.

“Takata?” she answered, confused but with a sense of frustration.

“Kanemoto?” Takata answered breathlessly, “do you remember me? You’ve been a good mentor and friend of mine while I was on the streets.”

“Yes, I do, friend. Don’t remind me of my days in the streets. What’s going on?”

“Kanemoto, I’m begging you, I need somewhere to sleep, I’ll tell you about it in the morning. They’re after me, they’ll kill me.”

“Who? Loan sharks? Yeah, I know they’re out to kill a lot of people-”

“No, an organisation. I think they’re working with Vora.”

Suddenly, something clicked in Kanemoto’s mind. Her face began to turn pale, as guilt began to plague her psyche.

“Alright,” she sighed, “come in.”

Takata sighed a breath of relief, before stepping inside. Before another word could be said, Takata began to feel drowsy, walking over to the bathroom. Once Takata got to the tub, exhaustion immediately took hold of him.

In the morning, Takata thanked every existing deity that he did not wake back up in hell. As he awoke, he immediately headed for the door. However, he was stopped by the presence of Kanemoto, sitting on the apartment table across from him.

“Takata, I need to tell you something,” she spoke, in a dark tone.

As the words left her mouth, Takata began to feel a sense of fear creep upon him. Despite his suspicions, he decided to take a seat opposite to her.

“Once we had noticed a great disappearance of… well the disappearance of the people like you and me, we were confused at first,” she began, consistently keeping her dark tone, “we tried to get the attention of people, but to no avail. They didn’t want to listen to homeless people like us. However, the toy company Vora approached us and offered a great amount of money, enough to save us from our current state of homelessness. They said we could only accept it if we promised to keep quiet about this all. And I took it. Practically everyone took it. And now, I’m living in this rented apartment, as I could finally afford the housing prices with the money they gave us, and I ended up getting a job at a fast-food joint in Ippai.”

Kanemoto looked down.

“Yet, for some reason, these people order so much food from us at certain intervals. However, we can’t really refuse the orders.”

As Kanemoto finished that sentence, Takata no longer felt sadness. He only felt anger.

“So, what was the whole thing about Vora coming after you?” Kanemoto asked curiously.

“I haven’t got time,” Takata spoke emotionlessly, “I need to leave.” As Takata finished that sentence, he turned for the door. As he left the apartment block, he knew what he had to do. He needed to report it. As Takata ran for the police station, anger and fury were the only things on his mind. However, his rage-fueled run was halted by something in his peripheral vision. A boy, revealed to Takata by the window of his room. He fully turned to watch and saw something that accelerated his current hopelessness.

The boy was playing a video game. Vora’s logo was upon the console the game ran on. He listened and watched as the boy enthusiastically played through the pixelated levels of the game.

“It’s so much better than my old games,” the boy gasped in enthusiasm and excitement, “runs really well! There’s so much stuff in it!”

Upon hearing those very words, Takata knew what the great project truly was. It was the game. Once that revelation was made, Takata wished he could take that damned console and video game and smash it to pieces. However, his mind returned to the task at hand, before he continued to head towards the police station.

Once Takata reached the police station, he immediately reported the horrific crimes Vora had committed against the less fortunate residents of Ippai. While the police did not believe him at first, Takata was able to provide some evidence to try to get the attention of the police, such as his uniform, the new game and console Vora had released. However, while Takata had the attention of the police, the police did not completely trust him. Takata was about to give up on convincing them until the chief happened to walk in on the conversation between Takata and the policeman Takata was trying to convince. Once the chief’s ear caught a simple snippet of the conversation, the chief made it clear to his colleague that what Takata was saying was plausible. However, while Takata had finally caught the belief of the police force, he paid the price by learning of a horrible truth.

A couple of days before the night where many of the residents of Ippai were taken, Ippai itself was having a problem with the number of homeless people around Ippai. Their simple presence upset the council of Ippai, as it filled the alleyways and caused a disturbance to the more privileged population of Ippai. However, instead of trying to fix themselves, they tried at every turn to take a shortcut in order to get rid of this looming problem. Naturally, Vora took advantage of that. They falsely promised to the council of Ippai that they would take them to work for a certain project, leaving out important details to make Vora seem trustworthy. Ippai’s council did not care if the homeless people ended up getting hurt, they just wanted to throw them away.

“If you’re planning to stop the syndicate working with Vora,” Takata stated, hurt by what the chief had just told him, “I know where they are. In the mountain. Take the north-east exit of Ippai, and you will find the mountain.”

The chief stated he would do everything in his power, before sending Takata outside of the police station.

That night, countless police cars drove down the same path that had carried so many people to a life of misery and suffering, with only one intention in mind. Arrest. However, despite the many years of experience the police officers held under their belts, along with the weaponry that they carried, they were not prepared for the events that were about to unfold right before them. After a long drive through a narrow road, they had reached the destination. And the second the wheels of their cars touched the surface area of the mountain, hell broke loose.

