For the laboratory, today was a day off—a day for everyone to watch the results of humanity's final battle. There was only one person still remaining in that room when I threw open the doors.


She was sitting at a table alone, with a beer half-empty in one hand. When she turned her head to me, her face had the streaks of bygone tears falling down it.

Oh, hey, Chisa, what's—

Um. You okay?

What the hell is this? What the hell is this?!

I'd used bits of City Hall's remaining printer paper to print out a small file document—'NEWGAME' was the file name, sent to Natsume in a correspondence on February 1st, 2012.


"Project New Game"
or, a use of quantum mechanics to use 'isekai' mechanics to create a 'hero'

by Homura Akaneno

...The hell's this? I don't remember a project like this.

Oh, you don't, huh? You don't remember it?

W-what's the deal? You're acting weird.

It bears your name and it's in Natsume's correspondences. You're telling me you don't remember it.

Yeah, that's what I'm saying! What's the deal?

This is a bit unprofessional, but this is liable to be my life's work, so I'll be unprofessional if I want.

My name's Homura Akaneno. I've always loved tokusatsu, all those stories about heroes coming from nothing with incredible powers. I find them compelling, inspiring. The idea that a hero could come from nothing to become a beacon of hope, a 'paragon of justice', it's almost an intoxicating idea.

My best friend, Natsume Hikasa, has just in the past few years taken over the agency 'Murakumo', an agency in the Japanese government designed to collect and stratify people with unusual talent, people who can, in some way, be a 'hero'. But I can't help but wonder—if something really terrible does befall Japan, or even the world, will these people who can only do one thing, only have one talent, be good enough?

This project's purpose is to create someone who is good enough. I will create Japan's hero—a hero who can fight in any circumstance, and who loves Japan.

I'm telling you, I didn't...

...I mean... okay. I'll give you that the person who wrote this does... I mean, it's true. That thing about me loving tokusatsu, that's totally true. 100%. But—

In more recent years, there's been a trend in young adult literature—especially in light novels—where the protagonist gets sent to some other world, a fantasy world, and gains incredible powers, goes from ordinary to omni-talented. You can find any number of them—they'll have really long titles, because there are so many that they have to explain what sets them apart in fine detail in the title alone.

The idea of "Project New Game" is to utilize this idea in reverse. Essentially, this will create a 'hero' by taking someone from a parallel world, and incarnating them in our world as a 'hero'. The hero will be born and raised in Japan as a Japanese citizen, developing the mindset necessary to become a true 'paragon of justice'—feeling like a member of this world even despite not being from it originally.

As I write this document, I have finished creating the relay devices. My personal laboratory contains the core computer, a machine running on my own programming language that allows for quantum computing. Through experiments I conducted off the record, I have determined the ability to displace objects to foreign locations. However, the relay for this project will be unspecified. I have located a point with this device that is populated with the sort of people I want, but whether this place is somewhere else in our universe, or in another entirely, I don't know.

The second relay device is the transporter itself. As we do not exist in this foreign world, performing this will require a way for the transporter to reach a target.

As a subject for the process, I have chosen my daughter, Mio. I am an absentee mother by admission—a failure on my part—but I do know that she would jump at the chance to enjoy an adventure in a fantasy world. Her birthday is quickly approaching, so I'll be giving her the transporter under the guise of a handheld video game system by Nintendo. (Of course, my sources have gotten me the actual thing to study, so it will function just fine as one once the business is done.) Informing her of the experiment would be deleterious to the purpose of the selection, so she will remain unaware.

...What? What does this...?

This can't be true, can it? I mean—

Why are you looking at me like that?

My fists were quivering at the table.

There's no way I—

Once Mio has been transported there, the transporter will determine the subject by whichever denizen of this other world spends the most time with her. (Ideally, there'll be a romantic connection—some hapless teenager would be nice.) This foreign world does contain a fair amount of danger in a localized area—'adventurers' flock to a great tree that's riddled with monsters and dungeons to claim fame, and there's no better place for the sort of adventure that Mio will be going on. I'm sure she will enjoy herself.

