This is a translation of a Japanese novel. You can read the Raw here.
This is a work of fiction, with depictions of violence such as death of many people at a time. It is not suitable for readers under 15.
Chapter 6 is here! I tried to make everything as clear as I possibly could, but if anything is unclear, absolutely anything, or if you spot a mistake, please do let me know so I can fix what needs to be fixed or explain what needs to be explained. I really 100% don’t mind, on the contrary, it helps me keep the chapters clean and creates some interaction in the comments.
I’ve been thinking of doing a double release soon, and I might do so, but I’ve been dealing with a lot of bureaucratic stuff lately and it’s keeping me a bit busy so I can’t make any promises. But don’t worry, your weekly chapters will all be here on time.
Anyway, here is chapter 6 of population control, I hope you’ll enjoy it!
Chapter 6: Markov model and compliance rules
After shooing Aida away, I went right back to writing my report, but it only took me less than an hour to finish it. Compared to the weeks I spent on debugging, this is a drop of water in the ocean. It also looks like it’s going to take some time before we get the final results of the tests I entrusted to Hattori.
Surprisingly, I had some free time. So I decided to use it to sort out everything I’ve learned about Regedit.
The first thing I learned is that the game ‘those guys’ made is a full physics simulation that follows a Markov model.
Simply put, the Markov model is a sort of rule you can find in certain systems which assumes the future states of things are only affected by their current state. No matter how I rewrite an object’s registry, the changes will never extend to its past. And since the past isn’t taken into account, trying to change past events will not create a new, alternative future.
When I rewrote my fertilization time to make myself 24 years and 10 months old, my ability did not automatically rewrite my birth certificate at the city hall, nor did it modify the records from my school days, nor did it manipulate the memories of the people around me.
No matter what, if I rewrite something in the registry “now” , that change will only be reflected “From now on”.
And since the game is a physics simulation, my registry has no record of things like my parents’ names, my phone number, my academic background, my job, my address, or my net worth. All of that is meaningless for the good functioning of the game made by those higher beings.
These concepts are all human constructs. We came up with them on our own to manage this society that we built on foundations of information. But it seems to me like the simulation is not supposed to take these things in consideration. It’s only supposed to simulate actual, physical phenomenons.
Long story short, Regedit is not very compatible with the electronic records of our society. So I can rewrite registries all I want, that’s probably not going to affect the information inside society’s computer systems.
Granted, I could modify a computer system like an ‘object’, but I’d be changing the computer itself as a single entity, not its data and programs.
So while I could change a PC’s case from stainless steel to platinum with my Regedit, I wouldn’t be able to change the data inside its memory or hard drive. Well, maybe I could if I aimed for it directly, but the writing speed of a computer’s hard drive and memory would probably be overwhelmingly faster than the processing speed of my brain. Besides, my brain wouldn’t understand the output of a computer.
For example, the japanese letter “ぁ” is recorded under the code E38181 on modern computers. But my brain can’t automatically convert that kind of code to a letter.
Taking all this into account, I can’t tell if the change I made on the pack of lottery tickets from the other day will have any impact, and I won’t be able to tell until the the day they actually draw the lots.
How will the lottery system be affected by the fact that I set the chances of finding the first-prize ticket in my pack to 100%? I think that’s a very important experiment.
I’ve also found out that editing the registries of living beings is an enormous drag. Humans are far too complex. And I’m just talking about the regular parts of a person’s body here, I don’t even want to imagine how bad it would be for a brain.
If I was running a simulation with 7.5 billion of such complicated creatures, I’d also want to reduce their numbers.
Besides, it turns out my Regedit can’t even handle a human brain. To put it simply, it’s because my mind doesn’t have enough working memory to analyze a brain and rewrite its parameters in the registry. Which means I won’t be able to influence people’s thoughts.
But at least it’s clear to me now that the reason ‘that guy’ put Regedit inside my cerebellum was to avoid putting too big of a charge on my cerebrum. The cerebellum is the region with the most brain cells, around 100 billion, while the cereberum only has around 10 billion of them. I’m guessing that Regedit is such a heavy program that that guy had to take that difference into account.
Here is how I think he handled this. First, a specific area of the cerebellum is secured and separated from its brain activity, which will thus be interrupted. Then, the Regedit program, that’s been compressed and stored elsewhere, is decompressed and executed in that secured area of the cerebellum. Once I’m done with the program, it liberates the area, which allows the interrupted brain activity to be reloaded. But while Regedit is functioning, the area in question cannot fulfill its regular role, which interferes with many of my body’s functions.
