CHAPTER 1: PART 1(a)
Fierce words arrived from our homeroom teacher as we came leisurely chatting.
“From now on I will be calling the roll for class D. Students who have been called, please reply firmly.“
We were instructed to form a line at the same time as our teacher started checking the attendance for the class while simultaneously holding a surfboard in one hand.
Ms. Chabashira wore the same jersey as the students. Rather than summer vacation, the atmosphere was closer to training camp.
Still, there were no signs of tension in most students.
“Oh c’mon, give us free time already. The sea is stretching in front of me, you know.”
Ike, who was right behind me, annoyingly muttered. It seemed like most of the students wanted to run off to the sandy beach impatiently.
Shortly after, a tall teacher came forward, getting up to the prepared white platform.
It was Mr. Mashima, the English homeroom teacher in charge of A class, famous for being a stubborn person. He might seem beefy at first glance due to his pro-wrestling-like physique, but he was quite smart and taught special subjects sometimes before.
“First of all, I’m happy that you arrived safely to this place today. However, it’s unfortunate that one student couldn’t take part due to sickness.“
“Ah, there’s one sick guy who couldn’t join this trip, poor thing.“
Ike said in a low voice so that the teachers couldn’t hear.
But I totally agreed with him.
If it were a half-baked trip then that would be okay, but it’s a different thing with this much luxury. I wonder if he’ll regret it after hearing about the trip from his friends later. I think he should have participated despite the fact that he was in a somewhat poor physical condition, even if he pushed himself to the impossible.
Nevertheless, the facial expressions of the teachers were rather severe for a trip.
Could it be that while for us students this is a vacation, will supervisors only treat it as a job?
No – it doesn’t seem like it’s going to be just that.
While Mr. Mashima was finding students in silence, I saw some adults wearing work clothes who started setting up a special tent a bit farther away. I could also see a laptop on a long table.
At the urban sounds that didn’t match the rippling waves, the students began to look bewildered.
Mr. Mashima only uttered a cruel word, as if he was waiting for the air to change.
“So, Let’s go ahead with this academic year’s first trial.”
“Eh? Trial? What do you mean?”
In that moment, when this matter popped up, it wasn’t just those around Ike. It seemed like all the classes were ready to burst.
Till just now, no, even now, the students thought that it was just a class trip. They were gathering like they had been attacked unexpectedly. Our vacation in the summer holiday depended on the benevolence of the school. But this was, as I thought, just an illusion.
The change from relief to tension was too much.
“The duration period will be of one week. It ends at noon on August 7. From now on, you are going to live on this deserted island for one week. It is a test to see if you can live all together as a group. Furthermore, this special trial has been designed in reference to real life corporate training. Even before we start I am going to give you hints about what it takes to win this special test.”
“Since this island is deserted, there are no ships or boats, what will we do about accommodations?”
Class B and Class C that were close to Mr. Mashima hit him with this question.
“That’s right! Boarding a ship is not allowed without a justifiable reason. Living on this island requires you to consider everything, from sleeping place to meal preparation. The moment the test starts, each class will separately receive 2 tents and 2 flashlights. You will be provided with one box of matches. There is no restriction in supply of sunscreen cream. Each person will receive one toothbrush. As an exception, sanitary good are allowed without restriction only for girls. You can ask anything to your homeroom teacher. That’s all. What’s left now is to distribute the provisions.”
“Whaaaat? So to win this deserted island trial, I have to turn into a survivor? Now, it’s not the time to talk nonsense! This is not an anime or a cartoon!”
“We can’t sleep all together in just 2 tents! And what are we going to do about food? I can’t do this!”
Ike made a fuss in a loud voice so that everyone could hear.
Developing self-sufficiency while living in a desert island. Hunting wild animals for food, taking a bath in the river and streams and building our beds with tree branches. It was seriously like watching a movie or reading a novel. Who would have expected that it’d come the day in which our school prepared this kind of test? But there was no sign from Mr. Mashima that this was some kind of a joke. No! It seemed to me that he was no astonished at all. And then came his next words.
“It may not be to your advantage to know, but I will tell you a small piece of trivial information. This deserted island belongs to a big enterprise, the same that designed this very test. It is a top-secret operation, so nobody else knows what is happening on this island.”
“No…… way!!!!! So … This is not just some special operation. The island itself plays an important role in this whole thing. This is why it exists, being a test ground.”
