Sweeten Ch3 bit – Fast vs. Slow

Uryuu scowled, and crossed his arms. “…We’re not going to hurt the little mosquito. Okay? Even if she does bug the heck out of us.”

Ikoma raised a skeptical brow. These were Hunters. If anyone on the Koutetsujou stood a chance of taking a Kabaneri down, they were the ones.

“We’re not,” Uryuu grumbled. “She knows how to hunt. More than you station-folk do. You need to learn that. And she needs to learn more. She’s not going to if you’re scared we’re going to stab her in the back.”

“I’m not,” Ikoma fired back. “You kept your word this far. You’d stab us in the front.”

Tension sang across the car. Hunters were close to too many weapons, but the Koutetsujou’s people had knives and a simmering case of mad.

And me, Ikoma thought. So what are you going to do?

Uryuu snorted; almost a smile. Dropped his arms, the subtle threat easing out of his stance. “Nobody’s stabbing anybody, okay? Had enough of that.” He glanced away, rubbing the back of his neck. “Think we all have.”

Ikoma couldn’t hide a breath of relief. That looked real. Felt real, in a way he’d never have been able to put a finger on back in Aragane. But when he’d killed the Wazatori, when he’d seen the bushi set all that hate and fear aside to join Ayame’s triumphant cry….

Enough, that set of shoulders seemed to say. Let’s not fight anymore. We’re alive; let’s stay that way.

“So. When it comes to explanations….” Ikoma nodded toward Eishun. “No one who could what?

Uryuu looked like he’d bitten into a plum full of vinegar. “Make another Kabaneri.” He huffed. “All theoretical, anyway. Doctors dreaming up stuff that probably wouldn’t work. Hunters don’t get hit with the slow spread. We wouldn’t last long enough for them to knock us out, much less do… whatever they did to make girls like Mumei.”

Fuyu and the others weren’t even pretending to keep cutting. Ikoma didn’t blame them. The Koutetsujou loved Mumei. Even if they did think she was weird. “You don’t get slow infections? Why?”

“Who knows? Why’s it even matter?” A Hunter with leather headgear and a tuft of beard; Tomio, Ikoma had heard the others call him. “Die fast, die slow. You’re still dead.”

“It matters because we need to know our enemy,” Ikoma said firmly. “The fast infections scare everyone. They should. But the slow ones make people scared of each other.”

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27 thoughts on “Sweeten Ch3 bit – Fast vs. Slow

  1. Another point showing that Ikoma have been thinking on the issue at length.
    Honestly, he is naturally the spiritual heir to biba from the days when the later focused on soley combating the Kabane…

    less leader and commander and more engineer, but…

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  2. Listen to Ikoma. The inability to trust even your companions fully because you never know if an infected person is going go down fast or slow is going to kill you all as people just as effectively as the Kabane are doing.

    Maybe I’m just paranoid but this whole Kabane thing is starting to feel a little too perfect to be natural. Because some of the stuff with them . . . you’d think that SOMEONE planned it.

    It’s an ugly thought. It’s a Nightmare Fuel thought. And like the Geek Squad in The Project, I’m kinda of hoping that some version of Retsu Unohana will tell me that I’m wrong instead of thinking my theory as being horrifyingly possible.

    Probably doesn’t help that something this nasty would be right up the evil aliens of that universe’s alley. This isn’t that universe (not in canon and not in this fic as far as I know) but the nastiness if there is an intelligent actor behind the Kabane is similar.

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  3. Can’t just be adrenaline, because the slow infectees are scared too.

    Actually, maybe dumping adrenaline is what slows things down, and veterans don’t dump. In which case, bio-feedback control type training might do something.

    Was Ikoma a slow or fast type?

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    1. Ikoma’s was fast. Which was actually lucky for him – it moved fast enough that he stood a chance of not suffocating in that rig.

      And I’d argue against the adrenaline making it slow. Shino apparently didn’t know she’d been hurt at all.

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      1. even more terrifying, she was pregnant – Slow infections might happen to woman in case of pregnancy for a chance of a 2-for-1 deal, the fast ones might kill the fetous

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      2. I agree. If anything, I’d be more inclined to believe Shino’s infection taking so long, was because of her pregnancy.

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      3. It’s kinda sounding like the infection spreads slow or fast based on gender. (Insert political correctness joke of your choice.) And about that foreshadowing, does this have anything to do with that SGC x Kabaneri story you were talking about? Cause this is right up that alley. Or down. Down sounds like a better direction for that story.

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  4. I’m starting to wonder if the “Kabane infection goes after your chi” theory is true. It would explain why the trained fighters – who are using their chi regularly – are all going down fast: since the energy is used to moving, the infection utilizes those pathways for a quick Game Over. Slow infections might be people with sluggish, untrained chi

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    1. Doesn’t explain why Ikoma’s infection spread like lightning. He may have been many things at that time but certainly not a trained fighter.

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      1. That’s the main reason why I believe it’s some substance within the blood itself, is what determines the rate of spread – the more of it their blood contains, the faster the virus can synthesize more of itself, and thus the faster it can spread to the rest of the body.

        That, and Steampunk being integral to the setting, makes me more inclined to believe a physically mundane explanation (one rooted in biology/chemistry/physics), rather than an almost purely spiritual one.

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      2. Determined as hell, though. Ikoma knew exactly what he believed, and he lived that. He challenges the bushi in episode 1, putting his body between them and a defenseless man, because they were wrong. That kind of purity of conviction seems to correlate pretty tightly with strong chi.

        …I started watching the show based on this fic. Now I have a lot of feelings about Ikoma. He’s amazing.

        Liked by 2 people

  5. My pet theory on fast vs slow infections is that it is based on sex, because every male character we’ve seen get infected had the purple and glow, while the female characters had the slow infection – even Ikoma’s sister, who after getting bit in the neck transformed slowly enough that Ikoma could run through a falling station and find an adult willing to give him a suicide packet, and she wasn’t done when he came back. There’s also a mention from Sahari that make Kabaneri are rarer than female ones.

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    1. That’s contradicted both by the information on the infection posted on the Kabaneri website (which clearly shows a male example of falling to slow infection) and by the inspections as done in canon. If only women had slow infections, there would be no need to strip down everyone on an incoming Hayajiro.

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      1. Ah cool. I didn’t check the website. Maybe it is a chi thing and male Kabaneri are rarer because they’re more likely to have some training in moving chi eg bushi.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. >
        I have my suspicions that male Kabaneri were rare in part because Biba didn’t like competition. 😉
        >
        That or whatever method used to ‘make’ Kabaneri by the scientists was more effective when used on women then men. In that it was ‘cheaper’ to make female Kabaneri or something.

        Or course the fact that only female Kabaneri made Nue and the use of said monsters in Bibi’s plans, he wouldn’t have any reason to make male ones (other then himself of course).

        Liked by 2 people

      3. On the lack of male Kabaneri:
        I agree with the points about Biba not liking competition and the Nue endgame plan, but I’d like to throw in another one: in a feudalesque classist society, a woman would have fewer options than a man, and desperate people are easier to manipulate and control. A young woman fleeing an overrun station would be less likely to have a useful skill (and even if they did have a trade, is it in demand? A steamsmith like Kajika will always be in demand in this setting, but what about a dyer or a baker or a potter?) and without family or skills… I can think of fates for a young girl all alone that might make training with Biba seem like a rescue from heaven. At least Biba was offering a chance to strike back at the monsters that ruined their lives!

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