A Bitter Taste
rating: +18+x


“Here’s your coffee sir.”

“Thank you, sweetie.”

Every morning starts the same for the director of Site-50, with Hatsuko, his secretary (Or Managerial Secretary, if you prefer the flair) bringing him the dark amrita that has kept him going for the best part of the fifty four years he’s been at this position, and the couple decades over that he's been a part of this world.

Every morning starts with him thinking Hatsuko’s poisoned his drink. Almost hoping, in a way. He takes a sip without more than this single thought, and gets back to work. Five minutes later, he takes a second sip. No toxins. He gets to live another day. A breath of both relief and slight disappointment escape his mouth as he goes back to the projects in need of overview.

Looking over new containment procedures and inter-regional politics, it dawns on him that expecting him to be killed by his own secretary was ridiculous. This was a realization that came to him every morning as well. Why did he expect this? Well, the answer to this was blatant: Because his secretary was a massive arachnid abomination who was capable of secreting neurotoxins were it to be required.

The director still remembered the day Hatsuko was allowed to leave her containment unit due to her ‘exceptional conduct’ and hired for Foundation work because of her ‘numerous abilities’. Yes, because being a secretary required numerous abilities. He remembered protesting. Not unusual conduct: He had managed to lobby against the implementation of that Anomaly Rights Act for a couple years before then. The move had ultimately failed, and ten years later we were here: The chief of Security was a raccoon, the Anthropology Department was full of ghosts and critters, and his secretary was a bug. A bug who spent thirty years inside of a cell the size of a shoebox, wearing the closest approximation to a straight jacket they could get for a spider.

He didn’t believe in this ‘exceptional conduct’ ruse. There was no way a prisoner of the old system didn’t wish to destroy those who had ‘wronged’ her. It made no sense to him, that those who spent their lives persecuted would be completely fine with working for those who were responsible for the cuffs and mood disorders. There had to be ire still ignited in her heart, or whatever the equivalent is for an arachnid. They have open circulatory systems, correct? Tch, he’s getting distracted again.

Expenditures and receipts, maintenance notices, drill planning, new hires, full- Stop.

The director checks over the pre-approved hires and sighs. This is what he was referring to: Yet another anomaly being integrated into their ranks. He’ll have to talk to them, talk to the researchers in charge of her indoctrination — reintegration, rather. He’s been told ‘indoctrination’ is not a word he should still use — and act like he’s both caring and supportive of the decisions the globe has forced upon the Land of the Rising Sun. He couldn’t complain, of course. Well, he could and would, but not past the four walls that composed his office. He used to be more vocal before, but now he was tired of fighting other Branches for what was, in the end, issues that didn’t matter to the Foundation. The issues of normalcy weren’t ones he should get upset over.

Did that give him the right to complain about the perceived issues this Rights Act brought then? He wasn’t completely sure. Not anymore, anyhow. Normalcy was such a fickle thing. A hundred years ago, Japan's Imperial Anomalous Matters Examination Agency considered all beliefs past Shintō to be abnormal and in need of excision. A thousand years ago, the Bureau of Onmyō hunted those with ‘madness in their head’ as they had been defiled by Onis and other demons. Obviously the Foundation didn’t do these things, but they were the norm back then. Now the norm had changed again. Was this fine? Ten years ago he had said no. Now his answer was a shrug of defeat and the internal ramblings of a man who simply cannot keep up with the idea that different was good. A man who still believed Japan was a single nation, with a single language and a single identity. A single dynasty; a single ethnic group. Maybe it was time for change. Find a replacement, drink the kool-aid, the whole package.

Looking down at his tangentially-metaphorical kool-aid, he takes another sip from the mug. When you cannot trust those different from you, even such a simple act bears a poisonous aftertaste.

… a thought, immediately followed by the press of a button.

“Hatsuko, a query. Did you pour almond milk on my coffee?”

“Yes sir. We ran out of soy milk. Is it not to your liking?”

“No no, it’s fine, although I do prefer soy. Do you mind ordering some?”

“Of course sir.”

“Thank you.” The button is pressed again, the conversation over.

He finishes his coffee. Almonds. Well, guess that explains the ideation, for today at the very least. Tomorrow would be another day; another coffee. Maybe it’ll actually contain venom next time.

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