Kazuto is one of tens of millions of bizurai (businessmen samurai) locked into the merciless Japan, Inc. corporate machine. Estranged from his family, and clueless as to his place in a company on the verge of releasing a revolutionary waste collection technology, he is quickly ground up by corporate espionage and old-fashioned greed.
© 2019, Made in DNA
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COG:m(ini) is a work-in-progress sample of the first chapter of the novella COG. This passage and the final novella may differ. It may also contain errors.
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Kazuto's glasses flew off his face as his paralyzed, snarled body slapped the linoleum-tiled floor, his head bouncing with an audible crack. An explosion of stars filled his vision. The chonmage top-knot he had so meticulously set this morning came undone, sending his hair cascading around his bald pate and face. His mouth was a rictus of silent scream.
The deep digital-blue counter on the inside of his left wrist spun wildly, dropping a full three years this time.
This was his third heart attack this week. Their frequency was increasing.
As Kazuto laid there, unable to move, unable to speak, his department head, Mr. Onimoto, came up and kicked him. "Get up, you lazy bastard." He spoke conversationally, as if he had just walked over to Kazuto's desk to hand him a report or ask about the sumoball game from last night. "No laying down on the job." Lighting a cigarette, he stood there smoking it over his fallen subordinate. "You've shown excessive disregard toward your fellow coworkers recently, so the company will be penalizing you this month's pay."
As a salaried employee, Kazuto's contract stipulated that he worked between the hours of eight AM and five PM, but every frontline businessman in Japan came as early as possible in the morning, and left very late into the evening—sometimes after long drinking bouts with clients or fellow coworkers. Kazuto was no exception to the rule; he was on the five-thirty AM train every morning and on the last train home every evening. It was expected. Expected by friends, family, company and country. Expected at Fukyuu Electronic Solutions.
Currently it was ten to eight PM; Kazuto's 112th unpaid overtime hour this month.
Takao flicked some ashes onto Kazuto, kicked the man in the brainpan for good measure and walked off to go fondle Miko Fuji, the new Office Lady with gravity-defying K-cup tits and zero IQ.
There was the briefest of pauses where absolutely everything seemed to stop—no sound, no movement… And then nothing—nothing. No one moved to help him. The office phones continued ring, the sound of fingers over virtual desktop keyboards marched relentlessly. And since space and time were at a premium at Fukyuu, the other employees stepped over him with deft skill that corporate drones acquire quickly to survive in the sardine-cramped, labyrinthine space between their work-inundated desks.
The minutes clawed by, etching each moment over the muscle that was Kazuto's heart in dreadful, minute detail. Lying on his back as he was, he had a view limited to cheap steel desk legs. Not even the faces of the coworkers who stepped over him were visible.
A sheaf of papers spilled from somewhere on high—probably his own desk—and wafted lazily over his face, like the white cloth placed over a corpse during a funeral viewing.
The light subdued somewhat as a shadow from behind Kazuto fell over him. Had his boss decided to put on a little show for the OL pool? Kazuto had heard a couple of the ladies getting off on his pain the last time Mr. Onimoto beat him senseless—his pain and suffering as aphrodisiac.
Or it maybe it was Asano, the asshole from accounting who was always shoving his clasped index fingers up Kazuto's sphincter when Kazuto was in the men's restroom taking a piss. That man had the boniest fingers on the planet. And the fucker always seemed to hit his mark. Kazuto had had to go to the hospital after one of Asano's Enema Attacks last spring. The dude actually got penetration, ripping Kazuto's his inner bowel lining. The doctor admonished Kazuto for inserting foreign objects up his rectum. Kazuto protested but the doctor insisted he saw these kinds of injuries all the time and there was no use denying it.
Scalding-hot water entered his ear. Still unable to move, Kazuto was forced to endure the searing pain as it filled and ran out of his ear. Lava rivulets splashed down his jaw bone and neck.
"Ohai." Impeccably-manicured hands reached around and wrenched his head and shoulders around so he was facing their owner.
No, not Asano, but Saseko Yasue, the office 'taxi.' A force to be reckoned with. She wielded more power with her pussy than the CEO did with his pen.
The serving pot in her hands told him that it had been hot tea she had just poured into his ear. Stream wafted upward and away from the spout like a genie.
"I just wanted to check to see if you were dead or not." Her facial expression was bland.
She squatted on the floor, her legs spread open wide, giving him an unprecedented shot up her powder pink OL's uniform skirt. The glare of the city neon through the large office window behind him provided a clear view of her black panties.
She shuffled her position slightly.
No, not her panties… he apparently had an eyeful of her bush. Yes, he was certain now. His body reacted by doing the only thing it could: his eyebrows knitted. The last thing he was going to see in this world was this woman's bush, and all he could do was knit his eyebrows in distress.
