1: Childhood

The world changed in innumerable ways as a result of the wars that began in 2030 and lasted at least two decades. Humanity fought over resources as well as issues of religion, population control, class systems, terrorism, anarchy, and the results of new technology. "First World Countries" continued to develop more and more amazing technology even during such times. However, the wars and newly evolved pathogens reduced the world population by about a fifth.

Other problems persisted after the wars as well. Bioweapons and even nuclear bombs had reduced the world's usable dry land by 30%. The climates had changed, as well as all the agricultural systems of the world. While robotics and medical science had drastically improved, the vast majority of the remaining population saw extreme worldwide increases in suicide rates. People called 2063 "The Reaper Year" because a reliable and large-scale study estimated that two and a half million people from across the world died from suicide that year alone.

Humans may have thought themselves unlucky, but their continued domination of the planet was assured. Meanwhile, as the Sixth Mass Extinction continued, the majority of wild animals died out. This included 50% of all the fish species eaten by humans. Most island countries and other places dependent on fish tumbled into poverty and starvation. Japan, of course, became the most notable exception to this trend.

The last major wars ended by the 2050s, and after several attempted foreign takeovers, Japan fought for its own sovereignty and emerged victorious from their last international conflict in 2067. The country cut off most trade with the world and changed to become incredibly self-sustaining. Japan's population and economy stayed relatively stable after the 60s, and the Japanese handled the fish crisis by raising billions of genetically modified fish. Even with all these blessings, however, fear began to rise among the people that their country would fall into chaos without a greater system of control. Experiments with Neurological Cymatic Scans began in the early 2060s, but it was not until the 2080s that people came to trust them completely.

Yayoi Kunizuka was born in 2088, just a couple years after the Sybil System's implementation throughout Japan. It took several years, but relatively speaking, the System had been quick to rise to power. On the other hand, violent crime emerged as a serious danger in large cities from the late 80s to the mid-90s. Mr. Kunizuka Morihiro lived in Tokyo when Yayoi was born, and the family settled there for many years. This naturally meant that Yayoi's father and mother were somewhat overprotective and gave their young daughter a highly sheltered life. Furthermore, the Kunizukas became ardent supporters of the Sybil System, and enrolled Yayoi in Sybil-funded private schools from age six and onward.

**Break***

"Miss Kunizuka," said a teacher to Yayoi and her parents at the end of her second schoolyear, "you're a very good student. You don't skip classes, you are always polite, and you do your homework. Even though you struggle with things like history or reading, you always pull through when you try your best."

Sitting between her parents on the small, scratchy couch across from the teacher's office chair, Yayoi simply nodded in response. Distractedly, she played with her hair, already reaching just past her shoulders. Yayoi would turn eight at the end of the summer, so she had no difficulty speaking, but rather had a naturally quiet disposition. Even so, Mr. Kunizuka nudged his daughter, whispering that she needed to thank the teacher for such praise.

"There's no need," smiled the teacher, a Miss Erizawa with thick, braided hair. "I know Yayoi likes to be quiet. That said, however, I want to let you, her parents, know that Yayoi was involved in one rather ugly incident earlier this year. We didn't encourage you to take Yayoi in for a Psycho-Pass check because according to the scanner on our school grounds, her number and hue remain at normal levels."

"But what happened, Erizawa-san?" asked Yayoi's half-German father in a worrisome tone.

"If her mentality is normal," said Mrs. Kunizuka flatly, "we don't really need to know."

Yayoi saw her teacher looking conflicted, so she volunteered in her small voice, "Daddy, I'll tell you what happened. It was between classes so I went outside to see if there was flowers yet. But it was still cold, no flowers, so I sang a song about flowers. Sometimes, I feel lonely, so I went to the garden and sang a lot. But I was never loud. I was never rude. Other girls from class said I was bothering the school. Dazai-san said I must be turning bad. That's not true! So I hit her with a stick."

