The whole complex referred to him now as ‘the oni’. There wasn’t even a pretense of genetic humanity, whatever a computer could have argued, and he had to agree with that. ‘Phenotypic differences’ was a catch phrase that kept scrolling from what they called Delilah in debate with Dr. Eidokan and Dr. Wellsworth. He though it meant something to the effect of the differences being skin deep. It was a load of shit, and anyone with eyes in their head could tell that much.
Which may be the problem for the AI, it had neither a head, nor eyes. Cameras didn’t really count. Having a body must make a difference, just from the sheer difference in output and input interfacing.
Shiroishi thought everyone must have some of the same questions. What were Oni, exactly? What made them different? What could they do differently? No one wanted to leave it at a ‘if you see one, you know it is one’. They all wanted a definition, like from a book or screen, that could tell them what to expect from the creatureman that stood more solid then the gate the military men had podged together.
He was thinner then he should be. Whatever hard times had stripped Yuuki-sama had done the same to the giant. It was an ongoing siege, too, since he couldn’t have been eating enough since then in the ration conditions of the complex. Japanese would never take more then their share; they were raised with the survival of the group over the needs of the individual.
It was only a half-correct way of thinking, really. Pack was necessary, and more successful as a means of survival, but hierarchy had its demands…the weak and useless should get less. In famine, they would die and the others wouldn’t be burdened. The strong should not starve for their benefit.
Hideo had collapsed a week and two days before. Rana had not eaten or taken drink in five days. His ribs were plain like walls stripped to corrugation. He seemed like something out of a dream, hard-knot muscles rendered extreme in wood and set outside some shrine. He had been taken to a shrine by his grandmother when he was five. He couldn’t remember much, but the statues outside had frightened him. They weren’t real, and neither was the oni in the gate some thirty feet away. Dr. Wellsworth insisted that humans could only live for a week without water, even though he also insisted that Rana was not a human. They should make up their minds faster.
How often did oni have to eat? How the statues and Rana looked seemed the normal image. Were they usually starved? Was it starvation? Maybe they could go longer times without eating or drinking, if they came from far reaches. There might not be abundant resources. He was certain they ate people. People, at least, could be plentiful. Wars would be harvest. What did they eat the rest of the time?
They did have an answer that Oni could stand awake, alert, and on guard longer then humans. Rana had taken no drugs, but for five days he’d been standing there looking evil and was perfectly alert to whether anyone dared approach to interrupt. He didn’t speak much, but would order that “proximity is dangerous.”
So oni could go for a long time without sleep and keep working. They could last at least 5 days without food or water. They were huge. They were stronger then humans. They live in caves and have claws that can cut stone. This one, at least, was territorial.
Which made Shiroishi worry, were there more?