He'd read somewhere that the last image a person sees is recorded in their lenses, and that forensic science was looking for a way to extract that image to use to identify murderers. Or had that just been an episode of the hit TV series Kogoro Colombo the New?
She shuffled to keep her balance once more and two monstrous vulva worked their way out of the jungle of her hairpie. Oh no, her bush wasn't the last thing he was going to see. Not exactly. No, he had the distinct feeling he was looking at the gates to the afterlife. Miss Yasue's meatflaps were going to suck him back into the void from which he came.
There surely had to be worse ways to go, but he'd be damned if he could think of any.
"Now that I have your attention, I just wanted to let you know there is a full staff confidential in five..." She craned her neck behind her toward the tea and copy room where most of the female staff spent their time when they weren't doing data entry or serving tea to the entire floor. "Well perhaps in ten. It seems Mr. Onimoto now has his face buried in Miss Asano's Mmmm-cups." She pronounced M as "mmmm" and emphasized it with a grind of her hips and a condescending smile.
The grunt that left Kazuto's lips was little more than a whimper.
"You're welcome," she smiled genuinely, and left. So while he wasn't going to die with an image of Ms. Yasue's pussy emblazoned on his cornea, a disquieting feeling sheathed his now-tingling body: why had she bothered speaking to him at all? It certainly hadn't been out of the kindness of her heart, or any such silly thing as coworker loyalty, or even loathing pity. Ms. Yasue had never been on speaking terms with him beyond job-related tasks, for which she usually just pinned him with a glare to convey her message. To approach him now—granted while he was still paralyzed—was odd and suspect to say the least. Ms. Yasue did nothing that did not benefit her. So what did she want?
There was no time to even consider it as his entire body was consumed by a painful prickling. He grimaced and sucked his teeth against the agony of it. The feeling in his body was returning. Finally. So he wasn't going to die. Not right now at any rate.
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Kazuto had been able to drag himself into the meeting some fifteen minutes after it had started. It had taken that long for him to gather enough strength to drag-crawl his way across the cold linoleum of the office, get a grip on one of the rolling office chairs and pull himself high enough into it to be able to reach the door handle to the room. After that, it had been a matter of gimping along on his knees to his position, as one of the senior employees, near the head of the table. Along the way, his tentative grip on the chair's arms threatened to dump it over, but he had steadied the affair by pushing the chair into the lower ranking employees who clucked their tongues in disgust. Once there, he was able to trap and stabilize the chair's leg with the thicker leg of the table. However, it was still another half hour before he was able to actually sit himself in the chair.
Over the next hour his body shook with focused concentration. Invisible acupuncturists pushed nano-thin needles through his body as circulation returned. Dripping from his slack-jaw, drool pooled in his crotch, eventually soaking through. But the pain wasn't the reason for Kazuto's lack of muscle coordination with his jaw. The entirety of the meeting, from opening, to the requests for coffee refills, to cracked jokes were all in English. Following the trend among larger corporations in the Japan, Inc. grind to meet rising international demands, meetings had been in English for the past two years. It had been a move to put Japan back on equal footing with multinational corporations from around the world that were finding success in foreign markets that Japan itself was having trouble localizing into.
Unfortunately for Kazuto, English wasn't his cup of tea. He just couldn't keep up. He took lessons for a year with a resident alien but nerves kept him from speaking more than gibberish in a single class. The stunning alien beauty of the woman who had been his instructor would start his nose bleeding. The blonde locks that spilled down her shoulders were only rivaled by the deep navy blue of her large eyes – eyes as deep as the universe itself.
"Kazuto!" Onimoto snapped. "Are you paying attention?" His sentences and enunciation of English were elongated distortions of the English language.
"Uh… uh..." Kazuto blustered and blushed. "Uh... Yes." He stumbled for something to say in reply and blurted out the only phrase he could ever remember: "I am a pen…" and slumped into his chair further, unable to muster any further energy.
Several groans of disbelief and rose up like half-disguised farts in cushioned office chairs. There was no discerning exactly where they had come from. Department Head Onimoto rolled his eyes and continued. "The president felt it was vital to choose someone who represented the very ideals of Fukyuu. Someone with years of experience in everything from planning to sales. Mr. Nise, from Chiba R&D, is that man. Would you please come up and introduce yourself?"
Mild clapping from the assembled staff escorted a thin man with reedy hair, glasses and a pale complexion. A nervous smile was plastered on his face as he took a microphone from Onimoto. "Thank you. It's nice to meet you all. My name is Haruto Nise from Chiba R&D. I look forward to working with you all on this project." He bowed and handed the mic back to Mr. Onimoto.