Mrs. Kunizuka laughed and the blue-carpeted room was tense until Morihiro said sternly,

"Yayoi, that was a horrible thing to do!" He turned to Erizawa with a sigh. "Please accept our apologies for letting something like that happen. I trust that this Dazai-san was not badly hurt? Good. Still, Erizawa-san, this may be my fault in part. You see, I'm an independent singer and songwriter—that's where our money comes from, mostly—and I often play on the guitar for Yayoi. She was probably trying to copy me by singing, so if it hadn't been for me—"

"It's quite alright, Mr. Kunizuka," Erizawa assured him, pacing to the window to let the faint sunlight in through her office window. "This is little Yayoi's first 'offense', you might say. She's young and that means she's still just a bit impulsive. And more importantly, her Psycho-Pass remained normal. I simply wanted to let you know of the incident for future reference. Miss Kunizuka performed excellently this year, overall."

As the Kunizuka family left the private school, Yayoi hid her annoyance under her usual quiet mask. Even though the teacher had praised her so much, Morihiro remained upset with his daughter. He told her he would not let her borrow his guitar for a month for punishment. Yayoi had other pass-times, but music had always been her favorite. Now she would not be able to learn any more for a month. Silently, she wished something exciting would happen to distract her.

Later, she regretted that childish wish.

***Break***

Major upheaval began in Yayoi's life that same summer. The Sybil System's control reached farther than ever into freedom of thought and expression. Certain artists, musicians, and religions were given Sybil's authorization, while many more were denied "approval" and came to be considered dangerous to society. Yayoi's father Morihiro was obligated to let Sybil's agents run an investigation of his music and content. Furthermore, Mrs. Maria Kunizuka started to drink a lot more, and conversation with her became nearly impossible because of her aggression.

One day, Yayoi came home from the robotics museum (where she had gone without permission) and noticed that her father's guitar was missing.

Mr. Kunizuka saw the little girl searching and heaved a sad sigh. He called Yayoi and his wife Maria into the main sitting area of their spacious two-bedroom apartment. Yayoi followed without question, but it took some time to convince Maria to stop drinking and listen.

"My guitar has been confiscated for now," Morihiro said sadly, while Yayoi listened in outrage. "The investigators say that everything will be done in two weeks. We just have to hope my music is approved. This might be hard to understand, Yayoi, but most of our money comes from the Net sales of my music, and the trips I sometimes take to perform. If my music isn't approved, daddy will have to work a lot more than he does now. Mommy will need to work, too. We may have to move to a cheaper place."

"But why?" asked Yayoi in confusion.

"Ha!" Mrs. Kunizuka said. "That's what I'd like to know."

Morihiro visibly stopped himself from snapping at his wife, and then he shook his head and spoke. "Maria, my dear, you know that this is something we agreed on when she was born!" He cleared his throat and faced Yayoi. "You see, my girl, even though we live in a simple apartment, I really do make quite a lot of money. Most of that money is what pays for you to go to private academies endorsed by the Sybil System."

A cold wave seemed to suddenly wash over Yayoi. "You mean we could stay in this apartment if my school didn't cost so much money?"

"That's right, honey," Mrs. Kunizuka said with mock-sweetness in her voice. "I wouldn't have to start working, either, if not for the Academy's ridiculous tuition. Listen, you are—"

"Both of you!" snapped Mr. Kunizuka. "You're assuming my music isn't going to be approved. Can't you all have a little more faith in me than this? I'm almost positive I'll get approval, and we won't have to move, and you, Maria, won't have to work. Alright, now you're both free to go. Dear, try not to drink too much. And please don't take this out on your own daughter."

Yayoi felt terribly guilty. She didn't even care about school terribly much. She had few friends, joined no clubs, and took part in no class projects (this solitary trend would continue until she reached her teens). If school would force her mother to work and make her unhappy, then Yayoi thought she should just not go to school. The only things she would miss were her science class and the general IT class she would be starting in September. Yayoi loved to learn about computers, electricity, chemicals, and early introductions to principles of physics, which would all help her one day become an operator of drones. However, Yayoi was willing to give up all that up for her father and mother and the peace of the family.