“No way!! This can’t be happening!”
“Now, because it is against the rules, let’s stop.”
“So what Mr. Mashima told us about this island, only a part of it was true. In this world, there are many other forms of enterprises like our school that exist, and the training course can be changed suddenly. Your place in work is not just your chair on the office but also your ability to move forward by the cast of your dice, just like when your salary is decided. The world is much wider and deeper than you know.”
Watching Ike’s reckless moves, Ms. Chabashira said this in a voice like she was hurt and continued.
“In other words you get to draw the thin line between reality and unreality.”
Many students, not able to grasp the realisation of the situation, had a glum look on their faces.
“What is the meaning of this test… I bet you guys are thinking like this, now. Or you may doubt the very existence of this training program, but, students who are thinking like this will become adults with no possibilities in the future. You may think… Is this talk a basis to criticise with words like ‘You’re impossible’, ‘You’re ridiculous’? But you guys are just students. You are still nobodies and your worthlessness is equal among yourselves. Are you going to criticise the methods of a top class corporation? That would be ridiculous. To give you an example. In order to control a corporation, you have to rise to the top as the manager. If you were the president who runs a higher-ranking company than the one I cited, you may have the right to deny it. However, there shouldn’t exist a basis that seeks to deny lesser human beings, in the first place.”
Each of us, still in shock, having just heard only fragments of these words. Wishfully thinking that this whole thing is just a lie. But it was exactly as Mr. Mashima had said before. There is no point into being in denial. Starting to think selfishly, I realised my situation. I have to pass the election part of the trial first and stop thinking that ‘This is ridiculous’ or ‘This cannot be happening’. I should start by trying to understand the people near me. Should I approach them with humor?
“But, teacher… It’s supposed to be the summer holidays. And we came here with the pretext of a trip. Don’t you think taking part in a training survival test instead is foul play?”
Some students of the class finally remembered how to protest. This was followed by the others, too.
“I get it. You are not wrong about this point. I also understand your discontent and grumbling.”
Unlike with Ike, Mr. Mashima recognised a part of the objection by the students but did not make any trivial remarks. At that point everyone’s dissatisfaction was obvious. The process of arriving at this point, the sense of objection. The point that the viewpoints of the students and the teachers were different.
“But, do not worry. In this cruel every day life, to be coerced into rigorous criticism is quite common. When we say that this is a special trial test do not think of it too deeply. From now on during a week, you will swim in the sea, you will also have barbecues. I think it will be nice. You will be able to sit around campfires, talk with friends and develop relationships. That’s not too bad, right? The theme of this special test is ‘Freedom’.”
“Eh?? Eh??….. Freedom is the theme?…. We can also make a barbecue then???? And all this, is a part of the test? I feel confused…”
Even though it is a test, they chose ‘Freedom’ as the theme. As soon as the students heard about the theme, they felt more perplexed.
“This survival test on the deserted island is supposed to be of major importance. It has been decided that each class will be provided with 300 points. If you decide to spend these points wisely for one week, there is a possibility that you will enjoy this test like you are being on a trip. For this very reason we have prepared a manual. Mr. Mashima has made this manual by gathering info from various teachers for years, until it was big enough to be turned into a book. This book contains a list of how you can obtain points. Advises about every day necessities, drinking water or finding food, also about how to make a barbecue. About equipment, ingredients and how to prepare a meal, how to catch food from the sea, how to have enough food and water, how to fully enjoy your everyday life, how to gather various tools and how to use them in many occasions.”
Gradually the stern look on the students’ faces started to change.
“In other words, with these 300 points we will be able to have whatever we want? That’s right! We can obtain what we need by accumulating points! We may make it. If we make a proper plan of how to spend and how to accumulate points for one week, it’s not impossible! If we can live with these points for a week then truly this test will be like a vacation. More like it will be the closest thing that we can have to vacation.”
“But, teacher… You said this is a trial? Isn’t it supposed to have a level of difficulty?”
“No, there is no difficulty, it will not even affect the second semester, I guarantee it.”
“So… We just have to enjoy ourselves here for one week?”
“That’s right. Just enjoy yourselves freely. Of course, to live a community life with the minimum necessary, there must be rules you have to abide, so that this won’t be a difficult thing for you.”
