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In a world where humans are a minority and androids have created their own civilization, a wandering storyteller meets the beautiful android Ibis. She tells him seven stories of human/android interaction in order to reveal the secret behind humanity's fall. The stories that Ibis speaks of are the "seven novels" about the events surrounding the announcements of the development of artificial intelligence (AI) in the 20th and 21st centuries. At a glance, these stories do not appear to have any sort of connection, but what is the true meaning behind them? What are Ibis's real intentions?
Hiroshi Yamamoto was born in 1956 in Kyoto. Began his career with game developers Group SNE in 1987 and debuted as a writer and game designer. Gained popularity with juvenile titles such as February at the Edge of Time and the Ghost Hunter series. His first hardcover science fiction release, God Never Keeps Silent became a sensation among SF fans and was nominated for the Japan SF Award. Other novels include Day of Judgment and The Unseen Sorrow of Winter. Aside from his work as a writer, Yamamoto is also active in various literary capacities as editor of classic science fiction anthologies and as president of To-Gakkai, a group of tongue-in-cheek "experts" on the occult.
That was how the story had unfolded three days ago. And then Xevale came up with his plot proposal—one in which the Celestial received a distress signal from the mining base the moment it came out of warp and entered the planetary system—only today. And how the away team took the shuttlecraft Dart to the base only to find that the workers had all been killed by some mysterious force.
“This story better have a resolution,” I said to myself, dubious about the whole turn of events. Knowing Xevale, he probably didn’t have an explanation for the workers’ deaths. He only liked to create these kinds of mysterious incidents.
I could just ignore Xevale’s plot submission. But then simply destroying the planet and the DS as planned didn’t provide much of a catharsis. The story could use one more twist before the end. After thinking about it long and hard, I pasted the text written by Xevale onto a new web page, created a link from the contents page, and clicked PUBLISH.
Just as I opened a new tab on the browser to verify the changes on the website, there was a knock at the door.
I left the computer running and went to answer the door. I couldn’t remember ordering anything by mail order. The only people that came knocking on the door on a late Saturday afternoon were either newspaper solicitors or some lady from a local religious group. I’ll just get rid of them.
Standing on the other side of the peephole were a young policeman and a balding middle-aged man.
I cautiously opened the door just a crack, and the middle-aged man asked, “Are you Nanami Shiihara?” He pulled out his ID from his gray coat and held it up in front of my face. Although I’d seen plenty of police IDs being flashed on TV, this was my first exposure to the real thing.
“My name is Iioka. I’ve been asked by the Niigata Prefectural Police to investigate an incident. Do you know a young man by the name of Yuichiro Tanizaki?”
Yuichiro Tanizaki—several seconds went by before I could retrieve that name from my memory. It was the name of Shawn Mornane in Maintenance.
“Yes, I know him,” I replied.
“Is he a member of your club?” the detective asked.
“Yes, what about him?”
“He killed someone.”