***Break***

Late one night, Yayoi decided to tell her father she would quit those stupid expensive academies, but he was already sound asleep in the bigger of the two bedrooms, in which Mr. and Mrs. Kunizuka shared a bed. However, tonight Maria could not be seen among the sheets and blankets. Yayoi figured she had gone to the kitchen, so she crept down the hall and through the living area. The shades over both windows in that room had been lifted. Outside the moon was almost full, but to Yayoi it looked a bit lopsided. The little girl thought she heard a clinking sound—her mother drinking whiskey again?—and she hurried onward.

The kitchen was empty, but Yayoi realized that the sound she heard came from the nearby door leading outside. It was the main entrance and exit. Then the sound she had heard must be keys. Could Mrs. Kunizuka be out late and trying to get back in? Before the little girl could do anything, someone knocked on the door with alarming force and gruffly shouted, "Police!"

Yayoi trembled in fear, but she knew she had been taught to always obey the Police. She took a deep breath and opened the door. Nothing could have adequately prepared her for what she saw on the other side. It changed her life forever.

While one cop stood in front by the door, two more stood just behind him, and between the two of them they carried the unconscious and deranged figure of Maria Kunizuka. Everything suddenly seemed half-muted and blurred by a kind of mist, and Yayoi felt like she was watching the scene from outside her own body. She only vaguely recognized the things happening around her. The front policeman asked for her father, but he was already on his way. He asked in irritation if Maria had been drunk in public again, but the lead officer shook his head, saying it was much more serious. Yayoi didn't really understand, but her mother had done something bad… something about "history of shoplifting" and "the pick-pocketing problem at the malls". The police reported that Mrs. Kunizuka's Crime Coefficient reached 121 and they had temporarily paralyzed her. They saw on her records that she had a family. So before taking Maria to the hospital, where the staff would explain her confinement options, the Police stopped by to see if Morihiro wanted to accompany his wife and help her settle in to the hospital.

"Thanks for being so thoughtful," said Mr. Kunizuka in a strained voice. "But please go ahead and take her away. I don't want my own hue to get any darker by association. I have always been a good citizen and a kind husband, but if my wife really robbed people, I suspect she intended to take the money and leave me, as she so often threatened. My company would be unwelcome to her. Besides, someone must take care of the child."

When the police took her mother away, Yayoi began to cry despite having felt so numb seconds earlier. She broke down into sobs and asked over and over why her mother had been knocked out and taken away. Mr. Kunizuka closed the door and hugged his daughter, himself shedding tears as well.

"I'm sorry you have to go through this, sweetheart," he whispered in a trembling voice. "Your mommy stole a whole lot of money today and tried to run away with it. Before that, she had been stealing jewelry for months and using drugs to disguise her Psycho-Pass. She's a criminal."

"No!" shouted Yayoi. "Why would she try to leave us? She was drunk, that's all!"

With tears still running down his cheeks, Morihiro said, "Yayoi, listen. I expect your mom's Psycho-Pass will drop when she sobers up and has some treatment at the hospital. However, it's very unlikely that her number will return to normal. It will probably stay right above a hundred, and she will have to live in confinement. We won't be able to live with mommy anymore. Calm down, try not to cry so loud; we don't want to wake up the neighbors. I know it's hard, sweetheart. We can still visit her though. We can visit mommy whenever you want."

The moonlight kept streaming through the windows looking out into the city. Yayoi and her father held each other and wept. They were equals at that moment. Neither was stronger than the other, both hopeful souls had been cruelly betrayed, and neither heart felt more wounded than the other. They grieved together.