UNIX systems have a similar memory management method that uses the computer’s virtual memory, it’s called memory swapping or paging.
If the human brain had a larger capacity, it wouldn’t have been necessary to use this method. ‘That guy’ must have had to deal with the fact that the human brain’s capacity is tormentingly big and yet still too small to install what he needed to install.
If nothing else, that guy has taught me the truest meaning of having a system that’s too tight on resources.
“Having dinner alone with a female employee? I will not allow it.”
Since Aida was still making a racket about getting meat and a brand bag, our project Manager, miss Ichikawa, came to give a warning. That’s nice and all, Ichikawa, but why do I feel like that warning wasn’t for Aida but for me? How is that fair?
Ichikawa is a female staff member who’s one year older than me. She was originally supposed to be fully in charge of guiding Aida, but since she leans towards management and Aida’s job leans towards engineering, I’ve been put in charge of passing engineering skills to her while miss Ichikawa is teaching her the business side of things.
By the way, Ichikawa happens to a famous beauty in our floor. Her 5’7 (170cm) slender body is gifted with one of those otherworldly, ideal, 1 to around 7 or 8 head-to-body ration that the ancient Greeks theorized. Apparently, some colleagues from the sales department, who occasionally pass by the corridor, have taken to calling her ‘The angel of the corridor’.
“Kageyama, with how strict compliance rules on harassment are nowadays, you’re not thinking of having dinner by yourself with a female employee, are you?”
“Of course not, Ichikawa. Besides, Aida isn’t demanding to have dinner with me, she’s asking me to give her things and money, and without offering anything in return at that. This is a clear violation of compliance rules.”
“Aah! Mister Kageyama, you betrayed me? Alright I don’t need the bag, it’s fine! I’m fine with the meat! Just the meat!”
Aida quickly interjected with the conversation.
“Sigh… Kageyama, do you think it would somehow be better to give her money while expecting something in return? That’d be career suicide. But let’s get back to what you were saying about eating out. Aida, refresh my memory, what have you been taught about this type of situation?”
“That when employees of the opposite sex eat out, they should not stay alone together but gather with multiple people.”
“That’s right. So let’s apply that here, shall we? I’ll be coming with you, and we’ll say that we’re simply going out to do a ‘care review’; to check if the newcomer has been doing well at the company. That way, HR won’t make a scene. There is no overtime on Wednesdays, so it should be perfect for our meeting.”
“Me too!!! Please take me along!”
Nakayma suddenly barged in, not wanting to miss out. He has apparently been listening to our conversation from somewhere.
“Nakayama, we’ll only be having this meal the name of reviewing how the newly assigned employee has been doing. We’ll be getting a budget of 2000 yen per person from the company. Kageyama and I will get 2000 each as seniors, and so will Aida since this is for her. But I’m afraid you are not included.”
I wouldn’t expect any less from Ichikawa, she got the company to pay for us. Come to think of it, didn’t we receive a notice from HR that said we were supposed to do this care review thing last friday? Ichikawa must have coordinated with them to postpone it because we were too busy with the death march.
“That’s too bad, Nakayama. I’ll treat you to something myself next time. Besides, you weren’t thinking of just a 2000 yen meal when you said you wanted to eat out, right? There is nothing to regret here.”
“Uuuh.. who cares about the price… I could have gotten a meal together with Ichikawa and Aida…”
Nakayama hanged his head in disappointment.
I don’t know where he got these delusions from but going for a meal with Aida and Ichikawa doesn’t mean I’ll have one of them under each arm. Rather, when facing two beauties like them, all I’ll be able to talk about is work. This will be just like being at work but with a meal under my eyes. This isn’t something to be envious of.
I wish I could sympathize with Nakayama here, but no can do.
“Nakayama, you can talk to Kageyama about eating out with him another time. Anyway, now that that’s settled, I’ll make a reservation for Wednesday. Kageyama, I’ll send a notice your way once I’ve made the reservation, please check it out.”
Nakayama kept looking at me with reproachful eyes, and before he left, he confirmed many times over that I’d absolutely keep my promise and take him out for some meat next time.
Soon enough, I received a notification from Ichikawa informing me about the time and the place we’d be going to, and I clicked on ‘Participate’.
Wednesday, at lunchtime.
We ended up going to a trendy place where all the office ladies of the surrounding companies usually gather for lunch. I felt pretty tense in front of Ichigawa, Aida and the large serving of Arabian food on our table.
