They have done this before.
The first experiment took place in 1989. It ran for about three years. Before that, Kitano had a hard time of getting the project off the ground. He couldn’t get the alpha drug to stay stable. The psychiatrist dabbled in chemistry in his college years. He figured that he could still pull it off to set his plans in motion. The solution would start out good. But, it would just turn into weak liquid or coagulate into a chucky solid. This would not do. Kitano wanted a strong red fluid to be injected into the body. On his time away from work, he studied the formula over and over. Everything looked like it was correct, down to the tee.
Still, something was missing. Kitano couldn’t figure it out.
After two years, he decided it was time for a fresh pair of eyes to look at the formula.
Etsuko, on the other hand, was skilled at chemistry. She had her college thesis on mnemosyne was proof of this. Granted, the memory drug itself was in its crude stages at the time, nowhere near as advanced as it was today. Still, Etsuko managed to fix the alpha drug and make it stable. After that, Kitano let her work on the beta drug alone. From there, the partners worked on different formulas in the Tadpole project. Most of them were successful. Others turned out to be duds. They took notes of every formula they worked on.
Once the drugs were made, it was time to test them out.
They didn’t use animals. That was just boring to them. For better results, they needed humans. And what better test subject than the mental patients at Chou Mori Institution. Kitano and Etsuko knew how to pick them too. The first generation mostly had no family to ask questions. These patients were outcasts in society to begin with. No one would notice that they were gone.
In August of 1989, the experiments began. They started out with fifty-six patients. Only seven were left. Thirty-two didn’t survive the alpha drug. Back then, the drugs weren’t as refined as they were by the time they were used in the third generation. In the first generation, there were so many bodies to deal with. So many. Where to get rid of them?
Burning worked. But soon, that would have people asking questions. Most of Chou Mori’s staff didn’t care. But a handful…
“Kitano-sensei,” the director at the time said. “Can I see you in my office?”
“Okay,” the psychiatrist said. He followed his boss into his office.
“Is something wrong?” Kitano asked.
“I have noticed that some of the patients here have been disappearing,” the director said.
“Thing is these patients have no next kin. Nobody to ask questions about their well-being.”
“Maybe they got up and left on their own. We aren’t obligated to hold them. Most of them don’t have criminal records. They were just dropped off here.”
The director eyed him. “I hope there is no foul play going on.” Kitano all but laughed in his mind. Ever since 1987, the director and the staff had to be blind to what was going on in Chou Mori. Instead, the doctor turned psychiatrist patiently smiled.
“I will keep an eye out for anything suspicious,” he said. Except for my project, of course. There were no more questions after that. But, that didn’t stop the suspicious from surrounding Chou Mori for the next few years to come until it was finally shut down.
For now, Kitano and Etsuko would keep running experiments on their patients and developing and upgrading their drugs to test. But where were they getting more subjects? And how could they afford to do all of this under the director and innocent staff’s noses?
Kitano himself had a few more secrets up his sleeve. Etsuko had some idea about them, but she didn’t ask questions. She had work with her formulas to do. After all, the doctor was working on other drugs outside of the Tadpole Project. Kitano didn’t complain. After all, he needed her brilliance to sustain Tadpole Project’s life blood.