After sufficient input has been given to determine that the target is ready to return, input to the transporter will transport both Mio and her chosen partner back to the chronotemporal space the transporter was originally located at. Essentially, only a matter of hours will pass before Mio returns to her bed, and the transporter ceases function.

This all happened to me, Homura. Do you understand that? Do you?



However, it is important to note that previous experiments determined that I cannot simply create a person out of thin air. A new informational field cannot simply be generated—essentially, the target will need to step into the shoes of another human being. Thankfully, I have found a test subject.

A teenage girl named "Chisa Inomiko" has been offered up to me by her parents. Essentially, the subject chosen by Mio will replace this girl—be born in her stead, and live her life in her stead. Enclosed is a picture of the girl in question as she currently exists—this file has been specially altered to ensure this photo will not change, so it will likely remain the last evidence of this girl's existence.


The girl in the photo had brown hair. It was a bit frizzy. She was smiling in a silly, unabashed way, giving a V-sign to the camera. It was so very, painfully clear from the first time I saw her. This—this was Chisa Inomiko. This was Taichi's older sister.

Chisa. Wait, Chisa, do—

She's not me. Look at that. Do you see me? What happened to her, Homura?


What happened to Chisa Inomiko?!

I don't know! I mean, I ran experiments in this sort of quantum superposition, but my findings were inconclusive! I mean, maybe she teleported back to your world and maybe she just winked out of existence! I don't know!

So you were just alright with murdering her?

I didn't do that! I...

Two notes must be made here. First of all, it's possible that this will somehow alter reality such that I did not perform the experiment at all—that Mio and her subject will arrive in a world that is different from the one they left. However, to ensure recognizability, I, Homura Akaneno, will present this person upon my first meeting with them with the following object; a golden photo locket engraved with the initials 'NG'. To ensure that I recognize my own handiwork, I have ensured that this object and the instructions to myself have remained untouchable as well.


...Those were... in my safe. The locket, and the note: "Give this to the one Mio brings." I... I thought I must've written it in a drunken bender or something, thinking about what to give Mio's partner when she got one. I... Chisa, I—

The second is the subject's mental state. The usage of Chisa Inomiko as the relay point does ensure that the subject will be incarnated as a young female socialite. As such, in the event that the subject's mental state isn't conducive to this sort of existence, proximity to Mio and the transporter will gradually alter the subject's own mental state to align closer with Chisa Inomiko's, to prevent issues with age, social standing, gender dysphoria, etc.

I believe that this is the most humane manner in which I can obtain someone stronger than Earth can provide. I will give my daughter a friend, and I will give Japan—or rather, Earth itself—a hero.

The experiment will be conducted in one week.

I don't know what I had expected. I had charged in here hoping to find the villain who had done this awful, horrible thing. But instead... I knew that this wasn't the same person.

I... I didn't...

This Homura wasn't the same person. Iod had been right. The person who did this to me... I would never meet her.

—But I was still furious.

This is the kinda person you are, huh? You make me think I'm someone worth living, but all you want out of me is a weapon, huh?

No! What? Come on!

I wanted to be proud that I could be alive, but there's nothing proud about me!

That's it, right? That's all there is! You murdered Raven Hillshead, you twisted his brain until you got something you'd like, and then you murdered Chisa Inomiko, too, to have something to pour your little monster into! All these memories I have, any thoughts I have about Raven's old life, or even—! He wasn't even a woman, was he?! You killed him and you made some sort of monster out of him, and you made me think I was him—

No! Come on, that's—

That's catastrophizing! It just says 'if'! I mean, you don't know you got twisted like that, do you?!

Oh yeah, real convenient, huh? Hahahahahahahaha! As if!

There were tears running down my face, but I couldn't stop laughing.