***Break***

Yayoi's childhood went downhill from there. Her mother was confined to a Latent Criminal Living Center, where she made money as a janitor that went straight to paying off her enormous fines for larceny and the settlement money for the rich couples she had robbed. She would most likely be in confinement her entire life unless somehow her psycho-pass dropped. As Yayoi grew up, however, her mother's psycho-pass slowly rose. Yayoi forgave her mother and visited her regularly, but gradually Mrs. Kunizuka became more verbally abusive and incapable of civil talk.

Morihiro Kunizuka's music received approval and was authorized by Sybil, but he stopped playing except at small gatherings now and then. He fell into depression, and eventually couldn't play music at all; he found a somewhat menial office job and worked there full-time. Even so, he could no longer pay for Yayoi's private school education. So, at age eleven, the young girl began attending public school. She remained a good student, especially with science, but she impulsively stirred up violent arguments from time to time, and her Psycho-Pass had to be regularly examined. Just like before, Yayoi made few friends, and joined no clubs or groups. Most of her free time went to studying robots and drones.

After Yayoi turned twelve, however, she slowly made a few friends. It was a bumpy process. Yayoi never got used to the fact that people would forget her name; they often called her nicknames or messed up her first or last name. Nevertheless, Yayoi started befriending classmates. Things never worked out with them and somehow or other they grew tired or irritated with Yayoi's company. Then she tried the robotics club, but nobody there came anywhere close to Yayoi's level of knowledge, so she broke away from them. Finally, almost on a whim, she tried the music club. Yayoi got along well with the people there, and one of them, Rina, was coming to visit the apartment soon. For the first time in years, Yayoi began to feel hopeful.

She visited the Latent Criminal Facility to tell her mom about this recent development. At first, Maria didn't seem to recognize her own daughter, but Yayoi said, "It's me, mom."

"How vague," the bitter woman snorted. "You don't even say your name."

"Because you know my name, mom."

The woman laughed. "Don't be ridiculous. Your name doesn't matter. Here, we are all numbers. I am Patient 334. Today they gave your locker key 027, which means you are visitor twenty-seven. If you insist on keeping on visiting me and making me pretend to talk nice to you, then how about we call ourselves by our numbers?"

"Mother, stop saying those things," Yayoi said, trying to imitate her father. "I came to tell you good news. I made a friend at school. Her name is Rina, and she's going to visit me. She—"

"If you finally somehow managed to make a friend," Mrs. Kunizuka scoffed, "then what the hell are you doing here? Do you really not understand that I don't want your company?! If it wasn't for you, none of this would have happened."

Yayoi held back tears. "F-fine then. I'll go home."

"Do you know?" Maria said, gesturing widely as if permanently drunk. "Do you know I regret bearing you, brat? I wish you had never been born. I wish I had never named you. I've actually been trying to forget your name. But every time you come back, you force me to remember again, and relive my pain! Ha! And where do you think you're off to NOW, after coming all this way?"

At first, the daughter did not respond. Yayoi had stood up from the stiff chair positioned to look through the glass to her mother's cell. She shouldered her little black satchel and began to walk away. She turned around one more time and glared at her mother with fierce blue eyes.

"I'm not coming to visit you anymore, mom," she stated hatefully. "This may be the last time I see you. Like you, I'm sick of pretending to talk nicely to a bitch. Mother, I hope you remember my name, because nobody will remind you once I'm gone. Goodbye, Mom."

The little girl walked out of the facility with angry tears in her eyes. After that instance, she never visited her mother again. She decided she didn't need her mother. She was mature for her age, after all. In the name of maturity, Yayoi afterward began to dress in gray and black and to tie up her long hair. She wondered if Rina would like the new look or not.

After her mother became estranged and her father fell into deeper depression, Yayoi wondered if her own Psycho-Pass would rise to dangerous levels. With things going well at school, however, Yayoi tried to stay hopeful. On the bright side, she even had a friend now. That friend, Rina Takizaki, would also be an instrument in changing Yayoi's life forever.