When Ichikawa said she’d pick Wednesday, our no-overtime day, I assumed that we’d surely be meeting for dinner. It’s only a little while ago that I found out she had planned this for lunchtime.
I guess that’s on me for not reading the notification properly, so I’m willing to reflect a bit on my action. But rather than that, why am I feeling so out-of-place right now?!
The so called care review was really just an examination to see if there was anything Aida was dissatisfied about. It didn’t take long for it to end, all it took was a small series of conventional questions and satisfying answers, and the conversation soon enough turned into a girl talk. Ichikawa must have anticipated that, which would explain why she picked this trendy place for our lunch. She wanted to come to a place where girls usually gather so that she could be more open and enjoy herself.
As expected of Ichikawa, be it her business skills or her girl power, she’s at a monstrous level.
Since I was being treated like air, all I did was listen to the back and forth exchange from the side while the contour of my mouth turned more and more red from eating the Arabian food.
“So, Aida, what do you do in your free time? This is a very stressful job, so you absolutely have to find something refreshing to do when you have free time.”
“That won’t be an issue. I’ve been a light novel writer back from my school days, so when I have time off, I fully immerse myself in writing, and that’s enough for me to feel refreshed.”
“Oh? What kind of novel? Did you submit it for the Akutagawa prize or maybe the Naoki prize?”
“Like I said, I write light novels. It’s mostly young adult fiction about transmigration, reincarnation to a new world, that sort of thing. Nowadays, even amateurs like me can put their work on the web and make it open to the public, without bothering about its publication or anything.”
“I see the kind of setting you’re referring to. Even I have watched some anime and whatnot so I more or less get it, but it’s a bit unexpected…”
“When I was studying overseas, I was having less and less opportunities to actually use Japanese. I thought that at that rate, my vocabulary would decline, and so I started writing. That’s where it all began.
At one point, I was having talks about publishing my work, but I was so busy with conferences and my thesis that it became impossible for me to respond to the emails of the editor I was talking with, so it all came to nothing.”
“If you had published it, then maybe by this point it would have already been serialized or made into an anime, right?”
“Well, I wasn’t particularly aiming for that but I do recall that an anime with a similar setting as mine came out around that period. But well, the novel I’m working on now is different. It’s about someone who was reincarnated as a demon king in a different world and has to think of different strategies to destroy humanity.”
I stopped eating the Arabian food and fully focused on the conversation.
“Destroy humanity? Is it a violent kind of story?”
“In the novel, the core of the story is about the demon king’s thought process as he ponders on how to destroy humanity. If he uses cheat abilities to destroy them with sudden catastrophes, his army will get massacred by humanity and heroes will appear, which will only lead the demon king to his death. So, instead, he has to go about it peacefully by taking advantage of his long lifespan, to reduce the number of humans in the most natural manner and prevent the heroes from appearing.”
Such a great opportunity! Such impeccable timing! Who would have thought that I’d find some material for reducing the population… No, that I’d find someone going through the same struggle as I am!
Strangely enough, I see where Aida’s coming from with the setting of her story. Humans certainly are no fools. If stones turn to gold and there are mass murders everywhere I go, I’ll naturally start being suspected. In my case, the looming threat is not heroes, it’s national security agencies and the military. If I’m going to lower the population, I have to do it without anyone finding out.
“Would you tell me the title or URL of your novel? …I’ll read it.”
Considering how silent I’ve been, this probably felt like I was intruding in the conversation. Still… I need to know! I need to read this!
“No way. I didn’t write it so people at work could see it.”
My request was bluntly rejected, but well, I already know the story and the genre. All it will take is a keyword search on a certain website.
And just like that, the lunch meeting that Nakayama coveted so much peacefully came to its end. I don’t know how the girls felt about it, but as for me, I think I might have made some great gains in this meeting.
Now then, I’ll hurry and start looking for Aida’s light novel.
Before the end of the day, I finally found the title of Aida’s novel.
★ The reincarnated, cowardly demon king was given a royal decree to destroy humanity. But he only has 300 years.★
Author: Aida Tsukigase
…Her pen name is literally Aida… Maybe she didn’t want to hide it all that much after all.
I got absorbed in Aida’s novel for a while, and though I was delighted to be getting some material for my mission, I also found some troubling things in there. There was a BL scene between some characters who were very similar to Hattori and Nakayama, but I probably better not share that with them…