Before the police officers could even catch a glimpse of the sight before them, they were showered by the firing of submachine guns. They quickly took cover, taking refuge behind their police cars. Once the shooting calmed down a bit, they peeked cautiously over their cars to analyse the situation. It seemed to be a large surface of rock, with a road leading into it, with many large rocks positioned around the places next to the road. 12 guards were positioned in a spread-out formation, all near the entrance of the cavern, holding riot shields and submachine guns. Around 20 of the workers were positioned around the platform, holding pistols, all taking refuge behind the rocks on the platform. It wasn’t long before the hail of shooting started again, and the police knew it was mandatory to send in backup.

As backup rolled in, the police began to form a new strategy. They began to notice that whenever the guards at the back were reloading, the workers covered for them. Although their pistol aim was quite uncoordinated, it still forced the police to take cover when they fired. This made it significantly harder to try and shoot at the more armed guards at the back of the formation. While they did not know what part the workers played in all of this due to the vague mission briefing, they began to feel as if their hostility needed to be halted. Thus, the police formed a new strategy. Fire at the numbered men.

While stronger police units began to roll in, the police began to aim for the workers. It was very difficult, due to the guards at the back constantly spraying bullets at the police, along with the way they hid behind the rocks. However, the police soon found the right moment to seize, as the guards needed to reload their guns. Now, it was their turn to strike back. One of the workers trying to shoot from behind their rock was shot in their arm, forcing them to retreat and howl in pain. Another one of the workers was shot by the police, this time in their leg. The police thought they were winning through this strategy, but they were unaware they were doing the opposite.

Before they could aim for other workers, one of the workers immediately tossed their gun to the ground, raised their hands way above their head, before running out from the rock they took refuge from.

“Please!” the worker screamed, “we’re hostages-”

Before he could speak another word, he was sprayed by submachine gun bullets. In that instant, the police realised the truth. Yet, before they could radio it to the rest of the police officers, grenades were tossed straight towards them.

“Take cover!” one of the police officers screamed, before taking cover from the great explosion of the grenades.

While very few police officers were taken out from the explosions, it had caused a lot of damage to their side. Many of the cars and vehicles the police took had been blown to bits from the grenades. The smoke had disoriented the snipers from the helicopters above, causing it impossible to try and get a shot on any of the guards from above. The fire of the explosion made it harder for the police to engage and move forward, forcing them to shoot from a further distance. It was apparent the guards were winning. Yet, amongst the chaos there was Okumura.

His anger and revulsion of his fellow guards had been intensifying ever since they left the cavern. From every police officer they shot, to every worker they forced to cover them and the fire and combustion they caused from the grenades they hurled, Okumura felt disgusted. Yet, Okumura’s breaking point was beginning to approach him, as one of the workers tried to escape to the police. He could hardly watch as the guards gunned the worker down, feeling anger crawl upon him. Then, another worker was shot dead accidentally by the police, Okumura nearly unable to suppress his disgust of his fellow guards. Then, one of the workers ran to them.

“I don’t want to live!” he screamed before the guards fulfilled his suicide attempt.

At that point, Okumura snapped.

In mere seconds, Okumura blasted half of his colleagues to shreds, being able to get an advantage point to the side of their riot shields. As he put bullets into every criminal and psychopath among him, both the attention of the police and the guards were set upon him. While the police and workers had found an ally, the guards had found an enemy. Okumura quickly positioned his riot shield to block the incoming bullets from the other guards, trying to avoid death at all costs. Eventually, both the police and workers were able to take out the remainder of the guards, allowing them to move forward into the cavern.

Okumura was immediately taken in handcuffs by the police. Yet, before they could slam him into a police car, Okumura screamed tearfully to the workers to forgive him. They did.

A few hours after the siege, Tashiro Yuji was found dead in his office. From what it looked like, suicide. Tashiro’s world had fallen apart. His dream had died in a matter of seconds, with plans of escape seeming futile to him. Once he figured out his dark secrets had been found, he knew the only place to hide was death, and put a bullet through his skull. Dreams are what we desire for reality, but dreams can be dangerous. Dreams can hurt people. Dreams can kill.

Once those who owned Shoot Up and Loot Up had heard the news, many of them went to authorities to willingly hand in their copies. Their faces spoke of expressions of horror, shame and guilt. Tears flooded from the eyes of children, some from the fact they had to leave behind an incredible video game, but others for the torture and pain they were unknowingly supporting while fiddling with the joysticks. Needless to say, the police did not need to use much force to take away the game from the people.

While Furuya was not found among the corpses of guards, the witnesses said that he fled the scene when he realised 15 escaped. Although neither Okumura nor the police got him, it is believed that his syndicate took care of him, for leaving his colleagues to die.

Now, we are brought back to the beginning. After learning of all of these horrible crimes committed by Tashiro Yuji, along with the lack of a proper CEO, Vora quickly went bankrupt. Every single console and copy of Shoot Up and Loot Up was either burnt or disposed of in an effective manner. But most importantly, Japan vowed to never speak of it again. And they never did.

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