“Should we assume that there is really no risk?’ If that is the case, then we should find out the real purpose of this trial…”
So we pretended like it is a simple summer vacation, like a class trip exchange in a loop. What is the meaning of this. I wonder… Thinking this and that. I do not think I have realised yet the meaning of school. But the next few words by Mr. Mashima made the purpose of this test more obvious.
“When this special examination is over, the points of each class that are left, will be added into each class’ general points. The points will be reflected when the summer vacation is over.”
These last words sounded like a gust of wind blowing into a midsummer beach. A cloud of dust soaring up to the sky.
There was no mistake, Mr. Mashima’s last words were the biggest blow today and it let us all thinking about them. A written test calculates the literary ability, in this test the superiority is determined by the class as a whole. Every time D class divided the points was put in a really tight place. That’s why this time we have to implement the rules perfectly, so that we make a difference. It seems that there is no significant disadvantage between A and D class.
“If we can endure for a week, then could we see our ‘pocket-money’ increasing substantially?”
That’s right, this is not a test in scholarly abilities, we compete for endurance in a form of a battle. While not rejecting the desire to win, we must endure patiently. So we must be able to reach high in the class rankings. Even Ike’s words were not just a dream.
“Each class will receive one copy of the manual. If somehow it is lost, a reissue is possible, but it will cost points. So, keep it safe. Again, there is one absent student from A class. Since this is a test that requires physical ability, even though the student retired due to poor health reasons we will extract 30 points from A class as a penalty. So, A class will begin with 270 points.”
A class was present, but they accepted the merciless blow. The students were trembling already with the sudden state of affairs. The other classes though, were surely looking surprised by the extraction of the 30 points.
The end of Mr. Mashima’s words signaled the end of the announcement. Each homeroom teacher was holding a megaphone and calling their respective classes, while trying to give supplementary explanations. We were gathering around our homeroom teacher Ms. Chabashira. The distance between the four classes became clear.
“From next month 30,000 points, From next month 30,000… From next month 30,000… Let’s do it!!!!!”
Ike and the others were building a triumphant pose. The girls looked delighted as they were discussing what things were needed. The biggest desire of D class is to accumulate more points. We just have to ignore living in luxury for one week. It is really simple in words.
“Now to all the members we will distribute wrist watches. You will wear it for one week until the end of the trial. You are not allowed to take it off. In case you take it off a penalty will be implemented. This wristwatch has not just an instant time-table, it can track body temperature, your pulse rate, it detects your movements and your senses, it also has GPS. It is equipped that way so that you can use it even in a state of emergency. If you find yourselves in a state of emergency, please push this button. These were given to us gracefully by the manufacturer thanks to Ms. Chabashira.”
As Class D was taking their tents, Ms. Chabashira brought the box to distribute the watches.
“When you say in a state of emergency… like when a bear appears?”
“To give you an example… This is a trial, you have to look left and right, then, there is a possibility that you may find the answer to your question.”
“Hmmm… telling me something like this, it is quite scary.”
“I do not think that there are wild animals here. If any of our students got hurt, that would be a big problem. The truth is we gave these wristwatches for the well-being of our students . We are on a deserted island, so, for the sake of the school’s reputation and for the guarantee of our safety, isn’t it something that it should be done?”
With these smooth words the wristwatches were distributed for the enforcement of our safety. So it is not only the eyes of the teachers that will watch the students but also these devices will monitor the movement of the students on the island. It is exactly like having cameras in the school classes. Monitoring our physical condition, dealing with unexpected circumstances also. Plus, the helicopter that I saw on the ferry-boat. Maybe it is ready to fly in case of emergency.
As the wristwatches were distributed, each student was wearing it on the left or right hand, as they liked it.
“But is it ok to get on the water, wearing this?”
“No problem. It is waterproof. But, still in case of malfunctioning we will replace it immediately. However, we already run test management protocol by a trusted person.”
This special trial was designed by the school with eccentricity and elegance and I do not think this was the first time. It should be carried out taking into account that various situations may happen. However there might be some slips.
“Ms. Chabashira from now on, during a week we will be living on this island. Is there any way we can survive without spending our points at all?”
“The school competes as a whole, right? For food and for water too, you should start preparations. It looks like your tent is not sufficient. Thinking about a solution for these problems is also a part of the test.”
“That is nothing that I know of!”