Onimoto bowed to the gentleman and addressed the staff again. "As you are well aware, the development of the Surface Black Hole Generator is our most important project to date. It will put Fukyuu firmly in control of our own destiny. We expect to do a trillion yen in sales to the garbage collection industry within the first six months alone. Both NASA and JAXA are interested in larger versions developed with reprogrammable address coordinates. As testing on the larger versions isn't scheduled until after a successful three-year run with the refuse collection industry, focus after a successful first-year run within Japan will switch to third-world countries where the problem of garbage is rampant. We project subsidized community-based startups working within the slums of the Philippines, India and African nations will be necessary beforehand. Before then, we will test the SBHG with the help of garbage pickup services throughout the greater metropolitan area. The spatial coordinates are a confidential to upper management and project managers only. Suffice to say they are far enough away from Earth that they will not to be a burden."
A wave of head nodding and words of approval washed over the room like the ocean upon a beach. Kazuto joined in the clapping only to lose his balance in the chair. A firm arm gripped him and pulled him back to safety. A junior employee he barely recognized had ahold of him. The younger man smiled briefly, nodded and returned to his chair.
"Nise, quit fooling with that fool. Your presentation is next."
"Yes sir, sorry." The young man stood and raced to the end of the table where he began his report.
Kazuto's eyes tracked the young man as he made his way up to the front of the room, and fell on Asamiya, sitting not so comfortably off to the side, along the wall. The cup of water in his hand shook slightly. Kazuto wondered if the man might be ill, or perhaps just tired. Either way, Kazuto empathized. If only for a little rest…
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The staff broke for a lunch break around ten-thirty PM. Kazuto knew from experience that if he ate quickly enough, he could still make the eleven-fifteen train home. Retrieving his lunch from the department fridge, his shoulders drooped as he opened it. Rice… with a side of nothing. He blinked. Nothing? Surely there had to be a mistake. He looked at the name on the bento lunch containers: Karoushi. They were his alright. Two containers: one with rice, the other with nothing. His wife Ran had packed an empty container in his lunch.
He scratched the back of his head. If she was pissed at him, he could understand a cold bedroom—that was only to be expected after children and twenty years of marriage. To be honest, he couldn't remember the last time they'd had sex. Couldn't even remember the last time his dick had gotten hard. But lunch... if she didn't want to do it, he could take care of it himself. He could always pick something up from the company shopping arcade below. All she had to do was let him know.
Taking the two boxes back to his desk, he stared across the wasteland of rice and pursed his lips. What he wouldn't do right now for a wrinkly, crimson-colored pickled plum, or a sprinkling of black sesame seeds. At least either of them would give the rice a little added flavor. Something to make him forget the nothing of the other box.
Twenty years. Where had the gone? What had they done with them? These days, when he could make it home, it felt like a living hell—no one spoke to him, pretended not to hear him, or avoided him altogether. Exactly when and why this had come to be, he could not fathom. Kazuto loved his family, and had always done his best to provide for them.
He almost felt like he was being punished. Was that it? Were they angry at him for working day and night? For never being home? How else could he provide for them though? A half-remembered article in a men's magazine surfaced, but the details were fuzzy beyond the backdropped image of the pert ass of a housewife cooking in nothing but an apron. She teasingly bit her bottom lip as she looked over her shoulder, as if to say, "Oh no, you caught me. Tee hee." Promises, promises of what awaited him if he only cared to go home early to his family now and then.
He nodded. That was it, of course. He came to a kind of conclusion. They weren't really mad at him. He'd neglected them, and they were punishing him, hoping to bring him back in line as a father. He smiled through the exhaustion, shook his head and dug into the rice.
He was two mouthfuls in before he realized it was hard, dry and utterly inedible.
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Fifteen floors beneath the main company office grounds and off of a sub-network of dead-end halls and passages installed to confuse those without permission, Kazuto slidewalked through several kilometers of company-owned stores. The shopping arcade catered to every whim and want. It allowed company employees and their families to shop in the safety of the company protection.
Throughout the air-conditioned passageways, mood-recognition cameras read a person's disposition and presented choice items. A confused look of shock crossed Kazuto's face as a pussybrator popped to holographic life before him, performing a sensual dance before his eyes. "Flipflop cumdrop. It's easier than getting your wife wet, and it won't bitch at you once you've finished and tossed it in the trash. Totally disposable."
A matronly OL scowled disapprovingly at him as she passed going the other way.
He cursed and took a swipe at the pussybrator which exploded into a cloud of pixels as he reached the train terminal connected through company ground passageways.
"You are now leaving the grounds proper of Fukyuu Electronic Solutions. To protect the company from acts of sabotage via personnel kidnapping, personality dismemberment, brain siphoning, DNA sifting, sleeper insertion, and other dastardly actions, activate your Public Identity Privacy System now."