I really was a monster all along! I'm not Raven Hillshead! And I'm not Chisa Inomiko! They're both dead because I exist! I'm just a freak with the memories of a boy she murdered! I stole a brother, a girlfriend, two whole lives I stole! I'm not even the person Mio loved! It's all a lie! Hahahahahahahahaha!

Hey! Hey, calm down! You need to calm down, you can't—take a breath—

I turned away, and started walking toward the door, still laughing, but when Homura took a step toward me—

One more step and you die.

Everything stopped. I turned and drew my blade, the tip reaching her neck. My head craned over my shoulder.

Don't try to follow me, or I'll cut you into chunks and put each one on a pike.

After all, that's all I'm good for, right? All I'm good for is killing.

And I started laughing again, as I turned... and left.


What I gathered from the moments after the battle were that Mio had come in just after me to the Navis' room to see the file, and after she'd finished digesting it, she'd run after me.

God damn it.


Youka punched the wall, and a piece of it broke.

When the hell is all this shit going to stop?! What the fuck is wrong with these people, huh?!

I donno.


I don't know what I'm supposed to say. I don't know what I can say, really.


Guys? She's not moving. Should I be worried? I'm worried.

I was breathing, of course, but I was slumped over on the ground, my eyes having glazed over.

I—well—I—you know—

How does one even—I mean—This didn't really happen directly to me and in all honesty I'm having some trouble processing it?

It doesn't matter.

There was silence. My voice had lost all of its luster—I was hollow and raspy, my throat horribly dry.

It doesn't matter. None of it matters. There's nothing anyone can do to fix this mistake. I murdered two innocent kids by existing. No matter how much you process it, nothing's going to change that.

No, you did not. Even if I don't take issue with part of that premise by itself, you did not murder anyone.

Why are you standing up for me? It's not like I'm the boy you liked. I'm a stranger.



Mio stomped up to me.

You are not a stranger to me! We've been dating for nine years! Of course I know you! Even if you're not exactly the same as when we met, what does that matter? I still know you! I still love you!

Okay. Sure.

There was another moment of silence.

But what if I turn on you and kill you? Would you still know me then? Would any of you know me then? At heart, I'm a killer. I would've killed my own father if I hadn't been stopped. I would've enjoyed it. I'm a monster. I'm not even human.

You are not—!

Yes. I am.

Look at me!

I raised my head to establish eye contact.

I am a monster. It's wrong to call me a human and I don't deserve to be called a human. It's not just Raven and Chisa. Koron, too. Everyone who died from Akaneno's Syndrome. I killed all of them, too. I'm the sickness this planet is trying to fight off.

Oh, come off it! I—

I know you're there, you know.


...Are you enjoying yourself?

A heroic tale, crashing to a pitiful one at the last... Aha. To say I am not would be a lie.

What the?!

The voice came from above, breaking through the silence, rocking through the bones of all present.

I have kept watch over your entire planet from the moment my drakelings arrived.

Wait, then—!

Then you're the asshole we gotta kill to stop this, huh?

Your closest idea would be a god.

There was a flash, and then...

the light built itself into a prismatic bridge, leading further up the twisted tower.

...What, you're going to let us come to you?

Erelong your world will crumble—cease to be, when I devour it. It will be a bit sooner than I had planned, but I shall feast well this day. This planet is never without surprises—not only to stave me off, and to create this Dragoness of yours... but here you stand, the greatest feast I could ask for. I could not allow this diversion to end without meeting the guest of honor and her friends.

...So it is you. Niara.

Wait, WHAT

Niara? As in, the dragon that obliterated Aitelle and Emille's home planet?

The third True Dragon... the Wild God Niara.

Aha! I see my reputation precedes me. You prepare them well for the coming calamity. If you would attempt to avert it, humans, please, climb the stair before you. And I entreat you, do not keep me waiting long...

...little sister.

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