Both the boys and the girls looked very confused. The thought that we were not going to have a bed to sleep brought a feeling of uneasiness.
“It’s alright. If you can catch a fish properly, you can also find fruits in the woods, right? Use leaves or trees to make a tent, you know. Do your best even in your worst state.“
Said Ike quite indifferently as if there was no anxiety but fully motivated by the well-kept 300 points.
It would be fine living alone, but the class is composed of more than 30 people. Even if they said that all the members need to obtain important things, probably it won’t work so well immediately.
“I’m sorry Ike, but I don’t think it will go as you’re expecting. Open the distributed manuals.”
Hirata did as Ms. Chabashira said and opened the manual we received.
“Firstly, let’s read the part on the last page where the assessed items are listed. Those will become a very important information which will symbolize this special trial. It depends on you guys whether you’ll be dead or alive.” On the last page there was a description that said: “The established penalties will be imposed on those who fall under the following.“
“Those who have been estimated to be in a remarkably wrecked physical condition or having serious injuries will lose 30 points as well as become retired.“
“In case an act of polluting the environment is discovered, you will lose 20 points.“
“Each one of you will lose 5 points if you’re absent from every day’s roll calls at 8 am and 8 pm.“
And the biggest punishment was stated in a total of four matters: “In cases such as violent acts against other classes, plundering or damaging utensils, the class affiliated with the students involved will be immediately disqualified and the private points of the subject will be all confiscated“.
It looked like A class have received these rules’ penalties as well.
The fourth obstructive behaviour was very reasonable while the remaining three were clearly rules for not letting each student do unreasonable things.
With roll calls being in the morning and night, it not only becomes impossible to sleep outdoors all night but also suppresses barbaric behaviour of scattering excrement around randomly as well.
In other words, this is a contest to examine one’s endurance.
As a school that takes care of their precious kids, it could be said that these are the required rules that are impossible to avoid.
“It’s up to you to behave unreasonably, but if 10 students feel sick all your patience and effort will disappear in bubbles. Once you decide to retire you can’t return to the trial. When you need to push through, I want you to be resolute, Ike”
Some of those students who made suppositions were confused, knowing that the possibility to survive the trial with just perseverance had been excluded. The strategy of not using even one point became partly impossible like this, since the possibility of other classes challenging survival with all one’s strength would almost disappear. At the same time, whether you play or resignate to fate in this trial, it seems that it isn’t just patience that becomes distinct here.
In what way to efficiently use points, save and overcome it for a week? Perhaps…
Anyway, the literal form of “special trial“ comes to sight little by little.
“Basically, it’s inevitable to use this system’s points, right?“
Said a girl named Shinohara, who was listening to the conversation.
“I disagree with compromising from the beginning as a method of fighting. We should put up until we can.“
“I get you, but it will be hard if our physical condition suffers.“
“Hirata, don’t say discouraging things. We have a test stand/a tolerance test first, right?“
The more we get to know the rules, the more we meet with differing opinions. Opinions are going to separate. Even so, the range of items on the manual that could be purchased was quite wide. Equipment essential for survival such as tent and cookware, digital camera and transceiver, parasol, life belt, barbecue set and items for amusement such as fireworks. Food and water essential for living. Everything was set in a way that can be arranged in points.
If we wanted to use points, everyone could apply by requesting it from a homeroom teacher whenever.
“Ms. Chabashira, please answer if you can. What happens if someone retires after using all 300 points?“
Horikita, who got the basic explanation, raised her hand, asking Ms. Chabashira.
“In that case, only the number of people who retire will increase/Retired people will only increase, if that’s the case. Points won’t change from zero.“
“In other words, we don’t fall into minus with this trial, right?“
Ms. Chabashira affirmed.
Mr. Mashima also said there weren’t negative influences of the trial. It looked like it was true.
Ms. Chabashira continued while mincingly checking the time on her wristwatch:
“One supplied tent is big enough for 8 people to use. The weight is close to being 15 kilos so please be careful when carrying. Moreover, the school is absolutely not going to help regarding the loss or damage of supplied items. If you need a new tent, remember to use your points.“
“Is it okay if I ask a thing, teacher? Where does it say about this roll call?“
“It has been decided that the homeroom teacher will be together with each class until the end of the trial. If you decided yourself a base camp, report it. I will set up a base and roll calls will be done there. Once you decide on a base camp you can’t change it without a justifiable reason so please think about it thoroughly. This applies to other classes as well. No exception.“
Does this mean that Ms. Chabashira will spend a week with D class as a supervisor?