Kazuto reached behind his ear and activated his system. Not one for flair, he used the default camouflage. A holographic representation of seven hiragana characters written in bold, manga-esque strokes on a piece of rice paper pixelated and enwrapped his features in a mask of anonymity. Two of the he characters formed his eyebrows, while the two no's became his eyes. The mo represented his nose and the third he his mouth. Finally, the ji enlarged to represent the curve of his head and chin.
As he passed through the heavily-guarded terminal gates from the secured Fukyuu company grounds, he entered the city underground proper, a no-man's land immediately swamped by several thousand of the city's forty million inhabitants as they scuffled, shuffled, and slogged their way to their respective platforms.
Kazuto had an hour's ride home. If he was lucky, he might be able to power nap before arriving, but one look at the number of salarycogs like himself and he doubted he would even be able to get a seat. He would have preferred to drive the family car to work every day, but even under normal traffic conditions it was a two-hour drive. The train was far more convenient. And so like tens of millions of others, he rode it daily.
Like him, all the other passengers had activated their privacy camouflage, evoking colorful holographic disguises, from proudly displayed school or business affiliations to the fashion conscious—brands being the most popular among young women—Channel, Cuchi, Plonk, and Slut. Theme park characters and manga decorated students and kids.
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The last train home rumbled through the canyons of ferro-concrete, glass, nano-steel, and neon, lulling his already-wracked brains and body into an inescapable, timeless stare at his scuffed brown business loafers. Still standing, he fell asleep somewhere along the commute, missed his stop, and was forced to catch an expensive three-hour taxi ride home – a ride that ate up a good portion of the monthly allowance his wife grudgingly doled out to him the day after he was paid every month.
It is well after two in the morning when he arrived home to a darkened front door. Stepping in, he hit the entryway switch, bathing himself in a blinding solitary shaft of light that seemed to accuse him of trespassing. As he removed his shoes and stepped into the home proper, he softly called out, "I'm home…"
Only silence answered.
"Ran?" He called to his wife. "Ran? Are you in the bath?"
The door to the dining-living room revealed a low-level light that glowed weakly over a barren table. No family waiting. No dinner waiting. No nothing. Kazuto let out a deep sigh of resignation and with heavy footfalls, padded off to take a bath before hitting the sack.
The distinct sound of the front door closing and whispered voices woke him from the dangerous nap he'd fallen into while sitting in chest-high warm water. "Ran?"
Having consoled himself with a quick look around the house, he was convinced the sounds had been nothing more than his sleep-addled brain playing tricks. He was asleep within moments of hitting his futon, which he had had to lay out himself; a task his wife no longer bothered to do.
The sense of danger prevalent, Kazuto woke to a sitting position with a start. The entire house was drenched in an uneasy silence. He stared out the open bedroom door into the hallway wall. No more of the house was visible from this vantage point, lending to an overwhelming feeling that he was trapped by unknown entities meaning him great harm.
His name was whispered by the wind outside the window to his right and an indescribable keening, a pinpoint of sound in his brain without reference, sent a shiver down his spine. Someone – something? – was in the house! He froze in fear as he sensed it approaching the open door. Desperate to escape, he willed himself to move, but was unable. The pit of his stomach knotted.
A pitch-black, amorphous shadow in the rough shape of a man oozed forward into view, twisting and undulating as it came. It stopped short of entering the room. Blocking the doorway, it stood there wavering in and out of time and space. Kazuto squinted to try and get a better look and noticed it was not completely black, but harbored pinpoints of light. No, not just light, stars! Millions and billions and trillions of stars...
Within its skin, complete galaxies roiled and flickered.
Though weak in volume, Kazuto found his voice, "What do you want?"
The man-thing did not reply.
Kazuto's mouth and throat went dry. He had a thousand questions more. From where they came, he had no idea, but he knew that this man-thing had all the answers to anything he wanted to ask.
The shadow stretched out, inserting itself into every inch of the door until it was a portal itself. An entire universcape spread out before Kazuto, beckoning him to step through. And against his better judgement, Kazuto crawled over and reached out, dipping his index finger into the depths of infinity.
It was cold. Unbelievably cold. Kazuto tried to pull his finger back, but it was too late. In the instant he had touched it, it had touched him back, and now it was crawling up his finger, engulfing it. It moved without hesitation over his entire hand, up his arm and to his shoulder before Kazuto screamed...
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Made in DNA is a sexpunk author, cheap-thrill seeker, pizza-engulfer. Endlessly surfing swift, alternating tangents of abandoned Japan utopias. #transhumanism #cyborg #erotica #weird #bizarro #sexpunk #sexfi #scifi