Kumo desu ga, Nani ka? Past Arc ⑤

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Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magecraft.

Past Arc ⑤


Potimas was glued to the monitor, closely observing what was being shown on it. On a gigantic screen many graphical windows were open, showing various things. On one window was a video, on another window was a chart, on yet another window was a document. Potimas was reading those various pieces of information side by side.

All of those were data created by the criminal group behind the kidnapping of an infant dragon in a certain country. Video footage of when the infant dragon was kidnapped. Observation documents on the infant dragon after it was kidnapped. Also, body tissue data collected from the infant dragon. Potimas had in his hands all the data owned by the criminal group who had kidnapped the infant dragon.

Potimas had no connection with the criminal group. To be more precise, no direct connection. Potimas had a slender connection to the criminal group, via multiple people and organisations as intermediaries. However, the criminal group wasn’t aware of that. Unbeknownst to the criminal group, Potimas was taking the fruits of their labours. In addition, to completely avoid dirtying his own hands, he even made use of others to steal the data. By using all these precautions stacked on top of each other, even the most capable investigator would not be able to trace the crimes back to Potimas. Even if by chance they were able to trace the crimes back to him, Potimas was manoeuvring to prevent himself from being arrested.

The investigation had in fact come to an end, but Potimas himself didn’t have the slightest intention of being involved in such a dangerous crime. He especially did not want to take on the dangerous creatures known as dragons. Because Potimas did not want to die, he would avoid anything that would slightly increase the risks to his wellbeing. If he was ever to take such actions, then it would only be after Potimas had ensured his own personal safety. Thus, only after making meticulous plans to ensure his own personal safety, did Potimas trigger the incident in question.

The criminal group were sacrificial pawns in order for Potimas to collect experimental data. Even the organisation behind those sacrificial pawns were themselves prepared as sacrificial pawns, and even the fact that Potimas was connected with that organisation wouldn’t come out. This incident resulted in many people being arrested. However, none of them reached Potimas. They had been induced in such a way that it was a matter of course that they wouldn’t.

If by some chance Potimas’s machinations were able to be completely exposed, then people would surely have been amazed at the extraordinary meticulousness of it all. All of that was done to achieve one objective – immortality. The great efforts that Potimas went to in order to achieve his dearest wish. His crazy obsession resulted in many people being dragged into the incident.

As a consequence, the amount of data that Potimas had been able to get his hands on, was pathetically small. While making enemies of the paranormal creatures known as dragons, and getting many people involved, all that Potimas had obtained was a report less than 10 pages long, and a video recording less than an hour long. Given the effort involved, what he had gained was pathetically small.

However, rather than sulking about that, Potimas eagerly watched the video, and re-read the obtained data again and again. While doing so he spun multiple ideas through his head. Until he had rewatched the video perhaps more than a hundred times, he was glued to the monitor forgetting even to eat.

Finally he came to a conclusion. That dragons didn’t work according to science, but the logic of magecraft. In the data on the composition of the dragon’s scales, there was nothing but conventionally known materials. While the scales were closer to being mineral than something biological, even so there was nothing unfamiliar about them. Despite that, the results from the structural strength experiments showed numbers that exceeded the values expected by the material composition by an unthinkable amount. It was a phenomenon that was unthinkable based on scientific general knowledge. In the recording made when the infant dragon was captured, it spat fire out from its mouth, was seen flying around as if disregarding gravity, stopped bullets and so on in mid-air, so that was something anyone who saw it would understand. It was clearly understood that the video recordings were not manipulated and that no trickery was involved. The video was proof, that paranormal phenomenons could actually occur in practice. Nevertheless, in Potimas’s judgement those paranormal phenomenons still had laws. If not for that then the infant dragon wouldn’t have become short of breath and been captured. While they were paranormal phenomenons that were unthinkable based on science, they still had rules and laws, and were not capable of anything and everything.

Once that was understood the rest was simple. In short, while different to science, the phenomenons were still grounded in precise rules. That being the case, even if they didn’t know the rules, it would still be possible for humans to replicate them. If there were no rules and laws regarding them at all, and they were something as intangible as a real act of god then Potimas wouldn’t have been able to do anything at all. However, since there were rules and laws involved, then they were simply natural phenomenon that humans didn’t currently understand. They felt paranormal purely because they weren’t understood. If they could be understood then there would be nothing paranormal about them, and would simply be laws.

In order to explain those rules, Potimas then immersed himself in researching magecraft. Having felt the limits of science, he worked to achieve eternal youth and longevity. Finally, he discovered it. The strange energy that could not be explained by science, MA Energy. When the findings of that discovery, and the additional investigations that Potimas would make further, were made public, it shook the world and caused great confusion.


 

Translation notes:

“graphical windows” – while the exact technology level during this time is unknown, based on the terms being used they should have advanced computers with a “windows” type user interface.

No specific note but the treatment of magic as a branch of science is not new – see some of the discussion on Clarke’s three laws. In science fiction and fantasy, it’s up to the author to decide whether or not to explain the magic – some prefer a sense of wonder (keep it mysterious) and some prefer to make it more understandable and have that understanding be part of the plot.

Kumo desu ga, Nani ka? Past Arc ⑲
Kumo desu ga, Nani ka? Past Arc ⑥