Of course, she won’t help in any way.
“Look, teacher. I’m sorry for interrupting your story half-way, but I want to go to the bathroom – could be the juice I’ve drunk a while ago. Where’s the toilet?“
Sudou was calmly looking around. It seemed like he didn’t hear the announcement.
“Bathroom? I was thinking of explaining that from now on. Use this when you need to go to the toilet. “
(With a foot), She hit a cardboard box out of a pile. Then, she peeled the gum tape and took a folded corrugated box out.
“Huh? What’s that?“
“It’s a basic toilet. Each class will be supplied with one. Please handle it carefully.“
It was not Sudou who was the most perplexed with this explanation, but the girls in class.
“Don’t tell me we’re also gonna be using that!?“
The one who was particularly surprised and raised her voice was not Karuizawa, but Shinohara. Rather than saying that this was Karuizawa’s group, the girl had a presence to the point of gathering a certain support from other girls.
“Both boys and girls will be sharing it. But don’t worry. It comes with a one-touch tent that can also be used for changing clothes. It’s not like you will be seen by anyone.“
“That’s not a problem, to say so! But it’s in a corrugated box! That’s absolutely unacceptable!“
“It might be a corrugated box, but it’s a well-made one that can also be used in times of catastrophe. I’ll show you how to use it from now on so please remember it diligently.“
While being booed from the girls, Ms. Chabashira familiarly set up a toilet with her hands. Then she set a blue plastic bag and put something like a white sheet in it.
“This sheet is called a water-supply polymer sheet. It covers and solidifies filth. It makes filth invisible and at the same time suppresses the smell. After you’re done using it, stack the sheet up again. It is possible to use one vinyl by repeating this around five times. Only these vinyls and sheets will be supplied unlimitedly. If absolutely necessary, you can change it after each use.“
At this explanation the girls went silent and listened. If this were a time of catastrophe they wouldn’t be able to complain.
Cause it won’t matter if it’s a boy or a girl or a corrugated box at that time.
But now it was quite difficult to say that this place was a location of disaster and that we should act like it was.
“I can’t do this! I definitely can’t!“
Starting with Shinohara, nearly all girls rejected it all at once. Ike, who has been watching the situation silently, said sullenly:
“Let’s endure this kind of toilet. It’s not time to fight over it, Shinohara.“
“Stop messing around. It doesn’t matter to guys, right. I’m not gonna do it in a corrugated box.“
“It’s up to you. I don’t have anything to say. But it’s not approved to relieve yourselves in the forest, as well as in the sea or the river. Don’t forget that.“
With only this warning, the teacher continued talking indifferently.
“But, a corrugated box! Besides, guys will also be close by, right? Disgusting!“
Shinohara, who wasn’t acceptive of the fact, started to throw out her anger toward boys, especially Ike.
“What. I don’t understand why you treat us like perverts.“
“It’s true, right? You seem to be very perverted.“
“Huh? Ouch, that hurts. I’m a big gentleman.“
“Don’t make me laugh. A gentleman – what are you talking about? By far the biggest pervert contender.“
Ike and Shinohara had a heated argument.
“Anyway, I think it’s impossible for me.“
Shinohara and most of the girls were thoroughly unaccepting of the situation.
“Then what will you do? It’s not possible putting up with a toilet for a week, right?“
The teacher, who was watching Shinohara and Ike’s complaints and dispute as someone else’s problem, suddenly made a sullen face when she looked behind us.
“Ya-oh~ … “
Such a faded voice came from behind.
The owner of that voice rushed over to the targeted person, capturing and hugging them from behind.
“… what are you doing? “
“What, skinship? I was thinking what would you do about it.“
Said Ms. Hoshinomiya, a teacher in charge of B class, stroking Ms. Chabashira’s two hands harshly.
“Whenever I touch Sae-chan’s hair, it’s always smooth.“
“Do you understand school rules properly? It’s inexcusable to eavesdrop on other class’ information.“
“I’m an unimportant teacher. Even if I hear any information by chance, I certainly won’t tell it. However, wouldn’t you say this feels something like fate? The two of us coming to this island, it’s unbelievable. Don’t you think so?“
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