Toaru Majutsu no Index:SSVolume2 Chapter19
 Chapter 19: Shining Gemstones and Blood-Stained Rights. The Second Friday of October.
It pissed her off that every single member of Academy City’s Board of Directors was rich.
The genius girl Kumokawa Seria placed her fingers on her temple as she looked around at Kaizumi Tsugutoshi’s personal home theater.
The domed room he called his home theater looked out of place for a personal residence and was made with acoustics in mind. Speakers were spread 360 degrees around the room and every gap in the wall was filled with them. There was even a speaker on the back of the door.
“An acquaintance of mine is a conductor,” said the old man wearing formal clothes that would have fit in more in an antique setting, “so I wanted to make something that would make even a live performance enthusiast jealous and, before I knew it, I had this. My wife and my daughter were shocked, too.”
“I don’t really care, but you must need a special kind of music media to use all of these speakers.”
“Well, yes. The sound quality is wonderful, but each song costs about twenty million yen.”
“Go to hell,” spat out Kumokawa as she looked over to the theater’s giant monitor. This was no cheap projector; it was a super high density display. The money spent on the display could have been used to buy an entire movie theater including the land it was on.
Displayed on the screen wasn’t some huge hit of a movie that was forgotten a year after it opened.
It was a boring man’s face.
Kumokawa sat down in a leather-covered chair so soft she felt like she could have fallen into an eternal sleep in it, reached over to the drink on the side table, and looked back to the screen.
“I don’t like this nouveau riche style, but it’s soundproofed which lets us talk in private. …So why don’t you tell us what your complaint is?”
“W-we haven’t done anything we need to make excuses about,” said the large face displayed on the screen. “Explaining it all is a pain, but we aren’t involved in these incidents. Just do some research and you’ll know I’m telling the truth. The entire chain of events happened naturally without our even knowing.”
“I see,” said Kaizumi as he placed his hands on the back of Kumokawa’s chair.
“So you’re saying you had no part in the sudden and simultaneous targeting of gemstones for research samples in France, India, Austria, Thailand, Argentina, and elsewhere?”
“Yes.” The man on the screen nodded. “In the past we created and implemented projects such as the Stargate Project thinking we could seriously use espers for military purposes. But this is different. Look into the origins of each of the organizations and you’ll know I’m telling the truth. They aren’t connected and they weren’t created from our investments.”
Kumokawa took a sip of a pink liquid through a straw and looked over to the documents sitting on the side table like a fruit garnish. They were the investigation reports on the organizations that were after the gemstones.
“Academic organizations, scientific thought groups, sports engineering groups, and even some peculiar human trafficking organizations. It’s true that there is no proof that this is a network you created, and I can’t imagine you would be backing them.”
“Of course we aren’t. Just because the CIA is well known doesn’t mean we’re behind every conspiracy in the world.”
“Yes, yes. By the way, I have a question for you.” Kumokawa tossed the documents aside. “In each one of these academic organizations, scientific thought groups, sports engineering groups, and peculiar human trafficking organizations, there are two CIA spies. Why is that?”
“Did you really think we wouldn’t notice? You have a network between these independent organizations and they don’t even know it. …But why? I doubt the leader of your country approves of this method.”
The man on the screen started talking on about something, but Kumokawa cut the connection without listening.
Kaizumi looked down at Kumokawa’s head.
“What do you think?”
“Well,” responded Kumokawa as she shook her glass causing the ice inside to lightly spin around. “We don’t need to worry about the individual organizations. No matter how much they tinker with those gemstones, they aren’t going to gain the techniques needed to actually develop psychic powers. They’ll just fail, so we can leave them alone.”
“But the Stargate group is obtaining the information on all those failures and bringing it together. And failures are the seeds of success. If they refer to the data on countless failures to create an outline, they may be able to succeed.”
“What are the odds of that?”
“Hmm…” responded Kumokawa sluggishly. “0%. We don’t need to worry about it.”
Kaizumi sighed at her blunt response.
It was not a sigh of relief; it was a sigh of exasperation. He had most likely predicted her response.
“Even with all that, they’ll fail. They don’t know how to use all the data they gathered, so they’ll end up at a standstill. But as long as they don’t realize they have failed, they will continue to use up the gemstones.”
“I see. My trifling fears are gone now,” was Kaizumi Tsugutoshi’s short initial response. “Now let’s get down to the real issue at hand. What are we going to do from now on?”
“Heh. You’re as naïve as ever.”
“I know that each individual organization and group will fail on their own, but I don’t like that the gemstones will be used up. …No, let’s stop referring to them as gemstones. The ones in danger here are just kids who happen to have a certain ability.”
The capture operations could have already begun. If they wanted to safely shelter the children known as gemstones, they had to settle this before each group’s “research” began. These groups referred to themselves as “research institutions”, but their cumulative knowledge of developing psychic powers was close to zero. Their assumptions and preconceptions might even lead them to dissect the gemstones and put them in formaldehyde the second they were captured.
“I’m pretty sure I already answered that question,” said Kumokawa in a voice that showed how little she cared. “There are only around 50 gemstones. On the other hand, there are countless eccentric scientists after them. As such, it would be faster to take care of the gemstones themselves.”
“Invite them to Academy City. Taking them in is the most efficient method. You said something about those kids having lives of their own, and, in the end, you didn’t do anything. It was your kindness that forestalled you.”
“I admit I was at fault,” said Kaizumi in a stiff voice. “And now I have an impossible order for you, my brain. What exactly should we do? They are using the gemstone list that the CIA prepared via different routes than ours to begin ‘mining’ the children nearby. Even if we dispatch Academy City people, we can’t make it in time to stop the ‘mining’ taking place simultaneously across the world. How are we supposed to stop that?”
“It’s true that we wouldn’t make it if we only dispatched people from Academy City. Even with supersonic passenger planes, there are still geographic limits.
“However,” Kumokawa added, “the situation changes if we use the organizations around the world that work with Academy City. If they can all act at once around the world, so can we.”
“You make it sound simple,” said Kaizumi expressing his disapproval. “You say they work with us, but it’s nothing much. Most of them are basically companies we make business deals with and groups we supply with resources. There are fewer than ten organizations we work with that have a military side fit for leaving something like this to. It would be impossible for them to immediately gather up the around 50 gemstones.”
In Academy City’s modern society that relied on science, almost everything was controlled indirectly, but that indirectness caused the execution of orders to be slow and lessened the ability for adaptation. There was no nice, convenient card that let them send troops all over the world that very instant.
“That may be true on the surface.”
“I don’t like owing people favors, but we should just bow down and ask that frog to help us.”
“What are you talking about?”
“Oh,” Kumokawa sipped the rest of her drink through the straw and smiled before continuing. “I’m just going to have some girls with identical faces fight for us.”
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